Return to Transcripts main page


Reports: Armstrong Admits Cheating; New York Getting Tougher on Guns; "We Are Not a Deadbeat Nation"; HIV Scare at Vets Hospital; Beware of Sharks; Facebook Phone Coming?; Apple Shares Fall

Aired January 15, 2013 - 06:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Finally, a confession. After years of denying it, Lance Armstrong has told Oprah what he's always denied to the rest of the world.

SAMBOLIN: Infected by accident. A medical mistake may have exposed hundreds of war vets to HIV.

BERMAN: And danger amid the waves. Look at that.



BERMAN: A camera captures sharks lurking just yards off the beach.

SAMBOLIN: Well, luckily, you know, that person's not that close, right?

BERMAN: Stay away from the water.

SAMBOLIN: Can you imagine, you're swimming and they come near you.

BERMAN: Stay away from the water.

Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is Tuesday, January 15th. It is just about 6:00 a.m. here in the East.

After a decade of emphatic denials, Armstrong has reportedly admitted using performance enhancing drugs during his reign as the king of cycling. That included a record seven Tour De France titles.

His confession coming in, in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that will be broadcast Thursday. CNN's Ed Lavandera is following all of the developments for us. He is live in Austin, Texas. So Ed, what do we know about Armstrong's confession? What do you know?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are waiting to see to what extent Lance Armstrong will admit to using performance-enhancing drugs. The reporting going into this interview is that it would be a limited confession and what exactly that means I think is still very much up in the air.

But after the interview, Oprah Winfrey -- after recording the interview, Oprah Winfrey sent a brief tweet that said just wrapped up with Lance Armstrong, more than 2-1/2 hours and he came ready. Ready was written in all caps.

So as you know, Zoraida, Lance Armstrong, a very tough interview. He has been very defiant and very aggressive over the years when questioned about performance-enhancing drug use.

So it will be interesting to see if he strikes a more contrite tone and apologetic tone so we will be anxious to see what that demeanor looks like. I think a lot of people will be reading the body language.

SAMBOLIN: Trying to figure out if he is telling the truth, if he is genuine and that apology. We are also hearing that Armstrong apologized to his Livestrong organization. A lot of folks are concerned about the organization. They want to make sure that it survives. What can you tell us about that?

LAVANDERA: Well, you know, Lance Armstrong in that cancer foundation had been intertwined for many years now. So they are trying to distance themselves and separate a little bit. Lance Armstrong was essentially taken of the board there back in November.

So that foundation is trying to continue its work. Before going to the interview with Oprah Winfrey, yesterday, Lance Armstrong showed up at the headquarters of the Livestrong Foundation and met with the staff there.

He apologized to them for the stress that he's caused them over the years and also urged them to continue to work. A spokeswoman for the organization described the meeting as emotional and that he choked up for a moment, but we were all glad to see him.

So you can imagine that was a very difficult meeting there before Lance Armstrong went on to do the interview with Oprah Winfrey yesterday.

SAMBOLIN: Ed, when that doping report came out, a lot of folks were wondering if there would be legal fallout for Lance Armstrong. Do you think there would be if he admits to lying about the doping?

LAVANDERA: You know, Lance Armstrong over the years back in 2005 testified under oath in a videotaped deposition that he had not used performance-enhancing drugs, but the statute of limitations on that has run out.

There are some other issues, a federal whistle blower lawsuit that has been brought by his former teammate Floyd Landis, which is still pending. Also we've learned a source tells CNN that Lance Armstrong is in talks with the United States Postal Service to try to return perhaps some of the $30 million that the agency reportedly paid Armstrong for sponsoring Armstrong's cycling team. Those years that he was racing in the Tour De France so apparently talks under way to return some of that money as well. So a lot of those issues still pending as well.

SAMBOLIN: And the why now question that everybody are asking the statute of limitations that you just mentioned may be the why now. Ed Lavandera live for us in Austin, Texas. Thank you very much.

BERMAN: Again, this coming years after not just denials, but the biggest personal attacks against all people who accused him of using performance --

SAMBOLIN: Against some of his closest friends and teammates.

BERMAN: Crazy. All right, 3 minutes after the hour right now. In a few hours, New York may become the first state to enact tougher gun laws since the Newtown massacre. Last night, the State Senate passed broad changes proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo including expanding the state's ban on assault weapons and putting in place new measures to keep guns away from the mentally ill. This plan heads to the state assembly later this morning.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: People have had to live through these tragedies, tragedy after tragedy after tragedy. People are saying at what point do we get it? At what point do you say enough? We understand? No one else has to die? No more innocent loss of life.


BERMAN: Governor Cuomo's bill also includes what's being called a "Webster provision," a life without parole prison sentence for anyone who murders a first responder. The provision was included in response to the Christmas Eve fire and ambush shooting in Webster, New York that killed two firefighters.

