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American Morning

Pirates Strike Same Ship Twice; Obama Confident on Health Care; Patriots or Extremists?; President Obama's Strategy in China

Aired November 18, 2009 - 08:00   ET


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. It's Wednesday, November 18th. Welcome to AMERICAN MORNING. We're 8:00 right on the nose here in New York. I'm Kiran Chetry.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I'm John Roberts. Thanks for being with us. And here are the big stories we'll be telling you about in the next 50 minutes.

Breaking news from East Africa. Somali pirates striking again. Their target, the Maersk Alabama. Yes, that's the very same ship that they hijacked back in April. But this attack had a much different ending. Late breaking details -- straight ahead.

CHETRY: Also, President Obama is now in Seoul, South Korea. It is the final stop on his eight-day, four-nation tour of Asia. Coming up: We're taking a closer look at his just completed trip to China. Was that a success? We also have more of Ed Henry's one-on-one interview with the president.

ROBERTS: Plus, the Oath Keepers. They're soldier, veterans, policemen -- all who've sworn to protect you and the Constitution. Meet a group who says their allegiance is not to the commander-in- chief.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Is the Oath Keepers a militia group?

STEWART RHODES, OATH KEEPERS FOUNDER: No. We don't need to be. We're the military and police.

ACOSTA: Do you think President Obama is plotting to build detention camps in this country?

RHODES: I don't know. Do you think President Bush was plotting to do that? Who knows? You know, the point -- the point is...

ACOSTA: But we don't have any evidence of that.


ROBERTS: Hear the answer to that and much more just ahead in part three of our A.M. original series, "Patriots or Extremists?"

We begin the hour, though, with breaking news from the off the coast of East Africa. Somali pirates are attempting to hijack the Maersk Alabama for the second time. It's the same ship they seized back in April, holding the captain hostage for five days. This time, guards on board the Alabama were able to return fire last night and thwart the attack.

Joining us by telephone from Plymouth, Massachusetts, this morning is Captain Shane Murphy. You probably recognize the name. He was the first officer on the Maersk Alabama when it was hijacked seven months ago.

Shane, good to have you with us this morning. Let me ask you first...

CAPT. SHANE MURPHY, NEXUS CONSULTANT (via telephone): Good morning, John. How are you doing?

ROBERTS: Good. Let me ask you, first of all, your thoughts about the second attack on your ship.

MURPHY: Well, you know, my first thought was I have a lot of good friends on there and I was very happy to hear that it was a successful outcome. You know, and then my second thoughts, you know, it makes me a little bit angry that this problem is continuing to go on and get worse. And, you know, we've seen here now that having a security team on board that can fire back is a successful deterrent.

And, you know, one of the first things I did when I got home from the Alabama when we were taken was I started working with a security company called Nexus, and that's what they do, specialize in maritime security. And they've, you know, they've several successful deterrents, and people are worried about the level of violence escalating with the pirates.

And, you know, my point is, how much more can it escalate at this point?

ROBERTS: So, your concern...


MURPHY: You could fire back.

ROBERTS: Yes, your concern is that...

MURPHY: That proven that, you know, that that works.

ROBERTS: Right. So...

MURPHY: And, I was, you know, just a little angry that we didn't have that option and that all of the families of the guys on the Alabama that went through that have been through quite an ordeal.

ROBERTS: Yes. So, your concern, Shane, then is that the pirates in this case were using small arms fire, they were in small boats, they were repelled by this security detail on board. This was private security detail -- we should point out -- on board the Maersk, which used returned small arms fire apparently. They also use long range acoustic devices that sent out an ear-piercing sound.

But you're worried that maybe next time, the pirates come back with rocket-propelled grenades, bigger boats, and then it just keeps going up and up that way?

MURPHY: Well, yes. They have been re-investing, they've got, you know, bigger boats, boats with two engines. But, you know, what I'm worried about is American crews are going to be treated differently than the rest of the world, OK?

And there are still, this, you know, 80 percent of the ships over there don't have security details on them. The Maersk Alabama does, obviously, because it's a high-profile target. But there are other Maersk ships over there that don't have security on them. And, you know, I've been trying to get them security. And there are a lot of hurdles in place right now.

But, you know, there's report there that if an American crew were to be taken, they could be -- the pirates could sell the crews to Al Shabab, and still get the same money they would get from the companies. You know, they'd get $2 million for the crew...


MURPHY: But the crews not going home, you know, to other terrorists, they could be run through the streets or killed or what, you know? I mean, this is -- this is -- we have to look at how we protect our American seamen and they are not being protected.

ROBERTS: All right. Well...

MURPHY: And, you know, I've been home for months since April, and, you know, it's just -- it's an ongoing struggle with the companies, with the government, you know, the regulations. Ands it just seems like it's an easy fix.


ROBERTS: Well, on that point...

MURPHY: ... on board the ships that could fire back.

ROBERTS: Yes. On the point, so, you've got private security details, they're on board some ships. You say not on enough ships. But you also have that huge area of ocean there that's impossible for the Navy to patrol. You've got the European Union out there. You've got the U.S. fleet.


ROBERTS: So what else -- I'm asking what else could be done, Shane?

