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American Morning

Obama Defends Patriotism; Firefighters say Fog Could Help Gain Ground in California Wildfires; Stocks Worst Since the Great Depression; Actors Sue PedEgg; NASA Says Mars Soil Good for Growing Veggies

Aired July 01, 2008 - 06:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: The politics of patriotism.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESUMPTIVE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I found for the first time my patriotism challenged.

ANNOUNCER: Barack Obama seriously defends his love for country and his opponent's sacrifice for it.

Those like John mccain, no further proof of such sacrifice is necessary.

ANNOUNCER: Plus, 1,500 wildfires burning an area twice the size of New York City. And water sources are running dry.



KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Glad you're with us on this first day of july, by the way.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Can you believe it?

CHETRY: Summer flying by, isn't it?

ROBERTS: It takes forever to get to june 21st and somebody puts their foot down on the accelerator. Make it last, please.

CHETRY: Exactly. Enjoy yourself.

ROBERTS: Oh, lots of news to tell you about this morning. We start with the "Most Politics in the Morning."

Barack Obama responding to attacks on his patriotism today. It's an issue that he has dealt with since the beginning of the primary season. We talked about his loyalty to the country including criticism for not always wearing a flag pin on his lapel.

Today he heads out to Iowa. It's day two of his tour across battleground states as he tries to reassure voters that he shares their love for America. Here's CNN's Candy Crowley with more on that. CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, it has been one of the most persistent and one of the hardest to deal with problems of the Obama campaign. Questions about his love of country.


CROWLEY (voice-over): Independence, Missouri, during 4th of July week is a pretty standard pick for politicians to show their patriotism. The unusual is that Barack Obama came to defend his.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I found for the first time my patriotism challenged. At times as a result of my own carelessness, more often as a result of a desire by some to score political points and raise fears and doubts about who I am and what I stand for.

CROWLEY: That carelessness included this. Obama, September of last year in Iowa.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the home of the brave.

CROWLEY: Listening to the Star Spangled Banner without his hand over his heart. A mistake he later acknowledged saying he was caught up in the song. And there was a clumsy answer to a question about why he didn't wear a flag pin. He wears one now given to him by a veteran.

But it all became fodder for repeatedly debunked e-mails claiming Obama refused to pledge allegiance to the flag, that he was un- American. It seeped into the grassroots. In April, a young woman asked how she could convince her father-in-law to vote for Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- influence by some of the stand about saluting the flag, that pin, you know, all of those things...

OBAMA: Right, right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... that I've heard. And I just wondered what you would say to him if he was here to show him where your heart is.

CROWLEY: Now that he is the presumptive Democratic nominee, Obama has a bigger stage to show where his heart is.

OBAMA: I remember my grandfather handing me his dog tags from his time in Patton's army, and understanding that his defense of his country marked one of his greatest sources of pride. That's my idea of America.

CROWLEY: He has a Web site designed to rebutt the still circulating e-mails. He has a biography ad airing in more than a dozen states talking about his American roots, and he is pushing back.

OBAMA: I will never question the patriotism of others in this campaign. And I will not stand idly by when I hear others question mine.


CROWLEY: The speech on patriotism was the beginning of a week in which Barack Obama will focus on values. Today's speech about another sensitive subject, faith -- Kiran and John.

ROBERTS: Candy Crowley for us reporting from Washington this morning. Candy, thanks.

And looking ahead, a big question for Barack Obama. How will he use former President Bill Clinton in the came pain?

The two buried the primary season hatchet in a 20-minute phone call yesterday. It's the first time they talked since Hillary Clinton pulled out of the race. Senator Obama asked Clinton to come out and campaign for him. The former president who said he is impressed by the presumptive nominee agreed to hit the trail on his behalf.

CHETRY: Meantime, Retired General Wesley Clark is standing by his controversial comments about John McCain's military career despite some negative reaction from both campaigns. Clark says that McCain displayed courage and commitment to his country but never handled major executive responsibility.

On Sunday, Clark said he didn't think "riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down over Vietnam is a qualification to become president." McCain called the comments unnecessary and a distraction from the real issues.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm proud of my record of service, and I have plenty of friends and leaders who will attest to that. But the important thing is that's the kind of campaign that Senator Obama and his surrogates and supporters want to engage, I understand that.


CHETRY: The Obama camp rejected Wesley Clark's statements, adding Barack Obama "honors and respects Senator McCain's military service.

A war record is no guarantee of election victory, especially in recent years. Here's an "AM EXTRA."

Back in 1992, George Herbert Walker Bush lost to Bill Clinton. Now Bush served in World War II. Clinton never served.

In 1996, Bob Dole, another World War II vet, also lost to Clinton. In 2000, Al Gore lost to George W. Bush. Gore served in Vietnam, which was in a Texas National Guard and never deployed overseas. In 2004, John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam vet, lost to Bush -- John.

ROBERTS: Five minutes after the hour. New this morning.

The FBI has been called in after a suspect accused of killing a Maryland police officer turned up dead in his jail cell. That death now ruled a homicide.

