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American Morning

O.J. Simpson Faces Life in Prison; Places to Turn to Find Work; Hanging up on Obama; Military Subcontractor Confines Workers; Are Singles Being Discriminated?

Aired December 05, 2008 - 08:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: It's coming up now to a minute to the top of the hour, and here are this morning's top stories. While America's big three automakers go to Congress for a bailout, Japanese car maker Honda has decided to save some cash by sending its Formula One car crew to the pit permanently. Honda says curbing its F-1 team will save hundreds of millions of dollars every year.
Police in Paris are trying to track down a group of cross dressing bandits who stole an estimated $1.2 million in jewelry from a Harry Winston store. Police say the armed robbers overturned display cases and ordered the staff to empty the store safe and swiped rings, necklaces, and watches from displays. It was the second time in the past year that thieves have targeted the store.

And this morning, a pair of disputed earrings believed to be more than 9,000 years old are off the auction block. Christy's pulled the auction after Iraqi authorities claimed the golden earrings were stolen from a museum in Baghdad after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. It's believed that the earrings are part of the Nimrod collection from Assyrian empire.

In Las Vegas it's sentencing day for O.J. Simpson. The question is not will he go to prison, it's for how long. Simpson was convicted of robbing and kidnapping two sports memorabilia dealers at gunpoint in a Las Vegas hotel room. CNN's Kara Finnstrom looks at Simpson's day of reckoning and his infamous legal past.

KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kiran, John, O.J. Simpson's attorneys will pick leniency. They're asking for a prison sentence that would be no shorter than six years. But when the judge ultimately hands down her sentence in that Las Vegas courtroom, Simpson could face a term of up to life.


FINNSTROM: The nation watched the chase. The theatrics.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not guilty of a crime of murder.

FINNSTROM: The so-called trial of the century that turned O.J. Simpson into celebrity outcast and obsession.

FRED GOLDMAN, RONALD GOLDMAN'S FATHER: Ron and Nicole were butchered.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Orenthal James Simpson, guilty.

FINNSTROM: Last October 3rd, we watched again, when Simpson convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping in an entirely different case, was taken away in handcuffs. His daughter crying, his sister fainting.

GABRIEL GRASSO, SIMPSON ATTORNEY: Had O.J. walked into the Bank of America with an AK-47 and duct tape and duct taped all the tellers and stuck them in the safe, OK, and stole that million dollars, he'd be charged with the same exact thing he's charged with here.

FINNSTROM: Prosecutors said Simpson and a group of cohorts orchestrated a hold-up in a Las Vegas hotel room, using a weapon to get merchandise from two sports memorabilia dealers. Simpson claims the items were stolen from him. The confrontation was caught on tape.

O.J. SIMSPON, FORMER NFL FOOTBALL STAR: Don't let anybody out of this room. (INAUDIBLE), you think you can steal my (bleep) and sell it? Don't let nobody out of here.

FINNSTROM: Simpson's attorney has said a fair trial was nearly impossible. Millions had watched his acquittal in the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Two years later, the public watched another jury in civil court find him liable for the killings. And then there was this 2007 book "If I Did It." Simpson's hypothetical account of the murders. Fred Goldman, Ron Goldman's father reacted to the Las Vegas convictions.

GOLDMAN: We're absolutely thrilled to see that the potential is that he could spend the rest of his life in jail where that scumbag belongs.

FINNSTROM: Goldman now plans to witness the sentencing, and he'll have company. The Las Vegas Courthouse is planning for crowds, offering limited public tickets and setting up an overflow courtroom with a TV.


FINNSTROM: The one outcome that is already clear, it won't end all of this. Simpson's attorneys plan to appeal -- Kiran, John.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Kara Finnstrom for us, thanks so much.

You know in about half an hour from now, November's job report is expected. Unfortunately, to add more than 300,000 cuts. And on top of the more than already 1 million jobs gone this year alone.

ROBERTS: But there are some places to turn if you're cool with learning something new or living somewhere else. Christine Romans joins us with that. There are some places where the economy is actually healthy and thriving in some places.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, and where you've got sort of big demographic shifts that are going to continue to drive it. More people today right now are getting unemployment benefits than any time since 1982 and it's the end of the year. That means employers are slashing jobs. How bad could it get and more important, is there anything you can do about it?


ROMANS (voice-over): The forecasts are abysmal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're having a heart attack in our economy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see that employment rate going all the way to over nine percent.

ROMANS: That job loss is well under way. Month after month, American jobs disappear. Tig Gilliam is CEO of employment services company ADECCO. His job is finding people jobs.

TIG GILLIAM, CEO, ADECCO: It's definitely going to be a tough 2009.

ROMANS: With a few exceptions.

GILLIAM: It's I.T., it's engineering, it's health care, it's finance and accounting. Those sorts of skill sets are still in strong demand and will be going forward.

