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Florence Henderson Dies; Expectations for Retails Sales on Black Friday; Trump Team Appears Split on Secretary of State. Aired 8- 8:30a ET

Aired November 25, 2016 - 08:00   ET


[08:05:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good luck on your debate today, Jan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Do I look OK today, mom?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You look lovely. Don't be nervous about a thing.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Starring as the matriarch of a blended family, her career would forever be defined by her character on the 1970s sitcom "The Brady Bunch".

FLORENCE HENDERSON, ACTRESS: I created the kind of mother that I wish I had and I think that everyone longs for.

SANCHEZ: Taking on the role was something Henderson embraced.

HENDERSON: I get so much fan mail from all over the world, and everybody wants a hug from me, and I hug everybody.

SANCHEZ: And in the decades following the show, Henderson never shied away from the limelight, returning to her iconic Carol Brady for multiple spinoffs of "The Brady Bunch." But even before she became a Brady, Henderson seemed destined for show business.

HENDERSON: I don't ever remember not singing. And I would sing in pass the hat, and I'd sing for groceries.

SANCHEZ: Henderson's career took off at the age of 19 on Broadway when she landed a leading role in "Oklahoma" in 1951.


SANCHEZ: Becoming a bona fide star on stage, her TV career progressed as she became NBC's "Today" girl in 1959, and she broke barriers as the first woman to guest host "The Tonight Show" for Johnny Carson in 1962. Henderson earned her star on the Hollywood walk of fame in 1996 and recently danced her way back into the spotlight on "Dancing with the Stars."


SANCHEZ: Henderson is survived by her four children. She will be remembered most as America's favorite mom.



SANCHEZ: "Variety" is reporting that she was actually at "Dancing with the Stars" on Monday supporting her "Brady Bunch" co-star Maureen McCormick who later tweeted out this photograph of the two together, writing "You are in my heart forever, Florence," and then going on to say that "Florence was a dear friend for so very many years and in my heart forever, love and hugs to her family. I'll miss you dearly."

Tom Bergeron also sending out a tweet with a picture of the two, saying "Heartbroken, I'll miss you my friend." Really what's most touching about listening to her talk there was saying that she wanted to play the mom that she wanted to have. When you think about her background, very humble beginnings. She grew up with a single parent who struggled with alcoholism. So you have to think that playing that icon, a mother that everyone wants, meant a lot to her.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It meant a lot to a lot of people.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: So great. Boris, thank you.

BERMAN: Joining us now by phone is former "Today" show host Jodi Applegate who co-hosted "Later Today' with Florence Henderson back in 1999. Jodi, like so many people I know you woke up to the news that Florence Henderson had passed away, and we are sorry that that is what you heard the minute you woke up. So thanks so much for joining us. And I'm wondering if you can give us your reflections on your friend?

JODI APPLEGATE: Well, good morning. Yes, I'm home with my two and four-year-old, and I was out of the news loop because of the holiday. And the first I heard of it was when your producer called me a couple of minutes ago. So I'm on the one hand shocked because she always seemed so young to me, even though I knew her when she was well into her 70s when she did the show together on NBC. But I also grew up watching her.

You know, the word iconic gets overused these days, but I watched "The Brady Bunch," maybe it was in reruns by the time I was watching it. But then when I had the chance to co-host a show with her, it was a little bit surreal to be then working with someone who was burned into your childhood memory as a TV star. And she was very maternal to the people that she worked with, also.

And I don't have to tell you guys, the TV business is not necessarily full of genuine, humble people. But Florence was the real deal. I never -- everything I ever knew about her was exactly what you saw when you watched her on TV. She was not a phony. And she was recognized by everyone. We shot promos once in Times Square in broad daylight and they made us all up and they dropped us off in the middle of Times Square and they were trying to shoot promos with all the billboards behind us. You couldn't shoot it because were getting out of running cars to run over to her. "Mother Brady, mother Brady" in every accent from the four corners of the world because she was once of the most recognizable faces in the world. And she was so warm and kind and she had so patience with every single one of them. We were there for hours.

