Return to Transcripts main page
Occupy Wall Street's "Day of Action"; Suspected W.H. Shooter Arrested; NYT: Missing "Second Mile" Files; Bill To Help Jobless Vets Passes House; Suspected W.H. Shooter Arrested; Penn State Alum Raises Money for Child-Focused Charity; Interview with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; NBA Lockout; Get Fit, Join Team CNN; Pilot Gets Trapped in the Bathroom; Penn State Alum Raises Money for Child-Focused Charity
Aired November 17, 2011 - 07:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Carol Costello. From the streets to the subway, today, the Occupy movement stages one of its largest demonstrations yet.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Christine Romans.
Outrage over Jerry Sandusky's interview with Bob Costas, prompting new victims to come forward while files key to the child sex abuse investigation have reportedly gone missing from Sandusky's charity -- on this AMERICAN MORNING.
COSTELLO: And good morning, everyone. It is Thursday, November 17th. Ali has the day off.
ROMANS: He sure does. He's sunning himself somewhere in Africa at the moment.
COSTELLO: He sent us an e-mail just to torture us with that information.
ROMANS: It's true.
But, first, a massive show of force right now on the streets of New York City. "Occupy" protesters by the hundreds are converging on Wall Street, hoping to shut down the financial district. Today's day of action is to mark the movement's two-month anniversary.
This afternoon, the group plans to occupy the city's subways and then march to the Brooklyn Bridge.
COSTELLO: Occupy Wall Street protesters say they want the day to be a day of nonviolent protests, although one demonstrator has been arrested for making terrorist threats. In a YouTube video you can hear the 29-year-old yelling, "In a few days, they're going to see what a Molotov cocktail can do to Macy's." He's also threatened to, quote, "burn down the city."
So, let's go live to our Mary Snow. She's live on the phone because she's in the middle of that crowd of people you're seeing.
So, Mary, what's the mood?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, I'll tell you, it's tense but peaceful. We're at the tail end of this protest. And I have to tell you, from the time we first went on the air this morning, around 6:00 to now, I mean, the crowd has just swelled. We're on Nassau Street, which is right behind where we're right behind -- where we're standing right now is right behind the Federal Reserve, about a block away from the New York Stock Exchange.
Protesters started off at Zuccotti Park. They met, gathered, organized and then began marching down Nassau Street with the target of going to the New York Stock Exchange chanting, "We are the 99 percent."
Again, this is just one of a number of marches they plan to hold for this day. You mentioned they plan to occupy some subway stations later today, and then the biggest march is expected around 5:00 tonight when they are planning to march on the Brooklyn Bridge. Very heavy police presence here.
From my vantage point, what I've seen so far, we haven't seen any unrest. It's been fairly peaceful.
COSTELLO: Mary, just wondered, we talked to the deputy mayor a short time ago. He said if the protests attempt to enter any buildings in Wall Street, they will immediately be arrested. I wonder if the protests will get into that area to do that, if that's their wish.
SNOW: Yes, I mean -- I can tell you and Christine can also speak to this around the New York Stock Exchange. Security is so tight on any given day. So, getting into that building would really be very difficult.
We haven't seen any protesters from where I am. Again, I'm at the tail end of this protest. We haven't seen any protesters try to enter any buildings. We so far have just seen them on the street. But they have really just filled Nassau Street, which is, again, behind the New York Stock Exchange and the Federal Reserve.
ROMANS: It's an interesting, Mary, because since September 11th, security in that part of the country must be the most secure of any place else. I mean, there are already a substantial police and private security presence around all of those places.
So, shutting down Wall Street certainly they could occupy the area. But shutting down, it will be business as usual at the New York Stock Exchange and else where. But there will be a lot of people on the street.
COSTELLO: I think the irony here, the point is to shut down Wall Street and, Wall Street, of course, is symbolic. But many of the big banks have moved out of that area, right?
ROMANS: Yes. Many of them have moved uptown or some of even moved to Connecticut and other places as well. You're right.
All right. Mary Snow, thanks, Mary.
COSTELLO: Here's more from our interview this morning with Howard Wolfson. You know, I mentioned that he is the New York City deputy mayor for governor affairs and communication. And we asked him what the city is doing to get ready for today's big protests.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD WOLFSON, NYC DEPUTY MAYOR FOR GOVT. AFFAIRS AND COMMUNICATIONS: The Occupy Wall Street movement has said this is going to be a massive protest, tens of thousands of people in the street.
Now, this is New York. We will be prepared. We are always prepared. This is a place where we honor the First Amendment where people come and protest all the time. We're not going to let people walk across the Brooklyn Bridge on a roadway during a rush hour, that's not legal.
