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AMERICAN MORNING

Miners Tell Their Story; Debate in the Desert; Is Feingold Finished: Three-Term Democrat Courts Tea Party Supporters; $1 Trillion Plus Deficit; Standing Up for a Friend; The "I'm You" Campaign Strategy; Miners' Rise to Fame; UFO Over Manhattan?

Aired October 15, 2010 - 06:00   ET

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


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good Friday morning to you. Thanks so much for joining us on AMERICAN MORNING. It is the 15th of October. I'm John Roberts.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kiran Chetry. Glad you're with us. We want to get you caught up on what happened overnight.

They're out of the mine, out of the hospital and finally home. Several of the Chilean miners are back with their families this morning. One of them is talking about his time underground, how he was just 10 feet away from where the ceiling began to cave in. His incredible story just ahead.

ROBERTS: Taking a stand against bullies. A young student sends a message to his classmates. Said it's not OK to be a mean kid. Now see how this young man's crusade is reaching beyond his classroom.

CHETRY: Also, some drama on "The View." Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg storming off stage over TV host Bill O'Reilly's view of whether or not to build an Islamic center near Ground Zero. We're going to show you how the drama unfolded and what Barbara Walters said to everyone.

ROBERTS: Up first, though, home at last. Three of the Chilean miners are back with their families this morning. We got some video from late last night of them leaving the hospital looking healthy and happy. Still wearing those $450 Oakley sunglasses. Remarkably well after 69 days under ground. Many more could be released today. All 33 may be out by the weekend.

Gary Tuchman is following developments on the ground in Copiapo, Chile this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After the 33 miners were rescued, they were required to go to a hospital for a thorough examination. Well, CNN has learned some good news. Several of them were released from the hospital on Thursday. Many more are expected to be released on Friday, and there's no major medical problems whatsoever. One miner does have a slight case of pneumonia. Two have dental issues. Some have skin issues, but no major problems. And that is very good news.

We've also been told there's only one major complaint, that is from miner Mario Sepulveda, the second miner pulled out. And his complaint was, I don't want to be treated like a celebrity. Just like a normal person.

We come to you from Camp Hope, which is adjacent to the mine. This is where the family members were living, waiting for their loved ones. They have cleared out now, now that the good news has occurred.

Now, the miners are talking, some of them. And we have some very interesting video and audio to show you of one of the miners. This comes from a journalist named Jonathan Franklin who provided us some excellent footage and interview he conducted with miner number 28, right after he was rescued.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We were all waiting for that. We were all very thin. I lost 12 kilos. I was afraid that I was not going to meet the child that was on the way. It was the thing that most scared me.

I think the worst thing is to pass three, four or five days without food. To know that there might not be any future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TUCHMAN: He lost 12 kilos. That's about 27 pounds. Remember the terror that these men were living through. Seventeen days before anyone knew they were alive. Now they're all alive and well, being treated in the hospital. And we expect them all to be home shortly.

This is Gary Tuchman, CNN, at the San Jose mine in Chile.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: Communications strategist Robbie Vorhaus is going to join us at 6:40 Eastern, to talk about the miners' newfound fame and whether or not they'll be able to adjust to their new lives.

It's a story of hope and inspiration that captivated the world. Take a look back at the events surrounding the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners. Don't miss "Countdown to Rescue," an "AC 360" special tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

CHETRY: Meantime, it was billed as the debate in the desert but it was really something bigger than that. A snapshot of a nation divided, pitting the establishment against the upstart Tea Party movement.

Harry Reid and Sharron Angle squaring off last night with the Senate majority leader fighting to keep his seat and fighting for his political life. Angle, the aggressor, called Reid a career politician who voted 300 times for tax hikes. Reid countered by painting Angle as extreme. The candidates sparred over everything from the economy to health care and immigration. And when social security became the topic, things got a little testy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Reid.

SEN. HARRY REID (D), NEVADA: Mitch, thank you and thanks, Nevada broadcaster for arranging this.

SHARRON ANGLE (R), NEVADA SENATE CANDIDATE: Good evening. Thank you, Nevada broadcasters and PBS for sponsoring this event.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Reid, you're up first.

In the minds of many Nevadans, Senator Reid, your policies have allowed thousands --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: Clearly, that was not the part of the debate --

ROBERTS: Boy, I've never seen such sparring in my life.

CHETRY: Yes, that was intense.

ROBERTS: The fur was flying. Wrong sound bite.

CHETRY: We're going to show you a little bit more about the part that actually did get testy. Aha, let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D), NEVADA: Social security is a promise we have to keep. It takes care of seniors in their golden years. That's why I work so hard to protect social security. I feel so strongly about this that I took on the president of the United States when he tried to privatize it. And we won that battle.

SHARRON ANGLE (R), NEVADA SENATE CANDIDATE: Man up, Harry Reid. You need to understand that we have a problem with social security. That problem was created because of government taking that money out of the social security trust fund. In 1990, you said it was stealing to use social security for anything that's social security and then you voted to take that social security money into the general fund where it's generally used for generally anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: We'll just leave it at that. By the way, they're in a dead heat.

