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American Morning

Clinton and Obama go After Each Other; Ralph Nader Joins the Fray; Middle School Tragedy; Hollywood Honoring the Best in the Movie Business Last Night

Aired February 25, 2008 - 08:00   ET



SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She essentially presented herself as co-president during the Clinton years.



ROBERTS: Clinton and Obama go after each other. And Ralph Nader joins the fray. The newest candidate defends himself, live on the "Most Politics in the Morning".

Middle school tragedy. Was he gunned down because he was gay? What can schools do?

And crime pays.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "No Country for Old Men."


ROBERTS: "No Country for Old Men" takes Oscar gold. Lola, goes to the ball with the winners on this AMERICAN MORNING.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: What's going on? Everybody, all the best actor categories were all swept by people that lived across the pond.

ROBERTS: I tell you. Daniel Day-Lewis is such a chameleon when he takes on those roles, you know.

CHETRY: He's amazing.

ROBERTS: "Last of the Mohicans," "Gangs of New York," and this. A completely different in every one.

CHETRY: In fact, Jon Stewart, made a joke about Cate Blanchett. He said the same thing. He said, in fact, she played the pit bull that's chasing this character in the movie -- it was pretty funny.

ROBERTS: Well, it was a great night last night. We kick off this hour though with politics. Hillary Clinton comes out fighting against Barack Obama as the two candidates head into must win battles in Ohio and Texas.

Clinton accusing Obama of distorting her record on NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. And in the speech yesterday in Providence, Rhode Island, she took a mocking swipe at Obama's campaign style saying people want action, not words.


H. CLINTON: I could stand up here and say let's just get everybody together. Let's get unified. The sky will open. The light will come down. Celestial choir will be singing and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect.


ROBERTS: Clinton also said that she recently made it clear, she is ambivalent about NAFTA blasting companies for, quote, turning their backs on Americans by shipping jobs overseas.

Obama responded to Clinton's snappy comment saying she did support it when her husband was president and now she wants people to forget about that. Clinton blasting Obama's campaign for sending out fliers that she falsely characterize her position on trade agreements.


H. CLINTON: Enough with the speeches and the big rallies and then using tactics that are right out of Karl Rove's playbook. This is wrong. And every Democrat should be outraged.

OBAMA: The Clinton administration championed NAFTA, passed NAFTA, signed NAFTA. She's saying that part of the experience that makes her the best qualified to be president is all the work that she was doing in the Clinton administration.

You can't take credit for everything that's good in the Clinton administration and then suddenly say you don't want to take credit for what folks don't like about the Clinton administration.


ROBERTS: Obama says NAFTA is to blame for the loss of one million jobs since 1994.

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader says he is running for president as an independent. He made the announcement yesterday, criticizing the top contenders calling them too close to big business. Barack Obama played down Nader's announcement saying that he'll have little impact in the race.

But Hillary Clinton said the move, "Wasn't good for anyone, especially our country." Many Democrats have accused Nader of handing the 2000 election to President George Bush by siphoning away votes in the state of Florida. Ralph Nader will be our guest, just ahead at 8:15 Eastern. We'll ask him about all of that.

CHETRY: Well, from "Saturday Night" to "AM," presidential candidate Mike Huckabee joins us in our last hour on AMERICAN MORNING. He told us why the numbers, when it comes to the delegate counts don't really mean a lot to him.


MIKE HUCKABEE, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, if John McCain doesn't get 1191 confirmed, committed pledge delegates, then there is no nominee officially until we get to the convention. And when we get to the convention, all bets are off and many of the delegates can do what they wish. Now, it's possible that he'll get there. And if he does, then, so be it. But in the meantime, there are millions of Republican voters who have not voted.


CHETRY: Huckabee also says it's ridiculous to think that it would hurt the Republican Party to have competition up until the convention.

Well, looking ahead to the next big primary race, next week, Tuesday, March 4th, 370 Democratic delegates and 256 Republican delegates all at stake in the states of Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and Vermont. Our Alina Cho is in North Korea this morning. And that is why we are joined right now by our Veronica De La Cruz.

Good to see you this morning.

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good to see you both. Lots of news to get to this morning. We start with some breaking news this morning from Israel. A blast on an Israeli Army Base. It happened at a shooting range, south of Tel-Aviv. Emergency workers say it wounded three people, two seriously. Still, no word how it happened or who is responsible?

And updating some breaking news out of Indonesia this morning. A 7.0 earthquake struck off the western coast of Sumatra Island. It happened about four and a half hours ago. A strong 5.0 aftershock soon followed. However, there's been no reports of damage or injury. A tsunami warning was issued but quickly cancelled.

And Americans will be making history in North Korea this week for what's being called a remarkable display of cultural diplomacy. The New York Philharmonic Orchestra is in Pyongyang this morning for an unprecedented concert there tomorrow. The concert will be broadcast live on North Korea's state run TV and radio, something unheard of in this isolated nation.

