Return to Transcripts main page

American Morning

Primary Day from Mississippi; New York's Governor Under Growing Pressure to Resign Over Sex Scandal; Price of Oil Setting Record Highs; Rare Overnight Launch of the Space Shuttle "Endeavour"

Aired March 11, 2008 - 08:00   ET



SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not running for vice president. I'm running for president of the United States of America.


CHETRY: Primary day live from Mississippi, the most politics in the morning.

Plus, early to rise.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one, zero and liftoff of "Endeavour."


CHETRY: "Endeavour" beats the traffic to the International Space Station on this AMERICAN MORNING.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And if you're going to leave, you might as well leave at 2:30 in the morning, right?

CHETRY: No traffic, right?

Well, boy, a lot going on this morning. We're following the latest. I mean, if you're waking up in New York -- in the New York area this morning, this is the cover of every single paper, including "The New York Times," which broke the story about this sex scandal involving the governor of New York State.

ROBERTS: Those are headlines that you never want to see written about you ever.

CHETRY: Absolutely not.

ROBERTS: Well, New York's governor is under growing pressure to quit over the sex scandal that rocked the state and the nation. Eliot Spitzer led a nine-year crusade to clean up New York, taking on Wall Street bigwigs, Mafia wise guys and others. But his future as governor is on the line now that he's been linked to a prostitution ring that was recently busted by the Feds.

A source says Spitzer is client Number Nine who, according to unsealed Federal complaint, arranged for an escort to travel from New York City to the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, meeting with her in this room, Room 871. The photo courtesy of the D.C. examiner. And in the irony of ironies, we are learning that a money trail may have led to the so-called Sheriff of Wall Street's alleged dirty deeds.

We're covering all angles of this developing story this morning. Our legal analyst, Sunny Hostin joins us in a just a moment. But first, Jason Carroll here with brand new details of the investigation.

What did we learn?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And John, you know, that money trail could prove to be very problematic for the governor. Prosecutors still have not commented on their case. Again, Spitzer, a source close to the investigation says his lawyers may be questioned about how the governor allegedly paid for that illicit encounter.


GOV. ELIOT SPITZER (D), NEW YORK: I will support the Constitution of the United States.

CARROLL (voice-over): It was one of his proudest moments, January 2007. Eliot Spitzer stood with his wife at his side as he was sworn in as New York's 54th Governor. A little more than a year later, Spitzer's wife, Silda, was at his side again in a most shameful moment of Spitzer's political career.

SPITZER: I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and that violates my or any sense of right and wrong.

CARROLL: Spitzer read a prepared statement answering no questions about allegations he was involved in a prostitution ring.

SPITZER: I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public, whom I promised better.

CARROLL: The affidavit alleges the prostitution ring operated under the name of Emperor's Club VIP. A source with knowledge of the investigation says Spitzer is called client number nine in the court document. The document states client number nine arranged for a prostitute named, Kristen, to travel from New York City to Washington, D.C.

Client Nine said he would pay for everything, train tickets, cab fare from the hotel and back, mini bar or room service, travel time and hotel. When asked about payment, Client Nine said, "Yup, same as in the past. No question about it."

According to a source with knowledge of the investigation, the two met at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. And when Client Nine wanted a reminder, what Kristen looked like, he was told she was American, petite, very pretty brunette, 5'5" and 105 pounds. That encounter took about two hours on February 13th, the day before Valentine's Day.

When her co-worker asked if Client Nine, quote, "Would ask you to do things that you may not think were safe, Kristen replied, I have a way with dealing with that. I'd be like, listen, dude, you really want the sex?"

The investigation is based on electronic communications, e-mails, and bank records.


CARROLL: Already calls for Spitzer's resignation are coming in from a number of state politicians. The Republican Governors Association says Spitzer should submit his resignation immediately. Also calls for his resignation coming in from the financial community.

John, we're hearing that the floor of the New York Stock Exchange erupted in cheers when the news broke. And you can obviously understand the reason for that. This was a man who was known as the Sheriff of Wall Street. He really went out after a lot of the political institutions in terms of trying to find out about elicit activity there.

ROBERTS: People feel terrible for his family, for his wife and three daughters. But there is not a lot of sympathy for the man.

CARROLL: Not that we're hearing. Not so far.

ROBERTS: No. Jason Carroll for us this morning. Jason, thanks.

CHETRY: And we were also learning a little bit more about how all of this came to pass. Sources with knowledge of the investigation tell CNN that, you know, what happened, Kelli Arena was telling us just this morning, is that it was really an investigation into money laundering, not prostitution, that initially triggered the investigation.

Two sources close to the investigation say that there was a significant amount of money that was being transferred from one account to another. And that the bank reported that to the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS then investigated that and found out that these bank transactions were connected, in fact, to Governor Spitzer. Of course, high-ranking government official.

So, that's when the IRS then brought the FBI into the case to investigate not a prostitution ring again but the possibility of government corruption, according to this source. It was then referred to the FBI corruption squad, who then found out the connection to the prostitution ring.

