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Democrats Go Nuclear!; Last Day Of Talks With Iran; Karzai Throws Major Curve; Growing Naval Corruption Scandal; Michael Skakel Released; Jackman Cancer Scare; Milestone for Dow Jones; JFK Assassination, 50 Years Later; Struggle for Iran Deal

Aired November 22, 2013 - 06:00   ET



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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: 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?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: 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.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) 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.

BASH: The historic rules change strips Republicans of their power to block the president's executive and judicial nominees, except the Supreme Court instead of 60 votes to break a filibuster it's now 51 votes, a simple majority. It's called the nuclear option for good reason. Just a few years ago, even Democratic Leader Harry Reid said he wouldn't do it, saying it would be --

SENATOR HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: That's a black chapter in the history of the Senate.

BASH: So what about now?

(on camera): Why isn't this a black chapter?

REID: Things have changed dramatically since 2005, dramatically. For the last four and a half years, they have done everything they can to deny the fact that Obama was elected and then re-elected.

BASH: Translation, GOP obstruction is unprecedented. To back that up, Democrats point to statistics from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. In the history of the country there have been 168 filibusters of presidential nominees. About half, 82, happened during the Obama administration.

SENATOR LAMAR ALEXANDER (R), TENNESSEE: In summary, this is a power grab.

BASH: Angry Republicans don't necessarily dispute Democrats' statistics about nominees they have blocked, instead they find to how many judges they have confirmed, 215 and rejected 5. The president opposed this tactic as a senator when Democrats were in the minority.

SENATOR BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS: If they choose to change the rules and put an end to Democratic debate then fighting and bitterness and the gridlock will only get worse.

BASH: He's changed his tune, too.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The vote today I think is an indication that a majority of senators believe, as I believe, that enough is enough.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BASH: Democrats say they get that this landmark rules change benefits them now, but could really hurt them someday when they lose control of the Senate and end up back in the minority. They essentially say that they really don't have any choice. They prefer to take that risk rather than deal with what they called continued obstruction now -- Chris and Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, Dana, thanks so much for that. Joining us now to talk more about it is CNN political analyst and executive editor of the "Daily Beast," John Avlon. The hypocrisy on both sides is noteworthy and startling as Dana points out really well in her piece. Harry Reid was threatening this for a very long time. When I was covering Congress, before I was covering Congress, both sides have threatened it. Why pull the trigger now? Why are Democrats so frustrated?

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Because things are objectively worse than ever before when it comes to abuse of the filibuster. The key stat that the Senate majority leader's office is putting out nearly half of all filibusters has occurred under this president. This illustrates how much precedent has been blown up over the last, in particular, decade.

Filibusters out of control, nominations aren't going through. Promises have been repeatedly broken. Trust is at an all-time low inside the institution. So now Harry Reid switches his position and drops the nuclear option. It's an extraordinary moment.

CUOMO: So in a situation where you know it is all about finding ways to work with the other side, you do something that you know is guaranteed to make the other side not want to work with you.

AVLON: And that only underscores how much folks in the Senate feel that they now have a chance of bipartisan compromise anyway. They are feeling that they are essentially cutting their losses. This way they can at least get some nominations through. It is a marker of that lack of bipartisan compromise.

Back in 2005 when Republicans threatened the nuclear option because Democrats were filibustering President Bush's nominees, it was a gang of 14 came together, led by John McCain and others to help bring about bipartisan compromise. But that spirit is gone right now in Washington those bridge builders feel un-empowered and the trust has been broken so many times. Democrats felt that they might as well drop the nuclear option because if they didn't, Republicans would the next time they were in control.

BOLDUAN: John McCain says that he tried to do that this time. That he tried to talk to Harry Reid and they tried to figure something out. It didn't work obviously. What do you make of what Mitch McConnell and John Boehner? Other Republicans have said about why now? They said this is a fake fight and that Democrats are trying to change the subject.

AVLON: Shocking, there's probably some politics here.


AVLON: About changing the conversation away from the rolling disaster of Obamacare and the website. That is in play, but there's also an issue of increasing Democratic frustration with Republicans trying to obstruct everything this president does from judicial nominations on down.

