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Fears a Terrorist Could Cripple Nation's Power Grid; New Study Out Adding to Debate About Autism and Vaccines; Should There be Kid- Friendly Sections on Aircraft?

Aired September 27, 2007 - 07:00   ET


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, made in China. Now it's dangerous and potentially deadly playpens, a brand new recall, on this AMERICAN MORNING.
Welcome, glad you're with us. We have a lot going on, on this Thursday, September 27th I'm Kiran Chetry.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you, I'm John Roberts. We begin this hour with a CNN terror watch that could threaten America. There are fears that a terrorist with a keyboard anywhere in the world could cripple this nation's power grid. CNN obtained a video of an experimental cyber attack on a generator and now some people are raising the alarm about what might happen if an attack were carried out on a larger scale. Our homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve joins us now from Washington with more. Good morning Jeanne.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Good morning John. It has been theorized for years that a cyber attack could do serious physical damage, now there's proof.


MESERVE (voice-over): This is an electric generator. It is vital, because it is the kind that power companies use to bring electricity to your home. It shutters and shakes, then goes up in smoke. Destroyed just as effectively as this with a smuggled bomb. But all it took was a computer, some patient work and the click of a mouse.

ROBERT JAMISON, ACTING UNDERSECRETARY, DHS: What's new here is that through a cyber attack you can actually get in and cause physical damage to equipment. That's the new piece of this.

MESERVE: Could a large scale simultaneous cyber attack knock out power to a huge part of the country for months? Listen to what economist Scott Borg projects if such a nightmare scenario played out with a loss of power to a third of the country for three months.

SCOTT BORG, US CYBER CONSEQUENCES UNIT: It's equivalent to 40 to 50 large hurricanes striking all at once. Its greater economic damage than any modern economy has ever suffered.

MESERVE: The potential damage is so severe, the Department of Homeland Security asked CNN not to divulge certain technical details about the government experiment dubbed aurora. The test was conducted last March at the Idaho national lab. We can say that the research involved hacking into a replica of a power plant's control system. Researchers changed the operating cycle of the generator, sending it out of control, until it self-destructed. Since the test, the Department of Homeland Security has been working feverishly with the electric industry to thwart such an attack. Can you say right now that this vulnerability has been eliminated?

JAMISON: No, I can't say it's been eliminated but I can say that a lot of risk has been taken off the table.

MESERVE: Joe Weiss is an expert on power plant control systems and has been sounding the alarm for five years. The same systems we're using here are being used in Iran, Pakistan?


MESERVE: Which means people there know how to run them.

WEISS: Absolutely.

MESERVE: They know how to bring them down.

WEISS: Absolutely, they have the same training, the same passwords.

MESERVE: And security experts say it would be virtually impossible to figure out who attacked. DHS points out that its own research uncovered the power plant vulnerability, an action it is taking with the industry is reducing the risk. But the question remains, can the U.S. close the cyber security holes before the hackers find them?


MESERVE: Experts say electric utility control systems are being pinged all the time, but there is no publicly known case of a power company control system being hacked. And DHS says it knows of no specific threat. John?

ROBERTS: Jeanne, what are the electric utilities doing to try to counter this threat, these power plants worked fine before they were on the internet. Do they have to leave them on the internet?

MESERVE: Well, people told me that some of them may be disconnected to a certain degree. There was a fix being put in place that sources say involves a change in software, also some adjustments of physical hardware. The nuclear regulatory commission says that it is now inspecting all nuclear power plants, it's been told the fix is in place but it wants to make absolutely sure. The electric industry actually has done more than many others to take steps to protect itself from cyber attack, but the outside experts say really a lot more, a lot more needs to be done, John.

ROBERTS: Eye-opening report for us this morning, Jeanne Meserve, thanks. Kiran? CHETRY: We have breaking news right now, it's a showdown that's going on at this very hour between tens of thousands of anti- government protesters in Myanmar, and the police in the Asian country. The Associated Press is now reporting that troops fired automatic weapons according to witnesses into the crowds. Witnesses say at least 10 people have been shot. The protesters are saying that police beat up and arrested more than 100 monks as well in an overnight raid.

We have a new recall to tell you about this morning, following the death of a 10-month-old baby. 425,000 playpens called Sesame Beginnings, from Kolcraft are being recalled this morning because of a strap that hangs down from the changing area. And that is where the child was strangled. The playpens were manufactured in China. If you think you have one of them, you should visit our web page for more information.

Also it was a shocking discovery at a Tennessee day care center, state inspectors acting on an anonymous tip went into that day care center, Noah's Arc Nursery and Preschool and found an infant with a pacifier taped to his mouth. They were acting on a tip as we said, heard a muffled whining coming from a darkened room. They went and they found this 4-month-old baby with a pacifier taped with packing tape to its mouth. They called 911. The department spokeswoman says this child could have died. The center is now closed. Unbelievably this is a center that received a highly favorable rating from the very place that conducted this raid on its last inspection. John?

