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CNN NEWSROOM

Chiefs Play Despite Murder Suicide; Man Falls 40 Feet At North Carolina Stadium; Fiscal Cliff: Deal Or No Deal; Deadly Attack In Afghanistan; Prof Fights Attacker, Lets Students Escape; Son Also Killed Dad's Girlfriend; Replacing Hillary Clinton; Susan Rice Under Fire; CNN Heroes: An All Star Tribute; Escape Winter With Caribbean Getaways

Aired December 2, 2012 - 14:30   ET

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


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everyone. And thanks for joining us here in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Deborah Feyerick in for Fredricka Whitfield. Let's get to the top stories happening right now.

Well, a sad day in football. As we speak, the Kansas City Chiefs are playing their NFL game despite the tragic loss of a team member. Linebacker Jovan Belcher shot his girlfriend yesterday then drove to the team practice facility and killed himself, pulling the trigger while his coach and general manager watched in disbelief.

Belcher and his girlfriend recently celebrated the birth of their 3- month-old daughter. Casey Wian is in Kansas City, Missouri right now. Casey, what are investigators learning about why Belcher apparently did this?

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, police are telling us at this hour is that there was some sort of an argument in the hours before the shooting of Cassandra Perkins, Belcher's girlfriend early Saturday morning.

The neighbors that we have spoken with said that they never heard the couple fighting. They've been living together in the neighborhood for about a year, seemed to be getting along fine, both very happy after the birth of their daughter three months ago on September 11.

I spoke with Belcher's agent who also happens to be the agent for Chiefs Head Coach Romeo Crennel and who witnessed the suicide of Belcher, the agent said from everything he knew the couple were happy.

He said Belcher was a very high character young man and just absolutely out of character expressing total shock that he would be someone who would be involved in something like this -- Deb.

FEYERICK: You know, Casey, some people think the game should have been canceled. What is the mood there?

WIAN: The mood I can best describe it as sombre. We spoke to some fans who had mixed reactions about whether the game should go on or not. Let's listen to what some of them had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think had they made the right decision to play the game because you've got to continue on. Life goes on, you know. It's a tough decision, but I think they made the right decision.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were glued to the TV to see what was going on. When they decided to go ahead and come on out, we decided to go ahead and support the team.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just very sad. It's sad for a mother who loses her son. It's sad for that little baby. It's just sad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WIAN: Obviously a difficult decision the Chiefs and the league had in front of them. The front office, the captains of the team, the National Football League, al had discussions on Saturday, and came to the decision that the game should be played.

I have to tell you, though, that the Kansas City Chiefs average 70,000 fans per game this year. This stadium is usually 92 percent full. I was just in there a little while ago. I'd be shocked if it was half full today.

It's a very tight game, Chiefs are ahead 17-14. I have to say this is the quietest NFL crowd that I have ever heard so fans are clearly subdued and some of them so subdued they decided to stay away apparently -- Deb.

FEYERICK: Casey, finally, there was supposed to be a moment of silence for all victims of domestic abuse. Did that happen?

WIAN: Yes, it did happen. Apparently, there was some discussion of wearing an arm band in honor of a dead teammate. Some felt that was not -- that would not be an appropriate way to honor the other victim in this tragedy, his girlfriend, Cassandra Perkins. So they decided to hold a moment of silence for the victims of this tragedy and all domestic violence victims.

FEYERICK: All right, Casey Wian, thanks so much. We'll check in with you later on.

Another sports-related tragedy, it happened outside the Bank of America Stadium last night, a 22-year-old man in critical condition after falling from a ramp down 40 feet. The incident happened moments after kickoff of the ACC Championship between Florida State and Georgia Tech. Authorities say they think it's the first such incident at the Charlotte, North Carolina venue.

Well, 30 days and counting to the country's potential fall off the fiscal cliff. Avoiding it will depend on what lawmakers in these two buildings do or don't do. If they do nothing, everyone's taxes go up and automatic spending cuts take effect. Still, it appears the Congress and the president are digging in with no imminent deal in sight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TIMOTHY GEITHNER, TREASURY SECRETARY: If they are going to force higher rates on virtually all Americans because they're unwilling to let tax rates go up on 2 percent of Americans then that's a choice they're going to have to make.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: This isn't an issue about Democrats or Republicans. My goodness, this is about our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FEYERICK: Well, one thing both sides agree on is the government needs to raise more money, how much, how they do it, those are two of the many sticking points and the clock is ticking.

Well, a series of suicide car bombings leave five people dead in Eastern Afghanistan today. Insurgents disguised as coalition forces attacked a joint U.S.-Afghan base at three different locations. So far no reports of any U.S. casualties. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

And in Wyoming, a college teacher may have saved the lives of several of his students. Authorities are praising the instructor's actions. He tackled a man who barged into the classroom, shooting the instructor in the head with a hunting bow.

