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American Morning

Alaska's Palin Now A Private Citizen; Clinton Prefers First Woman President A Democrat; Mayor Asking, Where's Stimulus Money; Collapsing Lobster Prices Lead to Deadly Turf Battle; Lance Armstrong finishes third in Tour de France; House Marketing Hard for Homebuilders; Caller in Gates Arrest Claims She Did Not Mention Race; Celebrity Greeters Show Off New York

Aired July 27, 2009 - 08:00   ET


ALINA CHO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everybody. Almost crossing the top of the hour. Fifty-nine minutes after the hour. It's Monday, July 27th. Good morning, everybody. Glad you're with us. I'm Alina Cho. John Roberts has the morning off.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Good to have you with us this morning, Alina. I'm Kiran Chetry. We have a lot going on this morning. Stories that we'll be breaking down for you in the next 15 minutes. Here's a look.

You can't call her governor anymore. Sarah Palin officially stepping down yesterday. She had a bunch of farewell barbecues and she also took some jabs at the media in a farewell speech as well as Hollywood and the anti-gun crowd. So what are her future political plans? And will she run for president in 2012?


SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: With this decision now, I will be able to fight even harder for you, for what is right, and for truth.


CHETRY: The political buzz about Sarah Palin goes on, and our Candy Crowley has new insight for us coming up.

CHO: After Vice President Joe Biden says Russia's economy is withering, secretary of state Hillary Clinton tried to rephrase the vice president's comments. Who's really in charge of the White House foreign policy message? And is this another gaffe from the vice president? We're live from Washington.

CHETRY: Also, Lance Armstrong didn't win the Tour de France, so how does he feel about his third place finish? His answer may surprise you. We're going to hear what he told our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

And meantime, back to our top story. What's next for now citizen Sarah Palin? She posted her official Alaska Twitter account yesterday saying, "God bless Alaska, God bless the USA." Our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley now takes a look the fighting words of her speech and shows you what Palin may have up her sleeve next.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She is a one-woman sound bite machine.

PALIN: By the way, Hollywood needs to know, we eat, therefore, we hunt.


CROWLEY: A warning from the moose-hunting, fish catching, Sarah Palin that Hollywood wants to take away the right to bear arms -- an unexpected topic for a farewell speech. As Palin handed over the Alaska governorship, the wear, tear, and resentments of the year on the big stage were evident.

Her parting words, a parting shot at the media.

PALIN: So how about in honor of the American soldier you quit making things up.

CROWLEY: Palin's farewell was a three-day rolling picnic from Wasilla to Anchorage to Fairbanks, surrounded by supporters dreaming big.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we get a woman president, let it be her. She's a real woman, she knows about what a woman is supposed to be. She's pro-life. She's pro-family. She's pro-woman.

CROWLEY: Was not all friendly going, Palin has lost some of her light in Alaska and a lot of it on the national stage.

ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: She abandoned her state in the middle of a term. They didn't ask for her to run.

CROWLEY: The latest ABC/"Washington Post" poll found that 53 percent of Americans view Palin negatively, 40 percent see her positively. Worse, four in 10 Republicans don't think Palin understands complex issues. Still, she wouldn't be the first politician to rehabilitate herself, and it's clear: while she's handing over the governor's chair, she's not relinquishing the microphone.

PALIN: With this decision, I will be able to fight even harder for you, for what is right, and for truth.


CROWLEY: Palin's writing a book, she says she'll help other candidates, she'll give speeches, and one of her first post-governor events is at the Roland Reagan Library in California. She could make good money doing all of that. She could also be on a path at least to 2012. It's called "keeping your options open."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I just asked her that about five minutes ago, and she -- you want to know what she said? She said, "I don't know," with her little smirk.

CROWLEY: One thing is crystal clear: Sarah Palin private citizen sounds a lot like Sarah Palin politician.

PALIN: And one other thing for the media, our new governor has a very nice family, too. So, leave his kids alone.


CROWLEY: Exit stage right, but definitely, don't fade to black.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


CHETRY: All right. So, how just relevant is Sarah Palin now that she's a private citizen? What impact will she have on the national political scene moving forward? We're speaking to White House adviser David Axelrod. He actually appeared on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" on Sunday, he says that she's not much of a factor in the circles he travels in.


DAVID AXELROD, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: I can tell you with absolute honesty that when I sit around with my political friends, particularly friends who are involved with me in my current pursuits, there's very little or no discussion of Sarah Palin. We're talking about the problems we're dealing with right now facing the country and so on.

