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American Morning

Geithner Tries to Calm Eurozone Crisis; Boehner's Jobs Plan; Supreme Court Stops Texas Execution; Source: Top Al Qaeda Leader Killed; "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Ends Tuesday; Bachmann Says She's "Not a Doctor"; Motorcyclist Thanks Rescuers; Planet with Two Suns, Just Like Star Wars; Putting God in His Corner; Medal of Honor Firefight; Interview with Economist Jeffrey Sachs; Tacoma Teachers Strike

Aired September 16, 2011 - 06:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Markets right now on a roll. I'm Christine Romans.

Efforts to ward off a credit crisis in Europe pushing stocks higher. Already up four days in a row now here in the U.S., but can that rally continue?

ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: A last minute stay of execution. I'm Ali Velshi. A convicted murderer set to die by injection is given another day to live. That means the spotlight is back on Texas Governor Rick Perry.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And Carol Costello. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is now backing down from a gaffe that could derail her campaign. A doctor wagering 10 grand that she's wrong about the side effects of a breakthrough vaccine on this AMERICAN MORNING.

ROMANS: Good morning, everyone. It's Friday, September 16th. Did I say it's Friday?

VELSHI: You did.


VELSHI: Lots going on today. We get to tell you about markets around the globe actually doing OK this morning. They're rallying as Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner presses European leaders who are right now in Poland just trying to settle their differences before their credit crisis spreads further beyond their shores.

Nina Dos Santos joins us live in London. She is following this meeting that is going on in Poland. Nina, what are we likely to expect out of this meeting? The main topic there or at least the most pressing issue there is Greece.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's right, Ali. What I should also mentioned though is that the markets have certainly learned over the last two years this euro in crisis has gone from bad to worse.

What they wish for and, then, again, what politicians deliver. What they would ultimately like to see, these leaders come together and agree on is some kind of bold action or at least a statement promising bold action like raising the euro zone bailout fund to cope with countries like Greece.

That they're still having trouble paying bills and they might also like to hear some kind of discussion about mutualising the debt that's outstanding through these 17 nations that share the euro.

At the moment, each country has to pay completely different interest rates and that's what the heart of the problem. Of course, Germany is still very reluctant to put the bill on that one, Ali.

VELSHI: Unlike the United States, these are countries with very different financial situations and different abilities to pay different interest rates on those bonds.

So that mutualization or further union may be very far apart. The International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde, she has some stern warnings about the prospects for recovery in Europe. What did she have to say?

SANTOS: Yes. She's not mincing words and she's in a very interesting position because this time last year she would have been one of those very euro zone finance ministers trying to draw consensus to iron out these problems.

She spoke about political indecisions and political dysfunctions and policy indecisions at the heart effectively putting the blame at the political front saying, guys, get it sorted. Take a listen.


CHRISTINE LAGARDE, IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR: Exactly three years ago after the collapse of human brother, the economic skies today looked troubled, they looked turbulent as global activity slows and downside risks increase. And we have entered into a dangerous phase of the crisis.


SANTOS: So it's a dangerous phase, but, Ali, she also points out that the World Central Bank seemed to know that and we had concerted action to lend to eurozone banks in dollars for the next three months to come.

VELSHI: Right and that's something we last saw in 2009 when the world bank got together and said when everybody else can't get things together, when politics is still working they are ready to step in. Nina, thanks very much. We'll stay on top of the story with you.

COSTELLO: Speaking of politics working, let's talk politics, shall we? House Speaker John Boehner rolling out the Republican's alternative to President Obama's jobs plan. It's a proposal that calls for less government spending and regulation.

Here's more of what the speaker said to the economic club of Washington yesterday.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER, HOUSE SPEAKER: We all know some regulations are needed. We've got a responsibility under the constitution to regulate interstate commerce. There are reasonable regulations that protect our children and keep our environment clean.

And then there are excessive regulations that unnecessarily increasing the costs for consumers and small businesses and those excessive regulations are making it harder for our economy to create jobs.


COSTELLO: Speaker Boehner also rejected the option of raising taxes to cut the deficit. No surprise there. He said the special committee charged with cutting more than $1 trillion from the deficit should use spending cuts and entitlement reform to get the job done.

ROMANS: The U.S. Supreme Court delaying the execution of convicted murder Dwayne Edward Buck, a man set to die by injection in Texas last night. Buck supporters were elated by the temporary stay and Buck's lawyers released a statement expressing hope the Supreme Court might take up this case.

Buck was convicted of a double murder 16 years ago. At issue, whether testimony from a psychologist who suggested Buck's race increased the likelihood of him being dangerous in the future if that testimony played a role in his sentence.

