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"I Bring Peace And Friendship From Iranians"; Univ. Of Alabama Sororities Integrated; Chaos On Mariano Rivera Bobblehead Night

Aired September 25, 2013 - 05:30   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do not like them Sam I am. I do not like green eggs and ham.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Yes, you heard it. As the clock ticks toward a government shutdown, the Senate this morning talking about Dr. Seuss. Republican senator, Ted Cruz, who raved (ph) against Obamacare in a marathon speech event, 14 hours and counting.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): He was reading a bedtime story, too.


SAMBOLIN: No, it doesn't. Just to clarify.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Peace and friendship.

SAMBOLIN: Peace and friendship. Iran's new president debuts on the world stage promising peace. The dramatic shift in tone and what that means for relationship with the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was so much bigger than just a girl not coming through. It's a girl not coming through because of his skin color.

BERMAN: This, folks, is the year 2013. Meet the Alabama college student who exposed segregation in her school sorority system.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Welcome back to EARLY START. Glad you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN (on-camera): And I'm John Berman. About 31 minutes after the hour right now.

SAMBOLIN: So, as the deadline for a federal government shutdown fast approaches, Texas senator, Ted Cruz, is taking center stage with his fight to defund Obamacare. He started speaking on the senate floor at 2:40 eastern time yesterday. And look right there, these are live pictures. He's still at it almost 15 hours now

BERMAN: He looks good. (LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: He does look good. You are asking who does his hair. Now, this is not technically a filibuster, but the Tea Party Republican says he'll keep talking in opposition to the health care law until he can no longer stand on his feet. And when you've been talking for as long as he has, it's hard to stay on topic.


SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: On a Saturday or Sunday morning, when your dad's making pancakes, it is very cool when he can like flip -- you know, make them do a flip-high in the air and catch them. I will credit my father. He invented, this wasn't for the restaurant, but he did it anyway. He invented green eggs and ham.

You know, some time ago, I tweeted a speech that Ashton Kutcher gave. Ate White Castle restaurants. I like their little burgers.



BERMAN: "I like their little burgers."

SAMBOLIN: Cruz's political theater strategy is not getting the support of Republican Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, who says it will only lead to the party being blamed for the shutdown. Despite the delay tactic, the Senate is still on track to pass the spending bill that preserves Obamacare then it goes to the House.

BERMAN: I do think it is always dramatic on the Senate floor when someone does an event like this where they speak and speak and speak until they can't speak anymore. Interesting to see. More than 15 hours --

SAMBOLIN: (INAUDIBLE) for some criticism as well.

BERMAN: Absolutely. But he knows that and welcomes it.


BERMAN: Right. Thirty-three minutes after the hour. Some other big news, Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, says his nation is ready to negotiate over its nuclear program. And President Obama is embracing those comments from the country's newly elected leader. The two both spoke at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are encouraged that President Rouhani received from the Iranian people a mandate to pursue a more moderate course. And given President Rouhani's statement to reach an agreement, I am directing John Kerry to pursue this effort with the Iranian government. HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Iran seeks constructive engagement with other countries base on mutual respect and common interest and within the same framework does not seek to increase tensions with the United States.


BERMAN: So, the two both spoke at the United Nations, but by no means did they speak to each other. There was no face-to-face meeting. Some people expected it. The Iranian delegation actually turned down a handshake with President Obama saying it would be, quote, "too complicated back home in Iran."

So, the question is, how is this potential new era of diplomacy being received in Iran? We're lucky to have one of our reporters there, CNN's Reza Sayah live for us in Tehran this morning. What is the reaction there, Reza?

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The reaction, John, has been overwhelmingly positive. People are optimistic here. As always, you have the anti-U.S. hawks here in Iran who are skeptical and concerned about this new conciliatory tone being delivered by Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani. But certainly, the mood is dominated by optimism and newfound hope.

We've talked to a lot of Iranians. We haven't met a single person who has not said we want relations to improve with the U.S. Everyone we talked to tells us that they love American people. They love American culture. The only thing they have a problem with is American foreign policy. And Iranian people, you get the sense that they feel that this is a golden opportunity to improve relations and if, indeed, relations improve, it could be Iranian people who gain the most.

Remember, this population here is one of the most cultured, educated, sophisticated populations in the region, but they've suffered through years of economic sanctions that have led to high clause of living, inflation, unemployment, restrictions in travel. They want all of that to go away. That's why they see this as a golden opportunity.

