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Inside The Sistine Chapel; Tensions At A Breaking Point; Six Teens Killed In SUV Crash; A Gun For Every Home? Not!; Laura Bush: Some In GOP "Frightened" Women; March Madness In Full Swing; Big Bold Moves In The NFL?; Threats Against Vick; Rodman To Vacation With Kim?; What Women Want

Aired March 12, 2013 - 07:30   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: -- every corner of the globe will be filing in to the Sistine Chapel to help select a new pope. Earlier this morning, they celebrated a special mass at the Vatican and then later at 10:45 a.m. Eastern Time they'll be escorted from their residence at Casa Santa Marta for the processional to the Sistine Chapel where they will take the oath of secrecy before they're literally locked in to begin voting.

This afternoon all eyes will be on the copper chimney atop the Sistine Chapel for signs of smoke, signaling that the cardinals have voted. If the pope is not selected, the cardinals will recite vesper prayers and return to Santa Marta for dinner and go to bed and then kind of begin the thing the next day.

Once inside the Sistine Chapel, no video, no photographs, no communication with the outside world. No surprise. We can give you though a little bit of a virtual taste of what it will be like for those who are allowed inside those hallowed halls. Here's Tom Foreman.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Normally the Sistine Chapel is one of the most visited places in all of Europe. Thousands of tourists pouring through here every day to see the chapel itself from the 1400s, and most of all to see the magnificent fresco painted overhead by Michelangelo in the 1500s, depicting the creation of man.

But now, this has been transformed into one of the most secretive and private places in all of Italy, because this is where the cardinals will select a new leader for the 1.2 billion Catholics in the world.

Let's look at where they are. The biggest congregation of Catholics in South America, 501 million are there, if you include the Central Americas as part of that, 186 million in Africa, 89 million in North America and 285 million in Europe, and so on.

But the decision on who's going to lead them is actually done by a very small number of people, 115 of the world's cardinals are considered electors to this process. They will vote probably once the first day, then twice in the morning, twice in the afternoon thereafter, until they can select a new pope.

And as you might guess, if you look around this room, like everything else, it is steeped in great tradition. As the cardinals come in, they will take a vow of secrecy. There will be no cell phones, no pagers, no newspapers. No messages to the outside of any sort because it's very important that they keep their considerations here private.

Then, when it comes time for a vote, each of the cardinals will get a piece of paper, which he will write on and say, in effect, this is my vote for the pope. He will fold this piece of paper twice. He will hold it overhead and then walk right down the center aisle, alone, where he will kneel at the altar for a moment.

Then he will drop his paper into a receptacle upon the altar. Once they're all there, they will be counted by a special group of cardinals who will determine whether or not there were any double votes or anything like that. That the number of votes are the same as the number of people in the room, and the names will be read out.

As they are read out each ballot will be threaded through a needle and thread so they cannot be counted more than once. In the end, if you have 77 votes or more, that's the new pontiff. If not, twice a day all those papers will be taken to the back, to the two stoves you see back there, one on the right, one on the left.

They will be put into the stove on the right. There will be other material burning on the left, and it will be set ablaze. If there is no pope, they will add red straw and some chemicals to make sure the smoke comes out black so everyone knows there's no decision.

Otherwise, they will let it burn clean and white smoke will issue through the top of the Sistine Chapel and that will tell the world there is, indeed, a new pope.

O'BRIEN: And we will all be watching for that. Another developing story that we're following for you this morning, tensions at a breaking point right now between North and South Korea.

South Korea warning that it is ready, with U.S. help, to respond to any provocations resolutely and destructively. This was said after the North said they were scrapping an armistice credited for keeping an uneasy 60-year cease-fire between the two sides.

Anna Coren is at the highly volatile Korean demilitarized zone for us this morning.


ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As North Korea continues to threaten war on the Korean peninsula; the military here in South Korea remain on high alert. We are at the border near the DMZ. This is as close as we can get to North Korea.

The rail line behind me used to go all the way to Pyongyang. Well now, it just crosses the river into the demilitarized zone. Even this location is now considered highly sensitive. The South Korean military have asked us not to reveal their posts, identify their troops or show their defense positions. This comes in the wake of North Korea scrapping the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War back in 1963. It also set up an emergency hotline between the two countries, which means that if there is a military provocation, there is no official form of communication.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has recently been on the border, addressing the troops. And he said, quote, "To throw all enemies into the cauldron, break their weight and crack their windpipe on his orders."

