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The Blizzard of '13; Federal Reserve Hacked; Dodge Ram's "Farmers" Ad Gets a Remix; FDA Warns About Fake Cancer Drug; More Problems For Lance Armstrong; "Lincoln" Fails History Test

Aired February 7, 2013 - 06:30   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Will it be the blizzard of '13? Big cities like Boston and much more of the Northeast right in the path of a major winter storm.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Cyber attack on America's bank? Hackers breach the Federal Reserve.

SAMBOLIN: And commercial warfare. A Latino group fires off its own ad after blasting a Super Bowl spot for Dodge Ram trucks.

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

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is Thursday morning, 30 minutes after the hour right now.

And we are going to start with the massive storm brewing. Millions of people in the Northeast are bracing for what could be an historic blizzard. This system could dump more than two feet of snow on parts of New England starting tomorrow.

Right now, there's a blizzard watch in effect for sections of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and there is plenty of freezing rain and damaging winds forecast for the rest of the region.

This looks like a serious one, so let's get right top Indra Petersons. She is monitoring the storm system for us from the storm center in Atlanta. Hey, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. Yes. We're going to be watching how this storm forms. It's going to start forming out of this low that's starting to produce some heavy showers in the South. You'll see form a low. It will be a heavy rain and wind maker as it moves up toward the Carolinas.

And notice, we keep talking two storms coming together. There's the two storms that will start to merge and form. (AUDIO GAP) talking about the positioning because it does make all the difference. We have a lot of models and they're all producing different amounts of snow and rain.

The reason for this, of course, if the model brings it closer to the coastline, we see heavier amounts of moisture and heavier amounts of snow. You bring it farther off the coastline, and you'll see lesser amounts.

The other thing the models are picking up is where that snow line or freezing line goes. If it moves farther down to the South, that cold air makes it farther to the South, you'll see heavier snow amounts. Meaning you'll start off as snow instead of sleet and transition into snow.

We're watching a winter storm watch for a big portion of New England. Blizzard watches in through Boston, portions of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. And then even as that second wave makes its way across, we're going to be talking about heavier snow, even in through Michigan. So they have a winter storm warning there as well.

As far as totals, we've been talking about this. About one to two feet is the big number we're talking about here in New England. Some models bring it higher, some bringing it lower. And focusing in through New York, we are talking about freezing line.

You guys are right on that cutoff, so if you get warm air first, you'll start off with sleet, then snow. A lot of cold air means you're going to get more snow. We'll monitor for you here at a long time.

BERMAN: Indra, I'm staring at that map trying to figure out exactly where the line hits there, but that is a big area.

SAMBOLIN: Where your house is?

BERMAN: Where my house.

A big area of purple, a lot of snow expected. Thanks a lot -- Indra Petersons in Atlanta.

SAMBOLIN: Hopefully, it won't be deadly and just be fun for everyone, right? Let's hope so.

Thirty-two minutes past the hour here. Now to a shocking discovery: a teenager chained to a pipe in his basement. Kansas City police were responding to a tip from the Missouri children's hotline and they found a 17-year-old boy locked up, appearing frail and hungry. The special needs teenager told police he had been locked down there by his parents since September.

And according to a neighbor, the teen's mother had been telling people that the boy was out of town and that it was tough to watch when he was finally rescued by police.


ASHLEY REPPY, FRIEND OF VICTIM: You could tell he had lost a lot of weight. He looked very grayish kind of, you know, like that pale gray color. They said he was very dehydrated, so --

REPORTER: What did you feel seeing that?

REPPY: I was heartbroken, honestly. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: How could you not be? Three adults are in custody now and that boy is in the care of the state right now.

BERMAN: A just-released study warns Alzheimer's is a looming U.S. epidemic. The new estimates in the Journal of Neurology predict the number of older people living with the disease will almost triple, triple by 2050, affecting 13.8 million people, including aging baby boomers.

SAMBOLIN: Florida Senator Marco Rubio will deliver the GOP response to the president's State of the Union address. He will do it live in English while a prerecorded version in Spanish runs on Spanish language networks.

The GOP ramping up its outreach to Hispanic Americans after 71 percent voted for President Obama in November.

BERMAN: This is really interesting, one of the most popular Super Bowl ads receiving a postgame remix. Dodge Ram's "God made a farmer" ad struck a chord with viewers, but it was criticized for not showing minorities.

In response, a Latino group released its own version of the ad with minority workers featured prominently. The new version of the ad has already received more than 500,000 views online. So far, no response from Dodge.

SAMBOLIN: I thought the original ad did have an African-American, so not no minorities, but no Latino minorities, I guess.

