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President Obama Addresses Cyber Threats; Sotomayor to Face Senate Judiciary Committee Soon; General Motors Shares Drop Below a Dollar; Saving the Leatherback Turtle

Aired May 29, 2009 - 11:00   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. It is Friday, May 29th, and here are the faces of the stories driving the headlines today in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Capitol Hill courtesy calls begin in just a few days. A key Republican senator suggests that Supreme Court seat is hers.

Joe and Jennifer, casualties of a dotcom bust. How they became their own bosses and carved a road to success. They will show you how to do it.

Jay Leno, see you in September? The king of late night TV ends a 17-year run tonight and gets ready for primetime.

Good morning, everyone. I'm Tony Harris, and you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Your bank and your ATM, the nation's power grid and air traffic control system all depended on computers that could be targets of cyber attacks. President Obama is about to announce the creation of a cyber czar position to coordinate protection of a nation's computer system.

Let's get to our White House correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux.

And Suzanne, if you would, I guess we're just a couple of minutes away from this announcement. Sort of tee this up for us if you would.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Sure. One of the things that you might note, Tony, who's actually in the room will give you a pretty good sense of all the different government agencies that are invested and involved in cyber security.

You've got Homeland Security, Treasury, FBI, FAA, you name it. Everybody is in that room. There's a representative there.

Essentially what this job is about is there was a 60-day review. Take a look at the cyber security situation and tell us what needs to happen in this administration to make sure that all of those different things you mentioned are actually secure, protected against hackers, what can we do to improve that?

Well, one of the recommendations was to come up with a person inside of the White House who can help coordinate all of those different people, all those different agencies so they're talking with one another, they're strengthening their ability to communicate, and to really deal with this in the same way.

So one of the things the recommendations we're going to see is there's going to be an education campaign to reach out to private computer systems, companies to explain how they think it's best to protect themselves.

Another thing that's going to happen, they're saying a national dialogue. Let's review the laws and the policies that are already on the books. How do we strengthen those laws to make sure that there are companies that are able to actually secure, better secure the computer systems?

That's the kind of thing you're going to hear the president talk about, and you're going to hear the fact that he's got one person that he is designated as kind of his cyber czar, if you will...


MALVEAUX: ... to try to coordinate all of this. It's a very big job. It's one of the things in this fact sheet that they have released, Tony. It says that this threat here, it poses economic and national security challenges, one of the most serious threats to this country.

So they're obviously trying to convey that they're taking this cyber security threat pretty seriously and that they're trying at the very least to coordinate their efforts.

HARRIS: All right. Our White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux for us. Suzanne, appreciate it. Of course, we'll get you to the east room of the White House when the president begins his remarks.

And Suzanne mentioned a national discussion on these issues. I will be talking more about cyber terrorism and this new cyber czar position with Ed Henry. He'll join us in about 10 minutes during his live radio show called "44 with Ed Henry".

Live pictures now of Capitol Hill. Lawmakers are back next week. And for the first time ever, a Latina woman will be making the rounds there to try to secure her confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Think about that for a moment.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor will be meeting with members of the Judiciary Committee. Talks with the committee's Democratic chairman, Patrick Leahy, and ranking Republican, Jeff Sessions, high on Sotomayor's agenda.

Live now to CNN congressional correspondent Brianna Keilar.

Brianna, good morning to you.

Who will she be meeting with first? And I guess the real question here is, is this just ceremonial? Or how much of this will give us a bit of a preview of the big issues to come during the confirmation hearing?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tony, Sonia Sotomayor could be up here on Capitol Hill as soon as Tuesday and the first meetings we're expecting that she'll have will be with the top two Republicans and the top two Democrats in the Senate as well as the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Of course, the committee that she'll go before for her hearings.

And certainly some of this is just sort of ceremonial. You know the obligatory photo op that we get. We get to go in with our cameras and capture pictures of the nominee meeting with these senators, but then the doors close, and Tony, as you know, we don't always know what goes on behind those closed doors. What things are discussed.

But what happens sometimes is the senator may come out after the meeting, Democrat or Republican and give a little favor, give a flavor, give a little glimpse of what was discussed. And of course, what we're looking for, Tony, no surprises for Democrats to be giving some praise to Sonia Sotomayor.

But what we're really going to be looking for during these meetings is what do Republicans say when they come out?


KEILAR: They have voiced concerns from the get-go, Tony. Concern that maybe her personal opinions could sway her judgments from the bench. So we're going to see maybe if they come out from these meetings and if anything's changed their mind or maybe their concerns have been exacerbated. That's really what we're going to keep an eye on.