As you heard Reid say, it's a sense that they're trying to deny the election, his re-election. That sense of constant frustration. What liberals complained is Charlie Brown's football is getting pulled away by Lucy has made a lot of folks in the Senate and feel, you know what? Let's just do what we need to do have a simple majority to get through the president's agenda. That 60-vote threshold has become a tyranny of the minority they argue.

BOLDUAN: Let's talk about the new poll numbers that CNN has out. The new polling showing that the president's approval rating is at an all- time low. That jives with all the other polling that we've seen really, but also an interesting statistic. I'm not sure what to make of this number. The fact is that more Americans believe that the president will have less power in the coming year than Republicans in Congress.

AVLON: Yes. That second statistic is a little bit fishy to me. No question, the president has been taking on water. He's right at his floor of polling. The real question is if he breaks through and starts hitting the 30s consistently then you got a serious --

BOLDUAN: Maybe it's more of a show they don't have confidence.

AVLON: The second issue about influence in Washington, people have seen the House Republicans have really been able to effectively exert a veto. They expect more of that. Therefore, that will drive the agenda. There is no question. I mean, don't forget, as unpopular Washington is in general, the House is the least popular. So that dysfunction is baked in the cake. The president, though, that halo effect gone, gone, gone.

CUOMO: What is unusual that people have to watch is there are cycles in politics. The one we're in right now is a race to the bottom. It's the most dangerous type of race in politics because each side has agreed tacitly, that there's no percentage in my coming up with a better plan than you, my coming off better than you. I just have to be less bad. That's when it gets really ugly. They're watching the numbers come down. That's why something like the nuclear option makes sense.

AVLON: That's right, Chris. There are some really important points at the bottom of that. First of all, politics has become a negative cycle. If the other guy screws up, you do best. You don't try to compromise and don't forget against the backdrop of all of this, there's that lonely Paul Ryan, Patty Murray commission trying to come together with a budget to avoid another shutdown.

So, you know, this makes the hill even steeper to climb. Guys, the big bottom line is, everyone right now is saying, let's wait until the next election, maybe our party can get total control and then we'll have function. That's how much the democracy is broken now.

CUOMO: Had we going back to YouTube to look at clips of the "Godfather." Listening to Reid and McConnell is right out of the "Godfather." If you make this offer right now, I'll make you an offer much worse later on, my friend.

BOLDUAN: You do this now, you'll regret it later. I'm regretting it right now, simply because they can't get anything done on both sides. Hypocrisy is frustrating. Great to see you, John.

AVLON: You, too, guys.

PEREIRA: All right, let's take a look at the headlines at this hour. Good morning to you. Good morning to you at home. Making news, it is the last day of planned talks to reach a deal on Iran's nuclear program. Two days of discussions have made little if any progress. The U.S. and allies say they'll drawback economic sanctions if Iran agrees to conditions especially slowing uranium enrichment. A possible deal is drawing skepticism from many in Congress. Talks were complicated by anti-Israel comments from Iran's supreme leader.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai throws the U.S. and the world an unexpected curve telling an assembly of tribal elders he will not sign a new 10-year security agreement until after the Afghan presidential election next spring. U.S. officials say if a deal isn't signed by the end of the year, any remaining U.S. military presence may be canceled after next year's combat troop withdrawal.

A sixth naval officer has been linked to a growing corruption scandal. Captain David Haas has been suspended as part of an investigation into a company accused of bribing Navy officers. On Thursday, the head of that company, Francis Leonard, appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and bribery. His company operates ports throughout Asia. Prosecutors say he showered officers with lavish gifts in return for hundreds of millions of dollars in Navy contracts.

For the first time in 11 years, Kennedy cousin, Michael Skakel is waking up a free man. He was released on $1.2 million bail. A Connecticut judge has ordered a new trial in the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley, ruling Skakel's original attorney failed to adequately represent him. Skakel must wear an electronic monitoring device and have no contact with the Moxley family.

