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Violence Erupts in Afghanistan Ahead of Runoff Elections; Taliban in Pakistan Clashes with Pakistani Military; Pilots Who Overshot Destination Get Licenses Revoked; What's Behind the Rising Violence in Afghanistan?; GMAC May Get More Government Bailout

Aired October 28, 2009 - 07:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: We're now crossing the top of the hour. Thanks for joining us on this Wednesday. It's the 28th of October. It's the most news in the morning. I'm John Roberts.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kiran Chetry. Glad you're with us. We have a lot of top stories we're following over the next 15 minutes.

First of all, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a surprise visit to Pakistan confronting a rising hostility in that country toward the U.S. And already her message of American good will is under attack. Terrorists targeted a market packed with people. This morning at least 90 people are killed. In a moment we'll take you live to Pakistan.

ROBERTS: And breaking news just across the border in Afghanistan, United Nations workers targeted by terrorists. At least six are dead including one American after gunmen stormed the house they were staying in. A gun battle then erupting in the streets.

Our Chris Lawrence just block from the crossfire is standing by live for us this morning.

CHETRY: Investigators say the two Northwest Airline pilots who overshot their landing put the lives of every passenger and crew member in jeopardy. Their licenses have now been revoked. Will they keep their jobs? Well, we're live in Washington. Jeanne Meserve has details for us.

First though we begin with breaking news this morning in Afghanistan. Machine gun fire erupting at dawn in Kabul after the Taliban attacked a guest house used by the United Nations.

A spokesman says that six U.N. staffers are dead. The Associated Press is reporting at least one of the victims is an American. Our Chris Lawrence joins us live from Kabul with the very latest on what happened - Chris.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes. What we were able to see and then hear was that militants stormed this compound just before dawn. The Afghan police are telling us they were armed with machine guns and suicide vests.

We're now told by the Afghan police that at least some of the militants have been killed, two Afghan security officials. And again, those six U.N. workers were also killed.

The effects of this could be far reaching. We're already seeing that some government meetings, press conferences that were scheduled today regarding the election have been canceled.

President Hamid Karzai ordered the Afghan army and police to increase security around the international organizations. Just a few days ago the Taliban put out a threat saying they would disrupt the election, they would commit violence against anyone who participated.

Today they showed that they have reach, not only in the provinces in southern and eastern Afghanistan but right in the heart of the city, the capital of Kabul - Kiran.

CHETRY: Chris Lawrence for us this morning. Still hearing the sounds of gunfire there. Thank you.

And coming up in just about ten minutes, we'll be speaking with Greg Jaffe, a military reporter for "The Washington Post" about how all this violence is affecting President Obama's decision over whether or not to send more troops to Afghanistan.

ROBERTS: We're also tracking breaking news across the border in Pakistan. A car bomb tore through a packed market in Peshawar, killing at least 90 people, most of them women, according to the authorities there.

This is what the scene looked like. The AP reporting this morning that the country is resolving to fight extremist, saying they are not deterred by the deadly attack.

Hillary Clinton, who just arrived in the country overnight, just made her first comments about the attack and backed up the Pakistani government.


HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: This is, as the foreign minister said, a fight that cannot be avoided. These attacks on innocent people are cowardly. They are not courageous. They are cowardly.


ROBERTS: Our Reza Sayah has the latest for us from the capital of Islamabad.


This is a bad one. Pakistan this year has seen a lot of deadly attacks. None of them has been as deadly as one that took place in Peshawar the capital of the northwest frontier province about three hours ago.

The numbers are staggering, officials telling CNN at least 70 people have been killed. At least 150 people were injured. They say this was a car bomb packed with about 150 kilograms of explosives.

And the numbers are high they say because where this explosion took place, the explosion taking place at a very busy, congested market area right near some shops that sold fabric and cotton.

And these details are horrible but officials say that these fabrics caught on fire and many of the victims burned to death. Pictures from the scene are just awful, showing chaos and destruction, many civilians helping carry victims away from the rubble.

Of course, this attack coming about four hours after the arrival of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Islamabad. Part of her agenda during her trip is going to be to press and pressure Pakistan to get tough and do more against militancy.

But again, today in Peshawar in northwest Pakistan, we see the challenges and difficulties this administration in Islamabad facing when fighting militancy. They can launch offenses they want. They are doing so in south Waziristan, targeting the Taliban. But the Taliban continues to hit back with these types of attacks.

And the ones who are suffering here in Pakistan are civilians. Again, 70 people killed in latest attack today, at least 150 people injured - John.

ROBERTS: Reza Sayah this morning in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.

Back in this country a traffic nightmare for those of you in San Francisco area this morning. Police there say both directions of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge are shut down indefinitely. A live picture there at the Bay Bridge.

You can see that you've got construction equipment and emergency equipment on the bridge but not much else.

