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AT&T Reaches Deal To Buy DirecTV; Putin Orders Troops To Leave Ukraine Border; MERS Spreads In U.S. For The First Time; Republicans Question Clinton's Age, Health

Aired May 19, 2014 - 06:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to NEW DAY. It's Monday, May 19th, 6:00 in the east and there is a major merger in the works that could reshape the television industry, really how you watch video anywhere. It could also end up costing you more. Here's the deal. AT&T has struck a nearly $50 billion acquisition with satellite TV giant, DirecTV. The sale is this. It's good for you, you'll be offered more content.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: But it's also prompting a familiar question. Should so many customers be covered by so few companies, especially with Comcast and Time Warner already looking to join forces? Chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, is here and has been looking into it.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, guys. This landscape is changing fast and these companies are trying to keep up with it. It's a huge deal affecting 25 million television subscribers. The deal between AT&T and DirectTV would make the media conglomerate the second largest provider across the country after Comcast. A new alliance worrying some in a rapidly changing TV world.


ROMANS (voice-over): Nearly $50 billion. That's the hefty price tag AT&T agreed to pay for DirecTV. America's largest satellite TV provider, this deal, just the latest in a wave of media consolidation. Comcast revealed its plans to buy Time Warner Cable for $45 billion in February. And Sprint's parent company, Soft Bank has been expressing its interest in sealing a deal with T-Mobile. The inevitable concern these new internet and video powerhouses could take more control over your screens. All of them.

MICHAEL WEINBERG, VICE PRESIDENT, PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE: With that consolidation and reduction in competition, we see fewer things happening and prices mostly going up for consumers and subscribers.

ROMANS: Potentially good for consumers, AT&T and DirecTV said the acquisition could mean new bundles that would bring TV and internet options across all of your screens even those in cars and airplanes. The fate of the new alliance rest in the hands of the FCC.

WEINBERG: Federal Communications Commission has a role to look at all of these mergers both individually and against the landscape that they are operating with and say are these mergers in the public interest. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: So if both of these deals pass regulators, AT&T and Comcast would control nearly two-thirds of the U.S. pay TV market. Now Comcast declined to comment on AT&T's announcement -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, so let's bring in CNN's senior media correspondent, Brian Stelter, along with buy/sell Christine Romans. We know why they do the deal, right? More reach, lower costs, better profit margins. Good for them. But the two things are competition and what happens to the consumers. So let's take a look at the deal, give us some architecture of the deal. Is it the same thing as we're seeing with the Comcast deal?

ROMANS: Look, it's two very big companies getting together. What I see here is I see AT&T offering regulators a lot of olive branches if you will. You know, DirecTV would say the same thing for three years. DirectTV customers for three years, you have the exact same price, exact same service. Offering speed. AT&T is saying they're going to expand the 15 million underserved household, which is a direct appeal to the Obama administration. They're trying to apiece regulators. Look, the landscape is changing so quickly, they have to find new ways to deliver television to us.

CUOMO: They're going to stick it to us, Brian, how?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: We sat down, you're holding your iPhone. I'm holding an iPhone.

CUOMO: I'm holding a coffee cup.

STELTER: We are addicted to these two substances, our phones and our coffee. And companies like AT&T have to figure out what their video strategy is.

CUOME: The future is second and third screen. You watch us on TV. You also watch us on your computer and on your handheld device.

STELTER: It's not just CNN, but let me use it as an example. I'm going to pull out my phone, watch CNN live on my phone. It's difficult to get that done. There's reasons for that. It's partly this company, Time Warner's fault. Everybody's got to work together. Part of the reason we're seeing companies consolidate is because they have to work together and figure out better ways for us to get our content.

CUOMO: Is that CNN axis is pretty good, by the way.

STELTER: Everybody is trying to figure it out. There's lots of reason for delay and this could be progress.

