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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Selecting the Next Pope; Judge Halts NYC Mayor's Sugary Drink Ban; Celebs Finances Exposed by Hackers

Aired March 12, 2013 - 05:00   ET

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


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Catholic conclave day one. Cardinals celebrating mass right now with secret voting on the next pope just hours away.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ZANCHOR: Sweet victory for big, sugary drinks. A New York judge cans the city's soda ban just hours before it was set to kick in.

SAMBOLIN: Hackers hit some of the biggest names in America. Personal information on Beyonce, Donald Trump, even Vice President Biden reportedly exposed for the entire world to see.

Good morning to you. Welcome to EARLY START. Thanks for being with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: It's a big day. I'm John Berman. It is Tuesday, March 12th, 5:00 a.m. in the East.

(MUSIC)

BERMAN: Welcome, everyone, to CNN's special coverage of the selection of the next pope.

In just six hours, 115 cardinals from around the world will take an oath of secrecy and begin voting for the next spiritual leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. Right now, at this very moment, the cardinals are holding a special mass for the election of the Holy Father. At 10:45 Eastern this morning, those cardinals are scheduled to leave their residence at Casa Santa Marta and head to the Pauline Chapel. Forty-five minutes later, they enter the Sistine Chapel and then the waiting begins.

Let's get straight to Rome and my colleague, Chris Cuomo.

Chris is in Rome for the conclave. Set the scene for us, pal.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, how are you, John?

Well, this is the day. Over my shoulder, you see St. Peter's Basilica, the famous square. That's where the Sistine Chapel is. That's where the 115 cardinals will join for the conclave, an 800- year-old secret procedure that is watched the world over.

However, it does begin with this mass. The mass has a name in Latin. It is called "Pro Eligendo Pontifice" for selecting the pope, and this is the beginning of the beginning for the conclave.

You know, one of the headlines in the Italian paper said it all, "El Tempo de la Shelta (ph)," it is time to choose, and that is what the 115 cardinals are here to do. You will be watching live pictures from Vatican TV of the mass.

What you're seeing now are the cardinals proceeding in. This mass is going to be officiated by the dean of cardinals, Angelo Sodano, 85 years old, a major figure.

We will talk about him throughout the conclave process. Is he a favorite? Is he not and why?

We'll take you through all of the proceedings as 1.2 billion Catholics wait for their leader. Now, the mass is the beginning of the conclave. What preceded it just as important: 10 general congregations where the cardinals got together to debate. Each one had an opportunity to speak, if they wanted it, and there were lunches and meetings where they would discuss what mattered and who may be the next leader?

It's an interesting question, because it is technically a nonpolitical process. So, how does a cardinal position themselves to be pope? It's difficult, to say the least.

Let's go to Miguel Marquez, who's with us watching all the events today for some insight into how the next pope is made.

Good morning, Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning there, Chris. We're just down the street from you, a little closer to the basilica here where that mass is under way. They're actually watching it on big- screen televisions out here.

And while it is a nondemocratic process to become the pope, I would say it is definitely political.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ (voice-over): In the politics of becoming pope, there's never been a race quite like this. The church's problems enormous -- the need for a powerful, unifying pope never greater.

MONSIGNOR KEVIN IRWIN, ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW YORK: We have to finish this. We have to get on with this. If we don't do this, it's over, blow the candles out.

MARQUEZ: The new pope will have to reinvigorate the church and brings its numerous bureaucracy, the Curia, into the modern world.

(on camera): So, we're talking nuts and bolts. We're talking finances. We're talking being a good CEO. We're talking --

IRWIN: The church is not just run on Hail Marys. I mean, you know, we've got to make it work in terms of personnel and money and being effective. And I think the question is how effective is the Curia in an Internet, 24/7 world?

MARQUEZ (voice-over): From the time a cardinal becomes a cardinal, the race for pope is on. They are judged on their intellectual, religious and spiritual heft, even their ability to communicate in Italian.