ROBERTS: Even up in the polls.

Other stories new that we're following this morning. The Justice Department filing an appeal against a federal court ruling this week that ordered an immediate halt to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy for gays and lesbians. President Obama insists the controversial policy will end on his watch, but the administration wants Congress, not the courts to change the law.

CHETRY: A legal victory for opponents of health care reform. A federal judge in Florida ruling that key parts of a lawsuit joined by 20 states can go to trial. Now this suit would challenge the new law on constitutional grounds. The key issue is whether the government can require people to obtain health care coverage or face financial penalties if they do not.

ROBERTS: Not even Queen Elizabeth is immune to the economic slowdown. She canceled this year's Christmas party for her staff at Buckingham Palace. The royal spokesman says given the current economic climate, the household thought that it was appropriate to show restraint. About 600 people usually attend the Christmas shindig with a price tag of about $80,000.

CHETRY: This next one is just the height of irony, I guess you could say. This guy was there learning how to take his driving test and crashed into the DMV accidentally. 34-year-old, he was in his car. And he was actually dropping off his instructor who had given him the driving test. Apparently, he claims that he thought the car was in park. And clearly it was not. Six people were injured in that, and the man, by the way, did not pass his test.

ROBERTS: I wonder if he had passed up to the point where he drove through the DMV?

CHETRY: What a mess.

ROBERTS: For want of putting a car in park, a driver's license was lost.

Let's get a check of this morning's weather headlines. Rob Marciano in the extreme weather center for us this morning. Good morning, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, guys. Across New England, you may be testing your hydroplaning skills today. We've got a pretty decent nor'easter that's rolling up the eastern shoreline. And with that will come wind and rain and maybe even a little higher elevation mountain snow across northern Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and even upstate New York.

So there it is, a bit of a mess for commuters this morning. Certainly New York up to Boston. Philly and D.C. are starting to dry out just a little bit. But I think airports are going to be a mess today. We're already starting with some delays at Newark with ground delays of about 40 minutes there. So, just hold on to your hats. And it's going to be breezy across the northeast. Not only today, but tonight and through tomorrow as this storm just explodes off the coastline. Good old-fashioned fall nor'easter. Fifty-three in Boston. It will be 86 in Miami, and 85 degrees in Dallas.

We want to touch on what's going on with Paula. Tropical depression now. Boy, it's just weakening rather rapidly. Not a ton of rain with this, thankfully. A lot of the convection is offshore so for the most part, south Florida missed this altogether and we're happy about that. Yet another hurricane, nine of them this season and not one has made a direct hit on the U.S. Very, very lucky -- John and Kiran.

ROBERTS: And what's it looking like out there now? Anything looming on the horizon?

MARCIANO: Relatively quiet. You know, once we get past October 15th, which I think is today or yesterday.

ROBERTS: Today.

MARCIANO: Things really start to quiet down. And happy Friday, by the way.

CHETRY: You too.

MARCIANO: I know that's happening today, as well.

CHETRY: That's happening exactly all day. All right, Rob. Thanks so much.

ROBERTS: You know what they say about Friday, Rob? Two days it will be Monday.

CHETRY: Oh, come on. We have to look at it like this. It's a start of a wonderful weekend.

ROBERTS: It is.

CHETRY: Well, we had some drama on the set of "The View" yesterday. FOX News host Bill O'Reilly who's been a guest before, has a pretty good relationship with Barbara Walters, was on the show yesterday. And it started out as usual, the hugs, the kisses, until the topic of the Islamic center near Ground Zero came up. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: (INAUDIBLE) 9/11.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, HOST, "THE VIEW": No.

Oh, my God!

O'REILLY: Muslims didn't kill us on 9/11? Is that what you're saying?

GOLDBERG: Those were extremists.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: I'm telling you, 70 percent of the country --

JOY BEHAR, HOST, "THE VIEW": I don't want to sit here. I don't want to sit here. I don't.

O'REILLY: You're outraged that Muslims killed us on 9/11 --

BARBARA WALTERS, HOST, "THE VIEW": I want to say something. I want to say something to all of you. You have just seen what should not happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: She went on to say that you can have different points of view, but you don't need to walk off or get angry just because you don't necessarily agree.

ROBERTS: That was much feistier than the Nevada debate.

CHETRY: It sure was. From what you could here, everyone is talking at once but, you know, that's what happened. Whoopi and Joy, by the way, did come back after Barbara Walters calmed things down. There they are. They're back now. O'Reilly also clarified. He said it was Muslim extremists. It's not all Muslims responsible for the attacks.

ROBERTS: Is Wisconsin's three-term Democratic Senator Russ Feingold finished? Still ahead, why the senator could lose his job to a man who had never even been to Washington, D.C. before this campaign.

Nine minutes after the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: Welcome back. The Most Politics in the Morning now. Twelve minutes past the hour.

