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Benghazi Hearings Begin In Moments; Benghazi Boiling Point; Romney: Obama Promised "Gifts"; Jindal Slams Romney Comments; Energy Drink Investigated In Deaths; Sanjay Explores The "Deadly Dose"; 16 Killed In Rocket Attacks; Lawmakers To See Benghazi Video; Lawmakers to see Benghazi Video; Wal-Mart Walk out; Twinkies Maker Could Liquidate; Avoid the Terrible Twos; Obama Heads to Staten Island; Spielberg's Lincoln

Aired November 15, 2012 - 10:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

Stories we're watching right now in the NEWSROOM, it's all about Benghazi in Congress. The House and Senate holding closed door hearings on the deadly terrorist attack and we could be reaching a boiling point.

It's one of the worst environmental disasters in American history. Now two years after millions of gallons of oil spilled from a rig in the Gulf of Mexico, the government has reached a record settlement with BP.

No more Twinkies. That popular snack could be disappearing quickly from store shelves if a labor dispute does not end today.

And we're just seven days away from the biggest shopping days of the year. The world's largest retailer has a strike on its hands. Why warehouse workers at Wal-Mart walked off the job. NEWSROOM starts now.

And good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for being with me. The hearings on Benghazi expected to begin at any moment now. Congressional leaders are hoping to find out what went wrong that night in September when the Benghazi consulate was attacked and they will get a firsthand account.

We have word this morning that lawmakers will see a closed circuit video recovered from the compound. This is expected to be the first comprehensive account of events on the ground.

We now know too that David Petraeus despite the sex scandal swirling around him will testify tomorrow at these hearings. He says he didn't resign over the Benghazi attacks. He talked with HLN's Kyra Phillips.


KYRA PHILLIPS, HLN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): He has said that this has nothing to do with Benghazi and he wants to testify. He will testify. He has maintained to me all along that this was a personal failing, Robin, which as I said, to me, was quite stunning and to many other people.

He's not the type of person that I've ever known to fail knowing him as long as I have over the years. So he has made it very clear that this was about an extramarital affair and not over classified information or Benghazi.


COSTELLO: And the back and forth over the Benghazi affair has practically reached a boiling point. Here's President Obama from his first press conference since he was re-elected to a second term in office.

He is talking about accusations. One of his cabinet members deliberately misled the public about the violence in Benghazi.


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 interrogation 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: Susan Rice is U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and on the President's short list for Secretary of State. CNN's senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash is with me now. So it sounded like the President was saying, don't go after my girl.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Carol, how some relationships have baggage? Boy is that true for these old 2008 rivals. You could really see in the President's demeanor.

It completely changed during that press conference from someone calm and cool after his re-election to genuine anger. Well, guess what, the same goes for John McCain.

When he went to the Senate floor very soon after the press conference at the White House and did to respond. Listen.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: We believe whoever it is must be held responsible I say to the President of the United States, most importantly, the President of the United States who is Commander in Chief.

Who so far, in my view, has not exercised those responsibilities and also not informed the American people of the facts. This president and this administration has either been guilty of colossal incompetent or engaged in a cover-up. Neither of which are acceptable to the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BASH: Now, what prompted this unbelievably fiery verbal volley up and down Pennsylvania Avenue? Well, it was John McCain and his friend, Lindsey Graham vowing to block U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice if she is nominated by the President to be the next Secretary of State.

Graham said flatly that he doesn't trust her because she went on TV after the deadly attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi with information that he says simply turned out to be false -- Carol.

COSTELLO: OK, something else I want to ask you about. There are three separate hearings going on, on the issue of Benghazi. Yet, Senators McCain and Lindsey Graham want a Watergate style select committee hearing on this affair. First of all, what is that and is it likely to happen?

BASH: Well, what they're saying is that there are too many different committees and disparate committees investigating. They call it stove piping and they want it to be all consolidated into one special select committee.

Watergate was an example. They also give the example of the 9/11 Commission. Is that likely to happen? The answer at this point is likely no, because even the top Republican in Congress, House Speaker John Boehner yesterday threw cold water on it.

Saying he doesn't think it's necessary and the top Democrat in the Senate says the same thing, and others as well. I have to tell you something that just happened on Capitol Hill, and that is our Senate producer Ted Barrett just ran into John McCain.