All right. Here are some of the top trending stories on Officials at the Federal Reserve confirming that they have been hacked -- they have been hacked by an outside party. The Fed says whoever did it got access to a limited amount of data.

The discovery is raising a lot of questions about cyber security at the Fed. We're being told the exposure did not impact operations and also that it was quickly fixed.

BERMAN: Pop star Rihanna was in a Los Angeles courtroom with Chris Brown on Tuesday, but this time, she wasn't there to testify against him, she was there to support him. The singer sat behind Brown while a prosecutor asked a judge to start his community service over. That community service is part of Brown's punishment for beating up Rihanna the night before the Grammys in 2009. Indeed, there she is. What a difference a year makes -- four years makes.

SAMBOLIN: I think that was at a game because she was holding a beer a little while ago. We don't have a picture of her staying court behind him.

So, reaction is pouring to snail mail being cut on Saturdays. The Postal Service has been hemorrhaging cash and says this will actually help save it. So you will still get packages, but no more first class letters delivered on Saturdays, and customers are split on whether this is good or bad.


TIM NORMAN, POSTAL CUSTOMER: Not cool. I want mail on Saturday. Why not?

RITA LEE, POSTAL CUSTOMER: Frankly, it really doesn't bother me. I'm retired and I'm not worried about getting my checks or anything, if I get them Saturday or Monday.


SAMBOLIN: The service changes will not happen until August. And look at this, it's expected to save $2 billion a year.

BERMAN: That's a lot of money.


BERMAN: Supporters of gay rights frustrated this morning after the Boy Scouts of America put off what would have been a landmark decision. One of those activists joins us live, coming up.

SAMBOLIN: Plus a brand new look at the American president. The long- lost snapshot, it is revealed.


BERMAN: Oh, my. Would you look at that? Recognize that supermodel right there? That's our very own Soledad O'Brien walking down the runway, really prancing, at the red dress collection fashion show last night here in New York, looking absolutely stunning. I would call it a cherry red off the shoulder dress.

The event promotes heart truth, which inspires women to get and stay heart healthy. Of course, she went right from that runway to the studio right here.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, "STARTING POINT": I was wearing four- inch heels and I'm like, please don't fall, please don't fall, please -- apparently sometimes people take a tumble.

BERMAN: You handled it perfectly, I would say.

O'BRIEN: Thank you very much. It was for a great cause, of course, to bring attention to women's heart health.

Ahead this morning on "STARTING POINT", we're going to talk about Iran claiming now that it's hacked a U.S. drone, released footage from the aircraft apparently. This comes as the Senate Intelligence Committee is preparing to receive classified information about the Obama administration's policy of targeting Americans in drone attacks. We'll take a look at what it all means for the secretive program.

Plus, you may have heard their recording of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," a group of students performing in the name of Sandy Hook, not exactly affiliated with the Sandy Hook Elementary students who were performing the other day at the Super Bowl, although it's made some of the members of the community kind of upset. We'll explain what's happening there.

Newtown school superintendent Janet Robinson will join us live to talk to us about that.

Then, a man who has spent literally decades trying to get Americans in shape. Now, Richard Simmons has a new program to help people get healthy. He says he's even got a little advice for Governor Chris Christie.

BERMAN: A lot of people seem to have advice for Governor Chris Christie these days.

O'BRIEN: I'm sure he's like enough with the advice, people.

BERMAN: Oh, he's more than that. Well, we'll talk about that too, no doubt. Thanks, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: You bet.

BERMAN: Zoraida?

SAMBOLIN: All right. Forty-one minutes past the hour.

Gay rights supporters were hoping for a historic announcement from the Boy Scouts of America. So, instead, they were told check back later. Check back with us later.

The Boy Scouts board was expected to decide whether to lift their national ban on gay members yesterday, but they pushed it back to May during their annual meeting.

Jennifer Tyrrell was a Cub Scout den leader in Ohio until she says the organization dismissed her for being a lesbian. On Monday, she led a group to drop off a petition at Boy Scout headquarters claiming 1.4 million signatures, and she is joining us this morning.

Thank you so much for stopping by. We appreciate it. So they have essentially delayed the decision by three months. Were you surprised by that decision?



TYRRELL: It's been a lot of back and forth in the last 10 months since I started my petition. We've heard one thing and then they have done another, so not necessarily surprised.

A little disappointed because I was hoping that I could go home and give my son some good news, but, you know what, if they need a little more time to make the right decision, then that's what they need to do. SAMBOLIN: And what is the right decision?

TYRRELL: The right decision is always equality.

SAMBOLIN: And so, at the end of the day, are you hopeful that that still could potentially happen? Because there are some folks who really do not want that to happen.

TYRRELL: It's true. But throughout history there are folks who do not want equality to happen. So I feel very optimistic. The first time, they have not said no, truthfully.

