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CNN NEWSROOM

Gingrich: Current GOP Can't Beat Hillary; Obama Attends Psy Performance; Morsi Advisor Speaks with CNN; "Johnny Football" Wins Heisman; Pacquiao Gets Knocked Out

Aired December 10, 2012 - 09:30   ET

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


TED ROWLANDS, CNN ANCHOR: Today in South Africa, former President Nelson Mandela is facing a day of medical tests in a hospital. The 94-year-old has suffered health problems in recent years. The nation's current president says Mandela is doing well but offered no details on his condition. Mandela is a Nobel laureate who fought against racial segregation.

Former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich isn't sounding too optimistic about his party's chances about winning back the White House in 2016, especially if it stays in its current form. In fact, Gingrich thinks it's almost impossible if one particular candidate wins the Democratic nomination.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If their competitor in '16 is going to be Hillary Clinton supported by Bill Clinton and presumably a still relatively popular President Barack Obama, trying to win that will be truly the Super Bowl, and the Republican Party today is incapable of competing at that level.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROWLANDS: Let's talk about this with CNN contributors L.Z. Granderson and Will Cain.

L.Z., let's start with you. Agree or disagree on Gingrich's assessment?

L.Z. GRANDERSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know, Gingrich sounds like a Detroit Lions fan. He's so pessimistic heading into the Super Bowl.

You know what? I tend to agree. I think a the lot of people I've spoken to inside the administration as well as just kind of political wonks like us, we all think that Hillary is going to run and we all think she's going to be an incredible candidate to try to defeat.

With that being said, 2016 is a very long ways away. We need to get through 2014. We need to get through the fiscal cliff first. I think we're getting ahead of ourselves by saying she's unbeatable, but she's certainly formidable if she decides to run. ROWLANDS: Will, we should point out that Hillary Clinton at every step says she's not running. But we'll go ahead and talk about it anyway.

Will, do you agree with newt Gingrich she would be unbeatable, at least at this point, with the Republican Party as is?

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'll start by agreeing with L.Z., and that is four-year based predictions are worthless. You tell me what's going to happen four years from now, why don't you go to the stock market, why don't you go to some places where you can make some real money if you have insight in the future?

That being said, yes, Hillary's formidable. Obviously, she's formidable. She's a great candidate. But Newt Gingrich also said the Republican Party as it exists today.

Well, whoever is running in four years will not be Herman Cain and, well, Newt Gingrich. It will be guys like Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio -- much more formidable GOP candidates. I'm not ready to say, hey, let's lay down our swords and let Hillary have this one. I don't -- I don't think we're ready for that.

ROWLANDS: What should the Republican Party be doing now or in the years to come to make sure they can compete without -- regardless if it's Hillary Clinton or somebody else?

CAIN: That's a good question, Ted, because honestly, the bigger issue has nothing to do with the name at the top of the ballot but what the parties stand for. And the Republican Party's economic message, one I inherently know is better, is superior. But it's sold on abstract and theoretical terms, is not applying to middle class, everyday Americans when aligned against policies that are designed to say, here's how I'm going to help you on X, Y, and Z, from auto bailouts to birth control. It's just not stacking up right now.

We have to explain free market capitalism in more tangible terms to everyday Americans.

ROWLANDS: All right. Let's talk fiscal cliff.

GRANDERSON: You know, I've got to argue with my buddy. I just have to challenge Will on this. I'm not really sure if their economic policies are that superior, which partly explains why you don't hear any of the Bushes' names being mentioned during the conventions. We've had 12 years of Republican presidents, and they skip right to Reagan when they talk about great Republican presidents.

So I think the American people notice that. I think they notice during the Clinton years we created so many jobs, and during the Bush years, we lost so many jobs. And during the Obama years, we're again creating jobs. I think the American people also witnessed that and are quite sold on the notion that the economic policy of the Republican Party has the best policy.

ROWLANDS: All right. Let's switch gears. Fiscal cliff -- Republican Senator Bob Corker, the latest Republican to say, all right, go ahead and raise taxes on the top 2 percent. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: A lot of people are putting forth a theory, and I actually think it has merit, where you go ahead and give the president the 2 percent increase that he's talking about, the rate increase on the top 2 percent, and all of a sudden, the shift goes back to entitlements.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROWLANDS: Will, why not give him the 2 percent and then get what you want on the other issues that are on the table?

