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American Morning

Health Care Reforms Kick In; E-Books Versus Hardcover Books?; Bishop Long Sex Scandal; Duking It Out in New York

Aired September 23, 2010 - 07:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The pledge to America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To prevent Obamacare from being implemented.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans rolling out their election strategy. Unravel the Obama agenda. Starting with health care.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And when I everything, I mean everything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Power on the line, the decision in your hands, on the Most Politics in the Morning.


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning. Thanks so much for joining us on this Thursday, Friday eve, September 23rd. I'm John Roberts.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kiran Chetry. We'll have more on the GOP's pledge to America in a moment, but first some other top stories this morning.

The health care law now six months old, expanded options, a new protections heading your way as the GOP is promising to repeal it all if they can. More on the GOP's pledge to America and how your insurance could change today.

ROBERTS: More allegations of sexual abuse against mega church pastor Eddie Long. A third man now claims that he was lured into having sex with the bishop as a teenager. Long's attorneys deny the allegations but the bishop himself will not address the scandal today. He has canceled a planned radio interview and news conference.

CHETRY: Hard books apparently gathering dust thanks to the e- book boom. Publishers say that by 2015 e-books could represent 50 percent of their revenue. Novelist Steven Ling tells Alina Cho that he published a book online years before the idea took off. I think I remember remembering it in parts. What he says about the fate of the written word at 7:20 eastern.

ROBERTS: Up first this morning, now, laying out the blueprint today, Republican leaders will tell voters how they would govern if they take back Congress in November in a 21-page long "Pledge to America."

CHETRY: We have a copy of it. It promises to unravel President Obama's first two years in office. And it starts with a preamble by saying, quote, "An arrogant and out of touch government of self- appointed elites makes decisions, issues mandates, and enacts laws without accepting or requesting the input of many."

The Republican also are pledging to cut taxes and federal spending to repeal President Obama's health care law and ban to federal funding of abortion.

In 1994 the GOP unveiled their "Contract with America" on Capitol Hill today. Sticking with the theme, they are making a pledge to America at a hardware store. Our Dana Bash is there, outside of D.C., Sterling, Virginia, this morning.

And just going through this document this morning, a lot of what's in the pledge seems to be classic Republican ideas that we've heard for some time now, years, as a matter of fact. Anything new in here?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think what's new and what's most interesting is the way that House Republicans are trying to make the Tea Parties voters, especially, understand that they are trying to listen to them.

I think we have some examples of points that I saw were clear indications that they were trying to reach out, little things. For example, weekly votes on spending cuts, a pledge to cut Congress's budget, a net hiring freeze of non-security federal employees, and a vote on every regulation costing more than $100 million.

Those, each of those, is a nod to the idea that many in the base, you know, and you hear Republicans talking about this rebellion. Rebellion is in large part about spending. So these are little things that the House Republicans say they will try to do to address that.

In addition to that there are some items in here that address the whole idea at that government is broken, the way Congress works is broken. So there is a promise to, for example, rebuild for three days where before there's any vote, things like that. That, I think is most noteworthy. Whether it will be enough is a different question, John.

ROBERTS: Back in 1994 Republicans swept back into power in Congress with pledges to change the way things are done. We've got less than six weeks now before the midterm elections. Are they hoping for a similar effect here this year?

BASH: You know, what's really fascinating about this, Republican strategists have been say for months and months and months that these Republicans, if they really want to have the sweep that they hope they will have, they've got to give voters a reason to vote for them. That is what this Pledge to America is all about.

However, what is interesting in talking to many House Republicans, even the authors of this who worked for months on this, they say it's actually, in this election year, perhaps not as important because they still think that their number one issue that could ride them in is anger towards the Democrats, anger at President Obama and Democratic leaders in congress.

So what they hope this does, John, take that voter who is mad at the Democrats but still remembers that they didn't like Republicans much either, that this gives them a reason to say, maybe they're listening. Maybe they've changed even a little bit. I'll give them another chance.

ROBERTS: Dana Bash for us in Sterling, Virginia this morning. By the way, we're going to be talking with Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin in the next hour of "AMERICAN MORNING" with more detail to the Pledge of America because he was one of the authors.

CHETRY: That's right, and how they're going to convince the American people that they actually have the right ideas. It will be interesting to see what he says.

In the meantime, we were thinking we were going to hear from the mega church pastor at the center of the growing sex scandal. Now that appears not to be the case. Eddie Long was supposed to appear on a radio program today and hold a press conference. That appears to be off.

Three men now accused long of luring them into having sex as teenagers. Long's attorneys deny the charges, but the bishop himself is not talking now. He's canceled that radio interview, as well as the afternoon press conference.

