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CNN NEWSROOM

Accused Killer Ex-Cop Believed Dead In Fire; Police: Dorner Killed Deputy In Shootout; Looking For Dorner's True Motives; Obama Lays Out Agenda; Obama: Now Is Time For Immigration Reform; "Gross" Cruise Ship Due In Alabama Thursday; Obama: Make Minimum Wage $9/Hour; Comcast Buying The Rest of NBC Universal; First Lady Dons Jason Wu, Again

Aired February 13, 2013 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: I knew you wouldn't say the name, Joe Carter.

JOE CARTER, "BLEACHER REPORT": I wouldn't have a job tomorrow.

COSTELLO: You would, too. Go on the internet and find out. Joe, thank you very much, Joe Carter . I'm still laughing about it.

Next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts now. Happening now in the NEWSROOM, Dorner's reign of terror is over and it ends as violently as it began. Radio calls from officers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP0

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officer down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have an officer down. Officer down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Copy, officer down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Medic ships in the air. Medic ships in the air.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another officer down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: The manhunt over as the president pleads for stricter gun laws.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The two months since Newtown, more than 1,000 birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Plus, the Carnival cruise from hell on its way to Alabama, but it isn't over yet. Passengers, want to go home? Take a bus!

And "Sports Illustrated's" cover girl, fat or big boned? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The expedition leaders would be, like, well, think of the explorers back in the day, they didn't have a nice cruise ship to come back to. I'm not an explorer, I'm a bikini model!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Oy vey, NEWSROOM starts now.

And good morning. Thank you so much for being with me. I'm Carol Costello. We begin in Southern California where an accused ex-cop killer is believed dead. You are looking at live pictures of Big Bear where a massive shootout took place.

Christopher Dorner's former bosses at the LAPD are holding a news conference next hour. We'll carry that live by the way. But here's what we know right now, police say it will take days to confirm that a charred body found inside this cabin is actually Christopher Dorner, the former cop who vowed deadly vengeance for his firing.

This video from our CBS affiliate in Los Angeles, Dorner was spotted yesterday near Big Bear Lake. He crashed a stolen car and then carjacked another vehicle that belonged to a camp ranger who just happened to be driving by.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK HELTEBRAKE, CARJACKED BY CHRISTOPHER DORNER: He came up to me with his gun pointed at me and I stopped my truck, put it in park, raised my hands and he said, I don't want to hurt you. Just get out and start walking up the road and take your dog, which is what I did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Dorner is blamed for killing one deputy and wounding another in yesterday's shootout that follows these victims from last week. Dorner is accused of killing Riverside police officer, Michael Crane, and minutes earlier, he had allegedly killed Keith Lawrence and his fiancee, Monica Kwan. Kwan was the daughter of an LAPD officer who Dorner blamed for his firing from the police department.

CNN's Paul Vercammen walks through the apparent end to this reign of terror.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What happened in the mountains around Big Bear, fast moving and often confusing. First, two maids are reportedly tied up, their Nissan stolen. Law enforcement on the lookout.

LT. PATRICK FOY, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE: They were driving down Highway 32 and they were approaching two buses. They passed the two buses and they noticed tucked in behind the bus was the suspect vehicle.

VERCAMMEN: The pursuit was on. Within moments, he crashes and carjacks a pickup truck. The suspect, a man who looks like Christopher Dorner.

FOY: The warden who was in front realized -- noticed a white truck coming down, driving erratically at a pretty high rate of speed. He took a close look at the driver and recognized him as the suspect.

VERCAMMEN: The suspect rolls down his window and opens fire, a shootout ensues. He takes off and barricades himself inside a cabin. Police converge by land and air, then another shootout captured on a reporter's cell phone. Radio calls from the officers --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officer down. Returning fire.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Returning fire.

VERCAMMEN: And then --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have an officer down. Officer down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Copy, officer down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Medic ships in the air. Medic ships in the air.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officer down.

VERCAMMEN: One deputy is killed, another wounded and expected to survive. It's not over yet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Copy, one, two, corner.

VERCAMMEN: The cabin goes up in flames.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 61 Lincoln we have an explosion.

VERCAMMEN: The question, is Christopher Dorner inside that cabin? Over the next few hours confirmations, denials, and dueling news conferences.

COMMANDER ANDREW SMITH, LOS ANGELES POLICE: Any reports of a body being found are not true.

CINDY BACHMAN, SAN BERNARDINO, CALIFORNIA SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: We believe that there -- that the person that barricaded himself inside the cabin and engaged in gunfire with our deputies and other law enforcement officers is still inside there.

VERCAMMEN: Finally, close to midnight Pacific Time, the San Bernardino Sheriff's Office confirms charred remains have indeed been found inside the burned-out cabin.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VERCAMMEN: And now back here live, amid all the chaos crisscrossing this mountain last night, I caught up with the reporter so close to the shots fired, Carter Evans, a former CNN colleague.

