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Police Shooting Protest Turns Violent; Batman Star's Surprise Visit To Aurora; Donors Rally For Victim, Newborn Son; Senate Posturing On Bush Tax Cuts; Syrian Rebels Try To Cut Off Troops; Turkey Closes Syria's Border Gates; Assessing The U.S. Terror Threat; Killer Whale Attacks SeaWorld Trainer; Hepatitis C "Serial Infector" Arrested; Romney Slams Obama's Foreign Policy; Senate to Vote on Tax Cut Measures; Greece Boots Athlete from Games; Airlines Make $22.6 Billion in Fees
Aired July 25, 2012 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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DAVID BECKHAM: -- there will be a few events I'm hoping to get to and take my kids down to. So it'll be fun hopefully.
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CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Beckham currently plays for the L.A. Galaxy soccer team. The coach of Britain's Olympic team was a bit disturbed when he decided to leave Beckham off the Olympic team last month. The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.
And good morning, thank you so much for joining us. I'm Carol Costello. Ahead this hour in the NEWSROOM, a baby boy born out of tragedy. His mom escaped the Colorado movie theatre massacre. His father shot in the head and in a medically induced coma. Why this little boy is now their sign of hope.
You know those pesky fees you pay to fly? Those fees create big, big, huge profits for airlines, more than $22 billion.
And for the first time we're seeing the horrifying moment when a killer whale at Sea World in San Diego drags a trainer under water. This video, court evidence, is being used against Sea World. How Sea World is responding today. NEWSROOM begins right now.
And we begin this hour with another night of violent protests in Anaheim, California. It's the second ugly clash with police since officers shot to death a man who was apparently unarmed. Last hour, we heard from Sergeant Bob Dunn, the public information officer for the Anaheim Police Department.
SGT. BOB DUNN, ANAHEIM POLICE DEPARTMENT (via telephone): Yesterday, we had our planned city council meeting, which had a pretty heavy agenda meaning that there was anticipated to be large attendance anyway. In light of what happened over the weekend, we anticipated even more people coming to the council meeting and that turned out -- what happened was that the council chambers filled up quickly.
And some people were turned away because the fire marshal told us there were too many people. So the crowd began to swell and that's kind of what began to start the violence.
COSTELLO: OK, and how violent did these clashes get?
DUNN: You know, they threw rocks at the officers as they attempted to affect at least one arrest near the beginning. Those rocks -- members of the media. After the dispersal order was given, the crowds moved around sometimes fighting between each other, breaking windows, lighting fires in trash cans.
COSTELLO: And I understand at one point a police dog got loose and attacked one of the protesters.
DUNN: That actually happened last Saturday after the officer- involved shooting when we were dealing with a hostile crowd there.
COSTELLO: OK. So how much damage was done to the city of Anaheim last night?
DUNN: At this point we're still in the assessment phase. We do know there were quite a few businesses as well as city buildings affected by vandalism. We have crews out there right now making that assessment.
COSTELLO: And protesters do accuse police of shooting an unarmed man. Can you tell me how that shooting went down?
DUNN: An that particular day, which was last Saturday, two of our officers were on uniformed patrol in the high crime gang neighborhood, attempted to stop three individuals who then fled on foot.
It was during that foot pursuit that the officer-involved shooting occurred. The circumstances surrounding that shooting are under investigation.
COSTELLO: And from what I understand dozens of people have been arrested. I've seen the figure 26 out there. Is that accurate?
DUNN: The number I have right now is 24. We're still working through the statistics of last night, 20 of which were adults and four juveniles.
COSTELLO: Anaheim's mayor has called for state and federal investigations into the shooting.
Now to the latest developments out of Colorado. Just hours from now mourners will pay their respects to two of the victims of the theatre massacre, the 51-year-old Gordon Kouden and 23-year-old Mikaela Medek.
The judge in the case is blocking cameras from next week's court appearance for suspect, James Holmes. His bizarre behavior in Monday's hearing might be the reason.
An online fundraiser has collected more than $2 million for victims and their relatives, some of that comes from the film's co-producers and the star of the movie made a surprise visit to Aurora attending a memorial and meeting with survivors.
