Return to Transcripts main page

American Morning

TB Patient Speaks Out This Morning; Is New Orleans Prepared for Another Storm?; Dueling Candidates: New Hampshire Debates

Aired June 01, 2007 - 07:59   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): The TB scare and homeland security.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D), CHAIRMAN, HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: Clearly, they failed the test. The system didn't work.

ROBERTS: Outrage over a border guard who waved in the TB patient he knew was wanted by health officials.

Plus, breakfast of champions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are correct. You're the champion.

ROBERTS: The nation's new spelling king and his good luck meal on this AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: And good morning to you. It's Friday, June the 1st.

I'm John Roberts.

Good morning.


I'm Kiran Chetry.

Some stories "On Our Radar" this morning.

It's June 1st, as you said. It's also the start of the Atlantic hurricane season. It officially begins today.

We are live up and down the East Coast looking at some of the most vulnerable spots there.

Also, check this out. This is how bad a drought in south Florida is. There is fire actually burning on a dried-out lake bed.

This is Lake Okeechobee, the backup water supply for at least five million people living in south Florida. It's a major concern. And we're going to talk more about that coming up.

ROBERTS: So, you know, we've been talking all morning about this homeland security breach, how this fellow, Andrew Speaker, with TB got back across the border. Well, take a listen to this.

Detailed plans for the new U.S. embassy under construction in Baghdad appeared online on Thursday. You talk about security breaches. I mean, this is one of the highest security compounds that the United States owns anywhere in the world, and the plans for it are posted online.

We'll tell you more about that coming up.

We're hearing this morning, by the way, from Andrew Speaker, the man infected with the dangerous form of tuberculosis who sparked an international scare. He is apologizing for any grief or pain that he's caused and insisting that the Centers for Disease Control never expressly told him not to fly.

Speaker says he doesn't know how he got TB, but his father-in- law, who is a tuberculosis researcher at the Centers for Disease Control says it didn't come from him or from his laboratory.

Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta is keeping a close eye on this story. He joins us now live from Washington.

So, what is the latest with Andrew Speaker here in terms of his isolation and his disease and his potential treatment?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it sounds like -- first of all, it sounds like he's doing very well. It sounds like he's healthy, he's able to talk. He conducted an interview this morning.

He doesn't act like someone who is very sick. Probably does not have high fever, he's certainly not coughing or sneezing.

He is in an isolation room. We talked a lot about this. That basically just prevents the air from that room from getting out.

Some images of him in that room this morning. I thought it was sort of interesting, John. Some people in the room wearing masks, others not wearing masks.

The reason I bring that up, I think it really highlights the issue that this is very confusing for a lot of people, maybe even people in the hospital, maybe even people directly around him. It is a confusing situation.

He talked a little bit about the fact that -- this issue himself about his wife, for example. He said this, "If anyone was going to get this" -- referring to the TB -- "it would be my wife, because she sleeps beside me every night. Nobody ever told me I was a threat to her."

Interesting statement. What exactly he was told, we don't know. He says he has tapes of it. We don't know exactly what was said. But I think it's a little confusing for him, certainly, and maybe for some of the hospital people, as well. ROBERTS: Something else he said this morning on his appearance, Sanjay, is he said how he feels. He says, "I feel awful. I've lived in this state of constant fear and anxiety. I am exhausted for a week now." Also apologized to people who were on board those flights, saying he certainly didn't mean to put them in any harm.

The other day we had Dr. Julie Gerberding, who's the head of the CDC, on.

GUPTA: Right.

ROBERTS: She said, just in terms of how this whole thing went down and he got across the border, she says, we haven't done this for 40 years, we are making up the plan as we went along."

What does that say about the CDC's ability and the Department of Homeland Security's ability to be able to protect Americans from potential outbreaks or certainly dangerous communicable diseases?

GUPTA: I think it's a huge red flag. It's a huge warning sign. A lot of people in the public health community have been screaming foul about issues just like this for a long time, predating 2001.

John, I go to the CDC a lot for various interviews. The security there has been amped up. It's been better probably than it ever has been before at this particular facility.

But, you know, the fact the public health departments may not be communicating as well, the fact that they really didn't know how to deal with this one case of Extremely Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis -- other grade-three bioterrors are smallpox, anthrax, things like that. If you had more cases like this, I just don't know how our public health system right now would be designed to be able to deal with this. And, you know, hopefully this will serve as a bit of a wakeup call.

You know, one of the patients -- one of the passengers from the plane I interviewed yesterday, as soon as he talked to his doctor and told him he was on the plane, they immediately put a mask on him and put him in quarantine. Now, that is not the right thing to do, and it just shows that there is a lack of understanding here.

