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Camp Out, Save Cash?; Violence Erupts Near Gaza Border; James Spader on Lincoln; A Thanksgiving Gift

Aired November 23, 2012 - 08:30   ET


ALINA CHO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. It's 30 minutes after the hour. Checking your top stories.

Black Friday. Bargain hunters have been at it for hours. In some cases since last night. Cutting short their Thanksgiving meals for a shot at those doorbuster deals. Crowds have been pretty orderly, for the most part. Wasn't the case at a Kmart in Sacramento where a man threatened to stab fellow shoppers while waiting on line.


If you're headed to Walmart today, you might be greeted by demonstrators with picket signs. Walmart workers across the country plan to protest over wages, benefits and other issues. They say today is the perfect day to get their message across. Walmart says the protesters make up just a fraction of its workforce.

CHO: Florida authorities blame a giant rogue wave for a boat accident. It happened near Pompano Beach. One woman died after that wave destroyed the boat and tossed the 23 other people on board into the water. They were headed back from a day of diving when the wave hit.

BERMAN: New information is coming out about the David Petraeus investigation. The FBI is investigating whether he told his military staff to share documents and other sensitive information with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. That's according to a report from "The Washington Post." FBI agents say they found low-level classified information on Broadwell's computer.

CHO: Protests have started to erupt in Egypt after President Mohamed Morsi gave himself new powers. Protesters stormed the headquarters of Morsi's political party in Alexandria, and scuffled with some of his supporters in another part of the city. Morsi issued an order that says the courts may not overturn any of his decisions until the country drafts a new constitution and some Egyptians are calling him a dictator now. U.N. officials say this raises human rights concerns.

BERMAN: It was a beautiful Thanksgiving. But if you're camping out, you may want to fold up your tent before the colder temperatures roll in.

Here's meteorologist Rob Marciano.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You always have great camping advice, you know, the Friday after Thanksgiving. That's an excellent -- and there were probably --


CHO: Camping out a store -- outside a store.

MARCIANO: Right. Exactly. Exactly. So there you go.


CHO: May want to take that coat this weekend even in Atlanta, Rob, because I know you're going to be shopping all weekend so --

MARCIANO: Absolutely. I've got my shopping shoes on right now.

CHO: Want to do that. OK. All right. Thanks, Rob.

It's every shopper's dream. Save hundreds, yes, hundreds of dollars on those big ticket items you've had your eye on all year. But what lengths would you go to just get that deal? WFXG's Teri Hornstein takes a look at some of the diehards of Black Friday.


TERI HORNSTEIN, REPORTER, WFXG (voice-over): Brian Smith invites us into the tent he is calling home this week.

BRIAN SMITH, BEST BUY CAMPER: This is my side. It used to be inflated. But I have slept here for the past three days.

HORNSTEIN: But don't let the modest look of the place fool you. Smith is by no means roughing it and he is not spending time becoming one with nature.

SMITH: Just a couple of air mattresses. We have our TV. And some Playstations. And it's all powered by a generator.

HORNSTEIN: Smith is just one among a sea of shoppers, calling the Best Buy parking lot home. That is, until what many would say is the most intense shopping day of the year. Black Friday.

SMITH: I'm interested in a Samsung TV. It's $600 or actually it's $700 off.

HORNSTEIN: Big savings the reason these shoppers had set up camp sleeping, cooking and eating in line, all ready to snag the doorbuster deals.

ROBERT KODAMA, BEST BUY CAMPER: I'm here for two TVs, I'm here for Blu-Ray player, I'm here an external hard drive, extra RAM for my computer.

HORNSTEIN (on camera): In this makeshift tent community it isn't so much about where you stand in line but where you put your chair.

SMITH: It's more of, you know, keeping in touch with the people around us so they know what position we are and we know where they are.

HORNSTEIN (voice-over): Spending the Thanksgiving holiday together, becoming a sort of ritual for the return customers.

KODAMA: After we eat here on the tables, as you see, we're going to go and watch Thanksgiving Day football.

SMITH: During the night we socialize, go out to a couple of restaurants have some dinner.

HORNSTEIN: Some may call it odd. But for these men and women, this is what it's all about.

KODAMA: Is it worth it?

