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WEEKEND EARLY START

Armstrong to Admit Doping; Deadly Flu Season; Gun Control Debate Heats Up; Tips for Boosting the Immune System; Golden Globes Preview

Aired January 12, 2013 - 06:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: From CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, this is EARLY START WEEKEND. It could be the most stunning confession in cycling history. The real reason Lance Armstrong is sitting down with Oprah.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: What will the White House decide when it comes to gun control? All morning we'll put the proposals and the pushback in focus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Have you seen the inside of a coffee cup after the coffee's gone? I mean who wants to carry that around and take it back to the store, fill me up, Johnny.

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKWELL: Nobody wants to use that again.

BLACKWELL: Have you seen the --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: Remember last week? Why Victor's going to eat those words about Starbucks' latest venture.

It is Saturday, January 12th, good morning, everyone, I'm Randi Kaye.

BLACKWELL: I stand behind those words.

KAYE: You might not want to be standing on yours words.

(LAUGHTER)

KAYE: You'll find out why.

BLACKWELL: Good morning, everyone, I'm Victor Blackwell, that's one take on Armstrong's motivation, here is another.

We -- this weekend, we're going to talk about Lance Armstrong and the possibility that he is sitting down with Oprah Winfrey to talk about cycling and his future in cycling and possibly doping. Last week we heard reports that he may fess up to doping, but now we have a date and a time. "USA Today" reports that Armstrong will sit down with Oprah next week to come clean. But why now? He's already been disgraced, he's lost sponsors and stepped down from Livestrong, the charity he founded. So, what does he have to gain by sitting down with Oprah Winfrey? And admitting it now after years of denials. Joining me now on the phone to answer that question is "USA Today's" Brent Schrotenboer.

Brent, you wrote an article talking about this. So, when and where will he make this admission? And why now?

BRENT SCHROTENBOER, "USA TODAY": Well, he's supposed to make this admission Monday when the show tapes. Oprah Winfrey is coming to his home in Austin, Texas. They are taping an interview Monday and that is supposed to air next Thursday now. As to why is he doing this now? The evidence came out against him, a massive file of evidence came out against him in October. And in the three months since then, he's been keeping a pretty low profile. And I think he's been deciding what to do about it. He's kind of cornered himself. Because for many years now, he strenuously denied these doping allegations. And with all of the evidence that's come out against him, it's hard to deny it anymore. And he's making a calculated decision for himself personally, it's also, I think, a business decision for him. Because it's affecting his charity Livestrong. All of his sponsors have fired him. I think when he goes out in public now, he's getting a little bit different reception than what he used to get in that, you know, everybody knows now that if you believe the evidence that he did dope and lie about it for many years. And so this is really a personal decision for him and also a calculated business decision for him.

BLACKWELL: Now, the "New York Times" has said that he would admit to doping so that he could, again, race competitively, professionally as a cyclist. How likely is that?

SCHROTENBOER: Not very likely any time soon, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency code. Somebody who has a lifetime ban for doping, they could get their lifetime ban reduced to no less than eight years if they made a heavy burden, and that burden is for that person to provide substantial assistance to anti-doping officials about cheating in sports and cheating in cycling and helping anti-doping officials to catch other cheaters. And he would have to do that. He would have to provide a lot of testimony about that if he wanted to get his ban reduced. The rule book says no less than eight years, right now he's 41. So eight years from now, he would be 49. And I don't know how interested he would be in competing at that age. I would say, also, though that possibly because it's Lance Armstrong and depending on what kind of information he provides them, maybe the governing bodies in international sports make some kind of agreement to go outside the rule book and cut that ban down to less than eight years. But in any event, I don't think we're going to see him compete in sanctioned events any time soon.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the legal implications, because he said under oath that he did not dope. First, could there be perjury charges? Second, what about possible civil lawsuits? People had money invested in Lance Armstrong and the Armstrong brand. As he continuously lied about not doping. SCHROTENBOER: Yes, criminally, as far as perjury, last time he was known to have testified that he did not use performance-enhancing drugs was 2005. It was in a lawsuit brought against him by a promotions company in Dallas. And my understanding about that is he is not at risk there because it's been seven years since then and that is beyond the statute of limitations. So I think he's clear there. Civilly, it's a lot -- it's a lot trickier. That like you mentioned, there are a lot of sponsors that invested a lot of money in him. There are people that have sued him already because they think they've been defrauded by him, because of his lies about performance enhancing drugs. So, that is a risk he's taking. He's gambling a little bit by admitting this now that he can deal with it. That he can negotiate it, he can reach settlements with these people that might want to sue him because of this. So, definitely is a risk and that is the risk. But I think he's probably hoping that he can negotiate his way out of that. As far as that goes.

