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Campbell Brown

Bank "Stress Test" Results Out Tomorrow; Crime in Chicago; Bristol Palin Preaches Abstinence

Aired May 06, 2009 - 20:00   ET


ROLAND MARTIN, CNN ANCHOR: All right Lou, thanks so much. Folks, we start with breaking news tonight as the government gets ready to tell us how stressed 19 of the nation's banks are. Which ones will need more capital? Where we come from, money and how much? And should you be worried about the results? Is your bank safe? As always, our panel is with me to talk about this and other big stories. CNN anchor and correspondent Erica Hill, national political correspondent Jessica Yellin and Lisa Bloom, "In Session" anchor and CNN legal analyst.

But first, we start off with chief business correspondent Ali Velshi to break it all down for us. So Ali, what's the latest with these stress tests?

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: All right, the latest is we're getting the official results tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. but that have been leaking like a sieve and the "Wall Street Journal" seems to have some numbers. I'm going to tell you about those because it adds up to some of the biggest banks in the country.

What it says is the government is going to say that these major banks out of the top 19 banks in the country are going to have to raise money. They've got six months in which to raise it. Take a look at this. Bank of America expected to be told that they've got six months to come up with $34 billion. This is not taxpayer money, this is money they've got to figure out how to raise. Wells Fargo about $15 billion. Citigroup $10 billion and unknown amount to Regents Bank, Fifter (ph), Banc Corp out of Ohio and Suntrust out of the South.

There are some banks out of those 19 banks, they're all the biggest bank holding companies in the country as I mentioned, that won't need money. We've heard that's JPMorganChase, American Express, Bank of New York/Mellon. There are a bunch of banks we don't have information on just yet.

This is not taxpayer money. What the government is saying is that if the economy were to get worse, if unemployment were to go up to goes up to 10 percent and housing would drop by another 20 percent, home prices, these banks could be in trouble. So they want these to raise to enough money so that they can withstand a tougher economy so that taxpayers don't have to put that money in. That's the significance of this.

MARTIN: So Ali, what is the stress test and frankly, for the person sitting at home, why should they care?

VELSHI: Well first of all, one thing you shouldn't worry about, the government has assured us through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation that your money is safe if you're under the FDIC insured limits. I really just wanted to have this discussion so I could show you this. This has to be one of the most fun graphics I have ever encountered in my life.


VELSHI: I'm bring you tomorrow's bank today, just so I could show you a bank on a treadmill. The bottom line is the government is trying to say we don't want to get stuck if this economy gets worse with having to bail these banks out. So they're putting them on a treadmill and they're coming out. These are the biggest banks in the country, 19 banks with more than $100 billion in assets. The government feels that if these banks are safe, then we're all safe. We can get credit flowing again through the economy. And that, Roland Martin is why you, sitting at home should care. But I just think it's a premise we need to bust out of, because you're not sitting at home.


MARTIN: And of course Ali with the graphics is so exciting.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: OK. I have a question. Here's one thing, though. So they have to raise this. Tim Geithner is going to be on "Charlie Rose" who said he's pretty confident this can happen in the six months. But if they can't, they can come to us and we'll provide it because there is still this TARP money left. So how is that supposed to instill confidence in the American people that sure we think you can do it in six months, but if you know what, if you can't, we've got more money for you.

VELSHI: Well, it's kind of like a stress test that you would have if you went to your doctor. The idea is you do it, your doctor says this is what you need to do to stay alive. Now if you don't do it, don't eat properly, veggie burger is always on me about eating better. If I don't do it, I might have to face consequences. I'm going to go to the hospital. They're going to have to put some effort into fixing me. But ultimately, we're hoping everybody thinks the right way. So Bank of America finds out it needs to figure out $34 billion. I'm hoping they agree with that and that they go and do it. It's less of a threat than more of a guys, get this together.

MARTIN: Real quick, how will this impact the stock market tomorrow?

VELSHI: Well, this information has been leaking out for a few days and the market is still strong. That Dow is over 8,500 right now, so it feels like this is priced into the market.

LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: And bank stocks in particular are doing well.

VELSHI: Bank stocks were leading the rally this week. JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: They're leaking it so the market won't fall tomorrow.

VELSHI: That's I think exactly what it is. It's out there already.

MARTIN: All right, Ali thanks so much. Folks, you can get up to the minute details on this story right now on It's front and center on the page. Also a reminder, Ali and Anderson Cooper will be here next Thursday, May 14th, with an -- sit down, Ali, with an hour-long money and Main Street special. It starts at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

VELSHI: And then you will be at home.

BLOOM: Roland can be at home then.

MARTIN: Yes, I will be at home. All right, folks, major story out of Chicago, our children are being killed left and right in the Windy City. And everybody says they are concerned.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To everybody, this is my baby. This is what I have to visit my son at, at the cemetery.


MARTIN: But what's really being done to fight back against the needless bloodshed claiming Chicago's young?

And you think Governor Sarah Palin's oldest daughter would be happy to be out of the spotlight? Oh, but no. After giving birth while under age and unwed, she's trying to convince other teens not to have sex. Something she used to say wasn't realistic. Bristol Palin is now preaching abstinence-only education. So what do you think? Give me a shout, 1-877-NO-BULL-0. That's 1-877-662-8550, or drop an e-mail or hit me on Twitter and Facebook.


