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Laying Kennedy to Rest; Low Cost Health Care Model; Katrina Washed Away Bad School System; Dangerous Method for Meth Production Becoming More Popular; Getting Creative on Re-Employment; Health Care Debate Continues in Town Hall Meetings

Aired August 27, 2009 - 08:00   ET


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, once again. It is Thursday, August 27th. Thanks for being with us on this AMERICAN MORNING.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I'm John Roberts.

Here's what's on this morning's agenda. The stories that we'll be breaking down for you in the next 15 minutes.

Celebrating the life of a patriarch and political legend. This morning the Kennedy family will come together to remember Senator Ted Kennedy. In just a moment we'll take you live to Hyannis Port and Boston for today's order of events.

CHETRY: Some call it a model for affordable health care in this make or break month, John had a chance to go inside the prestigious Cleveland Clinic and meet doctors and nurses and nurse staffers who are revolutionizing the way that patients get treated at the same time keeping costs under control.

ROBERTS: Well, they call it shake and bake. And it has nothing to do with chicken. It's a simple and dangerous way to make methamphetamine at home. A drug expert will be live to show you why meth made easy is making a startling comeback across the country

CHETRY: But first, remembering the last son of Camelot today. This afternoon, the family - the Kennedy family will be holding a private mass for Senator Kennedy. The senator's body will then be taken to the JFK Presidential Library in Boston where it will lie in repose. A private funeral is scheduled this Saturday at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica in Boston's Mission Hill.

President Obama will also deliver the eulogy to his friend and colleague whose endorsement meant so much to his election victory. Then Senator Kennedy will be buried near his brothers at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington.

Our John King is live in Boston, outside of the Kennedy Presidential Library. And we also have Deb Feyerick outside the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port. And we start with Deb this morning where people are mourning a loss, but at the same they are celebrating Kennedy's life this morning. Hi, Deb. DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Kiran. Well you know, it is very much a celebration. This is a man who really had a year to finish up, to accomplish those things he left outstanding and the one thing, of course, that he was not able to do is, of course, get health care passed in due time. Although he and those around him do expect that will happen. Now, the children will say goodbye really with a heavy heart. Remember, there were 29 cousins -- Kennedy cousins, and for them, Ted Kennedy was really pivotal, really essential to their lives. So, as they wake up this morning, as the sun comes up here at Hyannis Port, it will be a very long day. It was a long night already as they all stood vigil.


FEYERICK (voice-over): Senator Edward Kennedy's final journey begins. A somber motorcade carrying him away from Hyannis Port, away from his boat and the ocean he loved so much, and endless days of family, past and present.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We should celebrate his life, not, you know, be sad about it. But he did a lot of things.

FEYERICK: Since Kennedy's death late Tuesday, his sons Patrick and Teddy Jr. have been among family and cousins, insiders say, keeping round the clock watch over Uncle Teddy, larger than life even in death. Family friend Teresa Heinz Kerry...

TERESA HEINZ KERRY, KENNEDY FAMILY FRIEND: Listening to Teddy speaks, he said my dad died in such a peaceful way, I was so afraid of what it might be like and it was wonderful. So, when you hear a child say that, you can feel better.

FEYERICK: The trip from Cape Cod to Boston expected to take less than two hours, the senator's body will lie in repose at the library he built for his older brother, President John Kennedy, lovingly transforming it into a forum for change and public service -- a memorial to be held there Friday at 7:00 in the evening. And on Saturday, a private mass nearby at one of Ted Kennedy's favorite churches before he is flown to Arlington National Cemetery to be buried near his brothers.

Over the next 60 days, Kennedy staff will archive the senator's materials and close his office. The secretary of the Senate saying they cannot continue any legislative or other work underway before he died. New senior Senator John Kerry is hoping to fight to have Kennedy's seat temporarily filled.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: He's asking simply for a temporary ability to appoint someone who will not run, will not get in the way of other people that want to run, who will be there for a moment only.


FEYERICK: Now, a friend of the family says Ted Kennedy's widow, Vicki Reggie, said of the two of them that they had a wonderful year. That Senator Kennedy was able to do everything he wanted except pass health care and that they really were lucky to have this time together.

So, they are celebrating his life, clearly a great deal of sadness as they begin this long trek, because for so many of the family here who have gathered at Hyannis Port, it's so pivotal, such a crucial sort of great uncle, the one who always had a smile, always had a word of wisdom, always was able to give guidance, and sort of get them on their way.

Now, it's really the younger generation, the generation that includes Caroline Kennedy, and Maria Shriver, and Bobby Kennedy Jr., and Teddy Kennedy Jr. -- all of them, they're the ones now who are stepping up. They're the ones who are filling the shoes -- Kiran?

CHETRY: All right. Deb Feyerick for us this morning -- thanks.

