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WEEKEND EARLY START

Chavez Announces His Cancer Is Back; Cowboys Player Killed In Crash; Fiscal Cliff Could Affect Food Safety; Michigan OKs Right-To- Work Legislation; Morsi Cancels Controversial Decree; Jihadist Detained in Benghazi Attack

Aired December 9, 2012 - 06:00   ET

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


SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN ANCHOR: From CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, this is EARLY START WEEKEND. Great to see you.

The cancer is back. Venezuela's president says he is sick again, but this time Hugo Chavez makes a shocking admission.

Plus this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OFFICER JOHN ARGUMANIX, IRVING, TEXAS, POLICE DEPARTMENT: Our officers on scene felt as if alcohol was a contributing factor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENDRICKS: A Dallas Cowboy is dead, his teammate under arrest after a late night of drinking and driving.

Also this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God can't stop blessing us, so why can't, you know, continue blessing other people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENDRICKS: He returned from the battlefield broken, homeless, but things have changed for this Iraq War vet. Now he is giving back one blessing at a time. You've got to see that.

It is Sunday, December 9. Good morning to you. I'm Susan Hendricks, in today for Randi Kaye.

We begin with a developing story. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announcing that his cancer is back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ, VENEZUELA (through translator): Unfortunately, this is how I am telling the country, that in that overall checkup, malignant cells show up in the same effected area. We have had to review the diagnostic, the evolution of the treatment, and we have had to check with experts and we have decided that it is absolutely necessary and it is absolutely essential to undergo another surgery.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENDRICKS: Chavez also spoke publicly about a successor for the first time, saying his vice president should replace him if his health worsens. He now plans to undergo surgery in Cuba where CNN's Patrick Oppmann is joining me now by phone this morning.

Patrick, good to talk to you.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Good morning.

And it was a stunning announcement that was shown not only in Venezuela but also here in Cuba, where Chavez's health could have a major impact on this country as well. And, Susan, since really October, when Chavez was re-elected, he had been saying consistently that he'd been cured of his cancer. At that point, he had suffered two bouts with cancer. And then he'd said that he'd been cured during months and months of treatment here in Cuba. And he was again here last week, he said, for more treatment, but said that he was cancer free.

Last night that was not the case as he came before the cameras to announce that the cancer had come back. That he will require, as he said, immediate surgery. But he also seeming to be preparing the country, and perhaps the world, for life after Hugo Chavez. He said that his vice president, Nicolas Maduro, to be his successor, ending months of speculation about who would replace him.

And then really sort of as Hugo Chavez only can, addressed directly to the Venezuelan people and in many respects was sort of saying good- bye. If I don't make it, this is what my wishes are. So we're waiting today for the Venezuelan parliament to approve Hugo Chavez travel, as is required by the tradition there, so that he can leave his country and come immediately here to Cuba. We would expect he would undergo surgery shortly after he arrives.

HENDRICKS: And, Patrick, you mentioned he was announcing his possible successor. Why would he even have to bring that up? Wouldn't it be a given that it would be the VP?

OPPMANN: You know, it's really more for his party than just the line of succession. There's been so much speculation over who would follow him because if he were to be, as he said, incapacitated, there would need to be another election to -- it's not like perhaps in the United States where the vice president immediately just takes the role. There would need to be an election to determine who would be the next president of Venezuela. And Hugo Chavez said last night, in no uncertain terms, that person will be Nicolas Maduro, ending months of speculation and some jockeying behind the scenes between a number of figures who perhaps wanted to replace Hugo Chavez if he were sidelined.

HENDRICKS: All right, Patrick Oppmann, thank you. Appreciate it. From Havana, live on the phone for us. Shifting gears now to sports, where we're getting details of a second NFL tragedy in as many weeks. Dallas Cowboy linebacker Jerry Brown has been killed in car accident. Brown was apparently riding in a car driven by his teammate, Josh Brent, the Cowboy's starting nose tackle.

Now this news comes as we get surveillance video of Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher. The Kansas city Chiefs linebacker who made headlines last week after killing his girlfriend and then himself. The video is from the night before that incident when police found Belcher asleep in his car.

Want to bring in Joe Carter from HLN Sports.

And, Joe, let's start with the Dallas Cowboys. What more do we know about the tragic accident?

JOE CARTER, HLN SPORTS: Well, it obviously happened early Saturday morning around 2:21 a.m. And Josh Brent was driving the vehicle, as you said, and his teammate, his friend, his roommate, Jerry Brown, was in the passenger seat. The car was traveling down an industrial road somewhere in the Dallas area when he was traveling well above the posted speed limit, which was 45 miles an hour. And the car ended up hitting a curb, flipped over on its top and the police say that it slid about 900 feet. They arrived on the scene. They arrested 24-year- old Josh Brent. One count of intoxicated manslaughter. And then they obviously pronounced Jerry Brown Jr. dead at the hospital a little bit later.

And we have a statement -- or actually we have some more from Irving Police, what they're saying about this.

HENDRICKS: OK. And do we have sound of that?

CARTER: Are we going to run that sound?

OK. Apparently --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OFFICER JOHN ARGUMANIX, IRVING, TEXAS, POLICE DEPARTMENT: Was on scene felt as if alcohol was a contributing factor in the accident. So Mr. Price-Brent was asked to perform some field sobriety test. After he performed those field sobriety tests, or based on his performance of those tests, along with our officers' observations and the conversations that they had with him, he was placed under arrest for driving while intoxicated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARTER: OK. So obviously, like they said, they're going to charge him with intoxicated manslaughter. This is a second-degree felony. This carries a sentence of two to 20 years in prison. Now this is his -- well, this will be his second involvement in alcohol and driving incidents. Back in 2009, when he played for the University of Illinois, he was charged with a DUI. And, actually, when he started his career in the NFL, players and teammates had to actually drive him because he wasn't allowed to drive.

HENDRICKS: This is so tragic and so sad. The Cowboys are scheduled to play today. Any word on if they are playing? Any statements about it?

