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State of the Money; Fury over Delayed Superstorm Sandy Aid; Sandy Hook Elementary Students Back to School; State to Sue Over Sandusky Sanctions

Aired January 3, 2013 - 09:00   ET


REP. NAN HAYWORTH, (R ) NEW YORK: Personal autonomy in terms of the way they conduct their personal lives and I think if we could do that as a party more openly, we would have more representation directly in the northeast.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Congressman Nan Hayworth, thank you very much for joining us.

Richard, Ryan --


Richard, thanks very much.

"CNN NEWSROOM" with Victor Blackwell begins right now.

BALDWIN: Good morning, Victor.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Brooke. Good morning, John.

Happening now in the NEWSROOM, their homes in ruins, their lives in limbo. Frustrated victims of Superstorm Sandy lash out at Congress and the latest delay to their long-awaited help.


FRANK GISSI, SUPERSTORM SANDY VICTIM: All of you stink. You have no compassion, and you've got -- you don't have blood in your veins. You got ice cubes.


BLACKWELL: Just ahead we'll talk to a couple who lost their home and their plans for retirement.

Plus this --


AMY KREMER, TEA PARTY EXPRESS: There are going to be consequences. How long can we continue down this path?


BLACKWELL: Tea Party activists are disgusted and angry over the fiscal cliff deal. Now some Tea Party-backed politicians may have to answer for their vote. We'll talk to Amy Kremer, chairwoman of the Tea Party Express.

He may be the best middle linebacker ever. Ray Lewis says he'll retire after this season. We talk with a columnist who has covered the Ravens legend for 17 years.

And --

I love that song. Former "American Idol" Fantasia Barino says the world is going mad. Her online rant that some think attacks everything from same-sex marriage to marijuana.

NEWSROOM starts right now.

Good morning, I'm Victor Blackwell, sitting in for Carol Costello.

We begin this morning with a new measure of the economy. Two big reports just released, one on the nation's unemployment, the other a look at the health of the American auto industry. First up, jobs. Just minutes ago we learned that initial jobless claims inched up last week to 372,000, that's an increase of 10,000 from the week before.

Business correspondent Christine Romans is in New York to break down the numbers.

Christine, take us inside this report. Why the increase?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's take a look first at the overall picture here. Right? I mean, we have seen jobless claims edging down for almost three years now, after the very, very peak of all those jobless claims in the financial crisis, so the trend is still moving in the right direction here, Victor, but you did have a little bit of an increase, about 10,000 to 372,000. Those are first time filers for unemployment benefits insurance.

Now let me give you another gauge that we got today, the ADP payroll report, the private payroll service. Right? It cut those paychecks for a lot of different businesses. They found that in December, private payrolls in this country grew 215,000.

Victor, that's stronger than expected, and they say in November it was stronger as well so Mark Zandi, who analyzes and contributes to that ADP report, he said it looks like last year, December ended on a strong note for the American jobs market despite all that fiscal cliff nonsense, especially medium sized companies, companies that have more than 50 employees had to step up there and start to hire.

Also, construction companies starting to hire again because -- in many cases because of the northeast of Superstorm Sandy and the cleanup after that, so that's what we see on the jobs front. A couple of bright notes this morning, 372,000 jobless claims about in line with what people expected but that ADP payroll report stronger than expected, stronger than expected at 215,000.

The granddaddy of all of the jobs reports, of course, Victor, is tomorrow at 8:30 Eastern. We'll have that for you. Of course, that will give us the real gauge of what the government says happened in December to round out the year -- Richard.

BLACKWELL: All right. We'll look forward to that. Thank you very much, Christine.

Let's go now to this update on the U.S. auto sales. It appears to be good news at least for one automaker.

Felicia Taylor is in New York with the news.

Good news for Chrysler.

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And you know what? And you know what, not surprising but definitely better than one would have expected, Victor.

We're getting a read on sales in December. Chrysler up had a great month, up about 10 percent. That's their strongest December in five years. We're going to hear from the rest of the big three along with the foreign carmakers as the day goes on.

But December numbers come after a sizable rebound for these companies in November, when automakers overall had their best month since the start of 2008 and we know what that was all about.

One analyst for Edmonds said recently there was strong underlying demand. Car buyers have been returning to showrooms not just because of that pent-up demand but also because of easier access to financing finally, and a slowly improving jobs market as Christine just talked to you about -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: So we'll talk about that. The market opening in about 25 minutes from now. Strong day yesterday, big gains, biggest gains in more than a year, actually, but that momentum likely sputtering today?

TAYLOR: Yes, you know, it's hard to sustain a triple-digit gain like that, so we are looking at a slightly lower open on the major averages this morning. The Dow is pointed to a dip of about 25 points so not terrible when the bell rings in just about 30 minutes. But we have that uptick in weekly jobless claims that could be a bit of a weight.

