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Effects of Hurricane Jeanne; Presidential Debate Preview; "Scorecard"

Aired September 27, 2004 - 06:30   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning to you from the CNN global headquarters in Atlanta. I'm Carol Costello.
Now in the news, a construction accident today in the United Arab Emirates. It happened at the Dubai International Airport. A contractor tells the Associated Press that at least eight people were killed. A Dubai aviation official says an unknown number of construction workers are still trapped in the rubble.

A bloody battle this morning in the Baghdad slum of Sadr City; U.S. forces call in airstrikes on insurgent positions. Iraqi officials say five Iraqis are dead, 46 others wounded. Among them: 15 women and 9 children.

An Iraqi National Guard general is being detained by U.S. troops this morning. Brigadier General Talib al-Lahibi was arrested on Thursday. It's believed the general has been collaborating with insurgents.

And notices from various federal agencies go out today to all 50 states. "The Washington Post" reports a so-called national election security planning bulletin. It warns law enforcement to be on alert for possible terrorist plots to disrupt November's elections.

And say happy birthday to the Taj Mahal. The architectural wonder is 350 years told today. Tourists are flocking to Agra, India, to celebrate the anniversary of the Taj, which was built in the 17th century.


COSTELLO: Let's head to Steinhatchee, Florida, now and Sean Callebs to see what the damage is like there this morning.

Good morning -- Sean.


You are seeing the remnants of Hurricane Jeanne blowing into this area. We've had some strong gusting winds throughout the night. Pretty much what you see right now is what we've been getting for the past couple of hours. We didn't have power throughout the evening, but it did kick on just a few hours ago.

Look behind me. You can see this is the Steinhatchee River, and it flows down into the bay in an area known as Dead Man's Bay. And really, this area has gone up significantly. The river has gone up between, I'd say, 8 and 12 feet over the past 10 hours. We've had a big soaking here last night, some intense rain.

We've been in the dark literally and figuratively. I called Orelon Sydney last night to see what we could expect. She said significant rain and tropical-force winds, perhaps as much as 55 miles an hour.

And you can see the flooding in this area. And this isn't just a couple of inches of water on the road leading to the main road. This is, like, two feet deep. And if the tide continues to come up, it's going to get a lot more significant.

People in this area are ready for it. Look across that way at some new homes being built in this area. They're up on pillars about 10 feet or so. They expect this river to go up, but certainly no one is embracing a hurricane.

Really, this is one of the few areas of Florida that hasn't been slammed by the series of hurricanes coming into this area. And Charley skirted the area. Frances gave it a good soaking and knocked out power for a couple of days. Ivan barely touched this area.

They were really worried about Jeanne as it carved its way through here, certainly a lot weaker than when it crossed over into Stuart on the Atlantic Coast. But a lot of the homes in this area were built back in the '70s, long before Hurricane Andrew and long before any kind of strict building codes. They were worried about possible damage.

We had a chance to drive out in the last hour or so, a lot of shingles down in the road, a lot of tree limbs down, some power lines down, certainly some significant damage in this area. It's still too early for emergency officials to get out, Carol. But, we'll, of course, continue to update you on the situation here right in the heart of the Big Bend of Florida -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right, I'm glad you told us where Steinhatchee was. It's near Gainesville, right? Sean Callebs can't hear me anymore. The wind is blowing. Sean Callebs live from Steinhatchee, Florida, this morning.

Let's talk politics now. Thirty-six days to go until the presidential election and the candidates are getting ready to face each other and the public.

Senator John Kerry is at a Wisconsin golf resort, but teeing off is not tops on his agenda. Kerry is getting ready for Thursday night's first debate with President Bush. He's also getting in a bit of campaigning.

As for the president, he's been prepping at his Texas ranch. And if the White House is any indication, Bush could have his work cut out for him on Thursday night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DAN BARTLETT, WHITE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Senator Kerry has been preparing his whole life for this. He was a prep star debater. He was an Ivy League debater and served 20 years in the United States Senate. So, he's prepared his whole life for this moment, whereas President Bush, he's going to go in there and he's going to hold his own and speak clearly to the American people about what he believes and about how we are prosecuting this war on terror.


