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Obama Running Mate; Fay's Fifth Day in Florida; Russia's Deadline: Troops Seen Leaving Occupied Georgia

Aired August 22, 2008 - 14:00   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, and you're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
We apparently are getting closer to the moment that we've all been waiting for -- and waiting and waiting and waiting. Barack Obama is home in Chicago, calling runners-up in his search for a running mate, and he's made a decision but hasn't told the rest of us. It could be any of the people seen as finalists on his so-called shortlist. That includes these five and somebody not seen here, by the way, Texas Congressman Chet Edwards, the latest name to surface.

This we do know, the speculation will end soon. Party delegates are starting to arrive in Denver, where the Democratic Convention gets under way on Monday.

Obama and his soon-to-be running mate are expected to headline a rally tomorrow at the Illinois Capitol. Then they'll hit a few battleground states on their way to Denver.

Our Candy Crowley is standing by for us in Chicago.

Candy, what the heck is taking so long? I mean, now that he says he knows, why not just got out there, blow it out so we've got a headline for tonight and the rest of the weekend?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he may well do it before tonight. But, look, drama, drama, drama.

There is nothing people like so much as a story that keeps them on edge. This has been going on for two weeks. We're told that he made his decision while he was on his Hawaiian vacation. So, theoretically, he could have said "Aloha" and told us, but he didn't, because this is something that gives them some momentum as they roll into the convention.

So, if we get that picture tomorrow in Springfield, Illinois, the Democratic ticket, that's two days of excitement as they roll into Monday, which is certainly something they wanted. You know, the bottom line here is, minimum information leads to maximum attention. And that's really what they wanted with this, was just to kind of keep the attention going.

PHILLIPS: OK. So why is Obama picking text messages as the way to let everyone know his choice? And also, do we -- can we trust those text messages? CROWLEY: Well, I think if you're a savvy viewer of text messages, you will probably be able to spot the real ones from the fake ones, which, as you know, are going around. But they're pretty easy to spot as fakes, nonetheless.

As you know, CNN has gotten some phone calls from people saying, "I got a text message and it's Kathleen Sebelius." Today it was, you know, Tim Kaine from Virginia. So, if you look carefully, you're going to be able to tell that this one is official.

Why do this by text message? It's hip, it's happening, it is particularly the form of communication that young people use. And what Barack Obama has to do is keep those new voters' and those young voters' attention. And this is one way to do it.

I mean, if you kind of look at your own family, I can assure you that my mother will not be receiving the news via text message, whereas my grown children certainly will. Regardless of how they feel about Obama, they think this is fairly cool that suddenly on their text -- on their phones they will see who the vice presidential choice is. So -- plus, the fact, it gives them a trove of information here, it gives them phone numbers (ph).

PHILLIPS: So you're saying your mom is not hip and happening?

CROWLEY: She is, but in a sort of mom way.


PHILLIPS: OK. She's waiting for you, her lovely daughter, to bring her the news.

CROWLEY: Exactly. Exactly.

PHILLIPS: Meanwhile, your sons, I know they're hip and happening.

All right. How important is this choice of vice president to winning over Hillary Clinton supporters? A lot of people have been talking about this angle.

CROWLEY: Absolutely. And I think it's fairly important because a lot of Hillary Clinton supporters take their cues from her.

She gave a performance yesterday. She was out campaigning for him. To a lot of people in the crowd, it seemed lackluster, and it turned into a story. These are the sorts of things that Hillary Clinton's former supporters are watching.

So, if you get, for instance, Kathleen Sebelius, the Democratic governor of Kansas, are Hillary supporters going to go, wait a second, if you wanted a woman, what about our woman? Or if you picked, say, Tim Kaine, who's the Virginia governor, are they going to look and say, but Hillary is much more experienced?

So I think that Hillary Clinton's voters are going to look at this as a comparative. So I think it is important and it does send a signal.

Now, whether or not the Obama campaign, that's their key indicator, I don't think it is, but I do think it's something that will be very interesting to watch as we roll into a convention where, as we know, Hillary Clinton's name will be put in nomination, where a lot of Hillary's supporters are saying they're still really not happy about the fact that she didn't get it.

