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Israel and Gaza Agree to Ceasefire; Interview with Former Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell; Thanksgiving Charity Event Held for Victims of Hurricane Sandy; U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice Speaks Out; Taliban Suicide Bomber Kills 23; Photo Costs Two Women Their Jobs; Black Friday Spills Over to Thanksgiving; Previewing NYC's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Aired November 22, 2012 - 07:00   ET


ALINA CHO, CNN ANCHOR: It's November 22nd, Thanksgiving Day. A special edition of STARTING POINT begins right now.

Good morning, everybody. Happy Thanksgiving. Our STARTING POINT, the ceasefire in Israel and Gaza is holding. In Gaza City, where so much blood spilled over the last eight days, Palestinians are celebrating in the streets. Israel and Hamas agreeing to halt all acts of aggression against each other.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: This ceasefire deal brokered largely over the phone. President Obama and the president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, reportedly making a real connection to stop the carnage. I want to begin our coverage here of the very fragile truce with Arwa Damon live with us this morning in Gaza City.

Arwa, I think I hear horns honking. Is the celebration there continuing where you are?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is. Although the crowds have tapered off a little bit. But it is pretty incredible when you look at the street down below us and compare it to what the situation was like 24 hours ago, when you would hardly see a single person outside and most of the shops were shut.

You can see very close to where people were gathering, celebrating what they're calling a victory. Just one of the many locations that were bombed during this most recent conflict. That was, in fact, a residential home. The Israelis, when they struck it later on, saying that they believe that it was being used by a senior Hamas commander as an intelligence operations center.

But people, ever since the ceasefire was announced, were taking to the streets, many of them saying that they were celebrating the victory. They are calling this a victory for Hamas, for Palestine, that they are able to withstand Israeli aggression. Others celebrating the fact after being cooped up indoors, living in fear for so long, they could go out. The children saying they were just happy to be able to leave the confines of their homes.

But, of course, there is still a lot of questions that remain. If this does, in fact, hold, for 24 hours, according to the ceasefire agreement, we should then be seeing the border crossings opening up, the easing of restrictions, the free flow of goods, of people across these various border crossings. And then, of course, one of the key issues for the Palestinians is seeing the Israelis lift that naval blockade.

BALDWIN: And those negotiations begin in just about seven hours from now. Arwa Damon for us, in Gaza. Arwa, we appreciate it.

CHO: Let's go across the border now to Israel, where the reaction to the ceasefire deal has been much more subdued, shall we say?

Our Fred Pleitgen reporting live for us from Ashkelon, Israel, this morning for us. Fred, set the scene.

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right. The mood is much more subdued here and there's certainly no one here, at least in this town of Ashkelon, saying that this is victory. Many of them said that they felt that the military campaign, the army launch eight days, should have continued, and should have, they felt, achieved more. They believe after those eight days, Hamas is still in power. Hamas will be able to regroup, and possibly, Hamas will be able to shoot weapons at towns like this one.

Keep in mind, even before the military operation, the people here were having to deal with rocket attacks as many. It wasn't as many during the past eight days. However, every two weeks, every week, they would have to deal with rockets raining on their head. So they basically feel as though not very much has been achieved with this military offensive.

People I've been speaking to say they thought that a ground operation should have been launched. Others, however, that I've been speaking to also say they're just happy that at least for the time being, they have some peace and quiet. They can go out with their children again. Businesses are reopening, because during the time of the conflict, you could basically see that about 80 percent of the stores here in this town were shut. And all of that today is coming back to life.

CHO: Fred, you talked about that ground operation and how some citizens are expressing support for that. We also saw that echoed by the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who really left the door open for that. You were reporting earlier that tens of thousands of troops are still amassed along the border. I guess as we look forward to more substantive talks, wouldn't that stand some damage to Netanyahu politically?

