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NEW DAY SATURDAY

House Takes Up Syria Strike Monday; President Makes Case in Weekly Address; Syrian-Americans Plan Protest; NASA Launches Moon Probe; Zimmerman's Wife Files for Divorce; Obama Comes Up Short on Syria

Aired September 7, 2013 - 07:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If the full Congress doesn't pass this, will you go ahead with the strike?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): It's the question Americans are asking. As they wait for Congress to vote. With so many lawmakers undecided on a Syria strike. It may be even more likely that the White House has to go it alone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not from one store or one online shop. We think it's coming from a variety of sources.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): As pot smokers rejoice in Colorado over legalized marijuana, health officials are warning of a new synthetic form of a drug. It sickened so many people that it's being treated as a public health outbreak.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't erase what I've done. But you can still be saved. Your victims can still be saved.

MALVEAUX: A jaw dropping confession to a crime he may have gotten away with. Why this man admits he killed someone and used the Internet to tell the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Good morning, everyone. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Seven o'clock here on the East Coast, this is NEW DAY SATURDAY.

MALVEAUX: I want to get started with Syria. The House is back Monday, facing a hard choice -- go along with President Obama's request to attack Syria or go against him as the entire world watches.

BLACKWELL: The brutal civil war in Syria will drag on as this plays out in Congress over the next week or two. The president has to change minds and he'll need to.

MALVEAUX: Our tally shows 25 confirmed yet votes in the Senate, 19 no votes. We count 24 yes votes it's in House, and 119 noes.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in CNN's Brian Todd. He's in Washington.

Brian, what's the president's strategy here? Because he has a lot of work to do, how is he going to get Congress on his side for the next few days?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, Suzanne, it's going to be a full court press as it has been for the last few days here in Washington. You know, the key moment for the president coming up and address to the American people from the White House on Tuesday evening. It will be an important barometer on how he's making his case or whether he's convincing enough to the American people or the Congress.

Now, on that score, you just mentioned the numbers. The immediate strategy from the White House this weekend, a lot of phone calls, a lot of lobbying. A senior administration official says President Obama called several members of Congress on the way back from St. Petersburg, Russia on Friday evening. Joe Biden is having dinner with some senators on Sunday.

But one senator, Republican Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a member of the Armed Services Committee, took a dig at the president yesterday at a town hall meeting. He implied that Mr. Obama could have acted more forcefully towards the Syrian regime before the August 21st chemical attack in Damascus. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: But I do believe if President Bush had told Bashar al Assad you don't use those chemical weapons or you're going to be sorry, we're coming after you. This will be a consequence you will not want to bear -- I don't believe he would have used them.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: And Jeff Sessions right now is one of 56 undecided senators on this vote to authorize the use of force. So, an indication right there that the president's selling job is going to be very tough -- Victor, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: And, Brian, we know that the president, he just returned from the G-20 in Russia. He met with many world leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin. Did he change any minds?

TODD: It did not appear, Suzanne, that he changed any minds. Among some of the key players, France, Turkey, Israel, they support a strike. But Britain, China and Russia still oppose it.

The looming question, if the president does not get authorization from Congress, will he launch a strike anyway? He was asked that question three times at the news conference after the G-20 Summit yesterday. Three times he would not commit to an answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, Brianna, I think it would be a mistake for me to jump the gun and speculate because right now, I'm working to get as much support as possible from out Congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: So, the president facing one of the most seminal moments of his terms in the coming days on the international stage and because of the way he set all this up. It's a crucial moment politically for him as well -- Suzanne, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Brian Todd in Washington, keep us posted.

MALVEAUX: And the president is all in with his sales job this weekend. In his weekly address, he repeated his call for Congress to approve a strike on Syria. He insisted this war is going to be different than the past.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: What we're not talking about is an open-ended intervention. This would not be another Iraq or Afghanistan. There would be no American boots on the ground. Any action we take would be limited, both in time and scope. Designed to deter the Syrian government from gassing its own people again and degrade its ability to do so.

I know that the American people are weary after a decade of war, even as the war in Iraq has ended and the war in Afghanistan is winding down. That's why we're not putting our troops in the middle of somebody else's war.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: The president's call for action is really proving to be a tough sale for a lost Americans, including Syrian-Americans.

MALVEAUX: In just a couple of hours, thousands of Syrian-Americans are expected to march through New York to protest the possible military strikes.

