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American Morning

Michael Phelps Wins Record 10th and 11th Gold, Now the Winningest Olympian in History; NYPD Plans to Track All Vehicles Entering Manhattan; The U.S. Gymnastic Team's Long Road to Beijing; Airlines Surcharging Troops on the Way to War; NRA Accused of Planting Spy; Republicans for Obama: GOP Members Cross Party Lines

Aired August 13, 2008 - 07:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: John McCain simply had the one statement.
Let me --

RICHARD HOLBROOKE, FMR. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: John, the situation was evolving. Obama's statement which came immediately was a placeholder statement as the situation moved. He was on the plane, out of touch on his way to Hawaii. As the situation developed, he clarified, moved his position forward. But it's not a political issue.

ROBERTS: Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, it's always great to talk to you. Interesting article in Foreign Policy magazine.

HOLBROOKE: Thank you. "Foreign Affairs." "Foreign Affairs."

ROBERTS: "Foreign Affairs." I'm sorry.

All right. Thanks very much.

HOLBROOKE: Otherwise they'll kill us.

ROBERTS: All right. Appreciate it. Thanks, Mr. Ambassador.

HOLBROOKE: Thank you, John.


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: 7:00 here on the East Coast. A look at the top story now. Breaking this morning, three female aide workers including one American are dead after an ambush in Afghanistan. The women working for the U.S. aide group International Rescue Committee in the southern part of the country when they were killed. The other victims were from Canada and Ireland. A security official says their Afghani driver also died.

A bomb blowing up a bus and killing at least 11 soldiers and civilians in Lebanon. That number of dead expected to rise. Security officials say the bomb was planted on the side of a main street in Tripoli and went off as the bus went by. The explosion happened just hours before the Lebanese president's visit to neighboring Syria. Lebanese president has not been to Damascus in about three years. Six planes have been grounded. Three of them taking -- almost took off last night before Qantas Airlines pulled them to check maintenance records. The airline says it has nothing to do with safety. It's just a recordkeeping issue, but it comes just a few weeks after one of its jets made an emergency landing when an explosion blew a hole in the 747's fuselage.

And the best Olympian ever. U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps winning his 10th and 11th gold medals yesterday. Two more than any other athlete. And he may not be finished making history just yet.

Larry Smith is live for us in Beijing. Hi, Larry.

LARRY SMITH, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kiran, you're so right. Hi, how are you?

You know, when you think about it, too, think of it this way than Michael Phelps. If swimming were not compacted to only eight days here in Beijing, he will be swimming in more events and could win more than the eight gold he is trying to go for right now. That is how dominant he is in the pool.

First, his first event of the day on this Wednesday here, Beijing time, was a 200 meter butterfly. He set a world record in that despite the fact that his goggles filled with water three quarters of the way through. By the time he finished, he couldn't even see the wall. He was blinded. Yet he still set a world record, and that, as you mentioned, his 10th career Olympic gold, the most all time.

An hour later he came back and he swam the first leg of the four by 200 meter freestyle relay. That, too, a world record. Phelps gave his teammates a 2.5 second lead and they ran off to win by more than five seconds, the first team ever to swim this event in under seven minutes.

Michael Phelps has been simply unbelievable in these games. Five gold medals, five world records in this.

Also today, women's gymnastics. The U.S. women's team had a shot at a gold medal but couldn't get it done. The veteran, Alicia Sacramone, slipping during a crucial moment in this. They gave up some very important points and allowed the Chinese to come in and take gold.

So the U.S. women's team despite solid efforts otherwise, still without gold in the women's team gymnastics competition since Atlanta in 1996, the moment of that famous Kerri Strug vault that we all still remember. And, by the way, USA now has 28 total medals, 10 of them gold. China has 17 gold, 25 overall.

Kiran, let's go back to you.

CHETRY: All right. Larry, thanks so much.

And here's a look at the latest medal counts in an "AM EXTRA" now. The United States still leads in total medals. The U.S. with 28, China is 26. South Korea, Italy and Australia tied with 12. China continues to dominate in the race for gold though with 17 gold medals. The U.S. has 10 gold. Korea -- South Korea, five.

ROBERTS: There is a brand-new battle over security and your privacy. It's happening right now in the city that suffered the worst attack ever on U.S. soil. A new New York City Police Department plan would track every car coming into Manhattan.

Our Alina Cho is here now with the details. Hey, Alina.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, John. Good morning to you. This would essentially create a buffer zone around a 50-mile radius. Now if you live in and around New York City, you are used to the tight security at the bridges and tunnels. But this new plan goes one giant step further.

The New York Police Department wants to track each and every vehicle entering Manhattan to guard against a potential terror attack. Now, New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg calls it necessary.


MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, MAYOR, NEW YORK: Because New York City is something special, it's not just a very big city in this world. It is, in many senses, the iconic city. It represents western democracy I think as much as any other city.


