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Weiner Admits Sexting, Says He's Sorry; Courting Ohio; Libyan State TV: Gadhafi's Compound Hit; Saleh Suffers Burns To 40 Percent Of Body; Tough Times in Toledo; HIV/AIDS: 30 Years Later
Aired June 7, 2011 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The truth finally comes out.
I'm Christine Romans.
Congressman Anthony Weiner fessing up. The naughty picture is his, he did send it. And it wasn't the first time.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kiran Chetry.
One of Congressman Weiner's sexting partners is speaking out, offering up photos, emails, Facebook messages and more. We'll hear from her this morning.
ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Ali Velshi.
The man who broke the story, conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, saying, "I told you so." He crashed the news conference demanding the truth. He'll join us live -- on this AMERICAN MORNING.
ROMANS: And good morning, everybody. It is Tuesday, June 7th. Welcome to AMERICAN MORNING.
CHETRY: Up first, Congressman Anthony Weiner finally admitting yesterday in a very interesting and at times bizarre news conference that, indeed, it was him who sent the photo of himself in his underwear to a woman on Twitter. It came after more than a week of denials and deflections. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: I tweeted a photograph of myself that I intended to send as a direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle. Once I realized I had posted to Twitter, I panicked and took it down and said that I had been hacked. I then continued with that story, to stick to that story, which was a hugely regrettable mistake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: And that's not all. Congressman Weiner admitted to sending dirt pictures to six women over social media and then lying about it. He acknowledged one of them by name, Meagan Broussard, who claims she received this shirtless photo of Congressman Weiner, which was also posted by conservative blogger, Andrew Breitbart.
Broussard told ABC News more about their online relationship.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEAGAN BROUSSARD, EXCHANGED MESSAGES WITH REP. ANTHONY WEINER: He was eager to hear about if I wanted him or thought he was attractive or that sort of thing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much of it was sex talk?
BROUSSARD: I mean, he would attempt all the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Weiner asked for forgiveness and said he intends to stay in Congress. But he is facing an ethics investigation now.
Kate Bolduan is live in Washington with the fallout.
So, it started as silly and now has become something that's serious, Kate.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It has become something that is serious. But we have received no official word or confirmation yet from the House Ethics Committee on calls from the Democratic leaders, Nancy Pelosi, for an investigation into this situation. That's not unheard of as the ethics committees are notoriously, as they probably rightly should be, very secretive and very quiet about any process that they are undergoing.
But Nancy Pelosi has called -- she called very shortly after this press conference happened for an investigation into Anthony Weiner's conduct, wanting to know -- as she said in her statement -- if any official resources were used and if any other violations of House rules occurred.
And, in part, she added this in her statement when calling for the investigation. She said that, "I am deeply disappointed and saddened about this situation for Anthony's wife, his family, his staff and his constituents."
Now, Anthony Weiner issued a statement in response saying that he said, quote, "I welcome and willfully cooperate with any investigation by the House Ethics Committee."
And Democratic sources say that her call, Nancy Pelosi's call for an ethics investigation shows just how furious she and other Democratic leaders are about this situation. And Dana Bash learned from a couple Democratic sources, and this is noteworthy, that this call for an ethics investigation came only after during a private conversation with Anthony Weiner that he made abundantly clear, according to these sources, that he was not going to resign.
And, of course, Democrats are noting and saying it's very noteworthy and rare that a Democratic leader like Nancy Pelosi would call for this investigation herself.
But as we talk about all of this, it's also unclear. I talked to ethics experts, what, if anything, he did wrong as the conduct of what members should or should do online seems to be very unclear in terms of House rules. And that's one of the big questions going forward.
ROMANS: All right. Kate Bolduan, you'll be following it for us. Thanks, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
CHETRY: We're also going to get much more on the congressional scandal a little bit later in the hour. In fact, coming up in just five minutes, we're going to speak to Dr. Jeff Gardere and Paul Callan about why someone the position of Congressman Weiner would put it all on the line like this for sexting. Also, whether he could be in any legal trouble.
Also coming up at 8:30, conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart who broke the story and commandeered the news conference yesterday, he's going to be joining us with his take on everything that went down. He was asking for an apology from Anthony Weiner. Anthony Weiner did apologize yesterday to Andrew Breitbart. We are going to hear from him a little bit later.
ROMANS: And some say he commandeered this press conference in the place that was called for Anthony. Well, others are saying, well, no, the media was saying, no, no, get there, get up so we can see you.
