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House Holds Roll Call Vote For Speaker; Al Jazeera Buys Al Gore's Current TV; Rape Victim's Dad Demands Justice

Aired January 3, 2013 - 12:30   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Tell us about the Taliban commander who was killed.

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: You know, I would say he's not Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban, but he certainly leads a large Taliban group. It's a group that basically had some form of cease-fire agreement with the Pakistani government, wasn't attacking in Pakistan like many of these Pakistani Taliban groups do. They were certainly attacking across the border into Afghanistan, attacking U.S. and NATO forces there.

He was, you know, probably somebody who led in the low thousands of fighters and is a fairly significant leader of the group.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL": Do we have a sense how this is going to play out in the president's second term, whether or not he is going to continue to use these drone strikes, whether or not that's going to increase and how difficult that is going to be to convince the Pakistanis and the rest of the world that that is an appropriate strategy?

BERGEN: Well, in Pakistan as you know, Suzanne, it's deeply unpopular. In fact, the Pakistani parliament voted to basically ban drone strikes in open, something the Obama administration basically has sort of ignored.

The number of drone strikes in Pakistan go down rather dramatically, but we're seeing the number of drone strikes in Yemen where al Qaeda has a very virulent affiliate have gone up about the same time.

So, the number of strikes may be declining in Pakistan, but they're about -- going up at about the same rate in Yemen, so the war is sort of moving as it were.

MALVEAUX: All right. Peter Bergen, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

After a week of losses and bitter fighting within his own party, John Boehner is up for re-election as Speaker of the House.

We're going to bring you the vote live from Capitol Hill. That is just moments away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MALVEAUX: I want to point out what we are watching here. This is on the House floor. The Clerk of the House receives nominations for the Speaker, of course.

And Democratic caucus chairman Javier Becerra of California just nominated Nancy Pelosi -- as you can see, she is standing there, smiling -- to be the Speaker.

We will -- everybody is clapping and applauding. Let's listen in.


KAREN HAAS, CLERK OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: The names of the honorable John A. Boehner, a representative-elect from the state of Ohio and the honorable Nancy Pelosi, a representative-elect from the state of California have been placed in nomination.

Are there further nominations? There being no further nominations, the clerk appoints the following tellers. The gentlewoman from Michigan, Mrs. Miller; the gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Brady; the gentlewoman from Ohio, Miss Kaptur; and the gentlewoman from Florida, Miss Ros-Lehtinen.

The tellers will come forward and take their seats at the front desk of the Speaker's rostrum.


MALVEAUX: What you're watching there, the Clerk of the House is receiving nominations for Speaker John Boehner for Republicans, Nancy Pelosi for the Democrats. And there will be a vote, the winner announced around 2:00 Eastern.

I want to bring in Dana Bash to talk a little bit about behind the scenes here, what we're watching. There's a lot of formality in the process here, but a lot of controversy, as well, over John Boehner and whether or not he would still receive that nomination.

What is taking place right now?

DANA BASH: Well, I think what was most noteworthy about what we saw is there was no one else who was nominated on the Republican side in place of John Boehner.

And that is incredibly significant because it's not that we didn't expect John Boehner to be re-elected as Speaker no matter what.

But what we did think was possible was for a symbolic move to say, you know, we think someone else who is perhaps considered more conservative, more acceptable to the conservatives to be put up. That did not happen.

We just saw nominations for John Boehner and then, of course, for Nancy Pelosi on the Democratic side, which is pretty standard. No one expects her to win, but it is pretty standard for Democrats to do that. So, that was what I think was most interesting about that moment. Having said that, it does not mean when there are votes for John Boehner there won't be Republicans voting against him to -- as a protest vote.

In fact, we know for sure -- oh, excuse me. That was just Paul Ryan walking behind me. That's what happens when we're in the hallways here. He says, hello.

MALVEAUX: Hello back.

BASH: What happens here is that anybody can vote no or yes. But, on the Republican side, we already have heard from one congressman for example, Congressman Huelskamp who told our Deirdre Bash -- Deirdre Bash -- I'm getting my names mixed up -- Deirdre Walsh. It's been a long day. I don't even know my own name.

MALVEAUX: You're working really hard, Dana. Everybody understands.

