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Obama Pushes Nine-point Economic Plan; NJ Political Foes Share Some Laughs; Romney Narrows Focus on Economy; New Dr. Reports in Trayvon Martin Case; "Do-Nothing Congress"; Interview with Lee Greenwood; Fired Coach's Wife Suing ESPN
Aired May 16, 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, Brooke. Thanks a lot.
BALDWIN: Tossing the football around.
COSTELLO: Happening now in the NEWSROOM, Americans are becoming optimistic things are about to get better for them and the nation and they apparently know the man who can fix the economy. At least at the moment that would be Mitt Romney. We'll hear from Romney live this hour.
Uncontrolled acceleration. Hyundai this morning looking into this video showing a car plowing through city streets at 80 miles per hour. Is a stuck pedal to blame? Is Hyundai the next Toyota?
Speaking out. The wife of former Syracuse basketball coach accused of molesting ball boys goes public this morning. Lorie Fine breaking her silence addressing claims she knew what was going on with her husband.
Plus this. Lee Greenwood making a plea for a better America. He's got a new book out asking does God still bless the USA? We'll ask him when he stops by later this hour.
NEWSROOM begins right now.
And good morning to you. I'm Carol Costello. Your money front and center this morning from Capitol Hill to the campaign trail. And even a rare lunchtime meeting between President Obama and congressional leaders from both parties. The rivals may break bread but don't expect them to make peace.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner is warning of another battle brewing over the debt ceiling. Last year you remember that ugly standoff? The government flirted with shutdowns and the nation's bond rating was downgraded for the first time ever. Well, now Boehner says again there will be no compromise. Every dollar of new spending must be offset by at least a dollar in cuts. Listen to what he told Erin Burnett.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: It is a line in the sand because Washington has kicked the can down the road, kicked the can down the road, kicked the can down the road and the American people think we're crazy. They are ready for Washington to take action. I'm here. I'm ready to do it. Let's go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: So you can imagine how that lunch meeting may go. Let's talk about that lunch meeting. President Obama is planning to pitch a five-point to-do list to stoke the economy. He's going to, like, you know, give that to-do list to John Boehner.
Dan Lothian at the White House. I don't know, it just sounds like it's going to be an ugly pointless meeting.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wow, it certainly does sound like that. But the president believes that this to-do list will provide relief for millions of Americans. So some of the things that he's pushing include tax breaks for small businesses that he believes will lead to job creation. It would allow these small businesses to hire more workers and then be able to pay those workers a little bit more money.
The White House and president in particular believing that small businesses are really sort of the engine for the economic recovery.
In addition, the president wants Congress to provide relief for those homeowners who are struggling in those upside down mortgages especially in hard hit areas like Nevada, so looking to allow them to refinance their loans at a lower rate, providing a savings of approximately $3,000 for those homeowners.
So the president will be making this pitch of this to-do list when he visits a local business somewhere here today in the D.C. area and then coming back here to the White House for that meeting that you talked about with congressional leaders on this -- will he be pushing this to-do list.
I should point out that a GOP source telling CNN that this meeting was planned weeks ago before the president started talking about that to-do list -- Carol.
COSTELLO: OK. So he has this to-do list but to get the to-do list accomplished, he needs a bipartisan spirit.
LOTHIAN: That's right.
COSTELLO: So can he really get that in an election year?
LOTHIAN: You know, that's a very good point. I think there's a lot of skepticism that anything can really get done in this political environment. And one indicator of that, the chairman of RNC just this morning sending around an e-mail in a statement that said in part, quote, "Instead of assigning homework to Congress, Professor Obama should take a look at his own list of broken promises to cut the deficit in half, lower health care costs, solve our energy crisis." So that gives you a sense of what the tone is going into these meetings here today. While the president is pushing this to-do list, Republicans are pushing his, quote, "not done list."
COSTELLO: Well, I hope they have good food for lunch at least.
LOTHIAN: That's right.
COSTELLO: Dan Lothian live at the White House.
Bipartisanship does live at least it does when politicians are joking around. We're about to show you a video spoof starring New Jersey's Republican governor and Newark's Democratic mayor. It's really funny.
To set things up for you, last month Mayor Cory Booker grabbed some heroic headlines when he helped rescue a neighbor from a fire.
