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Israeli Blows up Hamas Headquarters; President Obama will visit Myanmar; Twinkie's Maker Declares Company to Close

Aired November 18, 2012 - 17:00   ET


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It's the top of the hour. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Gary Tuchman sitting in for Fredericka Whitfield.

Crisis in the Middle East, Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza are fighting for a fourth straight day with no letup in sight. Wolf Blitzer is in Jerusalem. Anderson Cooper is in Gaza City. I'm seeing both of you, Gentlemen.

Let's start with you, Anderson. What damage did Israel inflicted on Hamas today?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Gary, good evening everyone.

Israel has said that the Israeli air force struck more than 120 targets on Sunday in Gaza, most notably, the house of a -- the Hamas the head of a Hamas rocket unit. Initially they had said they had killed that man. Now, it seems they are backing off that thing. They can't verify whether or not they did -- the local ambulance crews said that as many as ten civilians, women and children included were inside the house at the time.

Now, the Israeli military does acknowledge that this man's family was in the house at the time. But again, they cannot confirm if he was there. Also, the Israeli military struck at two media centers today wounding several some local journalists. They had given an evacuation -- called up some French journalists who were in the building in advance of the strike, and told them to get out of the building. And they did evacuate but the building, but then again some journalists went go back inside.

But again, we just seen in the last hour, so we heard outgoing rocket from here, very close to location we are at right now. There was a response to that. There has been a number of large explosions already this evening and we anticipated in the hours ahead that continue, Gary.

TUCHMAN: Anderson, it is midnight there right now and I know you spent a lot time in the region in past crazy days. What's the feeling you get of the atmosphere right now when you see people in Gaza and you know it's going to be another long night there?

COOPER: Well, it's obviously a very tense atmosphere. I mean, the streets are deserted not just at this time of night, but even throughout the day. Shops are closed, and you don't see the large number of people. This is incredibly densely populated city, at one point seven million. That's twice the size of Gaza City of Washington D.C. Gaza is so -- it's a very densely populated place, but you, really, the streets are shockingly deserted. People, only going outside when they absolutely have to and they have to get supplies, food and the like. You don't see the usual life in this city. And there's this constant sound overhead of drones, in fact I can hear them right now. It is a nonstop sound and those are obviously Israeli defense force drones, looking at targets and watching overhead, Gary.

TUCHMAN: Anderson, thank you very much.

Now, let's go to Wolf Blitzer, he's in Jerusalem.

Wolf, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warn today that this government is prepared a significantly expand its operation against Hamas. Now, do you have any indication of what he meant, was he referring to a ground invasion?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think he was. The Israelis have notified 75,000 reservists that they are on call, 30,000 or so already have been activated and they have been deployed to what they're calling training units not that far away from Gaza. So I think the next 48 hours, Gary, are going to be very critical.

If the rockets continue coming into southern Israel and occasionally the longer range missiles actually reaching Tel Aviv or Jerusalem or (INAUDIBLE), I think the Israeli government will react. I don't think they want to base on everything I'm hearing. I'm sure they don't want to go into that area that Anderson just described as very heavily populated, very dense, one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

But, they point out that 1,000 rockets and missiles have been launched from Gaza since last Wednesday when this situation really escalated. And if it continues, they say they're going to have no choice. But I think they're willing to give it another 48 hours or to, maybe a little bit longer to see if the diplomacy can work and some sort of cease fire can be achieved. If it's not achieved, I suspect the Israeli are prepared to move in.

TUCHMAN: How bad was the missile onslaught today, Wolf, in southern Israel?

BLITZER: The iron dome, this ant-missile system that the U.S. has funded in part with the Israelis, seems to be working very well. When these rockets or these missiles go after populated areas, or strategic targets, political targets if you will, they have got about a 90 percent success ratio so far. They don't use these anti-missile systems if it looks like the missile is going to go into a non- populate area, a rural area or what have you. But, it seems to be working for the Israeli military. And I just spoke with the spokesman for the IDF, the Israel defense forces. He says it's working very well, better than most of the experts in Israel farther it would work. It's a joint U.S. - Israeli operation, if you will the creation of this system. But, there were some intense shelling going on today as well rockets coming in from Gaza. I don't think there were any casualties today on the part of the Israelis. There was nobody who was killed, but the Israelis were deeply worried every time one of those sirens goes off, people scrambled, especially in some of the town's closest to Gaza, whether (INAUDIBLE). And it's obviously a very, very major, major target, a source of terror, if you will, for hundreds of thousands of Israelis.