COSTELLO: Ah! But did you hear the buzz words in Dan Bartlett's apparent compliment? Ivy League education. Prep school debate. Get it?

Actually, we thought we'd look at the buzz surrounding things that should not matter. We're talking about hair and hand gestures with Vaughn Ververs, editor of the "National Journal's" "Hotline."

Good morning.

VAUGHN VERVERS, EDITOR, "THE HOTLINE": Good morning, Carol. How are you?

COSTELLO: I'm fine. You know, at least three newspapers -- "The New York Time," "The Washington Post" and "The Atlanta Journal- Constitution" -- wrote articles about the look of the candidate. Does it really make that much difference? I mean, voters are educated nowadays on such things.

VERVERS: Yes. But, you know, this isn't a debate that's going to be decided on points and who made the better argument and who scored the knock-out punch. Most likely, this is going to be a debate some of the people are going to be watching to see if they're comfortable with these candidates. And part of that is the way they look and their body style and what their body language is telling people.

Hair can make a difference in that sense. And remember, John Kerry is the one who said that one of the reasons he picked John Edwards, even though he was joking, was he had great hair. So...

COSTELLO: I know. Because, you know, in "The New York Times," this is a quote from an expert who says John Kerry has buoyantly vertical hair. He has exciting hair, and it could help him.

And take a look at this from "The New York Times," too. It says, "Senator Kerry's anvil-like chin conveys power, but his droopy eyebrows and hooded eyes send an unwelcome signal of age and lethargy."

Are Kerry's people bringing in the makeup people?

VERVERS: Well, you know, John Kerry has been compared to a lot of things in this campaign. The Republicans like to call him lurch and all kinds of other things. And he does have very distinct facial parts to him, and it is a really long face, a jutting jaw. But, you know, he'll come across as the way he is. And he'll be very serious. He's a very serious person.

The president, on the other hand, he's got to watch a couple of things as well. He's going to have to watch his smirk. That can sometimes be something that turns off people.

So, these guys really have to know when they're on camera and...

COSTELLO: Well, going on about President Bush, this is from "The Washington Post." It says, "President Bush has a half-wink that signals he's about to land a punch, and a half-squint that says, 'I really, really mean what I'm saying now.'"

Does President Bush actually practice such things?

VERVERS: Oh, I think these guys practice to some extent. Look, but they're more extensions of their personalities and how they are. You can't change yourself overnight. I think if either one of these guys decided they were going to come out and be something different, that's just a mistake.

And President Bush has a style that he's had for ever since he's been in public office, that's for sure. And he does -- he gets those shoulders kind of hunched over and he gets that squint. And, you know, it's like almost shaking his finger at people and saying, look, listen up, this is serious now.

COSTELLO: OK. Since we're talking about superficial things, let's talk about fashion, because the navy blue suit is key here. And if you -- I don't know if any of you out there have noticed, but President Bush has been wearing French cuffs with gold cufflinks lately. And Senator Kerry has been wearing a yellow Lance Armstrong wristband lately, which supposedly appeals to the younger viewers. And the gold cufflinks supposedly appeals to the business man in President Bush.

VERVERS: Well, I thought John Kerry was the one who was supposed to wear the French cufflinks -- or the French cuffs. But, you know, and that bracelet is interesting. I'll be interested to see if he's wearing it -- if John Kerry is wearing that. That's a big thing among young people today. You look around on the streets all the time and you see lots of people wearing those. So, it does -- he is trying to send a message by wearing that.

COSTELLO: All right, Vaughn Ververs, interesting insight this morning, thank you so much.

VERVERS: Well, we don't have much to talk about until that time, so this is what we occupy ourselves with.

COSTELLO: That's right. We're still three days out.

VERVERS: That's right.

COSTELLO: Still to come on DAYBREAK, another company bows to the pressure of America's latest diet craze. See how they plan to "Kraft" the changes. And, you know, it's fall when your favorite football or baseball teams compete on the same day. We'll break down some of the weekend's biggest match-ups.