ROMANS: For example, health care has added 348,000 jobs this year. Aging baby boomers and new technology mean jobs.

GILLIAM: So health care growth, it's not just nurses and doctors. It's I.T. experts. It's finance and accounting experts.

ROMANS: Consider more training, more education. The unemployment rate for college educated workers is half what it is for the population as a whole. If you can, consider moving.

GILLIAM: We find candidates who would be willing to move, but they're in a situation where they're having difficulty selling their house.

ROMANS: If you can't move, be patient. It may take months to find a new job, and don't automatically reject an offer to keep your job for less pay.

GILLIAM: I think if all other things about your employment situation are good for you, you like the industry you're in, you like the company you work for, you enjoy your job, then this is a short- term situation.


ROMANS: The goal is to keep that gap on your resume as short as possible. So here is the rub. So many companies are trying to keep their head count if they can, so they're coming to their workers and they're saying, look, if everyone here can take a 10 percent pay cut in your group, then we can keep everybody. And that can make workers very unhappy and angry. You know, there's a lot of ego and there's a lot -- you know, your self-worth is tied into your job. Do you take the pay cut? He says, yes, you take the pay cut because it's better in this economy than being without a job.

ROBERTS: Well, yes. Obviously, is it better to make less money or no money.

ROMANS: You'd be surprise, there are a lot of people who say, no, I have worked here ten years. I'm not going to do that. I'm going to go out and see what I can do right now. You know, he says stay within the company but try to find a new area that's growing if you can, or if you have to, you know, retrain and move forward.

And about the college education, the unemployment rate for the country is 6.5 percent. If you have a college education, it's 3.1 percent. So on the surface, you know, we should be telling people, look, you've got to get an education, you've got to get the right education, but you've got to get an education, but we have a college affordability problem in this country. And that's something the policy makers really have -- if we're going to be pushing for professional services and we really are changing kind of the face of the American labor market, then we've got to do something about how expensive it is to go to College. Because you're sending people out into the workforce with $25,000 in student debt.

ROBERTS: You know, and with some of these college endowment funds, too, being hit so hard with the stock market downturn, you've got to wonder will they be able to, you know, some of them had offered free tuition to anybody who was below a certain income level. Will they be able to continue doing that or will that cost go back up again?

ROMANS: They've made so much money in some of those endowments that even a 20 percent hit over the past year or so. I mean, I'm not too worried -- some of these endowments have hundreds of millions and billions of dollars in them. So, you know, we'll see if they're going to --

ROBERTS: I think Harvard lost $8 billion.

CHETRY: Yes, but they -- they lost $8 billion. That's what they're talking about. They were a little bit nervous about that, but as Christine said they have so much money and just like we do with our 401(k)s, just don't look yet.

ROMANS: Right. Play a little play. But the moral of that story is training, education, training, education, be nimble in this labor market. That's the moral of the story for right now.

ROBERTS: Thanks.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

CHETRY: Well, it's being called the most realistic test to date for a missile shield built to protect the U.S. from an attack by states like North Korea and Iran. And it's set for launch time, sometime after 3:00 p.m. Eastern today. And it comes at a critical time with the future president watching.

Senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre joins us now with more about this test.

Hi, Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kiran, just because the U.S. has done it seven times before doesn't mean it's easy to hit a missile with a missile. And this test is going to be a little harder because they've added decoys to the mix.


MCINTYRE (voice-over): This was the view from the target missile leaving Alaska during a test last year. It was designed to mimic a North Korean attack, and show the U.S. can react within minutes.

Hundreds of miles away, this Interceptor missile streaks into the California Sky. Quickly reaching a closing speed of more than 10,000 miles per hour. What happens next The Pentagon argues could some day save a major American City from nuclear destruction. Watch the thermal imagery again. It shows what's known as a kill vehicle colliding with the dummy warhead in space, something skeptics once said was impossible.

ON THE PHONE: LT. GEN. TREY OBERING, FORMER MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY DIRECTOR: Our testing has shown that not only can we hit a bullet with a bullet; we can actually hit a spot of the bullet with the bullet. The technology has caught up.

MCINTYRE: Just before stepping down as missile chief last month, General Trey Obering told reporters that with interceptors missiles on stand by in both California and Alaska, he has very high confidence the system could defeat a North Korean strike. But critics have argued for years the $100 billion shield could easily be overwhelmed by launching several missiles at once or fooled by using simple, cheap, low-tech decoys.

STEPHEN YOUNG, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS: The system can't tell the difference between a Mylar Happy Birthday balloon and a nuclear war head in space. They simply travel at the same speed. They look identical. You can do any number of things. To fool this system, it simply can't work in the real world.


MCINTYRE: So to counter that criticism, this test is going to ask the system to differentiate between a mock warhead and a decoy. And President-elect Obama has said he'll support missile defenses if they work in the real world. This test is going to try to answer a little bit more of that question.


