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American Morning

Obama Heads to Paris to Meet President Sarkozy; Obama Delivers Speech in Berlin; Battle Brews Over Money Given By U.S. to Pakistan; Qantas Jet Makes an Emergency Landing; Is Michelle Obama Being Stereotyped Because of Her Race?; Asleep With Nuclear Launch Codes

Aired July 25, 2008 - 06:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Paris bound. Barack Obama's next stop on his world tour today after a rock star showing in Berlin.
And segregation lives.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They put on a show just like the white people do. It's a lot of well-educated colored people.


ROBERTS: A new film exposes a time honored racial divide during Mardi Gras on this AMERICAN MORNING.

Good morning. Thanks for very much being with us. It's a Friday, the 25th of July. This is going to be the last weekend in July coming up.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. Summer is moving along quickly.

ROBERTS: Yes. Flat out pedal to the metal. Lot to talk about this morning, by the way.

CHETRY: That's right. And we start with breaking news. Barack Obama's overseas trip takes him now to Paris where he's expected to arrive in just about three hours. He'll be meeting with French president, Nicolas Sarkozy. Today's trip is in stark contrast to when an estimated 200,000 people turned up to hear Obama speak in Berlin. The McCain camp criticized Obama for making a presidential speech before he's elected.

And a real nail biter for more than 300 passengers on board. Can you imagine walking out of your plane and seeing that on the tarmac?

A Qantas flight from Hong Kong to Melbourne. The flight had to make an energy landing in Manila after what they call a midair rupture. It left a gaping hole in the fuselage. Passengers say the plane lost cabin pressure and plunged 20,000 feet. No one was injured.

And a shooting at a community college in Phoenix has left two people fighting for their lives this morning in critical condition. Another person also injured when a former student walked into a computer room and opened fire yesterday. One suspect is under arrest and the suspect's parents as well as three other people were taken into custody for interfering with an investigation.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with a serious message for Pakistan. She says the government must do more to control militants crossing into Afghanistan. Speaking to reporters in Australia, Rice said there's been an up tick in violence not just against U.S. forces but against the Afghan people.

ROBERTS: Well, back to our top story this morning. In less than an hour, Senator Barack Obama will leave Germany for France. He's expected to arrive just before 9:00 a.m. Eastern this morning.

Our Candy Crowley was there as Obama delivered his big speech in Berlin.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: In the heart of Berlin where communism cracked and a wall crumbled, Barack Obama went global with his presidential campaign calling for renewed U.S./European cooperation to confront mutual problems.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know my country. This is a moment when we must defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it. This threat is real and we cannot shrink from our responsibility to combat it. If we could create NATO to face down the Soviet Union, we can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks that have struck in Madrid and Amman, in London and Bali, in Washington and New York.

CROWLEY: It was an event designed to evoke distant images of John F. Kennedy's "Ich Bin Ein" Berliner speech. Greeted by massive flag waving crowd, Obama strolled solo on the stage to both court Europe and challenge it, to step up in Afghanistan.

OBAMA: My country and yours have a stake in seeing the NATO's first mission beyond Europe's borders is a success. For the people of Afghanistan and for our shared security, the work must be done. America can't do this alone. The Afghan people need our troops and your troops. Our support and your support to defeat the Taliban and al-Qaeda, to develop their economy and to help them rebuild their nation. We have too much at stake to turn back now.

CROWLEY: To help out in Iraq.

OBAMA: Despite -- despite past differences, this is the moment when the world should support the millions of Iraqis who seek to rebuild their lives, even as we pass responsibility to the Iraqi government and finally bring this war to a close.

CROWLEY: Despite repeated denials by his staff that this trip is not political, the event was staged like a political rally, paid for by the campaign and dramatically in its call for a new way to move forward.

OBAMA: People of Berlin, people of the world -- this is our moment. This is our time. CROWLEY: This speech could just as easily have been delivered in St. Paul.

OBAMA: America, this is our moment.

CROWLEY: Obama told the Berlin crowd he spoke to them not as a candidate, but as a fellow citizen of the world. But if voters back home saw a president, well, that was the point.


ROBERTS: Obama also evoked memories of Ronald Reagan's famous Berlin speech telling the crowd that walls between rich and poor countries and between religions cannot stand.

CHETRY: Barack Obama's speech in Berlin drawing criticism from the McCain camp accusing Obama of being a presumptuous nominee who's putting the victory lap ahead of the victory. Reporters asked McCain about the speech at a German restaurant where he was meeting with small business owners to talk about the economy.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'd love to give a speech in Germany too, a political speech or a speech that maybe the German people would be interested in. But I'd much prefer to do it as president of the United States rather than as a candidate for the office of presidency.


