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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Fiscal Cliff Countdown; 911 Calls Released In Jovan Belcher Case; Anti-Government Anger Swells in Egypt; Subway Pushing Death; U.S. Oil Production Hits Nearly 15-Yr. High

Aired December 5, 2012 - 06:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The manhunt is the over for the man accused of pushing another man in front of an oncoming subway train. Coming up, brand new video of the men arguing on the subway platform and "The New York Post" cover that has the paper in hot water this morning.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Plus, 133 people dead, killed in the massive typhoon that hit the Philippines. Complete details straight ahead.

ROMANS: And we are now ten days away from Congress going on break. Still, no approved plan to keep us from going over the fiscal cliff.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS (on-camera): Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans. I'm in today for John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is Wednesday, December 5th and it is 6:00 a.m. in the east. So let's get started here, up first, President Obama refusing to blink in the bitter fight over the fiscal cliff.

In 27 days, Americans face severe tax hikes and spending cuts if Democrats and Republicans cannot cut a deal. And remember folks, that Congress breaks for the holidays. That is in 10 days so slash that number. In an interview with Bloomberg TV, the President making it clear any agreement has to include tax hikes for the wealthiest Americans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we're going to be serious about reducing our deficit, while still being able to invest in things like education and research and development that are important to our growth, and if we're going to protect middle-class families, then we're going to have to have higher rates for the wealthiest Americans, folks like me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: White House correspondent Dan Lothian joins us live from Washington this morning. It's nice to have you with us.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good to see you.

SAMBOLIN: So what's the next move for Republicans, Dan?

LOTHIAN: Well, you know, I think Republicans are in a difficult spot here. One of the sticking points is this $800 billion in new tax revenue. This is part of Speaker John Boehner's proposal. It doesn't call for more taxes on the wealthy, but it does call for eliminating some deductions, closing loopholes.

Nonetheless, there are some conservatives who are pushing back on this. They think that this will hurt job growth and these are conservatives who are backed by the Tea Party. They're outright rejecting it. So what you're seeing here developing is that Republicans are not speaking with one voice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JIM DEMINT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Republicans should not be conceding that the federal government needs more money, negotiating with ourselves, and treating the President's proposal like it's serious.

REP. TOM COLE (R), OKLAHOMA: Look, I support the speaker and we're actually not very far apart on anything. You know, at the end of the day he has to negotiate a deal.

If there is an area we do agree with the President on, 98 percent of the American people getting about 80 percent of this tax cut shouldn't have their taxes raised. My suggestion was let's take the one area we agree and take it off the table.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LOTHIAN: Now the main issue, though, here is that the President is not budging at all. He says that there's no deal unless taxes do go up on wealthy Americans. The President in that Bloomberg interview saying that he's not being stubborn. He's not being partisan, but rather, quote, "it's just a matter of math" -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Take the one area that we agree and then take that off the table. Wouldn't that be a novel idea?

LOTHIAN: I know. It would be so easy.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it would be crazy and great.

LOTHIAN: That's right.

SAMBOLIN: So the new polling shows that Americans are pessimistic that a deal will be reached. You have those numbers, break them down for us.

LOTHIAN: That's right. You know, this probably is a reflection of the tone change we've seen in Washington, where at one time just a few weeks ago, everyone seemed to be optimistic, now lawmakers, some at the White House, pessimistic that a deal will get done.

And so this is "The Washington Post"/Pew Research Center poll when people were asked whether or not they thought that the GOP and the President would get a deal here, 49 percent saying no, 40 percent saying yes.

And then the issue comes up, who gets the blame if this fiscal cliff scenario plays out, 53 percent says the GOP, 27 percent say President Obama, 12 percent say both sides get the blame for this.

Clearly Americans want a deal to get done here and they're very concerned because we're talking about some real consequences here. Yesterday we heard from some governors who were pointing out that lot of the revenue that they get comes from federal grants.

And so states like Virginia could be impacted because of the defense contractors. Other states even like South Dakota, a small state, could be impacted because 10 percent of its revenue comes from federal grants. So education programs could be impacted as well. So a lot of people concerned and they want this deal to get done.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, I think when you break it down, just about everybody is impacted here. Dan Lothian, live in Washington for us. We appreciate you this morning.

LOTHIAN: OK.

ROMANS: This morning, we're hearing for the first time the 911 calls in the alleged murder/suicide involving Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher. The first call made by Belcher's frantic mother after finding her son's girlfriend Kasandra Perkins shot. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DISPATCHER: Is she bleeding?

CALLER: Yes, she is.

DISPATCHER: Where is she bleeding from?

CALLER: I can't tell. In the back it looks like.

