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Immigration Reform Takes Center Stage; Interview with Rep. Steve Israel; No More "Flame Retardant" in Gatorade; 19th Screen Actors Guild Awards; BlackBerry Hoping to Make a Comeback

Aired January 28, 2013 - 10:30   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining us.

Checking our "Top Stories" at 30 minutes past the hour: There are new developments this morning in that horrifying nightclub fire in Brazil. We now learned police have arrested one of the club's owners and two members of the band that were using fireworks in the show. More than 230 people died in the inferno. Nearly half of them college students from a nearby campus.

New developments overnight in the royal phone prank scandal. The Australian radio show behind the call has been taken off the air permanently. Michael Christian and Mel Greig did a bad impersonation of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles and were patched through to the Royal hospital ward. The nurse who routed their call later committed suicide.

Several miles of the Mississippi River closed this morning after two tank barges loaded with crude oil hit a railroad bridge. It happened near the town of Vicksburg about 45 miles west of Jackson. One tank with 80,000 gallons of crude oil started leaking but the Coast Guard managed to stop the leak. And now trying to figure out how many gallons actually spilled into the river.

It's one of the key issues President Obama wants to tackle in his second term, immigration reform. Now it seems the President may be getting a little help from a group of bipartisan senators who will unveil their immigration proposal today. Here's how one of those senators, New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez, summed up the likelihood the legislation will pass.


SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D), NEW YORK: First of all, Americans support it in poll after poll. Secondly, Latino voters expect it. Third, the Democrats want it. And fourth, the Republicans need it.


COSTELLO: Joining me now is Congressman Steve Israel of New York, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Good morning. REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: Good morning, Carol.

COSTELLO: Is Menendez right?

ISRAEL: Yes, he is right. And look, we now have two of the three elements necessary to pass immigration reform. You've got a bipartisan group of senators, on the left and the right, who support immigration reform and will unveil their plan. You've got the President of the United States who will unveil his plan in Las Vegas tomorrow. Now all we need are House Republicans to come to the table and agree and compromise.

The question is this: Will those House Republicans who have always pandered to their Tea Party base to Tea Party extremism and intolerance once and for all stand up to the Tea Party and join Republicans and Democrats and the President in a solution to an immigration process that is broken and is dysfunctional?

COSTELLO: Well, you know, we're asking that question of our viewers today. You know, when you mentioned the Tea Party and how much power it actually does still have in the House of Representatives? In your mind, does it have power, because we don't hear much from those House members who are very supportive of the Tea Party?

ISRAEL: You know, we just had a vote on whether Democrats and Republicans and people of no party affiliation who saw their homes and businesses destroyed by Superstorm Sandy, whether they should get federal assistance to rebuild their homes and their small businesses, and only a couple of dozen of Republicans voted with Democrats to provide their assistance. Why? Because the Tea Party continues to exert its influence and its intolerance on the House Republican caucus.

Yesterday, Paul Ryan double downed and dug in on a Ryan budget that will cut Medicare on an accelerated timetable. They're actually intensifying the damage that they tried to do last year.

So to your question, is the Tea Party still influential? There are still too many Republican members of congress who will do what the Tea Party tells them to do who aren't interested in solutions but continue to be interested in pandering to this Tea Party base.

COSTELLO: You know, speaking of Paul Ryan, he was talking about the ongoing budget crisis in Washington and he said things would have been different had Hillary Clinton won. Let's listen.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Look, if we had a Clinton presidency, if we had Erskine Bowles chief staff of the White House or President of the United States, I think we would have fixed this fiscal mess by now. That's not the kind of presidency we're dealing with right now.


COSTELLO: He has a point about Erskine Bowles, right? ISRAEL: Well, I know it sounds like Paul Ryan has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 although I don't know if she's running. Loo, the fact of the matter is this, you know it was -- the Republican Party is the Clinton presidency of the 1990s that actually shut down the government, so those Tea Party Republicans in this Congress who talk about fiscal cliffs and showdowns and shutdowns, they're getting their instructions from a playbook that House Republicans created in the Clinton presidency in the 1990s.

