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American Morning

Saudi Oil Production Increase; More Fighting in Afghanistan; Candidates Rip Opponent's Energy Plan; Midwest Flooding Abating, Cleanup Begins; Race and Voting

Aired June 23, 2008 - 08:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN HOST: John McCain is challenging Americans to come up with a better car battery. McCain says the government should offer $300 million to the person who can develop technology that is better than what we have right now.
The proposal is expected to be part of an energy speech planned today in Fresno, California.

And breaking just minutes ago, word of another extremely bloody battle in Afghanistan. Coalition forces firing back on militants who pulled off an ambush just a few days ago, killing dozens of them apparently.

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr joins me now with more on this.

What have you got, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, what is so significant about this ambush is after all the shots were fired and it all stopped, U.S. forces reporting that they killed 55 militants and wounded about another 25 or so, so nearly 80 militants gathering.

That is a massive force by the Taliban or anti-coalition elements that the U.S. has not seen in some time. It's -- was just a couple of weeks ago that they saw a gathering of about 100 militants.

That is not what's been going on. It's all been hit-and-run, ones and twos. They're now beginning to see massing for the second time of a significant number of militant forces.

That is a matter of concern. It's not something they've been seeing. Other worrying indicators, John, Marines again attacked out west, where there had not been problems and coalition forces reporting that there's been more artillery firing across the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

All of this adding up to a lot of growing worries about the situation in Afghanistan. And for the second month in a row, it now is on track that more coalition forces will be killed in action in Afghanistan than killed in Iraq -- John.

ROBERTS: Sounds like a difficult summer ahead.

Barbara Starr for us at the Pentagon this morning -- Barbara, thanks.

CHETRY: Cooler weather and lighter winds helping firefighters battling hundreds of wildfires across California's wine country. The largest fire in Napa County started Saturday and nearly tripled in size, scorching six square miles.

In the Midwest, crop damage from the devastating flooding is massive. More than 2 million acres of corn and soybean crops destroyed. And as the flood danger recedes for many communities, now the clean-up begins. Hundreds of homes filled with mud, mold and toxic sludge.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, one of the hardest hit areas.

Hi, Ed.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kiran. Where we're standing, there was five feet of floodwater. Now you can see that the water is gone but the clean-up begins.

Everywhere you look around these neighborhoods, there is debris piling up on the curbside. And city officials are hopeful they can clean up this first wave in about 30 days.


DAN PIERCE, FLOOD VICTIM: 1900 is when it was built so it's 108 years old now.

LAVANDERA (voice over): Floodwaters destroyed the first floor and basement of Dan Pearson's home. More than 100 years of family history now sits on the curb.

PIERCE: The water line is about halfway up my first floor. So every room -- every room was packed to the brim with stuff. Underneath this pile someplace is my grandmother's sewing machine that she used in the '30s.

LAVANDERA: Drive the streets of Cedar Rapids and it's an endless stream of trash block after block of flood debris piling up.

There's so much stuff that officials are worried it will completely fill up the city's landfills. Early estimates are that there's 1 million cubic yards of debris that needs to be removed. That would fill about four football fields stacked 60 feet high.

KARMIN MCSHANE, EXEC. DIR., SOLID WASTE AGENCY: We were pretty shocked when we heard the number. It's -- it certainly going to challenge the local facility.

LAVANDERA: Landfill officials say this newly opened garbage pit was supposed to last the city 20 years, but all of the flood debris will likely fill it up in just a few months.

MCSHANE: Obviously people want to get it out and want it disposed of. You know for the safety of everyone, we want to manage it as quickly as possible.

LAVANDERA: And the trash just keeps piling up. Westside Sewing has been a downtown Cedar Rapid fixture for 80 years. The store front reduced to slush and grime.

DAVID PEREZ, CEDAR RAPIDS RESIDENT: I walked around the corner, I mean, my mouth just drops open. I was so shocked. It's unbelievable. You can see so much on TV. You know I've been seeing it day after day but until you get inside it of it and see what's happening, you really can't imagine it looking at the television screen.


LAVANDERA: And city officials tell us that an army of about 120 dump trucks will be -- going through the streets in the weeks ahead to clean up all of the debris and there's some early talk also as trying to maybe find some other landfill space in other parts of Iowa or perhaps other states to kind of lessen the burden that the landfills here in the Cedar Rapids area will be taking on in the coming weeks -- Kiran?

CHETRY: Ed Lavandera for us in Cedar Rapids -- thank you.

ROBERTS: For the first time in U.S. history the Supreme Court will answer what the Second Amendment means when it talks about the right to keep and bear arms.

The case is a challenge to a law in Washington, D.C. that bans the possession of handguns.

Earlier this year, a federal appeals court struck down the gun control law and the basis of the Second Amendment.

