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Dems Call for Weiner Investigation; Gadhafi Compound Hit; E. Coli Kills 22, Sickens 2300; Yemen President Burned His Body; Romney Says Palin Didn't Ruin His Day; French TV's Facebook/Twitter Ban; San Francisco Voting on Circumcision?; CNN's Listening Tour; USC Stripped of 2004 National Title

Aired June 7, 2011 - 09:00   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: 9:00 a.m. on the East Coast, 6:00 a.m. out west. I'm Kyra Phillips. And here's a look at what you're clicking on.

Embattled Congressman Anthony Weiner could face an ethics investigation for the sexting scandal that he now admits to. Members of his own party are calling for the probe.

President Obama's top economic advisor Austan Goolsbee is resigning. No successor is named.

And just minutes ago, Libyan state TV reported another NATO air strike on a Gadhafi compound. No details on damages or possible injuries.

OK. We know what Congressman Anthony Weiner did. The lewd pictures, the sexy, racy messages and photos, the lies that he told before he admitted the truth. Now the question is, did he actually break any of Congress' own rules?


REP. ANTHONY WEINER (R), NEW YORK: I engaged in inappropriate online conversations with people that included -- you know photographs and it was a mistake to do that but I didn't -- I don't believe that I did anything that violates any law or any rule.


PHILLIPS: Congress is going to make that call. House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, wants an ethics investigation.

CNN's Kate Bolduan, covering that for us.

So, Kate, what are you hearing about whether he did break any rules?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is actually quite unclear, Kyra. As you said, Nancy Pelosi has come out to call for this ethics investigation. And in her statement, she said, she's calling for the committee to look into whether any official resources were used or if any other violation of house rules occurred.

I spoke with a well-known ethics expert this morning. And he tells me that the rules about how a member of Congress should or shouldn't conduct themselves or behave online are very unclear in this new age of Twitter and social media.

Many other people are pointing to kind of an arcane, if you will, provision talking about that members should conduct themselves in a manner that reflects credibly of the House. But that provision is not used generally as a stand-alone provision to sanction someone often used in conjunction with some other form of violation.

The Democratic leader has called for this investigation. We've got no official word or response from the committee but that's not a surprise as you well know, Kyra, because ethics committees are notoriously tightlipped about matters before the committee.

But as you ran that piece of sound from Anthony Weiner, you can see even though it's unclear if he violated anything and will likely have an investigation to see if he did, he's clearly lining up his defense already, saying it was personal time, personal accounts and personal devices, if you will, saying that he doesn't think that he's done anything wrong -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. And so, OK, behind the scenes, he says that he doesn't think he's done anything wrong. We know Nancy Pelosi has called for this ethics probe but do we actually know --


PHILLIPS: -- if Nancy Pelosi or any of the other Dems have actually called Weiner, sat down with him face to face, and said, look, you've got to resign?

BOLDUAN: I think the response that we've heard has ranged from notably, a near-deafening silence from some Democrats and also this immediate -- near immediate call by the Democratic leader to have this ethics investigation. Clearly, Democratic leadership trying to distance themselves from Anthony Weiner and, frankly, from this mess.

We're told by Democratic sources that Nancy Pelosi's call for this investigation came only after a private conversation -- we hear it was a phone conversation between her and Anthony Weiner where he made abundantly clear he was not going to resign. That's why they're calling for this ethics investigation.

I'm told by Democratic sources that this is -- we should take this as a show of just how furious she and Democratic leaders are about this situation and they are clearly trying to distance themselves from it now.

PHILLIPS: All right. Kate, thanks.

Well, if one person is saying "I told you so" right now , it's got to be Andrew Breitbart. He's a conservative blogger who first posted those pictures and he says he now has a, quote, "X rated picture" of the congressman that he's not posting.

Here's what he told CNN about that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDREW BREITBART, PUBLISHER, BREITBART.COM, BIGGOVERNMENT.COM: I am not the cruel person that the media and people -- certain people on the left think that I am. And I guarantee you that is a newsworthy photo. I just don't think that -- I don't want to be known as the person that released that photo.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: So will -- you'll never release it now after he confessed to this?

BREITBART: You know, here's what I'll say. I'm starting to hear from somebody that they are going -- if they start going after the girls. If they start releasing stuff about the girls, some of the images that were sent to him as a way to tell girls to not come forward, I have the photo.

I have no intention. I can't fathom that he would be stupid enough to start going after the girls and to start releasing photos of them that they have given. Let it lie. OK?