CHETRY: All right. Jamie McIntyre for us at the Pentagon. Thanks. ROBERTS: You may have missed it in all of the excitement over the upcoming inauguration, but there is actually a lawsuit under consideration over Barack Obama's citizenship and a big U.S. Supreme Court decision about that today. We'll tell you all about it.

And she's the Florida lawmaker who hung up on the president-elect twice, but this morning she took our call. Hear in her own words why she hung up on Barack Obama. It's nine minutes after the hour.


ROBERTS: Well, who are you, indeed? Governor Sarah Palin fell victim to a prank telephone call. So did Fidel Castro. But when Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen received a call from President-elect Barack Obama she hung up on him, twice. Only this was no radio disc jockey that was trying to prank her. It was the real deal.

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen joins me from Miami this morning to talk about the mix up. It's good to see you this morning.


ROBERTS: So it's Wednesday. You're there working in the district. The phone rings then what happened?

ROS-LEHTINEN: And then the gentleman says President-elect Barack Obama would like to speak to you. I said, oh, yes, right. And then, the gentleman comes on speaking, doing the best impersonation of Barack Obama.

And I said to him, you know, you're much better than that guy on "Saturday Night Live" but I'm not going to fall for it. He said, "Ileana," because I've known him just a little bit and he says, "Ileana, how can I convince you that this is Barack Obama?" I said, really, I know -- I know you radio stations. You're always punking people. You're playing spoofs, and he continues to go no, this is a -- I just want to show you that I want to reach across the aisle. I want to work with Republicans. You're the ranking member of the foreign affairs committee. You work with Chairman Berman. So he's mentioning -- he's mentioning some names and I said, boy, this is a very good elaborate prank.

Howard Berman is not exactly a household name nor am I.


ROS-LEHTINEN: But I think this is just a Miami radio station. So I said no, I'm really sorry. You're very good. I'm not falling for it. He's still speaking to me. I hang up.

ROBERTS: Ooh, ouch.

ROS-LEHTINEN: A minute later, Rahm Emanuel is on the line and he says, "Ileana, you know that this is Rahm. You've talked to me. You know my voice. I said boy, you guys are really -- you know, the nuances, you really, this is an elaborate prank on me. I'm thrilled that you would go through the trouble. And Rahm keeps talking. He says I have President-elect Obama on the line.

And again, President-elect Obama comes on and he still continues with congratulations on your victory. And I said, guys, really, I'm very busy. It's funny. I appreciate it. Klunk. I hang up twice.

ROBERTS: And then so Chairman Berman calls and he says --


ROBERTS: Ileana, you got a problem here.

ROS-LEHTINEN: He said Ileana, you know my voice. And I said, Howard, I do know your voice. But tell me this inside joke that we have which I'm not going to tell.

ROBERTS: Oh, come on. This is -- that's the most interesting part.

ROS-LEHTINEN: Oh, no. It's about our colleagues and when he starts saying the joke, I said oh, no. He said yes, I've gotten a call from Obama and Rahm Emanuel...


ROS-LEHTINEN: ...and you have, indeed, hung up on him twice. So, sure enough a minute later, here he is again on the line, calling my cell phone. And I apologized profusely.

ROBERTS: I'm sure you did.

ROS-LEHTINEN: I thanked him humbly for his call. And I said, you are very gracious. You either run out of people to thank or your day is very light to be calling a little slug on the planet. He goes, well, as I said before you hung up on me twice...


ROS-LEHTINEN: ...that I do want to work in a bipartisan manner and it was just an incredible call. What a morning.

ROBERTS: So, what do you think about that idea of him reaching out to work across the aisle? I remember in the year 2000, early in his presidency in 2001, President Bush said the same thing. People complained that he didn't in fact worked across the aisle. Do you think that Barack Obama will be able to do it?

ROS-LEHTINEN: I'm getting that feeling. I really am because he has shown it in his appointments. He has shown it. He has said it. And I'm a good evidence of it.

I just thought I was being punked by these incredibly funny radio stations. You mentioned in your tease for the story that Fidel Castro got punked.


ROS-LEHTINEN: Hugo Chavez has been punked here in the radio stations, and Sarah Palin falling for the Sarkozy call from France.

ROBERTS: Exactly.

ROS-LEHTINEN: And that was a Canadian radio station. So I think that President-elect Barack Obama is trying to reach out to Republicans. They've got a better majority of Democrats in the House, but here he is calling me because of the foreign affairs aspect.

So we then went on to talk about serious issues. I talked to him about a little about Cuba. A little about Israel. Those are two passions of mine, but he was very gracious. And he says, "I will always remember this call because I've been calling a lot of people. Nobody has hung up on me yet, and certainly nobody has hung up on me twice."

