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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

House Passes Budget; Kerry In Middle East; Cell Phones On Planes

Aired December 13, 2013 - 05:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Developing overnight, secretary of State, John Kerry, in Israel. The latest on his pitch for progress on Mid East peace. We're live.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN (on-camera): And I'm John Berman. It is 30 minutes past the hour right now.

SAMBOLIN: So, I'm the bearer of bad news this morning. This is not the kind of forecast that will make you want to get out of bed. It is cold again today for actually much of the country. Snow, ice, it's hitting all over the place. The worst part? Your Saturday may be snow covered.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Today bad, tomorrow is even worse, folks.

SAMBOLIN: It's coming to the east coast. It was not pretty on the roads near Ground Rapids either. Look at what it led to, a massive 40-car pileup. Cars, trucks smashing right into each other when visibility suddenly dropped. Even police cars there warned drivers about the danger -- warning drivers about the dangers were hit in that massive pileup.

BERMAN: It is so cold in Milwaukee --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OFFICER DAN ROESLER, MICHIGAN STATE POLICE: It was inside of probably ten minutes that it went from being able to see what was going on ahead of you to not seeing.

CARRIE NEWBERG, DRIVER: I actually lost control. I hit a car in front of me. I was thrown off and I hit the police officer who was in the ditch. Nothing that we could do to stop.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: Now, it is so cold in Milwaukee. The part of the river there, it is frozen solid. Wow. Temperatures have been below freezing for days now.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: The river's current not strong enough to overcome the cold weather. Still, be careful --

SAMBOLIN: Meantime, in Oregon, cold and ice have led to many, many accidents there. Look at this one, folks. This one was near Portland. The driver lost control of his truck during a turn. It slid down and embankment and caught on fire. So, the driver amazingly got out before it started to skid. He is said to be OK.

BERMAN: Take a look at the area around Buffalo, New York, hometown of Wolf Blitzer. It's been snowing there for days with several feet on the ground already.

SAMBOLIN: Trivia.

BERMAN: It helped toughen them up. You now know why Wolf is so tough growing up in that kind of weather. They could receive even more snow today. for drivers, it's been a mess there, but for ski resorts, it's been fantastic.

SAMBOLIN: (SINGING) Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been a while since we've been blessed with such great snow. We really hope that we get an early snow like this because it gets in people's mind, you know, to come out and enjoy it. We haven't had this snow in a couple of year. So, we're very grateful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So, besides the ski resorts, the only person that all happy about this is Indra Petersons.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: She's been watching this storm for a while now --

(CROSSTALK)

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: If I can go snowboarding, and I'm always happy. (INAUDIBLE) nothing accumulating, not so much. Well, it doesn't look out there. People are very happy. There's a lot more snow is headed our way. Let's talk about the temperatures first this morning. New York, 24 degrees, so below freezing. But they're not the only one. Minneapolis, Chicago, Cincinnati this morning waking up in the teens and even into the southeast Atlanta below freezing at 30.

I think we know by now that it's been cold. The other story we've been watching the last several days has been the lake-effect snow, still looking for more of that today, but the focus switches now to that next system, already dropping south out of Montana. Today, especially as we go through tonight, you're really going to start to see that wintry mix starting to kick up again.

So, portions like Kansas and Missouri, that's where you're going to see that. Then, as we move in through Saturday, look for the Ohio Valley especially overnight to start seeing some impacts from the system. And then into the northeast as well, notice there's actually two systems kind of coming together, bringing that moisture and the cold air.

Also some winds are going to being kicking up as the sky kicked (ph) through. Keep in mind, bulk of us are going to be affected on Saturday. By Sunday in through New England, we're going to be looking for those big impacts. That's a good amount in places like New York City. We're talking about a good two to four inches. Boston could see as much as a foot of snow. So, yes, I think they're going to have an indoor weekend.

BERMAN: Wow.

SAMBOLIN: Happy sledding, right?

PETERSONS: No. I would just say inside. Indoors is indoors.