The saved execution also put the spotlight back on Texas Governor Rick Perry who had declined to delay Buck's execution.

And al Qaeda leader considered to be the terror networks chief of operations in Pakistan has been killed. U.S. officials confirming the death of Abu Hafs Al-Shari in Waziristan, Pakistan.

It's not clear how he died, but it's considered a critical blow to al Qaeda's core leadership. According to one U.S. Defense official eight of the terror organization's top 20 leaders have been killed this year.

COSTELLO: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" will be history in days. The Pentagon says the ban on gays serving openly in the military will be officially repealed on Tuesday.

This comes after months of reviews and court challenges, but two House Republicans are making a final push for a delay saying they need more information on specific policy changes.

ROMANS: Congresswoman Michele Bachmann backtracking. It looks like she's overplayed her hand with the attack on Texas Governor Rick Perry. Now this all started, of course, at the CNN Tea Party debate Monday night.

Bachmann blasted Perry for ordering young girls in Texas to get the new HPV vaccine. The argument stayed mostly on his alleged abuse of power seemed to have him on his heels in this debate. She seemed to score political points. It looked like it gave her campaign a new life. Then she went on the "Today "show and said this.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will tell you that I had a mother last night come up to me here in Tampa, Florida after the debate. She told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter.

It can have very dangerous side effects. The mother was crying when she came up to me last night. I didn't know who she was before the debate. This is the very real concern and people have to draw their own conclusion.


ROMANS: So immediately following that appearance, the American Academy of Pediatrics posted a statement on its web site saying there is absolutely no scientific validity to the suggestion that this vaccine causes mental retardation, and yesterday, Bachmann backed off of it.


BACHMANN: During the debate, I didn't make any statements that would indicate that I'm a doctor, I'm a scientist or that I'm making any conclusions about the drug one way or the other. I didn't make statements about that.

At the conclusion of the debate, a woman came up to me who was very distraught, crying and she thanked me for my remarks and said that her daughter had had a negative reaction and that's all that I related. I'm not going to answer that question.


ROMANS: So a respected biochemist upped the ante. Arthur Caplin, the director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. He tweeted this challenge to Congresswoman Bachmann.

So here is the deal, she has one week to produce her victim. She pays $10,000 to a pro vaccine group if she can't. I pay $10,000 to a charity of her choice if she does.

COSTELLO: I don't think she'll be responding to that either. Coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I blacked out and came too for about five seconds when I was under the car.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COSTELLO: You will hear from the Utah college student rescued earlier this week from underneath that burning car. Like he says, there's one hero in particular he wants to find and thank personally.

VELSHI: And Jennifer Hudson, if you've seen her lately, you've noticed that she's lost a lot of weight. Check her out. But the young girl lost a role model. It's our "talk back" question of the morning.


ROMANS: Brandon Wright is thankful to be alive, but he's really broken up about his bike. There he is. The young college student pulled from beneath a burning car in Utah earlier this week after his motorcycle collided with a BMW at a parking lot.

Wright holding a news conference yesterday from his hospital just to say thank you to the brave bystanders who lifted that car onto its side and saved him.


BRANDON WRIGHT, RESCUED FROM BENEATH BURNING CAR: I just wanted to thank all the heroes that put their lives on the line to save mine. I'm forever in debt. I can't thank them enough. I just hope they know how much they mean to me.

I woke up to a man in a green shirt just kneeling over me and trying to get me to talk and keeping me awake, and I'd really like to meet him, too, just because he did not -- did not let me close my eyes and go back to sleep. Really, without him I don't know if I would have hung in there.


ROMANS: He is so lucky to be alive. Brandon says the sight of his mangled motorcycle made him cry. He suffered a fracture to his right leg, burns to his left leg, but no damage to his head, despite the fact that he wasn't wearing a helmet. He said that will not happen again.

COSTELLO: He's go out and buy one right after he gets out of the hospital.

ROMANS: I think his parents are probably saying, why don't we not get him a motorcycle or a helmet.

VELSHI: I ride a motorcycle. Christine reminds often of the dangers of it. But even I don't go out -- wear a helmet.

ROMANS: No matter how careful you are, it's the other person.

VELSHI: Exactly right. It's often not you.

ROMANS: It's the other person I worry about. VELSHI: Well, scientists may have found the Skywalker's home planet. I did say that. Astronomers have confirmed the first direct evidence of a planet with two suns, just like the desert wasteland planet in the "Star Wars" movies

Only they say it isn't in a galaxy far, far away. It's just 200 light years from earth, which is relatively close. That means it would take just two centuries to get there traveling at light speed.

