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Heading Home Travel After Thanksgiving; Violent Clashes in Egypt

Aired November 25, 2012 - 08:00   ET



RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): From CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

Gearing for gridlock. On the roads, in the air. Americans headed back home today by the millions.

The pressure is on. Will the White House and Congress finally see eye to eye on the fiscal cliff? We're just over 24 hours from the start of bargaining time.

Power and protest. Furious demonstrators take to Tahrir Square in Cairo, as Egypt's new president rewrites the rules.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Calm the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) down! Push one of my kids and I will stab one of you mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED).


KAYE: The crowds are rowdy, rough, and down right rude, and the holiday shopping season has only just begun.


KAYE: Good morning, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye. It's 8:00 on the East Coast. Thanks for starting your morning with us.

From California to New York, Maine to Florida, millions of people are heading home as the Thanksgiving holiday is wrapping up. Today is usually one of the busiest travel days of the year. But so far, it has been surprisingly quiet.

CNN national correspondent Susan Candiotti is at LaGuardia airport in New York, hanging out with a few travelers this morning.

Susan, good morning to you. So I guess it's still pretty early in the day, but it should probably get pretty busy there later on.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, it probably will pick up. But the best news of the day at this hour, anyway, is that there are virtually no backups to check in here at LaGuardia Airport, and no lines at security. There was a little flurry of activity earlier this morning, but now, it's practically dead. This is the best time to fly on this busy, busy holiday weekend.

Of course, it is expected to pick up as the day goes on, but some of the things that are working in New York's favor, the weather is good here, and weather across the country generally is good too. Nevertheless, they still want people to check in at least an hour and a half ahead of time because they do expect things to change as the day goes on.

But visiting with us now is Mary who traveled very early this morning. You left at, what, 3:00 in the morning?


CANDIOTTI: From Cleveland to fly back to New York. Why did you fly so early, to avoid the rush?

KLOPP: To avoid the rush as well as cost effectiveness.

CANDIOTTI: In fact, that's the major reason why, right? You saved money. How much money did you save by taking an early flight?

KLOPP: I think it was something like $200 in the return flight.

CANDIOTTI: Well, it's certainly well worth it, and I hope your vacation was good too. Did you pick up any -- go shopping while you were away?

KLOPP: Yes, I did a lot of Black Friday shopping, and we have two dogs, and I spent a lot of time with my dogs.

CANDIOTTI: All right. Well, welcome home and you've arrived at the right time. Thank you, Mary.

So, remember, TSA is also reminding people that if they, like Mary, took advantage of all those sales on Black Friday, then they should remember to keep any gifts unwrapped as you pack them, because otherwise, you could have some problems with security.

And, by the way, that other reminder, if you decided to take back leftovers with you from Thanksgiving dinner, not the whole turkey, but the leg is OK.

Randi, back to you.

KAYE: That is an important thing to note, Susan.


KAYE: What about LaGuardia? I'm just curious, you know, it was closed after superstorm Sandy. Are things fully back to normal there now?

CANDIOTTI: They are. You know, it was not normal for a few days, but they got things together fairly quickly as airports often do. It was under water, but they managed to get things cleaned up, so everything really has been running normally.

We do expect things to pick up as the day goes on. But for now, it's the best time to be here.

KAYE: All right. Susan Candiotti, enjoy the peace and quiet while you can. Thank you very much.

CANDIOTTI: And now for a broader look at holiday travel. All those planes, trains, and automobiles.

I'm joined by Nick Valencia.

So -- Nick, good morning.


KAYE: Susan is at LaGuardia. How does that stack up?

VALENCIA: It's top five. It's not the busiest. It's nothing like Los Angeles National Airport or Chicago, but it's among the top five airports that see busy travel.

But like Susan was saying, Randi, it's not that bad out there so far. I just got off the phone with an American Airlines spokeswoman, and she said things are looking good. It's cold where she was in Chicago. We're seeing a little fog also in Los Angeles and San Diego, and that's impeding traffic, holiday traffic there, a little bit.

But so far, people are seeing clear skies and traveling pretty easy right now.

KAYE: Tempers aren't flaring just yet. That's good.

VALENCIA: It doesn't look like Black Friday.

KAYE: Not like Black Friday. Wow. That video is something.

What about the roads? How are those looking?

