Return to Transcripts main page

American Morning

A Divided European Union; Two Killed At Virginia Tech; Eurozone Leaders Reach New Deal; Toyota Cuts Annual Profit Forecast By 54 Percent; Video Emerges of American Gone Missing in Iran; Pakistan May Increase Air Defense System Along Border with Afghanistan; Veterans having Difficulty Finding Employment; Interview with Jay-Z; Spotlight on CNN Heroes; Tweeting While Intoxicated at Work; Atheist Group Fights Christmas Display

Aired December 09, 2011 - 08:00   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning to you. I'm Carol Costello.

The European Union anything but united. Britain is refusing to back a new treaty designed to solve that region's debt crisis. We'll look at why and how markets are reacting.


Another tragic shooting at Virginia Tech. An officer, father of five, killed. An alert system in place that was not there four years ago. How does it work?



ROMANS: All right. Good morning, everyone. Friday, December 9th. Welcome to AMERICAN MORNING. I'm Christine Romans.

COSTELLO: And I'm Carol Costello. Happy Friday to you.

First up this morning, he vanished in Iran nearly five years ago. And this morning, for first time, we are seeing a videotape of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson and he's pleading for help. The tape was received by Levinson's family in November. They posted it online today.

In it he says, Mr. Levinson, "I've been treated well but I need the help of the United States government to answer the requests of the group that has held me for three-and-a-half years. I am not in very good health. I am running very quickly out of diabetes medicine. And 33 years of service to the United States deserves something. Please help me."

Now, along with the hostage video, the family also released a taped statement. Here it is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am making a plea to the people that are holding my father. My mother has received your messages. Please tell us your demand so we can work together to bring my father home safely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bob, I will continue to do everything I can to bring you home alive. All I want is for our family to be whole again. We love you. We miss you every day. We will not abandon you.


COSTELLO: As early as last March, Secretary of State Clinton announced that there is evidence Levinson may still be alive. Clinton did not give any indication who may be holding Levinson but asked the government of Iran for help in rescuing him.

ROMANS: So odd. He said the group that is holding me, I ask for your help but didn't say who that is.

COSTELLO: Yes, not specific. Very strange.

Also new this morning, new information on yesterday's deadly Virginia Tech shooting. Ballistic tests are now back. Police are now confirming both people were killed by the same gun in an apparent murder-suicide.

ROMANS: Police say a gunman shot and killed an officer at a traffic stop and then apparently turned the gun on himself after a chase. This all happening nearly five years after the deadliest campus shooting in U.S. history took place there.


JULIE FLEMING, VIRGINIA TECH STUDENT: Police pulled up and they opened his car door and when they opened it, he just fell out towards the ground. Then they immediately started reviving him and I guess the officer didn't make it because they just covered him with a sheet.


COSTELLO: Changes made after the tragedy were put to the test yesterday. The school locking down campus and using a high-tech alert system to warn students and faculty members to stay indoors. The first alerts went out minutes after the first shots, and then the all- clear was given after four hours.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No additional victims or shooting reports have been given to the police department. So, we feel confident that the situation is under control at this time.


ROMANS: Virginia Tech police have identified the murdered officer as Derrick Crouse. He's 39 years old. He's married with five children and stepchildren.

Athena Jones joins us from the campus with the latest.

Athena, how are students and others on campus reacting to all of this?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly yesterday, there was a lot of concern during this four-hour lockdown. You had people who are in their dorms or in the cafeteria studying for finals. And you had these alerts coming out and there were a lot of questions that had gone unanswered.

The college newspaper reported that there was one dorm near the scene of the first shooting, the shooting of the officer, which is just on the other side of this stadium behind me here. You had people in the dorm nearby who were going to one person's window and looking out to see what was going on.

So, there was a lot of concern during those four hours, but the campus did a good job by all accounts here of keeping people posted on all of the developments as they unfolded over the course of the day this time around.

COSTELLO: And, Athena, going back to the shooting itself, because it's just so strange. So, this officer made a traffic stop, but police believe the person in the car did not fire the shot that killed the police officer, and then they found a man's body a short distance away an he was dead with a gunshot wound.

JONES: Exactly. I mean, the details are still emerging here. We still don't know. The police haven't identified the suspect, the person found -- the second body found nearby, another parking lot with a gun nearby.

They haven't identified that person. We still don't know much about motive. We don't know about the weapon.