HARRIS: Yes. Hey, Brianna, let's look ahead a little bit then. Who in particular among Republicans might ask some tough questions during these meetings of Sotomayor?

KEILAR: Yes, during these meetings, or perhaps during the hearings, which could come later next month.


KEILAR: I think what we're seeing with Republicans, Tony, is they're really sticking to a similar script. We heard Jeff Sessions who is the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He said he wants to make sure that this is someone who will understand that a judge should be a neutral umpire who calls strikes, who calls balls, and who does it sort of leaving their personal baggage, if you will, behind.


KEILAR: That's really a synopsis for what a lot of Republicans has said. And it's interesting, Tony, because Sessions is now the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He's much more conservative than Arlen Specter, obviously, is. Now a Democrat so no longer the ranking member.

We're also looking to see maybe what comes from John Kyle, Republican from Arizona. His primary concern, Tony, has been that there hasn't been enough time.

HARRIS: Yes. Yes.

KEILAR: That maybe there's not going to be enough time to vet Sonia Sotomayor. And just to give you a sense, Tony, we've got about, I think, a dozen Republican Senate lawyers who are pouring over more than 3600 published public opinions of Sotomayor's.

HARRIS: Yes. Yes.

KEILAR: In the last several years since she was (INAUDIBLE).

HARRIS: Makes sense. That's how the process plays out.

Brianna Keilar, on Capitol Hill for us. Brianna, appreciate it.

So we've got the little bug in the corner of the screen here. We believe we'll be seeing the president momentarily. The president, as you know, is about to announce the creation of a cyber czar position to coordinate protection of the nation's computer systems.

When the president begins his remarks from the east room of the White House, we'll of course take you there.

Americans, in the meantime, are giving President Obama's Supreme Court pick their initial seal of approve. Almost half told Gallup Judge Sotomayor is an excellent or good selection, 20 percent rate the choice fair, just 13 percent called Judge Sotomayor a poor choice. Perhaps most telling 1 in 5 Americans hasn't heard enough to even form an opinion.

Sotomayor's poll numbers are generally speaking in line with the ratings John Roberts and Samuel Alito got after their nominations.

You know Sotomayor has been called everything from highly qualified to a racist. We've pulled together a lot of that reaction. And you can find it on our Web site. Just go to

Six missile launches this week, North Korea testing its nuclear program as well as the patience of the U.N. Security Council. We're back in a moment.


HARRIS: And let's get you to the East Room, the White House now and President Obama.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... our interconnected world presents us once with great promise, but also great peril. And over the past four months, my administration's taken decisive steps to seize the promise and confront these perils.

We're working to recover from a global recession while laying a new foundation for lasting prosperity. We're strengthening our armed forces as they fight two wars. At the same time, we're renewing American leadership to confront unconventional challenges from nuclear proliferation to terrorism, from climate change to pandemic disease.

And we're bringing to government and to this White House unprecedented transparency and accountability, and new ways for Americans to participate in their democracy. But none of this progress would be possible, and none of these 21st century challenges can be fully met without America's digital infrastructure, the backbone that underpins a prosperous economy, and a strong military and an open and efficient government.

Without that foundation, we can't get the job done.

It's long been said that the revolutions and communications and information technology have given birth to a virtual world. But make no mistake, this world cyber space is a world that we depend on every single day. It's our hardware and our software, our desk tops and laptops and cell phones and BlackBerrys that have become woven into every aspect of our lives.

It's the broadband networks beneath us and the wireless signals around us. The local networks in our schools and hospitals and businesses and the massive grids that power our nation. It's the classified military and intelligence networks that keep us safe. And the worldwide Web that has made us more interconnected than at any time in human history.

So cyber space is real. And so are the risks that come with it. It's the great irony of our information age. The very technologies that empower us to create and to build, also empower those who would disrupt and destroy. And this paradox, seen and unseen, is something that we experience every day.

It's about the privacy and the economic security of American families. We rely on the Internet to pay our bills, to bank, to shop, to file our taxes, but we've had to learn a whole new vocabulary just to stay ahead of the cyber criminals who would do us harm.

The Spyware and the Malware, spoofing and phishing and botnets. Millions of Americans have been victimized. Their privacy violated, their identities stolen, their lives upended, and their wallets empty.

According to one survey in the past two years alone, cyber crime has cost Americans more than $8 billion. I know how it feels to have privacy violated because it has happened to me and the people around me.

