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Obama Heads to Wall Street; Pentagon Considers Sending More Troops to Afghanistan; Body Found is Likely Missing Yale Student; First Round of Flu Vaccine Shots Begin Next Month; Traficant Released from Prison; Jay Leno Debuts Late Night Show; "Brazen Bandit" Finally Captured; Kanye West Incites Boos at VMAs
Aired September 14, 2009 - 07:58 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Thanks very much for being with us as we cross the top of the hour at 8:00 Eastern on this Monday, the 14th of September. Thanks for being with us. I'm John Roberts.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kiran Chetry.
We have a lot going on this morning. The big stories we'll be breaking down for you in the next 15 minutes.
It was just a year ago that Lehman Brothers collapsed and it sent the world's economy into a financial free fall. Today, President Obama marks the occasion with a trip to New York where he's going to be delivering a major speech on the financial meltdown in the heart of Wall Street. In a moment, we'll be breaking down what the president is expected to say.
ROBERTS: Brand-new developments surrounding the case of missing Yale graduate student Annie Le. It is now a homicide investigation. Police say a body believed to be that of Le was found stuffed inside a wall at the research lab she went missing last week.
CHETRY: Also, the big health question on everybody's mind. What exactly should we be doing about swine flu? Is it going to be bad? Should we get a vaccine? Will one shot protect us? And could this H1N1 vaccine be ready sooner than expected? Well, we're going to get some answers when we talk to the CDC's director, Dr. Thomas Frieden in just a moment.
But first, President Obama zeroing in on one of his top priorities, the economy. In just a few hours, the president will travel to the scene of the crime, I guess you could say, Wall Street.
ROBERTS: There he'll deliver a speech one year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers that marked the beginning of the worst recession since the depression. Joining us now, White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, and Christine Romans is with us as well, "Minding Your Business." What 's the president expected to say today?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, scene of the crime or belly of the beast, either way you put it, the president will go to Wall Street, and he's got a number of audiences. But, essentially, he's going to defend the administration's actions, the $787 billion economic stimulus package, saying that it is creating jobs, manufacturing and housing that's coming back. He's also going to say that more work needs to be done and he's going to make a distinction between what he inherited from the Bush administration and then also what has taken place on his own watch.
And then he's going to call for Congress to follow through on tougher regulations of financial institutions. This is something that Congress has not had the appetite for. But he is going to push them even further.
And at the same time, he has a very delicate balancing act here, because he's also going to say that the government eventually is going to pull back from some of these things that you have seen, because there are a lot of folks who are uneasy with the role of government in the Obama administration. They say that it's too much involved. And so, he is also going to say, look, this is not going to last forever. We are going to pull back, but things have to first start to work first, before they go ahead and do that.
CHETRY: And it's interesting, I mean, when you get a bit of a reality check, Christine, and you take a look from a financial perspective and from economic perspective, what has changed in this past year?
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's interesting. There's so much concern and unease about all of this government, you know, interference into the markets, but it began under the Bush administration. We shouldn't forget that this whole Lehman mess happened with Ben Bernanke, President Bush, and Henry Paulson. This is where it all started. So, these are where this big, massive interference in the markets actually began back then.
What has changed in terms of the regulation on Wall Street? What has changed how Wall Street works today versus a year ago? Really, nothing. Those regulatory reforms are not in place. We still have companies that are too big to fail. In fact, some critics say the too big to fail companies are even bigger now than they were before.
The role of regulators, still this patch work of regulatory structures, risk taking is still there, executive pay hasn't been handled. You still have investment banks and banks that are still buying and selling complex instruments that are unregulated, and looking for more new complex ways to make money.
So, a lot of things haven't changed.
ROBERTS: So, under the heading of should've, could've, would've, if you had to rewind the clock and go back and do it all over again, should Paulson and Bernanke have rescued Lehman Brothers?
ROMANS: A lot of people now think that even if they had, you still would have had another big institution fail. The panic was in the air. It was just -- and Lehman may have been a symptom of the problem, not the cause of the problem. Something would have gone down.
And a lot of, you know -- a lot of people think that this was something that actually helped save AIG and get the bank bailout passed because people were so afraid after Lehman went down. It actually galvanized politicians to really act quickly.
CHETRY: And so, that's the other question. When you talk about galvanizing support behind reforms, why haven't we seen any reforms? Why we got the recommendation, I guess, from Allan Chernoff two months from treasury to Congress? And I know there's been a lot of things going on, there's been the recess, but it seems like a year is quite a long time when most people agreed, it can't go on like this.
MALVEAUX: And the problem that the Obama administration has is that, it's a political one. They can't do it all. They don't have the appetite to do it all. And you're asking for Congress to get involved in so many different things.
So, you're talking about energy legislation. You're talking about health care legislation. You're talking about the economy, bailing out the auto industry and banks and all of these things together. Congress is not going to take all of that on. It's very politically risky to do so.