And my hope is that people will act peacefully. There's no indication that they won't. And massive protest is not incompatible with the lawful activity. And we're hoping that people will observe the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Howard Wolfson also defended the city's decision to clear out Zuccotti Park, saying the situation was threatening the public's safety.
ROMANS: Authorities say he had a direct interest in the president. This morning, the suspected White House shooter is in custody. Oscar Ortega-Hernandez was arrested at a Pennsylvania hotel yesterday.
CNN's Athena Jones is live at the White House with more on this.
Still trying to find out his motivation, but we're learning more about him, aren't we?
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, we are. Well, first things first, we know he'll appear in court. He's set to appear in court this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. in Pittsburgh. There in U.S. magistrate. And so, we expect to hear the charges against him.
We know that the U.S. Park Police in issuing their warrant issued a charge of carrying a dangerous weapon. But we'll have to hear more -- wait until this afternoon to hear more.
We know that Ortega-Hernandez has a bit of a criminal history, mostly minor offenses in three states: Idaho, Texas and Utah. In Idaho, he was found guilty ranging from drug and alcohol violations, to resisting arrest.
But we also know that family and friends have told authorities that he had what they're calling a direction of interest towards the president or the White House. And so, that makes it sound as though he may have been obsessed with President Obama. We'll have to wait and see what more we hear.
It is interesting to note, though, that back in 1994, a shooter named Francisco Duran fired at least 29 shots into the White House right across the North Lawn behind me. He was charged with 10 counts, one was attempting to assassinate the president. So, that is certainly one of the charges we could hear later this afternoon in court.
ROMANS: Athena Jones at the White House -- thank you, Athena.
COSTELLO: President Obama, by the way, is in Bali, Indonesia, right now. He arrived there early this morning after pumping U.S. Marines in Australia troops in a speech. The president says that the 2,500 U.S. Marines will be deployed for joint training. He used some local lingo to describe the relationship between the two nations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The alliance between the United States and Australia is deeper and stronger than it has ever been. Spot on. Crackerjack, in top neck.
Thank you very much, everybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Sounds so much better with an Australian accent, doesn't it?
The shift in military power to the Pacific coming as China expands its military reach in the region.
ROMANS: And speaking of President Obama, he's featured in a fashion label Benetton's new and controversial, of course, ad campaign. The so called unhate ads include fake images of President Obama kissing his Chinese counterpart, and Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez. These provocative images, they're essentially artwork. They're not actual photos, everybody.
But the company has dropped one of them. It depicted Pope Benedict kissing and Egyptian imam after protest from the Vatican on that.
You know what? It's brilliant because who has talked about Benetton, because, look, I mean, who's talk about Benetton. I mean, when was the last time you hear Benetton being talked about. I mean, all of this publicity.
COSTELLO: Every time I see those pictures, I laugh, what?
Still ahead, they say hearing his voice was a trigger. Several potential victims coming forward now after hearing Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky's primetime TV interview with Bob Costas. One is saying the abuse went back as far as the 1970s. Plus, the mother of one alleged victim now saying she was pressured to keep quiet.
ROMANS: Also ahead, deadly storms sweep through the south. They're now hitting up and down the East Coast.
Plus, snow is on the way. We'll tell you where. Reynolds Wolf tracking it all next.
COSTELLO: And Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA's all-time leading scorer and cancer survivor. He's in town for a tournament that combines his two passions: hoops and cancer research. He's stopping by our studio this morning.
It's eight minutes past the hour.
COSTELLO: Eleven minutes past the hour. Good morning, New York City. Cloudy, 50 degrees right now and you could see that shot behind us of Central Park, so beautiful because the trees, the leaves have changed colors and, Central Park is beautiful.
ROMANS: It sure is. It will be partly cloudy little bit later. So, Carol, if you get a run in before there's any rain.
All right. Reynolds Wolf is in the extreme weather center this morning.
Our tease said, Reynolds, snow is coming. Where is snow coming?
REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You're going to see snow actually coming in a pretty good spot. Back in ski country, namely, back in parts of the Pacific Northwest and back to central and northern Rockies where you can have well over a foot of snow before all is said and done. The snow is going to be coupled with some winds of, say, 30, 40, perhaps, some gusts up to 50 miles per hour will make things pretty difficult in terms of driving from point A to point B.
Hey, and speaking of just strong winds, we certainly have our share in the Northeast. Strong storms left a trail of devastation through parts of Alabama, through parts of Georgia, into the Carolinas. Right now, the latest total we have, four fatalities and one in Georgia and three in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
You see the damage ever where. One place that was hit especially hard was actually in Alabama. Take a look at this football field not far from Auburn. This was actually -- Auburn, Alabama -- is actually part of a tree, lifted up by straight line winds and you see the damage to the goal posts and certainly, it's going to take some time to clean it up.