BALDWIN: We -- I love that. And I also love when you talk about authenticity. What was she like with the cameras weren't on?

[08:05:03] APPLEGATE: She was really the same. I know that that might sound like a made-up show business anecdote. But she's probably the only person I can think of who is literally -- maybe one or two others, but who is literally exactly the same. But she also had a little bit of a Hollywood throwback aspect to her, which I also found charming and instructive. She was very lady-like. And that's a -- an old-fashioned sounding word and something that we don't think of that much these days. But even though she was obviously a survivor because of her upbringing and surviving, and she was a Broadway star and a TV star, and she managed to work it, you know, work it girl, all those years. But she still when she would -- no matter how early the call was, 5:00 a.m., 6:00 a.m., she was already made up when she showed up.

BERMAN: You know, obviously, so identified with one role, so identified with Carol Brady. You know she had a long career, did a lot of things on stage and screen, but that is how people know her. How did she deal with that, because at least publicly, from what we saw she seemed to have a sense of humor about it, almost a self- deprecating attitude to the fact that that was the one thing people associated her with?

APPLEGATE: She did not take it for granted. And maybe it was because of her humble beginnings, but she would get so much fan mail, like the e-mail, and people would help her with e-mail because this was in the late '90s that I mostly knew her, but you know, snail mail, she would answer every single one of them with a signed 8x10 glossy. I'm sure it took her, like, a lot of time every week, but she never neglected her fans because she understood the importance of it and she remembered where she came from.

BALDWIN: I love how you call her a lady and that she was authentic. When I was raiding the piece in "The New York Times" this morning, apparently she was asked in 1999 how she would like to be remembered, and the quote is this, "Probably as someone who survived for a long time in a very tough business and hopefully managed to retain a sense of humanity." Do you have one quick story for us, Jodi?

APPLEGATE: Let's see. This sounds weird, but we went out to this event where they roll out new shows in Pasadena every year, the networks when they're debuting a new show they put on a big dog and pony show for TV critics and writers and so forth. So we were all out there at some fancy event with her, and some of the gals on the show decided hey, let's use the sauna after.

And we showed up to use the sauna, and again Florence showed up, beautifully made up, her perfectly done hair and everything. And she was still like looked better in her little towel wrapped around her than most of the women half her age. And she just -- she had stories about Frank Sinatra and Johnny Carson because she was really famous back then. She was really famous for a really long time. When you think about it, how many people are household names and household faces for half a century? She just had a real perspective on things and she was always the same person. Nothing ever pushed her up too far or down too far as far as I could tell. She was just mellow, and was enjoying the ride.

BERMAN: And 60 years of a ride in that business, what a career. Florence Henderson, passing away. Jodi Applegate, thanks so much.

BALDWIN: Thank you, Jodi.

BERMAN: Really appreciate your story.

APPLEGATE: Good morning.

BERMAN: I know. Poor Jodi Applegate, we called her, woke her up with this news. So many people waking up to the news this morning that Florence Henderson has died.

It is black Friday, which means sales. The frenzy is on. Retailers hoping the next four weeks leads to huge profits while shoppers trying to get the best bargains. We're covering this from every angle. CNN's Alison Kosik live at a Target in jersey city. Alison, what do you see?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This year's big items to get, of course, toys. But the biggest gift I think to get this year, definitely TVs. Target saying that last night when it opened its doors at 6:00 p.m. it sold 3,200 TVs every single minute for the first hour of opening. So it shows you even though black Friday opened a day earlier, the importance of the shopping weekend still not lost upon those holiday shopping goers.


KOSIK: This year's black Friday frenzy kicking off with hundreds jamming the streets outside Macy's flagship store in New York City. Early bird shoppers taking over entire departments in search of steep discounts. It's that time of year when all-out chaos ensues over jumbo-sized TVs, and shoppers battle it out over who gets the biggest deals. This excited crowd caught clamoring over electronics at a Wal- Mart in Columbus, Mississippi, even though Wal-Mart is trying to reduce the brawls by handing out wristbands to a limited number of customers for hot items and increasing staffing.

