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Biden's "Gun Violence Project"; Oprah to Interview Lance Armstrong; Eve of Oscar Nominations; Consumer Electronics Show Highlights New Tech; 2012 Warmest Year on Record

Aired January 9, 2013 - 05:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Gun control front and center. Officials taking action today from Washington all the way to small cities like Burlington, Vermont.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: A Mexican restaurant cooking up a lot of controversy. The T-shirts plenty of critic find offensive.

BERMAN: On the eve of the Oscar nominations, the awards for Hollywood's worst films are out. And the results will shock you or maybe not.

SAMBOLIN: Seriously.

BERMAN: No, not at all.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Thirty-one minutes past the hour. Glad you're with us this morning. So, in 24 hours, the White House and the National Rifle Association square off in a gun control showdown. The NRA accepting an invitation to be part of Vice President Biden's gun violence project.

The panel gets down to business today. They will be meeting with victims' rights and gun safety groups. Then tomorrow, sports men and gun owner groups get to have their say. And an NRA representative will be there.

White House correspondent, Dan Lothian, is live from Washington this morning. Nice to see you, Dan.


SAMBOLIN: So, even though they've agreed to send a representative, the NRA doesn't exactly sound like they are prepared to actively participate, right?

LOTHIAN: That's right. I mean, they are showing up because they have been invited and it appears that they simply want to listen to what it is that this group that the president has instructed to go out there and try to put together these policy proposals. They want to hear what this group has to say. A spokesman for the NRA saying, quote, "We are sending a rep to hear what they have to say."

A very short statement from the NRA. But, essentially, the NRA is sort of skeptical of a lot of what's being pushed out there not only by the White House but by lawmakers up on Capitol Hill. They say instead of focusing on guns and gun owners, that all of these lawmakers need to be focused on issues such as mental health, need to focus on things like violent video games.

One of the things that the NRA has also suggested is putting armed guards at all of the schools in order to protect students and to prevent something like what we saw in Connecticut from happening again. So, again, they believe that you need to take sort of a broad approach here, a broad look at this problem, not just look at those who own guns.

SAMBOLIN: Let's talk about the meeting that is happening today. You have some details for us as to what the vice president is actually proposing. Can you share some of those?

LOTHIAN: That's right. And you know, again, the vice president is looking for sort of broad options here. And that's why they're having these meetings. But right up front, both the vice president and president are looking at things such as reinstating the ban on assault weapons. They say these are things that lawmakers on Capitol Hill can already take action on.

Another thing, closing loopholes around background checks and also limiting high capacity magazines. They want to come up with additional options that they think will prevent some of the violence, the gun violence that we've seen out there from happening again, but these are specific actions that the White House says can be taken right now by lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

SAMBOLIN: And Dan, it's also important to note who is not coming to this meeting. Apparently, the White House invited Wal-Mart, of course, they are a major seller of firearms and guns, but they declined the invitation. And it was shortly after the Newtown shooting that they stopped advertising online but still continued selling their guns. Do you know why they declined to attend?

LOTHIAN: Well, you know, they're saying that it's a scheduling matter, but certainly, Wal-Mart, as you pointed out, they sell a lot of guns. It's a big company, and so, it's raising eyebrows when they're not showing up to the table when in fact other organizations, including the NRA are accepting invitations.

And a spokesman for Wal-Mart saying, quote, "Unfortunately, we are unable to attend, but we have been having ongoing conversations with the White House and reaching out to lots of groups and organizations on this topic and sharing our experience. We take the sale of firearms very seriously and are committed to the responsible sale of firearms." So, unclear whether they will agree to meet with this White House group in the future, but for now, declining to show up in meetings scheduled for this week.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Dan Lothian live at the White House, thank you.


BERMAN: Thirty-four minutes after the hour right now.

And there was a blaze orange opposition to new gun laws in one city.

A very large crowd packed city hall in Burlington, Vermont, many even wearing hunter's orange to show their opposition to a measure banning semi-automatic guns and multiple ammunition clips.

The Burlington City council winded up passing the measure by a 10-3 vote, but it now must go to committee and then be voted on by the public and then sent to the state capital before it can become law. Now, Vermont, with a lot of hunters (ph), is considered one of the most lenient states when it comes to gun control.

SAMBOLIN: Did you hear Lance Armstrong is talking to Oprah? Oprah has landed an interview with the disgraced cyclist. Her network says he has agreed to a 90-minute no holds barred interview next Thursday, January 17th. It's expected that he will discuss the doping allegations that led to him being stripped of his seven Tour De France titles.

Meanwhile the head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency told CBS News that Armstrong tried to make a quarter million dollar donation to the agency right before it launched an investigation against him.