CHO: Now under the plan the New York Police Department would record the time your vehicle entered Manhattan, your license plate number, even the radioactive levels of your vehicle by using scanners and security cameras. And that information would be stored for at least a month. That part is controversial, certainly.

The plan also calls for creating a so-called ring of steel around ground zero. Taxis would be specially screened. Delivery trucks would have to be directed to an underground bomb screening center, all under the watchful eye of some 3,000 security cameras and dozens of guard booths. And all of this, of course, raises some big questions about privacy. And as you might imagine, reaction to the plan has been mixed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why should they have the right to pull -- I mean, that's basically like pulling you over without pulling you over. And running your license plates when you've done nothing wrong. You didn't do anything. You don't deserve it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say it's good. I mean, you know, because this way they will know who's going into the city and who's not going into the city. I would agree on it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHO: Now, at this point, this is just a planning document as officials are calling it. Of course, things could change. But city officials, John, do hope to have something resembling this, a tighter security plan for New York City in place by 2010. This is a 50-mile radius of a buffer zone at a cost of tens of millions of dollars, John. This is a very big deal.

ROBERTS: Alina Cho for us this morning. Alina, thanks very much.

CHO: You bet.

CHETRY: Well, they shouldn't have messed with the lady with the broom. Check this out.

It's a security video from a convenience store in Florida. Police say the woman behind the counter used a broom to literally swat away two masked, knife-wielding robbers right out of the store. Witnesses pinned down the underage suspects outside. Police say the teens were already wanted for robbing the same store several days ago.

And a two-story home on wheels. Blocking rush hour for traffic in Des Moines, Iowa. You can see it got tangled up in the traffic signals yesterday and then police had to bring in utility crews and a crane to get it moving again. It was stuck for about 20 minutes.

I mean, who thought you could clear that? The house is clearly like almost a story higher than the traffic light. The dangers of carrying homes down roads.

ROBERTS: A Burger King worker in Ohio fired for taking a bath in the store sink and then taping it and then putting it on the Internet. Turns out the Health Department got a look at this when it ended up on MySpace.

The guy calls himself Mr. Unstable. He wasn't wearing anything. You do the math there. The shift manager who witnessed it all and the employee behind the camera were also fired.

Also caught on tape, a professor loses his cool and his pants in front of a roomful of students and teachers in Kansas.

Fort Hays State debate coach Bill Shanahan mooned a fellow female debate coach during a very heated argument about race. The exchange happened back in March and ended up, of course, where else, on YouTube. The posting caused a campus-wide investigation. The college has not taken any further action yet.

CHETRY: Wow. All right.

An extra day off a week. It sounds great. I was trying to move on to most people. But the longer hours each day are causing problems for some as well. It's a give and take. It's part of a series that we're doing on the four-day workweek.

ROBERTS: A long time gun control advocate is now accused of being a spy for the NRA. It's a story that you'll see only on CNN. CHETRY: And nobody likes the extra fees the airlines are charging these days. If you're a service member and you're heading off to the war zone, think you're exempt? We'll show you about a new surcharge when the "Most News in the Morning" comes right back.


ROBERTS: While swimmer Michael Phelps broke Olympic records winning his fifth gold medal, the American women's gymnastics team faced a tough defeat. China took the gold medal in the team final after multiple mistakes by the U.S. team who still won silver. Larry Smith looks at what it took to get the U.S. team this far.


LARRY SMITH, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you're looking for the key to the United States recent run of success in women's gymnastics there is no map. Just take a left at Houston, Texas, and drive until your cell phone no longer gets reception.

NASTIA LIUKIN, 2007 BALANCE BEAM WORLD CHAMPION: We meet together at our national team training center monthly for about four days. And I really think that helps and it creates a really special bond between us.

SMITH: The training camps are the idea of Martha Karolyi, wife of famed coach Bela Karolyi. She led the women's team to gold in 1996 but after a medaless finish in 2000 under her husband, Karolyi became the team's coordinator to stop the tumbles.

Now to make sure that various girls and their coaches are practicing what she is preaching, Karolyi brings them all together once a month at her remote ranch in New Waverly, Texas.

ALICIA SACRAMONE, 2005 FLOOR EXERCISE WORLD CHAMPION: It's not that she's changing our coaches' techniques of training. It's just that, you know, she's just trying to give us a little more guidance.

SMITH: Since 2001, the U.S. is the only country to win a team medal at each of the major world competitions, including silver in Athens and gold at the 2007 world championships.

SAMANTHA PECZAK, U.S. GYMNAST: I think in the past the U.S. team, you know, is really individualized and they never trained together. And before, you know, the girls would be such rivals to each other because of the coaches and just everyone was just fighting. It was just a blood battle every time, every little competition.

SMITH: The girls say they enjoy the team building, but they are teenagers after all. So the lack of a cell signal ensures that they will have to talk to each other.

