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American Morning

L.A. Unoccupied; Cain "Reassessing" Campaign; Reagan Shooter Seeks Freedom; Millions of Public Workers Go on Strike in U.K.; Interview with Actress Nichelle Nichols; 45th Anniversary of Star Trek; Lipitor Goes Generic; NBA Workouts Tomorrow

Aired November 30, 2011 - 08:00   ET



I'm Carol Costello.

More than 200 Occupy protesters arrested as the police in riot gear and hazmat suits move in.


Herman Cain reassessing his campaign after facing allegations that he had a 13-year affair, but the candidate showing no signs of surrender -- on this AMERICAN MORNING.


COSTELLO: And good morning to you. It is Wednesday, November 30th. Ali has the day off.

ROMANS: Good morning, everybody.

Happening right now: as many as 2 million public workers walking off the job today across Britain. They're protesting cuts to their pensions. Today's strike is causing massive disruptions and it's not just the U.K., but across the globe. Schools are closed, public transportation is down and there are long lines at airports and hospitals.

COSTELLO: And the airports, as Christine mentioned, also affected. A number of airplanes are already canceling flights into London and because immigration officials are also on strike, travelers who had to get their passports checked are being told to expect to wait in line -- up to 12 hours. We'll have a live report from London in less than 30 minutes.

ROMANS: Also developing right now, a bomb sniffing dog are reportedly going through the tattered remains of Occupy L.A. camps this morning, after police in riot gear cleared out those protesters overnight. The police chief saying more than 200 people were arrested after they ignored several 10-minute warnings to clear out. The protesters even had to be removed from trees in cherry pickers.

Sandra Endo is live in downtown L.A. for us this morning.

Sandra, what's happening now?

SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine, let me show you the very active scene here.

Take a look behind me. In front of city hall park right now, you see police officers in hazmat suits. They are going through the very careful process of cleaning this whole entire encampment up and they're going through all the tents. When we got a closer look up there, it looked like a tornado blew through the entire area. All the tents were flattened. That's because of the early morning raid.

What happened earlier around midnight protesters got the warning that police were going to come to evict them and that is when the protesters filled this entire street, Christine. Hundreds of them shutting it down. Police set up a perimeter around this area and then, essentially, had a sneak attack from behind city hall and took over control of the entire camp. And that's when there was a little bit of a scuffle. There's a lot of pushing and shoving. But overall, a very peaceful event.

A group of protesters then sat down in the middle of the camp, linked arms. Some people were crying, some people wearing masks around their faces and they basically said, look, we're going to get arrested for our cause. So, over the last few hours, that's what's been going on here.

Fourteen hundred cops were here on the scene to handle the situation. We saw the bomb squad, cops in riot gear and the fire department. And, so, it was a joint effort and, obviously, the mayor and police commissioner were very pleased with the whole event. They came out here, talked to reporters and said everything went smoothly with very minimal use of force -- Christine.

ROMANS: Sandra, do you know why those officers are wearing hazmat gear while they are going through the flattened tents?

ENDO: Well, Christine, I can tell you, I was in the middle of it when they were collapsing these tents and it is pretty filthy. These people have been here, these protesters for 60 days now.

And while they have tried to keep up to health code, when you take down that tent, we just saw a lot of filth. A lot of trash, a lot of liquids, we didn't know what it was and the odor is very, very strong.

So, they're keeping mind for their own safety and their own health out there with these hazmat suits. They don't want to get any kind of toxic chemical or any kind of dirt on them, as well.

And if you take a look way down there in the trees, they are still using a cherry picker to try to get perhaps a couple of the last-standing protesters out of a tree house that they have built. So, a lot of established little tents and little tree houses and boxes they've created over the 60 days here, Christine. So, still, the cops have a lot of work to do.

ROMANS: All right. Sandra Endo -- thanks for that, Sandra.

COSTELLO: I don't mean to laugh, but so bizarre that they're using cherry pickers to get protesters from trees.

ROMANS: Protesters said, we're not going. You got to come and get us, because we're not going on our own two feet.

COSTELLO: Making a stand.

ROMANS: There you go.

COSTELLO: OK. Herman Cain may call it quits. Maybe.

The Republican presidential hopeful says he is, quote, "reassessing his run for the White House following allegations he had had a long-term affair with an Atlanta businesswoman." That woman, Ginger White, appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" this morning, saying it was, quote, "a casual affair." She also added she thinks Herman Cain would not be a good president.