BLACKWELL: All right. A lot of dominoes to fall. Brent Schrotenboer with "USA Today." It's 3:00 a.m. on the West coast, we know you've been working all night to break details in this story. Thank you for joining us.

SCHROTENBOER: Thank you for having me on. Thanks a lot.

KAYE: Well, that is one take on Armstrong's motivation. Here's another. Earlier this week, I talked with Dave Shields, author of "The Tour", a book about the world of competitive cycling and the Tour de France.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVE SHIELDS, AUTHOR "THE TOUR": There's a lot of other pressures. He's not the only one currently under trial. There's Johan Bruyneel, there is Michele Ferrari who is his old doctor and things like that. And I got a feeling that there's some pressures coming on in some of those trials that are suggesting to him some things are going to come out. They are out of his control. And now he's thinking, oh, well, the best way I can protect myself is to get that information out. But it's, you know, it's very self-serving.

KAYE: Yes, so if he does come clean, you have always said you were an Armstrong supporter, would that be enough for you?

SHEILDS: For me, it would be too late. It's -- you know, it's -- I think that in life we try to believe people. When somebody violates that trust and we start to realize, wait, this person doesn't really know the value of telling the truth, which is what I've certainly seen from Armstrong. I'm not going to go in there and get fooled again. You know, he doesn't know how to tell the truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: Once again, a headline here, "USA Today" reports that Armstrong will admit to doping on Monday in an interview with Oprah.

And now to the flu epidemic that has gripped the country, 47 states now to be exact. New information from the CDC shows that just three states, California, Hawaii, and Mississippi are the only places where the flu is not widespread. Every other state from Alaska to Florida is reporting the flu across more than half their given state. Our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has some tips on recognizing that bug and how to get through it.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Randi, it's the worst flu season in years. We've been talking about it all week. Emergency rooms in many places overflowing. It's a fast moving story. Here's what you need to know.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GUPTA: The flu strikes fast and symptoms much more severe than a common cold. You feel fine one day and then the next, a sudden fever, sore throat, headache, and tightness in the chest.

DR. MICHAEL JHUNG, EPIDEMIOLOGIST, CDC INFLUENZA DIVISION: Over 200,000 people every year are hospitalized with influenza. And anywhere from 3,000 to nearly 50,000 people will die each year.

GUPTA: Flu cases are at epidemic proportions now in some areas of the country. It's the most we've seen this time of year in a decade.

JHUNG: They may get more complications from this particular H3N2 strain which may make them ill for a longer period of time.

GUPTA: The active strain is H3N2. It typically surfaces earlier in the season, it tends to produce stronger symptoms.

And it is highly contagious. In fact, when someone coughs or sneezes, these tiny droplets are released into the air. You can't even see them with the human eye, so you can breathe them in, but they can also live on surfaces. A lot of people don't realize this, they can stay on these surfaces for eight hours. So, say your coworker is sick, you come over, you use their keyboard, you got the germs on your hand and then you touch your nose or mouth, and now you're infected.

And the problem escalates if you spend several hours in tight quarters, like on an airplane. At highest risk, passengers two rows in front or behind of the infected person.

Now, the best way to kill those germs is to wash your hands and do it often and use real soap and real water. Now, the problem is, that most people don't actually wash their hands long enough. My best advice, actually sing the Happy Birthday song twice while you're washing your hands. That's going to be long enough. It's not quick to get rid of these viruses. Another key to prevention is getting the flu shot. Getting vaccinated reduces your risk of getting the flu by around 60 percent.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GUPTA: Another benefit to getting your flu shot is, if you do get sick, your symptoms won't last as long and be as severe as compared to those who weren't vaccinated. Randi, back to you. KAYE: Sanjay Gupta, thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: The 66,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan may be headed home sooner than expected. Afghan president Hamid Karzai met with President Obama in Washington yesterday. He and Mr. Obama agreed to a complete transition of combat operations by the end of 2014. And both men spoke at the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Our path is clear and we are moving forward. Every day more Afghans are stepping up and taking responsibility for their own security and as they do, our troops will come home and next year this long war will come to a responsible end.

PRES. HAMID KARZAI, AFGHANISTAN: The American forces will be no longer present in Afghan villages that the task will be that of the Afghan forces to provide for the Afghan people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: President Obama is considering keeping some troops, possibly between 3,000 to 9,000 in place after 2014. It's for counter- terrorism and training, but only if they get immunity from prosecution. Karzai signaled he may be willing to give into that demand.

There's new information on that Secret Service prostitution scandal.

