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Dangerous Roads for Holiday; Holiday Travel Nightmare; Black Friday Sale Secrets; GAP's National Make Love Holiday Campaign; Turkey Pardon

Aired November 27, 2013 - 08:30   ET


PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Today, Chris, because let me tell you something, this is not going to be a fun day for a lot of travelers hitting the road. Thirty-nine million Americans expected to hit the road. And the weather is expected to just kind of add insult to injury. Just not a good ingredient here.

We've already learned that there have been several accidents this morning. In fact, I-76 in Philadelphia, a major highway there, the westbound side of that highway is closed we've learned due to an accident where one person was killed and then there's only one lane open on the other side of the highway because of flooding there.

We're here on 95 south. It's not too bad, as you can see here. The traffic hasn't really picked up. The volume is pretty steady right now. But we are expecting the volume to pick up as the morning goes on. And as the morning goes on, the rain is expected to pick up. So we can definitely expect and anticipate some snags in the traffic here.

So it's just important for people to remember to really exercise some patience as you head out today and try to head home to reunite with your families.

Back to you guys.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: That's right, Pamela. Thank you so much.

So as the weather stifles holiday travel for millions of people, airline carriers on some of the nation's major cities are forced to cope with delays and cancellations, and, understandably, grumpy passengers. CNN's Ted Rowlands is in Chicago taking a look at how one airline is monitoring and responding to this storm. Ted.


This is an amazing place we're at right now. We're actually in the Sears Tower, or the Willis Tower, on the 27th floor. This is the United Operations Center where they are tracking literally every flight that is in the air right now around the world. You see the map there of the planes that are in the air right now.

Basically they do everything. They go from not only tracking normal day-to-day operations, but any issues that come up. They deal with the employees on this side of the room, and that's most of the domestic planes. There are 1,300 people that work 24/7. And, of course, a day like today, it's all hands on deck. They have their own weather area over here. This is Steve Lockman. He is the -- basically the guy in charge, network director.

Steve, what's happening right now? Any issues? Obviously the eastern seaboard is the concern.

STEVE LOCKMAN, NETWORK DIRECTOR: Yes, biggest issue definitely New York and Washington today, Ted. So we're keeping a close eye on both.

ROWLANDS: Thirty canceled flights for you guys. Safe to say people will be able to get home for Thanksgiving or are you worried about ripple effects?

LOCKMAN: No, absolutely we're going to get everybody home today. And we've got extra passenger sections set up to carry them.

ROWLANDS: All right.

And, Kate, this is really an amazing facility. And again, we're in the top of the Sears Tower in the middle of Chicago, but they are doing everything. There's one -- on the side of the board here that says "taxi monitor." That means that there's a flight right now sitting out on the tarmac. So when you think you're left without anybody watching you when you're on the tarmac waiting, how long am I going to be here, they're watching it, they're concerned and they're trying to get relief to the passengers. It's an amazing operation

BOLDUAN: What great access. I mean talk about going right to the nerve center of how they're going to be handling this. This is going to be a busy day for them in this operations center. But how much of United's worldwide fleet, I mean we are talking about a major airline here, is controlled out of this one operation center?

ROWLANDS: Everything. Every -- so every flight around the world, they are tracking. And it's the flight crews, where are they going to stay at a hotel, if there's a delay, if there's deicing, should a plane be deiced if they can't get to the taxiway because of the time difference between the de-icing?

It's - you don't think about it when you're just traveling, but people -- they have your back. And every airlines has an operations center like this. This is the newest one and United will brag that it's the best one, but every airline does this in some capacity.

BOLDUAN: We know they can't control mother nature from that operations center, but we hope they can work some magic to get everybody where they need to go. Thank you, Ted, for bringing us that access.

ROWLANDS: Yes, you bet.

BOLDUAN: Of course. A fascinating look inside.

CHRIS CUOMO: That's good. They've got a lot of work to do today, you know?

BOLDUAN: Yes. CUOMO: And hopefully they can do a super job and get people home like that man promised.

BOLDUAN: Uh-huh.

CUOMO: Let's get over to Mic for the five things you need to know.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, you need to know them because you might be in the airport for a while. So here are the five things to know.

Rebel leaders in Syria say they will not attend peace talks in Geneva next year. The announcement comes hours after the Syrian regime says it will attend. The meetings are being held in an effort to end that nation's civil war.

