Return to Transcripts main page

American Morning

Tropical Storm Dolly Intensifies; Obama Meets with Iraqi Foreign Leaders; Banks Hit by Housing Crisis; "The New York Times" Rejects McCain's Op-Ed; Indecency Penalty Rejected by Judges; A Look at Political Humor; Michael Savage Blames Most Autism Cases on Bad Parenting

Aired July 22, 2008 - 06:00   ET


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Eye to eye. Barack Obama meets Iraq's prime minister.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've had a wonderful visit so far.


CHETRY: The two agree on a timetable, putting the White House and John McCain on defense.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's based on conditions on the ground.


CHETRY: The candidate's next stop in the Middle East, live this morning.

And, a radio guy's rant against autistic kids.


MICHAEL SAVAGE, RADIO HOST, "THE SAVAGE NATION": It's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out.


CHETRY: Today parents stick up for their defenseless children.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like a punch in the gut. It's heartbreaking.



And welcome. Glad you're with us today. It is July 22nd, a Tuesday.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Good to see you.

CHETRY: Good to see you, too. Are we going to see Dolly? That's the big question.

ROBERTS: It is the big question. We begin with breaking news this morning.

Tropical Storm Dolly getting stronger, heading toward the Texas coast. Hurricane warnings issued up and down the coast in Texas and Mexico, even though it's still only a tropical storm. Dolly expected to hit land tomorrow with increased strength; 1,200 National Guard troops have been activated. And Shell Oil said it was evacuating workers from oil rigs in the western Gulf of Mexico.

The man known as the butcher of Bosnia facing extradition to the Hague this morning. Former Bosnian Serb president, Radovan Karadzic, is accused of genocide, overseeing the killing of an estimated 1,000 Croats and Muslims, including 8,000 in 1995, Europe's worst massacre since World War II. Karadzic was the United Nation's top war crime fugitive, spending 13 years on the run before being arrested yesterday in Belgrade.

The former psychiatrist reportedly kept himself out of sight by posing as a private doctor in the Serbian capital. Officials showed this picture about a half an hour ago showing him in a long beard and glasses. His traditional mop of gray hair now shaved short.

A possible break in the nationwide salmonella outbreak. The FDA says jalapeno pepper grown in Mexico and processed in Texas tested positive for the strain of salmonella that has killed two people and sickened more than 1,200 since April.

The agency says it's not clear if the pepper was contaminated on the farm where it was grown or at a distribution center. The finding comes just days after the agency looked at a ban on eating fresh tomatoes, the original suspect in the outbreak.

CHETRY: And back to our breaking news now. Tropical Storm Dolly getting stronger this morning and it could be a hurricane by tomorrow when it reaches the Texas coast. We go now to Jacqui Jeras. She is tracking Dolly for us. And we just got another update, right, Jacqui, on exactly where this track is?

JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, about an hour ago. We've seen quite a bit of strengthening, actually, in the last 12 hours or so. We've got winds now up to 60 miles per hour. It's just under 300 miles away from land right now and additional strengthening can be expected as we head throughout the day today. In fact, it's very possible we'll have a hurricane before the day is done.

So hurricane warnings now have been posted along the Texas coast from Port O'Connor on southward and then tropical storm warnings on up toward the San Luis Pass. So that means these conditions are expected within 24 hours. You know, the cloud chill of this thing really takes up the entire Gulf of Mexico. There you can see the showers and thunderstorms trying to make their way towards the coast. They will become more numerous as we head throughout the day today.

Now, the storm has been jogging to the west recently. But we do think it's going to start to take a turn west northwesterly and make its way up towards the U.S./Mexican border. And we do think that we could see land fall sometime tomorrow.

All right. Here's the big impact. Here's what you need to know about Dolly and Texas. Hurricane force wind gusts can be expected as early as the overnight hours tonight. That means winds of 74 plus miles per hour.

Heavy rainfall anticipated between four and eight inches with urban flooding very likely. A storm surge four to six feet above normal tide and tornadoes and water spouts can also be expected as the storm makes land fall -- Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. You'll be watching it for us throughout the morning. We'll check in with you throughout. Thanks.

ROBERTS: Turning now to the "Most Politics in the Morning." Senator Barack Obama set to arrive in Amman, Jordan in just about two hour's time. Yesterday he met with the top U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Al- Maliki told Obama that he would like to see American troops leave within two years.

CNN's Candy Crowley is making the trip with the senator and she joins us now live from Amman, Jordan. Good morning to you, Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. You're right. We are expecting Barack Obama here in Jordan within the next couple of hours. But first he made one last trip in Iraq. He went to Anbar, the Sunni province which used to be one of the most violent provinces in Iraq. It is now one of the safest largely because Sunni tribal leaders turned against al-Qaeda there.

So now, quite calm. Barack Obama there for a visit. Right before he comes here on a trip, his campaign says it's all about substantive discussions which others see as a political trip.


