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Thanksgiving Holiday Travel; GOP Candidates Debate National Security; Interview With Jon Huntsman; Mother of American Arrested in Egypt Interviewed; New Article in "TIME" Examines Roots of Anxiety; The Upside to Anxiety; Egypt: Truce Reached in Protesters
Aired November 23, 2011 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Mother Nature making a mess on get away day.
I'm Carol Costello.
Storms on the East and West Coast serving up trouble for travelers en route to turkey day.
ALINA CHO, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Alina Cho.
Eight Republicans debate trying to convince voters they're the best choice for president. One of those candidates sparking a spirited exchange with his ideas on Afghanistan. He's Jon huntsman and he'll join us live -- on this AMERICAN MORNING.
CHO: Good morning, everybody.
Good morning. It's the day before Thanksgiving, Wednesday, November 23rd. Ali and Christine are off. I'm Alina Cho, along with Carol Costello.
COSTELLO: Good morning, everyone.
Up first today, two major storms right now, in the Northeast and in the Northwest, just as millions of people hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday, one of the busiest travel days of the year. According to AAA, more than 42 million people will be on the move this weekend on the road, in the rails and on the air, and that could make for a travel nightmare on highways and airports.
CHO: We've got you covered. Meteorologist Jacqui Jeras is in the extreme weather center, and George Howell live outside Hartsfield- Jackson, Atlanta International Airport, and Ted Rowlands live onboard an Amtrak train as it's heading into Chicago.
First, let's head over to Jacqui Jeras.
Hey, Jacqui. Good morning.
JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, good morning, guys.
Things are looking a little bit better than they were a half an hour ago. We have some departure delays in Philadelphia. And that's cleared up now. So, that's the good news.
The bad news is, they're about 1,000 more planes -- 1,000 more planes in the air than there were an hour ago. So, that number is continuing to rise. We're at about 2,900 at this hour and we still have some rain and overcast skies.
I'm going to give it about two hours and I do expect to start to see those delays begin to tally up a little bit again.
If you're trying to get out there on the roadways, I-95, one of the worst quarters at this hour. It's going to be a wet go of it, starting to dry up a little here already in New York City, as well as into Washington, D.C. But you can see that there is going to be another round of showers coming in probably by early afternoon and then by the evening, it's going to be looking a lot better.
Snowfall totals starting to tally up here, too. We've seen as much as eight inches in central parts of Maine, and six to 12 inches can be expected overall when all is said and done. Showers and even some rumbles of thunder here across northern Florida. Jacksonville, you got it pretty good about a half an hour ago. That rain is steadily declining and watch for clearing skies a little bit later on for today.
We do have some flooded areas we're concerned about with a couple inches of rain falling and still a little more in the forecast. Flood watches are in effect here across eastern Pennsylvania and into New Jersey until 1:00 today. So, hopefully, we'll see some improvements here, as well.
Now, we also have a powerful storm in the Pacific Northwest. This thing has been putting out wind gust reports of up to 89 miles per hour on long Oregon coast. Heavy snow, 10 to 20 inches has fallen into parts of the Cascades. Now, this is pushing eastward. Better conditions by the afternoon.
But look at this, as we head into Thanksgiving Day, another storm arriving and knocking on your doorstep. Temperature-wise, though, pretty comfortable across the country. Best location in the nation would be the plain states with 48 in Minneapolis and up to 70 degrees in Dallas.
Back to you guys.
COSTELLO: Not too bad, actually.
CHO: That's not bad.
COSTELLO: Not too bad at all.
Thank you, Jacqui.
Check the bottom of your screen because we're running the latest weather information for you there all morning long.
So -- is it there?
It is there. All right. Check it out.
CHO: You can't tell from our cameras here, our vantage point.
You know, the bad weather could mean significant flight delays.
CNN's George Howell at one of the nation's busiest airports this morning. That's Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta.
Good morning, George.
So, I can imagine with it getting later on in the morning, that it's only getting worse.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.
We have been updating you as you mentioned, each hour with the conditions here, the good news for the early birds. But I can tell you each hour, we are seeing more and more people showing up to this airport to travel, which you would expect here at this time on Thanksgiving.
But, also, when you go inside, you see the various stories. There are people who are traveling for just a few days to visit relatives.
But for our military men and women, this is a time to travel home for an extended time. Listen to Melissa Minzner (ph) who we just spoke with who is coming back from Iraq. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: What is it like to be back on American soil, to be back home?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is the best feeling, especially so close to the holidays. I think all of us are really, really excited to get to spend time with our family for the holidays. It's been so long since we've been gone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Great time for Melissa. She's expecting to spend some time with her 6-year-old son, not sure how long she will be able to stay home, but certainly happy to be home -- Alina.
