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Obama Job Performance; Starbucks CEO: Stop Political Contributions; Recession Worries; Federal Courts Make Contradictory Rulings on Health Care Law; New Hotline Provides Answers to Questions About Islam; Economy Entering "Danger Zone"?; "Worm" in the Basketball Hall of Fame; GOP's New Presidential Field

Aired August 15, 2011 - 07:59   ET


ALINA CHO, CNN ANCHOR: The world's economy could be entering a new danger zone.

Good morning. I'm Alina Cho.

That's the warning from the head of the World Bank.

And this morning, investors are bracing for what could be another wild week on Wall Street. What it means for your money, your investments and your retirement.


In one hour, they will reopen the Indiana state fair. It was a scene of tragedy. In a moment, you'll hear from a woman who watched that stage come crashing down and lived to tell the tale -- on this AMERICAN MORNING.


CHO: And good Monday morning to you. It is August 15th. Christine Romans and Ali Velshi are both off today.

Good morning.

COSTELLO: Good morning.

And welcome to AMERICAN MORNING.

We're following breaking news out of Iraq -- a devastating wave of attacks across that country. This morning, there were more than a dozen bombings. Officials say the attacks killed 69 people and injured more than 180. The targets were mostly security forces.

CHO: This is the worst wave of attacks to hit that country in months and it comes just weeks after Iraq's leaders agreed to request U.S. troops stay beyond a January 1st, 2012 deadline.

COSTELLO: And in 90 minutes, millions of you with a financial stake of the markets will be watching to see if Wall Street continues its wide ways. Analysts are bracing for what could be more turbulence. This, after the head of the World Bank warned yesterday that a lack of confidence is pushing the world's economy into a new danger zone.

A check of the premarket trading shows U.S. stock futures in positive territory.

CHO: And billionaire Warren Buffett is essentially begging Congress to make the rich, like himself, pay more -- not less -- pay more in taxes. In a "New York Times" op-ed piece, Buffett writes that the super rich should no longer be protected like the endangered spotted owls.

He writes, quote, "Our leaders have asked for shared sacrifice. But when they did the asking, they spared me. Guess what? I checked with my mega rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting and they, too, were left untouched.

But for those making more than $1 million, I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more, I would suggest an additional increase in rate.

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by billionaire- friendly Congress. It's time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.


COSTELLO: He's not alone either. The CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, has an idea on how to fix Washington and get America back on its feet. He thinks Americans should go on strike against its politicians.

Schultz is urging donors, big and small, corporations and unions, to stop making political contributions. He says the mood would give Washington an incentive to start acting responsibly.

And I'll quote him here. "Our leaders have asked for shared sacrifice, but when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with me my mega" -- this is just from Warren Buffett.

Sorry about that.

CHO: That's OK.

COSTELLO: But Howard Schultz does have an idea. He said, you know, corporations like Starbucks should stop donating to politicians until they can act responsible.

CHO: That's right. Act like leaders is what he's saying.

And, you know, all of this, of course, is yet another big sign that Americans are fed up with Washington.

A new poll numbers certainly don't add up for President Obama. The president's approval rating dipped below 40 percent for the first time. That's according to the latest Gallup tracking poll -- just 39 percent of Americans approve of President Obama's job performance, while 54 percent disapprove. Those numbers -- the worst of his presidency.

COSTELLO: Let's talk about the Republican side. The Republican candidates are trying to build on the buzz in Iowa this weekend.

Texas Governor Rick Perry in his first major speech since getting into the race took a veiled swipe at President Obama, saying he wants to make sure that U.S. troops respect their president.

Perry telling Iowa voters last night that he's the leader the country needs.


GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Are we going to take the reins of our future over the next 15 months, are we truly going to work together and come together? We may have issues that separate us, but bringing those diverse groups together and making sure that we have a candidate that can beat Barack Obama in November is the most important thing that we do. And it's got to be somebody that understands and knows how and has had job creation job experience in their background.


CHO: Perry is dueling for the GOP spotlight in Iowa with Michele Bachmann, who was the people's choice in the weekend straw poll -- and last night, taking a victory lap.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Faith has been so restored, because in the 50 days since we made our announcement, we've been to all four corners of Iowa, beginning here in Waterloo. We've been to all cities in between, event after event after event. And it's been restoring my faith in knowing that we will take the country back. I know that it's going to happen.