But, thankfully, the weather should be better today.
Let's go to the weather maps, if we can. I'll tell you right here, you can see plain as day. One line of storms is actually tail end of that frontal boundary that made its way through the southeast.
But if you look at back at the back half of the system, we see some scattered snow showers in parts of the Appalachians popping up that white and the pink on the map. I tell you, that is not the heavy stuff. The heavy snowfall we're going to see is actually going to be out towards the west and out in the west, we're going to have some delays. But mainly in spots like San Francisco.
On the Eastern Seaboard, though, from New York to Philadelphia from Boston all your airports in D.C. Atlanta and Tampa. Even Orlando and Miami, you're going to have some delays, the worst of which, though, is going to be up towards New York. The heavy snowfall that we were talking about will be in the Pacific Northwest, mainly in spots of the central and northern Rockies.
And I got to tell you, some of the heaviest snow, the peaks are well over a foot and those wind gusts very, very strong. So, just keep that in mind.
It's going to be great once that storm moves out and leaves that snow behind. But for the time being, it's really some rough going, might even see some delays in Denver, Colorado, before all is said and done.
You're up to speed. Back to you.
ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Reynolds.
WOLF: You bet.
COSTELLO: Thank you, Reynolds.
New developments to tell you about the Penn State child sex scandal. Jerry Sandusky's primetime interview hit too close to home for some of his alleged victims. Sandusky denied sexually abusing young boys, saying they were engaging in horseplay.
Well, reports this morning says new potential victims outraged by Sandusky's remarks have decided to now come forward. Some of their claims date back to the 1970s.
COSTELLO: The mother of the first alleged victim to come forward in the case against Sandusky is talking to CNN. Her son's identified as victim number one in the indictment. She told Anderson Cooper that it was hard for them to watch the Sandusky interview from Monday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via telephone): He was upset. He was very upset about it. He said -- I didn't watch it at, I watched it when it was on and he watched it after and he said, he cried. And I said, why did you cry? And he said, because I'm afraid he might go free.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: He's afraid that Sandusky might go free.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: The mother also telling Anderson Cooper that her first clue something was wrong came when her son's behavior suddenly changed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then, out of the blue, one day, he was sitting at a computer and wanted to look up sex weirdoes.
COOPER: He wanted to do a search about sex offenders or sex weirdoes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Yes. He asked me what's the Web site you get on to look them up. And I told him it was Megan's Law. And he said, well how do I type it in? And I gave him the web address. He typed it in the computer. I said who are you looking? Who are you looking for? And he said, Jerry. I was, like, I kinda froze.
I was like, wow, what are you looking him up for? And he's like, I don't know. I just want to see if he's on there. I said, why would he be on there? Do you have something to tell me? No. Don't they put those kind of people on there? I said, you need to tell, what is going on?
And, he said, I don't know, sometimes he just acts weird, so I just wanted to see if he was on there. That's all. And he just let it die, and he said, I'm going outside, and he went played. And that was the end of that conversation.
ROMANS: That breaks my heart when he went outside and went and played. He's just a kid. He doesn't know how to handle any of this then or now. The mother said after discovering what Jerry Sandusky was allegedly doing to her son, school officials pressured her to keep quiet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, when they did, the principal had called me and, in tears, and she was crying. I could tell she was crying and told me to get to the school right away. So, I went to the school and met with the guidance counselor and the principal. And when I did, they told me that my son had said some things about, that there was a problem with Jerry and that he didn't know.
He didn't really admit anything at that point. He just said he thought he needed to tell somebody or it would get worse. COOPER: That's a really brave thing for him to have said.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it is. And then, and then the principal said, oh, you know, Jerry has a heart of gold.
COOPER: The principal said that to you, that Jerry has a heart of gold?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. And that, I said, listen, I was very upset at this point. You know, I was extremely upset, and I was basically yelling at them that they needed to call the police. I said, I want you to call the police, call children and youth, you know, I said call the police right now. And I said it three times, call the police right now. And they said no, you need to think about -- they said I needed to think about the ramifications of what would happen if I did that.
COOPER: What do you think they meant by that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. I guess, I'm assuming what we're going through now. I don't really know.
COOPER: What do you want to see happen to Jerry Sandusky?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want Jerry Sandusky to go to jail for the rest of his life.
COSTELLO: And now, another mystery surrounding this case. The "New York Times" reporting this morning that three years worth of files are missing from the charity Sandusky founded for troubled kids from 2000 to 2003. Coach McQueary allegedly witnessed Sandusky sexually assaulting a little boy in 2002.
Investigators worried that the missing files are proof that Sandusky used charity resources to buy silence.
ROMANS: Two police departments, though, contradicting Mike McQueary's claims that he went to police after discussion with police (ph) after witnessing a rape of a young boy by Sandusky in that Penn State locker room.
