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Christie Florida Trip; Philadelphia Shooting; California State of Emergency; Weather Forecast; Bleacher Report; Dennis Rodman Goes to Rehab

Aired January 19, 2014 - 06:00   ET


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Rodman goes to rehab. Friends say the North Korea trip is what put him over the edge, but is there a problem here or is he just hiding from the media?

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: New trouble for Chris Christie. Explosive allegations that the governor threatened to withhold Superstorm Sandy funds if a building project was not approved. Now the governor's office is fighting back big.

BLACKWELL: And what do you give the first lady who has everything. A 50th birthday bash to remember. The guest list Saturday night read like a red carpet awards show. And wait until you hear who sang "Happy Birthday."

Your NEW DAY starts now.

PAUL: Rise and shine, sleepy heads. Sunday's waiting for you and so are we. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. It's 6:00 here on the East Coast. This is NEW DAY SUNDAY.

And we're starting this morning with Dennis Rodman. The 52-year-old former NBA star is waking up in a rehab facility to treat his addiction to alcohol. He's been there all week.

PAUL: Yes, according to his agent, Rodman's drinking escalated during his controversial trip to North Korea. His agent told "USA Today," quote, "what was potentially an historic and monumental event turned into a nightmare for everyone concerned. Dennis Rodman came back from North Korea in pretty rough shape emotionally. The pressure that was put on him to be a combination super human political figure and fixer got the better of him," unquote.

BLACKWELL: Well, part of that nightmare, the highly combative interviews like this exclusive with Chris Cuomo on CNN's "New Day."


DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER NBA PLAYER: I'm just saying, no, I don't give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) what the - I don't give a rats (EXPLETIVE DELETED) what the hell you think. I'm saying to you, look at these guys here. Look at them. If you understand what Kenneth Bae did -


RODMAN: Do you understand what he did in this country?

CUOMO: What did he do? You tell me. You tell me, what'd he do?

RODMAN: And - no, no, no, no, you tell me. You tell me. Why is he held captive here in this country?

CUOMO: They haven't released any charges.


PAUL: Now, Rodman did apologize later for that outburst saying he'd been drinking at the time and during the trip there were apparently these strange moments like this, you know, Rodman presenting Kim Jong- un with a bottle of vodka, you see it there, the pair's faces emblazoned on the side, and singing "Happy Birthday" to the dictator after the basketball game.


RODMAN (singing): Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear marshal (ph), happy birthday to you.


BLACKWELL: Well, this trip was supposed to be a moment of basketball diplomacy, but for the other players on the trip, it was anything but. One player's wife called it a train wreck. Now, some players left early after pressure from their families. But in an exclusive interview on NEW DAY SUNDAY, teammate Charles Smith said Rodman's intentions were misunderstood.


CHARLES SMITH, FORMER NBA PLAYER: What Dennis wants is he wants to - he has a deep desire to do something good in a big way for his family, his kids and so his kids can be proud of him. And I felt - felt for him.


PAUL: We're going to keep you updated on this story, obviously, as we continue to get more details.

But also today we're looking at New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's camp because they are pushing back hard against new claims of political payback tied to Superstorm Sandy.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the mayor of hard hit Hoboken is now saying officials in Christie's administration threatened to withhold aid money if she didn't support a redevelopment plan favored by the governor. Democratic Mayor Dawn Zimmer made claims on MSNBC.

PAUL: Yes, she also provided the network journal - the network, I should say, journal entries to back up her claim. Zimmer hasn't made these latest claims to CNN, but just last week she told us she did not think Sandy aid money was being withheld from Hoboken because she didn't endorse Christie's re-election. So a bit of a, you know, contradictory here.

BLACKWELL: Yes, you know, of course, Christie is considered one of the top contenders for the Republican nomination for president in 2016. And responding to the latest claims, a spokesperson for Christie blasted the report saying, and this is a quote, "it's very clear partisan politics are at play here as Democratic mayors with a political ax to grind come out of the woodwork and try to get their faces on television."

PAUL: Now, the allegations come as evidence mounts that aides to Christie arranged to tie up lanes to a major bridge as political revenge.

And in the meantime, you know, Christie's in Florida where, later today, he's due to meet some major donors who could help launch his bid for president. It's Christie's first political fundraising trip since the bridge scandal itself broke. And as the allegations swirl, Christie's apparently staying out of the spotlight, at least publicly. Tory Dunnan has the latest for us.


TORY DUNNAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Except for a drive-by glimpse or two, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie spent day one of his fundraising trip to Florida behind closed doors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Christie, do you have a few seconds, sir?


DUNNAN: It's unclear if the bridge-gate scandal followed Christie into those fundraisers. This women, who was inside an Orlando event Christie attended for Florida Governor Rick Scott, played a little bit of a guessing game.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He talked about Governor Scott and how good he is.

DUNNAN (on camera): Did anything about the scandal come up?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think?

DUNNAN: Elaborate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think? Yes or no, what do you think?


DUNNAN: Yes. What did he say?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said, no, nothing, zero, zip.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said nothing about it. DUNNAN (voice-over): Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in Florida to shadow Christie's ever move, had lots to say.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, DNC CHAIRWOMAN: I think that means either Chris Christie doesn't want to answer any questions, or Rick Scott doesn't want to be seen in public with Chris Christie. It's probably a little bit of both.

DUNNAN: The DNC even released this welcome to Florida ad. Florida's Republican Party chairman accused Democrats of trying to turn Christie's visit into a circus.

LENNY CURRY, REPUBLICAN PARTY OF FLORIDA: Let's say Chris Christie apologized. Chris Christie took action. He's the head of the Republican Governor's Association and he's down here doing his job, and that's raising money to make sure that Rick Scott gets re-elected.

DUNNAN: The big question hanging over this weekend, how will this scandal affect Christie's chances? Should he run for the White House?

DUNNAN (on camera): Any talk in there about this being an issue for if Christie decides to run in 2016?

REP. JOHN MICA (R), FLORIDA: None. Thank you.

DUNNAN (voice-over): More likely to come on that front today at a so- called donor outreach event in North Palm Beach. The billionaire co- founder of Home Depot, Ken Langone, is introducing Christie to donors who could provide major backing for a Christie for president campaign.

Tory Dunnan, CNN, Orlando.


BLACKWELL: Of course, we'll continue the conversation about politics in New Jersey throughout the show.

Meantime, an SUV driver who was chased down and beaten by a swarm of bikers will file a lawsuit against the city of New York. That's because the driver, Alexian Lien, claims that the city was negligent in hiring and training its police officers. Prosecutors say some of the off duty police officers participated in the attack and one is charged with felony assault. The driver's wife and two year old daughter were also in that SUV and the family is seeking $75,000 each in damages.

The 17-year-old accused of opening fire in a high school gym in Philadelphia this week is now in police custody. It changed from yesterday. He is charged as well as an adult with aggravated assault. Here's Ileana Diaz from CNN affiliate KYW in Philadelphia.


ILEANA DIAZ, KYW REPORTER (voice-over): This is a quick look at 17- year-old Raisheem Rochwell. He was taken in this police van to police headquarters for his arraignment where he was charged as an adult with aggravated assault for Friday's shootings at the Delaware Valley Charter School. Some of his neighbors believe the charge is a little harsh.

SHERIKA CRAIG, NEIGHBOR: It's a child and it's just a whole sad situation on both ends.