Here he and Chris Christie teamed up in an online parody of the Seinfeld-Newman rivalry with the vice presidential slot at stake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Hey, Chip. How are you doing? Guys, got any problems you want me to handle? Like a fire anywhere? People trapped?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
CHRISTIE: No? Like a bad automobile accident? Where you need me to help some folks?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, nothing like that.
CHRISTIE: Even a cat in a tree?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I think we're all set here.
MAYOR CORY BOOKER (D), NEWARK: Trooper, what have we got?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mayor, thank you for coming. There's two- alarm fire down on State Street. We do have a car broken down on Route 1 and yes, a little girl has lost her cat in a tree.
BOOKER: All right. Governor, I got this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was that?
CHRISTIE: Steve, listen, I got to get going. I think we're going to have a flat tire here. All right. All right. I'll hang up first. Good-bye.
BOOKER: Hey, Gov. Gov. Sit tight. I got this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my god, my baby.
BOOKER: Governor, stand back. I got this. I got this.
BOOKER: Governor Romney, Governor Romney. Yes, yes. That was me running into the fire. Yes. I do shovel snow as well. Yes, you're very persuasive. But I'm not a number-two guy. I'm not a -- I'm not a background singer. Mitt -- sir, with all due respect, I know you need a big --
CHRISTIE: Excuse me, Mayor. I got this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: It's really funny. Or maybe I just have a warped sense of humor. I don't know.
Politics aside, the men are friends in real life and yes, one is a Republican and one is a Democrat. Their video was shown at New Jersey's annual version of the Correspondents Dinner.
A viral video from South Korea may raise concerns among some car owners here in the United States. Buckle up for this white-knuckled ride.
Seventeen people were injured in this crash including the elderly couple inside that Hyundai Sonata. Their son posted the dashboard video online because he thinks a malfunction caused the car to accelerate to 80 miles an hour. The South Korean carmaker and the government say they are investigating.
In Texas, this is being called the Ft. Bend County Grand Canyon. Take a look at that. The problems began last weekend when heavy rains washed over a nearby levee and chewed away about 10 feet of ground. Big chunks continue to crumble and officials are keeping a close eye on this -- can you call this a sinkhole? That's just insane.
And Congress is holding a hearing today into the TSA. The agency received a failing grade on handling security breaches. An internal investigation says the TSA did not accurately report, track and fix breaches. TSA management agrees that improvement is needed.
And at any moment Mitt Romney is due to speak in St. Petersburg, Florida. No more talk of same-sex marriage. It's the economy, stupid, Romney style. He's hammering away at the president's handling of the economy and a sluggish recovery that has many Americans concerned.
Romney is fresh off two more primaries win and he's working on his message about repairing the economy. I just told you that.
National political correspondent Jim Acosta is in St. Pete to tell us more.
Good morning, Jim.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. That's right. You know Mitt Romney started this yesterday up in Iowa talking about the national debt and the economy. He called the national debt a prairie fire of debt that is sweeping across the country. He's going to continue delivering that message here in just a few moments here in St. Petersburg, Florida.
He actually has a national debt clock. A miniature version of the national debt clock positioned behind a group of senior citizens on stage. So he's going to go back to that message.
But, Carol, I have to tell you, you know, the Romney campaign is keeping one eye on Florida, keeping another eye on Joe Biden who is going to be giving a speech later today in Ohio where the vice president will be going after Mitt Romney on this issue of Bain Capital, the private investment firm that Mitt Romney led before going on to run the Olympics and govern the state of Massachusetts.
And the Romney campaign just gave their response to some of these attacks. And I'll read that to you in just a moment. But consider what the vice president is going to be talking about in this speech, he's going to talk about Romney's time at Bain accusing Mitt Romney of loading up companies, various companies with debt, and then getting rid of those company -- companies while at the same time pocketing millions of dollars in profits and the vice president is expected to say what is passed is prologue if this has happened in the past, Vice President Biden will say what should we expect if Mitt Romney is president.
Just got a response from Andrea Saul, a campaign spokeswoman for the Romney campaign.
It's interesting, Carol, this response does not mention his time at Bain but it does say we welcome a discussion about jobs and the economy -- Carol.
COSTELLO: I can't wait for the debates to begin. I know Mitt Romney doesn't have the nomination sewn up just yet but you can imagine this is going to be a big part of the campaign in the month to come.
