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American Morning

Market Bombings; Surprise Attack; State Of The Union; History On Wheels; Life At Google; Minding Your Business

Aired January 22, 2007 - 06:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: A stunning attack. Gunmen apparently disguised as American soldiers get past checkpoints in one of the deadliest weekends in the war for U.S. troops.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Start the clock. New York Senator Hillary Clinton plunges into the growing pool of presidential hopefuls, all racing to a critical test one year from now.

S. O'BRIEN: And imagine going back to work this morning, free massages, gourmet meals, money for your new car. There's a place that's actually like that, folks. We're going to take you inside the best place to work in America this morning on AMERICAN MORNING.

Welcome, everybody. It is Monday, January 22nd. I'm Soledad O'Brien.

M. O'BRIEN: And I'm Miles O'Brien.

S. O'BRIEN: It's not here, by the way.

M. O'BRIEN: It's not here. No massage this morning.

Good morning. We're glad you're with us.

S. O'BRIEN: Let's begin, seriously, with some breaking news out of Iraq. At least 60 people have been killed in a pair of bombings in central Baghdad this morning. Also new this morning, a new number, 27 Americans killed in Iraq this weekend alone, 25 of them on Saturday. A fresh brigade is arriving in Baghdad now, 3,200 soldiers leading the buildup of forces that have been ordered by President Bush. CNN's Michael Holmes is in Baghdad for us this morning.

Michael, good morning.

Let's begin first with these bombings at the central market in Baghdad.

Good morning.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Soledad.

I don't know if you can see the smoke just over my shoulder. That's where it happened. It was only a mile or so from here. It happened a couple of hours ago. When we heard it, there were two bombs. They were merely seconds apart. This happened in a mixed area, Shia/Sunni area, but mainly Shias shot at this marketplace. It's the biggest marketplace in Baghdad. A lot of impoverished people in this area. This is not a wealthy part of the city.

There's shopping in the area and two bombs go off, as I say, almost simultaneously. So far, 60 people dead, 110 have been wounded. So more bloodletting here in Baghdad.

Large bombs. Initially there was a report that one of the bombs was in a bag placed in the shop, but our sources are telling us that it was, in fact, two car bombs, not suicide bombers, car bombs that have been left and detonated remotely.


S. O'BRIEN: Michael, how about some details about this Karbala bombing. I mean just shocking. U.S. Army soldier uniforms is what they were wearing to try to get into that compound?

HOLMES: Yes, stunning, audacious, unprecedented. This is really an amazing attack. This is among the 25 U.S. servicemen who died. Five of them died in this attack in Karbala.

You can see here the compound where this occurred. Story about the noise. We've got Apache helicopters flying overhead, having a look at the bombing.

Yes, this was a meeting taking place in this area. It's meant to be a secure compound. U.S. and Iraqi officials discussing security arrangements for pilgrims arriving for Ashurah (ph), a major religious event.

Now what happened is stunning. As I said, seven to eight SUVs, tinted windows, men inside, about 30 of them, wearing U.S.-style uniforms, flashing IDs, driving through three checkpoints. The police on those checkpoints thinking they were on American convoy. And they did look like one, by all accounts. Some of these gunmen speaking English.

They got into the compound and, in fact, into the building, we're told by our sources, where this meeting was taking place and basically opened fire. Five U.S. soldiers were killed and three were wounded. We're also told by our sources that these gunmen specifically target American troops. The Iraqi troops who were there, not one casualty we're told.


S. O'BRIEN: Michael Holmes for us in Baghdad this morning.

Michael, thanks.


M. O'BRIEN: Well, hold on tight, it's going to be a wild ride. One year from the New Hampshire primary, the presidential wannabes seem to be growing on trees. Over the weekend, three more hats tossed into the ring. Hillary Clinton beaming out a webcast, confirming she is filing the papers to create a presidential exploratory committee. No surprise there. A cabinet member in her husband's administration, Bill Richardson, also making good on his hints. The New Mexico governor hoping to be the nation's first Hispanic president. He is stressing his experience as a U.N. ambassador and energy secretary.

On the other side of the aisle, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback made his announcement in Topeka. Brownback is a fierce opponent of abortion and describes himself as a compassionate conservative. Well, CNN equals politics and debate. We are teaming up with the Manchester's WMUR TV and "The Union Leader" newspaper to air a paper of debates, Wednesday, April 4th, Thursday, April 5th. One for the Republican presidential hopefuls, one for the Democratic. CNN's Wolf Blitzer will moderate.

As we said, one year from today is the New Hampshire primary. Our Bob Franken is there with an early look. We'll check in with him coming up.


S. O'BRIEN: Happening this morning.

Snow is again socking Colorado. Drifts as high as three feet shutting down highways. At least 11 people died in traffic accidents. Snow and sleet and freezing rain is forecast for the east coast this morning.

In Oklahoma and Missouri, tens of thousands of people still without power. That's a familiar song there. Still after those ice storms of last week.

