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Bin Laden's Papers Releasing This Hour; Chen's Desperate Plea; Edwards' Driver Goes Back on the Stand; Medicare Fraud Bust; Rep. Bachmann to Endorse Romney, Finally; Bin Laden Papers Going Online Now; Slice of Royals Wedding Cake for Sale; How to Run Your First Race
Aired May 3, 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: Hi, Soledad. And good morning to all of you. I'm Carol Costello. Stories we're watching right now in the NEWSROOM.
A gold mine of information on the world's most notorious terrorist, Osama bin Laden. In his own words. His plans, his fears. Six thousand pages of documents, parts of it hitting the Internet right now. We're combing through it for you.
Zero warning. That's what friends and family are saying about the sudden death of Junior Seau. This morning new questions about whether his suicide was the result of a concussion back in his playing days.
We are in danger. The words of Chen Guangcheng now begging the United States to allow his family to board Hillary Clinton's plane to America.
And would you pay 1500 bucks for a piece of stale cake? What if it was a royal wedding cake? Hmm.
CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.
And we do begin this hour with breaking news. With a rare and startling look inside the mind of Osama bin Laden. Right now the public is getting its first look at documents seized in the raid that killed the al Qaeda mastermind. They are in his own words. And they capture a fading leader desperate to launch another catastrophic strike on the United States.
Hundreds and hundreds of pages are now appearing on the Web site of Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.
Peter Bergen is our senior national security expert and was given early access to this so-called treasure-trove of material.
So, Peter, what has been your biggest take away?
PETER BERGEN, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Carol, you know, I was able to review some of the documents that are being released today in the course of reporting a book that I've written on the hunt for bin Laden. And the takeaways are -- and clearly the ones that are being released today, A, don't have operational information that would be useful to the CIA and, B, you know -- you know, put al Qaeda in a pretty bad light, Carol. I mean it shows bin Laden very worried about American drone strikes, advising one of his sons to move out of the Pakistani tribal regions, go to -- got a very peaceful and prosperous Middle East Persian Gulf kingdom.
At the same time he's encouraging, you know, all of the young men to go and fight in holy wars, he's telling tell his own son get out of dodge. He's advising members of al Qaeda not to -- you know, to stop using the al Qaeda name. In one case he sends a note to a leader of a Somalia affiliate of al Qaeda saying, you know, if you -- if you call yourself al Qaeda it'd be bad for fund-raising. You'll also attract undue attention to yourself.
He knew, Carol, with changing the name of al Qaeda. He had a couple of very un-catchy alternative names concerned that the Obama administration had sort of branded, you know, this war on al Qaeda and its allies. He thought if the name said -- instead of al Qaeda said something about Islam but, you know, then the Obama administration would have to talk about a war on Islam, and obviously they never changed the name of al Qaeda.
The picture that emerges from this document is also a sort of inveterate micromanager. I mean he was telling his group in North Africa to grow trees while, you know, so they would have cover for military operations. Now presumably al Qaeda's affiliate in North Africa has more pressing concerns than planting trees and waiting for them to grow for some future military operations.
He even had sort of bizarrely legalistic views on -- who should be recruited to attack the United States. He criticized, for instance, Faisal Shahzad who was recruited by the Pakistani Taliban and tried to blow up a bomb not far from where I was sitting here in New York, in Times Square on May 1st, 2010, saying that hey, this guy was a naturalized U.S. citizen, he's sworn an oath of allegiance to the United States and we, the holy warrior, shouldn't -- you know, should observe our oath.
So this was a very kind of puzzling thing telling his people not to use naturalized U.S. citizens who sworn an oath to the United States. Well, if you're going to attack the United States, of course, that's a group that you probably want to have as potential pool of recruits.
COSTELLO: It sounds almost like Osama bin Laden was losing it.
BERGEN: You know, I mean, let's -- you know, the viewers can judge. You know, he sounded like he was isolated. You know he spent six years in this compound almost. He had a lot of time on his hands. One of the memos runs to 48 pages. You know, it's a long memo. He was really getting in the weeds of personnel decisions. He was asking for reports on particular leaders or particular organizations.
At one point he said, Carol, you know, if you send me money, make it in euros. So he didn't want to take dollars. In fact, when he was killed he had some euros sewn into his clothing, as you may recall.
