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American Morning

Winners and Losers From Democratic Debate; Wildfire Insurance Trouble

Aired June 04, 2007 - 06:00   ET



BARACK OBAMA: The fact is, is that I opposed this war from the start so you are about 4 1/2 years late.


ROBERTS: Iraq dominates the Democrats' big debate. But what are voters listening to? This morning instant analysis as the candidates soar.


HILLARY CLINTON: We need to try to end this war.


ROBERTS: In sync.


JOHN EDWARDS: I think I was wrong.


ROBERTS: Plus, hot button issues.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know the last time an American soldier said, hey by the way, let me check, are you gay, are you straight?


ROBERTS: Could they turn back of the pack contenders into prime time players? Live with the candidates, the analysts and the best political team on television on this AMERICAN MORNING.

And good morning to you, it is Monday, June the 4th, the day after the Democratic debate. I'm John Roberts broadcasting live from Manchester, New Hampshire this morning. Good morning to you, Kiran.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Good to see you. Wow, what an interesting debate last night. I'm Kiran Chetry here in New York. A lot of fireworks, pretty interesting last night.

ROBERTS: Yeah, I really liked the amount of interplay that there was between the candidates. I think it really served to illuminate some different things about them, got them off the talking points a little bit, which is very important. Of course we're going to be covering the debate and where the campaign goes from here all morning. Also on our radar this morning though, and this is really important stuff, new video today, Paris Hilton reports to jail overnight. Earlier in the night Paris attended the MTV music awards and talked about her pending lockup.


PARIS HILTON: I am trying to be strong right now. I'm definitely scared but I'm ready to face my sentence and even though this is a really hard time I have my friends and family and my fans who support me and it's just been really helpful in this really scary time.


ROBERTS: And some how you know Kiran, she's just going to convert this into good publicity.

CHETRY: Of course. She is the master at it. It's funny though because we're talking about the big debate, but also this was the most popular on of the stories so we're going to have a little more on that.

Also, the remnants of tropical storm Barry bringing much-needed rain to Florida dousing some, not all of the wildfires there but it also meant some scary moments for one particular family. We're going to hear from a boy in a moment. Check this out that is the bedroom where he and his little sister were sleeping when a tree collapsed on their home. There you see the shot outside. It was his quick thinking that saved his little sister's life. We're going to have much more on that story. And also check in with Chad Myers about the remnants of Barry now moving up the east coast.

ROBERTS: Arriving here in New Hampshire this morning.

President Bush leaves for Europe and the G-8 summit in an hour's time. Police have tightened checks around the summit site near the port of Rootstock, Germany. On Saturday 128 protesters were arrested and more than a thousand police were hurt, in a huge clash. More protests are expected before the G-8 summit begins on Wednesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin mouthing off before he heads to the summit with a threat to point his missiles at Europe again. He says that he would retarget weapons if the United States goes ahead with the European missile shield. U.S. Russian tensions are at a post Cold War high.

CHETRY: Iran's top security official says that plans to build a missile shield in Europe are a joke. That Iran's missiles can't reach Europe. Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is calling Israel quote, "A corrupt occupier regime that will soon be destroyed." He says the Lebanese and Palestinians will bring about that destruction. Meantime, Ahmadinejad is set to meet with Daniel Ortega, the president of Nicaragua. Ahmadinejad visited Ortega in Nicaragua just a few months ago. Ortega's first stop will be Libya, as he is making the trip on a jet that was lent to him by Moammar Gadhafi.

Well the U.S. military in Iraq announcing a bloody start to the month of June, 15 soldiers killed in the first three days of the month, including four killed by a bomb during a search in Baghdad yesterday. A roadside bomb also killed three Iraqis in Baghdad today.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the U.S. and NATO forces are making progress against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Despite a recent rise in violence there, Gates said that things are slowly cautiously headed in the right direction. Gates is on his second trip to Afghanistan since becoming defense secretary back in December.

Violence in Lebanon spreading this morning, moving now to a second refugee camp. Two Lebanese soldiers were killed in the new fight in southern Lebanon. Thousands of troops are battling militants linked to al Qaeda that are holed up in a Palestinian refugee camp in the north. Fighting there is now in its third week. More than 100 people have died.

ROBERTS: There were no major gaffes or surprises in last night's Democratic debate here in New Hampshire. The candidates did spar with each other on Iraq which dominated the debate, with John Edwards getting particularly feisty. Our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley has the play-by-play from the Sullivan Arena.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Consistently third in national polls, John Edwards took it to them Sunday night, commending his two closest rivals for voting against an Iraq spending bill, blasting them for failing to lead on the issue.

JOHN EDWARDS, FMR. NORTH CAROLINA SENATOR: They went quietly to the floor of the Senate, cast the right vote but there is a difference between leadership and legislate.