TUCHMAN: And you are right, Wolf. There was a distinction between rocket and missile. These are rockets being fired. They are fired and aiming general specific locations just to work where they land. Missiles are usually more pin-point.

Now, there's a new key separate underway right now in Egypt. This could be very crucial, very important, potential, and all of these. What do you know about that one right now?

BLITZER: It is very intense in the Egyptians, the Egyptian president, President Mohamed Morsi, is deeply involved. He is trying to get a cease-fire going. He is getting assistance from the government Qatar. And now, the U.S. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is coming to Cairo. I think is going to be there tomorrow.

So there's a lot of pressure, the U.S. would certainly like to see a cessation of hostilities, the Israelis, I think, are anxious for that to happen. They want to see what's going on. One of the things they are pointing out, what the Israelis are point out, is that yes, Hamas is in charge. I think the Israelis they hold Hamas responsible. But there's other groups in Gaza right now which may not necessarily be completely under the control of Hamas. That could be source some of the problems even though the government one of Israel is directly accusing Hamas of being responsibility for any rockets of missiles coming into Israel right now.

So, it is a very tense situation. As I said, I don't think the Israelis want to go underground. There are some of the civilian casualties we saw today, there will be a lot more if Israeli tanks or armored personnel carriers or Israeli troops move into that heavily populated area. So, they are reluctant to do it. At the same time, they're saying that the Israeli government and the prime minister said today, Benjamin Netanyahu, is that the Israeli government is not prepared to let the situation continue every time there is a rocket coming in to Israel.

TUCHMAN: Wolf Blitzer, reporting from the holy city of Jerusalem.

Wolf, thank you very much.

President Obama is monitoring the conflict in the Middle East as he travels through Asia. Today in Thailand, he said the U.S. will work with all parties to end the violence. Trade in the economy with the focus in the meetings today with Thai leaders.

Later today, Mr. Obama makes history when he becomes the first U.S. president ever to visit Myanmar. The president wraps up his three nation-Asian tours with the stop in Cambodia. The State Department is updated how it deploys security for diplomatic facilities around the globe.

Secretary of state Hillary Clinton and the Defense Department will monitor where forces are deployed so they can travel to help out emergencies in State Department facilities if needed. The change comes in the midst of congressional hearings that are criticized how the Obama administration handled the security crisis in Benghazi, Libya.

The result is now final and the Democrat will hold down to the U.S. House seat once held by former Arizona congressman Gabrielle Giffords. Democratic congressman Ron Barber bested Republican Martha McSally for a full term in Arizona second district. Barber is a former aide to Giffords. He won a seat in a special election after she step down to recover from that shooting a year before.

Rescue crews have found a man's body in the Gulf of Mexico. They believe he is one of the two crewmembers missing after an explosion on an oil platform. At least 11 other people were injured in the blast. The body found has not been identified yet.

The crisis in the Middle East has intensified. And in a minute, we will meet someone who has been inside the inner circle in the White House. I will ask what's going on behind closed doors right now.


TUCHMAN: I want to get back to our top story, the escalating crisis in the Middle East. P.J. Crowley is a former State Department spokesman. He worked for both the Clinton and Obama administrations and is now a fellow at George Washington University. And I also want to bring in my colleagues Wolf Blitzer who's in Jerusalem, and Anderson Cooper who is in Gaza.

P.J., I want to start with you. President Obama has been on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this weekend. What do you believe they are talking about and what do you think is the tone of that conversation?

P.J. CROWLEY, FORMER U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: Well, not just Prime Minister Netanyahu, but also President Morsi and also prime minister (INAUDIBLE) and Hillary Clinton has kept in touch in base with all of her counterparts.

