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Escaped Convicts Captured; JPMorgan Chase Settlement Nearing; Child Found in Greece; Bishop Called To Vatican For Lavish Spending; Titanic Violin Auctioned For $1.7 Million; New Look At Armstrong's Doping Scandal; Mr. Booker Goes To Washington; NYPD: We're Not Searching For Banksy; African-American Film Renaissance

Aired October 20, 2013 - 14:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All of them want to know if this mystery child might be related to them. We have a latest on what officials know about her.

First up, two convicted murders who whistled their way out jail with forged documents are now behind bars. This is our first look at these men after a nationwide manhunt. Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins were in court this morning in Panama City, Florida. It was a big sigh of relief for law enforcement when they were taken into custody last night.


MICHAEL CREWS, FLORIDA CORRECTIONS SECRETARY: These were two hardened convicted felons. And the thought of them being out there in our state caused me great concern. And I also want to say to the family members of the victims that these two individuals had convicted crimes against previously. You can only imagine what they have been going through as well knowing that they were out there. So, I'm very thankful that these two individuals are back where they belong which is in custody.


WHITFIELD: Nick Valencia is following the story from Panama City.

So Nic, what happened in court this morning?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the suspect spoke briefly. They just said their names. They were present via video conference from the May County jail, 50 miles away from where we are standing here outside the courthouse. The judge said that they are being hold on one count of trying to escape with no bond. But it was a very brief court hearing, very brief first appearance for both Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins. The whole thing lasted under five minutes.

Right now, the investigation is ongoing and the key to this investigation now, Fred, as you mentioned in leading this, really just trying to figure out how they got their hands on these forged documents or perhaps who gave them to them and if there is any other types of similar schemes out there right now -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Have investigators said anything about other people on the inside that may have been involved?

VALENCIA: Interestingly enough at a press conference yesterday, we heard from the family members of the two suspects who were on the run. And they made it a point to reiterate that they had nothing to do with the suspect's escape. That they were completely unaware that anything was wrong. They thought their release was legitimate. And investigators have not told us that they believe that the families were involved at all. And right now, that is the million dollar question really is who else was involved in this.

Our earlier CNN analyst Mark O'Mara talked about how this -- his believed that this is an inside job, perhaps somebody in the clerk's office that knew exactly how to file this paperwork and really get it through the system.

Also, I believe we have sound from the U.S. marshals who talked about really how a genius this escape was for both Walker and Jenkins. Take a listen.


FRANK CHUMENTO, CHIEF INVESTIGATOR, U.S. MARSHALS SERVICE: This is the first time that we have heard the elaborate scheme where we have had two criminals serving time for homicides that basically did not escape as an over the wall escape, but through a scheme like this.

So, as far as what would stop people from doing this, I think that now, the prosecutors, the judicial system law enforcement we are aware of this. This is probably the first time it has ever occurred in our country. And I think we will all be more attune to this to prevent it from happening again and implementing measures to prevent any court documents like this from going through.


VALENCIA: And new information this morning, Fred. It is how they were arrested. It came from a tip from an acquaintance. And according to officials, Walker and Jenkins were in this motel together and they were waiting on a ride to come from Atlanta. It is unclear where they were expecting to go from there -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Nick Valencia. Thanks so much from Panama City, Florida.

All right, JPMorgan Chase has tentatively agreed to pay $13 billion to settle a civil suit with the U.S. Justice Department. The suit accuses JPMorgan of knowingly selling bad mortgages to investors in the run up to the 2008 financial crisis. The deal only settled civil actions and it doesn't shield the bank from possible criminal prosecution.

In California, an allied service bay area rapid transit train struck and killed two workers on a section of track northeast of San Francisco. Officials at Bart say they were looking into a possible dip in the rail when it was hit Saturday. The accident comes as Bart's union workers remain on strike over a variety of issues including wages. The accident is now under investigation.

Newly elected Pakistani prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, is set to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House this week on Wednesday. Meanwhile, a senior administration official tells CNN, the U.S. will release $1.6 billion in aid to Pakistan. The official cites improved relations between the two countries. Tensions escalated after the U.S. military raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden back in May of 2011.

OK, the first numbers on the Affordable Care Act sign ups are in and despite Web site glitches, around a half a million people have made it through the online application process. And that isn't enough, however, for Republican Senator Ted Cruz.