ROBERTS: As we mentioned, the Kennedy family will hold a private mass at noon Eastern today in Hyannis Port.

An hour later, a motorcade will then leave the Kennedy compound and head north to Boston. It will pass several places significant to the senator on the way -- among them, the new Rose Kennedy Greenway in downtown Boston, named after Senator Kennedy's mother, the steps of the Massachusetts state house, the federal building where Kennedy had an office, and historic Faneuil Hall. It will eventually arrive at the Kennedy Presidential Library south of Boston.

That's where our John King is this morning.

And, John, it will be a grand celebration of the life of a person who was so important there to so many people and to the history of Massachusetts.

JOHN KING, CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It certainly was. It is the passing of the generation, the third and the youngest brother of the Kennedy brothers, Camelot they call them here in Massachusetts and some across the country. A generational passing in the Senate as well, someone who tried even in Washington, John, as you well know, to become so polarized to reach across the aisle.

So, it will be a reflection. It will be mourning. But it will also be a celebration of the life of Senator Edward Kennedy. You mentioned the drive around the city -- places critical to his family, both personal and political history, where his mom Rose grew up in the north end, where his brother Jack first lived when he was launching his political career here in Boston.

And here at the library, Senator Kennedy spent so much time making sure the exhibits were updated, making sure it was a living example -- a teaching tool, if you will -- about his brother's brief presidency. Here is where the public will have 12 hours over two days to come and visit. They say they will stretch that out a bit, if the lines are long.

And then, the private ceremonies, as well, and an Irish Catholic wake tomorrow night where John McCain and others from the United States Senate will come and tell their stories. And the family associates are telling us they hope there's a lot of laughter in the room even as people are sad at the passing of Senator Kennedy, they want to celebrate the richness and good humor that was his life.

ROBERTS: John, many senators when they get elected become creatures of Washington, that's where they spend most of their time, but Senator Kennedy always maintained very close ties to his home state.

KING: I just had a very funny conversation with the Mayor Thomas Menino, the mayor of Boston, on this very point. And he was saying that Senator Kennedy was like two senators -- yes, he was the national liberal figure, the leader in the health care reform fight, the leader in so many big national issues, the demon of national conservatives for so many years in their fundraising letters.

But he said he was also the one if you need a little more grant money, you call Teddy. If you wanted to build a community health center, you call Teddy. So, when he was home, he would say, let's got to a school and read to the children. So, he was very much a local politician and a national politician all at once. And that's why he will be missed, John.

Some of the people passing through the grounds here yesterday came over with their own story, including a woman who said years ago she didn't care much about politics, she had a family crisis and she called his office about getting some benefits for somebody in the family, you know, typical constituent services, and she said Senator Kennedy solved it in a snap and that's why she wants to pay tribute to him.

ROBERTS: No doubt there are tens of thousands of people in Massachusetts who have personal stories just like that. John King for us this morning at the JFK Library -- John, thanks so much.

CHETRY: Well, like any kid born in Boston, Ted Kennedy grew up, of course, loving the Red Sox and his hometown team paid tribute to him before last night's game against the Chicago White Sox. Here's a look.


ROBERTS: The playing of taps came after a moment of silence. Players and fans all stood, their hats in their hands. The announcement at Fenway Park calling Kennedy a member of the Red Sox family and said the team was honored when he appeared at the season's opening day to throw the first pitch 97 years after Kennedy' grandfather, Patrick Joseph Kennedy, threw out the very first pitch on Fenway's opening day. That was in 1912.

And stay with CNN for the continuing coverage of the life and death of Senator Kennedy. His body will lay in repose at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston until a memorial service tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. We will bring you that live right here on CNN and

And we'd like to hear your comments about the life and death of Senator Kennedy as well. Weigh in, go to our blog at

CHETRY: Still ahead: We're going to be speaking with the governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick. He has a big decision as well as other leaders there about appointing possibly a temporary replacement to the late Senator Ted Kennedy's seat. He also happens to be a great personal friend of the late senator. He's going to join us to talk more about many of these pressing issues now that the senator's passed.

It's eight and a half minutes after the hour.



CHETRY: Flag flying at half-staff at the White House, in honor and remembrance of Ted Kennedy.

And the death of the senator means there's an open Senate seat in Massachusetts for the first time in 25 years. Before he died, Senator Kennedy asked that leaders appoint a temporary seat-filler until a special election is held. The special election required by state law, and the likely reason is that his seat could prove crucial if Democrats want to try to pass health care reform in the Senate.

So, will it happen?

For more, I'm joined by Massachusetts governor and also a close friend of the late senator, Deval Patrick.

Governor Patrick, thanks for being with us this morning.

GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Good morning, Kiran. Good to be with you.