Delta is going to be the first major U.S. airline to allow passengers to buy their way to the front of the line at a security checkpoint. The airline plans to launch the registered traveler program this summer in New York and Los Angeles where $128 a year, members can go through an exclusive line.

The program is available at 18 airports across the country but until now travelers had to sign up for the service through the airport or a few foreign airlines.

CHETRY: New this morning, Citigroup plans to fire about 10 percent of its workers, about 65,000 people worldwide. According to "The Wall Street Journal," the first round of pink slips are expected to be handed out today.

The New York bank raked up more than $15 billion in losses over the past two quarters, in fact, losing more than any other bank in the mortgage crisis.

And singer Amy Winehouse diagnosed with early stage emphysema. Her father telling Britain's "Sunday Mirror" her lungs are damaged from smoking cigarettes and crack cocaine. He also said doctors told her that if she goes back to smoking drugs it won't just ruin her voice, it will kill her.

Winehouse was hospitalized a week ago after collapsing at her home in London. She's scheduled to perform in a concert Friday celebrating Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday.

ROBERTS: Six minutes after the hour.

Oil prices rising again this morning despite a pledge by Saudi Arabia to increase oil production by an additional 200,000 barrels a day. Boosting output may not be enough to solve our energy problem.

Stephanie Elam looking into it for us this morning.

CHETRY: Plus the candidates on higher education. Barack Obama wants a $4,000 tuition grant to college students in exchange for volunteer service after graduation.

John McCain wants a student loan program that protects students from the credit crunch.

So how they stack up ahead.

ROBERTS: A man loses 80 pounds and drops 14 pant sizes in just six months. How did he do it? By eating only at McDonald's. He'll explain his unique diet plan.

You're watching the most news in the morning.


ROBERTS: It is just turning nine minutes after the hour. And Stephanie Elam is here for Ali Velshi who's playing around up in the tar sands these days.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Notice we couldn't get a video of him so we don't know exactly what he's doing.

CHETRY: Right. Even the tar sands.

ELAM: Right. Exactly.

CHETRY: It's dirty work.

ELAM: Yes.

ROBERTS: You know the problem is he always come back with a bathing suit full, too.

ELAM: Oh, the imagery. Oh, I didn't need to think of that.

ROBERTS: So, oil producers elsewhere in world...

ELAM: Elsewhere in the world.

ROBERTS: ... worried that they're pricing themselves out of the market?

ELAM: Yes. Saudi Arabia is a little concerned that perhaps we're getting to the tipping point because of the fact that the cost of oil is getting so out of control for so many people across the world. So they're saying, hey, we're going to add in some more oil. In fact, in May, Saudi Arabia boosted their daily production by 300,000 barrels, then you heard last week an additional 200,000. And then over the weekend they're saying another 200,000 barrels a day they'll be adding into the system.

They really are basically focusing on boosting their daily oil production from 9 million barrels to 9.7 million barrels by July. They're trying to encounter the sharp jump in oil prices internationally. And this will be the highest production rate out of Saudi Arabia since 1981.

Saudi Arabia is planning also to invest in oil projects that will help them boost their capacity to 12.5 million barrels a day by the end of next year.

And today oil is up. We're looking at a high of $137.57 a barrel.

And you're thinking, OK, we have more oil coming into the market. Why the heck is this going to be more expensive right now? That's because there's been attacks on oil fields in Nigeria and that's removing 300,000 barrels out of the system a day.

So you can't win for losing on this one.

ROBERTS: So what's Ali's adventure up there in Ft. McMurray, Alberta all about?

ELAM: I'm trying to figure out if he's actually doing some prospecting. If he's going to see if he can find some and then we won't see him back here again because he'll be out making a whole bunch of money.

But I actually, honestly think that's he's trying to see if they did start drilling there, what would happen, how would this happen the global markets for oil, because, obviously, this is a lot of untapped resources that they say are here in North America.

CHETRY: Hey, your business unit working hard for us this morning. They want us to make sure we clarify the Citibanking story that we had done. They said that they're laying off about 10 percent of the investment banking division which makes up 65,000 people.

So it would be about 6500 people -- 6,500 that are looking at possibly...

ELAM: Right. It's just that one division that they're looking at there of making these cuts. And also we're still waiting for confirmation from Citigroup that this is, in fact, what they're planning to do.

ROBERTS: All right. Steph, thanks.

ELAM: Sure.

CHETRY: Well, you're watching the most news in the morning. Thirty percent of Americans admit they have some sort of racial bias. We're here to talk about what that could mean for the presidential election.

Also, Rob Marciano in the CNN Weather Center for us this morning, tracking extreme weather.

Hey, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Kiran. It's lightning awareness week you had some last night across the northeast. You'll likely see some more again today.

We'll run down some stats and the forecast when AMERICAN MORNING comes right back.

ANNOUNCER: "Minding Your Business" brought to you by...


CHETRY: Bruce Springsteen this morning for you.