PHILLIPS: Well, Breitbart also says that he feels vindicated now by Weiner's admission.

But wait a few more minutes and you're going to hear what Steve Kornacki of has to say about all this. He thinks Weiner can forget about running for mayor of New York and he can also forget about being the liberal spokesman on TV. He also adds he might need to reinvent himself if he even wants to stay in Congress.

All right, we're getting word now on heavy NATO bombing in Tripoli. According to Libyan state television, Moammar Gadhafi's compound has been hit.

CNN's Dan Rivers joining us from Tripoli.

So, Dan, what do you know and why is this strike so significant?

DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think what's significant is that we are getting a lot of daytime strikes that we haven't had in the past. Just a couple of minutes ago, we had another one, which I think brings it to about 25 airstrikes that we've had in the last four hours or so, including Colonel Gadhafi's compound itself according to the regime here.

They also tell us that's the popular guard compound was hit and the Revolutionary Guard compound was hit, which is just over behind me a kilometer or so away.

Libyan TV station was also hit last night. They tell us two technicians were killed and 16 people injured.

But I think the real significance of this, according to one NATO source that I spoke to, this is a turning of the screw on Colonel Gadhafi, a ratcheting up of the pressure as witnessed by this almost kind of constant bombardment for the last few hours. As I say 25 airstrikes -- some of them very loud, sounding like they may be using a much bigger --

PHILLIPS: All right. Once again, that's our Dan Rivers having an issue there, as you can see, with our connection. But we will continue to update you on that story.

Once again an airstrike, NATO airstrike on one of Moammar Gadhafi's compounds. We'll continue to update the story throughout the hour.

Now the deadly and mysterious outbreak of E. coli in Europe. The fears have spread across the continent and all the way to the U.S. now. This particular strain is resistant to drugs and unlike any ever seen before.

Let's talk about this more with chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

All right, so, we want to know how big this risk is, right?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. I think in the United States, I think the risk is going to be pretty small. For a few reasons.

First of all, the four people who got infected all went to Germany. So we're not talking about secondary infections over here. We're talking about people who are actually in Germany.

Also, you know, everyone is talking about this now. So the vigilance is there, Kyra. People are pulling food off the shelves, who are going to be a little bit more cautious about this. So I think the risk is small.

But as you mentioned, 12 countries, 2200 people, and lot of people become really sick. This is a rare form of this E. coli that makes this toxin in the body and that's what's getting people sick and causes some of these deaths.

PHILLIPS: And we're talking thousands of people. And so is that unusual?

GUPTA: Well, it's not the largest outbreak we've ever seen. And you know we've done a lot of reporting on these sorts of outbreaks in the past. The largest E. coli, one was back in '96. Actually happened in Japan. But this is big, it is widespread. And it's most unusual in that 600 or more people now have developed what's known as HUS, hemolytic uremic syndrome.

You don't even remember the name but people's blood stops clotting as well. Their kidneys start to shut down. And what's also interesting, and we're not sure why this is by 70 percent of the people who develop that serious complication were also women. It may be because they're eating more of the contaminated food, which we don't know what it is for sure yet, but that's -- you know that was interesting as well.

PHILLIPS: All right. We'll continue to follow up. Thanks, doc.

GUPTA: Welcome back, by the way.

PHILLIPS: Thank you so much. Great to see you. And also your advice during my pregnancy.

GUPTA: No problem.

PHILLIPS: Thanks, Sanjay.

Well, this morning we do have a better idea now of just how badly wounded Yemen's president is after last week's militant attack. U.S. government officials say that Ali Abdullah Saleh suffered a collapsed lung and burns over 40 percent of his body. His medical treatment in Saudi Arabia raises even more questions now about his return.

Our Max Foster is in London with a closer look at the International Headlines.

Hi, Max.


This is the -- the concern here of course is this power vacuum in Yemen. And we've heard today the tribal fighters have seized the opportunity. They've taken control of a major city calls Ta'izz. Fighting continuing in Sana'a where the president was injured of course.

Also 15 people killed overnight in fighting in Abian. Now the concern here is that that's a real stronghold for al Qaeda. You don't want them getting any stronger and they appear to be getting stronger with this power vacuum.

The Independent" going into this, "Yemen Braced for Power Battle as the President Vows to Return." "Yemenis have jubilantly celebrated the autocratic president's abrupt departure. His exist has left a deep power vacuum that some analysts fear could ignite a broader conflict that would mire the country in civil war."

