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Ready, Set, Shop; Wal-Mart Protests Planned; Pipeline Explosion In Missouri; NATO To Investigate Afghanistan Strike; Another "Knockout" Assault?; Tensions Rise Over Disputed Air Space; Obamacare Deadline Looms; All About Hillary

Aired November 29, 2013 - 06:00   ET


ZAIN ASHER, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE/BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Just hours after its signature parade, Macy's broke out the barricades for hundreds of hungry shoppers starving for a deal at their flagship store in New York City. Across the country, long lines, a welcome sight for retailers hoping to cash in on the holidays. Hundreds more lining up outside of a Toys "R" Us starting at noon also they wouldn't miss out on must-have items on their kids' wish list.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hopefully, they will get their Skylander and get all their dolls and toys and over with.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I just want to make sure I am here in the front of the line instead of all the way in the back.

ASHER: Shoppers camped outside of this Best Buy in West Palm Beach, Florida, all in hopes of getting their hands on a 40-inch flat screen TV for only $200. It is big ticket items like these and rock bottom prices on electronics that are feeding the frenzy. Police stepping in to end a tug of war over a television.

Amid all the chaos, police shot one shoplifter at this Kohl's Store in Illinois, sending the thief and two officers to the hospital. A convenient alternative to the mayhem is Cybermonday, when retailers are set to offer steep discounts online so you can avoid the crushing crowds.


ASHER: So there is a little bit of chaos happening at retailers across the country. A few tips for you guys. Make sure before you leave your house, do a little bit of research and price comparison online. Keep your receipts just in case you change your mind. Lastly, never, ever put getting a deal or getting a bargain ahead of your own safety. Don, back to you.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, like getting into a fight over a big- screen television. Zain Asher, thank you. Appreciate it. Stay safe out there.

Shoppers empty their wallets. Some employees are really venting their frustration this morning. Protesters expected at Wal-Mart locations around the country today. But it is unclear how many Wal-Mart workers are actually taking part in how many union organizers might be on the picket line instead.

I want to head out to Los Angeles with CNN's Kyung Lah outside of Wal- Mart with more this morning. Kyung, at 3:00 a.m., please tell me people aren't lined up already, are they?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not shoppers and not these protesters that we are hearing about. But it is expected to be a different scene later on today, Don, at this particular Wal-Mart and about a half dozen other Wal-Marts across the country. What organizers are saying is that these are going to be major protests, expected about 100-500 people.

This has been an ongoing dispute between some community leaders, union groups and Wal-Mart's, saying that workers need higher pay, better benefits and they deserve more full-time work. Pointing out that Wal- Mart makes an annual profit of $17 billion every single year. Wal- Mart says though this doesn't represent what is actually happening inside with their employees.

Wal-Mart says by the large majority, the people you see protesting outside the source are not workers. These are the equivalent of union parades. What Wal-Mart is saying, if you talk to the workers, many of them are quite happy to be getting the extra pay, working today, taking care of the customers that come in on Black Friday.

Wal-Mart pointing out that they have had a record-breaking year because of opening up early yesterday. Don, we did speak with the LAPD and they are anticipating about 100 to 500 people outside the store -- Don.

LEMON: It looks like people are shopping already. Thank you, Kyung Lah. We'll check back in with you. Coming up on the show, we are going to talk about Black Friday with Wal-Mart CEO, Bill Simon and Macy's CEO, Terry Lundgren.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: A lot of other stories making the headlines today. Rosa Flores is handling that for us. Good morning, Darling.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning and good morning to you at home. We are following some breaking news overnight in Missouri. A pipeline explosion rocked the small town of Ustonia. It's about 75 miles west of Kansas City. Officials say there was a rupture at a compressor. A spokeswoman for the panhandle eastern pipeline company says there were no fatalities or injuries. The cause is still under investigation.

Officials promising to investigate an air strike that hit Thursday in Afghanistan. Local officials in Helmand Province claim a child was killed. This is coming at a sensitive time as Washington and Kabul tried to determine the future role of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai saying the latest strike shows that the U.S. doesn't care about civilians and that if there are more attacks, he won't sign a security pact.

Now, to Iran, the country is taking the first tangible steps to abide by the nuclear agreement it reached with the west last weekend. They are inviting inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit a heavy water production plant on December 8th. A reactor under construction is on the same site. Heavy water is used in some of those reactors to control nuclear activity.

Now, another possible case of the knockout game this week, the NYPD saying a 23-year-old man was sucker punched in the head as he walked in the Bronx, two more attackers punching him after he went down and then running away not taking anything from him. The victim refused to go to the hospital. Police think the attack could be linked to the cases around the country where teens pick random people and try to knock them out with one blow.