And I really have no idea what Governor Palin is going to do. She's entering private life now. We wish her well, and the -- and it's up to her to decide what role she's going to play in the future. She's got plenty of advice, I'm sure. She doesn't need mine.


CHETRY: Well, Sarah Palin's future was certainly the talk of the Sunday shows because Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also was asked and weighed in on the future of Sarah Palin. She appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press." And while Clinton ruled the possibility that she'll run for president again, she was asked about the possibility of a female president, perhaps Palin in 2012.


DAVID GREGORY, HOST, NBC'S "MEET THE PRESS": Does she have what it takes?

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: That's up to the voters to determine. It's up to the voters to determine with respect to anyone. I mean, putting together a presidential campaign is an extremely complicated enterprise. So I'm just going to leave it at that, and I will be an interested observer. I do want to see a woman elected president. I hope it's a Democratic woman.


CHETRY: Now that Sarah Palin is no longer a governor, what is her next move? And will she continue to be a major voice in the Republican Party? We're watching David Frum, former speechwriter for George W. Bush. That's coming up at 8:10 Eastern this morning.

CHO: Something Vice President Joe Biden possibly making things a little tense between Washington and Moscow. President Obama had to clarify some of the vice president's comments before. Well, now it's the secretary of state's turn.

Foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty is tracking the story from our Washington bureau.

Hey, Jill. Good morning to you.


The vice president is the one who first used that catch phrase we all know that defines this administration's Russia policy: "reset the relationship." Now, catch phrases are one thing, but diplomats like to watch their words very carefully, and that's not something the vice president is known to do. That's creating some headaches for Secretary Clinton.


CLINTON: I think that's the story...

DOUGHERTY (voice-over): America's chief diplomat finds herself trying to explain comments on Russia by the vice president.

GREGORY: Is he speaking for the president? And is the message essentially that the U.S. now has the upper hand when it's dealing with Russia?

CLINTON: No, and I don't think that's all what the vice president meant.

DOUGHERTY: Just three weeks after President Barack Obama tried to reset the relationship with Moscow, Vice President Joe Biden just back from his own trip to Ukraine and Georgia tells "The Wall Street Journal" the United States holds all the cards in the relationship with an economically weakened Russia. "They have a shrinking population base," he says. "They have a withering economy, they have a banking sector and structure that's not likely to be able to withstand the next 15 years."

Those comments land with a thud in Moscow. A top adviser to the Russian president firing back, quoted by Interfax news agency is saying, "The question is: who is shaping the U.S. foreign policy, the president or respective members of his team?"

The White House spokesman tries some damage control, saying, "The president and vice president believe Russia will work with us -- not out of weakness, but out of national interest."

Finally, Secretary Clinton rides to the rescue.

CLINTON: And we view Russia as a great power. Now, every country faces challenges. You know, we have our challenges, Russia has their challenges.

DOUGHERTY: Russia (ph) now is one of Secretary Clinton's top responsibilities. Along with the Russian foreign minister, she's heading up a joint presidential commission spearheading relations; explaining comments by Vice President Biden doesn't appear to be part of the job description.


DOUGHERTY: The Russian side is making hay from this, saying if members of President Obama's team don't agree with their own president's policy then, quote, "We should simply know about it." It looks like Secretary Clinton might have to press that reset button again.

CHO: Jill Dougherty live from Washington with us -- Jill, thank you.

CHETRY: Also other stories new this morning.

As lawmakers wrestle over the details, President Obama is going to be going out there once again, talking about his health care plan in different parts of America. He's going to North Carolina, and he's going to Virginia this week. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad says Democrats may have a majority but that they'll need help from their Republican colleagues to actually get a health care reform bill passed. On the House side, though, Speaker Nancy Pelosi tells CNN that if the plan goes to the floor, it will pass.


JOHN KING, CNN HOST, "STATE OF THE UNION": It is the speaker's job sometimes, you're doing a lot better than I to referee disputes within the family.


KING: Are you worried your family is coming apart on this and that you might not have the votes on the floor?

PELOSI: Absolutely, positively not.

KING: You have the votes.

PELOSI: I take this bill to the floor, it will win. But we will move forward, this will happen.


CHETRY: The Senate already put off action on health care until the fall. The House may be forced to weigh on it, as well.

CHO: Some bold words from Fed Chief Ben Bernanke. In a town hall meeting in Kansas City over the weekend, he said he had to, quote, "hold his nose over the bailouts." But Bernanke insists this had to be done to avoid a major meltdown of the U.S. financial system. Bernanke also said he didn't want to be known as the Federal Reserve chairman who presided over the second Great Depression.

