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THE SITUATION ROOM
New York's New Mayor; New North Korea Threats; Russia Vows Annihilation of Terrorists
Aired January 1, 2014 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: And now new threats by North Korea's unpredictable and dangerous leader.
Kim Jong-un is warning of an all-out nuclear war with the United States. He's also made his first reference in public to the shocking execution of his own uncle.
Brian Todd joins us now.
And, Brian, what are you learning or at least trying to learn in this very veiled society?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you get glimpses here and there, Dana, but you pick up whatever you can.
Those were two things, the threat and the mention of the uncle, that Western intelligence agencies were watching very closely. Kim Jong-un has recently exhibited very unpredictable, dangerous behavior. He began the new year by signaling to the U.S. that it's within range of his ability to strike.
TODD (voice-over): He called the U.S. and South Korea -- quote -- "war maniacs," says those nations are deploying forces, girding for nuclear war with his country, and North Korea's menacing young leader, Kim Jong-un, delivers this warning for America.
KIM JONG-UN, NORTH KOREAN LEADER (through translator): Should another war break out on this land, it will result in a deadly nuclear catastrophe and the United States will never be safe.
(on camera): What are Western intelligence agencies interpreting in that rhetoric?
BRUCE KLINGNER, FORMER CIA INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: What they're seeing is that North Korea once again is blaming the U.S. and its allies for the high level of tensions on the Korea Peninsula, rather than North Korean actions themselves. They are also threatening, as they have been for the past six to nine months, that they already can hit the United States with a missile, perhaps nuclear-tipped.
TODD: This is Kim Jong-un's first public speech since the execution of his uncle Jang Song Thaek last month and his first personal comments about it. Without mentioning the uncle by name, Kim called him part a group of -- quote -- "counterrevolutionary factionalists" and said their removal unified North Korea. But the purge of Kim's uncle and others close to him signify huge internal upheaval.
MIKE GREEN, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: The violence and publicity behind this takedown of the uncle, Jang Song Thaek, may cause -- will cause great fear among the elite in North Korea for the near future. But the next time Kim Jong-un starts to move, the general or the family member, the party leader who sees it coming may strike back first.
TODD: That may have been the case with Kim's uncle. South Korean officials and media said recently that Jang Song Thaek had control of lucrative fishing grounds. They said Kim wanted to take them back, hand them to the military, and a gun battle broke out between forces loyal to the uncle and North Korean soldiers. Kim was enraged when soldiers were killed in that battle, according to those reports, and moved against his uncle.
TODD: It all signifies the dangerous, unpredictable nature of this young North Korean leader.
In his New Year's speech, Kim Jong-un said there should be improved relations between North and South Korea, but analysts say North Korea will launch another provocation with the South. It's not a matter of if, but when -- Dana.
BASH: And that really is such an important factor here that makes this different, because South Korea's new leader is different than her predecessor.
TODD: Absolutely she is. Analysts say the president of South Korea -- her name is Park Geun-hye -- is much more likely to retaliate than her predecessors were.
Two reasons for that. One, she's the daughter of a South Korean president who the North tried to assassinate twice. And also she knows that her predecessor came under intense criticism in 2010 after two incidents, one when North Korea shelled a South Korean island and another when North Korea sank a South Korea ship, killing several sailors.
That president didn't retaliate them, came under enormous pressure. She is now under enormous pressure to strike back if North Korea provokes at all. So it's on if anything happens.
BASH: Absolutely. You can't underestimate that kind of internal pressure. It's not just about North Korea, which we're not really sure about, but South Korea.
TODD: South Korea as well.
BASH: More transparent. Thank you, Brian. Thanks for that great report.
And in Russia, a surprise move by President Vladimir Putin, as he faces growing fears about a terror attack during the upcoming Winter Olympics. After deadly bombings, he's promising to fight for complete annihilation of terrorists.
Our foreign affairs correspondent, Jill Dougherty, has the latest on that.
That's a high bar, Jill.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: It is, and he's said it before. But, anyway, Vladimir Putin today unexpectedly flew to Volgograd, where those attacks took place.
And he ordered security to be increased across the country with just 38 days before the Sochi Olympics begin.
DOUGHERTY (voice-over): A somber New Year's Day for Russian President Vladimir Putin, laying red roses on the site in Volgograd where a suicide bomber blew himself up on a trolley bus, one of two attacks in just 24 hours that killed 34 people, then to the hospital to visit some of the 64 injured.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (voice-over): The abomination of this crime or crimes that were committed here in Volgograd does not need any additional commentary. No matter what motivated the criminals' actions, there's no justification for committing crimes against civilians, especially against women and children.
DOUGHERTY: Putin is vowing complete annihilation of the terrorists and promising to beef up security across Russia.
There's been no claim of responsibility yet, but suicide bombings are the hallmark of the Chechen terrorist dubbed Russia's Osama bin Laden, 49-year-old Doku Umarov. In March, 2010, his female suicide bombers attacked the Moscow metro at rush hour, killing at least 40 people and injuring more than 100.
