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Growing Fears over the Fiscal Cliff; Negotiating around the Fiscal Cliff; Iran Fires at U.S. Drone Aircraft; Gas Rationing in New York and New Jersey; Petition for Obama to Reject Boy Scout Honor; 53 Days Until the Fiscal Cliff; Florida's Election Not Over Yet; Power Still a Problem for Sandy Victims; Veteran's Mission to Return Medals; Tiger: I Can Top Jack's Record
Aired November 9, 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: I admire that.
O'BRIEN: Yes, I think he's making it up.
COSTELLO: Have a great weekend.
Stories we're watching right now in the NEWSROOM, they are the elite of the elite, the best of the best. Now several members of SEAL Team Six are in deep trouble. And it's all because of a video game.
Plus this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Waiting in line here, 8 1/2 hours, is not fun.
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COSTELLO: You heard it. Eight hours for gas? We'll take you inside the plan to get the east coast gas shortage under control.
And in Florida, election 2012 is not over yet. The rest of the country has moved on, but once again, Florida just can't seem to get it together.
Got the munchies, Colorado? Quarterback Payton Manning may be able to cure those off-the-field cravings.
NEWSROOM starts right now.
And good morning. Happy, happy Friday to you. I'm Carol Costello. This hour we peer over the nation's so-called fiscal cliff. It's a term you'll be hearing a lot more of. We're just 53 days from a series of extreme tax hikes and spending cuts. They're so severe both parties warn they could cripple the economy and trigger another recession.
Just a few hours from now, President Obama underscores the urgency today at the White House. His remarks could set the tone for upcoming negotiations with Republican lawmakers.
Christine Romans shows us how your money is in play. Is your paycheck about to shrink?
And Brianna Keilar takes the pulse of Washington, three days after a bitter presidential election, is either party really ready to budge?
Let's start with you, Christine, virtually every American has money riding on this outcome, right?
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Absolutely. And the overall American economy does, too. Let's first talk about what the fiscal cliff is. Starting in the beginning of the year because of a deal the Congress did last year to raise the debt ceilings, all of these things are going to go into play at the same time, spending cuts -- big spending cuts, the Bush tax cuts expire, it means everybody's tax rates will rise. They alternative minimum tax patch goes away, the payroll tax holiday goes away, unemployment benefits extension, a whole bunch of things.
Let's talk about the tax part of it for you in particular. A middle income households making, say, $50,000 a year would see their tax bill rise $2,000. $2,000 for the year. So immediately your paycheck, you would notice a change there overall and certainly in what you pay when you pay your taxes.
This is the spending part of it. Eight to 10 percent cuts in budgets for everything you could think of, from the FDA, to the Centers to Disease Control, education, Border Patrol. the CDC director has said this. An 8 to 10 percent reduction will risk costly and deadly spread of disease and failures to prevent tragic and expensive health problems.
Yes. This is something that really matters. A math problem between Democrats and Republicans is something that matters to everyone.
So what are the fiscal cliff diving possibilities? Well, they could just extend current policy for six months. We could just fall off the fiscal cliff, stocks dive and then I think Congress would move immediately. And you could get a grand bargain on debt and deficit reduction. Brianna will have much more on that.
That's the politics part of it. The money part of it is no one wants this to happen because there would be a recession in the beginning of the year, maybe 9.1 percent unemployment by the end of the year, according to the CBO. Everyone would be hurt. So Washington has to get its act together.
COSTELLO: OK. I'm an optimist because if I wasn't I'd cry.
Christine Romans, thank you. There's one thing standing between your wallet and that fiscal cliff. Of course, it's the politicians. So just a few days after a bitter round of elections, can the president and Republican lawmakers really find compromise?
House Speaker John Boehner says he's ready to talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: Talk about all kinds of things we may disagree on. I'm the most reasonable, responsible person here in Washington. The president knows this. He knows that he and I can work together. Now the election is over. Now it's time to get to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Brianna Keilar is at the White House.
So, Brianna, what do you expect President Obama to say in this afternoon's remarks?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, Carol, I think this is really going to be him sort of setting the scene and explaining to the American people what is at stake here, some of the things that Christine outlined.
