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Obama's About-Face on Syria; Tim Tebow Cut Again; Access To Huge Phone Database

Aired September 2, 2013 - 06:30   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Hopefully, this is one of the best days of your life. Welcome back to NEW DAY, Labor Day, Monday, September 2nd.

Coming up in the show, amazing video. Check this out. Landslide comes down at his car and then huge Fred Flintstone size bolder barely misses his car. Amazing, right? We'll tell you the story behind it.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And also, pretty amazing, or maybe not. Quarterback Tim Tebow is no longer with the New England Patriots. Now, he's looking to pursue what he calls his lifelong dream of being an NFL quarter to another team. Details on that ahead.

CUOMO: The New York Jets had the humanity to give Tebow a chance. But some teams are just not like that.


CUOMO: A lot of news. Let's get to John Berman, in for Michaela Pereira -- John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Some teams have Tom Brady, let's leave that there.

But there is a lot of news out there. Breaking news out of Syria. More U.S. naval power is on the way to the Middle East. The aircraft carrier the USS Nimitz has entered the Red Sea, along with three destroyers. This as Syrian hackers has apparently taken over the recruiting Web site. These hackers are just simply wrecking havoc. They've replaced their site with a letter asking U.S. Marines not to attack Syria.

Today, President Obama will meet with Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. They are key players in the Armed Services Committee.

Secretary of State John Kerry says that tests have uncovered signatures of sarin gas which is deadly in that attack outside Damascus. We will have much more on this in just a moment.

Suicide bombers attack a U.S. based near Afghanistan's border with Pakistan. Multiple explosions are reported followed by gun fire in area where NATO supply trucks were parked. Several of them caught fire. No U.S. or NATO casualties have been reported. The attack led to the closure of a highway leading to Torkham, which is an important route for NATO supply trucks.

David Frost being remembered this morning as an interviewer who knew how to get his subjects to open up. Frost spent decades on television talking to the famous and powerful, including that legendary 1977 conversation with Richard Nixon when the former president admitted to letting the American people down. Frost died of a heart attack while he was onboard the Queen Elizabeth ocean liner. He was 74.

Florida A&M's marching band back on the football field for the first time in nearly two years. The band was suspended in late 2011 after a drum major died in a hazing ritual. Robert Champion was beaten to death on a bus after the game. The band director and university president, they both resigned afterwards. The band has fewer members now and much tougher rules.

And lucky for the Tampa Bay Rays they didn't need their closer Friday night. It was the pitcher who needed a save after getting stuck inside a dugout bathroom at the Oakland Coliseum. It took a team, a whole team of stadium personnel using the crowbar to finally rescue Rodney and he was greeted by embarrassing high fives all around.

You know, they had all kinds of like lavatory lapses, shall we say, at the Oakland Coliseum. They had major pipe breakage and sewage leaking all over the clubhouses there. They had shutdown the clubhouses for a while. It's a building with some serious issues.

BOLDUAN: Baseball is up sport (ph) if we didn't so already.

All right. It's a messy sports, at least. All right. John, thanks so much.

Let's move down, talking about a messy sport, let's talk to our political gut check. All the stories you need to know coming out of Washington.

The president turns to Congress in what will likely be a tough sell for military intervention in Syria.

What will it take to convince lawmakers of an apparent strike?

Here to break it all down for us, CNN political analyst and political director for "Newsweek" and "The Daily Beast", John Avlon. As well as CNN senior White House correspondent, Brianna Keilar.

We get a double dose today of political gut check, because we need so much help.

All right. John, the president says the U.S. needs to take action. If he really believes we need to take ax and he also believes the Congress should have a say, why not call Congress back now to have that vote?

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Because you would be breaking Congress's vacation on Labor Day. It's a matter of war and peace. Why drag them back? It's a very important question, because if this is such an urgent matter why not call them back? And that's a question a lot of people are asking. But what part of what he's doing is looking to David Cameron's precedent in the U.K.

He called parliament back and lost a historic vote for the first time in two centuries. So as he makes this historic case for war, first time in really 50 years that a strike has gone to Congress, he's taking his time to make the broader case. It is risky. It doesn't communicate urgency, but he says strikes are going to come, as long as we get back congressional vote.

BOLDUAN: And he needs probably time for him and his team to do some arm twisting on their own and convince them to support military action.

AVLON: Exactly.

BOLDUAN: So, Brianna, you've covered both Congress and the White House. There are tough politics regardless when it comes to such a serious issue like the U.S. taking military action but there are some interesting alliances forming when you talk the politics behind this type of a vote.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We call them strange bedfellows. It's not very often you find an issue that will unite liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans in opposition. But this is one of them and a number of them have concerns, Kate. Why isn't he calling back Congress early?