CROWLEY (voice-over): Barack Obama is 6,200 miles from the nearest U.S. campaign trail. But as he steps into the international arena, the imagery sent back home is all American, commander in chief like. A helicopter tour of Iraq with David Petraeus, the general in charge of multinational forces. A chow down with the troops in Afghanistan. Basketball with U.S. forces in Kuwait.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, how's the trip?


CROWLEY: But if there is anything better in politics than imagery, it is timing. And Barack Obama has it.

OBAMA: Thank you so much for having me.

CROWLEY: Politics and on the ground developments dovetailed in Afghanistan where Obama visited with President Hamid Karzai and U.S. troops. The trip comes amidst a resurgence of al-Qaeda and an increase in attacks on coalition troops there. It lends weight to Obama's argument that the war in Iraq has distracted the U.S. from the real war on terror in Afghanistan.

OBAMA: We've got to have a clear, strategic vision that uses all of our power, our economic power, our diplomatic power, our intellectual power, as well as our military power to help make this world safer.

CROWLEY: This trip could help bolster Obama's foreign policy credentials, though he told CBS he sees it more like laying the ground work for his presidency.

OBAMA: The objective of this trip was to have substantive discussions with people like President Karzai or Prime Minister Maliki, or President Sarkozy or others, who I expect to be dealing with over the next eight to 10 years.

CROWLEY: Iraq ends Obama's Pentagon-sponsored portion of his trip. From there on out to Jordan, Israel, France, Germany and England, it's a campaign-paid journey aboard the Obama campaign plane. His campaign insists this is not a campaign trip. It is an opportunity to discuss substantive issues with world leaders.


CROWLEY: And, of course, some of those substantive issues to be discussed here in Jordan with King Abdullah, John. They will, of course, be talking about how the U.S. can further the U.S. Palestinian peace process. And, of course, other things we expect also to hear from Senator Obama at a news conference -- John.

ROBERTS: And having dinner together tonight as well. Candy Crowley for us in Amman, Jordan. Candy, thanks so much.

CHETRY: While Barack Obama is getting headlines with his trip to Iraq, John McCain continues to say that Obama has been wrong on Iraq and wrong for opposing the troop increase.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Obama said it wouldn't work. He opposed it. He said it would fail, and he refuses to this day to acknowledge that it succeeded.

My friends, that's what judgment is all about. That's why I'm qualified to lead and I don't need any on-the-job training. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: McCain made the comments at a military museum in Maine. He'll be campaigning in New Hampshire as well today.

Also, "The New York Times" defending its decision not to publish John McCain's op-ed on the war in Iraq, saying it wants the Republican candidate to add specifics on troops and timetables. McCain says that he won't change his views to please the paper. His op-ed is a rebuttal to the one Barack Obama wrote on July 14th.

"The Times" says that standard procedure on its op-ed page to go back and forth with an author and it looks forward to publishing McCain's views as it has several times in the past. We're going to have a little bit more on the story coming up later in the hour.

The nation's troubled banks facing more bad earnings. So should depositors be worried? Personal finance editor Gerri Willis tells us how to keep your money safe.

ROBERTS: Shock jock.


MICHAEL SAVAGE, RADIO HOST: You know what autism is? I'll tell you what autism is in 99 percent of the cases. It's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out.


ROBERTS: The low blow from a radio host that has parents hitting back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like a punch in the gut. It's heartbreaking.


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



WHOOPI GOLDBERG, HOST, "THE VIEW": The mortgage mess has people losing homes. The economy stinks, and even banks are going out of business. So it's more important than ever to keep your money safe and we're finding out how from the anchor of CNN's "ISSUE NUMBER ONE", the fabulous Gerri Willis.


ROBERTS: The fabulous Gerri Willis yesterday on "The View."


CHETRY: Congratulations. Did you have some fun?

WILLIS: Thank you. They're terrific folks and really interested in money topics.

ROBERTS: And you didn't even argue with Elisabeth.

WILLIS: I didn't argue with -- well, we were talking about money. We weren't talking about politics.

CHETRY: Poor Elisabeth.

ROBERTS: You're talking about Wachovia Bank this morning...

WILLIS: Oh, great.

ROBERTS: ... and earnings coming out and things not looking very good.

WILLIS: You know, the banking crisis continues. Secretary Henry Paulson talked about it this weekend. More banks are going to close. I don't think it's going to be Wachovia. But listen to these earnings.

Revenue down four percent. That's the expectation for the second quarter. Earnings down 164 percent. And as you know, we were just talking last week there's an investigation of their role in the auction rate security scandal. You name it, these companies are having problems.

Just last night, Wachovia announced that they are getting out of the wholesale mortgage lending business. This means if you go to a broker, you're not going to get a Wachovia loan. They're getting out of it entirely because, as you know, the mortgage meltdown has been such a crisis.

But I'm telling you, we're going to keep an eye on these banks because it is a critical issue. The expectation that more banks out there, probably small and regional banks will fail.

ROBERTS: Look, Wachovia really had a lot of management problems. Have they solved all of those?