COSTELLO: Michele Bachmann was also careful not to rain on her own parade in Iowa, sidestepping questions about her thoughts about gay rights.


BACHMANN: When it comes to marriage and family, my opinion is that marriage is between a man and a woman and I think that's been my view.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, a gay couple with kids would not be considered a family to you?

BACHMANN: You know, all of these kind of questions really aren't about what people are concerned about right now.


CHO: Well, Michele Bachmann's win in Iowa spelled the end for her fellow Minnesotan, Tim Pawlenty. The state's former governor dropped out of the GOP after finishing a disappointing third in the Iowa straw poll despite an extensive ground game in Iowa. Pawlenty was only able to beat Rick Santorum in the straw poll vote. Now, he'll fielding calls from other candidates who, of course, will be looking for his endorsement.

COSTELLO: Now is your chance to talk back on one of the big stories of the day. The question this morning: what does President Obama need to tell Middle America? President Obama knows all too well that most Americans have had it with Washington, so he's leaving -- just temporarily, of course.

Today, he kicks off a bus tour to the heartland. The White House says so he can hear from Americans about their economic struggles. It's worth noting he'll be visiting Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa -- states he won handily in 2008 but will not be visiting Ohio and Indiana, swing states he won by the skin of his teeth.

In the lead-up to the 2008 election, candidate Obama spent 29 days campaigning in Ohio. Last year, Mr. Obama stopped at a Youngstown steel plant that created jobs, thanks in part, to federal stimulus money.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Youngstown can compete against anybody, got the best workers. There's no reason why we can't compete with anybody if you guys have the support that you need.


COSTELLO: So, flash forward to today. Ohio is mired, like the rest of the country, in high unemployment. And it certainly isn't feeling the love.

Youngstown University Professor Paul Cerasic (ph) says there's clearly a perception that Middle America doesn't feel pain." Cerasic says to win over the Rust Belt, Mr. Obama has to do more than just give a stump speech. In other words, less talking and more listening.

So, the talkback question today, what does President Obama need to tell Middle America? I'll read your comments later this hour.

CHO: Still ahead, dramatic new video as a stage collapses at the Indiana state fair. We will hear from eyewitnesses who describe what it was like to be there in the crowd.

Plus, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels will join us live. He was moved to tears when he saw ordinary citizens rush back to the danger zone to help the victims of Saturday's disaster.

COSTELLO: And British police are blasting Prime Minister David Cameron this morning after he hired a so-called super cop from the United States to tackle gang violence. So, who is this super cop and what's his plan?

CHO: Also ahead, frightening reports. Pakistan let China take pictures and samples from top secret stealth helicopter left behind when U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden.

COSTELLO: Plus, brand new billboards are popping up across the United States advertising one certain religion -- Islam. So, what's behind this push? We'll talk to one hotline volunteer, who's also a Wall Street trader, as to why he's personally trying to educate the public.

It's seven minutes past the hour.


COSTELLO: Oh, I love that song.

Good morning, Washington, D.C. Mostly cloudy, and 71 degrees, and more rain today with a high of 84.

CHO: Wow, a muggy day in Washington, D.C.


CHO: That time of year.

Rob Marciano in the extreme weather center, watching all of it for us -- including a tropical storm that could become a hurricane, right, Rob?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That's right. We'll see about that.

We've got a few things we're watching in the tropic. It's getting towards the time of the year where things get more active.

There's Gert right now, a tropical storm with 60 miles an hour for wind speeds. It is approaching Bermuda. It will make a close call later on today. These two squares, that's areas we're watching. This one is more of a concern for the U.S. as we go to the next few days, we'll watch as it traverses towards the Leeward Islands and potentially into the Caribbean.

Here's a forecast track from the National Hurricane Center for Gert, forecast to stay below tropical or below hurricane strength and just of the coast of Bermuda, but will bring them big waves. If it scoots farther to the west, obviously, it will be more intense as far as wind is concerned. And, yes, that's Gert.

We usually don't get to G's before we get a hurricane. If Gert doesn't become a hurricane, that will be a record in that regard. So, as far it felt like a hurricane -- didn't it, across the Northeast yesterday? My goodness, look at the record rains 10.87 in Lido Beach, New York. JFK just down the road, 7.8. Newark seeing similar numbers and to a lesser extent, coastal Connecticut. But there's more rain coming today.

