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American Morning

CIA: Bin Laden in Pakistan; Drug War Creates Fear in Paradise; Health Care Debate in Congress; GOP Campaign Rallying Cry Returns; Iranians Flock to Polls; Backlash against Hyper-Parenting; New Nurse Saves Dean's Life at Graduation

Aired June 12, 2009 - 08:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up at the top of the hour, you're watching the Most News in the Morning. Thanks for being with us on this Friday, the 12th of June. I'm John Roberts.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Kiran Chetry. Glad you're with us. Here's what's on this morning's agenda. These are stories that we'll be breaking down for you in the next 15 minutes.

The hunt for Osama bin Laden, haven't heard that in a while. Well the CIA saying now it believes that the terror leader is in Pakistan and is hoping to be closing in on him. We are live at the Pentagon.

In two hours, the Holocaust Museum in Washington will reopen just two days after police say a white supremacist, James von Brunn, opened fire, killing officer Stephen Tyrone Johns. This morning, we're looking into the growing concern about others who may share this suspect's beliefs.

And President Obama making his pitch for health care reform. It's happening at a town hall meeting in Wisconsin. We'll be speaking with a republican senator and physician who says that his health care reform bill will meet the president's goals far better than the president's own plan.

And we begin with the ongoing effort to capture the world's most wanted terrorist. CIA director Leon Panetta is saying that the agency believes Osama Bin Laden is still in Pakistan. CNN's Barbara Starr is live at the Pentagon for us with more on what they're learning. Last week that we heard that audiotape or at least that audiotape reported to be from bin Laden released. What are you learning this morning about where he may be?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Kiran, what maybe the most extraordinary here is that the CIA director Leon Panetta is speaking about this so openly. What he's saying may not be such a surprise but the fact that he is saying it in public. Yesterday saying that he believes Osama bin Laden is in Pakistan.

And, of course, it goes without saying that means the CIA believes Osama bin Laden is alive and well. In Pakistan, it's been what people have been saying for years, but Panetta goes beyond that. He says that what he hopes now is that the military crackdown in Pakistan will open the door to a better chance of finding the world's most wanted man.

What Panetta says, and we'll quote here is, quote, "I guess one of our hopes is that as the Pakistani military moves in combined with our operations, meaning the U.S., we may have a better chance to get at him."

Panetta goes on to say that the CIA has increased the number of officers and agents, locals than it has providing information in Pakistan. That, of course, a very sensitive matter. And as we talked about a little bit earlier, as this crackdown in Pakistan goes on, one of the other concerns the intelligence community has is some al Qaeda might be leaving Pakistan going to other places like Somalia.

Nobody believes bin Laden is going to start moving around. But the hope, Panetta says is as all of this military activity increases in Pakistan, that will make it somehow easier to find him.

We'll see - Kiran.

CHETRY: Barbara Starr for us at the Pentagon.

Thank you.

ROBERTS: Well, more on another developing story this morning. The violent drug battle on the border is raging once more. Authorities in central Mexico say gunmen opened fire at a crowded taco stand, threw a grenade and fired a gas cooking tanks causing an explosion that killed a police officer and a 15-year-old boy. Four others were injured in that attack.

So what is the violence doing to Mexico's tourism industry? We're in one of Mexico's most prized vacation spots this morning, Acapulco, where the bliss on the beach that you would expect to see here is up and vanished. It's been replaced with something far less peaceful.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is there for us this morning.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At first, the streets of Acapulco looked normal. But then, they appear, a truck full of army soldiers sent in by Mexico's president to keep peace on the streets of this tourist playground. For Jillian Lang, it's a reminder that life is far from normal here.

JILLIAN LANG, AMERICAN TOURIST: The military driving back and forth. It doesn't make me feel any more at ease. If anything, it worries me more. It reminds me of everything that's going on there.

LAVANDERA: Lang is visiting from California, one of the few non- Mexican tourists we found in Acapulco. She arrived just as the city was in the midst of violent clashes between drug cartels and Mexican authorities. The rampage ended with some 20 people killed, including several Mexican soldiers and police officers. That violent shootout took place less than two miles away from the cafe where we met Jillian Lang.

(on camera): We just found the street where the shooting took place between cartel members and the Mexican military. And what struck us was at the entrance of the road here, a shrine to the Virgin Mary, they tell us the shootings took place down this way on this road. And we're going to take you there now.

(voice-over): This isn't a street you'll see pictured in Acapulco tourist brochures. It's a sorted looking neighborhood in an area with rundown hotels and shanty buildings.

(on camera): So, we've gotten as far as we're going to get on this road. There's a blue crate and part of a tree blocking the way. And what you can't see is over there behind those trees where three members of the Mexican military who say this is as far as we can get. And as soon as we pulled up, they pulled masks over their face. They didn't want to be seen on camera.

(voice-over): As we look around, we noticed behind the wall several large hillside villas with swimming pools, a hint that behind the rough facade, people with much more money live here.