MARTIN: The streets of a major American city have been turned into killing fields with our kids as the targets. And even if you don't live there, you need to know how bad things have gotten and why the carnage isn't showing any signs of stopping. The violence now threatening a generation of young people is happening in Chicago. Just minutes ago, we learned of the latest killing, a 16-year-old shot in the back of the head this morning. Another recent victim was killed in a savage attack. It's 15-year-old Alex Arellano who police say was not a gang member was chased for blocks, then beaten with baseball bats before being shot, then his body was burned. The total number of Chicago's young people killed just this year is staggering. Abbie Boudreau of our special investigations unit has been looking into the toll that the violence has taken on young folks and families.

ABBIE BOUDREAU, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT: Well Roland, we've been tracking young student defendants for weeks. We gave a video to her mom and 10-year-old son who lost a young family member to gun violence in 2006. They recorded video diaries for us so we could better understand and what they've been going through and just how difficult life has become. And here's some of that video.


UNDIENTIFIED MALE: Our community, no one likes to talk about guns because we're scared of guns. And guns, we're scared to walk in our alleys, to play basketball, to play football, to play any games.

BOUDREAU (voice-over): Trevon (ph) Bosley sits in front of a video camera and talks about his 18-year-old brother who was shot to death.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since I lost my brother, I've been sad and I've been angry. I've been sad of losing him and I've been angry at the person who did it and I'm angry at guns.

BOUDREAU: Trevon never visited his brother at the cemetery, though his mom, Pam Bosley goes there often.

PAM BOSLEY, SON MURDERED: To everybody, this is my baby. This is what I have to visit my son at, at the cemetery. This is unfair for any mother to have to visit their baby here. This don't make sense. He didn't deserve this. He wasn't in a gang. He didn't sell drugs or nothing. And I'm here at a cemetery visiting my baby.

BOUDREAU: School children throughout Chicago are scared. In the last school year, 35 students attending Chicago public schools have been killed -- 35, compared to 26 the previous year. The crimes happen off school property and most are shootings.

DIANE LATIKER, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: I don't understand why we are not screaming, hollering, doing whatever we can to stop the violence among our youth. Because we're losing a whole generation.

BOUDREAU: A memorial was recently held on Chicago's South Side. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley was there.

(on camera): And I'm wondering what you want the country to know right now about what's happening in Chicago. Tell us beyond, what's happening for the people in Chicago, they know what's going on. What about the people in the rest of the country?

MAYOR RICHARD DALEY, CHICAGO: In Chicago, you go to a community, you go to a large city or a small city. It's all over America. It's not unique to one community or one city. You're killing another generation. That's all they're doing.

BOUDREAU: But there's a lot more students being killed here in the Chicago public school district.

DALEY: Because they follow them. They identify them. In other cities, they are dropouts. They don't call them students anymore. You dropped out of school at 15, you're gone at 14. We count them as even students even though they drop out. We count them as students. The rest of America doesn't count them. You're a dropout forever. We don't think they're dropouts. They're students. They are 13-years- old, or 14 or 15, or 16 or 17 or even 19 or 20. And that's what you're seeing. People forget them. They're called the dropout society.

BOUDREAU: So the problem isn't worse here than in other places?

DALEY: All over, the same thing.


BOUDREAU: We talked to a Chicago public school district spokesperson who tells us that none of the victims were dropouts. Though the one that was killed over the weekend, 15-year-old Alex Arellano, was forced to leave school his family says because he was threatened by gang numbers. I just can't believe since we did the story, the number has gone from 35 to 36 in just basically two days. It's really unbelievable.

MARTIN: Abbie, hold tight for a second. Let me welcome Dr. Carl Bell, a well-renowned psychiatrist who worked for years to try to stop the violence in Chicago. And doc look, you often were on my radio show in Chicago on WVON. We talked about this all of the time, these murders. Does the city, the mayor, the school district, do they have any real response to dealing with this issue?

CARL BELL, PSYCHIATRIST: Well, you know, Roland, about 10 years ago, we had a violence problem that was about twice as high as it currently is and we fixed it because we put programs, violence prevention programs, through Chicago public schools. And that violence went away. So all we really have to do is get the political will to do that again.

MARTIN: Now you said you pull those programs in. Arne Duncan who is now the education secretary, he was the superintendent then, or someone else, and they went away under his leadership?

BELL: It was Paul Vallas who put those programs into place. When Arne got in, to be fair to Arne, the problem was half of what it was when Vallas was the CEO. So there was less political will, less motivation, because with public health, these problems go up and down. And when they go down, the political will goes down with them.

We know -- Centers for Disease Control has 53 absolute hard scientific evidence-based violence prevention programs that can go anywhere in any city, rural, urban, African-American, Latino and could reduce the violence by 25 to 33 percent. Easily, and that's in a National Academy of Sciences report we just did.

BLOOM: Abbie, we know that most of these homicides are committed with guns. Guns is such a hot-button political issue. We don't have the political will to even get rid of assault weapons anymore. Are community activists speaking out about the gun issue in Chicago?

BOUDREAU: Yes, I mean everyone we talked to has an opinion about this. But we even talked to a teenager, who was 17-years-old, and he's an activist, he's a student advocate and he really thinks that getting guns off the street is the way to go.