CARTER: Well, they got news of this incident yesterday when they arrived. Actually when they were getting on the plane to travel to Cincinnati. They play the Bengals today at 1:00. But the team says they're going to continue as scheduled. They are not going to speak to the media, the teammates, his teammates, or coaches are not going to speak to the media about the incident or the death.

There was a statement that was released by Jerry Jones. He said he was deeply saddened by the news. There was also a statement released on behalf of Brent's -- Brent, was released by his agent. You see it here. Its saying that "I am devastated and filled with grief. Filled with grief for the loss of my close friend and teammate Jerry Brown. I'm also grief stricken for his family, friends, all who were blessed enough to have known him. I will live with this horrific and tragic loss every day for the rest of my life. My prayers are with his family, our teammates and his friends at this time."

HENDRICKS: Joe, do you think this will hurt, in any way, the fan friendly image of the NFL, of course, one of the most popular sports in the U.S.?

CARTER: No, no, I don't think it hurts it at all because these are incidences that we're seeing -- I mean obviously this is the second tragic incident in one week involving NFL players, but these are incidences that are happening off the field. I think it hurts the game, obviously, if it happens within it. But since these are separate incidences that happened away from the game, no, I don't think it's hurt the fan-friendly image that the NFL has created and spent a lot of money to protect.

HENDRICKS: So sad all around. It makes you wonder if they'll mention it at the beginning of the Cowboys game today.

CARTER: I'm sure. I'm sure they'll do some sort of mention of it, yes.

HENDRICKS: All right. Joe, appreciate it. Thanks. Good to see you.

CARTER: Uh-huh.

HENDRICKS: I want to go to Afghanistan now where an American doctor has been rescued by NATO forces near Kabul. U.S. officials say Dr. Dilip Joseph was kidnapped by Taliban insurgents on Wednesday, but locals Afghan officials say he was abducted by smugglers, not the Taliban. An Afghan doctor was also abducted but was released after his family paid a $12,000 ransom. Two men suspected of working with the kidnappers were arrested.

And in London, the hospital where a nurse committed suicide after taking a prank call about the duchess of Cambridge has issued an angry statement slamming the Australian radio station that employed the DJs behind that hoax. It read this, in part, "the immediate consequence of these premeditated and ill-considered actions was the humiliation of two dedicated and caring nurses. The longer term consequence has been reported around the world and is frankly tragic beyond words." That nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, is survived by her husband and two children.

When you hear the term "fiscal cliff," you probably think about higher taxes, right? But it could also have an impact, believe it or not, on what you eat. The details in a report from Washington just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HENDRICKS: Welcome back.

Well, most of us know by now the so-called fiscal cliff is looming. And if lawmakers in Washington don't come up with a deal, our taxes will go up and dramatic spending cuts will affect government agencies across the board. And that includes the Food and Drug Administration in charge of keeping what we eat safe. Our Emily Schmidt explains what it all could mean for your food.

EMILY SCHMIDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Susan, the federal government says Americans spend about a trillion dollars a year on food. There are two agencies responsible for food safety. Under sequestration, the job's the same, with less funding to make it happen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCHMIDT (voice-over): Preparing for the holidays and Paul and Tressa Bennett's house is a reminder of something else just around the corner, a fiscal cliff deadline that is personal here.

TRESSA BENNETT, MOTHER: I just can't imagine funding being cut at this point. It would be tragic.

SCHMIDT: Teresa is worried mandatory budget cuts would hurt food safety inspection. That's mattered to her since her twins were born in 1999.

BENNETT: Chloe was in the hospital for two weeks, Luke for three.

SCHMIDT: She and her babies got listeria poisoning from meat she ate while pregnant. The Centers for Disease Control says contaminated food sickens about 48 million people a year, 3,000 people die. So the FDA, and the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service are charged with protecting the food supply. An 8.2 percent budget cut translates to a combined $157 million. There's no word exactly what cuts would mean to inspector staffing.

CHRIS WALDROP, CONSUMER FEDERATION OF AMERICA: Both FDA and USDA are already stretched pretty thin when it comes to the inspection activities and the food safety work they do. They really need increased resources and not fewer resources.

DEAN CLANCY, FREEDOMWORKS: Agencies always say they're stretched.

SCHMIDT: Dean Chancy is with FreedomWorks, an organization that promotes smaller government. And he says the cuts leave nothing to fear. CLANCY: Arguing about getting spending under control endangers public health and safety is a really irresponsible scare tactic, especially when you realize that these aren't real cuts. These are reductions from anticipated increases in spending.

WALDROP: To cut the budget for the work that these agencies do is going to significantly impact them today, it's going to significantly impact them tomorrow.

BENNETT: You made that one, didn't you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

SCHMIDT: Tressa Bennett and her kids are now healthy and food safety advocates.

BENNETT: Remember, we all have to eat.

SCHMIDT: And, they say, nobody should have to fear what they eat.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHMIDT: A company that tracks food recalls says there were 414 last quarter, the highest level in at least two years. Most of the recalls came from worries about food-borne illness.

Susan.

HENDRICKS: All right, Emily Schmidt in Washington, appreciate that.

Tempers in Michigan over a controversial right-to-work bill have reached a boiling point. State Democrats and organized labor unions say it's a power play by the Republican-led legislature. Michigan governor says he will sign the bill when it hits his desk, which could come at any day now. CNN's Poppy Harlow is in Michigan with the detail.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: Michigan is really at the heart of organized labor in America. It is the birthplace of the United Auto Workers. But the future of unions in this state is in question at this hour.

HARLOW (voice-over): The fight over labor unions in Michigan is vocal and physical.. Thousands of protesters stormed the state capital, trying to stop passage of controversial right-to-work bills. The measures were introduced and passed in a single day. Rushed through, Democrats argue, calling it a subversion of the legislative process.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It terrifies me that they're trying to pass this through so quickly with no discussion from the other side, no understanding of what's important in it.

HARLOW: The measures would make it illegal for unions and employers to mandate employees join a union or pay any money to the union. I spoke to Michigan's Republican Governor Rick Snyder.

GOV. RICK SNYDER (R), MICHIGAN: I don't view it as anti-union at all.