On "STATE OF THE UNION" this morning, Cruz says the buck needs to stop at the top of health and human services.


DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kathleen Sebelius, Some of your colleagues are saying she should resign. Do you agree with that?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Absolutely, she should resign. Why? Because the program that she has implemented, Obamacare, is a disaster. It is not working. It is hurting people all across the country.


WHITFIELD: CNN's Chris Lawrence is in Washington this morning.

So Chris, the site was down Friday for maintenance. We are talking about, you know, signing up for healthcare. What is the status now? Is it back up and running?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: It is running, Fred. Every weekend they take it down for some maintenance and then bring it back online trying to fix some of the many glitches that really, really frustrated a lot of would-be users.

So, as you mentioned, nearly half a million people have gone through the application process. That means they have filled out applications. That is very difference actually enrolling. That would be the key step. That is the key number to keep an eye on. How many of those folks ultimately get enrolled because the Obama administration needs to get about seven million people only enrolled within the first six months or so of this program.

Again, we have been talking about those glitches, people getting error messages, not being allowed to create passwords or log ins. It has been a very frustrating process. But as you mentioned, some have made it through -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: And of course, we heard from Senator Ted Cruz just moment ago asking for Kathleen Sebelius, her resignation, so how much heat is she under right now?

LAWRENCE: She is under a lot. I mean, a lot of our critics are saying look, if this was a company and it had such a disastrous roll out like this, the CEO would very likely be fired. And that sort of the comparison that they are making.

On the other hand, the Obama administration to the White House says it has complete confidence in her. In earlier this morning CNN asked that question, you know, to get some reaction from former house speaker Nancy Pelosi about the possibility of Sebelius stepping down.


NANCY REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: I do think what has happened is unacceptable. It has to be fixed and that is what will happen. And I believe when the president comes forward he will have what the fix -- how it has been fixed and what the process is from here forward.


LAWRENCE: She also called talk of Sebelius stepping down quote "ridiculous." Obama administration officials say that the underlined product, the actual insurance is still a good one. They still have confidence that these glitches can be fixed. Critics say they are not glitches. They are fundamental problem in the software -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Chris Lawrence. Thanks so much for that.

Of course, we actually have more from Ted Cruz. This controversial senator says all he is trying to do is change the way Washington operates.

Plus, more on the mystery surrounding this little girl that you are about to see, right there. I'm talking to the spokesman for a charity that is trying to find out who she is and where her biological parents are.


WHITFIELD: A mystery is unfolding around a 4-year-old little girl found in a town in Greece with the man and woman who are not related to her. Now a charity is trying to find out who this little girl is and for where she came.

Costas Yannopoulos is the president for the charity called the Smile of a child and he joins us right now via Skype from Athens.

OK. So, what kind of response have you been getting because, you know, we talked with your organization yesterday and apparently you received a whole lot of feedback?

COSTAS YANNOPOULOS, PRESIDENT, THE SMILED OF A CHILD: There are a crazy number of people that are calling in over our line, the hotline. And also 200,000 businesses on our site and 500,000 visits on our facebook. And mostly from international connections that we have with people that are trying to find out what is happening.

WHITFIELD: And what are they saying because this little girl is suspected that she may have been removed from her biological family in some way, maybe when she was an infant, certainly under the year of -- under the age of a year old. So, is anyone trying to draw a connection or saying they had a child that, you know, was abducted or they know of someone whose child has been missing since it was just an infant?

YANNOPOULOS: There are many people are trying to connect it. But all these people are being transferred, of course, to the police that they are trying to have a DNA match. But I hope that there is going to be some people that are looking for her because if they goes kind of selling during her very early time of her life then we won't have these people.

So -- but we have become across the guest (ph) of Romans and the connection between Bulgaria and Romania and Greece and their trafficking and selling and buying children. So, I think -- we are opening here a kind of something that we are talking in Europe but we really ever come across in reality as we come with the child now.

WHITFIELD: All right, Costas Yannopoulos, thank you so much. President for the charity called the smile of a child trying to take care of this little girl until investigators can locate her real family.

So, right now, I'm also joined by Michele Clark, the former director of the anti-trafficking unit for the organization for security and cooperation in Europe.

So Michelle, what happens now. If so many people have reached out, how in the world do investigators go about trying to match this child with the right family?

