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CNN NEWSROOM

Dow Retreats From Record Run; Carnival Dream Passengers Fly Home; Gay Son Changes GOP Lawmaker's Heart; Obama To Unveil Clean Energy Plan; Iranian Jet Chases U.S. Drone; Pope: Pass On Your Wisdom To Young; Would-Be Rescuers Missing; NFL Told To Look Into Sex Questions; Searchers Don't Find Teacher; Outrage Over Teen Shot By Police

Aired March 15, 2013 - 10:00   ET

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


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now in the NEWSROOM. The first passengers from the Carnival cruise ship "Dream" expected back in Orlando and breaking overnight, another Carnival cruise ship having some troubles.

Also, a CNN exclusive, a change of heart for conservative Senator Rob Portman, he now supports same-sex marriage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR ROB PORTMAN (R), OHIO: For me, personally, I think this is something that we should allow people to do, to get married and have the joy and stability of marriage that I've had for over 26 years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Plus, a fighter jet chases a U.S. drone.

It knows where you're looking, the new Samsung Galaxy smartphone. It lets you scroll without even touching it. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Good morning. Happy Friday. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Carol Costello. We are 30 minutes into the trading day on Wall Street. The Dow re-trading from its record run.

Alison Kosik live at the New York Stock Exchange. The Dow might be lower, but the S&P could still hit a record, right?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Not so much. You know, the bulls overall, it looks like they've run out of steam at least for the moment. The day's still young. The market has plenty of time to turn around. We've got a whole day ahead of us.

What's weighing on stocks at least for the moment, consumer sentiment for March, how Americans feel about their own finances, about the business climate. That actually fell more than expected. That's really weighing on stocks today.

We will continue to watch to see if the Dow will hit yet another record. It's 11th in a row. It doesn't look like it's going to do that at the moment. The S&P 500 that's in focus in as well because that's within striking distance of its all-time high as well at 1565. That's the magic number, moving farther and farther away from it though -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right, Alison Kosik live at the New York Stock Exchange. I'm sure you'll keep us posted.

A Caribbean cruise nightmare ending for more than 2,100 Carnival passengers, their cruise ship "The Dream" became a nightmare when it lost power. Passengers telling some the toilets stopped working briefly and started to overflow.

Now Carnival will fly passengers back to the United States. The first flights expected to arrive later this afternoon. Last hour, passenger, Greg Stark, told me the crew was working really hard to take care of everybody.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREG STARK, CARNIVAL DREAM PASSENGER (via telephone): They've been, you know, trying to cater to the situation. Last night, you know, they actually flew a singer last night to do a concert. It was John Secada came on board to do a concert here so the condition, pretty good. They are coordinating to get everybody out today and tomorrow, I believe. Not everybody has flight times as of yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: This is not Carnival's only headache. Last night the Carnival "Legend" started having problems with its propulsion system. Now that ship is skipping its final port and limping its way back to Florida. Carnival says all safety and hotel functions are working normally on board that ship, though.

Now let's turn to a CNN exclusive on a change in heart and a stunning change in position. Conservative Senator Rob Portman now says he's dropping his hard line opposition to same-sex marriage because one of his sons is gay.

It's a deeply personal decision by a very public standard-bearer of the Republican Party. Portman, you might remember was a frontrunner to be Mitt Romney's running mate. He campaigned tirelessly for Romney even after being passed over. Portman shared his story exclusively with Dana Bash.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PORTMAN: I'm announcing today, a change of heart, on an issue that a lot of people feel strongly about. It has to do with gay couples' opportunity to marry. I've come to the conclusion for me. Personally, I think this is something we should allow people to do, to get married that they have the joy and stability of marriage that I've had for over 26 years. I want all three our kids to have it including our son who is gay.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That unexpected revelation came from Portman's 21-year-old son, Will, two years ago.

PORTMAN: My son came to Jane, my wife and I, and told us that he was gay and it was not a choice. You know, that's just part of who he is and he'd been that way ever since he could remember.

BASH (on camera): What was your recollection w reaction when he told you?

PORTMAN: Love, support, you know, 110 percent.

BASH: Surprise?

PORTMAN: Surprise, yes.

BASH: You had no idea.

PORTMAN: No idea. Yes. Again that launched a process of rethinking the issue.