CHO: Well, coming home must feel great for her and a lot of men and women in uniform this Thanksgiving holiday.
All right. George, thank you very much.
COSTELLO: OK. Let's head from planes to the trains.
Ted Rowlands boarded the train at 5:00 p.m. Eastern this morning. He boarded the train in St. Louis. He's on his way to Chicago with lots and lots of other people.
So, Ted, how are things fairing at Amtrak?
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, things are going well. We're in Huntsville, Illinois. Basically in between Springfield and Bloomington, normal, on our way to Chicago. We are hearing from passengers and people taking the train for a number of different reasons.
This is Brenda and Tiffany Webb. They're heading to Milwaukee to see family. And right here is Fay Hamilton and Laurie Gregory. And you guys are heading to Chicago and also for Thanksgiving to see family. Why the train?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why the train? First time on train and it's good. It's a good way to travel.
ROWLANDS: You're getting a break this year. Normally, she cooks Thanksgiving for the entire family. This year, she gets a break, going to your daughter's house.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.
ROWLANDS: But you're only going for one day because it's best to visit relatives in short spurts.
UNIDENTIFEID FEMALE: Exactly, exactly.
ROWLANDS: What do you think of the train and the difference between driving and flying and taking the train?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, the train is much better. It's relaxing, it's economical, you can stretch, you don't have to be al cramped up in a car. I like it a lot.
ROWLANDS: And economical, it is cheap, relatively so. We found a fare for this round trip St. Louis to Chicago for $85.
When you compare it to the other modes of transportation, it's a good deal. It's going to cost you about $100 to drive, that's gasoline alone.
The cheapest way to get back and forth, we found a web fare on Greyhound Bus for $50 round trip. That, obviously, is the cheapest, but, hey, it is a bus and this is a train, big difference.
And Airlines will cost you between probably $200 on the low end if you made your reservations early, to about $400, if you were to fly.
Rosemary and Carly, mother and daughter. Now, these guys are headed to Chicago for a shopping trip. They don't even know where they're going to have Thanksgiving dinner.
Why did you guys choose the train?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've never been on a train before so I was really excited to try it.
ROWLANDS: Obviously, the weather doesn't matter because it could be snowing out there and this thing is still going to roll.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is great. It's great way to travel.
ROWLANDS: And why -- you don't know where you're going to have Thanksgiving at all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, we're just playing it by ear. We're going to go to Chicago and it's going to be whatever we want to do.
ROWLANDS: How long are you going to be there?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're leaving on Saturday.
ROWLANDS: Leaving on Saturday. All right. So, nice little girls' trip to Chicago.
Carol, lots of different stories and lots of different people. Kids on the train.
The great thing about the train obviously is you can eat, drink, you can walk around. A lot better than driving, because you don't have to deal with the weather, too.
CHO: I have to agree, I like the train. You don't have to deal with security, taking your shoes off and all that whole thing.
Anyway, Ted Rowlands, watch your head when you're walking through that car, all right?
COSTELLO: Huge delay because the train is moving. So, I'm sure Ted was laughing at your joke.
CHO: I'm going to pretend he was.
COSTELLO: You know, those people are going to end up at a Chinese restaurant on Thanksgiving.
CHO: They are going to shop! They're going for Black Friday.
COSTELLO: Still ahead, they are all just praying a lot. We'll talk with the parents of an American student now jailed in Cairo.
And you saw it here, right here on CNN. Eight Republicans disagreeing about everything on national security. So, who came out on top?
Up next, we're going to talk to the moderator, our own Wolf Blitzer or Blitz as he's now known.
Plus, presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman will join us live.
It's nine minutes after the hour.
CHO: Washington, D.C. may be waking up with a post-debate hangover.
Good morning to the nation's capital and everyone there. It's cloudy and 57 degrees. Rain and wind later, heading up to a high of 64.
COSTELLO: And welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING.
When it comes to protecting Americans from the threat of terrorism, just about every other important issue, the eight Republican candidates for president can't seem to agree on a common approach and you saw that right here on CNN at last night's national security debate.
Even the Patriot Act provoked fireworks. Listen to this exchange between Ron Paul and frontrunner Newt Gingrich.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think the Patriotic Act is unpatriotic because it undermines our liberty.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't want a law that says, "After we lose a major American city, we're going to come and find you." I want a law that says, "You try to take on an American city, we're going to stop you."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHO: Well, in the middle of the firestorm last night moderating the 11th GOP debate of the 2012 presidential candidate, my friend and colleague, CNN's Wolf Blitzer, host of "THE SITUATION ROOM." Wolf joins us live on the phone from Washington this morning.
