Return to Transcripts main page


Israel's Post-Election Future; Beyonce's Anthemgate; Teen Upsets Serena Williams; Hitting the Slopes to Learn About Risk

Aired January 23, 2013 - 12:30   ET


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Before we get on to Benjamin Netanyahu's narrow victory, and it was about as narrow as it gets, tell us a little bit more Yair Lapid who we just saw in Atika's report.

Media darling courting the middle class or perhaps a bit of a kingmaker in this situation? Did far better than anyone predicted.

AARON DAVID MILLER, DISTINGUISHED SCHOLAR, WOODROW WILSON INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR SCHOLARS: You know, third parties, Michael, don't really do that well in Israeli politics, traditionally.

I don't think Lapid has any chance, if he wants to maintain his relevancy and the cohesion of the party and have a shelf life beyond this election, he has no choice, it seems to me, other than to join the government because it is only in the government that he can exercise the kind of power and influence that is required to service and fulfill his agenda.

HOLMES: Well, he's got a lot of different ideas to Benjamin Netanyahu, doesn't he?

MILLER: Well, he does on a couple of different issues, clearly, but remember, Benjamin Netanyahu is the master of the Israeli economy which has done actually quite well, although they're now facing serious austerity concerns and are going to have to impose some of them on the public.

On the peace issue, I think there's actually quite a lot of consensus between Lapid and Netanyahu. Both support, nominally at least, a two- state situation. And like Netanyahu and his father, Tommy Lapid, he's against the division of Jerusalem.

So, I wouldn't hold my breath that whatever Israeli government that emerges is going to be able to take major decisions on the Israeli- Palestinian issue. Where they may be able to make decisions because it's going to be a broader government is on the role of the orthodox in national service, on socio-economic issues and perhaps on Iran.

HOLMES: And a lot of people think that the center in Israel -- I don't think there's really much dispute -- has moved further to the right and that this government may, too.

You know, he won, only just. The voters hurt him, a bit of a slap in the face in some ways. And he's got to do deals. That is the nature of Israeli politics.

You've got to have a coalition. The more diverse that is, the harder it is to move your agenda forward.

What difficulties is he going to face pulling it together?

MILLER: Well, I think the question is, can A sit with B?

I mean, Lapid has a major priority in trying to push the issue of national service for the orthodox community within Israel. That's invariably going to create major tensions with Benjamin Netanyahu's traditional coalition partners, the orthodox ...

HOLMES: He's having to hold hands with them, as well.

MILLER: Exactly.

So, I think you could foresee a coalition, as strange as it may seem, of Likud -- that is to say, Netanyahu -- Lapid and his Yesh Atid, "there is a future," Bayit HaYehui, , Naftali Bennett, the right wing, 40-year-old millionaire with solid security credentials at the expense of the orthodox party.

So, that would actually be quite a significant achievement if they could put it together.

HOLMES: It would be an interesting look, too.

Let's talk about Netanyahu and President Obama moving forward and maybe forward is the wrong word.

The past has not been rosy, testy relationship in the past, so what happens now in terms of their relationship, especially if Netanyahu does move further right?

MILLER: Well, if he puts together a narrow-right government, which is possible based on the Knesset arithmetic, we're in for rocky waters.

And, even though it's my conclusion that if Obama wants to get anything done in the Middle East, he's going to have to find a way to work with the Israeli prime minister, with Netanyahu, not around him.

But if the government goes broader, I suspect a lot of impending tensions are actually going to dissipate and Netanyahu will in some respects be able to preside over a much more functional, at least at the top, U.S./Israeli relationship.

This is without a doubt, four years in, the most dysfunctional relationship between any American president and any Israeli prime minister probably, without over dramatizing this, in the history of the relationship.

So, I think the broader government will ease tensions, allow some progress on the Palestinian issue and make the next four years much less rockier than they would ordinarily be. HOLMES: Yeah. And whether anything gets done on the peace process, if we can call it a process, that -- well, we'll see. We'll get you back on and have a couple of hours to discuss that one.

MILLER: Another day, Michael. We could probably do it in five minutes, actually.

HOLMES: Well, in theory you could, yes. Practice is a different thing.

MILLER: The shape it's in, less than five minutes.

