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Pope and Change; Interview with Rick Hilgartner; Valerie Harper's "Incurable" Cancer; Tiger Cruises to Win at Doral; "SNL" Pays Tribute to Hugo Chavez

Aired March 11, 2013 - 06:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Six young lives lost in a speeding SUV. An Ohio community coming to grips with a senseless tragedy.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: And cardinals huddled at the Vatican. Prayers and preparations on the eve of the conclave to pick the next pope.

BERMAN: Red faces among New York's subway bosses. How an embarrassing 50 cent mistake ended up costing the agency a quarter of a million dollars.

SAMBOLIN: That is never a good thing for them.

BERMAN: Yikes. Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is Monday morning. Nice to have you with us. Thirty minutes past the hour.

It's just about voting time, the most secretive vote in the entire world starting tomorrow. One hundred and fifteen cardinals will walk from their home away from home, the Santa Marta Residence at the Vatican, to the Sistine Chapel. That walk will be taken twice a day every day until they elect a new pope.

Monsignor Rick Hilgartner, head of the U.S. Conference of Bishops, secretariat on divine worship, is here to talk all things conclave this morning. Thank you, again, for being with us.

So let's talk about that process, because we were kind of chatting about it before we started here. What exactly happens when they go in to the Sistine Chapel?

MSGR. RICK HILGARTNER, U.S. CONFERENCE OF BISHOPS: Well, tomorrow, they'll gather in the afternoon, after they celebrate the mass in the morning together in St. Peter's. The solemn procession to the chapel is actually a liturgical procession that will be accompanied by the chant of the litany of saints, and they'll eventually, when they all arrive in the Sistine Chapel, they will continue with the ritual of prayer during which each of them will take the official oath of secrecy. And the entire time in the chapel is governed by a formal ritual of prayer so there is no real conversation that takes place. Once they are in there --

SAMBOLIN: That was surprising to me. I thought that they would have some conversation about who the best candidate is, what they're looking for. But you said, no, maybe whispers.

HILGARTNER: There might be some whispers as they talk to the person next to them. And they're seated in absolute hierarchical order in the -- among the College of Cardinals. They're in their order of seniority. And the actual official conversation is all in the context of the ritual.

So each will come forward and make their vote, with the formula that they say, that "I stand before Christ, who will judge me, and declare before God that this is the person I think should be the next pope."

SAMBOLIN: And you said this whole process happens in Latin.

HILGARTNER: It happens in Latin, yes.

SAMBOLIN: And it's all a paper process, pretty much.

HILGARTNER: No, it's all verbal. They all have a copy of the ritual book in front of them so they know what the formula is. The conversations that will be taking place will happen when they take the breaks. So, after the morning session, when they return to the Domo Santa Marta for lunch, in the evening when they return for dinner and whenever they might gather in smaller groups.

But once they're in the chapel, there is no more caucusing, no more official conversations that take place. If there's no successful vote after three full days, which will be after Friday, Saturday would be a day for them to pause, have some time for prayer, and some more conversations, similar to the conversations they're having up to today in the general congregation.

SAMBOLIN: So let's talk about some of the top contenders. I know that that, you know, list doesn't really exist.


SAMBOLIN: But we keep on talking about some specific names. Who is on that list? And actually who do you think put together this list or put those names out there?

HILGARTNER: Well, the list has been a collective kind of process that's involved the media, that's involved some of the early speculation among cardinals. Some of it is obvious. Like Cardinal Angelo Scola from Milan. The archdiocese of Milan has been a pope producer, in some ways, numerous other popes, even from the 20th century were archbishops of Milan.

Some of the other ones who've emerged more recently, Cardinal Odilo Scherer from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and some of the other candidates, Cardinal Mar Ouellet from Rome who is originally Canadian. Some of them are in key positions in the Vatican that has them in the front line, because there are cardinals who are already known to the world, known to other cardinals.

Certainly, we look at Cardinal Dolan --

SAMBOLIN: We do, and O'Malley as well.

HILGARTNER: The two Americans, Cardinal Dolan as president of our conference of bishops, already has some leadership role in the church in the United States and as archbishop of New York is already very much in the media spotlight.

SAMBOLIN: And what about the fact that they cannot communicate, and the great lengths that they're going through in order to make sure that nothing is leaked?

HILGARTNER: Well, they've not said that they're actually confiscating their cell phones and smartphones. But the radio silence that they'll have, whatever kinds of jamming technology they'll be using to keep both keep the cardinals from having access to the outside world and to keep the outside world from any kind of eavesdropping that could happen.

