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Iraqi Insurgents Using Children as Decoys; Power Struggle Continues Between White House And Congress Over Prosecutor Firing Flap
Aired March 21, 2007 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: Welcome back, everybody. It's Wednesday, March 21. I'm Soledad O'Brien.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: And I'm Miles O'Brien. Thanks for being with us.
S. O'BRIEN: Let's begin with the next move in Washington, D.C. As House Democrats meet this morning they could vote to subpoena President Bush's top aides to testify under oath about the firing of those federal prosecutors. The president's drawing a fairly defiant line in the sand against having his top aides testify under oath.
We have full coverage this morning from CNN's Dana Bash, she's on Capitol Hill. We have Ed Henry at the White House this morning.
Hi, guys. Let's start with Dana.
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Soledad, Democrats are flat out rejecting the White House offer to allow top Bush aides to come to Congress, but not testify in public. As Senator Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying it's not constructive to try to tell the Senate how to do its investigation. That, setting up a constitutional clash between this Democratic Congress and the Republican president.
BASH: White House Counsel Fred Fielding would not comment as he left a closed-door Capitol Hill meeting, trying to navigate the crushing scene, but Democrats did.
REP. JOHN CONYERS (D-MI) CHMN., HOUSE JUDICIARY CMTE.: We are disappointed. And I think that may be an understatement.
BASH: Clever, but incomplete, at best, is how one top Democrat described the White House offer to make Karl Rove and other Bush aides available for a private interview, but not public testimony.
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D-NY): It's sort of giving us the opportunity to talk to them, but not giving us the opportunity to get to the bottom of what really happened here.
BASH: Democrats say their biggest problems with the White House proposal are that Bush aides would not be under oath and there would be no transcript of their answers about why federal prosecutors were fired.
SCHUMER: With no transcript, with no oath, with private conversations that can be contradicted, recollections can fail, you're not going to get very far.
BASH: The demand for Rove, former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, and their deputies to testify, came from Democrats and Republicans. One senior GOP lawmaker came out of the meeting and said he thought the White House laid out a fair deal.
REP. CHRIS CANNON (R-UT): I'm a very zealous guardian of the prerogatives of Congress, but I expect the president to be a zealous guardian of the executive branch, as well. And I think it's a great offer.
BASH: And later a Bush ally slammed Democrats for rejecting the president's offer so fast.
SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): I just think we shouldn't be under any illusion that this is about politics. It's not about a search for the truth. And, frankly, I think this Congress and the Senate deserves better than that.
BASH: And later this morning, Democrats are going to make a move to directly defy the president. The House Judiciary Committee is going to vote to authorize the chairman to issue subpoenas for Karl Rove and others, to be used, if these negotiations totally collapse, Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: And it's not looking so good. All right, Dana Bash for us this morning. Thanks, Dana.
BASH: Thank you.
M. O'BRIEN: President Bush is nothing if not loyal and he has a long close relationship with Attorney General Gonzales, so it's no surprise he is digging in for a fight. CNN's Ed Henry at the White House with more on that.
Good morning, Ed.
ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Good morning, Miles.
You know, the president has been battered by one issue after another since the election. Some conservatives have been complaining he's not standing up enough, not pushing back against Democrats, with his back against the wall in this U.S. attorney flap. He's finally decided to throw down the gauntlet.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: However, we will not go along with a partisan fishing expedition aimed at honorable public servants. HENRY (voice over): The president defiantly vowed to go to the mat. All the way to the Supreme Court to fight Democratic threats to subpoena his top political adviser Karl Rove and former Counsel Harriet Miers.
BUSH: Initial response by Democrats unfortunately shows some appear more interested in scoring political points than in learning the facts.
HENRY: But he also flashed a little anger with his own administration, that the latest blow to their credibility was a self- inflicted wound by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
BUSH: While I strongly support the attorney general's decision, and am confident he acted appropriately, I regret these resignations turned into such a public spectacle.
HENRY: Particularly galling for the president is that the political crisis has only grown since last Wednesday when he tried to end it at a press conference in Mexico.
BUSH: What was mishandled was the explanation of the case -- cases -- to the Congress. And Al's got work to do up there.
HENRY: Bu Gonzales has still not made his way to Capitol Hill to mend relations. An initial e-mails released by the Justice Department seemed to give Rove a bigger role in the flap than the White House originally admitted. Facing likely subpoenas compelling Rove and others to testify under oath, and in public, the president has resisted, trying to paint this as a principled fight to preserve executive privilege.
BUSH: If you haul somebody up in front of Congress and put them in oath and you know the cleage (ph) lights and all the questioning, to me, it makes it very difficult for a president to give good advice.
HENRY: But make no mistake this is not just about principal, there's politics here, as well. What the White House is really fretting about, is if they don't stop the Democrats on this one issue, the floodgates will open and then subpoenas will be flying, the precedent will be set. Subpoenas flying on Iraq, the CIA leak case, you name it. Democrats will be hauling Karl Rove and other top aides to the Hill week after week, They want to draw this line in the sand, Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: Boy, what a showdown that is brewing. Thank you very much, Ed Henry.