PHILLIPS: All right. And also, Candy, in the past hour, Chet Edwards, another name tossed into the ring. We actually went with it last hour. Apparently, he's been vetted for the veep spot.

We had a little bit of sound. One of our reporters caught up with him -- and producers -- in his front lawn just outside of Waco. What do you think?

CROWLEY: Well, I think, first of all, one thing we can say about all of those that are being vetted is they win on the silence is golden rule of being vetted. So this is a congressman from Texas. He is a moderate. He does, in fact, have some foreign policy experience.

More importantly, he has a good deal of budget experience. He was the senior member of the Appropriations Committee. And that's a key committee in the House, because they're the ones that apportion out money.

He is a big public housing advocate, somebody whose earned quite a reputation for that. But probably the main thing that he brings to the table is he has been a champion of veterans.

He spearheaded a bill that gave the Veterans Administration the biggest increase they've ever had since the program began. So he is a huge favorite among veterans. And as you know, that's a key John McCain group. So this is something that certainly would get the attention of that particular part of the electorate.

PHILLIPS: All right. Candy Crowley, great talking to you.

CROWLEY: Sure. Thanks.

PHILLIPS: Wondering how conventions work? What about the cost? And who foots the bill? Check our special online report on the Democratic and Republican conventions at

(INAUDIBLE) just moments yesterday at John McCain's campaign offices in Denver and New Hampshire, but apparently no real danger. It all began with a threatening letter at McCain's Denver office.

While authorities were investigating that, another letter arrived at a McCain office in New Hampshire with a Denver postmark. The postmark raised suspicions, but officials say the first letter appears to have been a hoax and the second letter was innocent.

McCain is at home today, meanwhile, in Arizona. His campaign is thanking authorities for their swift responses. Another day, another court appearance for Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. A prosecutor offered to drop one of the two assault charges if Kilpatrick agreed to resign. No dice.

The mayor's new lawyer says no, and not guilty pleas were entered. The judge scheduled a bond hearing for Monday, and that's opening day of the Democratic Convention in Denver. And Kilpatrick still hopes to go, believe it or not. Right now he's forbidden to leave Detroit.


GOV. CHARLIE CRIST (D), FLORIDA: Fay is not out of Florida yet, as you know. So stay vigilant, stay calm, and stay focused. Do not go outside unless your local authorities tell you it is safe to do so. Travel is not recommended in flooded areas.


PHILLIPS: Advice from Florida's governor as Tropical Storm Fay seems determined to visit every corner of Florida. It's now drenching the west coast, heading for the panhandle. Up to 26 inches of rain have saturated one community after another.

At least seven people have died. Two of them drowned in Daytona Beach, trying to swim in the heavy surf. And at one point, a hospital in central Florida had to turn patients away after floodwaters poured into the emergency rooms.


PHILLIPS: Today, Fay has been punishing both the northeast and west coast of Florida.

Reporter Dan Leveton of CNN affiliate WJXT joins us now live from St. Augustine.

Well, Dan, what do you think?

DAN LEVETON, REPORTER, WJXT: Well, I'll tell you, Kyra, it's actually been calming down here a little bit. If you look off to the east here, we're actually on the Matanzas River, which is right on the edge of historic St. Augustine. And across river there is where St. Augustine Beach is.

You can hear the wind. It's kind of gusty. It's been like this throughout the morning, and actually was worse last night.

And this morning it was really bad. Really heavy rains, real heavy wind.

The rain has kind of stopped for the minute. But as you can see, you look at those palms, you still have some pretty heavy gusts here.

Beyond that is actually the Bridge of Lions. That's a famous bridge here, very historic. It's being renovated. That's why it looks like that.

So they're closing that and opening it, depending on the wind. So wind, when it's heavy, they're closing it. There has also been a lot of flooding on both sides of that.

There's also been a lot of flooding in the streets of St. Augustine. A lot of cars stuck, a lot of people who have had to go around those floods. And lots of streets closed here because this, again, is a historic city. And because it's historic, a lot of older piping, older drainage. So it takes some time.