Federico Martinez (ph) lives just a few houses away from where the gun fire broke out.

"I didn't know Narcos lived in this neighborhood," he tells me. "I don't know the men involved in the shootings. It doesn't bother me."

But the threat of violence is bothering foreign tourists. These men work the beaches, and they tell us American tourists have disappeared. Beaches are mostly empty. This gem on the Pacific Coast has lost its luster.


LAVANDERA: A federal government official here in Mexico told me this week that right now Acapulco is a city that is, quote, "in a delicate situation." To say the least, of course, the fear is here that this town could slip into a situation like that we've seen over the last year in places like Juarez and Tijuana, which are closer to the border with the United States -- John and Kiran.

ROBERTS: And, Ed, with tourism being such a life blood there in Mexico, that's going to be a huge problem for them.

Ed Lavandera for us this morning in Acapulco. Ed, thanks so much.

CHETRY: President Obama's former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, is trying to clarify some remarks he made in a recent interview. Here's what he told "The Daily Press" in Newport News, Virginia, when asked what's keeping him from talking to the president.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Have you spoken to him since he's been in the White House?

REV. JEREMIAH WRIGHT, PASTOR, TRINITY UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST: Them Jews ain't going to let him talk to me. I told my baby daughter that he'll talk to me in five years when he's a lame duck, or in eight years when he's out of office.


CHETRY: Well, yesterday Wright told Sirius radio he misspoke. He said he didn't mean all Jews, just Zionists. The White House still declining to comment on Wright's remarks.

ROBERTS: New this morning, a drug company in Switzerland says it has successfully developed the first batch of the swine flu vaccine, and done it weeks ahead of schedule. Novartis says it was made in cells and not grown the usual way in eggs. The new vaccine will now be evaluated to see if it can be used in clinical trials. The announcement comes just one day after the World Health Organization declared a swine flu pandemic.

The president is expected to sign a measure giving the FDA the power to regulate big tobacco. The House votes on it this morning. Once it becomes law, cigarette makers can be ordered to reduce nicotine levels in their products and brands that claim to be light or mild or low tar will be banned.

And if you have a company-issued cell phone, you could be hit with a new tax. The "Wall Street Journal" reporting that the IRS wants to classify the perk as a, quote, "fringe benefit." Employers would tax workers on 25 percent of their annual phone expense unless employees prove that they also have a personal cell phone that they use to make personal calls.

It's a nation so far in debt. They're trying to get their money any way they can.

CHETRY: Yes. Well, there's no more magic in Orlando's lucky charm. I hope we didn't jinx it by covering the story too much yesterday.

ROBERTS: Oh, don't tell me.

CHETRY: You remember 7-year-old Gina Marie Incandela. Well, we introduce you to her yesterday. There she is. Little sweetheart. And every time she sings the national anthem in Orland, the Magic has won the game, seven in a row, in fact. Unfortunately, until last night.

She did sing last night, but Magic just didn't have. The Magic losing 99-91 in over time to the Los Angeles Lakers. It was in the NBA finals. The Magic now trails three games to one, and they face elimination Sunday in game five.

But, hey, the good news is that in the end they pull it out and they end up winning.

ROBERTS: They disappointed her, but it was an overtime loss, right? So maybe the Magic only works during regulation play?

CHETRY: That's another way to justify it.


ROBERTS: Maybe they should get her out to sing again.

CHETRY: We got to look into that. We have to see.

ROBERTS: If you go into overtime again, get her to sing again.

It's eight minutes after the hour.



JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": Venezuela has banned the sale of Coke Zero because of unspecified health risks. Still not banned in Venezuela, actual coke.


CHETRY: Well, that's right, it's not a joke. Next time you're in Venezuela, don't ask for a Coke Zero. U.S. critic and President Hugo Chavez ordered Coca-Cola to withdraw its Coke Zero beverage from the South American nation citing unspecified health dangers. Coca- Cola's Venezuelan operation put out a statement saying that Coke Zero, quote, "doesn't have any components that can be harmful to people's health."

All right. Well, House Republican Whip Eric Cantor comparing President Obama to Vladimir Putin. The Virginia congressman telling the Associated Press that the president's handling of the auto industry reminds him of Putin's Russia. Democrats called on Cantor to stop the name-calling and start working with the president to help turn the economy around.

Well, two U.S. senators are spending a pretty penny on plane trips. reporting that Democrat Charles Schumer of New York and Republican John Cornyn of Texas each spent more than $140,000 taxpayer money on the first half of the year on travel. Those totals are about ten times higher than some of their more cost-conscious colleagues.

