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Lance Armstrong Admits He Doped; Gun Fight: NRA Versus the President; Final Preparations for the Inauguration

Aired January 18, 2013 - 05:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Lance Armstrong's public confession. Now that people have seen it, can America forgive the disgraced cycling legend?

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Unspeakable cruelty. Police catch the man they say was caught on camera, tossing a woman onto the subway tracks. Look at that.

BERMAN: And shooting from the hip. New Jersey's outspoken governor, Chris Christie, takes on the NRA over its latest ad campaign. Interesting words from the New Jersey governor.

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

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Nice to have you this morning. It is 31 minutes past the hour.

So, the past comes back to haunt Lance Armstrong. The disgraced cycling legend finally admitting that he doped after years of denying it and threatening his accusers as well. In last night's no holds barred interview with Oprah Winfrey, he came clean, saying he doped to win each of his seven Tour de France titles, but that, at the time, he did not consider it cheating.


LANCE ARMSTRONG, FORMER CYCLIST: I had this exercise -- you know, because I kept hearing, you know --

OPRAH WINFREY, OWN NETWORK: That you were a cheat.

ARMSTRONG: I'm a drug cheat. I'm a cheater. And I went and looked up -- just looked up the definition of cheat.


ARMSTRONG: And the definition of cheat is to gain in advantage on a rival or foe. You know, I didn't feel it that way. I viewed it as a level playing field.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SAMBOLIN: George Howell is in Armstrong's home city of Austin, Texas. Boy, I got to tell you that looking up the word cheating and the way that he described it, a lot of people around here had a problem with that. So, he described denial after denial as one big lie.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Zoraida, you know, it was fascinating to listen to that interview, to listen to a person that, you know, so many people have looked up to, for so many years, but in that interview, Lance Armstrong basically said that, you know, he got caught up in the momentum.

That he didn't realize how big of a character he had become, you know, or how big of an impact that lie would have on the people around him, on cancer survivors, on cyclists who wanted to follow in his lead, and one other part was interesting, when he described himself as a jerk on one hand, but a humanitarian on the other hand.

A person, you know, who was very big, very instrumental in cancer research. But now, you know, this is what we're left with, years and years of lying.

SAMBOLIN: And sometimes, that bigger spotlight hangs on the word jerk, right? Lance did admit to doping in the seven Tour de France. I mean, we listen to that, but he said that he did not cheat during his later comeback. It's really difficult, because he doesn't have a lot of credibility at this point.

HOWELL: You know, and even acknowledged in the interview that he might have gotten away with it, gotten the way with doping had it not been for that comeback where, I believe, he placed third and 23rd. Those -- that raised suspicions, a real red flag to people, when he couldn't duplicate his performance when he was doping. Take a listen to what he said in the interview.


WINFREY: So, when you placed third in 2009, you did not dope?

ARMSTRONG: No. And again, the biological passport was in place, and it was --

WINFREY: OK. Does that include blood transfusions?

ARMSTRONG: Absolutely.

WINFREY: So, you did not do a blood transfusion in 2009.

ARMSTRONG: Absolutely not.

WINFREY: You did no doping or blood transfusions in 2010?

ARMSTRONG: Absolutely. 2009 and 2010. Those were the two years I did the tour. Absolutely not.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOWELL: You know, so after that, we found that Lance really changed. After the cancer diagnosis, we saw that he changed his attitude about the way he would perform, the way he would live his life to try to win.

SAMBOLIN: You know, George, when you watched -- a lot of people watched this interview because they just wanted to hear did you dope or did you not dope? And there was a series of questions right at the top or Oprah asked him, yes or no? Yes or no? And so, we heard that. But another big question was, why did you do it? What did he respond to that?

HOWELL: Well, you know, and that goes back to what I was saying as far as the way he chose to live his life. After the cancer diagnosis, he decided that, you know, in his own words, he wanted to win -- rather live and win at all cost. Do whatever it took to win at all cost. Doping was part of that, and he even indicated that had he not been doping, he probably wouldn't have won the Tour de France seven times.

He said it was something that was necessary, something that was just common place, something that, you know, people did. He did. He didn't mention any names, but again, he did admit that years and years and years of doping, that's what led him to win.

SAMBOLIN: All right. George Howell, live for us.


ARMSTRONG: I was a competitor, but I wasn't a fierce competitor. And in an odd way, that process turned me into a person that was going -- it was truly win at all cost. When I was diagnosed and I was being treated, I said -- I mean, I will do anything I have to do to survive.