CHETRY: HBO was at the head of the class. The network is scoring top marks from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation for showing the most gay characters on the small screen. According to the study, HBO's 14 series last year -- out of the 14, 10 included gay characters. And for the third straight year, ABC was given the best grade among the major broadcasting networks.

Ten minutes after the hour.



CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

Sarah Palin said her final farewell as governor of Alaska. She said it in a feisty speech in various things including going after the Hollywood, the anti-gun crowd. She had some few digs at the media, as well.

So, many are asking, though: what's her next step?


PALIN: With this decision now, I will be able to fight even harder for you, for what is right, and for truth.



CHETRY: Well, this morning, she wakes up a private citizen. But how long will this absence from political office last?

David Frum, the editor of the He's a former speechwriter under George W. Bush as well.

David, good morning. Good to see you.


CHETRY: All right. So, we had her last tweet as governor, saying "God bless Alaska, God bless the USA." She criticized the media a little bit. She talked about the need to eat, which is why people hunt, a little bit of a dig there at the anti-gun crowd.

What's her next step though?

FRUM: Well, I think the most striking thing in that farewell was her blast at government delivers handouts, which has kind of strange impact coming from a governor who's most notable achievement was to increase the state payout to Alaskan residents by $1,200 per person.

Her next step: She's going to go out and make a lot of money. That's why she has resigned. She's now going to write a book, do speaking contract -- do speaking engagements. She will make a lot of money in the way that Bill Clinton did after he left the presidency. And with that money, I suppose she'll prepare for her next political outing.

CHETRY: You know, it's interesting that you talk about that because she was careful to point out -- she wanted her legacy to be that she saved billions for Alaska by cutting out wasteful spending, refusing to allow wasteful spending at the state and federal level, and she also talked about the fact that, you know, it was the independence of Alaska. And if you think government's the answer, you're in trouble.

So, at the same time, she really was sort of laying out a lot of what we heard on the campaign trail from her, as well. She went after the anti-gun folks. She said they're going to try to use Alaska to go after the Second Amendment.

Is she trying to, I guess, reignite a cultural war, if you will, as she tries to figure out what her national platform is going to be?

FRUM: Right. It's a reinvention. But as governor, she -- her major achievement was increase in the payout finance by a major increase in taxes on oil companies. Well, she worked with Alaska Democrats to achieve those things, because in Alaska, like everywhere, Democrats also like higher taxes and more government payouts.

She was not a culture warrior before John McCain chose her. That's a new identity and that's the message she's going to try to take as she positions herself in Republican politics in the lower 48. That's very damaging message for the Republican Party because in the rest -- I'm not even sure it works in Alaska -- but it sure is not going to work in the rest of America.

CHETRY: It's interesting you talk about what works and what doesn't work. This is what got the biggest applause according to people that were there at the picnic yesterday. Let's listen to what she said. It was a dig at what seems to be her favorite target, which is the media.


PALIN: You represent what could and should be a respected, honest profession that could and should be a cornerstone of our democracy. And that is why -- that's why our troops are willing to die for you. So, how about, in honor of the American soldier, you quit making things up.



CHETRY: Does that work?

FRUM: Well, the secret of Sarah Palin's post-election success is her ability to turn her personal grievances and resentments and make them expressions of grievance and resentment that are felt by other people. But you don't win elections in America on a platform of grievance and resentment. I mean, in election after election, Americans choose the more optimistic, the more cheerful, the more tolerant person. That's why Ronald Reagan was so successful.

CHETRY: Right.

FRUM: He didn't -- he had plenty of grievances, but he didn't say things like, in the name of the American soldier, quit publishing negative things about me. Maybe the American soldier has other requests of the media, like, please publish more material about our achievements in Iraq, or maybe, please print more pictures of girls in bikinis. But I think stop attacking Sarah Palin is not necessarily the first request of every fighting serviceman or servicewoman.

CHETRY: And I want to ask you about that, because according to the latest "Washington Post" poll, 53 percent of those in this poll view Sarah Palin negatively, 57 percent say they don't think that she has a good grasp of complex issues, 54 percent don't think she's a strong leader. Can you be a national candidate with negatives in that range?

FRUM: Well, candidates do sometimes overcome the negatives and they can discover resources in themselves that allow them to do that. I think, for Sarah Palin, the more worrying thing is the decline that she has seen among Republicans, especially since the announcement of her resignation. That Republicans are -- look, this is the party of small business, this is the party of people with responsibilities, that Republicans do disproportionately well among parents.

