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Obama Meets Pakistani & Afghan Leaders; Which Banks Are Safe?; Britain's "Least Wanted" List; Elizabeth Edwards Opens Up to Oprah; Sex Boycott: Kenyan Women's Cure for Chaos; "Epidemic" Movies; White House to Keep $329,000 Photos Secret

Aired May 6, 2009 - 06:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And a big good morning to you. It's Wednesday, it's the 6th of May. Thanks for joining us in the Most News in the Morning. I'm John Roberts.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Kiran Chetry. Glad you're with us. We have a lot to cover today. Here are the big stories we're going to be breaking down for you in the next 15 minutes.

There are crucial meetings today at the White House. And in just a few hours, President Obama will be welcoming the presidents of both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Right now, both countries under a growing threat from the Taliban. We're live at the White House as the president's ambitious strategy for the region gets put to the test.

And banned from Britain. American talk radio host Michael Savage is included in the British government's list of 22 people across the globe who are banned from the country for "stirring up hatred." The conservative "Savage Nation" host calls the action a serious threat to free speech. We're live in London with reaction.

And she says she asked her husband for one gift when they married 31 years ago, to be faithful. For the first time, Elizabeth Edwards is opening up about her husband's extramarital affair. The wife of former presidential candidate and senator, John Edwards, talks to Oprah about her new memoir which deals in part with coping with infidelity. That interview airs tomorrow, but we do have a sneak peek.

ROBERTS: We begin this morning though with President Obama's most urgent foreign policy challenge, the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and its neighbor to the east, Pakistan. Pakistani security forces launching artillery and rocket attacks on Taliban positions in the Swat Valley this morning.

Today, the president will meet with the leaders of both countries at the White House. The administration says the goal is to get them to work more closely together to fight the extremist insurgents.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is the only reporter live at the White House this early.

What's the president hoping to accomplish with these meetings? Does he have enough time to really get anything done today? SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, it really is just day one of three days of talks in the summit. And senior administration officials say this is not just about peace and Afghanistan and Pakistan, this is really about the security of the United States.

As one senior administration official put it, he said, look, this is a process, this is not precooked. We just simply want to get these guys together.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): They are the leaders on the front lines of the war against extremists, and they're asking for President Obama's help.

ASIF ALI ZARDARI, PRESIDENT OF PAKISTAN: I need you to be part of my arsenal. I need that facility. I need that equipment. I need that to be my police arrangement (ph).

MALVEAUX: Pakistan's president with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, says the Taliban is gaining ground.

ZARDARI: That cease-fire agreement is not holding, but we are going to try and hold them to it.

MALVEAUX: By all accounts, President Obama agrees. The conditions in the region are deteriorating, posing a serious security risk to the U.S.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The situation is increasingly perilous. It's been more than seven years since the Taliban was removed from power, yet war rages on and insurgents control parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

MALVEAUX: But U.S. officials are careful to say they are still confident in Pakistan's relatively new leader.

RICHARD HOLBROOKE, U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY FOR AFGHANISTAN & PAKISTAN: Our goal must be unambiguously to support and help stabilize a democratic Pakistan headed by its elected president, Asif Ali Zardari.

MALVEAUX: But the U.S. Congress is less generous.

REP. GARY ACKERMAN (D), NEW YORK: Let me be blunt -- Pakistan's pants are on fire.

MALVEAUX: Pakistan's neighbor, Afghan President Hamid Karzai says he's grateful for the additional U.S. and NATO troops that will soon arrive in his country but it is not enough.

HAMID KARZAI, PRESIDENT OF AFGHANISTAN: The return of the Taliban is because we did not address the question of sanctuaries in time. Unfortunately, today, Pakistan is suffering for this massively in a consequence of that. We will have an occasion between us, Afghanistan, Pakistan and America to discuss this very question. (END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: And, John, since President Obama has taken office, he has emphasized to going after the Taliban in Afghanistan, Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Not necessarily Pakistan. Those 17,000 additional U.S. troops, 5,000 NATO troops.

Well, since this strategic review, the focus is now shifted more so to Pakistan and that is because they say that the government there has failed to provide basic services for its people as the Taliban has become more powerful -- John.

ROBERTS: Suzanne Malveaux for us live at the White House. Suzanne, thanks so much.

And President Obama again showing just how little he enjoys being cooped up in the White House bubble. Yesterday, he and Vice President Joe Biden ditched their lunch in the West Wing and hit up Ray's Hell Burger in nearby Arlington, Virginia. They both ordered cheeseburgers and waited in line just like everybody else. The president paid in cash, dropped a $5.00 tip despite being offered a free meal.

CHETRY: All right. There you see him ordering. All right. He's funny (ph). Just a basic burger.