HOWELL: So, you know, we really got some insight into Lance Armstrong for the last 13, 14 years. A person who, you know, started inspiring a lot of people, but doing it deceptively, using performance-enhancing drugs, and finally, after years of denying and many people questioning it, you know, we hear a confession from his own words, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Absolutely. George Howell live for us in Austin, Texas. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

So, I know that for you -- let's talk about this person. On next hour, we're going to talk to a pioneer of American cycling, John Eustice, two-time U.S. pro-champion and one of the first to break into European pro-cycling. We want to know his thoughts on Armstrong's admission, and he's going to share that with us. He knows him, and, you know, this whole concept of doping and how prevalent is it and all that.

And breaking down the case against Lance Armstrong. Tomorrow night at 10 o'clock, a closer look at the constant doping chatter that dogged Armstrong for years. Watch "THE WORLD ACCORDING TO LANCE ARMSTRONG" on CNN, Saturday night, 10:00 p.m. eastern.

BERMAN: So, I'll just say this. We heard at the every beginning, that we heard Lance Armstrong give what he believed his definition of cheating was. He said he went and looked it up. He said he's got an advantage and other people don't have. So, that's how it was OK. I just happened to look it up on, maybe not where Lance looked it up.

On, it says the definition of cheat is to defraud and swindle, to deceive, to influence by fraud, to violate rules and regulations, a person who acts dishonestly, to (INAUDIBLE). That seems to be a more accurate definition of cheating. He seems to have picked an awfully convenient definition of cheating to justify what he did. I'll just put --

SAMBOLIN: I wonder, though, if you would have read that to him, would he have said, yes to all of those things? I'd suspect that the answer is yes. That he would said yes, I defrauded people, yes, I lied, yes, you know, my character is questionable at this stage of a game, yes, because he did say.

I know that nobody is going to believe me right now. it is difficult for me to regain that. But you know, I, for one, appreciated the fact that he came out and he admitted it and he admitted that he hurt a lot of people along the way. What happens next? Who knows.

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

Police say they've arrested a man who brutally attacked a woman on a Philadelphia subway platform, throwing her on to the train tracks. I want to warn you, the video you're about to see is pretty difficult to watch.

Our affiliate, WPDI, says the man asked for a lighter Tuesday afternoon. Momentarily, backed off, then came at her, punching her and grabbing her by the ankles and throwing her on to the subway tracks. Police say the woman climbed out on her own and suffered only bumps and bruises.

SAMBOLIN: Good gracious. Unbelievable video.

Though, some pretty powerful courtroom video here. A Portland teenager who killed his girlfriend is going to prison as part of a plea deal. Parish Boneti (ph) will spend 18 years behind bars, but not everyone is happy. During Thursday sentencing, Boneti's defense lawyers revealed it was their decision, not their client's, to delay revealing the location of his girlfriend's dead body. Listen to this.


THOMAS MCNAIR, DEFENSE LAWYER: We want the family to understand that that was not Mr. Boneti's decision.

MARSHA HAYES, VICTIM'S GREAT AUNT: For four months, they knew where she was, and she lay-in two feet of dirt decomposing. And they knew where she was and wouldn't tell us? That is sick. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness! So, the family spent several weeks desperately searching for 14-year-old Yushani Von's (ph) body.

BERMAN: The NRA is digging in for a fight with President Obama over his gun control proposal, but gun lobby is taking some heat for an attack ad that references the president's children. New Jersey governor Chris Christie called the ad reprehensible.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: Don't be dragging people's children into this, it's wrong, and, I think it demeans them and it makes them less of a valid, trusted source of information on the real issues.


BERMAN: The NRA ad calls the president an elitist hypocrite for opposing their idea of armed guards in every school when his own kids are protected by armed guards.

SAMBOLIN: Working for the weekend. Coming up, most of America will be off. People in Washington will be pulling extra shifts. They're getting ready for inauguration day on Monday. We're going to have a live report, just ahead.


BERMAN: Washington, D.C., our nation's capital, it's 40 degrees now. It's going to go down to 36 later on. We will be there --

SAMBOLIN: Yes, we will.

BERMAN: -- Monday morning for the inauguration.

SAMBOLIN: Looking forward to it.

BERMAN: Of course, in the nation's capital, final preparations are underway for President Obama's inauguration to his second term. That happens Monday at noon. We'll be on TV at 5:00 a.m. Hundreds of thousands are expecting to turn on Capitol Hill, cheer us on, as well as the president. That'll be in the national mall in Pennsylvania Avenue for the parade.