KAYE: This is the one that captured the headlines when President Obama headed down to Colombia for an official visit last April. CNN Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence has the story.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Randi, Victor, the prostitution scandal that embarrassed the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. government just won't go away. After an investigation, three more U.S. Army soldiers have now been disciplined for their part. All three received letters of reprimand. Two of the three also had to give up their pay for a couple of months and do extra duty. Again, this involved about a dozen U.S. service members who admitted taking prostitutes back to their hotel rooms last April. This was just prior to a visit by President Barack Obama. Also implicated were three DEA agents and about 13 U.S. Secret Service agents, most of whom resigned or retired. Now, prostitution is legal in Colombia and ultimately the investigation found that there was no security risk to President Obama himself, but it humiliated the very proud Secret Service and some of the other government workers, obviously, who have been caught up in this scandal. Randi? Victor?

KAYE: Chris Lawrence, thank you very much. Crime is the hot topic in Washington right now. Gun crime.

BLACKWELL: Gun crime and gun control. Now we may be just days away from the White House weighing in. We'll take a look at the possible recommendations and some of the reactions as we go in focus. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAYE: Welcome back. The gun debate is heating up in Washington and across the country. The growing debate comes in the shadow of the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School last month. Vice President Biden has been meeting with groups all week from gun control advocates to the NRA and yesterday he met with video game producers. It's all in an effort to find a solution to the nation's gun violence problem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We have a problem beyond, quote, "the massacres," the Columbines through an Aurora to Connecticut, there's 10,000 people a year gunned down in our cities. Different motives, different reasons, different explanations, but , you know, it's a real problem. It's serious.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: So what might be in the final list of recommendations? First, universal background checks and closing the gun show loophole that lets people bypass those checks right now. Also, the White House is believed to favor a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Vice President says he expects to have these recommendations ready by Tuesday.

The immediate reaction seems to be a spike in gun sales. Some even likening it to the run on Twinkies, when Hostess announced they were shutting down. "The New York Times" reports that background checks for guns jumped more than 50 percent last month from the same period a year earlier and that some gun shops are having a hard time keeping up with the demand for weapons and ammunition. And like I said, Biden also met with the NRA this week, and this is their take on that discussion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID KEENE, PRESIDENT, NRA: In a sense, they were checking a box. They were able to say we've met with the NRA, we've met with the people that are strong Second Amendment supporters. That doesn't mean that there isn't an area for agreement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: Room for an agreement, sounds promising, but then again the NRA also came out after that meeting to say that the White House is launching an assault on the Second Amendment. But while the NRA digs in for a fight with Washington, it may be the states that make major changes to their own gun laws.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: Gun violence has been on a rampage as we know firsthand and we know painfully. We must stop the madness, my friends. And in one word, it's just enough, it has been enough. (APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: We will have much more on the debate throughout the morning. Next hour, what happens when a so-called good guy with a gun steps in. It is the tale of two shootings.

BLACKWELL: In Mississippi, thousands of criminal cases could be reviewed, all because of autopsies performed by one man. Could innocent people be on death row because of his work?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: In Mississippi, crimes and court cases long thought to be solved and settled are getting a fresh look. And prisoners, including death row inmates could be set free. It's all because of questions about a doctor whose workload and tactics have become the focus of intense criticism. I traveled to Mississippi this past week to talk to the doctor in question.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATT EICHELBERGER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: If you died in Mississippi of any sort of suspicious circumstances, chances are, Dr. Hayne was going to be cutting you open.

BLACKWELL: That's Matt Eichelberger, a former public defender talking about Dr. Steven Hayne, a pathologist who claims to have conducted tens of thousands of autopsies.

(on camera): How many would you say you've done an average year late '80s to probably a few years ago?

DR. STEVEN HAYNE, PATHOLOGIST: Somewhere in the range of 1,400, 1,500, in that range, maybe 1,600.

BLACKWELL (voice over): That's five to six times what's recommended by the National Association of Medical Examiners. For the first time on television, Hayne is responding to claims that an oversized work load and questionable tactics may have led to the conviction of many innocent people. For decades in Mississippi, there's seldom been a state medical examiner. Counties relied on state approved pathologists to conduct autopsies. Hayne was one of them, although he has never been certified by the Board of American Pathologists as a forensic pathologist.

EICHELBERGER: He was a prosecutor's best friend. Law enforcement would go to Dr. Hayne with their investigation pretty much complete. They would tell him what they suspected had happened. And nine times out of ten, probably 95 times out of 100, they would get the result they were looking for.

HAYNE: I'm not a friend of law enforcement. If a crime has been committed. I'm not -- I don't support a D.A. if he wants to charge a person with the crime and I don't think a crime was committed. BLACKWELL: One high-profile case Hayne's critics often cite, is that of Tyler Edmonds. In 2003, the 13-year-old boy confessed to pulling a trigger of a gun with his older sister to kill her husband. He later recanted that confession. Edmonds was tried as an adult and Hayne testified as an expert witness for the state. Edmonds was sentenced to life in prison. Three years later, the conviction was overturned and Edmonds is now a free man. Then Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz wrote a scathing concurring opinion.