CNN's Rosa Flores, she is in New York.

And, Rosa, tell us what we expect to see today.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hundreds of protesters are expected in Times Square, and to be honest with you in dozens of cities across the country. Now, one of those groups, like you mentioned, is the Syrian-American forum, made up of Syrian-Americans who are in constant contact with their families in Syria. Sometimes wondering, will that family member answer next time?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) FLORES (voice-over): The unrest in Syria is thousands of miles away, but the fear of war is felt right here in the U.S.

By Syrian-Americans like Dr. Ghia Moussa -- he Skypes with his family in Syria every day/

DR. GHIA MOUSSA, SYRIAN-AMERICAN: She's a physician in the hospital in Damascus.

FLORES: And says American military action in Syria is personal.

MOUSSA: I feel that every second of my day when I sleep, I'm closing my eyes and I'm saying, tomorrow, how many am I going to lose. It's not politics. It's human beings and human lives on the line.

FLORES: That's why he and thousands of other Americans are demonstrating across the country. They Skype to organize.

MOUSSA: A lot of effort is being put into it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll do anything for Syria.

FLORES: Dr. Moussa is on the board of Syrian-American Forum, a group 2,000 strong. When President Obama started talking involvement in Syria, they started speaking against it.

MOUSSA: We're not there to cause any trouble. We're just going to say firmly and peacefully what's our position and where are we going.

FLORES: Their biggest national event is a march on Washington. They're bussing thousands of Syrian-American families from states as far as Florida and Michigan.

MOUSSA: You leave tonight, OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At 8:00 o'clock, I'm guessing -- I don't know, by car it's like an hour drive.

FLORES: Other groups are joining in, too. Like the International Action Center. They're making signs to gear up.

JOYCE CHEDIAC, INTERNATIONAL ACTION CENTER: When I hold up a sign, the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my government, "hand offs Syria", I think I will be reflecting the popular will of this country.

FLORES: They say thousands of groups from around the country are uniting with one common message -- hands off Syria.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FLORES: Now, I talked to Syrian-Americans in New York, in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and a doctor from Syria in Damascus, as you saw in the piece. And there are several major worries looming because of these looming U.S. strikes on Syria. First of all, of course, the loss of life, and then the destruction of infrastructure. They're thinking basic things like roads, flood supply, trash pickup -- those basic needs that could be difficult to obtain in the long run -- Suzanne, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Rosa Flores for us -- thank you.

MALVEAUX: Well, critics of a Syria strike will protest the president on its door step.

CNN's Emily Schmidt joining us from Washington.

So, Emily, it seems symbolic. I mean, we certainly know it begins at the White House, doesn't end there. Tell us what this is all about.

EMILY SCHMIDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, we are going to see very symbolic journey, talking about where the focus is on this discussion about Syria. We know President Obama says he's going to address the nation Tuesday night to talk about what's going to happen, what could happen in Syria. This weekend, though, some people in Washington gathering at the White House to send a message of their own.

There are going to be members of the ANSWER Coalition. ANSWER talks first acting now to end war and prevent racism. They're planning a rally outside the White House in just a few hours. They're going to gather there and then they will march to the U.S. Capitol.

The capitol, we know is going to be getting busier in the next few days as the House is returning from summer vacation on Monday. The House could take up the issue of Syria within the next couple of weeks. We know the White House has already been reaching out to members. A senior administration official told CNN, top official contacted over 125 members over the past two weeks, they've been having conference calls.

They've been having briefings, one-on-one conversations. This is a full-court press. And, Suzanne, these lawmakers are fully aware of the pressure of the decision that they're about to face.

MALVEAUX: Sure. And I imagine as well, town halls -- these lawmakers really getting a lot of feedback from people who are saying they're not for this.

SCHMIDT: This has become the topic that members are talking about. I spent some time yesterday with northern Virginia Congressman Gerry Connolly. He's a Democrat. He was going out to speak with the bar association.

And his topic of the day, he talked briefly about sequestration and then went right into Syria. Lawmakers are really wrestling with what could be a tough decision for them. He talked a little bit with me yesterday and said it's very clear the message he's getting from most of his constituents.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D), VIRGINIA: There are disparate voices. The dominant voices we really don't want to get involved in Syria.

SCHMIDT: At all?