COSTELLO: Wow. Let's all go then. Rob Marciano, want to come?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Do that and we'll be right there. It's fascinating. You got one sun, a little sun that goes around that sun and then you got the planet that goes around that. So --

ROMANS: Double the SPF.

MARCIANO: Yes, you may want to do that although this particular planet is outside of the realm of sustained life. A little tribute to Canada, because I heard Ali say something that was very Canadian and I can't remember the word.

You guys put the accents, emphasis on different syllables. If I think of it, I'll tell you. First of all, St. John, there you go. We have a hurricane. This is Maria, 80 mile-an-hour winds. It's going to clip New Finland later on today so that's a rare event.

This is our third hurricane of the season and this one will hit Canada. International falls is near Canada, too, 19 degrees yesterday. Marquette, Michigan, 31. These are record lows. Cold air is infiltrating and yes, we even had the earliest snow ever across north central Wisconsin. Just a little bit falling there.

Maybe light effects happening, too, 20 to 30 degrees in some spots this morning. So we have frost and freeze advisories that have been issued and this cold front pushing all the way the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. So a lot of folks getting a little bit of taste of this.

But that cold front, you have a bit of a price to pay here, Ocean City, Maryland. Check out this video. A water spout caught on tape and this thing came off the bay and got on land. Did a little bit of damage to some trucks and some structures, but nobody got hurt with this thing, but remarkable video there. Ocean City, Maryland, thank you for that. That was the only severe weather report as far as tornadoes are concerned that we saw yesterday.

Enjoy the cool weather, guys. Back up to you.


MARCIANO: There you go.

VELSHI: By the way, I'm heading to Toronto this afternoon, so if you could pop a weather report in for Toronto. I understand it's going to be cool. MARCIANO: I mentioned St. John's, so I mean, (INAUDIBLE).

VELSHI: Yes. It's all the same, right? St. John's is a beautiful, beautiful place. I just have to give it a shout-out. St. John's, Newfoundland, very few people go there, but it's really nice and they are hearty folks.

ROMANS: Well, Maria is on her way.

VELSHI: Maria is on her way. It's a - it's got a nice summer, both days.

MARCIANO: And it's a lot closer than Tatooine (ph).

VELSHI: It's a lot closer than Tatooine, exactly. Thanks, Rob.

MARCIANO: All right.

COSTELLO: Thank you, Rob.

Now, it's your turn to talk back on one of the stories of the day. The question for you this morning, what does Jennifer Hudson's weight- loss controversy say about obesity in America? I know. Jennifer Hudson.

But hear me out here. There is no doubt Jennifer Hudson is now skinny. Since she appeared on "Oprah" reportedly she is down to a size zero, saying and I quote, "I'm prouder of my weight loss than my Oscar." A far cry from what she said in 2007 when she was a lot curvier.

Oh, this is what she said in 2007. "I love my size and I think everybody should have some kind of meat on their bones. I've never bought into that."

Her change of heart about her weight has some fans steamed. (INAUDIBLE) it's confusing because the struggle with celebrity worship and their own self esteem especially girls with body - body image issues and their own weight struggles. Actually, you could argue pretty much all of America is confused about body image and weight.

"The Biggest Losers," audiences love that TV show, "The Biggest Loser" yet criticize Hudson for losing weight? Heck, there are some who criticize Michelle Obama for her anti-obesity campaign, somehow promoting healthy eating is equivalent to a nanny state.

But the facts are the facts. About one-third of adult Americans are obese, and heart disease is the number one killer in the United States.

As for what Jennifer Hudson is saying now -


JENNIFER HUDSON, MUSICIAN: It's about what you want for yourself, how you feel about yourself. It's about good health and - and at least for me it's about good health, but overall, what you want for yourself. So if you want to be that big girl, big the fiercest big girl you can possibly be, and I will be the healthiest fierce girl I can possibly be.


COSTELLO: So the "Talkback" this morning, what does Jennifer Hudson's weight-loss controversy say about obesity in America?, I'll read your responses later this hour.

ROMANS: She's pretty inspiring in any size.

VELSHI: I agree (ph) with that. She - her story is great.


VELSHI: You know, I don't do much in the way of exercise, right? This is - you've figured this out. But you will recall that from time to time I boxed a little bit.

ROMANS: I remember.

VELSHI: So this is an interesting story. We're talking about living the American dream. A fighter who came to America to train with the best and beat the best and to be the champion of the world, but he found out that one thing was missing in his corner.

I sat down with Boxing's would-be rabbi Yuri Foreman. Take a look.


