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Winter Storms Hit Part of U.S.; Fiscal Cliff Negotiations at Possible Standstill; Violence in Syria Continues; Actor Jack Klugman Dies; 20 Plus Car Pileup Oklahoma; Snowboarder Killed In Avalanche; Two Killed After Plane Crashes in Myanmar; Bush "41" Remains Hospitalized; Who's Naughty? Who's Nice?; Instagram Hit With Class Action Suit; Gun Permit Holders' Info Published; Top Five Gadgets Of 2012

Aired December 25, 2012 - 07:00   ET


DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: Possible tornadoes, freezing rain, and some folks waking up to blizzard warnings. And the storms, they are just getting geared up.

Fiscal mess, exactly one week until we go off the cliff, and new word that no one is reaching across the aisle right now.

And remembering a legend. Hollywood says good-bye to the "Odd Couple's" cigar-chomping Oscar Madison.

Good morning and Merry Christmas. I'm Dana Bash in Washington. Alina, it's great to be with you again. Merry Christmas.

ALINA CHO, CNN ANCHOR: Merry Christmas, everyone. Good morning, everybody. I'm Alina Cho is New York. It's Tuesday, December 25th. STARTING POINT begins right now.

And our starting point, those dreaming of a white Christmas may be paying for that this morning. Extreme weather is on the way this Christmas day. Millions could be in store for a foot of snow or more. It could even be a rare white Christmas down south, along with a threat of tornadoes. Bonnie Schneider is tracking the holiday storm and all the delays for us. Hey, Bonnie, good morning.

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning and merry Christmas, Alina.

It's unusual to see a snow storm set up here on Christmas Day in Oklahoma and in Arkansas. In fact when you're looking back at the records some of the places highlighted in pink are going to see a white Christmas and a snowfall going through Christmas night, and that hasn't happened in 80 years. What else is unusual? Blizzard warnings. We're seeing them pop up across areas into Arkansas as well as lower sections of Illinois and Kentucky, including Paducah. This storm will really energize later on tonight.

Right now, though, it's a wintry mix of snow and freezing rain through Oklahoma City and dangerous thunderstorms with reports of pea-sized hail and you can see the lightning strikes popping up across Dallas, Texas, into Shreveport, Louisiana, and all this energy sliding northeast, a lot of moisture coming up from the Gulf that's just enhancing it.

What does that mean for today? We don't have a tornado watch yet, but I anticipate we'll see one for this afternoon, especially for the areas highlighted in the brighter orange color. We have a good risk, or a moderate risk for the risk of tornadoes, hail and possible damaging winds. Some of these winds could get up to 50 miles per hour or greater.

If it's not enough where we have the lightning and thunder and rain we also have dense fog, making it even more dangerous to see if there's debris blown around. This is really tough this morning for those that are traveling. Be very careful with the fog out there and snow building in later today and tonight. So it's a real mess for this Christmas. I hope everyone can stay inside as much as possible.

CHO: Lots for you to watch. You are a very busy girl on this Christmas morning. All right, Bonnie, thank you.

BASH: And on this Christmas morning, a community mourning another senseless shooting tragedy. This time in upstate New York where four fire fighters were shot, two fatally, after being lured into a sniper's trap on Christmas Eve morning. This is a man who allegedly set fire to a house near Rochester, New York, 62-year-old William Spengler, an ex-con who spent 17 years in prison for beating his 92- year-old grandmother to death with a hammer back in 1980.

Police say after torching the home he perched himself on a nearby berm with a firearm and began shooting volunteer firefighters as they entered his, quote, "kill zone." Listen as firefighters called for help from the scene.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Multiple firemen down, multiple firemen shot. I am shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fire is on the south side of the road. He's shooting from the north side with what I believe is an assault rifle or hunting rifle. I'm struck in the lower back or lower leg so I need EMS.


BASH: Killed in the shooting, Officer Tomasz Kaczowka, a 911 dispatcher who was just 19 years old and lieutenant Michael Chiapperini, a 43-year-old volunteer fire fighter who was also an officer with the Webster, New York, police department.


GERALD PICKERING, WEBSTER POLICE CHIEF: You know, these people get up in the middle of the night to put out fires. They don't expect to be shot and killed. So it's a very difficult situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BASH: The suspect eventually took his own life. The two wounded fire fighters have been identified as Theodore Scordino and Joseph Hofstetter listed in guarded and stable condition recovering from gunshot wounds. No word yet about a possible motive for this horrible shooting.