DIAZ: And it was a hectic situation Friday. Police say a shot was fired in the school's gym and one bullet hit two students, leaving both of them hospitalized with the school on lockdown and parents panicked with little answers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just a nervous wreck, let's put it that way.

DIAZ: And as police continued to investigate the case and reviewed the surveillance video from the school, we're told it appears the shooting was an accident.

CHARLES RAMSEY, PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER: Like an investigation, as more information becomes available, both from the victims, the people that were shot, as well as others, you know, the investigation expands.

DIAZ: After hours of searching for the gun and the suspect, 17-year- old Rochwell turned himself in Saturday afternoon. Here you see his father and his attorney. And while the attorney tells us the teen has no criminal record, his bail is set at $500,000 for having a firearm on campus.


BLACKWELL: Our thanks again to Ileana Diaz from CNN affiliate KWY.

Well, you know, we've been talking about the rough conditions, the fires and the drought in California, it's already a dire situation now getting worse.

PAUL: Yes, I mean this drought is so severe, the governor has declared a state of emergency. And no matter where you live, this could hit all of us in the wallet.


PAUL: Oh, yes, let that wake you up there. Good morning, California. A live look at the campus of Sonoma State University. I don't see anybody wandering around just yet at, what, 3:00 in the morning.


PAUL: 3:15. But it's a college campus, so it wouldn't be completely unusual.

BLACKWELL: You know, Saturday night is just wrapping up.

PAUL: That's right. This is just south of Santa Rosa. Water conservation, though, is really on the minds of so many people there this morning because this drought is just plaguing the golden state. And it's so bad, in fact, the governor has declared a state of emergency.

BLACKWELL: Yes, Jerry Brown is calling it perhaps the worst drought the state has seen in 100 years. The conditions are right for wildfires and the effects on agricultural will likely be felt far beyond the borders of California. CNN's Kyung Lah reports.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What is this? What - all this stuff that we're looking at?

ALEX LARSEN, FIRE VICTIM: This is my - this is my bedroom.

LAH (voice-over): What was his bedroom before the Colby wildfires swept through the foothills. Firefighters continue to battle the blaze as Alex Larsen returned home to what's gone, learning firsthand the fury of California's drought.

LARSEN: It's a ticking time bomb and something happens. You know, all it would take would be, you know, one lightning bolt.

LAH: From these charred hills in Los Angeles, to the dried out lake beds of the Central Valley, to the barren hills of Albert Strauss' (ph) dairy farm, the state's drought is palpable and painful.

ALBERT STRAUSS, DAIRY FARMER: This is the worst year I've ever seen.

LAH: But farmers pressure California's governor to act. He says while he can't make it rain, he can declare a state of emergency.

GOV. JERRY BROWN, CALIFORNIA: This takes everybody pitching in.

LAH: The message? Everyone cut back on water by 20 percent. The state's reservoirs are at critical levels, setting record lows. Snow packs are 80 percent lower than normal and it's only getting worse. Areas of extreme drought expanded in just one week.

LAH (on camera): The hills across California are brown. In January, this is usually all green. It's summer weather in winter here and that hurts everyone. About half the nation's fruits, nuts and vegetables come from California.

LAH (voice-over): As the farms wilt, so does the country's food supply. And prices, they're on the climb.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're waiting for rain. We're praying. We're going to do a rain dance.

LAH: And there may be no other option as the forecast offers no immediate relief for the ever browning golden state.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE) PAUL: All right, Jennifer, what's it look like out there today?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, you know, this -- we're talking about that drought and this is not going to be an overnight fix at all. We need a lot of rain and we need it over several, several days.

That high pressure still in control. You can see it out in the west. The jet stream riding high to the north. It's going to keep all the rain out of the way. And we are going to see dry conditions and very warm conditions. So the possibility of rain definitely not in the forecast as we go through the short term and even the long term over the next week or two. So we are going to see very dry conditions.

It should be around 66 degrees this time of year, temperatures running about 10 to 15 degrees above that. So, very, very warm. Eighty degrees your high temperature on Tuesday, 73 on Monday. So we are actually going to get warmer over the coming days.

Here's that record warmth. We broke records all across California yesterday and we are even setting records, which is no surprise, with that rainfall. Basically no rain. Should be one to two, almost three inches of rain in Oakland. We've had nothing.


BLACKWELL: No cooperation from mother nature. Hopefully the winds or something will die down.

GRAY: Yes, it looks like they're going to get more of an onshore wind in the coming days, which will help with humidity and that will make things not so dry, the humidity, you know, but as far as rain goes, no, we're not going to see anything over the next couple of days.

PAUL: Wow.

BLACKWELL: Well, that's something. Jennifer, thank you.

GRAY: Yes. All right.

BLACKWELL: All right, Michelle Obama's 50th birthday celebration at the White House, a star-studded event.

PAUL: Apparently Beyonce performed, we should point out. Listen to some of the guests described as stars, the dance party, the president's speech, all of it.


TOM JOYNER, RADIO SHOW HOST: There was so much there. So many people there. You know -


JOYNER: Beyonce performed. HILLARY ALEXIS, OBAMA FAMILY FRIEND: Well, Beyonce was pretty good, but seeing Barack Obama do the dougie was even better.

SUSAN TAYLOR, PRES. (ph) EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF "ESSENCE": Oh, very emotional. I think he was almost in tears at one moment talking about her love for her daughters and the kind of mother she is and mate, her vulnerability, her strengths, her beauty, her exquisite legs and mind. It was broad and it was fabulous.


BLACKWELL: So it looked like everybody had a great time. Guests also told us that John Legend sang "Happy Birthday," Ledisi performed. Other celebrities in attendance, Stevie Wonder, Magic Johnson, also Samuel L. Jackson. All right, a lot of fun at the White House.

"Saturday Night Live," fun for people at home. Episode - that first episode of 2014 took a whack last night at the claims of political vengeance now dogging New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. You know the claims his aides arranged to close lanes to a busy bridge and that he withheld Superstorm Sandy relief money from the mayor of Hoboken.

PAUL: Yes, you know, for a lot of people, the allegations only cement the former federal prosecutor's reputation as a bully.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm very curious about how these new allegations that you withheld Hurricane Sandy funds to punish the mayor of Hoboken.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, really? You're curious. Well let me ask you a question, Piers, how long's your drive to work?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know, maybe 15 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, well, that's a nice commute. It would be a real shame if something were to happen to it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait - what -- I'm sorry, governor, are you threatening me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Um, I don't know, am I?


BLACKWELL: I don't know if that's really that good of a Piers impersonation. I don't know.

PAUL: I don't know, but it was still funny.

BLACKWELL: Yes. For the first time, though, in more than six years, and on the heels of criticism that the show lacked diversity, a black female cast member joined "SNL" last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Resolution. Revolution. Resolution. Revolution.



BLACKWELL: Now, Zamata was featured in a number of skits on her debut singing the hook to the song poking fun at, of course, short-lived new year's resolution and giving her take on what pop star Rihanna might have been like before she made it big.

PAUL: Oh, my goodness. The show also brought on two new writers last night who are also black.

All right, still to come on NEW DAY, we're talking about 70,000 screaming, stomping fans. Playoff football and a new phenomenon called beast quake.

