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Incognito: "I Am Not A Racist"; Atlanta Braves Moving To The Burbs; Cosby Working On New Shows; "Downtown Abbey" Gets Fifth Season; Marines To Disaster Zone; Children Of The Fallen

Aired November 11, 2013 - 16:30   ET



And in the "Money Lead", the closing bell on Wall Street just about a half hour ago at the end of a fairly quiet day. After dipping at the start of the day, the Dow closed up 21 points. Not huge but still enough to notch yet another record high. The S&P 500 did well, too, coming within inches of setting another record high of its own. Check those 401(k)s.

Well, you can order everything from the new John Grisham to a crossbow on Amazon, but say it's Friday and your book club meeting and/or hunting trip is Sunday, you're out of luck. Or at least you were, until now. Amazon today announced a deal with the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service to begin Sunday deliveries.

At first, it will only be available in New York and Los Angeles, starting this coming weekend, but it will expand to more cities next year. The Post Office needs any help it can get. It lost nearly $4 billion in the first three quarters of this year.

Now, I'm about to say something that you haven't heard since the year 2010. Savor it because we don't know how long this could last. Gas is under $3 per gallon, at nearly 20 percent of stations across the country. One major reason, according to an expert who spoke with CNN, is an influx of low-priced crude oil from Canada and North Dakota.

Now, the average cost per gallon is just $3.19 nationwide according to AAA. But prices are expected to keep falling through the end of the year, which is great news for everyone heading to Grandma's house this holiday season.

SCIUTTO: Coming up, when the level of destruction is this unspeakable, you call in the Marines. We'll show you what the American military is doing to try to help the people of the Philippines.

Plus, we will hear from a highly decorated retired general about what you can do to help our veterans when they come home from war. Stay with us.


SCIUTTO: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jim Sciutto. Today, President Barack Obama paid tribute to America's veterans by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. He also honored the service of the 107-year-old Richard Overton, believed to be one of the country's oldest living veterans.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today our message to all those who have ever worn the uniform of this nation is this. We will stand by your side, whether you're seven days out or, like Richard, 70 years out. Because here in America, we take care of our own.


SCIUTTO: Veterans are also being honored today by gamers. By now, you've heard of the wildly popular video game series Call of Duty. It's a first-person virtual realm that puts you in the boots of a fictional American soldier. Very realistic.

But for Activision, the company responsible for the blockbuster games, the real Call of Duty is to support our returning veterans. Four years ago, CEO Bobby Cotick founded the Call of Duty Endowment. The goal is to give vets from Iraq, Afghanistan and other military conflicts the opportunity and tools to find jobs.

And trust us, they need the help. Right now, the unemployment rate for young vets between 18 and 24 years of age is just over 10 percent, about three points higher than the national rate. Our Jake Tapper talked to the endowments co-chair, former Marine General Jim Jones, about the problem and possible solutions.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: So I have to admit that veterans' unemployment I find a little bewildering. It's more than 10 percent right now. These are some of the most highly trained, disciplined individuals that I have ever met. Why do you think veterans' unemployment is so high?

GEN. JIM JONES, CO-CHAIR, CALL OF DUTY ENDOWMENT: I think it's a combination of things. One is employers tell us that they have a hard time plugging into the network to find the veterans. That's one. Another one is employers who might not have any experience with the military themselves have a hard time equating the military occupational specialties with the needs of their work force. And sometimes it's just ignorance.

TAPPER: You're co-chairing the Call of Duty Endowment. One of the things you're trying to do, it's funded by Activision, is bring a businessman's perspective to the nonprofit world.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's our duty to help those who have helped us.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JONES: We came up with this wonderful idea to incentivize people whose passion it is to find jobs for veterans. So we rate organizations that purport to find jobs for veterans; we have metrics by how well they do. And if they do well, they are incentivized monetarily and also by more support.

TAPPER: One of the big problems from what I understand is that there are a lot of troops out there who have some psychological wounds, post-traumatic stress, and the stigma of that anecdotally might be preventing some employers from hiring these troops. How much do you think that that's a problem?

JONES: Well, I think it's a cultural thing, frankly. PTSD is, as we discuss it now, is really a relatively new term phenomenon. It's probably been around for a long time but didn't have a name. Probably in World War II they called it combat fatigue. But now it's PTSD. It has a name, it has a diagnosis, and we have treatments for it.

And one way to overcome it is to talk about it just as you raised it and to let employers know that the main thing to remember about veterans, the quality of these young people is astronomically high. Their skill sets are great, and there is a higher probability that if you hire a veteran that you are going to get more productivity out of him or her. And they are probably going to be, if treated well, they are probably going to be more loyal to whatever company they join for a longer period of time.

