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CNN SUNDAY MORNING
Extreme Heat Blamed for 30 Deaths; Internet Blackout Comes Monday
Aired July 8, 2012 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): From the CNN headquarters in Atlanta, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING.
Extreme heat baking half of the country, more than 300,000 still without power and at least 30 dead. A cold front is on the way, but relief may come at a dangerous price.
Plus, a new discovery about a mystery illness. Children dying from a frightening infection that kills within days.
And later, a Mexican drug cartel busted on U.S. soil -- three tons of marijuana and more than $2 million in cash and you will never believe what else.
KAYE: Good mornings, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye. It is 8:00 on the East Coast; 5:00 a.m. out West. Thanks for starting your morning with us.
We begin this hour with the heat. It has been so bad for so many, at least 30 deaths across the United States are being blamed on the record temperatures. But some relief maybe on the way.
We get more from CNN's Melissa Rainey (ph).
MELISSA RAINEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Saturday brought another day of blistering heat. In some places, that means another day of triple digit temperatures. The record breaking heat has been blamed for scores of deaths. People look for relief wherever they can find it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It feels great. It feels so wonderful. It beats the heat. That's for sure.
RAINEY: In Chicago, the heat buckled roadways. Some residents simply gave up and fled the city.
CHRIS THOMAS, CHICAGO RESIDENT: In Chicago, it was 105 and it felt like 112. So we came up here to escape the heat a little bit.
RAINEY: But a cold front is expected in the coming days.
JEANNETTE BENSON: Looking forward to the 80 degree weather and even 89 sounds -- would be great.
RAINEY: Forecasters say that cooler air will move across the Upper Midwest and into the Great Lakes and the Northeast. That brings some comfort for the hundreds of thousands who are still without power after last weekend's storms.
In West Virginia, more than 160,000 people remain in the dark and sweltering with no work working fans or air conditioning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ninety-three degrees.
RAINEY: Refrigerators and freezers shut down when the power went out, forcing some residents to rely on food pantries to get by.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's been larger request over the past few days. We are scrounging around to try to keep up with the demand.
RAINEY: I'm Melissa Rainey, reporting.
KAYE: So, Melissa was talking about this cold spell coming. Well, check out the weather map. The cold front is coming down from the Great Lakes, but a warning while the temperatures are dropping, there is a threat of severe storms following that very same path. We could see lightning, hail and some severe winds.
This morning, two Indiana parents are accused of leaving their babies in hot cars in the middle of the blistering heat wave. One of them actually died. Police in Greenfield say this man left his 4- month-daughter in a car for an extended period of time with temps around 103 degrees and the baby later died in the hospital.
About 25 miles away, in the town of Fisher (ph), this mom is accused of neglecting her 16-month-old daughter inside a car at a shopping center parking lot. The child is rushed to the hospital and is in critical condition.
To Tokyo now where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made it clear that time is running out for Syria's government. She talked about high level defections from the Syrian military and the growing strength of the opposition forces.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The future to me should be abundantly clear to those who support the Assad regime, their days are numbered.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KAYE: Clinton was in Tokyo for a donors conference on Afghanistan where $16 billion was pledged to help the country's transition.
Now I want to show you what happens when a political debate gets out of hand. Watch this.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
KAYE: Oh, yes, first the shoe and then the gun. The man on the right is a member of the Jordanian parliament and then as you saw, he first threw the shoe and then he pulled out the gun. They were separated and if you are wondering what prompted this outburst, the political activist on the left called the member of the parliament a crook.
To politics now and a not-so ringing endorsement by Romney. It came from an unlikely source, Republican House Speaker John Boehner.
According to "Roll Call", Boehner was speaking at a fundraiser at the end of June when woman in the crowd said, make me love Romney. He said Romney's friends, family and fellow Mormons will back Romney. But he also said, quote, "The American people probably aren't going to fall in love with Mitt Romney." Boehner clarified that remarks saying that most voters are going to be voting for or against Barack Obama and not for a specific Republican nominee.
Well, Mitt Romney can count on at least one supporter being by his side, and that is Rob Portman. If you don't know that name, well, the Ohio senator is supposedly on the short list of vice presidential possibilities. He may be cementing that spot with appearances on Romney's behalf in New Hampshire this weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R), OHIO: We have a very clear choice of selections. We have one candidate who has put in place policies that he thought were right and made promises as to what the results would be. They haven't worked. So, we have another candidate who has the record, the experience and the policies to be able to turn things around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: Portman will be in Boston tomorrow raising money for Romney.
