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AMERICAN MORNING

What Michael Jackson's Doctor Told Police During the Singer's Final Moments; Autopsy Planned for Infomercial King; GM to Honor New Liability Claims; Giuliani Offers Solutions to N.Y. State's Political Gridlock; Air France Investigation Focuses on External Speed Sensors; Troops to Pull out of Major Iraqi Cities

Aired June 29, 2009 - 06:59   ET

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


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And that brings us close to the top of the hour. It's about a minute and a half to the top of the hour, on this Monday. It's the 29th of June. One more day left in the month. I'm John Roberts.

CHETRY: And I'm Kiran Chetry. Here's what's on the agenda this morning. These are the big stories we're going to be breaking down for you in the next 15 minutes.

Still a lot of questions surrounding Michael Jackson's sudden death. And they continue to grow this morning. For the first time, CNN is speaking exclusively to the Jackson family attorney about Jackson's three children and his possessions.

ROBERTS: The doctor who is the last person to see Michael Jackson alive was also interviewed for three hours by police over the weekend. His lawyer was in the room. He'll join us live with a timeline of the singer's final moments and the efforts to revive him.

CHETRY: And the death of TV's most popular pitchman. Billy Mays died hours after he was hit on his head on a hard landing on a plane. There are new details of what happened inside that plane just ahead.

ROBERTS: We begin, though, with the investigation into the death of Michael Jackson. This morning we are getting our most detailed account of the musicians final moments.

An attorney for Jackson's personal physician says Dr. Conrad Murray found the singer in bed not breathing but with a slight pulse. And last night, Janet Jackson broke her silence about her brother's death speaking out at the BET Award show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JANET JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKON'S SISTER: My entire family wanted to be here tonight, but it was just too painful. So, they elected me to speak with all of you. And I'm going to keep it very short. But I'd just like to say that to you Michael is an icon. To us, Michael is family. And he will forever live in all of our hearts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: CNN special investigation unit correspondent Drew Griffin joins us now live. He's at the CNN headquarters in Atlanta. He's got more on Dr. Conrad Murray and the investigation into his presence at the Jackson home on the day that Michael died. What are we learning this morning, Drew?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIVE UNIT CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, still a lot of questions, but some answers at least and looking forward to more on your show coming up when Ed Chernoff, the lawyer, talks with you guys. But the LAPD now has had a three-hour interview with that doctor. This is the doctor paid by the concert promoters to attend to Michael Jackson during this ramp-up and during the tour that was going to take place this summer.

Dr. Conrad Murray spent three hours with detectives outlining exactly what happened inside that bedroom, what kind of treatment he was giving to the pop star. And while the doctor is not talking publicly, his attorneys are, mostly, John, to shoot down these tabloid reports that Dr. Murray is somehow responsible for this death.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Dr. Conrad Murray found Michael Jackson in bed and not breathing Thursday in this Los Angeles mansion shortly before this 911 call.

CALLER: We have a gentleman here that needs help, and he's not breathing.

GRIFFIN: Murray immediately began performing CPR, and now through his attorney, we're learning Michael Jackson was still warm, still had a pulse when he was found. But Jackson never responded.

Rumors immediately began circulating the death was drug-related, possibly a lethal dose of Demerol or an overdose of OxyContin. Last night Jackson's father, Joe Jackson, appearing for the first time in public since his son died, told CNN's Don Lemon on the red carpet of the BET Entertainment Awards that the family is still looking for answers.

JOE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S FATHER: I have a lot of concerns.

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What are your concerns about that?

JACKSON: I can't get into that, but I don't like what happened.

GRIFFIN: Attorney Ed Chernoff, hired by the doctor, is now going on record denying any drugs prescribed by Dr. Conrad Murray contributed to Michael Jackson's death and not saying what, if any drugs were being prescribed. Chernoff tells the AP Dr. Murray has never prescribed nor administered Demerol to Michael Jackson. Not ever. Not that day. Not OxyContin, for that matter.

Both the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County coroner's office continue to say no foul play is suspected. That this is a death investigation, it is not criminal. Dr. Murray is not a suspect and though free to go, his attorneys tell us that he will remain in Los Angeles to aid in the investigation. That investigation now focuses on toxicology tests on the tissue, blood, and urine samples. The coroner's office says Michael Jackson was using prescription drugs but have not identified those drugs or to what extent, if any, they contributed to the singer's death. The answer is still weeks away.

ANTHONY HERNANDEZ, DIRECTOR, LOS ANGELES COUNTY CORONER'S OFFICE: Toxicology is going to be a very important factor in this particular case so that we can get to the truth and find out what the actual cause of death is.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFIN: And while the coroner's office, John, is saying six to eight weeks on those test results, the family of Michael Jackson may not be waiting that long. CNN has confirmed the family did have a second private autopsy performed on the body of Jackson. Those results really could be back within days and possibly a week.

