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Lance Armstrong Admits He Doped; Hostage Standoff in Algeria; Pres. Obama's Second Inauguration

Aired January 18, 2013 - 06:30   ET



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

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Man versus shark. Rescuers pull a man out of water after an attack off the Hawaii beach.

SAMBOLIN: Shooting from the hip. New Jersey's outspoken Governor Chris Christie takes on the NRA over its latest ad campaign.

Welcome back to EARLY START. Nice to have you with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is Friday morning, 31 minutes past the hour right now.

And it is -- it's Lance Armstrong day. No other way to say. The sports world reacting to Lance Armstrong's doping admission. The International Olympic Committee just released a statement saying, "There can be no place for doping in sport and the IOC unreservedly condemned the actions of Lance Armstrong and all those who seek an unfair advantage against their fellow competitors by taking drugs."

In last night's no holds barred interview with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong finally came clean, saying he doped to win in each and every one of his seven Tour de France titles. But, at the time, he says, he didn't consider it cheating.


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

OPRAH WINFREY, TV HOST: That you are a cheat.

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


ARMSTRONG: And the definition of cheat is to gain an advantage on a rival or foe, you know, that they don't have. I didn't view it that way. I viewed it as a level playing field.


BERMAN: George Howell is in Armstrong's home city of Austin, Texas.

And, George, it was denial after denial after denial. He says it's one big lie.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, you know, right off the top of this interview, confesses and really here in Austin, here in his hometown, this is something that many people suspected in the back of their minds. You know, after years and years of him viciously denying that he had been cheating, but now, he learned that is exactly what he would be doing when he won the Tour de France seven times.


HOWELL (voice-over): Lance Armstrong spent years trying to outrun allegations that he used performance-enhancing substances to fuel his successful cycling career. That race is now over.

WINFREY: Was it a big deal to you? Did it feel wrong?

ARMSTRONG: At the time?



WINFREY: It did not even feel wrong?


WINFREY: Did you feel bad about it?

ARMSTRONG: No. Even scarier.

WINFREY: Did you feel in any way that you were cheating?

ARMSTRONG: No. The scariest.

HOWELL: After decades as of denials, the seven-time Tour de France interview came clean in part one of a wide-ranging interview with Oprah Winfrey.

ARMSTRONG: I am flawed, deeply flawed. I think we all have our flaws, but -- and if the magnifying glass is normally this big, I made it this big because of my actions and because of my words and because of my attitude and my defiance.

HOWELL: Armstrong kept his emotions in check as he described years of cheating, lying and attacking those who would dare doubt him. He denied forcing teammates to dope, but did admit that they may have felt pressure to follow his example.

ARMSTRONG: I was a bully in the sense that I tried to control the narrative. If I didn't like what somebody said, and for whatever reasons in my own head, whether I viewed that as somebody being disloyal or a friend turning on you, or whatever, I tried to control that and said that -- that's a lie, they're liars.

HOWELL: Armstrong now admits that he was the one telling, in his words, one big lie, that he repeated over and over again, including this 2005 deposition.

The hero to so many says that he realizes his confession is probably too late for many people.

ARMSTRONG: They have every right to feel betrayed, and it's my fault. And I have -- I will spend the rest of my life, you know -- some people are gone forever. But I'll spend the rest of my life trying to earn back trust and apologize to people for the rest of my life.


HOWELL: You know, we've heard a lot of reaction to that interview. But we just got a new statement from the IOC, the International Olympic community saying, quote, "We now urge Armstrong to present all of the evidence he has to the appropriate anti doping authorities so that we can bring an end to this dark episode and move forward, stronger and cleaner."

That is the IOC. Again, the same body that has asked Lance Armstrong to return that bronze medal. And that process is already under way, we understand.

BERMAN: And will he provide all that information? We will see.

George Howell in Austin, Texas -- thanks very much.

SAMBOLIN: So what did Armstrong use exactly? He told Winfrey he took what he called oxygen-boosting drugs that helped improve performance and endurance. Here is him talking about his cocktail.


ARMSTRONG: My cocktail so to speak was only EPO, but not a lot, transfusions and testosterone, which in a weird way I almost justified because of -- because of my history of testicular cancer and using -- surely I'm running low.


BERMAN: It was EPO, it was blood doping, it was testosterone, which is steroid, you know, human growth hormone, he used it all.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, talking about all of the details and the blood transfusions, when did it happen? During the time you were cycling? Did you actually take a break to actually go do this?