Federal agents are now joining the search for a mother and her four children in the Chicago area. Her name is Kimberly Walker. Her children are age between 16 months and nine years. Allegedly they've been kidnapped by this man, Jerry White. He's the children's father. Police say White apparently also shot Walker's boyfriend. He's in serious condition.

The man who's accused of kidnapping two boys in Missouri is speaking out. Michael Devlin tells "The New York Post" that he's too ashamed to face his parents who haven't visited him since he's been arrested. Devlin says he was also "relatively happy" during the four years that he's alleged to have held Shawn Hornbeck. Jail authorities are investigating how "The Post" reporter got in to do the interview.

The matchup for Super Bowl XLI is set. The Chicago Bears beat the New Orleans Saints 39-14 in the NFC championship Sunday. The Bears really ran away with it in the second half, three touchdowns in the fourth quarter alone. This is Chicago's first Super Bowl appearance in 21 years. The Bears are going to face the Indianapolis Colts. They beat New England 38-34 last night. The Colts were down 15 points at the half. It's the biggest comeback ever in a conference championship game. Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: President Bush trying to stage a comeback of his own in his State of the Union speech tomorrow. The president will try to shore up support for his troop surge in Iraq. But we're also told he'll spend a lot of time talking about other issues like global warming and energy policy. Kathleen Koch with a preview.


KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): President Bush returns here to the White House this afternoon after spending much of the weekend at Camp David putting the finishing touches on his State of the Union address. It comes at a politically difficult time for President Bush. Democrats in charge of Congress for the first time in 12 years, his new Iraq strategy under the microscope and that criticism only expected to intensify after this weekend of being one of the deadliest for U.S. forces in Iraq since the war began.

White House officials say the president will talk broadly about the war on terror, but he won't lay out point for point as he did a couple of weeks ago his new strategy in Iraq. On the domestic side, we're told the president will talk about energy, immigration, his education policies. A shorter speech than normal. Not many new initiatives. However, we are told the president will propose a new health care tax deduction -- $7,500 for individuals, $15,000 for families. The idea to create an incentive for people without it to buy health care insurance.

Kathleen Koch, CNN, the White House.


M. O'BRIEN: Now don't expect the president to agree to any constraints on burning fossil fuels when it comes to the issue of climate change. He spoke to "USA Today." This morning in the paper he said, among other things, "the way to solve the problem," referring to global warming, "is to promote new technology," stopping short, once again, of those emissions caps.

Meanwhile, the U.S. industry apparently seeing the writing on the wall and changing its tune quite a bit. A group called the United Climate Action Partnership includes some biggies, Alcoa, General Electric, DuPont and Duke Energy. They're going to roll out some findings of a year-long report today and they will, in fact, according to this group, call for a nationwide limit on carbon emissions.

Why would corporate America want to do this? Well, more than anything they'd like a level playing field and with some regulation in place they can begin working on some new technologies that might make them some money.

And even one of the biggest skeptics on global warming and controls on emissions is changing its tune somewhat. "The Wall Street Journal" reporting last week that Exxon Mobil, the largest oil company in the world, says this. "We know enough now -- or society knows enough now -- that the risk is serious and action should be taken." That's a big departure for Exxon Mobil. That comes from Kenneth Cohen, their VP for public affairs.

Now remember last year the president said the U.S. is addicted to oil. And he said he would push for the government to come up with incentives, to come up with clean, home-grown alternatives that would wean our dependence on foreign oil, among other things. What has happened in the year since then? Well, not as much as he promised. Tomorrow Ali Velshi will fill us in on that.


S. O'BRIEN: Coming up this morning, Chad Myers tells us just who's going to be in for a rough commute this morning.

And speaking of commuting, where is the best place in America to work? We're going to show you the perks that put one company right over the top.

Plus, a piece of CNN history auctioned off to help wounded veterans -- you see it right there -- put their lives back together. Just wait until you hear how much this hummer went for.

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is right here on CNN.


S. O'BRIEN: The most news in the morning is right here on CNN. Two stories we're following for you this morning.

Iran refusing to end its nuclear program. Now flexing its military muscle. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime planning to test fire several missiles as the U.S. positions another warship off of Iran's coast.

And snow and ice making a mess of the plains states, closing roads, causing several deadly crashes over the weekend.


M. O'BRIEN: Well, I guess you can call it Warrior One million now. The hummer CNN crews raced across the desert during the Iraqi invasion four years ago fetched a princely sum over the weekend and the real winner is a charity that helps wounded veterans and their families. CNN's John Roberts was there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE, AUCTIONEER: The item is up for sale. One hundred percent of the proceeds go. A wonderful car (ph) is up for sale. Who will start the bidding.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: It had to be a record sale price for a hummer, particularly one beaten and battered in war. But CNN's Warrior One reached an astonishing price of $1 million, plus another $250,000 in a straight donation before the gavel came down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to close the bidding place (ph). Sold at a million plus 250,000. We reached $1,250,000 for the Fisher House.