SAMBOLIN: Vice President Joe Biden is also taking action on gun violence sharing his task force finding with President Obama. The vice president reportedly recommends back ground checks on all gun sales making certain rapid fire weapons off limits and keeping guns away from the mentally ill as well.

President Obama is expected to formally layout these proposals later this week. We are going to go live to Washington for more in just a few minutes from now.

BERMAN: Fresh off the fiscal cliff, President Obama is digging in his heels on the next budget battle, raising the debt ceiling, of course. In a White House news conference, the president said he would not trade cuts in government spending, which Republicans want in exchange for raising the borrowing limit. He said trimming the budget deficit should be a different discussion altogether, separate from the debt ceiling.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize us to spend more. All it does is a America will pay its bills. We are not a deadbeat nation.


BERMAN: Now House Speaker John Boehner thinks differently. He responded to the president by saying, "The American people do not support raising the debt ceiling without reducing government spending at the same time."

SAMBOLIN: Listen to this. A medical scare in a Buffalo, New York veteran's hospital, hundreds of patients may have been exposed to HIV or to Hepatitis C. This was due to improper use of insulin pen. The pens are designed to be used only by one person, but an investigation discovered that many of them were used on multiple people.

BERMAN: All right, surfers, beware. You have to look at this video. It's shocking.

SAMBOLIN: Standing on the shore?

BERMAN: He has his toes in the water too far. City and county officials had to post warning signs at local beaches after two sharks were spotted swimming dangerously close to the shore near Honolulu. This was off of Oahu. Last year, there were a total of 11 shark attacks in Hawaii. Look at that, they are like 10 feet offshore just flopping around there.

SAMBOLIN: I am going to call the guy a ding-a-ling if he is in the water.

BERMAN: He's taking picture. He's a hero this morning.

SAMBOLIN: All right, there is dual danger for some people waking up in the south east. There is flooding and there is ice. Meteorologist Alexandra Steele is in the weather center making it a trifecta. You said snow is on the way as well?

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That's right. It's coming to you guys. It's coming into a north and west of New York into Connecticut as well, but that's not today's concern. Here's what's happening. We have the stalled front in essence and waves of low pressure arriving along. Rain and heavy rain from the storms and the pink is ice.

But it sure likes Philadelphia southward today. There's kind of a little movement of that northern portion of this off the coast, but you will get into the problems around midnight tonight and I'll show you that.

What's happening is we are seeing the potential for ice. We have already seen some yesterday. People trying to drive from Memphis into Arkansas along these bridges, it was a stand still because the bridges were frozen, because, of course, of elevated surfaces with these temperatures seeing a lot of ice.

We are going to see that again today with a potential for a quarter to a half inch of ice. A half inch on ice on a tree can add 500 pounds of extra weight. So we will certainly going to see some problems with power lines.

What's happening here in the north east is beginning tonight at midnight until tomorrow at 4:00, winter weather advisories. So from New Haven, Connecticut through Fairfield County, Westchester and Rocklin County, we're going to see maybe one to two inches of snow coupled with maybe about a tenth of an inch of ice.

But that's overnight tonight and into tomorrow. Here's where the trouble is. We have gone from heat to sleet here in the mid-south and we've got ice coming down. We have the water coming down and the rain coming down into areas where the temperatures are 32 or below.

BERMAN: All right, so one to two inches of snow here. I think we can handle that.

STEELE: And some ice as well.

BERMAN: Don't like the ice so much, but we'll take the south. Alexandra Steele, thanks very much.

It is about 8 minutes after the hour and there is buzz in Silicon Valley this morning. Facebook, they are inviting the media to an event today to, quote, "Come see what we are building." There is speculation that the social network could be unveiling its own smartphone.

Some experts tell the "Mercury" news that it could be unveiling a search engine that will tap into friend suggestion. The idea there would be to somehow take on Google.

SAMBOLIN: So we have no idea. Wal-Mart is offering a job to any veteran who wants it, a job for any veteran who wants it. But there are some catches you know. We're going to explain right after this quick break.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. Vice President Joe Biden making his recommendations to President Obama to try to prevent horrific shootings like the Newtown massacre and the killings in Aurora. He's reportedly proposing background checks on all gun sales making certain rapid fire weapons off limits and keeping guns away from the mentally ill.

White House correspondent Dan Lothian is following all the developments in Washington right now. Dan, the vice president has delivered his recommendations to the president. The White House is preparing to take some action. What details can you give us?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. In fact, you know, it was supposed to have been delivered to the president today, but the vice president sat down with the president yesterday, started going-over some of these recommendations.