I think right now and certainly this is something that our chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash has found, talking to so many lawmakers, they feel that if there was vote right now., it would fail. He needs the time, he has to do the convincing and that's what the White House and what President Obama are doing.

BOLDUAN: Here is the hardest question of the morning, John. What does the president need to do? What do they need to do in the week ahead to do just that, to convince lawmakers that the move is the right move?

BOLDUAN: And the turn the American people. They need to make the point that we've had a ban on the use of chemical weapons since 1925. And for the United States and the international community to ignore that precedent would be essentially giving others a green light to other dictators to start using sarin gas against their own people.

This is a moral issue. This is an issue about international credibility. And it's up to the U.S. to lead.

The president is walking a very fine line here, not bypassing Congress but instead of doing the constitutional thing to make that case. It's a path fraught with danger.

BOLDUAN: Fraught with danger and interesting timing also at this very moment, Brianna. The president is about to be heading overseas for the G-20 Summit. What does -- that's very interesting time for him to be dealing with this fight at home as well as needing to do some convincing abroad.

KEILAR: That's right. And, first, he'll be heading to Sweden, he'll head there tomorrow evening and you could argue that part of the trip which got tacked on to the G-20 Summit, once he's one on one with Putin was cancelled, that's sort of the more social part of the visit. I think you look at the G-20 later in the week and you could argue he's going to be talking with allies so he could maybe make some head way there.

But I think the question is how does he twist arms from that far away? And you have aides here at the White House to say he's going to be fully engaged with a very tough lift.

BOLDUAN: A lot of people, say, John, that they need to hear directly from the president on issues like this. Do you think the president needs to take his case directly to American people like he started to on Saturday? But that Saturday address really took a lot of people by surprise because many people thought he was going to be announcing that the U.S. was going into military action?

AVLON: Absolutely.

BOLDUAN: Does he need to make one of those prime time addresses to explain to the American people why this is? Why he wants to do it?

I would expect one more primetime address, as he did from the Rose Garden this weekend, to lay out his case because presidents are never more effective than when they go to American people. And he doesn't have that kind of congressional liaison to get this done. We're going to be looking, as Brianna told us, to an interesting coalition across lines. This is going to be tough to pass in the House of Representatives in particular.

But part of what the president is hoping is that he can help reset relations with the Congress with all of the important items that they have. So, this outreach, really, it could be key to resetting the relationship with Congress coming in the fall.

Yes, an interesting, I mean, not surprisingly, at this point, we're not talking -- we're not focusing at all or neither are lawmakers on the issues of the budget battles or immigration, because this is a priority at the moment and will continue to be.

Brianna, great to see you. Thank you so much.

John, as always. Thank you so much.

CUOMO: All right. Now, this is good discussion, we're going to have a lot more of it this morning because Syria demands it to be honest. We're going to look at every side of the issue. We're going to talk with Congress members, right? They're the ones who have to make this important decision.

Eliot Engel, Mike Pompeo and Buck McKeon, they're all going to talk to us about it and we're going to debate with former White House Secretary Ari Fleischer, versus former DNC chairman Howard Dean, Republican strategist Ana Navarro, with Columbia professor Marc Lamont Hill. So, we're trying to give you as much perspective as possible.

But right now, we'll give you a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, we're going to tell you the Tim Tebow story.]


CUOMO: He got cut. All right. A quarterback famous for wearing his religion on his sleeves now looking for another team. What do you think? Is he going to make in the NFL? We'll discuss.

BOLDUAN: Plus, a giant boulder comes with inches of a car. We have more on this dramatic video coming up after the break. But first, CNN's "CROSSFIRE" is returning September 9th, everyone. So, let's take a look back at one of its classic clips.


STEPHANIE CUTTER, HOST: One of the most intense episodes of "CROSSFIRE" was in November of 1985. Six months earlier, the Philadelphia's Police Department's attempt to evict a group called Move from their homes started a fire that killed 11 people and destroyed 61 homes. Watch what happened when two members of Move joined Tom Brennan and his co-host on the right, Congressman Robert Dornan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You said and I quote, "There is no doubt that Move threw garbage in the streets and their neighbors. Now I assume that you saw them, number one, threw garbage in the street? Is this true?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Louis, James, Africa (ph), pardon me. Look, we cannot all derive our knowledge by personal experience. Every newspaper reporter that you threw garbage in the streets. Hundreds of able news men and reporter that you threw garbage in the streets.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can't talk together. May I finish please?



BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Let's go around the world.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela back home this morning after spending three months in the hospital. But the 95-year-old Mandela remains in very fragile health.

Robyn Curnow has the latest from Johannesburg.


ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Mandela's family tells CNN that they've wanted him discharged from the hospital for a number of weeks now, it's not because he's getting better but because they want him in the comfort and privacy of his own home. The government is saying that he's still critical, often unstable. We know he's on a ventilator and receiving dialysis for failed kidneys. And after in nearly three months in hospital, Nelson Mandela's long struggle continues back here at home.

Kate, back to you.


CURNOW: All right. Robyn, thank you so much for that update.

Heavy rains have set off landslides, amazing landslides in Taiwan. A giant boulder nearly crushed a car and it was all caught on a dashboard camera.

Monita Rajpal has that story.


MONITA RAJPAL, CNN INTERNATIONAL: Heavy rains battered Taiwan over the weekend. Landslides and flooding wrecked havoc across the island, particularly in the north where this staggering dashboard video was captured. The astonishing video shows one lucky driver cheating death.

The shower of rocks and debris looks bad enough, but then, a giant boulder rolling close to crushing the car. It damaged the front bender, but the driver escaped unharmed. Elsewhere, several building were destroyed in mudslides caused by tropical storm Kong-Rey and days of downpours.

Back to you, Kate.


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

That boulder looks like the size of a house.

CUOMO: I know. It's massive. So fortunate that didn't touch him.

BOLDUAN: No kidding.

CUOMO: Boy, oh, boy.

All right. Back here at home, we're talking Tim Tebow. Why? Once again, out of a job.

The former starting quarterback cut from the New England Patriots, just five days before the new season. This is the third time she's been dumped for just 18 months. So, what does that mean? Remember, three years ago, he was a first round draft pick, international sensation, win in the Broncos, took them to the playoffs. Big deal. Now? Not so much.

So, let's bring in Andy Scholes with "The Bleacher Report".

Why is this happening, Andy? Tell us.

ANDY SCHOLES, THE BLEACHER REPORT: Well, Chris, you know what? Tebow can't seem to catch a break. His NFL career now on life support. Patriots were thought of as Tebow's best shot at making a rooster because team's offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, he was the one who drafted Tebow in Denver.

But now after being cut over the weekend by the Patriot, Tebow is running out of options leaving many wondering, is this the end of his NFL career?


SCHOLES (voice-over): Famed football player Tim Tebow got the ax on Saturday. The New England Patriots cut the 26-year-old from their roster just 12 weeks after signing him, five days before the start of the reason. Tebow's NFL future has been questionable since day one of training camp.

REPORTER: Do you think it's your last opportunity to be a starter in the NFL?

TIM TEBOW, NFL STAR: I'm focused on today, getting better today. Not anything that's going to happen down the road but today.

SCHOLES: His release comes just a year after the height of Tebow mania where fans copied his pregame prayer pose known as Tebowing. His jersey flew up the clothing racks while his face filled the magazine racks. He was even parodied on "Saturday Night Live."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Holy Bible is my playbook.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh. OK. Great. That's great. That's great. But, you need to read the regular playbook, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seriously, I'm doing all the work here.

SCHOLES: Tebow's stats once spoke for themselves. He won the Heisman and two national championships while playing for the Florida Gators then came the NFL and the Denver Broncos, starting off with the back- up quarterback then building on his record and winning fame after throwing an overtime game winning touchdown pass to beat the celebrated Pittsburgh Steelers. Now, he can't seem to catch a break.

MIKE FREEMAN, NFL COLUMNIST FOR BLEACHER REPORT: If he's going to stay in the NFL, he has to play another position. He can't play quarterback. He's lost sort of the little ability, with little ability you had to play quarterback. SCHOLES: But Tebow says his faith and his future remain steadfast. On Saturday, he tweeted, "I will remain in relentless pursuit of continuing my lifelong dream of being an NFL quarterback. A determination he's shown since joining the Patriots.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like in every situation is a learning opportunity in life, and not only football but in everything you do in life.


SCHOLES (on-camera): Now, Tebow cleared waivers over the weekend, meaning, every team passed on him. He's now a free agent once again looking for someone to take a chance on him. But guys, with everyone's roster now finalized before week one, his chances of signing with team are pretty slim.

BOLDUAN: All right. We're like oh, well.

CUOMO: I don't like it.

BOLDUAN: You have thoughts?

CUOMO: I have thoughts. He was on the Jets. My team is the Jets. They let him go. We have some of the worst quarterbacks that I've seen.


CUOMO: So, I don't know. I mean, you know, J.B. and I talk football all the time. You know, a lot about it. I get that he's not a great quarterback, but he's not the worst. I mean, there's so many bad quarterbacks on the roster.

BERMAN: No. But Rex Ryan is a great coach. Bill Belichick is a great coach. Two great coaches have now taken a good look at him and decided that he didn't fit on their teams. I think it's a shame (ph). I love watching him play in college. I hope he lands somewhere.