More startling, the attacker was the professor's own son, according to police. The gruesome scene played out Friday Casper College. The local police chief explains what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF CHRIS WALSH, CASPER, WYOMING POLICE: The suspect stepped into the classroom where Professor Klumme was ready to begin the day, fired one arrow and struck the professor in the head.

The professor got up after being knocked from the blow from the arrow and even though mortally wounded he fought the suspect off. The students in the room were all able to escape during this altercation because of the courage of the professor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FEYERICK: Police say that before attacking James Krumme in his classroom, his 25-year-old son, Christopher, fatally stabbed his dad's girlfriend at the couple's home. He allegedly stabbed his father to death before then turning the knife on himself and dying from self- inflicted knife wound.

Well, she has flown all over the world, but now Hillary Clinton is hanging up her diplomatic wings. So just who will be the next secretary of state? That is the $64,000 question. Could the answer be Ambassador Susan Rice or maybe Senator John Kerry? We'll look at the long and short list next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) FEYERICK: One of the big decisions President Obama must make is who will replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The frontrunner seems to be Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, but Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, well, his name is also floating around. There's even talk of Michael Bloomberg, the New York City mayor or Bill Clinton.

Dana Milbank is a "Washington Post" columnist and Dana, the president is standing firm by Rice. We remember the stern words that he gave against the senators who were targeting her. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: For them to go after the U.N. ambassador who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence she had received and to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FEYERICK: Since then a couple of other senators besides McCain and Graham have spoken out saying Rice misled the public on what happened in Benghazi when the American ambassador and three others were killed in the attack in September. The real question here is can she be confirmed? Not just because of Benghazi, but because of her whole body of work as the United Nations ambassador?

DANA MILBANK, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, she does have an unusually large number of enemies on Capitol Hill because of things that have happened in the past, certainly John McCain because of the campaign, but others that she has antagonized along the way.

But what's interesting here is the more Republicans are pushing back on this, it puts the president in a position of perhaps he wasn't going to nominate her before, but it's almost like he can't back down from the fight now and he needs to spend his political capital on this fight.

So the others are probably having the reverse effect of that which they are intending. If the president wants to put up a fight, he can get her confirmed by the Senate. The question is, is that what he wants to spend his political capital on?

FEYERICK: Absolutely. You know, one of the things I see this play out, some of the senators are really punishing President Obama for winning in part because they believe that Rice lied to make it seem less than it really was leading up to the election. Floating Senator Kerry's name out there, he is supported by a lot of the same people attacking Rice. Is there political gamesmanship going on right here?

MILBANK: There certainly could be some element of that going on. I think there is some particularly in McCain's position a great deal of history there with Susan Rice. It is interesting that they want to make this stand on again Benghazi because there were, indeed, problems, things to be probed about what actually occurred over there in Libya.

But the idea of going after her and disqualifying her for secretary of state because she read out talking points on a Sunday talk show is kind of a difficult argument to make.

FEYERICK: And I think that's what the majority of the public has sort of trouble reconciling, which is, look, when news is breaking, everybody sort of goes with what they've got and then has to readapt it. Why there's so much anger against her is confusing to a lot of people. All right, Dana Milbank, always nice to have you on with us. Thanks so much.

MILBANK: My pleasure.

FEYERICK: Well, in Japan frantic rescue attempts after a tunnel collapsed on several cars. We have the latest details.

And tonight it's "CNN Heroes, An All-Star Tribute." In a few minutes, we'll meet a past winner and hear why he became a national celebrity in his home country after winning the award.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FEYERICK: Set your alarms for 9:00 tonight and join us here on CNN for our "CNN Heroes All-Star Tribute." For a little where are they now, Nischelle Turner is in Los Angeles for with our 2009 Hero of the Year. Nischelle, tell us how dramatically life has changed.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they definitely do. Yes, I want to bring in Efren Penaflorida in. Come on in here, Efren. Efren is our 2009 "CNN Hero of the Year." We were talking earlier, once a hero, always a hero.

Deb was just asking a question about how your life as a hero has changed since you were honored by this program? Because were you doing good work with the dynamic team company in the Philippines for about a decade before you were honored, but since then what has happened?

EFREN PENAFLORIDA, 2009 CNN HERO OF THE YEAR: Yes, actually CNN Heroes helped us to get a lot of attention and the program, the push cart classes, has been replicated for more than 70 times all over the country and even the government noticed it.

The Ministry of Education in the Philippines is replicating it across the nation. We are also able to effort with other unsung heroes, volunteers, their time volunteering with us and also we're able to build our own school. We call it the push cart school.

TURNER: It was in the form of a push cart. Now here is the question that I know parents everywhere want to know because it's hard enough to get a teenager to do just about anything, but you have gotten teenagers to help teach children in the Philippines slums reading and writing and start to make a difference on their own right. So you're paying it forward as well. PENAFLORIDA: Yes, actually, yes. It is an inspiration from my mentor who encouraged me to love learning and embrace it because he believed that if you love and embrace learning and it will love and embrace us back. I live it so that's why I'm doing this. It's because I love learning and I want to share those children who are deprived or have no opportunities to have education.