CROWLEY: It produced the first dust-up of the evening as Obama took exception.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, ILLINOIS: And I think John, the fact is, is that I opposed this war from the start. So you are about 4 1/2 years late on leadership on this issue. And, you know, I think it's important not to play politics on something that is as critical and as difficult as this.

CROWLEY: This is a battle for the fiercely anti-war base, candidates vying to see who can end the war first. It was Dennis Kucinich who spoke in perfect pitch.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH, OHIO: This war belongs to the Democratic Party because the Democrats were put in charge by the people on the last election with the thought that they were going to end the war. Well they haven't.

CROWLEY: Perched at the top of the pack, Clinton's debate mission was to be front runner, stay above the fray. She had her sights set on the general election, not her Democratic colleagues.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, NEW YORK: The differences among us are minor. The differences between us and the Republicans are major and I don't want anybody in America to be confused.

CROWLEY: Clinton and Edwards clashed only gently when he repeated his assertion that the war on terror is nothing more than a bumper sticker.

EDWARDS: That's exactly what it is, it's a bumper sticker.

CROWLEY: She politely dissented.

CLINTON: I have seen firsthand the terrible damage that can be inflicted on our country by a small band of terrorists and I believe we are safer than we were. We are not yet safe enough.

CROWLEY: On other issues of foreign policy the group touched on Iran and Pakistan but genocide in Darfur provoked a lengthy conversation and passionate response.

SEN. JOE BIDEN, DELAWARE: I went there, I sat on the borders, I went into those camps. They're going to have thousands and thousands and thousands of people die. We've got to stop talking and act.

CROWLEY: Healthcare, education and taxes tonight covered the gamut, but time and again it was the war that dominated discussion as it has the campaign. Candy Crowley, CNN, Manchester, New Hampshire.


ROBERTS: In just a few minutes we'll be speaking with one of the Democratic hopefuls, New Mexico governor Bill Richardson is going to join us. Tomorrow night the Republicans get their chance to debate. CNN's Wolf Blitzer moderates beginning at 7:00 p.m. eastern and Wolf will be joining us in our third hour of AMERICAN MORNING, to talk more about what happened last night, and what it means for the future. Kiran?

CHETRY: All right John. Well turning now to the alleged terror plot uncovered this weekend against Kennedy Airport. We're learning this morning that it was a drug dealer turned informant who led investigators to four Muslim men. Investigators say the suspects have links to an extremist group in Trinidad. CNN's Jim Acosta is here now with more on this. What are you hearing about just how close they came to being able to carry this off?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well they weren't able to acquire any explosives, so that's the good news. But they did get further than other plots that we've seen in the past. Investigators say the lone U.S. citizen in the group, Russell Defreitas, traveled back and forth from New York to Guyana and Trinidad to plan the airport attack. And while authorities say the plot never got past the planning stage it highlighted a little-known terrorism threat that may be brewing in the Caribbean.


ACOSTA (voice-over): Suspects Abdul Kadir, Russell Defreitas, Kareem Ibrahim and Abdel Nur are described by relatives and friends as incapable of carrying out an attack on Newark's JFK Airport. While Defreitas is identified by a law enforcement source as the plot's ringleader, a friend says he had been on welfare and is more than an ordinary braggart.

TREVOR WATTS, FRIEND OF RUSSELL DEFREITAS: I would say on a scale of one to 10, yes, he may be a seven or eight, you know.

ACOSTA: The wife of suspect Abdul Kadir, a one time politician in the South American nation of Guyana, says her husband is a devoted father and grandfather.

ISHA KADIR, WIFE OF ABDUL KADIR: No way at no time we were ever involved in anything of plots of bombing or any plots against America.

ACOSTA: But authorities paint a dramatically different picture, pointing to the plots' alleged connections from New York to the Caribbean and South America. Defreitas worked as a cargo handler at JFK in 1995. He's a U.S. citizen originally from Guyana. Two other suspects are from the island of Trinidad. One of them still being sought by authorities. According to investigators, the suspects met in Trinidad to discuss their plans with members of a radical Muslim group called the Jamaat al Muslim. Also known as J.A.M., the extremist organization launched an unsuccessful coup in Trinidad in 1990, leaving 24 people dead. New York police commissioner Ray Kelly says the JFK plot shows just how far radical Islam has spread around the world.

RAY KELLY, NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER: It is different in that it has ties to the Caribbean and this is an area in which we have growing concern and I think requires a lot more focus.


ACOSTA: And Russell Defreitas is due back in court for a bail hearing on Wednesday. Two of the other suspects are in Trinidad awaiting extradition hearings and we're hearing this morning that that hearing will happen this morning at 9:00.

