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Search For Survivors; Immigration Ruling; America's Oldest State; The GOP Presidential Field; Deen Brothers: Get Fired Up

Aired May 27, 2011 - 07:59   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Growing anger among friends and family with loved ones still among the missing in Joplin, Missouri.

I'm Christine Romans.

Officials say 232 people are still unaccounted for in Joplin. They promise to step up identification efforts as the painful search goes on.


Almost two years after an Air France plane crashed into the Atlantic, new information about what exactly was happening on board when things went horribly wrong.


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton extending a hand of friendship and a warning. She is letting the government of Pakistan know they need to step up the fight on terror or else -- on this AMERICAN MORNING.


ROMANS: Welcome to AMERICAN MORNING. It's Friday, May 27th.

VELSHI: And it's Memorial Day. But in Joplin Missouri, it's still a very, very tough Friday.

Up first, the search for the missing and tornado ravaged Joplin, Missouri. State officials have now released a list, with 232 names on it. These are people who are unaccounted for. It's a list that they concede may not be entirely accurate, a lot more accurate than the 1,500 we've been talking about for the last few days.

Just to give you another sense of it, the death toll in the Joplin tornado is 126 right now.

ROMANS: It shows you the chaos still after this storm.

CHETRY: Yes, a lot of communication breakdowns, a lot of cell phone problems.

Also, we are getting a look at dramatic new video just after the tornado hit. Watch as Aaron Cox (ph) and his fiancee, Brook Watson (ph), race to try to find Aaron's sister amid the destruction. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROOK WATSON, TORNADO SURVIVOR: Aaron, look at this. Oh, my gosh, oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh, Aaron. Oh, my gosh.

AARON COX, TORNADO SURVIVOR: It went right through here. I don't know where we are.

WATSON: I don't know. I don't know where to go.

COX: We have to keep going this way. Don't step on any of this.

Come on. We have to keep going this way.

WATSON: I need to help if someone is hurt.

COX: Well, we'll keep asking. Look at this house, it is gone.

You guys OK?


WATSON: Oh, my gosh.

COX: Oh, my gosh. See these houses, babe.

WATSON: You guys OK?


COX: What street is this?

WATSON: I don't know. Illinois is a couple over.

COX: Oh, babe, look.

WATSON: What? Oh, no. It's the hospital.


ROMANS: What street is this? And it's their neighborhood. They eventually did find Aaron's sister, Sarah.

But the search goes on for many other families.

CNN's Jacqui Jeras is live on the ground in Joplin, Missouri.

Hi, Jacqui.

JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That search -- hey you guys -- yes, that search for the missing people and identifying these bodies has been the big focus here in Joplin, Missouri, today, and that list of 232 unaccounted for should be updated later on today at a press conference. They do know that some people on that list are deceased. The federal government has taken over the task of identifying the bodies. And some of which are in such poor condition that they are having to use things like DNA testing, fingerprints, medical records and even tattoos to help identify them.

The government has brought in $2 million worth of equipment now to help expedite the process. Yet, he wait has been unbearable for many of the families.


TABITHA FREEMAN, LOOKING FOR GRANDMOTHER: We were told there was no body found in the rubble and that they had seen an elderly woman digging through the rubble, but they don't know where she went, you know? I can't locate her anywhere.


JERAS: That's Tabitha Freeman. And her grandmother lived at this house here at Pitcher (ph) Street. You can see there's basically nothing left of it. Tabitha had a hard time getting ahold of any of her relatives in town. Tried things online for services and had no luck.

So, she decided to drive here from Oklahoma to see what she could find out. Down the street earlier today, when we ran into -- or yesterday, when we ran into Tabitha, there was a man that said he knew everybody and he was able to tell her that her grandmother had been taken to the hospital. So, I helped her call the hospital who told us she had been transferred to three different places, possibly. We called one of them and we found Grandma Ellen in Rogers, Arkansas, and she resting but OK. So, a little bit of good news out of this.

But, you know, it kind of tells you just how chaotic it was. And we don't know if she was actually transferred to three different hospitals or they were going to send her to one. But they said, yes, that's not going to work. We need to send her here instead.

So, that search continues for so many people. And, of course, we'll update you throughout the day as those numbers hopefully continue to dwindle down just a little bit.

VELSHI: All right, Jacqui. Thanks very much. We'll check in with you later on.

Jacqui Jeras along with our team in Joplin, Missouri.

CHETRY: There's also some new information this morning about the final moments before an Air France plane plunged into the Atlantic Ocean two years ago, killing all 228 people on board. Investigators say that the flight recorders reveal incorrect and conflicting air speed indications that led the crew to make critical judgments that resulted in a three and half minute deadly stall.

Air France just released a statement, quote, "The crew made up of three skilled pilots demonstrated a totally professional attitude and were committed to carrying out their task to the very end."

