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American Morning

Congress Debates Payroll Tax Cut; Herman Cain to Continue Campaign; Occupy Wall Street Moves into Office; U.S. Soldiers Leaving Iraq; Iraq Ready to Stand on Its Own?; Asian Markets Up After U.S. Rally; Cain Still "Reassessing"; Egypt Waits for Election Results; Freedom University; Clinton Meeting Aung San Suu Kyi; Cheerleader's Nasty Tumble; Senator McCain Disses Long Island; Federal Reserve Helping Bailout Europe; 2,360 Millionaires Received Unemployment Benefits in 2009; White House Honors World AIDS Days

Aired December 01, 2011 - 06:59   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): It's OK to look at your 401(k) today. The biggest rally on Wall Street of the year after the Federal Reserve makes a move to save the world from financial doom.

HERMAN CAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The establishment does not want Herman Cain to get this nomination.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Talking to his wife, checking the cash flow. Herman Cain gets closer to making a decision on the future of his presidential campaign with new allegations of an affair threatening to tear it down.

COSTELLO: Marking the end and the beginning. Iraq holding a ceremony this morning honoring U.S. soldiers who are leaving after more than eight years of war.

ROMANS: And Wall Street protesters inside cubicles. A CNN exclusive. The first look inside Occupy headquarters on this AMERICAN MORNING.


COSTELLO: And good morning to you. It is Thursday, and yes, it is December, December 1st.


COSTELLO: I know. It's crazy. Ali has the day off. I'm Carol Costello along with Christine Romans on AMERICAN MORNING.

ROMANS: Good morning, everybody. Let's start this morning with markets watching and waiting to see if Wall Street's rally can hold for a second day. Stocks closed up in Asia, though, markets are mixed in Europe, and U.S. stock futures are trading a little bit lower. All of this coming after a milestone day for your investments.

The Dow posted its best day in more than 2 1/2 years yesterday, up 490 points. The NASDAQ and the broader S&P 500 up more than four percent each after the Fed teamed up with other central banks around the world to shore up the global financial system.

Our Nina Dos Santos is live in London. Nina, good morning. I mean, it was an important day yesterday, but all eyes this morning are on what happens next and whether Europe can really get its act together to make sure we don't go to the brink with these funding markets again.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's now the trillion dollar question really, isn't it, Christine? It's becoming more and more expensive question to answer every single day.

And basically, the consensus is where I am, and this is one of the reasons why the markets are mixed, is that although the central bankers have their act together to try to act where the Eurozone politicians can't, if they do not see some kind of concerted follow-up action coming within the next ten days, while things could start to unravel again.

In fact we had one very senior member of the European Union, the economic affairs commissioner for the entire European Union, saying that basically we only have ten days to solve the Eurozone crisis or we could see a collapse of the single currency, and that could have huge ramifications. The other 10 countries inside the European Union that aren't Eurozone members have their own currencies, but they're still part of the EU. That's one of the reasons people are particularly concerned today and it's one of the reasons why the market where I am are mixed at the moment, Christine.

ROMANS: Talking about those 17 countries and the other 10 countries. And then from where I sit here in New York, it is the concern about how that spreads around the world if the -- if the Eurozone does continue to unravel.

Nina Dos Santos, looking to continue to check in which you about it. Thanks, Nina.

COSTELLO: And we are going to continue talking about your money now, specifically how much more you can be paying in taxes next year to the tune of a thousand dollars. We are talking about the payroll tax.

ROMANS: It was meant to be a holiday, the payroll holiday tax. Last year Congress cut the amount of money pulls from its paycheck to pay for Social Security. The average worker takes home about $1,000 more because of it this year. This morning Republicans are pushing a new way to keep the tax cut on the books for now. The big rub is how to pay for it. The president has put the pressure on Congress not to take money away from working Americans.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This cannot be about who wins and loses in Washington. This is about delivering a win for the American people. (APPLAUSE)

MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY) SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I think at the end of the day there is a lot of sentiment in our congress, clearly a majority sentiment for continuing the payroll tax relief we enacted a year ago in these tough times. But we believe with this kind of deficit we ought to pay for it.


COSTELLO: So let's take a look at both plans. Senate Republican leaders introduced a bill that would keep the payroll tax rate at the current level another year in part by freezing the pay of federal employees through 2015. The GOP plan also invites millionaires and billionaires like Warren Buffett to voluntarily pay more taxes if they feel they are not being taxed enough.

ROMANS: Here is the Democrats plan. They want to cut the payroll tax even more, adding an extra $500 to your take-home salary. They would pay for it by adding an additional tax on all millionaires.

COSTELLO: Herman Cain, let's talk about him. He is not waving the white flag just yet. The embattled candidate says he's still reassessing his presidential campaign and will make a decision whether to press on or drop out within the next several days.