CHETRY: All right, we'll follow that. Also we heard Commissioner Kelly talk about this new focus of radical Islam as it relates to the Caribbean. Are we doing anything differently in terms of the federal government to try to crack down on that?

ACOSTA: I don't think a lot of people knew about this threat but it is now on the radar screen of federal authorities. And I think they were actually surprised as to how deep and insidious this new threat may be in that part of the world. But so far at this point they have one person still at large in this plot so I would imagine that there are some federal authorities down there aiding in that search. And it will be interesting to see how this thing develops. We might see more faces, more plots, more threats being discussed in terms of, you know, what we can find in that region. Is there something that we should be looking at with a greater focus?

CHETRY: All right, Jim Acosta, thanks so much. John?

ROBERTS: Eleven minutes after the hour now. A war crimes trial begins without the defendant. Your quick hits now, former president of Liberia Charles Taylor refused to show at The Hague today. His attorney says that he's not going to get a fair trial. Taylor is accused of orchestrating 50,000 deaths during Sierra Leone's civil war.

New charges expected today against a driver suspected of mowing down 40 people at a festival on Saturday in the nation's capital. The police chief says the driver had been smoking crack cocaine all day before getting behind the wheel. She is charged with aggravated assault while armed.

First the red carpet then off to jail. Paris Hilton is already behind bars this morning. Hear what she said before she went in next on AMERICAN MORNING live from New York and Manchester, New Hampshire this morning.


CHETRY: Space shuttle workers vote to strike. Your quick hits now, 570 shuttle program workers at the Kennedy Space Center could go on strike as early as June 10th, that's just two days after the expected launch of the Shuttle "Atlantis." A union leader says it will not affect the launch.

Here is a real fish tale for you. Take a look at that. It took three men hours to land this 8 foot, 600-pound bull shark in St. Petersburg, Florida over the weekend. They hooked it off the fishing dock.

Tropical storm Barry bringing some much needed rain to Florida. The heavy rain and high winds making for a close call though for one family. A tree crashed into their home outside of Tampa and it crashed right into the bedroom of 13-year-old Ethan Tramel. It was the room that he shared with his 4-year-old sister Grace.


ETHAN TRAMEL, BEDROOM HIT BY TREE: I saw the branch coming through the top. Then I just got into my blanket and just sat there and then I looked around and I was just like, freaked out kind of. And then I remembered my sister was down there so now I was trying to get out.


CHETRY: Well he was able to get her out. She was completely buried under the tree and all of the rubble yet she escaped with only a scratch.


ROBERTS: This morning after the Democrats' second debate New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is up and at them real early with the rest of us. Governor Richardson joins us now. Good morning to you. Thanks for getting up, good to see you.


ROBERTS: So your performance last night, an American Research Group poll has you running in fourth place in New Hampshire, just behind the top tier candidates at nine percent. A fellow we talked to last night, a voter, thought that you presented yourself as a problem solver. But the question is, did you do enough last night to differentiate yourself from the other candidates?

RICHARDSON: Well, I am gradually moving up. Iowa and New Hampshire were close to 10 percent. My objective is to move into those top three. Last night I felt good. I wanted to highlight my experience, what I had done and all the issues that came up yesterday, John. Iraq, energy, immigration, health care, I've got a record as a foreign policy negotiator, as a U.N. ambassador, as a governor, as secretary of energy. That's what I'm trying to do, highlight my experience but also that I can bring this country together, so my objective was fulfilled.

ROBERTS: Now if I saw any criticisms of you this morning in the newspaper, the blogs, whatever, it's that you're relying too heavily on that resume and not enough on new ideas up there on stage.

RICHARDSON: Well it's important first that I introduce myself to voters and what I'm simply saying to voters is that I'm not just somebody that says how he's going to vote. I've actually done things. I've brought countries together, I've negotiated the release of hostages, I've -- as New Mexico governor I've made New Mexico the clean energy state. And, for instance, on energy, the League of Conservation voters says I have the strongest plan for energy conservation. That's what I'm trying to get across. You first have to introduce yourself to voters and I've got plenty of new ideas so, again, I believe my experience is what's going to get me elected.

ROBERTS: One of your ideas is to get American troops out of Iraq by the end of this year. How do you do that, governor, without the place falling apart around you as you pull out and/or leaving it as a new haven for al Qaeda? Because there doesn't seem to be the political will among the Iraqi government to put it together.

RICHARDSON: It's a civil war right now, the sectarian conflict right now. My plan, yes, we withdraw our troops but we accompany it with three diplomatic initiatives, one, a political compromise involving the three groups in Iraq, different date and type lines of demarcation, secondly, division of oil revenues, a coalition government, an all-Muslim peacekeeping force.