And one of the things you're going to hear the president talk about is that health care reform is linked to the economic reform. The health of the economy linked to the health of the American people; that they depend on each other. And that's why he's pushing all this together.
That is not something that members of Congress, when they're looking at their agendas, they're just not going to sign on to all of that, and that's been a really big political problem for the administration.
ROBERTS: We'll watch what he has to say today.
CHETRY: All right. Well, Christine, thanks for being with us.
ROMANS: You're welcome.
CHETRY: Suzanne, great to see you, as well.
You can see, by the way, the president's speech live right here on CNN and CNN.com/live. Again, just a reminder, it all starts at noon Eastern.
ROBERTS: The world's most wanted terrorist is accusing President Obama of being powerless to stop the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A new audio recording supposedly from Osama bin Laden emerged last night on radical Islamist Web sites. The purpose of the tape, according to bin Laden, is to remind America of the causes of September the 11th. Bin Laden's last audio message came on June 9th.
On the ground in Afghanistan, U.S. and Afghan forces are in the heat of a big battle right now, and almost eight years since Americans went into Afghanistan, word that the Pentagon now is considering sending more troops to the war zone.
Our Barbara Starr is live at the Pentagon.
You know, we've been hearing this for the last several weeks. Barbara, what are you hearing? Will it -- will it be a new influx of troops? Or will it be some support troops rotated out and combat troops rotated in in their place?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, probably a little bit of everything at this point, John. But what we do know is first up, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is now expected to send several hundred, perhaps as many as 3,000 fresh troops to Afghanistan to deal with the number one threat there, which are the roadside bombs -- pardon me -- the IEDs.
And this morning, we have an extraordinary piece of video to show you about a mission when army Apache helicopters were flying overhead, hoping to catch some insurgents laying IEDs. Watch and listen to what happens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've positioned them on the opposite side of the motorcycle from the guys that set the IED attack and they're definitely digging in the road.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that a kid? Damn it!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The kid appears to be carrying something over to the vicinity. I think he's handing them something. They're digging in the road.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, go away, kid. Go away, kid. Go away, kid.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The child brought something to those two individuals that appear to be digging and (INAUDIBLE) have moved off at this point.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa! Never mind.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Break, break, it just detonated by itself.
UNIDENTIFEID MALE: They just blew themselves up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: Well, let's explain to you, if you didn't follow all of that. The crew chief says, never mind, the insurgents blew themselves up. The child did leave the scene, and by all accounts, was not injured in that blast. But you see the care and the concern on the part of the Apache crew saying, "Go away, kid, go away, kid."
You know, this whole question of the IEDs, the number one threat -- the number of troops that are being killed by them and the number of additional troops that are going to be needed for this war, front and center about 24 hours from now when Admiral Mike Mullen appears on Capitol Hill before the Senate Armed Services Committee for reconfirmation for his second term in office as chairman of the Joint Chiefs. One of his closest associates tells us tomorrow morning's hearing, likely to be a referendum on the war -- John?
ROBERTS: Such a chilling videotape, Barbara. A real reinforcement of what our troops are facing there every day.
Barbara Starr at the Pentagon this morning -- Barbara, thanks.
CHETRY: Well, also new this morning, a lot of questions surrounding the death of a former top aide for disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. The medical examiner's office is now waiting for toxicology reports before it determines what killed Christopher Kelly. Police say they found Kelly slumped over his steering wheel Saturday and he later died at the hospital.
Kelly was supposed to start an eight-year prison term this week for federal mail fraud. A local mayor says police found drugs in the car, but now he's backing off comments that Kelly overdosed.
A touching tribute to Michael Jackson to kick off the MTV Video Music Awards last night in New York City. His brother, Jermaine, and father, Joe, were in the crowd.
As look-alikes recreated some of his famous moves to songs like "Thriller" and "Smooth Criminal," sister Janet joined them on stage for "Scream." It's the only video that the two of them made together. And that was her first performance, by the way, since Michael passed away.
CHETRY: And it's the moment that everyone's talking about. Call it Kanye being Kanye, perhaps. Well, last night at the VMA's, rapper Kanye West is no stranger to controversy, interrupted 19-year- old Taylor Swift's acceptance speech for Best Female Video because he thought MTV got it wrong. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAYLOR SWIFT, SINGER: So thank you so much for giving me a chance to win a VMA award.
KANYE WEST, SINGER: Yo, Taylor, I'm really happy for you, I'm going to let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: All right. Well, he handed the mic back to a visibly shocked Taylor Swift. Beyonce's reaction also quite shocked. He was booed off the stage by the way. Then later, class act Beyonce made good when she won the biggest award of the night, Video of the Year. She recounted how great she felt when she was 17 and won with Destiny's Child. So, she gave the mic to Taylor Swift so that she could have her thank you and have her moment.
Meanwhile, we also are hearing that Taylor Swift's mother gave Kanye an earful backstage.
ROBERTS: Who was that in the cowardly lion outfit that we saw -- was that Lady Gaga?
