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American Morning

President Obama Gets Ready for His Make or Break Speech on Health Care Reform; Will Dems Give Up Public Option?; A Look Inside Bernie Madoff's Penthouse; Football Coach on Trial for the Death of High School Football Player; Skin Whitening, a Growing Trend in India

Aired September 09, 2009 - 06:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, thanks very much for being with us on the Most News in the Morning on this Wednesday. It's the 9th of September and you put it all together, it's 9-9-09. Flip it over, it's 6-6-6. I'm just saying.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Numerologists love these things.

ROBERTS: Good morning, I'm John Roberts.

CHETRY: I'm Kiran Chetry. We'll be talking a little bit more about the whole number things. But first, on to bigger things this morning. We're going to be breaking down some stories for you in the next 15 minutes.

First on the agenda, the president's push to reenergize the health care debate. His speech to a joint session of Congress is tonight. We're going to be taking a look at what he could say and whether he'll be able to sell to Congress and the American people. Health care reform, and what all that means for you.

ROBERTS: Dramatic testimony from the father of a Kentucky high school football player who collapsed on the practice field and later died. His former coach now on trial for reckless homicide. Prosecutors say his brutal practice led to the 15-year-old's death. We'll take a look at how the potentially landmark case is playing out in court.

CHETRY: And the lifestyle of Bernie Madoff. There are new pictures of the homes and the boats that were seized by the feds and are ready to be sold at auction. And our first look at the New York City apartment where Madoff spent his last days as a free man. Christine Romans is going to join us with that.

ROBERTS: We begin in Washington with what could be one of the most monumental days for the White House. In a matter of hours, President Obama will put a huge stack of political chips on the line to try to sell health care reform.

The president will go before both Houses of Congress and a national television audience to make his pitch. President Clinton used the same stage back in 1993, but his push for health care reform died a year later.

So will President Obama have better luck and could lawmakers come closer to an agreement on health care before tonight's speech? We've got a team of reporters ready to go, even though it's barely 6:00 in the morning.

Suzanne Malveaux is live at the White House. Brianna Keilar is on Capitol Hill. And Jim Acosta is in our Washington bureau.

Let's start at the White House. And, Suzanne, what can we expect to hear from the president tonight?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John, he's still fine-tuning that speech, but it's expected to last about 35 minutes or so. He's going to urge Congress to act swiftly. He's going to talk about the cost of not reforming health care. He's going to try and reassure the American people that, in fact, that you are happy with your insurance, that you will not lose your insurance with the multiple plan and competition.

Now White House aides do believe that he is still going to talk about the public option, the government option to private health care insurance as a competitive way to actually reform the system overall, but it's not to be a make or break kind of deal breaker, if you will.

I had a chance to a little back and forth e-mail to Robert Gibbs this morning to talk about specifics, tried to squeeze some specifics out of him. Here's what he gave me this morning.

He said when the president is done tonight, everyone who listens will understand that his plan has two core overriding goals. To bring stability and security to Americans who have insurance today and affordable coverage to those who don't. His plan will bring reforms that will reduce the unsustainable growth in the cost of health care which has doubled in the last decade and will again unless we act -- John.

ROBERTS: You know, he's having some problems not just with Republicans, but Democrats as well. What about those Democrats who are wavering on health care? What's the White House doing to try to get them onboard?

MALVEAUX: John, you can imagine there's some arm twisting that's taking place. You know, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, he's been in the trenches before when it comes to health care reform. He has been pressing Democrats essentially making the case, look, we understand. Remember what happened back when Clinton tried to push forward his health care reform, lost those seats in the House as well as the Senate. The majority of the Democrats don't want that to happen. They want to prove they can govern. They think they could lose 10 to 30 seats next go round in the election next year, and so they're looking to at least put forward something. So there is more momentum and more movement than would you think -- John.

ROBERTS: Suzanne Malveaux for us at the White House. Suzanne, thanks.

Of course, you can see the president's speech live on CNN and tonight 8:00 p.m. And stick around because in about 25 minutes we're going to talk to former White House Chiefs of Staff John Podesta and Andy Card about tonight's speech. We'll get some insight on exactly what is at stake for President Obama tonight?

CHETRY: And while the president has been the most vocal proponent of health care reform, it's Congress, when you boil it all down, that has to agree on a plan. And that is still a long way off. But here's where things stand right now in an "AM Extra" for you.

Four of the five congressional committees that are considering health care legislation have already passed bills -- passed bills at a committee. The Senate Finance Committee is the lone holdout but could have something later today.

Meantime, the four plans already passed have many of the same features. Each would require all Americans to have insurance and they prevent insurance companies from blocking people with pre-existing conditions or dropping them when they get sick. But the one big sticking point is the so-called public option or insurance program run by the government. And as Jim Acosta tells us, the debate on what to do with that is still red hot.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, the president is not just taking heat from liberals in the party, he's also feeling pressure from veterans of his campaign for president who say health care reform without the public option is not change they can believe in. But one Democratic leader says it may be time to cut a deal.


