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Train Derails, Spilling Toxins in New Jersey; Boehner Slams Obama Over Pennsylvania Trip; Winning the Jackpot; Joe Biden's Adventure at Costco; Dating Across the Political Aisle

Aired November 30, 2012 - 10:30   ET


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN ANCHOR: Just in, 18 people are being treated for respiratory issues when a train in New Jersey carrying toxic chemicals derailed when a bridge collapsed in the community of Paulsboro.

Residents in the entire community of Paulsboro are being asked to stay inside and keep their windows closed while the Coast Guard works on cleaning up the scene. We'll bring you lots more information as it comes in.

Well, after the United Nations voted to declare Palestinian territories a non-member observer state, this historic victory gives Palestinians reason to cheer, to celebrate. It also came as a bit of a disappointment to the United States and Israel, which opposed the measure.

Well, the FDA is advising concerned consumers to stop taking the generic form Lipitor if their pills are part of a group that's been recalled. A pharmaceutical company recalled 41 lots of the cholesterol-lowering drug three weeks ago after specks of glass were found in some of the bottles.

Well, there's a lot of finger-pointing on Capitol Hill as the fiscal cliff looms now just 32 days away. House Speaker John Boehner says no progress has been made in two weeks of talks and Republicans want the White House to come up with significant spending cuts. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid responded to Boehner saying, quote, "I don't understand his brain", unquote.

Well those talks over the fiscal cliff seem to be heading towards a stalemate but do the Capitol Hill theatrics tell the whole story? Well here's how Politico summed it up. Listen to top Democrats and Republicans talk on camera and it sounds like they could not be further apart. But behind the scenes top officials who have been involved in the talks for many months say the contours of the deal are starting to take shape.

Well, joining me now are Jason Johnson a political professor at Hiram College and chief political correspondent for Politics 365, also Republican strategist Ron Bonjean. And Ron, let's start with you.


FEYERICK: Both sides know they're going have to make a deal. One congressman says to get there it has to look like this was fighting this way you know it's kind of like managing the public's e expectations, oh, we didn't give anything, oh, we didn't either. Is this rhetoric all just for the show of it?

BONJEAN: Part of it is and part of it isn't. Part of it is, you know, both sides have to show, have stake out their territory, in any negotiation, you know, you have to show what you want, the most of what you want first and then you start really negotiating.

So you know, on the inside, yes, you know, they're starting to work on more details of it and each side is figuring out how far can they go? So it's -- right now, you know, we're early. This is going to be a roller coaster, you know, it's -- we have a month left until we go over a fiscal cliff. That's -- that's a very short amount of time, but in Congress that is ages. That is a very long time for them to negotiate and come up with a deal.

FEYERICK: And Jason, President Obama is returning to a tactic that he's used in the past. He's taken the pitch on taxes directly to the American people in a trip to Pennsylvania today. House Speaker John Boehner not too happy about it. Let's listen for a minute --


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: Listen, this is not a game. Jobs are on the line. The American economy is on the line. And this is a moment for adult leadership. Campaign-style rallies and one- sided leaks in the press are not the way to get things done here in Washington.


FEYERICK: Well, Republicans are reportedly planning their own fiscal cliff, PR campaign designed to show that the Democrats are -- are simply digging in, they are being stubborn, election is over, shouldn't both sides be focused on doing the job they were elected to do. How do you see it?

JASON JOHNSON, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, you're going to have a bunch of rallying on both sides and some of this is theatrics. It's Christmas time. You know how you -- you tell your kids you have to be really good or Santa is not going to give you what you want but you know you're going to buy them the new PS-3 anyway. That's kind of what's going on.

Both sides recognize that it is absolutely death, it's a political death for either side for us to go over this fiscal cliff, so Barack Obama's going to rally his side, Republicans are going to rally their side. Look, the Obama administration has already said they that might cut up to $400 billion out of Medicare. I think this is going to get done, but I think they're going to wait until the last minute to make sure each side looks tough.

