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American Morning

John McCain Releasing His Medical Records; Record Oil Prices Hit One of America's Biggest Automakers; Giving Peace a Chance

Aired May 23, 2008 - 08:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Sources from Clinton's inner circle say that they are talking to the Obama campaign about ways for Senator Clinton to make a graceful exit. One option would be the vice presidential job.
The talks are still in the very preliminary stages and are already being described as, quote, "difficult." We'll get more from Suzanne Malveaux in about 20 minutes' time. And again, the breaking news this hour -- talks under way between the Obama and Clinton campaigns for a way to possibly end her run for the nomination.

Also, other breaking news this morning. Senator John McCain releasing his medical records for the past eight years. And it appears that he is cancer-free and otherwise healthy. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta is among a small group of reporters allowed to review the records. He joins us now from Fountain Hills, Arizona.

Sanjay, what are we learning this morning?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're learning that the Associated Press has taken a look at some of these records already, John. So, some details coming out. There's about 1200 pages of records over the last eight years.

As expected, his skin history, his melanoma history, sort of one of the utmost concerns. He was last examined on May 12th, just a couple of weeks ago and, as you said, appears cancer-free. He does continue to have precancerous lesions removed most recently in February. A squamous cell carcinoma at that time was removed from his face. We also heard that polyps removed from his colon. That was done in March. Those are some of the most important details.

Also, as I mentioned earlier, John, people are going to be concerned about his heart. He was most recently -- within the last eight years at some point, on a treadmill for ten minutes and was able to tolerate that well. As you may know, a lot of viewers know that 10 minutes is sort of the gold standard for checking somebody's heart.

He has a good cholesterol level, although not optimal, according to his doctors. He was on a medication known as Vytorin. That medication came under some criticism. He's now switched over to simvastatin.

He also complained of these episodes of dizziness, John. First complained about them in 2000. He said they are particularly pronounced when he went from a sitting position to a standing position. The doctors sort of checked that out and said this seems to be benign vertigo. Vertigo is sort of one of those things that can cause this sort of dizziness.

So, that's the sort of a gist of what we're hearing now. We're obviously going to look -- there's a lot of records here, John. There's 1,200 pages. So, any more details that come out, we'll bring them to you. But we wanted to make sure that we told you some of the highlights as they were coming to us.

ROBERTS: One other thing, Sanjay, that I found was interesting here in the AP review of his medical records was that he's suffering degenerative arthritis from the war injuries that he received during his captivity?

GUPTA: Yes, that's right. They talked about his joints, his shoulders. I think his hip as well. And at least according to his doctors, they say, look, this might mean in the future at some point, he might need a joint replacement. You know, again, which is not uncommon for someone of his age. Even without the degenerative problems from the war injuries. So, that's something they commented on. We'll look specifically at that as well.

ROBERTS: There's also a citation in here about earwax. But I take it that's not serious?

GUPTA: Yes. You know, I didn't think that that was one of the ones that probably would make much relevance with regards to his -- but you have to bring that up because I know Kyra has a particular fascination with ear candling. All right.

ROBERTS: Sanjay, thanks very much.

GUPTA: It keeps coming up. I don't know how that happens.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: You guys just had to go there.


ROBERTS: Sanjay, thanks. You can catch Sanjay's special this weekend on the health of the commander-in-chief --"THE FIRST PATIENT," Saturday and Sunday, 8 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

PHILLIPS: Well, extreme weather in the west and central part of the country today. Large hail, strong winds, heavy flooding. It could hit from Oklahoma to Kansas, Nebraska to Wyoming. A state of emergency now in Colorado. And cleanup begins after a deadly tornado that spawned golf ball-sized hail. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God. All of a sudden it got real dark. And I happened to look up to it, myself down here, and I saw a big wall of black clouds spinning. I ran for a ditch. The closest ditch I could find and covered up. Just prayed for my life.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PHILLIPS: I don't blame him. David Decker captured this amazing video of the hail pelting his home with the twister's cloud just looming. You can see right there, overhead. The storm cut a 35-mile swathe through the northern part of that state. And the most damage came in in the town of Windsor. That was about 60 miles north of Denver. Dozens of homes completely flattened. One person was killed trying to even outrun that storm. Another farmer said that he feared for his life.

All right. I apologize for that little bit of technical difficulty there. But more than a dozen people had been injured after that storm hit. Our Sean Callebs is actually in Windsor. He joins us now. He's actually heard the personal stories throughout the night and this morning.

Hi, Sean.

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kyra. Can you imagine seeing that dark, ominous cloud bearing down on you? How frightful it must have been. You can see the aftermath of damage here. This trucking building. How it just tossed to the back of these trailers around as if they were toys.

Look down there on the distance. So, you can see some homes. We're actually being kept out because authorities are still trying to determine if power lines are down, the dangers. But they are simply splintered. A little further down there you can see some rail cars. So, potential danger here.

