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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Vatican Prepares to Elect New Pope; Six Teens Die in Car Crash; Facebook COO Publishes Controversial Book on Women in the Workplace; TSA Pressured to Keep Knife Ban; Rising Wedding Costs; Good Economic Indicator?

Aired March 11, 2013 - 07:00   ET

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


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome, everybody. Our STARTING POINT this morning, preparing for the papal conclave. Today, 115 cardinals will take their oath of secrecy and tomorrow they'll be locked behind closed doors beginning the process of selecting a new pope. Some details about this historical moment coming to you live from Rome this morning.

Then, heartache in a small town. Six teenagers killed when the SUV they were riding in flips over a guardrail and crashes into a pond. This morning, the investigation to find out how this tragedy happened.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Growing outrage over the TSA's new policy allowing small knives on planes. One lawmaker is joining the chorus to reverse the regulations. Does Congress need to get involved?

ZAIN ASHER, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And the Dow has been on a roll setting a new record high day after day. Will today be another good day for your 401(k)?

O'BRIEN: Plus, one of the most powerful women in America with a new book that's touching a national nerve. We'll tell you why Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says the woman's movement has stalled.

It's Monday, March 11th, and STARTING POINT begins right now.

Welcome, everybody. Let's begin with a pivotal decision that's going to decide the direction and the future of the Catholic Church and the distinct possibility that we could know as early as tomorrow afternoon just who will be the person who is guiding the church's 1.2 billion members. The 115 cardinal electors in the conclave will place their first vote tomorrow afternoon.

Yesterday it was a fascinating spectacle as the cardinals fanned out across Rome, each of them assigned to preach at a designated church. Lots of buzz surrounding two U.S. cardinals who potentially could become the first American Pope, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, and Cardinal Sean O'Malley, Boston's archbishop. Miguel Marquez is outside Vatican City this morning with more on the contenders. Good morning, Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. O'BRIEN: We're having -- Miguel I'm going to stop you there. We're having some trouble with your signal. We're going to try to fix that for you. Miguel, though, has a report for us on what's happening and some of the preparations in Vatican City. Let's go to that first.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: Crunch time at the Vatican. The chimney -- the chimney that will announce to the world whether there's a new Pope is placed atop the treasured 500-year-old Sistine Chapel. It is delicate work upholding a tradition where white smoke billowing from the chimney signals a new Pope has been named.

JOHN ALLEN, SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: The last thing they want is for the Sistine Chapel to turn into a smoke-filled room.

MARQUEZ: It is, after all, where Michelangelo applied his hand, a specialized stove goes along with the chimney. It does take time for the smoke to go from gray to either white or black.

ALLEN: One of the bits of drama about a conclave is that the Catholic Church normally is a highly scripted, imminently predictable enterprise. You know exactly what is going to happen and you know when it's going to happen. But with a conclave in a sense, all bets are off.

MARQUEZ: The conclave, their decision shrouded in secrecy and tradition, and some modern twists. Electronic jamming equipment ensures no one inside or outside the conclave knows the result before it's ready to be announced.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm ready to go home. I ran out of socks.

MARQUEZ: The front-runners, out in force in Rome. There's Cardinal Scherer of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Could he be the first Pope from the new world? One of the front-runners, Cardinal Angela Scola of Milan, Italy, said mass at Rome's church of the 12 apostles. And there's one of the dark horse candidates, Boston's Sean O'Malley. Could he be the first American Pope?

CARDINAL SEAN O'MALLEY, ARCHBISHOP OF BOSTON: Let us pray that the Holy Spirit illuminate the church to use a new Pope who will confirm us in our faith, and make more visible the love that we cherish.

MARQUEZ: The public politicking nearly over. Once the conclave starts the cardinals go into deep seclusion until a decision is made.

Now what you're looking at are those burgundy curtains, and that balcony. That is where the Pope, once he is named by the conclave, will meet the tens of thousands of people here at the basilica and millions of people around the world, 1.3 billion Catholics waiting for this decision to be made.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: The bell that will ring, just so I can orient you here -- Sistine chapel over there. The bell that will ring, that will indicate the new Pope is right there. The column with the smoke coming out of the Sistine Chapel, is it black, is it white, is it gray? Nobody can ever tell. That bell will be the real arbiter.

As I was telling you on the way in, Cardinal Dolan was actually kissing babies this weekend. That's how political this thing has gotten. All of that stops tomorrow. They go into seclusion. The first time smoke will come out of the chimney is tomorrow around 2:00 p.m. eastern. White, black, we'll have to wait.

O'BRIEN: We'll wait for the bell. Miguel Marquez this morning. Thanks. Such a beautiful scene behind you, I imagine as the day continues into tomorrow we're going to see more people en masse behind you as they wait to see what the cardinals decide. Miguel Marquez for us in Rome.