PLEITGEN: It depends on where the ceasefire goes. It depends whether rockets will be launched from Gaza again. But certainly there are a lot of people who are not very happy in the way the Prime Minister Netanyahu, handled all of this. And many of these people are height here. Many say if rockets are launched, Netanyahu will pay the price politically.

Remember, he's up for re-election in late January. That's certainly something that he's going to have to be well aware of. People here are no happy with the ceasefire. They're not happy with the way this military operation was conducted. They're not happy that this military operation ended so quickly.

And if, in fact, the ceasefire doesn't hold, if, in fact, the status quo from before comes back again, then certainly that is something that could damage Prime Minister Netanyahu politically here in this country. It's certainly something where the people are somewhat skeptical about whether or not he made the right move.

CHO: All right, our Fred Pleitgen, live for us in Ashkelon, Israel. Fred, thank you.

BALDWIN: Five minutes here past the hour. Susan Rice now publicly defending the comments she made in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attack in Benghazi on the U.S. consulate there. Rice initially suggested the attack was sparked by protests over that anti- Muslim film. Well, now the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. is insisting that she was relying solely on information provided by U.S. intelligence agencies and says she made it clear at the time the information was preliminary. And she had this to say to one of her harshest critics.


SUSAN RICE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: I have great respect for senator McCain and his service to our country. I always have and I always will. I do think that some of the statements he's made about me have been unfounded, but I look forward to having the opportunity at the appropriate time to discuss all of this with him.


BALDWIN: Rice says she believes everyone, especially intelligence officials, were working in good faith to provide the best assessment of the events in Benghazi to the American people.

CHO: A story that caught some people by surprise. A sudden resignation, Jesse Jackson Jr. leaving Congress because of health issues. The Illinois congressman has been undergoing treatment for bipolar disorder. Jackson's health may not be the only factor. He's being investigated by the FBI and house ethics committee for possible misuse of campaign funds. He was just re-elected for a tenth term.

BALDWIN: Snoopy, Kermit, Hello Kitty. Hey, there's Spiderman. These are some of the star attractions of the annual Macy's Thanksgiving day parade. It begins in less than two hours, in New York City, and for the first time in its 86-year history, the parade route has changed. Jason Carroll is live among the revelers. We'll talk to him later this hour.

CHO: Look forward to that.

And millions of couch cushions across the country will be getting quite a workout today. Turkey coma, not a problem. That's because football is here. NFL lineup, a triple header, kicking off at 12:30 eastern time, with the Detroit Lions hosting the Houston Texans. Then it's the cowboys and redskins squaring off at 4:25 this afternoon.

BALDWIN: If I can make it up that late, I will be watching that game. Seven minutes here past the hour.


BALDWIN: The trick going to the parade, really any parade, layering. It was fun walking around the city yesterday and seeing not just people who were in town for the parade, but people marching wearing their band jackets, so proud.

CHO: What an honor to be in New York at this time of year. I'm glad that the weather's holding, in Florida, where I'm headed tomorrow.

BALDWIN: Ahead here on STARTING POINT, with the ceasefire apparently holding in Israel, will this lead to lasting peace? We'll speak with former Mideast envoy, George Mitchell.

CHO: Also, New York pitching in to help some victims of Sandy give thanks. We're going to go live on Staten Island, where more relief is on the way. You're watching STARTING POINT.


BALDWIN: It's 13 minutes past the hour on this Thursday. Welcome back to STARTING POINT.

It looks like the Hostess Twinkie era is over. The company and its workers just couldn't make a deal. New Hostess -- excuse me, now Hostess can sell off its bakers, the brand, and its recipes. But here's the thing -- about 15,000 people could soon lose their jobs in the company. As far as your Twinkies and Ho-Hos and other snacks here, you'll probably see them again, but under a different brand name.

And markets here on this holiday, they are closed. The Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 already hitting closer up on the strength of the ceasefire announcement in Gaza, Israel.