But when you talk to the police and other people who say that's really not the answer, it's really just not as simple as that. They say anybody who is a bad guy out there who wants to get a gun is going to be able to get a gun and that's the bottom line. So I think that I agree with our guest here who says these after school programs are essential. And that's really one of the main issues here.

BELL: Right, and they've brought them back recently.

YELLIN: Abbie, you've talked to, I understand the gang task force about some efforts they made in the region. We got to ask. This is obviously a problem that's causing a great deal of concern in the city. It's not like city officials are unaware of it or aren't doing anything. Why aren't they taking effective steps? What do they say is blocking them from doing this, solving this more effectively?

BOUDREAU: Well, they think that they are doing everything they possibly can at this point. I mean, in January they actually expanded the gang task force and they're trying to get more people out on the streets to effectively work on this problem. But they also say that they're trying to like communicate better between the school district and the police department and trying to find more informants from within the gangs to give them better information.

I just have to tell you, when we were out on the street and we were talking to gang members, of course they did not want to show their face, they did not want to go on camera. The anger that I saw in their eyes was so overwhelming, you have to wonder, how is anyone supposed to solve this problem when these kids are so angry, so young?

MARTIN: Doc, you're shaking your head, why?

BELL: Yes, I'm shaking my head. If you look at the so-called gang-related murders, 70 percent of them are between people who know one another in the same gang. Most of the homicides are interpersonal alteration. They are children who are angry, who are frustrated, who are depressed. They get into an argument. There's a gun available usually that comes from a break-in into somebody's home. And somebody gets killed. Most of the homicides are interpersonal altercations, sorry.

BOUDREAU: Excuse me, that's not what the police are telling us. I mean I'm reporting what the police are telling us, they're saying.

BELL: Of course it's not what the police tell you. The police in L.A., when a gang -- when a man kills his wife in L.A., they run his name through the gang computer and they call that gang-related violence. That's interpersonal alteration violence. Look at the homicide research.

HILL: So then doctor, you're saying --

BELL: At what the nature of violence is. HILL: Doctor, you're saying and to Abbie's point as well, you're saying that in fact this is gang violence even though we're hearing that these students who were killed were in fact not involved in gangs?

BELL: It's interpersonal alteration.

MARTIN: Which means --

HILL: So what pushes somebody then to follow a kid home from school and kill them? Or in one case, kill someone and set their body on fire over the weekend. Who does that?

BELL: People who are enraged. But that -- you're making things more complex than they are. The vast majority, 70 percent are interpersonal alteration that. That is not to say that you don't have true gang-related murder. Those are different situations. You've got predatory homicide, interpersonal alternation, gang related, drug related, hate crime. There are all these different types of homicide.

BOUDREAU: Do you think the police are focusing on --

BELL: And so you've got to be very specific.

BOUDREAU: Do you think the police then are focusing on the wrong problem here? I mean because they told us they are focusing on the problems.

MARTIN: In about 30 seconds, doc, real quick?

BELL: That's because they are police. Public health would focus on domestic violence and interpersonal alteration. The police fixed the problem after the murder is over, not before.

MARTIN: And part of the issue there is frankly what you're saying, doc, you have to deal with the people on the front end as opposed to waiting until after someone has been killed. Dr. Carl Bell, we certainly appreciate it, thank you very much.

Folks, we're going to have much more of this tonight on "A.C. 360." We'll hear from one victim who was shot when he was just a toddler and you'll meet a woman who is making sure that no one forgets the young lives lost in Chicago. That's on "A.C. 360" tonight at 10 Eastern.

Folks, with the job market so tight these days, why would anyone apply for an opening where you've got to beat out 35,000 other candidates? Wait until you hear where they're hiring. It may be the best job in the world.


YELLIN: I just stole your line.

HILL: Welcome back to name that tune, everybody.

MARTIN: Yes, welcome back to name that tune. Yes, we appreciate it. Of course, that song was "Go Ahead" by Alicia Keys.

BLOOM: Yeah.

YELLIN: You didn't see the prompter?

BLOOM: What prompter?

MARTIN: Yes. It was sent to us via Twitter by m_live. Now folks, of course we actually have folks to suggest what song they want to play. One winner every night, we'll play it for you.

All right folks, what difference a baby makes. Just months after becoming a single mother, 18-year-old Bristol Palin wants to be the poster girl for saying no to premarital sex. It's an about-face for the Alaska governor's daughter. Back on February, she called abstinence "not realistic at all." Just the idea of it has Denise from Michigan scratching her head.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Abstinence only education? Isn't that like trying to catch the horse after it's let out of the barn and the fence?

HILL: A whole new dimension there.

MARTIN: And the fence, and the fence there.

BLOOM: You know what they say, abstinence makes the heart grow fonder.

MARTIN: They do?

HILL: There you go.

BLOOM: It doesn't work. Two words, Bristol Palin.

MARTIN: Well actually, abstinence does work.


VELSHI: By definition, it works.

MARTIN: If you try it, it does work. What do you think about Bristol Palin now preaching abstinence only education? Give us a call, 1-877-NO-BULL-0. That's 1-877-662-8550. Also send me an e-mail or tweet me, Facebook me, holla at me. Back after this.