The other favorite for the V.P. spot, Marco Rubio , will do the same Friday. Rubio has said he does not want the number two spot, but many think he could be swayed.
Barney Frank is a married man. The retiring Massachusetts congressman married his long-time partner at a ceremony in Boston. That makes him the first member of Congress to be in the same sex marriage while still in office. The couple pledged to love each other and be each other's best friend in sickness and in health, in Congress or in retirement, for richer or for poorer, under the Democrats or the Republicans, and for better or worse, on MSNBC or on Fox, for as long as you both shall live.
That was their vow.
Well, tomorrow could be a tough for many of us who use the Internet. That is because there is a computer virus in case you haven't heard, that is infecting thousands of computers and it appears that the only way that the FBI can actually fix it will mean that they have to shut down servers that provide your Internet service.
So, if you're not sure if your computer is one of the 70,000 that are infected, well, we've got resident expert to show to find out.
Here is HLN's Clark Howard.
CLARK HOWARD, HLN MONEY EXPERT: This one is so easy it takes you just a couple of clicks to have peace of mine not have your computer become a doorstop next week. You have this web address right here, DCWG.org. When you get there, you'll see three choices, detect, fix or protect. These two are if you find out you have a problem.
Most people are going to be fine clicking on detect, you then you go to the link for your country, for most of our viewers in the United States, if you are a Canadian viewer, you'll see your link, you click on this and then, bam, you see my computer is A-OK.
If it wasn't, we would go back to the very beginning and do the diagnostic to fix the computer so that my computer would work next week.
KAYE: Got that? I hope you were taking notes from Clark there. Be sure to check your computer and hopefully it's not one of the infected ones.
Choose your history at Wimbledon today. Do you root for the hometown hero looking to end 74 years of misery, or the precision Swiss champ who just keeps ticking off titles? We'll take you there live.
KAYE: That was a day to remember and today could be, too. Get your berries and cream ready, because it is almost time for the first serve at Wimbledon. This morning, it is the men's turn to crown a champ.
I am sure you can guess who they are routing for -- yes, British tennis star Andy Murray, who is looking to become the first home country champ in more than seven decades.
CNN World Sports' Amanda Davies is there live for us this morning.
So much pressure on Andy Murray today, Amanda.
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN WORLD SPORT: Yes, we are about an hour away from the players walking out on to the court here, Randi.
But Andy Murray says that the pressure is not on him. He believes it's on Roger Federer, because Federer is going for that Pete Sampras equaling seventh Wimbledon crown.
But there is only a great deal of expectation on the British number one. His face is plastered on the front and the back of the pages here in Britain. It's estimated that 20 million people are expected to be watching on television, because for the last 76 years, all of the talk has been about one man and that is Fred Perry, the last British player to win the men's singles title here at Wimbledon.
But Andy Murray has the chance to become the player that future players are measured against. Fans have been camping out here in the fields of Wimbledon since Saturday morning to get their hands on one of those tickets the prized tickets to get inside of the All England Club to watch the match on the big screens.
But, quite interestingly, while Murray does have a lot of support, Roger Federer has picked up a few supporters here over the years as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Roger is going to win the title today and get back to the number and beat all of the records that, you know, he is supposed to.
DAVIES: But is Murray going to win?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, Andy. It's about time. I think Federer's time is gone. It is time for new blood, I think.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAVIES: So there is a real split here, Randi. People are going with their heart or their head.
I'll tell you one thing though, with the jubilee and Andy Murray this weekend, I wish I had been clever enough to set up a Union Jack business a few months ago.
KAYE: You mentioned a lot -- certainly a lot is at stake for Andy Murray and also for Roger Federer, because he could get the number one status back, right? This is a very big deal for him as well. DAVIES: Yes, it is. It's a very big deal for Roger Federer. He is the odds on favorite going into this one, because he is Roger Federer basically.
DAVIES: And dominated for so many years here on the grass looking, looking for the seventh title. But interestingly he has not won a title here at Wimbledon since 2009. Some people are suggesting that his star is on the wane, but Mark Woodward I spoke to him yesterday said that might make him a tougher opponent because he knows that these finals are that much more special, because he does not make the finals every tournament.
So, it might it a tougher task for Andy Murray. Murray actually has a better head to head record than Federer when the two have played each other. But the key thing I think is that Murray actually has never picked up a set against Federer when they have met in grand slam matches and Federer has the experience of playing in the big games and the big finals here.