ROBERTS: Well, I'm sure you'll both remember it and maybe his ability to work across the aisle will depend on who hangs up on him and who doesn't.


ROBERTS: Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, it's good to see you this morning. Thanks for being a good sport about all of this.

ROS-LEHTINEN: Thank you.

CHETRY: Well, Governor Ed Rendell may have opened up a can of worms with his comment about Homeland Security nominee Janet Napolitano not having a life because she's single. So, are single people discriminated against in some ways. Take a look. 17 minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning." It's a disturbing story from Iraq. Foreign labor was duped by a U.S. Defense Department subcontractor into coming to Iraq for nonexistent jobs, then being forced to live in deplorable conditions. CNN's Michael Ware is live in Baghdad. He's been telling their story and looking into this more for us.

Hi, Michael.

MICHAEL WARE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kiran. Yes, it's as if there wasn't enough misery in this war. What we're seeing is this dreadful situation with more than 1,000 Asian contract laborers brought to Iraq for jobs that didn't exist. And the situation as we're hearing may be deteriorating rapidly. But I'll give you more on that after we see what this is all about.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) WARE (voice-over): They say they feel like prisoners, locked in a derelict warehouse for months on end. No salaries, poor food and armed security guards patrolling the fences. It's an obscenity, abuse of contract workers in Iraq. From India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Uganda, more than 1,000 men are penned here, lured to Baghdad with promises of jobs that did not exist.

Even crueler most paid for the privilege to come selling bombs or anything of valued, told they had jobs waiting with American giant KBR. All though modulus catering services, a Kuwaiti company. These officials in Iraq refuse to comment. Their Kuwaiti office saying only that the situation was under control and being dealt with. KBR says it abhors unethical behavior insisting its contractors abide by its code of conduct and it alerts authorities when contractors do not.

But the Kuwaiti company who received these men from the recruiters shoved them in here. A compound within Baghdad's airport with showers without water and taps that are useless. 600 men who'd hoped to send money to their families piled in one room, as many as four to a bed and apparently all forgotten. A nuisance no one wanted to address. Unable to stay without visas, they are unable to go without money.

(on camera): Is your government helping you? Is your government helping you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing. Nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't get anything.

WARE (voice-over): And when they protested, the guards fired above to silence them. These Ugandans said Iraqi police hand cuffed and beat them. Their police refuse to comment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They said, OK, if you said you are here because of U.S. influence, we are going to show you the difference between Iraqi government and U.S. government. We're going to see if the U.S. is going to help you.

WARE: And as they spoke to me, the manager who in turn locked them out for talking.

(on camera): Let these men back in? You will not let me go back in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. No, no, I gave them two minutes. If they not come back inside, that's it.

WARE: But if they talk to us you won't let them in. That's not -- that's not right.

(voice-over): Other workers duped by different agents don't have a camp at all. These men sheltered by this airport road in a wasteland, living off food donated by Iraqi workers. The men who brought them here have disappeared. Their immigration status is in disarray. Passports taken or pages with visas torn out. They are stranded, forsaken. The U.N. has visited and it said it's trying to help, but all are in limbo. The U.S. military says it takes human rights abuse seriously and is looking into the matter.

The Iraqi government has just confiscated one of the company's official's passport until a solution is found. Until then, the world needs to be watching so they are not forgotten again.


WARE: And that scrutiny is taking place. With eyes now turned to this camp, indeed, even at this hour, Kiran. What we've heard is that overnight, within hours of us leaving that compound. Buses tried to ferry 161 workers to the airport itself. However, after months and months without pay and being interned, these men who are amongst the poorest of the poor, are less than penniless. So there's few options for them.

Then we heard reports from inside the camp that they'd been told their food and water would be cut off on Monday, and now we've just had more reports from inside the camp that Iraqi police have arrived at the camp and according to a text on my phone, they've surrounded it. We're now attempting to confirm to see whether that's true or not. Either way, it appears the situation is rapidly deteriorating for these beleaguered men.


CHETRY: Wow. All right. Michael Ware, the developments coming in fast and furious due to your reporting in part. OK, thank you so much for that.

ROBERTS: New claims of a secret prejudice against single people after Governor Ed Rendell made a comment about Homeland Security secretary nominee Janet Napolitano's personal life. We'll dig deeper into this. It's coming up on 25 minutes after the hour.



SARAH JESSICA PARKER AS CARRIE BRADSHAW, SEX AND THE CITY: I put a little mental addition. Over the years, I have bought, Kyra (ph), an engagement gift, a wedding gift, then there was the trip to Maine for the wedding, three baby gifts. In total, I have spent over $2,300 celebrating her choices, and she is shaming me for spending a lousy 485 bucks on myself? (INAUDIBLE).

KRISTIN DAVIS AS CHARLOTTE YORK, SEX AND THE CITY: But those were gifts. I mean, if you got married or have a child, she would spend the same on you.