What we do know, what was revealed late last night was that this man was captured on video with a gun, the man matching the suspect's description was captured on the video in the policeman's car, in Crouse's car. So, captured on video, and then a few moments later, of course, Crouse was shot. And so, this is the same person that they found later on.

But still a lot of the connections still need to be made. And so, we are waiting to hear more information regarding both motive and the name of the suspect and several other instances.

ROMANS: Certainly, the university's response this time around must be a lot different than 2007. I mean, this is a university that's so scarred by gun violence that they have pretty significant protocol in place, don't they?

JONES: Well, absolutely. Certainly back in 2007, there was a lot of criticism the university came under not doing enough to alert students, and faculty and everyone on campus of what was going on. Incidentally, that shooting spree took place mostly at a dorm, or at a hall right next to the parking lot where yesterday's shooting took place.

This time around though, everyone was kept informed. A lot of journalists were following through tweets -- through the university's home page they were posting announcements. There were texts. There were e-mails.

You had a lot of students couldn't get phone calls out to their parents or necessarily texts, but they were letting people know whether on Facebook or through Twitter that they were OK. So, it was certainly a situation this time around where people were a lot more informed and kept informed really minute to minute of the events as they unfolded.

COSTELLO: Athena Jones, reporting live from Virginia Tech -- thank you.

ROMANS: All right. The Republican presidential candidates meeting up again tomorrow night in Iowa for their first debate since Herman Cain left the race. And we'll see if Mitt Romney continues in person what he's been doing in his campaign ads -- that's attacking Newt Gingrich.

Joining us from Washington, Candy Crowley, CNN chief political correspondent and host of the very wonderful program, "STATE OF THE UNION."

Good morning, Candy.


ROMANS: Let's talk about Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. So, Mitt Romney, you can tell he's been changing his tact a little bit. But more than once this week, I've heard every rise of Newt Gingrich story is accompanied by a "the fall of Newt Gingrich story."

CROWLEY: Yes, but timing is everything.

ROMANS: It really is. So, what is Romney's tact here especially with Gingrich so high in the polls?

CROWLEY: Well, I mean, when you are going after what is now the front-runner, Newt Gingrich, I think there's a couple of things that sort of fit into the standard definition of how do you go after a front-runner? You have to hit him, you have to hit him hard, you have to hit him in vulnerable places in a Republican primary.

That means going after him saying he's not really conservative, he's not on our side, and it also means going after what has been Newt Gingrich's Achilles heel to many and that's his temperament and the idea that sooner or later he will implode, and so you want to poke at him, poke at him, poke at him, because if you can make him implode, so much the better.

I think Mitt Romney has to do something else. And that is -- let's remember this was what we called the weak front-runner now for a year-and-a-half or so. And the fact of the matter is Romney has not been able to kind of get more than about a quarter of the Republican Party around him. There are just a lot of people you talk to that have no real feel for him because he's such a cautious campaign. He hasn't gone after other front-runners. He's let them fall on his own -- on their own.

And so, now, what he needs to do is say, I really want this job. You know? And I'm willing to fight for it. Because if people don't see a passion in you, tend to make them look elsewhere.

So, I think it's two-fold for Romney. I think he does and the surrogates mostly have to go after Gingrich at the vulnerable points, have to try to provoke him as well.

I think Mitt Romney has to do himself a favor because people just look at him and go, what's he about? What's he passionate about?

ROMANS: Right. I mean, it looks as though Republicans are just casting about for the past year -- I mean, casting about for who their candidate will be.

I want -- I want to talk about leadership from the president's perspective here, the president facing a big fight in the Congress over extending the payroll tax holiday. I want to show you what it means, and why there should be, I guess, a fire under Congress to get it done because when you look at this chart I'm about to show, it shows you how much there will be a tax increase for this different wage brackets if they don't do anything.

People made 35 grand, Candy, their taxes are going to go up 700 bucks. Fifty grand, 1,000 bucks. You can see right there.

So, you would think if both parties say they want to do this and we are talking about 160 million Americans who would be affected by it, and we know that economists are now saying it could be a quarter or half percent of GDP would be hit if we don't do it, what's wrong with Congress?

CROWLEY: Well, we don't have enough time.


ROMANS: Give me the top three.

CROWLEY: You know, number one, and number two and number three is we are in the middle of an election cycle. OK?

Part of the problem is these people fundamentally disagree on a lot of things. But what they don't disagree is that they want this payroll tax to happen. They disagree on how it affects the economy. There are economists, as you know, that have said, you know, I don't know, not much of a stimulant, you know, et cetera, et cetera.

