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Bodyguard Details Michael Jackson's Pill Addiction; Day Care Accuses Pennsylvania Swim Club of Racism; Reports Say AIG to Give Out Bonuses to Top Executives; Stimulus Money Arrives in Boehner's State; London Tabloid Accused of Phone Hacking; Obama to Highlight Food Security, Climate Change; Obama Snubbing Kenya?; NAACP Marks 100th Birthday; Pakistan Talking to Taliban; Neverland Might be Jackson Resting Place; Spike in IED Attacks in Afghanistan

Aired July 10, 2009 - 07:00   ET


JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: It's the top of the hour. Welcome to AMERICAN MORNING on this Friday, July 10th.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: You got all happy when you said Friday.

JOHNS: I love it.

CHETRY: Joe Johns is in for John Roberts, who's on vacation this week. Great to have you with us.

JOHNS: I'm very glad to be here.

CHETRY: And here's a look at 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.

Prescriptions under fake names, allegations of doctor shopping, and more than ten Xanax pills taken each night. Police documents obtained exclusively by CNN detail these allegations made by former Jackson employees about his dangerous pill habits. We're going to hear what former bodyguards told police just ahead.

JOHNS: President Obama is heading to Africa later today. A moment of history for America's first black president. But one African nation with close ties with the president is feeling snubbed. We're live in Kenya with the story.

CHETRY: Also ahead, a swim club outside of Philadelphia accused of racism against children. Campers saying they overheard things like, why are all these black kids here? The club, though, says it's all a big misunderstanding.

We're going to get their response ahead. Our Susan Candiotti is covering that story.

We begin this morning with the new questions from police over the death of Michael Jackson. Los Angeles police saying that the inquiry could still become a criminal investigation, and the chief is not even ruling out homicide. They say today that they're looking into the history of prescription drugs and want to talk to Michael Jackson's past doctors as well. Police also still waiting for a full report from the coroner's office.


CHIEF WILLIAM BRATTON, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, the inquiry into the death of Mr. Jackson is continuing. We will still await corroboration from the coroner's office as to the cause of death. That is going to be very dependent on the toxicology reports that are due to come back. And based on those, we'll have an idea of what it is that we're dealing with.

I'll wait to see what the coroner comes back with. And then once he comes back with his determination, we'll be able to speak to in a much clearer and a very open way what our course of action will be.

But I'm not going to speculate at this time. We'll wait until he's back with his findings. He has his role and responsibility. We have our role and responsibility. But the next move really is his.


CHETRY: And to a part of the story that you will only see on CNN. New allegations this morning about Jackson's addiction to pills, in particular allegations of Xanax addiction, including doctor shopping and prescriptions under fake names. Our Randi Kaye has some disturbing new details from the police investigation.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Joe and Kiran. I have right here a confidential police document from 2004. It's from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department. And I can tell you that we are not naming the people involved in this document. But these interviews were done with two of Michael Jackson's former security guards.

This is a confidential document, so we're not going to name those guards. But according to the document, one of them told investigators that Michael Jackson was taking "ten-plus Xanax pills a night." And he said that when he expressed concerns to another one of Jackson's employees, he was told "Jackson was doing better because he was down from 30 to 40 Xanax pills a night" -- 30 to 40 Xanax pills a night.

Now, one of the security guards did tell investigators that he would get Xanax prescriptions at pharmacies for Michael Jackson under "fictitious names" actually, including even the security guard's own name. He also named three other employees who he said were doing the very same thing.

Now, the other security guard questioned in the document that we have also backs that up. According to him, he said that he had also picked up prescriptions for Michael Jackson in someone else's name.

Now, we're not going to name the doctors who are mentioned in this, but I can tell you that one of the security guards interviewed by investigators named five doctors that he said were writing prescriptions for Michael Jackson. Again, not all of those prescriptions in Michael Jackson's name.

The security guard said in several states across the country including New York, California, Florida, he personally drove Jackson to different doctor's offices to get prescriptions. That really paints a picture here of doctor shopping.

Now, that is also in line, of course, with what our sources are telling us that he told us that investigators want to interview every doctor who Michael Jackson ever really came into contact with.

Also, I want to mention that one of the security guards described Jackson as sharp and "in tune" before he went into the doctor's office for those visits then afterwards, the security guard said he would come out and he was "out of it and sedated."