WILLIS: Well, they got a new CEO in place. You know, there was a long period of time where they were trying to get the right fellow in place. But I'm going to tell you the stock is at a 17-year low. The whole sector is reeling. Wachovia is just one of them.

ROBERTS: All right. Gerri, thanks so much for that.

WILLIS: My pleasure.

CHETRY: Good to see, Gerri.

Well, "The New York Times" rejecting Senator John McCain's op-ed. Is it a sign of media bias against the Republican candidate? We're examining the coverage of the candidates still ahead.

ROBERTS: And Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl that started the crackdown on indecency on television. But a new court ruling could change all of that. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


CHETRY: Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning." It is 6:14 here in New York. Let's fast forward to some of the stories making headlines later today.

Barack Obama expected to arrive in Amman, Jordan, at about 8:00 Eastern time this morning. He'll meet with King Abdullah and also hold a press conference at about 10:00 a.m. before heading on to Israel.

Billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens will tell a Senate committee why drilling for more oil is not the answer to the country's energy problems. Pickens is investing billions in wind power and also wants to use natural gas to power cars.

Also a grand jury in El Dorado, Texas, will be meeting today to consider issuing indictments against members of a fundamentalist church. The state has accused the sect of forcing underage girls into sexual relationships and "spiritual marriages with older men." More than 400 children were taken into state custody back in April and then returned to their families -- John.

ROBERTS: It's coming up now at 15 minutes after the hour. Is there a bias against Senator John McCain in the media? The Republican candidate getting a lot of attention this morning after the "New York Times" rejected an op-ed piece for the senator.

CNN's Randi Kaye takes a look at how both candidates are being covered.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A nearly 900-word op-ed by Senator John McCain for "The New York Times" said, no, thanks less than a week after it had published an op-ed by Senator Barack Obama titled "My Plan for Iraq."

Instead, the opinion page editor asked for another draft with more new information. It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors Senator Obama's piece.

HOWARD KURTZ, "WASHINGTON POST": It asks for far more detail and it wanted McCain to address the use of timetables. John McCain opposes timetables for withdrawal in Iraq.

KAYE: "Washington Post" media reporter Howard Kurtz says "The Times" has an obligation to publish McCain's op-ed. "The New York Times" explains it's standard procedure to go back and forth with an author. The paper points out it has published at least seven op-ed pieces by McCain in the last 12 years adding, we take his views seriously.

In McCain's op-ed written in response to Obama's, he criticized the Democratic senator for calling for an early withdrawal timeline.

JILL HAZELBAKER, MCCAIN COMMUNICATIONS DIR: We wanted to give them Senator McCain's side. Unfortunately, "The New York Times" wasn't willing to accommodate our request.

KAYE (on camera): Politics is exactly what the McCain camp claims "The Times" is playing, accusing the paper of publishing the Obama op-ed and stiffing McCain, and noting that the op-ed's editor was once a senior speech writer for a Democrat, Bill Clinton. Critics say McCain's problem goes far beyond "The Times" op-ed, suggesting the media isn't giving him enough air time to compete fairly.

KAYE (voice-over): Consider this. Network anchors and reporters are following Obama's every move in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the last four months, McCain has gone abroad to Europe, the Middle East, Canada, Colombia and Mexico. No anchors tagged along. Some networks didn't even send reporters.

KURTZ: This has been a very cleverly stage managed trip abroad in which Obama is doling out interviews to not just the three network anchors but other television anchors and correspondents. And it is allowing him to dominate the dialogue, dominate the world stage at a time when John McCain is struggling to stay in the headlines.

KAYE: CNN sent correspondent Candy Crowley with Obama, and John King covered McCain on his recent Mideast trip. According to a group that follows this stuff, Obama gets more than twice as much coverage as McCain on the broadcast networks weekday evening newscasts, 114 minutes compared to just 48. Same goes for the covers of "Time" and "Newsweek." Journalistic fascination or media bias?

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


CHETRY: Randi, thanks for that.

Well, Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction earned CBS a $550,000 fine from the FCC. Now that fine gets thrown out. So what does it mean for what we'll see on TV?

Postcards from Obama.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They caught me on camera eating a strip of bacon though the press seems to think I'm an arugula-eating fitness fanatic.


CHETRY: Jeanne Moos sends dispatches (ph) from Obama's overseas trip. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)



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


ROBERTS: He didn't quite have her naked, but certainly some of her was showing.

Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning." Three judges throw out the $550,000 fine against CBS for the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction incident during the Super Bowl halftime show back in 2004. So how is this decision going to affect what we see on television?

AMERICAN MORNING's legal analyst Sunny Hostin joins me now. So what does this mean for obscenity and or decency on TV these days?

SUNNY HOSTIN, AMERICAN MORNING LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I have to tell you, John, this was a real slap in the face of the FCC. The FCC has this 30-year policy of really just cracking down on pervasive indecency, pervasive obscenity.

And in this case, after breast tape (ph) I think we all remember the 2004 incident, they shifted their policy and they started trying to crack down on this sort of fleeting instances. And what the court said in this case was this was nine-sixteenths of a second.

