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Playing Ball in North Korea; Skating Scandal; Weather Outlook; Golden Globes Moments

Aired January 13, 2014 - 08:30   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Former NBA star Dennis Rodman arriving in China after staying behind in North Korea well after his teammates. It was supposed to be basketball diplomacy, but instead Rodman sang "Happy Birthday" to Dictator Kim Jong-un and had an exclusive interview on our show, as you'll remember, and then apologized.

Now, of course, they did play this exhibition game with other former NBA all-stars. We're now hearing from some of these teammates and about how -- what they knew and didn't know about what this situation was. Now, one of the players with Rodman was Cliff Robinson. You, of course, remember him from his NBA days, and he joins us now.

Thanks for joining us, Cliff. Appreciate it.

CLIFF ROBINSON, FORMER NBA PLAYER: No problem. Good morning.

CUOMO: So let's get right to the basic question. Did you know that you were going to North Korea to play in a gift for the ruler?

ROBINSON: I - I - you know, I was unaware of a birthday until I actually got to North Korea.

CUOMO: So what did you think you were going there for, Cliff? What did you think the deal was?

ROBINSON: Well, I -- for exactly what we did, I mean to go and interact with the citizens of North Korea, interact with the national team, play an exhibition game and, you know, just try to spread the love of basketball.

CUOMO: What was your reaction as the events started to unfold and you saw what was really being done with you over there, what was going on with Dennis and the reaction? What was it like for you and the other guys on the team?

ROBINSON: Well, it was a little - you know, the range of emotions that we went through over there was, you know, was - it was so many because, you know, we all went over there with the intentions of, you know, playing the game, like I said, interacting with the people, interacting with the national team. And we didn't -- we were - I guess we didn't realize how much of an outcry that we were going to get from - from home. CUOMO: Was this about just being surprised or did Dennis not really share with you guys what his plans were of what was going to take place over there?

ROBINSON: Well, it -- you know, Dennis is a - Dennis is a great guy. Dennis is going to be Dennis. But, you know, you know - I wouldn't say -- you know, I don't want to - I don't want to sit here and, you know, ever put someone that I've supported and throw them under the bus. You know, we - you know, we were - you know, we were grown men.

There's newspapers, there's media outlets, and, you know, it was - I wouldn't say that Dennis didn't - Dennis didn't tell us because, you know, we're -- like I said, we're in a position that we -- you know, the trip happened quick, but we could have probably done a little bit more homework as to what was going on or asked Dennis questions.

CUOMO: Is it fair for the commissioner to come forward, David Stern, and say, I know why these guys went over there. They were blinded by the money. Is that fair?

ROBINSON: I don't think it's fair because, you know, we've been -- you know, we've been basketball players. You know, after basketball player, life goes on. You still have to do what you can to provide for your family. And I don't think it's fair, you know. But, you know, everyone is entitled to - entitled to their opinion. You know, I'm sure the NBA wanted to try to disassociate themselves from us. So, you know, he's entitled to his opinion and -- but I definitely don't think it's fair.

CUOMO: Eric Floyd, known as sleepy from his playing days, he was over there with you. You know him well, obviously. He was going to come on the show this morning. It's too upsetting for him, he said, to come on. He was ready to come on, but he said, this has been so hard, it's so humiliating, in a way, that he didn't want to come on television and give the wrong impression.

How difficult was this for some of you guys to deal with the outcry and deal with the situation on the ground there being in such a place where you had to be careful about what you said?

ROBINSON: Well, it was extremely difficult because, you know, we love our country. I mean we didn't go to North Korea to disrespect our country. So, you know, for us to be over there and hear, you know, some of the stuff that was being said about us, you know, as to why we went on the trip, you know we shouldn't - you know, this, that and the other.

I mean, it was disappointing because, you know, we have to come home. You know, we have families here. We have friends here. And, you know, we just felt extremely, I guess, disappointed. Like I said, the range of emotions were -- was so vast that, you know, one minute we are, you know, trying to, you know, laugh about things, but the next minute, I mean, someone would, you know, show true concern as to, you know, what's going to happen when we do return home.

CUOMO: You - you know, let's be honest, you got swept up in the Rodman circus there in terms of how this was being perceived here back home. Did he apologize to you guys for getting you caught up in his antics?