CNN political deputy director Paul Steinhauser is live in Washington.

So, the Cain camp tweeted out this morning that they were not going to end the campaign. So, what's the story?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes. Herman Cain does not sound like a candidate right now who is about to stomp his campaign. He gave a speech last night in Ohio where he didn't talk about these allegations at all. I just got off the phone with a campaign staffer traveling with the candidate who said, as far as he knows, it continues on.

Yesterday morning, though, it was a different Herman Cain. He sounded a little different. He was giving a conference call with his campaign staffers and he talked about reassessing the campaign.

He's done this four times before. This will be the fifth one.

Here's what he said on that conference call: "We have to do an assessment as to whether this will create too much of a cloud in some people's minds as to whether or not they will be able to support us going forth."

And as to that alleged affair, that 13-year affair, he said, "It's also taken a toll on my wife and family, as you would imagine."

But, Carol, later in the day, in the e-mail to supporters, Cain sounded much more forceful. Here's what he told supporters of his campaign. "Let me assure you, I am not deterred. America's future is too important. We will continue on this journey to make America great once again."

Well, the big question now for Herman Cain is support. We've seen his poll numbers starting to slide over the last couple weeks and with five weeks to go until the Iowa caucuses, does he have the money to continue on? Fund-raising is crucial. Will it dry up now?

Take a listen to what his top guy in Iowa told our John King last night on "J.K., USA".


STEVE GRUBBS, CAIN IOWA CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: We don't have major donors and he's not a candidate who is going to be able to self-fund the whole thing. So, if people make contributions, then we'll keep the campaign doors open and be able to keep paying people. Otherwise, Herman Cain will have to make a decision whether he can afford to keep moving forward. Now, I believe people will come through and I believe that we have enough supporters across the nation to keep this campaign viable.


STEINHAUSER: The so-called Cain train moves on today. Three stops in Ohio where the candidate may give us some details on this reassessment and tonight in New Hampshire where he may talk to reporters -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Paul Steinhauser reporting live from Washington -- thanks.

ROMANS: Of course, many people say that Gingrich would benefit the most if he were to drop out and the irony of that is not lost on people who would watch his political rise and fall, and rise again, too, because so many of his own issues about family values, I think they call them.

All right. New development with the Syracuse University sex abuse scandal. We're hearing from head coach basketball coach Jim Boeheim for the first time since his assistant Bernie Fine was fired, amid allegations of child molestation.

Here's what Boeheim said when asked why he spoke out so strongly in favor of his longtime friend.


JIM BOEHEIM, SYRACUSE MEN'S BASKETBALL COACH: I supported a friend, that's what I thought I did. I'm proud that I did. I think if you have known somebody and worked with somebody or worked with them for 36 years and known them for 48 years, and you went to school with them, I think you owe a debt of allegiance and gratitude for what he did for the program. And I -- that's what my reaction was. And -- so be it.


ROMANS: Ed Lavandera live for us in Syracuse this morning. Good morning, Ed.


Well, it's a difficult situation for Jim Boeheim to say the least. You know, Bernie Fine is not only his assistant coach. Bernie Fine lives right across the street from Jim Boeheim here in the Syracuse University area. But last night, the Syracuse basketball team on the basketball court playing Eastern Michigan University. They blew that team out of the water last night on the court.

When Jim Boeheim walked out into the arena, he got a strong ovation from the 19,000 people who attended the game last night, but after the game, as you saw a little clip of it there, there were very few questions about what happened on the court. Much of the questioning continues to focus around what's been happening off the court and these investigations.

Jim Boeheim says he's secure and not worried about losing his job here at the university where he's been the basketball coach for 36 years now. And Boeheim says even though he has a lot of control over what goes on with his basketball program, he doesn't have control over what adults do. He says all of this experience and learning and learning more details about this investigation are disheartening for him.


BOEHEIM: There's an investigation underway. There are no charges, there are no indictments. There is no grand jury. There is no action being taken. When that is done, then we will see what has happened on my watch.


LAVANDERA: So, Boeheim says, as we tried prodding him on what he knew and what has gone on with the various investigations that have happened. Back in 2002 with the Syracuse police department, as well as the university's investigation in 2005. He pretty much stuck to kind of a script that he had written out for himself and his comments that he made and didn't really waiver beyond much of that.

One interesting note, however, though, he was asked if he had listened to the audiotapes between Bernie Fine's wife and the first accuser, Bobby Davis. And Jim Boeheim says he has not listened to those tapes.