OLIVER DIAZ, FORMER MISSISSIPPI SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: I saw that Dr. Hayne had testified that he could tell by the bullet wounds on the victim that there were two hands on the trigger that fired the shot that killed the victim. And I said that just doesn't make sense.

HAYNE: All I could say was I said there were two people were involved in shooting, I couldn't exclude that only one person did the shot. You know, it was not a definitive statement.

BLACKWELL: In 2008, Hayne was removed from the list of state-approved pathologists. Recently, the Mississippi Innocence Project has asked the state supreme court to review four separate murder cases, in which Hayne was the pathologist and it expects to file ten additional requests, some of them death penalty cases.

EICHELBERGER: We're going to have to go back. And we're going to have to examine just about every case that he had any contact with. And we're in the process of doing that, thankfully, here in Mississippi now.

BLACKWELL (on camera): Ballpark, how many cases?

EICHELBERGER: Thousands. Thousands.

BLACKWELL (voice over): Hayne sued attorneys for the Innocence Project for defamation, libel, and slander, a case that led to an out of court monetary settlement. But information gathered in that case was also used in the petition-seeking reviews of other Mississippi murder cases. When asked tough questions about his tens of thousands of autopsies, Hayne has a simple answer.

HAYNE: I don't think there are errors in my work.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAYE: Amazing story. How did it all start, though?

BLACKWELL: Well, every legal expert I spoke with in Mississippi started with "Mississippi is a poor state." So, it was a financial problem. And they in the late '80s, early '90s found that if they did not have a state medical examiner and had this approved pathologist across (ph) the state, they could save money on the building facilities and the staffing. So, because he was moving through so many cases, he kept getting business and kept getting business. He says that he did four autopsies a day, 18 hours a day he worked, did not take a vacation, did not take a break for 20 years.

KAYE: Wow.

BLACKWELL: We also have this statement about if Mississippi will look into these cases, this is from the Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood. He says "Our office would say this is not and never has been a matter of defending Dr. Hayne. If fraudulent testimony is found to have been given either by a witness for the state or for the defense in any criminal case, this office will investigate and prosecute if warranted."

KAYE: Well, it is the biggest scandal to hit cycling, and now new reports of a possible confession. Why Lance Armstrong may come clean just days from now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Good morning, it's 6:30 here on the East coast, 3:30 on the West coast. Thanks for watching. I'm Victor Blackwell. Here are five stories we're watching this morning. Getting an abortion, a breast cancer screening, or birth control in Texas just got tougher because Planned Parenthood is now all, but shut down across the state. Under a new Texas law, the state denies money, including federal money to women's health clinics that are affiliated with abortion. Federal money makes up a huge chunk of Planned Parenthood's budget. The group had asked a federal judge to allow it to be part of the program, but that request was denied yesterday.

BP has settled with as many as 100,000 plaintiffs who were claiming that they were sickened or hurt by the 2010 Gulf oil disaster. A federal judge in New Orleans signed off on the deal yesterday. Now, the medical settlement covers cleanup workers and residents who lived near that spill zone. A BP spokesman said the company is, quote, "pleased with the settlement."

It will be two months before the suspected shooter in the Colorado theater massacre formally hears the 166 charges against him. A judge on Friday delayed James Holmes' arraignment to give his lawyers more time to review more than 30,000 pages of evidence and hundreds of DVDs and CDs. The hearing had been scheduled for Friday, but the judge said he was concerned about the case and it could be headed for an appeal if he rushed it. Holmes faces murder, attempted murder, and weapons violations in the July 20th rampage that left 12 people dead.

The presidents of Argentina and Peru were in Cuba yesterday visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Argentine President Cristina Fernandez said that she planned to take Chavez a Bible. The Venezuelan leader went to Havana last month for a cancer surgery. And since then he's suffered a severe lung infection. And on Thursday, he missed his own inauguration.

If you're a python hunter, it's go time in the Florida Everglades. Today marks the start of a month-long contest designed to cull the area's Burmese python population. Happens every year. The snakes can be longer than minivans and weigh as much as grown men. And because they have no natural predators, their numbers are really out of control. Participants can use guns and machetes and prizes include 1,000 bucks for the longest python and $1,500 for the most pythons captured.