He may play invincible superheroes on the big screen, but in real life actor, Hugh Jackman has revealed that he is dealing with cancer. The wolverines star posted a photo on Instagram Thursday showing that he has a bandaged nose and telling his followers that he had basal cell carcinoma. He said it was caught early and it was removed. He wanted to do this it seems as a reminder that we need to get ourselves checked out and reminded his fans to always wear sunscreen. Sometimes you think you're invincible, but we aren't.

BOLDUAN: Even the Wolverine can get it.

PEREIRA: Exactly.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Michaela. Let's get over to Indra for a check of the weather. That makes me very happy over there.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: No one is escaping the snow over there. This is Denver. We are talking about to 2 to 4 inches of snow overnight last night, beautiful out there. This is going to be the story especially for the west coast through the weekend. Let's take a look at the radar real quick. You can see that system has dropped farther down to the south.

So today it is going to be more like Southern Colorado more heavy ride. Love that. Also into Albuquerque, we'll be looking for some of the snow showers. Taking a look at the system very easy to see this continue to drop farther down to the south so you can see why the snow is dropping farther down to the south, but look at these totals. I mean, pretty impressive, telluride, 2 feet of snow, Albuquerque, about 1 to 4 inches.

In California, hello, over a foot of snow in big bear, Michaela, I know you are with me on this one. Also rain with this, we'll be talking about. Notice this low, this moisture filling in the area. You can see this. We are talking about heavy rain and flooding concerns where it is too warm to get the snow. Anywhere from 3 to 5 inches expected especially around the Phoenix area.

The other story will be the cold front making its way across the country expects some rain into the northeast today, maybe 1 to 2 inches of rain as the system kicks across, the heavier amounts farther down to the south. Timing moves out quickly. By Sunday, this guy should be out of here. Looking at the totals again, very light.

That is not the story with the system. It is the colder temps. Chicago, 39 today, Sunday try 25. New York City, 55 today and Sunday 32 degrees. We know what 32 is, the freezing mark in case you don't. I hope we do. Snow on Sunday.

CUOMO: Really?

PETERSONS: Just a little bit. I'll probably be asleep, hopefully at that time, yes.

BOLDUAN: If you see a random blond dancing in the streets that would be me.


PEREIRA: Nothing random about you, babe.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Indra.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, a new benchmark for the Dow closed above 16,000 for the first time ever. Why this could help you get a better job, coming up.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, America remembers JFK. We'll take you live to Dallas where crowds are already gathering at Dealey Plaza to honor the legacy of a fallen president.


BOLDUAN: Pretty good.

Welcome back to "NEW DAY", everyone.

A great day for your 401(k) -- that rhymed -- as the Dow reaches a milestone. For the first time ever, the index closed above 16,000 on Thursday, breaking a three-day losing streak and sparking hope that the upswing is here to stay. I think that's false hope, but it's still hope.

CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans is here with more on this. So?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's never here to stay. That's the beauty of a stock market, right? It goes up and down. It's been going up all year. I mean, I want to give you some perspective -- 16,000 is a nice round number, right? What it really, really shows you is how much your 401(k) has grown this year.

Look at 2009. Since 2009, the Dow was up 145 percent. Hit 14,000 this year, 15,000 this year, and then in 139 days, 16,000. It's been a very fast assent. It hasn't had a pullback. It's been about a slowly recovering economy and a Fed, you guys, that's pumping money into the system, without fail, every month.

CUOMO: Retire now?

ROMANS: I have a few more years to work.

CUOMO: So, 401(k), yes. But, you know, more people have jobs, and have more 401(k)s.

What's the upside of companies being flushed with cash on their stock price?

ROMANS: You want them to be confident and have money in the bank, so they can build factories, buy other companies, agree and they can invest and they can grow jobs. Where we've seen the jobs grown though have been the highly skilled jobs.

You have companies with a lot of money in the bank. And what a lot of folks would like to see is companies spending more money to grow. They want to see a stock market rally and a job rally together, not seeing that quite yet.

BOLDUAN: I smell a bubble.

ROMANS: Well, it's interesting. A lot of people have been saying since early this year that stocks can't much higher. But they keep marching higher. At what point is there a pullback.

CUOMO: It's the if and when.