MURPHY: You're looking at it the wrong way. You're not -- you shouldn't have to patrol the entire ocean. You should patrol the three ports that you guys are coming out of. You know, Spain has called for that because they had a few incidents in the last couple days.

You know, the global community needs to look at and realize that this problem is severe, and if they blockade those ports, they're not large ports, they're small maritime ports, and you get the guys where they are coming out, you know, either to go out to do the job or coming back in for supplies. And you board them and you find out what they're doing.

You know, if they say they are fishermen and they RPG, you know? Obviously, they're not. And, you know, that's how you can patrol. You can patrol at the source, not out in the thousands and thousands of miles of ocean. And, you know...

ROBERTS: What about, Shane, going...


ROBERTS: What about, Shane, going...

MURPHY: But also by arming the ships because then you're patrolling the actual targets that they're going after.

ROBERTS: Shane, what about going -- Shane, if I could, what about going beyond that? You know, you're suggesting blockading the ports, but there are many who have suggested that what you've got to do is you got to get on the ground there in Somalia, you got to get the government to make changes, to give more economic opportunities.


MURPHY: ... at least for Americans, you know, in the '90s (ph), you know, I had friends in the Marine Corps that were over there, and then -- and, you know, took fire, and -- that's a dirty job. And I'm not here to say America needs to get involved in another war on the ground. But...

ROBERTS: That's not the point I was making.

MURPHY: The problem is, over there, you know, I spent a lot of time in Africa, spent a lot of time around the world in places like that. And it's just a lawless, lawless land right now. And unfortunately, these guys are creating problems for everybody else.

You know, I look at -- one of the crew members on the Maersk Alabama right now, John White, was the electrician when I was on there. So, now, it's just the second time he was attacked. This man is in his 70s, and because the economy is so bad, he had to go back out to sea, you know, to make some money.

And, you know, if these guys keep hitting ships like this and countries have to route their ships around Africa or things like that, you know, the price of everything is just going to go up. Ands it's just -- it affects on so many levels other than just the people that are over there.


MURPHY: And these pirates have shown that they'll go after anything. They've gone after military ship. They've gone after cruise ships. They've gone after yachts, merchant ships. If there is something out there they're not afraid to go after it...

ROBERTS: All right.

MURPHY: ... and, you know, at least from our case on the Maersk Alabama there was -- you know, they were excited when they found out we were Americans.

ROBERTS: I'm sure they were. And...

MUPRHY: And we just can't -- as a country, we can't send our guys over there unprotected. And it just makes me furious. You know, I have a friend that just went to Mombasa and they were followed for three hours by a skiff on the way in. And you can stay 2,000, you know, 1,000, 2,000 miles off the coast as long as you want, but sooner or later, John, you got to turn and you got to get into the port ,you know what I mean?

ROBERTS: Exactly. And with the monsoon season now over, we can only expect that the incidents of piracy is going to go up.

Shane Murphy for us on the phone this morning -- Shane, thanks so much. Good to talk to you.

CHETRY: We have some breaking news from Afghanistan as well. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton just arriving in Kabul this morning, it's a surprise visit and it comes on the eve of President Hamid Karzai's inauguration. It also comes at a time when President Obama is close to deciding whether to send thousands of additional troops to the nation. Secretary Clinton is expected to attend President Karzai's swearing in.

And President Obama is in South Korea this morning. He arrived in Seoul just in the past couple of hours actually. And this is the final stop on his four-nation tour of Asia. He's been, as we've been reporting, to Japan, to Singapore, as well as China. And before leaving Beijing overnight, the president visited the Great Wall of China which he said was magical. The weather, however, was not. The president said that the bitter cold reminded him of a Chicago winter.

And no matter where the president travels, the health care debate and the economy follow him. The clock is ticking on a deadline to get health care done by the end of the year. Our Ed Henry sat down with the president before taking off from China to find out where Congress stands right now.


ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You set a lot of deadlines for fellow Democrats. They missed many of them on Capitol Hill. And you hear Democrats sometimes say, you know, "Why isn't the president more like LBJ? Why doesn't he grab them by the lapels and get this done? And get more specific and force these deadlines?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes. The truth of the matter is, is that we've been very specific. LBJ didn't have the Congressional Budget Office, just to give you one example of how complicated the process in Washington has become. You know, essentially, Harry Reid was ready with a Senate bill several weeks ago, but it has taken this long for the Congressional Budget Office to present its best estimates of how much this is going to cost, how many savings will be obtained, what kind of savings will be obtained from the legislation.

So, there are just a lot of procedural hurdles that explain why health care hasn't been dealt with in 40, 50, 70 years. But I remain confident that we are going to get this done and we're going to have a bill that reduces our deficit, bends the cost curve, covers millions of people who don't have health insurance right now and for people who do have health insurance makes their insurance more secure. And I'm absolutely confident we're going to get that done.

HENRY: On the economy, we've received a lot of questions from CNN iReporters who went to our Web site and wanted to ask a question directly. This one is from Guy Watson in Albuquerque, who says he's a disappointed Obama voter and here's why -- he asked, "Why have you chosen to give our tax money to the banks without holding them responsible or forcing to lower rates for start-ups and to facilitate refinancing of foreclosed homes?" You hear that a lot.