The president saying that later in the week he will roll out what the administration plans to do. But as you pointed out some of the things at the top of the list, the universal background checks, banning those high capacity magazine clips.

The president is also still supporting a ban on assault weapons that is something that is getting a lot of resistance from the NRA. The president is saying that some of the things that he will be putting forward will require congressional approval, but he is also willing to do things without Congress.


PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'm confident that there are some steps that we can take that don't require legislation and that are within my authority as president. Where you get a step that has the opportunity to reduce the possibility of gun violence, then I want to go ahead and take it.


LOTHIAN: And one of those things that the president suggested doing would be looking at ways to gather data to figure out some of the guns that are used by criminals. The bottom line though the president said that he is not focused on the politics of this, but rather is focused on what works and what is right to protect children -- John.

BERMAN: Some of the people on the other side of this issue, Dan, seemed pretty heated about what the president might do and are preparing quite a response.

LOTHIAN: That's right. You know, the NRA, first of all, is pushing back on any kind of restrictions. One NRA official saying that he doesn't believe that an assault weapons ban could even make it through Congress and then some other tough words from lawmakers as well.

Steve Stodman, a representative from Texas, a Republican in a statement talking specifically about the executive orders and the use of executive orders saying, quote, "I will seek to thwart this action by any means necessary including but not limited to eliminate funding for implementation, defunding the White House and even filing articles of impeachment.

Some very tough talk there from a lawmaker who is up on Capitol Hill, no reaction yet to that from the White House -- John.

BERMAN: Dropping the bomb there impeachment, very interesting. Meanwhile, the news here in New York is that overnight, New York passed a very restrictive gun law, one of the tightest in the country. What are the poll numbers around the country saying right now about gun action?

LOTHIAN: Well, you know, I think the poll numbers are showing that Americans are very concerned about this issue and they seemed to be leaning towards some of the tough talks that we've been hearing from lawmakers. For example, in this ABC News/"Washington Post" poll showing that 88 percent of Americans support background checks for gun show sales, 11 percent of Americans oppose it. When it comes to support of background checks for the sale of ammunition, 76 percent said they support it, 22 percent say they oppose it. We've heard a lot about the federal database to track gun sales, 71 percent of those polls support this, 27 percent oppose it.

Finally, the NRA, something they have been pushing for sometime since that shooting, there should be armed guards in every school. Fifty- five percent of the people polled support it, 42 percent oppose it.

So, there is strong, strong support for some action in order to prevent violence in these mass shootings from happening.

BERMAN: Dan, the poll numbers clearly do show support for something.

LOTHIAN: That's right.

BERMAN: All right. Dan Lothian in Washington, thanks for joining us this morning.

And coming up, we're going to have more on the political violence. We're going to talk to Mark McKinnon, who is a contributor to "The Daily Beast." He's advised some of the powerful Republicans in the country. He's now a cofounder of No Labels, which is a partisan organization dedicated to overcome gridlock and fighting in government. He's got some interesting ideas on guns.

SAMBOLIN: Sixteen minutes past the hour.

You're a vet, you need a job? Well, you are hired. America's largest retailers rolling out an ambitious new plan to hire 100,000 veterans over the next five years. Today, Walmart will announce a hiring program to provide a job to any service member who has received an honorable discharge within the past year. The hiring will begin on Memorial Day, that is May 27th.

The plan has the support of First Lady Michelle Obama, who says she will ask other companies to do the same now.

BERMAN: That will be wonderful.


BERMAN: Twisted metal and wrecked carriage. This was the scene in Egypt overnight, as a train carrying army recruits derailed outside of Cairo. Railway officials say at least 19 people were killed, more than 100 people injured.

SAMBOLIN: A child sexting in central Florida has resulted in the arrest of 50 men, including teachers, tourists and college student. According to sheriff's deputies, all of the suspect communicated online, through email or telephone, believing they were going to engage in sexual activity with a minor. BERMAN: So the controversy, it never ends for troubled actress Lindsay Lohan. The 26-year-old is expected to be arraigned on charges stemming from her car crash last June when she was already on probation. All this as reports say she fired her long time Los Angeles attorney who's managed somehow to keep her out of jail so many times.

SAMBOLIN: It is 17 minutes past the hour.

Time for your "Early Reads," that is your local news that is making national headlines.

In an article in today's "Wall Street Journal" describe what went into Lance Armstrong's decision to grant an interview to Oprah Winfrey and discuss his use of performance enhancing drugs. So, here's the story, Armstrong reportedly met up with Winfrey during a family vacation on the big island of Hawaii, against the advice of his attorneys, Armstrong traveled to Denver last month for a private meeting with the head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency as well.

BERMAN: Dying to see what he said.

SAMBOLIN: Everybody is, right?

