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Congressman Anthony Weiner's Confession; Michele Bachmann in 2012?; Deadly Police Shooting Caught on Tape; "Full Meltdowns" at Japan's Nuke Plant; Explosions Rock Tripoli; Saleh Badly Burned; Arizona Wildfire Forces Evacuations; Ford's Plan to Expand
Aired June 7, 2011 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ANTHONY WEINER, (D) NEW YORK: To be clear, the picture was of me and I sent it.
VELSHI (voice-over): Congressman Anthony Weiner admits he sent a lewd photo to a woman on Twitter. He says it's not the first time either. Other women already talking about their online chats on this AMERICAN MORNING.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome to AMERICAN MORNING. Glad you're with us on this Tuesday, June 7th. So, the plot thickens this morning.
ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely.
ROMANS: It sure does. First, after a week of denials and deflections, Congressman Anthony Weiner finally fessed up to sending a photo of himself in his underwear to a woman on Twitter.
VELSHI: That's not all. He also admitted to years of inappropriate behavior over social media with six different women in an emotional and apologetic news conference. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEINER: Last Friday night, I tweeted a photograph of myself and I intended to send as a direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle. Once I realized I posted it to Twitter, I panicked, I took it down, and said that I had been hacked. I then continued with that story to stick to that story, which was a hugely regrettable mistake. This woman was unwittingly dragged into this and bears absolutely no responsibility.
To be clear, the picture was of me and I sent it. I'm deeply sorry for the pain this has caused my wife, Huma, and our family, and my constituents, my friends, supporters, and staff. In addition, over the past few years, I have engaged in several inappropriate conversations conducted over Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, and occasionally, on the phone with women I had met on-line. I've exchanged messages and photos from an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years. For the most part, these communications took place before my marriage, though, some have sadly took place after. To be clear, I have never met any of these women or had physical relationships at any time. I haven't told the truth.
And I've done things I deeply regret. I brought pain to people I care about the most, people who believed in me. And for that, I'm deeply sorry. I apologize to my wife and our families, as well as to our friends and supporters. I am deeply ashamed of my terrible judgment and actions. I deeply regret what I have done, and I am not resigning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: House minority leader Nancy Pelosi has called for an ethics investigation into Weiner's conduct. Kate Bolduan is live in Washington with the fallout. You know, already analysts are trying to figure out what, if anything he could get in trouble for in this situation.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And we can do an entire live shot on that because it seems that it's unclear at this moment, Kiran, in that it might be a little murky in how on-line activity relates to house rules. Talking specifically about the fact that this investigation has been called for, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, she says in her statement, that she wants the house ethics committee to look into two things, if any government official resources were used and also if any other violations of house rules occurred.
And that will be, of course, looked into. In a statement she also added, I should say, that she says, quote, "I'm deeply disappointed and saddened about this situation for Anthony's wife, his family, his staff, and his constituents." Anthony Weiner shortly after Nancy Pelosi released this statement he released a statement, a very brief one, saying that he would fully cooperate with an investigation. "I welcome and fully cooperate with an investigation by the House ethics committee."
According to a couple Democratic sources, I'll tell you that this call for an investigation into this matter, came after it was abundantly -- made abundantly clear by Anthony Weiner he was not going to resign in a phone call with house -- with the democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. So Democrats are trying to underscore how very serious they're taking this situation and how rare it is for the democratic leader herself to call for such an investigation. Kiran?
CHETRY: All right, Kate Bolduan this morning, we'll check in with you later, thanks so much.
ROMANS: Congressman Weiner admitted sending dirty pictures to six women over social media and lying about it and even acknowledged one woman by name, Meagan Broussard. She claims she received this shirtless photo of congressman Weiner which was posted by conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart. Broussard told ABC news more about this on- line relationship.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEAGAN BROUSSARD, EXCHANGED MESSAGES WITH REPRESENTATIVE ANTHONY WEINER: He was eager to hear about if I wanted him or thought he was attractive or that sort of thing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much of it was sex talk?
BROUSSARD: He would attempt all the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Broussard is a 26-year-old single mother from Texas. She started this online chatting after she commented on a Facebook video of Weiner giving a speech saying on Facebook that Weiner and the speech was hot.
ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: A lot of people wondering what he's going to do now. It's not just that he's a congressman and outspoken congressman from New York. He wanted to become the mayor of New York. He's a man who won his district in New York City by a landslide in November. That wasn't even his strongest performance in history. Mary Snow has reaction from some of the people he represents.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Ali and Christine and Kiran, when you talk to his constituents, that's one of the things they bring up immediately about the fact that he was a heavy favorite to be mayor of New York city in 2013. Now the question is, can he hold on to his congressional seat?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEINER: I haven't told the truth. I've done things that I deeply regret.
SNOW: It was an emotional confession by Democratic New York Congressman Anthony Weiner admitting he lied about sending a lewd photo of himself to a woman over twitter.