And asked about something that we're hearing from Democrats, which is John McCain is calling for more information to Congress, but he had a press conference yesterday instead of going to a closed briefing where administration officials were giving more information.

Well, Ted Barrett asked John McCain about that, and it was apparently an intense very angry exchange and McCain simply would not comment on it at all.

COSTELLO: So this is just getting uglier and uglier, at least more passionate, shall we say, Dana Bash.

BASH: Absolutely.

COSTELLO: Thanks so much.

The GOP Republicans struggling with its party identity after losing the presidential election last Tuesday and it's not just pundits trying to figure out why the Republicans lost. Here's former Republican nominee Mitt Romney giving his explanation for the election result.


MITT ROMNEY, (R) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE (via telephone): 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: But those comments aren't sitting so well with some top Republicans actually in office. Here's Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal at the Republican Governors Association meeting in Las Vegas.


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


COSTELLO: And about where the Republican Party can look for its new direction? Here's former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. He gave a rather colorful option.


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: I think searching the soul is a more apt description. You can tell he's clearly frustrated.

In other news this morning, if you drink 5-Hour Energy, you might want to listen up. The drink is being investigated for possible links to 13 deaths over the course of four years. That's according to FDA records.

In a statement, the company that makes this drink says it's unaware of any deaths proven to be caused by the consumption of 5-Hour Energy.

Here to explain what that means is our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. I have taken a drink of 5-hour Energy. My hands were shaking.


COSTELLO: I was unbelievably jittery and I was having heart palpitations.

GUPTA: You know, this is not the first time as you said over the last four years. People have been talking about this. Not just the 13 deaths, but 92 patient reports, 33 hospitalizations.

It's very hard, as you read if that statement to draw a cause and effect relationship. But the idea that this is, for example, a dietary supplement. It comes under a different set of regulations than beverages, for example.

COSTELLO: This is a dietary supplement?

GUPTA: It's considered a dietary supplement. I have it right here and it says so and it says on here the FDA has not evaluated this product. So the FDA doesn't specifically, they come in and take action if a problem comes up.

COSTELLO: So that goes in place of a meal? What's a dietary supplement?

GUPTA: There are all sorts of dietary supplements. There are various herbs, pills, things that you can take. It doesn't mean it's a meal replacement. It's a dietary supplement. But, you know, how much caffeine for example is in here? How much of the other ingredients?

They don't have to tell you. What it says on these things is there's an energy blend, and so for example, with this product, there was a separate company consumer lab, which actually dug into this to try and figure out how much caffeine is in there.

They found it was about 207 milligrams of caffeine. To give you some context, a 16-ounce Grande coffee has about 330 milligrams. So a lot more in that coffee than this 5-Hour Energy, but there's all these other ingredients.

Could they be doing something? That's what the FDA is trying to find out. But simply having the incident reports doesn't mean they've established that this in fact was the problem.

COSTELLO: So I'm just curious because I thought you had to have your ingredients listed by law on the package labeling.

GUPTA: You have to have the ingredients listed, but you don't have to have the amounts, which is what the dietary supplements -- this is not the only one.

Monster, for example, we were talking about that a couple weeks ago because there was a concern could it have contributed to the death of a 14-year-old girl who drank two of them over a 24-hour period.

Again, very hard to establish that cause and effect. She had an underlying heart problem as well as we came to learn. Could these other people who have had these problems also had some sort of underlying problem? That's why this gets so tricky.

COSTELLO: OK, so I guess just be careful with that stuff because I mean, I can't take it. I drink a lot of coffee. Before you go, I want to talk about your big documentary this weekend.

GUPTA: Yes, we've been working on this for a long time. It's called "DEADLY DOSE." The thing that got my attention more than anything else is that every 19 minutes in this country, someone dies of an accidental overdose due to prescription drugs.

We talk about it when it comes up with celebrities, but it's our friends, family neighbors, people who reach into their medicine cabinets finding old pills, mixing them with beer or wine. That's leading to these deaths. Also, 80 percent of the pain pills in the world are consumed right here in this country.


GUPTA: We don't have the 80 percent of the pain. Sometimes it may feel like that, but we don't have it and yet we take so many pain pills. So this documentary is about the consequences of that and also I think most importantly what you can do about it.