As both Wolf and Anderson have outlined, the immediate crisis is to try to resolve this, obtain a cease fire and prevent an escalation. Inside the White House obviously, everything in the Middle East is connected to everything else in the Middle East. So, you know, you have -- what's different about this situation versus four years ago is the entire regional environment has changed. You have got a civil war going on in Syria, you've got protests going on in Jordan, you've got unrest along the Israeli - Egyptian border. You've got Iran close to a nuclear weapon. Sp, trying not only manage the immediate crisis, but see what that does in terms on initiatives at the Hite House is planning for Hillary and is second term. P.J., how important, you mentioned, President Morsi, how important is the relationship right now between Barack Obama and President Morsi in Egypt?

CROWLEY: It will be critical. And obviously, as the president said in the advance of the election, he's neither at the point friend nor foe. That was the crisis that actually can bring them, the men together, to cooperate more significantly. Morsi has a very difficult delicate political charge. Obviously you know, his party, the freedom of justice party comes out of the Muslim brotherhood. They have an affinity, you know, with Hamas. Up with the same token, Morsi is looking at his own national interest, obviously, getting Egypt's economy, you know, back in growing again. These are the media challenge them to get there; he is going to need international support and significant support from the United States, the president and the Congress. So, he's got different constituencies pulling him in opposite directions.

TUCHMAN: To Wolf in Jerusalem. Wolf, we all know the relationship between President Obama and Mr. Netanyahu was challenging for the last four years. But right now, how much influence do you think Barack Obama can have in finding a solution to the situation when he talks with Benjamin Netanyahu.

BLITZER: Well, I think he has a significant influence, he's just been re-elected president of the United States, and Israel is very dependent, obviously, in so many areas on U.S. support. So that relationship, even though there had been some moments of tension over the last few years, some considerable tension, there has been a shift, a dramatic shift right now if you listen to the prime minister of Israel, he is praising what he's calling an extraordinary level U.S.- Israeli military to military intelligence to intelligence cooperation. And that's underscore by the way when I mentioned that. New iron dome anti-missile system, an anti-rocket system that is in placed right now. That is funded at least in part by the United States; hundreds of millions of dollars and it seems to be working very well.

What the president can do and what I'm sure he's trying to do and P.J. knows this and Anderson knows this, Gary, what he's trying to do is that Egypt and Turkey and Qatar and a lot of the countries that have been close with Hamas tend to work out some sort of an arrangement whether you call it a cease fire or whatever. Whereby, the missiles and the rockets stop. And they don't go back to the situation that had existed earlier when there was no shelling coming into Israel, Israel doesn't respond. And maybe, that can set the stage and this is right now sounding way, way overly optimistic for some after together. Peace process underway once again. The U.S. tried with George Mitchell as the special envoy that didn't work out very well. But, there's a new four year administration about to begin and I suspect the president is going to try to get actively involved together with the new Secretary of State, whoever he or she might be.

TUCHMAN: To Anderson in Gaza. How important, Anderson, at the moment in history do you think this is right now for President Obama and perhaps, the woman who is still Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Can they play an important role at this moment? COOPER: You know, certainly it's a very important moment. I just want to say, you can actually ear right now, I explosions off in the distance. You can actually see where they are, but I don't know if you can hear, that it's actually multiple now, explosions off in the distance, it's the central Gaza area. And since we are in the distance behind me, it's obviously a crucially important moment. We're seeing France play a role, obviously President Obama playing a role and as Wolf said, talking to the leader who is may have influence over Qatar, Turkey, Egypt and Qatar elsewhere.

But it's, you know, there is no easy solution here, Hamas doesn't recognize Israel's right to exist, Israel, obviously, does not want to tolerate have any group sending rockets across the border into Israel and, again, just the firing continues here. But as you said, it's obviously a crucially important moment.

TUCHMAN: You bring up an important point, Anderson, when you look over your shoulder, you have 1.4 million people in the Gaza Strip who have been hearing sounds like that for the last several night.

How much do you think that - I don't know how much you gave got a chance to talk with people who is kind of citizens such have been there? But, are there people who are saying to you, yes, we would like to have some negotiated settlement so this whole comes to an end. We don't want Hamas to fire anymore into Israel because we want it to stop here. Are you hearing that at all?