And we know that yesterday the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, put out a report saying that really the stakes here, that you could see the country sink into recession next year if we went off the fiscal cliff, that the unemployment rate could jump almost 2 percent. So these are some very serious things. And this is post election. President Obama's chance to kind of turn people's attention to this. And to urge Congress to work together and to act.
You heard him on Tuesday night in Chicago talking about the importance of working across the aisle. Maybe he'll talk more about that today. What's interesting is we don't really expect him to talk specifics. These are -- you know, your hearing a lot of conciliatory language between Democrats and Republicans on the hill. And here at the White House. But you don't expect President Obama to negotiate any of the specifics here in public today.
And really one of the big tip-offs to that is that this is just a statement that he's making. He's not taking questions from the press which obviously would open him up to a situation where maybe he couldn't control it as much as just saying his well-prepared piece and then moving out of the room -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Brianna Keilar reporting live from the White House.
Of course when the president starts speaking we expect that to happen at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. Of course we'll take the president's remarks live.
Also this morning, tough, tough talk from the Iranian military in response to a story you first heard on CNN.
Iran says it will respond decisively to any act of transgression. It comes after the Pentagon says two Iranian fighter jets shot at a U.S. drone aircraft. It happened last Thursday in international airspace east of Kuwait, that's 16 miles of the coast of Iran. At the time the predator drone was on a routine maritime surveillance mission.
Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr joins us now.
So, Barbara, I guess the biggest question, could this be considered an act of war?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the Pentagon spokesman George Little was asked that yesterday and he deferred. He said he wouldn't go there. But, look, make no mistake, Carol, this raises tensions in the Persian Gulf, doesn't it? I mean you've got bullets flying through the air. This is not what anyone wants to see in this vital oil shipping lane area.
The Iranians this morning saying they will respond to any further transgressions. The U.S. insisting it was in international airspace, routine surveillance mission.
So I think the question is, what happens if this does happen again? You know, nobody really knows. Will the Iranians take more aggressive action? Will the U.S. military respond? It's very concerning because of the economic essentialness, the economic vitality of that very area -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Barbara Starr reporting live for us from the Pentagon.
Also today, we could learn new details about the attack in Benghazi that left four Americans dead, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens. This Pentagon briefing comes as lawmakers on Capitol Hill resume congressional hearings next week on the Libyan attack. Stevens and three others were killed on September 11th at the American consulate.
The careers of seven members of SEAL Team Six are essentially over after they're busted, accused of sharing classified information with a video game maker.
SEAL Team Six is behind some of the biggest Special Forces missions including the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The seven active duty members were given a letter of reprimand and had their pay docked. It's all for helping the makers of the new video game "Medal of Honor: Warfighter."
They spent two days as paid consultants of Electronic Arts. On "STARTING POINT" this morning, Chris Heben, a former Navy SEAL member says when you join the SEALs, you sign a nondisclosure agreement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER MARK HEBEN, FORMER NAVY SEAL MEMBER: Did these guys disclose sensitive information to the extent it's going to damage operational capabilities or their fellow SEALs in the line of duty or anyone in Special Operations Command? I don't think so. What they did was they brought certain pieces of kit to fruition, to -- they brought their kit and exposed it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Four members of the elite Special Forces Unit still under investigation for this. CBS News says one of those punished was involved in the raid that killed bin Laden.
In response, EA, Electronic Arts, says, quote, "We do not know if the veterans who consulted on the game were in contact with the Department of Defense."
Much more on this in the next hour of NEWSROOM.
Eleven days since superstorm Sandy made landfall in New Jersey and some residents are just now returning home to survey the damage. This is how one New Jersey man described the moment he knew he had to leave his house.
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BILL KOSAKOWSKI, STORM VICTIM: We rode out the storm until Friday morning. Friday morning I said I couldn't take any more because they turned the gas off. When they turned the gas off, that was the end for me. I told my wife I would walk across the bridge if I had to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: And the problems with gas used to heat that man's home just part of the problem. New York and New Jersey now rationing gasoline because of a shortage.
Susan Candiotti has been following that part of the story in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
So, Susan, w the plan for rationing?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'll tell you. New York City is finally taking a very good idea, good lead from Governor Christie here in New Jersey, because New York City today is starting its own gas rationing, just like New Jersey has been doing for the past week.