CONNOLLY: Well, it's hard to say it, because if you get a chance to talk to people, then that opinion in some cases gets more sophisticated and some others, it's just nothing, no how, I don't need to hear it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHMIDT: Congressman Connolly says he does not support the plan that was first put forward by White House lawyers. He thinks it's too broad. He's working with other Democrats to try to come up with some language that he believes more people would be willing to support.

When I asked him, Suzanne, how difficult is this decision, he said he thinks it's one of conscience, saying there are huge complications if the U.S. chooses to do nothing -- Suzanne and Victor.

MALVEAUX: One of the biggest decisions they're going to have to make -- thank you. Emily Schmidt in Washington.

BLACKWELL: It was an historic night for NSA Friday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Five, four, three, two one, zero, ignition. And liftoff --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: A 90-foot rocket took off from Wallace flight facility in Virginia Friday night. It was the first time NASA launched a rocket to the noon from Virginia in its 54 years of lunar missions. Now, NASA says the probe nicknamed LADEE is designed to study the lunar atmosphere and environment. The probe will travel more than 223,000 miles before it reaches its destination on October 6th.

BLACKWELL: Well, the weekend will be sunny and warm for much of the country. And we're happy for that part of the country, but not for everybody.

MALVEAUX: Not everybody.

CNN's Alexandra Steele joins us with a look.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It can't always be everybody, right?

BLACKWELL: Yes.

STEELE: No. Actually out West, rain and flooding is just soaking the West. And with that, it's leading now to flooding and even mud slides.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) STEELE (voice-over): Out West, strong shower us and thunderstorms brought down trees and power lines in the Portland area. Up to 3 inches of rain flooded streets and businesses in Salem.

KGW meteorologist Rod Hill said some 50,000 lightning strikes were counted against Washington and Oregon, including the one that brought down this tree and split it in half.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, it was literally in place and the blue just blew up.

STEELE: Meanwhile, cleanup resumes this morning across Idaho after nasty weather caused flooding and mudslides.

Jim Skelton's wife had to be rescued.

JIM SKELTON, HUSBAND: I looked over there and there's my wife sitting on top of the car, you know, water all around her.

STEELE: And record heat in Denver was just too hot for some students, especially without air conditioning. This elementary closed early because of high temperatures in the upper 90s.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STEELE: All right. Well, the good news in Denver, next school day, it will be 17 degrees cooler. But Thursday, yesterday, 97 degrees in Denver, so well high certainly in terms of record heat, how much we've seen. The records is 95, that is toppable.

Yesterday, the record is all the way from Arizona, Nevada, Mexico, Colorado, so the heat really quite widespread. And here's where we're going to see it today. Here's Denver's average, only 82 degrees. So, exorbitantly high.

What we have is this massive ridge of high pressure with not a lot of movement. So, we're not going to see that access really push eastward at all. Kansas City, you can see 96 today. Tomorrow, average 83. So, on the average, 10 to 15 degrees above average.

But here's what's happening in the eastern seaboard -- a little frosty yesterday morning and this morning in the northeast. Patchy frost this morning, not nearly as cool as yesterday but by Monday, temperatures in the Northeast will drop. Down to the 60s in Boston. Low 70s in New York City.

What we're going to see, Suzanne, a cold front coming cools them down further for Monday. But a beautiful weekend in store.

MALVEAUX: Nice. Love to hear that.

STEELE: Yes. All right, good.

BLACKWELL: Thanks, Alexandra.

STEELE: Sure. BLACKWELL: Coming up on NEW DAY: an outbreak of seizures, even deaths, possibly linked to synthetic marijuana. More on what's really in the stuff and why it's still illegal some in states.

MALVEAUX: Plus, we'll play an online video that will shock you. An alleged drunk driver admits to killing a veteran while blacked out and driving the wrong way down a highway.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Two million dollars worth of drugs weapons and cars seized by the police narcotics unit just south of Atlanta here in Georgia. In addition to more than a dozen firearms, nearly 50 pounds of MDMA or Molly was found. The drug contains both ecstasy and meth.

And public health officials in Colorado say that they are dealing with an outbreak linked to people getting sick from using synthetic marijuana.

BLACKWELL: They're now teaming up with federal officials trying to determine what is in the drug and where it's coming from.

Reporter Marc Stewart with our affiliate KMGH says just about every emergency room in the Denver area is now dealing with it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARC STEWART, KMGH REPORTER (voice-over): It's the medical mystery now facing emergency rooms across Denver.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have classified it as a public health outbreak.

