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American Morning

New Cain Accuser; Syracuse Sex Abuse Scandal; Pittsburgh Police Investigating Fine; Fine's Wife Coming Forward; Sentencing Day for Dr. Conrad Murray; Aruba Judge Releases Giordano; "I Will Miss This Job"; Airstrike Fuels Anger at U.S. in Pakistan; Egypt's Step Towards Democracy; Cain Accuser Claims 13-Year Affair; Cain Denies Affair; Laurie Fine Challenging Tape; Sentencing Day For Jackson's Doctor

Aired November 29, 2011 - 06:00   ET




HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But the accusation that I had a 13-year affair with her. No.

GINGER WHITE, ALLEGES AFFAIR WITH HERMAN CAIN: I can't imagine him actually confirming. It's the name of the game, I guess.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Herman Cain accused again leaving lots of questions about the embattled candidate and his crumbling campaign.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Laurie Fine coming forward today. The wife of Syracuse basketball coach Bernie Fine plans to make a statement about a taped conversation she reportedly had with one of her husband's alleged sex abuse victim.

ROMANS: And Pakistan's prime minister re-evaluating his country's relationship with the U.S. after a NATO air strike killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers. The State Department is ramping up the damage control on this AMERICAN MORNING.

COSTELLO: And good morning to you. It is Tuesday, November 29th. Ali is still working off the turkey. I'm Carol Costello along with Christine Romans on this AMERICAN MORNING.

ROMANS: Good morning, Carol.

COSTELLO: Good morning.

ROMANS: Up first, the new bombshell rocking Herman Cain's presidential campaign. A third woman speaking out claiming the GOP candidate had a 13-year affair with her.

An affair that ended just eight months ago, just as Cain launched his presidential bid. The accuser, an Atlanta businesswoman, told TV station, WAGA about the alleged affair. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WHITE: It was pretty simple. It was uncomplicated, and I was aware that he was married, and I was also aware that I was involved in a very inappropriate situation, relationship. I'm not proud. I didn't want to come out with this. I did not.


ROMANS: Herman Cain for his part admits knowing Ginger White, but tells CNN's Wolf Blitzer that there was never any sexual relationship.


WOLF BLITZER, HOST, CNN'S "THE SITUATION ROOM": Tell us about the nature of your relationship with this woman?

CAIN: Friend and trying to help a friend, because not having a job, et cetera and this sort of thing. That's all there is to the relationship.

And, here again, I don't know what's going to be claimed in the story. It was someone who was supposed to be a friend, but obviously they didn't see it as a friend.

BLITZER: When you say, "friend," was it -- I mean, I'm asking this is awkward, but I'll ask the questions you'll be asked. Was this an affair?

CAIN: No. It was not.

BLITZER: There was no sex?





ROMANS: After his CNN appearance, Cain spin doctors weighed in with a campaign statement saying, quote, "Detractors are trying once again to derail the Cain train with more accusations of past events that never happened."

The Cain campaign is not surprised that another female accuser has come forward due to the fact that earlier allegations were unable to force Herman Cain to drop his presidential bid to renew America.

We have two reports this morning. CNN's David Mattingly in Atlanta following new developments there and Joe Johns in Washington on the political fallout.

Let's begin now with David Mattingly. Good morning, David.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. This latest Herman Cain accuser is a former businesswoman. Her name is Ginger White. She is a single mother of two, and she claims that she and Cain had an on again/off again affair that lasted almost 14 years. It did not end, she says, about eight months ago, shortly before Cain announced his candidacy.

That story was broken by WAGA here in Atlanta last night. But even before that report aired, Herman Cain was trying to get out in front it telling CNN's Wolf Blitzer as you heard just a few moments ago, he knew the woman and described her as a friend and that the relationship was not sexual.

Ginger White, however, says the two met when Cain was the head of the National Restaurant Association. She says he flew her to different cities to meet him, gave her gifts, and that the physical relationship they had didn't stop until about eight months ago.

After the story aired, Cain's campaign released a statement implying that White is a detractor who is alleging events that didn't happen. Here's what happened when I showed that statement to her attorney.


MATTINGLY: Detractors are trying once again to derail the Cain train. Would you describe your client as a detractor?