So that is meant to help to try to alleviate the very long lines that continue to be seen time and again throughout New York City and all the boroughs as people are lining up to find gas stations, A, that have power, enough to even pump gas once they get it.
So New York is starting to use the same system that they are in New Jersey, the odd/even plan according to your license tag as to when you can gas up.
Again here in New Jersey, they've been doing this for the past week. And as we have been driving around the last several days, we have not seen any gasoline lines, or very short ones anyway. And Governor Christie at a news conference said he has discovered the same thing, so much so that he might decide to lighten up the rationing or get rid of it.
Here is what he had to say about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: There's order. There's easy access to gas. We're continuing to use the National Guard to deliver gas to stations and counties that are displaying some type of still disruption in their supply lines. But I'm confident that by the weekend I should be in a position to re-evaluate the odd/even system and decide whether it needs to go forward into next week.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: And I'll tell you, people, Carol, who are in line in New York City this morning are already saying, thank goodness they're trying this. Because we need all the help we can get with these long gas lines. They're saying that it could be -- maybe another couple of weeks before they can get more power turned back on so that more gas stations can open up in the city.
COSTELLO: Susan Candiotti, reporting live from New Jersey.
President Obama, champion of gay rights, but he's also the honorary president of the Boy Scouts, a group that bans gays. Now some people are demanding the president step down from that honorary role.
COSTELLO: Fifteen minutes past the hour.
Checking our top stories now:
Jared Loughner has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for attempted assassination of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Giffords' husband Mark Kelly told CNN about the emotions inside the courtroom as Loughner learned his fate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK KELLY, HUSBAND OF GABBY GIFFORDS: Just sitting there for the victim impact statements is really a tough thing. You know, Gabby said afterwards, you know, for her the biggest emotion was just sadness, you know, to hear story after story of what the impact of this horrible day had on people was really difficult.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: January 2011 shooting killed six people and wounded 13 others, of course, including Giffords.
A British bishop who opposes same-sex marriage says he will examine his own thinking carefully on gay issues. The Church of England named Justin Welby of the archbishop of Canterbury this morning. Welby, who will be enthroned in March, says the church most opposed homophobia in any form.
Black Friday will come early for Sears shoppers this year. The retailer says customers can begin buying its door-buster discounts online starting November 18th. The early deal hunting lasts two days, but it's only open to members of Sears' Shop Your Way program.
With the start of Obama's new term coming, some activists are petitioning him to step down as the honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America, all because the Scouts ban -- all because of the Scouts' ban on openly gay members, like Jennifer Tyrell (ph), a lesbian mom removed from her post as her son's den master earlier this year. Right now, more than 1,000 people have signed a new petition on DoSomething.org, but it needs more than 70,000 before they'll submit it to the White House.
Joining us now is Greg Thomas, campaigns manager with DoSomething.org, who started the petition.
GREG THOMAS, CAMPAIGN MANAGER, DOSOMETHING.ORG: How are you doing?
COSTELLO: I'm pretty good.
President Obama has denounced the Boy Scouts policies and the Supreme Court upheld the policy in 2000. What would your petition accomplish?
THOMAS: I think the petition would accomplish having President Obama kind of practice what he's preaching. I mean, he is talking about not believing in their policy and thinking that, you know, it's not something they should be doing.
And I think if he's going to be honorary president of the Boy Scouts, as a leader, he should -- their goal should align with his goals. And if their goals don't align with his goals I don't think it's appropriate for him to be a leader of an organization.
COSTELLO: So why the timing? Why not do this in 2009 when Obama started his first term?
THOMAS: You know, petitions for us are new at DoSomething.org. So, we weren't doing petitions in 2009. For me, I hadn't actually been alerted to this issue until, you know, a few months ago when the Boy Scouts reexamined their policy and decided to go forward with it.
So I think the timing with the president being re-elected, it's a perfect time. He's coming back into the presidency very strong. It's a perfect time to say, you know, you've stood up for gay rights. I think it's time for you to practice what you're preaching.
COSTELLO: You know, considering the Boy Scouts history with sexual abuse scandal, shouldn't that be a bigger issue in the president's mind? THOMAS: I don't think we should choose between the two issues. Both issues are extremely important. I think both issues should be dealt with. And I just -- you know, one may be bigger than the other. But I think they should both be addressed.
