Return to Transcripts main page


Debbie Reynolds Dies at 84; Kerry, Netanyahu Clash Over Path to Peace. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired December 29, 2016 - 06:00   ET



JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The two-state solution is in serious jeopardy.

[05:58:38] BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: Israelis do not need to be lectured by foreign leaders.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Israel's been treated very, very unfairly.

KERRY: Friends need to tell each other the hard truths.

NETANYAHU: Israel looks forward to working with President-elect Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump trying to dial down the heat with President Obama.

TRUMP: We talked about it and smiled about it.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We're going to hit Putin for interfering in our election.

TRUMP: I think we ought to get on with our lives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Optimism within the American economy is solely related to Donald Trump.

TRUMP: Because of me, they're doing 5,000 jobs in this country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actress Debbie Reynolds passing away just a day after losing her daughter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it possible she died of a broken heart?


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Thursday, December 29, 6 a.m. in the east. I'm Don Lemon. Poppy Harlow joins me. Chris and Alisyn are off.

It's almost hard to believe... POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: It is.

LEMON: ... they died within 24 hours of each other.

HARLOW: Unreal. And it broke right before your show last night. Obviously, so much talk about that she died, Debbie Reynolds, because of a broken heart.

LEMON: Yes, yes. And we'll discuss that. We're going to begin with the legendary actress, Debbie Reynolds. She's died, as Poppy said; died one day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher, passed away.

HARLOW: Eighty-four years old, she was a film legend. She sang and danced her way into movie history. Reynolds shot to stardom with the classic 1952 musical "Singing in the Rain," dancing opposite Gene Kelly. Celebrities and fans now mourning the unspeakable loss of mother and daughter.

Our Paul Vercammen is live in Los Angeles with more. Good morning, Paul.


All of Hollywood seems heartsick right now. We heard that Debbie Reynolds had been rushed to the hospital yesterday after complaining of some sort of breathing difficulties and then her son, Todd, issuing a statement. Todd, of course, would be Carrie Fisher's brother, as well. And he said, "My mother passed away a short time ago. She spoke to me this morning and said she missed Carrie; and she is with Carrie now."


DEBBIE REYNOLDS, ACTRESS (singing): I'm singing my song for you.

VERCAMMEN (voice-over): Singer, dancer, actress, Debbie Reynolds was a Hollywood triple threat and America's sweetheart. Her film career began at the age of 16 after being spotted in a beauty pageant. Her star officially launched just a few years later after a spirited performance opposite Gene Kelly and Donald O'Conner in 1952's "Singing in the Rain."

REYNOLDS: They picked me to put me in "Singing in the Rain." Then they just locked me in a big old studio; and for three months I had five different teachers: one for tap and ballet, jazz, modern. And then I'd just work, work, work until I'd just fall apart.

(singing): Tammy, Tammy.

VERCAMMEN: Other notable roles followed, including 1957's "Tammy and the Bachelor," which resulted in her No. 1 hit song, "Tammy."

She played opposite Gregory Peck in "How the West Was Won," and her performance in "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" earned her an Oscar nomination.

REYNOLDS (singing): I'm going to learn to read and write!

VERCAMMEN: Beloved on screen, at times Reynolds' life off-screen overshadowed her success. She had two children with her first husband, crooner Eddie Fisher: producer Todd Fisher and actress and author Carrie Fisher, who died just one day before her mother.

In 1959 the marriage ended in a highly-publicized divorce when Fisher left Reynolds to marry her close friend, Elizabeth Taylor, a painful betrayal. Reynolds was able to joke about the scandal years later.

REYNOLDS: I was a Girl Scout. I really was a very simple little girl, and that's what I was. And he fell madly in love with Elizabeth. And now I understand. You know, so many years later, and it's in the past.

VERCAMMEN: Her second and third marriages also ended in divorce, each time causing Reynolds financial pain.