BERMAN: Is it a real apology or is it --

SAMBOLIN: Everybody is going to be watching the body language, dissecting it, to see what it means.

BERMAN: All right. reports that a lot of Americans are short changing themselves when it comes to retirement savings. It says that millions of Americans, more than one in four, with a 401(k) or other retirement accounts, are drawing money from those accounts to pay current bills, such as mortgages or credit card debt. The money being taken every year adds up to $70 billion.

You are only stepping yourself later on down the road if you do that.

SAMBOLIN: That's true. But when you're in a bind, what do you do?

BERMAN: Good point.

For an expanded look at all of our top stories, head to our blog,, also follow us on Twitter and on Facebook. Just search for EarlyStartCNN.

SAMBOLIN: If you thought looming tax hikes were going to keep people from traveling this year, you actually may be wrong.

BERMAN: According to several surveys, apparently, more and more executives are planning to travel for business in 2013.

SAMBOLIN: You got caught.

BERMAN: And notice (ph) they want to save a few bucks, they may be taking the bus. Alison, please help me out here. Give us the details on today's "Road Warriors."

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: If you think it's crowded now out there on the roads and the air, it's going to get more crowded. Business travelers are expected to hit the road more frequently in greater numbers this year. That's according to a survey by the Travel Leaders Group, and one by "Frequent Business Traveler" magazine.

But those polled said business travel is still far from smooth sailing. Travel agents said some of the cheap issues when it comes to booking trips were concerns there were flight delays, limited seat availability, and keeping costs down. Meantime, business travelers complained of inconsistent experience across certain airlines and hotel chains, and almost 3/4 said Wi-Fi was a huge factor when choosing an airline or hotel.

Others are choosing take the bus, where companies like Mega Bus and Greyhounds have been experimenting with making more seats spacious, including Wi-Fi and power outlets on many routes, hoping to attract more business travelers. And, look, it seems to be working according to a study by DePaul University. Bus services saw more growth than either eye or rail travel. Who knew?

SAMBOLIN: Who knew?

KOSIK: Coming up, Wall Street has a sign that Apple is responding and the smart phone market could be slipping.


SAMBOLIN: Good morning to you, New York City. We are taking a live look there at the George Washington Bridge.

If you're at home, come on over. We are minding your business. Grab a cup of coffee and settle in.

U.S. stock futures are trading lower, ahead of the opening bell.

BERMAN: Some big stock moves on the NASDAQ yesterday. Shares of Apple --

SAMBOLIN: Hard for you to say, we were saying it's going up.

BERMAN: We never say that. Apple is going down and Dell is going up.

KOSIK: It's all just upside down.


BERMAN: What's going on with all of this?

KOSIK: The world's most valuable company got a list of less valuable as of yesterday after the close because, you know, shares of Apple fell after report that demand for the iPhone could be waning and dip below $500 per share briefly. It's in close below there.

But it still is a milestone price for Apple, that $500, and to see it close below $500, it had to happen in a year. Investors, to give you an idea, if you were holding on to 100 shares of Apple, you would have lost more than $20,000.


KOSIK: Yes, because these reports that are out showing that Apple cut orders for its iPhone by half, because of the new demand for the new smartphone. Now, Apple didn't respond to this report. It was the iPhone 5 that pushed the stock to its all time high. In September, it hit $702 per share. The thing is, it's been falling ever since. The stock is down about 17 percent over the past six months. So, how far they would fall, how fast they would fall, right, after rising so high.

You know, here's some hard numbers for you. Apple is actually trailing behind rival Samsung. There's a research group called Group International Data Corporation that finds fewer iPhone in the third quarter of last year and that ran Apple's operating system if you compare to how many phones are running on Samsung operating platform. That's Google's Android software.

And we're seeing similar thing with tables as well. But keep in mind, Apple is expected to hold on to the market share. Not as high as it usually does, because Android is catching up. I know you are talking about how we got this fascination with Apple and it may not be all that.

BERMAN: No, and there reports today they may start selling cheaper iPhones to compete with the Samsung. Anecdotally, you want down the street, all of a sudden, you're seeing so many different types of phones out there, and a lot of new technology that people are excited about isn't always Apple.

KOSIK: True. One analyst said this company, meaning Apple, is still a category killer. He said, when was the last time you saw anybody waiting in line for a Samsung device? We are still seeing those lines out there. SAMBOLIN: But it may happen. They have a monopoly, right? When you start buying one product, then you have another one and another one.

KOSIK: You feel hooked.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, you do, and you're not going to spend the money to switch.

BERMAN: It is very interesting, though.

Alison Kosik, thanks so much for being with us.

SAMBOLIN: All right. It is 25 minutes past the hour.

A landmark event of sort at the Supreme Court. Coming up, the justice that broke a seven-year streak. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)