OBAMA: I do. I think it's important to understand, first of all, that the so-called bank bailout started before we came in. I actually think it was the right thing to do in a crisis. We had to make sure that you did not have a complete meltdown which would have been even worse.

And I've said in the past, I supported President Bush's decision to move forward on that. Once we got them in a place where they were no longer in crisis, the problem was, things were put together so quickly last year that there weren't as many strings attached as we would have liked.

And so, what we've tried to do is to create some structures after the fact that would impose more accountability, more discipline. The most obvious example would be the rules on executive pay. But it's always hard to do, particularly when a lot of the banks now got well and then just paid the money back. And so, we now no longer have leverage.

HENRY: Covered a lot substance list (ph) and on a very short political question, Sarah Palin's got a new book out.

OBAMA: Right.

HENRY: You'd think she will be a candidate in 2012? And will you be a candidate in 2012?

OBAMA: You know, I don't think about 2012 right now. I think about next week. But, look, obviously, Sarah Palin's attracted a lot of attention. She is going to do very well with this book. That's clear. And...

HENRY: Are you going to read it?

OBAMA: You know, I probably won't. But I don't get a chance to read things other than briefing books very often these days anyway. You know, she obviously has a big constituency in the Republican Party. You know, there are a lot of people who are excited by her.


CHETRY: There you go.

ROBERTS: I'm not going to read Sarah Palin's book. Not unexpected, I guess.

CHETRY: What's he's going to say? I know. If he said he was going to, that would be the headline.

ROBERTS: There you go. So, the president's trip, a failure or a success? We'll check in with Gordon Chang and Niall Ferguson coming up live next.

It's twelve-and-a-half minutes after the hour.


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

South Korea is the final stop on President Obama's four-nation tour of Asia. He touched down in Seoul a couple of hours ago from China where the president seemed determined to strengthen their global partnership. We're taking a closer look now at his China trip.

Joining us from Washington, Gordon Chang, "Forbes" columnist and the author of the "Coming Collapse of China." And from Baltimore, Neil Ferguson, professor at the Harvard Business School and author of "The Ascent of Money." I got to tell you Neil, you move around an awful lot. You're getting across the country these days.


ROBERTS: All right, well let's talk about that trip. Particularly his visit in Beijing there where he was meeting with Chinese leaders. White House officials said that relations between the United States in China are at an all time high. But, Gordon, what does that mean in terms of issues important to Americans like job, trade, currency values, debt financing, national security? GORDON CHANG, "FORBES" COLUMNIST: Well, President Obama is walking away from Beijing empty handed from all that we can see, and I think we shouldn't be surprised. Even before he got on the plane he made some very important concessions. He didn't see the Dalai Lama; he called the Chinese strategic partners.

And that's what they've wanted to hear for a decade. And unfortunately they saw no need to reciprocate the gestures. I think that we should stop telling the Chinese how good our relations are especially when we're not getting much and also, we should stop telling them how important they are because that gives them a signal that they have got a veto over American foreign policy and they don't.

ROBERTS: An article in The Washington Post today said this about the U.S. approach to China. Said, quote, "if there was any significant change during this trip it was in the United State's newly consolatory and sometimes lottery tone, the President basically said to Hu Jintao thanks for helping to bail us out of the recession. Neil what strategy do you see at work?

FERGUSON: Well, I call this Chimerica, the fusion of China and America. And it seems to me the President believes in this much more these days than his Chinese counterparts. Before he got to China he made a speech in Tokyo that I thought was extraordinary open handed and consolatory, in which, he said power isn't a zero sum game, we have common interests, we're going to be partners, there is no rivalry before he even got off the plane at Shanghai, the Chinese shot back with criticism of American monetary policy and of American trade policy.

And I think that's really been the pattern throughout this trip, he's looking to be the best pal of China and the Chinese are kind of slapping him down and saying we are your equals now and we no longer need to hear lectures on questions of human rights, let's focus on your sins of economic omission and commission.

ROBERTS: But when it comes, Gordon Chang, to issues economic, zero sum game is not the best outcome, is it? Don't you get more when you work together?

CHANG: Clearly you do. But President Obama has not found the right way to get the Chinese, for instance, to let their currency float. And you know the United States, for a number of years now, the better part of this decade, has been trying to rebalance the global economy. And you can't do that without having the Chinese float their currency. So, we need to obviously change our tactics because what we're doing is not working. The Chinese are becoming less flexible on their currency, rather than better.

ROBERTS: So Neil, what more do you think the President could have done during this visit?

FERGUSON: Well it's kind of difficult if you're negotiating with people who lent you $2 trillion over the past five or so years. The People's Republic of China became banker number one to the United States during the great credit boom and right now with the economy still limping along it's hard to pick a fight with them on economic issues.

I agree with Gordon, the number one problem right now is that while the dollar weakens, so too, does the Chinese ren men bing (ph) because they pegged their currency to ours. That's not too bad for the United States, though it's not great either.

We could do with a stronger ren men Bing (ph). But the real problem is the rest of the world, I mean, right now; the rest of the world is staring at this unbelievable competition from Chinese exports. They are not only more productive but thanks to the depreciation of their currency they are absolutely unbeatable on price.

