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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Cardinals Voting Now; Teaching New Drivers

Aired March 13, 2013 - 05:30   ET

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


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We could see white smoke at any moment if a new Holy Father has been chosen. Otherwise, we're going to have to wait a bit. We'll see white or black smoke around 7:00 a.m. eastern time. That will mark the end of the morning voting session. If a pope has not been elected by then, the cardinals return for afternoon voting at 11:00 a.m. eastern time.

We want to get right to Chris Cuomo who is anchoring our coverage live from Rome. And Chris, we really are entering a critical few minutes in the pope watch.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This is a big moment. I think it's a big reason why you see a pretty sizable crowd at St. Peter's Square right now. They have umbrellas. It's not a pleasant day here, but, if there is smoke right now, and the cardinals should be finishing their first vote. It takes about an hour or so for them to go through the voting process.

That would mean the smoke would have to be white, because it's their first vote. It would have to be successful. That's the only reason there'd be smoke because they usually do smoke after two ballot counts. So, that's why this crowd is here. I think, if we see no smoke soon, people will start to get on with their day.

And now, obviously, to bring in John Allen and Father Edward Beck here, if you hear the ambulances, it means nothing emergent about this. There's a hospital right nearby. Ambulances go through. Ignore it. So, this is day two of the conclave. When we look at how long they usually go, Benedict was how many votes? And John Paul II, let's say, how many votes?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Well, let's go a little further back. Let's start the clocking running in 1903, this is the tenth conclave since then. Over that span of time, the average conclave took about little over seven ballots. The average is actually 7.7 and a half ballots, meaning about three days or so.

The last time was considerably shorter than that. It was a day and a half, four ballots. Shortest conclave of that time (ph) was in 1939. It was three ballots. So, you know, if we got white smoke today, the point of all this is that it would be the stunning. It would be the fastest conclave in the last 110 years, and that's why I think most of us reasonably don't expect to see the white smoke this morning.

But again, Chris, let's remember, this story started a month ago with a massive surprise, which was Benedict's resignation. There would be a certain poetic art to ending with another massive surprise.

CUOMO: And one of the reasons that we believe, Father Beck, that this should take some time is because there is not a dominant figure, true, but also because of how much is on the table. We were talking earlier about what the priorities should be assuming that one man cannot fill all needs. Where do you think the church -- where do you think the cardinals will feel the influence strongest?

FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think wherever they're coming from in the world, they're bringing those concerns. We have people coming from the developing nations. They're bringing issues of poverty, social injustice, equality. Those are real big concerns for them.

If they're coming from Europe, obviously, it seems to be here more the reformists, getting the Vatican in order. Those are not the same concerns as the developing nations. It's how you put food on the table, how you get people jobs. It's social justice, and that's what they're bringing.

CUOMO: Very important, the western mentality goes immediately to ideas like celibacy, female priests.

ALLEN: Right.

CUOMO: But the main business of the church, to speak loosely about it, is feeding the poor, dealing with the most grave of needs, and that is something that they really do have to make a priority over things that may seem secularly more attractive, is that your point?

BECK: I think. And some of us coming from the states and the western world. We think that 1.2 billion people care all about just our (ph) concerns, when it's a much wider church than that. So, we can't think that that is the only thing on the minds of all Catholics.

ALLEN: Here's a point to remember, Chris, there are 1.2 billion Catholics in the world and 65 million in the United States, which means that American Catholics represent just six percent of the global catholic population. Put another way, 94 percent of the Catholics in the world don't necessarily get out of bed in the morning thinking about the same stuff we do.

CUOMO: True. However, is it fair to say that universally, using catholic in the widest sense, that this church does put someone as a leader who's going to say something new about the abuse scandals that we've heard about because they may roll out in other continents.

ALLEN: Oh, absolutely. I think there's an enormous concern among the cardinals that the next pope has to profile as a reformer on the abuse crisis for exactly the reason you mentioned. Nobody wants to see the same cancer that has grown up in the United States and grown up in many parts of Europe erupt in other parts of the world, too. They want to try to get ahead of the curve.

CUOMO: Right? BECK: And by the way, Chris, we talked about the shortest conclave. I want to just say the longest, almost three years, 1268. So, we could actually be here a long time if we match that record.

CUOMO: Is that the one that started all of these conclave restrictions in the first place?

BECK: In (INAUDIBLE) just south of Rome, they gathered and they would not decide, and the town folk locked them in, took the roof off the palace, starved them until they had a pope.

CUOMO: That's tough. That's tough justice right there. Back to you John in New York -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Chris Cuomo, our thanks to you. Of course, we will be watching the chimney very closely. If we see any signs of smoke, we will go back to Rome right away.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN (voice-over): Meanwhile, this just in to CNN. An apparent home invasion that turned into a hostage situation in Maryland is over. Police in Jessup, Maryland, about 20 minutes outside of Baltimore, say five people, three adults and two children, were inside the home at the time. Police did manage to gain entry. They made sure everyone in the home was safe. The suspect, however, is on the loose.