ROBERTS: And two city officials arrested in a Bell, California salary scandal are out on bail this morning. They are charged along with six hours with draining the city's treasury to the tune of more than $5.5 million. The two were released after proving their bail money did not come from stolen taxpayer dollars.

CHETRY: A heroes goodbye for five members of a U.S. army killed when their chopper went down in southern Afghanistan. Their bodies arrived in Dover, Delaware, yesterday, draped in American flags. Nine people were killed in total. It was the worst chopper crash for the coalition in four years. The attack, or the crash, rather, happened in Zabul province. It is one of several violent regions where coalition and Afghan troops have been battling the Taliban for years.

ROBERTS: We now know the names of all the victims, the five from army, Major Robert Baldwin from Illinois, Chief Warrant Officer Matthew Wagstaff from Utah, Chief Warrant Officer Jonah McClellan from Minnesota, Staff Sergeant Joshua Powell from Illinois, and Sergeant Marvin Calhoun from Indiana.

CHETRY: And four others were from the Navy, Lieutenant Brendon Looney of Maryland, Senior Chief Petty officer David McClendon from Georgia, Petty Officer Second Class Adam Smith from Missouri, and Petty Officer Third Class Dennis Miranda of New Jersey. Three of them were elite Navy Seals. We're learning more this morning about why they were on the mission. Our own Kaj Larsen, who is also a Navy Seal, joins us from San Francisco. Kaj, just give us an idea of what kind of work they do, what kind of mission they may have been on in that area in Afghanistan?

KAJ LARSEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure, Kiran. Seals are the maritime component of special operations command, and as their name implies, Seal stands for sea, air, and land. In this particularly case a general, a Seal platoon is usually comprised of 12 to 16 members. Often, they'll break off into smaller elements, like the four-man fire team that went down in the helicopter in Zabul province.

That could indicate that they were on a mission, a special reconnaissance mission. That's a pretty standard Seal mission that they form quite often in these areas.

What's interesting to note about this particular case is we're getting reports that the crash occurred on insertion. There's five phases to a Seal operation -- insertion, infiltrations, action on the objective, exfiltration, and extraction. This occurred at the insertion phase, which just goes to show sometimes it's not the mission itself, but getting there is the most dangerous part.

CHETRY: You talked about the millions of dollars that go into training these elite men who become Seals eventually. Yet, you also, when I was talking to you yesterday, you said there's some concerns about the some of the safety or the ability of these helicopters to actually, you know, be as safe as they need to be.

Why does it seem that we talk about these chopper crashes on quite a regular basis, both in Iraq and Afghanistan?

LARSEN: Sure. Well, Kiran, like we were talking about yesterday in the office, some of these air frames are very old. In addition, these guys are flying all the time. The terrain, the operating environment out there is very arduous. And that's very difficult not just on the operators, but on the equipment as well.

Initial reports say that this appears to be helicopter crash, not as a result of enemy fire. So we can see that sometimes just the sheer number of hours and the sheer number of missions that these guys puts a lot of stress on the aircraft itself.

And I think in the larger picture, as you read the names out this morning, it's an indicator of just how difficult the going is over there, but also, just how hard our soldiers and sailors are working.

CHETRY: Absolutely. The bottom line, could they build a safer helicopter, a safer method of transporting in these areas?

LARSEN: You know, it's -- they could, of course. But the army air crews that fly guys like my teammates and my colleagues around, these are some of the most professional guys in the world. And they work with the equipment they've got, and they do their best to keep those birds in the air.

So I think ultimately, we'd like safer insertion platforms. But we also understand that this say wartime environment and the mission has to get done regardless.

CHETRY: Kaj Larsen for us this morning. Great perspective. Thanks.

ROBERTS: Thanks, Kaj.

Coming up on ten minutes after the hour now.


CHETRY: Well, it's been six months and today, changes coming your way because of the new health care law. We'll tell you what they are and how they can affect you, your children, your family, next time you go to your doctor. It's 12 minutes past the hour.


ROBERTS: Today marks the six month anniversary of health care reform becoming the law of the lands. That means some big changes are finally kicking in. And here they are for you.

Starting today, insurance companies have to extend coverage to dependent children of 26 years old. Insurers can no longer deny coverage to sick kids under 19 years of age, and children can no longer be denied coverage for preexisting conditions.

They also can't rescind coverage except in cases of fraud or charge for preventive care like immunizations. Also some mammograms may be covered by some insurance companies.

And insurance companies can no longer set lifetime limits on insurance plans, something that has bankrupted many Americans as health care costs skyrocket for them.

All of this is reigniting the fight over reform just in time for the elections. Our Jim Acosta is live for us in Washington. And health care, six months after it was enacted now going into effect, it's become an election issue again, Jim. What's going on?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Even though this new health care reform law is turning six months old, it doesn't mean there's a whole lot of celebrating going on in Washington. But there are, as you said, a slew of new provisions going into effect, like that ban on insurance companies discriminating against children with preexisting conditions.