But first, here's a look at what else is making news this Monday morning.


COSTELLO: It's not a great day overseas in our market watch. Japan's Nikkei closes down nearly 36 points. In Europe, Britain's FTSE is trading down 20 points. France's CAC is off 24.

It's time for a little business buzz now.

Are you tired of lugging your "South Beach Diet" book to the grocery store? Well, very soon you won't have to.

Carrie Lee explains from the Nasdaq Marketsite.

You know everything about everything, don't you?

CARRIE LEE, CNN FINANCIAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I try to give the impression, at least on television, that I do, Carol.

This is actually a "USA Today" report, Kraft Foods plans to announce today a deal with the South Beach Diet. They are going to announce plans for the South Beach Diet's seal of approval to appear on over 200 Kraft foods that are lower in carbs and fat.

The idea here is to lure shoppers back to Kraft. Sales have been sluggish for the past year. A lot of their products have suffered defections by increasingly nutrition-conscious consumers.

And we're all familiar with a lot of the Kraft foods: Oreos, Kool-Aid, Cheese Whiz. But what's happening here is Kraft Foods will carry the South Beach Diet seal, and some of them include 2 percent to no-fat cheeses, reduced-fat Triscuits, also Jell-O sugar-free gelatin snacks and pudding.

So trying to become healthier. It's kind of interesting, Carol, because Kraft Foods is over 100 years old, and now they're trying to get this tag with the South Beach Diet.

COSTELLO: Interesting.

LEE: You know, we'll see if it's successful.

COSTELLO: What if the South Beach Diet goes out of vogue?

LEE: Well, that's kind of the question. You know, this company is the largest food company in the United States. They're tagging themselves to a fad, some could argue. It's certainly not a bad idea to try to get healthier and get those healthier consumers back. But a company that's over 100 years old tying themselves to something that hasn't been around that long, well, we'll see if it's a good idea. I guess the numbers will tell.

COSTELLO: Interesting. Carrie Lee live from the Nasdaq Marketsite.

Your news, money, weather and sports. It is 6:44 Eastern. Here's what's all new this morning.

A car bomb attack today in the Iraq city of Mosul kills three Iraqi National Guard members. Three other Guard members were injured, along with four civilians. The bomb went off next to a National Guard vehicle.

In Washington State, scientists will perform tests at Mount St. Helen's, the volcano that killed 57 people back in 1980. The U.S. Geological Survey has issued a so-called notice of volcanic unrest. In layman's terms, there have been hundreds of tiny earthquakes in the mountain since Thursday.

In money news, some fingers point to Hurricane Ivan pummeling oil production in the Gulf. Gas prices jumped more then 5 cents a gallon in the past two weeks to an average of $1.91 a gallon for self-serve regular.

In culture, armed guards are in place for a special Rembrandt showing. The painting, "Minerva in Her Study," is on public display in Stockholm, Sweden, before going on sale. The 369-year-old masterpiece could fetch as much as $46 million.

In sports, you might say this year's San Francisco 49ers, well, stink. The Niners dropped to 0-3 after being shut out by the Seattle Seahawks 34-0. It's the first time they've been shut out since 1977. Oh, San Francisco used to be so good!

We'll have more football coming up in just a few minutes in our DAYBREAK "Scorecard" segment. Chris Cotter is already in the house.


COSTELLO: Those are the latest headlines for you.

Let's head out live to New York now and check in with Heidi Collins and Rick Sanchez, in for Bill Hemmer today.

Welcome, Rick!


COSTELLO: I haven't met you yet. So, it's nice meeting you from Atlanta.

COLLINS: Rick, this is Carol.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Carol. How are you? Nice to meet you without the hurricane-force winds between us this time.

COSTELLO: Oh, that's for sure. COLLINS: Yes.