COSTELLO: Ed Lavandera, reporting live from Syracuse today -- thank you.

Still ahead on AMERICAN MORNING: he's inching closer to freedom. John Hinckley Jr., the man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan seeking his freedom this morning.

ROMANS: Also ahead, the mystery surrounding the $254 million Powerball jackpot. Those three wealthy financiers in Connecticut say there is no mysterious fourth man and they're revealing their plans for what to do with all that money.

COSTELLO: And listen up, Trekkies. You may have seen "Star Trek" documentaries before, but nothing like this. It's called "Trek Nation" -- a journey to discover who the creator of "Star Trek" really was. Actress Nichelle Nichols who played Lieutenant Uhura weighs in as she stops by our studios live.

It's 10 minutes past the hour.


ROMANS: Breaking news right now.

The world central bankers are bringing out the big guns to support the global financial system and banking system. The goal is to increase credit to households and businesses, according to the United States Federal Reserve, to foster economic activity. What this is, it's the Federal Reserve, the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the Swiss National Bank -- they're all stepping in and saying that they're going to increase liquidity in the global markets.

We told you earlier that China had lowered some lending requirements earlier this morning, as well. It's showing you that they're seeing strains in the banking system and all the big guns are saying we're going to step in and make sure that this isn't going to hurt you, your ability to get a job, your ability to borrow money.

And the news is sending overseas markets and U.S. stock futures surging. The Dow futures up right now up more than 230 points.

And I'll point out the German stock market is up 4.5 percent.


ROMANS: We talked to Ken Rogoff earlier this morning about the big concerns about Europe becoming unglued here and how Germany is so central to that. You can see that investors, at least, are saying this gives Germany some breathing space to help fix the problems in Europe.

COSTELLO: All right. Let's head to Atlanta to check in with Rob Marciano for a different kind of number. Good morning.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, guys. The numbers have been topsy-turvy the past couple days with unseasonably warm temps across the northeast and pretty chilly stuff down across the south including snow falling in unusual spots. Today, the atmosphere is going to try to even things out.

Currently, it's almost 60 degrees in Bangor, Maine, Boston in lower to mid 50s. Meanwhile, in D.C., we dropped into the 30s, in Lexington, into the 30s as well, and below 30 in places like Milwaukee, Wisconsin. So, breezing cool behind this front which is eventually getting off and off towards the northeast.

Central part of the country is nice, but the next storm from Canada drops into the Rockies and that will bring some snow, especially to the Northern Rockies six to 12 inches there, and then later on to the Southern Rockies and the Wasatch of Utah, but that cool dome of air is going to help instigate what will likely be a pretty serious Santa Ana wind event with winds going offshore late on today in Los Angeles.

And through San Francisco will likely see some winds gusting over hurricane strength to maybe 70 or 80 miles an hour especially through the canyons down trees and power lines likely in some of these spots, and this will probably, at least, one, if not, two-day event. So, it's going to slow down some travel, obviously, in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Also, some windy travel across parts of the northeast and through New York City and the metro areas there, and Cleveland and Detroit, maybe some morning flurries. Forty-nine degrees in Atlanta. It will be 52 degrees in New York, and we'll start to get things back to normal, I suppose, after a couple days of wackiness.



COSTELLO: Thank you, Rob.

MARCIANO: All right, guys.

ROMANS: All right. The man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan is seeking his freedom. Attorneys for John Hinckley will appear in court today. You'll remember that President Reagan was shot six times March 30th, 1981. He nearly died after one bullet landed just an inch from his heart. Three others were injured in that shooting, including the White House press secretary, James Brady.

COSTELLO: Boy, that's clear as day in my memory. Clear as day. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and you might remember, he planned to kill Reagan in order to impress actress, Jodie Foster, but Hinckley's doctors now say his mental problems are in remission.

So, let's bring in our CNN legal analyst, I apologize, Paul, I have a cold. I'm having trouble talking today.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, now, I know where I got it.

COSTELLO: I'm staying away from both of you.


CALLAN: I've got a new deeper voice --

COSTELLO: Something new came out of the story for me. I didn't know that John Hinckley's kind of mental illness could be in remission.

CALLAN: Well, yes, it can. I mean, in theory, if we believe psychiatrists, which a lot of people don't, most types of mental illness are curable. And he's responded --

COSTELLO: Are curable. I mean, through medication.

CALLAN: Yes, through medication.

COSTELLO: But they're saying his mental illness, at least, part of it, is in remission.

