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First Papal Vote Just Hours Away; Five Americans Killed In Helicopter Crash; Officer Pulls Man From Burning Car; New Credit Score Ignores Old Debt; NYC To Appeal Big Soda Ruling; Investigators Look For Crash Cause; Critics Oppose TSA Knife Policy; Frontier Pilots To Use iPads In Flight; Obama To Capitol Hill In Two Hours; Ryan To Reveal GOP Budget Plan

Aired March 12, 2013 - 10:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- we've got to work in terms of personnel and money and being effective. I think the question is how effective is the curia in an internet, 24/7 world.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Also the New York City soda goes flat, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg is fighting on.


MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK: If you know what you're doing is harmful to people's health, common sense says if you care, you might want to stop doing that.


COSTELLO: And a car in flames. A man unconscious trapped inside and then the incredible ending. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Good morning. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Carol Costello. We begin at the Vatican where the process of selecting a new pope gains new momentum this morning. In just about 45 minutes, this procession of cardinals will begin walking to the Pauline Chapel.

They'll chant prayers along the way as they head into an election with no clear frontrunner. Even though, the Vatican predicts the Catholic Church will have a new leader sooner than some predict.


FATHER THOMAS ROSICA, VATICAN PRESS SECRETARY: There's a dynamic that takes over once they're in of the Sistine Chapel. The first vote kind of lays out the names, we will have a pope by the end of the week. I don't think this is going to be a long conclave and they're well prepared. They know what they have to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COSTELLO: CNN's Chris Cuomo is in Rome, along with John Allen, our senior Vatican analyst. Chris first to you, tell us about the atmosphere there?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: It's rainy -- it's the rainy here, Carol. It hasn't dampened the spirits or the expectations that people have certainly what we've been reading on the faces of the cardinals who are going to make this historic vote.

The reason I say it's historic was for two reasons. One, this is a different time in terms of the church atmosphere and the situation that has, of course, introduced this. Pope Benedict XVI did something that hadn't been done in modern history, 600 years, resigning.

But also why he did it, Carol? In his own explanation, it was about what he understands about the demands of service. And I think that infused a sense of intensity, of purpose, that will be carried through in this conclave. Why do I say that?

Well, a Vatican insider told me that, and of course, John Allen who has told me every intelligent thing I've said since I've been here. John, when we talk about this environment and what they come to bear in this conclave.

We heard Father Rosica saying, he thinks the conclave is going to be a little bit longer. Put the two together for us, what they are facing and why it will take more time?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Well, of course, first of all, God only knows, literally, how long this conclave is going to take place because look, this is baseball, not basketball. There's no shot clock in the conclave. They go until they cross that magic two- third threshold, 77 votes.

And if they have to go extra innings to get it, that's what they are going to do. That said, I think they feel tremendous pressure to try do this quickly for two reasons. One, they want to have it wrapped up by holy week obviously, which begins with Palm Sunday on March 24th.

The other is, if this goes on too long, if we're still on this platform on Saturday, we know what the story is going to be. The story is going to be gridlock and paralysis and infighting.

You can imagine the crawl, conclave in crisis and that's the story I think the cardinals don't want to tell the world.

CUOMO: Now early on when we were discussing what was going in the general congregations, what we knew, we did know that there was a little bit of tension, right? That the foreigners, the cardinals that don't work in the curia, in the Vatican, when they came in, they wanted to meet, they wanted to talk. They had concerns. They weren't so urgent about setting a conclave date, right?

ALLEN: I think that's true at the beginning. Now by the end, there was apparently overwhelming consensus among the cardinals to begin this thing today. So I think that suggests that the different camps. And I think there is some division here between maybe the old guard and reform-minded constituency from other parts the world, but I think they both felt they got as much accomplished and it was time to vote.

CUOMO: Speaking of votes, we have an inside the conclave. Tell them what this is.

ALLEN: This is an item from my own personal collection of conclave memorabilia. This is the actual form used inside the conclave in 2005 to count votes. You will see, Chris --

CUOMO: There are Episcopalians and Presbyterians in there, John?

ALLEN: Well, that's a good take, flat wrong, but no, the cardinals are listed in order of seniority. There are three orders within the College of Cardinals, the Cardinal bishops, the cardinal priests and the cardinal deacons.

