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Iraqi Interim President Selected; 'Political Pop'; Surviving Summer When Mosquitoes Attack

Aired June 1, 2004 - 07:30   ET


BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Heidi is in today working for Soledad.

HEMMER: Hopefully, she's getting some sleep.

COLLINS: Yes, she needs it right now.

HEMMER: Yes. It's the 1st of June, by the way.

COLLINS: It is the 1st of June.

HEMMER: Did I mention that earlier?


HEMMER: Yes, I did. It's a good day for Heidi.

The next government in Iraq is rapidly taking shape. We'll look at who has been selected now for the key posts, the top positions, what the selections mean not just to the U.S., but also to the Iraqi people. Barbara Starr is standing by at the Pentagon. We'll get reaction from Barbara, working that story, in a moment here.

COLLINS: Also, "Political Pop" is back again today. Among the topics, this: Presidential candidates on bicycles. It's not really that hard, is it? We're going to talk about who had the better bike crash and who had the better bike crash response. Very, very critical stuff.

HEMMER: In our off-beat segment in the political world in a moment.


HEMMER: Also, our summer safety series, the secret life of mosquitoes. We'll find out today why they like to pick on some more than others. We're back with our friend today, the bug doctor, Holly Menninger. Holly, good morning to you. We'll talk to you in a moment down there in College Park. Stay tuned for that.

COLLINS: All right, very good. And also this morning in Iraq, an interim president has been selected. The current leader of the Iraqi Governing Council, Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawar, was chosen by the council members today as the new president. That selection and the latest bombing only underscores that 30 days before the handover of sovereignty, there is growing conflict between Iraqi leaders and the coalition. And there are growing indications it is the Iraqi Governing Council, not the United Nations, that is playing the key role in selecting new leaders.

More now from the Pentagon and Barbara Starr.

Barbara -- good morning to you.


Well, as you say, more violence today in Iraq, bombings in Baghdad, just as the new government was being announced, and a new Iraqi president who wants full sovereignty and maybe not such a close relationship with the United States military.


STARR (voice over): In Baghdad, ambulances rushed to the scene, where a car bomb exploded near the coalition headquarters, killing four people and injuring 25. Another assurance that violence would not stop the turnover of sovereignty to Iraqis in just one month.

COL. MIKE MURRAY, U.S. ARMY: We are firmly on track to do that and there are some very desperate people out there that don't want to see that happen.

STARR: Coalition forces still are battling Shiite militiamen loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr around the southern city of Kufa, days after a truce was declared. And in the nearby holy city of Najaf, an al- Sadr stronghold, 100 Iraqi police officers abandoned joint patrols when the coalition failed to provide equipment. And now, a political clash in forming the crucial interim government that will take over.

By all accounts, Iyad Allawi's selection over the weekend as Iraqi prime minister originated from the Governing Council, not from U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi as planned. Council members have bickered with the coalition and Brahimi over the selection of an Iraqi president. The coalition has wanted Adnan Pachachi for the ceremonial post. He supports a continued U.S. military presence. The Iraqi Governing Council has its own candidate. And for the record the coalition denies anything is amiss.

DAN SENOR, COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY SPOKESMAN: It's probably not wise to take one snapshot in time while these discussions are going on and try to draw great analysis from a static moment.


STARR: And, of course, Heidi, now today's selection of Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawar as that new Iraqi interim president has broken the deadlock for now between the coalition and the Iraqi leadership. But a new battle appears to be brewing over the relationship between the new Iraqi government and the United States -- Heidi?

COLLINS: All right, Barbara Starr reporting from the Pentagon this morning. Barbara, thanks.

HEMMER: It's about 25 minutes now before the hour. To our segment we call "Political Pop," often the offbeat stories that get air time in this segment.

Democratic strategist Karen Finney is with us this morning.

Good morning to you, Karen. Nice to see you.


HEMMER: Actor and comedian Michael Ian Black.

Welcome back to you.


