Return to Transcripts main page

American Morning

U.S. Base Attacked in Afghanistan During Cheney Visit; Democrats Divided: What's the Iraq Plan?; Juror Dismissed in Libby Trial

Aired February 27, 2007 - 08:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Targeted by the Taliban. New details just in. Vice President Dick Cheney evacuated to a bomb shelter after a deadly suicide blast in Afghanistan this morning.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Plan of attack. Senate Democrats try again today to upend the president's war plan and wind down the U.S. mission in Iraq.

S. O'BRIEN: And sticking it to you. A new plan to increase the price of stamps in the short term, but a unique offer to protect your wallet from price spikes in the long term.

We'll explain straight ahead on this AMERICAN MORNING.

M. O'BRIEN: Good morning to you. It is Tuesday, February 27th.

I'm Miles O'Brien.

S. O'BRIEN: And I'm Soledad O'Brien.

Thanks for being with us.

M. O'BRIEN: We begin this morning in Afghanistan and what the Taliban is calling an attempt to assassinate Vice President Dick Cheney. It happened at the sprawling U.S. Air base at Bagram. The vice president was there on a trip that was kept quiet in advance. He was nowhere near the site of the suicide bomb blast which killed at least three, including an American soldier.

Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, has been to that base many times and she joins us now with further details -- Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Miles, we have a bit of an update for everyone. The U.S. military announcing just a short time ago that actually four people now have died in this bomb blast. Also confirming to CNN that the suicide bomber got past an outer ring of security at that checkpoint that was manned by Afghan security and then detonated his suicide bomb between the outer Afghan checkpoint and U.S. security.

This checkpoint is a very busy place on Bagram Air Base. This is the main checkpoint when you leave or enter the base going on the road to Kabul to the capital.

I have been there many times. It's a very uncomfortable place to be, actually, at this checkpoint, because it is so busy.

There are dozens of trucks, vehicles, hundreds of Afghan workers waiting in line every morning to enter the base, the same thing throughout the day. A very busy area, a checkpoint that is very vulnerable, and now an indication that Afghan security didn't get their job done. The suicide bomber got past them, but got nowhere near the vice president. There would have been multiple layers of security there.

M. O'BRIEN: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.

We just got some word from the pool reporters who are traveling with the vice president. They say the vice president spoke with them and told them essentially what happened was they heard a loud boom, they ushered him to some sort of bomb shelter, and he reiterated his point that he believes no bomb blast of any kind can change U.S. policy in the region.

We'll get more details for you as they come in -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: On Capitol Hill, two Senate Democrats, Delaware's Joe Biden and Michigan's Carl Levin, will unveil their plan to repeal and rewrite the 2002 authorization for the Iraq war. Under their proposal, the role of the U.S. military in Iraq would be limited to training and counterterrorism, with a stated goal of withdrawing all U.S. troops not involved in the mission by March of 2008.

For more on what the Democrats are doing to confront the president of Iraq, let's get right to CNN's Andrea Koppel. She's live on the Hill for us this morning.

Hey, Andrea, good morning.


This is going to be the first chance for senators Biden and Levin to shop around that proposal, engage support among Democrats to do so in person later today, when they have their weekly Democratic caucus. In a preview of the kind of heated debate that we can expect to see, perhaps beginning as soon as this week on the Senate floor, Republicans are arguing that to pass this reauthorization resolution would be to tie the hands of commanders on the ground.


SEN. JOHN THUNE (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: These are very, very troubling developments and proposals, particularly when you consider them in light of what the constitutional role of the Congress is when it comes to these types of matters. Congress does not have the expertise nor the constitutional authority to micromanage tactics in a war.


KOPPEL: Now, in a sign as to just how controversial this resolution is, one of the president's harshest republican critics, Nebraska's Chuck Hagel, who has actually likened the war in Vietnam, saying it's the biggest foreign policy disaster since the war in Vietnam -- the war in Iraq, that -- he has already said, Soledad, that he would not be inclined to support the Biden-Levin resolution as it stands right now.

S. O'BRIEN: Andrea Koppel on the Hill for us this morning.

Andrea, thanks -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Happening this morning in Iraq, the U.S. military claiming it has smoking gun proof Iran is meddling in Iraq, supplying Shiite insurgents with weapons. U.S. troops are showing off a cache of weapons they seized over the weekend in the Diyala province. They say the border shells, rockets and other explosives could only come from Iran.

