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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Cardinal from Argentina Elected Pope in Rome; Suspect in Shooting Held up on Mainstreet; Four Dead in Upstate New York Shooting; A New Pope for the World's Catholics

Aired March 14, 2013 - 07:00   ET

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


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Work on the job and work at home, how much time men and women spend working versus doing their chores or raising kids? This new information right surprise you.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: It's Thursday, March 14th. STARTING POINT begins right now.

Welcome, everybody. Our team this morning Monsignor Richard Hilgartner is back with us. He is the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Secretary of Divine Worship. Also joining us this morning, Bishop David O'Connell from Trenton, New Jersey. Nice to have you both with us.

I guess because we have a lot to talk about this morning with the new Pope and, of course, a new era, a new leader for the Catholic church to mark the very first day on the throne of St. Peter, Pope Francis will hold a private mass at noon eastern time with the cardinals who elected him. On Saturday, the new leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics is expected to meet with members of the media. Then Tuesday, it's the installation mass. As many as 200 foreign delegations are expected to attend.

We're covering this story from all angles. Miguel Marquez is in Rome for us, Dan Rivers is in Italy, Shasta Darlington is in Buenos Aires, which is where Pope Francis was archbishop and Christina Pleig is in Miami Beach for us. Miguel Marquez is coming to us live from Rome. Hey, Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Soledad. I think it's safe to say that Romans are pretty darn excited about the new Pope today. Here's this paper, he came out and said thank you to romans and everybody for coming out last night at the Vatican.

This is my favorite. It's in Latin. Even the newspapers here in Italy are beautiful. But that moment last night when he went out on that balcony and said hello to the world for the first time as Pope was absolutely unforgettable.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: The anticipation, intense. The crowd, 150,000 strong, jammed into St. Peter's square. White smoke billowed and the largest bell in the basilica signaled a new pope. And within minutes, the square filled to capacity. And then -- This is the moment, the moment that tens of thousands of people gathered here in the square had been waiting for. It's electrifying. It's an extraordinary moment. Look at this. Look at all the cameras snapping a picture of the new Pope.

Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio becomes Pope Francis. He asked the crowd to pray for his predecessor Pope benedict and then in a dramatic and touching moment he asked for a silent prayer. From the massive crowd, not a word, not a sound. The prayer, he said, was for him, to help him in his new role.

There was 100,000 people, probably more, and there's silence.

LAURA HIDDEMEN, WITNESS: I know. I know. I was shocked, too, definitely. It was -- I think it's just here in the moment, you wanted that one curtain to drop and see who it was.

MARQUEZ: For his fellow Argentines it's a moment not only for their country but the world.

RICHARD SAENZ, ARGENTINIAN PRIEST: He's a very humble person. Everybody in Argentina knows that. He doesn't use car. He uses the metro, the subway. He doesn't like to be called himself monsignor, your excellence, just Jorge Mario. The maximum you can call him is father.

MARQUEZ: A humble man about to embark on an extraordinary journey.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: Now, that moment, that moment of silence was just incredible and unforgettable. Perhaps the most interesting moment of the night is when he left the balcony and came back out almost sheepishly and said thank you for everyone for coming. Safe travels home. And get some rest. It was a very sweet and telling moment for a guy who seems humble and seems to have a good sense of humor.

O'BRIEN: What an incredible experience to be there in person. Thanks, Miguel. Appreciate it.

Pope Francis is already developing a reputation as a Pope of firsts A humble man who is not opposed to turning his back on tradition to do things his way. Jim Bittermann is live at the Vatican for us. Good morning.

JIM BITTERMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. I guess an indication of that is the way the Pope this morning went to a church HERE, one of the major basilicas here in Rome, and said a few prayers to Mary. But what was interesting about it is that when he arrived he arrived not in his papal garb, not in papal white, but rather in simple priestly black. He changed later on. But in any case it was another sign of what we've been talking about all along, his humility.

I took a closer look at the new Pope in a story last night.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BITTERMAN: His journey began Wednesday when Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected to lead the Catholic Church. He's the first non-European Pope since the eighth century and first Pope ever from South America. He will be called Pope Francis, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi.

Bergoglio was born on December 17, 1936, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The son of an Italian I'll grant, a railway worker, he had four brothers and sisters. He studied to become a chemist before receiving the call to the priesthood. The 76-year-old was ordained a Jesuit in December of 1969 and has served as archbishop of Buenos Aires.

He was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II on February 21st, 2001. Bergoglio is said to have been the runner-up in a 2005 conclave. And in 2013 he was the oldest of the possible candidates, barely mentioned as a top pick. Some fellow Argentines are looking forward to his new chapter in the Catholic Church.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we can move forward, hopefully make some good changes. Hopefully he will be similar to Pope John Paul II in some ways in being very progressive. So we'll just have to wait and see.