CROWD: Fired up. Ready to go. Fired up. Ready to go.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Former staffers from President Obama's campaign rallied in front of the White House, umbrellas in hand just in case it rains on their parade with the public option, the idea of giving Americans the choice of a government health care plan.

(on camera): The president compromises on a public option. Has he let you down?

MIKE ELK, FORMER OBAMA CAMPAIGN FIELD ORGANIZER: I think if the president compromises on public option, he hasn't just let me down, he let down my entire generation.

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), MAJORITY WHIP: It may be that we need to take a half load rather than a full load and get the full load three years down the road.

ACOSTA (voice-over): But the number three Democrat on the House, James Clyburn, says it's time to find some middle ground. One compromise he says would be to test the public option as a pilot program.

CLYBURN: Let's do that now. And then, three years down the road, some people say four or five, then let's take a look at the facts and see what worked and see whether or not we will then mandate going forward at what the public option will look like. ACOSTA (on camera): There are some members of your party in the House who will settle for nothing short of a public option now. What do you say to them?

CLYBURN: What I will say to them is that this gets us there.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Clyburn is also open to calls for a trigger that would mandate a public option down the road if the insurance industry doesn't improve its performance.

CLYBURN: Well, the fact of the matter is, a trigger would include a public option.

ACOSTA: The White House is signaling the president hasn't given up on the option. In a speech to Congress, Mr. Obama is expected to make the case that the option won't impact Americans who get their insurance from their employers or Medicare.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the president will discuss both what the public option isn't and what the public option is in terms of bringing choice and competition.

ACOSTA: Still, even as he campaigned as a "change" candidate on health care, Mr. Obama said he was also a deal maker.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the end, all the good plans in the world won't mean anything if we can't get them passed.


ACOSTA: And the Democratic Majority Whip, James Clyburn, is reminding some of his colleagues that the civil rights laws of the '60s were not passed all at once but over the course of a decade. That kind of effort, he says, may be necessary on health care reform -- John and Kiran.

CHETRY: Jim Acosta for us, thanks.

ROBERTS: The health care debate is sure to have the halls and back rooms of the Capitol buzzing this morning. Let's head there now.

Brianna Keilar is live on Capitol Hill. And, Brianna, pretty remarkable how far apart some congressional leaders are on the so- called public option.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It really is. You hear the number three Democrat in the House there, Jim Clyburn, saying, you know, maybe we should tweak the public option to get folks on board, what some liberal Democrats would call weakening a public option. And then listen to what the number two Democrat in the House, Steny Hoyer, as well as the top Democrat, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said late yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. STENY HOYER (D), MAJORITY LEADER: I'm not one of those that says you don't have a public option, it's not a good bill. I think it's a very good bill. I think the public option makes it much better.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), HOUSE SPEAKER: And I do believe that in order to pass a bill in the House, we will have a public option. This is the legislative process.


KEILAR: Back to back there, at the same microphone, saying essentially different things. Now pressed by CNN producer, Digger Walsh (ph), she pressed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about what appears to be this divide among the Democratic leaders in the House. And Speaker Pelosi insisted that there is not one. But the fact is here, these Democratic leaders are really dealing with quite a chasm when it comes to the rank and file members, from liberal Democrats who say they will not vote for health care overhaul without a public option to conservative Democrats like Blue Dog Mike Ross who says he will not vote for a bill if it includes one -- John.

ROBERTS: All right. Brianna Keilar, we got some other things to talk about with you as well.

CHETRY: Yes, it's really interesting because so while all of that is playing out in the House and whether or not they're going to get the liberal Democrats on without one and whether or not we're going to Blue Dogs on with one. Then there's a Democratic plan, of course, as we know in the Senate. Senator Max Baucus trying to get this out of finance committee and he needs the help of Republicans to make this happen. What can you tell us about how that is going?

KEILAR: Yes, this is a whole other ball game. The negotiations going on right now between these bipartisan members of the Senate Finance Committee. And we've learned a little bit more about the proposal they're considering, this proposal that this man right there, Senator Baucus, the chairman of this committee put before them. Not only does it include the non-profit cooperative, health cooperative that we talked about yesterday. Instead of the public option, and I should add, it's the only bill in Congress or would be the only bill in Congress that doesn't include one.

Also, there is no mandate that says employers have to provide insurance to employees. That said, there are some penalties for some bigger companies. For instance, companies with more than 50 employees.

There is a mandate for individuals to get insurance and if they don't, they would pay a penalty. For a family of four, household making $66,000 or more per year, up to a $3,800 annual fine. There are some exceptions if you live in an area where you really can't get affordable health insurance compared to what you're pulling in every year. But really, you guys, the pressure is on here today, because Senator Charles Grassley, the top Republican on this committee told me yesterday and Democratic sources confirm, that Senator Baucus is really keyed in on trying to reach an agreement today, before the president's health care speech among this bipartisan group. And there are some Republicans in the so-called "gang of six" who say they really are not so sure this is possible.

