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Government Partisanship Over Shutdown Analyzed; Convicted Killers Escape Florida Prison; Boy with Autism Missing; Pundits Speculate on Hillary Clinton Presidential Bid; USC to Play Notre Dame in College Football; Controversial Fitness Trainer Poster Debated; Interview with Carol Burnett

Aired October 19, 2013 - 10:00   ET


VANESSA FONTAINE, MOTHER OF AVONTE OQUENDO: A lot of people feel my pain, a lot of mothers, a lot of families. It can happen to them.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Can his mother's voice help police track him down?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, the cover photo some say has a little too much cover.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hopefully, it's not a message that full-figured women are not meant to be seen.

BLACKWELL: Melissa McCarthy calls it awesome, so is the big backlash baseless?

CABRERA: And she's the hot mom of three who set off a firestorm on the internet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anything that's inspiration, motivation, and I look up to her.

CABRERA: What this fit former bikini model did that has so many other mothers fired up.


CABRERA: Good morning, and welcome to the weekend. I'm Ana Cabrera.

BLACKWELL: And I'm Victor Blackwell. It's 10:00 here on the east coast, 7:00 out west. You're in the CNN Newsroom. We have a lot happening this morning. We'll start with the search for two convicted killers on the run in Florida.

CABRERA: Prison officials say these two inmates sentenced to life, Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins, gained their freedom by gaming the system. They used fake release papers that even included a forged signature from a judge. The men played the dupe so well they even registered as a jail as felons after they got out.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Nick Valencia is live at the Franklin County Correction Institute where the men were supposed to be locked up. Nick, how long have they been free now? NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Ana and Victor. One man has been free since late last month, the other at least a week and a half. Yesterday at a press conference the Orange County sheriff's department said they have legitimate reason to believe those two men are still in the state of Florida.


SHERIFF JERRY DEMINGS, ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA: There have been tips being received in terms of legitimate spottings.

VALENCIA: Two convicted killers on the loose, days after they use the forged documents to get an early release from prison. But how did Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker dupe the system? That's a question no one seems to be able to answer, and a mistake no one wants to own.

DEMINGS: So I'm not here to point fingers at anyone. There will be plenty of that to go around eventually, I'm sure.

VALENCIA: In between the fingers of Evangelina Kearse is a letter from the Florida department of corrections about her son's killer Charles Walker. It says his release was beyond their control.

EVANGELINA KEARSE: We are in shock. We're frightened. And we feel let down that the system did let us down as far as letting the murderer go free. I understand that the state attorney -- the state attorney and the judge had nothing to do with it. But somebody -- I don't know was it an inside job besides -- because I don't think Charles did this. Whoever did it helped them. I do believe that. They had to have help.


VALENCIA: It was the fake signature of Judge Belvin Perry that ordered the release of both Walker and Jenkins. The high-profile judge said he's not entirely surprised.

PERRY: People, particularly people with criminal minds, come up with ingenious ways to beat the system. They have nothing but time on their hands to think of things.

VALENCIA: The department of corrections, which allowed the release, said it was only following procedures and was, quote, "not at fault." "We don't have the statute or authority to question the court's decision," a spokeswoman said. "This will be a lesson learned for all involved."

The Florida department of corrections has since made changes to the process of early releases. They tell CNN they will require verifications from the sentencing judge before any other inmates are released early.


VALENCIA: Lost in all of this are the victims' families. We heard from one of them yesterday who said he's terrified that his father's killer is on the loose. They want less finger-pointing and more answers. Ana, Victor?

BLACKWELL: All right, Nick, I'm sure people want to make sure these guys are back behind bars and find out who is responsible.

VALENCIA: Absolutely.

CABRERA: Now, imagine living through this nightmare for more than two weeks. A mother and father have been searching for their lost teenage sons since October 5th. Avonte Oquendo has autism and he cannot communicate verbally. All we know is the 14-year-old was last seen running out of his school in New York.

BLACKWELL: Ever since hundreds of police officers and volunteers working around the clock have been hunting through tunnels and subway stations and sewer systems even for any signs of him. On Thursday, Avonte's mother said she believes her son is alive and that someone is holding him.