CUOMO: Here's the thing we're seeing the future. However, what we're also seeing in the future, there are going to be a small number of people with infrastructure to deliver video on all three screens. So what does that mean for pricing? ROMANS: Well, pricing has been going up. Nobody's saying you're going to pay less. Bottom line, budget in your bill for watching television to go up and up. AT&T says it will do home security and wireless plan. Maybe broadband plan, too. So life would be better, but you're going to pay for it.

CUOMO: But I want to pay less. The whole point is we should be able to pay less because of competition.

ROMANS: We're doing much more -- we're expecting more and fast and a lot. Do we pay for that and how much do we pay for that?

STELTER: And the only hope for paying less is for a smaller bundle. Right now, bundles keep getting bigger and bigger for TV. There are some experiments going on to create a smaller bundle with fewer channel, but these are mostly on the margins of the industry. Cable industry believes people are willing to pay quite a bit of money for 200 or 300 channels. I don't see that going away right now.

CUOMO: Here's what I don't get. They keep telling us you're going to be able to watch wherever you want, whenever you want. It's going to change business. It's all about the consumer. It's going to be so easy for them. When does that happen? Where it's so cheap and easy for you to watch things --

STELTER: Yes, between the idea and the reality, there's a gap of what we experienced today. I think the future is coming. I hope these mergers if there's one thing that is good for consumers that future will come a little sooner. But it's not right away. It's going to take a while.

CUOMO: Give me some odds. Do they approve this deal?

ROMANS: I think they do ultimately approve the deal. Regulators are going to try to rest whatever they want from both of these two big mergers.

CUOMO: Will both of the mergers go through?

ROMANS: Well, big consolidation -- do you agree?

STELTER: Yes. AT&T wouldn't have done this if they didn't believe it would go through. They spent weeks and months preparing the groundwork for this. They wouldn't be going forward if they didn't believe it would pass Washington.

CUOMO: I don't like it.

ROMANS: He's a skeptic.

STELTER: We need skepticism about these deals and we need consumers to speak up if they don't like them.

CUOMO: It's good for them, I don't know how it's good for us. Brian, Christine, thank you very much. Mich, a lot of news this morning. What do we got? MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: We're starting in Russia looking at headlines. Russia says its military drills in Ukraine have come to an end. The Kremlin said that President Vladimir Putin has ordered forces to return to their bases after exercises in the border regions. But as has happened before, NATO said there's no evidence that they have left.

Let's get the very latest from Matthew Chance live in Moscow. Sounds like we're hearing arguments from both sides of the story here.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. You might think there's a command and control problem in Russia. Because this is the third time that Vladimir Putin, the Russian president said he's ordering troops back from the Ukrainian border to their bases. We'll see what happens, NATO so far has not seen substantial maneuvers. But if it's true, Michaela, it could mean a step towards the de-escalation. Everybody is watching this extremely closely. Back to you.

PEREIRA: That's hope for de-escalation. Matthew Chance, thank you so much.

Breaking overnight, South Korea's President Park Geun-Hye crying on TV as she apologizes for the ferry disaster that killed almost 300 people, most of them students on a field trip. It was the first time she teared up paying tribute to heroes who died saving others. Park also slammed the emergency response aid she would dismantle the coast guard as a result.

Another major recall to tell you about, Kraft recalling 1.2 million cases of cottage cheese. The company says ingredients used in nearly three dozen cottage cheese products were not stored properly. Many varieties are tubs between 4 and 16 ounces stamped May 9th and July 23rd. So be sure to check your fridge.

Some of the music's world brightest stars on board at the Billboards Music Awards, Justin Timberlake the biggest winner. Got seven awards including top artist. Jennifer Lopez took home the icon award. And the biggest, a hologram of Michael Jackson. What do you think?

BOLDUAN: Unbelievably realistic?

PEREIRA: Did that freak you out? Do you like it?

CUOMO: No, you know what it is. I loved when they did it with Tupac also.

BOLDUAN: This seemed more realistic, this version of the hologram than Tupac.

CUOMO: But they did the lighting a little different.

BOLDUAN: We may use a hologram --

CUOMO: I'm not even here right now. BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, concerns are mounting about the MERS virus for the first time that the virus has spread in the United States from something as simple as a handshake. Now, the CDC is in a race against the clock to find out what they need to be effective.

