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Romney and Obama Meet Tomorrow; Powerball Fever; Ambassador Rice Meets with Senators Collins and Corker; Lottery Pools Potentially Problematic; Collins' Post-Meeting Press Conference

Aired November 28, 2012 - 11:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": This video is angering some Kansas City Chief fans. That's Chiefs running back, Jamal Charles. He asked for Peyton Manning's autograph right after Manning's Denver Broncos beat the Chiefs on Sunday.

In Charles' defense, he played hard in the game, rushing for more than 100 yards and it is not unusual for sports stars to exchange autographs or even jerseys. And he wanted Manning's autograph for his mom, so maybe we'll excuse him, but then again I'm not a Chiefs fan.

That is a look at sports this morning.

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

CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with Ashleigh Banfield.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": Thank you very much, Carol.

Hi, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. it's 11:00 on the East Coast, it's 8:00 a.m. on the West Coast and we are going to take you on a journey here, a journey through dreams versus reality.

The dream is unimaginable, life-changing wealth, instantly. And the reality is that it's probably not going to happen.

Now, when you wake up tomorrow, you will be facing, like everybody else, the fiscal cliff. You can have your dessert in a second, but first here is your main course. Ready?

Remember this guy? I know you do. It's only been three weeks since he came in second in a bitterly-fought, hugely expensive national election.

Our Dan Lothian is at the White House right now where that man is about to meet the man who did win the election, the President, and this is, of course, Dan, not exactly how Mitt Romney was hoping to walk through the doors of the White House, is it?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No, not at all. I mean, I think he would have loved to have had it be the other way around where he is the President inviting former President Obama to come here. But, no, the two will be sitting down here at the White House tomorrow, having a private lunch in the private dining room. There will be no press coverage of that, but we hope that perhaps there will be a photo of it.

Remember back on election night, the President talked about looking forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about ways to move the country forward, this after a very tough campaign where either during the debates or out there on the campaign trail each of the candidates having had very strong words about each other's vision for the country.

The President was asked about when he would be meeting with Mitt Romney during his news conference following the election. He said that he looked forward to sitting down and meeting with him, said that there are some good ideas, some things of his record that he would like to talk to him about.

When he was pressed on that, the President said that he thought that Mitt Romney did a good job in turning the Olympics around and he thought that that could apply to the federal government to make it more efficient, to make it more customer-friendly, people-friendly.

And, so, we expect that some of that will be part of the discussions when the President sits down with Mitt Romney here at the White House tomorrow.

But I think the timing of this is also quite interesting because it's kind of a high-profile showing of bipartisanship at a time when the President is trying to hammer out this fiscal challenge with Republicans up on Capitol Hill, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: And private dining room, private lunch, no media allowed. Not even a photo op or anything of them sitting down together at the table?

LOTHIAN: Nothing at this point. You know, there are a lot of things that happen behind closed doors, such as the President meeting with the CEOs today here at the White House, meeting with small business leaders yesterday at the White House, as well, and we were not allowed to go inside and see that.

But perhaps the White House photographer will get a shot and they'll put it out there and we'll get a chance to see them both together.

BANFIELD: That would be nice. And I'm just looking at the list of all the logos. There's a lot of big hitters that are headed that way, so -- and I'm looking forward to hearing the President speak, probably in about 32 minutes or so.

So, we'll come back to you live, Dan Lothian, just as soon as that happens. And thank you for that breaking news off the top.

Be great to see those two together again in a very different tenor.

So, OK, now to the fun stuff. We have heard a lot about the fiscal cliff. I mean, you're probably sick of hearing that term, fiscal cliff, debt ceiling, the tax increases. It's got a lot of us worried that we're at the mercy of a feckless Congress behaving more like stubborn kids than responsible lawmakers.

Wait. We did promise you a dream off the top of the show and imagine for a moment what it would be like if none of this fiscal cliff nonsense mattered the least bit to you. No debts, no family budgets and a half billion dollars worth of Powerball dreams.

That is the jackpot, folks, the Powerball jackpot. It just so happens to take millions of us buying up tickets to fatten up that jackpot to that big old size.

Alison Kosik is at a 7-Eleven in New York. I think you've been basically meeting a few of the wanna-be one-percenters. So, Alison, the truth of the matter, what are the odds?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I know and I hate to throw cold water on your whole dream statement that you gave. Yeah, this is all about dreams, isn't it, but you know the odds of winning are really low, 175-million-to-1. Those are your odds.