It's really a chance for them to recognize that this is an interior moment of prayer, that's really supposed to not be governed by outside influence. And that's hard in today's world when we have so much input.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. And instant access, as well.

HILGARTNER: Absolutely.

SAMBOLIN: Well, we really appreciate your expertise.

HILGARTNER: My pleasure.

SAMBOLIN: I hope you will be with us until the bitter end, until we finally see what color the smoke will be.

HILGARTNER: However long that could be.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you so much, Father Richard Hilgartner, head of the secretary of divine worship for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Appreciate your time.

John, back to you.

BERMAN: It really is so fascinating. A vote like no other.

Thirty-five minutes after the hour right now. And grief counselors will be at schools in Warren, Ohio, this morning to help students deal with the death of their classmates in an SUV crash over the weekend. Six teenagers, ages 14 to 19, were killed. Police say the vehicle was speeding when it went off the road, flipped over and landed in a pond, partially submerged.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LT. BRIAN HOLT, OHIO STATE POLICE: Two of the occupants were able to escape from the vehicle, and subsequently ran to a nearby residence where they called 911. Warren City Fire Department arrived on scene and removed five victims from inside of the vehicle. A sixth victim, sadly, was ejected and was recovered at a later time.


BERMAN: Police say they will not know if alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash until they get toxicology results back.

SAMBOLIN: And today marks two years since the earthquake and tsunami devastated parts of Japan and created a nuclear catastrophe. The Japanese government held a moment of silence in Tokyo this morning. More than 15,000 people died in that disaster.

The subsequent meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear plant forced more than 150,000 people from their homes. Most of them will never return. Sunday, thousands took to the streets of the Japanese capital protesting that country's nuclear power program.

BERMAN: We're taking a look at the top CNN trends this morning on

New York's subway system reeling this morning over an embarrassing fare misprint that could cost a quarter of a million dollars to fix. This is going to leave a mark. It happened just days after yet another fare hike. What happened here is according to "The New York Post," the map mistakenly lists the minimum rate pay as $4.50. That's the old rate. The new minimum is $5.

Sources say 80,000 bad maps were printed at a cost of up to $250,000 here in New York City. You might say at least we're safe from the 20 ounce sodas.

SAMBOLIN: That -- I wonder who's responsible for that, right? Yikes.

All right. They came to see Motley Crue but they got the stones.

BERMAN: That's good.

SAMBOLIN: That's terrible. Motley Crue lead singer Vince Neil was hospitalized after he walked offstage last night in Sydney with severe kidney stone pain. Nikki Sixx said Neil was doubled over on his dressing room floor five minutes until show time. And guess what? Still tried to play through all of the pain.

He is 52 years old now and the group's next show is in Australia, and they say it is still on for tomorrow.

BERMAN: Who tops these rockers?

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my gosh, kidney stones. Pass them first.

BERMAN: Good luck to that. Thirty-seven minutes after the hour right now. And '70s TV star Valerie Harper, she is putting on a brave, strong face and speaking out in the face of incurable cancer. We're going to have a closer look at her diagnosis, straight ahead.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Soledad O'Brien joins us with a look at what's ahead on "STARTING POINT." Good morning.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, "STARTING POINT": Lots happening. Good morning to both of you. Happy end of the weekend and into Monday.

Coming up this morning on "STARTING POINT", we're going to talk about those 115 Catholic cardinals who begin the secretive process of selecting a new pope. Could they elect a non-European pontiff for the first time in 1,300 years? We'll take a look in Rome at what we can expect.

Also, her book is one of the most anticipated of the year because it sparked this national discussion about women and leadership. We'll tell you why Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg says women are holding themselves back.

And the TSA's decision to allow small knives and baseball bats and hockey sticks on airplanes has some people worried about maybe they're, you know, letting dangerous items back on the plane. Should Congress get involved if the agency doesn't reverse its decision?

We're going to talk to the head of the Association of Flight Attendants International about those regulations.

All that and much more ahead this morning.

BERMAN: Fantastic. A lot of confusion about those knives. A lot of people talking about it.

O'BRIEN: Yes, I thought it was very, very odd.

Sheryl Sandberg, have you had a chance to read it yet? I want to discuss that with you.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, that would be lovely. No, I've read some excerpts.

O'BRIEN: You're not a woman, so I don't care what you think on that.


O'BRIEN: I'm kidding, I'm kidding.

SAMBOLIN: Well, he's been chiming in all morning, you may care actually.

