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American Morning

New Cain Accuser; Syracuse Sex Abuse Scandal; Anne Hathaway Engaged; American Airlines Files For Bankruptcy; Iranian Students Storm British Embassy in Tehran; New Allegations Emerge in Syracuse Child Sex Abuse Scandal; Partnership Seeks Ways to Reduce Childhood Obesity in America; Fight against Childhood Obesity; No Reason to Stop and Be Sorry

Aired November 29, 2011 - 08:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Carol Costello. Herman Cain denying an Atlanta woman's claim they were lovers on and off for 13 years. But could the latest sexual allegations derail Cain's presidential hopes?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: American Airlines in bankruptcy.

I'm Christine Romans.

The parent company of American Airlines filed for Chapter 11 protection. What it means for you if you're scheduled to fly -- on this AMERICAN MORNING.


COSTELLO: Hi, Paul Callan. He's going to join us in just a second.

Good morning to you. It's Tuesday, November 29th. Ali has the day off.

ROMANS: That's right. Let's begin with some breaking news this morning for you. The parent company of American Airlines AMR has filed for bankruptcy protection. It's important to note if you are flying on American, American Airlines or American Eagle, still honoring all of its tickets, reservations, still happening like normal. There will be normal flight schedules.

AMR is the only major airline to not file for bankruptcy protection over the last decade. That means it's paying more for everything from labor to financing than all of its competitors. The airlines also says its fuel expenses have jumped 40 percent from last year while other airlines have been making money on all those baggage fees and returned to profitability. American Airlines has not.

Right now, U.S. markets are expected to open higher. But Dow, NASDAQ, S&P 500 are all up, until Europe is able to get a better handle on its debt crisis, we're going to expect some big swings and a lot of uncertainty in the markets.

And, of course, AMR, we'll watch to see what the reaction is in all the other airline stocks this morning.

COSTELLO: Also breaking right now, the man accused in the Norway massacre that killed 77 people in July has been found legally insane. That means Andres Behring Breivik will not serve time in prison. Psychiatrists say the 32-year-old was suffering from psychosis when he carried out the bombing and shooting attacks. He'll under go indefinite psychiatric care.

ROMANS: Meantime, the prime suspect in the case of the 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 jail. The judge threw out a request from the prosecution to keep Giordano detained without charges for another 30 days.

Robyn Gardner went missing in August.

COSTELLO: Another he said/she said for Herman Cain. The Republican presidential candidate denies having a long-term extramarital affair with Atlanta businesswoman Ginger White. He says she was just a friend, but White claims the affair lasted 13 years, ending just before Cain launched his campaign.

CNN's David Mattingly live in Atlanta with details on Cain's new accuser.

David, what have you turned up?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Carol, this woman, this latest accuser has said that she is a former businesswoman. Her name is Ginger White. She is a single mother of two.

And she claims that she had an on again/off again affair with Cain that lasted almost 14 years. It did not end, she says, until about eight months ago, shortly before Cain announced his candidacy.


GINGER WHITE, ALLEGES AFFAIR WITH HERMAN CAIN: 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.


MATTINGLY: It was broken by WAGA here in Atlanta last night. But even before that report hit the air, Herman Cain was trying to get out in front of it. He was on CNN telling Wolf Blitzer he knew the woman and described her as a friend and said the relationship was not sexual.


HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is someone who is supposed to be a friend, but, obviously, they didn't see it as a friendship.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: 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?





MATTINGLY: Ginger White, however, says that the two met when Cain was the head of the National Restaurant Association. She says he flew her to different cities to meet him and gave her gifts and 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. Well, 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, she said for herself that she had an improper relationship so she's not a detractor of his 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 they believe, in fact, Mr. Cain is telling the truth or 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: And is she asking for anything?

BUCKLEY: No, she is not. Nothing.


MATTINGLY: Now, Herman Cain's own lawyer put out a statement saying this appears to be an accusation of private alleged consensual conduct between adults. But notice that the wording here does not confirm that there was any kind of relationship like that. But he goes on to say no individual should be questioned about his or her private sex life.

White and her attorney are now bracing for attacks on her credibility. She's had legal problems in the past with a former business partner and some recent financial problems that were serious enough that she's had difficulty paying her rent. But her attorney says that was not the reason she came forward. That, she said, was solely because reporters were already seeking her out and that she needed, she felt, to be the one telling her own story.

COSTELLO: David Mattingly reporting live from Atlanta, thank you.