EDWARD BUCKLEY, GINGER WHITE'S ATTORNEY: No. Actually, I wouldn't describe her as a detractor. What she said is that -- and she said for herself that she had an improper relationship so not a detractor at all. No.

MATTINGLY: Well, the Cain campaign describes this as more accusations of past events that never happened.

BUCKLEY: No. I mean, I think that people out there will just have to decide whether in fact they believe that Mr. Cain is telling the truth or that they believe that Ginger White is telling the truth, but I believe that Ginger is telling the truth.

MATTINGLY: Does she have anything to gain by coming forward?

BUCKLEY: I don't think so. I think she has everything to lose, candidly.

MATTINGLY: Is she asking for anything?

BUCKLEY: No, she is not. Nothing.


MATTINGLY: Herman Cain's own lawyer put out a statement after that saying this appears to be an accusation of private, alleged non- consensual conduct between adults. Notice that the wording here does not confirm the relationship, but he goes to say no individual should be questioned his or her private sex life.

White and her attorney are bracing for attacks on her credibility. She's had legal problems with a former business partner in the past and recent financial problem, serious enough that she's had difficulty paying her rent.

But her attorney says that was not the reason she came forward. That she says it was because reporters were already seeking her out and she felt like she needed to be the one telling her story.

ROMANS: All right, David Mattingly, fascinating, and so interesting. I think too that quite frankly, Carol, his response, no, no, this did not happen and the attorney's response, which says, some stuff is off limits. And the consensual issue is off limits, but he's -- we'll get to the bottom line.

COSTELLO: And of course, the political fallout for Herman Cain. It's not like he hasn't had political fallout when it comes to dealing with women.

CNN's Joe Johns is live in Washington with that part of the story. So the latest CNN poll, Joe, was released a few days ago had Herman Cain just behind Newt Gingrich and statistically tied with Mitt Romney. So what do you think will happen now?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: You know, Carol, I got to say the first thing you've got to ask, how is all of this affecting the candidate?

And I spoke to Herman Cain just very briefly last night when he was in here to talk to Wolf. You know, this guy really projects confidence. That's what he was doing. And that said, right, the polling has already been trending downward.

This doesn't help him. His credibility is hurt by these different women saying he sexually harassed them, which Cain denied. The polling shows that women tend to be the most skeptical and critical of Cain, but men have their questions about him, too.

And what striking really is that Ginger White would be yet another woman who disclosed private facts, I guess you'd call them, about Herman Cain, that we didn't know, which he's flatly denied.

But again, for a Republican presidential candidate, credibility is an issue especially among social conservatives, evangelicals, who tend to expect their politicians to adhere to a higher stand.

The question is whether modern politicians can survive a charge of infidelity, and by the way, Newt Gingrich has admitted to similar situations.

COSTELLO: That's right. But he's sort of a toned for that sin in numerous ways. Herman Cain, well, the lawyer's statement was confusing because, you know, you knows that -- but he's sort of atoned for that it might have been. Now for Republican primary voters, will this matter?

JOHNS: You know, really, really good question. That statement, I'm still trying to figure out what was the chronology? Whether the lawyer statement was sort of written and released before Herman Cain decided to come out and talk, or was it the other way around?

But something seemed to get messed up there. As far as the voters, obviously, it's a question that they're going to have to take a look at. But, I mean, Gingrich, we talking about, seems to be doing very well in the polls right now.

As far as saying Cain is dead as a politician, there's plenty of chatter, if you will, suggesting he's just a side show right now. Though Republicans have told me, you know, frankly, he's never going to become the Republican nominee.

He's just on a glorified book tour. On the other hand, Gingrich was thought to be history a few months ago, and now he's saying that predictions of the end of his campaign weren't quite correct.

COSTELLO: One weird primary season. That's all I have to say.

JOHNS: That's for sure.

COSTELLO: Joe Johns. Thank you.

ROMANS: New developments this morning in the Syracuse University sex abuse scandal. Former assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine is now facing a second criminal investigation in Pittsburgh.

And his wife plans to make a statement later today about a taped conversation she reportedly had with one of her husband's accusers. A conversation that suggest she knew about the alleged abuse.

CNN's Gary Tuchman spoke briefly with Laurie Fine yesterday before her decision was made to come forward today.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Gary Tuchman, CNN. I'm sorry to bother you.