CHETRY: Right. They were trying to get some answers from him on what happened and others to take to the podium which was odd.
ROMANS: It was just odd.
VELSHI: We'll ask him all about that.
President Obama is looking for a new chief economist. His top economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee, is announcing that he is stepping down less than a year after accepting the post. Goolsbee plans to return to his old job as a teacher at the University of Chicago. There was some question if he stayed out any longer, he would lose his tenure at the university.
ROMANS: That's right. So, he will be free now and ready for the fall semester.
If President Obama hopes to earn a second term, winning Ohio is going to be crucial. That state has backed every victorious presidential candidate since 1964.
CHETRY: That's why they call it the bellwether state.
ROMANS: That's right.
CHETRY: That's why the president has also visited Ohio 14 times since taking office. His last trip came last week, in fact. He stopped at the Chrysler plant to highlight the auto industry's comeback.
VELSHI: Ted Rowlands is on the CNN listening tour this morning, taking pulse of the people in Toledo, which is home to Rudy's hot dog stand.
Basically, you got the better end of this stick this morning, Ted. I would have done a fantastic job at Rudy's hot dog stand. But you're listening. What are you hearing?
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'll you what, Ali, Rudy's is an institution, a great place to talk to people, six locations in Toledo. In fact, the president actually stopped here during his visit and had a surprise hotdog, three hotdogs for $3.99. Great deal.
These folks are a great start to talk to some folks. This is Anita (ph). She is semi-retired. Pete and Jenny here, they are also here. They're having their breakfast.
But, Anita, you're saying your biggest concern is the economy. How tough is it for you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very tough with the price of gas and you go to the grocery store, everything is so high in the grocery stores. And you go out shopping, clothes are higher.
I'm a sewer. I go to the fabric store and I notice, gee, the fabrics are getting so high. You can't afford to do anything. We have -- I mean, being on a limited income, we have to sit at home, watch TV and maybe read. That's all we can afford to do.
We can't afford to go out to dinner like normal people do two or three times a week. We can't do anything like that.
ROWLANDS: In the economy, guys, it was the biggest issue so far. We were here yesterday during the lunch rush. People -- Republican and Democrat, very concerned about the economy.
The other theme that was interesting, people are very concerned about, is Washington. Take a listen to this -- people say they are sick and tired of the political parties battling each other and not getting anything done. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why not just sit down and work out the problems here so that everybody can -- you are not going to have everybody getting along, but you got to come up with a plan. I think it is enough of this Democrat, Republican and all that. Just -- I'm just tired of it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The folks are short-term in getting reelected and not more long-term, five, 10 years down the line to get this country back on the road it needs to be on.
ROWLAND: What would a politician have to do to get your support?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Number one, being honest with what they tell me that they are going to do. They got my vote, honesty.
ROWLAND: Do you believe most politicians are honest?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I believe most politicians are salesmen. You know, they can sell what you want to hear. That's what they are going to let you hear.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
ROWLANDS: That's really the theme, guys. People here -- if politicians want folks like them to support them, they have got to get over that barrier of the reputation of not being honest and not doing anything and not the fighting amongst each other to basically put a stalemate in Washington.
That's what we have been hearing so far in Toledo. We'll be here all day and throughout the week, getting the pulse of America in places like Rudy's.
CHETRY: What time do the hotdogs come out? I know it's only 8:00.
ROWLANDS: Yes. They are already working on them. I got my eye on the chili dogs.
CHETRY: Good call.
ROWLANDS: The president had two chili dogs here.
ROMANS: All right. Ted Rowlands, thanks so much.
And the economy, too. I mean, one of those young ladies was talking about the economy being a real problem. So, in 30 minutes, we're going to talk to Bill Darah. His Toledo company sells uniforms to police, firefighters, postal workers. We will ask him about the economy and what's happening for him there in Ohio.
VELSHI: And, of course, Congressman Anthony Weiner continues to dominate the news. Can he is survive the scandal? We're going to talk to some people about that on the other side.
CHETRY: An intimate dinner for German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Obama, they went out in Georgetown. We'll have more on that and what's happening in the White House today.
It's 10 minutes past the hour.
VELSHI: I wonder if you all know this theme. Anthony Weiner has become the latest victim of oversharing. Congressman Weiner admitted to trading sex and dirty online instant messages with as many as six women.
CHETRY: And so, did he violate any laws? And can he rehabilitate his career?
And a lot of people are asking, why risk it? Why, if you are somebody in a seat of power like that, would you risk having this happen?