ROBERTS: Well, it is now or never for health care reform. President Obama delivering that urgent message to a town hall audience in Green Bay, Wisconsin on Thursday. Here's some of what he said.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The status quo is unsustainable. If we don't act and act soon to bring down costs, it will jeopardize everybody's health care. If we don't act every American will feel the consequence. So to those who criticize our efforts, I ask them, what's the alternative? (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Well, Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn thinks that he has the answer. Coburn, who's also a physician, is offering up his own plan for health care reform and he joins us now from the Russell Rotunda on Capitol Hill.

Senator, it's great to see you. Look, we'll talk about your plan in just...

SEN. TOM COBURN (R), OKLAHOMA: Good to see you.

ROBERTS: We'll talk about your plan in just a second. But let me ask you, first of all, you are opposed to President Obama's plans for a publicly financed health insurance plan. Why?

COBURN: Well, I think he -- what is the idea behind it? The idea is to get us more competition within the insurance industry. And the fact is that that comes from the idea that it costs so little supposedly to administer Medicare and Medicaid. But when you really look at the numbers on what we call for overhead expenses for Medicare and Medicaid, we're about 21 percent, 22 percent, which is a little bit more than what the health insurance industry is.

The presumption is there's too much profit in the health insurance industry. I don't know whether there is or not. The question is, can the government run an insurance program efficiently? And right now, the programs that they're running, they're not. And my idea would be, let's let the states do this. Let's allow the competition and give the states the power to force competition in their individual areas.

ROBERTS: But what's the difference between having the states doing it and having the federal government do it?

COBURN: Well, a big difference between the government running its own insurance program versus creating an environment where all of the insurance companies have to compete against one another and they can no longer cherry-pick the healthy patients out of the population.

ROBERTS: Well, did you buy this argument that many Republicans are making, Senator Doctor Coburn, that if the government were to come in with its own sponsored health insurance program, that would drive a lot of private insurers out of business?

COBURN: Well, some very reputable consulting firms and statistical firms have said that you drive about 119 million people into a government-run plan. And of course, the worry is everything we've ever done on health care at the government, we thought it was going to cost something, it cost a whole lot more.

The second worry is we don't do many things very efficiently through the federal government. As a matter of fact, we're highly inefficient. So there's a big question mark of -- I don't know the answer to that directly. My assumption is that if the government can offer health insurance cheaper than anybody else can, people are going to buy it from the government.

ROBERTS: Yes. The study that you cited was by the Lewin Group, which found that 118 million people would move into a government plan from private if the plan was like Medicare and available to everyone. But if you put in some restrictions or you change the plan, those numbers would drop precipitously. So the $118 million that's often cited is a worst-case scenario.

Let me ask you about your plan. You give tax credits to buying health insurance while eliminating tax breaks for employer-provided health coverage. It sounds an awful lot like the McCain plan that we saw during the election campaign. And the knock on the McCain plan was, if you give a family $5,700 to buy health insurance, the average cost of a plan is about $13,000. There's a big gap in there, how do you make up that gap?

COBURN: Well, but you're taking one segment of it. There's no problem making up the gap because let's assume you have insurance with your employer today. You're only paying about $2,000 or $2,500 out of that $5,700 that you would have. The difference being is people who don't have insurance today versus having first dollar coverage on prevention and then having an insurance policy is far better than where they are today. Some 45 million.

And the same group, Lewin Group, says that we'll cover all of those people within 10 years. We will not raise a penny in taxes, which is a very important point. We don't need more money in health care. We need more competition and more transparency. And so we don't need to raise taxes to help health care. What we need to do is...

ROBERTS: Senator, you know, the other knock in the McCain plan, Senator, and this was from an independent analysis, was that it might provide health coverage for people who don't have it, but it does nothing to bring down the cost of health care services. Does your plan do that?

COBURN: We're not talking about the McCain plan, John.

ROBERTS: No, no, no. I know, but I'm saying, does your plan do that?

COBURN: Absolutely. We drive competition. We force transparent markets. Most importantly, we also make sure everybody has a little skin in the game so that when they purchase health care, they'll have an economic judgment that they'll want to make.

ROBERTS: Senator Tom Coburn, it's good to talk to you this morning. Thanks very much for being with us.

COBURN: Good to talk to you.

ROBERTS: We'll keep following this debate. It's obviously a very important issue for all Americans. Thanks so much for being with us today.

COBURN: You bet.

ROBERTS: Sixteen and a half minutes now after the hour.


CHETRY: Nineteen minutes past the hour. Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

You know, we knew it wasn't going to last. The oil and gas prices are on the rise again, 40 some straight days in a row. We've seen it gone up, up more than 50 percent since the beginning of the year. Certainly been straining American wallets and threatening economic recovery. And it has Republicans in Congress talking once again about expanding domestic oil drilling. And now some Democrats are joining in.

CNN's Jim Acosta has more.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, one of the saving graces of this recession has been the low price at the pump, but not anymore. High gas prices are making a comeback and so is a popular battle cry in the 2008 campaign - drill, baby, drill.


