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Obama, Boehner Meet One on One; Supreme Court to Hear Same-Sex Marriage Cases; Stephen Baldwin Arrested; Fireball Over Texas; Interview with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; Memories of War
Aired December 9, 2012 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon.
Let's get you up to speed on the day's headlines.
President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner met face to face at the White House today trying to prevent the fiscal cliff now just 23 days away. No details on their conversations but reps for both sides say the lines of communication remain open. The last time the president and the speaker met in person to talk about the fiscal cliff was more than three weeks ago.
And just after midnight on Sunday, gay couples living in Washington State made history joining in the first legal same-sex marriages in the state. Governor Chris Gregoire signed the voter-approved referendum into law on Wednesday.
Venezuela president Hugo Chavez is returning to Cuba for more cancer surgery, but this time he is making sure a new leader is in place in case he doesn't return. The televised announces Chavez's named the vice president as his choice for a replacement in case something happens for him. The 58-year-old president is still scheduled to be sworn in for a new six--year-term on January 10th.
Some very sad news for fans of music star Jenni Rivera. Officials say they have found the wreckage of a private jet believed to be carrying a popular Mexican-American singer and six others and it doesn't appear to be any survivors. The plane lost contact with air traffic controllers outside of Monterrey, Mexico, early this morning. So far no cause has been given for that crash.
The National Menorah in front of the White House was a illuminated tonight marking the start of the eight-day Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. And of course, no Hanukkah celebration would be complete without the spinning dreidel. This one dance to music performed by the U.S. Navy band.
Those of you in Minnesota and the Great Lakes area, I don't have to tell you that you are getting slammed right now by major winter storm. It is most snow in the Minneapolis area so far this season and we are still a week and a half away from the start of winter. Eight inches of snow right now in the twin cities. A few more inches will accumulate there tonight. That storm will bring rain to New England tomorrow. We have more now on the fiscal cliff talks today between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner. Our Emily Schmidt is in Washington.
EMILY SCHMIDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, it is 23 days until the fiscal cliff deadline and it had been 23 days since President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner had met face-to-face to talk about how to avert it. That's until they met this afternoon.
This is was a surprise meeting. Nobody spotted Boehner coming or going. Nobody is saying much beyond Tuesday, though, one from the White House, one from Boehner's office. And the wording here is identical, ending with this, the lines of communication remain open.
The two men last spoke by phone on Wednesday. On Friday, Mr. Boehner said the White House had wasted another week for potential compromise.
We don't know what prompted this meeting just that for the first time in a while the two sides are agreeing on something even if it's just the wording of their statements and keeping tight-lipped about what was said -- Don
LEMON: Emily, thank you very much.
In today's meetings between President Obama and Speaker Boehner, is it a sign that we are close to a fiscal cliff deal? I asked the senior CNN analyst, David Gergen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: They recognized that the deadlines are coming at them very fast now. That this week is a crucial week to see if they can get a break through. And the fact that they are willing to sit down and they did it in private, and instead of the political theater we have seen in the last few weeks. I think that's encouraging. But, we should be patient here. There's even a bigger long-term issue, and that is whether the kind of agreement they can reach now will lead to a grand bargain, or whether it's going to amount to a mouse instead of an elephant. And we don't know that. We will have to see what they can craft this week and see if they can get passed the fiscal cliff. That's point one, but the grand bargain is really important, too.
In some ways, Don, what is at stake is whether they can craft a deal is that win/win. That each side can walk away from something in the short term saying we are encouraged. This guys are afraid to reason to go on and engage in the grand bargain next year.
This is a moment, Don, when a lot of things are hanging in the balance. With their talks, having them actually sit down today is encouraging because it means they don't want to take us all the way to the 11th hour and 59th minute. They really want to see if they can get a break through now and that's encouraging.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: CNN's David Gergen.
So, are their hints that the Republicans and the Democrats are moving closer together on a budget deal. We'll talk about that with Ana Navarro and L.Z. Granderson, next.