PARKER: And if I don't ever get married or have a baby, what? I get butt kiss? Think about it. If you are single after graduation, there isn't one occasion where people celebrate you.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROBERTS: It's Carrie Bradshaw and "Sex and the City" lamenting the slights that single people sometimes suffer at the hands of their married peers. Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano maybe feeling her pain right about now, because earlier this week, you'll remember, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell kicked up controversy when he said that Napolitano would be a good Homeland Security secretary because she had no family and no life. She could work 18 to 20 hours a day. Well, some people cried sexism at the comment, but could it be a case of a different phenomenon called single-ism?

Bella Depaulo is a visiting professor of Psychology at UC Santa Barbara. She's also the author of "Singled Out." She joins us now from Augoura Hills, California.

So you suggest, Bella, that what Governor Ed Rendell said is not an isolated statement and its also indicative of a broader phenomenon of prejudice against singles that you termed single-ism. Tell us more about that.

BELLA DEPAULO, SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGIST: That's right. If it were just one random thing that he had said, it would be kind of interesting because he's always putting his foot in his mouth. But, really, it represents a whole pervasive way of thinking that is accepted in this society and too rarely challenged.

I mean, look at what he's put together. Look at his mental links. No family, no life. Well, first of all, it's not even true that Janet Napolitano has no family. She has a brother. She has a sister. And to say she has no life is just so outrageous. I mean, it just skips over the many parts of her life comparable to the many parts of so many other people's lives married or single that are important to them.

The passions they care about. In her case Opera and mountain climbing and voracious reading of fiction and non-fiction, and it skips over important people in her life like the close friends that she (INAUDIBLE) in the weekends to see.

ROBERTS: So is it true Bella that there was -- that this is not just you know in statements from people like Governor Ed Rendell but is it broader in society? Let's say the way when you look at the workplace, you know particularly workplace and maybe seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

You know they might look at people who are married with children say you can't work the crappy shifts, we'll let you go home, but single people, you can work all night, you can work weekends, it doesn't matter.

DEPAULO: Sure, it's as if they don't have a life. If you think a single person doesn't have a life, then you can without any guilt say you take that shift, you cover the travel that nobody else wants, and, yes, that's so inappropriate. When the workplace should be about work.

ROBERTS: So where does all this single-ism come from? You have cited statistic that 50 percent of the people in America are single in some way, shape, or form. Some are single single, some are dating, some are about to get married. So where does this single-ism come from if there are that many single people in America?

DEPAULO: I think there's several sources. One is that what it means to be single in our society has changed so quickly that our perceptions haven't caught up. So to say, as you just did, that almost half the population is single is just amazing.

That's such a huge difference from the much smaller numbers several decades ago, and also the way you can live your life as a single person is so different now. People aren't treating their single lives as these transitional state where they're just marking time until they find the one. Yes, I mean, they're living their lives fully and traveling and buying homes, and so we are - our perceptions haven't caught up.

ROBERTS: Well, certainly something to think about as we go forward here and talk about racism, sexism, and now single-ism. Bella DePaulo, good to see you this morning. Thanks for joining us.

DEPAULO: Thank you.

ROBERTS: All right. Take care.

CHETRY: Well it's 32 minutes past the hour now. A look at the top stories this morning.

More huge job cuts and bad sales figures, unfortunately, to tell you about. It's pushing oil prices down to their lowest level in four years. During overnight trading in Asia, the price of a barrel settled below $44. Merrill Lynch speculating that oil might fall to $25 a barrel by next year.

Well it's sentencing day for O.J. Simpson in Las Vegas, and he could get life in prison for his conviction in October on armed robbery and kidnapping charges. Simpson's attorneys have asked the judge for the minimum six-year prison term calling him a first-time offender.

Fund-raising S.O.S. going out to Barack Obama's campaign donors. They're being asked to help Hillary Clinton retire as much of her debt as possible before she becomes secretary of state. That's when ethics laws will limit her fund-raising. An Obama adviser says the e-mail appeal is going out to more than three million Obama contributors. As of last month Hillary Clinton had more than $7 million left in campaign debt.

And just into us, new job numbers for the month of November. Christine Romans is following the stats for us. Hey, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Kiran. Much worse than we had thought, much worse than a lot of economists had thought. 533,000 jobs lost in November, 533,000 and the unemployment rate jumped to 6.7 percent. This is job loss. We're looking back to like 1982 when you have seen 1.9 million jobs. We are on track for 1.9 million jobs lost this year. Tough situation, no doubt. 10.3 million people are unemployed, the most since August 1983. A couple revisions here to tell you about, too. The number for September was much worse than we thought, 403,000 jobs lost in September, and also October was revised higher, 320,000 jobs lost in October.