CHO: Here's a happy thought to start your Christmas morning, Dana. We're just one week away for tax hikes for every American, spending cuts that could cripple your family's budget and drag the economy back into recession. President Obama not looking too worried about that. He spent Christmas Eve playing a round of golf in Honolulu with friends. With the House hopelessly deadlocked any chance of averting the fiscal cliff will start in the Senate.

And there is a bit of news on that front. Our White House correspondent Brianna Keilar traveling with the first family. She is in Honolulu, Hawaii. So a slight bit of news. Do tell.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I hesitate to even say it's a slight bit of news because it's sort of exactly what we would expect, to be honest. The White House is talking with Senate Democrats about what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will have to cobble together when the Senate reconvenes on the 27. And that's really the last-ditch effort. It's seen as the Senate trying to do something that can also pass the House. So this is exactly what you would expect.

The real problem though is as of this moment, just a week out from when the fiscal cliff is expected to hit, there's no discussions between Congressional Democrats and Congressional Republicans even on the staff level. This is what democratic and Republican sources are telling me.

And overall just to remind people, instead of this being -- here's what we expect. Instead of this being some big bill to try to deal with the long-term fiscal health of the country, which is what the fiscal cliff was supposed to be an incentive to do, we're expecting now that this is just some measure to try to avert the fiscal cliff, which are these tax hikes, the spending cuts, each if they deal with the spending cuts and we're waiting to see what the measure will look like, Alina.

CHO: Now to the very I think news. I know what a hard-hitting White House reporter you are. I want to know whether it's apple pie, pumpkin pie or pecan pie for the president and first family on Christmas Day. Any news on the menu?

KEILAR: No, I am still waiting to find out. Maybe we'll find out a little later today. You don't frequently find out until they have just released it, until the White House releases the information. So we'll be standing by to let you know how the president spends his holiday. There is nothing on his public schedule, but, you know, he normally visits with troops so we're expecting he might do that today here in Hawaii.

CHO: That would be a wonderful way to spend Christmas Day. Brianna Keilar live from Honolulu, Hawaii, thanks. BASH: Other stories in the news, all day and al night this Christmas people in Newtown, Connecticut are paying tribute to Sandy Hock's victims. A candle is being lit for each children and 6 adults and volunteers are being asked to take half-hour gifts to make sure candles keep burning. One mother said, quote, "It's all about the kids and the families." And Newtown police officers who have gone through so much have received an entire gift. The whole force got the day off thanks to officers from other communities filling in for them.

CHO: The Pope's message this Christmas, make room for god. During midnight mass at St. Peter's basilica he said the faster we can move, the more efficient or time-saying appliances become, the less time we have. He also said we're so full of ourselves we don't make room for god, for others, for children, for the poor, or the stranger. Pope Benedict also called for peace in the Middle East and an end to the violence in Syria.

Meanwhile, thousands of tourists and local packed Bethlehem, marking Christmas in the very place believers say Jesus was born. A few hundred ticket holders joined Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and other senior officials at midnight mass at a chapel inside the Church of the Nativity. Thousands more watched the service on screens in Manger Square.

BASH: And Hollywood is mourning the death of Jack Klugman this morning. The versatile actor was loved by millions of TV viewers. Younger fans probably remember him as a crime-fighting coroner in the hit TV show "Quincy." He'll probably be best remembered for his role as the sloppy sports writer Oscar Madison in the TV sitcom "The Odd Couple." Klugman's son said the actor died with his wife by his side on Christmas Eve. No cause of death has been announced. Klugman was 90 years old. A full report of his life and career is ahead in the next half hour here on STARTING POINT.

In Hollywood this morning, another actor, two-time Oscar nominated Charles Durning. Durning was known as the king of character actor, playing everything from a Nazi colonel to the pope. He died yesterday at his home in New York. He was 89.

CHO: Ahead on STARTING POINT, Syria's government not letting up on the assault on its own people, and new concerns about a deadly mystery gas. We are live with the very latest on that.

BASH: And video you want to see this morning. It could completely change space travel as we know it. It's an impressive development. That's next.

But first we go to break with a look at the Christmas lights glowing in the negotiate in India.