ROBERTS: And a shot of that fountain out there outside of Time Warner Center, Columbus Circle where earlier today...

CHETRY: Right.

ROBERTS: ... we saw...

CHETRY: We saw somebody -- bathing their two Labradors in the public fountain. A beautiful sight. I'm sure the dogs loved it.

ROBERTS: At least nobody's drinking out of that.

CHETRY: Well, I was until I saw that. No.

Forty minutes past the hour. Rob Marciano at the CNN Weather -- you know you can't get a good drink out of the fountain these days. You never know who's in it.

MARCIANO: Well, that's true. And here in Atlanta you'll see people bathing their children in the fountain so it's -- you know, it's a different -- you take what you can get especially when you're in a drought.


ROBERTS: Well, it's all about being out on the golf course, right?

MARCIANO: Yes, that helps. Hey, listen, women play golf, too.

CHETRY: Yes, but (INAUDIBLE) 25 percent were by water, 25 percent were under trees. So what were the other 50 percent? Where were they?

MARCIANO: I don't that kind of -- they were doing something they shouldn't.

ROBERTS: And you know what Arnold Palmer said about being out in the golf course in the thunderstorm, right?

MARCIANO: Hold the one iron up?

ROBERTS: Because even God can't hit a one-iron.

Thanks, Rob.

MARCIANO: All right, guys.

ROBERTS: You're watching the most news in the morning.

Keeping college costs in check. How do Barack Obama and John McCain plan to help students struggling to pay for tuition and textbooks. We're going to take a closer look.

CHETRY: Not enough gas in China leading to long lines at the pump and now China striking deals with one of America's biggest suppliers.

Get it.

You're watching the most news in the morning.

ANNOUNCER: "Business Travelers Advisory" brought to you by...


ROBERTS: Nineteen minutes now after the hour.

Students are paying more for gas, food and the cost of college. Some say that they're getting priced right out of school and many are taking a hard look at what the presidential candidates plan to do to help. And we are, too.

CNN's Chris Lawrence has got more.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Oscar Mainia came to college to study political science but he's feeling more like a finance major as he tries to figure out how to afford tuition.

OSCAR MAINIA, CAL. BERKELEY STUDENT: If I wasn't working I doubt I'd be able to pay for it.

LAWRENCE: Many has had to increase his work study so much, he filed an appeal to qualify for more hours.

California recently raised tuition for the sixth time in seven years. And some students plan to hold the next president accountable for higher education.

(On camera): Do you still believe any politician when they say education is the future? MAINIA: We don't want empty rhetoric. We want rhetoric that's going to be backed up. If you're going to say you're going to back up education, how?

LAWRENCE (voice over): Senator Barack Obama would give students a tax credit in exchange for 100 hours of volunteer work.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRES. NOMINEE: Your country will offer you a $4,000 a year tuition credit if you offer your country community or national service when you graduate.

LAWRENCE: But so far, Senator John McCain has been vague.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRES. NOMINEE: We have to provide a quality education.

LAWRENCE: Since the credit crunch has made it harder for Americans to get loans, McCain is proposing a continuity plan that would make sure student loans aren't disrupted this fall.

MCCAIN: We need to spend more funds in the right way.

LAWRENCE: Obama has only voted for two bills that specifically help students pay for college. McCain's got a longer track record but mixed results.

OBAMA: He's voted time and time again to stop us from making college affordable.

LAWRENCE: Here are the facts.

Last year, McCain voted against a bill that increased Pell Grant Funding and allowed some low income students to defer their loans. But that same bill increased the fee students paid to open a loan.

And Obama ignores McCain's 1998 vote to lower student loan interest rates and increased work study aid to $1 billion.

With the average cost of textbooks alone soaring to $1500 a year, students like Mainia plan to hold candidates to their word. First in his family to go to college, he's wondering if he'll have enough money to come home with a degree.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, Berkeley, California.


ROBERTS: And here's more on how much college costs are up in an "A.M. Extra." According to the College Board the average price for instate student at a four-year public school this fall will be up almost 7 percent to $14,000. $6,000 of that is tuition, the rest room and board.

At private schools, it's up 6 percent. That'll run you $32,000 with $24,000 of that going to tuition -- Kiran?

CHETRY: And you have two kids in college?

ROBERTS: No, just one coming up. One just graduated. I'm tuition free for the moment but there's always the potential for graduate school.

CHETRY: I feel for you.

Well, we're going to talk to a guy who lost 80 pounds in six months. What was his radical diet plan? It was eating at McDonald's. We're going to hear what he actually ate for all those meals.


CHETRY (voice over): Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, a rock 'n' roll rant against iTunes.

KID ROCK, SINGER: You take the song and download it. Big deal, right?

CHETRY: Kid rock boycotts the music giant and tells fans to just steal his music.


CHETRY: You're watching the most news in the morning.

ROCK: So get them.