ROBERTS: Five minutes after the hour.

President Bush convenes a two-day global warming summit in Washington today. He is expected to emphasize long-term goals, rather than mandatory cuts in greenhouse gases. European allies want strict limits on greenhouse emissions, but some big polluters like China and India are opposed to that. The president called this climate conference to help establish a follow-up to the Kyoto treaty which you recall he rejected.

No guarantee from the Democratic front-runners that they will bring the troops home from Iraq by the end of their first four years in office. The Democratic candidates for president debated last night at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe that we should have all of our troops out by 2013 but I don't want to make promises.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is my goal to have all troops out by the end of my first term, but I agree with Barack. It is very difficult to know what we're going to be inheriting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me, you'll pledge to have all troops out by January of 2013? REP. DENNIS KUCINICH, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: By January -- by April of 2007, and you can mark that on your calendars if you want to take a new direction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well it's September of '07 now so we're going to have a problem.

KUCINICH: Make that 2009. I'm ready to be president today.



ROBERTS: Well, that wasn't the only moment from last night. Another highlight, Senator Hillary Clinton disagreed with a hypothetical situation that was outlined by a one-time guest of moderator Tim Russert where the president would allow torture to stop a major act of terrorism.


CLINTON: I think it's dangerous to go down this path.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guest who laid out this scenario for me with that proposed solution was William Jefferson Clinton last year. So he disagrees with you.

CLINTON: Well, he's not standing here right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So there is a disagreement?

CLINTON: Well, I'll talk to him later.


ROBERTS: The latest CNN/WMUR poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire has Hillary Clinton well ahead of the pack. 43 percent of New Hampshire Democrats say they will vote for her, only 20 percent for her nearest competitor, Barack Obama. On the Republican side, Mitt Romney has lost his big lead in New Hampshire. John McCain picking up a whole lot of steam. Romney has 25 percent of the GOP vote down from 34 percent in July. Rudy Giuliani nearly even with him there at 24. McCain take a look at that, up six points to 18 and Fred Thompson still stuck where he was back in July. Kiran?

CHETRY: There's a dubious new story emerging about what may have happened to the crew of the chartered fishing boat that never returned after a trip off the coast of Florida. One of the two men who rented the boat gave authorities his explanation for the crew's disappearance. Susan Candiotti has more.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One of two people who likely know what really happened to the crew of four who vanished is blaming pirates. 19-year-old passenger Guillermo Zaraboso told investigators hijackers shot and killed the captain and his wife and then executed two other crew members for refusing to dump the bodies overboard. In an FBI affidavit Zaraboso says he did what he was told and got rid of the bodies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does piracy occur on the high seas? Certainly. Does it occur with any frequency in the waters near the United States, no.

CANDIOTTI: The affidavit offers no explanation for how Zaraboso and his 34-year-old traveling companion Kirby Archer were able to escape with their luggage in a raft. The FBI found Zaraboso's ID on the boat yet agents say Zaraboso denied being on the boat. They also found a handcuff key and possible blood on the stern. Archer is wanted in Arkansas for allegedly stealing $92,000 from a Wal-Mart where he worked. Archer is being held as a fugitive and Zaraboso has been charged with lying to agents. The missing captain's family is convinced both men are in the thick of it, and asks them this.

JON BRANAM, MISSING CAPTAIN'S COUSIN: What did you do with my family? You know, where are they? What happened? Or why did you do this?

CANDIOTTI: The Pentagon says Archer used to be an army MP. In divorce papers Archer says he was once AWOL. That same document includes allegations from his ex-wife that Archer once gave her a black eye.

MICHELLE ROWE, ARCHER'S EX-WIFE: When we were together I know him to be a violent man. He was physically, verbally and emotionally abusive towards me. So I do think of him as a violent man and he's capable of anything.

CANDIOTTI: The Coast Guard may soon end its search for the missing crew. A bond hearing for the two men is scheduled for Friday. Susan Candiotti, CNN, Miami.


ROBERTS: Time now to check in with our AMERICAN MORNING team of correspondents for other stories new that we're following this morning. Ali Velshi's got more on that playpen recall just in this morning, another product from China, he's at our business update desk. Good morning Ali.

