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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Jill Kelley's Link to Scandal; Leader of the Pack: Pelosi to Speak Later Today; Head of LIPA to Resign

Aired November 14, 2012 - 05:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It's complicated. Two top military leaders and two women tied up in a major scandal. And now, we add a twin sister to the mix.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Staying or going? House Leader Nancy Pelosi reveals her plans just hours from now.

BERMAN: Toyota taking control over a steering problem that could affect millions of hybrids.

Hey, everyone. Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

Up first, the tangled web that has ensnared two of the country's top military women and two women who are not their wives. This morning, we are learning much more about Jill Kelley, the Tampa socialite, at the heart of the investigations involving General David Petraeus and General John Allen.

Kelley first reported anonymous threatening e-mails to an FBI agent the she knew. So, it turned out those e-mails from Petraeus' biographer, Paula Broadwell.

BERMAN: The investigation inadvertently exposed Broadwell's affair with Petraeus and forced him to resign as CIA director.

Now, John Allen, top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, is being investigated by the Defense Department for flirtatious e-mails he exchanged with Kelley over a two-year period.

SAMBOLIN: Kelley is pleading for privacy now, even though she finds herself in the middle of a real-life soap here. We are hearing her voice now for the first time in a 911 call to Tampa police, that was last weekend. She called to complain about the people outside her house, citing diplomatic protection, which she doesn't have. Listen to this.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

JILL KELLEY, TAMPA SOCIALITE: You know I don't know if by any chance, because I'm an honorary consul general, so I have inviolability, so I should -- they should not be able to cross my property. I don't know if you want to get diplomatic protection involved as well, but now because it's against the law to cross my property since this is now like you know it's inviolable.

911 DISPATCHER: All right. No problem. I'll let officers know.

KELLEY: Thank you.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right. We have team coverage of this, this morning. And, boy, do we need it?

Jill Dougherty is at the State Department. Brianna Keilar in our Washington bureau.

We're going to start with Jill.

Jill, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta delivered new comments on the scandal just hours ago now. It is the Defense Department at the tip of the investigation. What's the latest here?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: OK. Well, we'll get to that, you know, vote of confidence by Mr. Panetta in a second. But I think it's really important, the main thing that seems to be now clear is exactly how this unraveled. And it all has to do with Tampa where, of course, U.S. Central Command is located and Jill Kelley, whom you just saw there, she was involved as a volunteer. She's no diplomatic protection whatsoever, but she was involved as a volunteer dealing with international visitors in the military apparently.

So, she in this capacity gets to know General Petraeus and also General Allen. So, he gets an e-mail, she gets e-mails. He warns her that he's getting these e-mails, this is Jill Kelley. And Jill Kelley goes to the FBI and that is how this all unravels.

Now, speaking of General Allen, he, of course, is the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan. He was nominated as the supreme allied commander in Europe. And that nomination is on hold.

But Secretary Panetta said that they have confidence in him. Let's listen to Panetta.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEON PANETTA, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: No one should leap to any conclusions. No one should leap to any conclusions here. General Allen is doing an excellent job at ISAF and leading those forces. He certainly has my continued conference to lead our forces and to continue to fight.

But his nomination has been put on hold as a prudent measure until we determine what the facts are. And we will.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOUGHERTY: Right. And, John, obviously, it's going to take a while because this is a very tangled situation. But they certainly are looking at exactly at what are described as flirtatious e-mails that still remain to be seen exactly what the nature of this was.

BERMAN: And, Jill, you talk about Jill Kelley, in some ways, the center of this whole controversy, this whole scandal. We have new details about her relationship with both General Allen and General Petraeus. They stepped in to help her twin sister in a custody battle? What can you tell us about that?

DOUGHERTY: Yes. I mean, it's getting too soap opera measurements here. But in any case, it is just an illustration, I think, of how tightly she, Ms. Kelley, was trying to make herself with the generals and the other brass who were in Tampa. And she apparently got both General Petraeus and General Allen to write to the court in an acrimonious battle for custody for her sister's child.

And I'll read you from that letter, we -- this is from General Petraeus. "We have, on many occasions, observed Natalie and her son, including when we hosted them and the Kelley family for Christmas dinner this past year. In each case, we have seen a very loving relationship," signed General David Petraeus.

And, again, this is an illustration of how she was trying to get as much, obviously, as she could from the relationship with these military.

BERMAN: All right. Jill Dougherty, thanks very much. You called this a soap opera. I'm not sure even soap operas would try something this complicated. Thanks a lot.

