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Joe Biden: I Can't Give Reasons Not to Run; Rough Start for Team USA's Skaters; Jay Leno's Tonight Show Farewell; Obama: Russians Have "Enormous Stake"

Aired February 7, 2014 - 06:30   ET


MICHAELA PERIERA, CNN ANCHOR: The last time Curiosity was on earth was back in November of 2011. It's taking on Bingo Gap (ph), a dune, which can be a big issue for a rover. It's like a yard long and 10 -- 10 yards long and a yard high. So that's, like, poised to, like, see if it can make it over.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: What a name, Bingo Gap (ph), for a place with no life.

PERIERA: I'm watching it. A lot of personality in that name.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah, that rover has a lot of personality.


CUOMO: It's like earth with an arrow.

PERIERA: Can we show it again? It's actually kind of -- here we are. It's like one of those "you are here" maps.

BOLDUAN: Right, exactly. You are here.

CUOMO: Did we do that? Is that from NASA?

PEREIRA: No, that's NASA.

CUOMO: That's the best NASA can do?

BOLDUAN: Oh, come on.

CUOMO: Put more money in that space program.


PEREIRA: That's us right there.

CUOMO: All I see is the arrow.

Anyway, speculation in high gear about whether or not Vice President -- the vice president will run for president in 2016. Now, especially thanks to Kate's interview with the vice president, we have national political reporter for CNN digital Peter Hamby's gonna join us to give analysis on what this could mean for Hillary and the Dems. It's a new day in the race, Peter, given what you're about to hear when Kate asked Biden about running. Here's the Q&A.


BOLDUAN: Other than corvettes, give me another good reason why you shouldn't run.



BIDEN: There may be reasons I don't run, but there's no obvious reason for me why I think I should not run.

BOLDUAN: Can I have a timetable?

BIDEN: Probably the -- realistically, a year this summer.


CUOMO: Listen to that. Look, Kate's family to me, Peter, but I got to say he was talking about how he's popular in places the president isn't. I never heard him say that before. He's making a case, you know? He's saying why wouldn't I run? Never mentions Hillary?

BOLDUAN: I gotta tell, and you also, Peter, you kind of, from my perspective, you really do -- it's not like you see a man who's in the sunset of his career. Like, he's very fired up. You could see it in his face that he, at least today, knows he has a lot more to contribute. And look, he may not run, but he was making a pretty strong pitch at least to me. What do you think?

PETER HAMBY, CNN DIGITAL: Yeah, no, and first of all, really nice work on this interview, Kate. This is absolutely Biden leaning in harder to 2016 than he has at any point so far.

Look, I think Joe Biden thinks that there's no reason for him not to run as he mentioned. He has a long career in the Senate, in the White House. He can get out in Iowa, go to parades, talk about his career and not necessarily inflict a lot of intraparty damage.

What was interesting to me also is that he said he would wait until next summer, which to me strikes me as way too late. Look, if these guys are going to get in and run for president, whoever it is, challenging Hillary Clinton, they really have to start laying groundwork. They have to raise money and hire staff and recruit volunteers in these early states.

By the time next summer rolls around, we're talking five or six months till the Iowa caucuses, that was the only part that struck me as a little odd. But look, this is absolutely Biden making clear, as Chris mentioned, he's kind of and the same playing field as the president. And secondly, trying to articulate a little bit of a rationale for why he should run. So this is really fascinating to me, guys. BOLDUAN: Absolutely. And when he was laying out kind of there -- there are two things that he cares about most. when he mentioned the foreign policy issue, that is him really making a case for why he has the chops to run.

And because it's going counter to what all the speculation has been to this point. It's always been Hillary Clinton and them. And Joe Biden is now saying it's Joe Biden and other people I think. That's what I heard from that interview.

HAMBY: Yeah, no, I think that's right. Look, I spent some time recently in Iowa and New Hampshire. Clinton's name comes up more than anybody else's. But Biden's comes up second. Frankly, he's the second most famous person in the Democratic field.

The interesting thing that you don't hear out there on the trail these days, you know, the early trail at least, you hear a lot of people talking about the economy, the economy, the economy, the economy. You don't hear a lot about foreign policy these days.

BOLDUAN: That's a very important point.

HAMBY: It's just not really a resonate thing. Right, but that's still Biden's strike zone. That's what he likes talking about. He did also mention in the interview he likes sticking up for the little guy. That, frankly, populous message that he's so good at is really what's going to be an asset for him.