HORNSTEIN (on camera): Yes.



CHO: John Berman taking notes during that piece. That's exactly what you're going to do.

BERMAN: That's right.


I got to get to my tent, I will be camping out of those stores.

CHO: That's right.

BERMAN: It is 35 minutes after the hour right now.

Ahead on STARTING POINT, big news. A deadly incident at the Gaza border amid an already fragile ceasefire. We're going to go live in Jerusalem. Coming up. You're watching STARTING POINT.


BERMAN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT, everyone. The ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is a little more than 30 years old and holding just barely. According to Hamas security sources, Israeli troops fired on a group of farmers and Palestinian protesters overnight near the Gaza border, killing one man and wounding 19 others.

CNN's Sara Sidner is following the development and she is live in Jerusalem this morning.

Sara, what else do we know about this?

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, you heard from the health officials there in Gaza, saying that there were several people who were injured. We're talking about 25 people injured now. One killed on the Gaza-Israel border very near to east Khan Younis.

But we've also heard now from the Israeli military and the Israeli military is giving a different story, saying that there were several groups of men trying to come over to the Israeli side of the border through the fence. They were fired -- the military used a gun, fired in the air toward them and then when they did not comply started firing toward their legs.

The military not yet confirming whether there is a death or any injuries. They are still investigating the incident, but two very different stories this morning from Gaza and from Israel. But it comes at a very difficult time, a time when a ceasefire has been in place but not for 48 hours yet. It was a fragile ceasefire to begin with.

The only thing, though, that we're noticing now is we're not hearing anything from either government, neither Hamas nor the Israeli government. And we have not seen an escalation so far. We haven't seen any rockets come over, no airstrikes in retaliation for those rockets. So right now it seems the ceasefire is holding. We haven't heard differently but, you know, there's a lot of nerves over whether or not this ceasefire is going to last for quite some time -- John.

BERMAN: And Sara, you were saying these types of border incidents, they have happened over time?

SIDNER: Sure. I mean they happen quite often, to be honest with you. I mean, there were several leading up to this conflict where it kind of bubbled over. But it isn't unusual to have conflicts in that area, especially along that border. Israel has said many times there are tunnels there where they found weapons, where they found explosives. And then those in Gaza saying that there have been plenty of times where they have been either fired upon or there have been airstrikes near that area, trying to get rid of those explosives with people getting hurt.

So this is not an unusual incident. It just happens to come at a time when things are supposed to be no aggression from either side. That was what was agreed upon. And it's just very early days to see whether or not this ceasefire will last.

You know, and -- civilians on either side of the border are just sick and tired of this constant battle. And they just want to find a permanent solution and to see something happen so soon after this ceasefire was agreed upon is a bit disappointing -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Thank you very much, Sara Sidner in Jerusalem, this morning. Thanks, Sara.

CHO: Well, John, each week we're shining a spotlight on the "Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2012" as you vote for the one who inspires you the most. By the way, you can cast that vote at

This week's honoree used sports to fight his addiction to drugs and alcohol. And now he's helping hundreds of others. Meet CNN hero Scott Strode. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT STROBE, CNN HERO: To get on my bike and go ride up in the mountains really just brings peace. In my drug and alcohol use, it was the opposite. I got into it pretty young. By the time I was 15, I was using pretty serious drugs. When I got sober and lost my group of friends because they were still out drinking and using.

I got into boxing, triathlon, climbing. I had this new group of friends. I had completely redefined myself. So I thought how can we give this to other people?

I am Scott Strode and I want to help people find a better life being sober.

Welcome to Friday night climbing. It's good to see you all you here.

(INAUDIBLE) world offers about 50 events a week. All the programs are free to anybody that has 48 hours sober. You

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looking good, dad.

STROBE: You see that you're capable of whatever you put your mind to. We have this common connection. So it's easy to make new friends. We do bike rides, hiking, triathlon training, strength training. It really is just a new community of folks to hang out with.

I'm an example of hitting rock bottom. Had a heroin overdose. They had to jump-start me with the paddles.

Roll it over. Drill it in there.

Going out biking, and going boxing, hitting the bag really fills the void. It's the best sport through where I could imagine having.

We're having fun and we're proud of being sober. So come out and go climbing with us.