COSTELLO: We did ask the Boy Scouts of America to join us for this discussion. They refused. But they did issue a statement. I'll read part of it from the Boy Scouts.
COSTELLO: Quote, "The Boy Scouts respects everyone's right to express their opinion. We believe that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to accomplish the common good," end quote. How do you interpret that?
THOMAS: I would take it as a nice statement. I think that -- I mean, look, I was in the Boy Scouts my whole life. The Boy Scouts mean a ton to me.
I feel like the whole issue here is that kids should not be told that they can't be part of something because of something that has nothing to do with the content of their character. And I think that issue isn't really addressing that.
I think they're doing great things. I still love the Boy Scouts. Not as much as I used to. But it made me the person who I am. I just -- I think the main issue here is that it's just -- you know, to tell kids that they can't be involved in something because of something that has nothing to do with who they are as a person is terrible. I think you're also teaching millions of kids who are learning life skills to make them into great young men, you're teaching them that exclusion is OK. I just -- you know, it's really disappointing to me.
COSTELLO: Thanks so much for joining us this morning. We sure appreciate it.
THOMAS: Thank you.
COSTELLO: Talk back question for you this morning: should Obama or Republicans blink on taxes? Facebook.com/CarolCNN. I'll be right back.
COSTELLO: Now is your chance to talk back on one of the big stories of the day. The question for you this morning: Should Obama or Republicans blink on taxes?
Why did we have an election? It didn't change anything. It's Democratic president, Republican House, Democratic Senate. Bitter, bitter, bitter.
OK. I'm going to try to be more upbeat. I can't -- because the bitterness is over the same old, same old.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Raising tax rates is unacceptable. And, frankly, it couldn't even pass the House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: On Breitbart.com, Republican Mitch McConnell piled on. Quote, "I know some people out there think Tuesday's results mean Republicans in Washington are now going to roll over and agree to Democrat demands that we hike taxes before the end of the year. I'm here to tell them that there is no truth to that notion whatsoever," end quote.
As you well know, President Obama campaigned on raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. His favorite line, "We must all pay or fair share" -- even though taxing the wealthy won't solve the debt crisis.
What does this mean? We take our cue from "The Price is Right."
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
COSTELLO: That's right. Because of this tire d argument, we could fall off the much talked about fiscal cliff. We're waiting. Come on, Mr. Yodeler.
I think we should have started this sooner. You get the picture.
Talk back today: should Obama or Republicans blink on taxes?
Facebook.com/CarolCNN, Facebook.com/CarolCNN, your responses later this hour.
The ballots in Florida not all counted yet. Some of the races are coming down to the wire. Will this act as Florida's election history gone so very wrong?
COSTELLO: Just 53 days before the United States goes over the fiscal cliff. Aren't you tired of hearing that term, fiscal cliff? I know I am.
Seven trillion dollars in automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that's sparking concern, of course, across Wall Street. The President Obama will address the pending crisis in his first public statement since his re-election later today. We're thinking about 1:00 this afternoon. That's Eastern Time.
Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange.
So, what will Wall Street want to hear from the president, Alison?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You know, you just made me laugh when you said, we've heard -- you're so sick of hearing about the fiscal cliff. And you know what? I think investors have heard enough talk on this. I think we've all heard enough talk on this. As investors go, they'll most likely not be satisfied until they hear details that there's an actual deal in the works. Now, we're not expecting that today, though it doesn't mean that traders aren't going to be listening to what the president has to say.
You know, with the Dow losing more than 430 points over the past two days, Carol, the market has sent a message, a strong message to the president and to Congress since Tuesday's election -- listen, it's time to get to work.
Now, in terms of when Wall Street is focusing on today, the president's speech is actually going to be toward the bottom of the list. Europe is still front and center with the Greek parliament getting set this weekend and European finance ministers are waiting to decide on whether Greece gets another bailout. Also, there are some weak earnings from JCPenney and weak sales from Disney in the mix.
So, yes, get ready for another negative open -- Carol.
COSTELLO: OK. So question for you, will the market take any deal on the fiscal cliff or is it looking for something specific?