That is all from this confidential document from the sheriff's department where two of Michael Jackson's former security guards were interviewed. That is the very latest on the Michael Jackson investigation -- Joe, Kiran.

CHETRY: Randi Kaye for us. Thanks.

There are still some questions about where Jackson will be buried as well. We've now learned that he might be laid to rest at his Neverland Ranch after all. Santa Barbara County, though, has to give the green light.

Our Ted Rowlands will have that side of the story ahead here on the Most News in the Morning.

JOHNS: Shocking accusations of racial discrimination at a private pool this morning, raising the question whether a group of visiting day campers really were kicked out because of their skin color.

The club is denying it, but the incident allegedly happened here in the Philadelphia suburb of Huntingdon Valley at a swim club called simply The Valley. And that's where our Susan Candiotti is right now.

Good morning, Susan.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Joe. And that club remains closed this morning. As you can see, the gates are still closed.

Protesters have left behind signs. There were some homegrown protesters that were out here late yesterday afternoon. And now the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission has launched an investigation.


CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Swimming once a week at the spacious Huntingdon Valley Club near Philadelphia. It sounded ideal for 65 kids described as black and Hispanic at Creative Steps day care summer camp.

ALETHIA WRIGHT, DAY CARE DIRECTOR: I was excited. The parents and children were excited.

CANDIOTTI: But when the youngsters showed up at the pool June 29th, after the day camp signed and paid a $1,900 contract, this happened.

WRIGHT: The children came running down and they said, Ms. Wright, Ms. Wright, those people up there are saying, "What are those black kids doing in the pool?"

CANDIOTTI: Twelve-year-old Marcus Allen is her son, says he was sitting outside the pool and heard white adults say this.

MARCUS ALLEN, DAY CARE CAMPER: They were like, why are these black kids here? And then they will say oh, I'm afraid they might do something to my children because, I don't know, they might try to steal some of my stuff, or might try to, like, harm my children.

And I'm like, I was like amazed that they would something like this because, really, I'm just a kid. We're just like your kids.

CANDIOTTI: Mrs. Wright says the swim club's director told her he was embarrassed, held an emergency board meeting and called her back the next day to say they could not come back.

WRIGHT: And he said the membership says that the chips fall where they may.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): You know, Marcus, I see tears coming down your face. Why does this make you cry?

ALLEN: Because, this is kind of, like, sad that people are still thinking like this when I felt like these days were over.

WRIGHT: This is 2009. Children should not be subjected to that.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): The swim club's director is quoted by local media saying the day camp kids changed the "atmosphere and complexion of the club." A club member reacted.

JIM FLYNN, CLUB MEMBER: I'll be asking for the president of the club's resignation today, because I think the comment that he made, although taken out of context, was probably one of the stupidest comments I ever heard.

CANDIOTTI: He claims the club was simply overcrowded, not racist. He said two other unidentified day camps, both nonminority, also got the boot.


CANDIOTTI: And the Valley Swim Club has issued a statement denying that race had anything to do with its decision: "We underestimated the capacity of our facilities. Our Valley Club deplores discrimination in any form."

We also talked with some other members of the swim club who said they did not like at all what the club membership did, what the board membership did. And, in fact, one person called it shameful.

Also to take note here, Senator Arlen Specter has sent a letter to the club asking them to reconsider their decision. Back to you, Joe.

JOHNS: Susan Candiotti, thanks so much.

New this morning, the father of Sarah Palin's grandson, Levi Johnston, says he knows why she is resigning -- money. Johnston says he lived with the Palins for several weeks during December and January and that he overheard Governor Palin saying she'd love to take advantage of all the lucrative deals she was getting like a reality show and a book. Of course, his relationship with the Palin family went sour and his wedding to Palin's daughter, Bristol, was called off.

CHETRY: Well, for the first time in 14 years, there's been a death at the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. A man was gored to death this morning and nine others were injured. The (INAUDIBLE) Web site said that one of the bulls got away from the herd and gored the man there.

JOHNS: And where's $800 billion going? CNN follows Vice President Biden looking for signs that the stimulus is making some kind of a difference.

It's nine minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. This new video surfaced on YouTube in the Washington area. And it's a little scary if you have to ride the subway.

It appears to show a D.C. Metro driver asleep behind the controls of a moving train. Metro officials also launched a zero-tolerance policy for drivers caught texting on the job. All this after last month's deadly Metro crash that killed nine people.

