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Pivotal Choice For Pyongyang; Teddy Bear Bomb Found; One Week Away From Black Friday

Aired November 22, 2013 - 05:30   ET



SEN. HARRY REID, (D) SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: They have done everything they can to deny the fact that Obama was elected and then re-elected.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) SENATE MINORITY LEADER: In order to distract the attention away from Obamacare, the Senate has just broken the rules in order to change the rules.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The Senate goes nuclear. Democrats changing the rules, but will it change the tenor to something even more corrosive? Republicans already promising war.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): An 85-year-old American veteran detained in North Korea. His family desperate for his return. This morning, Will North Korea set him free for something in return, perhaps?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why would you put a bomb in a teddy bear in the first place?

BERMAN: Great question. A roadside bomb disguise as a children's toy. The mystery behind dangerous device just ahead.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Welcome back to EARLY START. Nice to have you with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN (on-camera): And I'm John Berman. Thirty-two minutes after the hour on this Friday.

SAMBOLIN: Happy Friday.

BERMAN: Happy Friday, indeed.

Not so much in Washington. It was a stunning, historic, some say, damaging vote in the U.S. Senate. Democrats going nuclear. Blowing up the rules that kept some of the president's nominations on hold. To use one last metaphor, the atmosphere there is simply radioactive. The Senate voting to eliminate filibusters when it comes to most nominees for federal courts in executive branch jobs. Now, a simple majority will be needed. Fifty-one votes, actually 50, because Joe Biden can break a tie, to move ahead with an up or down decision on a nominee, no longer needing the 60 votes required which has been the case for nearly four decades. The Democrats insist it was a necessary change. They blame political posturing, not substance, for being behind the repeated blockings of nominees under President Obama.

But Republicans, they say, this was a power grab in an effort to change the subject from the failures of Obamacare. A lot of charges going back and forth here. Republicans also saying this could hurt Democrats going forward.


REID: It is not just about Republicans versus Democrats. This is about the right for this institution to be evolved and remain responsive to the needs of our country and we have not been doing this.

MCCONNELL: It only reinforces the narrative of a party that is willing to do and say just about anything to get its way -- my friends on the other side of the aisle, you'll regret this and you may regret it a lot sooner than you think.


BERMAN: Three democrats voted against the move including Carl Levin, you're seeing right there from Michigan, who said it sets a dangerous precedent for the future. Republicans, John McCain, say Democrats will pay a heavy price for this move. President Obama who actually opposed such a measure when he was in the Senate now applauded the move saying obstruction cannot become the norm. And as I mentioned, he opposed the nuclear option when he was a senator.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-four minutes past the hour. Now, to what could be a pivotal decision for North Korea if it wants a relationship with the United States, whether to release two captive Americans, both of whom are battling health issues. One is a grandfather and Korean War veteran. Brian Todd has more.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's an 85-year-old retired tech company executive from Palo Alto, California. A long- time red cross volunteer who'd been looking forward to a trip to North Korea with a friend, but Merle Norman (ph) is now captive in that oppressive country and has been for nearly a month.

According to his son, Newman was near the end of an organized heavily monitored tour of North Korea when the subject of Newman status as a U.S. soldier in the Korean war came up at a meeting with North Korean officials.

VOICE OF JEFF NEWMAN, FATHER DETAINED IN NORTH KOREA: The Korean War was discussed and my dad's role in the service. We included -- I understand that my dad was a bit bothered. TODD: The next day, his son says, five minutes before his flight was to depart from Pyongyang, Merle Newman (ph) was pulled off the plane. His family hasn't heard from or about him since. What could have provoked the North Koreans to do this? Analyst, Jonathan Pollack (ph) who's been there twice says Newman could have said something even unwittingly that set them off.

JONATHAN POLLACK, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: He could have said something disparaging about the north. He might have said something about the history of the war, because again, as the North Koreans would have that this is a war of national liberation. You know, the north Koreans have all kinds of laws that they can front (ph) out for the occasion and with North Korea, all prices are subject to change without notice.

TODD: Secretary of state, John Kerry, calls Newman's detention disturbing. Former U.N. ambassador Bill Richardson is working his North Korean contacts to try to win his release.

(on-camera) Merle Newman (ph) has a heart condition. Kenneth Bae (ph), another American being detained in North Korea, has diabetes and other illnesses. Pollack has a warning.

POLLACK: The possibility that one or two Americans might die while being held unreasonably in captivity by North Korea is a scenario that would -- I would think that the North Koreans would find deeply troubling.