And look, I think you're going to see that a little bit coming up in 2014. Recall in 2010, Joe Biden and Bill Clinton, frankly, could go into parts of the country like Youngstown, Ohio, for example, where the president wasn't so popular, but Joe Biden could talk to those white working class voters. He really does have a rapport with that segment of the Democratic base, with, you know, labor, with independent voters. So if he starts to stick to that message, I think that's probably going to be a more potent one for him looking out to 2016.

CUOMO: And if there's a guy who's going to say no to the party when they come and say, you know, "The reason you can't run, Joe, is because you can't win. We're putting all our money and all our assets on Hillary," would be Joe.

And this was my only little conspiracy theory I had watching your interview. I know he loves cars. He's loved cars for a long time. Hillary Clinton says she hasn't driven since 1997.

BOLDUAN: I was thinking that, too.

CUOMO; He says, "I know all about cars and zero to 60 foot times. I'm the real guy. I'm like you." We want the best of us when we elect somebody, but we want them to be us. It was interesting contrast there. So I'm saying -- I'm not saying it was intentional. But it came up in this really revealing interview. Peter, thank you very much. Appreciate the insight.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Peter.

HAMBY: Thanks, guys.

BOLDUAN: Let's take another break. Coming up next on NEW DAY, the stunning arrest of a firefighter caught on tape. Why was he handcuffed by police while he was trying to rescue people? Details straight ahead.

CUOMO: Plus, oh boy, what a night for Jay Leno. If you're going to go out, this is the way to do it, 22-year run as the "Tonight Show" came to an end with the emotion and how he made some humor out of it. He had some good last laughs at the network that you're going to want to hear.


JAY LENO, HOST, "TONIGHT SHOW": I don't like good-byes. NBC does. I don't --


I don't care for them.



CUOMO: Welcome back. Anger in California this morning after a firefighter responding to a car accident is handcuffed by police at the scene, all caught on tape, obviously. Police say the firefighter's truck was obstructing a freeway lane. But firefighters say he was trying to rescue people. What's going on here? CNN's Stephanie Elam has more.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A scene that is hard to comprehend and one that's sparking outrage. Caught on camera, a uniformed southern California firefighter handcuffed and taken away by a California highway patrol officer after a testy exchange.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, I just want to let you know he's arresting me.

ELAM: The dispute broke out at the scene of this rollover accident. An unnamed office asked the firefighter Jacob Gregoire to move his truck from the fast lane while firefighters attended to the injured.

Officials say the 12-year veteran of the Chula Vista Fire Department parked his truck behind an ambulance for safety reasons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's unbelievable that you guys have to treat me like this. We're on the road (ph) trying to help you guys.

ELAM: The highway patrol officer detaining Gregoire in the back of his cruiser for a half an hour before releasing him. Fire chief Dave Hanneman stands by his crew saying the CHP took things too far.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any time a first responder is being taken away in handcuffs, that's not how it's supposed to happen.

ELAM: The CHP is investigating.

Meanwhile, the chiefs of both departments released a joint statement that reads in part, "Our agencies have the utmost respect for each other and our respective missions. This was an isolated incident and not representative of the manner in which our agencies normally work together toward our common goal."

And while the scene may raise eyebrows, some point out, the arresting officer broke no laws.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is legal. You can tell someone to move their vehicle to a safer place. Now whether or not it was justified, that I can't comment on.

ELAM: Stephanie Elam, CNN, Los Angeles.


CUOMO: It wasn't people. It was a firefighter. It's not about being illegal. It's about being stupid. You know? I mean, he's a first responder.

PEREIRA: You think there was some other beef going on there between the --

CUOMO: I think it's macho run amuck.

PEREIRA: That's completely unreasonable.

BOLDUAN: That's unbelievable that that got to that.

All right, let's talk about the Olympics, hopefully something a little more reasonable. The opening ceremony in Sochi is just a few hours away. But the Olympic Games are off and running. Team figure skating is one of the events this year. It was a rough start, though, for Team USA in the competition.

Andy Scholes is joining us to tell us about it. What happened?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, guys.

Well, it wasn't good. You know, a lot of people excited for this event basically where the men and women figure skaters team up in both singles and in pairs and all their individual scores added up to make one team score. Now after the men's and pair's short programs, Team USA dug themselves a bit of a hole.