BERGEN: Money was tight. He was talking with his team about, you know, kidnapping, which was al Qaeda sort of defaulted to as a fund-raising measure. At one point he said, when you get the kidnap, ransom money, be sure to get rid of the bag in which the money came because there may well be an electronic tracking device in there. So he was giving advice on those sorts of issues. Large and small.
Of course he was asking for attacks on the United States, on President Obama, General David Petraeus. He said don't bother trying to kill Vice President Biden, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates or Admiral Mike Mullen. We really should focus on these two guys. And, you know -- but it's so hard to -- you know, killing President Obama or General David Petraeus, of course, it's easy to sort of say that. It's quite another thing to implement.
And some of -- some of the senior administration officials I spoke to said, you know, that he was getting pushback from a number of his leaders in the organization saying, you know, we need to focus on things we can actually get done like killing American soldiers in Afghanistan.
COSTELLO: Wow. You're going to be monitoring this Web site as those documents are released to the public. The government decided to do this because -- I guess in the spirit of transparency. We'll get back to you later, Peter Bergen. Thank you so much.
We also have Nic Robertson. He's going to be monitoring those documents as well and we'll hear from Nic at the bottom of the hour in just about 25 minutes.
We're also hearing from another al Qaeda leader from beyond the grave. Al Qaeda in Yemen is publishing the most detailed advice yet from the American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. In a high color magazine, a glossy magazine. In one section called "Open Source Jihad", followers are urged to ignite wildfires in the United States and there are instructions on how to create an ember bomb.
Before al-Awlaki was killed in a September drone strike, his teaching inspired a number of terror attacks. These latest writings justified the killing of women and children, and the use of chemical and biological weapons.
We're also following a diplomatic crisis developing between the United States and China and in the middle a blind Chinese activist now begging the United States to get him and his family out of China.
Just hours after Chen Guangcheng left the U.S. embassy in Beijing, he says the U.S. brokered deal was not the humanitarian victory the Obama administration portrayed. In fact, Chen now suggests the U.S. failed to effectively protect him and his family. Listen to his translated phone conversation with CNN's Stan Grant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STAN GRANT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: "I would like to say to him please do everything you can to get our whole family out. I'm very disappointed with the U.S. government. The embassy kept lobbying me to leave," he says. "And promised to be with me at the hospital but this afternoon soon after we got here, they were all gone."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Stan Grant has spoken to Chen. He's also spoken to several of his friends. And just a short time ago, Stan, you spoke with the U.S. ambassador to China, Gary Locke. What did he say about this situation?
GRANT: He's really the man in the hot seat. Of course, if you look at the photographs that we saw yesterday of a smiling Gary Locke and a smiling Chen Guangcheng as he left the embassy for the hospital at that point it appears as if they had a deal that China and the U.S. had come to an arrangement where Chen would be able to live freely and safely along with his family.
Well, that disintegrated very, very quickly between leaving the embassy, meeting his family, hearing his wife tell him that she had been threatened, in fact she'd been beaten in the days leading up to his leaving the embassy, and also speaking to us at 3:00 a.m. on Thursday morning Chen had done an about-face. He was now saying he did not want to stay in China. He wanted to be -- to be taken to the United States.
He said he feared for his life and he was also saying that he felt the embassy let him down, that they almost forced him to leave. Well, certainly very much encouraging had to leave the embassy. I put those questions directly to Ambassador Locke. This is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY LOCKE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: Let me just say that when he first came in, we took extraordinary steps to retrieve him. We found out he had escaped, was in Beijing, wanted to talk to us. We undertook almost like a mission impossible retrieval to bring him into the embassy. And he was very, very clear all along, he wanted to -- be reunified with his family, he wanted to stay in China to be a freedom fighter.
LOCKE: Did not want to go to the United States.
GRANT: But this is a man who fled house arrest. He put his life at risk for him. He said he'd been brutalized and terrorized for years. Was he in any fit state of mind to make a decision like that that he wanted to stay and wanted to leave?
LOCKE: Well, he certainly had those options. And we have to respect his desires and his wishes and his free will. (END VIDEO CLIP)
GRANT: Now where does this leave it? Of course Chen Guangcheng continued to say he wants to leave the country. Ambassador Locke saying they'll continue to discuss that but here's the crucial bit, to try to seek asylum he needs to be on U.S. soil. He was on U.S. soil. He was at the embassy. And that's the place Chen walked away from -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Just -- I don't know. To put it not so gracefully, it's a hot mess.