The "Australian" writing about a nightmare scenario in Yemen. "The challenges in Yemen could hardly be greater," they write, "amid the deepening chaos. However, the original demands of the protest movement for democracy and freedom remain as valid now as they have been since the start of the Arab Spring."

So this is about revolution, wrapping this whole area up. It's about al Qaeda as well -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. Max Foster, thanks.

And Sarah Palin may have upstaged Mitt Romney's announcement that he's running for president but Romney tells CNN, hey, no harm, to foul.

CNN's Jim Acosta following that story from Washington.

Hey, Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kyra, good morning. You know, might be no big deal for Mitt Romney that Sarah Palin was up in New Hampshire last week because if you look at a new ABC News/"Washington Post" poll that just came out this morning, Mitt Romney is basically neck and neck with President Obama right now in a hypothetical matchup for the 2012 presidential election.

And this is despite the fact that Sarah Palin had that very high- profile, very visible bus tour up the East Coast where she ended up in New Hampshire. Coincidentally enough on the same day that Mitt Romney was announcing that he was running for president, you know, Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, was on Piers Morgan last night.

He was asked about this. What did he think about that. You know, Sarah Palin. Went on to say she didn't mean to step on any toes. So Piers Morgan asked Romney about that last night.


PIERS MORGAN, CNN'S PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT: You know what was nice about that and then she does things like that, where she basically says, well, he can be as nice to me as he likes but I'm going to ruin his day.

MITT ROMNEY, FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: She really didn't ruin my day. In a lot of --

MORGAN: Fight it.

ROMNEY: No. In a lot of respects, it is the best thing that could happen to me. Right now, your greatest enemy is overexposure. People get tired of seeing the same person day in and day out.


ACOSTA: And Romney might be on to something if you look at these new poll numbers in this ABC News/"Washington Post" poll. Sarah Palin does not do quite as well, not nearly as well as Mitt Romney does against President Obama. She is somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 -- 15 points behind the president in a hypothetical matchup -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: OK. Sort of an unusual matchup, shall we say? What the heck is Miley Cyrus --


PHILLIPS: What does she have to say about Rick Santorum?


PHILLIPS: I'm just -- we were trying to figure out. Is she even old enough to vote yet?

ACOSTA: Yes. You know, I don't know if she is, Kyra, to be quite honest with you. I know she's old enough to get the support of my daughter, who is a big Hannah Montana fan. And I have to say, I think that's unfortunately the case. But I hope I don't get in trouble for that.

But, no, you know Rick Santorum had his big announcement yesterday in Pennsylvania that he's running for president. He has a -- pretty much a long shot chance of becoming president at this point. And after he did an interview on ABC talking about his presidential bid, he went on a radio talk show and was asked about the fact that Miley Cyrus has been tweeting basically the fact that she doesn't like Rick Santorum's positions on gay marriage.

Rick Santorum is very much against gay marriage. And Miley Cyrus took aim at that. He was asked about this on this radio program. And Rick Santorum said that, well, maybe he'll hold out hope for Lindsay Lohan's support coming up in the presidential race.

I'm not sure that's going to help him either, quite honestly.

PHILLIPS: Yes. My guess is he probably should stick with Miley Cyrus versus Lindsay Lohan.


PHILLIPS: Jim Acosta, great to see you. I'm sure your daughter will love the shout-out. Don't worry. You're not going to be in too much trouble.


PHILLIPS: All right, Jim.

ACOSTA: That's OK.

PHILLIPS: See you later.

ACOSTA: You bet. Take care.

PHILLIPS: All right. We're going to have your next political update in just about an hour. And a reminder, for all the latest political news, you can just go to our Web site, of course, 24/7,

Well, the lewd pictures and steamy messages might be the end of Congressman Weiner's can rear. At the very least, they could put the brakes on his ambition. And he's plenty ambitious. The news editor of will talk more about that coming up.

And before the congressman face the public, he had to confess to his wife, who happens to be one of Hillary Clinton's closest aides. We're going to talk more about Huma Abedin just ahead.


PHILLIPS: The comedians should be thanking Congressman Anthony Weiner profusely for all the free material. Listen to what Jon Stewart had to say. Now, keep in mind, he and Weiner are pretty good friends. And Stewart actually kind of defended him before the truth came out.


JON STEWART, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": At 4:25 Eastern Standard Time, this story officially became sad. You know, we forget sometimes, I certainly do, that these people are human and that's a lesson that's going to stay with me until I turn back to the camera over there --


STEWART: -- and do a little bit on the John Edwards story.