VALENCIA: Yes, believe it or not, nine out of 10 Americans travel this holiday season will be traveling, by road, by car, actually, so they're not going to be taking flights. We got about 2.4 million people traveling on planes, but nine out of 10 Americans traveling on the road.

Amtrak -- and interestingly enough, one of our producers and I were taking a look at Amtrak's figures from last year. They had about 720,000 people traveled last year.

This year, the numbers aren't out, but some factors. We were talking about superstorm Sandy there with Susan Candiotti. Some of those factors do impact travel with Amtrak. We saw Amtrak rails, a lot of the train lines in the Northeast. So, they are being impacted there.

But they partner, Randi, with a Canadian rail system to get more passenger cars. So, sort of --

KAYE: Trying to make it easier.

VALENCIA: So, make it easier for those traveling.

KAYE: So, the word of advice is pack your leftovers and pack your patience as well, maybe.

VALENCIA: Get out there early, I guess, too.

KAYE: Get out there early -- no doubt.

All right, Nick. Thank you very much.

VALENCIA: Thank you.

KAYE: Members of Congress are traveling back to Washington. The Senate is back tomorrow. The House is back on Tuesday.

And the number one issuing facing them all is that fiscal cliff, now just 31 days away.

CNN's Athena Jones is live in Washington this morning.

Good morning, Athena.

So we saw the president get involved before the holiday break. What is the plan in terms of meeting again with congressional leaders?


But you are probably sick of hearing about the fiscal cliff, but this is the most important thing facing members of Congress and the president as we go forward, heading into next year. We know that the president is going to be meeting with members of Congress again, the congressional leadership of both sides and both chambers, just as did he the Friday before Thanksgiving, eventually.

The question -- the keyword there is eventually. There's not yet a meeting on his public schedule, but we know that after that meeting, that Friday before Thanksgiving, leaders of Congress on both sides came out and talked in positive terms about the idea that they -- this was a constructive meeting that, they knew where they stood, they knew what they had to do, they knew what their responsibilities were. And there were cornerstones of being able to work out a deal.

We also heard from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that the work on this would continue over the break and that they hope to meet the president this week when they return. Right now, that meeting is not yet on the schedule, but that can certainly change, Randi.

KAYE: And has there been any concrete movement, I mean, as far as we can tell that they are edging maybe just a little bit closer to a deal?

JONES: Well, that's really the question here. I mean, as I said, the work has continued among staffers discussing this. We know what the big hold-ups are, the big sticking points, and that's how to raise more tax revenue.

We know Republicans can put revenue on the table, but they don't want to see tax rates go up for anyone. We also know that the president ran on this idea of raising taxes on the wealthiest among us. And the other issue is entitlements. Republicans want to see Democrats reform programs like Medicare.

So, those are the sticking points. Now, if there's been progress, that hasn't been made public yet. And I can tell you that right after the election, the president spoke with House Speaker John Boehner, and they talked about a great phone call, courteous phone call, they say, but that aides talked about how each side talked about the importance of not making all these public statements so that each side could have room to negotiate.

So, if there's movement being made, we don't know that yet. And maybe that's because they want to hold it close to the vest until they know for sure that they have a deal that could get passed in both chambers, Randi.

KAYE: Yes, that's a really interesting point, because I remember the last time -- the last go around, they kept coming out to the microphone and telling us how it was going and what they were angry and frustrated with. So, that might be a way to get a deal. We'll see.

Athena Jones, thank you very much.

JONES: Thanks.

KAYE: And coming up in about 10 minutes, your brain on the fiscal cliff. Don't worry. There is a cure.

Speaking of a whole lot of money, the Powerball jackpot is now the largest in the game's history, an estimated $425 million. Even though no one won last night's jackpot, people in eight states won $1 million prizes for matching five numbers.

The winning numbers were 22, 32, 37, 44, 50, and the Powerball was 34. It was the 15th drawing in a row with no jackpot winner. The next drawing, Wednesday night.

Clashes on the streets in Egypt. Anti-government protests sparking outside the capital. Now, a call for millions to take part. We are live in Cairo.


KAYE: Now to Egypt. Leaders from Hamas are in Cairo this morning for the next phase of peace talks. They are hammering out the details of the cease-fire agreement with Israel. Egypt's president was instrumental in getting that agreement done, but he's got his own domestic unrest to deal with right now.