Medical examiners say 19-year-old Ronnie White died from asphyxiation and was most likely strangled. He had two broken bones in his neck. Top County officials say White was in the maximum security wing and only a handful of jail staffers and supervisors had access to him. White was arrested with another on Friday after police say he deliberately ran over an officer who tried to stop him.

In Texas, a man cleared for killing two men he suspected of burglarizing his next door neighbor's home. A grand jury failed to indict 61-year-old Joe Horn. The case received national attention last November after Horn's chilling 911 call was released.


OPERATOR: I don't want you going outside Mr. Horn.

JOE HORN: Well, here it goes, buddy. You hear the shotgun clicking and I'm going.

OPERATOR: Don't got outside.

JOE HORN: Move, you're dead. (Gunshots).


ROBERTS: Two men were shot in the back. Horn redialed 911 after the shooting saying he had no choice. They came in his yard and they threatened him.

FBI Director Robert Mueller taking the Supreme Court to task for its landmark ruling that Americans have a right to own guns for self- defense and hunting. Mueller said communities will now have to decide their own licensing programs. And the FBI chief told the group of campus law enforcement officials on Monday, the high court ruling could hurt crime fighting efforts on college campuses.

CHETRY: Homeowners in California are on edge this morning as wildfires burn across the northern part of the state. Nearly 1,500 fires started in June alone. Crews say they have to pick their battles and let other wildfires continue to burn.

Along the Pacific Coast firefighters say they're hoping that fog will help them gain ground on that big fire burning in Big Sur. More now from CNN's Dan Simon.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): California is burning. Nearly 1,500 wildfires broke out in June alone, mostly in the northern and central parts of the state. That means a lot of smoke in the air. It's blown hundreds of miles. For some, breathing has become downright difficult.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My chest is tightening up a lot and can feel -- I'm really fatigued and feeling like -- like my breathing is labored a little bit more.

SIMON: The air has improved as fire crews make progress. But officials worry about the remainder of the summer.

DIRK KEMPTHORNE, SECRETARY OF INTERIOR: The fire load is unprecedented that is here. The amount of fire for June is unprecedented. The type of lightning and ignition which you have been experiencing this month normally doesn't occur until August.

SIMON: Fire experts knew there was going to be trouble after the driest March and April in California since records started being kept in the 1920s. Authorities say nearly 420,000 acres have burned, approximately 10 times the size of Washington, D.C. Last summer's fires were among the worst in recent history, and this season, still early, has nearly matched that record.

DEL WALTERS, CAL. DEPT. OF FORESTRY AND FIRE: My hat's off to all the firefighters there on the ground. Dirty, hot, smoky, and it's going to be a long road for us.

SIMON: With so many wildfires burning at once, resources are stretched thin. President Bush designated the region a federal disaster area freeing up money and resources to help wage the battle. Governor Schwarzenegger says he is pleased with the federal response.

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: I feel like that they've learned when Katrina happened. That there's a better way of going. And we have seen it last year when we had the fires, see how quickly they responded and we've seen it this year. Each time they responded very quickly.

SIMON (on camera): Still fire commanders are forced to strategically choose which blazes to fight leaving some to burn for weeks or even months. Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.


ROBERTS: It's almost nine minutes after the hour. Stocks tumble in the month of June with the Dow seeing some of the biggest decline since the Great Depression. Is the down market a sign of more hard times ahead?

CHETRY: Plus, you've probably seen commercials for the PedEgg advertised on TV as the ultimate foot file. Perhaps an appetite killer too depending on what hour you're watching. Now, two actors in that commercial claim they were duped and have filed suit against the product's maker.

ROBERTS: And vegetables on Mars. Hear what scientists are saying after a stunning discovery on the Red Planet. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


ROBERTS: Good times and bad times. Unfortunately, the times these days are a little more bad than good. You know, Jon Stewart, a couple months ago, nicknamed Ali Velshi the hairless profit of doom. But somehow that seems so $100 a barrel. So I think we have to change the name. How about the ovoid oracle of the apocalypse.


CHETRY: Wow. You got an update Ali.


ROBERTS: How do you feel with oracle of the apocalypse?

VELSHI: Well, I can live up to that, let me tell you. I can live up to that today because things are not good in the stock market.

Let me tell you, the first half of the year is over. The second quarter, we are now in the second half of the year. We have had the worst June on the Dow since the Great Depression. It has been a loss of about 10 percent on the Dow, about nine percent on the Nasdaq and about almost nine percent on the S&P 500.

Your first half of the year, and this is relevant to you because you'll look at your 401K and your IRA, and you'll say, oh, well, it's not that bad compared to everybody else. The Dow is down 14.5 percent for the year, 13.5 percent for the Nasdaq, 13 percent for the S&P 500.

And by the way, we're just about in bear market territory. Why is that relevant? Well, a bear market means 20 percent from the high of the market which was set in October in this case. Why that's relevant is once you get into a bear market often, it continues to go down to about 30 percent and it lasts for a while.