CHETRY: Also new this morning, another reason to go to "The New York Times" may start charging for online access. The struggling newspaper sent a survey to his print subscribers testing the waters. Bloomberg reports the likely fee would be about $5 a month.

JOHNS: A delegation from the New York Philharmonic is heading to Havana, Cuba this morning. The orchestra has officially been invited to play in the Cuban capital. It's not the first bit of diplomacy for the musicians, who visited North Korea last year.

CHETRY: And more flights on time, but fewer flights to be had in general. The Department of Transportation is saying that U.S. airlines are doing a better job of staying on schedule this year. But they also point out that you have to keep in mind airlines that have been cutting the number of flights and also extending the estimated flight time so that they can appear to be on time more often.

Hawaiian Airlines the best in the business, by the way, on time over 90 percent of the time. Let's go there.

JOHNS: Absolutely. Today.

CHETRY: Last time this happened, their workers received death threats. Some were even afraid to walk to their cars.

Insurance giant AIG again reportedly ready to give out millions more in bonuses to its top executives. AIG is not commenting on these reports this morning. But the company is only alive as we know because of a $180 billion government bailout, taxpayer-funded bailout. Now, AIG reportedly wants President Obama's blessing to give out some more cash.

And Congressman Elijah Cummings, a big critic of the bonuses that AIG promised back in March joins me now from our Washington bureau this morning.

Great to have you with us, congressman.


CHETRY: So, again, we know that AIG received $180 billion in government bailout money. We know about the outrage earlier in the year when they announced they were giving out, I believe, nearly $34 million in bonuses. And then some of those payments possibly as a result of all that outrage ended up being deferred.

So this morning, we're learning the news that a portion of these payments, including about $2.4 million in bonuses for executives, are still going to be distributed. What's your reaction this morning?

CUMMINGS: Well, I'm not surprised. AIG is consistently seen to be out of tune with the rest of America and with so many Americans that have lost their homes, their jobs and their savings. And they just don't seem to get it. There's a whole different culture there.

I think basically what AIG is trying to do is go back to the way things were pre-United States government owning 79 percent of the company. And I'm hoping that Mr. Feinberg, who is the pay czar, the compensation czar that governor -- that President Obama appointed, I'm hoping that as AIG goes to him for cover that he will say, "How dare you." How dare you...

CHETRY: Yes. And so for -- let me just explain this for people who don't understand. So, he is supposed to be overlooking some of the compensation with these companies. But he doesn't have any purview, right, to do anything over bonuses that were supposed to go out in 2008? So, for AIG going to him, this is sort of trying to just make sure, looking for cover perhaps so it doesn't turn into a PR nightmare like it did back in March?

CUMMINGS: That's exactly right. They're trying to get his blessings. But I'm hoping that Mr. Feinberg will say, how dare you when you have not paid the American people one dime of the $180 billion that you've gotten from them?

CHETRY: Right.

CUMMINGS: And one of the things that I'm hoping that Mr. Feinberg will say is that President Obama has reiterated that bonuses should be tied to performance and should not be something that encouraged unnecessary risk. Well, where's the performance here when we haven't even gotten a dime of our money back?

CHETRY: And so, here's a couple other things that AIG is going to argue. Their main argument basically is that these bonuses were promised last year. This was before the crisis and before they took bailout money and that they cannot legally be cancelled. If that's the case, can the administration or Congress do anything about it?

CUMMINGS: I think that if Mr. Feinberg said this is a bad idea, I don't think AIG will do it. The fact is, is that they've got to deal with the American people, who are very upset about these kinds of things. And I think just the PR nightmare will come back to haunt them, and I think that's a problem.

And so I think that probably pressure, but particularly for Mr. Feinberg and from President Obama will say to them, look, you know, why don't you just make sure the American people are paid back first, at least a few dimes of their $180 billion? And then maybe we might want to look at bonuses for you. But right now, we're going to see the performance matching up with the bonuses.

CHETRY: The other argument, though, is that they need to provide these bonuses. AIG has said this before to retain their talented employees to ensure the company's long-term success and also to ensure that they're able to sort of unwind or untangle the mess that they were in or got in.

CUMMINGS: Kiran, they've made that. They said that over -- they've made all kinds of excuses for these bonuses. I'm just telling you, I've been dealing with AIG for the last year. And I've heard everything under the sun. And this is just another one of the excuses, talking about retaining people.

