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Presidential Race Heats Up; President Stops in Virginia; Man Survives Encounter with Great White Shark; Fitness Expert Give Advice Tips on Abs Exercises; Travel Experts Give Advice on Traveling to Mexico
Aired July 14, 2012 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
We begin with politics, presidential politics. The president has two important campaigns stops in Virginia today. In his own words, quote, "If and when we get Virginia, we will win this election," end quote. He won it back in 2008 breaking a 40 year Republican run.
Athena Jones is joining us now from the White House.
The stakes can't get any higher with, however this president not taking Virginia for granted at all, is he?
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, not at all, Fredricka. The state has 13 electoral votes, very important to the president's reelection efforts. As you mentioned, he did win in 2008, but he was the first democrat to do so since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. So it is by no means a reliably blue state.
But the Obama campaign is helping to keep Virginia in the blue column, and they are doing so, they hope, by arguing that the president will look out for the interests of middle class while Mitt Romney cares more about helping out the wealthy. Let's listen in to what he had to say at his first stop in Glenn Allen, Virginia. He got rained on, but let's hear what he had to say about Mitt Romney and Republican Republicans in Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They will spend a lot of time talking, but if you cut through all the stuff -
OBAMA: -- what they are really saying is tax cuts for the wealthy, roll back regulations. That's essentially their plan. We can't afford to go back to top down economics.
OBAMA: We need somebody who believes in a middle-up economics, a bottom-up economics, somebody who will fight for you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: So there you have it, Fred. And I should mention that this is this language may sound familiar. It is a lot of the same things we heard in 2008 in the fight against his then rival John McCain, fighting about how he will fight for the middle class, where as Republicans care more about big business and big spenders. Fred?
WHITFIELD: Athena, what about the polls? What do latest polls in Virginia say about the president's chances to reclaim that state?
JONES: Well, the latest polls show that President Obama is running ahead of Romney by a few points. But it's still very, very close, which is why we're seeing this two-day trip, multiple stops, retail events, radio and TV interviews in addition to the speeches on the stump. And this is exactly the kind of thing you can expect to see more of over the next several months, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: It will be a very busy next few months indeed. Thank you very much, Athena Jones at the White House.
JONES: Meantime, president Obama rival, Mitt Romney, is not campaigning today. He is taking it easy at his lake house in New Hampshire. Looking at this scene, no doubt, critics saying it reinforces the rich guy image that he is actually trying to play down. Romney's former rival Rick Santorum made his first campaign appearance for Mitt Romney today. He opened the campaign office in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, another key battle ground state.
And we're learning more about the two American tourists kidnapped in Egypt. They were taken from their tour bus in the Sinai Peninsula along with their guide. Pastor Michel Louis, on a missionary trip in the Middle East with him and his family. He and a woman who attends a sister church were abducted.
Earlier, I spoke to journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, and he said he was able to speak to the kidnappers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHAMED FADEL FAHMY, JOURNALIST: I spoke to the head of security of Sinai and he said that a tribe kidnapped two Boston American citizens in Sinai for vacation. One is a pastor from Massachusetts and a woman accompanying him. I spoke to the kidnappers a while ago and they said the hostages are unharmed and safe but they are also demanding that authorities let go someone detained on drug charges and they vow to kidnap more tourists if their person is not released.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All this happening while U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton is in Egypt. She has been meeting with Mohamed Morsi, the country's newly-elected president. Hillary Clinton there to offer U.S. support for Egypt's democratic transition and its economic revival.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: President Morsi made clear that he understands the success of his presidency and that, indeed, Egypt's democratic transition depends on building the transition across the spectrum to work on a new constitution at parliament, to protect civil society, to draft a new constitution that will be respected by all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Clinton is also expected to touch on two sensitive issues, women's rights and equality for the Egyptian Coptic Christians.
Visa and MasterCard and some of the biggest banks have agreed to a massive settlement with retailers totaling $7.2 billion. The law center surrounds credit card swipe fees. Merchants allege credit card companies were fixing the price on the fees. The credit card companies agreed to suspend fees for about eight months.
And speaking of big banks, JP Morgan Chase is now the focus of a federal investigation. Yesterday the bank said that losses from risky trades totaled nearly $6 billion. That's about three times more than JP Morgan initially reported. Now investigators want to know if traders hid the size of the losses after the banks said an internal probe found reason for suspicion.
I'm going to talk with a diver who had an up-close and personal encounter with a great white, and he says he would actually get in those waters again. He's not scared at all. In fact, he was back in the water today. He will join us to talk about his great adventure.
WHITFIELD: You might think he is a little bit crazy. An Australian fisherman who came face-to-face with a great white shark is not afraid to get back in the water. In fact, he went back into the water today. Nathan and his friend, Dave Richards, were off the coast of Australia south of Perth when they were circles by a 12-foot long shark. Nathan captured the whole thing with a mini-video camera.
