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Guantanamo Report Delayed; New Motives on Florida Couple's Death; $23.7 Trillion to Fix Economy; Fight a War with Words
Aired July 21, 2009 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning once again. Thanks for being with us on this Tuesday. It's July 21st. I'm Kiran Chetry.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I'm John Roberts. Here's what's on this morning's agenda. Stories that we'll be breaking down for you in the next 15 minutes here.
Doubts right now over the Obama administration's plan to shut down Guantanamo Bay. The White House admits that it will not make today's deadline for a key report on how detainees should be prosecuted. We're live at the White House with what this means for the president's order to close the prison camp by January.
CHETRY: Also another twist to tell you about in the murder of a Florida couple widely known for adopting a number of children, many with special needs. Police are now looking at what could be a second motive. Possibly a contract hit. We're also learning that the murder victim may have known the accused killer.
ROBERTS: And you might want to sit down for this. We all knew that the cost to rescue the economy was going to be expensive, but the government's top watchdog says if all goes wrong, you the taxpayer could be on the hook not for millions, not for billions, but for nearly $24 trillion. That is almost twice this nation's annual GDP.
But we begin with a blow to the heart of the president's new approach to fighting terrorism. The administration acknowledging that it will miss today's deadline to submit a report detailing what to do with detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The report is the key part of the White House's plan for shutting down Gitmo by next January. It was an executive order that the president signed during his first week in office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This first executive order that we are signing in order to affect the appropriate disposition of individual's currently detain by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo, and promptly to close the detention facility at Guantanamo consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interest of justice, I hereby order.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is following all of this live from the White House this morning.
Suzanne, why the delay? What's the hold up here?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's a lot more difficult than they imagined to really try to figure out where these detainees are going to be put. If they're in other countries, other host countries, or whether or not they should be put on trial. They're trying to get ahead of this story. The fact that it was just yesterday, forcing administration officials, sitting reporters down to try to get ahead of this story, to explain the fact that yes, they are missing this deadline today.
What are they telling us? They're saying that, yes, some progress has been made. About half of these cases, the detainees have been reviewed. They say about 50 are being in the process of being transferred over to some of these other countries. But this is a difficult thing to get these other countries to cooperate. They have had some cooperation from European allies, but they need more. And one senior administration official said, look, we are trying to get this thing right. And so they are going to take more time on this.
One of the things that we are hearing, a complaint from some is the concern. Does this mean that there'll be -- some of these detainees be held indefinitely. The ACLU coming out with this statement saying any effort to revamp a failed Guantanamo military commission is sure to be challenged in court, and it will take years before justice is served. A senior administration official, John, saying, look, if there is any kind of way that they're going to hold these detainees indefinitely, that is going to have to be approved by Congress. That they're not going to do that on their own, but they've just got assort all of this out, and essentially it's going to take some more time, John.
ROBERTS: Suzanne Malveaux at the White House this morning.
CHETRY: Looks like the plot is thickening this morning in the murder of a Florida couple with 17 kids adopted, many of them with special needs. Well, police now say that the suspects paid a visit to the Billings' home just weeks before the killings.
CNN's Susan Candiotti is live for us in Pensacola, Florida. And, you know, we've heard them talking about possibly a second motive, investigators, but they haven't really exactly said what it is.
What are you learning this morning?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, remember, Kiran, that again and again, the sheriff has emphasized that the Billings themselves are not being investigated for any criminal activity. However, the sheriff is now saying that among the new possible motives is the possibility that they might have been the target of a contract hit. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Was it a murder for hire? Is it possible someone put out a hit on Byrd and Melinda Billings? Before, the sheriffs denied it. Not anymore.
SHERIFF DAVID MORGAN, EXECUTIVE COUNTY, FLORIDA: We're not taking any motive, if you will, off the table.
CANDIOTTI: A possible contract hit is something the Billings' grown daughter finds inconceivable.
(on camera): Do you know of anyone who wanted to do harm to your parents?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just would answer that question.
ASHLEY MARKHAM, VICTIM'S DAUGHTER: With the investigation --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is an ongoing investigation, and those are the kinds of questions...
MARKHAM: I will say, you know, my parents were wonderful people. But I can't imagine somebody having that magnitude of hate in their life.
CANDIOTTI (voice-over): CNN has now learned the group did a dry run at the house a month before the murders. And the sheriff says it was not captured on the home security cameras.
On the day of the crime, he says suspects stole not only a safe, but also a briefcase filled with personal papers. Both items were recovered from the home of Pamela Wiggins, who's charged with accessory after the fact to murder.
In a newly released police affidavit, suspected mastermind Leonard Gonzalez Jr. allegedly spoke of knowing the victims and receiving past financial support for the opening of a martial arts studio. The family attorney suggests it may have been one of many donations that Billings made to the community. Investigators also believe Gonzalez Jr. was once on Billings' payroll.