ROBERTS: Drew, do we know anything from the gross examination of the body in the first postmortem as to the state of his health?

GRIFFIN: No. They're not really saying anything about the state of his health. Only that there was no outside signs of trauma. Nothing. You know, they didn't think there was any foul play, anything external on that body. There have been, you know, as I'm sure you've been reading, John, some of these tabloid reports about how skinny this guy was.

ROBERTS: Right.

GRIFFIN: You know, he was emaciated. We have not seen that officially. Obviously, those results will be released officially from the coroner at some point in time, perhaps from the family even earlier than that.

ROBERTS: All right. Drew Griffin on the story for us this morning and glad that he is. Drew, thanks so much for that.

And stay with us because coming up in less than ten minutes, we're going to talk with the lawyer for Michael Jackson's doctor, Ed Chernoff. Find out what he says happened in the singer's final moments, according to Dr. Conrad Murray.

Meantime, Michael Jackson's three children are with Jackson's parents in Encino, California. It's still not clear who Jackson designated to be his children's guardian. Last night, CNN's Don Lemon spoke exclusively to Jackson's family attorney about the children and Michael Jackson's belongings.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Was there a will?

LONDELL MCMILLAN, JACKSON FAMILY ATTORNEY: Well, there have been reports of one and we're tying to assess that now. None has been presented to the family at this time.

LEMON: And not through his attorney, through you, a will has not (ph), sir?

MCMILLAN: I've not seen a will at this time.

LEMON: If there is no will, who gets his assets?

MCMILLAN: Well, if there is no will, then under the state of California, it goes to the next of kin. That's an adult to administer and oversee for the best interest of the children, and that would be Mr. And Mrs. Jackson. And Katherine Jackson is the duly appointed person.

LEMON: So it would not be, you know, Debbie Rowe or anyone?

MCMILLAN: No.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: The Jackson family, by the way, says they're still working on funeral arrangements.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, when you get to work today, you're going to be sure to hear, "Did you hear that Billy Mays died?" The sudden death of TV's infomercial king, just 50 years of age, has everyone talking.

He's the guy who had you running to the phone saying, I've got to have this, whether it was OxiClean or Orange Glo. He made people with big ideas millionaires.

Well, Mays died just hours after suffering a blow to the head during a rough plane landing. There's an autopsy that's planned for today. And CNN's John Zarrella joins us live from Tampa with new details surrounding the mystery of Billy Mays' death.

Hi, John.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kiran. Well, you know, his family told police that he had no history of medical problems but that he was on that plane that had a rough landing and he was hit on the head by a piece of luggage, he said.

Now we're outside of the medical examiner's office here in Hillsborough County, and they expect to have an autopsy performed on Billy Mays' body later today. Now, while many people out there may not know the name, they will certainly recognize the face.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZARRELLA (voice-over): At 50 years old, Billy Mays's career was at its height. He was the king of the pitchman. You know the face and the booming voice from commercials for products like Orange Glo and OxiClean.

BILLY MAYS, DECEASED TV PITCHMAN: That's the power of OxiClean.

ZARRELLA: Mays was on a US Airways flight from Philadelphia that blew a nose gear tire during a hard landing in Tampa Saturday. Afterwards a Tampa television station talked with him briefly.

MAYS: All of a sudden as we hit, you know, it was just I mean the hardest hit. All the top -- you know, the things from the ceiling start dropping. And it hit me on the head, but I've got a hard head.

ZARRELLA: Airport officials say there were no reports of serious passenger injuries from the landing or falling bags. But according to Tampa police and a friend, radio personality Todd Schnitt, Mays was feeling out of sorts when he went to bed.

TODD SCHNITT, HOST, "THE MJ MORNING SHOW": I called him just to give him a hard time. Hey, Billy, how was the flight? And he spoke to me for about six and a half, seven minutes. Said he was groggy, said he wasn't, you know, feeling that great. He wanted to get some sleep.

ZARRELLA: Mays' wife, Deborah, found him unresponsive Sunday morning.

LAURA MCELROY, SPOKESWOMAN, TAMPA POLICE DEPARTMENT: His wife woke up this morning, discovered that he wasn't breathing and immediately called 911.

ZARRELLA: He was pronounced dead by paramedics a short time later. Mays had become a pop culture celebrity, appearing on "The Tonight Show."

CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": I hear your voice when I try to go to sleep at night.

ZARRELLA: He also co-hosted a Discovery Channel series appropriately titled "Pitchmen."

MAYS: Wow. What an entrance.

ZARRELLA: People with big dreams would bring them products and Mays and his co-host would decide whether the items were worthy of a pitch from the best pitchman in the business.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZARRELLA: Now, the first product that he ever pitched was called the Wash-matik, which actually sucked water out of a bucket so you could wash your car. And he certainly had a long, long career as a pitchman.

