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Investigation of Dead Ex-Con Expands; FAA to Close 149 Air Traffic Towers; New Pope Meets Old Pope; Obama on Mideast Charm Offensive; Senate Passes Budget at 5 AM; Police: "Fake" Pilot Charged; Jay Leno Jokes About NBC

Aired March 23, 2013 - 07:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I am Christine Romans.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And I am Victor Blackwell. It is 7:00 and we are so glad you are with us.

He was already linked to two murders in Colorado. And now, investigators are look into whether this former white supremacist prison gang member was involved with a third killing in Texas. His name is Evan Ebel. He died after police say he provoked a police chase, shooting an officer who tried to pull him over.

ROMANS: Investigators think Ebel may have been involved in the murder of Colorado prison head, Tom Clements, and the death of a pizza delivery driver in Denver as well.

CNN's Jim Spellman is live in Colorado Springs with the details.

We'll get to the third case in a moment, but first, Jim, any new developments in the investigation of the prison official's murder?

JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure. Good morning, Christine and Victor.

Authorities here in El Paso County working the Tom Clements murder, they are trying to see everything up with the ballistic to be sure that indeed this man, Evan Ebel, was the man that shot Tom Clements.

Now, beyond that part of it, they are working with the prison system here because Evan Ebel was in a prison gang, the 211s. The 211 crew that were a white supremacist gang in the prison. They're working to seeing if there was a link to somebody inside the prison, if there was perhaps a conspiracy or hit put out on Mr. Clements here.

Evan Ebel only got out of jail on January 28th, not that long ago. And it was barely a few weeks before he was killing this pizza man allegedly in Denver and then the Tom Clements murder. A very short amount of time and they want to see if anything was going on behind bars that precipitated that.

Prisons here in Colorado on lockdown all weekend as they investigate. BLACKWELL: Hey, Jim, Christine mentioned that third death. Ebel died in Texas. And investigators now they are looking into the possibility that he had something to do with the third murder in that state, right?

SPELLMAN: Yes, January 31st, just three days after Evan Ebel was released from prison here in Colorado, an assistant district attorney named Mark Hasse was gunned down in a courthouse parking lot in Kaufmann County, Texas, east of Dallas. One of the reasons that they are investigating a possible link here is that they were doing some work with the Aryan Brotherhood, another white supremacist gang down in Texas. That's one of the things that have made them want to check out and see if there are any similarities here and whether possibly this could be a third killing linked this man, Evan Ebel.

ROMANS: In another odd twist, I understand, Ebel had some family connections to the governor of Colorado. Tell us about that.

SPELLMAN: Yes, it's extremely unusual. The morning after Mr. Clements was killed, Governor John Hickenlooper came out and made a very emotional speech about hiring Mr. Clements, and talked about, without naming someone, a friend of his, who had a son who was having trouble and how compassionate essentially Mr. Clements was.

It turns out that man he talked about was the father of Evan Ebel. His father, Jack, is a fairly prominent oil and gas attorney in the Denver area and have been friends with John Hickenlooper for 30-some years, even gave money to his campaign, a very unusual twist that this would come back around to be the friend of the governor of all people. Very unusual.

ROMANS: Wow. All right. Jim Spellman, thanks for that great reporting.

BLACKWELL: Small airports across the country are taking a big hit starting next month. The FAA just announced that it's shutting down 149 air traffic control towers because of those forced spending cuts.

Now, the tower closings are opening up a lot of questions about whether the skies will be less safe. But is that really the case?

Here's CNN's Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All of the airplanes flying across the country will soon have fewer eyes watching them because of all these towers being closed. Let's take a look at where they are, because it's not even, even though it is coast to coast. Some states were hit harder than others.

Florida, for example, is losing 14. That's the most. Texas losing 13. California, 11.

The FAA says it has to do it because it has a lot of people who are employed by it who are air traffic controllers. You want to cut cost, close the towers and you take them out of their jobs and you have a savings, as painful as it may be.

Does it make things less safe? That's the big question.

Here is what we know. There are small traffic towers all over the country at small airports, and they handle thousands of flights every day that come and go. They scan the skies around this area. They scan the ground, they keep an eye out for any kind of obstacle, whether it's flying or a vehicle or an animal or anything else.

If you get rid of those, you are absolutely getting rid of one layer of protection for this plane flying in here. But there are other towers that overlap in terms of their radar signals and in terms of the radio contact, and they will then be keeping track of the plane when the plane needs communication.

This does increase the burden of work on these other towers and that's one of the other fears here. So undeniably there is some reduction in safety by removing this tower, but the plane is not replying blind, there is still a system of control and there are commercial airlines that land and take off every day at small airstrips with no control towers. That's something that you want to know.

The bottom line is, this is the kind of thing that can send a mixed message to people out there who are taxpayers. Because look at this, a tower up in Frederick, Maryland, that was opened less than a year ago with $5.3 million of stimulus money. Now, it's one of the towers that is being closed by the feds because of the sequester.