So, among people who have to execute work, who have burdens to carry, the idea that you just lay down the burden because -- as you yourself say, "I can't get the job done, I'm facing too much criticism," and as you don't say but is true, "because I'd like to make more money doing something else," is not an attractive message.

So, our party, you can see a deterioration in support for her, but we have some very difficult choices in 2012. It's not impossible. She could have a future inside the Republican Party. Nationally, a different story.

CHETRY: All right. David Frum, editor of, former speechwriter under President Bush -- thanks for joining us this morning.

FRUM: Thank you.

CHETRY: And we want to know what you think what's next for the newly-resigned governor. Share your thoughts,

CHO: Well, the economy is affecting almost every facet of American life. We talk about it every day. Now, even the lobster industry in Maine is affected. You know, our Jason Carroll travel to Maine over the weekend. He found out how lobster fishermen are adapting and what it means for lobster prices, too. We have that story next.

Eighteen minutes after the hour.



CHO: Good morning, Minneapolis. Cloudy and 70 degrees, going up to 86 with some isolated thunderstorms. It's cloudy there.

Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

Well, we've made it a top priority here at CNN to show you where the stimulus money is going and who exactly is helping. CNN's Jim Acosta is live in Washington for us.

So, Jim, you found one mayor who's asking, "Where's the money"?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Alina, even though we found people in his own backyard with stimulus jobs.

Earlier this year, Vice President Joe Biden visited St. Cloud, Minnesota, to tout the prospects of the stimulus. Now, the mayor of this city has become one of the stimulus program's toughest critics. His question: what's taking so long?


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our best days are ahead of us. I'm not -- that's just not happy talk.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Back in March, Vice President Joe Biden took a stimulus road trip to St. Cloud, Minnesota, where he toured the New Flyer Bus Company. He and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood predicted the stimulus would create jobs.

RAY LAHOOD, DOT SECRETARY: Tomorrow, you'll have a phone call from our folks at DOT to figure out how we can make this happen.

MAYOR DAVE KLEIS, ST. CLOUD, MINNESOTA: We had a high expectation of these things ready to go right away.

ACOSTA: But four months later, St. Cloud's mayor says he's still waiting for those jobs, still waiting for an answer on nearly a dozen stimulus requests. He blames stimulus red tape.

(on camera): So, is it your feeling that the vice president and the transportation secretary over-promised and under-delivered?

KLEIS: Well, I think it raised our expectations. It raised our expectations that we were going to see something quicker.

LAHOOD: What I said was accurate. Sure.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood points to the New Flyer bus factory. Thanks to the stimulus, it's seen a boost in sales and avoided layoffs.

LAHOOD: And all you see all over America are orange cones, people working in good-paying jobs, building roads, building runways, building bus garages. So, the idea that our money isn't going out is just not accurate.

ACOSTA: We did find new stimulus jobs in St. Cloud at the Geyer Signal Company. They've hired 25 new workers to make road signs. Stimulus projects across the state.

(on camera): Before the stimulus and after the stimulus, you've seen an effect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. Compared to last year and this year, it's been a resounding effect.

ACOSTA: Resounding effect?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, absolutely.

ACOSTA (voice-over): St. Cloud is weathering the recession well. City hall is surrounded by state road construction projects which have driven down the local unemployment rate to 7.7 percent, far below the national average -- that's without the stimulus.

(on camera): A lot of mayors would trade places with you to have that unemployment rate, would they not? Have you been in Detroit? It's 15 percent there.

KLEIS: Yes. We have a diverse economy and we have -- again, we still have challenges.

ACOSTA: You feel like you're not getting your fair share?

KLEIS: Oh, absolutely not. I'm convinced of that.


ACOSTA: Everybody wants their fair share. Now the Transportation Department cites a recent government report showing the stimulus is moving ahead of schedule, don't tell that to the nation's mayors who have their own studies that cities compared to rural areas, are getting the short end of the stimulus stick.

So, Alina, the stimulus debate goes on. If there's one thing that's certain, it will go on beyond the length of the stimulus program, Alina.


CHO: You're absolutely right. You know, and those mayors, they want that money yesterday.

ACOSTA: They want -- show me that money. That's right

CHO: That's right. Jim Acosta live for us in Washington. Jim, thank you.

ACOSTA: You bet.

CHO: And for more on Jim's story, you can check out our blog, find that at

Twenty-four minutes after the hour.



CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

You know, when we talked about all of the things that have resulted as our slumping economy, many small businesses are taking a hit across the country and Maine's lobster industry is also one that's been hit particularly hard.