ACOSTA: Absolutely. I think that's right. And, you know, so far Mitt Romney has not really talked about this in the last couple of days. You know, the Obama campaign put out that ad on Monday talking about Bain. Priorities USA, a pro-Obama super PAC -- yesterday issued an ad on Bain.
I just watched it in my hotel room earlier this morning here in Florida. So it's playing in battleground states. But unlike what happened during the Republican primaries where Mitt Romney talked about Bain just a touch, he has not really talked about that subject at all. So expect the Obama campaign to keep pushing it until he does talk about it -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Jim Acosta, live this St. Petersburg, Florida, this morning.
Lee Greenwood is here today asking, does God still bless the USA? You know Greenwood's iconic song, "God Bless the USA." He wrote that song nearly 30 years ago now. And it means a lot to troops who are willing to die in the name of patriotism.
Lee Greenwood has a book out. He'll talk about God, patriotism, and how to make America better.
NEWSROOM will be right back.
COSTELLO: Just about 15 minutes past the hour checking our top stories now.
In about two hours we expect the wife of Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine to announce she is suing ESPN. Her husband is accused of molesting boys decades ago. Lori Fine became part of the story when an audiotape surfaced that seemed to suggest she knew about her husband's alleged sexual abuse, but a family member said the tape was tampered with.
People in Crown King, Arizona, are being warned this morning, the gladiator wildfire may circle back and threaten their community again. Local media report the fire has swelled to more than 2,000 acres. At least 500 firefighters are on hand but they've only been able to contain 5 percent of the fire.
Police are looking for the person who robbed the Oceanside California home of NFL star Junior Seau. It happened just days after his suicide. Police say someone sneaked passed mourning fans in broad daylight, entered the house, rummaged through the drawers and then entered the garage and that's where the culprit made off with a bike and some mementos.
Also this morning, new developments and new details in the Trayvon Martin case. Two sources close to the investigation tell us that a doctor's examination of the shooter, George Zimmerman, may back up his claims of a brutal scuffle with the teenager. It adds details of what we can't see in this police surveillance tape on the night Trayvon Martin was killed.
Martin Savidge is here to explain. So, the exam was done the next day. There are medical records. So, what do they say?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: This is kind of interesting stuff.
As you point out, this was a medical exam that was done by George Zimmerman's personal doctor the day the altercation actually took place. And what Trayvon Martin's attorney will point is that if he had been seriously injured in the alleged altercation, the fight between him and Trayvon, then he would have gone to the hospital. He didn't go to the hospital. He didn't have a concussion. That we know.
The records do show that George Zimmerman had a broken nose. He also had two black eyes. He had lacerations in the back of his head and he had -- in the words of his doctor -- a minor injury to his back. So, it does suggest that something happened. But it doesn't necessarily explain the severity of the all the altercation.
One of the things that Trayvon Martin's attorney will point out is that it doesn't tell us who was the aggressor here. Ben Crump was speaking on Anderson Cooper last night. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY (via telephone): What the other doctor says why he came to the doctor. He sought an appointment with the doctor to get legal clearance to return to work. So it is very suspicious that he doesn't have to go to the doctor February 26th when he shoots and kills Trayvon Martin. Doesn't have to go to the E.R., but then the next morning he has to go.
We do not know one thing, Anderson, and that's Trayvon Martin was taken away in an ambulance and he lost a battle for his life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: And we should point out that both sides are going to look at this medical report and claim it helps them. George Zimmerman says it proves he was in a fight. Trayvon martin's family says, well, it doesn't prove it was the fight of his life, as he maintains.
COSTELLO: So, injuries to Trayvon Martin. Do we know anymore from the autopsy report?
SAVIDGE: Well, we do know this. At least his hands were injured.
Now, what does that say? Does it back up George Zimmerman's account that, as you remember, Zimmerman says this young man came and actually attacked him, punched him, knocked him to the ground and began beating his head against the cement, or as Trayvon Martin's attorney would say, it only shows that Trayvon was defending himself from George Zimmerman who they say started all of this by profiling and then chasing the young teen.
COSTELLO: Wow. Martin Savidge, thanks so much.
Today, the man convicted of helping criminals, murderers and rapist in Sierra Leone tells the court he brought peace to the country and not war.