PHILLIPS: So, everything Weiner has worked for could be in jeopardy now. And if you ask Steve Kornacki about this sexting scandal, well, he says, hey, no surprise here. It's pretty much a reflection of Weiner's personality. Steve is a news editor at

All right. Steve, you've covered this guy. You know his reputation, tell us more.

STEVE KORNACKI, NEWS EDITOR, SALON.COM: Well, I mean, not so much his reputation on what he does in his personal life but just sort of his reputation for how he handles himself in politics. An d I think when you consider this scandal against that, it starts to look like the question really starts to come out, you know, why would he really want to stay in politics right now? Because he's been in the House for 13 years, he was elected in 1998.

And he's given everyone the impression who's watched him closely since then that he's really not interested in being a day to day member of the House. He's not interested in working behind the scenes to craft legislation, to come up with strategy to push things through the House, to build rapport with his colleagues.

He is interested in using the seat to run for mayor of New York. He already ran once. He wanted to run in 2009, got pushed out by Mike Bloomberg and has been running for 2013 since then. And he's wanted to use the seat really to kind of be a TV star, to really get on TV and he's been one of the most visible talking heads for the last couple of years. And then that was sort of tied in with running for mayor as well.

And I just think, in the wake of this, running for major is really basically out right now, at least for 2013. You look at the television side of it, I think he's really kind of got to be contrite and low profile for the next -- I don't know -- year or two. I'm not sure what the sort of statute of limitations is on that. So, if you take away the television aspect and you take away the mayoral campaign, there isn't much left to the congressional career of Anthony Weiner. And I think at that point, you wonder, does he even want to stick around? Or if he does, will he just have to totally reinvent, you know, sort of his role in Congress? PHILLIPS: Well, but can he reinvent his role? I mean, listening to you, it sounds like he really didn't do much but sort of pump his ego and try to be on television all the time. Should he just resign? Do you think he'll resign? What do you think of him saying, "I'm not going to resign"?

KORNACKI: Yes. I mean, I think, and most politicians in this situation, their initial instinct is not to resign. And we'll see what happens in a week or two.

But I think that the more significant question, if he doesn't resign in the next few days or in the next few weeks, the more significant question is: what happens a year from now? Because New York state is due to lose two congressional seats in the redistricting process before the 2012 election. There's really a limited number of seats within the state that are at risk of being, you know, sort of eliminated.

Anthony Weiner's has always been one of them and I think a development like this, when you consider that he really doesn't have that many friends in politics, that many friends in Albany where this decision is going to be made, even within his own party -- I think this development makes it much more likely that his district is going to be eliminated next year, which will leave him with a choice, do I run for re-election in a district that I really can't win or do I kind of, you know, do I call it a day then?

I think that's the real thing to look forward to right now.

PHILLIPS: We'll be watching. Steve Kornacki, always good to talk to you. Thanks, Steve.

There's a lot of words that you can't say on television, but nothing like the ban handed down to French journalists. The taboo terms, Facebook and Twitter.


PHILLIPS: I'm Kyra Phillips and I'm on Twitter. You can follow me on Twitter @KyraCNN.

OK. What I just said right there, that would actually get me in big trouble if I were on French TV. Journalists there have actually been banned from inviting viewers to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and any specific social media site.

Max Foster following that story from London.

So, Max, explain this one to us. It has us scratching our heads.

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's particularly or peculiarly French. There is a law there very clearly outlawing clandestine advertising, promotion of a brand outside the boundaries of recognized publicity avenues, i.e., outside the ad breaks, you can't promote other products. And that's a law that they are enforcing on this, particularly the body enforcing it is called the Superior Audio Visual Council.

Here's a quote from them. Christine Kelly writes, "Facebook and Twitter are commercial brands like Coca-Cola or L'Oreal or any other. There are many social networking sites on many topics -- cooking, animals -- not cooking animals -- cooking, animals -- why should we mention one and not others?"

So, this is all about commercialism. But also, I have to say, there's lots of comment, even in France, that this might be a bit anti- American. If they were French social networking sites, the laws wouldn't be enforced.

PHILLIPS: All right. So, what are the penalties if a journalist does violate the ban, though, right now, accidentally or otherwise?

FOSTER: Well, at the moment, they're just making a warning. But in theory, they could end up in court. So, as an anchor, you have to refer to social networking sites, follow me on social networking sites. There are only two main ones anyway, really, aren't there, in the Western world.

