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Video Captures Fatal Police Shooting; Two American Service Members Killed; Afghan Policeman Kills U.S. Troops; Burmese Pythons Invade Florida; Joe Arpaio Comments on Obama's Immigration Policy; Linda Ronstadt Talks Immigration in Arizona; CDC Warns Baby Boomers about Hepatitis C; Paul Ryan Steps Up Attacks on President Obama; Firefighters Hope for Progress against Wildfires
Aired August 17, 2012 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Suzanne Malveaux. This hour in the CNN NEWSROOM, we are focusing on a police shooting in Michigan that left a mentally ill man dead.
Plus, CNN has learned about extraordinary new measures to protect U.S. Troops from getting shot by Afghan troops and police after two more soldiers were killed today.
And why millions of baby boomers now have to get tested for Hepatitis C.
Let's get right to it. I want to warn you about the first story, this video, disturbing. A man was killed in a confrontation with police. This happened in Saginaw, Michigan. You are going to see amateur video of the shooting which is going to shed some light on how the officers actually handled the situation. It raises a lot of questions about how police approach suspects who may be mentally disturbed. Here is Jason Carroll.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): A joint investigation is underway into the shooting. Amateur video details what happened during the final moments. I do have to warn you, the video is graphic.
(voice-over): This amateur video purchased by CNN and not made public until now captured the confrontation between six Saginaw police officers and Milton Hall, a 49-year-old man who his family says suffered from serious mental health issues. Hall, seen in the middle of your screen, police say, had just had a run-in with a convenient store clerk. He was in a standoff with police and holding some sort of knife. A female officer is heard shouting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE.)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE.)
CARROLL: If you listen carefully, Hall is then heard continually to yell at police.
MILTON HALL: My name is Milton Hall, call 911. (INAUDIBLE.)
CARROLL: Hall seems agitated but not intimidated by a police dog.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
CARROLL: Heard on the tape, a witness describes what he sees.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's in a karate stand, he's about to go ham on him.
CARROLL: Then, as Hall appears to take a few steps, everything comes to a head. Local media report 46 shots were fired. CNN counted the sounds of at least 30 shots on the videotape. Anthony Baber witnessed the shooting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY BABER: All of the sudden, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow and he drops. You know, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, and he drops. I was about where that -- where that blue van is. I was parked in my van.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: Tabitha Perry saw it, too.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TABITHA PERRY: I heard one of the officers say something to the fact where, put the knife down or I'll let the dog go.
CARROLL (on camera): And do you believe the officers were justified in what they did?
PERRY: No, I don't. No, I don't because what they did -- there was a better way to do it. I think their judgment was off. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL (voice-over): Perry is not alone. Hall's mother says Saginaw police overreacted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEWEL HALL: Emotionally, I have at lot of pain. And I -- and I am stunned that six human beings would stand in front of one human being and fire 46 shots. I just don't understand that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROL: On the day of the shooting, July 1st, the Saginaw police chief defended his officer's actions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GERALD CLIFF, POLICE CHIEF, SAGINAW, MICHIGAN POLICE: This is someone that, from our understanding, has a long history, not only with police from our department but with the county, known to be an assaultive person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: Over the last month, members of the community have voiced outrage about the Hall shooting not satisfied with the police investigation into the officer's response. We showed the video of the shooting to city councilman Norman Braddock.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NORMAN BRADDOCK, COUNCILMAN, SAGINAW CITY COUNCIL: I can see why people are traumatized at looking at something like that. And we need answers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: Braddock has been critical of what he calls the slow pace of the shooting investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(on camera): Could it be that investigators are just trying to make sure they are doing a thorough job and that is why the investigation is --
BRADDOCK: I am sure that has something to do with it, but at the same time, it should be a top priority.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: -- where you are in terms of the investigation.