It's no secret that my presidential campaign harnessed the Internet and technology to transform our politics. What isn't widely known is that during the general election hackers managed to penetrate our computer systems.

To all of you who donated to our campaign, I want you to all rest assured our fundraising Web site was untouched.


So your confidential, personal, and financial information was protected. But between August and October, hackers gained access to e-mails in a range of campaign files from policy position papers to travel plans. And we worked closely with the CIA -- with the FBI and the Secret Service and hired security consultants to restore the security of our systems.

It was a powerful reminder in this information age one of your greatest strengths, in our case our ability to communicate to a wide range of supporters through the Internet could also be one of your greatest vulnerabilities.

So this is a matter as well of America's economic competitiveness. The small businesswoman in St. Louis, the bond trader in the New York Stock Exchange, the workers at a global shipping company in Memphis, the young entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. They all need the networks to make the next payroll, the next trade, the next delivery, the next great breakthrough.

E-commerce alone last year accounted for some $132 billion in retail sales. But every day, we see waves of cyber thieves trolling for sensitive information. The disgruntled employee on the inside, the lone hacker 1,000 miles away, organized crime, the industrial spy, and increasingly foreign intelligence services.

In one brazen act last year, thieves used stolen credit card information to steal millions of dollars from 130 ATMs machines in 49 cities around the world. And they did it in just 30 minutes. A single employee of an American company was convicted of stealing intellectual property reportedly worth $400 million.

It's been estimated that last year alone cyber criminals stole intellectual property from businesses worldwide worth up to $1 trillion. In short, America's economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cyber security. And this is also a matter of public safety and national security.

We count on computer networks to deliver our oil and gas, our power, and our water. We rely on them for public transportation and air traffic control. Yet we know that cyber intruders have probed our electrical grid and that in other countries, cyber attacks have plunged entire cities into darkness.

Our technological advantage is a key to America's military dominance. But our defense and military networks are under constant attack. Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups have spoken of their desire to unleash a cyber attack on our country. Attacks that are harder to detect and harder to defend against.

Indeed, in today's world, acts of terror could come not only from a few extremists in suicide vests, but from a few key strokes on the computer. A weapon of mass destruction. In one of the most serious cyber incidence today against our military networks, several thousand computers were infected last year by malicious software Malware and while no sensitive information was compromised, our troops and defense personnel had to give up those external memory devices, thumb drives, changing the way they used their computers every day.

And last year, we had a glimpse of the future face of war. As Russian tanks rolled into Georgia, cyber attacks crippled Georgian government Web sites. The terrorists that sowed so much death and destruction in Mumbai relied not only on guns and grenades, but also on GPS and phones using voice over the Internet.

For all of these reasons, it's now clear this cyber threat is one of the most serious, economic and national security challenges we face as a nation. It's also clear that we're not as prepared as we should be. As a government or as a country.

In recent years, some progress has been made at the federal level. But just as we failed in the past to invest in our physical infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, and rails, we failed to invest in the security of our digital infrastructure.

No single official overseeing cyber security across the federal government. No single agency has the responsibility or authority to match the scope and scale of the challenge. Indeed when it comes to cyber security federal agencies have overlapping missions and don't coordinate and communicate nearly as well as they should. With each other or the private sector.

We saw this in the disorganized response to Conficker, the Internet worm that in recent months has infected millions of computers around the world. This status quo is no longer acceptable, not when there's so much at stake. We can and we must do better.

And that's why shortly after taking office, I directed my National Security Council and Homeland Security Council to conduct a top to bottom review of the federal government's efforts to defend our information and communications infrastructure and to recommend the best way to ensure that these networks are able to secure our networks as well as our prosperity.

Our review was open and transparent. I want to acknowledge Melissa Hathaway who is here who is the acting senior director for cyberspace on our National Security Council who led the review team as well as the Center for Strategic and International Studies Bipartisan Commission on Cyber Security. And all who were part of our 60-day review team.

They listened to a wide variety of groups. Many of which are represented here today and I want to thank for their input. Industry and academia, civil liberties and privacy advocates. We listen to every level and branch of government. From local to state to federal. Civilian military, homeland as well as intelligence, Congress and international partners, as well. I consulted with my national security teams, my homeland security teams, and my economic advisers. Today, I'm releasing a report on our review and can announce that my administration will pursue a new comprehensive approach to securing America's digital infrastructure.

