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Christie on the Rise; "Southern Wild" Surprise; And the Nominees are -- ; New Mortgage Protection Unveiled

Aired January 10, 2013 - 10:30   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for being with us.

It's 30 minutes past the hour, time to check our "Top Stories".

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt has wrapped up a trip to North Korea. He says he urged officials there to let North Koreans use the Internet or the country will risk falling more behind the rest of the world. Schmidt traveled with former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.

Vice President Joe Biden, says the President is going to act on gun violence. Biden says Mr. Obama is looking into executive orders to help prevent mass shootings. Biden, who is leading a task force, held meetings yesterday with religious leaders and also groups representing survivors of mass shootings.

More changes coming to the Obama administration. In a little more than three hours, the President, expected to nominate his White House Chief of Staff, Jack Lew to be Treasury Secretary.

And last night, the Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis resigned. She didn't give a reason why, she's expected to leave her post later this month.

The boss of New Jersey, when you hear that phrase, the first person you think of is probably Bruce Springsteen, right? Not the folks at "Time" magazine who crown New Jersey Governor Chris Christie "The Boss" on their latest cover. Here is how Christie known for his outspokenness reacted.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I am reporting "Time" magazine to the anti-Italian defamation league. I mean look at that thing -- "Boss" underneath. I mean, come on.

DON IMUS, FBN HOST: It makes you look like Tony Soprano.

CHRISTIE: I can't wait for that to come home for my kids to see it.


COSTELLO: Christie is poking a little fun about his latest turn in the spotlight. But as national political correspondent Jim Acosta explains, Christie's blunt style sometimes puts the Republican powerhouse at odds with members of his own party.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From making the rounds on the morning talk shows to landing on the cover of "Time" magazine and dubbed "The Boss", Chris Christie just might be the next big thing for a Republican Party that's shrinking in stature. And the New Jersey Governor never seems to be at a loss for words when it comes to giving the GOP some straight talk.

CHRISTIE: -- we've lost two national elections in a row. We need to be thinking about doing something different.

ACOSTA: Christie grabbed his party by the collar last week when he called out House Speaker, John Boehner, for stalling passage of billions of dollars in relief money for victims of Superstorm Sandy.

CHRISTIE: There is only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims, the House Majority and their Speaker, John Boehner.

ACOSTA: In the state of the state speech this week Christie complained New Jersey is still waiting for the bulk of the aid money.

CHRISTIE: New Jersey, both Republicans and Democrats, will never stand silent when our citizens are being short-changed.

ACOSTA: But many in the GOP who gave Christie a pass for standing shoulder to shoulder with President Obama right before the November election now wonder if he is just piling on. Some are irritated, one GOP source said, that he is needlessly bashing Republicans because it's the popular thing to do right now.

GOP strategist Ron Bonjean says, Christie needs to be careful.

RON BONJEAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Most Republicans view this as, yes, he has been bashing the Speaker but he was doing it to protect his state. And he's going to have to switch that out pretty quickly.

ACOSTA (on camera): He can't do that forever?

BONJEAN: If he -- if he did it on a weekly basis, he might as well switch parties.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Either way, he's popular in New Jersey with a new poll finding. He has a 73 percent approval rating that should ease his way into re-election this year.

Christie appears to be showing his party a more moderate path forward he's banned the violent video game "Call of Duty" in his own home. And he is open to discussing a federal assault weapons ban.

As for the White House, Christie is dropping plenty of hints telling reporters he'll be more ready to run in 2016. Jim Acosta, CNN, Washington.


COSTELLO: All right, let's talk more about Chris Christie with Jason Johnson, the chief political correspondent for Politics 365 and a political science professor at Hiram College in Ohio; and in Washington, CNN contributor and contributing editor to "Newsweek" and "The Daily Beast," David Frum. Good morning to you both.


COSTELLO: Happy New Year. OK so about 2016, you heard Christie he says he will be in his words more than ready. But the question is will his party be ready to nominate him? David?

DAVID FRUM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well it would be great if there were space in the Republican world for somebody who came from the northeast and represented the traditions of northeastern Republicanism. In the previous package, you had -- you spoke to a Republican consultant who defined the Republicanism of the Midwest and the south as the overall governing, dominant tradition of the Republican Party.

But there have been other traditions too in California and the northeast. If Chris Christie can lead them, he could be an important force not only for himself but the party.