STEWART: An outbreak forcing dozens of people to rush for help after dealing with seizures and breathing problems, all linked to synthetic marijuana.

KARRI HOBAICA, DENVER PUBLIC HEALTH DEPT.: We're seeing a disease or people showing up for a condition above what we would normally see.

STEWART: These are some of the packages recently brought to doctors, a substance often known as black mamba, K-2 and spice.

HOBAICA: Above a certain level, we start getting concerned.

STEWART: Karri Hobaica of Denver public health says among the challenges determining the ingredients and where it's coming from.

HOBAICA: It's not from one store or one online shop, we think it's coming from a variety of sources.

STEWART: We asked, Hobaica says it appears to be isolated solely to Denver. For now, no other Colorado cities or other states are dealing with the outbreak.

HOBAICA: In terms of the fact that it's not spread like a normal disease like flu, this is being passed around and being sold. It's more difficult in that respect because this just isn't what we normally deal with.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: Health officials, they are trying to determine if three deaths are linked to this outbreak in Denver.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and, you know, when we say Colorado, that jumps to the front of mind saying that recreational use of marijuana is legal in Colorado. So, why would some people want to use this?

MALVEAUX: They still choose synthetic drugs because it doesn't show up in the drug actually.

BLACKWELL: I sat down with a man when I did a story on this once who -- he smoked it while I was sitting there, he had a drug history, got out of prison and still wanted his high. Of course didn't want to show up at a drug test. Quickly he turned paranoid and started crying and asked to turn the camera off it. It can change people quickly.

MALVEAUX: Yes.

BLACKWELL: Hopefully, they solve this issue in Denver.

MALVEAUX: Well, just ahead on NEW DAY, the unemployment rate ticked down just a bit, but it wasn't what Wall Street wanted to hear. We're going to tell you why.

BLACKWELL: Plus, do you even own a watch? I don't. Do you? You got one on.

MALVEAUX: Yes, I do.

BLACKWELL: Would you pay 300 bucks for one that does the same stuff as your phone. What will be the latest in high-tech wrist wear? That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Twenty-four minutes after the hour, and it is "Money Time" on NEW DAY.

The Dow Jones closed higher on Friday after falling earlier in the day on a lackluster jobs report, 169,000 jobs were created last month, while 312,000 people stopped looking for work altogether. The unemployment rate ticked a notch lower to 7.3 percent.

MALVEAUX: Meanwhile, August saw some of the strongest car sales in years. General Motors, as well as Ford and Chrysler also have double- digit sales increases. And overall car sales came at a an adjusted annual rate of 16.1 million. It's the first time we passed the 16 million mark since before the recession.

BLACKWELL: Whose finger could even support this thing? This is a 118-carat diamond. I know somebody's going to try. A rock of ages found in Africa. The Sotheby's Auction House, you know it, it calls it the world's greatest white diamond. It's going to hit the auction block next month in Hong Kong. It's pre-sale estimate -- near $34 million.

MALVEAUX: All right. I'll hold out for that one.

BLACKWELL: Yes, you'll try.

MALVEAUX: I'll wait.

Some of the biggest stories that we have, also the tech stories.

So, Victor, do you wear a watch?

BLACKWELL: I don't. I have it --

MALVEAUX: I don't know why you don't wear a watch. I don't even understand that.

BLACKWELL: Because I've got the time on my phone.

MALVEAUX: Maybe this makes sense for you.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

MALVEAUX: What we're talking about, this is a Samsung Galaxy Gear. This is a smartwatch. Galaxy Gear is selling for about 300 bucks.

It's going to have everything probably that you want to have, right, that you have on your phone? Camera, able to e-mail, text, all of these messages flashing on your wrist. Would you go for it?

MALVEAUX: Yes, translate languages.

Well, see, I wouldn't and here's why, because you have to buy the phone with the watch. So you've got the $300 phone. You've got a $300 watch and you can only communicate between those two. And I still don't want to wear a watch at the end of the day. Whether it takes pictures or does my laundry, I'm going to pass.

MALVEAUX: You know, it's always nice to have a little watch.

BLACKWELL: You have a nice watch.

MALVEAUX: A little bling. You know, a little bling here and there. That's a nice thing to have.

BLACKWELL: All right. So, it's not just the new smartwatches. There's a new phone coming, a new iPhone. This is the iPhone 5S. Now, we're both iPhone people.