This comes at a time when progress on nuclear disarmament is stalled. We have new pictures coming in this morning, which give us a rare look inside a secret North Korean nuclear plant. AMERICAN MORNING's Alina Cho and CNN's Christiane Amanpour, both following this historic event. We're going to have a series of reports for you all week long.

Well, American Airlines is speaking out this morning about the death of a passenger on a flight from Haiti to New York on Friday. Carine Desir complained of breathing problems and extreme thirst after she had eaten a meal. Desir's cousins says they asked for oxygen twice and were refused twice by a flight attendant. When the flight attendant finally did try to give her oxygen from a portable tank, the cousin says the tank was empty.


ANTONIO OLIVER, CARINE DESIR'S COUSIN: She said my darling, please, don't let me die. Get some oxygen for me. Please, baby. I love you, baby. I love you, baby. Don't let me die. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe please, please. And I start yelling on the plane. Somebody help me.


DE LA CRUZ: Well, CNN spoke with an American Airlines spokesperson last night and she said American's flight attendants are professionals and trained in assisting passengers and medical emergency. She goes on to say, I have no double that they did everything in their power to help this passenger. The medical examiner's office says the woman had heart disease and died of natural causes.

Well, gas prices up again over the past two weeks. This according to the latest Lundberg Survey. It's also in an average 16 cents more a gallon to fill your tank. The national averages, let's take a look, $3.10 per gallon, which is up 12 cents. That's higher than last month. 75 cents, more than a year ago, at this time.

And Hollywood honoring the best in the movie business last night.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the Oscar goes to "No Country for Old Men."


DE LA CRUZ: Heard a lot of that last night. That announcement heard four times. "No Country for Old Men" winning as Best Picture. Brothers Joel and Ethan Coen won as Best Directors and for Best Adapted Screenplay and Javier Bardem of Spain picked up Best Supporting Actor for his role in "No Country." In fact, all of the acting awards went to Europeans.

Daniel Day-Lewis of the U.K. won Best Actor for "There Will Be Blood." Scotland's Tilda Swinton won Best Supporting Actress for "Michael Clayton." French actress, Marion Cotillard, won Best Actress for "La Vie En Rose." And of course, our Lola Ogunnaike. She's there. She has a live report from the Kodak Theatre in about half hour. It's 5:00 in the morning there. Do you think those parties are finally wrapping up?

ROBERTS: Some of them might be, yes. But some of them are probably still going on.

DE LA CRUZ: Yes, most likely -- Kiran.

CHETRY: I don't know. I've never been. I'm always at the sleep. I had to go to sleep before the show was even over, let alone the Oscar parties.

DE LA CRUZ: Well, maybe next year. Maybe next year, Lola, will take you.

CHETRY: Thanks. Maybe. Thanks a lot, Veronica.


CHETRY: Well, there was a funeral over the weekend for a junior high student shot and killed at his school in Oxnard, California. Friends are saying 15-year-old, Lawrence King, had been telling friends that he was gay and was being harassed by a group of classmates.

He was shot to death in a school's computer lab earlier this month and now there's a 14-year-old facing charges as an adult for murder and premeditated hate crime. Elizabeth Cohen joins us now from the medical update desk with more on this.

This story, obviously, is one of the worst case scenarios that you can imagine. But many parents struggle with how to help their kids deal with being bullied at school.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Many parents do struggle and, Kiran, schools also struggle. And over the years, there are some good news coming out of schools. More than 3,000 Gay-Straight Alliance Clubs as they're called have developed in schools across the country. And studies show that to at least some extent they are working.

There seems to be less name-calling of gay and lesbian students in those schools that have those clubs. That's good news that things are changing. Obviously, they're not changing quite enough.

CHETRY: And also, it makes a question. I mean, if he's shot in a school computer lab. He's just in eight grade -- I mean, what has that say about violence in middle schools?

COHEN: You know, bullying in middle schools is actually quite common. Bullying takes place in middle schools, sixth, seventh, eight grade, more than in high schools. And also, more and more kids are coming out at younger ages. Which in many ways is a good thing but it also leaves them more vulnerable to bullying and to violence.

CHETRY: Elizabeth Cohen for us this morning from Atlanta. Thank you.

COHEN: Thanks.

ROBERTS: Coming up at 11 minutes after the hour. Americans are wracking up credit card bills to the tune of $2 trillion, with a T dollars. Our Gerri Willis is looking at the pillars of your financial security, starting with step one getting out from underneath all of that debt.

And Ralph Nader is in the race for president again. What's his message for American voters and the major political parties? We'll ask him next on AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: And welcome back to the most news in the morning. Thirteen minutes past 8:00 this morning. Rob Marciano is joining us from the extreme weather center in Atlanta. You didn't get a chance to do your traveling, Rob. It was Ali instead that was sent to Texas to wrangle steer.