ROMANS: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meeting with Pakistani officials overnight on a surprise visit to Islamabad, part of an effort to repair relations between these two countries, relations that have been strained since the bin Laden raid. Clinton said Pakistan needs to stand strong against extremists from within.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: America cannot and should not solve Pakistan's problems. That's up to Pakistan. But, in solving its problems, Pakistan should understand that anti-Americanism and conspiracy theories will not make problems disappear.


ROMANS: Clinton said Pakistan risks using U.S. aid if it doesn't do more to fight terrorism.

President Obama right now in the midst of meetings with leaders of the world's top economic powers. This morning, the G-8 focusing on the prodemocracy movement sweeping across the Middle East and funding for them as well. Later this morning, the president will leave France and travel to Warsaw where he's going to meet with the country's president and other central European leaders there.

VELSHI: Ratko Mladic is the accused butcher of Bosnia. He's expected to be transferred to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague in the next few days to stand trial on charges that he committed atrocities during the Bosnian war. Prosecutors say he slaughtered nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Serbia in 1995. He'd been on the run until his arrest yesterday.

Mladic appeared to a Serbian courtroom. There he is looking frail. His attorneys claim he's not well enough to even communicate with the judge.

CHETRY: President Obama signs the Patriots Act just minutes before it was set to expire, the midnight deadline. The provisions of the law passed after the 9/11 attacks deal with legalizing terror surveillance tactics like roving wiretaps and searching the personal records of terror suspects. It has now been extended despite some opposition, including from Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, for another four years.

ROMANS: It will be the Miami Heat against the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals. The Heat punched its ticket with a stunning comeback to eliminate the Chicago Bulls in that game five for their series. The Bulls led by 12 points with just under 3:00 to go. But the Heat came back led by LeBron James, who had 28 points. The Heat-Maverick series is a rematch of the 2006 NBA final, won by the Heat. Game one is Tuesday night in Miami. I'll tell you right now, my DVR will start filling up soon.

CHETRY: It's going to be exciting. We can't stay up to see that part.

ROMANS: I know. I know. Everything gets taped. Oh, gosh, I sound like I'm 100.

VELSHI: Well, kicking off Memorial Day. Big driving weekend. We are going to see more people on the road -- even though gas prices are a lot higher than last year. We'll tell you more about that when we come back.

ROMANS: Also, the CIA sending in a forensic team to the bin Laden compound for hidden documents, hard drives, anything that might not have been found in the 38 minutes while the SEALs were on the ground. Live report from the Pentagon, next.


ROMANS: Honoring American's fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery, in the traditional flags in ceremony. Soldiers yesterday placed small American flags in front of more than 250,000 gravestones there at Arlington. It's been an annual Memorial Day activity for the past 40 years.

CHETRY: Thirty-four-point-nine million Americans say they are planning to travel on this Memorial Day weekend. We know it's a busy one. That's up actually from last year when gas prices were about $1 cheaper. Right now, the national average for a gallon of regular is $3.81 a gallon.

You know what I wonder about this is that because we've seen it drop, actually. I mean, we were pushing $4 a gallon for the national average. So, maybe it's gone down 20 cents and people say, fine.


ROMANS: Also, I think people are starting to drive a little nicer because, you know, people who drive nicely, they have better gas mileage. It's true. AAA says so.

CHETRY: Define nicely, what do you compliment your passenger?


ROMANS: You don't ride on the brake. It's true. Aggressive drivers have worst gas mileage. It's true, Ali. Look it up.

VELSHI: I thought aggressive is a description of, physically, you know, putting your gas pedal down.

ROMANS: Yes. Yes.

VELSHI: I don't think the opposite is nice.

CHETRY: Nice, right.


CHETRY: A lot of compliments to your passengers and the kids in the back.

VELSHI: That's right. You look great.

ROMANS: All right. (INAUDIBLE) one in five drivers don't know the rules of the road. According to a study by GMAC Insurance, 36.9 million Americans would fail a driving test if they were asked to take one today.

If you want to know about men and women and how they compare -- well, Kiran and I completely don't believe this, but the study suggests 27 percent of women would fail the test. Just 13 percent of men would fail the test. The best drivers are adults age 60-65.

CHETRY: See, I don't understand that because insurance -- it's cheaper for women to get insurance.


CHETRY: I don't need all the fine print with the test. It's like, can I get from point A to point B and not crash the car? Yes. That should be enough.


VELSHI: All right. We've been asking you what you think about drivers. What's your pet peeve about other drivers? We got great responses for you.

ROMANS: From the blog, Jody says, "I don't want the driver who wants to go 10 miles per hour over the limit and expects you to go as fast. He won't pass. Why do I have to go as fast? I don't leave the house late. Obviously, these people never get anywhere on time."

CHETRY: From Facebook, we have Stephanie Klein McWhorter, "Those who don't look back before they start backing out of the parking space."