And there could be an upset looming in the Wisconsin Senate race. Three-term Democrat Russ Feingold faces a major challenge from the ultimate Washington outsider. That's Republican businessman and Tea Party favorite Ron Johnson. With the election fast approaching, Feingold is making his own pitch to the Tea Party.

Jim Acosta is live in Milwaukee with a closer look at this race. And what makes it so unique this year, Jim?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what makes it so unique is that you have a total outsider in Ron Johnson who could take this race away from Russ Feingold. And, Kiran, if this is going to be a wave year, then some establishment Democrats are going to be swept away in the tide. And to understand why Russ Feingold is fighting right now to keep his head above water, you have to get to know the man who might beat him. A Tea Party-backed Republican named Ron Johnson.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN SENATE CANDIDATE: I'm just a guy from Oshkosh.

ACOSTA (voice-over): It doesn't get more outside the beltway than Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson. (on camera): Have you been to the Congress before? Have you lobbied on Capitol Hill yourself?

JOHNSON: Absolutely, I've never been to Washington, D.C. --

ACOSTA: You've never been to Washington, D.C.?

JOHNSON: -- until this election. I've gone three times just to familiarize myself, you know, meet with some groups. That's it.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Suddenly this 55-year-old millionaire businessman is favored to take down three-term Senate Democrat Russ Feingold.

SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD (D), WISCONSIN: As of this moment, I am no longer behind.

ACOSTA: He disputes the latest CNN poll showing him eight points behind.

(on camera): What would you say to all those Democrats all over the country who are shaking their heads and saying, my goodness, Russ Feingold might lose? What's going on here?

FEINGOLD: Well, it's not going on anymore. See, Washington always has to catch up with the reality on the ground in Wisconsin.

ACOSTA (voice-over): For Johnson, it all started when he picked up the backing of the Tea Party movement.

JOHNSON: America needs to be pulled back from the brink of socialism and state control.

ACOSTA (on camera): You don't think that was overstating the case? That we're on the brink of state control?

JOHNSON: No, I don't. Take a look at what they're trying to do in terms of taking over one-sixth of our economy. They've taken over --

ACOSTA: Health care reform?

JOHNSON: Yes, health care reform.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Johnson wants to repeal health care reform and he isn't sold on climate change.

JOHNSON: The point is it's unsettled science.

ACOSTA: Which may explain why this liberal with the occasional independent streak is making his own appeal to the Tea Party.

FEINGOLD: He's for the Patriot Act. I'm the only guy that voted against the Patriot Act. He's for these trade deals that shipped the jobs in Wisconsin overseas. I'm against them. I was always --

ACOSTA (on camera): So you're with the Tea Party movement?

FEINGOLD: I agree with them on many key issues.

ACOSTA: They really don't like the health care reform.

FEINGOLD: That's something they'll like. You know why? Because they weren't told the truth about what's in it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: Russ Feingold wants it both ways.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA (voice-over): But this one-time architect of campaign finance reform is getting slammed by attack ads and billboards run by outside groups. Not to mention the millions Johnson has spent on his own bid.

But ask any voter like small business owner James Ferrell and all of that takes a backseat to one issue, the economy.

JAMES FARRELL, SMALL BUSINESS CO-OWNER: It's hard to be in business. You can't afford to be in business anymore. Something's got to change or a lot of people won't be in business.

HENRY: That's putting pressure on Feingold to save one job in particular, his own.

(on camera): Are you going to win this race?

FEINGOLD: Yes, I am.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA: And you could not have a sharper contrast on the issue of health care reform. Ron Johnson at a speech yesterday said this was the greatest threat to freedom that he's ever seen in his entire life.

Russ Feingold, on the other hand, is running ads in this state touting his support for health care reform. He's one of the only Democrats in the country, one of the few Democrats in the country who's actually doing that at this point -- Kiran.

CHETRY: It's also interesting, he didn't seem to want to say to you that he was behind in the polling. Has that changed?

ACOSTA: No.

CHETRY: Interesting.

ACOSTA: Well, as far as we can tell, it hasn't changed in any of the national polls. No, it is interesting, and we asked his campaign about this. How can Russ Feingold go out in public and say well, we're moving ahead in the race? They're talking about internal polling that they've seen inside the campaign that they say shows this race tightening and perhaps showing Feingold ahead.

But until all of us see that reflected in some kind of national poll, Russ Feingold is going to have to fight to come back from behind in this race -- Kiran.

CHETRY: It's one we'll be watching closely. Jim Acosta, great introduction to the new candidate. Thanks so much.

Well, a familiar face will be back at the White House today. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be sitting down in the oval office and she's going to be meeting with President Obama.

ROBERTS: Yes.

CHETRY: Scheduled for 3:45 this afternoon, a White House spokesman said that Rice happened to be in town promoting a book. She'll be discussing a variety of foreign policy issues with the president.

ROBERTS: Right. She's not going to throw her book at the president to get him to read it, is she?

CHETRY: Probably hand it to him.

ROBERTS: Probably hand it to him. Yes. That's a good thing.