CHETRY: Interesting. All right. Brianna Keilar, we'll continue to follow up with you there on Capitol Hill. Thanks so much.

And we know that you watching have a lot of questions about all of this. So when you get to work, you can check it out, We have all kinds of resources there where you can navigate through the health care debate.

It's 10 minutes now after the hour. Other stories new this morning to tell you about. In Boston today, a public hearing to consider the late Ted Kennedy's final wish allowing Governor Deval Patrick to temporarily fill his Senate seat until the special election is held in January.

Since 2004, Massachusetts law has called for special elections when members of Congress stepped down or passed away but that takes months. In a letter last month, Kennedy wrote the state and asked for an interim appointee. He wanted one to preserve those two Senate votes in Massachusetts specially for the landmark health care reform pending.

CHETRY: Also brand new overnight, freedom for a "New York Times" journalist kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan. The newspaper reporting that Stephen Ferrell was rescued early this morning when British commandos stormed to the room where he was being held. He was captured Saturday while covering a NATO air strike in northern Afghanistan.

Until now, this kidnapping had been kept quiet out of concern for his safety according to "The New York Times." He was kidnapped once before as well covering the news of the war in Iraq back in 2004.

ROBERTS: And the shuttle Discovery now streaking through space on its way home from the International Space Station. Discovery (INAUDIBLE) after spending eight days there. The crew delivered fresh water and more than 18,000 pounds of equipment and supplies to the orbiting outpost including the treadmill that was named for Stephen Colbert. The shuttle is scheduled to land Thursday night at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

CHETRY: Well, the father of the high school player who died during practice in 94-degree heat is now going to be testifying at the coach's trial. It's going to be the first time a football coach is facing homicide charges for a player dying during practice. We're going to have more on what the father of the young boy has to say.

It's 11 1/2 minutes past the hour.


ROBERTS: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. Testimony will resume later this morning in the trial of a former high school football coach accused of causing the death of one of his players.

Jason Stinson is charged with reckless homicide. Prosecutors say his brutal practice in the August heat led to the death of 15-year-old Max Gilpin last year. Yesterday, jurors heard from Max's father. Mary Snow is following all of the developments in court for us.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, this is a case that could have far reaching implications and is believed to be the first of its kind. And on Tuesday, prosecutors in Louisville, Kentucky called some of their key witnesses.


SNOW (voice-over): Jeff Gilpin described the afternoon in August, 2008 when his 15-year-old son Max collapsed on the football field. The teen died three days later. Prosecutors charge that Max's coach, Jason Stinson, is responsible for running what they call a barbaric practice, forcing players to run sprints with little water.

Jeff Gilpin recalled getting to his son's practice late that day, but it was hot. And he saw players in full equipment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see your son throw up on the field that day.

JEFF GILPIN, MAX GILPIN'S FATHER: Yes, I did, as well as other players. He wasn't the only one.

SNOW: Prosecutors also questioned a team member who played with Max Gilpin. His identity is shielded because he's a minor. The players said he saw some kids try to get water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And did you hear anything that Coach Stinson said to those players?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get back here. You're not finished running.

SNOW: Gilpin says when his son collapsed he and others tried to cool him down and that Stinson was not with them as another coach dialed 911.

OPERATOR: Is he breathing?

CALLER: Yes, he's breathing. Yes. He's going. He's kind of going in and out on us, though.

SNOW: Gilpin says at first he didn't see anything wrong with the practice, but changed his mind after hearing from others. And he admitted that initially, he didn't blame coaches in an interview we did with a reporter roughly two months after his son's death.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you recall telling her that they, being the coaches, did everything they could that I would have done?

GILPIN: Yes. SNOW: Gilpin testified his son took the drug Adderall, a drug used to treat attention deficit disorder. And he said his son had also taken creatine, which is a supplement used to stimulate muscle growth. Defense attorneys are trying to prove that other factors may have played a role in the teen's death, summing up their case during last week's opening arguments.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has been nothing but a witch hunt by these people.

SNOW: Stinson pled not guilty to charges of reckless homicide and wanton endangerment. He faces up to ten years in prison if he's found guilty. Prosecutors say with his training, he should have known not to subject these players to those brutal conditions.

LELAND HILLBERT, PROSECUTOR: He put competition and winning -- winning his first game as a head football coach ahead of safety.


SNOW: Stinson is getting the backing of other coaches who say that Max Gilpin's death was a tragic accident. Coaching organizations from across the country have been contributing to a defense fund for Coach Stinson -- John and Kiran.

CHETRY: Mary Snow for us. Thanks. It's just amazing. I mean, there's no doubt that a tragedy happened. But there's a lot of different opinions on whether or not it was the coach's actual fault.