KAYE: More for you now on the bombshell report about Lance Armstrong. Last week as you may know it came out that the cycling champion may admit to doping. But now "USA Today" is reporting they know exactly when it will all go down. Next week with Oprah. This morning, Victor spoke with the man who broke that story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRENT SCHROTENBOER, "USA TODAY": Well, he's supposed to make this admission Monday when the show tapes. Oprah Winfrey is coming to his home in Austin, Texas. They're taping an interview Monday and that is supposed to air next Thursday. Now, as to why is he doing this now? The evidence came out against him, a massive file of evidence came out against him in October. And in the three months since then, he's been keeping a pretty low profile. And I think he's been deciding what to do about it. He's kind of cornered himself. Because for many years now, he strenuously denied these doping allegations. And with all the evidence that's come out against him, it's hard to deny it anymore. And he's making a calculated decision for himself personally, it's also, I think, a business decision for him because it's affecting his charity Livestrong, all of his sponsors have fired him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: Nick Valencia joins me now to talk more about this. You've been following this story pretty closely. So, if it's true and he does come out and come clean about doping, what are the legal repercussions here?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, fist, what a fall from grace for this guy. He's a hero to so many people, and now just really at the bottom at, so, it seems, of his career. But that's the question, I think everybody has, Randi. What are the legal ramifications, repercussions from this? First and foremost, "USA Today" who brought this story is reporting that he's reached the statute of limitations for this 2005 under oath sworn testimony that he had nothing to do with performance-enhancing drugs, that he never took anything to do with doping, but --.

KAYE: Which could be one reason why he may be talking now.

VALENCIA: Yes, it could be a calculated leak that he's doing this. But there's still another whistleblower lawsuit that's pending, brought for by Floyd Landis, remember the name, he is one of the first people that came out and, you know, pointed at Lance Armstrong using performance-enhancing drugs. This whistleblower lawsuit, the U.S. Department of Justice still hasn't decided whether or not it's going to latch on to this lawsuit. So if they do, Randi, that could mean potential criminal charges brought against Lance Armstrong.

KAYE: And what about Livestrong? I mean certainly, you know, the charity was close to his heart, a lot of people donated to that charity.

VALENCIA: Yes. KAYE: This might be one way of trying to save that, right?

VALENCIA: Well, there is some rumors saying that Livestrong pressured him into coming out. The image and really, the brand of this organization that's worth about $100 million, according to Lance Armstrong. They say that this damages their image. You know, he's the founder of this, and as we mentioned, this just terrible fall from grace. But a lot of people saying the doping not as bad as some of the bullying that Lance Armstrong did. The character assassinations against the people that came out and accused him of doping. You know, he just vilified people. He filed counter lawsuits against people like the United States Anti-Doping Agency saying that they had no jurisdiction or authority to press charges.

KAYE: Yes, he came out -- he came out swinging, no question about it.

VALENCIA: Very much so. Very much so. And now it seems that he's going to try to come clean, at least, to maybe take that first step towards redemption. But by no means does this mean that this is the final chapter in this saga.

KAYE: Yes.

VALENCIA: It is Lance Armstrong. A lot of people saying that he's doing this, so he can regain some eligibility for triathlons. He's been competing in some un-sanctioned triathlons --

KAYE: Right.

VALENCIA: Now that could give him a chance to compete in a more sanctioned fashion. But as far as cycling, I think this is the last we've seen of Lance Armstrong.

KAYE: Yes, I think that's it for him there. For sure. It's just so interesting now, you have to wonder who is advising him. And he came to this decision.

VALENCIA: Right.

KAYE: If it really does happen.

Nick, thank you very much.

VALENCIA: Yes, thank you.

KAYE: I appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: President Obama nominates some new cabinet members and the academy nominates some of Hollywood's best. In case you missed it all, here's a look back at the week that was.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Former Senator Chuck Hagel may need those war survival skills.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Chuck Hagel's leadership of our military would be historic.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R ), SOUTH CAROLINA: This is an in-your-face nomination by the president.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Two nightmarish incidents are now under investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A fuel leak is always a serious matter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is unacceptable.

BRENT MUSBERGER, ESPN ANCHOR: What a beautiful woman, wow!

KATHERINE WEBB: I think the media has been really unfair to him.

BLACKWELL: A beautiful woman, a few ugly plane problems and more petty politics ruled this week that was, one that began with some key cabinet picks like Chuck Hagel.

OBAMA: I came to admire his courage and his judgment. Willingness to speak his mind, even if it wasn't popular.

BLACKWELL: It turns out, he's not too popular with some.

GRAHAM: Chuck Hagel if confirmed to be Secretary of Defense would be the most antagonistic Secretary of Defense toward the state of Israel in our nation's history.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R ), TEXAS: Profoundly wrong on some of the biggest national security threats confronting the United States today.

KAYE: The mechanical problems just keep rolling in from Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.

BLACKWELL: More like a nightmare. Three of Boeing's brand new planes suffered a slew of issues.

SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A fire and leaking fuel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Error message related to the plane's braking system.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are these the little glitches that Boeing says they are, or is there something else that's happening?

BLACKWELL: Nope. Boeing says just growing pains. But airlines are growing impatient.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have a quality problem. And this quality problem should be resolved.

BLACKWELL: Speaking of problems.

MUSBERGER: I tell you, quarterbacks, you get all the good-looking women. It's a -- what a beautiful woman. Wow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This A.J. is doing --

MUSBERGER: Whoa!