DISPATCHER: OK. We don't want -- go ahead. Where is your son at?

CALLER: He left.

DISPATCHER: What?

CALLER: Get the ambulance up here, please.

DISPATCHER: We're on the way. Where is your son at?

CALLER: He left.

DISPATCHER: He left?

CALLER: Yes.

DISPATCHER: OK, they were arguing and he shot her.

CALLER: Yes, they was arguing.

DISPATCHER: OK, what's your son's name?

CALLER: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) get the ambulance here.

DISPATCHER: Ma'am --

CALLER: I have to get the baby.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: After shooting his girlfriend, police say Belcher drove to Arrowhead Stadium where he killed himself in the parking lot of the Chiefs' practice facility. Here's the call from the stadium.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CALLER: Hello? We need a code one ambulance although they think he's probably dead. Number 1 Arrowhead Drive, the practice field at Arrowhead Stadium. It's a self-inflicted shooting. It's a done deal. They've got a player that shot himself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Police say the Chiefs have provided counseling for the couple to help work through their relationship problems but, obviously, a tragic ending to that story.

SAMBOLIN: So hard to listen to that too.

It's 5 minutes past the hour here. After eight days on strike workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are getting off the picket lines and heading to the docks this morning.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made the announcement late last night. The tentative agreement between shipping companies and the union that represents 800 clerical workers came hours after federal mediators from Washington joined the negotiations.

The clerical workers went out on strike last week and dock workers refused to cross their picket lines. The strike cost the U.S. an estimated $1 billion a day.

ROMANS: The Philippines reeling this morning from Typhoon Bopha, the deadly storm packing 110 miles an hour winds, triggering deadly floods and landslides in the southern part of the country. Dozens of buildings have been destroyed.

At least 133 people have been killed. That number is expected to rise. The storm is now moving toward the beach resorts in the northern part of the Philippines. SAMBOLIN: Meantime, here in the United States, we're getting our own taste of bad weather. Meteorologist Karen Maginnis joins us live from Atlanta with the very latest. Good morning to you, Karen.

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Zoraida. We saw those back-to-back-to-back storms, four of them that ushered in that moisture. First of all, it produced that layer of cold air that dropped the snowfall across the cascades.

Then we saw that tropical moisture, the pineapple express, but it looks like we start to change more from the weather coming out of the northwest. So the snow levels are really going to be dropping across the cascades and the Olympics, especially in Washington State.

I was speaking with one of the National Weather Service members out in Portland, Oregon. He said with the latest round, they did see a number of power outages, but that flood threat is lowering a bit, but those rivers are still running just about moderate levels.

The rain is going to continue for the afternoon in places like San Francisco and also for Portland, but those rainfall amounts are going to be much less. A different side of the story and that is we've got this cold air that's going to be plunging from Canada and moves down across the Midwest where temperatures have been exceedingly mild.

Places like Chicago. They were looking at readings in the 60s, record-setting levels. But now we're back into the 30s. So Zoraida and Christine, looks like a taste of winter is, you know, we're back to reality, temperatures in the 30s for today.

SAMBOLIN: Poor folks. Thank you so much, Karen.

ROMANS: At least 59, 59 police officers in Brazil arrested on corruption charges. They are accused of taking bribes from drug dealers and gangs. The arrests part of "Operation Purification." Brazil's effort to slash crime before the city of Rio De Janeiro hosts the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic games.

SAMBOLIN: John McAfee, the internet security pioneer, has emerged from hiding and he has turned up now in Guatemala where he claims he will seek asylum. Three weeks ago, he disappeared from his home in next door Belize after his neighbor was found shot to death.

An attorney said McAfee feared persecution by police in Belize. McAfee insists he is not responsible for his neighbor's murder. Police in Belize say he's not a suspect, but that they would like to speak to him.

ROMANS: Anti-government protests in Egypt are growing. A sit-in continued this morning in Cairo's Tahrir Square and today, four satellite TV channels will go off the air for a period in solidarity.

Last night, thousands protested outside the presidential palace against what they believe was a power grab by President Mohamed Morsi. He recently decreed recently himself above judicial oversight. He's the main force behind the new draft constitution, which protesters believe will tip even more power in his favor. Here's what some told CNN's Reza Sayah.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He doesn't respect us. He don't want to listen to our demands.

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What's your message to him coming out here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That what he's doing is completely unfair. This is not what we asked for. It's completely dictatorship.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Egyptians will vote on the new constitution on December 15th.

SAMBOLIN: NATO foreign ministers approved Turkey's request for patriot missiles to defend its borders. That move is meant to shore up Turkey's air defense against violence that spills over from Syria's civil war. Back in October errant shells hit a Turkey border town killing five Turkish civilians.