So you're looking at three months of jobs loss that were worse than a lot of people had expected. We're heading into the end of the year and a lot of folks are expecting more job loss there.

So let me just reiterate this for you. 6.7 percent is the unemployment rate. 533,000 jobs lost in the month. 83,000 manufacturing jobs lost. That's a trend we've seen for some time. 11 months in a row now of jobs lost. It's been consistent and it has been accelerating.

As we head into next year, the risk is we continue to see numbers like this. Remember, the expectation was for 325,000 jobs lost, so a number like 533 is showing you that what's happening in the labor market right now is dramatically worse than most economists were expecting, Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. Christine Romans for us. Thanks.

ROBERTS: Here is a question for you, can Barack Obama be legally sworn in as the next president? A lawsuit challenges his U.S. citizenship. Here what the Supreme Court may or may not have to say about it.

The man who went face-to-face with Barack Obama and John McCain at his Saddleback Church forum is with us live. And there's something that the mega church founder wants to tell you about Christmas.


ROBERTS: Well, President Bush has got a brand new pad. The First Lady's press secretary says the Bushes have bought a home in a wealthy north Dallas neighborhood. It's a place where they lived back in the 1990s. They will move in after they leave the White House in January and, of course, they still got the Crawford ranch as well.

They're still counting in Minnesota's hotly contested senate race. The recount was supposed to end today, but the city of Minneapolis has been granted an extension to locate 130 missing ballots. As of last night republican incumbent Norm Coleman was leading democrat Al Franken by about 300 votes.

And John McCain's campaign spent $110,000 on hair and makeup for Sarah Palin. A new campaign finance report reveals Governor Palin's traveling makeup artist was paid more than $68,000 and her hair stylist more than $42,000 for roughly two months' work. The RNC, you recall, spent $150,000 on Sarah Palin's campaign wardrobe.

Well, today the Supreme Court will consider whether to take up a unique challenge to the president-elect. A lawsuit contesting Barack Obama's U.S. citizenship. It's been appealed to the high court. CNN's Kelli Arena tells us what it's all about.


KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: He won the election fair and square, end of story, right?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: There are some people out there who wish to believe that there's something illegitimate about his candidacy and now his presidency.

ARENA: The latest effort to rewrite the election of 2008. An accusation that Barack Obama is not a legitimate natural-born American and so can't be sworn in.

SCHNEIDER: There was always that charge hanging out there. There's something that's not really American about him, and there's a small group of people who just want to keep that discussion going.

ARENA: The argument, which is being taken all the way to the Supreme Court, goes like this. When Barack Obama was born in 1961, Kenya was still a British colony. Obama's father was from Kenya and, therefore, a British citizen. That British citizenship automatically passed on to his son, and that means that Obama, who was born in the U.S., was born with dual citizenship. But is that enough to disqualify him from being president?

THOMAS GOLDSTEIN, SUPREME COURT LEGAL ANALYST: The law has always been understood to be that if you are born here, you are a natural-born citizen, and that is particularly the case when you have a U.S. citizen parent like Barack Obama's mother.

ARENA: The Obama campaign says the proof of his U.S. citizenship is right on his birth certificate. Case closed. What's more, his Kenyan citizenship automatically expired when he turned 21. Legal experts do not expect the Supreme Court to take the case even though it has never really defined what it means to be a natural-born citizen.

GOLDSTEIN: This is one of those terms that's probably going to stay ambiguous in the law because the courts don't like to step in when what they'd be doing is overruling the will of the voters. It's a so-called political question.


ARENA: This is only the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens of lawsuit nationwide trying to overturn the election results, all centered around the same theme, that Barack Obama was not eligible to run for president. Kelli Arena, CNN, Washington.

CHETRY: Kelli, thanks.

Well, the man who went face-to-face with Barack Obama and John McCain at his Saddleback Church forum is with us live, and there's something that the mega church founder wants to tell you to remember about Christmas. We're live with Rick Warren, coming up.


CHETRY: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. For many people facing economic hardships, the holiday season may be more a time of stress than celebration. Our next guest is on a mission to turn that around. He has a new book, "The Purpose of Christmas." The book is already a "New York Times" best-seller. Pastor Rick Warren, founder of the Saddleback Church joins me now. Thanks for being with us this morning, Pastor Warren.


CHETRY: You know, we always say that we don't want Christmas to be commercialized. We got through the same thing and it seems that at the end of the year we end up in the same position, worried about buying presents, worried about spending money, worried about holiday cards, and how do you get back to the real meaning?

WARREN: You know this Christmas in particular, Kiran, a lot of people are really hurting because the economy and because of the fears about what's going to happen, and really those same problems are the problems that Mary and Joseph went through. Housing, no room at the inn, travel, economic unrest, things like that. So I wrote this book really to focus us on what is the true meaning, and it's a book of hope, and the big idea behind it is that no matter what problem you're going through, there's a purpose behind it. God has a purpose, and that purpose can help you make it through even the stressful times when we decide to write a note to everybody, buy a gift for everybody, redecorate our house, have five or six meals and go to eight or nine parties.