Now, of course, to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the balloons are what we are talking about. Yes, they soared. They were flying in New York. New York City officials gave the green light after deciding the winds would not interfere but, of course, as a precaution, ordered them to be flown lower than usual. That caused Spider-Man to be clipped on a tree in Central Park, deflating one of his arms. He is a super hero. I am pretty sure he handled it very well.

PEREIRA: Can we just give props to the folks that I don't know what their handlers are called. They hustled. Right when they were coming around the corner, right near Columbus Circle, the wind took a turn and that's where they really to hang on tight -- the whole team of them. It is really something.


PEREIRA: Where I come from, they put flowers on our parade floors. They don't soar it in the air.

LEMON: One eye on the TV.

FLORES: I was going to say, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol. I'm just a little curious.

PEREIRA: On Friday, it is acceptable to kind of talk about that a little bit.

One of the things that has been an issue that we talked about with your holiday travel and of course, with the Macy's parade was the wind and the weather. You were in the hot seat yesterday, Jennifer Gray, in for Indra Petersons.

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, the weather has been all the talk over the past couple of days. Good news. If you are heading back after the holidays, your travel forecast is going to be smooth sailing. We have nothing going on. We have a front well out to the east. That was the storm system that produced all the rain, the snow. High pressure in control out in the east, the south, the west, it is not every day you see the radar and there is barely any rain on it, snow, anything.

We have a little bit of rain in the Pacific Northwest. That is it. So your travel plans, even your shopping plans over the next couple of days, looking good. We are just cold, most of the very chilly temperatures in the northeast. Boston, high temperature is 32 degrees. That is 15 degrees below normal. Philly at 40 today. That's 14 degrees below normal, and Pittsburgh, you'll be at 34 today.

So most of the northeast still staying about 10-15 degrees below normal for today and tomorrow. By Sunday, the temperatures finally start to stabilize a little bit. Guys, we get closer to normal, most of the country looking really, really good. It is just called bundle up when you are shopping.

PEREIRA: It is when that increment weather affects our travel this weekend is a tough one.

LEMON: As long as you are inside the store in the mall, you are good.

PEREIRA: Thanks so much, Jennifer.

Next up on NEW DAY, more defiant maneuvers in the disputed territory in the East China Sea, how dangerous is this rising tension between the U.S. and China?

LEMON: The clock is ticking to the deadline to improve the Obamacare web site. What will people see when they try to sign up on Sunday?


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Tensions growing this morning in Asia, China has now sent more fighter jets into a disputed are in the East China Sea. Vice President Joe Biden is set to visit Asia next week. His tour was supposed to focus on economic issues, but now it looks like he will to try to urge calm among all the players in this air space fight.

CNN's Barbara Starr is following the story for us from the Pentagon. Good morning, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Michaela. Well, China says it is on high alert to defend this disputed area. But indeed the U.S. and the allies in the region are challenging that.


STARR (voice-over): Navy fighter jets roar into the Pacific skies. It is a scheduled exercise by U.S. and Japanese forces testing the ability to respond to a crisis. But China's declaration of a new air identification zone requiring aircraft to obey Chinese rules is causing these war games to take on a new significance.

Vice President Joe Biden will arrive in Beijing next week. A senior administration official says the vice president going to, quote, "seek clarity regarding the Chinese intentions" about an area the U.S. considers international air space. Even Caroline Kennedy, the new U.S. ambassador to Japan, is weighing in on the Chinese restriction zone, part of a dispute with Japan about who owns these remote islands in the East China Sea.

CAROLINE KENNEDY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO JAPAN: This only serves to increase tensions in the region.

STARR: The U.S., Japan and South Korea have all flown aircraft into the restricted zone without notifying Beijing authorities, a violation of China's new rules. The Chinese military says it sent fighter jets on patrol into the zone to monitor planes flying there.

VICTOR CHA, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: When the Japanese continue to fly into this area, the Koreans continue to fly into their overlapped area with the Chinese, sooner or later, the Chinese are going to start scrambling jets to intercept these aircraft. That is where you have the potential for not a military conflict, but some sort of accident, some sort of mistake that could then lead to a real crisis in the region.

STARR (voice-over): A Chinese foreign ministry official made clear, Beijing isn't budging.

"We also asked Japan and the United States to reflect on themselves," he says, "correct the error, stop making irresponsible accusations against China, stop creating frictions and put an end to statements and actions that may harm regional stability."


STARR: So the question now is, will Vice President Biden be able to convince the Chinese, perhaps, that they overplayed their hand, that they are facing opposition from countries throughout the region for taking this step -- Don.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Barbara, appreciate that. Thank you very much.

The moment of truth drawing near. Tomorrow is the self-imposed deadline to fix the Obamacare Web site. President Obama has pledged that will be working. So, will millions of uninsured Americans be able to get through?