BASH (voice-over): Until now, all this was secret to most, but not everyone.

(on camera): You were vetted to be a vice presidential candidate. Did you tell Mitt Romney that your son was gay?

PORTMAN: Yes, of course.

BASH: How did he react?

PORTMAN: I told Mitt Romney everything. That process is intrusive would be one way to put it, but, yes, I told him everything.

BASH: Do you think that was a deal-breaker?

PORTMAN: No, no, I really don't.

BASH: How can you be sure?

PORTMAN: Well, because, you know, they told me.

BASH (voice-over): Portman was never outspoken on gay marriage, but he consistently voted against it, supporting a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, the defense of marriage act and a bill prohibiting gay couples in Washington, D.C. from adopting children.

BASH (on camera): What do you say to a gay constituent in Ohio who says I'm so glad that he's changed his position, but why did it take him learning he has a gay son? Why didn't he as my representative care about my rights before that?

PORTMAN: Well, I would say I've had a change of heart based on a personal experience. That's certainly true. I'm on the Budget Committee. I'm on the Finance Committee for a reason. Those have already been my primary issues and my focus.

So, now it's different. You know, I hadn't expected to be in this position. But I do think, you know, having spent a lot of time thinking about it and working through his issue personally that, you know, this is where I am for reasons that are consistent with my political philosophy.

Including family values, including being a conservative who believes the family is a building block of society. So I'm comfortable there now.

BASH: You know, a cynic might look at this and say he's a politician. Why is he doing this now when he found out two years ago?

PORTMAN: Well, two things. One is, I'm comfortable will the position and it took me a while to, you know, rethink things and get to this position.

BASH (voice-over): The second reason, the Supreme Court, which will soon hear a pair of gay marriage cases and Portman expected that to generate some questions about his position.

PORTMAN: And I thought it was the right time to let folks know where I stand so there was no confusion so I'd be clear about it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: Dana now joins us from Washington. So Dana, does Portman's change of heart now mean he'll now fight for same-sex marriage? Is that what he means?

BASH: I don't think so. In fact, I asked that question point blank, Carol. He said that he hasn't thought through it entirely, but his initial plan is to stick to the issues that brought him into public service which are economic issues.

He calls himself an economic wonk or dork. And he doesn't think he'll suddenly become an activist on social issues, particularly this issue, even though he is very publicly changing the dialogue, at least for the near future.

COSTELLO: I do wonder about his son. Might his son play a role?

BASH: You know, he said that his son is very comfortable with it. He's very open about it and he's going to obviously, he's 21. He's going to let his son decide what course he takes but, you know, maybe a little bit of an indication could be very simple but powerful tweet that his son sent out today.

Saying -- his son Will -- saying "especially proud of my dad today." He also by the way linked in his tweet to an op-ed that Senator Portman also wrote to explain to his constituents in the "Columbus Dispatch" exactly why he made this decision.

And talked a lot about his faith, his Christian faith because, you know, there are a lot of Christian conservatives in the state of Ohio, who elected him as one of them, who are not going to be happy with this decision. COSTELLO: We'll see. Dana Bash reporting live from Washington this morning. Checking our top stories now, authorities are investigating an incident that injured at least two people in Miami. Workers were getting a stage ready for a concert when the fire department says part of that stage collapsed and injured four people. But a spokeswoman for the show said it was an LED screen that fell and only two people were injured. We'll continue to follow this story as it develops.

President Obama travels to Chicago today where he's expected to detail a funding plan for clean energy. Officials say the plan would set aside $2 billion a year for public and private research. That money would come from federal and oil gas leases. Congressional Republicans are expected to oppose the plan.

New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez continues to be under intense scrutiny. The "Washington Post" reporting a federal grand jury is now investigating Menendez's role regarding the business dealings of one of his donors. Menendez declined to say he knew of the probe, but tells the "Post" he has acted appropriately at all times.

And we're learning more about a tense moment between the United States and Iran this week when an Iranian fighter jet was chasing after a U.S. drone over the Persian Gulf. CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has been following the story. Good morning, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Carol. Tense moments indeed and the U.S. now warning Iran it will continue to conduct these spy missions over the Persian Gulf and warning Iran not to interfere.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STARR (voice-over): The unmanned predator spy plane was flying over the Persian Gulf earlier this week when the Iranian military spotted it. Iran scrambled an F-4 fighter jet, it pursued the drone to within 16 miles after a verbal warning from one of the two manned U.S. fighter jets escorting the drone, the Iranian aircraft peeled off the Pentagon test.