But you know what? I can't help but dream, too. I got a ticket here. One ticket, it could be the winning one and a lot of people lining up throughout the day here at this particular convenience store are sort of hoping that their dream comes true, as well.

But, you know, many -- it's also leading many to wonder how did this jackpot get so big, a half billion dollars? Well, guess what? There hasn't been a winner for this drawing since October 6th.

So, what it's done is it's rolled over time and time again and it's grown in size. But the thing is that the chance of this rolling over again, that chance is actually growing even more slim.

There is a 5 percent chance it'll roll over again and so that is really creating more of the buzz and it's getting people out, Ashleigh, to really buy up tickets and certainly increase the jackpot even more for whoever wins.


BANFIELD: Yeah, I don't like to hear that more people buy. I like the high jackpot, but it takes my chances away of winning.

By the way, Alison, real quickly, have you been seeing a lot of people walking in there buying lots of tickets, more commonly for office pools than just for their own wallets?

KOSIK: You know what? For the Mega Millions, which I watched closely in March, I saw a lot more office pool buying. Today, I'm not seeing that. I'm seeing everybody for himself. I see everybody saying they're buying tickets for themselves.

But they are talking about being more charitable if they win. They're talking about giving their winnings to family members. Oops. Helping family members out and also giving to charities.

So, they are talking about, you know, maybe winning it themselves.

BANFIELD: Don't tell me that was people fighting in line. Don't tell me that was just two people going at it to get a better spot in line.

KOSIK: Nothing that interesting going on here. No, no.

BANFIELD: OK, Alison, thank you. Did you get in on our office pool, Kosik?

KOSIK: No, I didn't but if I win I'll share. OK? You have my word.

BANFIELD: I don't believe you. But thank you for being so adorable.

KOSIK: I'm shocked.

BANFIELD: All right, stick around. Stick around. Don't go anywhere. Because, speaking of those office pools, there are a couple of office pools going on behind me, in fact. I know a few of those folks are in on one.

And I can also tell you these are my two office pools and you know what? Can you see the highlighted portion? The highlighted portion says Christine Romans, Soledad O'Brien and Ashleigh Banfield.

Look who's here.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You guys are going to do it and I didn't. I feel terrible.

But, look, I was only -- look, I don't think it is an investment. It's a gamble and I just want to be part of the fun. I don't think I'm going to win.

BANFIELD: You are adorable. Because I do believe that you were in on the last big office pool we did, as well.

ROMANS: I was, too, and I actually appointed myself the money manager if something happened and we didn't get it.

BANFIELD: Is that what you're going to do this time, too, when we win?

ROMANS: I'll take an extra two percent of your winnings to be the money manager.

BANFIELD: So, there is a reason I do this. And a little later in the program after you tell me how we're going to invest these winnings properly so that we don't end up broke in a gutter somewhere because that happens, there is a reason you need to do this and you need a photo copier in order to make sure you can continue to enjoy those millions and millions.

ROMANS: Oh, absolutely. I mean, there are lawsuits often about office pools. BANFIELD: Why?

ROMANS: Because people get in a lot of fights about when there's that big pile of money, suddenly, you know, I put $2 under your keyboard. I was supposed to be in. Or I covered you for the money.

BANFIELD: You know, there are lawyers that specialize in this?

ROMANS: I bet.

BANFIELD: And one is going to be on the program ...

ROMANS: Awesome.

BANFIELD: ... after you.

ROMANS: Awesome.

BANFIELD: Because you are about to tell us how we're going to turn several million or a hundred or 200 million into a billion.

ROMANS: Yeah. So, here is the thing. We all look at the lottery winnings and we look at how I would spend the money.

Rich people think differently. Rich people think how will I grow the money? And, so, there are a few of those lone lottery winners out there who immediately sit down, assemble a big financial team and they set out to grow money.

So, first thing, most people recommend you take the lump sum. And there's a guy in 2005 who did that, right? He took the lump sum.

BANFIELD: Brad Duke.

ROMANS: Brad Duke is his name. It was a $220 million winning, right, and he took the $80 million lump sum. He was a Gold Gym's franchise manager, I think, five different franchises in Idaho, won all this money, right? So what did he do?

He sat down, made a plan, and he set out to grow the money. He wanted to be a billionaire. Set out to grow this money.