So, that's all you can say. You can't refer to Facebook or Twitter. So, be careful what you say when you go to France, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: I will be very careful. Hopefully, I will get to go back someday.

Max, thanks.

Well, quick question: do you know who this woman is? She is the wife of Washington's most newly disgraced politician, but also a high- profile Washington insider and close confident of Hillary Clinton. You are going to get to know her a little better, next.

And how about this for a corporate perk? A year's supply of beer. Yes, that's what one company is giving away. But you have to get hired first. We're going to go back to the New York Stock Exchange for details.


PHILLIPS: New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, you may not have heard of him before the scandal erupted. The same may be true for two other key players, his wife, a long-time aide to Hillary Clinton, and Andrew Breitbart, a conservative blogger who pushed this scandal all the way to yesterday's apology.


REPORTER: Do you have anything to say to Andrew Breitbart?

REP. ANTHON WEINER (D), NEW YORK: I'm deeply apologetic first and foremost to my wife, to the many people that put so much faith and confidence in me, that watched me make this terrible mistake. But, everyone that I misled, everyone in the media, my staff, people that I lied to about this, they all deserve an apology. (END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Mary Snow, I know a lot of people talking about his wife and how she feels right now, but also Andrew Breitbart and his role in all of this. Let's start with him.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, he was the first one to post this lewd photograph of Congressman Weiner on his Web site. And then, yesterday, we saw a 26-year-old woman come forward to say that she had had an online relationship with Congressman Weiner. Andrew Breitbart says that that woman had come to him through a third party, that a friend of the woman has put him in touch with Andrew Breitbart and that Breitbart then shared her identity with ABC News and that interview was broadcast last night.

Now, Andrew Breitbart yesterday, during the day had started posting embarrassing photographs of Congressman Wiener once again. And then it was just hours later that the Congressman came out admitting that he had these inappropriate relationships and that he had been lying. And, you know, Andrew Breitbart said he that he wanted to be vindicated.

And, you know, Kyra, he's been a controversial figure in the past. At one point his credibility had been questioned. You remember Shirley Sherrod.

PHILLIPS: Oh, yes.

SNOW: She was a Department of Agriculture official. She had been forced out. And an excerpt of her speech had appeared on his web site. It appeared she had been discriminated against a white farmer. In fact, when the entire speech was shown, that was not the case. She had aided the farmer so that was one of the things --

PHILLIPS: Yes. He edited it with a political purpose. Yes, making it sound like she was saying one thing and she really wasn't. We saw how that all blew up in everybody's face.

Now, let me -- we haven't heard a lot about Wiener's wife. We can just imagine what she's going through, how she's feeling. And -- but we are sort of, I guess we're wondering what she is going to do next. We noticed that she was not there at the news conference. She wasn't the woman standing by her husband's side. We also know she's a very close friend of Hillary Clinton, a close aide to Hillary Clinton, and you kind of wonder, this could be interesting. Hillary Clinton went through a sex scandal of sorts and, you know, could she have advised Weiner's wife? I wonder if Weiner's wife called her for advice.

I mean, there's definitely an interesting dynamic there that we are curious to know more about.

SNOW: And, you know, she is someone who is -- you see her constantly by the side of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She reportedly started working for Mrs. Clinton back in 1996 at the White House and has been at her side ever since. We don't hear much from her. But to give you a sense, democrats really speak so highly of her. And, yesterday, Democratic strategist James Carville had said on our air that she is one of the most popular people in the Democratic Party, saying that Democrats are furious with Anthony Wiener for putting his wife through this.

And, you know, she is someone who is also in a "Vanity Fair" article written by Jonathan Alter recently. It was a profile of Hillary Clinton. And in it he said that, you know, Huma had been married the same month as Chelsea Clinton and this made her feel she had two family weddings at the same time. That's how close they are.

PHILLIPS: Wow. Well, she's a strong woman. Her reputation is definitely out there as that and we will watch this as it continues.

Mary Snow, thanks so much.

And it's the bottom of the hour. Here's a look at what you are clicking on.

European officials meeting over an e. Coli outbreak that's killed at least 22 people. No concern about the crisis spreading to the U.S., though.

And a witness to a deadly police shooting in Miami Beach claims police tried to confiscate his video of the shooting. The witness says after he started recording, a police officer put a pistol to his head, smashed his phone after he started recording.

Actress Reese Witherspoon is slamming actors who have been part of sex tapes and nude photo scandals. Witherspoon actually made her comments at MTV's Movie Awards.