Here it is, most across the eastern parts of New England. But it does make its way up toward Upstate New York. And as the day progresses, we'll probably see more intense rainfall for places like New York, and Boston and Philadelphia. You'll see travel delays, I'm afraid.

Behind this, temperatures are a little more comfortable, a little bit more cooler with the exception of Dallas, where high temperature today expected to get to 103 degrees.

Perseid meteor showers happened over the weekend. You know, you can go outside, you can see them, you know, away from city lights, from the ground -- but a better view from outer space.

Astronaut Ron Garan sent this in from the International Space Station. Shooting stars interacting with the upper atmosphere. That, my friends, is cool.

Best seat in the house right there. I think it will cost you, though, and require a little bit training.

COSTELLO: Yes. I think that's true. What a cool shot. Thank you for showing us that morning -- thanks for showing us that picture, Rob. We appreciate it.

MARCIANO: All right, Carol. See you later.

COSTELLO: To Indiana now. There's a warning announcement on the P.A. system when the wind kicked up and the sky turned black. Moments later, disaster struck at the Indiana state fair.


COSTELLO: The main concert stage crashing down on spectators Saturday night as they waited to see the band Sugarland perform. Five people died, 40 others hurt.

Earlier on AMERICAN MORNING, we talked with Jenna Gioe. She was seven rows back from the stage when that canopy came crashing down.


JENNA GIOE, WITNESSED STAGE COLLAPSE: All of a sudden, the clouds and everything turned pitch black and very dark, very quickly. And you can see the dust on the track just starting to come up from the ground and starting to swirl and come towards us as the storm really quickly approached us.

Everybody was in complete shock. A lot of people just did everything they could to just leave the grandstand area. It was -- it was absolutely pandemonium in a mob kind of sense of people trying to get out of the grand stand because of the shock of the weather and what had just happened.


CHO: Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels was moved to tears when he saw how ordinary citizens rushed back to the collapsed stage to help the victims of Saturday's disaster.

Governor Daniels joins us live now from Indianapolis this morning.

Governor, thank you for joining us.

We did see you get a bit emotional at yesterday's news conference. I don't know if a lot of people know this, but your wife and one of your daughters were actually at the concert. They left as the storm was approaching.

But how are the people of Indiana coping this morning? And what is the latest in the investigation?

GOV. MITCH DANIELS (R), INDIANA: Well, we're coping the way Hoosiers always do, by putting our arms around those who have been hurt, by moving quickly to repair damage.

You know, our state fair still centers on our agricultural heritage. You don't have to tell a farmer about bad weather luck or how cruel Mother Nature can be. So, the response was what I would expect, have come to expect from the people for whom I work. As you said, hundreds of people went to the trouble as opposed to away from the trouble.

And all the responders I talked to since have commented on the fact that, suddenly, there were average citizens on either side of them, helping prevent this from being worse than it was.

CHO: governor, there's no question that there was a severe wind gust of upwards of 70 miles per hour and that weather was a key factor here, but, there is an investigation at work. And, is there any indication at this point that there was something other than weather involved?

DANIELS: No, there's not. Those are appropriate questions, and they'll be addressed, I know, as fast as they can be, but, I'll just give you a couple of amateur observations. The storm, the weather service is very good these days. The storm didn't arrive here for maybe 15 or 20 minutes after the tragedy. This wind was out ahead of it.

I don't know if you can see it, but right behind me, just a couple hundred yards from where the stage was, there were Ferris wheels that were operating. There was no other part of these fairgrounds that were damaged.

CHO: But governor, that's right.

(CROSSTALK) CHO: Well, it would lead some people to believe that if it was the only structure that collapsed at the fairgrounds that, perhaps, there was something else at play.

DANIELS: Well, we'll see. Today is not about that. That's a premature question to me today. Today will be about grieving for and with the victims and about starting the necessary process of repair. Get the fair back under way.

CHO: Governor, I have to ask you, 15 miles away from the Indiana State Fair, the Indiana Symphony Orchestra was set to perform. There was a warning that came out across the system and told people that the concert would be postponed, and that everyone should get in their car. And yet, this didn't happen at the state fair. Do you regret that the concert was not canceled? And why wasn't it?