ALI VELSHI: Good morning, John. This appears to be a design issue more than what we've been hearing a lot about and that is red paint. It's the Kolcraft infant play yard playpen, 12 different models of it are being recalled, a total of 425,000 playpens. Now, there are a couple of problems here. One is a strap and you can see it in the picture, a strap that could pose a strangulation risk. One of the models has a cradle that rocks back and forth and children can roll over and face suffocation risks. There's been one death reported related to the strap. There's a recall in place now and they will replace the strap, they'll also give a kit to do something about the cradle. You can go to CEPSC, that's the Consumer Protection Services Commission dot-gov, or That's the company. We've also got it on our website. There have been several major recalls this week, just yesterday alone I think there were six or seven different recalls. The two biggest ones, 350,000 happy giddy gardening tools and sunny patch chairs, also 200,000 Thomas and Friends toys. These were sold at various retailers over the last few years. So again, can't emphasize this enough, parents should be making a regular visit to the consumer protection services website, and to our own website to see what's in their house that could be dangerous and pay special attention to what they're purchasing this holiday season. John?

ROBERTS: Ali, thanks very much, we'll talk to you a little bit later on.


CHETRY: There's a new study out today adding to the debate about autism and vaccines. CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in our Washington bureau. I know you have followed the debate about this. There's this new study saying that a highly criticized preservative in these vaccines showed no developmental problems when used in language behavior or intelligence. And there are many who still say they don't buy it, parents very concerned. What's your take Sanjay?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah absolutely. Well this is a new government-sponsored study looking specifically at this preservative that you mentioned called Themeresol which is a mercury preservative and looking at its potential relationship to 42 different neurological disorders. Autism wasn't one of them incidentally, I'll talk about that in a second.

But looking at these 42 different disorders and trying to determine do these vaccines actually increase your risk of developing any of the disorders? About 1,000 children they were talking about vaccines in the early '90s, women who were exposed to mercury and children were exposed to mercury in the womb in the early '90s and they found no increased risk of developing these. The specific neurological disorders had to do with speech, they had to do with language skills, they had to do with motor coordination and intelligence as well. And again, no relationship there.

Now a couple of things we found interesting, one is that ticks, which are sort of these motor ticks, where people might have a little movement or they may have a little phonation of their tongue, that seemed to have a slight increase in boys who had higher levels of mercury exposure. That was sort of interesting and that seemed to emerge in the study and also I think it's an important footnote that the lead researcher of this particular study used to work at the vaccine manufacturer Merck as well. Kiran?

CHETRY: All right, so we say that it doesn't necessarily address autism, yet there are a lot of parents that in fact we heard from the actress Jenni McCarthy on "LARRY KING" last night who believes that there is some sort of maybe not cause and effect but a trigger effect when it comes to some of these vaccines. Why, if there still are so many questions and we have seen it seems a rise in autism cases or diagnoses, are they still using it at all?

GUPTA: They've taken it out for the most part as you probably know. There's 14 different diseases that children are immunized against and the childhood vaccines no longer contain thymerasol, which is this mercury derivative. It is contained in some of the flu vaccines that I think you've mentioned in the past.

Although it's been approved now, children have a nasal flu vaccine option that does not have the thymerasol. This has been around since the 1930's, it was originally put in the vaccines to sort of act as a preservative and prevent bacterial infections from getting into the vaccines which was a big concern and a big risk. They have found other ways of not, of protecting the vaccine against these potential infections. They don't need to use thymerasol anymore. But you're absolutely right, I mean this is a complicated issue. A lot of people say, well, you took out the thymerasol that must have meant that there was something bad about it. And was that bad thing autism or something along the autism spectrum? There's been a lot of studies that have suggested no. There is going to be another study by the same group, the results out in about a year that looks specifically at the thymerasol and autism and you know certainly we'll get you those results as we get them.

CHETRY: All right, Sanjay, thank you.

GUPTA: Thank you.

ROBERTS: A new push to protect young flyers from seeing violent in-flight movies. Should there be a law to protect them? We'll talk to the man who is proposing one, that's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: There it is, a live look at Cape Canaveral. NASA getting ready to launch an unmanned spacecraft, it's called "Dawn." It's going to be going on an eight-year mission. It goes out between Mars and Jupiter. It's going to be studying a pair of asteroids, pretty fascinating. They're trying to figure out if they can learn what causes planets to form in the first place. The launch window is from about 30 seconds from now until 7:49 Eastern time. So there it goes. "Dawn" about to launch into space.

ROBERTS: Should there be kid-friendly sections on aircraft? Some parents say yes and non-parents may like the idea too because no more fidgety kids sitting right next to you. They'd be in their section all by themselves. But with all that we're facing with record delays, crowded skies, airlines trying to make money, should family friendly skies be a priority in Congress? Democratic Congressman Heath Shuler of North Carolina introduced a bill to require kid friendly sections. He joins us now from Capitol Hill. Congressman Shuler good to see you.