YURI FOREMAN, BOXER: And I came here just to experience in my own skin the American dream.

VELSHI (voice-over): This is a story of a young man on a mission. Of Yuri Foreman born in Belarus, moved to Israel, 10 years ago came to America and walked into the world famous Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn because he wanted to be the best middleweight boxer on the planet.

FOREMAN: I came here and I talked to the owner, I want to be a world champion.

VELSHI (on camera): You want to be a world champion?


VELSHI: That's what you said?

FOREMAN: That's why I came to the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you reach for the ring, you've got to shut out the time.

VELSHI (voice-over): It was the right place. Gleason's trained Robert de Niro for his legendary role in "Raging Bull "and it produced more than 130 champions in real life boxing. The owner, Bruce Silverglade -

BRUCE SILVERGRADE, GLEASON'S GYM OWNER: I was impressed with Yuri, I mean, because instead of coming from bedside, he came halfway around the world with no support team.

VELSHI: Silverglade was so impressed he gave Foreman free lessons. And through all the sweat, punches and poundings, eventually, those lessons paid off.

In 2009, Foreman became the WBA Super Welterweight Champion of the World, the first ever from Israel. His quest was complete.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hard right hand by Foreman.

VELSHI: And that was then Foreman discovered something was still missing. Something he'd been disconnected from ever since he was a child in the former Soviet Union - his Jewish faith.

(on camera): And when were you growing up did you observe Jewish rituals? Do you go to synagogues?

FOREMAN: Many Jews it was forbidden to have - to synagogues. Many Jews completely forgot about their roots. The only real reminder was in their passport that it says nationality Jew.

VELSHI (voice-over): It occurred to the young champ that when his girlfriend, soon to be his wife, asked him even basic questions about Judaism, he didn't have the answers.

And so a new quest began. Yuri Foreman, not only embraced his long- lost faith, but with the zeal of a champion, decided to become a rabbi. Since then, he's progressed far along the path. Within a year, his rabbinical studies will be complete.

FOREMAN: Right now, my - my goal is to work with young adults, kids who perhaps need a little push, a little motivation and I think I can offer them through boxing or through personal experience.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Foreman back to the center of the ring, clearly compromised.

VELSHI: It may be a fitting change. Last year all the rounds in the boxing ring caught up with him. A nagging knee injury took him down in a tough bout at Yankee Stadium. He lost his title.

He's training to win his belt back, but even in the process it's clear that his new passion for his old faith is weighing heavily. These days he says he prays each day to be a good father for the health and safety of his opponents and completion of rabbinical studies. And now when he fights, his faith goes far beyond the power of his punches.



VELSHI: God, I loved meeting him. ROMANS: What an incredible story.

VELSHI: Yes, yes. And he - he is what he seems to be. He's just this legitimate guy whose wife asked him about his faith. Didn't know about it, he have no answers. Decided to learn about it. Go out and become a rabbi. And he is how he seems in there. Good luck to Yuri.

COSTELLO: Absolutely.

VELSHI: Not where you think you'd find religion in the boxing ring, but you know what these guys thank God before and after the matches.

ROMANS: Oh the good guy is pure of heart -


ROMANS: -- and that's really cool.

All right. Ahead on AMERICAN MORNING, a former Marine, speaking of pure of heart, receiving the country's highest military honor. But Sergeant Dakota Meyers says he feels anything but heroic. We'll look at how combat commanders may have failed at the worst possible time.


ROMANS: Welcome back. "Minding Your Business" this morning.

Right now, U.S. stock futures for the Dow, NASDAQ and S&P are all trading slightly lower ahead of the opening bell. Wall Street watching what happens in Europe very closely.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is there making a rare appearance at the meeting of Europe's finance ministers in Poland this morning. He urged them to free up more resources to tackle a 2-year- old debt crisis now. Investors are hoping more coordinated measures may be announced at this meeting to help the Euro zone stay intact.

U.S. market closed higher yesterday, this after Federal Reserve and Central Banks for Europe, U.K. and Japan all stepped in, all agreeing to step in and boost the dollar liquidity for European banks for the next three months. The Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 all gained more than one percent on this news yesterday.

New this morning in a new poll, economists say there's a one in three chance, one in three now, that the U.S. economy will slip back into recession in the next year. The poll was conducted by the "Wall Street Journal," is the most pessimistic since the recovery began.

On a lighter note, this is a great time to refinance your mortgage. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate loan fell to 4.09 percent this week. That's the lowest 30-year fixed rate mortgage in 60 years, according to Freddie Mac.

And more bad news for Netflix. The company says it expects one million fewer subscribers in the third quarter this after it jacked up the price of its DVD rentals and streaming services. Company's stock plummeted on that news yesterday.