New information this morning about a car crash that killed six teenagers. Police in Ohio are now saying the driver of the SUV Honda Passport was speeding when the crash happened. The driver and five passengers were killed. The victims in this crash range from age 14 to age 19. CNN's Shannon Travis is following developments in this story for us this morning.

SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. Such a tragic story in Ohio. This SUV that these teens were traveling in was only supposed to seat five people. But as you mentioned, eight people were actually traveling inside. It's unclear exactly who was wearing a seat belt. Police say that some people weren't. Also unclear, where these teenagers were coming from and going to. Just part of the many questions investigators will ponder as they look into this horrific scene.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRAVIS: This is what's left of the Honda Passport after one of the deadliest wrecks in recent memory in northeastern Ohio. It happened around 6:50 Sunday morning. Eight teenagers packed into the SUV.

LT. BRIAN HOLT, OHIO STATE POLICE: The vehicle was traveling southbound at a high rate of speed.

TRAVIS: It went off the road, hit a guard rail, overturned and landed in a pond, partly submerged.

HOLT: Two of the occupants were able to escape from the vehicle, and subsequently ran to a nearby residence where they called 911.

TRAVIS: The other six of those teens were killed. They ranged in age from 14 to 19. Five were found in the SUV, another, underneath in the water. The driver, 19-year-old Alexis Cayson.

ASHIA CAYSON, VICTIM'S SISTER: She's in my mind so many days and I kept seeing people walk around, I thought it was her, and it wasn't each time.

TIM CAYSON, VICTIM'S UNCLE: I just had to walk, you know, walk and identify her body, and it was her.

TRAVIS: Many of the victims' families and friends went to the scene.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I knew Alexis. That was my friend. And she's gone.

TRAVIS: Even though it was Sunday some friends went to their schools to find solace and comfort.

MICHAEL NOTAR, SUPERINTENDENT: It was heartbreaking to see the students walking in and just reaching out to some of their teachers.

TRAVIS: Grief counselors will be at the schools today.

NOTAR: It's going to be a rough week. It's going to be a rough rest of the school year.

ASHIA CAYSON: You never know what can happen. Tomorrow is not promised to anybody.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TRAVIS: Soledad, officials are awaiting the results of toxicology tests, but police say they haven't found any sign of drugs or alcohol. Soledad?

O'BRIEN: Shannon Travis for us. What a terrible story. Thank you for the update.

John Berman's got a look at some of the other stories making news this morning.

BERMAN: Thanks, Soledad. New this morning, the North Korean army declaring that the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War in 1953 is now invalid. The announcement follows the start of joint military exercises this morning between the U.S. and South Korea. North Korea calls those an open declaration of war and also threatening a nuclear attack against the United States.

New developments this morning in India in a rape and murder case that really shocked the nation and the world. Police in New Delhi say that one of the suspects charged in the crime has committed suicide in custody, hanging himself. The parents of that suspect, Ram Singh, claim their son was murdered. Singh was one of the men accused in the gang rape and murder of a young woman aboard a bus back in December. The brutality of the attack shocked the Indian nation and led to calls for new laws to protect women against sexual assault.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on his way home this morning after a tension filled visit to Afghanistan. He met with Hamid Karzai after the Afghan president publically accused the U.S. of collaborating with the Taliban to destabilize his country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: During Hagel's first morning in Kabul two suicide bombings killed at least 19 people, including a U.S. contractor. A spokesman for the Taliban said one of the blasts near the afghan defense ministry was intended as a message to Hagel.

And '70s sitcom star Valerie Harper speaking out publicly since being diagnosed with a rare form of terminal cancer. Despite the diagnosis, the 73-year-old actress remains hopeful and strong. This is what she said on an episode of "The Doctors" on CBS.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VALERIE HARPER, ACTRESS: It's also incurable, so far. That's the word I'm looking at, so far, because they're doing research as we speak. And so, I just thought that, while I'm still able, because it is brain, to speak, and show you that I'm cooking my husband's dinner. I'm walking at Santa Monica. And more than anything I'm living in the moment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: You can hear more from Valerie Harper later this week on "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" here on CNN.

O'BRIEN: She looks amazing. It's so interesting to have her being a spokesperson for something, because I think she's right, people think automatically --

BERMAN: It's a very rare and difficult kind of cancer she has.

O'BRIEN: Good luck to her.

So Sheryl Sandberg's goal was to touch a nerve with her new book called "Lean In." She's succeeding. In the book Facebook's chief operating officer examines why there are so few women who make it to the top in corporate America. The problem, she says, could be with the women themselves. Here's CNN's National Correspondent Susan Candiotti.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sheryl Sandberg wants women to succeed and says it's alarming how far they haven't come.