BASH: Deirdre Walsh that he's going to vote against the Speaker. And, now, for him in particular, he has a very specific reason to do that because Boehner removed him from the budget committee and so he has an ax to grind.

We might see other members, a sprinkling of members like that, but we don't expect the 17 noes, which is all that would be need, 17 noes, to throw the nomination into tumult and what would technically happen is that there would be another roll call vote. But we don't expect that it to happen.

MALVEAUX: And, Dana, if you would, let's talk a little bit about the big picture here. We're watching kind of the minutia and we're watching the formality of this, which is fascinating.

But, obviously, Boehner is going to have to reunite his own party, the tea party folks who are not happy with him over the fiscal cliff deal and some others from New York and New Jersey not happy how he handled the Sandy aid and not having that come to the House floor.

So, how does he do that? How does he actually bring his party together, do you suppose?

BASH: Well, one thing that it seems he's trying to do is to try to not put himself in a position to be -- for them to be mad at him.

And one of the main reasons why he was sort of in this pickle several times over the past two years is because he decided negotiate -- to try to negotiate two rather large deals with the president. It didn't go anywhere. Remember the grand bargain they tried to negotiate about a year and a half ago with the debt ceiling and, of course, more recently, on the fiscal cliff deal.

And he told me just a short while ago walking down this hallway into his office -- there was a report that he was telling his colleagues he's not going to try to do those grand bargains anymore through negotiation. He's going to have things go through what he called "regular order." He said regular order always works best.

What does that mean in real terms? Is that -- legislation he wants to be written in committees, to come up through the House, to come up through the Senate and to have conference committees. That's the way it's supposed to work.

Not to say that he won't have negotiations and won't need to have negotiations, but he is probably going to not put himself in a position for everybody to get mad at him anymore.

MALVEAUX: And, Dana, describe for us what's happening on the floor because it looks like there is a roll call. There is the vote taking place where the representatives actually stand up and make their views known. Describe how that takes place.

BASH: Actually, I'm just looking down at my BlackBerry because Deirdre Walsh is in the chamber and she's watching things happen.

What is happening is that there are votes. Everybody is voting for -- excuse me. I just want to make sure that wasn't the Speaker behind me. Everybody is voting for the Speaker.

And I mentioned earlier that no one else was nominated. That actually just changed while we were talking. Deirdre reports that Justin Amash who is somebody who is kind of a loner, frankly, in the Republican caucus, he nominated Raul Labrador.

And, so, that is, again a protest, a symbolic protest that he's nominating Raul who is a member of the 2010 class, somebody who has not been happy with the ways things have gone here. He has been voted against pretty much everything because he is somebody who stands on principle, wants to cut spending and keep taxes low no matter what.

MALVEAUX: Dana, hang with us. Let's just listen in.


HAAS: Brooks of Alabama?


HAAS: Boehner. Brooks of Indiana?


HAAS: Boehner. Brown of Georgia? Alan West of Florida?Brown of Florida? Pelosi. Brownlee of California? Pelosi. Buchanan?


HAAS: Boehner. Bucshon?


HAAS: Boehner. Burgess?


HAAS: Boehner. Bustos? Pelosi. Butterfield? Pelosi. Calvert?


MALVEAUX: Dana, I don't know if you're able to answer this question or not, but we see that they're going through the formality of nominating Pelosi, but we know because the Democrats don't have the majority that she would not likely be Speaker.

Do we know if there's ever been any occasion where you didn't have the majority and they nominated a Speaker who wasn't in the majority? I mean, this seems like simply a formality here.

BASH: It is a formality. You know, because there were questions about how the process works and whether or not John Boehner will get a real challenge, we actually looked it up.

And the Congressional Research Service says that in the past 100 years, so not since 1913, only once has there been even a real challenge that has forced a recurring vote. I think it was nine times in 1923 that they had to vote over and over again until they finally got a Speaker.

So, that's a long way of saying, no. This is not -- this is a formality and, again, it's a way for some few members to express their concern, express their protest on the Republican side, at least, for the Speaker, but we haven't really seen very much of that the at all yet.

MALVEAUX: There was some talk about Eric Cantor, whether or not his name was going to come up in nomination. Do we know where that came from?