BITTERMAN: Bergoglio is the 266th bishop of Rome, leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. But to many, he's known as simply Father Jorge.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BITTERMAN: So, in fact, there will be a lot of change in style around the Vatican. No question about that. In terms of substance, perhaps not so much. Many to matters, new Pope is pretty much on the same line as Benedict XVIth, although in some things he may bring out changes. But don't expect things to change on the ordination of women or celibacy for priests.

O'BRIEN: Jim Bittermann for us this morning, thanks, Jim. He's at the Vatican.

Let's get back to Bishop David O'Connell and Richard Hilgartner. You've been here for the last couple of weeks. When Jim Bittermann described how the Pope first arrived he said he was wearing priestly black, which I guess is what you're wearing. How unusual would that be for a new Pope to come out of the traditional white robe?

BISHOP DAVID O'CONNELL, TRENTON, NEW JERSEY: It's very unusual a Pope once selected, once he accepts the election, would appear in anything but the papal white. So it's an interesting kind of move or departure from tradition.

O'BRIEN: How do you read that? Now we have several moves and departures, little moments of departure from tradition. What's your interpretation?

O'CONNELL: It could be the white didn't fit him too well. (LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: It could be.

O'CONNELL: He's comfortable in the black. Or we he just fell he was going to dress the way that he has customarily dressed.

O'BRIEN: We talked about Francis, from Francis of Assisi, and he himself was a reformer. So there is a message in that.

MONSIGNOR RICHARD HILGARTNER, U.S. CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS: There are several messages. I think there's two different nods there. Certainly the nod to Francis of the Assisi, father Francis, and the great rebuilder of the church, as he had that vision of the lord speaking to him on the cross.

But as a Jesuit, Cardinal Bergoglio would have also been intimately close and devoted to Francis Xavier, a great preacher, missionary, activity. And I think that says something about his zeal for preaching the gospel and being in this moment that this church has been describing as the new evangelization.

O'BRIEN: It was interesting, I thought when the Vatican then had to confirm Francis of Assisi because there was a point when he wasn't sure he was taking the name of the Jesuit and that was the symbol there.

You heard a young woman in the piece that Jim presented to us saying that he was progressive. She hoped he would be progressive. We know he's a former but might be a reformed but also conservative. What kind of Pope do you think he will be from these very early messages that we're getting?

O'CONNELL: Of course, we've only seen him as Pope for less than 24 hours.

O'BRIEN: But that doesn't mean we're not going to go out on a limb.

O'CONNELL: Everybody is trying to define him and put him in a box.

O'BRIEN: Yes, sir.

O'CONNELL: I think what we have to look at, and this is -- Jim made the comment that we shouldn't set our expectations too high. We look at his past. We look at his teaching. We look at his preaching. We look at his writings. And we see that there's a lot of continuity between Pope Francis and what has preceded him in the writings of Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul before him.

O'BRIEN: He's been consistent.

O'CONNELL: He would be traditional-minded in certainly all the hot button issues.

O'BRIEN: We're going to talk about this for the entire morning. The emotion that surrounded the moment of Pope Francis is especially high, of course, in his home country of Argentina. That's where Shasta Darlington is. She's in Buenos Aires this morning. Hey, Shasta.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. That's right. The whole atmosphere here really just exploded yesterday because not even Argentines expected this. So I'm standing right here in front of his arch diocese. There wasn't a whole lot of people wait for the announcement. And when it came, everybody came flooding over here to the cathedral. It was as if people had just won a big soccer match, everybody jumping up and down and waving the flag.

One of the reasons he really hadn't stood out this time around as a contender is because he was such a low-profile person. When he was first appointed archbishop he said he didn't want to live in the official residence. Instead, he's still living in a third story apartment, cooks his own meals, goes out and buys his newspaper every morning at 5:00 a.m. I was speaking to people who worked there in the apartments and they said he really hated all the rituals that come with the position he had as archbishop. He didn't like people to kiss his hand.

So this is a man who really lives the simple life and I have to say, Argentines are just thrilled. This came out of nowhere. There is a bit of controversy around him involving what many people view as his proximity to the dictatorship. They say he didn't do enough to prevent the thousands of disappearances, deaths, and the torture here. On the other hand, he was a champion of the poor. And that's what keeps coming true. He's homeless people I talked to here on the streets said he would always stop and have a word for him, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Shasta Darlington in Buenos Aires for us this morning, thank you, Shasta.

Let's get right to the Father Juan Sosa pastor of St. Joseph's in Miami Beach. And, of course, Miami Beach with a large population of Argentine-Americans. Shasta was saying in Argentina people are going crazy with joy. How about where you are?