CHETRY: Welcome back to the most news in the morning.

Our next guest lost 80 pounds in just six months by eating only at McDonald's.

So what did he eat and how did he do it?

Joining us now to explain his unusual diet is Chris Coleson.

Chris, thanks for being with us this morning.


CHETRY: You look great. Congratulations for the weight loss, by the way.

COLESON: I still have a long way to go but I appreciate it.

CHETRY: Well, a little unconventional was your route deciding to eat only at McDonald's. Why McDonald's?

COLESON: Well, you know, the story goes back to last year and the inspiration behind it was the guys and girls from Wounded Warrior Project. And I sat down with my wife and decided I needed to drop a significant amount of weight for health reasons and told my wife that.

And she looked at me with some skepticism. And that upset me so I said, you know, I can do this eating only at McDonald's. It was the craziest idea I could think of at that moment.

CHETRY: And -- all right, so let's take a look at what your sample menu for a day was. And we'll take a look and we'll see how it worked.

Now we just did a story in the last hour about the importance of eating a big breakfast to help you lose weight. But your breakfast was just black coffee.

COLESON: Just black. It's funny. I like a strong black coffee in the morning. And we've got a Starbucks near the office. So I hit that pretty much every morning for, like I said, strong black coffee.

CHETRY: Right. And McDonald's has their own black coffee, too. Now you're on the Starbucks breakfast diet.

COLESON: Well, no, no, no. But that -- you know, I do -- during the day I love a strong black coffee and I -- around Richmond we had a couple of good coffee places. And, you know, that started off my morning.

CHETRY: All right. Let's check out the rest of it.

So for lunch you did a salad.


CHETRY: I hear you're using the southwest salad. You had grilled chicken on it. You also then had a barbecue chipotle snack wrap.


CHETRY: And you chose the grilled option because they have both, and apple dippers without the caramel.

COLESON: That's true.

CHETRY: All right. And then you had an optional snack during the day. Does this mean sometimes you wouldn't eat a snack but if you did it was apple dippers again?

COLESON: You know, for the most part it was either apple dippers or walnut salad.

CHETRY: I got you. All right, apple dippers, by the way, for people who don't know this, just cut up -- just slices of apple, probably equivalent to about maybe half an apple.

And then dinner with, yet again, a southwest salad or any other type of salad as well as the...

COLESON: Right. CHETRY: ... snack wrap and -- is it and a walnut salad? So you had two salads and a snack wrap for dinner?

COLESON: You know the walnut salad is just a little container of fruit. It's got grapes, walnuts and apples also -- sliced up apples.

CHETRY: All right. Have you been in contact with -- because let's show a before and after picture by the way. This actually worked for Chris, because there's a picture of him before and there's a picture of him after.

You said you dropped 14 pant sizes and 80 pounds in six months.

COLESON: Well, from a size 50 to a size 36. And, you know, my ultimate goal is to get down to around a 34.

CHETRY: Not bad. Have you -- has McDonald's contacted you? Or have you contacted them in any way to say, hey, listen, all I did was eat at your fast food joint. I lost all this weight.

COLESON: No, you know, we have not. But, you know, it's been asked and I see it floating around the Internet. If I get anything out of this from McDonald's, it's support for the Wounded Warrior Project and the YMCA charity that I'm trying to help out in Sandstone, Virginia. But they have not contacted me.

CHETRY: So was this a way to kick start your weight loss? And you're going to continue on a healthy eating path or do you think you're going to continue, you know, the McDonald's diet?

COLESON: Well, no. I figured I'm going to -- you know, we've changed our lifestyle at home. My wife has also dropped weight. My kids are very active in sports. I'm trying to get more active.

When I started this it was really tough to get any exercise in because of my weight. When you're up around 300 pounds, I mean, the injury you can suffer from running, or...

CHETRY: Right.

COLESON: You know, in trying to exercise would probably put me out of commission for a few months. So I waited until I dropped the weight before I started any exercise program but we're going to move forward with healthy eating at home.

And I don't think McDonald's is going to be a big part of that. Maybe occasionally when I travel or if I start to deviate and gain weight I may go back to what worked for me.

CHETRY: All right, there you go. The opposite of "Supersize Me." Congratulations for your weight loss.

Chris Coleson, thanks for being with us.

COLESON: I really appreciate it. Thank you, Kiran.


ROBERTS: What a great story.

It's coming up on 29 minutes after the hour. Here's what's making news this Monday morning.

The need for more testing could delay plans for a U.S. missile defense system in Europe well beyond its 2013 target date. The Defense Department is planning three tests of the missile interceptors, a process that could take years.

Concerns about testing were raised last fall by the Pentagon's oversight office. A delay would be a setback for President Bush, who has made the missile defense system one of his top military priorities.

Just about 30 minutes after the hour now and here are some other top stories.