BASH: Welcome back to EARLY START. Two vicious attacks on hungry Syrian people simply waiting in line for bread. This happened in the span of two days. The latest attack happened yesterday. At least 15 people were killed by an air assault in Homs province. Then there is the video that some may find tough to watch. More than 100 people killed Sunday at a bakery in Hama province. CNN cannot independently confirm the authenticity of the video.

Mohammed Jamjoon is following all of these developments. He is in Beirut, Lebanon. Mohammed?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dana, it was on Sunday that the attack in Hama province happened, according to opposition activists. They say there were hundreds of people in line outside a bakery, that it was the first time that a bakery had been open in over a week. They say this was in a town in the last several days that had been liberated by rebel free Syria army soldiers. They say because of that and because in that two there was a lot of anti- government sentiment, they believe they were targeted deliberately by the Syria regime. They say there was an air raid that happened, that the bakery was shelled, and over 100 people were killed as a result.

As you mentioned, the amateur video posted online since then is extremely graphic. You see rebel Free Syrian Army soldiers as well as civilians digging bodies out of the rubble, trying to take the injured to hospitals there.

The Syrian government for its part has a very different version of events. They say that terrorists entered that town and that they started attacking people. They blamed the massacre on terrorists which is a term that they use for opposition fighters in Syria, and they say that residents of the town called for help by the Syrian military.

Now, this is an attack that's been widely condemned by international powers. The U.S. State Department issued a statement very much condemning the government of Syria for what's going on. Here's some of what they had to say in that statement, "Brutal attacks such as these show that this regime has no future in Syria. Those that commit atrocities will be held accountable. The United States calls on all parties to continue to assist the regime in executing its war against the Syrian people to end their support."

It was just a day later, yesterday, we heard reports of another air raid targeting another bakery in Homs province. According to opposition activists there were dozens of people standing in this line outside this bakery, including women and children, and 15 people were killed in this attack. And once again you see a lot of amateur videos posted online showing how the shock and grief initially after that attack really started turning into rage. People addressing the cameras saying why isn't the world helping us? Why aren't Arab leaders helping us while Bashar al Assad is massacring his people? Its' really horrific stuff. And a lot of the opposition activists fearing that this will keep going on for the next days, weeks, and months to come.

BASH: Mohammed, something that everybody around the world is worried about when it comes to Syria, and there's a possibility that happened. There's mystery gas that is reportedly coming out of there?

JAMJOOM: That's right. This is according to a doctor we spoke with in Homs province. He says at least six people have been killed due to exposure to this mystery gas. He says that in the last few days he treated about 30 of the more than 60 people affected by the gas this week. He said those who were close to the source suffered symptoms like paralysis and seizures, and he said they also responded well to atropine which is used to treatment sarin gas patients. But he said it's unclear at this stage what this substance may have been. Dana.

BASH: Mohammed, thanks very much for that update.

CHO: And ahead on STARTING POINT, remembering grouchy Oscar, a look back on the impressive career of "The Odd Couple's" Jack Klugman. We're back after this.


BASH: Top stories this morning. What started as a minor traffic stop in Houston ended with a decorated veteran police officer dead. Investigators say Officer Jim Norman had just pulled over a suspect of a traffic offense when he was shot. Norman apparently didn't even have time to draw his gun. A business owner who ran out to see what was going on what is also shot and killed. Other officers shot and wounded the 21-year-old suspect. He's expected to survive and face murder charges.

And later today Egypt is expected to finally officially announce the results of a vote on its new constitution which was drafted by a Muslim-dominated assembly. Preliminary unofficial results from the Muslim brotherhood show 64 percent approve the charter. An opposition count had a similar result. An opposition party spokesman said they already filed several cases in administrative courts to challenge the vote.

And it's a rocket that hovers like a helicopter. Take a look at this video. It may blow your mind. The company Space-X launching a successful test flight of its grasshopper rocket. There you see it. It launches and hovers in the air, and it will eventually land virtually. Take a little time and softly instead of breaking up as we normally see with rockets like that. It has the potential to change space flight as we know it and save a whole lot of money in the process. The private company says it's almost ready for liftoff. Space-X earlier this year carried cargo to the International Space Station and hopes to take people there soon.

And Netflix users who wanted to curl up with a couch and a movie on Christmas Eve couldn't do it. They were out of like. The streaming video service was out for most of the day, possibly affecting millions across the U.S. and Canada. On its Twitter page they blamed Amazon's web service for the problem.