If he is throwing in the towel, it's hard to tell, because Cain is ready to launch a new campaign ad in Iowa while barnstorming in Ohio. CNN's deputy political director Paul Steinhauser live in Washington for us. I guess his decision may come Friday when Cain sits down with Mrs. Cain.

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes. I guess it could come or be in the hands of his family. That's when he says. He says come Friday he will meet with his wife and talk about this. Take a listen to what Herman Cain said last night to reporters in New Hampshire.


HERMAN CAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Number one, so since I have been campaigning all week, I haven't had an opportunity to sit down with her and walk through this with my wife and my family. I will do that when I get back home on Friday. Secondly, reevaluate the support of my supporters. It has been overwhelming so far. Thirdly, reevaluate the impact that this has on fundraising.


STEINHAUSER: Former businessman said when it comes to fundraising, he said his numbers started to take a dip earlier this week after of course that Atlanta businesswoman claims she had a 13- year affair with Herman Cain. Hay says since then the numbers have started to -- fund-raising started to come back. He also said some of his warm weather supporters have jumped ship on the so-called Cain train. So this weekend he meets with the family whether to continue to continue on with his presidential campaign. But on Friday, tomorrow, in Iowa, Herman Cain goes up with a new television ad. Take a listen.


CAIN: The engine of economic growth is the business sector. Now this is good.


STEINHAUSER: But it is a very small buy, Carol, not much money being put into running this ad on TV. His campaign says Herman Cain will be back in Iowa and that he will take part in a debate there in about a week-and-a-half. But that could all change with an announcement maybe next week that he could possibly be dropping his bid for the White House.

COSTELLO: Paul Steinhauser live in Washington. Also tonight a CNN exclusive -- Piers Morgan goes one-on-one with Herman Cain's attorney Lin Wood. That's at 9:00 eastern only on CNN.

ROMANS: So we are about to take you now where cameras haven't been allowed before, inside the new Occupy Wall Street operation. After getting kicked out of Zuccotti Park, movement organizers have chosen two New York City locations to set up shop, choices that are practically dripping with irony. Poppy Harlow now with a CNN exclusive.


POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM CORRESPONDENT: Zuccotti Park is nearly all cleared out, but Occupy has moved to places that you probably wouldn't expect, including an office right off of Wall Street.

MEGAN HAYES, OCCUPIER: You walk in and get a name tag like this.

HARLOW: Is this Occupy headquarters?

HAYES: Not at all. This is one of our offices. Because they closed Zuccotti Park we are spreading out our resources so we can have people join us and continue to work and plan.

HARLOW: Show us around.

HAYES: This is some of our working spaces. You can see lots of occupiers working here. We have some offices to help people staying in the park who are now homeless.

HARLOW: Copy machines.

HAYES: As every office needs, we have our copy machines.

HARLOW: Rent in Manhattan is not cheap. How are you paying for this? HAYES: We are not. It's donations. Our office furniture was donated. Our food, water donated.

HARLOW: This really stands out to me walking in here. What print media is say being the movement today. So they're posting all the stuff that we, the media, are putting out there. You are keeping an eye on us.

HAYES: Of course.

HARLOW: Is it a more professional movement now? You have an office. Is it different now?

HAYWOOD CAREY, OCCUPIER: No, I don't think so. One of the things we are trying to reconcile here is we are trying to show the world a different way of doing things. And though we may be in an office space, we want to stay true to exactly who we are.

HARLOW: So there is no boss on this office floor?

CAREY: Absolutely not. We are a movement without leadership. People will say a bunch of anarchists can't run anything. They will do whatever they want. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have layer upon layer upon layer of structure, regulations, guidelines. The difference is that we as a people came up with those.

HARLOW: Here right next to the New York stock exchange and Trump building is another public meeting area for Occupy Wall Street where a lot of them have gone since Zuccotti Park got evicted.

CAREY: It is a little bit ironic this is actually the lobby of a bank, but that actually makes it so much more important to us.

HARLOW: Is this as important as your office is that we were in earlier.

CAREY: This space is much more important than the office.


CAREY: Because what you are seeing right here is decision- making. I can't tell you what we are going to look like in a year. But what I can say is what you see around here is what is going to determine what we look like.


HARLOW: I have to tell you this was an amazingly surprising experience to see how the movement has transformed. Also I want to be candid to tell you when we brought our cameras to the first location, I was yelled at by some Occupiers who said we don't want you hear. We don't want CNN here. But the majority of them wanted us there. They wanted us to see how they are operating now.

As they say, it is a movement where no one is the boss. So the majority wanted us there and so we were allowed in to see it. But it is fascinating to see how much it has changed from no tents to cubicles.

COSTELLO: They say they are paying for this from donations. Where do those donations come from?