KOSIK: That's the question, isn't it? I mean, you know what? The market at this point is looking for some certainty -- a permanent deal, meaning not just a Band-Aid on this issue.
But you know what? At this point, I think they're going to take something over nothing. You look at these new Congressional Budget Office projections and they're darn scary. You know, they're predicting half a percent drop in GDP. Unemployment rate would spike to 9.1 percent by the end of the year, that's doing some damage to the stock market in a big way.
But, you know, the reality is, Carol, Wall Street probably won't get everything it wants anyway. If Wall Street had its druthers, you know, it would say, lower the corporate tax rates. That would encourage companies to bring back profits from overseas. It would look for payroll taxes to encourage businesses to hire.
But you know what? At this point, getting any deal will certainly calm the markets as we wait for the opening bell to ring and we'll have a negative start.
COSTELLO: Just about to ring. Ten more seconds. I know you'll keep an eye on it. Alison --
KOSIK: Will do.
COSTELLO: There it goes.
Alison Kosik at the New York Stock Exchange.
The aloof president cries, and more than once, at least publicly. The Obama campaign released a thank you video of a teary-eyed president thanking his campaign staffers for their loyalty through a tough election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What you guys have done means that the work that I'm doing is important. And I'm really proud of that. I'm really proud of all of you. And -- and what you --
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: This is the second time we've seen Obama's tears. He cried in Iowa as his campaign for president wound down. We just hope the tears won't flow again as the president tries to negotiate a deal with Republicans to avoid that fiscal cliff.
With us now, Pete Dominick, political talk show host on Sirius XM Radio, and Ana Navarro, a CNN contributor, Republican strategist and a good, good friend.
Welcome to both of you.
PETE DOMINICK, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hi, Carol.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hello, Carol.
OK. So, it's interesting the Obama campaign released this video of the president crying at the time when we need to see steely strength to avoid that fiscal cliff. It's touching.
But, Pete, why release this now?
DOMINICK: Well, I don't think anyone can question his steely strength. He has ordered missiles to be shot into American's faces. He's got a kill list in his desk. He bailed out an automobile industry when that wasn't very popular. He chose Joe Biden. That's a tough choice.
What they didn't release here, Carol, is that he had actually been cutting onions just before that. And I mean, the guy is allowed to show emotion once every eight years. There's no problem with that. And he is showing appreciation for the people that worked so hard to get -- to reelect him.
I don't -- I mean, John Boehner is going to -- will cry at a Kodak commercial.
COSTELLO: Ooh. I don't know. But, you know, you look at the president and what an exhausting campaign it was. You can understand he needed some sort of relief.
But, Ana --
NAVARRO: Yes. COSTELLO: -- the president has presented a different face today, this afternoon, when he talks about the economy.
What must the president say in your mind?
NAVARRO: You know, first of all, Carol, I'm not sure that showing you can cry is not a very good tactic when you're about to go negotiate with John Boehner, who is known for being the cry baby in Congress. You know, that's kind of part of his personality. So, it's a good thing they both come in, knowing that they can cry.
What does he have to say? I think he has to reassure the American people he's been getting a lot of olive branches thrown to him by John Boehner basically saying, look, we want to deal. We want to cooperate. We got the message.
We understand we need to compromise. There are certain things I can't do but there are certain things I will do and many willing to do. I'm reasonable, I'm responsible. Come deal with me.
I think the president is going to talk about the economy. I think he's going to talk about the importance of the fiscal cliff, vis-a-vis the economy and not falling off that cliff, because -- as some may be in post-election celebration and some may be in post-election depression, certainly most people agree we don't want to fall of a cliff and worsen the recession.
COSTELLO: Pete, Ana says John Boehner is offering these olive branches but --
DOMINICK: He's not.
COSTELLO: -- because he's not offering any sort of negotiation over tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans.
DOMINICK: This is -- and we've entered the theater of the absurd.
The president won, campaigned on raising taxes only for the wealthiest Americans specifically in these federal income taxes, and American people overwhelmingly support that in polls and the data shows it wouldn't have any affect on economic growth. Congressional Research Service is nonpartisan budget wonk office put out a study that said raising taxes on rich people doesn't hurt the economy. And most economists have never really believed that. Republicans censored that report.