All right. Serena Williams coming back to the tennis tour. Williams will play in a tournament in Eastport, England next week and then will defend her Wimbledon title. A series of health problems sidelined Williams after she won that tournament. She said the last 12 months have been pretty tough but she's excited that she's healthy enough to compete again.

Proud football program must forfeit a title. Jeff Fischel shell joins me in about 20 minutes with USC's huge loss, plus other top stories in sports today.

Paid time off, discounts, summer Fridays. Well, these are some of the types of corporate perks that many of us get used to. But in Silicon Valley, a start-up tech company is shaking things up with more creative kind of perks.

Alison Kosik at the New York Stock Exchange with more on what they're drinking, I guess we should say.

Hey, Alison.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kyra. Welcome back. And, yes, you know, this tech company is offering a year supply of beer, $10,000 for a cash bonus. It's offering a new wardrobe including skinny jeans, bicycles, Buddy Holly glasses, even a complimentary mustache grooming. Not sure if that continues on throughout a year. That's assuming for the men there.

This is being offered by Hipster, that's a start-up company. This web site offers what they say, a fun way to get information specific to where you live, your city, which is similar to Yelp, actually. Hipster announced these incentives on Wednesday and so far, Kyra, it has 500 applicants but it's hiring just three to four people.

Not bad. Nothing like a little beer to get people to apply.

PHILLIPS: Hey. They know how to deal with the bad economy and how to encourage people to get -- well, are these types of incentives more common place in Silicon Valley, you think?

KOSIK: I think they are. These creative incentives are a big deal in the tech world. I think they almost need it. It's common for these tech companies to wind up poaching employees from other companies.

Analysts say it's this constant struggle going on to try to retain workers as start-ups grow into these really big tech companies. In fact, Google this year raised salaries by 10 percent because many of its employees were moving over to the younger Facebook. But when Google started, it posts workers from Microsoft, IBM, Yahoo.

What comes around, goes around, Kyra, I guess, in this tech biz, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Alison, good to see you. Thanks so much.

Well, the city that banned toys and happy meals tackles a very different childhood issue. San Francisco voters get set to weigh in on -- are you ready for this -- circumcision. That's next.


PHILLIPS: A lot of people say they want government out of their private lives and focusing on stuff that really matter. Take California. It's in a mess of trouble right now. The government's broke, jobs are scarce, schools are crumbling. Meantime, guess what issue San Francisco voters will tackle this fall? Circumcision.

A group opposed to the practice got enough signatures on its petition to actually get a ban on the ballot.

Our weekly contributor, LZ Granderson joining us now.

LZ, LZ, oh, my goodness. And you definitely speak your opinion here in this op-ed on A lot of things tick you off about the issue. The idea of government where it doesn't belong, and also people dismissing the potential health benefits of circumcision.

What's your main problem with this campaign? LZ GRANDERSON, CNN.COM CONTRIBUTOR: My main problem is just nosey people. I mean, I don't understand. If someone came up to me and said, hey, I want to stop parents from deciding to circumstance couple size their newborns, would you sign this form? I would probably tell that person to get out of my face. I can't believe thousands of people in San Francisco say, yes, I think it's a good idea we tell parents what to do with their children.

PHILLIPS: Well, I mean, it's interesting. Anti-circumcision activists say, and there's enough of them to get this on the ballot, OK? They say this amounts to mutilations.

So you say to them?

GRANDERSON: Foreskin man. That's what I say. There's a comic book written by one of these organizers called, "Foreskin Man." This is the person helping to lead this conversation. That's what I would say to them.

PHILLIPS: And they'll also say, oh, LZ, come on. Both you and all of us here argue freedom of choice. You say parents should have the freedom to decide their son's medical treatment. Anti-circumcision folks say, hey, it's the son who should have that freedom of choice.

Now, from what I understand, they really don't have the ability to do that while they're in the hospital, when they are just born. But, OK, when they're old enough to make a decision, I guess, you know, that leaves them the opportunity to do that.

GRANDERSON: Well, you know, I am about choice and I certainly could understand the rationality behind that argument. But one thing this ban doesn't make any provisions for either is religious practices and I think that's the more serious conversation, too, is that it's an infringement on our constitutional rights.

And so beside it just impeding upon a parent's private decision about their son's genitalia, it's also unconstitutional. And again, I don't know who these people are in the state of California, because there was also discussions in Santa Monica, as well, about having this ban. I don't know who these people are. I just want them to go away.

PHILLIPS: And if you keep writing about it, obviously we'll keep talking about it.