HARLOW: That is the key question. I asked a number of times who donated the office space to you. It is expensive, right off of Wall Street. They said we don't know. We don't know who did. Some people knew but didn't want to tell us. One joked around and said George Soros, obviously a big joke. But they don't know where a lot of it is coming from.

What you didn't see we have online, we went to two other places, community center right by Wall Street where they are gathering as well, and the storage facility was fascinating to see, up to the ceiling with pillows, blankets, clothing, hand warmers, food, a medical chest. And they say they are getting hundreds of boxes of donations sent in every day.

So I think the key here is should the people that have opposed the movement or the naysayers who say they are organized at all, they're gone now that they're not in the park, I wonder what they're thinking now seeing what they're doing in these offices.

COSTELLO: And then they want to make sure they don't turn into a run of the mill think tank. They want to have that special thing about them that isn't just office buildings and people who are sending out mass e-mails for donations.

HARLOW: They don't want to become a corporation.

COSTELLO: Poppy Harlow, thanks.

ROMANS: Still to come honoring the sacrifices and accomplishments of U.S. and Iraqi troops more than eight years of war. A live report from Baghdad just ahead.

COSTELLO: And we will take you inside the secret classroom of Freedom University, a place where undocumented students get a chance at higher education. It's 10 minutes past the hour.


COSTELLO: It's 12 minutes past the hour. Welcome back.

Iraq giving thanks in an overnight ceremony at Camp Victory. Iraqi officials paid tribute to U.S. and coalition troops as well as their own for service through more than eight years of war. Vice President Biden is in attendance. The tribute coming weeks before American troops completely complete their withdrawal.

CNN's Martin Savidge live in Baghdad. And Martin, I guess the western media was invited and then was disinvited. Why?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it is still a point of serious contention. The explanation we were given is security. However, that really does not seem to fly too well.

First of all, this is a fledgling democracy. We planted the seeds of this whole idea of freedoms given to people and freedom of the press. And this is the start of the first series of gran events to mark the end of the U.S. military presence in Iraq, and the western media is disinvited.

Up until 12 hours ago we were going to be there. We were told what to expect. Midnight last night we get a phone call saying no, don't bother coming to the checkpoint. You will not be allowed in. We were told security because they just didn't have enough room for everybody inside where they were holding this event at camp victory, so western media was not wanted. We are expecting to see pool coverage.

Vice President Joe Biden was there, the president of Iraq was there, the prime minister of Iraq was there. So clearly security was on the mind of many people because you have them all in one place. Why just the western media, we don't really know at this point, Carol. We will still report the news as we get it.

COSTELLO: Martin Savidge reporting live from Baghdad this morning, thanks.

ROMANS: With U.S. troops leaving Iraq face as significant security challenge. Brett McGuirk served on the national security staff under presidents Bush and Obama. He has also advised three American ambassadors to Iraq. And he joins us now. Welcome to the program. These are, I mean, exciting days for people who have been working on this transition for so long. What do you think about reporting from there that western media was disinvited to this first big ceremony?

BRETT MCGUIRK, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY STAFFER IN BUSH AND OBAMA WHITE HOUSE: That's the first I heard about that. But things happen in Iraq every day. Sometimes it takes a while to figure out what exactly is going on. It is an interesting time. Iraq is beset with problems, but also there is some real opportunity. And there's always a question of how is this going to end?


MCGUIRK: And our troops are now leaving under an agreement negotiated and signed by one president and implemented by - by another. And by the end of next month we'll have very few troops left in Iraq.

ROMANS: Is Iraq ready?

MCGUIRK: It is as ready as it is going to be and now is really the right time. Remember, we negotiated agreement in 2008 which two- thirds of Iraqi Parliament ratified and said all of the troops would be gone by the end of - end of 2011. Security since is at the lowest level that we've ever seen.

So it will be a challenge, but we're going to keep working very closely with the Iraqis moving forward.

ROMANS: This isn't as if there will be nobody from the United States in this country going forward. We're going to have a huge presence there.

MCGUIRK: Yes. And we have another agreement, a permanent strategic framework agreement about cooperation across a number of areas, including security that will be based at our embassy.

You know, Camp Victory, which is being handed over today, that's been our military headquarters since April of 2003. As of next month, we don't have a military headquarters. We'll have - it's called an Office of Security Cooperation in the U.S. Embassy. Similar to offices we have with friendly countries all around the world. And there's an awful lot that we can do and will do going forward.

ROMANS: You know, critics of the Feds have said that we are leaving Iraq vulnerable, with a big opening for Iran.

American Enterprise Institute scholar, Frederick Kagan and his wife historian Kimberly Kagan, they recently wrote in the "L.A. Times," and I wanted to read this to you. "Iran has just defeated the United States in Iraq. Iraq sovereignty is hollow because of the continued activities of Iranian-backed militias in its territory. Its stability is fragile, since the fundamental disputes among ethnic and sectarian groups remain unresolved. And it's not in any ways self reliant. And the Iraqi military cannot protect its borders, its air space or its territorial waters without foreign assistance."