Yes, it was breast tape (ph) and many, many people complained. But it really just -- I feel laughing at the term breast tape -- but it's just really wasn't enough, enough to signify this policy shift. And I think what we're going to be seeing now and people are cheering at least in broadcasting for live broadcasts, it's very, very difficult to control that sort of activity, these fleeting expletives, these fleeting images.

So we're going to see, I think, a shift where broadcasters really aren't going to be as responsible for this type of a fleeting activity.

ROBERTS: So there's another big court case coming up this fall involving another network. How might the CBS case impact that?

HOSTIN: Well, that network is FOX News and they also have been fined by the FCC for 2002-2003 Billboard Awards where Cher and Nicole Richie dropped the F-bomb. And the Second Circuit Court of Appeals said, you know what, this, again, is a fleeting instance of an expletive. And you just can't hold live broadcasts liable for that sort of activity.

The Supreme Court is going to take up that case, John, and I think what really is going to happen and again I hate to guess what the Supreme Court is going to do. But this decision by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia is going to have a huge impact on what the Supreme Court is going to do because there are First Amendment concerns here. And I don't think that broadcasters are really going to be held liable for this type of activity.

How do you prevent that at a live broadcast? I mean, we're live now. How does someone prevent that?

ROBERTS: Oh, we fear for the loss of our jobs so we keep our mouths shut.

HOSTIN: Well, that is true.

ROBERTS: I remember, was it the American Music Awards years ago when Bono know said the F-word? I can't remember what happened after that.

HOSTIN: I can't remember, either. But again, this is the same sort of activity.


HOSTIN: A live broadcast like the Super Bowl viewed, yes, by 90 million people but like the billboard Music Awards, how do you control that during a live broadcast?

I want to say this, though. What the court did say for the Third Circuit with the CBS, did CBS act willfully by failing to use a time delay? And so, that's still is an issue on the table. Will live broadcasts have to do that? We don't know yet. That's going to go back.

ROBERTS: Also, is there a difference between an utterance in a live broadcast and a wardrobe malfunction?

HOSTIN: Well, that's interesting. But the court did take that up and say that an expletive and an image, no difference there.

ROBERTS: All right. Sunny Hostin, thanks very much. Good to see you this morning.

HOSTIN: Thanks.

CHETRY: Well, there is a new candidate entering the fray. He's for change and hope, and he's also for experience. And he's got a campaign T-shirt as well. Humorist Dave Barry joins us to talk about his run for the White House. Good luck.

Plus, thieves trying to make a quick buck preventing firefighters from putting out fires. We're going to tell you how petty crimes are causing major safety hazards.

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


CHETRY: Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning." John McCain, Barack Obama and Dave Barry? The syndicated humorist says that he is for change, for hope and for experience. And he is running for president. Let's listen.


DAVE BARRY, HUMORIST: I think I've got a pretty much of a juggernaut campaign. I have a T-shirt which you don't see a lot of candidates have. And I also have -- hang on. Don't go away. A clock.


CHETRY: Joining me now is Pulitzer Prize winning commentator Dave Barry. Good to see you. Now, between you and Bob Barr, who do you think has more of a chance as the third party candidate?

DAVE BARRY, HUMORIST: I've never heard of this Bob Barr you speak out. So I'm going with me.

CHETRY: Why did you decide to run, Dave?

BARRY: Well, because I deeply care about the American people and I agree with them on everything. And if they change their mind, I will change my mind. That's how much I care about them.

CHETRY: Now, have you decided yet whether you're running as an independent, Republican, Democrat?

BARRY: That's kind of a personal question, Kiran. I think I'm not going to answer it. I'll just agree with people. I'm reaching out to the American people.

CHETRY: In fact, you have a very interesting two-pronged tax plan to help all of us. Issue number one, tough times right now. What's your solution?

BARRY: Cheating. I think people should cheat on their income taxes. It would save them a lot of money. And I don't know that we would find them. Also, I would in more difficult times fly over the American people and drop money on them from Air Force bombers.

CHETRY: I got you. So --

BARRY: And it would be not their money. They could have it when it landed.

CHETRY: You also say that everyone is due for a tax cut and you in particular will pay no taxes.

BARRY: I would -- no. Yes. Well, I have a plan. I call it the "you pay only $9.95 a year tax plan," in which I will put into effect immediately. I'd be exempt because I'd be the president. I mean, I think I should get something out of this.

CHETRY: Right. Now, do you have any idea for how you would make up that money so that, you know, our nation could still run and programs could still be funded?

BARRY: That's a pretty technical question, Kiran, to ask this early in the morning. I think that what I would do is charge it.

CHETRY: That seems to be what a lot of people are doing.

BARRY: Yes. Isn't that what we do now?

CHETRY: Yes, exactly.

BARRY: Exactly.

CHETRY: Now, I'm sure you've been watching all of the coverage, all of the big network stars who are traveling with Barack Obama. He's been getting a lot of coverage. You and McCain haven't been getting as much coverage. How do you feel about that?