CHETRY: We're hearing from our producers that it was Lady Gaga, who was also nominated for that same video -- big cast of characters out there. It's just that you don't rip the mic out of the hand of a poor girl who won for the first time.
ROBERTS: Beyonce's there saying, "What are you doing? Hello!"
CHETRY: I know.
ROBERTS: My goodness.
CHETRY: I think, for a minute, she was wondering if she was getting punked.
ROBERTS: Yes. Remember when Bruno came down on top of Eminem at that other awards ceremony.
Hey, Annie Le, police have been looking for her for a while now, missing Yale graduate student. Well, she was supposed to get married yesterday, but, instead, investigators believe that they found her body in a lab building on the Yale University campus. We've got the latest in the investigation which now seems to have taken a terribly tragic turn, coming right up.
It's 11 minutes after the hour.
ROBERTS: Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning."'
A grisly picture is emerging about what happened to a missing Yale graduate student.
CHETRY: Yes. There is a -- at the beginning, they thought and hoped maybe it was just a situation where a bride got cold feet. Well, now, tragically, that does not seem to be the case.
Police say they believe they found Annie Le's body inside a wall in the basement of a medical research lab. This discovery is coming on what would have been, should have been, her wedding day.
Here's Susan Candiotti, who's been following this story from the beginning.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): John and Kiran, once Annie Le's body has been removed, there'll be a positive I.D. and then an autopsy. A tragic ending for a young woman about to be married; her death sending shock waves through Yale's campus.
(voice-over): It's now clear why no one had seen Annie Le leaving this medical research building last Tuesday. Apparently, she was trapped inside. Her body found Sunday night hidden inside a basement wall.
ASST. POLICE CHIEF PETER REICHARD, NEW HAVEN POLICE DEPARTMENT: She hasn't been positively identified as of this time. However, we assume that it is her.
CANDIOTTI: The 24-year-old grad student often worked in a basement lab performing experiments. She was majoring in pharmacology. Le was last seen entering the building on Tuesday, her image captured on security cameras. No one saw her coming out, and investigators have been reviewing videos frame-by-frame and poring over blue prints.
Then the law enforcement says they found blood-stained clothes inside some ceiling tiles on Saturday. The "New Haven Register" reports the clothes are different than the ones Le was seen wearing on camera.
KIM MERTZ, FBI SPECIAL AGENT: All I will say is that items that could potentially be evidence have been seized. None have yet been associated with Annie Le.
CANDIOTTI: Investigators also spent Sunday searching through a recycling plant in Hartford, about 40 miles away. They were looking through garbage hauled there from Yale. Police called it routine. The main focus is building where Le was apparently murdered.
REICHARD: Detectives and investigators right now have a large amount of physical evidence at the scene that we're going through to determine if it's linked to this case or not.
CANDIOTTI: Yale's president reached out to the victim's family and sent an e-mail to the campus announcing Le's death.
RICHARD LEVIN, PRESIDENT, YALE UNIVERSITY: I met earlier this evening with Annie's family, with her fiance and his family, and I conveyed to them all the deeply felt support of the entire Yale University community.
CANDIOTTI (on camera): Students are planning a vigil on campus while police continue to search for a motive and a suspect. No one's being called a person of interest, and police have said Annie Le's fiance is cooperating.
Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York.
CHETRY: Susan, thank you.
We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, some of our questions answered about swine flu, who needs to get the vaccine, do we only need one vaccine and not a booster? Is it going to be ready in time for the flu season? We're joined by the head of the CDC, Dr. Thomas Frieden -- next.
Sixteen minutes past the hour.
CHETRY: Eighteen minutes past the hour now. Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning."
It's a double dose of good news, I guess, you could say, about the swine flu. Health officials say that the first round of shots could begin early next month. The vaccine was not expected to be available until late October. Also, tests found that it appears a single dose of the H1N1 vaccine may be enough to protect adults. There is some concern that perhaps you would need a booster a few weeks later.
Joining me now to talk more about all of this is Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC.
Thanks so much for being with us this morning.
DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PROTECTION: Good morning.
CHETRY: So, there are a lot of interesting developments. First, let's get to the fact that what they developed so far, they believe that one dose provides enough protection. Tell us more about that.
FRIEDEN: This is unexpected and it's really good news. It means that we'll have more vaccine to go around. It means that people will be protected sooner. It means that it will be much easier for both patients and the health care system. So, it does appear that for adults, 18 to 64, a single dose is likely to be sufficient.
CHETRY: All right. And what has changed or update us, if you will, about who should get the swine flu vaccine.
FRIEDEN: Well, the second piece of good news is that it's going to be coming sooner in all likelihood and the people who should receive the swine flu vaccine or H1N1 vaccine are anyone with underlying health conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, women who are pregnant, people with asthma -- all of these individuals are at higher risk of getting really sick if they have influenza, and so should definitely get vaccinated.