LAURIE FINE, WIFE OF BERNIE FINE: You're not bothering me.

TUCHMAN: I was hoping to ask you - your nephew was saying that you might have a statement?

FINE: We have no statement.

TUCHMAN: You're not going to make a statement today?

FINE: Not today. TUCHMAN: Is that tape misinterpreted, though?

FINE: I have no comment.

TUCHMAN: How come you can't comment?

FINE: I cannot comment.


ROMANS: Deborah Feyerick is live in Syracuse this morning. Deb, this investigation is in full swing, but it's not exactly smooth sailing. What's going on?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONENT: No. It really isn't. I mean, right now everybody is playing catch-up. Federal investigators have been brought in. They're working with the Syracuse police. Secret Service is also working.

They're looking through computers, going through files, to see what they can find. I mean, the charges ultimately may not be necessarily abuse so much as even pornography. That's one of the things under consideration.

The district attorney that usually works on these investigation, instead they're investigating the Syracuse police to find out what they knew, when they knew it. Pittsburgh police have now stepped in.

They're saying because one of the accusers alleges he was abused in a Pittsburgh hotel, they want to see what exactly was going on, what happened, and even ESPN. They're trying to figure out why they didn't release the tape -- or basically coming out saying, look, we didn't go with it because we didn't have a second source.

Everybody is sort of defending their positions, putting their stakes down. But the information flow, Christine and Carol, has really dried up for the most part. We were reaching out to Bernie Fine's lawyers all day yesterday to find out whether in fact the university's abrupt termination really is a rush to judgment.

Because the university has effectively said, look, these allegations are there. They're disturbing. Our community is shaking. You're done. You're fired. But his lawyers aren't saying anything about it. Laurie fine, her nephew told us she would be speaking yesterday. Not speaking anymore either.

So things are beginning to sort of petering out as everybody circles the wagon and gets their footing in all this -- Christine.

ROMANS: Mrs. Fine heard making a damning statement on tape about her husband. She answered the door. Surprise they're still in town?

FEYERICK: You know, it is, but right now they do have a home in Florida. What's going on right now is prosecutors, investigators, police, have probably told all the key players not to go anywhere. That right now they need them for questioning. They've got to do interviews of all of these people. They've got to find out exactly who knows what, what was happening.

So chances are prosecutors have said you're not to leave the state. This way they have access to them and they can talk to them whenever they need to.

ROMANS: All right, Deb Feyerick in Syracuse. Thanks, Deb.

Former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky is launching his own investigation. Send us his lawyers to say he has hired a private investigator to prove that he did not abuse any boys.

The long time coach is charged with 40 counts related to sexual abuse of eight young boys over a 14-year stretch.

COSTELLO: It's sentencing day for Dr. Conrad Murray and Michael Jackson's mother is speaking out. Catherine Jackson says she hopes Murray will get the harshest sentence possible that would be four years in prison.

Conrad was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter three weeks ago. Prosecutors also want Murray to pay Jackson's children more than $100 million. Jackson died in 2009 from a lethal dose of Propofol.

ROMANS: The prime suspect in the case of a missing American woman in Aruba, he may soon be a free man. Gary Giordano is expected to be released back to the U.S. tonight after spending more than 100 days in an Aruban jail.

A judge threw at the request from the prosecution to keep Giordano obtained without charges for another 30 days. Robyn Gardner went missing in August.

COSTELLO: His prominent, outspoken and one of Congress' most liberal voices that Representative Barney Frank says he will not seek re-election in 2012. The 16-term Democrat from Massachusetts blaming his partially on redistricting so what's next for the 71-year-old?


REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: There is no way I would be -- look, I will miss this job. And I'll feel regret when the new Congress is signed up.

But I will tell you this, maybe you're going to laugh, but one of the advantages to me, of not running for office is, I don't even have to pretend to try to be nice to people I don't like.

So some of you may not think I've been good at it, but I've been trying.


COSTELLO: The veteran congressman said he had always planned on retiring by 2014.

ROMANS: And some of the conservative editorials this morning are doing victory laps that he's in not running again.

All right, what went wrong? Ahead on AMERICAN MORNING, a cross border NATO air strike kills two dozen Pakistani soldiers sparking new anger against the U.S. and driving another diplomatic wedge between these two countries.