ROBERTS: Right. All right. Well, hopefully they'll straighten that out for the future.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta for us in Washington.

Sanjay, thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you.

CHETRY: The Atlantic hurricane season gets under way today, and forecasters says it will be a busy one. Up to 10 storms. Where they land, of course, is what determines just how dangerous the season is. Are we prepared, though?

CNN is your hurricane headquarters. We have correspondents across the country today.

Sean Callebs in New Orleans. Reynolds Wolf is on Pea Island, North Carolina, Outer Banks, home to some of the most vulnerable real estate in the country. Chad Myers in Punta Gorda, Florida, decimated by Hurricane Charley three years ago, recovering now. And Rob Marciano in Tampa, where some say this is the city that could be the next New Orleans if a big storm were to hit there.

We start in New Orleans with Sean Callebs.

A lot of questions, Sean, of course about the levees and the pump systems. They ultimately failed, which is why we had the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Are they ready now for another storm?

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's break this down individually.

We're standing in front of the 17th Street Canal. Behind me, this collection of pipes you see, the floodgates, they weren't here before Katrina.

Now, what these are supposed to do, these canals lead from Lake Pontchartrain. What happens when the counterclockwise spin from a hurricane gets north of the city, it pushes water back down these canals, and that caused that scouring we heard so much about in the aftermath of Katrina last year that led to the breaches.

Now, do these pumps work? At the moment, some engineers have serious doubts.

While they have fired up the pumps to test them, they have vibrated so violently that they simply haven't worked. The corps, however, the Army Corps of Engineers, in charge of this construction, here now believes they have that worked out.

Secondly, these floodgates, there are actually 11 separate gates that have to be lowered. What that would do would stop the water from coming down from the lake and flooding the city.

They have to be lowered individually. And right now, believe it or not, they would have to send divers ahead of lowering to make sure that those slits inside the gates would be clean and allow those floodgates to come down.

So, a lot has to work very well for everything to function here -- Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. Yes, you're right. A lot of variables need to happen for everything to go right.

Sean Callebs, thank you.

ROBERTS: The State Department is trying to close a security breach over its Baghdad embassy which is still under construction. Plans for the massive secure compound were posted online by the architectural firm working on the project.

For a brief time yesterday, anyone could see 10 images, including a diagram of the overall compound. But when the State Department was made aware of it, the images were quickly taken down.

U.S. strategy in Iraq now includes negotiating cease-fires with insurgents. The number two American commander in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, says 80 percent of insurgents, even some from al Qaeda, could be brought into the political process.


LT. GEN. RAY ODIERNO, COMMANDER, MULTINATIONAL CORPS-IRAQ: We have refocused our commanders at all levels. I am empowering them and trying to give them some tools to reach out, because there are insurgents reaching out to us, which is the most important thing. So we want to reach back to them. And we're talking about cease-fires, and maybe signing some things that say they won't conduct operations against the government of Iraq or against coalition forces.


ROBERTS: General Odierno says he is also reaching out to the anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. So far, al-Sadr doesn't appear to be interested.

CHETRY: Martha Stewart kicks off our "Quick Hits" now. She is trying to trademark the name "Katonah" for a line of furniture, but some residents of Katonah, New York, near Stewart's home, north of New York City, are fighting back. They don't want that to be the case. They have launched a "nobody owns Katonah" campaign.

And it's a fueling frenzy at San Francisco gas stations --at one of them, in particular. Hundreds of drivers filling up their tanks because it was under 3 bucks a gallon. And that is something you certainly do not see in this day and age in northern California.

The station dropped prices to $2.99 for the last day of business. One guy says he waited in line for three hours.

Would you wait in line for three hours? I mean, you know, time is money, right? But people did it.

The same Shell station, by the way, made news earlier in the year when the owner set the highest prices in California to prove a point at $4 a gallon.

CNN is home to upcoming debates for both the Republicans and the Democrats. Democrats are up first on Sunday night. Wolf Blitzer will be moderating both debates, and he joins us next with a preview.

Also, Florida so dry that a fire is burning on a lake. More on that story and the implications for the millions of south Florida residents.

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING, the most news in the morning. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: A hailstorm now in your "Quick Hits".

Hail in northwest Kansas actually covering the road. You can hear it banging down on the car, and you can see it all over the roads.

The same storm chasers also catching this amazing video, a funnel cloud near the town of Norton, Kansas. Both of them actually came from Norton, Kansas. Parts of southeastern Kansas and Oklahoma still experiencing severe weather this morning.

And this is also quite unusual. A tornado touching down in Connecticut. A horse barn took a beating, and some trees and power lines also knocked down. Hail also hitting the area.