MORGAN: Mr. Gonzalez worked I think for an automobile dealership. Again, we're verifying that information that he worked with one of the companies that Mr. Billings had and owned an interest in.
CANDIOTTI: There's also new information about the crime scene. Police documents indicate the couple was killed in their bedroom. And for the first time, their daughter says they kept no guns inside the house.
(on camera): You must have gone over this in your head a million times.
MARKHAM: I play it over every second of every day. You know, you just -- you think about, was there pain? You know, were they scared? The children. It just -- it plays in my mind constantly.
CANDIOTTI: What a difficult time for this family. You know, the sheriff, the numbers keep shifting, but the sheriff says he now has maybe nine more people that he wants to talk with. And says he is still planning to make at least one more arrest.
CHETRY: Susan Candiotti following the latest developments in this disturbing case for us this morning. Thanks.
ROBERTS: New this morning, allegations of racial profiling after the arrest of one of the best-known black scholars in the country. Police in Cambridge, Massachusetts say they were called to Henry Lewis Gates Jr.'s home after a woman reported seeing a man trying to pry open the front door. Well, that man was Gates. He was apparently locked out.
Police say Gates refused to identify himself, called an officer, racist, and said, quote, "This is what happens to black men in America." He was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct, and has got a court appearance coming up on the 26th of August.
Professor Gates along with other notables like comedian Tyler Perry are part of our "BLACK IN AMERICA" special report. A two-night event, premieres tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Make sure you don't miss it.
CHETRY: All right. We look forward to it.
And still ahead, we're going to be talking to Governor Ed Rendell out of Pennsylvania.
For a lot of governors, there are some concerns that they are going to get an unfunded mandate with the health care plan, especially when it comes to paying for Medicaid. And so we're going to hear both sides of that issue. You're talking to Bobby Jindal as well.
ROBERTS: Yes, Bobby Jindal from Louisiana who penned a scathing editorial about the Obama and Democratic health care plans. But the governor has got his own problems when it comes to health care in the state. So we'll talk about all of that.
It's 10 minutes after the hour.
ROBERTS: New this morning, one of the most popular stories on cnn.com.
The Beastie Boys cancelling all scheduled concert and delaying the release of their next album while one of the group's members battles cancer. Adam Yauch also known as MCA told fans in a video posted on the band's Web site that he has a cancerous tumor in his salivary gland.
CHETRY: A government safety agency is coming out with some new warnings about the hazards of drivers using cell phones. The "New York Times" says that the findings were delayed. That they were delayed for years. The findings showed driver distraction contributes to about 25 percent of all traffic accidents. The report says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration kept the warnings secret for fear of angering Congress and perhaps losing funding.
ROBERTS: And just days before she leaves office, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is hit with yet another ethics complaint. This one alleging she failed to submit gift disclosure forms on time. It's the 19th ethics grievance filed against Governor Palin or her staff. Fifteen have been resolved without any finding of wrong doing.
CHETRY: Well, the time when Republicans and even some Democrats are questioning the cost and the scope of President Obama's health care reform plan. He's asking them to set their objections and politics aside for an overhaul that he says is urgently needed.
Pennsylvania's Democratic Governor Ed Rendell is watching the debate closely. He joins us now from Harrisburg.
And I'm sure you've heard some of the criticisms growing. There have been some who say that it's going to be difficult, including other governors who say that it's really amounts to an unfunded mandate, especially when dealing with Medicaid costs.
What do you think?
GOV. ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, I think there are two issues that are important to governors. Number one, we've got to get this done. Every governor knows that there are too many uninsured people in his state. There are too many people who have insurance but it doesn't really do anything. If you get cancer, you get dropped. There are too many people who can't get health insurance, because they have a preexisting condition. That is the number one domestic issue, and we've got to put aside partisan politics and resolve it. That's number one.
Number two, we don't want it to be resolved on the backs of states that are already struggling financing. There was some talk in the Senate plan that as you expand Medicaid to go up over 100 percent of poverty to 150 percent, let's say, that the states we're going to have to bear 100 percent of that cost. That would be the largest unfunded mandate in history on the states, and something that we wouldn't absorb. But we do think this has to get done.
RENDELL: We believe it can be worked out, and we believe it's the number one priority for people in each of our states. That's what everybody tells me. If they have health care, they're afraid they're going to lose it, or they're afraid they're not going to be able to afford it anymore. If they don't have health care, they are desperate. CHETRY: So the one I want to ask you, as a governor of a huge state, and you guys need to deal with this situation, as well. You're right about the health care problems. People not being insured. And also a large number of retirees in your state. Many of them who are going to be needing Medicaid benefits.
Are we trying to rush this through too quickly? And do we need to stop and take a breath and make sure it gets done right. Or do you think that August is a reasonable time frame?
RENDELL: Well, I think you're going to get difficult bills if they get passed, different bills in the House and different bills in the Senate. And it's going to go to a conference committee.