It was that visit that perked up the spirits of a lot of victims. Christian Bale was onscreen at the time of the shooting spree. Bale traveled unannounced to meet with those recovering and their families. He also brought flowers to the memorial setup for those killed.
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CRYSTAL FLATELAND, SWEDISH MEDICAL CENTER EMPLOYEE: Really showed his humanity and that, you know, he does care about people and he cares about his fans.
JANIE BOWMAN HAYES, SWEDISH MEDICAL CENTER EMPLOYEE: It was not a canned speech. It was not -- it was nothing Hollywood. He was the human being, Christian Bale.
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COSTELLO: CNN's Jim Spellman is live in Aurora to tell us more. Good morning.
JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. Yes, people are really excited about that visit. Not only did he visit with victims and first responders there at that hospital. They bussed some people over from another hospital so that they would all have a chance to meet him and get to have their picture taken with him.
He also met with Governor Hickenlooper here before coming over here to the memorial that has popped up across from the theatre. When he was here he joined an impromptu prayer circle that popped up. The people that were there praying with him didn't even know it was him.
I heard nothing so far, but good reaction about it. Before he came, there was a Twitter campaign to get him to come and a lot of mixed reaction. Some people felt it would be in poor taste for him to come or maybe traumatic for the victims.
But everybody here seems to think he really hit the right note by not alerting the media or having a press conference or making a big to do about it, but really having these kinds of intimate chances to have a conversation with these individual victims so people here so far are pretty excited about it -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Jim Spellman reporting live from Aurora this morning. Also this morning, Americans are rallying to help this man. Another shooting victim, Caleb Medley, he is in critical condition right now with gunshot wounds to his head. That's only part of the story.
He is also a brand new father. Caleb's wife who escaped the massacre unharmed gave birth to their son just yesterday. Hugo is the baby's name. He is the glimmer of joy in one family's nightmare.
They have no health insurance and now face a lifetime of debt. You can help the family if you wish. We want to put up a web site for donations. The address is calebmedley.com/help. You can also find that link on my blog web site. That's cnn.com/newsroom, click on the tab with my name.
And be sure to watch Saturday and Sunday night at 8:00 Eastern for a special CNN Presents, "Madness at Midnight." The program will honor the victims, survivors, and heroes of the massacre. That's this weekend 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
Today on Capitol Hill, presidential politics and your wallet, the Senate is due to vote on extending the Bush era tax cuts. They're set to expire at the end of the year.
But with the issue split along party lines the goal may be more about posturing than passing. I know you're surprised, right? Our congressional correspondent Dana Bash joins us to explain more. So what can we expect?
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think that posturing is the perfect word for what we expect today. We're not exactly sure how the vote or votes are going to be structured. We expect it to be this afternoon.
But in any event what we do expect is some kind of vote on what the president has been pushing for the past several weeks, which is an extension of just the tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of the year, but for those families who make $250,000 and less.
This is something that Democrats are certainly pushing and they are now all onboard with. They weren't really so much before at least with the leaders in the Senate and the House.
But the other question is whether or not Republicans are going to get a vote on what they want, which is a one-year extension of all the tax cuts. Which they say would give time for some tax reform ideas.
COSTELLO: But again, nothing likely to come of this?
BASH: Exactly. Very important point that we -- regardless we believe that the thing that will get the vote will be the measure to extend tax cuts for short of $50,000 and less and that will probably need a 60-vote threshold.
We don't expect that to happen because even Republicans like for example Scott Brown, who is running for re-election in a Democratic state of Massachusetts. I just was in touch with his office and he will even vote against this.
If you're not going to -- if Democrats aren't going to get a Republican like Scott Brown, it is unlikely that they will get close to the 60 votes they need to pass.
COSTELLO: Dana Bash reporting live from Capitol Hill.
This morning the crisis in Syria, it continues to get worse. Rebel leaders have ordered their fighters to attack hundreds of government troops heading toward Aleppo.
It's the commercial hub of the country and a crucial test in the 16 months of fighting. In the meantime Turkey is trying to stem the flood of refugees flooding into the country. Today, it's closing border gates with Syria.