A new Pentagon report out about -- warning about future conflicts that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could mean the U.S. would be unable to fully respond to another military threat right now. The Pentagon hopes to ease the problem by adding more troops to the Army and Marines and scurrying more money for equipment.

A Senate panel takes up legislation today that would let the government regulate tobacco as a drug. It would keep nicotine legal but allow the feds to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes and require bigger health warnings. Similar efforts to regulate tobacco have failed in the past.

Who says nothing lasts forever? U.S. postal regulators want to make that happen, even as they recommend yet another rate increase.

AMERICAN MORNING'S Bob Franken is stuck to this story like glue in Washington.

Hello, Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I hope you have your stamp of approval on it, Miles.

You say that nothing is forever? Well, in a very short time, forever's going to be 41 cents.


FRANKEN (voice over): Get ready. The post office is on the way to another increase in the cost of the stamp. So make sure that you don't get rid of those two-centers quite yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes folks will say they don't have them in stock. I mean, we're stuck with a whole bunch of stamps that are just collecting dust in your drawer.

FRANKEN: It was just a year ago January that the price went up to 39 cents. Now, if all goes as planned, it could go up again to 41 cents by about May. But there's' new gimmick -- a forever stamp. DAN Blair, CHAIRMAN, POSTAL REGULATORY COMMISSION: It will be good forever. It will be good despite subsequent rate increases, and that way you won't have to stand in line, you won't have to buy those makeup stamps. And it will be good for the postal business and it will be good for postal customers.

FRANKEN: It will cost that same 41 cents. The whole idea is to break even.

So why sell stamps that would cost less after the next rate increase -- and there certainly will be one. Because the postal service can keep that up-front money for a while. As for the consumer, paying now, buys peace of mind later.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a bunch of mystery stamps that don't have a value on them, and I have no idea how much they're worth. So a forever one would be great.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it would be great if I could get a ton of them.


FRANKEN: I should point out that the cost of the "forever stamp" will go up as there are more increases -- and there certainly will be. So 41 cents, Miles, is much like the duration of this report. It just seems like forever.

M. O'BRIEN: No, no, no. It was pithy all the way. We appreciate your two cents or 41 cents' worth.

Bob Franken, thank you -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: One juror's out. Is it going to benefit the prosecution or the defense in the Libby trial? We'll look at the latest details of that trial coming up next.

And it's a discovery that's already drawing plenty of fire. A major Hollywood director says he's helped uncover the tomb of Jesus.

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


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

Four people were killed in a suicide bomb blast. It happened outside a U.S. base in Afghanistan this morning. There is word from Vice President Dick Cheney just a few minutes ago. He says he heard the loud boom and he was moved to a bomb shelter briefly, but he says he never felt threatened.

Volkswagen recalling 790,000 Golf, Jetta, and Beetle cars because of problems with the brake light switch today. M. O'BRIEN: The jury in the trial of Lewis "Scooter" Libby gets back to deliberations this morning with only 11 members. The judge booted a juror who says she was exposed to information about the case outside the courtroom.

Perhaps she read a dispatch from Court TV's Savannah Guthrie. She's been in the courtroom all along. She joins us from the Washington bureau.

Savannah, good to have you back on the program.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, COURT TV: Good morning. Don't blame me, Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: No, I'm not blaming you. I just -- I wanted to say that you are certainly a source of information on this case.

This juror stood apart from the beginning. Describe her.

GUTHRIE: Well, she was someone we all remembered from jury selection because she's very striking in appearance. She has stylish blonde hair, wore very big glasses, she spoke with a pretty effected manner of speech.

For example, she was asked if she could set aside her feelings, any feelings she may have about the Bush administration and judge the case impartially, and she said, "That is the obligation." She was just very dramatic.

She has her Ph.D. from a university in London in the arts. She was a curator at the Museum for Modern Art for many years and now does research. So she was just one of the more memorable jurors.

And there's one other thing. Remember, Miles, when all the jurors showed up on Valentine's Day wearing red T-shirts with white hearts on them to show their appreciation for the judge? This was the one juror who wouldn't wear that T-shirt.

M. O'BRIEN: OK. So she has an independent streak, and obviously a strong streak for honesty, and said, hey, I've seen something, I have to be honest with you, judge. Now, the judge had the choice there of just calling in an alternate and telling the juror to start over. I think about two and a half days logged in the deliberations. So that would be a bit of a setback.

Instead, they're going with the 11. Tell us how that decision was reached.

