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Needles Found in Food on Delta Planes; No Sign of Iowa Girls; Double Dose of Damage; Obama Attacks Romney Over Taxes; The Drug Cartels' & Terrorists' Bank; New Weight-Loss Drug; Pass the Beer at 60 mph
Aired July 17, 2012 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Happening right now in the NEWSROOM, flight scare. Sewing needles, yes, needles, found in sandwiches on Delta planes flying into America. One passenger was hurt. This morning, find out what the airline is doing about it.
Big bus. Two continents, three tons of cocaine, and 200 pounds of marijuana. A major haul by the Coast Guard and the Navy and It's happening right now. CNN will take you on board that ship.
Caught on tape. Breathtaking rescue as a 7-year-old dancing on a third floor window air conditioning unit trips and falls. Hear from the guy who caught her.
And how would you like to lose a few pounds? A new weight loss pill is about to be approved. It's called (INAUDIBLE). Average weight loss, 23 pounds. We'll tell you who it's for and why there was such a fight to get it to your drug store.
NEWSROOM begins right now.
And good morning. Thank you so much for joining us this morning. I'm Carol Costello. We -- we begin with that ongoing investigation. After a food safety scare at 30,000 feet. We're talking about sewing needles found in sandwiches served on four separate Delta flights. The planes were heading from Amsterdam to Minneapolis and Seattle. And also on two flights into Atlanta. One passenger aboard the Minneapolis flight was hurt by a needle, but did not need medical attention after the plane landed.
So is all of this coincidence or is it something more? Sandra Endo is in Washington to tell us.
SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, good morning, Carol. That's certainly something authorities are looking into. The FBI and local law enforcement in the Netherlands are trying to find out how those needles got into those turkey sandwiches. Two of the needles were found by passengers, and one was discovered by an air marshal. When Delta found out about the needles in the food, the airline says it notified all 18 flights from Amsterdam to stop serving the sandwiches.
Here's what one passenger who got one of the contaminated sandwiches said when he spoke to station KSTP.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I bit down on it so that I wasn't biting down on the -- on the sharp side but on the flat side. It could have been, you know, a bad injury. Orally. But had I taken a big swallow and swallowed that down, I'd have a needle inside. And that would be very concerning to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ENDO: Gate Gourmet is the company which provided the sandwiches to Delta and a spokesperson for that company says the sandwiches were prepared in Amsterdam. In a statement, she goes on to say, "This is a terribly upsetting situation. First and foremost is the safety of the traveling public. There's nothing more important to us at all than the safety of the passengers and crews."
Now the Transportation Security Administration says it's closely monitoring the investigation into what happened as well as the security protocols being conducted by the air carrier and the airport authority -- Carol.
COSTELLO: So the company that makes these sandwiches says it also provides food to other airlines. Is there a concern about food on those other flights?
ENDO: Yes. That's a good question. Gate Gourmet said it's fully cooperating with the FBI and local authorities in the Netherlands and it's also conducting its own full-scale investigation. Now the company says it does provide food to other airlines but have received no other reports or complaints.
COSTELLO: Let's hope they don't. Sandra Endo reporting live in Washington this morning.
Also this morning, no sign of two missing Iowa girls. One family member says it's as though they disappeared into thin air in broad daylight. Eight-year-old Elizabeth Collins and 10-year-old Lyric Cook are cousins, and they have not been seen since going on a bike ride Friday. Their bicycles were found by a lake, but the mother of one of the girls doubts they would have gone there on their own.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not an area that they frequented. They didn't go far from home, either of the girls. They mainly stayed around the Evansdale area that my sister lives in. So it's just -- it's just not kind of like them to go that far. Definitely out of their character.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: CNN's Jim Spellman is covering the search effort in Evansdale, Iowa.
Any luck yet?
JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Unfortunately no, Carol. Take a look at this lake, it's called Myers Lake. They began draining it yesterday. They think perhaps by late tomorrow or Thursday, they'll have all the water drained out of here into the river.