How many accidents happen in parking lots for that exact reason? I've got this camera and it's helpful.

VELSHI: It's excellent. That's showing up on everybody's cars.

And from Facebook, Rachel says, "Yield signs seem to baffle people, not too many people can safely merge." That's an issue.

ROMANS: Always look out for the other guy.

All right. Keep your comments coming and we want to know what you think. Send us an e-mail, a tweet, you can tell us on Facebook. We're going to read more of your comments later in the program.

VELSHI: All right. It's 13 minutes after the hour.

Rob Marciano is in the extreme weather center.

Rob, apparently, a lot of power outages last night in Georgia and some fatalities because of some bad weather.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it was a rough night. From Georgia through the Carolinas, across parts of Pennsylvania and even Update New York and northern New England, all with the system that brought the severe weather across the Midwest the past couple of days. Now, it's hit the brakes and stalled along the Appalachians and we'll see another round bust out from eastern P.A. through northern New York and Vermont, New Hampshire as well.

And we're also resetting the stage here for the potential of seeing severe weather this afternoon and tonight for the usual spots in May, Oklahoma, southwest Missouri, including Joplin. So, we'll keep an eye on that.

I-95 here right now, it will warm and humid today. Most of the action once again will be along that stalled frontal boundaries. We've got some issues with some flooding across parts of Vermont. We have flash flooding in some areas, evacuate some small towns around Mt. Gilliard (ph) because of the heavy rain. Heavy rain across Atlanta as well.

Over 200,000 people at one point without power. And that number down to 50,000. Some multiple trees down and a couple of fatalities because of that. And another batch that rules too early this morning. Now, that's heading into the Carolinas as well.

If you are traveling on this holiday weekend, 30 to 60-minute delays expected in Boston, Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit and Salt Lake City.

As far as high temperatures today, definitely going to feel more like, I don't know, June, July, maybe even August -- 87, New York, expected., 88 degrees with some humidity, going to feel toasty; 95 in Dallas. And looking ahead towards tomorrow, the numbers pretty much stay the same because we've got this front that's going to really hang around. It's not going to move too far to the south or to the east.

So, generally speaking, kind of broad brushing the Memorial Day weekend forecast for the next three days, this front lingers across the northern third. That's where we'll see a chance of seeing showers. South of that, it will be anywhere from hot to warm and definitely humid. So, hit the beach if you can to cool off.

Guys, enjoy the weekend. I'll see you on Monday if you are working.

ROMANS: I'm working on Monday.

CHETRY: I'll see you on Tuesday.

ROMANS: That's mean.


CHETRY: Supreme Court backs Arizona's law, the one that targeted employers who hired illegal immigrants. We're going to have more on the fallout.

ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: I didn't really -- you know, I've just been little busy to get myself fully into the story, but I found the headline quite fascinating. Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, says he's taken on a new challenge. He only eats meat that he kills himself.

CHETRY: Right. So, what was his first meal after making this decision? I found it fascinating.

VELSHI: Squirrel.

CHETRY: I have no way.


VELSHI: If I was eating stuff that I killed, it would have to be like a squirrel or a pigeon.

ROMANS: Or a cricket.

CHETRY: All right. We're going to find out, but it's not a squirrel or a pigeon, but it's really fascinating. Fifteen minutes past the hour.


CHETRY: All right. Nineteen minutes past the hour. A big boost for a controversial immigration law. The Supreme Court supporting the Arizona law that targets employers who hire illegal immigrants. Business licenses can now be revoked if an illegal immigrant is employed. This was upheld.

Opponents argue that it trumps federal government powers. Also in the works is an Arizona statute which gives local law enforcement the ability to arrest suspected illegal immigrants.

VELSHI: Move over Florida. You may have the most retirees, but it's Maine that has the oldest population in the nation. ROMANS: It surprised me.

VELSHI: Yes. This is the new census data. This is why I love the census. I'm a numbers guy. It gives me lots of numbers to talk about. It reports that the average person in Maine is 42.7 years old. Experts say college age students are moving out, baby boomers are aging. The older population is staying put.

Coming in at second, by the way, Vermont, 41.5 years old, West Virginia, 41.3, and finally, New Hampshire at 41. The youngest state is Utah, 29.2.

CHETRY: That's stunningly lower than the rest of the states.

ROMANS: It really is. Speaking of young, a very young billionaire, Mark Zuckerberg, now that he's concurred the social working factor -- or sector rather, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, is taking on a new challenge. He tells "Fortune" magazine, the only meat he'll eat from now on is from animals he has personally killed.

The 27-year-old billionaire says since he's undertaken this challenge, he's killed goats, pigs, and chickens and he's eating a lot healthier. Zuckerberg traveling in Europe cooking whatever he slaughters. He just ate a chicken he killed and posted a photo of the bird on his Facebook.