Stan Grant, reporting live from Beijing this morning.
John Edwards' driver returns to the stand today in the corruption trial against the former presidential candidate. It follows an emotional day for Edwards' oldest daughter, Cate. She left the courtroom in tears after hearing about a fight between her parents over her father's affair.
Joe Johns has more from North Carolina.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Carol, Matthew Nelson, an aide who used to drive former Senator John Edwards around, is expected to return to the stand here in Greensboro today.
Nelson testified about the stories Edwards concocted to try to conceal his affair with mistress Rielle Hunter. Nelson is one in a parade of witnesses now being called to the stand by the prosecution to fill in the gaps and the narrative of the case, and paint a fuller picture of John Edwards' activities in the run-up to the 2008 presidential campaign.
One of the most intensely emotional points of the trial came when a former research director for Edwards and a friend of his wife, Elizabeth Edwards, testified that Mrs. Edwards became so distraught following a "National Enquirer" story about the affair that she started tearing off her clothes in front of John Edwards, all the while saying, you don't see me anymore.
Edwards' daughter, Cate, who was seated behind the former senator, walk out of the courtroom and was seen wiping aware tears.
The prosecution is trying to show that Edwards accepted illegal campaign money to try to cover up the affair. The defense is trying to show Edwards was only trying to keep information about the relationship away from his wife who was dying of cancer -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Joe Johns reporting live from North Carolina.
You know that iconic painting, "The Scream?" You do know that painting. I know you do. Well, an unanimous bidder paid nearly $120 million for it. It actually broke a new world record at Sotheby's in New York. It is the highest price ever paid at an auction for a work of art. It beat out a Picasso painting that previously held the record. The pastel version of "The Scream" is the only one not housed in a museum. It and three similar screams were created by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch.
How would you feel if your doctor or pharmacist or nurse was stealing from you? I'll tell you why federal agents say that's exactly what happened at a $452 million Medicare fraud scheme.
And shock and sadness from both fans and friends of Junior Seau and one former teammate is asking why Seau didn't call out for help.
COSTELLO: Just about 15 minutes past the hour, checking our top stories.
Down just moments ago some of the 6,000 documents seized in that raid that killed Osama bin Laden, were released only to the public. The documents are in Osama bin Laden's own words and for the first time we all get to read what the al Qaeda mastermind was thinking.
Our security experts are sifting through of those papers right now. Actually all of the online papers if you will right now. And will update us within the hour on what they've learned so far.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with China's president for talks on strategic and economic issues, but diplomatic crisis is overshadowing those talks. A blind Chinese activist who left the refuge of the U.S. embassy in Beijing is now begging Clinton to help his family come to America. He says he fears for his life and his family's if they stay in China.
Police find a million bucks, $1 million in a storage unit. It's believed the money is connected to a fugitive arrested Monday. Bobby Thompson is accused of setting up a phony Navy charity and scamming millions of dollars from people in 40 states who had donated to it. He had been on the run for two years. Police have him and his money now.
It's the biggest single Medicare bust in U.S. history. At least 91 people now in custody and that includes people you should be able to trust, doctors and nurses. The federal probe uncovered $452 million in false Medicare billings leading to arrests in seven cities: Miami, Chicago, Tampa, Detroit, Baton Rouge, Houston and Los Angeles. In all, 107 people have been charged.
Now you know you were right. Fraud is a big reason health care is so darn expensive.
Sandra Endo is live in Washington to tell us more.
SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Carol. This is the largest bust in recent history capping off a several month long investigation by federal agents across the nation. And those charged include doctors, nurses, licensed medical professionals and health care company owners who are accused of allegedly submitting claims to Medicare for treatments that were medically unnecessary and often times never provided. They are being charged with conspiracy, health care fraud, violation of anti-kickback statutes and money laundering.
Now, to give you an idea of the scope of the investigation -- in Miami, 59 people were charged, as well as arrests made in Los Angeles, Detroit, and Baton Rouge. The attorney general and health and human services secretary announced the bust yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: Today's historic takedown is really just the latest milestone in the Obama administration's coordinated campaign to stamp out fraud in our health care system. When President Obama took office, he asked the attorney general and me to make fraud prevention a cabinet level priority. And since then we have more than quadrupled the number of antifraud task force teams operating around the country, charging hundreds of individuals with seeking to defraud Medicare and Medicaid of billions of taxpayer dollars.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: I'm just wondering, Sandra, can you give us an example? I mean, how -- give us a specific example of how these people were allegedly ripping people off.