VANESSA FONTAINE, MOTHER OF AVONTE OQUENDO: He's a special boy. He's a loving boy. He's a caring child. Whoever has him out there, please be kind to him and let him go. Let him come home to his family.


CABRERA: And the family is holding a news conference at this hour. We are told Avonte's mother, brother, father are all there. No new details in the search. But we do know it is extensive, continuing through the weekend. A source tells CNN that police for the first time have now brought in the assistance of cadaver dogs.

BLACKWELL: Congress took the country to the very edge of the fiscal cliff before finally agreeing on a plan to reopen the government and to avoid default.

CABRERA: But the drama isn't over yet. We could face another budget crisis in a matter of months.

BLACKWELL: Chris Lawrence joins us from the World War II veterans memorial. And, Chris, what's the mood like in Washington?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Oh, Washington is a whole, Victor, is just as bitter and pessimistic as ever. But the mood here at the World War II memorial, much better today. This was the site of so many protests and showdowns during the shutdown, and here you can see hundreds of veterans and tourists coming back to the mall to see the World War II memorial. The big question this morning is how much longer can it last?


LAWRENCE: The federal government is back open for business, but for how long? MIRANDA GRISSETTE, FEDERAL WORKER: This is just for 90 days. After the 90 days, then what?

LAWRENCE: All the last deal did was set new deadlines early next year to come to a real agreement.

Do you think there's any chance that the folks in that building will do a better job of compromising this time?


LAWRENCE: Analyst Steve Ellis predicts there won't be any grand bargain.

ELLIS: I'd be happy to see a compromise.

LAWRENCE: Not the huge deal that rewrites the tax code or finds a way to fund Social Security for the long term.

ELLIS: They clearly can't deal with the big issues, and so we need to deal with them in steps.

LAWRENCE: Like closing small tax loopholes and reducing farm subsidies and unemployment insurance. Worried veterans are pushing to have all their benefits funded a year in advance.

KATHLEEN MOAKLER, NATIONAL MILITARY FAMILIES ASSOCIATION: We need a permanent fix, not the temporary Band-Aid of budget deals or to face this again in a few months.

LAWRENCE: Americans are skeptical.

PETER BIANCALAN, DISCOURAGED WITH FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: I think they're going to play the same games. I don't think that anything is going to change.

CAROL FISHER, DISCOURAGED WITH FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: Both Republicans and Democrats just -- they cannot get along. And honestly, I have no faith in them.

LAWRENCE: But in January, both sides may have more incentive to deal. That's when an across-the-board spending cuts kick in, especially at the Pentagon.

LEON PANETTA, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: The combination of sequester and this shutdown has hurt our national defense.

LAWRENCE: And the clock is once again ticking.

BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let's negotiate. What are we waiting for? Let's get this done.


LAWRENCE: It sounds like good advice for both sides. The Republican- led House of Representatives did pass a budget that calls for about $4 trillion in spending cuts. The Democratic-led Senate passed a similar budget, but theirs calls for about $1 trillion in new taxes. By mid- December, both of the sides will have to find a way to compromise and reconcile those ideas to come up with one budget that the president can sign. Victor, Ana?

BLACKWELL: It's good to see the bitterness has subsided in at least one place, there at the World War II veterans memorial. Thank you so much, Chris.


CABRERA: Her every move is analyzed, scrutinized, and evaluated for clues about 2016. We're talking about Hillary Clinton stepping back into politics today, and that's feeding more talk of another presidential bid.


BLACKWELL: Hillary Clinton is dipping her toes into the political poll again.

CABRERA: She is going to endorse Terry McAuliffe for governor of Virginia toady.

BLACKWELL: CNN political reporter Peter Hamby is in Falls Church, Virginia, ahead of today's event. Peter McAuliffe's ties to the Clintons, this goes a long way back.

PETER HAMBY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this might be the least surprising endorsement in the history of the politics. Terry McAuliffe, the Democrat running for governor of Virgina, has known the Clintons for almost 20 years. He was a top bundler for the campaign, a former Democratic National Committee chairman. He is very close with the Clintons. Hillary Clinton has already raised money from McAuliffe. Bill Clinton has raised money for McAuliffe. And it's a safe expectation, the campaign tells me, that Bill Clinton will be campaigning in Virginia for Terry McAuliffe before Election Day.