So I don't think Paul Ryan had a heck of a lot of credibility when he talks about a Clinton presidency being easy to work with considering that his forebears actually tried to shut down the government in a Clinton presidency in the 1990s.

COSTELLO: But -- but President Clinton did come up with a way to, you know, to solve the welfare problem in this country and many Republicans say that the Democratic Congress today doesn't have any ideas about how to bring poverty levels down in the United States or how to bring long-term unemployment down, either. In fact, they say you guys aren't even paying attention to that anymore.

ISRAEL: Well, obviously I fundamentally disagree. In fact, it's House Democrats who have taken the lead in protecting the growth of the middle class while Republicans are protecting oil company subsidies. We're the ones who protected tax cuts for the middle class. While Republicans are protecting tax subsidies to allow big corporations to outsource jobs overseas, we're the ones who protected small business in his country and protected investments in college education.

So you know, House Republicans -- and now this new Ryan budget that he's talking about it doubles down on what they tried to do last year -- they're now saying that they we're going -- they will accelerate and intensify cuts to Medicare beneficiaries. Instead of joining Democrats for real reform by negotiating, volume discounts on prescription drugs, they want to continue to accelerate and intensify a budget on the backs of seniors. And I think that's fundamentally wrong, and we're going to fight that.

COSTELLO: OK, so I'm going to -- I'd like you to predict something, because Paul Ryan says we're headed for a sequestration, the series of steep federal cuts, you know, to the Defense Department and to other government programs. He says it's going to happen. Is it?

ISRAEL: Well, it shouldn't happen. Again, we are willing to compromise. We have -- we have already supported $1 trillion in cuts to the budget and the Budget Control Act, House Democrats have. We are willing to continue to engage in common sense solutions and compromise. But when Paul Ryan goes on national television and says my way or no way, that there is going to be sequestration, there will be cuts to defense, there will be more cliffs and there will not be a willingness to talk about more revenues from those most able to pay, that doesn't bode well.

We need to get away from the -- you know, the sound bites and drawing lines in the sands, as I said before, doubling down and digging in and instead, find areas where we can compromise and we continue to invite -- I'll invite Paul again, meet us halfway. We'll be there for you. But don't draw lines in the sand and don't tell us it's going to be your way or there is going to be government shutdowns or sequestration.

COSTELLO: Congressman Steve Israel of New York. Thank you so much for being with us this morning.

ISRAEL: Thanks, Carol. Thank you.

COSTELLO: You're welcome.

Do you study the fine print of the ingredients on your food and drink? One teenager did some research on her Gatorade, her favorite bottle of Gatorade. And now what she found has changed the way Gatorade makes its product.

We'll be back.


COSTELLO: Gatorade is no longer using an ingredient patented as a flame retardant in its drinks. The ingredient already banned in Europe and Japan.

CNN's Alison Kosik is here to talk about the company's move. And this all came about because of this amazing teenager.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. So yes, after hesitating, Pepsi is taking action finally. And yes, it really felt the pressure after this petition was started by a 15-year- old from Mississippi. And what this 15-year-old was asking is for Pepsi to stop using brominated vegetable oil in its Gatorade line. And what that ingredient does is it keeps other gradients from separating but there are some studies out there that suggest BVO could be tied to neurological and thyroid disorders.

Pepsi put out a statement saying "While our products are safe, we are making this change because we know that some consumers have a negative perception of BVO in Gatorade."

Well, now it's going to use a new (INAUDIBLE) base ingredient that will replace BVO and it's going to added to a variety of flavors including Orange, Citrus Cooler, Lemonade and the powder form of Glacier Freeze. Those were the flavors that had BVO in it. But here's the thing it's not being removed from all of Pepsi's brands. Currently you can find BVO in both regular and diet Mountain Dew and including Coca-Cola's Powerade, as well -- Carol?



COSTELLO: Well, at least it's the first step, huh?

KOSIK: Yes. COSTELLO: Alison Kosik, live at the New York Stock Exchange.