Once again, no charges have been brought against Spitzer at this point. But two officials are telling CNN it looks like the main motivation here was to hide money and perhaps to hide it from his family.

And Kelli Arena, of course, is working all these details. She's going to be joining us in just a couple of minutes to talk more about this.

Also, the editorial page is weighing in this morning. Most of them suggesting that Governor Eliot Spitzer has to go. From "The New York Times," quote, "that he did not just betray his family in a private matter. He betrayed the public, and it is hard to see how he will recover from this mess and go on to lead the reformist agenda on which he was elected," unquote.

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal writes "The stupendously deluded belief that the sitting governor of New York could purchase the services of prostitutes was merely the last act of a man unable to admit either the existence of, or need for, limits." That coming from the Wall Street Journal editorial today.

It was Governor Eliot Spitzer's tireless crusade against securities fraud and other white collar crimes that made him a big enemy on Wall Street. Earlier, I spoke to Wayne Barrett. He's the senior editor at "The Village Voice" about why he was viewed with such fear and loathing.


WAYNE BARRETT, THE VILLAGE VOICE: Jack Welsh, the head of General Electric, at one point, bumps into Eliot Spitzer at the Democratic National Convention. He's a close friend of Ken Langone, who was the head of Home Depot. And Spitzer says to him, I am going to put a spike through his heart. And these are the kinds of relationships that can come back to bite you. These are very powerful people.


CHETRY: Well, many of Spitzer's critics on Wall Street felt that he cared more about furthering his political career than actually protecting investors.

ROBERTS: Seven minutes after the hour. Lots of other news happening this morning. The price of oil still on a climb today, setting record highs of over $109 a barrel. Ali Velshi and his oil barrel join us now.

You know, we're getting a little cheeky about this whole thing.


ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I must say I'm even a little surprised that the pace of which our oil has been increasing this morning. Yesterday, we set a record of $107.90. $107.90. Got up above $108. That was at 2:30 Eastern yesterday. Look at this. $109.47 for a barrel of oil. And that is translating directly to your gasoline prices. AAA is reporting today that we are now paying $3.227 for a gallon of self serve unleaded. That's a national average.

Obviously, for many of you in the country, you're paying much, much more than that. But the trend is going up, $3.227. That's the highest price we've ever paid. We matched that number last March. Now these AAA numbers are as of last night, which means today, you'll probably be seeing more because six out of the last seven days we've seen an increase in the price of oil. And that goes directly into the price of gasoline.

We've got some estimates this morning that gasoline will go to $3.50. One that says $3.75 as a national average. So that's a more than a 50-cent increase from where we are right now before it starts to pare back. And as John was mentioning earlier, that pare back is probably directly related to the increase in the price.

We have seen a decrease in demand for gasoline amongst American drivers in the last year and that's unusual to see a decrease. But this high price is causing people to think twice about their driving habits. We may see that. But then for the moment, we've got increasing prices of Gulf oil and of gasoline.

ROBERTS: Official policy is a strong dollar policy in this country. So when are we going to get a return to a strong dollar?

VELSHI: No time soon. We are expecting the Fed to cut rates again in a week from today. That doesn't help the dollar. That causes the dollar to go lower. So I don't think we're seeing a strong dollar anytime soon in the United States. And that's not helping this.

ROBERTS: Yes, yes. Every time the dollar weakens, the price of oil goes up yet again.

Ali, thanks very much.


CHETRY: Thanks, Ali.

Meanwhile, the polls are open in Mississippi. The candidates, though, are quite far away. 33 delegates at stake for the Democrats, 36 for the Republicans. But actually, the Democratic nominees -- or a nominee hopefuls, let's put it that way, are actually in Pennsylvania instead.

Of course, Pennsylvania, a big delegate-rich state. And this is where a lot of the campaigning is going to be taking place.

But meanwhile, talking briefly about Mississippi. It's an open primary. Voters can vote in either one regardless of their party. Barack Obama leading Hillary Clinton by 115 delegates right now. And the candidates again watching all of this from the Keystone State. That primary will hand out 158 delegates on April 22nd. It seems so far away, but certainly a lot of campaigning to do.

In the meantime, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is following the race this morning from Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Hi there, Suzanne. Good to see you this morning.


Obviously, yes, six weeks away but they're wasting no time here. Obviously, they are looking at Mississippi, 33 delegates up for grabs. Senator Hillary Clinton not taking it for granted here that she's going to particularly get no delegates out of the state. Obama is the likely favorite.

But we saw her just over the weekend, this past week, with the Former President Bill Clinton, Chelsea, all of them making rounds in Mississippi to try to at least get a little bit of an edge from what is largely to be expected a victory for Barack Obama.

But they are wasting no time, obviously, campaigning here in Pennsylvania. It was just yesterday, she opened her campaign. This is the kind of headline you want here. She opened it in Scranton, "Homecoming for Hillary." That is the hometown of her great grandparents.

We're going to see her throughout Pennsylvania today. Harrisburg, Philadelphia. We're also going to see Barack Obama, both of them, campaigning very heavily for that very important state, 158 delegates.