Also on Capitol Hill that showdown over the war in Iraq is coming to a boil this morning. House Democrats scurrying to coral support for a $124-billion emergency war spending bill that would bring the troops home, from Iraq, by August of 2008. But there's a lot of division among Democrats. Perhaps a dozen now say they will vote against it. We're watching that one. And in Iraq this morning the U.S. military is shocked by a sick new twist in terror tactics. They say terrorists driving a car bomb put two children in the back seat so they could make it past a security checkpoint. Military says the adults ran from the car before setting off the bomb, the blast killed the kids and three others standing nearby.
S. O'BRIEN: Is it going to be a showdown on U.S. soil? Iran's president is coming to America to make his case to the U.N. It's a case against U.S. backed sanctions. CNN's Zain Verjee is following developments for us from Washington this morning.
Hi, Zain. Good morning.
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPT. CORRESPONDENT: Hi, good morning, Soledad.
Iran's president is grabbing the mega phone but the United Nations, but the U.S. wants Iran to hear its message loud and clear.
VERJEE (voice over): The U.S. wants to jack up the pressure and the economic pain on Iran by slamming it with new sanctions. The goal?
SEAN MCCORMACK, SPOKESMAN, U.S. STATE DEPT.: To get them to change their behavior.
VERJEE: The U.S. wants Iran to stop enriching uranium because it could be used to build a nuclear bomb. President Ahmadinejad, known for his acid tongue, says Iran has the right to its nuclear program. The U.S. says President Ahmadinejad should seize the day.
MCCORMACK: Tell the world that Iran is ready to come back into the fold; to come back into those nations who are ready to negotiate with them.
VERJEE: Most observers aren't holding their breath.
MICHAEL RUBIN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: In the past, he tries to out-Chavez, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and out-Castro, Fidel Castro of Cuba. I don't believe he's looking for a solution. He's looking to, basically, grand stand.
VERJEE: But it may be a little too late for Iran to be mounting a defense.
RUBIN: The United Nations Security Council isn't going to deny him a right to speak, no more than a judge would deny a convict his right to make a statement before he was hauled off to jail.
VERJEE: The State Department says that the negotiation pathway is still open if Iran chooses to reverse course. Secretary Rice has said if that happens she's willing to meet the Iranians to talk any time, any place -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: Zain Verjee for us this morning, thanks.
M. O'BRIEN: That Boy Scout missing in the North Carolina woods three long cold nights is waking up safe and sound at home this morning thanks to some dedicated volunteers human, and canine. Twelve- year-old Michael Auberry found a mile from the campsite where he disappeared on Saturday.
His dad said Michael's good pals did not show up for the Scout camping trip and he was homesick. He apparently was trying to go home. Randi Kaye caught up with rescuer Misha Marshall and her Shiloh shepherd, Gandalf, who saved the day.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): How did you and your dog spot Michael?
MISHA MARSHALL, SEARCH DOG HANDLER: He was upwind of us. He started air scenting him. And dogs do what's called a head pop. He popped his head three times in one direction, and we came around the corner and he spotted Michael.
KAYE: What was the first thing he said to you?
MARSHALL: He asked for some water. He asked for a snack. He asked if a helicopter could take him out. So, yeah. We said, I don't think so, but he'd obviously, heard the helicopters.
KAYE: Typical 12-year-old boy, huh?
M. O'BRIEN: All is well if he wants a helicopter ride. There's Gandalf there. Misha and Gandalf will join us live in just a little while. So stayed tuned for that.
S. O'BRIEN: Oh, there is some severe weather to tell you about, in the Plains. Icy weather there, too. Oh, by the way, it's the first full day of spring today. We'll update you on how it's looking across the country this morning.
Plus, we'll talk to one of the first people to jump on the issue of these fired U.S. attorneys. How far is Congress prepared to go in its fight with the White House?
You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is right here on CNN.
M. O'BRIEN: Most news in the morning right here on CNN.
Mr. Gore comes it Washington; the original bellwether on global warming coming to testify about it today.
A lot of interest, if you will, in the Fed today, as the Chairman Ben Bernanke, weighs in on interest rates. Wall Street is expecting he'll announce a push. Keeping rates as they are, 5.25 percent -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: Happening in America this morning. The Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco says she will not run for re-election in the fall. She was heavily criticized, you'll remember, for her role in the incredibly pathetic response to Hurricane Katrina. Now early polls have also showed she's 20 points behind the Republican, who's running to replace her.
In suburban Philadelphia an eight-year-old girl has been suspended, could be expelled from school. She brought a toy gun. She says she brought it because afraid to walk home alone from the bus stop. Her brother couldn't escort her one day. Police say the gun looks like the real thing and they're not planning to file any charges.
In Los Angeles, return trip for the world's largest airliner, the Airbus A380 took off last night from LAX, heading home to France. If you look up over the sky, in New York, you'll see another A380 circling -- circling. Just showing off. Later that plane will fly to Dulles International near Washington, and also O'Hare in Chicago.