And Florida's Lake Okeechobee is burning. Fire spreading across the dried-out lake bed. The drought has left the lake about four feet lower than it should be.

Chad Myers joins us now. He is in Florida for the first day of the hurricane season, in Punta Gorda, where Hurricane Charley blew through three years back. And the community has done everything it's can to rebuild.

What's it like there today, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a big different story than it was three years ago. And, in fact, even this morning, Kiran, I can smell that smoke from Lake Okeechobee. I got out of the hotel and I kind of smelled it, and I was like, "Wow, where is that from? That can't be from the northern fires in northern Florida because, well, the wind is going the other direction."

And now we know why. And we know that that smoke was from Lake Okeechobee. They can really use some tropical systems this year.

Obviously, they don't want hurricanes, but they do need tropical moisture. And it is raining a little bit this morning.

But three years ago, or a little less than that, Hurricane Charley moved right across Charlotte County, Florida. And boy, this was right in the middle of the most devastation we've seen.

Eleven thousand homes were destroyed, and a lot of them looked just like that. As the wind was coming through, gusting to 140 miles per hour, although no official high weather -- high wind measurements were ever made here from the destruction, a lot of engineers were saying 120 to 140 was completely right in the middle of its -- of its eye, the outer part of its eye where the biggest, intense winds were. And I tell you what, this place was a mess.

When I got in here, Anderson Cooper and I stood right in this exact spot three years ago. And we looked at each other and said, "Boy, a lot of people are dead." But, in fact, only four people lost their lives.

And we asked the director of the emergency management why.


WAYNE SALLADE, DIRECTOR, CHARLOTTE COUNTY, FLORIDA, EMERGENCY OPERATIONS: I think our community was prepared because of the efforts that we put forth over a long, long time, and going above and beyond. And I think also when it really came down to it, they paid attention to the television meteorologists, they paid attention to the radio.

When we told them to get in a bathroom, get in a closet, get in a hallway, stay away from glass, they did that. And I think that's what saved -- I really think that saved a lot of lives.


MYERS: Kiran, the place is amazing now. OK, not completely back together, but let me tell you, it's on its feet, it's moving again. Things are opening.

The emergency managers get their new building today. They dedicate it this morning at 10:00. The building replacing the one that was knocked down in Charley -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Chad Myers, thanks so much.

ROBERTS: The 2008 presidential candidates are gearing up for a new round of debates in New Hampshire. You'll see them live and commercial free here on CNN. The Democrats square off on Sunday, the Republicans go at it two days later on Tuesday evening.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer is going to moderate the Democratic debate, and he joins me from Manchester, New Hampshire, this morning.

Good morning to you, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, John. Thanks.

ROBERTS: So, there's a big Democratic buzz in New Hampshire this time around. Candy Crowley was elucidating that a little bit earlier on. And a lot riding on Sunday's performance for these candidates.

This is a big moment in the campaign, is it not?

BLITZER: This is a very big moment, because there are going to be eight Democrats up on the stage Sunday, 10 Republicans Tuesday. Fred Thompson not expected to join those other Republicans Tuesday.

And this is an opportunity for them to showcase their stuff, to see whether or not they're going to be able to make a dent, an impression, not only on voters in New Hampshire -- and that's going to be significant -- but all over the country, and many of the other early contests, Iowa and South Carolina and Nevada. And so, it's going to be one of those times then that they're really gearing up for, knowing, as you have -- you've been speaking to the campaigns -- they're really preparing, these candidates, for this two-hour session.

ROBERTS: What opportunities are there, Wolf, for the candidates to either shine, break out or stumble?

BLITZER: I think there's going to be a little more interaction this time between the various candidates up on the stage. And we're going to try to get them to react to each other's comments, not simply to give a 30 or 60-second sound bite and then move on to another question.

There will be questions, serious questions. Important issues will come up, whether on foreign policy or domestic issues. But I want to make sure that we can differentiate some of the candidates on their stances on some of these sensitive issues, and I'm going to be pressing them pretty hard to make sure that, you know, that they answer the questions and that the voters in the end, the people who are out there watching, have a better clue who these guys are.

ROBERTS: I'm also wondering, Wolf, in the questioning, are you going to encourage them to compare and contrast themselves with their rivals?

BLITZER: Yes, we will. We will try to make sure that if there are serious differences on important issues, that the viewers out there have a chance to understand that.

And we'll be joined in the questioning by two reporters, one from the "New Hampshire Union Leader" and one from WMUR, our CNN affiliate up in New Hampshire. And they're going to be asking -- you know, we're going to be going over all these questions.