Hey, Wolf, good morning. Great job last night and great tie, I might add.
What was your big take away?
WOLF BLITZER, HOST, CNN'S "THE SITUATION ROOM" (via telephone): Thank you.
CHO: What was your big take away last night, Wolf?
BLITZER: You know, I thought that Newt Gingrich, you know, had courage in taking a position that I knew was going to hurt him with some conservatives, some Republicans when he basically opened the door that some illegal immigrants who had been in the United States for a long time who have roots and kids here could find the legal way to stay, not necessarily become citizens, but find a way to stay in the United States.
And he's going to get some grief and he's already getting grief out of the blogosphere for that sort of the way that Rick Perry got grief when he said that children of illegal immigrants in Texas could get in-state tuition if they went to a state university in Texas.
So, I thought that took out on the part of Newt Gingrich. I spoke to him afterwards and he said that's how he feels and he was willing to take that stance. So, that was a politically -- a politically courageous move, even if it's going to cost him some political grief in the weeks ahead. But we'll see if it does.
CHO: You know, I was curious to know what you thought about this because heading into the debate, as you know, Newt Gingrich was on top of the polls, polling at about 24 percent. You know, he sort of played the frontrunner last night, didn't he? I mean, maybe I was looking for it. But did you sense that, as well?
BLITZER: This was the first debate that the polls showed that he really, together with Romney at the top nationally, they're both statistically in the tie, at least in our CNN/ORC polls and some other polls. And he's doing really well in Iowa and South Carolina, even in New Hampshire.
So, you know, he's got a lot going right now. But he was -- look, he has been good. Newt Gingrich has been good at all the debates. He's been around Washington, what, for 50 years.
He knows these issues and, obviously, a smart guy. And he's very positive. So, he goes into these debates with a strong stance. He took that little cruise to the Eastern Mediterranean, half of the stuff -- all of his staff basically quit New Hampshire. He was no where then, and now, he's at the top of the pack right now. So, you've got to give him credit. And I think one of the reasons is he does well in these debates, generally speaking.
CHO: Yes. He most certainly did. I can't let you go without asking you about this. I want to play this moment last night from Herman Cain. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Is it OK for Muslim-Americans to get more intensive pat-downs or security when they go through airports than Christian- Americans or Jewish-Americans?
HERMAN CAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, Blitz. That's oversimplifying it. I happen to believe that if you allow our intelligence agencies to do their job, they can come up with an approach. I'm sorry, Blitz, I meant Wolf, OK?
CAIN: Blitz, Wolf. (LAUGHTER)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHO: All right. Wolf, did you talk to Herman Cain afterwards about this?
BLITZER: Yes, I did.
CHO: What did he say?
BLITZER: Afterwards, I said -- I said to him, thanks, Cain. And he laughed about that, as well. We had a good little laugh. It's not the first time people have called me Blitz. They've called me a lot worse than that.
BLITZER: That's fine with me. I did find it cute, though, because remember in introducing everybody, I said I want a short little statement from all of you self-introducing and I pointed out, I'm Wolf Blitzer, and that's my real name. That's probably the most frequently (INAUDIBLE), I guess.
And then, when Mitt Romney was introducing himself. He said, I'm Mitt Romney, and yes, Wolf, that's also my first name, which isn't technically true because his first name, legally, is Willard, not Mitt.
BLITZER: But, you know, just first name everybody calls him Mitt --
COSTELLO: Hey, listen --
BLITZER: We'll give him a pass on that.
COSTELLO: We'll give him a pass. All right. Listen, if Blitz is the worst thing somebody calls you, hey, not so bad.
BLITZER: Yes, it's not so bad. He was a gentleman afterwards. All of them were very nice. And I think it was a good substantive debate (INAUDIBLE).
CHO: Well, you should be. It was a great debate, and we'll se you later on in "The Situation Room" today. Thanks, Wolf, for joining us.
BLITZER: Thanks, guys.
COSTELLO: Thank you, Wolf.
One Republican candidate has credentials his competitors cannot match. Former Utah governor, Jon Huntsman, trailing badly in the polls once worked in the Obama administration as ambassador to China, and he has a ton of foreign policy experience. He tangled last night with Mitt Romney over America's strategy in Afghanistan.
JON HUNTSMAN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We haven't done a very good job defining and articulating what the end point is in Afghanistan. I think the American people are getting very tired about where we find ourselves today.
BLITZER: Let me let Governor Romney respond.
MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me respond. Are you suggesting, governor, that we just take all our troops out next week? What's your proposal?