From Arizona, the Grand Canyon Skywalk officially opened for business this morning. Told you about that controversy yesterday where members of the Hualapai Indian Tribe have been testing, testing it, I guess, by jumping up and down. You might want to do more tests than that, but apparently --
M. O'BRIEN: No, no, no. You go first on that one.
S. O'BRIEN: Look at that. Everybody is out there. That's amazing. First visitors walked out, just out 70 feet, looked down 4,000 feet right into the Grand Canyon. That has got to be a spectacular view.
M. O'BRIEN: Kind of gives me a pit, just looking at it. I'm a pilot. I just like being strapped into something.
S. O'BRIEN: I'd love that.
OK, let's talk about Britney Spears, shall we? In L.A., she is out of rehab this morning. Gosh, I hope it worked this time around. This was video that was taken before she checked in back in February. Shaved her head, you know, that whole thing. Anyway her publicist said she successfully completed her rehab program, and now she'd like a little privacy.
M. O'BRIEN: How many times has she successfully completed rehab, now?
S. O'BRIEN: You know, what, sometimes it takes a few times for it to stick.
M. O'BRIEN: There you go.
S. O'BRIEN: We hope the very best for this young lady. She is a young mother, she has kids who need her.
M. O'BRIEN: I wonder if she's still sporting the same hairdo? We'll find out later.
S. O'BRIEN: Maybe it grew back in.
M. O'BRIEN: Quarter past the hour, right now. Chad Myers that Weather Center.
S. O'BRIEN: A closer look this morning, now, at the showdown that is shaping up between the White House and Congress over those mass firings of federal prosecutors. Listen to the president from last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: We will not go along with a partisan fishing expedition aimed at honorable public servants.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
S. O'BRIEN: Congressman Rahm Emmanuel is chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. Also was one of the first Democrats to publicly question the U.S. attorney firings. He's on Capitol Hill this morning.
Nice to see you, sir. Thanks for talking with us.
REP. RAHM EMMANUEL, (D-IL), CHMN., HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS: Good morning. How are you?
S. O'BRIEN: I'm very well, thank you.
As you well know the president has offered to send Karl Rove and Harriet Miers, and others, to talk with Congress. But -- and this is kind of a big but -- there are some conditions. Not under oath, not in public, no transcript from the meetings. What is your response to this offer from the president?
EMMANUEL: You know, in the last week, Soledad, if you look at it, in fact, they said, you know -- in fact, there was no White House involvement. Memos came out, in fact it was hatched at the White House. They first said it was Harriet Miers and now it's become clear that it wasn't Harriet Miers, who initiated this.
They said Karl Rove had no role. Here we find this -- I think the notion that they don't want to do it under oath, when in the last 10 days we have all learned the first set of stories that they put out, including the most important, which is these folks were fired for job performance. And it's clear none of that holds up to the light of day.
That under oath, being answering with the notion that there's consequences if you're not telling the truth, is imperative given in just the last 10 days, three or four story lines that they provided been literally knocked down within 48 hours, as not being true or not totally accurate.
S. O'BRIEN: OK?
EMMANUEL: I think that -- I mean, all of us have to tell the truth, obviously. We have that obligation. But the conditions they're putting around the White House testimony, up front, that my guess is it is just a bargaining position going in, because they know they're going to have to get up here to testify.
S. O'BRIEN: So, it sounds like you're saying, then, to the offer, thanks but no thanks. Will there be subpoenas issued today by the Democrats?
EMMANUEL: Well, that's something that obviously the two committees are going to look at.
The fundamental issue that has to be uncovered is there are 93 U.S. attorneys. How did these seven get picked? Does somebody believe they pulled them out of a hat and put all 93 names on a piece of paper? There's something about what they were doing, professionally, that cost them their job.
Now, originally the White House said it was job performance. They didn't think they were good. But in fact, they have all scored unbelievably high in the ratings as U.S. Attorneys. A lot of us believe it has to do with the fact that they were pursuing public corruption cases and paid a price for doing their job.
S. O'BRIEN: OK, well, if you take a look, the attorney general's chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, he resigned. A guy named Michael Battle, who is the director of the office of the U.S. attorney, he also resigned.
Yesterday the president said in his remarks that they're going to correct any mistakes that were made. Does executive privilege cover Harriet Miers and Karl Rove?
EMMANUEL: Well, as you know, there's a lot of analysis. It's an undescribed, an undefined area, usually its reserved for national security. I worked in the White House, where many senior aides had to, under oath, testify. You try to limit where it is, but, nonetheless, they went up and testified and under oath.
This is not national security issues. The issue is questions of whether there was any political role or influence played in the firing of seven U.S. attorneys who are only guilty of one thing. They did their job. S. O'BRIEN: You worked in the White House, the Clinton administration, where they claimed executive privilege for Bruce Lindsey and Sydney Blumenthal in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, essentially. So why that time around was the efforts you made --
S. O'BRIEN: It failed, but there was an effort to say executive privilege. Let's protect these guys. They shouldn't have to go testify before Congress. It failed. But that was claimed, so why this time around does it not seem fair?