But the fact of the matter is that Republicans look at this and understand that if they don't do it looks like a tax hike. Now, for a party that spent how ever many decades talking about tax cuts, this is not a good thing go into and election year. It will get to -- what they're arguing about, how you are going to pay for it.

So, there is also a problem on the House side, which is a whole different -- within the Republican Party, because a lot of people don't want to extend that tax cut thing, it just doesn't -- you are not getting any back for the buck, it's harming Social Security, et cetera, et cetera.

ROMANS: Yes. And that's another good point that people -- and also, liberals are worried about that, too. Progressives are worried about, you know, using -- this is the thing -- when you give somebody a temporary tax break, it's very hard to bring it back.

CROWLEY: Right. There's no such thing as a temporary tax cut. They say it because now what are we talking about? We're talking about a tax hike when in fact, you know, we can also describe it as Social Security taxes going back to their, you know, regular percentage. But it is just -- look. It feels like a tax hike. All of a sudden, you look at people have gotten used to it, very tough to take away and impossible to take away in an election year.

It will get passed. It just depends on what will get passed with it, what else is in the package, and how do you pay for it.

ROMANS: And everyone wants to store political points in how they pay for it to get it passed.


ROMANS: All right. What can we look forward to, Candy, "STATE OF THE UNION" on Sunday?

CROWLEY: Well, we're going to bounce off -- you know, you mentioned the debate on Saturday night. I want to talk to Rick Santorum who's put together quite the organization in Iowa. It's his last best chance really to make any kind of, be a spoiler or to make any kind of splash in the Republican primary. Even he has said, this is, if not do or die, pretty important.

But we're going to take a look at Mitt versus Newt, how this all comes down. You know, we're less than a month away from the caucuses. Can you believe it?

ROMANS: Get out your parka, Candy. And rent a four-wheel when you get to Iowa. Snow and wind, loving that.

All right. Thanks, Candy.

CROWLEY: All right. Thanks.

ROMANS: Candy used to live in Iowa.


ROMANS: Those Iowa winters.

COSTELLO: Also new this morning, I want to tell you about this, former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky is free on $250,000 bail after spending a might in jail. Police arrested him Wednesday on 10 additional charges of molesting children after two new accusers came forward. One of them told the grand jury that Sandusky's wife ignored his screams for help while Sandusky raped him in the basement.

Well, now, Dottie Sandusky denying that, saying no abuse ever happen in her home.

ROMANS: Also new this morning, just released hotel surveillance video showing Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the maid who claims he raped her. Now, the tape is fueling speculation that maybe DSK may have been set up. The edited tape shows Strauss-Kahn leaving the Sofitel hotel after the alleged attack. That's what you see there.

Nafissatou Diallo is seen talking to supervisors and security and apparently re-enacting the attack.

In another scene, other hotel employees appear to be engaged in some kind of celebration and that was just after police had been notified.

COSTELLO: OK, let's talk sports now. Let's pause for just a second though. We want to give Cardinals fans a few second to turn away before this next story.


COSTELLO: So painful.

ROMANS: You're so thoughtful for your fellow baseball fans.

COSTELLO: I understand totally.

The best hitter in baseball is now L.A.-bound. Albert Pujols signed a monster 10-year $254 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels, second richest contract ever. Alex Rodriguez has the first, he signed, of course, with the Yankees. Pujols was a three-time MVP, two-time World Series champion with the cardinals and, how much money do you need?

He won the World Series. He had a great team, had great managers. People loved him in St. Louis and St. Louis offered him, what, $200 million other, what, nine years?

ROMANS: That's a lot of money.

COSTELLO: So he with went to L.A for 54 million bucks, which doesn't sound like much compared to $200 million.

ROMANS: I hope he has a good money manager, because you can do a lot with $250 million bucks. And you want to make sure that nobody is like, everyone wants a piece of it.

COSTELLO: Always thinking of the business angle you.

ROMANS: I know.

All right. Up next on AMERICAN MORNING: speaking of business, European leaders say they have a deal to fix the region but Britain refusing to sign on. We're going to take a look at why.

COSTELLO: And guess who might have the compromise plan on taxes? Jay-Z. Poppy Harlow goes one on one with the hip-hop mogul.

Fourteen minutes past the hour.