This new approach starts at the top. With this commitment from me. From now on, our digital infrastructure, the networks and computers we depend on every day will be treated as they should be. As a strategic national asset. Protecting this infrastructure will be a national security priority.

We will ensure that these networks are secure, trustworthy, and resilient. We will deter, prevent, detect, and defend against attacks, and recover quickly for many disruptions or damage.

To give these efforts the high level focus and attention they deserve and as part of the new single national security staff announced this week, I'm creating a new office here at the White House that will be led by the cyber security coordinator.

Because the critical importance of this work I will personally select this official. I'll depend on this official in all matters relating to cyber security. And this official will have my full support and regular access to me as we confront these challenges.

Today I want to focus on the important responsibilities this office will fulfill. Orchestrating and integrating all cyber security policies for the government, working closely with the Office of Management and Budget to ensure agency budgets reflect those priorities, and in the event of major cyber incident or attack coordinating our response.

To ensure that federal cyber policies enhance our security and our prosperity, my cyber security coordinator will be a member of the National Security staff as well as the staff of my National Economic Council.

To ensure the policies keep faith with our fundamental values, this office will also include an official with a portfolio specifically dedicated to safeguarding the privacy and civil liberties of the American people.

There's much work to be done and the report we're releasing today outlines a range of actions that we will pursue in five key areas. First, working in partnership with the communities represented here today. We will develop a new comprehensive strategy to secure America's information and communications networks.

To ensure a coordinated approach across the government, my cyber security coordinator will work closely with my chief technology officer, Aneesh Chopra, and my chief information officer, Vivek Kundra.

To ensure accountability in federal agencies, the cyber security will be designated as one of my key management priorities. Clear milestones and performance metrics will measure progress. And as we develop our strategy, we will be open and transparent, which is why you'll find today's report in a wealth of related information on our Web site,

Second, we will work with all the key players, including state and local governments and the private sector, to ensure an organized and unified response to future cyber incidents. Given the enormous damage that can be caused by even a single cyber attack, ad hoc responses will not do. Nor is it sufficient to simply strengthen our offenses after incidents or attacks occur.

Just as we do for natural disasters, we have to have plans and resources in place beforehand. Sharing information, issuing warnings, and ensuring a coordinated response.

Third, we will strengthen the public private partnerships that are critical to this endeavor. The vast majority of our critical information infrastructure in the United States is owned and operated by the private sector.

So let me be very clear. My administration will not dictate security standards for private companies. On the contrary, we will collaborate with industry to find technology solutions that ensure our security and promote prosperity.

Fourth, we will continue to invest in the cutting edge research and development necessary for the innovation and discovery we need to meet the digital challenges of our time. And that's why my administration is making major investments in our information infrastructure, laying broadband lines to every corner of America. Building a smart electric grid to deliver energy more efficiently.

Pursuing a next generation of air traffic control systems and moving to electronic health records with privacy protections to reduce costs and save lives. And finally, we will begin a national campaign to promote cyber security awareness and digital literacy from our boardrooms to our classrooms and to build a digital workforce for the 21st century.

And that's why we're making a new commitment to education in math and science and historic investments in science and research and development. Because it's not enough for our children and students to master today's technologies, social networking and e-mailing and texting and blogging, we need them to pioneer the technologies that will allow us to work effectively through these new media and allow us to prosper in the future.

So these are the things we will do. Let me also be clear about what we will not do. Our pursuit of cyber security will not include, I repeat, will not include monitoring private sector networks or Internet traffic. We will preserve and protect the personal privacy and civil liberties that we cherish as Americans.

Indeed, I remain firmly committed to net neutrality so we can keep the Internet as it should be. Open and free. The task I have described will not be easy. Some 1.5 billion people around the world are already online and more are logging on every day. Groups and governments are sharpening their cyber capabilities. Protecting our prosperity and security in this globalized world is going to be a long, difficult struggle demanding patience and persistence over many years.

But we need to remember, we're only at the beginning. The epics of history are long. The cultural revolution, the industrial revolution. By comparison our information age is still in its infancy: We're only at Web 2.0.

Now our virtual world is going viral. And we've only just begun to explore the next generation of technologies that will transform our lives in ways we can't even begin to imagine. So a new world awaits. The world of greater security and greater potential prosperity.

If we reach for it, if we leap. So long as I'm president of the United States, we will do just that. And the United States, the nation that invented the Internet that launched an information revolution that transformed the world, will do what we did in the 20th century and lead once more in the 21st.

Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

HARRIS: Well, there you go. You just heard President Obama outlining on the one hand how dependent we all are on computer systems in our country from the nation's air traffic control system to our BlackBerrys. And on the other hand, how vulnerable our systems are to cyber attacks and cyber thieves.

The protection of the nation's computer systems so important to this president that he is creating a new office at the White House. A cyber czar who will report directly to the president. A cyber coordinator is the name he used, the term he used, for it to handle one of the most pressing national security challenges of our day and maybe to keep hackers from accessing the president's cyber operation.

We learned from the president today that hackers actually breached the Obama campaign cyber operation during the general election campaign.

We will check in with senior White House correspondent Ed Henry in just a moment who was on the radio right now at We're back in a moment.


HARRIS: It is Friday, and you've got questions about your career, your credit, your finances, and personal finance editor Gerri Willis has answers for you. She joins us now from New York City to respond to some of your e-mails.

Gerri, good to see you. Go right ahead. Go on here.

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Good to see you. Yes, let's go. HARRIS: All right, our first question here. Do you have any advice, Gerri, for education programs for mid-career business professionals?

WILLIS: I think this is a great question. Look, what you want to do first is take a look at the people at your level in your organization. If everybody's got a bachelors or a Masters degree and you don't, you may want to consider going back to school.

The good news here is that some schools tailor their curriculum to working adults with evening classes, online classes, and, of course, you don't have to get an entire degree to prove your interest and proficiency in a field. Two fields amid careers professionals often lack background in their computer software and accounting.

Talk to your boss to find out what skill sets he wishes he had in his office and doesn't.


WILLIS: That's always a great place to start.

HARRIS: Yes, that's good.

Hey, Gerri, next question comes from -- I love this question from Jacara in Virginia, who writes, "I'm 26 and bring home about $8,300 a month after taxes," talk about paid.

WILLIS: That's great.

HARRIS: "I have $40,000 in student loans. I also have about $15,000 in cash for an emergency fund. I have no money invested, not even in a retirement fund. At my age," 26 here, "what is the best way to start to plan financially for a family?"

Good question.

WILLIS: Well, you know, look, first of all, congratulations. You know, it seems you're doing very well paying down your debts and you have a pretty big emergency fund. You should start thinking, though, about setting up that retirement account.

Look at your age, you have the magical ingredient to grow your nest egg and that is time. So first, find out if your employer offers any kind of 401(k) or 403(b). Companies will match your contributions up to a certain percentage point. And as we've said many times, Tony, this is free money and you want the free money.

If there is no such offering, you can scout out low-cost retirement funds from a company like Vanguard or Fidelity.

If you're not sure what kind of investments you're interested in and you feel better setting it and forgetting, you can consider a target day fund. It rebalances your retirement mix as you get closer and closer to retirement age.

HARRIS: That's good advice.

One more question, Gerri, from Wesley, who writes, "I am a senior in college. I have two credit accounts. I closed one of the accounts when the balance was close to the maximum. I am currently paying them both off comfortably, and I have not used the other one in quite some time. What do I do? And what do you suggest," Gerri, "I do about my situation to avoid damaging my credit score any further?"

WILLIS: Well, first off, Wesley, you're doing the right thing. Just keep on keeping on paying down both cards. But more and more frequently, you should know credit card issuers are closing down inactive accounts proactively. And that can really hurt your credit score, because it reduces the amount of credit you have and that makes your debt load look bigger by comparison. So make sure you use your credit card once in a while to prevent that from happening.

And while I hate to say this about taking on more credit, once you get both accounts paid off, you might want to consider opening up a new credit card account. Since you're young, it will help you establish that all important credit history if you have more than one card to make sure that your hard work is paying off.

Check out your credit reports for free at And, of course, if you have any questions, send them to me at

HARRIS: I hate the credit card game. You know I just hate the credit card game.

WILLIS: If you don't play the credit card game, it's very difficult to establish a really good credit score. That's the bottom line. Our society almost demands if you want to -- you know, if you want to go on a trip, if you want to fly. You almost have to...

HARRIS: Once you get there, you want to rent a car.

WILLIS: Right, you almost have to have a credit card. So you've just got to manage them wisely, that's all.

HARRIS: That's good.

Hey, Gerri, before I let you go, why don't you tee up "YOUR BOTTOM LINE" for us?

WILLIS: I would be happy to.

9:30 a.m. Saturday morning, join us. Look, are you trying to decide whether to rent or buy a new home? We'll tell you how to make the best decision.

Plus, we'll show you how to get a green lawn by going green.