HOLMES: Yeah. You've got that right. Good to see you, Aaron. Aaron David Miller there, always interesting to get his thoughts on these things.

Now, it has been called the first scandal of President Obama's second term. Beyonce putting on a show at the inauguration, but the question is, was it live? The questions surrounding her performance when we come back.


HOLMES: Well, three whole days since President Obama's inauguration and more people are talking about Beyonce's national anthem than the president's speech. Did she or didn't she? And, for some, who cares? That's the debate anyway.

And I'm going to give you a little sliver now of the CNN Twitter chatter about it. CNN host Piers Morgan says this, quote, "I still don't care if Beyonce lip-synced or not. She's a brilliant singer and a lovely woman. Half the world's starving, folks, get over it."

One of our political analysts, Jamal Simmons, says this. "This is not a Milli Vanilli deception. She sang the song whether it was live or on Memorex," and then added, #dating myself? Yes, Jamal, you are. He's talking about an old TV commercial there. You can Google that.

And this from comedian and CNN contributor Dean Obeudallah. "It's Beyonce-gate." Dean wrote a long essay on the global reaction to the song. You can read that over at

Well, we still haven't decided if it really matters or not whether Beyonce lip-synced her performance or not, but anyway, here's our national correspondent, Jim Acosta, on why she may have decided to play it safe if she did.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's the question on just about everyone's lips in Washington on the day after the inaugural. Was Beyonce's version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" live or was it lip-synced?

According to an official with the same U.S. Marine band whose music accompanied the pop star's performance, it was all on tape. A spokesman for the U.S. Marine band tells CNN she did not actually sing.

Beyonce made a recording of the national anthem overnight before the inaugural. She even posted pictures of herself in the studio surrounded by a group of Marine officials. The pre-recording is standard procedure, the Marines say, in case anything goes wrong during the actual ceremony.

"Washingtonian Magazine" first started raising questions about the authenticity of the performance. The magazine's editor, Garrett Graff, was seated less than 10 feet away from the U.S. Marine band. He said, it appeared the band was pretending to play their instruments.

GARRETT GRAFF, "WASHINGTONIAN MAGAZINE" EDITOR: It immediately struck me that I couldn't hear the band and I was seated there, staring at the saxophone player. Couldn't hear him, couldn't hear anyone else.

ACOSTA: The Marine band later released a statement blaming the lack of rehearsal time.

"There was no opportunity for Miss Knowles-Carter to rehearse with the Marine band before the inauguration, so it was determined a live performance by the band was ill-advised for such a high-profile event."

ACOSTA: It sounds like they were playing it safe maybe?

GRAFF: That's exactly right. They decided it was the safest option to use the prerecorded version. They knew that they would have that nailed and knew it would come out great, which it did.

ACOSTA: Despite the comment from that band spokesman who said Beyonce did not actually sing, Marine band officials are now contradicting themselves, saying, "No one in the Marine band is in a position to assess whether it was live or prerecorded."

What's also not clear is why Beyonce removed her earpiece during the performance. The U.S. Marine band also didn't say.

Beyonce's apparent taped performance is not unprecedented. The band says, during President Obama's first inaugural in 2009, American cellist Yo-Yo Ma used a pre-recording due to the frigid temperatures.

As for the other performers on President Obama's second inaugural, representatives for James Taylor and Kelly Clarkson confirmed they did, in fact, turn in live performances.

Clarkson's "My Country 'Tis of Thee" drew a special shout-out from inaugural chairman and New York senator, Chuck Schumer.


ACOSTA: As for Beyonce, CNN did reach out to her publicist, but we have yet to hear a response. Nor did we get any official statement from the joint congressional committee overseeing the inaugural.

Just one comment from the top Republican on that committee, Senator Lamar Alexander, who said Beyonce sounded good to him.

Jim Acosta, CNN, Washington.


HOLMES: Are we any the wiser?

Well, a stunning upset at the Australian Open. I know you've been following that. Serena Williams goes down to a teenager and fellow American. We'll have details of the big win by Sloane Stephens.


HOLMES: Well, it's been the biggest upset so far at the Aussie Open. Nineteen-year-old American Sloane Stephens rallying to beat fellow American, Serena Williams, today in the quarterfinal round.

Our Amanda Davis reports from Melbourne.