HARLOW (on camera): A labor representative told me this legislation is anti-worker, saying that it gives workers less of a voice. What do you say to that?

SNYDER: That's backward. This is about being pro-worker. Again, giving workers the choice, the freedom to choose, that's fundamental.

JON HOADLEY, WORKING MICHIGAN COALITION CAMPAIGN MANAGER: So Governor Snyder's legislation is anti-worker. It's going to end up, you know, being a devastating blow to the middle class here.

HARLOW (voice-over): The three bills impact both public and private sector workers from teachers to auto workers. Opponents fear they weaken unions and limit workers' right, benefits, and wages.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you pay me less money, if I have to work for minimum wage, I can't go spend that money.

JEFF BRESLIN, REGISTERED NURSE: It's going to hurt the economy, it's going to hurt the state, it's going hurt the citizens. This is absolutely not what's right for the worker.

HARLOW: But supporters, including Governor Snyder, say the economy improved in other states when they passed similar laws. He points to Indiana next door.

SNYDER: That's thousands of jobs. So hopefully it creates a lot more opponents here in Michigan.

HARLOW (on camera): Opponents will spend the weekend trying to convince their representatives to vote down the bill. The legislation could come up for a vote as early as Tuesday.

Poppy Harlow, CNN, Lansing, Michigan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HENDRICKS: Poppy, thank you.

Coming up, his power grab in Egypt touched off angry protest. Now, President Mohamed Morsi is trying to quell the violence by rescinding most of his decree, but is it working?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HENDRICKS: Twenty minutes past the hour. Welcome back. Good morning to you. A beautiful picture of the Capitol there out of D.C. Thanks so much for starting your day with us here at CNN.

Angry protests have forced Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's hand after a controversial decree in which he grabbed sweeping powers. Morsi says he is now canceling it, hoping for a return to calm. But opposition leaders call his move a farce. Reza Sayah is in Cairo with more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With this move, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi can certainly argue that he made a concession to the opposition. But some in the opposition already rejecting the president's argument. One opposition figure calling the president's movie a joke.

Let's give you some background and then explain to you what the president did on Saturday. There are two red-button issues that really outraged the opposition and really sparked the protest that we've seen in Egypt over the past two and a half weeks. One was the set of controversial decrees that he announced last month that gave him additional powers, made him immune from the judiciary until a parliament was formed.

And then you had the draft constitution. The opposition said this constitution was drafted by a panel that squeezed out the liberal voices, the moderate voices. The opposition demanded the president to annul and cancel the decrees and the constitution, or at least postpone the nationwide vote on the constitution.

On Saturday night, the president agreed to annul the decrease. Here's the announcement made after a lengthy meeting at the presidency.

MOHAMED SELM EL-AWWA, EGYPTIAN PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER (through translator): The president has decided to cancel the constitution declaration issued on November 21, 2012, as of today, but does not take force retroactively.

SAYAH: Now, on the surface, the annulment of the president's decrees seems like a secession to the opposition. However, the annulment is not absolute. It's conditional. The president says the annulment is not retroactive to November 22nd. And any decision he made while the decreases were in effect still stand, and that includes the approval of the draft constitution that the opposition doesn't like. The president also saying that the nationwide vote on the draft constitution will go on as scheduled on December 15th and that is, perhaps, why many in the opposition have rejected the president's moving calling for more protests in the coming days.

Reza Sayah, CNN, Cairo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HENDRICKS: Reza, thanks so much.

Want to go now to South Africa. Former leader Nelson Mandela is in a hospital undergoing testing. Doctors say the 94-year-old is doing well and the current president says, quote, "there is no cause for alarm." Mandela considered a national father figure, won the Nobel Prize for his long fight of end apartheid in South Africa.

You are seeing the exiled leader of Hamas getting a hero's welcome in Gaza. Khaled Meshaal came to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, a group he has led in exile since 2004. The recent killing of the Hamas military leader triggered eight days of cross-border rocket attacks with Israel.

One of the strongest typhoons to hit the Philippines in decades has killed at least 540 people, and that number is expected to go higher, to climb. The Philippine president has declared a state of national calamity relief. Much of it from America is now pouring into the area. And nearly a thousand people are reported missing, while the army looks for survivors.

He is a member of the greatest generation. A veteran with invaluable first-hand account of World War II from Pearl Harbor to VJ Day. You will hear what he is saying now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HENDRICKS: Welcome back. Thanks so much for starting your Sunday morning with us. Great to see you. And a special welcome to our troops watching on the American Forces Network. I'm Susan Hendricks, in today for Randi Kaye. It is half past the hour.

New information on the terror attack at the U.S. embassy in Benghazi. Egypt is detaining a well-known jihadist, Muhamed Jamal Abu Ahmed. The FBI wants to know what role he may have played in the deaths of four Americans that night in Libya. Here now is Susan Candiotti.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Susan, good morning.

Investigators have had this man on their radar for some time and now he's being called a possible suspect in the Benghazi attacks. Muhamed Jamal Abu Ahmed was arrested by Egyptian authorities a couple of weeks ago and remains in custody while the investigation goes on. U.S. authorities believe he may have been involved in the September 11th terrorist hit that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, according to a U.S. official. The FBI, which is conducting the investigation, hasn't had access to Abu Ahmed yet. The official would not comment on what lead them to him.

Abu Ahmed is known as a radical jihadist, 45 years old, master's degree in Shari'a law. He is also believed to be the driving force behind a new terror group seeing to align itself with al Qaeda, according to our sources. An Egyptian official says Abu Ahmed has denied any connection to the attack on the U.S. consulate or being affiliated with al Qaeda. He's also believed to be connected to a heavily armed terror cell that was raided in October in Egypt, when five people were arrested. Now, our sources say they're looking at several people in the attack. The FBI has been covering a lot of territory, but they're still facing roadblocks. We do know that the FBI, for example, had hoped to question a Tunisian suspect Ali Ani al- Harzi, but after finally getting him face to face, al-Harzi refused to speak. That's just one suspect. Abu Ahmed in Egypt is another. We don't know what role the five others in his alleged terror cell may have played in all of this. Susan?

