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Mileage on GM's Chevy Volt; Mom's Words Resonates at Town Hall; Is Recovery Coming?; Case Against Pharmacy in Jackson Death Would be Difficult; Study IDs Waste in Medicine; Swastika Found on Congressman's Office Sign
Aired August 12, 2009 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good Wednesday morning to you. It's the 12th of August. Thanks for joining us on the Most News in the Morning. I'm John Roberts.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kiran Chetry. I'm sure all the days and nights are just blending together for you.
ROBERTS: Days, nights, it seems like it should be Saturday already. It's only the beginning of Wednesday.
CHETRY: Right. He's also covering for Anderson Cooper, so he's very, very well read-in (ph), if not a little tired.
ROBERTS: I slept last night about the length of the average movie, but they didn't serve popcorn.
CHETRY: All right, well, we've got a lot on the agenda this morning, and we have some top stories we're going to be breaking down for you in the next 15 minutes. First of all, President Obama making his case for health care reform at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire. A town hall meeting in New Hampshire. No, it's not the primary season. We're talking about health care reform.
There was no shouting. There was no shoving. But at a town hall in Pennsylvania and another one in Missouri, there was more chaos and more rage.
ROBERTS: An American soldier serving his country and Mexico's druglords. An 18-year-old Army private is accused of being a hitman for a Mexican drug cartel, shooting a DEA informant on U.S. soil in El Paso. CNN's Ed Lavandera is live with the violent new reality on this side of the border.
CHETRY: Also, a new weapon in the fight against colon cancer could be right in your medicine cabinet. Researchers are saying that aspirin may be able to extend the lives of people with colon cancer. It's the second deadliest cancer killer in the country. One expert says the study's findings could be revolutionary. We'll have more on them.
ROBERTS: We begin this morning with President Obama taking his message to the people, and it is clear he faces and uphill battle. The crowd was civil in new Hampshire, but that was not the case in Missouri and Pennsylvania where town hall meetings turned chaotic and confrontational. Security officers forced to step in and remove members of the crowd.
SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (D), PENNYSLVANIA: If you want to be led out of here, you are welcome to go. Now wait a minute. Now wait a minute. Now wait a minute. Now wait a minute.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One day God's gonna stand before you and he is gonna judge you and (INAUDIBLE) you're (INAUDIBLE) up on the hill.
SPECTER: Okay. Okay. We have just. We have just had demonstration of democracy. Okay?
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: I do not understand this rudeness. What is this? I do not get it. I honestly do not get it. Do you all think that you are persuading people when you shout out like that? You don't trust me? Okay. You know, I don't know what else I can do. I don't know what else I can do. If you, if you want me to go home --
ROBERTS: In New Hampshire, the audience was mostly polite as the president tried to make his case. Protesters were kept outside across the street. Jim Acosta is live in Portsmouth New Hampshire this morning and Jim, not the usual shouting and shoving in this town hall but the president still has got a tough job in his hands, no question.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right John, now we know why many democrats wanted to get health care reforms done before the August recess. The longer this debate goes on, the tougher the sell gets and its not just this rowdy town hall meetings that are happening across the country, even the president is being forced to take on some of the most outrageous claims coming from reform opponents.
ACOSTA: The debate over health care reform has come to this. A little girl is holding a sign that says, "Obama lies, grandma dies." What that does mean?
UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT : Well that means that with this new health care, they won't be taking care of the elderly and the older people, probably as well as private insurance.
ACOSTA: It is a reference to the false claim made by some reform opponents. The democratic healthcare plans would create a bureaucratic death panel to decide end-of-life issues with the elderly and disabled. The president confronted the rumor.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The rumor that has been circulating a lot lately is this idea that somehow the house of representatives voted for death panels that will basically pull the plug on grandma because we decided that we don't - it's too expensive to let her live anymore. I am not in favor of that.
ACOSTA: As the president tried to turn down the heat inside the town hall -- OBAMA: Let's disagree over things that are real, not these wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to any things that actually have been proposed.
ACOSTA: Tempers flared outside the event. Police kept supporters and opponents of reform on opposite sides of the streets.
MICHAEL REIDY, MASSACHUSETTS UNION MEMBER: We will make sure that the right wing dies not destroy the truth. Not everybody is well aware of anything that's going on in this building.
JOEY DAUBEN, LOCAL BUSSINESS OWNER: If this government health care program goes through, then my small business will suffer even more.
ACOSTA: One protester actually brought his handgun to the event. Because he had a permit with the gun, police allowed him to stay.
ACOSTA: Are you gonna keep that holstered when the president comes by?
WILLIAM KOSTHIC, PROTESTER: Of course. I like my life.