SAMBOLIN: Five minutes past the hour here.

As for how the White House is reacting to all of this, including whether it could weigh on the fiscal cliff deal, we turn to Brianna Keilar, who joins us from Washington.

So, Brianna, where does the Obama administration stand right now with all of this?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now we are hearing from the White House. They say this isn't going to affect the president's attention to the fiscal cliff situation. That said, we do know that he has had to spend some time on this -- a limited amount of time in the words of White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, but we also know that a lot of staff hours have had to go to dealing with this situation with Generals Petraeus and Allen.

Yesterday, this was the first press conference that we had a chance to ask Jay Carney about this situation. And he said that the president thinks very highly of General Allen, of his service to his country, of the job that he's done in Afghanistan.

And one reporter asked if he, if the president has the full faith, or if General Allen, I should say, has the full faith of President Obama. And here's what Carney said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He has faith in General Allen, believes he's doing and has done an excellent job at ISAF. And I would refer you to the Pentagon for the process underway with regards to General Allen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Now, Carney downplayed questions on whether this whole situation illuminates something about the culture of military leadership. He said these are two events seeming to say they are two isolated instances. But, Zoraida, he did say that the president was surprised, I guess that's not particularly surprising, to learn about General Petraeus. And that's really as far as Carney would go, saying he was very surprised, and that was his initial reaction to learn of this situation when he first learned on Wednesday.

SAMBOLIN: I know he called it an unwelcomed development as well.

So, this afternoon, the president will hold his first press conference in his second term. What do you expect him to focus on?

KEILAR: What isn't he going to be asked about, that's the thing.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

KEILAR: He has not had a real press conference, I think you can say, a rather extensive press conference in months. He did one in the spring, a more extensive press conference. He spoke at the G-20 in Cabos in June, but that was having to do mostly with foreign policy. He had a very limited press conference this summer.

So this is the chance for reporters to ask him all kinds of questions that we have on our mind. I think he's going to be asked, obviously, about the fiscal cliff. I think he'll probably shy away from specifics there because he doesn't want to box himself in or out of anything, as we heard Jay Carney said.

He's definitely going to be asked about the scandal involving the generals. Specifically I wonder if he wouldn't be asked about the notification process. He really only got one day notice that he was going to be losing his CIA director.

And then, of course, Benghazi. That has happened and there hasn't been a press conference since. So, he'll be asked about that.

And also no doubt about cabinet appointments as we hear a lot of names in the mix, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Lots to talk at.

KEILAR: Oh, yes.

SAMBOLIN: Brianna Keilar, yes, thank you so much.

BERMAN: You know, there's a lot going on in Washington today, including questions this morning surrounding Nancy Pelosi's future. The 72-year-old California Democrat is expected to announce today whether she'll seek another stint as the House minority leader.

Pelosi has scheduled leadership elections for November 29th and 30th, which is later than usual. And this has prompted speculation that she may relinquish her role as the top House Democrat.

SAMBOLIN: And coming up in the next hour of EARLY START: CNN military analyst and retired major general, James "Spider" Marks, is going to join us. We'll discuss the Petraeus scandal.

BERMAN: And coming up, I understand she's moved on. Democrat Loretta Sanchez was supposed to join us. I do not think we'd be hearing from her today, but, hopefully, very, very soon.

SAMBOLIN: Maybe she'll make a surprise appearance, right?

Coming on "STARTING POINT": Former House speaker and former GOP presidential hopeful, Newt Gingrich, and his wife Callista -- their take on the presidential election. And, of course, they're going to weigh in on Petraeus as well.

BERMAN: And keep it on CNN for special coverage. Remember, President Obama holding a news conference at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Wolf Blitzer will be all over this, covering it for you. Make sure you stay tuned.

SAMBOLIN: Listen to this, another major recall for Toyota. It's recalling close to 3 million cars worldwide affecting mostly 2004 to 2009 Prius models, 670,000 of them were sold in the United States.

I think you have one, right, Berman?

BERMAN: Yes.

SAMBOLIN: All right. So, the problem here, issues with the car's steering system and their electric water pumps. Toyota says no crashes or injury have been reported. That's good news. Yes.

BERMAN: All right. And a shake-up at the Long Island utility company under fire for its slow response to Superstorm Sandy. LIPA chief operating officer Michael Hervey announcing his resignation effective at the end of this year. Hervey has been the target of many angered residents left in the dark and cold for more than two weeks. He's been the target of New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo, as well.