COOPER: You know, you hear what people come up and say to you. There's a lot of anger directed toward Israel obviously. And that's what you hear most. I mean there are -- people do not seem to have a lot of control over where Hamas puts their rockets. And obviously, this is a very densely packed area. It's filled with civilians and yet these rockets are being fired from areas of civilian areas and you can have a small alley separating one house from another or houses right now to each other. In one house, there is rocket has been fired and family living the house.

So, people don't have a lot of control here or where they live or where they can go and that obviously, makes the security situation, extremely difficult for Israel in terms of targeting these rocket batteries.

TUCHMAN: Wolf, what's different from four years when Israel went in to Gaza is Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were the targets of rocket. What I'm wondering, are you hearing from Israelis too, are you also hearing that it's time we get to Hamas forever or both.

BLITZER: There obviously a significant dialogue going on here in Israel, you hear all sorts of views, they are really worried about those (INAUDIBLE) missiles. They have a range of about 75 kilometers or 50 miles or so and those are the ones that could reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

The Israelis do think that over the past day, or two or three days, they have destroyed not all of them, but most of them. So they're feeling a little bit more at ease about that, but there are these grab missiles that have a range of 40 kilometers. And they are the ones that are causing a lot of damage on these other cities, (INAUDIBLE), some of these other cities along the -- not far from Gaza and they're still planning apparently the Hamas forces have plenty of those still left.

So this is a situation that could go on for a while and the Israelis say, you know, they have been tolerating this for the last couple of years, but they want it to end now one way or the other. They're hoping that the diplomats could achieve something and maybe they can. Hopefully there will be a cease fire and everybody can go on and start thinking long term about trying to establish some sort of peace process. But that's going to take a lot of goodwill in all sides.

Right now, that goodwill isn't there. And I know that the prime minister, as you may clear this morning, Netanyahu, we made clear that he doesn't have an endless a lot of patience right now.

TUCHMAN: P.J. Crowley, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, I thank all three of you for joining us.

The David Petraeus scandal is shining a new light on military families. What about the wives and children? We will look at how they deal with something like this coming up next.


TUCHMAN: As the scandal at the CIA and the Pentagon continues to grow, a lot of attention has been paid to the men in uniforms. The media has followed former CIA director David Petraeus' every moved since he admitted to having an extramarital affair and resigned. And now, there's a lot of attention focused on Marine Corps general John Allen because of e-mails he exchanged with a woman who triggered the scandals. But, what about the wives and others who are impacted, what happens to them?

Terri Barnes is the military family columnist for "Stars in Stripes" and a military wife herself.

Terri, thank you very much for joining us.

TERRI BARNES, MILITARY COLUMNIST, "STAR AND STRIPES": Thank you, Gary, thank you for inviting me.

TUCHMAN: With the news of Petraeus' scandal and now general Allen under investigation, some wonder, does the scandal reflect military families or marriage as a whole? What do you think about that?

BARNES: No, I don't think it reflects on military marriages or military life as a whole. I think the implications for this issue are for the families who are involved and to paint the military with a broad brush, military families or military marriages to say this in any way implicates them in anything I think is incorrect.

TUCHMAN: How is the news received by military families? This is, obviously, has got to be a downer for a lot of people. BARNES: Well, it is. It is. I think there is definitely a sense of sadness, speaking for me personally and for others, a sense o f sadness any time you see a family who is going through a difficult situation, as this obviously is and in such a public way.

There's also a sense of disappointment, of course, when we see leaders behaving in a way that is not exemplary. And also, the disappointment that this brings unwanted attention perhaps that brings to the military, military families, military marriages to say in some way that this is indicative of military families or military life as a whole.

TUCHMAN: You interviewed general Petraeus' wife, Holly, for a column two years ago. Did you get the sense that military families right now as we speak are rallying around her?

BARNES: I definitely, yes. I do think that military families would rally around her. But, not in a sense of taking sides one way or the other, I think military families are rooting for these military families and there are two families involved just to come through this in the best way possible, for healing and wholeness again. So yes, I think is there's definitely support for holly Petraeus and for all the military families involved.

TUCHMAN: Terri, how does the situation impact the work of First Lady Michelle Obama who work to help families and veterans in service members?