GUTHRIE: Well, you know, it's very unusual in this case, because it's the defense that wanted to go forward with 11 jurors. Now, it's perfectly appropriate. You're not constitutionally entitled to a jury of 12 in a criminal case, but usually it would be the defense who wanted as many jurors on that panel as they can get. I mean...

M. O'BRIEN: Right. It raises the odds that you'll have one holdout, right? GUTHRIE: Exactly.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes.

GUTHRIE: So it was kind of unusual in this case that the defense wanted to go forward with 11, and it was the prosecutors who wanted to bring in that fresh alternate and start the deliberations anew.

There is a couple of possibilities here -- either there's something that came out when they were questioning these jurors that made the defense feel positive about how deliberations were going, or they didn't like the alternate who's on deck, didn't think that that was a pro-defense juror. So there's a couple of possibilities there.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, interesting, though. So it sounds like the defense holds the cards in this. The prosecution cannot insist on adding an alternate if it wants?

GUTHRIE: No. I mean, ultimately, it's the judge's discretion. Because the defense asked for, it I think the judge -- you know, he's going to try to play fair, but on the other hand, he wants to bend over backwards to give the defendant a fair trial, to eliminate any kinds of issues on appeal.

So the judge said, great. He didn't want to waste those two and a half days of deliberation any more than the defense did.

M. O'BRIEN: All right.

Having said all that, and clearly, the judge has bent over backwards here, and we're told the defense attorneys, even Scooter Libby, walked out of the chambers smiling.


M. O'BRIEN: Is it possible thought that this -- they could be smiling because they're thinking, hey, this would give us grounds for an appeal later?

GUTHRIE: I don't think so, because, look, it's the defense that asked for the -- for the jury to go forward with just 11 members. I mean, let's say it was the reverse, and the defense wanted 12, the prosecutors wanted 11, and the judge sided with the prosecutors. Then maybe you have an argument on appeal. But here, what could they say?

This was their request. They got exactly what they wanted.

It's true, Miles, the defense side was really smiling, in particular Scooter Libby, when they came back from chambers having just questioned some of the jurors. So I don't know what happened back there. I'm dying to find out. But if body language is any indication, the defense is pleased with how things are going so far.

M. O'BRIEN: Oh, to be a fly on the wall. I'm sure it will come out eventually and you'll be the person to tell us about it.

Come back, will you?

GUTHRIE: You bet.

M. O'BRIEN: Savannah Guthrie with Court TV -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Coming up at quarter past the hour. Time to check in with Rob Marciano, who's watching storms across the country today.


S. O'BRIEN: Action on the Asian markets could make it an interesting day for the Dow here at home. Ali Velshi's going to tell us why when he minds your business, straight ahead this morning.

Then coming up, an unbelievable find. Really, it might just be unbelievable. Is it the family tomb of Jesus? We'll take a closer look.

And look at this. It's an ice shelf melting in the Antarctic. Scientists simply amazed of what they found under all that sea ice.

We'll show you ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


S. O'BRIEN: Welcome back. You're watching the most news in the morning right here on CNN.

This morning, an unbelievable announcement, and it may just be unbelievable. And that's why some people are having a hard time embracing it.

Director James Cameron says this is the burial place of Jesus and his family. And the findings, of course, would challenge the very fundamental beliefs of Christians.

AMERICAN MORNING'S faith and values correspondent is Delia Gallagher.

Good morning to you.


S. O'BRIEN: How likely is it that in fact inside that tomb, which is part of this documentary airing on the Discovery Channel, is Jesus' family?

GALLAGHER: Well, the discovery is legitimate. It's a discovery from the 1980s, and the Israeli Antiquities Authority, which is the group that sort of governs these discoveries, you know, has sent their scholars in. They say this is a legitimate discovery of these limestone boxes that have remains in them, and that on the outside, there is inscriptions with different names of Jesus, Joseph, Mary, two Marys, and so on. So, the question is, what do you do with that discovery? And the documentary purports to say that this is Jesus' whole family kind of buried in this one place. And that furthermore, their testing on some of the remains in those boxes shows that the Jesus box and the Mary box were two people not related. And therefore, according to the documentary, married, and then the son of Jesus is the child of those two people.

So that's kind of the large claim of this documentary.

S. O'BRIEN: So to have those names all in one tomb -- and those are essentially sort of caskets, I guess -- I mean, that's got to be, you know, sort of numbers-wise, very, very unlikely odds. What's -- why are not the Christians embracing this generally?

