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Surprise on the Field; Knives on Airplanes; Process of Electing Next Pope Will Begin; Two Americans Killed in Afghan Attack; Hagel Denies Taliban Talks; Fallout Grows Over Knives on Planes; Earthquake Hits Near L.A; Ryan Still Seeks Repeal of Obamacare

Aired March 11, 2013 - 13:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: CNN NEWSROOM continues. More fallout from the TSA's new policy allowing small knives on planes. The agency says they made the change because they want agents to focus on larger potential threats, but opponents say it's a bad idea. They want this all reversed. We're going to hear what travelers are actually saying about this in a live report up next.

And in Vatican City, they're almost ready to begin the process of electing the next pope. Cardinals have held their last general meeting ahead of the conclave which starts tomorrow.

And this is CNN NEWSROOM, and I'm Suzanne Malveaux. Our top story here, eastern Afghanistan, that is where two American soldiers were killed this morning when a gunman wearing an Afghan security forces uniform opened fire on a group of NATO and Afghan service members. Ten other American service members were wounded in that attack. Our Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon. Barbara, we've got some new details I know there were green berets that were involved. Can you tell us whether or not they were among the injured?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, what we know at this hour is, sadly, at least one of those killed was an army special forces soldier, a green beret, the other was not. Identities, of course, still being very closely held until all of the families involved are notified. Ten other Americans at this joint base wounded. This is one of these so-called green-on-blue attacks that have really been a problem over the last several years. Someone in a uniform, Afghan uniform, opening up with a machine gun, apparently, killing a number of U.S. and Afghan troops as they stood outside. This area, Wardak Province, a very critical area. This is really one of the major lines by which insurgents travel to get into Kabul to try and conduct attacks in the city. This is a real focus for U.S. and Afghan forces -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Barbara, do we know if it's related at all to the secretary, Chuck Hagel's, visit over the weekend?

STARR: Well, we don't. What we do know is that Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, wanted two weeks ago for all U.S. forces to be out of this area and that has not happened. U.S. commanders still negotiating that deal with Karzai. But Hamid Karzai making sure that Chuck Hagel had a very contentious visit to Afghanistan saying that he thought that the Taliban and the U.S. were essentially colluding, supporting each other. With some of the violence going on, Chuck Hagel fired right back said it wasn't true. Listen to some of what he had to say.


CHUCK HAGEL, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We did discuss those comments. I told the president it was not true. The fact is any prospect for peace or political settlements, that has to be led by the Afghans.


STARR: Karzai had been -- had been complaining that the -- again, as I say, that the U.S. and the Taliban were essentially colluding with violence. Karzai was even saying that the U.S. and the Taliban were talking and negotiating a separate deal behind his back. That's some of what Hagel was reacting to. And the White House just a few moments ago, Suzanne, also weighing in saying that these Karzai allegations simply are not true -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right. Barbara, thank you. We appreciate it. Now to a battle, of course, that is brewing here in Washington. As you know, the TSA is now going to allow certain kinds of small knives on planes. And lawmakers, New York senator Chuck Schumer, says the TSA should reverse this, that this is not a good idea. Some pilots, flight attendants and even federal air marshals, they are weighing in as well saying this is a bad idea. as for the TSA, it says the move is going to let them focus on other more serious concerns. And, of course, our Renee Marsh joining us from Reagan National Airport in Washington. So, give us the -- what is the logic? What's the reasoning behind this first of all?

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, a lot of people are asking this question, Suzanne. Why knives and why now? Being here at the airport all day, we've spoken to several passengers who are indeed asking that question. But we also found some passengers in the mix who aren't so upset about these potential changes. But we should let you know the TSA, they've been adding and deleting from their list of dos and don'ts over the years. But listen to what some passengers here at DCA had to say today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the pocket knives are fine. A lot of blades are to short -- or too short to do any real damage. And it's not going to really matter unless somebody knows what they're doing with a knife that it really won't do any major damage toward anybody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think it's a good idea, because, like I said, it is a weapon so somebody could easily get stabbed or something. So, I don't think it's very safe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't really know, but I feel like if I can't bring my face wash on board, I don't know why you can be allowed to bring on a pocket knife. It seems a bit strange.