ENDO: It's really egregious. And the biggest case that federal law enforcement officials say happened in Baton Rouge. That is where seven people are charged for allegedly bilking $225 million worth in false claims. And they allegedly recruited beneficiaries from nursing homes and homeless shelters who were really denied services or really provided with no services at all -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Sandra Endo, reporting for us from Washington.
The death of Junior Seau is reigniting the debate over concussions in the NFL. Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks at the dementia-like disease found in the brains of some former players.
And later, Michele Bachmann will endorse Mitt Romney later today, but she spent a whole lot of time on the campaign trail last year ripping him apart. Makes no sense in the real world but we're talking about the world of politics. We'll talk about that later.
COSTELLO: What can you say? It's beyond sad.
Football great Junior Seau apparently committed suicide, something that surprised nearly everyone close to him. The 43-year- old Seau was found dead in his southern California home from a gunshot wound to his chest. Seau played 20 memorable seasons in the NFL. Most notably with the San Diego Chargers.
A former San Diego teammate talked to ESPN about how Seau would often hide injuries to maintain his warrior image.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARCELLUS WILEY, FORMER NFL PLAYER: Junior wanted to make sure when you saw him, he was at full strength. You didn't want to see him at his weakest moments. But now I translate to his personal life. I'm, like, we were there for you, man. Like we knew you was a superstar. We knew you were a super person. But come out and tell us you needed us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Junior Seau's death adds to dark legacy of the 1994 Chargers. He becomes the eighth member of that Super Bowl team to die before the age of 45. Of course, it's too early to know whether Junior Seau suffered from a dementia-like condition due to the pounding he took during his NFL career.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports the brains of other former NFL players showed evidence of that disease.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: We don't know if Junior Seau has what a lot of people are talking about, CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy. It's tough to talk about, but the only way to really know for sure is to examine someone's brain after someone has died. That's when they know for sure if in fact this dementia-like symptom, this dementia-like syndrome affected Junior Seau.
But there's a lot of similarities between him and a player named Dave Duerson. You may remember last year, Dave Duerson also shot himself in the chest as did Junior and this is again an unusual thing to do. In Duerson's case, he left a note saying he wanted his brain examined for evidence of CTE. That examination revealed that he in fact did have chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
This dementia-like disease is characterized of people having memory problems, cognitive problems, depression, anger issues. And, you know, we're seeing this more and more.
In fact, I visited a lab in Boston where they examined brains for chronic traumatic encephalopathy and the numbers are quite striking. Eighteen out of 19 NFL players who had their brains examined there after their death showed evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, 18 out of 19. And the youngest brain overall where this was seen in a high school football player was 17 years old. So, this process does seem to start quite early in life.
Now, today there's a lawsuit being filed against the NFL, on behalf of 114 former NFL players, specifically regarding this issue of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Lots of details still coming in about Junior Seau, a tragic, tragic case. As more details come to us, we'll bring them to you.
Back to you for now.
COSTELLO: Now is your chance to talk back on one of the big stories of the day. The question for you today: should the United States help the blind Chinese dissident leave China? It's not exactly a 3:00 a.m. wake-up call. It's more like a 1:30 a.m. wake-up call for the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In other words, it won't take us to the brink of war but it might damage our already fragile relationship with China -- the problem what to do about Chen Guangcheng.
The blind Chinese dissident left the refuge of the U.S. embassy after Washington brokered a deal with the Chinese over his future. Well, now, Chen has changed his mind. In a CNN interview and through a translator, Chen pleads with President Obama to help him leave China.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CHEN GUANGCHENG, ACTIVIST (through translator): I would like to say to him, please do everything you can to get our whole family out.
I'm very disappointed with the U.S. government.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Chen says U.S. officials pressured him to leave the safety of the U.S. embassy but the U.S. ambassador denies that, saying Chen left of his own volition.
For now, Secretary Clinton is carefully choosing her words in China.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The United States raises the importance of human rights and fundamental freedoms, because we believe that all governments do have to answer to citizens' aspirations for dignity and the rule of law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: At this moment, we want China's help dealing with countries like North Korea, Iran and Syria, and more cooperation on fair trade rules and currency exchange. The Chen situation makes things a whole lot tougher. If only because America prides itself on promoting human rights throughout the world even going to war to further that goal.