COSTELLO: Plus, Egypt's historic election. Why some say they're casting ballots for the very first time. Look at all those women in line. It's 14 past the hour.


COSTELLO: Seventeen minutes past the hour.

The State Department in full damage control mode this morning following a NATO air strike that killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers this past weekend. Officials say the U.S. is committed to working through the latest trouble in an already troubled relationship with Pakistan.

ROMANS: CNN's Chris Lawrence takes a closer look at what happened, and what both sides are now saying about it.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It all went down around 2:00 in the morning, a little over a mile from the Afghan border. The entire incident only took two hours, but may have destroyed months of hard work to repair the U.S./Pakistan relationship.

A NATO official says Afghan troops were working with elements of U.S. Special Operations Forces in a combined mission on the Afghan side of the border. The official says the team came under fire from a position within Pakistan from what they believed to be a suspected Taliban base.

A senior U.S. official says the troops requested air support, and initial indications are apache helicopters and a gunship fired on two Pakistani ordered checkpoints. The official says they fired from the Afghan side and did not enter Pakistani airspace.

Twenty-four Pakistani soldiers were killed in the air strike, but details diverge depending who you talk to. The U.S. official believes the Pakistanis were called to warn them of the air strike beforehand. But Pakistani commanders claim they pleaded with NATO to stop firing on friendly forces and insist their troops did not fire first.

Now, this is a frontier area with a border that's hard to define. NATO has complained in the past that militants fire on American and Afghan troops from positions close to Pakistani Army checkpoints.

MAJOR GENERAL DANIEL ALLYN, COMMANDER, RC-EAST: I'd say in the last three weeks we're probably averaging three to four cross border firing incidents a week.

LAWRENCE: Just last week, U.S. commanders were speaking positively about cooperation with Pakistan. They say at the American's request, Pakistan even adjusted some of its own military positions to deny insurgent infiltration.

ALLYN: In fact, we've had some very good cases in the last three weeks of the PAKMIL coordinating with us to respond against those cross-border fires, and that coordination occurs with every event that happens.

LAWRENCE (on camera): That communication includes U.S. commanders calling their Pakistani counterparts as well as talking to Pakistani liaison officers inside Afghanistan. The NATO investigation into this air strike is focusing on that communication and whether at some point it did break down.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, the Pentagon.


COSTELLO: A second day of voting is under way in Egypt as that country takes a step towards democracy. This is the first free election since the revolution that brought down President Hosni Mubarak earlier this year. So far turnout has been huge with voters waiting in long lines to ensure their voice is finally heard.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because it's first time for us to make some freedom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm 63 years old and this is my first time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's your first time?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your first time to vote?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And how do you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I feel good. I feel my vote will change Egypt to a better future.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, definitely. I'm 47. This is my first time, too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And how are you feeling? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm feeling great, because it's for our kids' future. Because otherwise, everybody would leave this country, if it goes down the drain.


COSTELLO: Voters are voting for Parliament things today. Presidential elections will be held in June, but there are still fears the military wouldn't make good on its promise to then turn over power to the new government.

ROMANS: The rich just get richer. Coming up, wait until you hear who won a massive Powerball jackpot and what they plan to do with the money.

It is 22 minutes after the hour.


ROMANS: Twenty-five minutes past the hour. Welcome back. "Minding Your Business."

Stock market is still maybe (ph) just for the year, but a big rally yesterday helped a little. Yesterday, the Dow added nearly 300 points. The NASDAQ and S&P 500 rose about three percent.

Estimates of strong Black Friday weekend sales and brief optimism about Europe's debt crisis got the credit for that rally. And this morning, stock futures are trading a little bit higher. But until Europe fixes its mess expect big swings and big uncertainty in stocks.

Markets are up in Europe this morning. Investors are holding on to that optimism that leaders are moving forward to fix the region's debt problems even after an ominous warning out from Moody's. The ratings agency says the current debt crisis in Europe is threatening the credit worthiness of every nation in the European Union, as well as more than a dozen of the region's largest banks.

Back here in the U.S., new evidence of Washington's inability to reach its own debt deal is going to hurt all Americans. The credit rating agency Fitch affirmed America's AAA credit rating, but then revised the outlook for American credit to negative. That change means the agency sees a greater than 50 percent chance it will have to downgrade the country's AAA rating within the next couple of years.