Investors also likely to do a little profit-taking after the two big gains that we had earlier this week on the two other trading days when even some of the worst performing stocks of 2012 rallied. So you're going to see some apprehension creeping into the picture.

Wall Street knows that we're not out of the woods yet by far, I mean, there are still those sort of twin peaks that we've been talking about, spending cuts and that looming debt ceiling which is really, when it's going to weigh on the marketplace. Lawmakers still need to figure out how they're going to deal with both of those big things -- Victor. BLACKWELL: Felicia Taylor, we'll see you at the ring of the bell, thank you.

Now let's turn to another crisis facing a lot of American families, the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. More than two months after landfall the latest disaster is manmade. House Speaker John Boehner now says the new Congress will vote tomorrow on finally providing federal aid. He fast tracked the vote after unexpectedly shelving it earlier this week. And that delay blindsided and really outraged the hardest-hit states and even his fellow Republicans lashed out with extraordinary anger.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: This used to be something that was not political. You know? Disaster relief was something that you didn't play games with, but now in this current atmosphere, everything is the subject of one-upsmanship, everything is a possibility, a potential piece of bait for the political game, and it's just -- it is why the American people hate Congress.


BLACKWELL: Strong words from Chris Christie there.

Now Boehner's delay lit the fuse on a powder keg of frustration and here's why. A lot of Sandy's victims are living in shelters or shivering in unheated wreckage of their homes. They've been waiting for help 66 days and counting.

Now compare that to Hurricane Katrina, just 10 days from landfall to the signing of an initial relief package. Hurricane Andrew, the time frame was 30 days, that's still less than half of the delay of Sandy.

And here's the story behind the numbers. You see this cute little cottage on Staten Island? It was the retirement dream home of a couple you're about to meet. Today, it's a heartbreaking reminder -- look at this -- that their lives, their futures are in limbo.

Sheila and Dominic Traina are here to speak with us and share their story.

It's good to see the two of you again. The last time we were together, you were shaking the hand of President Obama, who was walking down your street in (INAUDIBLE).

Dominic, I'm going to start with you. You've lived on this street for more than 50 years. You went there with your family as a boy, you raised your own family there. What was your reaction when you saw what was left of your home?

DOMINIC TRAINA, SUPERSTORM SANDY VICTIM: It was kind of scary, I mean, you know, kind of -- just in shock. You know, we've been here my whole life. We moved down here in 1959, my parent's house down the street, we lost that. We lost the store that we had, that was our retirement, and then to look at our house, I mean, the kids grew up here, they loved the beach, they loved the house, it's just -- it was heartbreaking. Terrible, terrible thing.

BLACKWELL: Where are you living now?

D. TRAINA: We're in a little apartment that my niece -- she fixed it up for us. It's great, her father-in-law, he took us in and it's really a nice little place. We feel comfortable there.

BLACKWELL: And Sheila --

D. TRAINA: And hopefully down the road we can get a house.

BLACKWELL: Sheila, we've spoken several times before and when you heard that Congress had ended the session without passing any relief or aid package, what did you feel?

SHEILA TRAINA, SUPERSTORM SANDY VICTIM: Let down. We live on Staten Island and we're known for being the forgotten borough. I guess it wasn't any shocker, but --

BLACKWELL: You say it wasn't a shocker why?


S. TRAINA: It needs to be passed to help the people. Because we're always the last one to receive help around here, it seems. Staten Island is known as the forgotten borough in the five boroughs of New York City. So it was just -- well, now we're the forgotten borough in the country but it's not just us, it's the whole east coast that was affected by Sandy so they're getting -- everybody is getting a taste of what we've been used to all along.

BLACKWELL: Sheila, now that most of the cameras are gone and it's been a few months since Sandy hit, what's the scene now? Are there still volunteers there? Are there still people helping?

S. TRAINA: There's still -- there's a relief center that somebody wants to close down, the city wants to close down, they were told they'd have to get out, but there are a lot of people that are living down here, still without heat, still without electricity, working on their homes, and they go down to the little relief center and they have a warm meal, a hot cup of coffee and they warm up.

They need the relief centers. It just doesn't go away overnight. This is going to be a long, drawn-out thing and people need help. They still need help. This isn't going away.

BLACKWELL: Dominic, if you could, and this is your opportunity to speak to Speaker John Boehner and members of Congress, what would your message be to them this morning?

D. TRAINA: I would say, let's shake things up a little. We have -- Michael Grimm has been helping everybody out and he's been voicing for us, and he's a good man. I think he's going to get the ball roll here, hopefully we can get some help.

BLACKWELL: All right, Sheila and Dominic Traina, it is good to see you again and I hope you get the help you need very soon. Thank you so much for speaking with us.