ROMANS: Joining us now to talk about this, Paul Callan, attorney and former prosecutor, and clinical psychologist Jeff Gardere.
I'm tongue-tied, Jeff, because I want to know, what makes smart people do such stupid things about sex? I mean, sexting with people he doesn't even know on Facebook, he just -- clearly, he got caught. I mean, it's not very hard to think that you are going to get caught.
JEFF GARDERE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, this is almost like a sexual Russian roulette, OK? You are doing something that is so stupid, it is almost crazy. And so, what's going on with him quite obviously, he seems to be a man who has some impulse control issues. He can't just control himself. That's part of it.
Secondly, there's got to be a deeper pathology there, whether it's some sort of a depression. Whether it's s the stress of being the golden boy, whether he's a risk taker and he's getting off on that. It is something that can destroy -- and as we can see, it may be destroying his career.
But the bottom line here is that he was not thinking. He was just in a situation where he was just fulfilling his own pleasure principle.
VELSHI: But to some degrees, is there a distinction? Because I think we all have impulse control issues. That's why they put stuff at the end caps in stores. That's why there's stuff when you check out.
Is there a difference between impulse control issues when it comes to sex versus impulse control issues that cause me to eat too much fast food?
GARDERE: I think there is a difference, because what we're seeing here is a physiological need was being met for him, physical and psychological. There was something missing in his life. As I said, I believe there is a deeper pathology. I believe it goes all the way back to his childhood.
This was a guy -- if you've seen pictures of him -- was really the classic nerd. I believe he had some self -- no, absolutely -- had those self-esteem issues, self-perception issues.
ROMANS: What is it about the picture of the bare chest that is --
GARDERE: Well, there's something else going on with that. Let me wrap up by saying this. This is a guy who, all of a sudden, became a political rock star and couldn't handle it. All of a sudden, he went from nerd to superstar and getting all of that attention. Who knows what else was going on? Who knows what was missing in his marriage? And therefore, he acted out in such a crazy way.
GARDERE: There is something missing with him.
CHETRY: I want to ask, legally speaking, though, because now, Nancy Pelosi has announced there's going to be a Congressional investigation, but as you've talked about many times, it's a murky, gray area when it comes to what laws are about social networking, about sending pornographic pictures, and also about how it relates to government officials.
PAUL CALLAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, sure, and this is a brave new world with this transmission of stuff over the internet through Twitter and other social media. I had a chance to look at the laws in Texas and the state of Washington and the federal laws on this to see if he could be charged.
And, you know, the French say, we're prudish, and maybe we are in the United States, but transmission of a picture of his naked chest is probably not a crime, even in the United States. Now, on the other hand, if there are more graphic pictures and I'm starting to hear rumors out there that there may be more graphic stuff.
CHETRY: Right. I mean, conservative blogger, Andrew Breitbart, said he withheld an extremely graphic pictures to spare Anthony Weiner and his family embarrassment.
CALLAN: So, let's say hypothetically, Kiran, there is a graphic shot, a truly pornographic shot, even that would not be criminal to broadcast it over the Internet unless you were deliberately targeting a child. In that case, you might have a violation of law. It would be a child endangerment violation, but in terms of people talk about sexting, you know, a lot of laws are being considered in states about not allowing the transmission of pictures over the internet to children, but it's always a situation where Kids are involved.
It doesn't look like there are any kids involved with Congressman Weiner. So, my bet is no violation of the criminal law here. Now, you started with ethics violations. Nancy Pelosi wants to investigate him. One of those pictures, the naked chest picture, looks like it was taken in his Congressional office. And for some twisted reason, there's a picture of Obama, Anthony Weiner's wife and others behind him in that picture. GARDERE: And it's a shaved chest, which tells me that psychologically, he was putting some real effort into trying to make this thing as sexual as possible.
ROMANS: What you are saying, Harry, chests aren't sexy? I don't get it.
GARDERE: I'm not even going there, but legally, I could have gone there and gone even deeper, but I'm just going to leave that alone.
CALLAN: From the standpoint of House ethics, I doubt that they're really going to have something that would be significant enough to throw him out of office. I think they say he's using maybe his personal phone to communicate when he should be only using business -- it should business use, but are they going to throw him out of Congress for that? It's not going to happen, I tell you.
VELSHI: That, I think, is the weakest, silliest argument out there, and companies across American make this thing. You can't do certain things on your work computer. It's just old-fashioned and out of touch. I mean, you think he did the wrong thing. You think he did the wrong thing and take charge, but this distinction, I mean, company versus not.