BARNES: How does event impacted?

TUCHMAN: Yes. Does this impacted at all? Does it change anything?

BARNES: No, I don't think so. I don't think this impact her work at all. I mean, she has done a lot to help military spouses and military families and I don't think this impact -- this is one situation, this is one event involving two families and I don't think it really involves the military family as a whole.

TUCHMAN: And one final question for you, Terri, you're an expert on the military community, have you learned anything about this? Have you learned anything through this incident that you didn't know before?

BARNES: Well, I think this is a good opportunity, if anything, for military couples and military families just to stop and say, how are we? Are we vulnerable? Are we healthy? So, maybe some introspection for all military couples, it's always good to know where you are, what the health is of your marriage and your family. So if anything, if anything good can come any way that we can apply this to ourselves, then we should look inside ourselves for the health of our own families.

TUCHMAN: And Terri, I think that's good a advise for all of us not just military families. It is good way to end this interview.

Terri Barnes, thank you very much. BARNES: Absolutely. Thank you very much.

TUCHMAN: Tow trucks are now in huge demand after hurricane Sandy. But police are warning people, be careful because you might get ripped off by some of them.


TUCHMAN: Investigators are trying to determine who is responsible for a fatal crash. It's a mile high mystery in the skies over Denver. Take a look at this. It is a strange object flying over the city. It's real video, not "the national enquirer" or anything. Nobody can explain it. Local resident shot this video from a hill top north of Denver. He said the fast moving object appears around noon a few times a week, this is not a one-time deal. Aviation experts say they don't know what it is, but they say it's not a bird or a plane, but they don't know what it is.

The beloved Twinkie, after 82 years could become a foreign import. As you may have already heard, Hostess brand is shutting down its company and won't be making any more of the iconic cookies. But according to the Christian Science monitor, the Twinkie may survive if a Mexican company has its way. Grupo Bimbo is the name of the company, the world's largest bread baking firm which already owns parts of Sara Lee is possibly vying to make a bid to buy Hostess and keep Twinkie around forever.

Vice president Biden is in New Jersey today to see first handed damage left behind from Sandy nearly three weeks ago. His toured the Jersey shore line in a Helicopter. Then, met with about 50 first responders in the Jersey shore and seaside heights, that the city with that roller coaster ended up in the ocean.

His visit will also include a stop in the north jersey city of Hoboken.

Sandy's clean up is full of twists and turns at a time, thieves and con artists. We see it all the time in disasters. It is really disgusting. For one thing, some towing companies may be taken advantage of disaster stealing cars and leaving owners in a lurch.

CNN national correspondent Susan Candiotti goes for a ride with cops trying to put the brakes on the can.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tow trucks are in huge demand after Sandy and police are keeping an eye on them.

Since the storm, they have been clearing the way for emergency vehicles, getting rid of destroyed cars, hauling away boats swept into the middle of the street. But as police learned in Katrina, disasters are prime territory for shady operators to steal cars targeting older models that can be sold at junk yard without paperwork, $500 a pot.

We shadowed the New York police auto crime unit, spot checking towers, making sure they're to towing the line.

JOSEPH WEDGE, DETECTIVE, NYPD AUTO CRIMES: The truck that isn't marked, they might not have the proper equipment on the truck. Not proper documents, unlicensed drivers, not paperwork.

CANDIOTTI: At night it's often easier to get away with illegal tows.

WEDGE: its pitch black out here, you can't see anything. It's very dark, they can sneak in and out neighborhoods, grab cars and leave.

CANDIOTTI: Along the way we lot at this spot where a lot of tow trucks have dropped off their vehicles. You see the markings here? It has to do with the insurance company and you can see the condensation that still inside this car.

Over here, this SUV is filled with mock from the ocean. What a mess inside that engine. And this car still has water in the headlights. Let's give it a shake so you can see it.

CANDIOTTI: Most are totals, some of the auction for parts and others will be sold often without the buyer knowing it was in a flood and that can be a safety hazard.

CHRISTOPHER CONNOLLY, NYPD DETECTIVE, AUTO CRIME UNIT: Anything from electrical problems and are not running correctly or your light, just everything not performing. There's a reason why the insurance company total it out. They didn't fix it. It is not worth fixing it.