However, she had been quietly collecting Hollywood memorabilia over the years that would prove to be a wise investment. In 2011, Reynolds sold Marilyn Monroe's white subway dress in an auction for $4.6 million.

She also never quit performing. Though she stepped away from film for much of her career, Reynolds continued to entertain on Broadway stages and in Las Vegas nightclubs.

In addition, Reynolds had several TV roles over the years, notably playing Liberace's mother in the 2013 Emmy-winning movie "Behind the Candelabra."

Her wide array of work was recognized in 2015 when the Screen Actors Guild honored Reynolds with a lifetime achievement award.

Reynolds said she loved every minute she spent in show business in her 2013 autobiography, "Unsinkable." She credited the love she had for her friends and family for her personal and professional resiliency.

REYNOLDS: I paid 20,000 bucks for this sucker.

VERCAMMEN: And it is that spark and sense of humor, along with her talent, that Reynolds will be remembered for.

REYNOLDS: I love you. Good night, everybody. Thank you.


VERCAMMEN: And let's read now from Debbie Reynolds' last Facebook post. She said, "Thank you to everyone who has embraced the gifts and talents of my beloved and amazing daughter. I'm grateful for your thoughts and prayers that are now guiding her to her next stop. Love, Carrie's mother."

The irony: now Debbie Reynolds, seemingly inseparable with Carrie Fisher, joins her on that next stop -- Poppy, Don. HARLOW: Didn't think we'd be seeing you this morning, Paul Vercammen,

especially on news like this. Thank you for the reporting. We appreciate it.

And there's a lot to discuss here. Let's talk about it with Larry Hackett, former editor of "People" magazine; and Nischelle Turner, "Entertainment Tonight" host and CNN contributor.

Larry, let me begin with you. Because let's listen to Debbie Reynolds, in her own words, talking about what was a very loving but also very complex relationship with her own daughter.


REYNOLDS: It's very hard when your child doesn't want to talk to you, but then you want to talk to them and you want to touch them; you want to hold them. It was a total estrangement. She didn't talk to me for probably ten years. So that was a very -- that was the most difficult time of all.


HARLOW: But, clearly, a mother's love is like no other. They reconciled. She dies 24 hours after losing her daughter. What thoughts, Larry?

[06:05:04] LARRY HACKETT, FORMER EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: You know, when we were talking yesterday about Carrie Fisher, we said that it wasn't so much that she was Hollywood royalty that made her interesting. It was that she was like you, that she battled her demons, that she was -- she had a connection to the people.

There's no way I can embellish the irony of what happened here. But clearly, it's along those very same lines. This is not about two movie stars. This is about a mother's love for her daughter through thick and thin, through all of these difficulties, and it appears that at that last moment that she, you know, died of a broken heart. Again, I cannot embellish this story line.

I think that's what the connection is. Yes, she was famous and, yes, we've known her for 70 years. But it's this familiar relationship that other people can relate to. This goes on in homes around the country, and that's why people are responding so viscerally, not because they were famous; because they were human.

LEMON: Yes. Because she was human, as we would say. She didn't steal it. Carrie Fisher didn't steal it. Debbie Reynolds was -- she even talked about the men driving her into financial ruin.


LEMON: And "Postcards from the Edge" was written by -- by Carrie Fisher, Nischelle. I'm wondering. Some people say it was sort of a biography or it was about their relationship, but it was loosely based. Was the conflict between them, was that overblown in a sense? NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you heard Debbie Reynolds

just say Carrie didn't speak to her for ten years. So no, I don't think the conflict between them was overblown. I think they had a lot of very tough times in their relationship. They laid a lot of that out.

But they earned each other. They worked their way back to being mother and daughter and to being inseparable and to loving each other. You know, I sat with this for a while last night trying to figure out, what do you say about this? How do you explain it? And I don't think you do, because I think there are some things that just can't be explained. I think it is what everyone says it is. And you know, I've been telling people it's heartbreaking. It's haunting but there's also something very beautiful about -- about all of this.