Michelle Obama hard at work in the campaign trail making the stop in her hometown of Chicago where she campaigned for Democrats and cast an early ballot yesterday. The first lady then flew to Denver for a fundraiser last night and will meet up with her husband on Sunday in Ohio for a rally.

CHETRY: It's been an ugly campaign for governor of California. Republican Meg Whitman says she has now accepted the apology from her Democratic opponent Jerry Brown.

You may remember he had to apologize after a staffer was caught on tape calling Whitman a, quote, "whore," implying that she sold out to special interests. Whitman telling CNN Californians deserve better than the traditional politics of slurs and personal attacks.

ROBERTS: And still a little more than two weeks to go.

Still ahead, he's an 11-year-old crusader, an anti-bullying activist standing up for his friend and everyone who has autism. They call him a hero, but he just wants to raise awareness. You'll meet this remarkable young man just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: It's 21 minutes now after the hour. Christine Romans is here "Minding Your Business" this morning. We're running these huge deficits these days. Bigger than anyone could've ever imagined. But maybe not quite as big as we thought this was.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Maybe not quite as big as we thought -- we're hoping to hear from the White House soon about what it just really looked like for the fiscal year 2010, right?

We know from the Congressional Budget Office that it was probably about $1.3 trillion for fiscal year 2010. A slight improvement from the record in 2009. Why so big? And are we numb to just how big these deficit numbers are?

Think of this. The Republicans like to say this, you guys. $1 million a day. If you spent $1 million a day since the day Jesus was born, you still wouldn't have spent $1 trillion. That just shows you what a big sum of money this is.

It's stimulus, it's bank bailout, it's an incredible amount of spending to try to get the economy out of this mess it's been in. But we were also given some big tax cuts and paying for some wars even before that. So we've been on a pretty tough trajectory.

These are some of the things we like to tell you about just how big is $1 trillion plus. $1 trillion bills stacked on top of each other would reach nearly 1/3 of the way to the moon. You still wouldn't have $1 trillion and spend $1 million a day since the day Jesus is born. And a trillion seconds is 32,000 years.

Put a dollar in there, and you can just imagine how big that is. So look, this is what we're going to be talking about heading into the voting booth, of course. Any kind of incumbent is saying look at all of these spendthrift Democrats.

But the bottom line here is that we've been on this trend for a while and it's an awful lot of money we've got to get it under control. The president does have a deficit cutting commission to try to figure out how to do that.

CHETRY: It's also interesting, though, because I think I've read another study that was saying if you take out all the mandatory spending and the defense spending, it's much smaller, but you can't cut any of that.

ROMANS: That's absolutely right. And then you start looking at another thing that's mandatory, and that's paying the interest on your debt because you're borrowing money from overseas and from our own citizens to finance this debt.

As that interest payment gets bigger, and bigger, bigger, and it's getting there, you start to restrict what you can do in terms of running your own country. Also, and speaking of deficits, I want to bring in quickly a number we saw yesterday that really got a lot of attention, the trade gap with China.

Another record. The very imbalances that many people say are at the heart of the financial crisis, the balances between countries are still there. In fact, the United States is importing far more than it's exporting to China at record levels.

It feeds into this whole concern that there's some sort of currency war brewing. It sounds all dangerous. This chair still is squeaky -- John. ROBERTS: I know, where's the WD-40, guys?

ROMANS: I guess -- I guess we can't afford it.

ROBERTS: It's horrible.

ROMANS: Every day, John.

CHETRY: You've seen the deficit. OK? We can't get the --

ROMANS: I know. Exactly. Exactly. Can't we import some from China right into --

ROBERTS: Times are tight.

ROMANS: Exactly. No, but we're going to be watching very closely. We should hear today what Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, has to say about China and if it's manipulating its currency.

Why is this important? Because the heat is really on the U.S./China relationship right now and it's incredibly important to financial stability and security around the country how these two countries figure out these big imbalances and they're still big.

ROBERTS: Great. Christine, good to see you.

ROMANS: Sure.

ROBERTS: Thanks. We'll get your chair fixed. Promise.

ROMANS: Thank you.

CHETRY: Still ahead, Carol Costello joins us with a gut check. It's the IMU strategy that we've seen with some of the candidates trying to get elected working. We're going to talk about it with her, 24 minutes past the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning."

Bullying in schools as we've been talking about recently has turned into a bigger and bigger problem lately.

ROBERTS: Yes, 1 in 3 students now say they've been called names, pushed, shoved, tripped, or worse. But for the past two years, one young man has taken a stance to stop it.

Here's Joe Johns with the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (on camera): It's nice to meet you. How are you doing? (Voice-over): Two years ago Dylan Beckham took a stand. He was just 9 years old at the time, a fourth grader. A little guy with a big sense of right and wrong.

DYLAN BECKHAM, ANTI-BULLYING ADVOCATE: His name is Cole Jackson.

JOHNS (on camera): And what happened?

BECKHAM: He was getting called many names and I didn't think that was too cool and I always wanting to help him out.

JOHNS: And how was he reacting?

BECKHAM: I knew it didn't feel good because he doesn't want people picking on him.