HENDRICKS: All right. Susan Candiotti, I appreciate that report. We're shifting gears now to sports where we're getting details of the second NFL tragedy in as many weeks. Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jerry Brown has been killed in a car accident. Brown was apparently riding in a car driven by his teammate and friend Josh Brent, the Cowboy starting nose tackle. Police report that after hitting a curb their car traveled nearly 900 feet. Brent has been arrested on suspicion of intoxication manslaughter. He could face a sentence of two to 20 years.

After six rounds of intense blows, boxer Juan Manuel Marquez knocked down Manny Pacquiao. It was a non-title bout in Vegas, but one that's meant a whole lot of Marquez. He had lost to Pacquiao twice before. Mitt Romney and his wife were ringside and wished Pacquiao luck before the fight. Pacquiao said he would consider a fifth match-up as well.

More than 300 soldiers are back from Afghanistan, just in time for the holidays. This was the scene of Fort Stewart near Savannah, Georgia.

The soldiers were deployed to Afghanistan in March, they're the third group of Fort Stewart soldiers to return this month. A sight to see there.

They are members of the greatest generation and they're dying at a staggering rate, nearly a thousand a day, and with them their first- hand accounts of World War II are being lost to history. In the first of two parts we meet one of those vets, Mort Waitzman. This is his account of the war from Pearl Harbor to Japan's surrender.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT: December 7, 1941, a date that will live in infamy.

MORT WAITZMAN: I actually enlisted in January of 1943. I would have been drafted anyway, but I was anxious to get after the people who started that whole war after Pearl Harbor. So I found myself on board a troop ship in December of 1943 on the way to South Hampton, England. My name is Morton Waitzman. I was in 29th Infantry Division, (inaudible) company, 2nd 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 the liberation of a lost continent.

WAITZMAN: As 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 it was supposed to be June 5, but then the weather was bad and General Eisenhower made it June 6. I was at the beaches in Normandy, Omaha Beach, at about 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning, when it was (inaudible), our job was to move out fast.

Enemy fire was very intense and had very, very heavy casualties at the beach. 7,000 or 8,000 of our group was killed or wounded at that beach. There was a smell -- the smell of exploding gun powder, and shortly afterward the smell of people - people's bodies being torn apart. The smell of human flesh. It was an experience that any of us who experienced this, 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 loss of 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.

Our thought then was to move on to our primary objectives beyond the beach. More deeply into France, into Normandy. I was initially assigned to General McLurk's (ph) army. But then the liberation of Paris, August, 25th, 1944.. It was a very, very warm welcome to the Americans there that they saw. The French ladies were delighted. They threw flowers and kisses and so on.

After the liberation of Paris, our mission was to move rapidly eastward, where General Patton and his tank division was moving rapidly, and we followed him and the liberation of Belgium, Luxembourg, and into Holland. In December of 1944, we were getting close to the time of the Battle of the Bulge. We then got back our artillery forces and other support groups and we proceeded to attack and crossed into Germany.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENDRICKS: And our thanks to Mort Waitzman for sharing his story.

Coming up, Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president was just re-elected this year. So why is Chavez already announcing who he wants to replace him? Details ahead.

But first, a look in New York this morning. A beautiful shot there. Good morning to you, early birds. Thanks so much for starting your day with us here at CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HENDRICKS: Italy's former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said Saturday he will run again as his nation's leader and he says it's by popular demand. In a message posted on his Web site, a Facebook page, Berlusconi said, "I am besieged by my people that are requesting that I get back in the battlefield leading the People of Freedom," PDL Party. The billionaire resigned as leader just over a year ago, at the height of his country's debt crisis, ending an 18-year stretch as prime minister with, shall we say, a colorful reputation.

Now to South America where as we've been telling you Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made news late Saturday announcing that his cancer has come back. It has returned. In an emotional speech he repeatedly kissed a cross and broke out into song. He even named the man he wants to succeed him if something were to go wrong. So could this be the end of the Chavez era in Venezuela? Joining me now is our Nadia Bilchik. Nadia, great to talk to you. So does this mean he's really afraid? He's had bouts with cancer before, he's been in remission. What does this mean that now he's naming a successor, officially?

NADIA BILCHIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right now we know he has to have very serious surgery. So, what we do know is it's cancer in the pelvic area. He hasn't been specific exactly where. We know that there are malignant cells where tumors were previously removed. He had said the following: "An operation like this, an illness like this always carries risk. If something were to happen that would incapacitate me, Nicolas Maduro should not only finish my term as the constitution requires. You should also elect Maduro to be president." So that's what he says. Nicholas Maduro is his vice president, also his foreign minister and a great friend and confidant.

HENDRICKS: So, I thought that would be a given -- excuse me -- that the V.P would be his successor. But he's kind of naming it, saying it out loud to prepare us, as if anything were to go wrong. Why Cuba, though, for the surgery?

BILCHIK: That's interesting, isn't it? So he was deciding between the hospital in Brazil. They have a very good cancer hospital in Brazil, the Sirio Libanes Hospital. He chose Cuba. Is it for the privacy of being there or the oncologists, but we do know that -- that it's his hospital of choice and it's not unusual for a president to go outside of his country. For example, when Lugo, who is the former president of Paraguay was ill, he went to Brazil, so for privacy and for probably the best oncologists that he knows.

HENDRICKS: And, Nadia, Hugo, as you know, has been such a strong critic of the U.S. Do most people in Venezuela feel that way? Feel what he feels in terms of the U.S.?

BILCHIK: Very divided between the Chavistas and the opposition, but what we do know is that Chavez is virulently and vitriolically anti- capitalism, and for him the U.S. is the symbol of capitalism. So, we know that he's been very anti-American in that, but the country itself is divided. Now, will Maduro be the same? Remains to be seen. Because remember, Maduro, was the Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations. So he lived in the U.S. for many, many years. So does that alter his sensibility? One isn't sure, but he has been selected as the successor, should something happen.