President Clinton was the one who alerted me to this. He's a part of this documentary. He's doing something now about this problem. So we have a lot to talk about.

COSTELLO: Excellent. When exactly does it air?

GUPTA: Sunday night 8:00 p.m. Eastern. All right, tell me what you think.

COSTELLO: Thanks, Sanjay. David Petraeus says he wants to testify before Congress tomorrow on the Benghazi attacks, but he also faced questions about that extramarital affair. We'll preview the Petraeus appearance with General Spider Marks when we come back.


COSTELLO: It's 14 minutes past the hour. More troubling violence in the Middle East as 16 people in Gaza and Israel are dead, and this time, this new violence could lead to a war in the Middle East.

Over the past 24 hours, Palestinian military groups say Israel launched more than 75 strikes from warplanes and slips including the strike you're looking at, which was actually posted on YouTube.

The strike on a car that killed the chief of Hamas' military. Two sides have fired dozens of rockets at each other. 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 in the mix and it's not happy with Israel. It's already reached out to President Obama and asked the President to put an end to this aggression.

Fred Pleitgen is in Jerusalem. And Fred, tell us why Egypt is such a concern this time around.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN BERLIN CORRESPONDENT: Egypt is a huge concern this time around, Carol, because first of all, it has a new and very Islamist government in place that, of course, for many people especially Hamas in Gaza believe it's more on the sides of Hamas than governments in Egypt have been before.

So there are people who believe Egypt might not stand idle by as this is happening as for instance the government in Egypt did in the past when Hosni Mubarak was still in power. So certainly Egypt plays a lynchpin role in all of this.

And as you said, the Egyptians not very happy, not only did they call for condemnation of Israeli air strikes in Gaza, but they have also recalled their ambassador here from Israel and also summoned the Israeli ambassador in Egypt as well.

So certainly Egypt is a big concern. Meanwhile, Carol, the Israeli military operation in Gaza is going on. There have been further air strikes as you said, about 100 missile sites targeted by the Israeli military.

What they're saying is that they're trying to target especially medium and long-range missiles they believe could be a threat to towns like Tel Aviv and to other towns that are around Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came out earlier and said that in the end he believed Israel had no choice but to launch this offensive. Let's listen in.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: In recent days and weeks, Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in Gaza have made normal life impossible for over one million Israelis. No government would tolerate a situation where nearly a fifth of its people live under a constant barrage of rockets and missile fire.

And Israel will not tolerate this situation. This is why my government has instructed the Israeli defense forces to conduct surgical strikes against the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.


PLEITGEN: Now, Carol, the Israeli prime minister also saying that Israel is very well capable and willing to expands this operation. Of course, the Israelis talking about a possible ground operation if the strikes that they're conducting right now do not lead to the goals that they envision, but certainly also say that they are more than willing to expand the air campaign, as well.

The Hamas is obviously saying these are by no means surgical strikes that the Israelis are talking about, that in fact, civilians have also been killed in the Israeli air strikes. So far we have 15 people confirmed dead in Gaza, among them two children, and Israel has been condemned by several country who's call this, quote, "an Israeli aggression" -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Fred Pleitgen reporting live for us from Jerusalem. Thank you.

Right now in Washington, lawmakers will get a chance to see a firsthand account of that deadly attack in Benghazi. The House and Senate are holding closed door hearings today on the terrorist attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens and three other Americans on September 11th. Today, closed circuit video recovered from that the compound will be shown to lawmakers for the very first time. General James "Spider" Marks joins us now. Welcome, General.


COSTELLO: So there are all these rumors that there was video of this attack. I mean, what do you suppose is on it?

MARKS: Well, we'll certainly see the tactics of what occurred on the compound. It will be a single eye view. I'm sure it's not panoramic. I'm sure it will be very, very focused on a specific spot. And there may be multiple feeds from different cameras that exist that they can put together. So it will demonstrate what occurred at a very tactical level.

None of that is of significance to our Congress nor should it be. We know what the result of that attack was and there were four American patriots that were killed.

COSTELLO: Why isn't it significant though? Wouldn't it show like the attack was planned and how these terrorists were armed and things like that?

MARKS: Carol, you would see at the end of that camera exactly what occurred, so yes. I think that's more of an interest to confirm the reporting that has already come out in terms of the time lines of how this thing was executed.