So, the talk back question for you, should the United States help the blind Chinese dissident leave China?
Facebook.com/CarolCNN, Facebook.com/CarolCNN. I'll read your comments later this hour.
Politics is one weird business, isn't it? Michele Bachmann will endorse Mitt Romney today. I guess voters are supposed to forget all of the bad things she said about him last year.
So, how is that going to work? We'll discuss.
COSTELLO: Just about 30 minutes past the hour.
Always wanted to take a class at Harvard or MIT? Well, now, you can for free.
Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange.
OK. Come on. Free?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Free. Yes, free. And here's another kicker: anyone -- even you, Carol -- anyone can take these classes so even if you got lousy grades, you can feel like a rock star and go to MIT and Harvard by taking online classes because you don't have to go through the rigorous admissions process.
Here's the catch though: you don't get college credit for these classes but you are able to get an education. Think about it. You know, if you are trying to go back to school and it's been years, what you can do is use these classes as refresher courses before you apply for real credit and have to pay for actual courses, or if you're out of work right now, what this can do is help you to expand your skills, because remember if you have skills and you have a degree, all of that can help you sort of market yourself and get a job.
I mean, you look at the unemployment rate for people with only a high school diploma, it's at 8 percent. Compared that to people with bachelor's degree it's 4.2 percent, talking about unemployment. So, yes, it helps to get those extra skills on your resume -- Carol.
COSTELLO: OK. That sounds interesting. I could get into that, because, you know, I like to learn new things. So, I'll check it out.
KOSIK: Yes, there you go.
COSTELLO: "Wall Street Journal" has a new report out this morning on the job market. Actually, Wall Street has a new report this morning, not "The Wall Street Journal". How are things looking?
KOSIK: Right now, looking at a flat open. Stocks are in the green a little bit. You're going to see Wall Street kind of on hold for the big jobs report that comes out on Friday.
But there are new indications that things could be getting better, that layoffs seem to be slowing. In you this report shows that fewer people signed up for new unemployment claims last week. Claims fell 27,000. That's a sizable decline. Let's see if this is a trend and not just a blip -- Carol.
COSTELLO: All righty then. Alison Kosik reporting from the New York Stock Exchange.
Stories we're watching right now in the NEWSROOM:
Osama bin Laden in his own words, that's what we're getting a look at today, as some of the 6,000 documents seized in that raid that killed the al Qaeda leader are now available online for all to see. Our security experts are sifting through all of that stuff online right now and will update us in a few minutes on what they've learned.
Yet, another twist in the case of the Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng. He tells CNN he regrets leaving the U.S. embassy in Beijing and now wants American officials to help get him and his family to the United States. Chen says he fears for his life and the life of his family if they stay in China. His plea comes as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Chinese leaders for talks on strategic and economic issues.
And a New Jersey mother pleads not guilty to child endangerment after she was accused of taking her young daughter to a tanning salon and, you know, putting her in the booth there. Her attorney says the child went to the salon but was never allowed into the booth. "The New York Post" having fun with the story telling the woman, quote, "toast of the town".
Mitt Romney is about to get a shout-out from a political enemy. Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann who heads up the Tea Party caucus will endorse Romney this afternoon, even though she used to rip him to shreds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mitt Romney is a known moderate in this race. They know that he's a person who's gotten behind Planned Parenthood before. He gave Planned Parenthood a seat at the table on Romneycare in the state of Massachusetts.
People don't want that at the federal level. They know Mitt Romney is not going to be committed to repealing Obamacare. Neither will Newt Gingrich.
And Obamacare changes this country forever. We can't have it. I'm the only one who really will repeal this bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: And, of course that's when she was running against Romney for the Republican nomination and that was just one example from December. In the world of public, that is ancient history. Whatever it is, it is confusing for voters who want to know where their candidate stands on issues.
CNN contributors Will Cain and Roland Martin are here to talk about this.
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Glad to be here.
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning.
COSTELLO: Good morning.
Personally, I don't think endorsements matter much. But politicians seem to love them. So do voters really care about Bachmann's endorsement, Roland?
MARTIN: No, they don't care. They don't care about any of these endorsements. You look at polling data, they don't care as well.
Look, just like they did not care about Will Cain's beard, they don't care what Michele Bachmann is going to say or do.