What we found out is a lot of the people still left, even after they gave them millions of dollars. And keep in mind, those millions of dollars of bonuses are coming out of the people that are watching this show right now -- coming out of their stock portfolios, coming from their kids' savings that they were supposed to have for them to send them to school in September.

No, I mean, we've got -- the American people have got to be vigilant. This is our watch. And we've got to say to AIG, no.

CHETRY: All right. Well, we'll see what happens. It doesn't look like anyone really has much control except the company itself over these bonuses. But going forward in the future, we'll see if anything changes.

Congressman Elijah Cummings, great to talk to you this morning. Thanks.

CUMMINGS: Good talking to you.

JOHNS: And speaking of your money, coming up, we'll be hearing about one Republican congressman from Ohio who's been asking where all the money is going from the stimulus bill. He's finding out. It's closer to home than he thinks.

Back in a minute.



CHETRY: A little Tony Bennett this morning as we look at a beautiful picture of Cincinnati, Ohio where it's clear and 72 right now. It's going to be sunny and 88.

JOHNS: I miss Ohio.

CHETRY: You do?


CHETRY: You can always hop a plane this weekend. Head back.

JOHNS: Yes. Yes. Soon enough. All right.

Now to a developing story. Vice President Biden stood outside an abandoned warehouse in Ohio yesterday and slammed the Republican stimulus critics. And we decided to tag along looking for real signs of your money in action. Here's our Jim Acosta in Cincinnati.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kiran and Joe, Vice President Joe Biden came to Cincinnati to defend the stimulus right outside the home turf of one of the program's biggest critics. Just up the road from Cincinnati is the district of House Minority Leader John Boehner. And as we found out, some stimulus dollars are starting to arrive in his district.


ACOSTA (voice-over): In his first trip to Ohio since the election, Vice President Joe Biden jumped back into campaign mode, setting his sights on Republican critics of the stimulus.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All the talk about how we're going to waste all these money? That's a dog that ain't barked yet.

ACOSTA: It appeared to be a direct shot at House Minority Leader John Boehner, who posted this Web video featuring a bloodhound on the hunt for stimulus jobs.

But some stimulus money has already found its way to Boehner's own district.

SHERIFF RICHARD JONES, BUTLER COUNTY, OHIO: The stimulus is working for me here in Butler County because I'm keeping my deputies and I'm not having to lay them off.

ACOSTA: Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones, a Republican who recently considered a primary challenge for Boehner's seat, got nearly $1 million in stimulus funds two months ago. He's using the money to hold on to correctional officers he was on the verge of letting go.

JONES: And if it wasn't for the stimulus money that's coming down right now, we may not be able to have these pods, man or woman. You know, you've got to have people to watch people that are in jail.

ACOSTA (on camera): That means what? You wouldn't be able to hold as many people here?

JONES: Without people, I would not be able to hold as many people in our jail. They would be out on the streets and...

ACOSTA: Causing trouble.

JONES: Hey, it's just dangerous.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Just up the road from the sheriff, the Ohio Department of Transportation is days away from starting repaving work on this portion of Interstate 75, also in Boehner's district. The sign at the worksite shows it, too, is a stimulus project.

Still, Boehner's office argues the stimulus is taking too long to make a difference, saying in a statement to CNN, "The entire process has been absurdly slow moving just as Republicans warned it would be last winter."

BIDEN: What would they do? What would they do?

ACOSTA: Mr. Biden taunted his Republican critics in front of an abandoned warehouse that's slated to get $1.6 million in stimulus money for a project that would turn the building into apartments. While the vice president said the project will create jobs, a developer told us he's still waiting for millions in financing from the bank. No financing, he acknowledged, no project.

(on camera): So, you haven't quite gotten all of the financing for the project. Is that correct? Or how is that going?

STEVE BLOOMFIELD, PROJECT DEVELOPER: We're very close to working things out with a local lender. And they've also been working very hard to make this happen.


ACOSTA: With polls showing voters in Ohio losing patience with the president's economic plan, Vice President Biden called for patience.

A case in point, the Cincinnati riverfront. It's slated to receive $22 million in stimulus funds for a revitalization project. But local officials say the project is just getting under way -- Kiran and Joe.

JOHNS: Jim Acosta. For more on where the stimulus meets the street, read Jim Acosta's blog on our Web site. It's on

It's 25 minutes after the hour.