CHO: Yes, that's right. It is surprising to some. You know, collapsing prices are forcing lobster fishermen to take some extreme measures -- that's just to survive.

CNN's Jason Carroll just back from Maine and has the story.

Hey, Jason. Good morning.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, too. You know, here's what the good news is. For people like us, consumers, you're looking at a savings here, as much as a few dollars per pound on lobster. The bad news for the lobstermen, they're really taking a hit on all this.

When you think of a lobster man, think of a small business owner. Every time one goes under, so, too, does a small business. Businesses like this are the backbone of the economy, and their survival now in question.


CARROLL (voice-over): It's a stormy morning in the waters off of Portland, Maine, not ideal conditions for lobster fishing, but that didn't stop Mike Davis.

(on camera): Even in this rainy, stormy weather, you're still out looking for lobsters?

MIKE DAVIS, LOBSTER FISHERMAN: Summertime. It's summertime. You have to -- you can't make up a day that you missed in the summer time.

CARROLL (voice-over): That's because things have gotten bad for Maine's lobster.

DAVIS: You miss a day, it does hurt, you know? You've got to go as much as you can, you really do.

CARROLL: Davis knows he'll catch in a storm. The question: Will consumers battered by a dismal economic climate buy? Many are foregoing lobster for cheaper eats. In 2007, the Maine lobster industry made $280 million in sales. Last year, $240 million. Lobstermen say that loss hurts.

DAVIS: A lot of guys -- we're on the breaking point of "Can we keep doing this?"

CARROLL: Lobstermen we spoke to wondering if they are the ones now trapped, invested in a sinking industry.

CHRIS ANDREWS, LOBSTER FISHERMAN: We pretty much have seen, I guess I'd say probably a 30 percent to 40 percent cut in income.

JIM HOLDEN, LOBSTER FISHERMAN: We need more money. So, the pressure on the industry is quite a lot.

CARROLL: Pressure that turned to violence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The shooting of a lobsterman on Matinicus Island...

CARROLL: One lobsterman accused of shooting another over fishing territory last week. There's also tension between fishermen and dealers who sell their catch. Lobstermen say the dealers are still turning profits. So, in order to make ends meet...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

CARROLL: Lobstermen like Mike Davis sell not only to dealers, but directly to consumers. Dealers, like Bill Bayley, are not happy.

BILL BAYLEY, BAYLEY'S SEAFOOD: Sometimes, I don't think they want to listen to reason.

CARROLL: Bayley along with 12 other dealers wrote a letter of complaint to the state.

BAYLEY: Selling the product on the side of the road for a cheap price depresses the whole market.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tail first, buddy, tail first.

CARROLL: For now, the state says the lobstermen can keep selling on their own.

GEORGE LAPOINTE, MAINE MARINE RESOURCES COMMISSIONER: I think one of the things we have to do is see how big it gets.

CARROLL: However bad the economy is, Mike Davis can't think of any other life.

DAVIS: Today might be a different story, but when you wake up and it's a beautiful calm sunny morning, I can't imagine not coming down and coming out to haul traps. I would really definitely miss it.


CARROLL: Hard-working group of guys. Until the economy rights itself and prices rise again, lobstermen say the industry has to do a better job at marketing and letting consumers know that lobster is out there. It's less expensive right now. So, buy and eat.

CHETRY: And did you get a chance to enjoy some yourself?

CARROLL: Well, you know, I should have, given what the story was, but I'm just not a big fan -- I used to be allergic to shellfish. So, lobster is not my -- it's not my thing.

CHO: You had some problems on the dock, didn't you?

CARROLL: You know what, Alina? You just can't behave, can you? I fell on the dock. I fell twice. OK? Thanks, Alina.

CHETRY: All right. There's Jason Carroll dressed to the nines and all these lobster, I'm sure they (INAUDIBLE) and then, at the end of it, he goes, "No, thank you."


CHO: Fell on the dock twice, and I said, "Is there video?"

CHETRY: Meanwhile, Jason starts at (INAUDIBLE). So, what are you going to do? Jason, great story, though. Thanks so much.

CARROLL: Thank you.

CHO: Fantastic reporting.

Thirty minutes after the hour. We are tracking several developing stories on this Monday morning.

Right now, NASA astronauts are making the fifth and final space walk of their current mission. On the agenda today, some housekeeping on the International Space Station including adding TV cameras to the brand new Japanese-made science lab. Shuttle Endeavour undocks from the station tomorrow and that will end the largest gathering ever in space of 13 astronauts between the shuttle and the station crews.