CALLAN: I mean, what happens, you know, when executive calls his wife up and says, I'm going to be home late tonight.
CHETRY: People who look at pornography, doesn't have to be child pornography. If they look at child pornography, they can lose their job in many work places. Why is it different for members of Congress?
CHETRY: No. I'm saying regular pornography. If you get caught looking up porn at many office places, that's an actionable offense.
CHETRY: But yet, in Congress, they're saying, they're not sure --
VELSHI: Where did he go from naked pictures to porn?
CHETRY: Well, if you're sending a pornographic picture of yourself.
VELSHI: Well, is there a distinction. Does a naked picture mean by definition?
CHETRY: Or receiving a pornographic picture.
VELSHI: Is a naked picture of one by definition pornographic? Some people think it's art.
CALLAN: I don't think I want to get into a picture of you --
CALLAN: Anthony Weiner might, but with respect to sending pornographic pictures over the internet, 25 years ago, they were putting people in jail for this. Internet porn now is pervasive in American society, around the world. Nobody gets prosecuted for it, zero, except in one situation, if it involves children. Then, we step in and protect people.
Now, you might lose your job if you're spending your time at a porn site when you're supposed to be working. Well, that's legitimate. You can lose your job also for not, you know, doing the paperwork you're supposed to do. So, it's not really an issue of pornography there.
And getting back to the House Ethics Committee, if the voters want to throw him out of office, that's fine. You know, who knows? This is New York. Maybe he'll get extra votes because of this.
GARDERE: I doubt that.
VELSHI: Christine said earlier, people love a comeback.
GARDERE: Yes, yes. And we've seen it with former Governor Spitzer. We've seen it with a lot of other people. I believe, at some point, he will make a comeback. This is a guy who is extremely bright, but he has to be honest. He can't be forced into honesty.
He has to be able to reveal everything as to what happened and seek help, because there is a deeper psychological issue, especially if you're taking a picture of yourself and in the background is a picture of your wife and you're sending that out.
CALLAN: You know, Jeff, talking about the honesty thing for a minute, because when I was researching the house ethics violation, I was thinking, I can't find any specific rule that he violated, but the one thing that was the most disturbing to me was he stood up, did that press conference, and he said, I'm innocent of this. He basically gave an impassioned plea saying that he had been hacked and he never committed any offense.
So, he totally lied to the American public about that. And you would think that that would be something you could be thrown out of Congress for. but, of course, you can't throw somebody out of Congress for lying to the American public. It's not a violation of Congressional ethics.
CHETRY: How ironic. All right. Well, we're going to have to leave the conversation there, but it was a lively one, for sure. Paul Callan, Dr. Jeff, always great to see both of you.
All right. still ahead, we're going to talk to the guy who (INAUDIBLE), conservative blooger, Andrew Breitbart about what went on yesterday. Why did he take to the podium at Congressman Weiner's press conference and other questions. He'll be joining us in just a moment. Twenty-two minutes after the hour.
ROMANS: Twenty-four, almost 25 minutes after the hour. "Minding Your Business" this morning.
Ford unveils a new strategy today to boost worldwide sales by 50 percent to the next four years. The plan includes growing in Asia and selling more small, fuel efficient cars rather than SUVs.
Consumer report is out with their most fuel efficient cars. Honda Fit was ranked best sub compact car. The Toyota Prius was named best family car, and the Ford Escape Hybrid was named the best small SUV.
Stocks were down to the closing bell yesterday, but futures are up this morning. Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 all set to bounce back when the market opens if this trend holds.
And you better have some deep pockets if you want to grab a bite to eat with Warren Buffet. The Annual Charity Auction for lunch with the legendary investor is underway right now. Already, the highest bid tops $2.3 million. The auction ends Friday night.
Coming up after the break, the man who broke the Congressman Anthony Weiner scandal and crashed his news conference yesterday, Andrew Breitbart, will join us. He claims to be in possession of at least one more lewd picture of the congressman. AMERICAN MORNING is back right after this break.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
VELSHI: Breaking news from Libya right now. State television confirming dictator, Moammar Gadhafi's compound has been hit. Four powerful explosions rocking the Libyan capital of Tripoli overnight. NATO aircraft reportedly carrying out the attack. No word yet about possible casualties.
Our people on the ground are gathering information right now but does seem that there have been some sustained bombing attacks in Tripoli, Libya this morning.