HUNTSMAN: Did you hear what I just said? I said we should draw down from 100,000. We don't need 100,000 troops. Many of them whom can't even cross the wire. We need a presence on the ground that is more akin to 10,000 or 15,000. That will serve our interest in terms of intelligence gathering and special forces response capability.
COSTELLO: Jon Huntsman is good enough to join us live from Washington this morning. Good morning.
HUNTSMAN: Thanks, Costello, good to be with you.
COSTELLO: You're welcome, Hunt. I love that name game thing. But, first of all, how do you think you did in this debate, because some analysts say you had to hit a homerun last night.
HUNTSMAN: Well, I think we did just fine. It was a debate that allowed me to talk about the importance of being commander in chief. At the end of the day, you're commander in chief, you make a whole lot of decisions that impact not only this nation, but indeed, the entire world. I've lived overseas four times, Carol.
I've been an ambassador three times to my country. I have a sense for how the pieces of this world fit together, and first and foremost, what we need to do here domestically and getting our house in order to make sure that we have an effective foreign policy. So, I think those points were made.
And now, the market moving event will be New Hampshire. There's no doubt about that. And we're slowly moving up in New Hampshire in ways that make me very, very proud. We have weeks to go, and people there aren't going to coalesce around a candidate until about, I don't know, a week to ten days out, and we have enough time remaining to continue to make our arguments.
COSTELLO: Well, let's talk a little bit more about New Hampshire, because a Super Pack poured a lot of money into advertising there, some $650,000. A lot of people are wondering if your father contributed any money to that Super Pack to help you along with your campaign.
HUNTSMAN: Listen, he's my dad. He's my best friend. I love him dearly. He can do whatever he wants to do. We don't talk about those things, we can't. I'm just delighted that we've actually got some outside assistance from wherever it might come from that believes in our cause and might help us get to where we need to be in the numbers in New Hampshire.
COSTELLO: So, you don't know if your dad contributed to that Super Pack?
HUNTSMAN: No. There's a bright division between what I do and what any Super Pack can do, and you don't talk about those things. I don't wish to talk about -- I haven't seen the ad that's running on television. People have asked me about it. I haven't even seen the ad. I'm busy on the ground.
We've done 103 public events in New Hampshire. We're working it more aggressively than anybody else. That's the kind of work that ultimately is going to pay off even more so than any ads that are on TV.
COSTELLO: Of course, Mitt Romney is leading in the polls in New Hampshire, and judging from your interaction with Mitt Romney last night, some analysts say you two don't get along. It's personal between you, is it?
HUNTSMAN: I think, that's part of the drama and theatrics of politics that I know members of the media love to dwell on. I respect Mitt Romney. I don't know him well. I got to meet him and get to know him somewhat when we overlapped as governors for a brief period of time. Clearly, our approaches are different on a lot of the issues.
My record is very different than his record. And, our styles are different. Some of that came out last night in terms of deferring to people on the ground and I had to come back and say, no, this is what a president does. A president is a commander in chief when it comes time to making decisions that are critically important given how we're spread throughout the world.
I mean, let's face reality. We have 700 installations in 60 different countries around the world today. This is the second decade into the 21st century, and we need a foreign policy and a national security infrastructure that serves our interest today, not from the cold war era.
COSTELLO: It seems like you're just about the only candidate who has not surged. And I was wondering what you make of Newt Gingrich's surge. Do you think that the surge is real? Is Newt Gingrich the real deal?
HUNTSMAN: Well, that's up to the people to decide. All I want to do, Carol, is to make sure that we don't have 15 minutes of fame. I don't want a fleeting ephemeral 15 minutes. I want sustainability. And to have sustainability, you've got to put the building blocks together on the ground that are based on a substantive rise.
And so, we put out detailed policy papers and speeches on our position in the world, on tax reform, on economics, on energy independence, and I think in the end, that's going to -- in order to our benefit because when the cameras are on and when people begin take a look at you, I think in our case, for the first time, I think we may have been dismissed early on as being somebody, you know, who's coming back from China, worked for a Democrat.
And I say a lot of people are just coming around and looking at us for the first time and saying, ah, he may be a whole lot different than we might have imagined before. He's got a conservative governing record in the state of Utah. He's got national security credentials. Maybe, he's got what it takes to go on and actually beat President Obama.
COSTELLO: But you still have so far to go. I mean, you want to show people your substance, but right now, some voters are only seeing your style. In fact, Alina asked some of the people who watched the debate last night from the audience. They asked them -- she asked them how they felt about you. So, let's listen.
CHO: Jon Huntsman, he's going to be joining us in our eight o'clock. He's gotten some good reviews in the press. Now, what was your take on how he did last night?
