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Nation's Top Banker Telling Congress Economy Still Skidding; Tens of Thousands of People Jamming Beirut for Rallies by Rival Political Factions
Aired February 14, 2008 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning again, everyone. You're with CNN. You're informed.
I'm Tony Harris.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins.
Developments keep coming into the CNN NEWSROOM on Thursday, the 14th of February, Valentine's Day.
Here's what's on the rundown now. Jamming the streets to honor assassinated leaders, one, a prime minister, the other, a terror kingpin.
HARRIS: Moments ago, the nation's top banker telling Congress the economy is still skidding. Are more interest rate cuts ahead?
COLLINS: Would you take advice from these characters? Tony made a trip to Vegas to make a love connection.
HARRIS: Someone needed to.
COLLINS: Yes, and he's going to tell us all about it because it is Valentine's Day, in the NEWSROOM.
Right off the top here, we are keeping our eye on the candidates. You see Senator Hillary Clinton. She is in Warren, Ohio, at the G.M. plant there talking to folks about the primaries coming up March 4th in this state.
Let's go ahead and listen in.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ...college costs going up, so you have to stretch your budget even further. Maybe you're a working mom or dad raising your kids, and also a working son or daughter caring for your parents. I wasn't here 30 minutes before I had someone say to me, you know, I'm in the sandwich generation. I'm taking care of my kids, my dad just came home from the V.A., I'm taking care of him. I'm happy to do it, but it's hard.
I know that. My 88-year-old mother lives with us. So, I understand what is happening to families in our country who are trying to do everything right and are feeling overwhelmed.
You know, some days it must feel like the perfect storm. You fill up your tank and that's two 20s from your wallet. You pick up a gallon of milk and a few others things and there goes another. You try to fill your child's prescription and they tell you, well, sorry, that's no longer covered. You know, after a while you feel like a human ATM, except the money is all going out, none of it's coming in.
That's why I'm here, here in Youngstown, because that's what this election should be about. It is about you. It's about your families, your jobs, your dreams, and your futures.
Now, I know here at G.M., you've had some serious challenges, but I don't think we can ever, ever in America give up on our manufacturers and our manufacturing jobs.
CLINTON: It really comes down to one question in this election, when the bright lights are off and the speeches are over, who can you count on to listen to you, to stand up for you, and to deliver solutions for you?
For the past seven years, we've seen President Bush's answer. He delivers perks for the special interests on a silver platter, probably one that was made in China. You know, with President Bush, every day is Valentine's Day, Valentine's Day for the special interests.
They've grabbed tax breaks at every turn. They've exploited every loophole. They've turned federal departments into their revolving doors. And while the American people have pinched pennies to stay within your budget, President Bush has blown the bank on tax breaks for his friends and no-bid contracts for his cronies, borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars from China to pay for it.
It wasn't so long ago that we had a balanced budget and a surplus. The country was moving out of debt. We weren't beholden to anybody. Essentially, President Bush has signed a subprime mortgage on America's economy.
CLINTON: You know, I represent a lot of manufacturing companies and workers throughout upstate New York, and people started asking me a couple of years ago, why can't we get tough on China? I said, well, after President Bush's policies, you have to ask yourself, how do you get tough on your banker?
We have turned over control of our destiny, not only to China but to countries from China to Mexico because we borrow from all of them. China's steel comes here and our jobs go there. We play by the rules, they manipulate their currency. And we get tainted fish, lead-based toys, poisoned pet food in return and our government doesn't do a thing to stop it!
(APPLAUSE) COLLINS: Senator Hillary Clinton talking to members and workers and supporters at the G.M. plant there in Warren, Ohio. Obviously, trying to gear up the vote there for the primaries that will be coming up in the state of Ohio on March 4th. A little town hall meeting there, just keeping our eye on the candidates for you.
And you can stay tuned for much more of all of them as they crisscross the country. Don't miss the full hour of the CNN "BALLOT BOWL" from noon to 1:00 Eastern. You can join us for live coverage of the candidates as they make their pitches. Remember, CNN equals politics.
HARRIS: On Capitol Hill this morning, hints of more rate cuts from the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke telling lawmakers the Fed will, quoting here, "act in a timely manner as needed to support growth." He says the economy should improve later this year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN BERNANKE, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: At present, my baseline outlook involves a period of sluggish growth followed by a somewhat stronger pace of growth starting later this year as the effects of monetary and fiscal stimulus begin to be felt.
At the same time, overall consumer price inflation should moderate from its recent rates and the public's longer-term inflation expectations should remain reasonably well anchored.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson also appearing this morning. He talked about the nation's housing problems and the impact on the economy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY PAULSON, TREASURY SECRETARY: The U.S. economy is fundamentally strong, diverse and resilient, yet after years of unsustainable home price appreciation, our economy is undergoing a significant and necessary housing correction.