KAYE: That tells you the whole story right there. This was the scene in Damanhour, north of Cairo. Demonstrators are angry over President Mohamed Morsi's decision to increase his power. Morsi stripped powers from judges to overturn any of his decrees.

CNN's Reza Sayah is live in Cairo for us this morning.

Reza, we had mostly seen those protests there in the capital. Are they spreading now?

SAYAH: It looks like it, Randi. It looks like the demonstrations are spreading to places outside of Cairo, according to the interior ministry during the overnight hours.

A number of protesters trying to attack the offices of the Muslim Brotherhood in the northern city of Damanhour, that's when officials say supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood showed up to fight them back, and that's when you had clashes between the two sides. A number of people injured and arrested there.

Also, reports of demonstrations in the city of Asyut, which is south of Cairo.

But the heart of these demonstrations continues to be here, Tahrir Square, in Cairo. We're going to give you a live look of what things look like right now. A few thousand people there. Many of them with their tents pitched.

These are people who represent the liberal factions, the youth rights, the women's rights groups, the secularists here. And when you talk to them, they say they're determined to stay here until Mr. Morsi, the president, heeds their call. They're the peaceful protesters.

At times this morning, things have gotten ugly. A number of clashes sparked by young men, teenagers, who seem to be out looking for trouble.

What happens is they start throwing rocks at police officers. Police officers respond by firing stun grenades. You may have heard a few of them a few seconds back, and we've had that type of dangerous cat and mouse game going on in the past few hours here in Tahrir Square, Randi.

KAYE: And there have also been, of course, the major calls for pro-Morsi demonstrations. We know there's the big one on Tuesday. Anything before that?

SAYAH: Yes, even today, according to a spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood, there are demonstrations to show support for the president and his decrees.

And it's so important to point out to our viewers that the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi have an incredible amount of support in this country. The Muslim Brotherhood is maybe the most powerful political movement, and that's why you have this drama. You have the president that seems to be firmly entrenched in power. The political movement, the Muslim Brotherhood -- it's powerful -- taking on these opposing factions that say they're determined to have Mr. Morsi rescind this decree.

So, critical days ahead for this country.

KAYE: No doubt about that. Reza Sayah, live in Cairo, thank you.

In Bangladesh overnight, at least 117 people were killed in a clothing factory fire. As many as 200 others injured. Hundreds of workers on the top floors of the nine-story building were trapped by the flames. Some jumped out of the windows, actually, to try to escape. At last report search crews still had not been able to reach all parts of that building.

It is a mystery that has lingered for eight years. Was Yasser Arafat murdered? Well, we may soon find out on Tuesday?

Forensic scientists from France, Russia, and Switzerland will exhume the body of the late Palestinian leader. Then what they're going to do is take samples and test it for poisoning. Arafat will be then reburied that same day in religious and military ceremonies. Rumors and speculation have continued ever since Arafat died suddenly in 2004 at age 75 that he may have been poisoned.

A newspaper editor has quit his job over topless photos of Catherine, the duchess of Cambridge. Michael O'Kane resigned from the "Irish Daily Star" this weekend. In September, the Irish paper was one of several European papers that published pictures of the duchess sunbathing topless. The photos ignited a storm of controversy and sparked legal action by the British royal family.

If members of congress truly want to reach across the aisle, the place to start might be between each politician's ears. Why the brain may be key to bipartisanship.

But, first, a question for all you political junkies watching this morning -- what was the highest margin income tax rate in U.S. history? The highest. If you know the answer, tweet me @RandiKayeCNN.


KAYE: Before the break, I asked you if f you knew the answer to the question right there on your screen. What was the highest margin income tax rate in U.S. history?

Remember, it is 35 percent right now. Well, guess what, the answer is 94 percent in 1944 and 1945 -- 94 percent. Of course, those were war years. Outside of World War II, the highest rate was 91 percent.

Well, it's a $7 trillion mix of spending cuts and tax hikes. That is one of the biggest domestic problems facing the U.S., and the fiscal cliff is so critical that some economists worry it could throw the country back into a recession if Congress and the Obama administration just can't make a deal.

For many Americans, the idea of a fiscal cliff is a hard one to wrap their brain around, but my next guest says the brain may be exactly what is needed get Washington out of this whole mess. He is David Rock, co-founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute and author of "Your Brain at Work."

