American Morning

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November 18th, 2009
01:41 PM ET

We Listen: Your comments 11/18/2009

Editor's Note: As women absorbed news of the new recommendations on mammograms, Wednesday’s American Morning audience deconstructed the possible repercussions. Most were outraged, seeing the move as an attempt to save money for insurance companies at the expense of women’s lives.

  • Claude: It is painful to watch that government employee explain the most ill-advised recommendation for mammograms. She is the most unintelligible person ever to deal with such an important issue. Please don't let up on this topic and ludicrous recommendations until they retract it and fire everyone that published it, please don't…
  • Kat: I am appalled that Ms. Marion has single-handedly dealt a blow to women's health. With her careless remarks, she has given the insurance companies a reason to deny coverage of routine mammograms for women, as if we don't have problems with insurance companies as it is. She is cold, heartless, and is in no position to be making these recommendations. Thousands, if not millions of women, will die because of her recommendation...what is she, a nurse? I trust Dr. Gupta, and I applaud his handling of the interview with her.
  • Jillian: Just heard piece on breast screenings. I am amazed. Everywhere we look, there are promptings to support the fight with pink ribbons. The 'findings' are a smack against all we have gained in this fight. Amazing, just amazing. I think you hit it on the head when you talked about the millions to be saved. That's really what it is about. Money-Greed.
  • Colin: Y'all ganged up on Lucy about the changes in screening recommendations. And in your zeal to try to get an obviously poor spokesman for her side to declare that people under 50 "have no value," you completely missed her point. Set aside your indignation for a second and think about this: the line has to be somewhere. If they set it at 50, you get the shameful segment you aired at about 7:45. But, if they put it back to 40, then all of your arguments work to move the line to 30. I'm sure there are women who could benefit from routine screening starting at 30. I bet we could find some sparse statistics of women with no prior history who were diagnosed in their 20s. So, stop for a second in your breathless desire to slam that woman and hear what she's saying (albeit, not very well). The line has to be set somewhere, so if you're outraged they moved it to 50 from 40, then explain to me why they shouldn't move the line to 35, 30 or 25.

How do you feel about the task force's guidelines on mammograms? Continue the conversation below.

Filed under: We Listen
November 18th, 2009
11:54 AM ET

Follow-up: Patriots or Extremists?

By Jim Acosta

The question comes up time and again: Why is President Obama the target of so much fury from self-described "patriots," tea partiers, and other libertarians in America? Is it racial as former President Carter suggested earlier this year? Sadly, for some Americans, that is the case.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Militias and extremist groups are on the rise in this country, but who is joining these groups and why?"]

But in the growing "patriot movement" in America, there are other factors. For starters, the leaders and many members of both the militia in Michigan and the "Oath Keepers" vehemently deny race is their cause for alarm.

In fact, one militia member told us he was proud to see the first African-American become President of the United States. He just doesn't like where Mr. Obama stands on the issues.

A good many of the self-described patriots say their beef boils down to some of the issues President Obama inherited from the Bush administration.

Libertarians detest a whole host of Bush-era policies from the Patriot Act to the indefinite detention of enemy combatants during the "War on Terror."

Gun enthusiasts abhor the brief confiscation of firearms that happened in the City of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina – another Bush legacy.

Then came the Bush bailout of 2008. For many libertarians and self-described "patriots," the financial rescue of the banks remains an outrage.

So when President Obama continued the bailout with a taxpayer lifeline to the car companies, many on the right saw a further erosion of what they believe is the American way.

The Obama administration argues it was facing a potential Great Depression II, and had no choice but to carry on with the bailout.

White House officials also say they are trying to reverse several Bush war on terror policies right now but caution those changes won't happen overnight.

All of this begs the question: Why didn't these libertarians and self-styled patriots speak out more forcefully when Bush was in charge?

To answer that, you can google Ron Paul. Unfortunately for President Obama, many Americans don't point fingers at former presidents. When things are going downhill, they blame the people in charge.