(voice-over): The Michigan state police lead investigator would not discuss the case, instead referring us to the Saginaw county prosecutor who told us, I can't tell you when the case is going to be completed. The matter is being thoroughly investigated by an independent police agency, the Michigan state police, along with the Michigan attorney general's office. Hall's mother already feels she knows the answer to the question of whether the police used too much force.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HALL: It appeared to a firing squad dressed in police uniforms. And it -- there was another way. They did not have to kill him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL (on camera): The six officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. And, again, at this point, there is no telling how long that investigation will last, and assistant prosecutor telling me that he wants to make sure that this investigation is done precisely to get to the bottom of exactly what happened out here. Jason Carroll, CNN, Saginaw, Michigan.
MALVEAUX: Later, we are going to talk to a safety expert, a trainer of police. But here is what we're working on for this hour.
MALVEAUX: Moments ago, we showed you amateur video of a shooting. This is a man who was killed in a confrontation with police, this happened in Saginaw, Michigan. It raises a lot of questions about how police actually approach suspects who might be mentally disturbed. Of course, why did the police fire so many shots? How should the officers even approach somebody who is mentally ill? Well, former police officer, Lou Palumbo, calls the shooting a perceptive nightmare for police, but he says, people should not rush to judgment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOU PALUMBO, FORMER POLICE OFFICER: There is a couple of separate issued here. One is if the shooting is this shooting is justifiable and they may find out that the shooting is justifiable. The second issue is the amount of rounds that were fired at him. You know, one of the things that the public has to understand is that an individual wielding a knife at you at about 20 feet can be on top of you in a split second. The public does not know this, because they don't do it for a living.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: -- with the Georgia chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness where she leads the crisis intervention team. Now the -- thank you for joining us. First of all, the family of Milton Hall, they say that this unprovoked, that this was excessive. How -- you train police officers here in Atlanta.
PAT STRODE, NATIONAL ALLIANCE ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Yes.
MALVEAUX: How should they approach somebody who they suspect is mentally ill?
STRODE: Well, what we ask the officers to do first is to observe the behavior and we teach them to identify behavior that is indicative, that could be indicative of someone having a mental illness. And the first thing you want them to do is use verbal de- escalation skills, using their voices and words to help de-escalate the crisis. And introduce themselves, and begin questioning -- lines of questioning that would help to engage the individual and then -- and possibly and hopefully to de-escalate the crisis.
MALVEAUX: When you look at the video and you see what happened there -- it's a amateur video, we're not really sure -- they're obviously -- there are two sides to this story. But when you see this, do you think that the police officers behaved appropriately and how should they have managed themselves in this situation?
STRODE: Well, not knowing all of the details of that particular case, I really can't rush to judgment. To be shot that many times, that does seem quite a lot. And I do think if C.I.T -- I'm not sure those office have C.I.T. training. But if they did --
MALVEAUX: C.I.T. meaning?
STRODE: Crisis Intervention Team training, that's the program that we use to educate law enforcement officers. But, nationally, we have seen that if they use C.I.T., the it substantially reduces the incidents like that, also officer injury, and injury to individuals who have mental illness.
MALVEAUX: The one thing that I don't understand, a lot of people take a look at this video and they say, he was holding a knife and they had guns, lots of guns, and he was definitely outnumbered. And you look at scenario and you think, how is it that they felt so threatened by this individual who just had a knife. He didn't have the same kind of weapons that they did?
STRODE: OK. Well, like the officer said, police officers are trained a lot differently than the rest of us are. And, again, not knowing the circumstances of that case. But even in cases involving weapons and knives, we would like the officers to at least try the de- escalation skills. Do they always work? Absolutely not. But in most cases, when officers are C.I.T. trained, they do work.
MALVEAUX: So, give us a sense, we've seen this play out. We saw it play out in Michigan. We saw it in New York City, this was just last week where you had an individual who was shot and killed. He also had a knife. What do the police officers need to do? What do they need to know in order to resolve this kind of thing without it ending up in the person being killed?
STRODE: One thing, I think, which is essential for them to know, is that individuals in mental health crisis have a lot of other stimuli going on. They're typically not violent but if they feel threatened, they may pose behaviors -- or exhibit behaviors that would be indicative of them being violent. You know, vis-a-vis the knife. We want them to be able to engage the individual, just talk to them. And most folks in crisis, that's what they want you to do. They want you to talk to them, because they are maybe hearing voices and having visual hallucinations. It may be important for the officers to repeat what they have said. It's important not to kind of circle the wagons, to -- we want officers to lower their voices, we want them to decrease the amount of stimuli, and sometimes this also includes other officers that are on the scene. Engage the folks. We want them to be in charge of the situation, of course, but we want them to use low tones of voice and engage the individual in that manner.