ROMANS: Welcome back. Today was meant to be the day when Europe came together finally got its financial crisis settled. Instead, members of the Eurozone announced overnight they are moving forward with the deal to resolve the region's debt crisis, but without Britain's support.

Joining me now live from Brussels is Richard Quest. He's of CNN's "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS." Richard, you know, David Cameron said he is so glad they're not using the Euro and he's really trying to protect his own constituency, basically, the city of London, right? Can there be progress without Britain on-board?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, that is going to be the big question, because, basically, what we've discovered in the last couple of hours is that all 17 members of the Euro and even other European Union members will all sign up to this new deal. It seems as if the single country holding out and not willing to go down the road is Britain that is refusing to let the deal become Europe union wide.

Now, what does that mean in practice? It means that Britain is going to be on the sidelines, basically, saying to the rest of them you can't use the commission, you can't use the European courts, you can't use this. You can have your own little club or big club, but you can't call it a European club.

And, it's as if one of the United States was standing on the side and saying to the rest, you can't have all the other institutions available to you because we're not involved. How is this going to work in practice? That is the nightmare that they're now about to enjoy.

ROMANS: It is a nightmare. You know, look, I can look back to the heat of the financial crisis in the United States, right? When the U.S., Henry Paulson, the treasury secretary, basically, you know, called his counterparts in England, right, and he said, Barclays is going to buy Lehman Brothers. It's going to solve a whole lot of problems -- and what did the Brits say?

They said, no, no, we don't want to part -- we don't want any part of your problems. And there are those who say this is what this looks like. It looks like the UK is trying to kind of wall itself off. It wants to enjoy the --


ROMANS: OK. Correct me then.

QUEST: No. Because imagine to take your analogy, imagine as indeed the U.S. has had to face, it's a Tobin financial tax was suddenly that come along again, and somebody said, you know, I think Wall Street, New York and the U.S. financial markets need to have a financial tax imposed upon them.

ROMANS: Right.

QUEST: The U.S. treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, and the fed would rightly say, you know where you can shove that idea. But what the Europeans basically wanted to do was exactly that to Britain.

ROMANS: Right.

QUEST: Yes, they can have their club, but what they've said is, part of the deficit, part of the fiscal compact was a financial tax. And David Cameron who, of course, represents the UK which has the city of London, the second or first largest financial market depending on your ego, said no.

ROMANS: That's the second largest.


QUEST: The real core issue, Christine, is how does this fiscal compact, these deficit rules, this greater innovation? First of all, how will it actually operate in practice, because once again, Europeans have come to a principle, now the devil's in the detail.

And the second thing is how much of a spoiler Cameron and the UK will be on the sidelines throwing rocks, sticking spokes in the wheels, doing all the sorts of things that in the past have made them (INAUDIBLE)

ROMANS: It's all about -- it is all about -- each in these countries has their own national interest. And when their national interest --

QUEST: Absolutely.

ROMANS: And that's what is so tough. I mean, that's the existential crisis of the Eurozone.

QUEST: Right. And you imagine a national association of governors meeting in the United States where one wants to do something and the other says, not on my watch, you're not. Not in my area, you're not. And what the Europeans are basically saying is, it is time to go to that next level up. It's not fiscal union yet, it's a fiscal compact.

The problem is, can they give up the sovereignty? Because I promise you this, Christine, whatever they've agreed here today or whatever deal has been cobbled together, it still has to have flesh put on the bones.


QUEST: And you can bet your life that Sarkozys, the Merkels, the Montis, the Spanish, everybody else will be wanting their little piece of the pie.

ROMANS: Oh, yes. They will. And I think that means it's going to be treacherous to markets going forward is you've got implementation steps forward -- two stepforwards, one back, right? So, you know, don't think that everything is fixed --

QUEST: That's it.

ROMANS: All right. Richard Quest, thank you so much, Richard. Nice to see you this morning. Have a nice weekend.

COSTELLO: I so enjoy him. I understood it perfectly.


COSTELLO: Perfectly language for me to understand. I like that about Richard Quest.

Just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING, new video of a retire FBI agent who vanished nearly five years ago in Iran. He's on tape. He's pleading for help. We'll show you the tape. It's 22 minutes past.


ROMANS: Good morning. It's 26 minutes after the hour. Watching your money this morning. Welcome back.

Most European leaders have agreed to deal to solve Europe's debt crisis, even though Britain refused to sign on. Their rescue plan called "Restructure Fiscal Discipline." The treaty will only apply to countries use the Euro currency along with six other countries that wish to join the euro one day. Britain doesn't want to be part of this new team.

