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Bombing at U.S. Embassy in Turkey; Former NYC Mayor Dead at 88; Jobs Market Grows in January; Convicted Murderer Freed by Mistake; 49er Apologizes for Anti-Gay Remark; Ravensanity

Aired February 1, 2013 - 09:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: With Carol Costello begins right now.

Hey, Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Soledad. Stories we're watching right now in the NEWSROOM, a blast felt around the world. This morning a suicide bomber strikes just outside the U.S. embassy in Turkey. We have the latest on this developing story.

Mistakenly freed. A convicted murderer now on the loose. The latest on the frantic search to find him.

Popular cough and cold syrups you may have in your cupboard are being recalled this morning because the caps on the bottles aren't child proof enough.



COSTELLO: I can't even explain to you how insane it is here in Baltimore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What time is it?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What time is it?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big dogs in the house.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big dogs in the house.


COSTELLO: And good morning. Thank you so much for being with us. I'm Carol Costello.

We begin this hour with the news of a suicide strike at the U.S. embassy in Turkey. Just a couple of hours ago the bomber got as close as the front gate before detonating. The attack comes as the State Department scrambles to beef up security in response to that deadly attack on Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

Nicholas Burns is a former under secretary of state and former State Department official. He joins us now from Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Good morning.


COSTELLO: So this -- you know, in all respects the suicide bomber targeted the U.S. embassy in Turkey. What do you make of that?

BURNS: Well, it's just hard to know the motives for this and no group has claimed responsibility for this incident, but I will say this, Carol, we have been -- the State Department has been fortifying its embassies for the last 20 or 30 years in this age of terrorism, and the U.S. government puts an extraordinary amount of time and attention to protecting its diplomats.

But, you know, we also rely on host governments and a determined terrorist attacker we've seen this in the past can sometimes get through and we lost one of our employees, a Turkish employee, today.

COSTELLO: Yes. One of the security guards, Turkish security guards guarding that embassy was killed in that attack. As far as we know, no Americans were hurt. We just don't know yet.

Tell us what it must have been like inside that embassy as the suicide bomber detonated himself.

BURNS: Well, one can only imagine. You know, the concern, the fear, the confusion in a bomb blast like this. Unfortunately, the reality for our American diplomats, our foreign service officers overseas, is they have to live in this environment. We've had many embassies including of course our consulate in Benghazi attacked just recently.

Security is job number one for the State Department overseas, it has to be. But as I said before, there's this misconception sometimes in our public discourse here in the United States that we are totally responsible for our own security. We've actually relied in over 275 different cities around the world, where our embassies and consulates are. We rely on host governments, on security forces, on the militaries and police forces in host countries so it's a joint responsibility, and obviously the State Department will have to look into this and they'll try to determine who is responsible.

COSTELLO: Nicholas Burns, former ambassador, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

BURNS: Thank you, Carol.

COSTELLO: We'll have much more from Turkey later on in the NEWSROOM. So far no one has claimed responsibility for that suicide attack.

The boy from the Bronx known as Mr. New York died this morning. Ed Koch, the colorful former mayor of New York City was both controversial and much beloved. His signature line?


ED KOCH, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Am I doing all right? Am I doing OK?


COSTELLO: Yes, we remember that. The 88-year-old Koch had been in and out of the hospital recently. He died of congestive heart failure. His funeral will be Monday in a synagogue near Central Park.

Koch served three terms as mayor starting in 1978. He later found a new role for his jubilant sometimes combative personality as a judge on the "People's Court." He also hosted a radio show and of course he never left his beloved hometown.

Let's bring in our John Berman. He's in New York. So what will be the mayor's political legacy you think?

JOHN BERMAN, CO-ANCHOR, CNN'S EARLY START: Carol, I don't think you can overstate his political legacy. For more than 10 years Mayor Ed Koch was synonymous with New York. He came to office in 1978. At that point New York City was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. And by sheer force of will and as a PR salesman, you know, Ed Koch really lifted New York out from the doldrums.

In a statement today the current mayor, Michael Bloomberg, said that, "New York City has lost an irrepressible icon, our most charismatic cheerleader and champion." Think about that. "Our most charismatic cheerleader and champion."

Ed Koch served until -- 1989. He's been out of office for more than 20 years but still had had tremendous, tremendous reach in this city. His political ideology changed over the years. He was a four-term congressman from New York City before he was mayor, a liberal, a real liberal in New York City, then he shifted to the right over his time as the mayor, and then in 2004 he actually endorsed George W. Bush for the presidency.

He was controversial at times, there's a lot of heated racial conflict in New York City in his time as mayor. But when you think back at the legacy, which was your original question, it was this man who adored New York, who bled, who sweated for this city, and truly, truly loved it.