It came after a cable snapped in the middle of rush hour yesterday evening sending a piece of steel slamming on the roadway below. That initially caused a minor car accident that backed up traffic for miles.

The cable was part of the recent emergency repairs to the bridge.

CHETRY: Thousands of people travel that every day. It's a vital way to get back and forth. Indefinitely closed -- wow.

Well, two Northwest Airlines pilots who got distracted, they say, while using laptops and couldn't be reached for more than 90 minutes may be grounded for good. The FAA has now revoked their licenses.

Jeanne Meserve is live in Washington. And Jeanne, federal investigators were clearly disturbed by this. They certainly didn't mince words in a statement they released about this situation.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not at all. In extraordinarily harsh language, the FAA accuses Northwest pilot Timothy Cheney and First Officer Richard Cole of dereliction of duty and disregarding the safety of their passengers.

Quote, "Northwest flight 188 was without radio contact for approximately 91 minutes," the FAA writes, "while you were on a frolic of your own." And 91 minutes is, by the way, 13 minutes longer than federal investigators had originally estimated.

The FAA doesn't mention the pilots' admissions they were using personal laptop computers in the cockpit, but it chastises them for failure to comply with air traffic controller instructions and to monitor radios.

Here's another quote, "You operated Northwest flight 188 in a reckless manner that endangered the lives and property of others."

The revocation of the licenses is immediate, but for the moment at least the two do still have jobs. Delta, the parent company of Northwest, says the two are suspended until a National Transportation Safety Board completes its investigation. But one has to wonder how useful pilots without licenses might be to the airline.

Kiran, back to you.

CHETRY: Very true. Jeanne Meserve for us this morning. Thank you.

ROBERTS: Also new this morning, President Obama will sign a major expansion of the federal hate crimes law today. It extends protection to cover sexual orientation. The provision is attached to $680 billion defense spending bill.

CHETRY: And NASA will try again to launch the Ares 1-X rocket at Kennedy's Space Center. They are hoping for an 8:15 eastern liftoff. The launch window stays open until noon.

But as we heard from Rob Marciano, things not looking so good today. In fact, weather could be worse than it was yesterday. Weather was the problem yesterday for NASA. NASA is hoping once they get this rocket in the air and test it out that it will replace eventually the shuttle program.

ROBERTS: Sarah Palin's book deal worth at least seven figures. A disclosure statement shows so far the former Alaska governor has been paid $1.25 million for her upcoming memoir, "Going Rogue." The book hits shelves November 17th but presales online have already been very hot.

CHETRY: Eight time grand slam champion Andre Agassi said that he used crystal meth in 1997 and lied to tennis officials after failing a drug test. That's the same year that he dropped to 141st in world rankings. He's making the admission in an upcoming memoir. An excerpt of it was posted on "People" magazine's Web site.

Agassi's book is available on November 9th.

ROBERTS: Crystal meth? An athlete, wow, stunning.

Coming up on 10 minutes after the hour now.

More violence in Afghanistan -- six U.N. workers killed in a shootout. When will President Obama make the decision whether to send more troops? We'll try to find out coming up next.


ROBERTS: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

Eight years into the war in Afghanistan, the United States marks a grim milestone. October has been the deadliest month for U.S. forces since the war began -- 48 troops have so far been killed this month, eight deaths just yesterday.

Will the violence impact the president's review of the strategy? And what about the runoff election that is coming up on November the 7th?

Joining me now is Greg Jaffe, the military correspondent for "The Washington Post." He's also the co-author of the new book "The Fourth Star" and he's in Washington this morning.

Greg, thanks very much for being with us. This latest attack in Kabul, six U.N. workers, including one American, killed at this guest house.

Is this the Taliban really trying to say ahead of this runoff election "we have reach and we have strength and we can strike even into the depths of the heart of Kabul" which was considered pretty much safe territory.

GREG JAFFE, MILITARY REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yes, I think it's part of that. Kabul is really important strategically. You could see earlier in the year as they were edging up toward the provinces just south of Kabul, that was setting off waves in Kabul of concern and even panic. Striking Kabul has big effects along those lines.

ROBERTS: Does this increase urgency for President Obama to make a decision on whether or not to send in more troops, the troops that General McChrystal wants?

JAFFE: I think it probably -- it probably does. I think they've got a process.

And this is a huge decision that they're talking about, because unlike Iraq, they were talking about a surge of 20,000 for a year. And this is 44,000 that they are potentially debating as a long-term investment.

So while it probably increases the pressure a bit, I think they'll continue on the course that they're on in terms of debating this, because it is a major long-term investment that we're discussing.

ROBERTS: Does it make any sense, though, Greg, to wait until after the results of the November 7th election are in? You know, that could take a while.