BLACKWELL: Thanks for keeping an eye on that, Tom. Thanks.

ROMANS: There's a historic meeting unfolding in Rome today. For the first time in centuries, a pope is meeting another living pope.

Think about that for a minute. Pope Francis is meeting with his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. The two were lunching together at Benedict's home, a hilltop castle. The 85-year-old Benedict has been living there since he resigned last month, citing his age. And, of course, he's been following Francis' election as pope and his inauguration before a huge crowd in Rome.

And President Obama is wrapping up his trip to the Middle East, and will be heading from Jordan aboard Air Force One next hour. And he also made stops in Israel, the West Bank during his trip.

The president was on something of a charm offensive even overseas. He called on Israel to restart direct talks with the Palestinians. He helped to broker an apology from Israel to Turkey over the deadly commando raid, and he pledged to provide another $200 million in aid to Jordan to help the country cope with the flood of refugees from war torn Syria.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The ayes are 50, the nays are 49, and the concurrent resolution is agreed to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Move to reconsider?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Without objection.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Without objection.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Senate has passed a budget.


ROMANS: You heard it here, right there, the Senate has passed a budget. It's the first time the Senate has done that in four years. By the way, it's the job of your elected officials to have a budget every year, they haven't -- anyway.

It followed a marathon vote-o-rama that started yesterday afternoon. It ended at 5:00 a.m. this morning. Lawmakers burned the midnight oil and then some.

The Democratic-sponsored proposal calls for a $trillion in tax increases over the next decade and some spending reductions. It will square off against the House Republicans plan put forth by Congressman Paul Ryan. That bill was defeated in the Senate earlier this week.

BLACKWELL: All along the East Coast, a bright streaking fireball caught peoples' attention last night. Did you see it? Well, if not, look here. It was captured by a dash cam in Washington. But look close. Experts say it probably was a meteor. The flash lasted a few seconds. And because it happened around at 8:00 Eastern, it also lit up social media with sightings reported from Florida all way to Quebec.

ROMANS: And at 9:30 a.m., I'm going to have Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist talking about what is the chance something like that could hit a city? I mean, what would we do? It's really fascinating conversation.

BLACKWELL: After what we saw in Russia, people are watching out.

ROMANS: That's right. That's right. So, 9:30.

We got much more ahead this hour.

BLACKWELL: Here's a look at what is coming up.


BLACKWELL (voice-over): They are shocking. They are offensive. And they are already being plastered on San Francisco City buses. So, who is behind the controversial new ads?

Plus, a man pretending to be a pilot sweep off his way right into the cockpit of a U.S. Airways plane. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's pretty scary and I fly every week. So, that's actually pretty concerning.

BLACKWELL: How did this happen? We've got new details this morning.

And Rush Limbaugh has got a real beef with Beyonce and it's all over her new song.


BLACKWELL: But is he picking on the wrong woman?



BLACKWELL: We are doing the biz block with the business and money guru this morning.

ROMANS: Wait, is that me?

BLACKWELL: That's you.

ROMANS: Good morning, everybody.

BLACKWELL: Here's a look at some of the top business stories of the week.

Three of the biggest theater chains, AMC, Regal, Cinemark, they have announced plans to receive movies via satellite. That means films can be downloaded instead of mailed and that could save studio some cash, but if you are hoping the $20 IMAX ticket will not drop, that probably will not happen, because the savings are for the studios and not the theaters.

ROMANS: And if you are a little tiny theater, it might be hard for you. You might still have to get the film old passionately. It could actually hurt you.

All right. Look, you are seeing pictures there. Coca-Cola trying to appeal to the calorie conscience there. They are releasing a new carbonated zero-calorie drink that will be called "Fruitwater." It will hit the store shelves on April 1st.

The drink is a partner to other Coke products like Vitaminwater and Smartwater. A trade magazine reports these new drinks will be sweetened with Splenda and come enhanced with (INAUDIBLE).

BLACKWELL: Now, I thought it already existed. I mean, (INAUDIBLE) has flavors. And that's owned by Coke. So, we'll see.

ROMANS: There's a huge, a huge demand for all kinds of (INAUDIBLE).

BLACKWELL: Flavored waters.

ROMANS: American consumers want lots of choices. BLACKWELL: Hey, now, to everyone's favorite topic, food. Don't we love it?


BLACKWELL: And deciding where to go and what to eat. Now, when you go to your favorite fast-food restaurant, you know what's on the menu, you know what's there. But you may be surprised to learn that's not everything that they serve. It's a secret menu, and it's getting just as much attention.

ROMANS: All right. That's right. This morning, we are talking about the secret menus, frequently requested meals that are hardly publicized except for word of mouth and by social media.

BLACKWELL: Yes. So why the secrecy, right? Well, fast-food places are looking to set themselves apart, and some customers want to be exclusive club. Now, I imagine some chains probably want to avoid listing all those calories, 1,300, 1,500.