He also threatened to launch an attack on the headquarters of South Korean marines on an island very close to the island, which was shelled back in 2010. Now, while he rallies his troops, the United States and South Korea are holding their own sets of military drills on the Korean Peninsula.

And Seoul has said if there's any military provocation from the north it will respond in a resolute and destructive manner. Anna Coren, CNN on the North Korean border.

O'BRIEN: John Berman has a look at some of the other stories making news this morning.

JOHN BERMAN, ANCHOR, CNN'S "EARLY START": Thanks, Soledad. New information this morning about that tragic SUV crash in Ohio that killed six of the eight teenagers on board, police say the owner of the Honda Passport had reported it stolen. Eight people were packed into the vehicle, which is designed to really seat just five.

CNN's Brian Todd spoke to some family members. He's with us this morning. Good morning, Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. We have actually tried to contact the man listed as the owner of that vehicle. We've not been able to reach him. This is all still very fresh for survivors and victims' relatives who got very emotional when they spoke to us.


TODD (voice-over): Kyle Behner can barely bring himself to describe it, the moments at the hospital when he had to identify the body of his little brother.

KYLE BEHNER, BROTHER KILLED IN CAR CRASH: It took me an hour to find him. By the time I found him, they -- they had me -- they had to have me identify him. I went back there and all I seen was blood everywhere.

TODD: His brother, Kirkland Behner, who would have turned 16 this month, was one of six teenagers killed when the Honda SUV they were riding in lost control, flipped over, and careened into a pond in Warren, Ohio. Police have not given a specific cause, and say test results for possible drug or alcohol use may not be back for weeks. As for the vehicle's speed -- LT. BRIAN HOLT, OHIO STATE HIGHWAY PATROL: We do believe the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed. Speed limit was 35 miles per hour. However, at this time, we're not prepared to release an actual speed of the vehicle.

TODD (on camera): This is the path the vehicle took. There are the skid marks. Police say the car hit the guard rail right here, flipped over, and these markings, these orange markings on the branches, police say that is the path they've marked off the path that the vehicle took as it flew into the water.

(voice-over): The 18-year-old Brian Henry was one of two survivors. He tells a harrowing story.

BRIAN HENRY, SURVIVOR OF CAR CRASH: I hit my head off the dashboard. Somehow I flew to the back. I was in there like being in a like little space under water like, but I wanted to give up, but I couldn't.

TODD: Henry and another young man punched through the back window. Swam out then ran about a quarter of a mile to call 911. Kirkland Behner's mother calls Brian Henry a hero, but she still can't absorb what happened to her son.

DEANNA BEHNER, SON KILLED IN CAR CRASH: He can't go home. He can't come through the door, mom, what's for dinner? What did you cook, mom? I'm not going to hear none of it anymore.


TODD: Police say there was some seat belt usage in the car, but they're not giving any specifics beyond that. And as we said before, this car made to hold only five occupants, there were eight people at the time of the crash -- John.

BERMAN: Brian Todd, thank you. A tragic story but still a lot of questions that need to be answered. Voters in the tiny town of Byron, Maine, knocking down a proposal that would have required every household to own a firearm and ammunition.

The vote was largely symbolic. Most people in the town of 140 already possess at least one firearm. The person who proposed the ordinance said it was intended as a statement in support of the second amendment. We saw a case like that in Georgia, as well last week.

A blunt assessment by former first lady Laura Bush about some of the Republican candidates who ran for office, during an interview on CNN's "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT," Mrs. Bush was asked about the emphasis some of them placed on social issues and how that may have influenced how some women voted.


LAURA BUSH, FORMER U.S. FIRST LADY: Every candidate was different, you know, each one of them. There were obvious examples of candidates that were -- that I think frightened some women. But they were the exception, rather than the norm in the party.


BERMAN: Mrs. Bush also said the Republican Party does have room for people with all different types of viewpoints on social issues.

Take a look at this amazing scene. A brave police officer pulls an unconscious man from a burning car. This is all captured by the police dash cam footage. This is in Urbandale, Iowa. Police say the driver was doing doughnuts in a church parking lot but lost control and crashed. The driver was taken to the hospital. He also faces charges of reckless driving. He is lucky to be alive.

O'BRIEN: You know whenever I see those I always think how amazing it is that firefighters and police officers go in and save people. Here's a guy who really self-inflicted damage. Doing doughnuts, slams in, could have easily died in a fire in that car.