CHETRY: A new poll of polls now shows John McCain trailing Barack Obama 41 to 44 percent with 15 percent unsure who they'd vote for.

ROBERTS: Stories making news around the country this morning. In New York City, the group Autism United will announce a list of major companies pulling their sponsorship from Michael Savage's radio show. Last week Savage said 99 percent of autistic children are "brats" and are faking it. One out of every 150 children are diagnosed with autism in the United States.

A new government report says last August's fatal mine collapse in Utah was not caused by an earthquake, rather the mine caved in because there weren't enough support pillars in place. Officials announced $1.85 million in fines. It's the highest ever imposed on a mine owner. Six miners died in that collapse.

In Arizona -- sorry, Kiran.

CHETRY: A 19-year-old student is in critical condition after a shooting at a Phoenix college. Police say an argument got out of control at South Mountain Community College. The gunman opened fire hitting a 19-year-old man and two other students. Police arrested 22- year-old Rodney Smith at his home. Smith's parents and three others were also arrested for interfering with the investigation. And a New Jersey State assemblyman who once sponsored a child pornography bill now being investigated for possessing child porn. Officials say a fellow assemblyman discovered the material on Democrat Neil Cohen's office computer. The attorney general then seized that computer Wednesday. Cohen has not been charged.

More flooding possible today in south Texas from the cleanup from Hurricane Dolly. That continues as well. Fifteen counties across south Texas have been declared disaster areas by President Bush. Estimates put the losses at about $750 million. Dolly's wrath may have also destroyed the year's cotton crop in the Rio Grande Valley.

ROBERTS: A battle brewing this morning over the money that the United States gives to Pakistan. It is earmarked to fight terrorism, but Pakistan and President Bush want to use the money for something else. Congress isn't convinced it's the right thing to do. Here's CNN's Zain Verjee with that.

ZAIN VERJEE, STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, Pakistan wants USA to beef up its fighter jets. But Congress wants to know, what about the war on terror?


VERJEE (voice-over): The top U.S. priority in the war on terror, kill or capture Osama bin Laden and fight terrorists, believed to be hiding along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. Pakistan's new government says to do that it needs to upgrade its aging F-16 fighter jets. The U.S. is going along.

GONZALO GALLEGOS, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: The bottom line here is that we've shifted money to help the democratically elected government of Pakistan to fight a common foe.

VERJEE: By law the $300 million in aid Pakistan gets from the U.S. each year must be used to fight al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Pakistan wants almost $230 million of that to upgrade its F-16 jets.

MAKHDOOM SHAH MEHMOOD QURESHI, PAKISTAN FOREIGN MINISTER: The challenge of terrorism is such that no single country, however strong, can deal with it alone.

VERJEE: Skeptical lawmakers worry the upgrades are more about Pakistan competing with its rival India and argue shifting the money for the F-16s takes needed funds from beefing up Pakistani police and military and winning the hearts and minds in tribal areas hostile to America by building roads and schools.

One key lawmaker Nita Lowey whose committee controls the purse strings says this request raises serious concerns. Lowey wants the State Department and Pakistan to demonstrate clearly how these F-16s would be used to fight al-Qaeda and the Taliban in order to get congressional support.

Pakistani and U.S. officials say the F-16s are used to fly counterterror missions and need the latest communications and targeting technology. The upgrades would bring the old jets in line with the new F-16s Pakistan is buying from the U.S.

GALLEGOS: These midlife update enhancements will allow Pakistan's F- 16s to operate safely in all weather and to perform day and night missions.


VERJEE: The timing of all this is pretty interesting. The new Pakistani prime minister will be meeting with President Bush here in Washington next week. The State Department says it's just a coincidence -- John, Kiran.

CHETRY: Zain Verjee for us, thanks.

Well, a Qantas air flight from London to Australia was forced to make an emergency landing after a whole in the fuselage led to a lost cabin pressure. Passengers say they heard an explosion and the flight plunged 20,000 feet in just 30 seconds. Oxygen masks fell from the ceiling and there's a shot of what it looked like, the 747 after landing in the Philippines. You can see it was a nine-foot wide gash in the right side going all the way from the cargo hold into the passenger cabin. Passengers described some of the terrifying moments.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was an almighty crack and you could hear something happening. And then the oxygen masks fell down and you started dropping down, ears popping. That sort of stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My partner was upstairs. I thought maybe he's gone. I had no idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just hope that Qantas will pass the nail work (ph), take the necessary steps to ensure that the rest of the Qantas flight is safe to fly.


CHETRY: One airport official says that some passengers did become sick after landing, but no one was injured. The Australian Transportation Safety Bureau and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority have been notified and they are planning to investigate. Still don't know what caused that huge hole.

ROBERTS: It sort of looks almost like a version of that Aloha Airlines flight back in the 1980s that suddenly developed a sunroof in mid flight.