ROBERTS: Yes. You know, because so many players practice in heat like that. The coach puts them through drills to try to toughen them up.

CHETRY: Right.

ROBERTS: You know, increase their endurance. But when is too much, too much?

CHETRY: I know.

ROBERTS: You know, difficult to know.

CHETRY: Well, we're going to continue to follow that story.

Meanwhile, the lifestyles of the rich and famous. How about Bernie Madoff. We're getting a first look inside the Manhattan penthouse. This is where he spent his last days as a free man. This house, boats and, of course, a beautiful beach house all on the auction block now.

Christine Romans joins us with an inside look. Seventeen and a half minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: It's not our house, it's Bernie Madoff's house. Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. Christine Romans "Minding Your Business."

As we know, all of his assets going up on the auction block. And this is in the middle of what street? Park Avenue?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's 64th -- I mean, I went over there, 64th and Lexington. But they call it the Park Avenue Apartment. It's closer to Lexington. But look, it's 4,000 square feet. It's a big apartment. The penthouse, that's what, you know, the people who like penthouse apartments like Bernie Madoff, that's where they like to live.

Listen to the marshals. I love the marshals who are turning into real estate agents trying to drum up business for investors or buyers of these apartments. Listen to the U.S. marshal discussing this home.


ROLANDO UBALDO, DEPUTY U.S. MARSHAL: We're here on the 11th floor of the penthouse. This is the lower level of the penthouse in Manhattan. This is Bernard Madoff's study. As you can see, we're surrounded by cherry wood from the walls to the molding. Bernard Madoff's desk is where he did most of his work. This is where Bernard Madoff spent the last few days of his free life.


ROMANS: I just love this guy.

CHETRY: They were showing the...

ROMANS: It's a place in Montauk -- I love that guy. I love him because he's, you know, the marshal. He's like arresting people.

ROBERTS: He's going to be doing the real estate show on the Home Shopping Network.

CHETRY: They're called the underselling.

ROMANS: I know. So, look, this is all about location. It's the penthouse that means -- for those of you who don't know, that means it's on the top of the building, it's two floors. It's listed as a three-bedroom, but it's 4,000 square feet. It's only a one bedroom because they took these two other bedrooms and turned them into his and hers study. There are four fireplaces, a staircase that curves between the 11th and 12th floor. All the art, all the chandeliers, all that stuff you see there is going to eventually be auctioned off.

This is a place that's -- again, it's not as big and grandiose as you would expect, but it's nice. And his investors will get some money back once this thing -- once this thing is sold.

ROBERTS: So this thing is selling for about the same price as the Montauk property, right?

ROMANS: I think so. I mean, I think they're hoping to get maybe eight to ten (INAUDIBLE). There's another property that we're going to show you later on when we continue our lifestyles of the rich and felonious. And that would be in the next hour and that is the place in Palm Beach. And it is yet another U.S. marshal who is giving us the grand tour of that.


CHETRY: We haven't even gotten to the boat tours, yet.

ROMANS: What I love about all of this, you guys, is I love the bowl theme, everywhere. I mean, in the boats, in the homes, I've seen art. The representation of the bull is very large in this man's life.

ROBERTS: Only he's been doing some trading.

ROMANS: Exactly. Well, a bull, of course, is a symbol for being positive or bullish on the markets. But bull became just, you know, it really represents something else when you're talking about Bernie Madoff.

ROBERTS: It sure does.

ROMANS: Bull, you can fill in the blank.

ROBERTS: Christine for us, thanks, "Minding Your Business." Appreciate it.

The president has got a big speech tonight to a joint meeting of Congress. What's he going to say and what does he need to say? We'll talk with two former chiefs of staff, John Podesta from the Clinton administration, and Andy Card from the Bush administration coming right up.

Twenty-three minutes now after the hour.


ROBERTS: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. While many folks here in America flock to tanning salons to get that golden glow, across India, the demand for skin whiteners is soaring. It's not just women who want the product either. Guys are looking for that fair skin that advisers say women spoon over. Our Sara Sidner has got that story for us this morning from New Delhi.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This television commercial is sending out a not so subtle message to men in Asia. One actor says I'm unlucky because of my face. Not because of your voice, because the color of your face, the other says. Then he throws him a skin whitening cream.

You get her just like that, referring to the girl they were staring at. And indeed, after putting on the cream, he does, in the ad, anyway.

Skin whiteners once mostly targeted to women in India are now being advertised to men from some of the world's best known cosmetic brands. A marketing study found sales for skin whitening have jumped more than 100 percent in rural India.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the most important.

SIDNER: Jawed Habib (ph) says he knows why. He runs 140 unisex salons in India and around the world.

JAWED HABIB, SALON CHAIN OWNER: We all have a complex towards white skin -- towards foreign skin, foreign hair.