Some officer put himself at risk to go in and save his life, someone who was not doing anything particularly intelligent right beforehand. That's my editorial for the morning.

So there are threats against Michael Vick. We'll tell you why the quarterback had to cancel his book tour coming up next in the "Bleacher Report."

And Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says she's trying to start a social movement with her new book, which is called "Lean In." Critics, some of them, saying it's a marketing campaign instead. We'll explore that coming up.


O'BRIEN: March Madness is in full effect. Last night Gonzaga, the number team in the country put an exclamation point on their argument that they should be the top seed for the NCAA tournament. Jared Greenberg has more in today's "Bleacher Report."

JARED GREENBERG, "BLEACHER REPORT": Hi, Soledad. Just five days until selection Sunday, the top team in the country has a reservation to the dance. Gonzaga will make its 15th consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament after Monday night they took down rival St. Mary's in the West Coast Conference Championship game.

They'll be looking to lock up that top seed, which could be announced this Sunday during selection Sunday, Gonzaga trying to win its first ever national championship. Four other teams punched their tickets to the big dance last night, Western Kentucky, Davidson, James Madison and Iona. Three more bids up for grabs tonight.

A sibling rivalry or a big-time? Anquan Boldin is reportedly being traded to Baltimore to his brother's team Jim in San Francisco. Boldin helped the Ravens beat the 49ers in the Super Bowl, however, was unwilling to take a pay cut. So instead the Niners picked him up in exchange for a sixth round draft pick. The Michael Vick book tour has been sacked. Reports have surfaced that credible threats of violence have caused organizers to cancel the quarterback's book signings in New Jersey and his former home in Atlanta. In 2007, Vick served an 18-month prison sentence for his role in a dog fighting ring.

Dennis Rodman is making his summer vacation plans. The former NBA star says he's headed back to North Korea to hang with his quote/unquote "friend" Kim Jong-Un.


DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER NBA PLAYER: I don't condone what he does, but he's my friend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you anticipate going over there again?

RODMAN: Yes, I will obviously.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are going over there?

RODMAN: Yes. I'm going to vacation with him. Yes.


GREENBERG: Not strange enough for you? Here's this. TMZ says Rodman has his sights set on meeting the new pope. The flamboyant former NBA rebounding machine told TMZ he is jetting off to Rome, and that his peeps are in contact with the folks at the Vatican trying to arrange a sit-down with the next pontiff, unbelievable.

The San Antonio Spurs made a real statement last night, logon to to check out a recap from the first place showdown with the Thunder. And Soledad, Rodman saying to TMZ that he wants to be anywhere that he is needed --

O'BRIEN: That does make you examine the word needed, doesn't it?

GREENBERG: Well, we're searching the dictionary. We can't quite find the right definition yet. If I find it I'll get back to you.

O'BRIEN: So the pontiff wants to sit down with a new pontiff. How about Castro, right? He's still alive in Cuba? Doesn't he want to negotiate something there? Exactly, wow. I was surprised last week when we were doing this like version 1.0, but I guess it goes on.

Coming up next we're going to talk about Facebook Sheryl Sandberg saying that she's trying to inspire women to become leaders with her new book which is called "Lean In." Can she spark a new movement? We're going to talk to the president of Lean In, the organization. That's coming up next.


O'BRIEN: I like that music. You're right. Welcome back. We're talking about Facebook Executive Sheryl Sandberg. She has become a lightning rod of sorts for arguing that women have to lean in and do more themselves to advance their own careers.

The heat intensified a little bit as Sandberg is pitching her new book which is called "Lean In" and it launches a nationwide campaign to form a network of support groups for working women.

Rachel Thomas is with us all morning. She is on the panel with us. She is the president of Lean In. Explain to me what Lean In, the organization is, versus "Lean In," the new book?

RACHEL THOMAS, PRESIDENT, LEAN IN: Sure. We're an organization all about offering women the ongoing encouragement and support to lean in to their ambitions. We do that three ways. We have a community. So sharing ideas, sharing inspiring stories, 62,000 people have joined so far.

We have online education. So this is free content, 15 to 20 minutes in length, about very practical skills women and men can use to be more successful.

O'BRIEN: Body language, negotiating for a raise.

THOMAS: And then thirdly, what you refer to which are lean in circles and the idea is that small groups can get together monthly and offer each other support. I think it's like a book club for your career.