O'BRIEN: Really?


SAMBOLIN: Maybe we'll all have a discussion, Mr. Berman.

BERMAN: That's uncomfortable. Thank you.

Forty-two minutes after the hour right now. Actress Valerie Harper, of course, best known for her days on the hit show "Rhoda" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." She has been diagnosed with a rare former cancer. It is affecting her brain. She is now talking about it with some truly inspiring words.

Now, here to tell us more about the condition is senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen. Elizabeth, this is a rare form of cancer, I understand.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is. And it's not what we usually think of when we think of cancer that affects the brain. Usually, we think of a tumor.

This is not a tumor. This is loose cells that are in her spinal fluid and that affects the meninges. The meninges is basically the covering over the brain. So you can see it there, the meninges sort of that blue and green and beige level -- layers there, and inside is the brain.

So from what we know, it's not actually in her brain, but still obviously incredibly dangerous. The doctors we talk to said it's most likely a recurrence of lung cancer that she had several years ago. She wasn't a smoker but, unfortunately, lung cancer can affect nonsmokers, too. It doesn't usually come back. But sometimes it does and travels to other parts of the body -- John.

BERMAN: So these loose cells, they're floating around the spinal fluid somehow. Does that make it more difficult to treat?

COHEN: Yes, in many ways it really does. There are not a lot of great treatments for this. We're told that she is getting chemotherapy. Now, the doctors we talk to say chemotherapy in this case isn't really done to prolong life, because it doesn't really work very well. What it's done is to control pain, and to control seizures.

So, for the time that she does have left, she will hopefully be healthier. It doesn't -- it may prolong life by a tiny -- by a small amount, by a few weeks, but not by a lot.

BERMAN: Weeks we're talking about here. In general, what's Valerie Harper's prognosis?

COHEN: She was told -- she says she was told by her doctors about three months.

SAMBOLIN: Oh my goodness.

COHEN: And that is in line with what's known about this disease. I mean, it's really a terrible, terrible form of cancer.

BERMAN: Nevertheless we are hearing her speak out with such strength, truly putting on a very brave face.

Elizabeth Cohen, our thanks to you.

COHEN: Thanks.

SAMBOLIN: Really, right? She looks normal and happy and says I'm able to communicate, I'm able to cook dinner for my husband and I'm living in the moment.

BERMAN: That's most important.

SAMBOLIN: Forty-four minutes past the hour.

Spring is in the air, at least here in the Northeast. Unfortunately, that wasn't quite the case for parts of the Upper Midwest. Here's video from a very snowy Interstate 35. This is Iowa. It's a bit too icy for some cars that ended up off the side of the road.

Poor folks. It makes me feel for them. But I'm happy for our temperatures.

Jennifer Delgado --

BERMAN: It makes me feel for them a little bit. I feel for them a tiny bit as long as it's warm here.


SAMBOLIN: Just keep it coming over here all that nice warmth.


JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Right. Zoraida showing her compassion over there this morning. The good news is, the snow has really quieted down, Zoraida. Don't worry there. For Nebraska as well as into areas of like Des Moines. But if you look overall, our, really, our big story is going to be the rain. Rain coming down through parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, and you notice a lot of this is blue, and that indicates that light stuff.

That's not actually making it to the ground. So, for parts of the northeast, we're going to keep you dry throughout the afternoon, but a lot of clouds around. Now, where the heavier rain is coming down through the midsection of the U.S. as well as into parts of the Ohio Valley, notice some stronger storms popping up at time to time from areas including Louisiana up towards Nashville.

But overall, no warnings out there, but I want to point out to you, all along this frontal system, we are going to be dealing with some gusty winds at times. And that includes all the way up towards the Ohio Valley. We are going to see some wind gusts, 40 to 50 miles per hour. Right now, the wind advisories only in the tan shading there. I know it's kind of hard to see, but really, Tennessee as well as into parts of Kentucky.

Now, on a wider view, there's the front, temperatures running about 10 to 15 degrees below average. Parts of the Midwest, some rain as well for parts of the Pacific Northwest. But, overall as we talk about some of these temperatures, look what's going to be happening. For New York, you're going to right about average. Keep the clouds around. Again, for Washington, D.C., 64 for you.

You're going to run about 10 to 15 degrees above average. For Atlanta, rain, and then for areas like St. Louis, Minneapolis, we're talking temperatures running 10 to 15 degrees below average. A big warm-up is on the way for parts of the west that will eventually make its way over towards the east, but not until the weekend.