The former head of MF Global, Jon Corzine, is not commenting on a report that $200 million is believed to have belonged to his brokerage firm has turned up to JPMorgan Chase in Britain. According to the "New York Times" it's believed the money was transferred during the firm's rapid collapse. The trustee overseeing MF Global's liquidations says about $1.2 billion in customer funds appears to be missing.

It is the holy grail of IPOs and this morning, yet another report that Facebook is working on plans to go public by as early as next spring. According to the "Wall Street Journal," the social network is hoping to raise $10 billion that would put the value of Facebook at more than $100 billion. So far, Facebook not commenting on this latest report.

And certainly not the rags-to-riches tale we usually hear. Three asset managers from Greenwich, Connecticut, the winners of the $254 million Powerball jackpot. It's the biggest lottery prize in Connecticut history. You'll be happy to hear that the trio says a significant portion of their winnings will go to charity. See, even money managers are playing the lottery.

AMERICAN MORNING will be back right after this break.


ROMANS: Good morning. Welcome back.

Half past the hour, time for the morning's top stories.

Herman Cain is denying allegations this morning of a 13-year extramarital affair with an Atlanta woman. Ginger White claims the affair ended about eight months ago just as Cain launched his presidential campaign. Cain admits knowing the woman 13 years but tells CNN there was no affair.

COSTELLO: Dr. Conrad Murray will hear his sentence later this more, he faces up to four years in prison. Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of Michael Jackson. Jackson's mother Katherine says she hopes Murray receives the harshest sentence possible.

ROMANS: Gary Giordano could be back in the U.S. soon. He's the prime suspect in the case of a missing woman in Aruba. Giordano is expected to be released tonight after spending more than 100 days in jail. A judge threw out a request from the prosecution to keep him detained without charges for another 30 days. Robyn Gardner went missing back in August.

COSTELLO: And now, more on the latest bombshell against Herman Cain. This time, accusations of infidelity from Atlanta businesswoman Ginger White. Reporter Amy Napier Viteri with our affiliate WSB caught up with White.


GINGER WHITE, CAIN'S ALLEGED MISTRESS: My heart goes out to many people. You know, this was not something that I wanted to hurt anyone, not a fun -- not a fun thing.

AMY NAPIER VITERI, WSB REPORTER (voice-over): I asked Ginger White why she decided to come forward with her story about an affair with GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain now.

WHITE: There were leaks. There were people -- there were threats of people coming out with their version, and not that any version is really pretty, but I thought that it was important to at least come out with my -- my story, and my side of the story.

VITERI: She tells me shearing details of something she's not proud of has been hard on her family. She also says she is sorry for any pain the story has caused Cain's family. White tells me she had an affair with the Georgia businessman that lasted more than a decade -- a claim Cain is denying.

(on camera): He's saying that it was not a sexual relationship in response to you saying that it was an affair, a sexual affair for 13 years. He's denying that.

Are you sticking by your story that it was a sexual relationship?

WHITE: Absolutely. I can only imagine -- I can't imagine him actually confirming. That's the name of the game, I guess.

VITERI (voice-over): White went on to say to anyone questioning her credibility that she has no reason to lie. She also said this was not something she wanted to do.

WHITE: I couldn't imagine anyone coming out and lying about this. You know, who would want this? It's really not been fun.


COSTELLO: Cain admits to knowing Ginger White but tells CNN's Wolf Blitzer there was no sexual relationship.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Tell us about the nature of your relationship with this woman.

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Friend and trying to help a friend because, not having a job, et cetera, and this sort of thing. That's all there is to the relationship. And here again, I don't know what's going to be claimed in the story. It was someone who was supposed to be a friend, but obviously they didn't see it as a friendship.

BLITZER: And when you say friend, was it -- I mean, I'm asking -- these are awkward questions, but I'll ask you the questions you're going to be asked. Was this an affair?

CAIN: No, it was not.

BLITZER: There was no sex?





COSTELLO: Cain went on to say that his wife supports him and he has no plans to drop out of the presidential race.

ROMANS: A historic race is under way in Egypt. It's the first vote in that country since the revolt that brought down the longstanding regime of Hosni Mubarak earlier this year.

Our Jim Clancy is live in Cairo for us this morning.