ACOSTA (voice-over): Americans are once again feeling gas pain. With the average price in some states approaching $3 a gallon, both parties in Congress are calling for new oil drilling, in some familiar environmental battlegrounds.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), MINORITY LEADER: If we're going to deal with that problem, we've got to be able to produce more energy here in America. That means more exploration for oil and gas.

ACOSTA: House Republicans are pushing a new energy bill that seeks to drill offshore in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska known as ANWAR.

AUDIENCE: Drill, baby, drill! Drill, baby, drill!

ACOSTA: During the campaign when gas soared to $4 a gallon, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin tapped into the public's petrol fears, and open up a political gusher.

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), ALASKA: We'll drill here, and we'll drill now.

ACOSTA: If we get back to $4 a gallon, it seems like it's going to be tough to hold back the forces of drill, baby, drill.

SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: Well, that's the oil boys' mantra. And, of course, they can never drill enough.

ACOSTA: Florida Senator Bill Nelson is fighting fellow Democrats who would like to open up millions of acres to drilling in the Gulf of Mexico as part of their energy bill. Nelson argues that would threaten his state's pristine beaches and military testing in the gulf.

So, you don't think drilling offshore is going to lower the price of gas?

NELSON: Absolutely not. I mean, if you did find a major oil find, it's going to be ten years before that would be coming to market. So that does nothing for the price of gas now.

ACOSTA: In the move to solve his state's budget crisis, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is pushing for oil drilling off the beaches of California, something not seen since a massive spill slimed Santa Barbara 40 years ago.

As a candidate President Obama tried to answer the cries of "drill, baby, drill."

OBAMA: What kind of slogan is that? I mean, you know, I can see if you're like cheerleaders for ExxonMobil.


ACOSTA: The White House says President Obama is open to some new domestic drilling as long as it comes with other energy alternatives -- John and Kiran.

ROBERTS: Jim Acosta reporting for us this morning.

Jim, thanks so much.

Well, it's not great weather across a whole lot of the country, and you know what that's going to mean, severe weather flight delays, as well.

Our Rob Marciano tracking it all for us. He's coming up in just a little while to talk about all that.

Twenty-two minutes now after the hour.


ROBERTS: A little sphere of sunlight for us there this morning in Atlanta. Shimmering above the skyscrapers. Clear and 74 degrees there right now. It's going to be living up to its name of Hotlanta today. High of 88 degrees and some isolated thunderstorms coming people's way.

That's -- a lot of that said system that's over there in Texas that's going to be drifting eastward, as well. So watch out for some severe weather this afternoon.

CHETRY: I wanted to make John laugh this morning, by the way, in case you're stuck at the airport.

These are -- you know, you put your beer in these and they keep your beer cold.

ROBERTS: Beer cozies -- yes.

CHETRY: Well, look at this one, says, "The international symbol for marriage."

ROBERTS: That's a man frustrated on the ground in front of his wife holding up his credit card.


CHETRY: I always want to do that. I'm sorry.

And so this one, "Married men don't live longer, it only seems longer."

Here you go, cheers.

ROBERTS: Thank you.

CHETRY: You got to kill some time before your flight.


CHETRY: Gerri Willis joins us now.

And, you know, we're talking about mortgage rates. We're always asking you, is it a good time -- is it a good time to buy, you know?

WILLIS: Right.

CHETRY: And it's something that we haven't seen in a while. They're slowly creeping back up.

WILLIS: Slowly. In the last week, we've had a half-point rise in mortgage rates. They've gone from 5.45 percent to 5.95 percent. This is going to mean a lot to you if you're actually looking to buy a house. Now, just to give you a little reassurance here. Last year, the average was 6.48 percent. So, you can see we're not even there yet, OK? So that's the good news.

Let's take a look at what this would mean if you were buying say the median-priced home this year. The difference in mortgage rates from $1,015, which is what you would be paying at today's rate, from $961 at last week's rate, that's $648 a year. That's not nothing. And a lot of folks out there don't want to see that kind of increase in what they're paying monthly for their mortgage.

Now, the big question here, where are rates going next? If they come up half a percentage point in a week, are they going to continue rising? Well, we talked to experts yesterday. There's not a big expectation that rates are going to rise soon. In fact, one of our experts told us they could come back down to about 5.5 percent.

But I've got to tell you, guys. If I could predict rates, I would be on vacation right now. I wouldn't be here with you. I mean, it's very difficult to predict rates. A lot of people study it, but almost impossible to say where they're going. CHETRY: And the other thing too is, you hear, oh, the interest rates are pretty low right now. They're at 5.9 percent, but just because you're hearing that that's how low they are, it doesn't mean that's the rate you're going to get. So, how do you figure that out?

WILLIS: Absolutely not.

Right. You see that published rate, you're like, oh, I'm going to get this great number. Not necessarily. It depends on what your credit score is. It depends on how big a loan you're getting. The best way to figure out what kind of rate you might pay, go to the Web site for credit scoring. They'll tell you giving your credit score exactly what kind of rate you can expect to pay. So, that's something to keep in mind.