CHO: Scott is just one of our top 10 honorees. But you know the rules. Only one will become CNN Hero of the Year and receive that coveted $250,000 check.

So who will it be? You decide. Go to and make your pick. Share your vote on Facebook and Twitter, and all 10, by the way, will be honored live as "CNN HEROES, ALL-STAR TRIBUTE" on Sunday, December 2nd. As always our own Anderson Cooper will host.

BERMAN: The Black Friday frenzy is in full swing. National Retail Federation estimates 147 million shoppers are expected to hit stores today and into the weekend. Plus we already know that online shopping is up nearly 20 percent so far. And the number of customers using mobile devices to check out deals online has reached a new record, 28.5 percent. Those numbers as of 9:00 pm eastern last night. And we'll get an update on these numbers in just a few minutes from the IBM Benchmark Survey.

CHO: Well, it's been called the worst decision in music history. Now the Beatles audition tape, famously rejected way back in 1962 is up for auction. Listen to this. The 10-track demos has an asking price of $48,000. My guess is this is going to go way higher.

Includes a print a photo negative of the band as well as a handwritten track list. The tape has never been released by it's said to be in pristine condition and contains covers of American songs.

The band -- the band then made up of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Pete Best were told back then the guitar groups -- listen to this: they were told the guitar groups were on the way out. Later they signed with EMI, of course and then the rest is history.

BERMAN: Could you imagine? Oops. Oops.

CHO: On your way out.

BERMAN: All right. Ahead on STARTING POINT the power of the lobbyist. We're going to talk to James Spader about his scene- stealing role in the new movie "Lincoln". And the historical importance of the back room deal.

You're watching STARTING POINT.


CHO: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. It's 49 minutes after the hour. Checking your "Top Stories" now.

A top U.S. senator is moving an anti-tax pledge by activist Grover Norquist. With Congress facing looming tax hikes and spending cuts at the end of the year, the so-called fiscal cliff, Senator Saxby Chambliss told CNN affiliate WMAZ, quote, "I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge. If we do it his way, then we'll continue in debt and I just have a disagreement with him about that."

Norquist by the way who runs the Americans for Tax Reform group have lobbied Republican lawmakers, including Chambliss not to raise taxes.

Feeling lucking this holiday season? Well guess what the Powerball Jackpot keeps climbing and climbing and climbing toward a record. It's now at an eye-popping, jaw-dropping $325 million. What would you do with that money? The next drawing, by the way, is tomorrow night at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

BERMAN: Actor James Spader does a memorable turn in the blockbuster new movie "Lincoln". He played W.N. Bilbo, one of three lobbyist hired to get the anti-slavery amendment passed through the Congress. Here is a look at the trio, as they meet for the first time with Secretary of State William Henry Steward. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES SPADER, ACTOR: Congress doesn't come cheap, $3,000 to buy all you need.

DAVID STRATHAIRN, ANCHOR: The President would be unhappy to hear you did this.

SPADER: Would he be unhappy if we lose?

STRATHAIRN: The money I managed to raise for this endeavor is only for your fees, your food and lodging.

SPADER: If that squirrel-infested attic you put us in is any measure you didn't raise much.

STRATHAIRN: Should we get to work?


BERMAN: Now, W.N. Bilbo, quite a character. But doesn't really show up -- he doesn't show up at all in "Team of Rivals", the book which the movie is based on, not really a historically well-known figure. Like that you need create the role -- what was it like to get into that?

SPADER: There is -- there is certain limited amount of archive material available about him. Mainly correspondence between Secretary Steward and he, during the time of these events. And a little bit of background stuff but we had no pictures of him and not a great deal of background about him which was perfect for me. Because it really meant that we were able to sort of fly in any direction we wanted to, and did.

BERMAN: With great success and everyone seems to love it. This movie gets into the workings of Congress which at that time that was heated. I mean, those guys did not like each other. We talk a lot about the partisan divide right now. But it was like nothing.

SPADER: Yes but it was very different then I mean in that the -- the divides were within parties, too. I mean, there really wasn't -- the aisle did not sort of define the delineation between the two -- two sides of an argument on any issue. It was divided within the parties. The Republican Party had liberal factions and very conservative factions and the Democratic Party had very liberal factions and conservative factions.