ROBERTS: The hummer was CNN's platform during the invasion of Iraq, carrying a crew of four from Kuwait to Baghdad, coming under fire in a battle near Baghdad University. Cameraman Scott McWhinnie remembers it well.

SCOTT MCWHINNIE, CNN PHOTOGRAPHER: I know all of a sudden we heard the tinge-tinge of bullets coming off our -- and we were being fired at from a boat on the Tigris River.

ROBERTS: And on the way to the stage, one more battle when the massive V8 engine flooded and caught fire. High octane and anxiety but it turned out to be nothing serious, particularly after the action it saw in Iraq. War and auctions, it seems, are hell.

It was the crew who called the hummer home during the invasion who came up with the idea to rebuild it from the ground up on the "Overhaulin'" television show and donate the proceeds to charity. The beneficiary? Fisher House, which has built 38 homes on military bases and near V.A. hospitals to accommodate the families of service men and women needing medical care.

KEN FISHER, PRESIDENT, FISHER HOUSE: The need is growing every day. And with our programs as such, we're going to be building 21 houses in the next four years. So something like this is just going to be very, very important to the program and to the ongoing commitment that we've made to these families.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's so unique because it's one-of-a-kind.

ROBERTS: For Dave Liniger, who started Re/Max Realty and heads up his own organization serving veterans, the whole concept was irresistible.

DAVE LINIGER, FOUNDER, RE/MAX REALTY: The cause was fabulous. Obviously the vehicle is so much prettier in person than it looks on TV or it looked in the catalogue.

ROBERTS: Now how high are you willing to do?

LINIGER: I'm not going to tell you that but we'll definitely bid on it.

ROBERTS: And bid he did, though it looked like he was about to swoon at one point, all the way up to a cool million. Liniger says he plans to tour the hummer across the nation, raising more money for veterans. For this old warhorse, retirement is a long way off.

John Roberts, CNN, Scottsdale, Arizona.

(END VIDEOTAPE) M. O'BRIEN: And we'll speak with the lucky winner in the 8:00 a.m. Eastern hour right here. Hopefully he's, you know, had some smelling salts.

S. O'BRIEN: They had to kind of revive him a little bit.

M. O'BRIEN: (INAUDIBLE) million dollars, wow.

S. O'BRIEN: Well, yes, now he's got to pay for it, actually.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, he's got the (INAUDIBLE).

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, a great story. Great story.

Coming up on quarter past the hour. Let's get right to Chad Myers for an update on the traveler's forecast.

How high were you willing to go, Chad?


S. O'BRIEN: Still to come this morning, gas for under $2 a gallon. We'll show you where, find out what exactly is behind the price break.

And ode to joy on the job? Yes, gourmet lunch for free. A massage when you need it. They'll even give you the down payment for your new car. But you won't need it because you'll make a lot of money. We'll tell you where to search for the best place to work in America. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. We're back in a moment.


M. O'BRIEN: The most news in the morning is right here. A breaking story we have right now.

At least 60 people are dead after car bombings in a marketplace in a predominantly Shiite section of Baghdad. We'll get you details.

And another round of winter storms dropping ice and snow from the mid-Atlantic to the plains, making a mess everywhere in between.


S. O'BRIEN: Well, it may not be the happiest place on earth, but it is pretty darn close. Google top's "Fortune" magazine's list of the best places to work. And we sent AMERICAN MORNING's Alina Cho to the company's California headquarters to find out exactly why. Alina's back to fill us in.

Good morning.


Another good assignment.

S. O'BRIEN: Is that good (INAUDIBLE).

CHO: It certainly is, Soledad.

You know, you may be waking up right now dreading the fact that you have to go to work. But people at Google, well they are almost giddy about their jobs. Some of them barely leave the office. And why would they? They have every perk right at their fingertips and all of it is free.


CHO, (voice over): Ever wonder what's behind this home page? It's the Googleplex in Mountain View, California. The people who work here are called Googlers. Or if you're new, you're a Noogler and Google's hiring 100 a week.

THOMAS AREND, GOOGLER: You never need to go home because you can almost sleep here. You can do your laundry here. You can eat around the clock.

CHO: And all of it is free. Googlers and Nooglers can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner here at any of the company's 11 gourmet restaurants. If you gain what's called the Google 15, hit the gym. Training is free. So are the massages. There's volleyball, swimming, rock climbing, game rooms and scooters. And how's this for a perk? Google will kick in $5,000 for the purchase of a hybrid car. All this and every day is take your dog to work day.

LASZLOW BOCK, VP, GOOGLE: For us it's less an expense item and more of an investment because we truly believe that it generates value for us in the business.

CHO: By value, Google means productivity. The ubiquitous Internet search engine is not just Google anymore. There's Froogle, Google Earth, Blogger and G-mail. And Google is available in 110 languages. Many of the ideas are hatched, not in the cubicles, but in the lunchroom or over coffee.