CHETRY: OK. And this is in addition to your flu shot, right? You get your flu vaccine and then, what, at the same time, you'd get the H1N1 vaccine as well?
FRIEDEN: In all likelihood, you can get both at the same time. That's still being determined. And the other major group will be school kids. We do recommend that kids get seasonal flu vaccine. But this year, it's particularly important, because we see so much flu in schools.
CHETRY: And is -- are the symptoms, or what happens a lot worse in swine flu? How do you know what you have -- I guess, is one of the questions that many have been asking.
FRIEDEN: There's -- neither is there a real way of knowing easily, nor is it important to know. The key messages are the same in either case. If you're sick, stay home. If you're severely ill or -- and that means you have trouble breathing, you have severe illness, your fever comes back after going away, or if you have one of those underlying conditions like diabetes or people with special health care problems like children with disabilities that make it difficult for them to breathe, then see your doctor right away.
CHETRY: OK. And what is the time line, when you think that the vaccine will be up and running and ready to go?
FRIEDEN: We think the first doses of some of the vaccine forms should be available in about three weeks.
CHETRY: And then how long after you get the vaccine are you immune or at least protected from swine flu?
FRIEDEN: The study has showed really good responses within about eight to 10 days. So, that means that really, within a couple of weeks after getting a vaccine, you're likely to be protected from H1N1, which is really good news.
CHETRY: You know, this is interesting. A lot of parents are sending their kids back to school right now. We have 11 states, I believe, reporting widespread flu activity right now. I mean, we tend to think of flu season happening a few more months down the road, even though, yes, we're supposed to be vaccinated around this time.
But is there a worry that it's spreading faster perhaps and more virulent? What are you seeing so far?
FRIEDEN: This is very unusual -- to see flu spreading this much, this widely, this early is just something we haven't seen before. We wish we had the vaccine today, but it will be a little more time before it's available. What we can do today is, if you're sick, stay home, cover your cough and sneeze every time, and wash your hands frequently. These sounds like simple things and they are, but they can make a huge difference.
CHETRY: Yes. A couple questions real quick. One is: a lot of people say to me, and I've wondered it myself, is it dangerous or, you know, what about people who are leery about getting two vaccines at once?
FRIEDEN: The flu vaccine has an excellent safety record. Literally, hundreds of millions of people have gotten the flu vaccine, and certainly, my kids will be getting the H1N1 vaccine when it comes available for everybody. And it's something that we strongly recommend.
CHETRY: Another question that some were asking, economically speaking, is, you know, people are leery to stay home and call in sick. You know, it's a tough work environment out there. We have people fearful of perhaps losing their job or some people know if they don't work, they don't get paid that day.
What -- how do you balance that between, you know, not wanting to infect a lot of other people, but also not wanting to keep your employment?
FRIEDEN: We've worked closely with the business community to encourage businesses to be supportive of workers who are sick, to make sure that they can telecommunicate, as one possibility, to not take adverse actions if they do not come in, and to not require in a midst of flu season a note from the doctor -- because the doctors are busy taking care of patients, they don't need to be filling out paperwork.
CHETRY: Yes. And they also don't want you there if you have the flu.
CHETRY: They say, just stay home and wait until you don't have a fever anymore.
Well, some good tips. We learned a lot from talking to you this morning. Dr. Thomas Frieden with the CDC, thanks for being with us.
FRIEDEN: Thank you.
ROBERTS: Well, after seven years in the slammer, he's back. Ohio Congressman James Traficant has been released from prison and is here joining us live to tell us what's next for him.
It's twenty-three-and-a-half minutes after the hour.
CHETRY: We're coming up on 26 minutes past the hour right now. I feel like we're in an elevator.
Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning."
You know, it's been a year since the collapse of Lehman Brothers and we've learned since then about the big risks that Wall Street was taking, essentially with our money.
ROBERTS: All this week, we kick off a special series of reports, "Banks Gone Bust" and we're asking if Wall Street could ever be trusted with our money again. Allan Chernoff is here with our first installment to tell us if we are any safer today.
So, a lot of people want to know, are we?
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, you can think about lessons that bankers may have learned and lessons they can easily forget. And if we think in those terms...
ROBERTS: And choose to ignore as well.
CHERNOFF: That as well. And so, if we think in those terms, the answer can be: not really, because aside from huge bailouts, financial regulations today are what they were a year ago -- which might seem incredible when you consider how the financial system ground to a halt.
It was on the very same day a year ago that Lehman Brothers collapsed and Merrill Lynch realizing that it was closed to the same fate, threw itself into the arms of Bank of America in a rapid-fire merger. Within days, an international financing crisis was under way. Firms like Lehman, Merrill and Bear Stearns, which you'll recall was the first to fail last year, undermined the economy's stability by taking too many risky bets.
CHERNOFF (voice-over): Wall Street last year was virtually a casino. Some of the street's biggest players, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, had bet big on mortgages to home buyers who couldn't afford them in the first place. The mortgages were sliced and diced into investments, and big Wall Street firms in pursuit of profits were betting the house on them.