BLACKWELL: Hmm, beast quakes.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: Coming up, also the Screen Actors Guild Awards last night. Did you watch the SAGs? Any surprises there? You're about to find out if you didn't watch. That's next.


BLACKWELL: It's a Sunday in January. That means it's a big day for football.


PAUL: Really?


CARTER: Game day! Yes -

PAUL: Think the folks in Seattle are up yet? Are you up yet, Seattle? Are you ready?

BLACKWELL: Yes, they are.

CARTER: They're getting ready. It looks like it's going to be one of those long, long days, I think, for both coasts because you've got New England, you've got Denver, you've got Seattle, you've got San Francisco. But if you're into, you know, those type of matchups where it's two teams that really hate each other, that bitter heated rivalry, then I think the NFC championship game is for you because San Fran and Seattle, they just don't like each other. And I love how it's turning -- watch the body language today when you watch that game, as a matter of fact.

And this is cool. Google Earth, yes, bringing us a cool picture of Century Link Field in downtown Seattle where it is going to be rocking tonight. Literally going to be shaking because those Seahawk fans are known to be so loud. The energy and the noise that those Seahawk fans produce has actually registered on the Richter Scale as a one and two magnitude earthquake. No joke.

PAUL: Oh, my gosh.

CARTER: Now, tonight's game, scientists from the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, they're going to be there to measure just how much the crowd noise actually moves the earth.


JOHN VIDALE, PACIFIC NW SEISMIC NETWORK DIR.: Part of the mystique with Seattle is that the stadium is formidable and having the reputation of having a seismic signals emanating from the station reinforces that. And we can demonstrate that the stadium is so loud, we can see the ground shake in the neighborhood.


CARTER: Isn't that cool.

PAUL: Hey, the power of people. The power of people. Don't ever doubt you got it.

CARTER: Hey, and then San Francisco, speaking of the power of people, city officials are actually going to pull those famous cable cars off the streets of downtown San Francisco just in case fans tonight get a little too excited or even a little too upset with the results. Because, you know, sports make people crazy.

PAUL: You want to protect the cable cars.


CARTER: Make people do stupid things. You know, it's all those (INAUDIBLE) muscles out there.

BLACKWELL: They'll tip anything over.

CARTER: Chill out.

Hey, meanwhile, in Denver, all the talk, of course, leading up to the AFC championship game between the Patriots and the Broncos is about the quarterback. I love this shot here. Sports Authority Field, downtown Denver, home to me many years ago. I love Denver. Of course, the quarterback matchup between Brady and Manning, people are saying, this could end the debate of who is the greatest quarterback of all time.

And I've got a couple stats for you, so try to follow me here. If Tom Brady and the Patriots win today, Tom Brady would be the first quarter in NFL history to go to six Super Bowls. Now, if Peyton Manning and the Broncos win today, and then the Broncos go on to win the Super Bowl, Peyton Manning would be the first quarterback in NFL history to win two Super Bowls with two different teams. PAUL: Wow. A lot on the line.

CARTER: So, legacy. It is all about the legacy today.

Hey, trending this morning on, a huge story in tennis. A major upset at the Australian Open. Serena Williams, the number one player in the world, was bounced yesterday by Ana Ivanovic. Now, Serena was on a 25 match win streak. She was the heavy favorite to win her sixth Australian Open title. But Ivanovic, the 14th ranked player in the world, lost the first set but she did the unthinkable by battling back to take the next two sets and she advances onto the quarter finals.

Now, Serena, coming into this tournament, there was talk between her and her coach that maybe she was going to pull out before the tournament started because she's been having some back problems. They decided to go through with it and then obviously the back was giving her a little problem yesterday.

PAUL: Sure. Sure.

BLACKWELL: And the weather's not been that helpful there either.

CARTER: Hot. Extremely hot.


CARTER: But this weekend it did settle down to about 75 degrees.

BLACKWELL: All right, stick around, Joe, because we've got this from "SNL." Last night they had a little fun with the Super Bowl. Let's look.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fox Sports this week revealed new technology that it plans to use during this year's Super Bowl, including a device that will show how wind affects a quarterback or a kicker. The device is called the Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Tacos Supreme Wind Meter.


CARTER: Everything seems to have a corporate sponsor attached to it at a Super Bowl. Just a quick side note of this year because of its proximity to New York and New Jersey. Actually, 29 sponsors are signed up to be million dollar sponsors plus for the Super Bowl, but 12 of them are actually financial Wall Street sponsors. So, like Goldman Sachs and Citibank and -

PAUL: Wow.

CARTER: It's a little bit different tone this year.


CARTER: And the demand, the buzz that this Super Bowl has created has driven prices way up. I mean tickets going for -- bottom level tickets, $2,600, $2,800.



CARTER: I mean they're talking selling those luxury suites, $500,000 to get a luxury suite. One ticket. Just check it out online.

BLACKWELL: I wonder what this means for those ads, for the commercials. You know, those rates go up every year.

PAUL: Yes, I know, you're waiting for that. Waiting for that.


CARTER: $4.5 million for a 30-second ad. It's a record this year.


PAUL: Oh, my gosh.

BLACKWELL: $4.5 million.

PAUL: Better be a good game.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Joe.

PAUL: Thank you, Joe.

CARTER: Thank you.

PAUL: So, Dennis Rodman -

BLACKWELL: Yes, his erratic behavior in North Korea now explained.


DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER NBA PLAYER: You understand what he did --

CHRIS CUOMO, ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": What did he do, you tell me?

RODMAN: In this country.

CUOMO: You tell me, what did he do?

RODMAN: In - no, no, no, no, you tell me. You tell me.


PAUL: The former NBA star is in rehab this morning. We're going to tell you what the players who were with him on that trip say about his behavior while they were there.

BLACKWELL: And a fiery wreck along the interstate. Slippery weather everywhere and more of it could be coming. Your NEW DAY continues after the break.


PAUL: It is 29 minutes past the hour, just in case you haven't looked at the clock. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell.

Let's start with the five things you need to know for your new day.

Up first, Dennis Rodman has checked into rehab for alcohol addiction after facing a tense backlash over his controversial trip to North Korea. His agent said that during this trip, quote, "Rodman's drinking escalated to a level none of us had seen before. And that the former basketball star would be in a treatment facility for about a month."

PAUL: Number two, TV football analyst and former NFL star Darren Sharper is facing two rape charges in Los Angeles right now. The 38- year-old who is free at the moment on a $200,000 bond has to appear before a judge on February 14th. Yes, Valentine's Day, for his arraignment. In the wake of the arrest, Sharper's employer at the NFL network suspended him without pay. Sharper hasn't responded, though, to CNN requests for comment.

BLACKWELL: People affected by contaminated water in West Virginia held a protest against the water company, that's because the West Virginia American water company lifted its "Do not use water" ban for all customers yesterday. But, some people say the water is causing them to get sick and still smells like licorice like the chemical that was spilled into to the river.

PAUL: Number four, heavy snow and dangerous driving conditions led to this fiery disaster. This is in Indiana. Look at those flames there shooting up from that, that's a semi-truck that had collided with other cars and trucks. According to reports, police have enforced a shutdown of major roads and they responded to upwards of 40 accidents so far this weekend. And please, get ready, folks. Because you've got more snow heading your way this week.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, but it won't be snow everywhere. Jennifer Gray is here with a look at the week ahead. What can we expect?