MALVEAUX: True. And, finally, is there anything that if you were to look, would you be able to identify somebody who had a mental illness? Would there be anything obvious the look for?
STRODE: Well, there are some behaviors. If someone is agitated and pacing, but I -- let me -- let me just preface that by saying, sometimes folks are high on substances or alcohol, they can also exhibit the behaviors that are -- that look like mental illness. So, they have to be careful. But we don't train them to diagnose. We want them to be able to identify those behaviors, the agitation, the pacing, perhaps talking to objects or people that are not there. It could be uncontrollable crying, a number of issues, paranoia, those are things that the officers can identify. We've trained officers in 2,500 communities in the country. And, you know, in Georgia, --
STRODE: -- we do it from the top-down approach where we have educated over 100 police departments, over 50 sheriff offices, 17 colleges and universities, and many other agencies.
MALVEAUX: Well, that's good work and we've got to leave it there. But thank you very much we really appreciate your perspective.
STRODE: Can I say one thing?
MALVEAUX: Very quickly, (INAUDIBLE.)
STRODE: Next week we are celebrating our international C.I.T. conference in Las Vegas and we invite you guys to come out and see what folks are doing, not just around the country, but internationally with the C.I.T.
MALVEAUX: All right, great. Thank you for the invitation.
STRODE: Thank you.
MALVEAUX: Appreciate it.
In Afghanistan today, a police recruit shot and killed two American service members before he was shot and killed. Well, it happened here in western Afghanistan's Farah Province. We don't know the names, the ranks or even the branches of the U.S. troops that were killed today. But this is just the latest incident of what the military calls green on blue attacks. When supposed friendly turns against an unsuspecting coalition troop. I want to talk to Barbara Starr at the Pentagon about it.
Barbara, one of the things -- you've been embedded with the military. I was there last year in Afghanistan. They train the Afghans. It's one of the things the American troops talk about. They worry that the people that they are training right beside them might turn on them. How do they deal with this problem?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is becoming tougher by the day. I mean we should -- we should regroup here a little bit and remind everyone, it is a very small number of incidents. Twenty-four American troops tragically killed in these attacks these -- this year so far. Very serious. Very worrisome to the Pentagon. But in perspective, in terms of numbers, it's a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of troops on all sides that are serving honorably.
So, how do you deal with this, because it does have the broader effect of demoralizing everyone? Well, now, General John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghan, has ordered that all of his troops, all coalition forces, will carry loaded weapons even on base. Even at NATO headquarters. This is a very significant move, Suzanne, and it really ups it now. It says that these troops are going to do everything they can to defend themselves.
And Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also weighing in with a concern. So I want you to have a quick listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: One of the reasons the Taliban is targeting in this manner, we believe, is the success that our Afghan partners are having on the battlefield. The reality is, the Taliban has not been able to regain any territory lost. And so they're resorting to these kinds of attacks to create havoc. And there's no question, it's of concern. It's dangerous. And we've got to do everything we can do to try to prevent it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: Small numbers or not, Suzanne, it is creating havoc. So, what can they do about it? Well, there's not a lot of new ideas there. Panetta's talking about improving intelligence, improving security screening of those who join the Afghan forces. But General Allen is going with getting his troops armed and ready to fight back.
MALVEAUX: And, Barbara, we know that the troops, U.S. troops, are going to be leaving in significant numbers. Does this escalation, if you will, does that indicate anything in terms of getting point -- close to that deadline?
STARR: At this point, it does not. There is a NATO commitment, an international commitment, that U.S. troops will stay in significant numbers through the end of 2014 and will stay on after that to help train and work with Afghan forces, especially U.S. special forces. Right now, no indication of any rush for the exit, no indication of getting out any sooner. Pretty much committed to that international deadline. But Allen, General Allen, is making it clear through these orders, he wants his troops to be able to defend themselves as long as they are there.