Now this twister, unlike some others, actually touched down and skipped around on the ground. If you look over there in the distance, you see some shingles off that roof. That is actually a day care. Had 140 kids inside. It blew windows out and just terrified people. Listen to what the assistant director has to say.


CALLEBS: How did the 140 children handle this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were crying, screaming, you know, but they were really good and our staff was really good about, you know, making sure they were all safe and up against the walls and they all reacted really well and were fast-thinking.


CALLEBS: Some of the kids were actually infants. They had to be put in cribs and actually wheeled from that day care center to this bank. They actually rode out the aftermath of the storm there and when the all-clear came out, Kyra, that is when they came. Amazingly, no one injured. One instructor got a scratch from some glass. Other than that. That's it. Really amazing stories of survival there.

PHILLIPS: Divine intervention. Sean Callebs, appreciate it.

ROBERTS: More breaking news this morning. China and Russia both condemning plans for U.S. missile defense system this morning. The new Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is in Beijing. The joint statement released by both leaders says the global missile shield, quote, "harms the strengthening of trust and regional stability." Russia was rattled by Washington plans to deploy parts of the system in Eastern Europe.

And breaking news this morning out of Myanmar. A breakthrough in the effort to bring aid to victims of the cyclone. U.N. Secretary- General Ban Ki-Moon says the military junta will allow foreign relief workers into the country to help survivors. But it is not clear if the government will allow aid from U.S. naval ships on standby.

The Chinese government now says more than 55,000 people died in Sichuan province, the area hardest hit by the earthquake. That is up 14,000 in just two days.

And right now, the Olympic torch is back on the road after a three-day mourning period for earthquake victims. The torch began a two-day trip through Shanghai today.

Record oil price is causing a ripple effect throughout the economy. See how high fuel costs hit you in the wallet in more ways than just one, ahead.

PHILLIPS: Fast, deadly and piloted by soldiers thousands of miles away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's among several videos declassified at CNN's request. They are the first to be released from the Air Force's newest remote-controlled killing machine. A heavily armed unmanned war plane with the grim moniker, "The Reaper."


PHILLIPS: These unmanned drones changing the face of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. An exclusive look from our Jamie McIntyre, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.



LAKSHMAN ACHUTHAN, MANAGING DIRECTOR ECONOMIC CYCLE RESEARCH INSTITUTE: We are in a mild recession, as it is. But when we start approaching this $150 mark which seems very much within striking distance and well over $4 a gallon gas at the pump, we start talking about something worse than a mild recession. Another leg down. And that, I think is very, very worrisome.


ROBERTS: That was Lakshman Achuthan earlier on AMERICAN MORNING talking about the ripple effect from high oil prices. He said oil prices could go up above $150 a barrel and that even $5 a gallon gasoline could soon be a reality.

A new trend from high gas prices. Shorter workweeks. The county executive from Oakland County, Michigan, wants to give his 1500 employees one day off per week to cut down on commutes. Days off would rotate so that all of the offices would still be open Monday through Friday.

PHILLIPS: Record oil prices hit one of America's biggest automakers. Stephanie Elam in for Ali Velshi minding all of our business today.


PHILLIPS: You are. You are always up in my grill.

ELAM: I have. Actually, it just means I like you.

ROBERTS: Just the grill is going to be smaller, though, because the size of the car is --

ELAM: The size of the cars are getting -- I wasn't sure where you were going there. (INAUDIBLE) some dental work?

PHILLIPS: Here's a thing about Memorial Day weekend and you know, grilling and John McCain and looking for the VP slot. OK, we could go another direction, I'm sorry.

ELAM: This weekend.

PHILLIPS: We'll bring it back, Steph.

ELAM: Let's bring it back to cars and Ford because Ford is in a predicament that many saw coming. With oil prices going so high, gas prices getting so high for many consumers. Ford says here's the deal. We're going to have to cut back on our truck and SUV production for this year. This also means that they don't see their North American unit going back to profitability next year. One thing that they had been really, really targeting.

And the other issue that is noteworthy here. Their F series trucks. They are going to cut back on production of those. That's a top-selling vehicle in America. So this tells you just how drastic of a situation this is. They're saying Americans are really going back to cutting back to smaller cars because of gas prices.

So with that in mind, they're going to focus on their focus and the Ford Edge as well as they keep their eyes on that. The other thing I need to tell you about. Oil prices yesterday, we had a new high during trading. A new intraday high of $135.09. At the close, as you can see there, $130.81 a barrel. That was down $2.36. A little bit of breathing room. But I don't know if you can get excited about that when it's still over 130.

ROBERTS: I can't imagine President Bush driving around the ranch in a Prius. ELAM: It doesn't sound right.

PHILLIPS: He'll be probably on his horse that's what it'll be. He won't even have a vehicle.



ROBERTS: You're talking about the president. No horses.

PHILLIPS: Come on. He's a true cowboy. No cattle, no horses.

ELAM: He's out there. There's nothing else around there.