Also right now, on Capitol Hill, your safety and the threat of terrorism. Members of the House Homeland Security Committee are about to be briefed on where the nation stands nearly 11 years after the 9/11 attacks.
About to speak, two of the government's top decision makers on protecting Americans. Suzanne Kelly is CNN's intelligence correspondent. She joins us now live from Aspen, the site of another extraordinary gathering of terror experts.
Suzanne, first the hearing though. How frank are the assessments likely to be? Well, obviously, Suzanne, is having trouble hearing me. When we get the technical problems ironed out, we'll take you back to Aspen.
CNN's security clearance team will provide special coverage of the Aspen Security Forum that's where Suzanne is. They'll provide that this week on TV and online. Go to cnn.com/security clearance for more highlights and features.
Frightening new video from Sea World showing a killer whale attacking a trainer in San Diego six years ago. The whale grabs the trainer by his leg and drags him under the water. The whale occasionally brings him back to the surface.
The trainer eventually gets away with a broken foot. This video just released after being used in federal court. Sea World was accused of putting trainers at risk. The judge ruled against the company.
Sea World denies the whales are deadly told ABC News the video shows the trainer's skillful execution of an emergency response plan.
It is a sight we rarely see. The moment a volcano blows its top. It's all caught on tape.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COSTELLO: As I told you before the break members of the House Homeland Security Committee are about to be briefed on where the nation stands 11 years after the 9/11 attacks.
Let's head out to Aspen once again with Suzanne Kelly, CNN's intelligence correspondent. Let's start with the hearing taking place in Washington. What do you expect?
SUZANNE KELLY, CNN INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, a couple interesting things we expect to come up today. One, you'll hear from the National Counterterrorism Center Director Matt Olsen about his concerns about the Olympics.
That is probably one of the more pressing things. The NCTC, which he heads has put together a threat integration center and are working very closely with the British counterparts to be sure that if anything comes up.
That they are not already aware, that they're able to tap it down very quickly so h should be talking about that right about now if he hasn't already.
Also, there is an interesting thing coming up with the "Inspire" magazine, Carol. You may remember this was coming up from AQAP in Yemen.
This magazine that was written in English, very slick and western looking tried to kind of recruit people all over the world through the magazine telling them how to carry out terrorist attacks.
Last year, the guy who was running that magazine Anwar Awlaki was killed in a drone strike. Intelligence officials were kind of hoping that threat would mitigate. It doesn't look like that's the case.
We're also hoping to hear more from Director Olsen on that today. Also testifying Janet Napolitano, she should have interesting things to say about the Homeland Security and the threat and of course, the home grown threat is one that's still very much on the minds of intelligence officials -- Carol.
COSTELLO: OK. Now, tell us what you're doing in Aspen at the Security Forum.
KELLY: Well, I'm not having fun like everyone says. No, we're actually out here with a group of intelligence officials who are coming out. The Aspen Institute sponsors this. It's the third time they've done it.
It's a fascinating exercise in sort of taking D.C. outside the beltway and coming out to where current officials, former officials, kind of intermingling with members of the public, members of the press, and they talk about the current issues of the day.
This is going on for the next four days. We're very happy to tell you that CNN's security clearance blog is a cosponsor of this event this year.
If you are interested in Olympic security or what's going on right here in the U.S., we encourage you to go to cnn.com/security clearance because we'll be live blogging from here and putting up all the stories and news that breaks.
Also tonight, Wolf Blitzer is launching this off and he is interviewing Admiral William McCraven. So that's something you don't want to miss.
COSTELLO: Absolutely, Suzanne Kelly, glad we got you back. Thanks so much.
We are learning more about the man called a serial infector accused of infecting patients with Hepatitis C. He worked in eight states, new Hampshire, Michigan, Maryland, New York, Arizona, Georgia, and Kansas and one more that is unidentified.
All of those states have people investigating. Thousands of patients are being tested for Hepatitis C. Joining me now is CNN's senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen. So you have new information. Tell us.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: We do. CNN has gotten a hold of a lawsuit that was filed by some people who say they got Hepatitis C from him and it's filed against the agency that placed him in the hospital in New Hampshire.
