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NEW DAY

Kerry Keeps Pushing Peace; Coast Guard To The Rescue; Road Rage Murder; Is Your Water Safe?; "Frozen" Rules Wintry Weekend; Liz Cheney To Drop Senate Bid; "Tiger Mom" Is Back

Aired January 6, 2014 - 07:30   ET

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


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, a U.S. Coast Guard cutter is on its way this morning to help rescue two ships trapped in the ice in Antarctica. One of those ships, a story we've been following here, a Russian vessel, the one that's been stuck since Christmas Eve and after helping rescue 52 passengers on board that ship, a Chinese ship also became ice bound. So the Coast Guard Icebreaker should arrive at the ships in about a week. The crews on both stranded vessels have plenty of food and supplies and are not in immediate danger.

A 28-year-old man killed in a violent road rage incident in Pennsylvania. Police say Timothy Davidson was traveling on a major highway early Saturday morning when he called police to report another driver shooting at him. That driver then rammed Davidson's car, forced him on to the median, got out of his car and shot that victim multiple times while he sat in his vehicle. Police have no motive and reviewing the 911 call for possible clues.

Do you know if your water is safe to drink? A newly released review shows fracking contamination has been found in well water in four states, this according to the Associated Press, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Texas. The review also found major differences in how the states report problems. Texas provided the most detail while the other states provided general outlines.

That deep freeze across the most of the country is spreading to the Box Office. "Frozen" taking the top spot this weekend shoveling in more than $20 million. "Frozen" has now grossed more than $600 million over the last seven weeks making it the second highest grossing Disney-animated film ever. Round out the top three, (inaudible) paranormal activity, "The Mark Ones," my goodness, that scares you so bad. And the "Lord of the Rings" prequel "The Hobbit." If can you make it out and get to a movie theatre, some good ones in there right now. Those are your headlines, guys.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Nice and warm in the movie theater. Thanks, Michaela.

All right, time now, for our political gut check in the morning with a story that broke overnight. Liz Cheney is officially dropping her bid for the Wyoming Senate seat. What is behind her decisions? Here with details, Peter Hamby, CNN's national political reporter. Peter, you broke this story. It was a really big surprise hearing Liz Cheney was dropping out. What are you hearing about why? PETER HAMBY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: It was. I want to be fair to John King who did -- who did all the leg work on this story. It's a surprise because it's kind of a surprise that she got in the race in the first place. This is a big deal, high-profile race. She was never really able to answer the question why she got in. There were a lot of questions about can she win, can she unseat an incumbent senator.

But this is the reason she is giving this morning. This is the statement she just released as to why she's dropping out. Quote, "Serious health issues have recently arisen in our family and under the circumstances, I have decided to discontinue my campaign. My children and their futures were the motivation for our campaign and our health and well-being will always be my overriding priority."

We still don't know the details of that. She does have five children. She made a reference to them in the statement. So that's the official reason that we have this morning.

BOLDUAN: What does it mean for the seat now? It was a very rocky campaign for her to begin with. What does it look like now for the seat? Is Enzi a shoe-in now?

HAMBY: Yes, I mean, Enzi is essentially safe. He was kind of safe before this. He was elected 1996 when Liz Cheney announced this seat. A lot of Enzi's colleagues in Washington rallied to his side. Public polling was very spotty in this race. There are some parts in polls that showed Enzi up 20, 30 points. GOP insiders watching this race generally kind of agreed Liz Cheney wasn't really going anywhere. She didn't really articulate a compelling reason as to why she was running other than she was going to bring new blood to the Senate.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: I mean, she had to get out. Look, God willing her family is OK. Whatever health situation they're having is something they can manage, but she had to get out, right?

HAMBY: Yes, I mean, if you talk about the whole Tea Party versus establishment framework that we've seen in other Senate primaries, this didn't really fit the bill. You could make that argument about Mike Enzi, you know, long term, older senator. Liz Cheney didn't fit that typical Tea Party mold. She came from Washington, D.C., moved to Wyoming in 2012 and had to answer those carpet bagger charges.

She's also an unapologetic neoconservative. She supports surveillance apparatus in this country that was, you know, built under the Bush administration, a lot of grass roots, conservatives and libertarians don't really like that. So you know, it did hurt -- her campaign didn't really in tuned with the conservative grassroots that have really fuelled other primary challenges in the country.