McAuliffe is running against Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican state attorney general, who has his own star in the state with him, Mike Huckabee. They're trying to rally conservatives in a far different part of the state today, down in central Virginia. But guys, McAuliffe has a lead in the race. He's got about an eight-point lead according to a recent NBC News poll here in Virginia. So this is a safe endorsement for Hillary Clinton. She's jumping in the race for a friend, and it seems barring some unforeseen development that terry McAuliffe is likely going to win this election here, guys.

CABRERA: And, of course, seeing Hillary Clinton back in the political spotlight again begs the question, is she talking about 2016 at all and any potential presidential bid?

HAMBY: That's right. She -- we'll look for clues later in the speech today. She has said she will only start thinking about a possible presidential campaign until next year, you know, that's with a wink and a nod. I think she's probably already thinking about it. We in the political class know that, but she's got plenty of time to make her decision, because see is by far the front-runner for the Democratic front-runners. She drowns out the other potential Democrats who might run. So she has a little more space to think about this, guys.

CABRERA: And we still have a couple of more years before we really need to know the answer to that. Thank you, Peter Hamby, in Falls Church, Virginia, with the Clinton endorsement.

BLACKWELL: So let's consider this, is it cool or is it just too much? Your face, your actual online product reviews, may actually start popping up on ads your friends and family see online.

CABRERA: Yes. You're about to become a star, sort of. Details after this.


CABRERA: Welcome back. Andy Warhol said that in the future everyone will get their 15 minutes of fame. But I wonder if he ever imagined this?

BLACKWELL: Probably not. Come November, your fact and your online product reviews may start popping up in ads your friends and family see. Really anyone who has ever shared an endorsement at sites like YouTube or Google Plus, will become short-lived stars of these new commercials.

CABRERA: Tech expert Carley Knobloch is live in Los Angeles. Thanks so much for being here with us, Carley. OK, sounds kind of cool, sounds kind of creepy. How does all of this work?

CARLY KNOBLOCH, FOUNDER, CARLEYK.COM: I think Andy Warhol would have liked this, actually. It's right at the intersection of celebrity and commercialism. It's called the shared endorsement. If you're hitting the plus-1 button and endorsing anything on Goggle Plus or following the business on Google, your face could be used as part of an ad campaign for that product or that service. It's basically Google's way of sort of adding a personal friend-to-friend touch to their ad business, which is huge for them.

BLACKWELL: How does it compare to what we're already seeing with sites like Facebook?

KNOBLOCH: Yes, it's very similar. Facebook, you know that if you like a product or service, you could see your face as part of an ad campaign there, too, one of their social ads. This is Google trying to beat Facebook at their own game. But while Google -- while Facebook, rather, is showing the ads on their own social network. Google has a huge reach across millions of sites seen by a billion people.

CABRERA: One thing I thought was interesting as I was reading about this, Victor and I were talking about how oftentimes you might make a comment, give a review, if you feel passionately about it one way or the other, either love it or hate it. With this, you only see people who love a product. You don't see any of the negative comments, right?

KNOBLOCH: Sure, because they can't monetize a negative review. You know, this is sort of another example of how anything that you say on one of these social networks is property of one of these social networks. You're using it for free, and so they're going to find ways to monetize your use of their space.

BLACKWELL: So let me ask you about Facebook specifically and their change of the privacy settings again. Now, the general public, they can see the posts of the photos and all of that of minors. You're a mom. What do you think about that?

KNOBLOCH: Yes, and we should say Google has said they will restrict any use of shared endorsements from kids 18 and under. But Facebook is sort of loosening all of those restrictions for their teens.

You know, as a mom, I think my job is to really try to stay on top of this stuff and constantly be talking to my kids about responsible use of the Internet. We talk a lot about why a social network like Facebook would allow them to be able to broadcast to millions of people and who might be listening and what they might be able to do with that information. But at the end of the day, do I think 13-year- old, 14-year-old, 15-year-old kids are responsible enough to make good choices on the internet that would be largely be permanent? Not really.