JAFFE: Yes. I mean, I think it's likely that they'll postpone any announcement until after November 7th, although you never know. But the sense is that if you wait it gives you a little bit of leverage over President Karzai and the others in terms of keeping corruption down. In other words, we're not going to commit to you with more troops until you show us that you're committed to a fair, open, honest electoral process. So if do you it before then, you lose that leverage a bit.

ROBERTS: Right. You know across the border in Pakistan in Peshawar, which is the capital of the western tribal provinces there, there was that horrible suicide bombing attack. Ninety people killed at last count. At the same time, Secretary Hillary Clinton touches down in the ground there in Islamabad.

Is the Pakistani military which is engaging in operations in Waziristan capable of controlling the Taliban, capable of trying to stave off these attacks and if not, what does that mean for the region?

JAFFE: You know, it's too early to tell. I mean, I think actually on the whole, things, despite the bombing, things are more promising in Pakistan than they have been in the last six or seven months.

You know, the Pakistani's army move -- the army's moving to South Waziristan I think is an important development and it could have real ripple effects into Afghanistan, too. You know, if you take away these safe havens from the Taliban in Pakistan, it makes them much less effective in Afghanistan.

ROBERTS: You know, there were big news yesterday when Matthew Hoh, a U.S. diplomat who was stationed in Kabul resigned his position saying that he disagreed with the way that the United States was fighting the war in Afghanistan, that the presence of U.S. troops there were making things worse. Our Brian Todd caught up with him yesterday. Let's listen to a bit of his explanation.


MATTHEW HOH, RESIGNED STATE DEPARTMENT POST IN AFGHANISTAN: The people we are fighting there are fighting us because we're occupying them, not for any ideological reasons and not because of any links to Al Qaeda, not because of any fundamental hatred toward the West. The only reason they're fighting is because we're occupying them.


ROBERTS: So he says the only reason that there's fighting in Afghanistan is because the U.S. military is there as an occupying force. What do you make of Hoh's position, Greg?

JAFFE: You know, I mean, I think it's true in part to the country. It's probably less true in other parts of the country. I mean, it's interesting to me that this is a debate we've been having about Afghanistan and in Iraq really since 2003. I think the first person to make this argument in Iraq was General Abizaid (ph), who is the four-star CENTCOM, Central Command commander at the time. So, I mean, this is an ongoing debate. And it's a really hard thing to sort of parse out. It's certainly true in parts of Afghanistan and that the question is how big a factor is it.

ROBERTS: Yes. You know, back to this notion of whether or not to send in more U.S. troops, Senator John Kerry has been weighing in on that this week, saying that he thinks that the 40,000 or 44,000 that General McChrystal wants is overly ambitious. That maybe we should pursue a middle ground in Afghanistan of limited counterinsurgency with the option of perhaps sending in more troops later.

You recently wrote an article on some secret war games that the military was engaging in sort of running all of these options to see which one was most effective. What did you find?

JAFFE: Well, I mean, I think the one thing that the military has concluded and the reason it wants the 44,000 is that that number of troops allows you to move into some of these havens that the Taliban have in Afghanistan. It allows to you take them and to hold them until you can build Afghan security forces to move in and take your place.

The lower numbers means that you're going to have to tolerate some Taliban sort of safe havens in Afghanistan. That you're not going to be able to clear out simply because you don't have the troops to hold. So it's a question of the U.S. footprint. How big do you want it to be? How much territory do you think you want to hold and take from the Taliban? And that's the issue I think that the military is wrestling with and that the Obama administration is wrestling with.

ROBERTS: Greg Jaffe of "The Washington Post," it's good to see you. Thanks so much for coming in this morning.

JAFFE: Thanks for having me.


CHETRY: Nineteen minutes past the hour right now. A British couple on a sailing trip off of the coast of East Africa is missing and feared kidnapped by Somali pirates. The retired couple sailing their 38-foot yacht in the Indian Ocean from Seychelles to Tanzania when officials received a distress signal. This was on Friday.

Paul and Rachel Chandler have not been seen or heard from since. Suspected Somali pirates have claimed responsibility and are currently holding seven ships and 150 people hostage. Coast Guard officials in the U.K. say they expect to hear a ransom demand for the return of the Chandlers soon.

Well, still ahead, Christine Romans joins us. She's "Minding Your Business." GMAC, of course, the financing arm of General Motors may be getting more money. We'll talk about that.

Twenty minutes after the hour.


ROBERTS: Coming up on the Most News in the Morning, America's love/hate relationship with the all-mighty credit card and these days there is a lot more to hate out there. In our new series, "Nickel and Dimed," our Gerri Willis takes a look at how credit card companies are making a killing off of you.

CHETRY: You know, a lot of people getting those notices in the mail. Your rates are going up, and they're there's nothing you can do about it. You can ask about that.