New tension with China after the U.S. flew two unarmed war planes over disputed islands in the East China Sea. It is a direct challenge to China's recent claims over control over the region's air space.

The CDC has approved a vaccination plan for Princeton University after several students were diagnosed with meningitis b. Princeton will make the vaccine available starting December 9th.

A week after workers removed the x mark on Elm Street in Dallas where President John F. Kennedy was shot 50 years, the mark has returned. The city claims to not know who routinely places the mark back on the road.

Happy Thanksgivukkah. The first time since 1888 we are seeing Thanksgiving and Hanukkah converge at sundown today. They'll officially light the National Hanukkah menorah in Washington, marking the start of the eight-day festival of lights.

We always update those five things to know, so be sure to go to for the very latest.


CUOMO: Coming up -



BOLDUAN: I'm just saying, having Hanukkah and Thanksgiving at the same time, a blessing and a curse -

PEREIRA: A lot of food, right?

BOLDUAN: Because this is a lot of early shopping for gifts. Much earlier than people are ready for.

CUOMO: Have the holiday spirit.


CUOMO: There you go.

Coming up on "NEW DAY", great deals are available on Black Friday, right? Well, that's what you've been told. We're going to tell you the real deal.

BOLDUAN: And it's a real Thanksgiving tradition, the annual presidential turkey pardon. Find out why this year's pardon is being compared to "The Hunger Games."

CUOMO: Reid and McConnell, that's what they're named.

PEREIRA: They look like they were at a turkey spa.

CUOMO: Reid and McConnell.

PEREIRA: They're obviously (ph) fully and pretty.

BOLDUAN: Chris and Michaela - Chris and Michaela -


BOLDUAN: Put your hands in the air and we continue to debate if this is a shot or a throw. You know my take on this. An amazing half-court throw during a contest at an Oklahoma City Thunders game. A twenty- three-year-old guy, Cameron Rodriguez, he makes the basket. That's amazing and it turned out to be a whole lot easier making the basket than keeping the $20,000 prize that he won. Why, you ask? Because he is a basketball player at Southwestern College in Kansas playing at another school and rules say you can't get paid to play.

PEREIRA: Oh, he didn't get paid to play, he won the thing. He won the thing.

BOLDUAN: They're now asking to bend the rules because he is so awesome and let him use the money for scholarship or tuition.

PEREIRA: He didn't get paid, he won something.

BOLDUAN: No decision yet on how they're going to go. What do you think?

CUOMO: I think it falls under the category of, just because they have the right to do it doesn't mean it's right to do it. They should let him have his money. I don't see the controversy (ph).

BOLDUAN: Full day (ph) trava -

CUOMO: Traveshemockery (ph). That's what that is.


PEREIRA: It's the traveshemockery.

BOLDUAN: Can Cameron keep the money man?

PEREIRA: Exactly.

BOLDUAN: Good half-court throw.


It is a discussion that we would have offset and we'll have it on set. But for your delight, Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Buyer beware. You may not be saving as much as you'd think. Here to tell us some tricks of the trade, and maybe pop some tags, is CNN's chief business correspondent, Christine Romans.


PEREIRA: Wait, is this all just marketing genius we've been - has the wool been pulled over our eyes?


ROMANS: Four letters, h-y-p-e. Look, all year long --

PEREIRA: No. really?

ROMANS: All year long -



ROMANS: All year long they engineer and strategize to get you to reach into your pocket to pull the money out and to give it to them. And these sales prices - these sale prices are agreed upon way in advance to make sure that you feel like you're getting a deal and the retailer feels like they're getting a profit. In fact, is getting a profit, right?

So here's a couple of things to remember. Watch out for this. Sometimes they raise the prices, then they cut them. Sometimes there's only a few door-busters. So all those people waiting in line go in and they buy something else that maybe isn't the best deal.


ROMANS: The sale price always isn't a sale price. And here's what I mean by that. Here's an example in "The Wall Street Journal." Imagine a sweater, if you will. A sweater that the retailer bought for $14.50 from the supplier, OK? You retail it for $50. The average sale price is about $20 - they don't -- no one really buys it at $50.


ROMANS: They mark it down right away to $44, then to $28, then to $21. There's a $13.50 markup in the end. In the end, the retailer gets $13.50, you get a sale price, a sale sweater that really was never worth $50 and everybody's happy. CUOMO: I do not like that you are forcing me into this position, Christine, because I am anti-shopping --

ROMANS: Boy, you're going to be -- are you going to - are you going to -

CUOMO: But you are forcing me because of this famed umbrage you have. Why is this news to you? Why are you incensed by the fact that they're marking up an item before they sell it?