Other than that, things here in St. Augustine aren't too bad.

Now, other parts of St. Johns County, do we have new reports of two tornadoes that have touched down. One just to the south and west in Flagler, which is a small community, and one north of here in Ponter (ph) Beach. And we just got some reports in that there are tornadoes that have touched down, so we're chasing those.

But other than that, just people here trying to stay dry. As you said, that storm now further west of here. And it looks like the worst hopefully has passed.

I'm live in St. Augustine. Back to you, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Dan, please tell me the Fountain of Youth is OK.

LEVETON: Yes. We're just trying to stay dry.


Well, President Bush has declared a state of emergency for much of Florida now. CNN's John Zarrella was in Key West when Fay first came ashore. He's now in Melbourne, one of the most saturated parts of the state.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Allens, Ron and Mary, left their home in the Lamplighter Village in such a hurry, they forgot their medicines. Florida wildlife officers in a swamp buggy brought them back in to get what they needed. The Allens hadn't seen their home since the floodwaters started rising.

(on camera): You lose a lot of stuff in your house?

RON ALLEN, HOMEOWNER: Don't know yet.

MARY ALLEN, HOMEOWNER: We have no idea. No idea.

R. ALLEN: It may be OK. I know the air conditioner will be gone.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): There are 1100 homes in the Allen's Melbourne neighborhood. Many of the residents are elderly. Many won't leave. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you decide you want to get out, you can give us a call.

ZARRELLA: One woman waves from her porch. Mary recognizes her.

M. ALLEN: I know her. She walks the dog every day. I can't believe she wants to stay in there.

ZARRELLA: On streets with names like Waterfront, one house after another is surrounded by water.

At the Allens' house, it's good news. Only the porch is under water.

(on camera): The lake is literally in your back...

R. ALLEN: Right.

ZARRELLA: .... Florida room here, family room.

(voice-over): The house is dry.

R. ALLEN: If it doesn't reach the bottom of the floor joist, I'm OK. You know? If it does, it will be a complete loss.

ZARRELLA: Others are just that -- a complete loss.

(on camera): The houses over there and the houses over here were, at one time, separated by a lake. That's a lake right there in the middle. They're not separated any longer.

(voice-over): As the swamp buggy makes its way back out, the officers look for more people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me ask you this. Can you guys climb?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) She doesn't think she can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't think she can? All right. I'll get a truck in here. We'll come and get you.

ZARRELLA: Even those who tried waiting out the water are finally giving up.

John Zarrella, CNN, Melbourne, Florida.


PHILLIPS: Footage from Hurricane Katrina that you've never seen before. It's a documentary costarring ruin and redemption.

Iraqi officials say a tentative deal is done. When will U.S. troops be out?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PHILLIPS: It's a done deal. Well, it's as done as a tentative agreement can be. That's a deal aimed at deciding when U.S. troops, all of them, will be out of Iraq.

The time period we're told today is the end of 2011. That's three years and change from today. And now that's from the Iraqi delegation in Baghdad, by the way. No such definite language yet from American negotiators. Any such troop pullout deal would have to be approved by both the U.S. and Iraqi governments.

Heavy fighting today in western Afghanistan. The U.S.-led coalition, alongside Afghan troops, killed 30 Taliban militants. We're told a commander was among those killed. The Afghan government says that 76 civilians, mostly children, were killed in air strikes. A coalition spokesperson says that troops were ambushed in Herat Province.

U.S. and Afghan soldiers also took several Taliban prisoners and found a stash of weapons and bomb-making materials.

Now, on the subject of troops pullouts, today is the day that Russia's president said all of his soldiers would be out of areas that they occupied since invading Georgia two weeks ago. Everything we've heard today points to a significant troop movement inside Georgia, but whether it's complete or not, we still don't know.

CNN's Phil Black reports.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Escorted by Russian officials, we followed the same road into South Ossetia that Russia's army used to launch its operation against Georgia. Almost two weeks later, the military traffic is still heading in that direction. A long, winding convoy of support vehicles, little evidence of Russia's withdrawal. But once through the mountain tunnel that separates Russia and South Ossetia, the traffic flow changed.