SIDNER: In recent years, Indians have gained more disposable income than ever before and Habib says guys are not shy about spending it on their looks.

HABIB: They think everything.

SIDNER (on camera): Men used to be embarrassed about this sort of thing.

HABIB: Not anymore. I don't think so. I think nowadays they are very conscious to look nicer.

DEEPAK RAJPUT, DELHI RESIDENT: Why not. Everybody wants to look good. Everybody wants to look handsome, beautiful. And why not me?

SIDNER (voice-over): But in a country where most people have brown skin, the message being sent to men and women by these skin whitening advertisements has some outraged.

BRIDA KARAT, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Basically, I mean, I think it's completely racist and highly objectionable.

SIDNER: Brida Karat is a member of India's parliament and has complained about the ads to Indian authorities. We contacted three major producers. (INAUDIBLE) did not respond.

Skin Care Company which sells in Pakistan did saying they're just giving the public what it wants.

Still, critics argue these commercials are simply reinforcing a stereotype that India should be trying to shed, not encourage.


SIDNER: Now just to give you an idea of just how pervasive the social stigma is on basically having dark skin here in India, all you have to do is pick up the Sunday paper and check out the groom and bride wanted ads. I'm going to read you one here.

This one is a woman describing her physical attributes to try to find a groom. She says she's beautiful, extremely tall, an MBA graduate and fair skinned. The word fair usually means you have lighter skin. And if you look at these ads, both male and female, they list "fair" as a wanted attribute -- John. ROBERTS: That's really interesting that so many people here in the United States want to get darker by going to tanning booths, and there it's exactly the opposite. Everybody is looking for something different.

Sara Sidner for us this morning. Sara, thanks so much.

CHETRY: It is. It's amazing.

We're coming up on half past the hour right now. Time to check our top stories.

Investigators are now saying a bone fragment that was found next door to the home of Jaycee Dugard's alleged kidnapper, Phillip Garrido, is probably from a human. This bone will now undergo DNA testing to determine its age, its origin any other clues. Police say Garrido took care of that property. It's noting though it's not unusual to find Native American remains in the area according to authorities.

ROBERTS: Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, three more great white sharks spotted off of Cape Cod. Officials estimate they're between ten and 15 feet long. A total of five have now been electronically tagged so experts can track their movements. The sharks were spotted off the Massachusetts coast last week, prompting officials on the cape to close beaches to swimmers over the Labor Day weekend.

CHETRY: Well, a health alert. Hold the green onions. Two California companies now recalling thousands of cases of scallions after tested positive for salmonella. The green onions are grown in Mexico and shipped to at least nine states. So far, there are no reports, though, of anyone getting sick from the outbreak.

And returning to our top story now. Tonight, President Obama makes his most important speech yet for health care. And as the president prepares for this make or break address, two men with intimate knowledge of what goes into getting ready for a national address like this join me now. We have John Podesta, who is chief of staff under President Clinton. Also, the founder and president for the Center for American Progress.

Thanks for being here, John.


CHETRY: And we also have with us Andy Card, former chief of staff under President George H.W. Bush.

Great to have you as well, Andy.


CHETRY: So I want to ask both of you since you advise presidents ahead of these big speeches, big moments like this. If you were in the Oval Office today, and I'll start with you, John, what would you give as advice to President Obama as he gets ready for this address?

PODESTA: Well, he's got to reinvigorate the debate on health care. We've had a summer in which this thing has been drifting. I think this is a chance for him to talk directly to the American people and remind them of what's in it for them, that they can get security of quality health care at a reasonable price. And he's got to talk to the members of Congress and let them know where he sees the deal. He's got to be specific about how to bring this thing home.

CHETRY: You know, Andy, John just talked about being specific. There's a new CBS poll out. It seems to echo a lot of the polls that we've seen in the month of August showing that six in ten Americans are still saying that President Obama has not clearly explained what it's in for them or how this would help them or change their lives. What does he need to do in terms of helping people -- those who have health care and as well as those who do not, about why this is better for the country?

ANDREW CARD, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, I think he does have to live up to that expectation of more specific information. He hasn't done that in the past. Now, he's obligated to, first of all, calm the American public that this is a debate we should be having.

Second of all, he's got to describe what it is he wants to do. He's got to live room for the American will to have a way with members of Congress, and act as members of Congress are the most important audience because they're the ones who are particularly paranoid right now because they've heard of the angst the American people have.

So the American people want to know more, but the members of Congress has got to be shown the way to go if he wants to move forward.

But this is a time we should be talking about competition to make things better rather than a pubic option. And I think if President Obama doesn't allow for competition in the health care side of the debate, it's going to be an uphill struggle for him to get a bill out of Congress.

CHETRY: And then it's interesting, so we're talking about the speech tonight. And, John, I'm interested to find out from you, how much is really riding on this?