MARTIN: OK Jessica, who was that?

YELLIN: Christina Aguilera.


MARTIN: All right folks, a new baby and a new message from unmarried mother Bristol Palin. What do you think about Governor Sarah Palin's daughter preaching abstinence-only education? The number to call is 1-877-662-8550.

But right now, we go to the briefing with Erica Hill.

HILL: And Roland, some great news to start off with. The search for 3-year-old Missouri boy lost in the woods is now over. Good news came by walkie-talkie.


UNIDETIFIED MALE: The child has been found



HILL: Music to their ears. Joshua Childers wandered away from his home about 100 miles southwest of St. Louis two days ago. Spent some 40 hours alone in the woods. No word yet on his condition.

Wal-Mart will pay almost $2 million to avoid criminal charges in the November death of a temp worker at one of their Long Island, New York, stores. That worker was trampled to death, you may recall, the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, as shoppers surged into the store. Wal-Mart also agreed to come up with a better crowd control plan for Black Friday this year.

A deadly small plane crash under investigation tonight in South Florida. The single engine plane apparently lost power just after takeoff from a small airport near Palm Beach, crashing into an empty plane on the ground. Two people on board were killed. There were no injuries however on the ground.

More evacuations under way right now as a wildfire burns near Santa Barbara, California. And we do have late word the wind has actually shifted dramatically towards home in the area. So far about 200 acres have burned. We'll keep an eye on that for you.

Same-sex marriage legalized today in Maine. Governor John Baldacci signing the bill less than an hour after the legislature approved it. New Hampshire lawmakers also put a same-sex marriage bill on the governor's desk today. Yesterday, the District of Columbia's city council voted to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

And finally, a British man just landed what is being called the best job in the world. Maybe the second best, come join the panel. It's a tour of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, 35,000 applied to be caretaker of a tropical island for six months. But it was 34-year-old Ben Southall who beat out every one of them.


BEN SOUTHALL, WON CONTEST: I hope I can fill the boots as much as everybody is expecting. My swimming I hope is up to standard and I look forward to all of the new roles and responsibilities that the task involves. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Responsibilities, huh? Here they are. Ben gets to hang out, explore, feed the fish. He is responsible for blogging about what's happening there. And he gets paid 100 grand.

MARTIN: Really?

BLOOM: Nice.

HILL: It's good to be Ben.


BLOOM: That's a lovely acceptance speech.

MARTIN: U.S. or Australia money?

HILL: I'm going to double check for you.

VELSHI: $100,000 Australian dollars is four bucks, right?

MARTIN: Just checking.

VELSHI: You know what, all our Australian viewers are just going to get mad at me.

MARTIN: Yes. All right folks, it's do as I say not as I did. Just like what Ali just said. Bristol Palin now wants teens like her just to say no to sex. No surprise to Darcy from New Jersey.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hindsight is always 20/20. You always think of what you should have done after the fact. It's too late to run and holler abstinence when you've already had a baby.


MARTIN: Well folks, what do you think about Bristol Palin preaching abstinence only education? Let's hear it. 1-877-662-8550. And drop us a line on e-mail, Twitter and Facebook.


MARTIN: Jessica?

YELLIN: This is on my iPod. It's Maxwell.

MARTIN: That's right. "Ascension." All right. All right. Work it out.

All right, folks, the high-stakes meeting for President Barack Obama today. He welcomed the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan to the White House. He's banking on their cooperation to turn the corner in the battle against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Erica Hill starts us off with a look at what happened today.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And first, Roland, just to point out again why this is so important is because their cooperation is essential in the U.S. fight against terror. Remember, of course, Afghanistan and Pakistan battling these militants every day across the massive shared border that they have there, a line though that is not, of course, always recognized by the Taliban.

While the two nations don't always share the same view on just how to deal with both the Taliban and Al Qaeda, President Hamid Karzai today did pledge Afghanistan will stand shoulder to shoulder to fight in his words this cancer.

Both he and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari meeting this morning with Secretary of State Clinton who called those talks a breakthrough.

Now later at the White House, President Obama praised both leaders for taking the threats they face seriously and also stress the need to coordinate intelligence, to provide money and ongoing support to both countries.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our strategy reflects a fundamental truth. The security of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States are linked.

In the weeks that have followed, that truth has only been reinforced. Al Qaeda and its allies have taken more lives in Pakistan and Afghanistan and have continued to challenge the democratically elected governments of the two presidents standing here today. Meanwhile, Al Qaeda plots against the American people and people around the world, from their safe haven along the border.


HILL: And, of course, Roland, the two leaders will continue their Washington trip tomorrow. They have a trip to Capitol Hill.

MARTIN: All right. Erica, thanks so much.

Folks, joining us right now is CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour who spent a whole lot of time in that part of the world.

And, Christiane, the president keeps saying that this region is so important to Americans. I'm sitting at home right now, how is this important to me?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, if you're sitting at home right now, you might remember 9/11 which is where Afghanistan and with the help of militants in Taliban that in Pakistan that 9/11 was hatched. And so that's why it's so important. The reason why it's become so massively out of control is because the United States firmly took its eye off the ball around 2002 when it decided to go to war in Iraq. And now this new administration is having to play catch-up and it's doing it from quite far down in a hole.