DANIELS: Well, obviously, everyone regrets the outcome here, but, you know, our first instinct in Indiana is not to go rushing around, looking for scapegoats. It's to take care of business, take care those who've been hurt, and then, of course, of course, to study and see if something could have been done better and learn any necessary lessons.

CHO: Governor, I must ask you, though, and with all due respect, of course, hindsight is 20/20, but the weather service knew about the storm three hours out and had specific ideas of where it was headed two hours out, and yet, there was an announcement that said we have plans for an evacuation in place, but nothing was ever done. Are you looking, specifically, at why that didn't happen?

DANIELS: Well, actually, your statement is incorrect. They opened three buildings, and many people had already moved to those buildings. My wife was one of those. I'm not saying that we're not going to find many things that could have been done differently. I'm only saying that I know the people who run this operation, they think safety all the time. And, I know that their hearts are broken that, in this case, this event took place as it did.

CHO: Governor, I know the state fair was closed yesterday. It will reopen today, beginning with the memorial service for the victims, and that you will be there for that. Our thoughts are, of course, with you and the good people of Indiana. Governor Mitch Daniels, we thank you for joining us.

DANIELS: Thank you.

COSTELLO: We're bracing for what could be another bumpy week on Wall Street. A check of the market futures coming your way next.

CHO: And listen up, nice guys, why it may not pay to be a sweetheart, at least, at work. We'll explain them. Two minutes after the hour.


COSTELLO: It's 23 minutes after the hour, and I think we're all getting a little loopy.


CHO: It's Monday.

COSTELLO: It's Monday. New York City, cloudy and 71 degrees, heading up to 81 with thunderstorms. So get your umbrellas out. It's another day of rain.

CHO: Big, breaking business news. A big deal for Google. Felicia Taylor is here to fill us in.

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT. We've got billions of dollars on the table on this one. It's a pretty big deal. Google is set to apply Motorola mobility. That's the headset-making arm for about 12.5 billion. It makes a 63 percent premium to this closing price (ph) of the stock. Motorola is trading right now up about 59 percent. Quite a deal for a Monday morning.

CHO: Wow!

TAYLOR: Yes. It is a big deal, frankly. I mean, and sentiment out there is a little calmer, thank goodness. Futures are trading higher by about the third of one percent right now across the board. The markets are looking for direction, though, and they're going to find it in some of the new economic numbers that we've got coming out. We have a manufacturing index in about 10 minutes that will start the morning off before trading begins at about 9:30.

We've also got some earnings coming in today. Lows, though, came in a little bit below estimates, and then, a little later this morning, we've got Estee Lauder reporting about at 10 o'clock. That's the cosmetic company, but it, frankly, could be another volatile week. So, strap in. Get ready. Anything could happen.

Interestingly enough over the weekend, the CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, has an idea on how to fix Washington and get America back on its feet. He thinks Americans should go on strike against politicians. Schultz is urging donors to, quote, "forego political chiropractics until the Congress and the president can return to Washington and deliver a fiscally disciplined long-term debt and deficit plan to the American people."

He also acknowledged that businesses need to do all they can to accelerate job creation. It's a bold initiative on behalf of at least one corporate CEO.

And if you're taking bets, there's now a 30 percent of the economy slipping into another recession. That's according to "USA Today's" new quarterly survey of top economists. Those same economists were predicting a stronger rebound in just the last survey.


TAYLOR: So, you know, things change. I know. But a lot had happened to change the outlook. We've got smaller economic growth around the world, except for China. European debt woe, Standard & Poor's credit downgraded the U.S. and possibly now in France, and also political gridlock in Washington. The economists predict that growth could muddle at about 2.5 percent in the next year. We were looking for growth proceeds to pick up more than three percent to make any dent in those high jobless numbers.

On the bright side, though, gasoline prices are trending lower. According to AAA, the average price nationwide for a gallon of self- serve, unleaded gas is now $3.59 a gallon. While the price has come down eight cents a gallon in just the last month, prices are still 85 cents higher from this time last year.

Money magazine, though, has the best 100 small cities to call home. If you live in Louisville, Colorado.

CHO: Louisville.

TAYLOR: Louisville. Louisville? Thank you.

CHO: We learned that this morning.


TAYLOR: But that is the number one small town in American to live in. Number two, that would be Milton, Maine. Obviously, we are looking at job prospects, affordable homes, and good schools as some of the small things that people like to have on offer. You can read all about this in the latest issue of Money Magazine, and you can see more online at So, there's a lot going on this morning.