With this latest allegation, some political experts have suggested the so-called Cain train may be near the end of the line. CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Cain about collateral damage to his campaign.


BLITZER: Are you worried this could further hurt you in this Republican race for the White House?

CAIN: I'm more worried that this is going to hurt my wife and my family because it's going to be proved that it was probably something else that was baseless. And the court of public opinion does not consider that when they want to pass their judgment. I can take the lumps. I expected this kind of stuff when I made the decision to run for the president of the United States of America.

But the thing that I'm worried about is the impact it's going to have on my wife and my family because they should not be subjected to false accusations that cannot be proved.

BLITZER: Have you spoken to your wife about this?

CAIN: Yes, I am. Yes, I have spoken to my wife.

BLITZER: How did they react?

CAIN: My wife's reaction was very similar to mine: "Here we go, again."


COSTELLO: Cain has seen his poll numbers plunge as he's dealt with allegations of sexual harassment.

ROMANS: The wife of former Syracuse basketball Coach Bernie Fine plans to make a statement today. Laurie Fine will reportedly challenge the validity of a taped conversation she reportedly had with one of her husband's accusers -- a conversation that suggests that she knew about Bernie Fine's alleged abuse. She's expected to say that the recording was doctored and taken out of context.

COSTELLO: And former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky launching his own investigation. Sandusky's lawyer said he's hired a personal investigator to prove he did not abuse any boys. The long time coach is charged with 40 counts related to alleged sexual abuse of eight young boys over a 14-year stretch.

ROMANS: Two people following these cases with us, CNN legal contributor Paul Callan.

Good morning, Paul.


ROMANS: Let's talk about Bernie Fine first. He faces now three accusers. The youngest accuser is 23 years old, I think. Two investigations now, one in Pittsburgh.

How likely is it that these investigations can move forward here? Carol has been -- we've been talking about the statute of limitations on some of these.

CALLAN: Well, I'm kind of amazed by the avalanche of sex scandals going on in the news. I mean, it's really hard to, you know, keep them in line and keep track of them.

COSTELLO: That's sad commentary.

CALLAN: Yes, it's very sad commentary. But let's talk about Syracuse for a second. There are statute of limitations and problems. But there are ways to get around that in many situations because if you are abused as a child, usually, you don't have to report it until you become an adult in many jurisdictions and the feds are now getting involved in the investigation.

And I think that will be a solution to the statute of limitations problem. There may be allegations of civil rights violations. There may be allegations of other aspects going on, once federal investigators get involved. And that may solve the problem.

COSTELLO: Let's talk about the phone call. Supposedly one of Fine's alleged victims taped a phone call -- Laurie Fine was on the other end of the phone. She is Bernie Fine's wife, the accused in this case. It seems as if Laurie Fine kind of like gave credence to this young man's story. So, let's listen to a bit of this phone call first.


LAURIE FINE: I know everything that went on, you know. I know everything that went on with him. Bernie has issues, maybe that he's not aware of, but he has issues. And you trusted somebody you shouldn't have trusted.


FINE: Bernie is also in denial. I think that he did the things he did, but somehow through his own mental telepathy has erased them out of his mind.


COSTELLO: So, this phone conversation was supposedly taped in, what, 2002/2003. Laurie Fine is expected to release a statement later today saying that this was doctored.

In listening to this, and I know you dealt with a lot of these kinds of cases, does that sound doctored to you?

CALLAN: No, it doesn't. It's a -- and I will tell you, I actually had cases where there were doctored tapes and sometimes, they're choppy and you kind of suspect something immediately. That's a pretty smooth flowing conversation. And everything seems to fit in context.

And, obviously, it's very, very damming to both her and her husband because she's, obviously, aware, involved, maybe even aiding and abetting, I supposed, some might argue.

COSTELLO: But she doesn't come right out and say, oh, my husband is a pedophile.

CALLAN: No, she doesn't, but she does indicate he's got problems and you should be aware of them.

ROMANS: Issues.

CALLAN: Issues, yes.

ROMANS: You trusted the wrong guy. You trusted the wrong guy.

CALLAN: Exactly. You know, and that suggests to me, if he's got that little snippet of tape, what else is lingering out there? Why are federal investigators looking at computers? You know, what is going to be found through a forensic investigation here?

COSTELLO: Why did he turn that tape over to the university or Syracuse authorities?


ROMANS: He did turn it over -- he did turn it over to a newspaper.