JOHNS: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. A tabloid accused of hacking into the voicemails of the rich and famous. This morning, many public figures are fuming and possibly suing.

CHETRY: Yes. There's also some real questions about that investigation this morning. Did the authorities look the other way? Our Atika Shubert has that story from London.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It reads like a who's who on the red carpet. Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, supermodel Elle Macpherson (ph). Just some of the thousands of public figures whose private phone messages were allegedly hacked by British tabloid "News of the World."

(on camera): Now paparazzi-style journalism is not exactly a surprise among Britain's notoriously aggressive tabloids. But what is surprising here is the sheer scale of the allegations.

(voice-over): In 2007, a "News of the World" reporter was jailed for illegally breaking into the voice messages of members of the royal household. But British newspaper, "The Guardian," now says "News of the World" authorized the hacking of thousands of personal messages of public figures that was not investigated by police.

NICK DAVIES, "THE GUARDIAN": You've got a very, very worrying picture here and an unanswered question about why this police inquiry starts, then appears to stop short of its goal. And I don't know what the answer to that because I'm not saying the officers who were running the inquiry did something bad. But it worries me that somebody very senior may have said, let's not get into a fight with this very powerful newspaper group. Will you please stop your inquiry?

SHUBERT: That powerful media group is News Group, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. News Group maintains that it had no knowledge of any alleged phone hacking. "News of the World" has refused to comment on the latest allegations.

Britain's metropolitan police has said it would review the case. Reopening a police investigation may have a serious impact, not just on "News of the World" but on other papers as well, says Andrew Neil, former editor of "The Sunday Times," also owned by News Group.

ANDREW NEIL, FORMER EDITOR, "THE SUNDAY TIMES": I think it's one of the most significant media stories of modern times because it suggests that a whole newsroom was corrupted by the use of private investigators. It suggests that there was widespread illegal activity and it suggests that the whole journalistic effort was dominated by trying to break into people's voicemails and use of other private data in order to get stories.

SHUBERT: "News of the World" used to dishing the dirt on public figures now finds itself under scrutiny.

Atika Shubert, CNN, London.


CHETRY: Thanks, Atika.

We're half past the hour now. We look at the other top stories this morning.

The debut of the new General Motors looking ready to emerge from bankruptcy later today. GM filed for Chapter 11 protection just 40 days ago and now free of some of that massive debt that also brought it down. And you, the taxpayer, still own 61 percent of the company.

Also the man who took President Obama's old Senate seat is not seeking re-election. A Democratic source telling CNN that Illinois Senator Roland Burris will not run when his term is up in 2010. His office won't comment but does say he'll make a "major announcement this afternoon." There were problems from the second he came to Washington since he was appointed by the disgraced Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich, who was accused of trying to sell that seat.

And a new CNN opinion research poll out this morning shows that by a narrow margin, 47 to 40 percent of Americans do want to see the Senate confirm President Obama's supreme court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor. The Senate kicks off confirmation hearings on Monday.

And the G-8 summit wrapping up in L'Aquila, Italy this morning. Earlier today, President Obama and world leaders met with African nations. They launched a $15 billion program to help fight world hunger. The president also heads to the Vatican later today. First, though, he's scheduled to give a big news conferences at the top of the hour.

And our Ed Henry is traveling with the president. He joins us live from Rome. And what do we expect to hear from the president today, some of the topics on the agenda?

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the president certainly wants to highlight that food security initiative that you mentioned, $15 billion from these G-8 leaders. Essentially what they're trying to do is to fight world hunger by not just giving out aid but actually helping countries, especially in Africa, farm better so that they can sustain it and not keep just keep getting aid from the G-8. He also wants to talk about climate change, obviously.

A bit of a disappointment here for the president. He acknowledged that yesterday that he wanted to get these leaders to go a bit further in terms of trying to cut green house gas emissions and making bigger promises in the days ahead. But it's obviously, as he found here at his first G-8, very difficult for the American president, even someone as popular as he is around the world to bend all of these other leaders to his will.

So, it was certainly a learning experience for him. We'll undoubtedly talk about that at the news conference, what he learned here. And that audience with the Pope later today, his first meeting with Pope Benedict at the Vatican behind me. That's obviously going to be a very important moment, Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. And of course, we're expecting to hear from the president in about 40 minutes. And of course, CNN will carry it live. We'll check back in with you Ed, as well. Thanks.

