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CNN NEWSROOM

George H. W. Bush Treated; Obama And Romney Face To Face; Trolleys Collide In Boston; Trolleys Collide in Boston; Actor Blasts "Two And A Half Men"; Winning Tickets Sold in Arizona & Missouri

Aired November 29, 2012 - 13:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

Before we jump into the historic meeting between President Obama and Mitt Romney, we've got more news. Former president George H. W. Bush is being treated for a lingering cough following a bout of bronchitis. That is according to family spokesman Jim McGrath. The former president, he is 88 years old. He was hospitalized six days ago at Methodist Hospital in Houston. Well, he is expected to be released by the weekend. If we learn more, of course, we'll bring it to you live.

Now, to today's big meeting at the White House. Imagine it, kind of awkward, yes, like a first date combined with this bitter political campaign. Well, that's one way to describe what's happening here. A lunch date between the president and Mitt Romney. We actually -- there you go. You see him there. Caught a glimpse of Mitt Romney as he arrived at the White House. That happened really just moments ago. It is the first face-to-face meeting between the two since the election. Our Jim Acosta, of course, who is following Romney in all of this is now at the White House for that meeting. Jim, what do we expect?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're going to find out, I think, afterwards, Suzanne, exactly what went on in this meeting. The lunch is a private lunch. No cameras, no reporters allowed inside, but we may get a read-out from the White House afterwards. As we just showed you in that video a few moments ago, Mitt Romney did arrive very punctual, we might add. Mitt Romney has a thing for being punctual, and he was right here at the White House at 12:30 on the dot.

And some interesting color to give you, Suzanne. Something to note, as he was on his way into the White House grounds, he was in a vehicle and apparently as he was trying to make his way through the gate, he rolled down his window, or somebody in his vehicle rolled down the window, and a man approached the vehicle and was yelling, Mitt, Mitt, and, perhaps, some expletives, from what we understand from our photojournalist who shot this, and that man was quickly ushered away by uniform secret service.

We don't know anything more than that at this point besides the fact that Mitt Romney was able, obviously, as we know, to successfully enter the grounds on the White House and have this lunch with the president. But I can tell you that an hour and a half prior to this meeting with the president, he did sit down with his former running mate, Paul Ryan. And I did have a quote, if we could throw up a full screen -- on screen for you to tell you exactly what went on at this meeting.

MALVEAUX: Sure.

ACOSTA: This is from an aide to Congressman Paul Ryan. It says, "Congressman Ryan had a constructive and positive conversation with Mitt Romney this morning. In addition to sharing updates from their families and reflections from the campaign, their forward-looking conversation focused on the critical fiscal and economic challenges ahead." That is a hint, Suzanne, that they did talk about the fiscal cliff.

MALVEAUX: Right.

ACOSTA: And, by the way, that aide did confirm this was their first meeting together since the election.

MALVEAUX: And, Jim, talk a little bit about what Mitt Romney is expecting or hoping out of his meeting with the president here. I mean, they -- this was a bitter campaign.

ACOSTA: Right.

MALVEAUX: It was personal in some ways and I imagine they have some work to do before they'll even sit down and really listen to each other.

ACOSTA: That's right, Suzanne. I think some fence-mending is probably going to happen at this meeting, but keep in mind -- and, you know, I think we talked about this at half past 12:00. Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, they hardly know each other. They had only seen each other in person a handful of times in their entire lives before those first debates, so they will have some of that catching up to do. They do have a lot of things in common. They both passed health care reform, and they both have a thing, according to aides to both Mitt Romney and to the president, for cutting the waste out of government. Press secretary Jay Carney talked about that yesterday at the briefing here at the White House.

And Mitt Romney, you'll recall, when he was governor of Massachusetts, faced his own budget that was not in balance. And in addition to cutting programs in Massachusetts, he raised a whole battery of different fees, which Democrats and his Republican rivals later called round-about tax increases. So, Mitt Romney does have some -- I guess, some expertise in this area, you might say, and he did have some areas for getting the budget balanced during the campaign that I think the president will also want to talk about, Suzanne, with respect to his ideas, proposal, that he talked about late in the campaign for capping deductions and loopholes that allow the very wealth to pay a smaller percentage of their income in taxes than regular working class and middle class Americans. MALVEAUX: All right.

ACOSTA: But keep in mind, all of that -- me just talking about this is probably longer than the lunch that they're having at this hour. So, this might just be the beginning of what will -- we'll see what happens after that.