Athena Jones is in Washington for us this morning with the very latest. Good morning, Athena. Give us the goods. What events can we look forward to here?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Well, it all kicks off tomorrow with the national day of service. There'll be a series of public service events held all across the country, including right here on the mall. Honorary chair is Chelsea Clinton. And then, of course, Sunday is the day we have the official swearing in. It will be a semi-private ceremony at the White House of the president. We'll see video of that. And then Monday, it all kicks off, as usual, with a church service at St. John's Church. That's right across Lafayette Park from the White House, then on to the swearing in, the public swearing in here at the Capitol where hundreds of thousands of people are expected.

And we'll hear performances -- singing performances from people like James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson and Beyonce who'll be singing the national anthem. That's followed by the parade. And you know, it all doesn't wrap up on Monday. There's also a church -- prayer service on Tuesday morning.

A lot of folks are wondering about the weather. It's quite cold this morning, but right now, the forecast for Monday is a low of 25. So, it might be very, very chilly early on in that day, and then a high of 40, which is around about the average for presidential inauguration days in recent years.

BERMAN: -- work on the weather for us, Athena, and make it a little bit warmer for Monday morning.

All right. So, on Twitter last night, I don't know if you noticed about me, but I'm a little bit of fashionista, and I follow a lot of fashion people in the fashion world, and there was this moment when it went nuts, because Michelle Obama changed her hair.

JONES: That's right. You know, we know that the First Lady gets a lot of attention for her wardrobe. You know, we don't know what she's going to wear on inauguration day Sunday or Monday, but we do know from the Twitter account that the First Lady's office launched yesterday that she has a new haircut.

She has bangs now. So, I wonder if this will start a trend. I guess, we'll have to wait and see. Back to you, guys.

BERMAN: All right. Athena Jones, thanks very much. We'll see you Monday in Washington for the inauguration. I actually don't know a lot about here or fashion. I was kind of making --

SAMBOLIN: No, I know.


BERMAN: But I have to ask you this, are bangs a big deal?

SAMBOLIN: Well, Kate Middleton got them in London. And so, I suppose that she actually started the trend. It's very difficult to have bangs if you have very curly hair. And so, there are a lot more work. So, I was surprised by that move, actually.

BERMAN: Thank you for helping me learn about that.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. I know that you're really big on Twitter, but the fashionista thing?

BERMAN: Right.



BERMAN: Bangs, they're big. Stay with CNN all weekend for live coverage leading up to the inauguration. EARLY START and "STARTING POINT" with Soledad O'Brien will be live from Washington Monday morning starting at 5:00 Eastern time. You'll want to be with us.

SAMBOLIN: Former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford is speaking out about his attempt to return to public life. He is running for the Congressional seat he held in the late 1990s. His career was thought to be over in 2009 when he admitted to that extramarital affair while he was governor. And last night on CNNs Piers Morgan, Sanford said he is asking South Carolina voters for forgiveness.


FMR. GOV. MARK SANFORD, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: There's an amazing reservoir of human grace out there. There's a reservoir of God's grace that each of us have to access ourselves as best as we can.


SAMBOLIN: The pictures that you were looking at were Sanford's affair with the woman from Argentina that led to the dissolution of his marriage. And now, I believe he is engaged to her.

BERMAN: So, even the best have a bad day. Coming up, the moment of the tennis court that superstar, Serena Williams, would probably like to forget.


SAMBOLIN: Forty-nine minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date. Here's Christine Romans.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And our top story this morning we are still following, Lance Armstrong finally confirming charges that have been labeled against him for years that he has denied, that he used performance enhancing drugs throughout much his cycling career, including during each of his seven Tour de France wins.

He's finally coming clean after years of denials. Here's some of what he told Oprah Winfrey last night.


WINFREY: You said to me earlier, you don't think it was possible to win without doping.

ARMSTRONG: Not in that generation. And I'm not here to talk about others in that generation. It's been well-documented. I didn't invent the culture, but I didn't try to stop the culture. And that was -- that's my mistake. And that's what I have to be sorry for and that's what something -- and the sport is now paying the price because of that. So, I am sorry for that.


ROMANS: Armstrong called the situation, quote, "one big lie that I repeated a lot of times."

A bizarre story out of Michigan where a police say a man accused of kidnapping and raping a woman from Central Michigan University was able to get out one last Facebook post before cop shot him dead and said, "Well, folks, I'm about to get shot --

SAMBOLIN: Oh my goodness.

ROMANS: --"peace." Police say 30-year-old prison parolee, Eric Ramsey (ph), led them on a bizarre, bizarre chase after he abducted a college student at gunpoint, raped her, set a house on fire, then stole a flat bed truck and rammed three police cars. There's the post.