CHO: We have sad news to tell you about this Christmas morning. Actor Jack Klugman has died. The beloved actor starred in shows like "The Odd Couple" and "Quincy," and whether it was that gleam in his eye or impish smile, audiences were always drawn to him.


CHO: For millions of television viewers, Jack Klugman will always be sports writer Oscar Madison, the cigar-smoking, beer guzzling slow who played opposite Tony Randall in "The Odd Couple." The series ran for five years on ABC and never ranked higher than 36th in the ratings. But reruns on local stations and on Nick at Night turned the sitcom into a cult classic, making it far more popular than Klugman's other TV series "Quincy."

Klugman was a wily medical examiner for seven seasons. The show premiered in 1976 as part of NBC's mystery movie. It quickly became a weekly series. When it ended, Klugman made brief appearances but stayed mainly on his ranch raising horses. He also continued to smoke cigarettes and eventually lost a vocal cord to cancer.

JACK KLUGMAN, ACTOR: When it first happened, I was sure I was going to get better and I didn't want to let them know I couldn't talk because then I wouldn't get a job.

CHO: One of his most mom rabble film roles was opposite Jack Lemon in "Days of Wine and Roses." Klugman played a counselor for Alcoholics Anonymous.

KLUGMAN: Which is the one that gives you the hives? Alcoholism is an illness. It's pretty hard to diagnose an illness until you've got it.

CHO: He joined another distinguished cast in the 1957 teleplay "12 Angry Men."

KLUGMAN: I never thought of it before. I guess you try to forget those things.

CHO: Klugman grew up in south Philadelphia. He married twice and had two sons. He earned two Emmy awards for his role on "The Odd Couple." It was Klugman's longtime friend and co-star Tony Randall who helped him through his throat cancer treatment and persuaded him to return to acting in the 1990s. With just one vocal cord doing the work of he returned for a stage version and television version of "The Odd Couple."

Klugman admitted they were probably too old for the parts, but he added, "Who knows them better than us? I am Oscar Madison." When Randall died in 2004, Klugman said this to CNN's Larry King.

KLUGMAN: You know people are going to die. You can't prepare for that finality. I don't care if he's 110 and they tell you he's gone. It knocks me out. I can't accept the finality of it. A world without Tony Randall is a world I cannot recognize.

CHO: Jack Klugman died at his home in Northridge, California, with his wife Peggy by his side. He was 90 years old.


CHO: What a remarkable life and a remarkable career. Dana, his son said he had a great life and enjoyed every moment of it and he would encourage others to do the same.

BASH: It seemed like he had a great life. Were you an "Odd Couple" fan? I sure was. I loved that show. CHO: We talked about how it was popular in the reruns. I remember it the first time around.

BASH: I don't believe that.

CHO: I'm old enough to remember it the first time around.

BASH: I was going to ask if you're a Felix or Oscar.

CHO: Both, both.

Ahead on STARTING POINT, Christmas day turning into a big weather day for much of the country. A big accident shut down highways minutes ago and tornadoes, blizzards, freezing rain. We are tracking the areas most affected.

BASH: And who made our naughty and nice list? One hint, the New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, he's on it, but which side? Stay tuned to find out.


BASH: Welcome back to a special edition of STARTING POINT. I'm Dana Bash in Washington. It's just about half past the hour. Alina, good to see you.

CHO: Good to see you. Merry Christmas, Dana. Good morning, everybody. I'm Alina Cho in New York. Thanks so much for being with us on this Christmas morning.

And out top story, a huge storm creating a holiday travel hazard. New this hour, we're getting word of a big pile-up involving at least 20 cars and a big rig on interstate 40 West outside Oklahoma City. That has shut down the interstate for about two miles. Freezing rain likely triggered that wreck and several people have been taken from the scene with injuries.

Our Bonnie Schneider is tracking the storm this morning. Bonnie, good morning. I know that Alexandra Steele yesterday was talking about how they haven't received snow in that area for quite some time, so drivers aren't used to having that on the roads, are they?

SCHNEIDER: Not really starting on Christmas Day. That's what's unusual. We've had snow before in this region this time of year, but to have it start on Christmas Day and continue through Christmas night that hasn't happened in some parts of this region for 80 years.