HEMMER: And Robert George, round two, a "New York Post" columnist, back with us here on AMERICAN MORNING.

How are you?


HEMMER: You survived last week.

GEORGE: I did.


HEMMER: Let's give it another shot. "The Washington Post" is reporting that political scholars say the White House is making history with an unprecedented number of negative ads, misleading ads. What is your take on that article?

GEORGE: "Give me a Break," to use another CNN segment. I mean, it's pretty ridiculous, really, because one of the things that the scholars don't even look at is all of the 527, the so-called independent groups that are pouring negative, arguably misleading, ads against Bush. That's not factored in at all.

FINNEY: Come on! Give me a break! George Bush has been attacking John Kerry since the Democratic primary! I mean, look, this is a pretty classic strategy when you have nothing to talk about and you have no good news. What do you do? George Bush's negatives are up, his positives are down, so he's trying to deflect from having to talk about anything, and he needs to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the pundits.

BLACK: I don't think being fair, because in fairness, the Bush administration does have a lot of things to...

FINNEY: It's the politics (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

BLACK: Well, I mean, they can talk about the triumph in Iraq, but not so much that, but the economy, which has never been better.

FINNEY: Good point.

BLACK: It's not so much that.

FINNEY: Education not so much.

BLACK: Well, no, what I'm saying...


FINNEY: Social security not so much. What do they have to talk about?

GEORGE: Oh, they can talk about...

FINNEY: All they can talk about is attacking their opponents.

GEORGE: Oh, they can talk about tax cuts, for example.

BLACK: For the rich.

FINNEY: For the rich, exactly.

GEORGE: Which is actually it's created unprecedented productivity.

HEMMER: Let me turn this around a little bit. Some are saying that the negative ads on the Democratic side are just lying in wait. You agree, apparently, with this "Washington Post" story. Is it just a matter of time before the other side starts rolling out their ads?

FINNEY: No, I think John Kerry is committed to running a campaign about issues and ideas, whereas George Bush is clearly committed to a campaign of attacks and insults.

HEMMER: Ultimately...

GEORGE: Issues and ideas? We are obviously not looking at the same campaign, Karen.

FINNEY: Absolutely we're looking at the same campaign.

GEORGE: Come on!

HEMMER: Hey, Karen, next topic.


HEMMER: Is that all right?

FINNEY: Absolutely.

HEMMER: Al Franken says he's not going to take a salary for, I think, two months to keep Air America on the air.

FINNEY: Right.

HEMMER: The question today: Is the air running out of this radio network?

FINNEY: No, of course not! I think it's normal that, you know, in an endeavor like this you're going to have a period of working out the kinks. I think what's most important actually is that the audience is there. I know that here in New York actually in the market, they are beating the conservative opponent. And then in a couple of the other markets, actually the stations are reporting doubling and tripling of the listener. So, that's what's important.

HEMMER: This is kind of like Lee Iacocca in 1980 taking a buck, right, to keep Chrysler solvent?


GEORGE: I'm not going to disagree that much with Karen on this, because, look, it's a start-up. Start-ups, you've always have these fits and starts. I thought it was interesting, though, Al Franken said that he was -- that he said, well, we had bad management. Now we've got sound management, but I don't know who is in charge, which makes Air America very much like Iraq, I guess.

HEMMER: Next topic, Michael.

BLACK: Yes, sir.

HEMMER: Let's talk about the bike segment. There's a suggestion here that there was a question of gentlemanly support shown on behalf of President Bush and Senator Kerry. Both men apparently fell off their bike.


HEMMER: There are no photos to prove it, but apparently that's the word we have. What is your take on what we are hearing about this?

BLACK: Well, apparently, when Bush fell off his bike, Kerry's off-the-record line was, "What, did his training wheels fall off?" And when Kerry fell off his bike, Bush had nothing to say, which leads me to believe this: That Kerry is quick-witted, Bush is not, which is not to say he's not funny. Bush is...

HEMMER: Is there sportsmanship in that or not?