JOHNS (voice-over): Cole is autistic and had difficulty communicating. He was often bullied because of it. Dylan befriended Cole and sent a message to classmates that it wasn't OK to bully him.

BECKHAM: They were born with that disorder and they can't help that they were born with autism, and they don't need to be treated any different than anybody else.

JOHNS (on camera): Dylan didn't know it at the time but he was about to launch an anti-bullying crusade that would spread from his classroom to his school and now all over his hometown of Bowling Green, Kentucky. That moment when he stood up for Cole is now the subject of a public service announcement that's been posted on YouTube and played in every classroom in a school district.

The message, stop the scarring that bullying causes and start the healing.

BECKHAM: I stood up for my friend Cole and you should stand up for anyone you see being cut down or scarred, as well.

JOHNS: The young activist is hoping to raise $30,000 for Western Kentucky University's Kelly Autism Program. Dylan's already raised over $10,000 through drives like this one. And he's encouraging other students to do the same.

But beyond the dollars, Dylan has also raised awareness and changed hearts, including his friend, Cade Lawrence.

(On camera): Had you been one of the kids who sort of teased the kids for a while? Or what was the deal?

CADE LAWRENCE, DYLAN'S FRIEND: Yes, I'd done it for a little while. But I went and apologized to the people that I did it to.

JOHNS (voice-over): And Dylan's giving hope to students, especially those with autism who were bullied.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just hurts, you know. Believe me. I'm used to it. JOHNS: Like 8-year-old Christian who has heard about Dylan and seen the video and now is headed to meet the kid who started the anti- bullying movement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dylan is a hero. I'm this excited. Hi. You're the best. Oh, thank you.

JOHNS (on camera): Why is he a hero?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He helped kids with autism not to be bullied. And to know that they're just like everybody else. And we are. We just are -- we're not that different. We just have autism. What does that change with us?

JOHNS (voice-over): And so that's the story of Dylan Beckham, one 11-year-old, one idea, one simple answer to the bullying of autistic kids.

BECKHAM: I know they all get picked on sometimes, but now, it's starting to turn around.

JOHNS: And just, perhaps, a model, showing how kids can get results when they're allowed to lead the way.

Joe Johns, CNN, Bowling Green, Kentucky.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: And if you'd like to help out Dylan Beckham's cause, just visit our Web site at amFIX.com. Dylan's raising actually money by taking part in a run/walk event for autism this weekend.

Great work that that kid's doing.

CHETRY: Yes, brave and wonderful little boy.

ROBERTS: As you can imagine, some of these kids are real ripe targets for bullies, as well. So, great when somebody stands in the way.

CHETRY: Absolutely.

Well, it's 30 minutes past the hour right now. We check the top stories this morning.

The first of the 33 Chilean miners are home this morning. Three of them are released from the hospital last night. Doctors say that all of the miners have responded well to treatment and many more of them will be going home today.

ROBERTS: A new report paints a troubling picture of the security situation in Afghanistan. It says the insurgency is gaining strength and new recruits in areas previously not under Taliban control. According to the Afghan safety office, armed attacks by insurgents increased by about 59 percent in the third quarter compared to last year. The report describes efforts to form local militias to fight the Taliban as, quote, "clumsy."

CHETRY: A showdown in Nevada desert -- Harry Reid and Sharron Angle facing off in a debate last night. Harry Reid trying to keep his Senate seat; Angle, back by the Tea Party, is trying to paint him as a career politician who has approved hundreds of tax hikes. The Senate majority leader is really in the fight for his political life now, calling Angle and her views extreme. New polling shows that the race is tied and there's less than three weeks to go before Election Day.

ROBERTS: Well, Delaware's Republican candidate for Senate, Christine O'Donnell, has been trying to reintroduce herself to voters by simply saying, quote, "I'm you." But do we really want our politicians to be us?

Our Carol Costello live in Washington with a gut check this morning.

How are you, Carol?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've heard it from more than Christine O'Donnell, right? It seems every politician running for these midterm elections is saying, I understand your pain because I'm just like you. I have been there, I'm just like you.

That slogan has been used so many times, it must work, right? So, we figured it was time for a gut check. Do we really want a politician just like us?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO (voice-over): Christine O'Donnell wasn't the first to say she's you.

CHRISTINE O'DONELL (R), DELAWARE SENATE CANDIDATE: I'm not a witch. I'm nothing you've heard. I'm you.

COSTELLO: But you could argue she was the first to say it in a way that arrested America's attention in a way few politicians have. Parodies abound. Cue YouTube.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America's a 300-pound diabetic bearded man. Send me your donations and I will go to grandma's house and order pizza tonight. I'm you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: All joking aside, the "I am you" political strategy is ubiquitous. It seems to be in every politician's playbook, no matter how ridiculous it might sound. If you're wondering why --

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: They do it because it's been done.

COSTELLO: So politicians bowl, they drink, they hunt, or they ride a horse. But President Reagan on a horse was a lot more subtle than say Bill Clinton's "I'm like you" grab. All of those McDonald's hamburgers, those jogging shorts and marriage problems, he was a baby boomer's I am you dream. He connected and won.