TODD (voice-over): Pollack says if that happens, the North Koreans could lose a chance at any kind of renewed contact or cultural exchanges with the U.S. which they badly want, and he says humanitarian groups which do so much to help the starving sick people in North Korea may cut that off.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


SAMBOLIN: A disturbing hate crime charges here for three students at san Jose State University. Listen to this --


SAMBOLIN: Prosecutors allege three White freshmen bullied their Black roommate, calling him names like three-fifths and fraction, decorating their suite with a confederate flag, Nazi symbols and pictures of Adolf Hitler, writing the "N" word on a White board, and even clamping a bicycle lock around his neck. And prosecutors say they forced him to wear that lock claiming that they lost the key.

This allegedly went on for months. The most disturbing part, four other roommates who were not involved apparently saw what was happening and did nothing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ERIN WEST, DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: This is a case about a 17-year- old boy who went to college and, over a period of almost two months, was harassed and bullied because of his race.

BILL VANCE, SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY: It's distressing. It's far more than embarrassing and sad and shocking to see it happen.



SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Hundreds of students protested on the campus. This was on Thursday. The university says that they are investigating. The three students charged could each face up to a year in jail. They have been suspended. They, obviously, could face expulsion and, of course, that jail time. This is just outrageous. There are parents who just have -- you know, they say my son is Black and goes to this university. This day and age?

BERMAN: It's shocking.

SAMBOLIN: Unbelievable. Unbelievable. Hopefully, zero tolerance for that.

BERMAN: Agreed.

All right. Thirty-eight minutes after the hour right now.


BERMAN (voice-over): One of Jerry Sandusky's alleged victims is now suing the former Penn State assistant football coach and the university. An attorney for the man known as victim 9 said his client failed to reach an agreement with Penn State to settle his claims. Victim 9 testified in Sandusky's trial that he was assaulted for almost four years dating back to when he was 12 years old. The university has settled claims with some 26 young men.

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): The murder trial of accused mass shooter, James Holmes, has been postponed indefinitely. Holmes is charged with opening fire in a Colorado movie theater last year, killing 12 and wounding dozen more. Earlier this week, prosecutors moved to have further mental evaluation citing an issue they call completely unexpected. The judge has now canceled the February trial date in order to deal with these requests. The defense opposes more mental tests for Holmes.

BERMAN: All right. This is a big story yesterday. A giant cargo jet that mistakenly landed at the wrong airport near Wichita, well, crisis averted. The giant mammoth gargantuan plane was able to take off again. You're seeing it just lift off from that tiny runway! It made its way back to the air force base that was supposed to have landed at in the first place.

It took hours, but engineers figured out by that removing some the fuel that the Boeing 747 dream lifter would be light enough to use the shorter than preferred runway. It took off luckily without incident. Still, there is an investigation underway --


BERMAN: -- trying to figure out just how this giant airplane managed to land at the wrong airport.

SAMBOLIN: Pilots scratching their heads. How did that happen?

BERMAN: The GPS didn't work.


BERMAN: Arriving at destination.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thirty-nine minutes past the hour. An incredible scene in Main. A small plane experiencing engine trouble landed on a crowded interstate during rush hour. The pilot managed to avoid causing any damage or injuries after setting down just outside of Portland. He did, however, leave a line of traffic stretching for ten miles on I-295 and you guessed it. The NTSB is investigating this as well.

BERMAN: All right. Five days since those deadly tornadoes ripped through the Midwest and for those who lost everything, many say the kindness of strangers helping them to get through this recovery including Madie Adams (ph). She is 11 years old and lives in Washington, Illinois. Her home was destroyed by a tornado, but her school I.D. was found in Chicago!

SAMBOLIN: Can you believe this story?

BERMAN: 150 miles away. That is crazy. The people who found it, they drove it to her to return it.


EVA SAVICKAS, FOUND SCHOOL ID: We just decided, well, obviously, we can't mail it because I'm sure no mailboxes anywhere. So, Tom just said we can just drive there.

MADIE ADAMS, TORNADO SURVIVOR: I didn't know what they were going to do or what they were going to say. I was happy they found my. I.D. This is going to be awesome. And, they just send it out to me. They were really nice people.



SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Going to be awesome!

BERMAN (on-camera): The littlest thing, an I.D. can make someone smile.

SAMBOLIN: That was very nice of you folks. A 150 miles to drive to return that in person. BERMAN: You should proud the people are nice.

SAMBOLIN: I know, right?


SAMBOLIN: Midwest turners (ph).


BERMAN: The weather, I understand, in Washington, Illinois, not so nice today.


BERMAN: Indra Petersons is here with the forecast.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. We're definitely still talking about some rain in the area, but actually, we can show you the current right now radar now. And you can actually see the bulk of the system is starting to exit out of the region and they got lighter rain than expected. So, that's the good news.

Do notice behind it, those are seeing some snow so what they're looking for some very cold temperatures in the forecast. Actually pulled up their exact forecast here. A little bit of rain/snow chance today but conditions improved. It should be dry over the next several days. Unfortunately, look at those highs, though. Below freezing. Very chilly temperatures expected for them.