Part of the argument that we've also heard from Hillary Clinton and she made this argument in Mississippi was she was floating this idea about this dream ticket of her and Barack Obama together. This is something that they were meant to actually attract some of the voters who like Barack Obama but have questions about his experience.

Now, they seem to be backing away. Take a listen.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Obviously, Democrats have to make a choice, and I'm looking forward to getting the nomination, and it's premature to talk about whoever might be on whose ticket. But I believe I am ready to serve on day one.


MALVEAUX: And Kiran, she is saying this that it was premature to talk about it after both she floated the idea and her husband, the Former President Bill Clinton also floated this idea publicly.

And after it was Barack Obama who came out and said he thought that perhaps voters were being hood winked by this idea that he would be number two when he's actually ahead in the delegate count. So clearly, they've squashed that for now -- Kiran?

CHETRY: Suzanne Malveaux for us in Scranton this morning. Thanks.

Also, remember to stay with CNN. It's the best coverage you're going to get for the primaries. We have up-to-the-minute results from Mississippi on CNN's "Election Center." Tonight, all gets underway at 8:00 Eastern. ROBERTS: Twelve minutes after the hour now. And our Alina Cho is here now with other stories new this morning.

Good morning, Alina.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lots have happened overnight. John, Kiran, good morning again. Good morning, everybody.

Well, this probably happened while you were sleeping. A rare overnight launch of the Space Shuttle "Endeavour."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four, three, two, one, zero and liftoff of "Endeavour," going where east and west do meet at the international Space Station.


CHO: The seven-member crew roared into orbit at exactly 2:28 this morning. The astronauts are headed to the International Space Station to drop off a storage module and a huge robot that will help cut down on spacewalks. The nighttime launch is the 30th overall but only the second since the shuttle "Columbia" disaster.

Congress is vowing to get the drugs out of our drinking water. The Senate plans to hold hearings next month after the Associated Press found that tap water may contain drugs like antibiotics, estrogen, even painkillers. The AP investigation found the medications have gotten into the water supply of at least 24 major metropolitan areas, affecting some 41 million Americans.

To Iraq now. In the past 24 hours, U.S. forces have killed a senior al Qaeda leader in Iraq and four insurgents. At the same time, it's been one of the deadliest days for U.S. troops in more than eight months. The U.S. military says a suicide bomber killed five soldiers in a Baghdad shopping district yesterday. Three more soldiers and their interpreter were killed by a roadside bomb in Diyala.

A new deep sea tsunami detection system is in place now. This is incredible. The final two sensors were installed off the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. And U.S. officials say these buoys will actually help detect tsunamis faster and provide earlier warnings to the coastal communities that may be at risk.

Now, the White House agreed to beef up the detection system after more than 200,000 people were killed in that massive tsunami in Southeast Asia back in 2004.

And it's official. Madonna is now part of that exclusive club known as the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame. Singer Justin Timberlake performed the honor. They collaborated on Madonna's new album, by the way. And Madonna didn't perform, but she did give a very long acceptance speech during which she thanks just about everybody, including her critics. John Mellencamp, The Dave Clark Five, and The Ventures were also inducted. Our Lola Ogunnaike was there, right there in the audience. And she's going to give us a full report about this Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York last night in our next half hour guys.

CHETRY: She uses the opportunity to apologize for calling Madonna chubby in her early days.

CHO: Listen, I just want to say, no one is a bigger fan of Madonna than me. All right, let's be clear about that. But in the very early days on American Bandstand, of course, Kiran, you were way too young.

CHETRY: No. (INAUDIBLE). You weren't able to see the biceps like you are now.

CHO: You were just a tot, but I remember very well those "American Bandstand" days. And John, there's nothing to say about this, but any way.

ROBERTS: This is one of those times that I'm really happy to just keep my mouth shut, you know.

CHO: Insert foot. Is that the...

CHETRY: We'll see what you have to say when Lola shows us what went down at the big awards. Alina, thanks.

CHO: All right.

ROBERTS: In nearly two decades as a prosecutor, Eliot Spitzer was merciless on unethical behavior. Should he hold himself to the same standard? We'll talk with New York Republican Peter King about Spitzer's future. Stay with us. He's coming right up on AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: We're learning a little bit more now on how prosecutors first turned their attentions to Governor Spitzer. It was an investigation into money laundering, not prostitution, that eventually -- that initially, rather, triggered the case. And our Justice Department correspondent Kelli Arena has been working her sources this morning. She joins us by phone from Washington.

Kelli, explain a little bit more about how this investigation that ultimately ended in this sex scandal came to pass.


You know, according to our sources that are close to this investigation, there was a significant amount of money that was being transferred from one bank account to another. And as you know, ever since the September 11th terror attacks, banks are especially sensitive to money movements. And so that triggered what called a suspicious incident report which was made to the IRS.

When the IRS started investigating, they discovered that those accounts were connected to Governor Spitzer. And so, as a matter of course, they transferred that investigation over to the FBI and its public corruption squad. They started doing an investigation and then, of course, that led to the prostitution ring.