Breaking this morning. New foreclosure numbers released and the number of homes now in some sort of financial trouble up dramatically.

CHETRY: And one town. Two Mardi Gras celebrations split along racial lines. And if you're looking for outrage, you won't find it in the town. What the residents in Mobile, Alabama, have to say about their age old tradition.

ROBERTS: Crowd pleaser.

200,000 strong. And Jeanne Moos is diving in.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mounted on lamp posts. Perching on poles. Dancing. Holding Obamas on a stick. Did we already mention dancing?


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


ROBERTS: Coming up on 13 minutes after the hour, and new this morning, the number of foreclosures surged up 121 percent this quarter from a year ago. That means more than 739,000 homes, about one in every 171 households were in some stage of foreclosure. Bank repossessions were also up by more than 20 percent from the last quarter.

CHETRY: And joining us to talk more about it, Stephanie Elam right now. First, a look at the markets. A big drop yesterday.

STEPHANIE ELAM, BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: A big drop yesterday. It really has to do with economic indicators and the housing market fears they are not gone because we did get some more information like you take a look at the foreclosure number and it kind of sends it all home. Let's take a look at the numbers first so I can show you what happened.

The Dow losing 2.4 percent. So that's off 283 points yesterday. Nasdaq losing 45 points. The S&P 500 down 29 points, and a lot of this having to do with the housing market and also rising unemployment. We actually did get those numbers yesterday showing that the numbers is up to 406,000. So this is obviously something to be concerned about at this point.

The other thing to talk about, oil. Oil actually going up yesterday. Oil was on the upside by $1.05 coming in at $125.49 there. So it's ending our fun ride of dropping down a bit here. So regaining some of its strength there.

Gas prices, they were down, actually. I can tell you that. Now at $4, just slightly above $4. That's down 2 cents. And we're now down almost 11 cents from the record high that we hit on July 17th.

Right now, we are poised for a higher open but we will keep our eyes on it. Obviously these economic indicators come in and it freaks the market out if they don't seem to show any signs of recovery.

ROBERTS: All right. Stephanie, thanks very much.

ELAM: Yes.

ROBERTS: We'll look forward to that because we see even bad news can be good.

ELAM: You never know. Depends on how you find a little negative happiness in there.

ROBERTS: Thanks.

A fan hospitalized. A player arrested. Fifteen players ejected in a minor league bench clear. You got to see it to believe it.

It broke out between the Midwest league's Dayton Dragons and the Peoria Chiefs. It started when Peoria pitcher Julio Castillo fired a ball at the opposing dugout. He missed but managed to hit a fan in the stand. Castillo is now facing an assault charge. The fan had to be taken to the hospital.

Umpires also tossed out both managers. But then the league president had to step in and reinstate the players because if he didn't, the pitchers would have had to play in the outfield. What a mess that was.

CHETRY: They kept the game going after all of that?

ROBERTS: Yes, yes, they did.

CHETRY: Grow up, people.

ROBERTS: I want those pitchers in the outfields (INAUDIBLE)



ROBERTS: Put the regular players back in. But again, that one facing an assault charge and the fan had to be taken to the hospital.


ROBERTS: Threw a wild pitch at the dugout.

CHETRY: Sure was.

All right. Well, Michelle Obama hoping to become the country's first black first lady? She's been targeted by political opponents, some characterizing her as bitter or angry. Can she relate to prejudices faced by other African-American women? We're going to take a look in our continuing "Black in America" series.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I'm Rob Marciano in the CNN weather center. Still tracking Dolly into Mexico but yesterday causing tornadoes in Texas. We've got the video plus your forecast coming up when AMERICAN MORNING comes right back.


CHETRY: 17 minutes past 6:00 here in New York. We head down to Atlanta where Rob Marciano is keeping track of the forecast for us as we get ready to head into the weekend. Hey, Rob.

MARCIANO: Hey, Kiran. Yes. Look at this rainfall still coming down from Dolly, this tropical depression now. The National Hurricane Center has stopped issuing advisories, but rainfall in a couple counties in extreme southwest Texas under flash flood warnings. This thing will wring itself out over the mountains of Mexico.

But yesterday, yesterday afternoon into the late morning hours some storms rolling through San Antonio. Nowhere near the center of this thing and this is what happened. Check out some of the video coming in with a tornado that touched down in about a mile or two south of downtown San Antonio. Did some damage to about 60 homes and 10 businesses there.

The tornado itself about a quarter mile wide. Not very big. They typically aren't, but obviously this one did a number on southern San Antonio. They did, however, get some beneficial rains. Central Texas under a tremendous amount of, well, dry air.