HENDRICKS: Do you think that it may make him a bit more liberal, so to speak in terms of the relations to the U.S?

BILCHIK: Well, one does wonder. And, again, when the end of the Chavez era happens, be it now or later, will things really change, remains to be seen.

HENDRICKS: Do you think it was a good move that Chavez came out and said, OK, here's my successor. Do you think it'll be kind of a sense of fear, because he did say that? That something may happen to him, in fact, that the cancer is back in full force?

BILCHIK: Well, it's interesting you say that. Because he's been seemed to be very emotional. Just before the election in April of this year. He was crying, talking about his cancer. Then during the election he said, I have been cured. And you saw Chavez out there in full force making long speeches. Well, since the election in October, we virtually haven't seen Chavez. So how ill he is, we don't know. But you said it earlier. You said he's obviously very scared and with this kind of cancer and this kind of surgery, we don't know, but with the best oncologists, who knows this all, but again, one of those stories we will be following very closely.

HENDRICKS: Yeah. Nadia, always great to talk to you. Great to see you.

BILCHIK: And I'll be seeing you later.

HENDRICKS: Yes, I will. Great to see you, thanks.

Well, it is official. The pope, yes, the pope has joined Twitter. I'm going to tell you when he will start tweeting and where you can find the pope.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HENDRICKS: Time now to get ready for the week ahead. We're going to show you what's going on. Monday, coveted Nobel Prize awarded in Stockholm. I promise I practiced this earlier. Also, it is a busy day for Fedex. There it is. The busiest day to get those packages out for the holidays. And we look to Tuesday. And Clinton, Hillary Clinton will head to Morocco. That's a big day. Three days of talks with governments from the region on how to end bloodshed in Syria. More than 40,000 Syrians have died in the 21-month conflict as you know. And Wednesday go on Twitter to catch the pope's first tweet from his personal account. We're going to answer questions about faith. So, there you go. You can actually follow the pope on twitter. In less than a week the pope has managed to get nearly 600,000 followers. Very popular guy. Friday, Time named its Person of the Year. That's a big day. Last year, you may remember, the Protester was chosen, "Time" is a sister company of CNN, by the way. And on Saturday, there we go, Egypt votes to approve or reject a new constitution, a potentially pivotal moment for the nation. Catch the latest on this live right here, on CNN. There you have it. A week ahead.

Well, this morning former South African leader Nelson Mandela is in a hospital. South African President Jacob Zuma assures there's no cause for alarm, case closed, but people around the world certainly are worried about Mandela's health. Nkepile Mabuse joins me from South Africa. Nkepile, great to talk to you. What do we know now in terms of Nelson Mandela's health? We're hearing that he's going to extensive testing, is that right?

NKEPILE MABUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Susan, we know very little detail about why he's been tested, why he had to be flown from Qunu in the Eastern Cape where he's based to here, in Pretoria, the capital. The president see -- treats Mr. Mandela's health as a closely guarded secret and they are basically responsible to for communicating this information to us. They're saying that he has been admitted at a Pretoria hospital. They're not even telling us which hospital it is. We're standing outside the hospital Number One Military, where he is usually treated when he comes here, to Pretoria. As you say it, yesterday the president said he's undergoing tests. They said that this is, you know, it's something that is consistent with a man of his age. He's 94 years old. Critically, President Jacob Zuma yesterday saying there is no cause for alarm. But today the president himself visiting Mr. Mandela. People will read a lot into that. And also the statement that came out after that visit here in Pretoria. President Zuma saying Mr. Mandela is in good care and comfortable. We are not being reassured that there is no course for alarm any longer like we were yesterday. So, there are more questions than answers here in South Africa at the moment, Susan.

HENDRICKS: Yes. At this time we just don't know the full details. And, again, as you said, 94 years old. Nkepile in South Africa -- I appreciate that live report.

We have some great news to tell you about. A complete stranger in Georgia is paying unsuspecting customers -- paying their bills. You're going to hear from him live coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HENDRICKS: Some of our service men and women who already give so much while on active duty, keep on giving when they come home. People like Curtis Butler, the once homeless veteran is paying it forward by helping dozens of Georgia Power customers here in the Atlanta area. Jerry Carnes with CNN affiliate WXIA tells us how. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(laughter)

JERRY CARNES, WXIA CORRESPONDENT: He's at it again.

CURTIS BUTLER III: Doesn't he take credit cards, men?

CARNES: For the second day in a week, Curtis Butler delivers stress relief to those struggling with their bills. Here he encounters a woman whose electricity has been off for a week. Not anymore.

BUTLER: God bless. Merry Christmas.

God can't stop blessing us. So why -- why we can't, you know, continue bless another people.

CARNES: Curtis Butler is not a rich man. He is a military veteran who came home from Iraq with post traumatic stress. He says he spent some time living in his car on the streets of El Paso, Texas, homeless, until an adjustment in his military benefits brought him to metro Atlanta and his own apartment.

BUTLER: Just being thankful, you know, for what I have. When you can put a smile on somebody's face during the holidays or everyday, that's a major blessing.

CARNES: There was shock and tears when Butler entered the Georgia Power building in Stockbridge on Monday and dropped $2,000 to pay the bills of strangers. Michael Guice was one of them. MICHAEL GUICE, RECEIVED HELP FROM GIVING VETERAN: I was in awe of what happened. And that was -- just my first time witnessing how well God works through men.

CARNES: Butler also paid Quianna Cherry's bill, restoring power to her home. There was a little extra for her three-year old son.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you!

QUIANNA CHERRY, RECEIVED HELP FROM GIVING VETERAN: It was like (ph) It's like I hit the lottery or something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You do.

CHERRY: Thank you, Jesus. I thank you God.

CARNES: Curtis Butler came to us wanting to tell his story in hopes of bringing more attention to the plight of veterans facing post traumatic stress and homelessness.

BUTLER: I did that the way that God wanted me to do.

CARNES: Once homeless himself, Curtis Butler now feels right at home in the arms of generosity.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HENDRICKS: I love that. That was Jerry Carnes of CNN affiliate WXIA. Joining me now is the man himself, Curtis Butler. It's an honor to meet you.