And when that bank of three cardinals that counts the votes, this is the form they use to put check marks next to everyone's name to get a final count at the end. What you have to imagine, Chris, in your mind's eye, the first name on this form in 2005 was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

By the end, by the fateful fourth ballot, the check marks would have reached all the way down this line back to the top because he was elected as we understand with more than 100 of those 117 votes.

CUOMO: And the reason that Pope Benedict and Joseph Ratzinger, once again, would have been at the top, not because of preference, except that he was the dean of cardinals, right. So it would have made sense to put him first?

ALLEN: Well, that's right. He was the senior cardinal in the order of bishops. That's why his name came first. The point is, Chris, going into that conclave, I think there was a universal consensus that Joseph Ratzinger was the clear frontrunner, the man who would then the intellectual architect of John Paul's papacy. The problem this time, we don't have a clear frontrunner.

CUOMO: And part of that, as you've been explaining to me this week is because they're facing a lot of issues, they don't know each other all that well, so they're going to have to work through it. Yes?

ALLEN: Yes, that's exactly right, which perhaps means they're going to take a closer and more thoughtful look at the various candidates, but it also makes the mathematics of arriving at that 77-vote threshold more complicated.

CUOMO: And as we go through this and we start to learn more things, John and I will be talking, Carol, about what it takes to get to 77 and how the math works in this situation, which helps us understand a little bit better why certain people are frontrunners -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right, Chris Cuomo, John Allen, many thanks.

Back here at home, time to check our top stories. In Afghanistan, crews are working to identify the remains of five U.S. service members who were killed in a helicopter crash in Southern Afghanistan. The helicopter went down in bad weather. The U.S. military says no enemy activity was in the area at the time that helicopter went down.

A police officer in Iowa put his life on the line to save a driver. Dash cam video shows Officer Zack McDowell making a couple attempts to get into that burning car. He's finally able to receive and drag the unconscious driver out to safety. The driver is now in the hospital.

He is expected to recover, but he will face a charge for reckless driving. He was doing doughnuts when the car crashed into an air conditioning unit and caught on fire.

What do Beyonce, Ashton Kutcher, Donald Trump, Vice President Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton have in common?

They're among 12 big names whose personal information and in some cases financial data might have been hacked. Los Angeles police now investigation. The Justice Department said it could be a case of hacking or doxing. Doxing is the posting of information from documents that the public can already access.

Turning now to your money, forget about those old debts that hurts your credit score. A new system could eliminate all of that negative information. Wouldn't that be beautiful? Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange. Seriously?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's a dream come true because this, Carol, it's a new credit scoring model from Vantage Score. It basically has three credit bureaus who created this idea, Equifax, Experian and Trans Union.

And these actually improvement in the model that should -- you may benefit for this. It could actually benefit you if you're looking to be borrower and here's how. The debt -- if you got debt that went to collection agencies, that would winds up being wiped off your credit score if you wound up paying them in full.

Now before this, all that stuff stayed on your credit report for seven years no matter what. If you're a natural disaster victim, you'll get some special treatment, especially if you work to improve your credit score afterwards.

It will be taken to an account and all that negative stuff will be ignored. Now if you couldn't get a credit score in the past because you've got limited credit history, you'll actually be able to get a credit score by using rent or utility payments as proof. So that should help people get loans.

Now this vantage score will also be scaled on a 300 to 850 basis just like Fico is. But Fico, that's still the big credit score. That's the one that's used the most and that's the catch with this, Carol.

Isn't there always a catch, vantage score isn't as popular as Fico. The better credit rating you can get with the vantage model, it only matter if it the lender uses it. And you don't have a choice what banks or lenders use when you apply for a loan. It's up to them. So you know how is that, as the old saying, when a tree falls in a forest, it makes a sound --

COSTELLO: If a tree falls, it makes no sound -- I got it. I did.

KOSIK: You know, if you have a great credit score and the lender doesn't use it then what's the point? The whole point is you hope more and more, some of these financial institutions and the credit card issuers will wind up using vantage score more and more. You know, as opposed to just using Fico.

COSTELLO: Absolutely. Alison Kosik, thanks.

New Yorkers, you can keep on drinking that big gulp in restaurants and fast food joints and movie theatres at least for now. A judge has blocked a city soda ban that was going to start today.

