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Rockets Hit Israel as Obama Visits; Colorado Prison Chief's Killer Sought; Heat Streak at 24; Markets Poised to Open Flat; Arias Jurors to Grill Defense Expert; O'Reilly Bashes Bachmann

Aired March 21, 2013 - 09:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I can't thanks you guys enough. But we have to pause so I can eat. So let's go now to "NEWSROOM" with Carol. Carol, pretty please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy birthday.

SAMBOLIN: Happy birthday.

BERMAN: Thank you.



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now in the NEWSROOM, breaking overnight. Rockets fired just miles from President Obama in Israel.

Also, shut down in Chicago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's a bit ridiculous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you take them out of where they live, what does that say to the child?

COSTELLO: An unprecedented move to close 50 elementary schools. Critics slamming the move, crying it's targeting minorities and the poor.

Plus Dow watch. Records being shattered every day. Should you give your 401(k) a fresh look?

Plus late-night shakeup.

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": Before we get started, I have to talk about the rumors that came out today.

COSTELLO: Will "The Tonight Show" get a new host and move East?

FALLON: See, the rumors are true. NBC is turning "The Tonight Show" into diving competition.

COSTELLO: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COSTELLO: Good morning. Thank you so much for being with me. I'm Carol Costello.

We begin this morning in Israel. Rockets fly, a cease-fire wobbles, and President Obama's visit highlights the enormous challenges of trying to broker a peace deal.

Just a short time ago President Obama wrapped up his meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority. And this morning it's the Palestinians who are blamed for the latest tension.

At least two rockets fired from Gaza crashed into southern Israel. No injuries, but still dealing a below to Obama's push for Israeli- Palestinian peace talks.

CNN's Sara Sidner in the West Bank town of Ramallah where this morning's meeting was held.

Tell us more about it, Sara.

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let's be clear, when you say Palestinians are responsible for the latest break, we are talking about Gaza as opposed to the West Bank. We need to be very clear about that. The Palestinian Authority is in control here in the West Bank. Hamas in control in Gaza. And that is where those rockets came from.

No one has claimed responsibility, although we're hearing from officials that it is likely an outside group. That it's likely not Hamas that fired those rockets, but a fringe group. Yes, there were two rockets that came over, making the -- the deal between Gaza and Israel a bit of a shaky one. The ceasefire there. But certainly here things have been very calm. And what we saw with the president and President Abbas coming together and talking about some of the issues.

Not a flowery and highly welcoming meeting as you saw there. He welcomed him to the Palestinian territories, the president thanked him, but we weren't seeing a lot of the pomp and circumstance that we saw with the Israeli prime minister, for example, and president.

What we did hear a lot about and we expected to hear a lot about is the issue of settlements. The president talked about settlements, talking about the fact that the U.S. policy has remained the same that new settlement building does not help the peace process. Abbas saying it's absolute sticking point. But that they both still believe the two-state solution is the only solution to this conflict.

COSTELLO: Yes. Have heard it all before. Sara Sidner, reporting live from Ramallah this morning.

The bodies of seven American Marines killed during a training exercise in western Nevada are going home for burial. All were members of the 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment and were 26 years old or younger. Monday they were taking part in a live fire training exercise when a 60 millimeter mortar round exploded, killing them and injuring several more. Corporal Aaron Ripperda was 26-year-old from Madison, Illinois. He was an antitank missile man who enlisted in Marine Corps in September 2008. Lance Corporal William Wild IV was 21. The Anne Arundel County, Maryland, native was a mortar man who joined in October 2010. Lance Corporal Mason Vanderwork was also 21, he was from Hickory, North Carolina. Vanderwork was a mortar man who joined in June 2010.

Lance Corporal Joshua Taylor was from Marietta, Ohio. The 21-year-old mortar man also joined in June 2010, and Lance Corporal Roger Muchnick was 23 years old from Fairfield, Connecticut, He was a mortar man who joined in June 2010.