And Southern Texas got the wet stuff. Twelve inches, a full foot of rainfall in San Manuel. Brownsville officially coming at just over eight inches. McAllen, Texas, just over eight inches as well. And Harlington just over five inches of rain.

Had some flooding rain across parts of the northeast. Also a possible tornado in New Hampshire yesterday doing a number on towns in the eastern part of that state with damage done to 50 to 100 homes there and some heavy thunderstorms rolling through San Antonio or St. Louis. And heat will be building across parts of Oklahoma through the weekend. John and Kiran, back up to you.

CHETRY: Rob, thanks so much. We'll check in with you in a couple minutes.

Meanwhile, it's time for a little wrangling with Dawn the rodeo monkey. I'm sorry, she is the cutest thing I have ever seen. She's a former -- she's not. She is currently a rodeo star.

But a former rodeo star in Missouri trained the monkey to ride a Border Collie. When injuries forced him out of the game, she was such a hit he says it's much easier for her to hang on than it was for him. He says it took her two years to train the dog actually to allow her to sit on him. Don still can't keep the hat on.

ROBERTS: Now, well, there you go.

CHETRY: How adorable.

ROBERTS: Does the monkey rope as well as ride?

CHETRY: Not sure. But, hey, the Border Collie looks like he's having fun as well.

ROBERTS: There you go.

20 minutes after the hour. Child support payments. Our legal analyst Sunny Hostin tackles the question about what happens as the kids get older.

CHETRY: Black and white.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They put on a show just like the white people do.


CHETRY: Separate but equal. In 2008? Well, a new documentary shines a light on a segregated Mardi Gras celebration in the South.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a lot of well educated colored people.


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


ROBERTS: It's Friday which means it's time for our legal hotline. And AMERICAN MORNING's legal analyst Sunny Hostin here now to answer some of your legal questions.

Good morning. How are you?


ROBERTS: Happy Friday to you as well. It's good to see you.

John from Cincinnati, Ohio, has got a child support question for you this morning. He writes, "I am paying double the child support arrearage. When my ex-wide needed extra money for the kids I would add it to the child support payments. The kids are now emancipated. How can I get the payments reduced to the original order?"

HOSTIN: A lot of legalese in that question and we're getting a lot of questions about child support, John. And I think that the good thing about that is that people are concerned about keeping their child support payments current. When he mentions arrearage that means that there was a court order and he fell behind in his child support payments and didn't pay them.

When he mentions emancipation, John, he means his kids are now deemed by the law to be of age, to be adults. So he says I owe some money, but I've been paying extra and I've been adding. The bad part about that is if there's a court order and you owe a particular amount of money, just because you're adding extra money onto the payments doesn't mean really anything. You have to pay the arrearage. And then even though, unbelievably so, even though your kids are now adults, it doesn't negate the fact you still owed the money before.

So the bottom line, to answer his question, is you got to go to court again. Get the original order placed back into place and then continue paying your child support.

ROBERTS: But even if he got the original order put back into place, would he still owe some of that money?

HOSTIN: Absolutely. If there are arrearages and you owe the money, even though your kids now are 18, 19, 25, 30, you still owe the money. And it can ruin your credit if you don't pay. So go back to court. Start paying those arrearages.

ROBERTS: Does he have a certain window of time in which to make up this arrearage?

HOSTIN: No. He just has to pay it. And again, we know now in the United States people are really -- governments are really cracking down on what they call deadbeat dad. He doesn't sound to be a deadbeat dad. He's trying to pay the money and he actually paid a little bit extra. But that extra, he doesn't get credit for that.

ROBERTS: Sunny, thanks very much. Have a great weekend.

HOSTIN: Thanks. You too.

ROBERTS: Good to see you. All right -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Well, as Barack Obama makes his historic run for the White House his wife is really doing the same. Can Michelle Obama change the perception of black women if she becomes first lady? We're going to discuss it when our "Black in America" series continues. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."

And the latest polls showing the --



She's a Harvard educated attorney, a mother of two, and she could be the first black first lady of the United States. But despite her success, our next guest says that Michelle Obama and many other professional black women are still subject to negative stereotypes. It's something that we've been looking into this week in CNN's special coverage, "Black in America."

And Sophia Nelson is the president and CEO of IAsk (ph), Incorporated. It's a support organization for professional black women. She's also a political strategist and blogger, and she joins me now from Washington, D.C. Thanks for being with us, Sophia. Great to see you this morning.


CHETRY: You know, we talk about Michelle Obama being the target of these attacks by her political opponents. Her patriotism has been questioned. She's sometimes been called bitter and angry. Is this just politics as usual in an election season, or is different because of her race? NELSON: I think it's -- well, I think it's a combination more than just race. As I talk about in an opinion piece that I authored in the "Washington Post" on Sunday, if you look at other past first lady candidates' wives, if you will, like Laura Bush and Barbara Bush, and Hillary Clinton certainly got her fair share of criticism, but if you look at the "New Yorker" cover which really was unnerving for me and many African-American professional women with the caricature of the machine gun, the Afro kind of the Angela Davis black power Panther thing going, and I think Michelle deserves a lot better than that.