(END VIDEOTAPE) MARSH: All right. Well, the TSA has been saying here, despite the pushback, they say their decision to allow these things, these pocket knives, on board is simply based on intelligence that they're receiving about the type of threats that are out there. They believe that there are greater threats out there, things that could be quite catastrophic to an aircraft, possibly bring down the aircraft. We're talking about things like bombs. They say liquid explosives.

They're also looking for bomb components. Those are the items that they're focusing on. And that would explain why although they're saying yes to these sort of pocket knives, they're still saying no to large containers of shampoo and lotion, things of that sort. The TSA saying they want to be smart about their searches here. And they're also pointing out that crew members on board, they say they're trained in self-defense. And they also point out that there are air marshals on board -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right. Rene, thank you very much. We appreciate that. And obviously very controversial. We've heard some folks from the airlines, in fact some of the stewardesses, saying they're trying to deal with drunk unruly passengers and that is a difficult thing to consider if they have those little small knives that we've been talking about.

We're also following this, of course, the world watching what is happening in the Vatican city. The Catholic church's highest body, the college of cardinals, they are meeting right now. And soon, 115 of them will begin choosing who will actually become the next pope.

CNN International's Becky Anderson, she's in Rome. She's joining us. And, Becky, this is kind of cool, right? They're going to lock themselves away tomorrow in the 16th Chapel, and we might start to see some white smoke at some point, yes? How does this work?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At some point. When is an open question though, isn't it? Live discussions really over now, the official discussions at least as you say. And the cardinals who are eligible to vote are now, as we speak, being sworn-in. Tomorrow morning they'll be taken to a hotel just over my right shoulder, the Casa Santa Marta, where they will stay for the duration of this conclave. And will be bussed over to the 16th Chapel every day that conclave is ongoing. Tuesday then, at 4:30 in the afternoon local time will be the first official vote. They don't have to vote by law. But if they do, expect to see smoke, we are told by the Vatican as late as 8:00 p.m. in the evening. That's about 3:00 p.m. local time to you if you're on the east coast. The reason for that -- the reason it's a bit later on Tuesday, if indeed it happens at all, is that they will be praying before that.

So, if we were to get white smoke, well that would be quite an incredible feat and that would mean that there was a new pope but don't really expect that Tuesday. Wednesday then is when it sort of really all begins. There's two votes in the morning, two in the afternoon. And we are looking for that historic white smoke to announce, of course, that a new pope has been elected. How long could it take? Well, how long is a piece -- MALVEAUX: Yes.

ANDERSON: -- of string at this stage? But over the last hundred years, five days or so is what you're probably looking at. Since 1839, it's always been complete within five days and that would take, of course, down to the weekend -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: OK. All right. I'll be watching. It's very exciting, actually. And many folks, specifically American Catholics, who would like somebody who's a bit younger. And they're considering -- I think they are considering perhaps Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines. He's 55. Is that something -- is he a serious contender?

ANDERSON: It depends who you ask. If you're talking to the Europeans here, they say they are looking for a European pope. If you talk to anybody from the rest of the world, they say they're looking for a pope from the rest of the world. It would be odd to get Tagle, because he's very, very young, only elected a cardinal last year. The front runners -- and, you know, do you remember? This is a secret, secret election process. So, it's all speculation and conjecture, but there are divisions, clear divisions there. If you talk to insiders, Vatinistas as they're known here, they will say that Adura Shera (ph) from Brazil is likelihood, although they see him as an insider, more Italian I'm told than Brazilian. You're also looking at Angelo Scola who is an Italian. He may be on -- up for it. And there is a couple of Americans, as you know Dolan and O'Malley. So, it's all up for grabs. I guess, at the moment.

MALVEAUX: OK. We'll be watching closely. Thank you, Becky. I appreciate it. And, of course, our Anderson Cooper, he's also in Rome. He's watching, waiting for the conclave to start. Join him tonight, "AC 360" at 8:00 Eastern.

Here's what we're also working on for this hour. As he gets ready to submit his budget plan, Congressman Paul Ryan is reviving a similar fight. He is taking on Obama care again and he's not pulling any punches.

And a five-alarm fire proves more dangerous than expected as a back draft explosion injures several firefighters.

Plus, our two-day CNN special. what women want, it is what a lot of us are talking about there. We're talking about the family, job, the glass ceiling as well.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've never seen a ceiling. Never. I don't see it. Sometimes women have to make choices.


MALVEAUX: Makeup founder Bobby Brown says her life is all about making choices and juggling.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MALVEAUX: Getting a report of an earthquake near L.A. Chad Myers gathering the details.