PROFESSOR DAVID BEIM, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: In retrospect, it looks very irresponsible. In retrospect, they allowed themselves to become too leverage and to deal in assets that were too risky and too complex.
CHERNOFF: As the housing market crumbled, so too did Wall Street's bets. The failure of Lehman Brothers led to an international crisis of confidence that virtually shut down the financial system. Bankers and big investors stopped lending money.
It was a failure of Wall Street's risk management and a failure of government, admits the treasury secretary, who was president of the New York Federal Reserve at the time.
TIMOTHY GEITHNER, TREASURY SECRETARY: We allowed too much risk and leverage to build up in the financial system. That was a classic tragic regulatory failure, requires fundamental financial reform.
CHERNOFF: But there has been no reform.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So help me God.
CHERNOFF: Since taking office, the Obama administration has been busy trying to prevent a financial collapse. Only in the past two months has the treasury sent comprehensive legislation to Congress, to create a national bank supervisor, give the Federal Reserve more power over big financial firms, oversee investments that don't trade on regulated exchanges, and tighten monitoring of credit rating agencies.
Aside from holding hearings, Congress has taken no action. The financial roles that allowed firms like Lehman Brothers to turn Wall Street into a casino are still in place.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My God, have these people learned nothing? They have health care, which is on page one, so it's not going to be done. And that's tragic.
BEIM: People should be outraged that there's so little change. They should be demanding of their politicians that there be change.
CHERNOFF: But the cry from the public right now is all about health care reform. Financial issues have taken a backseat. And unless Congress does act, Levin and Beim warned, the country could suffer yet another financial meltdown.
CHETRY: All right. We'll have to see what he says about it today and, you know, whether or not anything gets passed out of Congress.
CHERNOFF: The president certainly will be pushing financial reform. He'll be talking on Wall Street, trying to get some new momentum behind these proposals.
CHETRY: Because as you pointed out, health care has really overshadowed that, at least in the debate in Washington.
CHERNOFF: That may continue to be the case.
CHETRY: Allan, thanks so much.
And, by the way, all this week, we're going to continue our series "Banks Gone Bust," with a look tomorrow inside the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Our Carol Costello talks to a former vice president of the firm about how this all went down.
ROBERTS: Well, we're crossing the half hour now. It's 8:30 Eastern.
And checking our top stories, the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush is caught up in red tape. Muntadar al-Zaidi was supposed to be released from prison today, but his brother says paperwork has delayed his release. Al-Zaidi has served nine months of his one-year prison term. He's being released early for good behavior.
CHETRY: A new message believed to be from Osama bin Laden has appeared on radical Islamist Web sites. His message says that President Obama is, quote, "powerless to stop the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." It's accompanied by a photo of the Iraq -- al Qaeda leader. We haven't seen any video footage of bin Laden in two years.
ROBERTS: And Congressman Joe Wilson is still feeling the heat for heckling President Obama during last week's health care speech. House Democrats planned to censure Wilson if he refuses to apologize on the floor of the House this week.
Here's what Wilson said about that yesterday on the program FOX News Sunday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOE WILSON, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: I am not going to apologize again. I apologized to the president on Wednesday night. I was advised then that, thank you, now let's get on to a civil discussion of the issues.
But I've apologized one time. The apology was accepted by the president, by the vice president, who I know. I am not apologizing again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: It's interesting to note as well that Congressman Wilson and his opponent for reelection next year have each raised more than $1 million since Wednesday's incident, definitely raised public awareness for the campaign.
After serving seven years for racketeering, bribery, obstruction of justice, and tax evasion, former Democratic Ohio Congressman James Traficant is free from federal prison.
The nine-term former congressman was welcomed back to his native Youngstown, Ohio, by a large crowd of supporters, some cheering for him to take another shot at politics.
He ran from prison back in 2002 and got 15 percent of the vote. So the big question on a lot of people's minds, will he run again? Joining me from Youngstown is former Congressman James Traficant.
Good to see you. I wanted to ask you a little bit about your time in prison, particularly Allentown, Pennsylvania. You were thrown in solitary confinement according to prison officials for inciting a riot. What happened? JAMES TRAFICANT, (D) FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Yes, I think I asked a question. I was told by a counselor there who said he would not admit to speaking to me. He said his mother was my biggest fan, and he said, be very careful, they want to hurt you, they want to put you in a federal penitentiary. He said, so be very careful.
So I look back at the incident without much problem.
ROBERTS: Right, but you say you were put in danger there. What sort of danger were you put in?
TRAFICANT: Well, in my situation, I probably should have gone to a camp. Before long, I was at Ray Brook Medium High. They call that a gladiator school. There were a lot of cuttings and damagings.
And I ultimately ended up in Rochester because they said I had a medical problem and I wouldn't take their medication. I didn't trust them too much.