So, opinion, voting and data show this is the right thing to do.
It's also what we call a balanced approach. The idea that we're not going to put tax increases on the wealthiest Americans and no one is arguing that's going to solve the problem, but that's what's called a compromise.
It's ridiculous. That's what overwhelmingly American Americans support in polls and have voted for. And let's stop calling it a fiscal cliff. That's Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Fed, who did not see a housing bubble coming.
It's a slope. It's a curve. It's not like the debt ceiling.
COSTELLO: Pete just filibustered you, Ana. I will say --
NAVARRO: I think he's completely wrong. And I think most experts are saying -- most responsible experts are saying, look, this is the last thing we need in the midst of a recovering economy.
It's going to affect investment. It's going to affect hiring. It's going to affect psyche. It's going to affect the markets.
I think it is the last thing -- you know, business people are saying we don't want this. Those are the guys that are driving investment, that are driving hiring. This would be also a very bad tone to set.
If these two factions, the Republicans, Congress and the president cannot come to an agreement, it sends a very bad omen for what will be the rest of the legislative agenda of a second Obama term.
It is a good thing to agree, Pete. In my mind, it's a good thing to agree. It's very good the Democrats don't have too much hubris and the Republicans have a little humility.
COSTELLO: We've got to end it here. It was a fascinating discussion as usual.
DOMINICK: I love you, Ana Navarro.
NAVARRO: And I love you, Pete Dominick. Let's agree on that.
DOMINICK: See that?
COSTELLO: I'm going to cry.
DOMINICK: See that? We're not divided. I love Ana.
COSTELLO: I'm going to cry and release my own video.
Ana Navarro, Pete Dominick, thanks so much.
DOMINICK: Thanks, Carol.
COSTELLO: We have a bit of news to tell you. It's just in to CNN: A major automotive recall that we need to pass along. "The Chicago Tribune" is reporting that Chrysler is recalling some 745,000 Jeep SUVs from model years 2002 through 2004. The reason, the air bags are deploying accidentally.
Our business unit is working their sources to get more details on this. Of course, as they get those details, we'll pass them along to you.
Peyton Manning, some might say his latest business venture in Colorado is an example of perfect timing. We'll explain, man.
COSTELLO: Florida, Florida, Florida. Election 2012 is still not over there. They've counted absentee ballots, but they're not done with provisional ballots just yet.
This will factor into one of the most hotly contested congressional races in the state of Florida. It is too close to call between incumbent Republican Allen West and Democrat Patrick Murphy.
West is backed by the Tea Party. Several of their prominent candidates, as you know, didn't make the cut. West feels it's very important for him to win. He doesn't want to be one to lose and he refuses to concede.
You may remember West because he made headlines on CNN when he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALLEN WEST (R), FLORIDA: I believe there's about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the communist party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: OK. So he repeated that on CNN.
West is fighting for every ballot to be counted and may fight for a recount, something Florida is famous for.
CNN's Ashleigh Banfield experienced Florida's election problems firsthand.
You're up to speed on everything that's happening election-wise in Florida. Go for it, Ashleigh.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And I have the sunburn to prove it.
So, Carol, we've all moved on, right? Except Florida is stuck in a sort of conundrum where they have to recount these ballots because it's so important to count every vote there. We all know that it was 500 and some odd votes that actually determined the election between Bush/Gore in 2000. So, where are we? As you said, provisional ballots are still to be counted. Absentees are done. They finished those yesterday.
They couldn't legally touch the provisional ballots until yesterday. And the officials, at least in Miami-Dade, said they would have that all pretty much wrapped up by today, tomorrow at the latest more than likely. But certification, we all knew what that meant back in 2000, that's not going to happen until the 20th.
So, if Allen West has issues or wants to deal with a recount, first of all, he has to meet a minimum standard of a very slim margin by which you can actually have a recount. You probably would have to wait until the 20th to do that. But at this point, it looks as though Patrick Murphy has got the lead. But you know how it is. Nobody is going to call that little baby.
COSTELLO: I know. The other problem with Florida, as you well know, were these long lines.