Politicking done, support secured in formal settings and often in out of the way and unlikely venues.

(on camera): This is Venerina Restaurant, just around the corner from the Vatican. Cardinals come here in the ones and twos. They have lunch, dinners, sometimes little wine. It's in places like this that a lot of the heavy lifting is done.

(voice-over): Venerina Labbate has served meals to powerful Vatican insiders for 25 years.

"Dozens of cardinals have been here the last couple weeks," she says. "When you're at the table, you decide things."

Deciding important for many reasons -- as one cardinal jokingly told her during his last meal here, when the conclave is under way, it is bread and water until a new pope is named.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: It is hard to get a decent meal, apparently, once they get locked down into the conclave. They will be in the Sistine Chapel around 4:30 local, 11:30 Eastern, and then we suspect that the voting will begin some time around 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. local, which means that by 2:00 p.m. Eastern or so, we may see smoke rising out of that chimney from the Sistine Chapel for the first time.

Nobody expects it to be white smoke today -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Thank you, Miguel. We'll be coming back to you all morning.

And as you're seeing, there will be a picture of the ongoing mass. The cardinals are all going up, presenting themselves at the altar as they get ready to begin their mass.

This is a process that they lean very heavily on their faith. The expectation is that God has already decided who the next pope is and their challenge is to figure out who he has decided it is.

Now, obviously, beginning with the mass, we have two great experts with us to help us through all the proceedings for today. Seated just to my right here is John Allen, our senior Vatican analyst.

Great to have you, as always.

Next to him, Father Edward Beck, passionate priest, CNN contributor.

This begins with a mass, fitting for a religious organization, but, Edward, what makes this mass special today? FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, of course, with all we've been hearing about the politicking of how a pope gets elected, this is the most important part in that you are coming to the highest form of worship that we have as a Catholic Christian community. It's the mass.

So, they're all gathered. We're going to hear the reading, the Scripture, the Word of God. We're going to come to the table to be fed with the body and blood, and they are going to be praying for God's leadership and guidance in electing this pope.

So, I mean, this, for them, I think, is going to be one of the high points, because they are putting it in the proper context of celebrating mass first, a mass that you can see in all of its splendor. It's beautiful.

We're going to hear different languages. The first reading is going to be in English. The Psalm response will be in Italian and the second reading will be in Spanish. You know when you listen to the intercessions, you'll hear so many languages, French, Swahili, Portuguese, Malaysian, Dutch. This is an international, universal affair, and its full pageantry is on display right now.

CUOMO: It really is gorgeous. We're still watching as the cardinals are making their progression.

They're also open to the public, this mass -- 6,500 seats can fit into this particular chapel where they're having it. So people there on display, the last chance for the public to be in contact with the cardinals before they begin what they see as their sacred duty.

Now, John, today does begin the conclave. They will have one vote today, somewhat of a beginning, right, not supposed to be definitive, obviously?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Yes, that's right, Chris.

I mean, technically, the rules don't apply to them to have a vote tonight, but I think we all expect they will do so, because as you and I and Father Ed have been talking throughout this process, the consensus is there's no clear front-runner, the cardinals don't know where one another stand.

So, think of this vote as sort of the New Hampshire primary of the conclave. It's the first chance to get a sense of where things actually stand and which candidacy might have legs.

CUOMO: Now, what makes this different, a couple of big things we're dealing with here. Look, we love just the spectacle of this. It's such an old, secret rite that we get to eavesdrop on.

But two big things -- first, the stage was set by Pope Benedict XVI resigning, first pope to do so in 600 years and set a tempo for perhaps what we're hearing, maybe a watershed moment.

John, outline why there are bigger issues at play here than in the last conclave.

ALLEN: Well, in the last conclave, you'll remember, Chris, that followed the death of John Paul II. There was this massive outpouring of grief and love. Five million people crowded the streets of Rome here during that period. The conclusion was this had been a massively successful papacy and what the cardinals were looking for continuity -- to keep the momentum going.