MALVEAUX: Yes. Well, give us a read-out when you get a sense of what took place between the two, if they've mended any fences and made any progress --

ACOSTA: You bet.

MALVEAUX: -- on all those points. Thank you very much, Jim, appreciate it.

ACOSTA: Sure, OK.

MALVEAUX: The lunch, obviously, between the president and Mitt Romney is carrying on as tradition. It's a meeting between the winner and, of course, the one who lost the election. Also, very much a symbol of how in this country there's a peaceful transition of power that some take for granted, actually.

Joining us to give us a little perspective on the tradition and its significance, author and presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History and a Fellow at Rice University, and also author of the book "Cronkite." And, Doug, it was great. You and I had a chance to talk about this yesterday where we get a chance to see how -- what comes of this meeting. Very symbolic. I mean, Jim was talking about a lot of specifics here, and, you know, we talked about the fiscal cliff. But, in some ways, this is really a lot about symbolism and more for us, I think, than the two of them. Can you -- can you describe what you think it means?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Sure. Well, let me start by just saying, across the street from where I'm at, at Rice, George Herbert Walker Bush has been in the hospital, and we wish him a speedy recovery from his illness. And it's an example of how you can form a friendship at these meetings. And Bill Clinton had beat the sitting president, George Herbert Walker Bush, and they met similar the way Romney and Obama are now. And now Clinton and 41 are really dear, close friends and have done many constructive things together around the world.

But I think, by and large, these meetings, the luncheon today, is going to be about optics. It's the photo ops. It's a chance to say America is united. There may be an opportunity here for Mitt Romney to come out and talk about the fiscal cliff or saying we must -- we must avoid falling of it or something that could be helpful to the White House in the end.

MALVEAUX: You know, Douglas, I remember back in 2008, it was John McCain who met with President Obama. They simply met in his office in Chicago, not at the White House. It seemed like that was the beginning, potentially of two men, two leaders, really working together. We have since seen that deteriorate. What does it say about the potential here for rivals to actually get over that and work together?

BRINKLEY: Well, I gave you the good story of Clinton and Bush and that's one that hasn't worked, McCain and Obama. So, there's no really rule for this. We can't judge personal chemistry. I think Barack Obama has more at stake in this lunch, in the end, than Mitt Romney. If Obama can get Romney to say something positive about moving a health care agenda forward, after all, Obama care was built on the backs of Romney care. If he can say something about avoiding the fiscal cliff, the president has -- can, you know, gain at least a bit of bipartisan credibility. That's why he's doing this, but it's also the right thing to do. The real tradition of this started in 1960 with Kennedy meeting Nixon in Florida and, since then, it's pretty much pro forma. But what doesn't -- what is 50-50 is whether a friendship gets developed out of this kind of lunch.

MALVEAUX: This is the kind of thing that we take for granted in the United States. You really have to think about it and -- to appreciate what we have. When you look at other countries where there is no peaceful transition.

BRINKLEY: Well -- and, you know, I recently wrote about the Kennedy assassination, and it's amazing. I mean, here our president was killed in Dallas in 1963. In many countries, we -- people would go riot in the streets. But in America, Lyndon Johnson was sworn in, and it's a smooth transition of power. Look at Gore versus Bush in 2000. Went all the way to the Supreme Court, but there they were breaking bread together, vice president Gore and then incoming president Bush. So, it is what -- a sign. What we're seeing today at lunch is the healthy side of our democracy.

MALVEAUX: All right. Douglas Brinkley, thank you. Good to see you, as always.

I want to turn to another story here. We are going to Boston. These are aerial shots here of a train crash in Boston. We understand, reports now, that as many as 20 people might have been injured from this crash. We're following this. We don't have a lot of information about this, but we are looking at the Boston Common there, and this is -- you know, it's known as the T, the transit system there. And we understand that because of a crash, at least 20 people have been injured. We're going to have more details as soon as we can. As soon as we get more information, we'll bring that back up. We'll take a quick break.

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MALVEAUX: We've got breaking news out of Boston here. Two trolleys that have collided. We're just getting information and details now. Six people are injured, 20 are being evaluated for potential injuries. This is a video at the scene here. This in the area of Park Street Church at Park and Tremont. It's the Green Line Trolleys, or the T. My old stomping grounds here. I went to college in the Boston area. The (INAUDIBLE) transportation authority saying that this took place at Boylston Street Station. It's closed, at noon after this crash. Again, what we are being told is that six have been hospitalized, and less of a crash and more of one train bumping into another. That is the way one journalist is describing what took place there because had it been more serious, it could have been a lot more people injured with much greater injuries. Six people have been taken to the hospital, however. And you're looking at, first, those aerial shots there on the left. And then, to the right, the graphic of that -- the area in general.