So, this is what he did. He put $45 million into investments, low- risk investments like muni-bonds, $35 million into aggressive investments like oil and gas. Set up a family foundation. Paid off his mortgage on his 1,400-square-foot house. Then he went out and he paid off his student loans.

He also then indulged a little bit, right? Because you want to -- I think you want to quiet people around you so they stop asking for money. So, he went on a Tahiti trip, bought a bunch of new bikes, bought a used VW Jetta.

BANFIELD: No, no, no, no. Stop, stop. A bunch of new bikes? $65,000?

ROMANS: $65,000 in new bikes. Gave them away.

BANFIELD: That's a lot of new bikes.

ROMANS: And every year, he gives 12 grand which is the annual gift limit to each family member ...

BANFIELD: Before they have to pay taxes, right?

ROMANS: Before they have to pay taxes on it.

BANFIELD: So, and the used Jetta, I heard that he gave his Jetta to a nephew or a niece and then bought an older one. So, he gave a 2005 Jetta to his family member then bought a ...

ROMANS: People who are filthy rich, most people who are filthy rich and who grow their money or earn their money, they do it by living 15 percent below their means. That is how you grow your money.

BANFIELD: I have to wrap this, but not before I want to show something really quickly.

Can you just roll that video? Our colleague Robin Meade who works on HLN in the morning, she's so cute and funny and she was doing this interview with this Powerball reporter in, I think it was, Indiana, WISH-TV. Jessica Hayes was the reporter.

Just roll the video so I can just show our audience how it looked. So, here is the reporter doing a serious -- and look at this background. There is this mascot that took her job really seriously and started doing "Gangnam-Style" while the lotto official was actually trying to do a serious interview with Jessica.

And this whole thing kept going all morning long, which leads me to the question of lotto fever. I mean, it does get people a bit giddy and they do tend to think it is all one big party.

ROMANS: It is escapism.

Look, financial planning is not buying a lottery ticket and I feel really terrible about people who every week are spending more on lottery tickets than they are on investing in a 401(k) or a 529, you know, college savings.

But it is escapism from all the financial doom-and-gloom.

BANFIELD: And here's how Christine and I are going to escape. We are to escape through these two lotto ...

ROMANS: Tahiti?

BANFIELD: You want to go to Tahiti? All right, sister. All right, you do the organizing. I'll find the drinks.

ROMANS: I'll do the babysitters.

BANFIELD: Better. Plural. Better. All right, good luck tonight. ROMANS: You, too.

BANFIELD: And the legal implications of all of this, folks? Really, really important. Because your Mega Millions could turn into mega- disaster.

But we're going to tell you how not to in a moment.


BANFIELD: So, is there breaking news that's been happening this morning? We just told you off the top of the program that President Obama is going to meet with his former challenger, Mitt Romney, at the White House tomorrow. That is exciting.

And then also there is something that is going on right now. There is a meeting right now going on between the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, who has been under a lot of criticism lately for the things she said after the Benghazi attack in Libya.

And also with the top Republican on the homeland security committee, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, the Republican from Maine. We think that meeting might break up any minute while we're in this program live and, if that does, I'm going to interrupt what I am doing or what I'm about to do, hopefully, to have a few words with the good senator about how that meeting went.

If it was anything like yesterday, it didn't go so well with the senators that she met with yesterday. So, forgive me if I have to interrupt, but I want to go back to that whole thing about office pools because I know a lot of you do this.

You get in on these lotto winnings with your friends at work and, if you actually win one of these big lotto pools with like the fifty other best friends at work that you have, what are you going to do?

Because one person has the ticket, right? And sometimes they say oh, wait. Whoa, whoa. That ticket? Oh, I bought that separately. I bought that one at home. That was from my private stash not from my pool.

Oh, well, then, you know, can of worms and it gets really messy and there are actually people who deal with problems like this. In fact, Jason Kurland is a New York attorney with the Estate and Tax Planning Group and he's already dealt with clients who have won hundreds of millions of dollars, including 2011, a $254 million lotto jackpot and then a $336 million winning in Rhode Island.

So, the lotto pool, as I showed earlier, I think you were probably in the background as I was showing the lotto pool that we collected here, Christine Romans and Soledad and I ...

JASON KURLAND, ATTORNEY: That is your pool?

BANFIELD: I'm in two. I like to get in on it as much as I can. But there is a reason that I photocopied these things and there's a reason -- well, I didn't do it. Somebody did it for me which was very friendly.

