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Americans Killed in Afghan Attack; Vatican Prepares for Papal Conclave; Outrage over TSA Allowing Knives; Facebook's COO Ruffles Feathers

Aired March 11, 2013 - 09:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now in the NEWSROOM, breaking overnight, the red curtains are up, the chimney installed, the vote on a new Pope about to begin. Could America's rock star cardinal be tops on the list?

Also --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When it comes to ambition to lead, to be the leader of whatever you're doing, men, boys, outnumber girls and women.


COSTELLO: Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and her feminist call to arms. But are women buying her message to lean in? In three words, not so much.

And --


REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: We could add 341 federal employees could have kept their jobs and not been furloughed if the president had not taken his last golf outing.


COSTELLO: No more links for the president? Not until the White House tours resume.

Plus, chaos on the pitch. And a full scale tackle it took to take down one little critter.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

And good morning. Thank you so much for being with me. I'm Carol Costello. We begin in Afghanistan where 66,000 U.S. troops are on duty and on edge. This morning a gunman wearing an Afghan uniform opened fire on NATO and Afghan service members. We now know that two Americans are among those killed.

The insider attack is the latest violence and comes amid deepening tensions and a visit from the new Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is in Beirut with more.

Hi, Nick.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Carol, what's also important about this attack is the number of coalition forces and Afghan forces were either killed or injured, as well. We're going to have the details still coming in. But it happened most vitally in this area called Wardak Province. Very close to the capital Kabul. And today President Karzai had ordered out all U.S. Special Forces from this particular region after allegations that a militia, an Afghan militia, loyal to them had been involved in a murder recently.

Now of course we don't know if U.S. Special Forces were involved in this at all, but this particular attack, another green on blue as it's known, when Afghan soldiers kill Americans, will again strain this very difficult relationship, a much, much really remarkably brought to the surface over this weekend. Chuck Hagel's first visit to this most pressing issue on his plate, a press conference council between him and President Hamid Karzai, the U.S. saying for security reasons which the Afghan presidential palace then belied.

And then you have this curious comments from President Karzai himself in which he suggested that the U.S. was somehow working with the Taliban to foment violence in the country, to justify their longer- term military presence there.

Enormous strains over the past 24 hours and deaths of these American soldiers really bringing that to a head -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Nick Paton Walsh, reporting live this morning.

Now let's head to the Vatican and the countdown to tomorrow's first vote on choosing the next Pope. This morning red curtains now hang from the central balcony at St. Peter's Basilica. That's where the new Pope will be announced and then make his very first appearance. And this American is among the dozens or so leading candidates. Here in New York cardinal, Timothy Dolan is mobbed, I mean mobbed, by well wishers in a moment worthy of a rock star.

One hundred, fifteen cardinals in all can cast votes, 11 of them are American.

CNN's Chris Cuomo is in Rome with the latest.

And, Chris, I just can't get over the reception that Timothy Dolan is getting in Italy.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, you're dead on, right, Carol, because there are no official rankings and there is no real way to know who's a favorite. We're all just hearing things. But judging by the mass yesterday, he was mobbed. And it wasn't just media. There were a lot of locals. We were at the mass and we've heard locals saying Cardinali has a face like a Pope, they were saying.

I don't know what that means, but obviously it sounds good. Now the cardinal himself has been dealing with this prospect very humorously and dismissively. Yesterday he gave a comment that, hey, I'm ready to go home. Now take a listen to the reason that the cardinal offered for why.


CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN, ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK: I'm ready to go home. I ran out of socks.



CUOMO: So that's really funny. And we were there with him yesterday and I said, you know, you need socks, you know, my mother will send a Care package. What do you need? He said well, green socks because St. Patrick's Day is coming up. No red. I've got enough red in my wardrobe already.

You know, and he's got a great balance of humor and also seriousness. You know, this is his first conclave, and he is so excited for what he believes are the prospect for the church going forward -- Carol.

COSTELLO: But does he have a real chance to become Pope?

CUOMO: Here's what we know. People here and those in the know at the Vatican did not expect Cardinal Dolan to be high on the list of priorities within the general congregation, but he has been mentioned, at least reportedly, here in Italian papers who -- you know, supposedly have a bias for their own, for an Italian, you know, next Pope.

He's mentioned almost every time. Here's an interesting dynamic you keep in mind, Carol. In American presidential politics, when you have two candidates and they're going head to head, and it's kind of deadlocked, one of them is going to make a compromise to create consensus. But here they really can't do that. So when you have two people who are neck and neck, maybe both get thrown out and they look for a compromise.

That's how we got Karol Wojty?a to be John Paul II. Maybe Cardinal Dolan could be in that kind of scenario but certainly, I asked the cardinal himself, he does not see it happening.