SAMBOLIN: I love my folks in the Midwest, for the record. They know my loyalty lies there. Thank you --

BERMAN: She giveth and she taketh away.

DELGADO: All right. Thank you.

BERMAN: Forty-six minutes after the hour. And this, the real E (ph) is the Tiger Woods that we haven't seen in years. The golf's really legend on a roll with the Masters in sight. We'll tell you all about it coming up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know this issue of food supply is looming. We know it's out there.

I don't think enough people are really aware or thinking about what's to come. With so many mouths to feed in the world, it's going to be scary. The United States imports, I think, it's about 85 percent of seafood consumed. And I think, from a food safety, food security point of view, i think the United States needs to wake up and begin producing its own seafood.


SAMBOLIN: Fifty-one minutes past the hour. Tiger Woods roars again to win at Doral. He may not be ranked number one, but he sure played like the best golfer in the world this weekend.

BERMAN: He sure did. Joe Carter has more in this morning's Bleacher Report.

JOE CARTER, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, what's up, guys? And to think, a year ago at the same tournament, Tiger had to withdraw because he had an Achilles injury and it forced him from that point to sit out for a few months during the summer. And if you remember, a year ago, there was concern that this guy would never get his golf game back again.

Since returning from that injury, Tiger has five wins, most of any golfer in the world. This year, of course, he's won at Torrey Pines, then of course, yesterday, at Doral. And both of those wins were dominating wins. And to think this guy's got his two favorite courses ahead of him, Bay Hill, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and then the Masters at Augusta National.


TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: It's how i know I can play. That's the thing. And, I built -- I bring it out a couple of times, so far, this year. And then, it close and get the "Ws" on top of that. That's nice. Any time I can win, you know, prior to Augusta, if it's always feels good.


CARTER: All right. So, the Miami Heat are rolling. They won their 18th straight last night, beating the Indiana Pacers by 14 points. I mean, what's up with the Pacers? Many thought this was the best team next to the Miami Heat in the NBA. They were supposed to have the best defense in the NBA.

Lebron James sort of had kind of his quietest night in a season offensively, but it didn't matter because he got great support with Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers. Each of those guys scored more than 20 points. Miami goes for number 19 in a row tomorrow night against the Atlanta Hawks.

Liberty University, you can call them the ultimate Cinderella story. They're just the second team in college basketball history to make the NCAA tournament with 20 losses. Now, this team started out this season losing their first eight games, but then, they got hot at the end of the season when it counted the most. Yesterday, their won their conference tournament giving them an automatic bid to the big dance.

And check out this great video. That's a pine martin you're seeing there. It's like a little weasel running across the pitch.


CARTER: It's actually happening at a professional soccer game in Switzerland.

SAMBOLIN: Great catch.

CARTER: -- this little guy took over the game. And watch this player grabs a hold of him --



CARTER: Bites him. Yes. Got to get out the anti-septic spray.

BERMAN: That's like a yellow card even for a rodent.


CARTER: And then the goalkeeper wearing those giant hamburger gloves grabs the bad boy and picks him up, runs him off --

SAMBOLIN: The good thing he didn't take his finger off.

CARTER: Yes -- he wears those big hamburger helper gloves --

SAMBOLIN: No, but the other guy.

CARTER: Oh, I know. I know. There was concern. But they had the anti-septic spray. Takes care of everything, right?


CARTER: For all your intense sports news, of course, go to You can see there how the U.S. came from behind yesterday to beat Canada at the World Baseball Classic, guys.

BERMAN: Wow. All right. Joe Carter, I thank you. The U.S. is going to have to raise its level of play for once to stay in this World Baseball Classic, by the way.

Fifty-four minutes after the hour right now. Guest stars galore as Justin Timberlake presides over a "Saturday Night Live" blast from the past. This was something. We'll have the highlights just ahead.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Fifty-seven minutes past the hour. An ode to Hugo Chavez. And Justin Timberlake joins a very exclusive five timers club.

BERMAN: Very cool. Here's some of this weekend's "Saturday Night Live." Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could you please try to remember to leave the toilet seat down?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't look at me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't do it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I go in the sink.


JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, ENTERTAINER: This place is the best. I love being a five-timer.


And it seems to me you lived your life like a candle in the wind. If a candle could pull out two pistols at a press conference.


And you said the U.S. caused earthquakes and outlawed code zero. And on your shoulders stood your parrot with a matching red beret.


BERMAN: A fitting tribute from Justin Timberlake. That is all from EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

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