Twenty-seven-year-old engineer Miniane Wang is a quintessential Googler. She graduated from college at 18, was lured to Google from Microsoft, and loves her job so much she immediately rejects all other offers.

MINIANE WANG, GOOGLER: What inspires them is not the ability to cash out and then relax and sail down the Nile. What inspires them is the ability to change the world.

CHO: Google gets 1 million applications a year, one every 25 seconds, and this year hired just 5,000.

CHARLES HUDSON, GOOGLER: Google gets the best and brightest kind of for whatever it is that we're trying to do. Whether it's our world class chefs or whether it's the people who are running our advertising and sales. People are just really talented here.

(END VIDEOTAPE) S. O'BRIEN: We have good chefs.

CHO: They're braggers, yes, Soledad, but that's all right. So if you're wondering, you know, and you're asking the question, what does it take to get hired at Google. Well the recruiters there say you have to be Googley. Well, what does that mean? That means you have to be brilliant but goofy too and a little nerdy doesn't hurt either. And they are looking right now.

S. O'BRIEN: Do they pay above what everybody else would pay?

CHO: Well, they won't say. There's a lot they won't say.

S. O'BRIEN: They've got the chefs but they won't mention about the salary. Interesting.

CHO: This is an industry that is maybe not paranoid but concerned about industrial spying. So they won't tell us how many people are in a team. They won't tell us how much the people make. They won't even tell us -- they'll tell us how many people work for the Googleplex but not, you know, I mean other numbers. They won't say . . .

S. O'BRIEN: No breakdown.

CHO: That's right, no breakdowns, that kind of thing. So, anyway, but it's tough to get in. You know, 1 million applications a year. One every 25 seconds. It's tough.

S. O'BRIEN: Interesting. Interesting. We have a chef here.

CHO: That's right, but it's, you know, free.

S. O'BRIEN: Free. No.

Oh, Alina, how the other half lives.

CHO: That's right.

S. O'BRIEN: Very nice. Thank you.

CHO: Sure.

M. O'BRIEN: Want some peanut butter with your jelly? I'll cook it up for you, no problem.

Gas prices are still falling. It is about 24 minutes past the hour. Stephanie Elam is "Minding Your Business."

Stephanie, good morning.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Miles. They still have those high gas prices when it comes to California and the Bay area. So maybe that will make everybody feel better who doesn't work for Google, but it's a stretch. Let's take a look at what's happened. Over the last two weeks, the average national price for gasoline has dropped close to 14 cents. So we've got some good news to start off with today. Taking a look, the national average for self-serve regular was $2.18.

If you wanted to know where you can find the cheapest gas, it was in Detroit at $1.86 a gallon. And then if you move on to Honolulu, that's where you would find the most expensive gas. That's not to much of a surprise there at $2.81 there.

Moving on, taking a look at this week, it's going to be about earnings season. We're still taking a look at who's going to come out with their numbers. But most importantly, Wall Street's going to be looking to see what these companies say about their forward-looking guidance. What do they think they're going to do later because they want to maybe if the Fed is going to raise interest rates the next time they meet at the end of January here. So they'll be looking for clues there.

We'll be getting earnings from American Express, Ford, Microsoft, McDonald's. We'll even hear from eBay, if you were looking for the tech companies. Also, the State of the Union Address tomorrow from President Bush will also be on the minds of investors.

Last week the Dow was almost flat, gaining only nine points for the week. Nasdaq lost 2.1 percent, dropped 51 points to 2, 451. So that would, obviously, keeps us in a eye -- sort of a holding pattern right now to see what's actually going to happen this week.

Coming up next, we'll take a look at Viagra. They're the target of a lawsuit.

Miles, I'll have that for the next half.

M. O'BRIEN: All right. Thanks, Stephanie.


S. O'BRIEN: All right. The top stories coming up next.

More horses in the race, one year to the day before the New Hampshire primary. We're live in Manchester for you this morning.

And the power of the homefront. A wounded soldier who's told he will never walk again defies the odds. We'll tell you his story straight ahead on AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is right here on CNN.


M. O'BRIEN: Breaking news from Iraq. Powerful car bombs rip through a crowded marketplace.

S. O'BRIEN: The homefront. A closer look at the grueling road to recovery for Americans who are injured in Iraq and the power of love, so they can walk away from their devastating war wounds. M. O'BRIEN: The race for '08. Senator Hillary Clinton joins the list of presidential hopefuls. It's as thick as a phone book now, which is only a year away now for New Hampshire.

S. O'BRIEN: And missile launch. Iran is set to test fire powerful rockets, an apparent threat as another U.S. warship moves toward the region. Those stories and much more on this AMERICAN MORNING.

And welcome back, everybody. It's Monday, January 22nd. I'm Soledad O'Brien.