Both the campus and state college police say there's no record of a police report from 2002 filed by McQueary. Now, as you know, in that e-mail, he had said he had discussions with an e-mail to a friend he said he had discussions with police.
COSTELLO: Also, a new judge has been assigned to the Sandusky child sex case. The previous judge was preplaced after it was discovered she donated money to Sandusky's Second Mile charity. The new judge will preside over his preliminary hearing, Sandusky's preliminary hearing next month.
ROMANS: All right. Still ahead, the woman who launched the website, proudtobeapennstater.com, what she's trying to get every single one of the school's alums, all 557,000 of them, to do this morning.
COSTELLO: And how old are you? Is 80 the new 65? Why this one might make you cringe. It's 20 minutes past the hour.
ROMANS: It's 23 minutes after the hour. "Minding Your Business" this morning.
We're on track for a quiet open on Wall Street after the Dow lost nearly 200 points yesterday. Right now, U.S. stock futures are trading slightly lower.
You're looking at live pictures right now courtesy of live stream as hundreds of "Occupy" protesters right now making their way to the corner of Wall Street and broad street, right by the New York Stock Exchange, hoping to interrupt this morning's opening bell. That bell scheduled for 9:30. No change is expected in trading, of course.
U.S. bank stocks were hit especially hard yesterday. Bank of America was down nearly four percent. Morgan Stanley dropped eight percent after the rating's agency Fitch warned that Europe's debt crisis could pose a serious risk to American banks.
The price of oil is above $100 a barrel for the first time since July, though, one market analyst telling CNNMoney we may not see prices at the pump sky rocket because of slowing demand in Europe.
The nation's move near a historic low. A new CNN/ORC poll shows that just 25 percent of people thinks things are going well in the country today. Seventy-four percent say things are going badly. And there's not great optimism for the future. Just 44 percent are confident that we'll be able to turn things around.
Maybe this is why we're also bummed. Apparently, 80 is the new 65. According to a new survey by Wells Fargo, nearly a quarter of those surveyed say they'll have to work until they hit 80 years old, because they don't have enough saved for retirement.
The House passed a bill to help Americans find work. This is the first, and so far, only piece of President Obama's job package to get out of Congress. The Senate passed the bill earlier this week. Among other things, the bill gives employers tax credits for hiring veterans who've been unemployed longer than six months.
And Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, has been named "Fortune" magazine's 2011 Business Person of the Year. The CEO is currently on a campaign to help create jobs here in the U.S.
Coming up, she bleeds blue and white. We'll meet a Penn State alum who's reaching out to the Nittany Lion nation to help victims of sexual abuse, one dollar, one aluma at a time. AMERICAN MORNING back right after this break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's definitely a hero, he definitely is. He's a brave kid. And, for a long time we thought, and he thought, that he was the only one, you know, we were basically just on our own and then as more victims came out and, you know, he started to feel a little bit better about that.
COSTELLO (voice-over): The mother of the first victim to come forward with child sex abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky speaks to CNN and says she wants to see the former Penn State coach in jail for the rest of his life on this AMERICAN MORNING.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO (on-camera): And welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. Thirty minutes past the hour. Top stories for you now.
COSTELLO (voice-over): It is the two-month anniversary of the "Occupy" movement. You're looking at live pictures from New York City's Zuccotti Park. As you can see, this is empty. That's because hundreds of protesters are right now on the move and planning to shut down Wall Street this hour/
These are live pictures from the center of the crowds, courtesy of live stream. The protesters are also expected to take their message to the subways and then to the Brooklyn Bridge in time for rush hour.
Police have captured a man suspected in the White House shooting. Oscar Ortega-Hernandez was taken into custody at a Pennsylvania hotel yesterday. A gun linked to him was found near the White House. No one was hurt. Hernandez will appear in court this afternoon.
Police are contradicting claims by Penn State whistleblower mike McQueary that he went to police after witnessing Jerry Sandusky's alleged rape of a young boy in 2002. Both the campus and State College police say no record of any crime being reported.
In the meantime, Sandusky's prime-time TV interview was reportedly the trigger for more potential abuse victims to come forward. Some of their claims date back to the 1970s.
ROMANS: Well, perhaps in their darkest hour, a Penn State alumni group is appealing to the Nittany Lion nation, all 557,000 of them. They're asking fellow alums for a $1 donation to go to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network.
Larena Lettow is cofounder of ProudtobeaPennStater.com, and she joins us now. Welcome this morning. You're trying to turn this into something positive. As an alum, you're all horrified by what you're seeing at your proud alma mater.