ROBERTS: Could you put that together in six months?

RICHARDSON: Absolutely, absolutely, I'm a diplomat. I know the region. I was U.N. ambassador, 80 percent of my time was spent on the Iraq issue. We haven't had diplomacy in our foreign policy and seven more Americans died last night. The American people want this war to end and I do believe the Congress is just playing around with funding resolutions, with timetables. I would deauthorize this war. I would say based on article 1 of the constitution, it ends by the end of this calendar year with no residual forces and that's the main difference between me and the other candidates.

ROBERTS: One question I have to ask you governor, are you playing for the top spot here or are you playing for a spot on the ticket?

RICHARDSON: No, I don't want to be vice president. I want to be president. I've got the best job in the world as governor of New Mexico. I'm going to win this race, you watch.

ROBERTS: If offered a vice presidential slot would you turn it down?

RICHARDSON: I'm not going to get into that because I'm going to win. I'm going to win. I'm going to win. I'm governor of New Mexico, I have four years to go. I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a great place, life is good. So if this doesn't work out, I will be governor of New Mexico for four years.

ROBERTS: Governor thanks very much for dropping by. Always appreciate you coming in early. Kiran?

CHETRY: All right, thanks so much guys.

Well, Paris Hilton is waking up behind bars this morning. She spent her last night of freedom though not feeling sorry for herself of course, but at the MTV movie awards. Here's what she said hours before heading to the slammer.


PARIS HILTON: I am trying to be strong right now. I'm definitely scared, but I'm ready to face my sentence and even though this is a really hard time I have my friends and family and my fans who support me and it's just been really helpful in this really scary time.


CHETRY: AMERICAN MORNING's Lola Ogunnaike joins us now with more on Paris and her first day in the slammer. When did she actually check in I guess if that's the proper terminology?

LOLA OGUNNAIKE: She went to the MTV movie awards, had a great time apparently and then checked in shortly thereafter, 11:30 West Coast time, got the jump on everyone. Everyone expected her to check in today or tomorrow and she checked in last night. She was fashionably early. Can you believe that?

CHETRY: Is this pictures of her right now? It looks like she's wiping away tears. This is the stuff.

OGUNNAIKE: Yes, she was with her family. They drove her there and she was driven to a place that was a few miles away from the actual facility where she'll be spending her time because the paparazzi was camped out in front of the prison and the sheriff was worried about safety he so he had her check in. It was an elaborate rouse.

CHETRY: Now she's not doing hard time with the normal cellmates though, right?

OGUNNAIKE: Oh no, no, no, no, no. It's not "Oz", nothing that hardcore. She's going to be in a special unit for celebrities and high-profile inmates actually, so it'll be a little easier once she checks in. But right now apparently she's in solitary confinement according to TMZ and she only has one hour of freedom a day which means that for that one hour she gets to shower, use the bathroom and talk on the phone which for Paris, you know, that's really hard time (INAUDIBLE) out of the day. That was 23 hours out of her day and now she only has one hour a day to do that.

CHETRY: All right, well Lola, we're going to talk when we check in with you in the next hour about what she could have done. She's choosing to do something a little harder than she had to.

OGUNNAIKE: Exactly, but she took the hardcore route.

CHETRY: She did, thanks Lola.

Meantime, a rough landing -- go ahead John.

ROBERTS: Sorry, a rough landing in Oakland tops our quick hits. A Southwest flight had trouble with its landing gear as it was flying from Sacramento to San Diego. Passengers came off via inflatable slides, no one was hurt in that.

From belly landing to belly jamming, we have a new hot dog eating champ this morning, Joey Chestnut set a new record this weekend in Phoenix, scarfing down 59 1/2 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes, beating the old record held by Takira Kobayashi, by six dogs.

Coming up, say hello to iPhone. Apple has just come out with the iPhone's debut date. We'll have that for you. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING, the most news in the morning is on CNN.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Your best workout partner may be the one with four legs, your dog. Tiffany combines her cardio workout with some canine companionship. She runs with Reno, her labrador.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She loves it. She gets her exercise and it makes her more relaxed and she just loves to be out here in nature and it's a perfect exercise for me and gives us a chance to just kind of bond and be together.

COSTELLO: (INAUDIBLE) collie mixers Haley and Conner motivate their mom Robin to exercise outdoors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I first got Haley I lost automatically like five pounds because I was hiking and walking all the time so it really forced me to get out and be more active.

COSTELLO: The Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Hill's Pet Nutrition Company conducted the people and pets exercising together study. And found that after one year of exercising and watching their diets, dogs shed an average of 15 percent of their body weight and their owners shed 5 percent of theirs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Animals get a lot of exercise, which they need, to keep them healthy physically, but also mentally. And so I think it's real healthy for people and their animals to run together.