That's the Iranian people. The government is in a waiting mode. It seems like a chess match where they've made their move. Now, they want to see how the U.S. responds. We could figure out how this all plays out. Beginning tomorrow, that's when Iran's foreign minister sits down with secretary of state, John Kerry, and the P5 (ph) plus one and another round of negotiations over Iran's nuclear program.

BERMAN: Hassan Rouhani is the new president there, but he's not the final word in Iranian politics there. The supreme leader really is the paramount figure in that nation. Any sense where Ayatollah Khomeini stands in this whole situation right now?

SAYAH: There's all sorts of indications that event though the supreme leaders, the ultimately authority, he is fully backing President Rouhani's campaign in this outreach program. And you get the sense that Iranian people feel it, too. That's why there's optimism. The key issue remaining as the barrier as this nuclear program. And Iranian leaders are sending signals that they're ready to make concessions, perhaps, signaling that they're ready to suspend uranium enrichment at 20 percent, open for broader inspections, but they want something in return. They want to be treated with respect and they want those tough economic sanctions eased. Will that happen? Will they be able to come to some sort of agreement? We'll see how it plays out in the coming days and weeks.

BERMAN: The entire world waiting to see if this is a real opportunity for diplomacy. We're lucky to have you there. Reza Sayah for us this morning in Tehran. Thanks, Reza.


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): There are new details this morning about the deadly siege at a shopping mall in Nairobi and how it all played out. Kenyan officials say al Shabaab terrorists were not interested in negotiating or hostage taking. But they were only out to kill. The attackers reportedly set a large fire inside that mall to try and cover their escape plan.

Kenya's president went on television to announce security forces had defeated the terrorists who were either detained or dead.


PRES. UHURU KENYATTA, KENYA: Five terrorists were killed with gunfire. Eleven suspects are in custody in connection with the attack. Intelligence reports had suggested that a British woman and two or three American citizens may have been involved in the attack. We cannot confirm the details at present. But forensic experts are working to ascertain the nationalities of the terrorists.


SAMBOLIN: One of the five attackers killed was said to be a woman. And I want to remind you, 60 people died in that four-day assault. And there may still be some more bodies in the rubble.

BERMAN (voice-over): We're hearing now for the first time from a U.S. army vet who was jailed for allegedly fighting with an al Qaeda-linked terror group in Syria. Thirty-one-year-old Eric Harroun spent six months in federal prison before being released last week. Harroun claims he fought alongside rebels from the free Syria army against the oppressor of Assad regime, and he believes he says in what he did.


ERIC HARROUN, ARMY VET RELEASED FROM PRISON: I don't regret it. I don't regret trying to help people. Everybody just wanted freedom. They want to be like America. You know, I didn't join the army for money -- I mean, college -- benefit, but I honestly wanted to serve my country. My mom's dad was in World War II. And I love my country, and I've never had -- I'm not a terrorist. I'm a terrorist to Bashar al-Assad. He called me a terrorist.


BERMAN: Harroun says he plans to request a presidential pardon.

SAMBOLIN: Only one person now remains missing following the deadly floods in Colorado. The 60-year-old woman was last seen in her house right before it was swept away. Six others who had been accounted for notified authorities that they were alive. For now, the death toll remains at eight. Colorado has launched an emergency inspection of 200 dams over the next week and a half to ensure their stability.


BERMAN (on-camera): Let's get more on the weather now, the national scene, Indra Petersons joins us now. Hey, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I like the little bounciness you have. You're actually happy now that you know that 70s today, right? Yes. For like a couple of days. Isn't so nice? It's still cool in the morning. So, it's a little tough in the morning hours but not as bad as it was yesterday since it is actually warmer in the afternoon as well. So, some 50s right now, Philly about 54.

It looks like Pittsburgh, OK, we got a 46 in that region. But look at these afternoon temperatures. I mean, gorgeous, D.C., you're actually going for 77 degrees today. New York City, going for about 74. And Boston, slowly trying to get to your average temperatures, but still, 65, pretty mild, actually kind of feels like fall out there.

Now, where is it actually cold? Well, the Pacific Northwest, look at the radar. Notice we're starting to see some pink out there. What is going on? Well, we have a huge storm that is very early for the season that is bringing snow, again overnight tonight. We're talking about low elevations pretty much anywhere from, yes, Idaho, Montana, even through Wyoming. Possibly one to two feet of snow, especially overnight tonight and through tomorrow. Now, that is cold.

BERMAN: Yes. So, if you're cool or cold in the northeast, quit your belly aching. You could get two feet of snow.


BERMAN: Things could be a lot worse. Thanks, Indra. Appreciate it.

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Thank you.