Look at this, actually, we've got a few of them here on the list.

ROMANS: Yes, look at this list. Here's Burger King's suicide burger containing a whopping 800 calories, 53 grams of fat and nearly 2,500 grams of sodium.

BLACKWELL: You know, Burger King has one of these burgers, but McDonald's has one. This is Monster Mac, eight burgers, 1,390, 92 grams of fat. Wow.

And look at their Mc10:335, a hybrid of a double burger and eggnog muffin, 540 calories, 29 grams of fat. You have to order between breakfast and lunch.


(INAUDIBLE) called Chipotle Quesarito. That carries 1,370 calories and 63 grams of fat.

Victor, I know you're getting hungry.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about these sweet drinks. Here's the Starbucks Super Cream Frappuccino with whipped cream, 510 calories. Look, I can hear people writing down the names of the drink -- 510 calories, and 26 grams of fat.

ROMANS: Remember, this is a secret menu.


ROMANS: If you're concerned about carbs, they offer a healthy diet option that eliminate bread and flour.

BLACKWELL: OK. So, this is fun. I went to a few food places around here to ask them about the so-called secret menus --

ROMANS: Really?


ROMANS: So, you went out and tested the secret menus?

BLACKWELL: Yes, I went looking to expose some secrets. And some of the employees were not even aware of them. Watch.


BLACKWELL: Can I have a barnyard, please?


BLACKWELL: Barnyard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is that? A chicken.

BLACKWELL: It's a sandwich. It's on the secret menu.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, the secret menu.

BLACKWELL: Yes, you haven't heard of the secret menu? It's all over the Internet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't have a secret menu. We have secret toppings, but not a secret menu.

BLACKWELL: Can you make a superman?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is it again, please?

BLACKWELL: A superman.


BLACKWELL: It's online. Taco Bell secret menu, the superman.


BLACKWELL: Oh, you are new.


BLACKWELL: It's such a good secret that you guys don't know about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The secret item is, it's a bean tostada.

BLACKWELL: OK. And that's not on the menu at all?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, you just take your chance and ask. I didn't know it was secret menu. They used to have it on the menu, but they don't prioritize it anymore. Wherever I go, I ask if we have that, and sometimes they say they don't serve it anymore, but sometimes they do. But then they don't know how to ring it up.

BLACKWELL: A lot of the restaurants have secret menus?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do they do that? I mean, it just doesn't make sense. Just put it up there so people know.


ROMANS: Proof you can't believe everything you read on the Internet, maybe.

BLACKWELL: Well, that woman said she ordered from the secret menu.

The other thing that I found really interesting, Chick-fil-A has a quesadilla that they have online for the people who follow the secret menus. So, a lot of secrets you can probably find at some local restaurants.

ROMANS: All right. Shocking and offensive ads against Muslims being plastered on San Francisco City buses, and fallout. Who is behind it? Straight ahead.


ROMANS: Controversial ads with shocking messages are set to debut in San Francisco like the one that says, quote, "killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah." Just let that statement sink in for a moment.

And here's another one, "Homosexuality is ugly. In Iran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country", with, of course, the picture of Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The ads are being posted on buses around San Francisco. Ten of them have gone up.

The woman who is behind them -- Pamela Gellar and her group, American Freedom Defense Initiative.

Pamela, thank you for being with us here this morning.

A lot of controversy about these ads. Tell us why you want them up? What is the point?

PAMELA GELLAR, AMERICAN FREEDOM DEFENSE INITIATIVE: Well, these ads are a response to a deceptive and fallacious ad campaign being run by the Muslim Brotherhood group CAIR that says that jihad is about getting to the gym every day.

And so, our ads are to show the reality of jihad using actual quotes from high profile Muslims like the prime minister of Turkey, the Ft. Hood jihadi. The Times Square bomber, to increase awareness about the ideology that sanctions the violence and supremacism of jihad.

ROMANS: You are being accused of this being anti-Muslim, though. You know, what is your reaction to that criticism?

GELLAR: Well, it's deeply offensive to Muslims because the implication is that all Muslims support jihad and we know that's not true. But we don't have to pat on the back every Muslim that doesn't want to kill us. We expect that. That's our bar.

So, I think that's a canard. I think it's a deceptive statement. I know from my own e-mail box that many Muslims stand with us because they escaped jihadi wars and they escaped the Sharia. But there have been 20,000 deadly Islamic attacks since 9/11, and Americans need to understand the ideology that inspires the acts of war.

ROMANS: All right, Pamela, I want to bring in Linda Sarsour. She's with the National Network of Arab-American Communities.

Linda, you've seen these ads. Pam says she is quoting Muslims, including Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. What's your reaction?

LINDA SARSOUR, NATIONAL NETWORK FOR ARAB AMERICAN COMMUNITIES: The ads are absurd. They are offensive. You are quoting a man who is a Holocaust denier. I mean, this is not -- he is not an American-Muslim.