WEINER: To be clear the picture was of me and I sent it.
SNOW: Earlier in the day more compromising photos of the congressman were posted on Andrew Breitbart's conservative website biggovernment.com. Soon after Congressman Weiner's office scheduled a news conference. As reporters waited for the congressman, a surreal atmosphere took hold when blogger Breitbart showed up at the event and took to the podium.
ANDREW BREITBART, BIGGOVERNMENT.COM: I want to hear the truth. I want to hear the truth from Congressman Weiner. I would like an apology for him being complicit in a blame the messenger strategy.
SNOW: Breitbart was looking for vindication, saying left wing blogs accused him of hacking Congressman Weiner's twitter account and it was not true. When the congressman appeared, he did apologize to Breitbart, the media, and his constituents for misleading them. He admitted communicating inappropriately with six women over a three- year period through e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter. But the congressman was most emotional when talking about his wife, choking up several times.
WEINER: Look, my wife is a -- my wife is a remarkable woman. She's not responsible for any of this.
SNOW: Congressman Weiner expressed regret for his mistake, but also made it clear he has no intention to resign. New Yorkers in his district had mixed emotions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a very well-respected politician, especially in this area, and I'm somewhat taken aback by this whole thing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, I'm glad he's not resigning. What he does on his personal time is his business.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's scary that, you know, a political person that we elected would be able to do something like that. He should resign.
SNOW: And having spent some time in Anthony Weiner's district last week, it comes as no surprise to these constituents that Anthony Weiner is now admitting that he lied and many of the people we talked to last week were very suspicious and some said, you know, they weren't so concerned about the picture itself, they were taken aback by the way he handled this and interviews he did last week.
ROMANS: It was interesting New York journalists Errol Lewis told Kiran he has to worry about the reputation of being more of a show horse than a work horse. This overshadows a lot of things he's done in terms of policy and the like.
SNOW: He is very popular in the district and as you heard some people there say, they don't want him to resign. But one thing also that we've been hearing is the silence from other Democrats in New York.
CHETRY: Those in the New York delegation, very interesting.
SNOW: Very telling.
CHETRY: Mary Snow, thanks so much.
New details this morning about the injuries sustained by Yemen's president after the attack that happened last week on his compound. U.S. officials say that Ali Abdullah Saleh suffered burns to 40 percent of his body. Also that he has an collapsed lung and shrapnel wound nearly three inches deep. He's in Saudi Arabia recovering from two operations. It's still not clear if he will attempt to return to Yemen.
VELSHI: Jurors at Casey Anthony's murder trial will be hearing more forensic evidence today. A key prosecution scientist yesterday said there was an overwhelmingly strong odor of a decomposing human body in air and carpet samples taken from the trunk of her car. He also testified he was shocked about the unusually high levels of chloroforms in those samples. Prosecutors claim she killed her 2- year-old daughter in 2008. She could face the death penalty.
ROMANS: The presidential Medal of Freedom will be awarded to German chancellor Angela Merkel tonight. Merkel and President Obama will be holding talks today with the euro zone debt crisis and war in Libya topping the agenda. The two leaders met last night over dinner at a Washington, D.C., restaurant. A spokesman for the chancellor says she told the president Germany will overcome its economic crisis and emerge strengthened.
CHETRY: Ahead on "American Morning," a deadly police shooting during what was billed as urban beach week in Miami. A guy who taped it says police smashed his cell phone. You won't believe the amazing lengths he went through to preserve this video. We're going to have more on that.
VELSHI: And the political fallout from Congressman Anthony Weiner's admission he's been sending sexually charged messages and photos to half a dozen women on-line. Two of our political experts weigh in.
ROMANS: We're asking the same question. Congressman Weiner confesses, what should happen to him next. Here's a sampling of what we're getting from you. David said "Leave him alone and let's focus on the real issue, storm damage, economy, jobs, out innovating and teaching, wars and troops." Keep your comments coming. Tell us on Facebook. We will read some of your thoughts later in the program.
ROMANS: All right, the truth is out, but that's not the end of it for New York Congressman Anthony Weiner. Yesterday he admitted tweeting a lewd photo to a young woman and having inappropriate exchanges with others he met on-line.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEINER: To be clear, the picture was of me and I sent it. I am deeply sorry for the pain this has caused my wife Huma and our family, and my constituents, friends, supporters, and staff. I haven't told the truth. And I've done things I deeply regret. I brought pain to people I care about the most and the people who believed in me. And for that I'm deeply sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Weiner is now facing a house ethics investigation, Nancy Pelosi announcing that about an hour after his news conference yesterday. He says he will not resign. The question is, can he survive politically? Joining us from Washington, Democratic strategist Kiki McLean and Republican analyst Ed Rollins. Good to see both of you.
Kiki, let me start with you. I'm sure you were watching yesterday afternoon when Weiner made that tearful admission. What in your mind happens next?
