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White House Responds to Congress on Syria; Obama Commemorates "I Have a Dream"; Walking the Line; Strikes In 50 Cities; Broncos Fans Upset Over Banner

Aired August 29, 2013 - 06:30   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Key members of Congress will be briefed on the evidence which could be made public as soon as today. No decision has been made on a possible strike. But the president says there must be international consequences.

It is still growing but crews may finally be getting a handle on the enormous wildfire in and around Yosemite National Park. Right now, it's at 30 percent containment. More than 192,000 acres have burned and 111 structures been destroyed. Officials estimate full containment of the fire will take another three weeks.

Detroit is struggling with a stray dog epidemic. Tens of thousands of them roaming the streets. Hard time in the bankrupt city. People are abandoning their pets, leaving them behind to fend for themselves. Authorities say seven of every 10 stray dogs taken in will be put to sleep.

Who will be the next judge on "American Idol" after the collapse of the deal to add producer Dr. Luke? There is word another singer might be joining crooner and dreamy fella, Harry Connick, Jr. Sorry, that was my editorial, is rumored to be the new favorite. He would join Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban on the panel. Connick has already served as a guest judge. "American Idol", can you believe it, season 13 beginning in January.

I want to give you a warning here, be careful if you're thinking of texting in New Jersey. Two judges on a state appeals court panel say you could be held libel if you send a text to someone who is behind the wheel but only if you know the person happens to be driving and is likely to read the messages. In that situation, the person sending the text could be held liable for the accident and sued for damages.

It really gives you pause. When in doubt, just don't do it. Don't text while driving

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Right, if you're driving. But what makes this decision odd and you see it and why it's not a criminal law it's a civil law in terms of what you could pay as opposed to jail responsibility is that this is a real stretch.

I know texting and driving is bad, I get it, covered it, I've done it -- but the idea that the texter to the person driving is liable, I don't know if it's going to meet legal sufficiency.

PEREIRA: It does show away from legality it shows that everyone's desperately trying to figure out a way to combat this.

CUOMO: Laws are not always the way to fix things.

BOLDUAN: True, says the Lord.

CUOMO: If I say it, you know.

BOLDUAN: You know it is true.

Let's move to our political gut check, all the stories you need to know coming out of Washington.

First up, the White House is in holding pattern before acting on Syria as more lawmakers are demanding they get approval to be consulted before any U.S. military action is taken.

CNN's chief national correspondent John King is here to break this down for us.

John, I know you've been working your sources on this. The president yesterday telling PBS he has not made a decision on whether to conduct military strike against Syria. But I think that statement at this point has many wondering after coming out so forcefully speaking against the chemical weapons attack, is there any other option? Is this more of a matter of how far they go, not if they'll go in at all.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think that's right, Kate. If you listen to the president's remarks, he was being careful publicly. But behind what he was saying was clearly that he sees himself on a path to making that decision. He just hasn't picked the options yet, not that he's still debating whether or not to have a military response. That seemed clear.

Now, if Bashar al Assad would step down or doing something else dramatic, maybe it would change things. But nobody sees that coming. So, what's the next step? The president knows there's a great deal of skepticism in Congress and a great deal of skepticism around the country, even around the world. So, today, you'll see an escalation of the administration's briefing key members of Congress, sharing some intelligence, sharing with them some of the administration's thinking.

Don't look for them to lay out the plans, option one, option two, option three, but they're trying to bring senior members of the leadership in, senior members of the armed services and intelligence committees in to give them more information that members of Congress have been demanding.

BOLDUAN: Well, since we started talking about this yesterday, there are more and more calls coming from lawmakers saying that the White House and administration needs to step up their efforts, they need to be in the loop before any action is taken. As you said, the administration you said is going to be stepping up their efforts today. Do you think that will allay concerns of members of Congress or are they still going to -- it seems like they are still going to face a challenge.

KING: It's a great question and it's the important question. Here's two tests I would lay out to watch over the next 48 to 72 hours.

Number one, the members of the key intelligence and armed services committee, they are much more used to seeing all this intelligence, they are much more experienced to be involved in the debates. One key Republican Richard Burr, not a fan of this administration in any way but a member of the intelligence committee just yesterday put out a very strong statement saying the United States must respond. The key Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, James Inhofe of Oklahoma says no. He's not convinced the president needs to make the case.

But watch the people who this is their job to be on the key committees, because the rank and file lawmakers tend to follow their lead. That's one thing to watch for.

Few more hits on potential timing. The U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon said the weapons inspectors will be done on Friday, they will leave Syria Saturday and they will report immediately to him. So that could give you a sense of a quickening of the pace of the report of the inspectors.

