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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Cardinals To Select Next Pope; Politics Of Picking A Pope; Judge Halts NYC Big Sugary Drink Ban; Judge Halts NYC Big Sugary Drink Ban; Corporations Stash Cash Overseas

Aired March 12, 2013 - 06:00   ET

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


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: -- I have not lived through one of those and I don't want to.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Earthquake? You know it when they come. Good morning, welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It's nice to have you with us. It is Tuesday, March 12th. It is 6 a.m. in the east.

And you are watching CNN's special coverage of the selection of the next pope. In just over five hours, 115 cardinals from every corner of the earth will take an oath of secrecy and they will begin voting for the next spiritual leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

So right now the cardinals are holding this very special mass for the election of the Holy Father. It began about an hour ago. At 10:45 Eastern this morning, the cardinals are scheduled to leave their residence at Casa Sanctae Marthae and head to the Pauline Chapel.

At 45 minutes later, they enter the Sistine Chapel and the pope watch begins. So let's get right to Chris Cuomo. He is live at the Vatican for us this morning. I have to tell you something I learned earlier that I didn't know is that there are common folks actually attending that mass this morning. You said 6,500?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Zoraida. There are about 6,500 seats and there are people waited in long lines this morning over there in St. Peter's Square to get in to this mass. And it's an important reminder because not only do we have about 150 cardinals.

Only those 80 and younger can vote, but they would be reminded that these are the people they need to serve because remember the next pope is in that room, the 266th pope. Obviously the cardinals are using this mass. It has a name in Latin, pro eligendo de romano pontifice.

My Italian is making my mother winced right now but that's Latin anyway so she'll be OK with it. What it means is this is a mass for the selection of the pope and this is what begins the process of the conclave for the cardinals. The conclave goes back to the 1200s.

It's a secret process. But it's watched the world over, certainly the 1.2 billion Catholics who are waiting their new leader. But it all has to begin with the mass. The homily today that has already been given was given by the dean of the cardinals, Angelo Sodano. He's 85 years old.

This is the last message that all these cardinals receive together before they get down to voting. Now, in the mass that we're watching right now, Cardinal Sodano is preparing the Eucharist. This is the most holy and spiritual part of the mass for Catholics.

They believe that this Eucharist that they're about to be able to eat is actually the transubstantiation of God, that this is the bread and wine that will become the body and blood of their savior, of their God. So this is a very important moment and the pope in the mass, it's a point of focus for them.

Once the cardinals leave, as Zoraida was saying, they'll have their lunch. Then they'll begin the conclave, secret procedure. Conclave means with a key because this all started as a way of motivating, to use the word gently, cardinals so select a pope under lock and key.

Now the process has gotten much more gentle, don't worry about the ambulances. There's a hospital right near here. So ambulances move through throughout the day. Not a sign of any kind of emergency.

Now, that said the only emergency is the one at hands for the cardinals 6 picking a new pope. The question is, how do you put yourself forward? Can you, as a cardinal? How do you pick who's right in a process that's really not supposed to involve politics, as we understand them, say an American presidential politics.

So let's go to Miguel Marquez who is going to help us figure out how these 115 cardinals figure out whom to choose. Good morning, Miguel. All right, are we hearing Miguel? No.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): -- quite like this. The church's problems, enormous, the need for a powerful, unifying pope, never greater.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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 bring its enormous bureaucracy, the curia into the modern world.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The church does not 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 restaurant is just around the corner from the Vatican. Cardinals come here in the ones and twos. They have lunch, dinner, sometimes a little wine, and some places like this that a lot of the heavy lifting is done.

(voice-over): Benadina has served meals to powerful Vatican insiders for 21 years. Dozens of cardinals have been here the last couple of 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, the conclave is under way, he eats bread and water until a new pope is named.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: The rain coming down here, biblical proportions, is causing a few technical snafus, obviously. But the cardinals will go into seclusion this afternoon. Once that starts, and they're in the Sistine Chapel, the voting will start.

And we expect to see from the chimney just behind the roofs there, some smoke this afternoon. No one expects it to be white. With this weather, we're not sure we're going to see smoke at all, even if it comes up black, white or otherwise -- Chris.

CUOMO: Miguel, you looked up to the heavens, and you were smiling, and you were silenced. I wonder by whom. Hopefully it was just the weather, for your sake. We'll be back to you in a little while.

The Italian newspapers said it in a single line this morning. You know, it's time to choose and that's what's going on. This mass that we're watching live pictures of, the 115 cardinals who will vote, this is the last moment they're together before the conclave begins.