EMMANUEL: The answer is right in your question. The fact is it all got worked out and they did testify under oath. And Bruce Lindsay testified many times under oath and as did many other senior advisors. That privilege is usually reserved for national security issues. This is not national security, this is whether we respect the Constitution and leave politics out of the pursuit of justice.
S. O'BRIEN: All right. We'll see if those subpoenas will come today. Illinois' Congressman Rahm Emmanuel joining us. Nice to see you. Thanks for talking with us.
EMMANUEL: Thank you.
S. O'BRIEN: Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: Well, the Fed is ready to make its announcement. Wall Street was expecting steady as she goes, an order from the captain of the USS Fed Ben Bernanke. But then the economy got hit by a bit of a squall. Stephanie Elam "Minding Your Business" next. Stay with us on AMERICAN MORNING, as we cruise on.
M. O'BRIEN: The Fed's big announcement on interest rates due out this afternoon. Big day if you're a business correspondent. Stephanie Elam at about 23 past the hour, "Minding Your Business".
S. O'BRIEN: Busy, busy, busy.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: That's why I'm up early.
M. O'BRIEN: You're pumped. It's game day!
ELAM: It comes out at 2:15 Eastern Time, but I'm ready. Let's see what happens.
Here's the deal. The Fed will come out today with their interest rates and let us know whether or not they're going to hold things steady. They're widely expected to do that with interest rates, which is at 5.25 percent.
But what is really at issue here, is what they'll see for the future. Before this meeting everyone expected them to hold rates steady for the rest of the year. But then we have the whole mortgage lending issue. That sent the markets into a tizzy a couple weeks ago. You remember that? Well, after that, well now they're wondering if that is going to change the game here.
So, we're really going to be looking for clues on what happens there. Not so much what happens with the interest rates, because they shouldn't change today. That's the expected plan.
Let's move on and talk about Oracle, the business software maker having a nice run up here. Up about 3 percent yesterday after they reported strong quarterly profits and revenues. This is the fastest third quarter growth in more than five years for Oracle and they're saying that they had strong global results in all of their product lines.
This is giving hope, overall, that companies aren't pulling back on their tech spending. Good news, there, overall for that industry.
Taking a look at Motorola. We have some more merger news to talk about. Speculation here, basically. Motorola, more theories are in the market that they may be out to buy PALM. Now, PALM has said that they're looking at their options. They have hired Morgan Stanley to look at that. So that part is not so much a surprise here.
But the reason why the speculation came up yesterday the Motorola chief executive, Edward Zander (ph), was supposed to give a speech at an industry conference, a big one, and he pulled out. So that has people wondering if the reason he pulled out is because he's too busy working on the PALM deal.
Other speculation about Motorola, though, out there as well, that perhaps it is actually the target of a buyout. So it is kind of like soap operas of business stories, because you don't really know who is going to buy whom. As "The Wall Street Journal" turns. I know, what's going on. So, yeah, there we go.
M. O'BRIEN: Thanks, Stephanie.
S. O'BRIEN: Thanks, Steph.
Top stories of the morning are coming up next. Terror tactic: There is fear this morning that Iraqi insurgents are using children as deadly decoys in suicide bombings now.
A constitutional showdown, the president and the Congress face off in the firing of those U.S. Attorneys. So just who's got the upper hand?
A fresh look this morning at your favorite Chinese food dishes. How healthy are they, or maybe the answer is they're just not. We'll tell you. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is right here on CNN.
M. O'BRIEN: Good morning to you, Wednesday, March 21st. I'm Miles O'Brien.
S. O'BRIEN: I'm Soledad O'Brien.
We're following several developing stories for you this morning. Out of Iraq, very disturbing new tactic to tell you about. Apparently it's already being used, according to the U.S. military insurgents are using children as decoys in their deadly suicide bombings. It happened at a checkpoint. We'll talk about what can be done to prevent it from happening again.
M. O'BRIEN: Marching towards a constitutional showdown over those fired U.S. attorneys. President Bush holding firm and no testimony for his aides under oath, he says. Congress just as firm insisting on it. It could vote on that today. We'll look at the legal drama brewing.
S. O'BRIEN: What great news about that missing Boy Scout who is now safe and sound, all thanks to a search dog named Gandalf. We'll meet the dog, meet the searchers. And also, I'll tell you what we found out about why that boy wandered off in the first place.
M. O'BRIEN: This morning the battle lines drawn in the sand. The White House and Democratic lawmakers spoiling for a fight over whether some of the president's top aides will testify before Congress over that mass firing of U.S. attorneys.
As the debate unfolds, you'll hear the term executive privilege an awful lot. So what is it? And how do I get me some? We're are privileged to have Jeffrey Toobin as our legal analyst.
I can't get it, can I?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, just get elected president, Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: Oh, that is all it takes?
TOOBIN: I think a groundswell is building for you.