FATHER JUAN SOSA, PASTOR, ST. JOSEPH'S: We were all delighted to hear and see what the Pope was elected, number one that he was elected. The whole parish and everyone here in Miami Beach was excited about the whole idea, not just the Argentineans.

But then came the second element that he was an Argentinean, and that flourished everywhere in every part of the island as well as our parishes. We're delighted to know that the leader from one of the largest centers of Catholicism, South America, is able to speak not just Spanish but the language of the poor, the language of faith, and the language of new beginnings.

O'BRIEN: Much has been made of the first decisions in many ways are firsts. I want to play you a little bit of some of those. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FATHER THOMAS ROSICA, VATICAN SPOKESMAN: Francis of Assisi and this Pope, they are kindred spirits. He is a Pope that is going to come in and look at a situation and say get back to basics. This is about the gospel. This is about what we are at our best. Pastor came to meet his people and it was beautiful. Then he took the microphone again and he didn't follow the book. Thank god.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: We were talking this morning as well and showing up in his black clothes of a priest instead of wearing the white robes of the Pope. Also, sort of shifting tradition a little bit. So where do you think that sort of idea of he's going a different direction could actually end up, I guess, expressing itself in how he leads the church?

SOSA: Are you talking to me?

O'BRIEN: Yes, sir. Do you want me to repeat the question?

SOSA: I'm so sorry. Yes, no. The choice -- the choice of the name Francis says a lot, as you -- it speaks about reform because of the history of the church and the status of Francis of Assisi at the time. He was never ordained a priest. He was only a deacon because he thought he was never worthy of that.

However, his influence in the church, in the church's tradition, facing the Pope at the times and also bringing Christianity back to the holy land was magnificent. So I think the choice of Francis speaks about reform, renewal, and the archbishop of Miami explained to us yesterday, it's a sign of fresh -- new, fresh life for all of us in the world, as well as -- and all of us in South Florida rejoice with the archbishop on this.

So I think the word Francis, the choice of the name has a lot to do with his internal desire to serve the church at that level of renewal or refreshing and, of course, new beginnings.

O'BRIEN: Father Sosa is the pastor at St. Joseph's which is in Miami Beach. Thank you, sir. Appreciate your time this morning.

The name of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was not really on anybody's short list to be Pope, but he was on CNN's radar before we saw that white smoke billowing from the Sistine Chapel. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A name we have not heard yet that was offered up to me is Cardinal Bergoglio which you may or may not know, John Allen reported to us many times, that what we believe from the last conclave is that Bergoglio was number two to then Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI Emeritus. Bergoglio is the perfect compromise candidate, 76 years old. He could be a unifier.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: And it turns out indeed, that was the case.

John Berman's got a look at some of the other stories making news this morning. JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Soledad. So here we go again. Another Carnival Cruiseliner apparently experiencing some problems onboard. This time it's the Carnival Dream. It is in port right now in St. Maartin in the Caribbean. Passengers have contacted CNN with stories of power outages and overflowing toilets. Listen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They said that they were working on the ship and then there was the generators that were having a problem. Now there's, you know, human waste all over the floor and some in the bathrooms. They're overflowing.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

BERMAN: A Carnival representative told CNN he was not aware of the problem. Several calls since to the cruise line have gone unanswered. We should tell you the U.S. Coast Guard said there are no reports right now of an incident.

New developments out of England this morning. Another four people under arrest in the British phone hacking scandal that rocked Rupert Murdoch's publishing empire. All of those arrested were journalists at the "Sunday Mirror" newspaper in 2003-2004. The scandal led to the shut down of Murdoch's "News of the World" newspaper.

Prosecutors say two high school football stars on trial for raping a 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio treated the alleged victim like a toy. In opening statements Wednesday, the prosecution said 17-year- old Trent Mayes and 16-year-old Ma'lik Richmond knew the girl was intoxicated and bragged about it to their friends.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIANNE HEMMETER, SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: You will be able to read the text messages that were sent where these boys not only confessed to the sex acts that were performed on my client but they also bragged about their knowledge of how impaired she was. They used the word "dead" over and over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Trent Mayes and Ma'lik Richmond deny the rape charge.

So President Obama meets later today with Senate Republicans and House Democrats a day after he wrangled over budget issues with House Republicans. Yesterday's meeting the president did receive a standing ovation as he entered a conference room in the capital basement, but a nearly 90-minute long meeting left Republicans unmoved. Last night the president spoke about the talks of the so-called charm offensive that has failed seemingly to change anyone's opinion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STAES: Over the last several weeks press here in Washington has been reporting about Obama's charm offensive. Well, the truth of the matter is all I've been doing is just calling up folks and trying to see if we can break through some of the gobblety-gook of our politics here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz tweeted a picture from the meeting where several GOP House members asked the president whether his motives were purely political.