COSTELLO: But for some people, keeping fit with Fido involves a bit of multitasking. Carol Costello, CNN, New York.



ROBERTS: The Charlotte Coliseum's slam dunked permanently. Some quick hits for you now. It stood for 18 years but came down in just 15 seconds. The coliseum was home to the Charlotte hornets. It was imploded to make room for an office park, hotel and condos.

At a world record rendition nearly 1700 guitarists from around the world came to Kansas City to rift deep purple "smoke on the water." They broke the Guinness record for the biggest ensemble performance of the song. The old record was set back in 1994. It was 1322 people also playing "Smoke on the water" in Vancouver, British Columbia.

And a new view on the life of Rosie O'Donnell. Rosie's much delayed memoir, "Celebrity Detox" is finally set to be released this fall. It will provide a candid look at her life, including her time on "The View," which she credits with motivating her to finish the book. Kiran?

CHETRY: That's right, it was all just pouring out of her on the blogs so she decided to go ahead and put it in book form. Twenty- eight past the hour right now. Ali Velshi is minding your business. Not to make fun of our stage manager Peter, of course, but the antiquated phone of the past, we'll be able to say good-bye to this.

ALI VELSHI: Yeah, this is whatever values in that one Pete, you're going to lose in about a month.

CHETRY: Sorry Pete.

VELSHI: Apple has started running commercials, interesting way to announce it, running commercials that the iPhone will be available on June 29th. You know they had announced it initially and said it was going to be in June and then there were rumors a few months ago that it was going to be delayed. So, guess what, it's going to be June but it's going to be June 29th.

CHETRY: This has like rock concert anticipation. What's so great about it?

VELSHI: Well that's interesting you say that, because I'm curious as to whether it's rock concert or video game, or opening night at a movie. I don't know what it's going to be. But I was on eBay there are domain names, not iPhones, because they're not available. Domain names having to do with an iPhone, meaning you could buy one of those domain names and sell them, going for thousands and thousands of dollars.

CHETRY: What's so great about this iPhone?

VELSHI: Well, it's a phone, it's your media device, it's your iPod. It has a screen that doesn't have -- you don't have a keyboard. Your screen is on your keyboard. And the idea is it will be upgradable using software so Michael's phone is going to work for a long time. Pete's phone is going to work very much longer. You buy iPhone, you can apparently keep on upgrading it.

CHETRY: Ah ah, they're going to keep coming out with new versions every six months any way of course.

VELSHI: Well they're saying if you'll upgrade you may not have to get new versions but we'll all see. I mean everybody I know has anything from Apple, buys a new one.

CHETRY: All right, well, show it to us when it comes out. But a lot of anticipation behind that. Thanks, Ali.

Living in the popular but dangerous fire zones of California, now insurance companies are putting new demands on the people who live in these high risk areas. They say it's good business sense but homeowners say it's over the top. We're going to have details on these last-minute requirements straight ahead. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING, the most news in the morning here on CNN.

ROBERTS: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. It is Monday, June the 4th.

I'm John Roberts, coming to you from Manchester, New Hampshire, scene of the Democratic and soon to be the Republican debates.

Good morning to you, Kiran.

CHETRY: Yes. We're going to talk more about that a little later in the show. As well, some of the interesting answers that were given last night. But first we're going to get to our top stories. President Bush leaves for Europe and the G8 summit within the hour. Police are tightening checks around the summit near the port town of Rostock, Germany.

On Saturday, 128 protesters were arrested. More than a thousand protesters and police were hurt. It was a huge clash, and more protests are expected before the G8 summit begins on Wednesday.

Russian president Vladimir Putin making some headlines before he heads to the summit. He says that he would point his missiles at Europe if the U.S. goes ahead with the European missile shield. U.S.- Russian tensions are at a post-Cold War high.

And the man infected with that extreme drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis is contagious. Three tests were done at the Denver hospital where Andrew Speaker is now staying. They confirm that, yes, he is contagious.

The hospital has ordered him to stay there in isolation until he is no longer considered contagious. The CDC is beginning a review of the matter, including looking into the involvement of Speaker's father-in-law, Robert Cooksey. He works at the CDC as a microbiologist who specializes in TB. Cooksey has said the TB did not come from him -- John.

ROBERTS: Coming up to 34 minutes after the hour.

Iraq dominated the Democratic debate last night, with the parties two leading candidates, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, getting jabbed by number three, John Edwards.

Take a listen.


JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They went quietly to the floor of the Senate, cast the right vote, but there is a difference between leadership and legislation.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I opposed this war from the start. So you are about four and a half years late on leadership on this issue.