CHETRY: So, you know, a lot to talk about, because there are the political ramifications, there's this big health care debate going on, at the same time, there's personal mourning for a beloved figure. So, I do want to ask about your personal thoughts.

But, first, getting to this issue of appointing someone. This would be a temporary appointment. This would be someone that would not then try to seek the Senate seat, right, for a full term. Where does it stand now?

PATRICK: Well, first of all, I think you put the emphasis in the right place. It's a temporary appointment. Massachusetts needs two voices in the United States Senate, particularly at a time when such profoundly important issues are before the -- before the Congress.

What the senator said in his letter is that he, like I, supports the current law that provides for a special election about five months out after a vacancy occurs. And he also made a reasonable request that the governor be permitted to appoint someone to serve for that five-month period until the special election occurs. And as I say, I think that's imminently reasonable.

But having said that, Kiran, frankly our -- all of our thoughts are on the life and extraordinary achievements of Ted Kennedy. And prayers for the comfort of his family right now.

CHETRY: Yes. What are your best memories of him? I know you guys were very close.

PATRICK: You know, he was an extraordinary fellow, extraordinary statesman, of course, and leader as so many of the broadcasters talked about, but an extraordinary human being with a warmth and wit and sometimes even irreverence which was so fun, and a kindness about him which I would just never forget. And can think of, you know, sitting around the dinner table and singing show tunes until the early morning hours or the way he would send these very personal notes when there was some particular trial and Diane or my own personal life or a loss of some kind, just a wonderful touch about him, and a kindness as I say.


CHETRY: And a lot of people, Governor Patrick, talk about his authenticity and his passion for when he believed in something. And one of the things that we know was really his lifelong dream was to see universal health care passed. With his passing and with his vacant seat you guys are now dealing with, this is really turning into a critical situation. The decision made in the Massachusetts legislature could ultimately, could it not, change whether or not health care is passed. I mean, they're going to need every Democratic vote possible.

It puts you in the national spotlight. And so, how do you think that this should best be handled?

PATRICK: Well, I think that the legislature and the legislative leaders I know are seriously considering this request and this minor change to make a temporary appointment to the Senate. They are focused not so much on whether it should be done, but how it can be done and how to get it accomplished. And that's not a simple calculation. They've got to work their way through it, and I think they're working their way through it in good faith.

CHETRY: Right.

PATRICK: You're right about the stakes, both in terms of health care, climate change, frankly, the further considerations of how states are assisted through these very, very difficult times and how working people are put back to work. And all of these are critical issues where no time can be lost, and frankly, the persistence of partisanship in the Congress may make this even more urgent.

So, I'm hoping that the legislature will turn to it and turn to it soon. And if they send me a bill, I will sign it.

CHETRY: There's been, of course, some pushback, some criticisms about this situation. The law was changed actually back in 2004 to prevent a Republican governor from nominating a Republican, if John Kerry won the presidency. Now some are saying it's hypocrisy. It's what benefits one party, not necessarily the good of Massachusetts for this temporary appointment.

What do you say to some of those criticisms?

PATRICK: Well, I think the hypocrisy is that some of the folks making those criticisms are the ones who made this very proposal back in 2004. They thought it was good then. If it was good policy then, it's still good policy. It's like saying that the Congress of the United States shouldn't have passed the Civil Rights Act because they hadn't done it before. They considered it and voted it down before.

If it's good policy, let's do it, and let's do it now.

CHETRY: And one other question a lot of people are asking is who fills the shoes of the Kennedy dynasty? As we've said, there's been a Kennedy in the Senate for more than 50 years. Do you see a Kennedy family member, perhaps Joseph Jr., or somebody else stepping up and running? And would you support that -- a Kennedy trying to fill that vacant seat for Massachusetts in the Senate?

PATRICK: Well, you know, Kiran, I think these have very, very personal decisions for any candidate. And so, I think I -- the best thing is to wait and to see who decides on the basis of both politics and personal reasons to get in the race. We are blessed in Massachusetts with a lot of political talent, both in the Kennedy family and beyond. And I know there's a lot of interest in this seat.

But as I say, our first -- our first thoughts today, not just mine, but all of Massachusetts, are on how to honor this extraordinary life and this body of work and comfort the family.

CHETRY: Absolutely. And I know that for the next few days, your focus will certainly be remembering your great friend. Governor Deval Patrick, it was great to talk you -- thanks for being with us this morning.

PATRICK: Thank you for having me, Kiran. All the best.

ROBERTS: You know, in the debate over health care, one institution has been pointed to by President Obama and many other people as being a model of how to do first-class, world-quality health care less expensively than many other places. We'll take you behind the scenes for a tour of the Cleveland Clinic coming up next.

It's 17 minutes now after the hour.



CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. We're almost at 20 minutes past the hour.

You know, health care reform, it was Senator Ted Kennedy's cause right up until the end. But in this make or break month, reform is still as uncertain as ever.

