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What If Hillary Clinton Doesn't Run?; Picket Signs At WalMarts Nationwide; Shoppers Mob Stores On Black Friday; J.D. Salinger Stories Leaked, Sold Online; Wall Street Closes Record-Busting Month; Out Of Bounds Behavior?

Aired November 29, 2013 - 16:30   ET


RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The party is more liberal than it was 20 years ago, especially in the primary, so somebody presumably will emerge to fill that lane whether it's Elizabeth Warren or not.

And whether they can really give her more than a few sleepless nights is another question. But I do think somebody will be there. The other obviously lane for is that Gary Hart/Walter Mondale contrast. Someone could run as the generational candidate and if someone can combine both, they could cause some disruption, but she is a powerful frontrunner.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN ANCHOR: I don't want to do this because, you know, he's related to one of our anchors here on CNN, but Governor Cuomo, when you look at those numbers, especially when you take Hillary Clinton out of the equation and you show Joe Biden up there on top, Governor Cuomo does not look too badly.

He only has 5 percent when Hillary Clinton is in the field, but you take out Hillary Clinton, he's now at 15 percent right below Elizabeth Warren. I just kind of wonder what that's all about. Obviously Martin O'Malley suffers from name recognition issues but --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He does suffer from name recognition issues, definitely. I think this is a name recognition, the Cuomo name is very much out there, very much a name everybody knows in the Democratic Party. So I think you will see those numbers fluctuate a lot as we go forward.

BROWNSTEIN: But for both Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo, here's the reality, the theory that we elect each president in part to rectify what we saw as the deficiency in the predecessor and Obama is only the third sitting senator ever elected president. After the difficulties of administration, particularly around the rollout of the health care law, I think there's going to be a lot of premium on executive experience.

And I think it will benefit people like Chris Christie on the one side and if Hillary Clinton doesn't run, like Andrew Cuomo on the other. Interesting question for her -- Scott Walker talks about whether she can portray herself as an executive. I don't think she's seen as a legislator. ACOSTA: I remember looking back at the 2012 race, how we all thought it was going to be or the 2008 race, we all thought it would be Hillary Clinton versus Rudy Giuliani. I suppose if Hillary Clinton does not run, you do have that potential for an all northeast sort of 2016 --

BROWNSTEIN: To your point about why Christie won't beat Giuliani, the big difference is Florida, Florida moving up. Yes, Iowa and South Carolina are tough for the managerial more socially moderate candidate, but New Hampshire is very good. That's a more independent electorate and in Florida provides a counterweight to South Carolina that didn't used to exist. Mitt Romney is the first candidate not to win South Carolina and win since 1980, new pattern.

ACOSTA: We have to leave it there. Ron, Jackie, thanks very much, happy holidays. We appreciate it.

Coming up next on THE LEAD, we get it, Black Friday lovers, some of you will fight strangers for a deal on a TV. This is so sad. So how much money will some of these stores with the biggest savings make today?

And if you did battle the crowds at Wal-Mart today, you might have had a tough time just getting into the store.


ACOSTA: All right, welcome back to THE LEAD. In the Money Lead, we gave thanks for what we have. Now it's time to buy things others want. OK, maybe what we want, too. But you've still got some time for those Black Friday deals if you can handle the crowds. Here's what it looked like when the doors opened this morning.

No, just kidding. That was the "World War Z" trailer. This year, many stores opened on Thanksgiving and shoppers are behaving with all the patience we've come to expect. Bargain hunters caused a near riot at this North Carolina Wal-Mart. We've seen the pushing, shoving, fist fights, stampedes, police throwing people to the ground and at least one stabbing over a parking space.

Sort of puts you in the mood for the holidays, doesn't it? A group called the organization United for Respect at Wal-Mart says workers shouldn't have to put up with this on what they make an hour. They are organizing protests at Wal-Marts across the nation. They expect 1500 demonstrations including eight major protests in big cities by the day's end.