And don't forget if you head out the door, you can take us with you. Watch us anytime on your mobile or computer. Just head to CNN.com/TV.
COSTELLO: Today, one of the world's most notorious warlords argued for a lighter sentence in front of a court that found him guilty of atrocities. Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, was convicted last month of helping the rebel groups that viciously slaughtered people in his neighboring country Sierra Leone. Prosecutors say he's responsible for murder, rape, using child soldiers and even amputating people's limbs. In return, the rebels gave him diamonds.
Let's head to London and Zain Verjee.
Charles Taylor stood up and defended himself. What did he say?
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, he really strongly defended himself. I mean, you remember the movie, Carol, "Blood Diamonds"? Well, this is the man many would accuse of starting that whole awful industry and making it so big. I mean, remember, too, Naomi Campbell had also received some blood diamonds from Charles Taylor. She actually testified earlier on in this trial.
Basically, what did he say? He said I didn't do it. He said I did not have direct command and control of these rebels. They were known as the RUF rebels in Sierra Leone, the Revolutionary United Front. And he is alleged to have armed them and they committed atrocities and he got a chunk of diamonds in return. It's a big deal for a lot of people in Africa to see Charles Taylor like this, because you don't see a lot of African leaders being taken for war crimes. This is the first one ever.
I'm from Kenya. It's like an amazing sight for anyone from Kenya or anywhere in Africa to see this is actually happening.
The one thing that I think people in the United States today would find interesting is that Charles Taylor also talked a lot about President George W. Bush. And he said, well, how come I'm here for war crimes and you have someone like the U.S. president, former President George W. Bush who admitted to torture and nothing happened to him. Is that fair?
Listen to how he put it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES TAYLOR, FORMER LIBERIAN PRESIDENT: President George W. Bush not too long ago ordered torture and admitted to doing so. Torture is a crime against humanity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERJEE: Charles Taylor also continued to slam the U.S., Carol. He said basically the whole trial was totally unfair and the reason he gave was also because he said the United States actually gave the prosecution millions of dollars that was totally out of the system and that was legally allowed and that they also used the money to kind of pay off witnesses and coerce witnesses and it just meant that he ended up with an unfair and unjust trial, and that the money really influenced the outcome of the trial.
The prosecution wants him in jail for 80 years. The sentencing is going to happen on the 30th of May -- Carol.
COSTELLO: We'll check back with you. Zain Verjee live in London.
Now is your chance to talk back on one of the big stories of the day. The question for you this morning, is there a middle ground in dealing with a deficit?
We're headed for another showdown over the debt ceiling. Why? Because it was so much fun the last time. You remember the high stakes brinksmanship, the last-minute deal no one was happy with and lowering of America's credit rating -- embarrassing.
Now, House Speaker John Boehner wants to deja vu it all over again. Raise the debt ceiling again, he says, and then cut, cut, cut.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It is a line in the sand because Washington has kicked the can down the road, kicked the can down the road, kicked the can down the road and American people think we're crazy. They're ready for Washington to take action.
I'm here. I'm ready to do it. Let's go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Boehner said no to increasing taxes. Predictably Democrats balked.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Republicans can grandstand all they want. The fact is any agreement to avoid a fiscal cliff facing us at the end of this year must not gut programs that support the middle class. Must be balanced with policies that ask millionaires to help a little bit and do their fair share.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: So while the deficit hovers around a trillion a year, both parties are still arguing on how to reduce it. It is in a word, wearying. We were going to ask you your thoughts about Congress but we already know.
So, we'll ask you this question instead. Is there a middle ground in dealing with the deficit? Facebook.com/CarolCNN, Facebook.com/CarolCNN. I'll read your responses later this hour.
The president, he has a to-do list. But will lawmakers get to work on it? We'll look at why this Congress is getting -- we already know it has a bad reputation. We'll tell you if it can fix it.
COSTELLO: Bank of America has a new program to help homeowners in danger of foreclosure and they're paying people thousands of dollars to participate. Say what you say?
Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange.
Wow, tell us about this.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Come on, Carol. You know there's a catch.
Do you what the catch is?
KOSIK: You have to sell your home in a short sale. Meaning, you have to sell your home at a loss. If you do, Bank of America will give you money to move. It will give you $2,500 to $30,000 and that depends on what your situation is.