It's all 9:30 a.m. Saturday right here on CNN. Tony, you'll be tuning (ph) in and hopefully, so will you.

HARRIS: I'll be there. Yes, I will be there. Gerri, have a great weekend. Appreciate it, as always.

WILLIS: Thank you. Appreciate it.

HARRIS: Thank you.

Is the American dream slipping away for workers in one of America's biggest industries? Here's what you do, just log on to for the complete story.

We're back in a moment.


HARRIS: Boy, this is going to be good. Boy, I'm excited about this.

Our senior White House correspondent, Ed Henry, is on CNN Radio in Washington right now taking your calls, your questions about this cyber czar, this cyber coordinator position the president is creating.

And I know you've got a special guest there with you. John King is -- did I see a shot of John King there? The host of "STATE OF THE UNION".

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We've got John King in the house. Host of the "STATE OF THE UNION;" chief national correspondent.

HARRIS: All right, I'm - no, go ahead.

HENRY: Well, as I like to say as well, a former senior White House correspondent. We were just joking about that. But he's now gone on to much bigger and better things, obviously. He's got a big workload on Sundays and all week.

And we were just talking about Judge Sonia Sotomayor. He's going to be talking about that this weekend and how race has already come up as an issue. But you've got to dig just beyond -- way beyond that and take a look at who this person is. And that's something that, obviously, we're going to be talking a lot about in the days ahead.

HARRIS: Well, let's do this. Let's first of all talk about this position, this cyber czar, as it's being called. This cyber coordinator. Is the general opinion on this that it is a position that's long overdue?

HENRY: Absolutely. I mean you look at -- just pick up "The New York Post" this morning. There's a story how the FBI right now is having serious problems with people hacking into their computers. That it may be impacting their ability to talk to other law enforcement agencies, intelligence agencies. Since they're at the front lines of trying to prevent a terror attack in the United States, that's a big deal.

You take a look at the front page of "The New York times" this morning, about how the Pentagon is now looking at not just defensive moves to prevent foreign government like China from hacking into their systems, but they're also now looking at offensive weapons. How can the Pentagon go on offense instead of sitting back just playing defense?

So this is a major issue, because it impacts not just national security, but economic security as well. When you heard the president talking about how banks and how much shopping is done online, et cetera.

HARRIS: Hey, were either of you aware that the, boy, that the cyber-operation of Candidate Obama, Nominee Obama had been breached during the general campaign?

HENRY: No, when he talked about that, that was a surprise to me. And, you know, John, I had not heard about that and I thought it brought an interesting example.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT & HOST "STATE OF THE UNION": It's an interesting example, because this goes so deep and because we've all become so dependent on these things. I have Tony Harris' bank records right here.


I mean, it's a joke, but it's not a joke. In the sense that the air traffic control system, the air and rail system in this country, the electrical grid in this country, if terrorists or anyone tried to disrupt our life has this technological capability. Whether it's the Pentagon, the White House, the Obama campaign, whether it's your visit to the ATM or your flight at the airport all of - think of where we are now in terms of everything is so connected over the Internet through cyberspace, through computers as opposed to even five or ten years ago.


HENRY: And I remember one thing we did learn during the presidential transition was that the president's personal cell phone records at one point were breached. Someone working for one of the cellular companies dug into his records to see either who he - potentially who he was calling or calls he was receiving. They were able to sort of snuff that out relatively quickly.

But one other quick thing I'll mention, Tony, is a lot of people on the show are calling in about the fact that I just came back from California with the president where he was doing some fundraising.

HARRIS: That's right.

HENRY: Lot of celebrities there and they were paying $30,000 a couple to have dinner with the president.

So, I was asking people, would you pay, if you had $30,000, would you pay $30,000 to have dinner with anyone? Tamika (ph) from Philadelphia called and said she would pay $30,000 to have dinner with the president, but she'd pay $60,000 to have dinner with the first lady of the United States. So, she might be a little more popular than the president right now.

HARRIS: Wow, isn't that something?

I've got to ask you both. First of all, are you getting any calls on the president's nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the Supreme Court?

And, have either of you been surprised by a bit of the name calling from some conservatives? Or are you both past the days when, you know, sort of these partisan shots from either side surprise you?

HENRY: I think that the Supreme Court nominations have become political football. I mean, you go back to the Bork nomination in the Reagan days and they've always escalated with each nomination.