Chechnya, once a war zone, has largely been pacified, but the terrorists have simply moved to neighboring Dagestan, 600 miles away from Sochi, where Russia will host the Winter Olympics in a little over a month.
MATTHEW ROJANSKY, WOODROW WILSON CENTER: Clearly at the Games, the opportunity to do an attack is going to be much, much tighter than anyplace else. So, if they do an attack outside of Sochi, is it any less significant? Is that any less of a victory for the terrorists and less of a defeat for Putin? I would argue it's not.
DOUGHERTY: A worrying trend, young Russians radicalized by Islamic extremists. Russian media reporting that the suspect in the Volgograd train station bombing is a medic, Pavel Pechyonkin, who reportedly became a Muslim in 2012 and moved to Dagestan.
His distraught parents followed him there, but he disappeared. They recorded a video, his mother saying, "Pavel, I'm appealing to you please come home. We will do anything. Please come home."
But Pavel answered in his own video posted on a terrorist Web site.
"I came here so that Allah would be pleased with me, so that I would deserve heaven. And you cannot deter me from this path."
DOUGHERTY: Putin won the support of many Russians because he's been able to crack down on terrorism. These attacks could undermine support for him at home and shake international confidence in his ability to protect the Games -- Dana.
BASH: Stakes could not be higher for him and of course everybody involved.
Jill, thank you very much. Appreciate that.
Still ahead, it's been more than a week since the ship got suck in thick ice off the coast of Antarctica. Are the 74 people on board anywhere close to being rescued?
Pope Francis made headlines by, among other things, publicly kissing disfigured people this year. What should we expect from the pope of the people next year?
BASH: Talk about a holiday bummer.
For over a week, 74 passengers and crew members have been stuck on a Russian research ship off Antarctica, hoping any day they will be rescued from the bitter gold.
CNN's Sunlen Serfaty has been following the story.
And, Sunlen, it certainly seems like a bummer, but they all appear to be trying to make the best of it.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They absolutely have. We have seen them having fun all week, but this just in. The mission is likely going to start shortly to rescue them all.
But it's much more complex than we were first told. Even after the passengers are airlifted out by a helicopter, that's not the end. They will have at least two more legs in their long trip home.
SERFATY (voice-over): Overnight's classic New Year's's countdown today replaced by an urgent one to rescue.
JANET RICE, PASSENGER: It's 100 percent certain we're going to get helicoptered out when the we a clears, which will be another bit of great adventure to add to our trip so far.
SERFATY: The wheels are in motion now for a complex rescue mission by air and sea. CNN has learned even after this helicopter lift researchers from the deck of the ship 12 at a time, their journey will not be over.
The researchers will be carried back to a Chinese ship. They will then have to board a barge taking them to another icebreaker, before they can finally go home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brilliant.
SERFATY: But sources say in order to move the passengers, the two rescue boats will have to be close together in open water.
RICE: I'm really looking forward to getting home.
SERFATY: While they wait, they're doing what little they can to prepare, like stomping out a flat impromptu landing pad for the helicopter, and in the meantime celebrating the end of 2013 from the bottom of the Earth with an original song performed from the top deck of the ship at midnight, the lyrics poking a big of fun at how much attention their thwarted expedition has attracted, their spirit even reaching Times Square.
CHRIS TURNEY, EXPEDITION LEADER: Just a little bit of champagne, I think, actually, just a little bit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't want to tell tales, but there has been alcohol on the ship.
SERFATY: And that rescue is not going to go quick. It will be painstaking.
And just to give you an indication, Dana, one flight there and back is 45 minutes. That one helicopter, it has to make seven flights. Just the first leg of this long mission will take many, many hours.
BASH: I think it takes a certain kind of person to even want to go to Antarctica to begin with. So they have a certain spirit anyway.
SERFATY: They absolutely do.
BASH: Thank you. Thank you, Sunlen. Appreciate that. If anyone had a good year in 2013, it was Pope Francis. He grabbed the world's attention with the message of love and understanding for everyone and backed it up with his actions, earning himself the nickname pope of the people. What can we expect from him this year?
CNN's Erin McLaughlin takes a look.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nine months into his papacy, Pope Francis has transformed the Roman Catholic Church. There were symbolic gestures and some reforms inside the Vatican. 2014 promises more change.
FRANCIS X. ROCCA, CNN VATICAN REPORTER: It's largely been a matter of style and words and gestures, which have been electrifying people and excited everybody and drawn a lot of attention, but now we're going to start to see some concrete changes.
MCLAUGHLIN: Many hope that the first pope from Latin America will bring greater diversity to the body responsible for selecting the next pope.
In February, Francis is expected to appoint at least 14 new cardinal electors, and then new saints. Two popes are to be canonized on the same day in April, John XXIII, seen by many as a liberal reformer, and John Paul II, seen as more conservative.