S. TRAINA: Thank you.

D. TRAINA: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: And here's another measure of that long road to recovery. Thousands of homes and businesses are still without power.

Listen to the frustration of one New York lawmaker.


JAMES SANDERS JR, NEW YORK STATE SENATE: Three thousand of my residents are out there in the cold. They haven't had power or light since --

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: You still have 3,000 people who don't have electricity?

SANDERS: Three thousand people who do not have light or power in my district, and the people in Washington just don't get it. We don't have that time. These residents did not have a merry Christmas, they're not having a happy new year. They're not doing eggnog and things of that nature. They're trying to stay warm. It's 20 degrees out there. We need to put some heat on D.C.


BLACKWELL: Sixty-six days.

We've made some phone calls to the utility companies in the region hoping to get the latest number of outages, we're still waiting to hear back.

Well, the woman who helped several politicians get elected, she's outraged. We're talking about Tea Party Express chairwoman Amy Kremer. Now she says there will be consequences for the GOP members who voted for the fiscal cliff deal.


KREMER: We're not going to back down and what got us into this mess is electing these officials and sending them to Washington with kind of this blind trust, and we're not doing that anymore, we're going to hold them accountable.


BLACKWELL: I'll be talking to Kremer in about 20 minutes to find out what kind of action she plans to take, what those consequences will be.

If you have a question for her tweet me @victorCNN, and we may ask it on air.

Back in a moment. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Checking top stories now:

Families of victims in the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado, they are furious over Cinemark's invitation to a remembrance ceremony followed by a free movie at the theater where their loved ones died. They call it disgusting. Relatives say the theater is just thinking about ticket sales.


JESSICA WATTS, COUSIN OF SHOOTING VICTIM JONATHAN BUNK: That is a blatant lack of respect for the families. They're looking to boost their own ticket sales for the grand reopening to the public.

REPORTER: At the expense?

WATTS: At the expense of 12 families who are heartbroken and at a loss.


BLACKWELL: Cinemark has been renovating the theater and plans to reopen it in two weeks.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is no longer in a New York hospital. Clinton was discharged Wednesday, shortly after a visit with her husband, former President Bill Clinton and their daughter Chelsea. And for three days, Clinton received treatment for blood clot between her skull and brain. Good news she's expected to make a full recovery.

Starbucks is hoping you'll pay extra the next time you come in for a latte. Starting today, the coffee chain will sell reusable plastic cups for $1 apiece and in return customers will get a 10 cent discount when they buy a drink using that cup. The company has been criticized over the amount of trash it creates with its green and white paper cups.

Now, the chain has sold reusable cups before but believes the new low price rather will spark customer interest.

A 10-year-old saved his friend's life when he plunged into an icy lake. Tanner Beier had to act quickly when the ice gave way beneath him in Clear Lake, Iowa. He grabbed his friend's hand and pulled him to safety.


TANNER BEIER, RESCUED FRIEND FROM LAKE: I just kind of got down on my knows and just grabbed his hand and pulled him up.

ANGELA FRAYNE, TANNER'S MOTHER: Tanner and I have talked about safety, what you need to look for and what you should try to stay away from, and, you know, they were just out exploring, being boys. BEIER: Stay away from the water and don't try to touch it because you'll fall in.


BLACKWELL: Good lesson. Police talked to him about what happened and later signs were posted warning people to stay off the ice.

The suburban New York City paper that published names and addresses of gun permit holders has hired armed guards. That's according to a police report. "The Journal News" hired private security after angry comments and e-mails followed its online posting of this controversial map. The paper also reported this morning it received an envelope containing a suspicious white powder.

Preliminary tests determined the substance was nontoxic. We'll have more on this story at 9:40 Eastern when we're joined by Tom King, he's president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association.

For the first time since that deadly December shooting, classes will be back in session at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It won't be in the same building in Newtown, Connecticut. Sandy Hook Elementary has moved to a school in the neighboring town of Monroe. The students' desks have been moved, plus the rugs and furniture are similar to what was in their original school.

Deb Feyerick joins us now with more from Monroe.

And lot of effort, a lot of work has gone into making this as normal a day as possible, Deb.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know, there really was and the one thing we keep hearing when we speak to people and that is the teachers have really been heroic in terms of not only helping save the children during this tragedy, but also in getting them back up and getting them organized so that they can begin today as if it were just an ordinary day.

There was a lot of excitement for a lot of children. They really want to get back into the routine. They want to get back to class. They want to be with their friends. It's really important for them to bond with their friends but it's equally important for the parents as well.

Take a listen.


FEYERICK: So, you were in the gym and you were in the art room.

(voice-over): Ben and Ethan Paley heard the gunshots and screams that horrible morning at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Three weeks isn't nearly enough time to understand all the feelings they've experienced since then -- fear, worry, anger.

Still, the 9-year-old twins are trying every way they can.