Now, the public corruption team continued to investigate. Sources are telling us that, you know, obviously, part of the motivation was to conceal the transfer of funds. One official suggested maybe it was just to conceal the transfer of funds from his wife. It may not have anything to do with public corruption at all.

Several officials had said to me that the question that is most important at this point is where did the governor get the money? How did he make those payments that he made -- that he allegedly made, to this prostitution ring? Did he break any banking laws in trying to conceal those payments or transferring money in any way? So that is the road they are headed down right now.

But it was, as you said, a result of a money laundering investigation that led to this. It wasn't the other way around, where they started looking at the prostitution ring, which led that to Spitzer.

CHETRY: Right. And you know, a lot has been made, Kelli, you know, of the enemies on Wall Street that Governor Spitzer made throughout his career. Are you getting any sense as to whether or not this banking -- the banks, which initially alerted the IRS or the Feds to this, did they know who they were talking about or is this some sort of automatic trigger that happens when a certain amount of money is withdrawn?

ARENA: You know, there is. There is an automatic trigger. Ever since 9/11, one of the biggest things, as you know, has been to shut down sources of funding for terror.

So anything that even remotely smells of money laundering, once it hits a certain threshold in terms of the dollars that are being transferred or any sort of suspicious activity, that triggers an automatic suspicious incident report, which is immediately turned over to the IRS. In some cases, you know, they turn out to be nothing.

But in others, you know, as we've seen, you know, they have led to some larger investigations. This, from everything that I've heard thus far, was exactly that.

CHETRY: All right. Kelli Arena, Justice Department correspondent for us this morning. Thanks, Kelli.

ROBERTS: And talking about all of this yesterday, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer said he is sorry.


SPITZER: I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and that violates my or any sense of right and wrong.


ROBERTS: During eight years as New York's Attorney General, Spitzer was known as the quote, Sheriff of Wall Street. And as governor, he pledged to bring a higher ethical standard to the Statehouse. Today, he finds himself caught, allegedly, on the wrong side of the law. So should Governor Spitzer resign? New York Republican Congressman Peter King joins me now from Washington.

Let's put that question to you first, congressman. Do you think he should resign?

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: John, I think he has to. And to me, it has nothing to do with what he may have or may not have done personally. But the fact is that as attorney general and as governor, he was involved with a prostitution ring. Prostitution rings are criminal enterprises. This put his office at risk. (INAUDIBLE) blackmail. Criminal enterprises like prostitution ring involved with organized crime. So this goes far beyond any consensual affair.

I have been in politics for 30 years. I have never gotten involved in criticizing anyone for what they do in their personal life. I was one of the only Republicans who voted against Bill Clinton's impeachment. This rises to a different level. Especially, with Governor Spitzer who was so judgmental and so unforgiving himself when he was going after political enemies.

ROBERTS: James Carville said yesterday that if sex is all there is to this, then perhaps he doesn't need to resign. Let's listen to what he said.


JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Just the case of he meeting with this woman in a Washington hotel room, I smell a rat here. He has a lot of enemies. And, again, it's got to be more to just the fact that he met with a prostitute.


ROBERTS: So James Carville is saying he smells a rat here. He's wondering if political retribution is at play. What do you think on that front?

KING: I see no evidence of that at all. We're not talking about what he may or may not have done with particular woman. In fact, as he was giving thousands and thousands of dollars to a criminal enterprise. So this goes far beyond whatever Governor Spitzer did or didn't do. It's the consequences of his actions.

He was the leading law enforcement officer in New York. He was the chief executive of New York and he was subsidizing and financing a criminal enterprise. That's what we're talking about here. It goes far beyond one particular woman. We're talking about a criminal enterprise. We're talking about a prostitution ring which (INAUDIBLE) has links in connection to organized crime. That's what we're talking about here.

ROBERTS: Alan Dershowitz is on our 360 program last night, also caution against a rush to judgment. Let's listen to what he said.


ALAN DERSHOWITZ, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: We've had presidents from Jefferson to Roosevelt to Kennedy to Clinton who have been great presidents and who have engaged in sexual misconduct. We risk losing some of the best people who can run for public office by our obsessive focus on the private lives of public figures.


ROBERTS: Dershowitz there is saying, hey, we risk losing a lot of good people. You know, the inference there being that everyone does it. But you are talking about potential links to organized crime here. That he was allegedly funding through his activities. But there's also this thing called the Man Act from 1910, which prohibits the transportation of women across state lines for, quote, "immoral purposes."

Do you think he has got some legal exposure on that front?

KING: I'm absolutely certain there's legal exposure. I'm sure his attorneys are negotiating that right now. But Alan Dershowitz is missing the point. I'm not talking about sexual misconduct. That to me is at a different level.

We're talking right now something which goes far beyond that. We're talking about the chief law enforcement officer of New York. The chief executive officer of the State of New York dealing with a criminal enterprise. Putting the state at risk, leaving himself open to blackmail to criminal elements. And that is a violation of his oath of office. This is different from Thomas Jefferson. Eliot Spitzer is not Thomas Jefferson.