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Thank you very much.

COSTELLO: Actually, analysts say the "I'm like you" strategy really exploded in 2008.

PALIN: Every day American people, Joe six pack, hockey moms across the nation, I think we need to band together and say, never again. Never will we be exploited and taken advantage of again.

COSTELLO: And although some political strategists might say it's a tired tactic, the idea of you running the country resonated with many voters.

PROF. LARRY SABATO, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Because they are angry, they don't trust anybody. Who are they most likely to trust? Themselves.

COSTELLO: But is that what voters really want? Do they want a peanut farmer, a cowboy, a good old boy, or a hockey mom -- you know, someone just like them to run the country? In the end, Zimmerman, a Democratic strategist, says, no.

ZIMMERMAN: This election is not about whether a politician is like the electorate. It's not what the politician's going to do for the electorate. That's what people are demanding today. And I think that's really what's resonating.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: By the way, Wolf Blitzer asked Christine O'Donnell whether she regretted saying, "I'm not a witch, I'm you" in her political ad. And she said it was a way to put it all behind her and move -- and then she moved on to other topics because, you know, Wolf asked O'Donnell that question while moderating a debate between O'Donnell and her Democratic opponent.

But we would like to know what you think this morning. Do you want a politician to be just like you? As in you can run the country better than anybody else? Is that important when you hear those things coming out of the mouths of politicians?

Please write to me on my blog this morning CNN.com/amFIX, at CNN.com/amFIX. And I'll be back with you at 7:24 Eastern Time.

CHETRY: Hey, Carol. I want to ask you. Of course, Robert Zimmerman's going to say no, they don't want an "I'm you" candidate because he's a Democratic strategist. And this has really resonated at least this election year, the Tea Party with more Republican candidates. So, I mean, does it depend on what your political stripes are this time around as to whether or not you're looking for --

COSTELLO: Well, in fairness to Robert Zimmerman, I asked him about Bill Clinton because he really connected with people by going to McDonald's and jogging and demonstrating to people that he was indeed just like them. Zimmerman says people nowadays are way more cynical and way more wise to the way of politicians. And that stuff really wouldn't work today.

In fact, he's predicting we'll see less and less of that stuff as time goes on because when a politician says, "I'm just like you," it's sort of like saying the check's in the mail. Nobody really believes it.

CHETRY: All right. Well, we want to see what people say on our blog CNN.com/amFIX. Thanks, Carol.

COSTELLO: Sure.

CHETRY: Still ahead, we're going to be speaking with Robbie Vorhaus, he's a communications expert about what is next for the 33 miners who become instant celebrities. How are they dealing with the media frenzy and their newfound fame? And can life ever go back to normal?

Thirty-six minutes past the hour.

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CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. Forty minutes past the hour right now.

As we all know, they spent a record 69 days alive underground. And amazingly, every one of the 33 Chilean miners could leave the hospital by this weekend.

ROBERTS: Pretty incredible when you think about it. And they've all got unique stories from an Elvis fascination to a love triangle. Movie and TV deals are already piling up.

So, how are they going to handle their newfound fame?

Joining us this morning is Robbie Vorhaus. He's a top communications expert, getting all kinds of e-mails and messages on our blog yesterday about, oh, what's going to happen to these people now that the media spotlight has gotten ahold of them? What do you think would happen?

ROBBIE VORHAUS, COMMUNICATIONS EXPERT: Well, it's kind of like winning the lottery. Some will do well. Some will capitalize on it. Some will burn out. Some families will be brought together by this and some other families will be torn apart.

I mean, it's really a very interesting -- 33 people is a lot of people and a lot of stories. And remember, show business is 90 percent business and 10 percent show. So, there are a lot of people making a lot of promises to these people and not all of them can be kept.

CHETRY: Will there be some who, like they've said, will want to return to life before this happened? Or is that impossible?

VORHAUS: Well, I think that's very possible. I mean, remember, some of these miners don't make more than $50 a day. They have no interest in being celebrities. So, that's good for the other folks who can, you know, if they -- if they really want to be stars and celebrities and be notable, that'll give them more of an opportunity.

ROBERTS: Who, Robbie, do you think is going to profit most from this? Because we have the miners, but then people will try to build a business around them and make money. For example, they're all wearing those Oakley sunglasses now, which I think, what, $450 for those glasses?

VORHAUS: Yes.

ROBERTS: Not many Chileans are going to be buying -- at least in that part of Chile, are going to be buying $450 glasses. So, is it Oakley that's going to profit? Is it the companies that drill the hole? Is it going to be the Chilean government? Is it going to be President Sebastian Pinera, who wasn't particularly popular up until this point?

VORHAUS: That's right.

ROBERTS: He sat with the miners through the entire rescue operation.

VORHAUS: You know, that's a great question, because what's going to happen is, is that there's a difference between having a strong reputation that you've been building professionally and notoriety and quick fame. So, everyone involved in this who have been working to build their reputation, the technology to get them out of the ground, the -- you know, anybody who is -- can benefit from this will because of the business that they're in.