You know, Thursday is the new black Friday for a lot of you shoppers. And the two main marts, when I say mart, I'm talking Kmart and Wal- Mart, they're throwing the doors open, oh, no, not tomorrow, tonight. So will sears, Toys "R" Us, target, and people in Tucson can spend the next couple of months reading about the sales. The "Arizona Daily Star" there, putting out 870 pages, 870 pages of black Friday sale ads. That's about 300 pages longer than "Moby Dick." there's some trivia for you. Ale

CHO: A ceasefire continues this morning between Israel and Gaza, marking an end to eight days of aerial rocket attacks between the two sides. The big question now is, will it last? The truce was brokered by a host of international diplomats, including President Obama, who you're about to see here in some White House photos, if we can show them. He was on the phone, by the way, with both Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi and Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I have to say that all this was done with the firm support on the part of the leaders of the international community, and I would like especially to thank president Barack Obama for his unreserved support for Israel's actions in the operation.


CHO: George Mitchell is a former Maine Democratic Senator and served as President Obama's special envoy to the Middle East from 2009 to 2011. He also helped the negotiate a peace agreement in Northern Ireland and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his efforts. Senator Mitchell joins us now.

So great to see you. Good morning.


CHO: So this ceasefire has been holding now for just about 17 hours. At the 24-hour mark, in about seven hours' time, as you know, the border crossings into Gaza will reopen. And so will talks toward what we all hope will be a broader peace agreement. How hopeful are you that that can happen in the near term?

MITCHELL: Well, the talks will be difficult, because the parties have fundamental disagreements on the subject of the talks. Hamas will want open access, the ability to bring in and out both people and goods from Gaza. The Israelis will be very much concerned about them replenishing their stock of missiles. There's a well-established smuggling route from Iran to sedan and up through the Egyptian dessert into Gaza.

And working out the details of that will be difficult, but what this past week has demonstrated is that -- the reality that Israel has a very successful state but doesn't have security for its people. Palestinians don't have a state. President George W. Bush, just before he left office, made a very important speech in Jerusalem in which he said they both are vested in the other's success, because the only way the Palestinians can get a state is for the people of Israel to have security, and vice versa.

CHO: And you talk about that security in Israel. As you know, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, left the door open for further military operation. Let's listen to what he said.


NETANYAHU: I know there are those who expect an even more intense military response, and that may, perhaps, be need. But at this time, the right thing for the state of Israel is to exhaust this opportunity to obtain a long-term ceasefire, or an ongoing ceasefire.


CHO: As you know, tens of thousands of Israeli troops are still amassed along the border. Is this the kind of talk we want to hear as we go into more, what we hope are more substantive talks?

MITCHELL: Well, he has to satisfy several constituencies. The people who live closest to Gaza, many of them would have liked to have seen the operation to continue to root out Hamas completely. Those, I think, outside the range of missiles probably had a different view. And he has to, obviously, say that if there is a resumption of rocket fire, Israel will respond again.

I think the important thing is that the two sides recognize that their interests are not served by continuing hostility. And while they do have very fundamental disagreement, if they can figure out a way, Palestinians generally -- don't forget the Palestinian Authority, which is a very important part of this -- can get into serious negotiations, aided by the U.S., they may be able to address the long- standing issues. It hasn't happened so far, but we have to keep trying because it's so important to them and to us.

CHO: That's right. And we do keep trying. Having said that, as we mentioned, you were the Middle East envoy from 2009 to 2011, and obviously you were privy to those tough negotiations. Take us inside that room. What's it like to be there?

MITCHELL: Well, in the Middle East, there was very little direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiation. Almost all of what we went through was through us. I would go see Netanyahu. He would say to me, is Abbas serious, and I would go to see Abbas, and he would say, is Netanyahu serious?

CHO: A true middleman.

