Return to Transcripts main page


Sixteen Killed in Rocket Attacks; Benghazi Boiling Point; Romney Blames Loss on Obama "Gifts"; Social Media's Role in War; Romney: I Lost Because of Gifts; Petraeus Opens Up About Scandal; Obama Hosts "Lincoln" Cast

Aired November 15, 2012 - 09:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Soledad. Good morning.

Stories we're watching right now in the NEWSROOM. Benghazi. The September attack that killed four Americans is at the top of the agenda today. Congress meets to find out exactly what went wrong.

A Hamas military leader killed in an airstrike by Israeli forces. The Israelis are using Twitter and YouTube to show the world. But should the government really use social media to help get its message across?

And talk about a way with words. Listen to former Mississippi governor, Republican, Haley Barbour, as he gives some blunt and colorful advice to the GOP.


HALEY BARBOUR (R), FORMER MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR: The ground game is really important, and we have to be -- I mean, we've got to give our political organizational activity, you know, a very serious proctology exam. I think that's the only --


COSTELLO: Oh, yes. And they say the Twinkies could last forever. But the company that makes them might not last all that long. The baker strike that could turn off the ovens at Hostess.

NEWSROOM starts now. 0

And good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me.

So far, 16 people in Gaza and Israel are dead as violence escalates in the Middle East. And this time it could lead to a new war in that region. Over the past 24 hours, Palestinian military groups say Israel launched more than 75 strikes for warplanes and ships, including the strike you're looking at right there, which was actually posted on YouTube and Twitter. This strike on a car that killed the chief of Hamas' military.

Now the two sides have fired dozens of rockets at one another. Israel claims its defending its cities, following ongoing rocket attacks by Palestinian militants. Israel's military says it's targeting 100 sites across Gaza.

I know, you've heard this all before. But this time it's different. Because Egypt is not happy with Israel. It's already reached out to President Obama and told him, we must put an end to this aggression.

Sara Sidner is in the region, she's in Gaza City. She has the latest for us this morning.

Good morning.

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. Yes, the number of those who have been killed during this escalation, fighting between Gaza and Israel has now risen. Three people in Israel inside of an apartment building killed from a rocket attack sent from Gaza, from Hamas, the government here. And now we are learning that 15 people have been killed here in total today, here in Gaza, including nine militants, several children and a pregnant woman.

Now what's happening now is off and on, we are hearing air strikes again and again across the city, across Gaza City, and along the Gaza Strip. We know that there have been more than 196 rockets now that have entered into Israel from Gaza. We were there this morning when we saw ourselves 15 rockets coming in. Some of those rockets being knocked down by the Iron Dome system, but some of them obviously making them -- making it to the civilian population.

Israel saying as long as those rockets keep coming into Israel, targeting its civilians, that they will respond, the military will respond, and so far they have responded in a big way. We've been seeing huge plumes of smoke over the past few hours here in Gaza and we do know that two more people have been killed here -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Sara, I want to let -- talk a little bit more about Egypt to make people understand this. Egypt's leader is part of the Muslim Brotherhood, clearly on the Palestinian side. Mohamed Morsi already reaching out to President Obama and saying, you know, we consider this an act of aggression on Israel's part and this must stop.

How does this endanger the entire region now that Egypt's sort of been sucked into all of this?

SIDNER: Well, everyone here knew that the Arab Spring really changed things here. And now that you're seeing the leadership in Egypt starting to make maneuvers -- I mean, everybody was waiting to see how that leadership was going to act towards Israel. As you know, they've had a peace treaty for dozens of years. They've been able to keep that in place and when Morsi got into power, he said he would leave the peace treaty alone.