ROBERTS: It was news that many Democrats feared and didn't want to hear. Ralph Nader is running for president again. The political activist yesterday announced his decision to run for the White House. Many Democrats still blame Nader saying he took votes away from Al Gore in Florida in the 2000 election thus giving the election to George W. Bush. Why is he running again? Let's ask him. Ralph Nader joins me from our Washington Bureau.

Mr. Nader, good to see you. In 2000, that famous election. You got almost three million votes, you run again in 2004. You got about a half a million votes that compared with Bush and Kerry who got some 60 million votes. Do you have any realistic chance of becoming president this year?

RALPH NADER (I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The system obviously has been rigged. It even prevents candidates who come in first in the popular vote, like Gore did in 2000 from becoming president. That's what the Electoral College does, in all of these ballot access restrictions.

I'm running for a simple reason. Washington is closed its doors on citizen groups. Labor, citizen, consumer, reform groups, environmental groups. It's corporate occupied territory. And we've got to heed Thomas Jefferson who said when we lose our government. We've got to go into the electorate arena. Use the word revolution. I think we need a Jeffersonian revolution.

All these people around the country wonder, why isn't that government doing anything about high gas prices? Why isn't the government doing anything about high prices of medicine? Why isn't the government spending taxpayer dollars wisely instead of wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on corporate subsidies and a bloated military defense budget?

All of which have been documented by the main stream press including CNN. So we have to give the system more competition, more voices, more choices, more freedom, more diversity.

ROBERTS: Now, all of the front-running candidates, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama have all pledged to end the influence of special interest there in Washington. You don't believe that they will?

NADER: Of course not. I mean, first of all, if they wanted to do that, they'd put front and center public funding of public campaigns. They put front and center cracking down on corporate crime fraud and abuse. They would put front and center empowering the American people in direct democracy format so they can move in when they're so-called representatives, cave in to the interests of big business.

ROBERTS: You know, a lot of people talk, Mr. Nader, about the effect that you'll have in an election. Mike Huckabee believes that you're going to draw votes away from Democrats. That none of your votes will come from Republicans. And Hillary Clinton had something to say about that idea yesterday. Let's listen to how she responded to you getting in the race.

She said, "I remember when he ran before it didn't turn out very well for anyone, especially our country." So, would a Ralph Nader candidacy hurt the country? You know, you talked about how environmental groups have been shut out of Washington. Hillary Clinton says that you being in the race in the year 2000 prevented the person who would have been the greenest president in our lifetime from taking the reins at the White House?

NADER: That's a misstatement of the facts. I mean, Gore won. He won in Florida. He believes it, I believe it. It was stolen from him. They should concentrate on the thieves who steal elections in Florida and Ohio in 2004. They should try to get rid of the Electoral College which makes some mockery in front of the world, where someone who can come in second like George W. Bush in the popular vote, and ends up being president, selected by the Supreme Court. Why are they scapegoating the greens?

The Democrats ought to look themselves in the mirror and ask themselves, why they have not been able to landslide the worst Republican Party in the White House and Congress over the last 20 years. So, the important thing here is when we look back at American history, John, do we call the anti-slavery little party a spoiler? Do we call the women's suffrage for woman's right to vote a spoiler? They never won any national election, but they put the social justice issues on the front burner. That's what so important.

As John Edwards once said, little is going to change if we replace a corporate Republican with a corporate Democrat . And Hillary Clinton has been named by "Fortune Magazine" as the Democrat Most Loved by Big Business. An article by Nina Easton, in Fortune Magazine last June. That ought to speak volumes.

Barack Obama also had something to say about your candidacy. He said that he had tremendous respect for the work that you had done but he also added this, listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: My sense is that Mr. Nader is somebody who, if you don't listen and adopt all of his policies, thinks you're not substantive. He seems to have a pretty high opinion of his own work.


ROBERTS: What do you say Mr. Nader to this idea that your candidacy is motivated by humorous?

NADER: As if Barack Obama does not have a high opinion of his own work. That's name-calling. Address the issues, Barack. Address why you're not for single-payer health insurance supported by a majority of American people in the forthcoming poll and majority of physicians.

Explain why you don't challenge what you know as to be tens of billions of dollars of waste fraud and abuse in the monetary budget. Explain why you don't really get concrete about how you would renegotiate NAFTA and WTO, which is exporting jobs and industry to places like the communist dictatorship in China.

And above all, explain why you don't come down hard on the economic crimes against minorities in city ghettos, who pay their loans in predatory lending, rent-to-own rackets, landlord abuses, lead contamination asbestos. He's an unseemly silence by you, Barack, a community organizer in poor areas in Chicago many years ago, on this issue.