COSTELLO: The government decided to limit the amount of early voting from 14 days to eight days. I mean, I know you've invited the governor on your show many times so he could answer these questions. Like in Florida, people shouldn't have to wait in line for four hours to vote.
BANFIELD: Rick Scott is taking a lot of heat for this. He was taking heat up until the election as well for all sorts of different changes that had taken effect in Florida and the way they were going to vote.
First of all, they truncated the number of days you could early vote from 14 to eight. So, that caused some problems for people. Then, of course, there were these merged situations where some of these polling places actually had encompassed numerous polling places in one spot.
Then there were the privacy machines. Many people complaining there weren't enough of them. Then the optical scanners were jamming. And then, of course, there were just these extraordinarily long lines where people were actually casting ballots, Carol, after we had called this race for the president.
COSTELLO: It's just awful. Well, I hope --
BANFIELD: But you know something? I'm glad you mentioned this issue about Rick Scott. While he has not yet agreed to come on the show, guess who's going to be on after your program with me.
BANFIELD: The secretary of state. No, it is not Katherine Harris. It's Ken Detzner now. The new Katherine Harris is Ken Detzner and he has graciously agreed to come on this program at 11:00 Eastern with me to really face these hard questions. Because you know what? Goes to the top of the chain.
COSTELLO: Absolutely. Ashleigh Banfield, I'll be watching. Thanks so much.
BANFIELD: Thank you.
COSTELLO: More than half a million people in New York still without power more than a week after Sandy hit. Now, the state's governor is fed up, he's calling out the power companies.
COSTELLO: Forty-five minutes past the hour. Good morning and happy Friday. I'm Carol Costello.
Stories we're watching right now in the NEWSROOM. Some new video of the Pakistani teenager, Malala, one month after her attempted assassination. Her father says she's been inspired and humbled by the thousands of cards and messages and gifts she's received. The 16- year-old was shot in the head and neck last month after speaking out against the Taliban.
The road to recovery slow for more than 600,000 people still without power, 11 days after Superstorm Sandy came roaring through. New York's Governor lashed out at those responsible for getting things back on track.
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GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: You pay a person for service. They were specialized in doing this. And we paid them and we gave them a franchise because they represented themselves as experts at doing this. And they failed. And they should be held accountable for their failure.
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COSTELLO: Talking about the utility companies. Cuomo is also calling for an upgrade of the city's power grids.
The lines may have been very long. But turnout estimates for the 2012 election were lower than in previous years. According to the Center of the Study of the American Electorate, just over 57 percent of eligible voters actually exercised that right on Tuesday, that's down five points from 62 percent in 2008 and three points down from 60 percent who turned out in 2004.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ralph sacrificed more than just his service to our country. He sacrificed his blood.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My dad, Ralph W. Bingham, he was a veteran of the First World War, the big war.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For that sacrifice, he was awarded our nation's oldest medal the "Purple Heart".
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He lost his right leg fighting in France and he received a "Purple Heart" for that. Well, we had it for many years in my home where I grew up.
ROBERT MACNEVIN, GRANDSON OF PURPLE HEART RECIPIENT: Unbeknownst to us, it was lost in some manner in one of his moves later in his life. CAPT. ZACHARIAH FIKE, U.S. ARMY: I found Private Ralph Bingham's medal on CraigsList. It's been a calling of mine for about the last three years. I locate lost or stolen medals. These are all the Purple Hearts that I'm currently working. Some I've located the families. Some I haven't.
I do this on my own time, I don't consider it a hobby, it's more of a calling and an honor. There are a lot of times they put it in a shoe box under the bed and gets misplaced and they lose it.
I myself have a purple heart. It hangs on the wall in my mother's home. And I would hope that one day if my medal was lost, you know, someone would do the same thing for me and my family.
It is truly an honor to bring Private Bingham's Purple Heart home to his family and I am again truly humbled by his sacrifice. It is a great honor to bring home his Purple Heart. Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The medal means a lot to me. Especially and to our family.
FIKE: So that's that. That's the Purple Heart.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There it is. I remember seeing it as a girl growing up. My mother kept it in a certain spot in the dining room.
FIKE: And to see how appreciative they were was just a tremendous feeling. I'm glad it's home to where it belongs, and I'll move on to the next medal.