[08:10:07] Still, across the country, retailers are welcoming the long lines, ushering in eager bargain hunters, and customers are braving inclement weather. Shoppers at this Best Buy in Portland standing in the rain for hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm soaking wet and I'm still here.

KOSIK: Foregoing Thanksgiving dinner to flood the aisles in search of big ticket items, ready with cash in hand.

The National Retail Federation says holiday sales this year are expected to top $650 billion, a 3.6 percent increase from 2015. And on cyber Monday, at least 36 percent of consumers plan to nab their deals online. (END VIDEOTAPE)

KOSIK: And some of the other top sellers, the life size Star Wars and Ninja Turtle items. Clothing here seems to be going pretty quickly, as well. My personal favorite, got to get this in, is the robotic vacuum. I hate vacuuming myself. How about letting this thing loose in your house and just taking a seat on the couch? That's my idea of cleaning. Brooke, back to you.

BALDWIN: I'm with you.

BERMAN: Until it takes over. Have you ever seen "Westworld?" When it gets a mind of its own, then it's not so funny.

BALDWIN: I'm still OK with it.

Joining us now, the CEO of the National Retail Federation Matthew Shay and CNN chief business correspondent and anchor of "Early Start" Christine Romans. Vacuums aside, Matt, let me just begin with you, if I'm one of those people and I believe in black Friday and the deals, what are the top two, three items I really should grab?

MATTHEW SHAY, CEO AND PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION: So I think the big things are going to be the categories that they often are, so apparel is very big, electronics are big, books, entertainment content, DVDs, CDs, those are all really big items. Another big item is gift cards. Lots of people buy gift cards this time of year and lots of people do self-gifting, so there's this phenomenon sort of one for me, two for you so you make sure you buy something for yourself while you're buying things for other people.


BERMAN: The thing is black Friday, today is black Friday but it's expanded over many days, expanded into digital. And now Amazon is just killing it.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And I just -- Amazon just released its cyber-Monday deals, 74,000 products on sale, half-off, and it was big TVs, Samsung 4K TVs, $499. The Samsung 4K, these big, monster 50 inch TVs, these are the big item. That's what you're seeing Alison there at that Target, those are flying off the shelves last night. They're selling thousands of these every second. So that's the electronics category. That's the big deal this morning.

BALDWIN: So because of all the online consumerism and the blurred lines on Friday, or it would be cyber Saturday, as you keep saying, what's in it for me to actually get out and schlepp to a store in person? That feels so 2015?

SHAY: There are plenty of great deals, of course. And there are some deals that you're only going to get if you go to that store at that particular time.

But I think the real reason people go is because of the experience. And it's an experience you can't get in a one dimensional way you're on a tablet or screen. Whether you're shopping from a retailer that's a pure play online only retailer to the extent there are any of those left because everyone is building stores now, or if you're at a brick and mortar retailer. Some things you can only do when you're actually there. You can see it, you can touch it, you can feel it, and you can do it with other people.

ROMANS: Half of Americans will go shopping over the weekend. Half of everybody in this country will go shopping. This is a national holiday, consumerism, spending money -- but we have these new choices now. And, yes, some people do like the experience and some people do not. And you now can go into the storm armed with an awful lot of information. You can know where the other sales are, where you can buy this paper. I mean you got Macy's, J.C. Penney, a store called Stage. These are the ones with the best deals today according to --

BERMAN: How good is a good deal?

ROMANS: We're looking at some the best deals I've seen are 65 percent off. Those are the very best.

BERMAN: Big numbers.

ROMANS: That's a big number be careful that it is really 65 percent off the retail price. They haven't maybe crept up the price. But there are some really deep discounts there. And mostly electronics, we're also seeing Lego sets right now, for example, and a lot of these what I call mall retailers, but a lot of these retailers, Lego sets, electric scooters is another thing there are good deals on those right now.

BALDWIN: You're also saying what not to do. On days like today do not open --

ROMANS: Oh, yes. Don't open a store card today. This is not the day to do that. You're frenzied. Maybe you're going to get 20 percent off, but when you look at your credit score these can be a ding to your credit score. They are also just a temptation that you don't need, right? Don't overspend. There are going to be a lot of end caps and door busters and $19.99 women's shoes. Buy five pairs of those you're $100 over your budget already.

