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AMERICAN MORNING

Another Mistake with a Missile; The Anthrax Suspect Found Dead; Huge Profits for Big Oil; Another Video Surfaces of New York City Police Officers Beating a Man

Aired August 1, 2008 - 08:00   ET

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


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: The attack at the Indian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan killed at least 41 people back on the 7th of July. According to the "New York Times," the U.S. government concluded that Pakistani intelligence did play a role in that bombing.
Another mistake with a missile. This time, Air Force officials say a truck carrying an unarmed rocket booster overturned in North Dakota. The crew received minor injuries. The rocket is 66 feet long, weighs 75,000 pounds.

A suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks reportedly commits suicide. CNN has learned that Bruce Ivins knew that he was about to face criminal charges in the attacks. Ivins worked in a government defense lab where the anthrax was made, and he was actually one of the scientists helping the FBI in the investigation.

As you probably remember right after the attacks of 9/11, letters laced with anthrax were sent to the office building among other places killing five people. Let's get more on those attacks now from our Joe Johns.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The FBI could name the case Amerithrax. The first major bio-terror attack in the U.S. and it's still very much an open case. Highly potent anthrax sent in child like though menacing letters to high profile destinations. One to then NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw and two to senators. Democrats Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, both of whom escaped injury.

But the hidden substance that passed through the mail apparently originating from the Trenton, New Jersey area still killed five people and injured 18 others in Washington, D.C., Florida, New York, and Connecticut. The U.S. postal service which handled the letters was hit hard. Hundreds of workers put on antibiotics, especially at this plant known as the Brentwood Facility where 2,000 people work, not far from the U.S. Capitol.

DENA BRISCOE, POSTAL EMPLOYEE: This was an American terrorist attack, as they say. I don't feel as though they had concerns about the public, the employees, or anyone else.

JOHNS: Dena Briscoe was working at Brentwood at the time. Two employees here, Joseph Curseen and Thomas Morris, died from inhalation anthrax they contracted while working with mail at the contaminated Brentwood facility. At least three others recovered, after being diagnosed with anthrax infection.

JOHNS: The postal workers have long complained that hundreds of people on Capitol Hill were getting powerful antibiotics, just in case they'd been exposed, and that the government took a week to shut down Brentwood, which had been contaminated.

Newspaper Editor and Former Reporter Marilyn Thompson, who wrote a book about the case, thinks it may never be solved.

MARILYN THOMPSON, AUTHOR, "THE KILLER STRAIN": But my feeling after years of watching and waiting and talking to people, is that they're lost. It's a cold case, and the hope of solving it is very slim.

JOHNS: One of the key unanswered questions has been whether this was in fact a case of international terrorism, which was suggested in the odd language of the enclosed handwritten notes. Or if the crime was more likely committed by a U.S. national with access to anthrax or the means of making it.

Marilyn Thompson is not alone in her assessment that the suspect may have been an American.

THOMPSON: I felt it was almost certainly a domestic bad actor, because the evidence that they were able to retrieve from some of the sites where people died of anthrax poisoning, you know, they were able to do a very extensive DNA analysis of that anthrax, and link it back to U.S. bio-defense labs.

JOHNS: But what they haven't been able to do is charge a suspect.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: As we had been reporting, new information this morning says law enforcement was about to charge Bruce Ivins before he died this week, reportedly committing suicide.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: With the election a little less than three months away, we want to give you all the information you need to decide whom to vote for. So, every day we're going to be playing longer excerpts of the candidates in their own words talking about the issues out on the campaign trail.

Here's what Barack Obama is saying about his opponent's political attacks and the challenges facing the next president.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: It's harder to save; it's harder to retire.

And the worst part is, is that I think a lot of Americans feel as if not only are things getting tougher for them right now, but they're worried about the future of their children and their grandchildren, and whether they're going to be able to pass on a better America to them. That's after all, what the American dream's all about.

(APPLAUSE)

That's what the American dream has always been all about. That if you try, you can make it here in America. If you work hard, you can make it. And you don't just make it for yourself, but you're passing on a better life to the next generation. And that's what people are anxious about. They're not so sure right now.

And, given the seriousness of the issues, given the fact that the decisions that we make right now are going to help determine the future, not just of the next generation but perhaps generations after that; given the magnitude of our challenges when it comes to energy and health care and jobs and our foreign policy, you'd think that we'd be having a serious debate. But so far we -- all we've been hearing about is Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.

(APPLAUSE)

I mean, I do -- I do have to ask my opponent, is that the best you can come up with? Is that -- is that really what this election's about? Is that what is worthy of the American people?