ROBINSON: Well, no, he hasn't apologized. I don't think he needs to apologize. You know, we're -- like I said, we're grown men. You know, like the trip happened fast. But we still -- if we had, you know, truly that many, you know, concerns about safety, all that stuff, we could have just not went.

CUOMO: Uh-huh. And I know from talk to your wife, she was very nice to come on the show, she was very concerned about you then because she hadn't heard from you since the game, and she said, you know, Cliff and the other guys, they weren't really aware of the Kenneth Bae situation.

You know, they weren't aware of the history and him being held and, you know, if they knew, obviously they would be sensitive to that. That's obviously your wife speaking, but does that reflect how you feel about the situation once you learned about why I and so many others had an urgency about what Rodman should be trying to do over there?

ROBINSON: Well, definitely. I think, you know, anybody who's being held unjustly should definitely have their day and, you know, hopefully be released. You know, for us, you know, that situation is over our head. That, you know, I don't know the true ins and outs of why Kenneth Bae is being held.

But if a game like this can, you know, soften up a stance on something like that, or softening up, you know, the impression of Americans that North Koreans have of Americans, I mean I think it's, you know, hopefully a good -- hopefully a good thing.

CUOMO: Well, from everything I've heard, the guys who went over on the team, you went there with the best of intentions and I'm sorry that you got caught up in all this and hopefully you continue good work going forward. I appreciate you coming on the show and I'm glad you're home safe, Cliff.

ROBINSON: Oh, I appreciate that. I appreciate that. I - you know, I think the trip - I think the trip was good and, you know, I'm just glad to be back home and to move forward.

CUOMO: All right, take care.

ROBINSON: All right, you as well.

CUOMO: Kate.


Coming up next on NEW DAY, the Olympics haven't even started yet, but a figure skating controversy has already begun. Why a fourth place American champion bumped a top winner to make the Olympic team. That is ahead.

And also this. It wasn't just about the acting at the Golden Globes. Who wore what? You know you want to know. And did they make it in the best dressed column. Nischelle Turner is going to run us through the fashion hits and misses.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

What people are calling a no named Olympics seeing another controversy brewing before it's even started. The U.S. skating team finalizing their lineup to include one of America's most decorated female figure skater. But Ashley Wagner finished fourth at the weekend's championship in a performance she herself called embarrassing. So why was fourth place good enough then for the team? CNN's Andy Scholes is joining s with more details on this.

This is a sport that many don't pay attention to any other time, but during the Olympics, this is one that people tune in for, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Yes, that's right, Kate, it's a really big deal.

Now, you know, it was a big blow to the U.S. Olympic team when Lindsey Vonn announced that she was out of the Sochi games due to injury. And with Vonn out, Ashley Wagner, she became one of the most marketable female athletes for the U.S. And even though she had a meltdown in Saturday's performance, the U.S. Figure Skating Association said, we need her.


SCHOLES (voice-over): After falling twice in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston on Saturday, Ashley Wagner thought her chances of making the Sochi games were over. She tweeted after her performance," I am so sorry I let you all down." The top three finishers from the competition, barring injury, have always gone on to the Olympics, but not this time.

In a controversial move, the U.S. Skating Association passed over third place finisher Mirai Nagasu and put Wagner on the Olympic team, even though she finished a distant fourth in the competition. Patricia St. Peter, the president of U.S. figure skating, defended the decision saying, "If you look at Ashley Wagner's record and performance, she's got the top credentials of any of our female athletes."

Nagasu was overcome with emotion after her performance on Saturday. She didn't fall or make any errors, but she was clearly disappointed when she learned she was passed over for the team. In a statement she said, "I'm disappointed in the decision. Though I may not agree with it, I have to respect the decision the federation made. And I'm grateful to everyone who has supported me and look forward to what comes next in my skating career."


SCHOLES: Now, even though the decision was shocking, it was rather expected. The U.S. Figure Skating Championships, they're not Olympic trials, like swimming or track and field. The committee that makes these decisions, they also take into account an athlete's recent history in major events and who will have the best chance for success at the Olympics. And Wagner is currently ranked the second best women's figure skater in the world right now. So I'm guessing that definitely factored into this decision, guys.

BOLDUAN: That sure just adds to the pressure that you know that she would already be feeling if she'd be going to the Olympic games, and this sure adds to it now that they have a controversy on their hands.

Andy, thank you.

SCHOLES: Yes. You're welcome.

CUOMO: It helps, though, what Andy said, though. It's not like track and field where the people who finish, that's how they make the team.