ROBERTS: Steph, thanks.

Think sitting on the runway is bad? Wait until you find out that you might be flying the wrong way. Air traffic control sounds the alarm on a brand new problem for passengers and pilots.

And if you are fearing a flight delay or misconnection -- well, now there's protection for a fee. But will delay insurance really offer you and your family peace of mind that it promises? Just one more thing to pay for. That's story straight ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

ROBERTS: Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, caught on tape. Modifying guns to shoot more than just bullets. Deborah Feyerick looks down the barrel of the pistol cam, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


PHILLIPS: Flight delays are bad enough, right? Now, a frightening new report out about planes taking off the wrong direction. The Air Traffic Controllers Union says that pilots leaving Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey are getting confused by new takeoff patterns. They said it happened three times to Continental Jets just last weekend and there was no comment from Continental or the FAA. Time is money.

Congress also says that all that waiting at the airport cost the airlines $41 billion in lost productivity and expenses. That was just last year alone. Close to $2 billion worth of jet fuel burned away during those delays.

ROBERTS: Airlines are trying to give you some peace of mind by offering something called Delay Insurance. But they are offering it for a fee. They'll pay for your hotel rooms and meals if you get stuck at the airport. But is it worth it?

PHILLIPS: CNN's personal finance editor -- sorry about that. I jump the gun there. Gerri Willis here to explain.

Hi, Gerri. GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Hi, guys, good to see you. Yes, this is crazy. Think about it. You pay $25 to $35. You get some delay insurance, right? It's supposed to be something that will protect you in case your flight is late. And golly, we know that flights are delayed all the time now.

ROBERTS: They do this anyways?

WILLIS: I have to tell you. Why do you want to pay extra for something that you are probably already supposed to get anyway? If you look at the contract of carriage on your documentation, it will spell out what you are supposed to get if your flight is delayed. Now, typically, you get a lot. You might get a meal. You'll probably be guaranteed to get on the next available flight. I don't know why anybody would pay for this. It's just crazy to me.

ROBERTS: Unless, does it apply to weather delays, because often with weather delays they say -- hey, it's not our fault so look after yourself.

WILLIS: Yes, well, exactly. But how much help are you really going to get if there's a weather delay from any insurance policy. You're still going to be socked in by snow or rain or whatever. Look, this is a loom like buying a car out there and then having the car dealer tell you -- you know what, this only starts about three quarters of the time. So we'd be happy to rent you a car if you need it.

I mean, come on, it's crazy.

PHILLIPS: Was there ever a time where it does make sense?

WILLIS: I think buying insurance makes sense if you bought a very expensive vacation, you put a lot of money down and you are worried that something might come up that you might have to cancel. Then buy some insurance.

A great place to go, insure my to compare some offers out there. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners. They look at all these policies and all these people who sell these policies out there. One other great Web site to check out. If you are always making the same flight, say Atlanta to New York all the time go to They'll tell you how often that flight is on time.

And that's, to me, that's the way to solve the problem. Take the flight that has the best on-time performance because at the end of the day, you are flying out of LaGuardia, you are probably only making it about three quarters of the time.

PHILLIPS: You deal with that all the time.

WILLIS:, John.

ROBERTS: Right. So bottom line, then, in some cases, travel insurance good but delay insurance just a waste of money? WILLIS: I think I don't want to pay for that. I think that's crazy. That's what you are supposed to give me -- on-time performance. That's what I pay you for. Right?

ROBERTS: (INAUDIBLE), get what you deserve.

PHILLIPS: One more fee.

WILLIS: One more fee. Well, they are trying to find a way to make up all of this -- they are paying out in gas and oil prices. Jet fuel.

ROBERTS: I still can't believe they are charging for the first checked bag. That is bizarre.


ROBERTS: Gerri, thanks.

Make sure you join Gerri by the way tomorrow for "OPEN HOUSE." Tomorrow morning, 9:30 Eastern, right here on CNN.

Then on "HEADLINE NEWS," our sister channel, Saturday and Sunday at 3:30 in the afternoon Eastern Time.

You are watching the "Most News in the Morning." He's not yet the nominee but Barack Obama is said to be looking at potential running mates. Is Hillary Clinton in the mix? We'll tell you who else Obama may be considering for vice president, coming up.

PHILLIPS: Giving peace a chance. As the debate over the diplomacy heat ups here at home, Israel announces that it's sitting down with Syria. Christiane Amanpour on whether there's real hope this time.


PHILLIPS: Now to a CNN exclusive. The Pentagon is making a push to increase the use of one of its deadliest weapons. Unmanned aircraft. They're fast, quiet and they are playing a vital role in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

More now on this exclusive report from CNN's senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, we've heard a lot in recent years about the use of unmanned spy planes armed with missiles to launch attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Predator is the most common one. But now, the U.S. Air Force is fielding a soup up version called The Reaper. Essentially a predator on steroids. And we've got the first pictures.