ROBERTS: And Neil, you mentioned human rights just a couple of moments ago. And there are advocacy groups, press freedoms, and human rights who believe that the President had a missed opportunity in Beijing, he did talk about internet freedoms but didn't think he talked about it strongly enough. Let's rewind the tape to his town hall there in Shanghai and to show you what the President said about that.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES: I've always been a strong supporter of open internet use. I'm a big supporter of non- censorship. This is part of the tradition of the United States that I discussed before and I recognize that different countries have different traditions.


ROBERTS: What do you think, Gordon? Missed opportunity here or did the President strike the right tone?

CHANG: Well I thought he struck the right tone. But you got to hand it to the Chinese they censored his comments on censorship. You know, clearly the Beijing leadership has a view about the way they are going to deal with the Chinese people.

What we need to do is show that we stand up for our own principles. And that's important for our security because we do not want to appear weak to the Chinese. Because when you're weak they do not return the gestures of friendship, they just sort of ask for more. We shouldn't pick fights with the Chinese as Neil says.

But the one thing we can do is get closer to India because if we do that, the Chinese are going to be concerned. The worst thing they want to see is the United States and India get together and to prevent it the Chinese will become cooperative.

ROBERTS: So Neil, how do you think this relationship is going to evolve in the future? Because China is becoming more powerful and more important player on issues that are significant to the United States.

FERGUSON: Well I've called the relationship between China and America kind of marriage based on the economic foundation that one partner does all of the saving and the other partner do all of the spending. But I'm afraid this marriage is on the rocks. After all, the U.S. consumer isn't going to bounce back anytime soon.

And that means that China can't really base its growth strategy, long term, on selling cheap stuff to Americans. Moreover, the Chinese don't want to keep on lending us money. They think $2 trillion is about enough thanks very much given the downward pressures on the dollar and the difficulty of maintaining their peg.

So, I call it a marriage on the rocks. Although the President did his best to be conciliatory, in terms of marital strife most of the dishes were flying across the kitchen in his direction, I thought.

ROBERTS: That's a great way to put it. Neil Ferguson, Gordon Chang thanks for joining us this morning. Great to see you. Kiran.

CHETRY: All right, thanks. Well still ahead we're going to get a check of Joe Biden, the Vice President sitting down with John Stuart on the Daily Show for Laughs, 21 minutes past the hour.


CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. "Minding Your Business" now, and how safe is your car? The insurance institute released its annual list and vehicles made by Ford, Subaru and as well as Volkswagen. Ford has six models that made the list. Some big names were shut out including the top automaker Toyota. As well as BMW, Mazda, and Mitsubishi. The insurance institute says fewer models made the list this year because of tougher roof safety requirements.

ROBERTS: Three boats and a Mercedes convertible (UNINTELLIGIBLE) by a convicted con man, Berny Maydoc, picked up more than $1 million on the auction block. The boat to loan, one of the big one there sold for $700,000. At least two more auctions are planned. Madoff's penthouse and home in Florida are still up for sale.

CHETRY: Also, talk about tumbling property values. A Canadian company submitted the winning bid to buy the Silver dome from Pontiac, Michigan. The price, just $583,000. The former home of the Detroit Lions cost $56 million to build back in 1975. It hasn't been used since 1992. The new owners are hoping to bring major league soccer there.

ROBERTS: And while the President's travel across Asia, his number two was taking questions last night from late night funny man, Jon Stewart. Right after the Vice President came out to the desk, Stewart noted how things are a little different for the Vice President since he's not a senator any more.


JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": Man. Life has changed. You have the whole team with you, they come in, it's all Air Force two and it's -- you miss it? You miss the old?

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hell, no. I've never driven in New York without traffic before.

STEWART: Pretty nice right. I know there's no traffic, no congestion in New York. I don't know how it happens -- you're the Amtrak guy - Didn't you use to take it from Delaware to D.C. You got to miss that a little.

BIDEN: Well actually, I still do, my mom lives there. My mom is 93, she lives -- almost 93, she lives in my home and when I go home which is about every second weekend I go home on Amtrak.

STEWART: I was going to make you feel at home. I wanted to give you the Amtrak experience. The sandwich and a tab.

BIDEN: You can tell I don't travel Amtrak. They only have Pepsi products.

STEWART: Let me make it more of an Amtrak sandwich for you.


ROBERTS: Anybody who travels Amtrak knows you always get the hot dog.

CHETRY: Oh I really like their chicken wings aren't bad. Have you ever had those?

ROBERTS: No. I'm not that much of a risk taker.

CHETRY: Yes, well it's not that easy to eat when you're bouncing around, you know.

ROBERTS: Go with the hot dog.

CHETRY: Still ahead, speaking of risk takers, how about this guy. The 2009 poker champ, the world series of poker, the ultimate, the super bowl of poker, he is the youngest winner ever. He won $8.5 million even though his mom said please; do not go into poker professionally. He is going to tell us how he did it. 27 minutes after the hour.


ROBERTS: They call themselves the oath keepers. Policemen, soldier, veterans sworn to uphold the constitution but not always follow the President of the United States.