I mean, in the end, he is going to talk to the American people tonight, but in the end, I mean, doesn't all of this really lie within the walls of Congress, whether or not there can be some agreement between some who say a public option is a must and others who say I just can't go for that, and figuring out whether or not there's any consensus between the two houses?

PODESTA: Well, I think that what the president needs to do is sort of channel that debate and talk about why he thinks a public option actually does provide the kind of competition that Andy was talking about, but sort of set the range of where that debate goes. We've had the full blown version in the House. We've had the so- called trigger option that Senator Snowe has put forward in the Senate.

And I think he has to kind of channel that debate so that people understand that this is a way of providing a quality coverage when you need it, and say that there's a range of options that Congress should kind of come together and fix it -- and fix an approach.

But we've had a lot of drift I think particularly during the month of August. And he needs to show the leadership that he's capable of to say this is the direction we need to go in, now get to work on some of the specific details, leave a little bit of room for conversation.

CHETRY: Andy, do you think that the pundits are perhaps overplaying the notion that it's the Democrats against the Democrats when it comes to this, in the House at least, that liberals are not going to say yes to a bill without a public option or as the so-called Blue Dogs or the more conservatives can't sign on to one that does contain it?

CARD: Well, I think the real problem in the House is between the Democrats. I think the problem in the Senate is to try to find more Republicans. So it's an -- it's an interesting balance.

But President Obama will also have to acknowledge the cost. And what is he going to do to keep cost down? We can't afford to be spending, spending, spending, spending the way we're spending in this. It's not just the 10-year window, it's really the next 50-year window that he should be talking about.

What is he going to do to keep cost down to make sure that health care is affordable, that insurance is a good way for us to get health care and it shouldn't be through the public option only?

CHETRY: And, John, as you look at this debate and you saw where it ended up for the Clinton administration back in 1993 and '94, you were there, what do you think is different? What do you think may be the turning point this time around that could get any health care reform passed?

PODESTA: Well, I think a couple things. First of all, as Andy noted, the costs of health care have skyrocketed particularly for families, but also for businesses. So there's much more business support to get something done to control those costs.

And you see -- I think a lot of opponents of health care reform who would have now come to the table -- doctors, the hospitals, the pharmaceutical companies, who say, yes, we know that something needs to be done and we're willing to participate in this conversation.

So that's a big change from '93.

CHETRY: You mentioned -- right -- and you mentioned those groups as they haven't sort of rallied the legislative push. You know, to try to get something to move behind the scenes.

But one you didn't mention -- insurance companies. And that is what this administration and also opponents of health care have said is the biggest problem here. Where is their incentive to, you know, try to lower prices?

PODESTA: Well, you know, I think they were obviously a big opponent of what happened in '93. Right now, they are kind of -- some of them are against it, some of them are open to at least discussing what's going forward.

But I think, ultimately, the Congress is going to have to summon up the will to say we got to regulate the insurance industry more so that they can't deny you coverage for pre-existing conditions, they can't discriminate against women -- the other factors that I think -- actually I think there's bipartisan consensus on.

CHETRY: And, Andy, the other interesting thing, we're talking about Max Baucus. He's the chairman of the Finance Committee in the Senate. He's looking to come up with some sort of an agreement within his committee.

But the interesting thing that our Brianna Keilar was talking about is this penalty on families, $3800, it could possibly be, if you do not buy insurance, if you're a family of four making, I think it's about 66,000.

How is that going to play out once people see that perhaps, you know, your own household could be fined if you choose not to insure your family?

CARD: Well, anytime you talk about increasing the cost on a middle class family, you're in trouble. And I feel that, you know, some of these options are just too expensive for America and they will actually reduce the level of care that people have. And they threaten the insurance that people have and they're comfortable.

And that's why I think we still have to find a better way to get a solution to this process. And maybe President Obama will rise to the challenge tonight. I'm a little skeptical that it's going to work.

CHETRY: All right. We will all be watching, certainly. John Podesta, Andy Card, great to have insight from both of you this morning. Thanks.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: He revolutionized the way that police patrol airports and tourists in Washington DC. Now what's Segway inventor Dean Kamen up to these days? We will show you.

It's 37 minutes after the hour.


ROBERTS: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. He has made wheelchairs climb stairs, turned cow dung into kilowatts, now a world-famous inventor with hundreds of patents including the Segway personal transporter is turning his attention to water purification. Gary Tuchman has more for us this morning on the "Edge of Discovery."


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Water. It's the most abundant resource on the planet. Yet, every year millions of people die because they don't have access to clean water. So Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway decided to take this problem on with a machine he calls the Slingshot.

DEAN KAMEN, INVENTOR: We believe the world needs a Slingshot to take care of this problem, Goliath of a problem, bad water.

TUCHMAN: He says the machine can turn contaminated water like this dirty river water into clean drinking water by boiling, distilling and vaporizing it.

KAMEN: In goes the bad. And as you can see, out comes the good. That is pure water.