COSTELLO: I want to dig into that poll a little bit more that Jim Acosta mentioned it in his piece. It's a fairly Dickinson poll, it shows Christie with very strong approval among New Jersey registered voters, 73 percent. But when you did into the numbers you find that Christie has broad support among some groups not known for favoring Republicans. 62 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of nonwhites; 70 percent of women and 62 percent of those who live in public employee households.

And that's even as he made cuts to pensions and benefits in New Jersey. So the question is can a Republican like that win in the primary?

JOHNSON: You know I think to be perfectly honest he is about 40 pounds and a really good running mate away from getting the nomination. And those two things aren't easy to do. You know he's got to win the south, he's got to win the conservatism in the Midwest from Ohio, places where I am from. And people like Chris Christie. And they like the bluster and they like the behavior.

But the truth of the matter is, a primary is a completely different animal. And he runs the risk if he keeps being critical the way he is now, he runs the risk of becoming the next John McCain, the kind of guy who could win a general election but can't win a primary. So I don't think it's a shoo-in for Chris Christie right now. He's got to be real careful the next couple of years.

COSTELLO: But -- but David everybody says that the Republican Party has to do soul searching and it has to change. Might Chris Christie force that change?

FRUM: Well those numbers that you're citing there are probably fleeting. New Jersey has been through a rally around the flag moment. They look a lot like George Bush's numbers in the three months after 9/11. I don't think he will be at 60 plus percent among public employee households three months from now. That seems unsustainable as they remember the conflicts that you mentioned that he's been having with them.

The object -- the goal here should not be for Chris Christie to be a critic of the Republican Party. He needs to be a reformer of the Republican Party from the inside. He had a specific quarrel with Speaker Boehner. That means he is going to need not to continue that but instead to cause the party to follow him.

COSTELLO: OK. So here is a scenario. Jason, I will pose this to you. What if Chris Christie said, "Hey, I really want to be president. I can't win a Republican primary. So I'm going to switch to Independent or Democrat."

JOHNSON: That would be a massive and entertaining waste of money. Because no one is going to win as an Independent in this country.


COSTELLO: Well what about -- what if he switches parties?

JOHNSON: Even if he switched parties, I don't think he had much of an opportunity. I think there will be a lot of Democrats who would resist having him in the party, I think a lot of Republicans would be exceptionally angry with him. And party switching you know it's not just a matter of ideology. Your money has got to change, your donors have to change, your whole campaign staff have to change. I don't think that's a switch that Chris Christie could make at any time unless he did it like tomorrow and have any chance of winning.

He is going to even have a problem leading the Republican Party. I think there's a lot more soul searching to be done. And really a lot of his behavior right now is about getting re-elected even more so than getting elected in 2016.

COSTELLO: OK so David it's kind of sad then that a guy who at the moment appeals across of you know every major demographic in this country doesn't really have a chance to become president of the United States.

FRUM: No it's not the sad at all, because -- because we don't want this kind of finger snapping magical approach to politics. Politics is a continuous process of education. So Chris Christie's job right now if he is going to be a serious figure and not just a local one, he has to reshape the party. Long ago, a German social scientist named Max Vaper, said, "Politics is the art of drilling through very hard, thick boards." And that's what he has to do, he has to convince, he has to persuade, he has to lead. It's easy to criticize and easy to fight. You can get a lot of publicity that way.

But change requires persuasion. And he has three years to do that.

COSTELLO: David Frum, Jason Johnson, thanks for the interesting conversation this morning.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

FRUM: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Her name might be a little hard to pronounce but audiences has -- have no trouble seeing the charm in her performance.


QUVENZHANE WALLIS, ACTRESS: One day, the storms are going to blow, the ground's going to sink and the water is going to rise up so high there isn't going to be no bathtub, just a whole bunch of water.


COSTELLO: The youngest person ever to be nominated for best actress. We'll have more on her surprising nomination coming up.


COSTELLO: It is almost time for the glitz, the glamour, the loser saying it's just an honor to be nominated. The nominees for the 85th Annual Academy Awards announced this morning nine films will be vying for the best picture, "Beast of the Southern Wild", "Silver Linings Playbook", "Zero Dark Thirty," "Lincoln", "Les Mis", "Life of Pi", "Amour", "Django Unchained" and "Argo".