ACOSTA: With this August (ph) town halls turning into summer carnivals for democrats, the question for the white house is whether these events are changing any minds.
WILLIAM ANDERSON, TOWN HALL AUDIENCE MEMBER: Good afternoon Mr. President.
ACOSTA: William Anderson asked the president whether reform plans would set limits on more expensive prescription drugs. He wasn't convinced.
ANDERSON: Saying one thing is one thing and doing the right things is something else.
ACOSTA: The president has not sold you yet?
ANDERSON: Not yet, no.
ACOSTA: The president will try again with two more town halls later this week in Colorado and Montana, like in New Hampshire. Those states were once presidential battle grounds, now they are on the front lines of the white house fight for health care reform, John.
ROBERTS: I saw somebody commenting on the Internet on the guy that brought the gun to the protest. They are suggesting that he was a disturbed (ph), nearly brave gentleman because he probably spent all day on the secret service snipers process.
ACOSTA: Yeah, you know, it was amazing to see just how relaxed the atmosphere is or was around that man and we were surprised to see him there but he calmly explained that, you know, he had a permit to carry this weapon in New Hampshire and that the gentleman at the church where he was standing allowed him to stay there. It was an extraordinary sight. The police were well aware of it, we asked the police ourselves about it and they said that they though that everything was under control John and was (ph) strange to see.
ROBERTS: Absolutely within the law. Jim Acosta in Portsmouth. Jim, thanks so much for that. The debate over health care reform also being waged on our AMFIX hotline. Here's some of what you were saying.
CALLER: People should sit down and listen to each other because yelling and shouting obviously is not getting us anywhere.
CALLER: I am one of those protester you say are paid to go to these things, all I'm going to and for is because I am scared to death of losing my health care. I'm 63, I don't like think anything about this bill, I have read all the thousand pages of it.
CALLER: Why aren't people yelling and screaming about the fact that insurance companies are making life and death decisions for them right now?
CALLER: Do we need reform yet? But it needs to be the rock kind of reform that's gonna take care of everyone and right now, I'm not convinced that this is what we need and it is very, very, scary.
CALLER: I feel like this is a death row country. I hope the senate has a wonderful vacation this summer.
ROBERTS: To hear more from you, call our show hotline at 1-877- MY-AMFIX or drop us a line our website, it's www.cnn.com/amfix.
CHETRY: Also developing right now US army private is under arrest this morning, accused of being a contract killer for a Mexican drug cartel. The 18-year-old soldier is one of three men charged with murdering a mid-level cartel member who is also a DEA informant. CNN's Ed Lavandera is following the story for us from Dallas. A lot of surprise to hear about this one. What are the details, Ed?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well you know, Kiran, this is just another chilling example of the influence and power of the growing strength of the Mexican drug cartels even across the border in the United States. As you mention, these three men, one of them including a young soldier in the U.S. Army accused of carrying out a deadly hit.
An 18-year-old Michael Jackson Apodaca still wearing his military uniforms in hand cuffs and charged with capital murder. El Paso police states Apodaca fired the shots that killed this man three months ago outside his home in an upscale El Paso neighborhood. The shooting victim was a mid level member of the Juarez Drug Cartel but also an informant for American Federal Agents.
UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: What we do feel is that this was retribution for the fact that the deceased person had pretty much gotten the person in trouble Juarez. He was arrested by the federal authorities over there and so consequently this was the retribution for that arrest. LAVANDERA: According to court documents, Apodaca was hired to carry out this hit and paid by Ruben Rodriguez Dorado, a member of the Juarez Cartel who are document say that Dorado ordered the murder because the Juarez Cartel discovered the victim was talking to American authorities.
UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: I want to stress that this was a pay back situation and not simply that's an ongoing type of battle like you see in Mexico right now, it's a whole lot different. And even though this can be considered to some degree spill over, we don't look at it in the same way as it occurs in Mexico.
LAVANDERA: According to officials at Port Bliss (ph) El Paso, Michael Apodaca joined the army about a year ago. He worked as a crew member that launches patriot missiles but his family says they don't believe the charges against him.
UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: He was in the top list class, we talked to all of his sergeants. He is a good soldier. Before he went it he was in with a bad crowd.
LAVANDERA: Kiran, this really highlights a terrible problem along the border. You know, for years we've talked about how drug cartels have corrupted authorities and officials on the Mexican side of the border and there is a growing sense of concern that that influence might be growing and spreading onto the U.S. side as well. Kiran. CHETRY: Just astounding (ph). Ed Lavandera for us this morning. Thank you.
