American Morning

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April 8th, 2009
03:00 PM ET

We Listen!

Here’s your daily recap of the best feedback we got from YOU today. Continue the conversation below. And remember, keep it brief, and keep it clean. Thanks!

Wednesday’s American Morning viewers weighed in on President Obama’s trip abroad, with most feeling great pride and accomplishment. A minority were upset with the President’s apologetic tone during his trip:

  • Gabe: I'll tell you what President Obama has accomplished abroad. He has restored the good name of America and renewed its leadership in the world. As Americans we can now hold our heads high abroad, even in Muslim countries. It is one of his greatest accomplishments, and in such a short time, undoing all the harm that Bush and that craven bully Cheney did during their disastrous presidency. And don't bother taking the Republicans seriously in their criticisms of Obama. Politically, they are an endangered species.
  • Vic: Watched the President apologize to another nation about the way American people react to Muslims. How embarrassing he is. Does he not remember 9/11!!!

How do you feel about President Obama’s trip abroad? Was it a success or a failure? Do you believe the president was too apologetic, as the second viewer states? Let us know your thoughts.

Viewers were especially opinionated about Michelle Obama’s figure unveiled at Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum:

  • Rosa: Carol Costello's on air disdain for Michelle Obama's wax figure is a disgrace. Obviously she does not appreciate the fact that “beauty' is not just reserved for those women who only have European features. But to laugh on air is sick. She should be fired!
  • Don: The wax replica makes her mouth TOO BIG.

What do you think of the President and Mrs. Obama’s wax figures? Are they appropriately depicted or have the artists failed in their attempts to capture the Obamas in wax? If you disapprove, how would you change them? Let us know what you think about this or your opinion on any of today’s stories.

Filed under: We Listen
April 8th, 2009
01:42 PM ET

Exclusive: Interview with father of crewman aboard hijacked ship

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="Attackers hijacked the Maersk Alabama, shown here, formerly known as the Alva Maersk."]

See the entire interview tomorrow on American Morning, 6-9am on CNN.

BUZZARDS BAY, Massachusetts (CNN) — U.S. crew members have “taken down” one of the pirates who hijacked their vessel early Wednesday hundreds of miles off Somalia’s coast, one of the crew members told his wife and father.

Shane Murphy relayed the information in quick phone calls to his wife and father in his home state of Massachusetts.

He told his wife that the crew — all of whom were unarmed — knew that help was on the way and made their move on the pirates when the U.S. Navy began to arrive. Murphy said the crew let the pirates think they had control of the vessel, but the entire time felt confident that the situation would be resolved.

Four hijackers boarded the Maersk Alabama early Wednesday, and one is in custody, according to Pentagon officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The three others tried to escape, and their status is unknown, they said.

CNN's Jason Carroll spoke exclusively with the father of crew member Shane Murphy.

Joe Murphy: They also sent a global distress messsage which was recieved by the United States Navy and the US Navy responded immediately. The problem is that the Navy was almost 200 miles away. They used evasive maneuvers to keep the pirates off.

Jason Carroll: And they did that for several hours?

Murphy: 3 hours- over 3 hours, 3 to 5 hours. And once the pirates get onboard there's nothing that can be done.

Carroll: Do you know if anyone was armed onboard?

Murphy: No. The ship is not armed.

Carroll: The pirates made their way on board?

Murphy: They made their way onbaord and they held the crew in ther secure area. they shut down all communication- no further communication. Stopped the ship and it progressed from that point on.

Filed under: Piracy
April 8th, 2009
12:00 PM ET

Broke, unemployed, and you owe the IRS

From CNN’s Sarah Hagen

This year tax attorneys are expecting an increased number of people will wait until after the April 15th deadline, to file their taxes. An estimated 81-100 million people have not yet filed, according to Roni Deutch, the author of "The Tax Lady's Guide To Beating the IRS". Only 70 million people had filed their taxes as of March 15th, according to Deutch.

