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New GOP Message; Dell to Be Sold Its Founder for $24.4 Billion; Music's Biggest Night Almost Here; Ravens Victory Parade Today

Aired February 5, 2013 - 09:30   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Thank you so much for being with me. I'm Carol Costello.

Top stories we're watching right now in THE NEWSROOM:

U.S. stock futures are slightly higher ahead of the opening bell on Wall Street. Investors are watching corporate earning reports that continue to weigh on the market. Ringing the opening bell this morning: the head of BlackRock's Global Financial Institution's David Lomas.

It's the first federal action to call for accountability in the housing crisis and recession. The Department of Justice will sue the ratings agency Standard & Poor's. The civil lawsuit focuses on its ratings of mortgage-related investments leading up to the financial crisis. S&P calls the potential lawsuit entirely without factual or legal merit.

George Zimmerman back in an Orlando courtroom this morning. His attorneys are asking for a trial delay and arguing over the release of evidence. That's according to "The Orlando Sentinel."

Zimmerman faces second-degree murder charges for the shooting of Trayvon Martin. The unarmed Florida teenage was shot and killed nearly a year ago now. He would have been 18 years old today.

Republicans are struggling to redefine their message. In just a few minutes, our chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash will tell us how Tea Party-backed House minority leader Eric Cantor plans to do that.

But, first, a look at New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican who is a mastermind at redefining the Republican message, because, let's face it, he has a sense of humor. I mean, long ridiculed and I mean long ridiculed by David letterman, we'll start with that.


DAVID LETTERMAN, TV HOST/COMEDIAN: Number two, no time to get in shape while governing New Jersey.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Societal, the richest positions.

LETTERMAN: And the number one --


COSTELLO: OK, that's an example of how he's been ridiculed by David Letterman. But Christie pulled a Christie on Dave last night.


LETTERMAN: Welcome to the show.

CHRISTIE: I'm thrilled to be here.


LETTERMAN: Now, you -- how do you feel about me?


CHRISTIE: I love you, Dave.


CHRISTIE: No, no, a love that I have a difficult time really explaining, a deep and abiding love.

LETTERMAN: Well, now -- now, we have a real problem.


LETTERMAN: But I made jokes about you, not just one or two, not just ongoing here and there, intermittent, but --




CHRISTIE: I didn't know it was going to be this long.


LETTERMAN: Now, wait a minute!


COSTELLO: That's funny.

OK. Now back to Eric Cantor, the powerful House Republican who is trying to massage the Republican message.

Dana Bash joins us live from Capitol Hill.

And I bring up Chris Christie because he is sort of starting to redefine the Republican message in his own way and maybe I thought Eric Cantor would take a page from the Chris Christie playbook. DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there were no Danish, no donuts at our interview this morning. But he is trying to redefine the message for sure, and that's what he's going to talk about in an interview later -- at a speech later today. In fact, as we speak, Carol, he is talking about his new message idea to rank-and- file Republicans.

But the gist of it is, he's saying that he understands the election results that most groups, key demographic groups went for the Democrats, not for Republicans, and so, he's trying to make the Republican message more accessible to everyday average Americans. And so, we talked a lot about the fact that he is a father, that he's a family person, and that others in his caucus are as well.

But, of course, one of the main issues in front of this Congress is guns, and, of course, there are a lot of parents out there who are worried about gun violence in their schools. So I asked about that and about whether or not he as a Republican could sign on to even background checks, strengthening background checks as part of gun control.

Listen to the exchange.


REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: Virginia actually is leading in terms of trying to get that information into the database.

BASH: So, you think it should be a state issue, not a federal issue?

CANTOR: No, I think we can take a lot of lessons from what Virginia did and put it in place at the federal level, because there's a lot of states that are not doing what Virginia is doing to try and beef up the database for the background checks, to make sure that we actually can do something that does have a chance at reducing the likelihood and hopefully eliminating that from happening again.