We're also getting new details this morning about injures sustained by Yemen's president in an attack on his compound on Friday. U.S. officials say Ali Abdullah Saleh suffered burns to 40 percent of his body and also had a collapsed lung and a shrapnel wound nearly three inches deep. He's in Saudi Arabia right now recovering from two operations. Still not clear if he's going to attempt to return from Saudi Arabia to Yemen.
And the truth comes out. Congressman Anthony Wiener finally admitting that he was sexting and that he slipped up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ANTHONY WEINER, (D) NEW YORK: Last Friday night, I tweeted a photograph that I intended to send as a direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle. Once I realized I had posted to twitter. I panicked and took it down and said that I had been hacked. I continued with that story, to stick to that story, which was a usually regrettable mistake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has now called for an ethics investigation into Weiner's conduct.
CHETRY: The man who originally broke that story, Andrew Breitbart, got up on the podium before Congressman Weiner yesterday gave his speech and admission. Here is a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW BREITBART, BIGGOVERNMENT.COM: This was his strategy, was to blame me, to blame me for hacking. Oh, don't worry, Breitbart is our regular whipping boy. We can accuse him of anything and the press will not hold those journalists in account no matter what they say. And so I am here for some vindication.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: Joining me now is Andrew Breitbart, publisher of breitbart.com and biggovernment.com which broke the story. A lot of questions to ask. Why were you on the podium yesterday? All the networks were about to cover the news that Anthony Weiner was giving a press conference and then you pop up.
BREITBART: A strange series of events. I landed at LaGuardia. Marsha Cramer from the local CBS affiliate says I want to interview you. I said, I'm just going to be going to my hotel right now. I am looking for her in the lobby of the hotel. She is not there. She texts me there is a press conference four blocks away. I don't think I thought about it. I just instinctively walked over there, walked into the ballroom and people surrounded me, started asking me questions.
They said, we can't hear you, can you get on the stage. I said, am I allowed to do that? I walked over to the stage, thought I was just going to be using the microphone to project my voice, because I had bronchitis last week. Had zero idea they would cut live.
CHETRY: You were answering questions asked of you by some of the local reporters.
BREITBART: You can look in "The New York Times" today. There is a picture of me being surrounded by those people when I walked in the room. There are about 50 people.
CHETRY: You went there to hear what Anthony Weiner was going to say about this.
BREITBART: I can't tell you whether I came as a journalist or a spectator. I naturally went there. If I honestly if I started hearing him. I didn't know he was going to apologize. I didn't know he was going to --
CHETRY: You demanded an apology.
BREITBART: I didn't know he was going to fess up. If he started to dig in again and started blaming me, saying this is Breitbart. He made this up. These photos are made up, I would have been there to grill him. I ended up becoming just like everybody else, witness to something that felt tragic and sad at an unbelievable level.
CHETRY: It was tragic and sad but for you I imagine it was also vindication.
BREITBART: Yes, it was.
CHETRY: You had said earlier when you were speaking that you wanted an apology from him and that you also had other photos including one that was extremely graphic that you felt would be detrimental to his family, which is why you didn't release it. You seemed to link the two, the apology and perhaps --
BREITBART: No. I mean, I honestly feel that there is no reason to be as cruel -- I guarantee you, if they had the photo of me, they would have put it out there. I am not the cruel person that the media and certain people on the left think that I am. I guarantee you that is a newsworthy photo. I just don't think that -- I don't want to be known as the person that released that photo.
CHETRY: So you will never release it now?
BREITBART: Here is what I will say. I am starting to hear from somebody that they are going to -- if they start going after the girls. If they start releasing stuff about the girls, some of the images that were sent to him as a way to tell girls to not come forward, I have the photo. I have no intention. I can't fathom that he would be stupid enough to start going after the girls and to start releasing photos of them that they have given. Let it lie. OK?
CHETRY: You have become quite a controversial figure in the world. There was the ACORN acorn video, the Shirley Sharrod saga, and now this. How do you approach what you decide to hone in on for an investigation and a story?
BREITBART: We do thousands of stories. The ones that end up having the biggest impact are the ones that you get known for. If it is a compelling story about political corruption, personal corporation, we go after them.
CHETRY: Would you go after a member of congress, a key member of Congress as strongly as Weiner?
BREITBART: If they came to me with the story. Here is the dynamic that's hard for people to accept this premise. People come to me when it is a story about a Cemocrat, because they know if they go to ABC, CBS, MSNBC and "The New York Times," then they are dealing with a more liberal class.