And I think in the conference committee, a lot of the problems can be ironed out. For example, I strongly disagree with the CBO that says we can't contain costs and pay for part of the expansion of health care from the cost containment. We've done it in Pennsylvania.
Kiran, let me give you one example -- hospital acquired infections. In 2006, they cost the health care delivery system $3.5 billion in charges. We put together a tough bill to control hospital infections in the first year, cut eight percent of the cost, reducing $358 million from going into the system. And that's one of just 20, 25 different ways we can contain costs and save money and reduce the cost of our delivery system.
So we've got to find a way to score all of those changes. Because I firmly believe if you put a medical record system in, you can cut billions of dollars each and every year from the cost of our health care delivery system. There's so many good ideas. I'm not saying it can pay for itself entirely, but we can certainly reduce the long run cost of the system. Now, the administration has to do a better job of spelling out what those costs containment proposals are.
CHETRY: And that's one of the things that the Mayo Clinic is also criticizing. The Mayo clinic has been held up as a model, you know, for both sides of this debate in terms of having credibility. And one of the things that they worry about is that this legislation they say misses the opportunity to create higher quality, more affordable health care for patients.
They're saying that they need legislators to create these payment systems that pay for good patient results at reasonable costs. They say, otherwise, any hope of transforming the American health care system is going to wither.
What do you think about the Mayo Clinic's criticism?
RENDELL: Well, Kiran, they're absolutely right. In Pennsylvania, we've started to pay for performance, not for how many visits someone makes to a doctor. We're starting to pay for how does the doctor do in keeping that patient out of the hospital?
I think performance has to be put back into the system. Right now, we have a system that pays for visits or pays for the amount of medicine prescribed, and it's a system with no incentives based on performance, no incentive based on cost control. So I think the Mayo Clinic is right. If you look at Kaiser Permanente in California, they've done an excellent job in controlling costs. We can do this. And we can insure all of our people.
In Pennsylvania, thanks to what the president and the Congress did. We now have completed a plan that I started in 2006 to ensure every child, to give every child access to health care, and it hasn't caused our costs to go up dramatically.
CHETRY: I want to ask you about this. It's not what we brought you on to talk about, but I couldn't help but wondering what you think about this disturbing claims of racism in this Philadelphia police department Web site. It's not their Web site, but it's one that's popular with many officers on the force.
Allegations of racist comments being made. And this comes on the heels, of course, of that situation at the Pennsylvania swim club.
How concerned are you about these allegations of racism?
RENDELL: Well, I'm concerned, you know. Everyone has sort of assumed we elected the first African-American president, all of our problems would vanish. That's not so. There are still people who have racist attitudes. We have to make clear that those attitudes are unacceptable. While we have the incident at the swim club, and I was very proud of our Human Relations Commission without any push from me, they immediately launched an investigation into the conduct of the swim club. We've got to be vigilant to make sure that what remnants of racism exist, and they certainly do, that they are ferreted out, and that we say as a society that's totally unacceptable.
And I think the police department has done a good job so far. I think they'll deal with this problem effectively. But Americans have to stay on their toes. Racism just because we have a -- I think a terrific, African-American president, that doesn't mean that racism is dead in this country.
CHETRY: Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, always great to talk to you. I bet you're happy about the Phillies, by the way.
RENDELL: Thanks, Kiran.
CHETRY: All right. Thank you.
ROBERTS: Coming up in about 20 minute's time, by the way, at 8:35 Eastern, we're going to be talking with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to get the Republican side of the argument regarding health care.
Now 19 minutes after the hour.
ROBERTS: Well, here's something that will paralyze you, how about $23.7 billion? That's what the nation can be on the hook for if everything goes wrong with this TARP bill. Our Christine Romans "Minding Your Business" this morning.
What an astonishing figure.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I know. The bailout cop, the guy who's in charge of sort of tracking the money and telling Treasury -- the Treasury Department, how he like to make sure there's good oversight, he calls this the total potential government support of all of the backstop bailouts, loans, guarantees, lines of credit, you name it, throw it altogether. And it's double the size of the American economy, it's $23.7 billion.
This is -- this is what the bailout cop in his report says. It said that TARP, the Troubled Assets Relief Program, essentially was like 12 programs involving $3 trillion. He's launched 35 different investigations into fraud, pilfering and mismanagement and he says the rescue efforts overall could cost some $23.7 trillion. That's the total potential government support.
Now, people who are digging into this number will tell you, it's a little bit misleading. And in fact, the Treasury Department spokesperson says that it's distorted or inflated, because that doesn't count all the collateral against this. It doesn't count the value of some of the mortgages that might be put up as collateral. It doesn't count money that's been paid back, frankly, with interest. Some $6 billion in dividend payments that have been paid back to taxpayers, $200 million in interest payments.
You know, it also counts in there say $14.9 billion in a bridge loan for JPMorgan Chase to buy Bear Stearns. That was paid back in full with interest and dividends.