CALLAN: Well, they're saying that he was suffering from a number of conditions such as depression and other conditions, which led to him to do, to shoot President Reagan and to stalk Jodie Foster. With medication, the psychiatrists say he's fine.

He's only suffering from one problem, which they say is his core problem is narcissism, which, by the way, seems to inflict a lot of people in Washington, D.C. Self-love or admiration. But he's got a very, very serious form of it and that continues and that's what psychiatrists, government psychiatrists, are saying could cause him problems.

ROMANS: The hospital wants to expand Hinckley's trips to visit his mother who lives in Virginia, allowing him two trips for 17 days each, six trips for 24 days each, total of 178 days outside the hospital. That's half a year.

The hospital would also like the power to temporarily release him without court approval with a goal of eventually letting him go home full time. So, he's not guilty by reason of insanity. They say that he's treated for these core problems that he has. So, should he be allowed to go home?

CALLAN: Well, that's what the court and the federal judge is going to have to decide. And I think most people would be shocked to know that Hinckley, who shot President Reagan, has been leaving the hospital pretty much unsupervised now for a number of years.

ROMANS: Just has to check in with the secret service or something, right?

CALLAN: Yes. Well, he calls in and says where he is and the secret service kind of generally knows, but I'm sure they don't have an agent following him. As a matter of fact, he's under orders to become a community volunteer, I think, in Williamsburg, Virginia where his 85-year-old mother lives.

So, he's out of the hospital a lot. And the hospital now is trying to work toward permanent release, which I think would shock a lot of people for a guy who shot the president of the United States.

COSTELLO: You would think that if you shoot the president, that's it. Don't care if you're insane or not. You shot the president of the United States which disrupts the country -- the president of the United States, how could you think of letting someone out of custody?

CALLAN: Well, we have a law or at least we had a law at the time that if you're found not guilty by reason of insanity, that you go to a mental hospital, and if you are cured of the insanity, you must be released. As a matter of fact, that law was so controversial after this happened that the law was changed in every state in the United States to make it almost impossible to get off on an insanity defense.

You never see it successful because of Hinckley. But, getting back now to this story, I mean, the government is really worried about this, because the doctors make a compelling case that Hinckley is getting pretty normal with medication.

ROMANS: He's had some odd behavior with women, in particular. I mean, that's something the government has been concerned about.

CALLAN: Well, here's what the government says, because they're -- you know, they're going through the records in great detail to try to convince the federal judge, you can't release this guy. And they find that in 2009, he had dental appointments with a dentist, a female dentist, and he went back to his computer in the hospital, and he started looking her up, Googling her to try to find pictures of her.

Now, that is similar to the Jodie Foster stalking activity that occurred way back in 1981. So, they're saying, you know, there's still residual indications here that he's got a problem with women, and we should look at all of his computers to see what's been going on with this guy. We don't have enough information.

The government also criticizes hospital psychiatrists saying, you know, they're advocating his release, but they haven't done an adequate risk assessment. They haven't looked at his computers. They haven't really thoroughly explored and examined his current obsessions to see whether he should be released.

COSTELLO: Just a final question about shooting, you know, attempting to assassinate the president of the United States. When they're looking at this case, when the judge is looking at the Hinckley case, will the fact that he shot President Reagan enter into the decision or doesn't it matter?

CALLAN: Well, in theory, it doesn't matter at all. A crime is a crime, and whether it's shooting the president or shooting an ordinary citizen, the issue is not what the crime was. Remember, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. So, the only issue is, is he a danger to himself or others psychiatrically?

And if those two questions are answered with, no, he's not such a danger, the law says he must be released. Now, will they release him? I don't think they will. I think a federal judge, in the back of his mind, he knows it's Reagan who was shot, look at these other cases we have.

You know, Sirhan Sirhan still in prison, Charlie Manson, still in prison, son of Sam David Berkowitz, still in prison, Jeffrey Dahmer, all of these cases involving these high-profile dangerous people still in prison, but, they were not found not guilty by reason of insanity.

They were up for parole here, and they don't get released and the Hinckley standard is very, very minimal here. So, I'm starting to get a little nervous that they might let this guy out.

COSTELLO: We'll see.

CALLAN: We'll have to see how it plays out. It's going to be a lot of discomfort in the Washington, D.C., Virginia area, if John Hinckley is finally released.

COSTELLO: I think Jeffrey Dahmer died in prison.

ROMANS: He was killed. I think he was killed in prison.