ROBERTS: Well, we will see if answers to those questions are forthcoming. Ralph Nader, again, presidential candidate as of yesterday, joining us this morning from Washington.

Mr. Nader, thanks very much.

NADER: And go to for more elaboration.

ROBERTS: All right. Thanks very much. Good to see you.

NADER: Thank you, John.


CHETRY: Using plastic to paper. Just about everything, maxed out, missing payment, and paying penalties. It's a vicious cycle that we've also seen ballooned in the past decade. Gerri Willis has some tips to stop the spiraling cycle of debt, coming up.

And still ahead, super size meat. One sports bar's answer to the growing obesity problem. Nothing probably to the growing hunger problem. What could be the biggest burger ever? How would you actually eat that thing? Want to take another look? Ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROBERTS: Well, would you like fries with that? Take a look at this before you answer the question. It's a 134-pound cheeseburger in our "HotShots" now. Check out the normal-sized burger that's stacked on -- can we see that, the normal-sized burger. Take a look at the little burger on top of it there. It took three guys with two steel sheets to flip the thing over.

A Michigan sports bar selling it for $350. You need to order it a day in advance though. The owner is hoping that Guinness recognizes it as the biggest burger for sale in the world. Now, it's as if they didn't make this is a one-time only thing. You can actually order this.

CHETRY: You know, but I mean, when you look at it again.

ROBERTS: (INAUDIBLE) as hungry as you normally are, maybe you want one of that.


CHETRY: How did they get the bacon so -- I mean, it looks like normal strips of bacon and humongous slices of cheese. I mean, they got to work hard on that thing.

ROBERTS: Yes. That's why it costs $350.

CHETRY: I don't know. It probably makes a better world record than taste. You know what I mean? I don't know if I want that for dinner.

ROBERTS: Just one bite at a time, I would think. If you've got a hot shot, send it to us. Head to our Web site, and follow the "HotShots" link.

CHETRY: All right. Well, paying for it and then paying for it again and again. There's a new report saying that credit card debt in the U.S. grew by more than 300 percent in the last 20 years.

Personal finance editor Gerri Willis has some step-by-step instructions that could help you get out of that hole if you're one of the people who's living on credit card debt. She's looking at the pillars of your financial security all this week, a special series of reports at noon on CNN.

And Gerri, thanks for being with us this morning with a preview of this.


CHETRY: How did it seems we've got ourselves as a nation into this type of situation, where we rely on this revolving debt and we end up, you know, paying the finance charges and never actually paying off what we owe?

WILLIS: Well, I think you defined it exactly right, Kiran. Part of it is credit card debt. As you said, credit card debt across the country spiraling. Now, Americans with credit cards face about $10,000 in credit card debt. Delinquencies with credit cards are rising and you're starting to see this credit cards being used for necessities rather than for the luxuries of life.

Auto loans, too. Americans are more and more late with their auto loan payments. Delinquencies on that is at a ten-year high. And as you know, home mortgages. People in deep trouble with home mortgages. Foreclosures at an all-time high.

And an interesting number, Kiran, I want to share with you this morning. As many as 10 percent of Americans owe more on their home than it's currently worth because of the credit crunch and the housing nightmare that's going on in this country. Clearly, debt is out of control and people have got to get their arms around it. We're going to be helping people with that all week long -- Kiran.

CHETRY: It seems oftentimes for people with something too big to tackle. You know, you just want to almost want to brush it aside. If you had to give people some common sense tips, some baby steps, if you will, what would you suggest?

WILLIS: Well, start with that credit card debt, because it's the most expensive debt you have. You probably have a credit card interest rate at 14.5 percent or maybe higher. That's the average. You definitely want to pay off that high-interest debt, first.

And find yourself a zero percent credit card offer out there. Roll over your debts to that. Get started there. And then, you got to think about the big picture. Is your debt too high to handle? Maybe you need to get a credit counselor. Go to It's a great place to go if you're really struggling with a lot of debt. They can help you through the process. Set you up with the payment plan that you can actually use and embrace. It's a great idea if you feel like you're in over your head.

And we're going to be helping people all week with this week, Kiran. We're going to take live phone calls. We'll be answering your questions today about debt. But we'll also be tackling the housing market. We'll be tackling your retirement, answering all the questions that matter to you when it comes to your money.

CHETRY: That will be great, Gerri. I'm sure you're going to get a lot of people watching and probably a lot of people calling in as well.

WILLIS: I hope so.

CHETRY: Thanks for being with us.

WILLIS: My pleasure.

ROBERTS: An American orchestra in an unprecedented visit to North Korea. Could music succeed where diplomacy has stalled?