TAPPER: You're a veteran. You fought in Vietnam. You were there for the Tet Offensive. For Caison. What does that do to a person? What do memories like that, how do they affect you today?

JONES: I came away in awe of the -- just the American soldier in general, whether it be Marine, sailor, airman. The performance in Vietnam and every conflict I have been involved in, humanitarian operations where the military has really represented all that's good about America and all that's good about what we value. We may not always get it completely right every time, but I know of no country that tries harder than this country does.

TAPPER: I can't not ask you about at least one question from your time when you were the national security advisor for President Obama. Without revealing any secure information, are you confident that the National Security Agency, which I know is not separate and distinct from what you were in charge of -- are you confident that there has been no overreach by them, that there hasn't been any excessive surveillance of both Americans and our allies?

JONES: Well, let me tell you that creating director of national intelligence and harmonizing the various intelligence stovepipes that we have so that they work together, I know for a fact, have saved catastrophes in recent years in the capitals of friends of ours who are now publicly criticizing us.

But what would really be a shame is if people, friends of ours in particular, draw conclusions that are inaccurate. And there is no intelligence organization on the planet that does more good for the health and welfare and security of the planet than does the organization, the intelligence organizations of this country.

TAPPER: All right. General James Jones, thank you.

JONES: Thank you.


SCIUTTO: Just last week, the Call of Duty Endowment announced seven winners for its Seal of Distinction Veteran Employer Award. The honor comes with a $30,000 grant for those businesses leading the charge in hiring vets. You can learn more about this year's recipients and how you can get involved at

Coming up on the Sports Lead, he did it out of love? The alleged Miami Dolphins bully finally explains why he sent such vile texts.

Plus in Pop, get the cooty sweaters out of storage. Details of Bill Cosby's planned return to primetime.


SCIUTTO: Welcome back to THE LEAD. The Sports Lead, he says he was just joshing you. Pro football player, Richie Incognito, says he's not a racist and those vulgar texts send to teammate, Jonathan martin, they were, he says, out of love. Not how I talk to my friends. But for the first time since Martin left the Miami Dolphins following what one teammate called an emotional breakdown, Incognito is telling his side of the alleged bullying story. The suspended Dolphins lineman spoke to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer.


RICHIE INCOGNITO, SUSPENDED DOLPHIN'S LINEMAN: It sounds like I'm a racist pig. It sounds like I'm a meathead. It sounds a lot of things that it's not and I wanted to clear the air just by saying I'm a good person.


SCIUTTO: Incognito says Martin also sent him a friendly text four days after leaving the team for those reported emotional issues. The message came after the Dolphins eked out an overtime-win against the Bengals in primetime. Jonathan Martin is now in counseling and is expected to talk about the case this week with a league investigator.

The 755 Hank Aaron Drive will be a lonely place a few summers from now. The Atlanta Braves are heading north to the burbs. The franchise plans to build a new stadium in Cobb County closer to many season ticket holders in 2017. The Braves have been playing at Turner Field in downtown Atlanta since 1997, when the Olympic stadium was renovated for the baseball experience, but the team says the ball yard is in dire need of hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrades. The new park is expected to cost close to $700 million. Wonder how much of that tab taxpayers will be picking up.

Now let's hammer home the Pop Lead. Hammer being the operative word here, given we're talking about "Thor." The Norse God of thunder is the Hollywood god of the Box Office right now. "Thor, The Dark World" pulled in more than $86 million in its debut weekend. That's about 30 percent more than the original made in its opening weekend back in 2011, and it's Disney's best November debut ever. It didn't hurt that "Thor" appeared in "The Avengers" last year. It gave the superhero and the actor, Chris Hemsworth, that much more exposure.

If you were a fan of Bill Cosby during primetime in the 1980s like me or Saturday mornings in 1970s, also like me, you will appreciate this. Comedian and TV icon says he's working on two new shows. One is a family comedy similar to but not a remake of "The Cosby Show." He says many people have asked him for a TV show they can watch with their families and this new program would be for them. He is also working on a new "Fat Albert." The updated version would be like the old one, animated with Cosby live at the beginning and the end. "Fat Albert" was based on stories from Cosby's childhood in Philadelphia.

And if Downtown Abbey is more your speed, good news there, PBS plans to bring the historical drama back not just for a fourth season but for a fifth season, too. The show is set in the early decades of the 20th Century in England, with lots of neat costumes, beautiful locations, lots of English people but most importantly, big ratings. The show is the most popular drama in PBS history.

A storm that might have made history and showed no mercy, coming up, we go back to the Philippines to see how the U.S. Marines are trying to help ease the suffering of millions.