BASH: Well, look, because there is almost a storied rivalry between the House Speaker and Eric Cantor and it is one that his aides -- the aides in both camps try extremely hard to tamp down on to say that it is totally overblown and almost a myth.

In fact, the two of them made a point of walking into the caucus together two days ago. It was very carefully orchestrated to walk past the camera together.

Will there be a nomination for Eric Cantor? It's very hard to see it. In fact, he just walked by here and I said, will the Speaker be re- elected, and he answered, absolutely.

You know, if there were at some point a desire for change, a coup like we saw back in 1995 against Newt Gingrich, it's hard to imagine that one of the existing members of the leadership would be there. It would probably be somebody who is kind of a new face.

MALVEAUX: All right, Dana, hang with us. We're going to take a quick break. We're going to get back. The vote is still taking place for the House Speaker.


MALVEAUX: We are following an historic moment. This is the 113th Congress that is being sworn in. And right now what is taking place on the House floor, they are voting on who is going to be the House speaker. Overwhelmingly it looks like support for John Boehner. But I want to bring in our Dana Bash whose been following the count here.

And it was interesting because you and I were just talking about the possibility of protests nominations that are taking place. I believe we just heard two names that came up that were not John Boehner's. What did you hear?

BASH: That's right. You and I were talking right before the break about Eric Cantor, whether there would be a real challenge. And the answer is definitely no. But Deirdre Walsh reports from inside that Oklahoma Freshman Jim Bridenstine just voted for Cantor. And she also said that there were audible gasps on both sides of the aisle after he did that. So that was clearly a protest vote.

The other clear protest vote was from a veteran conservative Democrat, Jim Cooper, who voted for Colin Powell for speaker. So that is really the ultimate protest, to vote for somebody who could never, ever get the job.

MALVEAUX: Yes. Not even a part of the Congress there.

Why do you suppose -- why do you suppose there is that kind of protest that's taking place? I mean he was able to rally the Republicans and at least enough support to avoid the fiscal cliff. Why is there a real anger, if you will, a protest vote against him?

BASH: You know, the truth is, Suzanne, this is pretty typical. When Nancy Pelosi was re-elected as speaker, there were a number of Democrats who voted for other people. For example, I remember Gabby Giffords, she voted for John Lewis to be speaker. She didn't even vote for Nancy Pelosi. So this is not unusual to have these protest votes. And it doesn't necessarily mean that he -- that John Boehner, in this case, has a complete grip on power.

One thing I also want to mention to you is that Boehner is not on the floor right now. He is in his office, at least we saw him walk this way towards his office, and he hasn't walked this way. And as far as I know, there's no magic way to get from one place to the other without walking by here. So it sounds as though he might be watching from his office, as opposed to being on the floor while everybody is standing up and saying his name or, in some cases, Colin Powell's name.

MALVEAUX: Maybe after he gets the nod, he'll speak to you, Dana, as he passes you to accept it. So we'll be watch closely. We'll bring you back in as soon as it happens.

We are also following another story. It's name often evoking negative comments or stereotypes in the United States. But now the Arab news giant Al Jazeera could be coming to your home or a home near you. The television network just bought Current TV. Now that is the channel that's started by the former vice president, Al Gore, and his partners.

I want to bring in Richard Quest to talk about reaction to this. We know that this is a huge in for Al Jazeera. They've been trying to, for years, gain greater access to U.S. markets. What do we expect?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the interesting thing here is Al Jazeera has many networks, very similar in many ways to others. As, for example, CNN with many different networks serving different audiences. You have the traditional Al Jazeera Arabic Network, the Al Jazeera English Network and so on.

And what they are proposing to do with the purchase of Current TV, for a whooping $500 million reportedly, is they are going to create a new network, Al Jazeera America it's believed to be called. And this is the interesting thing, Suzanne. This will be a network, we believe, if the reports are true, that will be geared to, journalistically staffed in (ph), and editorially geared towards the United States. Al Jazeera America, Al Jazeera America will be their network for the U.S.

MALVEAUX: We should mention, Time Warner Cable immediately moved to drop Current TV after the acquisition was announced, but we should note that that is not the same, of course, as Time Warner Cable, not affiliated with the CNN's parent company, Time Warner. But does that actually give you a sense that this is going to be a tough road ahead for Al Jazeera America?

