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Should Warefare Medal Outrank Bronze Star?; Obama on the Road, Post-State of the Union; Kim and Kanye Skip TSA Security Checkpoint; Westminster's Top Dog Rings Opening Bell; Golfer Unfazed by Black Widow Bite

Aired February 14, 2013 - 09:30   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for being with us. Stories we're watching right now in the newsroom at 31minutes past the hour. Banana Joe rang the opening bell on Wall Street. The five-year-old affenpinscher won the Westminster dog show and ringing the opening bell is a tradition for Westminster best in show winners. Banana Joe will be live with our own Alison Kosik in a few minutes. I can't wait.

401(k) balances have hit a record high, fidelity investment says the average balance at the end of last year was $77,300. That's up nearly 12 percent from 2011. Two-thirds of that increase due to a strong stock market, the rest attributed to higher paycheck contributions.

After five sewage-filled days at sea, the Carnival Triumph will dock sometime tonight. The cruise ship is now 66 miles from Mobile, Alabama, where many family members gathered to greet friends and relatives trapped on what one doctor calls a floating petri dish. Triumph is expected to now dock around 7:00 tonight. I think I already said that.

"Political Buzz" is your rapid-fire look at the best political topics of the day, three topics, 30 seconds on the clock. Playing with us CNN political analyst, Roland Martin. And CNN --




COSTELLO: And CNN contributor and analyst for "The Blaze," Will Cain. Hello, Will.


COSTELLO: Okay, first question the drone a remote controlled killing machine now a hero? Outgoing defense secretary Leon Panetta wants to honor the people who operate unmanned aircraft.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I'm pleased to announce that I formally approved the establishment of a new distinguished warfare medal. The medal provides department-wide recognition for the extraordinary achievements that directly impact on combat operations but that do not involve acts of valor or physical risk that combat entails.


COSTELLO: Keep in mind the drone medal could outrank the bronze star which is awarded for specific heroic acts performed under fire in combat. The question, is drone warfare worthy of a medal of valor, Roland?

MARTIN: Well, let's see. You're sitting in an air conditioned room and a joy stick and sort of playing a video game, if you will. It's life and death. There's no way in the world that should outrank somebody who exhibits heroism on the battlefield. That to me is crazy. I understand if you want to give an award, a citation but there's no comparison between the two, it should not outrank the bronze star.


CAIN: There's the issue, right, should it outrank the bronze star. We should acknowledge the changing nature of warfare, the technological aspects that are changing, yes these guys should have some acknowledgment for the service they're performing. Should it outrank the bronze star? You asked should it be an award for valor, it's not an award for valor. It's distinguished from that. It just outranks the bronze star which is a medal for valor. Valor, which is defined by the way, as extraordinary acts of heroism while engaged in direct combat with the enemy, exposing yourself to personal risk. That's tough, zero, that's how many days I've served in the military. I imagine Roland might be the same so zero is going to come with it.


MARTIN: Serious risk?

COSTELLO: We have to move on to topic two.

MARTIN: Here's the drone right here.

COSTELLO: We'll talk more about this in the next hour of NEWSROOM. Question two today for "Political Buzz" frustration over sequestration. President Obama on the road to push his agenda. He'll be in Georgia later today. Kind of a shame he's not in D.C. pushing Congress to come up with a budget deal.


REP. PAUL RYAN, (R ) WISCONSIN: He is taking to the road for the next few days in basically what I would call campaign mode. He seems to always stay in a campaign mode where he treats people of the other party as the enemy and not as partners. If he really wanted to get things done and govern, he would come here and work with us instead of campaigning all around the country.


COSTELLO: Yes, if there's no budget deal by march 1st, massive cuts to defense, Medicare and more. Question, should the president skip the road trip and take a trip to Capitol Hill? Will?

CAIN: Yes. It's a little special, right, isn't it just a little special that the president, not only agreed to this but proposed this idea back in the budget control act of 2011. The idea of sequestration. It was supposed to be such a painful idea for Republicans that they would never let it happen and then just what two months ago the president got the tax increases he thought would avert some of this and Republicans would never let these spending cuts come in but they're going to let it happen so it's a little special that President Obama is campaigning essentially against the thing he proposed, the thing he agreed to. He got his half of the deal in the special tax increases but now wants to avoid the spending cuts.


MARTIN: Oh, please, of course -- how about doing both? You can actually go on a road trip and still talk to Capitol Hill and last I checked, Congress, they can actually, they have to pass the bill first. So why don't they get to work? Why can't Boehner get with Pelosi. Why can't McConnell get with Reid? That's their job, okay? And also, remember the special committee, that is Democrats and Republicans, they were supposed to come together to avoid the sequester? They couldn't even come to an agreement, so I would say to Congressman Paul Ryan, stop whining and complaining, tell your House members and Senate members to do their job.

COSTELLO: You know they're going to kick the can down the road.

MARTIN: Of course, that's the problem.

COSTELLO: Question three, finally on the day that Cupid is flying through the air, slinging his arrows of love we have this question. Who are the most unlikely political valentines. I'd like to go first, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and pretty much any Republican out there. Will?