ROMANS: Because, you know what, I'm honestly huge (ph) -

CUOMO: Captain capitalist, what happened to you?

ROMANS: It's Zarena (ph) capitalist to you, my friend.

PEREIRA: Zarena.

ROMANS: No, look, I think that a lot of people rush out to get the deals and they think they really are getting deals. But there are going to be better deals in a couple weeks, especially on apparel, especially on seasonal items. There might be some good tech deals right now, but I don't know how big those numbers are going to be.

BOLDUAN: Help people win. Is there a way to beat the retailer on this?

ROMANS: Well, look, 56 percent of people are not going to shop at all this weekend. They're going to wait. They're not shopping at all. More than half of people are not going to shop. And why? Because about a third of those people think that this is all hype. This is all a retail manufactured --

CUOMO: You know, or they analyze what they need versus want they want -

ROMANS: Right.

CUOMO: And they just don't run out and buy.

PEREIRA: Or they're like me and lazy. They don't want to stand in line and don't want to mess their hair up in the rain. Come on, people.

ROMANS: I don't like -

BOLDUAN: I agree.

ROMANS: I just don't like other people. This is my problem. But -

PEREIRA: Zarena.

CUOMO: You see.

BOLDUAN: The truth is coming out. Give them - we've already let you go. Give them your one piece of advice when you're shopping the holidays?

CUOMO: And don't say pack patience.

ROMANS: No, that was last hour.

CUOMO: All right.

ROMANS: If you can't pay it off by January, it's not a deal because then you're paying interest.

PEREIRA: Yes, don't buy it. Yes. Good point.


ROMANS: You're paying late fees. And you're hurting your credit score. It's not a deal. Don't let a retailer convince you because of advertising and because of crowd mentality that you need something you don't. The most important thing for your family is putting money away, planning for college and working on your own personal finances, not buying something you don't need.

PEREIRA: All right.

ROMANS: Lecture of the day. Bah humbug correspondent.

PEREIRA: Lecture of the day.

BOLDUAN: Yes, thank you, bah humbug.

PEREIRA: All right, Christine Romans.

PEREIRA: We go from that to our mushing moment, and I kind of want to make it a mandatory sing-along. Prince William living on the edge. Come on.


CROWD (singing): You've got to hold on to what we've got. It doesn't make a difference if we make it or not. We've got each other and that's a lot for love. We'll give it a shot. Oh, half way there. Oh, living on a prayer.


PEREIRA: Come on. They're singing it home. She got the high part.

BOLDUAN: I'm looking for my --

CUOMO: That was actually me.

PEREIRA: Let me explain while my zippo (ph) -

BOLDUAN: I was looking for my (INAUDIBLE). I have a lighter.

PEREIRA: Are you shazaming (ph) it?

BOLDUAN: No, look.

PEREIRA: The prince was at a gala at Kensington Palace for his charity. They help young, homeless people. Bob Jovi there performing.

CUOMO: That's nice.

PEREIRA: Half way through the song, invites the prince and Taylor Swift up to sing with him. I think it was one of the moments -

BOLDUAN: Kate's got a politically correct lighter for this thing.

BOLDUAN: I do. You can actually have this at the concert, folks.

PEREIRA: No smoke emitting.

BOLDUAN: Not a problem. You can't get close enough. Do you see this?

PEREIRA: We love it.

CUOMO: It's actually a lighter.

BOLDUAN: Just rockin' on. Just rockin' on.

PEREIRA: We sang on national television.

CUOMO: Very cool. Very cool. I didn't actually hear the prince.

ROMANS: No, I want to isolate his mike. I'd like to know if he can carry a tune.

BOLDUAN: The audio was a little off. They need to work on the production quality.

PEREIRA: But what a fun moment, and a fun moment for us here on "NEW DAY".

BOLDUAN: Obviously.

CUOMO: That was very cool.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, Michaela.

PEREIRA: That might have been embarrassing (ph).

CUOMO: Bon Jovi, always cool.

BOLDUAN: And Michaela will at the break.




CUOMO: That was confoso (ph) prufundo (ph).

BOLDUAN: At the best (ph).

CUOMO: Coming up on "NEW DAY", we have the inspiring way that Gap responded to a defaced ad. You'll want to see it

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

And it's a battle of the bulge at the annual White House turkey pardon.