You make the point that, yes, Iran has a presence in the country, but so does the United States and we'll continue to.

MCGUIRK: That's right. Iran has a great influence in Iraq and will continue to have great influence in Iraq. But it's just - it's a little simplistic to say that everything Iraq does is because of Iranian influence. It's much more complicated than that.

The Iraqis have really fought the Iranians really for hundreds of years. There's a great divide there between the Arabs and Persians. Even most Iraqis are Shia, but the Shia School of Thought in Iraq conflicts fundamentally of the principles that underlie the entire Iranian regime.

In terms of foreign assistance, they need foreign assistance and they're going to have it. We're going to do an awful lot with the Iraqis. But the base - basing U.S. troops in Iraq is actually became a destabilizing factor.

We've learned that over negotiations we have over the course of this year, determining whether should we extend this deadline or not, and it was determined actually it's probably better not to, to complete the withdrawal. To mark the end of this war, which is very important for the Iraqi population and I think for the American population.

ROMANS: As of - you're right. And for the American population, too, who is tired of war. This has been a long war. Many people know people's families have been personally affected by - by loss in this country.

At the end, as we mark the end of the war, was it all worth it?

MCGUIRK: You know it's very hard to say. I worked in the (INAUDIBLE) now for eight years in Washington and many years in Baghdad. I've lost friends. I've known people who have lost their lives, Iraqis and Americans. And historians will have to sort that out.

But the most important things like going forward, we're saying that involved and engaged with Iraqi government and the Iraqi people. And, you know, Iraq's population is so young. The statistic that blew my mind the first time I saw it. Half of its population is younger than 19. A quarter of its population was born after the U.S. invasion.


MCGUIRK: Those kids know nothing about the United States except for the war phase of this relationship. We're now transitioning to something new. And there's a real opportunity there.

And for everybody that served in Iraq, almost a million Americans have served in uniform in Iraq, they want to see it work out well. We want to see it work out well. And there's a lot that we can still do and will do.

But the military phase is winding down. And now we will be engaging in all sorts of different areas including security, of course. We'll be helping them with security and external defense and some other areas.

ROMANS: All right. Brett McGuirk, thanks so much. Nice to see.

MCGURK: Thanks for having me.

ROMANS: Carol?

COSTELLO: Christine, now let's head to Atlanta to check in with Rob, because there's some high winds out west.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And it's a pretty widespread event, as well.

I'll show you some video, Carol, of what happened last night. And really what's still going on right now across parts of Southern California. Around Los Angeles and into through the Canyons and higher peaks of the coastline, just about everywhere seeing winds and some cases damaging with power outages.

We got a power outage briefly at L.A.X. before the backup power kicked in. They had to divert flights out of that area.

Here is a live picture now of what's going on in downtown L.A. Thanks to our KTLA affiliate there. And the tower camera is shaking in the breeze. And this will continue throughout the day today. Maybe calm down a bit, briefly. And then kick up back again tonight and it will probably be worse tonight than it was last night.

Here are some of the numbers as far as official wind gust in and around the Los Angeles area, up to 97 miles an hour, when it go peak (ph). But you go a little bit higher in the Sierras and Mammoth Mountain has been reporting winds over 140 miles an hour at times this morning. So incredible stuff there.

High pressure in the Basin, but what makes this situation unique is we've got a little storm that's also developing across Southern California and it will be heading through the Rockies and you're getting that right now. Air moves from high to low. It gets squeezed through those Canyons and gets forced down the mountains. It heats up and it cruises and that's why we've got those winds.

And as mentioned, it's a big event getting into the Nevada, Utah. We've seen winds gusting over 80 miles an hour there with power flashes. And also snow now falling as the up sole (ph) conditions start to take shape across parts of Denver.

You go east of the Mississippi, though, we're looking pretty good after a topsy-turvy whirl. Temperature still kind of chill, though, across parts of the south below freezing in spots and in the 30s across parts of the northeast. Will rebound nicely and get a little bit back to normal. Fifty degrees in New York City. That will be 61 degrees and 55 degrees in Memphis and the winds will continue to blow across Southern California.

COSTELLO: That does sound better for our friends down south.

MARCIANO: Exactly.

ROMANS: Thanks, Rob.

MARCIANO: All right, guys.

COSTELLO: Still to come this morning, a college cheerleader hospitalized after her stunt goes very, very wrong. We have the pictures. That's just ahead.

ROMANS: A war of words and tweets erupting between two senators after Senator John McCain disses Long Island.

It's 21 minutes after the hour.