MALVEAUX: All right, Barbara Starr. Thank you, Barbara.
MALVEAUX: More U.S. soldiers killed themselves, very tragic, last month than in any month since the Army has been keeping track. That is according to an official Army statement. Thirty-eight confirmed or suspected suicides by active duty soldiers, reservists and members of the National Guard. That is a third of the suicides reported by the Army for the entire year so far with 67 soldier deaths still under investigation. The Army is the only branch of the armed forces that reports suicides on a monthly basis.
The biggest python ever to slither into Florida captured and killed this week. These pythons kill native Florida species. We're going to talk with Philippe Cousteau about why invasive species are a huge problem in the state.
MALVEAUX: They eat everything from rabbits to full-sized deer. Yes, scientists say Burmese pythons are putting other species at risk of extinction. It was just a week ago the University of Florida released these pictures of the state's largest python. It measured 17 feet, 7 inches. Carried 87 eggs inside. CNN's special correspondent Philippe Cousteau, he's joining us now.
Philippe, wow, you take a look at those pictures, it's pretty daunting when you look at a python that size. Where on earth does this thing even come from, and what kind of problem does it pose?
PHILIPPE COUSTEAU, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, these are Burmese pythons and they originate in southeast Asia. And they have been established in the everglades since about 2000, 2002. And, of course, they present a tremendous problems in the everglades. They're an invasive species. They have virtually no predators. And they're laying waste, wiping out all sorts of different animals that actually belong there.
MALVEAUX: How do you deal with this? I mean, do you find some sort of predator? What do you do to try to get rid of those pythons?
COUSTEAU: Well, when we were down in the everglades, the python that you're seeing there, a photograph of, is actually an albino python. So, in the wild, they don't last that long. Normally pythons have that dark brown color. They're very, very good at hiding. So they're very hard to find. And recently, actually, they've been employing hunting dogs to be able to sniff out the pythons. But the National Park Service has captured about 1,800 pythons in the last decade, which they think is a fraction of the total amount of pythons. They are prolific, but still very, very hard to find and very hard to hunt.
MALVEAUX: Do they need -- do they need to simply contain these pythons and put them somewhere, or do people feel like they should be eliminated?
COUSTEAU: Well, probably the best thing to do, there's so many of them and they're so large, is just to eliminate them. Again, they are an invasive species. And recent reports, one just published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, talked about the fact that raccoon, a possum species, are virtually disappearing completely. Fox, rabbits, you don't even find them anymore in the southern everglades, which used to be -- they used to be there in abundance. So the pythons, we believe, are responsible for wiping out whole groups of species in the everglades. So the best thing to do is just to get rid of them.
MALVEAUX: Wow, that's unbelievable.
Yes, let's switch to another topic here. There's some environmental groups that are saying that the great white shark should be put on the endangered species list because their numbers are dwindling so fast. Why is that happening, do we know?
COUSTEAU: Well, the surprising report estimates there's less than 400 great white sharks here off the coast of California. That's a lot less than we thought there were. There's a lot of estimates. You know, we don't know a lot about the life cycle of the great white shark. People think we've explored the oceans, we've discovered everything there is to know. We know very, very little about them. And the fear is certainly they have a very low birthrates and that small baby great white sharks are being caught in gill nets which are used for fishing here off the coast of California for things like halibut. So there's a lot of concern that overfishing or its (ph) by (ph) catch is impacting the great white shark population much more than we thought and that it should quite possibly be placed onto the endangered species list here in California.
MALVEAUX: And I understand that, Philippe, you're going on a great white shark dive off the coast of California in a couple of weeks. Tell us about it.
COUSTEAU: I am. You know, I -- one of the most amazing experiences you can have. Certainly a bucket list experience is diving with great white sharks. They're not the monstrous killers that they get the bad rap for being. Of course, shark week is this week and the 25th anniversary of "Jaws" and everybody, you know, talks about how afraid they are of sharks. But, you know, in 2011, there were 12 shark fatalities around the world, and yet we kill 100 million sharks a year on average for shark fin soup mostly. So, sharks have a lot more to be afraid (ph) from us than we do from them.