BARRY: It's pretty lousy. In fact, he's here under the desk with me now in the studio. And we're kind of ticked off. We're ticked off at "The New York Times."

"New York Times" has not run any of my op-eds either. I think "The New York Times" should just like spend the next couple of weeks just running op-eds by me and John McCain to make up for this.

CHETRY: But you're already syndicated in 500 different newspapers so maybe they think your opinions are already out there. You know, just playing devils advocate with "The New York Times."

BARRY: Well, they're not "The New York Times" though, then are they?

CHETRY: I guess not. All right. Tell us a little bit more about what your plan would be if you were going to solve the gas crisis.

BARRY: Well, I think the gas crisis, we can solve it. There is a very serious major supply of gas available to us. It's called Canada.

And what we do, we get a hose. And we go over to Canada at night and we siphon that gas back here to the United States. Now, we do it at night so they won't catch us. But even if they do catch us, what are they going to do? They're Canada.

CHETRY: Oh, I'll have to run that one by John Roberts. That's his home country. Dave Barry, humorist.

BARRY: People live there?

CHETRY: He used to, until he came here.

BARRY: In Canada.

CHETRY: Yes, absolutely.

BARRY: OK, I had no idea. No idea.

CHETRY: Yes. It's not just the Caribou in ANWR but, you know, there's a lot of people that live in Canada as well.

BARRY: Well, John could be my ambassador then if I get elected.

CHETRY: I'm sure he'd love to.

BARRY: Thank you.

CHETRY: Hey, what about the title humorist? Do you feel a lot of pressure to always be funny because you're title is humorist?

BARRY: It is?


BARRY: No, I don't. I don't feel that much pressure. As you can see, by the (INAUDIBLE)

CHETRY: Well, congratulations. I'm sorry that --

BARRY: Do you feel a lot of pressure to be -- you know, like newsy because your title is -

CHETRY: Yes, a lot.


CHETRY: A lot. Three hours a day at least is how often I feel that type of pressure. Hey, by the way, your two kids don't think you're funny. I'm sorry about that, because we all do. Dave Barry --

BARRY: Oh, thank you. I appreciate it. And you, you can all be in the Cabinet.

CHETRY: All right. Great to see you. Thanks.

BARRY: Thank you.

CHETRY: He wants to steal gas from Canada, John. Can you believe that?

ROBERTS: I remember there was a sign at an election party headquarters in Canada once that detailed NAFTA and map of North America and over Mexico. It said manufacturing over the United States it said retail and over Canada it said parking. So, that's the way that they dealt with that.

Updating our top stories for you this morning. Tropical Storm Dolly getting stronger, heading to the Texas coast. Forecasters say Dolly is expected to hit land tomorrow and, by that time, will probably be classified as a hurricane. Hurricane warnings issued up and down the coast in Texas and Mexico. 1,200 National Guard troops have been activated. A bill aimed at cracking down on oil price speculation faces a test vote in the Senate today. Democrats say tighter controls on speculation in the oil markets will bring down gas prices at the pump. Republicans want to add a provision to the bill which would allow for more offshore drilling.

Senator Barack Obama expected to land in Amman, Jordan, in just about 90 minutes' time. He heads to Israel later on today. He's also going to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas tomorrow.

Yesterday, Obama met with the top U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, as well as Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who said he'd like to see U.S. forces out within two years. Obama said Iraqis want a, quote, "clear date for troop withdrawal." Senator John McCain says Obama is completely wrong to suggest a timetable.

Senator John McCain is downplaying his rival's trip to Iraq. McCain says he, not Obama, has had the correct message all along. And as Dana Bash tells us, the message is resonating with voters.


DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, when John McCain was asked by reporters whether or not he's finding it hard to get attention while Barack Obama is overseas, he shrugged and said, it is what it is. But that belies an intense effort inside the McCain camp to try to keep Obama from using this trip abroad to burnish his foreign policy credentials.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is the surge that is winning this war. He opposed it.

BASH (voice-over): John McCain's message -- Barack Obama may have the spotlight but I'm the one who should get the credit.

MCCAIN: When you win wars, troops come home. And we are winning. And the fact is, if we'd have done what Senator Obama wanted to do, we would have lost. And we would have faced a wider war.

BASH: What McCain aides are trying to protect is one of the few areas he beats Obama. Big time. Ability to be commander-in-chief. The latest "Washington Post" poll gives McCain a 24-point lead on the issue. And some Republicans are quite alarmed at the Iraqi prime minister's weekend comments, that if he were to support Obama's 16- month withdrawal deadline which McCain opposes.

BASH (on camera): Does it trouble you that that seems to undercut the message that you have against Barack Obama?

MCCAIN: It doesn't in the slightest undercut the fact that it's based on conditions on the ground.

BASH (voice-over): McCain pointed to the U.S. military commander for political backup. Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, who said this Sunday about Obama's withdrawal plan --

ADM. MICHAEL MULLEN, CHAIRMAN OF THE U.S. JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: I think the consequences could be very dangerous in that regard.