BERMAN: So, echoes of the civil rights fight right now in the south. More than a dozen African-American students at the University of Alabama are being offered places that the schools traditionally White sororities. This follows a series of protests triggered by a student newspaper piece exposing the segregation. Sorority member, Melanie Gotz, helped all made this happen. She says, for her, it wasn't just about race.


MELANIE GOTZ, SORORITY WHISTLEBLOWER: It's just so many years of wrong. But, it just seems we've need to make it right. I've had my heartbroken for girls not being able to come through, you know, through our system. And then, whenever this all came up, it was so much bigger than just a girl not coming through, it's a girl not coming through because of her skin color.


BERMAN: University of Alabama officials have now mandated changes to promote desegregation. This, by the way, September 2013.

SAMBOLIN: Jaw-dropping.

BERMAN: Indeed.

SAMBOLIN: Forty-one minutes past the hour, coming up --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Definitely pretty terrifying.


SAMBOLIN: Definitely pretty terrifying. It was terrifying moments when an e-cigarette explodes. A new warning about the so-called safer alternative to cigarettes coming up next.


SAMBOLIN: A Utah woman vows to kick the habit. No more e-cigarettes. Kinzie Barlow says she was driving with her three-year-old son when her e-cigarette exploded right in the car's charger. It sent a white hot cupper coil flying into the boy's car seat. It set the car seat on fire.


KINZIE BARLOW, E-CIGARETTE EXPLODED AND INJURED SON: He was screaming and he's saying mom, get me, get me. Seeing your child on fire and them screaming help me is definitely pretty terrifying.


SAMBOLIN: I bet she'll never touch any cigarette again. The three- year-old suffered burns on his elbow and on his lower back. Take a look at that there. But the good news here is that that little boy is going to be A-OK.


BERMAN: A lot of press these days about the e-cigarettes. I don't know if you don't know much about them at all, but I'm going to pay closer attention. That is shocking.

All right. Let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, great to see you this morning, guys.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good to be seen. We're talking about Sen. Ted Cruz. Have you heard about what's going on in the floor at the Senate? He's doing this kind of filibuster, but not really because he's not really stopping anything in process.

BOLDUAN: A protest maybe.

CUOMO: But he is getting a lot of attention from us and others. He wants to defund Obamacare. The question is, can he? Probably not. But can he push this closer to a shutdown? Certainly. What is his party going to do about it? We don't know, but we're going to push that question for you today.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

And then, this is a story that has a lot of people outraged this morning. Two seventh grade students suspended from school for playing with kind of like air soft guns like a little play guns. But get this, it was on private property when it happened. Did the school then cross the line or are they just trying keep kids safe at their schools? We're going to explore it.

BERMAN: Yes. We want to hear about that. Thanks so much. See you in a little bit.

BOLDUAN: All right.

BERMAN: Coming up next here, mass chaos at Yankee Stadium, the worst place on Earth. But it wasn't what happened during the game that caused commotion. Andy Scholes will be here to show what ignited this fury. That's coming up next on the "Bleacher Report."


BERMAN: So, for the third time this season, a pitcher lost a no- hitter with two outs in the ninth inning. This has got to be some kind of a record. This time it happened to St. Louis Cardinals rookie, Michael Wacha. Andy Scholes joins us now with the "Bleacher Report." Good morning, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, good morning, guys. Well, in just his ninth career start, Michael Wacha was this close to throwing a no-hitter, but unfortunately, luck was not on his side last night. Ryan Zimmerman with the last battle (ph) between Wacha and the history book, hits a chopper right over to Wacha's head. he can't get it, then Pete Kozma's bare-handed throw pulls Matt Adams just off the bag.

Zimmerman called safe. The crowd at Busch Stadium obviously stunned, but they did give Wacha a huge ovation as he came off the field.

Well, angry fans waited for hours outside the Yankee Stadium last night to get their hands on a Mariano Rivera bobblehead. The first 18,000 through the gates were supposed to receive the bouncy figurines, but there was one problem, the bobbleheads weren't there.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was the most (INAUDIBLE) of Yankee Stadium I have ever seen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mob scene, you know, a lot, lot of people here.


SCHOLES: All right. The Bobbleheads arrived in the third inning, and fans received their voucher when they came in had to make their way through another long line in order to receive their Rivera's souvenir.

Well, the Penn State football program received some good news this week. The NCAA announced that it's going to gradually restore the scholarships that were taken away as a result of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. The NCAA says Penn State has shown a strong commitment to fulfilling the recommendations made in the free report. By 2016, Penn State will have all of their scholarships restored and they could even have their four-year ball ban (ph) reduce in the near future.