(LAUGHTER)

PETERSONS: Indoors.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you, Indra.

All right. So, how is this for bipartisanship? Democrats and Republicans actually agreeing and voting to say yes to a federal budget deal.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): So, the House voted overwhelmingly 332-94 to send a plan on to the Senate and keep the government running through 2015. This is a big change, you know, from just a few months ago when both sides were at each other's throats leading up to and during that government shutdown.

Though, of course not everything is sunshine and happiness there. The speaker of the House is going after critics, the light (ph) with his own party, especially the conservative lobbying groups who said GOP members shouldn't vote for this deal. John Boehner snapped at them on Wednesday. He snapped at them again yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: When groups come out and criticize an agreement that they've never seen, you begin to wonder just how credible those actions are. It's not everything we wanted, but our job is to find enough common ground to move the ball down the field on behalf of the American people who sent us here to do their work.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) MINORITY LEADER: Their party is dominated by people who do not believe in government and that they don't believe in government, they don't believe in science and they don't believe in the presidency of Barack Obama. So, it's a trifecta. Those people have hijacked the name Republican which has made such a valuable contribution to our country, the Republican Party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Some of those conservative groups say they will make sure voters know who said yes to this deal. The Senate is set to vote on it next week.

BERMAN (voice-over): Retired FBI agent missing for years in Iran apparently was working for the CIA. The "Associated Press" and "Washington Post" say Robert Levinson was on an approved intelligence gathering mission when he disappeared in 2007 and that the agency paid his family millions to prevent a lawsuit. The officials have four years insisted Levinson was in Iran as a private citizen.

His whereabouts at this point remain unknown. This, folks, honestly, a fascinating story. Read it.

SAMBOLIN: Yemeni officials blame a U.S. drone strikes for killing 15 people on their way to a wedding. This happened Thursday after their party was apparently mistaken for an al Qaeda convoy. The U.S. has stepped up drone operations in the country considering a stronghold of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN (on-camera): Staying in the Middle East in the latest effort to find common ground between Israel and the Palestinians. Secretary of state, John Kerry, is there today trying to get the OK from both sides on a new security agreement. Karl Penhaul is live in Jerusalem. Karl, give us the latest on these discussions.

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of the main topics of conversation, so far, John, has been the weather, the snow, because according to locals here in Jerusalem, this is one of the heaviest December dumps of snow that many of them can remember for years.

And so, when John Kerry headed across to the west bank last night to meet with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, he had to cut his meeting short to only half an hour in order to get back because heavy snow was coming in. A journey that normally took 15 minutes took them more than two or four (ph) hours to get back to Jerusalem. And then, this morning, when he met with Prime Minister -- Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, again, the snow being one of the main topics of conversation.

Both men joking about the climate here. But of course, the serious issue here, the warm that Kerry is come to talk about to the Palestinians and the Israeli this time around is about security and about borders. Now, what the Israelis want is a permanent security military presence along the border with the west bank and Jordan along the Jordan River Valley.

That's something that Palestinian authorities say they will not count and it's a continued Israeli military presence on their territory and what John Kerry has is a very difficult task to mediate between the two.

This issue is one of the key issues known as the final status issues, and although on the one hand, the Palestinians and Israelis don't sound very optimistic, the Americans remain optimistic and they believe that possibly even as early as April, they may at least have some kind of framework agreement on those final status issues -- John.

BERMAN: Optimistic. All right. Karl Penhaul in Jerusalem for us with a beautiful snow behind you. That is really stunning to see. Thanks, Karl.

SAMBOLIN: A nice backdrop.

All right. Another trip to Florida today for Health and Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius. She's heading to Miami today to take part in a discussion about the Affordable Care Act and to encourage people to sign up for coverage on healthcare.gov as well. It is Sebelius' third visit to Florida in four months to talk about the law.