Christine Romans is "Minding Your Business" this morning. Could be more trouble for GMAC.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Working a story this morning. GMAC is not commenting that it has gone to the government with its handout for a third infusion of your money to keep it going here. This would help it in its operating capital to help it continue to move forward.

It's already had two infusions. A $12.5 billion is what it's had so far. GMAC and reports specifically in "The Wall Street Journal" that it could be asking for up to 5.6 billion in additional help. The Treasury Department not returning our calls yet about this. Go ahead.

CHETRY: We don't know how big of an impact is GMAC?

ROMANS: GMAC is a financial company that is incredibly important in the process of taking the car from the lot -- from the factory to the lot to your driveway. This is a huge financer. It offers the financing for your cars. Many of us buy our cars on financing.

ROBERTS: Yes. I got that once when I was in my early 20s.

ROMANS: The financing?

ROBERTS: Yes. Well, from GMAC.

ROMANS: From GMAC. Right. And it's also -- you might know the ally bank. We might notice the online advertisements. It's become a bank holding company. It's been asking, you know, for higher interest deposits as well. It's been taking deposits.

So, anyway, this is -- we're still working this story but it would be more cash for GMAC. It's interesting because the treasury secretary just said yesterday that he thinks more banks are going to be paying back their TARP money. That you'll see that bailout money starting to come back to the treasury but in the case of GMAC, we're working the story this morning that maybe they might need some more.

ROBERTS: You've got a "Romans' Numeral" this morning?

ROMANS: I do. And the number is 106. And it's meant to kind of put in perspective for you guys how kind of difficult it is out there in the financial system.

CHETRY: This is how many people apply for a loan and only one gets it?

ROMANS: That's good. It has the most...

CHETRY: I have twisted logic. I don't know. It's never the right answer, but she always says great guess. Very interesting. It's never the right answer.

ROBERTS: Boy, is that the car?

ROMANS: We have passed 106 bank failures this year.


ROMANS: It happened late Friday. We'll have more this week. No doubt about it, we'll have more this week. If not this week, then next week.

It's meant to show you that even as some of these banks are paying back their TARP money, their bank bailout money, we're hearing reports that GMAC might have to go and get more bank bailout money and these smaller regional especially the southeast, these banks are still failing. 106 now. So, just to show you how kind of fragile a year on the financial system is.

CHETRY: You know, it's a tale of two banks, too.

ROMANS: It's true.

CHETRY: You have investment banks and you have, you know, the Goldman Sachs bringing in huge money and the ones that have more exposure, as you said, to everyday mom and pop, Mom and Joe's (ph) --

ROMANS: That's a great point. Mom and Joe's (ph) -- it sounds like a name of a pizza place. Mom and Joe's (ph)

ROBERTS: Christine Romans "Minding Your Business" this morning and making pizza as well.

The Michael Jackson movie "This Is It" opens today. Are the fans going to love it more than the reviewer from the New York post did? We'll find out?

CHETRY: Hopefully.

ROBERTS: Kareen Wynter reports, coming right up.


CHETRY: It's 28 1/2 minutes past the hour. Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. A look at the top stories now.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Pakistan as we speak under extremely tight security. It was an unannounced three-day visit, but it comes just as a car bomb tore through a packed market in Peshawar killing at least 90 people. Secretary Clinton is expected to meet with President Asif Ali Zardari today. Her mission to convince Pakistan that the U.S. wants a partnership that goes beyond battling terrorism.

ROBERTS: The brother of Afghanistan's president has reportedly been on the CIA payroll for the past eight years. "The New York Times" says Ahmed Wali Karzai was paid for a variety of services including helping to recruit an Afghanistan paramilitary force that operates at the CIA's direction. The CIA declined to comment to CNN about the report.

CHETRY: And Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman is poised to deliver a damaging blow to Democrats and to the health care reform bill they're trying to get passed in the Senate. Lieberman says it's because there's a government-run public option in the bill that he'd join a filibuster and do what he can to stop the measure from passing.

And joining me right now from Washington is Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio who co-wrote the public option legislation.

Thanks so much for joining us, Senator Brown.

Are you able to hear me, Senator Brown?

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Yes, I heard. I'm sorry. I said thank you.

CHETRY: Oh, I didn't hear you. All right.

As we know, you've been a longtime supporter of health care reform. How concerned are you about Senator Lieberman saying he'd essentially join the filibuster over the public option?

BROWN: Well, it's too early to say that from his comments. I mean, you know, I've not talked to Joe since he said that. I know Harry Reid has. He's going to vote to put in on the floor. We have the debate, and we will see what happens.

But I think, in the end, people don't ant to be on the wrong side of history. People want to be part of this change and this reform. You know, the opponents use the same arguments they did against Medicare 40 years ago. And I think some people after voting against Medicare had buyer's remorse.