M. O'BRIEN: Thank you.
TOOBIN: So, that's the only way you're going to get any of that.
M. O'BRIEN: Rahm Emmanuel, Democratic congressman from Illinois was just on our program. Soledad was just talking to him. Let's listen to what he had to say for a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RAHM EMMANUEL (D-IL): This is not national security. This is whether we respect the Constitution and leave politics out of the pursuit of justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
M. O'BRIEN: Lay off that. What do you say? TOOBIN: That's not really the test. It's not whether it relates to national security or not -- the main factor that courts usually use is internal deliberations. The courts want to respect the president's internal deliberations so he can get free advice -- freely given advice from his aides. So they don't want to respect the president's internal deliberation, so he can get free advice, freely given advice from his aides and so, they don't want to invade that privilege. However --
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: Could taint that advice if they thought (INAUDIBLE).
TOOBIN: However, that's not an absolute privilege for everything that goes on in the White House. The most famous case involving executive privilege is United States against Nixon, the White House tapes case where the president was forced to turn over many tapes of internal deliberations at the White House because there was a pending criminal case where that evidence was relevant. Here, there's no pending criminal case, so it's not precisely analogous. The Cheney energy task force papers case, there Cheney was not required to turn over the papers. So, you know, the courts have not, it's not a clear line.
M. O'BRIEN: But it seems to be, though, at least so far with those two presidents in mind, a whiff of criminality is what causes the judges to privet in the other direction.
TOOBIN: That's part of it, but an even bigger phenomenon, an even bigger factor is politics. These cases are almost always settled, particularly in the Clinton administration when Congress was subpoenaing the White House all the time over Lewinsky, over Whitewater. Basically they worked it out where someone would testify, but they limit the subjects on which they would testify. Based on today's conversations, it doesn't look like any compromise is in the offering any time soon but that's usually how it's worked out at least in recent history.
M. O'BRIEN: Final thought, if it continues to be this donnybrook, this could go on for months, years right?
TOOBIN: Many months. Certainly the remainder of the Bush presidency because it first goes to the district court in Washington, then the court of appeals in Washington, then potentially the Supreme Court and you're talking about an administration with 21 months to go. So you can do the math. Courts don't work that fast.
M. O'BRIEN: Jeffrey Toobin, always a privilege. Thank you. Soledad.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: That Boy Scout who was missing in the North Carolina woods for three very long and very cold nights is waking up safe and sound at home this morning thanks to some very dedicated volunteers, both human volunteers and canine volunteers. Twelve-year old Michael Auberry was found about a mile from the camp site where he disappeared on Saturday. His father says Michael's good friend didn't show up for the camping trip so he was homesick and apparently was trying to make his way back home. Gandalf, which is the name of that search dog that found Michael and his handler Misha Marshall are going to will join us live straight ahead this morning.
Also this morning, "Consumer Reports" says it has steps in place to prevent another botched report. They've already apologized for that inaccurate report about infant car seat tests. They now say it was a misunderstanding in the crash test lab. They're also taking back that request to recall the Evenflo discovery car seat. The problem "Consumer Reports" says is that they never checked in with those outside consultants when they got the original results so future tests are going to seek more outside advice.
Also happening this morning, hearings over the Patriot Act in the Senate. Yesterday House Democrats and Republicans warned the FBI saying they're in danger of losing some of its rights to spy. An inspector general recently found the FBI violated its emergency powers to look into the lives of private citizens.
An important decision is expected in the financial world today. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and the Fed going to decide whether to change interest rates. Financial analysts predict he's going to keep them right where they are, right now at 5.25 percent. They say we'll only see an interest rate cut when the housing market starts dragging down the entire economy.
In Beijing this morning, a warning to North Korea. Disarmament negotiators want North Korea to start talking. The north is still waiting for $25 million in frozen funds to be transferred into its bank accounts. No word from the banks on exactly what's going on. Other countries say an opportunity to make progress is being lost.
M. O'BRIEN: Coming up on the program, how low can they go? Terrorists in Iraq using children as a ruse to get past a checkpoint. They're sacrificed in a car bombing.
And one more reason to ask for the salad over those tasty fries there, they keep you safe in more ways than you think, including breast cancer. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING, the most news in the morning right here.
S. O'BRIEN: Welcome back. Most news in the morning is right here on CNN. Former vice president and environmental advocate Al Gore is testifying on Capitol Hill today. He's going to urge lawmakers to do more about global climate change.
And House leaders are making a push today, a new push to get about a dozen reluctant Democrats to support a bill that would pull troops out of Iraq by next year. Now, a vote is expected tomorrow.