MICHELE CLARK, FORMER DIRECTOR, ANTI-TRAFFICKING UNIT, OSCE: The most important thing to figure out was, was this child trafficked? And it is important to develop a broad definition of human trafficking at its core. Trafficking is exploitation of people. Children are exploited for begging usually or for sex, in some cases for household work. Many of the groups you see across the large cities of Europe and the United States where there is a mother and a child usually looking very sick, very weak. These are run by organized begging rings that are making a lot of money of these instances. It is very rarely (INAUDIBLE) do you see a mother and her owned child.

WHITFIELD: And in your own view, these begging rings, they are known to also set up shop in that Roma that gypsy community in that section of Athens where she was spotted? Is that correct?

CLARK: Yes. This is very correct. There are a number of Roma begging rings around some of the larger cities of Europe including Athens, yes.

WHITFIELD: OK. Now, what kind of advice are you giving to people as result of this? Does this kind of, you know, lift the veil, reveal to people that children are not just -- when they are abducted or if they are abducted, it is not just for sex slavery. So, I think that is what first comes to mind for a number of people. That indeed there is this other splinter that you think of. There is child begging and how pervasive is this in your view?

CLARK: Fredricka, that is a perfect question to be asking. Because these rings usually are organized my populations that we consider traditionally as marginalized, a lot society thinks of them as invisible. We don't pay attention to the beggars in the street. You know, pay attention to the sick little children in the train stations and the metro stations. Just think isn't it too bad that people aren't taking care of their kids? In fact, it is plan, it is organized, it is calculated and it makes a lot of money.

We need to start viewing these as situations of abuse. Authorities need to start paying attention. When they get calls, they should investigate the calls and act and treat this as the crime, the organized crime that it is.

WHITFIELD: All right Michelle Clark, thank you so much former director of the anti-trafficking unit for organization for security and cooperation in Europe. We appreciate your time.

CLARK: Thank you very much.

WHITFIELD: Of course, everybody is wishing the best of this little girl and that will be connected the right family and a caring one of that.

All right. Let's talk politics straight ahead in this country. Is Hillary Clinton running for president? She hasn't said but a lot is being read into this appearance 24 hours ago. We'll have that next in the NEWSROOM.


WHITFIELD: In Washington, bipartisan teams are negotiating budget a deal to keep the government funded. But as of today, they have less than 90 days before the money runs out the second time. And the potential of another shutdown on January 15th. And to make matters more uncertain, Tea party Republicans say they are not giving up their fight to defund Obamacare and flip force another shutdown in January.

Gloria Borger is CNN's chief political analyst and this morning for "STATE OF THE UNION."

So Gloria, many Americans thought we were in the clear. That was behind us. Another shutdown that is. On "STATE OF THE UNION" today, you talked with Senator John McCain who said there will be no second shut down. Let's listen into what he said.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: There are so many things that we can do and in a positive agenda and get off of this. Just keep up the fight against Obamacare but don't shut down the government. I'm very confident that the American people will not stand for another repetition of this disaster.


WHITFIELD: So the American people will not stand for it. But why is he so certain that Republican won't stand for it either?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he thinks that Republicans are looking at the same polls that he was looking at during this shutdown. And two-thirds of the American public blame the Republican party. Do not want to shutdown the government. Blamed Republicans by 20 points more than they blamed the president.

And I think, in hearing John McCain this morning, he made it very clear. Look, he thinks this was a losing fight for them. And he pointed out in his state of Arizona, hat there was tremendous economic damage. So, you know, his point is, why would the Congress want to do more economic damage to the country?

WHITFIELD: And as for his Republican colleague Senator Ted Cruz, Cruz told us our Dana Bash that he doesn't serve the Republican party and this is what he had to say about another potential shut down.


BASH: You are deliberately not ruling it out.

CRUZ: What I'm saying is the top priority -- there are a lot of politicians in Washington who want to put Obamacare behind us. Say OK, fine, no more discussing Obamacare. And you know what, the American people are not satisfied with that.


WHITFIELD: So, he says, you know, he is going to make, he and others would make another attempt to defunding Obamacare at all cost. Is there a feeling that his influence is on the rise or as a result of that government shutdown that perhaps his popularity or his influence has just hit the brakes?