BUTLER: Good morning, Susan, how are you doing?

HENDRICKS: We saw you giving back and people's initial reaction. How does that feel, to see those people say I feel like I hit the lottery, I now have faith once again. How does that feel?.

BUTLER: This is a good feeling, because somebody blessed me, and my family was blessed me -- when I was on hard luck and once I left El Paso, Texas, the V.A. hospital, the veterans group that I meet with at the V.A. Hospital on Wednesdays, they helped me out, the regional office helped me out, David Scott's office. They did a tremendous job. And they were the ones that apologized for what happened to me in El Paso, Texas, and I'm grateful for that.

HENDRICKS: What made you decide, OK, I do want to give back, but I'm paying power bills. I want people to feel like -- because, you know, these days with people in a recession, with the U.S. in a recession, people down and out. And as we heard, you're not a rich man. How do you come up with this money to pay it forward?

BUTLER: Well, you know, I have some savings. My fiancee, she helps me save, and she kind of keeps me on track. I just went to pay my light bill. And I kind of ear hustled and heard the older couple said they were having problems paying their bill. So I said, excuse me, are you having problem paying your bill and they said yes. I said I'll pay it for you, merry Christmas.

HENDRICKS: That is amazing, and I'm sure it makes people then again, want to pay it forward and get back as well. You for a while lived in your car.

BUTLER: Yes.

HENDRICKS: And you were saying that people helped you along the way.

BUTLER: Yes. Once I left El Paso, Texas, I had a friend, a high school buddy of mine, Sergeant First Class Allison Anderson, she told me that one of her soldiers said to have him come here to Atlanta and they will assist him and help him out and I'm grateful to both of them also.

HENDRICKS: And you're also helping by writing this book, :Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, My Story. Please listen." How has that affected you and made you the man you are today? Not only suffering from it, but then helping others?

BUTLER: It's like counseling for me, a counseling session for me. And then it's just not for the military. It's also for our civilian counterparts, also the husbands, the wives, the kids. And, then, also, you know, big businesses. They don't have to worry -- you have to be scared when a soldier has PTSD and then they say, oh, we can't hire you because of the meds that you take. But then I look at it. You know, with PTSD, if we can go down range in a war zone and fight for your freedom and then we come back home and you say, we can't hire you or, you know, the stuff that you was doing in the military, you have to go to school for that, there should be a way that they can go ahead and transfer, like if you're a medic or if you're a cook or mechanic, transfer those skills into civilian life instead of having a person go back to school again because now it's like they're starting over again. It's redundant.

HENDRICKS: Well said. I'm looking forward to reading your book. What's the main message you wanted to get across? Is that you can survive and live a healthy happy life with PTSD?

BUTLER: Yes. But the main kicker is prayer and then you have to have that person who knows your weak spots. And when they see you in your time of need, they're there to pick you up. And that's what I have in my fiancee and my church and my family and friends.

HENDRICKS: We saw that with you literally paying it forward and paying people's power bill. It really is an honor to meet you. I know quickly you wanted to wish someone a happy birthday?

BUTLER: Yes. Higher Living Bapt -- Higher Living Christian Church in Hampton, Georgia, I'd like to give the first lady of the church, Miss ...

HENDRICKS: That's OK, it's live TV, don't worry.

BUTLER: Miss Landers, happy birthday, God bless. I love you guys.

HENDRICKS: Curtis Butler, thank you. And I'm looking forward to reading your book as well. You are doing great things.

BUTLER: Yes, ma'am.

HENDRICKS: Good meeting you.

BUTLER: All right.

HENDRICKS: Well, thanks so much for starting your morning with us. We've got much more ahead on CNN Sunday Morning which starts right now.

From CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING. A Dallas Cowboy is dead, his teammate under arrest, suspected of drinking and driving. Plus, his cancer returns: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez makes an emotional announcement, leaving his country on edge.

And then this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATI MARTON, FORMER TV CORRESPONDENT: My life, my story, but, in fact, it's really about the human condition.

(ENDVIDEO CLIP)

HENDRICKS: Picking up the pieces. Former TV correspondent and author Kati Marton on life after loss.

It is Sunday, November 9th. Great to see you. Good morning to you. I'm Susan Hendricks, in today for Randi Kaye.

We begin with a developing story. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announcing that his cancer has come back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ, VENEZUELA (through translator): Unfortunately, this is how I am telling the country, that in that overall checkup, malignant cells show up in the same affected area. We have had to review the diagnostic, the evolution of the treatment, and we have had to check with experts. And we have decided it is absolutely necessary and absolutely essential to undergo another surgery.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENDRICKS: Chavez also spoke publicly about a successor for the first time, saying his vice president should replace him if his health worsens. Chavez has been seeking treatment for cancer in Cuba throughout the year and plans to undergo surgery there.

Egyptians woke up skeptical over the latest move by President Mohamed Morsi. He says he's canceling most of the sweeping powers he recently decreed for himself. But any decision he made since that announcement still stands. Critics call his change of heart a farce. That power grab led to rioting in the streets. Morsi says he's pushing ahead with next week's referendum on draft constitutions. But opponents say it's virtually shut them out of the process that it has.

An American doctor kidnapped in Afghanistan has been rescued by NATO forces near Kabul. U.S. officials say Dr. Dilip Joseph was kidnapped by Taliban insurgents on Wednesday. But local Afghan officials say he was abducted by smugglers. An Afghan doctor who was also taken but was released after his family paid a $12,000 ransom. Two suspected men of working with the kidnappers were arrested, two men, that is.

In sports, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel made history this weekend, became the first freshman to ever win the Heisman trophy, college football's most prestigious award. Manziel scored 43 touchdowns this year and is 4,600 yards of total offense have smashed the southeastern conference record as well. Good for him.

New video released by the Kansas City police shows Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher hours before his death. One dash cam vide shows police talking to Belcher after they found him apparently sleeping behind the wheel in his car. He was not arrested but police determined he had been drinking.