ROBERTS: For the first time here on AMERICAN MORNING. A belated congratulations on your win, by the way. Why do we need kid-friendly sections on airplanes?

SHULER: Well it's very unfortunate the airplanes continue to show very violent films on the main cabin screen and it's very difficult for parents to say, hey, look, don't watch the screen, and the airlines are not controlling what is being shown on the TV screens. And it's very unfortunate that our children are having to sit through some of these very violent films that they're showing on the continental flights.

ROBERTS: So what do you do? How would you put together this kid- friendly section because the number of children on an aircraft changes on any given flight? Would you have a certain size section that would always have to be set aside, would it be somewhat fluid, could expand or contract, how would you do it?

SHULER: Well John it would be very simple if the airlines would control what's being shown on the main cabin screen. Still the head rest, they can actually show whatever they would like to show, but the main cabin screen if they would just offer a very kid-friendly, more family environment, they wouldn't have to have these sections. So we're just asking the airlines to be good corporate citizens and we'd like to protect our children from the violence that they're being shown on the airlines.

ROBERTS: Now some parents are saying hey it's impossible to get away from these movies, a movie like "Shooter" which we highlighted a little while ago. If you're in the aircraft and it's showing on the big screens, it might be a little easier if it's on a seat back in front of you. But Continental Airlines said this congressman, they said, "Parents have to be responsible for the actions of their kids, whether they shouldn't look at the screen or look away." Don't parents have some responsibility here?

SHULER: Well absolutely. Now parents don't have to purchase the headphones for the children to listen to them but here's what's difficult. I had a 3 and 6-year-old, I couldn't imagine that my children sitting there and not being able to watch the screen that's directly in front of them on the main cabin. That's the problem that I have with them. It's not the airline's responsibility to raise our children. It is our parents, and it's unfortunate, we can't take our children, our 7-year-old can't buy a ticket to an R-rated movie on the ground so why should they have that privilege or right I should say for a 7-year-old to be able to watch some of the horrible scenes on the main cabin screen.

ROBERTS: So how do you propose to enforce this? Because you could see a scenario, where if you're on an aircraft that's not too large, it may be possible for a child who is in this section to still see a screen somewhere down the cabin. How will you be able to accurately gauge who is doing this correctly and who's doing it incorrectly?

SHULER: I think one of the things that we're hoping that the airlines will be good corporate citizens, that they will protect our children and be very good and very responsible for this. On a smaller aircraft they don't have those type of films typically. It's usually when it's more of a coast-to-coast flights, more of the long travels that are actually showing these movies. So it's typically larger aircraft. Place them in a section that they don't have to see the screen, put them closer to the front and cut off some of the screens that they don't have to watch.

ROBERTS: Congressman Heath Shuler joining us this morning from Washington, thanks very much.

SHULER: Thank you John.

ROBERTS: We'll keep following this, to see how it goes. So far the airlines don't seem too receptive to it but they may be forced to swallow it. Thanks very much.

SHULER: Thanks John.


CHETRY: Still ahead, could an extra glass of wine or cocktail increase your chances of getting breast cancer? Dr. Sanjay Gupta has some warnings coming out from a new study ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: Twenty-six minutes now after the hour. Doctors say David Beckham's father, Ted Beckham is in stable condition after suffering a heart attack in London last night. The soccer star immediately flew from the United States to London to be with his dad.

CHETRY: Here's a story coming up that you can't miss. It was a deadly car crash that took place in Gary, Indiana. There were two people that were rescued from the crash, two that were not found. There were some police recordings released from the accident. Let's listen.


OFFICER 1: He says he had two other guys with him. They might still be in the car. You might want to check.

OFFICER 2: Yeah, I'm headed there right now.


ROBERTS: What was the outcome of that? Pretty tragic, we'll have that story ahead on AMERICAN MORNING. Stay with us.


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Up to the half hour now. Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. It's Thursday the 27th of September. Lots of breaking news for you today. I'm John Roberts. Good morning.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. I'm Kiran Chetry. We're following a deteriorating situation in the Asian nation of Myanmar and another showdown between; excuse me, tens of thousands of anti- government protesters and police. Sorry, John.

ROBERTS: I'll pick it up for you. Soldiers ordering demonstrators in Yangon, the country's largest city to break up the demonstrations or face "extreme action." Witnesses say at least ten people were shot by soldiers today, as they fired automatic weapons into the crowd of demonstrators. Reports say that most of the protesters are now off the main streets. The protesters were angry about overnight raids. They say police beat up and arrested more than 100 monks.

Our Dan Rivers is in Bangkok this morning as close as he could get to the action because they are not allowing Western journalists into the capital city of Yangon. What's the latest from where, you're hearing there from Southeast Asia this morning, Dan?

DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a grim, grim day in Yangon and Myanmar today and Miles (ph). We're being told from witnesses who were that the police are firing pretty much indiscriminately into the crowds. We spoke to one young woman who witnessed at least one person being shot dead beside her in the crowd. She said that there is tear gas, bullet being fired at the crowd, but the crowd kept going back though, determined to try and end this military dictatorship.

Other web sites are showing pictures of monasteries with blood on the floors, (ph) at least 100 monks, possibly more having been taken into custody. Other reports as well that in some places the crowds have tried to sort of fight back, that they have surrounded the police and tried to stop the police attacking monks and protesters, so a chaotic picture in the main city, Yangon, and at the moment, we're being told, as night has fallen here, that most of the demonstrators have now gone home and that there is relative calm at this precise moment but it's been an awful day of bloodshed there.

ROBERTS: What is happening politically in that part of the world today, Dan? Are any of the neighboring countries trying to put any kind of pressure on the Myanmar government to stop this crackdown?

RIVERS: Well, it's been interesting to see the response or lack of response from Thailand, where I'm talking to you from. The government here has sort of been very luke-warm in its condemnation really saying that they don't interfere in the internal affairs of another country, even wondered that the senior military leader here sort of pouring doubt on the idea that some of this violence is actually happening, saying it's being exaggerated by the media. So a very luke warm response from Thailand and other countries who are in the voting bloc, ASEAN. There has been much stronger political condemnation from Britain and the United States in particular, and the European Union as well. Miles.

ROBERTS: All right. Dan Rivers, thanks very much for us now.

A CNN terror watch to report to you now. There are new fears this morning that a terrorist with a keyboard anywhere in the world could cripple this nation's power grid and bring our economy to its knees. The Department of Homeland Security just released this video. An experimental cyber attack that caused a generator to self-destruct. Sources familiar with the experiment tells CNN that the same scenario could be used against huge generators that produce the country's electric power using only a computer.

New this morning -- the fight for a hate crimes bill. There is a push in Congress to attach a hate crimes measure to a massive defense spending bill. Supporters of the measure want to add sexual orientation, gender and gender identity to local hate crimes. Critics say there is no link between national security and fighting hate crimes. A Senate vote is expected on that today.

A ruling on the Michael Bell case in Jena, Louisiana, could clear the way for his release. Prosecutors now say they will not challenge the ruling that set aside his conviction and sent the case to juvenile court. Bell is 17 years old now but was 16 when he was arrested with five others after an attack on a white student at a Jena high school. Kiran.

CHETRY: Well, we also have a new recall to tell you about this morning following the death of a 10-month-old baby. 425,000 playpens from Kolcraft called "Sesame Beginnings" are being recalled this morning because of a strap that hangs down from the changing area into the area where the child is and it can strangle the babies. These playpens were manufactured in China. If you think you have one of these playpens you should visit our web page for more info,

We also want to know what you think -- who do you think is at fault for these and other toy recalls that we've been having lately? China or the U.S.? Go to to cast your vote. Right now, about 25% of you think China but the vast majority, three-quarters of the people polled think the United States is to blame.

Well, we are live again at Cape Canaveral. Let's show you this shot, there it is, this is the unmanned spacecraft called "Dawn." It just launched seconds ago. It's going to be going on an eight-year mission that takes it between Mars and Jupiter to study a pair of asteroids. Astronauts are trying to find the causes of planets and how they form, what causes that to happen. The launch window from 7:20 to 7:49 so they got that launch off and there you see it blasting out into space. See you in eight years, Dawn.

ROBERTS: New Hampshire is at the political center of gravity right now, as the presidential race heats up. The Democrats squared off in another debate at Dartmouth last night just as a new poll shows trouble in the granite state for Republicans Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney. Our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley is there this morning and she joins us in front of our election express in Concord, New Hampshire. So Candy, the reviews are in and they said that Hillary not exactly stellar, Obama didn't make the play that he needed to make last night. John Edwards may have really helped himself. As New Hampshire voters trying to get a sense for who they'd be comfortable with in the oval office, who do you think came out on top yesterday?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what's interesting here is the target right now is those 54 percent of those who say they're likely to vote in the Democratic primary in New Hampshire, who haven't made up their minds, who are still deciding. So on that score, in both the Edwards campaign and the Obama campaign, what they feel they need to do is make some differentiation between their candidate and Hillary Clinton, to say 'listen, this isn't just a bunch of Democrats who all believe the same thing, so one is better and one is no better than the other,' because then they know the electorate will go for the most electable. And as we saw on those polls, most New Hampshirites, the Democrats anyway, believed that Clinton is the most electable.