KIKI MCLEAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think this is about his relationship with his constituents. Ultimately, I think people are worried about the big issues we've been dealing with before this, about the fiscal crisis, debt ceiling coming up. I think they're far more interested in making sure we find jobs. This is a distraction and it's disappointing, but frankly they'd rather Ed and I be talking about who has a better idea to deal with the debt ceiling and put people back to work.
ROMANS: We're not. And that's one reason why there's silence from Democrats who would rather be talking about these things and aren't and p.o.-ed at him.
ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think they are. To a certain extent it's more than just a distraction and the diminishing of a man who two weeks ago or three weeks ago was a proud man and considered a very bright and serious incumbent. He is being ridiculed by his colleagues and across the country. No one's going to think of him as very smart again. He certainly isn't a potential mayor of New York. He will be the number one target of Republicans in his state. He will be the number one target and he can be -- may be primaries.
At the end of the day go back to congress, you're riddled, not taken seriously. What kind of a career do you have? As I said he's a proud man, don't want to pile on him, but I think to a certain extent this is the beginning and I think there will be more that will unravel.
VELSHI: Ed, you're busy with other things, signed on to work on Michele Bachmann's campaign, which is everything just short of a little bit of a declared presidential campaign. She's going to be participating in our CNN Republican debate on Monday. Is she going to run and what are her chances of winning if she does?
ROLLINS: She does not have a campaign yet. I've joined to give her advice on how you do this if you do choose to run. I think she will. She's a tremendous individual. She's very articulate. She's a leader of the tea party.
You know, I think the key thing if she does run, she has a tremendous opportunity to sort of follow the pattern of Mike Huckabee, whose campaign I was involved in four years ago.
She'll be a very strong candidate in Iowa and she was born in Iowa. She's the first Republican ever to represent a neighboring state, Minnesota. She's got a tremendous opportunity to go into the religious right, which is a strong constituency. She's articulate, she's very intelligent.
There's a great story that hasn't been told. She's a mother of five. She basically took foster mother 23 children. Hard core kids who basically needed help. So I think to a certain extent she understand America. And she's going to be a great candidate.
CHETRY: And Kiki, I want to get your take on that.
KIKI MCLEAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes.
CHETRY: I mean there have been sort of this either/or. People have said OK, well, if Sarah Palin runs and Michele Bachmann can't, or vice versa, given that the -- some have compared them and compared their constituencies, what would the Democratic response be if, indeed, Michele Bachmann was going to be in it to try to unseat President Obama?
MCLEAN: Well, the Democratic response is going to be, show us what you can do to help grow this economy, bring more jobs together and put a responsible budget together. But one of the things that I have to say I'm really excited about, regardless of partisanship in this, is the concept that people are talking about Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann really without talking about their gender.
That this is about who they are, the constituencies they represent, the positions albeit as far to the right as where I'd like to be, they are in this game for what they believe in the constituencies they have.
And that's something for the Republican primary and caucus system to work out this year. But ultimately the Republicans will have to look at them and say, how will they fare in a general election, what are they going to do to make sure that our priorities are met, and we deal with a responsible bipartisan budget.
I do think that one of the things that will be a drawback for both of them as candidates is they have a certain amount of hyper partisanship in their scope.
VELSHI: And that's an issue, Ed. There's hyper partisanship, there's the fact that the strongest people in the Republican primary may not be the strongest people to run against President Obama. Because the hyper partisanship does not, as you well know, exist in America as much as it does with the parties.
ROLLINS: Reelections are about an incumbent. And at the end of the day if a country wants an alternative they'll look to the Republican Party for an alternative. The first part of this process is winning the nomination. We are a conservative party, center right party and obviously you have to appeal to that.
Independents are the key. Many of the Tea Party supporters have been independent. Someone like Bachmann and others -- has great appeal there, winning in a state like Minnesota and she shows she has great -- but it's a long ways to go.
Let's see where we are a year from now and, you know, four years ago right now, a guy named president -- now President Obama was ranked number 99th and no one thought he would beat Hillary Clinton. So there's a long ways to go here.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And I would say the first part of the process is actually raising money. Can she raise money and can you -- can she raise money if it's Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann have both tried to raise money -- ROLLINS: She has raised more money than -- more money than anybody in Congress. She raised $15 million for her race last time. She's got this grassroots --
ROMANS: How --
ROLLINS: $40, $50 contributors and she's got a gigantic list.
CHETRY: We've met her -- I mean we've met her in person. She's come on the show many times. She's very willing to talk about, you know, many different issues and she's a very pleasant person. But she's made some comments in the past question -- calling global warming a hoax talking about other issues that have -- calling for, perhaps, an investigation into members of Congress that may or may not be anti- American.
Just other things that are going to be sort of tough hurdles to cross because of course they're going to come up again when she's --
ROLLINS: There's no question. And at the end of the day you've got to be 100 percent accurate or whatever you say, and I think the key thing here is she -- if she does become a candidate, which I think she will, she will have a good team around her and will basically make sure that everything is fact checked and obviously she's smart, she's on the intelligence committee, you know, so she can talk about a lot of different things.