But I met a lot of nice people at Rochester. I want to say hello to Dray (ph) Maddox the guys up there and I hope everything's working well for them.
ROBERTS: We should point out, that was Rochester, Minnesota, not Rochester, New York.
Let me ask you about your time in prison...
TRAFICANT: Rochester, Minnesota.
Let me ask about your time in prison. What did you learn about the American justice system?
TRAFICANT: Well, I think Nelson Mandela made the point. If you want to know the true character of a nation, you almost have to go through their prisons.
Keep in mind, many of the people involved in my case admitted they were pressured to lie. And there's a black man in Nigeria by the name of Okolo who is saying his life was ruined because he wouldn't commit a crime and lie against Jim Traficant.
And I'm hoping that this matter of Me. Okolo is looking into, because his family has been ruined, he's been totally destroyed.
And these are some of the things you deal with. When I was up there in Rochester, I met a lot of fine people. They're getting much too much time for their crimes. They're treating some of these young men like kingpins. They don't even control their own homes.
I think you have to look at the parole and probation -- the parole boards, again, the 65 percent served with good time. And I think you have to look at the crack issue. And you have a lot of -- especially a lot of young black men. I think, if you look at statistics, black men between the ages of 18 and 40, almost 95 percent will be under some form of government supervision in the next 15 years. This is a shame. This is a crime in America.
ROBERTS: Thousands of your supporters showed up at a welcome back party a little more than a week ago. You clearly have a base of support.
And I know that you've been asked this question before, but I wanted to ask it again this morning. Based on what you have seen since your return over the past week, have you got any notion of running for Congress again?
We should point out too, that under Ohio law...
TRAFICANT: I don't know what I'm going to do yet.
ROBERTS: We should point out, under Ohio law, you're not allowed to run for a state office, but you certainly are open to run for Congress again.
Do you have -- you know, people have a burning desire, obviously, inside them to do something for the country, which is why they get involved in federal politics in the first place. Do you still have that fire in the belly that you might like to get involved again?
TRAFICANT: I'm not sure at this point. The only way I can get back into the Justice Department is probably to go back to Congress. Both parties would not want to see me in Washington, believe me.
I'm the guy that changed the burden of proof in a civil tax case and had a bill moving forward that would finally, with the Fair Justice Act, allow these people in the Justice Department to be charged and investigated and prosecuted for crimes. Right now they investigate themselves.
So I was very controversial down there.
ROBERTS: Yes, you're also...
TRAFICANT: But I want to say something while I'm here. I don't have much time.
ROBERTS: Go ahead, go ahead.
TRAFICANT: What I'm doing on your program today, is we have some Delphi salaried workers and hourly workers whose pensions have been taken away. It's a $15 million impact to this valley. It's a $500 million impact for the state of Ohio, with Dayton included.
Now, I know the president is coming in here tomorrow, and I'm hoping the president will address himself to these issues and Congress addresses themselves to these issues.
If we can take care of people all over the world, we better take care of our people here.
And one other thing before he leaves -- if I am subpoenaed in the Demyanyuk trial in Germany, I am going over. It was my Freedom of Information act request that proved that he was not Ivan the terrible, and I don't like what they're doing to this man.
And I'm very disappointed that no one in Congress has raised their voice about an American citizen who has been really abused and violated.
ROBERTS: You know, the Demyanyuk case is one thing, but back to Delphi. There's no question that a lot of people have suffered terribly from the problems in the auto industry.
I wanted to ask you before we go that not everyone is happy to see you back. Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams, who was elected back in 2005, said of your return, quote, "The perception that he is being received back as a conquering hero is not true. He no longer represents who we are. His antics, his vision of what is appropriate and inappropriate, we are beyond that now."
What do you say to that?
TRAFICANT: Well, I have proponents, opponents. I have people that have negatively impacted upon me.
I don't know. I've never really met the mayor. My people supported him. My people supported President Obama, quite frankly. And I'm sure I'll get a chance to meet with him.
But just remember this, the three bridges he crosses when he goes to work, I built them. The two federal courthouses there, I built. The only sports arena in American history financed with federal funds, I built. And the air base out there with the full 16 planes, the first full wings in American history for reserve base, I built.
So I think I did a few things around Youngstown that helped Youngstown and improved Youngstown. So I'm going to have a lot of political opposition if I do run, but, quite frankly, I don't give a dam. You know, beam me up. I'm ready if I decide to run.
ROBERTS: Still quoting "Star Trek."
James Traficant, out of prison and back in the game. We'll see how far he goes in the game. Good to talk to you this morning. Thanks for joining us.
TRAFICANT: Thanks for calling me.
CHETRY: "Thanks for calling." Boy, he hasn't changed a bit.
ROBERTS: No. In fact, I think that he's probably more certain of his convictions, you know, after seven years in prison. So we'll see what happens. CHETRY: Fired up, ready to go.
TRAFICANT: He's certainly an interesting character in American politics.