Now, while the autopsy is being performed today, Kiran, it is not clear yet whether any of those preliminary results will be released today -- Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. John Zarrella for us, thanks. ROBERTS: Also new this morning, Iranian TV is reporting that a partial recount is under way and a verdict is expected later on today in the country's disputed election.

Witnesses say police used tear gas and clubs to beat back thousands of protesters yesterday in Tehran. Tehran also says it has released five British embassy workers who were accused of stirring up post-election unrest. Several others, though, still remain in custody.

In about three hours' time, convicted con man Bernie Madoff will be sentenced by a federal judge here in New York City. Prosecutors want a sentence of 150 years.

Madoff's attorney is pleading for leniency and pushing for just 12 years. The judge is also allowing Madoff to wear his own clothes to court instead of just a prison jumpsuit. Jeffrey Toobin is going to be joining us at the top of our next hour to talk more about this case.

And mega-hit "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" cleaned up at the box office over the weekend taking in a total of $112 million. It made $201 million in its first five days. It's the second biggest five-day opening ever, second only to "The Dark Knight" last summer.

Ten minutes now after the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: New this morning, some good news at the gas pump for a change. AAA reports for the eighth day in a row the price of gas is down. The national average for a gallon of regular unleaded now $2.63.

Britney Spears is not dead. Reports say bogus messages saying that the pop star had died popped up on Twitpic. It's a Web site where Twitter users can share pictures. Twitpic said hackers got in and they are now fixing that "vulnerability" immediately.

And South Carolina's governor, Mark Sanford, says he is not going anywhere. After days of speculation, Sanford tells The Associated Press he considered resigning but will remain in office. Sanford's political future has been in doubt since he confessed to an extramarital affair and went AWOL from his state for six days.

CHETRY: Well, this morning, there are new questions about the sudden death of Michael Jackson. What really happened in those final moments before 911 was called to his home and what exact medications was Jackson taking at the time, who prescribed them. A lot of questions floating around this morning.

And Joe Jackson, Michael's father, spoke publicly for the first time since losing his son. He was on the red carpet last night at the BET Awards telling CNN that he has a lot of concerns and that he doesn't "like what happened." Well, Dr. Conrad Murray, a cardiologist, was in the home when Michael Jackson went into cardiac arrest. The Los Angeles police interviewed him for three hours on Saturday along with his lawyer, Ed Chernoff. And Mr. Chernoff joins us now from Houston this morning.

Thanks for being here.

ED CHERNOFF, PARTNER, STRADLEY, CHERNOFF & ALFORD, LLP: Thank you, Kiran.

CHETRY: Give us some insight, first of all, on what was discussed during that meeting with the investigators and you and your client.

CHERNOFF: Well, generally, it was just about the circumstances leading up to the point in time where Michael Jackson stopped breathing, what happened the night before, what happened that day, his history, relationship with Michael Jackson, that kind of thing.

CHETRY: And that was a three-hour long meeting. Are there any other meetings with police that they want to have with your client, who they're saying is not a suspect, and it's not a criminal investigation? They just want to talk to him, maybe figure out exactly what went wrong.

CHERNOFF: Yes, there's no meeting scheduled. But we've let them know that we're available to them any time they need us, any questions they have. We've told them that the medical examiner is free to call us, and we'll be available to them if they have any questions once toxicology comes out. I expect they'll have some questions and we'll be ready to answer them.

CHETRY: Now, was your client, Dr. Murray, aware of what prescriptions Michael Jackson was taking?

CHERNOFF: Well, yes. I mean, you know, Dr. Murray prescribed certain things to Michael Jackson. As a doctor, you know, he had medical conditions, medical complaints.

Now, there have been some questions about whether or not he was taking substances that Dr. Murray did not know about. But as far as we know, Dr. Murray knew what Michael Jackson was taking, knew what he was doing, and kept up with all that.

CHETRY: Right. Can you clarify some of the reporting that's out there about whether or not Michael Jackson was taking narcotic painkillers like Demerol, like OxyContin. Did your client, Dr. Murray, prescribe or administer those narcotic painkillers to Michael Jackson?

CHERNOFF: Yes, I've heard those rumors. And one of the things that we agreed with LAPD was, although we are not allowed to discuss, and we certainly wouldn't want to discuss the substances that Michael Jackson might or might not have been taking, we can say this with clarity. Dr. Murray never prescribed Demerol, never administered Demerol, never saw him -- Michael Jackson take Demerol. And that goes as well for OxyContin. So, I think those are just rumors. When toxicology comes back, Kiran, that's going to be all cleared up.

CHETRY: All right. And for people who don't know, those are very, very powerful and addictive narcotic painkillers that both of you mentioned.

You talked about how Dr. Murray knew about Michael Jackson's ailments. And, of course, there are a lot of questions about how a 50-year-old man who seemed OK before, was planning on going on a worldwide tour, then dies, stops breathing and goes into cardiac arrest. Can you explain a little bit more about what some of those ailments Michael Jackson had were?