MALVEAUX: We've got our iPhones. Do you have to buy another charger? That's the thing, right?

BLACKWELL: I hope not. That's why I have the 4S, you have the 5 and you bought all the adapters and the charges. MALVEAUX: I know, it was disappointing. But I guess they're going to be announcing this, soon, yes, September 10th?

BLACKWELL: September 10th in Cupertino, in California. This maybe coming in different colors -- pink and green and yellow.

I had actually an aqua -- I think it's (INAUDIBLE) on my phone because I went and had changed it at a kiosk at the mall because it's cracked. The bad thing is, it's cracked again.

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKWELL: I don't want to buy the chargers. That also depends on how much it is.

MALVEAUX: Yes, we'll check it out, coming out soon.

BLACKWELL: Still to come on NEW DAY: is a dangerous toxin making its way to your dinner table? We'll tell what you the FDA has to say about arsenic in rice.

MALVEAUX: And Shellie Zimmerman stood by her man during the high profile Trayvon Martin murder case. But now, they're calling it quits. Up next, strong words from Zimmerman's wife.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Mortgage rates ticked up this week. Have a look at this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Bottom of the hour now. Welcome back, everyone. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell.

Here are five things you need to know for your NEW DAY.

First up, Secretary of State John Kerry is pressing European leaders to back a strike on Syria. He's talking today with more than a dozen E.U. foreign ministers in Lithuania. Now, Secretary Kerry then flies to Paris. France is the only country that's pledged to take part in U.S. military action against Syria.

MALVEAUX: Number two, NASA heads to the moon. This 90-foot rocket nicknamed LADEE was launched last night from Wallops flight facility in Virginia. The unmanned probe is designed to orbit the moon and study its atmosphere and conditions near the surface. It's expected to reach the moon on October 6th.

BLACKWELL: The Food and Drug Administration is calming the fears over toxin arsenic in rice. The FDA says that while arsenic can be found in rice, levels are just too low to be dangerous. An early study by "Consumer Reports" that sparked concerns over the safety of rice, arsenic is commonly found in soil which can then make its way into food. MALVEAUX: Number four, New Mexico Supreme Court has agreed to take a case that would decide whether same-sex is legal in that state. Several counties have issued marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, which led to a court challenge. Both sides say they welcome a final ruling. Same-sex marriage is legal in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

Number five, less than two months after George Zimmerman is found not guilty of murder, his wife is calling it quits. Shellie Zimmerman filed for divorce Thursday. She told ABC News that the George Zimmerman she knows now is not the same man she married.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S WIFE: In my opinion, he feels more invincible. I just think he's making some reckless decisions. I have a selfish husband. And I think George is all about George.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Shellie Zimmerman pleaded guilty last month about lying about the couple's finances.

BLACKWELL: President Obama is back in Washington after the G-20 summit in Russia. The president hoped to gain international backing for a military strike on Syria. By all accounts, it was a disappointing trip.

Senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta joins us now.

Jim, good morning.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Victor, President Obama left the G-20 summit in Russia without the diplomatic support he wanted for a military strike against Syria. And his problems don't end there, as there is plenty of skepticism waiting for him back in Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA (voice-over): It was a short overseas trip that took its toll, as President Obama appeared exhausted and admittedly gave lengthy answers, sidestepping a question of the hour asked first by CNN's Brianna Keilar.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: If a full Congress doesn't pass this, would you go ahead with the strike?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: First of all, in terms of the process and votes in Congress, I knew this was going to be a heavy lift.

ACOSTA: The president declined to answer the question, not just once --

OBAMA: You know, Brianna, I think it would be a mistake for me to jump the gun and speculate, because right now, I'm working to get as much support as possible out of Congress.

ACOSTA: But three times.

OBAMA: And you're not getting the direct response. Brianna asked the question very well, you know?

ACOSTA: A more direct response had come earlier from one of President Obama's advisers in an interview on NPR.

TONY BLINKEN, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The president, of course, has the authority to attack but it's neither his desire nor his intention to use that authority absent Congress backing him.

ACOSTA: The president repeated that one too and repeated his case that the U.S. has the ability to force a strike on Bashar al Assad's forces for last month's chemical weapons attack.

OBAMA: My goal is to maintain the international norm on banning chemical weapons. I want that enforcement to be real. I want it to be serious.