ROCCA: There's a lot of tension among some Catholics over these two figures. We can infer he's saying, look, there's a continuity here, there isn't really a conflict, there isn't really a tension, this is all part of the same tradition.
MCLAUGHLIN: Then Francis will follow in the footsteps of his predecessors. In May, he's expected to travel to the Holy Land with stops in Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories, and possibly big news in October at the Synod of Bishops. They're expected to discuss whether it should be easier for divorced and remarried Catholics to take communion.
ROCCA: The pope himself said last summer that this is a time of mercy, and we need to be merciful to people in that situation, which a lot of people took to mean that he's considering making it easier for them to receive that sacrament.
MCLAUGHLIN (on camera): So, Pope Francis already has a lot going on in 2014. One of his biggest challenges ahead, reforming the Vatican. His Christmas message to the governing body of the Roman Catholic Church, cut back on gossip and focus on service.
Erin McLaughlin, CNN, Rome.
BASH: And head, move over, Hillary Clinton. We have been talking to another Democratic woman to watch in 2014.
Plus, the party is over and many of the trends are so yesterday. We will tell you who and what American will have Americans buzzing in the new year.
BASH: A new year and a new mayor for New York City. Bill de Blasio was formally sworn in today by former President Bill Clinton, who, among other things, had this to say about the city's next first family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I got a big kick out of watching New Yorkers fall in love with Bill and Chirlane and Chiara and Dante. You know, with all respect to the television show, they're our real modern family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Jeanne Moos has a closer look now at the family with a style all their own.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dad's arm around son. Son's arm around dad. Husband hugging wife, dad hugging daughter, a four-way group hug. Meet the De Blasios. It sounds like a sitcom.
BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY MAYORAL CANDIDATE: I'm here with the most wonderful family in the world.
MOOS: They've been the high-five, fist bumping, and blowing synchronized kisses to the point that this biracial family has become almost a brand. Not only biracial, but De Blasio's wife used to identify as a lesbian. The family even has a group dance nicknamed the smackdown.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then the entire de Blasio family including son Dante and daughter Chiara did a weird gymnastic move that had brought huge cheers on the crowd.
MOOS: It's enough to make a comedian beg.
JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": Adopt me.
MOOS (on camera): Now never has a hairdo been so overdone during a political campaign. Not De Blasio's hair, his son's.
(Voice-over): The fame of 16-year-old Dante's afros snowballed when he appeared in a commercial for his dad. Even President Obama commented on it, mentioning Dante, who has the same hairdo as I had in 1978, although I have to confess my afro was never that good.
His sister pokes fun.
DE BLASIO: In her enthusiasm, Chiara just attempted to touch the hair. Security was ready to intervene.
MOOS: Jon Stewart went from seeking adoption to adopting the afro.
STEWART: I mean he's --
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BASH: Meanwhile, de Blasio's predecessor, the longtime Mayor Bloomberg, is beginning a new chapter.
Here's CNN's Christine Romans.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With a last wave, this multibillionaire is out of work for now.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: I will be fulfilling a lifelong dream of enjoying a small soda on a non-smoking beach.
ROMANS: His net worth of $31 billion makes him the seventh richest man in the country and the 13th richest in the world.
And it all started with a layoff. When Solomon Brothers let him go in 1981 with a $10 million severance package, Bloomberg started what would become Bloomberg LP, and it's now the largest financial data provider on the globe, the company on track for a record $8.3 billion profit in 2013.
Bloomberg stepped down as CEO in 2001 to campaign for mayor, financing that campaign himself, $74 million in 2001, $85 million in 2005, and after a controversial change in terms limits he pushed through City Council...
BLOOMBERG: So help me God.
ROMANS: ... $108 million in 2009, the most expensive self- financed campaign in history.
Bloomberg ran New York City for 12 interesting years, from pedestrian plazas to public smoking bans to calorie counts to banning the Big Gulp. His no-nonsense approach made him his fair share of enemies. He took only a $1 salary, saving the city $2.7 million over 12 years.
BLOOMBERG: My check used to be 93 cents and now they're 95 cents.
He opted not to live in Gracie Mansion, and he took the subway to work. According to "The New York Times," he gave the city at least $650 million for a wide variety of perks and programs. His foundation Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $370 million in 2012 alone. He's given more than a billion to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, and he's donated $2.8 billion in his lifetime to help causes from art to public health.
BLOOMBERG: The thing that gives me the most pleasure in the world is knowing that I'm making a difference.
ROMANS: So what's next for the billionaire mayor?
BLOOMBERG: I don't know what the future holds, president, pope, naked cowboy.
ROMANS: He's quashed rumors about White House dreams for years, but he's deep in the political fray, championing causes from gun control to immigration reform.
Business mogul and billionaire mayor, the business of being Michael Bloomberg is far from over.
Christine Romans, CNN, New York.
BASH: And coming up, a political star on the rise in the coming year, does she have an eye on running for the White House herself?