(on camera): We haven't traveled far into South Ossetian territory, and there are already signs of Russian units heading in the other direction, back towards Russia. Tanks, armored personnel carriers -- we've seen missile batteries.

(voice over): Then countryside gave way to communities, or what's left of them. Homes demolished, burnt out and shot up. Evidence of a fierce war around and within the capital, Tskhinvali.

(on camera): Russian officials are heavily restricting our movements on this tour, but this was an area of Tskhinvali they wanted us to see. And you can probably see why. They say these homes were heavily shelled by Georgian forces.

"We were hiding under the building," this woman says. "The rest of the house was on fire. We couldn't get out."

And this woman told me she's still looking for relatives she hasn't seen since before the fighting.

Russians and Georgians fought street to street in Tskhinvali. Russian soldiers say this is all that's left of a Georgian tank. Its turret was blown into the air, crashing through the roof.

There's still a strong military presence here. I asked these soldiers if they should be in South Ossetia.

"If it wasn't for Russian soldiers, South Ossetia would now be part of Georgia," says 21-year-old Alexei (ph). It's a popular opinion in Tskhinvali.

Thousands came to hear South Ossetia's leader, Edouard Kokoity, ask Russia to recognize the region's independence. And this was a more cultured display of Ossetian pride, a classical music concert in what was recently a war zone. Internationally renowned conductor Valery Gergiev is proudly Ossetian and fiercely angry with Georgia and the West.

In South Ossetia, there is little doubt about who picked this fight.

Phil Black, CNN, Tskhinvali.


PHILLIPS: Preparing for the worst in Denver, police set up some temporary cells in case they make mass arrests during the convention. But critics are already comparing the agreements and arrangements to Gitmo.



PHILLIPS: Well, next week's Democratic convention is expected to bring 50,000 visitors to Denver. And not all will be delegates. Police say that they are prepared for protests, but CNN's Joe Johns reports some of those plans are pretty controversial.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): You are looking at a sheriff's department dress rehearsal. They're practicing how to lock up lawbreaking protesters at a Denver warehouse set up as a makeshift jail for the Democratic National Convention.

The authorities call it an arrest processing center, but critics call it something else.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gitmo on the platte.

JOHNS: "Platte" is a reference to the Denver geography. You get the rest. That's right, people who want to demonstrate during the convention are comparing the lockup in Denver to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. JORDAN HILL, ALLIANCE FOR REAL DEMOCRACY: This is America. We have a system in place. So why aren't we using it? Why are we using warehouses?

JOHNS: But the sheriff's department says, hold on.

MARIE KEILAR, DENVER SHERIFF'S DEPT.: They're typical cells. They will have availability of water any time, phone calls, free phone calls, food and medical attention.

JOHNS: The warehouse can hold up to 400 people. I got a brief tour and would describe the place as Spartan. But then again, it's very temporary. No one is expected to sleep here.

The overarching question is whether all of this is actually necessary, or are the authorities going overboard? They say absolutely not...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To my right, you'll see a sign that says "Medical."

JOHNS: ... that they're gearing up for the worse case scenario, anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 protesters. And there is always concern about violence, though they expect the vast majority of the activity to be peaceful. Hundreds of protesters were arrested at the 2000 and 2004 national political conventions.

This year's protesters will be voicing their displeasure against several government policies. And for the record, there has already been at least one protest against the lockup itself.

Joe Johns, CNN, Denver.


PHILLIPS: So you wonder how conventions work? What about the cost? And who foots the bill? Check our special online report about the Democratic and Republican conventions at

Remember when Barack Obama and John McCain were promising a high- tone, positive presidential campaign? Well, forget about it. We're going to take a look at the latest attack ads.

Now, the economy may be stuck in the rut, and the housing recession is getting a little worse, but not everyone is feeling the effects. The list of the best-paid chief executives is out.


PHILLIPS: Well, a look at Hurricane Katrina like you've never seen before. A new movie shows how one New Orleans family survived and returned to build a better life.