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Oh, yeah the south enjoy it. Look at this temperatures. 52 today in Charlotte, 61 in New Orleans, look at this warm up, though, tomorrow, 60s in the south. Feeling very, very nice. But it's not lasting for long. Look at this cold air that's going to plunge down into the northern part of the country, the beginning part of the week. No big snowstorms with this, but we are going to see much cooler temperatures. Look at Atlanta, Monday, 62. Tuesday, 42, 39 on Wednesday. These are high temperatures. New York City, 42. 26, 21. Guys, by Wednesday, afternoon. Cold.

PAUL: Good heavens.

BLACKWELL: Jennifer, thank you. And last night was a big, big night for film, for film actors. 20th annual Screen Actors Guild's awards were last night.

PAUL: Yeah, the only televised awards show that exclusively honors performers.


PAUL: So, here are some of the big winners from Hollywood. "American Hustle." Or, my goodness. They won outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture. Matthew McConaughey won outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role for his part, of course, in "Dallas Buyers Club."

BLACKWELL: Cate Blanchett won for outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role for "Blue Jasmine."

PAUL: Jared Leto also of "Dallas Buyers Club," big night for them, won outstanding performance by a male actor in a supporting role.

BLACKWELL: And Lupita Nyong'o of "12 Years a Slave", she won outstanding performance by a female actor in a supporting role.

PAUL: CNN'S Nischelle Turner, oh my gosh, was she having fun last night. I know I should have been in bed.

BLACKWELL: I was asleep.

PAUL: ... but I was watching her. First of all, she put stars to shame, she looked so beautiful. But she was able to chat with some of the winners. Take a look.


HELEN MIRREN: When you're honored by your peers, that does mean a little something extra, because at the end of the day, don't we all just kind of want to be validated?

I think for me in particular being British and it being the American acting organization, it means a lot. It means a huge amount. I mean, even when I very first started acting I was a huge fan of American film, actually. And I would watch them and go, how do they do that? That's so brilliant. How do they do it? And over the years I've had the opportunity of working with some really great American filmmakers and I've watched them and I've learned. Culminating was, of course, the ultimate experience working with Al Pacino.


MIRREN: It doesn't get any better than that. So, to be recognized by my American peers is particularly gratifying, it really is.

TURNER: Do you have a lot of people in the LGBT community and especially (inaudible) people say thank you for bringing Rayon to life and making, you know, this character real human because sometimes, you know, they don't get that type of like love from the community and people don't look at them as just regular people.

JARED LETO: Yeah, you know, it was important to me to make this community proud. I really set out to put a real person on the screen, not a stereotype, not a cliche. You know, Rayon is a very colorful and special creature and I'm so honored to get the support and love from the LGBT community and the Rayons of the world. You know, they taught me everything that I know.

TURNER: This is two now for you, you've got the Critics' Choice last night and now you got, you know, the Screen Actors Guild award. I mean, are you on a roll?

LUPITA NYONG'O: You know, I'm just so, I'm filled with so much gratitude, it's very hard to articulate.


TURNER: I have to tell you, I mean this is your first film. Who does that in their first film and do what you did and now look where you are.

NYONG'O: I know, I mean I know that some deity somewhere has smiled on me and I'm so grateful. I mean it's a testament to the power of party. I think that's what it is. That it's not just me, but the role that I was given. And I'm just grateful that, you know, through this, her story lives longer.

TURNER: First of all, how much does this weigh?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. But it's good. I mean, hey.


TURNER: Rick (ph), how old are you?


TURNER: And how many darn Screen Actors Guild awards do you have?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think this is our fourth one.

TURNER: Good lord.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's - to be able to say that is just mindblowing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, such an honor that so our peers in the acting business and, you know, SAG after, they really, you know, really vote for us, they really like us. And as an ensemble that's what we try to work as hard to do.

TURNER: Congratulations to you.


TURNER: You know, I mean you won in '94, I think, for "Seinfeld" for this and now you win for "Veep" as well. In your career, come on, does it get better than this?

DREYFUS: I can't complain. I can't complain.

TURNER: Absolutely. Totally. So, what do you do with this? Does it go in the house? Does it go ...

DREYFUS: It goes in the house, where else am I going to put it? I mean, yeah, I'm putting it in my house, proudly.


DREYFUS: I'm sticking it in the house.


BLACKWELL: A lot of tweets last night about the SAG awards and, also, if the tweets weren't about the SAG awards, they are about "SNL" last night.

PAUL: Oh, you know it.

BLACKWELL: Last night, SNL "Saturday Night Live" returned from the annual holiday hiatus and a lot of people talking about the show.

PAUL: Because nobody, nobody was safe from criticism last night. Especially not pop star Justin Bieber. And those allegations that he egged his neighbor's house.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, check out his interview on a set that, OK, looks a little familiar to some of you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My final guest tonight is at the center of a much stranger scandal. He is accused of throwing eggs at his neighbor's house causing $20,000 in damages, pop star, Justin Bieber.


KATE MCKINNON: Yeah, you know.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Justin, why on earth would you throw eggs at your neighbor's house?

MCKINNON: It's like, it's a tradition in Canada.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Throwing eggs? I mean.

MCKINNON: No, like, I thought my neighbor was a chicken, right, so I was just returning his kids.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, you were what?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Justin, Justin, I don't understand what that means.

MCKINNON: No, I mean I was trying to make him breakfast in bed, right, but the eggs wouldn't go through the walls. Boom.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Justin, how old are you?

MCKINNON: I think I'm 40. Maybe I'm five, I don't know. My brain is broken.


MCKINNON: Look, look. I would just like to apologize to the eggs, the yoke's on me, baby.



PAUL: Kate McKinnon - that's very nice.

BLACKWELL: I have a feeling that Kate will be doing Justin Bieber again very soon. Because all the music video looks and so forth.

PAUL: She has it down.

BLACKWELL: Hilarious.

PAUL: All right. The Winter Olympics, they're just three weeks away at this point.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, coming up soon, a lot of excitement is being tempered, though, by, you know, those fears about security. Up next, the scramble to make Sochi the safest city in the world. We're going to take you there.


PAUL: Already. We begin in Japan to take you around the world right now. And conservationists are just up in arms and you know why, the selection process picks up again today at the infamous Dolphin Killing Cove. It's featured in the 2009 movie, "The Cove." And Japanese fishermen have rounded up more than 250 bottle nosed dolphins. They've already picked out 25 for a life of imprisonment, others are going to be killed for meat. But some in Japan defend this traditional practice. Conservationists are howling. Caroline Kennedy, the new U.S. ambassador to Japan, tweeted that she's "Deeply concerned by the inhumanness of drive hunt dolphin killing and that the U.S. government opposes drive hunt fisheries."

OK, the state of Afghanistan now where residents are recovering from a brutal attack on a restaurant that killed 21 people. Our Sima (ph) (inaudible) is in Kabul there. Sima?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is being described as one of the most brutal attacks against foreign nationals in Afghanistan. The United Nations has responded by stepping up its security directive by declaring a wide city in the area where the attack took place, which basically means only essential staff can make essential trips in and out of this (inaudible). When it comes at a time when NATO-led troops are drawing down, it's well under way and many analysts say that this may be the time that the Afghan people will need more foreign assistance and help than ever before. Back to you, Christi.

PAUL: Sima (ph), thank you.