And even though this law is just beginning to take shape, Republicans are vowing that they will take an axe to reform if they get the keys to the castle.


CHRISTINE O'DONNELL (R), DELAWARE SENATE CANDIDATE: I would fight to repeal the bill.

ACOSTA (voice-over): It's a GOP battle cry for the midterm elections.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The American people will be heard, and we'll repeal and replace.

SHARRON ANGLE (R), NEVADA SENATE CANDIDATE: I have pledged as my first act of legislation to put in a repeal Obama care law.

ACOSTA: If Republicans win a majority of seats in Congress, one of the first things they promise to do is repeal President Obama's signature achievement -- health care reform.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your response to that?

ACOSTA: Under a new GOP-controlled House, Texas Congressman Joe Barton would likely become chairman of a key House committee overseeing health care. He says hearings would begin as soon as January to dismantle the law.

REP. JOE BARTON (R), TEXAS: If we're given the opportunity to be in the majority, we are going to try to repeal it and then replace it --


BARTON: -- with something that makes sense. Well, the sooner the better.

ACOSTA: That threat comes as new portions of the law go into effect this week. Provisions that stop insurers from denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions or dropping policies for people who get sick. Big expansions of coverage don't come until 2014. Still, recent polls show the law remains unpopular.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I voted against the health care bill because I thought it would be too expensive.


ACOSTA: Even some Democrats are running against it. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius argues the public will come around.

(on camera): Why is this law so unpopular?

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HHS SECRETARY: I think it's more confusing than unpopular. I think that --

ACOSTA: You would grant that it's unpopular right now?

SEBELIUS: Well, when you say that --

ACOSTA: It's not as popular as you would like? SEBELIUS: That's accurate. I think it's based, though, a lot on people believing that the law contains elements that it doesn't have. Death panels.

ACOSTA: You're ready to have this debate all over again?

SEBELIUS: I am indeed.


ACOSTA (voice-over): So is the president who points to parts of the bill that are popular.

OBAMA: If young people don't have health insurance through their employer, that they can stay on their parents' health insurance up to the age of 26.

ACOSTA: Parts Congressman Barton wants to keep.

(on camera): Are there portions of the law that should be kept?

BARTON: I think coverage of preexisting conditions. The ability to keep your insurance and not have it revoked unless --

ACOSTA: Your decisions.

BARTON: -- unless you committed fraud.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Other Republicans say scrap the whole thing. Conservative activist Alex Cortes with the group says the solution is to starve the law of money.

ALEX CORTES, DEFUNDIT.ORG: The option is defunding. Go after some of the smaller provisions. We will not let Kathleen Sebelius implement and enforce this law.


ACOSTA: Tinkering with health care reform will not be easy. Any bill changing the law would likely be vetoed by the president and Republicans have really no chance of picking up enough seats in the midterms to override any of those vetoes. But Republicans say just because they may not have the votes doesn't mean they won't try -- John.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Powerful election year issue to be sure. Jim Acosta for us this morning in Washington. Jim, thanks. Kiran?

CHETRY: All right. Well, you know, a lot of people love to tuck into a comfy chair with a good book. But it just doesn't seem to look the same anymore because e-books are all the rage. People using their Kindles, their iPads. So, what one of the most thrilling authors of our time thinks about the fate of the printing word. Stephen King sat down with our Alina Cho. We'll hear from him still ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROBERTS: Twenty-one minutes after the hour. Just three years, the Kindle has become the most popular e-book reader on Amazon. And the Web site is now selling more e-books than hard covers.

CHETRY: Yes. A lot of people think that the next generation of e- books with video could actually leave the printed word in its dust. AMERICAN MORNING.'s Alina Cho sat down with one of the most famous, famous -- excuse me -- authors in the world -- I want to say famous authors best -- to talk about the craze. We're talking about Stephen King here.


CHETRY: I could pull his entire collection onto this. Times are changing.

CHO: That's right. You're absolutely right. Some people are excited about it. Some people think it's a little sad, you know. But Stephen King has a lot to say about it, guys. You know, he does know a thing or two about death and dying. More than 40 books to his name, one of the best-selling authors of all time. But did you know that he's also considered by some to be a father of e-books, one of the first to publish his story online?

So what does he think about all of this? Could it mean the end of traditional books? Or is it good for the industry? King says the answer is yes and yes.


CHO (voice-over): "The Shining," "Misery, the mere mention of Stephen King's titles evokes fear.

(on camera): Do people ever say to you when they meet you, you know, I thought maybe I might be scared of you? All the time, right?

STEPHEN KING, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR: Sure, a lot of people think they're going to be scared of me. But I'm civilized.