Off camera, Carter told me he was flat below his vehicle for safety's sake. He could hear the bullets whizzing by and he felt if he were ten more feet up the road he would have been hit. Back to you now -- Carol.

COSTELLO: So scary, Paul Vercammen, thank you so much.

A big question in this case is, why Dorner would turn to this kind of violence, this terrible violence? Jim Clemente is a former FBI profiler. He joins us now live. Thank you so much for being here, sir.

JIM CLEMENTE, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Good morning, Carol.

COSTELLO: This case seems so unusual to me. Is Dorner an unusual victim -- or an unusual perpetrator in your mind?

CLEMENTE: Well, I mean, he's of a certain class of offender, I think, and I think we've seen these things in -- in the school shootings, in the public shootings, in the mass shootings and justice collectors. People who basically spend their whole lives building up, waiting for a chance to get revenge, and this is what he did.

But I think his psychology's a little more complex than the average school shooter in that I think he was also a vulnerable narcissist where he really felt like he had to portray himself as a very big and accomplished person.

But, in fact, inside he had this -- the reality that he was actually, you know, not going to be able to live up to anything that he was talking about. I think his actions in the last few days show that.

COSTELLO: He seemed to go one terrible step farther. He targeted not just the victims he blamed for his firing from the LAPD, but he targeted their family members.

CLEMENTE: Right. And I think if you actually look at what he did, his stated objection was to harm the LAPD, to get back at them, but actually he had no direct confrontation with the LAPD. He actually went to basically easier targets, people that were much more vulnerable.

And by the way, I want to send out my sympathies to the families of all the victims of this murderer. But the fact is he did not go head- on with LAPD, who he said that he had his biggest contentions with.

And he went after people who really didn't suspect him at first, suspect that he was coming after them, just, you know -- just, you know, average citizens. And then he engaged police officers who were outside of Los Angeles.

COSTELLO: So, was there anything that the LAPD could have done to kind of predict that this guy might go off the deep end?

CLEMENTE: Well, I think he went through -- I'm certain he went through a psychological testing when he applied and passed those psychological tests. I don't think that he had any kind of mental disorder that was discernible at the time.

I think this is something that developed over time and he made the affirmative decision and probably planned these actions for the last three or four years after he was fired and his appeals were shut down.

So, I think it's something that he basically stewed over a period of time and then there was a tipping point when he actually started this horrendous action.

COSTELLO: Jim Clemente, former FBI profiler, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts today.

CLEMENTE: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Well, a gun battle was going on in California. The president of the United States was getting ready for his "State of the Union" in Washington. President Obama addressed everything from gun control to immigration to tax reform.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Now is our best chance for bipartisan, comprehensive tax reform that encourages job creation and helps bring down the deficit. We can get this done. The American people deserve a tax code that helps small businesses spend less time filling out complicated forms and more time expanding and hiring.

A tax code that ensures billionaires with high-powered accountants can't work the system and pay a lower rate than their hardworking secretaries. Our economy is stronger when we harness the talents and ingenuity of striving, hopeful immigrants.

And right now leaders from the business, labor, law enforcement, faith communities, they all agree, that the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform now is the time to do it. Now is the time to get it done.

Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress. Now, if you want to vote no, that's your choice, but these proposals deserve a vote because in the two months since Newtown, more than 1,000 birthdays, graduations, anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Of course, the GOP and the Tea Party Movement are not on board with the president's guns plans. We're going to talk a lot more about this with our special "Talkback" panel that will come your way later this hour.

Checking our top stories -- We're now learning when the pope's successor will be chosen. The conclave to replace Pope Benedict is likely to begin in mid-March. In less than an hour the pope presides over his last Ash Wednesday mass at St. Peters Basilica. Earlier, he told a cheering crowd at the Vatican he decided to resign, quote, "for the benefit of the church."

Four freshmen on Alabama's BCS national championship team are now facing criminal charges. Police say three of the players beat two fellow players and stole a laptop from one victim and a wallet from the other. Another player is accused of joining one of the attackers and using a stolen debit card. All four players have been suspended indefinitely from the team.

Raw sewage running down the walls and still 160 miles to go, we'll have the latest on Carnival "Triumph" as it finally makes its way to land.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: It's 14 minutes past the hour. Let's talk about that disabled cruise ship from hell, the Carnival "Triumph" is now 160 nautical miles away from Mobile, Alabama. It's not expected to arrive on shore until tomorrow afternoon. According to one mother whose daughter is on board that ship it cannot hit land soon enough.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIM MCKERREGHAN, CHILD IS ON CARNIVAL TRIUMPH: She said that the conditions have gotten so bad that they're asking them to use the restroom in bags and they were eating onion sandwiches and that was on Monday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: The National Transportation Safety Board is now joining the investigation in to what sparked the engine room fire on Sunday that crippled the ship and as Sandra Endo reports, this isn't the first time Carnival has dealt with one of their ships adrift at sea.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Crowding the upper deck for some fresh air, more than 4,000 people on board the Carnival "Triumph" are trapped in horrid conditions.