BALDWIN: We don't need five pairs?

ROMANS: You don't actually need five pairs.

BALDWIN: Do you?

BERMAN: I don't know about need.

ROMANS: But, you know, be careful, because you want to make sure that you can spend -- you want to make sure you can pay this off by the end of January, or you're just hurting yourself.

[08:15:06] BERMAN: You mentioned gift cards, which is something people often give. What do people have to be careful of there? SHAY: Well, I think, first of all, you don't want to lose it, right?

But I mean, but gift cards I think there's certainly some fraud that occurs sometimes and so you've got to be very careful about when you buy the card and how you handle it and making sure that you keep track of it and people are well aware that you're walking around with cash. If you lose that or it gets stolen or gets misplaced you're out of that --

ROMANS: There are different places to cash -- to cash those in for cash by the way and sometimes you know, maybe 80 cents on the dollar or even less but make sure if you're going to cash those in for cash you are using a reputable site.



BALDWIN: Christine and Matt, thank you very much.

SHAY: Thank you. Happy Black Friday.

ROMANS: Happy consumerism, everybody. It's all what America is all about.

BALDWIN: Well, speaking of shopping, Donald Trump is doing some shopping of sorts, trying to put his entire cabinet together, right? So some people, though, including some really hard-line Trump supporters, they don't think that Mitt Romney is the guy for secretary of state. We have more on president-elect's been busy working holiday, next.


BERMAN: The Donald Trump inner circle feuding in public, very publicly, over the contender to be secretary of state.

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway has added fuel to this fire, raising questions about Mitt Romney's loyalty to the president-elect.

I want to discuss now with CNN political commentator Errol Louis and CNN political analyst Josh Rogin.

And, Josh, lay out what the factions are here?

[08:20:01] JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Well, basically you've got three factions when it comes to secretary of state. You've got the tower in New York, which is Kellyanne Conway's part of who really want to see Rudy Giuliani become secretary of state. They believe that if you were loyal to Donald Trump from the beginning, you should be rewarded for that.

Then you've got this D.C. foreign policy establishment. And they're pushing hard for Mitt Romney and they include the never Trumpers, and the never Trumpers can be Trumpers if they can work for Mitt Romney. And you've not another small faction in D.C. of more conservative

Republicans who are still pulling for John Bolton. They're hoping that Rudy and Mitt Romney will cancel each other out and John Bolton will be the last man standing.

Would be kind of interesting to see who wins. I really don't know.

BALDWIN: OK. So, it's the tower versus D.C. versus D.C.

ROGIN: That's right.

BALDWIN: Gotcha.

Errol, so then who does he listen to?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, there's a couple of other considerations that have to go into this, which is that, you know, is it political loyalty based on the campaign and so forth? But what is it this White House wants to accomplish? We have a lot of very specific promises from Donald Trump from the campaign trail about national security, fighting the war against ISIS, about trade and resetting trade policy and so forth.

But in between there's everything else and what's that going to look like and is the secretary of state, whoever that person is, going to be sort of the architect of whatever else Donald Trump wants to do in the world? Or is he going to sort of keep that inside the Oval Office?

It's not clear whether he wants a close collaborator, whether he wants somebody out on the road for him all of the time, whether he wants to weed together these various national security and international trade deals that he wants to put together.

BERMAN: You said keep it in the Oval Office on a different subject, but on the subject of keeping in the Oval Office, what does it say that one of his top advisers has gone to Twitter to essentially trying to influence his decision?

LOUIS: You know, what it says, which actually might be good for us in the media, is that they're carrying over from the campaign this unusual habit of trying to talk to the president-elect by going to the media, knowing that he watches television, that he's not likely to necessarily sit through a lot of long meetings or read detailed policy memos that land on his desk, so they take to twitter, they come on television, and they know that it's going to get back to him.

BALDWIN: So, we love some transparency in our lives. But, Josh Rogin, there's also a thing to be said about decorum, is there not?