CHETRY: Well they say that the reason for that is to protect you, to stop a government takeover, to stop martial law before it ever happens. Are they Patriots or Extremists? Our Jim Acosta is here with the final installment of our A.M. original series. So explain these guys, the oath keepers.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they're not really a militia. In the first parts of this series we were looking at militias but these gentlemen in this group are very much part of what's now known as the Patriot Movement that's growing in this country. And in those first two parts we did look at the private militias that are sprouting up across the country. Now we turn to this group whose founder says he doesn't need a militia that's because his organization is recruiting its member's right out of the military and law enforcement.


ACOSTA (voice-over): Just a couple of miles off the Las Vegas strip, inside this casino ballroom --

OATH KEEPERS: We solemnly swear --

ACOSTA: Dozens of men and women are taking the oath, an oath they say is to the constitution of the United States.

OATH KEEPERS: So help me God.

ACOSTA: Not they say to the president.

RICAHRD MACK, FORMER ARIZONA SHERIFF: If we're going to watch while our country dies, and think that there's nothing we can do about it, we're wrong.

ACOSTA: They call themselves the Oath Keepers and last month they held their first national conference.

STEWART RHODES, OATH KEEPERS FOUNDER: Our forefathers flew this flag --

ACOSTA: The group's founder, Stewart Rhodes, former Army paratrooper and staffer for Congressman Ron Paul says his members recite a revised version of the oath that's used for enlistment in the Armed Services. But they exclude this phrase: "I will obey the orders of the president of the United States.

RHODES: Our role is not to be obedient to whoever happens to be the leader. Our role is to defend the constitution and the republic.

ACOSTA (on camera): The Oath Keepers aren't in Vegas looking for gamblers. They're seeking out police officers, sheriff's deputies, military veterans, even active duty members of the Armed Forces. If you've taken an oath to protect this nation, the Oath Keepers want you.

(voice-over): The group's Web site features pictures of veterans and active duty soldiers who say they've become Oath Keepers. The patch on this military uniform bears the group's name.

(on camera): Is the Oath Keepers a militia group?

RHODES: No. We don't need to be. We're the military and police. ACOSTA (voice-over): The Oath Keepers call on their members to disobey any orders as they put it to disarm the American people, or to force citizens into detention camps. It's a pledge Rhodes recites in an anti-Obama DVD called "The Fall of the Republic."

RHODES: Do not obey orders to impose Martial law. I will not obey.

ACOSTA: Mark Potok who monitors extremists groups for the Southern Poverty Law Center says the Oath Keepers are exploiting false rumors found on fringe Web sites.

MARK POTOK, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: Many of the Oath Keepers are people who believe that Martial law is about to be imposed at any moment. It is right around the corner.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Do you think President Obama is plotting to build detention camps in this country?

RHODES: I don't know. Do you think President Obama was planning to do that? Who knows? You know, the point -- the point --

ACOSTA: You don't have any evidence of that, the full evidence of that.

RHODES: No. I have no evidence that he's doing that.

ACOSTA (voice-over): But Rhodes insists his group is not anti- government and not anti-Obama.

(on camera): So who's talking about taking those guns away?

RHODES: So we have to wait until someone talks about it before we can say we won't do it.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Brian McGough (ph) with the Democratic- leaning veterans group worries soldiers and the Oath Keepers will pick and choose which orders to follow disrupting the chain of command.

BRIAN MCGOUGH (ph), VOTEVETS.ORG: All they're doing is hurting the units. All they're doing is hurting the military, and all they're doing is hurting their friends. And they should really think about that.

ACOSTA: Critics say the Oath Keepers simply vindicate this recent report from the Department of Homeland Security that warned right wing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans. The DHS declined to comment for the story that Rhodes blasted its report at the founding of the Oath Keepers earlier this year.

RHODES: When they across the ocean saving their country, they're considered heroes. But when they come home, now they're considered potential terrorists.

ACOSTA: The group was founded in Lexington, Massachusetts, the site of the first shots fired in the American revolution.


ACOSTA: As for those orders, the oath keepers say they will not obey. There is no proof that the government is building detention camps around the country, and as we've mentioned throughout this series, there are no proposals coming from the White House or Democratic leaders in Congress for new gun control laws.

And John and Kiran, one thing that we've run across throughout this series listening to people's comments is that there's this feeling out there that these groups are doing this because of the president's race. We did not encounter that in this series.

One thing that we did find talking to these folks, time and again it seems that President Obama has inherited issues from President Bush like the bailout, the war on terror, the detention of detainees down in Guantanamo. These are issues that irritate libertarians and constitutionalists, people in this movement patriot movement, but these are issues that President Obama inherited from President Bush.

And one of the things that we're seeing is our blog we're seeing a lot of these comments on the blog.

ROBERTS: We invited people to comment. So what are people saying?

ACOSTA: They are saying a lot of things, we're getting lots of comments. And we want to talk about some of those. You'll see them on our blog amfix.

Close to 1,000 people weighed in so far. Dan writes, "This is a dangerous movement made up of delusional people," he says, "who think that the government is out to take away their rights."

And Orville says "I don't belong to a militia, however I have a license to carry a concealed handgun. I don't even go out to the curb to get my mail without carrying a semi-automatic handgun. And at home I have a bigger handgun for home security."

He says "Am I a gun nut? No." He says "I am a realist." So just a sample of what you'll find on our blog.