Jeremy Abbott fell during his performance. He ended up finishing seventh. The team of Marissa Castelli-Simon Shnapir, they didn't fair much better, finishing fifth. Right now, the USA is in seventh place overall. Top five teams make it into Sunday's final. Elsewhere, Hannah Kearney looking to become the first freestyle skier to win two Olympic gold medals. She dominated the qualifying round in the ladies' moguls competition. Kearney in first place heading into Saturday's final round. There's a good chance, guys, that she's gonna be the first American to win the gold at the Sochi games. Of course, no events taking place today. Everyone gearing up for the opening ceremony, and that's going to start at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. But of course, because of good ol' delay, we're not going to get to see it until tonight.

BOLDUAN; That is cool. Freestyle, that looks so hard but so cool.

CUOMO: She makes it look so easy.

BOLDUAN: I know, not easy, not even close to easy.

CUOMO: And the falls, there's nothing like ice skating, though, watching for that moment when they fall after hours of practice. It's terrible.

BOLDUAN: Andy Schole's specialty, actually, is figure skating.

CUOMO: He looks a little bit like he's got the glamour to pull off being a skating pro.

SCHOLES: You should see my triple axle, guys.

CUOMO: Very enticing. Very enticing.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Andy.

Let's take another break. Coming up next on NEW DAY, Jay Leno says good-bye. We'll look at his final "Tonight Show" including a star- studied serenade of "So Long, Farewell".


BILLY CRYSTAL, ACTOR (singing): All the executives that run NBC are popping in to say "you're through".

CHORUS (singing): You're through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, my dear!



PEREIRA: You know what, I really don't like good-byes. I like, until we see each other again.

BOLDUAN: Welcome back. It was a tender finish to a terrific run, a terrific run as the late night ratings King Jay Leno saying goodbye to his tonight show audience. This time, he says for good. Leno called his 22 years hosting, quote, "the greatest experience of my life." Couldn't resist some final jabs at NBC, though. But all in all, it really was a graceful exit. Kudos to him. CNN's Nischelle Turner is here with us. Hard to say goodbye.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know, when you think -- that's two decades. That's a long time. And you know what, Jay does some of his best work when he is taking those jabs at the network -- his funniest jokes I was glad to see some of that last night. It felt like, though, throughout the entire show that he was just trying to keep it together. Then at the end there, we saw the emotion come flooding out.


JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": This has been the greatest 22 years of my life.

TURNER (voice-over): Choking back tears, Jay Leno took to the stage one last time Thursday night.

LENO: I don't like good-byes.

TURNER: Making it his second final appearance as host of "The Tonight Show" after a 22-year run.

LENO: When I started hosting, marijuana was illegal and you could smoke cigarettes anyplace you wanted.

When I started hosting, Justin Bieber wasn't even born yet. That's why we call those the good old days.


TURNER: And like his 2009 exit, this time around, Leno received a proper sendoff.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Jay, you made a whole lot of jokes about me over the years. But do not worry, I'm not upset. Totally unrelated, though, I've decided to make you my new ambassador to Antarctica.


OBAMA: Hope you got a warm coat, funny man.

TURNER: He also got some not so needed career advice from Matt Damon.

MATT DAMON, ACTOR: Hey, Jay (INAUDIBLE). Why don't you take all this newfound time and develop an interesting hobby like working on old cars. I absolutely love to do it. I think you might, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, jay does work on old cars. He's got a whole garage full of them.

DAMON: OK. Maybe Jay with your newfound time, you could finally invite me over to your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) garage.

TURNER: And Tyler Perry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think you need to reinvent yourself.



LENO: Please welcome my old friend, Billy Crystal!

TURNER: Leno inviting his very first guest back for the finale.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were handed the baton by one of the old-time greats. Not an easy position to be in, but (INAUDIBLE) run the race, you America's nightlight.

TURNER: Bringing Jay's career as host of "The Tonight Show" full circle with an ensemble of all stars bidding Jay farewell like Kim Kardashian.

(SINGING) So long, farewell, last night I told my folks. Now, I won't be the butt of Leno's joke.

TURNER: The queen of comedy, Carol Burnett graced the stage.

(SINGING) So long, farewell -- for your last show I'll do the Tarzan yell.

TURNER: And Oprah Winfrey.

(SINGING) So long, farewell, you really raised the bar. If you were me, you'd buy them all a car.

TURNER: But it was this candid moment that makes last night's goodbye memorable.

LENO: I want to thank you, the audience. You folks have been just incredibly loyal. This is tricky. We wouldn't be on the air without you people. Secondly, this has been the greatest 22 years of my life.


LENO: I am the luckiest guy in the world. I got to meet presidents, astronauts, movie stars. It's just been incredible. I got to work with lighting people who made me look better than I really am.