Here's the other thing, this also shows you why politicians, Democrats and Republicans, do not have any principles or convictions because if you said all of that stuff running against a guy, you should say, you know what, I'm not going to endorse him. I'm not going to sit here and campaign for President Obama. But I can't stand here if you're Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and being true to your principles and turn around and turn the other cheek and say, oh, now, he's a great guy. Total nonsense.
COSTELLO: OK. Will, do you agree? I mean, why can't politicians stick to their principles and say, you know, I didn't like the guy then and I don't like him now.
CAIN: I agree halfway and disagree the other way. Here's the deal: I don't think endorsements matter a lot. We agree on that. Most people in the end realize the choice is between Obama and Romney. And most people that make endorsements will realize that as well, and they'll make their choice.
So, your choice is not between the ideal and Obama. It's between the available and Obama.
Now, here's where I think endorsements might matter a little bit. If Michele Bachmann made a show of not endorsing Romney, then that's a bigger deal. That could affect people. If Newt Gingrich did the same and said, I will not endorse Mitt Romney, that's bigger deal.
But jumping on the bandwagon of the inevitable and picking the available against Obama is not going to have that big of an effect.
COSTELLO: Wait, you mentioned Newt Gingrich because of course he endorsed Romney yesterday. Not so much because he really, really likes Romney. Listen to what Newt Gingrich said after he endorsed Romney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm asked sometimes is Mitt Romney conservative enough? My answer is simple: compared to Barack Obama? You know, this is not a choice between Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan. This is a choice between Mitt Romney and the most radical, leftist president in American history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: So, like, Roland, he kind of crystallized things, didn't he?
MARTIN: That's Newt Gingrich being honest and just what Will said. He's saying, look, compared to President Obama, Mitt Romney is conservative enough, although it's a joke to say President Obama is the most radical and leftist, but that's Newt Gingrich being honest and that was the best Romney is going to get out of him.
COSTELLO: Will, go ahead.
CAIN: I think Newt Gingrich just illustrated my point. And that's why, you know, Roland, it's great to ask people to be principled and they should be when they spoke for themselves, when they run for themselves, when they lay out what they believe in. But in the end, when you vote in November, you vote according to choices that are presented to you.
And the choices presented to Newt Gingrich are Michele Bachmann or me or Roland or anybody listening is between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.
MARTIN: And that's, Carol, why if I am a politician, that's why I couldn't be one because if I don't like the other person, I'm saying I'm sorry. I'm not going to play that party crap.
And that's the problem that people say they want honest politicians who are going to be straightforward and truthful but then again they always do the partisan dance to make the party leaders happy.
COSTELLO: And we have to leave it there. Roland Martin, Will Cain, thanks as always for a fascinating discussion.
MARTIN: Thanks so much.
CAIN: Thanks, guys.
COSTELLO: Coming your way, Osama bin Laden in his own words. Nic Robertson sifting through all of the documents online that were recovered in the deadly raid on Osama bin Laden's compound.
Nic, what did you find?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, more than 200 pages of information to go through, 17 documents. And amazingly, bin Laden emerges that he was jealous of some of al Qaeda's rising stars. That and more when we come back.
COSTELLO: Forty minutes past the hour.
Right now, we're sifting through newly released documents that capture some of the final words and thoughts of Osama bin Laden. Right now, the public is getting its first look at these documents that were seized in the raid that killed the al Qaeda mastermind. The capture of fading leader desperate to remain relevant and launch another catastrophic strike in the United States, hundreds and hundreds of pages now appearing on the Web site of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.
Nic Robertson is in London.
And, Nic, you've been pouring through these documents. And jealousy has arisen?
ROBERTSON: It certainly appears to.
Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, this radical Muslim cleric who inspired people like the Ft. Hood shooter to attack American soldiers and many other al Qaeda operatives to mount attacks, bin Laden seems to be jealous of him. There's a letter to bin Laden saying, we would like to nominate him as the new leader in Yemen, and bin Laden writes back to say well-noted but over here we like to see essentially someone tested on the battlefield.
That's a real slap down for Awlaki who is a cleric and never fought in the front line like bin Laden. That seems like jealousy.
COSTELLO: Interesting. Why has the government made these documents available to the public, Nic?
ROBERTSON: I think what they're trying to do here and they say that this is only 17 out of around 6,000 documents. This only a partial picture and we could use these documents to match them up against the other events that we're aware of to get a picture.