Now, Belcher told police he was going to the apartment to see a woman. Police say he shot his girlfriend later that morning. Then himself.

We are getting details on a second NFL tragedy in as many weeks. So what's going on with pro football? Mark McKay has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARK MCKAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jerry Brown Jr., a Dallas Cowboy's practice squad linebacker, was killed early Saturday in a one-vehicle crash in Irving, Texas. The 25-year-old Brown was a passenger driven by Cowboys' teammate Josh Brent. Police arrested and booked the 24-year-old Brent, a Dallas defensive lineman, into the Irving City jail on one count of intoxication manslaughter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our officers on scene felt as if alcohol was a contributing factor in the accident, so Mr. Price Brent was asked to perform some field sobriety tests. After he performed those field sobriety tests based on his performance of those tests, along with our officers' observations and the conversations they had with him, he was placed under arrest for driving while intoxicated.

MCKAY: The Dallas Cowboys learned of the death of one teammate and the arrest of another before they boarded a flight to Cincinnati where they'll play the Bengals on Sunday.

Team owner Jerry Jones issued statement that read, "We are deeply saddened by the news of this accident and the passing of Jerry Brown. At this time, our hearts and prayers and deepest sympathies are with the members of Jerry's family and all of those who knew him and loved him."

One week ago, the NFL was shaken by the death of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher who shot and killed his girlfriend and then traveled to the team's practice facility where he took his own life in front of team's officials, including Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel. ROMEO CRENNEL, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS HEAD COACH: Jovan is a member of the family. What he did, we didn't like, we're not crazy about. But he's still a member of our family, you know? And when you go out in society and things like this happen in society because they do happen in society, you don't see people throwing the family members out the door, you know? They're still loved by their family members, but the act, you don't like the act.

And so, you move on, you deal with it. And you don't have a choice. You have to move on.

MCKAY: Because of the nature of the sport, tears are sometimes shed in the NFL on the field.

In back-to-back weeks, the league has been moved to tears by two separate but no less tragic off-the-field events.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HENDRICKS: Coming up, the president has his work cut out for him, as he starts to form his new cabinet. What is next as the GOP is ready for a fight to oppose Susan Rice, the secretary of state.

And a beautiful shot, good morning, in Washington. That's a shot of the White House. Bright and early there. So glad you're starting your morning with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HENDRICKS: Having won the election, President Obama's second administration faces a new challenge now, forming his cabinet. He wants new faces to avoid the image that a holdover cabinet would look like a bunch of, quote, "second stringers". But he's already facing opposition from Republicans.

Here's Emily Schmidt.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

EMILY SCHMIDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (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, an imminent cabinet shuffle is expected.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: 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 does not look like a second team, does not look like a group of second stringers.

SCHMIDT: The likely short list to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is already politically charged. Susan Rice, the U.S. 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, apparently because they think she's an easy target, then they got a problem with me.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Senator McCain.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHMIDT: Senator John McCain jokingly gave the cabinet post now 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 as a potential defense secretary to replace Leon Panetta. It's a list that includes Michelle Flournoy who held what's considered the number three job at the Pentagon. Senior Democrat 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, TREASURY SECRETARY: We're in a much stronger position today as a country than we were in '07.

SCHMIDT: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has said he will stay at his post until at least inauguration. President Obama's chief of staff, Jack Lew, is often named as a potential replacement.

(on camera): A CNN-ORC post election poll asked if people thought President Obama would pick good cabinet members -- 58 percent said they thought he would, 42 percent said he would not.

Emily Schmidt, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HENDRICKS: Emily, thank you.

And also in Washington, Bo is back for the second year in a row. The Obama family dog is front and center on the White House holiday card. First Lady Michelle Obama personally selected a drawing by Iowa artist Larassa Kabel for this year's greeting, which is based on an earlier photo of Bo running across the snowy lawn. Kabel called the moment she got word from the White House, quote, "very surreal".

I like that shot of Bo.

She was married to both the newsman Peter Jennings and the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. And now, author Kati Marton has written a memoir about her own amazing life. We hear about her after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANNE CLAIRE STAPLETON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As a mother of a young child, I'm always looking for something fun and educational to do together. NatureQuest is our spot.

(voice-over): In the heart of Atlanta is the Fernbank Museum of Natural History's children and family friendly exhibit NatureQuest. Opened in March 2011 with more than 7,000 square feet of interactive educational things to do and see, the exhibit has the feel of a playground and the educational tools of a classroom.

Every nook and cranny offers children a new adventure. Unlike traditional museums, at NatureQuest children are challenged from self- discovery to explore and be curious in a hands-on environment just like real scientists.

With over 100 interactive encounters to choose from, a few of my son's favorites include the clubhouse build in the trees and human fossils and the simulated river that seems to be swimming when they step on it.

CHRISTINA BEAN, V.P. OF EDUCATION, FERNBANK MUSEUM: NatureQuest is this amazingly fun world that's scientifically realistic. You can explore from the oceans and top of the mountains and everywhere you look there's something to do, everywhere you look there's something to find, something to like.

STAPLETON: What does a 2-year-old care about science? Not much, but my son has so much fun exploring he doesn't realize his little brain is learning too.

Anne Claire Stapleton, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HENDRICKS: Welcome back.

Time now for some arts and leisure. Nadia Bilchik joins me again.

Nadia, for this week's segment, you had an opportunity to speak to author Kati Marton who's out with a new book about her fascinating amazing life, right?

NADIA BILCHIK, CNN EDITORIAL PRODUCER: Yes, Kati Marton has led an incredible life. And she's very accomplished in her own right. She was married to newsman Peter Jennings and the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. And it's Holbrooke's death that inspired Kati to write her life story.

I asked her why now is the time to write her memoir.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTON: I wanted to make something permanent out of what turned out to be impermanent. That is my 17 years with Richard, my husband, who died entirely unexpectedly in the middle of life. And in the days after his death, I couldn't sleep, so I started keeping a journal. And that really was the genesis of this book.

And then it kind of took own a life of its own. But I don't think it's worth writing a memoir if you're not going to be honest.

BILCHIK: You were very honest.