BLACK: Well, I mean, when you talk about sportsmanship, we can go back to the negative ads. I mean, who is the bigger or better sport?

HEMMER: Hey, here's what most impresses me. John Kerry is 60 years old. He is snowboarding.

BLACK: Yes, he is.

FINNEY: Absolutely.

HEMMER: President Bush is 57... BLACK: He plays hockey.

HEMMER: He's running a seven-minute mile.

GEORGE: That's exactly right. I mean, both of them are incredibly fit for their age, or for that matter for our ages, too. And I think it's pretty impressive.

BLACK: They're both competing in the X games next summer.

HEMMER: You know what? Neither one is a Nascar dad that I found out, though, could be critical, huh?

BLACK: Yes, you're exactly right.

GEORGE: Well, they could also -- well, it could be worse. You know, they could be like Ozzy Osbourne and going off the rails on a crazy train, you know. That could be more (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

HEMMER: Thank you, George, Michael and Karen. Nice to see you.

FINNEY: Good to see you.

GEORGE: Thank you very much.

HEMMER: All right, here's Heidi.

COLLINS: After months of delays, it all begins today. Coming up, a look at the start of the murder trial of Scott Peterson.

HEMMER: Also in a moment here, Heidi, surviving summer in the great outdoors. Why keeping your shoes on might keep the mosquitoes away. It's got something to do with smelly feet. We'll talk about that in a moment.

COLLINS: OK. Plus, we'll talk to a pint-sized hero. find out what she did to save her mom's life. That story coming up right here on AMERICAN MORNING.


COLLINS: Summer season is also unfortunately mosquito season. And there's nothing the ravenous insects enjoy more than a red-blooded human lunch.

This morning in part two of our week-long series, "Surviving Summer," what makes some people mosquito magnets? And what can be done to repel them?

Joining us now from College Park, Maryland, University of Maryland entomologist Holly Menninger.

Holly, good morning to you. Thanks for being with us today.

HOLLY MENNINGER, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND ENTOMOLOGIST: Good morning. COLLINS: We brought you in today to help us solve one of the great mysteries of all time. Why are mosquitoes attracted to some people more than others?

MENNINGER: Well, that's kind of a good question, and people have been doing a lot of research about that. Mosquitoes are attracted to a couple of different things about people: the heat of their bodies, the carbon dioxide that they exhale, and then person also -- each person emits a chemical cocktail, if you will, of chemicals and odors that make some people sweeter to mosquitoes than others.

COLLINS: OK. So, there are a lot of old wives tales that come from all of that information. Let's go ahead and look on the screen, if we could, at a couple of them.


COLLINS: The first one that we've been talking about a little bit this morning already, smelly feet and pungent cheeses. As our viewers eat their cheerios this morning, yummy. What is this all about?

MENNINGER: Well, there is actually a researcher in Florida who looks at what mosquitoes are attracted to. And he found that they really love, like, three-day old socks that have been worn on a person. It turns out that the bacteria that makes your socks smell is actually the same bacteria that makes limburger cheese smell. That's kind of gross. And there is actually a connection there, because when the monks made the limburger cheese they would actually stomp on it and get some of that nasty bacteria on the cheese.

COLLINS: Wow! It makes you want to go out and buy some...

MENNINGER: That one's true.

COLLINS: ... limburger cheese, doesn't it?


COLLINS: All right, how about bananas -- bananas and very salty foods? There are some foods here to consider maybe when you're out on a picnic you (UNINTELLIGIBLE) bringing those along.

MENNINGER: Right. Well, the jury is still out about those two things. Some people suggest that foods that are high in potassium, like bananas, or foods that are very salty may actually cause your body to release a little bit more lactic acid that's present on your skin, and that's definitely one of those things that mosquitoes hone in on.

COLLINS: All right, also wearing dark colors and floral perfumes. Mosquitoes are attracted to that. Why?