AUDIENCE: No!

OBAMA: Even the media has pointed out that Senator John McCain, who started off talking about running an honorable campaign, has fallen back into the predictable political attacks, the demonstrably false statements, you know.

But here's the -- here's the problem. I'm not interested in getting into a tit for tat. These negative ads, these negative attacks, spending all this time talking about me instead of talking about what he's going to do, that's not going to lower your gas prices.

AUDIENCE: No!

OBAMA: That's not going to help you stay in your home if you're falling behind on the mortgage. That's not going to help you find a job if it's been shipped overseas. It doesn't do a single thing to help the American people. It's politics as a game. But the time for game playing is over. That's why I'm running for president of the United States.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHETRY: In about 20 minutes, we're going to be hearing what John McCain is saying about taxes and the economy.

ROBERTS: Coming up now on seven minutes after the hour, the race card. With the latest accusations in the race for the White House have an affect on the youth vote? We'll get a different spin on the weekend politics with two of America's leading young voters. Huge profits for big oil.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is the most selfish group of companies that I have ever seen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: And we are paying for it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's sickening to see that they make so much money and we suffer for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning." We have got breaking news this morning from General Motors. The company lost -- listen to this -- $15.5 billion in the second quarter of this year. Most of that was one-time costs including more than $3 billion for buying out workers, but revenue also fell by more than $8 billion, meaning that it's just not selling as many cars.

CHETRY: So, on one hand, we're talking about record profits from the oil companies. And on the other hand, we're talking about tough times for the car makers. And we're waiting to hear just how much money the second largest oil company made this last quarter.

Chevron announcing their earnings before the markets open.

ROBERTS: Right. So, Allan Chernoff is here because this comes on the heels of Exxon Mobil's record-setting profit. As Kiran was saying, more than $11.5 billion, largest ever quarterly profit for any U.S. company. And that's got some drivers pretty angry.

Just how angry, Allan, are they?

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Oh, they are quite. You know, we're talking here about capitalism with a capital C. This is what made America great, but of course, try telling that to people who are paying $4 a gallon for gasoline.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHERNOFF (voice-over): In the four minutes it took Debra Perette to get her tank filled up, Exxon Mobil earned $357,000, a rate that generated a gusher of profit, $11.7 billion during the second quarter.

DEBRA PERETTE, MOTORIST: It's sickening to see that they make so much money and we suffer for it. They should take less profit and help the little people out.

CHERNOFF: A new CNN opinion poll finds more than 2/3 of Americans believe U.S. oil companies like Exxon Mobil are a major cause of higher gas prices, followed by foreign oil producers, as well as energy speculators.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I blame a lot of the oil companies because I do think they're gouging the American people.

CHERNOFF: Barack Obama called Exxon Mobil's profit outrageous.

OBAMA: No United States corporation has ever in American history made that much of a profit in a quarter. Never happened before. But while big oil is making record profits, you're paying record prices.

CHERNOFF: John McCain responded with a call to find more oil.

MCCAIN: We must begin immediately in drilling offshore so we can get some of the oil that's off our own coast.

CHERNOFF: Exxon Mobil says that is an answer to high oil prices. Congressional Democrats say a better answer is to stop giving oil companies tax subsidies.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: And big oil, despite all its riches, has not delivered anything to anyone but itself. It is the most selfish group of companies that I've ever seen.

CHERNOFF: But for investors expecting even more profit, Exxon Mobil didn't deliver enough. The stock fell nearly 5 percent on the news.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHERNOFF: Wall Street, believe it or not, the stock is actually down about 15 percent over the past two months. You know, it is no crime to earn big money in corporate America, but on Wall Street, it is most definitely a crime to miss your earnings expectations. And John, that is exactly what Exxon Mobil did. The Street was hoping for more than $12 billion of profit. Not enough.

ROBERTS: What do they want? I mean, seriously? Allan, thanks very much. Appreciate that.

CHETRY: Meanwhile, we're going to check with Rob Marciano. He's in the CNN Weather Center. We're talking heat wave, but we also had a chance to see that beautiful total solar eclipse live on our show in the last hour.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That was cool and we'll show you the video of that again when we come back. Also, this is going to be the hottest day so far this year in spots of the country. We'll tell you where and how warm when AMERICAN MORNING comes right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHETRY: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. That's a beautiful shot this morning of Lake Michigan in Chicago. It is now 73 degrees, a light rain as you can see on the tower cam shot, but still beautiful. They're looking at a high of 87 degrees and possibly some thunderstorms in Chicago today. Pretty shot, though.