CHETRY: Exactly. Because that's usually what ends up happening and sometimes the spirit of giving and fellowship is lost in that. You know, you also write in the book, remember that god loves you, but if you're somebody who is facing foreclosure, let's say you lost a loved one or your job or you're dealing with an illness, it can sound pat in a way. How do you - what do you say to people who say, Pastor Warren, I don't feel that god loves me or I wouldn't be going through this?

WARREN: Well, actually, sometimes what we think is a problem is actually a protection. For instance, last month my daughter-in-law, who is 25 years old went through a brain tumor. She's 25 years old. She had her first child premature about six weeks early and when she had that baby early, it was breach.

The cord was wrapped around its neck and it stopped breathing and they actually had to do an emergency C section and resuscitate the child and save the baby's life and save her life. We looked at that and we thought, boy, that's a pretty tough problem, but we now know that she had a three-inch brain tumor at the base of her brainstem, and if she had pushed, it would have killed her.

And so actually seven weeks later when she should have delivered, we discovered the brain tumor, and she would have been trying to have brain surgery, one which three surgeries, one was 20 hours long, at the same time is a having a baby. So what we thought was a problem was actually a protection saving her life, and sometimes we look at a tapestry and from the top down, you can see the picture.

From the bottom up, it's all of this different colors of threads. It makes no sense. It's all jumbled. When god looks down, he sees what he's doing. When we look up, we just see the jumble.

CHETRY: Wow. And she's OK?


CHETRY: Thank goodness. Well, I want to turn to politics now and ask you about the summit that you hosted for both of the candidates.


CHETRY: A lot of great provocative questions and some very interesting answers that we weren't hearing on the campaign trail.


CHETRY: Now that the campaign is over, what is your reaction to the outcome and to President-elect Barack Obama?

WARREN: Well, there's no doubt about it, we need to be praying for our president. I don't think any president has come into a crisis so quickly as President-elect Obama is, and no president has come in with probably as high expectations as President Obama. So we do need to pray for him. We need to support him where we can, and we need - we want the best for America.

CHETRY: You know, it's interesting that religion also really factored heavily into some of the back and forth in the campaign season.


CHETRY: Rumors that many people believe that Barack Obama wasn't really Christian, that he was Muslim, and, of course, the Jeremiah Wright thing. Religion ended up, unfortunately, being a divisive issue at times as opposed to one that was a uniting issue.

WARREN: Right.

CHETRY: How do you change that?

WARREN: Well part of it is we got to end the caricaturization of the candidates. I know all of the candidates on both sides, and none of them were exactly as they were portrayed. We tend to over portray them, whether it's Sarah Palin or Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or John McCain. They're not anything like the caricaturization that we often hear. We tend to push to extremes. There are a lot more practical and pragmatic, I think, than we want to give them credit for, and every president when he becomes president has to let go of some ideology and become more of a pragmatist because there's so many issues that you don't probably understand until you actually hold the office.

CHETRY: That's interesting. You know, also in this book you say it's a book for everyone. You talk about the purpose of Christmas, that everybody can find a purpose in Christmas, even if they're non- Christian. How?

WARREN: When Jesus Christ came to earth, God didn't send Jesus just for Christians. He sent Jesus for everybody. In fact, the angels said three things, unto you is born this day a savior. And it said I bring you good news of great joy to all people, not just one group of people, it's for all people, and in this book, this book is a book for seekers, for skeptics, for believers.

People say I don't even know if I believe in god, and it's a good book to give to friends. I was signing over at Barnes & Noble the other day and people were buying four and five. I say why are you buying this? Well, we're going to give them all to our friends. And so it's a good book as a Christmas gift to find hope in a very tough time.

CHETRY: And it's not just because you wrote it, of course. Always great to talk to you.

WARREN: Thank you.

CHETRY: The book is called "The Purpose of Christmas." Rick Warren, thanks for being with us.

WARREN: Thanks, Kiran.

ROBERTS: They are the boys with the million dollar arms. How two contest winners were snatched out of poverty and placed on the pitcher's mound. It's a Cinderella story with baseballs.

And would you believe a word that his guy says. The pitchman with an evil laugh and do a little bit of an image problem. Why the devil is starring in a television commercial for a cable channel? You're watching the most news in the morning.



ROBERTS: Well, welcome back to the most news in the morning. India's national pastime involves a bat and a ball, but it's not baseball, it's cricket. So how did two young athletes from that country make it all the way to baseball's big leagues. Our Chris Lawrence found out and he's here to tell us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, Kiran, it's hard to stand out in a country of well over one billion people, but these two young men have a chance to do something no one from their country has ever done.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): The way a baseball flies out of his hand, it's hard to believe Dinesh Patel man never threw one before this year. He and Rico Singh were living in small villages in India. Their families earning maybe $25 a week.