CHETRY: Just a short time ago, French President Nicolas Sarkozy was able to leave a Paris hospital. He was there for an overnight stay, doctors monitoring his heart.

All of it happened after the 54-year-old collapsed while jogging in hot weather yesterday. Officials say his test results were normal.

CHO: And a baseball rivalry turns potentially dangerous on the diamond. The Philadelphia Phillies were hosting the St. Louis Cardinals yesterday. During the seventh and eighth innings, at least five players were targeted with a green laser pointer -- there you see it -- while at bat.

Both Albert Pujols and Julio Lugo had the laser shined in their eyes. The umpires had to stop the game, but they couldn't find the fan responsible in the stands.

CHETRY: Now that you think about it, I'm surprised it doesn't happen more, career (ph).

CHO: You would think, right? By the opposing team's fans.

CHETRY: Well, next year in Paris, Lance Armstrong saying he's already signing up again, setting his sights on the 2010 Tour de France. He came up short this year. He came in third place.

CHO: Not bad. Most people would be pretty happy with that, but Lance is used to coming in first. The seven-time Tour champ finished third, more than five minutes behind the winner Alberto Contadore of Spain.

After the finish, Armstrong sat down with our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I tell you, it's been a remarkable 22 days for Lance Armstrong right here in France. Tour de France started in Monaco, ended right here in France. Fans, cancer survivors from all over the world really cheering on the seven-time Tour de France winner.

Now, I sit on the board of Livestrong, and I can tell you after a four-year hiatus, it was a big decision for him. I caught up with him just a few hours after he took third place at the Tour de France to talk about some of the challenges, talk about some of the criticisms that have been waged against him, and how he responds to those, and to simply ask him why he decided to get involved in all of this again.

GUPTA: Coming in first -- is that something that you thought about? I mean, did you care? You're right, it's not about the bike, but do you care if you come in first or not?

LANCE ARMSTRONG, THIRD PLACE IN TOUR DE FRANCE: Well, I wanted to come in first. But sometimes in sports, there's somebody that's better. And I was that guy for seven years, and I never understood what it felt like to get second or third.

I'm 38 now, and you race guys that are 24, 25, or 26, and they're fast, their strong, they have acceleration, they have all of the things that you had at that age. And you get third.

That's what's the great thing about the tour is that the best man always wins.

GUPTA: How is this race different for you in terms of how you trained, what you ate? Was it different compared to five years ago?

ARMSTRONG: Well, I used a lot of the same training, the same idea with diets. The only difference, I guess, is that I'm now 38 years old. So a 38-year-old man does not wake up every day like a 28- year-old.

But I can't complain. I mean, I think I rode well.

GUPTA: Why come back after four years? What inspired that?

ARMSTRONG: Well, obviously I have to have a love for the bike, I have to have a love for the tour. Otherwise it's too hard, it's just way too damn hard to go out and do this -- but my passion for fighting cancer and fighting and not just in Texas and the United States but around the world.

GUPTA: When you look at you, the man, Lance, and the issue of cancer, do you think that people separate that? Do they understand why you're riding, why you came back?

ARMSTRONG: Yes, I think so. You know, these days it's -- it's easy to get feedback. When people have a comment or have an issue, they let you know.

And most of them are regarding cancer. So that tells me that the people understand. They've been affected either themselves or a loved ones, and they understand it. And they say keep going, you know, pedal hard for them tomorrow, pedal hard for my mom or for my neighbor or my co-worker.

GUPTA: One of the things you talked about during the whole tour was surprise test for doping. They just come surprise you.

ARMSTRONG: They're not surprises any more.

GUPTA: They're not surprises. I think over 40 tests.

ARMSTRONG: I think over 50 now.

GUPTA: What do you say to the critics and what do you say to the skeptics now at end of the tour?

ARMSTRONG: Look, I've done this a long time and I've been at the highest level now since 1992 until 2009. I've been tested more than anybody else.

If I can take four years off and come back at the age of 38 with more controls than anybody else on planet earth and get third in the hardest sporting event in the world, I think we've answered the question. GUPTA: It's worth pointing out a couple of things. Lance's heart and lungs are different than most people. For example, his heart pumps about nine gallons per minute as compared to five gallons, which is more typical.

Also he gets double the amount of oxygen out of every breath as compared to a health 20 year old.

So, he's physiologically, has a lot of advantages for sure.

He also tells me he wants to keep on the cancer fight. In fact, he's hosting a global cancer summit in Dublin later on this August.

Kiran and Alina, back to you.