The news sends the U.S. stock futures as well as European markets higher, though.

Also, overnight, the majority's EU leaders agreed to funnel an additional $267 billion to the IMF to boost its bailout fund. That money which may have to be used to help Italy and Spain.

Right now, oil and copper are heading for their biggest losses in two weeks. Commodity is falling here. Gold prices are also down sharply. It's all because the European central bank said it would not step up the buying of EU government bonds to help boost the markets.

Now, Toyota slashing its annual profit forecast by more than half after the destructive floods in Thailand hurt production. Toyota's also expecting it will sell fewer vehicles this year than it had originally predicted. The Japanese carmaker is, right now, on track to lose its title as the world's largest automaker.

And next, why Pakistan, a key U.S. ally, is considering beefing up its air defenses along its boarder with Afghanistan and what it means for the fight against terrorism. AMERICAN MORNING is back right after a break.


ROMANS: Welcome back. It's half past the hour, time for the morning's top stories. Reopening old wounds, a vigil held at Virginia Tech University after another deadly shooting on campus. Two people are dead, a police officer and the apparent gunman. Virginia Tech leaders say a new alert system work well. The first campus warning came within minutes of the first call to police. It's a system that didn't exist four years ago during the worst campus massacre in American history.

COSTELLO: Members of the European Union announced this morning they are pressing forward with a new deal to save the euro without Britain's support. Among other things the new deal calls for stricter fiscal and financial discipline. A majority of EU leaders also agree to lend an additional $267 billion to the IMF to boost its bailout fund.

ROMANS: And a Pakistani lawmaker tells CNN that country is considering beefing up its air defense system along its border with Afghanistan. The move would be in response to a NATO airstrike that killed 24 Pakistan Pakistani soldiers last month. The United States has insisted that attack was not deliberate. In just a few months we'll go live to Islamabad for more on Pakistan's plan.

COSTELLO: He vanished in Iran five years ago. This morning for the first time we are seeing a tape of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson. He's pleading for help. It is believed he's being held hostage by someone. The tape was received by Levinson's family last month. They posted it online today. Levinson vanished from an Iranian resort town in March of 2007. In the video he states he's been held in captivity for three-and-a-half years, which would mean this tape may well be over a year old and he was already in dire need back then. Take a look.


ROBERT LEVINSON, CAPTURED RETIRED FBI AGENT: My beautiful, my loving, my loyal wife Christine, and my children, and my grandson, and also for the United States government, I have been held here for three-and-a-half years. I am not in very good health. I am running very quickly out of diabetes medicine. I have been treated well, but I need the help of the United States government to answer the requests of the group that has held me for three-and-a-half years.


COSTELLO: Levinson's family also released a videotaped statement along with that video, and here's part of that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am making a plea to the people that are holding my father. My mother has received your messages. Please tell us your demands so we can work together to bring my father home safely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bob, I will continue to discovering I can to bring you home alive. All I want is for our family to be whole again. We love you, we miss you every day. We will not abandon you.


ROMANS: As early as last March Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced there is evidence Levinson may still be alive. Clinton did not give the indication who may be holding him but asked the government of Iran for help in rescuing him. And Levinson never state who had was holding him either. He said "the group that has me."

COSTELLO: In Pakistan now, that country is said to be considering plans to increase its air defense system along its border with Afghanistan.

ROMANS: This would be in response to the NATO airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last month. Our Reza Sayah is live in Islamabad. Reza, are lawmakers there suggesting that NATO attack was deliberate?

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're stopping short of categorically saying this NATO attack was deliberate, but they are essentially saying it looks like it was deliberate because there is still no explanation why these NATO airstrikes would target Pakistani soldiers on Pakistani soil. I think it is their way of maybe putting a little pressure on Washington.

I think what's important to point out to the viewers at home is this is no indication that Pakistan is getting ready to go to war with the U.S. They aren't going to start shooting down U.S. jet fighters and helicopters. This is their way of saying we're angry and we need an explanation. And it is an incident that's really plunged relations between Islamabad and Washington to a new low.

The incident of course last month, you had NATO forces kill 24 Pakistani soldiers on Pakistani soil. It is really not clear exactly what happened, why this happened. Pakistan's position is there is no good explanation. They know knew exactly who they were shooting at.