It's really grasping at straws, though. I spoke to an investigator a few minutes ago who told me it's like these girls evaporated. They don't have any sign of foul play. But they had about a thousand volunteers out here over the weekend searching through fields and trails, everything they can think of around here, with absolutely no sign of these girls except those two bikes and a purse found near the bikes. No sign of any kind of struggle near there.
So they want to be sure they drain the lake just in case. They don't think that they're going to find anything else in here. But without much else to do, that's their focus today -- Carol.
COSTELLO: So they have no witnesses who saw the girls, you know, on their bicycles getting off at the lake, or no clues like that?
SPELLMAN: Yes. No clues like that at all. Take a look at this, Carol. This far corner of the lake over here is where the girls were. And it's such an unlikely spot for somebody to be abducted from. There's a bike path that runs along the edge of the lake, and you can see an interstate just on the other side of it. You can clearly see most of the bike path from the interstate. And just along the side of the lake here people are -- are people's homes. And there's people all around here.
If you were to take somebody from that wooded area where the bikes were found, you would have to walk about 15 minutes just to be able to get out of this area. And so it's just a very unlikely scenario that somebody would be able to just, say, snatch them off of the bikes. So they're really -- they're looking for a new way to approach this case. But without any clues to go on, it's going to be tough.
They have brought the FBI in to try to bring their resources to bear and try to make some sort of progress -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Jim Spellman live in Evansdale, Iowa, this morning.
George Zimmerman, he's facing new accusations. He's already charged with second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin. You know that. Well, now a woman claims Zimmerman sexually abused her for about a decade and says the abuse started when the two were children. A Florida judge has released an audiotape of her accusation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It started when I was 6. He's about almost two years older than I am. He would reach under the blankets and try to do things. And I would try to push him off, but he was bigger and stronger and older. It was in front of everybody. And I don't know how I didn't say anything. But I just didn't know any better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: The woman identified as witness number nine said the abuse went on for years. CNN has reached out to her father, who said the family would not be speaking to the media. In the meantime, Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, spoke exclusively to CNN's Piers Morgan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK O'MARA, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Well, on the face of it, you're right, they seem damaging. Of course, as you've mentioned, my frustration is that they are absolutely not relevant to anything that is at hand in the true case. They are not admissible. They're not -- can't get it into a courtroom nor will it get before a judge in any way. So the frustration that I have is these allegations which George contends are untrue.
Now we need to spend our resources and time rebutting them, and actually we're in a difficult if not delicate position of deciding how much we attack the source of this story, or just leave it be and move on to what really counts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: The judge says Zimmerman can disclose the nature of his relationship with witness number nine, but her identity cannot be publicly revealed.
The actress Jada Pinkett Smith is on a personal mission to give voice to victims of human trafficking and sex slavery. In about 20 minutes, she'll be testifying about the problem on Capitol Hill. Pinkett Smith says she used to think of human trafficking and sex slavery as an over-there problem, wherever there is. But her daughter Willow saw the Kone 2012 video about a Ugandan warlord, and she did some research, and then she told her mom the trafficking problem is also happening here.
And she's right. The State Department says as many as 27 million people are enslaved worldwide, and the FBI estimates 15,000 to 18,000 of them are right here in the United States.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is holding the hearing. The panel wants to develop a strategy to try to stop human trafficking over the next 10 years.
Pinkett Smith went on CNN's "STARTING POINT" before she headed to Capitol Hill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JADA PINKETT SMITH, ACTRESS/ACTIVIST: I think at this point it is about educating yourself and realizing how it exists. And today we'll be talking about the TVPA, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which has not been reauthorized on a federal level quite yet. And so we want to push to make that happen. And then of course we have the case act in California for this November. We'll be pushing to make sure that that bill gets passed. It will be the toughest anti-trafficking law in this country. And so those will be our two actions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: You can see her daughter, Willow, beside her. We'll bring you some of Pinkett Smith's testimony live. We expect to hear from her in just about 20 minutes.
We are all suffering through record heat this summer, and a drought is already gripping more than half the country. The end result, fewer crops making it to harvest, and all of us likely will be paying high food prices. Higher food prices, I should say.