But Murray has Ivan Lendl in his corner now, and Lendl famously lost four grand slam finals before, he won one. Murray has lost three and two of those beaten by Federer.
But British fans here are hoping that this could be Andy Murray's time.
KAYE: And what about the queen? Is she expected to be in the royal box today?
DAVIES: There was some suggestion that the queen might be coming, but we have to have that confirmed that she's now not coming. We know that the duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton is coming. We know that Prince William has a prior engagement. So, he's not going top be here. We don't know whether Kate will be coming with her sister or maybe her mother.
The Beckhams are here. David and Victoria Beckham are expected to attend, as is the Prime Minister David Cameron. So, there's certainly some supporters in high places for Andy Murray.
And it's incredible looking on Twitter and the newspapers, everybody has been having their say on Andy Murray. And it is very interesting. There is a complete divide whether people think it's Murray or Federer who is going home with the men's singles title later today.
KAYE: Yes, I'm having a tough time figuring out who I really want to win this one.
But Amanda Davies, thank you very much. Enjoy yourself there.
And here is a look at what folks are checking out at CNN.com this morning. The most popular story right now, that Internet blackout. It could come tomorrow to thousands of Americans. If your P.C. is one of those infected with that nasty virus we have been telling you about.
People also reading about euro this morning. It fell to a two- year low to the dollar on Friday.
And who could resist this one, Himalayan Viagra taking its toll on Nepal.
For details on that story and much more, just go to CNN.com.
He calls it the, quote, "great epidemic of our time." "New York Times" columnist Nick Kristof explains what he's talking about, next.
KAYE: U.S. aid in Africa is making great strides in fighting AIDS. So why is it that so many Americans think that foreign aid is a waste?
I am joined by our regular contributor, "New York Times" columnist Nick Kristof.
Nick, good morning to you.
You column today is about U.S. foreign aid and what kind of effect it's having on the world. What did you find when you look at fighting AIDS in Africa?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: Five-point-four million of them have died here in the last decade. It can't be right. What did I know?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KRISTOF: Well, boy, the AIDS pictures in southern Africa has been transformed. Randi, I used to go a few years ago and when you would travel in Africa, it was devastated by AIDS. Children will be starving because their parents were too sick to farm. Funerals are being held all the time. Hospitals were emptied of doctors, schools of teachers because of AIDS.
And then largely, because of a couple programs, when it was PEPFAR, started by President Bush and also the Global Fund, which the U.S. support.
Really, the picture has been just transformed. People aren't dying in anything like the numbers that they used to.
KAYE: But polls indicate, though, Nick, that six out of 10 Americans favor cutting foreign aid and many believing it amounted to as much as 25 percent federal spending. So, is that fact or fiction? Can you set the record straight on that. KRISTOF: That is complete is fiction. People think that it's about a quarter of the federal budget and they like it to be slashed to about 10 percent. In fact, foreign aid amounts to just about 1 percent of the federal spending, and in fact, the humanitarian component of it is only about half of 1 percent.
KAYE: How much further do you think we need to go? I mean, no doubt we've made some progress, but where do we need to get to?
KRISTOF: Well, I'd say on AIDS, we have been pretty good on the treatment side of things. Once people get infected, we are good at providing treatment so they stay alive.
What hasn't worked nearly as well has been prevention, of preventing people from getting infected in the first place. And there have been a lot of campaigns promoting abstinence, promoting being faithful to your partner and for whatever reason that has not worked terribly well. People are aware of the danger, but it just seems remote, and they continue to have unprotected sex.
One of the areas of prevention now emphasized is male circumcision, because in heterosexual areas where AIDS is passed heterosexually in large areas of the population, that seems to provide a considerable of reduction of the transmission.
KAYE: You mentioned PEPFAR earlier in our conversation. You talked about it in your column. Just for the viewers who might not be all too familiar with that, explain what it is and how it came about.
KRISTOF: Well, this was an initiative by President Bush, and in general, I have not been a huge fan of President Bush, but this was a tremendous thing that he did that I don't think that those of us more on the liberal end of the spectrum have given him adequate credit for. It has kept millions of people alive. It has turned the tide of AIDS in southern Africa at a re relatively modest cost.
He announced it in 2003. There -- it came about partly as a result of the pressure from evangelical Christians on the White House to do more on AIDS, and it has just been an extraordinary success.
KAYE: Do the critics have a valid point when it comes to criticizing the spending of this money?