LEMON: Stand still, it is movie. Stand Still, the movie.
Just when you thought the fiscal cliff talks was at a standstill, so there is word that John Boehner spent today at the White House with Obama, and we like to spend our Sunday afternoons with CNN contributors L.Z. Granderson and Ana Navarro.
Hello. L.Z., of course, is a senior writer for ESPN. Ana is Republican consultant and strategist. Good to see both of you. OK?
LZ GRANDERSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hey, there.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hello. Yes.
LEMON: So, John Boehner had some pretty tough words for the president on Friday. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: There are a lot of things that are possible to put the revenue at the president's seat on the table, but none of it will be possible if the president insists on his position, insist on my way or the highway.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So Ana, he also said the White House has wasted another week, and now two days later, they are meeting again. Did Boehner's remarks make the difference?
NAVARRO: Good. Look, I think it's great. We cannot reach a deal if you are posturing and negotiating through press conferences. They need to sit in a room. They need to look at each other. They need to talk constructive debate and they need to move this ball forward. I think what happened today is a very good sign. Americans should be encouraged, it's a good thing when our congressional leadership and our president are actually capable of meeting and talking about the difficult issues that face this country. What a refreshing and new idea.
LEMON: Well, when you hear people like -- so you hear members of the GOP, Ana and L.Z., (INAUDIBLE) and you hear Corker, they are saying he will only do this, but then the messaging that you hear on television is quite different than what is actually being said behind closed doors. So, I think you make a very good point, Ana.
L.Z., do you think that - that, they are going to get something done with this face to face talks? Do you agree with me that there seems to be sort of competing messaging going on here? GRANDERSON: Well, you know, they have to do the posturing in order to make sure the public stays on their side of it, and the constituents think that they are doing something at this that they are doing do whether behind closed doors, honest, absolutely correct. This is the only way they are going to get anything done, sitting in a room, hashing it out.
And listen, both of these men are very, very pragmatic. They are both very caution guys. They are not as extreme as some of the voices in their parties happen to be. So, you have two of the most rational politicians in Washington doing what needs to be rushed to be done for the better of the country. I agree, I think it's a good thing, perhaps they both went to see Lincoln together decided we need to get something done like Lincoln did.
LEMON: There have you --- like a bromance going on - Ana.
NAVARRO: You know, Don, I think you know, Corker, Senator Corker brought up a very good point. This is not the end-all be all of, you know, negotiations. There's a lot of big hairy problems that are facing this country that President Obama is going to want to done. That Congress is going to want done. So, there's a lot of room and a lot of space and time, four long years for negotiations. Sometimes the Democrats will have more leverage and sometimes the Republicans will have more leverage.
LEMON: Right. And then everybody always said to, oh, it is not fair, when the other person has more leverage to the other team. It is not fair. it is not fair. Everybody does it.
GRANDERSON: It's even not four years. I mean, we want to have a debt ceiling conversation in a few months. You have to remember that this is rapidfire. As soon as we get past the fiscal cliff, President Obama is going to have to meet again with Boehner again to talk about debt ceiling.
LEMON: Thank you, Ana. Thank you, L.Z..
Stephen Baldwin was arrested this past week. And when he was released he wanted to come on this show and explain himself. That's next.
NAVARRO: Actor Stephen Baldwin was arrested this week in New York. The district attorney says he owes more than $350,000 for not paying his state taxes for three years. He pleaded not guilty. Baldwin says he has paid $100,000 already to New York state. Earlier he told me he knew this was coming.
STEPHEN BALDWIN, ACTOR: Oh, yes, I've been in a conversation about this very thing for several months now. And, again, I'm not trying to be funny when I say this. I'm really grateful that these guys are giving me a chance to work it out. It's a tough situation because it wasn't me specifically -- as you know, Don, you have people do your taxes for you, et cetera, et cetera. It wasn't handled appropriately. I am ultimately responsible. But I am in a conversation and we are communicating with them and what I'm told is that we're going to be able to work it out. I'm hoping that's the end result.