ROBERTS: Do you think that he's holding on to his job for the moment as a bargaining chip?

KING: I would think that. But let me make it clear. I have total sympathy and concern for his wife and his family, his parents. I mean, this is a tragedy. But there is a high standard here which Eliot Spitzer, himself, said, especially when it involves prostitution rings which he, himself, as attorney general vigorously prosecuted and said were very, very serious crimes.

ROBERTS: Congressman Peter King for us this morning from Washington. Congressman King, thanks for being with us. Good to see you.

KING: Thank you, John.


CHETRY: Well, we've been asking the question all morning. Do you think Governor Spitzer should resign? The latest results of our "Quick Vote" poll. Plus, much more ahead of the top stories when AMERICAN MORNING comes right back.


CHETRY: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. We've been asking this question this morning, related to this Govern Spitzer sex scandal. The political bombshell that dropped yesterday afternoon.

We want to know what you think. Should Governor Spitzer resign? Well, right now, taking a look at the "Quick Vote". Seventy-one percent of you say yes, you think he should, 29 percent saying no. Cast your vote at We'll continue to tally your votes throughout the morning.

ROBERTS: Well, we've got some more details on the so-called money trail that led this whole investigation to blow wide open. CNN is now confirmed that it was the governor's own suspicious financial transactions that sent up red flags at first.

Two sources close to the investigation say IRS investigators got their hands on questionable bank transactions. And before long, they found out that Governor Spitzer was withdrawing thousands of dollars that ended up in the bank accounts of fake companies.

Apparently first of all, they suspected that it could be bribery. Maybe corruption was at work here, maybe illegal campaign finance. Later, when the FBI corruption's squad took over, the sources say they found out that he was allegedly paying for sex. Something that they never expected to find.

Spitzer came out in front of the microphones yesterday and admitted that he did something wrong but the Emperor's Club, which was the prostitution ring did not come up.


SPITZER: I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and that violates my or any sense of right and wrong. I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public, whom I promised better.


ROBERTS: Spitzer has not been charged with anything, but as we have been pointing out this morning, the transportation of women across state lines for quote, "immoral purposes" is a violation of Federal Law -- Kiran?

CHETRY: Well, Sunny Hostin, our legal analyst, has been following this digging and finding out new details, including, more about what crime the governor could be facing but also this suspicious bank activity. And you actually have a paper here. This gets filled out by the bank?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely. And hopefully folks can see this. It gets filled out by the bank. It's called the suspicious activity report. It can be found online. Post-9/11, it is something that most banks do. They are very diligent about it. And so any implication this was a witch hunt and that people went after or investigators went after Governor Spitzer only because he's the governor, really, is ridiculous.

CHETRY: So this is an automatic that gets -- that when you reach a certain threshold of money being changed.

HOSTIN: Absolutely.

CHETRY: Is it something that happens every time or if they see a pattern?

HOSTIN: Usually, they see a pattern. And in fact, when you look online, there are instructions and when to make a report, sort of frequently asked questions. And one of the instructions is transactions aggregating $5,000 or more that involve potential money laundering.

And he was sort of ringing the bells when he was moving money from bank account to bank account in small increments, under $10,000. It would look like to a federal prosecutor that this was someone that was trying to evade federal reporting requirements, whether it be a governor or a terrorist or anyone. That is something that is going to ring the bell.

CHETRY: This is also fascinating as we ask the question today about whether or not Governor Spitzer should resign. Where does this go legally in terms of what more detail may come out? I mean, what we're talking right now is four people that have been charged in heading up this prostitution ring.

HOSTIN: Correct.

CHETRY: And then the periphery people, these "clients," are we going to learn more about them? Are we going to hear some of these recorded phone calls and how damaging will that be down the road?

HOSTIN: Well, I don't think we're going to hear the recorded phone calls right now, Kiran, because this is an active investigation. Everyone wants to know who clients number one through eight are. But certainly, I think at this point, prosecutors in terms of Governor Spitzer's liability are going to be looking at this money trail that we've discussed.

They are going to be looking at charges under the Man Act and it's a continuing investigation. We're going to certainly hear more about everything. I know a lot of people are saying this is a personal matter and he sort of tried to couch this in terms of a personal matter.

It moves from the realm of personal to public and criminal when you do the sorts of things that he did, which would be, as John mentioned, transporting someone interstate from one place to another and paying for that transportation just for the purposes of prostitution.

CHETRY: We'll have to see how it all shakes out today. Sunny, thank you.

HOSTIN: Thanks.

ROBERTS: Well, we told you about drugs in drinking water all day yesterday. Some of it from people flushing their unused prescriptions. What should you do with your unused prescriptions. We're paging our Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He's here with us this morning.

Good morning, Sanjay.


Forty-one million Americans exposed to these pharmaceuticals in some way through their drinking water. The question is how do they get there, for sure and as you say, John, more importantly, what can you do about it? We been digging. We'll have it for you in AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: Welcome back to the most news in the morning. The latest now in the race for the White House. The polls opened about a half an hour ago in Mississippi. Both the Democratic and the Republican primaries are open primaries. And that means that voters can cast ballots in either one, regardless of their party affiliation.