CABRERA: That is concerning. We've done stories about the increase in sexual predators or just any kind of predator, for that matter online, because it's such an easy avenue they could have access and have the sense of anonymity. So I know that is concerning for parents and teenagers alike. Why does Facebook now make this change? Why even take this step? They're doing fine. They seem to be doing great. In fact, the stock hit a new high this week.

KNOBLOCH: Yes, well, I think there are tons of teens on Facebook. You know, studies have shown that interest is waning among younger kids now that mom, dad, grandma, grandpa are on the social network. So I think this is a major effort to make sure that the social network stays attractive to teenagers, they don't feel restricted. And, you know, until they get up and leave, they want to try to monetize them as well as they can.

BLACKWELL: As much as I love my mom, there are few things less cool than getting a friend request from your mom on Facebook.


KNOBLOCH: It is a true --

BLACKWELL: My mom's not on Facebook, so I never have to worry about it, but there's nothing less cool. What if I said, you know, I don't want you to know what restaurants I go to, I don't want you to know where I vacation -- can I opt out?

KNOBLOCH: Absolutely. So there are ways that if you're 18 or over on Google, or even as a teenager, they are making it easy for you to see exactly who is going to get to see your posts as a teen. It will show you the default is that your friends only, but you are able to make that change so it gets broadcast to the public. If you just don't like the idea of the shared endorsements, there are settles that allow you to opt out.

BLACKWELL: All right, tech expert Carley Knobloch, there are a lot of parents that had no idea that changes were coming or that things were going to be different. You helped a lot of people today. Thank you.


BLACKWELL: The three Boy Scout leaders who pushed over an ancient rock formation, they may have more to worry about than criminal charges. Hear what one says -- one person says is going to happen next.


CABRERA: Welcome back, everyone, I'm Ana Cabrera.

BLACKWELL: And I'm Victor Blackwell. Let's start with the top stories at the bottom of the hour. Number one, a manhunt is under way for two convicted killers from Florida. Officials say it's not clear if fugitive inmates Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins worked together, but they both used the document entitled "Motion to Correct a Legal Sentence" to escape from Florida's Franklin Correctional Institutional. It's fake, doesn't exist. In fact our Orlando affiliate, WSTV, the only thing the document got right is his signature, which was forged.

CABRERA: Number two this morning, the mother of a teenage suspect in a bullying suicide case has now been arrested in Florida, the mother. Police say Vivian Vosberg faces charges of child abuse after a video surfaced of her allegedly punching two boys. They say the charges in her case are unrelated to her 14-year-old daughter's case. Her daughter is accused of aggravated stalking in the suicide of 12-year- old Rebecca Sedgwick.

BLACKWELL: Number three, gay and lesbian couples are celebrating in New Jersey after the state's highest court ruled same sex marriage can begin on Monday. Governor Chris Christie's administration sought to delay the weddings while it appeals a lower court's ruling. That appeal will still be heard in January, but as of Monday, New Jersey will be the 14th state to allow same-sex marriage.

CABRERA: Number four, police in Greece are trying to figure out this little girl's identity. Police found her in a Roma, a gypsy community in central Greece. DNA tests show she's not related to the couple who say they are her parents. They've been arrested and charged with abduction of a minor.

BLACKWELL: Number five, three Boy Scout leaders who toppled over a 200 million--year-old boulder at Utah state park say now they're now getting death threats and hate mail. Police are investigating the incident. The men could face felony charges. This is a crime to deface state parks. The men say they pushed the boulder over because it was loose and could have fallen on hikers.

Congress is staring at a new deadline -- pass a new spending plan by January 15th, or the country will face a second government shutdown. David Rothkopf, CEO of "Foreign Policy" magazine and a commentator at, blames you, the voter. He writes, you, the voters, have become ill-informed, caught up in the name-calling and partisanship and the climate that created the Washington we have today. You got the government you deserve.