This scene, of course, possible because Pope Benedict XVI did something a pope hadn't done in 600 years. He resigned. And now the cardinals, the princes of the church, must get together to figure out whom will be the next pope. He's already in the room, because he must be one of the 115.

Not necessarily, I guess they could pick anybody. Let's bring in John Allen, the senior Vatican analyst for us and Father Edward Beck, Passionist priest, CNN contributor, also. They're in this mass. It is a holy moment for them.

Of course they're praying for inspiration because they believe this is divinely inspired. They believe that God has already chosen the next pope. How heavy is the contemplation? How many big issues do they face -- John.

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Well, I mean, there's a laundry list of issues these 115 cardinals face. But if you listen carefully to what they were saying during the two weeks that we've had of a run-up to this decisive moment, seems to me three things loom especially large for them. One, they want a pope who has a global vision, who can embrace not just the Catholics here in Europe for north America, but the two- thirds of those 1.2 billion Catholics who live outside the west. This mass this morning symbolizes the universality. We've heard prayers in multiple languages and so on.

Second, they want a cardinal or a pope who can evangelize. That is who can put a positive face and voice to the Catholic message. Get people excited about the faith. And finally, third, they're looking for a governor. I think there's a perception among many of these cardinals that Benedict's papacy was magnificent in terms of his teaching but a mixed bag in terms of its business management.

They want somebody who can get their hands around the system and take control of it. Now the problem, Chris, of course, any one of those things is hard to do well. You put them all together, it's almost impossible that any one person could perfectly tick off all the items on that wish list. So they've got to look around at themselves and decide which one of us comes closest.

CUOMO: The homily in the mass is always directed at the readings and you hear that today, but there was something a little bit specific to the act of picking a pope. What did we hear this morning?

FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the gospel was a familiar one to us from the Gospel of John, it's -- this is my commandment, love one another as I have loved you, you can have no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends.

Now Cardinal Sodano in his homily, interestingly, spoke about the mission of the pope, and he said that the basic attitude of the shepherd is to lay down your life for your sheep, even more so for the shepherd of the church, the pope.

Now we all remember the images of John Paul II in his final stages with Parkinson's. I mean, he really deteriorated before our eyes and literally laid his life down. Now with Pope Benedict, he took another way.

He said, I am going to resign, and you're not going to see me diminish in the same way, but I'm still giving this up for the sake of the greater good of the church. Now, there are some reports that some felt betrayed by Benedict's resignation.

They thought if John Paul II can witness to us suffering and the humanity of Christ in that, you can, too. But he didn't, and it's interesting to see that this is highlighted here to lay down your life for your sheep.

CUOMO: That's interesting. We're watching obviously the mass now. They are preparing during this mass to take communion. Take the Eucharist which the Catholics believe is the body and blood of Jesus.

Especially momentous today for the 115 cardinals who have to go vote, because they are looking for divine inspiration from what they believe is the Holy Spirit, to pick their next pope. John and Zoraida, certainly their heads are heavy with the burden of expectation.

BERMAN: Chris, we are more fascinated by the pictures and we are riveted by your discussion, and we are in awe of the Italian that you've been speaking all morning. So we thank you.

SAMBOLIN: With a little Latin thrown in there, as well. Not bad.

BERMAN: All right, it's 10 minutes after the hour right now. Go ahead and supersize it. A judge kicks New York's so-called soda ban to the curb. We're going to have Mayor Michael Bloomberg's response, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START.

BERMAN: You're looking at a weather forecast somewhere overseas.

SAMBOLIN: I forgot to tell you that you were looking at some live pictures from the Vatican where the special mass is under way. We had the music ready. Here it is for you.

In just over five hours 115 cardinals will begin their conclave to elect a new pope. That is officially the mass that is under way at this hour. We are there live and we're going to bring you live coverage throughout the morning.

BERMAN: Back here at home, a major setback this morning for New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg, just hours before the city's new restrictions on large sugary beverages were to take effect. A judge struck them down. So the mayor is going to appeal the decision. He says he's confident he will win. CNN's Mary Snow is here. This really came as a surprise.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really did come as a surprise. It's all over this. From now on, this soda will flow freely and so will sugary drinks. It was a bitter fight. Well it's not over. Many businesses scrambling to comply are cheering this setback.

(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.

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

BERMAN: Interesting. We will be watching. I think for some time.

SNOW: And so will so many other people.

BERMAN: The restaurant, they have to make all these decisions.

SNOW: Yes.

BERMAN: All right. Mary Snow, thanks to you.

Later on "STARTING POINT," we're going to hear from both sides of this debate. New York City health commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, he will join us in the 7:00 hour. Then, we're going to talk with Andrew Moesel. He's the spokesman for the New York Restaurant Association. They were dead set against this ban. That is in the 8:00 hour.