ROGIN: Right. I mean, I think what it says is Romney is the front- runner. That's when the knives come out, when he's about to be appointed, that they resort to these sort of drastic tactics.

I'm for transparency. I'm for leaking. I'm for everybody fighting.

BALDWIN: Pro-leak.

ROGIN: I say tweet away, you know? But they really wouldn't do this if they thought they could influence it in any other way. The idea is just to muddy up these candidates. Just to throw dirt on them so that it becomes a problem and Trump would look at and say, I don't really want that problem in my life.

BERMAN: Can you say -- can I ask? If you're might Romney, we believe is in La Jolla, Ann Romney, his wife, tweeted a picture of him on the beach, with his pants rolled up neatly and one of his sons and grandsons.

If you're Mitt Romney watching this back and forth, what are you inking? Are you thinking, Josh, this is the kind of administration I want to join, one that publicly snipes on Twitter like this?

ROGIN: I think Mitt Romney actually, and I talked to some people close to him, thinks that if the president asks you to serve, you have an obligation to serve. He also thinks he represents this whole sort of never Trump foreign policy establishment that really wants to have an influence, right? These guys were really depressed when Trump won.

If you talk to them this week, they're looking -- things are looking up. You know, Jim Mattis, Mitt Romney, Admiral Rogers. You know, even Mike Flynn, despite his controversy, they look at the Trump and they say, oh, forget about what Trump said in the campaign, it's a whole new day. Maybe we will be tough on Russia, who knows? Maybe all of these things can be negotiated.

So, they want to be on the inside. So, Mitt Romney and all of the people who would go to work for Mitt Romney are thinking one very simple thing, we can do something good here and make this better than it could have been.

BALDWIN: What about the fact that when you look at these multiple potential picks within the Trump cabinet and you do the math, it equals like some $30 billion. I mean certain individuals come much, much wealth.

Errol, do you think Americans care? Do you think they say, hey, they have all this money, they're successful, I want them to help lead the question. Or are there questions being out of touch?

LOUIS: You know, it's odd. We had a mayor here, Mike Bloomberg, for twelve years, who was the richest person in the city. My sense of it is that if we consider that the average household in America is making something in the range of $50,000 to $60,000, the difference between somebody who's got $100 million and somebody who is a billionaire is really not something detectable.

So, if it's a bunch of rich folks, you know, whether they're a few hundred million dollars like Mitt Romney, or whether they're whether billions of dollars like Donald Trump and again we don't know exactly how many billions, I don't know if it makes a difference.

I think it's really going to be more the policy, more the statements that they hear that they don't like, you know, like so for example, the proposed secretary of education. I think what people are really going to focus on is what she has said and plans to do about public education.

[08:25:01] Not the fact that she's from a very wealthy family.

BERMAN: You got a traditional partisan divide on that subject, where a lot of Republicans coming out and supporting it, for a lot of Democrats, not so pleased.

All right. Josh, Errol, great to have you here.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

BERMAN: Happy Thanksgiving.

LOUIS: Thank you.

ROGIN: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Eight weeks from today, count them with me, 66 days to be precise --

BERMAN: And you did the math because I couldn't.

BALDWIN: You're welcome, you're welcome. I got you, Harvard.

So, what does Donald Trump need to do before Inauguration Day to hit the ground running in Washington? We'll discuss that.


BERMAN: Breaking news this morning from France. Authorities arrested five men prosecutor say were planning imminent attack under orders from ISIS. French authorities say the terror suspect's intentions were made clear in encrypted messages coming from ISIS members in Iraq and Syria.

The arrests were made on Sunday in two French cities. Investigators say documents were recovered detailing some of the plans. Also, they found firearms and ammunition.

BALDWIN: Donald Trump's team plans to hilt the ground running on day one when he becomes the nation's 45th president. So, what does Trump need to do in the next 56 days before Inauguration Day?

Let's discuss with CNN political commentator Ana Navarro, CNN political commentator and host of BET News, Marc Lamont Hill, and CNN political commentator and talk radio host John Phillips, who is a Donald Trump supporter.