The Agriculture Department says only 46 percent of Iowa's corn crops are in good condition. Compare that to 82 percent just a year ago. This problem is front and center in Iowa. In less than an hour, Iowa's governor, Terry Branstad, will meet with local farmers in several state and federal agencies.
Our own Chris Welch joins us by phone. He is in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Tell us what it looks like there.
CHRIS WELCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Carol, a lot of people, and primarily farmers right now, are really on edge of their seat. You mentioned the heat (INAUDIBLE) in combination with that drought, that's just sweeping across the nation. They can (INAUDIBLE) for really very poor conditions for crop. Now farmers hope to have more information about what state and federal agencies are doing after this meeting that you mentioned that takes place in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, this morning.
Now as for this drought, experts are calling it the largest drought since 1956. It's almost unbelievable. Almost 3/4 of the country is abnormally dry or worst as of June. And we really haven't seen much rain since June. So those numbers, experts feel like will only keep getting worse.
I mean many states here in the Midwest, especially here in Iowa, farmers are really already seeing signs of damaged crops.
COSTELLO: So, Chris, can the crops be saved? Are we past the point of no return?
WELCH: Well, you know, most farmers here I spoke to in Iowa say all is not lost. I spoke to one who said, you know, in a good year, he can get, say, 200 bushels of corn per acre. This year, he still thinks he'll have a harvest but it will be reduced by about 25 percent. And that hurts him, you know, in a few ways. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEREK MULLIN, FARMER: This is our personal business. It's right out our back door. As soon as we walk out of our house, we see our investment. And when it goes downhill, it does take a toll out. You know, when the hardest part about this is that you can do everything just right planning dates , work hard at putting in a good crop, have a good stand established, and when mother nature works against you, then it all seems like it was for nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WELCH: And that's farmer Derek Mullins' saving grace is the fact that he does have federal crop insurance. But Carol, he says that really only goes so far.
COSTELLO: Yes. Chris Welch reporting live from Iowa. Thank you.
Cronyism. That's Mitt Romney's new line of attack against President Obama. But would Mitt Romney bar donors from his administration?
COSTELLO: Fifteen minutes after the hour. Checking our top stories.
U.S. officials are expressing condolences this morning after a Navy fuel supply ship fired at a small boat in the Persian Gulf, killing one person and wounding three others. The United Arab Emirates says the dead were Indian fishermen. The U.S. military says at least one warning shot was fired before other shots disabled the boat, described as a small white pleasure craft.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan is suing the state Education Department and one Detroit area school district accusing them of failing to teach students to read for an appropriate grade level. A spokeswoman for the governor responded to the class action lawsuit, saying the state is working to improve the situation.
In money news, one of Google's top executives, Marissa Mayer, is now the new CEO at Yahoo. Mayer replaces interim boss Ross Levinsohn, making her Yahoo's fourth chief executive in less than four years.
The newest crew of the International Space Station is checking out their new home this morning. Just a few hours ago, a Russian spacecraft docked with the orbiting station. The three crew members includes an American astronaut Suni Williams and they will work at the International Space Station until November.
President Obama is looking to big money donors in Texas today to help bolster his re-election war chest. He is scheduled to visit two cities. His first stop will be San Antonio, where the president will attend two separate events, including a fundraiser hosted by actress Eva Longoria and the city's mayor. Later, Mr. Obama heads to Austin to pick up more campaign cash at another pair of events.
Sources close to the president say the total haul could set a new record as the Obama camp continues to turn up the heat against Republican rival Mitt Romney with this new ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: Tax havens, offshore accounts, carried interest. Mitt Romney has used every trick in the book. Romney admits that over the last two years, he's paid less than 15 percent in taxes on $43 million in income. Makes you wonder if some years he paid any taxes at all. We don't know because Romney has released just one full year of his tax returns, and won't release anything before 2010.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know what? I put out as much as we're going to put out.
NARRATOR: What is Mitt Romney hiding?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Joining me now is Barbara Comstock. She's the co- chair for the Romney campaign in Virginia.