BERMAN: You know, there are a lot of people tweeting Oprah because they want her to ask tough questions to Armstrong which she has him on her show.

Other news now, sticker shock on immigration. A non-partisan report found the U.S. spent more money on immigration enforcement than the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the secret service, the U.S. marshal service, and the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives combined.

The Migration Policy Institute says close to $18 billion were spent on immigration last year compared to $14.4 billion for all other principal law enforcement agencies.

SAMBOLIN: A Mexican restaurant in Columbia, South Carolina in a bit of hot water over a T-shirt it's selling that says "Look at this, folks. How to catch an illegal immigrant." And it shows a taco being used as bait. Critics say the message behind the taco said shirt that employees wear and sell is racist. The restaurant's owner denies that but says they're getting strong reaction from people all over.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LEANNE SNELGROVE, OWNER, TACO CID: We receive death threats. We receive bomb threats. We receive on-calls from west coast talking about they support us. We pay taxes. I think that if you're an illegal immigrant, then you don't need to be here or you need to get your job with paying your tax. You know, we just not down (ph) for illegal immigrants.


SAMBOLIN: You hear her right. She offers no apologies for the T- shirts which are selling for 35 bucks a pop.

BERMAN: So, we're day away from the Oscar nomination, but the contenders for Hollywood's worst of 2012 are out. We're talking about the Razzie Awards, of course. And the final "Twilight" film, "Breaking Dawn Part 2" swept the Razzie's with 11 nominations. That's one in every category, worst picture, worst actress, worst screen couple. List goes on and on and on.

(INAUDIBLE) Razzie nominee, Adam Sandler, took another cinematic lashing earning seven nominations for "That's My Boy," and Tyler Perry was, I guess we'll say, dishonored for his work in (INAUDIBLE) than three films. Alex Cross, the witness protection (ph) and good deed.


BERMAN: The Razzie's will be handed out on February 23rd, the night before the Oscars.

SAMBOLIN: Tyler Perry can do no wrong.

Take your iPad with you into the pool. Can you believe that? That and other cool innovations from the Consumer Electronics Show. That's coming up.

BERMAN: Plus, it's only January, but we're already calling this the shot of the year. The story behind that unbelievable shot. There it is. Oh, my!


BERMAN: We'll have that story coming up.

SAMBOLIN: That's fantastic!


BERMAN: There is some impressive innovation making its debut in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show. Among the innovation, TVs that go way, way beyond HD and a coating that actually lets you take your iPhone for a swim. Everyone needs that.

Silicon Valley correspondent Dan Simon checked out the best in new technology.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Zoraida, in between the robotic cleaners and back massagers, the indestructible cell phone cases and a genius smart pens, here are a few products that caught our eye at CES.


(voice-over): First up, the water-safe iPhone. Liquipel has a special coating that makes any phone or tablet immune to the hazards of H2O.

SAM WINKLER, LIQUIPEL: So, liquipel is a nano coating. It's a thousand times thinner than a human hair (ph). So, it doesn't affect the look, it doesn't affect the feel, and it doesn't affect the functionality.

SIMON: Cost, about $60 per phones. Just send it to the company, they'll apply the chemical and send it back. Next, ultra HDTV, the headliner at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.

PHIL JONES, SONY: 4K Ultra HD is four times the resolution of a traditional HD TV, which means you can have a bigger TV in your room. You can sit closer to that TV, and that TV will be much, much, much clearer.

SIMON: They are, in fact, stunning. Content, though, is limited. And the price for the big sets can go upwards of a whopping $20,000. Don't look for them just yet at Wal-Mart, but look for the price to come down in a few years. We found this item to be a bit more affordable.

(on-camera): If you're someone who likes to watch TV in bed, here's a product that might appeal to you. This is from Brookstone, and it's a pillow that has speakers insides and the selling point is, if you're listening to the TV, watching whatever show or movie you got on, you can listen to it without disturbing the person lying next to you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We think it's going to be a terrific Father's Day gift. May even save a few marriages.

SIMON (voice-over): Finally, there was the Hapifork which might be able to save you a few pounds. The electronic utensil lets you know when you're eating too fast.

(on-camera): If you're eating too fast, it's going to buzz or it's going to light up and tell you to slow down, right?

FABRICE BOUTAIN, HAPIFORK: Yes. You're going to have a gentle vibration.

SIMON (voice-over): At $99, it's being called the world's first smart fork.