COSTELLO: And a local newspaper.

CALLAN: Well, I don't know at what point in time he turned it over. It wasn't turned over, I think, back in 2002 or 2003. Of course, he may have viewed --

COSTELLO: 2005, it was.

CALLAN: Well, he may have viewed it as not relevant to the pedophilia allegation that was being made against the coach. He is thinking, well, I'm just talking to his wife. I'm not talking to him. So, maybe he thought not an important piece of evidence. But now it's breaking in the press, he realizes it is important.

We'll find out subsequently, there will be an explanation. And by the way, you'll hire a forensic -- they'll hire a forensic expert who will examine this. And if it's a forgery or fraud, I think we'll find that out as well.

ROMANS: Speaking of hiring, I want to switch to Jerry Sandusky in that Penn State story. So, we're also hearing that Jerry Sandusky hired a private investigator to prove his innocence.


ROMANS: Is that his team saying that don't think they're going to give the favorable outcome from the actual people who are investigating it?

CALLAN: Well, you know, Christine, I was chuckling when I read that because doing criminal defense work as I do, we always hire private investigators. Every single case you have, you hire one. But they're so desperate for a positive news story they say, we hired a private investigator to investigate his innocence.

So, what's the next story? We hired a typist to type up the motion papers?

ROMANS: Well, the victims families get very upset when they hear something like this, because they feel like it means that he's proclaiming his innocence and he's going to go and start trying to --

CALLAN: Dig into their past.

ROMANS: Right, dig into some of these.

CALLAN: By the way, that's exactly what's going on to go on. I mean, in these private investigations, you look at the witnesses against your client. You find out that they have a prior record, have they told the truth in the past. You look for things that you can use against them in court.

I mean, it's a nasty business drawing a case. So, I'm not at all surprised that they hired a private investigator.

But I don't think it's a big deal. I think it's absolutely normal in a criminal investigation.

ROMANS: He's still proclaiming his innocence so vociferously? Sandusky?

CALLAN: Well, no. I mean, what's his alternative? To plead guilty.

The surprising thing, though, does go back to that press conference that he and the lawyer had in which, you know, he explained that he likes to horse around in showers with little boys. I mean, to me, in the end, that's going to be the thing that will be the most damming piece of evidence in the entire case.

ROMANS: Really?

CALLAN: Lawyers will wonder, why in the world would you say that publicly? It's put him in such a difficult position in terms of defending the case.

COSTELLO: Paul Callan, thanks for coming in, we appreciate it.

Still ahead, remember last month's $254 million power ball jackpot? It's been claimed by three men and their identities has us all talking this morning. The stunning twist is coming up.

ROMANS: And Kate Middleton got the fairy tale, but her younger sister, Pippa is writing the book. The world's most famous maid of honor signs a book deal for big bucks. Details, ahead.

COSTSELLO: And it doesn't happen often in November, but snow is falling across the Deep South. Snow in Mississippi. It's crazy. Jacqui Jeras is tracking it.

It's 13 minutes past the hour.


ROMANS: All right. "Touch The Sky." Chicago, Illinois, where the skies couldn't be cloudy and windy. Forty-three degrees, pretty strong winds, and guess what, that could cause some power outages. We're told this morning in Chi town. Also, snow later on.

COSTELLO: They're used to that in Chicago, though, Jacqui Jeras, but not so much Tennessee or Mississippi.

JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Exactly. You know, but it's wicked in Chicago right now. You know, winds are gusting to 44 miles per hour. So, that's pretty serious, and the winds, we think, are going to be so strong that they're really going to whip up some waves along the lake shore, so be aware of that, especially if you're one of those runners that likes to, you know, run right next to the lake.

Remember, a couple of months ago, we saw that video that runner just getting plowed by those waves. That could happen once again today. And really windy in Detroit, too. Look at sustained winds around 25 miles per hour. So, it's going to be real gusty here. The rainfall will be heavy, and we also have the threat of some flash flooding as a result of this, too.

OK. The southern end of this thing, I know, it feels opposite, doesn't it? But that's where we're seeing the snow. It's been snowing all morning long in Memphis. This is mostly the grassy areas and elevated objects (ph) that are getting any of the accumulation. Most of the roadways are doing OK. We're watching snow and sleet across Alabama that's trying to make its way into the Atlanta metro area.