And there is a description here of what was seen in this hospital according to this lawsuit. They say that a hospital employee observed him enter an operating room, lift his shirt, put a syringe in his pants and then exit the room.
Then when they looked they found that some -- this was in 2008, they found some fentanyl was missing, a very powerful opiate narcotic, high potential for abuse.
It was missing. It had been replaced by a syringe that had something else in it. So it sort of paints a picture of what they say happened here.
COSTELLO: So was he a hospital employee?
COHEN: He was. So this was 2008. This was not in the hospital in New Hampshire. This was someplace else.
COSTELLO: Yes, where is this?
COHEN: This is actually -- it doesn't say but it was 2008. You know, he went -- it appears between 2007 to 2012 he was in eight different states and in several hospitals in each of those eight states. So he was moving around.
What's interesting here is that this didn't go unnoticed. So back in 2008, someone noticed that he was acting erratically and sweating according to this lawsuit and they actually looked and searched him.
And they found three empty syringes with fentanyl labels on his person. This also says that an empty morphine sulphate syringe was found. They tested him and found fentanyl and other opiates in his system.
COSTELLO: And when you say "they" who are they?
COHEN: You know, it doesn't exactly say in this lawsuit. I mean, this is -- you would think this would be the hospital or perhaps law enforcement. We don't know.
But it does say that fentanyl was found on his person or empty syringes with fentanyl labels were found on his person and an empty morphine sulfate syringe was also found in his locker not on his person, but in his locker.
And I'm just reading from the lawsuit here. It says a drug test found fentanyl and other opiates in his system. Of course begs the question. This is 2008. Why was he allowed to go work at other hospitals for another four years if this is true?
COSTELLO: OK, so if you were in one of these hospitals where this guy worked what should do you?
COHEN: Well, we don't have a complete list. We're talking eight states. Some of these states there's multiple hospitals. So if you're concerned, what you can do is contact your Department of Health and say, was this guy in one of these hospitals?
And you will be contacted. I mean, you should be contacted if you were indeed a patient possibly under his care. It gets complicated because some of these hospitals he worked in the radiology lab.
And then he moved on to work in the cardiac catheterization lab. That's true for one hospital in Michigan I just spoke to. So as you can imagine, there is a lot of work to figure out who was seen during those times in those particular locations in those particular hospitals.
COSTELLO: But did he have a specific job?
COHEN: He was a medical technician and so medical technicians are employed in various parts of hospitals. As I said in the radiology lab and a cardiac cauterization lab, you know, they work all over the place.
COSTELLO: OK, and the list of hospitals --
COHEN: If you go to cnn.com, you'll see our article on this. We do not have a complete list of hospitals at this time because states haven't released that. So it's a little spotty.
We know the hospitals in Maryland. We don't know all the hospitals in other states. At this point, we just don't know but, again, if you are under his care you should be contacted by those hospitals to come in and get tested for Hepatitis c.
COSTELLO: Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much.
COSTELLO: Hard to believe, but four little words can cause quite the big epic political battle. What did the president mean when he said you didn't build that? Our talk back question for today.
COSTELLO: Now is your chance to talk back on one of the big stories of the day. The question for you this morning, what do you think President Obama meant when he said you didn't build that?
Those four words have become the catalyst for an epic political battle. Republicans say the president is attacking success. The Obama camp says the president's words were taken out of context.
The whole thing has become an endless game of political pingpong. The RNC is releasing yet another ad about it today. That was to combat an ad the Obama campaign released yesterday and that was to refute the first web ad about it from the Romney campaign.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama, you're killing us out here. Through hard work and a little luck we built this business. Why are you demonizing us for it?
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COSTELLO: Since the president said those four words the debate has at times bordered on the absurd. "Fox and Friends," which has hosted Romney at least nine times since May pitched in to help with Eliza and Clara Sutton, two pint sized entrepreneurs with a lemonade stand.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you feel about the president saying that you needed help to start this business?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I would say that's rude, because we worked very hard to build this business, but we did have help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And your help came from?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Our help came from our investor investors.
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COSTELLO: This is a large chunk of what President Obama actually said on July 13th. You be the judge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.
Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business, you didn't build that -- somebody else made that happen. The internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the internet so that all the companies could make money off the internet.