One of them ended a short time ago at a Los Angeles Wal-Mart where we find our Kyung Lah, who we hope is staying safe right now considering that setup. Kyung, what are these protesters demanding and are they behaving themselves there?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's actually just wrapped up, as you said. We have a couple stragglers still holding up signs here at the very, very tail end of this protest, still trying to make a point. The point that they are making is that they want better wages. They say they simply don't have a liveable wage, they can't afford to live at a place like New York, Los Angeles, and that's where we saw some of these protests that have been rolling throughout the day from the east coast to the west.

There have been a number of these demonstrations, eight major ones, as you mention. We were at another one just before this one happened here in Los Angeles, east of Los Angeles in Ontario, California. One of the protesters who got arrested, there were some peaceful arrests was Santa Claus.

So 10 people got arrested there. Nothing other than civil disobedience. What the workers say they want is that, they want a livable wage. Here's what one Wal-Mart worker told us.


ANTHONY GOYTIA, WALMART WORKER: I make $9.60 an hour, but I'm part- time associate and I have been begging for a full-time position. I'm a hard worker and I think I should be entitled to a full-time position. Not only that, as Wal-Mart has gone public in saying they are going to move part-time workers to full-time positions and they are doing the opposite especially in my store.

LAH: The CEO says that they pay a competitive rate. What do you want to say to the CEO?

GOYTIA: I think he's lying. I want to challenge him to live a day in my shoes.


LAH: But the CEO says that's absolutely not the case. When it comes to retail, Jim, they believe Walmart is just as competitive as the others -- Jim.

ACOSTA: OK, Kyung Lah in Los Angeles for us. Thank you so much. Good to see you, Kyung.

It's a circus at stores today, but if you can stay patient and fight the urge to fashion a shive out of a candy cane, there are serious deals to be found. Stores have every reason to entice you because Black Friday represents 20 percent of annual revenue for retailers.

I want to bring in Hitha Prabhakar. She is a consumer spending and retail analyst with AitchPe Retail Advisory. I want to ask you, it's Black Friday, every year we see the pictures of folks rushing into the stores and sometimes falling on top of each other and sometimes doing worse. The question I always have, are the bargains really worth all of this?

HITHA PRABHAKAR, ANALYST, AITCHPE RETAIL ADVISORY: I think the bargains are worth it if these people have their hearts set on specific products. I mean, here's the thing. The people that are going to Black Friday, they have been saving up their money all year long and this is the only time that they can get that discount on some of these products. I got some of the numbers from Walmart. Just to give you an idea of what was selling yesterday, 2 million televisions sold. We are looking at 1.4 million tablets sold, 300,000 bikes, 1.9 million dolls and here's the kicker, 2.8 million towels. So that gives you an idea of what people are going out there for, 2.8 million towels. That's what people are saving up for.

ACOSTA: I was joking about the Black Friday sales on towels here with our crew and they all laughed at me but it's true. You can get a good deal on towels on Black Friday. Anyway, putting that aside, that very important point for our economy, how important is Black Friday to stores this time of year? We heard that it is a significant factor for the retail industry, but for the economy overall.

PRABHAKAR: Right. It's incredibly important. The take-away number here is really $603 billion. That's what the National Retail Federation is expecting consumers to spend, up 3.9 percent from last year. The consumers are really -- this is one of the factors that is pushing the economy forward. You know, as you saw in the last couple years, during the recession, the consumer wasn't spending and that really was a factor in how fast and how quickly this economy is going to grow.

We're really looking at these numbers with a very, you know, specific eye here to see what people are going to spend and how that spending is going to take over or kind of go on to 2014.

ACOSTA: Thanksgiving came late this year. We now only have 26 days until Christmas, which I suppose might add to the hysteria in our shopping malls, unfortunately, over this shortened time period. Have people basically missed their opportunity to get the best deals? Because I always feel like as you get closer, sometimes there are better deals to be had as you get close to those last few days before Christmas.