And -- but then after the -- after the individual candidate gives an answer, I'm going to then follow up and make sure they answer the question. If they didn't answer the question, we're going to say, you didn't answer the question. Do you want to try again? And then we're going to try to bring in some of the other candidates to respond.

ROBERTS: Well, you're very good at doing that, Wolf, in your interviewing style there on "LATE EDITION" and "THE SITUATION ROOM".

What about the Republican debate coming up on Tuesday? Fred Thompson doesn't look like he's going to be there, but will he still be a presence?

BLITZER: Yes. And I think we're going to try to get some of the candidates to take a look at this major Republican figure who's now going to be a candidate, a presidential candidate. He's going to shake things up in the Republican field.

There was a lot of disappointment among Republican voters out there, voters leaning Republican, based on all the polls, that they weren't completely satisfied with the field and they were looking for someone else. Fred Thompson may be that person. Maybe it's Newt Gingrich in the months to come, if he decides to throw his hat in the ring. So I think that that shadow of Fred Thompson will hover over the Republican field, but it's also interesting, John. I think the shadow of President Bush will be hovering over both of these debates. We're going to hear a lot of Democrats rail against President Bush and his policies, and I think we're going to hear a lot of silence from Republicans about President Bush.

ROBERTS: I would think that's a pretty safe bet.

Wolf Blitzer, thanks. We'll see you on Sunday.

And, of course, you can catch Wolf this afternoon in "THE SITUATION ROOM," weekdays from 4:00 to 6:00, and again from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

And then join us on Sunday for the Democratic debate, 7:00 p.m. Eastern. The Republicans debate Tuesday night, also at 7:00 Eastern, live from New Hampshire.

And be sure to catch "LATE EDITION" on Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern as well, when Wolf will be talking all about the upcoming debates.

CHETRY: Won't miss it, that's for sure.

Well, Jack Kevorkian is back on the streets. Some "Quick Hits" now.

The man known as "Dr. Death" will be released from prison today in Michigan today after serving more than eight years of a 10 to 25- year sentence. He says that he helped at least 130 people end their lives from 1990 to 1998. He says he will no longer do that.

Police in St. Paul, Minnesota, say they seized a ton of marijuana inside of a 21-ton shipment of jawbreaker candies. Police say it is their biggest pot bust ever and that the street value of all of that marijuana, $3 million.

Well, it's the summer of sequels, the summer of blockbusters, but there could be some sleeper hits out there, too. We're going to take a look at a couple of them sneaking into theaters today up next on AMERICAN MORNING.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fetch. All right, bring it back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's playing fetch with my kids. He's treating my kids like they're dogs.




CHETRY: All right. Well, that's a scene from "Knocked Up". It's by the same guy who gave us "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," and it's what some are saying could be the sleeper hit of the summer.

AMERICAN MORNING'S Lola Ogunnaike has seen it. And she's here to tell us whether or not it lives up to the hype.

LOLA OGUNNAIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. In fact, I'm laughing at that scene right now. It was so good.


CHETRY: The girl ran after the ball?

OGUNNAIKE: Yes. And then she brought it back like a dog. It was hysterical.

But anyway, "Knocked Up," it's starring Katherine Heigl from "Grey's Anatomy" fame and Seth Rogen, who is a nobody, who is about to be a somebody as a result of this film.

She's this hot chick, he's not hot. They hook up after she gets a promotion for an on-air correspondent at E! And they have a one- night stand. And then next thing you know they're together, and the hijinx ensue.

CHETRY: So you loved this one?

OGUNNAIKE: Loved it. And I wasn't the only one. "The New York Times" gave it a rave. "USA Today" gave it a rave as well. And "The Wall Street Journal" did, as well.

So -- but now I'm giving it a rave, which makes it official.

CHETRY: Of course, for our show.

Now, this is -- you liked "The 40-Year-Old Virgin"

OGUNNAIKE: I loved "The 40-Year-Old Virgin".

CHETRY: It's the same people that did that.

OGUNNAIKE: But Judd Apatow, who they've declared as the new writer of the year -- but what makes this so great is that you're dealing with relationships, but it's really honest. It's not glossed over at all. The arguments feel really real.

There were moments -- I saw a screening last night, and there were moments where couples were looking at one another like, you know you do that. You know you do that.

CHETRY: Exactly.

OGUNNAIKE: And the fights felt real and the make-ups felt real. And the sex scenes, unfortunately, were very real. And the film, I have to say, is very raunchy and it's very graphic. But it's warm and it's touching. I would not take anyone under 13 to see it.

CHETRY: Well, the title alone is a little...