BOLDUAN: I want to also get your take as Congress is heading back to work today on the big -- we're entering a political year, right, or a campaign year. This is one of the big political stories. Right out of the gate we're talking about long-term unemployment benefits. Both sides think there's political advantage in taking on this fight right now. What are you hearing about it? HAMBY: Yes, absolutely. I talked to a House senior leadership aide yesterday who admitted in isolation this fight over unemployment benefits 1.3 million going off unemployment benefits is beneficial to the White House and Democrats. I talked to a former Obama White House person just before Christmas when Obama was sort of adrift figuring out what to do and he said, looking the president needs to find an issue to campaign on.

This is what he's good at. He is really good at campaigning maybe not governing according to this Democrat. So this is an issue that they think they can talk about and win, you know, in this moment that we're in, talking about populism and income inequality, moving into an election year. This is a middleclass issue that isn't about Obamacare and it's not about the deficit. They think they can win on this --

CUOMO: We all here they're not going to win on we extend unemployment benefits. They are going to win on jobs. I think that that's what we are not hearing in the discussion. This is an easier fight to have for both parties. The real fight which is how do they create jobs because neither has an answer. This is somewhat of a safe harbor, right?

HAMBY: Absolutely. Talk to both sides and -- the White House seems to think they're going to get all this momentum coming out of Christmas. There is hope that they're going to pass immigration reform, for example. We saw the bipartisan budget deal right before Christmas. When you talk to both sides, you hear the same old rhetoric that's plagued Congress or the House and the White House and the Senate for the last five or six years.

BOLDUAN: And another example of that is the House -- their messaging is they're going to be focusing on Obama are as we head back into -- Republicans in the House.

HAMBY: While the White House is talking about jobs and unemployment benefits, the House Republicans are betting that we want to find a way to pay for these unemployment benefits. It costs $26 billion. So they are talking about, you know, deficits, jobs, how do we get people back on payrolls as opposed to giving them unemployment benefits. They're both placing very different bets heading into the election season and I don't really see --

BOLDUAN: And everyone caught in the middle of it. Peter, great to see you. Thanks.

CUOMO: Let's take a little break here on NEW DAY, when we come back, an amazing story for you. Parents spot their missing son's picture in a newspaper. They are in New York. He somehow made his way to D.C. How the picture brought them back together.

BOLDUAN: That is an amazing story. And also just ahead, the Tiger Mom back with a new book. This time, she and her husband says they are revealing the cultural secrets, emphasis on cultural secrets to success so why has it already caused so much outrage? That ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CUOMO: All right, welcome back to NEW DAY. Tiger Mom, Amy Chua made headlines for a 2011 book pushing severe parenting. Remember no play dates, no TV, no grades below A, it sounds great. Well, now she is doubling down with a provocative new book, "The Triple Package." What's it about? Well, Chua suggests that certain groups in America are superior to others. She says this is Science not just her suggestion. Now critics say it's nothing more than racism.

Let's bring in CNN commentators, Marc Lamont Hill and Will Cain. I have often said that both of you are completely worthless and now I have proof for it in this book because none of us are in one of these groups. Here's the basic theory just to set up the discussion at home, OK.

She identifies with her husband, by the way, they pick out eight groups of different ethnicities, Jewish, Indian, Chinese, Iranian, Lebanese-Americans, Cuban exiles and Mormons, she said these groups have three different qualities in them that motivate them in a way that the rest of you don't get motivated and therefore wind up draining the success of society while these groups become successful.

OK, that's the basic theory. All right, we're on that page. So do you believe, having reviewed the materials, do you believe that the science is suggestive of something that is provable or demonstrable?

WILL CAIN, CNN COMMENTATORS: Well, that I don't know yet because we don't know the evidence behind the assertion she's made. When she lists these groups, she's identifying them as cultural groups, not racial groups. She's not saying the Jews or Iranians are genetically predisposed. She's saying there's something in their culture that makes them perform at a higher level.

What I would say this, Chris, and I'm curious what you think as well, Marc, first of all the outlay seems to be in group correlation. She's saying this group correlates to success. That seems to me obvious and uncontroversial. We can group and correlate all day long. Tall people are better at basketball than short people.

But she's moved on to this certain type of group, cultural groups. We have throughout history said certain cultures are better at certain things. In the 90s we said why do the Japanese businesses do so well? Now we wonder why the Japanese have a declining population because getting married later has reduced the birth rate. We do this correlation all day. I don't understand the controversy here.