Most Americans think of the TSA, the Transportation Security Administration, as airport security, but this week, agents swarmed at Amtrak railroad station in Emeryville, California near San Francisco. Their specialized unit known as the Viper Team says train stations are difficult to secure. Their presence was designed to be a visible deterrent to anyone thinking of trying to do harm.

It's been a rough go down under for Serena Williams after twisting an ankle in her first match at the Australian Open. Check out what happened to the second round. She hit herself in the face with a tennis racket --


ROMANS: Splitting her lip and drawing blood. Serena went on to win the match.


SAMBOLIN: That a girl.

ROMANS: And now, she has to worry not so much about her next opponent, but about the powerful law of --

SAMBOLIN: No kidding. I'd be watching everything.

ROMANS: She works so faithful (ph) --

SAMBOLIN: And she wins.

ROMANS: And you know how hard she swings that racket, too. I mean, it's not a little --

BERMAN: She's really, really good.

ROMANS: Yes. She is really, really good.

BERMAN: All right. Fifty-one minutes after the hour right now. Thousands spending a cold night with no power down south in the middle of a winter storm that's dumping heavy snow and rain across the region from the Carolinas as far south as Birmingham. Yes, Birmingham.

Jennifer Delgado is tracking the winter storm threat for us. Hey, Jennifer.

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi, guys. You know, it just showed that video of the snow in Birmingham. Now, keep in mind, it's still going to be cool out there for parts of Alabama as well as into parts of the mid-Atlantic. So, that means you need to be careful on the roadways, because, certainly, there are going to be some freezing spots out there.

Now, as we show you some of the snowfall totals, look at that, six inches in parts of Virginia, and in some locations, we're even hearing reports of a foot of snow in some of those higher elevations. Now, right now, things are a lot quieter. There's our storm system. It's making its way over towards the east.

Look how quiet is for parts of the mid-Atlantic, up and down Interstate 95. Nice and quiet. We are going to see some snow working into areas, including Wisconsin as we go through the day, and it really starts to kick up as we go into tomorrow. But here's your wider view, what's going to happening.

A ridge of high pressure building back in. That's good. That means we're going to be dry for many areas that are dealing with flooding. Temperatures across the Central Plains from the north to the south are going to be running 15 degrees above average, and we have some fog. That's going to lead to some travel delays for parts of Pacific Northwest.

We're talking into Seattle and those regions. We're going to see dense fog and freezing fog up until noon pacific time. Now, look at some of these temperatures out there. For today, we're talking 50s as well as 60s. Kansas City, 56 for you. In addition to warm temperatures, look at the delays we're talking with the strong winds around for St. Louis and Chicago.

And I leave you with this incredible video coming in out of North Carolina. I know we got to get this in because rare treat. Listen.


DELGADO: That's right. That's thundersnow that popped up in North Carolina. Very rare treat there. John, Zoraida, that doesn't see all the time.

BERMAN: Look at that.

SAMBOLIN: A treat.

(LAUGHTER) BERMAN: All right. Jennifer Delgado, thanks very much.

It is 53 minutes after the hour. Love, not actually. The latest Internet craze sparked by the Manti Te'o fake girlfriend hoax, next.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin along with John Berman, and we are taking a look at the top CNN Trends on the web this morning.

BERMAN: OK. So, first, there was Tebowing then Kaepernicking. Now, there is Te'o'ing, inspired by Manti Te'o's girlfriend hoax. Now, cruel or not, this is how it goes. What you do, you put your arm around your invisible girlfriend. There's already a Tumblr blog devoted to this, but people Te'o'ing at in south bend and here's a mockup of the president doing it, and then there's the last (ph) Te'o in Paris.

And some people are making a really complicated joke about Clint Eastwood, the fact that he was speaking to an empty chair, that he was doing his own version.

SAMBOLIN: An early version.

BERMAN: An early version of Te'o'ing. The prototype as it were.

All right. So, late night laughs out, Jon Stewart missed the news of the day and came to work with a heavy heart. Take a look.




STEWART: I don't want to bring the room down. My mind has been elsewhere. My girlfriend, who totally exists --


STEWART: That's her. You don't know her --


STEWART: -- is going through a tough time. She died.


STEWART: And then -- and then, also fell off a cliff --


STEWART: -- of leukemia.


STEWART: So, it's -- it's a tough day to be here for me. But I'm going to do it. I'm going to do it. Her last tweet to me was the show must go o-o-n!



STEWART: Wait. Hush thugs -- all right.



BERMAN: You knew. You knew he wasn't going to let that go.

SAMBOLIN: All right. EARLY START continues right now.