CHERNOFF: Well, it's not appropriate -- look, it's not appropriate to go into a man's medical history, an embarrassing medical history, perhaps, something that ought to be left to the family or to his doctors. But I can say this, there's nothing in his history, nothing that Dr. Murray knew that would lead him to believe that he would go into sudden cardiac arrest or respiratory failure. Nothing. There was no red flag that was available to Dr. Murray which would have led him to believe he should have died the way he did. It's still a mystery how he died to Dr. Murray.

It was Dr. Murray, Kiran, as you know, that requested that the family ask for an autopsy, because he needed to know as well as his physician what caused Michael Jackson to stop breathing.

CHETRY: All right. Speaking of that, this 911 call was released this weekend. Let's listen to a portion of it and I want to ask you about it.

CHERNOFF: All right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

911: Is he on the floor? Where is he at right now?

CALLER: He's on the bed, sir. He's on the bed.

911: OK. Let's get him on the floor.

CALLER: OK.

911: OK. Let's get him down on the floor. I'll help you with CPR right now, OK.

CALLER: We need him to get...

911: Yes. We're on our way there. We're on our way. I'm going to do whatever I can to help you on the phone. We're on our way. Did anybody see him?

CALLER: Yes, we have a personal doctor here with him, sir.

911: Oh, you have a doctor there?

CALLER: Yes, but he's not responding. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: One of the questions that people have, first of all, is why was Michael Jackson on a bed and not on a harder surface where CPR tends to be more successful on a hard flat surface like the floor?

CHERNOFF: Right, right. Yes, he was performing CPR on the bed. When this all occurred, it was an emergency situation and the doctor began performing CPR on the bed. He continued performing CPR for 25, 30 minutes.

The bed was firm, but that's not how -- that's not all -- the only reason why the doctor would have performed CPR on the bed. The doctor at the time that he performed CPR used one of his hands to brace under Michael Jackson's back to provide that support for the compression.

Michael Jackson is a very frail man. He was very thin, very small. And the doctor compressed his chest with one hand, braced his back with the other hand. He checked to make sure there was blood flow. There was. That he was getting blood. In fact, at the time that he was -- that emergency personnel came, he still had a weak pulse.

CHETRY: And when that 911 call happened, you said he was performing CPR for 25 to 30 minutes. Was 911 called immediately upon discovering Michael Jackson with the shallow breathing or with the weak pulse?

CHERNOFF: No. Look, not immediately. Dr. Murray is his personal physician. That would be something you would want is your doctor to be available if you were going into cardiac arrest. He was there, especially a cardiologist. He was there to try to revive Michael.

When it became clear that he could not revive him through CPR, then he sought to call 911. The problem, Kiran, is that in Michael Jackson's home, the phones don't work. There's no outside line at least in Michael Jackson's bedroom. So he had to yell for help, get security up and at some point, then security called 911. That's the tape that we hear.

CHETRY: Wow. All right. Ed Chernoff, attorney for Dr. Conrad Murray, who was with Michael Jackson's last moments in his home. Thanks so much for joining us and for giving us this information this morning.

CHERNOFF: Thank you, Kiran.

Twenty minutes past the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Twenty-three minutes after the hour. Christine Romans here "Minding Your Business" this morning with some more news on GM. Good morning to you. CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

ROBERTS: Welcome back, by the way.

ROMANS: Thank you. This is about product liability. And there have been some concerns among the state's attorney general and the big consumer group that this new GM, when it emerges from bankruptcy, if someone is injured in a car accident because of a defective product, that they wouldn't have any state law protections anymore. And this is something that really concerned nine state attorneys general, several very powerful consumer groups.

So now, GM and the White House have said that GM will take responsibility for future product liability claims. The partial victory for those people who were saying, wait, consumers could get rolled over in a new GM bankruptcy.

What happens is future claims will be honored by the new GM, but the old claims, they will not. They will go the way of bankruptcy court.

The whole idea of bankruptcy, you guys, was so that GM could get rid of expensive burdens. And among those were some product liability claims. So this is a partial victory and this clears the way for a very important hearing tomorrow. The final bankruptcy hearing we're hoping for GM, so GM could continue on here, the new GM, very, very soon. Buick, GMC, Chevrolet, Cadillac will be four brands. Everything else stays with the old company and gets settled in court.

ROBERTS: All right. Good stuff. Thanks. Christine Romans "Minding Your Business" this morning.

So, we all talk about gridlock in Congress, right? Nothing gets done in Congress.

Wow, try Albany, New York and the New York state government. They've got classic gridlock up there.

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani from New York City has got a plan for how to break the gridlock in Albany. We'll ring in on that with him as well as some other things that we'll be waiting to talk to the mayor about.

Stay with us. We'll be right back with that.