Gas prices dipped this morning but just a little. New national average $4.07 down just a tenth of a penny from yesterday. That's according to AAA.

Senator John McCain is going to focus on energy today during a speech at Fresno State University. McCain is expected to promote innovation and conservation to end the current energy crisis. That includes tax credits for automakers who can sell zero emissions cars.

He's also expected to ask the government to put up $300 million for the person who can develop a battery better than the current ones that are available for hybrid and electric cars.

Does race matter in the race for the White House? A new poll shows three in ten Americans admit to feeling some sort of racial prejudice. How might it affect the presidential race?

Well, joining us from Washington with a look at the poll numbers is our senior political analyst Bill Schneider.

Bill, what are the numbers telling us this morning?

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, they're basically good news. We have, this was actually a poll done by the "Washington Post" and ABC News. And they asked them whether race was an important factor in people's vote for president. Twenty-three percent of Americans said race was important but here's the good news. They didn't have any real impact on their vote. It didn't make any difference whether they said it's important or not, they voted the same way. And, in fact, almost twice as many said the age of the candidate was a more important factor in their vote for president.

In fact, the poll, according to this poll, two thirds of white Americans said they'd be entirely comfortable with an African-American candidate for president but fewer than one third said they were entirely comfortable with someone entering office at age 72, which would be the age that John McCain would be if he takes office next January.

ROBERTS: You know, Bill, we talked a lot about what a transformational thing in America Barack Obama's candidacy is. And there are lingering problems with race relations in this country. And people are probably wondering what effects might this have on race relations in America?

SCHNEIDER: Well, there are hopeful signs here. When asked how it would affect race relations in the country, the Obama candidacy clearly inspires hope for improvement among African-Americans. 60 percent said they thought it would help race relations in this country, only 8 percent said that it would hurt. And on that top line you see white Americans, they're also more positive than negative about how the Obama candidacy will impact race relations. Overall, this poll shows that Obama's race is having very little impact on the vote in terms of what people say they will do and that negative views of Obama among racially prejudiced whites are largely balanced by pro- Obama sentiments among white voters who want to make a statement against racial bias. So there are indications that for all the whites - it's a small number who say they will vote against Obama because of race. There are actually as many or more whites who say they'll vote for him to make a statement in favor of better race relations.

ROBERTS: Interesting information for us this morning. Bill Schneider, as always, thanks so much.


CHETRY: Alina Cho is here with other stories new this morning. Hi, Alina.

ALINA CHO, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there guys. Good morning again. And good morning, everybody. New this morning, the Pentagon is reporting a sharp drop in the number of U.S. soldiers killed by roadside attacks in Iraq. According to "USA Today," last month the military says 11 U.S. soldiers killed by roadside bombs. That's down from 92 one year ago, and an 88 percent decrease overall. Military officials credit the drop in casualties to new heavily armed vehicles and intelligence from Iraqis on the ground.

We have this just in to CNN. French President Nicolas Sarkozy says a nuclear-armed Iran is, "totally unacceptable." Sarkozy spoke this morning to Israel's parliament. The French president went on to say any nation threatening to destroy Israel will find, "France blocking the way."

Pregnancy pact or not, the mayor of Gloucester, Massachusetts, is now casting doubt on reports that 17 teenaged girls agreed to get pregnant so they could raise their babies together. And this morning, she is scheduled to meet with a number of school officials including the principal who first made that claim. There will be a news conference afterwards. Reports now say there may have been some sort of pact after those girls learned they were pregnant. The mayor says so far no one else including teachers, counselors or the teens' families have mentioned any sort of pact.

And we learned early this morning that comedy legend George Carlin has died of heart failure. He had a history of heart trouble. Carlin spent more than 50 years in show business but he'll forever be remembered for those seven special words. Here's CNN's Brooke Anderson.


BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Comedian George Carlin's seven dirty words you can't say on television immediately became a show business legend.

GEORGE CARLIN, COMEDIAN: Well, that was the original list.

ANDERSON: A word for excretion, for urination, for having sex, for breasts. And three words still so radioactive, we can't even describe them. In 1972, that unforgettable bit of stand-up stunned a Milwaukee audience, which included some children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard all this foul, profane language. It really - it really shocked me. And I'm thinking, here my seven-year- old son is in the audience.

ANDERSON: Carlin was immediately arrested for disorderly conduct.

CARLIN: I didn't know they were, but it wouldn't have changed anything I did if I had known children were in the audience. In fact, children need to - I think those children need to hear those words the most because as yet they don't have the hang-ups. It's adults who are locked into, you know, certain thought patterns.

ANDERSON: An unapologetic Carlin was released and the charges were dismissed. But then a New York radio station aired Carlin's follow-up act, filthy words.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a complaint by a man that was supposedly driving with his 12-year-old son in the car when these words came pouring out over the radio.

ANDERSON: That complaint got to the Supreme Court, which supported FCC regulation of profanity on the public airwaves. And it established which words were off limits.