Lance Corporal David Fenn was -- II was just 20 years old from Polk City, Florida. He was also a mortar man who joined the Marine Corps in June 2010. And Private 1st Class Joshua Martino was just 19 years old. The Clearfield, Pennsylvania, native was a mortar man who joined in July 2012. We honor all of them this morning.

A full-scale manhunt now under way for the person who killed Colorado's prison chief. Tom Clements was shot in the chest Tuesday night while answering the door at his home near Colorado Springs. Right now, police have very little to go on.

Jim Spellman joins us now.

And I know police are looking for a specific car. Tell us more about that.

JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. That's really the key focus of this investigation at this point. Police tell us that several eyewitnesses witnessed what seems like the same car that all of their descriptions were very consistent. That's very important in an investigation like this where eyewitness testimony can be less than reliable.

Here's the undersheriff of El Paso County talking about the car.


UNDERSHERIFF PAULA PRESLEY, EL PASO COUNTY, COLORADO: We are continuing to look for that car. We have had now several neighbors in the area who stated that they had seen a vehicle right around the time about 8:30 p.m. on the night of 19th when Mr. Clements was shot.


SPELLMAN: A witness also saw that same car driving away from the scene towards an area where there are numerous cameras, at convenience stores, gas stations, traffic cameras, police are wading through hours of that tape right now, sometimes going frame by frame, trying to see if they can identify the car and possibly a license plate through that. Trying to create a description and of course the identity of the driver is key.

I just spoke with the head of the major crimes unit here, an El Paso County sheriff. Tells me they've got over 100 solid tips that they are chasing down. At this point all of the detectives are getting ready to have a meeting this morning to get coordinated and move this investigation forward today -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Of course, everybody is searching for a motive to this murder and I know Clements' murder comes after his office made some high-profile decisions. What were they?

SPELLMAN: Yes. Well, his 30 years in the prison system in Missouri and two years here in Colorado, they are liaising with the people in Missouri. But that is just an unbelievable amount of people who have interacted with him through all those years. So they are trying to see if any cases in the system come to light.

One case that they are looking at was a case that just came down last week, it involves a Saudi national. The -- Mr. Clements denied a request to send him back to Saudi Arabia. That's something that's certainly on their radar, but they have no indication at this time that that has risen above the level of any of the other many cases that he's been involved with over all the years -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Jim Spellman, reporting live from Colorado this morning.

In other news this morning, in North Korea, new threats today against the United States. A statement from Pyongyang warns that American air and naval bases in Guam and Japan are within its, quote, "striking range." A warning follows disclosures that American B-52 bombers have been flying over South Korea as part of annual military exercises.

The number of detainees on a hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay has nearly quadrupled. The Defense Department says at least 25 prisoners are now skipping meals and eight of them are being force fed with a hose that goes up their noses.

Lawyers for the detainees say they're protesting because their Qurans were searched and because they're losing hope of ever being freed.

In Chicago, we're waiting on the announcement that some 50 public elementary schools will be shut down. The cash strapped school system says those kids, tens of thousands of them, will be sent to schools that perform better and have more resources. The news has outraged many parents who say the cuts are mainly targeting minorities.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think about that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's a bit ridiculous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any part of Chicago that's trying to rebuild, the neighborhood is important. If you take them out of where they live, what does that say to the child?


COSTELLO: School officials say they'll be able to close schools that are old and largely empty. Most of the children affected will begin their new schools in the fall.

OK, let's talk about something good, depending on whether you're a Miami Heat fan. In sports, yes, the streak is still alive. The Miami Heat won their 24th straight game in dramatic fashion. Down 27 points in the third quarter to Cleveland, the Heat roared back led by -- no surprise here -- LeBron James.

Andy Scholes is here to talk more about it. And poor Cleveland. It just keeps getting bammed by LeBron.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Poor, poor Cleveland. You know, LeBron has been amazing during this win streak, especially these last five games. Monday night in Boston, he scored 37 points, had the game-winning shot and then last night he led one of the greatest comebacks in NBA regular season history. You know, they were down 27 points with 19 minutes to go.