MARTIN: But some folks are saying, look, there are too many challenges for the United States in this region. We have no chance at all of being successful.

AMANPOUR: Well, those people would be wrong. There are many, many, many challenges, but the opportunity to be successful is right now. And that's why this year and this moment is so crucial.

It's not just about throwing more troops or more money at it. It's about being strategically smart about what has to be done. It has to have money in order to do the civilian development projects which are vital so that people have a chance, the people in Afghanistan and Pakistan, to choose something other than just going towards the Taliban for a bit of money and laying on explosives.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Can we talk about money for a second? Because while we know that money can be funneled toward terrorism anywhere in the world, you have discussed in the past that there's enough money that comes right out of the poppy trade that goes into opium to finance the Taliban right now. What can happen about that? Can we cut that off and thereby try and strangle them for their money?

AMANPOUR: Well, look, the very interesting thing is that it appears many of the new U.S. forces were being deployed will go into that area and try to separate the Taliban from their main source of income which is the illegal narco-state traffic, the narcotics traffic.

It's going to be really tough without a really smart plan. There are ideological problems in this country to dealing with it in certain ways that may make sense. For instance, I don't know, pay off the poppy farmers, use it for medicine.

VELSHI: Get them to try to switch crops.

AMANPOUR: Not just that or just, you know, buy it at market rates. Some people are suggesting use that opium for medicine.

Many, many people need it. For instance, the EU is actually paying farmers in England to grow poppies because there's such a deficit of morphine and that kind of stuff for medicine. So maybe there is a way of doing it. But the bottom line is they have to separate the Taliban from that source of income.

VELSHI: Source of income.

HILL: And then in terms of the U.S. strategy moving forward, as you said, there's been a bit of a change. We sort of lost focus since 2002. But part of the problem, too, not only redefining that, those diplomatic efforts is that you're dealing with two presidents in two countries who there's not a lot of confidence there. There's not necessarily a lot of support there. So how does that figure in?

AMANPOUR: Well, clearly, the United States has got to reassess the leadership and what they expect from the leadership. But the point is, as President Obama made very clear today and I thought a very interesting speech, because he talked over and over again about how these two democratically elected leaders of their country, the people elected them and now they have to lead the people out of this violence.

But more to the point, President Obama, who has not talked about democracy and nation building in Afghanistan, unlike President Bush, he, today, put himself on the line to nation build, essentially. He kept saying we have to give these people a chance, a decent life.

And everybody there I spoke to, whether it's the U.S. generals in charge, whether it's the U.S. -- other soldiers rebuilding schools as well as trying to fight the Taliban, Afghan officials, the people there, all of them say that if they get a chance at an economic alternative, in other words a decent life...

MARTIN: Right.

AMANPOUR: ... a job, some kind of opportunity, that is going to make all the difference to...


AMANPOUR: ... to their allegiance.

BLOOM: And on that point, I mean, we've been trying to win the hearts and minds of the people in Afghanistan and in Pakistan. To what extent are the recent civilian deaths that we've just seen going to derail that?

AMANPOUR: Well, in Afghanistan, it's a big problem and, indeed, in Pakistan. What it's doing is fueling the hatred and the anger and, therefore, the recruits into the terrorists. What's happened in Afghanistan over the last several years is because of the lack of boots on the ground.

The war against the militants have been fought from the air. There's only a limited effect in fighting a war from the air against insurgents on the ground. And inevitably, it's going to cause big casualties which it has and there's been yet another incident today.

That's still being investigated. But the ones that we've followed and we've seen are the single biggest reason for a shift away in public opinion from their government and from the United States. However, it's important to say that the vast majority of the people in Afghanistan support progress, support the government, support a progressive future, and only a tiny minority support the Taliban. That means there is an opportunity and for this government to be able to -- the U.S. administration now and its allies to be able to capitalize on that is now or never, and it's vital. And what really needs to be done is that people in Congress need to give the president the time to do it, because this is not going to happen overnight. The notion that we've got a year or any other timetable on it is fantasy.

MARTIN: Chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, we certainly appreciate it. Thanks so much.

Folks, now the first lady has met big-time celebrities and heads of state but she says Elmo tops them all. We'll explain in the "Political Daily Briefing."


HILL: This is on my iPod.

MARTIN: I have no idea what's the matter with choosing that one.

All right, folks --

MARTIN: Jessica Yellin with today's "Political Daily Briefing" -- Jessica.

YELLIN: Thanks, Roland.

Well, we have new details tonight on the president's new budget. It includes $17 billion in program cuts in the next year alone. The president's team insists they're trimming inefficient programs.

For example, the Department of Education has an attache, get this, in Paris. That's right. The U.S. Department of Education in Paris, France.

The program costs $632,000 a year. Well, guess what, the Obama administration feels confident they can handle France via e-mail.


So more e-mail to you.

Also, on the chopping block, some funding to a program that, focus on this, pays states to clean up abandoned mines and then keeps paying the states after the mines are clean. They project $142 million in savings by just stopping those payments once the work is finished.

HILL: Novel approach.

YELLIN: Novel idea there, right?

MARTIN: Right.