Twenty-five minutes after the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: All right. Twenty-seven minutes past the hour right now. We're listening to some Nine Inch Nails this morning.

Wow, it's a Monday. Crews (ph) are in a dark mood. No, they're not.

But anyway, 68 degrees right now. Partly cloudy, going up to 82 a little bit later. And we have more now on our developing story this morning.

It's judgment day for the face of corruption in this country. Convicted con man Bernie Madoff, the biggest rip off artist in history could spend the rest of his life in prison. Some of his 13,000 victims will also be there. They want to make sure that their victim impact statements are heard.

Allan Chernoff joins us live outside of the U.S. District Court in Lower Manhattan. A lot going on today and there are some people who are certainly not going to miss this court date.

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Kiran. You know, the magnitude of this crime still boggles the mind.

Judge Denny Chin, well, he's had plenty of reading. One hundred thirteen e-mails were sent to him by victims, and 11 of those victims will be addressing the court later today. Their e-mails speak of incredible emotional pain, financial loss, from people who trusted their life savings to Bernie Madoff.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHERNOFF (voice-over): Sixty-six-year-old Judy Rafferty, out of retirement and back at work as a legal assistant. Her 71-year-old husband, Don, working as a consultant in his old business, hat (ph) manufacturing. Both husband and wife had to give up retirement after Bernard Madoff crushed the Rafferty's nest egg, their life savings.

JUDY RAFFERTY, MADOFF VICTIM: I think it's abominable that he should be -- has been allowed to get away with it.

CHERNOFF: Don's sister, Patty, also put the bulk of her savings with Madoff.

PATTY, DON RAFFERTY'S SISTER: It was just devastating to me.

CHERNOFF: As did their 91-year-old mother Virginia.

VIRGINIA RAFFERTY, MADOFF VICTIM: He should really be punished, you know, for all he's done to everybody. It's been terrible.

CHERNOFF: All four want to see Madoff get the entire 150-year prison sentence he faces for his fraud.

J. RAFFERTY: I think he should get absolutely the full term.

CHERNOFF: Don learned of Bernard Madoff in the mid '70s, through his accountant who was Madoff's father-in-law.

DON RAFFERTY, MADOFF VICTIM: I don't know he does it but he makes good money.

CHERNOFF: So for more than three decades, the Rafferty's entrusted Bernard Madoff with their money.

(on camera): This was supposed to be the Rafferty's retirement, touring the country in their RV, enjoying a life of leisure. Instead, the RV is now parked in the driveway. The Raffertys say they can't afford the registration, insurance and gasoline.

(voice-over): They've cut out all luxuries, are barely making ends meet. Fear they may face foreclosure next year.

J. RAFFERTY: We are going to outlive what little money we have. It's a done deal.

CHERNOFF: Madoff defrauded the Raffertys and more than 13,000 other victims, using funds from one investors to pay dividends to another. While 71-year-old Madoff faces a maximum term of 150 years in prison, his lawyer is asking the judge for just 12 years.

J. RAFFERTY: No way should he get out in 12 years. He's making everyone else suffer. He needs to suffer, too.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHERNOFF: And since the Raffertys concede won't give them satisfaction, what they really want is their money and a secure retirement back. That's something that Bernard Madoff no matter how much time he's going to serve will never be able to deliver for them -- Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. Allan Chernoff for us outside the very, very busy courthouse today. Thanks so much.

ROBERTS: Coming up now, 31 minutes after the hour. Checking our top stories this Monday morning, Iran state-run media is reporting a partial recount of the country's disputed presidential election is now under way. It's said to include a random 10 percent of the ballots cast. And Tehran says five British diplomats who were arrested have been now been released. Four of them are still being held.

Right now, two men both say that they are in charge of one country. The democratically elected president of Honduras woke up on Sunday morning to gunfire. He was detained in a military coup and then flown to exile in Costa Rica in his pajamas. The head of the country's legislature was then promptly sworn in as the new president and imposed a curfew on citizens. The United Nations is discussing the political crisis later on today. The White House is expressing great concern about what's going on in Honduras.

And South Carolina governor Mark Sanford says he's not stepping down. Sanford told the Associated Press his inner circle convinced him to serve out the remaining 18 months of his term. His mistress in Argentina also broke her silence. But all the former television reporter said was she did not want to discuss her relationship with the governor.

Well, questions this morning about leadership in a time of crisis. Right now, New York state government is at a standstill as the state runs out of money. Mr. Rudy Giuliani took his thoughts about this to the op-ed page of "The New York Times." The former New York City mayor says the state's government is not working, and he's got some ideas on what to do about it. Joining me to talk about that and all the other political headlines of the day, former mayor Rudy Giuliani. Mr. Mayor, it's good to see you this morning.

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: Good morning, John.

ROBERTS: Before we talk about what's going on up in Albany, I got to ask you this question just so we can lay down the marker. Are you running for governor in 2010? Come on.