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

Wall Street's rally losing maybe a little steam this morning. European markets are mixed and U.S. stock futures are slightly lower. The Dow, though, rocketed 490 points higher yesterday. That's about 4.5 percent. It puts it in positive territory for the year. It's the biggest gain since March of 2009. The NASDAQ and the S&P 500 each closed up more than four percent, too. All because of a big intervention by major central banks around the world stepping in to ease the flow of dollars into the global financial system. But there's skepticism this morning that this move by the central banks is an important step. It is positive but it might not be enough. And a new report from Standard & Poor's warns another recession is drawing near because of a drop in manufacturing and a cut in the region's predicted GDP for next year.

Europe, of course, is America's number one trading partner. It's widely expected if that region dives into another recession the U.S. would most certainly follow.

In an hour from now, we're going to get a fresh read on the employment situation in this country. The initial jobless claims report. It's, you know, how many people are lining up for unemployment benefits every week. It's expected to show 390,000 unemployment claims were filed for the very first time last week. If that's true, it would be a good sign for the market because it is below 400,000.

Two recalls to tell you about this morning if you own an iPhone or an iPad Touch. First, folks are being urged to stop using the Rocketfish Mobile Battery Case for the iPhone 3G and 3GS. The problem is the battery case can be - can overheat while it's charging. And the Mophie rechargeable battery case for the iPhone - iPod Touch, rather, is also being recalled because it can overheat, too.

So far there have been about nine reports of people suffering minor burns after touching that case.

And good news, young Americans are finding work again. According to the Labor Department, some 65,000 people between the ages of 16 and 24 landed jobs in the past three months. That's the biggest fight of that age group since the recession began.

AMERICAN MORNING will be right back after this quick break.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe I should have really listened to my parents and understood being undocumented. And maybe I'll be in school. And I felt so horrible.

COSTELLO (voice-over): Undocumented students treated as academic outcasts cut off from Georgia's top five public universities. Now they have a chance at higher learning. We will take you inside Freedom University on this AMERICAN MORNING.


ROMANS: And welcome back. It's 30 minutes past the hour. Top stories for you. Markets in Asia up overnight after stocks here in the U.S., wow, rallied big time. The Dow posting its best day in more than two-and-a- half years yesterday, up more than 490 points. This morning futures are slightly lower.

COSTELLO: Herman Cain says he will make a decision about the future of his campaign in the next several days. The embattled candidate says fundraising has taken a serious hit and his wife had suffered ever since a Georgia woman went public with claims that she had an affair with him.

ROMANS: And initial results from Egypt's first parliamentary elections since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak could be released as early as today.

Both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Al-Nour Salafist Muslim Party claim to be leading in the initial count. The lawmakers who are elected will be in charge of drafting a new constitution.

COSTELLO: Forced to study in secret, banned from the five premier public universities in Georgia, all because of their illegal immigration status.

Now a group of young men and women have a chance of higher education all because of a program called Freedom University. It is a place where no cameras have ever gone before until now.

Our Thelma Gutierrez brings us inside. Good morning, Thelma.

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. It was quite a journey. We traveled across the country to Athens, Georgia because we heard about a group of professors who had taught at some of the most prestigious institutions in the country who refused to turn their backs on undocumented students who were banned from several public universities. Now they created Freedom University to teach these students for free.


GUTIERREZ (voice-over): Athens, Georgia, an hour and a half outside of Atlanta, is home to the University of Georgia. It is also home to another school where college students have to study in secret. It is called Freedom University where no television cameras have gone before.

That's because the students are undocumented, many live in fear of being found out, arrested and deported. Since they have no driver's license, they are brought here every Sunday by this team of volunteers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Each of them has a little flag.

GUTIERREZ: Freedom University has one classroom. It is packed, but we can only show you half of the students who consented to be on camera.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I graduated as an A.P. scholar.

GUTIERREZ: Aspiring engineers, doctors and lawyers, but in the state of Georgia they are academic outcasts banned by the Board of Regions from attending any of the top five public universities in the state.

Until this group of professors from the University of Georgia decided to teach them on their own time, on Sundays for four hours without pay.

(on camera): You all have children, you all have full-time jobs. Did you have money? Did you have resources?


GUTIERREZ: But Freedom university co-founder, Dr. Garcia said they have students who are hungry to learn.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have a lot of reading.

GUTIERREZ: So why the ban? A spokesman for the region told CNN the main reason isn't money. He said before the ban, undocumented students paid out-of-state tuition, three times more than Georgia residents.

And it isn't because they were flooding the university. Out of 310,000 students, 27 were undocumented. The major reason, tightened admissions so that every open slot goes to a legal Georgia resident.

Meet Keish, her parents brought her from South Korea as a child. She grew up in Atlanta and became captain of her high school debate team. Now since she can't go to college, she works at the flea market with her father.