So, Chad, what do we know about this?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Between L.A. and the Salton Sea, pretty good shake. First report was 5.1 and then 5.2 and now there may be another 4.7 report. This is just settling down. It's just happening as we speak. But we're seeing buildings rocking in Glendale. There's an awful lot of shaking going on - a 5.-anything is a good shake when you get that many people involved. Now, it's not in the city of L.A. not in the basin. It's east of L.A. We'll keep you advised as we get more information. Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Chad, thank you. We'll get back to you in just a moment.

We have dramatic video. This is an explosive back draft out of Harrison, New Jersey. Firefighters were called to a fire in an apartment building when this explosion happens. Now, the five firefighters they were reportedly injured, thankfully none of them seriously. One had extensive cuts from the flying glass. But you can see what kind of damage that did.

And Susan Rice didn't get a shot at becoming secretary of state, but she reports that she might emerge as the next national security advisor. That has been widely discussed. She is the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. right now and a favorite of the president's and was rumored to be his first choice to replace Hillary Clinton at the state department before a run-in with Senate Republicans. Well, for this position she would not need confirmation from the Senate.

As he gets ready to submit his budget plan tomorrow, Congressman Paul Ryan is reviving what we saw before. Pretty familiar this fight back in the presidential campaign. And it is over the president's health care plan. Watch.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Are you saying that as part of your budget you would repeal -- you assume the repeal of Obamacare?


WALLACE: Well, that's not going to happen.

RYAN: Well, we believe it should. That's the point. This is what budgeting's all about, Chris. It's about making tough choices to fix our country's problems.


MALVEAUX: Want to bring in our Wolf Blitzer. Wolf, great to see you here. So Paul Ryan says this is what he's going to do. This is what he wants to do. He just had lunch with the president here. Doesn't sound like it is likely to happen. Why do you suppose he's picking this fight? WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I think he's obviously sincere. He doesn't believe that the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare as it's called, is the right thing. He has made that point clear like a lot of other Republicans and conservatives have made it clear now for the more than a couple years. They want it to go away. They failed. They hopeed the United States Supreme Court would do the job for them, the United States Supreme Court held that Obama are was constitutional when all was said and done.

They can thank the chief justice John Roberts for that. But they're making no bones about it. They don't think it's the right thing. They think it's going to hurt. And they're going to try to eliminate it. The only way they would do so is if they had decisive majorities. They can do it in the House of Representatives, but the Republicans don't have a majority in the Senate. Even if they were to do it get that majority, even a super majority, which is unlikely they would be able to achieve that, the president could override that kind of legislation. You need two-thirds majorities.

So it's not going to happen as Chris wallace accurately pointed out to Paul Ryan. But that's still not stopping him he'd like to see it go away one of these days.

MALVEAUX: Wolf, you might remember this. Right after the president was elected the first go around he had a bunch of folks over to celebrate the Super Bowl, had a party, they were in the theater, all of that. Seemed like they were getting along quite well and then Republicans started attacking him when it came to legislative priorities. We're now seeing the president once again reaching out to some Republicans, having them over for dinner, these kinds of things. He'll be up at Capitol Hill, what makes you think or do you think a second go around, perhaps a charm offensive, would work.

BLITZER: I'm not sure it will work. I'm sure the president is trying to make it work. Everybody I've spoken to who the 12 Republican senators who attended that dinner at the Jefferson hotel here in Washington the other night, almost all of them came out saying it was positive, a good start. Paul Ryan himself had lunch the next day at the White House. Chris van Hollen the ranking Democrat on the budget committee was there as well. They both said it was a good start. Let's see what happens.

This week there are going to be some important meetings. The president is going up to Capitol Hill and meet with Democrats separately, will meet with Republicans separately. Let's see if they can come up with some sort of plan that that so-called grand bargain, Suzanne, as you know to deal with tax reform but also at the same time deal with entitlement reform, Social Security and Medicare, see if they can come up with something. It's not going to be easy given the philosophical differences especially over increasing tax revenues as they say.

But it's worth a shot especially knowing that by the end of July they have to raise the nation's debt ceiling once again. And we don't want to go through that whole bruising battle because it's only potentially going to further undermine U.S. credit worthiness, if you will. Maybe lower the credit rating of the United States. So let's hope we don't have to live through that issue once again.