No shots were fired in the incident that occurred in what U.S. officials say was international airspace. But it could have gotten much more serious. Drones are now routinely escorted by armed fighters. A senior Pentagon official tells CNN we are fully prepared to defend our aircraft.

It comes as the top U.S. military commander for the region is even more blunt.

GENERAL JAMES MATTIS, U.S. CENTCOM COMMANDER: I've requested and received additional forces in the Gulf by the decision of the secretary of defense to ensure that we are ready to reassure our friends that we mean business and temper the Iranians' design.

STARR: The incident publicizes something the White House would rather not talk about, Iranian efforts to stop Pentagon and CIA spying. In December 2011, Iran displayed to the world a CIA drone captured after crashing inside Iran.

President Obama, due to visit Israel, said all options are on the table if Iran decides to proceed with the decision to build a nuclear bomb.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We think that it would take over a year or so for Iran to actually develop a nuclear weapon. But obviously, we don't want to cut it too close.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STARR: If you want to think about just how tense things might be in this region, Carol. Let's go back a minute. What is happening now is U.S.-manned fighter jets are escorting these unmanned drones on these spy missions. And it's worth remembering, they call it international airspace, but it's over some of the most dense areas of the world, the Strait of Hormuz oil shipping lanes -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Barbara Starr reporting live from the Pentagon this morning. Take a look at this video. A Utah man drives his truck through a row of sheds at a Home Depot. He also ran a stop sign and a store swing set. It cost $20,000 in damage. Dale Avari was arrested. He admitted he had been drinking before that wild ride.

Coming up in the NEWSROOM, an early start for Pope Francis today. He had another message for his cardinals.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: It is 15 minutes past the hour. Time to check our top stories, Pope Francis meets with the cardinals telling them they should use their age and experience to pass on wisdom to young people. The pope also spoke about the interest of people worldwide including non-Catholics in the papal election.

A somber story out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, two men jumped in the big Sioux River to pull out a 6-year-old boy who had fallen in. The boy was able to get out of the foaming icy water. But the search for the two men has turned from a rescue mission to a recovery mission.

New York's attorney general wants the NFL to investigate whether potential players were asked about their sexual orientation. Several players said it happened during last month's scouting combine. An NFL spokesman says it's already looking into the issue and the matter will be discussed at next week's meeting in Phoenix.

To New Orleans now where helicopters and teams in boats have failed to turn up any trace of a promising young teacher. The search for Terrilyn Monette is growing desperate now. The 26-year-old from California has been missing since March 2nd.

CNN's Nick Valencia is in New Orleans. Bring us up to date, Nick.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a very solemn mood as you can imagine yesterday at that prayer vigil, Carol. The family is struggling. They have no idea what happened to Terrilynn Monette. About 75 people showed up yesterday at that prayer vigil.

It was held outside of the bar where Terrilynn was last seen on March 2nd. Now organizers were passing out these fliers and buttons, at least in the area where she went missing, Carol, these flyers are everywhere. So a lot of people are talking about this case locally.

COSTELLO: Did anyone see anything? Do police have any hard clues at all?

VALENCIA: Well, surveillance cameras caught Terrilynn talking to a man around 3:45 in the morning outside of a parking lot of that bar, Parlay's. The same security camera, surveillance camera from a bank next door caught her leaving at around 4:00 a.m.

We have various conflicting information. The bar manager told me yesterday that Terrilynn could have been in the car sleeping as long as an hour before she was seen speeding off through that bank parking lot and making a right on a road towards her way home.

But that's all sort of what's all been caught on camera. Police have told us they had no new leads and they had have no idea what happened to Terrilynn Monette. But search and rescue teams yesterday, Carol, they search the water ways for a third day, Equusearch, that independent search and rescue team from Texas.

They have come in and they are using sonar devices to look into the water ways. On Sunday, they will bring in higher resolution and more sophisticated equipment to look into the waterways as well.