GALLAGHER: Right. Well, that's what the claim is, that statistically, it's very unlikely that the names of all Jesus' family members would be in this one place, if it weren't really Jesus and his family members. And Christians -- and not just Christians -- you know, there are sort of other historians and academics and things that are saying, well, you know, there are a couple of different problems with this, that the names were common names at that time, that it's unlikely that Jesus' family, being from the north, being poor, would have had a mausoleum place where they all would have been buried.

S. O'BRIEN: Not in Nazareth.

GALLAGHER: Not in Nazareth. So, you know, there are a number of different holes that you can go back and forth.

I think the religious community, the Christians' response has been, you know, scientific advances are welcomed, but they question the motive and the academics behind this discovery.

S. O'BRIEN: And the timing, too. This is what Kera M. McCaffrey, who's the director of communications for the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights -- she says this: Not a Lenten season goes by without some author or TV program seeking to cast doubt on the divinity of Jesus and/or the resurrection."

GALLAGHER: Yes. And I hear that a lot.


S. O'BRIEN: ... for documentaries about Jesus.

GALLAGHER: I hear that from Christians a lot, that they feel, you know, this is a kind of relentless sort of poking holes at Christianity.

S. O'BRIEN: And it's time for Lent again, so time for a good audience that might be interested in it. It looks like an interesting documentary, whether it's true or not.

Delia Gallagher is our faith and values correspondent.

Thank you, Delia -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Thank you very much, Soledad.

And a story that is just developing, China's stock market plunged sharply in trading today.

About 22 minutes past the hour. Ali Velshi ""Minding Your Business."

What's going on?

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Miles, we've been talking this morning about all the things we're expecting in the news today. It's a busy business day, but the Shanghai composite has just closed up for the day, and it has seen an almost 9 percent drop. It's the biggest drop in 10 years.

The issue here is that it would have been lower but for the fact that there is a limit on how much a company can lose in a day's trading in China, 10 percent. Many companies hit that limit before the market closed. So this might have been a bigger drop.

There is a concern -- I would say it's kind of like Alan Greenspan describing what was going on in markets in the '90s as irrational exuberance. There is a concern in China -- this is a market that's gone up the last year and a half by 175 percent. In fact, just yesterday it hit another all-time record.

So there is a concern the government might do something to sort of slow that market down and a number of investors were getting out. So it's not a fundamental problem with the market, it's just that it was overvalued, and that is a very big drop.

That is likely to be the overriding effect on market trading today, plus the attacks in Afghanistan that we're covering. Looks like markets might get distracted over financial matters today and be looking at the world.

M. O'BRIEN: So look for things to go down elsewhere, the ripple effect?

VELSHI: That's right. That's quite possible.

It's had that effect in European markets, which are now getting ready to close. So for those of you who watch your portfolios, there is a new element in today's trading.

We still have, however, consumer confidence coming out. We're expecting that report maybe from Toyota that they're opening a new plant. And we've got a host of corporate earnings.

So, who knows how it goes? That's why it's a market.

M. O'BRIEN: Lots to process today.

VELSHI: Yes. M. O'BRIEN: All right. Ali Velshi, thank you.


M. O'BRIEN: Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, Vice President Cheney the target of a deadly attack at a U.S. base in Afghanistan. And new reaction coming in from the vice president, who was inside that base and ushered into a bomb shelter.

And a really cool couple. You're going to want to meet them.

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



S. O'BRIEN: Welcome, everybody, Tuesday, February 27th.

I'm Soledad O'Brien.

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

We're glad you're with us.

Happening this morning in Iraq, an arrest in that assassination attempt on the country's vice president. Security forces apprehending a suspect after reviewing security footage from the Baghdad building where that bomb exploded yesterday. Shiite vice president Adel Abdul Mahdi suffered minor injuries in the attack. Ten others were killed.

On Capitol Hill, Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee will question Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Joint Chiefs chairman Peter Pace at a hearing this afternoon. At issue, the president's request for $100 billion to send more troops to Iraq.

President Bush will swear in John Negroponte as the deputy secretary of state directly under Condoleezza Rice. Negroponte is returning to the State Department after serving as President Bush's first ever director of National Intelligence.

S. O'BRIEN: We told you about the vice president's visit to Afghanistan. Well, the blast this morning is helping strengthen the belief that Afghanistan's growing insurgency is a consequence of Pakistan's weakness with militants.

A closer look now at some of the aid that the U.S. sends into Pakistan. A new report says there is little accountability on just how Pakistan spends that money.