ACOSTA: Also sounding serious.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): It was a very friendly conversation. We'll stick to our guns.

ACOSTA: Russian President Vladimir Putin held his own news conference where he bragged the G-20 countries that have adopted his view and opposing action against Syria. And he warned Russia is ready to respond either way.

PUTIN: Will we help Syria? Yes, we will. We're doing it right now, we're supplying arms.

ACOSTA: The rhetorical fireworks were a fitting end to what one reporter called Putin-palooza with a G-20 Summit that would make the czars proud the Russian president was clearly strutting his stuff.

President Obama did work in one last dig just before leading St. Petersburg, when he met with a group that represents prominent gay rights activists, an informal protest of Russia's treatment of its homosexual community.

OBAMA: I got my start as a community organizer.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA: The president said he will have more to say about the crisis in Syria in a speech on Tuesday. And even Democrats say he needs to make a more forceful argument for action as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told one newspaper, a stronger case has to be made to the American people -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. CNN senior correspondent Jim Acosta on a trip with the president -- thank you. MALVEAUX: Also coming up on NEW DAY: why some fans on "Fifty Shades of Grey" are red hot on who has been cast in the adaptation of the erotic novel.

BLACKWELL: Plus, who is the queen of prime time. We'll tell hue the richest women on television are.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Only Katy Perry was able to do it, to knock Robin Thicke off the top of the charts. A new song "Roar" is number one on the Billboard Hot 100 this week.

MALVEAUX: All right. Welcome back. We're in the E-block. That means it's time for entertainment news.

BLACKWELL: Yes. We're starting with the news that's making people red hot.

Apparently, some "Fifty Shades of Grey" fans are really unhappy with the casting choices for the upcoming movie the adaptation of this erotic movie.

MALVEAUX: And the leading role ended up going to Dakota Johnson, who is going to be playing the seduced college student. And Charlie Hunnam who will be playing the billionaire playboy.

But fans say they want bigger names, bigger stars to the film.

So, Star 94 Radio host Jimmy Alexander live in New York -- what gives here? Who do they want? Who do they expect?

JIMMY ALEXANDER, STAR 94: Well, you know, there are many different actors and actresses that they wanted. And when people were so upset and so outraged by this. You saw it on Twitter this past week.

And it reminds me of -- remember when Daniel Craig was named the new James Bond? And people went nuts, saying he's short, he's blond. He can't be James Bond. Well, this last Bond movie made $1 billion.

And I think it's this situation where they don't know who these people are, but a year from now, we're going to be going who could be these characters. There would be no other actor or actress but these two.

(CROSSTALK)

MALVEAUX: Yes -- no, go ahead, there's a change.org position demanding, right that the producers recast the whole thing?

ALEXANDER: Well, it's amazing, with Twitter and Facebook, we've never had this situation where so many people could really make a difference. But here, this guy is such a great actor in "Sons of Anarchy." Most people don't even know he's British. He was on the British version of "Queer as Folk." This guy can act. And I think that there will be a time when people go, nobody else could be this guy but him. BLACKWELL: All right. Let's move on to topic two. If you're a fan of music in the '80s, you probably remember this gem.

(MUSIC)

BLACKWELL: I love that shirt, by the way.

Eddie Murphy rocking out with Rick James in "Party All the Time." All right. So he's back with a new single. He's now teaming up with Snoop Lion formerly Snoop Dogg with "Red Light." Listen to this.

(MUSIC)

MALVEAUX: No.

BLACKWELL: See --

MALVEAUX: I'm not convinced on this one. Victor, do you even remember Eddie Murphy?

BLACKWELL: I do.

MALVEAUX: Come on now, singing that song?

BLACKWELL: Not that song. I've seen that on replays on VH-1.

MALVEAUX: Just to be clear.

ALEXANDER: How young are you, Victor?

MALVEAUX: We were having that debate earlier today.

But anyway, go ahead, what do you think of the remake here, the new Eddie Murphy back in the music business?

ALEXANDER: You know, Suzanne, this proves Eddie has no friends. Yes, the song's great, Eddie, it's wonderful. I think no one's answering the calls or they're texting, that's another great hit.

Eddie Murphy is so talented, and he can do anything. And he has the money where at this point can do whatever he wants. And singing like this is proof of it. But you do wonder, like if they say "Party All the Time" was one of the worst songs of the '80s, I don't agree. But you wonder ten years from now, will this be, Eddie Murphy had two shots and let's not do three, because three strikes are out.