Also, state police and U.S. Customs provided helicopters to the search teams here so they're doing aerial searches. Also worth mentioning at the prayer vigil yesterday, I spoke to the organizer, he himself went up in a private plane to conduct his own search. But like I said, Carol, police, they just have no idea, no new leads.

COSTELLO: Nick Valencia, reporting live for us this morning. Thanks.

Up next, "Talk Back" question today, should the TSA rescind its new policy on knives? Facebook.com/carolcnn or tweet me @carolcnn.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: Now, for today's "Talk Back" question. Here it is, should the TSA rescind its policy on knives? The fight over knives on planes has reached deeper pitch. TSA Chief John Pistole is vigorously defending his idea to allow certain kinds of knives on planes, freeing up the TSA to focus on more lethal weapons like bombs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN PISTOLE, TSA ADMINISTRATOR: It is the judgment of many security experts worldwide, which I agree with, that a small pocket knife is simply not going to result in the catastrophic failure of an aircraft, in searching for these items, which will not blow up on aircraft and keep us from focusing on an IED.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Pistole says 2,000 such knives are found every single day and not one has ever posed a threat. In the meantime, the head of the Air Marshals' Union calls the whole decision to allow knives insane. A former air marshal agrees.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DARRELLE JOINER, FORMER AIR MARSHAL: Just like an IED, it takes people to operate that. Now, we want to enable the people that wants to do us harm with a pocket knife. It doesn't make sense, but the keyword is still dangerous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Air marshals, flight attendants and even some airlines are demanding the TSA reverse its decision as with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee with her dramatic cardboard knife chart.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPRESENTATIVE SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: You need to stop this now. These cause bleeding. These cause injury, these cause a terrible tragedy. And I don't want to take to the next length it could possible cause someone to lose their life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: It could. Still, airline passengers are loathe to be victims these days. Pull a pocket knife on a plane and you might be taken down like this guy who is drunk and disorderly on board a flight from Iceland to New York.

Fellow passengers duct taped him to a seat. If there was a bomb on board no amount of duct tape could stop that. "Talk Back" question for you today, should the TSA rescind its policy on knives? Facebook.com/carolcnn or tweet me @carolcnn.

A Brooklyn neighborhood takes to the streets protesting the death of a teenage boy gunned down by police. We'll have the story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: Good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining us this morning and happy Friday. Checking our top stories at just about 30 minutes past the hour, this afternoon, the first passengers will arrive back in the United States after their Caribbean cruise became a nightmare.

The Carnival "Dream" lost power Wednesday while in port in St. Maarten. Passengers tell us some of the toilets stop working briefly and of course, they started to overflow. Now Carnival is chartering flights back to the United States and giving passengers partial refunds.

Top executives of banking giant, JPMorgan Chase gets strong criticism from U.S. senators. Lawmakers are wrapping up an investigation into the bank's nearly $6 billion in lost and shoddy trades. The Senate panel's report says JPMorgan Chase ignored the risk and dodged oversight. The bank denies it was trying to mislead anyone.

A New York woman faces federal gun charges in connection with the shooting of four volunteer firefighters last Christmas Eve. Police say Dawn Wynn bought two guns for her neighbor William Spangler Jr. Spangler is accused of lighting a fire at his home and then shooting the men, the firefighters, who showed up to fight the blaze.

Two of them died, two were hurt. Spangler was a felon and he was unable to buy guns. So authorities say he killed himself. Wynn faces a maximum of 30 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

A Brooklyn neighborhood is outraged after the shooting death of a 16- year-old boy by police. Authorities say Kimani Gray drew a weapon at two plain clothes officers Saturday night. But a witness claims the teenager was not armed. Mary Snow has more for you.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): By day, a calm scene at this makeshift memorial marking the spot where 16-year-old Kimani Gray was shot and killed by police Saturday night. By night, this scene turns violent.

Wednesday, protesters lashed out at police. The NYPD said 46 people were arrested and one officer was injured. It was the second night things turned ugly. On Monday, teens vandalized two local stores. Community leaders blame outsiders for inciting violence.

JUMAANE D. WILLIAMS, NYC COUNCIL MEMBER: There are people, well- intentioned as they may be, that are coming into the community and capitalizing on a terrible situation and making it worse.