There are 33 delegates at stake for the Democrats, 36 for Republicans though Senator John McCain is already the presumptive nominee. And the Democratic candidates are watching Mississippi very closely. But they are doing it from Pennsylvania. That's where they are stumping hard ahead of the April 22nd primary where more than 150 delegates are up for grabs in that state.

Well, Barack Obama says he is running for president and has no intention of being Hillary Clinton's running mate. Clinton is pitching a ticket, or at least has been talking about it on the campaign trail as well as her husband, about her as president and Obama as vice president.

Well, Obama shot down that idea yesterday.


OBAMA: I don't know how somebody who is in second place is offering the vice presidency to the person who is in first place.


CHETRY: Obama questioned why Clinton would want him for vice president after she's been sending out the message that he is not ready to lead. Stay with CNN for the best coverage of the primaries. We're going to be getting up-to-the-minute results coming in from Mississippi. That's all on CNN's "Election Center" tonight. It all starts at 8:00 Eastern.

ROBERTS: Thirty-seven minutes now after the hour. We have been telling you about an Associated Press investigation that found traces of all sorts of prescription drugs in the nation's water supply. And how do they get there? And what can be done to keep drugs out of the water. We're paging our Dr. Gupta for us now. He join us from Atlanta.

So, how do these drugs get in our water supply, Sanjay?

GUPTA: Well, it's interesting. There's probably a few different ways that they get into the water system. About 41 million Americans probably expose to these pharmaceuticals in some way in the water supply. It's fair to say that the amounts are tiny, but the question is they are there first of all, and second of all, long term, what is the impact on the body?

Now, how do they get there? The White House weighed in on this. A lot of people weighing in on exactly how these medications get in there. The White House releasing a statement specifically saying the "pharmaceuticals are being dumped into either toilets or down the sink because people want to make sure that their medicine cabinets are free from old medicine. And they think the best way to get rid of it is to flush it."

Obviously, that's not a good way to do it. Another way that they probably get is our own bodies, John. We take medications in and if our bodies don't metabolize them fully, we excrete them and they end up in the water supply as well. There are lots of ways that people sort of dump medications.

The office of National Drug Control Policy actually has guidelines on how specifically we should get rid of medications. But the way that it's happening now, John, obviously, a lot of them are subsequently getting into the water supply.

ROBERTS: Can I just point out, Sanjay, a little message for the White House here and the Office of Drug Control policy. I got a piece of paper right here that says that there are certain drugs, including fentanyl, oxycontin, morphine sulphate, which are all painkillers, and gatafloxacin, which is a very powerful antibiotic. They suggest you want to get rid of these things, you flush them down the toilet.

GUPTA: Yes. And there are some, fair enough, that will actually be absorbed in a certain way in the water. But a lot of them aren't. Antibiotics, you mentioned one antibiotic but a lot of them not. They have some specific tips on how to dispose of these medications.

One is to actually simply throw them in the trash. The reason being that if you throw them in the trash, they end up in a dump. The dumps are often lined. So it's hard to get that into the water supply. Another way is to simply mix them with undesirable substances like kitty litter.

One of the big concerns, apparently, John, is that people actually go through your trash, rummage around for narcotics, for example. And another thing is utilize takeback programs. Sometimes hospitals, even pharmaceutical companies will take back the medications and dispose of them in some appropriate way, John.

ROBERTS: OK. It doesn't change the fact though that they are saying that particularly drugs that have a high potential for abuse. The government is telling us to flush these down the toilet? Does that need to change?

GUPTA: There are some medications, again, that you can actually flush down that aren't going to be absorbed in the water that way and that they are less water soluble if you will. So there is a difference. You don't want to lump all medications together.

So there are some that you -- are probably safer to throw it in the trash. Others you can dump in the water supply or dump down the toilet. But not all of them and I think obviously now with 41 million Americans being exposed in some way, people are going to take a closer look.

ROBERTS: All right. Sanjay Gupta for us this morning. Sanjay, thanks very much.

GUPTA: Thank you.

ROBERTS: And if you have a question for Dr. Gupta, e-mail it to us. Go to Sanjay answers your questions every Thursday here on AMERICAN MORNING. You might think that if the government is recommending at least some of these drugs be flushed down the toilet, people might extrapolate that to say, well, let me get rid of all of them that way.

CHETRY: I didn't know that was as common as apparently it is.

ROBERTS: Very much. We got all kinds of e-mail yesterday from people who work at nursing homes who say that it's practiced there at these nursing homes to do that. We don't that for sure it's just that what people are saying in these e-mails.

CHETRY: All right. Well, after hearing about New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's alleged involvement with a prostitute, a lot of people are asking the question, what was he thinking? Well, we'll ask a clinical psychologist coming up just ahead.