TURNER: And the other thing, too, Deb, with the CNN Heroes program, it's an opportunity to get dressed up and celebrate those people. Efren was saying earlier every day people who do extraordinary things and that's what we like about this.

But the CNN Hero of the year like Efren gets $250,000 grant to help aid their cause. This is a celebration with a cause and it really does go a long way. The top ten heroes each get a $50,000 grant and so we like to do that. We like to see people like Efren who are really doing great work celebrated at least for one night of the year.

FEYERICK: Absolutely. As you say, Nischelle, it's just passing it on. It's just paying it forward. All right, thanks. There's a lot of buzz and momentum there now as everybody does get ready to show up tonight, right?

TURNER: Yes. There's a lot going on. The red carpet, we're standing on the red carpet right now. There's a lot going on. You see the crews up there putting finishing touches. We had to put the tarp up because it never rains in Southern California.

Well, it has been for the last three days so we want to make sure everybody who has their wonderful outfits on stays dry and pretty. We're doing that, putting the finishing touches on.

So 9:00 Eastern Time tonight the show will kick off an hour before Anderson Cooper has a wonderful special, "Sharing the Spotlight that" will air on CNN as well and we're going to have a great night. Good times here in Los Angeles.

FEYERICK: All right, Nischelle Turner, thank you so much. We appreciate you joining us and of course, we're going to be checking back in with you in a little while. Thanks so much.

TURNER: Sure.

FEYERICK: All right, well, forget the snow and the icy roads. Doesn't this -- take a look. Doesn't this scene look so much more appealing? We're going to show you how you can escape the winter with some great vacation deals.

Plus, later we sit down with actor Brad Pitt who talks about his future with Angelina Jolie and weighs in on political issues.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRAD PITT, ACTOR: Now there's a resurgence in hope again and I hope it's a time where more bipartisanship and it's less about winning and people coming together and dealing with the issues. It's a must. (END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FEYERICK: The holidays are getting closer. That means it's getting colder. There are ways to escape the snow, the wind and the icing roads. We are talking Caribbean getaways.

Joining me is Nilou Motamed, the features director for "Travel and Leisure" magazine. We're approaching high season in the Caribbean. Time is usually, what, mid December to mid April and prices are usually at their highest but you say we can find some great deals. So let's start with hotels in Martinique?

NILOU MOTAMED, FEATURES DIRECTOR, "TRAVEL AND LEISURE": This is a gorgeous property and what I love about all the properties that we're going to be talking about today is the fact that they're intimate. You go to the Caribbean you have so many alternatives and a lot feel a little bit like they don't have that special sense of place.

And what's great about Martinique is that you feel surrounded by culture. You go to this place, it's only 16 rooms, lovely, airy, beautiful, crisp white linens and linen draped chaises and you are surrounded by this great Creole, French culture, all of that together and under $250 a night. I feel this place is a steal.

FEYERICK: Absolutely, pretty remarkable. Well, let's go to the hermitage plantation in Nevis. Now it used to be a sugar plantation, right?

MOTAMED: It did. It dates back to the late 1600s and what I love about this property, again, it really has that feeling that you are in this old world place. If you think about those gingerbread plantation houses that you imagine, this is that fantasy come to life.

There aren't that many rooms so you are, again, in this very intimate space. The inn actually has a rum punch that dates back 350 years. It's an absolute secret what is in it so you have to keep on trying it, plenty of rum. To combat that, they do afternoon tea every afternoon on the veranda of the great house, and that is very much back to the English history of the island.

FEYERICK: And what's nice is these places seem smaller and more personal and let's go to Jamaica, this hotel has a real focus on relaxation. Tell me a little bit about it.

MOTAMED: They do and that's what you really need to do. It's great to snorkel, to be active, but you need time to relax. At Tensing Pen it's all about relaxation. It's all about yoga. It's all about hammocks overlooking the water. It's about low-key snorkelling, all about reggae, and what I love about this property, again, is that it's small.

It's only 21 rooms. You are in the very rustic thatched huts and so you're basically spending time going off the grid and that's what all of us need, a little warmth, a little off the grid, a little rum. That's the plan for the holidays.

FEYERICK: A little rum and yoga. It makes the yoga more interesting. All right, Nilou Motamed, thank you so much. We appreciate it. For more information on the Caribbean getaways and more great travel tips, check out this month's "Travel & Leisure" magazine.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FEYERICK: Now a look at some of the stories trending on the internet. In Japan, several people are dead after a tunnel collapse near Tokyo. At least two cars are still trapped under the concrete. Rescue crews are working to free them from the rubble.

Well, I'll be back in one hour, so join us at the top of 3:00. We'll be talking about the Supreme Court. On Friday, the justices had a chance to tell us if they would weigh in on same sex marriage. Find out why they aren't necessarily finished with the issue.

Plus, we sit down with Brad Pitt as he takes on the issue of same sex marriage. Stay with CNN. "YOUR MONEY" starts right now.