M. O'BRIEN: And I'm Miles O'Brien.

Happening this morning.

At least 70 people dead in a pair of nearly simultaneous car bombings in central Baghdad. The Iraqi interior ministry says the bombings targeted a used clothing market that has been hit before. At least 110 wounded.

Elsewhere in Baghdad, mortar rounds hit an elementary school, killing a woman and wounding eight children.

Snow is again socking Colorado. Drifts as high as three feet shutting down highways there. At least 11 people died in traffic accidents. Snow, sleet and freezing rain is forecast for the East Coast this morning, while in Oklahoma and Missouri, tens of thousands still without power after those ice storms last week.

Federal agents are joining the search for a mother and her four children in the Chicago area. Kimberly Walker and her children, aged 16 months to nine years, allegedly kidnapped by Jerry White, the children's father. Police say White also shot Walker's boyfriend. He is in serious condition.

S. O'BRIEN: It's kind of getting crowded in the candidate pool and 2007 just started. Four political heavyweights are throwing their hats into the ring within the past week along, each vowing they're going to claim the White House come 2008. Listen.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) NEW YORK: It will be a great contest with a lot of talented people and I'm very confident I'm in, I'm in to win and that's what I intend to do.



SEN. SAM BROWNBACK, (R) KANSAS: I'm declaring today my candidacy for president of the United States.



GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D), NEW MEXICO: Today I'm announcing the formation of a presidential campaign exploratory committee with the clear intention of declaring my candidacy for president in the very near future.



SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS: On February 10th, at the end of these discussions and in my home state of Illinois, I'll share my plans with my friends, neighbors, and fellow Americans.


S. O'BRIEN: Oh, believe it or not, before long you're going to see all those faces and many more in New Hampshire. The first primary is there, one year from today.

That's where we find another familiar face, AMERICAN MORNING'S Bob Franken.

Just a year, Bob. Who would believe it?

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's funny. When you think of New Hampshire, you think of words that leave different impressions. There's "quaint," and well, there's "politics".


FRANKEN (voice over): Most states have a state bird, a state song. But in New Hampshire...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Politics is our state sport, and I'm delighted that you're here to play this game with all of us.

FRANKEN: They've been playing the first primary game here since 1920. While Hillary Rodham Clinton's announcement causes palpitations everywhere else, here it's join the crowd.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really feel that we have a chance as citizens of New Hampshire to really -- to meet all of the candidates. And so until I have an opportunity to meet all of the candidates, I will make a decision after that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We really haven't seen Hillary and we haven't seen Barack Obama, except once over in Manchester. And it will take us a while to figure out who they are.

FRANKEN: Actually, Hillary Clinton goes back to 1992 in New Hampshire, when as the wife of candidate Bill Clinton, she was traipsing through all of the snow and scandal.

CLINTON: If anything about our marriage is important to the people of New Hampshire as to whether or not they will have a chance to keep their own families together and to...

FRANKEN: Now Hillary Clinton herself is seeking the embrace of New Hampshire's voters, along with many, many others, including lots of Republicans -- McCain, Brownback, Romney, Giuliani. Among the Democrats, Obama, Edwards, Biden, Richardson.

Vilsack was here on Friday, Dodd on Saturday.

SEN. CHRIS DODD (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I apologize being a few minutes late. I'm not Bill Clinton. I'm not an hour late.

FRANKEN: Did he say "Clinton"? Actually, Hillary Clinton has not been here for a while.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of the candidates have to come to New Hampshire if they want to win. It's not, it's just the way that it is.


FRANKEN: The fact is, as you mentioned, Soledad, the first in the nation primary is scheduled exactly a year from today. However, there are other states crowding things, and New Hampshire reserves the right to move its primary earlier, if necessary, if necessary in the eyes of state officials.

Meanwhile, the first in the nation presidential debates will be held here in April. And did I mention that they're co-sponsored by CNN?

S. O'BRIEN: You did not. But if you hadn't, I would have mentioned that, Bob. Thank you very much.

FRANKEN: I'd be in deep trouble, yes.

S. O'BRIEN: And funny, because here's the segue.

A programming note, if you will. CNN teaming up, in fact, with WMUR TV in Manchester and the "Union-Leader" for a pair of debates in New Hampshire, Wednesday April 4th, Thursday April 5th, one for Republican presidential hopefuls, one for Democrats.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer is going to moderate that.

Bob, thank you very much.

We also want to hear from you. We invite your questions for the candidates or for our coverage as well. You can just send me an e- mail at, click on the link about halfway down the page. I'm going to answer some of your questions and give you a glimpse of how we do things here at CNN -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: New storms blowing in and warnings to stay off the roads. The travel forecast is next.

Iran upping the ante. A new military threat and another U.S. aircraft carrier on the move.

And a soldier fights and wins the battle of his life. They said he wouldn't live, they said he wouldn't walk, but they had no idea who they were writing off.

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING.

The most news in the morning is on CNN.