QUEST: No question. Absolutely. First of all, Current TV, with its 40 to 50 million households in America, was getting extraordinarily low ratings. So, first of all, they've got to make sure that they keep some of those people. Well, if Time Warner Cable has already switched off or will switch off the feed, that means that there's a few -- there's fewer viewers.

Secondly, they have to overcome the reputational view in the United States that it is a pro -- it is a pro-terrorist network falsely. But the fact is, Al Jazeera does have that reputation from its previous interviews with al Qaeda and the like. They're going to have to overcome that.

Put it altogether, what Al Jazeera is doing is paying a extraordinary large amount of money for a certain number of viewers in the most competitive market in the world where frankly I assure you, although I haven't got this officially from our bosses, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, I don't think any of us are going to sit back and happily say, well, you know, it's all yours, guys, off you go. Not a big of it. They're about to get involved in the biggest fray in news television.

MALVEAUX: All right, Richard, well, we're going to be standing by. We're going to watch and see how that all plays out, shakes out. Thank you, Richard.

Right now we are watching the House casting the votes that's going to decide the political futures of John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi. We're going to bring you that vote, the tally, as soon as it happens, up next.


MALVEAUX: We're watching the House floor there. The vote that is taking place. Who's going to be the next speaker of the House. John Boehner's name has come up. Of course, Nancy Pelosi on the Democrat side. Very likely that it will be Republican John Boehner that will keep his job. But we are watching as they do the voice vote from each member. We're going to bring that to you live as soon as we get the final tally.

We're also following this story. A really tragic one. Police in India have charged five men in the gang rape last month of a 23-year-old medical student on a New Delhi bus. The attack set off violent protests across the country. The victim died Saturday in a hospital in Singapore. Now the suspects, they face murder, rape, and kidnapping charges. And under India's fast track court system, the trial could actually start this week. Our Sumnima Udas has this report.


SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With thousands protesting the recent gang rape that led to the death of a medical student in New Delhi, the victim's father is demanding the harshest possible punishment for her attackers. Though the 23-year-old victim has not been publicly identified, her father went on camera for the first time since her death Saturday to demand justice.

VICTIM'S FATHER (through translator): Laws are made by the government, but all I ask is that the law be the toughest it can be. The death penalty is compulsory for a crime so grave, but the assailants must be hanged.

UDAS: A sentiment shared by most of the protestors who braved the cold to march in silence to the memorial honoring the country's founding father, Mahatma Ghandi. The death penalty is rarely carried out in India, but activists say this is exactly what's needed to end the impunity given to rapists here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I believe that this rally will have a huge impact on the women of Delhi and the rest of the country. It will leave its mark and will send a message that such heinous crimes must not happen again.

UDAS: Every 17 hours, a woman is raped in New Delhi. This victim has become a martyr, a symbol of the daily suffering so many women in India face and the shame rape victims must endure. One reason the victim in this case has not yet been publically identified. She's been variously dubbed Nearbia (ph), meaning "fearless" in Hindi, Domini (ph), "lightening," and Amanid (ph), "precious." And some Indian lawmakers are now suggesting a new rape law be named in her honor. Parliamentarian Shushi Ter (ph) wrote on Twitter, "wondering what interest is served by continuing anonymity of the Delhi gang rape victim. Why not name and honor her as a real person with her own identity. The victim's father agreed.

VICTIM'S FATHER: The law should definitely be named after the girl.


MALVEAUX: We are joined from New Delhi, Sumnima Udas.

And I understand there is actually a sixth suspect in this case who has not been charged. Do we know why?

UDAS: That's correct, Suzanne. The sixth suspect has not been charged because he is, in fact, a juvenile. The authorities are still waiting for the final medical reports, but there are reports that suggest he is 17 years old. And if that is the case, then he actually will face a maximum charge of three years in prison. And that is, of course, very different from the case of the other five suspects who face -- who, if convicted, could face the death penalty.


MALVEAUX: All right, thank you very much. We appreciate it.

Want to remind our viewers what we are watching here. Right now the House is casting the votes that's going to decide the political futures of John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi. We are going to bring that final tally as soon as it happens.