HENRY: Thanks, Kiran.

JOHNS: And America's first black president is heading to Africa later today. But one African nation that claims our president as its native son is wondering, what about us? Even though President Obama's father was Kenyan, he's instead going to Ghana. Our David McKenzie covering that side of the story for us from Nairobi.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A trip to foreign shores has always been a way for U.S. presidents to reward America's allies. And a visit by President Barack Obama, one of the America's most popular leaders, is a very big deal for some.

For his first presidential trip to sub-Saharan Africa, Mr. Obama has chosen Ghana saying the country should be rewarded for its stable democracy and political reforms. The visit has generated excitement in Ghana but it's a bitterly disappointing for another African nation, Kenya.

(on camera): It's worth remembering that Kenya is the center of Obama mania. His father, of course, is from the country. His grandmother lives in the west. He has family members all around, including his half brother right here in Nairobi. And in the lead up to the election, Kenya was the center of major parties for the president. So, many had hoped he would come here.

(voice-over): Some Kenyan elders believe that President Obama's decision was meant as a message to Kenya's leaders.

MICAHEL TIAMPATI, POLITICAL ANALYST: Anybody of average intelligence know that (inaudible) that he may not be happy to be identified with Kenya because of the situation that is prevailing. We seem to be yo-yoing. We are moving forward and backwards, forward and backwards. And we're not getting anywhere. MCKENZIE: The prevailing situation is that of endless political bickering and like Ghana, Kenya recently conducted disputed elections that led to violence. And despite calls from the U.S. and others for reform, this party's African nation seems stalled. Ordinary Kenyans are in two minds about Mr. Obama's decision.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he should come to Kenya first. This is his homeland and his origin. If he didn't come, maybe he had his own reasons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's better to go to a country, the African country that has maybe the same character like him, the leaders shall have the same character like him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The fact that he has some roots in Kenya doesn't mean that he's bound to do anything for Kenya.

MCKENZIE: Whatever the Obama administration's reasons for not coming to Kenya first, Kenyans are unlikely to bear a grudge against their favorite son and should the U.S. president hit these shores, the party will surely just start up again.


JOHNS: That was David McKenzie reporting from Nairobi.

As the president continues his trip, CNN was with him at every stop. On Monday, as America's first black president visits Africa. Our Anderson Cooper will sit down one on one with President Obama. You can see the interview on Monday night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern on "AC 360." It's 35 minutes after the hour.


JOHNS: A major milestone was reached in America when Barack Obama was elected the first African-American president. But as the NAACP celebrates its 100 birthday weekend here in New York, it's clear this hasn't mended a racial divide in this country. Benjamin Todd Jealous is the president and CEO of the NAACP. Ben, good to see you again. And thanks for coming in.


JOHNS: So, before we get to talking about the convention and the whole week here in New York, I want to ask you about this story that's developed this morning. You heard the story. It's a story of a lot of kids going to a swimming pool in Pennsylvania. They thought they were going to be able to swim. Suddenly they're kicked out. There are racial overtones. The NAACP, I know, has made a statement about this.


JOHNS: You've heard about it. What's your reaction to it? What are your thoughts? JEALOUS: I think I first responded as a parent. It just hurts to think about kids being shamed in that way and pushed out of a country club pool. And the head of the country club statement saying that this would change the complexion of our pool. We're in the 21st century. And we're also human beings. We shouldn't treat our children that way.

JOHNS: For sure. You've asked for an investigation. At the end of the day, you have situations like this that have occurred before, may occur again. What do you think should really happen?

JEALOUS: Well, you know, this really in that town is a teachable moment. It's a time for the town to come together for folks to talk - to actually invest in the kids getting to know each other. You know? They say that the white kids at the country club got out of the pool when the black and Latino kids got in. Well, ostensibly perhaps they were afraid, perhaps they felt they were strangers. There's a time here to bring these kids together to bring the town together, to get the kids to know each other, to get the parents - we need more of that in this country.

JOHNS: So now, speaking of the times, President Obama had very high expectations when he came in.


JOHNS: Recent CNN/"Essence" magazine polls showed and we have a graphic, I think. Forty-four percent of blacks believe President Obama's election was the start of a new era of race relations. However, that is down, in fact, from 51 percent in December. So, do you think expectations have dropped? And were those expectations unrealistic?