However, the situation gives you some idea of how things are changing. There is certainly concern on Israel's part. They certainly do not want to be at war with a bunch of different people, surrounded by different countries, that they do not get along with. They've already have deteriorating relations with Turkey and now you're seeing Egypt. We know for a fact that Egypt pulled its ambassador to Israel out of Israel yesterday when all of this started, when more and more of the attacks started happening and airstrikes. And after the death of Hamas' military wing commander here -- after he was killed. So this is a troubling sign, certainly for Israel, but also for some of the other countries in the region.

COSTELLO: Sara Sidner, reporting live from Gaza City this morning.

Back here in our country, David Petraeus will testify tomorrow in front of a closed-door congressional hearing on the Benghazi attacks. He's agreed to voluntarily answer questions even after that sex scandal led to his resignation as CIA director. And just this morning HLN's Kyra Phillips talked with General Petraeus.

The general says he never shared classified information with his mistress, Paula Broadwell. Of course, as you know, she is at the epicenter of this scandal. News this morning that she is not likely to face charges for releasing classified information. FBI agents raided her home, taking computers and other documents earlier this week.

And finally, we now know the identity of the FBI agent who first investigated the whole mess. By now you probably know him as the shirtless agent, the guy who sent a shirtless photo to Jill Kelley, the other woman involved in this mess.

This FBI agent's name is Frederick Humphries, he was he agent originally contacted by Jill Kelley over those supposedly harassing e- mails now linked to Paula Broadwell.

Hope you got that.

The controversy over Benghazi, as you know, has reached a boiling point, though. Yesterday at his first press conference as being re- elected, President Obama has strong words for anyone who blames U.S. -- United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice for the Benghazi response.

Here's what the President said.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As I've said before, she made an appearance at the request of the White House in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her. If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me.


COSTELLO: OK. So it took Senator John McCain about an hour to make it to the Senate floor to offer a response.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), RANKING MEMBER, ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: That statement is really remarkable in that if the President thinks that we are picking on people, he really does not have any idea of how serious this issue is.


COSTELLO: Seems like the testosterone-fueled rhetoric over Benghazi is sort of getting out of control.

Former CIA operative Bob Baer joins me now.

Good morning, Bob.


COSTELLO: Thank you for being with me.

Fiery rhetoric aside, I want to make it clear to our viewers what lawmakers want to figure out. There's three -- there are three separate hearings about to take place today. So this is what they're trying to figure out. One, why didn't the United States increase security in Libya when we knew al Qaeda was building a presence there? Two, did the Obama administration try to mislead people as to the nature of the attack? And, three, did the administration deny pleas from our people at the consulate for help?

So let's start with the first. Why didn't -- why didn't -- why wasn't there more security in Libya previous -- previous to these attacks?

BAER: Well, first of all, assessments from the ground apparently were not getting back to Washington, were not getting high enough. That compound was under surveillance by the local services. Benghazi itself is a jungle. All sorts of Islamic groups. Somebody should have raised the red flag early on and either fortified that consulate or simply closed it. Somebody made a mistake. I don't know who that was, whether it was the state department or the CIA or the combination of the two.

But they probably, in -- you know, in the light of today, they should have pulled out a long time ago.

COSTELLO: And of course --

BAER: In running all these operations --


COSTELLO: Just going on to topic number two. Did the Obama administration try to mislead us as to the nature of the attack? We've all heard what Susan Rice said. Republicans say she tried to pin this all on that terrible video that came out, that anti-Muslim video, when she knew at the time it was something more. You know, you've heard all the rumors flying around. What do you think?

BAER: Well, I mean, first of all, Susan Rice -- maybe she was misinformed. Maybe she's getting unfairly blamed. Maybe the CIA sent a bad assessment to her. Maybe the State Department did. That's the kind of question they're going to ask David Petraeus. But what's -- here's the problem with Benghazi. It was a huge CIA base. And what were they doing down there? Were they simply buying up arms off the local market, these MADPAD surface to air missiles?

Even the rumors are flying that this attack on September 11th had something to do with an arms deal that went bad. It also has -- there are some rumors out there that there are possibly this CIA unit or somebody down there was buying arms to send to Syria.