MCINTYRE (voice-over): This video seen first here on CNN shows a 500 pound bomb hitting a suspected Taliban bunker in southern Afghanistan earlier this year. It's among several videos declassified at CNN's request. They are the first to be released from the Air Force's newest remote controlled killing machine. A heavily armed, unmanned war plane with the grim moniker, The Reaper.

LT. GEN. NORMAN SEIP, COMMANDER, 12TH AIR FORCE: It flies higher. Flies faster. Carries more of a weapons load. The airplanes are flying. They're flying long. They're flying hard and they are making a big impact.

MCINYTRE: The U.S. military says this strike in Afghanistan shows two insurgents who appear to be making a clean get away on a motorcycle until The Reaper cuts off their escape with another 500 pound bomb. And the pilot pulling the trigger? Half a world away at Creech Air Force Base in the Nevada desert.

The Air Force says there's now an insatiable demand for unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs on the front lines. And industry is constantly rolling out new, improved models. This version called a Scan Eagle was recently demonstrated at the marine base in Quantico.

(on camera): If you know just where to look, you can see the UAV in the sky. It's very small and very quiet. There was a time when these unmanned spy planes were just eyes in the sky but they're becoming a lot more.

(voice-over): The addition of hell fire missiles to the original predator spy drone just after September 11 gave it the ability to live up to its name. In this engagement in Baghdad last month, the Predator hunts and kills a group of Iraqis armed with grenade launchers and mortars.


MCINTYRE: The Pentagon has a big push under way to rush more UAVs to the frontlines. Recently Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressed frustration with the Pentagon Bureaucracy, complaining that getting more UAVs was, in his words, like pulling teeth.


PHILLIPS: Jamie McIntyre from the Pentagon. Appreciate that.

Straight ahead -- giving peace a chance. As the debate over diplomacy heat ups here at home, Israel announces that it's sitting with Syria. Our Christiane Amanpour on whether there's real hope this time.


ROBERTS: 25 minutes after the hour. Syria and Israel have technically been at war since 1967 and last broke off peace talks eight years ago. But the two countries are now talking again. CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour joins us now.

How serious is this round of talks? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, anytime the two countries talk together, it's serious. Obviously, these indirect talks mediated by Turkey. And as you point out, the last time they came extremely close was in 2000 here in the United States at Shepherdstown.

It broke down over a small piece of land around the Sea of Galilee. It was about access to the Sea of Galilee, about water rights. But we don't know whether there's any evidence. We haven't seen that this issue is being solved or there's a solution to it. Nonetheless, the talks certainly are important.

ROBERTS: It's widely held that any peace deal between Israel and Syria would have to include a give back of the Golan Heights. How is that prospect seen in Israel?

AMANPOUR: Well, as you know, it's being taken very skeptically today. Israelis usually are by a majority pro-peace, as we've seen over the years whether it's with the Palestinians or not. The thing about the Israel-Syria track is that unlike the difficulties and complications with the Palestinians, this is generally seen by the Israeli security apparatus as a much more straightforward land for peace deal. There aren't all the political ramifications that exist between Israel and the Palestinians.

On the other hand, with the Hezbollah War of 2006, with the -- what Israelis perceive as the very difficult withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, they are skeptical about giving up land for peace at the moment. And particularly, they are skeptical about Prime Minister Olmert, their own prime minister, who is under investigation of a corruption scandal involving in American Jewish businessman. So many are now saying that this is just Olmert trying to cover for his other problems.

ROBERTS: The timing of this announcement that Israel and Syria are engaged in talks is very interesting because it came just a few days after President Bush stood up in the Knesset and essentially took a shot at Barack Obama suggesting that talking with the leaders of countries like Syria and Iran is following the policy of appeasement.

AMANPOUR: Well, you know, I think the very fact that Syria and Israel have announced that they are talking basically points out real politics. While there is apparently a debate in political circles in the United States about whether one should talk to one's adversaries, there, where there are adversaries and Israel and Syria are pointing out really the political immaturity, if you like, of that debate.

The actual actors decide when it's in their national and self- interest to do the talking. And, to be frank, it is in the United States' interest as well, because if there is a deal between Israel and Syria, it would isolate Iran more. It would break that sort of Iran-Syria alliance that allows and has caused so much trouble in the Middle East recently.

ROBERTS: Want to switch gears here because for your fine documentary program "God's Warriors" you sat down and talked with Pastor John Hagee, who we've been reporting this morning has now been repudiated by Senator John McCain.

What was your sense of this fellow?

AMANPOUR: Well, we interviewed him a year ago. As you know, he is sort of called a Christian Zionist. Calls himself that. His ministry is all about devotion to Israel, support of Israel. The Christian biblical mandate of support for Israel.

He is a very affable man in person, but he is given to hyperbole. And he's very dramatic and apocalyptic in his statements and his sermons and his beliefs. He's written a book called "Jerusalem Countdown" in which he lays out in chapter and verse his feelings on Israel and what the United States should do to support and sustain Israel. And more than that, his feelings on adversaries for instance such as Iran. He had said that --

ROBERTS: Extremely hawkish.