(on camera): There are many people who would say why should we as taxpayers pay for you guys to go to school?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My parents, they have been paying taxes.

GUTIERREZ (voice-over): We looked at the family's tax returns for the past 10 years and they indeed pay taxes. Since Keish is banned from public university, her dreams faded.

KEISH, UNDOCUMENTED STUDENT: Maybe I should have listened to my parents and understood what it meant to be undocumented. And maybe I should have gotten 4.0, then maybe I would have gotten into one of those prestigious Ivy League schools and maybe I would be in school.

GUTIERREZ: This year for the first time, Keish and her classmates are able to return to school because of Freedom University. Ironically, the professors cite it is they who are learning the most.

And so the donated classroom space called Freedom University exists without a budget and thrives only on professors' passion to teach and the students longing to learn.


GUTIERREZ: Today professors and members of the student government from the University of Georgia will be asking the university's council to go on record opposing the Board of Regents ban. And so the fight isn't over yet -- Carol.

COSTELLO: So Thelma, Freedom University can be -- can the students get -- I mean, do they graduate from it and does it mean anything? I know they are learning, but do they have that certificate in their hand?

GUTIERREZ: Well, you know, the thing is, Carol, that they are going to school because of their desire to learn. And it is important to note that the school is not accredited. They just started about a month ago.

They are not going to get credit, but that's not what this is really about. Students want to learn. They want to continue going to school and after they get out of school, there is no prospect for a job because of their legal status.

So, their battle continues, but what this is all about is that ability to continue to study.

COSTELLO: Thelma Gutierrez reporting for us live this morning. Thank you.

ROMANS: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is planning historic dinner meeting with the Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. It comes one day after the Nobel Peace Prize winner announces she intends to run for parliament in the Southeast Asian nation. Clinton visits there is the first by a U.S. secretary of state in five decades.

Terrifying moments during a college cheerleading routine. Michigan cheerleader Taylor Young takes a nasty tumble during a performance at the Michigan State/Florida State basketball game last night.

She fell hard and face first. Medics took her away on a stretcher, but she flashed thumbs up sign at and a smile on her way out. She is doing OK.

COSTELLO: Dissing in Long Island. Senator John McCain sparked a Twitter war yesterday after he took a cheap shot at Long Island on the Senate floor. Listen.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Is it true that Justice O'Connor was specifically referring to a case a person captured on Long Island? Last I checked, Long Island was part -- albeit sometimes regrettably -- part of the United States of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COSTELLO: Well, New York Senator Chuck Schumer was having none of that. He tweeted all of America saw how heroic Long Islanders were on 9/11. Long Island deserves an apology. That's what Long Island got, sort of, from Senator McCain minutes later.


MCCAIN: I made a joke. I'm sorry that there's at least one of my colleagues that can't take a joke. And so I apologize if I offended him and hope that someday he will have a sense of humor.


COSTELLO: It wasn't good enough for Senator Schumer or Billy Joel or Debbie Gibson or Mariah Carey or countless other famous Long Islanders. Schumer fighting back. Nyers can take a joke, but if Senator John McCain wants to mock parts of America, stick to Arizona.

Still to come on AMERICAN MORNING, is the Federal Reserve's coordinated effort enough to stop the European Union from unravelling before our very eyes? We will talk about it with Matt McCall who is president of the Penn Financial Group.

ROMANS: The biggest night in music, the Grammys, we will tell you who is up for the show's top honors ahead. It's 38 minutes after the hour.


ROMANS: Welcome back. A dramatic moment that got the markets moving big time. We broke the news right here on AMERICAN MORNING yesterday. The Federal Reserve teaming up with other central banks to keep the money flowing between European banks.

This overnight lending is the life blood of the financial system and all of these big central banks around the world saying we are going to keep the blood pumping while Europe fixes its problems.

Joining me now to talk about what it means for your money, your investments, global economy, Matt McCall, President of Penn Financial Group.

We relied on you a lot over the past couple of years and things have been all hay wire, a big day, 490 points for the Dow. I will say some Wall Street insiders yesterday were telling me what a great day to sell stocks. What do you think they meant by that?

MATT MCCALL, PRESIDENT, PENN FINANCIAL GROUP: They meant that this is a very large problem. And what happened is the central banks, including fed here in the United States, came out and solved that problem for the very short term.

We still have had this -- banks can't really borrow money. You look at the countries in Europe, they can't really borrow money, but we said, you know what, here's some money just for now.

Just to kind of put you on the side lines and put a smile on your face and market rallies. So the smart people out there know that we haven't fixed anything yet. We kind of just put in the way side and pushed it downward.

We are kicking the can down the alley we have been doing a long time. So yes, if you have nearly 500 point rally, the stock market like this, they can't get out. I understand where they are coming from.

ROMANS: What are you telling your clients? What do you think? I mean, for the average investor who's watch the market go up and down and actually has fatigue I would say like major crisis fatigue three years into this.