And Ms. Geller has a history and track record of vilifying the Muslim- American community and pitting communities up against each other, including her most recent homophobic ads which are very offensive, not only offensive to the Muslim American community, but also to the LGBT here in the United States.

ROMANS: This is not the first time ads have gone up. You remember the controversy over similar ads in New York.

Pamela, your organization successfully sued the New York City Transit Agency when it tried to ban those ads. The issue, you know, First Amendment, freedom of speech. So, San Francisco's Transit Authority is in the same boat. Listen.

GELLAR: So, this is again -- this is again what we see. Ad hominem attacks, libels and defamation against me. They don't condemn the statements in the ads.

You have the prime minister of Turkey saying the mosques are our (INAUDIBLE), what he says that the minarets are our bayonets, and the Muslims are our soldiers. The quotes I am using are quotes from the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Sheikh Qaradawi, calling for the death penalty for homosexuality. My calling attention to this makes me homophobic? No, I -- not calling attention to the polite of gays under the Sharia is killing people.

Of course, attack me, but don't -- but where is the condemnation of the actual statements that these high profile Muslims are making. We don't hear that at all.

I think it's very interesting and it speaks volumes as to the motive beyond --

ROMANS: I will say this. There has been plenty of condemnation of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and for statements he has said about homosexuals and homosexually. I mean, there's been plenty of statement and condemnation of him and others. I mean, there has been prosecution of some of the people that you show on the Times Square bomber and the like, so it's not as if -- I guess I don't understand your point? GELLAR: My point is the American people are being disarmed by obscuring the true reality of jihad, and this is our way of sort of leapfrogging over the media who whitewashes and sanitizes it, and, you know, alerting the American people to what is the greatest national security threat that our nation faces.

ROMANS: Linda, can you see how the courts view this as a freedom of speech, that it is Pamela's rights to put up these billboards?

SARSOUR: I'm not debating her right and her freedom of speech and that's why we live in the United States of America. But I will say on the particular homophobic remarks, we could take these ads and it could be about any of the Abrahamic faiths which have similar if not identical views on homosexually.

But what I'm troubled by is Ms. Gellar's obsession and fascination with the Islam and with American Muslims. Why is it that none of those remarks are by American-Muslims? We have plenty of national organizations and prominent Muslim Americans in the country who have not publicly stated any anti-gay -- as a matter of fact, the LGBT community is one of our largest allies because both of our communities, both American Muslims and LGBTs are marginalized and ostracized.

And I'm a civil right activist. I believe that we live in the United States of America and everybody deserves the same rights that I have, and I will never take away rights from someone if I'm in this country fighting for the rights of my community. So, I'm just really troubled and I want to question the obsession with Islam and American-Muslims.

ROMANS: We'll have to leave it there.

GELLAR: I would like to say Christian and Jews are not killing gay people. So, there may be quotes in the Bible, but they're not killing gay people. And my obsession is with life, and my obsession is with 911, and with Times Square, and the attempted bombing of the Federal Reserve building and the repeated thwarted attacks with jihad. My obsession is with life, and that's what I am fighting for, freedom and liberty.

ROMANS: All right. We have to leave it there.

GELLAR: And individual rights for all. Thank you.

ROMANS: Pamela Gellar and Linda Sarsour, thank you both for spending a little bit of time to explain it to us this morning. Thanks.

SARSOUR: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: He faked his way into a cockpit, but it was clear to the crew that this man was no pilot. Hear why, coming up.


ROMANS: Mortgage rates fell slightly this week. Take a look at the numbers right there on your screen. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Bottom of the hour now. Welcome back. I'm Christine Romans.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell.

Let's start with stories we're watching this morning.

ROMANS: That's right.

Number one, a possible link between a felon killed last week in the shootout in Texas and the unsolved murder of a Texas prosecutor. Evan Ebel was killed Thursday when he opened fire on sheriff's deputies in north Texas. Ebel, a former member of a white supremacist prison gang already is linked to the shooting death of last week of Colorado's prison chief and the murder of a delivery driver near Denver. Now, the FBI looked into whether he was involved in the January murder of Texas prosecutor Mark Haase outside a county courthouse.

BLACKWELL: Number two now, a Texas homeowner tries to get rid of a snake. But this is what happens. The plan goes up in flames literally. The local fire chief says the woman dowsed the reptile in gasoline and then her son lit it on fire.

ROMANS: Oh, boy. What could go wrong?

BLACKWELL: Trying to escape, the snake ignited some brush setting fire to the house and the house next door which she owned as well, and nobody was hurt and nobody knows what happened to that snake.

ROMANS: Number three, to Georgia, where a 14-year-old and a 17-year- old were in custody. They are charged with first-degree murder in that shooting death of that little boy, a 13-month old. Police say they relied on the description of the mom and the school attendance records which identified the young man, but the aunt of the older suspect says her nephew could not have done it.