COSTELLO: But he wouldn't say if he did anyway.

Chris Cuomo, thank you so much.

Of course the conclave, the whole choosing of the Pope officially begins tomorrow afternoon.

Let's head to Ohio because this morning in northeastern Ohio, teddy bears and a makeshift shrine mark the sign of a horrifying weekend accident. Six teenagers died when their overcrowded SUV crashed into a guardrail and flipped into a pond.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't believe they're gone. Like, they're babies.

MICHAEL NOTAR, SUPERINTENDENT, WARREN CITY SCHOOLS: It's going to be a rough week. It's going to be a rough rest of the school year.


COSTELLO: Two teenagers managed to escape, they ran for help. The crash happened early yesterday. It is not clear where the teenagers had been. Police are investigating the crash, of course. They say the SUV was speeding. But there are no signs of alcohol or drugs inside the vehicle.

The Korean Peninsula could be back on the brink of war. This morning North Korea's army declared the armistice that ended the Korean War invalid. That's according to a state newspaper.

Also today, South Korea and the United States began two months of military drills. The North calls the exercises an open declaration of war. Last Thursday the United Nations issued tougher sanctions against the North because of its secretive nuclear program.

Japan is remembering a devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit two years ago today. Memorial service included this moment of silence in Tokyo. The 9.0 magnitude earthquake triggered massive waves and floods that wrecked Japan's northeast coast and killed more than 15,000 people.

Here at home, knives on planes. The backlash has begun. As you know, the TSA will now allow certain kinds of small knives on board planes. But lawmakers like New York's Chuck Schumer want the TSA to reverse their decision right now.


SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: It looks dangerous. And it is dangerous. This can kill someone.


COSTELLO: Except that's not the kind of knife the TSA will now allow on board planes because that knife can be locked in place and if it appears to be a razor-type knife, confusing, right?

CNN's Rene Marsh is at Reagan International Airport. She joins us with a closer look at this.

Good morning.

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. Yes, lots of rules as far as what can and cannot be brought on when it comes to these small knives here. But when it comes to this new policy, what will it mean? It means that you can get through security lines like these with one of these. We're talking about these small pocketknives.

And that is why we're seeing this battle start to brew because lawmakers are saying, wait a minute now, this is not a good idea, they are pushing back on the TSA, saying not only is it's scaring passengers but this proposal could endanger the flight crew.


MARSH (voice-over): In a few weeks, knives like these may be allowed through airport security if a new TSA policy goes into effect. But some lawmakers are vowing to fight it.

SCHUMER: And today I am asking the TSA to rescind that ruling and say small knives, any knives, are not allowed on planes.

MARSH: New York Senator Chuck Schumer joins unions representing pilots, flight attendants and federal air marshals in publicly opposing the plan. Delta Airline CEO also expressed his objection in a letter sent to the agency, saying the change will, quote, "add little value to the customer security process flow in relation to the additional risk for our cabin staff and customers."

Under the TSA's new policy, knives with blades shorter than 2.36 inches and less than a half an inch wide will be allowed provided the blade does not lock in place. Larger knives, razor blades and box cutters are still banned.

TSA administrator John Pistole says the change will allow screeners to focus on things that could bring down an aircraft like bombs.

JOHN PISTOL, TSA ADMINISTRATOR: And the key factor for me is that that may detract us, may detract us from that item that could be catastrophic failure to an aircraft.

MARSH: The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says TSA's highest priorities must be securing commercial aviation from the type of threats and weapons that could bring down an aircraft. But Schumer says a knife does pose that risk and given everything already banned, keeping them off planes only makes sense.

SCHUMER: Does anyone think this, which you're not allowed to bring on a plane, a bottle of shampoo, is more dangerous than this, a sharp and deadly knife?


MARSH: All right. So again, TSA saying actually that knife he showed there would not be allowed on the plane. And the key here really is to make sure that the blade is within the length and the width that they say and also it's able to retract, Carol. That's the key.

As far as Schumer goes, he says that if the TSA does not repeal this new policy, he says that he'll try to overturn it by introducing legislation. Back to you -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Let's see. Rene Marsh reporting live from Reagan National this morning.

Just ahead in the NEWSROOM, is the women's movement stalled? Is feminism dead? One of the biggest names in tech thinks so. Sheryl Sandberg is ruffling some feathers, though. We'll talk with one of her closest friends next.


COSTELLO: It is just about 15 past the hour. Time to check our top stories.

Several Americans along with NATO and Afghan troops have been killed in an insider attack in eastern Afghanistan. Coalition forces say a gunman wearing an Afghan uniform fired on the group. The incident came amid comments by Afghan president Hamid Karzai are overshadowing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's first overseas trip. Karzai claims the U.S. is talking daily with the Taliban. Hagel who met with U.S. troops denies the claims.