The housing correction, high energy prices, and capital market turmoil are weighing on current economic growth. I believe that our economy will continue to grow, although its pace in coming quarters will be slower than what we've seen in recent years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: You know, some analysts say the housing and credit crisis have already pushed the economy into a recession.
COLLINS: Want to take you overseas now to the streets. Tens of thousands of people jamming Beirut for rallies by rival political factions. They are remembering two different types of leaders.
Beirut Bureau Chief Brent Sadler is in the Lebanese capital now for us this morning.
So Brent, we know things are very tense there. But what's the situation feel like at this hour?
BRENT SADLER, CNN BEIRUT BUREAU CHIEF: Heidi, a peaceful end it seems to a very tense day. Thousands, as many as 9,000 troops and police, effectively sealed off downtown Beirut when a very large mass of Lebanese converged on Martha Square to commemorate the anniversary of the assassination of former five times Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.
This was essentially a staunchly anti-Syrian crowd, very similar to what we saw in Beirut three years ago during the so-called Cedar Revolution that pressured Syrian troops to leave Lebanon.
Also on this same day, we saw a very large turnout of mass supporters of Hezbollah, the militant Shiite Muslim group that's a sworn enemy of the United States and Israel. Bearing with full Hezbollah honors attended also by Iran's foreign minister in the crowds and assassinated former Hezbollah top commander killed by a car bomb, claims Hezbollah in Damascus the day before yesterday.
Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's chief, using that occasion to effectively declare war, he said, a new war against Israel. If Israel wants an open war, let it begin, he said. And a warning that will not fall on deaf ears either inside or outside the region -- Heidi?
COLLINS: CNN's Brent Sadler live for us this evening now. Thanks so much, Brent.
HARRIS: And back here at home, a new body blow from Hurricane Katrina. Federal health experts today will tell storm victims to get out of government trailers and soon. The reason, the formaldehyde inside them, it could be poisoning people. They need to move, but where is the question.
CNN's Sean Callebs is in New Orleans. Sean, good to see you and thanks for your help on this story. Over the last few weeks, it seems, how many people need to find a place to call home and soon here?
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good question, Tony.
About 100,000 people still living in the Gulf region in FEMA trailers. They have about 38,000 trailers out there, so you have entire families living in just 400 square feet or so. Boy, two-and-a- half years after the storm and we're talking about these problems like they just cropped up yesterday. People here have been complaining for a long time.
The word we're getting from FEMA and the CDC, they're going to hold a news room (ph) in just a couple of hours. They are telling people still living in those trailers, we're going to try and get you out before the hot summer months come.
And Tony, the reason they want to do it before the summer, once it gets hot, it begins basically baking those trailers. They're very poorly ventilated and formaldehyde is a colorless gas but, boy, you can smell it, sense it the second you walk in. I've been in these unventilated trailers. You feel an unpleasant sensation in your nose, your throat and your eyes immediately start watering. So, this is something they're going to have to do and do quickly ...
CALLEBS: ...but where to put all these people?
HARRIS: Well, there you go, where to put them. And I'm wondering, OK, we've got to move these people. And who pays here? Is this FEMA?
CALLEBS: Yes, I mean, you and I pay, the government pays.
CALLEBS: That's who's going to pay, and they have been paying all along. We've chronicled all along this disaster that has been trying to bring trailers down to this area. FEMA contacted me within the last hour. They say, look, at the height, we had 143 trailers down in the Gulf Coast area. We're down to 38,000 now. We want to dramatically reduce that. We're moving about 810 trailers -- we're moving people out of about 810 trailers every week. So, they're saying they're making progress on that.
But Barack Obama weighed in, too. His staff contacted us as well after seeing reports on CNN this morning and they went on to say, look, this is just more of the Bush administration not providing adequate assistance for people down here. They've cut corners. They buried truths.
And listen to this last line from Barack Obama. "I demand the president immediately find safe shelter for these families who have suffered so much after the federal government failed to protect them during Hurricane Katrina."
And that is really a line that is going to ring true to so many people down here. It's seemed like this just snuck up on FEMA and the federal government, the disaster that came after Katrina. And people here say, how did that happen?
CALLEBS: Everybody knew the potential was there.
HARRIS: Well, I got to tell you, I just got word that we reached out here in the NEWSROOM to FEMA and we've been told that all of these questions, I got one more for you, are going to be answered in this news conference scheduled for 1:00 Eastern time.
But I have to ask you one other thing before I let you go, Sean, from FEMA. I'm guessing even to the EPA, to the CDC. You know, some might be wondering why it's taken so long to come to this conclusion that the people needed to be -- need to get out of there. It seems like we've been talking about this formaldehyde problem for at least six months.