Let's bring in CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Maria Cardona. Joining here this morning, Amy Holmes, anchor of "The Hot List" at I know this will be a fiery conversation. I'm ready. Let's start with Amy. Do you believe that that assessment is correct, that the voters have the Congress they elected, so they own it?

AMY HOLMES, ANCHOR, "THE HOT LIST": Well, it's a very famous phrase from Alexis De Tocqueville that you deserve the government you vote in but I don't blame the voters. The voters, they elect representatives to go to Congress and reflect their point of view. And the voters have voted for divided government. They voted for Republicans to be in charge of the House, Democrats in the Senate, and President Obama in the White House. I'm a conservative and so I believe in the good sense, the common sense of the American people. By the way, I'm very happy to be Facebook friends with my mom.


BLACKWELL: I'll hear about that after the show. Maria?

MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I actually think David has a point in that voters should be informed. I think that what has happened to our electorate is that voters love listening to and having their own views reflected back to them. So they don't necessarily seek different points of view, which is why I think everybody should watch CNN, because you guys are actually objective.

BLACKWELL: We agree.

CARDONA: But I do think a different opponent I would make, or a different angle, we have not -- we have not talked more than 60 percent voter participation rate in our elections since 1968. I think that the voters who don't vote are more to blame for the government that we have, because if you have over 40 percent of the eligible electorate in this country not even going to the polls to vote, you have a whole slew of people who are not even participating. And I think they are the ones who bear more of the responsibility.

I think even in safe districts, the ones that we call, team, either on the left or the right, if more than 60 percent of the electorate voted, you would have more of the mainstream views that could actually seek consensus here in Washington.

BLACKWELL: That 60 percent number is interesting, because there are 60 percent of people according to the latest Pew poll who say they want to get rid of everybody in congress. You can only vote for the person in your district.

Amy, I want to bring you back in. Republican senators Mitch McConnell and John McCain said that there will not be a second shutdown. It's off the table. Ted Cruz told ABC that he'll do anything -- let's listen to this, and we'll talk on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you would do it again?

SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: I would do anything and I will continue to do anything I can to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare. And in particular, look, the test that matters, John, is are we doing anything for the people getting hurt from Obamacare?


BLACKWELL: Now, Amy, we know that his star is rising in parts of the country. But does he still have the pull to cross to the Senate from the House to possibly whip up votes to do this again?

HOLMES: As you noticed, Ted Cruz got a little quiet near the end of the shutdown, he was feeling the heat, the strategy, one that I never supported, I always opposed, wasn't working. And when it did, it distracted from the fiasco that is Obamacare. No one expected that a Democratically controlled Senate with President Obama in the White House would repeal, defund, or delay Obamacare because of Republican pressure.

I think actually now the pressure of the website being a complete failure and a total collapse might require the administration to delay Obamacare, that individual mandate, people enrolling, since they can't enroll at all. But I think after all of this, Ted Cruz, you've already heard from Mitch McConnell, you saw John Boehner bring the CR, the clean CR, which they could have done three weeks ago, bring it to the House for a vote. I think this shutdown strategy is over.

BLACKWELL: Maria, the decision, as it relates to a negotiation, many Republicans were saying they were using this moment as leverage, because Democrats always say, yes, we'll negotiate. Let's get past this. We'll talk about it. Let's just pass this piece of legislation. What's the guarantee that this won't happen again?

CARDONA: There are no guarantees, Victor. And this is where I think that the folks on both sides of the aisle, and there is some hope here, because we saw this week that Senator Murray sat down with congressman Paul Ryan to actually try to work out some of these things so this doesn't happen again, because what we did see from the shutdown, and we talked about the polls in our last conversation, that Americans have absolutely had it.

And Amy's right. I think Ted Cruz is feeling the heat. The problem here, though, Victor, it was never really up to Ted Cruz. It was always up to Speaker Boehner. At the end of the day, he did bring up a clean CR, but he didn't have to take us to the brink of a government shutdown to do it. So the question now is going to be whether Speaker Boehner is going to continue to let Ted Cruz actually make the decisions for him. I hope he's learned his lesson.