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): And after months of intense media scrutiny, in just a few hours, two star players from Steubenville's beloved high school football team go on trial for rape. They are charged with assaulting a 16-year-old girl. A friend of the defendants recorded video of the accuser. She had been drinking. He could be heard calling her a dead girl and so rape.

Prosecutors content she was too drunk to consent a sex. Lawyers for both players deny the allegations. The case is being heard in juvenile court now.

BERMAN: American Airlines is now calling on the TSA to overturn its plans to allow small knives on planes starting next month. This is the third major carrier to do so. Delta and U.S. Airways also opposed the plan.

A bipartisan effort is now under way in Washington to stop it. Democratic congressman, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, has introduced the No Knives Act, which is being co-sponsored in the House by Republican, Michael Grimm of New York.

SAMBOLIN: President Obama returns to Capitol Hill a little later this morning for day two of his so-called charm offensive. He will be meeting with House Republicans trying to find common ground on a host of issues, especially the budget and those forced spending cuts.

Yesterday, Paul Ryan presented a Republican plan that he claims balances the budget in ten years. He challenged the White House to do the same, but the president is not biting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My goal is not to chase a balanced budget just for the sake of balance. If we've controlled spending and we've got a smart entitlement package, then potentially what you have is balance, but it's not balance on the backs of, you know, the poor, the elderly, students who need student loans, families who've got disabled kids. That's not the right way to balance our budget.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Ryan's budget also again calls for a full repeal of President Obama's health care reform.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN (on-camera): So, a little honky tonk happiness for former president, George H.W. Bush. The 88-year-old made a cameo at the school of government and public service that bears his name at Texas A&M University for what he thought would be a regular photo op. Instead, he found a flash mob.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

BERMAN (voice-over): So, this happened earlier this month, but the video just made its way to YouTube. Bush 41 was with former first lady, Barbara Bush, and granddaughter, Jenna Bush Hager, who was sort of whispering a play-by-play into her grandfather's ear at one point. The song "Boot Scootin' Boogie" --

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: -- became "Bush Whacking Boogie." For the occasion, there's Jenna telling her grandfather, this is the song "Bush Whacking Boogie."

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): And they're doing this all for you, grandpa.

BERMAN: Wow. That's an honor.

SAMBOLIN: It is sweet.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Ahead on EARLY START, the Boy Scouts send a survey to parents asking if gay and straight members should share a tent on overnight trips.

BERMAN (on-camera): And attack of the monster mosquitoes, for real. Coming soon --

SAMBOLIN: Are they really that big? (LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Yes. I'm afraid they are, and it's going somewhere that knows a few things about big, giant bugs.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Forty-one minutes past the hour. Communities in Illinois, Texas and Ohio are reeling this week from car accidents that have wiped out more than a dozen young lives. The number of fatal crashes involving teenagers is on the rise, and driving instructors are hoping that these tragedies will send a message to their young students around the country. CNN's George Howell is live in Atlanta with more. Good morning to you, George.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Zoraida, good morning. When you look at the stats about teenagers and safety on these roads, the stats are alarming. Teenagers are three times more likely to be involved in fatal wrecks. That's according to the CDC, and the sheer number of teenagers still recently has a lot of people talking about safety.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL (voice-over): Three tragic car wrecks in three different states claimed the lives of 15 teenagers in a matter of just three days, the most recent near Chicago. Authorities found four teenagers dead after they believe the driver lost control on a patch of water or ice and slammed into a creek. Before that, five teenagers were killed in a fiery crash at an intersection in the Texas panhandle town of Dumas.

Police say their SUV ran a stop sign and collided with a fuel tanker whose driver was severely burned. And in Ohio, investigators say an SUV took a curb too fast and flipped over into a small lake, killing six of the eight teens in the packed vehicle.

BRIAN HENRY, CRASH SURVIVOR: She sped up. I don't know whether she lost control, she jerked, or how fast she was going that lack (ph) control.

HOWELL: Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers ages 15 to 20, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. At Taggart's driving school in Georgia, teenage students are given a quick reality check.

What do you tell teenagers, the first thing? What do you tell them about driving on the roads in your class?

ELEANOR BARNETT, DRIVING INSTRUCTOR: The first 15 minutes of class, I have the students randomly, it's every third student is what it is, and I have them stand up. And then, I have them look around in the classroom, and I say, all right, this is a third of the students. The first year you drive, a third of you will be in an automobile accident.

HOWELL: Accidents caused by everything from distracted driving to drunk driving. A study by the Governor's Highway Safety Association shows the number of fatal crashes for 16 and 17-year-olds rose 19 percent during the first six months of 2012 from the same period a year earlier.