MCCAIN: I hope we'll pay attention to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, particularly someone who has no military experience whatsoever.


BASH: That line hitting Obama about lacking military experience was no accident, with everyone from the White House to the Iraqi government talking more and more about troop withdrawal.

What McCain is trying to do is make this a debate about who's best to be sitting in the Oval Office to make tough calls and how and when to bring troops home, not to mention how to deal with other global hot spots.

John and Kiran?

CHETRY: Dana Bash for us. Thanks. E-prescriptions. The federal government says it will boost Medicare payments to doctors who send prescriptions to a pharmacy electronically rather than handwriting them. That move could then save taxpayers $156 million over the next five years and it could also cut down on the estimated 1.5 million injuries each year caused by drug-related errors.

Ford expected to announce changes as it shifts its product lines towards smaller cars. The automaker is expected to say that it will convert three plants from trucks to cars. The move is a response to changing consumer tastes because of the high gas prices.

A lot of people don't want the big SUVs. For years, Ford has relied on its best-selling F-series line of pickup trucks. Those, again, also not as popular as gas prices rise.

Thieves are stealing the brass nuts from fire hydrants, making firefighters unable to get water they need to fight fires. In fact, in one case in California, a burned -- a house burnt to the ground because five closest hydrants were missing these brass nuts. The inflated metal prices make these nuts worth about $10 of scrap metal.


ROBERTS: You made it through it. That was impressive.

A talk radio host blames most autism cases on bad parenting. And now outraged parents are fighting back. We're going to have that story for you.

Closing in.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're ready. Hopefully, everybody else gets ready.


ROBERTS: Boarding up and stocking up.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't want to be those people stuck in lines.


ROBERTS: We're tracking Dolly as it heads for the coast. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


ROBERTS: Oh, several images from the Big Apple this morning. Believe me, it's all that you can leave behind. 75 degrees there now and it's going up to a high of 89 today. Got some isolated thunderstorms on the way.

Thunderstorms in New York are always a lot of fun because they kind of wash the dirt and dust away from everything.

CHETRY: That's right. Although when you're down in one of the subways, it literally feels like a steam bath. Forget your gym membership. You can just go down there and steam.

ROBERTS: Sure. And all the water running down of the subway system as well down the entrance ways there.

Our Jacqui Jeras is in the Weather Center down there in Atlanta. She's tracking the extreme weather today.

And we've got a tropical storm that may become a hurricane today, Jacqui?


ROBERTS: All right. Jacqui, thanks so much.

And we played a little YouTube music, which reminds me -- we're talking with Sunny about Bono and the comment that he made. It was actually -- it was the Golden Globe Awards, where he dropped the F- bomb. FCC didn't fine him.

CHETRY: Yes. And as Sunny was saying, it's so hard during live television to bleep those fleeting expletives that come out of people's mouth.

ROBERTS: Some of these programs are on delays now, though. But it helps a lot.

CHETRY: Yes. They don't always catch everything. Well, with trips overseas and newspaper editorials, Barack Obama and John McCain have been sounding off about Iraq and Afghanistan. What about the veterans? What do they think of the two wars and the candidates' plans?

ROBERTS: Shock jock.


MICHAEL SAVAGE: You know what autism is? I'll tell you what autism is in 99 percent of the cases. It's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out.


ROBERTS: The low blow from a radio host that has parents hitting back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like a punch in the gut. It's hard breaking.


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


CHETRY: Talk radio host Michael Savage says 99 percent of autism cases are misdiagnosed and the kids are just, quote, "brats who haven't been taught how to behave." And with 1 in 150 kids diagnosed with autism, it's no surprise that parents of children with autism are furious at the comments as our Alina Cho found out.


ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even for a shock jock it was shocking.

MICHAEL SAVAGE, THE SAVAGE NATION: You know what autism is? I'll tell you what autism is in 99 percent of the cases. It's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out.

CHO: Media matters, the liberal watchdog group posted conservative radio host Michael Savage's comments on autism.

SAVAGE: What do you mean they scream and they're silent? They don't have a father around to tell them don't act like a moron. You'll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a puts. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don't sit there crying and screaming, idiot!

CHO: Savage words to the parents of children with autism.

MARTIN SCHWARTZMAN, PARENT OF AUTISTIC CHILD: It's like a punch in the gut. It's heartbreaking. I mean, autism is 24/7. Really the whole lives of families change in raising a child with autism.

CHO: Martin Schwartzman's 15-year-old son Robbie (ph) is moderately autistic. When Robi's twin sister heard about Savage's comments --

ALLYSON SCHWARTZMAN, SISTER OF AUTISTIC CHILD: It was really disturbing and it was heartbreaking. And it really hurt my feelings because I felt like my brother and every autistic child or adult in the world was being attacked.

PROTESTORS: Fire Savage! Fire Savage! Fire Savage!

CHO: These families want Savage fired, or at least for advertisers to boycott his "Savage Nation" radio show.