I frankly discount them all. I've seen no evidence of it. But somebody has to give us the answers. This is why this controversy has carried on so long because there's absolutely no clarity. And we, as Americans, want to know why four American diplomats were killed.

COSTELLO: OK. Let's specifically -- like there is word that the people on the ground in Benghazi, Libya, cried out for help and help did not come.

BAER: I think it's clear that the ambassador, who was murdered, did express doubts to Washington about the security. There was no backup. The problem is, if there was a seven-hour gun battle for that consulate, that's not fast enough for the Pentagon to react. It just isn't. I've been in those situations. You have to have the pieces in place before you can respond.

You know, I've heard these stories about laser designators and they could have called in air support. Listen, to use military forces inside an independent country, and a volatile one at that, takes, you know, weeks of planning in advance. Somebody did drop the ball. But I just don't believe the thing that the military could have responded, they could have sent F-16s down there to hit the targets. It takes a long time to set that up.

COSTELLO: OK. So when all -- when all is said and done, do we have the case of a Watergate style cover-up here or do we just need the answers to some questions?

BAER: David Petraeus has those answers. You know, he's out of the CIA now. If he sits down and tells the truth as he knows it, doesn't shave off the edges, we will get our answers. And Congress will, too.

We take it from the next step. But somebody, I'm sorry, should be fired for Benghazi. Should have closed that place down.

COSTELLO: Robert Baer, former CIA operative. Thank you so much for joining us today.

In the next hour, President Obama will head to New York to meet families trying to recover from superstorm Sandy. He'll visit Staten Island, one of the hardest hit areas, and take an aerial tour. He'll also meet with city officials, first responders and FEMA staff. This will be the President's first time touring the region the devastation in New York. He 's previously toured damage in New Jersey with the Republican governor there, Chris Christie. Today he'll be joined by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg and members of his Cabinet. Some controversial comments from the former Republican nominee, Mitt Romney now claiming the President won re-election by giving gifts to African-Americans, Hispanics and younger voters. This is how Romney explained his loss in a phone call to some of his top donors.


MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The President's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote.


COSTELLO: Those comments aren't sitting well with some Republicans, notably former Romney surrogate, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Jindal said he absolutely rejects that notion saying it doesn't represent where Republicans are at the as a party.

Sure we just got done with an election, but Warren Buffett already has his eye on 2016. We'll tell you who is putting his weight behind. When we come back.


COSTELLO: Sixteen minutes past the hour.

Checking our top stories now:

BP set to pay a record fine to settle criminal charges related to the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010. According to the BBC, the oil company will pay between $3 billion and $5 billion to settle claims and four staff members will be placed under arrest.

The deal, though, does not prevent civil claims from being filed against the company or fines related to environmental damage.

Disgraced former CIA Director David Petraeus will testify in front of the House Intelligence Committee in tomorrow's hearing on the September 11th attack in Libya. Petraeus is scheduled to appear first thing tomorrow morning, but could be called as soon as today.

CEOs striking a hopeful tone after Wednesday's meeting with the President. Heads of 12 companies ranging from Walmart, General Electric, Federal Express, Pepsi, Honeywell and more met with Obama for 90 minutes to discuss the fiscal cliff.

After the session, the CEO of Xerox said the meeting, quote, "went well."

N too early to talk presidents of 2016. The Oracle of Omaha putting his weight squarely behind Hillary Clinton. In an interview with CNN, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett says he hopes the secretary of state will run in 2016 and become the country's first female president. Buffett said, quote, "I can't see how you would have anybody better qualified." Sixteen people are dead in the latest round of fighting between Israel and the Palestinians. And according to the interior minister in Gaza, more than 100 people have been hurt, including dozens of women and children.