LZ, it's always good to see you and read your columns. Happy Monday -- Tuesday.

GRANDERSON: Thank you so much for having me.

PHILLIPS: You bet.

All right. Well, taking a page from the Tea Party playbook. A group has formed that targets Latino voters. It's called the Tequila Party. We're going to tell you about it as soon as we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PHILLIPS: Now let's take a look at stories going cross country now.

Despite a frantic effort to hold back the rising water, about 600 people in Hamburg, Iowa have been told to evacuate their homes because of a levee breach on the Missouri River. The river isn't expected rather, to crest until mid to late June.

And a group of Latino leaders have organized a new political movement called the Tequila Party. About 50 people turned out for the group's first rally over the weekend in Tucson, Arizona. Organizers say that the group's aim is to get more Latinos involved in the political process.

Zsa Zsa Gabor's Bel-Air mansion is for sale. And the asking price, $15 million. Gabor's husband says that the couple would like to move closer to the hospital where she has been receiving treatment.

All right, let's get in-depth, shall we?

This week, we are on a listening tour to hear what Americans think about the economy, politics and a number of other issues they hold dear.

Ted Rowlands, in Toledo, Ohio shadowing President Obama's visit last week. Hey, Ted. What are you hearing today?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi Kyra, we're at Rudy's Hotdogs, which is a tradition in Toledo dating back to 1920. They are getting ready for the lunch rush here. You can see the hotdogs ready to go here.

Andreas and Harry are the owners here. And you guys hear what people say on a daily basis. We're listening -- on our listening tour here. Andreas, what are the -- what are people's biggest concerns -- you're customers' biggest concerns when you talk about the economy and politics, specifically Washington?

ANDY DIONYSSIOU, OWNER, RUDY'S HOT DOGS: What they talking about is they needed jobs. In order for them to pay the bills, they've got to have a job. Without a job they cannot survive.

ROWLANDS: Absolutely.

A. DIONYSSIOU: That's important too.

ROWLANDS: The economy, the number one thing. We were here yesterday just after the lunch rush, Kyra. And we talked to a lot of people. One of the themes that we picked up: a lot of disgust with Washington and the political infighting between the two parties. Take a listen.

Oh, I guess we're not -- we're not going to take a listen to them but we'll listen to you guys. You were talking about this earlier. People are generally disgusted by the fact that the Democrats and Republicans can't seem to get together to accomplish anything. Is that what you are hearing? And I know that's what you feel. A. DIONYSSIOU: You hit there in the nose Ted, because if those two parties don't get together, the President doesn't have power to do anything. So that's disgusting when you don't have things to work together. It is like my brother, we work together all over the years. We accomplish something. If we don't work together, we won't have nothing.

ROWLANDS: Even though sometimes you disagree, isn't that right?

HARRY DIONYSSIOU, OWNER, RUDY'S HOT DOGS: Well, Ted we must have unity. If we don't have unity, we never achieve nothing in life. So grown men, like you say, in Washington, everybody has got different opinions. But you see they must -- they must get together and solve the problem. This is what you're going to do. Otherwise, you are not going to get nowhere. You see and who is -- who is the person who suffers? It's the people out there. Not them.


H. DIONYSSIOU: It is not the -- it is not the President or the Congress suffers. It is the people.

ROWLANDS: That is what we heard yesterday Kyra, from a lot of people, a genuine disgust with Washington in that they are not getting anything done. These guys would run the country very well. They make a hell of a hotdog too.


PHILLIPS: I was just going to say, Ted, with all -- there you go the political scandal, we need these guys running for office. You know, treat each other like family. There you go. Feed them that good food.


PHILLIPS: Ted thanks. They are going to keep talking his ear off, I bet. We just got started with the brothers there.

All right, the Boston Bruins watch a teammate get hurt on a blindside hit. Then, they come back to put an eight-goal beating on Vancouver.

Sports in seven minutes.


PHILLIPS: All right. A quick check of the big board. DOW industrial is up about 32 points right now.

All right. Let's take a look at some headlines that will be making news later today shall we? 11:00 a.m. Eastern Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty discusses his plan to the nation's economy in a speech in Chicago.

Also this morning, President Obama hosts German Chancellor Angela Merkel for an official visit to the White House. And after the welcoming ceremony and meetings, the two leaders will hold a joint press conference.

Then 9:00 p.m. Eastern the Miami Heat faces off against the Dallas Mavericks in game four of the NBA playoffs. Miami leads the series, two games to one.