COSTELLO: He did. I remember. I had -- I did a lot of interviews with Mayor Koch, feisty until the end. That's for sure.

BERMAN: Oh, yes.

COSTELLO: John Berman, many thanks to you.

Now let's turn to the economy and some new encouraging signs this morning, just minutes ago more evidence the jobs market is recovering, albeit agonizingly slowly. 157,000 jobs were added last month and later this hour, Wall Street begins the day a little giddy. The Dow celebrating its best January gains since 1994 and it all comes on the heels of President Obama disbanding his jobs council, a group of business leaders who advised him on the economy.

Republicans were quick to seize on the news, scoffing at the White House's handling of the council and the economy overall.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: If the White House spent nearly as much time trying to actually fix the economy as it did claiming it was fixed and then finding excuses and scapegoats when its premature pronouncements turned out to be false I suspect the economy would actually be doing better than it is doing today.


COSTELLO: Christine Romans is here to break down the new jobs numbers. And, I mean, is he right? The unemployment is -- unemployment rate is still, what, 7.9 percent now?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, 7.9 percent, 157,000 jobs created in January. That's modest hiring. That is an economy that is healing still slowly but, Carol, when you look at the end of the year, we had some revisions to the jobs creation in November and December.

I want to show you the end of the year, things were stronger than we thought at the end of the year so hiring was picking up in November and December. Hiring picking enough -- up enough, Carol, to actually eat into the number of people who are out there still looking in the -- in the wake of the recession.

One area I wanted to show you that's really important I think when you look at construction jobs, Carol, 28,000 net construction jobs added, that's because of Hurricane Sandy cleanup, and the housing market, Carol, is getting a little bit better so we're adding some construction jobs.


COSTELLO: I so like to hear positive news. Christine Romans, thanks so much from New York.

At the bottom of this hour I'm going to talk to a former member of the president's jobs council, co-founder of AOL, Steve Case. So stick around for that.

New pictures this morning of reporters dogging Democratic New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez. And in case you're wondering these pictures were taken outside of his house in Washington, D.C. Menendez fighting allegations that he violated finance laws and had sex with underage prostitutes. He gave his first on-camera comments to CNN regarding this issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Senator Menendez. Senator Menendez, do you have any response to violating any campaign finance laws?

SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: I have comments already printed at my office. These are nameless, faceless, anonymous allegations. You should find out who that is.


COSTELLO: Consequences from these accusations could be dire for the senator. He's in line to become chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Scary moments for some Alaska Air passengers. A flight from Los Angeles to Seattle was forced to make an emergency landing because the captain passed out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then all of a sudden the attendant started running up and down the aisle, I've never seen them go so fast and then they announced if there's any doctors or nurses or anyone aboard to please come forward and then the -- and then the rumor spread that it was the pilot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We saw the flight attendants run into the cockpit pretty quickly and so as soon as that happened you know there's something going on and -- then the cockpit door opened and they lay the pilot on the floor, and went and got the defibrillator, I think that's what it was, or some medical equipment, and began to work on him. She asked if there were any medical personnel on board, EMT, paramedics and doctors.

And one young lady came up to the front as well as another young man. They worked on him for a while and he seemed to be OK. I think he hit his head.


COSTELLO: Wow. The first officer landed the plane in Portland, Oregon, while a doctor who happened to be on board treated the captain. The captain was then taken to an area hospital.

In Atlanta an armed school resource officer apprehends a shooter moments after he shot a fellow student. These are the same type of armed officers the NRA is proposing for schools. The 14-year-old was shot by another student outside the school in what police are calling a previous disagreement. The teenager who was shot was treated and released from a local hospital. Charges are of course pending against the shooter.

It was a mistake. A dangerous one. Sheriff's deputies in Chicago inadvertently released a dangerous killer instead of transporting him back to prison. This morning a manhunt is under way in Illinois and Indiana. Steven Robbins, the man you're looking at, was in court this week on unrelated charges. These charges were dropped but instead of being returned to Indiana to complete his 60-year sentence for murder, Robbins was released by the Cook County Sheriff's Office.

Ted Rowlands is in Chicago this morning.

So, just how dangerous is this man?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Carol, clearly he didn't plan an escape so this is a guy who has realistically no resources. It is hovering around zero outside in the Midwest in terms of temperature with windchills below zero. He's got to be desperate to find shelter, to find money, so he is clearly dangerous, and they want to bring him in as soon as possible.

