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Chiefs to Start Fund for Orphaned Baby; Dems, GOP Far Apart on Fiscal Cliff; Report: Kardashian Visit Ends in Protest; Chiefs React to Murder Suicide; "Sports Illustrated" Names Sportsman of the Year

Aired December 3, 2012 - 09:30   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Thirty minutes past the hour. Good morning to you. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me.

Stories we're watching right now in THE NEWSROOM:

The NFL Kansas City Chiefs reportedly plan to start a fund for the baby of one of their players, Jovan Belcher, who police say killed the baby's mother Saturday and himself.

Earlier this morning, Belcher's agent spoke to CNN, said the tragedy is troubling everyone.


JOE LINTA, JOVAN BELCHER'S AGENT: The how and why is the crazy of this. There's nothing in my relationship with him that would indicate any troubling past, anything that troubled him, that would have caused him to commit such a heinous act as this. And we just -- we'll never know, unfortunately.


COSTELLO: Maybe not. So far, police have said little about why this happened.

In Paulsboro, New Jersey, residents are being told to stay in doors after Friday's train derailment. Coast Guard says heightened chemical levels in the air are the reason. All schools in the area have been closed as a precaution.

One words like "flabbergasted," "rope-a-dope" and our favorite political word "nonstarter" start flying around, you know we're about to fall off the fiscal cliff. Not yet.

But it sure doesn't look like. President Obama laid out his plan -- $1.6 trillion in taxes on the rich and $400 billion in cuts. Republicans say they're -- well, flabbergasted.

And today, Grover Norquist, who is against any tax increase, has an idea. If you want to know who's negotiating in good faith, put it on TV. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GROVER NORQUIST, PRESIDENT, AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM: It's the president who's threatening to raise taxes on the middle class if he doesn't stomp his feet and get his way. He should get into a room with C-Span cameras there so instead of hearing rhetoric like this, that all show no economic. Let's have it in front of C-Span cameras.

And if the Republicans are being reasonable, we'll see that. If they're not, we'll see that. Got to have cameras in that room.


COSTELLO: I personally love C-Span as do CNN contributors L.Z. Granderson and Will Cain.

Welcome to both of you.


L.Z. GRANDERSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Let's start there. I would love to watch the negotiations in real time.

Does Mr. Norquist have a dandy idea, L.Z.?

GRANDERSON: I don't think so. I really don't. I mean, how many people are watching C-Span now? I mean, that's not the bash C-Span. It's just a fact that it's not as if this negotiation is going to last like 45 minutes with 18 minutes of commercials. It's going to go for hours and hours and hours.

And so, I severely doubt the American people are going to sit there. They don't have time to sit there and watch these two parties go back and forth. While I think it's a novel idea, it's just isn't one I think that's necessarily going to happen nor should it happen.

CAIN: Come on, come on.

COSTELLO: And really a lot of the negotiations go on, you know, not in the same room, right? Will?

CAIN: That's true, Carol. But come on. We can put both TV on pause for a few minutes and let a few hours of negotiation play out.

It's really not about the ratings and how many Americans would tune in. It's about getting these two sides on the record so the way they posture in public and on Sunday talk shows reflects the way they're actually negotiating.

You know, I will remind you -- during the Obamacare negotiations and back and forth between Congress and the president, it was a pretty fascinating thing to air when the president sat down with Congress and had his exchange with Paul Ryan over the intricacies of Obamacare. It was useful. This could be useful as well.

COSTELLO: I actually agree with Will, L.Z. I think it would be a real education for people.

GRANDERSON: For what people? Us. We're the ones that are into this kind of stuff. But the American people, they're not.

I mean, think about the number of people who still think President Obama was not born in this country. Think about the number of people who believe that President Obama is not a Christian despite the amount of information we tell them over and over again. They still hold on to their partisan values and thoughts.

And so, that's why I don't think this will be productive, because it doesn't really matter how much facts you give people. They're going to believe what they want to believe.

COSTELLO: Will, I just saw the movie "Lincoln," that gave me more faith in America.

GRANDERSON: I saw "Skyfall" instead. I'm thinking everybody's a spy. So --

COSTELLO: No. I mean honestly, you do wonder how much of this is posturing. So when Senator Lindsey Graham comes out and says, I'm sure we're going off the political cliff. I'm sure the Democrats have come to this political solution that they're going to let us go off the fiscal cliff, they're going to blame -- blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

But I kind of don't believe that. At least I don't want to believe it.

CAIN: But, you know, you just misspoke. But it was actually -- it was actually poignant. You said the political cliff instead of the fiscal cliff. So, I think that's actually apropos.

See, the deal is here, both sides have to ask themselves, who is going to be hurt politically by going over the fiscal cliff. And the answer, no matter how you look at this, seems to be Republicans.

So, Republicans are going to have to realize that not coming back with some kind of offer -- this is what's got to happen. Republicans got to respond to this ridiculous offer that President Obama put forward with their own. And then both sides will -- will beat it up and say how terrible it is. But at least the ball will get moving forward.