CHUCK HAGEL, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Any prospect for peace or political settlements, that has to be led by the Afghans. That has to come from the Afghan side.


COSTELLO: The commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan also calls Karzai's claim categorically false.

Nelson Mandela is resting at home after a Saturday night stay at the hospital. That's according to a statement from a presidential spokesman. Doctors say the scheduled tests showed Mandela now 94 is doing pretty well. The former South African president hasn't been seen in public since 2010.

Starting tomorrow, New York City begins its ban on big sugary soft drinks. The ban limits the size of drinks to 16 ounces. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's move is designed to reduce obesity rate, covers everything from restaurants and theaters to fast food joints and food carts.

OK. Let's talk about Sheryl Sandberg, the Facebook COO who was pushing a new kind of feminist agenda. And let's just say Sandberg's ideas have proved to be polarizing. After all, Sandberg seems to blame women for their failure to advance at work. And coming from a woman who had the luxury of a Harvard education, that seems kind of elitist to many women.

Sandberg's book is called "Lean In." Here she is on CBS' "60 Minutes".


SHERYL SANDBERG, FACEBOOK COO: Plenty of women are as ambitious as men, but I want to say it unapologetically that the data is clear when it comes to ambition to lead, to be the leader of whatever you're doing, men, boys, outnumber girls and women.

NORAH O'DONNELL, CBS NEWS: But shall women will hear that and say, wow, she's telling me I'm not working hard enough, I'm not trying hard enough. She's blaming women.

SANDBERG: I'm not blaming women. My message is not one of blaming women. There is an awful lot we don't control. I am saying that there's an awful lot we can control and we can do for ourselves.


COSTELLO: Joanna Coles is the editor-in-chief of "Cosmopolitan" magazine. She's also a close friend of Sandberg's.

Welcome. Thank you for being with us this morning.


COSTELLO: First off, I'd like to read one of the comments from people who watch Sandberg's interview on "60 Minutes" last night.

This is -- this is one of those comments. Quote, "She has no sensitivity to the struggling mother. She has all she wants and could ever want. She is not facing reality for the average woman, Ms. Rich Girl," end quote.

In the interest of playing devil's advocate, would men be criticizing a Harvard-educated successful man who was dishing out corporate advice to men?

COLES: No, of course not. Nobody has attacked Jack Welch and said, goodness, he can't relate to the poor man in the street. Who are women supposed to take advice from? Surely, one of the most successful business women of our time.

And I want to go further and say Sheryl Sandberg is actually a visionary. She's trying to start a national conversation and a movement where we can take the gloves off and actually have real conversations about real people's lives, and the conflict that many of us, not just women, but men, too, have with office and family.

And we know in the American workplace the balance is wrong. It's wrong for men and for women. And we know that there are many, many more women now at universities and in higher education. And yet that figure is not reflected in the boardrooms.

And furthermore, we know empirically all the research shows that businesses do better when they have senior management that reflects the population at large. So when they have minorities and women represented in full.

COSTELLO: Well, critics say Sandberg's book is full of contradictions. She says don't be afraid to speak up, yet she was coached on speaking up too much. Critics say what is Sandberg saying? She seems to want it both ways. COLES: Well, I think that's very unfair. And there's been a lot of cartoon criticism of her book because that's the easy way to discuss what is actually a very complicated conversation.

And I think what she's getting at is the fact that many people feel ambivalent about trying to lead in a workplace which is actually unfavorable to women largely because it demands tremendously long hours, hours that we don't see anywhere else in the Western world. And women are still woefully underrepresented in politics.

So what she's trying to do is start a nuanced, a nuanced conversation.

And the idea that you would attack her even if your intro, she said she was elitist because she went to Harvard. For many, many people, Harvard is an extraordinary aspiration. How amazing she went to public school in Miami, there was no family legacy of going to Harvard, she achieved it. And now, she's being attacked for it, extraordinary hypocrisy.

COSTELLO: Well, OK, let me address that because I'm a person who went to a public university. When you go to Ivy League schools, there are lots of people who attend those Ivy League schools who have parents in very powerful places.


COLES: What are you saying, should she go to --

COSTELLO: I'm not saying that at all. I'm just saying that she had an advantage that many women did not. She had access to people that let's say I would never have had access to at Kent State University.

COLES: But she worked her way it to Harvard. This was not something that was handed to her on a platter. She went to a regular public school, worked hard. She got to Harvard. Now we're attacking her for that? That makes no sense to me.

COSTELLO: Let's talk about her views on marriage. Because I thought they were very thought provoking and pretty on point. Let's listen.


SANDBERG: Everyone knows marriage is the biggest personal decision you make. But it's the biggest career decision you make if you're going to have a life partner who that partner is going to be.