BASH: So, it sounds like you are in favor of beefing up background checks on a federal level?

CANTOR: I am for making sure that we increase the quality of information in the database that is in existence already.


BASH: No, you heard there he was very careful with his words. But just the fact that he talked about increasing the quality of the federal background check system is interesting, because you know, the NRA has -- seems to have shifted its position on background checks and some of the most staunch supporters of gun rights even say they don't want to go there.

But he, somebody who clearly entertaining the idea of doing that, because, of course, we know we've been reporting that when it comes to gun control that is maybe the most likely to pass, maybe the only thing that is likely to pass the House and the Senate. COSTELLO: All right. Chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash, a lot more of your interview will air later on in THE NEWSROOM. Thanks so much.

OK. This news just in to CNN: Dell Computer sold for $24 billion to a Dell. Weird, huh?

Well, Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange to explain.

Hi, Alison.


We did learn in the last few minutes that Dell has reached a deal to be taken private in this more than $24 billion buyout deal. And what it involves is the private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, Microsoft and a company founder Michael Dell. Now, if this is successful, it would be one of the biggest leveraged buyouts in history and certainly one of the biggest since the recession.

And for Michael Dell, it's really been an interesting road for him getting here.


KOSIK (voice-over): Like all good tech success stories it started in a college dorm room, in this case at the University of Texas at Austin. That's where Michael Dell would build computers and sell them directly to his classmates. Now, the man behind Dell is ranked as "Forbes'" 41st richest man in the world with a net worth of almost $15 billion.

So, how did a man who never graduated from college in the end come to lead one of the world's premiere PC companies?

MICHAEL DELL, FOUNDER, DELL: The idea was to sell computers directly to the end user without the markup of the dealer, have a lower level of inventory and higher level of service.

KOSIK: As a teenager, Dell sold newspaper subscriptions. He used data mining to target customers and found success selling to new homeowners and young couples.

But it was in that University of Texas dorm room a few years later where Dell formulated his business model, cut out the middleman and sell directly to consumers and businesses.

DELL: There are about 1.5 billion PCs in the world. And so, you know, if you go out in the real world and look at how business is done, how people get productive work done, you see a lot of PCs.

KOSIK: When Dell computer went public in 1988, Michael Dell was just 23 years old. Five years younger than Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg when his company hit the market. The PC maker came to be known for its catchy, "Dude, you've got a Dell" commercials.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dude, you're getting a Dell.

KOSIK: Today, Dell employs more than 100,000 employees, with a market cap of $23 billion. That sounds impressive but that's way down from Dell's peak market value of $100 billion in 2000.

So, now, it's time for one more unconventional move. Michael Dell is taking his company private after 25 years of publicly trading on the NASDAQ exchange.

A leveraged buyout would cement Michael Dell's hold on his company, but also free it from public scrutiny at a time when it's competing in a landscape packed with tablets and smartphones.

It's not clear it will work. Critics say Michael Dell isn't much of an innovator so he'll never turn dell into an Apple or Samsung. And unlike those companies, Dell still relies on hardware sales, PCs, servers and the like for more than half of its revenue. Public or private, that makes Dell behind the curve in today's tech market.


KOSIK: And it's not a done deal yet, Carol. Shareholders need to give their approval for it. Right now, shares have been halted for trading on this news -- Carol.

ROMANS: Interesting, Alison Kosik reporting live from the New York Stock Exchange.

Music's biggest night just days away. Who is teaming up with Bruno Mars? I know you're dying to know that. A.J. Hammer has the answer.


COSTELLO: Music's big night just days away. We're starting to learn more about who will be on stage at the Grammy Awards.

"Showbiz Tonight" host A.J. Hammer is in New York with the scoop.

A.J. HAMMER, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" HOST: Yes. And there's going to be a terrific matchup, one you might not expect happening among the many performances on Sunday, Carol. CBS just announced that Sting, Bruno Mars and Rihanna will all be performing together. Now, we don't know exactly what they will be singing just yet, but these three are so great individually, I personal can't wait to see what they will be doing together.