ROBERTS: So, is now a good time to buy?

WILLIS: This is a great question. I want to show you some interesting numbers here. A lot of people don't realize that sales have already turned around.

Let's take a look at some of those states where foreclosures were really hitting the nation hard -- Florida, Arizona, California. Look at this, Kiran. These numbers are amazing. Nevada sales last quarter over the previous quarter up 117 percent. So buyers out there...

ROBERTS: But that could be three houses, right?

WILLIS: I think that's a pretty good indicator that things are going higher. The big problem with those numbers is not the volume, it's actually the price. That's the issue.

CHETRY: That's a story about people getting what, stuff like 128 different homes at auction for about $10,000 apiece. I mean, that's a sad state of affairs for those types of neighborhoods. You know, where they're dealing with all these foreclosures. But also on the flip side, an opportunity for maybe a new homeowner to get a deal.

WILLIS: Yes. I think the big moral to take away from this, the big thing to learn, already sales are popping higher. You're going to have to pay more in interest rates right now. The big question is, can you afford what you're going to pay for that mortgage?

CHETRY: Stuff to keep in mind for sure.

ROBERTS: Very good.

CHETRY: Thanks, Gerri.

ROBERTS: Thanks, Gerri.

WILLIS: My pleasure.

ROBERTS: Twenty-eight minutes now after the hour. And checking our top stories. North Korea is igniting new fears that virtually the entire world watching. An American official says there are indications that Pyongyang may be preparing for another nuclear test. North Korea carried out it's second nuclear test last month. The U.N. Security Council could vote today on possible sanctions against the nation.

Forty-four bodies have now been recovered from the Air France disaster, but search crews may be running out of time. The Brazilian military may call off the search in about a week's time. Searchers say bad weather and changing currents are making the job very difficult right now.

By the way, there are still 184 victims out there, many of whom may never be found.

New York City mounting an aggressive plan to kill nearly 2,000 Canada geese in the hopes of avoiding the kind of collision that forced a US Airways plane to land in the Hudson River last January. The hunt to capture and then gas the birds will take place at dozens of city parks over the next few weeks.

Well, Madonna has been cleared to adopt a 3-year-old girl from the South African nation of Malawi. That country's highest court overruling a lower court that rejected the pop star's application. Attorneys for Madonna are now trying to process a passport to bring Mercy back to America.

Emergency workers are urging thousands of people in west Dallas to evacuate their homes this morning. A storm just dumped an estimated foot of rain, maybe even more than that on the city. Serious flooding is a big concern right now. The extreme weather also grounding hundreds of flights in Texas and lots of other places around the nation, as well.

Rob Marciano tracking the storms for us this morning. He's at the weather center in Atlanta.

Good morning, Rob.


ROBERTS: Looking forward to that. That photograph - the pictures of that advancing storm front in Dallas taken from a helicopter. Who's up in a helicopter in a storm like that?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Dallas and Oklahoma City are very competitive severe weather markets, and those pilots know what they're doing.

ROBERTS: My goodness. I remember the spectacular pictures they have in Oklahoma of that tornado tearing the roof off a pig barn, taken from a helicopter. Amazing stuff.

CHETRY: It is. Well, it seems every (INAUDIBLE) pretty bad so I was complaining about, you know, our weather up here on twitter. And the only place that it seems perfectly nice, everyone saying where it was bad for them. Seattle, beautiful weather out here 70s and 80s for the last two weeks.

ROBERTS: We feel like we've been living in Seattle here for the last few months. Rain's almost every day.

CHETRY: Well, change may be in the air. Unprecedented heavy voter turnout is being reported in the hotly contested presidential elections in Iran. Poll hours have been now extended for two hours to accommodate the massive lines they're seeing. Voters lining up and deciding whether to keep hardline incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in power or to replace him with a reformed candidate, Mir-Hossein Mousavi.

CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour is live for us in Tehran. And what are people saying about the mood right now? As we've said, they're extending the voting for two hours because of the turnout? That's pretty amazing.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. In fact, exactly three hours from now is when the extension will end. We'll see whether they re-extend to accommodate these lines. Many of these people and many of the polling stations we visited today in Tehran, both, up down, and in the center have been really overcrowded in terms of people who have been waiting three to four hours to be able to cast their vote.

And today, what seems to be shaping up from what rallies and other street, sort of celebrations and rallies and demonstrations we've been seeing over the last week is a protest vote against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And that seems to be paying off here at the polls, at the ballot boxes as we've been asking people who they'd been voting for. The majority had been telling us they've been voting for Mr. Mousavi. We've been asking what they've been voting for. The people are telling us they're voting for a better economy. They feel that over the last four years, the economy was mismanaged.