CAROLINE ELLIOTT, ATTENDED CNN'S NATIONAL SECURITY DEBATE: A little less on the thought deficit and a little more on substance.
CHO: That's it?
ELLIOTT: That's it.
CHO: And Larry.
LARRY ARNN, ATTENDED CNN'S NATIONAL SECURITY DEBATE: He's good. He's good.
CHO: Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
ARNN: Well, I mean, you know -- no, not exactly ringing endorsement.
COSTELLO: So, how do you overcome that?
HUNTSMAN: You overcome whatever the critics might be saying by having a market moving event. And let's face it. You've got to move a market in an early primary state and that's New Hampshire. When we move up in New Hampshire, as I know that we will do. That's inevitable. Then, people are going to start paying attention.
They're going to take a look at you. They're going to begin to analyze, critique, and scrutinize you even more than they had in the past, but that's the way these things shift. You need a market moving event in New Hampshire. It's always been that state that has upended conventional wisdom, and I believe that's going to happen again.
And it's going to be based upon work on the ground. It's going to be based upon having a message that is right for our times and that is we have a cancer growing in our country. It's called debt, and it's going to ship wreck the next generation, unless, we can address it properly. And we have another deficit that nobody is focused on and that's the deficit of trust.
People in this country do not trust the institutions of power any longer. They don't trust Congress. We need term limits. We need to deal with the revolving door for lobbyists coming out of Congress, but they don't trust the executive branch and the president who can't lead. They don't trust Wall Street any more with banks that are too big to fail.
So, we're taking the time to talk about not just our economic deficit but a trust deficit as well that I think in the minds of a whole lot of Americans is corrosive longer-term, unless, we can deal with it.
COSTELLO: Just a final question for you. If you don't win in New Hampshire, will you leave the race?
HUNTSMAN: Carol, failure is not an option. You've got to beat market expectations in New Hampshire. I have every expectation that we're going to do better than what the marketplace might be predicting at this point, and I'm thrilled to participate in this race. It is a great honor and privilege to be a candidate for the presidency of the greatest nation that ever was.
COSTELLO: Jon Huntsman, thank you so much for coming in this morning. We appreciate it.
HUNTSMAN: Thanks, Carol. I appreciate it.
COSTELLO: The next live debate hosted by CNN, by the way, will be held on January 19th in Charleston, South Carolina. It will be co- sponsored by the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. So, mark on your calendar.
CHO: And here we go again.
Up next, a check of the early financial markets and talk about a deal, which electronics should you be shopping for this holiday season? We'll tell you.
Plus, amazing video. The helicopter pilot's miraculous escape after the chopers' blades get tangled in cables and then shooting down. Twenty-six minutes after the hour.
CHO: Twenty-eight minutes after the hour. "Minding Your Business" this morning.
In just a few minutes, we'll get a fresh report on the number of people who filed for unemployment claims for the first time last week. We'll get you those numbers as soon as they're available.
Worries about Europe's debt crisis as well as the growth of the U.S. economy are pulling stock markets down worldwide again today. Take a look. U.S. stock futures pointing to a lower open, and U.S. markets all closed lower yesterday.
More bad news for Netflix. The video streaming and DVD rental service now says it expects to be in the red through all of next year. The company has been struggling since the summer when it increased prices and then later flip-flopped on the rebranding of its services.
Two more days until Black Friday and you're in for a real bargain if you're shopping for an LCD TV this year. Experts say prices are expected to drop to record lows. We're talking 40 to 42-inch sets priced in a range of 200 to 400 bucks. Why? Because manufacturers will be trying to bring in as much business as possible after a weak sale season this fall.
Up next, the parents of an American student jailed in Cairo, Egypt. AMERICAN MORNING is back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOY SWEENEY, DERRIK SWEENEY'S MOTHER: He is a very passionate person. He believes in democracy. He believes in standing for what he believes in, standing up for what he feels is right. And that's the kind of person he is. So are we surprised that he would go down there and stand up for what he believes in? No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: A mother speaks out after seeing her son in Egyptian custody. She will join us live as her son faces questioning today in Cairo on this AMERICAN MORNING.
ALINA CHO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to "American morning" on this day before Thanksgiving. It's 32 minutes after the hour. Your top stories now. Two major storm systems in the northeast and northwest hitting just as the holiday exodus kicks into high gear. And this just in to CNN, a ground stop now in effect at Philadelphia's international airport until 9:00 a.m. eastern time.
This is a live look at the flight explorer that shows 3,300 airplanes in the sky right now.