The report comes from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. It reveals that the U.S. has given Pakistan more than $10 billion in military, economic and development assistance since 9/11. Pakistan's repeated failures, though, to taming militants inside the tribal Pashtun border areas has prompted the Senate to consider cutting funding to Pakistan. That's according to CNN's terror analyst, Peter Bergen.


PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: They've sent 70,000 troops in there. Pakistan took about 700 casualties. That military approach wasn't much of a success.

Then they turned to basically appeasement, a series -- a couple of peace agreements with the militants. That has not really being successful either, because after the peace agreements -- one in September of last year -- attacks from that area went up in Afghanistan, according to U.S. military officials, by 300 percent. So unfortunately, there's sort have been two different polls, neither of which have really worked.


S. O'BRIEN: Pakistani officials insist they're doing all they can.


MAHMUD DURRANI, PAKISTANI AMB. TO U.S.: The problems in Pakistan, we are fighting them. We are fighting it on multiple fronts. I think we need your sympathy, other than accusing us of not doing enough. I think we are doing more than anybody else.


M. O'BRIEN: Now developing news about the vice president's trip to Afghanistan. He was quickly ushered to a bomb shelter in the midst of an apparent assassination attempt. It happened at the sprawling U.S. airbase at Bagram. At least three dead, including an American soldier.

Let's get right to CNN's Elaine Quijano at the White House.

Elaine, any official word from the White House about this?

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Reporter: Well, you know, the word we are getting is from the vice president himself, Miles, talking to reporters who are traveling with him. By all accounts, the vice president was not close to the area where this explosion at Bagram Air Base actually took place, but he did tell those reporters who were with him that he certainly heard a loud boom while he was at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan. He said that the Secret Service told him that there had been an attack on the main gate and then he was moved for a brief period of time to a bomb shelter near his quarters before he was allowed to return to his room.

Now the vice president was asked about reports that the Taliban not only claimed responsibility for this attack, but also bluntly saying that Vice President Cheney himself was the target. The vice president responded by saying, quote, "I think they clearly try to find ways to question the authority of the central government. Striking at the Bagram base with a suicide bomber, I suppose, is one way to do that. It shouldn't affect our behavior."

But this attack, Miles, coming more than five years after U.S. forces toppled the Taliban in Afghanistan. America's allies in the region, as you noted, Afghanistan and Pakistan, have been unsuccessful in curbing the threat posed by al Qaeda and the Taliban. Mr. Cheney met in Afghanistan with Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, to talk about that threat, and away from the cameras to no doubt press him to do more. Senior officials saying that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Elaine Quijano at the White House, thank you -- Soledad.


S. O'BRIEN: Learning more about a secret eating disorder that affects far more people than doctors first suspected. More women and men are binge eaters, and there are far more cases than cases of anorexia or bulimia.

CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is at the CNN Center with more for us this morning.

Hey, Elizabeth, good morning.


Soledad, for this story, we spoke with a woman name Natalie who would go on wild food binges, eating ice cream, potato chips, cookies, and more.


NATALIE, RECOVERING BINGE EATER: A sleeve of Ritz crackers with peanut butter, Triscuits, you know, some cheese from the refrigerator, maybe some cream cheese straight out of the carton, maybe some mayonnaise right out of the jar.

COHEN (voice-over): For more than 10 years, Natalie lived in shame.

NATALIE: And I would buy foods from, you know, from different stores and stop in different places so that nobody would, you know, would know that I was getting -- no one could really track me. I really needed to be anonymous in my eating.

COHEN: She binged in private, her family and friends never guessing her secret. Secrecy, a hallmark of binge eating, helps explain why few people realize that binge eating has become America's most common eating disorder, more common than anorexia or bulimia. That's according to a new Harvard study, which finds that one in 35 Americans suffers from regular binge eating. We all overeat at times. How is binge eating different? Experts say binge eaters eat as if in a trance. Thousands of calories in just a few hours, so much that sometimes they just pass out. Like Natalie says she did nearly every day for several years.

NATALIE: It's almost like a feeling of being drunk, that kind of passing out.

COHEN: As binge eating is starting to come out in the open, therapists are beginning to learn why people do this to themselves.

DR. LINDA CRAIGHEAD, PSYCHOLOGIST: The person is eating in a sense to distract from or numb their feelings. It is a very -- it's a form of emotional eating.