CHETRY: There you go. We did e-mail Sanjay and said sorry we teased you about the man crush.

CHO: We said he has a man crush on Lance Armstrong.

CHETRY: He wrote back and said, "Correction. It's not a man crush, it's a bromance." So, it's mutual.

CHO: Yes, oh, right, OK.

CHETRY: Exactly.

CHO: Either way, it's a nice love affair that they have.

CHETRY: It sure is. And as he pointed it out it's so amazing that he's physiological made...

CHO: And he's such a good sport about it. Third place is not a bad deal. He wants to come back, and he wants to win it again next year. At least he's going to go out and do it again. Good for him.

CHETRY: Good luck.

CHO: Coming up, we have some new developments in the controversial arrest of prominent Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates. The woman who made the 911 call reporting a possible break-in at Gates' home is speaking out for the first time. We have the first TV interview with her lawyer. That's coming up.

It's 37 minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

An accountant gives up his job to become a home builder, then the recession hits. In today's "Money and Main Street," Allan Chernoff found one small business owner who is using the stimulus to help him hang on. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)



ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Accountant Tom Critelli gave up a secure number-crunching career for the nail-banging of home building. His timing was perfect 18 years ago. Critelli rode the housing boom to build a thriving business, employing a dozen full- time employees, putting off as many as 50 homes a year.

TOM CRITELLI, PRESIDENT DANITOM DEVELOPMENTS INC.: People need places to live. That is the American dream.

CHERNOFF: But after nearly two decades of building the American dream, the housing bust has been a business nightmare for him.

CHERNOFF (on camera): Today Tom Critelli is down to only two full-time employees, and he's building only three homes this year, two of which are unsold.

CRITELLI: Right now, you just, you know, living for a better time.

CHERNOFF: Home builders are suffering in every state. The business is down by two-thirds nationwide since peaking in 2005.

New Jersey is doing a little better than that, but you'd never know it talking to Critelli.

CHERNOFF: It's been a crash. And most people will tell you that it's more of a depression.

CHERNOFF: So survive, Critelli is turning to Uncle Sam, not for a bailout, but for a piece of the stimulus pie. He's bidding for contracts to repair military recruiting centers as well as other government business.

And to improve his odds, Critelli is partnering with larger companies experienced in doing construction for the military.

CRITELLI: People need to work, and my company needs to work.

CHERNOFF: A lot is riding on Critelli's bid for new business. He has a son in college and a daughter about to enroll. The Critelli's already have had to raid their 401(k) and tap other savings.

CHERNOFF (on camera): Do you regret having left accounting?

CRITELLI: No, there's no regrets.

CHERNOFF: Even now?


CRITELLI: Yes. We could always -- I've always said to my wife, we can always go back to that.

CHERNOFF: Tom Cretali is optimistic he'll win a contract from Uncle Sam. That would help him hang on through the recession and eventually rebuild his business.

Allan Chernoff, CNN, Manchester Township, New Jersey.



CHETRY: Happy Monday, guys. It's 45 minutes past the hour.


CHETRY: It's 48 minutes past the hour.


CHO: Nine minutes before the top of the hour.

As the president tries to cool temperatures between the Cambridge police department and Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, the woman who called police, the woman who said there might be a robbery at the professor's home, is now speaking out.

Her name is Lucille Whelan, and her lawyer says she never mentioned race when she called 911. So, what exactly did Whelan see, and what did she tell police?

I'm joined on the line now by her attorney, Wendy Murphy. Ms. Murphy, thank you so much for joining us. Lucille Whelan is said to be a 40-year-old woman of Portuguese descent. She's said to be personally devastated about this.

What did she tell you about what she said in that 911 call?


The thing that we're really emphasizing this morning is what she didn't say. There's no question she never reported seeing quote, unquote "two black men."

And the reason we're clarifying that, number one, it's been widely reported, but, number two, it's been -- to falsely characterize Ms, Whalen as a racist, and she is really devastated by that characterization. She never said they were black. Indeed, she couldn't tell their race at all.

CHO: But who, in your estimation, is classifying her as a racist? MURPHY: Well, if you read almost any mainstream news, you'll see some implication that this incident would never have happened, indeed the police never would have been called, if the men had been white. That's an implication that the woman who called 911 was acting because she saw "two black men."

But also, if you look at many of the online reporting sites and some of the columnists, they're basically saying had she not been racist and acted in a racist manner in calling 911, had she not been a white woman fearful of the black men in the neighborhood, she wouldn't have thought they were committing a crime. And so she is the racist spark that started this mess.