John Dickerson is a CNN contributor and chief political correspondent for, and joins us this morning with some after-debate analysis.

You made mention of this in your column for "Slate," that it was appropriate that this was held at a hockey arena last night -- John.

JOHN DICKERSON, SLATE.COM: That's right. We saw the first cross-checking among the candidates. Remember, their first debate five weeks ago, they were all solicitous, very nice with each other, but there was some back and forth with Iraq and the war on terror.

ROBERTS: A lot of the back and forth was between John Edwards and Barack Obama. They traded barbs. Any time that Hillary Clinton got caught in the middle, she tried to sort of float above the fray.

Was she really trying to present herself almost as the de facto leader of the Democratic party?

DICKERSON: That's right. For her, the general election has already begun. These little Democrats that are fighting among themselves, she's above that. And the point here, yes, she's inevitable, she's moved on. And she refocused the debate during that touchy Iraq moment for her by saying we should all remember the fact there are big differences with Republicans and not worry about the squabbles among ourselves.

ROBERTS: There was one moment, though, when you suggest that she might have left herself open. Let's take a quick listen.


SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe we are safer than we were. We are not yet safe enough. And I have proposed over the last years a number of policies that I think we should be following.


ROBERTS: So, responding to this idea the war on terror being a bumper sticker slogan, as John Edwards claims it is or not, she said we are safer than we were before. It puts her at odds with a lot of Democrats.

ROBERTS: That's right. A lot of Democrats believe the Iraq war has made us less safe. I asked her advisers about this afterwards. They didn't change her remarks at all. Obama and -- the Obama and Edwards' camp jumped on this right away and said we're not any safer than we used to be.

ROBERTS: You know, I talked with a focus group pollster who said that his group found that John Edwards won this thing hand down. But I'm wondering, Barack Obama, did he show himself to be a little more substantive, a little more engaging than he did in the first debate?

DICKERSON: Obama did two things well. In the first debate he was kind of -- he had low blood pressure. In this one he was forceful on a couple of issues and he got into a policy debate on health care with John Edwards.

One of the raps against Obama has been his lack of substance. He was able to hang in there with Edwards, and that's good for him.

ROBERTS: Well, it was an interesting back and forth, and I thought it revealed a little bit more about the candidates than we had seen before, knocked them off the talking points, which is always good. You'll come back a little bit later on, we'll talk more about this?

DICKERSON: That's right.


John Dickerson from "Slate" magazine.

And CNN remains the place for politics. Tonight, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards, the top three, will talk about what role faith plays in their politics.

It's hosted by Soledad O'Brien and Paula Zahn tonight on CNN.

CHETRY: Angry protests in Venezuela top our quick hits now. Thousands again hitting the streets to send a message to President Hugo Chavez and his decision to pull the plug on an opposition television. Protesters say Chavez is trying to muzzle his critics.

There's also some new video of Fidel Castro that's making the rounds on Cuban state television. Castro was seen meeting with the Vietnamese communist party chief in tape released on Sunday. Castro has not been seen in public since last July when he announced he was having intestinal surgery.

Coming up, the price of paradise, why some California residents are finding it a whole lot tougher to get insurance against wildfires.



ROBERTS: New advice from doctors to patients. Some "Quick Hits" for you now.

The warning out overnight from orthopedists saying (AUDIO GAP) sneakers with wheels built into them should also be wearing helmets, wrist guards, knee pads and elbow pads, just like they were on roller blades. They're citing an increase in injuries from falls while kids are wearing those types of shoes.

New numbers out about the number of baby boys. Researchers say that between 1970 and 2001 the number of boys born fell from 105 to 104.6 for every hundred girls born. Scientists think the decline could be the result of environmental hazards that harm male-producing sperm.

A new at-home fertility test hits the market today. For the first time, it will allow men to run a quick test at home. The product called Fertel tests both men and women and runs about $100.

CHETRY: Pretty neat.

Well, they live in one of the most beautiful areas of the country, but also one of the most dangerous. Now some southern California residents are finding that insurance companies consider them too hot to handle.

Chris Lawrence live now in San Diego to show us how wildfire insurance is getting tougher and it's actually much more expensive.

Hi, Chris.


Yes, insurance companies are looking at neighborhoods like this one and remembering what it all looked like four years ago when the same area caught fire. They are convinced it's only a matter of time before it happens again.


LAWRENCE (voice over): Homes burn as firestorms torched San Diego suburbs four years ago. Insurers rebuilt those homes, but the costs just keep on coming.

Some insurers have doubled premiums and order homeowners to clear brush, cut down trees, and install fireproof roofs. The improvements can cost homeowners up to $20,000, with no guarantee their policies won't be canceled.