You're watching the "Most News in the Morning." At his 21-years-old, he was both wanted by both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Jason Rae is the country's youngest super delegate. So, how does he think the race is shaping up and who might he support? We're talking with him live, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: Beautiful shot this morning of the statue of liberty on a nice day. We had a pretty big storm over the weekend, but it's all cleared up and I'm sure it's melting as we speak.

ROBERTS: Yes. All those people who couldn't get in on Friday. Maybe came in over the weekend. It's not too bad outside either. A little milder.

CHETRY: Thirty-two degrees right now.

ROBERTS: New this morning, history is being made in North Korea. The New York Philharmonic Orchestra arrived in Pyongyang overnight for an unprecedented live performance that will take place tomorrow. The orchestra is the most prominent American cultural institution to visit North Korea. The visit comes at a time when progress on nuclear disarmament is stalled.

New pictures coming in this picture giving us a rare look inside a North Korean nuclear facility. AMERICAN MORNING's Alina Cho and CNN's Christiane Amanpour are following these historic events and we'll have a series of reports for us all week long here on CNN.

South Korea in the meantime has a new president this morning. Lee Myung-bak was sworn in today. He got right to work. He had meetings with officials from several countries including Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. Lee comes from a business background and was elected on hopes he could improve the country's economy and is also expected to take a harder line towards North Korea than his predecessor did.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is in Indonesia this morning trying to strength a key relationship in the war on terror. Gates will meet with Indonesia's president and defense minister to assess their equipment in military training -- Kiran.

CHETRY: And to politics now, renewed in-fighting between Democrat ic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama comes just a week before the next big contest in Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It's all on March 4th. Senator Clinton mocked Obama's speeches saying it takes more than words to fix problems. And Senator Obama attacking Clinton saying she changed her stance on the NAFTA trade deal. Both candidates also took aim at each other's health care plan.


H. CLINTON: Senator Obama says one thing in speeches but his campaign does something else. In his speech, he said he is for universal health care but his plan is not. His plan cannot cover everyone because there is no requirement that people be covered.

OBAMA: We will have a debate about health care once again. She's in favor of mandates. I'm not. She believes that's what's needed for universal health care. I don't. It's my belief that problem is not that people don't want health care, it is that they can't afford it.


CHETRY: The two will face-off tomorrow night at a debate in Cleveland.

And consumer advocate Ralph Nader says he is running for president as an independent. In fact, moments ago, he told us that America needs a revolution. He says the government is not doing anything about high gas prices and medicine prices. Meanwhile, he says it's wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on corporate subsidies.

It brings us to this morning's "Quick Vote" question. Should Ralph Nader be running for president? Right now, 21% of you say yes. 79% say no. Cast your vote at and we'll have one more tally of the votes before we leave you this morning.

ROBERTS: Thirty-five minutes after the hour. To our other Ali Velshi who is deep in the heart of Texas. He is touring the state on the "Election Express." There it is this morning.

He joins us from Bandara, Texas, also known as the Cowboy capital of the world, where he's asking voters there how they feel about the economy, and, Ali, I'd say you're fitting right in this morning.

ALI VELSHI, CNN, SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I am -- you know, I found the solution to high gas prices. Because that's the story a lot of people are talking about today and across the country. In fact, we got a report yesterday called the Lundberg report. It's a survey of thousands of gas stations across the country. Look what it said.

Look at the price of gas, a gallon of gas, up 16 cents over the last two weeks. And if you're keeping track that's about 75 cents for the average gallon of unleaded self-served gasoline over the course of the last year. We've been speaking to a lot of cowboys around here. We got Flint Ringo we were talking about the cost of a gallon of gas and how it affects people. Listen to what he had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A gallon, you make $6 an hour, figure it up. 40 hours a week, you don't get too much. You know? You don't have cable. You don't have Internet. There's lots of things you don't have. How do you get gas to go to work?


VELSHI: So that tie between the cost of gas and how much people earn is a big, one of the big concerns we're hearing here in Texas. I'm here on Sunny, which, of course, Sonny doesn't need any gas. Sunny is keeping me company. Actually, Clint, who you just talked to over there, came out this morning, and he's been helping me sort of keep Sunny calm and make a little bit more of a cowboy out of me.

So, we're here in Laredo, the cowboy capital. Oh, my we're not in Laredo, we're in Bandara, the cowboy capital of the world. My mind is already on the rest of the trip. I'm sad that I'm going to have to leave, but that's where we are.

ROBERTS: Ali, thanks very much. You know, we were discussing earlier, Ali, who you look more like.

CHETRY: He's a cross between Dwight Yoakam and Kenny Chesney.

ROBERTS: Well, I was wondering about those two. But we found another picture that we think is even closer.

CHETRY: That's right, Ali. I hope you have a monitor so you can see this one. This is from our graphic artist David Leavee (ph). He says this is Yul Brynner from, what movie?

ROBERTS: "The Magnificent Seven."