BERMAN: Meanwhile, one promise made by the president about the health care law has now been given a not so nice honor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Now, we said that many times. It's now being called the lie of the year by the fact checking group, PolitiFact. Its editor writes, "Boiling down the complicated health care law to a sound bite proved treacherous even for its promoter and chief. Obama and his team made matters worse suggesting they have been misunderstood all along." No response from the White House yet.

SAMBOLIN: I suspect they'll stay mum on that.

All right. Coming up, the FCC is getting called out about cell phones on planes. Why even the idea of letting you make calls in the air has many, many, many up in arms?

BERMAN: Many, many, many, many.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. The FCC is hearing a lot of static about its decision to consider lifting a ban on using cell phones on airplanes. Gee, I wonder why, John.

BERMAN: It's a bad idea.

SAMBOLIN: Other agencies saying just don't do it. The Department of Transportation is now considering instituting its own restrictions and several lawmakers want to make a ban part of the federal law. FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler, told a House committee the agency has to base its decision on technical factors, not public or personal opinions, John.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM WHEELER, FCC CHAIRMAN: I'm the last person in the world who wants to listen to somebody talking to me while I fly across the country, but we are the technical agency and we will make the technical rules that reflect the way the new technology works.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: So, the FCC has now opened up a comment period to collect more information on whether cell phone use should be allowed. At least one airline, listen to this, Delta, has said even if the ban is lifted, it will not allow calls in flight.

BERMAN: Bravo to them.

In other news, I am wearing black today because it is Zoraida Sambolin's last day on EARLY START. I got you a little something. I got you --

SAMBOLIN: The boys made this?

BERMAN: The boys made the bracelet, but I gave you the charms. I don't know if you could see it. It's got a five and a six for the hours of EARLY START. The six is a collector's item.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: It's something that I have to get from the museum. Now, I have to say when I heard that you chose your fiance, your family, your hometown, and sleep over me --

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: I was a little offended. And I've been trying to understand it, but it's hard. I have put together a little piece.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, no. Gosh!

BERMAN: Which I hope --

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN: Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

Good morning to you and welcome to EARLY START --

BERMAN (voice-over): The thing about Zoraida Sambolin, when she says good morning, she means it.

SAMBOLIN: Welcome to EARLY START. We're happy you're with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: Not the morning part, that's obvious, but the good part.

(on-camera) It's been quite a morning here. Zoraida just spilled a full cup of coffee on me.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN (voice-over): She doesn't just want your morning to be good.

SAMBOLIN: I love it.

BERMAN: She makes it happen.

SAMBOLIN: Wow!

BERMAN: Whether it be taking on one of the world's fastest men or world's tallest women, whether at sea or on stage dealing with everything from scary dragons to kinky boots.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Woooh!

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a morning show!

SAMBOLIN: It's that smile, that laugh, that sparkle.

BERMAN (on-camera): She's on fire this morning.

BERMAN (voice-over): It evokes the immortal words of Bill Murray from "Stripes."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't go! All plants are going to die!

BERMAN: But it's not just the plants. More than anything, it's the sincerity.

SAMBOLIN: Where were you when you found out the names?

BERMAN: Finding hope in the horror, determination, instead of dread.

SAMBOLIN: We are live in Cleveland and there are burning questions this morning about the living hell that three women were forced to endure.

BERMAN: It should have been no surprise when faced with her own challenges, her grit, her guts, came bursting through.

SAMBOLIN: I got diagnosed with breast cancer.

BERMAN: Her strength, her courage gave us courage. She led her family, her friends, her co-workers through the battle. (on-camera) As a founding member of team Z, not just Z but super Z.

(voice-over) Shining a spotlight in the struggle against cancer.

SAMBOLIN: That's what I'm focused on that I will feel confident at the end of all of this that the cancer is gone.

BERMAN: She won. It's not a good idea to pick a fight with Zoraida Sambolin. Trust me.

(on-camera) You're going to miss this. EARLY START continues right now.

(voice-over) Despite the bruises, you made early less surly. You put the frisky in 5:00 a.m. You put the fun in fundamental deprivation.