CALLAN: Yes, and by the way, just doing a historic background on it. Two others who shot at presidents, one shot at Andrew Jackson and somebody shot Teddy Roosevelt. They both spent the rest of their life in mental asylums, even though they were found not guilty by reason of insanity. So, historically, we don't let these guys out.

COSTELLO: We'll keep an eye on it.


COSTELLO: The decision is supposed to come some time this week. We'll see.


COSTELLO: Paul Callan, thank you very much.

ROMANS: All right. We're going to check the surging early morning markets.

Next, a big move to try to support the banking system under way.

And also, you want to own a piece of the Empire State Building? We're going to tell you about that.

COSTELLO: And this is different and a rather bold move. Rocker, Elvis Costello, was urging his fans not to buy his new album. Say what? Twenty-three minutes past the hour.


ROMANS: Twenty-six minutes after the hour. "Minding Your Business" this morning.

Stock markets in Europe surging. Futures up big. The world central bankers are bringing out the big guns to support the world's financial system, essentially. They're seeing strains in the global banking system, so they're moving to increase liquidity in the global market so that you're still able to borrow money so that banks can still borrow money easily.

This news sending the world's markets up. Stock futures soaring. Dow right now up more than 250 points. German stock market up more than 4.5 percent. That's a pretty huge move for one day.

You could soon own a piece of the Empire State Building, if you want. The folks that own the New York City landmark have reportedly filed papers to create a publicly traded company that would allow people like you and me to invest in the world's most famous skyscraper and other new York properties, as well.

Rocker, Elvis Costello, telling fans not to buy his new limited edition box set because of its price. $339.98. The singer saying on his website, quote, "the price appears to be either a misprint or a satire." That box set, by the way, includes a DVD, CD, ten-inch vinyl, a book, and an autograph.

Up next, airport delays, schools close, workers in the UK go on strike. We're live in London. AMERICAN MORNING back right after this break.


COSTELLO: Massive delays and disruptions across Britain this morning. An estimated 2 million public workers now on strike, shutting down schools and forcing airlines to cancel flights, on this AMERICAN MORNING.

Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. It's 30 minutes past the hour. It's time for your top stories.

More than 200 people arrested overnight as police cleared out Occupy protesters near Los Angeles. They were warned to leave their camp near city hall. Hundreds of police in riot gear and hazmat suits moving in. The move comes 48 hours after a deadline to get out expired.

ROMANS: A bloody night in Cairo. At least 62 people injured by rocks, bottles, and fire bombs in Tahrir Square all while Egyptians continued heading to the polls for the second day of elections. They're choosing members of a lower house of parliament who will then be asked to draft a new constitution for Egypt.

COSTELLO: Hillary Clinton arrived in Myanmar this morning. She is the first secretary of state to visit the southeast Asian nation in five decades. The historic two-day trip comes on the heels of dramatic confessions by president Thein Sein and his new government. They recently freed dozens of political prisoners, including Nobel Peace laureate and opposition leader Aung Sun Suu Kyi.

ROMANS: Vice President Joe Biden marking the upcoming end of the Iraq war with a surprise visit to Baghdad. He arrived yesterday for meetings with Iraqi leaders and to say thanks to the last U.S. troops who will be coming home by the end of the year.

COSTELLO: No sign of quitting in Herman Cain after telling his staff he is reassessing his campaign. The embattled businessman delivered a speech on foreign policy and national security at a Michigan college last night, and he's going ahead with campaign stops in Ohio today.

ROMANS: All right, also, as we speak, up to 2 million public workers are planning to walk off the job today across the U.K. It's because the government is planning to reform retirement benefits. The massive strike is disrupting schools, hospitals, public transportation and more. Quite frankly, they're saying it is the largest in a generation, the largest public strikes in the U.K. in a generation.

COSTELLO: You got that right, because, as you mention, the airports, there are also delays at Heathrow. A number of airlines have already canceled flights into London and we assume out of London, as well. Immigration officials also on strike, travelers being warned to expect to wait in line for up to 12 hours if they need to get their passports checked.

ROMANS: Let's go live to Erin McLaughlin. She's on the phone with us from London. This is all about the same storyline we have been hearing around the world, Erin, that is governments tightening their belts and people are the ones that feel it and people are not that happy about it, and certainly that's what's going on with public workers here in the U.K.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. I'm here in central London where thousands of public sector workers it looks like are marching towards a central area where they plan on rallying against these government pension plans. Part of the tensions, quite simply, the government wants public sector workers here in the U.K. contribute more to their pension and to work longer. Union leaders are saying that government proposals leave them worse off, Christine, at a time when they have seen pay freeze in times of increases in costs of living. Now, government officials are saying, basically, look, people are living longer. The cost of providing the current pension plan is rising, and that cost is being paid by the U.K. taxpayer.