CHETRY: You truly believe that CNN didn't do a ton of digging on this story?
BREITBART: On this story, here is what I have said about media bias. This poor, poor man did not benefit from media bias. If your name is Weiner and this story involves Weiner, there is no such thing as media bias. I must give credit where credit is due. This story went to the level of seriousness and reached the culmination it did because of Dana Bash and her producer, Ted Barrett. They were the ones that were dogged in pursuit of the truth more than anyone.
CHETRY: That was a very strange press conference.
BREITBART: It has been a strange week.
CHETRY: Absolutely. Certainly, your appearance at Anthony Weiner's press conference will go down in history as one of the oddest things we have seen in a long time.
BREITBART: It was odd.
CHETRY: Thanks for joining us with your point of view. Appreciate it.
ROMANS: If you put this in the crisis PR management textbook, you would think, that is out of the possibility. You can be one of the case studies.
CNN's listening tour kicks of today. What issues matter most to voters in the Ohio? We are going to talk to Bill Darah. His company sells uniforms to police, firefighters, postal workers. That's next.
ROMANS: In 17 months, voters in Ohio will go to the polls to choose a president. Chances are they will pick the winner, just like they have in every presidential election since 1964. Toledo has fallen on hard times like many American cities. Teachers there are losing their jobs, firehouses are closing down, sanitation workers getting their hours cut. That's why it's critical to win the hearts and minds of people like Bill Darah. He is the co-owner of superior uniform sales in Toledo. We are checking in with him. Good morning and welcome to the program.
BILL DARAH, CO-OWNER, SUPERIOR UNIFORM SALES: Hello, Christine. How are you? ROMANS: Great. It's nice to see you this morning month, bright and early, Bill. When we are talking about budget cuts, for a lot of people, that just seems like a budget story or a political story or a business story. For you, you sell uniforms to those people who are losing their jobs. For you it means how well your business can survive and grow. What do you see in there?
DARAH: It's been tough. In other words, we felt the recession, fourth quarter, 2008, '09, budgets were cut. This is mainly the first time that we have been affected this much because the previous recessions never really touched policemen and firemen. This time you see layoffs, and even in the healthcare sector. The health care sector has been down.
ROMANS: There are fewer uniforms or they are trying to make the uniforms last longer, because they certainly just don't have the money to go around. Now, usually, you say, by June or so in the year, if things are looking good, four or five months, if you are holding steady, you can add work or project out for the rest of the year. You don't have that kind of clarity this time around, do you, in this recession?
DARAH: Well, our business is up right now. '09 was our toughest year in our history. In 2010 we saw a little bit of an uptick. As you say, the budgets were down. This year, I think you hit something, I think there is a lot of forced buying, forced buying because the clothes are literally worn out. Some of our customers have to buy.
The other thing is, we have not seen new-hires in '08, '09, and 2010. This is very unusual but there is a lot of retirements in the public safety sector and the cities, the counties, et cetera, are -- they have to start hiring people because the manpower numbers are so low. So we had a very tough time in '09. We saw a little uptick in 2010. Are we out of the recession or not? Nobody knows.
ROMANS: Technically, we are out of a recession. Technically, this economy is out of a recession. But if you look at the public sector and the unemployment rate and your order book, it sure still feels like one, doesn't it?
DARAH: We take it month by month. I think that that's the way all business people are doing it, in the old days, if you had a good first four months, you automatically assumed that it is going to continue and you are going to have a good year. Now, we just look at month to month. We are all conservative. That's a problem in this economy is that we have all become conservative. We are very tight on our spending. We only buy it if we absolutely need it.
ROMANS: Now, 58 percent, most recent poll, 58 percent disapproved of the president's handling of the economy. You are a Republican. You consider yourself a Republican. You voted for President Obama in 2008. Do you think the White House is handling the economy well for what they are trying to deal with?
DARAH: Well, I've always voted Republican in the presidential elections. This time I did vote for president Obama. It was more of a protest vote in that I was unhappy with the last administration and some of the things they did. I think a lot of people voted for president Obama in protest of the Bush Jr. second term.
I think he is trying. I think he is a good man. I think he is trying hard. I think there is a lot of infighting in Washington. You know, I mean, like -- in order to get something done, people got to get together and follow a plan, get a plan going --
DARAH: -- get everybody on board and make it work. And I think in Washington, everyone is waiting for -- for that person in office to fail so that they can get their person in and it's hurting all of us. I mean it's hurting all of us citizens.