I'm joined by senior writer for "People" magazine Charlotte Triggs she's in New York. Good morning Charlotte.

CHARLOTTE TRIGGS, SENIOR WRITER, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Good morning and thanks for having me.

COSTELLO: Thanks for being here. I was just looking at this list. "Les Mis", "Amour", "Django", "Zero Dark" depressing movies nominated for Oscars this year.

TRIGGS: Yes that's true. I mean you know there's definitely some -- some dark themes this year. But you know I mean, I guess those are the ones that always get the most attention for Oscar season anyway.

COSTELLO: They resonate with our emotions.


COSTELLO: Let's start with some of the snubs because that's what everyone likes to talk about.


COSTELLO: A couple of directors certainly got snubbed in their category. No nominations for Ben Affleck for "Argo" or "Kathryn Bigelow" for "Zero Dark Thirty." Why not?

TRIGGS: Well you know I mean there's really no telling. Both of those films were nominated in the best picture category so that's really when people get up in arms. They're like you're going to give it the best picture but you're not even get a nominate a director the director. There are always seems to be a bit of a disconnect when that happens.

But now that you can nominate more than five films for best picture, I mean, that's something that you know you have to contend with. And I think you know Ben Affleck was a real surprise. Because that movie seemed like a huge comeback for him people are really excited for it. But you know it is getting attention in the best picture category and for best supporting actor for Alan Arkin.

COSTELLO: Yes he'll just have to be satisfied with that.


COSTELLO: Another big surprise was that little girl from "Beast of the Southern Wild". I'm not going to pronounce her name, because I will butcher it. And I don't want to -- because she is the cutest girl ever. She is nine years old. Do you think she can win?

TRIGGS: You know, you never know. I mean there is a lot of competition in that category. But I mean she is so cute. She did this movie when she was so young. And I mean as the youngest nominee ever in that category, that's really impressive. I mean you know and this movie is a surprise hit with the Oscar community. I mean, it's gotten several nominations. I think it wasn't on a lot of people's radar. But it's really a moving film and she stands a good chance.

COSTELLO: Well it's interesting how they found the actors in this movie.


COSTELLO: I mean, the little girl's father in the movie was like was running a hotdog stand or something and the movie producers said --



COSTELLO: -- hey, you look like you could fulfill this role. And this little girl she had no previous acting experience either.

TRIGGS: Right she actually had to lie about her age to get the audition. Because she wasn't supposed to be any younger than six and she was still five. So you know she had to fudge the numbers a little.

COSTELLO: That is insane that a five-year-old could memorize all that dialogue and make it sound so real. She deserves that Oscar.

TRIGGS: Yes, she is really incredible. COSTELLO: OK. Let's talk about "Silver Linings Playbook", a big favorite there. It's a really funny movie. It's a sad movie. It has all of that. So what do you think? Oscar seems to love a drama more than a comedy, usually.

TRIGGS: Absolutely I mean. You know -- but this kind of has the magical factor of being both dramatic and, you know, having the poignant, funny side to it.

I mean Bradley Cooper is excellent. He stands a really good chance of winning. Although obviously Daniel Day Lewis is going to be some stiff competition there. But then there's you know, also Jessica Lawrence, the director, there's best picture it can take home. I mean I think that we're definitely going to see "Silver Linings Playbook" cleaning up with some of the awards it's nominated for.

COSTELLO: OK. So we're talking about "Silver Linings Playbook". Let's run a clip for our audience so they can see what we are talking about.



BRADLEY COOPER, ACTOR: You didn't tell him they checked me out.

JACKIE WEAVER, ACTRESS: The court said yes.

DE NIRO: Yes. But what did the doctor say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I do an interview for a school project?


I feel motivated. I don't feel so angry all the time.

The whole time you are rooting for this Hemingway guy.


COSTELLO: OK. So Charlotte, stick around because we just got David Russell who is the director of "Silver Linings Playbook" he's on the phone. And welcome. How does it feel to be Oscar nominated?

DAVID RUSSELL, DIRECTOR, "SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK" (via telephone): It feels very emotional and very humbling.

COSTELLO: How did you find out?