KRISTOF: I think that it is fair to say that one of the problems is that proponents of AIDS, sometimes don't adequately acknowledge how complicated it is. How often we misfire, we try strategies that fail. When AIDS, people were slow to encourage testing, they were slow to move to male circumcision. They wasted money on the abstinence-only programs that in retrospect seemed not to have worked.
But I think we also need to take that in context. And at the end of the day, there are millions of people who are alive today, millions more who are not infected, millions more who did not go hungry because their parents are not sick. We have done something truly extraordinary in fighting the great epidemic of our times and I think that the reason we should find pride in that and not reach for the cleaver to slash it.
KAYE: Nick Kristof, another great column of course. Our viewers can find it at NewYorkTimes.com. Thank you very much. Have a great Sunday.
KRISTOF: Thank you, Randi.
KAYE: So, new information this morning on the deadly outbreak in Cambodia. It has killed 64 children so far and officials think they may have found the source now. It is a virus. They call EV71, and its effects are range from a cold to polio-like paralysis and death. There is no vaccine for this virus. Adults with a healthy immune system can fight it, but children clearly are more vulnerable.
Back here in the U.S., it's one of the amazing stories to come out of those fires in the southwest. A baby golden eagle, nearly burned to death, but found alive on the Fourth of July. Wait until you hear how he survived.
KAYE: Checking on some stories make making news cross country now.
When a truck driver in Ohio made a turn off of the freeway, he probably didn't expect this. His rig overturned there at the gas station right near that set of pumps. There are reports that the brakes failed and the driver said that the load inside of his truck shifted causing this. Wow.
The workers say that his ability behind the wheel certainly helped to prevent what could have been a big disaster if he had hit the pumps head-on.
In the U.S., police broke up a major drug trafficking operation in Tempe, Arizona. Investigators say it was being run by a Mexican drug cartel. Authorities arrested people, seized three tons of marijuana, and more than $2 million in cash and an airplane.
It is being called one of our nation's treasures. And now, the public will be allowed on board of the USS Iowa, one of America's last battleships for the very first time. The ship has been turned into a floating museum docked just off of Los Angeles.
The USS Iowa did several tours, including one during World War II. No other battleships were built after that conflict.
And check out this video, one of the cutest and the most amazing survivors of the Utah wildfire. Phoenix, a baby golden eagle was severely burned after a fire engulfed his nest, all of his feathers and even his feet and his beak were burned. He's recovering, that's the good news. But it's too early to tell whether he'll actually be able to fly again.
Todd Tanner from our affiliate KSTU has the full story.
DALYN ERICKSON, WILDLIFE REHABILITATION CENTER OF NORTHERN UTAH: For him to survive something like that is outstanding. I mean, there's no words for it.
TODD TANNER, KSTU: The story of this eagle starts on June 1st when he was photographed by Kent Keller.
ERICKSON: He is a bird bander. So he goes up to band the birds in the nest. That gives us longevity records of what's going on and the nesting behaviors and all that type of stuff.
TANNER: And in this nest on a ledge high above the community of Eagle Mountain --
ERICKSON: He was the single baby on the nest.
TANNER: On June 21st, the human caused dump fire began burning, and there were thousands of acres burned including the nest site where the eaglet too young to fly.
Kent returned several days later
ERICKSON: He basically went back to retrieve the band, and he wanted to close out the information on the data on the band.
TANNER: So, he went back thinking he was going to find a dead bird?
ERICKSON: Right, right.
TANNER: But this symbol of freedom was found alive on the Fourth of July.
Now, named Phoenix, this eagle truly did rise from the ashes.
ERICKSON: The flames had engulfed his body just because they were all over the top of the head, they're on this back, they're under his the wings and they're on his legs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see the shaft up here, still growing, but they are done for.
TANNER: The handlers say Phoenix has a long way to go, but its future looks promising.
ERICKSON: We are hoping to release him. That's the goal of the program to get him back out into the wild.
KAYE: What an amazing story. We, of course, will be keeping eye on Phoenix's recovery and will update you on that. And our thanks again to our affiliate KSTU for bringing us that story.
Getting back to the grind, President Obama and Mitt Romney are hitting the road. The target, of course: swing state voters. We'll tell you what's to focus on in the political week ahead.
KAYE: Welcome back to CNN SUNDAY MORNING, I'm Randi Kaye. Bottom of the hour now and here are some of the stories that we are watching this hour.