Israel is releasing video of its deadly airstrike on YouTube and Twitter. It's a tactic the Israeli military has been using for quite some time. In fact, the Israeli military has its own official YouTube channel. If you go there today, it explains how the Israeli military tries to protect Palestinian civilians.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Despite the fact that Hamas operates from civilian areas, the IDF has consistently taken measures to minimize casualties to civilians by -- placing phone calls, recorded warnings, all intended to alert civilian bystanders.


COSTELLO: That's just a bit of it.

Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, and author of the book, "Islamic Pacifism: Global Muslims in the Post-Osama Era." He joins us now from Washington.


ARSALAN IFTIKHAR, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ISLAMIC MONTHLY: Good morning, Carol. Thanks for having me here.

COSTELLO: Oh, we're glad you're here.

You know, I have mixed feelings about the use of social media in times of war. What do you think about this?

IFTIKHAR: Yes, it's a pretty surreal experience right now. For many Middle East observers we're starting to see another tragic version of Groundhog's Day, it seems. You know, four years ago, many people will remember, there was "Operation Cast Lead," which was an escalation known as the Gaza war which killed over 13,000 Palestinians and 14 Israelis. And now with this recent escalation, we see both the IDF and Hamas take to social media, like Twitter and are basically live- casting the war in 140 characters or less.

COSTELLO: I know. And on both sides, I mean, there is, you know, what we heartlessly call collateral damage, as in civilians being injured or killed.

I want to give you another example. Israel social media campaign, it doesn't stop with YouTube videos. It's also on Twitter.

The Israeli defense spokesperson wrote this or tweeted this and I quote, "We recommend that no Hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show their faces above ground in the days ahead."

I mean, do these terrorists actually read tweets like this?

IFTIKHAR: You know, it's one of those things, Carol, where I think we're losing, you know, the true humanizing toll that this war is taking. You know, the fact that over 16 Palestinian civilians have been killed, including the 11-month-old baby of the BBC World News Arabic cameraman, three Israelis were killed in an apartment building today.

You know, this sort of propaganda war on both sides is not conducive, and especially as you mentioned earlier in your broadcast, with an ever-changing landscape in the Middle East, you know, with protests in Jordan, obviously with the ongoing Syrian civil war, with Bashar al- Assad killing his own people, with Egypt -- you know, since Egypt had an agreement to combat Salifists gunmen in the Sinai, with Turkey's chilling relations with Israel. I'm much more concerned about the real missiles falling in the Middle East as opposed to the missile in David Petraeus' pants that many Americans are focused on these days.

COSTELLO: So give us a sense, because Egypt's president has reached out already to President Obama and said -- he used this as an active aggression on Israel's part that this must stop. But Israel is a great friend of the United States.

So, should the United States get involved in this latest violence there or just sit back and see what happens?

IFTIKHAR: Well, I think what Israel and Palestine have proved over and over again they are wholly incapable of reaching a comprehensive, lasting peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I think now that President Obama has won a second term, he now has the political capital in the second term to forge a foreign policy legacy that he didn't have the political capital to do in his first term.

So, if I were the Obama administration, I would appoint Bill Clinton as a Middle East peace envoy. He has credibility both on the Israeli street and in the Arab world with the Camp David Accords and with the Clinton Global Initiative.

We, as Americans, the United Nations has to get involved. We have to send a message to both Israel and Palestine that there's absolutely no military violence solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It can only be a peaceful and political one.

COSTELLO: Arsalan Iftikhar, thank you so much for joining us this morning. We appreciate it.

IFTIKHAR: My pleasure, Carol. Thank you.

COSTELLO: Today's talk back question, here it is -- should politicians have a mandatory retirement age? 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 politicians have a mandatory retirement age?

It was a simple question, if you're 27. Or maybe those over 50 are way too sensitive. NBC's fresh face Luke Russert shouted out a question at Nancy Pelosi's presser and was soundly booed over his age- related query.