So it is a big deal and remember, it's much more difficult to drive in freezing rain because as soon as that moisture hits any surface it ices over and if you've ever driven on snow versus ice, you know that you get a lot less traction on icy roads and this is I-40 so the action occurred west of Oklahoma City.

But even east of Oklahoma City will likely to see ice accumulate and then eventually that wintry mix will change over to all snow and it will pile up in terms of heavy accumulation in Arkansas and Oklahoma later today and tonight, but as we get into tonight and tomorrow, look what's ahead.

Not just snow falling, but a blizzard, that's right. We could see up to a foot of snow in parts of Kentucky blowing and drifting snow as the storm system advances east. On top of that to the south we're looking at dangerous severe weather with lightning strikes popping up from Texas all the way into Louisiana.

This is a very dangerous situation because we have thick fog covering up much of the south so it's difficult to see if there's any flying debris out there, and we're likely to see these storms intensify to the point where we have a risk for tornadoes today.

There's a widespread tornado threat across the gulf coast and the southeast so please be careful for those of you traveling across the country today on this Christmas. There is a really wide variety of extreme weather happening across much of this region -- Alina.

CHO: Pretty incredible. All right, Bonnie Schneider, Merry Christmas. We'll check back with you a little bit later -- Dana.

BASH: Well, other top stories this morning. A snowboarder killed in an avalanche in Northern California. His body was found at the bottom of the ridge in three feet of snow at Donner's Ski Ranch in Northern California. The sheriff's office said he had been buried for about five hours. Paramedics tried to save him, but it was too late.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have been telling the ski patrol like we're missing a guy, we're missing a guy, but they didn't start looking for him until two, three hours later.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They did an initial courtesy search around and didn't find anything. We're concerned for safety reasons because of the -- unstabilized that's still up there. They kind of backed off.


BASH: No one else was hurt.

CHO: Two people died and 11 hurt when a passenger plane crashed in Myanmar. Government officials say the plane was trying to land in heavy fog when it went down. Authorities say a child on board and a biker on the ground were also killed. The plane reportedly had 70 people on board. It was headed to one of Myanmar's most popular tourist spots.

A U.S. Airways crew thought they smelled fuel while their empty plane sat parked at the terminal in Phoenix. When they checked it out, they actually found flames shooting out of the tail. Fire crews put it out and nobody was hurt, and no flights were delayed. An airline spokeswoman said a small engine under the tail was probably the source of the problem.

BASH: And former President George H.W. Bush will be spending this Christmas day in a Houston hospital. The nation's 41st president has been there for more than a month battling a persistent bronchitis-like cough. Doctors were hoping to send him home for the holidays. The 88- year-old Bush has now developed a fever and is said to be feeling weak. We all wish him well, of course.

CHO: We certainly do. We also wish Nelson Mandela well. He is also spending Christmas day in a hospital room. The 94-year-old former South African president has been battling a lung infection and gallstones for about two weeks now.

This is the first time he won't be home for Christmas since 1989 when he was still jailed for leading the struggle against apartheid. Mandela received a visit today from South Africa's current president, Jacob Zuma, who says the Nobel Prize winner is looking and feeling much better.

BASH: Santa is done delivering his goodies this morning, so we are going to take over and we're going to look at his naughty and nice list. We'll make our own. Richard Socarides and Ana Navarro join us now to go over who made their cut on either side.

And guys, I have just been looking forward to this segment all morning. By the way, Richard, you didn't get the memo on the outfit, sorry.

Let's start with you, Richard. On your nice list, you have two governors, Democrats, OK, I'm just saying, you're picking fellow Democrats, but, you know, that's prerogative.

One on the left coast, one on the right coast, Martin O'Malley in Maryland and Christine Gregoire from Washington, why?

RICHARD SOCARIDES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, two governors leading an important new civil right struggle, the civil rights struggle of our generation, many feel as I do, and they helped spearhead the effort to gain marriage equality in their states, in Washington State and Maryland this year.

They did it against the odds and knowing that there would be a referendum, a voter referendum if they pushed the legislatures into this and knowing also that marriage equality had never been approved in a voter referendum.

They led that fight against the odds and as a result, the citizens of their state are better off and have more fairness and more equality in their states this year.

BASH: Ana, you also chose a governor from your party as well, Chris Christie.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, you know, Dana, you know he was on the nice list when my Democrat colleague and friend Richard chose him on the nice list, too, so when Richard and I are agreeing it tells you the man was nice.