It's -- I really am -- I'm a person who talks for a living, and I'm at a loss when it comes to this situation. I mean, they both wrote a lot of chapters in Hollywood. I think I said that last night. And it's just very interesting that we're talking about this, the two of them, 24 hours apart from each other. Now possibly, you know, they're together, again.

HACKETT: There's a lot of prisms that you can see this through. One that's going to be really examined a lot is -- is one through feminism and their roles generationally.

Debbie Reynolds was 19 years old when she made "Singing in the Rain." Do you know how old Carrie Fisher was when she made "Star Wars"?

LEMON: Nineteen.

HACKETT: Nineteen years old, right? And how different are those pictures, and how do they represent the different generations. But what they went through, the struggles.

Debbie going through them in a much more kind of 1950s, '60s way, being spurned by her husband. Carrie going through them with the drug issues and the mental health. But yet, despite all that, they had this bond together. And I think they're going to represent strength for women, and it's just going to be a fascinating thing to study.

TURNER: That is so interesting. That is so interesting, Larry, that you said that. Because when we were just watching that earlier clip of Debbie Reynolds dancing with the two men, it hit me, and I said, "Look at her going toe for toe, step for step, with these men on screen." I mean, it really...

LEMON: She learned how to dance on that movie.

HACKETT: She learned how to dance on that movie. Not only is it two men, Donald O'Connor and Gene Kelly. Think about Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford.

TURNER: You're right.

HACKETT: But I mean, the parallelism just goes on and on. HARLOW: They both, as young female actress in their big debuts, both

broke through in ways that was not necessarily expected of them when they were going into and taking the roles. Let's listen to Carrie Fisher in her own words speaking with Oprah about growing up with a famous mother.


CARRIE FISHER, ACTRESS/WRITER: My mother would get up in the morning as my mother; and then she would go into this big closet she had. And you'd go in on this end, and there'd be the shirts and the shoes and maybe some slacks. Then you'd turn left, and it's skirts and dresses. And the other end probably nightgowns and robes.

She'd go in on this end as my mom; and she'd come out the other end as Debbie Reynolds. It was like a car wash for celebrities.


LEMON: And that's old-school Hollywood right there.

TURNER: I love it.

LEMON: Is there any -- is there anyone left, any group, any family left in Hollywood like those two? Nischelle?

TURNER: Like those two? I mean...

LEMON: It's the end of an era. Because this is the golden age of Hollywood that we're seeing here.

TURNER: In a little different way. I mean, you could say maybe Angelina Jolie and Jon Voigt. I mean, they you know, kind of have that push/pull, butt heads. Then they're back as a family. Then they're not. And they're both, you know, big stars.

Those two, though, I'm not sure if there's -- if there's really anyone left. I mean, there could be a new generation coming. But, you know, Debbie Reynolds, like -- like Larry said, we've known her for 70 years. Carrie Fisher was in the business for, you know, 40 plus. And they -- wow. Yes, I think this could be an end of an era.

[06:10:04] HACKETT: I agree with that, too. I can't think of anybody where the family -- where the public and private -- that is the professional roles, the performances and their private lives -- mingle as much as these two do. I mean, yes, Angelina Jolie, but it's nothing -- and Brad Pitt. It's nothing like this, though. It really is.

LEMON: When she said that, too, it reminded me of "Mommy Dearest." And, you know, Joan Crawford would go in the closet and then come out. And also the scene of the movie where she's leaving her contract with Warner and Louis B. Mayer, and it says "Hollywood royalty."

HARLOW: We've got to leave it there, guys. Sorry. We'll have you back. Thank you, guys. TURNER: We could talk all day about it.

HARLOW: We could. We could and we will a lot more on the show. But we have a lot of news to get to this morning. So we do want to turn to politics.