Those details I think were really shocking and surprising, and he tried to skirt around some of them. But Oprah kept on going back and saying, well, wait a minute, exactly when? How did you do this? It was really a fascinating thing. But the culture, which is what we talked to John Eustice, two-time U.S. professional cycling champion. He said, you know, originally, he expected them to blow the lid off of this, right? But maybe at the end of the day, maybe that's what he's holding back to use it in the future so that he can compete it again.

And, you know, I don't know how you feel about this, or people are going to feel about this, right, but to change the culture I think would be great to do, in sports in general. The cheaters that you have a real problem with, you know, defining the whole cheating.

BERMAN: We might have to break up over this whole --


BERMAN: -- over this whole Lance Armstrong story here.

No. But if he wants to make the rest of his life speaking out against cheating, speaking out against taking drugs in sports, then more power to him.

SAMBOLIN: You never want to see him compete again, right? To be allowed to compete?

BERMAN: His career is over. He can run triathlons. I don't care if he runs triathlons in the senior circuit. That doesn't -- that doesn't bother me at all. If he wants to spend the rest of his life talking about breaking the rules and cheating and why not to use performance-enhancing drugs, I think that would be phenomenal for everyone, for kids, for sports, and I would applaud that. And I hope he does it.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, and the restitution, that part of it, right? All the people that he blamed, all the lawsuits. You know, how do you make that right?

BERMAN: That would be nice, too.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, that he would be wonderful.

BERMAN: And, of course, breaking down the case against Lance Armstrong. Tomorrow night at 10:00 Eastern, a closer look at the constant doping chatter that dogged Armstrong for years. It turned out to be right. Watch "THE WORLD ACCORDING TO LANC ARMSTRONG", CNN Saturday night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-eight minutes past the hour.

Now, to the ongoing hostage standoff in Algeria. Where state radio reports that the military raid, quote, "is still ongoing." Several people are dead, but we don't know exactly who after Algerian forces fired on SUVs leaving the gas plant. An unknown number of foreigners are still being held, including possibly some Americans. BP says a small number of its employees are still unaccounted for as well.

British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke moments ago about the crisis. Listen.


DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I'm sure the whole house will share my disgust and condemnation at this brutal and savage terrorist attack that has been unfolding in Algeria. Our thoughts and prayers this morning are with those still caught up in this incident with their families who are waiting anxiously for news and with those who have already lost loved ones.


SAMBOLIN: Matthew Chance joins us now from London with the very latest details.

And, Matthew, we are hearing some hostages held in Algeria actually disguised themselves in order to escape. Can you share some of the details that you may know about that?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I think this comes from one of the catering companies that operated that BP- led gas plant in the remote desert in Algeria. Their company saying -- giving us detail on what happened when the militants broke into the compound and started taking people hostage.

They divided the workers up to two groups, into foreigners, expatriates and local Algerians who they treated very differently and it seems, according to this company spokesperson, some of the foreign employees disguised themselves as locals in order to join that more favorably treated group.

We also got some details from some people who have escaped from this crisis in Algeria, about the kind of conditions in which they were kept. One hostage, joint Irish and British citizen, former hostage escaped, in fact. His brother (INAUDIBLE) on CNN saying that he been made to sleep with Semtex, plastic explosives tied around his neck and with duct tape over his mouth and feet tied together as well. And actually, they were in the process of being transferred to another location by the militants when the Algerian military intervened and carried out the raid to try and free the hostages, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: And Matthew, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also addressed the situation today. What can you tell us about that? Because we do understand that Britain and the United States were unaware that the raid was actually happening?

CHANCE: Yes, that's one sort of slightly disturbing aspect of this. David Cameron, part of the statement he made to parliament earlier, saying that he was in almost constant contact with Algerian prime minister, spoke with him four times in a day leading up to the Algerian military operations to try and free the hostages.

He'd also said he's been coordinating with the leaders of other countries that were involved, of course, the United States among them. And David Cameron, the British prime minister, has been talking to President Obama about probably sharing their confusion about the situation on the ground, and that very remote part of Algeria.

But, you're right. Leon Panetta has come out today. He's been making some statements as well, saying that he and the rest of the Defense Department is working around the clock to bring the situation to a happy ending.

SAMBOLIN: And, Matthew, another question, and I apologize if you already addressed it, but I'm trying to read the latest details that are coming out of there. Do we know the number of Americans? Do we have any clarity on that?

CHANCE: No, we don't is the short answer to that. We know that there are 41 people according to militants who were held hostage. It seems that a good many of them are from Britain, from Japan, from France and the United States as well. But exact figures are something very hard to come by at the moment.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, that's actually one of the more disturbing details, right? That we don't have the actual information and the United States doesn't know.