CALLEBS: Yes, that's frustrating to people down here because the people who are really at risk: the elderly, the very young, people with respiratory problems, because what you have here -- you have bloody noses, headaches. You're not talking about just some discomfort. This can actually lead to cancer. These are some real concerns. And they were first brought to FEMA's attention 23 months ago.
Now, FEMA said they've been doing this on a case-by-case basis. They've been trying to do what they can. But this is an unprecedented disaster in the United States.
But it's frustrating for people down here. For two years and only now, today, people are going to get the specifics from the CDC, OK, here's how harmful it is. You're exposed to five times the level you would find in an average household. So, if you're having difficulty, we're going to get you out.
CALLEBS: But where, there's no affordable housing here ...
HARRIS: Oh boy.
CALLEBS: ...in the New Orleans area, so that's going to be an interesting question.
HARRIS: Well, Sean, we appreciate the fact that the Obama campaign is watching us here in the NEWSROOM, now maybe we can get some action on this.
Sean Callebs for us from New Orleans. Sean, appreciate it, thanks.
COLLINS: A Capitol Hill memorial service this morning for Congressman Tom Lantos. The California Democrat died on Monday. He disclosed just last month he had cancer of the esophagus. Lantos was the only Holocaust survivor to serve in the U.S. Congress. He was remembered for his work fostering human rights all around the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), HOUSE SPEAKER: When we received the sad news earlier this week of Tom's passing, the word spread not only through our district in San Francisco, which Tom proudly represented, not only through the Congress of the United States in which he proudly served and led, but throughout the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Lantos was in his 14th term in Congress. He was 80- years-old.
HARRIS: Cold, wet and in the dark. That's the situation for many people in the northeast this morning, a powerful winter storm. How many times have we said that over the last -- it seems, six weeks or so? Pounding the region with ice, snow and rain. Thousands of customers are without electricity from Maine to Maryland and places in between, of course. Hundreds of schools closed.
The storm dumped a half foot of snow on the northeast, more in some spots. In New Hampshire, three buildings actually collapsed under the weight of all the wet snow. No injuries reported there thankfully, but the storm is blamed for 15 deaths since Monday. And flooding is now a real concern as the drenching rain combines with all of that melting snow.
COLLINS: All that melting snow.
REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: All of it.
COLLINS: What do you do with it?
WOLF: Can you believe that?
COLLINS: You trounce around in your rain boots, I guess instead of your snow boots, huh?
HARRIS: Well, that's enough.
WOLF: Oh, yes. Well, I mean, I don't know. I mean, you have to look at it from the view of a skier. If you're a skier, you can't have enough of it all.
HARRIS: Oh, boy, way to key it up.
WOLF: If you happen to -- if you lived in northern Michigan
WOLF: ...and you're actually scraping that stuff off the driveway, yes.
COLLINS: Yes, there's a difference.
WOLF: Yes, that's -- yes, everything's relative, no question.
COLLINS: I just pulled up the mid vale (ph) ...
HARRIS: Oh boy.
COLLINS: ...cam right over here, oh, yes, looking good.
WOLF: You lucky devil.
COLLINS: Got to be in the right places, right, you know.
WOLF: You lucky devil. COLLINS: Thank you, Reynolds. We'll check with you a little later on.
WOLF: Any time.
COLLINS: Meanwhile, steroids under the microscope. Roger Clemens on Capitol Hill. We're going to talk with a lawmaker who wasn't lobbying softballs. It's coming up right here in the NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: OK, and this just in to the CNN NEWSROOM. As you know, Kenya, a country in turmoil right now. Well, weeks after a disputed election and the violence that followed those disputed results leading to the deaths of hundreds of people, the president of Kenya and the opposition leader agreeing about a week ago to form a joint government or at least to continue talks in that direction.
We have just learned that President Bush has announced just a short time ago that he is sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Kenya to support efforts to end the violence. He did not specify, the president didn't, when Rice will travel. The president is heading to the continent as well.
Again, Secretary of Stae Condoleezza Rice is heading to Kenya. Not sure when she will actually leave to support efforts to end the violence there. We'll continue to follow developments, the president's trip to Africa and the Secretary of State's trip to Kenya, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
COLLINS: Quickly want to take a look at the big board now. Dow Jones Industrial averages down about 112 points, sitting right now at 12,440. Obviously, the big news today, in fact, still going on as we speak on Capitol Hill, Ben Bernanke, treasury secretary -- he of course is the Fed chairman. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and also SEC Chairman Christopher Cox are still speaking, talking about the economy, talking about alternative solutions to foreclosures, whether or not we are in a recession.