CHO (voice-over): The best-selling author built his career on frightening people through the written word. He sees things in ways others don't. So years before most authors even thought about e- books, King published a "novela" online. It shocked the industry and got him a lot of attention.

KING: I got on the cover of "Time" magazine and for once in my life, I got noticed in airports by the guys who wear the suits and ties. They would come up to me and they'd say, how did that work? How did that sell? They were fascinated by the business aspect.

CHO: That was a decade ago. Today, the e-book industry is on fire. Amazon is selling more e-books than hard covers, making up more than eight percent of publishing revenue. Up from three percent a year ago. On track to hit 50 percent by 2015.

Some studies show when people own e-book readers like Kindles and iPads, they buy more and read more. The future. But does it mean the death of traditional books?

(on camera): The Internet in many ways killed the music industry. So why want to do that to books?

KING: Well, I'm not sure that it won't. The book is not the important part. The book is the delivery system. The important part is the story and the talent.

CHO (voice-over): Contents, pardon the pun, is King.

(on camera): I feel like there's twice as many people working here today as there were a month ago.


CHO (voice-over): Jane Friedman used to run major publishing house HarperCollins. Today, she is the CEO of Open Road Integrated Media, a company that publishes -- you guessed it -- e-books. Open Road is also among those adding video to e-books by authors like Pat Conroy who wrote "The Prince of Tides."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not be afraid of critics, other writers to write something so bold.

CHO: Hoping to enhance the e-book experience.

FRIEDMAN: I actually was very involved with starting the audio book business. And we have people who said why would I ever listen to a book? I like to turn the pages. The e-book is just another format.

CHO: Why King reads both books and e-books.

(on camera): Do you go back and read your own books?

KING: Very rarely. Very rarely. I knew how they come out.

Books will always exist. Will they be what they are now? Absolutely, they will not.

CHO: Does that make you sad?

KING: Oh, man, does that make me sad? If I say yes, everybody won't understand that. The answer is, the future's going to be what the future's going to be.

CHO (voice-over): With one potential drawback.

KING: If you drop a book in the toilet, you can fish it out and dry it off and read it. If you drop your Kindle in the toilet, you're done.


CHO: Did you think about that? Drop your iPad in the toilet, you're done.

CHETRY: I love it.

CHO: You know, one other benefit I see --

ROBERTS: Can I tell you something though?


ROBERTS: If you dropped your hard cover book in the toilet, it would probably be pretty done, too.

CHETRY: And the other thing is --

ROBERTS: Remember Seinfeld with the belt, you know.

CHO: That I don't, actually.


CHO: You know, guys, one thing I should mention, though, is one other added benefit of e-books which you don't really think about, is that they're living books, right? So one thing that's in development now, is that, you know, you can constantly update and change those e-books basically with the click of a button. And the example that Jane Friedman brought up -- why are you laughing at me? -- the example that Jane Friedman brought up is that take the Bernie Madoff scandal, right? He went -- a lot of people who wrote books about Bernie Madoff they did so through traditional publishers. Those books aren't even out, some of them.


CHETRY: Right.

CHO: And by the time they're out there, 30, 40, 50 stories that have superseded that one.

CHETRY: Right.

CHO: So, you know, it's an interesting --

CHETRY: I mean, look, you pull it off a bookshelf. And here it is, it's a literal bookshelf. You pull your book out, "Alice in Wonderland." It opens. You turn the pages. I mean, it really is a book.

CHO: Do you read books?


CHO: You read e-books?


But the other thing, too, is I was thinking about Stephen King. He wrote "It." For those of you who are Stephen King lovers, I absolutely love his writings, it's 1,138 pages. How can you -- you can't lug it around. Or the "Dark Tower" series. I mean, this changes everything for people that are avid readers.

CHO: Stephen King says right now he reads about -- he's still old school that way so he likes to read the book, the actual book. Having said that, he says he reads about 60 to 70 percent of actual books and then the rest he reads online. But, you know, he says in a year or two, it might be 100 percent online, you know.

ROBERTS: Just don't drop it in the toilet, right?

CHO: That's --

CHETRY: But even if you dropped it, it wouldn't land in the toilet. It's too big.

ROBERTS: Remember, George Constanza just took a book into the bathroom to read it and the book --

CHETRY: Cannot return it -- could not return it to the bookstore.

CHO: Oh, that's sad.

ROBERTS: Something about books and toilets, they just don't go together.

CHO: That's right, they don't. They must certainly -- how did we digress into this? But anyway --

ROBERTS: You started it.

CHETRY: That's it. You went to the --

ROBERTS: Thanks, Alina.

CHETRY: Thanks, Alina.

CHETRY: Well, in the face of new allegation that he coerced teenage boys into having sex, Bishop Eddie Long is remaining silent this morning. He was planning actually to come out and tell his side, both on radio and in a news conference. That is now off.