So, that's including just everything. It's a number you're going to hear a lot about today.
The bottom line, I think, is that this man Neil Barofsky is saying that he wants better oversight, that more needs to be done from Treasury, that we don't know how all of this money is spent. He would like to know how the banks are lending a little bit better, what they're doing with the money, that there still are some weaknesses here in spending that money.
CHETRY: All right. Well, also, there is some airline news to talk about this morning. Continental, right, reported a pretty big loss earlier.
ROMANS: Yes, it's not a surprise that the airlines are having a lot of trouble. People aren't flying as much, you know. I mean, it's really a tough atmosphere out there for the airlines. Some folks who have been tracking airlines have been telling me it's the worst kind of environment for them since the early 1980s.
Continental, $213 million loss. It's going to cut 1700 more jobs and it's raising its bag fees, and also, you know, its fee for making a reservation on the phone by $5. When they're raising fees, you tend to see other airlines try to raise fees. You know, it's -- you're going to pay more. You're paying more fees. ROBERTS: I have not been on a plane in the last six months that hasn't been totally full.
ROMANS: You keep saying that. You know, I've heard that some planes are grounding some flights.
CHETRY: I happen to be on a plane that (INAUDIBLE), but they're not making as many routes, or as many runs.
ROMANS: They're using smaller planes if they can so they can fill up those smaller planes and use less jet fuel and keep the routes that are making money going. Keep the -- where they're making money, they want to keep going. But they're grounding some flights.
ROBERTS: I don't know where these empty planes are. I haven't seen them. I have not seen them.
CHETRY: They're parked on the runway.
ROMANS: They're parked on the runway, right. They're losing money. These airlines are losing money big. And I think this is supposed to be the best time of the year for them, and it's just been -- it's been a rotten ride about now in terms of how much passenger, their traffic, so...
ROBERTS: Maybe they can fly to Fargo or something. Maybe they'll find enough to fill up...
ROMANS: Maybe you will.
What are you going to do in Fargo, John? What are you going to do in Fargo?
ROBERTS: It's a lovely place.
ROMANS: Hey, the unemployment rate is 8.2 percent. Sorry.
CHETRY: She's a numbers geek.
ROMANS: Oh, stop me now. Stop me.
CHETRY: That's why we love you.
It's about 25 minutes past the hour.
CHETRY: Beautiful shot today from San Francisco, California, courtesy of KGO. It's overcast right now, 53 degrees out there at 5:27 in the morning. A little bit later, it's going to be cloudy and typical for San Francisco this time of year. 65 degrees for a high.
Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.
A small group of Marines are training to fight in Afghanistan with words instead of bullets. Twelve hours a day for 12 months straight, they're being immersed in a language called Pashto. It's spoken across southern Afghanistan. It's one of the most difficult languages in the world.
Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence is live in Washington to explain why it's so important for these Marines to learn the native language there.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kiran. Yes, I don't know how they do it. But it is essential to the new U.S. strategy, which is not just about bombing the Taliban, but about getting good intelligence and building those kind of relationships with the Afghan people.
LAWRENCE (voice over): What kind of class could make a Marine sergeant sweat? The one where he has one year to learn Pashto.
(on camera): What are some of the more difficult sounds to make?
MARINE SERGEANT, SPECIAL OPS. LANGUAGE STUDENT: The "kaf". It comes down from the Adam's apple, almost. And it's -- it's like you're coughing. So there's that one. And then the "he" versus the "hu."
LAWRENCE (voice over): Pashto is the primary language in southern Afghanistan. And the class is six weeks in the Camp Lejeune's crash course.
SERGEANT: It's not just learning to re-pronounce an a, but like actually reconstruct your throat and everything else to try to model the sounds that these people speak in their language.
LAWRENCE: It's brand new, the fastest language course in the military for troops heading to the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. We're protecting their identities because they're part of an elite group at the Marine Special Operations Command.
It's total immersion, seven hours a day in class, then five hours of studying, and eventually being dropped in a foreign country.
In the next room, they're learning another Afghan language, Dari.
The woman in charge of the program says the Marines will be able to explain operations and support opinions in the native tongue.
TANYA WOODCOOK, LANGUAGE PROGRAM MANAGER: Because one shot, one kill, it's not the answer anymore. LAWRENCE: Very few military translators speak the languages of southern Afghanistan and Pakistan. Troops have to trust local translators, which isn't the same as a U.S. Marine.
WOODCOOK: They know their mission and their goal and certain things cannot be really disclosed to an interpreter.
LAWRENCE: So while fellow Marines practice their aim outside, the real battle for Afghanistan may be won with words.
LAWRENCE: Yes, and if this works, every Marine special ops team will have a fluent fellow Marine on their team. Something that could become a model for a lot more of the military. Tough, tough languages, Kiran.