CHETRY: Let me just ask you -- you said it's too early to tell from his comments. But here is what Senator Lieberman said "I can't see a way in which I could vote for cloture on any bill that contained creation of a government operated run insurance company." He's essentially saying he can't sign onto this. How crucial is having Joe Lieberman who caucuses with you guys to support this bill?

BROWN: Of course, it's crucial because the republicans want a filibuster anything. So, of course, it is crucial to get 60 votes. I also have seen in this town enough that there is discussion; there are negotiations; there is debate. There will be a debate on a question of should we have the public option in the bill or not. Senator Lieberman will weigh in on that and have his chance to take it out then.

But in the end, on final passage, as I said, I don't think that comments that people are making now notwithstanding, and people say all kinds of things leading up to the debate itself before they go on the floor in the final couple three weeks. I think people don't want to be on the wrong side of history on this. I think they don't want to say ten years from now I wasn't part of that health care reform, and it's working pretty well just like Medicare has.

CHETRY: There's others who have left open the possibility of voting against it other democrats like Senator Landrieu as well as Senator Evan Bayh and Ben Nelson who said, you know, they want to hear more, but one of the things that Senator Lieberman spoke about is maybe that we're rushing it, that it's a little bit too soon.

Let a few years go by and see if any of those reforms have happened. Almost seemed to be supporting a so-called trigger as Senator Olympia Snowe said. Is there something to be said for waiting to see if some of these other reforms actually take shape before going to creating a government run insurance plan?

BROWN: No, there's not. Because since World War II when this insurance employer based insurance kind of health care system began to be assembled for large numbers of people, the insurance companies have gamed the system for 50 years. We're going to give them another two or three years to see if they behave? I don't think so.

I think people understand if you give the insurance companies all declaring victory, they'll begin to push back; they'll fight no matter how bad it gets to a fight any kind of a government competitor if you will. We know Medicare works. We know that government option works and state workers compensation systems in half of the states in this country.

We know this will work. The insurance companies want to buy time. In my colleagues, that -- I don't see my colleagues voting on a procedural vote to kill the most important issue in their careers. The most important vote I ever cast was against the Iraq war. This will be the second most important vote I've ever made and most important domestic vote for all of us. And I don't see people killing it on a procedural vote. It really has little to do with substance.

CHETRY: Senator Brown let me ask this, because in congressman winner as you know, when your counterpart in the House of Representatives, a very, very much in favor of the public option. He said the fact that Harry Reid came out and said they're going to put a public option in the senate bill secured about 15 votes in the House. So, he was very happy about it.

But, there are others who say we need more people to jump on board. We need the strongest voice in the democratic party, President Obama, who has said that he thinks a public option is the best way but not the only way to level the playing field. Do you need the President to come out harder and support this bill and the public option?

BROWN: Yes, we do.

CHETRY: What are you, guys, saying to the White House then about this?

BROWN: We're all telling the White House we need you to weigh in, Mr. President. I mean, he's supportive of this. He's shown leadership. But now it's getting to be crunched time. We're going to the senate floor in a couple of weeks. They're going to the house floor. We need the President to stand strong on affordability.

We need the President to stand strong on how we pay for it. We need the President to stand strong in a public option. We need the President to stand strong on insurance reforms so the insurance industry can't continue to game the system and discriminate against women and discriminate against people on disability and all of the kinds of things the insurance company has used to quadruple their profits in the last five years.

CHETRY: So, the other interesting part about the plan, Senator Reid's plan, is that states can opt out. How do you feel about that given that there are some who've already said they would opt out, some of the governors, and if you have governors of big republican states like Texas and California opt out, I mean, is it going have the teeth that it needs to really bring down costs?

BROWN: Those are some big ifs. I would rather be opt out or not in. But, I'm not concerned by it because it's not just one governor saying we're going to opt out. A governor that might be running for president in two years playing to the conservatives in his republican base. It takes an act of the legislature signed by the governor and a regular piece of legislation and I don't see, frankly, I don't see very many states opting out.

If they want to, they can. But once we pass this and voters see what the public option is, that it's going to make the insurance companies more honest. It's going to keep prices down. It's going to give them additional choice. When the insurance companies have pretty much engaged in monopolistic practices, I don't see legislators and governors, even in states as conservative as Texas necessarily opting out. Certainly not in California. Certainly not in Minnesota. What the governors might be saying notwithstanding.

CHETRY: All right. We'll see how it all shapes up, a lot going, and as you said, you want the President to come out even stronger for the public option. We'll see if he does that. Senator Sherrod Brown at least great to talk to you. Thanks.

BROWN: Thanks. You too.