Some have really said that Iran is headed over the cliff in terms of an economic disaster in the making. Many have also told us that they want to see their country respected in the world again. They resent very heavily the last four years in which they've seen their country isolated and in a very strained relations particularly towards the United States. This is a very proud people, a proud nation. They want their prestige back and as I say, they want to be taken with respect by the rest of the international community.

Many people we have talked to have used the word change. That's obviously in the air. They know that it was President Obama's slogan but it has also been a slogan in elections around the region since then. And that is something that many people here are telling us that they want change. And as they say this is shaping up particularly with this heavy, heavy turnout to be in the benefit of the chief rival to President Ahmadinejad who is the reformist candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Kiran.

CHETRY: Christiane Amanpour, we're certainly fascinated. We'd like to continue to follow this with you. Thanks so very much for your report this morning. And still ahead, talk about things being put to the test immediately. You just literally walk down the aisle, graduating from nursing school, and then in seconds, somebody's life depends on what you do next. We're going to meet the woman who did it and the man whose life she saved.



ROBERTS: Oh, yes, they're rocking the suburbs, you can spot them just about anywhere on the playground, in the store, at school. Helicopter parents hovering over their children.

CHETRY: Guilty, guilty.

ROBERTS: Scheduling almost their entire day from sunrise to sunset, but is there a point when good intentions just go too far? And is over parenting now becomes passe? CNN's Carol Costello live in Washington this morning with the backlash over hyper-parenting.

Good morning, Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, bad mothering is in, John. Did you know? To be the perfect parent who has raised a perfect child. For the past two decades or so, that has been the goal and moms have really taken it to heart, managing every aspect of their child's life to achieve perfection. Well, there is now a growing number of moms who have had it with this type of parenting. They're just saying, I'm a bad mom and I'm proud of it.


COSTELLO (voice-over): Back in the day, it was a cinch to know what a good mom was. We have Donna Reed. Reed embodied 1950s motherhood, always there, wise, and involved from afar and exceedingly well-dressed. Today it's difficult to define what exactly an ideal mother is. It's as if we've taken Donna Reed's image and put it on steroids. Carl Honore wrote the book "Under Pressure: Rescuing our Children from the Culture of Hyper-Parenting."

CARL HONORE, AUTHOR "UNDER PRESSURE": We kind of professionalized parenting with a feeling now that on the front line of child rearing that raising a kid now is all or nothing.

COSTELLO: And for Melissa Chapman it was all or nothing.

MELISSA CHAPMAN, MOTHER: Monday was dance, Tuesday was art, Wednesday was piano, Thursday was gymnastics. We were also going to do Girl Scouts. We had at one point - I had at one point signed up to be a Girl Scout leader. I was like, I should just shoot myself in the head.

COSTELLO: She just didn't want to make any mistakes, and yet she still wondered whether she was a good mother. And she's not alone. So many mothers feel her pain, blogs have started popping up, rebelling against the notion that moms have to be perfect to raise perfect children.

Take a look at this one. It's called "Her Bad Mother, bad is the new good." This loud and proud bad mother writes, "I have left my children alone in the bathtub. I have spanked my daughter. I drink, I curse."

(on camera): Just saying, does this mean overparenting is over?

AYELET WALDMAN, AUTHOR "BAD MOTHER": I don't think it's over. Look, you know, I think we're not going to turn on a dime here. But I do think there's a backlash against overparenting.

COSTELLO (voice-over): And Waldman ought to know. In 2005 she was viciously publicly attacked for writing in an essay that she loved her husband more than her children.

WALDMAN: OK. So fast forward now four years, and I published this book called "Bad Mother," and the conversation and the responses are totally different. And I think in this weird way the world has kind of caught up to what I was saying.

COSTELLO: She could be right. Remember Melissa Chapman? She says she no longer overschedules her kids, and she actually talks to her husband. And guess what? She knows she's a good mom now.


COSTELLO: It's a happy ending. You know the economy may be forcing the issue. Parents now can't spend all that money for the kids to take dance lessons and soccer lessons. Instead the kids stay home, they play with their siblings and they actually use their imaginations. You know, I asked earlier, I wanted to know what moms out there thought and I got a lot of moms and dads sending us e-mails on our blogs. Are you ready? Are you ready, guys?

CHETRY: Can't wait?

ROBERTS: Absolutely. Come on, share.

COSTELLO: Most people wrote really long messages to me, I loved it. OK. This is from Ned. He said, "Parents make this way harder than it needs to be. Follow a few simple steps to be a good parent and have a happy kid, love them, allow them to grow, ask them what they want to learn and live a happy life, laugh, and ask them their highs and lows each day." In short, love them to have a happy kid.

This is from Kate. She said, "My kids are involved in activities, but I have drawn a line on how much. I have explained to them that I am not super mom and I can only do so much. And guess what? They understand and make their choices without having nervous breakdowns." Isn't that amazing? Kiran, are you listening?