CNN's Mary Snow is following that story. I suspect Mayor Bloomberg has not given up yet, though.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He has not, Carol. Good morning. You know, the mayor is saying he is confident that the city will win its appeal. You know, this morning, there were businesses all set to comply with these new rules. Those plans have now been scrapped.


SNOW (voice-over): It was a first of its kind effort in the country to ban soda, sugary drinks even some types of coffee beverages from being served in containers larger than 16 ounces. The idea was part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's effort to fight obesity.

Beverage companies, restaurants and movie theatres and others went to court to fight back against what they called a nanny state. Just hours before the ban was to take effect, a State Supreme Court judge invalidated the city's rule saying it's arbitrary and capricious because it applies to some, but not all foot establishments in the city.

It excludes other beverages that have significantly higher concentrations of sugar sweeteners and/or calories on suspect grounds. Lattes and other drinks that were at least half milk were not on the list. And supermarkets and convenience stores were also exempt. But the mayor has vowed to appeal.

BLOOMBERG: If we are serious about fighting obesity, we have to be honest about what causes it and we have to have the courage to tackle it head on.

SNOW: The American Beverage Association considers the block a victory. The court rule provides a sigh of relief to New Yorkers and thousands of small businesses in New York City that would have been harmed by this arbitrary and unpopular ban.

Local businesses were worried about their bottom line like this theatre that says 30 percent of its business is from large beverage sales.

(on camera): This is the largest size, it's 44 ounces. This is the smallest, 22 ounces.

(voice-over): The theatre would have had to lose those large sizes in favor of 16 ounces or less. It had General Manager Russell Levinson worried his small theatre would lose tens of thousands of dollars in sales.

RUSSELL LEVINSON, GENERAL MANAGER, MOVIEWORLD THEATER: On an independent dealer like ours, it's a pretty significant hit.

SNOW: The portion control battle continued on late night.

BLOOMBERG: I think it's incumbent on government to tell people what they're doing to themselves and let people make their own decisions.


SNOW: Carol, that movie theatre you just saw there was among businesses that held off making any changes until this lawsuit was resolved. They will now wait on an appeals judge to make a final decision -- Carol.

COSTELLO: We'll be watching, too. Mary Snow reporting live from New York this morning.

Just ahead in the NEWSROOM, the celebration is over. It's the final minutes before 115 men go inside to select the next pope. We'll take you to Rome and the conclave next.


COSTELLO: It's 15 minutes past the hour, time to check our top stories. Investigators in Warren, Ohio, are looking for the cause of this accident that killed six teenagers. Police now say the car was reported stolen. Eight kids crammed into that SUV with only five seats. The vehicle hit a guard rail, flipped and landed in a pond. Police say weather was not a factor.

Add Congressman Ed Markey to the list of those wanting to keep small knives out of airplane cabins. The Massachusetts Democrat is joining others urging the TSA to reverse its recent rule change. Passengers will now be allowed to carry on some small knives beginning in late April. Many flight attendants and pilots oppose that idea.

Harvard University now apologizing to faculty and staff after a secret e-mail search, the school says it was trying to find a source of a leak about a campus cheating scandal. Harvard said the search focused on the e-mail accounts of resident deans, but said no e-mails were actually opened.

Frontier Airlines is going high-tech soon. You will not see pilots carrying those flight bags containing manuals and navigational charts. Instead, those pilots will be carrying iPads. The airline says junking those 30-pound bags will actually save thousands of dollars in fuel costs.

Shuttle diplomacy on Capitol Hill, President Obama heads there in just about two hours. He'll meet with Senate Democrats face-to-face to try to rally support for a proposed budget plan, immigration reform and also gun control. The president will spend three days meeting with House and Senate leaders.

Also in just about 15 minutes from now, Congressman Paul Ryan plans to reveal the Republican budget plan. Some of President Obama's top priorities on the proposed chopping block.

Chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash is live with a preview. Good morning.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. That's right. Paul Ryan will be here at this podium in about 15 minutes. He's going to talk specifics about his budget that he's going to unveil and it really will illustrate the very wide gap between Republicans and Democrats on these economic issues just before the president comes here for his first meeting on Capitol Hill.


BASH (voice-over): Running for vice president, Paul Ryan argued constantly against raising taxes.

REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: What we don't need is a tax increase on successful job creators that will cost us 700,000 jobs.

BASH: But months later, Republican leaders gave in on raising taxes to avoid tumbling off the fiscal cliff. And now Ryan's new budget claims to be balanced in ten years. How? In part by counting revenue from the very tax increases Republicans opposed. Democrats are eager to point out the irony.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It tells me that, you know, Republicans are prepared to pick and choose, which of the policies they were for before or against in terms of how they put together their budget. It adds up right now with a lot of gimmicks and scotch tape.

BASH: The biggest gimmick say Democrats. Ryan's ten-year balanced budget counts money from repealing Obamacare, which has no chance of happening in the future. The host of "Fox News Sunday" was incredulous.

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

RYAN: Yes.

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

RYAN: Well, we believe it should.

BASH: Maybe so, but House Republicans have voted to repeal or chip away at Obamacare 35 times going nowhere in the Democratic Senate. Senate Democrats will unveil their budget this week, too. CNN is told it will include tax increases. It's the first Senate budget in four years. It has become GOP sport to illustrate that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ten shuttle missions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The iPads didn't exist the last time the Senate passed a budget.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd like to introduce everybody to my daughter, Sarah. All of her life there's not been a budget in this country.


BASH: But, Carol, there will be a Senate Democratic budget for the first time in four years later this week. We understand that it will not only look a little bit different from Republicans. It will look very different.

In fact, we are told that there will be proposed $1 trillion in tax increases. That's right, trillion, with a "t," dollars with tax increases in addition to a trillion dollars in spending. They don't suggest or say they don't plan to balance the budget in the future, never mind trying to do it in ten years.

COSTELLO: So in one word, does either of these budget plans have a chance of actually passing and going anywhere?

BASH: Each will pass their own chamber, likely, because the House is run by Republicans. They probably have enough votes to pass there. The same goes with the Senate where it's run by Democrats.

But, look, ultimately, no, these are political documents that generally what budgets are, to lay out the priorities of each party. And the real work is going to have to be done, as it usually is, behind closed doors, which is why the talks that the president is having this week with not only members of his own party but Republicans are very important. Some saying it's a dog and party show which also may be true.

COSTELLO: Well, we'll see. Dana Bash reporting live from Capitol Hill. "Talk back" question for you today, is closing White House tours to the public prudent or pure politics? or tweet me @carolcnn.


COSTELLO: Now is your chance to talk back on one of the stories of the day. The question for you this morning, is closing White House tours to the public prudent or pure politics?

Who would have thought that suspending White House tours would become a political football passed between the president and the conservative Republicans? Radio host Laura Ingraham jab the first lady on Twitter, quote, "Would we save enough money to reopen White House tours if we shut down your "Let's Move" tour? Piling on, Donald Trump who said he'd be glad to pick up the tab for the tours.


DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: Well, I guess it's political. They want to hurt the people. They want to do something to make their point. They want to do something to in their opinion get it going even though it's going in the wrongs way. I don't think it's a bad deal frankly, but it does make us look awfully bad and awfully pathetic.


COSTELLO: Trump's offered to pay for the tours until the end of the fiscal year. We're not talking about chump change here. It cost $74,000 a week to run those tours. The administration says closing the White House to tourists is the least painful way to make those force spending cuts.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: The Secret Service presented options that range from canceling tours to potential furloughs and cuts in overtime. And in order to allow the secret service to best fully its core mission, the White House made a decision that we would unfortunately have to temporarily suspend these tours.


COSTELLO: But some Republicans come off it. It's just pure politics. An effort to make voters even more angry at Republicans. If that's the motive, could be working.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was pretty upset about it just because of the fact that I know how difficult it is sometimes to get a tour of the White House and to have it lined up and coincide with his first day. And for him to just turn 8 and he his own bucket list. On that bucket list was D.C. and the White House. So it was a little upsetting.


COSTELLO: Except voters appear to be angry, not just at Republicans but Democrats too. "Talk back" today, is closing White House tours to the public prudent or pure politics? or tweet me @carolcnn.


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

Checking our top stories now, just about 30 minutes past the hour. Any minute now, former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan will roll out the Republicans' budget plan on Capitol Hill. The Wisconsin Republican says it will cut spending by $4.6 trillion and balance the budget in 10 years all without raising taxes. How?