AMERICAN MORNING will be right back after the break.


COSTELLO: It is 30 minutes past the hour. Good morning. It's time for this morning's top stories.

Overseas markets are higher after five central banks came together to help ward off a credit crisis in Europe. And now, the hope is European finance ministers will show the same unity along with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as they meet to discuss Europe's financial crisis.

VELSHI: The U.S. Supreme Court granted an 11th hour stay of execution for convicted murderer Duane Edward Buck. The court will review whether Buck's sentencing in Texas was racially biased. Back when Buck was sentenced, the psychologist testified that he was a danger to the public because black people are more likely to commit violence.

COSTELLO: The Pentagon says the ban on gays serving openly in the military will be officially repealed on Tuesday. This comes after months of reviews and court challenges. Two House Republicans are making a final push for delay, though, saying they need more information on specific policy changes.

And we're following new developments this morning out of Libya. "Reuters" is reporting that forces loyal to the National Transitional Council are pouring into Sirte, Moammar Gadhafi's hometown and one of the last regime strongholds. In the meantime, Libya's new rulers are sending a delegation to Niger, demanding they turn over one of Gadhafi's sons.

VELSHI: Well, he just received the highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for an astounding act of heroism at a White House ceremony. Twenty-three-year old Marine Sergeant Dakota Meyer received high praise from the nation's commander-in-chief.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because of your honor, 36 men are alive today. Because of your courage, four fallen American heroes came home.

SGT. DAKOTA MEYER, MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT: I didn't do anything that any other Marine wouldn't do, or I would hope any other Marine wouldn't do. I didn't -- I didn't -- I definitely don't see myself as a hero.


VELSHI: We're now learning more about the ambush of Meyer's unit and what appears to be a tragic failure in leadership.

CNN's Barbara Starr has that part of the story.

What is this about, Barbara?



STARR (voice-over): In September of 2009, when his unit along with an Army team and Afghan troops moved into a village in eastern Afghanistan to meet with elders. The village lights go out. It was an ambush.

What happened next is a six-hour firefight that made Meyer a hero. But as this highly critical Army investigation found, senior officials were complacent, lacked awareness of the battle and failed at almost every level.

MEYER: It's a bad day. You know, it's -- to describe it, it's probably the worst day of my life. Not probably it is the worst day of my life.

STARR: One Marine radios, "We are going to die out here." The investigation found commanders denied requests for extra firepower, helicopters and backup troops. Artillery was scrambled at one point, but according to the investigation, the decision was overruled by higher echelons.

Four times headquarters denies Meyer's request to run and help. Finally, he disobeys orders and gets in a Humvee with another Marine. Meyer enters the kill zone five times.

MEYER: I was applying aid to as many as I could. You know, we were under -- we were under heavy fire the own tire time. I know I applied quite a few tourniquets trying to stop the bleeding on a lot of the guys.

STARR: Meyer saved 13 U.S. Marines and soldiers, and kills eight Taliban.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It took well beyond the specified amount of time for a quick reaction force to be on the spot to provide assistance. That entire mechanism broke down.

STARR: Three officers were reprimanded. The scathing report found that actions of key leaders at the battalion leader were inadequate and ineffective. The report also ripped apart the poor performance of commissioned officers who were present.


STARR: And the team even got bad intelligence going into the firefight. They were told to expect maybe 10 insurgents. They were hit with more than five times that. And, of course, none of this takes away from the extraordinary valor and courage of Dakota Meyer and the men he fought with that day -- Ali.

VELSHI: Wow. What a story. It was already a particularly compelling story before this new information. Barbara, thanks very much for joining us -- Barbara Starr.

STARR: Sure.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. New this morning, Casey Anthony's lies are costing her. They were costing her nearly $100,000. That's a ruling from a Florida judge calling far short of what prosecutors were seeking.

They wanted Casey Anthony to pay over half a million to recover the cost of investigating 2-year-old Caylee Anthony's disappearance. A judge instead ordering her to pay the Florida Department of Law Enforcement $61,000 and the Orange County sheriff's office $25,000. In total, she's on the hook for nearly $98,000.

Of course, it was her lies again and again. She was convicted of led them on a wild goose chase.

COSTELLO: We'll see if she comes up with the money. Defying a court order, teachers in Tacoma, Washington, have voted overwhelmingly to continue their strike. Classes for some 30,000 students have been cancelled since the teachers out the job on Tuesday. A state judge ordered them to return to work but the union refused. The school district claims the strike is illegal, because public employees don't have the right to strike.