M. O'BRIEN: A sick new twist in the Iraq war. Some car bombers using children as a way to achieve their bloody goals. It's just one startling tactic as insurgents try to thwart the military security crackdown in Baghdad. CNN's Barbara Starr live from the Pentagon with more. Good morning, Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Miles. It has always been a deadly match between insurgents and U.S. troops but what happened Sunday in Baghdad has even battle hardened veterans horrified. Just listen to how the Pentagon explained that insurgents were now using children as decoys.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAJ. GEN. MICHAEL BARBERO, DEPUTY DIR FOR REGIONAL OPERATIONS: We saw a vehicle with two children in the backseat come up to one of our checkpoints, get stopped by our folks. Children in the backseat, lower suspicion. We let it move through. They park the vehicle and the adults run out and detonate it with the children in the back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: Really horrifying, Miles and that is just really one new insurgent tactic that they're seeing. The general went on to say over the last several days, they've seen also three more chlorine gas truck bombs. That makes six chlorine bombs since January, all very much a concern to the military Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: Clearly, the insurgency and the violence is shifting to, you know, work around the existing security situation. Remember, we're talking about all those helicopters going down and now we're not seeing so much of that. What is going on there?
STARR: We're not seeing these reports of helicopters going down. The military by all accounts has shifted its patterns, its procedures, restricting certain area where helicopters fly, but let me also tell you there has been a new insurgent tactic against fixed wing aircraft, another very, very unsettling incident a few weeks ago. We now know a British C-130 landed at a remote dirt airstrip in southern Iraq. There was an explosion upon landing. The C-130 transport airplane, you see that type of aircraft here hit two daisy chains of IEDs planted in this remote dirt air strip air field. Thirty people on board. Everyone was taken safely off the plane, but, again an insurgent tactic that has them very concerned, using IEDs now to attack transport airplanes as they land, Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: Barbara Starr live from the Pentagon, thank you. Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: Happening in America this morning, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco says she's not going to run for re-election come the fall. She was heavily criticized for her role in the pathetic response to hurricane Katrina. Now early polls show that she is 24 points behind the Republican who is running to replace her.
In Georgia, lawmakers voting to ban the sale of marijuana flavored treats. The treats have names like chronic (ph) candy and pot suckers. Minors won't be able to buy them. Sellers face fines up to $1,000. Critics say the law makers are trying to legislate taste.
From Arizona this morning that Grand Canyon skywalk is officially open for business. We told you about the controversy yesterday. Members of the Hualapi Indian tribe testing it out. First visitors walked 70 feet out, looked 4,000 feet down right into the Grand Canyon. What an amazing sight that must be.
In Los Angeles, Britney Spears out of rehab this morning. You're looking at some pictures from when she -- right before she checked in actually. She shaved her head. People thought, she's freaking out a little bit. But her publicist now says Britney successfully completed her rehab program and what she needs now is her privacy.
Ahead this morning, connection between your diet and breast cancer. Foods high in fat are a danger to more than just your heart. That's news you need to know straight ahead.
Plus a fresh eye on your favorite takeout. What's the fortune for your health if you go Chinese for lunch? We'll tell you straight ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.
S. O'BRIEN: It is coming up on 45 minutes past the hour and you know what that means. Chad Myers for us at the CNN weather center. Good morning, Chad, how's your map looking?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It looks pretty cold. Seven right now in Albany. 10 in Montreal, 26 in New York City, but the skies are clear and the airports really are having no problems getting planes off the ground and into the air and that seems to be a problem because if you look at this next graphic here down into Atlanta, 157 planes are now in the air trying to land in Atlanta. So, now, we have volume delays. It's always something.
The FAA plans on a number of airports having problems getting planes in the air. So they schedule that around that, saying that probably will miss a few planes here, miss a few planes there. When everybody can get in the air at the same time, then you can't all get on the ground at the same time. So now 15 to 30-minute delays at Atlanta Jackson Hartford. I'll tell you what, it will go away. They'll clear these planes up. This is just that morning push, that morning rush trying to get planes all at one spot all at the same time.
Rain showers and thunderstorms across the central plains, some of them may be severe today. Most likely just really a hail event, nothing more than that. No tornadoes. I'm not seeing a lot of spin to the atmosphere. Obviously, it's possible, but not a big tornado day. A hail day for sure. Tomorrow still mild across parts of the northeast, in fact, much warmer for you, Miles. From New York only in the 40s, tomorrow on up into the 60s. Not bad. Back to you.
M. O'BRIEN: If you don't like the weather, wait a day. No problem, thank you, Chad.
Health headlines for you this morning. A new study says it looks like a high-fat diet increases the risk of breast cancer. Previous tests have been somewhat murky on this point. The new study from the National Institutes of Health looked at 200,000 middle aged woman and found those who ate a lot of fat were, in fact, more likely to develop invasive breast cancer.
More than 10 million doses of the flu vaccine headed to the trash by midnight June 30th. That's the government-imposed expiration date, but it really has nothing to do with the shelf life of the vaccine. The old stuff is destroyed just to make sure people get shots that battle the latest flu bugs. Some suggest it should be donated to poor nations or that expiration date should be extended but Congress would have to weigh in.
Doctors in Japan being warned against giving Tamiflu to teenagers. The health ministry there issuing the warning after several teens exhibited dangerous behavior. Two 14-year olds were killed, two 12 year olds seriously hurt. They jumped from their high rise apartments after taking Tamiflu. It may be a problem here in the U.S. as well. The government says it's investigating at least 100 reports of unusual behavior in children who were taking the flu- fighting drug.