But one other quick point before I turn it over to John is, we got a call when we asked about that from Texas. A gentleman who is a democrat called in and said, from a political standpoint, he thinks it was a brilliant move for the president because, given their political situation, it would be hard for the republicans to block someone who is not only a woman, but is also a Latina. Would only be the third female Supreme Court justice and the first Hispanic on the high court.

John's going to have Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas, female senator who is running for governor, on the show this weekend. And that a difficult issue for the Republican Party.

KING: It is. As we were talking earlier - Ed and I were talking, Tony - you know, there is a legitimate philosophical divide between conservative and progressives or liberals, democrats and republicans, about how - is a judge, like a reporter, supposed to hang up their personal experience, their personal biases when they go into the courtroom? Or can you be a Latina woman, as Judge Sotomayor has said, and have your experience affect your life? If anything, of course your experience affects your life. But there are legitimate things she has said that are game.

But what has surprised some people is, you know, from Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh, the use of the term "racist." Even many republicans are uncomfortable with that, even though they think there are legitimate avenues of inquiry.

So the language of these things can polarize people from the start. We'll see what plays out in the hearings. Republicans have some difficult decisions, because they have legitimate policy questions, but the politics of this can potentially be quicksand because we're on the heels of an election where President Obama won two out of every three Latino votes. Do they want to alienate that base? Yet, they have significant philosophical and some legitimate questions.

It's a very tough one for everybody.

HARRIS: Hey, John, how are you getting at these issues this weekend on your big show, "STATE OF THE UNION"? KING: One of the things we're going to try to do is we're going to try to step back, we have a little more real estate on Sunday morning, push some of this rhetoric aside and actually - I have copies of her speeches right here. I'm doing all my research - and read her words and her rulings in full context. Read three or four sentences, three or four photographs instead of eight or ten words that have been part of the political football this week. And then, let people reflect a little bit and digest a little bit and ask both people to just go through the record with us.

HARRIS: Hey, John, if we can help you sort of dominate Sunday mornings with that program of yours, you let us know if there's anything and, you know, we will muscle up for you; all right?

KING: I appreciate that.

HARRIS: Yes, yes, yes, we'll go to work for you.

John king and Ed Henry.

Ed, before we let you go, give everyone the phone number if they'd like to join the conversation.

HENRY: Sure. People can call in 1-877-266-4189. Also, jump on Twitter. Follow me, edhenrycnn - all one word.

A quick point, someone just wrote in and said they'd pay $150,000 for dinner with both the president and the first lady. So, the bidding continues up to $150,000.

HARRIS: That is crazy.

HENRY: And look, dinner with John King probably brings in a lot. He's already dominating Sunday mornings.

KING: Tony Harris.

HARRIS: There you go.

KING: What can we get for dinner with Tony Harris?

HENRY: Tony Harris? Let's start the bidding!

Call in if you want dinner with Tony Harris, 1-877-266-4189. How much would you pay to have dinner with Tony Harris? He's the man.

HARRIS: And John, while you have my bank records up, can you make a little deposit? We'd appreciate that very much.


Gentlemen, there's a lot of smart going on CNN Radio right now. Gentleman, appreciate it. Thank you very much.

I am so long in this segment. I'm in so much trouble.

Two of the big three American carmakers dealing with bankruptcy. Our iReporters are weighing in.


HARRIS: The auto industry meltdown. Chrysler's chairman says the sale of his company's sale of core assets to Fiat should close today. A bankruptcy judge is expected to approve the deal today.

The third day of a bankruptcy hearing that dragged on to - What? - past midnight, just past midnight last night? A handful of Chrysler dealers and creditors say they're getting shafted in the speedy bankruptcy and could try to hold up the sale. Otherwise, the new Chrysler could emerge next week.

All right, more business news now. On Wall Street, a new report shows the recession is in full swing.

Take a look at GM's earnings.

Boy, let's get to Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange.

Susan, we just got a bulletin here about the stock price with GM. Boy, this is pathetic.


GM shares, the nation's largest automaker, shares falling below $1.00. It's the first time that's happened since 1933, since the Great Depression. GM shares falling below $1.00, right now trading at 88 cents a share.

It's symbolic and it also points to something that we've been talking about for a matter of days now. That the bankruptcy filing of the largest automaker in the United States appears all but certain. Because what happens is, right now, GM is owned by its shareholders. And Chapter 11, shareholders go to the end of the line. And the shares are practically worthless now -- they will be worthless.

And under the proposed deal, the proposed scenario, the United States government would be the majority shareholder, followed by the UAW and bondholders - people, groups of people who have loaned GM money and would get - would exchange their debt for equity. Shareholders would be left with nothing.