And so long, 2013. We will look at trends in pop culture, what's in and what's out. Got to stick around for that.
BASH: As we begin the new year, there's a lot of talk about the political stars of the future.
The Washingtonian -- excuse me -- "The Washington Post" is looking beyond the buzz about Hillary Clinton's presidential bid in 2016, suggesting that her replacement in the Senate, Kirsten Gillibrand, is someone to keep an eye on.
She may by the junior senator from New York, but Kirsten Gillibrand proved in 2013 that she is one to watch in 2014 and beyond.
BASH (voice-over): The "New York Times," "New Yorker," "TIME" magazine all ended 2013 putting the spotlight on Kirsten Gillibrand as a breakout Senate star. A mother who often brings her young sons to work as she bucks Senate decorum by getting in her colleagues' faces, pushing them to join her fight. Lately, that's been legislation on what had been a taboo subject: sexual assault in the military.
(on camera): One common theme in all of these profiles is that you are relentless. Is that fair?
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: I work very hard, and I think you have to work hard. I think that, you know, when you're fighting for someone who's been raped and then, when they reported that rape, he or she was told "It's your own fault" or told "I'm not going to do anything," or told "If you report this, your career is over," I have to do something about that. I feel it's my moral obligation to fight for that man or woman in the military who wants nothing but to serve this country and even die for this country.
BASH (voice-over): She also fights for women on the political battlefield, prodding female candidates to run for Congress in 2014. And then there's the woman she wants to run for president in 2016: Hillary Clinton.
GILLIBRAND: Is she running? I certainly hope so. I think she'd be an incredible commander in chief. I think not only does she have the experience but she has the gravitas.
BASH (on camera): You hope so, but do you think so?
GILLIBRAND: I do. I really do. I think she will run. I'm hopeful that she will make that decision. But she has a whole host of people ready to work really hard for her, including me, to get that campaign built from every state in the country.
I personally asked her to run. I personally told her she can count on me to help in any way I can. I want this campaign to be a little bit more about how she is as a person, as a mother, as a wife, as a daughter. Because the American people, we love our presidents. We want to get to know them. So I think if she opens up on a more personal side, not only will people flock to her, but they will know the Hillary that I know.
BASH: Have you told her that?
GILLIBRAND: Yes, I did.
BASH: What did she say?
GILLIBRAND: She -- she likes the idea. I think...
BASH: Do you think she's comfortable with it?
GILLIBRAND: I think the first female candidate to be a strong, credible candidate, it was all about saying, "I'm knowledgeable enough. I'm experienced enough. I'm tough enough". No one doubts any of those things about her.
BASH (voice-over): And what about Kirsten Gillibrand for president?
GILLIBRAND: I don't aspire to that, but I do love serving the state of New York.
BASH: And we're joined now by Kate Bennett from "The Washingtonian" magazine; CNN political commentator Ryan Lizza. He's the Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker." And Monica Hesse from "The Washington Post." Thank you all for coming on this New Year's Day.
And Monica, you wrote in "The Washington Post" today that Kirsten Gillibrand is somebody to watch in 2020.
MONICA HESSE, "THE WASHINGTON POST": We did. In our annual "In, Out" list, we said "Out, Hillary 2016 and In, Hillary -- in, Gillibrand, 2020."
You know, there are the obvious comparisons -- that she took over for Hillary's seat, that she's a New York senator -- but also, I think that, in our minds, Hillary has been running for 12 years. I don't think it's too soon to talk about who might be running in eight. Gillibrand has had a really breakout year with both her work on military sexual assault, for earlier work on don't ask, don't tell. I think that we're going to be watching her not only in 2014, but 2015, 2016, 2017. So that's who we're looking at.
BASH: And Kate Bennett, who is your political star to look for in 2014?
KATE BENNETT, "THE WASHINGTONIAN": I'm curious about Chris Christie still. I mean, he doesn't -- he doesn't pertain to the party lines. He does whatever he wants. He's sort of off the top, and that's refreshing. It's nice to see in American politics. You never know what he's going to say, and that makes it interesting. And he has a future, too. I mean, he's socially middle of the road, doesn't always do what his party wants him to do.
BASH: That is for sure. And he tells them that. He's not afraid to tell him that. We'll see if that plays in Iowa, if he decides to go there.
And Ryan, you have a fascinating person to look at, because it's not somebody who's on a lot of people's radars.
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He hasn't -- sure.
BASH: He's on mine. I cover the Senate, but maybe not...
LIZZA: First of all, I'm not going to disagree with Kate, who's got the brass knuckles here. Chris Christie, absolutely.
You know who's out of left field? Ron Wyden. He's a senator. He's taking over the Senate Finance Committee, a very important committee, as you know. And he's also been sort of the official rabble-rousing, anti-NSA guy who's going to lead the fight on intelligence reform. And will be a thorn in Obama's side if Obama doesn't endorse some of those intelligence reforms.