RANDY DEVAULT, DRIVING INSTRUCTOR: We're going to go around the course. This is the closed course. This is the first part of a person's driving exam.

HOWELL: Even first-time drivers like Kali Katz have firsthand knowledge of the risks.

KALI KATZ, DRIVING STUDENT: There's a girl at my school that died last year. A lot of people are really disturbed by that, but it makes sense.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL (on-camera): So, in the report there, you saw that there has been a sharp increase, but that goes against it, bucks the trend of the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety that shows, Zoraida, those numbers have been declining steadily, dramatically from 1975 from more than 8,000 car wrecks -- fatal car wrecks to more than 3,000 fatal car wrecks in 2011 involving teenagers.

And according to the CDC, it could very well be because of seatbelt laws and graduated license programs, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Well, that's always good news, George, but right now, as we head into the season where they're going to parties and proms and stuff like that, it's really a great reminder that they need to be safe. George Howell live for us, thank you.

BERMAN: Forty-four minutes after the hour right now.

The Boy Scouts of America currently considering lifting its longstanding policy against allowing gays has sent out questionnaires about the issue to parents and members. Now, the survey asks more than just, should gay members be allowed or not? The survey goes further, asking questions like, should gay and straight scouts be allowed to share the same tent? So, it's raising some eyebrows.

SAMBOLIN: How many Facebook friends do you have? A few hundred? More than 1,000? Have you actually met all of them in person?

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: Connecticut photographer, Ty Morin, has made it his mission to personally meet every single one of his 788 Facebook friends and photograph them doing what they love. He's making a documentary about the process and says the purpose is to get people to re-evaluate what a friend really is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TY MORIN, PHOTOGRAPHER: I want to make it a solid relationship with all 788 of them. It's going to be quite a quest, but I think I'm setting out to reconnect with people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: I want to do this, too. Morin estimates connecting with all of his 788 Facebook friends will take about three years.

BERMAN: I wonder what happens if he meets someone and doesn't like them. Will he then unfriend them?

SAMBOLIN: He will probably find something to like about them. That's --

(CROSSTALK)

SAMBOLIN: Yes, I am.

BERMAN: That's no fun.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: All right. Forty-six minutes after the hour. We all know firefighters are at the ready to respond to an emergency at any second, but what if that emergency is in their own house?

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness! Could you imagine that?

BERMAN: -- coming up.

SAMBOLIN: And right out of a sci-fi movie, look at this, giant mosquitoes! They are coming to one southern state. We are going to tell you exactly where.

BERMAN: So you can get out.

SAMBOLIN: Or get bit.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Fifty minutes after the hour right now. I want to bring you up to speed on all the morning's top stories.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN (voice-over): 115 cardinals voting this morning, trying to elect a new pope. All eyes on the Sistine Chapel chimney. If we were to see white smoke, which we could see sort of at any minute, it would mean that a new pontiff has been chosen. Black smoke means there is no two-thirds majority and another vote would be needed.

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): A volunteer fireman from Southern New York has called or was called to his own home after a man slammed his pickup truck into the house, sparking a raging fire. Suffolk County police say the driver appeared to be high on drugs and refused a breathalyzer test. His truck hit a gas line, which triggered that explosion.

Firefighter, Michael Cosgrove (ph) answered the call and got right to work on the fire. His wife and two young children escaped the flames unharmed. Can you imagine that moment?

BERMAN: Yes. Speaking about I can't imagine that moment.

Attack of the monster mosquitoes coming soon to South Florida. You thought you had problems? Experts say Floridians will be battling mosquitoes as big as 20 times the normal size --

SAMBOLIN: Oh, wow!

BERMAN: -- during the summer's rainy season. They're said to feed day and night, and these mosquitoes can sting through clothing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEBBIE CASSEL, BIOLOGIST, USF ST. PETERSBURG: We're used to the little, tiny ones that go to the back of your knees, and this one's right in your face. It's aggressive. It's got a nasty bite. This thing's like a pterodactyl in the mosquito world. It's huge.

SAMBOLIN: Pterodactyl

BERMAN: A mosquito pterodactyl. That is just what we need. So, a bite from the supersized mosquito pterodactyl is said to feel like a poke from a knife.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness!

BERMAN: Entomologist blame last year's tropical storms for this invasion.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): What have they been eating?

BERMAN (on-camera): It's bad news, man.

SAMBOLIN: My gosh.

BERMAN: Sorry, Florida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Fifty-one minutes past the hour. It's been a wet few days in the northeast. Is it over? Where are the storms headed? Alexandra Steele is live in the CNN weather center in Atlanta. What are you going to tell us this morning?

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. You know, no super mosquitoes in Florida. We've got red flag warnings. It's dry and warm and windy, so don't worry about that now. Hi, everyone, good morning. You know, what we're looking at, pretty benign around the country.