ROBERTS: In all of this talk of a public option, I got an e-mail from a viewer yesterday who said, "okay, John, so everybody is talking about a public option but what does it mean to those of us who might use it? What would our premiums be. What would our maximum out-of- pocket expenses be? What would the level of benefit be? You know, nobody is answering those questions on Capitol Hill. So, we've reached out to somebody who will answer those questions, and we'll have a monitor next hour here in the "Most News in the Morning".

It's certainly hard to do without a credit card or bank account but the cost of those products what you pay in fees may be more than you bargained for. Our Gerri Willis kicking off our new series (INAUDIBLE) this morning. Good morning to you Gerri.

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Hey, good morning guys. Great to see you. That's right. Some of the most frustrating fees out there are the ones charged by your bank. We talked to one man who was charged a triple digit fee for a service he didn't even ask for.


WILLIS (voice-over): Harold Abrams is furious at his bank.

HAROLD ABRAMS, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER: I was furious that they're charging me $35 for an expense that's $1.65? I mean, it's really crazy.

WILLIS: Bank of America charged Abrams a total of $105 in overdraft protection fees to cover three charges to his checking account totaling less than 15 bucks. Abrams would rather his transactions be declined than pay the tab he didn't even know it existed.

What's the 8.44 for?

ABRAMS: The stamp, postage.

WILLIS: And again a $35 fee. Add it all up, it's a $105.


WILLIS: According to an annual survey of bank fees conducted by, most consumer banking fees are on the rise.

GREG MCBRIDE, BANKRATE.COM: Fees have gone up year in and year out over the past decade. Now, some of those fees go up at a faster phase than others. ATM surcharges, in particular, increase at a rate that's far faster than the pace of inflation.

WILLIS: Use an ATM on your own bank' s network, no problems, no fees, but step outside that, now you're going to pay fees big-time. An average of 2.22 cents. That's an increase of 12.6% over last year. And guess what, it gets worse. Your bank charges you fees, too, for a total fee of $3.54 for accessing your own money.

If you have an interest bearing account and fail to keep your high minimum balance, the average monthly fee jumped 5% to $12.25, and overdraft fees were up last year too. Fees for bouncing a check rose 2%. Bank of America told CNN its changed its overdraft policies just this month. No longer will a charge overdraft fees when a customer's account is overdrawn for a total amount of less than $10, and the bank won't impose more than four overdraft fees in a single day. Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard professor who chairs congresses TARP Oversight Committee says fees are the real way banks make their money.

ELIZABETH WARREN, TARP OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: The truth is, there will be another fee tomorrow and a different one the day after and another one the day after that. Because they are all hidden. You can't find them. The first time most people discover them is when they have to pay them.

WILLIS: Abrams complained to the bank twice before going to the top and writing a letter to CEO, Ken Lewis and that made the difference. His fees were removed but the frustration remains.

ABRAMS: I really think it's unfair especially coming from -- in light of what's going on with banks now. And they're being bailed out by the government. I think they have some kind of responsibility to consumers.

WILLIS: All right. So it's not just fees for banking services that you have to worry about. Credit card operators boosted interest rates 20% in the first half of the year. That according to a study of the nation's biggest card issuers conducted by few charitable foundation guides that reported out just today.

ROBERTS: So what do this credit card companies trying to do? Because there's legislation pending in congress and all of these like trying to get under the wire here.

WILLIS: If you apply the new rules to credit card operators today, guess what? According to the folks of few, all of them would fail. One hundred percent of them are not complying with the rules that are going to go into effect next year. It just goes to show you how consumer friendly some of the institutions are. They're just not. And people are so frustrated out there.

ROBERTS: I love that they put these fees on, and then when you complain about them, we'll take them off. It's like the health insurance companies that you have a procedure and they decline it. You call them up and said "Why did you decline it?" "Oh. did we decline that? Sorry, we'll pay for it." Make some noise, right.

WILLIS: Exactly. You can complain about these, but they're getting tougher and tougher to get off of your account. I'm going to jump to another bank. I'm going to go to another bank. You do have some power.

CHETRY: What's happening is we'll hope it will just say it's not worth my time and aggravation, I'll just pay it.

ROBERTS: What you really should do is throw up in the window, stick your head out and say "we're not going to take this anymore.


Don't miss tomorrow, by the way, find how the fees are draining your retirement fund. You may be surprised to see that your 401(k) is being nickeled and dimed. I know about that one myself.

CHETRY: All right. Kareen Wynter had the chance to talk to people who went to go and see "This is It.". The Michael Jackson documentary and we talked to the director, Kenny Ortega, about it. How is it being received by die-hard Michael Jackson fans? She is going to take a look. It's 40 minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. For Michael Jackson fans, today is a thriller because the top star's documentary, "This is It" premieres around the world. It includes hours of never before seen rehearsal of Jackson in action, and funs in L.A. had a chance to get a sneak peak last night. Our Kareen Wynter was there and takes us to the red carpet.

