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Dow Drops Sharply; Feds Seek Death Penalty; Second Cruise Ship Illness; Interview with Sam Polk; Gearing up for Super Bowl Sunday

Aired January 31, 2014 - 09:30   ET


JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Oh, my gosh. Our hearts go out to the people in the south. This terrible storm just crippled that part of the country pretty bad. Atlanta came to a standstill. You probably saw this. Roadways were blocked. Thousands of abandoned cars all over the highway. A lot of people blaming the mayor. But today an e-mail surfaced from a Chris Christie aide that said, "time for weather problems in Atlanta."

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": Everyone is talking about the Super Bowl here the forecast actually for Sunday's game has actually improved in the last week. It's expected to be in the mid-30s with winds of only six miles an hour. Or as that forecast would be known in Atlanta, the apocalypse.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: I'm sorry, that one was funny.

Quick check of the markets when we come back. Stick around.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

COSTELLO: And good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thanks so much for joining me.

For some reason, stocks are tanking. We had such a good day on Wall Street yesterday. Today, totally the opposite. Zain Asher is at the New York Stock Exchange to tell us why this is happening.

Good morning, Zain.


Yes, the Dow is down, just checking, down over 177 points right now. You know, this has been a very volatile week on the trading floor for Wall Street. When you talk to traders, though, volatility can actually be a good thing for them because it is how they make their money. They refer to it as buy the dip, sell the rip.

But the main problem really right now is this liquidity crunch we keep on talking about in emerging markets. Obviously there's a currency sell-off in emerging markets as well. And then you want to talk about tapering with the Fed. That's certainly not helping matters as well. When you look at January as a whole though, so far the S&P 500 down 3 percent. The Dow is down 4 percent. And the old adage goes, as goes January, so goes the year. Let's hope not, Carol. Fingers crossed. Back to you.

CUOMO: Oh, let's hope not. I'm crossing every digit I have. Zain Asher, thanks so much.

Federal prosecutors say they will pursue the death penalty for on only living Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, because, they argue, he carried out the attacks in an especially cruel manner and lacks remorse. Now people across Boston have mixed emotions about the news, including the new mayor.


MAYOR MARTY WALSH, BOSTON: As you all know, as a state representative, I voted against the death penalty. If I were to ask to vote on that today, I would vote the same way. But this is not my vote to cast or my decision to make. I support the judicial system and I support the process that Holder put on today.


COSTELLO: Fascinating, right? CNN's national correspondent, Susan Candiotti, is live for us.

Tell us more, Susan.


Well, first of all, let's remember the 250 people who were injured in this bombing, as well as the four people who lost their lives. Let's remember them by name. We're talking about Crystal Campbell, Lingzi Lu, and eight-year-old Martin Richard. Also MIT Officer Sean Collier, who was killed a few days later.

Now, the families did give their views on the death penalty to the Justice Department in writing. That's part of what the government considered before making this decision. And following that decision, some of the families have been weighing in. For example, Marc Fucarile, who was near the finish line when the bomb went off, he lost a leg and has had to undergo 17 surgeries. He spent 100 days in the hospital and says life after the bombing has not been easy.


MARC FUCARILE, BOSTON BOMBING VICTIM: I think what he did to a lot of people that day, especially the ones that he killed, I think he deserves it. I prefer the death penalty because I prefer people know that if you terrorize our country, you're going to be put to death.

PETE BROWN, UNCLE OF TWO VICTIMS: I think if there was anything that would, you know, that would filter out, did he have some remorse, and there's been none. So it doesn't make it that hard for me to accept the decision of the attorney general. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CANDIOTTI: Now, Peter Brown is the uncle of two men, the Norton brothers, who each lost one of their legs.

Now, in making his decision, U.S. Attorney General Holder considered whether the defendant showed any remorse. He found that he did not. He also considered the strength of the evidence, for example, laptop computers. The prosecutor alleges that Tsarnaev downloaded instructions on how to make pressure cooker bombs and downloaded jihadist material. And he also looked at and remembered the writing on the side of the boat. Remember when Tsarnaev was discovered there when - when he was hiding out. He wrote, quote, "the U.S. government is killing our innocent civilians. I can't stand to see such evil go unpunished. Now, I don't like killing innocent people," though he went on to say, "stop killing our innocent people and we will stop."

Now, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reached the mother of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev by phone in Russia. She said the family, in her words, is sickened by what's happening to their child.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to -- the whole world to hear is that I love my son, my precious Dzhokhar. That's it, OK. Please, leave me alone. I have nothing to say any more.


CANDIOTTI: Now, a lot of legal experts say, of course, that by using the possibility of the death penalty, this could be a powerful bargaining chip for prosecutors. Say, for example, the defendant may instead decide to plead guilty, as they have in other cases.