ROMANS: You know Bill, you're not -- you're not the first person who we've talked to in Ohio today who has told us basically that same kind of feeling. Superior Uniform Sales is the company. Bill is one of the owners.
Thank you so much for joining us. And best of luck to you as you try to navigate through the rest of the year sir.
DARAH: Ok thank you very much, Christine.
ROMANS: You're welcome.
Be sure to join CNN next Monday night when seven GOP candidates for president will debate. That's Monday night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern live from New Hampshire. It's only on CNN.
It's 45 minutes after the hour.
VELSHI: Forty-seven minutes after the hour. A lot going on this morning and here are your headlines.
Breaking news from Tripoli: Dictator, Moammar Gadhafi's Libyan compound has been hit by NATO again. Libyan television confirming the attacks at least 25 explosions reported during airstrikes overnight targeting a military barracks as well as Gadhafi's compound. No word yet on the extent of damages or the casualties.
President Saleh supporters insists his plan to return to Yemen; he plans to return to Yemen once he recovers from his injuries. He's in Saudi Arabia right now where he had two different operations. U.S. officials say he suffered burns to 40 percent of his body, had a collapsed lung and a serious shrapnel wound following an attack on his compound on Friday.
Congressman Anthony Weiner finally admitting that he sent an inappropriate photo to a woman on Twitter; he said he's sorry but he's not resigning. House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi has now called for an ethics investigation into Weiner's conduct.
Thousands of people evacuating their homes in eastern Arizona this morning; one of the worst wildfires in the history of the state has increased in size by more than 20 percent in the last 24 hours. It's already burned a quarter of a million acres.
The markets open in 45 minutes. Right now, the DOW, NASDAQ, S&P 500 futures all up after four days of decline.
ABC has announced that Katie Couric will join the network -- join the network and host a daytime talk show that will debut in September 2012. Couric left the anchor chair at the CBS Evening News last month.
You're caught up on the day's headlines. AMERICAN MORNING back after the break.
ROMANS: All right. This week marks 30 years since the first case of HIV/AIDS were identified back in 1981.
VELSHI: Wow, 30 years. Since then, doctors and scientists have made great strides in understanding it and treating it. Still no cure for AIDS, though.
CHETRY: Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us live now with the story of man who has spent his life fighting this disease. And it's just amazing when we talk about -- that -- that it's three decades that have gone by. It was once a death sentence. And now, I mean, for some, it's a chronic illness but it's survivable.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. The medications have gotten so much better. And I'll tell you, I've been a medical reporter for ten years. And I thought at this point I would be reporting more about what you guys have been talking about this idea that maybe there would be a cure, a hope for a cure or even a vaccine.
We're not there yet. But life has changed a lot, you know Cleve Jones is someone who's -- he's actually known about HIV/AIDS for almost that entire time, 25 years now and what life was like back then versus now has changed a lot. Take a look.
CLEVE JONES, GAY RIGHTS & AIDS ACTIVIST: Welcome to San Francisco. Enjoy your stay.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's great to meet you.
JONES: Thank you, thank you.
GUPTA (voice-over): On the streets of San Francisco, Cleve Jones is often treated like a celebrity. But 30 years ago, on these same streets, in the city's Castro district, Jones and other gay men, were living with the nightmare of a new disease that had no name.
JONES: By 1985, almost everybody I knew was dead or dying. We lost 20,000 people in this county.
GUPTA: This deadly disease finally got a name, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Now this was long before the days of any life-saving drug cocktails. And for victims of this disease, chances of survival, slim.
JONES: We cried every day for ten years in this neighborhood. We buried loved ones every week in this neighborhood.
GUPTA: Cleve was determined to bring attention to what was happening. In 1983, he co-founded the San Francisco Aids Foundation. Four years later, he stitched the first panel of the AIDS quilt in this very building. That panel was for his best friend, Marvin Feldman.
JONES: We wanted to reveal the humanity behind the statistics. We wanted to show that every single one of these people mattered.
GUPTA: In 1985, he was diagnosed with HIV. Eight years later, he had full-blown AIDS.
JONES: I was very sick for a long time. And I did not think that I would live.
We've got a meeting at 4:30 so --
GUPTA: But he survived with the help of anti-retroviral drugs that he's been on now for 17 years. He says he's doing fine now and he's still an activist currently fighting for the rights of San Francisco's housekeepers. But he cannot forget how the HIV struggle changed him profoundly.