YELLIN: Now, of course, there'll be more controversial cuts that will come out tomorrow. We can expect bitter fights on Capitol Hill. Budget Director Peter Orszag officially hands over that massive budget book tomorrow morning. And then this is the big Elmo story. First Lady Michelle Obama took a stroll down Sesame Street yesterday. Mrs. Obama was taping a public service announcement standing next to Elmo as part of Sesame Street's healthy habits for life initiative.

Mrs. Obama and Elmo talked about the importance of eating healthfully and exercising regularly. And yes, during a speech later that day, Mrs. Obama said the appearance was "probably the best thing I've done at the White House."

VELSHI: That is so open-minded of her because Lisa and I have this conversation everyday about eating more healthfully and treating my body better, which is why I called her veggie burger earlier.

HILL: She's not adopting those.

VELSHI: I think she's going to call me combustible or something.

MARTIN: So much fun. Folks, only here can we go from Elmo to Larry King.

Larry, you're been kicking up folks from "The View" all week. Who's view is it tonight?

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": First, Roland, you want to ask me who are your best guests of all time.

MARTIN: Right.

KING: Elmo is number three.

ALL: Wow.

KING: Elmo is a great guest.

MARTIN: Number three.

KING: I love Elmo.

HILL: What about Mrs. Obama?

MARTIN: Who is one and two?

YELLIN: Was I number one?

KING: Number one was Martin Luther King. Number two was Frank Sinatra. Number three was Elmo.


KING: Because of the kind of work I travel in.

MARTIN: I'll be mad as hell if I'm not number four. All right, Larry, what you've got?

KING: Go ahead, you're number four. (LAUGHTER)

KING: OK. Our women of "The View" week continues. Elisabeth Hasselbeck is here giving us the conservative view. And we'll talk about Bristol Palin's teen pregnancy. And Miss California, will she lose her crown over seminude photos?

Elisabeth and diabetes, it's all ahead on "LARRY KING LIVE."

MARTIN: Larry, please pull Elisabeth out of her shell, OK?

KING: I'll try to get her to be conversant.

MARTIN: All right, Larry, thanks so much.

Folks, a lot of people are calling and writing in tonight about Bristol Palin's week campaign taking on teen pregnancy. This teenage mom is not preaching abstinence, only education. What do you think?

We're going to the phones when we come back. 1-877-662-8550. Folks, back in a moment.


MARTIN: All right. Erica, real quick.

HILL: It was Jimi Hendrix before. I'm a total idiot for not remembering. And I have to apologize to my father-in-law. Sorry.

YELLIN: And this was "Love Lockdown." Fitting song.

MARTIN: OK. Name that tune continues.

All right, folks, you might remember back in February when Governor Sarah Palin's daughter was talking about abstinence, always saying, look, this ain't going to work. Here's what she said on "Today" show. I'm stumbling because it was surprising. Check this out.


BRISTOL PALIN, GOV. PALIN'S DAUGHTER: Regardless of what I did personally, I just think that abstinence is the only way that you can effectively, 100 percent, full-proof way to prevent pregnancy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So how do you bridge the two for kids? You say, don't do it. Don't have the sex, but you did. So how do you put those two together?

PALIN: I'm not quite sure. Just -- I just want to go out there and just promote abstinence and just say this is the safest choice. This is the choice that's going to prevent teen pregnancy and prevent a lot of heartache.


MARTIN: Actually that's "Good Morning America" she's on today.

All right, folks, joining us right now is Catholic League president Bill Donohue. And, of course, Erica Hill, Ali Velshi, Jessica Yellin and Lisa Bloom, also here as well.

All right, Bill, what about this here? She first said abstinence is not realistic at all. Now all of a sudden, she's saying oh, it is the way to go. What's going on here?

WILLIAM DONOHUE, PRESIDENT, CATHOLIC LEAGUE: I don't know what the cause of her epiphany is, but I'll tell you she's a courageous girl.

I'll tell you one thing. I would be far more persuaded by somebody who's promoting the idea that we should be kind to animals if that person was a reformed Michael Vick as opposed to someone who's an animal lover. You know, we have a program called "Scared Straight."

MARTIN: Right?

DONOHUE: A lot of guys that were ex-cons, black men who went out to the inner cities --

MARTIN: Black, Hispanic and white.

DONOHUE: That's right. But don't do what I've done. In other words, she's been there, done that.

Now, we have an alternative, don't we? If we have somebody who was sexually active who realizes this is not the right way to go, the only other person who could make that argument about abstinence would be somebody who's never been active, in which case she'd be painted by many people as a goody-two-shoed blue-nose virginal nerd. You know, where's your chastity belt?

YELLIN: But you don't want actually --

DONOHUE: I think it makes sense.

YELLIN: You don't want actually abstinent teens to promote this method?

DONOHUE: I'm saying is that the most persuasive people are the people who are experienced and come out there and say listen, this is not the right way to go.

YELLIN: But this is a woman whose mother has made her entire career on socially conservative messages. And she had a daughter who did not espouse this message. Do you think that would not undermine her future political aspiration?

DONOHUE: Well, you see that's just that. I think we're getting involved in the Palin controversy. That's why I gave the Michael Vick analogy here.

Quite frankly, what do we know from the data? Since 1991, it's been consistent teenagers have been abstaining in greater rates every single year through 2007. Now, that's either because a message of abstinence is getting through. I don't think it's because of BET or MTV.

YELLIN: What data is that?