There may be relief on the way for some of the people who have been melting in 100-degree heat for the past week. A cold front -- it sounds good, doesn't it? Here is what it looks like on the map. It is a welcomed sight, but I do have to warn you the weather change could bring strong storms with some damaging winds and even hail in some parts.
To Russia now where flash flooding has killed at least 150 people. It happened in southern Russia near the Black Sea. People climbed into the trees and even onto rooftops to escape the rising water. The Russian president Vladimir Putin is touring the area and he's promised to rebuild the homes lost in the flood.
And back here in the U.S. retiring Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank made history with his "I Do". He married his long time partner yesterday. That makes him the first member of Congress to be in a same-sex marriage while still in office.
And in just about 30 minutes the first serve at Wimbledon. It is the men's final today: Andy Murray against Roger Federer, Federer is going for his seventh Wimbledon title while Murray is hoping to become the first British winner at Wimbledon since 1938.
To politics now and the end of the holiday week, President Obama spent the last few days of the week on his campaign bus in places like Acronym, Pittsburgh while Mitt Romney vacationed in New Hampshire. But now it is back to the grind.
CNN political editor Paul Steinhauser has more on the political events that we need to be watching this week.
PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Good morning, Randi. After a week on vacation with his family, Mitt Romney returns to the campaign trail starting his week in Colorado reaching out to voters and fund raising in the important Rocky Mountain battleground state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I need Colorado's vote in November.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEINHAUSER: President Barack Obama hits the trail in Iowa Tuesday, his fourth visit to the swing state this year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's something about coming to Iowa.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEINHAUSER: Rick Santorum heads to Iowa the next day. The former senator and former Republican presidential candidate wants to thank voters in the state that gave him his first victory in the battle for the GOP presidential nomination.
Santorum was Romney's main opponent in the nomination hunt before dropping out in early April. Wednesday Romney will speak before the NAACP convention which is being held in Houston.
Vice President Joe Biden addresses the gathering the next day. Earlier in the week he speaks in front of La Raza, the nation's largest Hispanic civil rights group.
Friday, President Obama heads the campaign trail again this time in another important battle ground state, Virginia -- Randi.
KAYE: Paul Steinhauser our thanks to you.
It happened to this small town in Germany but creating shock waves now around the world. How a ban has brought the Jewish and Muslim communities together in a fight for their freedoms.
But first, we want to say a very good morning to New York City, a beautiful day there is shaping up. It certainly looks that way. Thanks for watching CNN SUNDAY MORNING.
KAYE: Here's a question, should parents' religious beliefs trump their child's medical care? That is the debate raging after a ruling this past week that says young boys should give their consent before being circumcised. In the Jewish faith and several others circumcision is a covenant but in Cologne, Germany a court gave his opinion that boys should have that right to decide in the procedure. The ruling comes after a 4-year-old Muslim boy there developed medical complications after he was circumcised.
The Central Council of Muslims said in a statement this, "Freedom of religion is highly valued in our Constitution and cannot be the plaything of a one-dimensional case," calling the court's move, "Blatant and inadmissible interference in the rights of parents."
Jewish rabbis, of course, are upset as well, including Rabbi Yossi New, who is joining me now in the studio.
So what do you think about this suggestion that they should possibly ban circumcisions?
RABBI YOSSI NEW: What's surprising about the judge's opinion is that he either rejects of ignores the evidence that clearly shows that circumcision does have medical benefits both in terms of preventing AIDS and all different forms of cancer. So -- and that's all pretty foolproof and so the fact that he ignores that is quite perplexing and surprising.
KAYE: Do -- some might -- might say that this is an intrusion and isn't it important to look after the health of these young boys. But you're saying that that's exactly what circumcision does.
NEW: That is -- interestingly that is not the reason for circumcisions. Circumcision is a religious obligation and expresses our covenant with God, however in the Jewish tradition and for example in the Book of Leviticus in Chapter 19 it clearly states that it's forbidden for a person to do anything to harm or to mutilate a body. Tattoos are forbidden, so therefore it will be clear and consistent that circumcision is not something that ordinarily would be harmful to a person.
I would just add that according to Jewish law if a mother has a child and that child, God forbid, dies as a result of the circumcision, any future children she has do not have to be circumcised.
KAYE: So would you say it's a mistake for any judge to think that circumcision puts the child in danger or is an unhealthy experience for the child?
NEW: Yes, I would say there's over 4,000 years of history that proves otherwise.
KAYE: Have you ever seen a case like this or anything like this? Any -- any medical problems resulting from a circumcision?