CHETRY: "Western Worlds." I think he said.

VELSHI: That makes sense. Yes, look. That will help. I got the same hat as he does, without the hat and with the hat.

CHETRY: You look happier than Yul Brynner though. Maybe it's because you're having so much fun there.

VELSHI: I'm very happy. Sunny is keeping me very happy right now.

CHETRY: All right. Thanks, Ali.

ROBERTS: You can also see Dr. Evil on a horse, too, right?

CHETRY: Without that hat. All he needs is this little gray jacket.

ROBERTS: There you go.

CHETRY: There you go.

Well, it was a bright night for dark movies in the 80th Annual Academy Awards. In fact, "No Country for Old Men" taking home the top prize of best picture and all of the top acting prizes dominated by actors from across the Atlantic. Our Lola Ogunnaike caught up with the winners last night.



TILDA SWINTON, BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: You rock, man. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

LOLA OGUNNAIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A European sweep. Two Brits, a French woman and a Spaniard taking the top four acting categories at Sunday night's Oscars.

SWINTON: No more Anglo-Saxons.

OGUNNAIKE: Tilda Swinton was shocked to learn the Oscar for best supporting actress was hers. For her turn as a hard-charging attorney in "Michael Clayton."

What does it feel like to be holding one of these?

SWINTON: It's like coming around from an operation. You know, I'm realizing how hungry I am and I'm sort of checking my memory bank to see if I said anything that's going to get me sued in the morning.

HELEN MIRREN, PRESENTER, ACTRESS: The Oscar goes to Daniel Day- Lewis.

OGUNNAIKE: Daniel Day Lewis earned his second golden statue for his role as a ruthless oil baron in "There will be blood."

DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, BEST ACTOR: Deepest thanks to the member of the Academy for whacking me with the handsomest bludgeon in town.

OGUNNAIKE: Lewis was favorite going in which only added more pressure.

DAY-LEWIS: I think there's something rather dull for people about anything that smacks of a forgone conclusion. So, I really thought, well, this really could not go my way.

OGUNNAIKE: It was certainly going the Coen brothers way. Joel and Ethan Coen won three Oscars for their movie "No Country for old men" becoming the first sibling to win best director and only the second duo to win the award. They also won for best film of the year and best adapted screenplay.

JOEL COEN, BEST DIRECTOR: Very thankful to all of you out there for letting us continue to play in our corner of the sandbox. So thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This tend to win everything, call it.

OGUNNAIKE: And "No Country" picked up a fourth for best supporting actor. No surprise, Javier Bardem took home the gold for his bone-chilling performance as a serial killer chasing $2 million in stolen cash.

JAVIER BARDEM, BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: I wasn't worried if I was going to win or lose, it was like if I win, what do I say? OGUNNAIKE: And one of the most closely watched races of the evening, Marion Cotillard snagged the best actress gold for her knock out portrayal French singer Edith Pief in "La Vien En Rose."

COTILLARD: My aim was to understand her, to understand her heart, her soul.


CHETRY: Very cute. Lola joins us now from outside the Kodak Theater. You know, Lola, Javier Bardem actually brought tears to my eyes when he thanked his mother in Spanish who was is the audience. Obviously, she couldn't have been prouder.

OGUNNAIKE: Yes, that was a really tender moment. Javier Bardem, clearly, his mother an actress, she suffered as an actress at a time when it wasn't glamorous. He brought home the gold, dedicated it to her, and that was a very important moment for the show. Another interesting moment was the best actress category.

I think people were shocked that Marion Cotillard beat out Julie Christie. She was actually expected to win for her turn in "Away from Her," where she played an Alzheimer's victim. And it was a devastating portrayal, but Marion Cotillard knocked it here and took the gold. She played Edith Piaf in "La Vie En Rose," the French singer, Edith Piaf.

Again, that was another devastating role. She aged from a teenager to a 40-year-old woman, even the makeup people won. Oscars, clearly, likes these gorgeous gals get ugly. It worked for Hillary Swank. It worked for Halle Berry and it worked for Charlize Theron and it clearly worked for Marion Cotillard last night.

CHETRY: It was also interesting Ellen Paige, she was the girl who portrayed the pregnant teenager in "Juno." When she talked to Barbara Walters in her special right beforehand, she said, no, I don't really deserve to win. You don't hear that every day.

OGUNNAIKE: You sure don't, especially out here in Hollywood. She's a modest girl and she's young. She has time.

CHETRY: Well, Lola Ogunnaike for us, outside of the Kodak Theater there. Are you going to get a nap or something? I know you've been up since last night?

OGUNNAIKE: Yes. I'm going to need a long nap. Hopefully on the plane.

CHETRY: All right. See you back here in New York City. Lola, great job. Thanks.