BOUTAIN: So, that's why you think slowly is very important because you can lose weight, but also, your digestion is going to be much better.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SIMON (on-camera): Another of the cutting edge products at CES where 2,000 companies from all over the world are showing off their new products to the 150,000 people that came here to be dazzled -- John and Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: That is very cool stuff. But $99 to tell you you're eating too fast?

BERMAN: I wonder if you can coat yourself in like the waterproof stuff and the iPhone use.


BERMAN: I don't know.

SAMBOLIN: I thought you made a very valid point, though, that then how do you charge it because if it's coated, then how do you get to that?

BERMAN: Maybe the first (INAUDIBLE).

SAMBOLIN: Perhaps. But probably the only you've made.

All right. Forty-four minutes past the hour. Snake handlers at the Australian Reptile Park had their hands full when it was time for their giant python's annual weigh-in. Look, look, look, look. First, they had to capture the big snake whose name is Atomic Betty. Easier said than done, she is more than 21 feet long.

Atomic Betty weighed in at a whopping 306 pounds which means she's put on about four pounds since last year, not surprising, considering that she feasts on whole goats.

BERMAN: You got to be kidding.


SAMBOLIN: No. Wow! That is incredible. And only four pounds in a year (ph), that's not bad.

BERMAN: She wears it well.



SAMBOLIN: I'll agree with you.


BERMAN: So, Facebook, as we know it, is going through some changes. We're going to fill you in on all of them coming up.

SAMBOLIN: So, if you're leaving the house right now, you can watch us anytime right on your desktop or your mobile phone, just go to (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Good morning to you. Forty-seven minutes past the hour. Let's get you up-to-date. Christine Romans has our top stories.


The Obama administration and the NRA are one day away from a face-to- face gun control showdown. Vice President Biden's gun violence project gets down to business today, meeting with gun safety and victim right's groups tomorrow is the NRA and other gun rights advocate.

Rush Limbaugh is speaking out against what he calls a liberal attempt to normalize pedophilia. The conservative radio host says it could be the next step for those who support gay marriage.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, TALK SHOW HOST: There is a movement on to normalize pedophilia and I guarantee you your reaction to that is probably much the same as your reaction when you first heard about gay marriage. What has happened to gay marriage? It's become normal, and in fact, with certain people, in certain demographics, it's the most important issue in terms of who they vote for.


ROMANS: Limbaugh cited a column in the U.K.'s "Guardian" newspaper that quotes "academic researchers who claim pedophilia is a distinct sexual orientation." And Limbaugh says the media went easy on Elmo puppeteer, Kevin Clash, who lost his job on "Sesame Street" after several men came forward saying they had sexual relationships with Clash when they were teenagers.

Big changes at Facebook to help users on the go. The social media giant debuting new apps for the iPhone and Google's android software. It's also revamped the mobile Facebook site, maybe most significant. The news feed that (INAUDIBLE) of updates from Facebook friend now provides the same sorting options as the desktop version. So, you'll notice some differences.

Police in Quincy, Illinois, in the far western part of the state have busted up a major meth lab. Inside the location, they found a large volume of materials used in the illegal production of meth. Officials say they were surprised by the amount -- wow! Look at all that -- the amount of evidence seized. Two people are under arrest.

And the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics have resumed their fierce basketball rivalry on and off the court. Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Garnett exchanged words to win the Celtics, 102-96 victory on Monday night, and again, in the battles of Madison Square Garden following the game.

Building security and New York City Police officers broke it up after Anthony waited for Garnett --


ROMANS: -- outside the Celtics team bus.

BERMAN: ESPN says the two guys have now talked by cell phone and cleared the whole air there. I think the important thing to note about this whole confrontation is that the Celtics won the game.


SAMBOLIN: Really? Really, Berman? That's the most important thing to know.

ROMANS: I mean, that was --

BERMAN: They had been jawing a little bit on the court. Kevin Garnett, KG, likes to talk a lot when he plays. The Celtics like to get under your skin a little bit, and clearly, it worked.

ROMANS: And it took it even after the game. Wow! That's fierce competition.

SAMBOLIN: Serious. The game of basketball very serious.

BERMAN: Don't mess with the Celtics.

Weather-wise, last year was surely extreme, and now, those numbers are in to prove it. Meteorologist, Alexandra Steele, is here with the details. So, how warm was it?

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: All right. The warmest year on record. 2012 going down in the books. So, it is officially, you can see really who saw the worst of it, the northeast through the plains, as well. So, a couple interesting notes. Now, the average temperature, average annual temperature, so that's averaging the highs and lows, 55.32 degrees.

Now, usually, when you break a record, it's more about a tenth of a degree, a fifth of a degree, a half a degree, but a degree. It's a degree warmer than the old record from 1998. Why? The widespread drought, the worst drought we've had since the 1950s. And for the most part, the mostly absent winter, some places around the country had the worst, almost, between the second and third worst in smallest snow back on record.