Best chances of that is going to be just on up to the north. Let's take look at some of that snow out of Tennessee, shall we? This is from Jackson, Tennessee, from late last night where you had three inches of snow, and there you can se those roadways are still looking pretty good. This is almost a record snow for you. The earliest recorded snow in Jackson is November 18th.

So, we're, you know, about 10 days off of that record just to tell you how rare that thing is. Highest total I could find so far, Denmark, Tennessee, at five inches. And we've seen three inches pretty common across parts of Northern Mississippi, as well. There are those delays, as I mentioned, Chicago O'Hare and that's arrival delays to get into O'Hare because of the winds at an hour and 30 minutes.

And we're starting to get some departure delays now out of Baltimore, about 30 minutes. We do expect more delays to pull into the northeast as we head into the afternoon hours. That's when most of that rain is going to be arriving, but sometimes, all it takes is those low clouds where you have to line those planes up to get them on in.

The big storm system, that's really all we're dealing with across the country today. High and dry in the nation's midsection. Cold behind this front, though, guys. Look at those cold temperatures just wedge their way into the southeast with 40s for Atlanta and Memphis while you're still in the 60s in the northeast. Just isn't fair.

COSTELLO: We're loving it. We love it! It's like a little bit of heaven in November.

JERAS: Give us a couple of days.

ROMANS: Thanks, Jacqui.

COSTELLO: Thanks, Jacqui.

Congratulations going on this morning to Anne Hathaway. She's engaged. The actress plans to marry her long-time boyfriend, Adam Shulman. They've been dating since 2008. Just in case you are wondering, just after Hathaway's much publicized break up with Raffaello Follieri who pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering.

ROMANS: So, good she got rid of that guy.


ROMANS: And Pippa Middleton has a royal book deal. The sister of the Duchess of Cambridge is getting 600,000 bucks for a book on party planning. It will be out next year. Good for her. She's getting $600,000 -- she works, her parents have a party planning company. It's not like it's a book about something that she doesn't know anything about, and she did just --

COSTELLO: That is a big advance.

ROMANS: The biggest maid of honor, you know, probably the most famous maid of honor in the world.

COSTELLO: Yes. She did look good in that dress.

And it's certainly not the rags to riches tale we usually hear. Three asset managers from Greenwich, Connecticut are the winners of $254 million Powerball jackpot. That's biggest lottery prize in Connecticut history and you'll be happy to hear, the trio says a significant portion of their winnings will go to charity. Why are these rich guys playing -- T

ROMANS: I know that's --

COSTELLO: That's the million dollar question.


ROMANS: An investigative report coming up on that.

All right. A check of the early morning markets, next.

Plus, AMERICAN MORNING -- American Airlines files for bankruptcy protection. How will travelers be affected?


COSTELLO: Plus, speculation, Facebook is planning a monster $100 billion initial public offering, and it looks like it's getting close. It's 21 minutes past the hour.


ROMANS: Twenty-five minutes past the hour. "Minding Your Business" this morning.

The parent company of American Airlines, AMR, has filed for bankruptcy protection. The airline says the move is needed to reduce its labor costs and its debt. American Airlines and American Eagle will still honor all tickets and reservations. They will be operating normally under this court protection. American lost $868 million during the first nine months of this year with the only major U.S. airline to lose money last year.

Right now, U.S. markets are expected to open higher. The Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 are all up. Investors optimistic this morning that Europe is moving forward to fix the region's debt problems. A two-day emergency meeting in Brussels of EU finance ministers gets under way today.

New evidence that Washington's inability, though, to reach a debt deal may have to end up hurting all Americans. The credit rating agency, Fitch, affirmed America's AAA credit rating but revised its outlook to negative. That change means the agency sees a greater than 50 percent chance it will downgrade the country's AAA rating within two years.

The former head of MF Global, Jon Corzine, is not commenting on a report that $245 million is believed to belong to his brokerage firm. It turned out that JP Morgan Chase in Britain (ph). According to the "New York Times," it's believed that money was transferred during the firm's rapid collapse. The trustee overseeing MF Global's liquidation and says about $1.2 billion in customer funds appear to be missing.

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 most recent report.

AMERICAN MORNING back after a real quick break.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.


COSTELLO: Breaking news out of Iran this morning. Dozens of students stormed the British embassy in Tehran, reportedly taking down the British flag and chanting "Death to England." The incident now appears to be under control. It comes two days after the Iranian parliament approved a measure reducing diplomatic relations with Britain that follows London's support for new U.S. sanctions against Iran. Stay with CNN for the latest developments on this breaking news out of Iran.