S. O'BRIEN: We've been talking about Chinese food all morning and that has really had me thinking about having Chinese food for lunch today, but you might be thinking it's a healthy alternative to fast food burgers or fries but the fortune cookie says, wise men double checks ingredients. AMERICAN MORNING's Greg Hunter is live for us in Chinatown New York this morning. Sanjay Gupta is in Atlanta. Let's start with Greg in Chinatown. Hey, Greg, good morning.
GREG HUNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. Lots of Chinese markets and restaurants. They'll be hanging ducks in the window back there. It's closed down right now but the place is just starting to get hopping. In about two or three hours this place will be packed. Behind me famous Canal Street. Some Chinese food has a lot of fat, sugar and calories and salt. How do you avoid it? This story is all about choices.
HUNTER (voice-over): Chicken in black bean sauce, one of the saltiest dishes on the menu.
BONNIE LEIBMAN, CHIEF NUTRITIONIST, CSPI: It has 3,800 milligrams of sodium. You should get no more than 2,000 in an entire day.
HUNTER: That's equal to 1.5 teaspoons of salt. Chicken chow foon is another high-sodium dish which is also loaded with 1,200 calories.
FEIBMAN: Again, a teaspoon and a half of sodium. It's like going to Subway, getting a chicken sandwich and then getting four bags of salt and vinegar potato chips.
HUNTER: This equals this in fat and salt?
LEIBMAN: That's right. HUNTER: Vegetables are better than meat but there's trouble there too. Now we have the vegetables and these look pretty good, eggplant and green beans.
LEIBMAN: You can't assume that vegetables are low in calories. This eggplant in garlic sauce 1,000 calories without rice.
HUNTER: I can see, is that oil?
LEIBMAN: That's oil and it's also got a lot of salt in it.
HUNTER: Some Chinese appetizers are filled with salt and fat but there are ways to avoid them. So let's empower some people with some healthy choices. Vegetables, noodles?
LEIBMAN: Vegetables are better.
HUNTER: Stir fry, deep fry.
LEIBMAN: Go with the stir fry and vegetables.
HUNTER: Big, small?
LEIBMAN: Small is better.
HUNTER: Also order more brown rice instead of white. It's more nutritious. If you really want soy sauce, use the low sodium kind, usually with a green top. That will cut the salt almost in half. One Chinese American community leader says unlike most Chinese take out, authentic Chinese food is actually low in fat and salt. Customers justy have to choose wisely.
WELLINGTON CHEN, CHINATOWN PARTNERSHIP LOCAL DEV. CORP: We all know the right thing to do, whether we do it or not is another issue. I think ultimately it's the consumer making the choices.
HUNTER: Well, one thing you can do down here is you can take the sauce on the side. Now, you can get the white sauce instead of the brown sauce. If you get it on the side, you get less calories and less salt. If you get the brown sauce, you get more salt and maybe some more calories. So, that's one of the things you can do, get the sauce on the side or get the white sauce instead of the brown sauce and one other things, one of the highest, fattiest, saltiest appetizer you can get, yes, the Chinese spare ribs, my favorite. I know Miles, it's breaking your heart.
S. O'BRIEN: Oh Miles it is breaking his heart. It's breaking my heart too. I love that stuff and I can eat the whole bag. That is so good. That is such a bummer. What a depressing report today. Thanks a lot.
Let's talk about what it all means for your health this morning with paging Dr. Gupta. Sanjay, let's start with the salt. He mentioned the fat. He mentioned the salt. He mentions the sugar, how much salt is too much? 3,000 grams of salt in that black bean dish, chicken and black beans, that's obviously way too much.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Clearly too much. You can hear reports on how much salt is too much. Anywhere between 1,500 and 2,300 milligrams of salt a day is what most people should get. Most people in the United States get around 4,000 just to give you a scale of reference there. Also, what's interesting, as well, talking about Greg's report about Chinese food, about three quarters of our sodium intake actually comes from processed foods, foods you really may not even have been looking at the salt content. We're not talking about the salt that you add like you see there. The food that you buy in the store usually loaded with salt because it's a good preservative so people want to give it a longer shelf life.
S. O'BRIEN: I've heard Sanjay, people say, unless you have hypertension, unless you have high blood pressure, it really is not that important for you to monitor your salt. People who have a problem, absolutely, it's critical. But for everybody else, if you don't have a problem, it's not that big of a deal, is that true?
GUPTA: Probably not true. First of all, sodium does have some significant good effects in the body. It helps transmit nerve impulses. It maintains a fluid balance. The problem is that everybody is at risk for hypertension and everybody is at risk for heart disease and the problems can start early. We've learned a lot about this. People who start taking too much salt, what happens is basically salt likes to go to fluid. Fluid starts to build up in your body. As a result, your heart has to start working harder. That's where the hypertension comes in. The kidneys have to start working harder too to try and clear the fluid and you can have kidney problems later on down the line. It can be a problem especially in young people because those problems are additive over the years.