CUOMO: Also, did you think that Karl Rove was going to back down in his comments about Hillary Clinton's health? Well, he didn't. We'll tell you what he's saying now, what other Republicans are saying joining the fray.


BOLDUAN: New fears this morning that MERS is spreading a third case of the potentially deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome has now been confirmed here in the U.S. But unlike the first two cases, health officials say this one, this was the first time it was transmitted on U.S. soil through simply a meeting and a handshake. Senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen is at the CNN center with much more. What more are we learning, Elizabeth?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. Kate, we're learning that this third case is different in many aspects from the first two. In some ways, it's more concerning.


COHEN (voice-over): The first two cases in the United States were people who got infected in Saudi Arabia. The men got on a plane and came here. Those cases were reported in Indiana and Florida. Now health officials say an Illinois man who had a business meeting with the Indiana patient has also tested positive for MERS.

LAMAR HASBROUCK, ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH: This potential person that is maybe the third case, it was transmitted, had just basically business transactions. No unique travel history of their own and no travel history since.

COHEN: The CDC says during a meeting on April 25th, the two men were sitting within six feet of each other talking. The only physical contact they had was shaking hands. The next day, they had another meeting, this one shorter. This was a week before the Indiana patient was confirmed to have MERS.

A CDC doctor says the Illinois man was never really sick. But now, the CDC wants to test people they came in contact with, because even without symptoms, it's possible he could have spread the deadly MERS virus.


COHEN: Now, all that we know about this meeting again is that it was 40 minutes and that the only physical contact that the CDC knows of was his handshake. So, it's not clear was it spread because the men were close to each other and breathing on each other, or was it spread because of that handshake -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Elizabeth, thank you very much.

Let's discuss and get some insight from Dr. Armand Dorian. He's clinical associate professor of emergency medicine and chief of development at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital.

Doctor, thank you for waking up early.


BOLDUAN: Of course. So, just as Elizabeth was describing this meeting, it seems as described by health officials, it's less of that extensive person-to-person contact that was required necessary for contracting the MERS virus. The sat within -- they were within six feet of each other. They shook hands. It was a face-to-face meeting.

I mean, if you think about the people you encounter in the workplace, that's dozens of people. That concerning for you.

DORIAN: There's no question it's more concerning but the gateway or entry for me is that handshake. You know, we do get exposed to viruses all the time. We do have antibodies to fight those viruses. The question here is, this is a new virus we don't have these antibodies for. The handshake is -- for me, that's where I would put my money in this transmitting itself.

BOLDUAN: So, does this lead you to believe that it is more easily contracted than originally thought. Or is every case different in how someone could contract this?

DORIAN: Both great questions. I wish I could answer them with 100 percent confidence. But my -- I would assume that it's actually a little bit more easily contracted or transmitted. And also, that handshake, if that handshake didn't happen, I believe that this probably would not have been transmitted.

BOLDUAN: One thing that I found interesting is that the virus in this case, in this newest case, this third case, seems to have presented itself differently than the previous couple cases. This Illinois man only suffered mild cold-like symptoms not even requiring medical care. Is that surprising? What should doctors be kind of be taking from that?

DORIAN: That's the good news. That's the one thing I like to walk away from, knowing that this may be transmit more easily, there looks like that key and lock phenomenon where this virus is being reported as being such a high mortality, or 30 percent of people getting this are dying may not actually be true. We may just be getting reports of those who are in severe condition and those numbers may be skewed.

So, the fact that somebody in the United States got this virus and didn't actually have symptoms is reassuring to the fact that it actually may not be as bad as we think it is.

BOLDUAN: Still troubling to me, the incubation period. It could be up to 14 days before someone would show symptoms. I mean, you could travel around the world in a couple times in 14 days.

What does that tell you?

DORIAN: It makes it more difficult to control. Because you have that incubation period, think about all the hands you could shake. Considering you could spread this virus when you're really not coughing, or having fevers or having or a lot of symptoms, that becomes even a bigger problem to try to contain something like this.