CHETRY: Yes, it sounds unbelievable to try to just get that little slight difference in sound.
LAWRENCE: I couldn't even get a word out. How they can do that in six week is amazing.
CHETRY: That's 12 hours a day. That's a lot of cramming for exams, right?
CHETRY: Chris Lawrence for us. Pretty neat. Thanks.
ROBERTS: Coming up now 31 minutes after the hour. And checking our top stories this morning. Pakistan's military says more than 50 militants are dead after two days of bloody fighting in the northwest region in the country near the border of Afghanistan. Officials also say three Pakistani soldiers were killed. The violence comes as some two million civilians head back to the neighboring Swat Valley region after a huge turf war with the Taliban.
CHETRY: Family and friends of Army Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl are telling him to stand tall and stand firm. This morning, the military has confirmed that he was taken by the Taliban in Afghanistan. And earlier on AMERICAN MORNING, a local sheriff is speaking for the soldier's family told us how his entire town is pulling together to support the family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF WALT FEMLKING, BLAINE COUNTY, IDAHO: Everything about our community is, you know, we are a tight group. You know, the community just jumps right into action immediately. You know everywhere you drive, are yellow ribbons and they're passing yellow ribbons out, and you know that is comforting. You know, that all that positive energy, you know, all their prayers are going in Bowe's direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CHETRY: The Pentagon says that Private Bergdahl was captured three weeks ago on June 30th.
ROBERTS: And you know from the scandal that brought down President Nixon, the now infamous Watergate Hotel heading to the auction block. Bids are scheduled to start coming in this morning. The hotel's owner reportedly got a foreclosure notice last month after defaulting on his loans, still owing $40 million.
CHETRY: Well, responding to a call about a break-in, Boston police ended up arresting one of the nation's most renowned black scholars, Henry Louis Gates Jr. What's more is Gates is actually trying to get into his own home. Police say he refused to come out and talk to them when they arrived. Gates says it's a clear case of racial profiling. And joining me now to talk about this is Professor Gates' attorney, Charles Ogletree. Thanks for joining us this morning.
ON THE PHONE PROF. CHARLES OGLETREE, ATTORNEY FOR PROF. HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR.: Good morning.
CHETRY: All right. Tell us what happened. I understand that you guys released a statement and you said that Professor Gates was arriving home. He spent a week in China. And what happened when he arrived at his house?
OGLETREE: Well, he just returned from China visiting the ancestral home of Yoyo Ma, who is one of the subjects for his PBS Special, and the driver and he took his bags to his house, in the porch, the front door would not open, so Mr. Gates went around the back, used his key, opened the back door. And still couldn't get the front door open. They pushed it, then it finally did open, and he went inside. He immediately called the Harvard real estate company who owns the house and said my door's not working, can you send someone to repair it because I don't want to be here tonight without it working.
After he did that, talking on the phone with his phone to his ear, he saw a police officer on his front porch and he went to the porch thinking this was someone there to help the door. And the police officer just said step outside. He said, what? Just step outside. He goes, I live here this is my house. He said just step outside, sir. Who are you and why are you here? This is where I live. The officer said you need to step outside. He said I live here, I work for Harvard University. Professor Gates, people know me, this is my home.
The officer said I need some identification. He went to the kitchen table to pick up his wallet with his Harvard I.D. with the photograph, his driver's license with a photograph and his address and said here's my I.D., the officer had walked into his house behind him, followed him to his kitchen as he got the I.D. and then Professor Gates said this is my house, he said we have a report of a breaking and entering in progress. He said I live here, why are you doing this to me? I'm going to file a complaint. I told you this is my house, I gave you my I.D. and I'm the owner of the home. It went on and he did say are you doing this because I'm an African-American and you're a white police officer? This makes no sense for you to question me like this in my home.
CHETRY: And what did the officer say when he asked that question, when he asked if this was racial profiling?
OGLETREE: He said that's not - Professor Gates said, the question here was why are you doing this because I'm a black man and you're a white police officer. Why is this happening to me? I live here. And Professor Gates noticed other police officers on the porch from the Harvard University Police Department. And he said, hey, you guys know me, right? And the officer said yes, Professor Gates, we know you.
This is not our case. It's the Cambridge Police case. He said please call the chief, meaning Chief Bud Riley, of the Harvard Police because the chief knows Professor Gates. He lives in the neighborhood and explains he was at his own home. And Professor Gates went out to talk to the officers. He was then - the officer who had come to the door said now you've responded to my request by coming outside, you're under arrest. He put handcuffs on him and didn't tell him what he was charged with at all at that point and arrested him.
And there were people there, Professor Gates as you know who is handicapped. He says I can't walk without my cane. These cuffs are uncomfortable, will you please put them in the front. Another officer released the cuffs, put them in the front of Professor Gates instead of his back, they went into his house and got his cane and then placed him in the police car where he went to the police station. He was there for four hours and was released at 5:30 after arriving there a little bit after 1:00.