AMANPOUR: Very hawkish that one should -- if diplomacy fails that one should quickly have a preemptive military strike. He's called Iran the next enemy that wants to destroy not just Israel but the United States.

But I asked him about this deep support for Israel, which many in this country have, after all, despite the way over the top comments that he made recently. But I asked about foreign policy and he basically said God has a foreign policy. And his foreign policy is pro-Israel.

So that's the kind of place that he comes from. Very apocalyptic, very dramatic in his beliefs, and, obviously, you know, certain politicians seek out certain endorsements for their own political benefit. And sometimes it doesn't work out.

ROBERTS: Interesting insight. We'll see how much further this story goes with Senator McCain. Christiane, it's always great to see you. Thanks for coming in today.

By the way in today's "Quick Vote" question. We're asking, are the media or is the media treating the McCain-Reverend Hagee controversy the same way it treated the Obama-Reverend Wright controversy?

Right now, 15 percent of you say yes, 85 percent say no. Head to and keep those votes coming. Send us an e-mail as well. Let us know why you voted the way that you did. Again, Follow the link that says e-mail us. Kyra.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: New information on a possible exit strategy for Hillary Clinton. Suzanne Malveaux joins us on the phone with the latest from Washington. Suzanne.

VOICE OF SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, Hillary Clinton's inner circle sources are saying that they are really outlining three possible scenarios and pushing for some sort of compromise with the Obama campaign for some sort of a graceful exit strategy. They say that there are three scenarios that they are envisioning here. One in which Obama chooses somebody else as a vice presidential running mate, which they consider would be a total dismissal and it would be totally unacceptable to their camp.

One of them saying that it could mean an open civil war within the party and that if this happens, that, of course, it wouldn't mean that Clinton wouldn't necessarily campaign for Obama, that she would but she would do so like Bill Clinton campaigned for Al Gore, quite aloof. They do not believe that this would be acceptable and they are trying to find something in its place. They outline another scenario. They say perhaps if Obama were publicly to offer the VP spot to Clinton, that they should do so and - knowing that she would reject it.

Now this is not something that is necessarily acceptable to the Obama camp. The Clinton insiders say that there's no trust between these two. That there's a feeling that she might actually accept the position. And then the third scenario is that they are pushing to get these two candidates to talk in a room and figure out something to tell the public if it's beneficial to Clinton, whether or not she gets her debt covered or Obama pledges to support a possible run for the Senate Majority leader position. That they would emerge as two candidates who are united saying this is what we're going to do moving forward and that this is something that would happen relatively soon.

Now the Obama camp, Bill Burton, the national spokesperson, David Axelrod, the chief strategist, they are all saying that, you know, there are no talks that are happening at this time. That this is unequivocally not true and what is happening here is that there are two campaigns that are still in real competition, that they are not having any kind of formal, informal exit strategy talks.

The Clinton insiders are really pushing. Sources inside the camp really pushing forward here to find a way and an offer must be made, they say, to Clinton, in order to bring these two camps together and to treat her in a way that they feel would be acceptable, that would give her a certain level of respect, if, in fact, it came to her dropping out of the race or, you know, the final competition. But the one thing I should say that Clinton insiders say, she is aware of these discussions. But she has no intention of even contemplating the VP spot because she is still trying to move forward and campaign for the top job. Kyra.

PHILLIPS: We'll be following it of course throughout the entire afternoon. Suzanne Malveaux, appreciate it. John.

ROBERTS: 33 minutes after the hour. Breaking news this morning. Senator John McCain releasing his medical records for the past eight years. And according to the Associated Press, the presumptive Republican nominee is cancer-free and otherwise healthy. McCain has had three encounters with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. But in a checkup just this past month, doctors found no worrisome lesions. The 71-year-old McCain also has a strong heart and his vital signs are good. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta is among a small group of reporters being allowed to review the almost 1,200 pages of information this morning. ROBERTS: New questions this morning about the future of some of the children removed from the polygamist ranch in Texas. Some parents scored a major victory when a state appeals court ruled that Texas officials had no right to take their children. In a unanimous ruling, the court found no evidence that the kids were in urgent danger. Last night, the church's spokesman spoke exclusively to Larry King.


LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Do you fear or feel that there will be an appeal?

WILLIE JESSOP, YF2 RANCH SPOKESMAN: You know, Larry, I have a great belief that there is enough people, and I've met them, that can recognize a wrong when they see it. And they'll look at it as what it was. It was bad information. And we're hoping that they are not too proud to admit it. And we can mend some fences.


ROBERTS: The state still has legal options and could appeal the case to the state Supreme Court.

PHILLIPS: Into the heart of the beast. A Kansas storm chaser captures a twister. Actually going right past his car. And today, he is headed for the body shop. We'll tell you what happened. Straight ahead.