COLLINS: No kidding. In fact, Carol, of course, we're going to be talking a lot more about the hurricane -- Hurricane Jeanne to be exact. And you just heard Rob talking about flooding is going to be a major concern. This is the fourth hurricane now to hit Florida in just six weeks. So, residents there and officials are going to be assessing the damage today.

We're going to talk to officials from FEMA and, of course, the Red Cross as well. It's really a challenge for them now.

SANCHEZ: You know what else we're going to do? We're going to be talking about swing states, two in particular this time. We're going to be talking about Florida and Ohio. It's a new strategy that the Democrats are using. The Republicans are doing it as well. But some analysts are saying that the Democrats are making some real inroads with registration, specifically in Ohio. We're going to share the numbers with you.

We're going to talk to Jeff Greenfield. We're also going to talk to former White House advisor David Gergen about this issue.

COLLINS: And also, another interesting book is out now about Iraq's old weapons program. We're going to talk to a former nuclear scientist for Saddam Hussein, who actually kept evidence of Saddam's WMD program buried in his garden. How about that? A secret garden, that's for sure.

Carol, we're going to have all of that and much, much more. And as we said, topping every news hour Hurricane Jeanne, of course, this morning.

COSTELLO: Thank you both.

SANCHEZ: All right.

COSTELLO: We'll see you in 10 minutes.

Coming up on DAYBREAK, battle of the quarterbacks. It's a Packer and Pony show. That's just one of the games on our DAYBREAK "Scorecard." That's coming your way next.


COSTELLO: Oh, it's time for our DAYBREAK "Scorecard." So, let's get right to it with CNN's sport contributor, Chris Cotter. Rob Marciano is joining us as well.


COSTELLO: Because we all love sports.

COTTER: Oh, this is one of those weekends, where, you know, the world of college football, pro football, baseball all collide, you know, early in the fall. And everything is happening.

So, let's get right to football, because it was an unbelievable day yesterday. Two great quarterbacks -- probably the two best quarterbacks of our era right now -- Brett Favre kind of handing the torch off to Peyton Manning as the No. 1. But these guys went back and forth all game long. Look at Brett Favre here going 74 yards to Javon Walker's favorite target yesterday in Indianapolis.

And how about this? The Colts didn't run the football until the second quarter.


COTTER: They threw all passes in the first quarter. Peyton Manning going up at the top here, finding Brandon Stokley for the touchdown, over 900 yards of total offense in this football game.

MARCIANO: A fun game to watch.

COSTELLO: You know, and I thought Brett Favre was washed up because of the embarrassing loss in Green Bay to Chicago last weekend.

COTTER: Yes, Chicago last week. No way. Brett Favre has still got a lot of juice left. He threw for over 350 yards, 4 touchdowns, no interceptions. That's the key number right there in this contest. And the Colts end up getting the big victory. They didn't salt it away until the fourth quarter.


COTTER: But they got the win.

COSTELLO: Let's talk about...

MARCIANO: And he's got a lot of pride, too. I don't think he quite wants to pass that torch.

COTTER: No, he's not ready yet. You're right. They wanted to battle.

COSTELLO: Let's talk about the Giants, because, oh, my, gosh! They were looking kind of good.

COTTER: Here's Kurt Warner, huh, playing well actually. You know, he hadn't won a game in three years, and now he's won two in consecutive weeks. And he takes a big shot there from the Browns, but he gets into the end zone. He just gets the ball across the line, so that's a touchdown right there. No touchdowns passing for Kurt Warner yesterday, but one running. A big hit right there by the Giants.


COTTER: They're playing with a little bit more of an attitude. They have leadership now from Kurt Warner, and they're 2-1 on the season.

COSTELLO: Yes. What does that do to the Manning, Jr. guy?

COTTER: Eli Manning?


COTTER: It's perfect for him, because it means he doesn't have to step in as a rookie and play right away in that pressure cooker that is New York. He let Kurt Warner play.


COSTELLO: Well, he may not play at all.

COTTER: Well, maybe he doesn't play this year.

COSTELLO: This season.