The truth is: Republicans don't have leverage. They lose the political fight. So they're going to be the ones that have to give in on the negotiations here.

COSTELLO: See, L.Z., he makes it sound so simple.

GRANDERSON: It sounds simple, but it isn't simple. The fact of matter is, right now Boehner, if he really wanted to, could lead a vote for the bill that the Senate has already passed, that would extend the Bush tax cuts to the middle class. They won't do that much. So, they're not even willing to do the part that everyone agrees on because they're posturing so hard. But Will definitely has a point. In two years, there's going to be a mid-term election.

No politician on either side wants to stand in front of their constituents and say vote for me because I raised your taxes and didn't do anything in Washington for two years.

COSTELLO: L.Z. Granderson, Will Cain, got to leave it there.


COSTELLO: Thanks so much.

CAIN: All right. You bet.

COSTELLO: Wherever she goes, Kim Kardashian sadly draws a crowd. But an overseas trip for the reality TV star involving a simple thing like milkshakes might be drawing more than just fans.


COSTELLO: Why does something as simple as a milkshake reportedly end with police and tear gas? Well, when it involves one of the most popular reality stars on the planet.

A.J. Hammer is in New York to tell us all about Kim Kardashian's overseas trip. Good morning.

A.J. HAMMER, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" HOST: Good morning, Carol.

Yes, this might surprise you, but not everyone is a Kim Kardashian fan. She was invited to Bahrain to help launch a millions of milkshakes franchise. There was a big crowd of screaming fans on hand. They were there to help her celebrate the launch.

But there were also apparently some people on hand who don't approve of all the attention Kim Kardashian gets because they don't really consider her to be much of a role model. So we do know that some protesters held up signs complaining about the appearance. What we haven't been able to confirm just yet are the reports that police dispersed a crowd of around 100 protesters with tear gas before the event.

Bahrain, of course, is a monarchy. They've used force on demonstrators in the past. So, even though the local milkshake place promoter has denied the story, Carol, the international press is reporting that the incident did happen and tear gas was dispersed.

I can see why the promoter wouldn't want that associated with the launch of his milkshake franchise.

COSTELLO: Yes, I can understand -- it's a strange world, A.J. That's all I'm going to say. Let's talk about something even stranger.

Hugh Hefner is getting -- HAMMER: Yes, this could be considered stranger to a lot of people. The runaway bride has returned, 86-year-old Hugh Hefner and 26-year- old Crystal Harris may, in fact, be engaged for the second time. You know that. Remember --

COSTELLO: That's beautiful.

HAMMER: You may remember the first time around Harris jilted -- it is a thing of beauty. Harris jilted Hef before they were set to walk down the aisle the first time. Now, places like TMZ are saying they're going to give it a second chance.

Harris has apparently moved back into the famed Playboy mansion. They've been open about being in a relationship but they haven't officially confirmed news of their reengagement. Although you just look to social media, Carol, there have been cryptic messages dropped on their Twitter accounts.

I don't know if this means anything but Harris's Instagram page now has her name as Crystal Hefner.

Now, Carol, we remember the old clique of schoolgirls in the sixth grade writing their last name as the guy they hope to marry some day. Maybe it's now done on social media.

COSTELLO: Maybe so. It's so beautiful. Thanks, A.J.

HAMMER: You got it.

COSTELLO: Good word on twitter. Pope Benedict is nine days from sending out his very first tweet.


COSTELLO: Forty-five minutes past the hour.

The Kansas City Chiefs played on Sunday despite the Jovan Belcher murder/suicide tragedy. And though the Chiefs won the post-game remarks were focused on the loss of Belcher and his partner, Kasandra Perkins.

Quarter back Brady Quinn and head coach Romeo Crennel spoke about what it was like to walk into the locker room. Here they are in their own words.


BRADY QUINN, CHIEFS QUARTERBACK: When I first got in I looked across and I saw his jersey hanging up. And his locker was still filled with everything. And that's when it kind of hit me.

So, you know, it was kind of tough to step back and try to gain focus, you know. You know, what the task was in front of us. And you know, more than anything else, you know, I think as a player, we just wanted to try to come together as a team and, you know, try to bring some good to the situation. Bring glory to the situation whenever you can. ROMEO CRENNEL, CHIEFS HEAD COACH: It's tough when circumstance happen, you can't undo them. And so you have to rely on each other, rely on your family, your friends and rely on your faith. And that's what the team tried to do today and were able to do that. And try to work our way through the tragedy and knowing that it's not over today. It's still will go on tomorrow, the next day, and the next day.

But life is going to go on as well and we have to work through it.

SHAUN SMITH, CHIEFS DEFENSIVE END: I've been through this situation earlier in the year in Tennessee with O.J. Murdock. When I was in Cincinnati I'm just hang in the situation so I'm kind of used to it now. I won't say used to it, but I've been in the situation before. So continue to try to pray for the families that lost loved ones and continue to go.

DERRICK JOHNSON, CHIEFS LINEBACKER: We need to talk to each other more as men. And not as football players I mean in life because generally men don't really show their feelings. You know, they don't talk about what's going on or they don't cry. They don't show emotion. I mean to -- to have an act go on like this yesterday, it's one of those things, it could have been avoided.