JEALOUS: Well, I mean, you know, on January 20th, we all celebrated this transformative moment, and I think hopes were as high as they could get. Since then, life goes on. You have these crazy thing at the pool. You have thousands of people who have been discriminated against since. People's hope tempers a bit.

But the reality is that we are in this moment right now where there is both great hope and great frustration. Because with great hope comes more great frustration. You know, the distance between a family's situation and the children's hopes is the exact scale of their frustration. So, even as hope goes up, frustration goes up. And the president has made some great strides, but there is great opportunity to do much more in this country.

JOHNS: You know, with the NAACP's 100th anniversary, people have talked long and hard about the relevance of the organization as times change. So now, here we are at a time where we have an African- American president, things look a lot different than they did 50, 100 years ago...


JOHNS: ... certainly since the organization was created. Where do you see the organization fitting in at this moment in history?

JEALOUS: Job one for us is to make the dream of this country real for all families. You know, when we get a black first lady, a black president, you know, one more person, one more family has gone through that great barrier in our society. But the goal for us is for there to be no more barriers in this society. And this foolishness at the pool yesterday, for instance, shows there are huge barriers. I mean, you know, the day black children are getting run out from swimming pools should have ended 100 years ago, should have ended at least 50 years ago.

And the fact that we're still talking about it shows that unfortunately for, you know, the vast majority of black people in this country, whether it's, you know, at the workplace, whether it's with the justice system, whether it's in the housing market, whether it's at the pool, race is still a factor.

JOHNS: Benjamin Todd Jealous, I always just call you Ben so...

JEALOUS: That's fine.

JOHNS: ... I didn't even know your middle name was Todd.

JEALOUS: That's fine.

JOHNS: Thanks for coming in.

JEALOUS: Thank you.

JOHNS: And he has written a commentary on this major milestone on our Web site. You can find it by going to

CHETRY: All right. Well, meanwhile, here's what's coming up in the next 15 minutes.

At 7:50, the latest on where Michael Jackson's family wants him buried. Ted Rowlands has new information on the attempt to make Neverland the pop star's final resting place after all.

At 7:55 Eastern, it was the weapon that brought Iraq to the brink. Now, a warning that IEDs could make Afghanistan an even longer and tougher fight than anyone expected. Our Chris Lawrence is live at the Pentagon.

And also at 8:00 Eastern, President Obama will be speaking live from Italy. What was accomplished at the G-8. We're going to take that live for you. It's now 44 minutes past the hour.


CHETRY: Forty-six minutes past the hour. Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

President Barack Obama is taking a lot on winning the war in Afghanistan. And now he may have an opportunity that could help end the conflict. In a CNN exclusive, our Michael Ware has learned that Pakistan's military is talking to Afghan-Taliban leaders. These are the same people killing U.S. and NATO soldiers. Michael Ware joins us live from Baghdad. And Michael, what exactly have you learned about these discussions?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kiran, what we know is that Pakistan military's association with these groups dates back decades. And as the official spokesman for the Pakistani military told me on camera in an interview in Pakistan that after the September 11 attacks, those links with the Taliban changed, but they were not severed.

For the first time ever, the Pakistan military has gone public to say that we are talking with the leaders of the Taliban, including Mullah Omar and including the Afghan-Taliban commander who is right now believed to be holding an American soldier prisoner. Now, the Afghan - the Pakistan military spokesman, General Abbas, went even further. He said not only are we talking to these troops - to their Afghan Taliban, but we can bring them to the negotiating table with the United States with the view to brokering a cease-fire. This is something that the Bush administration waited almost seven years to hear from the Pakistani military. These could potentially be the first major breakthrough in the long run in conflict -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Pakistan want in return?

WARE: Pakistan's made it very clear - their number one rival, their military foe in the region is India. And what many Americans don't understand is that much of the conflict in Afghanistan involves that rivalry between Pakistan and India. Both of those nations are using Afghanistan to compete for influence. Indeed, in Kabul, the Indian government has enormous influence with the Karzai government. The Karzai government in relationship with Pakistan is strained and full of friction.

So what Pakistan is saying is we will bring you the Taliban to talk to but we want to tell India to back off. And senior U.S. officials have told me that the Obama administration is ready not only to talk to India, but also to talk to Mullah Omar and the other Taliban commanders. Kiran?