LENO: I got to work with audio people who made me sound better than I really do. And I got to work with producers and writers and just all kinds of talented people who make me look a lot smarter than I really am. I'll tell you something, first year of the show, I lost my mom. Second year, I lost my dad, then my brother died. And after that, I was pretty much out of family. And the folks here became my family.

Consequently, when they went through rough times, I tried to be there for them. And I'm really excited to for Jimmy Fallon. You know, it's funny to kind of be the old guy and sit back and see where the next generation takes this great institution and it really is -- it's been a great institution for 60 years. I'm so glad I got to be a part of it, but it really is time to go, hand it off to the next guy.

It really is. In closing, I want to quote Johnny Carson who was the greatest guy to ever do this job. And he said, "I bid you all a heartfelt -- now that I brought the room down --


LENO: You got anything to liven this party up?


TURNER (on-camera): That's nice. You just want to bob your head to that for a second. With that, the baton was passed. Jimmy Fallon kicks off the show, of course, February 17th. Here's a little interesting note for you, guys, though. You know, in all the years that Johnny Carson did "The Tonight Show."

It was called "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson." Jay's 22 years, it was "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Jimmy Fallon is going back to "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon."

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: It's so nice to see someone going out on top and to just celebrate that joyous career.

PEREIRA: And to have the opportunity. So oftentimes, people vanish one day to the next. You don't get to say goodbye, you know?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: And one thing that will make him unique, in a business that is too often these days cheap and fake and mean, he is a real guy who always found a sweetness in the situation even when he was poking fun. And hopefully, it's a model going forward because you don't see a lot of it in entertainment anymore.

TURNER: You don't. You don't. He kind of broke the mold in that respect. And I think it will be interesting to see what happens next with the future of late night television.

PEREIRA: Guess what happens later on NEW DAY. We get to talk to Leno's long time band leader, the one, the only --


PEREIRA: His former head writer also is going to talk to us. The guy that's behind so many of Leno's joke. The two of them will be here, and we'll talk about working with Jay all those years.

CUOMO: Very cool perspective. Nischelle, thank you for bringing us the piece. Take a little break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, an American diplomat apparently caught using some colorful language toward the European Union. She was being spied on by the Russians? Is that what's going on again? The latest on the leaked audio that could widen the diplomatic rift between the U.S. and Russia.


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Friday, February 7th, seven o'clock in the east. And we're starting out with our news blast. The most news you can get anywhere. Let's go.

All right. And new this morning, the TSA acts on the latest terror threat just hours before the opening of the Sochi Olympics. The agency is now banning liquids and gels on all carry-on bags on every flight between the U.S. and Russia. This change comes just 24 hours after homeland security warned terrorists may try to pack explosives inside toothpaste tubes. The games, remember, officially begin in about four hours.

BOLDUAN: President Obama says the U.S. has been working closely with Moscow to keep the Sochi Olympics safe telling NBC News that there's been a lot of give and take and respect in his talks with Vladimir Putin, the president. The president expressing confidence the Russian president has taken every possible measure to secure the games.


OBAMA: The Russians have an enormous stake, obviously, in preventing any kind of terrorist act or violence at these venues. And, they have put a lot of resources into it. We're in constant communications with them both at the law enforcement level, at the military level, at the intelligence levels.


BOLDUAN: The president went onto say he decided not to attend the games because he didn't want to be a distraction.

PEREIRA: New this morning, in Syria, the government says it will participate in a new round of peace talks. This after rebels freed hundreds in a suicide attack on a prison. This is part of a recent offensive aimed at capturing key government symbols around the northern city of Aleppo. In the past week, more than 250 people have died there.

Both sides stepping up fighting ahead of a second round of peace talks next week. Meanwhile, President Bashar al-Assad says he's reached an agreement with the U.N. to let hundreds escape -- besiege city of Homs.

CUOMO: Is the latest American field -- in Afghanistan a dog? Video of the dogs going viral after the Taliban posted it on Twitter. They say the dog was seized after a firefight last December in Afghanistan, but according to report, the pooch may belong to the British.

BOLDUAN: Rescue crews are searching for two people missing after their boat capsized off the Florida coast. Three people were killed in the accident and several people were pulled from the water by a Dutch naval vessel heading toward Florida. All of the people onboard were believed to be migrants. They've been handed over to the coast guard and taken to Key West. PEREIRA: New this morning, Apple buying back $14 billion worth of its own stock. The chief's company -- or the company's chief executive, Tim Cook, telling the "Wall Street Journal" he's surprised by an eight percent pullback since reporting disaster -- disappointing first quarter result some two weeks ago.