ROBERTS: Hey, Mr. Ogletree, it's John Roberts here together with Kiran. In the narrative here that you constructed, it doesn't sound like there was any sort of heated conversation between the professor and the officer. Did that conversation ever become confrontational? I mean why would an officer arrest him and I guess the charge was disorderly conduct, unless there was some sort of a heated exchange?
OGLETREE: Well, even if with disorderly conduct, you've got to figure out what the conduct, what's the crime here. And the reality is that Professor Gates was protesting, this is my house, I live here, ask anybody.
ROBERTS: Right. But can you characterize the tone of that conversation? Did it ever rise to the point where the officer would've felt that the professor was being belligerent and therefore would arrest him? Or are you saying that the professor was calm, cool, collected, all the way along and was just making a rational argument and this police officer -
OGLETREE: He was very frustrated, there's no question about that, but belligerent is not the case. He never touched the officer, never pointed at the officer. And in fact, he was trying to stay in his house having produced identification saying what more do I need to do. This is my house. Why would be - ROBERTS: Mr. Ogletree, will you pursue any sort of case of wrongful arrest here?
OGLETREE: Right now, we're talking with the Cambridge Police, the district attorney's office, and the city of Cambridge to try to resolve this as soon as possible. We hope that's what will happen is that cooler heads will prevail in looking at this case and there's no statute in Massachusetts that Professor Gates violated. And that the charges will be dropped and we hope that will happen, quite frankly.
CHETRY: In the meantime, he has an August 26th court appearance, right?
OGLETREE: Well, August 26th is an eternity away. We're hoping it will happen this week.
CHETRY: And so the question is -
OGLETREE: He has not been officially arraigned. He was in court on Friday the day after his arrest and there was no charges brought. The prosecutors needed more time. So no charges have been formally brought, and the question will be whether or not any will be brought or the crime of disorderly conduct when the facts or circumstances are fully presented in a coherent fashion based on witness observations and even the police recording about what happened.
As you can see from the report, I'm sure you've seen it, the report from a neighbor was that two black men wearing backpacks.
OGLETREE: Well, Professor Gates who did not have a backpack and the driver who was in a tuxedo and a tie and a limousine, his luggage was on the porch. So you begin to see how these things get out of hand.
OGLETREE: All this takes was a cool observation of - and the reality is, if you think about this, you walk into the house with the police officer and you see three things, you see his Harvard I.D. with his photographs, so you know who he is, see his driver's license with his photograph -
OGLETREE: And then you see as well his address on the driver's license that matches the address where you are. Those are the facts. He produced that.
CHETRY: And Professor Ogletree, just tell us quickly what is his state of mind today after all this happened?
OGLETREE: Well, he picked up some kind of virus in China, so he's been, you know, pretty under the weather for about a week. And has serious case of congestion now. So he's trying to continue his documentary for PBS, and we hope that that will be on schedule. But he's not been able to get around the way he hopes to get around. But at least, he's out of Cambridge. He's here in Martha's Vineyard trying to get a little bit of rest and catch up on the days of production that are lost. And he's not going to be making any statements now, but he really hopes to get back on schedule to put be able to put this matter behind him.
CHETRY: All right. Let us know how it turns out. We'll follow what ultimately is decided. Professor Charles Ogletree, the lawyer for Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.. Thanks.
ROBERTS: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal coming up right after the break. It's 20 minutes down to the top of the hour.
ROBERTS: Welcome back to the most news in the morning. The president will see you now. Key House democrats being summoned to the White House today for some not so subtle arm twisting on health care reform. President Obama's looking for every vote that he can get to push health care reform through Congress by the August recess. Republicans, though, are fighting him every step of the way.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has been a vocal critic and he is with us this morning from Baton Rouge.
Governor, it's good to see you.
You penned a rather scathing editorial for the politico.com on the democrats' health care proposals. But your state ranks dead last in the United Health Foundation survey of overall health. It also had the fourth highest Medicare cost per patient in the country from 1996 through 2006, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. So some people out there might be wondering if you're the best person to be criticizing the administration's plans for health care reform.
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: Well, John, a couple of things. We've actually got a very aggressive waiver in front of the federal government allowing us, asking them for permission, allows us to revamp our public health care programs to put more of an emphasis on outcomes. Louisiana's a great example of what's wrong with many of our government-run health care programs.
You're looking at Medicare, the Dartmouth data shows that higher spending doesn't always correlate to better outcomes. Here's my concern with the House democratic proposal, what's being discussed. You know, they say that if you like your health care, you can keep it. But that's not what this plan does.
They say they're going to control costs, but even their own budget office says their plan doesn't do it. They say they're going to expand access, look at what their plan really does. It increases the deficits by nearly $250 billion. You got a plan that in reality, our own budget office that it doesn't reduce costs, it increases taxes at a time that we may be in one of the worst recession since the Great Depression. No economist thinks we should be increasing taxes right now on employers, on small businesses, on families that don't want to participate in this health care program. And then finally, finally you've got a plan, the House democratic plan that puts the government in between doctors and their patients. That's no way to improve quality.