MALVEAUX: All right, we're going to be following up on that shark dive with you in a couple of weeks, OK?
COUSTEAU: I'll look forward to it. Thanks, Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: All right, thanks, Philippe.
She's 11-time Grammy winner. Now singer Linda Ronstadt, she is using her fame to fight immigration laws in Arizona. We're going to talk to her up next.
Don't forget, you can watch CNN live on your computer while you're at work. Head to cnn.com/tv.
MALVEAUX: A shooting at the headquarters of a conservative Christian group sets off a round of finger pointing. The head of the Family Research Council is putting some blame on the Southern Poverty Law Center. It's a group that tracks the activities of hate groups. Well, a man wounded a security guard at the Family Research Council offices in Washington and the group's president says that the suspect, Floyd Corkins, is ultimately responsible. But, he says that blame does not stop there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY PERKINS, PRESIDENT, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Corkins was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that have been reckless in labeling organizations hate groups because they disagree with them on public policy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: The Southern Poverty Law Center calls the charge outrageous.
A settlement has been reached in a racial discrimination lawsuit that outraged people across the country. This involved a Pennsylvania swim club that, back in 2009, banned a group of day care children, most of them black, from swimming at their pool. Federal officials say that the club revoked the children's memberships after the white members complained about them being there. Well, the club has since filed for bankruptcy and dozens of children involved in the case are now going to get proceeds from the sale of the club property.
Battle over immigration is intensifying today. Controversial Arizona sheriff, Joe Arpaio, weighed in on the immigration policy. It is the policy that allows children of immigrants to stay in the U.S. for two years without fear of deportation. Sheriff Arpaio says that is amnesty, and he is accusing the president of playing politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE ARPAIO, SHERIFF, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA: Why did the president -- an executive order just at this time when there is an election coming up? So this is definitely politics, this whole situation on illegal immigration. And the White House and Congress, one of these days, should look at it, forget the executive orders, but get some laws passed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Arpaio says he will follow Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's directive ordering the state agencies to deny benefits to children of illegal immigrants.
Many immigrant rights groups are blasting Brewer's decision, and one of them is Linda Ronstadt. You may know her from the hits, a lot them, including "You're No Good" and "When Will I Be Loved." But she is an immigration rights activist.
And she is joining us live from San Francisco.
Good to see you as always.
First of all, tell us why this is important to you.
LINDA RONSTADT, SINGER: Well, it was a hot summer in Arizona and Jan Brewer was probably standing out in the sun and it addled her brain. What she is doing is she is spreading the politics of hatred and racial divisiveness. She is doing a great deal of harm to the good will that Arizona has managed to gain for itself over the years. She's making it hard on everybody. It is mean-spirited, what she's doing.
People don't migrate from where they live because it is a nice place. They migrate because they are desperate and need to feed their families. People come across the line -- imagine if you were brought across the border when you were 3 years old by your family who ere trying to desperately escape poverty and trying to give you a better life with enough food to eat and education, and then you found out maybe you found out you were not legal. And then you find out that you are an undocumented migrant when you are 17 or 18 or when you're 21 or 30 and already have a child and a family.
I went across the border not too long ago, and to the place where they deport people. You know, they sort of throw them back across the border, and they don't have any money or identification. They have no family in Mexico. In many cases, they don't even speak Spanish, because these kids grew up here. They are Americans. They were raised in the United States.
And I met a woman --
MALVEAUX: Linda -- oh, go ahead.
RONSTADT: -- who had just been deported. And she left a 2-year- old woman behind. This woman was desperate to get back to her child, as any good mother would be. She was crying in my arms. She was there looking for a coyote to smuggler her back across the border where faced the chance of being raped. She had no money. She had to give every bit of money she had when she got there to this person to smuggle her back. But she was going to do whatever she could do to get back to her child --
MALVEAUX: It might surprise people --
RONSTADT: -- like anybody would do.
MALVEAUX: Sure. It might surprise people that you are involved in this cause. Does this impact you in a personal way?