CUOMO: Reid and McConnell.

BOLDUAN: Stop it. What can you expect today when the turkey's named Chris and Michaela will be pardoned? At least I'm naming you after a turkey that's pardoned!

PEREIRA: I don't look like a turkey.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to "NEW DAY". Want to show you a story that underscores the power of social media. You might have seen this GAP ad, part of their "National Make Love Holiday" campaign featuring a diverse group of cultural icons dressed in the GAP clothing.

This one is featuring Sikh actor and designer Waris Ahluwalia. Well someone tweeted a photo that they had seen of the ad that had been defaced in an unknown subway. And if I actually show you right here instead of saying "make love" it says "make bombs" and some idiot scribbled "please stop driving taxis". Let that settle for a second.

This is what happened in response. Somebody saw this and tweeted, "Hi there, thanks for informing us." This is the GAP responding to the person that tweeted. "Thanks for informing us of this, can you please follow and direct message us. We'd like to know the location of it."

So not only did GAP respond they took it one step further. They took the original GAP ad and they made it their Twitter profile picture in a show of support for the intended holiday message.

And I want to point out also. We've been hearing word that some members of the Sikh community have started a whole "Thank You GAP" campaign to show their appreciation for the inclusion of a Sikh model. They say it is raising the profile of their community in an impactful way.

We had to share that story with you -- guys.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Talk about the power of social media. Good to see GAP respond that way. Thank you so much Michaela.

CUOMO: Oh boy, that was good. Thanks for that.

All right, so the annual turkey pardon is taking place today right? But before we talk about it we're going to have do it at the couch.

BOLDUAN: Where else should we talk about it? The couch.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BOLDUAN: Now to democracy at work, everyone. For the second year, voters got to choose the national thanksgiving turkey, and today the President will pardon both contenders, Caramel or Popcorn -- Caramel and Popcorn, at the White House, only one lucky bird can win the title but don't worry, neither will be dinner. They're like the only two who won't be.

Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos with more.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What did one clumsy turkey say to the other at a Washington photo opportunity? "Pardon me."

There they were in the ballroom of the posh Willard Hotel. Amid dangling chandeliers their snoods dangled as the press tried to get them to talk.

It's Caramel versus Popcorn. The White House is running a contest asking people to vote on which should be the National Thanksgiving Turkey. Some are comparing it to the "Hunger Games".

JENNIFER LAWRENCE, ACTRESS, "HUNGER GAMES": There's 24 of us. Only one comes out.

MOOS: But in this case, both come out alive. But only one gets the presidential pardon publicly.


MOOS: The other is an alternate.

(On camera): Our money is on Popcorn. Plumper, with a more robust gobble.

(Voice-over): Caramel and Popcorn join other illustrious duos.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: Pumpkin and Pecan. Biscuits. Gravy.

OBAMA: Cobbler and Gobbler.

BUSH: Flyer and Fryer.

MOOS: Caramel and Popcorn come from a Minnesota farm where 20 finalists were trained in this cottage. John Burkel practiced lifting them onto this table so they wouldn't do this when their big day came. But Popcorn and Caramel seemed more relaxed than their human owners. The kids taught the photographers to whistle and trill to get the turkeys to gobble.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think you know how to speak turkey.

MOOS: The turkeys made the 1,500-mile drive to Washington in 27 hours. They've already outlived most of their compatriots.

JOHN BURKEL, RAISED CARAMEL AND POPCORN: Truth is, on my farm, I've never raised them past 14 weeks because we eat them.

MOOS: Occasionally a pardoned bird gets peckish. Pardoner-in-chief expresses ambivalence.

OBAMA: Thanks to the interventions of Malia and Sasha, because I was planning to eat this sucker.

MOOS (on camera): And then there was the turkey that didn't get pardoned, the one that met his demise behind Sarah Palin's back.

(voice-over): It happened as she was giving an interview at a turkey farm shortly after she and John McCain were defeated. We'll spare you the gruesome part.

SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Well, this was -- this was neat.

MOOS: The people will decide whether Popcorn or Caramel gets the glory this year. At least this government Web site is working. It's no turkey.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CUOMO: I'm telling you, I feel a little differently now that I saw that process unfolding.

BOLDUAN: The video of Sarah Palin.

CUOMO: Yes, it has nothing to do with the former vice presidential nominee but the way that they -- don't you think the turkey should be named Reid and McConnell, given what we're dealing with down in D.C.? Isn't that a no-brainer?