We're not there yet. It's a very technical sort of thing, but if you hear that being said you'll know what that means. The other thing we're getting today, later on today, is a report for auto sales for June from the major car makers in the United States. We are expecting a decline from everybody except for Honda. We're expecting massive declines again for General Motors.

General Motors stock is now at a 54-year low, so we're following General Motors very closely. This may also be the day, we thought this before and it hasn't happened, this may be the day that Toyota overtakes General Motors as the number one auto maker in the United States in terms of U.S. sales. So lots to look at today in terms of the stock market and in terms of auto sales.

And the sad part about --

CHETRY: They shut down a mini van plant, right?

VELSHI: Chrysler, yes. Thank you.

Chrysler has shut down another mini van plant. They shut down another plant. In this case, it's a mini van plant. So, just things are not good for the U.S. auto industry. And car sales in the U.S. have been on the decline for some years. So lots to watch for today.

ROBERTS: Living up to your new nickname.

VELSHI: Yes, thank you all. I always want to --

ROBERTS: Ovoid oracle of the apocalypse.

VELSHI: I am. I'm ready.

ROBERTS: You're no longer the H pod. You're the ooa (ph).

VELSHI: Ooa (ph).

ROBERTS: Ooa (ph).

VELSHI: I have to keep that in mind. All right.

ROBERTS: Thanks.

VELSHI: I'll try to live up to it.

CHETRY: Well, this morning drivers in two states must now use a hands-free device when talking on their cell phone. But already many people are saying the law is outdated because there's lots of other things you can do that can cause a crash.

Plus, Rob Marciano watching extreme weather for us this morning. Hi, Rob. We're talking about that wildfire danger. A lot of -- a lot of wildfires in California today.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. California -- 45 fires, big fires burning in nine states. Not only California. Talking about California, some people will call it paradise.

Also Florida, on the East Coast, paradise to some, rough weather in both. Weather is next when AMERICAN MORNING comes right back.


CHETRY: Here's a shot this morning of the nation's capital; 55 degrees right now but it is going to go up into the 80s. That's just going to be a little muggy there this morning.

ROBERTS: It does tend to get a little humid from time to time.

CHETRY: It sure does. Though sometimes it's not as quite as comfortable in July as it is in April.

ROBERTS: Remnants -- remnants of the old, foggy bottom swamp there.

CHETRY: Well, it's 16 past the hour. Rob Marciano is in the weather center in Atlanta this morning. And what were they talking about? They were hoping that fog would come rolling through in places like Big Sur, California? Some help in the firefight there?

MARCIANO: Yes. Well, that fire is so close to the coastline it just get a little bit of marine push to get some fog in there and that certainly knocks down or at least knocks up the humidity which usually will knock down the fires. That's the best they can hope for.

Not a whole lot of rain in the forecast certainly south of Sacramento. But here in Santa Jose and towards Big Sur, you get a little bit of marine push and that certainly helps things.

As far as where the fires are right now, take a look at them. We got a bunch. I mentioned 45 big ones burning in nine different states with California certainly on fire the most. This is the Big Sur complex there where we've got 62 square miles that have burned in that particular fire alone. Only three percent containment.

Then you go up towards the I-80 corridor and through the Sierra Nevadas and this corridor between Sacramento and Reno peppered with not only flames but a lot of burn and smoke there. So air quality is a huge concern with this also and then Sacramento in through parts of Arizona.

Video in both spots mentioned California. This has been crazy as far as how early this has all started. The Big Sur fire first. Here's the video of it. Check it out.

Yes, it's burning bad there and three percent containment there. No rain in the forecast. But if they get that level of humidity to come up just a little bit they should be OK.

Arizona Crown King fire, there have been some voluntary evacuations there. About 120 people have been asked to leave their homes as that fire continues to burn. Neither one will see much in the way of rainfall.

Meanwhile, Florida has seen quite a bit of rainfall yesterday and today, some which had big time wind gusts. Some communities have wind gusts anywhere from 50 to 77 miles an hour. So some rough weather on the wet side in Florida. John and Kiran, back up to you.

ROBERTS: You know, they need to move that out west if that were ever possible.

MARCIANO: Yes, if it was that easy.

ROBERTS: If it were only that easy. Rob, thanks so much.

MARCIANO: All right.

ROBERTS: Barack Obama tries to take evangelical voters away from the Republican Party. Find out why Christians may split their vote this time around.

CHETRY: And two foot models are taking the makers of the PedEgg to court. And the company used "horror makeup during the commercial? Well, we'll talk about it.

You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ANNOUNCER: Bare us by ugly feet and sexy sandals. Are dry cracked feet ruining your stockings? Don't put sexy shoes on ugly feet. Now, treat your feet to a food makeover with PedEgg, the amazing new foot grooming miracle.


ROBERTS: Twenty-one minutes after the hour. No doubt you're thinking --

CHETRY: A foot grooming miracle.