MALVEAUX: Yes. I hear you. All right. Wolf, thanks. We'll be watching you in the situation room later today. Appreciate it. And of course we are also following this story, women making up 50 percent of the country, right? But less than 20 percent of Congress. Nancy Pelosi is weighing in on what women want in Washington. She is going to be with Wolf in the situation room at 4:00 eastern today. And speaking of what women want, one makeup millionaire found out that making choices, sticking to them keeps her life on track.


MALVEAUX: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's new book "Lean In" has a lot of working women blogging and e-mailing about whether women can have it all. 43-year-old successful mother of two told "60 Minutes" last night women need to be more ambitious and shoot for leadership positions. She says they have an internal voice holding them back.


SHERYL SANDBERG, COO FACEBOOK: They start leaning back. They say, oh, I'm busy, I want to have a child one day. I couldn't possibly take on anymore. Or, I'm still learning on my current job. I've never had a man say that stuff to me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're suggesting women aren't ambitious?

SANDBERG: I'm not suggesting women are ambitious. Plenty of women are as ambitious as men. But I am saying and I want to say it unequivocally and unapologetically that the data is clear that when it comes to ambition to lead, to be the leader of whatever you're doing, men, boys outnumber girls and women.


MALVEAUX: Some have criticized the message saying it's not only women stopping themselves, but the lack of employer policies that allow for more family-friendly work schedules, that kind of thing. But that is something Sandberg also brings up in the book as well.

Speaking of successful women, have you ever heard of a type-A minus personality? That is how makeup guru Bobbi Brown describes herself. She is wildly successful and says also says she has never seen the glass ceiling. Our Alina Cho talked to Brown as part of our special series this week, "What Women Want."


ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Makeup maven Bobbi Brown is not shy.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're not shy about your age.

BROWN: No, I'm not shy about it.

CHO: About her age or her success.

BROWN: I never think about not being successful in what I do. And I think it's a combination of courage and being naive. I just think why not.

You can use it on your lips too.

CHO: Brown started her company in 1991 with ten lipsticks.

BROWN: I was doing a shoot and I met a chemist and I explained to him my dream to find lipstick that looked like lips.

CHO: The idea took off. She sold 100 in the first day. Four years later Estee Lauder's son Leonard came calling.

BROWN: He said you've done such an amazing job with your company, we can't beat you in the stores and I would love to buy you. I knew it was the right move. What mattered to me most was the integrity of the products, and new creative ideas, but I also wanted to be available to be the best mom that I could be and the best wife I could be.

CHO: Brown sold but retains creative control. Today, Bobbi Brown cosmetics sells 21 million individual products a year. Bobbi Brown the woman is a self-described type-A minus wife and mother of three.

BROWN: I hate to say juggling it all.

CHO: Right. It's a lot.

BROWN: And people always say how do you do this? Well, you know, some days work better than others. And maybe you will not have that top job because you do have three kids and a husband and you want your friends. So there are certain choices women make. Pictures are great. Even though I still do a lot of little detail things myself.

CHO: Like take out the trash, the same week she lunches at the White House or uses what could be wasted time in the back of a car writing her books. What about this whole notion of a glass ceiling for women?

BROWN: I've never seen the ceiling. Never. I don't see it.

CHO: Bobbi Brown's world is one that includes an in-office manicurist.

Why do you offer this?

BROWN: We're in a beauty company and look how much time it saves? A lot of working moms would love a manicure.

No one ever has to say to me I can't make a meeting because my kid's first day of kindergarten or school play or my kid's checkup. I get that.

CHO: Another of Brown's priorities is giving back. With every appearance on QVC she donates $25,000 to Dress for Success, a nonprofit that gives career advice and professional clothing to underprivileged women. 100 percent of U.S. sales of this rouge pot also goes to the charity.

BROWN: Look how pretty it is.

CHO: Empowering women by making them feel their best.

BROWN: Be who you are. That's my tagline.

CHO: Brown's secret to beauty and success. Alina Cho, CNN, New York.


MALVEAUX: Good for her. We're going to continue our conversation, "What Women Want." We're going to do that tomorrow as well, part of a two-day special event only on CNN.

One police chief he wants to be certain he doesn't have racist cops on patrol.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not going to tolerate any racial slurs or racial remarks.


MALVEAUX: So he's actually making them take a lie detector test before they're hired. Is it a good idea? And is it even legal?