COHEN: Dr. Craighead, who you just met in the piece, says that the first way to get over binge eating is to identify the emotional reasons why you overeat. Natalie says she realized that overeating was a way to compensate for stress at school. She joined a support group and has not been on a binge in seven months -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: So for people who are binge eaters, is that essentially the solution or the fix, that you really need psychological help and not hospitalization?

COHEN: The binge eaters that we talked to who had overcome their binge eating, they did a couple different things. Some people would join support groups, like Natalie, and never once met a professional. Others said they really needed professional help. They sought the help of a psychiatrist or a psychologist. So people do it in different ways. Some people actually go on medication.

Let's take a look at some of the ways that people have overcome binge eating, some of the behavioral things that they do. Therapists say make an eating schedule; write down when you're going to eat and stick to it. Because one of the problems is, is that binge eaters won't eat for hours and hours and hours, and then they'll get incredibly hungry and eat. So that means you need to eat every few hours. Some of the binge eaters we talked to said every two, three hours they make sure that they have something in their stomach so they won't get starving and binge.

Also, to plan alternate activities. Therapists say when you feel that binge coming on, you'd better have something you can do. Maybe you want to take a walk, maybe there is a game you like to play, something that can be an alternative to eating.

Also, identify eating triggers. Are there certain things that bring on binge eating? When you pass by a certain store and just want to go in and get that food? Well, you should avoid that store. And also, as we discussed, get help. That help could come in the form of a support group, in the form of a therapist. For some people taking medication's the answer. S. O'BRIEN: You know, when I was looking at that woman you interviewed, she didn't look like she was overweight, and yet you talk about people who are eating 5,000 calories in one sitting. Is that -- is she the norm? Are the people not overweight?

COHEN: You know, it is interesting. Many binge eaters are not obese. For example, Natalie that said she would walk the length of Manhattan, up and down Manhattan, to work off those calories. So some people are like Natalie and they just do incredible amounts of exercise to work off those calories. So the weight she's at now was the way she was at when she binged.

Others people don't do that, and of course they do become obese. But what they realize is that the reason for their obesity isn't just plain old overeating, it's binge eating.

S. O'BRIEN: Elizabeth Cohen for us this morning. Thank you, Elizabeth.

COHEN: Thanks.

S. O'BRIEN: Miles?

M. O'BRIEN: Coming up in the program, we're going under the sea for a look at some new creatures scientists have found, where some ice shelves used to be. If they had their way, they'd rather not see these creatures.

And a newborn panda is already making history in her young life.

Is she cute? Well...

S. O'BRIEN: Yes.


S. O'BRIEN: Yes!

M. O'BRIEN: Well, a mother could love her.

The most news in the morning right here on CNN.


M. O'BRIEN: Global warming is causing all kinds of problems for our planet, but at least one case is giving scientists a window on a previously unseen world.

Let me take you to a part of Antarctica you want to check out.

This is part of the Larson Ice Shelf, Larson B, which no longer exists. we're talking about January 2002 right now. Give you a scale here. This square is roughly about the size of Rhode Island.

Now let's show the progression, as time went on in 2002. Gradually what you saw here -- keep it coming. We've got a couple of more slides here. You see the ice shelf disintegrate.

What is has left behind is open sea. This is the Waddell (ph) Sea right here. Obviously some chilly waters there. The Larson Shelf B had been there for 12,000 years. Scientists took a look underneath that sea recently, and they came back with some amazing findings. Take a look at some of the creatures discovered there.

First, take a look at this octopus that they saw, kind of a psychedelic octopus, an Antarctic octopus, that they find rather interesting.

Let's go to this next one here. This one was found actually at the Larson A Ice Shelf. These are sea squirts. Why are sea squirts important? Well, they're kind of some of the first invaders in a change in biodiversity. It turns out 95 percent of the critters that were there when the ice was on top are there. Only 5 percent are new, but the fact that there are 5 percent new creatures in there tell you things are changing there.

Take a look at this next critter. They're calling this shackletonia, in honor of the Shackleton crew, which rode, of course, to Elephant Island, not far away from there.

And finally, this is an interesting one. They've never seen these things. These are sea cucumbers, but what's interesting about them is look at the direction. They're all going -- well, I've got them in the wrong direction there. They're all going this way. Where are they headed? Why are they all headed in that one direction?

In any case, as many questions as answers in those findings.

Interesting and odd as those creatures may be, scientists would prefer they didn't have the opportunity to see them frankly. The loss of that huge ice shelf is just part of a troubling accelerating problem, which one couple is dedicated to trying to turn around.