Well, this morning we're learning how one of the nation's largest banks performed in the government stress test. The results will not be released until tomorrow. But there are some people that, again, are getting sneak peeks and the "New York Times" is reporting the government is told Bank of America -- it needs to have more than $33 billion to bolster its balance sheet in case of a worst case scenario.

CNN's Christine Romans joins us now.

And clarify this for us. It's not that they -- that they're in the hole $33 billion. It's that they would need this to shore themselves up if things got worse?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That's right. These are about the stress tests that the government is doing, regulators are doing about your banks. They are basically putting them on the financial treadmill to see what they can withstand and try to forecast the worst case scenario, variety of scenarios -- do these companies have enough money?

And the bottom line is some of these banks looks like they're going to need more money, but it probably won't be your money. They're going to try to raise this money elsewhere.

So, Bank of America may need about $34 billion more. This is according to "The New York Times" and to "Bloomberg" news. We won't get the true results of these so-called stress tests until tomorrow, but there's already been plenty of leaks and speculation out there.

How do you fill that money gap? Well, you can sell assets and some banks have already started to make this move. That means selling their stakes in foreign banks and lenders, selling divisions to other people who might want to buy them. They can raise money from investors, and that's already been happening, too. You've had several -- several different banks have been already raising money from investors.

And then, finally, they can turn to the government for I think there's $110 billion left in the TARP money, that bank bailout money. They can turn to the government. But so far Ben Bernanke, the Fed chief, yesterday in the White House have been pretty consistent that they think that these banks can try to raise money and shore up their books without having to go to you, the taxpayer, at least not right now.

And after the results of the stress tests, they'll be given I think six months to figure out ways to raise money. We know that some of the reports this week have said ten of the 19 banks will have to raise money in some way, shape or form.

As I said, a lot of leaks and speculation until that actual release tomorrow what the results of those stress tests are.

CHETRY: The bottom line, if you have a credit card, if you have an account with BofA, if you have a mortgage with them, what should you do?

ROMANS: This is not going to change anything for you right now. For taxpayers, this means nothing right now. It doesn't mean anymore taxpayer money at this point that we know of.

And if you bank at Bank of America, there's no reason to be concerned at this point.

CHETRY: All right. Christine, thanks.


ROBERTS: Now to London and the British government's least wanted list. British Home Office revealing a list of 22 people who have been banned from entering the country for "stirring up hatred." The list includes conservative American radio talk show host Michael Savage who says he was shocked when he heard the news. His nationally syndicated "Savage Nation" broadcasts to its eight million to 10 million listeners in the United States.

CNN's Paula Newton is live in London with more on the list of dishonorees.

And Paula, Michael Savage not exactly happy about this. In fact, he's raising a ruckus.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Not exactly happy? John, he claims he's going to be able to use Britain's laws against them. There are very strong defamation laws in this country and Michael Savage said he's going to use them to sue.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NEWTON (voice-over): When Britain decided to formally name and shame those it believes stir up hate, Americans Fred Phelps and daughter Shirley could have fallen under the category of "the usual suspects." They had already been banned from Britain a few months ago after picketing the funerals of U.S. soldiers claiming their deaths are punishment from God because the U.S. tolerates homosexuality.

But Michael Savage, one of the country's top-rated radio personalities, just didn't see it coming. He, too, has been banned from Britain by the country's Home Secretary Jacqui Smith for, in her words, "Seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering hatred which might lead to intercommunity violence." She adds, "To individuals who abuse our standards and values to undermine our way of life, they are not welcome here."

Michael Savage made it known on his radio show he's just not going to take it.

MICHAEL SAVAGE, CONSERVATIVE RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I will sue her until the last day on Earth to prove that she, in fact, is the individual who the English should be afraid of, not me.

NEWTON: Savage says he will sue for defamation and accuses the British government of gagging free speech. He has stirred up controversy even recently suggesting illegal Mexican immigrants were engaged in germ warfare by spreading swine flu. He has been criticized for his conservative views on everything from homosexuality to autism, but he says he is no hate monger and does not promote violence.

But in Britain, this is not a First Amendment issue. It is what they call a hate issue. And along with 21 others including anti-gay preachers, radical Muslim clerics, and the Ku Klux Klan, Michael Savage says the British government is not free to speak on the queen's soil.


NEWTON: Not free to speak here in London or anywhere in Britain. But, John, you know what's interesting about this? Yesterday, very few people in this country would have known who the heck Michael Savage is. I can tell you today this is playing big here and a lot of people are tuning in to what he's had to say on-line -- John.

ROBERTS: Well, you know, there's no such thing as bad publicity, I guess. Paula Newton for us this morning. Paula, thanks so much.

CHETRY: Well, other stories new this morning. A Texas woman who had swine flu has died. Doctors though have stopped of saying that it's the virus that killed her.