I mean I think the key thing is, she's -- you know, only -- this is her fifth year in Congress and I think at the end of the day she is someone who's going to grow and the country will benefit by her candidacy.
MCLEAN: You know, Ed raises a good point. That she's going to have a good team around her, and with Ed she's certainly got the best.
ROLLINS: I appreciate that.
MCLEAN: We all know that this morning. But ultimately, candidates have to be able to stand on their two feet.
MCLEAN: And show good judgment. And if some of the extreme points of view she's articulated before are those that she continues to articulate regardless of the kind of council she has, that's going to hurt her in the long run.
VELSHI: All right. Lots to see on that.
Kiki, good to see you. Thanks very much for joining us.
VELSHI: Kiki McLean, the Democratic strategist. Ed is a good friend of our show, he's a Republican analyst, and he will be advising Michele Bachmann in what we expect to be a presidential race. Good to see you as always.
ROLLINS: As always. Take care.
VELSHI: We'll be right back, 20 minutes after the hour.
ROMANS: It's 22 minutes past the hour. "Minding Your Business" this morning.
Futures are trading up after four straight days of losses. Investors of course still nervous about the country's economic outlook. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke could shed some light on uncertainty in the markets when he speaks at the International Monetary Conference this afternoon.
The Dow yesterday was down more than 61 points, the Nasdaq and S&P 500 also closed lower yesterday.
President Obama's top economic adviser Austan Goolsbee is leaving his post. The White House announcing yesterday Goolsbee will return to his position at the University of Chicago's Business School. The White House has not yet named a successor.
New estimates on the thunderstorms and tornadoes that hit last month show it could cost insurers $4 to $7 billion. That's according to a disaster modeling firm. That estimate rivals the losses from Hurricane Hugo, the seventh most expensive hurricane of all time.
Ford unveiling a new strategy today to boost worldwide sales by 50 percent. In the next four years, the plan includes growing in Asia and selling more small fuel-efficient cars than SUVs.
RSA Security is offering to replace millions of (INAUDIBLE) SecurID tokens after publicly admitting a security breach. The company's tokens are used by thousands of companies to protect both personal and corporate information.
And a new study by CoreLogic that appears in this morning's "Wall Street Journal" finds nearly 40 percent of homeowners who took out a second mortgage and used the cash for other things like vacation, medical bills, cars, they now owe more than their home is worth.
Don't forget, for the very latest news about your money, check out the all-new CNNMoney.com.
AMERICAN MORNING will be right back after this break.
CHETRY: Deadly police shooting happened on Memorial Day in Miami beach. Police firing shot after shot into a car killing a man.
ROMANS: This was all caught on tape but the police may not have wanted us to see. The person who shot the video says they harassed him, cuffed him, even smashed his cell phone.
VELSHI: Unbelievable. Brian Todd has the tape. He spoke to the witness. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You're about to witness what appears to be a chaotic shooting scene in South Miami Beach. At just before 4:00 a.m. on Memorial Day, a car driven by a suspect comes to an abrupt stop on Collins Avenue.
This video posted on YouTube apparently shows police surrounding the car and then firing. Police killed the suspect, Raymond Herisse. Miami Beach Police tell CNN Herisse had used his vehicle as a weapon that morning. That he'd struck and injured an officer with his car when the officer tried to stop him.
But an eyewitness says police used intimidation to cover up their actions. Here you see video from that eyewitness from street level.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my god. He got to be dead now.
TODD: Then watch how police approach that eyewitness. One appears to have a gun drawn.
(On camera): We have that eyewitness and his girlfriend who was with him at the time. They're at our Miami bureau. CNN has purchased the video from Narces Benoit and his girlfriend Ericka Davis.
Narces, can you tell us what the Miami Beach Police said and did to you when they first approached you?
NARCES BENOIT, SHOOTING WITNESS: He was like you get the F away from here, get away, get back to your car. That's what I did. I walked back to the car with my hands up. I turned around, the officer had a gun to my head.
TODD (voice-over): Benoit says the police got him out of the car at gunpoint, handcuffed him, made him lie face down on the ground, grabbed his cell phone, threw it on the ground and stomped on it, then placed it in his back pocket. He says they later un-cuffed him, took him in for questioning and took his phone again, demanding the video. He told them the phone was broken.
(On camera): How were you able to hide the video and preserve it?
BENOIT: The video was saved to my SIM card. And I put it in my mouth.
TODD: How did the memory card not get ruined, though, being in your mouth?
BENOIT: I don't know. I do not know.
TODD: Erika, what do you think the motive of the police officers was in behaving the way you say they did? ERICKA DAVIS, SHOOTING WITNESS: They just wanted the videos. That's all they were concerned about.