ROBERTS: It's nine and a half minutes after the hour and other stories new this morning. This is one you really want to listen to, so pay attention. It has been used that for more than a century, sold for just pennies and pill and now aspirin maybe a wonder drug for people with colon cancer. A new Harvard study found colon cancer patients who took aspirin regularly colon cancer patients who took aspirin regularly reduced their risk of death from the disease by as much as 30%. Researcher s say aspirin blocks the production of a certain enzyme which prevents the cancer from spreading. Aspirin is already recommended of course for helping to prevent heart attack and strokes.
CHETRY: Newly released White House e-mails from the Bush Administration show the former presidential advisor, Carl Rove was involved in the firings of nine U.S. attorneys back in 2006. These firings ended up leading to the resignation of Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales. House Judiciary Committee Chairman, John Conyers has turned to those e-mails over to prosecutors.
ROBERTS: And the price of gasoline just as if it were going down, now creeping higher again. AAA reported the national average for unleaded regular is now $2.65 a gallon. It is up just a hair from yesterday when the price actually dropped after 20 straight days of increase.
CHETRY: Well, you wouldn't have to worry about it if you get this new car out there. The new General Motors boldly going where no carmaker has gone before. The company said its new Chevy Volt, there it is -- it's an electric car -- will get an estimated 230 miles per gallon. 230 miles per gallon.
That's more than four times what the Toyota Prius gets for city driving. The Prius is right now the world's best-selling hybrid car. GM's new CEO predicts that the triple-digit mileage will be a game- changer.
Sticker price for the Volt when it hit showrooms which is (INAUDIBLE) for November of 2010 will be about 40 grand. The Prius right now is 23,000. But if you knew, to think 40 grand, and you knew that, you know, you'd have to fill up, what, once a month, probably at that rate?
ROBERTS: Well, I will be dense on this. But there's something I'm missing. If it's an electric car, why does it use any gas?
CHETRY: Well, I think it's -- well, some of them are, you know, electric, and they use gas to either charge the battery or to run some other operations or it's a back up if the battery goes dead?
ROBERTS: I have to read more about this car.
CHETRY: The Volt.
CHETRY: Would you get it?
ROBERTS: Yes. It's a good name.
CHETRY: Well, I said would you get it, not did you get it?
ROBERTS: Oh. Would I get it?
ROBERTS: I don't know. I don't think I'd buy the first model year.
CHETRY: Get it? Volt? Electric Volt?
ROBERTS: It just -- it seems to just kind of come together.
ROBERTS: She was at Arlen Specter's health care event yesterday. She put a face on people's fears about health care. Now she's become a hero to many people. Guest Katy Abram is coming up next. Stay with us. We'll introduce you to her.
ANNOUNCER: AMERICAN MORNING, brought to you by...
CHETRY: Welcome back to the most news in the morning. It's 15 minutes past the hour now. You know we've heard the noise and now we're looking for answers. There's been a lot of rage, a lot of anger lately at these town hall health care meetings that have been taking place across the country.
Many say the protesters are plant, that special interest groups opposed to health care reform pack these crowds, but not Katy Abram. She's a 35-year-old stay-at-home mom who showed up at Senator Arlen Specter's town hall last night in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. And her comments and questions really struck a nerve.
Here's a look at what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATY ABRAM, STAY-AT-HOME MOM: I'm only 35 years old. I have never been interested in politics. You have awakened the sleeping giant. What are you going to do to restore this country back to what our founders created according to the Constitution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: And there you see, after she asked that question, the entire place erupted in cheers. People giving her a standing ovation. Katie Abrams joins me now from Philadelphia this morning.
Thanks for being with us, Katie. Did you know at the time when you showed up to ask that question that that was going to be the response from people in the crowd?
ABRAM: No. I didn't even know that was the question I was going to ask, to be honest with you.
CHETRY: Yes. And you talked about this. You said that, you know, you said that you're a conservative and a Republican but you're not somebody who is really ever into politics, the day-to-day politicking out there.
What made your change your mind when you told the senator that you awakened a sleeping giant? How did that happen?
ABRAM: You know, over the past couple months I've seen in the news how, you know, they were doing the TARP package and trying to bail out banks and auto companies, and I saw a lot of really reckless things and the next thing I see is this health care reform that they're bringing through or the health care -- nationalized health care. That really was the nail in the coffin for me, I guess you could say. That woke me up.
CHETRY: And what is your health care situation right now? I mean, just, you know, to give some perspective. We said that you're a stay-at-home mom. How many kids do you have? Are you covered? Are they covered?
ABRAM: Yes. I -- my children and I -- I have a 7-year-old daughter named Madelyn. Hi, Maddie. A little 4-year-old named Sam. Hi, Sam.