Eddie Lavandera is following the developments for us. He's going to be joining us live, still ahead.

It's 28 minutes past the hour.


CHETRY: Crossing the half hour right now. Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

Eight months it's been since that earthquake devastated Haiti to its core. The island nation is still a picture of devastation. Rebuilding Haiti is actually been compared to rebuilding Europe following the Second World War.

ROBERTS: Haiti's prime minister is in New York all this week reporting to the United Nations General Assembly on his nation's recovery or probably more accurately lack thereof.


ROBERTS: Our Jason Carroll got an exclusive interview with the prime minister and he joins us now with that.

Good morning, Jason.

CARROLL: Good morning to you.

You know I was there right after the earthquake. And I think a lot of us thought by now we would see more visible signs of change. Prime minister says no, not to be. At least not yet. The prime minister also telling me while many countries pledged to donate to the relief effort, much of those donations have yet to come in. And he says much more money will be needed to rebuild.

That's just part of the reason why an organization called the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission was formed. And why the prime minister is speaking to the U.N. General Assembly.


JEAN-MAX BELLERIVE, HAITI'S PRIME MINISTER: If you're living right now in a tent, it's very hard in Haiti right now. Some of the nights you have heavy rains. So you have your children not going to school. And you have your wife that is ill, I can assure you that you'd be frustrated also.

CARROLL (on camera): You know, I remember seeing the tents when I was there, and I think the thought was by this point, some of those tents would not be there. But at this point, you still have what, some 1.5 million people still living in those camps?

BELLERIVE: Yes, they live in those tents for some time. You're not going to solve the problem, the magnitude of that challenge, in months. We are thinking about years. And we are thinking about lots and a lot of money.

CARROLL: Are you satisfied with the way that the money that has been pledged has been released to your country or not?

BELLERIVE: Again, the first thing that you have to do is say thanks. That is not enough. We have to work together and what we have done last week in a different meeting for the international committee, to improve the way the money it getting to Haiti. Right now, it's not getting to Haiti and seeing in a way so we can have enough visibility for the population to feel that all that could have been done has been done.

CARROLL: But it's got to be a worry for you?

BELLERIVE: Well, it's a daily worry for us. But I have full confidence that every government that make - made a pledge to Haiti is going to respect it. And I have no reason to believe that is going to change. We built with the international committee, a commission that is in fact Interim Haitian Recovery Commission.

One of the reasons we have that commission is to understand what is needed in Haiti. In public money, on private money. But this is with coordination with the NGOs coming from this country. And certainly, we know that they have to find more financing.

CARROLL: At what point does the Haitian government share responsibility or blame in terms of why the Haitian people are still living in these conditions?

BELLERIVE: 100 percent we should be blamed. I'm responsible for the situation. I'm the chief of the government. Whatever is happening to the nation, I'm responsible. I'm not going to try to say it's not me, it's the international committee. It's not me, it's the NGO. At the end of the day, I am responsible for the nation of the Haitian.


CARROLL: A quick number for you here, so far out of some $5 billion pledged only 18 percent of that has been disbursed. That's just part of the reason why there is still some 1.5 million people still living in those temporary camps. And why much of the rubble has not been cleared and why more rebuilding has not gotten under way, at least not at this point.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: It compounds the tragedy, doesn't it?

CARROLL: It really does but at least they've formed this commission. Also former President Bill Clinton sitting on the commission as well trying to get some of that money released.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Well, they certainly have a lot of work to do.

CARROLL: They do.

CHETRY: All right. Jason, thanks.


ROBERTS: We're following breaking news out of Atlanta this morning. Bishop Eddie Long facing new allegations today that he coerced young men into sexual relationships. He has decided not to respond publicly at this point. He canceled a scheduled radio interview and news conference today. But there is some news this morning.

Ed Lavandera who broke the story is following developments. And he joins us live from Atlanta. What do we got this morning, Ed?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's been an interesting morning already, John. We went to bed last night essentially being told that Bishop Eddie Long would be holding a press conference. Not taking any questions but making a statement, also doing an interview on the "Tom Joyner Radio Show" this morning with our colleague CNN's Roland Martin. All that was canceled overnight. However, right now, Roland Martin is interviewing Bishop Long's attorney on the "Tom Joyner Radio Show" this morning. He started off the interview - the attorney did by reading a statement that he said was directly written and prepared by Bishop Eddie Long himself.


VOICE OF ATTORNEY FOR BISHOP EDDIE LONG: I have been through storms and my faith has always sustained me. I am anxious to respond directly to these false allegations, and I will do so. However, my lawyers counsel patience at this time. Let me be clear, the charges against me and New Birth are false. I have devoted my life to helping others, and these false allegations hurt me deeply.