BOLDUAN: Yes, it seems that that time line or their schedule seems to have shifted over the past it seems almost every 12 hours. So, that's a new thing that will move the time line as well.

Switching gears I want to follow up on our conversation yesterday, when the president took a moment, a very important moment to mark the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington. During his remarks he called on America kind of to in his words, he said to take on the great unfinished business of the march and he was talking about addressing income disparity, that was one of his big -- I think big themes of the speech.

What do you think the big takeaways were of his remarks? A lot of people were waiting to hear what we to say.

KING: I think, largely, you will view this through the prism of your own life and your own experience. Democrats are going to view it differently than Republicans. White Americans view it quite differently than African-Americans. Common things I talked to after, including some people who are down at the march, is they found it less personal and more political than they anticipated.

The president only made a brief reference talking about the advancement of African-Americans in politics and he talked about state government, city government, Congress, he said yes, even the White House now.

The back half of the speech was about income inequality, education inequality. The president making his case that the country must do more, he needs help from outside Washington. I thought that was a key point. Change does not come from Washington, change comes to Washington.

The president trying to generate grassroots support -- also harshly critical, he didn't name them but harshly critical of Republicans who he believes have been blocking many of his initiatives in those regards.

BOLDUAN: It seems there were some politics weaved in, but I guess that's the way it is. All right.

KING: Inevitable today.

BOLDUAN: Inevitable today. That's exactly right.

KING: For better or worse.

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, John. Great to see you.

CUOMO: All right. Coming up on NEW DAY: 30 days in jail for a teacher convicted of raping one of his students. Sound wrong, right? Well, why the judge ruled that way is causing more outrage and calls for him to step down? We're going to hear from the victim's mother and explain the situation.

BOLDUAN: And it may be tougher to get your hands on fast food starting today. Some workers are planning to walk out, so what's behind this action? What are they walking out? What do they want? We're going to talk about it.

And, of course, we are a few short weeks from September 16th, the "CROSSFIRE" debut. Here's a look back at the show's final moments.


S.E. CUPP, HOST: On "CROSSFIRE", the discussion can turn on a dime. In 1988, Bob Hope went from joking about all the beautiful girls who went along on his tours to entertain U.S. troops to the realities of what those troops go through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which of all the girls have you taken abroad has had the highest rating on the applause meter?

BOB DOLE: No, that would be hard to guess that. We had Ann Margret and Raquel Welch and Jill St. John and I'd do it again for my country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bob, you know, you've had a lot of fun on these tours, obviously. It's a great time. But you also go into a lot of these hospitals and a lot of those kids in there, the ones you talked to and you entertain and joke around with are kids you probably know, found out later never came back.

DOLE: That's true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are some of the poignant moments?

DOLE: There was one down, Espritos Santos (ph) in 1944, in South Pacific, and there was a kid getting a blood transfusion. I said, how does that raspberry taste? He said it's pretty good.

And about an hour later, I was outside. The nurse came out and said, you know that fellow you were kidding with? He's just died.



BOLDUAN: Let's go around the world starting in Israel where the country is now preparing for action against Syria and the potential fighting might spill over.

Jim Clancy is in Jerusalem.


JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The police had to be called in, thousands of Israelis turned out to collect free gas masks. The looming strike against Syria has produced some real public threats against Israel, and while officials here say they think the risks are very, very low, the people who have gathered here would rather not take that risk. They would rather have this.

Back to you, Kate.


BOLDUAN: All right. Jim, thank you so much.

And in Russia now, a controversial painting of Vladimir Putin is drawing a lot of attention.

Jim Black is in Moscow.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The striking image shows Russian President Vladimir Putin gently touching the hair of his prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, while both are wearing women's underwear. Police also seized pictures of other politicians behind the country's controversial anti-gay propaganda law. Police say they raided the gallery in St. Petersburg because the works of art may have broken the law, but they didn't say which law. St. Petersburg is also where world leaders are getting together next week for the G-20 Summit.

Back to you, Kate.


BOLDUAN: All right. Phil Black in Moscow for us -- thanks so much, Phil.

CUOMO: Retailers and fast food chains are bracing for strikes in 50 cities today. Workers say they can't afford to live on what they're getting paid. They are asking for more money and the right to form unions. To make their point, they're setting up picket lines.

Let's bring in Christine Romans to figure out the situation.

What do we see here? CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: We'll call it a do you want fries with the economy, guys. The jobs market, where thousands of Americans working part-time not as a steppingstone to something else, but as a career.


PROTESTERS: Keep your burgers, keep the fries, make our wages supersized!