ROMANS: And you don't know. If I knew that, I would be in the island and so would you guys. But that's the part of the stock market that's so confounding. We don't know when there's going to be a pulled back. When the Fed stops juicing the economy, you'll likely see stocks slow down.

BOLDUAN: All right, Christine, thank you so much.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BOLDUAN: You see much more of Christine. She's the host of "YOUR MONEY" airing on CNN Saturdays at 9:30 and 2:00 p.m. Eastern.

CUOMO: Today is the day the world remembers the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination. For the first time, the spot of the actual shooting, Dealey Plaza in Dallas, will be the site for a solemn ceremony.

The commemoration not only marks watershed moment in American history, but honors the life of a fallen president.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is in Dallas with more.

Good morning, Ed.


We are standing just along Elm Street where President Kennedy was killed 50 years ago, just below the 6th floor window. But the city of Dallas is coming together, not to celebrate or talk about how John F. Kennedy died but how he lived.


LAVANDERA (voice-over): At 12:30, the moment gunshots echoed through Dealey Plaza 50 years ago, bells will toll across the city of Dallas, a poignant moment honoring John F. Kennedy's life.

PRES. JOHN F. KENNEDY: Do the heavy burdens and let the oppressed go free.

LAVANDERA: Historian David McCullough will read passages from some of President Kennedy's speeches.

KENNEDY: Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.

LAVANDERA: Five thousand people were invited to attend the Dealey Plaza ceremony but no one from the Kennedy family will be here. The president's daughter, Caroline Kennedy, just started working as the U.S. ambassador to Japan. For the organizers of the event like former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, this anniversary is a chance for Dallas to come to terms with the tragedy.

RON KIRK, THE 50TH COMMITTEE: What we were looking for is an opportunity to mark an occasion that is a moment that's important in American history and world history. But do it in a way in which we can reflect on President Kennedy's legacy. LAVANDERA: There will be no mention of Lee Harvey Oswald, who is buried in Ft. Worth. Fresh flowers have been left on his grave site this week.

You won't see the conspiracy theorists who still preach on the grassy knoll, like eyewitness James Tague who watched the motorcade that day. One of the shots fired struck the curb at his feet, debris flew up and hit his face.

(on camera): Do you feel slighted not being identified to the --

JAMES TAGUE, EYEWITNESS: No. I don't, I was a guest speaker exact time when the 40th anniversary, but none of us witnesses are even invited to the 50th. We were there -- they don't want us. They made that clear.

LAVANDERA: Today's ceremony will end with the unveiling of a new monument to the president, inscribed with a passage from the speech Kennedy was supposed to give in Dallas that afternoon. It reads in part, "We in this country, in this generation, are the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility."

Words left unspoken 50 years ago but resurrected for a new generation.


LAVANDERA: And, Chris, you know, I'm struck over the last couple of days, I've lived in Dallas a long time and struck by the thousands of people that we've seen flocking to Dealey Plaza this week, even 50 years later. It's amazing to see how many people come here wanting to see the place where this tragic event occurred.

Chris and Kate, back to you.

CUOMO: Well, Ed, you know, you have the memorial, you also have need in the country right now. People are looking for heroes. They're looking for things that elevate them. This is one of those occasions, thinking about the man that motivated the imagination of the American people.

Thanks for covering it for us, Ed. We'll check in with you in a little while. >

Of course, you want to make sure to catch 'The Assassination of President Kennedy". That's tonight at 9:00 Eastern on CNN.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on "NEW DAY", the final round of nuclear talks with Iran under way in Geneva. It's still not clear if a deal is at hand. So, how close are they and what is at stake for the U.S.?

CUOMO: And it may not be long before you can check in with fam and friends from 30,000 feet. Thumbs are up or down? You like it?

Passengers are saying they do. Airline officials not so much. We'll tell you why. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Welcome back to "NEW DAY".

Today is the last scheduled day of Iran nuclear talks after two days where, quote, "no progress was made."

We're going to talk to Jim Sciutto in Geneva. He's in Geneva. He's watching it for us. We'll get to him in a minute.

Let me sell the table for you. Here's who's at the table, the obvious on one side, we have Iran. On the other side, we have what's called the P5-plus-1-plus-1, the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Israel and Germany.