But what it paints here and I think this is the thrust of the documents that are released is that bin Laden was at loggerheads with his senior deputies and he was at one point advised to disown al Qaeda in Iraq and he wrote a strong letter to the Taliban, al Qaeda's affiliate inside Pakistan, telling them that if it didn't stop killing Muslims, he was going to go public with them.
We see him as a micromanager telling another al Qaeda group to plant trees so that they can hide underneath the trees, evade satellite and drone attacks by hiding underneath the trees.
So, this is a man who is trying to control the empire. But there are people out there in the field that strongly disagree with him and are going in their own direction.
COSTELLO: Interesting. So, Nic, you're going to continue pouring through this document. You'll have new information at the top of the hour in about, what, 15 minutes or so. So, I'll let you get back to it.
If all of you want to see documents for yourself, go to CNN.com. We have a link there to this West Point site. You can look at these documents for yourself. You can see Osama bin Laden's handwriting. I mean, there's a lot of interesting stuff there. So, CNN.com in case you want to go there.
Courtroom testimony, we hear about John Edwards' wife having an emotional breakdown in an airport after a newspaper ran a story about Edwards' affair. We'll tell you about who is testifying in his trial this morning.
And did you watch the royal wedding? Wishing you could have taken part in the ceremony? Well, you can. You can if you have the cash, even now. You can have a slice of Will and Kate's stale wedding cake.
We'll be right back.
COSTELLO: Forty-six minutes past the hour. Checking our "Top Stories".
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with China's president for talks on strategic and economic issues but a diplomatic crisis is overshadowing those talks. A blind Chinese activist who left the refuge of the U.S. embassy in Beijing is now begging Clinton to help his family come to America. Says he fears for his life and is in danger if he stays in China.
John Edwards' trial starts up again this morning and his driver is expected to give more testimony. Edwards' daughter Kate, left the courtroom in tears yesterday after a former aide described an argument between Edwards and his wife Elizabeth. As you know Elizabeth, a breast cancer patient, was upset after learning of her husband's affair with Rielle Hunter. Edwards is accused of misusing campaign fund to hide that affair.
Police find a $1 million in a storage unit; believed the money is connected to a fugitive. Bobby Thompson is the fugitive. He's accused of setting up a phony Navy charity and scamming millions from people in 40 states who had donated to the charity -- the phony charity I should say. He had been on the run for two years.
Many of us watched Will and Kate tie the knot at the royal wedding last year. Admit it, you did. You remember. The pomp, the circumstance, the fairy tale like scene. Some of us probably dreamed of what it would have been like to attend. I admit, I did. And maybe -- maybe even try say a piece of the royal wedding cake.
Well, good news for you this morning. Because you could have a slice of that wedding cake. It's on sale. The very same cake, from the very same wedding. Let's head to London and check in with Max Foster. Sounds good -- year-old cake.
MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This is a fruitcake. It's a bit of tradition.
COSTELLO: It's a fruit cake.
FOSTER: That you can keep it for a long time your wedding cake. But it's got online, basically one of the guests was all of the guests, 650 guests at Buckingham Palace were given a slice of the wedding cake to take home with them in a -- in a presentation tin and one of the guests decided to sell that on. And there's an auction taking place that finishes on the 24th. You can bid if you want Carol, it might get quite expensive. They're expecting it to go for $1,500 in the end.
But there's a slice of cake, you also have an order of service there. I'm sure a few questions at Buckingham Palace, Carol, about who is selling this cake. Completely unanimous but we know it was a guest.
COSTELLO: Well, I was maybe going to check it out but it's a fruitcake. All I can think about is those fruitcakes you get for Christmas that you never want to eat.
FOSTER: Exactly the same one.
COSTELLO: Oh, oh well, maybe they like those things better in Britain. You would know, Max.
FOSTER: It's very traditional. It's always a fruitcake for wedding cakes. So I was -- you know I reported in great depth Carol of course on the wedding. And I spoke to the wedding cake maker and she is the best in Britain. So if you are going to spend a lot of money on a piece of cake, a tiny little sliver of cake, this is probably it.
But I suspect people are going to be buying it as an investment. Diana's wedding cake sold a couple years ago for $2,000. You could make --
FOSTER: -- some good money.
COSTELLO: You could. And I'll take your word -- I'm sure the fruitcake is better over there than it is here. Thanks so much Max Foster reporting live from London.