Before last night the team trailing by that much in the third quarter, had rallied, come back to win only five times in 2,018 games. So it's basically never happened. But nothing, of course, is impossible with LeBron. He led the comeback, scoring 27 points to go along with 12 rebounds, and 10 assists, He defeated the Cavs 98-95 for their 24th straight win.

The win capped off a final road trip that the Heat have been calling their reunion tour. Now the team's previous four stops were -- in cities where other Heat player has played previously. And LeBron, he was determined not to let his stop in Cleveland be the team's only loss.


LEBRON JAMES, MIAMI HEAT: The streak wasn't on my mind. Us getting blown out crossed my mind a couple of times, like, you know, this is the reunion tour, and, you know, I would be the only guy to take a hail on the reunion tour. So, you know, I was -- I had to dig down.


SCHOLES: So the Heat's reunion tour, obviously a huge success. They were undefeated. Now they return to Miami for their next two games against two of the worst teams in the East, Detroit and Charlotte.


COSTELLO: Sometimes those bad teams get you, though, right?

SCHOLES: It could happen. Right. Yes.

COSTELLO: So what are their biggest obstacles? They got a couple more games to go to break the record.

SCHOLES: Yes, after two games at home, they're going to get back on the road for four more, and they go to Chicago on March 27th. Now a lot of people are circling that game as the -- could be the one that breaks the streak. Now if they get by that one, then they head to New Orleans, which shouldn't be much one of a problems. New Orleans is one of the bottom teams in the West. But then they make a stop in San Antonio, who is of course the top seed in the West right now. That game is on March 31st.

Now that would be the last huge obstacle for the Heat in terms of them going on to break the '71-'72 Lakers all-time winning streak of 33 straight games.

COSTELLO: OK. So I've almost forgiven LeBron for leaving quick. As you know, I'm from near Cleveland, so it's hard. But it is fascinating to watch.

SCHOLES: Yes. Might go back. That kid around the court last night had a shirt that says, we'd love to have you back 2014, LeBron. We miss you.

COSTELLO: He ain't going back to Cleveland, ain't no way.

SCHOLES: Never know. You never know.


COSTELLO: Yes, maybe he'll bring his friends with him. That'd be great.

Thanks so much, Andy.

Turning now to your money, stocks poised to open flat this morning after closing in the green Wednesday.

Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange. So tell us about -- the stock market that makes no sense to me these days. I'm sorry it just doesn't.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You know what? This is a -- this is a market these days, Carol, that really rides on what's really headlining the news. So you remember the Cyprus debt crisis flare-up? Investors are going to still keep an eye on that. There was some news on the jobs front today. We learned that weekly jobless claims edged up a bit last week and in about 45 minutes, we're going to be getting some new numbers on existing home sales.

We're going to watch for these because we know that the housing market, it's really been doing well lately. The expectation for this report is to see a rise in home sales so we'll see if the market can pick up steam on maybe some good news in the housing market again. Perhaps the Dow can even touch some new record highs. I'll keep an eye on it for you, Carol.

COSTELLO: Yes, we'll see. I understand, too, there's a new report from the government and it absolutely slams Freddie Mac. Why?

KOSIK: Yes, this is one of these troubling reports concerning Freddie Mac owns -- almost $11 million more just in this country. The inspector general overseeing Freddie's regulator called the FHFA -- that's the Federal Housing Finance Agency -- says both are not doing such a good job working out complaints from homeowners. They looked in such period between 2011 and 2012, and here's what they found.

They found that Freddie's eight biggest servicers resolved more than 25,000 complaints. Yes, that sounds great, but they failed to take care of more than 20 percent of them in the required 30-day window. That's even after they moved the case up the chain of command. And that's a huge problem because it comes -- when it comes to these serious complaints like servicing fraud and improper foreclosures, what it means is that people could potentially lose their homes while these services are kind of twiddling their thumbs on these cases.