CAIN: Well, Senator Corker's strategy, his analysis here has a little bit of merit.

Look, if we give in on the top 2 percent, if we just say, OK, you get your tax increases on people over $250,000. Now what, Democrats? Now? All that entitlement you've been talking about that you're willing to look at reforming, let's look at it now. Nothing's in the way of that.

There's a little bit of merit to that. But it also requires you to believe that President Obama and the Democrats have a real interest in fulfilling that obligation, a real interest in examining entitlements, and I'm not sure that I can grant that goodwill. I don't know that I've seen that willingness.

So there's where Senator Corker's analysis in my mind falls a little short.

ROWLANDS: L.Z., is that willingness gone on both sides? I mean, what's your take on what the Republicans should do with the 2 percent? Should they give it in? Because they would pick up, I would think, a lot of credit in that and be able to negotiate in a much better position. No?

GRANDERSON: I think this entire conversation, at least from the Republican standpoint, is being characterized the wrong way. President Obama, the Democrats aren't looking to raise anyone's taxes. What they're doing is allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. In other words, allow the tax to go back to where they were when we created jobs.

I think, if the Republicans are able to say, look, we're willing to allow tax to go for 98 percent of the nation so that we can talk about entitlements, I think that characterization of the conversation will help them in terms of image because right now, it doesn't look as if they care about the middle class. They need to focus in on the fact that they're allowing 98 percent, the majority of the Bush tax cuts to be extended, and they can claim that as a victory.

I think you will see a shift in the way people are viewing who's at fault in the fiscal cliff conversation, and you'll be able to have a much more positive attitude about the Republicans heading into this so-called battle with Hillary Clinton in the future.

ROWLANDS: All right. L.Z. Granderson and Will Cain, thank you, gentlemen. We appreciate it.

CAIN: Thanks, Ted.

ROWLANDS: All right. Washington, including President Obama, went "Gangnam Style" over the weekend, but not without a little controversy. We'll tell you why, coming up.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROWLANDS: South Korean rapper Psy's hot hit "Gangnam Style" shot him to fame, but his anti-U.S. remarks made a lot of people upset. He has apologized, and at least one person appears to have forgiven him. That one person is -- well, Nischelle Turner is in Los Angeles to tell us who that is.

Good morning, Nischelle.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Hey. Good morning, Ted.

Yes, it's a big name, a pretty big name. It appears that President Obama seems to be OK with Psy, and despite some of those previous anti-American remarks made by the rapper, his performance at a holiday concert in Washington on Sunday attended by the president went on as planned.

Now, unless you have absolutely no Internet access or you haven't been out of the house in a long time, you probably heard his mega hit "Gangnam Style", which is breaking records on YouTube. But a controversial performance by Psy, which was shot roughly eight years ago, has spread like wildfire online. In it, the rapper calls for the death of American troops serving in Iraq, not long after news of a slaying of a South Korean hostage by Iraqi insurgents.

Now, this was an incident that ignited anti-American sentiments across South Korea. Psy did apologize on Friday saying that while it is important to express our opinions, he does regret the inflammatory and inappropriate language he used. He continued saying, quote, "I understand the sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and democracy in my country and around the world" -- Ted.

ROWLANDS: And as I understand the L.A. Police Department has an apology of their own.

TURNER: Yes, and this is a pretty big apology as well. It surrounds one of the biggest whodunit's in the history of popular music? The question, who killed rapper Notorious B.I.G., whose real name is Christopher Wallace?

Well, in what the LAPD calls an effort to, quote, "stimulate" additional interest or bring forth witnesses or clues in the case, the Los Angeles Police Department released Wallace's autopsy report last week, 15 years after his death. This did have new details in it like how Biggie was shot four times and that no drugs or alcohol were found in his system.

However, the LAPD is apologizing to the rapper's family for not notifying them prior to making this report public. They blame the early release on an administrative error. They have since spoken to the family.