Jim, good morning. How is it going this morning? It was very orderly, well organized yesterday. It seems that people are celebrating this newfound -- this newfound right, I guess?

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're in the center here of Tahrir Square, circling it if you will, Christine. And you're absolutely right. You know, the biggest fear yesterday was, would there be violence? It didn't materialize, at least not in a serious way.

There were some 900 irregularities that were reported, but they were all minor, really. We don't know the specifics of a lot of those incidents. At the same time, people were happy that things went of so well.

We could see that reflected today in the stock market. The stock market surged here in Cairo, some 7 billion pounds in the first seven minutes. That's a good indicator.

But now, the question is, all of this -- these are the political parties, these are the people inside that have been here, in their words, to keep the government honest. I just talked to a man here in the square, and he told me that, you know, if we don't stay here, what's going to happen is that the -- the government, the military, is going to run everything. The parliament will have no power.

Now, as you can see behind me, things are a little unruly at times, but overall, this has been a very calm scene. We'll just swing around here and give you another look here. Other television crews have set up. You can see thousands of people that have gathered.

There's vendors everywhere here this morning, Christine. And the situation is very, very calm. It's a far cry from the clouds of tear gas and the flying bullets that we saw just a few days ago.

So, you know, the verdict is one of wait and see, largely in this country. Are these elections going to work? Where are they going to take Egypt? Will they fulfill the dreams of the people here? And if they're on the road, should they continue to protest in this square?

Back to you, Christine.

ROMANS: And, you know, Jim, here's the thing about a young democracy. It takes patience and it takes optimism, doesn't it? Because after those petty days of, you know, all the crowds in Tahrir Square, now is the hard work, the hard, slow work of building a future.

CLANCY: It is hard work. It's going to take a lot of help. What's lacking here, and you nailed it, I think.

What's lacking is the trust. There's no trust between the civilian leadership and the military leadership and a lot of people think it is a civilian leadership, not the military, that should be leading this country in a transition. That debate is going to continue.

And I can tell you, even today the protesters asked the question whether or not they should remain here. That is also up for debate right now.

And for now, from Tahrir Square, I'm going to hand it back to you, Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Jim Clancy, thanks, Jim.

COSTELLO: New this morning, a Texas teenager takes his own life worried about his illegal immigration status. Eighteen-year-old Joaquin Luna committed suicide on Monday. He revealed his frustrations in a note. Luna believes he would never achieve success without the passage of the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act legislation would provide residency to illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors.

ROMANS: Two more students surrendering on New York SAT cheating scandal. Eighteen-year-old Michael Pomerantz is accused of collecting $500 in exchange for taking the SAT test for another student. He faces felony fraud charges. Another unidentified student faces a misdemeanor for paying someone to take his test for him. So far, 20 students have been arrested.

COSTELLO: Big news for the Buckeyes. Ohio state university has brand new football coach. Urban Meyer is headed back to his alma mater. The two-time national championship winner began his career there. He says he's honored and humbled to return.

ROMANS: All right. Jacqui Jeras is in the extreme weather center for us this morning.

Good morning, Jacqui.

JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, good morning, guys.

We are talking about snow to start you out this morning in the South. Yes, believe it or not. We got proof in the pictures.

Take a look at this video out of Jackson, Tennessee, from last night and early this morning. But look at the roadways. For the most part, they're wet. You had three inches of snow in Jackson. The earliest snowfall ever recorded there, November 18th. So we're about 10 days off the record, just to put it in perspective and let you know.

It is a little unusual to get snow this time of the year this far south. We are getting snow still in Memphis at this hour. Snow being reported in Huntsville, Alabama. A little sleet in Birmingham and we're watching that push over towards the Atlanta area.

Again, very little accumulation expected -- mostly on the grassy areas, and those inanimate objects. The highest number we could find so far, Denmark, Tennessee, and five inches of snowfall.

Now in the northern tier, it's rain. I know it's flip-flopped for you today. We're getting heavy rain at times into Detroit. Rain in Cleveland for you, and check out the Northeast. You guys are clouded in right now, but that rain will be arriving by the middle of the afternoon. Maybe a few sprinkles before that. We are a little concerned about flooding into the Ohio Valley in the upcoming days.