COSTELLO: But nothing taking off from Philadelphia at the moment, right? And 15 Maryland high school students suffering minor injuries after their bus was involved in a three-vehicle crash. The bus was carrying a girls basketball team home from a game in Virginia. A truck driver involved in the crash was arrested for driving under the influence.
CHO: Some dramatic video of a helicopter crash in Auckland, New Zealand. The chopper's main rotor clipped a cable while trying to land. The chopper practically comes apart and its tail just snapping off. Miraculously the pilot was able to walk away from the wreckage.
COSTELLO: New violent clashes in Egypt -- tear gases and fire bombs, hysteria. Tens of thousands of protesters deeply frustrated with their new military rulers and saying a promise to speed up presidential elections is just not good enough. More than 30 people have died in the five days since the protesters returned to Tahrir Square.
Three American college students were also arrested during the uprising in Egypt. They expect to face more questioning with U.S. embassy representatives on hand today. Those representatives will be with them. The students shown on Egyptian state TV accused of lobbing Molotov cocktails at police during the violent protests. Joining us now is the mother of one of the detained students, Joy Sweeney. Good morning.
SWEENEY: Good morning.
COSTELLO: Do you know exactly what is happening with your son right now?
SWEENEY: At this exact moment, no. But I do know that the counselor general of the U.S. embassy in Egypt did speak to my husband this morning. My husband called him. And he had the privilege of speaking to Derrik today and he spoke with all three boys. He said that they were being treated well and they were going to be moved to where they're presently being detained to speak to the attorney general at some point today.
They're waiting until that time, until it's safe to move them. Apparently, they're not sure when that will be. And so at that juncture, they're going to, the attorney general is going to determine whether or not charges against them are going to be made or if they're going to -- what they're going to do.
COSTELLO: Do you know exactly what they may be charged with?
SWEENEY: I have no idea. I have none whatsoever. I mean, al I know is what you're reporting.
COSTELLO: Yes. Have you been able to talk to your son? Has he texted you? Has he contacted you via Facebook?
SWEENEY: No, no, no. My daughter actually went in and got to his Facebook and blocked it because he can't touch his -- I have his cellphone number. I had talked to him the day before, actually, within 12 hours prior to this happening, and that was the first thing I did when I heard about it was called his cellphone number. And the message is in Arabic at first but then repeat it again in English that his phone has been turned off. So they have confiscated his phone, I'm sure. I shouldn't say I'm sure of anything, but I believe.
COSTELLO: Your son was going to school in Cairo. Tell us, I mean, tell us what he was doing there. Maybe we'll just put it that way.
SWEENEY: Well, he was actually attending Georgetown University. This is the fall semester of his junior year where students do their semester abroad if they are going to travel abroad. And he was majoring in psychology and Arabic. He wanted to go to an Arabic- speaking country, and Egypt was one of the options that was presented to him.
As of last spring it was questionable if he would be able to even go to Egypt, but they did say that he could go. And so we completed all the paperwork and we did everything and he flew out of St. Louis airport last August 20th and arrived there on the 22 and did his foreign exchange student orientation.
And he's studying Arabic and getting as in all of his classes at au Cairo, American University in Cairo. And he was actually a phenomenal student. He's a very bright, good-hearted person. And, you know, he's on the cross country team when he was in high school and then joined the running club at Georgetown. He was working for the corps, which is a student organization.
COSTELLO: Can you see him? Can you see him joining in these protests and lobbying Molotov cocktails at military police?
SWEENEY: I cannot imagine him -- you know, in the video that I saw on YouTube, you know, which is the same video everybody else can see, I saw what appeared to maybe be him, but he was standing there observing. He didn't have anything in his hand. He wasn't throwing anything. I mean, we went back through it click by click by click to try and watch every move he made.
And, so, in that body of evidence, I saw him doing nothing but observing what was transpiring. And he wasn't on a roof of anything. So I don't know, you know. That may not be all they have. But, no, personally, he's a very peaceful, harmonious. He cares about the world. He cares about people, and I can't imagine him ever doing anything that would hurt somebody else.
COSTELLO: We'll keep on top of what happens today in Egypt. Hopefully whatever questioning is going to take place will take place soon and you'll be able to at least know more. Joy Sweeney, thanks so much for joining us this morning. We appreciate it.
SWEENEY: Thank you.
CHO: She must be worried sick. Let's hope this has a happy ending. Coming up, feeling anxious doesn't always have to be a bad thing. In fact, believe it or not, there's actually an upside to it. We'll explain.
It's 39 minutes after the hour.
CHO: We have this just in to CNN -- 393,000 jobless claims were filed for the first time last week. That might sound like a lot, but it's actually pretty good news for the labor market. Any time this number comes in less than 400,000 it means we are chipping away at the high unemployment rate of nine percent.