On that score, it would seem that John Edwards went the furthest in trying to make a difference between himself and Senator Clinton, both on the war and on social security, a couple of other issues. So he was able to put that distance there, whether it shows up in the polls is a different thing.

ROBERTS: Speaking of polls, the latest New Hampshire poll on the Republican side of the coin as well shows Mitt Romney is in a bit of a spot of trouble there. Look at that, he's only got 25 percent now compared to 34 percent back in July. Rudy Giuliani virtually neck and neck with him. Look at John McCain comes up six points and Fred Thompson, Candy, stuck at 13. Right where he was in July, why is Thompson not catching fire there?

CROWLEY: I think there are a couple of things. First of all, in New Hampshire they actually like to see their candidates, not once or twice but sometimes three times. Thompson has been in this state once on his tour, when we he announced his campaign. So he hasn't been here campaigning that much. Also, we found that almost 30 percent of likely Republican voters here in New Hampshire said it would make them less likely to vote for Thompson because he skipped the Republican debate that was here recently and of course he was on "Jay Leno" talking about his presidential campaign.

ROBERTS: Yes. New Hampshire voters don't like being ignored. What about McCain? It was a great poll for him. Can he back it up though because he is still having trouble with his infrastructure, still having problems with fund-raising?

CROWLEY: Sure, listen, at this point again in the Republican race or even more Republicans are saying they're really undecided about this race. McCain has been sort of documented over the past month or so. He's kind of back to his roots. He's got to make a stand here in New Hampshire. This is where they're going to pour their resources and in fact pour their candidates' time. This is where he beat George Bush in 2000 so they believe his base is here. This is the place that they're really going to make their stand.

ROBERTS: Sill a long run before the first primaries. Candy Crowley, watching it all for us this morning from Concord, New Hampshire. Candy, good to see you as always.

He did it once, and now it's time to do it again. Post your questions for the Republican presidential candidates for our youtube debate. Go to Your voice will be heard on Wednesday, November the 28th only on CNN, your home for politics. CHETRY: Well, we have some "Quick Hits" now. And a girl, who was injured by an escaped gorilla got out of the zoo, was awarded $175,000 by a jury. The little girl was 2 at that time that the gorilla hit her and dragged her at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. The jury ruled that the zoo should have done more to make sure that the gorilla, "Little Joe," couldn't escape.

Also, some new warnings this morning about alcohol and an increased risk of breast cancer. Some research pointing to three drinks a day being as bad as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day when it comes to your risk for breast cancer. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here and he's going to break it down for us.

And also what do you do with a 1,000 Cosmo girls in bikinis? How about trying to set a world record. The story of what these girls are up to ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: Here's one for the guys this morning. 1,000-plus Cosmo girls on the beach in Sydney. What are they doing? Does it matter? They're actually working to set the new world record for the world's biggest swimsuit photo shoot. There's 1,010 of them in all. Here's a look at it from above. You see, here's what it was all about, because when you do it from above. There it is, it spells "Cosmo." All right. The photo shoot will appear in the January issue of "Cosmopolitan" and will also be featured in the next edition of the "Guinness World Book of Records."

43 minutes after the hour now. Rob Marciano, down there in Atlanta, checking out not just the ladies on the beach but the extreme weather across this country as well.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN, METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely, we are focused on the extreme right now and certainly the aerial shots not nearly as important as the closeups for that story. One of the few times, you'll see John Roberts actually stumble over his words. Minneapolis last night, some lightning, check it out, a little bit of a light show over the twin cities with thunder. You better believe, it can't have one without the other. There's the video for you. About a quarter of an inch rain fell with this run of the mill thunderstorm but it did light up the skies last night across Minnesota. Some cool pictures for you. That series of storms have moved off to the east.

Cincinnati now, Louisville might see a little bit of shower activity today. Thank goodness, it was hot yesterday. Look at these numbers -- 93 degrees, record high temperature in Washington D.C.; Hartford, Connecticut, 93; Wilmington, Delaware, 92; Bangor, Maine, 91; and New York City over there in La Guardia 90 degrees. So, certainly on the toasty side. You will be warm again today and it will be humid. You know, John, it's bikini day in New York City, why not? It's warm enough for it. You're not going to break a record but it's going to be toasty again today.

ROBERTS: All right. Rob, thanks very much. Can we take more look at the Vista Wall here as well? MARCIANO: If you insist. Yes.

ROBERTS: All right. OK. Kiran.

CHETRY: It's the blues of the azure water that have gotten your attention, of course not the bikini.

ROBERTS: It's the weather. I love the weather. The beach is beautiful.