If you're traveling today, we do expect delays in the Northeast mostly because of the clouds this morning, but then rain for the afternoon. Chicago looking at windy conditions. Cleveland and Detroit expecting delays because of the rain. And Atlanta, if we get any of that mixing in here that could spell trouble at airport as well.

This is a big storm system going on across the country. The western two-thirds looking just fine, but a new storm system moving into the Pacific Northwest. That will be impacting you by late today. In the meantime, the temperatures coolish across the nation's midsection. Staying nice though, mild still in the Northeast before that front comes through for you tomorrow.

Sixty-three in New York, guys, while it's only 43 in Atlanta. Those two should be flip-flopped.

COSTELLO: I know. We have one more day of bliss. And I'm happy.

JERAS: Enjoy it.

ROMANS: Thanks, Jacqui.

COSTELLO: Thanks, Jacqui.

Ahead on AMERICAN: U.S. troops pulling out of Iraq. We'll talk with one Army officer about what it's like crossing the border into Kuwait on his way home.

It's 40 past the hour.


ROMANS: Welcome back. Forty-three minutes past the hour.

Kuwait -- it's the first stop on the long road home for thousands of American troops who have been serving in Iraq. President Obama wants the troop drawdown complete by year's end.

COSTELLO: That's right.

CNN's Martin Savidge has been talking with soldiers crossing the border from Iraq to the main staging area for U.S. convoys in Kuwait.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At Camp Virginia in Kuwait, the war ends several times a day. For Captain Ben Carpenter of Fort Bliss, Texas, it ended around 10:00 on a Friday morning when he and his company arrived after driving most of the night from the base inside Iraq.

(on camera): How did it go, first of all?

CAPTAIN BEN CARPENTER, U.S. ARMY: It went very well. Very uneventful convoy.

SAVIDGE: The way we like it to be.

(voice-over): It doesn't take long to realize there was more to his journey than just a drive.

(on camera): What is that feeling like and is there any kind of feeling as you make that crossing from Iraq into Kuwait?

CARPENTER: A sense of relief, in some respects, a sense of accomplishment. I know my gunner tapped me on the shoulder as we crossed through the fence, through the wire there, and, he's like, wow, I didn't really think that was going to be as big a deal as it was, but that was something -- something special.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Carpenter first came to Iraq during the dark days of 2006. Three deployments later, he feels good about what's been accomplished.

(on camera): The war's over for you?

CARPENTER: It is, hopefully.

SAVIDGE: I mean, it's a simple thing to say, but that's actually kind of a big thing.

CARPENTER: It is. We've been to, been here for a long time. So, there's a lot of soldiers that aren't here today to see the end. This company, and there's many other companies that are still here, do get to see the end. And that's something special.

SAVIDGE: So what lies ahead for you?

CARPENTER: Well, we finish unloading our equipment, and get on a plane and fly home. For me personally, I'll go back and transition back to my family, and I'm going to get out of the army here shortly, and go home.

SAVIDGE: After eight-and-a-half years, America's war in Iraq is coming to an end. One convoy, one soldier, at a time.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Camp Virginia, Kuwait.


COSTELLO: Best of luck to him. Glad he's coming home.

It's 45 minutes past the hour. Just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING, actor, Tobey Maguire, knows when to hold them, and apparently, when to fold them, too. We'll explain.

ROMANS: And things get ugly as a grudge match a half century in the making comes to a head, the head of the cane. Jeanne Moos with a blow-by-blow literally covering it.

It's 46 minutes after the hour. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING.


PHIL KEOGHAN, HOST, AMAZING RACE: I am Phil Keoghan, host of "The Amazing Race." I travel about 400,000 miles a year. When I say "go" on the "Amazing Race" --


KEOGHAN: -- it's just go on for about 25 days. I started traveling when I was two, and I really haven't stopped traveling. I hand-fed sharks in the Bahamas. We did live skydiving. I putted a golf ball across Scotland once. Getting my reindeer racing license. Oh, I even renewed my vows Underwood (ph) once with my wife. I've been to over a hundred countries.

I've actually been keeping my boarding passes for the last 20 something years as well. That's a whole lot of traveling. I haven't found a piece of luggage that really worked for the way I like to travel. So, I designed a piece of luggage that gives me easy access to everything that has to get pulled out and put back into a bag when you're traveling.