DONOHUE: All of the data have been showing that --

HILL: But, Bill, there are also numbers -- there are also numbers that show there was actually a slight uptick in 2006. Four hundred thirty-five thousand plus girls between the ages of 15 and 19 did become pregnant that year.

But I want to go back to one of your points because you say that it does -- it's a better message coming from somebody who's been there, which a lot of people would likely agree with. And I don't think there's anybody in this country who would say abstinence is not the best option for a teenager.

But it's interesting that Bristol Palin refused to answer it seemed, or skirted around the questions about what she actually did. If she were more forthcoming with how she herself became pregnant. We had sex. I didn't use a condom.


VELSHI: I was going to say --

HILL: I knew what I was doing.

We did explain -- realistically. No, no.

VELSHI: I knew you spent some time growing up in France.

HILL: But would that be a better message? Would that be a better message, and would that perhaps make her argument more effective?

DONOHUE: You know, of course, we'd like to hear specificity obviously. When somebody's kid fails in school, it's either the teacher's fault or the student's fault or a combination of both.

All I know is this -- there's an inconsistency in our culture. We're coming up to prom time. No high school in this country is going to tell the kids, are going to say, no alcohol, however, if you decide to drink, make sure you put on your seatbelt when you drive home.

MARTIN: I think somebody should.


DONOHUE: Make somebody say don't do it.

BLOOM: But here's the problem -- here's the problem with Bristol Palin.

DONOHUE: They're going to be consistent on that.

BLOOM: Here's the problem with Bristol Palin. Look, she can say whatever she wants and that's good for her. What about the fact that everyone tiptoes around her and she's now a national spokesperson on the issue of teen pregnancy. Not a single journalist has asked her words like birth control, abortion, adoption. Specifically, how do you advocate reducing the numbers other than abstinence? What about the fact that all the studies show that abstinence only education does not work, is not effective?

DONOHUE: That's not true.

BLOOM: They don't ask her any hard --

MARTIN: Hold on, hold on.

BLOOM: Not a single hard question.

DONOHUE: And we knew that she doesn't believe in abortion, don't we?

MARTIN: Hold tight.

BLOOM: We don't know because she's not asked the question.

MARTIN: Hold tight. We're coming right back.

DONOHUE: Well, she had the baby.

MARTIN: In a moment. Back in a moment.


MARTIN: All right, folks, we're back with our panel. Also, Catholic League president Bill Donohue, he's here as well talking about Bristol Palin, of course. And she's now talking about teen pregnancy.

The numbers have gone up slightly. We talked about it a little bit earlier, and she's now saying it's all about abstinence. We'll quick fact check with Erica because I'm going to have Bill respond. We're looking forward to the phone calls.

HILL: Just to one of the points that Bill said in saying that these programs haven't turned to be effective, there's actually a study that was funded by Congress over nine years, came out, the results went through 2007. Four of the programs which are considered to be especially promising by the state officials and abstinence education experts.

The study actually found that none of those four programs had a significant benefit on sexual behavior and that kids involved in these abstinence programs were no more likely to abstain than those not in the program. There hasn't been or showing that this is really showing a big uptick in kids who are not having sex.

YELLIN: The U.S. spent $1 billion on those programs.

DONOHUE: That's right. And we gave away 17 million free condoms in New York City two years ago. Last year, we gave away 36 million and chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have gone up.

BLOOM: How about HIV?

DONOHUE: That condoms -- condoms really work.

BLOOM: How about HIV?

DONOHUE: Look, HIV is a problem.


BLOOM: About condoms -- are condoms --

MARTIN: On the whole point about these four abstinence programs that were identified by people who support it and they simply didn't show --

DONOHUE: You know, let me, guys, guess (ph) it. We are talking about this in myopia. We know that less people are smoking today. Why? Not only do we have abstinence programs on smoking in the schools, you don't see people smoking on TV or in the movies.

Everybody on TV in movies is getting into bed with somebody else, gay or straight. And yet we're telling the kids to have abstinence in schools.

BLOOM: OK, but you know --

DONOHUE: This is a schizophrenic kind of argument. If we were uniformed and we told everybody you didn't have people jumping from one bed to another on TV and the movies, and yet abstinence taught in the school will get a much better result?

BLOOM: But why can't we do all of it? Why can't we do --

DONOHUE: I don't know. Hollywood is the problem.

BLOOM: Let me make my point. Why can't we tell kids abstinence is your best option? But for half of the teenagers who are going to ignore that and engage in sexual activity, here's some real information they may not know.

The morning after pill is now available over the counter. Why can't we tell kids that? Abortion is safe and legal in every state. Why can't we give them all of the information...


BLOOM: ... the stuff that's out there and let them maybe --

DONOHUE: All you have to do is turn on MTV and you can get that. You're acting like -- BLOOM: Well, not every kid watches MTV and they don't about the morning after pill, or how to apply a condom.

DONOHUE: The biggest (INAUDIBLE), of course, is society can't spell his last name, can spell the word condom. We have put (INAUDIBLE) in this country.

BLOOM: Doesn't even know to apply it properly.

MARTIN: Hold tight one second. Let's go to (INAUDIBLE) Monica in Houston.

Hey, Monica.

MONICA, HOUSTON (via telephone): Hi.

MARTIN: Your comment please.