Matthew Chance live in London for us.

I want to read one more thing here, but I'm uncertain whether or not there was clarity on that, but a small number of BP employees unaccounted for at that gas installation in Algeria. They remained unaccounted for, the company releasing the statement as of Friday.

Now, however, three flights have left Algeria to bring workers home and a fourth is expected to leave today. So, that is the latest information coming from BP, who owns that gas plant.

BERMAN: You know, fluid situation. We're still learning so much about what's happening there.

SAMBOLIN: So much we don't know.

BERMAN: Forty-two minutes past the hour.

And we have some scary stuff. Another shark attack in Hawaii. A surfer in his 40s attacked by what's believed to be a 15-foot tiger shark, nearly biting off his leg and hand. He was transported to the north Hawaii community hospital for treatment. His condition is not currently known.

SAMBOLIN: Pauline Phillips left her mark on millions of American by dispensing common sense advice. She was better known by the pen name Abigail Van Buren and wrote the syndicated newspaper column that we all know "Dear Abby". For decades, she did that.

Phillips died yesterday at the age of 94. She battled Alzheimer's disease for years.

BERMAN: And, of course, her sister was Ann Landers. The obituary, the articles being run about her are fascinating. I recommend them all to you. Forty-three minutes after the hour.

The NRA under attack for an ad that attacks President Obama, and even worse, some people say, makes reference to his children. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says the gun lobby should never have gone there.


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 of opposing the idea of armed guards in every school when his own kids are protected by armed guards. Of course, they're talking about the Secret Service.

SAMBOLIN: Right. Forty-three minutes past the hour.

Rock star Ozzy Osborne recovering this morning after the Fire Department was called to his house. Find out what happened, coming up next.

BERMAN: And, plus, counting down to Inauguration Day. We're going to live to Washington for a look at what's being done to get ready.


BERMAN: Oh my. Are we all discussing Lance Armstrong and everything else?


BERMAN: Soledad O'Brien joins us -- Soledad is here with a look at what's ahead on "STARTING POINT".

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, "STARTING POINT": A narcissistic personality disorder, anybody? Anybody?

BERMAN: You're talking about Lance, right?


O'BRIEN: Not --


O'BRIEN: Lance Armstrong -- of course, after years of denying it, Lance Armstrong's finally admitted that he cheated, performance- enhancing drugs to win all seven of his Tour de France title. Many people, though, didn't think his confession went far enough, and in fact, he drew the line at some of the things he would not talk about. Betsey Andreu to testify that Armstrong was doping. We're going to talk to her this morning. Former cycling champion John Eustice is back with us. Olympic cyclist Nicole Cooke is with us as well.

We're also following that hostage situation in Algeria. Americans could still be possibly among those are being held. We'll have the latest on the assault that was launched against the militant captors and what happened. The aftermath there in a live report straight ahead.

And then, she's taking a stand against child trafficking. The actress Angie Harmon is going to join us to talk about how she's teaming up with UNICEF who protects human rights. We're talking with her live as well. That's straight ahead this morning with us at the top of the hour.

BERMAN: Attention "Law & Order" fans.


SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: You bet.

SAMBOLIN: It is 48 minutes past the hour. Police say that they have arrested the man who brutally attacked a woman on a Philadelphia subway platform, throwing her on to the tracks. So, we want to warn you here, the video that you are about to see may be difficult to watch. If the children are around, you may want to move them from the TV set.

Our affiliate, WPVI, says the man asked for a lighter Tuesday afternoon, momentarily backed off, then, look at that, came at her, punching the 23-year-old woman, then grabbing her by the ankle and throwing her onto the subway tracks. Police say the woman climbed out on her own, and she only suffered bumps and bruises. Thankfully, she is OK.

BERMAN: Six months after a massacre that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded, the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado will, reopen to the public today. A private remembrance ceremony was held last night for victims and their families as well as first responders. Some boycotted the event saying it was insensitive to reopen the theater at all.

SAMBOLIN: The body of a Chicago lottery winner will be exhumed today. The 46-year-old Urooj Khan (ph) died suddenly last summer, about a month after he won a million dollar jackpot. So, at first, it was thought that he died of natural causes, but it became a murder mystery after test showed a deadly amount of cyanide in his system. Investigators say more test can tell them how the poison actually got into his system

BERMAN: So, Ozzy Osborne slightly injured after a part of his Beverly Hills home caught fire yesterday. Several reports say Ozzy and his wife, Sharon, forgot to put out candles when they went to bed. Ooh, you have to do that. Ozzy reportedly singed his hair and eyebrows when he tried to dowse the flames. Sharon apologized to TMZ and thanked the five gorgeous firefighters


BERMAN: -- who put out the fire in their house.