PRABHAKAR: Right, Jim, you are absolutely correct. In fact, the retailers want the consumer to feel like Black Friday is the only time they're going to be getting those deals, and really, they want this momentum, the shopping momentum, to continue into the holiday season. I think you had mentioned that 20 percent of retailers' annual revenue happen within the Black Friday weekend.

So this is just one weekend. They want more revenues. So as long as they are able to prolong that shopping and have those deals kind of come through, they are going to get more revenue. So yes, to your point, the better deals are going to come later in the holiday season.

ACOSTA: OK, Hitha Prabhakar, thank you very much for joining us. The crew has already apologized to me about my comment on towels. They now all know this is a good time of year to get towels. Thank you very much. Good to see you.

Still to come on THE LEAD, a leak you cannot blame on Edward Snowden. At least we don't think you can. Some of J.D. Salinger's stories going public decades before the late author wanted. That's in our Buried Lead next. Later, exclusive access to the king, what one team desperate to sell tickets is hoping fans going to pay for a chance to high five Lebron James.


ACOSTA: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Time now for the Buried Lead, stories we think deserve more attention. Ironic given that the person we're talking about was a famous recluse, J.D. Salinger. Three of his stories were leaked online and sold. The late author didn't want the masses to see those pages for several more decades, but he didn't get his wish. The battles he fought in life still nagging him in death.


ACOSTA (voice-over): A collection of short stories, a few novelas and his only published novel, "Catcher in the Rye," which sold more than 65 million copies, made him one of the most beloved writers of the 20th Century. But what makes the late J.D. Salinger even more fascinating are his other works, the ones he had almost certainly written but never published. A recent documentary about her father, Salinger's daughter described a trove of unseen stories.

MARGARET SALINGER: He very proudly showed me a set of files where a red dot meant this is ready to go upon my death, a green dot meant this needs editing.

ACOSTA: But there was apparently no plan for leaks and that's what happened this week when three of the author's unpublished stories suddenly appeared online. The "Ocean Full of Bowling Balls, Paula, and Birthday Boy" are now being viewed by the general public for the first time since they were written in the 1940s. Salinger donated the now leaked manuscript to the Princeton University Library.

The stories could only be read under supervision by scholars and were not to be published until 50 years after his death. That is 2060 for those of you keeping count. Several people who read those stories say the leaked material seems to be authentic. According to "Buzzfeed," the leak originated with this eBay listing. The invaluable texts fetched a winning price of just 67 British pounds, about $110.


ACOSTA: This is not the first auction of Salinger's work against his wishes. In 1999, his one-time lover, Joyce Maynard auctioned off his letters to her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please know at the request of J.D. Salinger, that Mr. Salinger holds the copyright to his letters.

ACOSTA: They sold for $140,000, a small price to pay, some say, for a look into the life of this famously private man.

SHANE SALERNO, DIRECTOR, "SALINGER": He turned his back on celebrity before celebrity was celebrity. There were so many aspects of his life that the public didn't know. ACOSTA: Producer, Shane Salerno, who spent a decade researching his documentary, "Salinger" says the author is full of surprises.

SALERNO: I conducted over 200 interviews personally. This is just a very small portion of the research that was gathered over ten years. There are probably 40 boxes.

ACOSTA: But what about other manuscripts Salinger worked on throughout his life?

JOYCE MAYNARD, FORMER GIRLFRIEND: Every day I heard typing, a lot of typing. And there was one space that was off the bedroom that was a safe. I saw two thick manuscripts. I never read them, was never shown them, and knew better than to ask.

ACOSTA: There have been leaks before. In 1974, two unauthorized editions of his work appeared on book shelves coast to coast. The reclusive author called the "New York Times" who printed his message. Publishing is an invasion of my privacy. Problem seemingly solved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I went back to buy the second one, not only was the book gone, both volumes were missing. The store owners declined to admit they had ever sold it.