The point is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.
COSTELLO: So the talk back question today what do you think President Obama meant when he said "you didn't build that?" Facebook.com/carolcnn. Facebook.com/carol cnn. I'll read your comments later this hour.
Romney goes international. The Republican presidential candidate takes his bid for the White House abroad. What can he say to convince top European leaders he should be the United States' next commander-in-chief? Our political panel weighs in.
COSTELLO: We told you earlier lawmakers are mulling a vote on the extension of the Bush tax cuts. Well, there has been some movement. Let's head back to Capitol Hill and check in with our congressional correspondent Dana Bash. Dana, what's up?
We're going to get to Dana in just a minute. I apologize. We'll get to her soon. Let's check our top stories right now. A former medical tech is accused of infecting as many as 30 patients in New Hampshire.
Now hospitals in at least seven other states where he worked are investigating and having thousands of patients tested. The former lab tech has been arrested and could get up to 20 years in prison if he's convicted.
In Los Angeles, medical marijuana advocates say they will fight the city council's unanimous decision to close all pot dispensaries. The ban goes into effect 30 days after Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signs it into law. Police say the ban would help neighborhoods hurt by problem dispensaries.
The New Orleans Police Department agrees to a major overhaul including detailed documentation and review of cases where police use force. The department has been accused of excessive use of force, corruption and illegal searches. The federal judge still has to approve the plan. And incredible pictures of the moment a volcano erupts. This is time lapse video of an eruption yesterday in southwestern Japan. The volcano spewed ash and reportedly created ash plumes as high as 10,000 feet.
And North Korean leader Kim Jung Un is now a married man that's according to state media. North Korean state TV has been broadcasting the news all day. Little is known about Kim Jung Un who took over after his father died last year.
Now to the 2012 presidential election where today the campaign trail is taking Mitt Romney out of the United States and over to London. The soon-to-be Republican presidential nominee is beginning a six-day multi-country tour where he will meet with leaders of the UK, Israel, Turkey, and others.
But just before he left, Romney slammed President Obama's policies and their impact here and abroad.
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MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The President's policies have made it harder to recover from the deepest recession in 70 years, exposed the military to cuts that no one can justify, compromised our national security secrets. And in dealings with other nations he has given trust where it is not earned, insult where it was not deserved, and apology where it is not due.
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COSTELLO: Joining me now are CNN contributors Maria Cardona, she's a Democratic strategist; and Dana Loesch, she is a -- she leans right. She's a CNN contributor.
So Dana let's start with you. Mr. Romney has accused President Obama of apologizing and appeasing foreign leaders. Democrats would certainly disagree with that.
DANA LOESCH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know I think we have seen a little bit of kind of an appeasement strategy it seems from the White House. I mean especially when we look in terms of -- there's a lot of concern going on with -- with countries like Egypt and -- and you know, who we're backing for their presidential candidate. Or Morsi rather who ended up winning the election and this involve with the Muslim Brotherhood.
We -- we -- there's a lot of questions with this administration's foreign policy. We need to see something a little more aggressive. We need to see something from this administration from an American president who is not going -- they're not going to back down on American interests and we're not going to compromise on our principles in overseas in working with these foreign leaders.
And that's something that we haven't really seen Democrats be especially strong on. They certainly criticized George Bush for being too aggressive. I think we went from one extreme to another. But it remains to be seen.
It's very difficult to go overseas and -- and give addresses like this to all of these foreign countries without the negotiating power that Mitt Romney obviously doesn't have. So he's going to have a huge burden on his shoulders to strike this presidential tone but not having any of the power to go behind it. It will be interesting to see.
COSTELLO: So Maria, is -- is Dana right? Is the President going overseas and being apologist for American policy?
MARIA CARDONA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No, absolutely not, Carol. What we have seen from this President is that he is has actually reversed the trend that started under George Bush which means that he went overseas and he fixed our freight alliances, he has fixed America's reputation abroad, and has really strengthened our role as a global leader but at the same time understanding that we are not alone in the world.
And I will say that the majority of the American people agree with that kind of strength in foreign policy as they support what this President has done, agree with what he has done in terms of basically getting rid of al Qaeda, killing Osama bin Laden, keeping us safe, making sure that our strength with Israel is second to none and making sure that sanctions against Iran are also very, very strong.