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COSTELLO: Tiger Woods bounced back this season on the links, but he failed to win a Major. And now at 33 years old, he still trails Jack Nicklaus by four career major titles. But Tiger he still thinks he can beat Jack's record. Here's what he told CNN's Shane O'Donoghue in an exclusive interview.
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SHANE O'DONOGHUE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How desperate are you to get the next major?
TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: It would be nice. And certainly it's been four years now since I won a Major championship. And I've been there with chances over those four years, but would like to get another one, there's no doubt.
O'DONOGHUE: The whole emphasis on Jack's 18 is a question that has to be asked every time. But you still see it as a realistic goal to surpass 18?
WOODS: Absolutely. And don't forget, it took him to 46.
WOODS: You know? So you know, with the finished regime and staying -- eating properly and staying -- staying in shape, I can play for a very long time. So I'm looking forward to that opportunity.
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COSTELLO: Shane O'Donoghue joins us now from Dublin. So Shane I wonder what were your impressions of Tiger? I mean, he seems to have regained his swagger.
O'DONOGHUE: I think there's no doubt about that and good morning to you, Carol. He looks very relaxed. He certainly was very relaxed in Rory's company. But I do think and I agree, you know that he is feeling a lot more comfortable and confident in himself. He's played you know one of the biggest schedules that he's played in at least six, maybe seven years and he's over all of his injuries. And he's certainly very keen to try add to that tally of 14 majors.
It's not really worked out that this year and came close on a few occasions but really wasn't able to close the deal over the weekend. But he looks confident. And he certainly is acting like a man, you know, who knows what he wants and feels that he can achieve it. Although it's a tall order to try and match Jack Nicklaus' record, he's got the best chance of everyone.
But he needs to win five more Majors, which as Jack himself has said is like a good career for anyone else.
COSTELLO: Wow. I saw Rory McIlroy sitting there. You also interviewed him. Let's listen to what he told you about his relationship with Tiger.
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RORY MCILROY, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: Yes, it's great. You know Tiger and I have gotten to know one another a little better over the past four to 12 months. You know I think we have a lot of things in common. We're both huge sports fans and we have a lot of things to talk about. And I think just from there, you know, our relationship is -- has evolved.
WOODS: We kind of battled each other a few times, but -- but I think it -- as -- as Rory was alluding to, we have a lot in common. And granted, there is an age difference, but still a relationship will certainly grow. And over the years, but also our competitiveness. I don't think that's going to change.
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COSTELLO: Why must they be friends? I would want to beat the other guy. But Rory is the new hot thing, right? Do you think he'll end his career among the all-time leaders in major titles?
O'DONOGHUE: I think there's every chance, Carol. At least he's not putting himself under the same pressure that Tiger Woods did when he turned professional, because he always had Jack's major tally in his sights, and he spoke publicly about that. And it's become this -- you know, it's become this big thing now, will he be able to match 18, and will he be able to surpass and get to 19.
Rory is not under that sort of spotlight or pressure. People are reveling in his talent. People are enjoying it. He's a very likeable guy. But he's realistic, he wants to win major championships but he's not putting an absolute total on it.
So it's going to be a very enjoyable ride over the next day (ph) watching the two of them battle it out. There certainly doesn't appear to be any venom between them. They almost seem too friendly at this stage. But it's good to see at the moment and certainly they're giving a lot of spotlight to the game in far-flung corners of the world and also on the major golf tours.
COSTELLO: You got that right. Shane O'Donahue, thanks so much.
"Talk Back" question for you this morning. "Should Obama or the Republicans blink on taxes?" Your responses next.
COSTELLO: All right. The "Talk Back" question today. "Should Obama or the Republicans blink on taxes?"
This is from David. He says "It's about time that all the politicians only consider their oath to us, to the people, to do the right thing and put all options on the table to solving our problems. It's about time that, " I said that.
Ok. This is from Judy. "We the people voted. Obama campaigned partly on increasing taxes on the most wealthy -- period."
From Kenton, "Both should act in behalf of the people and stop acting like children in a sandbox."
This from Brent, "I'm just glad that we still have enough gridlock to prevent progress." Smiley face.
Keep the conversation flowing, facebook.com/carolcnn.
The next hour of NEWSROOM starts right now.