Now, this time, the dynamic is different. I think all of these 115 cardinals appreciate enormously the teaching dimension of Benedict's papacy, but there is a perception that the level of business management, there were some real failings, and there is a kind of anti-establishment mood.

So, one of the fault lines shaping up here, Chris, is between what you might think of as the Vatican's old guard, that is, guys vested in traditional ways of doing business, and some -- a large number of the cardinals who would like to shake things up and are looking for the candidate who might be able to deliver that reform.

CUOMO: Edward, let's end with you before we go back to John and Zoraida. How expected is the mood of the church right now to see some type of change in quotes, because who knows what it will mean?

BECK: I don't know. I've been a priest for a long time and I haven't seen this buzz in a very long time. I have parishioners e-mailing me, who do you think will be the pope? Will there be change? Can we hope for something?

So, there is a lot of expectation in this. And, hopefully, the Holy Spirit is a very big part of this.

CUOMO: All right. John, Father Beck, we'll be with you all morning, obviously.

We're leaving you with pictures. We go back to John and Zoraida.

The cardinals continuing to come in, beginning the mass, all lays on the shoulders of these 115 men, John and Zoraida. The mass begins now.

BERMAN: And, Chris, these pictures are truly amazing. Such interesting assessments you're having right there in Rome.

SAMBOLIN: And the process so fascinating. It's just really fantastic. Thank you for that. We'll go back and check in again.

In the meantime, go ahead and supersize it. A judge kicks New York's so-called soda ban to the curb. Mayor Mike Bloomberg's response, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. You are looking at live pictures right now from the Vatican, where a special mass is under way at this minute. In just a few hours, the 115 cardinals will begin the conclave after they swear an oath of secrecy, and they will begin the process of electing a new pope.

SAMBOLIN: Two hundred and sixty-sixth pope is what they're electing today.

Fourteen minutes past the hour.

Meantime, here at home, new developments concerning New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's effort to ban oversized sugary drinks. A judge struck down new regulations that were supposed -- that were scheduled to go into effect today. The mayor now vows to appeal.

CNN's Mary Snow is following this story for us. She joins us now.

This was a surprise.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really was, and I talked to a number of businesses who thought that there was a slim chance that they would win. This was such a bitter fight.

The mayor is defiant. He says he's confident he'll win on appeal.

Businesses scrambling to comply with these rules are relieved.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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.

But beverage companies, restaurants, movie theaters 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 is arbitrary and capricious because it applies to some, but not all food 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.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), NEW YORK: 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 ruling 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 theater 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. It's 22 ounces.

(voice-over): The theater would have had to lose those large sizes in favor of 16 ounces or less.

It had general manager Russell Levinson (ph) worried his small theater would lose tens of thousands of dollars in sales.

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

SNOW: The portion control battle continued on late night.

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW: Now, that movie theater you just saw, along with other businesses, have held off making changes until this lawsuit was resolved. Now, they'll wait until an appeals judge makes the final decision.

SAMBOLIN: There is going to be much more to come. Thank you, Mary.

All right, 17 minutes after the hour.

Later on "STARTING POINT," we'll hear from both sides. Soledad talks with health commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley in the 7:00 hour, and Andrew Moesel, spokesman for the New York Restaurant Association, joins her in the 8:00 hour.

BERMAN: There are some new developments in the helicopter crash that killed five coalition service members in southern Afghanistan. According to a government spokesman, the chopper lost control and went down in the southern part of Kandahar province during a rainstorm on Monday. Coalition forces say there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the incident.

SAMBOLIN: And we're expecting Colorado movie theater massacre suspect James Holmes to enter a plea later this morning. Yesterday, a judge ruled that Holmes could be given medically appropriate drugs during psychiatric interviews and possibly face a polygraph test if he chooses to plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

He must also waive all medical confidentiality and turn over the names of any doctors or psychologists who have treated him. Holmes is accused of killing 12 people during a movie screening last summer.