We'll see. CNN's Jill Dougherty is at the White House this morning. And she looks very warm as a matter of fact.

Good morning, Jill.


You know, this is not supposed to be like the final fix. What it is, is to get the Website to the point where they can handle 50,000 people at one time. But what they are concerned about is what if there are 200,000 at the same time as there have been before back in October. So, that's only one of their concerns.


DOUGHERTY (voice-over): Withering criticism of the initial rollout of has intensified the pressure on the administration to get this fix right for Saturday. The White House hopes it can do that, at least for the vast majority of users. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And this Web site is going to get fixed.

DOUGHERTY: opened for business October 1st, and it's been a disastrous two months. The site crashed unable to cope with people trying to sign up. Small businesses still won't be able to use the site for another year.

Insurance industry insiders tell CNN, some customers' personal data is getting mangled or even lost.

The White House says the site will be able to handle 50,000 users at one time. But, they admit, there will be times after Saturday when does not function properly, and they are bracing for another possible huge surge in volume that could force some people into virtual waiting lines for callbacks.

Officials say consumers who pick a plan by December 23rd and pay their premiums by December 31st will have coverage effect the first of January.


DOUGHERTY: And the White House does have a team. It's technical experts, tech experts. And they are working on hardware and software and, of course, working toward that deadline -- Don, Michaela.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, Jill.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Certainly, we'll be watching that.

LEMON: Yes, absolutely.

PEREIRA: The real test of it.

Next up on NEW DAY, how do Americans feel about the economy? We have the surprising answer from our new CNN poll. We'll have that for you just ahead.

LEMON: And you may want to think twice before writing the bad review online. I know. Who would have thought, right? It could end up haunting you when the company tracks you down. We're going to explain that.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

It is time now for our political gut check. A new CNN/ORC poll out this morning showing that the majority of Americans have a pretty negative view of the way things are going in the country today.

CNN political analyst and editorial director of "The National Journal", Ron Brownstein, is back again to break it all down for us.

Thank you for joining us. How was your turkey day, by the way? RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Excellent, outstanding.

PEREIRA: I'm glad, I'm glad. So, at least, we've got some confidence in how turkey day went. Black Friday will be another discussion. I'm interested in talking to you and getting your take on this poll, 59 percent of Americans think things are going badly in the country. Only 41 think things are going well.

This is the lowest number since February. Does it shock you that numbers have declined so strongly?

BROWNSTEIN: No. I think you have two things going on. The big one is we are living. We have watched almost unprecedented political dysfunction over the last two months. First, with the shutdown and near default and then with the very rocky rollout of Obamacare.

Really, you see the two parties kind of shoot themselves in the foot to an extent that we've almost never seen so close together, each side doing this.

And secondly, Michaela, I think this is a reminder, you know, Dow at 16,000, home prices are stabilizing. There are a lot of people in white collar, upper middle-class America that are feeling pretty good again.

But this is a reminder that this is a very polarized and fragile recovery. And there are a lot of people out there, particularly in the median income and below that are still feeling as though we are in recession.

PEREIRA: Yes, absolutely. And people are still struggling, which is a very important thing to note. Looking ahead, because, we know, of course, the contenders for the 2016 ticket are doing just that. It will be interesting to see how they pay attention to these numbers.

Let's talk about that horse race for 2016. Chris Christie really pulled ahead in rolling for the Republican pick in 2016, up seven points in September.

Ted Cruz has gained a few points. What are you making about this? Is this a reflection of who has been more dominant in the news headlines or is there more to it?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, it's two things. First, only 750 more shopping days until the Iowa caucus, right?

But, look, no, I think part of it is who is in the news and who is visible. But what's really striking, if you look inside your poll, there is a very clear divide, which is very telling, which is that Chris Christie is much stronger among Republican voters earning over $50,000 a year than those earning under $50,000 a year.

If you look back, over the last few cycles, this really has become the divide in the Republican Party. It is a party that now has roughly equal share of its electorate being college graduates, tend to be looking for economic manager. And then, a more blue collar, populous part of the party is really looking for someone to come to Washington and throw rocks through the windows.

And if you look at the 2012 results, very clearly divided. Mitt Romney was a candidate of the managerial class in state after state. Rick Santorum ultimately became the candidate of the more populous side of the party.

I think we are going to see the same divide in 2016. I think Christie is clearly the front-runner for the managerial candidate, and the issue of who becomes the populist to oppose him is an open one. But Ted Cruz is making a lot of progress toward filling that lane.

PEREIRA: And let's look on the Democrat side. Hillary, the runaway favorite. She's, if we look at the poll number, 63 percent. Vice President Joe Biden only 12 percent.

What does this large lead indicate to you, even three years out?

BROWNSTEIN: Three years out, normally, you would say, wow. Three years out, the numbers don't mean anything but for name identification. But she is someone as well positioned as any potential nominee we've seen.