SAMBOLIN: Ten minutes past the hour.

Multimillionaire Silicon Valley entrepreneur says he is in hiding this morning as police in Belize try to solve a murder case. The very, very strange saga of security software tycoon John McAfee, that is coming up.

BERMAN: Very strange. Very, very strange.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BERMAN: New developments this morning in a strange or as Zoraida calls it a very, very strange cat and mouse chase unfolding in Belize. This is a weird story.

SAMBOLIN: It is.

BERMAN: John McAfee, the man behind the popular McAfee antivirus software, says he is not a killer, but he is in hiding after his neighbor was found dead, shot in the head, execution-style inside his home. Police are urging McAfee to turn himself in.

Richard Roth is following all the developments for us. Richard, McAfee found a way to share his side of the story. Do share.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This is someone who is not an official suspect, doesn't need a press spokesman or a press spokeswoman, but he's been making some phone calls to people who interviewed him over the years. One such person, Joshua Davis, Wired.com contributing editor.

And this is a portion of a phone conversation that McAfee had with him when he was asked really, what happened to your neighbor, Gregory Faull, who turned up dead over the weekend?

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

JOSHUA DAVIS, WIRED.COM: As to your speculations of what might have happened to him?

JOHN MCAFEE, ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE FOUNDER: I do not have a clue. The only information I have about him is what you have told me. I had no idea that he was shot execution-style. I heard some things were missing. You were the one that told me it was a .9 millimeter shell.

DAVIS: Yes.

MCAFEE: That's all I know. I have no speculation other than the first thing I thought about was, oh, my God, he's a white man, I'm a white man. Someone's, you know, the government's finally decided to off me, they got the wrong white man since we're so, you know, we live almost next door. And that actually went through my mind and actually scared me for quite a while.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ROTH: A lot of fear in Mr. McAfee, but the police have been questioning three people. They detained them but so far no major developments in this murder case.

BERMAN: And no plans to turn himself in.

ROTH: No. We'll hear now Joshua Davis again explain what in his view whether McAfee, who said he hid under a box when the police came on Sunday to look for him, whether he's going to give himself up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DAVIS: They are actively looking for him. Indeed, they want to question him. He is actively avoiding them.

He says that he's convinced that if he is captured by the police, that they will kill him, that he will die in custody, and that he will do everything he can to evade custody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROTH: Rafael Martinez of the Belize national police said, quote, "My goodness, he needs to come in so he can clear the air when asked about McAfee's fears. We are law-abiding people here. We follow the law to a letter."

SAMBOLIN: Just a bizarre story. The more we hear, the more bizarre it sounds.

Richard Roth, thank you so much for coming in and sharing. We appreciate it.

Sixteen minutes past the hour. Let's get you up-to-date.

President Obama voicing support for his top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, now under investigation for alleged flirtatious and inappropriate e-mails sent to Jill Kelley, the Petraeus family friend who unwittingly exposed his affair with Paula Broadwell. Right now, General Allen's nomination to be the next NATO supreme commander in Europe is on hold.

BERMAN: A small plane went down Tuesday shortly after takeoff in Jackson, Mississippi, slamming into a house and killing all three people onboard. A person inside the house was injured in the crash as well. The plane's owner says all three men onboard the Piper PA-32 were pilots. They were heading to an FAA safety conference in Raymond, Mississippi, when their plane went down.

SAMBOLIN: And the man who said he had an underage sexual relationship with Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash is now changing his story. The anonymous accuser now 24 had said he had a relationship with Clash when he was 16 years old. Now, through his attorney, the accuser says it was an adult consensual relationship.

BERMAN: Comedian Stephen Colbert's Americans for a Better Tomorrow Tomorrow Super PAC is now closed. That's according to filings posted online by the Federal Election Commission.

It may have started as a joke but the Super PAC raked in more than $1.2 million since it was launched in the summer of 2011. Colbert used some of the cash to pay for, really, funny campaign ads during the Republican primaries, during his ill-fated attempt to be the president of South Carolina.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Eighteen minutes past the hour now. It's time for the Early Reads, to your local news that is making national headlines. Another strange twist in the General Petraeus story first reported by the "U.S. News and World Report". A jogger recently found Paula Broadwell's driver's license in a Washington, D.C. park. She's the general's biographer and the woman outed as his mistress when the scandal broke. It has been turned over to police. No one know where is she is right now and her attorney is keeping quiet about it.