BARBARA COMSTOCK, VA. CAMPAIGN CO-CHAIR, ROMNEY FOR PRESIDENT: Good morning. Good to be with you, Carol.
COSTELLO: Thanks for being here.
First off, let's talk about that new Obama ad. I know Mr. Romney said he would only release two years of tax returns. But is that his final, final word?
COMSTOCK: Yes. He's gone beyond the law, and he's going to be releasing his tax returns from 2011. And it's hundreds and hundreds of pages. And he's done what's required by law and beyond.
This is a distraction because this president doesn't want to talk about the truth of his sorry economic record, as well as the fact that he has been outsourcing our jobs overseas, and he's been giving it to friends and family, as in the inspector general who looked into his department of education loans, and the solar loans.
COSTELLO: Before we get to the cronyism charges, and --
COMSTOCK: Well, there's a lot of cronyism.
COSTELLO: I want to ask about the tax returns because some people are fixated on this. Some voters are. So why not just deflate Mr. Obama's accusations and release more tax returns and be done with it?
COMSTOCK: Well, see, Carol, one nice thing since I'm a local legislator, I actually talk to real voters and get out there. They are not fixated on this. I talk to them every day.
They are fixated on the tax increases that Barack Obama will put on them come January 1. I live in northern Virginia, where we'll be ground zero for the president's tax increases and those 21 tax increases in Obamacare. So people are upset about that.
They are upset that their tax dollars have been wasted, thrown away by this administration, over at the Department of Energy, where they gave $500 million to Solyndra, flushed down the toilet, given to cronies of the president who raised millions for him so he got millions in green from these donors. Then, the donors and their friends in turn got millions for their companies that are now failing on our tax dollars. That's outrageous.
And there's all kinds of ABC -- I don't know why the president has been asking about it. ABC has done stories on this.
COSTELLO: You know, the Romney camp does accuse Obama of crony capitalism, which is rewarding people who donated to his campaign.
COSTELLO: So what policy would Mr. Romney put into effect to prevent such corruption? What would he do?
COMSTOCK: We're not going to be picking winners and losers in the economy and handing out millions in tax dollars to anybody's friends. We're going to allow the entrepreneurs in America to get out there, to keep more of their own money, to invest and to grow jobs in this economy.
This president has failed for three years --
COSTELLO: But would Mr. Romney put into place a policy that says I will not appoint lobbyists or donors to my administration or give them money to create their own companies out there, et cetera, et cetera. Will Mr. Romney put in a policy to prevent that?
COMSTOCK: Well, the policy of this president is to have his bundlers in charge of handing out tax dollars to other bundlers and other cronies and friends.
No. We will have a policy that's nothing like that. We will do nothing of the sort. That's outrageous to be giving our tax dollars out to friends and family. So, no, we will have nothing like that whatsoever, because it's failed.
Because you want to have private investors having incentives to invest in these companies. Twenty-three of the 27 companies that got money from the Department of Energy were junk bond status. You had people who had been bundlers for Barack Obama who were putting money into junk. And it was for their friends.
COSTELLO: I want to go back to my original question. Just to the point on day one of a Romney administration, will he say, I will not, and this is my policy, I will not name any cabinet members who donated to my political campaign, I will not name any lobbyist to my cabinet?
COMSTOCK: No, you're missing --
COSTELLO: He will say that?
COMSTOCK: You're missing the point on. Day one, he will totally change the situation where we are not giving Americans tax dollars away to businesses and picking winners and losers. That will be a Romney position because that's how he's operated.
He believes in the private sector, and this president fundamentally doesn't understand it which is why he's run the economy into the ground. This president never ran anything before he was president. Now he's run the economy into the ground. An American middle class is suffering while he is giving payoffs to his big donors while middle class is getting layoffs. It's an outrage. And that will certainly change on day one of a Romney administration.
COSTELLO: OK. Before you go, I have to ask you about the V.P. pick, because it's all the rage right now. So a lot of people think it's going to be Rob Portman. That's who is going to be, is it?
COMSTOCK: I don't have any inside information. What I'm thrilled about is we have so many talented people for Governor Romney to pick from. And I know he's going to have a great pick, who again believes in making jobs job number one. This president hasn't done that for four years.