They say the 33-year-old schoolteacher had chronic underlying health conditions. She was also eight months pregnant when she was admitted to the hospital back in April with breathing problems. She was placed on life support and then her daughter was delivered prematurely by C-section shortly before she died earlier this week. This is the second fatality linked to the H1N1 virus in this country.

Well, a steep drop in ad sales causing "The New York Times" to raise its prices for the second time in less than a year. Beginning in June, the weekday and Saturday editions will go from $1.50 to $2.00. Sunday "New York Times" will increase $1.00 to $6.00.

The newspaper's parent company says it lost $74 million in the first quarter. Ad revenue dropped 27 percent from the same period last year.

And Elizabeth Edwards is opening up about her husband's infidelity. We're going to hear how she's dealing with it and how she's handling the betrayal of trust.

It's 10 minutes after the hour.



JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": The federal authorities are now investigating how John Edwards spent his campaign money. Well, we know he didn't spend it on -- condoms, yes.


CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

Well, until now, Elizabeth Edwards has not spoken publicly about her husband's affair or the rumors that he fathered a child with his mistress. Now, though, she is speaking out. She's telling her side of the story in a candid interview with Oprah.

And Alina Cho has been following this one for us. She's back for more this morning.

We -- towards the end of our show yesterday, had access to a few of those clips but you have even more today.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. You know, we had just caught (ph) it FedExed to us yesterday morning. We do have more now. Good morning, guys. Good morning, everybody.

You know, Elizabeth Edwards, clearly a woman who has suffered tremendously over the past two years, first with her breast cancer diagnosis, then the painful news of her husband's betrayal. Now for the first time, Edwards is speaking publicly about her husband's affair telling Oprah when she and her husband married, she asked for just one thing.


OPRAH WINFREY, TV TALK SHOW HOST, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": You asked your husband for just one gift when you got married. What was that? ELIZABETH EDWARDS, JOHN EDWARDS' WIFE: I wanted him to be faithful to me. It was enormously important to me.

WINFREY: You said no rings, no flowers.

EDWARDS: Yes. Not you know, this is a necklace of my mother's but I'm not much of a jewelry person. I actually jammed my finger so I can't even wear my wedding ring right now. But, you know, I don't care about those kinds of things but that's what was really important to me.


CHO: The two also spoke about rumors her husband fathered a baby with filmmaker Rielle Hunter. Oprah asked Elizabeth Edwards if she thinks the affair was more than just a one-night stand.


WINFREY: Did you believe that this was the only time?

EDWARDS: I did. I did. You know, I believe...

WINFREY: Only time with her?

EDWARDS: Only time with her.

WINFREY: Did you believe it was the only time ever?

EDWARDS: Yes, I mean, I believe that. I want to believe that, you know?


CHO: As for their marriage, Edwards told Oprah, "Neither one of us is out the door, so I guess it's day-by-day. Maybe it's month-to- month."

The conversation took place at the family's home near Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Oprah, by the way, also spoke with John Edwards but we were not provided with clips of that part of the interview. The full interview, by the way, guys, airs on "Oprah" tomorrow ahead of the release of her book "Resilience," of course, which is due out on Friday.

But Oprah, as you guys know, I mean, I'm sure this is the first of many, many interviews that Elizabeth Edwards will do.

CHETRY: She will be on our show actually.

CHO: That's right. And no surprise that she chose Oprah. Oprah, of course, puts her stamp on a book and it tends to sale.

CHETRY: You're right. It does. All right.

CHO: Yes.

CHETRY: Alina, thanks so much.

Also one programming note, Elizabeth Edwards, of course, not the only woman who's decided to stand by her man after an affair. So why do so many women stay? We're going to check in with Dr. Jeff Gardere in our next hour.

ROBERTS: This morning, it's back to business as usual here at the Time-Warner Center in New York where we did the show from everyday. But last night, Oprah and a huge list of celebrities including First Lady Michelle Obama were here for a big bash honoring "Time" magazine's list of the 100 Most Influential People.

At one point, several of the guests toasted people who've made a difference in their lives and Oprah put a great group in the spotlight.


WINFREY: I wouldn't be here tonight without the teachers who were the foundation for my success and my influence in the world. All of the great teachers who worked for so little and sacrificed so much to inspire the youth of the world to be more than I and we could ever have imagined. So to the teachers of the world, this is my salute -- the great teachers.


ROBERTS: Great group of people to salute as well.

CHETRY: Absolutely.

CHO: She is so inspiring. I mean...

CHETRY: No, she is.

CHO: I interviewed her on election night. You guys, remember.

CHETRY: I still remember.

CHO: I was so -- I was just so in awe of her. I mean, there were few people I'm like that with, but she really is inspiring.

CHETRY: Did she grab your cheeks and say...

CHO: She did.

CHETRY: ... you're a woman of color too, right?


CHO: You remember it, I remember it.

CHETRY: I know. You're tearing up. So did we.