NATO and U.S. officials have come out with messages of condolence and regret but they haven't exactly said we're sorry, suggesting that they may have a different version. They say they're still investigating.

Even so, the public here is outraged and I think this rhetoric by the government is their way of taking a tough stance s stance. They can't afford to look weak and tolerance when 24 soldiers are killed in an airstrike.

COSTELLO: OK, so relations are bad between Pakistan and the United States. Where does the relationship go from here?

SAYAH: When is the last time relations were good between Islamabad and Washington? It's always been a difficult relationship ,this year especially. They've somehow managed to overcome seemingly insurmountable crises with the CIA contractor coming here and killing two Pakistanis, the raid on the bin Laden compound. Somehow they've overcome these crises. It looks like somehow they're going to do the same with this one because these are two countries that still need one another but certainly expect a rough pass for the coming weeks.

ROMANS: All right, Reza Sayah reporting live for us this morning, thank you.

COSTELLO: Still to come this morning, the Iraq war is ending, but it is a double-edged sword for returning veterans who cannot find a job.

ROMANS: And Jay-Z on Washington and the Benjamins -- what does he want Congress to do with his money?

It's 37 minutes past the hour.


ROMANS: Welcome back. They've weathered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but many veterans will face a new battle when they return home. They're returning home and they're going to need to find a job.

COSTELLO: And that's a tough thing because unemployment among those combat veterans is well above the national average.

CNN's Casey Wian reporting in-depth this morning on their struggle.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First day on the job. Here we go.

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Army veteran Kyle Lozano is training for a new job. He used to drive convoy security trucks in Iraq. Now he's driving a milk truck in southern California.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I get up, go to work at night. I don't feel like such a bum anymore.

WIAN: This is his first steady job since 2009.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was applying, people wouldn't hire me. They were just like you don't have the experience.

WIAN: And 11.5 percent of veterans who served after 9/11 were unemployed last year according to the labor department. That's about 50 percent higher than veterans who served during the first gulf war. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One percent is white, two percent is blue.

WIAN: Lozano is working because dairy owner Jim Pastor wanted to help a veteran. But there's less government assistance available today, says Michael Blecker, a Vietnam vet whose organization helps veterans find work.

MICHAEL BLECKER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SWORDS TO PLOWSHARES: It used to be where the government would pay for training subsidies and wage subsidies. Now the most you get is maybe a tax credit.

WIAN: Army staff sergeant Starlyn Lara spent seven months looking for a job after her Iraqi deployment without a single interview. She tried changing one entry on her resume from United States army to United States government. That helped her land interviews but no job.

STARLYN LARA, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: The simple fact that someone volunteers to serve their country and has this plethora of experiences that no one else really could ever have without wearing those shoes should be seeing a complete asset to any organization.

WIAN: Now she works for Swords to Plowshares, helping female veterans find jobs. November's unemployment rate for post-9/11 female vets was nearly 19 percent. One potential employer said she might be a liability if she ever developed post-traumatic stress disorder.

LARA: That dialogue was infuriating. There are ways you learn to cope and there are ways we learn to manage the symptoms, and that doesn't mean that we're any less capable of doing the job.

WIAN: Mike Lozano, who is being treated for PTSD. Even so he's considered reenlisting because the civilian job market is so tight. But with a young family, he's happy to be driving a truck armed only with dairy products.

Casey Wian, CNN, Los Angeles.


COSTELLO: And returning vets can find more information on job training programs at the website

ROMANS: Ahead on AMERICAN MORNING, Hip Hop Icon business mogul Jay-Z has some advice for Washington on where to spend his cash.

It's 43 minutes past the hour.


COSTELLO: It's just about 45 minutes past the hour. Here are your morning's headlines. Markets open in about 45 minutes, and right now U.S. stock futures are trading higher after a majority of European leaders agreed on a new deal to try to resolve the Eurozone debt crisis. Former Penn State football coach, Jerry Sandusky is free on $250,000 bail. Police arrested him Wednesday on ten additional charges of molesting children, his wife now denying she ignored cries for help from one victim.

A vigil held at Virginia Tech after another deadly shooting on campus. Two people dead, a police officer and the apparent gunman. Virginia Tech leaders say a new alert system worked well.

A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency finds that chemicals used in fracking natural gas wells are to blame for water pollution in Wyoming. The EPA tested the water supply near a Wyoming natural gas drilling site.

