American Morning

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May 1st, 2009
04:00 PM ET

We Listen!

After a week of “pandemic” discussions, American Morning viewers were confused by the ongoing “Swine Flu” coverage, questioning how serious the virus outbreak really is. V.P. Biden was heartily praised for his “honesty” regarding concerns about travel and the flu.

  • Sandy: You have told us that Joe Biden is over reacting on the flu outbreak; you say that it is stupid to panic. Yet all your lead ins are about the pandemic, the swine flu update, the announcing voice referring to the flu in a ominous voice. Which is it? You seem to be speaking out of both sides of your mouth....keeping us stirred up and the headlines of swine flu prominent and then saying it is no big deal.
  • Beth: I am so glad to see that the V.P of the United States spoke his beliefs that he would not have his family travel on a plane. I cannot believe that a spokesperson from the White House has to change what Biden said. The spokesperson actually looked stupid. People need to stay home. Why don't they and why is it spreading? Because people listen to the news and listen to all the updates and listen to what the "officials" say and think it’s OK to travel. Gupta says that you can still be on a plane or a subway but stay away from people who looked sick!??! Well, I’m not quite sure how you would do that if you are in an enclosed space for a period of time and you are sitting with "0" space between you and another traveler. So thank you, V.P Biden for speaking the truth, and helping me to know that I have made the right decisions on not flying for the next couple of weeks. Shame on us for not for speaking the truth. We are actually letting economy rule instead of being worried about illness and a possibility of our children getting sick (that’s who is getting the brunt of it so far) as well as everybody else. Thank You for Telling the Truth, Joe Biden. I think you said the right thing!

Do you believe the H1N1 is a series heath issue, or just another seasonal virus? Who do you feel is to blame for the “hype” of the Swine Flu? Share your thoughts with us.


Filed under: We Listen
May 1st, 2009
11:37 AM ET

Meet AM: Chandra Whitt – Senior Planning Producer

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="CNN's Lola Ogunnaike begs Chandra for an 8:50 hit time. Chandra wonders how much it’s worth to Lola."]

Each Friday in “Meet AM,” we’ll introduce you to the people who get American Morning to air.

Today, we’d like you to meet Chandra Whitt. Chandra is the senior planning producer. This means she is the one who figures out which reporters we want to cover which stories – both for our show the next day, and for the coming weeks. She also keeps on top of what reporters are already chasing. This means she’s one of the few AMers who doesn't have to come in before 5am! Chandra is also one of the few AMers based out of Atlanta – she comes up and visits us in New York occasionally, and we’re happy to have her here this week. Chandra’s been with us for seven years.

How did you end up doing what you do?
I majored in communications in college and landed an internship at CNN my last quarter in school. From there I worked my way up the ranks of CNN – so you could sort of say this is my first job out of college, although I have had many jobs at CNN.


Filed under: Meet AM
May 1st, 2009
10:37 AM ET

Michelle Obama gets the comic book treatment

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption= "First Lady Michelle Obama will appear on the cover of the comic book series 'Female Force.'"]

She may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound or race faster than a speeding bullet, but Michelle Obama can move merchandise. Books and ball gowns. J. Crew to Jason Wu. And countless magazines – Vogue, Essence, People, O, to name a few. Now she’s gracing the cover of a new comic book series “Female Force” and the company’s owners are banking that it will fly off the shelves.

“We’re thinking women will buy them for their daughters,” said Darren Davis, one half of the duo behind the Female Force series, which showcases powerful women in the public eye. “I think that people who want Michelle Obama collectibles will be getting them or Barack Obama collectibles because he’s also in it as well.”

Since launching the series in March, Davis and his partner Jason Schultz, have featured Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. There’s no doubt the Michelle Obama will sell extremely well, says Nia Malika Henderson, of the website Politico. “I think these comic book folks will make a lot of money off of this and these are going to fly off the shelves,” she says. “If you look at Amazon, there’s already a waiting list for these comic books and they were very smart in timing it to the first 100 days.”


Filed under: Pop Culture
May 1st, 2009
10:13 AM ET

Dershowitz: Top court vacancy wide open

Professor Alan M. Dershowitz has been called “the nation’s most peripatetic civil liberties lawyer” and one of its “most distinguished defenders of individual rights.” He is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, a graduate of Brooklyn College and Yale Law School. Dershowitz joined the Harvard Law School faculty at age 25 after clerking for Judge David Bazelon and Justice Arthur Goldberg.
[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz describes Justice David Souter as a 'very, very good justice.'"]

In Washington and throughout the nation’s legal system, speculation took off Friday over who may join the Supreme Court following the retirement of Justice David Souter. A source close to Souter told CNN Thursday that Souter plans to retire after the current term recesses in June, bringing to an end his more than 18 years on the bench.

Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz spoke to John Roberts on CNN’s “American Morning” Friday via phone from Pompeii, Italy.

John Roberts: It’s interesting to note that David Souter was appointed by a Republican, Bush 41, back in 1990. Yet, he waited for a Democratic president to take power to announce his retirement.

Alan Dershowitz: There’s no question that he became a real disappointment for the Republicans. He was a stealth candidate who emerged as a kind of centrist inclined to a liberal. In fact, the Souter appointment became a verb - they will never “Souter” anybody again. They will make sure that everybody is so carefully vetted so that they get true-blue conservatives. He was regarded as a warning sign and as a mistake by the Bush administration. And he emerged as a very, very good justice.


Filed under: Supreme Court
May 1st, 2009
06:49 AM ET

What’s on Tap – Friday May 1, 2009

Here are the big stories on the agenda today:

A source confirming to CNN that Supreme Court Justice David Souter is retiring when the term ends in June.  It will be President Obama’s first appointment to the high court and the first since President Bush appointed Samuel Alito in 2006.  A lot of names are already being floated.  Our resident court expert, Jeffrey Toobin will be here to break down the president’s choices.

Another state, Virginia, now reporting its first confirmed cases of swine flu.  A man and a woman from the central part of the state apparently brought it back from Mexico.  They're recovering at home.  At least 300 schools nationwide are shut down over swine flu concerns.  States are now receiving and stockpiling antiviral drugs from the Strategic National Stockpile.  In Mexico, all 176 pro soccer games will be played this weekend in empty stadiums in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.  52 new cases of the flu have been reported there in just the past 24 hours.

Memo to the president: Saving the homeowner.  President Obama’s $75 billion plan is supposed to help as many as nine-million American families avoid foreclosure or refinance their mortgages, but hundreds of thousands of Americans are getting foreclosed as banks end their foreclosure moratoriums and tighten their grip on people who fell behind on their mortgages.  Are they on their own now?

Michelle Obama:  Comic Book Hero.   She isn't faster than a speeding bullet and she can't leap tall buildings in a single bound, but Michelle Obama is the subject of a new comic book celebrating women in the political arena.  The first two comic books in Bluewater Comics' "Female Force" were about Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton and have sold thousands of copies.  Now the creators of “Female Force” are hoping the popularity of the first lady will translate to sales for their latest creation.

Filed under: What's On Tap