AMANDA DAVIES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's probably too early to talk about a changing of the guards, but undoubtedly Sloane Stephens has made the tennis world stand to attention. On paper, there was only ever going to be one winner of this contest. A 19-year-old, with no titles to her name, playing in her first grand slam quarterfinal, up against a 15-time grand slam champion in Serena Williams.

It's probably doing Stephens something of a disservice, though, to make too much of Serena William's back injury, although it did undoubtedly affect the 31-year-old's performance. Although when Eric Clapton's "Knocking On Heaven's Door" started ringing out inside the Rod Laver Arena, you could say they were taking it just a little bit too far.

Stephens chased every ball, hit big and certainly didn't let the occasion get the better of her. So it's into the semifinals having beaten in three sets the player who she grew up idolizing, who adorned her bedroom walls. But the big question, is Sloane Stephens the poster girl for the next generation?

Amanda Davies, CNN, Melbourne.


HOLMES: And Don Riddell of CNN International Sports is with me more -- that camera -- to talk about this stunning upset.

Don, there was a bit of a temper tantrum I saw during the highlights.

DON RIDDELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS: Yes. Serena decided she didn't like her racket very much, so she gave it not one but two violent cracks on the blue hard court. Hopefully we can show you that because it was the end of her tennis racket. And, you know, it -- yes. I mean I've seen a lot worse from Serena on a tennis court. So this wasn't too bad. She -- there were no expletives. She didn't -- yes, it cost her $1,500.

HOLMES: $1,500?


HOLMES: The racket's probably worth more than that. Really?

RIDDELL: She said it made her feel good. So that was the end of the racket, but it didn't help her win the match.

HOLMES: It made her feel good.

RIDDELL: You know, I mean she was in an incredible position in this match and a position she would have expected to win from.

HOLMES: Right.

RIDDELL: She was up a set. She was up a break. All going well. But in the space of about 25 minutes, it all completely unraveled. And probably the key to her loss was that she injured her back and then she had a limp and she lost all the power in her serve.

HOLMES: Right.

RIDDELL: But credit to Stephens, too.

HOLMES: Well, yes, well tell us about her. A lot of people wouldn't know her very well, although she is ranked.



RIDDELL: She's in the top 50. I mean she's seeded 29th in this tournament. She's definitely got a bright future ahead of her, although she hasn't actually yet won a tournament. She now finds herself in the semifinal of the grand slam. Can you imagine her first win could be a grand slam tournament?

HOLMES: Might be nervous (ph).

RIDDELL: This will give her a lot of confidence. But, you know, she deserved this. She's one of the biggest hitters on tour. She's a very intelligent player. She's got good genes. She's the son (ph) of former NFL running back John Stephens. Her mom was an all-American swimmer.


RIDDELL: Great potential.

HOLMES: So she struggled from the start, obviously, in sports, yes.

One of the --

RIDDELL: You're so mean. HOLMES: I know. No, it was a terrific win for her and good for tennis, too. It's always nice to get a new face in there. Of course, being a teenager, apparently one of her first acts was a very teenage one. Tell us about it.

RIDDELL: Yes, straight over to the cell phone on the side of the court. Got to check your messages.


RIDDELL: The was funny because the messages were coming in thick and fast. So much so that she couldn't even use her phone. I think she was going to send her message or make a call, but you know what it's like when the inbox is just being stormed, you can't do anything with it. So, yes, she went from 145 messages to 213. And the funny thing about this is that she's overseas. And as you know, when you make or receive --

HOLMES: International rates.

RIDDELL: International rates, it can be rather expensive. So apparently her mom's already been on her case saying all this money you're going to win from the tournament, you're going to spend it all paying off the phone bill.

HOLMES: Trust me, from here to there it's 50 cents a text. I know this.

RIDDELL: Right. You know, she's already won $500,000 for getting this far.

HOLMES: That will cover it.

RIDDELL: So, I think there will be a bit left over after the phone bill.

HOLMES: Yes, there's probably a few OMGs and LOLs and YOLOs in the text, yes.

Good to see you, Don.

RIDDELL: And you, Michael.

HOLMES: Don Riddell here.

OK. Well, strapping on a pair of skis to find out how to manage financial risk. Sounds a little strange, but well we are talking about Richard Quest. He learned some key lessons on a snow covered mountain for us.