LEMON: Thank you very much. Yes, we want to turn to politics. We want to talk about the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the secretary of state, John Kerry, railing against each other in dueling speeches over the path to Mideast peace. Kerry accused Netanyahu of undermining the two-state solution, while Netanyahu said Kerry was playing lip service to Palestinian attacks.

CNN's Oren Liebermann live in Jerusalem with more for us this morning. Hi, Oren.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu firing back after Secretary of State John Kerry's speech and the Obama administration's vision for Middle East peace. The relationship between these two leaders, between Netanyahu and Kerry, deteriorating so rapidly in its final weeks.


KERRY: Friends need to tell each other the hard truths.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Secretary of State John Kerry issuing a stern warning that a two-state solution is now in jeopardy.

KERRY: The two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

LIEBERMANN: Kerry blasting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accusing him of undermining peace efforts.

KERRY: The Israeli prime minister publicly supports a two-state solution. But his current coalition is the most right-wing in Israeli history, with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements.

LIEBERMANN: Netanyahu firing back, calling the speech a disappointment and a biased attack that paid lip service to terror attacks by Palestinians.

NETANYAHU: Israelis do not need to be lectured about the importance of peace by foreign leaders.

LIEBERMANN: Despite repeated denials, Netanyahu again accusing the U.S. of orchestrating Friday's United Nations vote condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

NETANYAHU: We have it on absolutely incontestable evidence that The United States organized, advanced and brought this resolution.

LIEBERMANN: Kerry vehemently defending the Obama administration's refusal to veto the U.N. resolution. KERRY: No American administration has done more for Israel's security

than Barack Obama's. We cannot properly defend and protect Israel if we allow a viable two-state solution to be destroyed before our own eyes.

LIEBERMANN: President-elect Donald Trump weighing in on Kerry's speech from Florida.

TRUMP: We have to have peace. I think it set us back, but we'll see what happens after January 20, right?


LIEBERMANN: Netanyahu saying he'll work with President-elect Donald Trump to try to repeal the U.N. Security Council resolution and try to undo some of the damage here.

These two leaders, Netanyahu and President-elect Trump, sending tweets back and forth, Trump saying, "Hang on, January 20 is coming." Netanyahu effectively saying in short, "Thank you."

Poppy, one of the things that Kerry tried to point out here was Obama's support of Israel. And his point there was that these two leaders, Obama and Netanyahu, just signed a $38 billion military aid deal...

HARLOW: Right.

LIEBERMANN: ... the largest in U.S. history.

HARLOW: Absolutely. We are seeing social media diplomacy playing out between the president-elect and the prime minister of Israel. We'll see what any implementation is when he takes over. Thank you very much, Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem.

The United States and Israel looking nothing like the best of friends. Tensions escalating after those dueling speeches. We're going to talk next about what it actually means for peace negotiations, and is Israel abandoning a two-state solution? Next.


[06:17;39] LEMON: U.S./Israeli relations have hit rock bottom over the path to peace in the Middle East and fallout from the U.N. resolution condemning Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. It's unbelievable. Why are these allies sparring so publicly is the question?

Let's discuss now with CNN political commentator and contributor to "The Atlantic," Peter Beinart; and former CIA director James Woolsey. He was a senior adviser to the Trump campaign.

Good morning to both of you, gentlemen. Thank you very much for joining us. I want to begin with you, Ambassador Woolsey. What's your reaction to the secretary's speech? JAMES WOOLSEY, CIA DIRECTOR: Well, I think Netanyahu had the better

of these exchanges. This is not really about one-state versus two- state solutions. This is about whether the Palestinians accept Israel's right to exist. And in current circumstances, they don't.

Israeli Arabs, that is Muslim usually citizens of Israel, about one- sixth of the Israeli population, can go to bed at night without fear that someone's going to bash in their front door and going to kill them. They have their own members in the Knesset. They have supreme court justices. They have their own publications. They lead a very reasonable life, particularly for the Middle East.