CANDIOTTI: For now police are monitoring the lot to make sure that cars don't disappear without reason in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. Authorities seize records of one towing companies. Prosecutors are investigating whether the business improperly hauled waste storm damage, boats and cars, and overcharged owners to get them back. After several attempts, we were unable to reach the company for comment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. They say (INAUDIBLE) of van on it or an SUV.

CANDIOTTI: No trouble on this patrol. New York police hope their efforts keep illegal tow trucks off the road.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York.


TUCHMAN: Here is what's trending on the net right now.

A 20-year-old has been charged with plotting to shoot up a theater, like the shooting that happened at that batman screening in Colorado over the summer. His mother got suspicious about him, tipped off the cops.

Also, the man who police say acted as a lookout for an ipad heist from JFK airport has been charged. The FBI got suspicious after co-worker said, he made inquiries about when mini ipads were due to arrived. And music icon Stevie Wonder is going to lead a tribute to late television personality Dick Clark. They will be held a four year anniversary American Music awards ceremony tonight.

Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year for many retailers, now retailers are urging lawmakers to do something about the fiscal cliff before shoppers head out to the stores.


TUCHMAN: Our top story all weekend has you know has been the crisis in Israel and Gaza. My colleague Anderson Cooper is now in Gaza City with the latest - Anderson.

COOPER: Gary, another deadly day here in Gaza, as you know, there was a strike by Israeli defense forces, by the air force on what they say would be the house of a suspected Hamas head of a Hamas artillery unit. Initially defense forces said they killed that head of the artillery unit but they have now backed off that? But we do know that ten members of the family who were living in this house, not the family of this Hamas commander, but ten people were killed, including women and children. They have reporters there on the scene.

And also, we talked to an ambulance crews who said they took away ten members of one family that is really defense forces are now acknowledged, they did unfortunately kill members of another family. They say they do not know whether or not they actually did kill the Hamas target. They said they were going for.

There were also two strikes, controversial strikes, on two media centers here, buildings where local and foreign journalists have been working. The Israeli defense force said they were targeting a Hamas antenna which is link to those two buildings. But a number of local journalists were injured. Although Israeli defense forces did give advanced warning to the people in the building that they were going to be striking. A number of people were gone back into the building before the strike occurred.

But, it has been just another deadly day here, obviously Gary, as this back and forth continuous now. About an hour and hour and half ago, a large rocket was fired from somewhere in central Gaza, not far from where we are. Actually, right now, we heard it go out. We believe that Israeli defense forces responded immediately with a drone. But, I can't confirm that independently.

There have been a number of large explosions, Gary, just over the last hour or so throughout Gaza, we have heard the impacts, we have heard what sounds like rolling thunder and the blasts are far away. And always, the constant sound of Israeli drones overhead continue well into the night as we watch what is going to happen in the hours ahead.

TUCHMAN: Anderson, we know civilians are scared, one of the questions a lot of the people ask me is regarding journalists and my question for you is do you and your crew feel safe where you are?

COOPER: You know, it's obviously a very kinetic situation. It's a dynamic situation, and you know, this is not indiscriminate shelling. I mean, there are many in Hamas who would tell you that it is some targeting involved. There is an investigation and what the Israeli strikes are.

There is some confidence in that. This is not in Sarajavo (ph), from the siege of Sarajavo where serve through a lobbying murders into the city. And that you never knew where a mortar was going to land. You know, you still don't know where there is a Hamas rocket barrier. It could be in a building next to where you are without your knowledge. And so, that's one of the things that, you know, that is difficult. This is one of the most densely packed cities in the world,1.7 million people in a very tight area. And so, you know, the roads aren't big, and so you never know kind of what's in the buildings around you until you hear or see a rocket being fired and then you realize you better get out of that area because it's likely there's going to be a response, retaliation for that rocket being fired. So, it is a very, you know, it's a dynamic situation, it's a very tricky situation to be in.

TUCHMAN: And an indication, Anderson, that anybody you have talked to knows anything about the talks that are going on right now in Egypt.