LARENA LETTOW, PENN STATE ALUM: Absolutely. We have been shocked and embarrassed by the recent allegations. And, you know, last week we basically a group of three other alumni and myself Jerry and Jamie Waddell sat around and thought to ourselves we've got to get a hold of this. There's a better spirit of Penn State. The message is not getting out there and we need to take this and turn this back to the focus of where it should be focused on, which is on the victims.
ROMANS: On the victims. You raised how much?
LETTOW: We have raised $404,000 in one week. We started a week ago this morning.
ROMANS: In one week.
LETTOW: In one week.
ROMANS: And the whole pitch was, look, there are 557,000 of us and we want to put the focus back on where it belongs, which is on the victims of this and the fact that we learned philanthropy from Penn State, which is a big irony.
LETTOW: Absolutely. I mean essentially we learned how to be philanthropic from Joe Paterno himself. He did work philanthropic the best way. And Penn State is one of the largest -- it is the largest student run philanthropic organization for pediatric kids with cancer every year.
We learn how to give back at Penn State, and the wrong message is being sent about our university. And we wanted to take this and use it as a teachable moment, circle back and talk about the fact that these victims have gone through a tragedy. And it's up to Penn State to lift them up, and also at the same time put the focus back on sexual abuse survivors all over the country.
ROMANS: How do you feel about the administration and I guess the way -- the way the university has handled all of this?
LETTOW: You know, it's been difficult. It was clearly a slow response. But, you know, we are not going to sit back and allow the image of Penn State to be tarnished by this. We are bigger than the alleged allegations of a few. It is up to us as alumni, students, fans, and basically anyone who has been moved by this tragedy. This is a time for us to take this horrible situation and turn this around and help victims of sexual abuse.
ROMANS: It shakes what you really know. When you think of Penn State alums - excuse me. There are 557,000 of you, and you have a common heritage that most universities don't. I went to Iowa State. I will never have that common heritage that you guys do from Joe Paterno, who was the common denominator for so long and this football program for so long, which makes it such a big story, too, is that people who were trusted and revered, the whole thing falls apart. How much of that is a mirage, et cetera, et cetera. How do you, as this whole process goes on. We're in the beginning parts of the investigation, too. I mean, this is going to keep dragging out. How do you stay positive about your heritage at Penn State? LETTOW: We stay positive by doing exactly what we do with the Proud to be a Penn Stater movement. In the last week we've had this outpouring of support, people thanking us and saying thank you for giving us an opportunity to do something good.
ROMANS: But the early images were of kids rioting and lots of alums like you were just like, oh, please, these cannot be the images left to the world.
LETTOW: And that's not Penn State. That's a select few people that made very poor choices. But the reality is that does not represent Penn State University. And since 1855 we have been doing great things as a university and we plan to continue to do more of that. And this is an opportunity for all of us.
You know, out of any tragedy, there's an opportunity. There's a chance to make a difference and, you know, our first goal is $500,000. We plan to meet that today. But that's not the end. That's the beginning. This is a movement, and we really are committed to getting the conversation of sexual abuse out there into America. This is an opportunity to make things better for people.
ROMANS: And to make something positive out of what is just a disaster.
LETTOW: This doesn't have to happen. Our goal is so that this never happens anywhere ever again.
ROMANS: All right, Larena Lettow, ProudtobeaPennStater.com. Tell people how to donate so you can get to your $500,000 today.
LETTOW: Today you can go to Facebook and Twitter. We launched this through social media. That was our only outlet, and we have done a great success. So please go to ProudtobeaPennStater.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
ROMANS: Thanks. Nice to see you.
LETTOW: Thank you.
COSTELLO: Coming up next, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The basketball icon and cancer research advocate will join us live in our studios. He's coming in next. It's 35 minutes past the hour.
COSTELLO: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. You're looking at live pictures now as hundreds and hundreds of Occupy protesters are making their way to the corner of Wall Street and Broad Street. They're hoping to interrupt this morning's opening bell. We did get an image of one of the protesters under arrest. We did see one person being carted away by police. Police, as you might expect, are out in force. They say they won't infringe on anyone's First Amendment rights. But if any of those protesters try to get into the buildings, they will be placed under arrest immediately. ROMANS: They will not be allowed to block traffic walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and be on the walkways and police are ready for any infringement of that they're going to stop.
COSTELLO: On to more, pleasant news, exciting news, actually. He is the NBA's all-time leading scorer, Lakers legend, and a cancer survivor.
ROMANS: That's right. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is in New York this week. He's been honored with a prestigious award for the work he has done for raising awareness for cancer research. He'll also kick off a basketball tournament that benefits coaches versus cancer. Kareem joins us now. It's a real pleasure to meet here.
KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR, NBA ALL-TIME LEADER SCORER: Nice to be here, thank you.
ROMANS: So in 2008 you were diagnosed with a form of blood cancer, and since then you've really been raising awareness about this. First of all, how are you feeling now? How is your health now?