BORGER: Well, it defends where you go. I mean, Dana Bash went to Texas this weekend and she said that Ted Cruz was treated like a celebrity there. That people really behind him. But if you look at the Republican party in Washington, particularly in the United States Senate, these are people who don't much like Ted Cruz because they believe that he and his cohorts outside of Congress are trying to primary them fast forward past midterms of the presidential race, 2016. Hillary Clinton campaigning for her friend in Virginia. Terry McAuliffe running for governor there.

So, is Clinton likely he the face for the Democratic ticket? Might she has been kind of sticking her toes in the water and possibly Cruz, possibly, in the race or the Republicans?

BORGER: Well, I think Hillary Clinton is a lot more likely at this point than Ted Cruz. You will have to say Hillary Clinton is the over whelming favorite if she decides to run. And it certainly look like she is going to in the Democratic party.

I asked John McCain about Ted Cruz today saying, you know, would he be the most attractive nominee for the Republican party in 2016 and I have to say he was, to put a nice word, he was demure about it.

WHITFIELD: Interesting stuff.

All right, thank you so much. Interesting. Days ahead. Months ahead.

Gloria Borger, good to see you.


WHITFIELD: All right coming up, hundreds of homes destroyed by wildfires. We have dramatic pictures of people struggling to save the houses, still in the path of those flames.


WHITFIELD: Bottom of the hour. Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

Here are five things crossed in the CNN news desk right now.

Number one, two convicted killers are back behind bars today after being captured in Florida. Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins were arraigned this morning on one town each of the escape. They got out of jail based on forged documents that shows their sentences were reduced. They were captured at a motel in Panama City last night.

Number two, the first number on the Affordable Care Act signed ups are in. The government says around half a million people have now made it through the online application. The site was down Friday for maintenance but it is back up and running. President Obama is expected to talk about how the site is doing at a healthcare event tomorrow at the White House.

Number three, a Long Island man was arrested at JFK airport for allegedly trying to board a JetBlue flight with a bag of knifes and scissors. Of course, authority officials say Timothy Schivo also had lighters and other dangerous objects in the bag. Schivo admitted to owning the bag's contents. He has been charged with criminal possession of Quick of a weapon.

And number four, a quick stint in jail for ex-San Diego mayor, Bob Filner is over. He was booked yesterday morning and released a few hours later. This, of course, is all part of Filner's plea deal. He admitted to false imprisonment and battery charges against women. Filner will serve three months of home confinement, three years of probation and be required to undergo mental health treatment.

And number five, they are celebrating in Boston. Last night, the Red Sox won the American League defeating the Detroit Tigers in the bottom of the seventh inning. Shane Victorino hit the grand slam off to Detroit Tiger's both hands propelling Boston to a serious flinching 5- 2 win. Boston won the best of seven series in six games. The Red Sox beat the St Louis Cardinals in the World Series. Good luck.

All right, firefighters in Australia aren't getting any help from the weather today. Forecasters are expecting a couple of days of high temperatures and strong winds. The area around Sydney has been hit by nearly a hundred fires in recent days destroying hundreds of homes. We have more from seven networks in Australia.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: The last line of defense. A firefighter stands guard ready to protect homes as a resident tries to help with the watering can. (INAUDIBLE) to confine the flies edging dangerously close to properties that failed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we can get this in we will stop and take it up to the houses.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: From the air, they scallop the emergency confronting the area, around it becomes clear. And active fire front more than 300 kilometer burning along the (INAUDIBLE) towards a small townships.

Bob Salivevic isn't lazing, but he is on edge. How do you feel knowing that there is a huge fire down the bottom of the valley and it is heading to your home?

BOB SALIVEVIC, RESIDENT: Well, I'm not comfortable, obviously. But I think it is quite survivable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: His children have returned home to help. Many of Bob's neighbors have decided to leave. Firefighters have managed to fill strong containment lines protecting homes for another day, but the situation could change at a moment's notice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'd take a minute at a time, an hour at a time, we just deal with what we see in front of us.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER (voice-over): Residents who aren't under threat are being urged to stay in the area. If they stay they face the likelihood of being isolated for days without power or access to medical assistance.

(voice-over): Whatever locals decide to do, they should do it before it is too late.


WHITFIELD: Now to Germany where a Catholic bishop is under fire for his extravagant spending of the church's money. The so-called "Bling Bishop" has been summoned to the Vatican to explain all of it. Here's CNN's Diana Magnay in Berlin -- Diana.