As soon as we have more information about some of the details, we'll go back to a live report out of Boston.

Oh, I understand we have -- that's right. We do have a live report. We have Mike Bello with the "Boston Globe" on -- you're there?

MIKE BELLO, DEPUTY CITY EDITOR, "BOSTON GLOBE": How are you?

MALVEAUX: I understand you are at the paper, but you are reporting on this, correct?

BELLO: That's right, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Well, what do we know?

BELLO: Let me tell you, at this point, the accident happened around 11:53. T officials are saying one trolley bumped into another, but there was no derailment, no visible damage. Many of these passengers were reporting back and neck pain. Apparently, according to witnesses, one of the trains was stopped at the station. The other train came from behind. People were getting off the first train when it was bumped by the other train. One witness said he saw one man get knocked out of the door on to the concrete platform.

The volume of passenger traffic was light. Most people, it appears, walked away from this thing, but the Boston EMS set up two triage stations to treat people. It looks like six people were taken to the hospitals with what looks like nonlife-threatening injuries, 20 other people were being evaluated at the scene. It appears, in terms of the cause of this thing, it's under investigation by the transit police. But, at this point, there was no derailment and many passengers were able to walk away from the thing and were being evaluated by medical personnel.

MALVEAUX: Mike, do we know if there was any warning when that one train was coming and the other train was just sitting there? Did the train beep or honk or do anything to say, look, get out of the way here?

BELLO: I, you know, there was no indication of that. It appears that the people in the first train were caught by surprise with the other train bumping. And it was referred to as bumping into it, not a massive trolley collision, but a bump, coming into that station. So people were certainly surprised in the first train. And -- but there was a lot of calm. There appeared to be no panic. And people -- EMS people were right on the scene to evaluate the walking wounded.

MALVEAUX: All right, Mark Bello -- Mike Bello, rather, thank you very much. Appreciate it. From "The Boston Globe."

He called the show "Two and a Half Men" filth. This is how TV star's Christian beliefs have him questioning the show that actually made him famous. We're going to take a look at keeping the faith in Hollywood.

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MALVEAUX: An actor on a popular TV sitcom getting a lot of heat for calling his show anti-Christian filth. CNN's Kareen Wynter, she reports on Angus Jones' controversial comments and the backlash as well.

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KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's the kid with the clever lines on the CBS hit comedy "Two And A Half Men."

ANGUS JONES, ACTOR, "TWO AND A HALF MEN": Man, I've seen so much crazy stuff in this house, I could write a book.

WYNTER: It's not a book, but a video that's gone viral.

JONES: And please stop watching "Two and A Half Men."

WYNTER: Where child actor Angus T. Jones lambasts his own show --

JONES: Please stop filling your head with filth.

WYNTER: While professing his love for Christianity.

JONES: You cannot be a true God-fearing person and be on a television show like that.

WYNTER (on camera): A 19-year-old who reportedly earns $350,000 an episode on a show he's been part of for nearly a decade, apologized for his remarks.

WYNTER (voice-over): But for the celebrity turned devout Christian, the damage was done. Even fellow actors took jabs. "The Office" star Rainn Wilson released a video mocking the, quote, "Christian crazed "Two And A Half Men" star."

RAINN WILSON, ACTOR: Please don't watch "The Office." I'm on "The Office." It's filth.

PROF. CRAIG DETWEILER, PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY: We're so used to hearing child stars being arrested. Only in Hollywood could this be seen as something negative.

WYNTER: Pepperdine University professor and theologian Craig Detweiler says there's a price to pay for that religious public display.

DETWEILER: This man should maybe be, you know, applauded rather than attacked. But I think it reflects long-standing tensions between Hollywood and the religious community. There's far more Christians in Hollywood than people may realize, but rarely do they have an opportunity to speak out so public and boldly.

WYNTER: Stars like Jim Caviezel, Mel Gibson, and Kirk Cameron haven't shied away from publicly expressing their spirituality.

KIRK CAMERON, ACTOR: God gave me a very strong faith in something that would promise to lead me in positive directions.