Let's get to India now where the death of a socialite has sparked a public controversy. Our Sumnima Udas in New Delhi. Sumnima.

SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, with a private affair that turned ugly on Twitter and now the woman at the center of it is dead. Socialite Sunanda Pushkar and her high-profile husband, Sashi Tharoor, the Indian politician. They are really the main stay of Delhi's glamorous social circles. But on Wednesday she accused her husband of having an affair with the Pakistani journalist. She also told her friends that she was depressed and two days later her body was found in this uber-luxury hotel. Doctors said she had an unnatural and sudden death. But the main cause of her death will not be known until the autopsy reports are out. Back to you, Christie.

PAUL: Sumnima, we appreciate it, thank you.

And we want to get to Russia now where organizers of the Winter Olympics are boosting security after a series of rebel bombings. Nic Robertson is there in Sochi. Hi, Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, now a renewed thread of violence against the Olympics coming as regional rebels release video they claim of the suicide bombers behind twin suicide bombing attacks in the city of Volgograd, the nearest transport hub to the Olympics here about 400 miles away. Security here has been heightened. You can't park your car near the airport. There are police at every traffic intersection. There are army camps in this area and construction still under way to get these Olympics ready. But, security most on everyone's minds. Back to you, Christi.

PAUL: All right, Nic, thank you so much.

Victor, I want to get it back to you. BLACKWELL: All right, thank you, Christi. Here closer to home, it was the biggest bash in the nation last night. The first lady marking a milestone. Most agree, Michelle Obama looked fabulous at 50, but is it more than just her appearance? Up next, an author who says, you, too, can look and feel younger. But it's all in how you act. What you should and should not be doing. Next.


PAUL: All right. So, it's Sunday and I know you're looking at the events ahead. We want to get you caught up on your week so you know what's going on. Monday, Iran, nuclear deal taking effect with the support of six world powers, Iran has agreed to limit its nuclear program, remember. This is in exchange for sanctions. Talks are expected to continue on a broader deal to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Moving on to Tuesday, another big day for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. His inauguration. Christie is expected to swear in around 11:30 Eastern. So, be sure to be watching CNN for the latest. We will have it for you. Moving to Thursday, another must-see event right here on CNN. The network premiere of "The Impostor." It's a wild documentary about a liar, basically, who pretended to be a missing boy from Texas. He actually convinced the boy's parents that he was their son. Despite being much older than the missing boy and looking different than him and speaking with a French accent. How does that happen? You'll see it. On Friday, guess what? Sorry to tell you, the price of a stamp goes up three cents. Taking it from 46 cents to 49. So, Victor, almost two quarters you've got to dish out now.

BLACKWELL: I remember when a stamp was one quarter.

PAUL: I do, too. Took me a minute, but, you're right.

BLACKWELL: 25 cents. Yes.


BLACKWELL: All right, thank you, Christi.

PAUL: Sure.

BLACKWELL: And overnight, a star-studded birthday bash for Michelle Obama at the White House. Celebrities and party guests told CNN that Beyonce and John Legend perform. Now, the first lady officially marked her 50th birthday Friday with her AARP card.

An AARP execs point out that Mrs. Obama is a prime example of how youthful people can be at 50. But our next guest says that to stay youthful, she may need to follow some tips. For example, avoid picking up any embarrassing hobbies like needle pointing pillows or constantly leaving voicemails on her daughters' phones. I'm sure they would appreciate that. Or nagging the president to skip spicy food to avoid, you know, getting heartburn. Those tips and a lot more can be found in a book "How Not to Act Old" by Pamela Redmond Satran. And she joins us now. Good to have you.


BLACKWELL: I know a lot of people are scooting up toward the television now to learn how not to act old.

REDMOND-SATRAN: What, you're up at this time of the morning, you probably are old.


BLACKWELL: They went to sleep at 7:00. So, you know, there would be some who say that Michelle Obama already, yes, she's 50, but she doesn't act old. In which ways is she not acting her age?

REDMOND-SATRAN: Well, definitely her party last night. You know, doing exactly what she wanted to do. I think that's something you have the right to do when you're 50. And she was celebrating that. And she was doing it her way, which is really not acting old.

BLACKWELL: So, in an interview with "People" magazine the first lady said and I want to read this, "Never say never about getting Botox."


BLACKWELL: Is Botox something that old ladies get?


REDMOND-SATRAN: I don't think young ladies are getting it too often. You know, I think Michelle is coming down on the side of this issue of a lot of women, which is just, you know, I'm going to do what I want to do in terms of making myself look how I think I should look and I don't care what the world thinks.

BLACKWELL: And, you know, a way to - make yourself look the way you want to look, and a lot of people comment on the first lady's arms. That's fitness and about staying healthy. So, is it attitude or is it physical fitness and health?

REDMOND-SATRAN: I think it's a combination of the two. You know, I'm kind of haunted by reading that Michelle gets up at what - 5:00 or 5:30 in the morning.

BLACKWELL: 4:30 some days.


REDMOND-SATRAN: Watching us now as she pumps iron. And I think about that when I don't want to get out of bed in the morning and I certainly don't want to go to the gym. But I think that she's an inspiration to a lot of women in their 40s, 50s, 60s who want to keep vital and youthful and keep changing, too, in their lives.

BLACKWELL: So, what else? Aside from needle pointing and, you know, staying away from spicy foods, how else can people not act old? REDMOND-SATRAN: Well, I think Michelle may have come to the point with Malia that she realizes to get her teenager's attention she has got to text instead of call or, you know, actually talk face-to-face. And so, when you are texting your teenager or your 20 something colleague, you have to be sure to do it with your thumbs.


REDMOND-SATRAN: because using your index finger on your phone to dial your phone is definitely a way to act old. When you call, don't leave a voicemail. A lot of people have told me that this is the most useful tip in how not to act old, because young people don't listen to voicemails. And so, just hang up the phone and they will look at their missed calls and they'll call you back.

BLACKWELL: I have got one more, though. If you're texting, take out all the vowels. Because young people don't use vowels. Pamela Satran, it's been fun. Author of "How Not To Act Old." Thank you so much.


BLACKWELL: Christi, over to you.

PAUL: I was taking notes. That's all I can say, I was taking notes.


PAUL: Listen, you know it is supposed to be California's rainy season right now, but reality is that that state is bone dry and the situation is dire. There's some fascinating science behind what's causing it. We'll tell you.


PAUL: It's getting worse out west. California is suffering through its worst drought in more than a century. The governor has declared a state of emergency and is urging its residents there to cut back on how much water they use.

BLACKWELL: Now, California is famous for sunny weather, right? But the hot temperatures that have baked the Golden State for over a year, they are anything but normal. So, Jennifer Gray is here. She's been researching this to explain the science behind the drought.

GRAY: Yeah, we have had this persistent area of high pressure. And it's basically brought an off-shore flow, very warm, very dry air. This is the time when they're supposed to get rain. And so, we realize that we're going to be in this for the long haul. So, we took a closer look to find out the science behind the drought.


GRAY: Just take one look in the west and the pictures will tell the story. We're barely two weeks into 2014 and new records are already being broken. But what is the science behind this extreme weather? DR. MARSHALL SHEPHERD, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY: When areas of the United States are under very persistent areas of high pressure what meteorologists call ridges, we still have a lot of dry, hot weather. And I think that's what we've seen and because of that, the western United States has been ridiculously dry.