And we're going to have a president and vice president who will turn around this country, put us back to work, and create prosperity again so we can actually have -- this president -- Obama can't run on his record because he doesn't have one.
At this point, Ronald Reagan was talking about Morning in America --
COSTELLO: Let me go back to the V.P. question so I can needle you on that one. Will Mr. Romney announce his pick this week, do you think?
COMSTOCK: That's up to him. I don't have any inside information on that. But I'm confident that any of the picks that you've been hearing about are stellar picks, and will be a lot better than Joe Biden who again is another person who never worked in the private sector and doesn't get it.
So, we need people who will focus on jobs as job number one. We're going to have a Romney team that is going to be fabulous on that score. Mitt Romney has always been a huge success on turning things around. And, boy, do we need a turn-around in this country today.
COSTELLO: Barbara Comstock, thank you so much for joining us this morning.
COMSTOCK: Thank you.
COSTELLO: Billions of dollars for drug cartels and terror groups coming and going unchecked. That's what Senate investigators are saying happened at the global bank HSBC. Now they are holding the executives' feet to the fire.
COSTELLO: Now is your chance to talk back on one of the big stories of the day. The question for you this morning, what's the best way to win the war on drugs?
Here is a pop quiz for you. What is the longest war America has ever rained? It's not Iraq or Afghanistan. It would be the drug war.
For 40 years, America has spent hundreds of billions of dollars fighting illegal drugs. The Obama administration believes in a balanced approach to fighting drugs, working on prevention and treatment but also partnering with countries like Mexico to stem the flow.
Yet in 2009, of the $39 billion spent fighting the drug war only 1/3 of that money went to drug treatment. The bulk of the money spent on things like patrols and confiscation and closing drug tunnels. Some like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says the real focus should be on the users and the addicts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: The war on drugs, while well intentioned, has been a failure. That we're warehousing addicted people every day in state prisons in New Jersey, giving them no treatment, sending them back on the street after their term of incarceration, and wondering why recidivism rates go up, and why they don't get better, why they commit crimes again. Well, they commit crimes to support their addiction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Many think we're wasting money prosecuting people caught with small amounts of drugs. Already, 14 states and cities have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. And some experts on addiction say the relentless focus on illegal drugs ignores another rapidly growing epidemic, the abuse of prescription painkillers.
Of course, all of this leads to our tough question this morning. What's the best way to win the war on drugs?
Facebook.com/CarolCNN, Facebook.com/CarolCNN. I'll read your responses later this hour.
COSTELLO: Good morning. Thanks for being with us. I'm Carol Costello.
This next story will make you very angry. The bad behavior for some big banks is getting worse.
This morning, we're learning global giant HSBC did nothing to stop billions of dollars in transfers linked to drug cartels and terrorist groups. Those are the alarming findings of a newly released report.
Bank executives are facing the music on Capitol Hill right now, and they plan to say, "I'm sorry," to the Senate.
Alison Kosik is live in New York.
These are really serious charges. How can you just sit there and say, oh, I'm sorry, that we let drug money flow through our bank?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it makes you wonder. And, you know, if these allegations come out to be true, there could be big time fines here. So it may not -- "I am sorry" may not be enough in this.
So, what's happened here is the Senate says HSBC missed billions of dollars in questionable transactions from Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, and Iran. Among the biggest allegations, a $7 billion transfer from the bank's Mexico unit to the U.S. The Senate's report on the investigation says that the number could only reach that size if it includes proceeds from illegal drugs.
Now HSBC is one of the biggest companies in the world. Number six on the Forbes global 2000 in 2011, so you can bet the Senate got a lot of questions this morning -- Carol.
COSTELLO: What about the terror allegations?
KOSIK: Interestingly enough, the terror allegations make up the bulk of the charges, and there are five key allegations on top of the Mexican drug charge. HSBC is accused of actually going around the rules that were put in place to prevent doing business with dangerous regimes. Now, the Senate says HSBC ignored links to terror financing while doing business in Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh.