S. O'BRIEN: All right, thanks a lot, Sanjay.
GUPTA: Another depressing report, I know.
S. O'BRIEN: I'm still going to have Chinese food for lunch but just the sauce on the side, the brown rice and maybe not eat the entire plate today. Thank you Sanjay.
M. O'BRIEN: Oh, live a little, go for it.
S. O'BRIEN: All right, forget it.
M. O'BRIEN: Top stories coming up, President Bush and Congress go head to head over the firing of U.S. attorneys. Who has the stronger hand?
And dueling ads popping up on the Internet. No one taking credit for them. They're rather clever, but who are the winners and losers through all this? You're watching AMERICAN MORNING, the most news in the morning right here.
M. O'BRIEN: Well, it turns out America is Virgin territory after all. Virgin America, Richard Branson's American version of his airline may be coming to an airport near you fairly soon. A couple minutes before the top of the hour. Stephanie Elam is watching this. There's a lot of pushback from the airlines, from the government over this whole thing and the key was he had to sort of create an arm's length relationship between the two companies.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He's a maverick, so he's going to find his way to make things happen and he's managed to do that. What has happened now is that the Transportation Department has given the approval for Virgin America to go ahead and hit the skies. So, we may see them in the skies by this summer, actually. They'll be based out of San Francisco international airport and they're going to focus on east coast to west coast flights. That's good for people like me who are from California. But it's also -- while it's good for us consumers, not so good for the airlines because now this means more competition so people have more options and fares have been relatively high so that has been helping out airlines, as well. And so now, we've got a group of airlines who have actually filed petitions saying, hey, we don't want this to go through. Let me tell you who those airlines are: American, Delta, Continental, United as well as U.S. Airways. Here's the interesting thing, Jetblue would be the most affected by Virgin America hitting the skies. They didn't have any problem with it. They're like, bring it. Let's go for it. We want some more competition. They are like, we do not care. Let them come here.
M. O'BRIEN: That doesn't make sense, why?
ELAM: Well I guess maybe they're thinking that maybe what they're offering in their product they believe in and they are saying, if we have that, we've got the TVs in there. We've got the leather seats, people are going to still try to fly with us.
M. O'BRIEN: Very interesting. What's to stop American or United from opening up a British corporation and doing a back at you over there?
ELAM: That's actually been in some discussion about how they're going to make this partnership like a 20-year deal between the European Union as well as the U.S. and how that will work out. No word yet on how that's going to happen, but right now the European airlines say it's more beneficial to the U.S. companies.
M. O'BRIEN: All right, thank you, Stephanie Elam, appreciate it. Top stories in the morning coming up, the most popular right now on cnn.com. Source of Internet attacks is a mystery. You've been watching this youtube thing. Some elaborately produced spots taking off on the famous Macintosh 1984 spot which aired in the Super Bowl in 1984. One of them, the hammer thrower thing where they come in, bashes Hillary Clinton and it's really amazingly well done, by the way. And then there's another one which goes after Barack Obama. Same spot but he is the target in this. No one really knows who is causing -- creating all these things, but the implications we're just watching unfold right now. How this all plays out in politics remains to be seen. It's the youtubeification of the process.
S. O'BRIEN: Which you knew what was going to happen.
Also on the web this morning, cnn.com, take a look at this, isn't that a beautiful home? That is a beautiful home. It's renting for 150 bucks a month. It's a deal for an exclusive neighborhood in Hawaii for low-income native Hawaiian families, all thanks to real estate tycoon who says he just wants to help. Not everybody in the neighborhood is thrilled by the prospect. Some people think what he is trying to do is depress prices in the neighborhood by this action. They can go in and buy up all the other houses.
M. O'BRIEN: Boy, that's some (INAUDIBLE) stuff there. He might just be a nice guy trying to do a nice thing. That is possible you know.
Coming up at the top of the hour, Chad Myers at the CNN weather center. He's watching the weather. I'm sure it's great in Hawaii today. For us, however, not so good, huh?
MYERS: It's always great in Hawaii.
M. O'BRIEN: Always.
MYERS: A little chilly across the northeast today and there's enough cold air Miles, that now we have some snow coming down in Detroit. But notice the warm rain trying to come over the top of this cold air, very classical system where it just runs up over the cold air. The warm air is, obviously, it's lighter like a hot air balloon and this rain is going to try to rain down in the 30 degree air and there's going to be a little icing event for a little while across Lansing and Ann Arbor and into Detroit and maybe even down towards Finley, Ohio. So be careful out there. That's the only real problem area across the country so far this morning. The next hour of AMERICAN MORNING starts right now.
S. O'BRIEN: Thank you Chad. Showdown, President Bush and Senate Democrats draw battle lines over those fired U.S. attorneys. A new attempt to subpoena the president's closest advisors is just a couple hours away.
M. O'BRIEN: Boy's best friend, Gandalf, the search dog and a lost Boy Scout. The pup and his owner join us live. Plus new insight on why he wandered off in the first place.
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