COSTELLO: Erin McLaughlin reporting live from London for us, thank you.

New York City under gridlock alert today with the president heading to Wall Street and the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting scheduled for tonight. A performance by Justin Bieber at the tree lighting ceremony was actually pre-taped because organizers feared a traffic nightmare.

ROMANS: Holiday tree or Christmas tree, hot debate in the state of Rhode Island ever since independent governor Lincoln Chafee invited everyone to come see the holiday tree lighting at the state house. Critics, including one leading Republican, saying he shouldn't even bother with the ceremony if he's not going to call it a Christmas tree.

Chaffee is not backing down. He says people who have a problem with the term "holiday," they should use their energy to help the needy, instead. It wouldn't be the holiday season, the Christmas season, or whatever season without people arguing about what kind of season it is. COSTELLO: It is the war on Christmas.

ROMANS: Every year we have a war on Christmas. Here it is, again.

COSTELLO: Three hedge fund managers who won the Powerball lottery say they will give away $1 million to charity. The Connecticut trio won a whopping $254 million. They now plan to set up a trust fund to benefit U.S. veterans and those returning home from deployment, you know, to help with the holidays.

In the meantime, the men are denying reports they accepted the winnings on behalf of a client who wished to remain anonymous.

ROMANS: All right, up next, we are very excited with our next guest. We're going Star Trekking with actress Nichelle Nichols who played Lieutenant Uhura in the classic show. She is here in our studio to talk about the new documentary "Trek Nation," and it is a delight to have her here. It is about 36 minutes after the hour.


COSTELLO: And good morning, welcome back. Star trek fans are waiting anxiously for a new documentary to premiere tonight on the Science Channel titled "Trek Nation." It's the story of how show creator Gene Roddenberry's son Rod as he tries to understand who he was and the impact "Star Trek" had.


ROD RODDENBERRY, SON OF GENE RODDENBERRY: I set out to learn what Star Trek meant to people. Why do you like this show so much?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've never seen this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think what your father was doing resonated because it actually talked about us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Star Trek" expanded your imagination of what was possible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gene Roddenberry was truly a visionary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Star Trek" equals genius. He was the guy. This was his thing.

ROD RODDENBERRY: I never really set out to learn about my dad, but it finally kind of dawned on me that it was the man behind "Star Trek" that I was really interested in.


COSTELLO: Wow. Joining us now is Nichelle Nichols who played Lieutenant Uhura on the original "Star Trek" and was interviewed as part of that documentary. Thank you for joining us this morning. NICHELLE NICHOLS, PLAYED LT. UHURA ON "STAR TREK": It's my pleasure. Thank you for having me. This is, anything to get back to New York every once in a while.

COSTELLO: Yes, exactly. I hope you have some fun, too.

NICHOLS: I used to live here and I miss it very much.

COSTELLO: It is an awesome city. Now, 45 years, can you believe that "Star Trek" was born.

NICHOLS: I wasn't even born.


ROMANS: What was it like to see the old clips of Gene Roddenberry when this was created and you go back and see this from the beginning again and learn about him.

NICHOLS: He was family. Young Rod, we called him "Young Rod," was family. Like I always tease him and tell him, I knew you were before you were born in your mommy's tummy. So, I really have known him all his life. And to see him come to the stage where he didn't really know who his father was. He was only 17 when his father died. And prior to that, he knew his dad did something in show business, but he was out doing things with his buddies, you know.

And then suddenly his father dies and he goes to a Star Trek convention and he's like just amazed, stunned. And who are these people? What? I mean, he began the quest of who was my father, because he was just dad.

COSTELLO: Well, I'm sure he asked that question of you. Who was my father? Who was my father? And how did you answer that question?

NICHOLS: A great man, a great visionary, and in one way a very ordinary man until his vision needed to be expressed. And then he was a powerhouse. He had a wicked sense of humor and loved to play jokes on people.

And -- , but he was vital and strong. And once he was your friend, once he believed in you, he went to bat for you.

ROMANS: You said it was like a family. What was it like with the different personalities on the set? You know, because William Shatner became this big star. How did he manage everyone?