LIUKIN: It's nice to be able to be close like that and just to, you know, get our mind outside of gymnastics every once in a while.

SMITH: Nastia Liukin could soon find herself the talk of the games. So far she and Shawn Johnson have shared top billing on the team. But they both know there is only room for one it girl on the squad. And "its" will only come with a gold medal in the all around competition.

LIUKIN: It was a lot of fun, you know, doing a lot of interviews and photo shoots and -- but at the same time it's kind of like I'm glad that, you know, there's somebody else to step up to that.

SHAWN JOHNSON, 2007 ALL-AROUND WORLD CHAMPION: If I'm the it girl, as people say, it will just be a dream come true.

SMITH: Each girl knows that title would catapult them into bright lights far from Karolyi's ranch where their phones would likely never stop ringing.

Larry Smith, CNN, Beijing.


CHETRY: Well, leftists, be proud. It's your day. We're not talking politics. We're actually talking left-handed.

Today is August 13th. It's designated as International Left-Handers Day. Erasable ink and spiral notebooks will still drive you crazy but no one can call you the devil till tomorrow.

You can rejoice with such famous lefties as Senator Barack Obama, not politics here either. Also, Angelina Jolie, and left-handed royalty, Prince William.

ROBERTS: Well, crossing party lines. Prominent Republicans are now backing Barack Obama, including the granddaughter of President Eisenhower. So what's Obama have that John McCain doesn't? We'll talk with Susan Eisenhower, live.

CHETRY: Balancing act.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My first instinct was, day care closes at 6:00.


CHETRY: The four-day workweek. Making life work when work takes up most of your day.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you change that balance then it doesn't -- I mean, my reserves are really low already.


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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROBERTS: 16 minutes after the hour. And the top videos right now on Most popular, Barack Obama wins the bobble head election. A minor league team in Florida had fans vote for the doll that they took home, John McCain or Barack Obama.

Also, a 100 pound tortoise. A man in Louisiana found a giant animal in his backyard. Fed him. Three heads of cabbage is just a single meal for him. He also hired the tortoise to do the lawn. And I guess he pays him in green of lettuce.

And don't try to sell this guy a hybrid. His 1983 Lincoln Town car just crossed the 1,300,000 mile mark. He started logging miles and tracking tune-ups the day he took the car off the lot.

You're watching the "Most News in the Morning." We're going to be back in 90 seconds.

CHETRY: Boom, that's the fastest 90 seconds ever.


CHETRY: We're back.

ROBERTS: Just goes by like that. Time worth.

CHETRY: You know, we just did a story about left-handed in today's International Lefties Day, you know, for people that are left-handed. Suzanne Malveaux wrote to me and said, "Don't forget me as well as John McCain." So we're definitely going to have a left-handed president.

And she also said our boss, John Klein, a lefty as well. Not politics wise. Just in the writing.

ROBERTS: There you are. Clarifying that.

CHETRY: Well, if you think that it's unfair that the airlines are charging you to check bags or for extra baggage, get this. Now even U.S. troops are being hit up for extra money as they go to the war zone. CNN's Deb Feyerick reports.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, Kiran, this is a policy that some airlines have had in place for several years. But with rising fuel costs and airlines cutting back, there's greater urgency that troops may initially have to shell out money adding to their worries.


FEYERICK (voice-over): Are U.S. soldiers setting off for war paying extra just to take their kit with them? One staff sergeant leaving San Antonio for Camp Bowie in Fort Worth was charged 100 bucks for checking a third bag. And the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization is worried the practice will spread. Now airlines are feeling the pinch. JOE DAVIS, VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS: What we want to do is to nip this in the bud by exempting the military personnel who are traveling under orders from having to pay a fee on their third bag.

FEYERICK: Joe Davis says soldiers don't have the time or money to be worrying about claiming baggage expenses.

DAVIS: You have a family at home and you stand at that airline counter and you have three bags in your hand. And they say you can't get on board unless you pay $100 up front right now. What are you going to do?

These young troops are going to war. There's a lot more on their mind than have to worry or try to remember to get a $100 reimbursed to them when they get into a war zone.

FEYERICK: Veterans of Foreign Wars sent a letter to the aviation industry asking that U.S. troops be exempt from any extra baggage fees. American Airlines and others reached by CNN defend the practice saying troops are allowed heavier and bigger bags and can check two for free, unlike commercial travelers. An American Airlines spokesman tells CNN troops are allowed 190 pounds each free of charge. And that, quote, "If they pay, they get reimbursed, so at the end they don't pay a dime."

Vouchers authorizing extra baggage are usually issued by the military prior to a flight and the reimbursement is likely pending approval. As with any business expense, it is not guaranteed.

The group representing airlines says it supports the troops but that baggage policy is, quote, "made independently by the individual airlines." It has no plans to ask for an across the board waiver for U.S. service members.