ROBERTS (voice-over): Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, caught on tape. Modifying guns to shoot more than just bullets. Deborah Feyerick looks down the barrel of the pistol cam, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: Police are often in situations with only seconds to react. The slightest hesitation could get them killed. Now you may be able to see exactly what an officer is seeing when he or she is face to face with danger. CNN's Deborah Feyerick of pistolcam.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What if police officers could record a possible crime not from a dashboard but up close from a tiny camera mounted to the front of their gun? The Orange County S.W.A.T. team in upstate New York is hoping to do just that. And has been testing out a mini digital pistol cam. It is seeing everything that the officer is seeing.

BILL DEPROSPO, PISTOLCAM SPOKESMAN: Everything the officer sees.

FEYERICK: Bill Deprospo, a spokesman for pistol cam worked as an assistant district attorney in the Bronx. DEPROSPO: It obtains and it preserve video documentation of exactly what happened during a shooting. It doesn't have emotion. It doesn't have bias. It doesn't have a lapse of memory or an axe to grind.

FEYERICK: So the second it's taken out of the holster, the camera activates.

DEPROSPO: The video and audio.

FEYERICK: This is the angle you would see from the perspective of a police officer. Not only do you see and hear me but you also see the surrounding. This would be crucial information if there's ever an investigation and the camera keeps rolling until it is holstered.

Especially says New York state Senator Eric Adams when a police action results in a death as it did in the controversial shooting of Sean Bell. An unarmed New York City man killed just hours before his wedding when police fired 50 times.

ERIC ADAMS (D), N.Y. STATE SENATE: This is what officers have always stated. If you could have only been there you would have understood why I made the decision that I did. This allows us to be there.

FEYERICK: but some police say that's misleading because the camera doesn't capture events leading up to a shooting.

DANIEL DEFEDERICIS, N.Y. STATE POLICE UNION: we are putting our officers at danger to get at best -- at best -- a delayed, skewed view of something after it occurred. That is not worth it.

FEYERICK: There's also a handling issue. It makes the gun heavier. And as the officer gets closer to the target, the field of sight narrows. Cutting out crucial details.

It's also difficult to hear audio from far away. Still, sheriff's deputies from the Orange County S.W.A.T. team say they are getting over their reservations.

DUANE LOPEZ, ORANGE CO. DEPUTY SHERIFF: It's just another tool to protect us.

FEYERICK: If, that is, the use of force proves to be justified. Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.

ROBERTS: And into the International Police Chiefs association when there is videotaped evidence, 93 percent of officers are cleared of wrongdoing. Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. We're just getting word in here that out of Billings, Montana. The FAA reporting that an airplane carrying mail has crashed into a building in Montana. We're told the pilot has been killed. We're working our affiliates right now to try and get some pictures of possibly where that has happened. Are you seeing some other information coming across the wire? ROBERTS: We got some information from an FAA spokesperson, Mike Ferguson. It was a beechcraft 1900. Apparently it had just taken off from Logan International Airport in Billings when it crashed into the building. It was 1:25 in the morning, an ensuing explosion and fire. Apparently, it was Alpine air that owned this beechcraft 1900. The mail was bound for Great Falls, Montana. Apparently, a construction materials building was destroyed by the fire. No name yet of the pilot.

PHILLIPS: We're working more information obviously for you and will try to get pictures as well.

Meanwhile, a storm chaser gets too close to a tornado in Kansas. Who needs a windshield? The twister pulls the man's window right from the car. More amazing video coming up next.

ROBERTS: And the great getaway is under way as travelers take to the road this holiday weekend. So what can you do before filling up to save some dollars at the pump? Coming up in a few minutes on AMERICAN MORNING.


PHILLIPS: Rob Marciano with us here in New York, not in Atlanta today. And you are a busy man.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN, METEOROLOGIST: Yes, got to be crazy weather all over the place and lots of video streaming into us from just about everywhere. The big story has been Colorado, Kansas, these two areas that just got hammered with tornadoes yesterday. And some of the video has been rather impressive. Let's have a look at some of it. In Colorado, we saw upwards of ten tornadoes touching down. This one probably the most impressive. This thing is wide. Look at that circulation. That's the entire wall cloud wedged, just chopping down on the ground through Weld County. By the way, Weld County gets seven or nine tornadoes in that county hear year. In the last 50 years, that county in Colorado has had the most tornadoes in the entire country. So we often don't think of Colorado as having tornadoes but they certainly do. And that one was impressive.

All right. To Kansas, we go also had a tornado touch down. Several tornado touch down. The storm chasers were out. These guys obviously rode along when this funnel cloud touched the ground, not quite flagstaff when you get to that video in a second. But the storm chasers certainly had a busy day yesterday with the high risks posted by the storm prediction center.