The subcommittee found HSBC worked extensively with Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank, and there's evidence, Carol, that one of Al Rajhi's founders was an early benefactor of al Qaeda -- Carol.
COSTELLO: OK. So besides I'm sorry, what has HSBC said?
KOSIK: Well, I guess the good news is the Senate says that HSBC has fully been cooperating in the investigation. By the way, the Justice Department is also having its investigation ongoing as well.
HSBC said this: It takes compliance with the law wherever it operates very seriously, saying, "We will acknowledge that in the past we have sometimes failed to meet the standards that regulators and customers expect." Now the bank says it's also beefed up its oversight over the past year -- Carol.
COSTELLO: It just makes you wonder if this is typical behavior or they just got caught.
KOSIK: Well, it does make you wonder. Other banks had paid fines. AIG has paid millions in fines. Wells Fargo, a long time ago. Wachovia also had to pay millions of dollars in fine after authorities found similar transition actions.
COSTELLO: Alison Kosik at the New York Stock Exchange.
Trading on Wall Street started just moments ago. The opening bell rang just at 9:30. Stocks are up just minutes into the day.
More banking news released. Citigroup outperformed expectations, announcing second quarter earnings of 95 cents a share. And shares of Goldman Sachs jumped after the investment bank reported second quarter earnings that topped forecasts.
America's first couple is making news this morning after a basketball game last night. But it's not for anything political. They were caught on the kiss cam.
COSTELLO: Comedian George Lopez has insulted the controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Now, Sheriff Joe wants to meet Lopez if, quote, "he has the guts."
"Showbiz Tonight's" A.J. Hammer joins us. OK, so what happened, A.J.?
A.J. HAMMER, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: A little summertime showbiz showdown here, Carol. Arpaio was the target of a propane rant by George Lopez the other night. The comedian doesn't seem to think very much of the sheriff's policies on immigration. So, Lopez ripped into Arpaio in his new HBO special. It premiered on Saturday night, and I'd play you what he said but all you'd hear is bleeps. Just too raw for us to replay here.
But the sheriff saw it. He's not laughing. He threw out a challenge to Lopez during a local TV interview, and here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF: Get some guts. Come down here and meet me face-to-face. Let's see how you act then.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: Well, we reached out to Lopez to see if he was going to get some guts and go down and meet him face-to-face or had any response at all to Arpaio's invitation. His rep would only tell us no comment, but I don't expect Lopez to back down either. This is exactly the kind of feud that only brings good publicity for George Lopez. And the crowd during his show just went crazy with cheers as he went on his attack.
And if the sheriff takes the bait, I'm thinking so much better for Lopez. Also I'm thinking, Carol, I do not really see a face-to- face happening anytime soon. I can't imagine those two getting in a room together. But you never know.
COSTELLO: I know, what would they do? Like a fist fight? Duel at 20 paces?
HAMMER: I don't think so.
COSTELLO: I hope not.
Let's talk about Larry King, something much happier. He has a new show.
HAMMER: Yes, our older friend and good colleague is back. He's launching a new show on Hulu called "Larry King Now." And it's going to feature, get ready for this, King interviewing a mix of celebrities, politicians, and global leaders, certainly a format Larry knows a little something about.
Episodes will become available early in the evening Monday through Thursday. In the first episode features Seth McFarland. That's already online.
His next guests will be Matthew McConaughey and Megan McCain.
Carol, it's the return of the King.
COSTELLO: Larry is back. I never could -- that was my Larry impression, in case you didn't catch that.
COSTELLO: Thanks, A.J. Thank you, A.J. We'll see you next time.
HAMMER: Carol, thanks.
COSTELLO: That's so much better.
A.J. will be back with us next hour with comedian Dana Carvey's presidential impersonations of Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
The men's USA basketball team won their game against Brazil Monday night, but that's not what most people are talking about this morning.
Sasha saying, go for it! President Obama and the first lady puckering up for the kiss cam at the Verizon Center. As you can see, the crowd went wild. Not a surprise. The first couple have never been shy about expressing their affection for one another. They did need some prodding from their daughter for this one, though.