MENNINGER: Well, for the dark colors, dark colors like black and dark blues are doing to hold heat a little bit more. And so, again, mosquitoes are honing in on the heat. Also blues and greens, they resemble foliage, and so the female mosquitoes -- because they'll be the ones that actually bite and suck your blood -- are going to be more attracted to those. The same with the floral scents you find in lotions and perfumes and scented soaps.

COLLINS: OK. And we saw on the very bottom on the graphic there, pregnant women. This is because they generate more heat, and mosquitoes are attracted to that, right?

MENNINGER: Yes, exactly. You have more heat at the front of your body. And actually a study by some British folks showed that pregnant women actually exhaled 21 percent more than non-pregnant women. And so, you're constantly producing a lot more carbon dioxide, and the mosquitoes love that.

COLLINS: All right. They also love what is right behind you there. We are standing in front of, I should say, some standing water. And I know mosquitoes are very, very attracted to water that doesn't move, right?

MENNINGER: Right, exactly. That's where the females are going to lay their egg and the larvae are going to grow. And so, one of the easiest ways that you can get rid of the mosquito problem in your yard is just to remove sources of standing water. So, toys in the back yard that might collect water, kiddy swimming pools that may have been left out for a couple of weeks, often the saucers that plants stick in...


MENNINGER: ... those are all breeding ground for mosquitoes. So, if you get rid of those, you're going to rid of a lot of your problems.

COLLINS: OK, a good idea. Quickly, Holly, before we let you go, what about repellents? What is the best way to keep these nasty bugs away from you?

MENNINGER: Exactly. Well, there's a lot of herbal remedies out that that people talk about. But probably the single most effective way to repel mosquitoes is using repellents with DEET in it. About 30-percent DEET is shown to last for about five to six hours.

The one thing they'll want to remember is that read the instructions. Makes sure that you wash if off when you're done being outside. And for small children, don't put it on their faces or their hands, and use a concentration of less than 10 percent.

COLLINS: All right, OK. Holly Menninger coming to us from College Park, Maryland. We've got to say, 'Go Turks' before we let you go. Thanks, Holly, so much for your time this morning.

And tomorrow, our "Surviving Summer" series continues with a look at safety at amusement and theme parks. We'll be talking about that tomorrow -- Bill.

HEMMER: All right, Heidi, thanks. Summer is almost here, but that does not mean you should take a vacation from your investments. Should you buy or sell? ""Minding Your Business" in a moment here on AMERICAN MORNING.


COLLINS: It's 47 minutes past the hour now, and here's what's happening in other news today.

In Iraq, the U.S. military says at least three Iraqis are dead, 20 others injured in a car bomb explosion near the Green Zone in Baghdad. The blast came less than two hours after an interim president for Iraq was named. Sheikh Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawar has been elected -- or selected, that is, to the top post. Al-Yawar is a Sunni Muslim and the current council president. The nomination, first, though, went to former foreign minister, Adnan Pachachi. He turned down the appointment for personal reasons.

In California, opening statements are scheduled today in the double murder case against Scott Peterson. A California jury has been asked to decide whether Peterson is guilty of killing his wife, Laci, and their unborn son. The trial is expected to last for several months.

Thick smoke and ash from wildfires is forcing Florida Gulf Coast University to close. Firefighters have been hard at work, trying to put out the huge fires in the southwest portion of the state. This fire has swept across more than 1,000 acres of land.

Teaching your children how to dial 911 can be a real lifesaver, as one mom in Salem, Oregon, found out. Christine Grimes' 3-year-old dialed 911 after she had passed out from a high fever.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 911, what's your emergency?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does her heart hurt?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mommy, does your heart hurt? Mama, does your heart hurt, mama?


COLLINS: The dispatcher actually thought the little girl, Brianna Grimes (ph), was 6 years old because of the way she handled herself. Later on AMERICAN MORNING, we will speak live with little Brianna (ph), her mom and the 911 dispatcher --Bill.

HEMMER: Heidi, thanks for that. Eleven minutes now before the hour.