Boy a lot of talk about the cake. More talk about how to burn it off. So are you trying to get in shape for summer, and thinking about training for that first big run? Well, you are not alone. I'm training for a mini-triathlon and since I'm putting myself through torture and agony, I want to put you through that too.
I spent a day with a professional tri-athlete and she's got some great advice on how to get moving.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: So you've never run a race before and you really want to? And you don't know how to get started. Let's ask April. She's a professional tri-athlete.
Just a typical beginner training session, what's my first training session look like?
APRIL GELLATLY, TRI-ATHLETE: Set a pattern from the beginning for say we're going to -- we're going to walk for ten minutes to kind of warm up and then we'll go into five-minute jog and five-minute walk and five-minute jog, five-minute walk.
So whatever I set from the beginning, I like to hold myself accountable for. Even if you know you're starting with a one-minute jog. You know that -- that might be a good place to start for some people.
There are tons of great resources online that are typically free. And then find a plan you know to help you kind of reach that goal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: If you want to get in shape with me, every Thursday I'll have a tip on how you can get there. It's part of the "2012 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge". Dr. Sanjay Gupta heads that up. That's right here on Thursdays.
COSTELLO: All right, this just in to CNN. We just kind of have to show you these live pictures. This -- this is near Orlando. And that would be a giant sinkhole in the backyard of this poor person's home. Imagine you're drinking coffee in the morning and you look out your back window and whoa. There's a sinkhole. That thing is getting bigger too, so far it's about 50 feet wide and 50 feet deep. No evacuations. We'll keep an eye on this. This thing has already swallowed four trees. And of course if you're the homeowner, you're now worried a lot about your house. We'll check back.
We asked you to "Talk Back" on one of the big stories of the day. The question for you this morning, "Should the United States help the blind Chinese dissident leave China?"
This from Steve, "Absolutely not. This is not a time to play a game of chicken with China. We'll lose and lose big. We need them to keep our country running."
This from Eric. "We should offer passage to the United States but not any kind of covert mission to rescue him. If he gets here, we should let him stay."
This from Colleen. "We need to acknowledge China's laws and look at it from their point of view. How would our country react if they help say, a home-grown terrorist escape?"
And this from Charles, "Absolutely now. Although his situation is sad, we need China more than ever to help with North Korea and Iran. The risks far outweigh the reward."
Keep the conversation going facebook.com/carolcnn, facebook.com/carolcnn. We will have more read in the next hour of NEWSROOM.
COSTELLO: Junior Seau, it is safe to say so many people are still in shock over this. I just -- he is just such a big, strong guy.
JOE CARTER, HLN SPORTS: Absolutely. And I think a lot of people both in the sports world, sports fans and people who just knew the name were very shocked and surprised by the news. Only 43 years old and to see his mother come out like that yesterday and speak to the press. A mother should never have to bury their child. It's a very, very sad situation.
But on a brighter note, there was another southern California native. Junior Seau was a USC grad. Also played most of his NFL career as a San Diego Charger. He made a lot of history-making moments.
There was another Southern California native who also made his moment in sports history last night. Jared Weaver, pitcher for the Anaheim Angels. He took the hometown discount as many of you remember by signing with the team. Signing with them, he said he could have gone to a lot of places but he decided he wanted to stay Anaheim.
His wife, his mother and his father there -- he wanted to have them enjoy moments of his playing career and moments like he did last night. He faced the twins and took them down. He had everything working. His off speed stuff was excellent. His fastball, he had great command. He had seven strike-outs just one walk. And Weaver's 121st pitch put him in the MLB Major League record books.
The final out? Hold your breath a little bit there. Went to the warning track. He throws his first no hitter ever and the 10th in Angels franchise history. Best of all, as I said, his parents; mom and dad, there to see the entire thing. They were in the stands, very happy and very excited for their son.
The NFL has brought down the hammer on players involved in the Saints' bounty gate scandal. The league has suspended Jonathan Vilma, the linebacker for the entire season. NFL says Vilma offered $10,000 to any player who knocked out Kurt Warner or Brett Favre in the 2009 play-offs. Saints teammate Will Smith got a four-game suspension. We've said the defensive end pledged money for the bounty program. Two other people were also -- Anthony Hargrove and Scott Padilla also suspended for this. The PR mess continues for the New Orleans Saints.
COSTELLO: Yes. I don't think it is over yet. Thanks, Joe. CARTER: Bet.