CHETRY: Well, we've been talking about the personal and political crisis now facing New York's governor. He built his career as a take no prisoners prosecutor, chasing down fraud on Wall Street. Now, Governor Eliot Spitzer says he violated his own sense of right and wrong. A federal affidavit says he arranged to meet a prostitute in a Washington hotel room. Renana Brooks is a clinical psychologist specializing in scandal management and has treated many politicians. Interestingly enough. Dr. Brooks joins us from Washington this morning. Thanks for being with us. You know, a lot of his critics today are pointing at the hypocrisy, running on issues like ethics, in fact prosecuting prostitution rings and then this. How does this happen to someone?

DR. RENANA BROOKS, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: You have to understand that he doesn't really look at -- he looks at this as a private matter. So in this mind, he's really not being in any way hypocritical. Politicians tend to have all these demands on them constantly, all the time. And what they do is they sort of, as a coping mechanism, they just kind of shut them off and they, you know, just -- and so when -- in a situation like this, they just kind of say, well, this is a personal matter.

CHETRY: But do you see how, you know, you can point to the fact that he was so public about fighting corruption and talking about ethics and talking about an intolerance for this type of, I guess, behavior, that happen in his personal life.

BROOKS: You have to understand when -- yes. When politicians, talking about corruption, they are talking about saving the poor people, you know, watching people's money. They're not thinking about their own little personal actions. So they are into the big ideas. They're into going out into the world. They're seeing everybody who is against what they stand for as evil. And they are not -- and so they sort of shut off any thought about any action that they are doing that might look the same.

CHETRY: Right. Now do you also find they are able to shut off, I guess, the risk valve if you will. You know, I mean, in this situation, it looks like they were able to track down wiretaps, e- mails, text messages, a paper trail, I mean, that would appear to be pretty reckless, knowing, as somebody in his position does, how that could come back to haunt you?

BROOKS: I mean, if you look at any politician's brain, you're going to find them taking unbelievable risks. At even the purest and whitest of them all do stuff that's really risk-taking and dangerous because they have to live in a world where they don't doubt themselves, where they don't think too much about what they are doing and where they really don't think they'll ever get caught. And they really don't think it will bother anybody and they really don't think it will harm their families in any way.

CHETRY: You know, we've seen this before where the -- where a deeply personal scandal like this one gets blown up into the public and then the spouse of the person involved also comes forward. We saw his wife standing by his side yesterday at the press conference. We've seen it with Senator Larry Craig, as well as Governor McGreevey's wife, Dina. But what is it about these women that, I guess makes them stand by their man in extraordinary circumstance.

BROOKS: If you understood -- I mean, most of us would not be able to live and be married to a politician. You are constantly having your needs put last, you're constantly having teenage children disappointed. So they are pretty much used to killing off their needs and trying to serve the greater purpose and trying not to be angry about things. And so they continue to do what they -- how they know to cope. And they really do mean at that moment that, you know, that they are standing by their man.

CHETRY: How would you counsel Governor Spitzer?

BROOKS: It's tough. I think that, I think he has to, you know, he hasn't really made himself that human. I mean, I think he's tried to say that it's private and personal, but I think that he probably has to make himself a lot more human. You know, he doesn't look terribly vulnerable. He was unpopular and people are out to get him to start with.

I think if you gave a lot more sense that he really felt devastated, horrified by this and that he really didn't see it -- you know, I don't think he's portrayed very much of his personal life in all of this. You know, so then it becomes a matter of legalism and violated the law and he has to be brought down.

CHETRY: Dr. Renana Brooks, clinical psychologist. Thanks for being with us this morning.


ROBERTS: It's about 12 minutes to the top of the hour. Ali Velshi is here now. We got some more breaking news this morning. Ali, last week we heard that the Fed was putting $100 billion into the markets, at least making it available, to try to juice the markets a little bit.


ROBERTS: Now they've got an even bigger plan that they're just coming out with.

VELSHI: This is a bigger plan right now. $200 billion by the Feds. Slightly different plan but to cut through all the mess, it's basically a plan to make money available to banks that may need to borrow more from the Fed. Now, this is a concerted action with other world banks.

So, this is the Federal Reserve, The Bank of Canada, The Bank of England, The European Central Bank, the Swiss National Bank. All of these central banks have now announced that they are making money available to banks that are in trouble. Even investment banks that can take other loans that they have, swap them for better loans at the Fed.

This move has had quite a response from markets right now. Futures were up, I don't know, 20 or 30 points when this news came up. Now, the Dow futures are pointing about 130 points higher. So, a remarkable big move. This doesn't come in place of the interest rate cut that many people are expecting next Tuesday when the Fed meets. But a lot of commentators are saying this is a much more surgical strike. This is getting the money where it's needed so that the banks don't end up failing or having problems.

Ben Bernanke did make reference to that a couple of weeks ago. So, a surgical strike, More than $200 billion being made available by the Fed. And that's being augmented by other money available from other central banks around the world -- John.

ROBERTS: All right. Ali Velshi for us this morning watching that closely. Ali, thanks.


ROBERTS: CNN NEWSROOM just minutes away now. Heidi Collins at the CNN Center with a look at what's ahead.