FEYERICK: Yes and what's so fascinating to me just very quickly, when I hear both sides of the argument and sort of the sticking appointments where they're sort of digging in, there's logic on both sides, but who are the dealmakers? Who are really pulling this together? Because sometimes when I listen to some of these political folks, I'm not so sure they are the ones who are sort of moving all the pieces.

But very quickly, Jason, Ron, who do you think it is?

BONJEAN: Yes well, I think the players on TV, you know, obviously the President is going to be a part of it, Speaker Boehner is going to be part of it, but you know Eric Cantor, Vice President Biden, you know there are a number of -- Mitch, Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, Harry Reid. These are the big players but, you know, there are also ones too, like Senator Chuck Schumer.


BONJEAN: There are a number of big players here that are going to be involved. But do you know what, they -- they can try to manage the negotiation but they're going to have to each handle their caucus. For one, Republicans have to talk about how are they're going to handle marginal rates. For the Democrats they have to talk amongst themselves how are they're going to handle entitlement reform. Those are the two biggest sticking points I think in the negotiation.

FEYERICK: And I think they are going to get there. Jason, very quickly, because we're running out of time, but I do think you're analogy, you better be good otherwise Santa is not going to come in -- come and get you, if they don't do the right things I think a lot of Americans are going to be pretty disappointed about all of this.

Jason, Ron, thanks, we'd love to talk to you more, but we've got to run. Thanks.

BONJEAN: Thank you.

JOHNSON: Thanks.

FEYERICK: Well, who are Powerball's newest millionaires, we're waiting and watching for the winners who are holding very profitable tickets waiting for them to step forward.


FEYERICK: Well, what would you do if you just want to share the $587 million Powerball drawing? How would you react? Would you jump up like this guy in the neon yellow safety gear? Well this is surveillance video from suburban Washington. Customers say this unidentified man just checked his ticket when he says he won, oh, my God. That's kind of constrained I would be, you know I would like, doing cartwheels right now.

Jay Korff, from our affiliate WJLA in Washington has this story.


JAY KORFF, WJLA: Marlboro Village Exxon employees like Freddie Lopez -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only from Marlboro could that happen.

KORFF: And customers like Paul Gosk --

PAUL GOSK: Good news.

KORFF: -- are still buzzing from the remarkable scene they witnessed inside these walls. Surveillance cameras show a tall bald man donned in a neon yellow outfit walk slowly in, in no particular rush, he digs deep into a pocket to pull out various lottery tickets. He checks to see if he won anything. Seconds later he starts pumping his arms, he gives the ticket which he says he gotten in Arizona to the clerk Nagassi Ghebre who says the winning numbers were on the Powerball ticket.

NAGASSI GHEBRE, CLERK: Just give me that ticket.

And then that's when he said I got to get out of here. And he took off.

KORFF: The apparent winner of one of the biggest jackpots of all-time quickly turns to a customer for verification and then to Paul Gosk who gets out his glasses for a better look.

GOSK: And he says are these the right numbers and I looked out at him and I said yes, that's the numbers. You got them all.

KORFF: The man who kept on shouting "I won" didn't stay long.

(on camera): You had the ticket in your hand?

GOSK: I should have run down the road, shouldn't I?

KORFF: If this is one of the two national winners, this mystery man gets after splitting the cash option with a winner from Missouri nearly $200 million.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's amazing. Absolutely amazing, I couldn't believe it.

GOSK: Came back a minute later and said I forgot to get my gas. What am I thinking?

KORFF: We don't know the mystery man's name, where he lives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said he lived in Maryland, I'm pretty sure.

KORFF: Or where he's heading on a full tank of gas, but you get the sense he may soon return to Arizona.


FEYERICK: Well, that was Jay Korff from affiliate WJLA in Washington.

As for the other winning ticket sold in Missouri, in just a few hours lottery officials will hold a news conference where the winner is expected to be announced.

Well Vice President Joe Biden goes shopping and eating. The Vice President visited Costco, but he needed some help with his shopping list. Jeanne Moos shows us why.


FEYERICK: Well, he is a heartbeat away from the presidency, but every now and again, you know the Vice President's got to get out of the office for a little bit and Joe Biden went to the grand opening of Costco's first store in the nation's capital, probably bought a lot more than he intended or maybe that's just me.