CHETRY: Interesting to see if this is a turning point in any way, Michael. And we look forward to hearing that as you said you did that interview just a little while ago. Michael Ware for us in Baghdad this morning. Thanks so much.

It is now 49 minutes past the hour.



JOHNS: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. It's been more than two weeks since Michael Jackson collapsed and died in Los Angeles and the question remains, where will his body be buried? It might be Neverland Ranch after all, but as our Ted Rowlands reports, that's not a sure thing just yet. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): According to the state, an attorney for the Jackson family has inquired about burying Michael Jackson at Neverland Ranch, something Jermaine Jackson told CNN's Larry King last week he'd like to see happen.


LARRY KING, CNN HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Do you have a place for him here?

JERMAINE JACKSON: Yes, there's a special place right over near the train station, right over there.

ROWLANDS: To bury someone on private land in California, there are two steps. First, you need what's called a certificate of authority from the State Cemetery and Funeral Bureau. That's no big deal, just fill out this two-page application and shell out $400. The other thing you need is approval from the county, which in this case is Santa Barbara. At this point, nobody from the Jackson family has contacted the county. If someone does that, they say it's possible they'll give the OK.

WILLIAM BOYER, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, SANTA BARBARA COUNTY: We have had no formal application either from the Jackson family or from the property owner, and at that point in time, we would review the application and make a determination.

ROWLANDS: What's unclear is if everyone in the family wants Neverland to be Jackson's final resting place. Joe Jackson seemed to shoot it down when asked about it in the days after Jackson's death.

JOE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S FATHER: That's not true. That's not true.

ROWLANDS (on camera): The bottom line here is that people burying individuals on private land simply doesn't happen very often. The last time it happened in California was when Ronald Reagan was buried at Simi Valley. That's a different county than Santa Barbara County. Those folks in Santa Barbara say they've never seen it happen. So if they do get an application, they say they'll review it. They're not against it, but at this point, they don't really have a template on how to move forward. So it could take some time. Ted Rowlands, CNN, Los Angeles.


CHETRY: All right. Ted, thanks so much.

And we're also looking into the angle of the potential for drug abuse at Michael Jackson and those around him. They talk a little bit more about that and CNN has uncovered some exclusive police documents showing what they're alleging he was doing. This is from Randi Kaye. She's going to be joining us. Fifty-four minutes after the hour. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: Fifty-six minutes past the hour. Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

A sobering assessment now of the war in Afghanistan. General David Petraeus is warning that it will be a long and tough fight and adding to the challenge this morning, a huge spike in IED attacks. CNN's Chris Lawrence live at the Pentagon. And what's the situation on the ground in Afghanistan. Why have we seen this big spike in these IED attacks?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kiran, you know, in all the years that American troops have been fighting in Afghanistan, they have never seen this level, this many IED attacks.


LAWRENCE (voice-over): Children going to school, Afghan police officers on the job, these are just some of the 25 people who died when a massive bomb exploded in Kabul Thursday. The blast sent shrapnel flying a mile away. Explosives in Afghanistan now have more sheer power and often target American troops.

ADM. MIKE MULLEN, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: The biggest threat is really from IEDs, the improvised explosive devices which have become more and more sophisticated over time.

LAWRENCE: And more common. Just look at the month of June in Afghanistan. In 2005, there were 51 IED incidents. Two years later, that jumped to 234, and then last month it skyrocketed to 736. That's an increase of more than 1,000 percent.

Admiral Mike Mullen saw firsthand the damage inflicted by IEDs as he watched the remains of American soldiers return home. Four of these men died Monday when a road side bomb ripped their vehicle apart in northern Afghanistan. Humvees are lightweight and have a flat bottom that absorbs blasts, that's why there's an intense push to get troops more mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles.

MULLEN: From an equipment standpoint, there's no higher priority than to get these vehicles in theater as rapidly as we can.

LAWRENCE: There are less than 3,000 MRAPs in all of Afghanistan and they don't work as well over its steep mountainous terrain. A new version is being built now, but the first ones won't arrive until October at the earliest.


LAWRENCE: But by December, the builder will be pumping out about 1,000 of these new MRAPs every month. And they are not cheap, a humvee cost less than $200,000, these are well over $1 million. But how much are they needed? Of all of the marines that are getting killed right now in Afghanistan, IEDs are killing 80 percent of them. 80 percent, Kiran. CHETRY: Chris Lawrence for us this morning with those sobering numbers. Thanks.