ROBERTS: You know, my niece is a teacher. And I could tell you, she's a great person.


ROBERTS: There you go.

Reading is fundamental. Actress Jennifer Garner's and her new role as ambassador for Save the Children delivers an important message to parents and Washington lawmakers.

And the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan come to the White House for critical meetings with President Obama. Our Christiane Amanpour has got a preview for us.

Seventeen minutes now after the hour.


ROBERTS: Twenty minutes after the hour. There's a look at what's going on in Baltimore. Not a very nice day there, but thanks to our friends at WBAL for that shot this morning. Fifty-six degrees going up to 68, rain in the forecast throughout the day.

Let's fast forward now to the stories that we'll be watching all day on CNN.

This morning at 11:15 Eastern, Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy and Republican Congressman Mike Castle will introduce bipartisan legislation to close a gun show loophole. The legislation will require background checks on all firearms sales at gun shows.

Also happening this morning at 11:15 Eastern, Ford will announce plans for nearly $400 million investment in its former truck plant in Wayne, Michigan. The now vacant facility would be used to build both gas and battery-powered models of the new generation Ford Focus.

And today is the national day to prevent teen pregnancy. At 1:00 p.m. Eastern, Bristol Palin attends a town hall meeting in New York as part of a campaign by The Candie's Foundation to raise awareness for teen pregnancy prevention. Bristol Palin is Candie's teen ambassador. Here's a case of do as I say, not as I do.

CHETRY: That's right. She's trying to say hopefully people can learn from my mistake.

Well, it's a shocking number. Sixty-eight percent of fourth graders cannot read at their grade level, 68 percent. Now a celebrity is stepping in at the spotlight to try to change that.

Jennifer Garner is working hard to get lawmakers and parents to make reading a big priority. Carol Costello is following that story for us.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, when you hear the statistics on how many kids can't read well, it will shock you. Save the Children is using some Hollywood luster to make parents and Washington pay attention.



COSTELLO (voice-over): Reading is fundamental. Actress and Save the Children ambassador Jennifer Garner says it's one of the best things you can do for your kids.

(on camera): So you sort of have to dazzle your children with words.

GARNER: It doesn't even have to be dazzling.

COSTELLO (voice-over): Garner who has two children of her own says we, as a nation, aren't reading to our children nearly enough.

GARNER: If you can just spend 15 focused minutes a day with your child and a book, it will make all the difference in the world in their lives.

COSTELLO: A difference sorely needed. Save the Children's latest survey is troubling. 2.5 million fourth graders cannot read at a fourth grade level. That's 68 percent of all fourth grade kids in our public schools. Save the Children says that's unacceptable.

MARK SHRIVER, "SAVE THE CHILDREN": We need to invest in kids. They don't make campaign contributions. They don't have a vote in the halls of power whether it's in the state capital or in Washington, D.C.

COSTELLO: He says not only do parents need to get more actively involved, but early education needs to be available so children don't fall behind.

GARNER: My daughter will be 4 years old in seven months. And when she turns four, she will be 18 months ahead developmentally from a child who's turning four in poverty. When do you get that time back?

COSTELLO: And she says, kids never get it back.

Just 40 years ago, the United States had the highest high school graduation rate in the world. According to Save the Children, the latest figures from 2006 rank the U.S. 18th out of 24 industrialized nations. And the U.S. has one of the highest college dropout rates. Fifty-three percent never finish.

OBAMA: Early childhood education.

COSTELLO: President Obama is aware of the problem. He's allotted billions of dollars in his stimulus package towards early education programs like Head Start. But Garner and company are urging congressional leaders to approve $2 billion more. It's vital, they say, because the nation's future depends on it.


COSTELLO: Garner told me she'll continue to travel the country reading to kids and giving them a voice -- John, Kiran.

ROBERTS: Carol Costello for us this morning. Carol, thanks so much.

President Obama wants Afghanistan and Pakistan to work together to fight the Taliban and Al Qaeda. We'll get Christiane Amanpour's firsthand account of the crisis in the region, coming up.

It's 24 minutes now after the hour.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): By the looks of it, Joshua Bush is going to space. But he's not in a spaceship, at least not yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just relax. Enjoy the ride right now.

FEYERICK: When Bush takes a spin in this human centrifuge, one of the most realistic flight simulators in the world, he feels the pressure of powerful G-forces on his body and even a brief moment of weightlessness. For about $6,000, almost anyone can get a similar experience at the National Aerospace Training and Research Center called NASTAR.

GLENN KING, NASTAR CENTER: It's realistic. This thing forces that will happen during a real flight, happened here during training.

FEYERICK: But for Bush, this isn't just a thrill ride.

JOSHUA BUSH, SPACE AGENT: One of the reasons why I'm here today is to gain a better understanding of the NASTAR Center and how their products can relate to my client.