Now, you have extraordinarily life both personally, married to Peter Jennings, Richard Holbrooke, and professionally, ABC News correspondent, NPR News, renown author, how do you decide to keep in this memoir and what to leave out?

MARTON: Well, this is by no mean a tell-all book. It's very honest, as honest as I could make it. There is nothing in there that isn't honest but I chose themes that I thought would be universal, human themes. I mean, OK, it's my life, my story, but, in fact, it's really about the human condition.

And although it was triggered by the great trauma that followed my beloved husband's sudden death, it's really not at all about grief. It's really about how to get from grief to a different place because sadly grief is as much a part of the human condition as love and professional fulfillment. Sooner or later, loss finds all of us, and so how do we get from loss to life, and that's what this book is about.

BILCHIK: Here at CNN, we all remember the day that your husband, ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Holbrooke, died unexpectedly. You write about that day and the memorial. Why don't you share that with us?

MARTON: Well, it was a day that started as all of my days for 17 years, started with a phone call from Richard who, as you know, was always in a troubled spot -- Islamabad, Kabul. On this day, he was actually en route to the White House. We were making our Christmas plans and we were laughing and joking on the phone and all was well.

And an hour later, I had a call if there the ambulance that was taking him to the emergency room and that was our last conversation. And then being the wife of such a public man, my mourning could not stay private and I understood that. And I understood that I had to plan a memorial that was worthy of such a public man, and that imposed its own stresses.

But at the same time, it was a balm, reassuring to me to discover that Richard had touched so many lives around the world and letters just kept pouring in and I read each one. But in reading those letters, I decided that I really couldn't stay in our home and in our city of New York if I wanted to get on with my life and that's when it took me to Paris.

And that's really -- Paris is at the heart of this love story because for whatever reason, every happy moment in high life seems to have taken place in Paris.

BILCHIK: You say in the book, what was I if not part of a couple. You are no longer part of Mrs. Richard Holbrooke.

MARTON: Yes. You know what? I don't think I would have discovered really who I am and my strength if I can say that if I had just sailed through life as Mrs. Holbrooke.

BILCHIK: Kati, what do you hope readers will get from this book?

MARTON: That there is life after loss. Here's the lesson. Live every day and please be sure to tell the people that you love that you love them because you really can't count on anything and that shouldn't make us uneasy. It should make us embrace life fully as I now try to do.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BILCHIK: In the book, Marton also writes quite a bit about her first husband and the father of her two children Peter Jennings and their tempestuous relationship that the two of them had. She's also really quite candid about the struggles in her life and marriage, including her infidelities.

HENDRICKS: I like how he says, this book really has human themes, and people can connect. I saw a picture of Kati and Nelson Mandela in there as well.

BILCHIK: We know Nelson Mandela has gone to hospital apparently for routine testing but she tells a glorious story. She says she was with Mandela who she calls the greatest statesman in the world when Clinton was going through the crisis with Monica Lewinsky.

So, Mandela says to her and she writes this in this book, what is it with these Americans? She says, we Africans like our men to be brielle (ph).

And it's just one of the many lovely stories about the people she's met and the people who made an impact on her life.

HENDRICKS: It's amazing that she's being so honest and frank in this book. I think a lot of people will connect.

Nadia, great to see you.

BILCHIK: "Paris: A Love Story."

HENDRICKS: "Paris: A Love Story", makes you want to go, right?

BILCHIK: Exactly.

HENDRICKS: Thanks so much.

It seems like whatever she does causes a stir. We're talking about Lady Gaga. Now, a tweet from her is causing a social media frenzy. But first, a check of what's coming up at the bottom of the hour on "SANJAY GUPTA, M.D."

Hey, Sanjay. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Susan, I'm going to be talking with actor Frankie Muniz. He just had a stroke. He's only 27 years old.

Also, a new psychiatric diagnosis -- this is going to surprise -- hoarding. Those people who find themselves overwhelmed by clutter. All of this coming up at 7:30 a.m. Eastern.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HENDRICKS: The law legalizing same sex marriage took effect in Washington state on Thursday. And officials are preparing for a flood of marriage applications from couples. Under Washington state law, couples must submit marriage certificates at least three days in advance. As a result, hundreds of same-sex Washington weddings are expected today.

You know Lady Gaga is in Russia and her tweet to Russian Prime Minister Medvedev is causing quite a stir. She tweeted this: "Thank you, Prime Minister Medvedev, for not standing by your party's anti- gay propaganda law and instead supporting my show and fans all over Russia."

In an interview, Prime Minister Medvedev called the bill unnecessary, that would make it a crime to provide minors with information about homosexuality.

News of fiscal cliff talks have been making headlines all week, which made the topic fodder for comedians and the folks at "SNL". So, here is their twist on budget talks for today's late-night laughs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'd like to announce that we have reach and agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff. In order to get the support of the speaker, I agree there would be no tax increases. I repeat, zero tax increases.

Now, why would I do that? I mean I won the election. I had the leverage. Why give in?

Well, simply put, I felt sorry for this man.

Earlier this week, I found my way into the congressional cafeteria, and what I do see? John Boehner sitting by himself, all alone. Not a single member of his party wanted to share his company. He didn't even have any milk to drink because -- well, tell them why, John.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had taken my milk and thrown it in the garbage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are supposed to be his friends, his colleagues. But even at the hint that the taxes might be raised on his leadership watch, they turn on him.

Tell them what you found in your office desk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I don't --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no. Go ahead. Hey, tell them what your so- called friends put in your office desk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a rubber snake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A rubber snake. And did it scare you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was so heartbroken to hear this, I said, look, how about this, John, if you agree to a 1 percent raise on the top two Americans, just two people, I will dissolve Social Security. Dissolve it.

So we took it to the Republicans and Congress, and what do they do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Invited me to a pizza party.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And when they got there -- when you got there, sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a burned out warehouse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you go inside?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And was there any pizza?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then what happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They jumped out and pelted me with eggs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENDRICKS: Funny stuff. Now to "SANJAY GUPTA, M.D." which starts right now.