But my faith is strong. And the truth will emerge. All I ask is for your patience, as we continue to categorically deny each and every one of these ugly charges. Finally, I have done as I have done for thousands of others over my decades of preaching. I ask for your prayers for me, my family and our church. On Sunday, at New Birth, I will respond to my congregation.


LAVANDERA: And that was Attorney Craig Dylan here in Atlanta speaking with Roland Martin, reading that statement as you heard him there. The bishop does plan to address the congregation from New Birth Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday. So you can imagine, many people preparing to listen to that. There was an interesting theme as the question began, an instant theme emerging from what the attorney was saying.

Basically he said that these lawsuits, three lawsuits, three young men, former members of his church, accusing the bishop of sexual coercion. Basically says that these lawsuits are not only an attack on Bishop Long himself but an attack on the entire congregation of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. So that theme of attack and these lawsuits being attacks on this bishop was definitely something that this attorney was repeating several times during the early part of this interview. John.

ROBERTS: So just to clarify, he says that he's going to address the congregation on Sunday, but we don't expect to hear anything from him between now and then?

LAVANDERA: That's right. Nothing in between. As I mentioned, we expected at least see him on camera today. A public statement, that's what we were told last night, and preparing for it today, directly from his spokesperson. All that changed in the last five or six hours. So it will be until then, Sunday, three more days away before we hear from them.

That was one of the points that Roland was making through the course of the interview, why is it taking so long for him to respond to these allegations? The attorney says he is the one that should be blamed. That it's his decision that that he had told the bishop to remain quiet until Sunday. ROBERTS: All right. Well, let's see if he can remain silent that long with these allegations mounting.

Ed Lavandera for us in Atlanta this morning, following the latest on that. Ed, thanks so much. Kiran.

CHETRY: Well, it's time now to get the latest news from the best political team on television, crossing the political ticker, there's an investigation after a gay slur posted online is reportedly linked to a Republican Senator's office.

Our senior political editor Mark Preston is live at the desk for us this morning. Hey, Mark.

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL EDITOR: Hey, good morning. Yes, Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss is really having to deal with this embarrassing situation right now. Apparently a profane anti-gay comment that was posted on a news blog that covers gay and lesbian issues originated from one of his offices. His office was investigating it.

In fact, the Senate sergeant at arms was looking into the matter as well. The "Atlanta Journal Constitution" is reporting this morning that in fact it did originate in his office. Senate officials are now taking up the matter. In a statement to CNN yesterday, a spokeswoman for the senator said that the office has and will not tolerate any activity of the sort alleged. So a very embarrassing situation right now for Senator Saxby Chambliss.

Let's talk a little bit raw politics here as we continue to tick through these new state polls conducted by CNN and the Opinion Research Corporation. I'm going to focus in on one very important number in the state of Pennsylvania. Right now, in that Senate race, it shows that former Representative Pat Toomey, a Republican, leads the Democratic nominee, Joe Sestak by five points.

Pat Toomey, 49, Joe Sestak, 44. That is for Senator Arlen Specter's seat. Specter was the Republican turned Democrat, that was backed by the White House in the primary but yet Joe Sestak was able to defeat Specter. So Democrats are very concerned about losing this seat up in Pennsylvania. Let's close it with this.

Kiran, John, you might want to get a bar of soap for this. The Ohio Democratic Party chairman was caught on video using the four-letter word. I'll let our viewers figure out what the four-letter word was. But it was in this impassioned political speech that he was giving to steelworkers up in Ohio. He is not apologizing for it. In fact, he said it's a word that everyone has used as well. He said that he was just speaking passionately about the issue.

So as we're heading into the November elections, we'll certainly see the tensions and the excitement maybe get the best of some people. John, Kiran?

CHETRY: That's right. It was an interesting response. Usually people apologize and say, you know, I didn't have any idea I was on camera. He just said, "hey, you guys use it, too."

PRESTON: That's right.

CHETRY: All right. Mark Preston for us this morning. Thanks so much.

And we'll check in with Mark in the next hour as well and for all the latest political news, go to our web site, Quick break. We'll be right back. Eliot Spitzer joins us in a moment. It's 40 minutes past the hour.


ROBERTS: Well, another Tea Party candidate surging in a surprising way this morning. A new poll out of New York shows Carl Paladino just six points now behind New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo. And that puts him within the margin of error.

CHETRY: You know, this is interesting because he is somebody who has not held political office before. He's a billionaire businessman - sorry, millionaire businessman, with a b there. Known for making some controversial statements. He's from Buffalo. He said that he'll spend up to $10 million of his own money on this race. He's campaigned under the slogan "Mad as Hell."

Well, we want to bring in CNN's Eliot Spitzer right now. He, of course, knows the politics of New York as well as anyone. The former governor now has a new gig. He is hosting "Parker Spitzer" here on CNN, which, by the way, starts airing October 4th at 8:00 Eastern time at night.