CHETRY: All right. Well, we have some new research this morning on a link between drinking large amounts of alcohol and your risk of breast cancer and just how much you drink can increase your risk. CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in our Washington bureau with us this morning and some of the findings seem to be alarming at least the way they're interpreted about just how dangerous it can be to drink a lot.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN, CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's interesting. This was certainly a large study and there's been a lot of studies in the past to be clear, actually looking at this relationship between alcohol, certain types of alcohol and breast cancer. This particularly large study followed about 70,000 women over seven years trying to figure out just exactly how much alcohol became a problem and specifically what types.

What they found, one to two drinks a day could increase your breast cancer risk by about 10 percent. If knock that up to three drinks a day on average, again this is followed over seven years, increase your risk by about 30 percent. The researchers actually made sort of an interesting claim as well. They said a woman who drinks three or more drinks a day increases her breast cancer risk as much as if she smoked a pack of cigarettes a day. Which is sort of interesting. We took that particular data to the American Cancer Society and said, what do you think of that? And they said 'well, you know, there's been a lot of studies that actually show that smoking actually, while it's bad for you, doesn't actually increase your risk of breast cancer so that may have been a little bit of awashed there.

I'm not quite sure what to make of that but certainly these researchers pointing to this relationship between alcohol and breast cancer and also saying it doesn't matter what type of alcohol it is, whether it's wine, whether it's bourbon, whether it's beer, it's the ethyl alcohol that seems to be the problem.

CHETRY: You know, everything in moderation. You say it all the time and we understand that, but there seem to be mixed messages as well because if it's said that one to two drinks can increase your risk by 10 percent, there are also studies that show one glass of alcohol may lower your heart risk, your risk for a heart attack. So, how do you know what to balance?

GUPTA: It's not easy and this is one of the difficulties that doctors have when they counsel patients on these sort of things. First of all, you're exactly right, I think there's been enough evidence now to show for example a glass of red wine does several things that are good for your heart, including raising your good cholesterol, which is very hard to do, but the red wine can actually do that for you. It's really a question of balancing your own personal risk.

Certainly, drink in moderation, as you mentioned, certainly no heavy drinking. That seems to be obviously bad in terms of the breast cancer risk. But if you have a history of breast cancer in your family or you're at risk for yourself for some other reason, you really got to watch the alcohol. On the other hand, if you have a heart disease risk in your family, having a glass of red wine from time to time might be a good thing. And obviously, you want to get these things checked out with your doctor beforehand.

CHETRY: The other thing that I always wonder are people being honest? I mean, if they know they're not supposed to be drinking a lot, they're saying they're drinking three, what if they're not and you know, how you're able to sort of keep tabs on that, when you do these studies?

GUPTA: Yes, you know, you bring up a great point. This is one of the difficulties and a lot of these, you know, observational studies or questionnaire-based studies where you actually ask questions and you say tell me about your drinking habits or tell me about your eating habits and a lot of people can't remember what they ate last night, let alone several weeks or months ago so it is really sometimes hard to sort of stratify that data or look at it a little bit more closely. But again this was a pretty large study and it was followed over several years so I think the message is pretty clear, three or more drinks a day no matter what kind of alcohol it is does seem to increase your breast cancer risk.

CHETRY: The other thing, they make those wine glasses so much bigger these days, right. Six ounces is what a glass of wine is but you know people are pouring it all the way up to the top. It's not one drink.

GUPTA: Yes, I guess some people do that and that may throw off the study a bit as well. Well, you know, again, whether it's bourbon, whether it's beer, whether it's wine, no matter what size the glass is, you know, if you're drinking too much of it; and they say again three glasses which is they say is 18 ounces, that's going to increase your risk.

CHETRY: All right. Got you. Just be smart, moderation. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you.

ROBERTS: Some scary moments at the drive-through caught on tape. What drove someone to deliver a pepper spray attack at McDonald's? We'll have more on that, moron being the operative word.

And questions about how police responded to a tragic accident that killed two teenagers. We'll talk to the father who had to go find his son's body and hear what newly released 911 calls reveal about the night of the crash, that's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Police in Broward County, Florida, are investigating a pepper spray attack at a fast food drive-thru. Check out this surveillance video. It's pretty shocking. Two McDonald's employees are blasted as the car pulls away from the drive-through window. It happened yesterday. Police are searching for the car. They say that there were five females inside the attack (ph) when the attack occurred. The restaurant had to be evacuated because other people besides the woman hit there, who was sprayed were reacting to the spray as well. Kiran.

CHETRY: Well, there are some new calls this morning for the police chief of Gary, Indiana to resign after a very tragic incident that took place there. Two Indiana teenage were killed in a car crash. Newly released 911 calls are revealing new insight into how police responded. Let's listen.


OFFICER 1: He says he had two other guys with him. They might still be in the car. You might want to check.

OFFICER 2: Yeah, I'm headed there right now.