SAMBOLIN: That's a good point.

TYRRELL: They have always said, no. No, no, no, no, no.

And now they brought it up. We didn't bring it up this time. They said we're thinking about it. Now, we need a little more time.

I'm hopeful. I just have to hold on to that belief that they're going to be on the right side of history. If we have to wait until May, then we have to wait until May.

SAMBOLIN: Now, you're claiming 1.5 million signatures on a petition that you dropped off at the headquarters on Monday. How did you go about getting those signatures?

TYRRELL: That was actually a cumulative effort, like four petitions on, mine and several folks that were with me. We basically just have been telling our stories, my story and how I was ousted and people sympathize because they think what if I have a gay child or if I do have.

You know, it's not right. People know that. People are rising to the occasion. We've been flooded with support from scouts, from churches, from everywhere.

SAMBOLIN: You know, I want to actually share some numbers on this because we have a new Quinnipiac poll and shows a wide majority of people want to see the Boy Scouts' ban on gays come to an end. It's a wide margin there, 55 percent.

How do you go about getting more people to care and to become involved?

TYRRELL: Well, you know, I've never been involved before this happened. I'm not an advocate -- I mean I am now. But I just tell my story, and I think people can relate to it, because I'm just a mom with a partner and four kids who's just trying to live her life and do the best I can.

So, I think that other parents especially can relate to what if I couldn't participate in my child's life, how would I feel about that? So --

SAMBOLIN: I want to talk about the other side of this, because Tony Perkins, the head of Family Research Council, was on "STARTING POINT" yesterday. Soledad mentioned you specifically to him.

So, let's listen.


TONY PERKINS, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Why would I let a man who is attracted to other males go camping with my boys?

O'BRIEN: Why would someone about like Jennifer Tyrell, right, who is lesbian. Jennifer Tyrrell is a lesbian and she wants to be a den mother. I mean, she'd be a perfect example of contradicting your very point, sir.

PERKINS: But see, you don't make -- you don't make policies and you don't set standards based upon one situation or another situation.


SAMBOLIN: So he says that you can't make big decisions based on particular circumstances. How do you feel about that? How would you counter that?

TYRRELL: I think I don't really put any weight into anything he says. You know, the Family Research Council has been deemed a hate group to so many people. So, I just --

SAMBOLIN: So, what about the position that they take? The specific position that he took is that he would not want to send his son on a camping trip with a man who likes men or prefers men.

TYRRELL: I think that he has a twisted view of things. I think that adults with whichever sexual orientation are not typically attracted to children. So, i don't know why his mind keeps going there. So, I mean, he might just want to, you know, get -- he might want to look into that.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Jennifer Tyrrell, I really appreciate your time this morning. Thank you so much for joining us.

TYRRELL: Thanks.

SAMBOLIN: John, back to you.

BERMAN: Thanks, Zoraida.

The big news today, a dangerous winter storm bearing down on the northeast. Parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island already under a blizzard watch this morning. Two feet of snow or more could fall on parts of New England starting tomorrow. Freezing rain and damaging winds in the forecast for much of this region.

The FDA sends out a warning about a new fake version of the cancer- fighting drug, Avastin. It says at least one batch sent by a New York-based distributor contained no active ingredient. The counterfeit version is marketed as Altazan which is not approved for sale in the U.S. The only approved version for sale in the U.S. is Avastin. The injectable drug treats colorectal, brain, lung, and kidney cancers.

SAMBOLIN: And you're looking at one of the oldest surviving photographs of a U.S. president. This picture of John Quincy Adams was taken in the summer of 1843 in New York, long after he was in office. It turned up in an antique store in the 1970s and was purchased for 50 cents. Records show Adams thought the photo was hideous. It is now in the care of the Smithsonian.

BERMAN: That's so cool. John Quincy Adams was actually a member of the U.S. House of Representatives at that point. He went to serve in the House for a long, long time. That photo is super, super cool.


BERMAN: All right. Ahead, he came clean in dramatic fashion to Oprah on national TV, but is Lance Armstrong now ready to start naming names about doping in the cycling world?


BERMAN: So, the price for coming clean could cost Lance Armstrong some big bucks. A promotions company is filing a lawsuit today to recover $12 million in bonus money.

SAMBOLIN: Joe Carter is here with this morning's Bleacher Report. Good morning.

JOE CARTER, BLEACHER REPORT: Hi, good morning, guys. Yes. More money, more problems for Lance Armstrong. SCA promotions, that the Sports Insurance Company that paid Lance Armstrong $12 million in bonus money during his Tour de France title run, they want that money back, plus interest, plus legal fees. So, on top of that multimillion dollar lawsuit, Armstrong could also be facing federal charges.