So you not only were contending with people across the aisle. You also were -- there was tremendous argument and discourse within -- within your own party, which in a way, I think, felt even more democratic because argument and discourse and eventual compromise is the best that democracy can be. And it -- things -- issues and legislation didn't -- weren't just divided by party line.

BERMAN: So obviously the film deals with very serious subjects: the 13th Amendment, the existence, the abolition of slavery all together. Not a lot of laughs on those subjects obviously. But your character is one of the lighter ones, serious but also light.

SPADER: Although I must say you know Daniel Day-Lewis, who is stunning as Lincoln in this film, really -- and -- and Tony Kushner and Steven Spielberg all quite pointedly tried to mine as much of his -- personality --


BRMAN: Humor and wit in the story.

SPADER: -- yes he was a great raconteur you know and would seemingly tell stories or, you know, fairly-bodied jokes that at times it might seem inappropriate. But in -- in the end of the day I think they were sort of lightening his load at a tumultuous time for him personally and obviously politically.

BERMAN: You're character though, you looked like you're having a blast.

SPADER: I had a blast on this film. I did. It was just -- it was so much fun making the picture. And then when I saw it, I so enjoyed the film. But I -- really, I think you know we were shooting it -- the events that are depicted in the film are a very, very short period of time, just a few weeks in January of 1865. And we were shooting it in a very short period of time. I think the film schedule was about 10 weeks or something. For such a massive film, it was a very, very quick schedule.

And I think the scenes with W.N. Bilbo that I -- well, my participation in the film was not only for myself having a lot of fun. I think for everyone involved, it was a bit of breath of fresh air from the rest of the intensity of shooting -- of shooting the picture.

BERMAN: And it is an intense film. Last question here --


SPADER: I did have to pull Steven aside after we had shot a couple of scenes and I just -- I said Steven, tell me that I'm at least making the same film that everyone else is making down here in Richmond. I want to make sure that mine isn't, in tone, an entirely different animal from the rest of it.

BERMAN: And he said?

SPADER: And he said, no, he said absolutely. Keep going. Full speed ahead.

BERMAN: Well, James Spader, you were fantastic in the film with a character no one has ever seen before on screen. Daniel Day-Lewis is the Lincoln man, what was he like to be with?

SPADER: Just lovely, absolutely.

BERMAN: Did you think he was Lincoln? SPADER: He really, you know Lincoln was an -- was an exceptionally accessible president and would engage and love to engage and had a real appreciation for people and irreverence himself. And Daniel opened his heart in the same way that, that I that -- from what history has told us, Lincoln did as well, with people other -- it's a telegraph operator or a man on the street or a soldier in the aftermath leave a battle or -- or members of his cabinet. He shared so generously of himself and -- and Daniel was that as well.

BERMAN: All right, James Spader thank you so much. The film obviously "Lincoln" is in theaters now and it's fantastic. Great to see you.

SPADER: Thank you.

CHO: What a fun assignment. I mean it's on my list. I know you saw it and really liked it.

BERMAN: I saw it, I love, I really -- I really liked the movie. James Spader is so interesting. Sorry we didn't talk to you about the filming of the movie too which was in Richmond and had so many great stories.

CHO: No, it's incredible. In fact, I was reading that Daniel Day- Lewis actually stayed in character as Abe Lincoln. Can you imagine during the filming so much so that he would send text messages and he would sign them "A" for Abe. I mean it's really remarkable.

BERMAN: His portrayal will define what people think of Lincoln I think for generation.

CHO: A lot has been made about the voice too.


CHO: He worked a lot on that.

All right STARTING POINT back after this.


CHO: Welcome back. A Thanksgiving gift for one Las Vegas military family. Watch. Is that not the best Thanksgiving gift ever? Riley Morris received a big surprise when her dad, Sergeant Major Ronald Morris unexpectedly, as you can see there, walked into her dance class. Came home early from his 14-month tour of duty in Afghanistan just in time for Thanksgiving.

BERMAN: What a fantastic surprise. Happy Thanksgiving to them. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, late at least. Happy Black Friday.

That is all for STARTING POINT.

"CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins right now.