And the absolutely opposite is true. She didn't see their race, she didn't report their race, she didn't act on race. She acted on behavior. She works nearby. She doesn't live in the area. She was concerned because she knew there were recent break-ins in the area...

CHO: And Ms. Murphy, I want to jump in for a moment, because that is initially why she made the call, right, because she was aware of other recent robberies in the area, right?

MURPHY: That's exactly right.

CHO: And that she -- am I correct in saying that she says she never saw two black men, but what she saw were the backs of two men with backpacks? Can you confirm that?

MURPHY: No, no, she did not report seeing two men with backpacks.

CHO: What did she say on that call?

MURPHY: She said she saw two men who appeared to be breaking into a home. And when asked for further description, she indicated that she also saw two bags. That's it. That's the description she gave.

When pressed a bit further -- well, can you describe the men? -- she said "I don't want to speculate. I don't want to speculate, but if you make me, it looks like one of the men might be Hispanic." That's how she described the scene, nothing about black men.

And she is absolutely devastated. By the way, she's not even a white woman.

CHO: Well, Ms. Murphy, it's clear this is now part of the national conversation. President Obama, as you well know, said last week, on Wednesday, I believe, that he believed that the Cambridge police "acted stupidly." Two days later, he said, well, I could have calibrated those words differently.

I'm curious to know what your client thinks about President Obama sort of wading into these waters.

MURPHY: Oh, however she feels about that, she's not telling me. And I don't think she wants to voice her opinion.

CHO: How do you feel about it?

MURPHY: What I want folks to know on behalf of my client is that she believes both sides are respectable, and she wants to tamp things down. She doesn't want her clarification of the record to make things worse.

She cares about the racism allegation as a person. She does not want to spark any more fights and controversies about the race issue. She's a good person, she was a good citizen, and I think we're beginning to see that she was not the racist spark that fuelled the fire.

CHO: Wendy Murphy, attorney for the woman who made that 911 call in the Henry Louis Gates case, the break-in happening on July 16th. We thank you for joining us.

It's 56 minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

If you're planning to visit New York City, it's a pretty safe bet you'll probably go to Time Square, maybe you'll see a Broadway show, maybe you'll check out the Empire State Building. A lot of those things are on the to-do list.

But for a taste of real New York, you can actually tag along with real New Yorkers.

CHO: That's right. That's thanks to the Big Apple Greeter program. And get this -- some of the newest greeters are bona fide celebrities. Watch.


CHO: Would you want to tour New York from this guy? You would if he did this.


CHO: This is Bronx born and bred Dominic Chianese, the actor otherwise known as Uncle Junior on the hit TV series "The Sopranos."

And now he's a tour guide. A what?

DOMINIC CHIANESE, ACTOR: This is the neighborhood, this is the place for the cigars.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chianese is the newest member of the Big Apple Greeter program, a non-profit group that pairs real New Yorkers with New York visitors.

The celeb factor is a way to promote the city and show people like Nancy and daughter Katie Sakston from South Carolina a side of the big apple many never see or taste.

CHIANESE: Let's go over here.

CHO: Chianese and the Sexton's start their day on the subway -- final stop -- the little Italy of the Bronx, Arthur Avenue where Chianese was born.

CHIANESE: This is the neighborhood right here, right here.

CHO: Spend a few minutes walking around town with the actor, and you'll find --

CHIANESE: Good to see you, kid.

CHO: He's treated like the mayor, and he knows his food.

CHIANESE: Pizza. Delicious. Really nice. It's an old Italian expression.

CHO: Chianese also shows the Sexton the New York way to eat pizza -- fold the slices in half.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the real Italian food.


CHIANESE: Thanks for coming by, really.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just can't really tell you how much it meant to be here with him and to see this community and just appreciate it for what it is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The tour ends with a walk around the old neighborhood.

CHIANESE: I was born in this building in 1931.

CHO: And a stroll through Arthur Avenue market, where they sampled aged parmesan cheese, and get a treat of a lifetime.



CHO: Can you imagine being in the Arthur Avenue market and getting that?

CHETRY: There it is. That's a slice of everyday life.

But you said this is free. But how many people can actually get in on this?

CHO: It's kind of luck of the draw. And these women from South Carolina got lucky.

CHETRY: They sure did. CHO: So, yes, anyway, it's a great service, yes.

CHETRY: What a fun day.

CHO: Anyway.

CHETRY: Well, that's going to do it for us. Great having you here.

CHO: Great being here.

CHETRY: And right now we're going to hope to see you back here tomorrow. Meanwhile, the news continues with Heidi Collins.