That sort of life is not possible for a Jew living in the West Bank governed by the Palestinians. They will be killed. And if you even sell property to an Israeli, you'll get killed. So, there's -- there's nothing much that can be done in this world of one and two- state solutions and compromise.

LEMON: The secretary addressed that, ambassador, in his speech condemning any sort of violence against Israel or anyone.

WOOLSEY: They always do. But they -- then you come down to boycotts and so on. There's always an effort to -- coming from the Palestinians to effectively get rid of Israel. They don't recognize its right to exist.

HARLOW: So, Peter Beinart, to you, the question that Ambassador Woolsey brings up is an important one. Where is the Palestinian leadership condemnation of this violence? We have seen Netanyahu in the past, multiple times, condemn any violence on the part of Israelis. Do we need to see more of that from Palestinian leaders?

[06:20:00] PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first of all, to say that the Palestinians don't accept Israel's right to exist, the PLO recognized Israel's right to this in 1993.

HARLOW: But not as a Jewish state.

BEINART: At the beginning of the Oslo Accords.

HARLOW: The point is not as a Jewish state.

BEINART: No, in fact the -- but, yes, in fact, but Israel at that point did not ask the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Israel itself has never defined what it means to be a Jewish state, and the United States -- the United States did not. The United States did not -- did not recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Egypt did not recognize Israel as a Jewish state when it made peace with it.

This is a new request that Benjamin Netanyahu made that was not made by previous Israeli prime ministers, precisely because Benjamin Netanyahu is fundamentally hostile to the idea of a two-state solution. In 2014, he himself said it would be no circumstance, under any circumstances could he envision Israel removing its troops from west of the Jordan River, which means the West Bank. I need to say one more thing, which is... WOOLSEY: I think this is nonsense.

BEINART: The claim that Palestinians -- Jim, the claim that Palestinians...

WOOLSEY: This is nonsense.

BEINART: ... would inevitably kill Jews in the West Bank. I have Jewish friends, Israelis who live in the West Bank. It's frankly a racist claim to suggest that Palestinians would inherently kill Jews.

WOOLSEY: Not if you read the newspapers.

BEINART: Some Palestinians commit terrorism and many don't.

LEMON: Go ahead.

HARLOW: Peter Beinart, to my question, though, does there need to be more from the Palestinian leaders in terms of condemning the violence?

WOOLSEY: Absolutely.

BEINART: There are a lot -- look, I think that was for me.

WOOLSEY: One thing they could do, for example -- one thing they could do -- one thing they could do...

HARLOW: Ambassador, let's let Peter Beinart answer that.

WOOLSEY: ... is stop -- one thing they could do is stop calling Haifa "occupied Haifa."

BEINART: I thought it was for me.

LEMON: Let him finish his thought, Ambassador.

Go ahead, Peter.

BEINART: OK. Actually, again, Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly, again and again and again, accepted Israel's right to exist within the '67 lines and, in fact, accepted the idea of land swaps in the West Bank, too.

Yes, there is tremendous problem...

WOOLSEY: Then when any possibility comes up, such as the Clinton parameters. Such as the Clinton parameters -- such as the Clinton parameters back in the last days of the Clinton administration, which was a compromise. It was tough from Israel's point of view, but they -- the Knesset accepted it. But the Palestinians would not. That was the last time we've had a real chance for a two-state solution.

BEINART: Well, actually, if you look at...

WOOLSEY: Israel accepted it. The Palestinians didn't, and they lie about it. The Palestinians lie about it all the time. BEINART: If you -- look, we could -- we could -- I could debate you

on 2000, but we can go more recently. If you want to look at 2013, 2014. The Kerry negotiations, the Obama administration itself said the single biggest obstacle to an agreement in those negotiations were Israeli settlements. Mahmoud Abbas is inside the Clinton boundaries today.

WOOLSEY: The Obama administration has nothing to say about...

BEINART: Jim, you keep saying.