MITCHELL: We went back and forth. There were a few meetings between Netanyahu and Abbas at which I was present. They were direct, forceful. They didn't mince words, but there were no yelling, there was no slamming the table. There was no insulting. It was businesslike, but direct and forceful.

Unfortunately, the talks didn't gain traction and continue as we'd hope, and they terminated after three or four meetings and didn't accomplish anything. So the hope is that at some point they will get back together again in a circumstances which permits a sustained dialogue.

CHO: I think that's what we all hope. Senator George Mitchell, former Middle East envoy, we thank you, great to see you. Brooke?

BALDWIN: Still ahead this morning here on STARTING POINT, New Yorkers helping New Yorkers, helping victims of Sandy celebrate Thanksgiving. We'll take you live to one of the areas really hardest hit, getting some much-needed love, much-needed Thanksgiving cheer.


CHO: Good morning, everybody. Welcome back to STARTING POINT. The ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas is now in its 17th hour, And so far, so good. It is holding. The truce sending Palestinians into the streets of Gaza City to celebrate. Israel now beginning to pull back some of its troops from the Gaza border. The two sides set to begin negotiations later today if the ceasefire holds.

As many as 33 homes are now slated for demolition by the end of the year in the Indianapolis subdivision where that explosion earlier killed two people. That happened earlier this month, by the way. At least 90 homes were damaged or destroyed in the blast. 12 of the homes will be torn down in the next two weeks because they are in danger of collapsing.

BALDWIN: While many of us enjoy family, maybe a little football, good food on this Thanksgiving Day, it is really so important to remember the thousands of Americans who are still reeling from hurricane Sandy. In New York, for example, Staten Islanders who lost their homes have absolutely no place to go are getting a special delivery today. The feast is coming to them.

Deborah Feyerick is live for us in Staten Island. Deb, good morning.


You know, if you can't go to Thanksgiving, the idea is to bring Thanksgiving to the people. About 800, 900 volunteers will be gathering here over the course of the morning. They're from the liquid church out of New Jersey. And the goal of all these volunteers who are giving up their morning is to basically go into about 10 different communities here in Staten Island and basically just help people, feed them, and also dig them out.

We are joined by Pastor Tim Lucas, who's the founder of the church. You have put this all together. You're basically creating block parties throughout Staten Island and giving them a little bit of taste of Thanksgiving where they don't have to worry about anything.

TIM LUCAS: A little slice of heaven on Thanksgiving morning. That's the whole idea, Deb. And I've got to say, the Staten Island churches, new open, oasis, Salem Church, they've been here since day one, but we are blessed to lock arms with them and muck out homes and feed the people.

FEYERICK: A lot of people haven't been able to clean up their homes. They'll take out all the insulation, all the drywall, everything

LUCAS: Right. When we say "muck out a home," basically, we'll be taking all the supplies, ripping out drywall, tearing up carpet, kind of slopping out these homes, bring them down to the studs. But once we empty the houses, we want to fill people's bellies. And we'll feed them after that.

FEYERICK: And you've also got these grills, and these grills, you'll set them up, got a little bit of music, and you'll be doing turkey burgers for everybody.

LUCAS: We have two grills. We'll set them up around Staten Island, the midland beach area, and we have a boom box, so we'll be grilling turkey burgers, sausages, and we have a truckload of pumpkin pie, so we've got a party to go, in a box. FEYERICK: That's really the spirit of all of this, to really make sure that the people who have lost so much are not forgotten on this holiday. Brooke?

BALDWIN: That is fantastic. I love his energy and his spirit here. Thank him for us and we're thinking about everyone here and everyone still reeling from that horrendous storm.

CHO: Ahead on STARTING POINT, could there be a lasting deal between Israel and Gaza? We will speak with Mark Regev. He's the spokesperson for the Israel government and for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. You're watching STARTING POINT.


BALDWIN: It is half past the hour here on this early Thursday morning. Welcome back to a special Thanksgiving Day edition of STARTING POINT. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

CHO: And I'm Alina Cho. Soledad has the day off. Let's get right to your top stories.