TUCHMAN: The machine is smaller than some other water purifying systems, making it portable.

KAMEN: It's ideally suited to go to places in the developing world.

TUCHMAN: Kamen says it requires very little electricity and maintenance to function. But until he finds partners and distributors to keep the costs down, Slingshots won't be available to the people who need it most.

KAMEN: We've got to find better strategies to deal with this incredibly unique, invaluable resource called water that we have all come to take for granted, but we'll not be able to do that in the future.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN.


CHETRY: It's amazing. Unbelievable.

ROBERTS: The guy is an incredible inventor. He's got some of this -- you know, the Segway, remember, when that rolled out? And he didn't know how big it was going to be. This has got application maybe on the Segway, but he's just navigating the cost down so he can get it out there in the field where it needs to be.

CHETRY: Yes. But that's amazing. We just take it for granted. You can turn on the faucet, turn off the faucet, whatever you want. Not like that in many places. Well, meanwhile, Hurricane Fred churning in the Atlantic. We talked about El Nino, right? It sort of kept a lot of these hurricanes out of the way, blown them away, made their strength a little bit lower than, less than we've seen. But what about Fred? Rob Marciano joins us to weigh in.

Forty-two and a half minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: And what a pretty shot this morning of Atlanta.

Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

It's 66 degrees right now in Atlanta, going up to 85. And it's going to be mostly sunny today.

Right now, we're going to fast forward through the stories that will be making news later today.

Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd expected to announce that he's staying on as Banking Committee chairman. There were some speculation Dodd might succeed the late Ted Kennedy as head of the Senate's Health Committee in an effort to get a reform bill passed.

At 10:30 Eastern, there's a memorial service that's going to be held for the legendary CBS anchor Walter Cronkite taking place at New York City's Lincoln Center. President Obama is expected to attend and speak along with former President Bill Clinton and astronaut Buzz Aldrin. And also some of Cronkite's longtime colleagues.

Well, Apple is at it again. After weeks of speculation, this afternoon 1:00 Eastern, the company is unveiling its latest gadget. Among the rumors lighting up the blogs a new line of iPods, and the Beatles, of course, finally making their way on to iTunes. This is the whole, what, remastered Beatle's hit. So people looking forward to that.

ROBERTS: Originally, I think they were transferring in '87. And it wasn't such a good transfer so it will be interesting to hear how it sounds. But don't forget, I mean, that stuff was originally recorded on four and eight tracks.

Maybe they'll be true to the original recording. That's what the important part of that is.

Check this out. Some new pictures just in to us.

Extreme flooding in Istanbul, Turkey. The governor there says the rising waters have killed at least 20 people. Close to two dozen others have been injured. Heavy rains expected to continue through the rest of this week.

And at 47 minutes after the hour, Rob Marciano is at the weather center in Atlanta. He's tracking the extreme weather across the country and out in the Atlantic. And we got Hurricane Fred getting some strength out there, Rob?


ROBERTS: Rob, thanks so much for that.

CHETRY: Well, she's taking the tennis world by storm, right? Where she ranks 70th and seeded 70th. And she's just knocking off, as she calls it beat all Russians one by one.

ROBERTS: Yes. Well, she's the same height as Justin Hannan, 5'6".

CHETRY: Right.

ROBERTS: And she's proving herself to be every bit as versatile out there on the court as Justine was.

Remember, she retired rank number one.

Is this woman, you know, headed on the same track?

CHETRY: Yes. We're talking about Melanie Oudin. And she is really the Cinderella story of the U.S. Open this year. We're going to have more. And we're going to be talking to her coach actually a little later.

ROBERTS: That picture tells the story. She's got grit.

Forty-nine minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: Yes, she sure is.

Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

She's the little tennis pro that could. She's 17 years old. Melanie Oudin from Marietta, Georgia. And she really is making a big splash at this year's U.S. Open. She's beating one ranked player after another. And tonight, Melanie is going to be playing her quarterfinal match against another teenager, Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki. And she's trying to keep the dream alive.

CNN's Larry Smith has more on this Cinderella story.


LARRY SMITH, CNN SPORTS (voice-over): Serena and Venus Williams maybe America's most famous tennis, but Melanie Oudin has created all the buzz at the U.S. Open. The 17-yaer-old from Marietta, Georgia, started hitting balls at age 7, but her quest for greatness intensified. And by the 7th grade, she decided to become home schooled.

MELANIE OUDIN, U.S. OPEN QUARTERFINALIST: It was worth to play more and to not get in trouble for missing so many days of school because of tournaments, because I wasn't allowed to. And I wanted to play tournament so I had to start home schooling. And the amount of improvement that I got in that first year home schooling was unbelievable.

SMITH: Oudin's focus on tennis improved her game. It didn't come without sacrifice. Like any teenager would, Melanie misses hanging out with her friends, but she's also misses the bond she shared with her twin sister, Katherine.