ROMANS (voice-over): Protests like this one last month in St. Louis expected to spread to 50 American cities today, workers from McDonald's, Wendy's and other fast food restaurants will again take to the streets to protest what they call starvation wages.

Fast food workers make around $9 an hour, or just over $18,500 a year. That's below the national poverty level of $23,000 for a family of four.

They want $15 an hour, double the federal minimum wage of $7.25, and they want the right to unionize.

PROTESTERS: People united, we'll never be defeated!

ROMANS: These are among the fastest growing jobs and low pay is not new, but due to the part-time economy, 8.2 million Americans who'd rather have a full time job are punching the clock part-time instead.

PAMELA POWELL, FASTFOOD WORKER: It's very, very difficult, because I have to choose between taking care of my family sometimes and paying the bills.

SHERITA SIMON, FAST FOOD WORKER: Sometimes my husband eats and I don't or sometimes I eat and my husband don't. You know, we have to alternate like that because we can't eat every day and still supply for our children.

ROMANS: Restaurants say their wages are fair. The National Restaurant Association told us, quote, "These jobs teach valuable skills and a strong work ethic that are useful for workers throughout their professional careers."

Retail workers are joining the food fight. Some employees from Macy's, Dollar Tree and Sears also expected to walk off the job today.


ROMANS: Now, these workers say they don't think you should have to pay a penny more for your big mac, they think it's in corporate profits where the extra wages come from. McDonald's had a profit last year of $5.5 billion. But you hear from people inside the restaurant industry they say, you start raising the wages, we'll just automate more. You'll lose some more jobs.

CUOMO: The battle between management and labor were used to that, but there's a little window into something you talk about a lot. We see the unemployment rate as one number, but underemployed and part-time people make the number much bigger. I think that's what we're seeing here.

ROMANS: And the pressure when you have more jobs on the other end, when it really is a steppingstone job and there are other jobs on the other end it means there's not so much concern about the lower pay of the restaurant jobs.

BOLDUAN: Is there middle ground, maybe not doubling the minimum? You know, is there a middle ground here? I don't see it.

ROMANS: The industry says that they are willing to talk about fair wages. They want to talk about it, but $15 an hour, they say these jobs right now are fairly paid, $9 an hour is a fair -

CUOMO: It's a negotiation. Just a window into a problem we're going to see more of. Christine, thank you very much.


BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, rising tennis star, Victoria Duval, the amazing underdog victory everyone is talking about, she plays again today but not before we go one-on-one with the American everyone is cheering for.

PEREIRA: And why is this mother dancing in the streets? If you're a mother of children that are going back to school, you might relate. She's happy because they went back to school. It's today's must-see moment. We'll share more on this boogey down when we come back.

CUOMO: I respect the moves and the pace.


PEREIRA: It's OK. You can dance at home. I don't mind. I won't tell anybody. Welcome back to NEW DAY. Today's must-see moment is a dancing mom. This is Tracy in Framingham, Massachusetts, saying bye, bye, bye, to her two sons. I love this.

CUOMO: I love it.

PEREIRA: It is the dance of joy. She apparently has made this a habit for the last five years dancing as her kids' school bus pulls away. And as you said, Cuomo she doesn't rush it because you know what? She's got all the time in the world because the first day of school has come.

She looks forward to getting some more me time now that summer is over. Mothers and fathers around the nation you're probably feeling the same way.

CUOMO: And I like that you told me she set up the tripod. This is a selfie video.

PEREIRA: It's a selfie.

BOLDUAN: This planning and preparation.

PEREIRA: And the neighbors drive by and she just kind of keeps on dancing.

BOLDUAN: Oh, there she goes again.

CUOMO: And she's happy because of the parents' deep abiding faith in education for their children. That's what it is. It's not about having them out of your hair.


CUOMO: It's not about being able to clean the house and have it stay that way for more than five minutes.


CUOMO: It's the love of education.


PEREIRA: The carton of milk in the fridge that actually has milk in it and not just a drop?


BOLDUAN: Oh, yes. That's a good one.

CUOMO: That was really good. I like -- and that's the kind of dancing we need to see on this show for the right reasons.

BOLDUAN: And on that note, kids get ready for school.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, they were supposed to be in school today speaking of, but some Minnesota children are home instead, the heat is baking that state and a lot of the Midwest.

CUOMO: And we are hitting the top news for you, we have the latest on the situation in Syria, the potential U.S. response, the battle in Congress. The White House says it's still evaluating options, but what will this mean? We're going to cover the story like no one else can for you here all morning long. Stay with us.


CUOMO: We got new information for you about Johnny Football, right? You know him, Johnny Manziel, the star quarterback got caught giving autographs, maybe getting compensated. The NCAA was into it. We thought maybe he'd be suspended forever. Turns out just one-half of his first game against Rice.