Seventeen hours and holding, the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, still intact this morning. The two sides begin negotiations later today.

If that ceasefire continues to hold past the 24-hour mark, Israel is now beginning to pullback some of its troops from the Gaza border. The truce is also sending Palestinians into the streets of Gaza City to celebrate.

BALDWIN: Susan Rice going public. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is now defending the comments she made in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. Rice explaining why she initially suggested that the attacks were sparked by protests over that anti-Muslim film.


RICE: I relied solely and squarely on the information provided to me by the intelligence community. I made clear that the information was preliminary and that our investigations would give us the definitive answers.


BALDWIN: Rice says she believes everyone, especially intelligence officials, were acting in good faith to provide the best assessment of the events in Benghazi to the American people.

CHO: Sectarian violence erupting in Pakistan. A series of bombings has killed at least 31 people. In the deadliest attack, a Taliban suicide bomber killed 23 people in an attack on a Shiite Muslim procession in Rawalpindi. Thirty five others were hurt. This is the holiest month of the year for Shiites. And this picture cost two women their jobs. Take a close look there. One apparently made an obscene gesture at Arlington National Cemetery while the other took a picture. Ended up on Facebook and caused a firestorm, went viral. The women worked for a non-profit in Massachusetts. The company has apologized and says those women no longer work there.

BALDWIN: Back to our top story here this morning. Take a look at the images with me here. In just a moment, you'll see these crowds in Gaza. Here are they are. Look at them celebrating the ceasefire that appears to be holding here between the Israel and Hamas.

We should let you know, we're hours away from talks, sort of a round two of negotiations, on easing some of the economic restrictions on Gaza. This is all part of a diplomatic deal. That at least for now, has put an end to eight days of deadly rocket attacks, back and forth between the two sides now.

Joining me now from CNN's bureau in Jerusalem is Mark Regev, spokesperson for the Israeli government and for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Mark, good morning.


BALDWIN: Let me just begin with this ceasefire. How confident are you that it will continue to hold? Are you at all, like I know some Israelis, disappointed?

REGEV: I think, obviously, when you're dealing with a terrorist group like Hamas, there's a certain, and it's probably healthy to be a bit skeptical, but these arrangements were negotiated with Egypt and with the sponsorship and support of the United States.

And we're giving them a chance. We will keep our commitments under these arrangements. Hamas has promised the Egyptians that they will hold their fire and we're hopeful that this will last.

That the people of Southern Israel will have normal lives, that they can live without the daily fear of an incoming rocket from Gaza exploding in their neighborhoods.

If this achieves peace and quiet for the people of Southern Israel then that for us is victory. That for us is winning. That's what we wanted to protect our people.

BALDWIN: I wanted to give you back to something you just said, giving them a chance, giving Hamas a chance. How long do you wait? How long do you give them?

REGEV: The proof of the pudding is in the in the eating. If the border remains quiet, if we no longer see the terrorists in Gaza shooting at our people, then we have no need to respond.

In other words, Israel's whole military operation here was purely defensive. If they hadn't had been shooting at us, we wouldn't have had to call up our reserves and hit at Gaza. We will be very happy if we can have a status quo, if the situation can be quiet, and if the civilians on both sides of the frontier will enjoy a period of unprecedented peace and quiet.

BALDWIN: If all does remain quiet, we're hours from that second round of negotiation, really on the most contentious issue, those very tight border crossings in Gaza under this 7-year-old now embargo. What makes this time, what makes this round of negotiations any different that before?

REGEV: You know, anywhere over the last two, three years, Israel has been relaxing restrictions. We'll continue to that process and now talk to the Egyptians about that.

But let me clear Israel imposed restrictions for a reason because you had this hostile fire from Gaza into Israel. They were shooting rockets into our cities. They were trying to kill our people. Is it really fair to expect that you would have normal trading relations --

BALDWIN: But if that does stop, would you see a possibility for a two- state solution, a possibility for it?