ROMANS: A man pushed on to the subway tracks into the path of an oncoming train, his terrifying final moments laid out in a newspaper for all to see. If the crime wasn't horrible enough, these images are sparking outrage this morning.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. First talking while driving, now eating behind the wheel is against the law in one town. Find out where when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START. New York City police say a suspect is in custody for allegedly pushing a man into the path of an oncoming subway train and that suspect has implicated himself in the crime.

The horrific incident happened on Monday and "The New York Post" taking a lot of heat for publishing a front page photo that shows the victim just moments before he was fatally struck by that train. CNN's Mary Snow following the story for us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Why exactly these men were fighting is unclear. But moments after this video obtained by the New York police was record 58-year-old Ki-Suck Han whose face obscured, was pushed on to the tracks by the man yelling at him. Subway barreling through the station killed Han with horrified onlookers unable to save him.

NIGEL GRANT, MTA WORKER: I know they kept arguing with each other. People were trying to flag the train down before the train got to him.

SNOW (on camera): The fight happened around 12:30 in the afternoon on this platform that's only about 10 feet wide. A doctor who was on the platform says that victim was trying to protect people that he didn't know and she says that many people tried to help him by alerting subway personnel.

The victim was struck and she says she performed three to four minutes of chest compressions on him, but it was too late.

(voice-over): One eyewitness describes the train coming to an abrupt stop three quarters into the station.

PATRICK GOMEZ, WITNESS: People are just standing in fear and shock not knowing what's going on. Some people started running out of the platform. You know, other people just stood there and really didn't know what was going on.

SNOW: The suspect, meantime, was able to slip out of the station into Times Square. And police canvassed the area with his image, placed on wanted posters placed in the streets.

But it was another image in this cruel killing that has sparked an uproar. This is one of several photographs published by "The New York Post" of Han facing the train seconds before his death. "The Post" quotes the photographer saying he tried to warn the train operator by running towards him firing off his camera flash.

But online, there were public comments of disgust: "Wow, enough time to take a few pictures. Why didn't the person help?" "What an age we live in, when getting the picture is more important. I am appalled."

(on camera): We reached out to the photographer and "The New York Post," but both decline our request for comment. As for Han, he was among the more than 5 million people who ride the New York City subways on any given day. Police tell us he was on his way to the Korean consulate to get his passport renewed.

Mary Snow, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN: So the photographer that Mary Snow is referring to is actually in "The New York Post" today. This is today's paper. And it shows again that photo that was front page news yesterday that said "Pushed on the subway track, this man is about to die." That is a photo he took. He is inside "The New York post" explaining his side of the story. The headlines reads, "Anguished photographer: critics are unfair to condemn these."

But part of the criticism is why did you take pictures instead of running to help him?

ROMANS: Right.

SAMBOLIN: And he says is this, it all went so quickly from the time I heard the shouting until the time the train hit the man was about 22 seconds.

ROMANS: Yes, he said he was never close. He had his camera already set from shooting up in the street and he just started shooting and didn't even know what those pictures were until after he turned the memory card over to the police.

SAMBOLIN: And I just wanted to clarify the man is in custody has not been charged with anything yet. He is in custody at this time. So as soon as this continues to develop, we'll bring you, you know, whatever information we get.

It is 17 past the hour. It's time for your "Early Reads" -- it's your local news that is making national headlines.

First up, "The Kansas City Star", which has been out front in reporting on the Jovan Belcher murder/suicide. The paper says seconds after fatally shooting girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, Belcher said he was sorry and he kissed her on the forehead. He then apologized to his mother, kissed his infant daughter Zoe and fled the home for Arrowhead Stadium where he took his own life.

The long-term custody of 3-month-old Zoe Belcher suddenly an orphan remains unclear although temporarily it did go to his mother.

ROMANS: All right. Put down the cell phone and breakfast burrito. KDLT-TV reports that the city of Huron, South Dakota, has approved one of the toughest bans on distracted driving in the country that includes a ban on eating while driving. If anyone is caught texting and driving it, they will be fined 100 bucks, Zoraida. You can also get a ticket if you're eating lunch, reading the paper, or, Zoraida, if you're putting on makeup in your rearview mirror.

SAMBOLIN: This is a problem for me. So, I can't go there.

ROMANS: All right. Just because that commercial says you're getting a deal doesn't mean you really are. Not everything is a good buy around Christmas time. Advice on what to skip, do not -- you must fight the urge on these certain things around Christmas. We'll tell you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Twenty-two minutes past the hour.