For these folks, they'll get a pop. They'll get some money. But unless they're really -- there's something special about them. And trust me, there will be one or two of these guys who have something unique about them. They'll have -- they'll be funny or they'll be very religious or something unique will happen to them. And they'll rise to the top and represent all the other miners.

CHETRY: It's interesting, there's already talk of a lifetime movie in the works for their story. Chilean wine sales apparently up 25 percent after this happened. So, a lot of focus right now on this situation. And, you know, it really did captivate the world.

So, I mean, it's almost a real reality show as opposed to being a manufactured one.

VORHAUS: That's right.

CHETRY: But as you said, some of them will rise to the top and some of them will decide they don't want to. What happens to the people in the middle who want to but don't make it?

VORHAUS: Well, I mean, that's, again, the big question, because -- look, there are 33 people. There are 33 stories. There are only so much -- there's a news cycle. There's only so much attention we can give to this. Even if there is a major movie, who's going to be the star? Who's going to represent the other crews?

ROBERTS: Who's going to play Super Mario, you know?

VORHAUS: Yes, exactly. So, I think, look, it's a very interesting story. It captured our attention. I think it's going to go away quickly. We'll get a big boost.

But anyone who was involved in this professionally just as the government, just as the wines, et cetera, they'll be able to use this to capitalize in the future. But for the miners, they're going to get a short pop. A couple of them will -- like winning the lottery -- will be able to go on.

ROBERTS: And I'm sure the folks like Yonni Barrios would have referred for their lives not to get played out on the international stage.

(CROSSTALK)

VORHAUS: Exactly.

ROBERTS: Robbie, great to see you this morning.

VORHAUS: Thank you so much.

ROBERTS: Thank you so much.

CHETRY: He was the one who had the love triangle, right?

VORHAUS: Exactly.

CHETRY: Now, who is going to be waiting for him when he came out?

ROBERTS: He didn't have the most enthusiastic look on his face when he popped up. What am I in for now?

CHETRY: Forty-four minutes past the hour right now. Rob is going to be along with the morning's travel forecast. He's keeping an eye on the tropics. Tropical Depression Paula, where is that headed? And what will the weekend in store?

ROBERTS: And in 10 minute's time, believe it or not, a hamburger that looks nearly as fresh today as it did six months ago when it was made. How is that possible? Jeanne Moos shows us ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

It's 45 minutes after the hour.

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ROBERTS: Good morning, New York City where right now, it's 52 degrees and partly cloudy. You can se the new clear sky coming in as the nor'easter moves away. It's going to be 58 degrees a little bit later on today. It will be sort of blustery and windy. So, check with your airline before you head to the airport.

CHETRY: Pretty shot, though, this morning.

ROBERTS: Mmmm.

CHETRY: So much for those theories that it was aliens that invaded the Chelsea section of Manhattan. There was New York City police and Federal Aviation authorities who say they were flooded with calls Wednesday reporting people saw a UFO hovering a few thousand feet over 8th Avenue. You saw the crowds gathered. There it is. Does that look like a UFO?

ROBERTS: Oh, clearly, a bunch of silver balloons.

CHETRY: Mysterious. I know. There was a frenzy on Twitter. Anyway, the mystery seems to have been solved this morning. And yes, you're right, John, it was. It was a dozen balloons. They made their escape from an engagement party nearby Westchester County, and officials think that that's what people saw in the sky.

ROBERTS: Their escape is balloon certainly don't know what to do (ph). It strikes me as somewhat incredible that people would actually think that that was a UFO as opposed to just a bunch of balloons.

CHETRY: It must have been a slow day in Manhattan, because usually, people wouldn't notice that at all.

ROBERTS: Yes. Let's get a quick check of the morning's weather headlines. Rob Marciano in the Extreme Weather Center in Atlanta for us. What's this nor'easter do in this morning, Rob?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's cranking up pretty good. So, any balloons that would be float around even New York or Boston are going to be going sideways. I think that's going to be the case. Here's the red "L," and it's going to slowly move its way up towards the north and really found the New England Coastline. And actually, New York, even though the rain for the most part is over, you can see a couple of showers here and there.

The wind, I think, will probably only increase throughout the day today and tonight. And I think there'll be some tree branches down and definitely a lot of leaves down. I mean, this is the time of year where you can get a good wind storm, it'll knock down a lot of those leaves, and if you didn't get out to enjoy some of the foliage of state, it may be gone by the time this thing is gone, but it's going to take a while before it does that.

Some winds across Maine and over 30 miles an hour, we're seeing winds gusting in Boston over 20 mils an hour. In New York right now, 10 to 20 miles an hour with gusts a little bit higher than that. And again, the winds will be on the increase as this storm continues to explode. Also, the potential for snow, a little bit of pink here on the radar indicating that maybe a little bit of snow.