TODD (voice-over): Contacted by CNN about the alleged incident with Benoit and Davis, a Miami Beach police official said the department will not comment on anything that could be the possible subject of civil litigation or an internal police investigation.
But the police official also said at the time this video was shot, this was an active crime scene and the police were looking for additional suspects. Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos Noriega said this about the shooting incident involving Raymond Herisse.
CHIEF CARLOS NORIEGA, MIAMI BEACH POLICE: Responded to what I consider to be a situations involving deadly force.
TODD: Ericka Davis says this as she looks back on the incident.
DAVIS: My mother is even an officer, you know, and I'm used to dealing with police. I've never had a view like that of an officer in my life. I mean, I'm shaking just thinking about it.
TODD: Narces Benoit and Ericka Davis say the police took over people's cell phones and smashed them as well. A police official told us that speculation and he's not aware of any complaints about that. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
VELSHI: That is -- that's some scary moments. First of all to take that thing -- the business about taking the sim card out, I mean --
CHETRY: Put it in his mouth.
VELSHI: I guess, they're pretty sturdy.
CHETRY: Survive that, falling in the bathtub.
ROMANS: One of the things about the video is that, you know, sometimes it's hard to tell what's happening and sometimes it's unmistakable what's happening. So from the police point of view, they're trying to put together, you know, what happened.
VELSHI: I'm sure there they're going to be put it together. If there is something to be said for, I don't understand the smashing of the cell phone. It strikes me.
The cell phone, if they think there's pictures on it that becomes evidence. So that's -- they're going to have to do answering about that.
ROMANS: OK, just half past the hour. Top stories now, confirming -- confirmation coming from officials of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, they say now three of the plant's reactors experienced full meltdown following the earthquake and tsunami back in March. Until now the plant's owner avoided that term suggesting fuel rods were broken, but not completely melted.
Four powerful explosions rocking the Libyan capital of Tripoli overnight. The blast taking place near the dictator Moammar Gadhafi's compound. NATO aircraft reportedly carrying out these attacks.
Ali Abdullah Saleh, supporters say he plans to return to Yemen to resume his post as president once he recovers from his injuries. Had he's in Saudi Arabia right now recovering from two operations.
U.S. officials say he suffered burns to 40 percent of his body, had a collapsed lung and serious shrapnel wounds following an attack on his compound last week.
The truth comes out. Congressman Anthony Weiner finally admitting that he was sexing and slipped up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: Last Friday night, I tweeted a photograph of myself that I intended to send as a direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle.
Once I realized I posted it to Twitter, I panicked. I took it down and said I had been hacked. I then continued with that story, to stick to that story, which was a hugely regrettable mistake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has called for an ethics investigation into Weiner's conduct.
CHETRY: And it leads us to our question of the day, now that Congressman Weiner has confessed to this, what should happen next?
Here are some of the responses. We got Heather on our blog writes, "this is getting blown way out of proportion. Sending naked pictures of yourself is not illegal even if you're married. He didn't pay anyone off, take any bribes or misuse campaign funds, which is happened in all the other Washington sex scandals."
VELSHI: And I've got one here that says - it's from Bell. It say, "Leave him alone, people need to realize that politicians have lives. He did nothing wrong and should not have even had to apologize."
Now we're getting a lot of people, you know, defending him or saying don't do too much. I do think it sort of stretches a little far to say he did nothing wrong.
ROMANS: Brenna on the blog says, "I hope the ethics committee recommends he attend therapy for a certain length of time as a condition of keeping his job." I'm not sure if this committee can do that. "He is clearly an asset to the House and the country and the punishment should fit the crime."
CHETRY: And although he did briefly mention yesterday at that press briefing maybe I will seek some professional help, I'm not sure at this point, but I sort of opened up the door to that.
VELSHI: Dr. Jeff Garder (ph) showing up.
CHETRY: We'll ask what he thinks about what led to this and how maybe you can, you know, overcome. America loves a comeback story.
ROMANS: And American also loves to use sex addiction as a cop out for things wrong. Just couldn't help it. I'm an addict.
CHETRY: Anyway, thousands of people are evacuating their homes in eastern Arizona this morning. One of the worst wildfires in the history of the state is growing larger.
It's increasing in size by more than 20 percent in the last 24 hours alone and it's already burned a quarter of a million acres. Forecasters are calling for more windy conditions over the next few days.
VELSHI: Rob Marciano is in the Extreme Weather Center for us right now. Rob, what's the situation?
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: More heat, more dry weather, and more wind as you mentioned. We've got a critical fire danger in this area. A little storm that's pulling out of the Rockies towards the north and east is going to kind of accentuate that situation.
And the big blocking high that has been buried offensive the southeast part of the country that's not really moving all that much. So critical fire danger again for the areas affected that by fire eastern Arizona into a lot of New Mexico and northern Texas and that situation really isn't going to change over the next couple days nor is the heat.