Well, quite a spectacle in the sky this morning. There it was. It was the total solar eclipse. And we saw it live right here on our show. It lasted about two minutes. It was visible over China, Iraq, Russia, northern Canada, and it was up for debate, but yes, on the very, very northernmost part of Maine. You could also see it as well.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between the earth and the sun. It casts its shadow on the ground below and makes for some spectacular viewing. The next one will happen in 2017 in North America.

Rob Marciano has been watching the solar show as the self- described weather geek here and he's also checking extreme weather for us.

Pretty neat today, Rob.

MARCIANO: Yes, you know, and it's such a shame that we couldn't see it live. When you talk about the northern part of Maine, that was just at the very end as the sun was coming up. So, maybe just, you know, a few moves that were out in and (INAUDIBLE) in the dawn caught a glimpse of that.

(WEATHER REPORT)

CHETRY: All right. Thanks, Rob.

ROBERTS: You are watching the "Most News in the Morning." Another video surfaces of New York City police officers beating a man. But cops say the man attacked them first. We're going to take a look at that case.

And brand new information on an anthrax suspect's death. We'll go live to our Kelli Arena for an update. You are watching the "Most News in the Morning."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: 20 minutes after the hour. A day after video of a police officer knocking down a cyclist in New York City Time Square surfaced, another video is out there. This one shows officers beating a man with a baton. They say that he lunged first, but the man says he's innocent. Our Josh Levs has got the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The event was captured on home video. The man is not yet handcuffed here. The video does not show what led to his arrest. And we can't know for certain whether he is resisting or how much. New York City police say Michael Cephus had swung an umbrella at a police officer and hit him with his fists, causing the officer to suffer substantial pain. Police say during the arrest, Cephus kept grabbing for the officer's baton. Police have charged him with assault on a peace officer and resisting arrest.

Cephus says he did nothing wrong. He says officers approached him because they thought he was drunk and carrying alcohol. He says he wasn't.

MICHAEL CEPHUS, VIDEOTAPED DURING ARREST: Like I said, when they came at me without telling me to put my hands behind my back, they just came at me with force, hitting, swinging, swinging. And that's when the umbrella hit the floor. I never swung no umbrella.

LEVS: Cephus' attorney provided the video to the media. We don't know who shot it. The NYPD says an officer has been put on modified assignment during the investigation. The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association says the video shows the use of force was necessary and appropriate and the officer involved should never have been placed on modified assignment.

It's the latest example of third-party videos raising questions about police actions. Just days ago, this video showed a New York police officer apparently slamming a bicyclist to the ground. An investigation is under way.

(on camera): And that video caught fire on the Internet. Now the fact that so many people can take these videos and share them so easily is empowering to those people who claim that there's a situation of wrong doing. But the videos only show a slice of the story. And sometimes we just might be seeing police doing their jobs.

Josh Levs, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: 21 minutes after the hour now. Are we going to go to these pictures that we?

CHETRY: I think we have some pictures from one of our affiliates, CBS 11 TV actually in Dallas. It's a live rescue that's taking place right now. What we're hearing from the Associated Press is that emergency crews are using a fire truck ladder to get this guy out.

Apparently, he was burned. He was near the top of a utility pole. According to the information we're getting, apparently, he was wedged between two transformer-type units. They're saying right now that the man's shirt is in tattered, that his jeans were burned away, and you could see that he appeared to be in some physical distress as they are trying to get him off this.

ROBERTS: Yes. Now, one of the most important aspects of this is apparently this fellow does not work for the power company. So, he's not like the early suggestion as he was not up there working on these transformers. Suggesting that he probably just climbed up this pole for some reason and, you know, perhaps got in contact with some of the power that's going through the wires there and burnt himself fairly severely.

CHETRY: Yes. You could see he actually is able to speak. It looks like he's talking to the -- to rescue workers. Not exactly sure what's transpiring between the two, but they're appearing to be very diligent and careful as they try to tie some sort of safety harness around him before they attempt to bring him down. Not sure if he's going to be able to walk on his own or they're going to have to carry him down.

ROBERTS: He's got the left arm elevated there. Don't know if that's how he's actually hanging from there. And we've lost the picture there for a moment. But interesting rescue taking place there.

CHETRY: Yes. Just as we saw him lifting his leg, as well. So, we'll keep you posted on how that rescue attempt turns out.

Meanwhile, we're going to take a quick break. We've talked about it a lot this morning. The negative campaigning that's been going on between the two candidates. We're taking a look at how it can affect a major voting bloc, the youth vote.