COTTER: And that's fine. That's fine with the New York Giants. Let Kurt Warner play in the pressure cooker, and then next year let the rookie in his second year after he's had a year to figure out the lifestyle of the NFL then be able to get into that cooker.

COSTELLO: Something I wish Joey Harrington had had a chance to do.

COTTER: Exactly, your Detroit Lions.

MARCIANO: Well, Carol, you can't win every game.


COTTER: Especially when you're the Detroit Lions, right?

MARCIANO: And they won two in a row.


COSTELLO: They looked so bad, though.

COTTER: Well, it's the Philadelphia Eagles, and it's sort of bringing the Lions back down to earth. They're off to a good start, and that's fine.

But Donovan McNabb hasn't thrown an interception yet this season. Forget about in one game. He has been phenomenal. And the Eagles -- there he runs one in because we know he can run the football. He can throw it. So, he gets one running, and then he gets one throwing here and finds his favorite target, Terrell Owens, for six. There's nothing you can do about that. That's perfect.

COSTELLO: Well, you know, the Lions' defense didn't really step up until the second half of the game, but it did step up, which is a positive sign.

COTTER: It's the Eagles. Their defense has improved. With Terrell Owens they're one of the best offenses in the NFL. So, as a Lions fan, you can't be too upset about this one. Just chalk it up to experience.

COSTELLO: You know, I have an idea. We can have Michael Vick be our running back on the Detroit Lions. He had a 58-yard run in the Atlanta Falcons game.

COTTER: He also threw an interception and fumbled the ball twice.

COSTELLO: That's why he should become a running back!

COTTER: He's still got to hang onto the football. He's still got to hang on to it.

MARCIANO: That game was awful to watch. It was...

COTTER: That was one of the worst games of all time.

COSTELLO: Oh, it was bad.

COTTER: The best news about the Falcons is, you played one of the worst games you've played in a long time, and then you still win. They used to lose those games.

COSTELLO: It was ugly.

Quickly, Yankees and Red Sox.

COTTER: Another bench-clearing brawl in this one. The Yankees win the season series after taking two of three from the Yanks in Boston in Fenway this past weekend. And, you know, you've gotten to the eighth inning. You had Pedro Astacio from the Red Sox throw behind Kenny Lofton. And then, in the bottom half of the inning, you had Brad Halsey throwing to Dave Roberts' head. Both benches cleared. This is a series that is just gotten to the point where almost every single game the tension is so high.


COTTER: It seems like the benches clear every time.

MARCIANO: It's beyond rivalry. It's hate now, I think.


COTTER: One week left in the baseball season. The Yankees are going to win the division. The Red Sox will be in the playoffs.

COSTELLO: We've got to go!

COTTER: I know.

COSTELLO: We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: All right, let's give away a mug. MARCIANO: Hey, it's time to reveal the DAYBREAK coffee quiz winner. Friday we asked in CNN's analysis of the electoral map shows which two states have just moved into President Bush's favor? The answer is Ohio and New Hampshire. The second question, what historical figure was featured in Tom O'Neil's movie review? The answer is Che Guevara.

And the winner is Richard Fagerlund from Corrales...

COSTELLO: Corrales, New Mexico.

MARCIANO: Corrales, New Mexico.

COSTELLO: Congratulations, Richard.

Now to today's coffee quiz questions.

MARCIANO: I read this as well, huh?


MARCIANO: OK. Name the architectural structure where the 350th anniversary celebrations are under way today. And what was the last year the San Francisco 49ers lost in a shutout?


MARCIANO: We've been showing those highlights all day long.

COSTELLO: Yes. (INAUDIBLE) if you're a San Francisco fan.

Of course, we'll name the winner. It's That's

By the way, "NEWSNIGHT WITH AARON BROWN" is going across America this week. Tonight's stop is Seattle. Aaron will look at how people in the Northwest are gearing up for the upcoming elections, so be sure to tune in at 10:00 p.m. Eastern tonight.

I'm Carol Costello along with Rob Marciano, Chris Cotter, and Chad Myers in Melbourne, Florida. "AMERICAN MORNING" starts right now.


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