REGEV: Look, you're raising other issues. First of all, if the firing stops, Israel is willing to move forward with Egypt in discussions about easing restrictions that still remain. On your latter question, of course, we want a two-state solution.

Of course, we want peace. We understand that peace is the only real solution. And we've called upon the Palestinian leadership to start peace talks immediately without any preconditions.

Unfortunately, we've had problems. They haven't agreed. We hope they'll agree soon. But you must remember, Hamas, unfortunately, is the enemy of peace. Hamas doesn't want to negotiate.

Hamas says that any Palestinian who negotiates with Israel is a traitor to the Palestinian cause. They have a very, very hard line. If they changed, that would be nice.

That would maybe open the door, but at the moment, Hamas is stuck in a very hard-line, anti-peace sort of position, which makes them impossible to involve in any sort of peace process.

BALDWIN: We shall see how the second round of negotiations do go. Mark Regev, we're with you in wanting peace, the Israeli government spokesperson to prime minister. Thank you, sir.

CHO: It's time now for your "A.M. House Call." Might not be a fun conversation to have at the Thanksgiving dinner table or during the football game tonight, but it is important. So listen up.

Doctors suggest talking to your family members, really, really talking to them about their health histories. That awareness can help you avoid some potential health problems down the road. Doctors say, of course, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure all tend to run in families, so talk it out. BALDWIN: Coming up this morning on STARTING POINT, Thursday is the new Black Friday, did you know? Some door buster deals start even before the turkey is done. We're talking to a retail insider. That's next. It's 38 minutes past the hour. You are watching STARTING POINT.


CHO: It's 42 minutes after the hour. Well, not so long ago, Thanksgiving was really just about food, family, and football. People were really content to leave the shopping until Black Friday.

But this year, all is changing. You've got to snap out of your turkey coma even earlier if you want to get the best door buster deals. Many stores are opening tonight at 8:00.

Some stores like Kmart are even open right now. We want to get to Andrew Stein. He is the chief marketing officer for Kmart/ Sears Holdings.

Mr. Stein, good morning. Great to see you. So I understand that you're actually doing three different door buster deals today. Tell us about them.

ANDREW STEIN, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER, KMART/SEARS HOLDINGS: So we open at 6:00 this morning and this year, we're doing three door buster events. So we're calling it our triple door busters, so 6:00 a.m. today until 4:00 this afternoon.

We'll close for a few hours, get the stores ready. Reopen at 8:00 p.m. tonight and then come back at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow morning for a third round of door busters.

We've seen that there's a different customer base. We've got a younger customer that prefers to shop at 8:00 tonight and then we've got a more traditional customer that will shop at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.

CHO: Sure, probably a little bit older. Having said that, I was looking online last night, I saw some of your deals, $88 flat screens, Barbies for $2.99. That brought me back to my childhood. So, tell me, what are some of the very best deals out there at Kmart, if you were to go into the store right now?

STEIN: If you go in right now, we've got buy one, get one board games, so great games like Monopoly, Operation, Battleship, games from your childhood. And then we also have buy one, get one footwear so shoes for the family.

And then tonight at 8:00, and we've had people lining up for days for this already, we have 50" flat screen for $288. So a 1080P TV for $288 is a tremendous deal.

CHO: Yes, that is a really good deal. When you look at the numbers from our CNN Money Desk, we have an estimated 147 million shoppers who plan to shop this coming weekend versus 220 million last year. I mean, that's pretty significant. When you look at those numbers, is that why you make the decision to open on Thanksgiving Day? Because some people might say, is nothing sacred anymore? I mean, can't you just stay closed on Thanksgiving?

STEIN: I mean, Kmart's been open on Thanksgiving Day. This is our 21st year now and we know, you know, people have last-minute needs to have a great Thanksgiving. And so whether it's getting some last-minute stuff for the table.