And I think that African-American professional women have a very negative stereotype in our culture. And it's something that we need to draw attention to. It's the strength piece. It's the aggressiveness piece. All the different buzz words that are used to describe us in the workplace, in relationships.

And I think Michelle is getting some of the backlash on that. I think that's just the perception of professional black women in this country.

CHETRY: And is this a race issue, or is it also just a difficulty for women in general to appear strong and aggressive? Those are usually -- or oftentimes can be viewed as negatives where that maybe doesn't happen as much for men. Is that all women in general, or is there more to it when it comes to black women?

NELSON: I think that it's professional women. And I'd like to make the distinction. As IAsk (ph) does, we focus on professional African- American women because there is a difference between African-American women in general and professional African-American women. And some of the characteristics that you described, aggressiveness, intelligence, articulate, competence, energy, et cetera, those are usually traits that all professional people share in common. Leadership skills, et cetera.

And sometimes those traits are considered very masculine traits, as you know. So I think that yes, it is all professional women to some degree deal with this. But as I talked about in my outlook piece, African-American women are dealing with the whole historical context that goes back to slavery, to Jim Crow, and our evolution into where we are now.

And if you look at, arguably, the two most powerful women on the planet are Oprah Winfrey and Condoleezza Rice, and they're both single professional African-American women. And I find that to be interesting.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: And I want -- and I do want to ask you that because what I did read in your piece, it really did give me pause, that 70 percent of professional black women were unmarried and that black women were five times more likely than their white counterparts to be unmarred at the age of 40. Why is it do we see the vast majority of professional black women single?

NELSON: Well, I think your CNN piece particularly last night -- the focus was on African-American males. And it was staggering, frankly. Soledad's done a wonderful job. If you look at the stats of African-American males that are incarcerated, those are the husbands of this generation of women.

My mother and my grandmother didn't have a problem getting married. This generation, the X-ers and the Y-ers and the Millenials are having a challenge. I got hundreds of letters from young black women all over the country and e-mails about my piece saying, thank God, finally told my story.

But to your point, I don't really have an answer as to why the numbers are so lopsided other than, as I said, what you've been profiling in your "BLACK IN AMERICA" piece.

But I do think that African-American women -- Andrea Wiley has this great video docu-drama called soul mate. I don't know if you're familiar with it. But she focuses on the plight of the professional African-American women and the numbers that I mentioned are very lopsided.

The number for African American women in general not being married is like 43 percent according to the last census. That number almost doubles for professional black women. And I know that "Newsweek" and other entities have drawn attention to this in the past. But it's become alarming and that's why I formed IASK.

CHETRY: I like it. And people can also check out your Web site as well for more information. Very fascinating. And thank you for sharing that with us today. Sophia Nelson, great to see you.

NELSON: Thank you, Kiran.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up now on 32 minutes after the hour. Breaking this morning, Barack Obama's whirlwind tour of Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and Germany today moves to France. He's expected to leave Berlin at this hour. Once in Paris, he's going to meet with French President Nicolas Sarkozy before heading off to London.

The Fed's pinning the blame of last summer's deadly mine collapse in Utah on the mine's operator. They say a bad design and improper mining techniques led to the cave-in, which killed six miners and three rescuers. The operator of the Crandall Canyon Mine has been fined $1.85 million.

And Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be a wanted woman when she arrives in New Zealand today. A group of college students is offering $3,700 to anyone who can make a citizen's arrest against Rice for her role in the Iraq War. When asked about the protest, Rice said it's part of a democratic society.

Breaking this morning, Senator Barack Obama now about 20 minutes away from leaving Berlin, heading for Paris as we said. Yesterday, he addressed a crowd 200,000-strong in Germany and echoing a speech that Ronald Reagan gave in 1987. Obama called on American and European allies to tear down the walls between them and ring in a new climate of international cooperation.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The walls between races and tribes, natives and immigrants, Christians and Muslims and Jews cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.


ROBERTS: Here at home, Republican rival John McCain criticized Obama's trip, saying he'd rather travel to Europe as president and not a candidate. McCain was speaking alongside cancer survivor and Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, and he used his speech to make a jab at the coverage surrounding Obama's trip.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My opponent, of course, is traveling in Europe. And tomorrow, his tour takes him to France in a scene that Lance would recognize. A throng of adoring fans awaits senator Obama in Paris. And that's just the American press.