FEYERICK: Many airlines waive some or all excessive baggage fees for military members traveling on official order. But for those who don't the Department of Defense says the fees are reimbursable if authorized on a travel order, really like any business traveler -- John, Kiran.

CHETRY: Deb Feyerick for us, thank you.

A spokesman for American Airlines also said that since service members can expense the fees anyway, if they waive the fees entirely it means the military is getting the discount, not the individual troops. A spokesman for service members headed to Iraq are saying that they should not have to worry about filing expenses and expense forms as they're headed to the war zone.

ROBERTS: The National Rifle Association accused of planting a spy with the anti-gun lobby. It's a story that you'll see only on CNN.

CHETRY: The super suit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they're faster without a question.


CHETRY: Chris Lawrence takes another look at the Speedo that's produced a tidal wave of world records. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


CHETRY: Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning." Did the NRA, the National Rifle Association, have a spy in gun control groups?

Well, a woman who spent years working to regulate gun ownership may have actually been planted by the gun lobby. It's a story you'll see only on CNN.

Jason Carroll has been chasing this down, and he joins me now with more. Hi, Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, it's an odd story, isn't it?


CARROLL: Yes. Well, we're trying to get to the bottom of it.

One U.S. senator says it's time for the NRA to come forward and clarify whether or not the woman who may have been working for them was also working for gun control groups.


CARROLL (voice-over): Gun control groups knew her as Mary McFate, a woman who they thought worked with them, opposing groups like the National Rifle Association. But according to the liberal magazine "Mother Jones," Mary McFate is also Mary Sapone, a paid spy, it says, working for the NRA.

BRYAN MILLER, CEASEFIRE N.J.: I think it was an underhanded, dishonest, venal trick on the part of the gun lobby.

CARROLL: Bryan Miller joined Ceasefire, a gun prevention group, after his brother and FBI agent was shot and killed. He worked with McFate at Ceasefire for 10 years, considered her a friend, a trusted colleague, who sat in on many meetings.

MILLER: It certainly would be to the NRA's advantage or the gun lobby's advantage to know how we were going to message issues ahead of time and they had that opportunity with Mary sitting in on, I mean, virtually every council.

CARROLL: Public records show Mary McFate has also used the name Mary Sapone and has an address in Sarasota, Florida. "Mother Jones" reports that a Mary Sapone once worked at a security firm where the NRA was one of her clients.

Repeated attempts by CNN to reach her for comment were unsuccessful. Spokesman for the NRA told us he could not comment.

New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg sent the NRA a letter urging them to set the record straight. Lautenberg asked the NRA to, quote, "admit whether these charges are true or false." As for McFate, her work history reads like a gun prevention group's dream candidate. Leader of Pennsylvanians Against Handgun Violence, Ceasefire board member, worked for States United to Prevent Gun Violence, member of the Brady Campaign, one of the country's most prominent gun control groups.

In 2005, the "Sarasota Herald-Tribune" profiled her, the article saying, quote, "Mary McFate wants to save the world."

BRIAN MALTE, BRADY CAMPAIGN: Obviously she seemed very committed and she worked with us and worked with gun violence victims.

CARROLL: But Brian Malte, a member of the Brady Campaign, had suspicions.

MALTE: We also said, hey, look, you're a really good advocate in Florida. Why don't you start a Million Mom March Chapter. Why don't you become more involved? Let's take it to the next level. And she never really wanted to do that.


CARROLL: And legal experts say if the allegations are true, it is unethical but it may not be illegal simply because it's not entirely clear any laws were broken.

CHETRY: You're right. Very unusual. You know, we also called the NRA this morning, invited them to come on and give us a statement to respond to the reporting. And the press secretary told us, I told you guys repeatedly I have no comment.


CHETRY: Very interesting story. Jason Carroll, thanks for being with us.


ROBERTS: Coming up on the "Most News in the Morning." Everybody is talking about the U.S. swimmers dominating in Beijing, but are the swimmers playing fair? Controversy over those skin tight, high-tech swim suits.

The good.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This Friday we're going to the planetarium. Next Friday is the zoo.


ROBERTS: And the bad.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, I can't make up the soccer game that I missed.


ROBERTS: It's not all about the three-day weekend. The ups and downs of the four-day workweek. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


ROBERTS: 28 minutes after the hour. News just in from the Obama campaign. We have found out this morning that the keynote speaker on Tuesday night, which is the same night that Hillary Clinton is going to speak, is going to be former Virginia Governor Mark Warner. So that would seem to indicate that Virginia Governor Mark Warner is not on the vice presidential list because the vice president will be speaking on Wednesday night.

You have heard politicians talk about bipartisanship, but what about a voter being on both sides of the fence? Our next guest is a Republican. In fact, her grandfather was President Eisenhower. Now she's just one GOP member announcing that they are crossing party lines to form Republicans for Obama.