If you need some more soda, we know, we serve our customers during day on thanksgiving and have for 21 years. So we have a reason, our customers need us on Thanksgiving Day.

CHO: All right, let's talk a little bit about this because, you know, so many people shop online these days. I'm one of them. What is it that you're going to get by standing online, outside of your Kmart, when it's freezing cold, versus just going on to Kmart's web site? I mean, are there different deals inside the store versus going online? Is that the allure?

STEIN: The deals in store are available online too. But part of Black Friday and whether it's 8:00 tonight or 5:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, it's part of the thrill of the hunt.

It's part of going out with family or friends, waiting online to get that great door buster. And it's a fun shopping experience to go to stores with your family and friends for the door busters.

CHO: Well, it can be fun, if you're not trampled over -- I mean, as we saw even last year, you look at the Wal-Mart in Arkansas and there was a near riot over $2 waffle makers.

I mean, are you taking any additional -- and we're looking at the video right now of what happened last year. It's pretty remarkable. All for a $2 waffle maker.

I mean, what types of security measures are you taking, or are you, to sort of make sure something like this doesn't happen to you?

STEIN: We are handing out tickets for the hottest door busters to people that have been waiting in line, whether for hours or for days, for the hottest door buster items.

So we will not have any issues like this on things like a $2.99 Barbie. We have plenty of inventory so there will not be any kind of issues like this.

CHO: Thank goodness you have plenty of inventory on the $2.99 Barbie. I might head out there myself and get one, just for old times' sake. All right, Andrew Stein, chief marketing officer for Kmart and Sears Holdings. We thank you so much and Happy Thanksgiving.

STEIN: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate this. One other thing we're offering this weekend. Tomorrow, we have free flu shots for our shop your way members. So just come into the store during pharmacy hours, and we're offering free flu shots. Thank you.

CHO: That's worth mentioning. All right, Mr. Stein, thank you so much.

BALDWIN: It's 47 minutes here past the hour. Let's talk weather in addition to shopping. Let's go to Bonnie Schneider with your Thanksgiving Day forecast. Bonnie, good morning!

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Brooke and Alina. Shopping and weather, those are two great subjects. I like both of them. We're looking at milder weather for this Thanksgiving so many places across the country.

I wanted to show you the extended forecast. If you're planning a weekend in New York, for example, it will get cooler as we go through the weekend, but not by too much. That holds true for Boston and even Syracuse seeing highs in the 50s.

So for the parade this morning, it will be right in the mid-40s, lots of sunshine, looking good, and the winds will be comfortable, which is great for the floats.

But if you're driving in Memphis this morning or if you're driving down in Houston, I'm getting some reports on Twitter that there is dense fog out there, so be careful. Another thing to keep in mind are the strong winds through the plains states.

Including Wyoming and into Montana, the Dakotas, gusts could get as strong as 45 miles per hour. So that may impact your travel, as far to the east as Minneapolis. We're also looking at low clouds in Seattle and that fog that I mentioned that could slow you down.

Finally, if you're looking for a little taste of wintry weather, you'll find it in international falls, Minnesota. But the rest of the country is looking warm. Brooke and Alina, temperatures are actually 20 degrees above normal today across parts of the Midwest. It's a nice and warm Thanksgiving.

BALDWIN: Nice. It gets cooler eventually so enjoy the warm weather while we have it. Bonnie, thank you. We'll come back to you a little bit later.

This week, "THE NEXT LIST" delves into the world of culinary science and gadgets. We'll introduce you here this morning to Dave Arnold. He is the director of technology at the International Culinary Center.


DAVE ARNOLD, DIRECTORY OF CULINARY TECHNOLOGIES, INTERNATIONAL CULINARY CENTER: When you're cooking, you're not used to thinking, hey, a degree can make a big difference in something. And yet, I can show you that the difference between a fully runny egg yolk and a fully set egg yolk is only two degrees Celsius.