But as a teammate, you know, we have to do more about not getting in people's business, but I mean, just -- just, you know, making sure, you know, your teammate's ok.


COSTELLO: "USA Today" is reporting the Chiefs are starting a fund to support Jovan Belcher and Kasandra Perkins' daughter, Zoe. The 3- month-old is now being cared for by a grandmother.

The many unanswered questions about the Jovan Belcher murder/suicide. There's our "Talk Back" question today. Should the Perkins/Belcher tragedy cause us to rethink gun control? You know, like Bob Costas suggested. Your responses, next.


COSTELLO: "Talk Back" question today. "Should the Perkins/Belcher tragedy cause us to rethink gun control?"

This from Ross, "Laws are for the law abiding; people who commit crime pay no attention to laws. Criminals will get the tools of their crime no matter what."

This from Simon. "Guns don't kill people. Oh wait. Yes, they do."

This from James. "If what happened in Arizona to Gabby Giffords and 12 other people doesn't cause us to rethink gun control nothing will."

And this from Mike. "Steak knives, baseball bats and automobiles make great murder weapons, too. The whole notion of gun control is just plain stupid. We have a behavior problem in this country. That's where the focus needs to be." Please continue the conversation.

There are fabulous sports stories this morning. There really are. In fact "Sports Illustrated" is just about to name its Sportsman of the Year. That will happen live right here in two minutes.


COSTELLO: All right. "Sports Illustrated" is just about to make its biggest announcement of the year; that would be for Sportsman of the Year. Joining me now is SI's managing editor Chris Stone. Chris, take it away. Who is it?

CHRIS STONE, MANAGING EDITOR, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED": The recipient of our 58th Sportsman of the Year is Lebron James.

COSTELLO: Wow. Why Lebron James?

STONE: Well, above all, Sportsman of the Year rewards athletic excellence. And we're talking about a guy who not only had an uncommonly excellent year, he had a historic year. And, you know, to say that he won an NBA title and the MVP and Olympic Gold, you know, that would be somewhat of an incomplete answer.

The creators of this award really emphasize the manner of the striving of the athlete. And attaining what they attained and one thing about Lebron I think that's very underrated is that he really respects his gifts. He respects his talent. He respects his game. He respects his teammates. He respects his opponents. And I think all of that came to fruition in 2012.

COSTELLO: Wow. Ok. So Lebron James, of course, knows this by now. In fact, we have a bit of sound from him right now. So let's get his reaction to being named Sportsman of the Year.


LEBRON JAMES, MIAMI HEAT: I try to play like it's my last each and every night out. I don't take this game for granted. I understand that this is a sorority that we have. This is a brotherhood that we have in this league and not many people make it. So I'm happy and blessed that I'd been able to be a part of this league and then at the same time be able to make an impact while I'm here so I hope people appreciate that.


COSTELLO: See, I'm from the Cleveland area so it kind of hurts me in a way --

STONE: Oh boy.

COSTELLO: I know. Is all of that gone? The way he left Cleveland and they way they celebrated when, you know, those -- all those great players joined the Miami Heat. Is all that -- is everybody over that now? Does it matter anymore? STONE: Oh, I don't think people are over it. I'm sure there's still some people out there who probably think that the Mayans were correct that the world is going to end this month. You know, I think people still have a very -- there are some people who are going to find it unforgivable. There is nothing that's going to change that.

And I imagine there's a number of others who are going to find this somewhat distasteful. But what I would add is -- and the author of the story Lee Jenkins points this out. This isn't about Sportsman of the Year 2010, Sportsman of the Year 2011. This is Sportsman of the Year 2012 and he had a very distinctive, distinguished year that was historic in every way.

And I think ultimately, you know, he goes into arenas now and looks in the stands and where he once saw anger he sees -- and it's not just him who sees this. He sees appreciation. It might be grudging appreciation but it's appreciation nonetheless.

COSTELLO: Well, ok. I'll put my objective hat back on. Anybody who follows the NBA knows how great Lebron is. And he is great -- he's a fabulous basketball player. His coach, though, wonders how much greater he could still be. Let's listen to that.


ERIC SPOELSTRA, MIAMI HEAT HEAD COACH: I don't think anybody including Lebron knows what his ceiling is. He's right in the prime of his career, physically and mentally. And yet, he wants more. He continues to try to get better, to study the game, to see where he can improve. It's fascinating to see when the best is still motivated like he was somebody fighting for our contract.


COSTELLO: Ok, Chris. So how much better can Lebron get?

STONE: Well, I think, obviously, his -- that was coach Eric Spoelstra but the president of the Heat, Pat Riley, likes to call him Boat which is an acronym of "best of all time" and both he, both Pat and Lebron acknowledge he is not quite there yet but remember he's only in his 28th year here and I think ultimately -- I don't there's any question in anybody's mind at some point if he stays healthy and with the current arc of his career, he's ultimately going to eclipse Michael Jordan, unquestionable right now, The Boat.