S. O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. The most news in the morning is right here on CNN.

Breaking news out of Iraq right now. The death toll is rising after car bombings in a Baghdad marketplace this morning. At least 75 people now have been killed.

And another round of winter storms dropping ice and snow from the Mid-Atlantic states, the Plains. It's making a big mess on the roads there.

M. O'BRIEN: Here's a look at what CNN correspondents all around the world are covering today.



Another round of war games are under way in Iran. According to the state-run media, the military will be testing short-range missiles for the next three days. The maneuvers come just as the United States is moving a second aircraft carrier into the Persian Gulf.

As tensions have escalated over the past year between Iran and the international community over its nuclear program, Iran has had a number of war games, three of them last year alone. A sign, a very public sign, that the Islamic republic is prepared for whatever may come. And a top religious figure in Iran on a top Shia clerical body has warned in the past day or so that Iran could be attacked in the coming months by the United States, hit at its nuclear facilities.



PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Paula Hancocks in Istanbul.

A 17-year-old high school dropout is in custody, suspected of killing Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. He has reportedly confessed to the crime, saying he has no regrets.

Police took him to the scene of the murder last night so he could re-track his steps. Many Turks believe Hrant Dink was murdered in broad daylight on Friday afternoon because his political views offended Turkish identity.


M. O'BRIEN: For more on these or any of our top stories, log on to our Web site,

S. O'BRIEN: Nearly 23,000 American troops have been wounded in Iraq. The physical injuries can be devastating, of course. The psychological wounds can run especially deep, too.

This morning, in our new series "The Homefront," the story of one young man, just 24 years old. He's already had dozens and dozens of surgeries and still faces many more, but his story this morning is a story of surviving and thriving.


S. O'BRIEN (voice over): Jim Benoit was one of the first U.S. soldiers deployed to Iraq in 2003. He spent a year, then returned for a second tour of duty in 2005. Just eight months after his return, an IED, an improvised explosive device, blew up under Jim's Humvee. Jim was driving.

JIM BENOIT, CRITICALLY INJURED IN IRAQ: I didn't even know I was, you know, injured or anything. And it was kind of like right when all of the sudden my vision just kind of went black.

S. O'BRIEN: Doctors told Jim he died on the operating table four times. Barely alive, Jim was transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where his mother Missy got the terrible news from doctors.

MISSY BENOIT, JIM BENOIT'S MOTHER: And I said, "Tell me straight out. I want to know the worst." And he said, "I don't think he'll make it through the night, and if he does, we will probably have to amputate at his trunk."

S. O'BRIEN: Doctors wanted to amputate everything below Jim's waist. Missy refused.

M. BENOIT: And I -- I looked at the doctor and I said, "There's nothing wrong with my son's legs. You go in there and you fix the broken middle." And I was just determined. My son was walking out of that hospital.

S. O'BRIEN: Jim had the first of what would be 79 surgeries. His muscles and tendons were cut and stretched over his backside and he needed painful skin grafts, taken from the side of his legs and back.

Every step of the way, keeping Jim company, a young woman named Pam Callahan. She had been a casual friend, then a pen pal while Jim was overseas. Hour after hour, day after day, Pam sat by Jim's bedside and they talked.

On July 1st, still in his hospital bed, Jim proposed to Pam and vowed he'd walk by their wedding. (on camera): Did you have any doubts about saying yes to the proposal?


S. O'BRIEN: Not a moment?

P. BENOIT: I've been with him and gone through so much with him already that I knew that he was the one.

S. O'BRIEN (voice over): On November 18th, the soldier doctors said would never walk again escorted his bride down the aisle.

P. BENOIT: I was waiting for my turn to come up the aisle, and somebody came back and they were like, "He walked up the aisle."

M. BENOIT: And when he got up and danced, no, he didn't leave a dry eye in there.

S. O'BRIEN: Then even more surprising, the breathtaking generosity of total strangers. Local school students raised $22,000 for Jim and Pam. The town is building them a home. So far, just the foundation's been finished.

The labor was donated. It's standing on land the town donated. And volunteers designed it.

Jim and Pam say they take it one day at a time. The soldier who was not expected to live and never expected to walk is now living a new life.

M. BENOIT: How are you, sweetie?

S. O'BRIEN: And his family is overwhelmed with gratitude.

M. BENOIT: Saying thank you, it's a simple word, but the impact it has, I can never thank these people enough for what they're doing for my son.


S. O'BRIEN: Jim's going to go in for his 80th surgery next month. Eighty surgeries.

Such a young man, but I tell you, he's so in love with this girl, and she's with him every step of the way. And this is -- you know, cases like Jim's are the kind of cases that the Fisher House helps, where you have to figure out how to take care of the family so that they can be there and help the soldier as well.