COSTELLO: Well, going back to Howard Schultz for just a second. He said that we should strike politicians, but really, businesses with big money --

TAYLOR: Absolutely. Stop making major donations. I mean, if the politicians aren't getting the money, then, they're going to have to do something to earn their actual wages when it comes to doing something in Washington and getting this economy back on track.

COSTELLO: Although, I admire Mr. Schultz for suggesting that, and I'm sure many Americans do, isn't that sort of like a pipe dream?

TAYLOR: I don't know if it is. I think Americans are honestly so fed up with what's happening out here.

COSTELLO: I'm just talking about big business people, big corporations, and lobbyists and whoever else donates big money to campaigns.

TAYLOR: Well, it depends on if they want to see the same politicians in office. I mean, President Obama was out there, raising money just last week for a $15,000 a plate dinner inside his new campaign. Is that really what he should be concentrating on? Not, in my opinion.

COSTELLO: They're all out there raising money. It's not just President Obama.

TAYLOR: That's very true. Just making the point. He's the head of the country.

COSTELLO: Just saying.


COSTELLO: Thanks, Felicia.

CHO: Thank you, Felicia.

TAYLOR: (INAUDIBLE) me in trouble, aren't you?



CHO: Listen to this one because we're asking the question to all of you. Are you too nice to earn the big bucks? Listen up, according to a new study, men who weren't as agreeable -- so not as nice -- earned about 18 percent more or about $9,700 more a year than the nice guys. Now, when it comes to women, those who are ruder earn about five percent or nearly $1,800 more a year than their kinder counterparts. So, it still pays to be a man?

COSTELLO: I really don't like your sweater.


CHO: Carol wants a raise.

COSTELLO: I'm just joking.


COSTELLO: Bernie Madoff's wife has reportedly cut ties with the discreet Wall Street investor. According to London's "Daily Mail," Ruth Madoff hasn't seen her husband in more than six months, ever since their son committed suicide last December. Madoff is serving a 150-year sentence for defrauding investors of billions of dollars. "The Daily Mail" cites author Diana Henriques who said she interviewed Mrs. Madoff for an upcoming book.

CHO: Still ahead, China, your wish is granted. Reports that Pakistan let China take pictures and samples from our top secret stealth helicopter left behind when U.S. Special Forces killed Osama Bin Laden. It's 29 minutes after the hour. We're back after this.


CHO: We're following breaking news out of Iraq this morning where more than a dozen bombings and shootings have killed 69 people. More than 180 people are being treated for injuries. It's the worst wave of attacks to hit Iraq in months, and it comes just weeks after Iraq's leaders agreed to request U.S. troops stay beyond a January 1st, 2012 deadline.

COSTELLO: New concerns this morning that China may have gotten its hands on that stealth helicopter that was abandoned during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. According to the "New York Times," U.S. officials believe that Pakistan probably allowed China to study classified and modified black -- to study that piece of tail from the Black Hawk helicopter that went down. You remember it malfunctioned back in May and then the Navy SEALs blew it up but didn't blow up the entire thing. A large part of the tail and other parts survive that explosion, and the fear is that China was allowed to look at those parts.

CHO: Ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was back in court this morning. He arrived by helicopter and was wheeled in on a bed. Mubarak is charged with ordering the killing of anti-government protesters. Amnesty International says more than 800 people died during the in the demonstrations back in February. His sons and former interior minister also on trial for similar charges.

COSTELLO: The suspect in last month's Norway massacre returned to the island where that shooting rampage took place. He reportedly showed investigator how and where he allegedly ambushed 69 people at a youth retreat. You can see him making a gun with his hands at one point. The suspect is also accused of killing eight people in a bombing in Oslo.

CHO: Police in Britain are angry with Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to bring in former New York and L.A. Police Chief Bill Bratton to advise the government on handling gang violence. It signals the growing rift between police and politicians since the riots. Bratton for his part says he will help them develop strategies on dealing with widespread rioting and gang culture.

COSTELLO: And important ruling in the court fight over health care reform. A federal appeals court in Georgia found Congress does not have the power to force you to buy insurance.

CHO: That is the exact opposite of an earlier ruling from an appeals court in Ohio. Joining us now to talk about it all is CNN legal contributor Paul Callan. Paul, good morning, thank you for joining us.