LEMON: But for you, explain to me -- explain to the audience what happened.
BALDWIN: Well, I don't want to cry in my coffee here. But kind of the long story short is, you know, when I moved out of doing my normal career and mainstream secular Hollywood and started to get into mostly faith-based stuff, it changed my income a whole lot. That led to a lot of inexperience on my part. Then I had a very public bankruptcy filing because I've been trying to maintain all this stuff. Then I got hit with this bad situation that I'm in right now with some accountants that didn't represent me appropriately. So it's kind of been a domino effect.
The blessing is that, to be honest with you, in the wake of what's happened in the last 48 hours, I've had nothing but really positive support from businesspeople, partners I'm involved with, with stuff coming in the new year that's going to be helpful in straightening all this out. So, I'm looking forward to getting into that, staying positive and moving forward and being successful and paying my taxes.
LEMON: OK. So then, if you were in negotiations and you knew what was going on, how did that turn into an arrest, Stephen?
BALDWIN: Well, that's part of the conversation that we've been having with these folks, was that sometimes, Don, when you're in a certain position, things happen a certain way. And as I said before --
LEMON: Come on, Stephen. You've always been very upfront with me every time I've had you on the air. What do you mean by that?
BALDWIN: Well, I think that -- listen, I assume responsibility for this and I think that when you're in a certain position of visibility and you don't do things the right way, legally they have the right to come down on you in a certain way so that other people say to themselves, well, maybe I should do the right thing. And that's part of the situation I believe I'm in right now. And I'm just hopeful that it's going to be -- the end result will be that I can move forward, stay positive, be successful in the business that I have coming in the new year.
LEMON: Because you're a celebrity, you think they made an example out of you?
BALDWIN: Well, listen, I think that that's not something that we haven't seen in the past that hasn't been true. I don't want to sugar-coat one thing. I have the utmost respect for the people that I'm in the conversation with, the Rockland county D.A. is upset. And I want to do the right thing. I want to get this bill paid. I can do it. I just have to get back to work.
LEMON: OK, good. So, then, can you explain this mug shot to me because some people compared this mug shot to "Zoolander" because it looks like you're posing in that mug shot. What was going on with you?
BALDWIN: Well, I think you will share in this, Don. When you're taking a photo, you kind like you're used to maybe one expression a lot of the time. And --
LEMON: You made that pose with your daughter in that picture, right? That's your pose. Is that your -- what is Derek Zoolander called -- blue steel? Is that your magnum?
BALDWIN: Well, I look at it this way, if I'm in the situation I'm in, Don, I might as well have a decent mug shot.
LEMON: Give me the pose, strike a pose for me. How was it?
BALDWIN: You're not really going to make me do that. Does that work?
LEMON: You are such a good sport.
BALDWIN: And you are, too. Thank you for letting me come on and talk about this. I appreciate it.
LEMON: All right. Stephen has a charity, we will put it online for you. It's his mom's charity, benefits his mom's charitable organization. We will put it online for you. Go look for the blog.
In Michigan, they are close the passing a right to work law and some workers in the state are not happy about it, that's next.
You don't have to in front of a television to watch CNN, you can do what I do. You can stay connected, you can do it on your cell phone or you can do it from your computer at work, just go to CNN.com/TV.
LEMON: This is really a terrible story out of Western Pennsylvania. A little boy, 7-years-old, shot to death in the parking lot of this gun store north of Pittsburgh. Police say the boy was buckling himself into a car seat when the pistol his father was handling in the front seat accidentally went off. Can you imagine? The bullet hit the boy and he died at the scene. The father could face charges over this. And authorities say he is beside himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. ERIC HERMICK, PENNSYLVANIA STAT POLICE: The father is traumatized. He is visibly shaken. It's -- experienced probably the worst tragedy anybody can go through is to take your own son's life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Officers who talked to the father say he was not aware that his pistol was even loaded. President Barack Obama visits union heavy Michigan tomorrow, a state he won easily last month and now the center of new labor protests. The Michigan legislature is close to passing a right to work law and that is not sitting well with workers in the state where organized labor was born. One of the biggest labor unions in the country, United Auto Workers, is firmly against the law which limits the union's power. Michigan's Republican governor says he will sign the bill if it hits his desk this week.