(on-camera) Well, do that thing again.

SAMBOLIN: Brrrr.

BERMAN (voice-over): You make me feel like Rose in "Titanic."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll never let go!

BERMAN: I'll never let go, Z! I'll never let go. OK. It doesn't work as well for me as her, but know this. We will miss you tons.

(on-camera) Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone --

(voice-over) Yes, you put the "good" in good morning. It just doesn't work as well in goodbye.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN: That is so sweet. A nice collector's item, huh.

BERMAN (on-camera): Yes. I know that the charm bracelet, you can keep. I'm not going to take that back.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: So, that's yours for good.

SAMBOLIN: OK. So, here, thank you, you guys. Oh, my gosh. How sweet! Thank you very --

BERMAN: We have a cake.

SAMBOLIN: How sweet of you guys to come! Thank you! OK. So, look, here's what I have to say. I thought about this long and hard. This was a very difficult decision for me. I did it primarily for my kids. They're going to be very happy in Chicago and this has taught me a lot. You are the best human being I have ever sat next to in my entire life.

BERMAN: You got to sit next to more people -- (LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: No, seriously. I just cannot think of a more thoughtful, caring, cynical --

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: -- loving, just a genuinely good human being. And I thank you for just being you and for bringing so much to the table and for supporting me when I needed support and for, you know, letting me have it when I needed that too. So, I really appreciate you more than you will ever know and I have told you this. I will miss you most.

BERMAN: What you told me is I will miss you, but I'll get over it. That's what you said. She said this morning, "I'll miss you, but I'll get over it."

SAMBOLIN: Honestly, I did say that. I did say that.

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: But I didn't mean it. You know me. But anyway, I'm going to miss CNN. This is a great place led by an incredible man who has just been remarkable to me, Jeff Zucker, which I have to mention because when I got diagnosed with cancer, I want everybody to know this man walked into my office, and he basically claimed that the silver platter and said "However I can help you, whatever I can do, I will."

And to get through this journey with all the viewers which has been amazing to me as well. Just has been very special. Thank you, thank you, all of you. Thank you for coming. You should see the people behind us. This is the best team going.

BERMAN: Well, look, you're an amazing person. Everyone here --

SAMBOLIN: You're so sweet what you did.

BERMAN: Everyone here is going to miss you tons. Everyone there is going to miss you tons.

SAMBOLIN: Thank the boys for me. I appreciate this very much.

BERMAN: Thank you.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: So, welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. Not much going on here this morning.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: It is "Money Time" and Christine Romans is here with that.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Good morning.

SAMBOLIN: You have props?

ROMANS: I do have props. I'm going to get to these props in just a moment. But stocks, I think they might not to gain today, finally. You know, the Dow has been down three days now. Two of those were 100-point losses, leaving many to wonder what's happening to the rally and what about that so-called Santa Claus rally?

Usually, stocks rise in December, but this year, the S&P is down about 1.5 percent in December, so far. Investors have their eyes on the fed wondering when policymakers are going to start to taper that massive stimulus program, but, still going strong, IPOs. I want to tell you about Hilton shares up seven percent in their public debut. The company raised more than $2 billion. That now makes it the biggest hotel IPO in history. Now, here's my props for Z.

SAMBOLIN: OK.

ROMANS: Mortgage rates are falling. The 30-year fixed rate, 4.42 percent. Mortgage rates are falling. That's good. The first drop in three weeks. The 30-year has now been below five percent for three years because of that aforementioned said pumping money into the economy. But the applications to get those loans, they're ballooning in size. Sometimes as big as textbooks.

This is the average size of a mortgage application today. 500 pages, that's according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. 500 pages, OK? Five years ago, seven to eight years ago, this is what it looked like. Well, like a hundred pages. Those are the boom times. Now, this greater regulation, all these new disclosures because of what happened after the crash --

SAMBOLIN: How could that possibly be?