What's more significant is what happened in the days leading up to that, what were the intelligence feeds, what was the pulse of what was going on in Benghazi, what did we know? And how did that feed into senior decision makers.

You know, Carol, can every compound that the United States has overseas is subject to what's called a joint security inspection and vulnerability assessment. I'm not trying to be arcane. But that's a routine process of assessing your vulnerabilities.

What does the threat look like? What are they focused in on and what's our stance to do something about it and what are the functions we need to perform? All of that comes together and you say we've got to bolster this or maybe we can take some risks here.

I have not heard the answer to the question of when that type of a process, whether it goes by another name, when that took place and what were the warnings that led up to that and who knew that.

COSTELLO: Let me ask you this because there are three separate committee hearings on Benghazi. Republicans say that we should have a select committee because this rises to the level maybe of a Watergate style cover-up. In your mind, does it?

MARKS: I think the first place to start. I can't answer the question very emphatically whether this is Watergate equivalent. I lived through Watergate and now living through that. What I would tell you, Carol, is that this starts at least initially in the House permanent select committee on intelligence and the Senate select committee on intelligence. Let those folks at the very highest classified levels, they do that in a classified environment, get to the bottom of what did we know, when did we know it, how did it come to us and what did those feeds look like and how did we fuse that picture and disseminate that picture?

Once we get a better sense of that, you can say with greater confidence we need to combine armed services, we need the combined intelligence and foreign affairs.

COSTELLO: David Petraeus is going to testify tomorrow; he was head of the CIA. He was in Benghazi. He talked to the surviving players I should say. Will he have every single answer that lawmakers need?

MARKS: No, Carol, not at all. You know the answer to that question. He'll have through his own filter and through the filter -- every piece of data that is input goes through a filter on multiple levels to include your personal level. So he's not going to have every answer. He's going to be able to provide what he was able to assess. And in spite of what he's dealing with on a personal level, he can compartmentalize very, very well. We've now figured that out.

He'll be able to compartmentalize and focus on what occurred and what he knew as the DCI and what type of information reports were coming to him and how that was being used and pumped back into the key decision makers. That's what intelligence is all about. It's to facilitate good solid decision making.

COSTELLO: Well, we'll see what happens. Hopefully, he did compartmentalize as you say. General Marks, thanks so much.

MARKS: OK, Carol.

COSTELLO: Talk Back question today: Should politicians have a mandatory retirement age. I'll be right back.


COSTELLO: Now is your chance to talk back on one of the stories of the day. The question for you this morning, should politicians have mandatory retirement age?

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


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of your colleagues privately say that your decision to stay on prohibits the party from having a younger leadership and hurts the party in the long-term. What's your response?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Age discrimination.

PELOSI: I guess -- you've always asked that question except to Mitch McConnell.


COSTELLO: McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader is 70 years old. Pelosi is 72. But in the world of politics, age is kind of a skewed concept. The average age of current members of the House is 56 and of senators, it's 62.

I mean, Paul Ryan thought of as young but 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: Love that. Yes, Reagan used age to his advantage, but how old is too old? Remember Senator Strom Thurmond who commuted from Walter Reed to the capital in a wheelchair 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 some say common sense rages in the real world, too. How often have you heard those under 30 grumbling about the old guys sucking up all the jobs?

Talk Back question today: Should politicians have a mandatory retirement age? Your comments later this hour.

A Wal-Mart walkout with Black Friday just around the corner, workers at one of the nation's biggest stores are going on strike. We'll talk to one of the striking workers next.


COSTELLO: And good morning. I'm Carol Costello thanks so much for joining me in the NEWSROOM. Checking our "Top Stories" at 31 minutes past the hour --

Attacks in the Mideast today are raising fears of escalation leading to a possible Israeli ground assault into Gaza. Israeli police say at least three people were killed when a rocket slammed into an apartment building. A Palestinian doctor says 13 people were killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza. The Justice Department says BP will pay a record fine for the Gulf oil spill. Details of the settlement expected later today, but the feds say the largest criminal fine to date was a $1.3 billion payment by drug maker Pfizer in 2009. BP is deferring comment on the new report until an official announcement.

In sports, Lance Armstrong's namesake charity has officially dropped his name from its title. It will now be known as the "Live Strong Foundation", which it's been called unofficially for years. The move is seen as a way for cancer charity to distance itself from Armstrong's doping scandal.