Rihanna has been in a bunch of celebrity matchups. She performed with Coldplay just last year. So, she's really becoming a modern staple of the current Grammy era.

Some of the other big names, we have the Black Keys, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake back on the Grammy stage for the first time in years. And Frank Ocean will also be performing, so will Elton John. He's actually going to be on stage with nominee Ed Sheeran.

I'll be speaking with Ed Sheeran tonight on "Showbiz Tonight" just to see how excited he is about that.

And Kelly Clarkson also performing on Sunday night, reunited with her inaugural co-star Beyonce, at least backstage, they'll probably run into each other. Now, Beyonce is not going to be performing, Carol. She's going to be presenting, along with Jennifer Lopez and Prince. But quite frankly, I think she deserves a weekend off after performing at the Super Bowl, don't you?

COSTELLO: Maybe so.

I thought for a moment you were going to say Chris Brown was going to perform with Rihanna. Now, that would have been something.

HAMMER: Well, that was something that was actually running around, and we have to now go back and confirm whether or not that's going to happen. But that was breaking some news just last week.

COSTELLO: Oh, interesting.

HAMMER: So, you never know what the Grammy Awards, always a good show. It's on CBS, from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday.

COSTELLO: A.J., thank you.

A.J. will be back with us next hour for more showbiz headlines. He's got details on a new app that will allow to you see the new "Star Trek" movie two days before it hits the theaters.

You might have to cut back on driving, but chances are, gas prices still took a bigger portion of your paycheck in 2012.


COSTELLO: Forty-seven minutes past the hour. Here are some of the "Top Stories" we're following this morning.

The five-year-old Alabama boy in good spirits after reuniting with his family, after being held hostage six days in an underground bunker. An FBI team raided that bunker after determining the boy was in imminent danger and they managed to rescue Ethan. His kidnaper Jimmy Lee Dykes though he died during that raid.

We're expecting more testimony today from an Arizona woman who admitted in court to killing her ex-boyfriend in 2008. Jodi Arias says she stabbed Travis Alexander 29 times, shot him in the face and slit his throat. She claims she acted in self-defense and also says she planned to commit suicide after his death.


JODI ARIAS, DEFENDANT: I was very confident that no jury would convict me because I planned to be dead. Probably the most bitter words I'll ever eat.


COSTELLO: Arias faces a possible death sentence if convicted.

The Federal Communications Commission the FCC holding the first of several field hearings today. It will focus on the impact of Super Storm Sandy and focus on how to keep communication systems up and running during times of crisis and natural disasters.

King Richard III's newly discovered skull has been used to recreate this 3D model of his face. And this comparison image you can see the bust on the right is pretty darned similar to the painted portrait on the left. It's amazing how that happens, isn't it? DNA tests confirm that human remains found under a parking lot in Britain are those of the king.

I'm about to tell you something you've probably already felt in your wallet, but now it's official, the Energy Department says the average U.S. household spent almost $3,000 on gas last year, that's the highest level in four years.

"Talk Back" question today, "Should the Boy Scouts of America lift its ban on gays?" or tweet me @carolCNN. Your responses next.


COSTELLO: "Talk Back" question today "Should the Boy Scouts of America lift its ban on gays?"

This from Sherry, "Yes, my son wasn't allowed to be in the Scouts because of their bigotry."

This from Lissa, "It would be nice if they made that decision but as a private organization they should make that decision on their own not based on what the government or media wants."

This from Frank, "The attitude that gays are going to destroy moral fabric is sad. The diversity will only make the Scouts stronger."

This from Paula, "No, not with our children. Start your own gay scouts."

This from Chadford, "Doesn't anyone understand that homosexuals are people, too? Does everyone think that gay people are meant to go into every single group of people on earth just to cause chaos?"

And this from Alissa, "I love how people bring up the bible for their reasons of bigotry and blind hatred, they obviously have forgotten about the Catholic priests who molest hundreds of children. Lift the ban already."