COSTELLO: A new weight loss pill could soon hit the market. It is called Qnexa, and the government is expected to sign off on the drug later today. The decision comes on the heels of another weight loss pill approved last month.
Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is here.
So, let's talk about Qnexa. How does it work?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's a combination of two different drugs, which makes it kind of interesting. So it's a combination of phentermine do you remember fen- phen (ph) from the '90s.
COSTELLO: I do.
COHEN: Phentermine (ph) was one half of the phen and a drug called Topiramate which is an anti-seizure medication that people use for migraines and for epilepsy. One is an appetite suppressant and the other one sort of works on the brain to change appetite centers.
COSTELLO: So once you take it, it suppresses your appetite and does it work?
COHEN: Yes, it -- you know, I talked to someone who took it and she said it was really pretty amazing. She had to remind herself to eat. You know she told me that usually she loves chocolate chip cookies. And when she was on the pill, someone would offer her one and she could go, eh, I'll pass on it. I mean, I personally have never said eh, to a chocolate chip cookie. It's hard for me to even imagine but that would be like but that's what she said it felt like.
And now let me give you the numbers. So on average, the people who they studied weighed 227 pounds. And when they were on it, they lost weight down to 204 pounds. That's a 23-pound loss. And they kept it off for two years.
COSTELLO: So how long did they have to take the pill?
COHEN: They -- the people on the study took it for two years. Many of them lost like --
COSTELLO: Like every week, every day.
COHEN: Oh every day, I'm sorry right, they took it every day. You take it every day.
COSTELLO: So we know how fen-phen turned out. Not so good, right?
COHEN: Right, not so good. Right.
COSTELLO: So what makes us think that this drug won't turn out the same way fen-phen did since the FDA approved that?
COHEN: Well, the different side-effect profile. So let's talk about the side effects and then let's talk about -- because you're right, fen-phen is the thing that everybody wants to avoid.
So there are potential side effects with this drug. For example, for some patients, it increased heart rate. And there's a concern that could be -- really be damaging over time. Also, appears to have been linked to some cognitive problems -- confusion, language issues. And also women who take topiramate which is one of the ingredients in this in the past have had children with birth defects. Cleft lip and cleft palate; most of them not, but still a higher rate than you would expect.
So getting now to fen-phen. Fen-phen one of the reasons why that got sort of out of control, do you remember those pill mills in strip malls where you could just kind of like walk in, anyone could get a prescription and they would just sell it to you right there. They had you know it sold it in bulk.
And the company that's making Qnexa says they won't allow that. In the beginning you're going to have to get it by mail-order. So physicians can't just like hang out a shingle and start passing this stuff out. You have to actually get it through the mail.
COSTELLO: Ok so when can you start getting this drug?
COHEN: If it's approved and that's still an if, there is a possibility the FDA will say no. You know it's expected to go on the market you know pretty quickly. I mean, it could just be a matter of a month or months.
COSTELLO: Ok. I can understand why you wouldn't want to run out and buy it because it's difficult to lose weight.
COHEN: It is. But people should definitely keep in mind that for some people they're going to have to take this the rest of their lives because when you stop taking it --
COSTELLO: Your appetite.
COHEN: -- right, your appetite comes back. And do you want to take something that has side effects for the rest of your life. I mean it's worth asking that question.
COSTELLO: Elizabeth Cohen, thank you.
COSTELLO: The FDA has also approved a drug to reduce the risk of HIV. On Monday, the FDA approved Truvada which has been on the market since 2004 and has been used to control the HIV virus. Now studies show the drug can also help lower the possibility of transmitting the virus.
We asked you to "Talk Back" on one of the big stories of the day. The question this morning, "What's the best way to win the war on drugs?" Lots of responses from you. I'll read some of them after the break.
COSTELLO: We asked you to "Talk Back" on one of the stories of the day. The question for you this morning, "What's the best way to win the war on drugs?"
This from Doug. "Start with legalizing and taxing pot."
From Aaron, "Americans as a whole are weak-minded individuals and curing them will take a while. We need to stop the supply and think of other counter-drug operations."