David, good morning.

DAVID ROCK, CO-FOUNDER, NEUROLEADERSHIP INSTITUTE: Good morning to you, Randi. Good to be here with you.

KAYE: Nice to have you here.

So I have a lot to get through with you, but you say that our brains are inherently wired to categorize other people in one of two ways, in-groups and out-groups. Can you explain what that means?

ROCK: Absolutely. It's an in-built function, and we see it in many other animals, including mammals as well. So, it's not just an American thing or Western thing. It's very much a part of who we are, to decide if everyone we're speaking to is kind of on our team or on another team.

And millions of years, we lived in quite small communities. So, we tend to only have a small number of people in our in-group, and everyone else is kind of dangerous and potentially not to be trusted. So, it's very much a part of who we are.

So you've broken down the impact of the in-groups and the out- groups, as you call them, into these three levels -- perceptual, empathy, and motivation.

How do these different levels play out in Washington, and what are the political consequences?

ROCK: Well, there are many, many findings about this in-group and out-group thing. And there are over 70 labs just in the U.S. study this kind of issue. You know, how we understand each other, persuasion, empathy and all of this.

And what happens is there are three main-groups of impact. Firstly, if you think that I'm an out-group member, for example, Randi, then when I'm speaking, you hardly process what I'm saying, and you use very conceptual circuits. But if you think I'm similar to you just because you think we have similar goals, when I'm speaking, you process my words using the same circuits and thinking your own thoughts. So, perception is so much easier, so much more robust, just at a very basic, unconscious perceptual level.

Secondly, empathy, if I'm in your in-group, you'll feel what I'm feeling. But if I'm in your out-group, you can kind of do anything to me. There's very little empathy at all. And finally, the kind of insidious one is motivation. What we is that if I'm in your in-group, you're motivated, your brain is sending reward signals when I win. But you're actually -- this is the scary bit, you're motivated to -- if I'm in your out-group, you're motivated see me lose.

So, it's quite an insidious thing, and this works at the unconscious level. We can become conscious of these things, but they're really driving up behavior, and essentially the two groups really it might look like they're speaking to each other, but really from a neurological level, there's very little processing of the other person's ideas actually going on.

KAYE: So, let's talk about a possible solution here. The first is for Republicans and Democrats, you say to build new in-groups or alliances, I guess, based around these shared goals.

So, can you giver us an example of how this might work?

ROCK: Sure, but there are lots of study that show that you can divide people into in-group and out-group quite arbitrarily and quite easily, and you can recombine them and create different groups.

And part of the problem is we've kind of divided people very cleanly into left and right. But if you can create subcommittees that are working across -- obviously, across the divide, and perhaps with nonpolitical people involved as well, and we can create communities where people are working on shared goals. That's what the research says changes this in issues. Once you have shared goals with someone, we can actually start to really listen to each other at a very, very different level.

KAYE: And, finally, if President Obama and Speaker Boehner were your clients, I'm just curious what the first thing that you would advise them to do might be. I mean, what would you tell them at this point?

ROCK: Well, firstly, have you to get them really processing each other's points of view, and I would firstly ask them, you know, what's their vision for America? What do they both want for the country?

And I think finding that common ground, and then I think they have to find two or three goals that they can both actually get behind, that they can both focus on. I mean, part of the challenge, I think, Obama's had is he has not been able to get much momentum, and I think they need to decide, you know, what are we going to go for?

There are two ways to create goals here. We can go the negative way and say if we don't get this handled, you know, it's a really bad mark against democracy really.

KAYE: Yes.

ROCK: I mean, that's the negative angle.

But on the positive side, let's say -- let's go for something that both parties agree with. Let's go for education. Let's go for poverty. Let's go to for housing. Let's go for infrastructure.

But decide on two big areas that both parties can agree on the same outcome for and then start to work towards that. They don't have to go for everything, but let's find some common ground, and that will start to create a difference.

KAYE: Perhaps the beer summit, another beer summit is in order. We'll see.

ROCK: Actually, it's pretty helpful for creativity and collaboration, it turns out. Yes.

KAYE: All right. David Rock, co-founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute -- thank you so much.

ROCK: Thanks very much.

KAYE: Well, now that Black Friday is behind us, get ready for Cyber Monday. We're not just talking online spending. We'll tell you how to pick yourself from those scammers lurking out there.