OUDIN: We've always been close since we were little. But I think now, we definitely drifted a little bit apart from each other just because I'm gone a lot, and then she's got different friends than I do and different interests and stuff, but we're both happy for each other.

SMITH: Oudin turned pro last year, and received her first taste of fame two months ago after reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon. But that failed to comparison in what she's experiencing now.

On Monday, at the Racket Club, where Oudin trains, Melanie's friends and fans watched her become the youngest American to advance to the U.S. Open quarterfinals since Serena Williams in 1999.

TURHAN BERNE, MELANIE OUDIN'S SUPPORTER: She's as nice as she can be. She's the best sport, and she's a champion.

ALICIA KATZ, MELANIE OUDIN'S SUPPORTER: Such a close match every time. But every time she pulls it off. It's just great because we see her here every day, so dedicated, always working out.

SMITH: With Oudin's cue rating on the rise, her coach of eight years, Brian De Villiers is intent on keeping her humble.

BRIAN DE VILLIERS, MELANIE OUDIN'S COACH: This weekend, we were laying sod and doing yard work. I made her come and do it. I make her do everything the other kids do. She's no prima donna. You know, she has to understand, hey, this is your club, you help make it look good.

SMITH: That said, if Oudin wins the U.S. Open she's pretty sure De Villiers will let her slide on eating one of her favorite things.

OUDIN: I love ice cream, and I can't really eat it that much when I'm playing tennis. So I enjoyed it on my off season, but --

SMITH: Are you counting down the days until your first ice cream cone.

How many (INAUDIBLE)

OUDIN: A lot. I mean, if I win the U.S. Open or something, I'm sure my coach will let me have like an ice cream.


CHETRY: I'm sure, too. Wow, good for her.

ROBERTS: She's doing amazingly well. You know, you can imagine her first pro-tournament was April of last year. And now she's in the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open. That's a pretty stratospheric rise in the world of tennis.

CHETRY: Don't over think it, just keep going. Because you know what happens when people pay so much attention, and she's, you know, young.

ROBERTS: Yes. I know.

CHETRY: Don't worry about it.

ROBERTS: Yes. There are bit flashes in the pan that haven't panned out before. But, you know, hey, you know, got a lot of hope for her. She's playing 7:00 tonight, by the way.

CHETRY: All right.

And coming up on our next hour, actually, we're going to be talking to her coach.


CHETRY: What's the secret? What's the magic?

ROBERTS: Looking forward to that.

Still to come, a snapshot of the fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan. All this week, Anderson Cooper, Sanjay Gupta and Michael Ware are reporting from the war zone.

And Michael's latest assignment took a terrifying turn.

Look at this.





ROBERTS: A roadside bomb going out just ahead of Michael's convoy. The full story -- you don't want to miss it -- just ahead.


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

Free speech versus money in politics. Later on today, the Supreme Court will hear a case involving the 90-minute documentary that attacked Hillary Clinton when she was running for president last spring. And, as our Elaine Quijano explains, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's first case could change politics as we know it.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, it's a complicated issue, but it boils down to the Supreme Court considering a dramatic change that could do away with the ban on direct corporate campaign spending.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who is Hillary Clinton?

QUIJANO (voice over): It started small. During last year's presidential primaries, a federal court said campaign finance laws barred this ad for an anti-Hillary Clinton movie by an advocacy group, a nonprofit corporation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you thought you knew everything about Hillary Clinton, wait until you see the movie.

QUIJANO: But now the Supreme Court could make a monumental change in how money influences politics, deciding, in the name of free speech, whether there should be any limits at all on corporate campaign spending.

FRED WERTHEIMER, DEMOCRACY 21: Allowing corporations to flood our elections and use campaign expenditures to buy influence would fundamentally undermine our democracy.

QUIJANO: Fred Wertheimer of Democracy 21 warns overturning a century of precedence would shut average citizens out of the political process.

WERTHEIMER: The little guy would have no role here because the dominant force in our politics, the dominant force in Washington decision-making, would become corporations.

QUIJANO: But David Bossie of Citizens United, the group behind the anti-Hillary Clinton movie, argues that anyone pooling resources including unions, the health industry, advocacy groups like the National Rifle Associations, has free speech rights.

DAVID BOSSIE, CITIZENS UNITED: I actually went out and looked for this fight because I don't believe that the government's position. I don't believe the government should have the right to impede people's entry into the process. And that's what the Federal Election Commission is trying to do here -- squelch our First Amendment rights.


QUIJANO: Interestingly, the American Civil Liberties Union agrees. The final decision is expected in a couple of months and legal observers say conservatives could hold the key would enough votes to possibly declare much of current campaign finance law unconstitutional - John, Kiran.

ROBERTS: Supreme Court for us this morning. And coming up in a half hour's time, expert analysis on this huge Supreme Court case. We'll ask George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley which way this case is more likely to go.