CHETRY: All right, well, still ahead, we're going to be talking about Jay Leno, who, of course, has been there on the late night stage forever and a day.
Well, now, he's just getting to go to bed a little earlier. You'll get to go to bed a little earlier if you want to watch his new show. We're going to have more on his new gig.
It's 38 minutes past the hour.
CHETRY: It's 41 minutes past the hour. Welcome back to the most news in the morning.
Jay Leno left "The Tonight Show" back in May, passing the hosting duties on to Conan O'Brien, but he couldn't stay out of the spotlight for long. He has a new primetime show that debuts tonight. And for fourth place NBC, there is a lot riding on his new show.
A.J. Hammer has the story.
A.J. HAMMER, HOST "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": John and Kiran, one of the most talked about new shows of the fall TV season hits primetime tonight. It's "The Jay Leno Show." And for fourth place NBC, there is a lot riding on it.
JAY LENO, FORMER HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Folks, it's Monday night, time for headlines.
HAMMER: The headline from primetime this fall is "No Misprint."
LENO: These are turkey drumstinks.
HAMMER: Jay Leno is moving to the 10:00 p.m. time slots in one of the boldest gambles ever seen in network TV.
ANDREW WALLENSTEIN, EDITOR, HOLLYWOODREPORTER.COM: This is about as big a risk as you could take in primetime. This has never been tried before.
HAMMER: NBC, which used to stock its 10:00 p.m. hour with dramas like "ER" and "Law & Order," is turning that time period over to Leno five times a week. Why? Simple economics.
WALLENSTEIN: It's going to be so much cheaper to do this program than to put the usual array of five different scripted dramas.
HAMMER: Don't expect a radical makeover from Leno's "Tonight Show" look. He'll still do a monologue, plus popular bits like "Jaywalking."
LENO: If you're going down and using the Panama Canal, you're trying to get from where to where?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One place to another.
HAMMER: And "Headlines."
LENO: "6:00 p.m., hay eating contests -- animals only."
HAMMER: He is adding a stable of comedy correspondents along the lines of "The Daily Show."
The experiment could blow up in NBC's face if the show fails to draw enough viewers, leaving 11:00 p.m. local newscasts with a feeble lead-in.
WALLENSTEIN: There is no one sweating more than local affiliates right now.
HAMMER: Will it work? "The Hollywood Reporter's" Andrew Wallenstein has his doubts.
WALLENSTEIN: I would be really surprised in 2010 to see "The Jay Leno Show" continue at 10:00 p.m. That time slot has always been a stronghold for drama.
HAMMER: Now, Leno says he doesn't expect his show to do numbers anywhere near those of "CSI," for instance, but industry observers believe an audience of just 5 million viewers a night would make this show very profitable -- John, Kiran?
ROBERTS: A.J. Hammer for us this morning. A.J., thanks so much.
So if you watched the MTV video music awards last night, you would have seen a glaring example of what appeared to be very, very bad behavior on the part of Kanye west.
CHETRY: Yes, literally took the mike out of the hand of Taylor Swift as she was trying to give an acceptance speech for winning one of the awards out there.
He's been giving a lot of feedback. Let's put it that way. And it's not that pleasant. We're going to be joined, actually, in just a moment by Jimmy Israel. He writes for theroot.com, culture critic. He watched the show last night and he is actually writing, typing up a blog as we speak about what went on last night.
So we're going to show you the video and hear what people are saying this morning.
It's 44 minutes after the hour.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (WEATHER BREAK)
CHETRY: Still ahead, he was known as the "brazen bank robber" -- "bank bandit."
ROBERTS: Yes. I think he didn't make any attempt to hide his identity. He would go in and say, "Give me the money."
CHETRY: "Give me the money." And it worked for awhile, until they busted him. How? We're going to tell you how.
CHETRY: Welcome back to the most news in the morning. It's now 52 minutes past the hour.
To the feds, this guy was a big mystery. He was armed, he was daring, he was dangerous, allegedly robbing banks across four states. But one of the things about him is he never even wore a mask, never tried to hide who he was.
ROBERTS: They found out his identity a couple of weeks ago, and this morning the long arm of the law has caught up with this brazen bandit. CNN's Carol Costello is live in Washington.
And Carol, what do we know about this guy other than we have seen because he wore his jersey in a couple of robbers that he's a Troy Polamalu fan?
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He is no stranger to crime. That's what we know about him, John. They don't call him the "brazen bandit" for nothing. He's suspected to have robbing back in Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Indiana, and Illinois.
This guy was so slippery, the FBI posted surveillance photos from the robberies on huge electronic billboards in eight states. In the photos, you could see a man sneering and holding a pistol sideways, sort of like what you saw on our wall there.
The FBI said the huge billboards did work. They received valuable tips. But the hero of the day is a retired highway patrolman.
COSTELLO: He's dubbed the "brazen bandit." Police say Chad Schaffner would march into a bank, point a gun in a teller's face and order everyone onto the floor. He's suspected of at least 10 bank robberies in four states, probably more.