By the look of things, he came ready to shop. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Say it aren't so, Joe. The Vice President invades Costco.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to cut through the liquor section.

MOOS: Forget driving a sleigh, Joe Biden didn't even drive his own cart. A Costco employee seem thrilled to do the honors. His consumer confidence was high as the VP flashed his Costco card. Joe Biden had the press pack in tow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys, if you would keep walking backwards please, if you guys go to the bakery session, please.

MOOS: Imagine shopping for a watch with the press watching from behind every counter as Vice President Biden called his daughter.

BIDEN: Getting some guidance.

MOOS: he looked at a $1,200 watch but we don't know if he bought any watches. We do know what he ate. Every free sample in sight in the bakery section where he bought an apple pie.

(on camera): It's a dilemma if you want to shake hands or do you want to eat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Made locally by a local bakery.

MOOS: He shook and ate, he put a package of crackers in his cart. Costco cost the Vice President a lot of calories.

BIDEN: You get fat just walking through this store.

MOOS: Vice President Biden came to promote extending middle-class tax cuts and it probably didn't hurt that the co-founder of Costco is a big Obama contributor. Before he left, the VP used the phone of his cart driver, Ivy Stewart, to call her grandmother and leave a message. Ivy was so moved by the whole experience, she wiped away tears. BIDEN: Thanks for shopping with me. And I know you won't tell anybody what I bought for Christmas here.

MOOS: Here's a hint from Nat King Cole's classic -- on the dirt flame --

"The Huffington Post" held a caption contest for Joe Biden's checkout photo. Our favorite, "Stopped by for some fire logs, went home with a flat screen TV, 32 inches".

Jeanne Moos, CNN --


MOOS: -- New York.


FEYERICK: Well, that just ruins the Christmas surprise about that television, but looking for love? When the politics are against you. We're going past the party lines in search of romance.


FEYERICK: Russell Simmons does it. Lady Gaga, Jennifer Aniston -- they also do it. What am I talking about? Yoga, in this "Daily Dose" Kristin McGee, celebrity yoga and pilates instructor offers her tips on how to get started.


KRISTIN MCGEE, YOGA INSTRUCTOR: You are brand-new to yoga, but you've always wanted to try it, here's how you can begin. Now, first, if you have the finances, you might want to splurge and give yourself a private yoga session. If you hire someone to come in privately and teach you, it's like, hiring your own private golf pro. You're going to really get to know the forms correctly.

Now, if you don't have the finances, you can go to one of your local health clubs and try one of their beginner classes or their basic yoga classes. Make sure you let the yoga teacher know that this is your first time and stand in the middle of the room so you can watch a few people in front of you but you're also not in the way back so you get totally lost in the shuffle.

If you don't have the opportunity to go to a class, you can always start to go online. No matter how you begin, yoga is a wonderful practice for all levels, for all body types, and I hope you give it a try.



FEYERICK: The election is over. It's time to get on with the rest of our lives and that includes dating, right? So he's smart, funny; she's charming, successful. So, what if he's a Democrat and he's a Republican? James Carville and Mary Matalin, they make it work, so why can't anybody else?

Well, joining me to discuss the new era of bipartisan dating is Barbie Adler, president of the matchmaking service Selective Search. Barbie, is it possible to find love across party lines or is there no possibility of compromise?

BARBIE ADLER, PRESIDENT, SELECTIVE SEARCH: It really depends on how politically active you are. For some they will not cross the party line and for others you can agree to disagree but it really comes down to your core values and beliefs.

For some you are preconditioned in terms of what your belief system and it would be a deal breaker and there's no way that you would ever consider going red or going blue.

FEYERICK: You know, it's interesting because everybody says, well, opposites attract, but every now and then opposites also get on each other's nerves and drive each other apart, right?

ADLER: Opposites attract for the short term but long-term compatibility the more you have in common with your mate the more chances that you're going to have a long lasting, happy relationship and marriage.

FEYERICK: You are a very selective matchmaker. This past election was fierce. What kind of political requests were you seeing? Were people actually saying, you know, single, female Democrat looking for a Republican male?