SOCARIDES: Yes, although I think Chris Christie could have been on my naughty list, too, Ana. NAVARRO: And I think he'd be happy with that, too, Richard. What Chris Christie did this year did put him on the nice list, got him on the nice list of Bruce Springsteen as they made up.

We saw that in the most heated part of the campaign, a couple of weeks before election, we saw Chris Christie go from being one of President Obama's toughest critics, one of Mitt Romney's best surrogates to really putting the people of New Jersey, his state, the disaster in the number one place, number one priority.

Worked with the local and federal authorities, embraced the help that was coming from everywhere, and that has seen him get really high approval ratings. You know, it's funny sometimes doing the right thing is actually the politically smart thing to do. And I think you could say that for Chris Christie this year.

BASH: They say good policy is good politics or vice versa, you know, it would be nice if other people on both sides of the aisle followed that. OK, Richard, I want to get to your next naughty because these are two Republicans who gave Republican leaders, the people here I cover, major, major heartburn, you see them there, Todd Akin and Richard Murdock. Explain why.

SOCARIDES: Well, and they sort of came to define the problems that the Republicans were having in recapturing the Senate, Todd Akin, the Republican Senate candidate from Missouri and Richard Mourdock, the Republican Senate candidate from Indiana, both making really offensive remarks about women and rape.

Todd Akin, of course, was the person who introduced the concept of so- called legitimate rape, that if there was a legitimate rape, women somehow would not get pregnant and Richard Mourdock, of course, the person, who introduced the concept that rape could be a gift from God.

That's what he said, and I'm sure he really didn't mean that, but it got them both into a lot of trouble rightfully so. I suppose maybe the only nice thing they did also was perhaps, from my perspective, was help keep the Senate in Democratic hands.

BASH: That's right. They definitely did, both of them and I think that the lesson for all candidates, Republican or Democrat is, don't talk about things like that. They will only get you in trouble, no matter what you say.

Speaking about getting in trouble and this is obviously a serious one. Ana, your naughty is just the naughtiest of probably the whole year.

NAVARRO: And I think it was, you know, I put it in the list, Dana, because I wanted us to remember some of these things that happened earlier in the year and one on my naughty list is Jerry Sandusky.

But I would also include the entire Penn State football program, all the people at Penn State who put university politics above the needs of the children, the people who put optics and a football program above the security of children. I think Jerry Sandusky tops my naughty list because what he did was really take advantage of children that he was supposed to be mentoring, and way too many helped it go on for a long time and not be discovered. I hope they all get a big bag of coal and Jerry Sandusky in jail gets his coal.

BASH: It is stomach-turning. Richard, I'm guessing, you agree with that. He's probably on your list. He's on everybody's list.

SOCARIDES: Yes, he was on everybody's list. Bad stuff in Pennsylvania.

BASH: Absolutely. Let's go to the political naughty list. You have a certain general who made some news the week of the election.

NAVARRO: You know, this is another one, Dana, where Richard and I agree, which tells you he really was naughty. It also had us talking about the debate of whether being naughty in your private life should affect your public life and your public profile, your public job.

In this case the answer was yes. I think General Petraeus answered it correctly. He could not continue doing his job as CIA director, but he was very naughty. He brought a lot of people down. He's got, you know, Paula Broadwell in the naughty category.

Jill Martin was a little bit naughty. Other generals got caught in the same type of black hole of naughtiness, and I think it unearthed a lot of the perks and a lot of the excesses that might be going on there. So I hope -- let me tell you this. I hope he put something real nice under the tree for Holly Petraeus.

SOCARIDES: Well, can I tell you, also I think the very troubling thing about what CIA Director Petraeus did was, you know, he put national security at risk and potentially put people's lives at risk.

You know, he was trying not to get caught, and the only reason he got caught was because the person he was doing this with was a little wacko, but it was, you know, potentially a very, very dangerous situation.

I mean, the other person I have on my naughty list in this category is Arnold Schwarzenegger who in connection with the publicity tour of his book talked about, you know, his extra marital affairs.

And the fact that he had -- he had fathered a child with the housekeeper. I mean, I think former Governor Schwarzenegger this year really seemed to be someone who was living in his own world.

NAVARRO: I don't think it was all that good for Maria.