The Senate has voted down both Republican and Democratic compromise proposals to extend the payroll tax break into next year. You could lose $1,000 in take-home pay if they don't agree on a deal by the New Year.

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


COSTELLO: We should all be dancing.

Oh welcome back I was listening to the music. He's not running for president because he's already the king. But Jay-Z has a lot of opinions on the economy, taxes and education that might surprise you.

ROMANS: That's right, poverty too, he's really passionate about how we can all help to alleviate poverty. Our Poppy Harlow sat down with Jay-Z and she joins us now with more of her one on one.

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: And it's always interesting to talk to him. Carol I knew they were going to play that song. Because we all love -- we all love that song.

But folks we had a chance to sit down with Jay-Z yesterday. He made a big announcement. He is going to headline Carnegie Hall, the first hip-hop artist to ever do that here in New York. That's going to happen in February. All the proceeds from the two shows are going to go to the Shawn Carter Foundation.

And what that does is actually gives scholarships to kids that really don't get a break. People that were incarcerated, kids that don't have top grades. It's very important to him even though he never finished high school. But we talked about that, you can see that on CNN Money.

But we also talk to him about his opinion on whether the rich should pay more in taxes and also the Occupy Movement. Some pretty interesting insight. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SHAWN "JAY-Z" CARTER, SINGER: Me personally, I wouldn't mind paying more taxes if it went to the things that really mattered. If it went to education, people with -- in poverty and if it went to the right things. You know? I wouldn't mind. I think it -- I think it should be more -- it should be clearly defined. You know? Clearly defined where all the money's being allocated. Because you can understand paying so much for taxes and then things not improving, you're like where's everything going to? Like -- where is -- where is -- that's what I'm saying.

HARLOW: So you get that argument?

CARTER: Yes, it should be open accounting of where everything is going to. I'm sure people if it was for health care and for education and to help people. I don't think -- I think most people with a conscience and with some integrity and moral fiber wouldn't have any problem paying more taxes.

HARLOW: The Occupy Wall Street Movement. You've been supportive of it. You've got occupy all-street shirts out there.


HARLOW: Not financially supporting it but the message. I'm wondering what your take is on what we're seeing develop in this country.

CARTER: I think -- I think it's saying a lot all over the world. That people can get their voice out there and fight for a better world, education, health care and poverty.

There are so many different other fights that we must take on that we just need to -- it's good. It's a good thing that young people are getting out and getting their voice heard.


HARLOW: So one thing we also talked about, guys -- and I found this very interesting -- is poverty. And we all agree on one thing, that's that education brings people out of this vicious cycle of poverty and he's pushing for more education for kids.

I asked him how he thinks President Obama who he publicly supports is doing on closing that wealth gap. How is the administration doing? The President has been out front just this week talking about it. And his answer was so interesting. Because he said you know we can't leave it all up to the government. We have to govern ourselves, we as private individuals have this responsibility.

The government is doing all right, but we need to step in. And I thought that was so interesting. Because so often we put it --


COSTELLO: That sounds very (INAUDIBLE) right? HARLOW: -- that was what was interesting in his answer on taxes too. He didn't just say yes we should pay more taxes across the board. He said I can understand the argument that if we don't know where the money's going or how are things spent or allocated there's not a good accounting of it, they, why should we pay more? I'm willing to pay more if it goes to the right things.

So it was a very centrist answer which was very interesting and surprising. I'm always surprised when we sit down with him how -- how -- how articulate his answers are and how -- how he -- he is just -- I guess not what you would expect in terms of a celebrity. He's very engaged, involved in politics. And I just wonder I should have asked him if we'll see him in Washington lobbying Congress.


COSTELLO: I think he's a great businessman, too.

HARLOW: Hugely successful businessman.

COSTELLO: I mean he's running a business empire and it just goes to show you, as far as his opinions go, we always think of people having opinions on the extremes. Right? When most Americans don't.


COSTELLO: They end up somewhere in that spectrum and maybe he's a good example of that.

HARLOW: He represents that as well. So interesting. We've got a lot more of the interview with Jay-Z on CNN Money.

COSTELLO: We'll watch it.

ROMANS: Thanks, Poppy.


COSTELLO: We're counting down to Sunday night's live broadcast of CNN Heroes, an all-star tribute it will be hosted by Anderson Cooper.

Dan Wallrath, one of last year's top ten, builds free homes for wounded veterans.

ROMANS: (INAUDIBLE) Dan's program has expanded to five states and given homes to more than 30 families now. And as his profile has risen, one of his supporters has also become one of the country's hottest stars.