ADLER: Well, people come to Selective Search because they're looking to find something very special. They're selective. So, we treat someone's political requests the same way we deal any other search criteria, but it was a very fiery election. This year more than ever.

So, what we do is make sure that we honor people's requests. We respect it. And we work the whole entire search around it and everything is customized and people come to us because they're looking for -- to find the love of their life and not just a date.

FEYERICK: So, for example, how can it -- how can it work? I mean, what are the two things? If you're going to set up a Democrat with a Republican or a Republican with a Democrat, you know, do you just avoid political conversations?

ADLER: Sure. What I would recommend is first you have to listen to each other, communicate and have respect. And ask questions. I disagree with avoiding it.

I think sometimes some people have more in common than they realize and if you don't, then it's more important to talk about it before you're investing time into the relationship, but also have a sense of humor. Sometimes stimulating conversation is a key to a happy marriage, so and that could also lead into the bedroom and romance and make it fun and talk about it. Or agree that you're not going to talk about it all the time.

The other thing is if you have nothing else to fight about it could be that one thing and that's what really works for Mary and James in their relationship is they don't really have any other thing to fight about, that's their one thing and they are also having fun being at odds with each other, that's something that --


FEYERICK: Publicly they don't have anything to fight about. In terms of, look, if a Democrat marries a Republican, I mean, what you're looking there with James Carville and Mary Matalin, those are two people who canceled out one another's votes when election time came.

ADLER: Absolutely, absolutely. I think what's most important --


ADLER: -- is really having a sense of humor about it if you are already married to someone and just like anything else, communicating and listening and, again, agreeing to disagree. But if you can if you're not married is really making sure that you understand what's important to you and honoring that so that you could really have a long lasting relationship.

FEYERICK: And also bottom line, it's respecting the other's person -- the other person's opinion. All right, Barbie Adler, thank you very much. We appreciate you joining us today.

ADLER: Thanks for having me.

FEYERICK: Learning does not have to take place in a classroom. More students are studying online and that's creating a learning revolution.


FEYERICK: The National Retail Federation predicts about 600,000 people will pick up new shifts this holiday season, but holding on to those jobs after the holidays, that can be tough.

Tom Foreman explains the way many are beating the odds in today's "Building Up America".


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At Johns Hopkins University Professor Roger Peng was hoping for a few extra students in his statistics course. So he signed up for a new program to put his lectures online.

ROGER PENG, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: I was expecting, you know, maybe a few thousand -- tops.

FOREMAN: What did you get?

PENG: So, in the end I had 54,000 students enrolled, and about -- FOREMAN: 54,000 students are in your course?

PENG: That's right.

FOREMAN: Such is the rapidly exploding power of online learning, an old concept that is being newly embraced by dozens of the nation's top schools which want to reach more students, expand their influence, and enhance their worldwide reputations at very little cost.

They're all offering classes online for free through companies like Coursera and the non-profit EDX, the joint venture of MIT and Harvard, and the response is astonishing.

ANANT AGARWAL, PRESIDENT, EDX: We had 10,000 students sign up in the first few hours that we opened enrollment and this was at midnight U.S. time and then the numbers went all the way up to 155,000 in a short amount of time. It was completely insane.

Reporter: students are connecting from all over the world for all sorts of reasons. In Chicago Dawn Smith wanted to improve her job skills with a free course in pharmacology from the University of Pennsylvania. She loved the convenience, the quality and the cost.

DAWN SMITH, STUDENT: I have about another 19 years of payments on my master's degree, so I didn't necessarily want to add to the cost of that, which was a big factor.

FOREMAN: Some educators point out that the immersive experience of attending a college can hardly be replicated by logging on to a laptop and that contact with professors is hugely limited online. But even critics admit this trend could open up education to hundreds of millions of people.

PENG: I've already taught more students than I ever could have hoped to teach, you know, in my entire career.

FOREMAN: And there is still a lot to learn.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Baltimore.


FEYERICK: I'm Deborah Feyerick, thanks so much for joining us here today. There's lots more ahead. "CNN NEWSROOM" continues right now with Ashleigh Banfield. Hey, Ashleigh.