BERMAN: And some news out of Texas from the "Austin American Statesman", a petition to secede from the United States has taken off on the web. It is getting thousands of signatures since Friday. Other states have done this, too. They're getting signatures as well.

This was created on a White House Web site decided to foster citizen involvement. The White House says petitions with more than 25,000 signatures within a month are forwarded to the administration policy experts for an official response. This one has well over 90,000. A few others have over the 25,000 threshold.

But there is a counter petition to this saying that probably states shouldn't secede.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. All right. For an extended look at all our top stories, head to our blog, CNN.com/EarlyStart.

BERMAN: And big time CEO bonding together and getting creative to get Washington to fix the debt. How are they going to do this? We'll show you how, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Twenty-three minutes past the hour. We are minding your business this morning.

U.S. stock futures are up this morning after markets closed lower yesterday.

BERMAN: Ali Velshi is in for Christine Romans today. Ali just confirmed to us that he's happy to be here to talk to us about business.

But, first, the president meeting at the White House with business leaders.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, look, there's been all this talk about how the president and the business leaders don't have this great relationship, so a bunch of them are meeting with the president. These are some of the CEOs of the biggest companies in America. Take a look. We've got the CEOs of Aetna, Xerox, American Express, Honeywell, Walmart, G.E., Dow, Proctor & Gamble, Ford, Pepsi, IBM, and Chevron.

They are going to talk it through. They're going to sit there and talk about jobs. They're going to talk about the debt problem.

These are generally friendly, I would say. It doesn't mean they are Obama supporters or Democrats but they are friendly. They are not the president's fiercest critics.

Four of the CEOs are also part of this Fix the Debt Coalition. This is out of the nonpartisan group Simpson and Bowles, you know, they had the debt reduction plan. And they are also launching an ad campaign, which is kind of interesting. It's just coming out today.

Take a look at some of these ads. They have taken a regular, you know, ads that you're familiar with and brands that you're familiar with, and they, you know, have reworked them to fix the debt. So, you got a Nike ad there, you've got a military recruitment ad, you've got milk, you've got McDonald's. Dunkin Donuts, I think we've got one.

SAMBOLIN: (INAUDIBLE)

VELSHI: Yes, it's the idea that advertisement -- Home Depot, you can't fix the problem with advertising, but get it out there and let people know about it.

BERMAN: The person who's doing this, too. One of the things that's happening in this debt debate now is that all sides involved are trying to go outside of Washington and, you know, talk to the people to get them involved.

VELSHI: And actually -- it sort of worked in the election a little bit. This idea that this is not fixed in Washington, it's fixed outside of Washington. It will get fixed in Washington but there's a lot of pressure now on the next five weeks or so to really get this done. So --

SAMBOLIN: So, do we expect any real outcomes?

VELSHI: No. This is a make nice -- you know, President Obama has to work hard to not look like he's working against the business community and yet at the same time understand he's putting enough pressure on them to do what they need to do.

BERMAN: He would like to see them, though, in turn, put some pressure on Congress as well.

VELSHI: That's absolutely right. These congressional -- these are donors to campaigns in many cases and there's a big rift between the president and the Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They are not invited to this meeting.

So the president is working around his fiercest critics in the business world.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Ali Velshi, thanks.

VELSHI: Good to see you guys.

BERMAN: Great to see you this morning.

VELSHI: My pleasure to be here.

BERMAN: All right. Twenty-five minutes after the hour. Two four-star generals, twin sisters, 30,000-pages of e-mails --

SAMBOLIN: Incredible.

BERMAN: I don't know if there's going to be math -- America's longest war, is something going on here? A confusing mess in one of the strangest scandals to hit Washington in recent memory. All of the new details and reaction from the White House, we'll have all of it coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: General confusion. Twin sisters tied to the top two commanders embroiled in a major scandal.

BERMAN: Meet the press, President Obama just hours away from his first full-blown news conference in months.

SAMBOLIN: Out the door, the man in charge of Long Island's power company quits amid the outrage over failed storm repairs.

Welcome back to EARLY START.

We are happy you're with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Great to see you.

It's 29 minutes past the hour right now.

We are following new developments in that complicated, widening scandal that has already brought down CIA General David Petraeus and now threatens the career of another top military commander in Afghanistan.

Petraeus, as you know, resigned last week after admitting to an extramarital affair. The other woman, Paula Broadwell, wrote Petraeus' biography. Early this year, Broadwell sent anonymous threatening e-mails to this woman, Jill Kelley.