And so, if they were actually doing what they said they were doing, that'd be one thing, but that's not what their plan does. At least you've got to give Senator Kennedy credit. In "Newsweek" this past weekend, he admitted his idea was to have a single payor government-run health care system. I don't think that's the answer for our country. I think we should actually do what the rhetoric says, let's focus on reducing costs. Let's focus on increasing quality. Let's not expand the government's role in running our healthcare.
ROBERTS: Okay, governor, three points here. You mentioned the cost. And it's (inaudible) from the Congressional Budget Office sent shock waves through Capitol Hill when he said that over 10 years this could add $239 billion to the deficit. But at the same time, if Congress does its job, they could come up with a savings of $245 billion in that same 10-year period leading to a $6 billion surplus.
Do you not have faith that Congress can get that part of the job done?
JINDAL: Well, I've got a lot of skepticism about some of the things coming out of this Congress. You look over this plan, this includes over $200 billion in reductions for Medicare and Medicaid. So sure, you know, maybe they could balance this if they want to continue cutting Medicare and Medicaid programs for the elderly and the poor, but there's a better way to reduce costs than simply just cutting one provider group and raising our taxes, there are some real true bottom up solutions.
For example, one (INAUDIBLE) frivolous lawsuit, we spend by one estimate over $100 billion on defensive medicine. Why not allow small businesses to pool their purchasing power instead of just expanding government run programs like Medicaid. Why not allow refundable tax credits to be used to help the uninsured buy coverage? Why not use portable electronic records. Why not require providers and plans to post their prices and outcomes on the internet so patients can be in control. Why not do things that actually reduce the cost of care.
Let's address the problems with our insurance marketplace. Let's make the insurance companies cover the sick. Let's make coverage affordable across state lines. Why should the coverage be tied to your employment? You should be able to buy health care whether through your church, your union, your bowling league. It shouldn't just be tied to employment.
ROBERTS: Couple of other points here. You said that most Americans would end up being forced into a government-run health care in this editorial. What makes you think that most Americans would be forced into anything first of all. And secondly, saying it's government-run health care really is misleading, isn't it? Because it's actually not the government that would be running the health care system. That would still be private, it would just be providing insurance.
JINDAL: No, you're talking about a government-run health option. And here's -
ROBERTS: Yes, but it's government-run health insurance, it's not government-run health care, which is what you said in your editorial.
JINDAL: Well, it's government-run health care in that they'll be deciding the rates, they'll be deciding what benefits are covered. They'll be deciding who they're going to pay, what procedures you can get. That's government-run health care. But look at the Lohan(ph) study, they estimate that as many as 100 million Americans may leave private coverage for this government run plan. And this is a very important point.
ROBERTS: But they also say as few as 10.1 million may leave for government-run health care depending on how the plan is formulated. That 119 million was the upper level and even the people who wrote that report said that's a worst case scenario.
JINDAL: But you're talking about the same government that's paying for health care, regulating health care, now competing, it's going to be taxpayer subsidized. By their own estimates, they say that because the government will be shifting costs to the private sector, they're going to be underpaying providers, they'll be able to undercut their competition until they drive the competition out of the marketplace, because it's taxpayer-backed.
You know that they'll have a lower cost of debt. They will be able to artificially shift costs. That's what happens today in Medicare and Medicaid. That's why you've got democratic legislators concerned. What happens today with Medicare and Medicaid is they underpay shifting costs to the private sector, so you can have a government-run plan doing the same thing. They will be artificially able to drive the private sector out of competition. Look, John -
ROBERTS: Governor, governor, if I could just point out. That's one argument. But the Urban Institute Health Policy Center says "private plans would not disappear. Private plans that offer better services and greater access to providers even if somewhat higher costs than the public pans would survive the competition in this environment." You also pointed out in your editorial, you said "someone other than patients and doctors would make the decision on treatments and medicines that we can have."
Doesn't that already happen under private plans?
JINDAL: Well, and we absolutely need to empower patients. It doesn't matter whether it's government or insurance bureaucrats. And that's what we need to reform the insurance program. Nobody is saying that what we have today is perfect, what we're saying is more government control's not the answer. But John, let's go back to this idea of competing with the government. Why do we think you have to have a government competition to make the private sector work? We don't think that about factories or stores or newspapers or TV stations. You know the government is already involved in running banks and car companies. Why do we think more government involvement in running healthcare is the answer?
Here in Louisiana we saw what happens when you've got a government monopoly. We saw what happened with FEMA after Katrina and Rita. We're not convinced that a government monopoly, that a government-run health care plan is going to improve quality. I think the opposite is true.