All right let's talk flagstaff. 85 degrees was the record high just a handful of days ago. Look at the kids playing in the snow in the playground. My goodness, that gives you an idea just how strong this particular system was. So strong, indeed, that the wrap around part of this dropped a couple of tornadoes in California. Here they are in the google earth map, two being reported just south of Riverside, March Air Force Base. We'll zoom into that right along the runway, with reports of a tornado touching down there. Look at this really cool shot. Tornadoes with this type of scenario aren't typically very strong. We call them land spouts. But this one did a little bit of damage. Very cool shot there. You see the main spout there and then another little funnel or vortices just underneath that.

All right. Let's roll the map and show you the expanse of the circulation and the low hasn't moved a lot. It's really pretty much over central Colorado. And you can see how it wraps through parts of the plains, back through the upper Midwest and drops down across the coastline of California. It's going to take awhile for this thing to eject off to the east. We until have the threat for seeing tornadoes pretty much in the same spots we saw them yesterday. Maybe just a little bit further to the east as we go through Saturday and Sunday. They'll all eventually shift a little bit more further to the east as well. But it looks like it's going to be another active day. I can't believe some of the pictures we've been seeing come in from California all the way to Colorado. Guys, back over to you.

ROBERTS: It's that time of year. Rob, thanks very much.

MARCIANO: You got it.

ROBERTS: This memorial day, one 16-year-old is bringing a little bit of comfort to our men and women overseas. And she is so dedicated that she missed her own junior prom to do it. Meet this week's CNN hero.


KALEY MARIE RADZYMINSKI: Listening to music, first of all gets stress out and you relax to it. It's a big part of my life and it's a big part of theirs. I've always had a very special place in my heart for the military. They sacrifice so much for us, why can't I do a little bit to give back to them? My name is Kaley Marie Radzyminski. I've been sending CDs and DVDs overseas to our troops to bring a little bit of home and a little bit of entertainment.

I got to talking with the military personnel and I asked them what was the number one thing you miss. First thing was, of course, their families. The second to that was entertainment. Well, CDs, DVDs, those are entertainment. So I started asking my friends and I got online together and then we did a drive at school and eventually it spread to the community and now it's a nationwide project.

They all get a sticker with the "Tunes 4 the troops" e-mail address. Then all you have to do is finish filling out some forms and pay for shipping. Sometimes it gets very stressful. I missed my junior prom but that is nothing compared to what these 18, 19, 20- year-olds give up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It kind of takes you out of this place for a little while.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It gave me a chance to feel like I was back home a little bit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The project is awesome.

RADZYMINSKI: To have such a large outcome of happy soldiers is so worth it.


PHILLIPS: CNN NEWSROOM is just minutes away. Tony Harris at the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia with a look at what's ahead. Tony.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, good Friday to you, Kyra Phillips. Good morning, everyone. Political intrigue on the NEWSROOM rundown for you. The Obama campaign talking about the VP slot for Hillary Clinton. John McCain's medical records out this morning but with a degree to say the least of secrecy. The planes on guard today for another round of severe weather. This monster tornado, Rob showed to you just moments ago, cutting a 35-mile path across Colorado.

Will Texas appeal or return hundreds of children to their polygamist parents? Not enough evidence of abuse to remove the kids. That from an appeals court. Friday in the NEWSROOM shaping up to be a busy one. Top of the hour right here on CNN. Kyra, good weekend to you and John.

PHILLIPS: Same to you, Tony. Thanks.

Well, breaking news right now. We're getting word of another big jump in the price of a gallon of gas. Up more than 4 cents now, $3.87. High gas prices are taking some of the fun out of the holiday weekend for drivers. But we do have some tips on what to do before filling up your tank, just ahead.

ROBERTS: And diplomatic snub. After President Bush started the debate over talking to terrorists, the U.S. is sitting out key talks between enemies in the Mideast. Why the U.S. has no role and whether staying silent now could hurt later.


ROBERTS: Eight minutes to the top of the hour. President Bush forcefully delivered the message to Israel's parliament that the U.S. does not bargain with terrorists or nations that support them. But a week later, Israel and Lebanon sit down with two sworn enemies. The U.S. sitting on the sidelines. Here's State Department correspondent Zain Verjee.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: John, the U.S. refuses to talk to terrorists. But its friends are, leaving the U.S. out of the diplomatic game.


VERJEE (voice-over): For the U.S., this is a deal with the devil. The Lebanese government and Hezbollah agreeing to share power. All the U.S. could do was give it a positive spin.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: We are pleased that the people of Lebanon can now get on with their lives.

VERJEE: Forces of Hezbollah, which the U.S. calls a terrorist group, seized control of Beirut as President Bush was in Israel slamming talk with terrorists.

PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We have an obligation to call this what it is. The false comfort of appeasement.

MARTIN INDYK, SABAN CENTER AT BROOKINGS: Bush has staked his flag in Beirut. This whole democracy enterprise and watched on the sidelines while Hezbollah, backed by Iran and Syria, have effectively taken over the government there.