They are going to be asked several questions about the credit crunch, if there will be more interest rate cuts. Clearly, the headline regarding your wallet, your finances today. You see a live shot now once again on Capitol Hill. We'll continue to watch that and bring you any news should it come out of those hearings.
Other hearings to talk about, baseball, steroids scandal on Capitol Hill. Roger Clemens, the greatest pitcher of his generation, adamantly denying he ever used performance-enhancing drugs. His former trainer on the left of the screen, Brian McNamee, saying he actually injected Clemens. One lawmaker called McNamee a drug dealer. Another took aim at the baseball icon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: All I'm saying is that it's hard to believe, it's hard to believe you, sir. I hate to say that as you're one of my heroes, but it's hard to believe you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: That lawmaker, Congressman Elijah Cummings is joining us now from Capitol Hill.
Thanks for being with us, again, Representative Cummings. We appreciate your time here. I just want to ask you, what was it like being in that room? I mean, we were watching it from here. We saw quite a bit of drama. Very interesting that the two of them were sitting at the same table. Interesting questions, to say the least. They came from your side of the table as well.
CUMMINGS: I thought it was -- in a way, I felt kind of sad that the entire time, although you never knew what was coming next. But for one of my sports heroes, I was a baseball player as a young fellow, and Roger Clemens was one of my heroes. And for me, to meet him under these circumstances was very sad.
COLLINS: Yes, you almost half expected him to get up and walk away maybe after all of this -- the things that were read from some of the affidavits, some of the other testimony that was given. Maybe stand up and say, you know what, never mind.
CUMMINGS: Yes, I -- he didn't have to do this. He wanted to clear his name and, to be very frank with you, as a lawyer, I would have never allowed him to come before this committee, if I were his lawyer. And because I think that he was not -- I don't think he came out looking very credible at all.
COLLINS: Yes, in fact, you actually said the person that you most believed in all of this was actually Andy Pettitte.
COLLINS: When you woke up this morning, you still feel that way?
CUMMINGS: I feel very strongly about that. Andy Pettitte, apparently is a very religious young man and Pettitte is also somebody who is very honest. Even Clemens said that. And Pettitte's stories about conversations with Clemens about the use of a human growth hormones, it was very, very clear. And basically, it supported the trainer's assertions.
And to me, when you have two people like McNamee and Clemens who have different stories going against each other, you look for corroboration.
CUMMINGS: And I can tell you the corroboration came in Andy Pettitte. By the way, according to Clemens, Andy Pettitte is one of the most honest people he knows. There was another factor that kind of concerned me, and that was that McNamee also talked about, in the Mitchell Report, Knoblauch ...
CUMMINGS: ...and also -- and talked about Pettitte, of course. They admitted, Knoblauch and Pettitte admitted that what McNamee said was true. But then when it came to Clemens, Clemens, he claims that -- Clemens claims that Pettitte was -- McNamee, rather, was absolutely wrong.
So, I -- it was -- when I walked out of that hearing, I walked out sad because I knew that I could see that Clemens, in my mind, was not credible. McNamee was, but most important, Pettitte was.
COLLINS: Yes, you have to wonder in all of this, did these hearings really accomplish what everybody wanted them to? And what was that?
CUMMINGS: Well, keep in mind, we started these hearings off from the very beginning, because children are using steroids.
COLLINS: Yes, I agree.
CUMMINGS: And that's the key. But -- and so, this was to try to close out the Mitchell Report which had been commissioned by Mr. Selig, head of baseball. And we didn't want to leave the record open because Mr. Clemens was so adamant about his innocence.
Well, the fact still remains is that we raise this issue again of steroids in our children. Our children are taking steroids at an alarming rate, one out of every 16 and harming their bodies, harming their brains. And in many -- in some instances, dying.
And so, just raising the issue, I think, was very significant. Raising it again, having probably the top baseball player in the last 20 years, pitcher that is, sitting there, having heard about Barry Bonds going through similar circumstances, I think it sends a powerful message to our children that this simply is not the way to go.
COLLINS: Well, I hope so.
CUMMINGS: And if we save one child, if we save one, then it's worth it.
COLLINS: Yes, like to save a lot more than that. Very quickly before we let you go, what happens next?
CUMMINGS: I think that the committee has to make a determination as to whether they want it referred. But I got a feeling that the Justice Department, the IRS and others who were sitting in the room probably are making those determinations as we speak. And it would not surprise me, whatever they do wouldn't surprise me.
COLLINS: At this point, boy, that's for sure.
Representative Elijah Cummings ...
CUMMINGS: Thank you.
COLLINS: ...appreciate you being with us once again today.
CUMMINGS: It's good being with you.
Ahead now, your health, a highly contagious disease hitches a ride from Switzerland to Hawaii and possibly beyond. Elizabeth Cohen drops by the NEWSROOM with details.