ABDUL-JABBAR: I'm feeling great. I'm so grateful for the results of so much that the -- pardon me -- that the researchers have done, you know, in finding out ways to treat cancers like the one I have.
ROMANS: You're managing it and you're feeling good?
ABDUL-JABBAR: I feel wonderful, and I'm able to live a normal lifestyle basically because cancer researchers have made such great strides in what they do.
COSTELLO: And your story has, I'm sure, inspired many, many people who are undergoing cancer treatments right now. What are you doing here in the city to give them hope?
ABDUL-JABBAR: Well, tonight, there's two basketball games that we played down in Madison Square Garden. So I'm really thrilled to be involved. Basketball is such a big part of my life. And now that I'm dealing with cancer, you know, it was a perfect fit for me.
ROMANS: You've also been awarded by this prestigious award. Tell us about this award. The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Tuesday recognizing you and Temple Grandin and a Nobel Prize winning scientist as well for some of your work.
ABDUL-JABBAR: Coal Spring Harbor does really incredible research into issues having to do with cancer. So anyone that has been able to help them do their thing, you know, they show some appreciation. I was really thrilled because the very first recipient was Muhammad Ali, one of my heroes and someone who has really been tireless in trying to help other people.
COSTELLO: Tell us about the day you learned you had cancer, because for many people who have cancer it is just difficult to believe. You can be healthy all your life and doing all the right things and yet you come down with this terrible disease.
ABDUL-JABBAR: It was scary. It's frightening, you know, because I thought I had dodged that bullet. You know, I lived, as you say, I worked out as an athlete all of my life, and now I have something that I knew could be a killer. I was very fortunate.
My son is a medical student and he was able to explain what it was all about in English.
ABDUL-JABBAR: So, that was very helpful. And he said, listen, you know, you don't know exactly what you're dealing with. You have to get more specific as to the type of leukemia that you have. And that really took a big weight off. When I went to the oncologists, they said you have something that we can treat. Hopefully the treatment will work, and it has. I'm very lucky.
COSTELLO: But it's still something you have to live with every day because it's still rather unpredictable.
ABDUL-JABBAR: Yes. Well, it doesn't intrude on your life as much as you might think. You have to go to the doctor on a regular basis and consult with him and work out a management, how are you going to manage your disease. You have to take your meds and get your blood diagnosed regularly so that they can see if any changes are taking place and do what they need to do to keep you on track.
ROMANS: But, you know, living with cancer is the way many people are doing their job and living their lives and raising their families and living with cancer. And cancer research, as you point out, has changed so much and done so much over the past 30 years. It's so exciting to think where it could be 30 years from now. It's so exciting to think what kind of progress we could make, if we keep the focus on it.
ABDUL-JABBAR: Yes. The researchers are awesome. And you know, they work seven days a week. They're into it. It's something that they want to do. And they've -- they've really hit a great stride.
COSTELLO: Right. We want to switch topics a little bit and talk about the NBA lockout. I know you've been blogging a lot about it and thought a lot about this. They're at this place where the negotiations have stalled and there's a deadlock. Now the entire season is in danger of being canceled. So just from your perspective in watching this, can you see both sides or is one side more at fault than the other?
ABDUL-JABBAR: It's like let any labor impasse, the other side is completely wrong or completely right. I think the players' side, I think they've gone a little bit too far.
COSTELLO: They should have taken this last deal?
ABDUL-JABBAR: I think the deal was reasonable. They might lose five percent or six percent of their salaries. But in today's economic times, everybody's dealing with something like that. So for them to decide that they're going to not play this season, if necessary, 100 percent of nothing is still nothing. They're going to lose a year's pay. It doesn't make any sense.
ROMANS: What will it do to the fans, do you think? Do you think the fans will be with them next year or whenever they start up again this year, or do you think the fans have been hurt by this, too?
ABDUL-JABBAR: I think the fans should be the principal concern for both sides, because I can't go to the supermarket without the checkout lady asking, are they going to play this year? It's a total burden on everybody that loves the game and wants to see it occur.
COSTELLO: Today's players, I mean, they make so much money. Do you think when you start making that much money you sort of lose perspective?
ABDUL-JABBAR: I think so. You know, being one of 450 players in an industry, that's it. The professional basketball is about 450 players. You know, think about the average person who's out there making, if they're lucky, $50,000, $60,000 a year. They can't relate. Somebody's going to -- they won't get $3 million this year. They'll only get $2.2 million.
ROMANS: But there's so much money generated by those 450 players. That's their argument, that they are the core of this huge, multi-billion dollar industry.
ABDUL-JABBAR: Yes, they are.
COSTELLO: Maybe they'll have to go to Europe to play and make, what?