It's been two months since that deadly terrorist attack in Libya that claimed the life of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans. Now lawmakers want to get to the bottom of what really happened. Both the House and Senate are holding closed door hearings on the matter and that's when for the first time, closed circuit video recovered from the consulate in Benghazi will be shown to lawmakers.

Our intelligence correspondent Suzanne Kelly joins us from Washington. Suzanne you broke this story for us. So, what does this video show?

SUZANNE KELLY, CNN INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Well, apparently it's not really good quality Carol but it kind of shows the way it's been described to me by a source. It shows people kind of milling around and what not outside the compound before the attack started.

Now, what the intelligence community is hoping that this is going to convince some of the members of Congress who have been very vocal in saying that --- and insisting that this was an organized planned attack that these people showed up at the consulate weapons ready -- ready to go. And they think that this shows something very different.

So they're hoping to sort of dispel a lot of this back and forth and accusations about who knew what and whether it was spontaneous or organized by showing the members who are in those committees this video. But apparently, like I said, it was described to me by someone, we haven't seen it yet ourselves, but it's not great quality video but you can sort of see people's movements and see people lingering outside the compound just before the attack started.

COSTELLO: Why did it just pop up now?

KELLY: Well remember, there's an ongoing investigation and that's being headed up by the FBI. They're the lead on this. So this -- this piece of video is actually still classified information. In order for people to be able to see this, it needs to go through the declassification process which welcome to Washington, nothing's ever quick or easy.

But there might be a reason why Director Mueller would not want this declassified right away and put out there and that is because the investigation is still ongoing. They're approaching this like a law enforcement case so they need to gather their evidence and they need to be able to be sure that it's going to stand up in court. And if you let too much of that out in the open too early Carol it could hurt you in the end.

COSTELLO: Suzanne Kelly, live from Washington. Thanks.

Workers at a Wal-Mart warehouse in southern California are demanding better working conditions and they went on strike because of it. It's part of a larger initiative expected to unfold in the coming weeks in an effort to improve wages and benefits for Wal-Mart workers. If the strike happens, it will happen during one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Black Friday.

Joining me now is Chris Allen, a worker at the Wal-Mart warehouse in Ontario, California. Good morning, Chris.


COSTELLO: First of all, tell me what you guys do in the warehouse?

ALLEN: Well, we unload Wal-Mart freight and we load it on to other -- other trailers to go out to other Wal-Marts in southern California region here.

COSTELLO: And what are -- what are the working conditions like inside the warehouse?

ALLEN: Well, the working conditions through the summer we were working through the summer, it was -- it's been very hot. And we've been -- we haven't been getting water breaks. And we haven't been -- haven't had any clean water. We've been using tap water from the facility at the cross dock. And we've been on strike last month, and we just now seeing these changes with the water -- water coolers and the -- and the cross dock.

COSTELLO: How hot did it get inside the warehouse in the summertime? Is there air conditioning in there?

ALLEN: No, there isn't. There's no ventilation in there. It gets up -- it gets up to about 100, 100 to 110 inside -- inside the warehouse. Maybe even hotter inside the trailer that we move Wal-Mart freight.

COSTELLO: So some people might say, oh, well the water -- the water thing is getting better. So -- so why are you still threatening to strike?

ALLEN: Well, because the working conditions we need better equipment to do our -- to perform our job as far as pallet jacks, carts, more equipment for to scan -- scan guns and just basically you know we just -- we need better -- more -- more equipment. They have the equipment but they need -- it needs to be fixed. We need newer equipment because they're hiring more people in from a different agency, and every -- it jams up a lot of equipment. You know, we -- we don't have enough equipment to perform our job.

COSTELLO: And are you paid very much?

ALLEN: No, we're -- we're minimum wage. COSTELLO: And I would like to ask you like workers at Wal-Mart warehouses in California have been on strike several times. But nationwide, warehouse workers are threatening to go on strike on Black Friday. Are you guys pushing that?

ALLEN: Yes, we are.


ALLEN: It's just basically we need more equipment, better equipment because they are -- they're pushing us to push out 200 boxes an hour. And it's -- and it's hard for us to do that if we don't have equipment. You know, they -- they keep track of our productivity. And we don't understand how they keep track of our productivity if we don't have equipment to do that.