ROBERTS: The anthrax suspect found dead. There is new information from the Justice Department this morning. A live update just ahead. You are watching the "Most News in the Morning."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning." What issues are important to young voters this election year? I'm joined now by Jason Mattera. He's a spokesman for the Young Americas Foundation. It's the largest conservative outreach program. And also Alexandra Acker, executive director of the Young Democrats of America.

Thanks to both of you for joining us this morning.

ALEXANDRA ACKER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, YOUNG DEMOCRATS OF AMERICA: Good morning, Kiran.

JASON MATTERA, SPOKESMAN, YOUNG AMERICA'S FOUNDATION: Good morning.

CHETRY: You know, we always talk about, what is the youth care about? I know it's not one huge voting block. But it will be interesting to see the reaction that you're getting because you're in contact with many people that are helping bring out the young vote about these negative campaign ads that seem to have really come to the forefront this week.

The McCain campaign put on an ad that really portrays Barack Obama as a celebrity, someone of a celebrity status likening him almost to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Let's take a quick look at some of that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's the biggest celebrity in the world.

CROWD: Obama! Obama! Obama!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But is he ready to lead?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: McCain actually defended this ad. He said he's proud of it. Do you think it's a smart way to win over young voters?

ACKER: Absolutely not. You know, this ad is beneath the dignity of a candidate running for president. It's just ridiculous. Young voters are sick of politics as usual. They're sick of partisanship. That's why they love Barack Obama.

He represents something new and different and brings about change. And this ad is just more of the same. I think that it makes John McCain look questionable rather than Barack Obama.

MATTERA: Oh, please, because Barack Obama is such the post- partisan candidate with his comments that John McCain's campaign is ushering people away for voting for Obama because he has a funny name or because he's black.

Let's be serious. I don't think this is going to sway young people either way comparing him to a celebrity. I, in fact, think it's unfair to celebrities to compare them to Barack Obama because at least they're accomplished in their field. Obama has done diddly- squat to get to the position he's at. He didn't have enough experience to run a corn of bodega. Let alone become the president of the United States.

CHETRY: Well, Alexandra, I want to ask you about this. Is there a danger to the style no substance argument against Barack Obama?

ACKER: Well, I think it's a false argument. Young people are inspired by Barack Obama not because of his celebrity status. He became well-known because young people flocked to his ideas, flocked to his policies, his real solutions for the problems that Americans are facing.

Young people don't want to be pandered to. They care about the issues just like older voters do. The economy is the top concern. Young people are increasingly feeling the economic pinch, feeling insecure about their futures, the war in Iraq is obviously a top issue for young people. So, they want to hear real solutions to real problems, not the same old politics as usual rhetoric that's coming out of the McCain campaign. It just smacks of desperation and it's only August.

CHETRY: Jason, I do want to ask you as you were trying to get conservative young voters out there. Is John McCain's age, the fact that he is going to be 72 years old if he wins and takes office, is that something that young people have concerns about? Not for health reasons, but for concerns about perhaps being out of touch?

MATTERA: No, because they've got to understand that with age comes experience, and Barack Obama just doesn't have it. And he has -- John McCain has the ability to lead right from day one. I mean, again, the guy has been in a leadership, a managerial role for most of his political career. And he has done, you know, even though I'm a conservative, I disagree with him on some issues, but he's so much better than Barack Obama.

And I don't think age is as much as a factor for young people. Remember, President Reagan in 1984 captured 59 percent of the youth vote, and he was over 70 years old. So, I don't think age is going to play a difference.

And I would agree with Alexandra that the economy is going to be a focal point, focal issue for young people. But look at what Barack Obama has proposed, especially on the major issue right now we're dealing with, the energy crisis. And rather than drill, drill, drill for the mind boggling amount of oil we have here in our shore, his solution is to fill up our tires and get routine tune-ups for our cars?

Young people are getting squeezed at the gas pump, and they want more cash filling their pockets, and Obama's plan has nothing to address that issue.

ACKER: Jason, I'm happy to buy you the half a tank of gas that offshore drilling will provide for you over the next ten years.

MATTERA: In oil shale --

(CROSSTALK)

ACKER: It's a fake argument.

MATTERA: In oil shale alone, we have more than six Saudi Arabias that would last us 100 years. So, I don't know what you're talking about, Alexandra.

(CROSSTALK)

ACKER: Jason, it's a fake solution. Barack Obama's plan is to provide alternative energy sources just like young people want. They're concerned about the energy crisis these days. However, they're looking for real solutions, not short-term pandering.