Hi, good to see you this morning.

ELIOT SPITZER, HOST "PARKER SPITZER": Thank you for permitting be to be back.

CHETRY: So this poll that came out, you know, and some people will quibble with the poll itself but it really was a shock that this was a guy who seemed to come out of nowhere, has already found himself mired in some controversies with some races and offensive e-mails and he's within the margin of error.

SPITZER: Here's the thing. It is a shock to folks who don't really understand that New York state is three different states. New York state is not just New York City. Here's the number to focus on. New York City will only be about 28 percent of the total vote, come November. About 48 percent will come from upstate and the remainder, what we call the suburban ring which is the counties around New York City.

So if a fellow like Carl Paladino who has the Tea party anger behind him is carrying with him a significant margin of victory upstate that can overcome a deficit New York City. I'm giving you a little technical, of course, in New York state politics but that is why when you put it all together, the suburban ring will be the outcome determinant of the set of voters. ROBERTS: Now, Cuomo has been running this campaign that's sort of above the fray, very calm, very cool, creating sort of a sense of inevitability.


ROBERTS: Paladino meanwhile has been running this grassroots, down in the mud, "I'm mad as hell" campaign. That's got a lot of resonance with a lot of people, particularly in this tough economic times.

SPITZER: If you look around the country, who was winning right now are the folks who get out their manifest, their raw emotion. Andrew Cuomo has been running a Rose Garden campaign without speaking to the voters, not explaining what he will do. Look. Back a couple years ago, I ran a gubernatorial campaign when I was attorney general and it was a very different dynamic. I won by a very significant margin but there was not at that moment the sort of anger welling up in the public.

Andrew has got to get out there and connect with voters, explain what he will do. And he may have lost the critical moment to do that because Carl Paladino, crazy as he may appear to be, portrayed by the media as being a little rough around the edges, that's what the public may want right now.

ROBERTS: And he's baiting him as well saying that he didn't have the cohunes (ph) to debate him.


ROBERTS: Here's what Cuomo said in response to that.


ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK GOV. CANDIDATE: Am I going to respond to name calling. No, I'm not going to. I don't want to be part of a campaign that degrades state government. When you degrade government, you degrade the people of this state. I'm not going to do it.


ROBERTS: Does Cuomo need to take off the gloves here?

SPITZER: Well, what he needs to do is speak to the public and, of course, the problem that Andrew has is that everybody knows that behind the scenes, he has the dirtiest, nastiest political player out there and that is his reputation from years in Washington. When his father was governor, he was the tough guy. He has brass knuckles and he played hard ball. He has a lot of enemies out there. Nobody's been willing to stand up to him. When it appeared he was going to win, it was inevitable. If it appears not to be inevitable, things may change. He has a lot of folks, he's really been on the wrong side of who may stand up and say, wait a minute, he may not want to pretend he plays that game. He does, and he's worse at it.

CHETRY: That's an interesting insight. Also, that Albany has become really the face of disarray and corruption, right, in terms of the state government and --

SPITZER: But Albany is like every other capital. I think here because we are the -- we like to think - we're the media capital --

CHETRY: Come on, Albany's worse.

SPITZER: It is, but it isn't worse as much as you would think. Look at Sacramento in California. Sacramento in California, with Governor Schwarzenegger, a great political leader, has had as much gridlock, as much -- the same inability to deal in a meaningful way with a budget crises, revenues that are simply not there to cover state expenses. They're letting prisoners out, something that hasn't happened here in New York State.

CHETRY: California is a mess, as well.

SPITZER: And then you look at Trenton, where Governor Corzine, again, a very effective governor, got voted out because he couldn't get his legislature, even though it was of the same party, to come around to meaningful answers.

Every state -- I wrote some articles some about a year ago, saying, being governor is the hardest job in America, because there simply isn't the revenue to cover the services the public expects. Unlike the federal government, governors don't print money. So there is a tension there. And then on top of that you overlay the status quo mentality of legislators. You've got a crisis erupting in every state capital.

ROBERTS: You talked at the beginning about there being two New York states, New York City and then upstate New York. But still, Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1 in this state.

SPITZER: Correct.

ROBERTS: But when you look at who's leaning among independents, Paladino has got Cuomo by six points.

SPITZER: Correct, correct.

ROBERTS: Is - I guess you discount these Tea Party candidate at your own peril.

SPITZER: That's right. The suburban ring and the independent voters in New York will determine the outcome of this race. Now, Andrew will try to rack up a huge margin in New York State by 3 to 1. If he carries a 3 to 1 in New York State, which is about 28 to 30 percent of the vote -

CHETRY: New York City, you mean.

SPITZER: New York City. Excuse me. 3 to 1 in New York City, 28 percent of the vote, that gives him a buffer in the suburban ring and upstate. But it's going to be closer than people think.