The reality with this is catch or not, this is considered a better alternative to foreclosing because what you're doing is you're selling the house, the bank isn't taking it from you and it is the lesser of two evils. You can make out better if you sold a home at a loss than if you foreclose on it.
Look at the difference -- the average foreclosure sells for 150,000. The average sort sale sells for a bit, $185,000 -- Carol.
COSTELLO: That's not bad. So, what's in it for the bank?
KOSIK: OK. So, for the bank, it's a way for them to cut bait. A short sale process is much cheaper for the bank.
You look at the average foreclosure process. It drags on for more than a year. Even two to three years in some states when the courts get involved. The bank during that time is responsible for everything from property taxes to maintenance to legal fees and this stuff just drags on and on.
But if you do a short sale, they get the house back faster. They turn it over to a new buyer and it's already working.
In fact, Bank of America began testing this program in Florida last year. Seems to be working. So, guess what? It's going nationwide.
Other banks are doing the same thing. Chase, Wells Fargo, yes, they have similar programs -- Carol.
COSTELLO: OK. I'm looking. You know, the Dow is up 2 points. I just want to look at Tom Selleck because I was distracted by that.
KOSIK: He's got a new show on another network. So, yes, he's ringing the bell.
COSTELLO: We always say on another network. What is it?
COSTELLO: Thank you.
He helped ring the bell this morning.
Alison Kosik, thanks so much.
Thirty minutes past the hour. Stories we're watching right now in the NEWSROOM:
Hyundai looking into this viral video that shows a car plowing through the streets at 80 miles per hour and then crashing. The son of an elderly couple who were in the vehicle posted this vehicle. This happened in South Korea, by the way. He thinks the malfunction caused the car to accelerate. The car maker and South Korean government now investigating.
New details are surfacing about George Zimmerman's injuries. A medical report by Zimmerman's family doctor says he had a broken nose, two black eyes and two lacerations on the back of his head after the confrontation that ended in Trayvon Martin's death. Zimmerman faces a second degree murder charge. He acknowledged shooting Martin in February but claims it was self-defense.
And the defense in John Edwards' corruption trial could wrap up its case as early as today. There are still two big questions. Will his oldest daughter, Cate, testify? And will the former presidential candidate take the stand himself?
Edwards is accused of using campaign contributions to cover up his affair with Rielle Hunter.
President Obama has a to do-list. But will the so-called do nothing Congress get to work on it? The president meets late every this morning with bipartisan leader at the White House for only the second time this election year. The president wants Congress to get moving on issues like job creation and mortgage help. But that is likely an uphill battle.
So, let's bring in Dana Bash. She's our congressional correspondent.
Oh, it's just -- it's depressing really.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's definitely one way to look at it and think a lot of people out there would agree with you, Carol. If you just take look at what the Senate is going to do today, they're going to spend six hours working very hard on five votes that everybody knows are not going to pass.
Let me give our viewers a sense of what they are. They have to do with a budget. The first vote is going to be on President Obama's budget. Guess how many votes people think will get? Zero votes. That's right. Zero votes.
Then, there's a going to be a vote on the House Republican budget, which people out there know as Paul Ryan budget. That is probably going to get certainly more than zero but won't pass.
Then there are going to be three other votes on conservative budgets.
So, you might ask logical question -- why are they taking all this time to have these votes that the Senate knows is not going to pass? Well, the answer is, it's silly season. It's politics.
And each side is hoping to maneuver in order to say, aha, you see -- for example, Republicans will say Democrats don't even support the president's budget, and Democrats are going to say, aha, look at all of these Republicans supporting what they call extreme budgets with too many budget cuts.
COSTELLO: OK. So, I'm going to try to look at the glass half full. Does either side have a legitimate point?
BASH: You have to look hard. There are some legitimate points.
For the Democrats -- let me start with Republicans actually. The whole reason why we're having these votes is because they found a rule inside the Senate rules that says that if the Senate hasn't passed a budget resolution by April 1st, they can force these votes. Well, the Senate has not passed a budget resolution. In fact, the Senate has not passed a budget for years and that's the point Republicans make, say they're not doing their job and Democrats say we have plans in place and we don't need to do this and they also know it's an election year and these votes could be used against some of their Democrats in trouble.
COSTELLO: Dana Bash, reporting from Capitol Hill -- thanks.