He was serving a 60-year sentence for murder and unlawful gun possession charges. He was convicted in 2004 in the state of Indiana and warrants have been issued in both Indiana and Illinois. The big question is, of course, how did this happen? How was he let go? He came here for a hearing on drug charges. Even though he was serving this murder charge in Indiana, they brought him to Chicago to face these drug charges, old drug charges.

They were dropped, as soon as he got into court, and then when he left the courtroom, he went along with the other guys who had their charges dropped apparently and he was just let out. So within instant this guy was out on the street and they're desperately trying to find him.

COSTELLO: Well, why did they bring him to Chicago to an open courtroom if they're going to drop the charges?

ROWLANDS: That's the big question. Believe it or not this happened three years ago in Chicago as well. They brought a sex offender up from Mississippi to answer to some charges that were dropped. They let him go, in that case, he got out and turned around and basically turned himself in because he had nowhere to go. The hope is that Mr. Robbins will do the same.

COSTELLO: Ted Rowlands reporting live for us from Chicago this morning.

A quarterback, a player for the San Francisco 49ers says gays cannot be in the locker room. Now he's apologizing. This morning we're going to talk to someone who thinks an apology is not enough. He says Chris Culliver needs to be suspended.


COSTELLO: Fifteen minutes past the hour. Time to take a look at our top stories.

Triaminic and Theraflu, two popular cold medications, are being recalled not because they're dangerous when you take them, but because the caps are not fully child-proofed. Novartis, the company that makes the cough syrup says it has received four reports of accidental ingestion by children. You can get more information about the products and the questions -- the product in question, I should say, at

It's day four of a tense hostage standoff in southeast Alabama where a 5-year-old boy is being held hostage in an underground bunker. This is a graphic animation, just like the one in Alabama. In a small town of Midland City, friends and neighbors are speaking out with anger toward Jimmy Lee Dykes, the man holding the little boy hostage.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope they get you and I hope you live the rest of your life in prison and you never see the day of light again. You're going to pay for what you did to this little boy and that bus driver.


COSTELLO: In north Texas, a manhunt is on to find whoever shot a prosecutor outside a courthouse. Kaufman County district attorney Mike McLelland had this message for the shooters.


MIKE MCLELLAND, KAUFMAN CO. DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We're very confident that we're going to find you, we're going to pull you out of whatever hole you're in, and we're going to bring you back and let the people of Kaufman County prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.


COSTELLO: There's a $20,000 reward for information that could lead to a conviction.

Oh, it is cold in the upper Midwest today. You can see temperatures in Minnesota with wind chills that make it feel like minus 25 degrees. That's what it's like in Minneapolis. And it feels like minus 27 in International Falls. Woo!

San Francisco is one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world. So imagine how shocked some fans were when one of their beloved 49ers said this.


ARTIE LANGE: What about gay guys, any of them approached you?

CHRIS CULLIVER, 49ERS CORNERBACK: No, I don't do the gay guys, man. I don't do that, no.

LANGE: Are there any on the 49ers?

CULLIVER: No, they don't got no gay people on the team. They got to get up out of here (ph). They do (ph). Can't be with the sweet stuff.

LANGE: Really, is that true? CULLIVER: Yes, that's true.

LANGE: But they might be able to play well.



CULLIVER: No, no, you can't be in the locker room -- no.


COSTELLO: That's Chris Culliver. He's a backup cornerback for the 49ers. As you might imagine, within hours, public outcry led to an apology.


CULLIVER: First, I don't have no disrespect (ph) in other sexualities and -- you know, just like that. And like I said that's not what I feel in my heart and I treat everyone equal, any type of way. So, it's not how I feel.


COSTELLO: Joining us from New York is Michelangelo Signorile. He's a Sirius XM Radio host and editor-at-large for "The Huffington Post Gay Voices."

Good morning, Michelangelo.


COSTELLO: Did he sort of forget he played for San Francisco?

SIGNORILE: You know, it really is shocking to hear comments like that from somebody playing for San Francisco, and the 49ers have been very out front about supporting LGBT people and the NFL has really been saying it's going to take on homophobia. So you have to wonder also about the sensitivity training and what they've really done in talking to these players.

COSTELLO: Well, he did apologize. Did you think his apology was sincere?

SIGNORILE: It didn't seem sincere at all, particularly his written apology before he had come out and spoken. He said these were just reflections in his head, not in his heart. And I'm not quite sure what that means. And his P.R. guy said, we all misinterpreted what he said.

I think it was pretty clear what he said. He said that closeted gay players should not think about coming out, and that's a threat to them.

COSTELLO: So what do you think should happen, if an apology is not enough?

SIGNORILE: I think there need to be ramifications, repercussions, otherwise all of the NFL's claims to take on homophobia are just empty gestures.