Please continue the conservation, it's a heated one on Facebook, or please tweet me @carolCNN.

Jacoby Jones kickoff return for a touchdown was a huge moment for the Baltimore Ravens and of course for the people who bought furniture at one Baltimore store.


COSTELLO: Oh the game might be over, but not the partying, the city of Baltimore has big plans for their Super Bowl winning team today. Bleacher Report's Vince Cellini joins us with details of the Ravens big victory tour.

VINCE CELLINI, BLEACHER REPORT: Yes it just continues. It goes on and on. And Carol, it's not an official holiday in Baltimore but feels that way. As some kids are going to be taken out of school, local businesses downtown are going to close up for the big parade that's going to be taking place in downtown Baltimore, to welcome home the Ravens.

Yes, it all started with Sunday's win, continued on Monday as the team returned home. And an eager crowd awaited them. Celebrating the city's first football championship in 12 years. And the party continues. Downtown procession starts at 10:45 a.m. in front of city hall. Back in 2001, last time they did this, 200,000 people plus showed up. Maybe they will top that this year.

Meanwhile Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco will make it back to back parades, the first took place Monday at Disneyworld, the game MVP carrying on a tradition that started back in 1987 with Giants quarterback Phil Simms, although Baltimore will be slightly chillier than central Florida. Temperatures expected in the low 40s under cloudy skies.

Now this is a great story Gardeners Furniture, a chain in Baltimore told customers who bought items between January 31st and 3:00 p.m. day of the game Sunday that those items would be free if the Ravens returned a kickoff for a touchdown to open the game or to open the third quarter. And sure enough, Jacoby Jones did just that starting the second half with a kickoff return for a score. As a result they will give away $600,000 in furnishings. Fortunately, they have an insurance policy to cover them. The policy was $12,000. The publicity is priceless.

And finally this, reigning NBA, MVP Lebron James outdoing himself. Monday in a win over Charlotte, 31 points, but more impressive 13 of 14 shooting from the field. A career best, 92.9 percent. It marked the league's best shooting performance with at least that many attempts in a game in 18 years. And it helped that Lebron got a lot of looks close to the basket against the league's worst team, the Charlotte Bobcats.

And don't forget you can check out a complete breakdown of Lebron's big night on as well as the rest of your sports news. But in Baltimore, yes, party on. Enjoy your champions maybe tomorrow as well. I don't know.

COSTELLO: I wish I can -- ok, I want a prediction from you. So Joe Flacco, as they call him in Baltimore, his contract is up. How much money do you think he will get from the Ravens?

CELLINI: Oh my goodness that's hard to say. But I know they're going to lock him up for a long, long time. When you win a Super Bowl and you're the MVP you are good to go. The timing was perfect for Joe Flacco.

COSTELLO: Everybody, disses him, for his quarterbacking skills but I guess they can't diss him any longer.

CELLINI: No he just keeps better and better he's performed really well in playoff situations, and it's culminated with this championship. So to his -- to his -- people out there criticizing him, I got a ring. Take that.

COSTELLO: That's right. Take that. You go, Joe Flacco.

The next hour CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

Stories we're watching right now, a child plucked from a school bus at gun point, his ordeal now over. The new challenge dealing with the lingering trauma. We'll talk to someone who endured a chillingly similar kidnapping a generation ago.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It brings back all the memories.


COSTELLO: Searching for normalcy, when your life is turned upside down. A childhood victim of a similar siege describes decades of healing.

Reinventing the Republicans, today House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is expected to tell his party how to broaden its appeal but will it be enough to sway voters?

An asteroid half the size of a football field barreling toward earth, but NASA promises, hey, it won't hit us. But they are telling us we may get a glimpse of it. We'll tell you when.

And it's the most coveted trophy in the NFL, so how did the Super Bowl champion Ravens lose track of the Lombardi Trophy?

NEWSROOM starts now.