LUKE RUSSERT, NBC NEWS: Some of your top colleagues privately say that your decision to stay on prohibits the party from having a younger leadership and will be hurt -- and hurts the party in the long term. What's your response?





RUSSERT: Leader Pelosi --

PELOSI: I guess --


PELOSI: You always ask that question except to Mitch McConnell.


COSTELLO: Oh, Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, is 70 years old. Nancy Pelosi is 72.

Although in the world of politics, age is kind of a skewed concept. Average age of current members of the House is 56. And of senators, it's 62. I mean, Paul Ryan is thought of as a young gun. He's 42. That's eight years shy of being a card-carrying member of the AARP.

Ronald Reagan was 69 when he first ran for president. Many worried he was too old for the job -- that is until Reagan's famous quip during a debate.


RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience.



COSTELLO: Yes, Reagan used age to his advantage. But seriously, how old is too old? Remember Senator Strom Thurman who commuted from Walter Reed to the Capitol at the age of 100? His aides had to vote for him.

Of course, this argument isn't limited to the world of politics. Ageism or common sense rages in the role world, too. How often have you heard those under 30 grumbling about those old guys sucking up all the jobs?

So the talk back question of the day, should politicians have a mandatory retirement age?, Your responses later this hour.


COSTELLO: And good morning to you. I'm Carol Costello. It is 31 minutes past the hour.

There have been a bazillion theories about why Mitt Romney lost. We heard from everyone and their brother but not from the man himself until now.

Mitt Romney speaking to high-dollar donors said he lost because Mr. Obama handed out gifts to groups of donors.


MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What the President's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote.


COSTELLO: So I guess Governor Romney really meant that 47 percent thing.

Joining me now, CNN contributor and guy, Will Cain, and CNN political analyst, Roland Martin.

Welcome to you both.



COSTELLO: So, Will, Louisiana governor, Republican Bobby Jindal, he's already criticizing Mitt Romney over these comments. Let's listen.


GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: I absolutely reject that notion, that description. I think that is absolutely wrong. That is not -- I don't think that represents where we are as a party and where we're going as a party and that has got to be one of the most fundamental takeaways from this election.


COSTELLO: OK. Will, respond. Should Mitt Romney even have made those comments, even to his donors?

CAIN: Well, you know, I don't know that he should be making comments, period. You know, one of your anchors on this network, John Berman, pointed out to me it's traditionally pretty good graces to not talk about the election for some time after it's over if you're the loser of that election.

That being said, let's talk about what he actually said. One of my favorite things about this election being over, Carol, is that largely I get to stop answering questions about how things play politically. And I can answer questions whether or not they're intellectually correct or incorrect.

What I would say to you is this. What about Mitt Romney said is incorrect?

COSTELLO: Well, let's ask Roland, because obviously Roland would disagree, intellectually sure.

MARTIN: That's real easy, Will. That's real easy. First of all, he said that the gifts he gave to minorities, specifically black folks with the Affordable Care Act. Will, last I checked, white people are also covered by the Affordable Care Act. It's not a black thing. That's first.

Also, here is the other deal. He talked about what Hispanics got, young voters got, women got. Let me help you when it comes to minorities, Will.

Iowa is a pretty white state. Romney lost to Obama. Maine, really white. Vermont, really white. Rhode Island, very white. Ohio, 79 percent white. In fact, Carol, 72 percent electorate who voted were white.

So when Romney says, oh, minorities got gifts, women got gifts, young voters got gifts -- well, Mitt, you wanted to give gifts to the rich.

The fact of the matter is that these are Americans. These were policies. This is a clueless guy who ignored Hispanics, ignored black folks and he paid the price. And thank goodness he lost for stupid comments like this.

CAIN: All right. Can I respond to that, Carol, please?

COSTELLO: Absolutely.

CAIN: Here is the deal. Roland is right that Mitt Romney, if he said -- I'm not sure he said he lost exclusively for these reasons.

MARTIN: No, that was a quote.