SHARMILA BRUSHAN, HOMEOWNER: Right behind our house we have cleared everything. I even put some irrigation and plants.

LAWRENCE: Even with sprinklers and other safety features, Sharmila Brushan says she's been threatened with cancellation and charged exorbitant rates for her home at the bottom of a hill.

BRUSHAN: Basically, they just don't want to take any risk. And that's what insurance is for, to manage your risk.

LAWRENCE: Managing that risk can be profitable. State Farm and Allstate each made $5 billion in profit last year.

DOUGLAS HELLER, FOUNDATION FOR TAXPAYER & CONSUMER RIGHTS: The insurance industry is looking at American consumers sort of like they look at a -- look at a casino. We just hit three blackjacks in a row, let's take our chips off the table and leave.

LAWRENCE: Consumer advocate Doug Heller says the company's message is clear.

HELLER: We're going to force you to spend more money to comply with our -- to comply with out newfangled policy rules, and if you don't spend that money we're dropping you.

LAWRENCE: Starting next month, Allstate will stop accepting new clients anywhere in California. The company says costs have skyrocketed and Allstate has to ensure it's got enough money to help nearly one million Californians who already have an Allstate policy.

Insurers are asking, how can we keep rebuilding entire neighborhoods that firefighters are convinced will burn? CANDYSSE MILLER, INSURANCE INFORMATION NETWORK: They looked at Scripps Ranch and said, I fought that same fire 20 years ago. And there's another firefighter that's going to probably fight it 20 years from now. So it really begs the question: Are we building in safe areas?

LAWRENCE: Sharmila Brushan says her home in Scripps Ranch is safe. Insurers see what that same property looked like four years ago and aren't so sure.


LAWRENCE: And this is just one neighborhood in one city. Insurance companies are now inspecting homes in Arizona, Oregon, Colorado. So this is an issue that could affect homes all across the western half of the country -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Especially pertinent with the drought, the severe drought that they've had in that area in particular.

Chris Lawrence, thanks so much.

ROBERTS: Coming up to 44 minutes after the hour.

A lost treasure tops our "Quick Hits" for you now.

Rosemary Brunt (ph) of Dayton, Ohio, had memories but nothing to show of her brother who was killed during World War II. That is, until 64 years later. She got a call from a couple of antique collectors.

They came across her brother's Air Force foot locker and shipped it to her on Thursday. Inside the trunk she found a lifetime of memories -- wedding pictures, his wallet, even his rosary beads. Rosemary (ph) says that there isn't anything she could have wanted more than this.

A town without a police force. The only officer of Huntington, Arkansas, was fired last month in what the mayor calls insubordination. The town, currently without a police force, looking to hire a new officer. It's not too bad, though. Huntington only has 688 residents.

Out of jail and speaking out, the man once known as "Dr. Death" promises never to assist another suicide. But that doesn't mean he's happy about it.

Hear from him when AMERICAN MORNING returns.


CHETRY: From the red carpet to behind bars in one night, that tops our "Quick Hits" now.

Paris Hilton reported to jail around 11:00 Pacific Time last night. At least a day early. This is video from She is serving a 23-day sentence for driving under the influence. That violated the terms of her probation. Earlier in the night, Hilton attended the MTV Movie Awards in L.A.

And a medical mystery in Indiana. Health officials say that four people in northwestern Indiana have died this year from an extremely rare brain disorder. The disease is called Creutzfeldt-Jakob. It causes a rapid decrease in brain function and usually strikes just one out of a million people.

Well, from medical mystery to medical miracle, a Polish man waking up after 19 years in a coma. He was hit by a train back in 1988. His wife took care of him at home, not moving him back to the hospital, until last year when he showed some signs of improvement.

Well, Dr. Jack Kevorkian speaking for the first time since his release from prison. Kevorkian released from prison Friday after serving eight years for assisting in the suicides of terminally ill patients.

He was interviewed on "60 Minutes" by Mike Wallace.


MIKE WALLACE, "60 MINUTES": What would you do if a desperate person comes to you, Jack Kevorkian, and says, "I need help"? Someone terminally ill who comes to you in terrible pain, wants you to lead them to -- out of their misery.

What do you tell them?

JACK KEVORKIAN, SPENT 8 YEARS IN PRISON: Well, it would be painful for me, but I'd have to refuse them, because I gave my word that I won't do it again.


CHETRY: Kevorkian says that that was one of the conditions of his release. He joins "LARRY KING LIVE" tonight, 9:00 p.m. Eastern -- John.

ROBERTS: A little smoke alarm over Arnold Schwarzenegger's trip to Canada that tops our "Quick Hits".

During his trip to Ottawa on a trade mission, Governor Schwarzenegger reportedly had an aide pick him up a Cuban cigar. That is illegal under U.S. trade restrictions. No comment on that from the governor's office.