BEN PALEY, SANDY HOOK 4TH GRADE STUDENT: It's a healing shawl. So, it's supposed to heal us.

FEYERICK: Going back to school this week is a big part of that healing.

(on camera): Are you guys looking forward to kind of going back to school?

B. PALEY: Well, we just went there today to visit it and look at everything. And it's very -- it's a very interesting school.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Originally for teenagers, the school in Monroe has been transformed for K through 4th grade. Toys, cubbies, carpets and familiar things brought over from Sandy Hook Elementary.

B. PALEY: All of our desks are there. But my desk, I noticed someone was in there and cleaned it and made it -- well, not cleaned it, made it neater, because my desk is usually very messy.

ANDREW PALEY, FATHER OF SANDY HOOK STUDENTS: I think them getting on the bus is, for us, it's a movement forward. So, I think a lot of us are look at that as this is the next step. Now, it's getting back to a routine, and it's getting them to school so they get back to that normalcy, and start learning again, and be who they are.

FEYERICK: Ben and Ethan want the school turtle to be Sandy Hook's new mascot.

ETHAN PALEY, SANDY HOOK 4TH GRADE STUDENT: Our motto that I could go with is actually one step at a time.

FEYERICK: It's also one step of a time for moms and good friends Denise Correia and Sarah Swansiger and their daughters.

DENISE CORREIA, MOTHER OF SANDY HOOK STUDENT: There's no real playbook for this. I don't think any of us have a playbook. So, we're kind of sensing our child and trying to meet the needs that we can.

FEYERICK: Counselors will be on hand for the children and parents can spend the day at the school, just in case.

SARAH SWANSIGER, MOTHER OF SANDY HOOK STUDENT: I joked with one of the other moms, I'll see you in the morning, I'll bring you coffee. I think I need that adult time, too, because I'm not sure I'm ready yet to totally let them go in peace, because I think my peace has been shattered.


FEYERICK: Now, the buses started picking up the children just about an hour ago. And, clearly, while there was a sense of excitement there was a sense of absence because remember those buses, some of those who were killed rode those buses and their siblings also ride those buses, so there was a sense that things were different, that things have changed. School was set to begin at 9:00. But imagine sort of the thrill of a child walking into what is really a totally different environment, and finding your desk. So that's exactly what so many people who worked through the holidays to repaint, to basically put rails on the stairwells for the younger kids, even raised the floors in some areas. They worked tirelessly, and they're there for each other and that's exactly what the people of Sandy Hook and Newtown want to be remembered for, that they came together and they survived this as a community, Victor.

BLACKWELL: It's good to see all the support from the neighboring community. Those kids, those families definitely need it.

Deb Feyerick for us in Newtown, Connecticut -- thank you.

There will be consequences -- that's what the chairwoman of the Tea Party Express is threatening after the fiscal cliff vote.

Amy Kremer joins me in about 10 minutes. What would you ask her? Tweet me @VictorCNN.


BLACKWELL: Saying he will not let it happen without a fight, Pennsylvania's governor plans to sue the NCAA over the Penn State sanctions. The NCAA leveled a harsh sanction against the university after its former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was convicted in the child sex abuse scandal.

Among those sanctions a $60 million fine, a bowl ban and stripping of 14 seasons of wins from the late head coach Joe Paterno's record.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett appeared on "STARTING POINT," a short time ago to talk about the suit.


GOV. TOM CORBETT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: My belief was that if the NCAA is going to impose those sanctions, they're going to impose them by the rules of the NCAA. And Penn State is a member of the NCAA. So if you join an association, you play by the rules.

However, in further researching what's happened since then, what we find out is the NCAA didn't follow its own rules in assessing penalties. Everybody knows that usually the NCAA goes through its infractions and rules committee to conduct an investigation to make a determination, and then to assess fines or penalties.

That was not the case here. In this case, President Emmert and an executive committee overstepped the bounds of the rules of the NCAA and imposed their own penalties without using the infractions committee. Thereby --

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Governor, let me jump in --

CORBETT: Let me finish -- they did -- they did not follow their rules. So at that point in time I believe they violated the antitrust laws of the United States.


BLACKWELL: The NCAA put out this statement, "Not only does this forthcoming lawsuit appear to be without merit, it is an affront to all the victims in this tragedy -- lives that were destroyed by the criminal actions of Jerry Sandusky."

The university has said it will comply with the sanctions.

There's been a new threat against the newspaper that posted online the names and addresses of local gun permit owners -- holders rather. We'll tell you why that newspaper has now hired armed guards.


BLACKWELL: Good morning. I'm Victor Blackwell, in for Carol Costello. Bottom of the hour now.

And stories we're watching in THE NEWSROOM:

For the first time since that tragic shooting in Connecticut, school will be back in session for Sandy Hook Elementary students.