You know, he's the president.

O'BRIEN: He looked tired.

BERMAN: He did look exhausted last night -

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: He's speaking to Organizing for America, he's speaking to his people last night talking about what he's been doing over the last week. He looked exhausted. We've been saying he hasn't moved everyone right now. There are a lot of Republicans as we do say that appreciate the gesture that the gesture itself means something even if he hasn't changed any minds.

O'BRIEN: And even if they completely disagree and don't see eye to eye on anything that's being challenged here. All right thanks, John, appreciate it.

Police say they have surrounded a suspect wanted in a deadly shooting spree in upstate New York. We've got details on this story straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back. A developing story to tell you about coming to us from upstate New York. Police are believed to have surrounded a man who is wanted in a shooting spree that left four people dead, two other people critically wounded. The standoff is taking place right now in Herkimer county, which is roughly 70 miles away from the state capitol of Albany. CNN national correspondent Deb Feyerick is live on the scene for us this morning.

DEB FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. Right now police are just trying to wait out the suspect. He is 54- year-old Curt Myers. He's held up in a building about a block away from me.

Just to let you know, this is Main Street. This is an area where the police station, the fire station, all within walking distance. So he's picked a very public area in which to do this. The standoff began about 15 hours ago, early yesterday afternoon. There are S.W.A.T. teams on scene, tactical units, sharpshooters, as well as heavily armored vehicles here and just monitoring the situation. They're just waiting.

It is very cold. It is very snowy. They do believe that Curt Myer (sic) is inside. They don't know whether he's alive or not. Earlier reports that they were going to send in tear gas and going to send in robots. But that right now unconfirmed. That was the plan, whether they decided to end up doing that. They have been keeping us a far distance away. The mayor, I'm sorry, the governor saying that everybody should stay back because it is such a fluid situation and nobody knows exactly what this man will do.

What he is capable of doing, police know, is that he walked into two different stores. He killed two people in a barber shop, injured two others and then walked to a local car area, Jiffy Lube and shot two people dead there. One was a New York state corrections officer, a veteran officer. Once that happened he jumped back in his car. Police did not know where he was for a little while. They thought he was in a jewelry store. They found his car. It was abandoned. Right now police say that they really just want to wait and see how this all plays out because they don't want to suffer any more loss of life, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Deb Feyerick watching this for us as it continues to unfold. Deb, thank you for that update.

A man who recorded Mitt Romney's infamous 47 percent comment that in part helped derail his presidential campaign finally speaks out. He'll talk about why he made those recordings. That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Pope Francis wasting little time getting to work as the new leader of the world's Catholics. New video this morning of him visiting the basilica of Santa Maria Ma -- am I saying that right? Maggiore?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maggiore.

O'BRIEN: Maggiore. I'm going to say it with an Italian accent. That is obviously --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And use you're hands.

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: Yes, appreciate that. Later he's going to hold a private mass at the Sistine Chapel. That's going to happen at noon eastern time, with the cardinals who elected him. And on Saturday, the pope is scheduled to meet for the very fist time with members of the media. I'm sure members of the media are like, oh, Saturday. Too much time pass. We want to interview him now. Tuesday, it's the installation mass with as many as 200 foreign delegations expected to attend. Latin America rejoicing, along with Latino Catholics here in the United Staets. Christina Puig is live for us in Miami Beach. Christina, good morning.

CHRISTINA PUIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. I'm standing outside St. Joseph's parish here in north Miami Beach where they're going to be celebrating mass in about 30 minutes to celebrate the new pope, Mario Jorge Bergoglio. They are ecstatic that a Latin American pope is one of their own.

Here are the headlines here. "Miami Herald," "New World Pope" and then we have in Spanish, (SPEAKING SPANISH) which means "please pray for me". So down here in south Florida, the Catholics are very ecstatic. They're joyous. As you know there are 1.2 billion Catholics in the world. 41 percent of them are from Latin America. Here Miami-Dade county at least 50 percent of residents are also from Latin America. So it's a very diverse community.

Last night many Catholics went straight from work to mass to celebrate and to pray for the new pope, Pope Francis. They are hoping that he will bring about change. They say that the word Catholic in Latin means universal. Even though he does come from Argentina, they say that he is the pope for all the world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GUSTAVO RODRIGUEZ, ATTENDED MASS: I am overjoyed because he's a pope for the whole world. And he's clearly a man of great vision. He comes from our part of the world but he's now a father for all of us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PUIG: And, also, the largest concentration of Argentines are here in south Florida, believe it or not, in a little community known as "Little Argentina" in north Miami Beach. And they are ecstatic.