VELSHI: Yes. I don't even know how that would work? Like, I'm going to Chicago for the weekend. What would you do, grab a pigeon?

CHETRY: Here's what you could do. Basically, he said that because of this challenge, he stayed a vegetarian for a whole year.


CHETRY: The first thing he ate was a lobster, and he said he appreciated how he caught it and killed it. He appreciated how great it tasted. For you, I'm thinking maybe crayfish if you can get some. I don't know. It's going to be hard for you.


CHETRY: If you go to Chicago, I don't know, you're going to charter a boat, get out there on the lake.

VELSHI: Too much effort.


VELSHI: But there's going to be the segment, you know, the animal cruelty segment that's going to say we shouldn't be eating these animals --


VELSHI: What you eat is killed by somebody, so he started killing it himself.

CHETRY: And he said it brings attention to sustainable farming, there's a growing -- you know what I mean.

ROMANS: Right.

CHETRY: Raising chickens --

VELSHI: Right.

ROMANS: My family raised chickens. Every year, we would go, and she would have --

VELSHI: Were you the one who said don't kill the chicken.

ROMANS: No, I never really had the stomach for cleaning chickens. This was never -- you know, I get it, but I could not do what Mark Zuckerberg is doing. That's what I'm saying, and I'm a farm girl.

CHETRY: I'd be eating a lot of avocado.

Blockbuster comedy, sci-fi thriller, this summer has a good movie season on tap, and we're going to be checking out some -- we're going to be preview a couple of favorites (ph) coming up. Twenty-one minutes past the hour.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dude, come on, get up, we got a situation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, holy -- where are we? Oh, my God, Allen. Your head.




ROMANS: That, of course, is a clip from "The Hangover Part 2."

VELSHI: From the "Hangover" sequel, obviously, to the Harry -- finale "Harry Potter" finale promises to be a very, very big (INAUDIBLE).

CHETRY: Yes. We're getting a sneak peek this morning. Joining us is Meredith Woerner. She's a senior reporter with and Thom Geier senior editor with "Entertainment Weekly." Good to see both of you this morning.

All right. So, let's start with some of the comedies. We know "Bridesmaids" is already out there. It's a fun girl movie, right? People would like to go and see. "Hangover 2," impressed or not?

THOM GEIER, SR. EDITOR, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I mean, I would say that "Hangover 2" is a lot like the first movie. The first movie was wildly successful, of course. You know, if you like to see Ken Jong appearing nude from the back of the trunk of a car, you're going to see him appearing nude in ice chest this time around.


CHETRY: But they got a monkey this time. That was pretty funny.

GEIER: There's a monkey. Exactly. It's set in Asia. It's set in Thailand. So, it's the woolpack is back, and they're as crazy as ever.

VELSHI: Meredith, you were extremely silent on that one.

MEREDITH WOERNER, SENIOR REPORTER, IO9.COM: Well, I think, mine is simply talking about science fiction films.

VELSHI: I got it.

WOERNER: I'm really excited about a lot of comedy coming out, you know, the science fiction (ph), especially "Freelancer" which has Ryan Reynolds. He's a great comedian. I'm very excited to see what he's going to bring the table.

VELSHI: Right.

WOERNER: And a lot of other comedies too. I just felt great (ph). I was really excited. ROMANS: You say -- I said if there's one movie I have to see you, guys, what should be the movie that I see, you know, get a babysitter and see, and you think "Super 8" is the one?

WOERNER: I do. I really think "Super 8" is great. It reminds me a lot of old Steven Speilberg films like "ET" or "Close Encounters."


WOERNER: It's about a monster let loose in a little town in Ohio, and it just wreaks mayhem and follows a bunch of kids throughout Ohio as they explore looking for this monster.

CHETRY: Also, "Harry Potter," the last of the franchise. Their fans are going to be -- there's always so much pressure, Thom, when you're trying to wrap it up.

GEIER: There is a lot of pressure, but this is such a successful franchise, and the fans are going to be going nuts for this one. It's going to be both a happy day for them and a sad day that it's the conclusion of this epic franchise and lots of special effects, lots of explosions, lots of death.

ROMANS: So it's well done? I mean, as a film, the art is well done in there?

GEIER: It seems like you've got the same team that has been involved with the last several films, the same director, and so, I think you're going to expect this to be the biggest hit of the summer.

ROMANS: We talked about the "Hangover 2," but can you tell me about "Bridesmaids," because a lot of people are saying they think that's funny, too.

VELSHI: There's a big battle going on between whether "Bridesmaids" is better than "Hangover 2."


GEIER: To me, I'd like "Bridesmaids" a little bit better. And, you know, I think it's a fresh take on the story. It's hilarious. Kristin Wiig is just a genuine star.

CHETRY: She wrote it as well, right? A lot of these SNL women writing pretty successful comedies and shows.

GEIER: Exactly. Hollywood is not necessarily finding the vehicles for women these days. So, the sisters have to do it for themselves.