VERJEE: U.S. allies throughout the Middle East are talking to the enemy, ignoring the U.S. strategy to isolate extremists. Bush administration critics say the U.S. is losing its seat at the table because its policy is out of touch with the situation on the ground.

INDYK: It's a mistake because not only do we have an interest in it, but we diminish our influence in the region if we're not actively involved in it.

VERJEE: The U.S. is also sitting on the sidelines, while Israel is talking to Hamas with Egypt's help and to Syria with Turkey's help. Once again, the U.S not a player.

RICE: We would welcome any steps that might lead to a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.


VERJEE: U.S. officials say they're not going to stand in the way of talks between Israel and Syria, but Washington wants the focus to be on a deal between Israelis and Palestinians. John.

ROBERTS: Zain Verjee for us this morning. Zain, thanks. And wouldn't it be nice if something came of those talks this time.

PHILLIPS: You never know. There's wishful thinking.

More breaking news now on the gas prices just coming into CNN. $3.87 we're being told now. $3.87 a gallon. That's the latest numbers from AAA. You might want to start thinking about alternative transpo for your Memorial Day weekend.


ROBERTS: Breaking news this morning. A huge jump in gasoline prices. The new national average $3.87 a gallon now, up more than four cents from yesterday, according to AAA. 16th straight record high. 34 cents up in a month. 64 cents from last year. Just 13 cents now away from 4 bucks a gallon.

PHILLIPS: May hit $5, possibly $6.50. We don't know about that yet though. Great getaway is beginning as travelers hit the road for the holiday weekend. But AAA says that the record high gas prices won't keep many drivers from heading to their Memorial Day destination.

ROBERTS: All right. Veronica de la Cruz is here with some i- reports and how you said that you're faring on the road and some tips before you fill up. Good morning.

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN INTERNET CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Well, people definitely are not happy. And $3.87 now. I want to show you what gas prices look like across the country. This is from one of our i-reporters in Crescent City, California. Nancy sent us this shot. A gallon of regular unleaded there going for $4.49 a gallon. She goes on to say, "I cannot believe these prices. And have no doubt it does hurt the wallet. It's a chain reaction all because of the gas prices, everything else has to go up. I hope everyone can enjoy a happy Memorial Day sitting at home. No gas, can't travel."

So unfortunately there, no relief in sight. There are reports at this time that prices are going to be topping $4 a gallon in the next week. That's what analysts are saying. So, here are a couple of Web sites now to help you ease that pain especially if you are headed on the road today. This is This is a consumer-driven site. You can locate the cheapest gas along your route. The site is going to help you track thousands of stations across the country. The good news here is something that I really like is it's updated three times a day.

Also uses gas spotters. It allows you to look at a map. It's very interactive. It works kind of like google maps. You can point, click and you can zoom in. It's going to give you a 20-mile radius. It's going to help you locate the cheapest gas in that area. Also, this has been around for some time now and works pretty much the same way. Drivers can report the prices in that area. Again, if you are headed on the road today, you can find the lowest price at the pump along the route. Something I really like. It has a mobile site, it's called So, something you can do if you're headed up the road today. You can punch it right into your blackberry.

ROBERTS: Does it work at a mobile phone as well, a smart phone?

DE LA CRUZ: No you have to have a PDA, something that has Internet access.

ROBERTS: OK. All right. Veronica, thanks very much.

DE LA CRUZ: Of course.

PHILLIPS: Let's take a final check of the "Quick Vote" question. Are this is what we are asking, are the media treating the McCain-Reverend Hagee controversy the same way it treated the Obama- Reverend Wright controversy, 11 percent of you voted yes and 89 percent said no.

ROBERTS: We've also been reading your e-mails this morning. JC from Kansas City, Missouri sent this. "I don't see the same outrage with the Caucasian pastor. McCain should get the same 24/7 scrutiny as Obama did with Reverend Wright."

PHILLIPS: And then Robert in Julian, California, "I think you should make a distinction between McCain being endorsed by Hagee and Obama being a member of Wright's church for 20 years. The two relationships are not equivalent."

ROBERTS: Mike from Taylor, South Carolina writes, "Obama was slammed excessively with the same clips over and over again played from a man that he only saw the good in from a personal relationship. McCain is not being carried in the same manner. It is a shining example of how race relations in this country are still wounded."

PHILLIPS: And from Marvin from Rogersville, Tennessee, "Reverend Wright and Reverend Hagee are worlds apart from what they are saying. One candidate sat listening to hate speech that tore this country, capitalism and more importantly threw Christianity down for 20 years. The other didn't. One candidate has repeatedly distorted his relationship with a pastor, the other didn't."

ROBERTS: That's going to do it for us. Thanks so much for joining us on this AMERICAN MORNING. We will see you back again bright and early on Memorial Day Monday. Have yourself a great weekend.

PHILLIPS: CNN NEWSROOM with Tony Harris and Fredricka Whitfield starts right now.

HARRIS: And good morning everyone. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Tony Harris.