KATRINA FREEMAN, SUSPECT'S AUNT: I am devastated and sad because they have the wrong person. I hate what happened to that baby because no baby deserved to go through that, but at the same time, they are taking somebody to jail that is innocent. I am 100 percent positive that De'Marquise Elkins was not at that crime scene. He was at my residents.


ROMANS: Police have not commented on that claim.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's go forward now. North Dakota voters will decide whether a fertilized human egg should be legally considered a person? Now, that's after state lawmakers agreed to put the question to a vote next year. Approval of the constitutional amendment effectively would outlaw abortion in the state.

Meantime, North Dakota's governor is considering a bill that would ban an abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

ROMANS: An airport flight display, it collapses, killing a 10-year-old boy, critically injuring his mother. This happened at a new section of the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport in Alabama. WIAT reports this display board fell on the boy, his mom and three siblings as the father was checking into their flight. Injuries to the other kids are not known as this point.

BLACKWELL: This is the story of the morning that makes you say, what? A man from France heading to Florida tried to dupe an airline crew any thinking he was a pilot. That's according to Philadelphia police. They say the man got off the plane but didn't get away from them.

ROMANS: No, they charged him with trespassing and impersonating a public servant, lying to police.

CNN's Lisa Sylvester explained how he posed as a pilot -- Lisa.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, Victor, he was a ticketed passenger so he didn't breach security but when he did not like his seat assignment he tried to pass himself off as a pilot.

(voice-over): In the movie "Catch Me If You Can," a smooth-talking Leonardo DiCaprio travels around the world posing as a pilot.

LEONARDO DICAPRIO, ACTOR: It's been a while since I've done this, which one is the jump seat again.

SYLVESTER: Philippe Jennard, might have thought he could pull off something similar, only to end up in handcuffs. Jennard, a retired winemaker was traveling from France headed to West Palm Beach, and was on a layover in Philadelphia. He was dressed in a white button down shirt with an Air France logo over the pocket and carry what looked like a black pilot's jacket with gold stripes on the shoulder.

Jennard went to the gate and tried to get his seat upgraded from coach but an agent said business class was already full and couldn't accommodate his request. That's when authorities say he boarded the plane and went straight to the cockpit and sat behind the pilot in what's known as a jump seat.

But according to the Philadelphia police, the pilots became suspicious when Jennard couldn't even figure out how to fasten the straps. When questioned, he didn't have any of the proper paperwork and became argumentative.

MARK WEISS, RETIRED PILOT: This has happened before --

SYLVESTER: Retired airplane pilot Mark Weiss explains how pilots from other careers always have to show their credentials.

WEISS: In order to be able to have access to the cockpit, once the cockpit, the hardened cockpit door is closed, the paperwork that you'd have to have would normally come from the ticket counter or the gate agent, and this specific -- company specific paperwork following federal guidelines.

SYLVESTER: Jennard was carrying what France called a very bad fake ID. He is now facing charges of trespassing, impersonation and lying to police. The FBI is also investigating. Law enforcement officials said investigators haven't found any links to terrorism. Still, passengers on the plane all had similar reactions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's pretty scary and I fly every week, so that's actually pretty concerning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's nuts. Yes, there's no way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's crazy.

SYLVESTER: But authorities want to know, what was his motive? Was it for the perks and having a better seat, or life imitating art?

(on camera): It's a little reminiscent of the movie with Leonardo DiCaprio.

WEISS: "Catch Me If You Can"?


WEISS: I don't think it was quite that far. This guy did not look like Leonardo DiCaprio.

SYLVESTER: We are learning new details. So, after being confronted, he became very angry. He was escorted off the plane.

Now, at this point, though, it wasn't immediately apparent to the airline officials that this was even a criminal situation. He was rebooked on another flight, but that's when security was alerted and they immediately contacted the Philly police and arrested him at the gate where he was waiting for his next flight -- Christine and Victor.


ROMANS: Wow. All right. Lisa Sylvester, thanks.


Hey, Jay Leno is throwing barbs at his bosses. You're going to hear what he has to say about the report late night shake up. He's always fun. That's coming up next.


BLACKWELL: Oh, Christine is going to love this segment. And you will figure out why in just a moment.

March Madness and basketball, day two of the big dances in the books. And some games have been, well, crazy. The biggest upset last night, and this is what was all over Twitter, Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. You are not alone if you never heard of them. They took down Georgetown. The Hoyas lost, 78-68. Man! Some players -- you can imagine why, they broke down in tears after the loss because who thought they would be out this early. Some predicted they would take it all the way. Now, this was just the seventh time in history a 15th seed beat a number two seed in the tournament. Here is one of the happy winners, guard Bernard Thompson.


BERNARD THOMPSON, GUARD, FLORIDA GULF COAST EAGLES: We just came out and we just played our hearts out. We know it's winner go home from here. So, let's just have a great feeling and just excited. I don't really know what to do with still myself.