In fact the report it found that four of Freddie servicers -- Bank of America, CitiMortgage, Wells Fargo and Provident -- never reported any cases in this period, even though they handled more than 20,000 of them, so this watchdog agency put out some recommendations. We'll see if those recommendations go anywhere -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right. Alison Kosik reporting live from the New York Stock Exchange.

A little politics/entertainment. We all got a fresh dose of Sarah Palin last week when she took center stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference, you know, CPAC. Now we're getting another heaping helping and thanks to Tina Fey. She appeared last night on Bravo's "Inside the Actors Studio."


JAMES LIPTON, HOST, "INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO": Same-sex marriage, what is your view on that, please?

TINA FEY, COMEDY ACTRESS: Well, the bible says it's gross. And --


And I don't judge it. A lot of the amazing, wonderful people I met in the audience of "Dancing with the Stars" seem to go that way.

LIPTON: Right.

FEY: But no.

LIPTON: No? No same-sex marriage?

FEY: Marriage is meant for people who wear different kinds of swimsuits.

LIPTON: Women look up to you. Do you have any fashion and hairstyling advice for them?

FEY: Well, I'm a fan of the bumpit. Also to a tan you couldn't possibly have in Alaska. And that's really all you need.

LIPTON: Greater importance, how does a woman like you make her way through a man's world?

FEY: I don't think of it as a man's world or a woman's world, unless, again, we're talking about marriage. But I think of it as people being mavericks or not being mavericks.

LIPTON: May I be permitted just one more?

FEY: OK, then. But you know, sometimes people ask me stuff and I don't answer it anyway, so go ahead.

LIPTON: You seem to have a great gift for silence.

FEY: A slippery one.

LIPTON: What do you think of Tina Fey's portrayal of you?

FEY: It's the best one I never watched.

LIPTON: Thank you very much. Thank you.


COSTELLO: Yes, thank you very much, Tina Fey.

You needed to laugh this morning, right?

Just ahead in THE NEWSROOM, one of Rihanna's tour buses stopped by agents at the Canadian border. Seems they smelled pot on board. We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: Eighteen minutes past the hour. Time to check our top stories.

At least seven people are in stable condition after a shooting early this morning at a Chicago nightclub. Police say the incident at a video release party on the city's south side was gang-related. The exact number of injuries isn't known, because other victims got their own rides to local hospitals. No arrests have been made.

Same-sex marriage gets the nod from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The group says children's health and well-being is better when their parents are married. The group also says that in 30 years of research, there is absolutely no proof that children raised by gay parents are worse off than those raised by straight parents.

Someone touring with Rihanna is in big old trouble. U.S. Border Patrol agents found a small amount of marijuana on one of the R&B artist's tour buses. The singer, by the way, was not onboard the bus. The caravan was heading to Michigan after a concert in Toronto. A drug sniffing dog smelled the pot and an unnamed passenger got a citation, and then the buses rolled on.

Jurors in the Jodi Arias trial are expected to grill a key defense expert with more than 100 questions today. The expert is this man, forensic psychologist Richard Samuels, who testified he diagnosed Arias with post-traumatic stress disorder and that's why she cannot remember a single detail of the night she say she shot, stabled and slit the throat of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander. She claims this was all in self-defense.

CNN's Ted Rowlands is outside the courthouse in Phoenix.

Ted, there's some big problem with this guy's testimony.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, Carol, he's made some errors in his reports, which came out. He's also lost his composure on the stand and -- let's face it -- he's got a huge job. A very important witness, trying to convince this jury that Jodi Arias isn't lying, that she suffers from PTSD and that's why she has this memory loss.

COSTELLO: I also understand, there's more interrogation video has surfaced of Jodi Arias.

ROWLANDS: Yes, yesterday, we got six hours of interrogation of Jodi Arias, over two days. And it's fascinating. You hear her talk about her story, change her story, as they give her evidence.