NEW: Just like in that case in Germany, there was really just minor complications; there was some bleeding, it was intended to and was resolve. And in the overwhelming majority of cases, there -- there is no problems and on a rare occasion, a minor problem that is addressed very quickly.
KAYE: Have you spoken to your fellow rabbis or your congregations about this at all?
NEW: To my congregation also actually, my colleague the rabbi in Berlin, Germany, who I think on CNN International also made a statement about this.
KAYE: And -- and what have -- what have the two of you shared?
NEW: You know, just the concern that the judge's opinion may influence in the future any issues concerning circumcision or any effort to try and ban it in the future.
KAYE: In -- in a way, it's the -- it's a -- there's -- there's really two issues here, there's the health and medical aspect of the case and then there's also the religious tradition.
KAYE: And so how -- how do you find the common ground there? NEW: Well, because I don't think that the religious tradition is in any conflict with the health and the medical benefits. The whole idea of circumcision from the religious perspective is to recognize that not only is our soul holy, but our bodies are too because it is a temple to the soul and therefore to sanctify the body and to recognize its importance and its value.
KAYE: So if it is so important in this tradition what will Jews, if the ban does go through, what will Jews in the region do?
NEW: If there is a ban, they will have to travel outside that region to have the circumcision.
KAYE: All right. Well, I know you will be continuing to watch -- to watch this case very closely. Rabbi, thank you very much.
NEW: My pleasure. Thank you.
KAYE: And for more stories on faith, be sure to check out our widely popular belief blog on CNN.com/belief.
It is black and white all over and showing up for the first time in 24 years. In Tokyo, the crowds are making sure to take it all in. We'll go to the Tokyo zoo for the big event.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(BABY PANDA SQUEAKING)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: That little squeaker, it is panda mania in Tokyo. Can you hear him squeaking? After being declared pregnant just days ago, a giant panda has given birth at the zoo there. It is the first panda born in Tokyo in 24 years.
Japan is celebrating the cub's birth with shops selling merchandise and panda bakery treats. Those look quite good. 6-year- old Shin Shin who was loaned from China gave birth on Thursday to the little panda that has yet to be named.
Let's head to Washington now and CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" coming up at the top of the hour and host Candy Crowley joining us this morning. Candy, good morning.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN HOST, "STATE OF THE UNION": Good morning.
KAYE: So you and the rest of Washington have been caught in the middle of the brutal heat wave like so much of the country. We've been talking about it a lot. 25 states under the heat advisory, record temperatures all over the place.
How are things in D.C.? It seems like -- isn't it the real test of our country's infrastructure? CROWLEY: Yes, it is. I mean -- and you know, you add on top of that that wind storm from last Friday which has kept the lights out in a number of states for far too many days into this heat wave. I think West Virginia, I am sure you've been reporting on it still has folks out and there are other -- there are folks around here as well that don't have air conditioning.
And you can talk all you want about the olden days when there wasn't air conditioning. Once you're used to it that 103 degrees, 104 degrees is pretty darn hot. It is like a blast furnace when you walk out the front door.
KAYE: Well, you know, I mean that is the central place. I mean don't you have some people at the White House you can call and say, hey, fix this up? Get this thing going?
CROWLEY: This is one of my biggest problems here is that I think, ok here we are, and there is the President of the United States and Congress, all of whom apparently kept their electricity, and you are thinking if it takes six days to get the lights back on, what would we do if something more serious had happened. This is -- the infrastructure isn't there at this point. And I think that everybody kind of knows that, but we seem to say this after every storm.
KAYE: Yes, I agree. I've seen it many times.
KAYE: All right. Let's talk about your show today though. You have another set of exclusives with two men who have a pretty strong interest in the outcome of this year's presidential election.
CROWLEY: Yes, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican, who would dearly like to be Senate Majority Leader, and lot of depends on the top of the ticket does. You know, you look at that ballot and the first thing you choose is for president. And so that choice generally has a lot to do with who you pick down ballot. So Mitch McConnell definitely has a lot of skin in this game as they say.
So, you know, we want to talk to him about how he thinks that Mitt Romney has been doing. It was sort of a rough week for the Romney campaign.
And Robert Gibbs, senior adviser to the Obama campaign -- these economic numbers we got this week not so great. And the question is, is there some sort of floor where these figures could go when it really begins to hurt the President, because so far, he has certainly been able to keep this a tie if not have a bit of an advantage in some of these polls we are seeing.