CHO: I think part of it is a lot of it is just so confusing. So what does this all mean?

CALLAN: The courts are starting to get more focused on this. This is the health care reform bill, the big bill that was passed in 2010. And one of the things in the bill is what they call the individual mandate. And it says that if you don't have insurance, the law is going to require you to buy insurance.

And the federal courts have been looking at that, saying is it constitutional to force an American who does not want to have health insurance to buy health insurance? Or, as opponents say, is it a violation of the U.S. constitution, the commerce clause?

And now for the first time we have federal courts in sharp disagreement. The 11th circuit, which covers part of the south and the sixth circuit, which covers Michigan to Tennessee are in total disagreement on this. One of them says unconstitutional. The other says constitutional. So a lot of experts in this field think it's going to go to the U.S. Supreme Court now for final resolution.

COSTELLO: Most assuredly, it probably will go to the U.S. Supreme Court. The problem is that what about more than a dozen states are getting millions and millions of dollars in federal money to implement the health care law. I mean, things are going forward full steam ahead in states like Maryland. So, what do they do? Do they stop? Do they accept the federal money? Will they be wasting federal tax dollars if they got up and set up health care exchanges as is required by this law?

CHO: It's a real dilemma for the states because obviously depending on which way the Supreme Court goes they could be out of a lot of money and the entire health care scheme could collapse.

And frankly, there are very strong arguments on both sides of this question about compelling somebody to buy health insurance. People who are, you know, strong, rugged individualists say I don't need health insurance. I don't get sick. You can't make me buy it. And then other people say, listen, you get run over by a car, you go to the emergency room, who is going to pay for that? Taxpayers are going to pay for that.

So there are very, very strong arguments on both sides of this. And although there has been some precedents -- the commerce clause has been argued since the 1800s, there's been nothing as clear cut as this on the individual freedom, personal responsibility issue.

CHO: Paul Callan, CNN legal contributor. Thank you for breaking this all done for us, so we understand it.

CALLAN: Good to see you.

COSTELLO: Coming up next, do you know why Muslims fast during Ramadan or why alcohol is bad? Just call 877-why-Islam, seriously. Up next, the new Islam hotline for people curious about the faith.

CHO: And the water cooler story of the day. Talk about a money shot -- an 11-year-old sinks an incredible hockey shot, winning $50,000. So why might he have to give it back? It's 36 minutes after the hour.


COSTELLO: Have you got questions about Islam? Well, one hotline may have your answers. The toll free number, 877-why-Islam, is plastered on billboards across the country. Created by the Islamic Circle of North America, it's an effort to counter anti-Muslim stereotypes. Joining us now to talk about this new campaign is a volunteer Asif Mustafa, a volunteer who answers calls to the hotline. Good morning, Asif.


COSTELLO: So, why, and whose idea was this?

MUSTAFA: Well, you know, I think that the big mystery in the U.S. is that, you know, there's been a serious deficiency in getting out the message of Islam. You know, people have been hearing a lot of snippets about what Islam is from various people who are Muslims or non-Muslims, and people have put their own biases. We're out there basically to say reach out to us. Quote, we've put this number out there, the hotline, and try to get the facts straight from the people who actually practice it and people who are actually American.

COSTELLO: So you man the hotline. How many calls have you gotten?

MUSTAFA: We get calls, depending on the campaigns that we have in terms of the billboard and we've had on buses and subways, we can get many calls a night to a few calls a night. So it all depends. Also, what is the hot topic of the day, whether it's the ground zero mosque or whether it's the month of Ramadan, which we are going through right now.

COSTELLO: So those are the most popular questions people are asking?

MUSTAFA: Question -- we've opened it up. Obviously we're -- I just want to make sure that when you call 877-why-Islam, we're not a political hotline. We're not out there to give any fatwas. We're not out there to give -- you know, have any type of agenda or to put anybody down. All we're trying to foster dialogue with the common people so that the grassroots level understands what true Islam is.

We have our brochures that we give out to people in many languages that we have. We offer a free Koran for people to say get the facts straight. I mean, people don't realize that Islam is the same religion that Abraham brought down, that Moses brought down, and that Jesus brought down. And in the Koran here itself is a whole chapter devoted to Mary. So people don't realize that. They hear these things about Islam and automatically in these snippets and sound bites and make these judgments which we are trying to obviously --

COSTELLO: Well, it's interesting that you say there are conspiracy theorists who would accuse you as using this as a recruiting tool. When you hear this, what goes through your mind?