HARRIS: Also, want to make a love connection? Men, meet the pickup artist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Want the men to be themselves, reveal themselves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want them to be their best sex.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Oh, love is in the air. It's Valentine's Day. And you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
ANNOUNCER: "Daily Dose" brought to you by...
Live in the CNN NEWSROOM, Heidi Collins and Tony Harris.
COLLINS: Welcome back, everybody. Happy Valentine's Day to you. Look, we decorated the set in red. Oh, wait, it's always like that.
HARRIS: Yes. That's good.
COLLINS: I feel special today, though.
HARRIS: Look at Heidi. Valentine's Day in the NEWSROOM. Good morning, everyone.
I want to take you to Burlington, Vermont right now. John McCain is speaking. Let's listen in.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRES. CANDIDATE: ...the alternate minimum tax as well. And we've got to do the other things necessary to encourage business and give them lower taxes, less regulation, less government in their lives, and that means a simpler, fairer -- tax code. The tax code in America is broken and it needs to be fixed. And my first priority -- actually one of my first priorities as president of the United States will -- to be to join together on both sides of the aisle and fix this broken tax code.
My friends, is there anybody here today that understands our tax code? Please see me afterwards. I'd love to chat with you. Do you know that last year Americans paid $14 billion dollars, of their hard- earned money just to have someone help them prepare their tax return? Shouldn't you be able to fill it out your tax return on one piece of paper, or better yet, go on the Internet and you be told what your tax is and you just fill it out?
You don't even have to fill out a piece of paper? Do you know that there's countries in the world today where that's the case? These new countries that used to be part of the iron curtain, the little Baltic countries. And so why can't we do that? We have to do that. There's no confidence in the tax code.
And the other thing I want to talk to you about that's contributed to the all of these problems, obviously, is a wasteful, disgraceful, out of control, pork barrel spending which has destroyed the confidence and trust of the American people in our government.
Now, now, my friends, we Republicans lost the 2006 election not because of the war in Iraq, and I'll talk to you about it in a minute. But we lost the 2006 election because our Republican base became dispirited because we let spending get completely out of control and we presided over the biggest increase in the size of government since the great society.
And my friends, by the way, $35 billion in the last two years were signed into law of big spending projects. Of these large appropriations bills, $35 billion were earmarks, were earmarks. Projects like the $3 million you spent to study the DNA of bears in Montana. I don't know if that was a paternity issue or a criminal issue, but it was your money. It was your money.
And, of course, everybody now knows. Everybody now knows the bridge to nowhere. The $233 million bridge to an island in Alaska with 50 people on it. Now that same $35 billion, OK, could have meant $1,000 tax credit for every single child in America. Now, what do you think American families want, $1,000 tax credit or a bridge to nowhere?
When I'm president of the United States, there will be no more earmark pork barrel spending. I will veto every bill. I will veto every bill.
HARRIS: John McCain, Burlington, Vermont right now. John McCain, probably going to make an appearance in the "BALLOT BOWL" at noon Eastern Time at the top of the hour. Where is Ron Paul? Barack Obama, Senator Hillary Clinton? Mike Huckabee? Maybe they will all make an appearance in the "BALLOT BOWL" 12:00 Eastern right here on CNN.
And another footnote, John McCain, special guest for the hour, "LARRY KING LIVE" tonight. John McCain as a guest, taking phone calls. Burlington, Vermont, you're on the air. "LARRY KING LIVE" tonight, 9:00 Eastern.
COLLINS: Suicide bombers wanted, the U.S. says al Qaeda is prowling the psychiatric wards to find them.
CNN's Arwa Damon has this CNN exclusive. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): They were the deadliest attacks to hit the capital in months, as many as 98 killed. Double bombings that ripped through two pet markets. The Americans and the Iraqis blames al Qaeda, saying the attacks were carried out by two women, one wearing a backpack, the other wearing a so-called suicide vest.
Even more disturbing, the authorities say both were mentally ill and may not have been willing bombers. CNN has confirmed that one of the women responsible for the Ghazl market attack was treated here at the Ibn Rushid psychiatric hospital. Dr. Shaalan Joda told us her name but asked that we respect doctor/patient confidentiality by not reporting it. The U.S. military verified the name we were given.
In her file it says that she was 35, married and diagnosed with schizophrenia and depression.
DR SHAALAN JODA, HOSPITAL DIRECTOR: (Speaking in foreign language). The voices hear.
DAMON (on camera): Were saying go commit suicide.
JODA: Go commit suicide, kill yourself.
DAMON: Or kill yourself.
JODA: (Speaking in foreign language) Why you live? My life...
DAMON: Has no meaning.