GIULIANI: I don't know if I am or if I'm not.

ROBERTS: Would you expect that you might?

GIULIANI: I don't know yet.

ROBERTS: Are you seriously considering it?

GIULIANI: I'm thinking about it. I don't know if I'm at a point of seriously considering it, it's a little too early.

ROBERTS: All right. So, let's talk about what's going on in Albany. We got the worst recession in 30 years. We've got unemployment creeping up the levels that we have not seen before in this state and we've got gridlock in Albany. You're proposing a constitutional convention to break all of this. What would that do?

GIULIANI: The state in the past has done that, has had constitutional conventions. The state hasn't reformed its constitution in generations. New York City's charter is a much more modern, more effective...

ROBERTS: It gives the mayor more power.

GIULIANI: It gives the mayor more power in the areas of the economy where we need it. You can set the budget number, the revenue number, the old budget remains if you don't pass a new budget. New York hasn't delivered a budget on time in something like 20 out of the last 22 years. Every time they delay, and they don't delay by a day, they delay by months, they cost the city and the state all kinds of money to borrow money.

So, this breakdown we have right now, the Republicans and the Democrats at 31-31 fighting for control of the Senate is only a symptom of a breakdown that's been going on for a long time.

ROBERTS: So basically, you'd like to give the governor some more power over budgetary...

GIULIANI: Right. I'd like to give the governor some more power. I'd like to see terms limits on the state legislature. This is the state legislature crying out for term limits. They are actually saying with this kind of schoolyard dispute that they are having, we can't solve any problems, please solve them for us by putting term limits on.

ROBERTS: Even though you as mayor once said, "I've never had objections to the idea of three terms."

GIULIANI: I wouldn't do a three-term limit. I actually supported a three-term limit for the New York City Council rather than a two-term limit. For legislature three terms makes sense...

ROBERTS: Three terms is all right.

GIULIANI: For executives, I think two terms is the appropriate one. Look, California has term limits, New York can have term limits.

ROBERTS: Skeptics out there so you might want more power for the New York governor, which would fit perfectly with your plans to maybe think about running in 2010. You were a very strong mayor. You'd like to be strong governor...

GIULIANI: It could be a strong Democratic governor. I think if Governor Paterson had the power that I'm talking about, a lot of the issues we're talking about would be avoided. I think a governor, Republican or Democrat, will tend to be more fiscally careful than the legislature. It's in the nature of the legislature to spend money. It's in the nature of the governor to get the credit for himself or herself when you save money.

ROBERTS: I want to switch topics here, we're talking about Governor Sanford coming in with this, and you know, we wonder what's happening with the Republican Party. John (INAUDIBLE) came forward, you know shot his political aspirations right through the heart. You got Governor Sanford, he was considered to be a real contender for 2012, all of that. So, what's going on with the Republican Party?

GIULIANI: I don't know, you can say the same thing for the Democratic Party. But John Edwards gets a heartbeat away from being the presidential, or vice presidential candidate, when the whole thing was going on, nobody knows about it, the whole situation with Bill Clinton. I mean, there's nothing about the Republican Party and the Democratic Party that creates more of this.

ROBERTS: With the exception of people like Governor Sanford moralized about this. He was one of the first ones castigating President Clinton about what was going on, and he does this.

GIULIANI: Other people pronounce great support for women's rights, and then allegedly involved in taking advantage of women.

ROBERTS: Should Governor Sanford resign? He says he's going to sit out the remaining 18 months.

GIULIANI: I think it's up to Governor Sanford. I think it's up to him as to whether or not he thinks the people of South Carolina will support him in spite of this. Remember, Bill Clinton had very much the same situation, except it was extended for six months, I think, the whole denial of Monica Lewinsky, the attacks on Monica Lewinsky and it turned out to be true. Bill Clinton was able to overcome that and (INAUDIBLE).

ROBERTS: Governor Sanford also went AWOL from the state. Nobody knew where he was. I mean, does that up the stakes in terms of survivability here?

GIULIANI: He denied existence of the whole thing for about I think it was six months, I don't remember -- four months, six months, and they leveled attacks on the woman who was making the charges even though she was telling the truth. That's all forgotten. That's all in the past. I didn't think President Clinton should be impeached.

I think these are things that should be left to people to decide on a personal basis. We're really dredging up their personal life and using it for political fodder.

ROBERTS: You have said in the past, recently, too, regarding the situation, you don't think that a situation like this should exclude people from holding higher office. You had your own situation in this. But do you think that his aspirations for 2012 are still viable? Or do you think his -

GIULIANI: Yes, I don't think this is (INAUDIBLE). I think what will happen is, it will get considered along with everything else. Let's say, in the next year he does a magnificent job of turning South Carolina around, as one of the strongest economies in the country, and one of the best educational systems and one of the best this and one of the best that, all of a sudden I think people start looking at him differently. But it certainly puts a level of performance on him that's going to have to exceed just the average level of performance.