RONSTADT: Well, I grew up in the desert. My grandfather was born in Mexico. My -- we were raised Mexican-American. I grew up very proud of the fact that I was Mexican-American. We grew up with two languages spoken in our household. I sang in English and Spanish. We went back and forth across the border before they built that ridiculous fence. People were friends. We did business back and forth across the line. People were able to travel back and forth and sell things and buy things and get jobs and work and send money back to their families if they wanted to. But what Jan Brewer is doing is just mean. She is making it so people cannot support themselves.
MALVEAUX: In all fairness, let's listen, first, to her explanation to why she feels it is necessary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAN BREWER, (R), GOVERNOR OF ARIZONA: We will issue an employment authorization card for those people who applied, but they will not be entitled to a driver's license, nor any public benefits in response to the public overwhelming voting that no public benefits would be extended to the illegal aliens in the state of Arizona.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Linda, the bottom line she says, Linda, the state cannot afford the pay for the benefits, and that is part of the problem.
RONSTADT: It's nonsense because these people have been paying sales taxes and, in many cases, they have been paying into Social Security all of their lives, if they have had any jobs at all, and they've paying into a system that they can't take money out of it. So they are expanding the amount of money into Arizona. Arizona can afford it. If they wouldn't -- let's look at the money for a minute. What Arizona is spending an awful lot of money on is private prisons. And Chuck Coughlin and Paul Simpson --
MALVEAUX: All right.
RONSTADT: -- are two of her top advisers. They are both lobbyists for the Correction Corporation of America, which is the biggest -- one of the prison giants, private prison giants in the country.
MALVEAUX: Linda Ronstadt, we are going to have to leave it there.
RONSTADT: Almost 60 percent of --
MALVEAUX: We're going to have to wrap it there. We are obviously going to have a lot more discussion about this. We will bring you back and some of the other players. We've just run out of time.
But thank you for the perspective. We appreciate it.
It is an unbelievable statistic. One out of every 30 baby boomer has hepatitis C, and most don't even know it. Find out why CDC wants everybody in this age group to get tested. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MALVEAUX: A major health warning for all baby boomers.
Elizabeth Cohen is here to talk about it.
What are we talking about here?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The CDC has said all baby boomers born between 1945 and 1965 for this issue should go once for a test of Hepatitis C to see if they have it. The CDC does not do this a lot.
COHEN: They don't often tell a huge group of people, please, do this.
MALVEAUX: What is the concern? What's the worry?
COHEN: The concern is that the rates of Hepatitis C are high among people in this age group. And they don't know they have the disease. If you look at the numbers, for people born between '45 and '65, one in 30 of us -- and I say "us" because I'm in the group -- has Hepatitis C. And 50 to 75 percent of the people in this group don't know they have it, because you can be infected for years before you actually get sick.
MALVEAUX: And what happens if you have Hepatitis C? Is it deadly or very serious?
COHEN: It is potentially deadly. It affects different people differently. But, in the end, you can need a liver transplant and you can die from it. It can be a serious disease because it attacks the liver.
MALVEAUX: Why just baby boomers? Are people who are younger or older in the same situation here?
COHEN: Well, that is tricky. They have identified this group as having a high rate of Hepatitis C, and they think that it is because this was, you know, back in the '60s or '70s, the Summer of Love, and probably more needle sharing than should have occurred at the time. And there was no programs to help -- giving people clean needles didn't exist at the time. And another reason is that the '60s, and '70s and '80s and even early '90s, they did not check for Hepatitis C when they gave people blood transfusions. So if you got a blood transfusion, you might have gotten it that way.
If you were born in 1944 or 1966, and you want to get tested, go ahead. There is no harm in being tested. Only good things can come from it.
MALVEAUX: What does the test involve?
COHEN: A blood test. It's very simple, not a big deal. MALVEAUX: What would happen if you found out you have Hepatitis C?
COHEN: Then you are referred to a specialist and you will get treatment. Treatment differs from in different places, depending upon how badly, if you have symptoms or if you don't have symptoms. But there are drugs out there. And what you want to do is to prevent the need for a liver transplant and, obviously, you want to prevent dying from the disease.
MALVEAUX: All right. Getting tested, important.
MALVEAUX: Thank you, Elizabeth. Have a good weekend.