In this election year, this summer could be a hot one for stocks -- history says that anyway. Andy Serwer is back with us, "Minding Your Business." Good morning, Drew.

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Good morning to you again.

HEMMER: Welcome back. In history, what, stocks are up starting in June or when?

SERWER: Well, usually what they say on Wall Street is sell in May and go away. That's because who does any investing over the summer? I sure don't. I like to just sort of kick back. I mean, who wants to think about this stuff?

Stocks usually go up during the winter months, because people put money to work in the fall when they get back in that kind of mindset where they want to think about work, and then in January when people do 401(k) stuff.

Not true in election years, however -- this according to a story in "The Wall Street Journal" this morning. Ned Davis Research down in Florida is doing this stuff.

Now, check this out. You can see here in election years, up 0.8 percent -- I mean, down 0.8 percent -- excuse me -- and then up in the winter months.


SERWER: You can see that. And then non-election years, you can see the difference there.

And the reason why stocks would tend to go up during the summer in an election year is because the incumbent president might try to get that economy kicking into full gear. So, kind of some interesting stuff there, I think.

HEMMER: That and the topics are front and center, too.


HEMMER: And 10.7 percent, that's substantial.

SERWER: Yes, that's real money.

HEMMER: What about today? That is real money.

SERWER: Yes, real money.

HEMMER: Hey, what's happening today west of Buffalo?

SERWER: And all across this great country of ours, Bill. This morning, futures are lower because of oil jitters. The price of oil spiking over $41 because of the terrorist attack in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday.

Interesting, we have a screen here about the month of May. The month of May for the stock market index, as you can see here, what's interesting to me is the Nasdaq is doing real well, the Dow is not doing so well. Why is that? Well, because the Dow is getting beaten up because of higher oil. A lot of industrials there. Some airlines weaker. Tech stocks are not so oil-dependent. Also, Altria is in the Dow, and that got beat up last month as well.

HEMMER: Got it. We'll watch it. Thank you, Andy.

SERWER: You're welcome.

HEMMER: All right -- Heidi.

COLLINS: We want to check in with Jack now and the question of the day today.

Hey, Jack. Are you getting lots of responses?

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: How are you doing? Thanks, Heidi.

Yes. President Bush is making another push for legislation that would give federal money to religious groups, the so-called faith- based initiative. Community leaders are going to meet at the White House conference today to talk about these initiatives. They've been stalled in the Congress -- separation of church and state, you know.

The goal is for groups who serve the needy to compete for government funding, but opponents say that the government will just wind up paying for religion.

The question is: Should religious groups get government money? And we are getting a lot of responses.

Steve writes this in Middleburg Heights, Ohio: "This administration has no right to give my tax dollars to any religious group. That would be using the money that I'm forced to pay every year in taxes and giving it to a purpose that I have no belief in."

John in Tokyo: "This is just one more example of how the Bush administration is serving its own -- the radical religious right. There are thousands of nonreligious organizations providing equally good, if not better service, for the needy. Aren't they going to get anything?"

Linda in Lynchburg, Virginia: "Yes, they are smaller, more efficient, less bungling. It will get done in a much expedient manner than the government would."

And anonymous writes: "Religious organizations should not get government money. And I don't need your announcer's opinion. Just read the news and then shut up."

SERWER: Oh, good morning to you.

HEMMER: Mrs. Cafferty.

CAFFERTY: I guess he didn't miss me when I was away then, unanimous or whoever he was. HEMMER: Thank you, Jack.

CAFFERTY: I have nothing further to say.

SERWER: At this particular point anyway, yes.

HEMMER: That's right. At the moment, election 2004 is shaping up to be a rerun of election 2000. Swing states are key again. Next hour, we'll look at the past to sort out the future with Jeff Greenfield. Back in a moment here on AMERICAN MORNING.



COLLINS: Well, as you know, the wait is over. The murder trial of Scott Peterson starts today in California. We will have a preview and tell you who is expected to be the prosecution's star witness.

So stay with us right here on AMERICAN MORNING.


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