ROMANS: It's everything. It's all kind -- it's verifying how much money you make, verifying who you are. I mean, it used to be -- no income, no job, no asset. No problem, you could get a loan. Now, 500 pages to verify who you are.

Sharing photos just got a little bit easier. A little more discreet. Instagram launching a new private messaging feature. It's called Instagram direct.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: Some people share things they shouldn't be sharing.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Not me.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: This allows you to send a photo or video to one or even up to 15 different followers. Facebook owns Instagram. Of course, it's got a teenager problem. Younger users have been going to Snap chat. That's an app that allows private messaging. Facebook tried to buy Snap chat, not successfully. So now, it's rolling out. It's answer to them. There you go.

BERMAN: I look forward to getting some messages from you.

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: I was talking about you --

ROMANS: 500 pages.

SAMBOLIN: No, I find that remarkable. Poor folks that have to go through that, right?

ROMANS: I know. It's like buy a house, kill five trees. I mean, really is unbelievable.

BERMAN: I've never seen you get so emotional over "Money Time" before.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, I know. Thank you, Christine. Appreciate it.

BERMAN: Coming for us next, she insisted she was innocent of pushing her husband of just eight days off a cliff, but now, a newlywed is admitting she did it. Why the dramatic change in the story? That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. She has admitted her guilt. The Montana newlywed accused of pushing her husband of eight days off of a cliff. Jordan Graham had said it was an accident. That happened as they were walking through Glacier National Park last July, but she changed her story as part of a plea deal just as closing arguments were set to begin in her trial.

She told a judge the pair were talking about how unhappy she was and when she grabbed her hand -- when he grabbed her hand, she pushed back and he fell. She says she knew he had fallen off the cliff. So, as part of the deal, Graham will avoid a mandatory life sentence.

We're going to have more on this is coming up on "NEW DAY." Forensic psychologist, Michael Welner (ph), will talk with Chris and Kate about the case in 8:00 a.m. eastern hour. That was a shocker when she made that change --

BERMAN: It was a shocker. That's all for us today.

SAMBOLIN: "NEW DAY" starts now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been pretty consistent and pretty constant the entire day.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Monster storm. A thousand mile long stretch of the country is about to get smacked by snow and ice. We will show you how bad it will be where you are.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New details in the case of a teen from a wealthy family let off easy after his attorney said he suffered from affluenza. What he reportedly said moments after the accident that left four people dead.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New this morning. Mark Zuckerberg one-on-one with CNN. Why is he taking on the NSA and the new star-studded award ceremony he's launched to make science sexy?

CUOMO: Your "NEW DAY" starts right now.

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CUOMO: It being Friday the 13th, I'm making sure my phone is on silent. Good morning, Welcome to "NEW DAY," December 13th, as I said, six o'clock in the east. Friday 13th, but Jason has got nothing on the storm that will stretch 1,000 miles and is set to drop heavy snow. Get ready for travel to be affected this weekend from Missouri to Maine.

Snow totals will vary but a big chunk of New England could end up knee deep in the white stuff. Let's get right to meteorologist, Indra Petersons, tracking the storm. What do we see?

PETERSONS: I think you've said it all, because what we're talking about is not only cold temperatures, but another storm headed our way. I mean, yes, we're talking about teens this morning, Minneapolis, Chicago, Cincinnati but that is the least of their concerns as another storm is headed their way.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETERSONS (voice-over): It's the third round of wintry weather for the Midwest and northeast this month.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been one storm after another.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Frigid wind chills. They were as low as 31 below in parts of the area last night.

PETERSONS: Another blast of biting cold and lake-effect snow on the way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has been constant all day.

PETERSONS: Already walloping towns like Hamburg, New York and causing multiple trucks to overturn on this Buffalo, New York, highway. The icy roads even causing a 40-car pileup in Michigan. Take a look at this police dash cam video, a semi hitting a cruiser, another SUV nearly colliding. A developing system will bring a wintry mix of freezing rain and sleet across Mississippi Valley through the east coast.