ROBERTS: One puzzle in the debate: how to keep costs down. Earlier this week, I went to the Cleveland Clinic, which provides topnotch health care and they do it at a much lower cost than most other places.


ROBERTS (voice-over): It's among the world's top hospitals, elite surgeons, and cutting-edge medicine, and is being hailed as a model for doing health care on the cheap.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They actually have some of the lowest costs for the best care.

ROBERTS: This forward-looking model has actually been around for 88 years and it's based on the simplest of concepts: organize a hospital around the needs of the patient.

Dr. Toby Cosgrove is CEO of the Cleveland Clinic.

DR. TOBY COSGROVE, CEO, CLEVELAND CLINIC: I think the biggest thing about us is we're integrated. The doctors and hospitals are part of one organization. We're all pulling the same direction. It's the main word "team."

ROBERTS: A big difference here? The doctors are all on salary. No such thing as fee for service. Whether they order one test or 100, they get paid the same.

COSGROVE: We're all on salary. I have my own salary just like everybody else here is, and it really doesn't make any difference and when I was a practicing cardiac surgeon whether I did two or three or four heart operations a day, what I took home in my pocket was the same. So, it takes the personal impedes to do more out and simply you're not incentive to do more, on the other hand to do less, you're just incentive to look after the patient.

ROBERTS: Now, let's be clear, no one's exactly crying poverty.

(on camera): What's the range here of the salaries of doctors?

COSGROVE: Well, it could go all the way from a couple of hundred thousand up to a million.

ROBERTS (voice-over): But while that might be less than in a traditional fee-for-service setting, there are other incentives for signing on.

DR. ALEXIS SCHAFII, SURGICAL FELLOW: If you try to go out in private practice, there's a lot of overhead. You're paying for your offices, your staff, your nurses, your malpractice insurance -- it all adds up.

ROBERTS: And it's not just the salary structure that has people talking.

OBAMA: Cleveland Clinic has one of the best health information technology systems in the country.

ROBERTS (on camera): This is the old medicine, the old way of doing things, paper records for every patient who came into the Cleveland Clinic. There are 2 1/2 million files in this basement repository, another 2 1/2 million in an offsite facility. But as of May of last year, for every patient who walks in the building, the Cleveland Clinic stopped doing it this way.

(voice-over): Now, nearly everything is electronic, plugged into wireless workstations on wheels.

(on camera): This has replaced the traditional chart that you see at the end of the patient's bed?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. You don't have to flip through papers anymore, everything that you need is right here.

ROBERTS (voice-over): It means clinicians and surgeons can have instant access to the same data, aiding integration, reducing duplication, helping to eliminate errors.

It's a comfort to Keith Kasbaum who traveled from out of state for his heart surgery.

(on camera): I'm just wondering how your experience here -- you know, what you've observed is different that what you've seen in other places?

KEITH KASBAUM, PATIENT: It's a step above of what I've experienced. My limited experience, but it doesn't compare.

ROBERTS (voice-over): Electronic records haven't saved money just yet. It's expensive to set up. But overall, the Cleveland Clinic delivers health care at lower costs than most of its competitors. They hope to reduce those numbers even further with a heavy focus on wellness, a heart healthy cafeteria, a free gym for employees, yoga classes on the roof, and strict rules for anyone who wants to work there.

(on camera): Is it true that you won't hire somebody who's a smoker?

COSGROVE: That's right. We said, look, you know, we want to have a campus where we all walk the talk. And so, we've decided not to hire smokers, and as much as we test people like we test people coming in whether you're using drugs or not, we also test them for nicotine.

ROBERTS (voice-over): You can shun smokers, but is it possible to legislate a healthy lifestyle?

Dr. Toby Cosgrove believes we at least need to have that discussion and worries the debate over insurance reform is missing the bigger picture.

COSGROVE: We need to do something about insurance reform, but we also need to do something about health care reform, particularly in terms of the basics about keeping people healthier, and secondly, having a more efficient delivery system.


ROBERTS: And, you know, for all of the healthy benefits and everything that they have there in terms of -- you know, it's a lovely cafeteria. They only have fried food. It's the fried food is actually baked. There's still a McDonald's there.

CHETRY: Oh, really?

ROBERTS: There is. And, well, you know, McDonald's use -- it doesn't use trans fats anymore in terms of making French fries.


CHETRY: Why did you have to bring them up?

ROBERTS: There are still some high calorie, high fat, high sodium items there that are quite popular.

CHETRY: You need to enjoy life every now and then, right?

ROBERTS: Apparently, talking to one of the spokesmen from the hospital, they're hoping to phase that part of the system out but they have a long contract. So, they don't know exactly when it will be.