PEREIRA: No, salt, pepper.

BOLDUAN: Nutritious and Delicious.

CUOMO: And these other names Fryer, Cryer, Popcorn and Caramel -- what does it have to do with turkey?

BOLDUAN: I've been trying to think of something creative. I'm not coming up with anything. So I'm sticking with the one that I know everyone agrees with and is the winner, Chris and Michaela.

PEREIRA: Oh, it's Chris Cuomo and John Berman.

CUOMO: She's calling us turkeys.

BOLDUAN: I'm calling you pardoned turkeys though.

PEREIRA: Pardoned turkeys, that makes it better for us.

CUOMO: Oh and we should say "thank you" --

PEREIRA: Thank you.

CUOMO: -- to the elegant correspondent who did that story. Miss Jeanne --


CUOMO: Moos.

PEREIRA: We love her.

BOLDUAN: -- which I botched the name and so you're pointing it out.

CUOMO: No, no, I'm not. How do you like my tie?

Coming up a little girl went snooping for her big Christmas gift, right? That's naughty. But then when she found it, she did something that defines nice, makes her the good stuff. We will show you straight ahead. Something to be thankful for.


CUOMO: High on the list of things to be thankful for --

PEREIRA: Many, many.

CUOMO: The good stuff. Today's edition 10-year-old Jordyn Self. Here's the deal.


CUOMO: Resourceful little fourth grader, does something naughty, goes snooping around the house, finds mom's big Christmas present not the one from Santa but still finds it. Imagine, take a look.


JORDYN SELF: I walked in the closet on an accident.

AMY SELF, MOTHER OF JORDYN: I was pretty upset when she first ruined her big surprise.


CUOMO: She's a thief; it's a felony but we're going to let it go. Here's why. It was no ordinary gift. It's a limited edition American Girl doll, rare and expensive key word. Why? Jordan noticed something else. The bins at her school collecting donations for our troops in Afghanistan nearly empty.

J. SELF: I thought, 'Well, like why aren't people donating?' I mean, it is a school project. Usually like if we have other school projects, we get more stuff. Out there they don't have chocolate, they don't have hamburgers and they're really missing all the stuff that we usually get every day. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Love that.

PEREIRA: Chocolate and hamburgers, also.

CUOMO: I wouldn't put hamburgers in the box but the sentiment was great. Fourth grader remember. So what does she do? She offers up her precious Christmas gift, the doll for a raffle.

PEREIRA: She did not.

CUOMO: Yes. Gets attention, before the raffle even happens, raised $1,000. A lot of that from people who didn't want the doll, they just wanted to help. The grand total more than $10,000 raised by this fourth grader.

PEREIRA: Get out of here.

CUOMO: Yes. No word on what Jordyn will get for Christmas, you know, but Santa's got to like this -- got to like this, especially after the original theft. She did something very great and that's why this is the good stuff.

PEREIRA: You're not a felon, Jordyn.

CUOMO: Thank you for helping the troops.

BOLDUAN: Jordan, we are telling Santa, do not worry, Santa does get CNN we're making sure he knows.

CUOMO: Thank you for showing kids everywhere what a real gift is about, the gift of generosity in your heart. You are the good stuff. A great Thanksgiving to you and your family. Thank you for that.

PEREIRA: Thank you for that.

BOLDUAN: And to everyone, lots to be thankful for this year.

CUOMO: Yes. I'm thankful for you and for you.

BOLDUAN: On most days.

CUOMO: And for you. Thanks for letting us do this. Our time is up.

Time to get you to Carol Costello, happy Thanksgiving to you -- Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: I was getting a little nauseated there.


COSTELLO: No, it's nice to see the love.

CUOMO: The ghost of Christmas future.

COSTELLO: Happy Thanksgiving also. And Santa's watching, too. Thanks to all of you, have a great day and great Thanksgiving. "NEWSROOM" starts now.

Happening now in the "NEWSROOM" nor'easter nightmare.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean at the end of the day, no one can control Mother Nature.


COSTELLO: Welcome to the busiest travel day of the year.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I get on the highway, next thing I know I'm spinning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a point where there's just nothing you can do. It's just glare ice and you're just a passenger in your own car.


COSTELLO: The huge storm slowing millions on their way home.

Also breaking this morning -- a new CNN poll saying the majority of Americans still have an open mind about Obamacare. The big question though -- will the government make its November deadline?