ROBERTS: Forty-one minutes now after the hour. Two dollars, six numbers and now a new life for Robert and Tanya Harris. The Georgia couple won Friday night's mega million jackpot worth $270 million. They chose a lump-sum payment and they're take before taxes, $164 million. In our last hour, we spoke with the country's newest multi- millionaires who said the win almost didn't happen.


ROBERT HARRIS, MEGA MILLIONS WINNER: I wanted to play my grandchildren's birthdays and I stopped at the store and it was heavy rains in our area. By the time I got to the register after filling it out in the car, I went up and I couldn't play it. So I went home and asked Tanya to go back to the store later and play the two tickets that I filled out. And she played them and woke up the next morning and we hit.

CHETRY: What do you definitely know you want to do with some of this money?

TANYA HARRIS, MEGA MILLIONS WINNER: Well, we would like to have a home. We want to buy some acreage and build a home and I am going to get my Mercedes. I've always wanted.


ROBERTS: There you go. You know, she almost didn't get the ticket either. She was at the grocery store and it was raining. She was just getting the groceries out to the car and she almost said, you know, forget it. I'm going to go right home and she turned around and she said something struck her in her mind and say this could be the one. She turned around, bought the ticket an boom, they won.

CHETRY: They just didn't do the quick pick. I mean, they actually have specific numbers, their grandchildren's birthdays. So, good for them. She's going to need the Mercedes. She says she doesn't fly. She will drive that thing everywhere.

ROBERTS: He was an iron worker. And you know, we talked to these people and we say, are you going to quit your job or are you going to stay employed. Well, I haven't made up my mind yet. But he got on the phone, first thing Saturday morning, and said, sorry but I'm retired.

CHETRY: Exactly.

ROBERTS: Who could blame him? He's been working real hard all these years.

CHETRY: Absolutely. Good for them. They get to spend some equality time together and enjoy themselves.

Still ahead, he's been visited by the Obamas and then the Clintons. What is it like to get the hard sell as a superdelegate. Well, we're going to meet him. He is the youngest superdelegate in the country. He says he has made up his mind. We're going to talk to him ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

Also, she had medical insurance, then she was diagnosed with cancer and her company dropped her. Now, a woman who was stuck with $129,000 in medical bills and was forced to stop chemotherapy gets some payback. We're going to explain what happened, and coming up, whether or not a similar insurance nightmare could happen to you.


ROBERTS: He has been courted by both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and they're surrogates. Michelle Obama, Chelsea Clinton. The superdelegate is only 21-years-old and he is a hot commodity. Currently, Obama leads Clinton in the delegate count, 1,319 to 1,250, but it could be the superdelegates who ultimately decide a winner. Jason Rae is this fellow who we're talking about. He joins now from Milwaukee.

Jason, you're the youngest superdelegate in the country. You are undecided up until recently. Who have you decided to support and why?

JASON RAE, YOUNGEST SUPERDELEGATE: Last Thursday, I made the decision to set my support on Senator Obama. After seeing the results here in Wisconsin during Tuesday's primary, I was really convinced that Senator Obama was the way to go in this election. I was really impressed with the turnout especially among youth voters.

According to CNN exit polls, Senator Obama won 73 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds. The whole reason I ran for the DNC in the first place was trying to be a voice for America's next generation. And as such, I really thought that my generation spoke clearly on Tuesday.

ROBERTS: Well, you sound like you have your data right in line there and you almost sound like you're reporting on this thing. You've done some research there. Just for our viewers at home, how did you become a superdelegate?

RAE: Back in June of 2004, I took a run here in Wisconsin to be a member of the Democratic National Committee. I was only 17 at the time. I just wanted to, you know, just make sure that my generation had a voice on the national table. I ended up winning that spot about four years ago and as such, as a member of the DNC, I became an automatic superdelegate for this upcoming convention.

ROBERTS: How aggressively did both sides court you?

RAE: I mean, both sides are really aggressive in reaching out. Both of their campaign staff and with their surrogates. I mean, over the course of the campaign, I received phone calls from your know, Madeleine Albright, Chelsea Clinton, former President Clinton himself. I had meetings with Senator Obama. You know they were really aggressive, because superdelegates, you know, I don't think they're going to make the decision but they sure help a candidate in the delegate count.

ROBERTS: Well, let me ask you about that. You just said you don't think that they are going to make the decision, whereas most calculations would suggest that the way the delegates are awarded, this is the pledge delegates are awarded on a proportional basis, that neither Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton will meet that magic number of 2,025, and therefore the superdelegates will decide. What do you base your assumption on?

RAE: I think what we're going to see is going to March 4th. Senator Clinton needs to win both Texas and Ohio. If she doesn't, I think she's going to see that she just keeps slipping further and further behind in the delegate count. And that in order to make it up, it would have to resort only to superdelegates.