Also new this morning, authorities hunting for a hacker who claims to have exposed the personal information of some really big-named celebrities and political figures. The list of victims now includes the first lady, also Donald Trump, Britney Spears, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Vice President Biden and Hillary Clinton.

SAMBOLIN: Wow, quite a list there.

BERMAN: Can't get any bigger than that, right?

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

BERMAN: Some sensitive information, including financial details, addresses, credit reports were posted on a Web site. We are not giving out that Web site right now.

SAMBOLIN: All right, so your credit score is about to change. Coming up, the new rules could affect millions of bill-paying Americans. I'm going to tell you, this is kind of good news. I can't wait to share it.

BERMAN: Excellent.

And on day one of the papal conclave, morning mass being celebrated right now ahead of the first secret ballots for a new pope. Look at the majesty of this process right there, happening live.

EARLY START back right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START.

Take a look at this and listen. Live pictures from the Vatican, where cardinals are celebrating a very special mass before heading to the Sistine Chapel a little later this morning, where they are expected to elect a new pope. We'll be bringing you live coverage all morning from there.

BERMAN: From beautiful music there to the music of business and the economy right now.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, yes.

BERMAN: We are minding your business this morning.

Another day, another record for the Dow. The blue chip average hit a new high for a fifth straight day yesterday. Right now, Dow futures are pulling back a little bit, about 10 points.

SAMBOLIN: All right. But listen to this, a new credit score could help millions of people. One major company is overhauling how it tallies up people's credit and it could actually work in your favors.

CNN's Zain Asher is in for Christine Romans.

Very excited about this. You gave me a little preview. Please share.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I actually have great news today, Zoraida, which I'm very excited about. So, VantageScore unveiling a new credit scoring system that's actually going to be more forgiving to anybody who is seriously in debt or has no credit history in this country. So, previously, under FICO, if you had debts outstanding, it would stay with you for roughly around seven years, no matter when you made those payments. Under the new scoring system, you will be essentially forgiven as long as you end up making those payments eventually.

So, it won't haunt you. It won't come back to haunt you anymore. Also, natural disaster victims are also going to benefit, if they make payments on time, despite their disaster.

Also, foreigners -- we were talking earlier, Zoraida, about foreigners. You know, if you have no credit history in this country, it sort of counts against you hugely. Under the new scoring system, it's going to be using people's rent records, utility records, to basically offer 30 million more customers, essentially, a credit score.

So, it's great news, essentially.

SAMBOLIN: And also for young people as well, you were saying, that have no credit history. This will help them.

My question is when does this get implemented and does it get picked up by the large companies?

ASHER: Well, right now, seven out of 10 financial institutions use vantage score. Sixty percent of credit card companies use it and 40 percent of car companies use it.

So -- but the bottom line is, you can't really control which scoring system your financial institution's going to be using. You can't call up and say use my other credit score, not that one. So, you have to still make payments on time, that's the most important thing.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Great. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

BERMAN: So, you know, from your personal credit to the nation's credit. Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, he is about to issue his plan to balance the budget.

Meanwhile -- sorry.

SAMBOLIN: And -- live in Vatican City right now, morning mass with the conclave to select a new pope. It's getting under way in a few hours here.

We're going to continue our live coverage. That's coming up on EARLY START.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Prayers, secret ballots, morning mass now under way at the Vatican on day one of the papal conclave.

SAMBOLIN: Struck down. A judge puts a stop to New York's soda ban just hours before it begins.

BERMAN: And saved from really certain death. A camera captures a police officer pulling an unconscious man from a burning car. Amazing pictures.

SAMBOLIN: That really is incredible.

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

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is Tuesday morning. It is just about 30 minutes past the hour.

(MUSIC)

Welcome back to CNN's special live coverage of the selection of the next pope.