SCIUTTO: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jim Sciutto filling in for Jake Tapper. One American general said there were bodies everywhere after taking a chopper tour of the carnage in the Philippines. The Marines have now touched down in the nation to help more than four million people impacted by what could be the biggest storm ever known to man.

Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr has more on the U.S. military effort to help with humanitarian relief. Barbara, we hear that a U.S. aircraft carrier may now be on the way?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Jim. The carrier "George Washington" is in port in Hongkong, but in the last several hours, the crew has been ordered to return to the ship and begin to make preparations to set sail for the Philippines from Hongkong if ordered. They want to make the ship available. The Philippines government still has to ask for it, but they are getting ready to go. It will be a two-day transit to the Philippines from Hongkong. This will help considerably. The ship has helicopters, a lot of capability to move a lot of cargo and supplies around -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: U.S. Navy helped so much after the 2004 tsunami. How about the more than 200 Marines already on the ground there? I know one of their priorities is to get the airport opened quickly.

STARR: That is an absolute priority for the U.S. military indeed to help open the airport at Tacloban. It was so damaged. It can only operate in the daylight hours. Marines are moving in to help move supplies in, get things moving around. And Air Force combat air controllers, these are the people that run combat air operations in the war zone, they are also there. The situation is so serious and dire. They have a lot of expertise in getting airfields back open in very serious circumstances when things are heavily damaged. They are also trying to help, we're told, look for a step up in international assistance, a significant step up in the coming hours -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: We hope it gets there, lot of people taking refuge at that airport. Thanks to Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.

So our active duty military are working hard overseas, but here at home, we are spending Veterans Day remembering those whose service is part of our history. We honor those who sacrificed their lives for the nation, but we think it's important to also remember their children, the ones who have to grow up without a mother or a father who gave their lives. The pentagon channel is taking a closer look at these Goldstar children. Here's Jake Tapper with the story of one remarkable little girl.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): There are nearly 5,000 boys and girls we want to talk to you about, 5,000 boys and girls who will not have a mom or dad to tuck them into bed tonight. The military estimates that's how many American children have lost a parent in combat to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I'm a Gold Star child.

TAPPER: Cierra Becker was just 7 years old when the knock on her door came.

CIERRA BECKER, GOLD STAR CHILD: There is a Gold Star medal in the military and daddy was awarded that Gold Star medal after he passed away.

TAPPER: The children of the fallen are known as Gold Star children. Cierra's father, Staff Sergeant Shane Becker, was killed in Iraq in April 2007. "Gold Star Children," a documentary premiering on the Pentagon Channel tonight, traces the story of Cierra and her family.

BECKER: I sort of felt like the world almost was pressing down on me to make a decision sometimes, to make a decision whether to completely change my personality or just gloss over what happened or just act like daddy's here every day.

TAPPER: Now 14, Cierra is hoping the film and her story will help other Gold Star children continue to heal.

BECKER: When I say something to a kid who has just lost their loved one, is that yes, everything will be OK and you'll be OK, too. You'll laugh again and you won't feel guilty for laughing, or having fun, without the person that you lost.

TAPPER: The film pays attention to another special group of Gold Star children, those who lost a parent during the Vietnam War.

MITTY GRIFFIS MIRRER, GOLD STAR CHILD: So you knew not to ask your parent about the death of your father because it might upset her and you didn't want to do that.

TAPPER: Just hours after Mitty Griffis Mirrer was born, her father was killed in action in Vietnam.

MIRRER: For my generation, there was an estimated 20,000 American children who lost a parent in the Vietnam War. Virtually the 20,000 children or so were ignored and that was because of the circumstance of the country.

TAPPER: Mirrer produced and directed the documentary. She volunteers as a mentor for other Gold Star children and she hopes things will be different for them.

MIRRER: Newly bereaved military children need to find support with each other and be able to talk about that loss together.

BECKER: My name is Cierra. I'm 8 years old and I'm from Texas. I came because I lost my dad.

TAPPER: Thankfully, today Gold Star children like Cierra have many more options for support from groups like TAPS, a group that helps grieving military families. On this day, as Americans pause to honor the veterans, Cierra wants us to remember her dad, too.

BECKER: I just want them to know about my dad and about all dads is that they're all special and they all mean something and they will never be forgotten.

TAPPER: Jake Tapper, CNN, Washington.


SCIUTTO: Makes you think of your own children. The Pentagon Channel will air that documentary in full tonight.

That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jim Sciutto. Jake will be back tomorrow. Sarah Palin will join him for a sit-down interview to talk about her latest book on Christmas, her take on the Republican Party and her political future. That's tomorrow on THE LEAD at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. For now, I turn you over to the good hands of Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."