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Gun Sales Remain High; Changing Views on Immigration; Kerry Confirmed by Committee in Unanimous Vote; Super Bowl's Super Expensive Commercials; The Man Who Replaced Steve Jobs

Aired January 29, 2013 - 10:30   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for being with us. Time to check our "Top Stories". It's 31 minutes past the hour.

Gun sales in the United States show no signs of slowing down as lawmakers consider tougher gun control measures. The FBI says out of the last 15 years they've seen the highest levels for gun background checks in the last six weeks. That, of course, follows the mass shooting at Newtown. Gun shop owners tell CNN semiautomatic rifles and high capacity ammo fly off the shelves.

In Omaha, Nebraska, it sounds more like a scene out of a movie. Several manhole covers popped their lids and shot out flames after an underground explosion. Utility officials say a transformer blew, leaving thousands in the dark for a short period of time. They're still trying to figure out how it all happened.

A 22-year-old man sits in a Dallas jail accused of pointing a laser at a police helicopter. According to "The Dallas Morning News," the man says he did it to see how far the light would go. You can see the laser beaming into the chopper from the camera on board. The FAA says this happens regularly and it's dangerous. Last year there were 3,400 incidents reported nationwide.

Immigration has long been what you call a hot-button issue. In 2012, candidate Mitt Romney had a novel idea -- if you want to rid the country of illegal immigrants, don't hire them. Then they'll self- deport. What a difference ten months and 27 percent of the Latino vote makes.

Arizona Senator John McCain says one word sums up what some might call a change of heart.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Elections. Elections. The Republican Party is losing the support of our Hispanic citizens. And we realize that there are many issues in which we think we are in agreement with our Hispanic citizens. But this is a pre-eminent issue.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COSTELLO: To be fair, as a presidential candidate in 2008, McCain said comprehensive immigration reform should be a top priority for the next occupant of the White House. But since then he hasn't been as vocal until now.

Of course Maria Cardona is a CNN contributor and a Democratic strategist. Ana Navarro is a CNN contributor and Republican strategist. Good morning to you both.



COSTELLO: OK. So the President later today will give a speech in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was supposed to outline his own plan for immigration, but now he's going to take these eight Senators' plan for immigration and say he's on board. So why doesn't he just present his own plan, Maria?

CARDONA: Well, I actually think that it's very smart of the White House to take the plan of the "Gang of Eight" in the Senate and say that the President supports it. There will be some differences Carol. The White House has outlined some of the differences that the President will talk about today. We know that he wants, perhaps, a smoother and easier way path to citizenship.

But I think that's smart, too, because if you can -- if you can look at the plan from the White House and then take the plan from the Senators, there are some differences there. There is a place to negotiate. There is a place -- a place to meet in the middle because this is still very much an uphill battle. I think that you have Senators that understand what needs to be done. And they have been -- they have been speaking very forthrightly and smartly, I think.

But there are still a lot of Republicans both in the House and in the Senate who don't think that a path to citizenship is something that they can stomach. So hopefully between the White House and the Senators on both sides of the aisle and in the House on both sides of the aisle we can finally get this done.

COSTELLO: And it seems Ana that the bargaining chip here is border security. Republicans are very concerned about that. They say nothing should happen until we secure our borders.

NAVARRO: Carol, I think all Americans are concerned about border security. Border security is not just about immigration. Border security is about drug trafficking. Border security is about gun trafficking. Border security is about terrorism. It is now a national security imperative. And it is a huge and important part of a comprehensive immigration solution.

It needs to include border security. We need to win back the faith of the American people that their government is capable of keeping their border secure. We don't want this problem again.

The big problem with the 1986 law was that it did not solve the problem long term. We want a solution now that does that. And it has to be bipartisan. It has to be bipartisan because there's a Republican House, a Democratic Senate, and they are the ones that legislate and pass legislation.

So the smartest thing President Obama could do is embrace this bipartisan agreement that has been crafted by some of the most serious people who have been working on immigration for decades in the Senate both on the Republican and Democrat side. They know what they're doing. They know how far they can go. They know what the parameters are to be viable and be able to be passed.

So I hope he doesn't do anything to poison that well.

COSTELLO: In talking about border -- border security, Maria, it makes you wonder, like, what will be the final solution there because that's a tough problem.