Run away snowmobile. It wasn't even an official X Game event but this 450-pound sled did get away during the final night of the game. Wow.


COSTELLO: Forty-five minutes past the hour. Time to check our top stories. Late January in Minnesota and even winter-hardened natives had a tough time dealing with these wintry, slushy, icy roads. Road crews (INAUDIBLE) the highways in and around Minneapolis and for a lot of cars that came too late. Today there's sporting crumpled fenders and what made things much worse it was foggy, too, this morning. Wow.

As investigators look into a deadly nightclub fire in Brazil that killed more than 230 people, we're getting a glimpse of some of their final moments before the tragedy. These images shared with CNN by a cousin of one of the victims showed the young woman and her best friend getting ready to go to the club that night.

A scary crash at the X Games sent spectators scrambling. Jackson Strong tried to do a midair flip on a snowmobile but as you could see, he just can't quite grab it. The snowmobile took off toward the fans, breaking through a barrier. ESPN reported one fan had to be taken off on a stretcher but he was later released to his father. He sustained only minor injuries.

We're just about a month away from the Oscars. And last night's Screen Actors Guild awards gave us a better picture of some of the front-runners vying for that gold statue. Nischelle Turner caught up to some of the stars after the show dressed in a fabulous red dress.

She joins us now live. There you are. You look good.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN SHOWBIZ CORRESPONDENT: Hey Carol -- oh, wow, thank you. That dress by Carason (ph) everyone has really been complimenting that dress. I've got to pass along those kudos to her because she makes a beautiful dress but you need to do one of those musical numbers at the Academy awards with your Oscars. You do great doing a musical number.

COSTELLO: That would be scary.

TURNER: You know, the big news of the night last night, Carol, though -- that would be good TV -- the big news of the night last night, Carol though, interesting enough, it's starting to be the Ben Affleck award season. Despite the fact that he's not even nominated in the best director category for an academy award. Argo took home the top prize last night in the best ensemble cast in a motion picture category, which is basically that show's best picture award.

Now he also won a major prize at Saturday's Producer's Guild Awards. So just keeps getting better and better for him because Argo has now got to be considered a front-runner for the best picture race at the academy awards. However, most film critics will tell you if the director is not nominated for an Oscar, the movie has very little chance of winning. I think this may buck the trend. It's setting up for a really interesting Oscar night.

Now the expected favorite in that Oscar race was "Lincoln" and while the movie itself seems to be losing a little bit of steam this awards season, its star, Mr. Lincoln himself, Daniel Day-Lewis took home the best male actor award for his role. He swept the season and he could just be a lock on Oscar night.

Both Ben Affleck and Daniel Day-Lewis reacted to their wins backstage. Let's listen.


DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, ACTOR: I could also not, it's a good chance I won't. I think I -- member of the academy love surprises. So the worse thing can happen to you is some kind of expectation.

BEN AFFLECK, ACTOR/DIRECTOR: I didn't get nominated as a director, and I thought, well, OK, that's that, you know. And then, you know, I remembered that I was nominated as a producer, which was pretty exciting, you know. So I've kind of gone at it with that approach. I don't know what's going to happen. Who knows, nothing may happen but it's a wonderful opportunity to be on the ride and I'm really honored.


TURNER: The glass half full, that's how he's looking at this, Carol. Now those were highlights of theirs. But my highlights last night, I danced to "Jungle Love" on the red carpet with Chris Tucker and Hugh Jackman planted one right here. Now a bad day at the office. Sure wasn't.

COSTELLO: I'm so jealous. You rock, Nischelle Turner. Thanks so much. For the latest entertainment news --

TURNER: Thanks Carol.

COSTELLO: -- you're welcome. For the latest entertainment news, watch "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" 11:00 Eastern on HLN.


Between the new iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy 3 you don't hear much about the BlackBerry, anymore. The what, you say? You don't hear about the BlackBerry unless you're Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Her love for the BlackBerry even became fodder for the popular Web site that parodied her text messages. Remember, "Texts from Hillary". One showed Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg texting, "Guess what I just bought?" with an image of Clinton texting, "A shirt with a big boy collar?"