The wet weather in the northeast is all pushed east north (ph). What we're seeing, an area of low pressure kind of moving around the Great Lakes, bringing a few snow showers to Cincinnati and Indy this morning and West Virginia, but it won't add up too much. The temperatures kind of are the bigger story. Around that area of low pressure in the Midwest and the northeast, 10 to 20 degrees below average until we get toward the middle of the week, and then, we'll get into more of a zonal flow and very warm temperatures today in the southwest, but that all spreads eastward into the south for this coming week.

So, really nice, mild week in the south. There's the snow. The rain's off the coast. The other story is what we've got, it's called the pineapple express. It's bringing moisture from Hawaii into the Pacific Northwest. And in places like the Olympics and the Cascades, a flood watch with two to five inches of rain coming for the next couple of days.

And again, here's the highs. Below average in the northeast and warming in the south -- Zoraida, John.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Alexandra, thank you.

BERMAN: All right. So, 53 minutes after the hour. Lady Gaga, she does not want your sympathy or your attention. Pay no mind to the woman in the 24-karat gold wheelchair. What is this all about?

SAMBOLIN: Custom made for her.

BERMAN: We're going to show you more, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Fifty-six minutes after the hour right now. We are taking a look at the very top CNN Trends on the internet this morning.

First up, Lady Gaga. Bum hip or tragically hip (ph)? I'd say both here. She's getting a ride now in a 24-karat gold-plated wheelchair as she recovers from hip surgery. Designer, Ken Borochov, specifically made it for her as if anyone else would use it. He told the "Daily Beast" he had assistants all over the country putting it together.

The gold was applied on a factory that usually does hotrods. Now, this special gold-plated wheelchair comes complete with a leather seat and a removable leather canopy.

SAMBOLIN: Do we know how much it costs?

BERMAN: I'm going with a lot.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: I'm going with a lot.

SAMBOLIN: I suspect you are correct.

BERMAN: So, to check at our other top CNN trends, head to CNN.com/Trends.

SAMBOLIN: The conclave, the papacy, the pontiff, how about a little papal humor?

BERMAN: Here's late night laughs.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": In accordance with the Vatican tradition, the cardinals in the papal conclave will release white smoke when a pope is chosen. The practice was started by those two ancient leaders, Cardinal Cheech and Cardinal Chong.

(LAUGHTER)

David Letterman, Host, "The Late Show With David Letterman": You know, the 24-hour coverage of the selection process for the new pope, a lot of papal trivia. For example, did you know, and I'll bet you did, no pope has ever in the history of the Catholic Church, no pope has ever been elected without carrying Ohio.

(LAUGHTER)

Jay Leno, Host, "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno": Well, the papal conclave has begun. They put up the chimney. And as you know, if there's white smoke, it means there's a new pope. If there's black smoke, that means there hasn't been a decision yet. If there's gray smoke, that means it just, you know, burning evidence.

(LAUGHTER)

LENO: But you know, it's exciting! It's exciting to watch, yes.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

LENO: Actually, they're doing things a little different this year. For example, for the first time ever, the winner will be announced by Michelle Obama.

(LAUGHTER)

LENO: She's everywhere! I think she's doing too much.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: EARLY START continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Smoke watch at the Sistine Chapel. The world waiting for the signal with cardinals voting right now on a new pope.

BERMAN (voice-over): A dramatic end to an intense manhunt. Police storm a motel room to catch a suspected killer.

SAMBOLIN: Sinkhole in one. A golfer suddenly swallowed up in a sand trap of a whole different kind. He was pretty shocked, to say the least.

BERMAN: You know, we've been looking this all morning. I still can't believe this.

SAMBOLIN: It's insane.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): All right. Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. Glad you're with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN (on-camera): And I'm John Berman. Great to see you. It is Wednesday, March 13th, 6:00 a.m. in the east.

Right now, the world is focusing on a thin copper chimney above the Sistine Chapel, because at any moment in the next hour, we could have a new pope. Yesterday, black smoke signaled that the 115 cardinal electors had failed to choose the Catholic Church's next spiritual leader.

One hour from now at 7:00 a.m. eastern, we are expecting to see smoke again, could be black, could be white, marking the end of the morning voting session. If necessary, the cardinals will return for afternoon voting beginning at 11:00 a.m. eastern time. And at 12:30 this afternoon, all eyes will be back on the Sistine Chapel awaiting another smoke signal from the cardinals.

Really, it is a day of watching and waiting with immense anticipation right here. Let's get you out to Rome. CNN's Chris Como anchoring our coverage of this historic day. And Chris, we seem to be past that first period this morning where we could have seen white smoke.

CUOMO: Right. If we're going to see any smoke, John, it would have been white because it would have been the first vote, would have been successful.