ROBERTS: McCain says he's focusing this week on economic issues including rising food and gas prices. Today, he's going to meet with the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

CHETRY: Additionally, we're going to be speaking with Lance Armstrong here on AMERICAN MORNING.

ROBERTS: I'm talking to him about his fight against cancer.

CHETRY: All right. We'll look forward to that.

We have some new video just coming in this morning. And that emergency landing we told you about involving a Qantas Airways plane. This is dramatic footage from inside the damaged jet. It shows oxygen masks falling from the ceiling.

Passengers say that jet plunged 20,000 feet in just 30 seconds. They say that their ears were popping. Some of them actually got sick because of it. More video also shows the moment the plane made that harrowing emergency landing. Let's listen.

You hear the sounds of clapping as obvious relief from the passengers that they were able to make it. Especially if they took a look back once they got out of the plane, because you will see this 9- foot gash in the side of the fuselage just above the wing. I will be showing that for you in just a second.

There it is. Going all the way from the cargo hold into the actual cabin -- passenger cabin. No one, though, on board was hurt. And they're still trying to figure out exactly what caused that hole. Still don't know. ROBERTS: Yes, as I said earlier. Remember back in the mid 1980s, that Aloha Airlines flight because of fuselage fatigue from going up and down all those times. The top blew right off. Don't know yet if that has something to do with what happened to Qantas plane, but wow. That's a big hole.

CHETRY: All's well that ends well. But certainly --

ROBERTS: Never felt so good to get on the ground.

36 minutes after the hour now. Our Ali Velshi just got confirmation he has just in the last few moments touched down in Sarajevo in Bosnia. And since we're talking international today, let's bring in Stephanie Elam, who's filling in for Ali.

What do you got for us this morning?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN BUSINESS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are taking a look at the most expensive cities across the globe. Where does the U.S. rank? What's the most expensive U.S. city to live in? I will tell you right after this. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


ROBERTS: Stephanie Elam in for Ali Velshi today talking about the most expensive cities to live worldwide and in the United States.

ELAM: Care to wage a guess for the number one in the world?

CHETRY: I think right where we're sitting right now.

ELAM: No. Actually --

CHETRY: Oh, I thought you mean in the U.S. Sorry.



CHETRY: New York in the U.S., yes?

ELAM: New York is the most expensive in the U.S. In the world, it is actually Moscow. We wanted to take a look at the most expensive cities for people to live in throughout the country -- throughout the world, I should say.

Moscow is number one here. Third year in a row. Ruble got stronger against other currencies. Tokyo, up two places. London, down one spot. Oslo, up six places. And round out the top five with Seoul. New York is actually number 22 on the list here, according to this new annual study that came out from Mercer.

But as far as the other U.S. cities that are of note, LA is number 55, Miami 75 and D.C.. And part of the reason why the U.S. cities have dropped is because of the fact that the dollar has gotten weak. And so, it's more expensive for other people --

CHETRY: So, it's cheaper to sit in Manhattan and drink Stoli than go to Russia.

ELAM: That's an interesting way to put it. But, Kiran, you are correct. That is true. So, all of this has affected 19 U.S. cities, where they've actually declined because of the drop in the dollar. And obviously that makes it really nice for other people coming here from other countries.

CHETRY: Now we're the bargain.

ELAM: Yes.

CHETRY: New York City, bargain.

ROBERTS: Unless you live here, of course.


CHETRY: It doesn't feel that way.

ROBERTS: Thanks, Steph.

ELAM: Sure.

CHETRY: Well, in Mobile, Alabama, there are two Mardi Gras. One is a white celebration. The other, a black celebration. Hear in their own words why folks there are in no hurry, they say, to change this century-old tradition.

ROBERTS: Plus, our Rob Marciano is tracking extreme weather for us today.

And Rob, we're hoping it's just a little quieter today than it was yesterday.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Oh, for sure, John. Dolly on her way out, dying a very slow death. Still creating some problems in southern Texas and heat is going to build across spots in the U.S. this weekend. Detailed forecast when AMERICAN MORNING comes right back.


CHETRY: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. It's the country's oldest Mardi Gras Celebration. More than 300 years after the first parade through Mobile, Alabama, it's still segregated. But in a new documentary called "The Order of Myths," you'll see there's no outcry to change this tradition.

Here's CNN's Kareen Wynter.

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John and Kiran. You think Mardi Gras and New Orleans comes to mind. Well, a new documentary gives an eye opening look at this historic celebration in another part of the south that cuts along racial lines.


WYNTER (voice-over): This is Mardi Gras, Mobile style. And so is this. One white celebration, one black. Most of Mobile, Alabama's parade organizations are segregated except for newly formed integrated groups with one white member.