CHETRY: But you ran, you won. Is Carl Paladino, you can vision him being governor?

SPITZER: No. No. No.

CHETRY: Was this the right pick for the Republicans?

SPITZER: No. Here's the other hidden secret here. The Republicans had a candidate who would have won this race - a fellow Steve Levy, who was the county executive in Suffolk County, was trying to get onto the Republican ballot. The leadership of that party said, no, they went with Rick Lazio.

Rick Lazio was a plan vanilla - almost an incidental candidate -- had nothing to say and didn't even say that well. Had Steve Levy been put on the ballot, Steve Levy would have been 15 points ahead of Andrew Cuomo. Paladino is not as crazy as the media has portrayed him to be. He's a businessman from upstate, he won't win. But trust me, Andrew's going to have a much tighter margin. He's not going to have anything close to what we got in those sects.

ROBERTS: What do you want to bet Paladino wins in New York? And O'Donnell wins in Delaware?




ROBERTS: Paladino in New York, O'Donnell in Delaware.

SPITZER: All right.

CHETRY: I'm not going to go there.


CHETRY: Well remember, of course, "PARKER/SPITZER" is coming to CNN's primetime lineup. The new show premieres live Monday, October 4th, 8:00 Eastern.




CHETRY: 55 minutes past the hour. It's time for you AM House Call, stories about your health. There's an experimental heart valve procedure that's giving new hope to tens of thousands of patients too sick to survive a traditional open heart surgery.

ROBERTS: Our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in New York with us this morning. He's got details on what looks like a breakthrough.

Good morning, to you.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning. Good to be here.

People are -- we're talking about something known as aortic stenosis. This is - you have lots of valves in the heart. This is the valve that controls the blood flow coming out of the heart to the rest of the body. In a certain number of people, it just becomes too narrow.

Take a look at what happens specifically. Blood is just sort of backing up into the heart. The heart has to work harder and harder and as a result people may start to get fatigued, they may start to get chest pain. That's a real problem.

The bigger problem is a certain percentage of people, about 30 percent, they can't undergo surgery. They're just too sick. And many patients die within a year. And that's what's exciting about this new procedure which has been tested for some time. Forget the operation. Actually, do the entire procedure through a little catheter in the groin.

If you take a look at this just really quickly here, no operation but just a threading this little catheter up into the valve and sort of expanding it, opening it up and letting blood out of the heart. That's what they've been trying to do for some time. They needed surgery to do that in the past but this little procedure here, as it goes in there, you see it expand. This is all with the patient awake. Just a little opening in the groin, a catheter is threaded up and open up the valve.

CHETRY: And do they leave that in there, almost like a stent?

GUPTA: That stays in there. They've tried this sort of thing with other types of procedures within the heart. But, to do a valve like this has been really hard. So this is the first evidence that it works.

ROBERTS: OK. I'm confused. They actually open up the valve and leave the valve open?

GUPTA: That's right. The valve stays open - now you have a new valve. The new valve will close and open with the blood flow.

ROBERTS: Oh, they replace the valve?

GUPTA: Yes. The old valve which was not working is moved out of the way and there's a new valve opens and closes as the heart pumps. You let blood out and it prevents the blood from coming back in.

ROBERTS: And that catheter brought in the new valve.

GUPTA: That's right. That's right.

CHETRY: That's amazing. We talk about the procedure because it is so difficult when people are older and you know that they need that type of help. You know that they need more blood flow but open heart surgery is so taxing on the body.

GUPTA: So that's the unbelievable position they're in because about 30 percent of these people with this problem, they will die within a year if they don't have the procedure. And so, it's almost like a death sentence for so many people who have aortic stenosis. That was surprising, I think, to a lot of people. But this with this, you know the standard treatment, half of the people dying within a year. And with this, the numbers are still high, it's about a third. So it's still a significant problem. But you're not having surgery and you're having better results. So I think that's what got people excited. And now they're thinking even people who aren't too sick to have the procedure, could have a less invasive option. So you don't have to have open heart surgery for things that you need.

ROBERTS: Is a less invasive option as good as the invasive option?

GUPTA: It seems to be, both in terms of survival, and also in terms of symptoms, people feeling better, not as fatigued, not having as much chest pain, overall energy is better. Seems to be at least initially with this procedure, better than the surgery.

ROBERTS: Good deal.

CHETRY: We're bringing you back in the next hour and I'm also very interested to find out more about this former President Clinton talking about how he can actually reverse heart disease through a plant-based diet. And I know you've been pushing for that, too. So, we're going to get your take on that.

GUPTA: Absolutely. We'll talk about it.

ROBERTS: Thanks, Sanjay, we'll see you then.

Top stories coming your way in two minutes. Stay with us.