Should people be, you know, buying stocks as if the market will continue to go up or should people be getting more neutral and conservative?

MCCALL: You have to be a little more conservative in this type of market. You look at it in two ways. One way, so far this year, this has been a crazy 11 months that we've had. The market really hasn't moved much.

ROMANS: Crazy three years.

MCCALL: Yes. Exactly, sure. It is tough to be in this market. But in this year alone snapshot 2011, we are only down about 2 percent in the S&P after all of that.

So how can you convince the person at home saying you have to weather this news every single day for nothing and you are going nowhere? So it is tough to tell people to jump in the stocks right now, long, long term.

If you're looking at 15 or 20 years, you've great values right now. But until this mess in Europe is taken care of and until the mess in the United States, figure out our own budget taken care of, it is very difficult to have positive outlook for next two years because we have so many issues out there now. How do stocks go higher?

ROMANS: And those issues are all debt issues. I mean, it's debt. It's dealing with too much debt in Europe. It's dealing with political acrimony in Europe.

It's too much debt in the United States dealing with political acrimony in the United States. I mean, it is the same kind of story that's playing out around the world and there are no real signs of resolution yet.

MCCALL: No. That's the problem because you go back to 2007 and 2008, financial crisis. And I mean, in my mind we fixed that, but really we didn't fix it because we threw a lot of money at. We printed a lot of money.

Now we are in the same situation again, but the countries that print their money and save the banks, now we are running out of money. So who saves these countries is the big question and at this point, they keep spending.

You haven't stopped spending. You have to bring in more money. That's pretty simple economics that you and I have to do. We don't have money to pay our bills. They are in trouble. So until the politicians learn that they -- keep spending, which -- I know that's --

ROMANS: Until the politicians learn, if I had a nickel every time you said that I wouldn't need to be in the stock market. You like gold, tell me about gold and why you like gold. Because you see under kind of any scenario, gold is an investment that you want to have.

MCCALL: We look at gold as a safe haven. The world is falling apart or perceived as falling apart, gold has treated us very well. You know, it's hard asset that has a currency value. Also as we flood the economy with U.S. dollars, we saw yesterday, everything went up except for the U.S. dollar. It fell.

ROMANS: Right.

MCCALL: At the same time, if the euro falls apart, the E.U. falls apart, that turns to the wayside. You look at gold as a currency alternative. If things fall apart, gold should do well. Even if things do good, and we continue to flood the market and the stock market goes up and the currencies folding, gold should do as well. We also doubled our gold position two days ago. We got a little lucky. And I think right now probably my number one -- it is our number-one holding, but it would be my number-one investment option right now if anything.

ROMANS: Really? And you think stocks could go up -- you think stocks could go up but be very careful. But we have rough sailing ahead?

MCCALL: I do. I think we can see higher prices into the year early next year just because I think we will have an artificial rally that's propped up by the government. You want to be inside some stocks but you to be very nimble. It's a very difficult market out there right now.

ROMANS: Yes, I'll tell you.

Matt McCall, Penn Financial Group. Nice to see you, Matt.

MCCALL: Thank you.

ROMANS: Carol?

COSTELLO: Thanks, Christine.

Still to come this morning, the effort to educate and eradicate HIV on this World AIDS Day. The CDC says 240,000 Americans have HIV and don't know it. Why are so many people having difficulty controlling the disease? Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen will join with us some answers.

ROMANS: And, Carol, today's "Romans' Numeral" is 2,360. And here's a hint. It has to do with benefits for those making big bucks. But it is also part of an issue that affects every single American. Stick around for that.

Forty-six minutes after the hour.


COSTELLO: 12 minutes after the hour. Here is what you need to know to start your day.

Herman Cain still re-evaluating whether to press on with his campaign. He says he will have a decision within the next couple of days. His fundraising efforts have taken a big hit since a Georgia woman claimed she had a 13-year affair with him.

Marking a milestone in Iraq. An overnight ceremony at Camp Victory honoring U.S. and Iraqi troops for their service and sacrifice during more than eight years of war. Vice President Biden attended ceremony but Western media was not invited. Iraqi officials cite security concerns.

The 54th annual Grammys almost here. Kanye West scored seven nominations. But Adele is expected to take home the most awards. The British singer came away with six nods, including one for record, song and album of the year. The Grammys air in February.

Starting today, no more toys for kids who order Happy Meals at McDonald's restaurants in San Francisco. A new law bans trinkets and action figures in children's meals that do not meet new nutritional requirements.

You are now caught up on the day's headlines. AMERICAN MORNING, back after a short break.