March 2012, warmest March on record, and July 2012, the hottest month ever recorded in the lower 48. But, we are seeing some rain in Texas. I'll show you where that is and who will be impacted by it, because the northeast will coming up.

BERMAN: Warmest year on record by a full degree.


BERMAN: Big, big movement there. All right. Alexandra Steele, thanks very much.


BERMAN: We have a packed hour straight ahead here on EARLY START, including a four-year-old banned from pre-K because he didn't get a flu shot. There's a brand new update on this story, and the boy will join us with his parents here to talk about it.

SAMBOLIN: Snowbirds beware. Swimmers and surfers being warned to stay out of the water after a great white shark is spotted very close to the beach in Florida. We're going to talk to the shark researcher who sounded the alarm about the great white all the way from Utah.

BERMAN: Utah. Such interesting technology.

But first, the blind side. Why this reporter was totally leveled by her camera guy?


BERMAN: Check this out. Oh, no!


SAMBOLIN: Fifty-five minutes past the hour. Welcome back. I'm Zoraida Sambolin along with John Berman. We're having a great time looking at the top CNN trends on the web this morning.

BERMAN: And you know what, it has to be the most talked about in all of New York. Not Eli Mannings, not Tim Tebows, it belongs to the Jet's head coach, Rex Ryan.

SAMBOLIN: Have you seen it?


BERMAN: Ryan finally explained his tattoo. It's the one of his wife wearing nothing but a Mark Sanchez jersey. That's the starting quarterback of the last four years. Here's how the "New York Daily News" played it when it was spotted a few days ago. The headlines, "marked for life" and "kinky inky."


SAMBOLIN: That's my favorite.

BERMAN: So, Rex Ryan confirmed it is real and it is permanent.


REX RYAN, COACH, NEW YORK JETS: You know, it is funny, it's actually a tattoo I've had for, you know, like three years, going on three years now. And, you know, I know what you're thinking. Obviously, if Sanchez doesn't play better, that number's changing. That's pretty much a given.


SAMBOLIN: That's not what I was thinking.


BERMAN: I think they have a great marriage.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, of course.

BERMAN: Good for the Ryans.

SAMBOLIN: All right. The basketball shot of the year happening on the girls high school court. This is Lafayette, Indiana. Check it out.

Gabrielle Gary of the McCutcheon Mavericks hitting an unbelievable shot. Look, look, look, look, look. Sinking a three-pointer, and she's flying --


SAMBOLIN: Look at that. She's flying out of bounds in the corner of the court with her back to the basket.

BERMAN: You have to be kidding me.

SAMBOLIN: No. Gary also had six other more conventional three pointers in the game. And she led her team to a win. Sign her up.

BERMAN: That's right.

SAMBOLIN: Unbelievable.

BERMAN: I need her on my team.

All right. Finally, full contact report.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go ahead. I'm not going to get in trouble. It worked in practice.




BERMAN: Oh! Let's see that one more time in slow motion. That was Lee Valsvik (ph) K.A.R.E. News in Minneapolis. She's doing a live shot before the Vikings big playoff game against the Packers Saturday. Oh no!. The photographer was clearly a little too excited for the game. Totally ran over her.

He was supposed to just catch the ball, and I guess, run by. Luckily, we can laugh because no one got hurt. SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness. She took quite a fall there, though.

BERMAN: She's OK. Oh!

SAMBOLIN: Oh! And we keep on watching, of course.

All right. The late night comedians were talking about politics last night. Conan O'Brien says New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, is getting a bad rap from his political enemy.


CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "CONAN": Governor Chris Christie is taking some heat. This was in the news. A political opponent of New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, is now accusing Governor Christie of praying for Hurricane Sandy. Yes. In response, Christie said the only weather related thing I've ever prayed for is a Dairy Queen blizzard.


O'BRIEN: That's a quote. That's what he said.


O'BRIEN: You're always hearing nobody likes Congress, you know? Congress is unpopular. Well this, just came out today. According to a new poll, Congress is now less popular than head lice, Nickelback and Donald Trump.


O'BRIEN: In a related story, head lice is insulted it's being lumped in with Donald Trump and Nickelback.


O'BRIEN: I'm sorry. I just wanted to --


O'BRIEN: -- do my impression of angry head lice.


JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": The White House is gearing up for a fight with Republicans over Chuck Hagel, President Obama's pick for secretary of defense, as well as they fight over that other thing, everything.



SAMBOLIN: EARLY START continues right now.