(Voice over): Dr. Joda tells us she was first treated last December then later admitted to the hospital.
(On camera): This is the women's ward at the hospital and there are about six patients here now, according to the doctors. The Ghazl market bomber also spent time here, according to the doctor, from January 3rd until the 7th, living in this room.
(Voice over): A female family member stayed with her in the hospital and when she left, she was released into her family's care. She returned twice as an outpatient and received electric shock treatment, the latest on January 28th, just four days before she became a human bomb.
The Iraqi government said that both women bombers had down syndrome, but the Dr. Joda says, although the woman his hospital treated had the facial characteristics of someone with down syndrome, that wasn't her diagnosis.
JODA (through translator): The act that happened is in line with this disease, with this background of auditory hallucinations. She may have been taken advantage of in one way or another but we don't know how, whether she was on that path or if she was used unwittingly. DAMON: The U.S. military says al Qaeda's efforts may be bigger than these two cases, that al Qaeda is deliberately seeking and recruiting mentally ill women.
A senior U.S. military official says U.S. investigators believe al Qaeda has operatives within Baghdad's mental hospital, passing on patient files and contact information. And on Sunday, the acting administrator at another psychiatric hospital was detained.
REAR ADMIRAL GREGORY SMITH, U.S. MILITARY SPOKESMAN: The administrators remains in coalition force detention and is being questioned to determine what role, if any, he may have played in supplying al Qaeda with information regarding patients at the al- Rashad psychiatric hospital or from other medical facilities in Baghdad.
DAMON: The U.S. military clearly worried, even as it says the use of mentally ill women is a sign of al Qaeda's desperation.
COLLINS: CNN's Arwa Damon joining us now live from Baghdad.
Boy, Arwa, if from a security perspective, how can the U.S. and Iraqis battle this kind of threat?
DAMON: Well, Heidi, the fight on that level really is not about what sort of military activities can take place. What it's more about is building institutions, solid institutions, where, for example, you have a police force and hospital administrator staffers that aren't going to be inclined to carry out this sort of behavior. People that are going to be more loyal to the nation, that aren't going to be seduced by financial gains.
And in many ways that really goes to the core of the problem in Iraq. There's only so much that can be accomplished militarily. The rest of Iraq's moving forward is really going to be down to politics and building up those crucial institutions. Additionally, the Iraqi security forces need to start recruiting more women so that they can carry out searches.
As we know very well at this point, al Qaeda is constantly morphing its the strategies It's very creative in the ways that it moves forward and tries to develop its own tactics when it comes to carrying out attacks here. So it really is a problem that has to be tackled on a number of levels.
COLLINS: Yes, some great reporting there. We sure do appreciate it. CNN's Arwa Damon live from Baghdad.
HARRIS: In travel, spreading the measles from Switzerland to San Diego to Hawaii. At least five cases confirmed.
The medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, is here now. I haven't talked about the measles in forever.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I know.
HARRIS: So we're -- it's crazy. We're talking about five cases. But if you're talking about right here, potentially a lot of people exposed here.
COHEN: Oh, absolutely, because measles is incredibly contagious. Let's say you had never been immunized...
COHEN: ...and I have the measles, 90 percent chance that you would get it from me just sitting here right now.
HARRIS: And -- yes.
COHEN: So imagine on an airplane.
COHEN: You know, for hours and hours, from California to Hawaii, you're sitting there with all of that enclosed air. Again, a 90 percent chance of getting the measles...
COHEN: ...if you didn't already had it or you haven't been vaccinated. And that's actually a relatively significant group of people. And that is why health authorities are looking for anyone who was on that Hawaiian air flight on Saturday, from San Diego to Honolulu. They want to talk to you. They want to know, were you vaccinated or weren't you, because here's what happened.
A 7-year-old with measles, apparently they were in Switzerland, went to San Diego, got the measles.
COHEN: Passed it along to these four other kids. One of them gets on a Hawaiian air flight.
Now this is not the child. We just want to show you. This is from the CDC.
COHEN: This is what measles looks like. A lot of people don't know because you don't really see it.
HARRIS: We have not talked about it...
COHEN: Right. You don't...
HARRIS: ...in forever. COHEN: Right. You don't see it so much anymore. But it is a terrible, terrible disease that can lead to brain damage. It can kill people. So they are looking for anyone who was on that flight, even anyone who was in the terminal, in terminal 2 on Saturday morning, no matter where they were going. They want to know if you were there because this disease is so contagious.
HARRIS: So if we concentrate for a moment on the Hawaii flight, are officials as concerned about everyone or are they more concerned about some people and less concerned about others?
COHEN: Right. They're more concerned about certain groups because certain groups are going to be more vulnerable to getting the measles.