SHERYL SANDBERG, AUTHOR, "LEAN IN": The very blunt truth is that men still run the world.

CANDIOTTI: In her first televised interview to debut her new book "Lean In" Sandberg tells "60 Minutes" that leadership roles for women are alarmingly small, only 21 female CEOs in the Fortune 500.

SANDBERG: This is deeply personal for me. I want every little girl who someone says they're bossy to be told, instead, you have leadership skills.

CANDIOTTI: Sandberg lays a good deal of the responsibility on women themselves. Facebook's 43-year-old chief operating officer says women too often don't compete for promotions because they're worrying too early about the future.

SANDBERG: They start leaning back. They say oh, I'm busy. I want to have a child one day. I could possibly, you know, take on any more. Or, I'm still learning on my current job. I've never had a man say that stuff to me.

CANDIOTTI: Though she also blames discrimination at work and a lack of affordable childcare, her views have made her a lightning rod.

LESLEY JANE SEYMOUR, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, MORE MAGAZINE: Instead of saying that doesn't work for women, and it won't work, and let's change the system, she's kind of going backwards and saying, let's change you instead. That's probably where most of the anger is coming from.

CANDIOTTI: But Sandberg isn't apologetic.

SANDBERG: I'm not trying to say that everything I can do everyone can do. But I do believe that these messages are completely universal. The things that hold women back hold women back from sitting at the board room table, and they hold women back from speaking up at the PTA meeting.

CANDIOTTI: Sandberg, a mother of two, also says leading at work requires men to share the workload at home.

SANDBERG: There's 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 to sit at more tables, raise more hands.

CANDIOTTI: Challenging women to lean in and listen.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN: I want to get right to our team this morning to talk about this and much more. Bonnie Fuller is with us, the founder of hollywoodlife.com. Belinda Luscumbe is the editor at large for "TIME" magazine. She got that first interview with Sandberg about her book. And Ryan Lizza is back. He is the Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker." It's nice to have you all with us.

You got a chance to spend a lot of time with her. You heard a little bit of the debate, right? Is it internal that women need to do more for themselves, or is it external that women, you know, that there are things happening in the culture that need to change? That it's not women changing?

BELINDA LUSCUMBE, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "TIME": I think what Sheryl would say, rather maddeningly, is that it's both. Both we need to change the culture, it's definitely institutional things that need to be changed. But what we have not emphasized is, what are the internal barriers that women face? What do they believe about themselves, which does not help them put themselves forward? And that's what she wants to sort of drill down on.

O'BRIEN: You guys have been surprised that she's been such a lightning -- your book is really a great read. I thought it was interesting and entertaining and --

LUSCUMBE: Unusually funny.

O'BRIEN: Sort of everything you're looking for in an author. I was surprised, at the degree -- oh, my god, look at your notes. Will you look at this? These are the notes.

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: Clearly -- that's what I mean she's become a lightning rod. People are reading her book with little stick 'ems highlighting every little thing. Are you surprised she's become a lightning rod?

BONNIE FULLER, FOUNDER, HOLLYWOODLIFE.COM: I'm not surprised at all, because women are lightning rods, especially women who are powerful. She's also very wealthy, as well as being successful, and because she's being outspoken on this issue.

And yes, I've got lots of stickies on here because I thought it was full of great advice for my audience at hollywoodlife.com, which are young women, and also for my two daughters. And I think she does address the external factors in business, in government, which are holding women back.

However, she believes that if more women can attain positions of leadership in both business and government, then they can open -- they can help open the doors to other women. And, yes, there are things that women do themselves that hold them back. I see that as an employer myself, and in myself.

O'BRIEN: We'll talk a little bit more about that later this morning.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: John Berman and I --

O'BRIEN: I was going to say.

BERMAN: We did not lean in.

O'BRIEN: It will be the first time ever -- I'm just kidding. What do you want to add?

LIZZA: No, no, no. I'm very serious.

O'BRIEN: We've got a lot of time to talk about that this morning. I'll sit down with Sheryl on Wednesday. We're going to bring that interview to you next week.

Starting today, CNN's taking an in-depth look at the challenges women face at home and on the job. "What Women Want, Work and Family" all day today on CNN.

Coming up next, the outcry over the TSA's decision to allow small knives and even baseball bats on airplanes is growing this morning. Should the agency reverse this policy? Does Congress need to step in? We'll take a look at that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. The TSA is under mounting pressure this morning to reverse this controversial decision to allow small pocket knives on passenger planes. Congressional leaders, heads of airlines, employee unions all demanding that the TSA reconsider the ruling. They say it's a safety threat to relax guidelines are scheduled to take effect in six weeks.