Joining me now is Susan Eisenhower. Ms. Eisenhower, it's great to see you. We all remember that the "I like Ike" campaign back in 1952. But reading what you've said about Senator Obama, it seems like there are some similarities that he may be just like Ike. What can you tell me about that?

SUSAN EISENHOWER, OBAMA SUPPORTER: Well, the key thing is here, this is the first open election since 1952. That means an election where there are no incumbents in the race. And at that time Dwight Eisenhower was the outside candidate. He had no long standing political relationships, and he came in as an agent for change in Washington. I think that's one of the really big similarities.

ROBERTS: Right. You also see some similarities, you said, between Senator Obama and President Reagan. How so?

EISENHOWER: Well, I think that both men have the capacity to make this country feel good about itself. This cannot be underestimated as an important part of mobilizing the country really to address some very serious problems.

ROBERTS: Your grandfather, of course, was very famous for his three pillars of national security: address your enemies, provide economic security, moral authority as well. Do you believe that Senator Obama has the same type of experience to be able to carry on those three pillars of national security?

EISENHOWER: I think actually Barack Obama thinks about national security in those terms. And I think that every American --

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN, ANCHOR: ... moral authority as well. Do you believe that Senator Obama has the same type of experience to be able to carry on those three pillars of national security?

SUSAN EISENHOWER, OBAMA SUPPORTER: I think, actually, Barack Obama thinks about national security in those terms. And I think every American now understands that we're somewhere near a perfect storm with a very big economic crisis in this country due to the sub prime problem as well as an increasingly complicated international situation. Barack Obama, I think, had a very, very successful trip overseas. And I think he can actually restore America's prestige abroad.

ROBERTS: Now, the McCain campaign has been trying to tear him down at every opportunity and they keep on zeroing in on this idea of celebrity. Let's take a quick look at the latest ad from the McCain campaign that hammers Obama on that point.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now you, too, can join the one fan club right here in America. So act now and don't delay. We know he doesn't have much experience. And isn't ready to lead. But that doesn't mean he isn't dreamy.


ROBERTS: So that's the latest negative ad from the Obama campaign. But let me ask you about this idea of leadership. Your grandfather had such an extraordinarily deep resume. He was the supreme allied commander during World War II in Europe, served two terms as president, an enormous foreign policy experience. Are you confident that Senator Obama can measure up to that sort of experience that you've had historically in your family?

EISENHOWER: Well, one of the reasons I decided to cross the aisle is Senator Obama actually has been since the beginning of his campaign reaching out to republicans, independents, and democrats. I got called a year and a half ago and asked for my thoughts on Russia and nonproliferation, which are two areas of my expertise. And the Obama campaign didn't seem remotely worried about the fact that I wasn't a democrat. I checked out - this out in Washington. And this was happening in a uniform way. We have to have a listener now. The situation is very dynamic both at home and abroad. And we have to have a president who is capable of bringing democrats and republicans together to address these problems.

ROBERTS: So are you just one moderate republican who is switching sides here? Are you the start of a larger movement? We did have former congressman Jim Leech from Iowa and former senator, republican senator Lincoln Chafee from Rhode Island who has been called by many people a RINO, a republican in name only, yesterday announced that they were coming over to Obama's side.

EISENHOWER: Right. I actually supported the senator as early as February 2nd. So, I've been there from the beginning. And this was even before John McCain was the apparent nominee of the republican party. There are many republicans. I had an avalanche of e-mail after that endorsement. And many moderate republicans said that they're terrified of having a third Bush term. John McCain has been a real supporter of virtually everything that the Bush White House has wanted. And I think the American people feel desperate for a change. Especially an understanding that we have to restore our position abroad.

ROBERTS: Susan Eisenhower, it's great to talk to you. Thanks for coming on this morning. All right. We'll see you again.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN, ANCHOR: All right. 33 minutes past 7:00 here on the east coast. You're looking at the top stories breaking this morning. Breaking this morning, an ambush killing three aide workers who are working for an organization, a U.S. organization in southern Afghanistan. They were all female. One was an American citizen, the other victims are from Canada and Ireland. A security official says their Afghani driver was also killed in that attack.

Lebanon security forces saying at least 11 members of the Lebanese military as well as civilians have been killed after a bomb blew up next to a bus. That number is expected to rise. Security officials say the bomb was planted on the side of a main street in Tripoli and went off as the bus passed.

Also breaking now, a ceasefire between Russia and Georgia that both have agreed to may not last even a day. And with a close ally still in danger, Russia's relationship with the U.S. is taking a hit. State Department correspondent Zain Verjee is live for us in Washington with more on the developing situation today. Hi, Zain.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kiran. Senior U.S. officials say that the U.S. and its allies are really moving ahead with plans to punish Russia for invading Georgia. The aim really is to isolate Russia diplomatically. Now the message the U.S. is trying to send here is it's not going to be business as usual. That there will be consequences. Russia though does have a lot of reasons to have frustrations with the U.S. Here are some of them.