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, a bishop who spends $42 million of the church's money building himself a lavish new residence then flies first class to India to visit social services for the poor. Catholics in Germany are furious. They want the bishop of Limburg to resign. The pope is being consulted and a commission is investigating. It is a real test case for Pope Francis who preaches a message of modesty and humility. How fast and how effective can he be in vanishing priest who live like princess? -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Thank you so much, Diana. All right a violin that was played as the Titanic sank sold for $1.7 million at an auction. You might remember the scene from the movie. A survivor said that Wallace Hartley's band played to calm passengers as the ship went down. His violin was auctioned in the U.K. yesterday.

Hartley's body was reportedly found in the water back in 1912 with the violin case still trapped to his back. The violin itself was found almost a century later in 2006 in an attic of a British home. The auction house says it determined that it was authentic by testing salt water deposits.

All right, new revelations about Lance Armstrong's doping, from two investigative journalist who just wrote a book about the disgraced cyclist. Our Anderson Cooper gets the details coming up next.


WHITFIELD: Lance Armstrong was once a seven-time Tour De France winner and one of the most inspiring athletes in the world, but his dramatic fall from grace has tarnished his legacy. A new book "Wheelmen" claims to give insight into how Armstrong got away with doping for so long and who helped him. CNN's Anderson Cooper spoke to the authors who were both reporters for the "Wall Street Journal."


VANESSA O'CONNELL, AUTHOR, "WHEELMEN": Yes, we've always viewed this as a business story. It's more than just doping and cycling or doping and sport. We view this as a story about a business enterprise, essentially, and cheating was at the heart of it.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN'S "AC 360": Did the fact that he also had this charity? Did he use that to kind of blunt criticism of him or suspicion of him?

REED ALBERGOTTI, AUTHOR, "WHEELMEN": Absolutely. The Lance Armstrong Foundation, which is now known as the Live Strong Foundation after this scandal really was his shield. I mean, he was fighting cancer. He wasn't just an athlete. He was above all that and that really in the minds of so many of his fans and followers protected him over those 14 years.

O'CONNELL: He would even say, sometimes, you know, I survived cancer, why would I take drugs? And people believed it. It gave him a special status in the eyes of the public.

COOPER: What happens to him now? I mean, he's still facing at least one lawsuit, correct?

ALBERGOTTI: And it's a big -- Floyd Lannis filed a lawsuit under the Ferrell False Claims Act as a whistle blower, essentially blowing the whistle on the U.S. Postal Service violation of the contract. Lance Armstong's team violated the contract by doping and the U.S. Department of Justice has joined that lawsuit to the tune of potentially $120 million.

O'CONNELL: The lawsuit really points to business themes that I think we bring up in the book for instance, Armstrong argues that the U.S. Postal Service should have known it got this marketing benefit by sponsoring the team because he won so many times. The postal service had the benefit of the media exposure of his victories and he's basically arguing in the lawsuit that the postal service should have known he was doping.

COOPER: It's obviously incredibly important to him to be able to compete in triathlons and that's one of the things he cannot do now, correct?


COOPER: Was he doping during triathlons after his cycling career?

ALBERGOTTI: I think there have been allegations he was. He was still working with McKelly Ferrari. But his side of the story, Lance's side of the story is that he wasn't doping, but helping with the training regimen.


WHITFIELD: All right, tonight CNN will have a lot more on Armstrong. Watch "The World According To Lance Armstrong" at 10:00 Eastern tonight.

All right, he is Newark's celebrity mayor and now Corey Booker is headed to Washington as a senator, but some people are saying there could be even bigger things in his future.


CHRIS EVERT: I'm not a Stephie Graff athlete, but I was a good athlete and it worked for me. Keep working on that. That is going to get you out of a lot of trouble. I'm the worst as far as remembering my results and my record. How many times did you win family circle cup. No idea. Sometimes I don't recognize that person because she was so focused and kind of so one dimensional.

And it was all about tennis and winning tennis matches and being number one and as soon as I became a parent I realized that life is so much more full and so much more depth in life than just becoming number one at something.



WHITFIELD: Same sex couples across New Jersey will start getting married one minute after the stroke of midnight. The State Supreme Court ruled Friday against temporarily preventing the marriages. That decision came after Governor Chris Christie appealed a lower court's ruling to allow same sex couples to marry.