So you and your friend can be Dave were spear fishing in an area where there were reported incidents of great white attacks. Why did you decide to go spear fishing there?
NATHAN PODMORE, DIVER WHO FENDED OFF SHARK: There hadn't been any reports in the area we were. There were a couple of attacks in the state. A few people had seen what was likely in the area.
WHITFIELD: So Nathan, take me back. You and your buddy are fishing. You are at depths that are fairly shallow. We can see that you have a mounted camera, so you are videotaping it all. You have your spear fish rod there. Then what happens?
PODMORE: I turn the camera on, ready to do MY second dive of the day. And I was breathing up. My body was facing the opposite direction. I was just taking my final breath ready to do a dive, and I just heard him scream and I turn around and I'm face-to-face. WHITFIELD: So you've said that you always wanted to encounter a great white, but now that you have, it's the scariest thing, And you don't ever want this to happen again. What were you thinking at the time when you saw this great white, Which, by estimates, was about 12 feet long?
PODMORE: Yes, I said I would like to see one. But I couldn't have gotten lucky with the encounter we did have. I never want to see another one in the world. That was just -- it's nuts. What do you say?
WHITFIELD: How close did this shark get? Did you actually have contact with it? Did you actually poke it with that spear?
PODMORE: Yes, I HAD fend it off twice in my dive. And my friend, Dave, today fend it off twice as well.
WHITFIELD: What did your instincts tell you? Did you feel like it was in attack mode? Or did you feel like you could actually scare it off?
PODMORE: No, it wasn't in attack mode. It was more curious. But when you are face-to-face, yes, you don't want let it get too close. And yes, just sort of let it know that we knew it was there and we weren't going to let it get any closer. That was the stand, so to speak.
WHITFIELD: Did it go away on its own? You can see on the background from your images that your boat was a pretty good distance away.
PODMORE: Yes. The boat, we were just over 15 meters from the boat when it came in. And it followed us the whole way back. It came in closer. We got back to the boat, my buddy jumped straight in and as soon as it was just on the edge, and that was it, we never saw it again.
WHITFIELD: Nathan Podmoore, one of the luckiest men in Australia right now. He said it is something he always wanted to do, but of course he will never do that again.
Perhaps you want to do something a little milder. How about getting down on the mat, like I did, with Ms. Desiree there, to try to tighten the tummy, but not by way of crunches. She shows us some other ways to tighten the core.
WHITFIELD: I know you can identify with this. You know how maybe you do 100 crunches a day and still have nothing to show for it. Forget that. I teamed up with expert Desiree Nathanson to show you how to get a flat tummy without the crunches.
WHITFIELD: Lots of people fantasize about the whole wash board abs. They want a six pack, a four pack. And they're thinking, let me just do as many crunches as possible.
DESIREE NATHANSON, FITNESS EXPERT: Yes.
WHITFIELD: You say there's another way.
NATHANSON: Yes, there is another more efficient way.
WHITFIELD: So we are going to get on the mat. Or can you be on the carpet in your home.
WHITFIELD: The floor.
WHITFIELD: Hotel room.
NATHANSON: Yes. Yes. Or at work.
WHITFIELD: Or at work.
NATHANSON: OK. Get a friend to join you at work, if you're not wearing a skirt.
We are going to do the plank. We are going to start done here on our elbows. And from here, a regular plank position is going to be up on your toes and your elbows. Now this may be difficult for some people who are just starting out. So to make this easier, you are going to drop your knees. So this is going to be a beginning plank position for someone who doesn't have a lot of abdominal strength. From here, if you want to make it more difficult, you lift your knees off the mat. Now if this is still too hard, put your feet further apart and that will make it a little easier. From here, there are hundreds of variations of the plank that you can do. Can you lift one of your limbs. Lift two of your limbs.
NATHANSON: Yes. Rock side to side. Bring your knee to the outside of your elbow. Absolutely.
WHITFIELD: So that is working your obliques and maybe some leg muscles.
NATHANSON: Oh, yes, you are getting total body here. And of course with the plank you're working your upper body. That is the most efficient way it really strengthen your abdominals.
WHITFIELD: You can break this up into phases. You have beginning positions. At what point do you start advancing to these other moves when it feels too easy?
NATHANSON: That's usually good barometer for it. You want it start off holding ten seconds, see what you can do.
WHITFIELD: OK. All right, we have some good things here. Now we have to do it routinely. You do it. But we, me, have to do it regularly.
NATHANSON: It is fun, easy and cheap. (END VIDEOTAPE)
WHITFIELD: Perfect. All right, Danielle Nathanson, she has some rock hard abs to admire. And it also makes you hungry, working out. Next week, Desiree will tell us about the best snacks after your workout and in between. Find out more about exercises. Other fitness steps on Desiree's website, DesireeNathanson.net.