ROBERTS: You know, that really is the true essence of parenting is to give your children the space to do things on their own, but having instilled in them the lessons to use that space to the best of their ability and do good things with it. COSTELLO: Hear that, Dad?

CHETRY: Then don't make me call you every time I go out to walk the dogs to let you know I'm back in the house.

COSTELLO: OK, one more.

ROBERTS: He's concerned for your safety.

COSTELLO: That's right, he is, Kiran. Enjoy him. One more from Lauren. She says, "What we do to maintain a lifestyle of perfection is often extremely dysfunctional and unhealthy, which defeats the entire purpose of being perfect in the first place. What good is perfect when mommy is so tired she can't even play with her son?"

CHETRY: All good points, absolutely. And there's this interesting article about helicopter parenting. I'm going to link it on your site as well. It's from "The Boston Globe," but they say these days because it's so hard to get a job when you get out of college and that sort of later adolescence is such an emotional minefield that these parents who are still helicoptering at that age, their kids actually had somewhat better outcomes, I guess you could argue in terms of moving on, maybe finding a job, maybe having a good rapport with their college professors, et cetera. So, they're still leaning on mom and dad even in their maybe 20s.

COSTELLO: I know, it's a tough job to be a parent any way you look at it. But it's something to think about.

ROBERTS: But you know, the one thing is, if you strive for perfection, you'll always be disappointed because you can never achieve perfection. Strive for excellence and sometimes you get there. All right.

CHETRY: Good point.

COSTELLO: Trust Dad.

ROBERTS: Carol, thanks so much for that.


ROBERTS: And to read more comments, or if you'd like to join the conversation on Carol's story today, just head to our blog at

CHETRY: All right. Well, talk about being under the gun. You graduate from nursing school, you've barely even gotten your diploma, and suddenly you have to jump into action to save a life and then wait until you find out what life this woman saved. It's 43 minutes past the hour.


(MUSIC PLAYING) CHETRY: Well, this was not a test. The nursing student puts her skills to work just seconds after she graduates, saving a man having a heart attack at the ceremony, yelling out, "I'm a nurse" while still wearing her cap and gown. She ran into it, into the crowd, and it turns out the man whose life she saved was the dean, was a man that she had never met before.

Charity Caldwell is now a practicing nurse in Memphis and Glenn Sweeney is the dean of mathematics, health and natural sciences at Southwest Tennessee Community College. And they're joining us this morning from the dean's house in Mississippi.

Welcome to both of you. Thanks so much for being with us. You guys have quite a story to tell. First of all, dean, let me ask, how are you doing this morning?

GLENN SWEENEY, SOUTHWEST TENNESSEE COMMUNITY COLLEGE DEAN: I'm doing great and getting stronger each day.

CHETRY: You ended up having to have a double bypass, right?

SWEENEY: That's correct, uh-huh.

CHETRY: Well, it's great to know you're on the mend right now and doing better. You had eight days in the hospital. You got out in the middle of May. So Charity, tell me about how all of this happened. You guys were there celebrating your graduation. I'm sure it was a very exciting day. When did you realize someone was in distress?

CHARITY CALDWELL, NURSE: I was running ten minutes late to graduation, pouring down rain and ran through the hallway trying to go through security and friends were waiting on me. And I came down the hall and saw a man lying on the ground with a crowd gathered around him and instantly dropped to my knees and started assessing what was going on and saw that he was in distress and yelled call 911, who is he? Who is he with?

CHETRY: And this is when you started doing chest compressions? You were doing that for several minutes, you also were drawing on your nursing skills knowing you had only about three minutes to get his blood circulating again and then you started worrying about brain damage. So what were you doing at the time?

CALDWELL: Well, as I assessed him, I felt for a pulse, I saw that he was barely breathing and as I yelled to call 911, he lost his pulse. And at that time, I began chest compressions and Dean Sweeney opened his eyes and I see just these big brown eyes and he took a big breath and then went out on me again. And I was yelling come on, you can do this. Stay with me, it's going to be OK. And I started chest compressions again. And during that time, paramedics arrived and started hooking him up to the defibrillator and an Ambu-bag to breathe for him.

CHETRY: Right.

CALDWELL: And I asked them, do they need me to stay on? And they said they had it at that time.

CHETRY: Well, it's remarkable for a number of reasons, one is you had quite a road getting to nursing school, right? As I understand, there was a time when you almost didn't graduate. Right? You were dropped from the program because of a couple of failed courses. What happened from there?

CALDWELL: Well, I originally entered in the nursing program in '01. There were 700 applicants to the program, and they took the top 62 students that applied. I was working full-time and a single mother, so the course load was quite a bit and was not successful within probably 1 in 3 chance of a point of passing. I was just missed from the program. And at that time, that meant that you cannot go into another nursing program in the mid south.