BLACKWELL: That's legendary sportscaster Brent Musberger oozing over the 23-year old girlfriend of Alabama's quarterback during the BCS championship game.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Musberger, chill out, baby.

BLACKWELL: Yes, some thought it was kind of creepy. But not the beautiful woman herself.

WEBB: The fact he said that we were beautiful and gorgeous, I don't see why any woman wouldn't be flattered by that.

BLACKWELL: Hey, while we're talking sports, this year's baseball Hall of Famers are -- no one. Well, three who have died will get in. But Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa all shut out of Cooperstown this year because, let's face it, you can't be linked to doping and expect enshrinement, right?

Meantime, nominees for this year's Academy Awards were announced. "Lincoln" leads the pack with 12 noms. "Twilight" is second with 11- yes, just kidding, that's Razzie Nominations. "Twilight" for worst -- well, everything. Hey, at least they got recognized for something. And that's the week that was.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Have you seen the inside of a coffee cup after the coffee's gone? I mean who wants to carry that around and take it back to the store? Fill me up, Johnny?

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKWELL: Nobody wants to use that again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: All right, so that was us last weekend --

BLACKWELL: Yes.

KAYE: Right, talking about these things right here. These are these reusable Starbucks coffee cups. And you, you just -- you're not a fan.

BLACKWELL: No.

KAYE: You didn't think anybody would use these, right?

BLACKWELL: I don't think they would use it. You buy it for a buck, you take it back to the Starbucks over and over and you get a dime off each drink. KAYE: Yes, and then I guessed, if they wash it out, well, Victor was like, no way. I'm not going to use it. Well, it turns out the cups are a hit. A research firm found that 25 percent of Americans already bought or plan to buy a cup. Now, granted, the survey was pretty small, right?

BLACKWELL: Yes, 1,000 people.

KAYE: Yes.

BLACKWELL: Everybody talks a good game, but consider this statistic friend at home. Only two percent of the people who were surveyed actually had purchased this cup. Oh, yes, I want the cup. Oh, yes, I love the idea.

(CROSSTALK)

KAYE: But you know what, I've got to say, holding it here, it actually feels pretty durable. I mean give it -- give it a shot.

BLACKWELL: OK, it's a nice cup. I'm just saying people won't take it back. And I did a survey of my own.

KAYE: What, around the newsroom?

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKWELL: -- coffee drinker in our newsroom, on our team, has this cup.

KAYE: Yes.

BLACKWELL: Just putting it out there.

KAYE: We drink the coffee out of our newsroom cafeteria.

BLACKWELL: Oh, we've got some Starbucks people, but they don't have the cup.

(LAUGHTER)

BLACKWELL: Just saying.

KAYE: All right.

BLACKWELL: Smart idea, though.

KAYE: All right. All right. Can we talk about something else?

BLACKWELL: Yes, go ahead.

KAYE: You want to talk about the Dreamliner?

BLACKWELL: I'm off my box.

KAYE: OK, good. Boeing 787 is certainly having some growing pains. BLACKWELL: Yes.

KAYE: You probably heard about this, so all kinds of things going wrong, you have the leaking fuel, plus you have a cracked cockpit window and electrical fire in another, mechanical problems, and this after all the manufacturing delays, as well. I mean, we had high hopes for this one.

BLACKWELL: Yes, this is bad news because when you hear about all the great features of this plane and when you go inside and you see how much space it is, and how beautiful it is, and all the orders -- then you have all these problems, of course, all the airlines are just really impatient.

KAYE: Yes.

BLACKWELL: But hopefully they'll work this out.

KAYE: Yes.

BLACKWELL: BLT has opened this investigation to find out what's going on with these problems.

KAYE: Yes, the thing, though, that's a little concerning is, they call it "growing pains". I mean I don't want to grow -- I don't want my airplane to have any growing pains. I mean I don't know about you --

BLACKWELL: Worse.

KAYE: -- but I fly a lot and it's best if an airplane doesn't have any growing pains.

BLACKWELL: Work everything out before I board.

KAYE: Before you put it on the air, please.

BLACKWELL: Yes. All right?

KAYE: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: OK, so this story, I love. A little boy in England, he saved all of his Christmas money to buy this Ninjago ultrasonic radar. I hope I'm pronouncing that correctly. It's a kit from Lego, but like kids often do, he loses it. So then he writes a letter to Lego.

KAYE: Yes, and this is the letter. "My Daddy just --" -- or a part of it, at least. "My Daddy just took me to Sansbury's and told me to leave the people at home, but I took them and I lost Jay ZX at the shop as it fell out of my coat." So what happens next? Well, Lego writes him back. A customer service rep says that he spoke with the Sensei, that's a character from Ninjago, I think it's what it's called. And he had this message.

BLACKWELL: Yes, Ninjago, not Ninjago.