BLACKWELL: I wish we had more time for this conversation. I want to talk about Kathleen Sebelius and of course John Boehner. But unfortunately we've got to wrap up. Thank you so much, Maria Cardona, Amy Holmes, Amy Holmes' mom. Thank you so much.


CARDONA: Thank you.

CABRERA: Another talker this morning, actress Melissa McCarthy keeping us laughing in the hit movie "Bridesmaids." Remember this?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is some classy -- geez, Megan. I want to apologize. I'm not even confident of which end that came out of.


CABRERA: Now the comedian is trading in the tomboy look for something a little more chic. Up next, we'll tell you why this magazine cover is stirring up so much controversy.

BLACKWELL: Also, we have a treat for you. Legendary comedian Carol Burnett joins us. She'll tell us about the special honor she's receiving tomorrow. We're back in a moment.


CABRERA: It's about 20 minutes now before the top of the hour, and actress Melissa McCarthy has been named one of "Elle" magazine's 2013 women in Hollywood. McCarthy gracing the cover of the November issue wearing a large coat that hides a lot of her body, and that has some accusing the fashion magazine of so called "fat-shaming." Despite the fashion backlash, McCarthy's reps say she chose the outfit, and "Elle" pushed back, saying quote, "On all of our shoots, our stylists work with the stars to choose pieces they feel good in, and this is no different. Melissa loved this look and is gorgeous on our cover.

In a recent interview McCarthy said the shoot was amazing.

Before "Survivor," "Seinfeld," even "Dallas," the show that brought in the blockbuster ratings belong to Carol Burnett -- 30 million people a week watched "The Carol Burnett Show" during the comedian, and tomorrow the comedian is getting a special salute.

BLACKWELL: She'll receive the Mark Twain prize for American humor at the Kennedy Center. And Burnett joins an impressive company, previous winners Tina Fay, Will Farrell, Ellen Degeneres. Carol Burnett joins us by phone now. Congratulations and welcome.

CAROL BURNETT, COMEDIAN (via telephone): Thank you so much, Victor. It's lovely to talk to you guys.

BLACKWELL: So what was your reaction when you heard about this honor? BURNETT: I was thrilled. Actually, I had been asked for a few years, but it couldn't -- I couldn't work it into my schedule. And I felt just terrible about that. But now, having it come at this age, I'm happy I didn't do it before.

CABRERA: Well, people call you an institution. They say you are a legend, and this award is a long time coming. Can you give us just a sneak peek of what we might expect from you on tomorrow night's PBS show?

BURNETT: Oh, well, actually, I'm going to watch the show, which I'm very excited about, some of the people who are on, I'm just thrilled. And then, I'm supposed to get up and, you know, at the end, and accept the award, and just, you know, give a few remarks, which I will do. I'm not a stand-up comic. By that, I mean, I don't do jokes or anything -- I couldn't tell a joke to save my soul.


CABRERA: But you know how to make people laugh.

BURNETT: -- people with stories and so forth. And then probably close with our theme song.

BLACKWELL: You know, one of the great things our producer, Jason, this morning was talking about when the advertisements come on for the box set of the old "Carol Burnett Show," he sits there and watches the whole thing. You know, that famous skit of you as Scarlett O'Hara and --

BURNETT: Oh, yes.

BLACKWELL: -- and the curtain rods and the curtains. How has comedy changed since then?

BURNETT: Well, I think what's happened is it's gotten -- I'm not sure I like the term so much, but it's used a lot -- edgier. And I don't mind edge, because I'm not a prude at all. But when it's just for the reason -- just being scatological, whatever, just to get a laugh, that's a very cheap laugh. Some of the shows I've seen are -- it sounds as if they were written by a bunch of teenaged guys in a locker room, you know. And that's not clever writing to me.

The clever writing -- I mean, the classic clever writing actually was on, in my view, "All in the Family," "Bob Newhart," "Mary Tyler Moore." Those were great, great writers. They were clever. They were character-driven. They weren't just there for some sort of a blue joke.


CABRERA: Yes, Carol, I want to ask you about something that's been making news a lot lately. There's seemingly been a great deal of controversy over "Saturday Night Live" now being called "Saturday White Live," lacking diversity. What does one of the all-time American comedy greats say about this issue? BURNETT: You know what? It's on too late for me.