COSTELLO: Susan Candiotti reporting live from New York this morning.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, the stomach bug strikes again. A second cruise ship has docked after 170 passengers got violently ill. Hear why the norovirus is so hard to avoid.


COSTELLO: Just hours ago, a second cruise ship has docked with an unwelcomed passenger. We're talking about the norovirus. It's now blamed for sickening at least 173 people on the Caribbean Princess in Houston. That's likely the same nasty stomach bug that sickened nearly 700 people on a Royal Caribbean cruise liner earlier this week. That outbreak set the record for the most sick passengers on a single cruise in the past 20 years.

Joining me now is Dr. William Schaffner from Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Department of Preventative Medicine.


COSTELLO: It's just incredible that so many people could come down with this illness. It must spread like wildfire.

SCHAFFNER: Well, it does. It's very, very highly transmissible and, of course, all those people are so close together for 24 hours a day and that's just the way norovirus likes to spread.

COSTELLO: So, what's the difference between norovirus and let's say the flu, because if somebody gets just the common flu on board a cruise, I mean 600 people wouldn't come down with the flu?

SCHAFFNER: Yes, that's exactly right. Norovirus is extraordinarily transmissible from person to person, and it can also be transmitted by the inanimate environment. And, of course, that's why they clean and disinfect the environment so. And this closeness, this compactness really enhances the transmission of this virus, which, of course, is brought on board by the passengers.

COSTELLO: So you can simply breathe the air and get the norovirus if someone beside you has been sick?

SCHAFFNER: If someone beside you suddenly gets sick, and particularly if they vomit, then if you breathe the air, you can become infected, otherwise it's close touch and, of course, touching the inanimate environment. And that's why they pay so much attention to hand hygiene and disinfecting the environment.

COSTELLO: So is there any way to stop it? Is there any vaccine?

SCHAFFNER: There's no vaccine, no specific treatment. The prevention is good, good hand washing and very good environmental hygiene.

COSTELLO: Why is there no vaccine?

SCHAFFNER: Because this is a changeable virus. People are working on a vaccine. But there are scientific challenges. So that's in the works.

COSTELLO: Well, I hope they work fast. Dr. William Schaffner, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

SCHAFFNER: Stay healthy.

COSTELLO: I'm going to try. I'm going to wash my hands.

Still ahead in the NEWSROOM, President Obama will sit down with CEOs today to try to convince them to hire the long term unemployed. Will his efforts work? We'll talk about that next.


COSTELLO: In about an hour some of the nation's top CEOs will convene at the White House as president Obama makes his push to help the nation's long term unemployed rejoin the workforce. Among the executives who are expected to attend, Brian Moynihan of Bank of America, Don Thompson of McDonald's, Jim McNerney of Boeing, and Larry Fink of the financial services firm, Blackrock.

Joining me now to talk about this meeting is Sam Polk, founder and executive director of Groceryships an organization that helps needy families eat healthy. A great organization but Polk is perhaps more well-known for a powerful op-ed he wrote in "The New York Times." Polk is a former hedge fund guy and he talked about his addiction to money and how he wasn't alone in his quest to enrich himself.

Here's a bit of Polk's op-ed. Quote, "in my last year on Wall Street my bonus was $3.6 million and I was angry it wasn't big enough. I was 30 years old, had no children to raise, no debts to pay, no philanthropic goal in mind. I wanted more money for exactly the same reason an alcoholic needs another drink. I was addicted."

So welcome, Sam, and before we - before we explore your op-ed, a question for you about the president's meeting with these CEOs. The president is trying to convince them to hire the long term unemployed. And we know especially after reading your op-ed that CEOs are capitalist, they're businessmen, they pay attention to the bottom line. Will they listen to the president?

SAM POLK, FOUNDER AND EXEC. DIRECTOR, GROCERYSHIPS: I don't know. It took me a long time and a lot of work with a counselor to understand that the sort of issues that were facing people on the lower end of the economic scale in America were a lot more real than the big concerns for me which were how many millions of dollars my bonus was, whether the guy next to me was making more than me. It really did take a lot of work.

COSTELLO: Back to your op-ed, then. You wrote about 2008, the year so many people lost their homes and their 401(k)s. You wrote, quote, as the world crumbled I profited. I'd seen the crash coming, but instead of trying to help people it would hurt the most, people who didn't have a million dollars in the bank, I'd make money off it.

You know right now there's a real debate in this country about class warfare. Is it really class warfare or is it something else?

POLK: It goes back to what I said which was for me, you know, I'm not an expert, I'm not a scientist, I'm just a guy that had some experience with addiction to drugs and alcohol, which I got sober from when I was 22, and I - over the years on Wall Street, I started to understand that what happened to me on Wall Street with money and power was a lot like what had happened to me with alcohol and drugs.

COSTELLO: Are you saying when you are in the game, so to speak, you really don't think about how anything else except much money you make, except about how big your bonus is? You don't really think about the people you may hurt on the way up?