WOOLSEY: ... has nothing -- has nothing -- has nothing to say about any of this that is not pro-Palestinian. Sometimes it's quietly pro- Palestinian. Sometimes it's blatancy, sir.

HARLOW: Let's listen to what -- to that point, let's listen to what Secretary...


HARLOW: Gentlemen, hold on. Let's listen to what Secretary Kerry said about exactly that, condemning that violence in his speech yesterday.


KERRY: And the most recent wave of Palestinian violence has included hundreds of terrorist attacks in the past year, including stabbings, shootings, vehicular attacks and bombings, many by individuals who have been radicalized by social media. Yet the murderers of innocents are still glorified on Fattah websites, including showing attackers next to Palestinian leaders following attacks.


HARLOW: Ambassador Woolsey...


HARLOW: ... he did it just there.

WOOLSEY: Yes, he did right then. But that is not what shows up in Palestinian papers. That's not what shows up usually in statements from the PLO.

HARLOW: But you said the administration never does it.

WOOLSEY: Certainly not what shows up in anything coming from out of Gaza. It's not showing up from the missiles coming out of Gaza against Israel. Carry flags saying, don't worry, we're in favor of a two-state solution. This is, this is really nonsense that the Palestinians do not accept Israel's right to exist; and they are now going at it through boycotts and divestments and so forth. But they'll -- they'll use force whenever they have an opportunity.

LEMON: All right, gentlemen. We'll have to leave it there. We're out of time. Thank you so much.

HARLOW: Peter Beinart, Ambassador Woolsey, we appreciate it.

Coming up on NEW DAY, we will have Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman join us, David Keys. Also, an official from the Palestinian Authority will also

LEMON: And President-elect Donald Trump tweeting about a rough transition, then changing his tune hours later. So what changed? We're going to discuss with our political panel. That's next.


[06:28:58] HARLOW: President-elect Trump taking credit for plans to keep thousands of jobs in the United States. Also downplaying potential sanctions over Russia's election interference and then telling reporters everyone should, quote, "get on with our lives."

CNN's Scott McLean is live in Washington with more. Hi, Scott.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, Poppy.

If you only followed Donald Trump's Twitter feed lately, you might think that his relationship with President Obama had gone south. But if you only listened to him speaking with reporters last night, you might actually come away with days, after settle jabs Trump and Obama spoke on the phone yesterday and seemed to smooth things over for now.


TRUMP: He called me. We had a very, very good talk about -- generally about things.

MCLEAN (voice-over): President-elect Donald Trump addressing reporters outside his Mar-a-Lago estate and walking back an earlier tweet accusing President Obama of transition roadblocks.

TRUMP: Our staffs are getting along very well. And I'm getting along very well with him other than a couple of statements. And I responded to them. And we talked about it and smiled about it.

MCLEAN: Trump distancing himself from the Obama administration and senators who want to punish Russia for their alleged meddling in the U.S. election.

TRUMP: I think we ought to get on with our lives.

MCLEAN: Meantime, Trump taking credit once again for a previously announced commitment by a Japanese bank to bring back and create jobs in the U.S. through investments in Sprint and a Florida start-up.

TRUMP: Just spoke with the head person. He said because of me they're doing 5,000 jobs in this country.

MCLEAN: Trump also on defense about how he'll deal with potential conflicts of interest with his business. TRUMP: You people are making that a big deal. It's actually a very

simple situation. It's not a big deal. And we'll be having -- and we'll be having a press conference sometime in early January.

MCLEAN: And dissolving his foundation that's currently under investigation.

TRUMP: I have a foundation that has given millions and millions of dollars to people over the years; and it's been, you know, very well thought of. And we'll see what happens.

MCLEAN: At the brief press availability, the president-elect stood side by side with controversial boxing promoter Don King.

DON KING, BOXING PROMOTER: He shocked the world.

MCLEAN: The former boxing tycoon weighing in on the strained relations with Israel.

KING: The Israeli flag is about peace, you know, peace in the Middle East.