This from Gary, "Decriminalize them. Give them away or sell them at cost to anyone who's been through an education program and still wants them. Take the profit out of dealing drugs."
This from Daniel, "Drones, if we can use drones in the Middle East why can't we destroy the drug crops and growers using the same technology."
Now this from Jared, "If someone has an addiction they will find a way to get drugs. What we should do is focus on education, prevention and rehabilitation."
Facebook.com/CarolCNN. Please continue the conversation. More of your responses in the next hour of NEWSROOM.
Also coming up, it is a controversial film trailer that begins, "Dear White People".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Forget Hollywood and forget Tyler Perry. (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We get a movie with you know characters in them instead of stereotypes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: We will talk to the man behind the satire, "Dear White People" about race and stereotypes in the United States.
COSTELLO: Team USA men's basketball squad had a tougher time in their second tune-up before the London Games. Take a look. Brazil had a double digit lead in the first quarter before USA's defense stiffened. The Brazilians turned the ball over a dozen times in the second quarter and the USA outscored them in that time frame 20-5.
Team USA goes on to wins 80-69. Lebron James led the way with 30 points, Kevin Durant had 11. Team USA now heads to Europe for its final three exhibition games starting Thursday against Great Britain.
Oh, yes, former Red Sox hero Kevin Youkilis returned to Fenway Park for the first time since being traded to the (inaudible) -- just look at him. The Fenway faithful cheered and yelled "Youk, Youk" for the guy with baseball's most unorthodox batting stance. That was just one of his three hits you saw.
But Boston's Adrian Gonzalez had the biggest hit of the night -- yes, three-run blast into the monster seats that won the game. David Ortiz, though, threw a scare into Red Sox nation when he appeared to injure his Achilles tendon running around the bases ahead of the Gonzalez homer. That would have been embarrassing. Big Papi will have an MRI today.
And the life of a Minor League mascot can be tough. Check out the rip tide. Oh. He takes a tumble. He was riding that ATV but look at him. He's going to hop right back up because you can't be thrashing around in pain while the kids are watching. Here's hoping he slows downs before the next game, though.
That's a look at sports this morning.
A freeway passing lane takes on a new meaning after a few Lakers fans welcomed the team's new star with a beer pass. Don't you know it was all caught on camera.
Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just because it's called the passing lane, doesn't mean someone should pass you a beer. That's just what an SUV full of Los Angeles Lakers fans did when they spotted the Lakers' newest star, Steve Nash, in a taxi, on Freeway 110.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nash.
MOOS: The guy shooting this is none other than point guard Steve Nash himself. When they finally completed the handoff -- Nash just swung the camera around and added a comment.
STEVE NASH, L.A. LAKERS: Fans have been pretty good so far.
MOOS: Nash later tweeted out the video saying thanks for the warm welcome. We're hoping the can of Keystone Light was cold. The rowdy fans opened their own Twitter account calling themselves L.A. Beer Bros and they posted video of the view from their SUV, then the celebration following the handoff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
MOOS: The L.A. Beer Bros tweeted that they were on the way to the Dodgers game. Guy in back says "That's Steve Nash". Slowed down to check. Sure enough.
One guy posted to YouTube that the video would be a great commercial. "Keystone Light, good enough to make Steve Nash open his window." But the makers of Keystone Light seemed to distance themselves telling CNN we had nothing to do with this video. Some online distanced themselves from Keystone Light. Not exactly a premium beer.
"Nash should have realized it was a Keystone and thrown it back," posted one. Of course there could have been more razzle- dazzle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, pass me a beer.
MOOS: Like the two guys who made an entertaining video catapulting a beer, kicking a beer, skateboarding a beer and bouncing one.
But merely passing a beer between cars whizzing along the freeway is already unsafe and illegal, though so far there have been no charges.
We haven't seen a product handoff like this since Grey Poupon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pardon me. Would you have any Grey Poupon?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But of course.
MOOS: These two would have Pouponed their pants if they did this at say 60 miles an hour.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
COSTELLO: What would we do without YouTube? The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.