SAMBOLIN: She's been described as a close personal friend of both Petraeus and his wife, Holly. Kelley talked to an FBI friend launching an investigation that exposed an affair between General Petraeus and Paula Broadwell.

Now, a Defense Department official says Kelley traded flirtatious and inappropriate e-mails from four-star marine general, John Allen. He denies an extramarital affair with Kelley and insists he did nothing wrong.

BERMAN: But the Pentagon is investigating thousands of documents and e-mails between Allen and Kelley. And it turns out both generals stepped in to help Kelley's twin sister, Natalie, in a custody fight.

SAMBOLIN: This is a picture of Petraeus with Jill and Natalie. They're twins, you can see that there, and here's some of what Petraeus wrote to the court, quote, "We have, on many occasions, observed Natalie and her son, including when we hosted them and the Kelley family for Christmas dinner this past year. In each case, we have seen a very loving relationship." We removed the son's name to protect his identity as a minor.

BERMAN: We have two reports. CNNs Jill Dougherty at the State Department. Brianna Keilar is in our Washington Bureau. We're going to start with Jill, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Jill, we're now hearing Kelley's voice for the first time on a 911 call placed over the weekend. What happened?

DOUGHERTY: Well, I think it's important to put it in context. She, apparently, had some people who were around her house, some type of intruder outside on her property, so she calls 911. And listen to what she does say in terms of defining who she is. Let's listen to that tape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLEY: I'm an honorary consul general so I have inviolability. They should not be able to cross my property, I don't know, if you want to get diplomatic protection involved as well. It's against the law to cross my property since this is now like, you know, inviolable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOUGHERTY: OK. So, inviolable, and she's saying consul general, et cetera. There is, apparently, as far as we can tell, nothing that indicates that she had any type of position except an honorary consul. And what she was doing was she was a volunteer. And she was volunteering for an organization that helps the State Department, greet people who come from other countries and (INAUDIBLE) with the military, et cetera.

And apparently, somebody gave her some type of honorary thank you type of expression. But it has no legal standing whatsoever as far as we can say. And also, she had license plates which described her as an honorary consul. Again, as far as we can tell, no legal protection for her or anything like that.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Earlier this morning, both Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared at a joint press conference. This was on Australia. They both addressed the investigation into General Allen. So, Jill, this is the first time that we're hearing from Secretary Clinton about this investigation. What did she say?

DOUGHERTY: Well, she's saying what the rest of the administration is saying, which is they have confidence in General Allen. Let's listen to her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: General Allen is a distinguished marine and commander who's been an important part of the NATO/ISAF mission in Afghanistan. We have been in touch with our NATO/ISAF allies. The course in Afghanistan is set. We know what the transition requires of us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOUGHERTY: Right. So, these investigations continue, and as you can see, we'll need that chart that you put up before to follow all the characters, I think.

SAMBOLIN: We do, indeed, need that. And we appreciate your perspective this morning. Jill Dougherty live at the State Department. Thank you.

BERMAN: And how is the White House reacting to these revelations? Let's bring in White House correspondent, Brianna Keilar, right now. Brianna, what are the White House saying about this?

KEILAR: You know, I don't mean to sort of completely echo what Jill said, but what you heard from Secretaries Clinton and Panetta is exactly what you're hearing from the White House. Jay Carney, the White House Press Secretary, John, was asked yesterday if President Obama continues to have full faith in General Allen.

Carney said he has faith in General Allen, the job that he's done in the military and in Afghanistan. He did say, though, that the situation, and this may not be surprising, that started with General Petraeus caught President Obama off guard.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARNEY: Well, the president was certainly surprised when he was informed about the situation regarding General Petraeus on Thursday. He greatly appreciates General Petraeus' remarkable service to his country of both in uniform and at the CIA. And, as he said in his statement, his heart -- his thoughts and prayers go out to both General Petraeus and Holly Petraeus at this time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Carney was also asked, John, about the culture of military leadership if maybe this is something that is widespread or there's a concern that President Obama may have Carney urge reporters not to extrapolate from this, seeming to say that these are two events that you can't read anymore into that than just the fact that these are two separate incidents.

BERMAN: Brianna, of course, the president's schedule, he'll have a news conference today shortly after one o'clock. CNN will be covering that live and extensively, but there's another news conference today in Washington that's making news. Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, she's expected to answer whether she's going to stay in her job.

You know, in a city where there really aren't that many mysteries, this is a mystery. What are you hearing about what she might say?