BASH: Exactly. I'm not so sure going on a book tour and doing interview after interview saying that you want your wife back, you know, just the thought, saying. Both of you, it's great to see you.

We will see you in the next hour for more and talk about politics. Merry Christmas. Thank you for coming in.

SOCARIDES: Merry Christmas.

CHO: Ahead on STARTING POINT, in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, a newspaper publishes the names and addresses of people who may own guns in their community. Imagine the outrage. We will have the details ahead.

BASH: And a look at Christmas around the world. This is Russia's biggest tree, 100 feet high, standing tall and proud, where else, at the Kremlin.


BASH: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Actor, director, rabid Red Sox fan, Ben Affleck will not be running for senator from his native state of Massachusetts to replace John Kerry, if John Kerry becomes secretary of state.

Affleck took his Facebook page -- took to his Facebook page on Christmas Eve to make the announcement. He said, quote, "I love Massachusetts and our political process, but I am not running for office. We're about to get a great secretary of state and there's phenomenal candidates in Massachusetts for his Senate seat. I look forward to an as amazing campaign."

The buzz about Ben started after he didn't completely rule out the idea like a good politician on CBS' "Face the Nation." And Ted Kennedy Jr. will also not enter a special election to replace Senator John Kerry.

Kennedy, of course, is the son of the late Edward M. Kennedy and he made the announcement yesterday despite the fact that he was thinking about it, he is grateful for all the support and the people prodding him to do it. He is not going to do it just yet, but he did leave the door wide open for a possible run later.

CHO: Instagram is hit with what could be the first class action lawsuit over anger at its new terms of service. In a proposed class action suit filed in San Francisco, a California Instagram user accuses the photo-sharing site of breach of access.

And this all started after Instagram, which Facebook bought for $715 million suggested it would now have the right to sell your photos for use in ads without compensation. Now Instagram's founder backtracked on that later after a massive backlash.

In the wake of the Newtown massacre, a newspaper in upstate New York has actually published the names and addresses of all handgun permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties.

Privacy advocates are now fuming at the journal news. The newspaper says it doesn't mean that there's a gun at that location, but that someone there is licensed to have a gun, an interesting decision to do that.

I'm not so sure that it was the right decision, no matter where you stand on the gun debate, but it's an interesting one. BASH: It really is.

CHO: One to talk about.

BASH: Exactly. It sort of the classic push and pull between privacy, which is very real, privacy rights and the desire for transparency, especially in the gun debate, especially given, of course, what happened in Newtown.

CHO: Right, right, right. All right, and we will talk more about that. Meanwhile ahead on STARTING POINT, the iPhone may be popular, Dana, but didn't make our list of best gadgets of 2012. That's right. I'm a Blackberry user. What you really want to get your hands on next.


BASH: Welcome back. Welcome back. It is 50 minutes after the hour. Merry Christmas. Hoops fans are going to have a wild day today. They really couldn't have any better day.

NBA finals rematch you're going to see between Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The scalding hot New York Knicks will take on Kobe Bryant and the Lakers and L.A.'s hottest team, the Clippers, actually that's the hottest team.

They are going to play the other one, the Nuggets, both of them are going to play at L.A.'S Staple Center and Alina, my 18-month-old is going to be very happy. He's going to watch b-ball. That's what he calls it b-ball.

First Lady Michelle Obama is in the holiday spirit and she answered calls from kids across the country as part of NORAD's track Santa program. She took the calls from Hawaii, where she and the rest of the first family are spending Christmas.

Queen Elizabeth's annual Christmas message has an extra dimension this year, it's being broadcast in 3D for the first time. The queen used part of her message to praise the Olympic and Paralympics athletes who competed in London last summer.

CHO: We all have the gadgets we absolutely can't live without. For most of us, it's this, our smartphone. But from cool cameras to e- readers to 3D TVs, there are lots more out there.

Paul Reynolds is an editor for "Consumer Reports" magazine and he picked his top five picks for the holiday season. Great to see you. Thanks for joining us. We'll go five, four, three, two, one and we're going to start with something I'm dying to get my hands on, it's the iPad mini, right?

PAUL REYNOLDS, EDITOR, "CONSUMER REPORTS": Right. Lots of tablets introduced this year to compete with the iPad and maybe the most notable was actually another iPad, which is a smaller iPad, 7.85 inches instead of the 9.7, much lighter and much thinner.