CUOMO: That there are other considerations. Politics involved. We always know when there are politics involved, somebody's going to be upset.

All right, let's get over to Indra, who's actually sitting right here. We don't have to really get anywhere.

INDRA PETERSONS, METEOROLIGST: Yes, you don't need to go anywhere right?

Yes, we just think about a week ago temperatures were like 10 below, not normal, zero.

BOLDUAN: Oh yes, we remember that.

PETERSONS: Do you remember that? Yes, me too, clearly. So today definitely a lot better out there. Temperatures, a good 15 degrees above average right now -- so that's a good starting place.

Yes we're going to be cooling down but nowhere like what we saw last week. Notice the purple, that's the arctic air. It's staying where it should to be, to the north. So yes, cooler air is making its way in but the more normal kind of cool air making its way in.

What are we looking at? A couple of cold fronts making their way in, yes but here comes the first one. Little system today bringing some rain around the south right on the Gulf there, kind of spreading into the Ohio Valley by tonight making its way into the northeast and the southeast by tomorrow. Quickly moves out.

You might want to look at the map to see one, two, three, four -- these are the cold fronts. Every time one passes another one comes right behind it. So this will be the pattern over the next several days -- just keep in mind, none of them are a big deal. Just a little bit of rain and maybe a couple degrees of cooling with each one.

That's the perspective. That's why I started off with that not 65 below -- looks good.

BOLDUAN: Very true. Thanks -- Indra.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY quite a golden night at the Golden Globes and it wasn't all about acting of course. Fashion, fashion, fashion -- we'll be talking about who wore what and what we liked the best. And we'll take wagers, I'll be disappointed. It will be great.


BOLDUAN: You didn't see that? You didn't see that image did you? OK. Well, we'll get there.

Welcome back.

Lots of laughs and drinks were flowing at last night's Golden Globe Awards hosted by the always hilarious Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Here to talk about all of last night's best moments our CNN entertainment correspondent, Nischelle Turner, the tiredest girl I've ever met and senior editor of "Us Weekly" magazine, Bradley Jacobs. Good morning to both of you.

So Nischelle, let's start with you, of course. Let's talk about the highs and lows. One of the highs I think you would agree is Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. They have the most difficult job on their hands because everyone is so quick to be critical of the hosts of these award shows.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And the thing is they make it look so easy. That's what the fun thing is about watching them. You know, the trick for them, I think they still go after people but they do it in not a mean way. So it's like the crowd feels really at ease and at home and safe with them as opposed to Ricky Gervais who everybody thought he was just being really mean.

They give some zingers too but for some reason it's like just a spoonful of sugar. It's good.

BOLDUAN: Good way of putting it. And Bradley I think they summed it up pretty well. Amy and Tina at the end of the show about the whole awards show saying "This was the beautiful mess we hoped it would be." Is that just what the Golden Globes is?

BRADLEY JACOBS, SENIOR EDITOR, "US WEEKLY": Yes. Everyone knows the drinking and you know, you have people going on stage, Emma Thompson barefoot, holding a martini. It is kind of a beautiful mess. They call winners names and they are all the way in the back and it's taking them a whole minute just to walk to the stage. And you think -- didn't anyone produce this. They know who's going to win.

So it does have those kind of "rough around the edges" moments and you kind of like that as opposed to the Oscars which is like so lacquered and so perfect and you just want to like fall asleep sometimes.

BOLDUAN: And it still is three hours long though, right.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: It's beautiful mess -- sort of what beyond beautiful though, it's a genuine mess at some times. I mean what were the lows for you? I'm thinking Jacqueline Bisset.

JACOBS: Jacqueline Bisset, I mean her movie was "Dancing on the Edge". And she was over the edge, wasn't she? It had been 15 years since she'd had her last nomination and another 15 before that and I think she was just so weirded out that she was up there. She didn't know what to say. She was like in a dream world, a trance. And the whole world of my Twitter lit up with Jackie Bisset at that moment.

CUOMO: Did people like what she said or they didn't like what she said?


JACOBS: What did she say?

CUOMO: You can always say you were scarred by your parents.

JACOBS: She said her mother gave her joy. She used the s word. She was all over the place. But you know it's kind a of a career-making moment. She's 69 years old. She's winning a Golden Globes. She looks great. You know I think good things are going to happen to Jackie Bisset from here.