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN COMMENTATOR: She's saying certain groups are better at certain things. She is saying certain groups are better in life, which is a whole different kind of argument.

CUOMO: And some are worse.

HILL: They have to be if some are better. She's not just establishing correlation. She is almost establishing a kind of causality to it. It would be like saying people who ride horses go to Harvard. Of course, they do but it's not that they go to Harvard because that they ride horses is because they have money and have horses. What she doesn't do is unpack the reasons why people end up where they end up and this isn't Science.

This also isn't new. Every five years, there is a book that comes up and it makes one of two arguments either a biological argument for why some people are good and some people are bad or a cultural argument for why some people are good and some people are bad. It happens every five years.

CUOMO: She lays out these three steps that basically have to go with your cultural influence, how much pressure there is to succeed. The insecurity you feel if you don't succeed and then the follow-through of that family mechanism that helps you achieve your potential. Then, talking about blacks, for instance, she says the first component that you believe you can be successful has been beaten out of blacks culturally in America and that is why blacks will struggle as a result. Now that is obviously going to get racism label thrown on it. Is that fair, though?

HILL: I think it's a problematic argument. Racism becomes a red herring.

CUOMO: It can be a bad argument but not racist.

HILL: Yes. I think she's missing the context. If there as a level of underachievement this happens. I would be talking about systemic issues, housing, food. It's not because we don't think we are awesome, right. It's because we have access to resources and I think she overstates the superiority piece of this.

CAIN: I think that's the crux of this controversy so far. It could be a bad argument, but not racist. What Amy Chu is doing in this book and her husband, by the way, they're indicting American culture. They are suggesting that since 1960s, United States has adopted this kind of self-esteem parenting the participation and she's saying other cultures, many of them immigrant class cultures have come in and brought successful cultural attitudes with them. That's why they are succeeding. That's what she thinks.

HILL: It's not true, though.

CAIN: That's a different argument. The question is if she has the science and evidence to back this up is separate. I feel like right now the controversy has nothing to do with her evidence or science. It has to do with her observation.

CUOMO: But why do you say that it's not true? Let me the provocateur here a little bit. It seems to me that as somebody who is forced and also willing to be self-selecting with social data that comes through as we kind of review who we are as a people, it seems that our families are breaking down that as an American we have less and less culture. We're not raising our kids right. They're not about faith or ethics anymore. They're not focused in school. Parents aren't pushing them. They're to the supported when they get in trouble. It seems there is an argument to be made that there is a breakdown in American values.

HILL: There's always a breakdown in American values. In the 1920s, (inaudible) wrote a book where he talked about the next generation was lazy and politically unmotivated and disengaged and going to joop joints. She was talking about Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. Many of the groups she talks about come here through self-selection. If I were to go to Nigeria and pull out 50 people and drop them in the middle of America, I would suspect they'd have the same outcome. There's a difference between that when people are taken in the lottery system.

CAIN: You're rebutting the science and the potential evidence behind her arguments. First of all, you're right. It's the birth right of every generation to say the next is taking us to hell in a hand basket. Would you reject there's a connection between culture and success? It's so neat and discrete it can be broken up into eight groups. Are we saying that Mormons are a cultural group?

HILL: I would reject the fact that the relationship between culture and success is neat and discrete that it can be broken up into eight groups, some of them which aren't even closer groups. I mean, are we saying that Mormons are purely a culture --

CAIN: There is a connection between culture and success.

HILL: Yes, for example, there's a culture of winning in the Philadelphia Eagles as opposed to the Dallas Cowboys.

CAIN: Five Super Bowls?

HILL: People living in the past. But my bigger point here is you can find cultures of pathology, cultures of success. It's not broken down ethnicity to ethnicity and race to race. That's where it gets dangerous and that's what people would become very uncomfortable.

CAIN: I don't think she's making a racial argument.

CUOMO: I don't think she did either. I even did it in the introduction because that's her natural is that when somebody starts talking about different groups of people, you immediately go to race and political correctness comes into it. I think, though, that --

HILL: That's the history of it, though, Chris.

CUOMO: We're going to have to see the proof in her book. We're probably giving her too much credit for unearthing something here that doesn't exist. We resisted because of political correctness. I do think it is time to take a hard look at what we do because you will find groups that do it better among us, who take family more seriously, who take faith, meaning proper behavior, I don't care what you believe but you believe something. And it helps you raise your kids and it helps do you better and you will achieve more as a result. And we avoid that argument, perhaps at our own risk.