CHETRY: Why can't he get his mail without carrying a semi- automatic weapon?

ACOSTA: I don't know that. Perhaps the mail box is loaded. I don't know.

But this is stirring a lot of passions out there. And for whatever reason the president, President Obama seems to stir up these passions. He has done so since the beginning of his administration. But as we have found, a lot of this is not really his doing. It's a lot of things he's inherited.

ROBERTS: Jim Acosta for us with a fine series. Jim, thanks so much.

And keep those comments coming. We want to know what you think of these groups. Are they patriots or are they extremists. Sound off on our blog. The address is

CHETRY: Checking our top stories now, Somali pirates strike yet again, opening fire on the "Maersk Alabama." This is the same ship they hijacked for a while successfully until Navy SEALs went in there and actually killed the hijackers. That was seven months ago.

This time, though, there were guards on board the U.S. flagged ship, and they were armed and they fired back and actually successfully fought off this hijacking attempt with no casualties reported.

ROBERTS: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has just touched down in Kabul, Afghanistan. It's a surprise visit coming on the eve of President Hamid Karzai's inauguration. Mrs. Clinton is expected to attend the swearing in.

Her visit comes at a time when President Obama is nearing a decision on whether to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan.

Republican congressman from Illinois Donald Manzullo says his remark about Guantanamo Bay terror suspects was misinterpreted. The comment in question came over the weekend when he spoke with a Rockford station WREX. Here is a listen.


REP. DONALD MANZULLO, (R) ILLINOIS: These are really, really mean people whose job it is to kill people, driven by some savage religion.


CHETRY: Well, on Tuesday Manzullo apologized, claiming that he was not referring to Islam in general but a perverted and violent form of Islam practiced by the suspected terrorists. His remarks as federal officials consider buying an Illinois prison to house the Gitmo detainees.

Also brand new this morning, President Obama is talking about the decision to bring those accused 9/11 terrorists, including the self- proclaimed mastermind, to the scene of the crime to stand trial. Our Ed Henry sat down with the president last night before he took off from China.


ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We have been in Asia, your attorney general decided there would be civil prosecutions of the 9/11 mastermind, other terror suspects. Did you sign off on that?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: You know, I said to the attorney general make a decision based on the law. We have set up now a military commission system that is greatly reformed, and so we can try terrorists in that forum.

But I also have great confidence in our Article III courts, the courts that have tried hundreds of terror suspects who are imprisoned right now in the United States.

And, you know, I think this notion that somehow we have to be fearful that these terrorists possess some special powers that prevent us from presenting evidence against them, locking them up, and, you know, exacting swift justice, I think that has been a fundamental mistake.

HENRY: So that was his decision, but you'll take responsibility if it goes wrong?

OBAMA: I always have to take responsibility. That's my job.


CHETRY: All right, well, the attacks were unprecedented. But this case certainly won't be the first of its kind. Our Homeland Security Correspondent Jeanne Meserve is taking a look at all of the challenges of trying a terrorist who spent the past seven years at Guantanamo Bay.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: There has never been a terror attack in the U.S. with the scale and horror of 9/11. And there has never been a trial of an Al Qaeda member as important as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

But terror trials in civilian courts are nothing new. The people responsible for the first World Trade Center bombing and the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the so-called blind sheikh who wanted to blow up New York landmarks, shoe bomber Richard Reed who attempted to bring down a transatlantic airliner, and 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, have all been tried and convicted in federal courts, some of them in New York.

ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm quite confident that we can safely hold people there, that we can protect the people who surround the courthouse area, and bring these cases successfully.

MESERVE: The 9/11 case will differ from others in one important respect -- Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times, and that will complicate the prosecution.

DAVID KELLEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Applications will be made by the defendants for example not to use any statements or evidence that were the product of any sort of coercion or misconduct.

MESERVE: A defense attorney in the Moussaoui case predicts there will be, as in his case, serious issues of language and culture to overcome and mountains of evidence to explore.

GERALD ZERKIN, MOUSSAOUI DEFENSE ATTORNEY: There were 180,000 FBI interviews. There were hundreds of videos that we had, and there were thousands of CDs, and there were a couple of thousand images on every CD.

MESERVE: Classified evidence has played a part in all of the terror cases. But only lawyers, not defendants, have access to it. And it's discussed only behind closed doors.

The blind sheikh and Moussaoui used the court room to espouse their jihadi beliefs. No one would be surprised if Khalid Sheikh Mohammed does the same thing.

Defense attorneys and prosecutors say this trial is likely to be similar to other terror cases in another respect -- because of its complexities it will take years to get under way and try.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.


ROBERTS: The World Series of Poker. A lot of people watched this, there is so much interest in it. We have got the youngest winner ever. How much did he take home? We'll tell you all of that coming up next.

It's 40 minutes after the hour.


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

It all came down to one hand. He was all in and took the prize with a pair of 9s. That's Joe Cada, the youngest World Series of Poker champion ever. Look at that.




CHETRY: Wow. Well, he took home nearly $8.6 million. The tournament started back in July with nearly 6,500 players eliminated one by one by one until it was Joe and his final competition. So, he is the man who beat the odds.

Joe Cada joins us this morning on your birthday, by the way. Happy 22nd birthday to you.