BASH: Thank you.
COSTELLO: You know the song "God Bless the USA." It invokes a feeling of patriotism for millions of Americans. Well, the man who wrote it and sang it is wondering if God still bless the USA.
Lee Greenwood is in our studios to talk about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do believe the biggest gift we have is to converse with a work of art. Through the great computer age, we are losing in a certain way interaction with real object. The computer doesn't feel pain. It doesn't feel any joy. It cannot suffer.
Those things can only be (INAUDIBLE) human can. Art can communicate all of those things in a very quick and easy way. Just look at them. Look at the work of art. Communicate with it.
They are talking to you. Just listen and answer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: If Congress, the GOP candidates and President Obama can't fix what's wrong with America, who can?
Well, maybe it's Lee Greenwood -- the iconic country music star. He thinks he has a solution and has a lot to do with his signature song, "God bless the USA."
COSTELLO: "God bless the USA" topped the charts in the '80s and topped it again -- topped the charts again after 9/11. It has become a sort of -- a new sort of national anthem for many Americans.
Now, Greenwood has written a book "Does God still bless the USA? A Plea for a Better America." It hits stores this week.
And Lee Greenwood is here with me.
LEE GREENWOOD, MULTI-PLATINUM COUNTRY MUSIC STAR: Thank you.
COSTELLO: Thank you so much for coming in. I'm excited to talk to you.
GREENWOOD: Thank you. Great to be here.
COSTELLO: OK. So, I always wondered what inspired you to write "God bless the USA"?
GREENWOOD: I wanted to do something that kind of unite my country. I'm originally from California and settled in Tennessee after many years in Nevada. And so, I just had this inspiration. And it took me about 2 1/2, 3 years because I had a country music career that was 300 days a year on the road.
And just one day I said, you know, it's time to do that. I talked to my producer, Jerry Crutchfield. I took the song in after I had written it on a bus one night. And I said, what do you think about this? He said, well, if you want to do it, he said, let's just do that -- do it right.
And we talked a little bit about the organization of the cities that I mentioned in the song. And then, of course, it became a military anthem as well which just thrilled me.
COSTELLO: Did it take you a long time to write? You got on the bus and decided to write this song, did it come out?
GREENWOOD: Yes, about half an hour.
COSTELLO: I know, that's what you said in your book. And I'm like, that's impossible.
GREENWOOD: Well, I had this piano in the back of a bus and I had it plugged into my ears so I wouldn't disturb the rest of the riders on the bus. You're kind of inspired after a concert. It's hard to lay down, because you're like excited. And it gave me a chance to focus on the lyrics of the song, which I thought about for a long time.
COSTELLO: So, I read your book last night. And I enjoyed it.
COSTELLO: And I love the story that you were at the World Trade Center site and you just broke out into song in the middle of everything. Tell us about what happened after you started singing.
GREENWOOD: Well, my wife, Kim, and I went to New York several times. Mayor Giuliani asked us to come and we went for firemen's memorial. After that, we went to Carnegie Hall for the policemen's memorial. But that particular event when we come in with police from New Jersey and walk the Trade Tower site in smolders and there was military around, we didn't know at the time there was gold bullion down at the bottom of the Trade Towers that they're going to actually escort out.
And as we're walking through the rubble, I notice a long face of a lot of people not in recovery yet and I just got up on one of the steel beams and started singing. I just kind of -- you know, I just felt like they needed some inspiration and something to lift them up. Two or three guys would stop and it was hard to get them out to where they are in that mode of sadness.
And my wife Kim and I did our best with the OSO representative. We went onto the boat serving food for them.
COSTELLO: You started singing and people started singing with you.
COSTELLO: That must have been a fantastic feeling for you.
GREENWOOD: Yes, it always is. I mean, there's been many different environments where I've sang in places. Some acoustically, sometimes just with my piano and many times in stadiums with tracks. And people all stand up and sing with me. I love that. It's unification of Americans.
COSTELLO: So awesome. You know that feeling of patriotism we had after 9/11 it seems sadly like ancient history now. You write in your book and I'm going to take a quote and read it here.
"Are we teaching our children what patriotism mean? What are role models? There's never been a greater need for a return to true patriotism."
So, how do we return to patriotism? What do we teach our children about love of country?