So, of course, the fact that we've auctioned off -- we, as if I helped at all -- but CNN helped auction off Warrior One. It helped raise a lot of money -- $1,250,000 will all go to Fisher House. There's 38 homes on bases -- military bases and near Virginia hospitals so they can take care of the family members while the soldiers are in the hospital recovering. It's just a tremendous service.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, and this is just a case study on what family can do for you, literally advocating to save the lower half of his body, his mother did.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes.

M. O'BRIEN: And to have them all there, supporting him along 80 surgeries.

S. O'BRIEN: Jim couldn't get into Fisher House. They didn't have room for him.

He applied, and because they only -- they have 38 houses, but still not enough. There's such a great need.

So, again, raising money for a great cause, and hopefully they'll be able to take everybody one day who needs the help.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes. It's too bad they need so many.

S. O'BRIEN: I know. I know.

It's coming up at 45 minutes past the hour, and that means it's time to get to Chad. He's got a look at the traveler's forecast for us.

Hey, Chad.



M. O'BRIEN: All right. Thank you, Chad.

MYERS: Sure.

M. O'BRIEN: Coming up in the program, we'll take a look at the grid, we'll tell you what we're watching in the control room and the NEWSROOM as we speak right now.

Plus, who is watching the watchdog? Consumer Reports did something unusual in its test of infant car seats and now they're investigating themselves. We'll explain, ahead.



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a top athlete?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an NFL player in the making right here.

COSTELLO: Justin Johnson is the number one high school running back in the country, according to "Sports Illustrated."

JUSTIN JOHNSON, HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYER: If you want to be the best, you have to train.

COSTELLO: Chip Smith has trained over 600 professional NFL players at Competitive Edge Sports. Most of these elite athletes spend four to six hours a day training. While studying at the Soviet Sport Institute in Moscow, he uncovered three key components that he believes are essential to athletes enhancing their sports performance.

CHIP SMITH, COMPETITIVE EDGE SPORTS: So we try with resistance in the movement, over-speed in the movement and reaction.

NATE WAYNE, NFL LINEBACKER: He has this thing he calls Chipometers (ph). You know, it's a resistance band. And you put those on and it keeps constant resistance on your muscles. And, you know, we run with them, then we take them off, and it feels like we can run a two-flat 40 -- 40-yard dash.

COSTELLO: Chip says all athletes can improve their sports performance by staying committed to training hard.

Carol Costello, CNN, New York.



M. O'BRIEN: Welcome back. The most news in the morning is right here. Let's take a look at the grid, some of the feeds we are watching in the NEWSROOM and the control room.

Take a look at incoming 17. We're monitoring Iranian television very closely. Yesterday the Iranians announcing intentions to fire some short-range missiles. It's a missile test. This, amid increasing indications that the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is facing internal criticism in Iran for his course of action, pushing to continue the enrichment of uranium, despite U.N. opposition to that notion.

Look at 301. That's the White House. The president is at Camp David this morning, on his way to the White House. He'll be dotting the I's and crossing the T's on his State of the Union Address today.

We're obviously going to be previewing that, and the State of the Union, of course, tomorrow.

Head on up now to incoming 86, if you would, Dean.

That's coming out of Charlotte, North Carolina. That is from our affiliate, News 14 Carolina, and expecting some rough weather there. It's 36 degrees right now.

And in Oklahoma, it is going to be -- there are 25,000 Oklahomans without electrical power today. So as Chad said, we had a busy week last week. It looks like it's going to be another busy weather week this week -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Just miserable for folks there.

Thank you, Miles.

Straight ahead this morning, suing the makers of Viagra. We'll tell you why one group says those Viagra ads are misleading.

We're "Minding Your Business" straight ahead.

Then later, carbon monoxide poisoning in your hotel room. After a handful of deaths, we'll tell you what some grieving parents are doing to force some big changes.

The most news in the morning is right here on CNN.


S. O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. The most news in the morning is right here.

Two developing stories we're following for you this morning. Breaking news out of Iraq right now.

At least 75 people dead after car bombings in a Baghdad marketplace this morning.

And snow and ice is making a big mess of the Plains states, closing roads and also causing several deadly crashes -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: A few minutes before the hour. Stephanie Elam is here "Minding Your Business."

You've seen some of those Pfizer ads. The question is, what are they exactly advertising?

Stephanie, good morning.

ELAM: Good morning, Miles.

Well, this is actually the target of what is expected to be a lawsuit filed today, according to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which claims that Pfizer is illegally marketing their product, Viagra, for the use of recreational -- or for recreational uses, I should say. They're saying Viagra is not supposed to make sex better, it's supposed to make it possible.

So they want Pfizer to be barred from actually marketing Viagra as a lifestyle or sexual enhancement drug. They're claiming that this marketing has led to some risky behavior in men as far as an increased spreading of HIV and also other sexually transmitted diseases.