BLACKWELL: There's also that classic "Boogie in Your Butt" that Eddie Murphy sing in the '80s. So, you think I didn't know.

MALVEAUX: But it's morning TV, so we'll leave that out.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

ALEXANDER: You don't hear that every day.

MALVEAUX: Tell us about this one -- apparently fans, ABC, are like very happy right with casting Sofia Vergara on "Modern Family", right? She's making a lot of money.

ALEXANDER: She is. She's on the top of the Forbes list. It was $30 million she made this year, and pretty amazing, and she's a great actress. But I wonder, is there another actress who may deserve $30 million? I have an idea. I hope you don't mind if I share it with you.

BLACKWELL: Go ahead.

ALEXANDER: One name, Kerry Washington, because I don't know if you watch "Scandal."

BLACKWELL: Oh, yes, absolutely.

MALVEAUX: Yes, we love Kerry.

ALEXANDER: She's amazing. Olivia Pope, I believe she's the reason that people tune into that show. She's such a great actress.

I believe President Obama, you know, he's going through issues, he could use Amanda Pope on that show, Olivia Pope. He could use her in the White House to fix different issues.

BLACKWELL: Yes, but that story line wouldn't work for the first lady, though. Certainly would not.

MALVEAUX: Yes, no --

ALEXANDER: Michelle may be a little upset.

MALVEAUX: You can't go there now.

(LAUGHTER)

MALVEAUX: All right. Well, good to see you, as always, Jimmy Alexander from Star 94 Radio -- thank you.

ALEXANDER: Thank you, Suzanne. Thank you, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Sure.

Coming up on NEW DAY: a stunning online confession. Why a 22-year-old man is coming forward to tell the world that he killed someone in a drunken driving accident.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This week on "THE NEXT LIST", we talk to two remarkable innovators, Ben Kaufman, founder and CEO of quirky.com. Kaufman's passion by giving would-be investors a way to get your products to market.

BEN KAUFMAN, QUIRKY.COM: It's human nature to invent. What stop people is to actually do that and execute on all those ideas, it's really freaking hard.

GUPTA: And he's using the talents of half a million online members to do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are now a quirky inventor.

GUPTA: And Saul Griffith, he's an inventor, scientist, and winner of the coveted MacArthur Genius Award.

SAUL GRIFFITH, INVENTOR: Sometimes you just have an idea and you're like, oh, no, I've had the idea, now I have to do it.

GUPTA: Griffith and his team are revolutionary robotics, creating a whole new field of soft machines.

GRIFFITH: When fully pressurized, can lift a human at arm's length.

GUPTA: This Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Eastern, on "THE NEXT LIST".

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: All right. So, check this out.

A store clerk turning the tables on a would-be robber. This was in Marionville, Missouri. When the man took out a gun and asked for all the money, 54-year-old John Lewis pulled out his gun and quickly got the upper hand. And the guy fled. The gunman didn't know what he -- who he was dealing with. Lewis, he is an Iraq war vet and former prison guard, and private investigator.

Wrong guy to stick up, huh?

BLACKWELL: Wrong guy.

A man in Ohio says he is taking full responsibility for killing another man while driving drunk.

MALVEAUX: Twenty-two-year-old Matthew Cordle confessed to the crime, even before prosecutors charged him.

BLACKWELL: Now, in the video confession posted online, Cordle is very clear about what he did and how he hopes his admission will stop others from making the same mistake.

Reporter Shelby Croft with our affiliate WBNS has more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEW CORDLE: My name is Matthew Cordle, and on June 22nd, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani.

SHELBY CROFT, WBNS (voice-over): His words are direct.

CORDLE: This video will act as my confession.

CROFT: His reason stated clearly.

CORDLE: But I won't dishonor Vincent's memory by lying about what happened.

CROFT: His mind aware of the consequences.

CORDLE: I handed prosecution everything they need to put me away for a very long time.

CROFT: With his confession, Matthew Cordle has a blunt message for others.

CORDLE: I am begging you, please don't drink or drive.

RON O'BRIEN, PROSECUTOR: Boy, I've never seen one like this before, I would tell you that.

CROFT: Ron O'Brien has seen a lot in his 17 years as prosecutor, but never a taped confession on the Internet before charges have ever been filed.

O'BRIEN: It was a compelling piece of video.