VELSHI: Let's talk about comic books. A lot of -- there's "Captain America: The First Avenger", "Green Lantern, and "Cowboys and Aliens." What do you like about those?

WOERNER: Well, I'm really excited of all the comic book movies come out this summer. I mean, right out of the gate, "Thor" was a huge success. Now, we have "Green Lantern." We've got "Captain America." Marvel and DC, they're fighting a little bit. It's very exciting.

I'm really excited to see, you know, who's going to be the next big hero. Who's going to be the next big franchise guy? Who we're going to build the next movie around?

CHETRY: And who's the market? I mean, can younger kids see those or no?

WOERNER: Absolutely. They're totally marketing "Green Lantern" to younger children. "Captain America" has a lot of great toys, lots of T-shirt, lots of costumes. It should be a lot of fun.

ROMANS: Thom, there are a couple of serious movies this summer. Brad Pitt "The Tree of Life," also, something called the health based on a really successful book. What do you think of those?

GEIER: I mean, I think the art house cinema are really going to follow "The Tree of Life".

CHETRY: It won, right? It won in Cannes.

GEIER: It won the top prize in Cannes. Brad Pitt is star as the father of young boy, but this is an esoteric movie. This is not for the certain mainstream audiences, you know? It has dinosaurs in it. It has long worthless (ph) sequences. It's beautiful to look at but not necessarily a mainstream film.

ROMANS: And then, there's "Cars 2" and "Kung Fu Panda."


GEIER: Family audiences always trip out to those things. And of course, summer is the time to have movies with numerals in the title.


CHETRY: I know. Summer sequels, right? Well, there are some good stuff to choose from this time around. Meredith Woerner and Thom Geier, great to talk to both of you. Thanks for joining us.

GEIER: Thank you.

WOERNER: Thanks.

CHETRY: Twenty-nine minutes past the hour right now. Let's check out our top stories this morning.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Pakistan today.


CHETRY (voice-over): She's talking to government leaders in Islamabad attempting to try to repair the rift that happened after the raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound.

According to report in a French newspaper, "Le Monde," former IMF chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was caught by Paris police having sex with a prostitute in a car in 2007. And allies of President Nicolas Sarkozy tried to leak that to, at least, report to the media in the months before his current arrest.

And the first list of the missing in Joplin, Missouri now shows 232 people still unaccounted for following last weekend's deadly tornado, but state officials say that some of those on the list may actually be among the dead, and they're trying to speed up the process of identifying remains.

VELSHI: The CIA is hoping to uncover more of Osama bin Laden terror files. Pakistan is allowing a team of forensic specialists to search his compound and combing the home with highly specialized equipment that the Seal team wasn't able to grab when they first went in.

CNN's Pentagon Correspondent Chris Lawrence joins live. Chris, we heard they had the big cache of stuff they took the first time around. What are they looking for now?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: You have to think of this as a CSI investigation but on an international scale. The team was only there about 40 minutes. Less than half the time was spent combing through there for all the intelligence they found.

So this is the CIA's chance to get back in there and answer the question, what did we miss, if anything? So they could be using things like infrared cameras to look behind walls to see if anything was embedded in the walls of the compound. Looking too see if anything was buried there. They can take swabs of different material to compare to a DNA database, to see who was there and who may have visited, things like that that the Seal team wouldn't have been able to do in maybe the 20-25 minutes they had to search the compound.

ROMANS: When will they do this?

LAWRENCE: It is expected to be the next week. But on a bigger symbolic picture, it still means something after the U.S. officials are granted access to talk to bin Laden's wives. After Pakistan returned the remains of that stealth helicopter now allowing the CIA to come in, it suggests that there is a willingness to work together going forward.

ROMANS: Thanks, Chris.

In the meantime, coming up next here, in a few minutes, we have more Minnesota governor and now presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty is going to join us on the couch. And we are going to ask a few questions about, he is ready for this.

CHETRY: What is his plan? We need to tackle the deficit. That starts with the entitlement programs. What does he have to say about it? Does he have a plan?

VELSHI: We'll be right back. It is 33 minutes after the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROMANS: It's 35 minutes past the hour.


ROMANS: A new survey finds more than one in five Americans would fail their driving test. Our question today, what's your biggest pet peeve about other drivers? You can email us at We are going to read some of your thoughts later in the program.


VELSHI: A lot going on this morning. Good news as we kick off the summer driving season. Gas prices are down for the 15th straight day. The national average is $3.81 a gallon.

The judge presiding over a court hearing for the accused butcher of Bosnia Ratko Mladic says there are satisfactory conditions for his extradition to the Hague war crime tribunal. Mladic's attorney claims the 69-year-old is suffering from physical and psychological problems.

Thousands of swimming pools may not open this Memorial Day weekend. The consumer product safety commission is recalling almost one million drain covers because of a drowning risk.