Well, trending right now on, the Xavier basketball team made a dream come true for one of their youngest fans. Twelve- year-old Trey Couch (ph) was diagnosed a couple of years ago with a chronic illness that affects his coordination and balance. He's always wanted to play -- basketball and the Musketeers made that happened this week, signing him to a letter of intent. Now, along with his parents, Trey got to spend the entire day with the team.

And not to mention, guys, he's now the youngest prospect ever to sign with Xavier. So, pretty cool deal. Good for them for making that boy's dream come true.

BERMAN: That is fantastic.

SAMBOLIN: I love that you bring us those stories, too, Andy. Thank you. We appreciate it.

SCHOLES: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: It's nice way to end sports, isn't it? Yes. We'll be right back.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Do you recognize the music?

BERMAN: It's that really talented young artist that no one (ph) is talking about these days.

SAMBOLIN: Miley Cyrus.

BERMAN: oh, her.


BERMAN: We're starting to pay attention to Miley Cyrus. SAMBOLIN: All right. So, she is landing her first "Rolling Stone" cover with the series of revealing mostly topless pictures. There is also an interview, I understand, which she calls the criticism over her performance at the VMAs a double standard, noting that Robin Thicke didn't get any of the backlash.

BERMAN: She's right about that.

SAMBOLIN: That is a very good point. It is. But, you know? I don't know, if you take a look at the video, she probably did a little bit more than he did to get the backlash on it. If that's not enough, Miley, let's see, more twerking? Do we have more twerking?

BERMAN: Oh, there we go. And she's a Bulls' fan, Michael Jordan, 23.

SAMBOLIN: I do like that, I will say (ph).


SAMBOLIN: I do like the fact that she chose 23, but --

BERMAN: And that's what I'm noticing. I'm looking right at that number.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. I don't know. All right.


SAMBOLIN: -- twerking in the bathroom. I know. I'm going to get a lot of e-mails from moms this morning saying what's that all about?

BERMAN: Good morning, folks. All right. One more bit of news here, this one about Jon Hamm. You know, you might have noticed Jon Hamm's raspy voice at the Emmy's. Let's move on to the serious stuff here. It turns out he's having throat surgery. He's got a polyp in his throat, a single one. He's going to have that removed. This will take place next week in Boston.

But rest assured, folks, since you're only going to see one episode of "Mad Men" every year for like the next 30 years. This will not affect the "Mad Men" schedule, and Mr. Hamm will be just fine. Great to hear that. good to luck him in surgery. Good luck to Miley Cyrus.


BERMAN: That is all for us this morning. We're going to get the heck out of here. Chris and Kate, it's all yours. Take it away, guys.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, too. We'll talk to you later.

CUOMO: All right, everybody. It's time for "NEW DAY."


CRUZ: I intend to speak in support of defunding Obamacare until I am no longer able to stand. CUOMO: Hamming it up. Senator Ted Cruz reads "green eggs and ham" to his kids during a marathon Senate floor speech to protest funding Obamacare. He can't actually block a vote, but can his party stop him?

BOLDUAN: New tone. Iran's new president debuts on the international stage, promising peace, but can the world trust him?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sexist gorilla? A male gorilla at the Dallas Zoo going to therapy for being a jerk to females, kicked out of his bachelor pad, and sent to a new home for bad behavior.

CUOMO: Your "NEW DAY" starts right now.

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


CUOMO: A little hump day jolt of caffeine. Good morning. Welcome to "NEW DAY." It is Wednesday, September 25th, six o'clock in the east. A lot to get to this morning. We have high drama or high theater depending on whom you ask going on in D.C. with a shutdown looming.

We also have something maybe a little closer to home and higher interest to some of you. A look at Amazon's new secret weapon. A feature for tablets you've never seen before called, wait for it, may day. It comes in a brand new interview with Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos. Our Dan Simon sat down with him. And Bezos also talks about why he got into the newspaper business and bought "The Washington Post."

BOLDUAN: He doesn't speak very often, so it's really interesting when he does come and speak out. That'll be good.

But first, let's get to the major political story that Chris is just talking about playing out right now on the Senate floor. That's not video, that's live with the U.S. economy on the line. Take a look here. You can see him, Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas staging a marathon protest, trying to rally support to defund the president's health care law.

He's joined, he has been off and on by Senator Mike Lee and others. There's five days to go before a potential government shutdown and Cruz has been talking on the floor since 2:40 yesterday afternoon, all of this as the president turns to his explainer in chief, Bill Clinton, to give a renewed push for his signature health care reforms. A lot going on as you can tell.

Jim Acosta is joining us live to work through it all from the White House this morning. Good morning, Jim.