ANN BARLOW, CRUISE SHIP PASSENGER (via telephone): The smells are -- I can't describe them. Our room is flooded. There's sewage, raw sewage, pretty bad. When you walk in the hallways, you have to cover your face.

ENDO: Intermittent power, overflowing toilets, and a three-hour wait for food.

DONNA GUTZMAN, CRUISE SHIP PASSENGER (via telephone): There's times when the ship is leaning pretty hard, and you're worried if you're going to flip over. ENDO: Carnival blames that on 25-mile-per-hour winds, but a maritime expert says the ship's stabilization system is likely disabled and although there's an emergency generator, it's not enough to run an entirely electric ship.

RICHARD BURKE, STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK MARITIME COLLEGE: They have to make sure there's adequate power to keep the ship from sinking or burning further and usually emergency power is dedicated to activities like that.

ENDO: And moving more than 4,000 people to another ship could be dangerous out at sea and in unpredictable weather. Lifeboats are a last resort. The "Triumph" experienced an electrical problem with one of its alternators about a week ago, but Carnival says it was fixed, passed inspection and had nothing to do with the recent engine fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And, again, we still have no power, so we're unable to cook any hot food, provide hot drinks, et cetera.

ENDO: Two years ago, an engine fire on Carnival "Splendor" left thousands in similar conditions for two days in the Pacific Ocean.

BURKE: Unfortunately, I think with Carnival, this is a -- just a bad coincidence for them that it's happened on two of their ships in this market. I -- I've no reason to believe that carnival is any way not a first-class operator.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ENDO: The Coast Guard and the NTSB have not yet determined the cause of the fire on the "Splendor" so it will take some time to figure out what happened in this case, but they have launched an investigation. Sandra Endo, CNN, Washington.

COSTELLO: How about a pay raise for 15 million Americans? That's the president's bold call to action from last night's "State of the Union," but not everyone is on board with raising the minimum wage. We'll talk about that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: At 20 minutes past the hour, let's turn to your money. The president issued a bold proposal in his "State of the Union" calling on Congress to raise the minimum wage for more than 15 million Americans.

Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange, so does his wish have a chance in Hades?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, not everybody, Carol, is on board with this. Remember, minimum wage is a very, very contentious issue and most would agree, you know, it's not a bad thing to pay people more, but there is another side to this.

There are others who say if you hike minimum wage from $7.25 to where it is now to $9, it would be a job killer. Small businesses in particular because they are already going to be hit with new regulations, health care requirements, they wouldn't be able to afford it and they say they would actually end up cutting workers' hours and hiring fewer people.

And then there are those who say raising minimum wage is actually long overdue. President Obama pledged to raise it during the first term in office though he didn't follow through with it. One liberal-leaning group said that federal minimum wage hasn't kept up with inflation.

And estimates are if it kept with the pace of the cost of living it would actually be closer to $10.50 an hour now. Now, in 18 states plus the District of Columbia, they pay wages above that $7.25 federal rate but not much more.

Even with that possible hike to $9 an hour, Carol, each worker would still be making just $18,000 a year. That's still below the poverty threshold for a family of four, pretty sad -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Let me ask you about those 19 states who, you know, states can also raise the minimum wage. They don't have to wait for the federal government. So for those 19 states has it is affected the economic picture?

KOSIK: And that's the thing, you know, you raise it incrementally and that's what I said, that even if you raise it to $9 let's just say, you know, it's still below the poverty threshold for a family of four.

And then even just to get this through Congress, good luck with that, because, you know, the last time lawmakers approved a similar bill, it was back in 2007. And, you know, Democratic lawmakers, they've tried to hike the rate since then and it really winds up going nowhere, so that's why you see these states making these incremental changes -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Alison Kosik at the New York Stock Exchange.

Michelle Obama's favorite designer was back last night, we'll tell you who designed that sparkly crimson and black cocktail dress and why so many people did not seem to like it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: Come April, cable giant Comcast expected to own all of NBC Universal. Comcast already own 51 percent of the media giant and will pay $17 billion for General Electric's 49 percent stake. The latest deal was not expected until next summer. It will give Comcast full ownership of properties including NBC's broadcast and cable networks and the Universal Studios.

Julian Assange is famous for leaking official state secrets and now it looks like the Wikileaks founder wants to become an official member of the state. According to the age.com, Assange has filed paperwork to run for Senate in his native Australia. He's even formed his own political organization. It's called the "Wikileaks Party."

More proof of the first lady's fashion crush. Michelle Obama wore designer Jason Wu for the president's "State of the Union" address, who also designed the white evening dress Mrs. Obama wore on her first night as first lady four years ago and he created the red gown she wore to inauguration a few weeks ago.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)