KAYE: Welcome back to CNN SUNDAY MORNING. I'm Randi Kaye. Bottom of the hour now -- here are some of the stories that we're watching right now.

Today is expected to be one of the busiest travel days of the year. Pack some patience. Nearly 2.5 million Thanksgiving holiday travelers will be catching a flight back home. Millions more will be on the road. Triple A projected 43.6 million Americans are traveling during this long holiday weekend. That is three million more than last year.

In Washington one person is in critical condition this morning after being injured in a fire at the State Department. Three others were also hurt. It's unknown what actually sparked the fire. It seemed to have started with some duct work. Construction crews working in the building put it out.

A big animal rescue operation out of Tennessee now -- in fact, it may be the state's biggest. Firefighters were responding to a brush fire on Thanksgiving when they found 65 dogs chained up at this property -- all needing food and water and of course, medical attention. It's believed they were being kept for some illegal dog fighting because authorities found a fighting pen and even a pole that was used to strengthen the dog's jaws. The dogs have been turned over to animal rescue, and they're at emergency shelters now. Hopefully they'll get adopted.

Thick, black smoke billowed high off Miami Beach Saturday when an 80 foot yacht went up in flames. Just look at this video. The Coast Guard says they were about to board the boat as a part of the routine inspection when suddenly the fire broke out. This is all happening about a mile off shore. A fire boat arrived to put out the flames. Everyone who was on board the boat when it caught fire jumped into the water. They were taken in for questioning.

Pushing, shoving and scrambling -- just a few of the sights that we've all seen from this year's Black Friday frenzy. But take a listen to some of the sounds here.




KAYE: Man, oh, man. A chaotic scene that was repeated across the nation as thousands crowded around their favorite stores in search of deals. It was so chaotic for actually this one manager that she told people, you know what, I don't even want your business.

The critical shopping season kicked off even earlier than in previous years for several big name retailers opening at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

And after millions flock to superstores for mega deals on Black Friday, President Obama and his daughters Sasha and Malia did some shopping of their own. Dropping by a local bookstore near Washington to take part in the Third Annual Small Business Saturday, they picked up about 15 children's books to give as gifts to family.

Well, it's practically become a holiday of its own -- waking up from a turkey coma and shopping for deals online this weekend and of course, tomorrow on Cyber Monday. According to McAfee Security Online holiday shopping is expected to climb about 12 percent this year to $96 billion. I spoke to McAfee's online security expert Robert Siciliano about their list of 12 scams of Christmas to avoid while shopping, and at the top of their list, social media scams.


ROBERT SICILIANO, MCAFEE ONLINE SECURITY EXPERT: Well, bad guys are creating fake social media pages with too good to be true offers and then luring in unsuspecting victims with offers via status updates to your friends pages. Once you click on those links, it can infect your page and infect your PC. Just delete those links and don't go to those status updates and be careful out there.

KAYE: All right. That's good advice. What about malicious mobile apps. I mean, we're downloading apps all the time on our -- on our phones and things.

SICILIANO: Yes. Recent studies show that as much as 33 percent of mobile apps are actually sharing information that you would rather not like your location. They are actually -- when you download these apps, they can even infect your mobile device with spyware. So only download mobile applications from, say, Google Play or Apple iTunes.

Whereas, if you go to third party sites and download applications, essentially your device can be infected. Also, be aware of what information you're communicating on certain apps. And always update your mobile device with anti-virus as well.

KAYE: And a lot of people, of course, during the holiday season, they love to get those gift cards, but you say some of them are bogus.

SICILIANO: Yes. Bad guys are creating fake e-tailer (ph) Web sites and these fake sites are designed to get to enter your credit card information, and often these fake sites revolve around gift cards. So if you're searching out a gift card, you end up on one of these third party sites, you don't know if that site is going to be there the next day.

Basically you should buy your gift cards at the kiosk, at the mall, or at the brick and mortar store, places that you know, like and trust and always tell -- the people who receive your gifts to spend them immediately.

KAYE: And you know, we've heard the term "phishing" before in our e-mails, but now there's this holiday term called "smishing". Explain that one.