NICHOLS: Walk around them when and they'd walk around me when you're into something. Otherwise, we were like one, I was going to say, big happy family. But we were like one big family.

COSTELLO: I was going to say here at CNN we are a part of one, big, loving, dysfunctional family.

NICHOLS: Exactly. And that keeps it interesting, you know. COSTELLO: Gene Roddenberry by casting you in that specific role because you weren't just another character, you were an important character and you had a position of power on that program.

NICHOLS: Uhura was chief communications officer, fourth in command. I didn't find out I was fourth in command until the second season.


NICHOLS: Nobody told me. But it was something you looked forward to doing every morning, couldn't wait to get to the studio.

ROMANS: Is it true that at one point you thought about going back to the theater and a very famous fan came to you and said you can't. You have got to be the role model that you are. You are changing the destiny for women, for black women.

NICHOLS: Yes. I told gene on a Friday that at the end of the first season that I was going. B thanked him very much for the opportunity, but I was going to leave the show because I wanted to return to my roots, which is musical theater as an actor, dancer, choreographer, singer, which he knew about.

And he looked at me and said you can't do that. Don't you see what I'm trying to achieve here? If you leave now -- and then he said, no, I know what you feel, take the weekend and think about it.

The next night on a Saturday night I went to an NAACP fundraiser, I think it was, and someone, one of the organizers came over to me at the dance and said, Ms. Nichols, there's someone who wants to meet you. He says he's your biggest fan. And I said, oh, and I'm thinking a trekker, you know. And so I turn and there's the face of Dr. Martin Luther King smiling at me, walking at me. And all I could do was --

ROMANS: Not faint.

NICHOLS: Because this was my leader. I see him every night on television marching and all of the things and changing history. And he walked up to me and he laughed, and he said, yes, Ms. Nichols, I am your fan, I am your greatest fan.

And so, when I finally got anything to say, I said, thank you so much, Dr. King. I'm going to miss my co-stars. He said, "What are you talking about?" And I said, "Well I told Gene I'm leaving." He said, "You can't. Don't you know who you are to our movement, to everyone who's -- you are there in the 23rd century. You've created a role that has such dignity and everything. It's powerful. You cannot leave."

He told me many other things like this is one of the only shows that I -- Coretta and I allow our little children to stay up and watch.

COSTELLO: That's terrific then. NICHOLS: So I went back the next Monday morning and told Gene and he said, "God bless Dr. Martin Luther King. Somebody sees what I'm trying to achieve."


ROMANS: And here you are.

NICHOLS: And here I am.

COSTELLO: All these years later still talking.

NICHOLS: How many did you say?


NICHOLS: I can't believe it.

ROMANS: And it spawns new fans or new fans are born every day for this movement. Kids who grow up and then they start -- they get exposed to it and then they are into it, and amazing the generations.

NICHOLS: Yes, exactly.

ROMANS: And that vision. So, we look forward to seeing the documentary.

NICHOLS: This documentary is amazing because this young man who didn't know who his father was set out to do it and, now, what's so amazing about him, is he's becoming his father. He wrote and produced it and, suddenly, he knows through -- through the search not only who his father is, but who he is.


NICHOLS: Oh it's a magnificent --

COSTELLO: We can't wait to watch it.

And thank you so much for coming in. It's always wonderful to see you.

NICHOLS: It's my pleasure, thank you for having me.

ROMANS: All right, "Trek Nation" premieres tonight on the Science Channel at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific.

COSTELLO: AMERICAN MORNING will be back with "Morning Headlines" next. Its 46 minutes past the hour.


COSTELLO: Forty-eight minutes past the hour. Here are you "Morning Headlines".

Markets open in less than 45 minutes and right now U.S. stock futures are surging after the Federal Reserve, along with five other central banks took new steps this morning to make it cheaper for banks around the world to trade in U.S. dollars. According to the Federal Reserve, this is meant to lessen the strains on the supply of credit to households and businesses and in return foster economic activity.

In Britain, as many as two million workers are walking off the job today because of proposed pension reforms. Schools, hospitals and border patrols are all expected to be affected by today's strike.

Riot police evicted Wall Street protesters in Los Angeles overnight. They were warned to leave their camp near city hall; 200 were arrested.

Four men charged in the Amish beard cutting case are headed to court today for arraignment. The men each face hate crime charges for shaving beard and cutting hair of members in a rival Amish group. A man's beard and head hair are sacred in the Amish religion.

Penn State is holding a town hall today on its child sex scandal. Students will be able to ask questions of the university president.