And I can get any texture in between that just by varying a couple temps of a degree in between. I can achieve any of those effects. So all of a sudden a degree becomes an important measure. And the ability to control that becomes an important measure, but the whole way you have to cook, the whole way you think about how cooking works has to change.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Join me, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, as we introduce you to Dave Arnold of the International Culinary Center.


BALDWIN: Sanjay, thank you. Watch "THE NEXT LIST," 2:00 Eastern Times Sundays.

CHO: Might still by digesting your Thanksgiving turkey.

BALDWIN: Multiple rounds of leftovers.

CHO: Ahead on STARTING POINT, you've got to get there early, the balloons, the crowds. We will go live to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, where people are already lining up for a great seat. You can see the security there. You're watching STARTING POINT.


CHO: It's 6 minutes before the top of the hour. When it comes to parades in New York City, this is just about as good as it gets. We are counting down to the start of the 86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, just about an hour away now.

Three million people are expected to turn out to see the star balloons floating above the streets of Manhattan. Another 50 million will watch it on TV and our Jason Carroll is live on the upper west side of Manhattan where the excitement is building. Jason, good morning.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And Happy Thanksgiving, Alina. We've got the front row seat, literally, to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Take a look at what's right above me.

In position now, getting ready to float down Central Park West here at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, big difference this year, huge crowds out here. Great weather that we've seen. Lots of people. Thousands of people have been lining up this morning.

It's not just about the crowds. It's not just about the great balloons like the Hello Kitty balloon, but it's also about the pop stars and stars that will be in the parade as well.

Joining me right now, Colbie Caillat, pop star, brand new album that's coming out, Christmas album.


CARROLL: You must be very excited. This is your first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

CAILLAT: My very first parade. I'm so excited to be here with these millions people. Hello, close-up.

CARROLL: Very close.

CAILLAT: And singing my Christmas song, "Christmas in the Sand."

CARROLL: What float will you be on?

CAILLAT: With all the dancing baked goods.

CARROLL: Lots of flavor on that float, lots of flavor.


CARROLL: What you don't know, Alina, we share something in common. We come from the same hometown, Thousand Oaks, California. Go, T.O. She was a lancer.

CAILLAT: Yes, I was.

CARROLL: You know, when it comes to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, a lot of people, you know, I grew up watching this on television. It's much different when you're here in person, isn't it?

CAILLAT: So different.

CARROLL: All the balloons and so much excitement as we move around here, some folks coming around.

CAILLAT: We keep getting run over by people.

CARROLL: But it's much different when you're here in person, is it not?

CAILLAT: It's beautiful. It's cold. There are so many people, so many huge, massive things. And it's just alive. It's amazing to actually be here in person and feel the spirit.

CARROLL: It's a lot of fun. These balloons are amazing when you see them, Alina.

CAILLAT: I heard it took them 18 months to plan this.

CARROLL: So you did your homework.

CAILLAT: I heard it on the news this morning.

CARROLL: Colbie Caillat, one of the many pop stars on the floats coming down the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. If you haven't had a chance to come down, you can still make your way down here. Not a lot of good seats left, but you can still get a great view. Back to you.

CHO: What an opportunity for Colbie.

BALDWIN: It's wonderful and hopefully all of you sitting there watching are still sitting in your pajamas, drinking your coffee and having your breakfast and getting to watch the parade from the comforts of your homes, so exciting, so many people in New York for that huge parade.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, the relative calm after eight days of violence in the Middle East. Will the ceasefire hold?

We're also learning here the president -- leader of the PLO actually reached out via telephone to one of the leaders of Hamas here and really congratulating him now on what they're calling a victory.

CHO: Yes, we'll tell you more about that coming up. Plus the congressman who is quitting just weeks after getting re-elected. You're watching STARTING POINT.