MATTERA: Short-term, 100 years is short-term? My gosh, both of us will be dead at that point and our grandchildren will have grandchildren. But let's be clear, Obama has said that his policy is to fill up your tires. He just said it recently, fill up your tires.

ACKER: Barack Obama has proposed a true plan to bring alternative energy, tax rebates for the energy crisis. It's not a short-term pandering political summer slogan saying that you know, let's give everyone a tax credit that's not even going to provide real relief at the pump. Let's get back to what Americans really - (CROSSTALK)

CHETRY: Listen, you know what I think? I think that we had extra high coffee this morning in the green room. You guys had a very fiery debate. It was great to talk to both of you. The youth vote, very, very important. Good to hear both points of view this morning. Thanks for coming. We appreciate it. Jason Tara and Alexandra Acker.

JASON: Thank you.

ACKER: Thank you.

ROBERTS: 31 minutes now after the hour. Breaking this morning, at least 15 girls dead, more may be buried alive after a dorm collapsed in Turkey. Officials report hearing voices from underneath the rubble. A state-run media reports that a gas leak most likely caused the collapse.

July's death toll in Iraq is the lowest of the war. According to the "Associated Press," at least 11 troops were killed, six of those were noncombat deaths. Compare that to July of last year when 80 soldiers and marines died.

An anthrax suspect has committed suicide. According to a source close to the investigation, CNN confirms that Bruce Ivins, a U.S. biodefense researcher died on Tuesday. Our source tells us he knew he was about to be charged in the anthrax mailings that killed five people and terrorized the nation right after 9/11.

Justice correspondent Kelli Arena is live for us in Washington this morning. She's been working here sources. What have you found out, Kelli?

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, let's start from the beginning. Bruce Ivans was a former Anthrax researcher at the Army's bioweapons lab in Ft. Dietrich, Maryland. He was found dead on Tuesday. Sources with knowledge of this investigation tell us this. They tell us that, one, that he committed suicide. That two, he committed suicide after he was told that he was going to be charged in connection with those Anthrax killings seven years ago. We're also told that he was one of the scientists that was working with the FBI. He had been questioned previously by the FBI as had many, many scientists. And there were also some scientists who were trying to help the FBI discover the type of Anthrax that was used, the grade that was used.

As you know, John, it was a very sophisticated FBI investigators had said it was very complicated to create that weapons grade Anthrax. And all along, we had heard that the belief was that it had to be a scientist that was involved in some way. This investigation has been ongoing. We're talking 6,000 grand juries, subpoenas, 9,000 interviews that are being conducted, 50,000 leads that had been followed. Ironically enough, I just talked about this investigation with the FBI director Robert Muller, just a couple of weeks ago, trying to get, you know, his estimation on where things stood. Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: People are not familiar with the investigation could criticize. I'm confident in the course of the investigation, I'm confident in the steps that have been taken in the course of the investigation, and I'm confident that it will be resolved.

ARENA: Is there anything --

MUELLER: We tell you we made great progress in the investigation and it's in no way dormant.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ARENA: Now, interestingly enough, Ivins worked at the same facility as Steven Hatfill. And John, I know that we're all familiar with that name. That was the person who was named very publicly as a person of interest by former Attorney General John Ashcroft. Hatfill had said all along that he was not involved. He actually sued the government, and got a multi-million settlement just recently from the government. But of course, you know, all the conspiracy theorists are now wondering, you know, was this guy trying to frame Hatfill? We just don't have the details yet, but we are digging.

ROBERTS: And Kelli, have you learned anything from your sources yet about what Ivins' suspected involvement was? Could he have supplied the Anthrax? Do they think he might have mailed it?

ARENA: I'll tell you, John, this has been so difficult this morning. You know, understandably since the whole Hatfill episode, you know, Anthrax is the last thing that people want to talk about even on background, even you know, just being named the source because of that situation.

ROBERTS: Right.

ARENA: And so we have not been able to get that. But I have heard that it is expected that we will get some clarification from the Department of Justice later on today. I don't have that officially, I have that from people who are involved in this. And so, let's see.

ROBERTS: Right.

ARENA: I mean, hopefully, you know, we'll get a clearer picture later on today.

ROBERTS: Right. Well the story's out there. Hopefully maybe they'll give us some clarification on it.

ARENA: Right, absolutely.

ROBERTS: Kelli Arena for us this morning. Good job, Kelli, thanks so much.

ARENA: You're welcome, John.

CHETRY: News just in right now on "Issue number one." And new job numbers out for the month of July. Allan Chernoff in for Ali Velshi and joins us now on the details. Hi, Allan.