If you're looking for racial outcry, you won't find much here. Both races actually embrace this age-old tradition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My opinion, nothing needs to change.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really don't think that Mobileans are really stressing over the issue.

WYNTER: The new documentary, "The Order Of Myths," follows the city's two groups of Mardi Gras Royalty. A white and black king and queen. And the lavish but separate festivities that might raise eyebrows elsewhere. But here in mobile is kept as tradition.

Film maker Margaret Brown, a Mobile native, whose mother was the Mardi Gras queen in 1966 explores the society that reveres its past.

MARGARET BROWN, DIRECTOR, "THE ORDER OF MYTHS": I think these are families that have been doing it for a long time on both sides. And, whereas they might want to start new traditions, they definitely want to hang on to what's personal.

WYNTER: Some of the images from the film might suggest traces of racial division in the south.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They put on a show just like the white people do. I mean, it gets a lot of well-educated colored people.

WYNTER: However, Brown says both sides respect each other's tradition.

BROWN: People want to move forward, you know, in Mobile and make this sort of, I would hope, a progressive city. I think there's also certain things that people just don't want to change.

WYNTER: New Orleans Mardi Gras organizations were integrated not long after the civil war according to the Louisiana State Museum.

JOSEPH ROBERSON, 2007 BLACK MARDI GRAS KING: I do like the idea of both organizations being able to represent themselves. But I think it would be very conducive for us to move forward.

WYNTER: That may already be happening. Last year, for the first time, the black king and queen broke tradition by attending the white king and queen's coronation. Progress, some say. But don't count on much more. With so many in so little hurry for change.


WYNTER: "The Order of Myths" opens today in New York and then in select cities across the country.



CHETRY: Thanks, Kareen. By the way, the Mardi Gras celebrations in Mobile last for more than 2-1/2 weeks. They're doing a lot of celebrating there.

ROBERTS: They certainly are.

45 minutes after the hour. Rob Marciano is tracking the extreme weather for us this morning from the weather center in Atlanta. We had so much news yesterday, Rob. What's it looking like today?


CHETRY: Well, asleep with nuclear launch codes. Another scary incident involving ballistic missiles. The Air Force investigating right now.

ROBERTS: Crowd pleaser.




ROBERTS: 200,000 strong. And Jeanne Moos is diving in.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mounted on lamp posts, perching on poles, dancing, holding Obama's on a stick. Did we already mention dancing?


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


CHETRY: Senator Barack Obama on route to France and basking in the rock star treatment that he got in Berlin.

ROBERTS: Just how much Obama love was there in Germany? We have got the "Most News in the Morning," and here's Jeanne.


MOOS (voice-over): Here comes a walking O-B-A-M-A. And here's the real thing. Flying to Berlin, Barack Obama had called his speech a crap shoot. A reporter wondered if a million screaming Germans might show up.

OBAMA: I doubt we're going to have a million screaming Germans. Let's tamp down expectations there, if we get a few tens of thousands.

MOOS: Which he did. Around 200,000 say German police. Mounted on lamp posts, perching on posts, dancing, flying balloons, waving flags, more dancing, holding Obamas on a stick, displaying the nerdiest of Obama photos. Eating and did we already mention dancing?

Back in his hotel --


MOOS: Senator Obama was getting the star treatment. Obama was staying at the Hotel Adlon where Michael Jackson once dangled his baby. But the Senator made no balcony appearances, saving it for the stage. It was an entirely serious speech.

OBAMA: Muslims who reject the extremism that leads to hate instead of hope.

MOOS: Not a single intentional laugh line.

OBAMA: My father grew up herding goats in Kenya. His father --

MOOS: There was clapping and chanting and yelling.

AUDIENCE: Obama! Obama!

OBAMA: We know that these walls have fallen before.

MOOS: But compared to the reaction at some Obama speeches.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I wouldn't want to say that they were euphoric.

MOOS: Hard to know if there was a JFK moment.

JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The proudest boast is Ich bin ein Berliner.

MOOS (on camera): Yes. Well, ich bin ein New Yorker. And that thin line has been co-opted by critics to mock Obama.

(voice-over): Ich bin ein beginner getting big place on poster on conservative blogs. But beginner or not, Obama ended with the usual angulations expressed in hungry hands begging to be touched, though not necessarily washed.

OBAMA: Thank you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll never wash my hands.

MOOS: Jeannie Moos, CNN, New York.


ROBERTS: Staying home.


MCCAIN: I'd love to give a speech in Germany. But I'd much prefer to do it as president of the United States.


ROBERTS: John McCain gets a taste of Germany in a working class battleground. And he has a message for Obama in Berlin.

Plus, running into a great wall. The Olympics' ban, Team Iraq. A sprinter wonders if she missed her shot.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who can say I'll even be alive in 2012.