CAIN: Hold on, Roland.

MARTIN: That was a quote.

CAIN: You point out many areas where this wouldn't have been affable. Let me just -- he said this -- this is a quote from Mitt Romney, with regards to young people, for instance, forgiveness of college loan was a big gift, free contraceptives were very big with young college age women. And then, finally, Obamacare made a big difference for them because, you know, anybody now 26 years of age or younger is going to be part of their parents' plan.

Now, listen, we had historic turnout. For example, among young people. Are you going to tell me --


CAIN: -- that President Obama's policies, many of them, weren't crafted to appeal to certain demographic groups? Is that an intellectually honest argument? That President Obama didn't create policies he knew would appeal to certain demographic groups and he reaped the political benefit?

COSTELLO: Uh-oh, Roland has his iPhone out.

MARTIN: Quote, "With regards to African-American voters, Obamacare was a huge plus and was highly motivational to African-American voters. You can imagine for somebody making $25,000, $30,000, $35,000 a year, being told --

CAIN: Right.

MARTIN: -- you're now going to get free health care, particularly if you don't have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 a family --

CAIN: Right.

MARTIN: -- in perpetuity. I mean, this is huge.

Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus."

No, Mitt Romney, also voter suppression by the GOP also drove black turnout.

So, Romney is trying to say, oh, Hispanics and African-Americans -- they got free stuff. Young voters got free stuff. Women got free stuff. Mitt, you lost.

COSTELLO: Let me argue this less passionately, Will. Might the word "gift" be exercised from the Republican vernacular because people don't understand what they mean by that?

CAIN: Well, now you're getting into an area that means much more abstract, Carol, and that's the area of tone. And was the word gift something people will find offensive? I don't know, Carol, possibly.

But here is the deal, the analysis -- the intellectual analysis of it is not incorrect. And when Bobby Jindal, for example, tells you that we need to appeal to 100 percent, not 53 percent, whether that's because of tone or policy, what he is giving you is a political answer. You see, what conservativism should stand for is a policy that generally applicable to 100 percent of the population, whether or not that's economic policy, whether that's defense of property rights, whether or not that's applicability of the First Amendment. And when you see policies that we just talked about, those that appeal to young voters, women or whatever demographic group, now you're talking about dividing the electorate.


MARTIN: Will --


COSTELLO: I have to button this up now, guys. I have to button this up, guys. I know a great way to do that.

Those are great Republican -- Haley Barbour, former governor of Mississippi and also former head of the RNC, was talking about the Republican ground game. I want to leave this block with his wise words about what Republicans need to do. Let's listen.


HALEY BARBOUR (R), FORMER MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR: I mean, we've got to give our political organizational activity, you know, a very serious -- proctology exam.


COSTELLO: And with that --


CAIN: That's teed up for you, Roland. Do what you will with that.

COSTELLO: No, no. There's enough said. We've got to go. Thank you both.

MARTIN: Call a black doctor or a young doctor.


COSTELLO: I've got to go.

We're going to take a break. We'll be right back.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scoop it up. Scoop it up!

NICKI BUNTING, WIDOW AND MOTHER: Lacrosse is something that Bubba and I both dreamed of watching our kids play. He really analyzes the game, and he plays it well, which is just like his dad. Bubba always dreamed of being a dad. That's kind of all he ever wanted to be. He was gone for about 10 months and was training the Afghani national police.

He came home for about two and a half weeks. That was his R & R period. It was awesome.

Connor had changed so much, so it was really cool to see Bubba's reaction to all the new things that Connor could do.

He really, really, really loved his friends and family. He would do anything for them, even if that meant, you know, paying the ultimate sacrifice.

Once he was back, he was there for about four days. That's when he was killed by an IED.

Hey, Cooper.


N. BUNTING: Oh, yes. Kitty cat doesn't want to come inside.

Cooper, my little one, he is just my little miracle baby. We wanted so badly to have another baby.