KAYE: Yes, certainly. Well, that is going to be a very interesting conversation. We're looking look forward to that. Stay cool in Washington.
CROWLEY: Thanks. KAYE: We'll keep an eye on you there.
CROWLEY: Well, it is cool here, I'll say that.
KAYE: All right Candy, nice to see you.
KAYE: And of course, please keep it here for "STATE OF THE UNION" with Candy Crowley. It starts in about 12 minutes, set your clocks, 9:00 a.m. Eastern and 6:00 a.m. Pacific right here on CNN.
President and Mitt Romney have their critics but is it fair to call Mitt Romney a flip-flopper? Comedian Dean Obeidallah says, "no way". He'll tell us why right after this.
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(RINGO STARR'S BIRTHDAY)
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KAYE: Take a look at that cake. Happy birthday, Ringo. Believe it or not a Beatle, yes, a Beatle is 72.
But from his first days as a Beatle in 1962, Ringo Starr has never slowed down. And yesterday I had the chance to speak with Ringo on his birthday and he was as charming as ever. I asked him about his legacy with that band we all know and love.
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RINGO STARR, SINGER: Every generation listens to the Beatles. You know, the kids today are listening to the Beatles, their fathers listen, their grandfathers listen. And you know, we are still outselling most acts.
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KAYE: I hope he had a great birthday.
Let's talk about the presidential politics now. Yes, the Democrats and the Republicans. You may even be talking or possibly arguing with your loved ones at breakfast right now about who to vote for come November.
Well, my guest, comedian and former attorney, Dean Obeidallah always has something to say about this. Dean, good morning to you.
DEAN OBEIDALLAH, COMEDIAN: Good morning Randi. Thanks for having me.
KAYE: Glad to have you here. So you just wrote this op-ed for CNN.com. It's getting thousands of comments, a lot of reaction very critical of Mitt Romney's decision-making, but at the same time you say he is not a flip- flopper.
OBEIDALLAH: Yes. That is what I say. And I'll be honest because technically I think Mitt Romney has flipped more than a Japanese acrobat. I think there'll be some people in the circus amazed by his dexterity.
But to call him a flip flopper to me is just a talking point. And I hate those. I think they're useless and they're not helpful. Look at Mitt Romney, what he really is. He is a businessman. He will tell you that. He was only a governor for four years, the rest of his life in business. As a CEO, that is his core.
If a product doesn't work, you tweak it. You change it. You repackage it. And that's what Mitt Romney is about. He -- the customer's always right I think is the adage that motivates Mitt Romney. So I want people just to understand it. I am not saying it is good or bad, it is for each person to decide if you want a CEO as president.
KAYE: So, in your op-ed -- let me read a direct quote here for our viewers.
KAYE: You write, "Romney's changing views are neither sudden nor unexpected. Rather they are astutely calculated by Romney, the businessman, to appeal to the customers he's targeting at that very moment." But I mean -- aren't most, Dean, if not all politicians selling an image, their product, if you will to the voters and to their base?
OBEIDALLAH: No, I agree. They are. I mean I think Don Draper would be especially impressed with Mitt Romney, you know, from the "Mad Men". It's really -- each politician, the product is you. We know that. It's like in sales, you are selling yourself. They do evolve. They do -- in time they will change, a lot of times for the better.
But I just want people to look at Mitt Romney's record. You have to understand if you're going to want someone's who is an ideologue or do you want someone who is more pragmatic. I think Mitt Romney is truly pragmatic. If that is what you want, I think that is a good leader. But I think that there are questions about his evolution on key issues over ten years on abortion, gun control, global warming, and health care that make you question sometimes the veracity of what he's saying.
And that's the point I wanted to raise.
KAYE: But I know how much you hate partisan talking points, but I'm going to bring them up.
OBEIDALLAH: Yes. Ok.
KAYE: Is the left jumping on Romney thought? I mean just like the right did with John Kerry, if you remember back in 2004?
OBEIDALLAH: Yes, remember President John Kerry? Well, there is no President John Kerry because the flip-flopping label does work. It goes to the credibility of the person making the statement.
And again, you know, I'm not saying dismiss Mitt Romney because he has evolved on certain issues over time, but I think you must look at why he's evolved. And I think he looks at the marketplace like a CEO. In Massachusetts where he's running for Senate and Governor; left-leaning, he gives that message. He goes nationally for Republican nomination, the base, the consumers more conservative -- he moves and changes his product, himself, to match that target market. That is what he is about. I mean there are some benefits to that.