ROMANS: It's called March Madness because it's madness, and it's so fascinating to watch teams upset other ones, especially big names like Georgetown -- Georgetown players, they must be so disappointed.

So, my team, Iowa State won, beat the Fighting Irish. I mean, imagine, not a lot of people may pick Iowa State. I picked Iowa State, rolled over the Irish, 76-58. I went to Iowa State.

BLACKWELL: OK, All right.

ROMANS: So, should we show the bracket challenge now? Should we show it? Should we show it?

BLACKWELL: Go ahead.

ROMANS: Look, I'm going to relish it while I can. I am at the top.

You know, I picked them like I pick stocks, and I don't know a lot about college basketball but I pick it like I would pick stocks. And so far, that's working for.

BLACKWELL: So, what's the data? What did you take into account?

ROMANS: Well, I got a very smart producer and I sat down, and said, how long is the coach been there, how good is the coach? What did they do last year? You know, how many seniors do they have?

I tried to analyze it like a company if I wanted to buy the stock?

BLACKWELL: So, that put Christine alone at the top, because you see, Brooke, and Chad, John, they are tied. There are ties throughout.

Let's go to the bottom.

ROMANS: Victor.

BLACKWELL: There I am in 20th place.

ROMANS: How much time did you spend?

BLACKWELL: Maybe six minutes. I was in bed and I don't anything about college basketball. So I picked names I knew, I picked some names I didn't, I picked a Cinderella or two and sent it in.

Now, clearly, your method works.

ROMANS: Well, it's very early. But we've got a lot of couple weeks left. I think you're going to go up.

BLACKWELL: At least if I could get above Wolf, if I could have bragging rights when Randi returns, that would be great.

ROMANS: All right.

BLACKWELL: Twentieth place, got to be better.

All right. Jay Leno, we talked about this -- dissing the bosses. We'll talk more about it, next.


BLACKWELL: All right. So, now we are doing the E-block, that means it's time for entertainment news.

ROMANS: We begin with the battle that's brewing between Jay Leno and NBC. Reports say he's out as host of "The Tonight Show" when his contract is up. He has been talking trash all week at the expense of the network and some executives.



JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Doctors in Canada were shocked after pulling a three-inch knife blade from the back of a 32-year-old man. The knife had been in there for three years. Can you imagine that? The guy had a knife in his back for three years, so he must have worked at NBC, too.

Have you heard about the alleged feud that I'm having with NBC? I think it's going to be OK. I had dinner last night with a bunch of NBC executives, and to make up to me -- listen to me. To make it up to me, what they did, they are sending my wife and I on an all-expenses paid Carnival cruise. How about that? Wow. How about that?


BLACKWELL: That was pretty good. That's funny. I'll take it.

And a good fight is always good for ratings, we know that.

Let's find out what "Washington Post" contributor, Alexandra Petri, and comedian Bill Santiago -- good to have you both here -- what they have to say.

Bill, I will start with you.


BLACKWELL: Should he quit now? I mean, if this is what we are talking about, should he go?

SANTIAGO: Victor, we have seen this before. You know, even if Fallon does takeover, you know Leno is not going to go away quietly. He'll be back -- he's like a mole in a damn basement, you cannot get rid of him.

But the truth is he should be happy to be replaced with somebody more unwatchable than he is, that's the only his legacy, the undeserving heir to Carson will be redeem. He's going to be fine. He's got plenty of money.

BLACKWELL: I love Jimmy Fallon.

SANTIAGO: Yes, he is a great standup. He is. As a host -- after Carson, you never wanted to see Carson's win, but who win any of these late show talk shows these days? They just like the factories for the viral videos, but the shows themselves, I mean, who watched? I want to be on the show and I don't watch.

ROMANS: I think millions of people still are watching the shows, but they are all guys.

Alexandra, maybe Jimmy Fallon will be the one to replace Jay, but isn't it time for a woman?

ALEXANDRA PETRI, WASHINGTON POST CONTRIBUTOR: Well, that's a good question. I think the title late night comedian is maybe the wrong title, he's more of a historian, because he else like use typos and print newspapers as an actual source of humor in 2013? So maybe a comedian is less the person who need for the role like a Doris Kearns Goodwin, I figure, who could unearth Monica jokes or something. She did well with Lincoln. So --

BLACKWELL: That is that great late night television, Doris Kearns Goodwin. I love the books, but I don't know after the local news I want to watch --

SANTIAGO: I love her plagiarism.

ROMANS: Oh, gee.

PETRI: If you fall asleep during Jay Leno, like I feel bad talking bad about him because my grandparents absolutely love him, they say he helps them to sleep. So --

ROMANS: Let's talk about Rush and Beyonce.

SANTIAGO: I will tell you something about Jay. People say he is not a good standup, but I watch him often. And you can check him out live at the Hermosa Beach Comedy and Magic Club every Sunday. The guy holds his own. He's a great standup still to this day.