KEILAR: Yes. So, she is not saying, and she was asked about this yesterday by reporters, so she's keeping us guessing. She did have a press conference yesterday with some of the new Democrats in the House. She'll speak at 10:00 a.m. this morning. I think this sort of informs speculation among Democratic watchers on the Hill is that she's probably going to stay, but here's what she said yesterday when asked about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) CALIFORNIA: Let's see, what time is it now? It's two o'clock on Tuesday. I'll see you right here at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning. While I love you all very dearly, I thought maybe I would talk to my own caucus before I shared that information with you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Now, she seemed, John, kind of encouraged yesterday at that press conference because of some Democratic gains in the House. Obviously Republicans are still in control there, but it's really also unclear who might succeed Pelosi if she decides to forego the minority leadership position. So, I think at this point in time, the expectation is that she's probably going to stay and if she announced otherwise today at 10:00 a.m., we might be a little surprised.

BERMAN: All right. Brianna Keilar, great to see you this morning. thanks very much.

SAMBOLIN: And coming up in the next hour of EARLY START, CNN military analyst and retired major general, James "Spider" Marks on the Petraeus scandal.

BERMAN: And coming up on "STARTING POINT", former House Speaker and former GOP presidential hopeful, Newt Gingrich, and his wife, Callista, will get their take on the presidential election and the scandal surrounding David Petraeus.

SAMBOLIN: And keep it on CNN for special coverage. President Obama holding a news conference. That's at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. Wolf Blitzer will be all over it for you.

BERMAN: Failed Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan is reassessing right now after election night. He has no regrets, he says. Here's what he said on ABC News last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONATHAN KARL, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, ABC NEWS: Was that the campaign Paul Ryan would have run?

REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) WISCONSIN: Oh, gosh! You know, I think when you join a ticket three months out, you join somebody's campaign. I was really impressed with the way Mitt and Ann brought us into the fold. So, I was very encouraged by that. I really enjoyed it. And I wanted to run a big campaign on ideas. We did that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: The, oh, gosh, part was kind of interesting there. (LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Also in the ABC interview, Ryan said there's a silver lining to losing, which is more time with his kids.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: Just this last weekend, I got to go to both of my boys' basketball games, I got to go to two of my daughters' volleyball games.

KARL: So there's an upside to losing?

RYAN: There's an upside to losing, which is reconnection with my family which is something we've always -- we're a very close family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Ryan said his kids are relieved they won't have to move and change schools. You know, in other interviews, Ryan has raised some eyebrows because he attributed the Obama victory pretty much exclusively to a rise in what he called the urban vote.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Yes. It's nice, though, to see that that's what they focus on now, right, the fact that they can go back --

BERMAN: The family.

SAMBOLIN: No and also that the kids are the ones who say, oh, thank goodness, right

Thirty-eight minutes past the hour. Temper flaring, people shivering, still, and now, heads are rolling as people in New York head into their third week without power after hurricane Sandy. A utility big wig out. And there's more fallout coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: All right. Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. More than two weeks after superstorm Sandy, thousands of people on New York's Long Island are still in the dark and the cold and they're demanding answers right now.

SAMBOLIN: Much of the anger is directed at the Long Island Power Authority or LIPA for failing to prepare and respond to the big one. LIPA is now the target of a class-action lawsuit as well and its chief operating officer is stepping down. Deb Feyerick has been covering the story for us from the very beginning. What's the latest on this?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's been a real hot mess, basically, is the only way to describe it. You have an organization that basically hires out the power grid to a different contractor, and what ended up happening is they basically lost control. They weren't prepared.

They knew that the big storm was coming, but reports said they didn't make even the most basic changes like cutting tree branches so that their wires wouldn't be taken down. All of this added up, compounding the problems, and causing a lot of people to be plunged into darkness during the storm.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FEYERICK (voice-over): People on Long Island are tired of the cold, the dark, and the run-around from the power company out here known as LIPA.

Is it fair to say that LIPA wasn't giving anybody answers because they themselves didn't have the answers?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, quite possibly.

FEYERICK: Kate Murray is the supervisor of the town of Hempstead on Long Island, New York. She says the Long Island Power Authority, LIPA, has changed their story virtually every day, even refusing to set up an emergency hotline.

Is it fair to say LIPA almost went into hiding in terms of dealing with its customers?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, yes, I think that's a fair and accurate portrayal, sadly enough.