WYNTER: Now this teen's making headlines. The Seventh-day Adventist Christian got candid in a testimonial for the church that he taped in October.

JONES: I don't think I would be on the show this year if God hadn't kind of pushed me into it, because otherwise I genuinely didn't want to do another year of the show.

CHARLIE SHEEN, ACTOR, "TWO AND A HALF MEN": That's it. Time to get a new kid.

WYNTER: Critics say Jones, who for eight years worked alongside TV bad boy Charlie Sheen, has left a black eye on the show, which sought an image makeover after Sheen's tumultuous departure in 2011. CBS hasn't commented on the controversy or Jones' future with the show, but outspoken Sheen has, calling the show "cursed." The next chapter for this young star hasn't been written, but it appears he's in no hurry.

JONES: No matter what happens in the day, just -- it is just a great day, you know, because I get to be a part of what God is doing in this world.

WYNTER: Kareen Wynter, CNN, Hollywood.

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MALVEAUX: Mega church founder Rick Warren says that President Obama is, quote, "unfriendly" to religion. Now, this is the same religion leader who gave the invocation at the president's first inauguration. Back then, he praised him for, quote, "commitment to civility." Well now Warren has a new book out entitled "What On Earth Am I Here For?" And his first book, "The Purpose-Driven Life," is has been a best seller list for more than a decade. Earlier today he talked with my colleague, Brooke Baldwin, about his new book and his concern for the American people.

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PASTOR RICK WARREN, FOUNDER, SADDLEBACK CHURCH: I learned a lot of things in the last 10 years. When you write a book that now over 60 million readers just in America, according to Gallop poll, 60 million people, that's 20 percent of America read it, I'm not exaggerating, I probably received a half a million letters, and I still, 10 years later, get hundreds of letters a day.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN: How many do you actually read?

WARREN: Not that many. But as I read them, the ones that I've read, it really made me sympathetic to people's hurts. There's a lot of pain out there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: All right.

Powerball. One of the winning Powerball tickets was a $10 quick pick ticket. It was sold at Four Suns Food Store in Fountain Hills, Arizona. But if you didn't win the jackpot, you could still hold the winning numbers. A look at the Powerball pay-out up next.

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MALVEAUX: All right, I didn't win, but if you bought a Powerball lottery ticket in Arizona or Missouri, you could be a multi- millionaire right now. Check the tickets. Winning numbers 5, 23, 16, 22, 29. Powerball, 6. The winning Powerball tickets sold at a convenience store at Dearborn, Missouri, just outside Kansas City. The lucky ticket-holders going to split an estimated $588 million jackpot. That is the largest ever in Powerball history. Kyung Lah is in Phoenix.

Wow, pretty amazing. The winning ticket sold in Arizona at a food store, right?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A food store. And we have the name of it. It is the Four Suns Food Store in Fountain Hills, Arizona. So, Suzanne, anyone watching, if you have been to that convenience store, it's also a gas station, you're going to want to look at your ticket.

I spoke to the store manager of that gas station, Bob Shabat (ph), and he said he calls all of this simply unbelievable. He says, you know, you hear about people winning all the time, but you never actually think that you're going to be the one who sells it. Now that this store has sold it, he is saying he hopes that he was the one who actually did it. What the lottery officials here in Arizona are telling us is that it was a $10 quick pick and that the person who is going to get this jackpot is going to have to split it with that person in Missouri.

Something else we should mention, though. OK, just because you now know that the big jackpot is gone, don't throw that ticket away because there's an estimated 8.9 million other small prizes that you're going to want to double-check.

MALVEAUX: Wow.

LAH: That's how much has been doled out. So maybe you don't have the big one, but you may have a million dollars. And so there are 68 million dollar tickets floating out around there, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: I checked my ticket. I don't have any of those numbers. I didn't win anything. Has anybody come forward and said, look, you know, I'm one of those winners?

LAH: No one's come forward. No one's come forward in Missouri or in Arizona. What they're advising here, and it was sort of surreal to hear the lottery officials say, OK, this is what you have to do. You have to take the ticket, you have to sign the back of it, get a lawyer, you know, get -- make -- get a financial planner. Very surreal to actually think about doing. But there are two people in America who are probably doing that right now.

MALVEAUX: Do they have to come public? Do they have to be public or can they be anonymous and still get the money?

LAH: They -- not technically anonymous. What they -- they can abstain from a media appearance, but they have to tell the lottery officials who they are. So, you know, the lottery does encourage them to do media interviews.