BASH: It is interesting to see -- you know, as the new year begins, we all try to sort of look ahead to see, you know, who's coming up, who's sort of the next big thing. It's not just the Hollywood thing; it's also a Washington thing. But there are names of people like Ron Wyden, who have been, you know, in the political sphere for years and years and years, who is going to have a big role, and might be a thorn in the president's side.
LIZZA: And he has been in the past when they were trying to pass health-care reform in '09. He was very difficult. Very difficult to secure his vote. One of the few Democrat holdouts at the end.
There are always these people in the Senate that just sort of come along. Like in this past year, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz. They were the sort of breakout voices. And you know, I think people like Cory Booker, who's a new senator, we'll start to hear more about him, and some people you can't quite predict yet.
BASH: And Monica, I just want to go back to Kirsten Gillibrand. As we were talking, I was thinking about the fact, you know, assuming that she is, Kirsten Gillibrand, 2020, that assumes that Hillary Clinton would either not win in -- either run and not win in 2016 or run and win and not run for reelection in 2016. We're assuming a lot here, but let's just go with it.
LIZZA: Let's go with a real formula.
HESSE: Or that we're just going to start talking about her now and then what happens in 2016 happens.
But I think that this year we saw people started talking about Hillary's candidacy in earnest, as if we haven't been talking about it earnest since 2000. But even the slogan that people are using, "Ready for Hillary," it sounds resigned; it sounds not excited. Oh, "Ready for Hillary."
But I think that Gillibrand is someone who's actually causing excitement and passion. And it's not a sense of resignation. It's a sense of forward-looking, and people -- people feel strongly about liking her, which is -- which is a pleasant change.
LIZZA: Well, and one other woman I would add to that list -- She might not run for president, but might be right there with Gillibrand in 2020 -- is Elizabeth Warren, the senator from Massachusetts who's really exciting a lot of liberal Democrats.
BASH: You know, Kate, I wanted to ask you, because your work at "The Washingtonian" also focused on women and women's issues. And one thing that really struck me that Gillibrand said to me in that interview is how she is privately encouraging Hillary Clinton to run as a woman.
BASH: To run as a mother, to run as a senator, to run -- to run the way she didn't run before. Maybe it was generational. Maybe it was, as she said, because she was the first really serious female candidate. How much do you think that that is going to play, especially frankly with female voters?
BENNETT: I think it's important. I mean, there's sort of a sisterhood happening. People are supporting each other. I think, you know, there's sort of a go team spirit, and I think that's really going to affect this decision. And hopefully, they will get on board. And they seem to like her. And again it's the first thing that we really feel politically is coming; it's a known thing. With Gillibrand it could be something new and different.
LIZZA: But I think this sort of sentiment you captured in the whole "In, Out" list, I think there's something serious that Hillary Clinton has to worried about, that if she's sort of already peaked, you know, can she mount this one last challenge for president, or has she been around too long? That's a serious thing in politics. They do want what's next, what's in.
And obviously, that is what she had to contend with and what was her fatal flaw in 2008. Right.
LIZZA: As politics becomes more like celebrity culture, people tire of personalities faster.
BASH: And speaking of celebrity culture, I want you guys to stick around, because we're going to talk a lot more about the year ahead in pop culture, like will Miley Cyrus stay hot or not.
And of course, Kathy Griffin could not spend the night on CNN without mentioning THE SITUATION ROOM, her love for Wolf and for this show. We're going to have some of that next, right here -- you guessed it -- in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BASH: I usually cover Congress in the stories like the government shutdown and fights over legislation, but hey, it's New Year's Day. And like many Americans, I have the luxury of thinking about things a lot less serious, like TV trends and, yes, even twerking.
BASH (voice-over): Soak it in, America. It's a brand-new year. 2014 is off and running, leaving 2013 in the dust. As you awake from your New Year's slumber, allow us to present a helpful cheat seat of what's out with the old and what's in with the new, 2014. That's right, out 2,014; in, 20-14. Admit it, people, it just sounds better.
Speaking of sounding off, in music, out, twerking those "Blurred Lines" with Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke. In, felling "Timber" with Pitbull and Ke$ha.
In food, out...
RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You are barking mad. BASH: ... waiting in line for cronuts, those fried, cream-filled croissant-donut hybrids.
In, vegetables, people. Americans, we're getting pudgy. Let's resolve to slim it down.
Speaking of greens, in medicine, out, getting a bogus script for medical marijuana. In, getting it legally for recreational use in Colorado and Washington state.
In technology, out, digital overload and burying your face in a device. In, looking up and having an actual human interaction.
In religion, out, retiring as a pope. Pope Benedict XVI called it quits and stepped down as the head of 1.2 billion Catholics.
POPE FRANCIS: (SPEAKING IN LATIN)
BASH: ... popes taking the world by storm. Pope Francis continues to write his only script at the Vatican. This year he'll head to Jerusalem, maybe even Asia.