I kept in contact with the director, Ms. Vons (ph), and they were instituting a readmission policy at that time. Dean Sweeney had not even seen the policy. The provost (ph) had not signed on to it yet, and it ended up they instituted it and I readmitted with a general application pool all over again. Classes that I'd already taken and passed I had to repeat, but that was OK because this was all I wanted to do. That's where my heart was.

CHETRY: Well, congratulations to you. And Glenn, what do you think about that twist of fate? I mean, she might not have been there that day?

SWEENEY: That is true. And everything just fell in place. We both feel that there was some sort of divine intervention that took care of what needed to be taken care of.

CHETRY: I'm sure you're proud, as well. This is one of the students in your school, called into duty there and clearly knows what to do to save lives.

SWEENEY: That's absolutely right.

CHETRY: Well, I'm very happy for both of you. It was a great ending, and Charity, congratulations, as you said, eight long years, but you finally got there and, of course, you did a great thing for your dean, as well. So, thanks to both of you for being with us this morning. Have a great weekend.

CALDWELL: You, too. Thank you.

SWEENEY: Thank you very much.

ROBERTS: I bet the dean's pretty happy about that readmission program.


ROBERTS: Hey, we've got another program here on CNN and that's really, really popular. It's called "Freshman Year," it's following the antics of two freshman congressmen. You'll never guess who's watching. Alina Cho joins us in just a couple of minutes to tell us more about that. Stay with us.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. See you next week.

LIDIA SCHAEFER, CHAMPIONING CHILDREN: I like my job. I get to talk to different people. I work in Washington, D.C., but I'm from Ethiopia. When I go home to visit, it's so different. The children - they are really hungry to learn. They have to walk three hours to go to school. One of the little girls was walking the last child and she got killed by a hyena. I know I have to do something. My name is Lidia Schaefer. I built a school for my village in Ethiopia. I was working two days for the school, four days for me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She made huge sacrifices. She sold her home.

SCHAEFER: All of those things are not important.

In 2006 the school was finished. We have eight buildings, 16 classroom, library, laboratory. It's not beautiful, but it's good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because of Lidia, now I am continuing my education, which is a good chance for me. I am grateful to Lidia.

SCHAEFER: Seeing them learn feel really good. I don't feel like I give up a lot. I really work with my heart.




ROBERTS: Want to know what it's like to be a member of Congress? A new CNN Internet reality show is taking you inside the halls of the House and following the lives of two first-year congressmen. It's airing on Even the president said he's watching. Alina Cho now here to explain what it's all about. Good morning to you.

ALINA CHO, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning guys. You know, many people as you said are fans, including the president. But for those of you who are not familiar with this, you can call it CNN's version of the odd couple. The reality series "Freshman Year" follows two newly elected congressmen, 34-year-old democrat Jared Polis from Colorado and 42-year-old republican Jason Chaffetz from Utah. The two couldn't be more different. The congressmen have been chronicling their first months in office for with TV flip cameras. In many cases they're shooting their own video and it's a real behind the scenes look at a life in Congress.

The things that you don't see, and that includes everything from committee meetings, to cocktail parties. Polis even took his camera to the White House. Here's a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. JARED POLIS (D), COLORADO: This is a reception in the White House. This is a video camera so I can narrate it. The Obamas invited us over for tea and coffee. There he is right over here. And so this is the White House. And we were in the green room and the blue room. So the president just said to me that he loves my TV show. That means he watches CNN. He's about to meet the first lady for the first time. And what's the proper term?


POLIS: Mrs. Obama. I just by mistake kicked a glass on the floor in the White House. This is the Blue Room.


CHO: Dizzy yet? Well, being a member of Congress also means you sometimes get the opportunity to meet foreign leaders. And that happened to Chaffetz when he took a congressional trip to Germany.


REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: Just arrive here in Berlin, Germany. I've got eight members of Congress coming. This is where the wall was, the cement that we're seeing here is the line where the wall is. We're looking at the Berlin Wall so you can see the length of it. We just met with the German chancellor. There she goes, back to the office.


CHO: You said that at the same time, didn't you, there she goes. Hey, we need to get this in. If you want to watch these episodes of "Freshman Year," go to You can see all of them. You guys remember when we first talked about this. Jason Chaffetz, he sleeps in a cot in his office. You know, with the Pop Tarts, the Jell-O and the like, he saves $1,500 a month in rent. Father of three.

ROBERTS: Note to self, we've got to get those fellows a couple of wide angle lenses.

CHO: Yes, that's right. Good idea. Good idea.

ROBERTS: Thanks so much, Alina.

CHO: You bet.

CHETRY: Well, if you want to continue the conversation on any of today's stories, go to our blog at We want to say thanks so much for being with us on this AMERICAN MORNING. Hope you have a great weekend.

ROBERTS: Here's a programming note for you, Wolf Blitzer welcomes Sarah Palin on the "Situation Room." That's tonight at 6:00 Eastern. Make sure that you tune in for that. Coming right up after the break, CNN NEWSROOM with Heidi Collins. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)