CAIN: Well, I'm going to pick Piers Morgan, the guy on a few hours from now, and Wayne LaPierre, the president of the National Rifle Association because the past couple months, we've had a gun control debate where, look, I'm going to tell you something, Piers does not have the facts, the substance and the intellect on his side, so he's villainized specifically Wayne LaPierre, turned into the villain of the gun control debate. Happy valentine's day, sweethearts.

COSTELLO: Oh, Roland.

MARTIN: Okay, hold on a second, hold on. Okay, I'm ready. All right. I would say Congressman Steve Stockman of Texas and Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California, okay? Those two, what happened to Maxine Waters' photo? What happened? CAIN: There it is. It's there.

MARTIN: You have crazy Steve Stockman if you want to read the funny pages read his press releases. He's a guy invited Ted Nugent to the State of the Union and I'm sure Congresswoman Waters would just smack him upside the head with roses all day long.

COSTELLO: I saw her talking to Ted Nugent at the State of the Union. There is photographic proof of that, Roland Martin.

MARTIN: No, that was Congressman Sheila Jackson Lee.

COSTELLO: Darn! it was taken from the back!

MARTIN: Don't get the black women of Congress mixed up, Carol.

COSTELLO: Oh, I think I have to go on that point. Will Cain and Roland martin thanks so much

MARTIN: Cheers.

COSTELLO: Cheers -- get out of here.

Caught skipping security, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's flight gets delayed so they can be re-screened. They're not the people in trouble.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to Moscow.




COSTELLO: Okay, I'm awake now. Maybe hard for Bruce Willis to die but it's also expensive. According to USA today in one scene of the new movie "A Good Day to Die Hard," filmmakers destroyed 132 cars. The total cost $11 million. Another 518 cars were damaged, and what says die hard like Bruce Willis and chocolate? This life-sized chocolate statue of the action hero comes complete with an assault weapon in his hand, made for the Japanese premiere of the film.

In the meantime, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are at the center of a TSA investigation after they skipped security before a flight to Los Angeles. "Showbiz Tonight's" A.J. Hammer has the scoop.

A.J. HAMMER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Hey Carol. Well I should make it perfectly clear that while Kim and Kanye may be in the middle of the story it doesn't appear they have done anything wrong perhaps other than having bad judgment. They don't appear to be the focus of any kind of investigation but yes there was a breach of security involving the celebrity couple as they were transferring flights at JFK airport in New York.

they reportedly arrived from Brazil changing flights to go back to Los Angeles. Here is what the TSA is saying about this incident: "An airline employee escorted the two travelers through a non-public area in order to provide expedited access to their domestic flight. In doing so the airline employee violated security protocols by permitting the travelers to bypass the TSA security checkpoint. TSA officials learned of the violation and conducted a private screening of the two passengers in the area of the jetway."

You would have hoped they or their own security would have known better than to accept what appears to be preferential treatment at the airport. They were flying on American Airlines. American released a statement blaming a lapse in judgment by an employee who apparently escorted the stars and in the end the flight was delayed to L.A. for about 50 minutes according to the TSA, which at JFK not that unusual and here, Carol, I think we all believe Kim and Kanye flew nothing but private jets everywhere with all that money.

COSTELLO: I know exactly. Why didn't they just stand in the security line and wait like everybody else?

HAMMER: As I said, who knows when they were approached, who knows who made the decision, okay, this is a good idea. I was speaking with a guy who handles security for high-profile people this morning and he said, we would always make sure we did everything so there wasn't even the suggestion of impropriety. You want to make sure dealing with the TSA and at the airport that you don't look like anything is going wrong, so I don't know who made this decision on the part of Kim and Kanye, if it wasn't them, themselves, but a bad decision.

COSTELLO: A.J. Hammer, thanks so much.

HAMMER: You got it.

COSTELLO: Wall Street's top dog, Banana Joe, takes his Westminster win all the way to the trading floor. The best in show winner joins us live next.


COSTELLO: Forty-eight minutes past the hour. It's time to check our "Top Stories".

President Obama heading to Georgia to a preschool in just a few hours. He's expected to speak out about the need for early education like Head Start. That school visit by the President might be a thrill for some but maybe not for students who have been asked to come back from winter break so they can surround the President while he chats.

The National Guard being called in to help Bridgeport, Connecticut to dig out after this weekend's massive snowstorm. The town was covered in 30 inches. Officials say it's been only 265 of the town's 900 streets have been cleared so far.

Fifteen years after Harry Potter first hit book shelves he's getting a makeover. Scholastic releasing new book covers to mark the occasion. You can see Harry with his friend Hagrid and trusty owl Hedwig. The new covers are part of a box set that goes on sale this September.

A sea turtle in Japan is swimming happily after being fit with a new pair of front limbs. Biologists think the 25-year-old logger head sea turtle lost his front flippers in a shark attack and spent four years building a replacement pair. Actually the turtle didn't but the biologist did, the who's fit over the turtle with a help of cloth -- a cloth suit.

All right, "Talk Back" question for you this morning, "Is drone warfare worthy of a medal for heroism?" Actually your responses next, we'll be right back.