VELSHI: Still to come on AMERICAN MORNING, House Speaker John Boehner rolling out his jobs plan. But is it a viable solution? We'll talk to economist Jeffrey Sachs.

ROMANS: And people all over the Dallas area are kicking themselves this morning saying, you know, wow, should have brought a new carpet -- all because of one huge home run and one store's crazy and now expensive promotion.

It's 36 minutes after the hour.


ROMANS: Welcome back.

House Speaker John Boehner is taking aim at President Obama's new jobs bill. Speaking yesterday, Boehner pushed for lower taxes and less government regulation.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Some of the president's proposals, I think, offer an opportunity for common ground. Let's be honest with ourselves: the president's proposals of a poor substitute for the pro-growth policies that are needed to remove barriers to job creation in America.


ROMANS: Joining me now is Jeffrey Sachs, economist. He's also the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Welcome to the program this morning.


ROMANS: Happy Friday. We need to be something to be happy about.

Let's talk about John Boehner's plan. I mean, less regulation and pro-growth policies, which we presume mean as smaller government in general. Is this a way to create jobs?

SACHS: I don't think either side has it right. It's so sad they're arguing with each other viciously, actually, but neither side is focusing on some basic points.

We have a lot of people, especially young people in this economy without the skills to be able to compete internationally. We've lost a lot of jobs abroad. We need better education, more training, the ability to mobilize technology to compete. Neither side is talking about that.

The Republican side just wants to cut taxes, give money to corporations but the corporations are filled with money now, but they don't want to invest in jobs in America. They're investing in jobs abroad. The president talks a bit more about skills and infrastructure, but he wants a one-year plan.

ROMANS: Right.

SACHS: One-year tax cuts to be followed by tax increases later on. What's a one-year plan going to do?

So, the Democrats really do focus on a kind of gimmick of do something next year before the elections. The Republicans have a longer term view, but a wrong one, in my view, which is just cut taxes. But that's not going to solve the structural problems that our country has.

ROMANS: But in this kind of political climate -- I mean, real, meaningful tax reform, real, meaningful education reform, really focusing on retraining in a way that the right skills are given to the right people, that takes investments. I don't think you're going to -- when can you ever see political unity on some of these big -- these are big structural issues that need to be addressed.

SACHS: I think the sad part is that President Obama had that chance in 2009 when he --

ROMANS: He did health care reform.

SACHS: He did health care reform but we never heard a longer term strategy and a budget that would go alongside it. So, he started with what I do agree -- on a Republican critique, was a bit of a gimmick, that stimulus. One jolt and we're back.

But one jolt wasn't going to bring us back to competitiveness. The problem is that the opponents of this want an even worse gimmick, which is just cut taxes, give money to the rich, give money to the corporations. But if they look at what's really happening, it's not that the companies don't have money, they're filled with trillions -- billions and billions of dollars that are often tax havens, that are -- they've already given the tax cuts. How rich can people be without saying, OK, we'll contribute something?

That's the problem with the opposition side. It's just greed at this point.

ROMANS: And there's also just a lack of confidence. I mean, there's a lack of confidence in corporate CEOs who don't want to hire in this country because they don't see clarity, they say. And from Americans who are stressed. They don't have a job or are afraid of losing their job and they're worried about their home value.

SACHS: These same CEOs are hiring, but abroad.

ROMANS: Right.

SACHS: Why is that? That's what we need to ask.

Now, Republicans say it's because of regulation. But that's not really the change going on. When you ask a real business person and I know from my own experience, because we hire people, also -- finding skilled workers is the critical issue right now.

ROMANS: Right.

SACHS: Better skills, people with higher education, they're employed. The people with high school degrees only, they can't find jobs that keep them in the middle class. This is America's problem.

ROMANS: I want to talk about the world's problem, though, too, because we're looking at a Euro zone literally quaking at this moment. Its foundation, it's unity, you know, two decades old. What happens here?

Christine Lagarde said it's a dangerous moment. How dangerous and what does it mean for a U.S. recovery?

SACHS: Greece is the imminent danger, because Greece is just on the verge of default on its government debt. If that would happen, and we sure hope that it doesn't, there would be a kind of panic in Europe. People would take money out not only of Greek banks but of Italian banks, Spanish banks, Portuguese banks, French banks, and there would be such pressure inside financially that the European economy would go down and that our euro, the common currency, could break to pieces.

If that happens, I think the implications worldwide for the United States and for the rest of the world economy would be extremely serious. So, there is an attempt to help Greece get through this very tough patch that Greece has to bear down, cut its deficit, which it needs to do. But at the same time, get the financial help that it needs. But within Europe, you have all the different countries. Every one of them is putting on their own separate demands. And so, you're standing at the cliff and wondering whether that gust is wind is going to push Europe of the cliff. That's how close we are.