CHETRY: No. It's just fascinating to take a look at that model. There's been a lot of talk about the salary issue. How do you make incentives for physicians to work in places like that? And as he said, the salaries can go as high as a million and you don't have to worry about those everyday things, office keeping, hiring, you know, nurses, and paying for your staff.

ROBERTS: Dr. Cosgrove was saying, the fewer and fewer people coming out of medical school go into private practice, this salary idea is becoming more popular. The Mayo Clinic does it. Some other smaller hospitals do it, as well. So, and, you know, $1 million is not chump change in anybody's books that's for sure.

CHETRY: All right. Well, great piece. I'm glad we had a chance to show you guys what it looks like inside one of the top, top hospitals.

ROBERTS: I'll tell you, that's the most beautiful -- it's a brand new building. It opened last year. It's the most beautiful hospital I have ever been in and yet, they still manage to keep costs fairly low.

CHETRY: There you. You don't usually hear beautiful and hospital.

ROBERTS: Nightmare and hospital sometimes.

CHETRY: Right.

Hey, we're going back to visit four years after the storm, Hurricane Katrina, as we know, it changed the face of New Orleans, but in some ways, it may have helped make education better. We'll explain why.

Twenty-five minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: Shot of New Orleans this morning where it's cloudy right now, 74 degrees. It will be a partly cloudy later today, going up to a high of 88.

And welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. It's 28 minutes past the hour now.

You know, our special series this week. We're looking at how New Orleans is bouncing back four years after Hurricane Katrina nearly wiped the city out. As we know, the devastation has been well- documented. But the city's school system was crumbling even before the storm. And Katrina may have actually been a blessing in disguise.

CNN's Sean Callebs is following that.


SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The flood waters washed away so much here, so much lost. But they also washed away a crippling problem, a terrible public school system.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm very optimistic. I mean, when I talk to teachers and families, especially teachers that were trying to convince to move here, I tell them and I firmly believe that New Orleans in five or 10 years will be looked to as the model of how you reform an educational system.

CALLEBS: Donnell Bailey says before the reform, he did poorly in a poor public school. He failed fourth grade and says he never thought about his future.

DONNELL BAILEY, HIGH SCHOOL FRESHMAN: I actually thought the storm is a blessing in disguise.

CALLEBS: The storm forced an educational overhaul from the ground up. This man, Paul Vallas, who turned around schools in Philadelphia and Chicago is driving the change. And he's in a hurry.

PAUL VALLAS, N.O. RECOVERY SCHOOL DISTRICTS: In the recovery school districts alone, the last two years, we saw an increase in test scores in every subject at every grade level.

BAILEY: But then that change with my teachers. (INAUDIBLE) the interests were more higher, you know, and my teachers hey expected me to live up to their expectations.

CALLEBS: In fact, Donnell's new public school teachers pushed him so hard and he did so well that he received a scholarship to a $17,000 a year private school. It's a good story.

(on camera): It's a winning formula of motivated teachers, renovated schools, and new laptops. But they're not all good stories here. By state law, if students don't pass an exit exam at the end of eighth grade, they're not promoted to high school.

Kirtisha (ph) Davis studies at home because she failed that test and can't enroll in a school. Her mom says Kirtisha has a learning disability, difficulty retaining information, and she doesn't want the 15-year-old to attend the eighth grade for a third time, and says the district isn't providing adequate tutoring and other resources that might give Kirtisha a chance for a high school diploma.

DANA DAVIS, MOTHER OF TEENAGER: Well, I feel she's already fallen through the cracks. I mean, she's already three grades behind.

CALLEBS: The new education czar Paul Vallas says the situation is disappointing. And no, not every student is succeeding. And the district's long-term goal...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who's going to college?

CALLEBS: For families here, that's been an all but unthinkable goal. Only about 7 percent of New Orleans public school kids graduate from college. That's right, just 7 percent.

So some things never change here. Once again, it's hurricane season, and thoughts of Katrina are always here. But there is now hope, because Katrina did bring Paul Vallace (ph) and his army of new teachers here, and there's hope for the future of the kids.

Sean Callebs, CNN, New Orleans.


CHETRY: Sean, thank you.

And to see any of the stories of our special series "After the Storm," check out our blog,

ROBERTS: It's now crossing the half hour, and checking our top stories this morning, flags flying at half-staff as a nation celebrates the life of Ted Kennedy.

This afternoon, the Kennedys will join for a family compound in Hyannis Port. And then a motorcade will carry the senator on a farewell to Boston procession. This evening the senator's body will lie in repose at the John F. Kennedy presidential library and museum in Boston. CHETRY: New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson can breathe a little easier this morning. The AP reports the governor and top aides won't be charged in an investigation into "pay to play" allegations.

The investigation into Richardson's dealings with a top political donor were said to have blown his chances of becoming commerce secretary in the Obama administration.