Now that you're all buff, how about a trip to Mexico. Well take you there. Some very cool getaways.
WHITFIELD: All right, so the Mayan calendar is set to end this year. And if you believe that means it's the end of the world, well, they have the perfect place for you to take in the show. Rob Marciano takes us to the heart of their empire in "On the Go."
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: The ruins of Chichen Itza, one of the wonders of the world, found on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. Its only hour's drive from Cancun.
JULIA DIMON, TRAVELJUNKIEJULIA.COM: It is best to go early in the morning so you can either depart from Cancun with a tour group and arrive around 11:00 a.m. If you are traveling independently, that will give you more flexibility to get there as soon as it opens at 8:00 a.m.
MARCIANO: The most iconic structure is the temple, which when built was positioned to line up with the movement of the sun.
DIMON: One of the best times to visit is during fall and swing equinox. Because the sun hits the pyramid in such a way that it gives the illusion of a moving serpent on the stair case of the pyramids.
MARCIANO: The temple has 365 steps, one for each day of the year. And if you believe the Mayan calendar is ending this December, the possible apocalypse is creating a tourism boom.
DIMON: We've seen a lot of tour companies offering doom's day themed tours. Offering to give double your money back in the end of the world actually does occur.
WHITFIELD: OK, so ready to book your trip before the end of the world, or even if it doesn't end, there is a lot of great stuff to see and did along the Yucatan peninsula.
There are lots of great things to see and do in other parts of the Yucatan peninsula. Here to help us plan that trip, Kate Maxwell with Jetsetter.com, editor in chief. First of all, how in the world do we get to Chichen Itza. KATE MAXWELL, JETSETTER.COM EDITOR IN CHIEF: Well the easiest way it so to fly into Cancun and it is about three hours from Cancun. And so that's another jumping off to Chichen Itza.
WHITFIELD: So is there an intimate resort kind of city?
MAXWELL: Merida is elegant. It has a wide boulevard and wonderful plazas, all sorts of great museums. So yes, it is very, very cultural. But Cancun is the breach resort. It has sort of a spring break reputation but it has adult, like aqua and did includes everything. You can check your wallet at the door, all meals and drinks are free, eight swimming pools at different temperatures, all sorts of fun things. For families we like Marriott on Jetsetter.com. That is $219 per night. Four swimming pools. Pools are a big thing in Cancun. Again, ocean front and a 35,000 foot spa. So that's another great option.
WHITFIELD: All right.
MAXWELL: And just outside Merida is a built after splurge but genuine 17th century hacienda. They have cooking classes. Can you learn how to make some great Mexican food.
WHITFIELD: Oh, fantastic. You have to have a great trip with great food and even better if you learn how to make it.
Still your springboard location is Cancun. But there is a pleasant strip of beach, Playa del Carmen, which you love as well.
MAXWELL: I like that and I know have you been and enjoy it as well. The sand and water is just amazing there. If you travel about an hour further south of that, you get to a really beautiful rustic resort with ruins that tumble into the sea, absolutely stunning. And really fantastic restaurants. There is a place called the heartwood that opened last year. Chefs are from New York. Food is fantastic, really great, octopus in particular. So lots of things to check out there too.
WHITFIELD: What did you like about the Meroma Resort at Playa del Carmen?
MAXWELL: I loved that one. If you are going with a loved one, it is definitely a place to check out.
WHITFIELD: Thanks you so much. We enjoy going to these incredible places by way of you and your guidance.
MAXWELL: Thanks very much.
WHITFIELD: Who knows what's next. Thanks, Kate.
MAXWELL: See you next week.
WHITFIELD: All right, have your passport ready, because Kate will take you to some incredible places, as can you see. You can find a lot more travel tips at jetsetter.com/CNN.
All right, it is Comic-con in San Diego this weekend. You know what that means. Comic book, sci-fi, pop arts fans, all dressed as their favorite characters. They are also finding collectible and their favorite Hollywood. Our movie critic Grae Drake, do you recognize her there? She joins us next hour to tell us which movies are actually pleasing the crowd. She is hilarious.
WHITFIELD: All right, checking your top stories, George Zimmerman, the man charged with killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, wants a new judge. His legal team has asked for Kenneth Lester to step down from the case, accusing him of bias. They filed a motion saying the judge made disparaging remarks about their client's character.
A representative for Sylvester Stallone says the actor is devastated today after his son, Sage, seen here, was found dead in his Los Angeles home. He appeared in the movie "Rocky V" with his dad and was engaged to be married. Sage Stallone was 36.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees refused to show up for off season practice until he got a contract worthy of him signing, and now he has it. A five-year deal worth $100 million. And get this. He will make $40 million this year alone, making him the highest paid player in the NFL.
That is going to do it for me right now. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Up next, "PARIS FASHION WEEK BACKSTAGE PASS" with Alina Cho. And I'll be back in 30 minutes with more news.