That's why the treasury secretary is in Europe right now. He's right to be there. Thank you, Secretary Geithner, for being in Europe to tell them, get your act together before you blow apart your own currency zone and our economy.

ROMANS: Another reason why politics matters no matter where you are and why politics is so critical in what's happening right now.

Jeff Sachs --

SACHS: We need some agreements.

ROMANS: I know. Jeff Sachs, thank you so much. Nice to see you again.

SACHS: Pleasure.

ROMANS: All right. We're at 45 minutes after the hour. We'll be right back.


VELSHI: Forty-six minutes after the hour. Here's what you need to know to start your day.


VELSHI (voice-over): For the most part, world markets are trading higher as treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, meets with European counterparts about the growing concerns over Europe's worsening debt crisis.

The Pentagon says the ban on gays serving openly in the military will be officially repealed on Tuesday. This comes after months of reviews and court challenges. Two House Republicans are making a final push for a delay of the repeal.

Despite a judge's orders to return to work, teachers in Tacoma, Washington are continuing their strike. Union officials say 93 percent of the teachers voted to ignore the court order and remain on the picket line. The walkout is entering its fourth day.

Call it a Snooki tax. The "New Jersey" star ledger reporting the taxpayers will pay $420,000 of production costs for the first season of "Jersey Shore." Thanks to a film tax credit approved by the states economic board.

And L.A. Lakers forward, Ron Artest, is no longer L.A. Lakers forward Ron Artest. Today, his name officially becomes Metta World Peace. His publicist says that his name -- new name, first name, Metta, in the Buddhist tradition means loving, kindness, and friendliness toward others. Metta World Peace was once in the most infamous player fan brawl of all-time back in Detroit.


VELSHI (on-camera): That's the news you need to start your day. AMERICAN MORNING back right after this break.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Welcome back. You know, he's not your medical doctor, but if your iPhone, iPad, or MAC book needs repaired, Dr. Brendan is on-call. We (INAUDIBLE) a year ago. He's a fixer of all things Apple. It turns out he's got an app for success. CNNMoney's Poppy Harlow checked back in with him. Good morning, Poppy.


ROMANS: He's got a great business, I'm sure.

HARLOW: It's just amazing what a year can do. You know, we tell so many stories about small businesses struggling. So, we wanted to go back to one that we saw literally working in his New York City apartment and see how he's doing. This is a small business success story.

And you know why I think it is, because he's fixing things that everyone wants it seems no matter how deep the job recession is. No matter how bad the economy is, everyone wants something Apple. Dr. Brendan is a young guy in New York City is capitalizing on this big time. Take a look.


BRENDAN MCELROY, "DR. BRENDAN": We do everything from, you know, from iPhones, iPads, the iTouch.

HARLOW (voice-over): Remember him? Dr. Brendan, a.k.a. the iphone doc. We introduced you to him last year when he was fixing everything Apple out of his tiny New York City apartment.

MCELROY: Courtesy of China. And that is a new iPhone screen there.

HARLOW: But a year's been good to the doctor.


MCELROY: How's it going?

HARLOW: His business has exploded like Apple stock.

This is your first shop?

MCELROY: This is my first shop right here. My office is my apartment and coffee shops and the fiat.

HARLOW: Now, he's got four stores, eight employees, and boasts 300 percent growth since January, thanks to customers looking for a quick fix.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're welcome.

HARLOW: Did you think about going to apple?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To be honest, no, I didn't.

HARLOW: Emily Spalino (ph) has come here six times.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was bending down to tie my shoe in Philadelphia, and my phone dropped about 12 inches on the concrete.

HARLOW: The most common fixes, iPhones averaging $100 and MAC books averaging $200.

One broken screen, two. You've got hundreds of them in here and you know what that means? Big business for Dr. Brendan.

But it's about a lot more than that these days. The website's been expanded for more mail-in repairs, and his team now makes IT service house calls in the Dr. Brendan mobile.

MCELROY: Your MAC pro (ph) is actually boiling the heat exhaust directly on to your server switch.

HARLOW (on-camera): this is one of the downsize of house calls. $115 parking ticket.

(voice-over) one secret of Dr. Brendan's success, hiring employees right from Apple, like Travis Lutz (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not going after Apple's business. We love Apple. The product is simply so popular for very valid reasons, that's one of the reasons why we're here. There's simply so many of them out there.

(on-camera) do you ever question that the demand for Apple products will fall and that would hurt your business?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a great question. No.