Now, Hillary and the rest of the United States will learn more this week about the latest version of the BlackBerry. It's the BlackBerry 10 is expected to be unveiled on Wednesday.

Maggie Lake has a sneak peak of the phone and how far the company is going to promote it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, am I see you later in our other secret place?

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Research in Motion marks it as the smart phone of love. After years of missteps RIM needs to rekindle the passion of the new BlackBerry 10.

THORSTEN HEINS, CEO, RESEARCH IN MOTION: The BlackBerry 10 we are at the start of a new era of mobile computing.

LAKE: The BlackBerry used to be the main squeeze for millions of smart phone suitors. Including this uber-user who said four years ago --

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm still clinging to my BlackBerry. They're going to pry it out of my hand.

LAKE: But as spoofed in this YouTube video --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been thinking about new phones lately.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're just too slow. You never do anything I want you to do.

LAKE: The relationship cooled as sexier phones beckoned.

PETER PACHAL, MASHABLE: It's really like breaking up with someone when you break up with a mobile device or a mobile platform and then you commit to another one.

LAKE: BlackBerry sales have plunged 47 percent with one million subscribers dumping the device.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A memo says Yahoo! will discontinue the use of Blackberries.

LAKE: High profile splits with companies like Yahoo! and U.S. government agencies made headlines last year. And BlackBerry's executive rockers released this video to keep app developers on board. Many called the effort cringe inducing. But all will be forgiven if the 10 catches on.

PACHAL: It's been delayed numerous times because I believe RIM really wants to get this right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With a simple swipe up and over to the right.

LAKE: The 10 is getting high marks for its innovative touch screen.

PETER MISEK, JEFFERIES AND CO.: It's quite thin. It looks a lot like an iPhone but just a bigger screen. And it's very fast.

LAKE: the first models won't come with BlackBerry's beloved keyboard, but never fear, RIM says more than 1,600 corporate customers are ready to give the 10 a shot. And the top four U.S. phone carriers have signed on to provide service. That gives the 10 a leg up compared to Microsoft's new line up of windows phones.

It remains to be seen whether BlackBerry can become a crucial third player behind Apple and Android. But without the success of the 10, some say the very future of RIM is in question. One thing is certain --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you don't have a BlackBerry and it was a deal breaker.

LAKE: With the new 10, research in Motion is trying to bring sexy back to BlackBerry.


COSTELLO: Whoa. Maggie Lake is in New York. I'm still getting over Foreigner singing for BlackBerry.

LAKE: Yes, exactly.

COSTELLO: So strange to me. So no keyboard. That's what set it apart from other smart phones though.

LAKE: Yes. You know, Carol, this, in my humble opinion, is a misstep that they don't have that traditional version hitting the stores immediately because they really need to prove themselves out of the gate. We'll see. They may have it very quickly. And that may be enough for people.

That's a negative. The cameras are supposedly not that great from what we're hearing from early testers. But people do say it is much cooler. It has very good flow. You can work on applications, many of them at the same time which kind of sets it apart.

So people do have some early positive reviews, but can they convince people to break from that eco system, all of those apps from the Galaxy and the iPhone? It's a tough one.

COSTELLO: It is. Maggie Lake reporting live from New York. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be back with more after this.


COSTELLO: Talk back question for you today: What's killing the Tea Party?

This from Stephen: "The Tea Party is killing the Tea Party because they're outside of the American mainstream and the reality of the American political system."

This from Tim: "Most rational people are tired and disgust with the continued extremism from either side of the political spectrum. We want adults, not children running things."

This from Barry: "I had no idea they were dying. In mainstream, middle America, they are alive and well." And Karen: "The Tea Party is dying? Really? You wish. There is half a nation that's angry at what's happening and a good many are Tea Party. Obama keeps it up and the Tea Party will continue to flourish."

Please keep the conversation going. and thanks for joining me today.

CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with Ashleigh Banfield.