GRAY: California's extreme drought is dire. San Francisco is experiencing its driest year in more than 165 years. The wildfires come at a time when it's supposed to be California's rainy season.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're waiting for rain. We're praying. We're going to do a rain dance.


GRAY: The president of the American Meteorological Society Dr. Marshal Shepherd says it is going to take much more than a dance to reverse this, thanks in part to the jet stream.

SHEPHERD: And so, you can get locked into these modes or patterns of how a jet stream is situated and in 2013, high pressure has been the dominant weather feature over the west. That causes really hot and dry conditions.

GRAY: Because of this, California is parched. Many of their lakes and reservoirs are at 30 percent and sinking. And the snow pack, which is supposed to be a key resource for water is 84 percent below average.

SHEPHERD: That snow is the drinking water for people in Los Angeles, Phoenix and other places later in the year and it doesn't take a rocket scientist, even though I used to work at NASA to know that there are going to be stresses on water supply.

GRAY: And long-term predictions don't spell relief.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As we move further into the actual summer months, things are only going to get drier, the temperatures are only going to get higher, the humidity is only going to get lower.


GRAY: And like we said, this is supposed to be California's rainy season. We only have a tiny window before it starts the dry season. So, this is going to create just an unbelievable wildfire season most likely and then, you know, it's just people's drinking water.

PAUL: A lot to be concerned about. Thank you, Jennifer, so much.

So, thank you so much, too, for starting your morning with us.

BLACKWELL: We've got a lot more ahead on the next hour of your "NEW DAY." It starts right now.

PAUL: Good morning, wherever you are. I feel like I should say Vietnam, but it doesn't make sense. BLACKWELL: Yes.

PAUL: So, wherever you are, good morning. Seven o'clock on a Sunday right now. Boy, only 4:00 in the West and you're already awake. I'm impressed. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: Starting early. I'm Victor Blackwell. It's a pleasure to have you this NEW DAY SUNDAY.

We're starting in New Jersey with Governor Chris Christie and his camp and pushing back -- pushing back hard really against new claims of political payback tied to Superstorm Sandy.

PAUL: The mayor of hard-hit Hoboken now saying officials in Christie administration threaten to withhold Sandy aid money if she didn't support a redevelopment plan favored by the governor.

Now, Democratic Mayor Dawn Zimmer did confirm those claims to CNN.

BLACKWELL: And she also provided MSNBC with journal entries, you see them here, from the time that she says backs up her claims.

Now, Zimmer's spokesperson gave CNN this statement, here it is. "The bottom line is that the lieutenant governor came to Hoboken, pulled me aside in a parking lot and made it clear that Sandy aid was contingent on moving ahead with the Rockefeller development. She knew that it was wrong and even said so."

However, last week, Zimmer told CNN that she did not think Sandy aid money was being withheld from Hoboken because she did not endorse Christie's re-election. Now, CNN has not yet had a chance to question Zimmer about the discrepancy in her statements.

PAUL: But we will shortly here. In responding to the latest claims a spokesman considered a top 2016 presidential contender, remember, blasted the report saying, quote, "It's very clear partisan politics are at play here as Democratic mayors with political ax to grind come out of the woodwork and try to get their faces on television."

BLACKWELL: And, of course, the allegations come as evidence mounts that aides to Christie arranged to tie up traffic on a major bridge as political revenge.

And in just about two hours, CNN's Candy Crowley will interview Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer. That's on "STATE OF THE UNION." So, be sure to stay right here. That's at 9:00 a.m. Eastern on CNN.

PAUL: In the meantime, Christie himself is in Florida where later today, he is due to meet some major donors who could help launched his bid for president.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it's Christie's first political fund-raising trip since the bridge scandal broke. But as the allegations swirl, Christie is staying out of the spotlight, at least in public.

PAUL: Tory Dunnan is in Orlando. So, Tory, wondering if these latest claims from the Hoboken mayor came up yesterday during Christie's travels. Were they talking about it?

TORY DUNNAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, Victor and Christi, no one has really come out and said they were talked about at any of these fundraisers. But remember, these were all private events.

Looking ahead to today, though, this event coming up is really going to be a big indication of where Governor Chris Christie stands.


DUNNAN (voice-over): Except for a drive-by glimpse or two, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie spent day one of his fund-raising trip to Florida behind closed doors.

REPORTER: Governor Christie, do you have a few seconds, sir?

REPORTER: Governor?

DUNNAN: It's unclear if the bridgegate scandal followed Christie into those fund-raisers. This woman who was inside an Orlando event Christie attended for Florida Governor Rick Scott played a little bit of a guessing game.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Talked about Governor Scott and how good he is.

DUNNAN (on camera): Did anything about the scandal come up?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think?

DUNNAN: Elaborate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think? Yes or no? What do you think?


DUNNAN: Yes, what did he say?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said no, nothing, zero, zilch.

DUNNAN (voice-over): Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Florida to shadow Christie's every move had lots to say.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: I think that means either Chris Christie doesn't want to answer any questions or Rick Scott doesn't want to be seen in public with Chris Christie. It's probably a little bit of both.

DUNNAN: The DNC even released this "welcome to Florida" ad.

Florida's Republican Party chairman accused Democrats of trying to turn Christie's visit into a circus. LENNY CURRY, RNC FLORIDA CHAIRMAN: I'd say Chris Christie apologized. Chris Christie took action. He's the head of the Republican Governors Association and he's down here doing his job and that's raising money to make sure that Rick Scott gets re-elected.

DUNNAN: The big question hanging over this weekend, how will the scandal affect Christie's chances should he run for the White House?

(on camera): Any talk in there about this being an issue for if Christie decides to run in 2016?


DUNNAN (voice-over): More likely to come on that front today a so- called donor outreach event in North Palm Beach. The billionaire cofounder of Home Depot, Ken Langone, is introducing Christie to donors who could provide major backing for a Christie for president campaign.


DUNNAN: And just to give you a little bit more sense of why today is so important, the host of that event tells CNN that really the interest has gone up since this scandal unfolded, saying initially they had about 200 potential donors interested in attending the event. That number has gone up to 500 and now, possibly, more than he can accommodate at his house.

He's also gone on to really say that some people have called him and said, they like the way that Governor Christie has handled all this so far, that he's been decisive and that he's been embarrassed about what happened, and now, just opportunity to meet with him face-to-face.

And, Victor and Christie, potentially today could be when Republicans ask Governor Christie about these scandals at a closed door event.

PAUL: All righty. Tory Dunnan in Florida -- thank you so much for the update, Tory.

BLACKWELL: We know you're just waking up and Dennis Rodman waking up this morning. But he's doing it in a different spot, in rehab. The former NBA star is seeking treatment for alcohol addiction and he's already a week in.

PAUL: According to his agents, Rodman's drinking escalated during that controversial trip to North Korea.

Well, Nick Valencia is following the story.

So, how many trips to rehab? I'm not making fun of him, I'm asking seriously.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. At least four if you count his appearance on Dr. Drew, "Celebrity Rehab" with Dr. Drew.

PAUL: Wow. VALENCIA: Like you were saying, Christie, according to his agent, it was this trip to North Korea that led to his escalation in drinking, leaving him an emotional wreck. He had a lot of pressure on him, he said. There'd be a cultural ambassador. He was sort of seen a little bit as a political figure, as well, going over there.