It's been dubbed "the fireball over Texas". A bright light was seen streaking across the Houston sky Friday morning and for a few hours it was the walk of the town.
Debra Wrigley of our affiliate KTRK has the story.
DEBRA WRIGLEY, KTRK CORRESPONDENT (voice-over) From a NASA camera, it looked like a bright light above the earth. That is the view from space. These are from eyewitness viewers around the Houston area just as day is breaking, a bright flash of light that some people thought was lightning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was like I guess it's going to rain.
WRIGLEY: It wasn't the weather and it was spotted all around Texas. This map just a sampling of sightings in the Houston area, and these are some of the pictures sent to ABC13.com showing a small area of colored light. Others showing a trail behind it. And people have been talking about it all day.
STEPHANIE SOTO, FRIEND SAW FLASH OF LIGHT: Like a UFO, taking a picture of the sky, like a big flash.
TANYA, MISSED THE SHOW: Co-workers who are talking about did you hear about the flash this morning? I'm like flash? Should I be concerned?
WRIGLEY: At the Houston museum of natural science, not concern, but a lot of curiosity.
CAROLYN SUMMERS, HOUSTON MUSEUM OF NATURAL SCIENCE: It's going so fast it actually gets through the atmosphere. That makes the glow.
WRIGLEY: The museum's astronomer suspects it's a meteorite, a small piece of rock burning through space, if it meets the criteria.
SUMMERS: Did it make a trail, did it actually move, did it change color, did it move from east to west?
WRIGLEY: A lot of scientists searching for an explanation of what's called the fireball over Texas. A lot of people who aren't scientists as well.
ASHLEY GRAHAM, SAW FLASH OF LIGHT: I have heard different things about 2012, so it's kind of scary because it's getting closer to that day. (END VIDEOTAPE)
LEMON: That was Debra Wrigley reporting. NASA has since cleared up the confusion. The flash was a meteor.
Changing the look of our men and women in uniform and the military they might even take a page out of "Harry Potter." That's next.
LEMON: Almost half passed the hour, and let's look at headlines right now.
President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner met face to face at the White House today to try and prevent the fiscal cliff. It is now just 23 days away. We don't have much on details of their conversation, but reps from both sides say lines of communications remain open. President and the speaker had not met face to face in more than three weeks.
Meanwhile, at least four Republicans senators, now support a tax hike on wealthy Americans. Here is Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TOM COBURN (R), OKLAHOMA: What we have done is spend ourselves in to a hole and we are not going to raise taxes and borrow money and get out of it. So, will I accept a tax increases apart a deal to actually solves our problem? Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: President Obama wants Republicans to side on a wealthy tax hike before any negotiations about spending cuts began.
A cloud of political uncertainty hanging over Venezuela. President Hugo Chavez announced that this cancer has returned and he is traveling to Cuba for surgery for a third time. This time the 580year-old leader named the vice president as his choice to replace him in case something was to happen to them. Earlier, parliament voted unanimously to give Chavez permission to leave the country for medical treatment.
A man who shot three people to death on an Indian reservation in California has been killed. Police near Fresno were involved in the shoot-out with the man that reportedly opened fire earlier on several people, three of whom died. His two young daughters were wounded, and police chased the suspect and said he shot at them, too. No word yet on what prompted his rampage.
The national menorah in front of the White House, illuminated tonight, marking the start of eight-day Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Of course, no Hanukkah celebration would be complete without a spinning dreidel. This one dance music performed by the U.S. Navy band.