So let's go through who those groups are. Children younger than 5 can be vulnerable to getting the measles. Adults older than 20 if they have not been immunized also can get the measles. Pregnant women, they're worried about pregnant women, and also about immune- compromised, people who are immune-compromised, people who have immune issues.
So those are the groups that they're thinking about especially.
HARRIS: So the baby in this case, 11 months old, would that baby have been immunized against measles at this point?
COHEN: No. They wouldn't be, because kids get immunized at around 12 to 15 months. That's when they get their first shot. And you now what? That shot doesn't even work for some of those kids so they give them another shot at around age 4.
So pretty much, by definition, kids younger than 12 months have not been immunized, and even if they have been, they can still get it.
HARRIS: And so this is a case where folks need to reach out and contact these officials and just be on the safe side.
COHEN: You want to know, because measles -- you know, most people survive it just fine, but not everyone.
HARRIS: Elizabeth, good to see you.
COHEN: Good to see you, too, even if we're talking about the measles.
HARRIS: Yes, yes.
Still to come in the NEWSROOM this morning, in the market for a pickup on Valentine's Day? What am I talking about here? These two guys claim to have the master plan.
ANNOUNCER: CNN NEWSROOM brought to you by...
HARRIS: Oh, man, all right, listen up, single guys, maybe even a few of you married ones, this could be your last lonely Valentine's Day. Two Las Vegas guys, they'll teach you how to master the pickup. Their lesson in love doesn't come cheap. But here's a free sample.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I've had someone just provide me their number, like, yes, call me sometime, without even really saying much to it. Just giving their number.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Does that work?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
HARRIS (voice over): Ah, the pickup line.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because my friend has an iPhone. Do you want to go take a look at it and play with it?
HARRIS: Not a lot has changed in the battle of the sexes. Guy meets girl, girl kicks guy to the curb, his self-esteem, crushed.
But now in 2008, some men are spending very serious cash to get their game airtight.
MYSTERY, PICKUP ARTIST: Can you imagine walking through this world and whether she's taken or not, the attraction mechanism will be fired?
HARRIS: Who could teach guys how to be so attractive to a woman she can't resist? Master pickup artists, of course.
MYSTERY: In order to get a woman interested in you, you have to be interesting.
HARRIS: Enter these guys. He's called "Mystery" on the left there. That's his sidekick, Matador on the right. Yes, those are goggles strapped to a cowboy hat. Look as little odd, but thousands of men bow down to them.
MATADOR, PICKUP ARTIST: We dedicate ourselves to understanding what a woman wants.
HARRIS: Dozens of articles have been written about them. They've even starred in their own reality show on VH-1, "The Pickup Artist." In real life they've been teaching seduction boot camps around the country for years. The price of admission, a whopping $3,000. These men have flown in from as far away as London to take Mystery's seminar in Las Vegas.
MYSTERY: So how do you be interesting? You don't hit on her. That's not interesting to her because she gets hit on all the time, right? You're the guy who's supposed to be in her life protecting her from all those jackasses.
HARRIS: But what qualifies this 6'5" bean pole to give advice on women? He says years of trial and error and a system he's tested over and over, what he calls The Mystery Method. The formula? Attraction, comfort, then seduction.
(On camera): The method, the Mystery Method. Boil it down for us. What is it?
MYSTERY: What is it? From meeting a woman to beginning a sexual relationship, we call that courtship. If I can meet the objectives of each phase complete so I can get to the next phase, if I can do that very cleanly, with comfort, without compromising her comfort levels, then seduction is mutual.
HARRIS (voice over): And his book, don't let the title shock you, "The Mystery Method: How to Get Beautiful Women into Bed." Sounds disrespectful, sure, but Mystery says his goal for his students is much larger than the pickup. It's about turning shy, social wall flowers into interesting, outgoing men, just the way he transformed himself.
First he tries to get his students past their fear of approaching women.
MYSTERY: I abide by the three-second rule and I go in right away. It takes three seconds to go from where you are to where she is. So if you are attracted, you want to find out if there's more to her than meets the eye, go in right away. If you wait any longer, you may steal out the set, look like you're hovering, and you approach anxiety, your adrenaline release will build up.
HARRIS: That's called the open, and it begins the most important three-minute stretch in the game. In three minutes the guy must tell a story, a narrative, show himself to be a leader, a risk taker, attracted to other women, and able to show emotion. If the woman of his dreams is really good looking, say a 10, he acts like he's not interested. Huh?
MYSTERY: I'm just disqualifying myself from being considered a potential suitor. She's touches me. You know, I'm like, all right, slow this down, buy me a drink, and forget on me. Jesus, (INAUDIBLE) on this girl.
HARRIS: Yes, there's a script of canned lines and techniques.