Check out the statement that the agent sent CNN and other media outlets. It read in part, "His drinking escalated," talking about Rodman, "to a level that none of us had seen before. When he came back, I discussed with him on a personal level how concerned I was. We sat down and I decided for him to go to rehab."

He's going to be in rehab about a month, 28, 30 days in this rehab facility.

BLACKWELL: So, and I know that alcoholism is a legitimate disease.

PAUL: Absolutely.

BLACKWELL: Many people struggle with it, but I've got to ask about the timing.

VALENCIA: It seems fishy, doesn't it? It seems, in a lot of ways, celebrities use rehab sometimes to avoid the spotlight, to get out of the attention that they have negatively drawn towards themselves.

And some people that we talked to this morning, they think that this is suspicious timing on Rodman's part. But like you say, Victor, alcoholism is a disease.

PAUL: It's real.

VALENCIA: It's real. It's nothing to be poked fun at and Rodman has a long history.

Check out this sound bite that we have, he made a very public and now infamous exchange with CNN's "NEW DAY" host Chris Cuomo. Take a listen.


DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER NBA PLAYER: (INAUDIBLE) (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I don't give rat's (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you think. I'm saying to you, look at these guys here. Look at them!

If you understand what Kenneth Bae did --


RODMAN: Do you understand what he did --

CUOMO: What did he do? You tell me.

RODMAN: -- in this country.

CUOMO: You tell me. What did he do? RODMAN: No, no, no, you tell me! You tell me! Why is he held captive?

CUOMO: They haven't released any charges.


VALENCIA: Kenneth Bae, of course, the imprisoned American being held in North Korea not being officially charged by the government, but Rodman later apologized for his outburst on "NEW DAY", saying he had been drinking at the time.

PAUL: Yes. I mean, some people say suspicious timing. It's a legitimate question. But at the same time, maybe something like that that wakes you up.

VALENCIA: You've got to wish him a very speedy recovery. It's very sad day for Rodman and his supporters.

PAUL: Yes, absolutely. Nick Valencia, thank you so much.

So, let's lighten it up a little bit.

BLACKWELL: A little bit, little bit.

PAUL: What happens when you get Stevie Wonder, Samuel L. Jackson and Magic Johnson together and you say, "Put on your dancing shoes"?

BLACKWELL: You are about to see what or rather who they were celebrating when NEW DAY SUNDAY returns.


BLACKWELL: If you watch the SAG Awards last night, forget all those celebrities, forget them. An invite to Michelle Obama's 50th birthday party, that was the hottest ticket in town.

PAUL: I bet. Her real birthday was Friday, remember. But all the stars and the D.C. power players came to the White House last night to celebrate the first lady's half century milestone. I hate to say it like that.

BLACKWELL: Half century.

PAUL: But she makes it look good, doesn't she?

BLACKWELL: Fifty and fabulous.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty was there.

Sunlen, how did it go?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi and Victor, Beyonce performed and John Legend sang happy birthday, but I was told by many guests, it was the president who really stole the show because he took over the dance floor when he danced the Dougie. Now, we've all been talking for days how the president and the first lady really wanted this party to turn into a dance party and it did. I saw many guests come in wearing high heels and they also had a little bag carrying their flat shoes that they could change into later once the dance party got under way at the White House.

We saw so many stars here last night Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, James Tyler, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight and -- I think you'll recognize these two coming into the party last night.


SAMUEL L. JACKSON, ACTOR: Just looking forward to having good, old school dance music.

MAGIC JOHNSON, FORMER NBA STAR: I'm going to have a good time. Thank you, guys. I'm going to have a ball, this is great.


SERFATY: Now, we're told that the president also gave a long toast to the first lady at the end of the night. He raised a glass, and specifically in that speech he did mention how good of a mother she is.

Obviously, this is a birthday celebration and we're having a little fun with it. But I know a lot of people want to know also who pays for a lavish event like this. It is not taxpayer dollars the Obamas are putting on this private function, so they are footing the bill -- Christie and Victor.

PAUL: All righty. I have heard that question and thank you for answering it. Sunlen, we appreciate it.

So, we want to get a little bit more insight, though, into this party from a Washington insider.

BLACKWELL: Yes. We have one with us. With us now, Helena Andrews, columnist for "Washington Post."

Good to have you this morning.


PAUL: Good morning.

BLACKWELL: So, we heard now the president did the Dougie and dance floor was hot. Is this the typical -- I know the answer to this, but it's my pitch to you -- the typical Obama party?

ANDREWS: Well, you know, the typical first lady and the president party, when they are together with their friends. That was the thing about this party. There were no details released beforehand, right?

We had all been hearing the rumors about Beyonce since the summer she might perform, but there was no official word. No guest release and this was a private party they were having with their closest friends, their closest friends so happen to be Samuel L. Jackson and Magic Johnson and Jennifer Hudson and Gayle King, obviously.

But it was really like a friend affair. The president told people to eat before they come. They were only getting snacks and dessert. There was no dinner being served, told people to wear their comfortable shoes because there will be lots of dancing. So, you knew they would let their hair down tonight.


PAUL: OK. So, listen, I want you to listen real closely to how radio show host Tom Joyner described the party for us, Helena. Hold on here.


TOM JOYNER, RADIO HOST: Everybody was there. Stevie Wonder was there --

REPORTER: Sing happy birthday --

JOYNER: John Legend, yes. Stevie. Who else was there?


REPORTER: What did you eat?

JOYNER: Oh, they had no food.



BLACKWELL: They had no food.

PAUL: They had no food.

Is that, I mean, is that, is that normal to have a big party like this and -- I mean, they had food, right? They had some little desserts and snacks here and there, but no formal dinner, right?

ANDREWS: You know, people took a little umbrage with that when they first told folks to eat before they come, right? A lot of professional party planners and event planners said that was a little, they didn't want to say it was rude, but it was a little strange.

Usually, you don't put that on an invite. If you're starting the party later, I don't think it got started until around 10:00. People assume that there won't be food, if it's a dance party. You don't have to tell people to eat before they get there.

But, the president wanted to let people know, listen, this isn't a formal affair, it's not this black tie, sit down, state dinner. That's what they were doing. They were partying.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it's a clear indication. You're coming to have a good time.

PAUL: Yes, if you were going to the White House, though, I can see where you would think, they're going to feed me, right?


ANDREWS: Right. I assume there were heavy snacks.

BLACKWELL: Heavy snacks. That's enough.

So, we heard Beyonce, John Legend, Ledisi all performs. How much does something like this cost?

ANDREWS: You know, the White House probably won't release those numbers at all. But, let's say, you know, her and Beyonce are great friends, right? The Obamas and the Carters have hung out before, so, who knows? Maybe they were just performing for a friend of theirs. You know what I mean?

It's a great thing to be able to perform at the White House and to say that you performed at the White House for the first lady's 50th birthday. It's a huge honor. So, who knows whether or not these people were doing it as a gift to the Obamas? That's altogether possible.

PAUL: So, when you hear about this party, how does it compare to other parties at the White House, birthday parties?

ANDREWS: Well, it's funny, we reported about this in the "Reliable Source", a column at "Washington Post" and the party that it stacks up to is Hillary Clinton's 50th birthday party. She was the last first lady to turn 50 in the White House and her party was epic, right?