BOLDUAN: All right, gentlemen. All right fine. I'm going to jump in and talk about what we all really care about which is fashion -- Nischelle.

BERMAN: Oh we do care about it.

BOLDUAN: I know John Berman has been chomping at the bit for this.

Thank you. I will say and I'm definitely not an expert on this but I will say I think there were very few misses. Women looked amazing. The guys brought their a-game. Don't you agree -- Nischelle?

TURNER: Yes, you know, there were just a couple of misses but all in all I think everyone looked really good. The problem with that is everyone in Hollywood is styled to death now. So you really you don't get a lot of misses. But I did definitely see some stand outs.

I mean we're looking at Amy Adams right now. But my best dressed of the night was Lupita N'yongo (ph).


TURNER: She had this red Calvin Klein, stunning caped dress on. She was on trend for the night. Look at that. I mean that's perfection. She looked on trend for the night because red was the color of the red carpet. And usually we don't see celebrities do that because they think they might with the carpet but no, no, no -- not last night. We saw it happen. And I just think she looked like a dream.

Her and Kate Beckinsale.

BOLDUAN: And also -- Kate Beckinsale looked beautiful. And also another kind of trend of the night was beautiful expectant mothers. You had Kerry Washington looked amazing. That's tough, you know.

CUOMO: What about the guys

TURNER: Yes, Olivia -- well first of all -- you know what, Chris, the men never get a lot of love but I do want to give a nod to Kevin Spacey last night. He had on velvet Burberry. And that man was working that suit. I thought he looked fantastic. I also thought Matthew McConaughey, he had on green velvet --

BOLDUAN: He does look good.

TURNER: -- fantastic. I thought they both looked really good.


JACOBS: Velvet is the new cotton. I'll be in velvet on the Oscars.

BOLDUAN: One thing that I know you pointed out is one thing that annoys you is the music. They really went wild with the music to try to cut off the speeches.

JACOBS: I can't stand it. We spent so much time figuring out who is going to win and you finally get the award and you go up there and it's your moment and after 90 seconds they are yanking you off, even McConaugheys of the world. Cate Blanchett --

BOLDUAN: But then it's going to be a seven-hour award show.

JACOBS: Well then, cut a few of the awards so you can let Cate Blanchett give a real speech. I just think it's humiliating and even she kind of pointed out like are viewers at home hearing this music? Like trying to get me off stage.

CUOMO: We have our own version of music. It's our EP who says "got to go". Got to go

BOLDUAN: Which means we got to go.

TURNER: That's music to my ears.

BOLDUAN: Nischelle, you're just trying to get on Matt's good side. You know that.

TURNER: Always -- always.

BOLDUAN: Thanks Nischelle. Thanks Bradley.

CUOMO: All right. So we've got to go. Thanks for the fun.

Coming up a waitress in Texas -- listen to this -- she gets the tip of a lifetime. You will not believe the lengths one restaurant owner is going to save the life of one of his employees. It is the good stuff.


CUOMO: Time for "The Good Stuff". A waitress just got an amazing tip. It's an entire restaurant. Yes.

19-year-old Britney Mathis works hard at a German restaurant in Texas. That was until she went to the hospital for what seemed like a harmless rash.


BRITNEY MATHIS, WAITRESS: The rash on my leg started, went to the hospital and next day they come in and tell me I have a tumor.


CUOMO: What's worse, she had to stop treatment for cancer because she couldn't pay and didn't have insurance. That's where the owner of Britney's restaurant comes in. He decided to sell the business just to pay for her care.


MICHAEL DE BEYER, RESTAURANT OWNER: We're a family. They really work hard. They have a lot of stuff against them in the past. And they are not holding their hand open. They didn't even ask anybody for help.

MATHIS: Never thought anybody would do that and he did and it just makes you feel really good.


CUOMO: We should mention Michael de Beyer is looking for a reason to retire. He wants to spend more time with his family. So that went into selling the restaurant but really this was his true motivation he says. The restaurant could fetch as much as $2 million and he says he's willing to do whatever he can. He couldn't stand by and do nothing.

BOLDUAN: Talk about putting your life on hold to help someone else out. It's truly amazing.

CUOMO: That's why it is "The Good Stuff" -- above and beyond. Above and beyond.

A lot of news for you this morning as well. So let's get you back to the "NEWSROOM" with Miss Carol Costello.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks. Have a great day.

"NEWSROOM" starts now.