Filed under: Controversy • Follow-up • Patriots or Extremists
November 18th, 2009
10:46 AM ET

Do risks of routine mammograms really outweigh benefits?

There are millions of women today who are now questioning the best strategy for detecting and fighting breast cancer.

New guidelines from a government task force advise women to now wait until they are 50-years-old, not 40, to start getting routine mammograms.

So, do the risks of routine mammograms really outweigh the benefits?

To get a perspective from all sides, we talked to: Julie Sisskind, a breast cancer patient without any family history, who was diagnosed from a routine mammogram; Lucy Marion, one of the members of the task force that created the new guidelines; and our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN chief medical correspondent and practicing neurosurgeon.

Since the new recommendations have the potential to affect the health and well-being of millions of American women, it's not surprising that there is a deep concern from many over what this all actually means.

At times heated, this is an interview you don't want to miss.

Related: Breast 'awareness' trumps self-exams, docs say

Filed under: Controversy • Health
November 18th, 2009
10:41 AM ET

Youngest World Series of Poker champ spills secrets

It all came down to one hand. He was all-in and took the prize with a pair of nines.

His name is Joe Cada and he is the youngest World Series of Poker champion, ever.

The tournament started back in July with nearly 6,500 players. Cada beat them all out, taking home nearly $8.6 million. He joined John Roberts and Kiran Chetry on CNN's "American Morning" Wednesday.

Filed under: You Have to See This
November 18th, 2009
09:55 AM ET

Clinton talks about career, favorite TV show, and her 'crush'

Hillary Clinton is looking presidential to many Americans these days. A new CNN poll puts her well ahead of Vice President Biden and Sarah Palin as the “most qualified” to be president.

Now we’re getting to see a side of her that didn’t come out on the campaign trail – her favorite television show, and a certain “crush.”

Vogue contributing editor Jonathan Van Meter traveled to Africa to get a rare look at the secretary of state. His feature is in December's issue of the magazine. Van Meter joined John Roberts on CNN’s “American Morning” Wednesday. Below is an edited transcript of the interview.

John Roberts: You spent about three weeks with her. A couple weeks in Africa, and a week at the U.N. General Assembly. Sat down with her a couple times. What most surprised you about her?

Jonathan Van Meter: I think what most surprised me was that she was more accessible and more pleasant and friendly and easy to talk to than I expected. As a journalist I've heard so many stories about how difficult she is to interview – maybe she has relaxed now that she's no longer in electoral politics. I found her sort of unguarded at moments and just pleasant. Cheerful. She was always in a good mood.

Roberts: So the very scripted person we saw on the campaign trail loosens up a little bit?

Van Meter: Yeah. I got to see her one morning in Africa, she had gone for a swim in the ocean. Her hair was wet. She came to meet me for breakfast for an interview. She just looked like a woman that had gone for a swim in the ocean. She was just incredibly relaxed and pleasant.


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Politics
November 18th, 2009
07:20 AM ET

An oath to the Constitution, not the president

By Jim Acosta

In the first two parts of our series, “Patriots or Extremists?” we looked at the growth of private militias in this country. Now we turn to a group whose founder says he doesn't need a militia. That's because his organization is recruiting its members... right out of the military and law enforcement.

Just a couple of miles off the Las Vegas strip inside a casino ballroom, dozens of men and women are taking an oath. An oath, they say, to the Constitution of the United States – not to the president.

"If we're going to watch while our country dies and think that there's nothing we can do about it, we're wrong," says Richard Mack, a former sheriff.

They call themselves the "Oath Keepers," and last month they held their first national conference.

The group's founder, Stewart Rhodes, a former Army paratrooper and staffer for Congressman Ron Paul, says his members recite a revised version of the oath that's used for enlistment in the Armed Services, but they exclude this phrase: "I will obey the orders of the President of the United States."

"Our role is not to be obedient to whoever happens to be the leader. Our role is to defend the Constitution and the republic," says Rhodes.


Filed under: Controversy • Patriots or Extremists