So, is that the right penalty? What does this mean? Andy Scholes is here to explain in this morning's "Bleacher Report." Andy, what do you make of this?

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Yes. You know what, Chris, he got off easy in this deal. The NCAA said they found no evidence to prove that Johnny Football received any money for signing autographs, but they did say he violated a rule by signing so many autographs and that's why he was suspended for just one half of football in the Aggies season opener against Rice. That will take place on Saturday.

The NCAA added that if any new evidence comes to light, they will review it and consider if further action is appropriate.

Well, the college football season kicks off tonight. The NFL season, meanwhile, will get started a week from tonight with the Denver Broncos hosting the Baltimore Ravens. Now, the Broncos have caught plenty of flack this week for hanging promotional banners of Ravens quarterback, Joe Flacco, around their stadium. The Broncos say they resisted hanging the pictures of Flacco, but the NFL insisted.

The swagger section on, today, you can check out what a $13,000 basketball looks like. That's right, $13k. The famous Beverly Hills boutique is celebrating the opening of its newly remodeled store by selling this blue leather basketball. And not only does it look fancy, it can actually be used to play basketball.

Now, they're only going to make two of these fancy blue leather basketballs. So, Chris, if you're looking for Christmas presents for Kate and Michaela, there you go.

BOLDUAN: Just what I need a --


BOLDUAN: You know what? I guess, it's the great thing about America.


BOLDUAN: Or Italy, because it's an Italian company. Anyway, thanks so much, Andy. French company, thank you (INAUDIBLE).

All right. I don't even know my fashion, let alone my sports, so I think we should move on.



BOLDUAN: That's the music. We're moving on. It's time for the "Rock Block," everyone, a quick roundup of the stories you'll be talking about today. First up, Michaela.

PEREIRA: You two really make me smile.

First up in the papers, from "The Guardian," did life on Earth actually begin on Mars? Professor Steven Banner (ph) says three billion years ago, meteorites from Mars may have brought over an element that helped organic molecules develop into the first life forms on Earth.

A think piece now from "The Wall Street Journal," researchers have used stem cells to grow miniature modules of most elaborate natural structure known to man, the human brain. They say the mini-brains could lead to big advances in the study of disorders like Alzheimer's.

And this little gem from "USA Today," acupuncture for an albino alligator? The thing, his mouth is tape shut. Zoo officials in Sao Paulo, Brazil say the treatment is apparently helped his bad back. Who knew?

Time now for business news with Christine Romans.

ROMANS: Good morning, Michaela. Stock futures higher this morning as prospects of an eminent U.S. military strike on Syria seem less certain. On Wednesday, the Dow Industrials broke a two-day losing streak and showed the largest one day point gain in a week.

For the first time ever, the Ford's best-seller will be made right here in the USA, the Fusion. Ford's flat rock Michigan plant starts production today with 1,400 new workers. The Fusion will also continue to be made in Mexico.

There was a Gameboy 3Ds, but now a 2Ds? Nintendo taking the initial step of removing functionality from its new portable the 3D part of the 3Ds has been essential to some gamers, but the 2Ds will sell for $40 less. Nothing to see that if you're 16-year-old.

Finally, let's get to Indra Petersons for the weather -- Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS Meteorologist: Yes. It looks like we have another tropical storm in the pacific. We have Juliet (ph). The good news, it's going out to sea, but it could mean bad news in Baja, California. The bigger story will be all this tropical moisture again going into the southwest. What does that mean? The threat for flooding.

We're talking about one to two inches possible over the next several days. We saw what happened last weekend, just a half an inch cause flash flooding. It looks like more on the way.

BOLDUAN: All right. Indra, thank you.

We're now at the top of the hour, everyone, which means it's time for the top news.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is a prospect in which chemical weapons could be directed at us.

CUOMO: The battle over Syria. The president upping the ante saying there need to be consequences for Syria's use of chemical weapons, but can he get Congress to agree?

BOLDUAN: Sleepless nation. A new federal study with the clearest look yet at just how poorly Americans sleep. Prescription drug use is on the rise, so what's behind the surge in insomnia? PEREIRA: Meet the underdog. The 17-year-old American tennis phenom who upset a champ and faces her next rival today. One-on-one with this inspiring competitor.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: What you need to know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whey said bass demeaning to all women. I owe all our fellow citizens an apology.

ANNOUNCER: What you have to see.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It felt like picking up an old jug.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Thursday, August 29th, seven o'clock in the east.

Coming up this hour, President Obama has not decided what to do about Syria yet, but he is convinced they used chemical weapons and says there must be a response.