ROBERTS: Cuba is airing more video of former President Fidel Castro. It was shot last weekend when a fairly fit-looking Castro was meeting with a group of Venezuelan students. Cuba aired seven minutes of footage on Sunday and released another 24 minutes yesterday because of worldwide interest.

These are the first televised pictures that we have seen Castro in 14 months.

When you hear the term "shake and bake," you might think of making chicken for dinner. But to drug users, it means something quite different. It's a simple, dangerous way to cook up crystal meth and is making a disturbing comeback.

Mark Woodward is with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, and he joins us now from Oklahoma City. Mark, it's good to have you with us this morning. This method isn't new. It was around 15 years ago. It kind of fell out of favor. Why has there been a resurgence in the shake and bake method of making crystal meth?

MARK WOODWARD, SPOKESMAN, OKLAHOMA BUREAU OF NARCOTICS: Well, the shake and bake method requires much fewer pseudoephedrine tablets, the main ingredient for manufacturing meth. And it had been around in the late 80s, early 90s.

But when this pseudoephedrine recipe really swept across the country, most of your meth cooks, who are met addicts, wanted to get as much as they could, and so they were going to gas stations, dollar stores and buying or shoplifting as many pills as they could and cooking much larger batches.

So they preferred cooking in large quantities, so cooking in one small vessel made no sense to him. So -- go ahead.

ROBERTS: I was just going to say, without giving away a recipe for making crystal meth on air -- we don't want this to be the Julia Child for the drug world this morning -- but how does this stuff work?

WOODWARD: Well, essentially it's a recipe around for two decades. They use a number of different chemicals to convert pseudoephedrine, common cold pills, into meth amphetamine.

But in this method, they essentially take all of those ingredients in smaller quantities and place them in a single bottle like this. Some of the chemicals will create their own heat and reaction, so all they do is shake it to start activating the cooking.

And so it all cooks in one simple bottle like this instead of just rooms full of jars and other products.

ROBERTS: So this is something you could do in your kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, basement, anywhere, really?

WOODWARD: The absolutely could. They could do it literally sitting on a couch while watching TV. They could do it sitting in the passenger seat of a car while driving down the road.

ROBERTS: We hear sometimes meth labs are discovered when they blow up. Is this as dangerous as that particular method of creating crystal meth?

WOODWARD: In many cases it's even more dangerous, because the way they shake and create the reaction is such an inexact science that if they're not careful, some of the heat starts melting this bottle.

Among the items in this bottle are flammable chemicals like ether. And when that leaks out of the bottle, it will ignite, and it literally, not only do you have fires, but very severe burns, because it's in very close proximity to the person who is cooking it. It's usually in their hands or right next to them.


In Oklahoma you've got a law where a person can only buy 300 tablets of pseudoephedrine, whether it be Pseudophed or one of the generic versions of that, in the course of a month. Is this why this has become it's so popular, because you can brew up a little batch and basically fly under the radar even with those laws in Oklahoma?

WOODWARD: That's exactly what it was.

When people could get endless quantities without restrictions, they would buy and shoplift all they could. Now since they are limited, this recipe really allows you to cook one small batch of meth with just one box. And buying one box at a store is not going to raise any red flags or stop you with these restrictions.

And so they can buy a box. It won't allow them to make very much, but all they need is one hit to get their fix.

ROBERTS: You don't actually need all that much, as you said.

Oregon passed a law in 2006 requiring a prescription any time someone wanted to buy a product with pseudoephedrine in it. Is that a model that maybe Oklahoma should adopt and other states across the national as well?

WOODWARD: We are going to be meeting next month to bring all the experts together to the table at the state capital, and that is one of the proposals, is potentially making pseudoephedrine, at least in tablet, a schedule four, requiring a prescription.

And it has proven successful in other states like Oregon, and that may be the next step here.

Oklahoma is still seeing about a 90 percent drop in meth labs. We were 1,300 prior to our law, and not we're getting close to 300.

But if we can get even further down by placing it as a schedule four, that may be something we're going to do.

ROBERTS: And this shake and bake method, this home method of making crystal meth, does that make it more difficult for you as law enforcement, to find out who's involved in making this drug?

WOODWARD: It does. At the bureau of narcotics, we have a tracking program, and that helps alert us when people are purchasing large quantities possibly to manufacture meth.

But one, they're not raising red flags or setting off alarms with the system because they're just buying a box or two.

Number two, these are so small that literally this can all be put in a grocery sack and carried into a hotel room, an apartment, and not raise any attention with neighbors, and it doesn't have the odors associated with much larger labs, which often tip off neighbors to generate calls or local law enforcement.

WOODWARD: It's still just as dangerous, and the effects of meth amphetamine still just as debilitating.

Mark Woodward, it's good to talk to you this morning. Thanks so much for joining us, really appreciate it.