But the LAPD says this is actually one of the most challenging cases for them to solve. If you think about it, when I heard this, wow, 15 years ago, this was at the Peterson here in Los Angeles, which is a very public place on a night where there were so many people around, and to still not figure out who did this. It really is kind of a head scratcher.

ROWLANDS: Yes, and it has inspired a lot of conspiracy theories around the country, a lot of books on it. Still an unsolved mystery.

All right, Nischelle.

Well, MTV's new reality show "Buckwild" getting a lot of heat. One West Virginia senator not too happy about it. Nischelle will be back next hour. And we'll hear what the senator has to say as well.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROWLANDS: Egypt will go ahead with a referendum on its new constitution this Saturday even though President Morsi backed off granting himself extraordinary powers.

CNN's Reza Sayah joins us from Cairo. Reza I know you recently sat down with one of the President's top advisors in an exclusive interview. What did he tell you about Saturday's referendum?

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ted, this was the President's chief of staff, and he told us pointblank that this nationwide vote on the Constitution will go on as scheduled on Saturday. He said delaying it is impossible. He said the opposition is kicking and screaming because they're desperate knowing they're in the minority.

We also asked him why many in the opposition simply don't like the President and the Muslim Brotherhood.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAYAH: We've talked to a lot of these protesters and many say they just don't trust President Morsi and you sense they don't like the Muslim Brotherhood. Sometimes you sense hatred. How do you address that?

MUHAMMAD RIFAA TAHTAWI, PRESIDENT MORSI'S, CHIEF OF STAFF: These people have a political view that has to be respected and if we do not manage to come to terms, let us go to the people.

SAYAH: Let me tell you another thing that I hear often, and it's a pretty harsh criticism. The opposition believes the Brotherhood and the Islamists manipulate their supporters through fear of God and religion, supporters that are illiterates and uneducated.

TAHTAWI: I totally disagree with this because it's part of the disease of the elite.

SAYAH: But does the Brotherhood use the fear of God and religion to convince supporters to go out and vote?

TAHTAWI: No.

SAYAH: Do you believe --

TAHTAWI: No.

SAYAH: -- you're the party of God, the party representing God?

TAHTAWI: Nobody represents God. We are not the community of Muslims. We are part of the community of Muslims.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAYAH: The president's chief of staff says they're going to go after all the voters on Saturday -- Muslims, Christians, all Egyptians. The opposition still trying to derail this process, Ted, with more mass demonstrations scheduled tomorrow.

ROWLANDS: All right the world will be watching. Reza Sayah, thank you Reza from Cairo today. Thanks Reza.

Well many people in Minnesota are digging out from the heaviest snowfall since 2011. We'll tell you which other states are also getting a wintry blast. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROWLANDS: And the good folks in Minnesota are dealing with a lot of snow this morning including Minneapolis, where they had over 10 inches of snow. Let's bring in meteorologist Alexandra Steele. Big cold front moving in across the country I guess Alexandra.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Oh a hugely dynamic system, you know you talked about Minneapolis and "The Star Tribune" the local paper there says "Winter Back. Welcome, Winter Back." So you know it's been a paltry few years there and of course this is their livelihood all of the cold and the snow.

So a big snowfall actually, the biggest in two years in places like Minneapolis. Entire season last year, only 22 inches. Their biggest last season, only four inches of snow. Look at this 14 inches, this is 14 miles east of Minneapolis. Maplewood.

So, Twin Cities picking up about 10.5 inches of snow, so certainly good news for them, but in the big picture, this is incredibly dynamic. Here's the radar. You can see there's Minneapolis. All the rain of course from the snow that pushed eastward. It's now just rain.

The Arctic air was in place in Minneapolis. Right now, it feels like three and it's 13 degrees. Arctic air still there, Arctic air not here in the northeast predominantly rain all day in New York, 40 degrees, and no snow with that.

But the only snow we'll see here is in northern Maine maybe about eight to 10 inches of snow. Farther south though what we're seeing again south of all the way through the Hudson Valley, very warm temperatures. New York, Washington, flirting with record highs today, so record snow to the northwest, record highs in the south and east and also, very dynamic here.