And in the list of us at the back of it are all the tickets. There is a reason I did that and I think it is because I read an article about you.

Can you explain why it is so important to do this?

KURLAND: Absolutely. Here's the thing. Everybody dreams about winning the lottery, but nobody actually thinks they are going to win so nobody acts as if they are handling a $500 million transaction.

Would you handle a $500 million transaction with a handshake or trusting a co-worker? Of course, you wouldn't.

So, although it's understandable that you don't think you'll win because the odds are so astronomical, you have to treat this as if it were a real half a billion dollar transaction.

So, what do you do? Perfect. You make photocopies. Make photocopies of all of the tickets.

BANFIELD: Everybody gets this.

KURLAND: Everybody gets it.

BANFIELD: Not just me.

KURLAND: With a cover e-mail saying everybody on this e-mail is going to split this evenly if we win.

That covers a few things. First, you know you have the tickets there.

BANFIELD: You know you're on the list.

KURLAND: You're on the list.

BANFIELD: You paid your two bucks.

KURLAND: You paid your two bucks. There's not somebody who was absent that day or getting a cup of coffee when they were collecting the money who is going to say, I'm always in it. You know, what about me?

So, you have the e-mail saying these are the people who are on it.

BANFIELD: You're in it or you don't win it.


BANFIELD: Now, what about the guy who says, hey, I know you're headed to the convenience store to get it. I don't have the two bucks on me. Spot me the two bucks and you know I'm good for it. Does he have a chance? KURLAND: Listen, he has a chance, but there is going to be that e- mail and, if the person who bought the ticket was smart, they'd say, listen, I didn't get your $2. You're not in this. You know, if you want in, let me know and I'll buy another one and I'll re-circulate the e-mail. Something like that.

BANFIELD: Yeah, basically, do the lending, do whatever you want, but if you are not on this master list and you don't have the copy of the tickets attached, you're out of luck.

KURLAND: Exactly. And it also protects the person who is going to buy the tickets.

BANFIELD: Ah, my next question, Jason. I'm going to get the tickets. On this pool, there's like -- look at this. There's a whole bunch -- there's multiple tickets. All in, there's like 80 tickets on this. Crazy, I know, right?

And I want to buy one for myself, so I'm going to get the one for myself and put it in my bag or in my pocket.


BANFIELD: I know for sure I'm protected ...


BANFIELD: ... if I have the other tickets photocopied and it's not on the copy list.

KURLAND: Right. And that's how you protect yourself.

BANFIELD: Is there anything else I need to know legally? That seems very simple for a very large transaction.

KURLAND: It is simple, but so few people do it. You know, so few people do it and there are office pools all over.

You know, I'm not ...

BANFIELD: Do you have a worst-case scenario of people who've spent three-quarters of the jackpot just trying to litigate?

KURLAND: That would be a lot of legal fees. That would be like a lawyer's dream, but that is way too much. Way too much money to spend on lawyers. No, you wouldn't do that.

But, yeah, it's litigation waiting to happen if it's not done correctly.

BANFIELD: Well, I admire what you do. I hope you don't end up making money off this next one and I hope people do it the right way.

Jason Kurland, thanks for coming in.

KURLAND: A pleasure. BANFIELD: Good to meet you. Maybe we'll see each other in another life.

KURLAND: Hope so.

BANFIELD: Tomorrow perhaps.

KURLAND: Maybe tomorrow.

BANFIELD: I hope so. Back in a moment.

KURLAND: Thanks.


BANFIELD: You know, to be secretary of state of the United States of America -- that's our top diplomat and chief international, "fixer" so to speak -- you certainly do need a cool head.

You need strong nerves and a lot of grace under incredible pressure, so maybe Susan Rice can think of her Capitol Hill damage control tour as practice for that job.

Today, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. who at this point has not been nominated for anything else other than what she is currently doing, is meeting with two more Republican senators and they are Susan Collins of Maine and Bob Corker of Tennessee.

If you were with us yesterday, you'll remember that her bid to set the record straight with Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte could hardly have gone worse.

They were more inflamed about Rice's early public comments about the Benghazi, Libya attack than they had been before that meeting.

CNN's Dana Bash has been watching all of this pre-nomination confrontation drama and joins us now to talk about this because I know you're trying to wrangle an interview and make sure you catch the senators as they emerge from the meetings.

But, Dana, it might sound to some as though some of the critics of ambassador rice feel differently about what they're criticizing. They don't all seem to be in lockstep or at least have the same complaints.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): That's true. There's no question that there are different levels of different issues that senators are upset about.