CROFT: O'Brien watched intently how Cordle describes how he got in his car and drove the wrong way in 6-70 and hit and killed Vincent Canzani. O'Brien's office has stalled on charges.

O'BRIEN: We were waiting toxicology test results that would show the presence or absence of drugs, in addition to alcohol.

CROFT: Not necessary now. O'Brien plans to accelerate the case.

O'BRIEN: We can probably go ahead and file charges within the next week.

CROFT: Shock waves in the D.A.'s office rolled all the way to Cordle's attorney's office.

GEORGE BREITMAYER III, ATTORNEY: I was unaware they released the video.

CROFT: Did you know he was going to do it?

BREITMAYER: I did not.

CROFT: George Breitmayer made a brief statement over the phone about his client.

BREITMAYER: The video he released is a testament to both his integrity and his character and now that he intends to fully cooperate throughout all these proceedings.

CROFT: Cordle chose an unusual outlet for his message, a Web side called "Because I Said I Would," the way for people to make public commitments, the mission of Alex Sheen (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What he did cannot be reversed or made up for, but he wanted to do something to put good back in the world. CROFT: Sheen knew the project was controversial and firmly believes Cordle's confession should not be praised, rather raise the issue of drinking and driving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that this message can impact others like that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: Wow. Shelby Croft, that is with CNN affiliate WBNS -- thank you very much. The victim, Vincent Canzani, he was a Navy veteran and a gifted photographer as well.

BLACKWELL: Yes, whether this video was made to get leniency in the sentence, hopefully, the sobriety of the message works, without the crash test dummies, without, you know, taking the kids out to the football field and dropping a car from a crane, hopefully that message works.

MALVEAUX: He's very direct and it took courage, I think. Yes.

Still to come on NEW DAY: a homeless man, he returns a lost ring, ends up with a life-changing reward. We're going to tell you how it happened, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Time for the good stuff.

Billy Ray Harris used to be a fixture on the street corner in Kansas City, Missouri, and was begging for change, that was until a woman accidentally dropped her $4,000 engagement ring into his cup.

MALVEAUX: Billy Ray, he could have sold the ring and changed his life that way, but he didn't.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILLY RAY HARRIS, RETURNED ENGAGEMENT RING: She said I might have gave you something very valuable, and I said, was it a ring? And she said, yes. I said, I still have it.

My grandfather was a reverend. He raised me from the time I was six months old, and thank the Good Lord I do still have some character.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Even in tough times, the man still has integrity. The woman and her husband were so moved by the kindness, they started an online donation page for Billy Ray, and they were hoping to raise $1,000. But at the end of the 90-day campaign, $190,000 poured in from all over the world.

MALVEAUX: Wow. So, Billy Ray, he just bought his own car. He has offers now for speaking engagements and he is about to launch his own painting business, even put a down payment on a home. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: You cannot believe how good it feels right now to stick my own key in the door and go in and lock it when I leave. That is a great feeling. I would probably be standing around here one day, going to shopping and somebody walking up and handing me a dollar because they are so used to seeing me out here doing this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: All right. Now, must-see moments. Videos. Watch this as the scene unfolds. This is South Africa's Kruger National Park. A herd of elephants, you see them there, notice that it's being watched. Several come in for a closer look, one of them let the spectators know that they are not welcomed.

Now, this elephant uses it's head to ram the jeep carrying the visitors. They were just in the Safari, they didn't expect to see all that. But terrifying seconds before the elephant gives up and amazingly no one was hurt. Too close for comfort there.

BLACKWELL: That is crazy. Don't try this at home. This off road enthusiast drivers a razor, straight up the side of stiff cliff, and this is what happens on the other side. The vehicle tumbled back down, flipped twice, before landing in a pool of water. Now, that razor was pretty beat up, but shockingly, and here's the view from inside, the driver was unharmed.

MALVEAUX: Wow.

BLACKWELL: Just celebrating the daring feat.

MALVEUAX: Finally, this video absolutely jaw dropping. This guy is trying to buy a magazine in Australia, look at that, you see what happens. All of a sudden, the SUV crashes into the store and misses him just by inches, and he is OK, and he looks a little annoyed when it's all said and done.

Police think that the driver, I guess, was texting. Look how close that is. Unbelievable! He is, like why, what just happened there?

BLACKWELL: Glad he's safe.

Thanks for starting your morning with us.

MALVEAUX: And the next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.