MAYOR STEVEN M. FULOP, JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY: It is exciting. It's great to see families having the opportunity to formally be recognized.

EBONY BATTS, JERSEY CITY RESIDENT: It was like so much easier to go in and like a man and woman to provide typical information and get a receipt.

JOHN JONES, JERSEY CITY RESIDENT: For us the symbolic part of it is we wanted to wait and do it here in New Jersey, which was our home.


WHITFIELD: Among the public officials set to oversee wedding ceremonies just after midnight is Newark Mayor Corey Booker. And speaking of Mr. Booker, he is also celebrating his victory in last week's special election to fill New Jersey's vacant U.S. Senate seat. He has seen by many as a rising star on the national political stage.

Alexandra Field joins me now from New York with more on this. So what is in store for the celebrity mayor as he heads to Washington?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, he is a high profile mayor and he will now be the most freshman member of the Senate. So he is going to have to prove that he can work on a team, but he will also have to strike the right balance here because his party still needs him to be vocal and visible.


MAYOR CORY BOOKER (D), NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: You know, I'm going to try to be the best me possible.

FIELD (voice-over): So far that's worked for Senator-Elect Cory Booker. He has never had trouble drawing a crowd.

BOOKER: All rise?

FIELD: Which is why the New Jersey Democrat may get a very warm welcome when he goes to Washington. Rutgers University Political Science Professor Ross Baker.

ROSS BAKER, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY: I think he is a great asset to the Democrats. I think he will be a great fundraiser.

FIELD: Booker, the mayor of Newark is so widely known, he has a Twitter following of 1.4 million people. His campaign for the Senate boasted big celebrity endorsements. Marketing experts say he has a powerful and recognizable brand.

ALLEN ADAMSON, LANDOR ASSOCIATES: In Washington, he will have star power. I think he will be the biggest brand to hit Washington since Hillary.

FIELD: But if you ask the senator elect, he insists his time in Washington won't be about building a bigger name for himself.

BOOKER: There's a lot I have to learn so I'm going to work from my head and down and study and learn, learn, learn and then come back to New Jersey as much as possible to directly serve people as I have been doing as mayor.

FIELD: Back at Rutgers, Bakers if the mayor of Newark wants to succeed as a senator, he will have to prove he can work with others.

BAKER: He can be very visible. People will expect him to exude that incredible charisma that he has, but I think he will be well advised to keep it in check.

FIELD: A sound advice for any freshman in Washington, but it could prove tough considering the background. Some pundits are already saying Booker is a potential pick for a vice presidential run in 2016. For now it's a question he is quick to deflect.

BOOKER: Yes, look I've also heard that I might be a choice for the Giants right now. We are having a tough time this season so maybe I might get called in.


FIELD: All right, well, whatever he decides to run for, there won't be much of a break in campaign mode for Cory Booker. He only has 15 months in the Senate. That what's left of former Senator Frank Lautenberg's term -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: So Alexandra, what would be some of the biggest challenges for him in D.C. considering just as you heard from that professor. So you know, he has the name recognition that they haven't seen in a while in the Senate?

FIELD: Well, the advice that he is getting from a lot of political analysts is to prove his critics wrong right off the bat, show that he has substance not just style so the advice would be securing placements on some prominent committees and also getting a Washington staff that has some real Washington expertise and knows how the town works.

WHITFIELD: All right, Alexandra Field, thanks so much in New York.

All right also in New York the police deny that they are searching for the mysterious street and graffiti artist known as Banksy. Every day this month, Banksy has been unveiling new works around the city. They are pieces that are announced on his web site. Some of the surprise exhibits are stencils spray painted on streets and walls of buildings.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg calls the graffiti, quote, "a sign of decay and loss of control," end quote. But police tell us they have not launched an investigation of Banksy because they have not received any complaints of vandalism related to the artist. All right, on the big screen, film makers and producers coming together for a black renaissance at the movies. Why some say this is just the beginning?


WHITFIELD: All right, there is a renaissance happening in Hollywood this year. Among the movies topping critics' list several feature themes chronicling the African-American experience. As Nischelle Turner explains it is as much a business choice as an artistic one.


NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From overcoming slavery and the battle for civil rights to an inner city teen finding his footing. A glance at this year's critically acclaimed film shows an emerging trend.

GIL ROBERTSON: In 2013 has been a banner year with regards to the number of films that feature African-American themes.

TURNER: At least half a dozen major movies chronicled the black experience in America.

ROBERTSON: Take for example "42." Take for example "The Butler." Take for example the film, "The 12 Years of Slaves," those films really arrive at a threshold with regard to the quality that will put them in the running for Oscar consideration.

TURNER: The movies come from major studios and A-list American directors, producers and actors are on board.

FOREST WHITAKER, ACTOR: With so many projects I'm hoping that people are being able to have their voices heard and hopefully that's going to continue to expand an African-American community.

TURNER: Hollywood hasn't been so focused on African-American story lines since the flicks of the 1980s and 1990.

ROBERTSON: We have seen cycles like this before. This year I think the difference is the fact that a lot of the stories that have come out this year have realized a higher level and I think that the American attitude has changed.

TURNER: Because the face of America is changing, some crediting Washington for this creative wave from Hollywood.


UNDENTIFIED MALE: We were on a political high, you know, Obama has just been elected and people were excited about what that meant, meant for our future.

CHIWETEL EJIOFOR, ACTOR: People have talked about the kind of the Obama effect. People are interested and want to see movies that have diversity or are about different things, in that way, then, then in a way that allows them to be creative more.

TURNER: Many of these movies retell events and focus on the forgotten, which highlights the African-American family structure.

OPRAH: One of the things that I loved about this film and wanted to be a part of it is the tenderness and nurturing nature of the middle class family.

TURNER: For some the renewed focus on African-American narrative signals a lasting change.

GILBERTSON: I'm hopeful that this is the start of a new openness on behalf of the film industry to invest and to provide a platform for stories about the African-American experience. With regard to 2014, the schedule looks pretty descent.

TURNER: For others it is not about black or white but green.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think it is about any age of enlightenment. Those individuals that fight to get stories, it will go to just as dry much as ever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have to fund those movies. We just need to do it. The money is there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This should be the norm. I look forward to a time when it won't be an anomaly.

TURNER: Nischelle Turner, CNN, New York.


WHITFIELD: It wasn't exactly an order day at Wal-Mart. Here is why. An unlikely visitor shows up at this store in Florida and we go on gator patrol next.


WHITFIELD: "YOUR MONEY" is coming up next and today Christine Romans have a warning be ready for the next financial crisis out of Washington.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka. Take this can and fill it with a bunch of money and then take it down the road. I'm going to show you why the countdown to prices may be delayed, but it is far over. That is all coming up at 3:00 p.m. Eastern on "YOUR MONEY" -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, look forward to that. Thanks so much, Christine. People shopping at a Florida Wal-Mart near Orlando got more than they bargained for. What would you do in a case like this? Police in Orange County had to be called to the store because of an alligator, a really big one, wandering in front of the entrance shortly after midnight on Sunday.

Workers locked the doors. Police blocked off the area as the gator kind of hang out about an hour or so, and then they called the trapper. But the gator took off for a pond in the woods behind the store before the trappers could actually locate it.

And speaking of looking out, my gosh, base jumping competition kicks off in China. Check out these two men jumping off the bridge more than 1,000 feet off the ground and then finally 34 base jumpers from 15 different countries gather this weekend to take the challenge. The jumpers only have 5 seconds to open their chutes in the air. Just like that.

This is an acronym four kinds of fixed objects uses in the short including buildings antennas fans and earth. That spells nuts for me. In tonight's "PARTS UNKNOWN," Anthony Bourdain heads to South Africa and he looks at just how much the country has changed.


ANTHONY BOURDAIN, HOST, CNN'S "PARTS UNKNOWN": There was a definite pride of having been at the very center of things back when it was hard and dangerous to have an opinion. When you say you were born and bred here it means something.


WHITFIELD: That is all new Anthony Bourdain "PARTS UNKNOWN" tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern off to South Africa. All right, two escaped killers back behind bars right now. Florida prison officials think they got out by using fake documents and forging the judge's signature, but did they have help from someone on the inside? Our legal analyst and veteran Florida Criminal Defense Attorney Mark O'Mara joining me at 4:00 Eastern Time today. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. "YOUR MONEY" starts right now.