The fiscal cliff, grabbing the headlines in Washington. But that is not the only big event at the nation's capital. Next month, President Obama will be inaugurated for a second term. And that means plenty of turnover among his top advisors.
Emily Schmidt has a look at the upcoming changes in the president's Cabinet.
SCHMIDT (voice-over): A late November White House photo op.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a wonderful opportunity for me to meet with my full Cabinet.
SCHMIDT: Maybe the last glimpse of this picture and imminent Cabinet shuffle is expected.
GERGEN: The president has got a lot of very, very good people to choose from. But he wants to put together a team, especially in international affairs, a team overall that going into a second term doesn't look like a second team, doesn't look like a group of second stringers.
SCHMIDT: The likely short list to succeed Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is already publicly charged. Susan Rice, the U.N. ambassador to the United Nations is thought to be a leading contender, but some Republicans have been highly critical of Rice following the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.
OBAMA: When they go after the U.N. ambassador, because they think she is an easy target, then they have a problem.
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Senator McCain?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.
SCHMIDT: Senator John McCain jokingly gave a Cabinet post nod to Democrat John Kerry, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I think John Kerry would be an excellent appointment and would be easily confirmed by his colleagues.
SCHMIDT: Kerry is also listed also a potential Defense Secretary to replace Leon Panetta. It is a list that included Michele Flournoy who held less considered the number three jobs at the Pentagon. Senior Democrats say deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is on the list and former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican, could represent a reach across the aisle.
TIMOTHY GEITHNER, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: We are in a stronger position today as a country than we were in '07.
SCHMIDT: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner had said he will stay at his post until inauguration. President Obama's Chief of Staff Jack Lew is often named as a potential replacement.
A CNN post election poll asked if people thought President Obama would pick good Cabinet members. Fifty eight percent said they thought he would, 42 percent he would not.
Emily Schmidt, CNN. Washington.
The U.S. military wants its people to be invisible, literally. And somebody will pocket a lot of money if they create a camouflage uniform of the future. We're not talking about leaves and sticks here.
CNN correspondent Chris Lawrence reports on some scientists that can make soldiers disappear.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Camouflage could mean the difference between a soldier getting shot, and going home. So a lot is riding on the next generation designed to outfit troops. It has only been eight years since the army spent $5 billion on cameo that critics say didn't fool anyone.
Soldiers complaint to the point the army abandoned its one-sized fits all universal pattern.
So, they were looking for camouflage that they could use everywhere?
GUY CRAMER, HYPERSTEATH/ADS: Correct, and it didn't work anywhere.
LAWRENCE: Guy Cramer is one of the designers to win the army's next multi-million dollar contract. This summer he showed us the science behind every size and shade of these pixels.
CRAMER: You know have your camouflage to try and trick the brain and to seeing things that aren't naturally there.
LAWRENCE: Digital patterns recreate shapes already founding nature in 3-d layering creates depth and shadows where none exists. That's today's design. But developers already have one eye on tomorrow.
CRAMER: What is coming up down the road and very quickly is the Harry Potter cloak.
LAWRENCE: With that fictional cloak, Harry is not just camouflaged, he's invisible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My body is gone!
LAWRENCE: How invisible are we talking here? If I walked into a room with a soldier wearing one of this a cloaks?
CRAMER: You would not see him at all, he would be completely invisible to you.
LAWRENCE: This is not make belief. The military has seen the so- called quantum stealth technology. It works by bending the light around an object, even concealing most of a person's shadow. Imagine what that could do with a sniper hiding in a field or the American pilot who ejected over Libya. Their fighter jets crashed last year.
CRAMER: They could actually pull out very similar to what they carry with a survival blanket and throw it over the top of them and unless you walked into them you wouldn't know they were there.
LAWRENCE: So what is firmly once in the world of make belief could quickly become quite real.