ROMANS: All right, also brand new in the last hour, the man accused of killing 77 people in a bomb and gun rampage in Norway, he's been found legally insane. Anders Behring Breivik will still face charges but he will not serve prison time. Psychiatrists say the 32- year-old was psychotic at the time of July attacks. Breivik will undergo psychiatric treatment. He could be confined to a mental hospital for the rest of his life.

COSTELLO: It's sentencing day for Dr. Conrad Murray, and Michael Jackson's mother is speaking out. Katherine Jackson says she hopes Murray will get the harshest sentence possible. That's four years in prison. Conrad Murray 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: Embattled GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain trying to get the focus back on his nine-nine-nine plan and away from alleged marital infidelity. Cain flatly denies the claim by an Atlanta woman that they had a 13-year affair. Two other woman have accused Cain publicly of sexual harassment.

COSTELLO: Former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky launching his own investigation. Sandusky's lawyer says he hired a private investigator to prove he did not abuse any children. The long-time coach is charged with 40 counts related to alleged sexual abuse of eight young boys over a 14-year stretch.

ROMANS: And new developments unfolding in the Syracuse University sex abuse scandal. Former assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine is now facing a second criminal investigation in Pittsburgh. And Fine's wife, Laurie, she plans to make a statement later today about a taped conversation she had with one of her husband's accusers, a conversation that suggests she knew about his 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: Hi, 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 can ask you, you're not going to make a statement today?

FINE: Not today.

TUCHMAN: Is your tape misinterpreted? How come you can't comment?


COSTELLO: Deb Feyerick is live in Syracuse this morning. Deb, well, it's surprising that the Fines are still in town, or are they both still in town?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, they are. And as a matter of fact, many of the key players, they have been told not to go too far because this is well under investigation this whole thing. It's kind of interesting. It's kind of symbolic. You see Laurie Fine there barricaded behind the door and here in Syracuse, you get the feeling that there's a lot of that going on right now as everybody sort of plays a frantic game of catch-up.

You have police. They're working now with federal prosecutors and federal investigators who have called in the Secret Service to go through computers to look to see if there's anything that could incriminate Coach Fine, including child pornography. You've got the district attorney who normally investigates. He is not even involved. He instead is looking at the police department to see whether they were negligent in not bringing charges back in 2002.

You have got to remember that all of this surfaced back in 2002. There's the university. They knew about it in 2005 and then turned over all their records. And, of course, you have the media outlets, ESPN basically saying, yes, we had the tape, but it wasn't our responsibility to turn it over. It was our responsibility to try to corroborate the information that was in the tape.

So Laurie Fine standing behind that door is pretty much what is going on. We can tell you, also, her nephew told us directly yesterday that she was supposed to make a statement but now it's a little bit unclear when that is going to happen. We've been reaching out to various lawyers, both for Bernie Fine, and also to see whether Laurie Fine has now gotten independent representation. But they're not calling us back, either, Carol and Christine.

COSTELLO: Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh part of the investigation, now, what do we know there?

FEYERICK: Well, this is interesting, because, look, the allegation, one of the three accusers basically said that he was molested when he was 13-years-old by Bernie Fine in a hotel room. Police are vetting his credibility right now to see whether or not his story basically holds up. Pittsburgh police, they're now involved in this because it happened in their jurisdiction even though this is a federal case right now.

So what we're seeing by Pittsburgh getting involved it doesn't mean other police departments elsewhere should they hear allegations of something happening, Bernie Fine being a man who was traveling on the road whether for games or for recruiting, so, people may be more likely to come forward. So, it sends a little bit of a message, a pretty loud message, actually.

COSTELLO: In the midst of all of this, the Syracuse men's basketball team will play its first home game since this all went down. That's got to be hard on students.

FEYERICK: You know, it does, but this is definitely an orange town. That means that sports here is huge. Sports dominates this part of Syracuse.

And, so, tonight you're right. The first home game and they're playing East Michigan, I believe, and there's a lot of excitement for that. They want to get back to the program. They want to focus on what it is they're supposed to do, and that is play basketball, go to school, put this behind them and let the authorities do what they have to do.

And sometimes, you know, look, it's going to be a topic of conversation. Bernie Fine is not going to be on the sidelines tonight. However, at the same time it could also bring the community together to say, look, you know, this was an aberration. This was an anomaly. If true, it's something they're all going to have to deal with.