VERJEE (voice-over): Russia's letting the world know it's in charge of its immediate neighborhood. Pounding U.S. ally, Georgia. But Russia's foreign minister accused Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for misleading President Bush by claiming Russia wanted to overthrow the Georgian president

SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): This is totally irresponsible to mislead the leadership of a powerful country about the true intentions of Russia. We have no plans to throw down any leadership.

VERJEE: From Russia's point of view, the U.S. support for Georgia is a direct threat to its influence. Washington, which holds Georgia up as a symbol for democracy is pushing for it to join the NATO club. Russia's sending a signal to its former Soviet republic like Ukraine or Moldova.

SARAH MENDELSON, CTR. FOR STRATEGIC & INT'L STUDIES: If I were a neighbor of Russia and I saw what Russia had done to Georgia, I would be very nervous. I think those countries that are leaning towards the west are very nervous today.

VERJEE: Another poke in Russia's eye, American missile defense plans in Poland and the Czech Republic. That's making Russia feel encircled. A long standing sore point for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the U.S. backing for Kosovo's independence.

MENDELSON: I think this is in part payback for Kosovo. The international community recognizing the independence of Kosovo. And Russia wanted similar status for South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

VERJEE: The Russians think those two pro-Russian regions should be able to break away from Georgia.


VERJEE (on-camera): Administration officials also say they've told Russia that they just cannot stay in Georgia and that the Russians responded to them saying that it had no intention. Just one other note, Secretary of State rice will be speaking to reporters a little bit later this morning, Kiran. So, we'll likely have a few more developments. Kiran.

CHETRY: And what kind of action could the U.S. take against Russia?

VERJEE: Well, U.S. officials are saying that they're considering whether to kick Russia out of the club of industrialized nations that's known as the G-8. Also it's membership in the World Trade Organization could be at stake. And those sorts of things would really hurt Russia. But you know, Kiran, the Russians are in a pretty good position. They're in a position of real strength in this situation. Especially because they have a lot of oil wealth. So they have a lot of leverage.

CHETRY: Absolutely. Zain Verjee for us at the State Department this morning. Thank you.

ROBERTS: 37 minutes after the hour. All this week we're looking at employers that have gone to a four-day workweek to save money. Now comes word that Chrysler is considering shifting its factories to four hours - four days, rather, at ten hour shifts. The move reduces energy costs and for the most part workers are happy to get an extra day off.

But as our John Zarrella reports, when the state of Utah went to four- day workweeks it didn't exactly work out for everyone.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): John, Kiran, Utah's state government believes it can save $3 million a year by going to a four-day workweek. But just as important as the savings is how it affects employees. We spent some time with two who have similar issues, but very different views.

Carolyn Dennis.


ZARRELLA: Mylitta Barrett.

MYLITTA BARRETT, STATE BUSINESS ANALYST: And I leave and get to work by 7:00.

ZARRELLA: Both women work for the state of Utah. Both have children. But the state's new four-day workweek has impacted their lives very differently.

DENNIS: My first instinct was day care closes at 6:00.

ZARRELLA: Next reaction?

DENNIS: I'm going to have every Friday to spend with my son. So -

ZARRELLA: Carolyn's workday is longer now. In before 7:00, out about 6:00 with a half hour lunch. Her son's hours in day care are longer, too, but now just four days a week. Carolyn says their quality of life just got better.

DENNIS: This Friday we're going to the planetarium. Next Friday is the zoo.

ZARRELLA: It is not working out that way for this single mom, Mylitta Barrett. She has three sons. Joseph is severely disabled. Today she used vacation time to leave work early to pick him up at day care.

BARRETT: Long-term care givers, we have a balance we have to maintain. If you change that balance, then it doesn't - my reserves are really low already.

ZARRELLA: Mylitta now needs a sitter in the mornings to care for Joseph until his bus comes to pick him up. There's less time for her other boys as well.

BARRETT: I mean, I can't make up the soccer game that I missed on Monday night because I don't get home until 7:00 at night.

ZARRELLA: Mylitta knows hers is an extreme situation. Her supervisors are being as flexible as they can, she says. And after 15 years with the state, she can't quit. And depends on the medical coverage.

Two women. Mylitta Barrett. Carolyn Dennis. One life harder. One life better.

ZARRELLA (on-camera): State officials say that at first blush, employees are for the most part absolutely giddy over the four-day workweek. But they also understand that as much as they may want it to work for everyone, that's simply not realistic. John. Kiran.


ROBERTS: John Zarrella for us. And coming up tomorrow we're going to take a look at how much money employees are saving on gas by commuting one fewer day each week.

CHETRY: And meanwhile, we have Ali Velshi "Minding your Business" for us this morning. Hey, Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN, SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kiran. The U.S. dollar continues to strengthen against things like the pound and the euro. But it's not helping American customers who want to shop here in the U.S. I'll tell you more about what American consumers are doing when we come back.