And the science is in the special fabric. So, you don't need a power source or some instruction manual to make it work. Theoretically, any soldier, even in the most remote location could put it on and put it to work.
Chris Lawrence, CNN, the Pentagon.
LEMON: What will they think of next?
An NBA legend sits down to talk with me about his incredible life and facing death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR, NBA HALL OF FAMER: I thought about my own mortality a number of times, especially since I have been diagnosed with leukemia. That's the first thing you think about. All of a sudden you realize that there's a clock up there with your name on it and the clock is ticking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I talk with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar next.
LEMON: He is NBA royalty. One of the best basketball players of all time, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He thrilled millions of fans with the sky hook, his trademark move on the court, a six-time MVP. He also is the NBA's all-time leading scorer.
What you may not know about Abdul-Jabbar is that he is among thousands of Americans living with leukemia. Has paid spokesman for Nevada's pharmaceutical corporation, makers of the drug therapy he takes, Kareem says his diagnose is not as a death sentence but as a manageable disease.
ABDUL-JABBAR: In December of 2008, I was diagnosed. It came after a long series of night sweats and stuff that would come and go. It was months. I really should have gone and talked to my doctor about it earlier. But I thought it was just me getting older. And it was really symptoms of the type of leukemia I have, which is called CML, Chronic Myeloid Leukemia.
I think for me, being able to give other CML patients some encouragements and give them an idea that they are not alone and that they can treat their condition and survive is very important. So, that's why I'm partners with Novartis has been very important to me because the medication I take is something that they produced and it enabled me to live my life to the fullest.
I've thought about my own mortality a number of times, especially since I have been diagnosed with leukemia. That's the first thing you think about. All of a sudden you realize there's a clock up there with your name on it and the clock is ticking.
LEMON: What would your day be like without the drug?
ABDUL-JABBAR: Basically, all I do is I have to take my medication every day. I have to go see my doctor and consult with him a couple of times a year, four times a year. I get my blood tested to make sure that the goals that we're trying to achieve are being met.
LEMON: But if that drug wasn't there, what would it be like?
ABDUL-JABBAR: If that drug wasn't there, I probably would have had to undergo a bone marrow transplant or something of that nature to find and live it.
LEMON: It seems that we have reached turning point when it comes to marijuana helping out with those diseases. It's been legalized in certain places, medical marijuana in California and on and on. What do you think about -- for the treatment of leukemia? Where do you stand on that?
ABDUL-JABBAR: The safest thing to do is talk to a hematologist who knows what he's talking about and knows what works and go with that. A lot of people suggest folk remedies that don't work. They're finding things that help people with illness in all different kinds of places, all four corners of the world. I remember reading about certain plants that grow in the Amazon basin that are unique to that area that could have benefit for people. So you know, gold is where you find it.
LEMON: You're a huge jazz fan, right?
LEMON: You have a huge collection. A lot of it was lost in a fire?
ABDUL-JABBAR: All my violins was gone.
LEMON: All of it. I just started collection violin. Your heart must have been --
ABDUL-JABBAR: It was a big blob of violin in my front yard. But fortunately the technology was changing at that point from vinyl to CD. And I've been able to get most of what I lost on CDs. So it hasn't been that much of a lost, although it's taken me 20 or 30 years to replace everything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Flight 209, climbing to cruise at 42,000. We'll report again over Lincoln.
ABDUL-JABBAR: But you know, that movie, I think, everybody that works in the airline industry watch that is movie. I was flying in Europe on another airline. And the pilot -- it was a really big plane that has extra seats in the cockpit. Before we took off, one of the pilots came out and said, "Come with me." And I went into the cockpit. They strapped me in and they took off and they said, "Now, we can tell everybody that we flew with Murdock."
ABDUL-JABBAR AS ROGER MURDOCK: Roger Murdock. I'm an airline pilot.
ABDUL-JABBAR: I was like, what? Did that actually happen?
LEMON: What's taller? You or the statue?