The Casey Anthony trial entering the fourth day. They questioned his father about gas cans he reported missing around the time his two- year-old granddaughter disappeared.

Actress Lindsay Lohan is serving her 120 day jail sentence at home because of prison overcrowding. The actress has an electronic bracelet to make sure she stays at home.

And Oprah Winfrey's final show attracted her biggest audience in 17 years. The last time her ratings were this big was in February, 1994 when she did a show about people shedding their disguised like weight and too much makeup.

You're caught up on the day's headlines. "American Morning" is back in 60 seconds.


VELSHI: Welcome back to "American Morning." So is Michele Bachmann running or not? She was supposed to headline a fund-raiser. She phoned in and told everybody, quote, "We are starting the effort." Bachmann promises to make an official announcement about her candidacy next month in her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa.

CHETRY: Sarah Palin is also set to launch a nationwide bus tour when she attends a rolling thunder motorcycle rally in Washington, D.C. this Sunday. Some say it could be a kickoff to a presidential campaign. She has not announced anything at this point. Palin's staff prefers to call it a "learning tour."

ROMANS: Mitt Romney is taking a shot at a presidential run. He tweeted that heel announce in New Hampshire next Thursday. According to a Gallup poll, Romney tops the list of the GOP playing field as 17 percent of Republicans saying they would support him, following close behind is Sarah Palin with 15 percent, Representative Ron Paul with 10 percent and former House speaker Newt Gingrich with nine percent.

VELSHI: Here is another prominent Republican announcing his bid to run in 2012.

ROMANS: Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty made his candidacy official this week.

CHETRY: We are pleased to have him with us this morning. Governor, welcome.

TIM PAWLENTY, (R) 2012 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's good to be here with you.

CHETRY: I know people don't put a lot of stock in the early polls. Gallup has you polling at six percent. You seem to have a lot of ground to make up. What do you think?

PAWLENTY: I'm the new face on the scene. Most of these folks have run before, have had some national prominence. The early polls mostly measure name ID, and half the Republicans in the country don't know who I am.

So I like the fact that these folks who are established and well- known, and there is no real favorite in the race. It gives me a chance to introduce myself and put my record from Minnesota, which is cutting taxes, reducing spending, reforming government, including entitlement programs. As we get known, we are getting good support.

ROMANS: More well-known perhaps than Sarah Palin, someone who has served as governor a much shorter period of time than you did. She is talking about a bus tour. Do you think Sarah Palin and others should just get in the race? Do you think this flirtation with running for president may be taking some of the attention away from the declared candidates?

PAWLENTY: Whoever is going to get in the race, I welcome them, whether that is Mitt, Sarah, Michelle. Soon, we have to have the debate on the issues. This isn't going to be about rallies and bus tours. This is about a country that is sinking in debt and deficit. We want a leader that has tackled those issues and has actually got it done.

And so what I can bring to the table is not just this blue collar record, which is the American story for me. But also, a record as governor, of tackling many of the same issues that the country faces and getting them done. And that -- we've got -- we've got to focus on that. Because if these early polls were predictors of who is going to be the next president, they mostly just recognize name ID at this point. Rudy Giuliani and Howard Dean would be president. They are terrible predictors of who's actually going to win.

ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: We -- we welcome this conversation on the issues particularly on the financial issues that are at the top of everybody's list.


VELSHI: And you talked about debt and deficit and your history with that. Is it feasible if you became president to -- to tackle the deficits and the debt in this country and really not increase taxes?

PAWLENTY: Well Ali, if you look where the money goes and if you look at a pie chart of where the money goes, there is two or three big programs where most of the money goes and we have to address Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. And if we are not willing to say it and we are not willing to do it, then we are just wasting each other's time.


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: You're saying you're --

VELSHI: I started saying it. Have you -- are you on -- on board with what Paul Ryan is talking about with -- with Medicare?

PAWLENTY: I've plugged Paul Ryan in the direction that he's headed. I'm going to have my own plan. It's going to have some differences. For example he chose not to address Social Security. We will. And this is part of its time for the truth tour.


ROMANS: You want to raise the retirement age. And you -- would you -- would you benefit or would you means test benefits for seniors so somebody who is wealthier maybe wouldn't get as much as somebody else?

PAWLENTY: What we said for Social Security is this, anybody who is on the program or near retirement wouldn't be affected, stays the same for them. But for the next generation, the once who are coming into the workforce, we're going to gradually raise the retirement age over time. We have to.

We're also going to means test part of the program, the COLA, the cost of living adjustments.

ROMANS: Right.

PAWLENTY: So if you are wealthy, you won't get that and down the list but the point is this, this country is sinking in debt and every second, they spend $40,000 of debt. Every dollar the federal government spends, 40 percent of it is debt. And we've got a president who won't really address these issues. We've got a country that needs to be prepared and ready to act on these issues or we're not going to have the country.