MONICA: Yes. Well, what I wanted to say is I think Bristol Palin's message is a positive one. I mean, we should be praising this young lady for being honest about mistakes that she made. And I think that it's unpopular with a lot out in the mass media because -- and out in the culture because her message is counter cultural.

And I think it's also a disservice to say to young people that, you know, you're not self-disciplined enough. You don't have will enough to say no and to be abstinent to do the right thing.

MARTIN: OK. All right. We certainly appreciate it, Monica.

Let's stay in my hometown of Houston. Jackie, what say you?

JACKIE, TEXAS (via telephone): Hi, I'm saying that what happened with Bristol Palin is -- this abstinence only thing, it will never work. It will never work.

I'm saying this because I was a teen mom myself and I was taught the abstinence only thing in my home, and it didn't work for me. But I have a daughter. And I said -- there's no way my daughter is going to repeat that same thing. So what I had to do was talk to my daughter.


JACKIE: Tell her, real honestly --

MARTIN: All right, Jackie. Jackie, we appreciate it. Thanks so much.

YELLIN: Roland, can I tell you some of the U.S. endorsed abstinence only education material says things like men are sexually like microwaves. Women are sexually like crock pots. Or relying on condoms is like playing Russian roulette. Part of the problem could be how we're teaching this method.

VELSHI: I don't get the crock pot, microwave. HILL: I don't get it either.

YELLIN: Fast women go slow.


DONOHUE: Why don't we just tell the guys to keep your zipper up and tell the girls keep your knees together. That would help a little bit. But we don't want to do that because that would be judgmental.

BLOOM: But this isn't the first generation of teenager that's been sexually active.

DONOHUE: No. I'm telling you from 1991 to 2007, the abstinence seems to be working. Whether it's the programs enough, I don't know.

BLOOM: It didn't work for Bristol Palin.

YELLIN: Pregnancy is going up.

DONOHUE: Bristol Palin is not exactly a walking statistic.

BLOOM: But her mother taught her abstinence only education.

MARTIN: One second.

BLOOM: She now has a baby.

MARTIN: Bill, I got ten seconds here. Real quick, do you believe it's abstinence only, or should abstinence be a part of a comprehensive sex education program?

DONOHUE: I think that I could live with the latter if it's done responsibly. Unfortunately, what happens is the latter drowns out the former and abstinence does get small from this.

MARTIN: Way to go, Bill. All right, then.

DONOHUE: What are we going to do about drug abuse and drinking? We're going to tell --

HILL: That's another night.

BLOOM: Tomorrow. Tomorrow.

MARTIN: I'm with you. I'm with you on that one.

BLOOM: I'm with you on that.

MARTIN: That's our next subject, Bill. We'll have you back to talk about that.

All right, folks, we've been hearing from you by phone s well as online. Send us your thoughts on Twitter and Facebook. We certainly want to hear from you.

Back in a moment.


MARTIN: All right, folks, breaking news again, this time from California -- Erica.

HILL: Yes, I want to get to this. Wildfires we've been we're monitoring. We can tell you right now, a little more information. Live pictures coming to us from our affiliate KCAL/KCBS.

They are picking up, as we mentioned, the winds moving toward the homes, about 200 acres burning now. And we're told that the number of homes ablaze and evacuations has actually doubled. Smoke rising from many parts of the city of California. We knew of at least 1,200 homes which had to be evacuated.

We're telling -- told now by the sheriff that that may be now 2,000 homes. Again, we're going to continue to follow these wildfires out of Santa Barbara where winds are really kicking things up and this is obviously very difficult for the folks fighting this on the ground and from the air.

MARTIN: All right. Back with our panel as well as Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League. Bill, I asked that question about in terms of this comprehensive approach because that's the problem that I have with people who say abstinence only. I'm an evangelical, and I simply say you can have as a part of it.

DONOHUE: Yes, but I see what's going on in the schools to the churches that every kind of sexual expression is equal too. Quite fantastically, I think it's about time we told kids anal sex is dangerous to your health. And you know what?

MARTIN: Any kind of sex. Oral sex.

HILL: A lot of kids these days take a vow of chastity, of abstinence.


HILL: And they don't think that having oral sex...

DONOHUE: That's right.

HILL: ... they think they're still a virgin. And that is --

DONOHUE: I'm with you on that.

HILL: And STDs get transferred that way. It's very scary


HILL: And kids need to understand that there are risks with any type of sex.

BLOOM: From a religious point of view, can you accept that other people don't come from your religious point of view and they go to the public schools and they're entitled to information about health and science and birth control?

DONOHUE: Oh, absolutely. They are. And just as I'm entitled, so the more persuasive argument should win out. I think one more condom put on a cucumber is not the answer though.

BLOOM: Yes, but ignorance isn't the answer either.


DONOHUE: All you have to do is turn on the TV.

VELSHI: Can I just say that brings the whole thing -- that brings it all full circle, because of the microwave, the crock pot and the cucumber.

BLOOM: And veggie burger.

MARTIN: Hey, this will continue in the green room. My thanks to Bill Donohue of the Catholic League and all of you who e-mailed and called us as well. Your voices are extremely important. Lisa, keep talking.

Folks, time for "LARRY KING LIVE" right now. What do we say?

ALL: Holler!