ROBERTS: Exactly. Before I put on my sexy shoes I use it everyday. No doubt you've seen the commercial for the PedEgg. It's the so- called foot file that promises to smooth your feet to perfection.

CHETRY: Get a pedicure, people. Two of the actors featured in the commercial said that they were duped and now they're suing the maker.

AMERICAN MORNING's legal analyst Sunny Hostin is here with her PedEgg.

SUNNY HOSTIN, LEGAL ANALYST: That's my PedEgg. I borrowed a PedEgg.

CHETRY: This one came from our household. So cheers. We have a handy file of the bottom of this one.

HOSTIN: Well, they're really everywhere. I mean, this is -- it has a cult following in the newsroom. I mean I don't want to out my producer but she has one. Several people have them. People really -- some people love them, some people hate them. It's just everywhere.

CHETRY: So what's the deal with these -- the people in the commercial?

HOSTIN: They are saying that they were duped. They're saying that they got paid a couple hundred dollars to shoot this thing last year and that they thought it was just going to be an Internet infomercial and now it is everywhere. You walk into Bed, Bath and Beyond, it's there, and they just weren't compensated.

I really think and after speaking -- getting a statement from the plaintiff's attorney it's pretty clear it's about money. It's about compensation because this thing is big. And if you look at the statement that we got from the plaintiff's attorney he says, "For my clients, this case is primarily about appropriate compensation for the right to use their images in the PedEgg commercial. They were told not to worry that they would be contacted in the future to iron out the scope of usage, that is, how and where their images would be used."

ROBERTS: You know, a lot of these commercials that people appear in once, they get residuals for them for years on end and they make thousands and thousands of dollars.

HOSTIN: That's right. ROBERTS: But in looking at these documents here, there are some suggesting that there was initial verbal agreement and that maybe they signed something later. Do you know what happened there?

HOSTIN: Yes. And they're saying that it was just a verbal agreement there. Their agent called and told them about this great gig. They went and they did it. And then as they were leaving and the scope was expanding, they signed something. They don't know what it is, but they thought that it was a release.

And so, verbal contracts -- I knew verbal contracts --

ROBERTS: They don't know what it is?

HOSTIN: They don't know what it is. Verbal contracts though, John and Kiran, are binding in many, many states. But the problem is you've got to prove that it existed.

CHETRY: How do you prove it?

HOSTIN: The take away I think is get it in writing. Get everything, everything in writing.

CHETRY: And the other thing too is they were OK with it when it was just going to be on the Internet. But now that it's a huge sensation and it's all over the place, that's why they want more money.

HOSTIN: And you know, the interesting thing is I think there are two ways to look at that the Internet is everywhere. And so, just -- I almost think that the argument can be made that the scope, if you sign away your rights to Internet usage, that's even a little bit broader than commercial usage. So it's a case that we're going to be following. But I don't know if it has a lot of teeth, actually.

CHETRY: A lot of teeth.

HOSTIN: Of course.

CHETRY: Not to pop your balloon but get your feet pedicure ready for the summer.

HOSTIN: That's right. That's right.

ROBERTS: I don't know what's worse. Appearing in the PedEgg commercial or the one for irritable bowel syndrome?

HOSTIN: I don't know. I don't know.

CHETRY: PedEgg is not suing yet.

HOSTIN: The PedEgg, again, it has a cult following and it's really, really big. And after covering the story, I don't know. I think I might get one.

ROBERTS: All right, Sunny. Well, you've got one in your hand.

HOSTIN: Yes, have fun.

ROBERTS: Take it.

HOSTIN: Thank you.

CHETRY: Thank you, Sunny.

ROBERTS: Thanks.

CHETRY: Well, some amazing discoveries in outer space. The possibility that vegetables can grow on Mars. We're taking you to the Red Planet and talking to an expert about what some of these new discoveries on the Red Planet really mean.

ROBERTS: Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, leap of faith.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a very sizable percentage who are very open to somebody with a new vision.


ROBERTS: Meet the people out to convince evangelicals to vote Obama. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


CHETRY: There have been some amazing discoveries from NASA's Mars Phoenix Lander. Now we're asking, how would you feel about eating asparagus that was grown on Mars? NASA scientists say that soil they collected from the Lander is full of plant nutrients similar to what you might find in the dirt in your garden.

So what could it tell us about possible life on Mars? Well, joining us now, Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer and planetarium program director at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Thanks so much for being with us this morning, Derrick.


CHETRY: And maybe you could sort it out for us. How significant is it? It sounds like a pretty amazing discovery when they say there's similar properties and nutrients in soil found on Mars that possibly can mean that, you know, it would be the same stuff that we would grow our vegetables in.

PITTS: Well, here's the real story with this, Kiran. When they talk about these minerals being found in the soil, it's easier for people to understand if you say that these minerals are very similar to what we find here on earth and that they might be able to provide the nutrients necessary for vegetable growth. That makes it much easier to understand.