ROMANS: Good morning. I've got a "Romans' Numeral" for you today. A number in the news, and that number is 2,360. It's the number of people with gross incomes over a million dollars. Millionaires who received unemployment checks in 2009. 2,360 millionaires got unemployment benefits in 2009. That's according to the GOP. Altogether, they received $20.8 million in jobless checks.

Why is this number in the news? It all has to do with proposals to extend the payroll tax cut. That's the tax cut that every working American is getting automatically in their paycheck. It was enacted last year and it's set to expire at the end of this year. Republicans want to pay for the extension of that payroll tax holiday for the rest of us by prohibiting millionaires from receiving unemployment benefits or food stamps. The GOP says some millionaires who are receiving some food stamps, as well. They also want to, among other things, freeze the pay of federal workers for three years. Democrats, of course, want to pay for the extension of the payroll tax holiday for the rest of us by imposing a surtax on millionaires.

COSTELLO: The unemployment benefits don't surprise me because your employer pays into that fund, and if you get fired or lose your job, you have a right to collect that, no matter how much money you make. Like Social Security, right? But the welfare thing --

ROMANS: The job --

COSTELLO: -- is that really true?

ROMANS: I would not be surprised if there were cases of it. And I'll tell you why, because there were provisions under stimulus that would automatically -- or you would automatically qualified for food stamp if you were getting unemployment checks. So if you're a millionaire getting unemployment checks, then you technically do qualify for food stamps in some cases.

COSTELLO: Don't you have to show income?


ROMANS: You don't have the income any more because you just lost your job. I know, it's nutty, isn't it? It's nutty.

COSTELLO: I know. I would like to look into that further.

ROMANS: Carol is like hmm.

COSTELLO: I am intrigued.

It's been 30 years since the first documented case of AIDS and today the giant red ribbon hanging from the White House marks World AIDS Day 2011. Dignitaries like President Obama and former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and super star philanthropist, Bono, are coming together today to announce what they call the beginning of the end of the disease.

Our medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, joins us live to tell us more about this.

It's been 30 years since the first reported cases of AIDS and we have -- we have come a long way.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, absolutely. We've come a long way because, about 15 years ago, so about 15 years into the epidemic, they came up with these incredible drugs to fight the virus that actually kills the virus. And those drugs, anti-retroviral therapy, they have saved countless lives. That's the good news.

But here's the bad news. The bad news is that a new CDC report out just this week says that most people with HIV don't have their infection under control. And, so, in other words, we have these great drugs, but most people still do not have the infection under control.

ROMANS: Why are so many people having difficulty controlling it? COHEN: You know, there's a whole lot of reasons and it really starts with the fact that many people with HIV don't even know that they have the infection. And, so, when you start from there, the numbers just get even worse.

So, let's take a look at these numbers. If you take 100 people living with HIV, 80 are aware of their infection. That means 20 are unaware that they have HIV and, therefore, can't even get care. Out of those 80 that know they have HIV, only 62 are linked to any kind of care for their disease. Out of those 62, only 41 stay in that care. So, you can see these numbers are getting smaller and smaller.

Out of the 41 who are getting good HIV care, only 36 are getting this anti-retroviral therapy. And out of those 36 that are getting the therapy, only 28 have a very low amount of the virus in their blood. So, only 28 out of 100 have that low amount. The rest do not have that virus under control.

COSTELLO: This isn't just about helping out the people who are sick. It's about protecting other people, as well.

COHEN: Right, because what happens is, if you have that virus under control, you have a very small chance of passing it on to somebody else compared to someone who doesn't. If you don't have that virus under control, you can pass it on to someone through sexual contact. So, that's the problem. We want people to get the virus under control because then it means that there is a much lower chance they will pass it on to somebody else. If you don't get it under control, there's no way to stop the epidemic.

ROMANS: So what is the solution then?

COHEN: The big solution here, I mean, the first part of the solution is that people need to get tested. And a lot of people wonder, should I get tested? If you're in any of the high-risk groups, you need to get tested, and that includes people with multiple sexual partners and that includes gay and bisexual men and women who have sex with gay and bisexual men.

So, if you have any questions about whether you should be tested go to, and we have a spot where you can look for a test near where you live, and there's even free testing.

COSTELLO: Thanks, Elizabeth.

COHEN: Thanks.

ROMANS: Today at noon, CNN welcomes Bono to the NEWSROOM. He is going to be joined by Dr. Sanjay Gupta to discuss World's AIDS Day and what is going to be done in the fight against AIDS. It's today in the CNN NEWSROOM at noon Eastern, two of my favorite people.


COSTELLO: I know, I can't wait to watch.


Still to come this morning, it was a milestone day for the markets and your money, but is there enough momentum to keep Wall Street's rally alive?

ROMANS: This is not a movie. It is a fin in the water circling a boat. Fishermen tape a close encounter with a great white shark. We'll tell you how that turned out.


COSTELLO: You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. Fifty-seven minutes after the hour.