In politics, out, politicians sending selfies, pretty much ever.
In, a little less conversation and a little more action. I'm looking at you, Washington.
In TV, out, "Breaking Bad." The meth drama ran its course in 2013. It's over, people. Let it go.
BRYAN CRANSTON, ACTOR: This is CNN.
BASH: ... THE SITUATION ROOM with Wolf Blitzer, happening now. We're still here, America, and we won't let you down.
BASH: And we're back with Kate Bennett from "The Washingtonian" magazine, CNN political commentator Ryan Liza, he's the Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker", and Monica Hesse from "The Washington Post."
And, Monica, I want to start you did an official in and out list that was in today's "Washington Post," you did a very long list. I just want to capture a few.
Out: Beyonce, in: Beyonce. We'll talk about that in a second.
Out: Cyndi Lauper. In: Stevie Nicks.
Out: Brussels sprouts. In: cauliflower.
I love this one. Out: whiny millennials. And in: young invicibles.
We'll dissect this in a second. But I just want to talk broadly. We had fun with our own list, but yours is scientific. How do you do this?
MONICA HESSE, WASHINGTON POST: It's pathetically serious. It's insanely serious.
The list is a 37-year-old tradition at "The Post". It started in 1978. My colleague Dan Zak and I took it over five years ago. And we spend days poring over magazines, we poll critics, we look at Democratic trends in neighborhoods. We really find every way we can to justify every item on our list. So, even though it looks like just a lark, it's scientific as a 200 word in/out list at the end of the year can be.
BASH: So, let's dissect this scientifically, of course, because that's what we do here.
OK. Like, Beyonce, how can she be in and out?
HESSE: So, Beyonce is one of those people that continually surprises you. We were ready to call her out. She had kind of an odd year last year, starting with the lip-syncing at the inauguration, which was scandalous, and people really look down on her. But then the end of the year comes and she drops an album that she's been working without anyone knowing and immediately soars to the charts.
So, she's one of those people that almost transcends ins and outs. She's always going to be in. She's always going to be out. We'll be sick of her and love her at the same time.
BASH: OK, Ryan Lizza, I'm going to press you --
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You really got me on the wrong segment.
BASH: I've got you on the spot here. Brussels sprouts, are you -- are you fine with those being out and cauliflower being in?
LIZZA: You know, I actually made Brussels sprouts for Christmas dinner.
BASH: That's so 2013.
LIZZA: Even as I was cooking then, I realized that next year would be about a different vegetable.
All right. So, on that one, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, what's the -- I'm not catching any scientific basis for that. C'mon. You can't --
KATE BENNETT, WASHINGTONIAN MAGAZINE: On menus, more you're seeing cauliflower. LIZZA: Oh, really?
BENNETT: Absolutely. You're seeing them in gratins, flambed.
HESSE: Cauliflower steaks for vegetarians has finally replaced the mighty portabella mushroom.
LIZZA: That sounds disgusting.
BASH: That actually doesn't sound so good.
Let's just talk about television, because we're obsessed with television here. One thing I have been obsessed with is the real housewives of all the states, particularly I like New Jersey and Beverly Hills, but I have to say, I'm sorry, Andy Cohen if you're watching on Bravo, I think they have jumped the shark. I want to love them. Kate, are they out?
BENNETT: I think you might be out, though jump the shark, that's like 2010.
BASH: I know. That's like Ponzi. I know.
BENNETT: I do think -- I mean, there's only so much success and red wine and, you know, fist fights.
BASH: And tables but thrown.
BENNETT: It's a little much. So, they're trying to revamp the cast. Maybe that will bring some life to it. It's still sort of fund and salacious and gossipy, but at the same time, yes, it's a formula that's getting a little old.
LIZZA: I mean, reality TV in general --
BASH: You're a big fan "Real Housewives" fan, I'm sure, Ryan.
LIZZA: Huge. The number of subcultures left in American society to put on TV, we're sort of reaching the limit, right?
BASH: No, no, there is no limit.
HESSE: I'm still waiting for something that does the Midwestern Lutheran casserole subculture really well. Those are my people. I would watch them.
BASH: Let's turn to music, because we heard a little in the piece. But the number one song right now is 'Timber" with Pitbull and Kesha. Can we hear it? Control room?
There you go.
What will be hot in 2014?
BENNETT: That's not it. This is it.
BASH: There you go. OK.
BENNETT: I mean, it's catchy. You don't want to sing along to it, but I find myself --
BASH: It is. It's totally catchy.
BENNETT: I think you'll find those same catchy pop tunes. But there's some new, you had someone on your list, that Australian pop singer, Betty Who. Yes. There are some new name coming around.
BASH: And she's sort of like '80s. She is retro.
HESSE: She's a little bit retro but so fun and infectious, and I feel like every year you want someone like that. Someone who's going to make you sing along, like Kesha did this year. So --
LIZZA: I love that category you had which is like who gets divide (ph), like Cyndi Lauper and Stevie Nicks. So, there's always someone who just, you know, now that people my age are you know, we're hitting our 40s, someone from our youth. So why Stevie Nicks?