I should mention another thing that would happen. The Dow -- GM has been a member of the Dow Industrials since 1925. That is a very elite club of 30 stocks, the most closely watched index in the world. And if it does file for bankruptcy, it will no longer be in the Dow. And again, it's been there since 1925.

So, developments that are happening, it's just -- well, it's, you know, it's change or die is an expression you hear all the time in business world. And change is coming fast and furious now to the automotive industry.

And you know, we were talking about -- you mentioned something about GDP.


LISOVICZ: GDP, the second look at first quarter GDP, the economy still very much in recession, shrinking by 5.7 percent. That's better than the first look, 6.1 percent.

But you better believe the automotive industry and what happens with layoffs figures into the GDP. We are expecting that, next week, General Motors will announce 14 more closings. That could affect 20,000 more workers at GM - Tony.

HARRIS: You know, I'm curious and if you can help me with this, Susan, we'd appreciate it. We're going to put that sticker price up there. We'll pull it up on the Web site. I'm just sort of curious to know, at its peak, what was GM trading at? And that's going to be quite a sight...

LISOVICZ: It was about $90.00, if I recall correctly. I'm just going by memory now. Ninety dollars, and that was at the height of the market during the dotcom days; $90 a share. So that was in the last decade. And now, right now, GM shares are down 21 percent or 23 cents at 88 cents a share.

And again, it's symbolic, but it's also pointing to something that appears to be all but inevitable now.

HARRIS: OK, Susan, appreciate it. Thank you. See you next hour.

Tonight, a special presentation from our CNN Money Team. CNN's Ali Velshi and Christine Romans explore the wreck that left U.S. carmakers in such critical condition. "HOW THE WHEELS CAME OFF: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE AMERICAN AUTO INDUSTRY" only on CNN tonight at 8:00 Eastern.

Back with our CNN HERO in just a moment.


HARRIS: We are looking ahead to the next hour of CNN NEWSROOM.

Homes on the auction block, victims of the subprime mess. Get ready, folks. We're about to get hit with another wave of foreclosures from prime mortgages. We are talking with CNN's personal finance editor Gerri Willis about that.

A couple abandons the world of corporate business to become entrepreneurs. They hit the road for a year interviewing other entrepreneurs for their book, "Carve Your Own Road." We will hear from this pretty entertaining couple.

Plus -- hey, what do you think? Like the beat? A new music- video series uses hip-hop to teach toddlers and preschoolers to read. Parents and psychiatrists absolutely love it, but what's really compelling about this educational series is how it got started. All that and more in the next hour of CNN NEWSROOM.


HARRIS: Leatherback sea turtles have been around since - what? - the age of the dinosaurs. But today, they are critically injured. This week's CNN HERO launched a crusade to protect leatherbacks on her own island of Trinidad, taking on centuries of tradition and even a few machetes to keep the turtles alive.



SUZAN LAKHAN BAPTISTE , DEFENDING THE PLANET: In Trinidad, people hunt turtles for, primarily, their meat. Twenty years ago, the beach was heavily laden with rotten turtles. The sands of the beach down there was terrible. I felt that was wrong. And I said, you know, we need to do something.

I am Suzan Lakhan Baptiste, my goal is to protect endangered leatherback turtles.

I actually came out here nightly and patrolled the beach. There would be people with machetes waiting for the turtles to nest.

I was very vigilant, and I will tell people, "this is a protected species."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I started hunting turtles with my father. Suzan brought around the change. They don't kill the turtles anymore, because of the visitors.

BAPTISTE: Today, it's so much better.

You want to come and touch the turtle?

Now we are creating sustainable livelihood through ecotours (ph) using these very turtles.

The passion that I feel, it burns me up. I have seen the fruits of our labor. But I want to see it (ph) happen in every community.

TEXT: In Suzan's community, the survival rate for leatherbacks is virtually 100 percent.

BAPTISTE: This is a leatherback turtle that we'll be viewing. The leatherback is one of the largest seven marine species.

TEXT: She now works to combat turtle slaughter throughout the Caribbean.

BAPTISTE: Our goal is to make this a model for all of the countries.

When I got started a lot of people thought I was crazy, but I love being crazy, you know? Totally, environmentally crazy.


HARRIS: So if you know someone like Suzan who is doing something absolutely remarkable or want to help her with her work, do this - go to right now. And remember, all of our CNN HEROES are chosen from people you nominate. You can nominate someone to be a CNN HERO; the same site,