I think you're going to have more bureaucratic, more political decisions made out of Washington but what kinds of care you can get, who can pay for it, what kinds of treatments, who's allowed to get which treatments. I don't want the government making that decision, I, as a consumer want to be able to choose my plan, my provider, my doctor, based on what's best for me and based on what's best for my family.
ROBERTS: Well, it would appear the way things are going there's still a whole lot discussion to have on all of this. Governor Bobby Jindal, it's good to see you back out in the public eye again. Thanks for being with us this morning.
JINDAL: Thank you, John.
ROBERTS: Appreciate it. It's now 10 minutes to the top of the hour.
CHETRY: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. We know that being active is an important part of staying healthy. Playing on a sports team is a great way to accomplish that. But you've probably never seen a soccer league quite like the one we're about to introduce to you to. The guys on this team all have one thing in common. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now for today's "Fit Nation." Tell us more about this very unique team.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, you wouldn't necessarily put the idea of soccer and homelessness together in the same sentence, but that's exactly what we're talking about today.
One thing I have found is there is a lot of hopelessness associated with homelessness and it's really where the genesis of a lot of different problems. If you can find some sort of structure, something that provides some sort of hope that can make a world of difference. So I decided to spend a day with a street USA soccer team to find out how this could possibly all work. Take a look.
GUPTA (voice-over): It's a hot, humid day, but Calvin Riley and the rest of his soccer team don't mind the heat. It's easy to see their dedication. But something else was not so obvious. All of these men are homeless. Riley found himself on the streets after the company he worked for suddenly went bankrupt.
CALVIN RILEY, ATLANTA STREET SOCCER PLAYER: I never thought I'd be homeless. To be honest with you, I had a good job. But I never thought that I'd be in a homeless shelter.
GUPTA: Depressed, overwhelmed, he joined the Atlanta's street soccer USA team. It's part of a national program designed to inspire hope and to restore self-worth. It's for men who are homeless, recovering drug addicts, or refugees.
JEREMY WISHAM, COACH, ATLANTA STREET SOCCER: You stop thinking about yourself and health and things that make you happy, things that make you want to live, that make you want to be a productive member of society that make you want to get up and go to work.
GUPTA: There are 16 teams around the country that will compete against each other in July. It's called the U.S. Homeless Cup. And about a dozen players deemed to have overcome the greatest obstacles will moved on to Milan in this year's Homeless World Cup.
WISHAM: What we're trying to do is just provide case management, medical, transportation, employment, whatever it is we can do. Well, kike I said, we don't - this isn't a program that you have to force somebody into.
GUPTA (on camera): All starting with soccer.
WISHAM: All starting with soccer, yes.
GUPTA (voice-over): For Riley, soccer helped him turn his life around. With his teammate support, he went back to school. He has a job lined up after graduation. He has lost weight, and he quit smoking.
RILEY: When you joined this time, it's like a family. If you need anything, we'll be there for you. It's helped me, you know, being around, you know, positive people. Trying to get out of this, not trying to stay here, but trying to get out and better themselves.
GUPTA: Against all odds, these men are making goals happen, both on and off the court.
GUPTA: I can tell you, Kiran, there's really a universal language to sports. And the thing I think that struck me the most is the support system that comes with being a part of the team like this. A lot of these people have really felt isolated as a result of being homeless and suddenly they had the support structure, which infiltrates into all sorts of different parts of their lives. So besides getting fit, they feel like they have a real opportunity.
CHETRY: And as we saw with Riley, you said he's going through graduation and he's about to start a new job. What about for some of the others, does having this connection to the soccer team help them get off the street?
GUPTA: Yes, it really seems to. You know, as a result of even the networking within the soccer team. A lot of these folks, for example, haven't had jobs, but they meet people who have jobs at the time or applying for jobs. A lot of times they don't speak English as a first language, as well. Sop getting that sort of coaching seems to make a difference. It doesn't seem to work for everybody, but a lot of those players that you just saw in that piece as a result of the street soccer team have been able to upwardly mobile in terms of getting jobs or at least getting home of some sort.
CHETRY: Wow. Great inspiring story.
CHETRY: The Homeless World Cup, who would've thought? That's so great. Follow it for us and we'd like to know how it turns out. All right. Great to see you as always.
GUPTA: Thanks, Kiran.
CHETRY: Thanks. 56 minutes past the hour.
ROBERTS: It's now a minute to the top of the hour. A quick programming note for you. Texas congressman Ron Paul is going to be with us tomorrow morning at this time. We'll be talking to him about taxing the rich to pay for the administration's $1 trillion health care proposal. You don't want to miss it. He's always good to have on. That's tomorrow 7:30 Eastern right here on AMERICAN MORNING.
CHETRY: And we want to say thanks for being with us this morning. You can always continue the conversation on today's stories on our blog at cnn.com/amfix. Hope to see you back here tomorrow.
Meantime, here's "CNN NEWSROOM" with Heidi Collins.