WOODWARD: My pleasure.

CHETRY: Last week up and down the East Coast we were dealing with Hurricane Bill. Never actually came to shore, but you could certainly feel his effects.

Now it's Danny, a tropical storm on a similar path moving slowly through the Atlantic right now. Will it affect us this weekend? Our Rob Marciano in the Extreme Weather Center with the latest on the track.

It's 37 minutes past the hour.


CHETRY: It's 40 minutes past the hour.

A Florida cigar factory closes and leaves nearly 500 people out of work. Sounds like a tough situation for everyone, right? Well, in this "Money in Main Street" report, John Zarrella shows us what one factory worker did after he lost his job that actually helped his coworkers survive. Give this man a cigar.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They'll still be there on the shelves of convenience stores, Hav-a-Tampa Cigars. But they won't be coming from the city in the name. After a century of production, it's over. Operations consolidated, moved to Puerto Rico, 495 people out of work.

HARVEY MORRIS, FORMER HAV-A-TAMPA EMPLOYEE: I was thinking, here's a place I can retire from.

ZARRELLA: Ron Russell was a machinist at the Tampa factory for three and a half years.

MORRIS: I thought I was safe in 100-year-old company.

ZARRELLA: Russell didn't cry nor did he start pounding the pavement looking for another job. Nope, he did something very different.

MORRIS: We thank those of you who have come to offer us hope in an hour of need.

ZARRELLA: He started a Web site. On it, the names, contact information, and skills of former Have, Tampa employees who want to be listed. One-stop shopping, Russell says, for companies looking for workers.

ZARRELLA (on camera): So if I need an engineer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you need engineer, highlight engineer, click search. And we have Mr. Harvey Morris.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): Morris says you won't find better than those on the site.

(on camera): What kind of person can I expect to find on that Web site if I'm an employer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Simply put quality. There's quality people.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): So far Russell says the site has led to 30 jobs. At one time there were some 200 cigar factories in Tampa. It's down to one now, only the J.C. Newman company is left. Hav-a- Tampa officials say a new federal tax dramatically increased the price of their cigars and reduced consumption.

DAVE ZEPLOWITZ, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: This is a company that's given people tremendous livelihoods, and it's all gone.

ZARRELLA: Dave Zeppowitz is known as "Cigar Dave" on his syndicated radio talk show.

ZEPLOWITZ: It is an absolute tragedy, total preventable tragedy. There's no other product that is taxed at 53 percent in this nation.

ZARRELLA: The tax was levied to help fund a federal health insurance program for children from low income families. Ironically, Ron Russell says his child now qualifies for the insurance.

(on camera): What about looking out for number one?

MORRIS: Number one will get his turn when it's time. ZARRELLA (voice-over): But now's the time, Russell says, to find work for the others.

John Zarrella, CNN, Tampa.


CHETRY: More stories like this of people finding ways to thrive in a tough economy. Watch for more "Money in Main Street" reports tonight 8:00 eastern right here on CNN.

Also if you'd like tips for finding work for yourself or others, you can always go to And while you're there, you can test your financial health. You plug in your age and your salary and how much you're saving and spending, and you get a chance to see how you score. Maybe you don't want to look, maybe you do.

ROBERTS: I never liked looking.

Oh, Danny -- tropical storm Danny making its way up to the East Coast, expected to become a hurricane. Could it be a washout for the weekend for some parts of the Northeast?

Rob Marciano tracking Danny, and he'll bring us the very latest coming up.

It's 44 minutes after the hour.


ROBERTS: It's 46 1/2 minutes after the hour, and time to fast forward to stories that will be making news later on today.

At noon, the Kennedy clan gathers at the family compound in Hyannis Port for a private Mass, then Senator Ted Kennedy's final journey, a motorcade will take him through Boston to the Kennedy library. CNN, of course, will bring you coverage of all of the public moments.

Michael Vick returns to the NFL tonight for the first time in nearly three years. He's going to make his preseason debut with his new team the Philadelphia Eagles. Before that a judge in Virginia could rule on Vick's new plan to pay back his creditors and emerge from bankruptcy.

And at 8:57 a.m. eastern, a little more than 10 minutes from now NASA will resume the countdown for the launch of the space shuttle Discovery scheduled to lift off at 12:22 a.m. eastern time on Friday morning.


ROBERTS: And don't forget, every Friday Rob leaves the office and gets out of town for something new that we're calling "Rob's Road Show." Tomorrow he's heading to Connecticut for a dog days celebration. The big highlight, demonstrations by water rescue dogs.

And if you've got an idea for Rob's next trip, shoot us an e-mail at

CHETRY: Before we had the picture of Rob and his dog. What happened?

ROBERTS: Now we've just got Rob hanging his head out the window like a dog does as he drives on.

CHETRY: There you go.