As a host I don't watch him on "The Tonight Show," it has never been the same for me ever since Carson advocated.

BLACKWELL: Bill, we got a couple of other topics to get, I want to get to this -- I don't want to call it feud, yet, but confusing disagreement between Rush Limbaugh and Beyonce. The reports out there are saying Limbaugh slammed Beyonce for her new song "Bow Down," assuming she was telling women to be obedient to men.

Alexandra, you know, stranger to his opinion, is this typical?

PETRI: I was so excited when I first heard that he was commenting on it because I thought, oh my God, he's a Beyonce listener and I had this nightmarish vision of, you know, Rush Limbaugh sitting there in his robe like very angrily singing along to "Single Ladies", like I'm a single ladies, stop your fornicating, or something like that, he wouldn't do the lyrics in my mind when I was picturing this.

And then it turn he was just a Beyonce title misreader, which anybody can be. So I was disappointed in him because of that.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the song is not really bowing down to men. I actually printed out some of the lyrics, one of them is -- I took the time to live my life but don't think I'm just his little wife. So, that message is in the song she's no, just a wife by her definition. So, he just took the title.

PETRI: Yes, also we get into deep reading -- yes, exactly. We get into deep reading of Beyonce lyrics and Beyonce titles, though. That's a slippery slope right there. I would like to know what "baby boy" means. Like can someone explain that?

ROMANS: Bill, but it is new material for Rush Limbaugh. You know, I haven't seen him go after Beyonce before.

SANTIAGO: But it's not a new style. You know, Rush Limbaugh, his specialty is in not knowing what the hell he's talking about, that's his core competency. That's his brand, so not getting it wrong only strengthens the fervent followship that he has, is followship a word?

BLACKWELL: We'll take it.

SANTIAGO: You know, his fans like the fact he just didn't know what he's talking about.

ROMANS: But let's talk not about the greatest corporate story of the week. Lululemon pants, the great yoga pants caper. You might be out of luck if you love Lululemon yoga pants. They have been recalled --

SANTIAGO: I do love them. I'm familiar with them.

ROMANS: -- after we're calling it a sheer drama.

Alexandra, we know you're very concerned. You wrote an entire column about it. Here's one of our favorite parts, "All we ask is that you be comfortable, stretchy and not, well, unveil our bottom line. If we want to see London or France, we can save up money and go on vacation in our own. Yoga is embarrassing enough without worrying about southern exposure."

This is one of the weirdest, I call it a case of corporate transparency myself, Alexandra.

PETRI: I think transparency is a good word. Ooh. I --

BLACKWELL: Got a little feedback there?

PETRI: I'm disappearing into the ether. But, no, if I'm actually talking, hello, everyone. The thing about yoga pants, though, I'm the person who was always falling down in the back of the class, and like in awe of the people who are standing on like urns and doing the whole downward dog, or move to the yoga repertoire like, you know, buttward facing transparency looker, that's a real stunning term we should incorporate.

BLACKWELL: I don't know --

SANTIAGO: They don't just wear them in yoga class anymore, the cashier at my supermarket has been wearing them, and I have to tell you, it's had an effect. I'm a much more loyal shopper, I'm on that express lane every day and I can no longer control my impulse buys, so I think it's good for the economy.

They shouldn't be recalling them. They should be compulsory.

BLACKWELL: You make sure you buy everything nine items at a time.

SANTIAGO: I do now, I do.

BLACKWELL: All right, Bill. I don't own Lululemon, that's why I kind of stayed out of that. I work out basketball, in an old paint ball t- shirt. So, I've never been inside the store.

SANTIAGO: Let's just hope we never see them on Rush Limbaugh wearing them on "The Tonight Show" hosted by Jimmy Fallon --


SANTIAGO: -- trifecta nightmare.

ROMANS: Alexandra Petri and Bill Santiago, thanks to both of you.

SANTIAGO: Thank you.

ROMANS: They're so funny.

All right. This ordinary-looking bowl was bought for $3 at a yard sale. Then it sold for $2.2 million at auction. That's a nice little investment.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to warm up. Looking good, good.

BRIAN RUSSELL, ZEPHYR TECHNOLOGY GROUP: We're going to be putting this device on Sanjay and so we measure the heart rate and respiration in what we call the physiology.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta, this weekend on "THE NEXT LIST" -- how wireless health care could change your life.

DR. LESLIE SAXON, USC KECK SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: It's very much more sophisticated way to assess somebody's fitness real time and allow them to create a plan around their fitness.

NICK SWISHER, CLEVELAND INDIANS: Everything's getting more and more precise, to help you to either, you know, elongate your career or make it the best you can be.

SAXON: I'm continually interested in and fascinated by how much athletes, patients, everybody wants their own data.

GUPTA: Meet Dr. Leslie Saxon, this Sunday, on "THE NEXT LIST."