And that's one other thing. We have been reaching out to Bernie Fine's lawyers because we did ask, look, he was terminated very quickly after this tape surfaced, and we wanted to ask the lawyers, you know, is this a rush to judgment? Is this, in fact, an acknowledgment by the university that Bernie Fine is guilty even before the investigation has been concluded? We haven't heard back from them either.

COSTELLO: I'm sure you'll keep digging today. Deb Feyerick live in Syracuse, thanks.

ROMANS: Orlando's police chief is naming a Florida man as the chief suspect in the disappearance of his ex-fiancee. Michelle Parker has not been seen since she appeared on "People's Court" TV show with Dale Smith 12 days ago in a dispute over a $5,000 engagement ring. Smith, who relatives say is the father of two of Parker's children, have not been charged with the crime. But Orlando police call him the prime focus of their investigation.

COSTELLO: It's one of the most serious problems threatening our children today -- childhood obesity. One in three kids in America is obese or overweight. Coming up we'll talk to two people teaming up to fight obesity. It's 37 minutes past the hour.


COSTELLO: Good morning, Washington, D.C. It's still a pretty nice day for November, mostly cloudy, 65 degrees. Rain later today with, I guess the high will drop to 64 degrees.

The childhood obesity epidemic is so severe that for the very first time in American history we will live shorter lives than our parents did. A third of our children are now obese or overweight. How can we fix this problem? Joining us exclusively to announce major new commitments in the fight against childhood obesity are Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker and former Senate Majority Leader Dr. Bill Frist. Welcome to both of you.


COSTELLO: Mayor Booker, you have major health commitments from some top organizations who stepped up to the plate to help. Who are they?

BOOKER: Well, first of all, we hope that they are leaders. Kaiser Permanente, these are incredible leaders in their industry, but hopefully leaders across America are making solid commitments. When we go to hotels and get children's meals, they're fried food and high in carbohydrates and low in nutrition. This great hotel chain said we're going to make a very solid, solid commit.

And I know the senator knows when it comes to the health care industry, Kaiser Permanente is doing something tremendous as well.

DR. BILL FRIST, FORMER SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: We have 800 people here today in Washington representing mainly the private sector, all of whom recognize there is no silver bullet. But by coming together, the for profit community, the private sector, the nonprofit community, some government foundations, everybody's sharing ideas and the examples with high-end hotels and Kaiser Permanente and grocery stores all putting their ideas on the table, all celebrating what can we done to reduce an epidemic that is killing the United States of America.

COSTELLO: Specifically --

FRIST: And it makes good business sense. COSTELLO: Let's just pause and tell people specifically what Hyatt is doing. Hyatt will be changing its children's menu. Its general menu will see a 10 percent reduction in calories like sodium and sugar, more local food and more healthy and affordable options.

And Senator Frist, you mentioned the grocery stores that are popping up in neighborhoods with no grocery stores and they're going to be selling things like fresh fruit and vegetables, things that these communities are sort of lacking. As for Kaiser Permanente, Kaiser Permanente is going to push breastfeeding. Senator Frist, explain that to me. How will that help with childhood obesity?

FRIST: All of these issues have a purpose of making the healthier choice out there when we know what the healthier choices are, the easy choice. And all of it, access to the 23 million people who go through Hyatt to have healthier choices on the menu from what they can choose is a perfect example of that.

Kaiser has 29 hospitals and not forcing anything on anybody but doing what's best for the patient. And we know that breast feeding, those people who are able to breastfeed, who want to breastfeed, have children that are less prone to obesity in childhood. We know if you're not obese in childhood there's a much less likelihood that you're obese as an adult. That's the sort of effort that's out there to have that alternative of breastfeeding presented in an understandable, easy to understand way to that mother who is out there looking for that best interest for their children is.

COSTELLO: And Mayor Booker, I heard senator Frist say no one is forcing anyone to do anything. But it's great that there are healthier choices on menus, but Senator Frist is right, you can't force people to order healthier foods. You have to wonder, will these changes really help?

BOOKER: Well, they definitely will. I know from my city when you have families that live in food deserts who their closest available food they have is fast food or a bodega that doesn't sell healthy products, if you start creating availability, if you start making people more aware of what their choices are in terms of caloric content and the like, you actually are going to give people the tools of which to make better decisions.