HOLMES: Forty world leaders, more than 2,000 business executives all gathering in one place. Yes, it's that time of year again, Davos, Switzerland. The occasion, the annual World Economic Forum. Experts there trying to figure out the best way to grow the global economy. Sometimes that involves a little risk. Richard Quest learning some crucial lessons on risk taking outside the forum's doors on top of a snow covered mountain.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the mountain, risk is everywhere. And the lessons must be learned.


QUEST: Newart (ph) has been a ski instructor for years. He knows that on the mountain, and in the global economy, it's all about balance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to move with the bump and take it -- like swallow the bump when it's coming towards us.

QUEST: So far, we've navigated the bump of the fiscal cliff. Now we must negotiate the debt ceiling. High unemployment, social unrest. Again, we learn from the mountain. Baby steps to build confidence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we ski slowly, we feel what we are doing. And then we get confident and we get faster and faster.

QUEST: But economic growth seemingly won't go faster.

QUEST (on camera): There's always the risk in the global economy that something goes wrong.

QUEST (voice-over): Snowboarders are like central bankers. They have their own way of shredding down the mountain. For bankers, it means printing money. It's brutal economics.

QUEST (on camera): What's the secret to snowboarding?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't be scared.

QUEST: You pick up speed too quickly and you end up falling over?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, come on (INAUDIBLE). That's why you need to move.

QUEST: Why do you like snowboarding? You go too fast, too quickly, and fall over.


QUEST (voice-over): Perhaps the best lesson to be learned in managing risk comes from the cross-country skier. Those hearty experts of slow, steady progress taking huge amounts of energy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to be fit with the whole body, not only with parts of your body.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You make the power alone. You can slowly or you can a lot speed. It's (INAUDIBLE).


HOLMES: And the ever graceful Richard Quest joins us now live from Davos. Without Ali Velshi's hat, which is rather smart, I must say.

Inside the forum, Richard, is there a consensus on the smartest way to boost those economies?

QUEST: No, there really isn't. People like Philip Jennings of the trade union say the world needs a pay raise. Everybody else says that you -- that there's no general view on what needs to happen. I suppose they would say de regulation, structural reform, political consensus, but everybody can agree with that in principle. It's when you start putting the details, the flesh on the bones, Michael, that it becomes more difficult. Everyone knows we're in trouble, but there's no single prescription for how we get out of it.

HOLMES: There's a lot of pitching that goes on there in Davos, and you've covered it many, many, many times. The Russian prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, made a pitch today for international investment in his country. Why? What did he say?

QUEST: He basically said Russia is open for business and he wants to get growth back to 4 percent. And to do that he said that anybody who's coming into the country is welcome providing they have the same goals, which is to improve the Russian economy, to improve the Russian business environment, and to do business there.

Now, Medvedev, in saying that, wasn't saying anything new. It's hardly revolutionary stuff. But at a time when Russia is perceived, Michael, to be the number one place for growth and industry and where people are very much looking at the future, the fact that the Russian prime minister came here, made those comments, is significant. And, incidentally, Fareed Zakaria is talking to the Prime Minister Medvedev this weekend on "GPS."

HOLMES: Yes. It's always a very smart show, as is yours on CNN International.

Richard, good to see you without a cast anywhere on your extremities there in Davos. Much appreciated.

All right, now a goat with an appetite for flowers lands in court for eating the wrong thing. We'll tell you what happened when Gary the goat faced the judge.


HOLMES: Well, a goat has its day in court in Australia and beats the wrap. We're talking about Gary the goat. There he is. He was busted back in August for eating flowers outside a city art gallery. A slipup that landed his owner the $500 fine. The defense argued it is clear that the goat's owner, comedian Jimbo Bazoobi -- yes, that's his name -- didn't put him up to the stunt and shouldn't be held responsible. Gary was doing what goats do. Case dismissed.

Why is it when we do my country it's goats eating things and sharks attacking people?

That'll do it for NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL. Thanks for your company. I'm Michael Holmes. Martin Savidge joining us now for the next hour.

A lot of other things happen in Australia.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: I know they do, Michael, and, you know what, but goats are interesting.

It's great to see you, Michael.

HOLMES: Good to see you. All yours.