And the man identified as victim number one in the Jerry Sandusky indictment will testify at a hearing in two weeks. That coming from the accuser's attorney. It will be the first time the alleged victim will publicly confront Sandusky.

Funeral services will be held this morning for the Florida college student killed in an alleged hazing incident. 26-year-old Robert Champion was a drum major for Florida Agricultural Mechanical University. He died last week. The school's band director was fired. He's says he'll speak at the funeral.

And Herman Cain is pressing on. He's going ahead with a planned campaign stop in Ohio today after telling his staff yesterday he's reassessing his candidacy. That following a Georgia woman's claim she had a 13-year affair with the GOP candidate.

And it's enough to turn any commuter into Scrooge. A gridlock alert in effect in New York City today with President Obama heading to Wall Street and the Rockefeller Center tree lighting also happening tonight, but a performance by Justin Bieber was pre-taped with tree- lighting organizers fearing an Obama-Biebs traffic nightmare.

And that's the news you need to start your day. AMERICAN MORNING, back after a break.


ROMANS: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue where it's partly cloudy and 42 degrees right now, mostly sunny later on today and maybe 51. Welcome back, everyone.

And in "AM House Call" and a disturbing trend is developing with HIV patients here in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control says only 28 percent of the 1.2 million Americans with HIV are taking medicine regularly to control the disease; 28 percent. Patients who do undergo regular treatments are 96 percent less likely to pass HIV along to their partners.

And today is a big day for patients taking Lipitor. One of the popular drugs used to treat high cholesterol. Today Pfizer's patent on the drug runs out, which means other companies can start making generic brands, which in turn should mean it will cost a lot less for you; 17 million people are on Lipitor.

All right, time to work out the rust, right? NBA teams will begin hosting voluntary workouts tomorrow. Officially training camps will not open until December 9th. The NBA players and owners reached a deal to end that long lockout last week. The regular season is now scheduled to start on Christmas day. That's about two months late.

COSTELLO: Six minutes until the top of the hour. We'll be back.


COSTELLO: Ok, that's kind of a gorgeous shot, isn't it? Good morning, New York. Cloudy right now; actually the sun is peeking out. It's 47 degrees. Later today, mostly sunny with a high of 52.

ROMANS: And maybe 60 blocks downtown, closer to the New York Stock Exchange they're looking for a sunny day to because futures, stock futures, the Dow futures are up 250 points right now and European markets are surging. You have the German stock market up almost 5 percent.

It's because the fed, the European Central Bank, altogether five world Central Banks have promised that they're going to support the global financial system. That they're going to make it easier for the banks to do business in dollar funding. I don't want to get to in the weeds here. But basically what it means is there were signs of strain in the credit markets and the world central bankers are standing up and saying we're going to do everything we can to make sure we don't have a credit crunch like we did in 2008.

COSTELLO: Yes. And stocks are -- or futures surging as a result, which is a good thing. Right?

ROMANS: Yes. Yes.

COSTELLO: Finally this morning, Brian Williams. Did you see the "NBC Nightly News" last night? Because Brian Williams faced, it was so embarrassing, yet it was funny. The fire alarm just started going off right in the middle of the newscast. Watch.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, ANCHOR, "NBC NIGHTLY NEWS": Good evening, perhaps it's because of its name. For all the bankruptcies we've covered in this grim U.S. economy, this one gets your attention.

You'll forgive us, we have a fire alarm announcement going on here in the studio. Again, we have an announcement going on here in the studio.

Tom Costello, we should advise our viewers, there's no danger to us. We'd love to make this stop, why don't you take it from our Washington bureau.

We thought all the speakers were turned off in here. Looks like we have a routine alarm one floor below our studio. All is well.


ROMANS: The fire alarm kept going off through most of the broadcast. An NBC spokesperson later tweeted the system should have been turned off, but, obviously, they're still working out the kinks there.

I thought it was, you know -- when you look at something like a network broadcast that is so well-produced, right, and then something goes wrong like that. You really get to test the mettle of the journalist. And I thought he did a great job. Tom Costello everybody.

COSTELLO: I thought it was interesting when it first -- it first started to go off. Brian Williams didn't flinch. He didn't get up out of his seat and run like normal people would. He just stayed there.

ROMANS: Journalists aren't normal people. When you see a crowd running this way, you run to see what they're running from. That's what we do.

COSTELLO: Let's head to Atlanta now and check in with Don Lemon. Good morning, Don.

ROMANS: Good morning, Don.