If America were a person, it would have a tension headache. That's how one "TIME" writer describes the struggles every American must face, jobs, bills, raising kids. But anxiety doesn't always have to be a bad thing. There's actually an upside to it. Sometimes anxiety can motivate and stimulate if you can learn how to channel it.
This is what the "TIME's" cover story is about this week. It's called "The Two Faces of Anxiety. We're joined by Jeffrey Kluger, the science editor of "TIME" magazine. Jeffrey, nice to see you. Good morning.
JEFFREY KLUGER, SENIOR EDITOR, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Good morning.
CHO: Every day we're talking about the bad economy. We have bills to pay, we may lose our job. We're worried about that. We're working harder and earning less. We are an anxious nation. Are we more anxious now as a result of what's going on in the economy? And what's the impact?
KLUGER: We are more anxious than we used to be. And anxiety in the U.S. does follow sign wave patterns. At the moment there are about 40 million American adults, who are 18 percent of all adult Americans, who are suffering from some kind of clinical anxiety condition, and some conditions also start in childhood. So, that whole cohort is also --
KLUGER: Diagnosed or subclinical, meaning on the way.
CHO: You look at places like the battlefield, for instance, an incredibly stressful situation, and yet only 15 percent of soldiers come back with PTSD. Does that surprise you? How much of this is inherited?
KLUGER: A lot of it is inherited. There are 150 genes along what's called the Hypothalamus-pituitary adrenal axis, which is the region in the brain that controls anxiety, and they're 150 genes that seem to be associated with anomalies and the ability to process.
CHO: What are the signs? KLUGER: Physical signs are in the case of PTSD, for example, flashbacks of bad experiences, jumpiness, anxiety around certain situations.
CHO: How do you know? You look at your mother and you look at your relatives and see --
KLUGER: And see if they have those. But, remember, it isn't just what your genetic legacy is. It's also your experiential legacy. You and I could be siblings and we could have the exact same genetic legacy. If I've gone to war and you haven't, you've experienced job loss and I haven't, we get sensitized in certain ways to anxiety.
CHO: And then also a lot of it is how you deal with it. I was fascinated to read in this article that, you know, it's clear that some people fall apart. They need help whether it's medication or counseling. There are other people, like some athletes and performers who actually channel that anxiety. They use it to make it into a positive to better their performance.
KLUGER: Absolutely. In Alice Park, the terrific "Time" reporter who wrote this piece pointed out that there is sort of a curve, a performance curve. As that curve begins, anxiety and the quality of your performance march up in lock step. Athletes and entertainers know how to jump off right at the top of that curve when their senses are clicking, when everything is moving just right and they can achieve things in a performance that they couldn't achieve in rehearsal.
Other people hang on to that curve and they start to go down the other side when suddenly your tension gets so great that you become paralyzed from it. And that's when you perform less well rather than better.
CHO: Grace under fire, is that what we're talking about?
KLUGER: Grace under fire, exactly.
CHO: So besides redirecting that anxious energy into a positive performance --
CHO: I mean what else can we do as Americans, generally speaking, to be less anxious or if we are anxious, too anxious, just dealing with it and turning it into a positive?
KLUGER: Well, a lot of the very common, conventional "mom knows what she's talking about" wisdom does apply here. Exercise, getting plenty of exercise, getting plenty of sleep, deep breathing, that sort of thing.
Also cognitive reframing. Being able to looked at a feared outcome and rather than catastrophyzing (ph) it. Rather than saying if I go in and deliver this speech it were tomorrow and it bombs I'm going to crash and burning my career is going to be over. Rather than doing that, going into it and reframing it and saying, is this a tolerable thing? Will the sun still come up tomorrow? And if it does, if things do go badly, what's my Plan B.
KLUGER: Just having something in your back pocket that you know will help you cope with the feared failure often helps you fear that failure less.
CHO: Well, you know I think about it just in my own personal life and I think, well, you know, you don't ask, you don't get. If the answer is no, well then, you deal with that later.
KLUGER: Exactly. That's right.
CHO: But have the courage to ask, right?
KLUGER: That's precisely right.
CHO: Jeffrey Kluger, science editor at "Time" magazine, thank you so much. It's so interesting.
KLUGER: Thank you for having me.
CHO: Thanks for coming in.
CHO: Your "Morning Headlines" are next; it's 47 minutes after the hour.
COSTELLO: Ten minutes until the top of the hour. Here are your morning's "Top Stories".