And in some ways does some stuff that maybe better than the original iPad like for books, for example, it's so much lighter. It's half the weight. It's going to be much easier to hold this thing and read a book. Hour after hour, then it will be on a full-size iPad and it's cheaper too starting at $330 instead of $500.

CHO: It's really for people -- it's really almost the size of a Kindle, right? And what I like about it is that you can actually fit this one, it's the difference between being able to put it in your purse and not.

REYNOLDS: Correct. Much more affordable. So that's interesting.

CHO: Number four, Lenovo Yoga Ideapad. What's so great about this one?

REYNOLDS: These are what's called convertibles and what's happening is people have their tablets, people have their laptops and we are starting to get products like this one that puts the two together.

So this can be a regular laptop like this, but it has a touch screen and if you want, you can -- it's sort of double jointed. You can switch it over like that. You can have it as a stand or if you just want to have it as a tablet in your lap, you can put it down and use it like that.

CHO: But is that getting any traction? I mean, it's so hard to compete with the iPad and now the mini?

REYNOLDS: You know, it's not directly competing with it. This is a solution for somebody maybe who wants to travel and wants to decide do I take my big tablet, my iPad and my laptop? This offers one device that can do sort of what both of those do.

CHO: That's a good argument for it. I'm also in the market for a camera. This is a great one in your opinion, right? What makes this one great?

REYNOLDS: Well, this is an interesting example. This is the first Android camera. So you have Android-based smartphones. What this does is take the same -- the same platform that you have on your Android smartphone, puts it on to a camera and so with Wi-Fi access, what this means, you can do anything on this camera virtually that you can do on your smartphone.

Including if you want to take a photo and share it on Facebook and e- mail it you can do that in a Wi-Fi zone. You can just tap on it and send it out. So it's starting to get some convenience that people love in their smartphone and getting it on to a camera and now we have some that have 4G so they can be anywhere, not just in a Wi-Fi zone.

CHO: So it can do almost everything except for make a call?

REYNOLDS: Exactly, right.

CHO: All right, so this is the -- what I'm wondering about the Wii. This is called the Wii-U, you know, everybody plays games on their smartphones now. I mean, are people still buying these? REYNOLDS: What's interesting about the Wii-U is that they have added this portable game player. What this does is provide in the home, something that is a bigger screen than, say, a smartphone and it allows you to play the Wii games not only on the TV set if you want, but to switch it back here so.

For example, someone else wants to watch TV, you can switch the game to here and it also increased the graphics. The graphics on the original Wii were pretty crude. This is now high definition.

So it's kind of up to the -- the Wii game, but you can also still play the old Wii games, which are very active. That was the original concept of the Wii is that you could do stuff that was up and not just on the couch.

CHO: And this is $300. So let's talk about your number-one pick, which is the Samsung Galaxy. I have to tell you all of my really, really techie friends say forget the iPhone. This is where it's at.

REYNOLDS: Well, this is interesting because it's the biggest screen we've seen on a smartphone. It's 5.5 inches and when the first one of these came out early in the year, a lot of us thought no one is going to really want something that's this big. It's too big for may be some hands.

But what they've done with this, which is interesting, is they started to introduce some things that make it a little easier to handle. For example, you can make the key pad smaller so that you can reach it more easily.

So they're starting to get ways to get the advantage of this big screen, which is great for things like reading books or surfing the web, but also getting some conveniences so that if your thumb doesn't reach more than two-thirds the way across.

CHO: How much is this one?

REYNOLDS: This is $300. It's really expensive as a smartphone, but it's the biggest and I think we may see even bigger ones coming in the coming years.

CHO: It's almost like a mini iPad mini.

REYNOLDS: Yes, they like to set it up as a hybrid between a tablet and the smartphone. It's not really the best of both, but it's an interesting solution for people that want something that's a little bit more versatile than a smartphone.

CHO: Paul Reynolds with "Consumer Reports" magazine, thanks for the tips.

REYNOLDS: Thank you very much.

CHO: Great to see you. Merry Christmas.

REYNOLDS: You, too. BASH: Alina, thanks. Coming up, a controversial Christmas light display. Look at that. We'll talk to the woman who put up those lights, 65,000 of them, to honor or husband. She says she's not going to take them down, no matter what her neighbors say.