ROMANS: All right, who wants to be a millionaire, the Powerball jackpot is up to $320 million, the 12th largest prize in Powerball history. No one had Wednesday night's winning numbers, which mean there's another drawing tonight. And in case you are curious that's nearly 200 million bucks if you want to take it all in cash. Don't spend it all in one place.

BLACKWELL: There are other ways to become a millionaire, like stumbling upon a rare piece of Chinese porcelain. Check your cupboards. Look for this bowl.

ROMANS: Looks like an ice cream bowl.

BLACKWELL: It's huge. So, yes, ice cream bowl and a mixing spoon.

It sold for $2.2 million at an auction in New York this week. It's a thousand-year-old Chinese porcelain ding bowl. The seller originally bought it at a yard sale for 3 bucks. Experts say it's hard to recognize its worth because the only other one like it is in a museum in London.

ROMANS: Wow, that's quite an investment. How's this for adorable. Chicago's zoo welcomed a new family member, a baby Angolan, how do you say that, Colobus monkey?

BLACKWELL: I believe it's Colobus. We're going to go with that.

ROMANS: There it is with its mother. It was born on March 9th. The baby is all white so it can blend into its mother's long white hair. Isn't that beautiful?

BLACKWELL: It's cute.

Thanks for starting your morning with us. ROMANS: And we got much more ahead on CNN SATURDAY MORNING which starts right now.


ROMANS: And good morning, everyone. I'm Christine Romans.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Eight o'clock here on the East Coast, 5:00 out West. It's great to have you this morning.

First up, President Obama is heading home later this hour from a world wind four-day visit to the Middle East.

ROMANS: During the first official overseas trip of his second term, Mr. Obama made stops in Israel, the West Bank and Jordan.

CNN's chief national correspondent John King is in the Jordanian capital, Amman. He joins us now live.

John, nice to see you this morning. It's pretty low expectations for this trip. The White House careful not to really set a bar very high. Any surprises come out of it?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think, Christine and Victor, they set that bar so low so they knew they could jump it.

There were surprises. Now, the best test of this trip won't come at how high the president feels right now, how good he feels about improving relationships with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or giving speech to the Israeli people that was well-received. He just had a fabulous visit here to Jordan.

First, a sober discussion about the Syrian refugee crisis, but today, a visit to the 2,000-year-old city of Petra to look at the ancient city there.

As the president goes home, he's going to think he's in better standing with the Israeli people, he's in better standing with the Israeli prime minster. The question is, you know, what are the tangible results? So, when you see those down the line, can he get the parties back in the process? Every American president in my lifetime has picked up this ball, the Middle East peace process, at one point their life, and tried to deal with it. Bill Clinton spent years on it, George W. Bush a bit at the end of his term.

President Obama has picked it up now, Christine and Victor, and we'll see if he can have success. But he certainly feels good. He came here with a somewhat dysfunctional relationship with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It's one of the most important strategic alliances for both countries and they were actually, they've have been frosty in the past and either they're great actors or they're becoming at least better friends.

BLACKWELL: It was pretty important success the president accomplished getting Israel to apologize to Turkey for the deadly commando raid back in 2010, killed nine people. He's also of course as we said pushing Israel to restart peace talks with Palestinians.

How likely is that to get back on track and how important though is this apology from Benjamin Netanyahu?

KING: In an odd way, Victor, the two things are not connected at all, but they could be connected down the road.

How important is the apology? Look at a map. Turkey is a key U.S. ally, Israel is a key U.S. ally, Syria is between those countries.

Look around the neighborhood, Iran, you have questions about what's happening in Egypt, all over North Africa are terrorism threats. These are two countries in the region the American president needs to trust, wants to trust and would like to get along, so the three of them can work together on these big challenges.

Those relations between Turkey and Israel, the train was off the tracks for nearly three years now, so that's a diplomatic coup for the president. That was a surprise, something he worked on quietly for months and then brought together here.

How does it possibly connect to the peace process? He did a favor for Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister. He needed to get that relationship back on track. The president helped broker that about.

Again, the more you have a working relationship, the more you build trust with somebody, maybe, maybe it helps down the road when he tries to push them back to the talks. And on the talks, look, there are so many obstacles we could spend a week talking about them.

The president though is trying an interesting approach, using the negatives as an incentive to try to get the parties back. Telling the Palestinians, Mr. Netanyahu will keep building settlements in the West Bank unless you get back to the bargaining table and negotiate a stop to them; telling Mr. Netanyahu the Palestinians will keep going to the United Nations and other places in the international committee for resolutions and things isolating Israel unless you go back to the table and make a deal. So trying to turn the negatives into positives if you will.

The true test, though, Victor and Christine, are they back at the bargaining table in say six months? You don't want to do this right away. You want to have more preparation. If they're not negotiating in a few months, then what looks like a good trip for the president maybe not so much when you look in the rear view mirror.

BLACKWELL: John King traveling with the president, thank you.