We've got a president who has a campaign plan but he doesn't have an economic plan.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: I want to ask you about that. Because I mean, there was just a huge back and forth, a lot of test of wills really in Congress. And they did hammer out at least something that seemed to indicate they were going to talk about major, major cuts, to the tune of billions of dollars.

What about the president, do you say, is not honest when it comes to explaining to people how he's going to plan to cut the deficit?

PAWLENTY: We don't need to be talking about billions of dollars of cuts; it's going to have to be hundreds of billions and maybe even a trillion. They take in at the federal government level $2.2 trillion a year or so and they are spending $3.7 trillion.

We don't have 20 years, we don't have time for more status quo politicians to just come here and say, we don't have to make any tough choices. If any doofus can go to Washington and maintain the status quo. And that's what we've got in the White House and the Congress in terms of the attitude about their willingness to tackle these issues.

They are just saying it's all going to be ok, you don't have to do anything big. Don't worry about it. We don't have to change Social Security, we don't have to change Medicare, we don't have change any of the entitlement programs. Yes, we do.

And if we're not going to have leaders who are going to say that and do it, and tell the American people, look them in the eye, it's time for the truth. Then, we're all wasting our time.

You might as well Ali come back to Minnesota and drink beer and play hockey with me. But that's not what this is about.

VELSHI: I'm always happy to go back.


VELSHI: But let's talk about this for a second. Between Barack Obama, who is a formidable politician and some of these names we're talking about getting into the Republican race, how do you contend with some of the -- I don't know if their criticisms that you welcome them the fact that you're -- you're more like an average guy?

PAWLENTY: I welcome that. I'm not running for comedian-in-chief or entertainer-in-chief. I am not going to light my hair on fire and shoot sparks up my ears or whatever. This is a country that faces big challenges. We need seasoned experience leaders who know how to tackle problems and get the job done.

That's what my record reflects and if you want the comedian-in-chief, if you want the entertainer in chief, vote for somebody else. But if you want to get the country back on track, vote for me.

CHETRY: I want to ask you about the primary. About getting out of the GOP primary in general. Does -- if Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann enter the race, does it change your strategy?

PAWLENTY: No. You know whether it's Michele or Sarah, there is going to be a big swath of people to compete. And I'm going to be the only candidate in the race on the Republican side that can unite the whole coalition. So on the Republican side, you have economic conservatives, social conservatives, libertarian conservatives --


CHETRY: And how do you get the money, you've got to win Iowa. In Iowa if Sarah Palin jumps in the race, it's hard?

PAWLENTY: We'll have the money to compete in the early states for sure.

ROMANS: You're betting in for the New Hampshire CNN -- the debate in New Hampshire next month. Who do you think you are standing up there with?

PAWLENTY: About 20 people.

VELSHI: You have a sense of what it is going to look like.

PAWLENTY: It will sort out, it will sort out. Know that the early states will have enough money to be successful in the early states. And as I get known, we are getting good traction. And so just keep an eye on these polls, not now but see what they look like a year from now.

ROMANS: We will have a clear picture of which one of your Republican colleagues will be joining you on that stage next month.

CHETRY: Nice talking to you though. Thanks so much for being with us. We appreciate it.

PAWLENTY: Ok. Thanks for having me in. I appreciate it.

CHETRY: 49 minutes past the hour. We will be right back.


VELSHI: Ok. It's time now for our question of the day. Rules of the road. What's your biggest pet peeve about other drivers? We're getting great responses from you.

From Twitter MNIx17 (ph) says, "Running through a yellow light at the last minute, getting stuck in the intersection blocking the next group of cars with a green light." Love that one.

ROMANS: (INAUDIBLE) "Ohio drivers love to travel the same speed in all three lanes. You can't pass if you wanted to. Bring on the hovercrafts already."

CHETRY: Joshua writes, "When I'm in New York, I really hate drivers, especially taxis and trucks who thinks the middle of the street is a parking spot to make their deliveries or pick up, drop off passengers."

If you live in New York, it is so funny, you just don't expect two lanes. You expect one lane and double parking.

ROMANS: Yes. It is absolutely true. VELSHI: Thanks to everybody who e-mailed your thoughts in. We will have another question of the day on Monday morning.

ROMANS: Ok. Kids Didn't know Memorial Day is the unofficial start of the summer, barbecue season among other things.

CHETRY: Yes. And few people know barbecue better than the Deen brothers, Jamie and Bobby. They are, of course, the adorable sons of Paula Deen, cooking sensation. They have a new cookbook called "Get Fired Up".

VELSHI: It is all about grilling, tailgating; the kind of food I like. So they suggested maybe I go talk to them. I paid them a visit to see what's cooking.


VELSHI: All right. Most cooking shows and most cookbooks are way too fancy for me. So I have surrounded myself now with the Deen brothers, Jamie and Bobby, these guys, sons of the legendary Paula Deen.