She had a surprise black tie affair for 100. They hosted 500 people at the White House and then flew to her hometown of Chicago and had a two-day long celebration that culminated with her showing up on the "Oprah Winfrey" show.

So, it was a lot of cake and a lot of black ties and a lot of full length gowns. So, I think when we compare this, Michelle Obama's birthday to Hillary Clinton's birthday, the first lady's birthday was almost, really, low key. Of course, there are a lot of celebrities there and we know they had a good time, but it was more of a private affair. You know what I mean. They just really wanted to have something intimate and fun with their friends.


ANDREWS: The invitation said no cameras, you know, not a lot on social media right now. They wanted it to be within their tight friend group.

BLACKWELL: Low key with Beyonce and Ledisi and John Legend.


BLACKWELL: If you're going to do it, do it big.

ANDREWS: Exactly.

BLACKWELL: Helena Andrews, columnist for "The Washington Post", thank you very much.

PAUL: Thank you.

ANDREWS: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: And your NEW DAY Sunday continues right after the break.


BLACKWELL: Good to have you on NEW DAY.

And all morning, we're talking about Dennis Rodman. The former NBA star is now in rehab. His agent says he's already been in treatment for about a week.

PAUL: Yes. I mean, he has a long history of alcohol addiction. But according to his agent, this latest is due to the pressure and backlash over that trip to North Korea.

So, let's talk to David Sugarman. David is an NBA sports agent and a friend of Dennis Rodman.

So, David, we thank you so much for coming on. I know that this is a sensitive issue and we appreciate your candor.


PAUL: Well, when you -- first of all, you did not go on this trip to North Korea.

SUGARMAN: No, I did not go.

PAUL: So, when you heard about it, what did you think?

SUGARMAN: I actually heard about it, I read about it in the morning. I was, you know, 7:00 in the morning, I looked at my phone and I had 300 missed calls. And then I saw that Dennis was over there and Kenny Anderson who works with us he was over there, as well.

BLACKWELL: So, you know, a lot of celebrities and, again, I want to preface this by saying that alcoholism, we understand, most people understand is a real disease.

PAUL: Very real.


BLACKWELL: But there is a history in Hollywood when times get tough and the press goes bad that people run off to rehab. Is he hiding from the media right now? SUGARMAN: Look, I mean, I haven't spoken to Dennis. And I spoke with Darren Prince, his agent, last night at length. And I'm no expert in alcoholism, but I think he probably had an awakening.

I mean, what happened in North Korea was a big deal. I mean, it was a big deal and it doesn't look good and it fired on Dennis and I think he genuinely needs help.

PAUL: Can you help us understand why he's so enamored with North Korea?

SUGARMAN: I don't have the answer to that. I mean, I spoke with Ken Anderson about this in L.A. the other day, and my understanding was his father was a huge Chicago bulls fan and wanted Michael Jordan to go over there, but I can't verify that information.

BLACKWELL: Can you tell us, also, beyond what we saw on "NEW DAY" with Chris Cuomo that outburst and the shouting, what else happened in North Korea that was so dramatic?

SUGARMAN: Again, I heard this from a bunch of guys that were over there. I mean, Dennis was apparently had a beer in his hand at all times. You know, as Kenny alluded to on Pier's show, their passports were all taken when they checked into the hotel.

I mean, everybody's passport was taken. They were taken on tours around North Korea. They went to Kim Jung-il's grandparent' house and a lot of culture showed to these guys.

So, other than that --

BLACKWELL: A beer in Rodman's hand the entire time he was there?

SUGARMAN: That was what I was told.

PAUL: OK. Well, hopefully this time around, he can -- he can get it together. I mean, we hope that for him, certainly.

SUGARMAN: Yes, I hope so. I mean, I know Dennis, you know? And I spent time with Dennis and I said to my wife when I saw that interview that CNN did, I knew Dennis was drunk. I mean --

PAUL: Wow.

SUGARMAN: -- I could tell by the way he was acting and I've seen, I've seen two sides to Dennis. I've seen that side and then I've seen the sober side.

So, it was clear as day to me that there was something, that there was something wrong there.

PAUL: Well, David, as his friend, I'm sure it's hard for you to watch. But we thank you for joining us today.

BLACKWELL: David Sugarman, thank you so much.

SUGARMAN: Thank you, thank you.

PAUL: So, I don't know, maybe you were out late.

BLACKWELL: We weren't.

PAUL: Maybe -- we never are. We have boring lives.

Maybe you were in bed a little early. Either way, in case you missed it, "Saturday Night Live" had a huge show last night.

BLACKWELL: And the lady right here, she is the reason why. We'll catch you up on who she is and why her debut was such a big deal.


BLACKWELL: For the first time in more than six years, we've got to say, on the heels of criticism, that the show lacked diversity, a black female cast member joined "SNL" last night.



ANNOUNCER: Sasheer Zamata.


PAUL: With all eyes on Sasheer Zamata, the show's new star was featured in a number of skits on her debut.

CNN's Alexandra Field joining us now with more.

What's the buzz this morning about it, Alexandra?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christie, as the newcomer to the show, I don't think anybody expected her to have a starring role. But she did turn up a number of times. So, if you were tuning in to see Sasheer Zamata, the writers did give all of us an opportunity to do that option.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from New York, it's "Saturday Night Live".

FIELD (voice-over): Those words have been coming into America's living room for decades. But last night's show represented something more.

ANNOUNCER: Sasheer Zamata.

FIELD: Zamata is the first female African-American cast member to be hired by "SNL" since Maya Rudolph left the show in 2007.

And she didn't disappoint. Joining cast mates and guest host Drake skit after skit singing, dancing and acting and spoofing Rihanna as blossom. SASHEER ZAMATA, COMEDIAN: Dad, get out of her. You're embarrassing me.

FIELD: "SNL" launched a nationwide search last fall for a black female cast member after a public outcry about the show's lack of diversity.

KERRY WASHINGTON, COMEDIAN: In that case, I will leave and in a few minutes, Oprah will be here.

FIELD: But in true "SNL" fashion, they turned the tables and poked fun at themselves.


FIELD: On the streets of New York this weekend, fans think the new addition was the right call.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like if she qualified, if she's ready to be up there, that's great. Now, there have always been plenty of funny black comedians. I don't think that's ever been the problem. I just think now that they finally made the choice and it's a good thing.

KURT CYENNE, SNL FAN: The pressure is on. She is going to have a lot to prove. It could be a good thing. It could be a gate opener for her career, or it could go the other way.

FIELD: Movie stars like Tina Fey, Will Ferrell and Eddie Murphy all got their start on "SNL". And like them, this could be just the beginning for Sasheer Zamata.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sasheer for her first night --



FIELD: And along with those big expectations, she also has big shoes to fill, like the former "SNL" star Tina Fey, she is also a graduate of the University of Virginia and a veteran of the improve group the Upright Citizens Brigade -- Victor, Christi.

PAUL: All righty. Alexandra, thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: Yes, hopefully, she moves to the very full cast.

PAUL: Wishing her well. I'm wishing her well.

BLACKWELL: Featured player now. Hopefully, we'll see the full cast.

PAUL: Big time, absolutely.


PAUL: So, we're going to see you back here at the top of the hour, 8:00 Eastern, for another hour of NEW DAY SUNDAY.

BLACKWELL: Yes. But right now, keep it here for "SANJAY GUPTA, M.D."