OGUNNAIKE: "Knocked Up," exactly. But in a weird sort of way it's very old-fashioned. She gets knocked up, the guy does the right thing. I won't spoil it for you, but it is really good. And I would recommend you run out and see it.

CHETRY: Sounds good. I'll take your advice.

OGUNNAIKE: And it's a great date film.

CHETRY: It's a good date film. All right.

OGUNNAIKE: So take your man.

CHETRY: All right. Well, I'll let the hubby know.

Lola, thanks so much -- John.

ROBERTS: Great date film, huh?

Twenty-four minutes after the hour. Ali Velshi here "Minding Your Business".

By the way that you're dressed, I would assume that the future's very bright.


ROBERTS: So bright, you've got to wear shades.

VELSHI: Who's buying?

ROBERTS: You're talking about tickets here.

VELSHI: These are my Yankee season tickets. The Yankees don't like that you sell these things.

You can be penalized for it. You can lose your license.

I can take these off now, right?

But it's not working. Because if you go on eBay or StubHub or Craigslist, you can find lots of Yankees tickets, particularly this season. I couldn't get rid of these if I wanted to.

But New York is about to change its...

ROBERTS: With the team doing so well this year.

VELSHI: Yes. I really can't unload these. New York is about to scrap its anti-scalping laws, or at least most of them. This is the largest ticket market in the country. And in New York -- well, let's look at what's going to happen in New York.

They might make this legal today. They're going to legalize Internet sales, obviously, because that's where people buy their tickets. There's not going to be a price limit. The market will decide what you can buy and sell tickets for.

They'll still control the distance you can sell these things from the venues, because really people are buying and selling on the Internet. And large-volume brokers will need licenses. So, if you're really buying up lots of stuff -- and that's legal in most places.

Scalping is actually legal in all 50 states, but some states control the distance from the event. And others control the price at which you can sell tickets.

In these states, you can only sell tickets for face value: Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Michigan. A couple other example where you can sell tickets for face value, plus a percentage above it -- Rhode Island, 10 percent; New Jersey, 20 percent; Pennsylvania, 25 percent. But some of these places have very robust broker markets.

So, the bottom line is scalping -- anti-scalping laws haven't worked. They were meant to ensure that fans could actually see events, not just the rich. They don't work. So, New York is going to go ahead and scrap it.

And I want to tell you one other thing. Try and catch the show this weekend. I know you have got better things to do than watch TV, but "IN THE MONEY," Saturdays at 1:00 p.m., Sundays at 3:00 p.m. on CNN.

ROBERTS: Nothing better to do than to watch Ali Velshi.

VELSHI: Well, at Sunday at 3:00 p.m. I'd often be at a game. But I won't be. So I'll be on the show.

ROBERTS: You can take one of those miniature television sets.

VELSHI: Yes, exactly.

ROBERTS: Ali, thanks.


CHETRY: All right. Thanks, guys.

Well, we're going to find out what is happening on CNN this weekend.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROBERTS: We begin this morning in Florida and the start of the Atlantic hurricane season. Forecasters warning that we could see up to 10 storms this year, a handful of them major storms. A direct hit by one of those in a city like Tampa could be catastrophic.

Rob Marciano is in Tampa this morning.

And, Rob, what's the reason why it could be so catastrophic if they were to get a direct hit?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the lay of the land is the big story, John. You know, back in 2004, Hurricane Charley was headed right to Tampa. Unfortunately for the folks down in the south, it made a right turn. But if it were to come this way it could have been catastrophic, that's for sure.

Behind me the northeastern part of the bay and the city of Tampa itself. A whole heap of problems down there. You've got low-lying bridges connecting all sorts of businesses and buildings and hotels, even a hospital that could potentially be stranded and cut off from the mainland, if some of these low lying bridges were taken out. Let's talk about the lay of the land now. Show you a Google Earth shot. The Gulf of Mexico, if a storm were to come in and make landfall from the Gulf, it would enter the Bay and start this storm surge, a long, shallow body of water, piling up this water, and at the head of the bay is Tampa itself.

Hillsborough County has over a million people, as does Pinellas County, and the city itself really only protected by about a five-foot sea wall. So not only the businesses downtown, there are neighborhoods right near downtown, right near the bay, in fact, that if they get a 20, even a 15-foot storm surge, these neighborhoods would look, well, like southern Mississippi looked after Katrina.

And then there is the evacuation. Not only the bay creates a problem with surge, but it also could cut off parts of the peninsula. Pinellas County is over on the other side of the bay, and there's over a million people who live there as well. And there's only three causeways, three evacuation routes, to get those people out. And if a major hurricane were to come this way, they might have to evacuate as much as 600,000 people over three long, low-lying causeways that would have to be shut down when the winds got to 40 miles an hour.