ACOSTA: Today's leaked material is, of course, beyond the author's reach, but according to Salerno, the next authorized release of his work could be as early as 2015, though Salinger's family is keeping it a mystery.


ACOSTA: One of the stories is said to be like a prequel to the "Catcher in the Rye."

They call it the zombie comet. No, that's not the title of the latest J.J. Abrams project. Scientists think this hunk of icy rock and gas comet Ison must have survived a brush with death. Yesterday it slipped behind the sun, but didn't re-emerge signalling gravity might have destroyed it. Then researchers noticed this. See that circle? That might be a chunk of Ison. If so it looks to have actually brightened. Star gazers are keeping their eyes on the sky.

Coming up next on THE LEAD, you don't have to be a lip reader to make out the words "hit me" coming from Jason Kidd's lips right before his player hits him. Now the Brooklyn Nets coach is paying for it literally.


ACOSTA: Welcome back to THE LEAD. In money news, brokers took it easy on Wall Street on this day after Thanksgiving, putting in a half day before calling it a week. The month of November saw the Dow soaring to heights it never reached before. Where did it end up? Let's go to Zain Asher in New York.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE/BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jim. It was a flat end to a great month for stocks. The stock market closed early at 1:00 for the Thanksgiving holiday. Volume was low, which does, of course, mean volatility. The Dow flirted with a record close, but ended up falling slightly. The Nasdaq this week cruising above 4,000. We haven't seen levels like that for 13 years. With November drawing to a close, December is traditionally a good month for stocks and gains for the year range from 20 percent to 35 percent.

Certainly it's a good one for your 401(k) and your portfolio. Black Friday drawing large crowds and most retailers posted very modest gains. Apple shares were getting more attention. The stock rose above $555 a share, the highest price it's had since January. Jim, back to you.

ACOSTA: Zain Asher, thank you.

Now for the Sports Lead. A coke in the vending machine cost $1.25. Jason Kidd is going to pay 50 grand for his. The NBA is crying foul over the spilled soda and sticking the Brooklyn Nets coach with a big fine. League officials claimed Kidd spilled his drink on purpose. Look for yourself. See what you think, as a stall tactic to buy his team time in the waning seconds of a game.

The Nets lost anyway. Kidd blamed sweaty palms for the spill, but the NBA isn't buying his argument, maybe because the former star point guard made millions using his quick hands. He didn't drop it very often when he was playing himself.

Kidd's alleged activity might have gone into the NFL. Take a look at last night's game in Baltimore against the Steelers. The Raven's Jacoby Jones is racing toward the end zone and probably would have scored, but a funny thing happened on the way to the 40 yard line. A funny thing called Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin.

Replay shows Tomlin on the big white line during the play and stepping towards the field before he jumps out of the way. He's smiling there, Coach Tomlin. Jones slows down, gets tackled and the Ravens settle for a field goal. Tomlin wasn't penalized and later said he was wrong to cross the line like that and clearly crossing the line, my goodness. Baltimore won the game anyway. If only all coaches could pitch in like that.

How much would you pay to high five King James? The Timberwolves are hoping $75. Minnesota's hosting the Miami Heat next Saturday and in a desperate attempt to sell more tickets, they are reportedly offering special seats in the fan tunnel that would give Lebron James enthusiasts a chance to maybe, just maybe, give some skin to the Heat superstar. This is somebody with the other team. Nothing creepy about that, maybe desperate.

In other Lebron news, he hosted his teammates for a Thanksgiving meal in Akron yesterday after they stopped the Cavaliers in Cleveland, home to legions of Cavs fans still smarting over the decision. James even Instagrammed some photos for the fans, looks like a meal fit for a king. Yes, I went there.

All right, make sure to follow the show on Twitter @theleadcnn. Also, you can follow me. That's it for THE LEAD. Thanks for joining us. Jake tapper returns on Monday. Now I turn it over to Jim Sciutto, filling in for Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."