ROBERTS: But in the overall...

GIULIANI: That maybe what happened to Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton, you know, I think even though I'm a republican, and I think Bill Clinton as a democrat did some very substantial things in office that can overcome some of those personal things when you look at it.

ROBERTS: Certainly, you would think in the case of Sanford, the reports of his political death are greatly exaggerated at this point.

GIULIANI: Of course, the political death is always greatly exaggerated. You never know. If he doesn't do a good job as governor, then he's got a real problem. But if he does a great job as governor, I think the people take that into consideration like they did with Bill Clinton and it gets put behind him.

ROBERTS: Mr. Mayor, always great to check in with you. Thanks so much for stopping by.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

ROBERTS: Appreciate it. Thirty-eight minutes now after the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: (AUDIO GAP) and is tracking the story for us this morning. Reza, what can you tell us about this recount.

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi have repeatedly rejected saying he wants a full rerun of the vote. Even so the Guardian Council came out today and said they will do a partial recount. The spokesman for Iran's top legislative body saying that 10 percent of the vote is being counted right now, and it's being counted in front of television cameras.

Remember, the supreme leader himself and the Guardian Council had said previously that even with a partial recount, the outcome of the vote is not going to be changed because of the wide margin of victory. Also this morning five employees of the British embassy in Tehran are free. Iran's foreign minister on state-run TV announcing that the five local employees are free once again after being arrested over the weekend and accused of playing a significant role in the demonstrations. British foreign minister David Miliband condemning the arrest saying the accusations that they have been involved in the demonstration are without foundation. Three people still in custody, Kiran.

CHETRY: There's also thousands of protesters that took to the street yet again in the silent protest as they called it over the weekend under heavy police patrol. And now we're hearing that Iranian security forces are trying to track down some of the demonstrators and making arrests. What do you know about that?

SAYAH: Yes, Kiran. The aggressive crackdown on the part of the government has really been effective in snuffing out the protesters. But the government is not stopping there. They are going after the protesters using the Internet. Take a look at this Web site. This is a government Web site with what appears to be a number of protesters all circled, all singled out. The government is asking through this Web site if anyone has any information. They are asked to call authorities. As you can you see, some of them according to this Web site have been arrested. So, the government continuing to apply the pressure, Kiran.

CHETRY: And some of those famous faces are also lending their voices trying to shed some light on Iran's political crisis. We're hearing more people speak out about it.

SAYAH: Yes, this could be a first, Kiran. Jon Bon Jovi, the American rock legend, singing in Farsi, lending his support to the Iranian protesters. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

SAYAH: Jon Bon Jovi, here is the translation. The rock legend singing hand in hand, fellow countryman, your pain is my pain. Not to be outdone, folk singer Joan Baez, she also sang "We Shall Overcome" in Farsi. That video appeared on her Web site. Her now, Joan Baez in Farsi.

Joan Baez singing "we shall be victorious." The turmoil, the situation in Iran has touched and moved a lot of people. Here you see two music legends lending their support through music here.

CHETRY: Certainly quite extraordinary. Reza Sayah for us this morning, thanks so much. Fifty-four minutes past the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Forty-six minutes after the hour. Let's fast forward through the stories that are going to be making news later on today. The Supreme Court is set to hand down a ruling today in the controversial new haven firefighter case in which white firefighters say they were unfairly denied promotions. Supreme court nominee Sonia Sotomayor ruled for the city in the reverse discrimination case. Today's session is going to mark the final day for Justice David Souter, who said he will retire when the court recesses for the summer.

Also today, President Obama will hold a one-on-one meeting in the oval office with the Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. One of the topic of discussion obviously is going to be the coup in Honduras. That's at 10:30 a.m. Eastern.

Later on in the afternoon at 4:25 Eastern, the president and first lady will hold a reception in the East Room to recognize the accomplishments of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community during National Gay Pride Month.

And Chrysler building cars again. Seven of the company's North American assembly plants will go back on-line today. Nearly two months after Chrysler filed for bankruptcy protection. Let's get a check of the weather now.

Rob Marciano is at the weather center in Atlanta. He's checking everything extreme today. And got one of those low pressure systems that looks like over the northeast again today, Rob.

(WEATHER REPORT)

CHETRY: All right. It's still a mystery about what caused Air France Flight 447 to just fall out of the sky, killing more than 200 people on board. And now there are some new questions about the same air speed indicators that are on other Airbus A330s. Our Jeanne Meserve is taking a look. Should we be concerned the next time we fly?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: Developing story now and some new information this morning and new questions about the Air France flight 447 that literally fell out of the sky. All 228 people on board were killed. Well, Brazilian rescuers have called off the search now for more bodies and debris over the weekend. And now a federal agency is saying that two other Airbus A-330s, the same type of plane that the Air France flight was had air speed malfunctions in mid-air in the past two months. So is there a connection? And how concerned should fliers be?