America is becoming a no vacation nation. According to a new study commissioned by the travel Web site Expedia, U.S. workers are getting less vacation time from employers this year and they are using less of what they have. So it has a lot to do with uncertainty over the economy. The two biggest reasons cited: a fear of being replaced and too much work to go on vacation.

That's terrible.

ROMANS: We always, we are the nation that we -- I know. We work so hard, don't we?

SAMBOLIN: Too much. Take your vacations, folks.

ROMANS: Minding your business this morning -- stock futures are up right now, suggesting a higher open for stocks if this holds over the next couple hours. Fiscal cliff uncertainty is still weighing on stocks and I expect that to happen until that's all resolved.

U.S. oil production meanwhile reaching its highest level in nearly 15 years. This is according to a new report from the Energy Information Administration, daily production average almost 6.5 million barrels a day in September, the highest levels since 1998. EIA says the increase is mostly due to an extraction process known as fracking.

Some have also coined a new phrase, Saudi America for America's projected energy boom over the next decade. Another report last month from an international energy watchdog says the U.S. could unseat Saudi Arabia as the world's top oil producer by 20.

All right. What are the best and worst things to buy in December? Zoraida has been --

SAMBOLIN: I'm excited. I want to know.

ROMANS: Deal News has tips. What could you save money on this month? Toys, but only if you wait until the two weeks before Christmas. Don't buy toys too early.

SAMBOLIN: They may be gone by then, though.

ROMANS: That's what the industry wants you to think.

Tools and hardware -- this is a good time to buy screwdriver sets, drills, lawn care tools. They're all cheaper this month. Cooking and kitchen ware, you'll find good deal.

SAMBOLIN: What I always wanted.

ROMANS: Cutlery seat, bakeware, small appliances at stores and online.

But what should you stay away from? Jewelry. How many times have you heard me say that? Just like on Black Friday, you're not going to find low prices for gems and jewels before Christmas.

Electronics -- New Deals says it's best to wait until January or February for the newer models to launch. Wait for the 2013 models. That's when you find the markdowns on the 2012 models.

And the one -- what, it tell me.

SAMBOLIN: I was thinking right before you are going to watch the football games.

ROMANS: I'm not going to buy you a diamond necklace.

SAMBOLIN: I would love one.

All right. The one thing we need to know about our money.

ROMANS: One thing you need to know about your money today. We're going to need plenty of economic data over the next few days. So, we're going to have a welcome respite from all the fiscal cliff.

But Sandy's fingerprints are going to be over this data.

SAMBOLIN: Ooh.

ROMANS: I expect for the jobs report, you're going to see fewer jobs created than expected because Sandy kept companies from hiring, keep people from going out and finding jobs because that was a big disruption in the Northeast. So, we'll start to see the effects of Sandy, expected to be temporary but you're going to start to see that in the economic data.

SAMBOLIN: Do you think it will be big or, you know --

ROMANS: I think that -- I think that -- I think that Sandy is going to mean tens of thousands of jobs at least.

SAMBOLIN: All right.

ROMANS: More on that tomorrow.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you.

ROMANS: Extreme make-over GOP edition. Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio set a course for rebranding the Republican Party.

SAMBOLIN: And can you guess the word of the year for 2012? Your odds of getting it right are better than in previous years. That's because there are two words almost always looked up together.

ROMANS: Powerball?

SAMBOLIN: That's your hint.

(COMMERCIA BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio, don't worry, it's not 2016 and you are not in a time warp. The two men spoke at a political event last night. We're going to hear from them coming up.

ROMANS: Marco Rubio -- we've given him a new nickname.

Plus, a mom and her children are involved in a horrific crash and end up with a car on top of them. What happens next will revive your faith in people.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, indeed. And rapper Jay-Z explains to an older woman on the subway who he is. Yes, you've got to see it. It is adorable and it is headed your way, next.

Welcome back to EARLY START.

ROMANS: What's your name again?

SAMBOLIN: Yes, who are you?

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. I'm in today for John Berman. It's 29 minutes past the hour.

SAMBOLIN: All right. New York City police say the man being questioned for allegedly pushing a man into the path of an oncoming train has implicated himself. New surveillance video shows a suspect arguing with the victim on the subway platform. There it is. It happened just moments before 58-year-old Ki-Suck Han was pushed on to the tracks and then killed.

A "New York Post" photographer who shot a controversial front page photo of the man trying to climb up from the tracks is explaining himself writing in today's paper, photographer Umar Abbasi says it is unfair for people to condemn him. He says, quote, "I can't let the armchair critics bother me. They were not there. They have no idea how quickly it happened."