What's really being said here, though, is that they're conveying that they have confirmation of the earth-like characteristics of the rocks on Mars. This is just an easier way to do that. It's not that they're saying that we could take Martian soil and put vegetable seeds into it and have vegetables grow out of it, but they're pointing out the similarity between the soils on Mars and the soils on Earth.

CHETRY: All right. So when they do -- because that really was the headline -- you know, asparagus, because asparagus is a plant that likes this alkaline. You know, highly alkaline soil. If you brought that down here and planted asparagus seeds, you would not get asparagus?

PITTS: No, you would not. Because you look at the difference, the rest of the differences between the soil on Earth and the soil on Mars, you find, of course, that the soil on Earth is rich with humus, decayed, organic minerals of a wide variety that helps to provide food for plants. So you need a lot more than just a few they described. But it's really fabulous to find out that those are there.

CHETRY: Also, we were hearing that the Martian soil resembles that of some places in Antarctica, for example. And so, the question would be then, are there life forms on our own planet that we might be able to look for as clues to life on Mars?

PITTS: We certainly can look for various life forms here on Earth that would work as clues. And the reason why is because here on Earth we have an incredibly wide variety of environments where we find life. For example, in Antarctica, there are rocks inside of which there are microbes living off of the minerals they derive from the rocks.

And so, when you look at situations like that as well as the life that we find, you know, very far down at the ocean floor, 36,000 feet down, we find that this wide variety of environments gives us a great possibility for the kinds of environments on Mars where we might think there could be a slim possibility of perhaps, maybe, finding something that looks like life.

CHETRY: What can we apply? I mean, climate change, a huge issue. Concerns about global warming. Is there anything that we're learning from the Mars Lander about what their environment was like years ago and what it's like now that we can apply to our, you know, modern day questions about how we deal with our own climate change?

PITTS: Yes. That's quite true. We can do that. We can look at the environment of two planets, really. Mars is a planet that is very, very cold and very, very dry. It's an example of a place where there's very little atmosphere. And so when we look at this, we can look at the atmosphere and we can look at the climate, and maybe learn more about our atmosphere and climate because ours is so much more complex than Mars is.

So, it gives us maybe -- sort of a clearer tablet to look at for how an environment like ours might develop. And then if we look at Venus, we really find out what a greenhouse environment looks like. So between the two, we have the two extremes. Very cold, very thin atmosphere and Venus very hot, very thick atmosphere. CHETRY: It's all certainly fascinating as we learn more and more about the planet and our solar system. Derrick Pitts, Chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute. Thanks for being with us this morning.

PITTS: My pleasure, Kiran. Thank you.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: We just crossed the half hour. Some of the top stories that we're following for you this July the 1st. Health officials now say they may have mistakenly blamed tomatoes as the cause of a recent Salmonella outbreak.

Investigator say many consumers have been avoiding tomatoes, but the number of reported cases has continued to grow. They still have not identified the source of the infection but they now suspect jalapeno peppers, Cilantro or some other food commonly found in Mexican restaurants. So far, more than 850 people have gotten sick.

Meanwhile, the devastating flooding in the Midwest will not push food prices up as much as previously feared. The government says corn harvests will only be down by close to nine percent this year. That number was expected to be far higher but you see farmers planted more corn because of the demand from ethanol production and they say the extra corn that was planted will soften the blow.

No regrets from retired Army General Wesley Clark concerning his controversial remarks about John McCain's military experience. The Obama supporter says McCain displayed courage and commitment to his country but didn't have to make war or peace decisions. And Clark said on Sunday, he didn't think that riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down over Vietnam was a qualification to become president.

McCain fired back saying, this is not the first time something like this has happened.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I know that many -- that General Clark is not an isolated incident. But I have no way of knowing how much involvement Senator Obama has in that issue. I know he has mischaracterized some of my statements in the past, including our involvement in Iraq. But I'll let the American people decide about that.


ROBERTS: The Obama camp rejected Wesley Clark's statements adding that Barack Obama, quote, "Honors and respects Senator McCain's military service."

Barack Obama is talking about faith and religion today. He's trying to connect with evangelicals and mobilize what some are calling the Christian left. The group accounts for an estimated one quarter of the voting population. CNN's Jim Acosta has got a closer look for us. JIM ACOSTA, CNN GENERAL ASSIGNMENT CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, the conventional wisdom used to be that the Democrats all but needed divine intervention to attract the evangelical vote. To win the White House, the Obama campaign seems to understand that has to change.


ACOSTA (voice-over): After 24 years in the pulpit, former Pastor Brian McCleran (ph) plays guitar, writes books, travels the world -- that's him in Burundi -- and now he serves as an informal adviser to Barack Obama's campaign. His mission, to convince evangelical voters to take a new leap of faith.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there is a very sizable percentage. I think between a third and half of evangelicals, especially younger, who are very open to somebody with a new vision.

ACOSTA: A vision McCleran (ph) says isn't just focused on traditional social issues like abortion and gay marriage. These are evangelicals who'd also like to see an end to global warming and the war in Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've watched the evangelical community be led -- be misled by the Republican Party to support things that they really shouldn't have supported. So --

ACOSTA: Such as?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the blind support for the Iraq war when it was -- when it was launched on either mistaken or false pretenses.