CABRERA: So to you it's just a nonissue? You don't care?

BURNETT: No, no, no. I think they've had some -- they have some wonderful people, and they've had wonderful people over the years. You know, you get in a slump, and then along comes somebody else that's going to raise it u up. You know, I remember we were very low in the ratings on, like, our third year, fourth year, whatever it was. But they had faith in us, and so we kept on, you know, trucking along. And then we got better, I think, in the eighth, ninth, tenth, 11th years.

BLACKWELL: What's the value of diversity in a show like that?

BURNETT: Pardon me?

BLACKWELL: What's the value of diversity in a show like that?

BURNETT: Like ours?


BURNETT: Well, you know, when I wanted to do a variety show on CBS, they tried to talk me out of it, because they said, "Carol, it's a man's game." And I -- whoa, OK. But this is all I know. And I don't -- they said, we have this great sitcom we'd like to you do called, "Here's Agnes." Can you picture that? Anyway --


CABRERA: A lot of people would say you broke through a glass ceiling.

BLACKWELL: Indeed, 30 million a week.

BURNETT: Yes. But I just said I don't want to be one character every week. I want to -- you know, variety -- variety, variety, to have music, dancers. We had a 28-piece orchestra. We had the company, guest stars. It was like doing a music comedy review a week, which is -- that's theater background that I had. And I just -- that's what I wanted to do.

But I was not the first woman. This is a mistake people make. I was the first woman to host a comedy variety show, but Dinah Shore was the first woman to host a musical variety show.

BLACKWELL: Carol Burnett, receiving the Mark Twain prize at the Kennedy Center tonight. It will be on television, I guess, late November. Congratulations again. Thank you for being with us.

BURNETT: Thank you, Victor. Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: Congratulations, Carol.

BURNETT: Thank you, darling. Bye.

CABRERA: One mom is asking the question, what's your excuse? And she's showing off her trim body along with her three children. And now some people are accusing her of fat-shaming. She's answering those critics and she's joining us next.


CABRERA: This morning, we're talking about the mom who is sparking controversy all over the nation. We're talking about Maria Kang, mom to three young children. She's also a business owner and a former fitness model. She posted this shot on her Facebook page, a picture of herself with her three children, and the caption, "What's your excuse?" It set off a firestorm. People have accused Maria Kang of being a bad mom, Photo-shopping that picture, even bullying.

A Facebook user named Fiona wrote "Please do not assume that your situation is everybody else's. Don't fat-shame." Maria Kang is joining us on Skype from Sacramento, California. Thanks for joining us, Maria. We certainly appreciate your time today.


CABRERA: So many people see that picture of you with your children, and they say, wow, she looks great. But wait a minute, she can't look inside my life. It's not fair for her to say, what's your excuse? Can you understand why people are kind of worked up when this?

KANG: Yes, absolutely. I think that a lot of people obviously struggle with their weight. We have a weight issue in America. So a lot of people have a lot of excuses right now why they are overweight. What I'm saying is, what's your excuse? It's an open-ended, thought- provoking question, meant to inspire others to work out.

CABRERA: So your goal was ton inspire, not necessarily to judge other, which some people interpreted that comment as more of a judgment. And they're criticizing your parenting now. In fact, on Facebook, one woman wrote -- a woman named Sarah, "There is no way this woman has an hour a day to spend with her children between blogging, reading every reply, working out daily, and working full time. She's supposed to have us believe she's a stellar, role model mother?" How do respond to people who really know nothing about you personally and they comment on your parenting?

KANG: You know what, I think there's a big fallacy about being healthy and -- you know, what I do, is I work out 30 to 60 minutes, very intense, focused, work outs, five to six days a week, and the majority of my health comes from the nutrition. I'm running around. I do go to fast-food restaurants, but I do make the healthier choice.

So I'm not prejudging other people. I don't know what's going on with other people's lives. I'm saying do what you can to be a role model to your kids, because I'm a good mom. I'm choosing to be healthy for my kids. I won't say I'm overweight because I give everything to my kids and nothing -- I don't make myself a priority. I don't think that should be the message we should be sending America or our family.