CARLIN: I wanted a list. Cause nobody gives you a list.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There for the first time you had kind of a quantification of what is obscene. That was something you could really put your finger on. It's all there. The nastiest words are all right there.

CARLIN: Foul -

ANDERSON: 35 years after the seven dirty word you can't say on television, the debate George Carlin triggered is far from over. Brooke Anderson, CNN, New York.


CHO: And George Carlin was 71 years old.

That's a look at the news this hour. Back to you, guys.

ROBERTS: It's a real shame. He'll be missed. Alina, thanks so much.

You're watching the most news in the morning. Hugo Chavez strikes a deal with China to start sending more oil there. What this could mean for oil supplies here in the United States.


CHETRY (voice-over): Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, "steal everything."

KID ROCK: I'm [ bleep ] rich.

CHETRY: Kid Rock's rebellion.

KID ROCK: It's just a song.

CHETRY: Find out why he's boycotting iTunes. You're watching the most news in the morning.

KID ROCK: So, it's OK to illegally download music and it's OK to steal anything else you need to. So, get them.


ROBERTS: Kid Rock's new song for the season "All Summer Long." Kid Rock is going to war with iTunes, Apple's music downloading service. He has kept his music off of iTunes saying the policy of selling single songs cuts into CD sales essentially ripping off artists and he has a message for his fans about both iTunes and the popular practice of illegal downloading. CNN's Kareen Wynter has got details for us.

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John and Kiran. he sold millions of albums worldwide but Kid Rock says the buck stops with him when it comes to selling his music on iTunes.


WYNTER (voice-over): In his song "All Summer Long," Kid Rock sings about growing up without the web. He seems to miss those days. Kid is refusing to offer his songs for download on iTunes.

KID ROCK: This whole debate on downloading music illegally and stealing it, I guess you will, has really just gone way too far. I mean, there's record companies suing kids. The kids are - you can illegally download my music, steal it if you will because I've done very [ bleep ] rich.

WYNTER: Tamara Conniff is editor in chief of "Billboard Magazine." She says the singer's point is that he'd rather his fans rip him off before record companies or iTunes. TAMARA CONNIFF, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "BILLBOARD MAGAZINE": Part of the reason why he did this is because his record company, I think, had come forward and said would you please do a statement for us against file-sharing. And he kind of turned around and said, no, actually, I'm going to do a statement against iTunes.

WYNTER: Mega acts such as Garth Brooks, AC/DC and the Beatles are also absent from the iTunes roster and some say tensions are building industry wide. Rock wouldn't speak with CNN but did sound off on his website.

KID ROCK: Let's level the playing field. Steal everything. I mean, if you need a new mp3 player or computer, do you know how much money Apple and Microsoft have? Go in there, get a new laptop, grab it and run.

WYNTER: Conniff sees the point of Kid Rock's sarcasm but also feels that it's only a matter of time until recording artists start asking for a piece of Apple's pie.

CONNIFF: Kids are buying downloads for at 99 cents and Apple is a $6.1 billion company and a lot of that is based on the fact that they make devices that carry music.


WYNTER: We did reach out to iTunes to get their take on things but they had no comment. John, Kiran.

ROBERTS: All right. Kareen Wynter for us this morning. Interesting little story there.

CHETRY: Man, we'll see how it pans out. Meanwhile, hooked on drugs, now facing serious health problems, Grammy-award winning singer Amy Winehouse, doctors reportedly telling her they have a dire warning if she continues to smoke crack. We're going to hear what her father is saying about his troubled daughter.

And it is a bloody spectacle to reel in the largest shark and it's drawing interest in fisherman and animal rights activists alike. You're watching the most news in the morning.


CHETRY: And welcome back. And we've been telling you this morning about singer Amy Winehouse. Well, her doctors say she has early stage emphysema, her father telling Britain's "Sunday Mirror" that her lungs are damaged from smoking cigarettes and crack cocaine. He also said the doctors told her if she goes back to smoking drugs, it won't just ruin her voice. It will kill her. Medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now. First of all, it seems like a no- brainer. If you're smoking crack, you have a chance of dying, a pretty good chance.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, actually, Kiran, as far as emphysema goes, I was just speaking with the chief medical officer at the American Lung Association, he says there's such a thing as crack lung but it really doesn't have to do with emphysema. He says crack will hurt your lungs in other ways but says the emphysema is really due to cigarette smoking and he says that a woman, a young person in their mid 20s who has signs of emphysema, what her doctors might mean is that it's showing up on CAT scans or MRIs. She doesn't necessarily feel the emphysema now but if she continues smoking then she might in the future feel it if she doesn't stop smoking.

CHETRY: All right. If she does stop smoking, stop doing drugs, can she reverse those effects? Can she reverse emphysema?