CAIN: That's right. Racial arguments suggest you have innate limitations or innate genetic superiority. We can't let that argument bleed into the culture argument, which is about habit, traditions, the way you live your life. We can always improve those things. If she's identified ways that certain people live and others do not that are better or worse, we should listen to that.

HILL: If it were true. The problem is -- my point is that it's counter factual. If we can go among the non-Mormon community or the non-Jewish community or the non-Iranian-American community and find these cultures of pathology that just needed to be corrected by her and her husband, who happen to make the cut --

CUOMO: He's Jewish, she's Chinese.

HILL: In every culture you see the same pathologies and you also the same strong points and we can --

CUOMO: Here's the good news. Let's end it on this. Congratulations to you, congratulations to you and congratulations to me because we are not on the list, but somehow we're doing OK.

HILL: We're doing OK.

CAIN: Take that, Amy!

HILL: Black people never make the list. I like being a victim. Welcome!

CUOMO: I like being a victim. I'm a victim. Thank you. What do you think? Tweet us with a hashtag #newday. Is it time that we look at ourselves with a little bit more scrutiny about are we doing the right kinds of things that breed success or not, all right -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: I love you guys. Thanks, Chris.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, an amazing story of a man who went missing and was found in the most bizarre of ways. Never underestimate the power of photography. We are going to have the details coming up.

Speaking of photography, Madonna is in some hot water for this photo. Why she is defending the picture she posted of her son with alcohol?

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PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Want to share an extraordinary story, look at this picture. A man from upstate New York who disappeared on New Year's Day has been found alive. His mom is calling it a miracle. An Associated Press photographer snapped this photo of this man trying to stay warm on a heating grate in Washington, D.C. His mother and friends in upstate New York recognized him in the photo that was shown in "USA Today". Found where the photo was snapped and staked out the location for hours on Sunday. Simon showed up and was reunited with his dad. An experience like that, the photographer said, reminds you that every person has a story.

BOLDUAN: Every person has a story. There are a lot of people in that image. You could almost barely make out his face.

Talk about another photo, very different type of photo. New controversy this morning, Madonna is under fire of an Instagram photo of her 13-year-old son. Entertainment correspondent, Nischelle Turner, is here to explain why is this such a big deal, probably because it involves Madonna?

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Exactly, and I'm going to channel Ms. Michaela Pereira this morning and ask is this a controversy or a nontroversy? I'm thinking it's a little bit of a controversy because it involves minors and alcohol. On New Year's Eve a lot of people have good time. Madonna is in Switzerland celebrating the holidays. This is a picture of her son holding a bottle of gin, his friend with another bottle of alcohol.

Madonna's son is 13 years old. People are asking why is she promoting alcohol in kids? Madonna never to back away from a controversy she posted a message and said simmer down everybody. She said no one was drinking, we were just having fun. Calm down and get a sense of humor. Don't start the year off with judgment.

People on Instagram were still giving her flack. One said it's poor judgment to glorify substances to children. Growing up I knew some parents allowed children to drink in their presence. That brings up the question, is she glorifying knoll in minors or having fun on New Year's Eve?

BOLDUAN: I think the noncontroversy.

PEREIRA: I feel everybody will be freaking out when they see the picture.

TURNER: It just doesn't look good. You got a 13-year-old hanging out on New Year's Eve with alcohol and even though she said you're not drinking you just never know. Madonna is a lot of things, but I don't think people ever said she's a bad mother.

BOLDUAN: Madonna is provocative. She has been from the beginning. It is a bit par for the course for her. People say it's bad messaging for kids. If you're messaging to children what Madonna's doing you might want to have a talk.

TURNER: It's 2014, simmer down.

CUOMO: If you don't like pictures of kids with booze, make sure your kids don't have pictures with booze.

TURNER: I like this 2014 attitude.

CUOMO: Madonna's kids are just fine. That's the problem with social media, everybody wants to criticize everybody else's kids and don't want to look at their own. Thank you, Nischelle.

Coming up on NEW DAY, this is a situation that the weather caused that's what investigators believe. What was it? Private jet crashes and bursts into flames in Aspen. People watch in horror. We'll tell you what happened.

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