PHILLIPS: 2:32 Eastern team. Here are some of the stories we're working on in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Three members of a polygamous sect face new felony indictments. A Texas grand jury issued those indictments linked to the April arrest at the Yearning for Zion Ranch.

Two serious injuries after reported a bus wreck on Interstate 80 in northern New Jersey. A tour bus plunged 50 feet off the overpass.

Floodwaters more than two feet deep in some places, as Tropical Storm Fay continues its slow trudge across Florida. Forecasters say there could be several more inches of rain in some places before the storm leaves.

Almost three years later, the well of riveting stories from Hurricane Katrina is far from tapping out. And one of the best just arriving. "Trouble the Water" is a highly acclaimed documentary based partly on home videos shot the day of the storm when it hit New Orleans.

From Hollywood, here's CNN's Brooke Anderson.


BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is never before seen video of Hurricane Katrina. It was shot by Kimberly Roberts, a New Orleans native who had no means of evacuating before Katrina hit. Stranded, she recorded what happened as the storm bashed her neighborhood, the Ninth Ward.

KIMBERLY ROBERTS, KATRINA SURVIVOR: Now you have seen what Katrina has done to us.

ANDERSON: She and her husband Scott, along with 12 others, fled to the attic of her home before being rescued by a neighbor. Eventually, they got out of the city. Their story might never have been known were it not for a chance encounter with two documentary filmmakers.

CARL DEAL, CO-DIRECTOR, "TROUBLE THE WATER": There was a certain kind of an optimism too, when we first met them. And you kind of see that when they tell their story. And there was an eagerness to be heard.

ANDERSON: Carl Deal and Tia Lessin traveled to Louisiana, days after the storm. After meeting the Roberts, they decided to make them the focus of their film. "Trouble the Water" uses Kimberly's dramatic footage and records her as she returns to her storm-ravaged home to find a prized possession.

ROBERTS: I longed for this. I longed for this.

ANDERSON: Somehow, the only picture of Kimberly's late mother was spared.

ROBERTS: And I don't know what I was going to do without it. ANDERSON: The government's slow response before and after Katrina, left the couple feeling they were cast aside because of their economic status.

ROBERTS: Treat us like we was an un-American, like we lost our citizenship.

ANDERSON: But it's ultimately a story of triumph.

TIA LESSIN, CO-DIRECTOR, "TROUBLE THE WATER": These guys are nobody's victims. You know, they are survivors. They are creative people. They're resourceful.

ANDERSON: Today, Kimberly and Scott have a baby named Sky. They might have had to another house and started a music label, Born Hustler Records. Kimberly wants her lyrics about life to inspire. Just as her mother inspired her.

ROBERTS: I have to spread the joy, spread the hope, spread the love. And that keeps me hopeful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's how we do it in New Orleans, baby.

ANDERSON: Brooke Anderson, CNN, Hollywood.


PHILLIPS: Somewhere in the ruins of this burned out home in Las Vegas, is the wreckage of an experimental plane that crashed through the roof. Fire officials first reported two deaths; the pilot and a person in the home. CNN confirms a third person has died. The FAA says, moments before the crash the pilot radioed that he wasn't gaining altitude.

And from Spain, we're hearing the airliner that crashed and burned was not on fire when it skidded off the runway in Madrid. Earlier some witnesses were saying an engine on the plane caught fire while it was trying get off the ground. The accident killed 153 people. Our source says that airport video shows the plane lifting off and immediately veering off course and skidding to a stop as a fire ball erupted. U.S. investigators are now in Madrid, they're trying to help figure out what happened.

Well, the presidential race appears to be tightening, thanks in part to a series of attack ads launched by the McCain campaign. Now Barack Obama is fighting back.

CNN national correspondent Jason Caroll reports.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As work gets under way on preparing the Democratic National Convention, Senator Barack Obama also has a lot of work to do. Recent polls show Obama is losing ground to Senator John McCain. Political analysts say the convention could be the place for Obama to shake things up. LARRY SABATO, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: The most important thing Obama can do during that convention is to show people who he is, where he came from and where he wants to take the country.