COOPER: You know, people -- there's a lot of rumors and a lot of speculation about it here on this end, there's not a great, you know, sort of dissemination of information right now. People are very much in their homes, they're listening to radios if they can. A lot of people, you know, the electricity has been cut off so if they don't have a generator, they have electricity.

So, not a lot of people know the full details on what is going on and where the status of the talks is. But you know, it's going to be, I think most people agree there is not a military solution to this. This is a military response right now, but ultimately there has to be some sort of political solution and whether there's the will for that is certainly not clear at this point. I mean, Israel will point out that Hamas does not recognize the right of Israel to exist and say that is a fundamental problem.

And bottom line, they want the rockets stopped. They say it is completely impossible for any country to accept rockets being fired across your borders at the will of somebody else. So, you know, there has to be some sort of solution to this beyond just a military one. And at this point, it's not clear what the parameters of that will be.

TUCHMAN: An important point to end on, Anderson Cooper, thank you very much for joining us.

We will be right back.


TUCHMAN: Don't panic, but Thanksgiving is four days away. Even Wall Street shuts down for a day to enjoy it, but that doesn't mean we won't stop talking about money.

Todd Schoenberger is the managing principal of the Black Bay group. He joins me from New York.

Todd, happy early Thanksgiving to you.


TUCHMAN: Let's talk turkey, Todd, more specifically, what is it going to cost us this year to feed a family?

SCHOENBERGER: To feed a family of ten, Gary, it's going to cost Americans $49.48 and this is up slightly from last year. But the biggest increase Americans are going to see is in the price of a turkey, up almost seven percent, year every year. It is about a dollar a bird. So, better be prepared for to pay a little bit more to fee the family this year.

TUCHMAN: It is enough to make the switch to chicken. But either way, it isn't Thanksgiving without that early holiday shopping, how are things expected to be this year? Sales are supposed to be higher this year compared to 2011, right?

SCHOENBERGER: That's right. Black Friday is going to be something else. I mean, we are expecting a 3.1 percent increase this year. We saw 1.6 percent increase last year. But now, you have several retail hours that are opening up on Thanksgiving night. So, it used to be Black Friday, now we are turning it to Black Thanksgiving. You have a number of key retailers, so Gary. You have Wal-Mart, you have Sears, Kmart, as well as Tory "R" us that are opening their doors on Thursday evening at 8:00. Target is going to be opening at 9:00.

But the big winner is probably going to be Wal-Mart because they're staggering their door busters special starting at 8:00, then, going into 10:00 and the, 5:00 am. That is brilliant marketing because you just going to have to keep the flow of customers just flowing into your stores.

TUCHMAN: I love that term. They only think about the door busters. I mean, they are implying that we are going to bust down their doors in the form of civilizing that. So, I hope that doesn't literally happen anywhere.

Hey Todd, which retailers do the best this time of year?

SCHOENBERGER: Well, you definitely, there will be the ones that are going to be the most progressive. I mean, clearly, when you have an online presents as well as gestures stand alone store, cyber Monday last year, Gary, we saw $1.25 billion of commerce that was actually spent on that cyber Monday, the Monday following Thanksgiving weekend. That was a record high last year for online spending and now you have Wall Street economists who are predicting a 4.3 percent increase in cyber Mondays so as this year. Everybody is going online. So, it is going to the big retailers who have an online presence, have the inventory and clearly have the source and taking care of the customers that into the stores. So, look for the big winners to be the big box retailers going forward.

TUCHMAN: And Todd, finally, people are going to be hitting the road, how many people are going to be out there for Thanksgiving weekend?

SCHOENBERGER: Why? You're looking at a record high. I mean, you are looking at 43.6 million Americans are going to hit the road this year. Ninety percent of them are actually going to be in cars but they're not going to be traveling as far. So, if you haven't got started yet, you may want to consider because there is going a ton of traffic.

But one thing we are seeing a decrease in though, Gary, is air travel. You're not seeing a lot of people buying those tickets, hitting the flights. So a lot of people will be in the cars, they will be spending less, traveling this Thanksgiving year, but definitely it's going to be a rise in traffic. So just be prepared.