CHETRY: Welcome back to the most news in the morning. Ali Velshi here with some good news. Talking about the dollar gaining some strength.

VELSHI: Again, yes. If it gets any better I'll have to take another trip to Europe. The dollar has strengthened again against major currencies. Take a look at this. Against the euro, now $1.49 to buy one of those. $1.88 to buy a pound and $0.94 to buy a Canadian dollar, which means - it means a couple things.

One is it means that you've got more buying power if you go overseas. The danger here, of course, is that we have seen a real push, a real increase in the number of products that we export to other countries as the dollar has been weaker. So as it strengthens you start to see that level off. The other thing is the economic situation here in the United States is still causing people to spend less money. According to the group N.P.D. which tracks retail sales, a survey there indicated that now more and more Americans are prepared to change the way they shop because they have been spending more on energy prices.

Now, again, we've seen gas prices coming down. I think the 28th day now in a row or something like that. We've seen oil prices coming down. Of course, if those continue to come down we will see a break for consumers and they may turn back to shopping. So we're definitely at an inflection point in this economy right now. The dollar strengthening, gas prices are coming down. We'll have to see how long this trend lasts. But a little bit of good news for you this morning.

ROBERTS: So the next time you go to a European country you'll have to go to a European country that actually has euros.

VELSHI: I just might have to go to euro country. Exactly

ROBERTS: All right. Thanks, Ali.

CHETRY: Thanks, Ali. You know, we're following breaking news for you this morning. We just got word that Georgia's security chief is saying Russians have broken that truce and are now bombing and looting one of the city's in Georgia. We're going to have the latest for you when AMERICAN MORNING comes right back.


CHETRY: We have some breaking news right now in the ongoing conflict between Georgia and Russia. We're getting word right now that Georgia security chief is saying that Russians have broken that truce, that they're actually bombing and looting Gori, a city in Georgia.

In fact, our own Frederick Pleitgen saying he's talking to the security chief who says that Russian tanks are in Gori right now. That they've blocked off the entrance to the city and are providing cover for what he's calling irregular fighters. These are fighters from Russia and Southern Ossetia, being referred to as Kozaks but they're actually looting the city right now.

They're also saying that Georgian leaders are desperately trying to get European leaders who visited Tbilisi two days ago to come back and try to go to Gori and mediate the situation there. Again, the headline out of this is that even though they're talking truce, that's not what's happening on the ground, according to our reporters there in Gori and in other parts of Georgia. We'll continue to follow the update, the latest developments and update you as soon as we find more on what's going on here, John.

ROBERTS: Coming up on 48 minutes after the hour. U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps has won 11 geld medals so far. But his swimming dominates the news out of Beijing. There's a huge controversy over those skin tight high-tech swim suits. Are the winners playing fair? CNN's correspondent Chris Lawrence shows us why the slick suit is making major waves.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, they're tight. There's skin tight. Then there's this new suit that took some swimmers up to 40 minutes just to slip on.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): He's only in high school but Max Elliott is ready to trade his suit for the Speedo LZR.

MAX ELLIOTT, SWIMMER: The new ones are ultrasonically bonded. They actually don't have seems.

LAWRENCE: These seems are submerged in controversy. Swimmers have set at least 50 world records in the LZR and it just came out in February. A world record holder says it turns mediocre swimmers into Martians. And foreign swimmer revolted against their own sponsors to get it in time for the games. BOB STRAND, WORLD CHAMPION MASTERS SWIMMER: I think they're faster without any question.

LAWRENCE: Master swimmer Bob Strand says water seems to literally bounce off the LZR.

STRAND: You've got to have every advantage you can. You can't have somebody sitting next to you with a better suit than you've got.

LAWRENCE: An Italian coach called the LZR, "technological doping." But the Olympic committee OK'd its super light fabric because the suit doesn't provide buoyancy. And some say it's part of an ongoing evolution, from Mark Spitz winning gold medals with shaggy hair.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the '70s nobody really thought to shave. If you notice he swam with a mustache and no goggles.

LAWRENCE: And when Jason Schwartz started training it was all about the smallest suit possible.

JASON SCHWARTZ, SWIMMER: At the time we thought the skin was the fastest thing against the water. We would shave our legs. We would get the dead skin off. We would get the hair off.

LAWRENCE: Full body suits designed to reduce drag first caused the stir in the 1992 Olympic trials but Speedo says the LZR does more. Its core stabilizer helps swimmers maintain a streamline position through the end of a race.

What I'd say is 40 percent is the technology and 60 percent is really mental. You know, you get on of these suits on, yes, I'm going to go fast.

LAWRENCE (on-camera): And if you want to feel what the Olympic swimmers do, it'll cost you. The LZR goes on sale to the public in October but will cost up to $550. John, Kiran.