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, this is it. The night Michael Jackson fans have been waiting for. We're at the world premier of the singer's new documentary "This Is It" that drew thousands.


MICHAEL JACKSON, POP ICON: That - that's a cool move.

WYNTER (voice-over): When the King of Pop died suddenly on June 25th, countless variables were thrown into question, including what to do with more than 50 hours of rehearsal footage shot for his sold out London concert dates.

An all-out bidding war resulted with Sony Pictures Entertainment paying a whopping $60 million for the right to turn the video into Michael Jackson's "This Is It," a behind the scenes documentary-style film of the singer's last days on stage.

What's tonight mean to you, being here?

JERMAINE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S BROTHER: Tonight means everything. The whole tragic thing was - is just a - a big buildup, but this was going to show the humane side to him and to show people what he was prepared to do.

PAULA ABDUL, SINGER: It's an important movie to see because even though Michael would never want anyone to see him, like, halfway rehearse, but he gave full-out even during rehearsals.

KENNY ORTEGA, DIRECTOR/CHOREOGRAPHER: Absolutely nobody doubles and it's all Michael and it's unguarded and raw and real and he's beautiful.

WYNTER (on camera): From Director Kenny Ortega, the Jacksons brothers, those closest to the late superstar were all on hand for this historic event. My producer and I also snagged tickets. We're about to go in to check out the film.

(voice-over): Immediately following the packed screening, crowds of Jackson fans, friends and family made their way to the after party.

MICHAEL BEARDEN, MUSICIAN/PRODUCER: Michael really would have loved the response that the audience gave. They laughed in places that I didn't think they were going to laugh, they cried and they - they applauded. It was wonderful.

JACKIE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S BROTHER: It's kind of hard for me at times, but that's why I keep this with me at all times.

WYNTER: Tell me what that is.

J. JACKSON: It's a token of my brother. I keep it in my pocket at all times, you know? It's MJ, right here.


WYNTER (on camera): And despite the rave reviews, the film still received some criticism, including some family members concerned about whether this is something Michael would have wanted the world to see, him doing a dry run. But, for one night at least, none of that seemed to matter - John, Kiran.

CHETRY: Kareen Wynter for us. So (INAUDIBLE), the fans liked it.

ROBERTS: Yes. The fans did and, you know, some reviewers liked it as well. "Los Angeles Times" says, "It's a useful document as well as a beautiful one, mostly a tribute to the power of Jackson's body and voice which the film presents as surprisingly intact despite his age." However, "The New York Post" called it a - "An off-key, sickly, incoherent, ghoulish mess. I feel fairly confident that perfectionists like Jackson would never want to be remembered by a shoddy piece of exploitation like "This Is It." So...

CHETRY: That's Lou Lumenick who gave it one star. But, when you - when I saw - saw the clips that we saw before we interviewed Kenny Ortega, we thought that he looked in relatively good health.

ROBERTS: Not the best concert film that I've ever seen, but fascinating, particularly given all of the reports of the state that he was in prior to his death.

CHETRY: Exactly. He could still move, and he still sing.

ROBERTS: Yes. Definitely. Maybe not like he used to be able to, but better than me.

CHETRY: Yes. I think so. I was thinking (ph) that one.

ROBERTS: Yes. So World Series tickets, how much and how low could they go for? It depends on what the weather is like, and we'll find out, coming up next.

It's 12 minutes to the top of the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROBERTS: Well, it's just an absolutely gorgeous day in - oh. Oh. It's not? Rain and 53?

CHETRY: At least we can see it. (INAUDIBLE)

ROBERTS: What's up with that? It's dark (ph)! Today, rain, clouds, high of 58 - oh, my goodness. Is the game going to go off tonight? That's the big question.

Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. New York Yankees and the Phillies are about to get "world serious." Game one of baseball's Fall Classics scheduled for tonight at Yankees Stadium. First pitch scheduled for 7:57 Eastern Time.


ROBERTS: New York is (ph) trying for the 27th title in team history, defending champion Phils trying to become the first national league team since 1976 to repeat as World Series winners.

CHETRY: I wonder why my husband said to me yesterday, "Don't speak to me anytime after 7:57."

ROBERTS: And you thought he meant in the morning.

CHETRY: No. I knew what he was talking about. Well, with the rain in the forecast for tonight's game, ticket prices are falling, actually. Ticket brokers are reporting that prices from game one have actually dropped from $330 to $270 for the cheapest seats and that they could go lower, about $200 by game time.

There seems to be more demand for the weekend games in Philadelphia. Tickets for those games range from $400 to $1,000 on the ticket site StubHub. And part of the reason of course is the concern that tonight's game will need to be postponed or canceled because of the weather. Tomorrow it's supposed to be a little bit better, but what about tonight, Rob? I mean, you know, I know you're a huge Yankees fan. Would you ever tell your wife don't talk to me after 7:57?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: No, I - I wouldn't. I wouldn't do that.