CARROLL: Despite all of Obama's press coverage, there are voters who want to know more about it. And specifically, how he'll bring about his brand of change. And analysts say Obama needs to do more in the coming days to link McCain to President Bush. "New York Times" political correspondent Jeff Zeleny says Democrats will do just that.

JEFF ZELENY, N.Y. TIMES POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: They are doing sort of a rare step here of devoting an entire night on Tuesday, of the convention week basically to defining John McCain.

CARROLL: Some Democrats say Obama has been too slow responding to McCain's attacks. And his mistakes: Obama's desire to run a positive campaign has faded a bit with this latest attack ad.

ANNOUNCER: When asked how many houses he owns, McCain lost track.

CARROLL: Released one day after McCain said he wasn't sure how many homes he owned, during an interview.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: By the way, the answer is John McCain has seven homes. So, there's just a fundamental gap of understanding between John McCain's world and what people are going through every single day here in America.

SABATO: It's a tough, rough business. And for all the wonderful, positive ads you can air, it's the negative ones that people tend to remember.

CARROLL (on camera): Not to be undone, Senator McCain's camp was quick to respond to the housing issue by releasing a new television ad questioning Senator Obama's purchase of his home and his ties with a disgraced Chicago businessman.

Jason Caroll, CNN, New York.


PHILLIPS: Bill Hillsman has created many campaign ads over the years. He joins us now live, from Minneapolis.

Bill, good to see you.


PHILLIPS: All right. So, when you sit down with the Democratic camp or the Republican camp and you have to start devising these ads, do you go first for picture, do you go for quotes, do you go for certain words?

How do you actually sit and devise that ad? HILLSMAN: Well, the pictures are going to be something that people remember the most. The test that I always use for a good political ad is, if I'm in a bar and I can see the picture but can't hear what they're saying and I can still understand the commercial, then that's a pretty good commercial.

PHILLIPS: How nasty do you get? How do you decide how nasty you should get, let me put it that way?

HILLSMAN: Well, I think it's who the audience is that you're trying to persuade. Independents don't really go in for the nasty stuff. Your almost speaking more to the base I believe, when you're attacking people, than you are to the persuadables. So, I'm not sure it's really a good idea. And the notion that you have to attack someone is something that you have to put a lot of money behind to get that noise out there.

PHILLIPS: Is it usually the campaign that says to you, OK, Bill, we want to go after this and we want to be nasty and we just want to take it to the ground? Or, is it you, the one who devises the ads that says to the Democrats or the Republicans, this is how dirty I think you should get?

HILLSMAN: Well, we don't really go in. We may be the only political consultantcy in America that has a clause in our contract saying we don't have to do those types of ads. But, it's generally the campaign that's going to say, this is the message that needs to get out there. And then it's up to the political consultants to figure out the best way of doing that.

I think a contrast ad is fair. I think an out-and-out political -- or personal attack ad is not fair.

PHILLIPS: Interesting.

Let's take a look at two of the most recent ads that have come out. First from McCain's camp about Obama. Let's take a listen.


NARRATOR: He's the biggest celebrity in the world. But is he ready to lead? With gas prices soaring, Barack Obama says no to offshore drilling and says he'll raise taxes on electricity?


PHILLIPS: What did you think about that ad? That got a lot of attention because of the Paris Hilton and the Britney Spears kind of angle.

HILLSMAN: Well most of the conventional wisdom in Washington was that it was just a light-headed sort of ad that's really not going to have much effect. But I think it was actually pretty shrewd. I think what that ad is doing is it's laying the groundwork for an attack on Obama that's going to get a lot of traction with independents. It's basically making the race about who is Barack Obama, and creating questions about him. If the race is about who is Barack Obama, John McCain is going to win because the independents know more about McCain than Obama.

PHILLIPS: All right. And here is the ad that came from Obama's camp about John McCain. Let's take a look and listen.


NARRATOR: When asked how many houses he owns, McCain lost track. He couldn't remember. Well, it's seven -- seven houses. And here's one house America can't afford to let John McCain move into.