COHEN: I asked this pulmonologist that question and he said, no, you can't reverse it. You can't grow yourself a new lung but he says she can definitely stop how this disease is going on. In other words, she can stop the progression of the disease but she cannot reverse it.

CHETRY: So, it almost seems ironic that it's the cigarette smoking that could end up taking her life, not the heavy drug use that her family has, you know, has tried so hard to get her help for.

COHEN: Well, the heavy drug use, I'm sure, is hurting her in other ways but as far as emphysema goes, it's really the cigarettes that do the damage. Now, the crack can aggravate the emphysema but as far as causing the emphysema, that's the cigarettes.

CHETRY: All right. Elizabeth Cohen for us. Thank you.

COHEN: Thanks.

ROBERTS: 45 minutes after the hour. It is a bloody hunt with a big price as hundreds take to the water to reel in the biggest shark. We'll take you to the contest and the controversy that surrounds it.


CHETRY (voice-over): Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, driving green.


CHETRY: Local leaders who are pushing environmental policy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the top issue.

CHETRY: Roof top gardens, hybrids and the mayor who traded in his SUV.

You're watching the most news in the morning.


CHETRY: It's a contest on the high seas. More than 100 fishermen rush to reel in the largest shark. The contest, though, is also attracting the critics who say it's nothing more than a blood sport. Here's CNN's Jim Acosta.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a go! It's a go!

ACOSTA: More than 100 boats raced dozens of miles off the Long Island coastline, in pursuit of the ocean's greatest predator. For years, these shark tournaments have gone on with little fanfare, but not anymore. Mike Wasserman experienced the rush of reeling in top prize at this contest five years ago.

MIKE WASSERMAN, FISHERMAN: It's like getting that perfect hole-in- one.

ACOSTA: This year the event paid out $140,000 in cash pries. The anglers brought ashore 41 blue thresher and mako sharks and weighed in.


ACOSTA (on-camera): In shark tournaments size matters. If you want to see your fish hanging up there, it needs to be in the top five in terms of weight. If it doesn't make the cut, you get to watch your trophy get chopped into pieces. It's a bloody spectacle, much of it too graphic to show, which is why the Humane society of the United States considers this event a blood sport.

JONATHAN GRINDELL, ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Just ripping out of the waters, you know, and to kill them for nothing is not what we have in mind for a Saturday afternoon.

BILL HEATH, TOURNAMENT PRESIDENT: We don't look at this killing for fun.

ACOSTA: Tournament president Bill Heath points out the smaller sharks are tagged and released all part of a federally sanctioned event.

HEATH: Men are into the sport. I mean, they like pounding them on the chest whether it be golf, whether it be baseball, or football.

ACOSTA: Mixed in with the chest-pounding is some science. Federal marine biologists Nancy Koehler studies the sharks as they come in, height, weight and, yes, stomach contents.

NANCY KOEHLER: Do we ever see the diamond rings? Yes. Over the years, surprisingly, not as much, but, yes, we have gotten the garbage and the hamburger.

ACOSTA: Other scientists argue it's not worth the price saying some of these sharks are on the decline worldwide.


ACOSTA: On this day, it's a boat called "My Three Suds" that came up big. The crew landed a 414-pound thresher shark and bragging rights until next year. Jim Acosta, CNN, Freeport, New York.


ROBERTS: Wow, quite a competition.

It's nine minutes to the top of the hour. CNN hosted the first of its kind the youtube debate. Since then we've seen the myspace debates and now the twitter debate. Our Veronica de la Cruz joins us now to explain how candidates are going to participate.

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN INTERNET CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning to you. You remember we talked about twitter, what, six months ago,

ROBERTS: I can't even remember what we did last week.

DE LA CRUZ; Let's break this down. So this is how twitter works. is a microbloging website that allows you to send an instant message to your entire network so you can stay in constant communication. You can do this online using your computer, your cell phone, your mobile device. So, you send this message out into the world. Anyone who is on your network, who has signed up for your network receives these messages. So, representatives for both presidential candidates - they're all getting into the action and the messages. They're known as tweets. Limited to 140 characters. And here's the thing, John. These candidates are getting forced to keep their answers short and sweet. They get 140 characters max. Max.

So the debate is going to be moderated by blogger Ana Marie Cox. She founded the blog "Gawker." She writes for "Time Magazine's" blog, Swampland and sometimes she even uses twitter to write her own blog. This debate is happening because it's taking place in conjunction with a personal democracy forum, which is happening here in New York City for the next two days. And the forum is taking place to discuss how technology is changing politics. So, naturally, all the discussion in the debate will revolve around technology, policy, also government reform. And let's take a look at the page right now because I believe that those tweets are already starting to pour in. They started to pour in throughout the weekend. And the conversation is really going to heat up for the next two days that the forum is taking place. You can logon to That's going to show you all three discussions taking place at the same time.

ROBERTS: So who is answering these tweets?