SICILIAN: Yes. So "smishing" is to text message is what -- what phishing is to e-mails. It's basically bad guys send you out a text message designed to get you to visit a Web site, but once you click on these links, a couple of things could happen. A, you could download a virus right to your device, to your mobile device essentially infecting it with a spyware. Then spy on your activity on your mobile device or it will bring you to a Web site that eventually you'll plug in your information and ultimately giving away your credit card data.

Any time you receive a text message for any type of an offer, just hit delete. If you receive a text message to update your device, just hit delete because your carrier is not going to send you that text.

KAYE: Yes --

SICILIANO: Always be careful out there and again update your device with anti-virus as well.

KAYE: That delete button is your friend this time of year. No doubt. What about certain sites and deals you think we can trust? What do you like?

SICILIANO: So I always will do business, again, with those who I know and I can trust. You know you -- you there are certain Web sites out there like eBay and Amazon and Best Buy and others that you have been to, you're familiar with. When you type their address in the address bar and -- and it comes out, you know, like it should, as it's spelled, that's where you want to go.

Doing searches in the first page of search generally you're going to find legitimate retail sites. It's when you dig a lot deeper it's when you get e-mails regarding fake sites you have to be aware of, so just, again, do business with those who you know, like and trust, who your favorites are.


KAYE: Pretty good advice there. To read more about the 12 cam scams of Christmas, check out

He grew up in New York City Spanish Harlem and later this week the body of three-time world boxing champ Hector "Macho" Camacho will be flown back to New York from Puerto Rico for burial. Members of a New York gym where Camacho trained are grieving.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm very sad. Hector was one of the champions that trained out of Gleason's Gym. I knew him very well, and he was one of the ones I considered a friend. There's a few of the fellows that come through here and train and they go on, but Hector was someone that came back to Gleason's when he was in New York.

I considered him a friend. He was someone that I could call upon when I needed a champion or a fighter to -- to go to a school or go to a hospital.


KAYE: The 50-year-old Camacho was removed from life support at a San Juan hospital and died yesterday. He had been declared brain dead after he was shot on Tuesday. Police are still looking for the shooter and another suspect.

This weekend fans and friends are also remembering Larry Hagman, the TV icon past away at the age of 81. His family says it was cancer. A makeshift memorial popped up on the site of his star on the Hollywood walk of fame. Others went to the famed south fork ranch near Dallas to pay their respects and to remember the man who was more than just TV'S J.R. Ewing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He also was very giving, particularly to the underprivileged youth in the community. He had several different programs he helped with, particularly children in the arts and education.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We thought he was a fitting tribute to come here and pay our respects. Especially because we remember, we grew up and we remember the show. And you know we showed J.R. and all that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's sad. It's really sad. Don't make me cry.


KAYE: Well, you know the Christmas song "Hark the Herald Angels Sing?" Well, it could be completely wrong at least according to the Pope's new book. But wait until you hear what else he says is wrong about Christmas. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAYE: For today's "Faces of Faith" we're talking about fact- checking Christmas. If you haven't heard, that's what the Pope's new book seems to do. It's called "Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives." It's the third book in a series about the life of Jesus. And in it the Pope debunks a lot of the traditional mythology behind Jesus' birth and the nativity, so those animals beside the manger, forget about them. Same with "Hark the Herald the Angels Sing". It didn't happen, according to the Pope. But that's not all. The Pope also corrects the year that Jesus was born.

Joining me now is Brent Strawn, he teaches the Bible and theology at Emory University in Atlanta. And he's also an ordained minister. Brent, good morning.


KAYE: So let's start with the timing of all of this. When was Jesus born then?

STRAWN: Yes. So, unfortunately, when Jesus was born CNN wasn't around right, to tell everybody to reset their clocks to year zero. That was done later and the Pope says (inaudible) about the messiah that the monk who was largely responsible for that, who worked in the sixth century of our era, so 500 years after Jesus was born, he got some facts wrong.

And so really Jesus was probably born before year zero and the gospel say he was born during the reign of King Herod who died in 4 BC so Jesus had to have been born before that, maybe as early as 7 BC.

KAYE: So the monk got it wrong. That's what he -- that's what he was blaming it on. What about the animals at the nativity scene?

STRAWN: Yes the Pope is being quite precise here, saying that the gospel of Luke does speak of a manger, but it doesn't actually mention animals per se. So it doesn't say there was a cow there or a donkey there or what have you, but there was a manger. If the manger is in fact a feeding trough for animals, then the animals are implicitly present, but not explicitly present. It's a bit of maybe you know splitting hairs because that word -- the precise meaning of it is not clear, but elsewhere it is often used with animals, including donkeys.