MCELROY: This is where, you know, work with customers.

HARLOW (voice-over): The offers have started rolling in from franchisees and private equity firms, but he's not interested.

MCELROY: In the beginning, I think it's smart to just, to do everything by yourself as much as you can handle. And I really didn't want to get in over my head in something I really didn't understand.

HARLOW (on-camera): You're not ready to hand this business over to anyone yet?

MCELROY: Not yet, no.

There's my other shop there. HARLOW (voice-over): In fact, Dr. Brendan's got his eye on global expansion.

(on-camera) you're seeing strong growth, but the economy's tough. Are you worried?

MCELROY: No. No, I'm not worried.


MCELROY: Because I started this business in the middle of the economic meltdown. OK? If I was going to be worried, I would have been worried then. Not now.


HARLOW: Talk about a success story. We always like to see that. I pushed him on how profitable this business is, guys. He wouldn't give me a number. He doesn't have to. It's private company. He said, pretty profitable. So, they're doing well. One warning, though, if you're going to get your iPhone fixed or anything outside of Apple, you could likely lose your warranty. That's something you got to keep in mind here.

VELSHI: So, people are going to him because, I mean, I've used the, you know, the service of Apple, they tend to be pretty efficient.


VELSHI: Are they choosing him because of something that they're going to get repaired is generally not covered by Apple?

HARLOW: Two things, right? Now, he's not just fixing iPhones. He's fixing MAC books. Those are coming -- I saw a woman with water damaged, come in, and bring her MAC book. It was fixed. She left. It's fast. He's got convenient locations and the price is a little less. An iPhone 4 to fix the screen, that's would often break, you saw the box of broken screen.


HARLOW: 140 bucks. At Apple, about $200, but they'll replace your phone. What he's also doing is, he says that Apple, sometimes, will say, look, this isn't fixable. You've got to replace it or we'll replace it. He says you can fix water damage, you can fix these things, and we're giving that service to people. In the few hours we shot at his store, I'd say 15 customers came in.


HARLOW: And you see them shelling out the money, and then, they head out. So, it's about efficiency, convenience, and customers told me it costs less.

COSTELLO: Yes. And who wants to go online? I know it. I know you do, but, like me, to go online and like, you know, you e-mail somebody, -- this is how -- I mean, I'd rather go to him and get it over with.

HARLOW: And he's now taking in orders, people sending in their phones from around the world. You can mail it in.


ROMANS: That's cool. If you can find your little slice of prosperity in this economy, that is very cool. You find your edge in your niche and you just go for it.

HARLOW: And you might not know it. He was a bartender. He dropped his phone. He broke it. He didn't want top pay 200 bucks, so he fixed it himself.

VELSHI: Brilliant. Brilliant story.

COSTELLO: Good for him. That makes me so happy.


COSTELLO: Happy, happy.

We asked you to "Talk Back" on one of the stories of the day, and we asked you this question this morning, after all, it's Friday. What does Jennifer Hudson's weight-loss controversy say about obesity in America?

This from Phillip, "The fact that people are concerned about Hudson's weight describes shows how detached parents are from their responsibility as parents. It's not Hudson's responsibility to be a perfect role model for young girls. It's Hudson's responsibility to keep herself happy. Parents have the responsibility to be the perfect role models to their children."

This from Jirin, "Not to be harsh, but why should we excuse people from a health problem that a 90 percent of the cases stems from ignorance and lack of self-control?" Ouch! "We have become a country where it's OK to gorge yourself, and people are OK with that for some reason."

That's a harsh one.



COSTELLO: This from Michelle, "Health problems caused by obesity are a problem in America. Health issues are not the main reason that we, as a nation, focus so much on weight. It's about selling us the supermodel image against which all women are judged. Weight loss and weight control are billion dollars industries, and they want to keep us buying."

Please continue the conversation.

VELSHI: All right. This is money ball. This Josh Hamilton homer. A grand slam cost one Dallas, Texas, carpet store half a million. They were running a promotion that promised free flooring and countertops to anyone who purchased them in September if Hamilton hit a grand slam during the month. After the ball went over the wall, CC Carpet's website reportedly crash from all the traffic. The owner of the store did have insurance to cover the cost.

COSTELLO: It's Josh Hamilton. He's good in doing, eventually, right?

ROMANS: I thought it was a half a million dollars of the publicity. That's all I got --

VELSHI: That's right. It probably is. It probably is.


VELSHI: All right. Coming up next, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann seems to be backing down, sort of, kind of, from something that scored her a lot of political points just a few days ago. Doctors are saying her comments about a breakthrough vaccine are dangerous.