FEYERICK: Bush is an intergalactic travel agent selling tickets for Richard Branson's newest out of this world adventure. For $200,000, you can get high-tech training and a front row seat on the world's first spacecraft designed specifically for tourism.

BUSH: So it's going to be almost an eerie, but calm silence as you look out one of the huge fore (ph) holes at the curvature of the earth, the edge of the atmosphere, and you'll be -- you'll be floating.

FEYERICK: Building and testing are under way now. If all goes according to plan, the first space tourists will be soaring by 2011.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well done. All right.

BUSH: Great ride.

FEYERICK: Deborah Feyerick, CNN.




JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": They just announced there will be a new comic book featuring Michelle Obama. This is true. You heard about this. In it, she'll play a superhero who fights her archenemy, "Sleeves," and my arms have never ever looked that good. I don't understand...


ROBERTS: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. Late night funnyman Jimmy Fallon there including the first lady and his jokes at the party for "Time" magazine's list of "100 Most Influential People" last night.

Mrs. Obama was at the party here at the Time-Warner Center where we're all fortunate enough to work. The first lady using the event to remind people how little things can have a huge influence on someone's life.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I stand here today because of scholarships and grants and experiences that gave me opportunities that I was afraid to dream of. I never imagined that as a result of all that support that I'd be in a position to be a role model for girls around the world. Girls who possibly look at me and see something more for themselves, more than society expects of them. Girls who now think maybe just maybe anything is possible.


ROBERTS: Both Mrs. Obama and her husband, the president, made "Time's" list of the "100 Most Influential People."

It's now 29 minutes after the hour. Checking our top stories this morning.

The U.S. Navy reporting another hijacking in the pirate-infested waters off of Somalia. Officials say a German-owned ship with its 11 Romanian crew members were seized yesterday afternoon. Right now, there is no confirmation on the condition of the crew. There are now 19 ships being held by Somali pirates.

The Senate has stripped Senator Arlen Specter of his seniority one week after he left the GOP for the Democrats. Last night in a unanimous vote, Specter was made the most junior Democrat on four of the committees on which he serves. When Specter announced he was switching parties, he said Democratic leaders assured him that he would be treated as if he were elected a Democrat 29 years ago.

Be careful what you wish for, I guess.

And we want to give you an update on the quest for what's being dubbed the best job in the world, being caretaker of an Australian island. This morning, there is a winner -- 34-year-old Ben Southall from England.

The charity fundraiser beat out 34,000 applicants for the six- month, $100,000 gig. But it's not all just fun in the sun. Southall will be required to explore the islands of the Great Barrier Reef, swim, snorkel and make friends with the locals. Tough work.

He also has to blog about his experiences in the island and do some interviews as well.

CHETRY: Wow. Congrats to him. Dream job. Six months.

Well, this morning, President Obama comes face-to-face with what maybe his biggest foreign policy challenge. It's the growing security threat in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The president will meet with leaders of both countries and he's going to be urging them to work together to fight the Taliban and al Qaeda in the rugged and lawless region along Afghan-Pakistan border.

CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour was in Afghanistan recently, and she joins us now for a closer look at the situation on the ground.

Thanks for being with us, Christiane. And it was interesting. We had the Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani on the show yesterday. And John said to him, why can't, you know, the civilian government of Pakistan put down the Taliban or root out al Qaeda in his country.

And here's what he said to that.


HUSAIN HAQQANI, PAKISTAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: My answer to that would actually be a question -- why hasn't the United States, with all the might at its disposal, been unable to put down the Taliban in Afghanistan ever since 9/11? Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States will come up with a coherent plan, and once we work together, we will be able to do it. But I must warn your viewers, it's not going to happen tomorrow.


CHETRY: He has a point. He turned it back and said, why can't the U.S. do anything more in Afghanistan?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he also said once we work together. I mean, for a long time, the U.S. was looking at Pakistan to tamp down the flow of Taliban into Afghanistan, and it didn't happen. And now that Taliban has reared its ugly head and moved out of its confined areas and it's threatening parts of Pakistan as well. So what's going to happen? Hopefully, in this three-way summit between the two presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan and President Obama is that they will come up with some kind of strategy to figure out how all together they can -- they can try to tamp down the militantism. And at the same time, what they have to do is come up with a plan that enables the people there to have some kind of hope for the future, because without that, without a joint sort of development and military part of this, it's not going to work according to U.S. military on the ground.

CHETRY: And apparently President Obama is embracing that, too, because he apparently has a two-pronged approach to fight the insurgency in Afghanistan. He wants to do the troop injections at 20,000 new military troops, but also several hundred, as they put it, civilians like economists, legal experts, farming experts to help in that development.

You were just in Afghanistan, how crucial is that going to be?