They'll love that. And we have a health savings account. We're self-employed and so we pay for our own health care insurance. You know we have a high deductible. We -- you know, pay out, you know, towards our insurance every month and typically every year we are paying for our own health care.
ABRAM: Doctors visits and everything yourselves. So...
CHETRY: Do you think it could be better? Do you think that health care, in general, in this country could be improved?
ABRAM: Absolutely. You know, I believe -- I'm not -- I don't know everything about health care. I know that it's not a perfect system. But I don't necessarily believe that having the government in control of it is the solution. I mean I've never seen them do anything that has worked. To be honest with you. So the last thing I want them to have control of is my health care.
CHETRY: And now you said to Arlen Specter as well, "What are you going do to restore this country back to what our founders created according to the Constitution." What were you trying to get out with him there? What did you mean by that?
ABRAM: What I meant by that is when -- from the little bit that I have read, you know, I am not -- was never a history major. This is, like I said, new to me. I've been reading about the founders, I've been reading the Constitution.
And the founders did not look to the government as being the solution for the problems in this country. It doesn't say in the Constitution give out free health care to people. Bail out the auto companies. Do all these things.
The people in this country can be self-sufficient and take care of ourselves. I am just looking for the government to get the heck out of my way.
CHETRY: And were you happy with the response that you got from Arlen Specter?
ABRAM: Um, I don't -- you know, honestly, I think that the true response will be what happens when this bill is brought over to the Senate. My understanding is that it's in Congress right now and so it hasn't necessarily crossed the line over into the Senate. So, the proof is in the pudding. We'll see what he does. CHETRY: You know, you -- I mean the thing is that -- when he hear from you and we heard from you at the town hall forum, I mean, you were just expressing an opinion and wanted to get questions from your leaders, but as you can see things in some of these cases, things have certainly gotten out of control.
CHETRY: We've seen people, I guess, you know, super imposing images of Hitler with President Obama, saying things like you're going to kill grandma.
How do you think that the debate sort of spiraled out of control that now, you know, people are claiming that there are death panels where, you know, you're going to be judged and then if you're deemed not worthy to be saved, you're not going to get health care. I mean, how do we get so far away from some of the issues and valid concerns that there are out there?
ABRAM: You know, I think -- my opinion is that I think this has gotten so out of control because, you know, we are looking at two separate parties. The Democrat Party and Republican Party. And I've been a member of both. And now I look at them and they seem exactly the same to me. I don't see a difference.
I don't see anybody that's standing up for the people of this country. Could you ask me the question one more time?
CHETRY: No, I mean...
ABRAM: I am nervous.
CHETRY: You're doing a great job. And you did a great job answering. And I just -- you know, we were just trying to figure out, I guess, where all of it turned, you know, so...
ABRAM: Where it went sour?
CHETRY: Yes. Where things seem to really just go off the reservation in some cases. I mean this town hall, as you know, there was a police presence at that one. I mean security had to chase people out.
CHETRY: People are yelling back and forth at each other. I mean, why?
ABRAM: You know the town hall that I attended, I was so proud of the people of Lebanon and people from surrounding communities that had come there, because any time somebody would try to speak up and be loud who wasn't on the microphone, you would hear a hush across the crowd.
Because the last thing -- you know, those of us who feel the same way I do, we don't want to be disrespectful. We don't want to be part of that angry mob, you know, mentality. We just want to be heard by our senator. That's all that we're asking.
ABRAM: You know, I'm not somebody that's going go in there and, you know, I don't know, cause trouble.
ABRAM: All I wanted to do was go in there and ask my question.
CHETRY: And we saw some of the video that you shot as well. Hey, thanks for joining us this morning, Katy Abram. Thanks for coming on and speaking about your opinion on this. And it was great to have you with us. Thanks.
ABRAM: Thank you.
ROBERTS: Let's hope the kids are watching, too.
ROBERTS: I'm sure they are.
CHETRY: They got their little shout-outs.
ROBERTS: So, is the recession over? Well, we don't know about that. But we do know one thing. Christine Romans is back and she joins us "Minding Your Business" coming up next. 22 minutes after the hour.
ROBERTS: Twenty-five minutes now after the hour. And we are mentioning the Chevy Volt at the top of the show. Did some reading up on it. It does have a little gasoline engine. That's not to recharge the battery, though. It takes over once it's out of battery power. The engine takes over. It runs a generator which then powers the electric motor.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After about 40 miles, I think.
ROBERTS: Yes. So...
ROMANS: I think it was 40 miles on the electric motor.
ROBERTS: So, if you go less than 40 miles, you'll get infinity miles per gallon. But if you go 300 miles, your gas mileage will probably be a lot lower than what General Motors claims....
ROMANS: Which would be good for some drivers, but not all...