COHEN: You, too.
MALVEAUX: Four planes heading back into the night skies of Dallas. That is because they are spraying pesticides to kill off mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus. The planes are expected to cover 100,000 acres. Texas has been hit hard by an outbreak of the deadly virus. But cases of West Nile have cropped up all across the nation. You can see from the map from the CDC. These cases are marked by green circles. Now both Mississippi and Louisiana have reported more than 50 cases of the disease.
President Obama's re-election campaign supposedly wants to make a deal with Mitt Romney: show us five years of tax returns and we will stop bothering you.
MALVEAUX: Republican vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, stepped up attacks on President Obama. At a rally in Virginia, Ryan said the president's campaign is one of frustration and anger.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN, (R), WISCONSIN & VIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Undoubtedly, President Obama inherited a difficult fiscal situation when he came into office. But the problem is, he made things much worse.
RYAN: He is not changing tune, but going in the same direction. So really what we have here is we have a president who has run out of ideas. And therefore, we have a president who has decided that his campaign is going to be based on frustration and anger. Hope and change has now become attack and blame.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: We want to bring in political director, Mark Preston.
And, Mark, Paul Ryan, settling into the job here, the attack dog job. But we know that Joe Biden does the same thing here. How do people receive this? Are they paying attention to these kinds of jabs or looking to hear something else?
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, you know something, Suzanne, we certainly hear that the American public does not like to hear this rhetoric, and we hear it certainly when it comes to the television ads, specifically. They call it dirty campaigning, but it is also very effective campaigning.
What is interesting about how Paul Ryan does it, is that he is a wonk, a policy wonk. He knows a lot about the issues. So when he actually is able to make the criticisms or the attacks on President Obama, he can wrap it up within the whole idea of policy.
And, Suzanne, it is not the first time he has been critical of President Obama. Back in 2010, as the House Budget chair, he was critical of President Obama at a meeting that President Obama had addressed, a bunch of House Republicans, and Paul Ryan challenged him. So he is settling in pretty well. And tomorrow, Suzanne, we will see him in Florida where he is going to take on the issue of Medicare head-on, and discuss it and defend it. He will have his mother at his side when he does so.
MALVEAUX: OK. Bringing in the family there.
President Obama -- we have heard his campaign talking about this so-called deal, if you release five years of his tax returns, Romney, we'll leave you alone. We don't believe that is a serious offer in any way, that this is really kind of a serious spin back and forth?
PRESTON: Yes, I mean, no question about it. And how nice of them -- it was Jim Messena (ph), the campaign manager, who sent a note to Romney's campaign manager, saying, if you give us five years, we won't have anymore years. But it was not only sent to Matt Rhodes (ph), but it was sent to the likes of you and me.
It was also posted on the Internet, right, so it was a gamesmanship there to try to keep the whole tax issue in the news. And it's going to stay in the news because Democrats see it as a winning issue heading into November.
MALVEAUX: We have debates coming up. Tell us about the debate prep coming up.
PRESTON: This is what happens behind the scenes and we try to give you a flavor of how they prepare for it. But now we know that Chris van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, will actually play the role of Paul Ryan against Joe Biden. These are these meetings that take place before Joe Biden is to go out and debate Paul Ryan. Chris van Hollen is an interesting choice, because he serves on the same committee and understands how Paul Ryan thinks. So that is why they're trying to do that. Chris van Hollen will be Paul Ryan in the debates. And we know John Kerry, the Massachusetts Senator, who knows Mitt Romney very well, will play Mitt Romney in the debate prep with President Obama.
MALVEAUX: OK. Thank you, Mark. It is fascinating. If you were a fly on the wall to watch the debate preps happen.
PRESTON: I know, right? Yes, good stuff.
MALVEAUX: Have a good weekend.
Here is free money advice from the CNN "Help Desk."
ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there. Here on the CNN "Help Desk," we are talking about Social Security.
And with me now Liz Miller and Doug Flynn.
This is your question, Doug.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will be turning 66 this October. I did not take my Social Security. Did I make the right decision?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: What do you think?