AMANPOUR: Well, it is crucial. As far as most analysts can see, this surge of U.S. troops is going to be essentially inserting itself into the civil war there with a direct aim. And that is to push back the Taliban to try to give the Afghanistan government time to get its government stable, but also to raise up its own security forces.

Now, the jury is out on that. But if you notice, unlike President Bush, President Obama does not talk about democracy in Afghanistan. He talks about just going after the Taliban and the militants while as well talking about injecting a surge of civilian leadership and expertise there.

Most people in Afghanistan who I spoke to, whether they be U.S. officials, U.S. military, Afghan officials, said that the only way to tamp down and to get rid of this Taliban effect is to provide the people there with an alternative for a decent life, the ability to earn some money whether it be by farming or whatever else, and it can't just be about going after the Taliban.

CHETRY: And if fact, you had -- you spoke to Colonel John -- is it Spiszer?

AMANPOUR: Spiszer. Yes. In fact, he was leading one of the big U.S. military forces down near the Pakistan border. And while his soldiers are out in various hills and locations trying to wage that counterinsurgency battle, many of his soldiers, many of them, are out building schools and other things that the people need in order to have a decent life.

Listen to what he said.


COL. JOHN SPISZER, U.S. ARMY COMMANDER: You have to give these people hope that there's a future, OK? So, you know, what do you do? You build schools. What you guys have been here looking at. And it's another vision thing. Schools work out short term and long term. Short term, it's a visible presence that somebody is doing something for your kids, for the community. You build a school. The kids are going to school. They won't go to school before they see it today. Twenty years from now, you have an educated populace that can take this country to the next level.


AMANPOUR: Each and every one of these people we spoke to said that this is not going to happen tomorrow. And just as Ambassador Haqqani told you, none of this is not going to happen overnight. The thing that people have to understand is that nation-building is not sexy, it's not cheap, it's not short, and it can be expensive. But it is much more vital to do that than to win the -- or try to win an endless, endless war.

CHETRY: Yes. And it's a huge challenge as we are going to be seeing over the coming months. We'll have more of what the president's meetings are like today.

Thanks, Christiane. Good to talk to you.

AMANPOUR: Thank you.

ROBERTS: It the latest political weapon -- a sex strike. Women banning sex in the bedroom until their powerful partners stop the incessant bickering that is plaguing the Kenyan government. But can these women really push a political revolution?

And new information on the low-flying plane on a photo-op that buzzed New York City, petrifying residents. Wait until you hear what the White House plans to do with the photos that were shot that day.

It's coming up now on 36 minutes after the hour.


ROBERTS: All right. So you're saying to yourself, where could this possibly be going?

Welcome back.

This morning, a group of women in Kenya are sounding a familiar battle cry -- all is fair in love and war. The wives of political leaders are fighting the political corruption plaguing their government, not with weapons but with sex.

Here's CNN's David McKenzie.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Remember the film, "40 Days and 40 Nights," in which Josh Hartnett's character gives up sex for over a month and finds it a little more challenging than he expected?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The G10 calls upon the women of Kenya to go on a sex boycott.

MCKENZIE: Well, in Kenya, life is imitating art, sort of. A number of women organizations are calling all Kenyan women to boycott sex for at least a week.

Ann Njogu leads one of the groups that called for the boycott.

MCKENZIE (on camera): You have women actually done this?

ANN NJOGU, CEO, RIGHTS, EDUCATION AND AWARENESS: First and foremost, I'm a woman and I have done it. Absolutely, I have abstained.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Why? To get the attention of Kenya's male-dominated coalition government, which has been plagued by infighting. The women hope that leaders will be persuaded to make peace in parliament. The country faces a strike in the bedroom.

(on camera): The activists say that this was meant to spark discussion to try and effect change in the country. But Kenya is a conservative place that you can expect some men aren't too happy with the sex boycott.

What do you think about this -- about the strategy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, it's completely ridiculous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no way a lady can say that I want to skip this, I want to do this for a week or this. That is the man to say -- I need this this time and this time. So the lady must be ready for all what the husband says.

MCKENZIE: If your wife had come to you and said I want to do this? What would you say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no. I would say no, (INAUDIBLE), because why do they do that? Remember most of the ladies who are doing this are unmarried ladies.

MCKENZIE: Angry Kenyans have clogged Ann Njogu's e-mail inbox, calling her some unflattering names. But she says her husband is taking it in a stride.

NJOGU: He had to bear a lot of just from his friends, who he had been suggesting they can offer him a second wife.

MCKENZIE: Kenya's women activists know they have a long way to go to change attitudes. But they hope that they can shock politicians into action by making things a bit more difficult at home.

David McKenzie, CNN, Nairobi, Kenya.


ROBERTS: So what do you think, effective?

CHETRY: You should ask yourself that?

Who's on strike around here? I don't know. Everyone showed up today.