ALEX FILOSA, PARENT OF AUTISTIC CHILD: You know the comment that I find upsetting is that fathers are not involved. I'm a very involved father with my daughter. I'm always there for her.

CHO: Comments that may be offensive. But according to constitutional law experts, perfectly legal.

PROF. NATE PERSILY, COLUMBIA UNI. LAW SCHOOL: The constitution protects your right to be a jerk sometimes. And this might be one of those cases where jerky speech is protected.

CHO: In a telephone interview on CNN's "LARRY KING LIVE," Savage showed no signs of backing down.

SAVAGE: If you heard the entire show, you would have heard me addressing those comments to the misdiagnosed, false diagnosed, and out right racketeers as opposed to the general category of autistic children.

CHO: Some medical experts disagree.

DR. JAY GORDON, PEDIATRICIAN: In my 30 years taking care of children sitting face to face with families and children, I haven't seen an over diagnose of autism and delays. I've seen an under diagnosis.


CHO: And this outrage on the part of the families with children with autism is already having a big effect. CNN has learned that the Affleck Insurance Company has yanked its advertising from Savages program, saying they found his comments about autistic children, Kiran, to be inappropriate and insensitive.

CHETRY: You know, some ask why give a forum to it and continue to talk about the comments. But he is listened to by many people. He is the third most popular radio show.

CHO: That's right. After Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Yes, 8 million listeners a week. Listen, he says that what a lot of people missed was that his comments were part of a larger discussion about how he believes kids are over medicated and over diagnosed.

But I have to tell you, I've spoken to a lot of parents with children with autism and they say one of the great things about autism awareness, just in the past two to three years, is that more and more kids are being diagnosed. That doctors aren't afraid of the word autism anymore. Kids are being diagnosed earlier and that they're getting the help that they need.

CHETRY: He also went after asthma in a minority community as well.

CHO: He most certainly did.

CHETRY: So, a lot of controversial comments from him. And as you said, a lot of furry from people who are dealing with children with autism and trying to get through their lives.

CHO: And they'll be holding a large protest in San Francisco today, which is where Savage tapes his show.

CHETRY: Thanks, a lot, Alina.

CHO: You bet.

ROBERTS: You're watching the "Most News in the Morning." They are messages of religious tolerance. Posters to be plastered across New York City's subway stations. But it is the controversial Imam behind the ads who is stopping some people in their tracks.





ROBERTS: Postcards from Obama's big trip as only Jeanne Moos could write.


MOOS: They even shot me washing my hands before breakfast.


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



JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Well, on political news, there was a huge reception for Barack Obama in the Middle East this past weekend. People were screaming, chasing him, hanging on his every word. And that was just the U.S. Press Corps. That was unbelievable.


ROBERTS: Jay Leno this morning with his take on the media frenzy surrounding Senator Barack Obama and his trip. Every moment on this overseas trip captured by cameras.

CHETRY: Yes, but what if his wife and children aren't watching?

CNN's Jeanne Moos has some video highlights of his adventures so far in this imaginary postcard home.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dear Michelle and Girls, Daddy sure wishes you were here. Walking into a gym full of troops in Kuwait was just like walking into one of my campaign rallies. One soldier even held up a Chi-town sign. She must be from Chicago, too.

I ate breakfast with the troops in Afghanistan. They caught me on camera eating a strip of bacon. The press seems to think I'm an Arugula-eating fitness fanatic. Speaking of fitness, did you see me playing basketball?

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I may not make the first one, but I'll make one eventually.

MOOS (on camera): Shock and awe. Wish you were here. Members of the press wish they were there.

(voice-over): Instead, it was just a military camera crew following me around the hot spots. They even shot me washing my hands before breakfast. Their questions were sure a lot nicer than the ones I get from the regular press.

VOICE OF UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's it like eating breakfast with the troops? What's it like?

OBAMA: The food is excellent. But the company is even better.

MOOS: I know everyone's analyzing whether I look presidential. Meeting with these foreign leaders, don't you think I look the part sitting in those tacky chairs with the gold gilt? How many Afghans does it take, anyway, to fill up a lavender couch?

And when I had to face the nation, that blonde reporter asked about overcoming doubts people have about my being commander-in-chief.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have any doubts?

OBAMA: Never.

MOOS: Now they're going to say I'm talking like an elitist again. I haven't made any gaffes yet, but "The Huffington Post" pointed out somebody who did. MCCAIN: Particularly given the situation on the Iraq-Pakistan border.

MOOS: Too bad Iraq and Pakistan don't share a border.

Later in the week, I'll be giving a speech in Berlin before adoring throngs, sort of like JFK. Maureen Dowd wrote about me -- Ich Bin Ein Jetsetter. But so far, I've spent more time in a helicopter with General Petraeus sent in military planes.

Did you see my newly refurbished campaign plane? Change we can believe in. Unless you're changing planes and we lose your luggage. So what if those snarky right-wing blogs are promoting t-shirts making fun of my world tour, showing me as a messiah or on a magic carpet. At least I have the audacity of hoops. Love, Barack.