That same system will continue to make its way across the Midwest into the Ohio Valley and the northeast today. So, looking pretty much all of us seeing these light showers out there. Maybe about an inch of rain farther south, maybe one to two inches of rain. But again, that's not really the big story with this.

It will continue to be the temperatures. We're going to be talking about temperatures behind that front, continuing to drop significantly here. I mean, look at this high, today, Atlanta 66 and St. Louis 43. I want to take you right in through Saturday where you're going to notice down to the 30s already.

Sunday being that huge drop where temperatures really go down to many places below freezing. That's about 20 degrees below normal even for this time of year by Sunday. So, big changes, winter from west to east, this weekend.

SAMBOLIN: How lovely.



SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Indra.

(LAUGHTER) BERMAN: All right. Indra, have a great weekend.


BERMAN: Coming up for us, a teddy bear bomb discovered on the side of the road. We will tell you where this happened coming up next.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. We have a strange story for you now. Disturbing from North Carolina where a teddy bear was found on the side of a country road with a bomb inside. This happened at a small town west of Charlotte. A man saw the stuffed animal, picked it up, and he noticed it smelt like gas and had wires attached.

So, he brought it home and left it outside and called police. I don't know if bringing it home was a great idea. Neighbors are asking how this all happened.


JESSIA BURGE, NEIGHBOR: I'm just trying to figure out why would you put a bomb in a teddy bear in the first place? Like, if anybody had picked it up, probably, it would be a little kid.

CHIEF JEFF LEDFORD, SHELBY POLICE: Try to clear this up as quickly as we can and maybe prevent something like this from happening again.


BERMAN: It's a great thing a kid didn't pick it up. A federal crime lab plans to take the bear apart, try to figure out maybe if they can get some signs of who built it. Sheriff's officials say they've seen explosives on the side of the road before, but they say never a bomb in a teddy bear.

SAMBOLIN: Moral of the story there is don't pick up anything you find on the side of the road like that, right?


BERMAN: -- call authorities right away.

SAMBOLIN: Let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan joining us now. Good morning.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, guys. Happy Friday.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, we got Democrats wanting the nuclear option down in Congress, not wanting it for Iran, but you know what, the story today, the FCC may allow us to use cell phones during airline flights. That's going to be a big deal. Already got protests from flight attendants, pilots, even some passengers. Is this a good idea? I thought it would be a no-brainer. Maybe not.

BOLDUAN: The answer is no!

But we have another story that we're following today. Thirty-six million people in the U.S. suffer from migraines, and now, more and more are seeking a controversial surgery to relieve that blinding pain. Many people who have had the procedure say they never had a headache again. But are there safety risks involved? There always is with a surgery but are there more risks with this one? Dr. Sanjay Gupta is going to explain.

SAMBOLIN: Those are two stories that seriously concern me so I'm going to be tuning in. Thank you very much.

BOLDUAN: Of course.

BERMAN: Thanks so much, guys. And Kate Bolduan is right. I don't think that a single sane person on earth who wants --


BOLDUAN: -- for everything, that I am right.

BERMAN: I am. Yes. If you are that person, get in touch with us, tweet us, and like I said, I will ridicule (ph) you.

Forty-seven minutes after the hour right now.

Time now for our "Morning Rhyme," these are the best tweets of the day. Today, folks, is serious and I think it's poignant. It's from Jackie Shicheti (ph), "It's Friday," she writes, "and while many of us are thinking of play, pay, or get away," she says, "we pause to remember JFK. It is November 22nd, 50 years since he was shot and killed in Dallas. An important time, I think, for a lot of people to remember.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, thank you for that.

BERMAN: So, you can come up with your own morning rhyme and tweet us with the hash tags morning rhyme or EARLY START. We love getting them.

SAMBOLIN: And coming up, another milestone for the market. The Dow hitting its highest points ever but what does it mean for your 401(k)? "Money Time" is coming up next.


SAMBOLIN: Can we listen to it a little bit? Welcome back to EARLY START. It Is "Money Time!" Christine Romans is here.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Wait me up when it's Saturday and that's what I want you to do.


ROMANS: -- in the history book --


ROMANS: -- for the Dow. The first close ever above 16,000. The Dow up 109 points yesterday. The NASDAQ and the S&P up too. So, what, what's so special about 16,000? Come on, it's just a round number, right? You guys, it's the perspective here that is so amazing. The Dow is up 145 percent from that low in 2009. Just this year, the Dow topped 14,000 in February and 15,000 in May.