JAMES DOBSON, CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVE LEADER: So it seems that he is vastly confused.

ACOSTA: And when Christian conservative James Dobson accused the Illinois senator of twisting the bible, Obama's evangelical supporters took umbrage. The Web site James Dobson doesn't speak for me was created by Texas Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell who officiated at the wedding of first daughter Jenna Bush.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The evangelical community seems to be sitting on the fence to a certain degree.

ACOSTA: Georgetown professor (INAUDIBLE) says that gives Obama an opportunity.

JEREMIAH WRIGHT, TRINITY UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST: So many folks are hating on Barack Obama.

ACOSTA: Despite the senator's pastor disasters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Senator Obama can get between 30 percent to 33 percent in those crucial swing states, he's absolutely golden.

ACOSTA: Not all evangelicals are convinced.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When does life begin? ACOSTA: The president of the Family Research Council posted this Web video challenging Obama's position on abortion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Talking about faith issues, it's not about singing Kumbaya. It's about the public policies that the person is going to put in place.


ACOSTA: This year, Christian conservatives don't have George W. Bush to get those value voters from the pews to the polls. It's a voting block many on the religious left and, yes, even the right, see as up for grabs.

John and Kiran?

CHETRY: Jim Acosta, thanks.

Also new this morning, police in Portugal reportedly dropping their investigation into the disappearance of littler Madeleine McCann. The British girl went missing while on a family vacation last year just days before her 4th birthday. Two newspapers are reporting that prosecutors will call off their search in the next two weeks.

Her parents, Kate and Jerry McCann launch an international campaign to find their daughter after authorities named them formal suspects. And they say that search will continue.

The federal government is trying to crack down on Americans suspected of evading taxes through secret offshore accounts. In a rare move, the Justice Department has asked the Federal Court to force Swiss bank UBS to hand over the names of its wealthy clients. The move comes after a former UBS employee suggested the bank holds an estimated $20 billion in, quote, "undeclared accounts."

And Britain's Prince Charles beating rising fuel costs by running his vintage car with surplus supplies of vintage wine. His Aston Martin DB6 gets about 3-1/2 bottles of wine per mile. I don't know what's more painful, paying more at the pump or dumping perfectly good wine down your gas tanks. Well, the prince's Jaguar, Audi, and Range Rover already run on used cooking oil.

ROBERTS: Who ever thought we'd be using chateau de (INAUDIBLE) to run our Aston Martin.

Well, 36 minutes after the hour. A few minutes ago, Sunny Hostin was with us telling us about this lawsuit that has been filed against the makers of PedEgg by a couple of people who appeared in the commercial. They said that they weren't informed that the commercial was going to run broadly.

They claim that they were just told that it was going to be on the Internet. We neglected and we should have given the company side of the story. So Sunny Hostin is back to do that for us this morning.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Thanks, John. Yes, with all the fun I was having, I forgot to say this. We did get a statement from PedEgg. And they said this. "At this time, our company has not been served. We believe that the lawsuit as described has no merit. And we will vigorously defend any claims made against our company." That's the statement from PedEgg.

ROBERTS: All right.

CHETRY: Meanwhile, they got some free advertising out of the whole thing. So they can't be that upset.

ROBERTS: There you go. Well, we'll keep following. Sunny, thanks so much for that.

HOSTIN: Thank you.

ROBERTS: New road rules this morning. If you're in the car in California, drop the phone. No more talking and driving. You can still use your cell phone to text, though. So is the law already outdated? We're hitting the streets to find out.





CHETRY: They might be friendly now, but Jeanne Moos investigates. Did Bill Clinton once tell Obama to --


MOSS: Kiss my (bleep).


CHETRY: You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


MOSS: Who bleeped me?



ROBERTS: This morning drivers in California must use a hands-free device if they want to drive and talk on their cell phone. The state says the law will save nearly 300 lives a year. But critics warn it does not go far enough.

CNN's Chris Lawrence tells us why.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, a recent study found that 18 percent of cell phone users text and drive. And that's the one part of this law that's either not included are very hard to enforce.


LAWRENCE (voice-over): Technology is already outrunning California's new hands-free law. It forces adult drivers to put down their cell phones when talking, but doesn't stop them from texting. When the bill was first proposed seven years ago, texting wasn't all that popular.

NICOLETTE WHITTEN, CALIFORNIA DRIVER: People now text more than they talk, I think, younger people. My sister is a big texter, so she won't buy hands-free. She'll text people instead, which is worse.

LAWRENCE: Anyone under 18 years old is banned from talking or texting, like in this YouTube video. North Carolina passed a similar law two years ago. But a recent study found it did not stop teenagers from texting. Even police admit it will be hard to enforce in California.

WHITTEN: I don't know how they would be able to catch you. Like, make a law saying you can't text on the phone. Because, you know, you can't really see if somebody's doing that.