ABDUL-JABBAR: The statue is taller. And it's taller than every other statue. So, I'm really happy about it. And I'm closest to the street. So people will see my statue first.
LEMON: What is the statue like seven feet tall?
ABDUL-JABBAR: It is 17 feet tall.
LEMON: Seventeen-feet tall.
ABDUL-JABBAR: Yes. I'm thrilled with it just because it's an acknowledgment of what I achieved.
LEMON: What prompted you to write a children's book?
ABDUL-JABBAR: Well, I had an issue with the fact that so many kids, especially inner city kids, don't think they can be a success unless they're involved in sports or entertainment. You take a young man growing up in Harlem or south side of Chicago or here in Atlanta, he wants to be Jay-Z, he wants to be LeBron James, he wants to be Denzel Washington. And he doesn't really see how wide the world is in terms of where he can be successful.
I would tell any of the guys coming along, pursue your dreams as athletes. It's certainly something that's worthwhile. But don't forget that you have a mind. I always try to tell people that I can do more than stuff a ball through a hoop. My mind is my greatest asset. And that should be the case for them.
LEMON: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, thank you.
Now to the big stories of the week ahead, from White House to Wall Street then Hollywood, our correspondents tell you what you need to know. We begin tonight with the president's plan for the week.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dan Lothian at the White House.
On Monday, President Obama hits the road again. This time going to Redford, Michigan, where he will continue his campaign to put pressure on lawmakers in order to prevent taxes from going up on the middle class.
Also we will be standing by to see if the White House makes any Cabinet nominations, especially who will replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she steps down.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I am Alison Kosik at the New York Stock Exchange. Facebook will get a new home this week, moving to the NASDAQ 100. It's an elite index made up of the 100 biggest non-financial companies on the market.
We will also get November retail sales and expectations are high because of a record-breaking Black Friday weekend.
Meantime, the Federal Reserve meets on interest rates and will release a new outlook on the economy.
And finally, FedEx is preparing for its busiest day in history. The company expect to move 19 million packages Monday as people rush to make online purchases in time for Christmas.
Well, that and more CNNMoney.com.
A.J. HAMMER, HLN HOST, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: I'm "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT's" A.J. Hammer. And here's what we are watching this week.
Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" is counting down the most provocative celebrities for the entire year. So much drama. But which star will come out on top? It's the Showbiz Countdown that can't be missed.
LEMON: All right, guys, thank you very much. Remembering December 7, 1941, the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The following day, the U.S. entered World War II. CNN sat down with one soldier that was there to hear his incredible story.
LEMON: December 7th, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. A day later, the U.S. entered World War ll. Mort Waitzman was one of the 16 million Americans who answered the call of service. Now, 71 years later, he's sharing chilling stories from war and the memories that have haunted him ever since.
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: December 7, 1941, a date that will live in infamy.
MORTON WAITZMAN, U.S. ARMY (RET.): I actually enlisted in January of 1943. I would have been drafted anyway, but I was anxious to get after the people that started that whole war after Pearl Harbor. So I found myself on board on troop ship in December of 1943, on the way to Southampton, England. My name is Morton Waitzman. I was with the 29th Infantry Division, Headquarters Company, Second Battalion. I was actually assigned to a communications intercept place where we intercepted German radio to help break down the German enigma code.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In England, General Dwight D. Eisenhower and his deputy commanders chart deliberation of a lost continent.
WAITZMAN: s D-Day approached, our job, our mission, was to board ship and be prepared for D-Day whenever it actually took place. And we soon found out that it was supposed to be June 5th, but then the weather was bad and General Eisenhower made it the 6th.
I was at the beaches in Normandy at about 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning. When doors opened up, our job was to move out fast.
Enemy fire was very intense. And very, very heavy casualties at the beach. Seven or 8,000 of our group was killed or wounded at that beach. There was a smell -- the smell of the exploding gun powder, and shortly afterwards the smell of people, bodies being torn apart, the smell of human flesh. It was an experience that any of us would have experienced this, and it was very difficult to keep from having recall that makes life difficult sometimes.