Potentially, we have a tornado watch. You can see these are posted, meaning the atmosphere right for tornados to develop. We also have even had tornado warnings and we have one posted for another 30 minutes or so. We have had some cells that have had some rotation detected, but look at all of this. Incredibly stormy there this morning, it is all pushing eastward. There's where the tornado warnings are the tornado potentially headed just north and east. These storms moving about northeast 40 miles per hour.

So Hattiesburg, heads-up to you. Baton Rouge the stormy though this morning. So the storm and the record warmth. New York City 57, flirting with records. Washington, 60 and Pensacola to West Palm Beach is set in the 70s today but cold front will move through and drop those temperatures 20 degrees tomorrow.

So a lot of people are certainly impacted. Real estate and population by this front moving through.

ROWLANDS: All right. Bundle up. Thanks Alexandra.

STEELE: Sure.

ROWLANDS: Well, in one corner, the man who lost the presidential election and the other, the man who got knocked out this weekend. The behind the scenes fight night meeting between Mitt Romney and Manny Pacquiao. That's next.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROWLANDS: For the Washington Redskins, rookie quarterbacks are worth their weight in gold. One goes down, no problem. Another one comes in to win the game.

Vince Cellini joins us now from the Bleacher Report. Wow, RG3 goes down and collectively, the fans, oh, no, it's over, but they end up winning.

VINCE CELLIN, BLEACHERREPORT.COM: Right, if you're a fan of RG3 and football in general, this is really very frightening. And this not the first time that he's been injured in the game leading the (inaudible) he had a concussion earlier this year against the Ravens late in the game. He's trying to scramble and make a play and he does, picking up a first down before the end of this play Haloti Ngata of the Ravens just drills him right there and it looked bad, it looked really bad at first, but an MRI showed there was no ligament damage, no torn ACL.

In this game, Kirk Cousins comes off the bench, generates a late touchdown, runs for a two-point conversion and they eventually the Redskins win in overtime, so their playoff chances very much alive in the NFC east. So good news, RG3 is ok. Iffy for next week of course.

ROWLANDS: Let's talk college football. Heisman goes to Johnny "Football", Johnny Manziel. The first freshman ever.

CELLINI: Yes it's really historic. And the fact that he has the catchiest nickname. Johnny Football. He goes into the SEC with Texas A&M this year and he sets a total offense record. So Heisman voters historically have not given the vote to freshman players. This time around Johnny Football walks away with the hardware.

It's interesting, Ted. To me, the bigger picture is this. Mantai Te'o of Notre Dame is second in the balloting, linebacker. Will a defensive player ever win the Heisman?

ROWLANDS: Either way, it would have been historic. Freshman or first defensive player.

CELLINI: Right, is it for the MVP on offense in college football?

ROWLANDS: Right.

CELLINI: Is that really what the award's all about.

ROWLANDS: If he doesn't win, who does?

CELLINI: Yes, but he's exciting and again only freshman and congratulations to Johnny Manziel.

ROWLANDS: Let's talk Manny Pacquiao found himself in unfamiliar territory on the mat in Las Vegas. An incredible fight. He was knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez. With him there at ring side though, another guy who knows about getting knocked out a little bit.

CELLINI: Yes, he lost the biggest fight of his life back in November. Mitt Romney was there with his wife Ann, ringside and before the fight wished Pacquiao well. It didn't turn out so well. In the sixth round after a furious fifth round in which Manuel was knocked down. Pacquiao hits the deck, one punch over hand right. And there you see that exchange.

It was kind of funny. According to reports, Romney went up to Pacquiao and said "Hello, Manny, I ran for president, I lost." I don't think Romney's loss left a mark. This one might for Pacquiao who had a broken nose, knocked down, loses his second straight fight. Many are wondering if this is the end for or if there's a rematch in the offing a fifth possible fight. So we'll see.

ROWLANDS: Well, there was so much build up to this one that this would answer all the questions, but why not? Do it again.

CELLINI: Hate that.

Remember go to Bleacher Report for all of these stories and more. BleacherReport.com; It's your place for sports, 24/7.

ROWLANDS: All right Vince. Thank you, sir.

CELLINI: Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROWLANDS: And next hour begins right now.

Stories we're watching right now off the air and under siege.