HESSE: Well, we called Cyndi Lauper and Stevie Knicks, and Cyndi Lauper had a big revival. She was part of kinky boots.
HESSE: Yes. And --
LIZZA: If you watch WWF, you'd love Cyndi Lauper.
HESSE: But Stevie Nicks is "It" girl, or the it aging '70s pop star on the third season of American horror story which is huge. So, like every year is a Ben Affleck year or a Matt Damon year, I feel like every year could be Cyndi Lauper year or a Stevie Nicks year.
BASH: Let's get back with that Tailor Swift duet which, poor Tailor Swift. But that's another story.
OK, let's talk about the selfie, because we have to talk about the selfie in 2013. We're all guilty of it. President Obama did it, unfortunately, at the memorial service -- there you go -- for Nelson Mandela. There you go. That's Anderson Cooper and me during the government shutdown looking a little tired at the capitol.
Selfie can't go away, right?
LIZZA: What could replace the selfie? No. People promoting themselves, taking pictures on social media, that's not going away. That's only going to accelerate, right?
HESSE: You know, Ryan, I also think when we say selfie, we're talking about a very specific kind of like pose, duck lips shot.
I feel like you and Anderson Cooper taking a shot of yourself during the shutdown, that's just -- that's a self portrait. That's an elevated selfie.
BASH: I'm not so sure. Thank you for elevating that, but I'm not so sure.
BENNETT: I think we have to stop doing selfies while driving. I find a lot of people with that mirror shot. You know you're in your car.
HESSE: Or the bathroom selfie in the pajamas.
BENNETT: You know, make it an appropriate selfie spot.
BASH: OK. So, Kate, I have to -- you and I are friends. Full disclosure. And one of the things I wanted you to do was bring on your iPhone case holder.
Oh, my gosh. Don't mess with Kate Bennett.
BENNETT: There it is. So, this is a brass knuckles, you can hold it like an Alexander McQueen. A little fashion reference there.
BASH: But that brings me to the question of digital detox.
BENNETT: Oh, yes.
BASH: Because you always have that with you.
BENNETT: I do. It looks like it's --
BASH: Digital detox is the in thing.
Arianna Huffington, of course, now sort of famously had a response on her e-mail saying I'm not checking my e-mail this holiday week.
What do you think? Are we going to do it?
BENNETT: I think it's in. I had a friend who went to a dinner party. There was a bowl at the front door and the host asked everyone to put their iPhones in that bowl and said please focus on ourselves, our guests tonight and worked. And people had a good time.
BASH: Yes or no. We've got to go. Yes or no, digital detox?
LIZZA: Just don't respond to things as quick will and people will realize that you're one of those people who don't respond right away. It works for me.
HESSE: Yes, in theory. In practice, it didn't work.
BASH: Exactly, amen to that.
Thank you all. Happy New Year. Thanks for coming in.
LIZZA: Happy New Year.
BENNETT: Happy New Year.
HESSE: Thank you.
BASH: And now, we're going to turn to more serious stories, other stories into THE SITUATION ROOM. And that at least 14 people have been hospitalized, six of them critically after an explosion at a fire in a Minneapolis apartment building. The Minneapolis fire chief says not everyone has been accounted for, but that below zero temperatures made rescuing victims especially tough. The cause of the fire is not yet known.
And it's a sad day for television fans. Actor James Avery, best known for his role as Uncle Phil on the hit sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" died from complications from heart surgery. A short time ago, I spoke about Avery's passing with his "Fresh Prince" co-star Joseph Marcell who played the family's lovable butler Jeffrey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH MARCELL, ACTOR, "THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR": He was a wonderful man, the gentle giant. Erudite, he had compassionate -- huge and massive yet gentle, a true wonderful friend. A true loyal friend and I -- he has touched my life so well. And I will never forget I him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: James Avery was 68 years old.
We're hoping that your New Year's Eve celebration was safe and fun and joyous, but nobody -- I mean, nobody had more fun on New Year's Eve than our own Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin high above Times Square.
And it's not a party until Anderson Cooper ends up in handcuffs. Check this out.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN AHCHOR: Let's start off the evening by saying I love you and I'm glad you're here, but I just want this year --
KATHY GRIFFIN, ACTRESS: This is like an intervention. I know you get shy about these things, but I think it's very brave of you to use tonight to announce your endorsement for future president, Ted Cruz, in 2016.
COOPER: No, I obviously do not endorse anybody.
GRIFFIN: Anderson has been -- COOPER: Kathy Griffin, who has been a neme -- whose -- Ryan Seacrest has been her nemesis for years. You were convinced he was trying to kill you for a while -- or was that Oprah?
GRIFFIN: I believed, for a while, that Ryan Seacrest and Oprah were in a coven trying to kill me --
GRIFFIN: -- that you also were a member of for at least four years.