DINESH PATEL, INDIAN PITCHER: First time in my life, I picked a baseball in million dollar contest in India.

LAWRENCE: A simple test to find raw talent. In a country with a billion people who could throw strikes faster than 85 miles per hour.

TOM HOUSE, PITCHING COACH, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Velocity is mom, dad, and god. So that was the idea behind the million dollar arm. With all of the Indian kids that are out there, some of them have to be able to throw 95 to 100.

LAWRENCE: They had never heard of baseball, let alone held one. But Rico won that $100,000 prize. And Dinesh impressed scouts with his raw speed. No Indian born player had ever signed a professional sports contract in America until last month when the Pittsburgh Pirates signed both.

RISKU SINGH, INDIAN PITCHER: We are very, very happy. This is very big opportunity. We are very excited.

LAWRENCE: And more than a little worried. From half a world away they watch their country attacked by terrorists in Mumbai.

PATEL: When we heard this news, I said we are here safe, but I pray for the people, they are safe there.

LAWRENCE: Now they're living in Los Angeles and learning to pitch in a real game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More like a slider. Do you feel that? Fix it right now.

LAWRENCE: Making the big league ball club is still a long shot, but both say they haven't come this far to strike out now.


LAWRENCE: Next stop, spring training down in Florida, early next year where the two pitchers will be trying to not only make a minor league team, but to make history. John, Kiran.


ROBERTS (voice-over): What's the devil doing advertising a television channel?

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Does the devil really wear Prada?

ROBERTS: The pitch man with an evil laugh, but doesn't this guy have a credibility issue? Jeanne Moos checks it out. You're watching the most news in the morning.



CHETRY: Who listens to the devil? Well, you would think especially at this time of year that the devil would have a bit of an image problem. No matter though, he still got hired. Our Jeanne Moos shows us which cable channel made a deal with the devil.


DEVIL: Greetings my minions.

MOOS (voice-over): What the devil? A religious TV channel is teaming up with, guess who?

DEVIL: You and I have toiled together to create filthy television. Now a new network is threatening our wonderful world of evil-tainment.

MOOS: And this one really is a little devil. Four feet five inches.

MICHAEL MIGLIOZZI, CO-FOUNDER, CEASRIO MIGLIOZZI AGENCY: Having a little person was something that just added to the comedy visually.

MOOS: How the Catholic archdiocese of Brooklyn get mixed up with him?

DEVIL: I will not tune in to Net TV on December 8th at 8:00 p.m. I will go to

MOOS: He's the anti-spokesman created by a Los Angeles ad agency to relaunch a New York-based religious channel.

ANNOUNCER: New evangelization television.

MOOS: The programming will include a Catholic newscast, a restaurant review show called "Braking Bread." and good clean cartoons. For instance, Bullio, the Bubble who is best friends with Jesus. So why enlist the help of the devil?

MIGLIOZZI: We could have preached to the converted, but we wanted to widen the audience.

MOOS: And it's not exactly new for the church to use the devil as a recruiting tool, said ad agency partner Enzo Sazario.

ENZO SAZARIO: Good and evil, it's been around for centuries.

MOOS: In the computer age, the devil gets his own web site,, where you can type in questions. Does the devil really wear Prada?

DEVIL: What kind of question is that? Do I look like a google?

MOOS: No, you look like actor Jimmy Briscoe dressed in a costume in horns purchased at Target, seen her devilishly looking down the makeup woman's top. His puns can be hellish.

DEVIL: I got something in my tooth. I had fillet of soul for lunch.

MOOS: That soul, S-O-U-L. the Devil appears in viral and TV ads as well as on buses. Judging from some of the language used by viewers commenting on the ads, it looks like they are reaching beyond the religious audience. Whoever thought we'd see the Catholic Church using a pitch man with a pitchfork? Did god approve this message?


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


ROBERTS: And if you're looking for an excuse for an extra long happy hour today and in this economy who isn't, here is something worth drinking a toast to. 75 years ago today, the 21st amendment to the constitution was passed. It repealed the 18th amendment ending prohibition, and I know one person who is going to take advantage of the 21st amendment this weekend. One of our floor managers, Bruce Duncan, whose 40th birthday is tomorrow.

CHETRY: Happy birthday.

ROBERTS: Happy birthday.


ROBERTS: Everything in moderation. Just remember. Congratulations.

DUNCAN: Thank you.

CHETRY: If he's 40, I think he's already learned that the hard way. Happy birthday, Bruce. Well, thanks so much for joining us. We hope you have a great weekend.

ROBERTS: All right. We'll see you back here again on Monday. Right now here's CNN NEWSROOM with Heidi Collins.