CABRERA: Certainly the "What's your excuse?" slogan has been used on all kinds of posters. We have an image of Josh Lundquist, a boy running a race, by many accounts was to be inspirational, which you say is your goal. And while you're not handicapped or elderly, do you think you are being unfairly targeted?

KANG: I think that it -- you know what? I'm a fit mother of three young kids. And I think that I'm posing a very challenging question, because we're facing challenging times with the weight problem and with childhood obesity and the challenges of being a mother. So I definitely think that I am being unfairly targeted, but at the same time I completely empathize where everybody is coming from.

CABRERA: And we all have our ways to get motivated. I still go back to the old Nike slogan, "Just do it," when I'm lacking motivation or it's hard for me to get out the door to go for a run or something. I know you want to inspire. You want to help motivate. What's your advice for those busy working moms who seem like they just don't have any time in the day to spare?

KANG: You know what, if you have just five minutes or ten minutes, any type of movement is healthy for you. The most important thing is to make it a goal, to decide right now, to take any image, any word, and say I'm going to take this as a positive. I'm going to make this into a positive action. So first you have to do, you have to make a goal you'll be healthy for your family, for your kids. And the second thing is to create a plan, create a workout, whatever is feasible for you, and to make sure you're getting good nutrition throughout the day.

CABRERA: Clearly you're doing something that works for you in your life. Maria Kang, we appreciate you coming on and talking with us this morning.

KANG: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

CABRERA: Victor?

KANG: Next on Newsroom, our friend Carlos Diaz rolls on in with the rivalry bus live from South Bend, Indiana. Carlos?

CARLOS DIAZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we have a great match-up tonight between USC and Notre Dame. And we are live here at South Bend. We'll tell you about that big match-up.

Plus, last night we had a major upset in college football. Stick around to find out what's going on.


BLACKWELL: The rivalry bus is on the road today.

CABRERA: And this week's stop is in South Bend, Indiana, counting down tonight's game between Notre Dame and USC. Carlos Diaz is joining us live with more. Good morning, Carlos. DIAZ: Good morning. Ana, the rivalry between USC and Notre Dame started in 1926. It was as a result of Knute Rockne's wife getting together with the wife of USC's athletic director at the time and wanting to have a cross-country rivalry, and it's grown since then. Both schools are four and two. Neither are ranked. You can throw Rutgers out the window when you have a great rivalry like this at Notre Dame.

And the people of Los Angeles want great news after the L.A. Dodgers were knocked out of the playoff picture last night. The St. Louis cardinals are headed to the World Series after beating the boys in blue. Rookie pitcher was stellar for the red birds. He didn't give up a single run in the two games he pitched earning him MVP honors. After playing in 45 postseason games, Carlos Beltran is finally headed to his first World Series. It's the franchise's fourth appearance since 2004 and the second in the last three seasons. Congratulations to Cardinals' fans.

And later tonight, the American League championship series continues in Boston. The Red Sox can meet the Cardinals in the World Series with a win over the Tigers tonight.

A major upset in college football last night. Eighth-ranked Louisville lost to unranked UCF. That's right, Louisville blew a 21 point lead in the third quarter. Central Florida scored the game winner with only 23 seconds left in the game. This is Louisville's first loss of the season, and now a spot in the Orange Bowl is in jeopardy for the Cardinals. Final score, 38-35, UCF.

So we're waiting for the big match-up tonight between USC and Notre Dame. A little trivia for you, in the movie "Rudy," what famous actor convinced Notre Dame to go for the touchdown which allowed Rudy to get on the field at the end of the game? Do you know the famous actor?

BLACKWELL: No, I don't. Who is that?

DIAZ: Vince Vaughn. There you go. In the movie "Rudy," in the huddle, there you go.

BLACKWELL: Carlos Diaz, thank you.

CABRERA: Thank you for joining us. We're out of time.

BLACKWELL: Let's hand it over to Fredricka Whitfield. Hey, Fred.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Ana, Victor, thank you so much. Good to see you guys. Have a great day and we'll see you again for tomorrow morning.