Some of the larger cities as far north as Minneapolis, we're seeing record-breaking heat again. Temperatures are well into the 90s in some cases, up and over 100 degrees in some of these areas. Laredo, Texas, 107. Houston, 105. But look at Minneapolis 97 yesterday and St. Louis, it can get hot there 97 degrees as well.
The heat will continue today. Couple in the humidity as these temperatures measured in the shade, 98 degrees is what it will feel like today at least in St. Louis and tomorrow we're looking at really no better situation there.
Temperatures in New York, 89 degrees, 92 degrees in Chicago so almost everybody having to endure this. How about a cooling thunderstorm? That will be nice not if severe. We've got some rough weather that's moving through north eastern Ohio right now from Cleveland up to Ashtabula along I-90 towards Erie.
This is a severe thunderstorm that has probably some golf ball sized hail and potentially winds gusting to 75 miles an hour. Thunderstorm watch has been issued by the Storm Prediction Center for the next few hours across eastern Ohio and western parts of Pennsylvania.
Let's go south into the southern hemisphere, Chile where this volcano continues to erupt and spectacular photos have been taken from it, lightning flashes being seen in the ash cloud. Such turbulent updrafts and downdrafts and the nuclei that is the ash of dust causing that static electricity and spectacular light show there.
This is about 600 miles south of Santiago. It last erupted in 1960 after they had a huge earthquake. So it's possible the earthquake we had this past year, may have loosened some things up there so spectacular sight. They got about 2,000 or 3,000 volcanoes in that country and about 50 or 60 of them are active. So we see this every once in a while.
But nonetheless flights canceled across that part of Argentina and Chile, and also about 4,000 people that have been forced to evacuate their homes because of this thing and no letup in sight. Spectacular pictures nonetheless. Nice to look at, but you certainly don't want to be anywhere close to it.
VELSHI: No pictures look like that from space. I mean, it is -- those are remarkable, remarkable pictures. Rob, thanks.
ROMANS: There's an international manhunt basically for the source of an E. coli outbreak. Twenty two at last count people were killed by this E. coli outbreak, a very nasty and dangerous little piece of bacteria. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is going to come up next on what this E. coli scare means for you.
VELSHI: Remember when the auto companies were going bankrupt and we were talking about bailing them out and all sorts of problems. Ford didn't get a bailout, but you know how much that stock, which by the way, might be in your 401(k) or your IRA is up because it's part of the Dow?
ROMANS: How much?
VELSHI: Seven hundred and eighty percent.
CHETRY: And it didn't take the bailout money.
VELSHI: I got the boss from Ford. He's one of the guys responsible for that to tell you what they're doing. There might be jobs. There might be all sorts of new things from Ford coming up next. It's 38 minutes after the hour.
VELSHI: Beautiful shot of New York City, 70 degrees right now. It's been a perfect, perfect few days coming to an end, though, up to 89 degrees in New York City today, but no rain in the forecast. Summer afternoon, spring afternoon in New York, but no rain.
All right, the Ford Motor Company was one of the -- was the only one of the big three that did not take a government bailout back in 2009. Its stock, which is probably in your IRA or 401(k), take a look at that chart, is up 780 percent since then. A lot of that success can be attributed to the fact that in 2006, the founding family brought in a man named Alan Mulally from Boeing to run the place. Mulally is an engineer by training and he took some drastic steps. Ford has now been profitable for two years and today, it's unveiling a plan to increase its sales by 50 percent in less than four years, mainly by growing in Asia and by selling more small cars than SUVs.
CEO Alan Mullaly joins me now. Alan, good to see you.
ALAN MULLALY, CEO, FORD MOTOR COMPANY: Good to see you, Ali.
VELSHI: We have been following your plan. It was drastic back then. Ford had to make some big changes earlier than your competitors did.
So by the time these bailouts came around, you were a little bit ahead of that curve. You would have had the same problems except you started earlier.
MULLALY: Absolutely, Ali. It's, you know, it's been fun to do this with you and your coverage has been great because those decisions that we took five years ago are what we're seeing the results of today.
MULLALY: One, focus on the Ford brand, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mazda, Volvo, and then commit to a complete family of vehicles, small, medium large, cars, utility trucks.
And every new vehicle from Ford best in class and quality, fuel efficiency, safety, smart design and now we have the foundation now to serve our customers everywhere around the world.
VELSHI: OK, so the decision to buy a car is influenced by some key factors that may not have to do with Ford. They may not have to do with the fact you got a good car or best in class.
They have to do with whether you have a job, whether you can get credit and what gas prices are right now. Those three things do seem to be head winds for you right now.
MULALLY: Well, they certainly are in the near term. We saw a slowdown in the first quarter especially in the United States and the GDP expansion.
And a slow down over the last couple months especially with the fuel prices moving up and the economy slowing down, but again, we are committed to the long-term.
We invested during the worst of times because we want to be there for the consumer as the economy starts to expand.