CHETRY: Talking timetables. Iraq's prime minister says Barack Obama is right. John McCain says they got it wrong.


MCCAIN: It's based on conditions on the ground.


CHETRY: Bill Richardson and Rudy Giuliani make the candidates' cases live next hour.

Plus, enlightening your daily commute? Subway ads for Islamic acceptance coming from a character witness for a terrorist.


CHETRY: The bet's view.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He needs to acknowledge what's happening on the ground.


CHETRY: Obama's overseas trip through the eyes of soldiers who fought on the front lines. Jim Acosta talks to the troops. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."

ROBERTS: Five minutes now to the top of the hour. Welcome back to the "Most Politics in the Morning."

The McCain campaign is furiously fighting back today. Not against Senator Barack Obama but "The New York Times." The paper is defending its decision to reject an op-ed. The presumptive Republican nominee wrote on his Iraq war policy. The paper published a piece by Barack Obama on the conflict last week. The host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES", Howard Kurtz, has got the latest for us on this controversy.


HOWARD KURTZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The McCain campaign submitted an op-ed piece on Friday, hoping for the newspaper equivalent of equal time. McCain's article criticized Obama for pushing the "same old proposal" for a 16-month withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, saying, quote, "any draw-downs must be based on a realistic assessment of conditions on the ground, not on an artificial timetable crafted for domestic political reasons.

"Time's" opinion editor David Shipley, who, as it happens, worked in the Clinton White House turned down the piece about two hours later, saying it contained nothing new.

Shipley wrote, "It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors Senator Obama's piece. To that end, the article would have to articulate in concrete terms how Senator McCain defines victory in Iraq. It would also have to lay out a clear plan for achieving victory -- with troops levels, timetables and measures for compelling the Iraqis to cooperate."

It's fairly common for opinion-editors to ask a contributor for more details. But with the "Time's" liberal opinion page, to oppose a stringent list of the conditions on the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, days after publishing a similar piece on the subject by the presumptive Democratic nominee, is rather unusual.

A couple campaign cycles ago, that would have been the end of it. But the McCain camp gave the rejected article and the e-mails to the "Drudge Report," which gave it a big splash online. A McCain spokesman says his Iraq position, quote, "will not change based on politics or the demands of "The New York Times."


ROBERTS: Howard Kurtz reporting for us this morning. By the way, this is the second time that McCain's campaign and the "Times" have butted heads. Back in February, the paper printed an article hinting toward a possible inappropriate relationship between McCain and a female lobbyist. That's a charge that the candidate flatly denied.

CHETRY: Well, more political headlines now. And your Tuesday's ticker, the Veepstakes continues. John McCain's campaign confirming to CNN that there is some high chatter in the ranks about the possibility of naming a running mate this week. Some sources in the campaign, though, saying the camp still plans to wait to make the announcement.

And the campaign also confirming that tomorrow McCain will meet with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal who was on our program yesterday. A big supporter of McCain and thought by many party insiders to be a top choice for vice president. New Hampshire prides itself on its free-thinking citizens. And those voters are split straight down the middle between Barack Obama and John McCain. The latest University of New Hampshire poll shows the granite state in a statistical dead heat. New Hampshire holds only four electoral votes. But it's neither a red nor a blue state. Candidates love to claim a win there on election time.

And Republican National Committee officially given the key to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, the site of this year's GOP convention. Well, sort of. The key was a ceremonial one. It was made out of card board. Perhaps it opens a ceremonial card board door. The Republican convention runs from September 1st through the 4th.

For more up-to-the-minute political news, just head to

ROBERTS: For days, we've heard politicians and pundits commenting on Barack Obama's overseas trip, including those stops in Iraq and Afghanistan. But what about the veterans who were on the frontlines in both countries?

CNN's Jim Acosta sat down with some of them and he got an earful. And he's here now to share that.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, it certainly got combative here at times between these veterans I sat down with here in Washington. And they didn't hold their fire when it came to passing judgment on Barack Obama's trip to Iraq and Afghanistan.


ACOSTA (voice-over): Peter Granado (ph), Brian McGough and David Bellavia have all worn the same uniform. But they are cut from a different cloth when it comes to Barack Obama's plan to end the Iraq war in 16 months if he's elected president.

STAFF SGT. DAVID BELLAVIA, U.S. ARMY (RET.): We have people that have the fortitude to see the statistics on the ground, to see the success and we have surge deniers.

ACOSTA (on camera): Is Barack Obama a surge denier?

BELLAVIA: It looks like it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we say we're winning, let us start bringing people home because we're winning.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Then there's Obama's proposal to send more troops to Afghanistan while drawing down in Iraq.

BELLAVIA: Can we bring those guys home in 16 months with their equipment, refit them, and send, what, tanks to Afghanistan? It's preposterous.

STAFF SGT. BRIAN MCGOUGH, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Why is it that we can send them back to Iraq within sometimes within six, seven months, and not send them to Afghanistan?