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, another grim month here. The unemployment rate rising to 5.7 percent. That's an increase of 0.2 percent. The job loss, though, down by 51,000. That's actually not quite as bad as Wall street had been anticipating. But we're losing jobs across the economy. Construction, manufacturing, retail, services, computer industry, telecom, all these areas where we had been gaining jobs for a long time was shedding jobs in those areas now.

And of course, we've been talking all day about the auto industry, oil, energy that's the one area where we're seeing some growth in jobs. Not a surprise over there. In terms of the average hourly earnings, up just six pennies an hour, that's 0.3 percent. That's not nearly enough to keep up with inflation, so more bad news on that front.

And there was a revision also to the prior month number for the job loss, it actually was boosted up. So right now, we are losing since the beginning of the year on the average, we've been losing 71,000 jobs a month. I just spoke with Brian Fabry, the well known economist on Wall Street. He said he's expecting the job loss to increase later this year for us to lose more than 100,000 jobs a month. But to repeat the headline here, the unemployment rate now 5.7 percent, job less during the last month 51,000. Kiran, John, back to you.

CHETRY: All right. Allan, thanks.

ROBERTS: The numbers are not going in a good direction.

It's "Issue number one," and coming up, we're going to hear what Senator John McCain has to say about your money. It's the candidates in their own words on the most news in the morning.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: 21 minutes now to the top of the hour, you're watching the most politics in the morning. With the election a little more than three months away now, we want to give you all the information you need to decide whom to vote for. So every day we're going to be playing extended runs of sound from the candidates in their own words talking about the issues. Here's what Senator John McCain is saying about the economy and taxes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Obama says he'll only raise taxes on the rich. But in the Senate he voted for tax hikes that would have impacted those making just $32,000 a year. He's proposed tax increases on income taxes, capital gains taxes, dividends taxes, pretty much anything you can tax, he wants to tax more.

My friends, on social security he wants to raise social security taxes. My position and I am opposed to raising taxes including social security taxes. Have no doubt about my opposition. And that's a debate we should have openly in good faith. I hope I can convince Senator Obama that it's not a good idea to raise taxes on American families who are hurting today. And we all know they're hurting today.

Raising taxes in a bad economy is about the worst thing, the worst thing you could do. Because that would kill more jobs than we're already losing. We're already losing too many. I'm going to keep current tax rates low and cut others and not because I want to make the rich richer, but because it keeps jobs in America and it creates new ones.

Senator Obama says that he wants energy independence but he's opposed to new drilling at home. He's opposed to nuclear power. He's opposed to an innovation prize for electric cars. My friends, we must begin immediately in drilling offshore so we can get to the oil that's off our own coasts. We have to begin that drilling and Senator Obama opposes it. He said that the high cost of gasoline doesn't bother him only that it rose too quickly.

Yesterday, he suggested we put air in our tires to save on gas. My friends, let's do that, but do you think that's enough to break our dependence on Middle Eastern oil? I don't think so. So I believe - I believe that every energy source needs to be part of this solution. We need to develop new alternative energies like wind solar, tide, biofuels, but we also need to develop more existing energies like nuclear power and clean coal. Nuclear power is safe. Clean coal technology is vital.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: Well, health risks at the Olympics. The air so bad in Beijing that some athletes are wearing masks. We're "Paging Dr. Gupta" to find out just how dangerous it can be.

And Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie make a good looking couple. But wait until you hear how much money they are getting for the pictures of their twins.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: That was so hot that I forgot I'm supposed to start reading. Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie selling pictures of their newborn twins for a record sum.

Our Lola Ogunnaike joins me now.

Didn't they sort of shatter records before when Shiloh came along? And now they've got two for the price of one.

LOLA OGUNNAIKE, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. And it's not for the price of one, it's really for the price of two. My sources told me yesterday that the bidding came down to "O.K. Magazine" and "People" magazine and "O.K." bowed out at $14 million. So we know that the photos, according to my sources, sold at least that.

Now the BBC is reporting that "Hello Magazine" also secured the right to the photos and that could very well be true because what happens to help defray the costs, some of the American magazines will sell the international rights to a foreign magazine and so you get a two for one deal. And it helps defray the cost for the American magazine.

CHETRY: What we're looking at right there is the large sum of money that went for that picture, which was their first baby biological baby, Shiloh.

OGUNNAIKE: That's "People" magazine.

CHETRY: "Hello" and "People" also had that one.

OGUNNAIKE: "Hello" and "People" both had photos of baby Shiloh. Yes.

CHETRY: So what are we talking in terms of a record set before for these pictures? How much money?