SAMBOLIN: Seventeen minutes past the hour.

New information this morning on a deadly Black Hawk chopper crash in Afghanistan. We now know that all five people who died are, indeed, Americans.

According to a government spokesman, the chopper lost control and it went down in the Daman district of the Kandahar province near Kandahar city. Bad weather appears to be at fault. Coalition forces say there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of this incident.

BERMAN: 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 and psychologists who treated him.

Holmes is accused of killing 12 people during a movie screening last summer.

SAMBOLIN: Southern California rattled by more than 100 aftershocks after getting hit with its most powerful earthquake in three years. Seismologists say yesterday's tremor hit an unusually wide area and even rocked a tennis channel broadcast.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everywhere I go now, 76 years, plodding through my brain and I keep hearing that particular element of --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, look around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But having said that he coped with it really well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those comments were so powerful, Neil, we actually just endured an earthquake.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Yes, he was looking around, did you notice him? He's like -- something's happening here. The quake caused no major damage.

BERMAN: All right. Death and taxes are supposed to be the only sure things in life. Taxes, not so much if you're a big corporation with an overseas loophole. The one company that tops them all, coming up.

SAMBOLIN: And on day one of the papal conclave, morning mass being celebrated right now, ahead of the first secret ballots for a new pope. These are live pictures.

EARLY START, right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone.

These are live pictures right now from Vatican City where cardinals, they are celebrating a special mass right now before heading to the Sistine Chapel later this morning. That is where they will officially begin the process of electing a new pope.

SAMBOLIN: So fascinating to watch.

BERMAN: It really is.

SAMBOLIN: I love all the tradition and pomp and circumstance.

BERMAN: Beautiful pictures.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, and the music.

All right. So we're minding your business this morning, as well.

The Dow record high count is now at five days. The futures are lower this morning. History shows that in the two months after a record high, stocks tend to drop a little, or they stay flat.

BERMAN: Turning on eye now to corporate America, new report shows that some of the biggest companies are stashing their cash overseas. It helps them avoid paying taxes here in the U.S. Imagine that.

CNN's Zain Asher is in today for Christine Romans.

Hey, Zain.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, guys.

So, yes, G.E. -- massive shout-out to G.E. because they have the most corporate profits kept overseas. Essentially what they're doing is dodging paying, as you said, high corporate tax rates here in the U.S. and this is completely legal. G.E. has $108 billion kept overseas, completely legal. And essentially they make money overseas they don't have to pay U.S. taxes on that money as long as that money isn't brought back to the U.S.

So at G.E., $108 billion, huge amount. But also Pfizer, $73 billion kept overseas. Microsoft -- let's give a shout-out to Microsoft while we're at it as well -- $61 billion are kept overseas.

So, a lot of health and tech companies do this. Essentially what they do they assign their patents and intellectual property rights, their foreign subsidiaries. They don't bring the money back to the U.S. They don't have to pay taxes on that money.

And the Joint Committee for Taxation actually did a study showing that if we tax their foreign earnings fully, we would generate billions of dollars. And if you think what we're dealing with the sequester -- (CROSSTALK)

ASHER: -- $85 billion, you know? But I think the solution is you can't tax these corporations to oblivion. If you tax them too much, they won't invest that much on infrastructure, labor, that kind of thing.

SAMBOLIN: It's a whole lot of cash, though.

BERMAN: I am totally moving my millions overseas.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

What's the one thing we need to know about our money?

ASHER: OK. Americans are also stashing some cash, too. A new study says Americans had nearly $200 billion stocked away in 529 college savings plans. That's a record high. And it's a trend we've seen several years now.

The only problem is the average 529 balance is $17,000, barely enough to buy one year at a public school.

BERMAN: But it's a start.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. We're working on it. We're working on it. He was over there saying --

BERMAN: We're working.

SAMBOLIN: This is me. This is me.

Thank you very much, Zain. Appreciate it.

Twenty-five minutes past the hour.

Coming up, how Paul Ryan wants to cut the debt, balance the budget. A first look at the plan the congressman's unveiling today on Capitol Hill.

BERMAN: And live at the Vatican, right now. Morning mass as the conclave to select the new pope getting under way, just a few hours from now they will be in the Sistine Chapel.

SAMBOLIN: They're receiving communion right now.

BERMAN: Beautiful stuff.

We'll have live coverage coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Prayers and secret ballots. Morning mass now under way at the Vatican on day one of the papal conclave.

BERMAN: Struck down. A judge puts a stop to New York's soda ban just hours before it was set to begin.

SAMBOLIN: And saved from certain death. A camera captures a police officer pulling an unconscious man from a burning car.