POLK: Wall Street is a funny place. It's a place where the people you sit next to make millions of dollars, sometimes hundred of millions of dollars. So you know, you can - and I certainly did sometimes feel like I was unpaid when I made $500,000, for example. And one of the things that I went through is sort of coming to realize that that perspective is so narrow.

When you are addicted to something, you can only see what's in front of you. You are trying to get more and more. That's what money was like for me. I never had the sense that my fears about whether I was going to get $1 million or $2 million was not even close to as important or as real as the fears of the families we work with in Groceryships who maybe have an income of $15,000 or $20,000 a year and they have a kid that needs a surgery that they can't afford. For me, it was about coming to a different perspective.

COSTELLO: I'm just thinking about children's goals as they grow up and one of the big goals in this country is to be uber successful, is to make money, is to have an ultra-comfortable life. I think that enters into it too. It is not just culture on Wall Street. It's the American culture in general, don't you think?

POLK: I do, and I understand that, and I think that money is important, and I actually have some money and it has been very beneficial to me. And even further on what you're saying, you know one of the big groups of respondents to my piece have been college kids. They write exactly what you say, which is that I really want to do something good and purposeful with my life, and at the same time I really want to make money.

I get that. I write back to them. I don't say, no, you need to go start a nonprofit. I say I really get that. The only thing I'm here to tell you is that if, like me, you were using money to fill this hole inside, this sort of brokenness, if you were using it because you are really afraid, which is what I was. I was really afraid and I wanted to prove to the world that I was valuable and successful, because honestly I didn't feel like that inside. My message is that if that's what you are doing, then no amount of money is ever going to fill that.

COSTELLO: Right. You run a wonderful organization now called Groceryships. I want to thank you for your insight this morning. We appreciate it, Sam Polk.

POLK: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Still to come in the NEWSROOM, big, bold and full of beer. Bud Lite makes a splash at the Super Bowl and Don Lemon got a chance to check it out.

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I certainly did! But Carol, I just had a chance to play catch with Roger Staubach. Can you believe it?

COSTELLO: Wow! That's awesome!

LEMON: Bring me a whole lot of dough, Carol. I can get you into the Bud Lite hotel and you, too, might be able to play catch with Roger Staubach. Coming up in the NEWSROOM.


COSTELLO: The Super Bowl in the Big Apple, it brings in quite the crowd, and Bud Lite may have found a way to stand out - use a brand new luxury cruise ship. Why not? CNN's Don Lemon joins us now from Super Bowl Boulevard.

I just can't get over you just played catch with roger Staubach.

LEMON: It was so cool, and Carol, I felt terrible because I was 45 minutes late. It took me an hour. You know Manhattan. It took me an hour and 10 minutes to get here. It usually takes me 10 minutes. So I jumped in the taxi and was like, oh there's not going to be any traffic, it's early, an hour and 10-15 minutes to get here, usually ten minutes. Roger Staubach waited for me. Thank you, sir.


LEMON: I know! Can you believe it? And then he -- we played a little catch right out here in Times Square. But did you see that suite I was walking through on that boat? That's normally, Carold, a Norwegian cruise ship that Bud Lite is taken over. They've taken over the entire wharf down by the Intrepid Museum. They've taken over that entire place, they've got a concert venue. That that you're looking at now is inside of the ship. They are taking all of the branding off of the ship and turning it into the Bud Lite hotel. It will be that way for a week. You can go and stay on this ship/hotel. Look at that suite. It's freaking amazing. All of this for dignitaries and VIPs. I wouldn't even a venture a guess on how much it's going to cost. You're going to get all kinds of swag from swag bags. But if you're going to stay moored, it's going to be in Ford (ph), so there you go.

And by the way, you get to see Fall Out Boy, Foo Fighters, Run DMC, on and on, and on.

COSTELLO: Wow. Okay, so more about Roger Staubach. What did you talk to him about?

LEMON: Actually, he said, I have good hands. We did a little catch and he kept doing this. He would do that, lick the football and then he'd throw it to me and he showed me how to throw a spiral. He said, most people throw a spiral and they go outside like this and the ball ends up turning inside. He says what you want to do, Don, is you push it and the you kind of fling it that way and then throw a spiral. He made me go long all the way down Broadway on 42nd Street, we're at 41st Street. He made me go long all the way down Broadway and I caught it two or three times. There were some other guys, security guys that jumped in and we all started playing football.

COSTELLO: And then they tackled you and it turned ugly.

LEMON: My producer bought this ball, but officially, I'm on television with it and I'm claiming it so now, this is my ball signed by Roger Staubach, and then later by Joe Montana. So, Julian this is now mine and not yours.

COSTELLO: Man, you are in heaven. Don Lemon many thanks.

LEMON: I'll see you later. Bye.