MUSTAFA: Absolutely. We've got calls, people saying, why are you doing this in America? Go back to your own country. I'm like, I've been here for 35 years. I'm an American. I mean, I was raised in Canada, I worked on Wall Street. I do everything. I have the same issues. I have a family. And we're just here trying to practice our faith. And in America you can have that opportunity. So we're not out there, like I said, to promote an agenda. We're just trying to inform people. COSTELLO: So when you hear from, let's say, people who are running for president at this time saying I won't appoint a Muslim to my cabinet, or I fear Sharia law and I'm going to sign a pledge so that never goes into effect in the United States, how does that make you feel?

MUSTAFA: Our objective is not to get into this political --

COSTELLO: But doesn't it add --

MUSTAFA: Absolutely. I mean that's what we're trying to demystify. We're trying to break down the essence. Look, Islam has 1.5 billion people all over the world. Islam has had a lot of progressive movements. Do not judge Islam by so-called Muslims who profess to be the people who propagate the faith. Unfortunately a lot of them have radical views we're not -- you know, we don't condone at all.

So we want to make sure that people understand when they call 877-why-Islam -- and I encourage them to call. Get a free Koran. There's more mention of Jesus and Moses in the Koran than there is of Mohammed. We're just here in America trying to educate people to say if you really have a question, please do not be fearful of the fact you don't know. Pick up and call. Order a Koran. We have a lot of these brochures in many languages we hand out to people in different topics and try to make it simple for people.

COSTELLO: I can tell you're very passionate about it. You give your time freely and voluntarily.

MUSTAFA: It's our job to get the message out. That's why I do.

COSTELLO: Thank you for being here this morning.

MUSTAFA: Thank you for having me.


CHO: All right, Carol, thank you.

Morning headlines are next, including the Indiana state fair reopening this morning after this weekend's deadly and horrific stage collapse. We'll have more details in a moment. It's 44 minutes after the hour.


CHO: Forty-five minutes after the hour. Here are your morning headlines.

Markets open in just 45 minutes. And right now, stocks are poised to start the week higher. As we speak the Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 futures are up after one of the most volatile weeks in Wall Street's history.

Futures may be up, but concerns over the health of the global economy persist. The President of the World Bank warned over the weekend that key market players have lost confidence. And that's pushing the global economy into a, quote, "new danger zone".

President Obama, heading off to the heartland to talk about jobs and the economy. The three-day bus tour comes as a Gallup poll shows his approval rating at new low, 39 percent; the first time it's dropped below 40 percent during his presidency.

According to the "New York Times" U.S. officials believe Pakistan probably allowed China to study the wreckage of that stealth helicopter that was abandoned during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. You'll remember, the Navy Seals tried to destroy the helicopter but a large part of the tail survived that explosion.

The Indiana State Fair reopens at the top of this hour with a memorial service. Five people were killed Saturday night and 40 others injured when winds gusting close to 70 miles-per-hour caused a concert stage canopy to collapse right on to the audience.

Tropical storm Gert is getting stronger, and it's expected to pass near Bermuda, it's now packing winds of 60 miles-per-hour. Forecasters say they don't expect the storm to reach hurricane status when it brushes by the island.

Someone made off with a $250,000 masterpiece by Rembrandt. The painting was stolen Saturday night from the Ritz Carlton Hotel lobby in Marina Del Rey, California. The sheriff's department says a curator was distracted by a potential customer when someone swiped it.

And "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" held on to its number one spot at the box office, taking in $27.5 million. The drama "The Help" came in second with $25.5 million.

That's the news you need to start your day. AMERICAN MORNING is back after the break.


COSTELLO: Good morning to my friends in Atlanta, Georgia. It's sunny, 69 degrees right now, heading for a high of 87.

CHO: And if you're not out of bed yet, that song will get you out of bed certainly.

We want to bring you a follow-up to a story we brought you last week about a bat that flew inside the cabin of a Delta Airlines flight.

COSTELLO: That would freak you out.

CHO: That's right. And of course, in this day and age, it was all caught on video. Someone had their cell phone out, very smartly. Now, federal health officials are searching for 15 of the passengers who were on the plane, to protect them from -- get this -- possible rabies infection. Now, no one knows if the bat actually had rabies, because it got away. The CDC has already contacted 35 of the passengers and, thankfully, none of them needed treatment.