DE LA CRUZ: Representatives for the candidates. So really the surrogates.

ROBERTS: Right. And are they answering every one or they're just choosing some, do you know?

DE LA CRUZ: As far as I know so far, what it looks like is they are answering all, like all the questions. They're also linking to the candidates' blogs, to the candidates' websites. So right now the conversation is a little bit sparse but it is expected to heat up in the next few days when this forum is happening in New York.

ROBERTS: Sounds like a great way to get some good information. Veronica, thanks so much.

CHETRY: And CNN NEWSROOM just minutes away. Heidi Collins is at the CNN Center with a look at what's ahead. Good morning, Heidi.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Oil issue number one in the NEWSROOM as well today. Crude price is rising even as the Saudis agree to pump more oil. Congress this morning taking a look at the role of speculators in the price run-up. So, we'll talk about that.

And wildfires, boy, burning today all across California's wine country. We'll have an update.

And just do it. Eat your pancakes, savor your sausage. Why a big breakfast might be the key to big weight loss. Believe it or not.

We're also going to be watching for critical Supreme Court decisions as the term winds down. We're in the NEWSROOM at the top of the hour on CNN. Kiran.

CHETRY: Heidi, thank you.

Well, smart car at City Hall. It's the D.C. mayor's not so subtle message to Capitol Hill to get serious about going green. How some local governments are leading by example. You're watching the most news in the morning.


ROBERTS: Four minutes to the top of the hour. Leading by example. Washington's mayor is ditching the SUV and driving around in a much smaller and more fuel efficient car these days.

CHETRY: And he's hoping it will get lawmakers on Capitol Hill to see him zipping around and maybe get serious about going green themselves. CNN's Kate Bolduan is here with more.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John and Kiran. Well, here in D.C. and across the country, there's a growing trend of local politicians taking on the environment, going green where they say the federal government won't. So we took a ride to learn more.



BOLDUAN (voice-over): It's politically hip to be green. Just look at D.C.'s mayor, Adrian Fenty. He recently traded in his road-hogging, gas-guzzling SUV for a much more compact and energy-efficient smart car. It's not only turning heads. It's also part of the mayor's environmental initiative for the district.

Is it now the environment is something that has to be a priority for a big city?

MAYOR ADRIAN FENTY (D), WASHINGTON: Absolutely. It is a top five issue in running a major city these days. Right up there with education and public safety and health care, affordable housing. It's a top issue.

BOLDUAN: Green policy is becoming a top priority for many big city mayors, from greening Chicago rooftops to hybrid taxis in New York and carbon-cutting building codes in Los Angeles. Analysts say from east to west, cities are setting the pace for national environmental standards. But the local impact can only go so far.

MARK MURO, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Because emissions flow across borders, flow across oceans, flow across forests, flow across the sea, you need vast jurisdictions to attack the problem that is going to require national action.

BOLDUAN: While cities wait for federal standards to catch up, local leaders like Mayor Fenty say they'll go it alone. Did you ever think you would be a green mayor?

FENTY: When I became a city council member, it wasn't national driving force, but it is now. Which just gives you such great hope and optimism because if the priority is really just being set now, imagine what it's going to be, say, in five or ten years.


BOLDUAN (on-camera): Now, with Mayor Fenty's trade, he went from 12 miles per gallon to about 33 miles per gallon. He does admit he get better gas mileage with a hybrid but said he just couldn't pass up how easy the smart car makes city parking. John, Kiran.

ROBERTS: It certainly does. And you know, walking around New York these days you see more and more smart cars. They're still turning heads. People (inaudible), what the heck is that?

CHETRY: I know, it looks like half the car got chopped up. I was just thinking of people, you know, in Congress, they actually couldn't have those cars. They couldn't fit the spending bills in the back. They'd have to take something else.

ROBERTS: Where would you put all the earmarks, right?

CHETRY: Exactly.

ROBERTS: I mean, more and more people are going to these alternatives because of the price of gas where it is, you know, filling up the SUV. I mean, you see them on the street, on the roads these days and they just look like so early 2000.

CHETRY: That's right. So 2000.

ROBERTS: Smaller cars, scooters, things like that, the wave of the future.

CHETRY: You need a Vespa.

ROBERTS: Definitely. That's going to wrap it up for us today. We'll see you again, bright and early tomorrow. Thanks so much for joining us on this AMERICAN MORNING. CHETRY: And CNN NEWSROOM with Heidi Collins starts right now.

COLLINS: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. Good morning, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins. Tony has the day off. See events come into the NEWSROOM live on Monday morning, June 23rd. Here's what's on the rundown.

The Saudis announce they'll pump more crude, but oil prices move higher anyway.

A small town mayor is sitting down with school leaders today. Did a group of high school girls get pregnant on purpose? New details.

And eat a big breakfast, lose weight. Go ahead, pile on the pancakes. In the NEWSROOM.