A ban on advertising in schools is being considered by lawmakers in Massachusetts. Critics blame ads in school for obesity and gender stereotyping. The ban would prohibit everything from ads on ads on scoreboards to book covers plastered with product logos.

And an alleged plot uncovered this weekend against Kennedy Airport. We'll go live to Trinidad for the latest on the New York City terror plot.

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


ROBERTS: A development in the fight against liver cancer tops our "Quick Hits".

The drug Nexavar was shown to extend patients' lives by three months, or 50 percent. It is the first liver cancer drug to show any positive results.

Give me a "D," or you can buy a piece of one. A part of the original Hollywood sign is up for sale at a fund-raiser to benefit other Hollywood monuments. Opening bid for it is $3,500.

And Larry Flynt, the publisher of "Hustler" magazine, says he'll pay a million dollars for dirt on Washington big shots. Flynt took out a full-page ad in yesterday's "Washington Post," asking for anyone who has had illicit sex with a member of Congress or another high- ranking official to send him proof.

And Kiran, I seem to recall that Flynt has done that before.

CHETRY: Yes, I think he did that during the Monica Lewinsky scandal in the Clinton administration, asking if there were others out there, probably preferably those attacking the former president, about their proclivities.

All right, John.

It's about five minutes until the top of the hour, and Ali Velshi is "Minding Your Business".

And, you know, people were getting really worried when you could do a lot of TiVo and a lot of DVR that advertisers were going to miss out because people were skipping commercials.


CHETRY: What did you find?

VELSHI: Well, Nielsen decided that it's going to release the numbers on how people watch commercials, and they started to come out. And the news actually isn't as bad as the TV executives were worried about.

It doesn't seem that everybody skips through these as fast as possible. Take an example of one piece of information they released on "The Office".

They surveyed -- they looked at people 18 to 49 who were watching "The Office" without a DVR -- 6.2 percent didn't watch commercials. With a DVR, a digital video recorder, where you tape it and you can watch it afterwards... CHETRY: Right?

VELSHI: ... 50.9 percent skipped the commercials. Sixty percent of people skipped the commercials when they had the options. Which means 40 percent of the people who had the option of skipping the commercials didn't.

Now, what does that tell you?

CHETRY: Right. Oh, I think it tells me it's very hard when you fast forward, at least with my DVR, to get it in the right spot. Because sometimes you don't bother.

VELSHI: It's not like forwarding a CD, where you get to the next track.

CHETRY: Exactly.

VELSHI: And that's kind of interesting, that it's -- I have found that, too, that sometimes it's just not worth the effort of going back and forth because you miss when the show comes back and, you know, then you're fiddling with it.

CHETRY: So I find myself watching the commercials, unfortunately, as well, even when I tape things.

VELSHI: Well, the good news is, this is good news for the advertisers. It's good news for individuals, because if the numbers were higher it might have prompted the cable companies to do more of this programming that you can't skip through commercials on.

CHETRY: Right.

VELSHI: But you know what? If they're getting 40 percent of the viewers -- whoever you all are -- maybe that's enough to sell products.

CHETRY: Better than nothing. Right.

VELSHI: Better than nothing. But you know it is going to prompt a shift into the kind of advertising we see. So there might be more product placement or things like that mentioned.

CHETRY: Exactly. Everyone is holding Coke cans in every single shot of our favorite sitcom.

VELSHI: That's right.

CHETRY: All right, Ali. Thanks so much.


CHETRY: Well, check this one out.

You have to watch this, by the way, too. We have a new hot dog eating champ this morning. This guy, Joey Chestnut -- and he's always in these -- he's a professional, you know, food competitor. He set a new record this weekend in Phoenix.

He scarfed down 59.5 hot dog buns in 12 minutes. That beat the old record by a lot -- by six hot dogs.

VELSHI: Oh man.

CHETRY: I believe it was Kobayashi...

VELSHI: Yes. Yes. Yes.

CHETRY: ... you know, the famous dude -- I think he's from Japan -- who was incredible here.

But we actually, John, did a calorie count, by the way. If 59 hot dogs with the buns, times 315 calories, is 18,585 total calories that Joey Chestnut scarfed down in 12 minutes.

ROBERTS: I always wonder, do they leave them in there to digest, or do they, you know, go to the restroom next door?

CHETRY: I try not to wonder.

ROBERTS: Get rid of those quickly.

CHETRY: All I think is that is a lot of time on the treadmill, Mr. Chestnut.

VELSHI: Some folks are still having their breakfast.

ROBERTS: Absolutely.

CHETRY: Well, the next hour of AMERICAN MORNING gets started right now.