And did you know that the latest 1,000-point move in the Dow took just 139 trading days? That's according to the Dow Jones research. That's the sixth fastest 1,000-point gain ever. What that means is a prospective is this has been amazing, tremendous gains enjoyed by 401(k) investors. The Dow up 22 percent for the year. It's on track to have the best gain since 2003.

It's all been awesome and what supercharged these rallies, really, is the money pouring into stocks. Morning Star estimates 172 billion with a "B" has cascaded into stock funds for the first ten months of the year. The most since 2000. Where do we go from here? I can't tell you that. I can tell you for sure, though, where we've been and it has been amazing.

All right. Well, just a week to go until Black Friday, a warning that Black Friday for too many people is red Friday. Charging up for gifts for themselves and others, but they're not able to pay it off by January. How much are we charging? During November and December of last year, consumers racked up more than $246 billion on their bank store cards or bank cards. That's not even counting the store credit cards.

Transunion says more than 131 billion was spent in December alone. A hint, that's more going into credit cards than going into the stock market. Those consumers were already in debt for many of them. That means those Black Friday sales, those deals, those bargains were not when you add the interest and the late penalties. Actually, Black Friday and all those deals cost a whole lot of consumers more than the retail price.

SAMBOLIN: I was waiting for this story, Christine, because that's typically what you do every year. You warn people.

ROMANS: I know. I am the bah hum bug correspondent at CNN from about the beginning --


ROMANS: Be careful out there, folks. Be careful, because if you can't pay it off by January, you're hurting your family. You're hurting your family, your future, and your finances if you can't pay it off by January. You don't need it.

All right. Last night, speaking of -- wow, this is crazy -- New York's Best Buy Theater at Times Square. Microsoft started what it hope will be a buying frenzy. It's new game consul. The Xbox 20, have you heard about this, zombies, Roman (INAUDIBLE), performances by pop stars, the Xbox went on sale at 12:00 a.m. this morning. It's game on in Sony. Analysts say they see demand rivaling Sony's PlayStation 4.


ROMANS: That started selling a week ago. They like, too, right? It's the first 24 hours of PlayStation 4. That one sold more than a million units. We're going to keep you posted on the Xbox one's progress. But clearly, retailers, game makers, and everybody, they want you to reach into your pockets.

BERMAN: Christine Romans, thank you so much.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BERMAN: Appreciate it.

SAMBOLIN: We'll be right back.


BERMAN: All right. We're going to end the week with a story of a high school senior who went on a long way to help a family. Brandon Richardson lives in New Hampshire and for a senior project, he decided to take a run, a 250-mile run from the Canadian border to the New Hampshire, Massachusetts line. He did it in three and a half days. This was a fundraiser for the family of a six-year-old with cerebral palsy.


BRANDON RICHARDSON, RUNNER: I met him and he is so personal and, you know, I felt like it was my responsibility to help him.

JIMMY SNOWDEN, FATHER OF 6-YEAR-OLD: Just as someone would think to come along and help us out is incredible.

RICHARDSON: This is nothing compared to what they go through, you know? This is a jog.


BERMAN: He raised 10,00 bucks for the family. They're going to spend it on their son's needs. Congratulations to him. What a great way to end the week.

SAMBOLIN: Brandon Richardson, a senior at Merrimack Valley High School. Congrats.

BERMAN: That is all for EARLY START for the week. "NEW DAY" starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Puts a chill on everything that requires bipartisanship.

CUOMO: Nuked. An historic change in the U.S. government. Democrats in the Senate taking away a key move for the minority. Will it end gridlock or just cause more animosity?

BOLDUAN: Can you hear me now? The government now to consider allowing the use of cell phones while flying. A much-needed advancement or huge annoyance?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Miracle cure. Dr. Sanjay Gupta with a possible new fix for migraines. Is it a game changer in the field? Could it work for you?

CUOMO: Your "NEW DAY" starts right now.

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


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to "NEW DAY." It is Friday, November 22nd, six o'clock in the east. Today marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination. And as America honors the legacy, the environment in Washington is anything but nostalgic. Senate Democrats dropping the nuclear bomb, voting to rewrite the rules in order to keep Republicans from blocking presidential nominees with filibusters.

Chief congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, is live in Washington, watching this situation for us. Good morning, Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. And you know, for years just the threat of this major Senate rules change, the nuclear option, had been enough to force the parties to compromise because the alternative was thought to be mutually assured destruction. Now, Democrats have launched and Republicans are all but threatening to retaliate.


BASH (voice-over): John McCain is a Republican who tends to work across the aisle and says by detonating the nuclear option, Democrats may have blown up any remnants of Senate bipartisanship.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: Puts a chill on everything that requires bipartisanship.

BASH: Republican feathers are so ruffled, agreement on issues that should pass may be harder to find.

MCCAIN: They're going to be difficulties from time to time where cooperation was probably the case in the past and will not be now.