KAYE: And the angels singing no it did happened?

STRAWN: Yes, yes there goes "hark the herald, angels singing" right?

KAYE: Wow.

STAWN: But -- but this is another case where the Pope is being very precise. And the verb that's used in Luke, Chapter 2 there, says "that the angel spoke or said", but what the -- what the angel goes on to say, in fact, in a bunch of angels say it together is seems to be a kind of snippet of poetry or a hymn, a song, so I think it would be all right to say that what the angel was in fact actually a song.

KAYE: But one thing the Pope does enforce is the Virgin Mary. Correct?

STRAWN: That's right -- that's right. And this is not surprising, given the importance of the Virgin Mary to not only Catholicism but to a lot of Christians worldwide especially as kind of encapsulated in the historic creeds of Christianity like the Apostles' Creed.

But even in the "Apostles' Creed", I think it's important to point out that the virgin birth is primarily making a theological point about Jesus. Not necessarily a biological fact about Mary.

KAYE: Does any of this surprise you? That -- I mean because this is creating a bit of controversy.

STRAWN: Yes, it is a bit surprising because this Pope has been known to be more conservative and traditional. He is -- in this case he is challenging some things of tradition here and there, but not elsewhere. Not, of course, with regard to the Virgin Mary, but with regard to some of the small details.

KAYE: Yes.

STRAWN: But what he is doing, I think, is ultimately in service of a fairly traditional point which is to make sure to pay rigorous attention to the Biblical text themselves, that they, in a sense have primacy, that they're not exactly the same as the interpretation that comes up around them. But, you know, you got to chasten that interpretation from time to time with the Biblical text themselves.

KAYE: Yes. And while it's a bit controversial though, I mean there has to be a bigger meaning. Do you think he is trying to show that Jesus was a real-life figure?

STRAWN: Yes. I think that's part of it. Of course, the creeds affirm that, that Jesus' ultimate origins may be divine, that he was conceived by the Holy Spirit as Matthew and Luke would say; but that also he is born of this particular woman, this particular woman, Mary. So definitely he is I think highlighting both aspects like the gospels themselves then.

KAYE: This isn't the first time we've seen something like, this right though? I mean the three wise men have been debated.

STRAWN: Right, right, right. The text doesn't say they were just three. It's an inference derived from the fact that there were three gifts -- gold, frankincense and myrrh -- there must be three wise men. But early Christian art sometimes paints only two and sometimes as many as four, and some give 12 wise men. It's not clear how many there were.

KAYE: Well, there goes the Pope trying to set the record straight, huh? It's very, very interesting stuff. Brent Strom, thank you so much.

STRAWN: Thank you. It's nice to be here.

KAYE: Thank you.

For more stories on faith, be sure to check out our widely popular belief blog. You can find it at

He has been in the headlines both widely praised and widely protested this week, but there are some things about Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi you probably haven't heard. We'll share them with you.


KAYE: Welcome back everyone to CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

Egypt's president Mohamed Morsi has been praised around the world for playing a central role in the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, but now is he the target of massive protests. Tens of thousands have demonstrated in Cairo's Tahrir Square and other cities denouncing President Morsi as a dictator. All this for a new set of orders and declarations he made basically giving himself absolute power at least until Egypt's constitution is finished.

So who exactly is the man behind all of this praise and protest? We've been learning so much more about him and seeing so much more of him as we've watched the talk of Israel and Gaza this week.

Let's bring in Nadia Bilchik to talk a little bit more about Mohamed Morsi. So he actually wasn't even his party's first choice, right?

NADIA BILCHIK, CNN EDITORIAL PRODUCER: Correct. He wasn't. The person who was, was a man known El-Shatr and mainly because Morsi is not particularly charismatic. He has been called a dull technocrat and sometimes a spare tire. But because of various technicalities as to who was eligible, he was one of the few who was eligible to run for president.

KAYE: And he studied in the United States?


KAYE: I mean, we know a little bit about him, but not a whole lot. And that's true?

BILCHIK: Yes, correct. He got his doctorate in engineering from the University of Southern California, although yesterday when I was watching, not today, beat the Trojans. I thought -- I wondered if he is watching, probably not. But yes, he went to the University of Southern California.