We think for the most part, it'll be at the higher elevation of the Adirondacks, the green and the white mountain of Northern New Hampshire and Vermont, typically over about 2,000 feet with this type of set-up and this time of year, although, it is snowing at the top of Mt. Washington right now. That's about 6,000 feet. Boston, you're going to see some rain delays and the wind. It's just going to be a stormy, nasty day today there, although, Logan typically handles weather pretty well.

I think you're going to see some delays. New York metros and the other don't handle the weather very well and just the wind could make for delays, Philly and D.C., as well. And Atlanta and charlotte, you'll see some wind delays, as well. And Los Angeles and San Francisco, heading out there, some low clouds. 85 in Dallas. Still warm across the midsection, 82, 72 in Kansas City, and 76 degrees in Atlanta.

There is cooler air behind this, by the way. Still tropical depression Paula. This thing's pretty much falling apart. That's the good news. It pretty much missed South Florida. Just a little bit of showers across the Keys and extreme South Florida heading towards the Bahamas. We think this will dissipate over the next 48 hours. Good news there. John, Kiran, hold on to your hats for the next 12 to 24 hours. It's going to be a breezy Friday night.

CHETRY: Sure it is. All right. We will. And good thing they dodged another bullet down there. Hurricane season's proving to be okay, so far.

MARCIANO: Yes, for as busy as it was. The U.S., at least, got very, very lucky.

CHETRY: All right. Thanks, Rob.

MARCIANO: All right, guys.

CHETRY: Your top stories are just a couple of minutes away, including the comforts of home. After 69 days trapped underground, the Chilean miners, many of them now leaving the hospitals and getting a chance to retell their riveting stories.

ROBERTS: Prize fight in Vegas. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid toe-to-toe with Sharron Angle in their one and only debate. It is the closest and maybe the most crucial race of the midterm elections. Were there any knockouts? The best political team on television breaks it down for us. Those stories and more coming your way beginning at the top of the hour.

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ROBERTS: Welcome back to the Moos News in the Morning. Indestructible. Not a word that McDonald's would use to advertise its happy meal.

CHETRY: Yes, but the fast food staple is proving to be just that. Jeanne Moos now on the burger and the fries that remained timeless.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Does a McDonald's happy meal have a happy ending?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Astonishing refusal to decompose.

MOOS: A New York City photographer made headlines with her happy meal project. Sally Davies says she bought a happy meal, kept it on this shelf in her apartment and photographed it. Every few days for six months. There's day one, there's day 180. No mold, or as one newspaper asked, "You want flies with that?"

SALLY DAVIES, PHOTOGRAPHER: That's the burger.

MOOS: No smell, though still a slightly greasy feel.

MOOS (on-camera): The biggest structural change took place between day 42 and day 49. When a section of the upper bun broke off.

MOOS (voice-over): But the lack of decomposition had folks freaked out. That's really disturbing. Some accused Sally of falsifying the photo.

DAVIES: Why would I lie? You know, why would I do this? I'm not getting paid to do this.

MOOS: She started the project to prove a point to a friend, but what does it prove?

MOOS (on-camera): As a food scientist, what does this experiment tell you? Anything?

DR. JOHN LUCEY, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON: Nothing much.

MOOS (voice-over): Food scientist, Dr. John Lucey, says it's just dehydrated food.

LUCEY: If you took a steak home and cooked it and then forgot about it, you'd get something similar like this.

MOOS: You don't mind that I'm touching it a little.

How about the bun? Regular bread gets moldy.

LUCEY: Yes, but the burger buns are different because they're made to be lower moisture content because they have to be tougher.

MOOS: Dr. Lucey has no connection to McDonald's, but the company made the same argument. If food is/or becomes dry enough, it won't grow mold or bacteria. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A happy meal, fountain of youth.

MOOS: The funny thing is how many people keep old fast food?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is going on four years old, and it's aging better than me.

MOOS: One guy even has a burger museum dating back more than 20 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The world's first immortal hamburger.

MOOS: Morgan Spurlock did a similar experiment when he made "Super Size Me." Eventually, a Big Mac and jar got moldy, but after ten weeks, the fries look the same.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is wrong with that?

MOOS: Compared to moldy fries not from a fast food restaurant. Sally says her dogs lost interest in the happy meal within two days, but at 180 days, Jay Leno hasn't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just disgusting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it's not nice. She's basically was saying --

MOOS: Jeannie Moos,

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just dehydrated.

MOOS: -- CNN --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's nothing wrong with me.

MOOS: -- New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: The mistake that Morgan Spurlock made was he put the burger in a jar and locked in the moisture. You could see some of it on the side of the jar. That's probably what spread the mold growth.

CHETRY: Yes and also the special sauce is a little moist.

ROBERTS: And it can kind of go a little funky from time to time, but the basic burger is still there.

CHETRY: I don't know. It doesn't upset me as much as everyone else. Everyone else is like, it's so disgusting. I'm thinking, that's great. I mean, it didn't grow mold after all that time?

ROBERTS: If you were hungry enough, would you?

CHETRY: Of course.

ROBERTS: Why not? Top stories coming your right way after the break. Stay with us.

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