Are you going to wear daddy's hat? Yes?

Four days after I found out he was killed is when I found out I was pregnant.

Let's see. Does it fit?


N. BUNTING: A little big.

I try to keep his memory alive with everything I do really.

Look how big you guys are smiling.

I talk about him all the time.

This is his belt, you know.

We have a room that's kind of dedicated to him.

You see that thing hanging up on the wall? That's his saber.

He told me before he deployed if anything ever happened to him that he'd be OK because he had everything that he ever wanted in life because he had Connor.

BUBBA BUNTING, U.S. ARMY: My daddy shows me how to make a line.

N. BUNTING: I'm going to raise his kids the way I promised him I would.



COSTELLO: Forty-six minutes past the hour. Checking our "Top Stories" now.

Just in to CNN, lawmakers in Washington will get their first chance to see firsthand what exactly happened during that deadly attack in Benghazi at the consulate.

CNN has learned that a closed circuit video recover from the compound will be shown to lawmakers during hearings today. Those hearings, however, are closed to the press. They get underway in about 15 minutes. We'll keep you posted as we find out more about this video.

David Petraeus speaking out about his resignation from the CIA. He told our sister network HLN the timing had nothing to do with his scheduled testimony over the Benghazi attack. Some GOP lawmakers speculated he would not testify and suggested it was part of a cover- up. Petraeus will testify tomorrow and he also denied leaking top secret information to his mistress.


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: He has insisted to me that he has never passed classified information to Paula Broadwell. And as long as I have known him, he has never wavered unclassified information ever. And to the best of my knowledge, you know, that has always been --


COSTELLO: That was HLN'S Kyra Phillips, sharing parts of her conversation with David Petraeus.

If you're drinking 5-Hour Energy Drink this morning, you should know it's being investigated for possible links of 13 deaths over the course of four years that's according to the "New York Times," citing FDA records in a statement the company says, quote, "It's unaware of any deaths proven to be caused by consumption of 5-Hour Energy."

And that Twinkie in your lunch box could be your last at least for quite some time, Hostess brands which range everything from cupcakes to (inaudible) locked in a fight with its striking baker's union over a new contract imposed in bankruptcy court. The company's CEO said if the bakers don't return to work by the end of today the company will have to go until liquidation.

But fear not, the fate of the Ring Ding, analyst say some of Hostess' most iconic treats could get bought up by other companies at auction.

At the start of his first term, President Barack Obama cited the influence of one of Lincoln book -- the influence of one of the many Lincoln books out there, "Team of Rivals" by making his cabinet picks. I'm having trouble speaking this morning. I apologize for that. Anyway now that Obama is starting off his second term, hosting the cast and crew of the film inspired by that same biography, in short yes President Obama will get an early look at the movie, "Lincoln".

A.J. Hammer is here to tell us more.

A.J. HAMMER, HLN HOST, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Yes Carol this movie is getting a lot of buzz as a possible Oscar contender already. It's been doing very well in its limited release. So yes when you are the President and the film's director is Steven Spielberg, who happens to be one of your biggest supporters well, you might as well invite the cast over for your own private screening.

And there are some historians out there who are saying that this movie isn't totally accurate Carol. But the story about a president dealing with his rivals to accomplish something great obviously is something that we hope inspires everybody in Washington, D.C.

COSTELLO: Oh that warms my heart.

Let's go on to something that isn't so warm, though. The popular -- this is so awful. Guy Fieri, is that how you pronounce his name, he's getting slammed in "The New York Times."

HAMMER: This is amazing. Carol have you ever seen such a savage review, or seen a review written in entirely as collection of questions much in the same way I'm going to tell you the story. Do you remember "Celebrity Chef" becoming the target of such scorn? Have you ever seen a "New York Times" food critic ripping not just the food but the service so brutally with questions like when we hear the words donkey sauce, which part of the donkey are we supposed to think about?