CHETRY: Right. I mean for city driving, and especially if you could live in a -- if you live in a city where they're going to be making it easier for you to, you know, charge your battery up.
ROBERTS: So, basically, the EPA says it hasn't been able to verify that claim of 230 miles per gallon. So...
CHETRY: It's probably something average.
ROBERTS: Anyway, it's Christine Romans here, "Minding Your Business," this morning. Can we declare the recession over yet?
ROMANS: Nothing to see here, folks. Move along. Move along. The recession is over. I can't tell you the recession is over. But I can tell you that the Bloomberg -- Bloomberg and "The Wall Street Journal" has surveyed economists and a majority of them say the recession has ended and the economy will start to grow again.
It is, in fact, growing right now. Few economists on both of these surveys saying no, it'll probably happen later. Maybe later next year. But look, a majority of economists saying that the economy will start to move again, and that many of them are crediting the stimulus, which as you know, controversial because some conservatives, the Republicans, are saying this is simply just been a waste of money and a sugar rush, if anything.
But let's take a look here what these economists are saying about the economy and the recession being over. Take a look at GDP. This is the broadest gauge of how the economy grows. This is what it looks like since about the first quarter of '08. A couple of positive months there and then four quarters of negative growth.
And now these economists here in the "Wall Street Journal" are forecasting 2.4 percent growth.
Take a look at the stock market. This is already kind of -- anticipated this. You've seen that big rally earlier this year. The stock market, in fact, has been anticipating that the economy will turn around. This is the S&P 500 so it's already seen a bounce off of it to (INAUDIBLE) level.
The question, of course, is now what happens from here and what does a recovery feel like if indeed we are going to get a recovery? And many are saying that you're going to see the unemployment rate continue to go to 10 percent. There probably won't be much question about that. Even these folks who are saying that the recession is over is saying that that it's not going to feel pretty good for a lot of people.
ROBERTS: So the recovery may not be much of a recovery at all?
ROMANS: Probably. Many say a jobless recovery. But a little bit of economic growth is better than contraction, contraction, contraction.
ROBERTS: True. ROMANS: And I will point out that the National Bureau of Economic Research is the official arbiter when a recession ends. We can't tell you that it definitely did end but many of the economists are saying it is. And when that NBER weighs in, we'll tell you for sure.
CHETRY: All right. You got a numeral for us.
ROMANS: I do and it has to do with the recession, how long they last, and this one in particular, 10 months is the number. We've been in recession since December 2007. So that was the peak of economic activities. So 10 months.
Kiran, can you guess this? The average length of a recession is 10 months. So we're almost double the average recession. So, you know, it's been ugly. And I think that's one of the reasons why you've seen people very upset at some of these town halls, quite frankly.
ROMANS: Because we haven't felt something like this before. It's got people kind of unsettled.
ROBERTS: Well, the good news is at least it wasn't a depression, right? There you go.
ROMANS: There you go.
ROBERTS: All right. Christine Romans.
ROBERTS: "Minding Your Business" this morning. Thanks so much.
New developments in the Michael Jackson case. Are police getting ready to file charges against Michael Jackson's doctor or do they have anything at all? We'll find out. Attorney Paul Callan joins us, coming up next. 28 minutes now after the hour.
CHETRY: Thirty minutes past the hour. Welcome back to the most news in the morning. We have a check now of our top stories.
AARP says that President Obama misspoke when he claimed that the group supported his health care reforms. Yesterday in New Hampshire, the president said, quote, "We have the AARP on board because they know this is a good deal for our seniors." But AARP's chief operating officer says the organization has not endorsed any health care reform bill.
ROBERTS: U.S. Marine helicopters backed by Harrier jets are staging an attack right now on a Taliban-controlled town in southern Afghanistan. They're trying to get control of the area one week before the country holds its presidential elections. Meanwhile, two AP reporters embedded with the troops were wounded by a roadside bomb yesterday. They are at a military hospital in Kandahar.
CHETRY: Also, the federal government wants to know how 47 passengers ended up stranded on an airport tarmac in Rochester, Minnesota for hours. It's a story that you first saw here yesterday on AMERICAN MORNING. This was a Continental Express flight. It was originally scheduled to go from Houston to Minneapolis. It was diverted because of bad weather.
In all, passengers were stuck on that small plane for nearly 12 hours without food or water and no working bathrooms after a while there as well before reaching their final destination. Well, transportation Secretary Roy LaHood says they are now investigating whether any laws were broken.
ROBERTS: Well, it appears that authorities are still building a case against Michael Jackson's personal doctor, Conrad Murray, in connection with Jackson's death. On Tuesday, they raided a Las Vegas pharmacy that according to a source sold the powerful anesthetic Propofol to Dr. Murray.