KAYE: Yes. BLACKWELL: OK. All right, so he writes "Luka --

KAYE: Apparently, you don't have the kit.

BLACKWELL: I do not.

"Your father seems like a very wise man, you must always protect your Ninjago minifigures."

KAYE: Ninjago.

BLACKWELL: Did I say it again?

KAYE: Yes.

BLACKWELL: Ninjago.

(LAUGHTER)

KAYE: Cute going.

BLACKWELL: The letter also includes Sensei Wu's (ph) permission to send little Luka a new toy.

KAYE: I love that he got that and the customer rep --

BLACKWELL: Yes.

KAYE: -- got him a new toy and had to go to Sensei to get it.

BLACKWELL: Take that little extra time to get him --

KAYE: Yes.

BLACKWELL: -- a Ninjago --

KAYE: There you go.

BLACKWELL: -- replacement.

KAYE: There you go.

But give him credit, right, for writing the company.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

KAYE: That's what we should all do when something goes wrong.

Well, battle the flu without hand sanitizers and medicine. We will show you how, coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: I know right now it seems like everyone, everyone has the flu or some kind of cold. I'm just getting over one. So you're good.

KAYE: Yes, OK. As long as you say so.

(LAUGHTER)

BLACKWELL: So you need to find a way to protect yourself from all those germs that are floating around.

KAYE: You can get a flu shot, of course, or you can douse yourself in hand sanitizer or you may want to try maximizing your body's natural flu fighter, which is your immune system, and actually, you can do it by eating properly.

BLACKWELL: So, joining us now is fitness and nutrition expert Mark MacDonald. Mark, let's start with what we can avoid that will really damage our immune system.

MARK MACDONALD, FITNESS AND NUTRITION EXPERT: So, a great question, you know. Lack of sleep --

BLACKWELL: Yes.

MACDONALD: -- stress, which we all know. But actually the biggest immune system zapper is soda.

KAYE: Right here.

MACDONALD: Soda is full of sugar, full of chemicals, not good for your immune system.

KAYE: OK, so obviously you brought some things that are good for us.

MACDONALD: Yes.

KAYE: For the immune system. What should we be eating and drinking to boost our immune system?

MACDONALD: Well, fruits and veggies. And you want to do the colors, because they're loaded in antioxidants, which protect your cells. Then you have your water, which flushes out all your toxins, and then you're going to have like cinnamon, like a spice like cinnamon, which is a good blood sugar stabilization and antioxidant, or like an herb like Echinacea, which actually boosts your white blood cell count.

KAYE: So, put a little cinnamon, maybe, in your oatmeal or something like that?

MACDONALD: Or in your water. Like cinnamon extract in your water --

KAYE: Oh.

MACDONALD: Or like some Echinacea that you can put in there.

BLACKWELL: That's --

(CROSSTALK)

MACDONALD: That cinnamon water tastes good. KAYE: OK. I'll try.

MACDONALD: It helps you burn a little fat, too. So you boost your immune system and burn fat.

BLACKWELL: Cinnamon in water. Oh, we'll try that. So, there are a lot of myths out.

MACDONALD: Yes.

BLACKWELL: Mothers are told these myths, our friends tell us about how to avoid getting the flu, how to avoid getting sick.

MACDONALD: So -- so, one of it is a lot - and this is it -- this is like a semi-myth. A lot of times people like -- like vitamin packets --

BLACKWELL: Yes.

MACDONALD: And they think I'm going to load up on vitamin C. But that's just -- if you look here, vitamin C is in here, but it's not the full spectrum. So rather than just looking at a vitamin or a packet, you really want to shift to whole fruits or veggie juices or like a supplement that's really rich in liquid antioxidants --

KAYE: Right.

MACDONALD: So you get all of this in a bottle or a supplement, rather than just focusing on vitamins.

KAYE: And just very, very quickly. If you -- If you are sick, I mean the whole myth or maybe it's not a myth, the whole saying about, you know, feed a cold, starve a fever. Is there any truth to that?

MACDONALD: Any time you are starving, the starving isn't good for anyone.

KAYE: Really?

MACDONALD: So whenever you starve yourself, you miss meals, that hurts your blood sugar, that messes up your metabolism, which causes your immune system to drop. So you want to feed your body consistently --

BLACKWELL: And that's what's going to give you energy to get better and strong and fight the flu.

KAYE: Feed the machine.

MACDONALD: Feed the machine.

KAYE: I like it. All right. Got that?

BLACKWELL: Yes, I got it.

KAYE: OK.

BLACKWELL: Perfect.

KAYE: All right, thanks, Mark. I appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: All right, it's been called Hollywood's second biggest night of the year. A preview of who could be the big winners and losers at this weekend's Golden Globes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAYE: Welcome back, everyone. And good morning, Washington. Look at that. Sort of eerie picture of the Capitol building there. A little fog, few lights on. It's going to be a beautiful day and Washington's already about 45 degrees there. So nice and balmy. Glad you're with us here on "Early Start Weekend."