From my original now like this, I put on that I want to go to outer space. I'm ready to go. I'd like to talk to Richard Branson (ph) about that. Travel safe, and remember, the world is waiting for you.



COSTELLO: Ten minutes until the top of the hour. Here's what you need to know to start your day.


COSTELLO (voice-over): Herman Cain denied in Atlanta woman's claim they had a 13-year extramarital affair. Ginger White says she has documents to support her story. Cain says White was a friend, but there was never any sexual relationship.

The wife of fired Syracuse basketball coach, Bernie Fine, is coming forward today. Laurie Fine will reportedly claim a taped conversation she had with one of her husband's accusers was doctored.

Dr. Conrad Murray will be sentenced today. He was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of Michael Jackson. Murray faces four years in prison. Prosecutors also want Murray to pay Jackson's children more than $100 million.

A manhunt for a gunman across state lines is accused of shooting down two sheriff deputies. Police say the suspect robbed a store in Alabama and then shot a cop who tried to pull him over. Later, the gunman popped up in Tennessee firing at another deputy. No word yet on how the victims are doing.

Actor, Tobey Maguire, agreeing to pay $80,000 to settle a lawsuit over his secret high stakes poker winning from a convicted Ponzi schemer. The money will be used to repay victims.

And the U.S. capital Christmas tree has arrived. It's a 65-foot sierra white fur from California which goes along with this year's theme "California Shine." Nearly 3,000 ornaments will decorate the tree, and they're all hand-crafted from, you guessed it, California.


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


ROMANS: Welcome back. Two former football stars recently came to blows over a gridiron feud that's been festering for, oh, maybe 50 years or so.

COSTELLO: This is so weird. Talk about a late hit. Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Roll the (ph) flag for unnecessary roughness. Two former football greats go at it over an ancient grudge. Emcee, Ron James called it --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The couple of septuagenarians duking it out.

MOOS: While others called it a geezer fight. It started at a Vancouver luncheon when former quarterback, Joe Kapp, took a flower from a centerpiece and extended it to his rival who responded (EXPLETIVE DELETED), and perhaps, swatted Angelo Mosca with a flower. Mosca used his cane to knock Kapp's glasses off.

Then, Kapp decked him with a one-two punch. Ironic that Mosca's new book is entitled "Tell Me To My Face." Even more ironic was the first word out of Kapp's mouth after the fight.


MOOS (on-camera): Mosca says once he was knocked down, Kapp still didn't stop.

VOICE OF ANGELO MOSCA, FORMER CFL DEFENSIVE TACKLE: I'm 74 years old. I don't walk very good with a cane, and I had no balance. Down I went. When I went down, he kicked me.

MOOS (voice-over): See if you see it. Not that Mosca hasn't kicked a few guys in his days as a wrestler after retiring from football.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Angelo "King Kong" Mosco.

MOOS: But King Kong Mosca wasn't beating his chest after this one.

MOSCA: I think it's absolutely ridiculous it ever happened.

MOOS (on-camera): The grudge goes back 48 years. It was a Canadian football league championship game.

(voice-over) Then quarterback Kapp was mad because Mosco made what was widely considered a dirty hit that knocked one of Kapp's teammates out of the game. Fast-forward almost five decades.

MOSCA: I'm not going to sit there and have someone stuff a flower in my nose.

MOOS: Later, Kapp told a weird story quoting the player, Angelo Mosca, injured 48 years ago --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I named my dog, Angelo, and I (EXPLETIVE DELETED) this dog every day.

MOOS (on-camera): A couple of grumpy old football players, it's like a scene right out of the movie "Grumpy Old Men."



MOOS (voice-over): Only in "Grumpy Old Men," the weapon of choice was a finish rather than a flower.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All I can do is apologize.

MOOS: Before the fight, Mosca offered his hand and Kapp ignored it. After the fight, it was the other way around. A YouTube poster summed it up this way, "toothless, but still ruthless."

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


COSTELLO: I think it's time to let it go.

ROMANS: I think so, too.

COSTELLO: Oh, that's awful.

ROMANS: All right. Still to come, Dr. Sanjay Gupta on a disturbing new study that says our kids face the risk of traumatic brain injury from playing soccer. Soccer. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. Fifty-five minutes after the hour.