And frankly, the only thing that we're hearing from Mitt Romney interestingly enough is a lot of bluster, a lot of criticism, and there's absolutely zero substance in terms of what he would do differently from what President Obama has done. And I think that's going to hurt him.
COSTELLO: Well Dana -- Dana, let's talk about that.
COSTELLO: You know on the subject of Iran, I mean, Mitt Romney mentioned sanctions but there are sanctions already in place in Iran. What -- what -- what specifically, is Mr. Romney suggesting we do about Iran and its alleged nuclear weapon?
LOESCH: Well, we definitely need to not be passive about it. There are a couple of quick things that I wanted to address that Maria had just said though. The Australian Prime Minister had recently said to -- to Mr. Romney that America is in decline and that is something that our economic policies as well as some of the -- you know these appeasement strategy that we've seen from the United States, that's one of the things that is kind of contributing to this declining popularity of America in terms of foreign countries.
Now, if we want to look as well as she mentioned at making sure that you know Israel's strength -- we haven't really been on the best foot with Israel under this administration. There's been a lot of interesting headlines that have come by way of the President's relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu and some of the treatment and the chill and of course don't forget there's a lot we could get into but back to Iran and the strategies and the sanctions, I don't think we've seen this administration be incredibly tough on it.
I mean keep in mind that we had the revolution over in Iran where we had their government is simply -- is just shooting people out in the streets. And this administration wasn't anywhere standing with the people in Iran. They seemed to kind of at least to be behind the government in Iran.
It's just -- that's not what we need to see from this President. We saw the same thing and we've seen the same thing in other countries as well.
COSTELLO: Ok. Maria, I thought that some of the most stringent sanctions had been put into place against Iran.
CARDONA: Absolutely. And that's exactly the problem with what Mitt Romney is saying. He is saying one thing but then on the other hand we don't -- we're not hearing what he would do differently. And so that is -- that is the big question that is hanging out there as he goes overseas and clearly, we've seen in poll after poll that the American people do support what President Obama has done on foreign policy.
And just going back to Israel, in the words of -- of -- of Netanyahu, himself, he has said time and again that Israel has had no stronger partner on security issues than the United States under President Obama. So that's just the reality.
And I guess that's the problem. Mitt Romney is speaking against a back drop where he is not focusing on reality in terms of what the American people believe and he's not offering anything different. So I think that's a dog that's not going to hunt for Mitt Romney right now.
COSTELLO: Ok. We'll have to end it there.
Thanks to you both.
LOESCH: We won't see Mitt Romney talking about 67 borders. We won't see that. And that's -- that's -- you can't say that he's got a strong relationship with Israel then.
CARDONA: That's what Netanyahu said. It's his words.
COSTELLO: There is a chill between the two. Ok. We'll have to leave it there. Dana Loesch, Maria Cardona many thanks to you both.
CARDONA: Thanks so much, Carol.
COSTELLO: Do you feel like you're getting nickel and dimed every time you fly? Well, you are. And the airlines are making big, big bucks. More than you might expect.
COSTELLO: Ok. I told you before new information on the Bush era tax cuts. There is some movement on Capitol Hill so let's head there now and check in with our senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash. What's up, Dana?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Carol, earlier in the hour we talked about some votes that are going to happen in the Senate today. I reported that we expected that they would need a 60-vote threshold to pass and therefore they wouldn't. Guess what?
Since then things have changed and the Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell just went to the Senate floor and said Republicans have changed their strategy. What they're going to do now is allow a vote, actually a couple of votes on extending the Bush era tax cuts but with just simple majorities.
The fact that this is news is maybe sad, maybe interesting, unclear. Because usually things need 60 votes. But the Republican leader said that they're not going to put up procedural hurdles. What they are going to do is allow a vote to extend the Bush era tax cuts for families making $250,000 and less.
That's the President's plan. That's the Democrats' plan. And just need actually 50 votes to pass. Democrats actually think that they might have that. I just talked to a Democratic aide who said that they believe that that could pass.