OGUNNAIKE: This is unheard of, unheard of. This is a publishing industry phenomenon. "People" reportedly - excuse me, "O.K." paid $1 million for Jamie Lynn's baby pictures, "People," again we just said, paid over $4 million for Shiloh and "People" paid $6 million for J.Lo's twins. But you have to think about this. Brad and Angelina are the two biggest superstars in the face of the earth. They have twins and these will be the first photos of Brad Pitt's biological son. So a lot of people are anxious to see what a little Brad Pitt looks like and that's why the prices are being driven up.

CHETRY: That's unbelievable. I mean, they donate it all to charity, right? These two do.

OGUNNAIKE: They definitely do. They're very good about that. The other thing that's interesting about this is people keep talking about these magazines are inflating the cost of these pictures. They don't really cost that much.

CHETRY: Right.

OGUNNAIKE: And there's an element of that too because it does drive buzz, it helps drive newsstand sales, but the publicists behind a lot of these celebrities are also inflating these prices because they want people to perceive their clients as these hot commodities and then they can eventually charge more for appearance fees or for movie roles or for television roles. So this baby business has a trickle out affect. And affects all of the other businesses if played correctly.

CHETRY: It's a little out of control and makes you wonder where it's going to end. Lola, thanks. ROBERTS: CNN NEWSROOM just minutes away now. Our Tony Harris at the CNN Center. He's got a look at what's ahead. Good morning to you, Tony.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, John. Good Friday to you, everyone. Breakthrough in the Anthrax attacks in the NEWSROOM, sources say a top government scientist was about to be arrested. But apparently killed himself as the FBI closed in. Anthrax letters, you may recall, killed five people in 2001.

A somber day in Minneapolis, one year after the i-35 bridge collapse, we talk live with the city's mayor and a 10-foot gator rips a boy's arm off. His rescuers are telling the chilling story today.

New numbers on unemployment. It is "Issue number one" with the CNN Money team in the NEWSROOM, top of the hour on CNN. John, have a great weekend.

ROBERTS: Looking forward to it, Tony. Thanks very much. You too.

Olympic air pollution, the smog over Beijing posing some big health risks for world class athletes. We're "Paging Dr. Gupta" who's got more on this. Hey, Sanjay.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, John. This is pretty remarkable. I think it's as much of a problem for spectators as it is for athletes. And we're going to have much more on that after the break. Stay with us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BAMBI GADDIST, MEDICAL MARVEL: We're here in South Carolina where HIV is a problem, particularly among African-Americans. After 27 years of AIDS, we are still combating a mentality of fear and shame. I'm Bambi Gaddist and I'm fighting to stop the spread of HIV- AIDS in South Carolina. Our organization has the only HIV testing mobile unit in the state. Our goal is to be in the community. Testing at a nightclub, we're there when young folks are out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was my first time. My very first time. I'm glad I did it. She takes time to explain things. Actually break it down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When people that are scared see a place like this, it might make them want to go in and get tested.

GADDIST: We had a very good night. We had quite a few people to decide to find out their status. We also had positives. When we get a positive, it validates why we need to keep doing the work.

Did you get tested yet?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did.

GADDIST: You already got it? OK. I sure appreciate you coming out.

I joke about being a 70-year-old woman giving out condoms to the children.

When it's my time, I want my obituary to say that I made a difference for someone and that I saved somebody's life.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST : July is the last month to nominate someone you know as a CNN hero for 2008. Go to CNN.com/heroes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: The place that has promised a green Olympics is now dealing with a big gray haze. A new study suggests that incredibly high levels of pollution in Beijing may even cause some people to have heart attacks or strokes. We're "Paging our Dr. Gupta" to see how this could affect athletes and spectators alike. CNN's chief medical correspondent is in Atlanta this morning. Sanjay, it's not just the athletes at risk here, Sanjay, but literally everyone who comes to the area?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Especially if you're someone who is not used to this. We have focused a lot on the endurance Olympic athletes, but spectators at risk, as well. I had a chance to be there, John, as you know. And when you're sort of in that area, you really feel that smog, you can taste it, you can smell it, you can feel it. And it can be very hard on your lungs.

Let me show you a little bit of context here, comparing what we call particulate matter in big urban zone like Chicago, for example, 20 micrograms per cubic meter, versus Beijing, 260 micrograms per cubic meter per day. This is on any particular day, some days worse than others. The risk factor, what that translates to is a 43 percent higher risk of having heart events or even strokes as you mentioned.