Frank's a pilot, in this class for the first time.
FRANK, PICKUP BOOT CAMP STUDENT: This isn't seduction. It's pickup and pickup applies to everything you do in life, not just meeting women. If you can pick up a beautiful woman, you can influence and lead other men.
HARRIS: Pick up or bust, the testing of $3,000 dating plan on the Vegas Strip.
HARRIS: What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. So what better place -- was that a hug? I kind of...
COLLINS: Yes, just kind of scared me a bit there. Let's do it again.
HARRIS: Really scared you.
COLLINS: Can we do it again? Come on, T.
HARRIS: Why would - why would my face jumping out of heart scare you there, Heidi?
COLLINS: Those (INAUDIBLE) of hearts.
HARRIS: What better place to test a $3,000 plan for picking up women? Here's what happened.
HARRIS (voice over): CNN hit a very loud club with a hidden camera to watch one of the guys use his new skill set. His coach, Matador, was right at his side goading him on.
FRANK: Is khaki a color or a fabric?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Khaki?
FRANK: We've been debating about it all night.
MATADOR: Opener. Opener. Opener. Ask her the opening question.
FRANK: You say it's a fabric, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
FRANK: That's true because there are no khaki colored cards, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh.
FRANK: Who are you with? How do you guys know each other? You guys are probably BFF's, right? I'm not going to stay long. I've got to get back with my friends over here. You guys are BFF's?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, they live here.
FRANK: They live -- and you're from out of town? What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right?
HARRIS: Matador says Frank is over-exerted, breaking the rule of non-neediness. But it's loud and he has to shout. FRANK: I've got friends coming in for pilot training. I'm like, let's go to Vegas for New Year's, right? So they're flying in tomorrow. We're meeting up with a girl I used to date.
HARRIS: Let's take apart his story. He started with the opener: is khaki a color or a fabric? Now that's a canned line. It's supposed to be interesting. He says he's not going to stay long, a false time constraint. Mystery says that it's supposed to trigger a girl's sense of loss and shows non-neediness. He mentions pilot training, a sign of being a risk taker. And a girl he used to date shows he's pre-selected by women.
In the end, he didn't get the girl.
(On camera): Look, I mean, they're giving you a script and that's not who you are, is it?
FRANK: No, absolutely not. And, yes, they give you a script. However, it's a script to show you how the process works. You're given the process and then you're given the script to practice that process. But ultimately that script you throw away and create your own.
HARRIS (voice over): These alums will say practice makes perfect.
SHANE, PICKUP BOOT CAMP STUDENT: Because at the beginning I was going out. I wasn't using the techniques. I was using the stories.
HARRIS (on camera): Sure, you were.
SHANE: But now, like I've got enough experiences where I have my own stories, things that are true about me that I tell them. I have beautiful women in my life. And now I talk to women to have a good time, to socialize. I also talk to guys, too. We socialize. We go out, we have fun.
PAUL, PICKUP BOOT CAMP STUDENT: I've met a lot of women and a lot more than before, and many quality women, you know, doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers, people that may be before, the way I approached, I wouldn't have gotten past, like, see you.
HARRIS (voice over): So what do women think about the Mystery Method?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think there is a rule to getting out girls.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's a good thing for them to take those classes. They, you know, feel more comfortable with getting to know a woman and what she likes and doesn't like.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kind of like, gosh, it's kind of pathetic. Can't you just have your own personality and go talk to someone?
HARRIS (on camera): Women fire back at what you're teaching these men to do is to objectify them.
MYSTERY: I understand, though. I understand that is a viewpoint that people have.
MATADOR: Basically what you're saying is that we're teaching men how to understand women and what they respond to and women don't like that. They want them to just be themselves.
HARRIS: They want the men to be themselves. Reveal themselves.
MYSTERY: They want them to be their best selves. And if they aren't yet, then we'll catch the man up to speed so that they can have legitimate value for a woman.
HARRIS: Let me tell you something, at the end of the day, I think it was more about these guys getting some self-esteem going.
HARRIS: This idea that, you know, they're going to pick up these great-looking women -- look, just feel better about yourself. Pump yourself up a little bit. It will help you...
HARRIS: ...in all kinds of settings in life.
COLLINS: And because where you take advice from. Road killed fur and bad cowboy hat bandanna goggle. Iffy.
We'll be back in just a moment.
COLLINS: So I'll call you from Vale.
COLLINS: Did I mention I'm going?
HARRIS: Yes, yes, yes.
COLLINS: CNN NEWSROOM continues just one hour from now.
HARRIS: Just about. "BALLOT BOWL" is next with the latest political news from the best political team on television. I'm Tony Harris.
COLLINS: I'm Heidi Collins. Happy Valentine's Day, everybody.
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