ABC News says that investigators are looking at charging him with obstruction of justice, intimidation, and witness tampering. In an effort to clean up the sport of cycling, USADA, the anti-doping agency, is giving Armstrong two more weeks now to decide if he wants to speak with agency investigators under oath.

The original deadline to speak with them was yesterday, Wednesday. Of course, Armstrong must cooperate with USADA to get his lifetime ban reconsidered.

You never want to be a senior in high school and have mommy issues that kind of faced Alex Collins yesterday. I'll explain here. Yesterday was, of course, National Signing Day. Collins, one of the best high school running backs out there, was expected to sign with Arkansas to play football. Just before he co-signed the letter of intent, his mom got up and split, mid-press conference.


CARTER: You don't want to have mommy issues when you're a senior in high school. Of course, mom doesn't want her boy to leave home. She wants him to stay close and wants him to play in South Florida for the University of Miami. Well, when all is said and done, it looks like Alex is going to get his way. Mom is expected to sign the papers later today, so her boy can in fact play --

BERMAN: You're that mom, aren't you? You're that mom.

SAMBOLIN: Can you imagine that conversation that they had? They're not speaking to each other this morning. I think they're --

CARTER: He's mad about a couple of things. The fact that she split and the fact that she's not letting him get this way.


CARTER: Guys, if you feel like you need to get some cardio in, perhaps, these guys will make you feel like you've got all you need out of your burn. It's the 36th run to the top of the Empire State Building. A pair of Australians, of all people, won this race. Mark Born (ph) from Australia ran from the lobby to the observatory deck.

That's 86 floors in 10 minutes and 12 seconds. Susie Walshman, she won for the women. She raced up 1,576 steps in 12 minutes and five seconds.

SAMBOLIN: Oh my goodness.

CARTER: About 600 runners from 18 different countries competed in the run up the Empire State Building race.

For more entertaining sports news, you can go to Today, there's a great article that details winners and losers from National Signing Day. Guys, I can tell you, the S.E.C. not a surprise winner on Signing Day, but the surprise school was Ole Miss. They did very, very well yesterday.

BERMAN: Huge day, huge day for Ole Miss. All right, Joe, thanks a lot. One advice, if you want to get to the top of the Empire State Building, take an elevator.



SAMBOLIN: Can you imagine their legs and their gluts?

BERMAN: I don't want to imagine it.

SAMBOLIN: That's incredible.

All right, 6:53. There's been universal praise for the movie "Lincoln." Heck, it's nominated for 12 academy awards, but, a Connecticut congressman has a problem with a key scene in it, the House debate over the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery. It's a big deal. The film shows two Connecticut representatives voting against it. Joe Courtney says that didn't happen He's written a letter to director, Steven Spielberg, and told CNN's Brian Todd it's important people know his state's delegation wasn't on the wrong side of history.


REP. JOE COURTNEY, (D) CONNECTICUT: That's a source of information that a lot of people may never get any other source in terms of the history of the civil war or the 13th Amendment.

CHRISTIAN MCWHIRTER, THE PAPERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN: Hollywood movies frequently have this kind of errors in them, and "Lincoln" is an exceptionally good Hollywood historical film. And so, I think we have to have a certain amount of tolerance for a certain amount of error.


SAMBOLIN: Not that error. Congressman Courtney is asking for that part of the movie to be corrected before "Lincoln" is released on DVD and Blu-Ray later this month.

BERMAN: Next today, today's "Best Advice" from prominent statesman and former U.S. senator, George Mitchell. We'll have that coming up.

SAMBOLIN: And just minutes away on "STARTING POINT", spy wars between the U.S. and Iran and claims that some of our CIA drone secrets may have been exposed.


SAMBOLIN: Fifty-eight 58 minutes past the hour. We wrap it up as always with "Best Advice."

BERMAN: Here's Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: All right. Peace negotiator and former Senate majority leader, George Mitchell, of Maine serving up a couple pieces of advice. Listen.


GEORGE MITCHELL (D-ME), FMR. U.S. SENATOR: Two bits of advice. As a young man, I was told by one of my mentors, a teacher, don't be afraid to fail. Keep trying. And I've followed that advice. I've failed often, but got up off the ground and continued to go forward. The second was when I was about to get married, I read words of a former, now a long deceased American author about the key for a successful marriage for men. If you're wrong, speak up. If you're right, chuckle.


BERMAN: That is why this guy was able to bring peace to Northern Ireland. This guy knows how to make peace.

SAMBOLIN: Very smart. I love the advice. ROMANS: My father-in-law has a version of that. If you're wrong, say you're sorry. If you're right, shut up.


BERMAN: That is all for EARLY START. I'm going to shut up right now. I'm John Berman.

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