LAWRENCE: It's a $20-fine for a first offense, $50 for a second. But a driver who ignores the law and causes an accident could face huge civil judgments or even jail. But some critics say it's not enough.

STEVEN BLOCH, AAA RESEARCHER: Well, hands-free is not risk-free.

LAWRENCE: Sociologist Steven Bloch monitors driving habits for AAA. He says just talking causes inattention blindness, where drivers focus straight ahead.

BLOCH: Well, it cuts down on peripheral vision tremendously. People simply can't see to the side.

LAWRENCE: The CHP says cell phones were a factor in nearly 600 injury crises two years ago. The state expects the hands-free law to save lives. But some are wondering how far the government will go to legislate good behavior.

TOM OWEN, CALIFORNIA DRIVER: What's next, my hot coffee? Can I drink my coffee in my car? Am I going to be able to do that? Maybe not.


LAWRENCE: But that's the thing. You still can. Put on your makeup, flip through the play list on the iPod. The new law doesn't specifically ban any of it, even reading the paper.

Now, some of this is vaguely covered by negligence laws. But, like texting, it's not inherently illegal.

John, Kiran?

ROBERTS: Chris Lawrence with that story this morning. And here's more on cell phone bans in an "AM Extra." Six states outlawed driving without using a hands-free device for your cell phone. Six more allow cities and towns to pass their own bans. In eight states, cities and towns cannot ban cell phones and driving.

As for texting, just Washington State, New Jersey and the District of Columbia currently ban it for all drivers. Alaska and Minnesota are going to join them later on this year.

And coming up in the next half hour, just for fun, we're going to tell you some of the craziest laws that are still on the books in America.

CHETRY: And still ahead, Democratic ice breaker. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama talk for the first time since Hillary dropped out of the race. So, will the former President go big on the campaign trail? Or, will he be kept in the background?

Clinton insider James Carville joins us live this morning. You're watching the "Most Politics in the Morning."


CHETRY: 15 minutes to the top of the hour. We have Rob Marciano in the Weather Center in Atlanta following for us the fire danger. A lot of these fires out west sparked by lightning. And there's some concern that could be the case again today.

Hey, Rob.


ROBERTS: Rob, thanks so much. We'll see you again soon.

Military experience and patriotism. Barack Obama and John McCain defend themselves on the campaign trail.



MOOS: Kiss my (bleep).


CHETRY: They might be friendly now, but Jeanne Moos investigates. Did Bill Clinton once tell Obama to --


MOSS: Kiss my (bleep).


CHETRY: You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


MOSS: Who bleeped me?



ROBERTS: Well, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have kissed and made up, but what about Barack Obama and the former president?

CHETRY: Is Bill Clinton so bitter that he wants Obama to kiss the other cheek? Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOSS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There's a lot of kissing in politics. Barack kisses Michelle. Bill kisses Hillary. And lately Hillary and Barack kiss and make up. But this was the kind of kissing that ricocheted around the Web. It's what Bill Clinton supposedly said Barack Obama would have to do to get Clinton's support. Some struggled with how to phrase it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's going to have to kiss my -- and I can't read --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Believe me it's a little north of Greece.

MOSS: The story surfaced before Monday's chummy phone call between Bill and Barack. It was reported by a British paper, "The Telegraph."

(on camera): But as is the case of some of the very best quotes, we don't really know if Bill Clinton even actually said this.

(voice-over): His office wouldn't comment. It's the kind of taunt that brings down the house if, for instance, a firefighter says it about America's arch enemy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Osama Bin Laden, you can kiss my royal Irish (bleep).

MOSS: Now, Bill Clinton's posterior isn't Irish, but it could be considered royal or at least presidential. Even as the online debate raged, "Will Barack pucker up?" The quote itself was still in question.

(on camera): So try to follow me here. This is an unidentified source quoting Bill Clinton as saying to friends, Senator Obama could kiss my (BLEEP). Who bleeped me?

(voice-over): We've heard Bill Clinton's earthy side before when he didn't realize he was being recorded after an interview about racial issues with radio station, WHYY. "I don't think I should take any (BLEEP) from anybody about that, do you?"

And if Bill did say kiss my (BLEEP) to Barack, maybe what he really meant was kiss my Democratic donkey. Bill and Barack aren't exactly buddies. We had to look long and hard to find a shot like this. But on Monday they had a phone conversation that the Obama camp called terrific and the Clinton camp called good.

Barack described Bill as a great leader, one of our most brilliant minds. Does that count as kissing up? Take it from Tyra Banks who delivered the same phrase with gusto when she herself was mocked for looking large in a swimsuit.


MOSS: Hey, she'd have them standing in line to take her up on that offer. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CHETRY: Breaking the ice. Barack Obama phones Bill Clinton. CNN has inside info on the call that could keep a party together.



OPERATOR: You're going to get yourself shot if you go outside that house with a gun.

JOE HORN: You want to make a bet? I'm going to kill them.


CHETRY: A grand jury clears a man who kills two burglars with 911 on the line.