So there are several factors, John, that make this city very vulnerable. They know it's vulnerable. Last time they got hit by a major hurricane back in 1921. They are prepared, and they certainly hope it doesn't come their way this year, but odds are, eventually, it will.

ROBERTS: Law of averages would dictate, Rob, that they will get hit one of these days.

Rob Marciano down there in Tampa Bay. Rob, thanks.

MARCIANO: You bet. CHETRY: Well, here he is. America's newest letter man, beating 285 other spellers to win it all. Evan O'Dorney, the 13-year-old king of the words. He had no problem taking the crown as America's spelling bee champ. Take a look.


EVAN O'DORNEY, NATL. SPELLING BEE CHAMP: Serrefine -- S-E-E-R-R- E-F-I-N-E -- Serrefine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are correct. You're the champion.


CHETRY: There he is. His proud mom and dad looking on as well. And Evan joins us this morning. He is from Danville, California. He joins us from Washington on the morning after.

Evan, thanks for being with us.

O'DORNEY: Did you say my name wrong? My name is Evan O'Dorney.

CHETRY: Evan O'Dorney. I am sorry if I said it wrong.

Now you are quite particular, and for a good reason, because you had to know your stuff yesterday. What did it feel like when you heard the word and you knew that you knew how to spell it?

O'DORNEY: I saw that I was going to win, and I just saw that because I had been studying really hard for two years, it just seemed like a natural conclusion.

CHETRY: Were you surprises that you won?

O'DORNEY: Not really.

CHETRY: You didn't look surprised that you won either. You were quite confident.

Tell us, what do you do to train for a spelling bee?

O'DORNEY: Well, we've gone through the dictionary and written down any of the words that we think I might have trouble with and, so -- and during the phase of the dictionary we don't attempt any memorization, and then once we've gotten through the dictionary we started to use different coloring systems to help me remember the words and indicate which words were still giving me trouble.

CHETRY: Right. So, you really have it well mapped out. And when you say we, you are talking about your mother. You're home schooled.


CHETRY: What is that like? Do you like getting home schooled, or would you rather go to a public school with other kids? O'DORNEY: No, I like being home schooled.

CHETRY: What did your mom say when you finally won?

O'DORNEY: Well, I don't know what my mom said. You better ask my mom if you want the answer to that question.

CHETRY: All right, let me ask your mom. You're making this tough for me today, Evan.

Well, here's one thing I hope I'm right about. You like to eat a Subway tuna fish sub before every competition? You didn't get to do that yesterday.

O'DORNEY: What did you just say?

CHETRY: I said you didn't get to do that yesterday?


CHETRY: Why not?

O'DORNEY: I'm not sure. We just -- well, they had the -- they had a special dinner before the bee.

CHETRY: I got you. So you didn't get a chance to eat your brain food.

Can I ask you about whether or not you can spell this word I am going to give you right now. Are you ready for it?


CHETRY: Scombridae. It's a noun, marine food fishes like mackerels, perhaps some of the things that are in a tuna sub. Can you spell it for me?

O'DORNEY: Well, let me make sure I'm saying it right, Stambruday?

CHETRY: Scombridae.

O'DORNEY: Scombridae.

So it's plural?


O'DORNEY: Scombridae.

It's French?

CHETRY: I don't know that part. Basically it's the family of fishes that tuna is a part of.

O'DORNEY: Scombridae? CHETRY: That's right. Unless I'm saying it wrong like your last name. I hope not.

You want to just give it a try?

O'DORNEY: Yes, if you're not saying it right, I'll probably not spell it right.

I can't spell it without the Language. Is it Latin?

CHETRY: They're telling me it is Latin.


CHETRY: You got it right! There it is.

Yes, or no?

Oh, you added an extra 'e.' I'm sorry, but you know what, that was pretty good.

O'DORNEY: Did you say scombridae or scomburdae?

CHETRY: Scombridae.

O'DORNEY: Scombridae?


You want to try it one more time?

O'DORNEY: Are saying it is S-C-O-M-B-R-I-D-A-E.

CHETRY: Ding, ding, ding! That's it. You got it. So not only did you win the most important one, the one that gave you the cash, you won the little AMERICAN MORNING one, as well. But really...

O'DORNEY: It's because I couldn't hear you. I thought you were saying scomberdae.

CHETRY: I got you.

O'DORNEY: That's why I put the 'e.'

CHETRY: I needed to pronounce it better. But you know what, you're a champ, and congratulations. I hope you're enjoying the victory lap Evan O'Dorney. I'll get right from now.