Breaking news for you. The Egyptian Interior Ministry saying a truce has been reached between protestors and security forces after five days of deadly clashes. It's not clear whether the protesters have agreed to the truce or whether they will actually stand down.
U.S. markets open in just about 45 minutes from now and stock futures are pointing to a lower open across the board this morning. Investors still sifting through three new economic reports just released. One of them on unemployment actually showed some strength in the labor market and, of course, that's good news for the overall economy.
It's one of the busiest travel days of the year. Major snowstorms in the northeast and in the northwest will make getting to grandma's house for Thanksgiving a real chore. According to Triple A more than 42 million people will be on the move this weekend; on the roads, on the rails and of course in the air.
And an update on that ground stop at Philadelphia International Airport because of the rough weather, it's been extended until 10:00 a.m. Eastern time. A ground stop means the planes heading into Philly are not allowed to land there for the next hour, at least.
And that's the news you need to start your day. AMERICAN MORNING" is back after a break.
CHO: Good morning, Atlanta, Georgia, cloudy and 57 degrees. Later we're hearing there will be sun with a high of 61.
COSTELLO: And that's a good thing.
Welcome back, time for your "AM House Call". You've heard of sleep walking and even sleep eating but there's something new, sleep texting. I'm not kidding. Experts claim that people with this rare condition are unaware that they're actually sending incoherent text messages --
CHO: Oh my gosh.
COSTELLO: -- to friends and family while they're dreaming.
CHO: I can't say for sure, but I'm guessing I might have done that once or twice.
Hey, parents, before you start your shopping, make sure to check the annual "Trouble in Toyland" report. This is important now, you're looking at some of the dangerous toys that made this year's list. The report found that choking on small objects is still the leading cause of toy-related deaths.
Now, you can test this for yourself. And this is a good one. If the toy can fit through a toilet paper roll, it's just too small for your toddler. Meantime, some toys can also contain potentially toxic chemicals.
COSTELLO: The bargain hunters are out in full force. Just check this out, check out this Best Buy in California. It's like Ground Zero for the early Black Friday blitz, dozens of shoppers are staking out -- staking out spots already on the sidewalks.
CHO: Oh my gosh. There are tents.
CO: Yes, they set up tents, it's crazy. They're eagerly counting down the days until those promised door buster deals. Although all of these shoppers are eyeing different merchandise, they all agree on one thing, the deals are -- are they're going to stay through Thanksgiving?
CHO: Even I don't want to shop that much.
But how about this, how about window shopping? It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in New York City with Manhattan stores putting up their holiday window displays. All you have to do is walk along Fifth Avenue to notice that. Here's a look at the windows at Tiffany's taking its theme from the famous carousel in Central Park, bejeweled and bedazzled animal displays -- zebras, lions and giraffes. Oh, my.
COSTELLO: Macy's decorated for Christmas weeks ago. What were these people waiting for? In just a few hours, those giant balloons that fly high over the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade will come to life. Shrek, Snoopy and all the rest will be slowly inflated over two city blocks. Thousands of kids will be on hand to watch. It takes about seven hours to get them all -- not the kids, but the balloons -- to get all the balloons parade-ready.
CHO: And our Jason Carroll will be there live tomorrow morning. We look forward to that.
Also ahead today, it's the best of times for at least two turkeys. As he does each year, President Obama will grant a pardon during a White House ceremony today. One of the lucky birds is the National Thanksgiving Turkey and the other is its alternate. Either way, they're going both going to be spared. And their names I'm hearing are Liberty and Peace and they'll spend the rest of their days on Mt. Vernon.
COSTELLO: Getting fat and happy in the mountains.
CHO: That's right. If they aren't, already.
COSTELLO: Fifty-six minutes past the hour. We'll be right back.
COSTELLO: A lot of public transportation out there. A lot of buses. Hopefully everybody is going somewhere fun. Home for the holidays, I hope.
Good morning, New York. It's 46 degrees right now. Going to rain later, though with a high of 53. But it's 53, who cares if it rains.
CHO: It looks like it stopped raining for a little bit. We'll see it whether it comes back. We're 30 seconds to Thanksgiving, Carol Costello.
COSTELLO: I know.
CHO: And she's feeling better. You know, you were nursing a cold, but she slept a lot yesterday. I'm glad you're feeling better.
COSTELLO: Thank God for Nyquil.
CHO: Thanks for joining us. That does it for us on AMERICAN MORNING.
"CNN NEWSROOM" with our friend T.J. Holmes.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": Hey.
CHO: Good morning.
HOLMES: Alina, this is a shame. I see you on TV more than I see you in person these days. But it's good to see you guys.
CHO: I know. What's up with that? We've got to fix that.