The second vote that they're going to have is the Republican plan which is to extend all Bush era tax cuts for those making up to millions of dollars and those making $250,000 and less but do that for just one year. Unclear if that Republican plan will pass.
So this is going to be some movement and it'll be real -- senators will really be on the record. That is the goal the Republican leader said today to get senators on the record, remove all the procedural hurdles.
I think an obvious question you'll probably going to ask me is does that mean that this is going to become law? The answer to that question is, no. This is -- these are still political votes. There are procedural reasons which I won't get into right now why that won't ultimately become law at least in the short term. But at least we will see real votes on the Senate floor on this major discussion that's been going on in the campaign trails.
COSTELLO: Dana Bash, many thanks.
Dramatic pictures. A woman trapped in raging flood. How she got out of this alive.
COSTELLO: It's 45 minutes past the hour. Checking our top stories now.
One of the uninsured victims of that deadly movie theater shooting in Colorado could face $2 million in medical costs. Now the family of Caleb Medley has set up a Web site CalebMedley.com to raise money for his care. Medley is in a medically-induced coma after being shot in the right eye and suffering brain damage.
Anaheim, California this morning recovering from another night of violent protests. It's the second ugly clash with police since officers shot a man to death who was apparently unarmed. Anaheim's mayor has called for state and federal investigations into the shooting. The victim was a suspected gang member.
And the water supply in one Texas town could be in jeopardy. This crack in the ground mysteriously appeared and it just keeps getting bigger. A local official says the force of the separating ground could break the main water line for the city of Fort Stockton.
And take a look at this. This is a raging flood outside of Beijing, China. Hard to see but in the highlighted area a woman is trapped. Villagers risk their own lives and worked together to save her. They had to use a fork lift. They saved that woman and at least one other person. The ground is saturated in areas along the outskirts of Beijing. Forecasters say more rain is on the way.
And this news just in to CNN.
Greece has booted one of its athletes from the summer Olympic games. The reason, some offensive remarks she made on Twitter.
Zain Verjee is in London. So Zain, what did she tweet?
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (via telephone): Hi, Carol.
I'm just standing very close to the Olympic stadium where I'm hearing music and singing and dancing for the opening ceremonies but what is actually grabbing the headlines is this tweet that a champion triple jumper from Greece Voula Papachristou said -- she is alleged to have said on Twitter these comments about African immigrants.
She said "With so many Africans in Greece at least the West Nile mosquito will have homemade food." Now, the reactions to what she wrote were really angry. Her tweet has been deleted. She has put up a message on her Facebook page saying that she is really sorry for the tasteless comment and she really believes in the value of the Olympics and she just really didn't mean what she said.
She is 23 years old. These would have been her first games. She is not even here yet Carol. She is in Athens on her way here but because of what she wrote, the Greeks themselves decided to take her off the team.
COSTELLO: Just so stupid.
You spoke to the Greek Olympic spokesman. What did he say?
VERJEE: He basically said that she made a joke. She made a mistake but it was really serious. When I spoke to him a short while ago he said it was unforgivable and then they released the statement saying it was contrary to the values of the Olympic games. This really puts the spotlight -- Twitter, Facebook, and social media and the kind of impact and serious repercussions it can have on athletes. Different countries have given different guidelines for their teams saying you can and can't say this or that. But some just want to tweet because the fans want to hear from them directly. But this was a bad and devastating move.
COSTELLO: Zain Verjee reporting live from London.
$22.6 billion -- that's how much money airlines made off of you last year in extra fees. According to a new report that number has jumped 66 percent in just two years.
And you're not getting much in return for paying those extra fees. Look where the money comes from: checked luggage fees, fees for your carry on; fees to change your so-called non-refundable flight. But also lumped into the $22 billion figure are things like fees you pay for your airline credit card; fees to pre-board, and in flight catering; Wi-Fi; and extra leg room.
Our question today, when will all this nickel and diming stop? Joining us now Ben Mutzabaugh. He's in Washington. He's is the editor of "USA Today's" air travel section. Welcome, Ben.
BEN MUTZABAUGH, EDITOR, "USA TODAY": Hi, Carol. Good to be here.
COSTELLO: Glad you're here. So how can people protect themselves from getting nickel and dimed? Let's start there.