ABDUL-JABBAR: They'll make maybe a quarter or a third of what they're making here. They're not really looking at it with realistic, a realistic perspective.
ROMANS: Right. They have a window of -- players have a window in their employability, right? The players are so as -- the longer they stretch this out or they play in Europe or whatever, they've still not lost a year of their earnings ability here.
ROMANS: All right.
COSTELLO: Thank you so much for joining us. It's so wonderful meeting you.
JABBAR: The pleasure is mine. I would like to mention our Web site.
COSTELLO: Yes, yes. JABBAR: Facebook.com/kaj. CMLEarth@KareemAbdulJabbarCMLPatientAdvocate will all give you information about the events this week and anything, anybody that wants to learn about the disease that I have or how they can help cancer patients. They can go there and there are links to other Web sites.
ROMANS: And we'll tweet those links, as well, and put them on our own blog here at CNN.
JABBAR: Thank you so much.
ROMANS: Well make sure there's lots of place you can have. It's very nice to meet you.
JABBAR: Oh my pleasure.
ROMANS: It's very nice to meet you.
COSTELLO: Thank you.
JABBAR: My pleasure.
ROMANS: I'm a little star struck actually at the moment.
COSTELLO: I know, "Morning Headlines" is coming your way next.
Its 45 minutes past.
COSTELLO: Thirteen minutes to the top of the hour. Here are your "Morning Headlines".
Good news for the U.S. economy this morning. The Labor Department is announcing that 388,000 jobless claims were filed for the first time last week. It sounds like a lot, but whenever this number comes in less than 400,000 it's a sign the labor market is headed in the right direction.
Markets open in 45 minutes. Right now we're on track for a quiet open on Wall Street after the Dow lost nearly 200 points yesterday. Right now U.S. stock futures are trading slightly higher and markets getting a little bit of boost from that jobs report.
And hundreds of "Occupy Wall Street" protesters, take a look, right now are making their way to the New York Stock Exchange. They're hoping to disrupt this morning's opening bell. Today's protests are to mark the movement's two-month anniversary.
Powerful storms ripped through the south. At least four people were killed yesterday. The nasty weather destroyed homes, ripped up trees and knocked down power lines. Rescue teams are now searching for survivors.
The President saying the United States is a Pacific power and here to stay. He arrived in Indonesia this morning after announcing a shift of military power in Australia yesterday.
And expect a grilling when U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu goes before a House panel looking into Solyndra. That's the California solar energy company that received $535 million in federal loan guarantees and later went bust. Lawmakers want to know if those loan guarantees were politically motivated.
The Vatican says it will take legal action against clothing company Benetton to stop a Photoshopped picture of the Pope from being published. The so-called un-hate ads includes fake images of world leaders kissing.
Benetton dropped the issue, dropped the ad at issue, I should say, the one that showed Pope Benedict kissing an Egyptian imam.
And Tigers Woods will be face-to-face with ex-caddie Steve Williams when he plays Adam Scott in the President's Cup later today in Australia. Everyone is circling the matchup when the pairing announced. Woods fired his long-time caddie in July.
And he's back, Ricky Gervais signed on to host the Golden Globes, again, I will be his third year in a row. Gervais raised eyebrows when he took some pot shots at celebrities and the audience last year. The Globes air in January.
That's the news you need to start your day. AMERICAN MORNING is back after a break.
ROMANS: There it is, Central Park. Good morning, New York. Cloudy right now about 45. It's going to rain in a little bit; it's not going to get much warmer.
COSTELLO: Bummer. Well, at least it's in the 40s.
ROMANS: That's a plus, right?
COSTELLO: A few minutes ago we made a promise to Dr. Sanjay Gupta and now it's put up or shut up time. We said we would join the CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. Once again Sanjay is looking for a six-pack of CNN viewers and maybe an anchor or two and this year the race is in Malibu.
ROMANS: Ok, now I'm interested.
COSTELLO: Hey exactly. That's an experience that can literally change your life.
CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in Atlanta.
ROMANS: Good morning, Sanjay.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the wonderful thing about television is that we have everything in perpetuity. So when you guys told me this and we recorded it and we saved it.
Look, we are really excited about this, this Fit Nation Challenge. This is something we have been doing specifically with regards to triathlons for a couple of years now.
We pick viewers. I mean, they -- they write in and they send us their stories. There's lots of people write in but we pick six viewers who have never done a triathlon before. And we train them and we teach them about fitness, specifically. That's really the goal and -- and this year, as you mentioned, it's going to in Malibu this triathlon. It's going to be a little shorter distance than in years past.
So this is a -- it's called a classic distance triathlon. It's about half a mile ocean swim and 18 mile bike ride and about a four-mile run so -- you know I think as I said before --
COSTELLO: I definitely want to do that.