I think that both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama are very experienced in politics and both know that dragging the nomination process out even longer is detrimental to the party as a whole. We don't want to go into convention in August without a nominee. We need to spend the summer months getting, you know, a solid message out there. With the Republicans already having Senator McCain chosen. If we spend the next, you know, three or four months fighting internally over who our nominee will be, it just gives the Republicans time to get a message together and attack us.

ROBERTS: Well, if it comes down to the superdelegates, you obviously believe that superdelegates should vote their conscience, because you've come out and supported Senator Obama, but what do you say to people who say that superdelegates should reflect the will of the people and that whoever has either the greatest number of pledged delegates by the time the primaries are over, should win or superdelegates should vote as either people vote in their congressional district or at the state level?

RAE: I think for me, one the factors I was deciding to endorse Senator Obama was how my state voted. Wisconsin was overwhelmingly in favor of Senator Obama but that wasn't my only reason. I really do think that superdelegates, you know, the reason they were created back in 1982, was to add a different perspective to the process, and I think that as such, you know, superdelegates are responsible to, you know their electorate.

For example, I'm responsible for the Democratic party of Wisconsin. And I think that we do have a duty to represent our best judgment and figure out what we think is best for the party and for the country.

ROBERTS: All right. Well, Jason Rae for us this morning. Superdelegate, now pledged to the Barack Obama campaign after so long being uncommitted. Thanks for joining us this morning.

RAE: Thanks for having me, John.

ROBERTS: All right. Kiran.

CHETRY: Well, you're paying on time for years only to get dropped by your insurance company when you need it most. A cancer patient who almost paid with her life, she did not let them get away with it. The ruling and the $1 million settlement that could hold these companies accountable, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: A California woman whose health insurance was canceled right after she was diagnosed with breast cancer was awarded more than $9 million by a judge.


PATSY BATES, WON $9 MILLION INSURANCE SUIT: I am so happy that -- that it has happened and that -- that the judges came in, and I thank god that it came in my favor.

WILLIAM SHERNOFF, ATTORNEY: It's a shameful practice and it needs to be stopped. This decision will go a long way to stopping that, because it's the first of its kind.


CHETRY: Her case could become a landmark, in fact, as her lawyer said, first of her kind, first of its kind, this case. As insurance cancellations actually becoming a huge problem across the country. CNN medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, is following this for us.

How common is this that you see someone who's been up to date, who has paid all of their premiums and then done what they've supposed to, and be dropped based on an illness.

COHEN: Kiran, over recent years more and more states have been fining insurance companies for doing just that. This is the way that it usually happens, as it happened to Patsy Bates, is that the insurance company accepts her premiums, and they're happy with you if you don't have any big expenditures.

Then, there's big diagnosis like cancer, and they'll go through your medical history and they'll find something that you didn't report when you applied for insurance and write you a letter saying, you didn't -- when you applied for insurance you didn't tell us you had x, y, z happen years ago. California insurance officials, an official told me, you know what, I know a woman who was diagnosed with cancer and they canceled her insurance policy because she had had acne years before -- Kiran.

CHETRY: So, they're trying to find some loophole to get around covering, for the chronic disease. Is there anything can you do if it happens to you?

COHEN: There are a few things you can try to do. You can try to appeal the decision within your insurance company. You can go to your state insurance commissioner and see what they can do for you, but the truth is, that very often it really takes what Patsy Bates did, which is hiring a lawyer and going into arbitration.

CHETRY: All right. As it turned out in her favor, as we said a $9 million judgment for her. Breast cancer patient dropped in the middle of chemotherapy. She's doing OK now?

COHEN: She's not doing terrific. She still has issues from her health and she and her lawyer say to some extent that's because her treatment was delayed. You know when she was dropped, she couldn't go right back into chemotherapy. She had to wait a long time to get more insurance. Yes. CHETRY: All right. Thanks a lot. Elizabeth Cohen, good to see you.

COHEN: Thanks.

ROBERTS: A quick look now of what CNN NEWSROOM is working on for the top of the hour.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN, ANCHOR: These stories in the CNN NEWSROOM . A top orchestra plays a gig that will go down in history. The New York Philharmonic in North Korea.

Motorists are moaning. What's driving up pump prices?

Triumph in tinsel town. Big night for American brothers and foreign actors.

And traffic tie-ups on the interstate. Can't get around this vehicle. NEWSROOM, top of the hour on CNN.


ROBERTS: Final check of this morning's "Quick Vote" question. Should Ralph Nader be running for president? 22% say jump in Ralph. 78% say stay out. To all of you who voted, thanks. We'll do it again tomorrow. Thanks for joining us on this AMERICAN MORNING. We will see you again tomorrow.

CHETRY: That's right. And meanwhile CNN NEWSROOM with Heidi Collins begins right now.