Award season may be heating up, but the "Zero Dark Thirty" controversy continues. Politicians like Senator John McCain and even some in the Oscar Academy are taking issue with the film's depiction of torture in the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

BLACKWELL: In an op-ed, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences member David Clennon urged people not to vote for the film. He writes this, "I cannot vote for a film that makes heroes of Americans who commit the crime of torture." Now, in response to critics, Sony co- chairman Amy Pascal said "Zero Dark Thirty" does not advocate torture. To not include that part of history would have been irresponsible and inaccurate.

KAYE: And on the subject of film, one of Hollywood's most iconic movie theaters getting a new name. Grauman's Chinese Theater will now be called TCL Chinese Theater. Just doesn't have the same name, does it?

BLACKWELL: No.

KAYE: That is thanks to a ten-year multimillion dollar deal with the Chinese electronics firm. Money is expected to go towards needed renovations. The cultural landmark first opened in the summer of 1927.

BLACKWELL: The Oscars are a little more than a month away, but we've got another big show coming up this weekend. The Golden Globes, Hollywood's second biggest night of the year. Earlier I spoke with entertainment correspondent Nischelle Turner about the show and who's up for awards.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Coming off this week's announcement of the Oscar nominations, everyone will be looking to see how top nominee "Lincoln" is going to fare the Golden Globes. Now, the Steven Spielberg drama is going in with a total of seven nominations. It is the clear front runner for best motion picture in the drama category, but it's up against some stiff competition, up against "Django Unchained," "Life of Pie", "Zero Dark Thirty," and "Argo." So, that's a good list there of movies.

BLACKWELL: OK, so "Lincoln" is the front runner for best film in the drama category.

TURNER: Yes.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the best actors in the drama category. Is Daniel Day-Lewis also -- is he a lock this year?

TURNER: You know, it's hard to say that anyone is a lock. Because I think, and especially in the best actor categories, there were so many strong performances this year that to me, anyone could win and they'd be justified. But Daniel Day-Lewis is up for the movie "Lincoln," and he's up against Richard Gere for "Arbitrage," a little movie that not a lot of people saw, but he was great in it. John Hawkes for "The Sessions." Again, phenomenal. Joaquin Phoenix in "The Master." That movie trailed off a little bit, because it came out early. But that performance that he did was phenomenal. And Denzel Washington in "Flight," in which -- what I think is his best performance ever and I never thought I'd say that after seeing him in "Malcolm X," and, you know, Denzel Washington is, well, Denzel.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and he gets better and better and better with each film.

TURNER: Absolutely.

BLACKWELL: All right, so let's now go to the actresses. I hear Jennifer Chastain is getting a lot of buzz. Again, another performance I have been seeing, but in "Zero Dark Thirty," apparently she's doing pretty well.

TURNER: Yes, you need to spend an entire day at the movie theater, Victor --

BLACKWELL: I know. I know.

TURNER: But yes. She is -- she is, but this is a really competitive category this year. So I think voters had some very difficult decisions to make. Now, we're looking at Jessica Chastain for "Zero Dark Thirty" in this category. There is also, though, Marion Cotillard for "Rust and Bone," Helen Mirren is nominated for "Hitchcock", Naomi Watts for "The Impossible," and she is making a late, strong push. She really wants to do well this award season. And also, Rachel Weisz for "Deep Blue Sea."

BLACKWELL: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler hosting this year. I want to play something for you. Listen to why Tina says she thinks that a perfect fit for this show.

TURNER: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMY POEHLER: Well, we decided to host because the Golden Globes seem like they're pretty fun.

TINA FEY: Yes, that we've been to them before and it's a very kind of sloppy loud party. And that seemed like our kind of thing. (LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Who doesn't love a sloppy, loud party, right?

TURNER: No.

(LAUGHTER)

BLACKWELL: And they're going to actually help us have a sloppy loud party at home with a drinking game for the show.

TURNER: Can I tell you how excited I am to see these ladies host the Golden Globes? This, I think, is going to be so much fun. And yes, everyone is talking about what we can expect from them. So, they have kicked off this drinking game. Here's some of the rules. First of all, they say any time an actress cries during the speech, have a drink.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

TURNER: Any time you see a person actively not listening to someone on stage, take a drink.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

TURNER: Any time someone says I didn't prepare anything, drink. There are going to be people, I bet you, that are doing this at home, but I do think that the ladies would tell you if you're following these rules, wear lots of layers, but also drink responsibly.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAYE: Thanks so much for starting your morning with us.

BLACKWELL: We've got another hour coming up on CNN. SATURDAY MORNING starts right now.