Suspension is something that they did for a player on the 49ers just a month ago, Brendan Jacobs, when he spoke out in a negative tone about his bosses. He tweeted something about his bosses and they suspended him.

So are they saying that the team management, you know, is something more important than gay players and gay fans in terms of being insulted?

I think there have to be some repercussions, a fine, something. It can't just go like this, otherwise what stops another player from doing the same thing?

COSTELLO: Well, it's interesting, because this comes on the heels of the Ravens player, Brendon Ayanbadejo. He is promoting same-sex marriage and he wants to use the Super Bowl to do it.

Let's listen.


BRENDON AYANBADEJO, BALTIMORE RAVENS LINEBACKER: I have this huge platform, the whole world is watching. It's a message of positivity. It's a message of equality. And it's a chance to get it out. It's not going to affect the way I play football but it's going to affect a lot of people's lives off the field.


COSTELLO: So maybe the best defense against this, forgive the pun, but is other players, like pressuring players like Culliver to maybe change their minds.

SIGNORILE: Absolutely. Brendon Ayanbadejo has been a tremendous advocate as Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings.

And, look, this is not about speech or people's opinions. There's another player on the Minnesota Vikings who came out publicly and oppose gay marriage. If you have a position on an issue and you engage in it civilly, that's one thing. If you defame and demean a group of people, and really send a threat to a member of the group, there has to be zero tolerance.

The NFL should be embarrassed, horribly embarrassed by this. If it were Jews or blacks or any other group, he would be fired from the team. That's what they need to do in terms of taking a strong stance.

COSTELLO: Michelangelo Signorile, Sirius XM Radio host and "Huffington Post" contributor -- thank you so much for joining us this morning.

SIGNORILE: Thank you, Carol.

COSTELLO: All NFL fans love their teams. But Baltimore? Oh, they're fans are crazy!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, oh, oh, oh --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're in drinking town with a football problem.



COSTELLO: It's Ravensanity. It's a 24/7 condition.


COSTELLO: I know San Francisco fans are crazy for the 49ers, but there's something different about the fans in Baltimore. When I say they love their Ravens, I mean they adore them. And when you meet them, you'll understand exactly what I mean.


COSTELLO: It's early morning in Baltimore and the city glows Ravens purple.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now, it's 6:12, we are on the inner harbor.

COSTELLO: Radio station WIYY is hosting an alcohol-fueled Ravens pep rally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh --

KERRY BURKE, RAVENS FAN: We're a drinking town with a football problem. That's Baltimore. We tailgate for the football games and everything. We're die-hard, we bleed purple. We love the Ravens.

BRANDON CARVER, RAVENS FAN: Look at what we got it. What other city is up at 6:00 in the morning partying on a Monday?

We know we got work. We don't care. We're supporting our team. We're supporting our team.

COSTELLO (on camera): I can't even explain to you how insane it is here in Baltimore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What time is it?

CROWD: Game time!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What time is it?

CROWD: Game time. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big dogs in the house.

CROWD: Woof, woof!

COSTELLO (voice-over): Crazy, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, your Super Bowl-bound Baltimore Ravens.

COSTELLO: Not if you understand the Ravens are Baltimore, a symbol for a city eager to overcome its gritty image.

RAY LEWIS, RAVENS LINEBACKER: We love you, we love you. We're going to give you everything we got. Baltimore, we love you.

COSTELLO: And no one has epitomized Baltimore's road to redemption more than Ray Lewis. Make no mistake Lewis defines the Ravens.

MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, BALTIMORE: We have a tenacious team. One of our mottos is being relentless. I think that's the history of Baltimore, the story of our people. And the Ravens play that out every time they take the field.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go, Super Bowl! Let's go!

COSTELLO: The ravens are feeding this fanaticism by supporting super fans like Captain Dee-fense, Baltimore Birdman, Dei-ciple (ph), Purple Dane and Poetic Justice. Every NFL franchise has that super fans, team mascots, if you will, who are active in the community.

DEE-FENSE, RAVENS SUPER FANS: No offense to the other 31 teams, but we got the best super fans in the NFL.

COSTELLO: Let's face it, what other super fan has a '52 Buick painted in purple pain.

On Sunday, everyone here will be a super fan, awaiting what they know will be Baltimore's chance to show the world it's a winner.


COSTELLO: That was one of the most fun stories I've ever done in my life.

On the eve of the Super Bowl, CNN is live in New Orleans with our take of the biggest sporting event of the country, what it means to the city, how it became such a cultural phenomenon and so much more. Join us for "Kickoff in New Orleans: A CNN Bleacher Report Special", tomorrow afternoon, 4:00 Eastern.