Now, the foundation points to promotions that we have seen in recent years, like, "What are you doing for New Year's Eve?" That's what's one quote from a Viagra. Also, there's another one from the Super Bowl of 2006 which said, "Be this Sunday's MVP." So this is one of the issues that they're taking here, but now the FDA has called Pfizer on their overall tactics before. Back in 2004, they did make the company pull their ads for Viagra that did claim "wild thing." They were basically saying that it would return a man to the wild thing of his younger years, and so they're taking that -- they've taken them to issue on this exact topic before.

Now, if you remember the early days of Viagra, the pitchman was Bob Dole. And since then, if you look at the ads now, they've got a lot of robust looking 40-year-old men in those ads, and they're saying -- there's sort of an underlying current here of how they're making it look a little bit more for fun, rather than for actually helping people who do have problems.

For Pfizer's part, they are saying that their labels have always claimed that it does not -- Viagra does not actually stop the spreading of HIV or STDs, and they are saying that they are continuing to and they are committed to the overall safe use of Viagra.

So, coming up next, we'll take a look at gas prices. They've made a move. We'll tell you which way they've gone. It's good news, though. I'll tell you that.

Back to you -- Miles.

S. O'BRIEN: Love to hear that. All right, Stephanie.

M. O'BRIEN: Thank you, Stephanie.

S. O'BRIEN: Oh, I'm sorry.

And I thank you as well.


M. O'BRIEN: We share in the thanks.

ELAM: I feel the love.

S. O'BRIEN: Oh, good. Good. That's the point.

Let's take a look at some of the other headlines making news this morning from

One of the most popular stories, in act, "Go to hell, gringos." See if you can guess which leader said that.

Yes, that would be the latest anti-American tirade by the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez. Speaking on his weekly TV and radio show, Chavez also called Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "Missy" and accused the U.S. of unacceptable meddling in Venezuelan affairs.

The U.S. has expressed concerns over a measure that would allow Chavez to pass a series of law by decree.

M. O'BRIEN: Missy. I suspect she has a few choice words as well.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, exactly.

M. O'BRIEN: Which we won't necessarily hear. also has this story. You've heard about this over the weekend, on Saturday, the emergency landing of that Continental Airlines flight.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes.


M. O'BRIEN: The flight crew takes off, a 757, two pilots, a captain, first officer, lands. Only one left. The captain suffered a debilitating illness. We're not sure what it was.

S. O'BRIEN: He died, right?

M. O'BRIEN: And died, was pronounced dead after landing. The first officer was able...

S. O'BRIEN: He died in the air?

M. O'BRIEN: Yes. Well, they pronounced him dead on the ground. I think he basically died in the air. Kind of unclear. They're not saying what he had.

Fifty-eight years old, was the captain. The first officer was able to safely land the plane. Two hundred and 10 passengers on the flight.

And, of course, they tried to resuscitate the captain as the first officer was bringing this airplane in. You can imagine what a harrowing approach that was.

They had left from Houston, they were on their way from Puerto Vallarta. They ended up in McAllen, Texas. Eventually, those passengers got off to their vacations, but what a way to...

S. O'BRIEN: Has that happened before? Have you ever heard of that?

M. O'BRIEN: It has.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, it has happened before, but that's another reason why you have two pilots, at least. All right.

S. O'BRIEN: That's scary. Well, when you fly, you don't have two pilots. Do you have a plan?

M. O'BRIEN: I have a plan. I have the parachute in the plane.

S. O'BRIEN: Oh. M. O'BRIEN: So I tell all my passengers, just pull that and you can go to my funeral. That's the theory. Anyhow...

S. O'BRIEN: Oh, that's a blessing. Thank you, Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: I know. It really gets them so excited about flying with me.

S. O'BRIEN: Let's talk about -- this is why I don't fly with you, by the way.

M. O'BRIEN: Yet another reason, reason 422.

S. O'BRIEN: Oh. Let's talk sports, shall we?

"The Chicago Tribune" and "The Indianapolis Star" trumpeting their Super Bowl teams this morning. The Bears, we all know, beat the New Orleans Saints 39-14.

It killed them actually -- toward the end of the game, it just killed them. It was the NFC championship game, of course. Twenty- three unanswered second half points, unanswered, of course, because that's why they won.

The Colts edged the New England Patriots, which is kind of a surprise, too, 38-34, AFC title game. They rallied to win after falling behind 21-6 at the half.

I watched both games, which is big for me. I never watch football.

M. O'BRIEN: That second was kind of late.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, it was. And I was -- there I was, up with the baby.

This is, for the first time, I guess, two coaches...

M. O'BRIEN: African-American.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes.

M. O'BRIEN: It's very exciting.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes.

M. O'BRIEN: And an all Midwest battle, too. It's good. It will be a good one.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, it's going to be really good.

M. O'BRIEN: All right. We're coming up at the top of the hour. Chad Myers at the CNN weather center.

Chad, what's the big story this morning?

MYERS: That New Orleans should have pulled that parachute.


MYERS: Somewhere in the fourth quarter they should have tried to slow somebody down.

Good morning.