Anyone can apply for a six-month extension (Form 4868). According to Deutch, in a bad economy, individuals will most likely owe the IRS and won't be able to afford their taxes. Tax attorneys are expecting a rise in the number of automatic six-month extensions.

Hypothetically, you're broke, you're unemployed and you owe the IRS. Well, there are a few opportunities to save some money. President Obama's new administration is working with the IRS to ease the burden for 2009. For many unemployed workers, the first $2,400 received from unemployment compensation is not subject to taxation, according to the IRS; however, "There is no such thing as a tax fairy, ultimately, unemployment will qualify as taxable income," according to Deutch. Don't be fooled by severance packages either, those are taxable too.


Filed under: Business
April 8th, 2009
11:00 AM ET

Chimp attack – who pays?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Police say Travis, seen here as a younger chimp, was like a child to his owner, Sandra Herold."]

From CNN's Vinita Singla

Remember the horrific chimp attack last February when the Connecticut owner called 911 as her friend was being brutally mauled? Hear the call.

Now the family of the victim Charla Nash, may be suing the state, claiming that state officials knew the wild animal was a ticking time bomb.

“We’re looking into all potential avenues of recovery,” said Matthew D. Newman, an attorney representing the Nash family.

The commissioner at the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, an agency responsible for wild animals that are kept as so-called pets, admitted the DEP could have been “more aggressive” in handling the 200-pound primate.


Filed under: Controversy
April 8th, 2009
10:24 AM ET

Time’s Bobby Ghosh: Obama shouldn’t have visited Iraq

Bobby Ghosh of Time Magazine speaks to CNN's Kiran Chetry.
Bobby Ghosh of Time Magazine speaks to CNN's Kiran Chetry.

President Obama made his surprise visit to Iraq, he says, mainly to thank our troops for their service. Bobby Ghosh, Senior Editor at Time Magazine, thinks that the president's trip to Iraq sends the wrong message. He spoke to Kiran Chetry on CNN’s American Morning Wednesday.

Kiran Chetry: You wrote in your article, Baghdad was the wrong choice for Obama. Iraq is Bush’s war. Obama's main contribution to Iraq has been to criticize the war while on the campaign trail. So you believe that he really shouldn't have visited Iraq?

Bobby Ghosh: I think he should have gone to Afghanistan first. That is the war that he's taken ownership for. That is the war he's said repeatedly must be won. He's sending 21,000 additional troops there this year and he's described it as the right war. If it's the right war then that would have been the right place for him to go.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Iraq
April 8th, 2009
09:56 AM ET

Castro: Cuban people want "normal relations"

Congresswoman Barbara Lee discusses the Congressional Black Caucuses' meeting with Fidel and Raul Castro.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee discusses the Congressional Black Caucuses' meeting with Fidel and Raul Castro.

Cuba’s former dictator, Fidel Castro, has met with U.S. Officials for the first time since he became ill in 2006. He met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus in Havana. This meeting comes as the Obama administration is reportedly considering possibly ending a half-century of Cold War isolation.

Representative Barbara Lee is the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and one of the three members who met with Fidel and Raul Castro. She spoke with Kiran Chetry on CNN’s American Morning on Wednesday.

Kiran Chetry: This is a subject of intense interest because we have not seen Fidel Castro, the former Cuban dictator, in so long. When you met with him, how did he look?

Barbara Lee: He looked fine. Of course, he's been ill, but I can tell you one thing, he was very energetic, very clear thinking. He knew what we had been doing while we were in Cuba. He knew our mission. He recognized who we were. And he was very engaging. We discussed quite a few subjects. Of course, bottom line is we wanted to talk more about normal relations between our two countries and how he viewed diplomacy and discussions and dialogue as it relates to ending the embargo against Cuba. It was very interesting because he said, like President Raul Castro said the night before, that the Cuban people want normal relations, dialogue without preconditions. And we know here in our own country that 68 percent of the American people want normal relations with Cuba.


Filed under: Cuba
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