What happens, John, is that that particulate matter gets into your lungs. It causes the lungs to get slightly inflamed and subsequently can cause inflammatory proteins to make your blood a little bit stickier. And that's the problem, your blood's stickier, it's a little thicker, that can be a problem. One thing I want to point out, is that you go to Beijing. You're going to be, you know, watching these events. You're going to get on a plane and fly back home. What researchers have warned is that within the first 4 to 24 hours after exposure to this matter, you're at the highest risk. So, your best bet is to stay inside, maybe for a full day before you get on a plane. So you don't expose yourself both to the pollution and the plane ride itself, John.

ROBERTS: Is there anything people can do to mitigate their exposure to this other than staying inside and watching the games on television?

GUPTA: I think there are a few things. And we thought about this. First of all, you know, you think about the blood being thicker. So if you thin it up a little bit, even taking a baby aspirin, for example, that can be helpful. 81 milligrams is a baby aspirin. Stay inside, as you mentioned. Wear a mask. You're going to see a lot of masks over there if you're at the Olympics. Spectators even some of the athletes make sure to bring your meds, especially if you have a history of heart or lung disease. And here's a tip that I've learned from lots of travel overseas, try to find a native-speaking hospital. If you're in a crisis, or in an emergency, you need to make sure the people understand what you're saying.

ROBERTS: All right. Some good tips there. Sanjay Gupta for us. Sanjay, thanks very much.

GUPTA: Thanks, John.

ROBERTS: For more "Fit Nation," and the week's medical headlines, don't forget to tune to "House Call" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, 8:30 Eastern, Saturdays and Sundays. Kiran.

CHETRY: And it's a mystery creature, supposedly washed up on a Long Island beach and now people are asking what exactly is it? Becoming an internet mystery. We'll explore.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: Well, just what is that? Supposedly washing ashore on Montauk, the tip of Long Island, some are saying is this a monster?

ROBERTS: Well, you may find some of these pictures disturbing or at the very least weird. CNN's Jeanne Moos has got the search for answers this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Montauk, Long Island used to be known for its nice lighthouse. But now -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's pretty disgusting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is that? Seriously, what is that?

MOOS: Avert your eyes if you're sensitive, they're calling it the Montauk monster. So ugly, it has folks crossing themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my gosh. Oh, man.

MOOS: The photograph was taken by this woman several weeks ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was the actual shot.

MOOS: When the so-called monster washed up on the beach. Now the web is awash with it. It first appeared on a gossip site called Gawker. And folks has been gawking on it ever since.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is really not real. Is it real?

MOOS: It's real according to a 22-year-old life guard named Colin Davis along with his friends claims to have recovered the remains after they decomposed a lot more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This thing stinks.

MOOS: Colin says they're keeping them in a type of zippered bag you'd put a comforter in.

VOICE OF COLIN DAVIS, SAYS HE RECOVERED REMAINS: We have a bag of bones and a skull. Decomposing black like oil like goo.

MOOS: But the big question about the remains still remains -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think it is?

MOOS: What do you think it is?

Guesses range from turtle without the shell to semiaquatic rodent. It's the beak-like snout and flipper like limbs that confuse folks.

DAVIS: We're going to try to have some expert analyze it. In the meantime, we're having a great time with it. It's a really cool beast.

MOOS: Check out the cloth band found on the creature, one of Colin's friends has been wearing it around his neck, decked out in beach gear, we sampled an opinion on the concrete beaches of Manhattan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's some sort of hog.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. it's a bird-like pig.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Part pig, part eagle.

MOOS: Posted one person, it's a dead pit bull, what's wrong with you people? Most expert seem to think based on its teeth that it's a dog or a raccoon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A raccoon?

MOOS: No, it's not Mr. Biglsworth.

AUSTIN POWERS: That's right, Mr. Bigglesworth. We're back.

MOOS: Some think it may have washed up from nearby Plum Island Animal Disease center where they investigate diseases, but the director categorically denies the creature's from there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something the scientists have not identified yet.

MOOS: What creature could that be?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My husband.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not that much of a beach person. It doesn't look like anybody I know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm pretty sure it's an alien.

MOOS: You really can't look at it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I'm really -- I'm squirmish.

MOOS: No. You're squeamish. It's squirmish.

Jeanne Moss, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: I like the idea that it's a peagle (ph). Part pig, part eagle, hmm?

CHETRY: It's pretty gross whatever the heck it is if it's real.

ROBERTS: Will the mystery will be solved? We'll find out.

CHETRY: Well, we will find out. We'll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, have a wonderful weekend, thanks so much for being with us this week on AMERICAN MORNING.

ROBERTS: And right now here's "CNN NEWSROOM" with Tony Harris and Heidi Collins.