PHILLIPS: How do you think they did?

HILLSMAN: I think that's actually the best ad that Obama's team has done in a long, long time. If you're creating ads for Barack Obama, it's fairly easy to look at footage of him speaking and say, he's a great orator, let's put 30 seconds of him speaking on TV and be done with it. But I think what people are waiting to hear is not so much how many houses John McCain has, or who is Barack Obama, they're waiting to hear, especially the swing voters are waiting to hear, what are you going to do to make my life better?

PHILLIPS: Final thoughts -- is someone doing -- which camp do you think is doing better?

HILLSMAN: McCain's campaign is doing better right now. That is why the race is so close. This is a race that Barack Obama should win easily but it's going to be a dog fight right to the end.

PHILLIPS: It'll be interesting to watch.

Bill Hillsman, interesting input. Thanks so much.

HILLSMAN: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: Olympic men's basketball and Team USA seeks revenge against a team that beat them four years ago in Athens. We're going to tell you how it turned out.


PHILLIPS: Red, white and blue will soon get a shade of green. Organizers are hoping to make the upcoming presidential conventions in Denver and the Twin Cities the greenest ever. Among the plains, folks from the left and right will be trying to steer straight ahead on rented bikes.'s Poppy Harlow has our Energy Fix from New York.

Hey, Poppy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: Hey there, Kyra. That is exactly right. If you want an energy fix, it's pretty hard to find one better than a bicycle. Of course they're cheap, they're environmentally friendly and, of course, they burn some calories. And at the upcoming conventions, 1,000 bikes are going to be available for people to share for free. Several congressmen calling on conventiongoers to collectively ride 25,000 miles during the conventions. That would eliminate over 1,200 pounds of carbon emissions and, Kyra, save about $19,000 in travel costs. So there is an energy fix.

PHILLIPS: Well it makes sense that you wonder why these programs aren't more widespread, especially with gas as expensive as it is right now.

HARLOW: Yes, they're not. Even here in New York City, we rented a bike earlier today for "ISSUE #1." And it wasn't the easiest thing to come by, some cities are beginning to change and making these bike rentals cheap and very available.

Just last week, Washington, D.C. launched a program called Smart Bike. For just 40 bucks a year riders can have unlimited access to bike trips (sic) for some pretty short trips as much as they want. You just swipe your card and go. You can also return it to a different location.

The program, starting out small, just 10 bike racks and 100 bikes. But if you compare that to the gold standard of bike rentals, that's in Paris, where they have more than 20,000 bikes for rent with a station literally every 300 yards. The program is very popular. Of course, it's really sort of transformed this city since it launched last summer.

Here in the U.S., there are plenty of bike rental shops, Kyra, but not many places where there are free city-wide programs.

PHILLIPS: What about the safety issue?

HARLOW: That's a concern, of course.

But if you just compare it to fatalities in auto accidents, there is no comparison. The more bikes that are on the road, the safer it actually gets. Check out Portland, Oregon. In Portland they literally paint big, green boxes in the street -- you see it right there -- to help cyclists become more visible to drivers. So if you're in Portland, and you have tried that out, or anywhere else -- biking instead of driving, let us know on -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, Poppy thanks.

HARLOW: You're welcome.

PHILLIPS: So you want to go for a swim in Marina Delray? Great idea. But you go first. Just remember, that ain't no school of guppies.


PHILLIPS: A revenge match today in Beijing four years in the making. Men's basketball -- Team USA against the squad that beat them in the Athens games. And it was a route, USA 101, Argentina 81. That clears the path to Sunday's gold medal match-up with Spain, a team the U.S. already has beaten by 37 points in preliminary play.

CNN's Larry Smith spoke earlier with the so-called redeem team.


LARRY SMITH, CNN WORLD SPORTS ANCHOR: It was four years ago at the Athens game that the once unthinkable became reality.

CARMELO ANTHONY, TEAM USA MEN'S BASKETBALL: I was angry. I was embarrassed.

SMITH: The USA, the "Dream Team," had fallen.

CARLOS BOOZER, TEAM USA MEN'S BASKETBALL: Embarrassed and disappointed. We felt like we let our country down, we let our families down.