BOLDUAN: And, of course, there's no vaccine, no treatment that we're talking about. How do you minimize the severity of this illness then? How do you, other than simply making sure you wash your hands, how do you protect yourself?

DORIAN: The best way to protect yourself is being as healthy as possible. Keeping your immune system as peak by eating healthy, you know, exercising. And, you know, hand-washing, let's not negate that. And, you know, sometimes, something like fist bumping can make a humongous difference.

I'm on the front line every day. I see sick people every day. I'm not sick every day. The reason is because I use caution. And everybody should be able to do the same thing on a daily basis.

BOLDUAN: So, the CDC is obviously looking further into this, looking into any other contacts that this Illinois man may have had to see if anyone else is showing symptoms. The guidelines, though, that the CDC still offers is that this virus is not easy to pass on. Do you think that needs to change in light of this latest case?

DORIAN: I think the guidelines can stay the same. But we are definitely kind of open now to knowing that this may start behaving a little bit more like other viruses where it's not -- you do not have to be in close contact for extended periods of time. I mean, this is a 40-minute meeting that they had. Again, but for me, it doesn't come -- the thing that seals the deal is that handshake. Being close to somebody for 40 minutes is not the answer.

BOLDUAN: All right. Dr. Armand Dorian, great to see you. Thank you so much for the advice.


CUOMO: All right, Kate.

Coming up on NEW DAY, Democrats are worried Hillary Clinton's not yet announced presidential run is already at risk. We're going to take a look into the warped world where you want to be in. But you don't want to be tested. Republicans, of course, aren't waiting. They're doubling down on comments about her health, I will tell you about.

Also, a fascinating custody case out of Chicago. A judge says a woman controls her embryos despite an agreement stating both she and her boyfriend had rights. So what control does a man have over an embryo he helps to make? We're going to speak with the man involved, live.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Let's give you a look at your headlines at this hour.

It is a $50 billion megamerger. AT&T set to acquire DirecTV and its 20 million subscribers. AT&T says the deal will allow it to offer better content on a broader scale. But there are already concerns that this merger will leave too many customers on the books of -- too few companies, especially if Comcast and Time Warner planning to merge. Both deals, of course, still need federal approval.

New reports this morning of fighting in Libya after a weekend of deadly violence.

You hear it there, gunfire broke out in Benghazi. At least two people killed and dozens others injured when armed gunmen stormed the government building in Tripoli, demanding lawmakers turn over power and insisted parliament had been suspended. The government says it's still in control, however, of the country.

Get ready to pay even more to take your kids to the happiest place on earth. Disneyland once again, raising ticket prices. It will now cost visitors 10 and older $96 to enter both Disneyland and California Adventure. And, of course, parking will go cost a little bit more, a dollar more, too. This is the fourth increase in the last four years.

BOLDUAN: I was thinking. I was like, I'm having deja vu.

PEREIRA: Here's the question, do the laughs and smiles increase? I want to know if I'm paying more, I'm enjoying myself more.

CUOMO: Are the ears bigger than the hats?

PEREIRA: Exactly.

BOLDUAN: It's a small, small world, less annoying --


CUOMO: You sounded like you could be working at Disney World.

BOLDUAN: I can't help it. I'm trying here.

CUOMO: It's cute. It is cute. I love it.

All right. Hillary Clinton, you know she hasn't announced yet, right?


CUOMO: Oh, yes, everybody knows, but she's clearly the Dems' choice for president and thus, Republicans are coming after her, using their hammer Karl Rove again. Take a listen.


KARL ROVE, GOP STRATEGIST: I'm not questioning her health. What I'm questioning is whether or not it's a done deal that she's running. And she would not be human, if she were -- if she did not take this into consideration. She'll be 69 at the time of the 2016 election. If she gets elected and serves two terms, she'll be 77.


CUOMO: Age isn't slowing him down, that's for sure.