GREENWOOD: Well, it's intertwined between traditions of America and how we got started. That was a determination to be a country. I have a 17 year old and 13 year old, Dalton and Parker.
And my older boy came to me one day and said, Dad, is the American experiment over? That refers to the British Empire and Roman empire talking about how long our society may last.\
I said, well, son, it may depend on if we grasp the things that got us started. We're going to change a bit. Evolve a bit. We have to grasp things that got us to be a country and form that united feeling as Americans.
COSTELLO: What are those things?
GREENWOOD: Well, it's certainly the Constitution. The Declaration of Independence and remember how George Washington was within a heartbeat and a day of losing our entire country.
So, there are little pieces of American in all of us and it takes all of us to represent America.
COSTELLO: So, when did Americans lose that can-do spirit and that feeling of we can do everything and we can fix everything?
GREENWOOD: It started with computers.
COSTELLO: Do you think?
GREENWOOD: Well, as our life started getting faster and I heard this 30 years ago, people started saying, boy, life is moving so fast. That was so long ago. And yet, today's news is old news tomorrow, and that's like CNN and other networks that work so hard to keep the news and keep us informed as Americans, it goes so fast. We just can't seem to remember what tradition is and what yesterday was about.
COSTELLO: OK. As you leave us, can you sing us a few?
GREENWOOD (singing): I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free, I won't forget the men who died who gave that right to me, and I gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today because there ain't no doubt I love this land God bless this USA.
GREENWOOD: Thank you.
COSTELLO: We'll be back. Thank you so much.
COSTELLO: Maybe it's a perfect place to chase away the ghosts if your husband is accused of sex abuse. Laurie Fine whose husband Bernie was fired from his job as assistant basketball coach at Syracuse University after allegations surfaced he abused two ball boys. Well she will hold a press conference in just about an hour at a haunted Castle in Geneva, New York. The castle boasts a ghostly woman who sighs and moans.
Against this backdrop Mrs. Fine will talk publicly for the first time about the sex abuse allegations that have haunted she and her husband, Bernie, who at one time was a well-respected assistant basketball coach at Syracuse University, until of course ESPN released a taped phone conversation between Laurie Fine and one of Bernie Fine's accusers, former ball boy Bobby Davis.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
LAURIE FINE, BERNIE FINE'S WIFE: You know what? Go to a place where there's gay boys. Find yourself a gay boy. You know, get your rocks off and have it be over with.
BOBBY DAVIS, ALLEGED BERNIE FINE VICTIM: Yes but --
L. FINE: You know, he just needs that male companionship that I can't give him nor is he interested in me.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Syracuse University fired Bernie Fine even though he denied the allegations. No charges have been filed against him although a federal investigation does continue. Until now, Mrs. Fine has never spoken publicly about how these allegations have ruined her life. Until now.
Lawrence Fisher and Kevin Tucker are Mrs. Fine's attorneys. Welcome to you both.
LAWRENCE H. FISHER, ATTORNEY FOR LAURIE FINE: Good morning.
KEVIN TUCKER, ATTORNEY FOR LAURIE FINE: Good morning.
COSTELLO: Good morning, you just -- you guys just sent me a copy of the lawsuit Laurie Fine is filing against ESPN. And -- and Lawrence, I just want to ask you, why is the lawsuit against ESPN?
FISHER: Well, ESPN published worldwide defamatory statements about Laurie Fine and they have essentially ruined her life and destroyed her reputation in a Syracuse community that she loved and served for so many years. And so for that reason, we are seeking to hold ESPN accountable for their reprehensible actions. COSTELLO: Laurie, you know, we played that phone that call -- that taped phone conversation that ESPN aired. Laurie Fine did say this in a taped phone conversation. She said -- and I'm going to quote here. He, Bernie Fine, "needs male companionship that I can't give him". If the allegations against ESPN are true, how do you explain that, Kevin?
TUCKER: Well that statement is taken entirely out of context. He -- is -- is -- she's talking about, Bobby Davis, of course, not her husband. And frankly, when you look at the audio tape that has been released, the selective portions of it released out of context where 48 minutes of that tape exists, but only about two or three minutes have been released, much of the tape is inaudible and we really have a situation here where there was a manipulation of that audio tape in order to present Ms. Fine in a derogatory fashion so as to attack her husband.