Well, still ahead, the swine flu outbreak could actually be good news for movie makers in Hollywood. We're going to take a look at how so-called virus films actually can sometimes be box office bonanzas.

Also, the northeast seeing rain every day this month so far. Is the sun on strike, too? We'll ask Rob Marciano.

Forty-one minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

A live look at Chicago. Beautiful shot this morning, coming to us from our friends at WLS. 53 degrees going up to 74. But rain is in the forecast throughout the day.

And at 45 minutes past the hour, Rob Marciano is at the weather center in Atlanta tracking storms for us today.

It's been ugly, Rob.


CHETRY: Enjoy, like enjoy it for one day.


CHETRY: It's coming back at you.

All right. Thanks, Rob.

MARCIANO: You got it.

ROBERTS: Dry spell, sex strike. It's all about the sex stuff, isn't it?

CHETRY: Exactly.

ROBERTS: One of our AMERICAN MORNING players stayed up late last night. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta was a guest on "David Letterman Late Show."

Letterman asked Sanjay, why he took himself out of the running for surgeon general.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a bad time for me. I have three small children. I decided I didn't want to be a commuting dad for four, eight years, depending how long.

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": You live in Atlanta, is that correct?

GUPTA: I live in Atlanta and sort of -- our kids are, you know, starting school and starring their lives there.

Also, interestingly enough, I found that I wouldn't be able to continue practice surgery as surgeon general.

LETTERMAN: Yes. Oh, that's odd, isn't it? Because surgeon general, but you're not really doing surgery.

GUPTA: Yes. So I thought -- you know, I'm 39 years old. And I'll be 43 and essentially have abandoned my surgical career. But I think -- I think it's a great position. It just wasn't the right time.

LETTERMAN: And the money -- the money is no good, really.


GUPTA: You know, I worked for cable news. I'm not a late show host, you know.

LETTERMAN: You're doing just fine.


CHETRY: Letterman.

ROBERTS: You were there last night.

CHETRY: Yes. Well, you know, our show EP, and I went to go cheer them on. It was actually the big secret. It tapes at 4:30 p.m. I'm not too shabby in terms of hours, you know what I mean.

ROBERTS: So I've never actually been inside there.

Is the studio as cold as people say it is.

CHETRY: They warned us. Yes, they warned us that, yes, David Letterman likes it cold. And it was funny because every time, during a commercial break, he would take his jacket off and he would walk around just in a shirt. It was freezing in there...


ROBERTS: Like a wind chill factor.

CHETRY: ...but we knew. I had on wool pants and I had wool coat. Yes, it was very cold. But it was pretty cool.

He also joked with Sanjay about being a practicing surgeon. He goes a practicing surgeon. I hope you have it right. I mean, you are working on people's brains.


CHETRY: Yes, that was pretty good.

Well, it turns out that a little panic can go a long way at the movies. We look at how epidemics and pandemics often have us on the edge of our seats. It's a virus outbreak Hollywood style.

Also, a right-wing host banned from Britain? Is he really as threatening as Muslim extremists? We're talking about Michael Savage here, and he's vowing to fight this heating up the free speech debate today.

It's 48 minutes after the hour.



JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Up in Canada, Canadian officials are saying that a herd of pigs caught the swine flu from a human, but said the human involved a pig farmer who recently visited Mexico.

Well, good job by the Canadian customs officials catching that one, huh. And where did you visit? Mexico? And what is your profession? Pig farmer? I see no problem, come right in. Oh, would you like a tissue for that runny nose? Here you go.


ROBERTS: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

Jay Leno and his late night brethren have certainly gotten a lot of mileage out of the swine flu outbreak.

And Hollywood isn't likely to shy away either as our Lola Ogunnaike discovered. Films of viruses and epidemic disease give moviegoers a pretty good scare.


DR. MARGARET CHAN, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: It really is all of humanity that is under threat.

LOLA OGUNNAIKE, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The swine flu may have people around the globe freaking out. But in Hollywood, bad germs are good for business.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If one of them has got it, then ten of them will get it now.

OGUNNAIKE: Virus films like "Outbreak," "I Am Legend," and "28 Days Later" have racked up huge numbers at the box office.

LEAH ROZEN, FILM CRITIC, "PEOPLE MAGAZINE": I think one of the reasons these films are so effective is because they play on your fear of the unknown. I mean, the reality is none of us can see germs unless you're looking through a microscope. OGUNNAIKE: At a time when hand sanitizers and disinfectant soaps are must-haves, "People" magazine's Leah Rozen says movies about epidemics can be scarier than ax murderers and serial killers.

ROZEN: I mean, a lot of these movies, they really get gory on the details of how this disease affects you. You know, you will have blood dripping from your eyes. You will be losing blood from every orifice. All kinds of horrible, horrible things. That whether those are true or not, this is our vision of it on film and it's certainly tormenting.