COSTELLO: All right, bracing for another possible cyber attack today. The hacking group Anonymous takes credit for a breach into the San Francisco Transit System's Web site. It appears rider information including names and phone numbers were posted online. The hack job in response to the system's decision to shut-off cell phone service on some platforms. If another attack happens today, transit officials say they may be forced to temporarily close some train stations.

CHO: The fight for the fighting soon may be coming to an end. A deadline to change the University of North Dakota's nickname and mascot is set for today. The NCAA says the nickname is hostile toward Native Americans, and if the school doesn't drop it, they face severe sanctions. Earlier this year the state legislature passed a law for the school to keep the name. But the governor says he's working to overturn it.

Dennis Rodman was on his best behavior. Normally that would be a headline but the "Worm" was being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. In typical fashion, he wore two outfits to the event but he choked up as he thanked his coaches and his family.


DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER NBA PLAYER: It wasn't me that -- um, I didn't play the game for the money. I didn't play the game for -- to be famous. What you see here is more just an illusion that I love to just be an individual that's very colorful.


COSTELLO: Congratulations, Dennis Rodman. Boy it was good back at the day he won five NBA titles, two with the Detroit Pistons and three with the Chicago Bulls.

CHO: Two outfits, one hair color.

Keegan Bradley, your 2011 PGA champion. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two great shots into the 16th hole from these two competitors.


CHO: At the ripe old age of 25, too. The Vermont native was playing in his first major and made it count. Trailing by five stroke with his just four holes to play, Bradley managed to catch leader Jason Dufner, he then went on to capture this final major of the season in a three-hole playoff. Good for him.

COSTELLO: Talk about your money shot. Take a look at this. One 11-year-old fan nailed an almost impossible shot of in Minnesota. Looky there. He shot that puck from center ice into a three and a half inch slot. He won the chance during a raffle at a charity game, the price is $50,000.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like know how to shoot and stuff so I lined it up and -- yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So your brother just made the shot?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what did you think right away?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was like, no, he didn't. And he was like, go look over at the bench and I was just like shocked.



COSTELLO: Yes, he did. It's not completely a happy ending to this story though, because there's a catch. Nick Smith was the lucky name drawn in the raffle to take that shot but he was outside when his name was called so his twin brother, Nate, he was the little boy who actually took the shot. And that swap could cost the boys all that money.

CHO: I can't imagine, though, that they're not just going to give it to them I mean, with so much attention now on this story, let's hope they get the $50,000.

COSTELLO: I hope so.

CHO: They probably need it, and want it.

Fifty-four minutes after the hour we're back after this.


CHO: That's a look at the White House, if you haven't figured it out. A live look there at Washington, D.C. where it is partly cloudy and 73 degrees. Going up to 83 and thunderstorms later. Not so different from the New York weather, by the way.

COSTELLO: Not so far away. But that picture of the White House sets perfectly -- sets up perfectly our talkback question of the day. Today, as you know, President Obama hits the heartland. His three-day bus tour will take him through Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois.

So we asked you this question, "What does President Obama need to tell middle America?"

Here are some of your responses. This from Lee, he says "The President doesn't need to say anything. He is very good at communicating. Instead he needs to do more to stand up to Republican bullying. He needs to act like he's not rolling over and acquiescing to everything the opposition wants."

This from John, "He doesn't need to tell us anything, he needs to listen to us. We understand what our nation's problems are and big government spending is not going to fix them."

And this from Douglas, "The President should do what the vast majority of Americans have said they want, repeal Bush tax cuts and quit pandering to the super rich and special interests. The solution to America's problems start there."

Please continue the conversation, And thanks, as always, for your comments.

CHO: And a quick programming note, CNN's Wolf Blitzer, our friend, is riding along with President Obama. So be sure to catch Wolf's interview with the President tomorrow on "THE SITUATION ROOM." That's at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

It's been nice sitting next to you today. Thank you.

COSTELLO: Yes, you should come back more often.

CHO: I'm going to try.

COSTELLO: I've missed you.

CHO: And I've missed you, too. Thank you.

COSTELLO: CNN NEWSROOM with Kyra Phillips starts right now. Good morning, Kyra.