ROBERTS: Chris Lawrence with that for us this morning. The swimming domination in those skin tight suits may be far from over because the winningiest Olympian in history is competing in three more events. That's our Michael Phelps.

50 minutes after the hour. We're following the breaking news out of Georgia this morning. Reports from Georgian security officials that the Russians have broken a promised ceasefire. We're following that for you. We'll have the latest in just a moment. Stay with us.


CHETRY: Welcome back to the most news in the morning. U.S. troops are coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan with serious drinking problems, according to a new study in the "Journal of the American Medical Association." Members of the National Guard, for example, 26 percent more likely to binge drink when they come home compared to when they left. We're "Paging Dr. Gupta" right now this morning. He's live in Atlanta. Why are so many servicemen and women turning to alcohol, at least according to this study, Sanjay?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Kiran, alcohol and war have been long linked for some time. We're starting to get a better idea of who is most likely to abuse and why that is. You mentioned the National Guard reserve troops, a couple of common elements here seem to be the witnessing of violence. People who witness violence, either death, physical abuse or some sort of maiming, those are the people who seem to turn to alcohol the most even long after they return from the war.

As you mentioned, again, the reserve guard troops are particularly vulnerable to this. Their numbers really much higher, it could be because they haven't had the same training as career military. They have other jobs which are far different from their experience in the war zone. But young people as well. And that's defined as people born after 1980 who are also very vulnerable. Take a look at those numbers, Kiran. Remarkable, seven times more likely to binge drink again after returning. Five times more likely to have alcohol-related problems. So this is more than just a slight blip. This is a very significant problem.

From a medical standpoint, Kiran, I think this is also important because when it comes to P.T.S.D., post-traumatic stress disorder, one of the earliest warning signs might be someone who is starting to abuse alcohol or substances. This could be a red flag to doctors or people in the health community to say, look, if there's an alcohol problem here should we be probing a little bit deeper to find out if in fact, this is representative of P.T.S.D., Kiran.

CHETRY: They call it, you know self medicating rather than going to a professional to work through some of this. Is there enough help available out there?

GUPTA: You know, it's a good question. We've done a lot of stories about that issue. This is a complicated problem to treat, if, in fact, it is alcoholism or substance abuse. But it starts even earlier than that in terms of obstacles. There's still a huge amount of stigma, as far as we could tell, with actually going to a senior person, within the military and saying you're suffering from P.T.S.D. or you have some sort of substance abuse problem.

So taking care of the stigma, then increasing access overall are going to be two obstacles that still need to be overcome. And we're seeing more cases than ever before. So, this is something that needs to be dealt with rather quickly.

CHETRY: Absolutely. Sanjay, good to see you. Thanks.

GUPTA: Thanks, Kiran.


ROBERTS (voice-over): Real Olympic trial.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm looking at the end of my career here, whether I'm having treatment done today or in another month.

ROBERTS: A U.S. swimmer says cancer can wait until after Beijing.

And, unfit to fill.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This no longer got the state seal of approval of being accurate.

ROBERTS: Gas inspectors look for scams that could cost you.


ROBERTS: Well, she wowed spectators with her performance at the Olympic games' opening ceremony. But it turns out she was lip- synching China's patriotic song. And today Olympic organizers are defending their decision to fake it. John Vause joins us now live from Beijing. Shades of Milli Vanilli, John.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Yes, the organizers are being unashamedly unapologetic about doing a little switcheroo the morning of the opening ceremony which has been described here as a moment of national pride for China. As you say, there was a moment there which Milli Vanilli would be proud of as well.


VAUSE (voice-over): The defining moment for modern China, a national celebration and one little girl, (Yang Pei Yi) was heard but not seen. Apparently because of her appearance and stage presence. Games organizers confirmed to CNN during the opening ceremony Yang's voice was used by another little girl. Lin Miaoke was mouthing the words to "Ode to the Motherland" as China entered the stadium. The opening ceremonies musical director explained why on Beijing radio.

The reason was for the national interest, he says. The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feelings and expression. Lin Miaoke, he went on to say is excellent in those aspects. The decision, he says, went as high as the Politburo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (through translator): We had to do it. We had been through several inspections. They're all very strict. When we rehearse at the spot, there were spectators there from various divisions, especially leaders from the Politburo who gave the opinion it must change, he says.

VAUSE: Few here realized that Lynn was lip-synching. Tiny singer wins the heart of nation is the headline in Tuesday's "China Daily." "Lin Miaoke might only be nine years old but she is already well on her way to becoming a star. Thanks to her heartwarming performance," the article gushes, without mentioning she never sang a note. But as word gets out on the internet, some Chinese bloggers are outraged.

"If you're not good looking, no matter how well you sing, you will not be on stage. Do you know you're twisting a whole generation" red one comment. "If foreigners found out they'll think we can't even find a girl who is good at both," wrote another.