COSTELLO: And what will satisfy those lawmakers who say that we have to secure our borders, and here's how we're going to do that. and I don't think anyone knows the answer to that.

CARDONA: And I think that's going to be one of the most difficult sticking points, Carol. I mean, Ana is right, Americans want to make sure that our borders are secure. But how do we measure that? What is the benchmark there? If you look at money put into border security, we have been putting record amounts of money into border security. We spend $18 billion on border security and immigration enforcement. That's more money than the FBI, the DEA and the ATF combined.

And if you look at the numbers of immigration, last year there was a negative -- negative immigration flow between the United States and Mexico.

So I think that's going to be a key sticking point. A lot of immigration advocates believe that this could be a pitfall for Republicans to continue to say, oh, the border's not secure yet. The border's not secure yet. And that pathway to citizenship will actually never be a reality.

So that is -- that is a big problem.


COSTELLO: Well, Ana -- Ana and I can -- I can remember the arguments during 2012. Some -- some lawmakers wanted to put a fence, you know, around the entire country, right? And that wasn't possible. Others want more armed security along the border. And we have that now. So what's the answer?

NAVARRO: Well, what they've done in this new -- with this proposal, in this bipartisan agreement, is they've formed a commission of border state governors and a commission that would certify that the border is secure. I think there's some logic to that. I mean, Carol, you know, the people on the ground are the ones that best can tell -- are we talking about border security to the point where a squirrel won't be able to get through the border? No. But are we talking about border security better than we have now which, by the way, is better than we had four years ago? There have been improvements and improvements can continue to be made.

Yes. And there are specific metrics that can be put into legislation. How many people get through, what -- you know, how many people get detained. I mean, you know, there are metrics. There are -- there is technology. There are human resources that can be allotted to this. And then there is this commission that they have thought up of to certify that the border is secure and that would trigger the path to citizenship.

But in the meantime, people would have a conditional status that would give them legality in this country and the ability to work and the ability to be out of the shadows. So, you know what let us not have the perfect be the enemy of the very good.

COSTELLO: Well, we'll see what the President says and what House lawmakers will come up with because they're working on their own plan now. Ana Navarro --


CARDONA: It certainly it --

COSTELLO: We've got to go.

CARDONA: -- a better time than any other to do this.

COSTELLO: At least we're all talking about it rationally, right?

NAVARRO: I agree, agree.

CARDONA: That's right.

COSTELLO: Ana Navarro, Maria Cardona. Thanks so much.

CARDONA: Thank you Carol.

Just minutes ago, I've got to pass this along to you, Senator John Kerry confirmed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as the next Secretary of State. They did that in a unanimous vote. The move clears the way for a vote by the full Senate which could happen as early as today.

This afternoon Wolf Blitzer conducts an interviewer with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. See it first in "THE SITUATION ROOM." CNN today 4:00 Eastern.

We'll be back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COSTELLO: I'm going to go out on a limb now. Just as many people will watch the Super Bowl for the commercials as for the game. For advertisers, it could be money well spent. Remember this ad from a few years ago --

It's actually the only one I remember from that year. This year companies like Volkswagen will spend about $4 million for 30 seconds of ad time. The goal -- to raise the bar ever higher.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Traveling along that looks on that were singing the longest happy --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys are three minutes late.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't be no cloud on a sunny day.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Respect, boss man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the power of German engineering.


COSTELLO: That's the new ad for this year's Super Bowl. Brian Steinberg is the television editor for "Advertising Age" magazine. Good morning.


COSTELLO: I'm good. I didn't like that as much as I liked the little kid in the Darth Vader outfit.

STEINBERG: Yes, it's getting a little bit of pushback this year. I think it's one of the early buzz things going on, whether or not the Volkswagen ad is up to par.

COSTELLO: It's tough. Like, I'm just curious, is there any way to know how much money that little kid in the Darth Vader outfit made for Volkswagen?

STEINBERG: You know it's a good question. Every year, this is kind of -- I think about return on investment. These things cost, you know, hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. And how much do you make back?

Each company has its own way of telling. Do they want, you know, promotion and brand recognition, do they want car sales, the want soda sales? There's a lot of different techniques and methods these guys use to figure things out.