SMITH: They loss not once, not twice, but three times, despite having been defeated once twice before in the nation's entire Olympic history.

KOBE BRYANT, TEAM USA MEN'S BASKETBALL: As an American I was upset, as all Americans are, and disappointed. But you kind of saw it coming because team kept getting closer and closer and closer and closer. And then all of a sudden, they caught up.

SMITH: The tarnish from the bronze led the U.S.A Basketball to require a new three-year playing commitment, and an even larger mental one from its players. It's something other nations have always done. Meaning the Americans are now following the lead of teams they once led.

BOOZER: The guys that we're playing against -- Spain, been together for five, six years, Argentina has been together for five or six years. They've been together for years, and that's why they've been so successful.

JERRY COLANGELO, MANAGING DIRECTOR, TEAM USA: What we've tried to establish is infrastructure that will allow this to continue beyond this cycle.

JASON KIDD, TEAM USA MEN'S BASKETBALL: These guys have all bought into understanding that we're here not to party or to go out and just -- (INAUDIBLE) show up and win.

SMITH: For the four remaining members of the '04 squad, the redeem team moniker they've been given holds a special meaning.

BOOZER: Myself, Carmelo, D.Wade, and LeBron, we have a chance to do it again, which doesn't come along for an Olympic athlete very much, especially in basketball.

ANTHONY: We were there at the lowest point, you know. And now we've got a chance of being at the highest point.

BRYANT: There will never be another Dream Team. There is only one. There is only one Dream Team. We're the redeem team.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think of this title?

BRYANT: It's cheesy, but it works.

SMITH: Larry Smith, CNN, Beijing.


PHILLIPS: The thrill of the competition, the spirit of the games, OK. But it's all about the medals, right? The United States still leads in overall Olympic medals with 102 to China's 89. Russia is next with 60, followed by Great Britain and Australia. China does lead in the gold department, though, with 47. The U.S. has 31.

It's odd, even by California standards. A shark alert gets folks into the water. A lesson you can learn from the school of sharks.


PHILLIPS: Millions of you run to keep in shape, whether it's jogging around the neighborhood or competing in a race. And if you fall into the latter category, don't forget to train your brain.

Here's CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: A shot of adrenaline for any competitive runner, months and months of training, all for this moment. Sure, they run, they do drills, strength train, but should they be training their brain as well?

DR. AMADEUS MASON, EMORY SPORTS MEDICINE: Just as bodies are designed better to run or to swim, their brains, being better or more reactive or having a better reaction time would be, definitely.

GUPTA: Consider this -- according to a small study, starting with the right foot back may make a difference. A small one, but in the world of competitive running, perhaps enough to be the difference between winning and losing.

It's all about how your brain works. The left side of your brain controls the right side of your body. But it's also slightly better at executing the movement in the first place -- getting someone off the blocks just a little bit faster. But Emory sports medicine expert, Dr. Amadeus Mason, says that's only part of the equation.

MASON: Being comfortable in the blocks would probably be more important than getting power of the blocks, more important to your overall start.

GUPTA (on camera): I'm right-handed. I'm not a competitive runner, but I like to run. What would you tell me?

MASON: I would say, first off, be comfortable. If you're comfortable in a start with your left foot forward, great. If you're more comfortable with the right foot forward, do that, because I think comfort would trump that millimeter of a second that you'll get because you'll get that back with your stability and how fast you're going to be transitioning into full sprinting.

He's carrying himself very well, he's standing straight up. That conserves his energy. He's carrying his arms close to his body and bent. That also is conserving energy. But his stride is not as long or even as it should be.

GUPTA (voice-over): The bottom line, says Dr. Mason, good form, good strength, and a sharply tuned brain.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.


PHILLIPS: Southern California's coastline is swimming with sharks. But no need to worry, or even get out of the water. Schools of leopard sharks have turned up from Venice Beach to Marina del Rey and beyond. And as menacing as they may look, they are no danger to humans. Experts do say that leopard sharks prefer the taste of shrimp and anchovies.