VELSHI: Can they get credit though? You're seeing a lot of customers. Are you having people who come in thinking they should be able to qualify for credit and can't get it because this was a big problem two years ago and even a year ago. MULALLY: Credit is available. About Ford, when you go into a Ford store, we also have our own Ford credit company so we can take care of one-stop shopping whether you want to lease, whether you want to buy, we can help you with the financing too. It's available.
VELSHI: Let's talk about where your growth is going to come from. You are looking at increasing your production by 50 percent. Asia is going to make up a third of those sales. You're increasing the number of models you have in China and in India.
But my buddy, Greg Morrison (ph) who is a producer in Atlanta said to me, are you expecting a global demolition derby? Because who is buying all these cars?
MULALLY: Well, it really is a growth industry and just to give you a couple of numbers. We're in about 74 million vehicles worldwide in sales and that's going to go to 112 million over the next few years. And so tremendous growth industry. And, of course, as you pointed out, Ford is really positioned well. For example, to your point, in India we're going to go from three models up to eight models. And in China, we're going from 5 models to 15 models by mid-decade. So we are going to have 60 to 70 percent of the entire coverage of the market with Ford.
VELSHI: Asians are generally smaller people than Americans are, so we're probably going to get some design dictated by Asians, smaller people driving smaller cars. And we'll get used to that in America.
Is the tradeoff that we can get some jobs out of this in America? MULALLY: Absolutely. Another neat thing about the Ford plant, Ali, is that because we have gone to global platforms and then we hit, for example, on the Focus size you can get 10 different top hats (ph). Whether you want SUV, a hatch back, a sedan, a sports version, a small SUV, all in the same platform. And because we do that worldwide, we can make that more most affordably.
The United States has a great market for small and medium sized vehicles just like they are for large ones. But I think over time, the customer requirements for quality, fuel efficiency and safety and smart design -- that's going to be applicable whether you buy a Fiesta or whether you want a dynamite F-150.
VELSHI: All right. Kiran, whom you met a few minutes ago, they had a Ford Tempo, an Escort, a Mercury -- a Taurus back in the day and says --
MULALLY: We love her.
VELSHI: Well, she doesn't love Ford as much, as a result. And Christine said that, you know, they used to say in the old days friends don't let friends drive Fords. You still have a bit of this to contend with. You still have some people who drove Fords years ago who say, why would I do that when I can buy a Lexus, when I can buy a Honda, when I can buy a Toyota.
MULALLY: No, I understand. And this is really an important point because in the United States, in the past, we could not make money on smaller vehicles and that's why we concentrated on SUVs and trucks. And quite frankly, the smaller vehicles were we made were not the best in class.
And when we decided five years ago that we're going to have a full family of vehicles and we went to the UAW, we got transformation agreement where we can actually make cars in the United States now and do it profitably. We fixed our cost structure. We're converting truck plants to car plants.
And that commitment to the consumer best in class no matter what size, quality, fuel efficient and safety, a time to take a look at Ford, because we've got the vehicles that people, I think, are really going to appreciate.
VELSHI: Alan, good to see you and congratulations on the slow and steady move that you've had at Ford. We look forward to continued success for you and your competitors.
MULALLY: You know, Ali, it's such a neat story also for the United States, because we are fighting for the sole of manufacturing. It's so important for us, for our country and for great jobs and great careers.
VELSHI: Well let's hope there are more of them.
Alan, good to see you.
MULALLY: Good to see you.
CHETRY: All right. Thanks.
Still ahead, the e. Coli outbreak. They're still trying to get to the bottom of the situation. They're thinking it could be bean sprouts, but tests that they've done on a German farm coming up negative right now. We're going to be joined by Dr. Sanjay Gupta with more on this investigation into food safety.
ROMANS: And we got to the bottom of the situation with Anthony Weiner, the Congressman who tweeted a lewd picture of himself to a woman in Seattle. Now the question is, can he rehabilitate his life and his career?
CHETRY: Fifty minutes past the hour. Here are your top stories this morning.
Congressman Anthony Weiner finally admitting he sent an inappropriate photo to a woman on Twitter and also naughty messages exchanged with several other women. He says he is sorry but that he is not resigning. Yemen's president suffered burns to 40 percent of his body when his compound was attacked last week. U.S. officials say that Ali Abdullah Saleh also suffered a collapsed lung and serious shrapnel wounds. He's recovering in Saudi Arabia following two operations.
The markets are expected to open higher this morning after falling for a fourth straight day. There's a look at futures, all up right now. The Dow, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500.
Apple about to change the way users access information. The company unveiled its new iCloud yesterday. It's a free service which debuts this fall. It lets you store music, pictures and other information on the internet instead of on the hard drive of your computer or on your mobile phone.
A season without a championship. The DCS has stripped the University of Southern California of its 2004 national football championship over recruiting violations.
You're caught up on the day's headlines. AMERICAN MORNING is back after a quick break.
ROMANS: Good morning, Atlanta. It's sunny, 73 right now. Enjoy it while it lasts because it will be mostly sunny and 93 later on today.