But bear in mind that most high-ranking Egyptian officials would have and will have studied abroad. So that's not unusual. Also, USC has a huge contingent of foreign students. And two of his five children were born in the United States. KAYE: What about where he stands on the issues? He is pretty conservative?

BILCHIK: He is a religious conservative. He was heard to say he would never ever elect or particularly vote for either women or non- Muslims. However, two of his aides have been a woman and a Coptic Christian. So he really is positioning himself as a moderate, but he is fundamentally a conservative Muslim.

Although remember, he also denounced his membership from the Muslim Brotherhood. So it's interesting as to where he stands on the issues.

KAYE: Right. And now the judges are threatening to strike because of this so-called power grab. What has he said about this in Egypt now?

BLICHIK: What he is saying, "What I'm trying to do is dismantle the last vestiges of Mubarak and military power." He says this is the only way that I can do it in order to let the democratic constitution pass through. That is certainly his response for why he is doing this, but as you know, very controversial.

KAYE: And you and I, I mean we talked quite a bit about Mubarak when all of that was going on. He seems like a very different leader, but it's interesting to see them protesting and calling him a dictator as well.

BILCHIK: Well, Mubarak is a very charismatic leader, and as we know, Morsi is supposed to be quite uncharismatic.

KAYE: Right.

BILCHIK: However, but if you look at his actions over the last week and what he has been able to achieve, there's anything but dull in how he worked with Secretary Clinton to broker this peace deal.

KAYE: Yes, I think he impressed a lot of people.

BILCHIK: He did -- and surprised people. Obama himself said he was so impressed by his pragmatism. So -- and he certainly established himself as a power broker on the world stage.

KAYE: Right, right. It's been interesting to watch, certainly. Nadia, thank you -- appreciate that.

Well, you know the song and you know that dance; K-Pop sensation Psy is taking YouTube by storm all the way to the top.


KAYE: Welcome back. Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving week with friends and family.

It is time now for us to get you ready for the week ahead with our "Week Ahead" calendar starting with Monday. Have you had enough holiday shopping yet? Well, tomorrow is actually Cyber Monday, so spending is expected to top $1.5 billion. If you haven't made it to the stores, which a lot of us haven't, then you might want to do some online shopping.

Speaking of money and spending, congress returns to work in Washington tomorrow from its holiday. Of course, they're going to be under pressure to reach that budget deal and avoid a fiscal crisis and keep us from falling off that so-called fiscal cliff.

On Tuesday we're going to be talking a lot Yasser Arafat. His body is actually going to be exhumed. He is the late Palestinian leader. Eight years after his death this is happening. It's all part of an investigation to see if he was murdered. He died suddenly at age 75, and some think that he was poisoned.

On Wednesday keep your eyes out for the true symbol that Christmas is approaching. Of course, that's the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. It's going to be lit on Wednesday, and this year it will be decked out with more than 30,000 colored lights. But if you miss it, if you miss the lighting, don't worry. It will remain lit through January 7th, so maybe you'll have a chance to check it out.

And on Sunday -- this is something we're really excited about here at CNN -- The tradition continues. CNN will honor the "Top Ten CNN Heroes of 2012". This is a favorite of mine to watch. Anderson Cooper will be hosting it on Sunday night. You can catch it here live at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time only on CNN.

Well, we've got a good one for you here this morning -- a Thanksgiving surprise for one Las Vegas family. Watch. Riley Morris (ph) there in the middle of dance class when her dad, Sergeant Major Ronald, walked right into that room. He wasn't supposed to be back yet from his 14-month tour of duty in Afghanistan, so his kids weren't expecting him home for Thanksgiving holiday. Family says they are so thankful to be together and thankful to be safe.

And now to one thing you just can't escape, "Gangnam Style". Korean pop star Psy holds the title for having the most viewed video ever on YouTube. His video for the song "Gangnam Style" edged out former leader Justin Bieber and his 2010 song "Baby". Psy's video and the dance craze has inspired more than 815 million views on YouTube. Doesn't that make you just want to get up and dance? Even on this Sunday morning at this hour? I feel like it.

Well, thanks for watching today. You can always continue the conversation with me on Twitter @RandiKayeCNN.

"STATE OF THE UNION" with Dana Bash starts right now.