COSTELLO: So who do you allege doctored the tape?
TUCKER: Well, ESPN certainly changed the audio quality of the tape, produced only portions of it and did so in out of context fashion, such that the tape seriously misleads and misrepresents the conversation that occurred.
COSTELLO: But why not file a lawsuit against Bobby Davis, since he provided the tape to ESPN?
TUCKER: When you look at the complaint, you'll see that much of the relationship between Laurie Fine and Bobby Davis was one where she attempted for years to nurture him, for years to try and get him to better himself and to make something out of his life. She has always had a reservoir of sympathy for him. However misguided his actions are in this situation, she has no intentions of seeking to harm him in any way. She never has and she never will.
COSTELLO: And just a final question. I know Laurie Fine is going to speak at a press conference in just about an hour. I know that she is still married to Bernie Fine, they still live in the same house in Syracuse. Will Laurie Fine share what her life is like now?
TUCKER: Most definitely. Laurie will issue a statement today and explain how tremendously difficult it has been for her to endure this public scrutiny, this defamation, and really this vendetta against her family. She will speak to you today as a mother, as a wife, as a grandmother.
COSTELLO: Thanks to you both. We'll be following the press conference. That's set to take place at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time. Thanks to both of you for appearing with us earlier. We appreciate it.
Still ahead on NEWSROOM your chance to "Talk Back" on one of the big stories of the day. The question for you this morning, "Is there a middle ground in dealing with the deficit?" Your responses coming up.
COSTELLO: We asked you to "Talk Back" on one of the big stories of the day. The "Talk Back" question for you this morning, is there a middle ground in dealing with the deficit?
This from Doug. "For you and I maybe, for Congress, no. The system is broken, Carol."
This from Darren. "No, and there shouldn't be. Americans are taxed too much already and we don't have a revenue problem."
This is from Paul. "By signing Norquist's no tax pledge and with the GOP being against everything the President does they really have boxed themselves into a corner now and have no room to negotiate a balanced, even-handed approach."
This from Will. "There is certainly a middle ground with the deficit. The problem is there's no middle ground with Congress."
Keep the conversation going. Facebook.com/carolcnn.
Jeff Fischel is here with sports. And before we get to you we have to talk about ESPN because we just interviewed Laurie Fine's lawyers. They have filed a lawsuit against ESPN for airing this audio tape recording of a phone call between one of her husband, Bernie Fine's accusers and Laurie Fine. And Laurie Fine seems in the phone call to validate the allegations against her husband; that he did indeed sexually abuse these two ball boys years ago.
ESPN is now responding to the lawsuit and I just want to be fair and tell you what they're saying about it. They said they haven't seen the lawsuit yet but they stand by their reporting. So I'm sure much more will come out on this today.
JEFF FISCHEL, HLN SPORTS: It's been a report that's been a long time in the works and we'll see where it goes from here. All right.
COSTELLO: Should be interesting.
Ok. Let's talk about something good.
FISCHEL: Yes. You know, some great NBA hoops last night. And of course, everyone is talking about the Miami Heat. Lebron James, Dwyayne Wayne, are they enough without Chris Bosh? The big three is down to the big two. Facing Indiana in game two, Lebron James just wasn't clutch.
This was, of course, his big criticism. The critics say he never comes through when the team really needs him. Indiana goes on to win 78-75. Lebron in fact missed two free throws in the final minutes. The series is tied at one. It really looks like the Heat will need Chris Bosh in this series.
Also last night, game one between the Spurs and the Clippers. San Antonio certainly looks like one of the best teams going into the playoffs. No one had an answer for Tim Duncan's 26 points, 10 rebounds. The spurs win easily, 108-92. Game two against L.A. tomorrow night.
Got to show you this adorable video. A little girl consoling her father. This dad is a Dutch soccer player. His team was just relegated to a lower division after they tied. She walks out on the field and says it's ok, dad. I still love you. Or at least that's what we imagine her saying because it is just so darn cute.
COSTELLO: Oh, I love that.
FISCHEL: Daddy, really -- I still love you. It's fantastic.
COSTELLO: It is. And probably back up Jeff. I love that.
FISCHEL: Here you go, the feel good moment. I'm here for you.
COSTELLO: Jeff Fischel, thank you.
COSTELLO: We'll be back in a minute.