Now, the Dems are laughing him off as an attack dog. But not really, there's a sweat on their brow, worries that Hillary is getting too much heat so soon.

We're joined now by two political experts to dig deeper. Richard Socarides, a former senior adviser to Bill Clinton. He's now a writer for the and a Democratic strategist.

And Cheri Jacobus, a GOP strategist and the president of Capital Strategies PR.

Nailed the name, feeling good about it.



CUOMO: Socarides, what are you Dems so worried about? You want to be president, go make the case, early and often.


CUOMO: Oh, you're worried. You all look worried. You look worried.

SOCARIDES: I don't think I'm worried.

We're excited we've got someone who a lot of people support and who the country is excited about in Hillary Clinton and, of course --

CUOMO: Address why, some of the Dems are saying she got out there too soon. There's too much too heat for too long. Address that.

BOLDUAN: Inevitability.

SOCARIDES: First of all, I don't think she's doing this by choice. We're talking about Karl Rove pushing about this nonsense about her health, so we're all talking about it.

I think it's true, to a certain extent -- nobody likes to be told who to vote for, right? And primaries are a good process, a good winnowing process. So, I think if she decides to run, if she decides to run, and she still has to make that decision probably at the end of the year, I think there will be a competitive Democratic conscience for president. I think she will have to make her case and do so brilliantly.

BOLDUAN: What does she do about the inevitably factor? I mean, Deval Patrick is about it yesterday. He's concerned about it a little bit. What can she do?

SOCARIDES: I think you have to ask for and fight for every vote. And I think she will do that. I think, you know, the criticism last time was that she took it a little bit for granted, and I don't think she'll make that mistake --

BOLDUAN: The coronation.

SOCARIDES: She will definitely not make that mistake this time around if she decides to run.

CUOMO: What do you think, Cheri, you're going after her early and often. What do you do here, put some damage, some chinks in the armor?

JACOBUS: She's run for president before. She's got 100 percent name ID. There are candidates, potential candidates, wannabe candidates, that would kill for that. So, you can't have it both ways.

She's Hillary Clinton, her health, her age, her family history. Everything she's said, done, not done, her lack of accomplishments, anything that she considers an accomplishment, it is all fair game.

So, to pretend she is who she isn't, and to pretend she's not running -- come on, we all know she's running. I think a lot of her Democratic colleagues are a little bit concern. It's not just the inevitability factor. They may not want her. They may not want to support her or defend her. So, you know, they might want to have some --

BOLDUAN: Cheri, talk about having it both ways. Is Karl Rove trying to do the exact same thing, in terms he wants to talk about her health, he wants to make it an issue? But then he says, yesterday, I'm not questioning her health. I'm confused.

JACOBUS: I think you're right on that. I think he should be very often about it, her health, her age, it's all fair game. It's fair game for every candidate. It's always been fair game.


JACOBUS: I don't think he should be apologetic.

CUOMO: I get the game. The game is more toxic all the time. We do the negative because it's proven that's how win.

At some point, it's getting to smell a little bit like the Obamacare debate, where "Obamacare sucks," where are the better ideas? Hillary sucks, where are the better ideas for who should lead and why? When do we start hearing them from you?

JACOBUS: Well, we've been hearing about them. We have a deep bench. I think we're going to have a very robust Republican primary.

(CROSSTALK) JACOBUS: I think the Democrats, some of them are hoping that their party can have a little bit of a robust primary.

CUOMO: But you could have Paul Ryan out there. It could be Paul Ryan saying here's how I think about fiscal management. Here's how I think it should be done. It's not done this way right now.

JACOBUS: I think they're not paying attention, though, now. And that's kind of the problem.

CUOMO: Well, but should you pander to people's fears and negative expectations of politics? And oh, she's going to die, oh, she's so old and frail.

JACOBUS: I don't think that's happening here. I think we have --

CUOMO: Why else would Rove say it?

JACOBUS: These are legitimate questions. And it's also up to the Hillary Clinton camp to try and control the agenda and talk about what she wants to talk about. But she doesn't have anything to talk about.