JOE HORN: Move, you're dead.


CHETRY: You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


CHETRY: Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning." In your "Political Ticker" this Tuesday, Mitt Romney reportedly the top prospect on John McCain's vice presidential list. The Politico reports Romney looked strong because of his ability to raise lots of money through his business contacts. He also says McCain's waiting for Obama to make his choice first.

And Barack Obama taking a slight swipe at In a speech stressing patriotism, he criticized the liberal group's newspaper ad referring to General David Petraeus as General Betray Us last year. Moveon is not responding to Obama's comments. Obama did not vote for the Senate resolution denouncing the ad.

The National Rifle Organization Association is reportedly ready to hammer Barack Obama. The Politico says the NRA plans to spend $40 million this election year. $15 million of that will go directly to portraying Obama as a threat to Second Amendment rights.

After the Supreme Court's D.C. handgun ban reversal, Obama said he believes the Second Amendment protects a person's right to bear arms but also identifies with the need for crime ravaged communities to save their children from violence.

And for more up-to-the-minute political news, head to

ROBERTS: 56 minutes after the hour. Bruised feelings and likely a bruised ego as well. But now, so it seems with unity comes a little bit of healing. We've learned that Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton spoke by telephone for the first time since Hillary Clinton dropped out of her presidential campaign.

Joining me from Washington for a conversation about that conversation is former adviser to President Clinton, CNN political contributor James Carville.

James, good to see you this morning. Thanks for coming in.


ROBERTS: Hey, I'll get to the phone call in just a second. But first, I want to ask you about Wesley Clark, because later last evening, he made some more news not backing down off of his statements where he said that on Sunday that he doesn't believe that getting shot down in a fighter jet qualifies John McCain to be president.

He further said last evening, quote, "As an American and former military officer, I will not back down if I believe someone doesn't have sound judgment when it comes to our nation's most critical issues. He said that after Senator Obama rejected his earlier comments."

What's going on?

CARVILLE: Who writes for General Clark? Who writes for General Clark? What he said was totally appropriate. He said it in response to a question. I think the media has been unbelievably irresponsible in this. And any time that it's recorded as to what General Clark said, it should be noted that Bob Schieffer was asking about this.

I have a dear, dear friend of mine at Navy, (INAUDIBLE), one of the most famous navy pilots ever. But I doubt that Haiti (ph) would say the fact that I was a fighter pilot makes me qualified to be president. He certainly is a hero. He certainly served his country with honor.

But just the whole thing with General Clark said was totally appropriate. General Clark shouldn't back down. I don't know why Senator Obama wanted General Clark to apologize, but I certainly don't think any apology with General Clark is called for. And I'm delighted that he issues that statement. ROBERTS: Now, General Clark is definitely his own man. He was in charge of the air war in Kosovo. He ran for president a few years back.

CARVILLE: Yes. 30 different medals -- a Purple Heart, a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster. Yes, sir, he is his own man.

ROBERTS: But the bottom line, politically, James, is that he's supporting Barack Obama here. Barack Obama rejected his comments and then he came back out and he said this. Is he hurting Barack Obama by insisting this?

CARVILLE: I don't know if he's hurting Barack Obama. But what he's doing is he's helping the truth. And when the media does not report the truth, the media does not report the context in which these remarks were made, and that they were in response to something, maybe what I want to really believe is maybe Senator Obama's staff didn't tell them exactly how General Clark's remarks were done.

Because what General Clark said was an appropriate comment for him to make. It was an observation that's totally legitimate. I'm delighted that General Clark did not back down.

ROBERTS: Let me ask you about this phone call. It was a long time in coming, but they finally got together yesterday, talked apparently for about 20 minutes. Barack Obama's campaign said it was excellent phone call. Bill Clinton's people said it was a good phone call.

What's the upshot of all of this, James?

CARVILLE: The upshot of all of this is as I've said all along that President Clinton is going to be out. He's going to be campaigning for Senator Obama. I think they are two very, very charming and talented men. I'm obviously much closer to President Clinton than Senator Obama. But I think he's going to be very helpful.

I think they're going to have to, you know, deal with how the best way to helping this is. And I think it's going to be just fine, you know. And I've always said there's some feelings, some bruised feelings, from this. This was a long, hard, tough campaign but I think we're starting to see the necessary healing take place and I think it's going to be fine in the end.

ROBERTS: So when both campaigns say -- oh, no, there's no hard feelings. They're glossing over it a bit.

CARVILLE: I wouldn't say glossing over it. But I think that bruised feeling. I'd rather call them bruised feelings than hard feelings. But I think that the bruises are starting to dissipate and I think the healing process is there. And I think they're going to be just fine.

And I think that in the end, President Clinton and Senator Obama are going to find that they have a lot in common and they'll get along -- they'll get along just fine.

ROBERTS: All right. Well, we'll keep watching it.


ROBERTS: We'll see how much he uses him. James Carville, thanks for being with us this morning. Always great to see you.

CARVILLE: Always. Thank you.