Our homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve is live in Washington with more for us on this news. Hi, Jeanne. JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kiran. Investigators are still trying to put all these pieces together. You know that the searchers have not found the flight data recorders from that Air France flight. But a broad-ranging investigation has turned up two similar incidents on the same kind of aircraft.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MESERVE (voice-over): Investigators do not yet know why Air France Flight 447 went down in the middle of the Atlantic, but automated messages sent before the crash indicate there may have been problems with external speed sensors. Now, the National Transportation Safety Board has turned up two other incidents with the same type of aircraft which may provide additional clues.

On May 21st, just days before the Air France crash, an Airbus A- 330 operated by Brazil's Tam Airline was flying from Miami to Sao Paolo when an abrupt drop in outside air temperature was followed by the loss of air speed and altitude information. The flight crew used backup instruments, the data was restored, the flight landed safely.

A second possibly similar incident took place June 23rd on a Northwest flight between Hong Kong and Tokyo. Again, the aircraft landed safely.

PETER GOELZ, FORMER NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD OFFICIAL: We have no idea yet, whether these two incidents are in any way related to the Air France accident, but investigators are going to leave no stone unturned. And they're going to search out any incident that occurs.

The (INAUDIBLE) should be located on either side of the nose, usually right in this area.

MESERVE: Goelz says the possible culprit in all these incidents, a malfunction of either a malfunction (INAUDIBLE) tubes, a small speed sensors, or the computer software on the aircraft.

The Airbus A-330 is so widely used, one takes off every minute somewhere in the world. Air France Flight 447 was the first to crash in the 16 years the aircraft has been in service. And experts say at this point there is no reason to believe it is unsafe to fly.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MESERVE: The Federal Aviation Administration is monitoring the Air France investigation and says it will take safety action if it is needed, but at this point, investigators just don't know if these two incidents are related to the crash or if they're indicative of a wider problem -- Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. I know a lot of air travelers are hoping they can figure that out soon. Jean Meserve for us this morning, thanks. Fifty-five minutes past the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROBERTS: Well, this morning the countdown clock is ticking. In just 24 hours, U.S. combat troops will completely withdraw from Iraq's major cities. But with a recent surge in attacks, there's some concern about the pullout. CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is live for us this morning at the Pentagon. What is the top U.S. commander saying about all of this, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, top commanders say they are ready, that everything is ready to go, but just in case, they've built in some wiggle room.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STARR (voice-over): A deadly wave of insurgent bomb attacks across Iraq cities, cities in the insurgent cross hairs as a crucial deadline approaches. By Tuesday, all U.S. combat forces are to be out of the cities. They will operate out of basis in rural areas, some advisers and military trainers are likely to remain in Baghdad. While the latest attacks are causing anxiety with some Iraqis, the top U.S. commander believes security is improved.

GEN. RAYMOND ODIERNO, U.S. COMMANDER IN IRAQ: I do believe they're ready, John, they've been working towards this for a long time. And security remains good. We've seen constant improvement in the security force. We have seen constant improvement in governance. And I believe this is the time for us to move out of the cities and for them to take ultimate responsibility.

STARR: Success seemed far away back in 2006 when the bombing of the holy Shiite shrine in Samara led to months of bloody sectarian violence. President Bush eventually sent thousands of additional troops into combat.

MICHAEL O'HANLON, SENIOR FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Somehow the surge and everything that went with the surge managed to bring down the violence by a factor of 10, by 90 percent.

STARR: But the withdraw of combat forces from the cities is just one step in bringing home the 130,000 U.S. troops remaining in Iraq. There's still problems, including ensuring the continued loyalty of the so-called sons of Iraq. Sunni fighters who helped quell insurgent violence.

O'HANLON: We also then saw a number of political reforms by the Iraqi government, especially through last year. They've slowed down unfortunately. And so we're hardly out of the woods yet in Iraq.

STARR: What happens next? Commanders still have to announce troop draw down plans. But by August 31st, 2010, all U.S. combat forces will leave the country. Still, up to 50,000 U.S. troops will remain, focusing on training Iraqi forces, hunting terrorists, and protecting military and civilian personnel. And then, by the end of 2011, all U.S. forces will be out of Iraq.

(END VIDEOTAPE) STARR: But with about 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. At least for the next several months, John, what is the wiggle room? Well, General Odierno says if security were to degrade, they do have the U.S. forces to step in and handle it. But he doesn't think now that's going to happen. John.

ROBERTS: Barbara, are they going to be able to pull out of Mosul? There was question about that?

STARR: There was. That was one of the last places that General Odierno was quite concerned about, sort of the last stand for Al Qaeda. But now he says security even there is better and that they will go.

ROBERTS: All right. Barbara Starr for us at the Pentagon this morning. Barbara, thanks so much for that.

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