All right. We're following lots of developments in the next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM. Let's go and check in first with Kate Bolduan on Capitol Hill in Washington -- Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey there Kyra. Well, the top Democrat in the House is now calling for an investigation following Anthony Weiner's bizarre, if you will confession. More fallout, the repercussions is coming up at the top of the hour.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I'm here at the Weather Center. Besides the heat there was lots of geological activity today. A 4.2 earthquake just southwest of St. Louis plus that volcano in southern Chile continues to erupt. We've got fantastic pictures and an explainer in the next hour.

DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dan Rivers in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, where we've been witnessing the most intense bombardment since the NATO campaign began; 29 explosions, echoing out across the city. More in the next hour.

PHILLIPS: All right. Thanks, guys.

Also ahead next hour, a Denver Bronco can't play football with his teammates so David Bruton plays kickball with his students. This NFL player becomes a substitute teacher during the lockout. We're going to talk with him live.


PHILLIPS: I'm glad you admitted the only reason you're leading with SC losing, because you went to UCLA.

JEFF FISCHEL, HLN SPORTS ANCHOR: This is such a grudge match; this is the start of this forecast.

PHILLIPS: Yes, it is. My college still reigns, we still have more wins than you.

FISCHEL: It's true though, none of yours count anymore. USC has been stripped of its national title, the UCLA fans, like myself, gloating at least for a little while. It's an ugly time right now in college football; new allegations coming out about Ohio State and SC.

It's even worst. The BCS yesterday stripped University of Southern California of its 2004 national title because of NCAA violations.

The big one, former Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush got improper benefit, a.k.a. money. Bush has already had his Heisman taken away. SC has been banned from Bowl games, had scholarships taken away. You have to wonder what now will happen to Ohio State, then you have to wonder which is school is next. Stanley Cup finals, game 3: the Boston Bruins have not forgotten Vancouver's (INAUDIBLE) bite in game one. A couple of the Bruins getting their fingers in the cut-up spaces; go ahead, bite me. Ugly hit for Vancouver, Erin Rowe; delivers a late blindside hit -- watch this coming up on Boston's Nathan Horton.

Rowe, for this one, tossed out of the game. Horton carried from the ice on a stretcher. No word yet on whether he'll be back for game four. It was motivation for the Bruins. They broke a scoreless tie, scoring four goals in the second, four more in the third. Boston wins 8-1; Vancouver leads that series two games to one -- Kyra.

And I'll just keep bringing up USC in trouble.

PHILLIPS: All right. I'm flipping you out now. Get the heck out of here.

Well, he said he was fed up then he fessed up. CNN's Jeanne Moos on Congressman Weiner's break down.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The camera sounded like a firing squad. Must have felt like one to Anthony Weiner who took a last drink. But the water works that mattered came out of his eyes and his sniffling nose.

REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: I've done things I deeply regret. I -- I am deeply regretting what I have done.

MOOS: Sorry to the media for all the stonewalling he did.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "SITUATION ROOM": You would know if this is your underpants, for example.

WEINER: The question is -- I appreciate you continuing to flash that at me.

MOOS: But it was when pictures like this flashed out from a conservative Web site Big Government that Congressman Weiner's goose was cooked. Pictures exchanged, consensually he said, with women he met from Facebook.

WEINER: I don't know what I was thinking. This was a destructive thing to do.

MOOS: Some of the pictures were playful, flashing a sign saying me with his wedding ring fully visible. And when he bared his torso it was with what appeared to include family photos arrayed behind him.

The owner says he didn't publish the worst photo.


MOOS: The person Congressman Weiner apologized to the most was his wife. WEINER: I love my wife very much and we have no intention splitting up over this.

MOOS: How things have changed since Congressman Weiner referred to his wife at the Congressional Correspondents' Diner just over two months ago.

WEINER: She's lovely and elegant and brilliant and widely respected throughout this town. So, obviously opposites attract.

I do the Weiner jokes around here, guys.

MOOS: Now everyone is doing them; even a sausage restaurant in Brooklyn called Der Kommissar, is advertising a special.

ALEX DARCY, OWNER, DER KOMMISSAR: It's called Anthony's wieners.

MOOS: Two hot dogs on French bread, drizzled with olive oil, $6 while supplies last. Owner Alex Darcy says it's given the new restaurant a nice little boost.

DARCY: It's juicy and delicious.

MOOS: But no juicier than the scandal itself.

WEINER: This was a very dumb thing to do.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.