BOLDUAN: You know who's not a bad quarterback? Andrew Luck.

CUOMO: Yes. He's good. Bad team, though.

BOLDUAN: Hey, easy.


BOLDUAN: Yes, exactly. All right. The fight will continue in the commercial break.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, the White House in full campaign mode this morning trying to push members of Congress to approve a strike against Syria as the U.S. military moves extra fire power into the region in the event that it happens in the event that it's need. We'll have all the latest developments coming up. CUOMO: Plus, we have for you your worst safari nightmare. An elephant in a surly mood. It's our NEW DAY must-see moment. We're playing, what's the name of this band, "Toto," "Africa." But this is no joke --



BERMAN: Thank you so much tone. Welcome back to NEW DAY. Today's must-see moment, really must-see. Watch as this scene unfolds in South Africa's Kruger National Park where a herd of elephants notices they are being watched. What did they do? Several of them come in for a closer inspection then one female goes an extra step. Bonkers! Let the spectators know they are not at all welcome into her backyard.

She uses her head there and trunk to ram that jeep carrying the visitors on Safari. Several terrifying seconds ensue before finally she did relent. Luckily, no one was injured. I am sure those people were terrified, but at the same time, you know, you go on Safari to see the animals up close.

BOLDUAN: I've been to Kruger National Park.

BERMAN: Have you been rammed by an elephant.

BOLDUAN: I have not been rammed by an elephant. You know what may have been happening in that situation, though? Her baby could have been on the other side of the truck. You get in between the momma and the baby, then you got some problems.

BERMAN: The bad place to be.

CUOMO: I like the pat (INAUDIBLE) play by play that you did.

BERMAN: That was right.


CUOMO: But also, what is that guy in the thing?


CUOMO: He's whistling at the elephant. Are you nuts? It's time to drive away.

BOLDUAN: How much can you do? Really.

CUOMO: Drive away.


BERMAN: What I would do which is panic. You can always panic.


CUOMO: Hey, hey, you stop. You stop it right now.

BOLDUAN: OK. You two stop it.

CUOMO: That's like social Darwinism --


BOLDUAN: The elephant will win.

CUOMO: You're going to be a statistic.


CUOMO: All right. Take a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, serious news coming out of the Syria situation. Aircraft carriers moving into the Red Sea, five U.S. ships going there to beef up the presence in the region. What is this a sign of? Is it a sign of a strike or is this just preparation?

BOLDUAN: And also ahead, endurance swimmer, Diana Nyad, closer than she's ever been to reaching her goal. Will her fifth attempt at the Cuba to Florida swim be the charm?


BOLDUAN: You hear the music. You know what it means. It's time for the "Rock Block," a quick roundup of the stories you'll be talking about today. First up, John Berman.

BERMAN: In the papers, beginning with the "New York Times," drug agents have their own version of NSA phone longs going back far longer time. The "Times" says they've had access using subpoenas to get huge AT&T database of decades of calls for at least six years.

In "The Washington Post," elementary school parents in Washington D.C. demanding change after recess was cut to 15 minutes a day. They say kids need more exercise to stay healthy and focus in class.

And in the "New York Daily News" it was Spiderman to the rescue for a Cleveland father who was worried about paying for his daughter's wedding. His copy of the "Amazing Spiderman" issue number one sold in action for 7,900. Amazing truly.

Time now for Alison Kosik with your business news.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. One of the biggest deals ever could be announced later today. Verizon ready to pay Vodafone $130 billion for its 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless.

By the end of this week, we're going to have a key reading on the labor market to August jobs report. Analysts expect it will show 177,000 new jobs were created last month. And the unemployment rate holding steady at 7.4 percent.

This is an iPhone shopper alert. Wal-Mart is slashing prices of the low-end iPhone 5 to $98 from $129. Wal-Mart also cutting prices on iPads. Get them while they're hot.

Indra Petersons, how's that forecast --

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Not too bad. It's no longer speculation. We're still not seeing a hurricane yet into the Atlantic past September 1st. We are watching. It's right around -- 40 percent chance for development there, but of course, it is Labor Day weekend, so let's get to the forecast. And unfortunately, it means rain for so many, the northeast straight down to the southeast.

Cold front is sweeping through the area. Let's start from that and then get to the really bad. Southeast spotted showers are going to be in the forecast today. Kind of those typical afternoon thunderstorms, but, once you head higher, you go to mid-Atlantic and then to the northeast, one to two inches of rain could be as high as two to four inches of rain, but I want to end on a good note, because we have some 70s and 80s. At least it's warm and rainy.



BOLDUAN: All right. Indra, thank you so much. We're now at the top of the hour, everyone, which means it's time for the top news.