And were you struck by how very far from awesome the awesome pretzel chicken tenders are? Also I love this one, why did the toasted marshmallow taste like fish?

COSTELLO: Oh it's so raw.

HAMMER: Would it surprised to learn that Fieri told the "Today" show this morning that the reviewer had some kind of an agenda and was looking to make a name for himself by ripping an out of town chef? And would it also surprise you to learn that Fieri admits that the review has given him some things to think about he stands by his food.

But perhaps most surprisingly -- my last question, I promise you -- would you believe that according to "The New York Times" public editor, this is the first no star review that this critic, Pete Wells, has written since he came to the "Times" last November or the first time he's called a restaurant "poor"? Can you imagine all that, Carol?

COSTELLO: The answer to every single one of your questions is yes.

HAMMER: Yes. Well, there you have it.

COSTELLO: Marshmallows that taste like fish. Oh that's making me sick. A.J. Hammer, thanks so much.


COSTELLO: The "Talk Back" question this morning. "Should politicians have a mandatory retirement age?" Your responses next.


COSTELLO: "Talk Back" question today, "Should politicians have a mandatory retirement age?"

This from Pamela. "It's not so much age, we need term limits and it should be on the ballot and not voted on by the Congress and Senate."

This from Donald, "As we live longer it's difficult to say when a person is too old. It's up to the voters to determine when a person is no longer able to perform the duties of office."

This from Tess, "No age limit, only term limits."

This from Gail, "People can suffer from dementia at any age. Intelligence can thrive at any age as well. The bar should be set by honesty and integrity."

And this from Kate, "No to age but yes to term limits. The President can only serve two. Why not all elected seats? They would work harder on their legacy and care less about all those perks."

Keep the conversation going., more of your comments in the next hour of NEWSROOM.

New York Jets Coach Rex Ryan blasts his players for not stepping up with their names. Ryan talks about teammates attacking Tim Tebow from behind the curtain.


COSTELLO: David Price is the American League Cy Young Award winner after edging out Justin Verlander. The Tampa Bay ace led the league in wins, winning percentage and lowest ERA. Price beat Detroit's Verlander by just four points in the baseball writer's voting. It was the second closest race ever for the league's premier pitching award.

Over in the National League, R.A. Dickey becomes the first knuckleballer to win a Cy Young Award. The Mets pitcher had 20 victories and led the league in strikeouts and innings pitched so Mets fans see, there's something to rejoice in.

Turning to the NFL, where backup quarterback Byron Leftwich will start for the Steelers against the dreaded arch enemy Baltimore Ravens.

We're learning more about the severity of an injury that Pittsburgh starter Ben Roethlisberger suffered against Kansas City. Besides a strained shoulder, Roethlisberger says he has a dislocated rib. This is what he said. He said "That's the more scary part because I guess if it goes in the wrong direction, it will puncture an aorta." There's no word on how long Big Ben will be out.

New York Jets coach Rex Ryan is calling out some of his players for being cowardly not on the field but in the locker room. More than a dozen Jets players and staff members criticized Tim Tebow's play in a "New York Daily News" story. One defensive starter called Tebow terrible.

But left guard Matt Slauson was the only player who would put a name to his quote. Coach Ryan is ok with that but not with the other sources.


REX RYAN, JETS HEAD COACH: We are going to tell you what we believe. I have no problem with Matt Slausen because he put his name on it. I don't agree with everything Matt said. I agree with the fact that we have a starting quarterback.


COSTELLO: Man, that team's a mess. Ryan says that starting quarterback Mark Sanchez will be on the field on Sunday.

A Swedish soccer player, not just the goal of the season. Zaltan Ibrahimovic (ph) strikes a bicycle kick from 30 yards out. It's a one of a kind score. But what's even more amazing, the guy scored all four of Sweden's goals in the win over England. Oh, that's awesome.

That's a look at sports this morning.

The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.