Want to get right to CNN national correspondent Rene Marsh live at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia this morning. Rene, good morning.

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. You know, according to this new policy you would be able to sail through security lines like these with one of these, and because of that, a battle is brewing. Some lawmakers really turning up the heat on the TSA saying not only does this new policy scare passengers, but it also endangers the flight crew.

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.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN CHARLES SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: Today I am asking the TSA to rescind that ruling and say small knives, any knives, are not allowed on planes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARSH: New York senator Chuck Schumer joins unions representing pilots, flight attendants, and federal air marshals in publicly opposing the plan. Delta Airlines' 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 pistol says the change will allow screeners to focus on things that could bring down an aircraft, like bombs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN PISTOLE, TSA ADMINISTRATOR: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARSH: All right. Well you know what? The TSA says that that knife that Schumer was holding up actually would not be allowed on board under this new policy. Because it has a razor blade edge like this box cutter. And also because the blade does not retract like this pocket knife. Still Schumer is saying if they don't repeal this new policy he may propose legislation to overturn it.

O'BRIEN: Thanks, Rene, appreciate the update.

Coming up in the next hour we're going to talk with Sara Nelson, she's the vice president of the association of flight attendants international. And a flight attendant for United Airlines. She thinks the rules should be reversed, as well. So we'll talk with her about that.

Ahead this morning, how much does it cost to say I do? A whole heck of a lot I'm guessing. We'll tell you what brides and grooms are spending on their weddings, or at least what they're moms are and their dads are. Is it a sign the economy is getting back on track? That's up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome, everybody. Got some breaking news to start with. Several NATO and Afghan troops reportedly killed this morning in eastern Afghanistan. We are told that an assailant wearing an Afghan service uniform opened fire on the group. Another so-called green on blue attack. We're following the story for you. We're going to bring more information to you as it becomes available as we watch the story.

Want to start this morning with Zain Asher filling in for Christine today. She's got a look at some of the business news we're focusing on this morning, good morning.

ASHER: Hi, Soledad. Minding your business this morning, stocks set to pull back from record highs this morning. Remember that the Dow hit an all-time high four days last week. But there is no (ph) major economic news today, there's little to guide trading so investors are taking some profit. But here's a possible economic indicator for you. Wedding spending. Yep, it went up last year as the economy recovered. The knot.com said the average wedding costs about $28,000 last year. Couples are spending more on just about everything. The photographer, DJ, flowers, invitations. Per guest, couples spend $204 a head. A lot of money.

O'BRIEN: Wow.

LUSCUMBE: I just think that is a recipe for disaster. Because you're putting so much freight on the wedding, when the marriage turns out to be anything less than fantastic --

O'BRIEN: Worth less than 25k.

BERMAN: How many young couples could use $30,000 a year or two into their marriage?

FULLER: I think this is a terrific indicator that people have more confidence in the economy. Now the next indicator is are they going to start having babies? Because the birth rate has dipped to dramatic lows ever since the recession.

ASHER: I also think what's interesting is that during recessions people don't actually stop having weddings. You know, they still have weddings. The question is what do they spend on the little extras? on the wedding band, on tablecloths, that kind of thing.

O'BRIEN: The cousin takes the pictures, mom makes the food, you cut the flowers out of someone's garden. Save a couple grand. They said New York spends the most, Manhattan, $77,000 on a wedding.

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: That's just crazy. Alaska the most frugal, just over $15,000.

LIZZA: The economy is coming back. The only thing dragging it down is Washington. Sequestration and the payroll tax increase.

O'BRIEN: We're going to talk more about that this morning as well.

(INAUDIBLE)

O'BRIEN: I know, exactly.

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: Get right into doom and gloom.

LIZZA: In my experience, if you can work sequestration into any conversation, you get everyone going.

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: It's a buzzkill. FULLER: The question is --

BERMAN: Try to work it into your wedding toast, if you can.

FULLER: It's sequestration (ph) against family values. I mean if it's going to put a damper on weddings.

O'BRIEN: Congressman Paul, Ryan, in fact, is introducing a budget this week calling for Obamacare to be repealed, historically, of course, that's pretty unlikely. So is the plan just wasting the time in Washington, D.C. Or what? We're going to talk to Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz joining us next.

Then this nasty thing comes running across the field in a soccer match. Looks, they finally grab it. It looks like he bites the guy. Ow. We'll tell you what happened to whatever that -- it looks like a weasel, doesn't it? Ow.

It does bite him. Ow. Nasty. Anyway we'll tell you what happened there. Back in a moment.

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