Israel, of course, is fundamentally important here because they're the touchstone in the region about what is requirement of safety. So what is on the table? Well, the obvious is that P5-plus-1-plus-1one don't want the Iranians to be able to make a bomb. So, uranium is very important.

This number is very important. Why? This is the number at which you start enriching uranium that is bomb-worthy. Here's the problem, though. That issue will come back on the other side of the table as well.

The obvious is if you get rid of the bomb-making abilities, we'll reduce the sanctions which have hurt the Iranian economy. What they also want is the ability to enrich uranium. What does that mean? It means it will be difficult to get a deal.

However, what's pushing this process is that Americans certainly want one, because we're battle weary, we're seeing what's going on in Syria, 56 percent on usual consensus in these day in America. So, that is what's going on right now in terms of what's at play. But how can they get it done?

For that, let's bring in our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto joining us from Geneva, where the meetings again are taking place.

Jim, thank you for joining us.

Let's start with what this most obvious loggerhead issue is. How can the secretary of state feel confident that a deal is a close when the key of whether or not they can have uranium is in the balance?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a great question. I'm told by diplomats directly involved in the talks, that's one of the key disagreements now, that the Iranians want an explicit right to enrichment in this initial deal. What U.S. officials, western diplomats have been offering is something like a diplomatic ambiguity. You claim your right to enrichment, we don't write it down but we also don't dispute it. That's a big difference, though. They're working on language that may be able to make both sides happy. But they haven't gotten there yet and that's a majority issue.

CUOMO: And, obviously, that reads us into why Netanyahu, why Israel is worried about this deal because we'd put so much trust on the side of the Iranians to be open in terms of what they're doing with uranium and obviously trust is small.

Let me ask you something, though, looking ahead, what is the chance that with this being the date talks are supposed to end, what the chance anything final happens in this round?

SCIUTTO: Well, I'll tell you this. These talks are almost certainly going to extend into tomorrow. One reason we know is that, so far, the only two sides that have met are the Iranians and the E.U. foreign minister Catherine Ashton. They haven't gotten all the members of the P5-plus-1 around the same table. Yet, they hope to do that later today.

I wouldn't be surprised if these extended to Saturday and one way you'll know that they're progressing is if foreign ministers and secretaries of state show up, John Kerry included, in the next 24 hours. We don't know that. But if they do, that would be a good sign they're getting close.

CUOMO: All right. Strong point, Jim. The faces always want to be attached to success, not failure. So, we'll be watching it. Thanks for doing that for us.

SCIUTTO: Exactly.

CUOMO: Mick, over to you.

PEREIRA: All right. Thanks, Chris.

I want to bring you up-to-date on the latest news.

Democrats in the Senate passed the so-called nuclear option to change filibuster rules. Most executive appointments and judicial nominees can now pass with a simple majority of 51 votes rather than 60. Democrats say the move was necessary after constant partisan obstruction to the president's nominees. Republicans for their part say it's a power grab.

Two of five young Minnesota children who are trapped in a car underwater have died. Emergency workers tried frantically to free the children after their car plunged off a highway ramp into a lake. The three who survived suffered serious injuries. Police believe the driver, the mother of three of the children and stepmother of two made it out safely. They are investigating the crash now.

It was an infamous case of racial injustice involving nine black teens, now more than 80 years after they were wrongfully convicted of raping two white women in Alabama, three black men received posthumous pardons Thursday, resolving the last of the so-called Scottsboro Boys. The pardon ringing in to a case that give us two landmark Supreme Court decisions about the inclusion of blacks on juries and the need for adequate representation.

Six hundred thousand Angel Care baby monitors voluntarily recalled after two infants were strangled to death. The Consumer Products Safety Commission says they got tangled on a cord attached to a mattress sensor pad. Two other infants who were reportedly entangled, they survived. The Angel Care movement and sound monitors with sensor pads were sold between 1999 and 2013 at dozens of retailers.

A 6-year-old's birthday party erupted into a violent brawl with children caught in the middle. Surveillance video at a kid's play gym called the jump yard in Ohio captured parents fighting.