COSTELLO: And just a -- just a final question for you, Chris. I mean, some people might say, oh, you're going to strike on Black Friday, you're going to just make things difficult for all of us and maybe you should strike at a different time.

ALLEN: Excuse me. Can you say that again?

COSTELLO: Why strike on Black Friday when it's going to affect so many people's lives?

ALLEN: Well -- well it's -- well the job it's affecting my family, as well. So you know, I'm just basically we need -- we need to change up in there. And you know, I support a family of four. And my hours have been cut. And I've lost my apartment due to this. And I'm just -- I'm basically, I'm speaking out. And when we speak out to the supervisors they silence us because it doesn't pertain, they say, to the work.

But we address it to them that we need these changes, that we need equipment to perform our job. You want us to push out 200 carts an hour, but we -- we demand or we ask that you guys make these changes and they haven't. They're making changes but they're -- there's not enough equipment basically.

COSTELLO: Ok, Chris -- Chris, thank you for sharing your story. We appreciate Chris Allen, a striking Wal-Mart warehouse worker joining us this morning.

ALLEN: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Clocks ticking for Twinkie. Another strike, a baker's union strike could threaten the future of Twinkie. We'll tell you about that.


COSTELLO: A Twinkie in your lunch box could be your last, at least, for a while and it's all because of a striking bakers union. Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange, a lot of to tell us strikes going on this season.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Oh yes. So Hostess -- Hostess has an ultimatum for its bakers it's telling them get back to work by 5:00 p.m. or we're going to be closing our doors. Now Hostess is in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings and is trying to force big pay and pension cuts on its workers.

So what these workers did was they went on strike last week. Not all of them just the bakers union but that's about 30 percent of Hostess's workforce. Hostess says it doesn't have the money to survive an ongoing strike. Now there's no comment from the union, but in the past, the bakers union said the cuts were outrageous.

But if it liquidates Carol, forget about the diminished pay cuts. What Hostess would do is close all of its 33 plants laying-off all 18,000 workers. There would be no more jobs for anybody -- Carol.

COSTELLO: We'll see what happens. Alison Kosik at the New York Stock Exchange.

President Obama takes a second tour of Superstorm Sandy devastation today. He's heading to Staten Island.


DR. JENNIFER SHU, PEDIATRICIAN: The reason the terrible twos are so terrible is that at this age, children are just developing their independence. And they want some sense of control. Unfortunately, the terrible twos may start as early as one and a half or younger. And they last longer than three or four years. So terrible twos may actually be a misnomer.

Parents can help their child with the terrible twos by giving them a special vocabulary or script to work with. "My turn, please. I don't want that. No thank you." Once the child has a better vocabulary and can express his or her needs, then often the terrible twos will go away.

In the meantime give your child choices. Do you want to wear these shoes or these shoes? Do you want to eat broccoli or carrots? In that way they do feel like they are a little bit in control.



COSTELLO: Right now, President Obama is on his way to get a firsthand look at Sandy's destruction in New York City. He'll also meet with families who are still trying to recover. Yesterday, the President talked about the superstorm and he also talked about climate change. .


OBAMA: There have been an extraordinarily large number of severe weather events here in north America, but also around the globe. And I am a firm believer that climate change is real, that it is impacted by human behavior, and carbon emissions. And as a consequence, I think we've got an obligation to future generations to do something about it.


COSTELLO: He says he's going to sit down with a whole bunch of experts and try to come up with ways to protect our planet.

Victor Blackwell is in Staten Island; Victor, good morning. I don't suppose people who have like damaged homes from Superstorm Sandy are thinking much about climate change at the moment though.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No. Maybe that conversation will come, Carol, but not today. They're talking about the people who have died in this community. They're talking about this, their businesses and their homes that have been destroyed by this storm. They're also talking about what's happening over here, the area set up for relief, for food, for clothes, for heat.

They're also talking about the President's visit. And this is what the President will see. He'll see the relief workers. He'll see the firefighters. He'll see what people here have been dealing with for now going into the third week. We're actually hearing from some people that the President's visit is bittersweet in a way. They want him to come, but do not come just with hugs and kind words.