MUTZABAUGH: Well, you know, this is a good news/bad news thing. I'll start with bad news. These fees are here to stay, so there's really little you can do to avoid them. The good news is they're kind of leveling off.
The best thing, the best news for frequent travelers is if you are an elite flyer with an airline, airlines will waive a lot, not all, but a lot of these fees.
But if you're just a regular traveler and you don't take to the skies enough to get elite status, you're going to have to be really creative. Some airlines even charge for carry ons now. So your options to avoid these fees are dwindling.
COSTELLO: Yes. I think I can carry a week's worth of clothes in a tiny little purse now because I've trained myself because I don't want to pay the fees. So that's one way I get around it.
It's not just the budget airlines either. It's bigger airlines are also tacking on these extra fees. So what changed?
MUTZABAUGH: Right. You know, this is just -- you know, everything changed in 2008 with a spike in oil prices. Airlines scrambled to do whatever they could to stay afloat. Fees are one of the things they tried and they found that customers might -- may not like them but they will pay them. And, you know, offer you another good sliver of good news is if you have one of those airline credit cards you might grumble at the $60 or the $90 annual fee but a lot of them like American airlines or United if you have their credit cards they'll waive your fees for your bags every time you travel. So you know, there are some give and take but it's definitely a little cat and mouse game as far as they're concerned.
COSTELLO: Oh, you're not kidding. So some airlines are charging you for things like to talk to a representative. You know, one live person there behind the desk. What are some of the more ridiculous fees you've discovered?
MUTZABAUGH: You know, the one I like the least is the change of ticket fee. But I do feel like the airlines are pretty clear, it's a non-refundable ticket. I don't like it but I understand it.
The one that I have the biggest problem with is an airline I've never flown. They fly mostly from small cities to leisure destinations. Allegian Airline -- there's a lot to like about Allegian Air but the one fee they have I have issue with is they charge a reservation fee that is about $10 for making a reservation anywhere except a ticket counter.
Because of the cities they fly to like say Minot, North Dakota they may only fly from that city a couple days a week and that counter might only be open for a couple hours a day so you really have to jump through hoops to avoid that fee. It's probably not going to break your bank but, you know, wow. It doesn't feel good.
COSTELLO: No, it doesn't. It feels terrible.
Ben Mutzabaugh, thanks for joining us this morning.
MUTZABAUGH: Always a pleasure.
COSTELLO: Breast cancer is generally thought of as a woman's disease but men are also at risk. Dr. Lisa Masterson from TV's the doctors has some warning signs in today's "Daily Dose".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. LISA MASTERSON, CO HOST, "THE DOCTORS": One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. So it is so important that women do their breast self-exam, they get mammograms, they go get their clinical breast exam by their doctor. Healthy living, eating right, decreasing alcohol, not smoking. Also keeping your weight in check because we know that excess fat turns into estrogen and that can stimulate breast cancer as well.
It is so important for women to know the risk factors and for men to also be aware of their bodies to look for the same changes that we tell women to look for. To look for nipple changes, nipple discharge, skin changes, puckering, dimpling, lumps. They need to be very aware of their bodies as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: And still ahead your chance to "Talk Back" on one of the big stories of the day. The question this morning, "What do you think President Obama meant by 'you didn't build that'? An avalanche of responses this morning. I'll read some of them after a break.
COSTELLO: We asked you to "Talk Back" on one of the big stories of the day. The question for you this morning, "What do you think President Obama meant when he said 'you didn't build that'?"
This from Kenny. "He is very clearly attacking anyone who is successful. He is simply trying to soothe the egos of the less successful. He should just as easily say if you aren't succeeding at anything it's not your fault."
This from Nancy. "I think he meant what he said in total. It was taken out of context and the media ran with it. He was talking about working together. Something Republicans know little about."
And this from Robert. "Plain and simple we are a nation of many not of one. We all work together to create something. I couldn't build a road to a business or the building itself. But I could create the idea for the business and all that it entails."
Please keep the conversation flowing. Facebook.com/Carol CNN.
Thanks as always for your comments.
And thanks for joining me today. "CNN NEWSROOM" continues after a break.