CHETRY: The youngest every player to win this World Series of Poker. What was it like?

JOE CADA, WORLD SERIES OF POKER CHAMPION: It's pretty surreal. It's like a dream come true. It hasn't fully hit me. CHETRY: You had all of those guys around you, like a team. How much strategy goes into winning the poker tournament?

CADA: You are constantly adjusting. When you play on the table you have to adjust to how other people are playing, almost a game like chess, but numbers involved. So you always have to adjust how you players are playing.

ROBERTS: A lot of people might be saying wow, is this one tournament, he walked in there and he won eight and half million dollars. But this is -- it has been a long road from online poker at the age of 16 to where you got now.

For people who might not know anything about this, how did you get started, where did you get the money to do it, how much have you lost, how did you get into the World Series?

CADA: I probably started playing at 16 but I didn't play online until like 18. And I played a lot of hours. I'd log in 40, 50 hours a week playing online and slowly moved up. I took my time with poker. It's one of those things, you know, you have to be smart with.

And I slowly moved up. I started at very small stakes. A quarter, 50 cents, I started off small and worked my way up through the years. And I was on Vegas for about 50 days for the World Series and it was a long time in Vegas.

ROBERTS: So as you were on the way up obviously the quarters, the 50 cents, the dollars was your own money. Where does it stop being your money that you're playing with and become tournament money?

CADA: Well, I mean, I always played for my money until the World Series. The World Series, the tournaments are so big there are so many players and the buy-ins are pretty big.

ROBERTS: How much are the buy-in?

CADA: Well, for that tournament the buy-in was $10,000. But they had about over 50 tournaments for the...


CADA: ... for the World Series.

CHETRY: Well, you're sponsored as we can see it from your hat and from your jacket.

CADA: Yes.

CHETRY: It's almost like a Nascar team.

CADA: Yes, I'm sponsored now. I mean, before I wasn't sponsored. But I'm very grateful for that.

CHETRY: Well, we know that your mom works at a casino and she actually did not want you to drop out. She wanted you to stay in school and she wanted you not to go into professional poker. Has she changed her mind after this enormous win?

CADA: Yes, I mean, she started to open up a little more through the years. Like she always thought you know, cards was the same as gambling like black jack or craps but there's not professional crap players. But no poker's different. There's a lot of decision-making, a lot of variables and you can become a professional poker player if you do it wisely enough.

And so one of those things that she kind of, you know, accepted more over time. And now she definitely is a-ok with it.

ROBERTS: So here you are at the age of 21 and suddenly you have $8.5 million. What are you going to do with it?

CADA: Well, I haven't really took the time to think about what I'm going to do with the money yet.

ROBERTS: I mean, you can be, if you do it wisely you could be set for life.

CADA: I hope I'm set for life.

CHETRY: Put it all on red and next thing you know -- I'm just kidding.

CADA: Let it ride a true gambler.

CHETRY: No, but you mentioned that it's funny, so there's not professional craps players, obviously there's not professional slot machine players. Even if people are there enough that maybe it seems like it's their job.

But what makes poker different? And what could you apply? Being a great poker player how could you apply that to something else in life, another career?

CADA: I mean, poker helps me also in life, also helped me mature a lot more as a person. There's a lot of logic involved. I mean, you always have to constantly be thinking what the other person's thinking. So you always put other people in your shoes. And it almost applies to life, if you put other people, like putting yourself in other people's shoes and try to think how they're thinking.

It's like a game of chess, like I said. And there's a lot of numbers and math involve and a lot of logic. And it's one of those things that you know, that helped me mature.

ROBERTS: So, you are obviously good at gambling with money. What's the biggest gamble outside of money that you've taken in life where you either have won or loss?

CADA: I try -- I really try not to gamble other than poker. I mean, I just play poker and -- though, I mean, the only gamble I guess was probably stopping like school and stuff like that. But I was doing really well financially at the time and I was traveling a lot for poker like to different tournaments and like the Bahamas and Costa Rica and stuff like that where I could play when I was 19.

And school kind of got in the way with that, so you know, I had to decide one or the other, school or poker. I put money aside in case poker didn't work out and decided to take the poker out.

ROBERTS: Well, you can afford tuition at the best college in the world now.

CHETRY: The other thing is I mean, a lot of these professional poker players have been in the game for decades, they've written books, they've put out DVDs and instructional DVDs. I mean, what was the reaction when people who had been in it for so much longer who already are veterans lost to a newcomer?

CADA: I mean, the game's been changing so much now, I mean, you see so many younger players because of the Internet. I mean, in internet you seeing like four times as many hands, you can play up to like ten tables at a time. So, I mean, you seen thousands of more hands than you would actually see in person. So like the experience gap is -- closes down real quick. And I think there's about four people in my age that was in the final 21 of that tournament.

ROBERTS: Wow. Well, it's great to see you. Congratulations.

CADA: Thank you.

ROBERTS: And good luck in the future and maybe back to college again.

CADA: Thank you.

CHETRY: And put at least a million in some sort of nice little money market account just in case.

CADA: Thank you.

ROBERTS: Put a lot more than that.

Folic acid, B vitamins and cancer; what's the connection? We're paging Dr. Gupta up next.

Forty-nine minutes now after the hour.