DOUG FLYNN, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER, FLYNN ZITO CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: Absolutely. There is a huge benefit of waiting from 66 to 70, and you will get an additional 8 percent credit per year which is huge. No sense to wait past 70. But the difference is tremendous. And probably one of the most overlooked retirement strategies to maximize the annuity income for the rest of the life. The break even is 83. So 66, you have to live to 78 to make it work. And at 70, you have to live at 83. If you think you will live past 83 and you don't need the Social Security, take it at 70.
MALVEAUX: What if they need the money? You should not tap into Social Security too early. What suggestions do you have?
LIZ MILLER, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER & PRESIDENT, SUMMIT PLACE FINANCIAL ADVISORS: Well, it depends on the personal circumstances. You can't say there is a perfect age. But what I will say is that Social Security has a fabulous, fabulous web site these days where you can figure out this very easily. They will ask you easy questions and put it in and figure out what is the best time to pull out under your personal circumstances. And if you need the money, that is what it is there for. We have been putting in many, many years. And no one should feel guilty if they take it out as early as they can if they need the funds. It's just better to wait. More money if you wait. But it is your money, and you deserve it when you need it. KOSIK: Thank you very much.
If you have an issue that you want the experts to tackle, upload a 30-second video with your "Help Desk" with the question to ireport.com.
MALVEAUX: Dozens of houses have been destroyed by the fire east of Seattle, but firefighters may be getting help today.
MALVEAUX: Firefighters out west are hoping today is the day they will make some real progress with dozens of wildfires.
I want to bring in Chad Myers to talk about this
How is the weather?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's still hot. You get if your fire gear and it's going to feel like 200 degrees. That's the way it's going to be for the next cup of months. The good news is it's not windy. We have a red flag warning. That means if a fire goes it could keep going. It's dry and hot but it's not that 50 miles-an-hour wind you see in southern California with the Santa Ana winds. They do get fires popping up today. Should be able to do good structure protection and probably not lose anymore houses today. It's not like over the weekend when the 60 houses went up in a couple of hours.
MALVEAUX: Thank goodness.
MYERS: Our firefighters are fighting 1.2 acres that have been on fire or already burned. We are really stretching those resources. We've been focusing on the past couple of days. Some of these fires up near Redding, 112 degrees in the firefighting effort there on Monday. Just crazy temps out there.
MALVEAUX: You've got to praise those folks out there every day.
MYERS: We got something else. I've just got off the phone with NASA. It was a teleconference with a thousands other people.
MALVEAUX: It sounds very impressive.
MYERS: But we got a new picture. We got a new picture.
MALVEAUX: OK, talk about it.
MYERS: It's not amazing but we're not going to start seeing the amazing stuff for probably another couple of weeks. They are unloading it. They are putting everything back together. Obviously, it was all folded up when it was coming down. Now they are unfolding the cameras. There's a picture of itself. It is a self-portrait. They're going to be driving to it.
MALVEAUX: This is all from Mars?
MYERS: This is all from Mars. It's going to keep getting better. As the people in the control room -- you and me, we want instantaneous gratification. Where is my high-definition photos? Where's my Martian? It's going to take some time. NASA does things very slowly when they don't want to break stuff. It's up there. They'll do it slowly. So we'll have to give them some time.
MALVEAUX: Next week, you bring the pictures of Martians.
MYERS: I will.
MALVEAUX: Thank you, Chad.
All right. How much would you need to be paid to leave your phone at the door when dining out at a restaurant? One restaurant says it's sick of the calls and it's willing to put up its money to stop them.
MALVEAUX: One restaurant is offering an interesting incentive for not using your cell phone. A restaurant in Los Angeles is giving diners a discount to leave your cell phone at the door. You get 5 percent off the bill. How is this going? The owner said people are generally enthusiastic about it.
The top 1 percenters are showing off their wealth on a blog called Rich Kids of Instagram. Users are posting photos of their extravagant lifestyle. This is a 107,000 bill from a restaurant. Another one showing people sliding down a giant inflatable water slide on the side of a mega-yacht. This shows a gold A.K.-47 on display. The blog started in July.
CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with Fredericka Whitfield.
Have a great weekend, Fred.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, thanks. You, too. Have a great weekend.