TUCHMAN: The man with the numbers, Todd Schoenberger getting us in the holiday giving.

Todd, thank you very much.

SCHOENBERGER: Thank you, Gary. Happy Thanksgiving.

TUCHMAN: Happy Thanksgiving.

It is the number-one cause of preventable death in the U.S. that is right there in your medicine cabinet. Next, Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us about a nationwide epidemic.


TUCHMAN: There's a deadly epidemic unfolding in the U.S. you may know little about. Prescription drug overdoses, especially pain killer overdoses now kill more people than car crashes. That's just one of the startling facts Dr. Sanjay Gupta learned when he started investigating for his new documentary, "deadly dose."

Fredricka Whitfield found out what triggered that investigation.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So people taking advantage of their prescriptions, how did you get wind of this epidemic? Is it an epidemic?

DOCTOR SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's definitely an epidemic. Some have even said it's the largest man made epidemic in the United States. You know, it depends how you look at that.

I heard about increase in pain pills just as a doctor in the hospital but President Clinton had called me, and I had never heard him like this before. He was very distraught because two of his friends had both lost sons within just a few days of each other in this manner. They were people who were -- had jobs, one of them worked at the State Department for Secretary Clinton, and they simply overdosed on these pills and they died, young men at the prime of their lives.

So he was quite distraught about it and alerted me to some of these statistics, number one cause of death in this country, surpassing car crashes, causes more deaths than methamphetamine, heroin, combined. People don't realize when you hear drug overdose, gave a certain perception, very different. And we take a lot of pain pails in this country. But I talked to him about a lot of different things but I want you to listen to a little of what he said.

This may be a static you know, I was surprised by it, but 80 percent of the world's pain prescriptions are in this country, 80 percent. Does that surprise you?


GUPTA: Is that a cultural?


GUPTA: -- problem?

CLINTON: It is cultural. People think I've got a headache or I've got this or my elbow is sore, whatever. And look, I don't want to minimize. There are a lot of people who live courageous lives in constant pain. They're in pain all of the time for reasons they can't control. They need relief. And they should get it. But there's no question that since we represent five percent of the world's people, and far less than 80 percent of the world's people with above-average incomes, we have no business popping as many pills as we do.

WHITFIELD: We're in pain or come out of a surgery, you're prescribed something, how much is it up to you? What can you manage?

GUPTA: Well, you know, I think there's a perception certainly if a doctor gives you a prescription, it's safe. And you know, for the most part, it is. But do you really need that pain prescription, is I think the first thing you start with. We probably don't need nearly as many pain prescriptions as we take.

Two is you know, with the new year coming up here in a couple months, clean out your medicine cabinet. There's a lot of old pills sitting around, people may take one thinking one will be fine, mix with a glass of wine, or your kids get in to it, that could be a lethal problem.


TUCHMAN: You can see Sanjay's entire "DEADLY DOSE" special. That's tonight, 8:00 Eastern Time.

It's all the news you need for the week ahead. "Gangnam Style" -- find out who and why PSY is being honored.

Plus the rest of shall need to be on the lookout in the coming days.

We will be right back.


TUCHMAN: Now let's take a look ahead at what happens this week. President Barack Obama mix history on Monday. He'll be the first U.S. president to visit Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar, also known as Burma. The White House says Mr. Obama will praise the remarkable progress the country has made toward democratic rule.

Korean rap superstar PSY gets a cultural merit award from the South Korean government on Tuesday. He is the guy behind the "Gangnam Style" phenomenon. The YouTube video of him doing wacky horse-riding dances had more than 600 million views.

Also Tuesday, we get the housing starts report as the most closely followed number in the housing sector because it offers an idea of how healthy the housing industry is.

On Wednesday, President Obama pardons a turkey. It's the annual pre- Thanksgiving tradition. And get this, and this is true. The turkey spends two nights in a fancy D.C. hotel before the pardoning. Lucky turkey.

Thursday, it's the 86th edition of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. And this year, about 5,000 Hurricane Sandy victims will get seats and bleachers along the parade route.

Then Friday, shop until you drop, it is Black Friday retailers expect an increase of three percent from last year's sales.

And that will do it for me. CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with Don Lemon. Have a great week.