ROBERTS: Good morning Boston where it's partly cloudy 39 degrees right now, later on today it will be sunny but it's going to be cool, yes, well, we're well into November. 53 degrees will be the high today and the weather probably going to deteriorate over the next couple of days.

Rob Marciano was the tracking it from the Weather Center in Atlanta. Good morning, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning guys. You remember Ida, that storm that wouldn't go away... CHETRY: Yes. It did more damage as a nor'easter, right than it was actually a tropical storm.

MARCIANO: Absolutely all the way up and down the East Coast. As a matter of fact, take a look at this video coming out as a -- this is an island just off of Maryland and Delaware coastline there near Jersey. About 2,000 tires washed up onshore because of all the storminess and the winds and the waves that pounded the East Coast from what's left over of Ida.

This was a manmade reef near Assateague Island that obviously didn't hold together. It was put out there so that you know, marine life and wildlife would develop. But those tires are gone now.

All right, this storm moving very slowly off towards the north and east. You have one more day of pretty tranquil weather and dry weather across the northeast, but all this rains from Chicago to Cincinnati, which as can you see it's not really moving very quickly to the east, it's kind of spinning around.

Eventually it's going to get there but until it does, you got another dry day. But Chicago, Cincinnati, if you're traveling through those airports I think you may have some issues. 54 degrees for a high temperature and again, dry in New York. It will be 53 degrees in Boston you saw that shot, it sure looks pretty nice.

And then tomorrow that rainfall will eventually stretch off towards the north and east as this slow-moving storm weakens and moves into Canada. That's the latest for you guys. Back up to you in New York.

CHETRY: All right, so is Assateague Island ok? That's the famous, you know, the ponies, the wild ponies on Assateague and Chincoteague.

MARCIANO: Yes, I think they got in there and they took most of those tires out. So aside from some tires washing up onshore and the wildlife going what in the heck is that, I think they are ok.

CHETRY: All right, good news. Thanks, Rob.


CHETRY: Still ahead, we're going to be talking about some new information, possibly a link between too much folic acid, which is B vitamins, and cancer. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta is looking into this for us, its 54 minutes past the hour.


CHETRY: Back to popular vitamins often recommended to help lower your risk of heart disease may actually increase your risk for cancer. There is a new study saying that too much folic acid and vitamin B-12 could actually be harmful.

ROBERTS: CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in Atlanta this morning.

Sanjay, first, this is almost like hormone replacement therapy. We hear that folic acid is good for us, now we hear too much may be bad for us. What's going on?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You hate to be one of those guys who sort of seem like you're flip-flopping on this. But I think there's two messages here.

One is one that you sort of alluded to -- this idea that you can have too much of a good thing. But also this idea that folic acid sort of as a supplementation really has some of its most benefit for trying to ward off birth defects. We've heard about this for years.

What is interesting about this -- I found this fascinating is that sometime ago the United States and lots of other countries decided to fortify much of their food with folic acid to try and get some of these health benefits.

One country that did not was Norway, so it became a perfect country in some ways to study. What they found is that as they started to give folic acid supplementation to people who are adults, they wanted to find out did it have an impact on heart disease. The answer was it really did not -- did not seem to have an impact on heart disease as a health benefit but they saw something else. It didn't seem to have some benefit overall on cancer risk.

Heart disease patients who took both vitamins had a 21 percent increased risk in cancer overall. This was something that obviously a lot of people paid attention to.

Could you be getting too much of a good thing? Possibly. Does folic acid have benefits for heart disease? No. Could it have some detrimental effects? Yes. That was really what the study was all about.

CHETRY: The other interesting thing is Ok, so it's already in your food supply here in the U.S. are we potentially already getting too much and increasing our risk of cancer? Is that just too small an amount?

GUPTA: We asked the same question. And I think what's sort of interesting - if you look at the average breakfast, if someone takes an average breakfast, it's fortified, they have cereal, they have fruit. They are going to probably get around 300 or so of the recommended 400 micrograms of folate every single day.

What the message here, if you eat the rest of your diet throughout the day you are probably getting enough. You probably don't need to take supplementation. I think that's the message here more than anything.

For the average person they aren't going to need a supplement. A lot of people just super dose with folate, with vitamin B-12. You don't need to do that at least in the United States because of how much we get in our food. ROBERTS: Real quick Sanjay. What about pregnant women who are told to take folic acid to try to alleviate the chance of neural tube defects with the baby?

GUPTA: That's exactly right and pregnant women are going to be put in a different class when it comes to studies like this. In fact the recommended dose is slightly higher, about 600 a day because of those potential neural tube defects. That has been a real success story.

But after a woman is either no longer thinking about getting pregnant or actually pregnant they can come back to a normal dose. And if they're getting a normal diet they don't need supplements either.

ROBERTS: Good advice. Dr. Sanjay Gupta this morning.

Doc thanks so much.

GUPTA: Thanks John.

ROBERTS: A minute now to the top of the hour. We're back in 30 seconds.


CHETRY: We want you to continue the conversation on today's stories. Go to our blog and thanks so much for being with us today. We'll see you back here tomorrow.

ROBERTS: The news continues though here on CNN with Heidi Collins in the "CNN NEWSROOM".