See you later.


ROBERTS: Evan O'Dorney, a man of few words, but when he utters them, he spells them correctly.

Ahead, three CNN employees join Dr. Gupta's Fit Nation. We're going to show you how they're doing next on AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: Welcome back. Three CNN employees have been taking part in Dr. Sanjay Gupta's Fit Nation challenge. How are they doing? Well, we're going to find out this morning. Sanjay checks in on the three fit buddies.


We've been talking about tuberculosis all morning, but obviously we want to keep the rest of the country healthy as well. I'll tell you what, it's a courageous thing to have television cameras follow you around as we're trying to get healthier. But as we've found, it can be a life-changing process as well.


GUPTA (voice-over): It's been seven weeks, and we're checking in with our CNN fit buddies. For nearly two months we've been following CNN Dallas correspondent Ed Lavandera, CNN's domestic director of coverage Stacia Deshishku, and medical producer Matt Sloane. These three CNN employees are taking the Fit Nation challenge, hitting the gym and cutting calories. And each one of them has made some progress.

STACIA DESHISHKU, CNN DOMESTIC DIR. OF COVG.: I've gone down a pant size. It doesn't get better than that.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN DALLAS CORRESPONDENT: I've dropped about 25 pounds.

MATT SLOANE, CNN MEDICAL PRODUCER: I've lost about six pounds.

GUPTA: Just to make sure we followed our fit buddies to lunch with their trainer, Robert Dopper (ph). They all got pretty healthy options, well, except for Robert.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's how much cheese came with my food. It's got to be about six ounces of cheese.

LAVANDERA: But their biggest successes came from relying on each other.

DESHISHKU: The food diaries has been the best thing we have done. It has really kept us honest, and you really all of a sudden start paying attention to everything that goes in your mouth, and you're surprised and shocked.

MATT SLOANE, CNN MEDICAL PRODUCER: The response I got from Robert is kind of hit or miss. Sometimes he congratulates us on a successful day, and a lot of times he, you know, follows up with a nice e-mail, but it's a little bit harshly worded, you know, try and do better tomorrow.

LAVANDERA: It takes a lot of mental energy to kind of get yourself psyched up to keep this going.

GUPTA: So some take-home tips for you: Write a food diary. That way you can be accountable for every bite you put in your mouth. Make sure you exercise. You don't have to work out with a trainer or even at a gym, but get up and get moving. Any 60 minutes of exercise may add two hour to your life later on.

(on camera): You have a month left, guys. Keep up the good work.


GUPTA: I'll tell you what, our fit buddies are at the halfway mark. They look pretty good to me. Kiran, I think you'd agree as well. Most importantly, I think they have the tools to succeed at this point, and we're hoping a lot of people at home sort of follow along.

Kiran, we're also on our Fit Nation tour, as you know. In a couple of hours I'm headed to San Diego. We're doing stuff with the San Diego rock 'n' roll marathon out there, trying to spread the word about the obesity problem in this country and how to try and correct that.

CHETRY: Good stuff. And you what I'm eating, I'm eating the Subway tuna sub that our little speller didn't get a chance to eat yesterday. That's not too bad, right?

GUPTA: You'll spell better, though, apparently.

CHETRY: Yes, and perhaps conduct interviews better. I got a little critique from the 13-year-old Evan.

Thanks so much, Sanjay.

GUPTA: Thank you.

CHETRY: And also, don't forget to check in at to join the Fit Nation Challenge. Ed Lavandera, 25 pounds already.

ROBERTS: Good for him. Really committed to it.

Forty-six minutes after the hour now. CNN NEWSROOM is just minutes away. Tony Harris is at the CNN Center with a look at what's ahead.

Good morning to you, Tony.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, John. Good morning to you. Good Friday. We have got these stories in the NEWSROOM rundown for you.

We will hear from the Atlanta man with an often fatal strain of tuberculosis. He is apologizing for putting airline passengers at risk during flights to and from Europe.

Lebanon renewing its assault on al Qaeda-inspired militants today. They're holed up at a refugee camp in northern Lebanon.

June 1st, that means hurricane season. Forecasters predicting plenty of this in the months ahead with an active season in the tropics.

Betty is with in the NEWSROOM this morning. We get started at the top of the hour right here on CNN.

John, back to you. And have a great weekend.

ROBERTS: We will see you then. Thank you, Tony, very much for that, too.

Rescue at sea -- some quick hits now -- the Coast Guard saved six people, including two children, from a 65-foot yacht in Miami. They don't yet know why it started to sink. Look at it there, and there's the rescued folks who were onboard. No one was hurt in that mishap.