JONES: We went through hell here and it was a hell that lasted a very long time. It took from us some of our best and brightest people. But we endured and we continue. And I am very proud to be part of that.
GUPTA: And again, you know, he started the quilt project. I don't know if any of you have ever seen the quilt. It's huge, I mean, tens of thousands of these panels, six by three feet in size -- sort of morbidly in some way. the reason they are six by three feet in size because at the time, that was sort of the average size of a grave.
And this thing is just gigantic and still -- still growing in many places around the country. We actually had it out here in Atlanta just -- just last week.
CHETRY: And that's the amazing part. Global AIDS concerns seem to be very different now than -- than AIDS concerns in this country. I mean, 30 years after the first cases were identified here in this country, where do we stand in terms of advances and strides?
GUPTA: Well, you know, the big -- the big benchmark that everyone is sort of talking about is a vaccine. It's something that you could give to people to prevent this retro virus from ever taking hold. And these trials that are going on all over the world and we're not there.
You know, 16 years ago, we thought we were really close and that failed. And that's happened over time again.
So it's not that the medications that people can take to keep the virus at bay, to keep it from sort of continuing to replicate within the body, are very good. And as you mentioned, it can turn this from what was -- everyone invariably dying as was mentioned by Cleve Jones, to a chronic sort of illness, that's very real for people who can afford and have access to these medications.
VELSHI: And continues to be a death sentence for people who can't. That's worth remembering.
VELSHI: Sanjay thanks very much.
GUPTA: You got it guys.
ROMANS: Its 54 minutes after the hour.
VELSHI: That's a different shot of the White House.
CHETRY: Yes we don't usually see it but it's all decked out this morning because Chancellor Angela Merkel from German is there today on a state visit. And they're going to be welcoming her. There is an official arrival ceremony actually taking place in about 15 minutes.
VELSHI: She's getting a big medal.
CHETRY: She is getting the highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom.
CHETRY: So, what's it going to like for that medal ceremony?
VELSHI: It's going to be hot.
CHETRY: It is going to be a sweltering day in Washington, sunny and 90 degrees in D.C.
LET'S ROMANS: talk about something else going on in Washington. Our question of the day: what should happen to congressman, Anthony Weiner? Here are some of your responses.
From Facebook, "Nothing. He did wrong, he confessed. No harm, no foul. It's between Weiner, his wife and the other woman." Actually the women --
ROMANS: But that's another story.
VELSHI: Sevel (ph) on Facebook says, "Did he use taxpayer money to do that? If not, the problem is with his wife."
CHETRY: And Trey on Facebook writes, "He needs to go. He has disgraced the office by blatantly lying about being hacked. His hack should be hacked. But from a state that keeps the likes of Charlie Rangel in office, he'll probably be re-elected for as many terms as he runs.
VELSHI: His elections have not been close.
ROMANS: He wins by a landslide.
VELSHI: His last one, which was the toughest, was better than 20 points over his competition. I am surprised at the number of the responses we've got. We had some very clear-cut, he should go, he lied, he should be punished. And a whole lot who say no.
ROMANS: I couldn't see -- and I couldn't see anything really along gender lines either, trying to like read between the lines of women who are more likely to say, he doesn't have integrity. And men who are going to say, come on, you know, whatever. It is his own silly problem and the lying about it afterwards is the biggest problem.
VELSHI: And that is what we have learned every time we cover one of these things. The incident is one thing and then the cover-up becomes something else. And this one lasted -- this one lasted over a week.
ROMANS: If you put this in a crisis management textbook, you still couldn't be able to learn any lessons from it because it is so unique and just so -- every mistake was made all along the way.
VELSHI: There is one or two lessons about sending photographs.
ROMANS: Just don't.
CHETRY: That's true.
Well, that's going to do it for us. Thanks so much for being here. We welcome back our colleague Kyra Phillips who is with --
ROMANS: What a day to come back, Kyra. There she is.
CHETRY: Welcome back.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": Hi, guys. And thank you for the lovely gifts. I think we should put Ali in the middle of you two, though. You know it's the whole --
VELSHI: I have been saying that for weeks.
PHILLIPS: There you go. Now, you are talking.
VELSHI: What a way to end the show.
CHETRY: You know what? Christine has the tallest torso, that's why she gets the middle.
PHILLIPS: But usually you can easily whack along the back of the head.
VELSHI: Kyra, great to see you. Take it away. You have lots of news to cover.