M. O'BRIEN (on camera): How much do you have in here?


M. O'BRIEN: Seven-thousand meters? And this represents 20 years of work getting (INAUDIBLE), right?

E. THOMPSON: Or more.

M. O'BRIEN (voice-over): Scientists Lonny and Ellen Thompson are a pretty cool couple.

(on camera): Do you guys love ice?


E. THOMPSON: We're definitely cold weather people.

M. O'BRIEN: I would hope so, right.

(voice-over): After all, for the past three decades they have traveled to every corner of the world in pursuit of ice.

(on camera): And is this your mission and passion.

E. THOMPSON: Absolutely.

M. O'BRIEN (voice-over): And the ice is telling them the story they would rather not hear.

L. THOMPSON: The fact is these glaciers are disappearing, and along with them that archive which we're trying to study to look at the history of the Earth.

M. O'BRIEN: The Thompson's tap into that history by drilling deep, where the ice is very, very old. The cores they ship back to their lab at Ohio State University are sliced, diced and scrutinized every which way to get the cold, hard facts on climate change.

(on camera): It's like reading rings on a tree, isn't it?

L. THOMPSON: Only they go back much further in time. And the oldest records that we have from Antarctica, those go back 650,000 years.

M. O'BRIEN: This is what it's like inside the Thompson's freezer -- it is 20 below zero in here. My ears are killing me right now.

All these tubes contain ice cores. (INAUDIBLE) total in here about 7,000 meters, or in excess of 20,000 feet of ice cores.

And take a look -- here's one right here. Pull it out. It's just ice to you and me. But if you know what you're doing, if you know how to leave the ice, might at well be a history book.

L. THOMPSON: The idea that you have an archive on Earth that records composition of carbon dioxides, methane and nitrous oxide and all the greenhouse gasses that we're concerned about in today's world to get a perspective. I mean, that's really what you need to have in order to understand the significance of the changes in the 21st century.

M. O'BRIEN (voice-over): Ice shelves -- thick glaciers rooted on land and extending far out onto the sea, are breaking away at an alarming rate.

Off Elsmere (ph) Island in Canada, the summer before last a piece a little bigger than the size of Manhattan broke free in a matter of hours. The Thompsons are watching the glaciers they studied fade away. The poster child, the Glacier Hemingway immortalized in the snows of Kilimanjaro.

L. THOMPSON: You look at the projection times for when they will disappear, know they're going to go.

E. THOMPSON: Those ice fields have been there 11,000 years.

M. O'BRIEN (on camera): And when will they be gone?

E. THOMPSON: Within the next two decades.

L. THOMPSON: Before 2020.

M. O'BRIEN: That quickly?


L. THOMPSON: That quickly.

M. O'BRIEN: Why should we be worried about ice?

L. THOMPSON: I think it's our canary, it's our canary in the coal mine; it's the thing telling us that the system is changing.


M. O'BRIEN: You know, they use that term, canary in a coal mine. The interesting thing is, the ice that sits on top of Greenland, just that ice, has more water contained in it than the Gulf of Mexico. If it were to melt, sea levels all around the world would rise 20 feet. That's just one piece of ice, a big one at that.

S. O'BRIEN: Wow, that's amazing, and those pictures were amazing, too. They travel all the time.

M. O'BRIEN: They're always on the road. They're constantly kind of assessing these glaciers to see how they're doing, and drilling more cores, because basically the evidence they're using to find out more about climate change is withering away.

S. O'BRIEN: Interesting. All right, Miles, that was great.



M. O'BRIEN: "CNN NEWSROOM"" is just minutes away. Heidi Collins is at the CNN Center with a look at what's ahead.

Hello, Heidi.


That's right, we have these stories are coming up on the NEWSROOM rundown -- a suicide attack at a U.S. base in Afghanistan. Vice President Dick Cheney unharmed. Reports this morning of the Taliban saying he was the target.

And an 8-year-old topping 200 pounds. He may be taken into protective custody now. Social workers say his mother is overfeeding the boy. Plus, check it out. The jazzman making it a notable morning in the "NEWSROOM," Wynton Marsalis. His plan to restore music and the arts to devastated New Orleans. Looking forward to that.

I'm in the "NEWSROOM" with Tony Harris, top of the hour on CNN.

Miles, back to you.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, thank you Heidi -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: How's this for a big baby? A brand new delivery at the St. Louis Zoo to tell you about -- 236-pound baby elephant. You can only the ears and trunk there. Cute, though. A second Asian elephant born at the zoo in the last seven months, 34 1/2 inches tall. No name yet.