RUSSELL: I had wanted to -- I'm a little superstitious. I wanted to sleep but I woke up and then the TV was on in my house. The first thing I saw was Robert De Niro which just put me over the moon, because I feel -- I am very proud of my actors. I'm very, very happy for my actors but Robert De Niro, Jackie Weaver, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence all got nominated. That is the most proud thing for a director. COSTELLO: If I just woke up and kind of heard the television in my head, I would think I was dreaming.

RUSSELL: I knew I was dreaming because there is a lot of pressure that builds up and there's a lot swirling around you as the night approaches. Last night, I called a lot of people and just told them how grateful I was no matter what happened, to have made the film. That's how I set my clock. So I feel OK. You want all your actors and everybody to do well. You don't know what's going to happen. A lot of great films this year.

COSTELLO: There are. Your particular "Silver Linings Playbook", it's rather surprising, because we didn't hear much about it. It has been, I don't know, in the can for a long time before it was finally released. Is that right?

RUSSELL: Yes. We have been trying to make the film for five years. It's a very personal film. It's a very emotional film for me. I think it's a great film for any family that's struggled with any of these issues just as "The Fighter" was. Another family struggling with some stuff. That's what this is. It is personal to me and my family. It just means everything to me that we got the film made after five years and that it is finding audiences.

You know I think Harvey Weinstein -- it has been following a slower release pattern like "The King's Speech" and that's just, you know, we have to trust with him and finding audiences.

COOPER: So on the big night, you're sitting in the audience. I'm just curious, how does that feel?

Oh, you're just so happy to be there. I went there with "The Fighter" and you are just so blessed to be with so many talented people. I don't know if you've -- it's like anything in sports or anything. If you've ever struggled, you are very grateful when you are getting into work that feels good and you're just grateful to be there and you look around you at the talent. It just inspires you to keep doing good work.

Thank you so much for talking with us this morning. David O. Russell, congratulations.

RUSSELL: Thank you, guys.

COSTELLO: We're back in a minute.


COSTELLO: It's been more than five years since the housing market collapsed. It seems only yesterday, right? Today, the government is announcing new rules to protect you, buyers, and the economy, from predatory lenders. The head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said this, quote, when consumers sit down at the closing table, they shouldn't be set up to fail with mortgages they can't afford.

Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange. This sounds like music to my ears. Tell us more.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: OK. So Carol what this does is create standards for what the bureau is calling a qualified mortgage. Here are some of the criteria. If you are looking for a loan, you have to have enough income and assets to repay the loan. You also have to show proof of employment. You have to be able to afford the monthly payment along with all associated costs of owning the home and that includes property, taxes and insurance.

The lender has to consider other debts that you have like student loans, car loans and credit card loans. It sounds like common sense stuff lenders should have been doing all along in case you are looking for taking out a loan. This starts on January 21st, Carol.

COSTELLO: I was just going to say this. It seems like such commonsense. What happens to lenders who don't follow these rules?

KOSIK: Their feet could be held to the fire. Borrowers can sue the bank if they give you a loan that you can't pay back, only if you have an unqualified mortgage. The onus is on the bank to get a loan.

Remember to get a loan out from here on out. You have to be qualified. You have to meet the new standards. So if an unqualified borrower is approved. That could the lender's fault. They could put themselves in legal jeopardy. But if you qualify, you cannot sue. This protects the banks, because it is determined ahead of time that you are signing up for a loan that you can afford. Clearly, there is plenty of incentive, Carol, for these banks to do this homework and get people in qualified loans.

Alison Kosik reporting live from New York Stock Exchange.

"Talk Back" question: "Should the President issue an executive order on guns?


COSTELLO: "Talk Back" question today, "Should the President issue an executive order on guns?"

This from Tom: "Sort of defeats the purpose of the Constitution and checks and balances, doesn't it?"

This from Hunter: "Don't let this confuse people into thinking the President can supercede the constitution. Reality check."

This from Sunday: "Well, something productive needs to be done. There are certain weapons that have no reason to be in the hands of civilians."

This from Hanna: "If Congress won't get things done, then someone has to. An executive order may be the only way."

From Tim: "Hell, no, he needs to use the proper channels. This is not a dictatorship." And from Dale: "As a tax paying American gun owner, an NRA member, I support registering all guns, tracking large ammo purchases and limiting sales to one gun per month. So there."

Keep the conversation going, Or tweet me @CarolCNN. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining us today.

CNN NEWSROOM with Ashleigh Banfield continues after a break.