There are reports that the doctor gave Jackson Propofol on the day he died. The latest search comes two weeks after police and drug agents searched Murray's home and office.
So, are they any closer now to an arrest? Joining us to talk about the investigation, trying to read the tea leaves here this morning, attorney Paul Callan, a former prosecutor who's also defended anesthesiologists in medical malpractice cases.
So, Paul, what do you make of the fact that they're out there yesterday searching this Supplied Pharmacy Services (ph)? And this comes a day after the LAPD said to the coroner's office, well, don't release the toxicology report just yet. We're still investigating.
PAUL CALLAN, FORMER NEW YORK CITY HOMICIDE PROSECUTOR: Well, I think it's very interesting, John, because there are also reports about Murray's personal life. Dr. Murray shad severe financial problems. There are reports that he was deeply in debt. So, obviously, the focus now is getting tighter on Murray, and they're looking to these pharmaceutical supply places to show that Murray was getting drugs, deadly drugs, prescribing those to Michael Jackson, and that those prescriptions may have caused his death.
ROBERTS: You know, he died six weeks ago. Dr. Murray is still the prime focus of the investigation, according to sources. But the fact that it's gone on for six weeks and they haven't charged him, what does that say about the case? You would think if they had an -- you know, I could be wrong about this, but you would think if they had an airtight case, they would have charged him by now.
CALLAN: Well, I'm not surprised. You know, when you're trying to charge a doctor with a form of manslaughter, a form of murder, it's a very, very severe uphill battle. You've got to show that the doctor acted with gross recklessness. I mean, obviously, nobody is going to be claiming here that Murray deliberately killed Jackson, as you would see in an intentional murder case. So you have to prove gross recklessness in the prescription of drugs. That's really hard with a doctor because doctors are always prescribing drugs. Patients occasionally die from them. That's not criminal conduct. But here you have to show that this doctor should have known Jackson was an addict, and he could have died from these drugs.
ROBERTS: As we said at the top of this, Paul, you have defended anesthesiologists before. Have any of them ever been involved in a criminal case?
CALLAN: I've never seen a case involving criminal conduct. And you know, it's interesting, I've represented three anesthesiologists this week in cases involving Propofol.
ROBERTS: Just this week? Really?
CALLAN: Propofol. Defended them at depositions. But it's routinely used. It's used during colonoscopies, it's used...
ROBERTS: So, essentially, what are those cases, like malpractice cases?
CALLAN: They're malpractice cases. They're cases where something goes wrong during the procedure, and somebody dies. No one would even think about bringing a case against an anesthesiologist where an accident occurs in the operating room. But you see here, the claim is that Murray was hired at great expense and cost to the Jackson estate to prescribe drugs to him. And that Murray should have known that these drugs would kill Jackson.
ROBERTS: Does he have an out here in terms of defense? I am asking you to put on your defense hat here. Does he have an out here in terms of defending himself, because Propofol is not a controlled substance?
CALLAN: I don't think that will help him ultimately. You have to remember, a drug being listed as a controlled substance just means that the federal government monitors dispensing of the drug a lot more carefully. But here in terms of proving gross recklessness, even a non-controlled substance could be used in a grossly reckless way, leading to criminal conduct. A little bit harder, but it can be done.
ROBERTS: What about the pharmacy. You know, if he was coming in here saying, here's my prescriptions and the pharmacy was just dispensing the drug, that's one thing. But if there was any -- if the pharmacy was complicit at all in prescribing this drug to him, could the pharmacy face charges?
CALLAN: It's a very hard case against the pharmacy, because they always have the excuse, hey, a doctor prescribed this. It's not our job to second guess a doctor's judgment. And after all, the pharmacy doesn't know where the Propofol is being administered. So, unless they're on the take or there's bribery or something going on in the background, I think it's a very hard case against the pharmacy. Probably the focus is going to stay on Dr. Murray. ROBERTS: Paul Callan, it's great to see you this morning. Thanks for stopping by.
CALLAN: OK. Good to be here, John.
CHETRY: And still ahead, we're going to be talking about mapping your world, how all the maps and information you get in your GPS unit, what you'll be able to see in the future. Wow. This is our "Edge of Discovery," still ahead. Thirty-six minutes past the hour.
CHETRY: Thirty-nine minutes past the hour. Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. Here's a look at what's ahead on the "A.M. Rundown." These are stories coming up in just a couple of minutes for you.
Extreme weather is on the move. We have plenty of rain and thunderstorms expected across the Southeast today. Our Rob Marciano will let you know if it could slow down your travel plans. Also, a staggering number in the health care debate. More than a trillion dollars wasted each and every year. CNN's Tom Foreman has a closer look at the cost of doing nothing.