Those of us who survived are very thankful, obviously. I know stories of comrades whose war was over that first day, they were so badly injured, or lost a limb or something like that. And their war was over. It's hard. I try not to think too much about this all the time. You have to go on with life.
I thought then was to move on to our primary objectives to be on the beach, and more deeply into France into Normandy. I was officially assigned to General Leclerc's army with their liberation of Paris August 25, 1944. It was a very, very warm welcome for the Americans that they saw. The French were delighted. They threw flowers, blew kisses and so on.
After the liberation of Paris, our mission was to move rapidly eastward, where General Patton had his tank division was moving rapidly, and we followed him in deliberation of into deliberation of Belgium, Luxembourg and into Holland in December of 1944. We were getting close to time of Battle the Bulge. We then got back out artillery forces and other at support troops and way proceeded to a chat and clause it in Germany.
LEMON: Much more to the story. Next, the images he will never be able to forget.
LEMON: Seventy-one years ago, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. entered World War II. Infantryman Mort Waitzman men's division was among the first storm, the beaches of Normandy. They then moved into Germany and witnessed firsthand the horrors of the Holocaust. You're about to see some stark images of the war, sights that Waitzman says still live with him to this very day.
WAITZMAN: Our first contact was -- with what we call now the Holocaust. There a city called Dinslaken. We blew down the walls of this big area and we were greeted by thousands of dead bodies. It was identified to us afterwards that the Germans had poured gasoline on people and burned them alive.
We were given ordered to go south to a place called Nordhausen. We soon came under fire of about 40 or 50 German machine-gunners who were close to this camp. The camp was called Dora-Mittelbau. After neutralizing their fire and blowing down the gates, we were again greeted by thousands of dead bodies.
We came to a came crematorium area. There were 10 or 12 ovens in the camp. Most of them, the doors were hot. We got them open, found bones and ashes. We had no idea what to do with these poor people. We chose to give away (ph) suits and water and did not try to do anything else. The medical detachment got there shortly afterwards and did what they had to do, and it was impossible to conceive man's inhumanity to another man.
American soldiers, a bunch of innocent guys, didn't know of such terrible things in life and we were being exposed to all of this. And it affected us terribly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ninth army pounds grimly along the northern road through the roar toward Berlin.
WAITZMAN: This was rapidly approaching towards early May of 1945. The Russians occupied the Reichstag and at the same time, Hitler had the SS shoot him and his wife.
ROOSEVELT: General Eisenhower informs me that the forces of Germany have surrendered to the United Nations.
WAITZMAN: You think that this is great, we can go home now, but there's the little issue of the Japanese, who started this whole thing with Pearl Harbor. Well, the atom bombs were dropped in August of 1945, and that war was over.
ROOSEVELT: The Japanese have signed terms of unconditional surrender.
WAITZMAN: I first got over the radio what had taken place, and I immediately broadcast it over the radios to all the other troops there. We're going home! It's over! It's over!
When I returned to commemorate the D-Day anniversary, it was overwhelming. I -- I got to those beaches in Normandy, on one beach, and I remember getting those vials of sand and visualizing the sand was red even 50 years later.
Taking my family through the Holtville (ph) Military Cemetery where 10,000 of my comrades were buried, for the grace of less than an inch, I could have been there. Life was good to me, but to these guys, there they were, they had nothing after they were 19 years old, 18 years old.
We fought and we died for the purposes that we all know about, but is still very elusive to us -- the purpose of a liberty and how we treat our fellow man, and we are still trying to learn that lesson. And what there is in the human mind that makes it so difficult to learn, I don't know, but I talk as frequently as I can now in spite of the emotional impact that it has on me and my family and my wife, because I have to teach this. It's a history lesson. History is important.
LEMON: I am Don Lemon at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. Have a good night.