CHETRY: Although we can't talk. It looks like we're getting that type of weather heading our way in New York, as well. And 93 in New York City is not fun.
ROMANS: No, it is not.
CHETRY: Well, scientists are desperately trying to determine what is behind a deadly e. Coli outbreak. It's already left 22 people dead and more sickened across Europe. Officials say that no trace of the bacteria was found at a German bean sprout farm, and that is where it was suspected to be the source of the outbreak.
ROMANS: They're waiting, though, for additional test results.
CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in Atlanta.
Sanjay, is there a risk to people in this country? We know that American Airlines was not serving salads on its U.S. bound -- or its international flights trying to make sure that whatever it was was contained there.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this point, I think the risk is pretty small. There were four people who were affected by this, but they were people who traveled to Germany and then traveled back to the United States. That's typically how you're going to get spread. It spread through 12 different countries over there.
But at this point in time, obviously a lot of people are focused in on this, an ongoing investigation to figure out from where this is coming. And, obviously a heightened sense of vigilance. So I think the risk of people getting it in this country is small, certainly, from person to person. And now that all these warnings have been sort of raised, I think beyond these four people, it would be unlikely you are going to see many more cases here.
CHETRY: All right. So the outbreak, though, has sickened thousands of people so far. I believe that you had mentioned also this was a particularly virulent strain of e. Coli.
Is it unusual for so many people to be ill and for, as we said, more than two dozen people to die?
GUPTA: I think so. I mean, this isn't the largest outbreak certainly that we've ever seen in the world. That was back in '96.
But I think what's unusual here are a couple of things. First of all, you are getting large numbers of people overall still. The numbers grew pretty quickly. And, you're right. This is one of the types of strains of e. Coli we have not seen before. And it appears to be as we call it in the medical world, very virulent. It makes these toxins. Those toxins make people very sick. And out of the 2,200 people that have become infected, more than 600 of them have developed a serious complication of this where they have problems with their blood not clotting properly, their kidneys start to shut down, serious complications.
I'll also point out something else that I thought was interesting when I was going through the World Health Organization notes. Sixty percent of the people who have been infected are women, and 70 percent of the people who develop the most serious complications of this are women. So women, for some reason, a little bit more affected. It could be because of their food choices, but that was also an interesting point that investigators are starting to clue in on.
VELSHI: Sanjay, they seem to have thought -- they seem to have established that it's not the bean sprout farm in Germany.
How do you figure out where this comes from?
GUPTA: Well, you know, Ali it's interesting. And we did a whole investigation on these sorts of food contaminations ourselves about a year ago.
What's interesting is they don't know for sure at this point that it wasn't the bean sprouts. What they can say is so far the testing they've done has been negative.
And what I will tell you is that the testing may continue to be negative. They may never have a clear answer as to exactly from where this came because this is a -- it's a rudimentary process. I think it'll surprise you that it relies on literally asking people what they ate sometimes several weeks before, how much they ate of it, what other family members had the same food, from where they bought it.
You probably can't remember, Ali, what you had for lunch yesterday, my guess it, so you can imagine how difficult this is. That's how rudimentary this process is. And in Germany, in particular, you don't have a lot of the public health systems talking to one another in different parts of the country. That makes it even more difficult. By the way, the same problem here in the United States when we had these food outbreaks. Tracing it back from what we call, from the farm to the fork is a laborious process that you don't always find an answer.
CHETRY: Is there any way you can eat healthy things -- I mean, you think you can't really get much more healthy than bean sprouts. They thought maybe cucumbers at one point.
I mean, can you purify these in any way and still eat them raw or as close to raw as possible?
ROMANS: Sometimes they eradiate food. I mean, does -- eradiation food -- are there other? Even washing -- e. Coli can sometimes still linger if you even wash because it's a very sticky bacteria.
GUPTA: That's right. They find that even with power washing sometimes these fruits and vegetables, they can be hard to clean.
So a lot -- while some of this is on the consumer, in terms of washing your hands, washing the food as best you can, not cross-contaminating the food. A lot is on the process itself that I was outlining. You know, going from the farm to the fork, making sure there isn't -- at the time at the time this is being grown, that it's not being contaminated in some ways. So it's really a multi-prong sort of thing. The consumer can only do, as you're alluding to, so much here in terms of protection.
The one thing I will say is that for most people that do get infected, it's a couple of bad days. They're not going to get particularly sick, they're not certainly going to die or develop these serious complications. They may get cramping, they may have some stomach upset but that's really about it.
ROMANS: You know, the interesting -- thanks, Sanjay. One of the interesting things is when it's meat, you can cook it out or you might not even know that there was e. Coli contamination in your meat. But when it's a vegetable, especially if it's lettuce, it's porous, it absorbs this, it could be hard to wash off. It's a little bit different.
Sanjay, thank you.
GUPTA: You got it, guys. Take care.
ROMANS: Top stories right after the break.