We're going to be making some food. This is my kind of thing. These are bad dogs. But you know what, we can't get there yet. First, we have to make some good dogs with Bobby and I have to get some pasta because I have to have my food groups in here. You are going to prepare the pasta.

JAMIE DEEN, AUTHOR, "GET FIRED UP": You are. I know your culinary background so I have a job for you. Would you take this pasta please and put it in that pot.

VELSHI: Just in here?

J. DEEN: Right in there.

VELSHI: That's all I have got to do.

J. DEEN: That was about 98 percent success rate there.

VELSHI: Well, I am going to leave you to that for a few minutes. I am going to go over and make some good dogs. Not off to a bad start. Wouldn't you say?

BOBBY DEEN, AUTHOR, "GET FIRED UP": I would say it is a pretty good start.

VELSHI: These are what you call bad dogs.

B. DEEN: These are called the bad dogs but they are good. There are a traditional beef hotdog. It's sliced open and stuffed with chipotle which is actually a really good idea. And you can do that to the good dog as well. It's wrapped in bacon, so we make it double good. We do it on the grill top there.

Good cheddar cheese on there and onions on top. And the difference is, in the good dog, we would use whole wheat buns -- VELSHI: Right.

B. DEEN: We would use a different kind of cheese.


B. DEEN: We're just going to get some grill marks on that.

VELSHI: The whole idea, the good dogs are a little bit gooder.

B. DEEN: It's the lesser of two evils.

VELSHI: Got it. Ok.

B. DEEN: So turkey dogs, turkey bacon.

VELSHI: One of the things that you guys do is you appeal to a guy like me.

B. Deen: I think that people understand that Jamie and I and our mother too, we are regular people that cook and eat regular food. We like to cover all our bases and show people how to, again, cook affordably and easily and get it on the table in less than an hour.

VELSHI: We are going to eat that in a second.

B. DEEN: We are going to eat all of them.

VELSHI: We're going to eat all of them. But before we do that, you can't just exist on meat alone. You have to get other food groups in like the pasta group and the red pepper group and that's what Jamie is working on.

How did I do here? Did I do a good job.

J. DEEN: That is probably the finest example of pasta dumping I have ever seen.

VELSHI: I have some skills. They're hidden but I have some.

J. DEEN: That's why I saved it for you. Talk about easy. Let's look how easy this sauce is going to be. I'm going to use a little bit of mayonnaise, about six tablespoons probably. See how close I can eyeball this. I am going to put a tablespoon of balsamic. How simple is this?

VELSHI: Who is the better cook, you or your brother?

J. DEEN: You know, we're different cooks. We have different styles. It's hard for me to say who's the best. You know who is the best cook? Mom.

VELSHI: That's right. Good answer.

All right. That looks good. I think it is time to eat.

J. DEEN: Yes sir.

B. DEEN: That's a good bad dog.

VELSHI: Mine is a good dog.

B. DEEN: Do you like it?

VELSHI: Yes. Really good.


CHETRY: They are remarkably fit for that.

VELSHI: They said they have to.

CHETRY: What do you throw in the bad dog? What else?

VELSHI: The bad dog -- it has a turkey thing around it instead of bacon. I wouldn't say it is a low-calorie thing. If you want to know how to make the good dogs, the bad dogs, the pasta salad, all that stuff, go to our Web site, We'll have the rest of these posted there.

They really are good recipes.

CHETRY: Well, I know -- I was going to postpone that later for our interview with Governor Tim Pawlenty.

ROMANS: Right.

CHETRY: He threw his hat in the ring on Monday, trying to get the nod for president from the GOP side in 2012. And he had some interesting things to say about his potential competition like Sarah Palin perhaps Michele Bachmann.

ROMANS: That's right. He said, you know, he would like people to start getting their hat in the ring. I asked him specifically if he was going to the CNN debate in New Hampshire next month. He said yes. I said who else do you think would be there? He said about 20 other people. So expects more people are going to be getting into the race.

VELSHI: And he gave us some specifics about what he would want to do in terms of dealing with the debt and the deficit, including increasing the retirement age or the age at which you will get Social Security. He said, not for people approaching it now but the younger generation.

CHETRY: The young people.

ROMANS: And also, you know, he talked a little bit about the Ryan plan for Medicare, which is kind of turning into a litmus test for Republicans on the campaign trail. He said he would have his own plan for how to overhaul Medicare. He is calling it a truth tour. He said any doofus can get elected and go to Washington and do nothing and sort of just run up our deficit. Doofus, interesting. I have never heard a presidential candidate use the word doofus. CHETRY: Well, we are going to leave it there. Thanks so much for joining us this morning. We'll see you back here on Monday. But meanwhile, it's time to send it over to our buddy, Carol Costello in the "CNN NEWSROOM". Hey Carol.