SAMBOLIN: Of course, you would add gorgeous.

BERMAN: Whether was that (ph).


Forty-nine minutes past the hour. Working for the weekend. Coming up, while most of America will be off, people in Washington will be pulling extra shifts for inauguration day on Monday. We're going to have a live report just ahead.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. It is 52 minutes past the hour. Oh, and good morning, Washington, D.C. It's going to be a very busy weekend for all of you there.

Final preparations and rehearsals are under way for President Barack Obama's inauguration to a second term. He will take a public oath of office Monday at noon after taking the official one on Sunday. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to turn out.

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

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. As you mentioned, the two key ones, but it all kicks off tomorrow for the national day of service. There'll be public service events all across the country, including right here on the mall. This is the place that we'll see on Monday, hundreds of thousands of people coming out for that public swearing in ceremony.

But as you mentioned, we'll have the national day of service tomorrow, and then on Sunday is the official swearing in, on January 20th, which is the constitutionally mandated day. And then on Monday, the date starts of with a visit by the president and First Lady to St. John's Church. That's the church right across the park, Lafayette Park from the White House.

We'll have a church service there, then come here for the swearing in. There'll be performances by people like Beyonce. We know that the president is planning to be sworn in using Martin Luther King Jr.'s traveling bible and a bible that would belong to President Abraham Lincoln that's on loan from the library of Congress.

So, after that big swearing in here, there'll be a luncheon in statuary hall in the Capitol, then, of course, the big parade. And of course, it doesn't all end with the balls and all of that on Monday night. On Tuesday, there's also a prayer service. So, several days ahead of us, several very busy days.

Lots of folks re asking about the weather. As of right now, the forecast for Monday is a low of 25 and a high of 40, which is around about the average that it's been on January 20th for the past several inaugurations.

SAMBOLIN: At least, it's consistent. So, we know that we need to bundle up. So, during the inauguration the last time, there was a lot of talk about Mrs. Obama and Sasha and Malia and what they were wearing. We don't really know what they're wearing yet, but we know that a lot is being said about a new hair style that is being sported by Mrs. Obama.

JONES: That's right. You know, yesterday was Mrs. Obama's 49th birthday, and they launched a new Twitter account -- Twitter account is the First Lady's office, and on that Twitter account, they tweeted a picture of the First Lady with a new haircut. She has bangs now. And so, there's been a lot of talk about her bangs. We may not know what she's wearing, but we know what her hair will look like, and we'll have to wait and see if it starts any trends.

SAMBOLIN: You know what, Berman is just loving the story. He wants a full frontal of the bangs because he wants to see what they looked like. That was kind of a side-view. But he's all over the story.

JONES: That's what I said.

SAMBOLIN: Right. Yes.

JONES: We'll get some views.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Athena Jones. Thank you very much. We appreciate it.

BERMAN: For news, we call it bangsgate. The latest scandal to hit Washington.

SAMBOLIN: It is. It's going to be crazy. All right. Stay with CNN all weekend long for live coverage leading up to the inauguration. And EARLY START and "STARTING POINT" with Soledad O'Brien will be live from Washington Monday morning at 5:00 Eastern for you, as usual.

BERMAN: All right. We'll have today's "Best Advice" from a powerful Republican in Congress, coming up.

SAMBOLIN: And then later on "STARTING POINT", breaking down Lance Armstrong's confession and explanation to Oprah. Soledad is talking to Betsy Andreu, who testified that Armstrong was doping. Former cycling champion John Eustice also joining her, and Olympic cyclist Nicole Cooke.


BERMAN: Just a few minutes left, and as always, we wrap it up with "Best Advice," and man, do we need it?


SAMBOLIN: How about it, Christine?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: We asked New York Republican congressman, Peter King, for his best advice.


REP. PETER KING, (R) NEW YORK: First from my father and was two friend advice. One, always stay loyal to your friends, no matter what. And secondly, never back down in a fight. If you believe you're right, don't quit. It's OK to lose, but it's never OK to quit. You know, quitting just isn't for real people. You got to keep the fight going. If you lose you lose, but don't quit.


ROMANS: He lives that advice. Have you heard him when he gets mad?

BERMAN: If you saw the whole fight over the Sandy relief package, you know that Peter King lives by that.


ROMANS: He sure does.

BERMAN: All right. That is all for EARLY START today. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. "STARTING POINT" with Soledad O'Brien starts right now.