FEYERICK (on-camera): Before we got word of his resignation, we tried to get answers from LIPA's chief operating officer, Michael Hervey. So, this says the office is temporarily closed. All employees usually assigned are assisting with storm restoration efforts.

(voice-over): The business card I left did get a response.

(on-camera): So the security guard called media, media called me, there'll be no interview with Michael Hervey. We're told that he's not available for the rest of the day.

(voice-over): LIPA would not make any other officials available to CNN. A report in June criticized LIPA's outage management system and computer, describing them as outdated saying, in a crisis, LIPA had no way to know when the power would return. New York's governor is now calling for an investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many of these systems were failing to begin with.

FEYERICK: Walter Drabinski worked on the report, he says LIPA delayed upgrades in part because of the $7 billion debt that would enforce a raid increase.

WALTER DRABINSKI, VANTAGE CONSULTING INC.: They knew that they needed a new outage management system that they needed to inspect and replace a lot of poles that had deteriorated.

FEYERICK: LIPA says it began replacing the system. The entire process taking between 18 months up to two years, it could be ready some time next year. (END VIDEOTAPE)

FEYERICK (on-camera): And Long Island is the only region in New York City where the utility company is run by the state. So, chances are that New York's Governor Cuomo is going to get a lot of the heat as well. He has called for an investigation into why there was such a colossal failure when it came to this.

But again, this authority has been run by a chief operating officer, not even a CEO for the last two years. So, there's an absence of management and certainly a true lack of leadership.

SAMBOLIN: You know, it sounds terrible. The contingency plan for all the people who are displaced. I mean, that just is shocking. Absolutely shocking. Deb, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

All right. People without power dealing with cold temperatures as well. Alexander Steele is in for Rob Marciano today. Good morning to you.

ALEXANDER STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, good morning. You know, that's the problem. It's exacerbated the problem, right? If temperatures were warmer, it certainly wouldn't be so glaring about, you know, how awful the scenario is without power. But, because temperatures are so cold and really well below average, you can see in New York, Long Island, temperatures in the low to mid-30s, that's it.

And even, of course, in the New Jersey coast where some are without power there. Temperatures are well below average. And as we look toward the next couple of days, look, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, temperatures stay during the morning hours only in the 30s and 40s from Boston all the way down to Washington, D.C.

And then on the high side, temperatures are rebounding, like today will be in the 40s and 50s, but that's it. Forty-eight in New York, 48 on Friday, and into Saturday, 50 degrees. So, temperatures well below average during the morning hours. Sun coming out, dry skies but really not rebounding very much in terms of the warmth.

You can see, even though, as far south as Atlanta, Georgia, only in the 40s, should be at 61 degrees there. So, temperatures well colder than average. And with that, look at this, freeze threat. Freeze watches and warnings, waking up in Mississippi and Georgia, especially in Northern Georgia, temperatures well colder than normal and temperatures on the high side today, colder there as well.

So, all this cold air funneling down. Actually, guys, across the country, an area of raindrop (ph). Florida may be south and central a few rain showers but on the whole pretty quiet albeit the cold temperatures.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Alexandra, thank you.

STEELE: Yes.

BERMAN: All right. Forty-six minutes after the hour right now, and an emergency room doctor ends up in a big emergency of her own. The story behind this video coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. Fifty minutes after the hour. Let's bring you up to date on all the top stories right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN (voice-over): Lawmakers have been demanding answers about the scandal that's been snared two four-star generals, David Petraeus and John Allen. They'll be briefed today by the CIA and FBI about the investigation that exposed Petraeus' extramarital affair and forced him to resign as CIA director.

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Federal investigators on the scene of last weekend house explosion in Indianapolis say they have found no evidence of the gas leak in the home. The blast leveled the neighborhood, killing two people and damaging dozens of homes. The NTSB says nothing else has been ruled out and the investigation will continue.

BERMAN: A Boston area emergency room physician is pleading not guilty to charges that she caused a multi-vehicle chain reaction crash while driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Police in Wellesley, Mass. say Dr. Kristin Lynes Howard struck a delivery truck Friday morning, backed into a fence, knocked over a granite post --

SAMBOLIN: Wow!

BERMAN: And then sideswiped a tree before hitting a car, which then struck a trailer that was being towed by a dump truck.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness.

BERMAN: I'll give you $10 if you repeat that back to me.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. No kidding.