CHETRY: See that?

MARCIANO: But, you know, as you go along in a marriage, I think you get a little bit more leeway with that kind of talk, so I think that, you know, maybe CK gets away with that stuff.

Drizzle, guys. I think the most of the rain will be gone. One thing's for sure, I mean, you know, when - John (ph), if you could tee us up again. I don't know why this isn't working. Cloudy, drizzle, Northeast winds 10 to 15. When Number 2 gets up to the plate, now batting for the Yankees, Number 2, Derek Jeter, it's gone.

Phillies/New York tonight, 7:57, with a little bit of drizzle on the forecast, but I think most of the rain will be - most of the heavy rain should be gone. Here it is across parts of New York, with another storm system that's barreling across the west right now. Windy conditions yesterday across Southern California and also parts of Arizona. Damaging winds and now snows - huge snows across the parts of - of the Colorado Rockies with amounts - we've already seen about a half a foot in spots, but we could see another one to two feet, maybe three feet in spots, especially the eastern slopes of - of the - of the front range west of Denver. In Denver proper, we could see 10 or even 12 inches of now south and west of town.

So definitely an early season - early time of year for this to be happening. North New York metro will see some rain and also some travel delays there, also in Denver. The airport will get snow as well.

Good luck to your Phillies tonight there, and to CK as well, Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. And good luck to your Yankees.

MARCIANO: John and I will be rooting for the Yankees (ph).

CHETRY: It's all about sportsmanship. I'll be in bed, but good luck.


ROBERTS: He really said don't talk to me after 7:57?

CHETRY: I think he was kidding. Well, first he said what are you making me to eat for the game, then he said that.

ROBERT: Hey (ph)! Moving on. A lot of split opinions about the swine flu vaccine, some people saying where is it, some people saying I'm scared to get vaccinated. Mary Snow is separating myth from reality coming up next.

It's 54 minutes after the hour - 12 hours until Kiran can't say anything.


ROBERTS: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

Here at AM we're tracking the swine flu outbreak for you every step of the way. The Centers for Disease Control says both H1N1 and the seasonal flu are widespread across 46 states now, and the Department of Education says that has forced more than 40,000 kids to miss classes yesterday.

Health officials are promising more shipments of the vaccine are on their way, but as our Mary Snow reports, a lot of people are still worried that it might do more harm than good.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, we talked to doctors who say despite all the public assurances, there's still a lot of anxiety among their patients about the H1N1 vaccine. So we took a look at some of the most common fears to try to get answers.

SNOW (voice-over): It's clear many people do want the H1N1 vaccine, willing to stand in line for hours to get it, but there's still a significant number of people who don't want it. A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll finds 43 percent of those surveyed don't think the swine flu vaccine is safe. Count 24-year-old Chantel Boyd (ph) in that camp.

CHANTEL BOYD (ph), AGAINST H1N1 VACCINE: My biggest problem with the vaccine is I don't know what the side effects of it are, so I don't want to take something I don't know what might happen to me.

SNOW: Health officials say they see no proof of any damaging side effects and have conducted clinical trials. They do say there may be a sore arm after the shot. Columbia University's Dr. Irwin Redlener adds...

DR. IRWIN REDLENER, MAILMAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: It's as safe as a vaccine can possibly be and the risk of getting ill far outweigh the risk of anything that might be seen with the vaccine itself.

SNOW: Some question how the vaccine was made, including Jennifer Litman (ph).

JENNIFER LITMAN (ph), AGAINST H1N1 VACCINE: I do, because it was so hastily made and it hasn't been really tested yet.

SNOW: Not true, say health officials who are repeatedly asked about the process.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: This is the way we made vaccine every year for seasonal flu, so it's a time-honored process. So the vaccine that we're having this year in many ways is very similar in how you make it, in fact, identical to what we've been doing over decades and decades of seasonal flu.

SNOW: And among pregnant women a concern is taking a vaccine with thimerosal, an additive containing mercury found in some but not all vaccines. Questions have been raised about possible links to autism although repeated studies have found no proof of that.

Dr. Jacque Moritz has had seasonal flu shots that don't contain thimerosal and is hoping to soon get the H1N1 vaccine made without it as well.

DR. JACQUES MORITZ, DIRECTOR OF GYNECOLOGY, ROOSEVELT HOSPITAL: I don't think a lot of pregnant women are going to accept the thimerosal containing one even though there's no proof that it does anything. They won't take any chance with their child. SNOW (on camera): But thimerosal is in the vaccine. It's usually in multi-dose vials, not single dose vials. And if you're concerned about it and you're not pregnant, the other alternative is a nasal spray -- John and Kiran.


ROBERTS: Mary Snow for us this morning. Mary, thanks so much.