O'DONNELL: That just puts more pressure on women.

SANDBERG: Puts more pressure on women if they marry or partner with someone to partner with the right person, because you cannot have a full career and a full life at home with your children if you are also doing all of the house work and child care.


COSTELLO: And, of course, that is absolutely true. But again, critics attacked her for that, too, saying she must have help at home, her husband is also in a powerful position and makes quite a bit of money. Why not bring up those things, too? Why not be fully transparent if you're going to offer advice in this way?

COLES: Well, when you read the book, Sheryl is fully transparent. When you know her as a friend, she's always wrestling with the complications of running work and running a household with two very bright, smart, absolutely adorable children.

I think what she's trying to raise the point, and this is very much in the zone of any woman who right now is working three jobs and not bringing home very much money. This is exactly the book you want to read because what it's trying to figure out is the conversation you can have with your domestic partner, your husband, your spouse, but how you share the pressure and how over the ebb and flow of both careers you pass the baton back and forth in terms of what we used to call just being a family and now is being called "child care".

I mean, I don't even know when that happened in the culture that being a parent suddenly became child care or baby-sitting.

But what she's trying to do is analyze why families are under such pressure and the truth is 50 percent of American marriages he said end in divorce. That's not good for the workplace. It's not good for families. And what she's trying to do is get women to talk their husbands and get husbands to talk to their wives about, how can we do this better? How can we share the load?

COSTELLO: And I think it's great that these discussions have been started because of Sandberg's book, but my final question to you would be, as a close friend of hers, did she expect this kind of backlash?

COLES: Well, you know, one of the things that she loves hearing as a friend, she guest-edited "Cosmo Careers", which is a supplement for us. And the minute the magazine came out, we started getting letters and e-mails, well, emails and texts from girls reading it who were so moved. This was the first time anyone had said to them you can do this, go for it, it's impressively empowering.

And I think she knew there would be critics and she is so much more excited and inspired by the younger women who have reached out to her and there are thousands of them -- 40,000 people have already signed on to her Web site "Lean In" and joined the movement who are saying, we're with you and we want to have big, big lives with families and jobs, and thank you for making us believe it's possible.

COSTELLO: Awesome. Joanna Coles, editor-in-chief of "Cosmopolitan" magazine -- thank you so much thank you so much for sharing. We appreciate it.

COLES: Carol, thank you.

COSTELLO: A lot of people are talking about Sandberg's "60 minutes" interview and book, including Laura Bush. The former first lady sat down with CNN's Erin Burnett.


LAURA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY: I have two girls who have been leaning in since the day they were born, I think. They're both very interested in the outside world and in life outside of themselves. When you go through those teenage years, teenagers are usually very self-conscious. And my advice always to teenagers and young people is to move outside of yourself by looking at other people, by looking at ways you can use your own talents.


COSTELLO: You can see Erin's entire interview with the former first lady, tonight at 7:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.


COSTELLO: Now is your chance to talk back on one of the big stories of the day. The question for you this morning, will the Obama charm offensive work?

President Obama is pouring on the charm, at least what passes for charm on Capitol Hill. This week, the president will make the 15 minute drive from the White House to Capitol Hill to visit lawmakers face to face. All in an effort to improve relations and modify those forced spending cuts.

Republicans -- well, let's just say they are not totally charmed.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP: I believe anytime that both parties are talking, it's a good thing. Now, this should have happened four years ago. I'm glad it's happening now, but is it about politics or is it genuine?


MCCARTHY: Only time will tell.


COSTELLO: What's not so charming is the gamesmanship. Oh, yes. That hasn't stopped.

Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert introduced a bill making it illegal for the president to use federal funds to play golf. That is unless the White House resumes its tours for tourists.


REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: We'll be able to get the Democrats and Republicans across America, people that don't even have a party, because they're just Americans, we'll be able to get their tour of the White House and all it will cost is one or two golf trips less.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COSTELLO: Oh, wait, Obama hasn't played golf since the automatic cuts took effect. Still, one time Republican Michael Bloomberg fired back in his Bloomberg kind of way.


MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), NEW YORK: I find it fascinating people criticize him for taking people to dinner. He should be doing that every night. They criticize him for playing golf with people who he will deal with. He should be doing that every weekend. You always can work better with somebody that you have a chance to build a social relationship with.


COSTELLO: And while politicians bicker over dinner dates and golf, the full effects of those spending cuts are yet to come. But hope springs eternal, right?

Talk back question today, will the Obama charm offensive work?,, or tweet me @carolCNN.


COSTELLO: Good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me.

Stories we're watching right now in THE NEWSROOM, at just about 30 past the hour:

You hear the opening bell ringing on Wall Street. Investors are watching the Dow to see if it will take a break from last week's record-breaking rally.