But Schaffner is now behind bars after a tip to authorities from Sam Lakey, a retired Missouri state highway patrol officer. While on a trip with his family, Lakey's police instincts kicked in when he saw a car in a Kingdom Missouri Motel parking lot that looked familiar.
SAM LAKEY, LED POLICE TO SUSPECTED SERIAL BACK ROBBER: Either I've seen this car or somewhere, maybe in our trip or whatever. And then as time went on, it was, you know, could it be that car from that bank robbery?
COSTELLO: Lakey later saw a man staying at the motel acting suspicious, and he did some digging.
LAKEY: I got on the internet, kind of checked a little bit and then got on the "America's Most Wanted" and did the Google for bad guys kind of search, and there he was.
COSTELLO: Schaffner had been featured on "America's Most Wanted" and had his picture and story posted on the show's Web site. Lakey called police. They surrounded the motel. Schaffner was in his room at the time when he noticed the police activity and became nervous.
BRIAN TRUCHON, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, KANSAS CITY: He contacted the front desk, actually called down to the front desk. One of the detectives on scene began to speak with him and told him that the best thing he could do was just come down to the front desk.
And the officers actually were waiting for him right outside the door.
COSTELLO: Schaffner was arrested and faces multiple charges of bank robbery, burglary, and receiving stolen property.
COSTELLO: A bit more about Schaffner. When he was identified, the FBI says he was released from an Indiana prison just last year following an armed robbery conviction.
He also has several other convictions in Indiana for crimes including burglary and resisting arrest. He'll likely appear in court in a couple days.
ROBERTS: Carol Costello for us this morning. Carol, thanks so much.
At the MTV video music awards, Kanye West steals the spotlight from Taylor Swift, but not in a good way. We'll talk more about that, coming right up.
It's 55 minutes after the hour.
ROBERTS: This just into CNN. Kanye West likes to be the center of attention.
CHETRY: Yes, well, whether it's good or bad, this morning it's decidedly bad, at least the public reaction to what happened last night. He got booed off the stage, essentially, at the MTV Video Music Awards for interrupting Taylor Swift in the middle of her big moment. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAYLOR SWIFT, SINGER: Thank you so much for giving me a chance to win a VMA award.
KANYE WEST, SONGWRITER: Yo, Taylor, I'm really happy for you. I'm going to let you finish. But Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time, one of the best videos of all time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: People don't even really know how to react, as you could tell.
ROBERTS: Beyonce's like, what the heck?
CHETRY: I know, and the people in the background, even the people that were introducing the winners.
Anyway, joining us now on the phone is Jimmy Israel, who is running an article on the Kanye incident for theroot.com.
Now Kanye West is somebody that likes controversy. I mean, he's done this before, not probably to this extent, at some other music awards when he felt that either he should have gotten an award or somebody else shouldn't have.
But what did you make of what you witnessed by watching this last night?
JIMMY ISRAEL, THEROOT.COM (via telephone): You know, he should have been hog tied and ejected like Sam Rothstein did to Joe Pesci's cowboy friend in "Casino" because this was a really ugly look. This was a baby rapper trying to pull a guerilla move on a civilian.
It reminds me when the bassist from Rage Against the Machines climbed up the scaffolding and threatened to jump back to the 2000 VMA. It's not like he was up there to serve some artful purpose or issue some brilliant PSA like George Bush hates black people. He was just up there attacking Taylor Swift for no good reason.
ROBERTS: So what is it about him, Jimmy, that inspires him to such greatness?
ISRAEL: I don't know. Maybe he drank some lime juice or something. You got me on that one.
I think he needs to feel loved. He needs that camera time. And frankly, he probably needs to move some units of his albums. What are you going to do?
CHETRY: What's interesting, Jimmy, at least he had posted a little bit later on his Web site that he spoke to his -- to Taylor Swift's mother backstage, and there were others who wrote about that, saying that she really gave him a piece of his mind backstage. He ended up writing on there and apologizing -- "I'm sorry so sorry to Taylor Swift. I spoke to her mother, and she said what my mother probably would have said." So it was just very interesting that that whole situation went down backstage as well.
As we know, he was grieving his mother's death, but even before that, he had not been a stranger to controversy.
ISRAEL: You know what I would like to see? I would like to see him get up there and interrupt MnM or Dr. Dre speech (inaudible), because we'd see some real fireworks then.
And the truth of the matter is, he's not man enough. You know, it's a black eye for hip hop and beta male rappers everywhere.
ROBERTS: All right, Jimmy Israel from theroot.com for us this morning. Jimmy, thanks for joining us.
Continue the conversation, by the way, on today's stories. Go to our blog at CNN.com/amfix. Let us know what you think about what happened last evening.
That's going to wrap it up for us. Thanks so much for joining us, and we'll see you again bright and early tomorrow.
CHETRY: Sure will.
Meanwhile, here's "CNN NEWSROOM" with Heidi Collins.