And we've seen from all the evidence that if you empower people with the tools and the knowledge, they make the right choice. This is what America is about. So, it's extraordinary --

COSTELLO: Mayor Booker, some people say it's just the food police. The first lady Michelle Obama has been out to fight childhood obesity and she's been harshly criticized for that.

BOOKER: You know what, you never make change in this country unless you're willing to stand up for criticism. Both of us know this on both sides of the political aisle. And the reality is we can do nothing and throw up our hands and allow our country to face the greatest health crisis we've seen in a generation.

To literally see our children get sicker and cost our country more, our military preparedness and tens of thousands of military people who are stepping forward to join the military are being disqualified because they're obese. We're seeing children have not only self-esteem issues but also serious issues that undermine their productivity.

We can just do nothing and stand back on the sidelines or we can get in the game and begin to take control of the destiny of our country. Not by government mandate, but by all of Americans who are concerned and caring about our children by all of us stepping up and saying, you know what, this is not what we want to be. We do not want to be the first generations of Americans to see our children be unhealthier than us.

We're going to do something, we're going to change this. So that's the kind of country I love. This is why I'm sitting here with a statesman from the other side of the aisle and I think all of us can make a difference.


COSTELLO: Well Senator Frist --

FRIST: And I think, I think the fact that this is 800 people today from the private sector.


FRIST: Private industries who are making commitments. Who are acting, not just talking, but acting to make the healthier choice, the easier choice. We're having hundreds of examples presented today to celebrate those, to share those ideas and realize there is no silver bullet to this obesity epidemic which is literally destroying the future of our kids.

COSTELLO: Senator Frist, I want to ask you about this before you go. There is a situation out in Ohio right now, an eight-year-old was taken away from his family and placed in foster care because he weighs more than 200 pounds.

Some people are saying that this was extreme, others are saying this was good for the child. The parents were not able to control the child's weight. Wasn't able to stop him from eating unhealthy foods. So, the state of Ohio took the child away. When you hear stories like that, was that the right move?

FRIST: Well, you know, I don't know any of the details. So I can't comment on the specifics. But the fact that one out of three children today are obese, that obesity will condemn them to a less productive life, to a less fulfilling life, to a shorter life, to a more expensive life, will contribute to 10 percent of all the health care costs in America. And that one out of three kids today are born, one out of three kids born today will be diabetic because of the obesity means this is a call to action for all of us.

COSTELLO: Yes and Mayor Booker, I know that --


BOOKER: Something to talk about something out there --

COSTELLO: Well, Mayor Booker, you've struggled with your weight. So I wonder, I wanted to get your perspective to that story out in Ohio, too.

BOOKER: Yes, look, again, I don't know the details of the case themselves. I think most of us Americans, that's why we see so many of our commercials about weight loss this or whatever, we all know that we could be doing more and for me as a guy who is insanely busy who runs hours that are not regular. I've started to say that you know what I'm going to do a little changes in my diet and in my activity that are going to have big results.

And now that I have passed that 40 marker, especially for African-American men in this country, we face tremendous health challenges. I know that I've got to not only take more control of my life, but if you really want to be a leader, the best way to make a difference in this country is not what you preach or teach it's what you do. And I'm going to do everything I can do to be an example in my community of someone who takes these issues seriously.

And that's the thing. Let's not talk about one case in some place far away. What we also should doing is looking at our own lives and our circles of influence. We all can be, you know, powerful heroes of hope when it comes to dealing with this -- with this change. Right in our own lives, right with our own families, right in our own thing.

FRIST: Yes, I think the fact that this is a -- this 30 years ago this problem did not exist. This is a 30-year-old problem. It is reversible. We know how to reverse it. No silver bullet, but it is going to take partnerships working together and sharing ideas. This is a problem that we can solve.

COSTELLO: OK, and we know one thing for sure, pizza is not a vegetable. Mayor Booker and Senator Frist, thank you so much for joining us this morning. We appreciate it.

"Morning Headlines" is coming your way, next.

FRIST: Thank you.

BOOKER: Thank you.

COSTELLO: It's 48 minutes past the hour.


ROMANS: Fifty minutes after the hour. Here are your "Morning Headlines".

Dozens of students stormed the British Embassy in Tehran this morning reportedly taken down the British flag and chanting death to England. The incident is now under control. The protest follows London's support for new U.S. sanctions against Iran.

In Norway, the man accused of killing 77 people in a bomb and gun rampage this summer has been found legally insane. Anders Behring Breivik will not serve prison time for the July attacks. Police say Breivik will undergo psychiatric care.