KID ROCK, MUSICIAN: It is my honor to present CNN Hero Dan Wallrath.

DAN WALLRATH, CNN HERO: Being a top ten CNN Hero was just very humbling. The true heroes are servicemen and women who answer the call.

After the show aired, things just took off for us.

We were contacted by ABC's "Extreme Makeover". Our stories getting out there just every day. We're building houses all over the United States now.

We're out here in L.A. to visit a real good friend of ours. I've known JR Martinez (ph) for about three years now, he's our national spokesman. He's involved with "Dancing with the Stars" and he wanted us to come out and be with him.

I've been watching you on TV and you've been doing amazing.

JR was a soldier in Iraq and one of our wounded heroes.

JR Martinez: My front tire over a land mine. By the time they are able pulled me out of the vehicle I was burned over 40 percent of my body. It was tough. I just kind of made a decision every single day to just be positive, smile and just try to make the best of it.

As I did that, more opportunities came to me. I just want to inspire, no matter what war you face in life, you can win it, you can win the battle.

WALLRATH: Good stuff.

MARTINEZ: Man I'm so glad you came out.

WALLRATH: I'm really proud of you.

MARTINEZ: Oh thank you man. Thank you.

WALLRATH: JR's bringing a lot of attention to these young men and women that have to deal with these incredible injuries. You being here, you know, just helps our cause.

MARTINEZ: It's amazing to think back you know how far we've come.

WALLRATH: Last year at this time we were four or five homes. We're 32 homes now. It's just unbelievable. We're changing lives.

There are 43,000 injured heroes out there. Our goal was to build every one of them their home. This spotlight is helping us to help family. We could build more and more families we could live on.

MARTINEZ: Just keep doing it, man. We need a lot more homes to be built.



ROMANS: Welcome back. Do you work for a congressman? You're drinking on the job? And you value that job? Don't tweet about it. Three aides to Democrat Rick Larson learned that the hard way. They were fired after posts from their accounts were picked up by a right-leaning news Web site.

Here are a few of the gems. "I'm pretty sure I couldn't pass a field sobriety test right now. Looking forward to a day at the office." Here's another one, "Dear taxpayers, I hope that you don't mind I'm watching YouTube clips of Nirvana at my government job." And this is my favorite, "My co-worker just took a shot of Jack crouching behind my desk. We've unabashedly given up on just about all things work-related."

COSTELLO: Oh, that is -- it's really -- just really --

Just remember, good friends don't let friends -- how would I say that?

ROMANS: Friends don't let friends tweet drunk. Especially with a government job. You know that old phrase, it's good enough for a government job. Tweeting drunk isn't good enough for a government job. We just found out.

COSTELLO: A controversy over a Christmas display. A nativity scene in front of a Texas courthouse sparking outrage all the way in Wisconsin. A Wisconsin atheist group says the scene is unconstitutional and it violates the separation of church and state and they want it gone.

But a Henderson County lawmaker says this display isn't going anywhere without a fight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll remove it when hell freezes over. I'm an old country boy. You come to my house looking for a fight, you're going to get one and that's from the bottom of my heart.


COSTELLO: And I bet that nativity scene will stay exactly where it is.

ROMANS: I think so, too.

All right. Truly spectacular video of lava flows in Hawaii. Check it out. Molten, hot lava oozing from the Kilauea volcano on the big island. Kilauea of course, is one of the most active volcanoes on the planet. The area around it is virtually deserted. There's only one person who lives close by. He was lifted off the island by helicopter.

COSTELLO: The pictures are awesome.

I can't believe one person lives by that volcano. Just one. It's a brave man.

ROMANS: Looks like you wouldn't have much of a garden up there. So, you know.

That is going to do it for us for the week. It's Friday, Carol's favorite day of the week. I'm Christine Romans. Thanks for watching.

COSTELLO: Good morning Don.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": You guys are extra sassy today because it is Friday. You're excited, aren't you?

COSTELLO: It is my favorite day, Don, except for Saturday and Sunday.

ROMANS: She rubs off on me.

LEMON: I know. And your favorite days are Saturday and Sunday because you get to watch me all evening on CNN.

Thank you. Have a good weekend.

Go on.

ROMANS: Don't forget me at 9:30 Eastern on Saturday, That's me too.

LEMON: That's right.

COSTELLO: I watch you both, OK?