And you also see her when there are no detectives in the room and when there are people. At times she's on the floor. She has her head on the table, sometimes she's singing, she's laughing, and basically more of that video of her standing on her head. Six hours of it.

The jury only saw a small portion of it.

COSTELLO: OK. Let's continue to look at this video, because it's just so bizarre. How much longer is this trial expected to last?

ROWLANDS: Well, that's a great question, because it is moving at an absolute snail's pace. There have been delay after delay in this case for different reason. Yesterday, someone threw up in the courtroom, so they ended court early.

Bottom line, you're looking at least 2 1/2, three weeks before the jury will get this. The Maricopa County sheriff's office has estimated they spent over $800,000 already defending Jodi arias and as this continues to move at a snail's pace, the meter on that keeps on ticking. People here in this county are not happy about that.

COSTELLO: Yes, I heard you bought a rental property there.


COSTELLO: I don't mean to laugh, but it's just unbelievable --


ROWLANDS: -- places to be.

COSTELLO: Yes, exactly. Ted Rowlands, reporting live for us this morning.

Michele Bachmann under from not-so friendly fire from a fellow conservative Republican. FOX News host Bill O'Reilly blasting Bachmann after she told a crowd of conservative that President Obama was enjoying a few too many perks at the White House. You may remember CNN chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash tried to get Bachmann to explain those unfounded charges that Obama was enjoying too many perks.



REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: You want to talk about dog handlers, there's four Americans killed --

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But, Congresswoman, you're -- but you're the one who brought it up.


COSTELLO: Well, it turns out O'Reilly tried to follow up with Bachmann with no success. He says Bachmann's spokesman told him don't call him and suggested he'd read a book -- he read the book about Bachmann -- he read, OK. I'm going to get this right (ph).

He suggested that Bill O'Reilly read this book where Bachmann got those so-called facts out of. That didn't sit too well with O'Reilly.


BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS: This would be much ado about nothing, if not for the fact that trivial attacks on President Obama are obscuring serious problems in this country. Does the president live well in the White House? Yes, he does. Is there money wasted it? You bet there is.

But every other president in history has lived in comfort and it looks like President Bush the younger had a bigger White House budget than Barack Obama does. This is a trivial pursuit and Michele Bachmann made a mistake pursuing it.


COSTELLO: O'Reilly said Bachmann is playing small ball and needs to focus on bigger issues.

Well, here's a big issue for you, talkback question today, will Guantanamo -- will Gitmo ever close? or tweet me @carolCNN. I got a lot of heat with this question. Keep it coming.


COSTELLO: Now is your chance to talk back on one of the big stories of the day. The question for you this morning: will Gitmo ever close?

Gitmo. It seems like, oh, 2008? When President Obama vowed to close Guantanamo Bay?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have said repeatedly that I intend to close Guantanamo and I will follow through on that.


COSTELLO: Fat chance. Gitmo is not only open for business, but according to NBC News, the Pentagon is considering a $150 million taxpayer-funded overhaul. That's right. Gitmo is set for a new dining hall, hospital, and barracks for the guards who will no doubt continue to monitor a growing problem inside the prison, the hunger strike. At least 25 prisoners held for years without trial are refusing to eat. One, according to his lawyer, has lost 30 pounds so far.

As for why they are doing this? U.S. General John Kelly has a theory, anger at Mr. Obama.


GEN. JOHN KELLY, COMMANDER, U.S. SOUTHERN COMMAND: They were particularly put off I'm told when the president has really made no mention of closing the facility, he said nothing in the inauguration speech and this is them bringing this up to us -- nothing in the inauguration speech about closing it, nothing in the State of the Union.


COSTELLO: So what to do? Well, the striking prisoners are being force fed through tubes in their noses because they're not likely to be charged, transferred or released ever.

And I'm not being a drama queen here. The office President Obama created to shutter Guantanamo was shuttered itself in January. It was closed down.

Our question to you this morning, will Gitmo ever close?, Or tweet me @carolCNN.