COOPER: No swearing. No stripping. And for what are -- most important to me, no touching and no simulations if you know what I mean. Simulations -
GRIFFIN: I'm not going to simulate, I'm going to do it.
COOPER: I don't even know what you're doing.
GRIFFIN: People actually asked if I was going to lick you tonight --
COOPER: I've got to tell --
GRIFFIN: -- like Miley Cyrus. That was a genuine question.
GRIFFIN: I know the hurt little boy who lives inside the model body. And let me tell you, he's five years old. Mommy is missing. She's at Studio 54. His soup is cold and all he wants is love. So he's reading every single Tweet.
I scroll through mine, I'm like next, next, next. Go to kathygriffin.com, buy tickets.
He's just so -- there's one tear like Demi Moore in "Ghosts." He's doing some pottery. And that little boy never grew up.
He's got short pants. He's got suspenders. He's having high tea.
Somebody, just love him. Just love him for who he is. He's just a model. He's an underwear model that became a newsman by mistake.
Get me Rick Sanchez. Rick, if you're watching, come on back. You're welcome.
COOPER: Man, you are funny. You make me laugh.
GRIFFIN: (INAUDIBLE) comes to my window above me --
DEBORAH HARRY, BLONDIE LEAD SINGER: I love the -- GRIFFIN: No?
HARRY: I think we can stop, right. Actually, it was about Anderson.
COOPER: Oh, thank you. Yes, thank you.
GRIFFIN: Did that girl with the crown just say the word micropeen (ph)?
COOPER: Yes. Yes.
GRIFFIN: All right. So she said the watermelon has a micropeen?
COOPER: No. No, no, no. A what?
GRIFFIN: A micropeen.
GRIFFIN: What haven't you done yet, Deborah Harry?
HARRY: Well, I haven't climbed Big Mountain.
GRIFFIN: You can climb Anderson Cooper right now, if you know what I'm saying.
COOPER: In high school, I wanted to be Amish because I thought --
GRIFFIN: You know what, you drop these bombs on me --
COOPER: It's true.
GRIFFIN: And then you have the nerve to act like I'm the one that's like unpredictable.
GRIFFIN: What do you mean you wanted to be Amish?
COOPER: I wanted to be Amish. I thought it would be so like -- first of all, I'd seen the movie, "Witness," and I thought it looked so nice.
COOPER: You don't have to worry about what you're wearing, black and white every day.
GRIFFIN: Here's the deal. You're a Vanderbilt. It's not going to change. There aren't Amish Vanderbilts. Your mom used to live in the Bergdorf Girl --
COOPER: I --
GRIFFIN: -- Goodman store.
COOPER: I'm a Cooper, first of all.
GRIFFIN: OK, easy, all right?
Witness (ph), I handcuffed myself to Anderson Cooper.
You guys, I did it. And I don't have a key at all.
COOPER: This is truly my worst nightmare.
GRIFFIN: We're together forever. If I can't have you, no one can.
COOPER: I will gnaw off my hand.
BASH: Now, after watching Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper last night, I had an observation. I think they're kind of obsessed with Wolf Blitzer. They started talking about the top stories on CNN and then it took off from there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: You guys here's what you love about CNN, weed and heaven. A lot of specials about weed and heaven.
COOPER: Is that right?
GRIFFIN: Do you watch the channel? I actually watch the channel.
COOPER: Of course, I watch the channel.
GRIFFIN: Did you see Dana Bash in the Sit Room? What happens when you go to "THE SITUATION ROOM"?
COOPER: I have not actually been in "THE SITUATION ROOM."
GRIFFIN: You've never like tried to change the channel to MTV?
COOPER: What do you mean?
GRIFFIN: You should go into "THE SITUATION ROOM". Grab the remote from Wolf and just put on Lifetime or something fun.
COOPER: I forgot my Wolf Blitzer tunic.
GRIFFIN: You have a Wolf Blitzer tunic.
COOPER: A group called-what are they, Mad Men?
GRIFFIN: That's a show.
COOPER: Anyway, Mad Men that wrote a song about Wolf Blitzer. GRIFFIN: Who hasn't?
COOPER: And they wear a tunic with his face on it and sent me in. I was going to bring it in.
GRIFFIN: Maybe they get him more than you do. I think he's a living legend.
COOPER: He is a living legend.
GRIFFIN: I've seen him do the Dougie, et cetera.
COOPER: He does the Dougie, that's true.
GRIFFIN: Why don't you have a room like for your show? Instead of 360, why don't you like spin on your show? If you're going to do it go for it. Spinning on 360 and trying not to puke and doing the news.
COOPER: OK. You're spit-balling. You're throwing them out.
GRIFFIN: That's right. I'm very disappointed.
COOPER: How many more cards you got? Because we're -- you know, the clock is ticking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: That's it for us. A very him a New Year to all of you. The CNN special "All the Best, All the Worst, 2013" begins right now.