And Georgia Congressman David Scott the target of hate. A swastika spraypainted outside of his office. He says it's because of the highly charged health care debate. We're going to hear from Congressman Scott in his own words.
Well, also, it's OK to admit that you'd probably be lost without your GPS. The only problem is if the GPS gives me directions to a certain location, and they take me a weird way, I never know how to do it the right way. You know what I'm talking about?
ROBERTS: So, you don't look at the map as you're driving along to learn new ways to go?
ROBERTS: No, OK. All right.
Well, you ever wonder, though, how your GPS gets all those maps, all that information? CNN's Gary Tuchman found out, and he shows you here on "The Edge of Discovery."
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You can thank the strange-looking vehicle the next time you don't get lost. This Tele Atlas Mobile Mapping van uses cameras, GPS and even lasers to digitally record the road and everything near it.
KAMRON BARRON, TELE ATLAS: So, the driver's really responsible for making sure that images coming from the camera are of high enough quality to be used on our production floor.
TUCHMAN: It's one of a handful of companies combining information gathered by vans, satellite imagery and maps from local governments. Tele Atlas sells its maps to partners and customers like Google, MapQuest and portable navigation company Tom Tom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our ultimate goal, yes, that would be to map the entire world.
TUCHMAN: And now you can help out, too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A user can take this device and say, I want to make a correction. It might be a small village, town, where someone sees a new roundabout, a new one-way street going on. They can quickly provide that information to us. We collect that data and the map is updated.
TUCHAMN: What's next for digital maps is even cooler. Keep an eye out for 3-D in a few years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a virtual reality experience for that customer as they go around, the buildings match, the roads match, the entire navigation experience matches what they would find in the real world.
Gary Tuchman, CNN.
ROBERTS: So, we talked about waste in health care. How much do you think that's worth? A few million? A few billion?
CHETRY: Well, Allan Chernoff told us it's a staggering number. And it's something that a lot of people don't talk about.
ROBERTS: Wait until you hear how much money is wasted in the health care industry every year. It will blow your mind. 42 minutes after the hour.
CHETRY: Welcome back. Forty-four minutes past the hour right now. There's a look at Atlanta, this morning, where it is 75 degrees right now, going up to a high of 86 a little bit later.
Time now to fast forward through the stories that'll be making headlines later today. At 10:15 Eastern this morning, the President and the First Lady host a reception for Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. It's in the East Room of the White House. Also, this afternoon, the President and the First Lady will host the Medal of Freedom ceremony. There will be 16 recipients. Among them, retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, as well as Senator Ted Kennedy and tennis-great Billie Jean King.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's 11-day tour of Africa stops in Nigeria today. She'll meet with that country's president, as well as foreign minister. On the agenda, Nigeria's oil industry, rampant corruption in the industry and religious clashes that have taken place recently.
Also, the Federal Reserve wraps up its two-day meeting today. The Fed is expected to keep interest rates at historic lows, almost near zero. At the same time the "Wall Street Journal" says the majority of economist it surveyed say that the recession is over. So, don't hold your breath but looks like finally some light at the end of the tunnel.
ROBERTS: But as Christine was saying just a little while ago, what kind of shape the recovery takes is unknown...
ROBERTS: -- and maybe it won't be a very robust one and maybe there won't be a lot of jobs that are created out of it, either. Which wouldn't be a good thing.
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEROLOGIST: But before we wrap things up, something that is light enough for you two. We got to show this to you. Probably not real but you look and decide for yourself. This guy's name is Bruno and he built a waterslide and he goes for a little ride on it. Check out where he lands.
MARCIANO: All right. How does that not hurt?
ROBERTS: Remember, every Friday Rob's on the road of Rob's Road Show. Last week he was in Tennessee at the world's biggest yard sale. This Friday, he is at the world yo-yo contest in Orlando. But, we want you to decide where Rob should go next. Head to our web site CNN.com/amfix and give us some ideas.
CHETRY: What's Rob riding around in? A Mercury Lynx (ph)?
ROBERTS: Somehow I think having our viewers pick where Rob goes -- it's going to have bad outcome.
CHETRY: I tell you what...
ROBERTS: I just know.
CHETRY: Oh, I picked a place for him. He should go Cedar Point, rollercoaster capital of the country.
ROBERTS: All right. How much money are we wasting on health care? We'll tell you, coming up next. Tom Foreman's crunching the numbers for you. It's coming up now on 10 minutes to the top of the hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": This is weird. A company in Michigan is trying to make Americans healthier. They're trying to make Americans healthier by sending out ice cream trucks stocked only with fruits and vegetables. Yes.