Oh, that's a better shot. Oh, she's so cute! Staying close to her mom and her grandmother and her aunt, a 7-month-old named Malia.

Other side of the spectrum, weighing in at just 3 ounces is this little cutie, a new baby panda born on Friday in China.

M. O'BRIEN: Not so cute.

S. O'BRIEN: I think it's cute.

M. O'BRIEN: You do?

S. O'BRIEN: I do, I do.

M. O'BRIEN: All right.

S. O'BRIEN: Vets say it's a female. Vets say she's healthy. Her delivery sets three records. The mother was the oldest in the breeding program, 13 years old, to give birth. Also longest pregnancy at 324 days. Imagine 324 days and you have a baby that's three ounces?

M. O'BRIEN: I think that's a record ratio, of gestation period to weight.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, it might be, it might be. And then also the earliest born in the new year. Nineteen pandas were born at the center last year; 17 survived.

M. O'BRIEN: And they don't name it for a while, right?

S. O'BRIEN: I think they wait 100 days or so.

M. O'BRIEN: Something like that. All right.

S. O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning, here's an important story if you like to walk around high heels, high heels that won't kill your feet. They've got a rocket scientist to thank, believe it or not. We're going to show you some new high-tech steps for you, straight ahead on AMERICAN MORNING. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

S. O'BRIEN: Ah, the price of fashion! Women have been torturing their tootsies for decades, to find doctors who say the look of high heels is not worth the damage to your feet. Now though, rocket science is giving women everywhere a lift.

Here's AMERICAN MORNING's Alina Cho.


ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Sex in the City's" Carrie Bradshaw showed us just how much women love their high-heeled shoes, and what can happen. You've seen it on the catwalk and on the street, yet women won't give them up. The problem?

RICK DELMONTE, FOOT SURGEON: You're taking a foot that is this big, putting it into a shoe that's this big.

CHO: Rocket scientist Brian Hughes believes he may have the solution. The MIT graduate started thinking about the idea during a college board meeting.

BRIAN HUGHES, CHAIRMAN, HBN SHOE: One of the women at the table literally leaned forward and grabbed me and said, I need these shoes. Now, I didn't know much about high heels at the time, but I did recognize passion when it grabbed me by the throat.

CHO: With the help of a podiatrist, Hughes came up with this -- a heel insert, called "Insolia." It's clear, has an adhesive, and Hughes says you can insert it in just about any shoe with a heel.

HUGHES: What that does is stops a woman from sliding down and keeping the weight off the ball of her foot.

CHO: Hughes says without the inserts, a woman wearing three-inch heels would have 75 percent of her weight resting on the balls of her feet. That's what causes foot pain. Hughes says Insolia cups the heel, so the weight balance is more like 50/50. In other words, it's like wearing flat shoes.

Or is it? We tested them out on the streets of New York.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a little bit more comfortable, but it's not much different.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pretty much feels the same.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not hurting now.

CHO (on camera): Really?


CHO: It's a miracle!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A miracle! And you don't find them very often.

CHO (voice-over): A miracle?

DELMONTE: I don't buy it, I wouldn't buy it, and I wouldn't recommend these for my patients.

CHO: But Hughes thinks he's onto something.

HUGHES: I think what we've done is basically relieved a little bit of pain from a whole lot of people.

CHO: It may not be rocket science, but Hughes says it's a good thing.

Alina Cho, CNN, San Antonio, Texas.


S. O'BRIEN: So I tried them out.

M. O'BRIEN: Well?

S. O'BRIEN: They're comfortable. They're squishy. It certainly doesn't feel like you're wearing flat heels. That's ridiculous.

M. O'BRIEN: You know, I've got to say, I'm so glad men don't have to wear these things. I see women walking around in them, and I think, it's got to be painful every step of the way.

S. O'BRIEN: You know, but you look cute.

M. O'BRIEN: The price of vanity. Yes, it does look good.

Here's a quick look at what "NEWSROOM" is working on for the top of the hour.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: See these stories in the "CNN NEWSROOM": Vice President Dick Cheney the target, according to the Taliban. He is unhurt after a suicide attack at a U.S. base in Afghanistan.

Garlic touted as a cholesterol buster fails in a new study.

A terrifying hit-and-run caught on a police dash-cam.

And college women kicked out of a sorority house. They say it's because they're ugly.

You're in the "NEWSROOM", 9:00 a.m. Eastern, 6:00 Pacific.