GUPTA: You definitely want to do it?
COSTELLO: I definitely do.
GUPTA: You are more than welcome -- you're definitely invited to join us. But this is something that we think helps set a model, an example for people who are watching because I think our viewers can relate to at least one of these -- one of these participants in years' past, follow them along and hopefully make changes in their own lives.
COSTELLO: They have amazing transformations after completing the triathlon too. I mean they just look like a whole different person.
ROMANS: And so who are you looking for? What kind of people you are looking for to join on this challenge?
GUPTA: Well, you know it's -- everyone who we picked in the past has never done a triathlon before. We thought that was an important thing because this is really for everybody. But we had somebody who weighed over 300 pounds last year, we had a woman in her late 50s. We've had people who say you look, I want to use a triathlon to help me stop smoking. So they have a very specific goal.
And when you do these -- these competitions, these sorts of triathlons, you see all these athletes out there. It is so inspiring there's challenged athletes -- people who at time -- maybe missing a limb and yet they are right there racing along with you.
So it's really incredible. And as you point out we're looking for you guys, as well. So in case you have forgotten specifically, Christine and Carol, what you said.
ROMANS: Oh no.
GUPTA: Take a listen to this. COSTELLO: Oh no.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: It's a lot when you add it altogether, but certainly -- it's certainly doable. And you know again, this six-pack never done this before, never thought they could do this seven or eight months ago.
ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: That's right.
GUPTA: And now they're going to do it.
COSTELLO: Well, the next time you do this, I want to do it. So I want to be on the team. You don't even have to give any pat, I don't care, I do.
ROMANS: If they can do it, maybe I can do it. Maybe we can do it.
GUPTA: Whoa you guys want to commit right here. Ali?
VELSHI: We have to take a commercial break.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Oh, the magic of video editing.
GUPTA: Right. Even a bigger challenge for you guys.
ROMANS: How long did you spend putting that together?
GUPTA: You've to get Velshi to sign on. Even a bigger challenge than the triathlon, talk to your pal Ali. Get him to join us as well.
COSTELLO: Yes, you know Velshi might sign on, but he's never going to do it.
GUPTA: Look, there's no better motivator than cameras chasing you around. But it's a wonderful thing if you want to make some big changes in your life, this is a good example.
COSTELLO: I'm serious. I'm going to -- come on, Christine.
ROMANS: There's not room for all of us. You can represent us --
GUPTA: Got my eyes on you, Romans.
ROMANS: I know, you do. Oh, Sanjay. All right. That's very cool.
COSTELLO: Only like if you like fill out my mortgage and refinancing paperwork.
ROMANS: Perfect. Perfect.
GUPTA: Sounds like a good deal.
ROMANS: You run the miles, I'll do the mortgage re-fis, done. Deal.
COSTELLO: Thank you, Sanjay.
GUPTA: You got it, guys.
ROMANS: If you want to join Sanjay and race next year in that Malibu triathlon, I mean you could check out the CNN Fit Nation Facebook page for all the application details. So this is you folks. It's your chance.
55 minutes after the hour.
COSTELLO: Yes, come join us, I am really -- I'm going to do it.
ROMANS: I feel like I really hedged. I was really -- I was really trying to hedge.
ROMANS: All right. A massive show of force right now on the streets of New York City. Occupy protesters by the hundreds are converging on Wall Street hoping to shut down the financial district. Today's day of action is to mark the movement's two-month anniversary. And this afternoon, this group plans to occupy the city's subways and then march to the Brooklyn Bridge.
COSTELLO: And, of course, as you might expect, police are out in force and they say they're not going to allow them to march on the Brooklyn Bridge, but we'll see what happens later today.
In other news this morning, a pilot's bathroom break turns into a temporary terrorist scare onboard a flight to New York's LaGuardia Airport. Apparently the pilot locked himself in the bathroom shortly before landing. A passenger near the bathroom heard the pilot banging on the door and offered to help. The pilot told them to let the cockpit know he was stuck and that's when the crew became concerned about a man approaching the cockpit and radioed air traffic control. I hope you got that.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 6132. We're at 180 knots, 10,000 feet. Can we leave the frequency for a minute? We are going to try to contact dispatch. The captain has disappeared in the back and I have someone with a thick, foreign accent trying to access the cockpit right now and I got to deal with the situation.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ROMANS: The pilot was finally able to get out and the plane landed safely.
COSTELLO: And the man with the heavy accent, he was just trying to help the pilot get out of the bathroom but it started this whole chain of events that was scary that should not have been.
ROMANS: All right. That's going to wrap it up for us on AMERICAN MORNING. "CNN NEWSROOM" with Fredricka Whitfield this morning starts right now. Good morning Fredricka.