O'BRIEN: Some of the criticism of the Lean In circles has been that what they want out of the circles is not negative stories, it's positive stories with a happy ending at the end. Why that?

THOMAS: Actually, Lean In stories are both happy ending and times when we lean back as well. So we really are learning and celebrating moments of leaning in and leaning back and we've all done both.

O'BRIEN: So that's just not true?

THOMAS: That's just not true.

O'BRIEN: Because I read a number of criticisms. They only want happy endings, they don't want sad stories. I was thinking we all have sort of sad stories where maybe we don't have the benefit of learning from them, but certainly other people might.

THOMAS: Absolutely there are hundreds of stories on and you will need them and some of them are very happy and very celebratory, but others are women who have struggled.

ALEX MCCORD, VH1'S COUPLES THERAPY: I appreciated watching the "60 Minutes" piece and reading about Sheryl online and her struggle. She's gone through it herself when she had to be reminded by her husband to not take the first offer at Facebook. That's indicative. No matter what job you have and where you are trying to go, you have to not self-sabotage.

O'BRIEN: I thought it was interesting about that example, was not only listen, that money is not enough because it was goo gobs of money. They won't respect you if you take the first offer. You have to be respected and this is your first test to negotiate.

THOMAS: Like her common core skills.

O'BRIEN: Why is this such a hot button issue? Remember when Ann Marie Slaughter wrote that article? And everybody went crazy this is a similar reaction. Big Sheryl Sandberg supporters and big bashers in a way, why is that?

THOMAS: Well, I think women tend to -- they don't like people telling them to do often and Ann Marie Slaughter's piece who was great and Sheryl Sandberg who I like and respect and started the book, I have followed this avidly, and I think she's important and what she's doing is important, you can't prescribe for 50 percent of the population sort of one way to do things.

And I think that the media in part is responsible for making Sheryl Sandberg seem like a crusader, who is saying I will fix everything. She's selling a book, putting herself in the position of trying to market a product at the same time.

But I think that women have to adapt to changing situations in the same way we lean in, we lean back, and, you know, careers are a long time and life is complicated and I think that there are plenty of women who feel like this doesn't speak directly to me, so it must be criticism of me.

O'BRIEN: I'm surprised by the bashing at times. One of the things consistently, Sheryl blames women for not getting ahead. No women at these higher levels, well, it's the women's fault, kind of the blame the victim thing. Having read the book twice, that is not what she is saying at all.

THOMAS: Agreed. I think that she is encouraging us all to fight for what we should have. And no one is saying you have to go out and become a Sheryl Sandberg clone. A lot of people cannot do what she did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are worse things.

THOMAS: You take what you can get out of it and use what's relevant to your own life. If everybody can take a baby step forward then the world would be a better place.

O'BRIEN: Is it a movement?

THOMAS: We really do consider it a community and the goal is bringing men and women together to really talk about this, to learn from each other.

O'BRIEN: Of the 62,000, how many are men? If you think about the men are really in the top of the hierarchy?

THOMAS: I don't know the number on that. We've had a lot of interest from men, and not just doing it because it's altruistic. We want to do better things for women. They are doing it, because self- servingly, we will do better if we draw from the whole population. More balanced teams are more effective and actually more balanced households are happier.

O'BRIEN: Interesting. And also I would imagine anybody with a daughter would say I have a vested interest in not seeing my daughter dealing with some of the things my spouse is dealing with. The book is a great read. I've enjoyed it.

I'll chat with her tomorrow. We'll air our interview next week. I'm really looking forward after so much drama about her interviews as they go along.

All right, we got to take a short break. Still ahead, about four hours until the cardinals will head right to the Sistine Chapel and begin the process of selecting a new pope. We'll take you live to Rome for the very latest at the top of the hour.

And then we're going to sit down and talk with Cardinal Edward Egan. He is the former archbishop of New York.

Also a college student films his unlikely survival through an avalanche. We'll tell you about this ski trip that obviously went horribly wrong that's ahead in the next hour as well.


O'BRIEN: Welcome, everybody. Our STARTING POINT this morning, the process to elect a pope begins in a few hours, 115 cardinals will gather for the papal conclave. It happens behind closed doors in the Sistine Chapel. The world will watch from the outside and watch for white smoke or black smoke. We're live in Rome following this historic event.

Then a little bit of a hiccup for New York City soda ban. A judge overturns the ban. Now they are vows from the mayor that they will appeal.