OGUNNAIKE: Watch films like "Andromeda Strain" and "12 Monkeys." They may span decades, but the formula hasn't changed much. Overzealous scientists, infected monkeys, widespread panic, deserted streets, and, of course, gores, gores and more.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Did any of the blood get in your mouth?

OGUNNAIKE: Could this happen in real life? Psychiatrists like Dr. Robert Klitzman says, it's all in our head.

DR. ROBERT KLITZMAN, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: I'm often sitting at the edge of my seat like everyone else. Hollywood is smart. But, yes, a lot of these films -- things could not happen like that.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Maybe they have a cure.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Maybe they brought nothing at all.

ROZEN: People like to be scared senselessly (ph) for two hours in the safety of a movie theater where the person next to you, you hope, is not coughing into that handkerchief.


OGUNNAIKE: So I asked Leah Rozen if there would ever be a movie about the swine flu. And she said probably not because pigs aren't sexy.


CHETRY: Tell that to Miss Piggy.

OGUNNAIKE: Unfortunate pigs.

CHETRY: Exactly. All right.

ROBERTS: Thanks, Lola.

CHETRY: Thanks, Lola.

OGUNNAIKE: Thank you.

CHETRY: Well, there's some new questions about that photo-op, that low-flying plane scare in New York City. What happened to the $300,000 publicity photos they were shooting that day? Also, Miss California, she stole the headlines at the Miss U.S.A. Pageant, but now she may actually lose her crown. The risque photos that may cost her a title.

It's 54 minutes past the hour.


ROBERTS: And the wheels go around and around and around, around Columbus Circle this morning in New York City, where we got light rain and 58 degrees. Later, cloudy, at 68. A colleague said to me, when did we move to Seattle?


ROBERTS: That's one view of New York. The other one was shot during that botched photo-op of a low-flying presidential plane that petrified New Yorkers last week. Was it just plain dumb?

Well, it's not over yet. What happened to the $300,000 publicity photos that they were shooting that day?

Our Alina Cho went looking and she's here now with the answer to all of that.

Good morning.

CHO: Good morning.

I think it's safe to say that the White House just wants this story to go away, you know.

Good morning, everybody.

You know, you would think, after all of that bad publicity the White House endured, that we'd at least get to see those photos, the reason for that secret flight in the first place. But some may be surprised to learn the White House says those photos are not for the public's eyes.


CHO (voice-over): It started as a public relations stunt that arguably has turned into the worst PR move yet for the Obama administration.

Monday, April 27, the president's plane flies low over Manhattan and sets off a wave of panic.


CHO: Dark reminders of 9/11, all for new beauty shots with Lady Liberty as the backdrop. Now, the White House says those photos, those infamous photos, will not be made public.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I didn't notice a lack of archival material from -- from that flight.

PETER VALLONE JR., COUNCIL MEMBER, NEW YORK: When we first got word....

CHO: New York City Councilman Peter Vallone says the White House already screwed up once by keeping the flight secret, why keep another secret?

VALLONE: They declassified the terrorist interrogation documents for the entire world, but these, these photos are classified? It's part of the secrecy that got them into this mess in the first place.

CHO: New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg agrees.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: If I were them, I think I get less publicity by putting them out rather than keeping them in.

CHO: Adding to the outrage, the price tag of the Manhattan fly- over -- nearly $329,000 taxpayer dollars. Some argue for that kind of money we should see the photos -- if only we could find them.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The photos they took, we haven't seen them.

GIBBS: I don't know where those are.

CHO: On the streets of New York.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they should release the photos, why not?

CHO: Others say the White House has suffered enough. The best advice -- move on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are bigger problems to worry about right now than some photos of a jet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's no need to continue on with the controversy. It's over.


CHO: That is another way to look at it.

Now, as one writer said, using Air Force One as a promotional prop is nothing new. It is the iconic photo starting with JFK. The question is, to what lengths do you go to get that photo. And now that the damage has been done, so to speak, some wondered why not release the photos?

New York City Councilman Peter Vallone says that is only making things worse. As you heard him say, you know, if we could release those terrorism documents, why not just release the photos?

CHETRY: Three hundred thousand dollars worth. CHO: That's right.

CHETRY: All right, Alina, thanks.

You know, this has turned into a lot of mileage for the late night comedians as well. David Letterman even has something to say about the decision to keep those photos secret. Here's what he said yesterday.


LETTERMAN: Now the White House says they will not be releasing the photos that the Air Force One -- the plane that took of the landmarks of New York City. $300,000 for the big photo shoot and the White House says now they're not going to release the photos. Is it just me or is Obama "bushing" it up a little bit on this one.


ROBERTS: Maybe they just never got the plane's good side?

CHETRY: Right. Maybe they didn't turn out. Maybe they needed some re-dos.