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


ROBERTS: Coming up now at five minutes to the top of the hour. Asleep with nuclear launch codes. The Air Force reporting another careless nuclear incident this morning. The latest in a string of them that have cost some top officials their jobs.

CNN correspondent Barbara Starr has got the story.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Air Force officials acknowledge a minuteman three nuclear missile launch crew fell asleep on July 12th while in control of electronic parts that contained old nuclear launch codes.

It happened at a missile launch facility connected to Minot, North Dakota Air Force base. Air Force officials say the old launch codes were with the crew behind locked doors, guarded by armed military personnel and emphasize the codes were out of date and not useable.

But still, it was against regulations and the officers involved face possible discipline. This is the fourth Air Force incident involving nuclear security that has come to light in recent months. Last year, nuclear warheads were flown on a B-52 from Minot to Barksdale, Louisiana. The crew didn't know they were on board.

In March, it was discovered weapons fuses had accidentally been sent to Taiwan. And earlier this year an Air Force unit at Minot failed a nuclear security inspection.

(on camera): This latest matter was investigated by the National Security Agency which creates nuclear launch codes and commanders are still deciding on discipline for that sleepy crew.

Barbara Starr, CNN, Washington. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: A spokesperson for the Air Force base command in Colorado says that the airmen were out for two to three hours' time.


CHETRY: All right. And welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning." Let's check the "Political Ticker" now. Former Ohio Congressman Rob Portman made an unscheduled appearance on John McCain's Straight Talk Express, leading to speculation that he is a potential vice presidential candidate.

Portman who served in the Bush administration has a strong economic background that could make him attractive to McCain. Plus he's also from Ohio, a key state in the election.

Well, we told you about it yesterday. Now we have video to prove it. That's Richard Simmons leading a fitness rally on Capitol Hill. Simmons was there to testify to a House committee about the need to increase exercise programs in schools to battle childhood obesity. And Simmons hinted that he might be interested in running, not for exercise but for office.

ROBERTS: Three aides to former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer charged with ethics violations. Two of the aides admitted to leaking information to newspapers about Spitzer's rival Joseph Bruno. State police allegedly compiled information that tried to show Bruno was misusing state-owned aircraft. A loophole that made Bruno's travel legal has now been close.

And the House votes to spend $1 billion to fix deficient bridges. The bill which passed overwhelmingly calls for thorough inspections of federal bridges to determine which ones are most in need of repairs. But the bill still needs approval from the Senate and the president.

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

CHETRY: Both John McCain and Barack Obama are campaigning hard to win the Hispanic vote. A new survey shows immigration is not one of the top issues for Hispanics who, by and large, are more worried about the same issues as the rest of America.

As our Ted Rowlands reports, that survey also shows that Barack Obama seems to be winning them over.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, according to this survey, with three months to go before the election, Barack Obama has a three to one lead over John McCain among Hispanic voters.


ROWLANDS (voice-over): The survey from the Pew Hispanic Center shows 66 percent of Latino voters are leaning towards Barack Obama and 23 percent towards John McCain. A dramatic lead for Obama considering just a few months ago, people were saying things like this.

ADELFA CALLEJO, HISPANIC ACTIVIST: Obama had simply has a problem that he happens to be black.

ROWLANDS: About Latinos supporting a black candidate. When asked about ethnicity, 32 percent of those surveyed said being black helps Obama. Only 11 percent said it hurt him. 53 percent said it had no effect. Max *, a playwright in San Antonio, Texas thinks race is not a factor for most Latino voters.

MAX PARRILLA, VOTER: African-American population and our Latino populations have generally as a whole gotten along very well. Both of us were depressed and suppressed in the society.

ROWLANDS: According to the poll, 77 percent of Latinos who voted for Hillary Clinton in the primaries now support Obama. In fact, the poll shows he's now slightly more popular than Clinton with a favorability rate of 76 percent. McCain's favorability is at 44 percent. President Bush is at 27 percent.

The Pew Survey also revealed that Hispanics are less concerned about immigration than they are about education, the economy, crime, and health care. Las Vegas restaurant owner Rigoberto Gonzalez says health care is his biggest concern, saying he can't afford to insure his employees or his wife and three children.

RIGOBERTO GONZALEZ, VOTER: You always wonder when you're on the road, you know, if you ever get in a car accident, if your kids have to go to the hospital, you know, it's just a very scary --

ROWLANDS: Both candidates through a Spanish language ads and campaign appearances are courting Latinos. According to the 2,000 Hispanics who took part in this survey, John McCain has some significant ground to make up.


ROWLANDS: One thing to keep in mind is that this is a national poll. In swing states with large Latino populations like Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada, the races are much closer. And it's in those states that the candidates will be concentrating much of their efforts leading up to November -- John, Kiran.