I believe that if there is a way to even cause her difficulty, much less that, it is not through the center of the party. She is going to have that locked down. You're going to have to find a lane that comes at her from an angle.

And the two that are obvious, one, you see Elizabeth Warren there. There is a populist strain emerging in the Democratic Party also that might view her as too close to big business and financial institutions. And Elizabeth Warren can fit that role.

The other is a generational argument, the kind that Gary Hart used against Walter Mondale in 1984, the solution -- the problems of today don't require a return to the 1990s. And someone may ultimately try to fill that role as well.

PEREIRA: It is interesting to see who picks what role and what strategy.


PEREIRA: Now, OK. So, we have talked about the scenario if Hillary does run. If she doesn't put her name in the hat, Vice President Joe Biden takes a big lead. What will he need to do to begin closing that gap with her?

BROWN: Well, I -- look, I don't think it is at all guaranteed and I would be surprised actually if he does run against her, if she runs partly -- largely for what I said It is hard to see how someone with the profile of the vice president really comes out of the core of the party can overtake her. If she doesn't run, I think you have a very wide-open race.

I think Andrew Cuomo in New York and Martin O'Malley in Maryland would be formidable, and I do think the vice president, obviously, and I think Elizabeth Warren would have an audience.

You know, one thing to keep in mind, we have only elected three sitting senators in our history. After all the administrative problems with Obamacare, I think there is going to be a lot of premium on executive experience. It is going to benefit someone like Chris Christie and the Republican Party, and I think it's going to benefit, if Hillary Clinton doesn't run, the governors in the Democratic Party.

You know, that theory that each president we elect has been there to rectify what we saw was a shortcomings of the predecessor, that I think is going to benefit executives in 2016.

PEREIRA: Ron Brownstein has counted the shopping days until the Iowa caucus, 750.

Quick poll of my own, will you cyber shop Monday or jump into the Black Friday parade?

BROWNSTEIN: I am staying away from the mall.


PEREIRA: But you made time for us, Ron. We really appreciate it. Thanks so much.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

LEMON: He didn't definitively answer the question, though. He's almost like a politician.

PEREIRA: He took a very middle of the line road.

LEMON: A lot can happen, though, in three years.

PEREIRA: A lot can happen.

LEMON: Remember back in 2006, there was no Barack Obama, probably, at this time. He was a senator and given that great speech.

PEREIRA: There are characters in the whole mix down the line that we might know about.

LEMON: We know about this character.

PEREIRA: Oh, she is. She's got a look at our top stories.



FLORES: Thank you so much. Happy Black Friday.

Making news:

Ready, set, shop. Stores are open for Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Some stores open Thursday to get a jump on the competition. As always, it was a mad dash once the doors opened with everyone looking for dream deals on this year's hottest items.

The Florida woman awaiting a new trial in a controversial stand your ground case is free on bond. Marissa Alexander was released from jail Wednesday. She will remain under house arrest. In 2012, Alexander was sentenced to a 20-year prison sentence for firing what she insisted was a warning shot during a fight with her husband. An appeals court ruled the judge in the case gave improper jury instructions and ordered a new trial.

An 18-year-old college student says he was traumatized after police threw him in jail for four days by mistake. His family reportedly is looking for lawyers. Jawon Johnson spells his name with an "O" but there is a wanted man out there named Jawon Johnson who spells it with an "A." Police in Maryland thought they had the wanted man after they pulled the teen over for an illegal U-turn. He was released after his fingerprints were run.

You could call him the clumsy crook. In Miami Gardens on Thanksgiving morning, an armed robber held up a gas station. It was caught all on surveillance video. Police say, 22-year-old Johnny Love, Love that last name, stole cash and beer. Inside the store, he dropped the loot and his gun, folks.

Finally, after gathering everything, he ran outside where he fumbled again, smashing the beer on the ground. All of this bumbling gave the cops enough time to get there and arrest him. I'm sure, Don, you are probably sad about the beer.


LEMON: Listen, we are having a lot of fun laughing about it but that's exactly the kind of person who doesn't need a gun, right?

FLORES: He needs a career change as well.

LEMON: Oh, my gosh, crazy.

PEREIRA: Career change as well. Thanks, Rosa.

FLORES: Of course.

LEMON: Everyone is OK, but that's nuts.

PEREIRA: I know, it's so crazy.

LEMON: All right. Up next, on NEW DAY, we've all experienced bad customer service. So, what should you do about it? Why one couple, they got fined after posting a negative review online.

PEREIRA: Yes. And if you were thinking about cybershopping on Monday, you might want to pay attention to that.

Also, Justin Bieber, he is getting a little heat for what he left behind at an Australian hotel. Why city officials want it removed immediately. That's coming up after this.