ROBERTS: He likes to have his ears flap in the wind.

CHETRY: Yes, course, see how many bugs he can catch with his teeth while he's headed there.

Meanwhile, Senator Tom Coburn, who is a senator but also a doctor, held a town hall health care meeting about reform. And boy did he get an earful.

Our Jim Acosta also had a chance to talk to him afterwards. He's going to show exactly us what's going on as this debate gets even more and more critical.

It's 49 minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: Just coming up on 53 minutes past the hour. Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

Nearly two more weeks before the House and Senate are back in the session. It's a make or break debate that's still raging over health care reform.

One prominent GOP senator says that the biggest problem is looking to Uncle Sam for a solution. AMERICAN MORNING's Jim Acosta live with that story from our Washington bureau this morning.

You had a chance to sit in on that meeting, that town hall that Tom Coburn held, and also talked to him afterward, and things got pretty wild in his meeting.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They got heated, and it's not the first time that this has happened. John McCain just had another town hall yesterday in Arizona where he got into a bit of an exchange with a woman there.

So we are still seeing the sparks fly at these town halls. And Senator Tom Coburn, who you must mentioned, is not just one of the more conservative members of the U.S. Senate, he's also a practicing physician who says Washington is guilty of malpractice when it comes to health care reform.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ACOSTA: At this Oklahoma City mega-church, Republican Senator Tom Coburn was preaching to a conservative choir on health care reform.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think most of us would like to see you and Sarah Palin in the White House.

SEN. JOHN COBURN, (R) OKLAHOMA: Well, that ain't going to happen.


ACOSTA: But when one woman didn't like Coburn's response to her question on prescription drugs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not a dumb person, I am a minority in Oklahoma. I'm a Democrat.

ACOSTA: Some in the crowd started shouting, and they weren't saying amen.


COBURN: Wait a minute, guys, wait a minute. I want to make a point here. One of the things that's wrong with our country is we don't allow real legitimate debate.

ACOSTA: Coburn, who's also a practicing physician, took questions only a doctor could answer. At a town hall earlier this week a woman pleaded for his help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My husband has traumatic brain injury, and his health insurance will not cover him to eat and drink. And what I need to know is, are you going to help him?

COBURN: First of all, yes, we'll help. The first thing we'll do is see what we can do individually to help you.

ACOSTA: Coburn told us his office is getting her help in her community, as it should be, he says.

COBURN: We've had several people call us and say they're willing to help her, citizens. And so the question is...

ACOSTA (on camera): Can you do that with millions of uninsured people in this country?

COBURN: Well, yes.

ACOSTA: Who are in the same boat?

COBURN: No, they're not in the same boat, don't exaggerate.

ACOSTA: There are millions of people in this country...

COBURN: You going to ask me a question, let me answer it. ACOSTA: And when you hear those personal stories, does it at all change your position on this issue?


ACOSTA (voice-over): Coburn says he too is sick of the insurance companies.

COBURN: As a practicing physician who has experienced the discrimination of insurance companies based not on medical facts, never putting their hand on a patient, telling me what I can and cannot do to a patient, there's something wrong with that.

ACOSTA: But the doctor's a firm believer a government insurance program, or public option, is the wrong medicine.

ACOSTA (on camera): If the president drops the public option, could you support him?

COBURN: Well, it depends on what's in it.


ACOSTA: And as the current Democratic proposals stand now, count the doctor as a no. Even though Dr. Coburn may not change his position, what is not known is whether Democrats and Republicans will try to find common ground on health care reform as a tribute to Senator Kennedy -- Kiran?

CHETRY: Jim Acosta for us this morning, thanks.

And also we want to let you know if you have questions about health care reform, we're helping you sort fact from fiction and putting a lot of the answers together on a great web page. Go to care.

It's 57 minutes after the hour.


ROBERTS: Live picture this morning in Boston at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library and Museum, where Senator Ted Kennedy's body will lie in repose beginning later today, and tomorrow, as well.

We're learning today that all four living presidents, Clinton, Carter, and the two Bushes, will be attending funeral services in Boston for the late Senator Ted Kennedy on Saturday. And we will bring you as much of the public events as we can over the next three days.

Stay with CNN for continuing coverage at the life and death for Senator Ted Kennedy, because we will have all of that information coming your way and all of those events, the ones, at least, that are public over the next three days.

CHETRY: That's right. The presidential library where his body will lie in repose in Boston, and then of course the memorial service tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. eastern, and again live right here on CNN, also

We also want to hear your comments, what do you think about the life and death of Senator Kennedy? Weigh in, post your memories, or just something for your thoughts. We'd love to hear them.

ROBERTS: Go to our blog at

That's going to do it for us. Thanks very much for joining us today.

CHETRY: Here's "CNN NEWSROOM" with Heidi Collins.