O'BRIEN: Well, don't worry. It's not going so well, because all the trucks have been turned over and burned by angry fat kids.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. If we are serious about reforming health care in this country, we should get serious about reforming the way we live. And doctors and insurance companies may need to consider reforming the way they do business. A few simple, sensible changes could save us more than half of what we spend every year as a nation on health care. Our Tom Foreman has got a new study that offers fixes that no one seems to be focused on.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, Kiran, this study by PricewaterhouseCoopers identifies what it calls three key areas of massive waste, and the first one is us. Medical problems related to obesity, such as heart disease and high blood pressure, cost our medical care system $200 billion a year. Meanwhile, problems related to smoking cost another $191 billion. If we just took better care of ourselves, this study suggests, we could save as much as a half trillion dollars that our government and we are currently spending.
The second big are of waste is clinical problems. Doctors and nurses sometimes prescribe the wrong medicine. They overmedicate. They make other mistakes, too. Patients use emergency rooms for some problems like sore throats that ought to be handled by their regular doctors. The cost of all that? More than $90 billion.
In addition, this study found that sometimes doctors overcharge because they can make more money from it, but also that they're sometimes so afraid of malpractice lawsuits that they order many tests and procedures just to protect against possible accusations that they overlook something. The cost of that, $210 billion a year. That's why senators in support of reform, like Maryland's Ben Cardin, are being confronted in town meetings by people demanding that legal reform be part of any health reform package.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why isn't tort reform a part of any of (INAUDIBLE)?
FOREMAN: And finally, this study found waste in operational cost. Just filing the papers to collect from insurance companies cost up to $210 billion a year. One case the researchers cite is Johns Hopkins in Baltimore -- 700 different health plans, employers and other groups, 700 are involved in paying the bills there. Each with its own rules and paperwork.
All of these combined areas add up to $1.2 trillion in waste. Or as this study notes, more than half of all of our health spending -- John, Kiran.
ROBERTS: Tom Foreman this morning. Pretty incredible numbers, I think.
CHETRY: It is shocking because I mean if that could somehow be tackled first, can you imagine? Then there would be money to insure people that, you know, need it the most.
ROBERTS: Yes, and that's also that's more than the cost of the 10-year plan to insure all those people, so -- they're hoping to get some savings out of it, but I don't think they'll save that much money.
CHETRY: All right, well, still ahead, you might have seen Congressman Scott on our show. He was holding a meeting, and anyway, somebody asked a health care question, and it was not a health care meeting. There was a little bit of a scuffle that ensued, some shouting.
And in the end, here's what he says, a swastika -- you see it right there yourself - spray-painted on his office sign. He's going to join us to talk about what is going on with this health care debate and why things have turned so nasty. It's 56 minutes past the hour.
CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. We're coming up on two minutes before the top of the hour. We've seen the arguments, the fights, protesters lining the streets. Well, now after a heated exchange with a doctor over health cares, one congressman found this outside of his office, a swastika spraypainted on the sign outside of Georgia Democrat David Scott's office.
He says it happened because of the health care debate, and he's calling on the president to cool some tempers. Our T.J. Holmes talked with him about the controversy.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Has the national debate about health care really come to this?
REP. DAVID SCOTT (D), GEORGIA: This is not good for America. It's not good for this debate. It's a distraction.
HOLMES: Georgia Congressman David Scott says his staff found the swastika painted on the sign outside his office Tuesday morning. He says his office has also received offensive faxes. Police are now looking into it.
SCOTT: You want a meeting with me on health care? I'll give it to you.
HOLMES: Scott says he believes it's a result of the heated health care debate, and arguments he had with a doctor at a public meeting has been featured on local television and CNN.
He also thinks that some of the protests at town hall meetings have been far from spontaneous.
SCOTT: I think to a degree, they're organized and orchestrated. There's no question about that. But they have a right to do it. That's very, very important. This is America. This is rough and tumble. That's what we are here for. So, there's no problem with that. But this is something else.
HOLMES: Another congressman, Brian Baird in Washington state, has cancelled public meetings after he says he received death threats. Scott says he believes the president needs to be the one to step up and keep this heated debate from crossing the line.
SCOTT: I think he has to really speak strongly to tamper this down before somebody really gets hurt at one of these things.
HOLMES: Well, the FBI, Smyrna police, the local police department, also the U.S. Capitol Police have all gotten involved into the investigation into who may have painted that swastika at his office.
T.J. Holmes, CNN, Atlanta.
CHETRY: Keep it here. In our next hour, we're going to be speaking live with Congressman David Scott at 8:15 Eastern, right here on the Most News in the Morning.