COSTELLO: The "Talk Back" question today "Is drone warfare worthy of a medal for heroism?"

This from Peter, "No, the title is based on bravery, how can a drone be brave? Or the operator thousands of miles away in a safely -- or the operator thousands of miles away in safety considered brave?"

This from Charlie, "The men who spend hours piloting these drones are absolutely worthy of recognition for their service, but not a medal which would outrank the bronze star."

This from Darren. "Absolutely not. If that's the case I deserve a medal for all the terrorists I've killed playing video games."

This from Bill. "Hey people, it's not about courage, it's about getting the bad guy before he gets you. Why do you have a problem with that?"

And this from Steve, "How about they get gold stars on their foreheads for bravely pressing on -- for bravely pressing on even in the face of carpal tunnel syndrome?" Ouch. if you'd like to continue the conversation or tweet me @CarolCNN.


COSTELLO: A lot of people probably think they are the top dog on Wall Street, but oh, we have the top dog on Wall Street today. Take a look. Fresh off his win at the Westminster dog show the 5-year-old affenpinscher, Banana Joe rang today's bell on Wall Street. Alison Kosik, oh.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm -- I'm taking him home with me. Oops. He's not going to jump out of my arms. I'll take him home, I tell you.

So Banana Joe rang the opening bell here at the New York Stock Exchange. I'm with Ernesto Lara, he is Banana Joe's handler. How exciting was ringing the opening bell compared with winning the top dog title.

ERNESTO LARA, : It's hard to tell. I mean, both things are so exciting. And this is more in his feel for the Westminster can applaud when won because that's where he goes. But this was just awesome, really.

KOSIK: So the affenpinscher, this is the kind of dog that this is, that's what Banana Joe is. It says that -- that one of the attributes of the affenpinscher is sort of a big dog trapped in a small body. I can relate to that. You know tiny but mighty. Is that what this dog is all about?

LARA: It's all about that. He has some powers, really, really mighty dog with a lot of charisma. And just presents his happiness everywhere he goes. That's the special thing he has.

KOSIK: And he's really good with people, the fact Carol that he's sitting in my arms, just so you to know his heart is beating so fast. This dog feels so warm right now. I guess he's overheating, is he really excited or scared?

LARA: He's just very excited, he's happy to be around all these people. He loves the attention. He's in heaven.

KOSIK: So what happens now? Does this dog retire? Does he go off into sort of the land of retirement and get all the doggy bones he wants?

LARA: That's for sure. He's going to now lead a quiet life and then be just a normal dog.

KOSIK: A normal dog. What is a normal dog for a Westminster dog show winner?

LARA: Well basically that's what he leaves and he goes in between shows. He's just a normal dog and it's a wonderful house dog, great companion, just very healthy minded dog. He's just --

KOSIK: Well it's been my honor to hold Banana Joe. Carol I'll throw it back to you. I am going to quickly -- Ernesto look the other way, because I'm going to run away with the dog.


COSTELLO: I don't blame you. Thanks to all of you and congratulations, Banana Joe.

Ok. On to sports now. Thank you, Alison Kosik. When you're a professional golfer you can't let anything get in the way of your dream, especially a black widow spider. So one woman goes MacGyver to finish the round using a golf tee to dig out the venom so she could finish the round.

So let's go to our own Banana Joe, Joe Carter.

BANANA JOE, BLEACHER REPORT: I'm glad I wasn't bumped by Banana Joe. Thank you.

We're talking about Daniela Holmqvist, she was on the fourth hole in LPGA event and she felt a sharp pain in her ankle. She looked down and she saw that it was a black widow spider. Her leg began to swell. The pain became severe. Rather than quit the round and go to the hospital, she used a golf tee in her bag to cut open the wound and squeeze out the venom. Not only did she survive because of this lucky golf tee, she actually finished the round and unfortunately she did not make the cut in the tournament, so it would all end there. But she's a rookie with, obviously, a lot to look forward to in her PGA tour.

Dukes head coach Mike Krzyzewski got what I'm sure he was asking for on his 66th birthday, a win over his biggest rival North Carolina. Unranked UNC hung with second rank Duke for most of the game until Duke's two stars Seth Curry and Mason Plumlee got hot in the final minutes. Duke won by five points, 73-68. The Blue Devils have won six straight, they beat North Carolina six of the last eight times.

A boxer has been suspended for allegedly taking a dive 13 seconds into the fight. Look at your video. Check out the phantom upper cut. Misses the guy on the left by like a foot. His name is Nick Turbo Tax Capes. This guy sells it. Literally knocks himself off his own feet. Reports say Turbo Tax was a last-minute replacement for a couple no- show boxers.

The fight's promoter says Capes got into the ring, got really scared when he looked at his opponent who is Ray Edwards, a former NFL player turned heavyweight fighter and he was like, not having any of this. I'm going to take a dive.

For all your entertaining sports news, go to

Carol, all he was trying to do was be a substitute boxer. He gets in and looks at the guy and says no, not going to do it.

COSTELLO: Wow. It's incredible. Thank you, Joe Carter.

CARTER: You got it.

COSTELLO: The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts now.