CHETRY: Well, they were two 18-year-olds, Dominique Green and Brandon Smith. They were missing. Seven hours passed and police found no one until Brandon's own dad and his uncle went to the scene and found the two teen's bodies just feet from the crash site within five minutes. The father and the uncle join us, Arthur Smith, who lost his son, and his brother, Darren, are in Chicago. Thanks for being with us. And let me just say, our hearts go out to you both for your loss. It's such a tragic, tragic story of what happened.


CHETRY: Arthur, do you believe that police did something wrong here, and if they would have had a chance and would have looked harder and found the two young boys, including your son, that they would still be alive today?

ARTHUR SMITH: I think really think that that's a great possibility, if they would have done their job, their job that they were sworn to do, to serve and protect, I really think it could be a great possibility that my son and his best friend, Dominique Green, may still be here, but we don't know that, because they didn't do their job.

CHETRY: So can you explain what the accident scene was like, how you were able to find the two, but police were not?

ARTHUR SMITH: Well, when we got on the scene, I was there first, and my aunt had called my brother, and what it was, basically, I wasn't going down there to look for my son, per se, because we thought that him and Dominique were still together. So upon coming up on the scene, I just kind of like went down on one end and my brother went down on another end, and we were just kind of like surveying the scene; and I was in a position where it looked like this is maybe where the car had like stopped tumbling or stopped traveling or what have you.

And just looking around and looking around, and as I was getting ready to really come up from down there, I turned around, and out the corner of my eye, I seen some like blue, a blue color; and I really couldn't see it right away. So I kind of balanced myself on like a tree stump or something, I kind of like look over and I looked down into the mouth of my dead son. And to my right -- excuse me, go ahead.

CHETRY: I was just going to say, it's something that no parent should have to go through that you had to discover the body.

ARTHUR SMITH: No, you couldn't believe what was going through my head, because like I said, my purpose down there was just surveying where they had the accident.

CHETRY: Let's listen to a little bit more of the tape of this 911 call that has just been released about what police were trying to figure out at that accident scene.


OFFICER 1: He said there's two other people in this car?

OFFICER 2: They said there was two other people that were with them besides the two that I've got with me over here.

OFFICER 1: Did they get up and walk away, too?

OFFICER 2: He said if they're not in the car; then they had to have gotten out on their own and walked off.

OFFICER 1: If you've seen the vehicle, I don't know how anyone would have walked off.


CHETRY: And now, the Lake County coroner is saying that your son and his friend died instantly. You guys are calling for an independent investigation. Darren, do you think that the coroner or the police were trying to cover something up here?

DARREN SMITH, DISCOVERED NEPHEW'S BODY AT THE CRASH SCENE: I think that's pretty obvious at this point. Once the 911 tapes came out, it was obvious from the statements that the police chief was making in reference to the 911 tape. The police chief would make one statement that the boys was confused, the police informed me that the boys was confused or disoriented. They gave them one address or another different address but the 911 tape clearly states that these boys immediately informed these officers that they was involved in this tragic accident and their buddies were still down there. So there was an immediate connection with the police officers on the scene from what these boys was telling them according to the 911 tape. I mean, it speaks volumes.

CHETRY: And also, Arthur, the police chief of Gary, Thomas Houston, said that Darius Moore, who was driving had alcohol in his system, was speeding, had a provisional license and that no one in the car was wearing seat belts. Did you deem those comments appropriate?

ARTHUR SMITH: None than they may have said so far means nothing to me. If all of those statements he made were true, what do that have to do with them not finding my son, and Dominique? What do that have to do? They was right there. I found them, and if I was out there that night, I could have found them with a cigarette lighter. They did not look. They did not look, America. They did not attempt to look for them boys and they can try to deflect this as much as they want, but the next thing you say to me is, Mr. Smith, we messed up. We dropped the ball.

CHETRY: And they didn't say that to you.

ARTHUR SMITH: I'm sorry. No, they haven't said anything.

CHETRY: All right. We also tried to reach them for comment. Gary, Indiana, police are declining to comment right now on the situation. I want to thank both of you for being with us, Arthur Smith and Darren Smith and again, we are so sorry for your loss. Thanks for being with us.

ARTHUR SMITH: Thank you very much.

DARREN SMITH: Thank you very much.

ROBERTS: Terrible story. And as you said, nothing any parent should have to go through. Unbelievable.

Coming up now, a couple of minutes to the top of the hour. We'll take a quick break and we'll be back with more on AMERICAN MORNING, including the latest on the situation in Myanmar and the capital city of Yangon, reports that the military and police firing automatic weapons into the crowd, reports from Japanese officials that at least one of their nationals has died in that. We'll have the latest when we come back here. Stay with us.