Believe me we live in a hyper-partisan world. Look at our Congress. I mean their poor rating is below herpes (ph) at this moment. So I mean we want a politician sometimes that can be responsive. But is all he's going to do is listen to us or sometimes you need a president who's going to make unpopular decisions. I wonder if he can do that.
KAYE: But why -- I mean change and evolution -- I hate to use that word, because it's been used so often -- but there is some good there. I mean politicians are people. We can change opinions, right? I mean it is expected.
OBEIDALLAH: Sure. My opinions have changed in the last hour. I mean my -- we all have our opinions change, but all you have to measure someone running for elective position, and Mitt Romney is running for the leader of the free world, is based on their track record or what they have said.
And if he is saying certain things now that sound good to us, but ten years ago had a different position on fundamental issues, it makes you wonder though, is he just telling us what we want to hear or does he believe that? Is he going to stick to it? Is he principled?
And that's my question. Believe me, I think some people would love pragmatism now. They would love a CEO in these tough economic times. But you might not get the person you want, because he might evolve based on public opinion.
KAYE: What about President Obama? I mean he had his evolution on the gay marriage, on same-sex marriage?
OBEIDALLAH: Absolutely. I agree with you. I don't we should have people signing these tax pledges like they do in the Republican Party to Grover Norquist, and say I'm never going to raise taxes. I'm going to be rigid. I'm not going to flexible at all. That does not help our country.
I am not saying you should not evolve, you should. However with Mitt it is not just one issue, it's many issues. And that is really the key to starting to understand Mitt Romney. He is a businessman and again some people might love that. They might think that's the best thing in the world. I have some questions about credibility and about veracity, but that's for each person to decide.
KAYE: How much attention do you think the voters really pay to this?
OBEIDALLAH: Right now? I think the last three minutes are probably the most informative of the entire campaign, Randi. Who needs Wolf Blitzer? Who needs -- we've got this one.
KAYE: We need him desperately.
OBEIDALLAH: I'm kidding, of course. I greatly admire him. And I would say that. I think in the summer, it's vacation time. I think I'm background noise right now to people, but perhaps as we get closer to the fall, people start focusing on it. I think this issue will come up again.
Don't be dismissive of Mitt Romney as a flip-flopper. That's all I say to people. Look at what he's really about. Understand his core. You might like that. That may be admirable to you.
KAYE: All right. All right Dean. We appreciate that. We will check out your op-ed at CNN.com.
OBEIDALLAH: Thanks Randi.
KAYE: If you want to read it at home, just go to CNN.com/opinion.
Dean, nice to see you.
OBEIDALLAH: Nice to see you again.
KAYE: The Fourth of July celebrations has come and gone but for folks in San Diego, California, it may have gone too fast -- try 20 seconds. Here is CNN's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You're looking at fireworks where the fire worked, just not the timing.
MOOS: It really rocked San Diego.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God.
MOOS: All of the fireworks intended for an entire 20-minute show went off at the same time. It was over in under 30 seconds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. This has been this year's --
MOOS (on camera): You know it's always hard to tell when a fireworks display is over. You're also asking was that the finale, was that it? Same here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe that was everything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That wasn't supposed to happen, was it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did they just set them all off at once.
MOOS (voice-over): You bet you.
Garden State Fireworks, a company famous for its shows, says the snafu may have been caused by a corrupted file resulting in a computer glitch that launched every single fire work. Garden State's co-owner, August Santori --
AUGUST SANTORI, GARDEN STATES: God I wish I could un-ring the bell but I can't.
MOOS: At least un-ring the car alarms. The short but intense show was a disappointment to some but not all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was not expecting that. That was awesome.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was a good start.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't often see the grand finale at the beginning.
MOOS: On the Internet they call this an epic fail. Too bad it happened too late to be included in this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, oh, oh.
MOOS: The ultimate fireworks fail compilation set to music.
MOOS: At least no one was hurt in the San Diego blowout. The Coast Guard had a technical term for the fireworks fiasco.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A, quote, "premature ignition".
MOOS: Leading one poster to quip "I swear to you this has never happened to me before." Even after the fireworks were spent the music played on.
MOOS: In the land of the free, feel free to cheer premature ignition.
Jeanne Moos, CNN --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
MOOS: New York.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America.
KAYE: I'm Randi Kaye, thanks for watching. "STATE OF THE UNION" with Candy Crowley starts right now.