MIKE HOFFMAN, STATEN ISLAND RESIDENT: It's bittersweet. It's going to create a lot of traffic. It's going to impede a lot of the work we're trying to do here. But at the same time, he wants to address the issue. He can do a flyover in a helicopter and look at the issue. If you're going to come here, come here with a couple of truckloads of volunteers. Get some guys that are ready to get their hands dirty and let's help the people of the area.


BLACKWELL: That was Mike Hoffman. He is actually volunteering to assign volunteers to go and help people gut out their homes and help them rebuild. And he says all of the politicians and all the officials who come, it's great to have them here to keep attention on this area and on Jersey and the Rockaway area, but come with help. Come with something to help Staten Island start to rebuild.

The President will be here late morning, early afternoon. And the President has said that he will support this area and give the resources that the people here need to start to rebuild. Mike Hoffman thinks it could take six months, a year do that -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Victor Blackwell reporting live from Staten Island this morning.

It's got everything. Daniel Day-Lewis playing Abraham Lincoln in a Steven Spielberg film. But is the new Lincoln flick a recipe for success?


COSTELLO: It is one of the most hotly anticipated movies of the season. I'm not talking about "Twilight". I'm talking about Abraham Lincoln, Steven Spielberg. How could this movie be bad? But some critics and historians are saying it doesn't quite hit the mark. Here's Kareen Wynter.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This fight is for the United States of America.

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" offers a window back in time to the weeks preceding is the end of the civil war and passage of the 13th amendment abolishing slavery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congress must never declare equal those who god created unequal.

WYNTER: But for some critics the movie's limited snapshot of Lincoln's presidency paints an incomplete picture of history.

ERIC FONER, HISTORIAN: As cinema, it's very, very good. As history, I'm a historian, it leaves something to be desired.

WYNTER: Eric Foner whose book "The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery" won the Pulitzer prize for history says the film's narrow focus exaggerates the President's role in ending slavery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This settles the fate for all coming time.

FONER: The emancipation of the slaves it a long complicated historical process. It's not the work of one man, no matter how great he was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Blood's been spilled to afford us this moment, now, now, now.

FONER: It was not Lincoln who originated the 13th amendment. It was the Abolitionist Movement. It's only in the middle of 1864 that Lincoln changes his mind to decide he's in favor of this amendment.

WYNTER: Acclaimed screen writer Tony Kushner based the movie's script in part on Doris Kearns Goodwin's bestselling book, "Team of Rivals".

TONY KUSHNER, SCREENWRITER: We were enormously accurate. Steven and I both cared a lot. We worked with Doris. We worked with a couple of other Lincoln historians. What we're describing absolutely happened.

FONER: It's not a question of being wrong. It's just inadequate. It gives you the impression that the ratification of the 13th amendment is the end of slavery. Slavery is already dying at that moment.

WYNTER: In fact, he says if the 13th amendment had not passed in January, 1865, Lincoln had pledged to call Congress into special session in March.

FONER: And there, the Republicans had a two-thirds majority and would ratify in a minute. It is not this giant crisis in the sense that the film is portraying it.

DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, ACTOR: Shall we stop this bleeding?

WYNTER: And one aspect of the film that's not being questioned is Daniel Day-Lewis's masterful depiction of the 16th president.

STEVEN SPIELBERG, PRODUCER: The most important thing was to get Lincoln done right.

FONER: Daniel Day-Lewis I think presents a very plausible Lincoln. I would recommend that people see it and then read a book about Lincoln.

WYNTER: Because while it's based on real events, "Lincoln", the movie is not a documentary and a full understanding of history doesn't happen in two hours and 29 minutes.

Kareen Wynter, CNN, Hollywood.


COSTELLO: To our "Talk Back" segment now. The question for you this morning: should politicians have a mandatory retirement age?

This from Carol. "There should definitely be term limits and retired congressmen should be prohibited from working for or with lobbyists."

This from Arthur. "Age limit no. IQ test. Yes. Term limits seems more appropriate. Eight years just like the President."

This from Roger. "As much as I would like to see many of the older obstructionist members of Congress leave, experience necessary regarding our country's budget, defense, et cetera, there should be no age restrictions."

This from George. "A 90-year-old politician should have more wisdom and experience than a 50-year-old. The problem is remembering it all."

I love that. George, you win the prize today.

Thank you for your responses. if you'd like to continue the conversation.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I'm Carol Costello. CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with Ashleigh Banfield.