But I have to tell you the reason I'm on the phone now is because I'm waiting for a very important meeting that Susan Rice is having as we speak to wrap up and that is with Senator Susan Collins.

Why is it important? Because if she is nominated to be secretary of state and assuming that the Republicans she met with yesterday stand by their desire to block her nomination, there would need to be 60 votes to approve her nomination for her to be secretary of state. In the next Congress, there will be 54 Democrats, so she would need -- she, Rice -- would need at least five Republicans to be on her side.

It is hard to imagine getting those five Republicans without the woman she is meeting with right now, Susan Collins, and that's because she is one of the remaining moderates in the Senate.

She actually has personal ties to Susan Rice in that Rice's family has ties connected to the state of Maine. In fact, Susan Collins sat next to Susan Rice at her nomination hearing two years ago or three years ago when she was nominated for U.S. ambassador.

So, this is a really, really critical meeting that they're having and she has a lot of questions. In fact, as I'm talking to you, Ashleigh, I'm getting a thumbs up that she might -- she, Susan Collins -- might be coming out momentarily.

So, we're going to be watching for that because what she says, as I said, is going to be really, really, really critical to determine if, in fact, it makes sense for the White House to actually put her nomination up, Susan Rice, if the President does decide to do that as secretary of state.

BANFIELD: Dana, Senator Collins, as you mentioned, is a moderate. She certainly hasn't been as critical, certainly, as three other senators yesterday, Senator Ayotte and Senator McCain and Senator Graham, have been about Ambassador Rice.

She hasn't been that critical up until now, but those meetings are not over. I mean, when she emerges, when Ambassador Rice emerges from this meeting ...

BASH: Ashleigh, I'm going to interrupt you because Senator Collins is here right now.

BANFIELD: Terrific. If you could grab her for us that would be terrific. We can find out the tenor. Let's listen.


SENATOR SUSAN COLLINS (R), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: ... here. I've just concluded an hour-and-15 minute session with Ambassador Rice.

I still have many questions that remain unanswered. I continue to be troubled by the fact that the U.N. ambassador decided to play what was essentially a political role at the height of a contentious presidential election campaign by agreeing to go on the Sunday shows to present the administration's position.

In addition, it is interesting to me that Ambassador Rice emphasized in her presentation not that this was a terrorist attack by al Qaeda affiliates, but, rather, that it had begun with a protest that we now know was nonexistent and that it was linked to a video, which we also know is not accurate.

At the time that Ambassador Rice made these assertions, there was conflicting evidence, it is true, but we had the President of Libya saying that 50 people had been arrested, that people, terrorists from other countries had come to Libya and that the attack was premeditated and planned.

I asked Ambassador Rice why she did not qualify her comments more in light of this contradictory reporting from the President of the country. Her answer was that she relied on our intelligence analysis.

Her answer was that she relied on our intelligence analysis. I don't understand why she would not have at least qualified her response to that question.

I'm also very troubled by the fact that we seem not to have learned from the 1998 bombings of two of our embassies in Africa at the time when Ambassador Rice was the assistant secretary for African affairs.

Those bombings in 1998 resulted in the loss of life of 12 Americans as well as many other foreign nationals and 4,000 people were injured. What troubles me so much is the Benghazi attack in many ways echoes the attacks on those embassies in 1998 when Susan rice was head of the African region for our state department

In both cases, the ambassador begged for additional security. The ambassador to Kenya sent repeated messages to the State Department requesting a stronger facility because of the increased threat and those requests, as in the case of Benghazi, were turned down by the State Department.

I asked Ambassador Rice what her role was. She said that she would have to refresh her memory, but that she was not involved directly in turning down the request but surely, given her position as assistant secretary for African affairs, she had to be aware of the general threat assessment and of the ambassador's repeated requests for more security.

Ambassador Rice said near the beginning of our session that she felt the real issue here was the protection of our people and our facilities and I agree. And that's why her actions and whether lessons were learned from the 1998 attacks on our assemblies -- on our embassies in Africa are important questions and I have asked for additional information there.

Another eerie echo is that this administration has pointed out repeatedly there was not a specific warning of a specific attack on Benghazi. Instead, there was just an increased level of the threat in the region.

Once again, in 1998, when you read the Accountability Review Board report, they say that Washington and headquarters underestimated the threat to our people in Africa.