Good morning, Heidi.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you, John.

Sex scandal on the NEWSROOM rundown. New York Governor Eliot Spitzer linked to a prostitution ring. So, will he be charged? Will he resign? We're going to be asking our guests and of course, we'll be watching for any developments that could happen today on this story.

Battle for Mississippi. Obama or Clinton? Today's primary, the last until Pennsylvania votes in six long weeks.

So maybe the Democrats could learn from these two candidates. Their election ends in a tie. A game of five-card stud, of course, settles the winner. Interesting story.

John, also, we are going to be talking with an amazing woman from Afghanistan or out of Afghanistan, I should say. A 19-year-old gal who has just become the second female ever to win the Silver Star. So, we've got her coming up live today, Tuesday, in the NEWSROOM, top of the hour on CNN -- John.

ROBERTS: That really is an incredible story. Looking forward to seeing that. Heidi, see you soon.



CHETRY: Well, as we all know, Madonna has reinvented herself time after time after time. Well, now she is a Hall of Famer. Our Lola Ogunnaike joins us with a look at the material girl's Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame induction, coming up.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, SINGER: It is one of the true thrills and privileges of my life to stand on this stage and induct Madonna into the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame.


ROBERTS: Madonna, an unquestioned superstar is now officially a member of rock's royalty.

CHETRY: He is so lucky that was off camera right now. A dance move captured only by our studio cameras.

Well, the pop icon inducted last night into the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame. And our own Lola Ogunnaike was there for the ceremonies. She joins us now. You know the naysayers, forget it. Madonna was in her element last night.

LOLA OGUNNAIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was all about Madonna last night. Her speech was nearly 16 minutes long. She didn't thank her family, but she thanks everyone else, including her critics. Let's take a listen.


MADONNA, INDUCTED INTO ROCK HALL OF FAME: And even the naysayers, the ones who said that I was talentless, that I was chubby, that I couldn't sing, that I was a one-hit wonder, they helped me, too.


OGUNNAIKE: She's definitely not a one-hit wonder.

ROBERTS: Chubby, talentless? Who was the idiot who said that?

OGUNNAIKE: There were a lot of people who said some very awful things at the beginning of her career. Justin Timberlake wants a list of them. Someone said, comparing Madonna to Marilyn Monroe was like comparing Raquel Welch to the back of a bus. Somebody actually wrote that about her. And Justin Timberlake recalled that.

CHETRY: She said it only made her stronger. The other interesting part is there were some questions. Should she really be inducted into the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame? How rock n' roll is Madonna? I have to laugh at this, as a kid, who is not allowed to somebody, that's a pretty good indication they were rock 'n' roll. I was not allowed to watch her videos or listen to her when I was younger.

OGUNNAIKE: Yes. She was very racy. She talked about rolling around on the floor. She said that was actually an accident when she rolled around on the floor for her famous performance at the Music Video Awards. She actually lost her high heel. And so she dove to get it and decided to incorporate it into a dance move. She went backstage and her manager was ghost white and said you've just ruined your career. And in fact, it made her career. ROBERTS: Rock 'n' roll is supposed to be at its basic level brash and controversial. And she scored fabulously on those.

OGUNNAIKE: She sure does. You know who scored on the brash and controversial? Iggy Pop last night. His performance, his rendition of "Ray of Light" left a lot of people with question marks. The audience was wondering, what exactly is he doing up there?

ROBERTS: I remember Iggy Pop when he used to dive on broken glass in the stage.

CHETRY: What did he do with his shirt?

ROBERTS: He never wears a shirt.

OGUNNAIKE: He spent the entire night showing off his abs. That was impressive. But the performance, not so much.

But the Ventures when they did Hawaii 5-0, the crowd went wild. And they gave them a huge standing ovation. I mean, the opening chord. The crowd went wild. They were so excited about that. John Mellencamp also put on a great performance and gave a really endearing speech. He talked about suffering from spine bifida as a child and barely making it and he thanked everyone and said he was the luckiest person alive and thanked his parents who were also in the audience. So, that was really sweet.

CHETRY: That was wonderful. You know, Madonna, more power to her. Her first song came out back in 1983 and she's releasing another album this year. So, let's hear it for longevity.

OGUNNAIKE: And she's collaborating with the youngsters. She worked with Justin Timberlake, worked with Timbaland. Worked with -- she has had 47 Top 40 hits.

ROBERTS: It doesn't matter if she belongs. She's in.

OGUNNAIKE: She's in.

ROBERTS: Good for her.

CHETRY: Lola, thanks so much. Hope you had fun last night.

OGUNNAIKE: I sure did.

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

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: See these stories in the CNN NEWSROOM: will a sex scandal drive New York's governor from office?

Mississippi votes, 33 delegates at stake for the Democrats today.

Oil surges past $109 a barrel. That's a new record.

The murder of a North Carolina college student. Police release a new photo of a possible suspect.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two, one, zero.


HARRIS: And the shuttle "Endeavor" on a 16-day mission. The longest ever. NEWSROOM just minutes away at the top of the hours on CNN.