The parent company of American Airlines, AMR, has filed for bankruptcy protection. This airline says the move is needed to reduce its labor costs and debt. American Airlines and American Eagle will still honor all tickets and reservations.

Markets open in less than 45 minutes. Right now they are expected to open higher. The DOW, NASDAQ and S&P 500 futures are up as investors are optimistic Europe will get a better handle on its debt crisis. A big two day European crisis meeting underway starting today.

That's the news you need to start your day as AMERICAN MORNING back right after the break.


COSTELLO: Good morning. Cloudy and 36 degrees in Atlanta. Can you believe it 36 degrees in Atlanta and it's 64 degrees here. It's crazy. You're going to have rain and some snow later today with a high of 42. Good luck with that.

ROMANS: All right each week we introduced you to someone who is accomplishing something remarkable, despite having to overcome a major obstacle. In this week's "Human Factor" we met Don Wright, a man refusing to let cancer get in the way of his life. Here's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Don Wright's career spanned engineering, being a company vice president and the law. And at age 62, he discovered a new passion -- marathons.

Eight years ago just days after running his first 26-mile race, though, he got some devastating news.

DON WRIGHT, MARATHON RUNNER: I had gone to the doctor a couple of times for pain in my back. It was multiple myeloma.

GUPTA: This is a cancer of the blood where the white blood cells invade the bone marrow, causing pain usually in the back or the ribs and patients are rarely cured.

But Wright refused to let that slow him down, even qualifying for the Boston marathon.

WRIGHT: I got this devastating diagnosis and we just, my family and I we just kept on going. You know, there wasn't any reason to stop and be sorry. You know. We kept running marathons.

GUPTA: Incredibly now, in the last eight years, Wright who is now 70, has run 60 marathons in 41 states and his wife and daughter had been by his side for most of them. His goal is to run a marathon in every state.

WRIGHT: Finally after Boston we started to pick off states. Never imagining -- imagining, yes -- but never expecting to be able to finish all 50. Now, I'm really hoping for it.

GUPTA: Never expected that he could fulfill his dream because the median survival for his cancer is just five years. He's had a number of treatments that failed, but for the last three years, Wright has taken an experimental drug that is just one pill at night and it's kept the cancer at bay.

WRIGHT: It doesn't cure the cancer. But it keeps it stable. So, it's not hurting me. And I can still run. And I can still enjoy life and I'm riding that for all it's worth.

GUPTA: He has advice to others. Facing what seemed like insurmountable odds. Take charge of your own destiny and never give up hope.


GUPTA: You know, there's so many excuses people come up with not to train, not to participate in events like that. Right after his first marathon, he received this diagnosis.

But part of these human factors are stories of people who go in the other direction. They decide to do more marathons, do one in every state. Just a remarkable guy.

COSTELLO: What an awesome guy, you're right. Is it possible, though, that the exercise is actually helping keep him healthy?

GUPTA: You know, I think so. And I think this is more than an anecdotal. I think, first of all when you think about this type of cancer, multiple myeloma, it can affect the bones. The bones can actually fracture, you can have problems with them. Having them running maybe counterintuitively actually loads the bones a little bit more. Could make them a bit stronger.

Also, just the exercise itself probably boosts his immune system and some of the cancer fighting cells that naturally occur in the body. So I think the exercise could help and again, I think that is more than just anecdotal.

ROMANS: It is about living with cancer and not dying with cancer and that's really an important point here. This is a man who's living with cancer and there are millions of people who are living with cancer in different ways. Who is most at risk for this particular disease, Sanjay?

GUPTA: It's typically people who are over the age of 50. It's and typically men, African-Americans are more at risk, but with this multiple myeloma -- and it's a tough diagnosis - there's no absolute sort of risk factor for it. We're not entirely sure why some people get it and some people don't and also why some people respond better to treatments as Don seems to be doing so far. So fingers crossed for him.

COSTELLO: And toes.

Sanjay Gupta, thanks so much.

GUPTA: Absolutely.

ROMANS: And running races.

GUPTA: You've got it guys.

ROMANS: 57 minutes after the hour.


ROMANS: That wraps it up for us today. Another day of AMERICAN MORNING -- Carol.

COSTELLO: It does.

Now it's time for Ted Rowlands -- hey, Ted.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": Hey ladies, enjoy the rest of your day.