And take a look at this rather odd lobster. It looks like it's perfectly half cooked. The two-tone crustacean was caught by fisherman off of Newport, Rhode Island.

AMERICAN MORNING is back in just a minute.


ROBERTS: Michael Holmes has made over 7,000 parachute jumps in his career, but it was the one last December 13th that's going to stay with him forever. At 4,000 feet his main parachute failed, then his reserve. As he plummeted toward the ground, he waved goodbye to the camera attached to his head, uttering what he thought would be his last words.


MICHAEL HOLMES, SKYDIVER: I'm dead. I'm dead. Bye.


ROBERTS: But they weren't. Holmes not only survived the fall. Amazing he decided to jump again. Michael Holmes joins me now, along with Jonathan King, who was skydiving with him the day of his terrifying freefall, and also videotaped it.

Welcome to both of you.

Michael, you've got to ask the question, if you defied death back there on December 13th, why would you get into an airplane and jump out of it ever again?

HOLMES: Skydiving has been such a big and important part of my life the last over seven years. And I think if I didn't get back up and do it again it would have been the wrong choice for me.

ROBERTS: John, do you understand what he's doing here?

JONATHAN KING, SKYDIVER: Yes, definitely. You have to climb back on the horse, don't you?

ROBERTS: That's a bit of tall horse to climb on. You jumped from 20,000 feet?

HOLMES: Twelve-thousand and 15,000 feet.

ROBERTS: So that's a very tall horse. You were videotaping him on the way down. What did you think?

HOLMES: Well, to be perfectly honest I thought he was a dead man. I think he was very lucky to survive what happened to him. It's a pretty full-on impact.

ROBERTS: So your main chute failed, as we said, but that's nothing particularly concerning to you, that's happened a number of time?

HOLMES: Seven, possibly that was the eighth time, and usually when the first parachute malfunctions it's no big deal, pull the cutaway cable, releases it, and then you're free to open your reserve.

ROBERTS: So you went to open the reserve and what happened?

HOLMES: No, I went to cutaway. And I pulled the cutaway handle, an it released, but -- it released from the attachment point, but it still remained snagged somewhere.

ROBERTS: So it was still up above you?

HOLMES: It was still above me. I was completely out of control, spinning me around, as you can see.

ROBERTS: What happened when you pulled the reserve chute?

HOLMES: Well, I took my time. I didn't pull it straight away. I waited until just below 1,000 feet, because I didn't want to pull it straight away knowing it would go into the mess that I have behind me. And when I pulled the reserve chute nothing happened.

ROBERTS: So what went through your mind?

HOLMES: Exactly what I said, I thought that was it for me.

ROBERTS: And you were conscious all the way right up until when?

HOLMES: Right until I hit the ground.

ROBERTS: Did you feel it?

HOLMES: No, I didn't feel it.

ROBERTS: When you came upon him, what kind of shape was he in?

KING: He was in surprisingly good shape. Again, I was expecting to see the worst, and my priority was to get there as soon as possible just in case he wasn't breathing or something like that. I can't really -- it's hard to explain and put in words when you see somebody that's been through that and they're in such good shape. I thought, wow.

ROBERTS: His lips were starting to turn blue?

KING: Just the breathing was kind of erratic and going in and out of some state of consciousness.

ROBERTS: So how did you revive him?

KING: Talking to him. And I gave him a little pinch on the cheek just to kind of keep him with us.

ROBERTS: When you revived, did you realize what had happened?

HOLMES: No, I didn't. I knew something had gone wrong, and I was sort of -- as time went by I sort of realized I was backtracking through what actually happened. But I didn't actually take in the fact that I've actually survived. I was just trying to figure out what just happened.

ROBERTS: And you plan to continue doing it? This just wasn't a one-time thing?

HOLMES: Yes, definitely. That was the first one just to get the first one out of the way so I can continue and get back to what I love doing.

ROBERTS: Well, good luck I hope this was the one incident of your career.

HOLMES: Yes, me, too.

ROBERTS: Michael Holmes, Jonathan King, appreciate you being in.

HOLMES: Thank you.

ROBERTS: Good to meet you.

CHETRY: Just amazing that he's sitting there talking to you today after that.

Well, here's a quick look at what CNN NEWSROOM is working on for the top of the hour.

HARRIS: See these stories in the CNN NEWSROOM: Andrew Speaker apologizing. He exposed airline passengers to a rare and often deadly strain of tuberculosis.

Assisted suicide Jack Kevorkian walks out of prison later this morning.

BBC reporter Alan Johnston, kidnapped in Gaza in March, appears on an Internet video.

Kansas peppered with hail. NEWSROOM top of the hour on CNN.