All right. The Mayo Clinic confirms that Illinois congressman --

(CROSSTALK)

SAMBOLIN: Yes. It's really crazy video. All right. Let's move on here. This is Illinois congressman, Jesse Jackson Jr., he is no longer seeking treatment at the Mayo Clinic. Jackson checked into the Mayo Clinic back in August for what his wife described as, quote, "debilitating depression."

He went back in September for a follow-up evaluation. Jackson won a big for a tenth term in the House last week despite making no public campaign appearances.

BERMAN: All right. Baseball up in arm this morning. Last winter, they were flush with cash, this winter a fire sale. Multiple reports claim the Miami Marlins are about to dump three star players and their salaries for prospects as part of a blockbuster trade. SAMBOLIN: Wow! BERMAN: It's only blockbuster for the Blue Jays here. The deal expected to send shortstop, Jose Reyes, lefty pitcher, Mark Buehrle, and right-hander, Josh Johnson. These are three excellent players. They're going to Toronto, and they're not getting a whole lot back.

The Marlins finished last in the NL East and fired manager, Ozzie Guillen at the end of 2012 season. Let me use editorial (ph) for a moment.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, go ahead.

BERMAN: I do not know why there are Marlins fans.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN (on-camera): Every time they're good, every time they have good players, they trade them all. This is like the fourth time they've dumped every good player they've had over the last 15 years.

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): What would you have done?

BERMAN: I wouldn't trade my best players.

SAMBOLIN: None?

BERMAN: Well, no -- they have financial problems. They can't get fans to the stadium. But you can't trade all of your good players every four years and ever expect to get fans in the stadium.

SAMBOLIN: All right.

BERMAN: OK, sorry.

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: It's OK. Actually, I like all the passion.

Coming up, looking good for 450 years old, that is. How did this college student end up in a painting from 1562? No, he doesn't drive a Delorian. We have that story. Coming up.

BERMAN: A back to the future --

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Fifty-six minutes past the hour. I'm Zoraida Sambolin along with John Berman taking a look at the top CNN trends on the web this morning.

BERMAN: All right. Check this out. A dude finds a doppelganger in a 16th century painting. Twenty-year-old Max Galopo (ph) who's a Temple University student was walking through the Philadelphia Museum of Art when he suddenly saw himself in this 16th century Italian painting by an unknown artist titled "Portrait of a Noble Man with a Dueling Gauntlet." Check that out. We're not sure if his legs look nice in red tights, maybe that's a separate issue.

(LAUGHTER)

His girlfriend actually pointed it out first as they were walking by. Galopo says he decided to look into the painting's history, and get this, it turns out that it's from the same area of Italy that his grandparents come from.

SAMBOLIN: Who knows, that could be a relative.

BERMAN: Really?

SAMBOLIN: How cool is that and how bizarre is that, right?

All right. Doing time holding an idiot side. Under a judge's order, a woman in Cleveland stood at street corner for over an hour yesterday holding a sign that read, "Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus."

A municipal court judge sentenced 32-year-old Sheena Hardin to serve the highly humiliating public sentence after she was caught on camera driving on a sidewalk to past a Cleveland school bus that was unloading children. I love the story and say let's book the judge, love that.

BERMAN: You frighten me.

SAMBOLIN: I know. I think that's a great idea.

BERMAN: It's just a little scary. That's all. Just saying.

SAMBOLIN: -- do that.

BERMAN: To check on other top CNN trends, head to our blog, that's CNN.com/Trends.

SAMBOLIN: All right. The late-night comedians are talking about the fiscal cliff and the return of Agent 007.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": So, we have the president appointed a commission on getting to find new ways to make new money. And I was thinking of one, like Hillary Clinton, all over the world, Secretary of State, she goes everywhere. Here's what we do. Whenever she lands in a foreign country, if she's in the airport, slips and falls and we sue the pants off of them.

(LAUGHTER)

LETTERMAN: What's wrong with that? Bang, sue. Sell a state. We got too many of them. Sell a state to somebody. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

LETTERMAN: Sell a state to Oprah. Oprahoma.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go. Making money left and right.

JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": "Skyfall," the number one movie at the box office this week. It made over $100 million. It's the biggest opening ever for a James Bond film. And it's really good, but you know, it's interesting. There's not a lot of sex in the movie, very downplayed.

See, James Bond, he's just a secret agent. It's not like he's head of the CIA. He's not going to get a lot action.

(LAUGHTER)

LENO: He's not going to get as much action -- yes. Well, that's --

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Yes.

SAMBOLIN: Can you see them?

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: EARLY START continues right now.