COSTELLO: So when you compare the two Volkswagen ads, do they want different things?

STEINBERG: Well, you could argue that a few years back, Volkswagen hadn't been in the game before. They were kind of coming out of recession and probably wanted to get their brand out a lot more. So maybe the name value or people talking about the company was more important. Perhaps this year, a few years back, and I think a lot of foreign automakers are making big waves here in the U.S. Maybe they care more about test drive requests. And people buying cars.

Let's talk about sex in advertising because we know that certainly sells. It will be no different during the Super Bowl. Supermodel Kate Upton's Mercedes Benz ad is already generating controversy because some people say this is far too sexy for television. Although I can think of worse things -- actually, I mean, she's beautiful.

Does this work? I'm laughing as I ask it.

STEINBERG: The teaser ad might be too petty for television, but the ad probably will not be. The whole goal of the campaign is to get people talking about it and seeing it in advance. So you're probably seeing Kate Upton in an outfit that you might not see her on TV. Maybe it will be cut differently.

I mean CBS and all the other networks do push back on these commercials. They do kind of tell people, listen, you're showing too much butt crack in this plumber's advertisement. There are some things to worry about and be kind of considerate of. I suspect you're seeing a sexier version now. And then you'll see not buttoned down certainly but a more toned down ad comes on bowl game day.

COSTELLO: OK. So just a final question, do you watch -- as an adman, do you watch for the ads or the game?

STEINBERG: I watch for the ads. What can I tell you?

COSTELLO: I knew it. Brian Steinberg, television editor at the "Advertising Age". Thanks so much.

STEINBERG: Thank you.

COSTELLO: On the eve of the Super Bowl CNN is live in New Orleans with our take on the biggest sporting event in the country. What it means to the city, how it became such a cultural phenomenon and so much more. Join us for kickoff in New Orleans, the CNN-"Bleacher Report" special. Airs Saturday afternoon, 4:00 Eastern.


COSTELLO: 49 minutes past the hour. Time to check our top stories.

Four people facing charges for that deadly nightclub fire in Brazil. Police have arrested the club's two owners and two band members. They're also questioning several others. Mourners remembered all 231 victims by releasing white helium balloons into the air.

Back here at home, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hasn't even left the State Department or said if she might run again for president in 2016, but she already has a Super PAC ready to support her if she does. The group's called Ready for Hillary. It's already garnered nearly 50,000 Twitter followers.

So another sign the housing market is slowly bouncing back. A new report shows home prices in 20 major U.S. cities posted their biggest jump in six years. Prices are up more than 5 percent. A top economist at Barclays is even predicting another 6 percent to 7 percent rise in prices this year.


COSTELLO: All right. "Talk Back" question today: Obama's skeet shooting -- on target or telling?

This from Blake: "I'm keeping my AK and my AR. They're in a safe and I am responsible. It's my right. I will never register them or give them up. Obama can act like he likes skeet shooting all he wants. I like target shooting with my said weapons."

This from Deborah: "He's not using an assault rifle with a 100-round magazine."

This from Ian: "Obama was making an attempt to reach out to these folks. Of course he got his hand bitten as usual."

And this from Dave: "Please. Where is the proof? The only thing he's shooting is the Constitution. Show me the proof."

COSTELLO: Keep the conversation going, I'll be right back.


COSTELLO: Want more storage on your iPad? Apple is delivering for $799. The company announced today it's coming out with a 128-gigabyte version of the fourth generation iPad. The latest product rollout comes as the company faces fresh challenges under new leadership. Here's CNN's Dan Simon.


CROWD: Four, three, two, one --

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With its incredible sales and product buzz --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At long last --

SIMON: Apple is still the envy of practically every company. But stock declines amid growing competition has the tech industry wondering whether it's still relatively new CEO, Tim Cook, can keep Apple on top.

TIM COOK, CEO, APPLE: It's an amazing time at Apple. SIMON: Cook does not have the natural charisma and showman style of his predecessor, Steve Jobs. He concerns himself more with what's going on behind the scenes. He's almost universally regarded as a brilliant supply chain manager.

TIM BAJARIN, CREATIVE STRATEGIES: Tim clearly is more than capable of handling not only the operations but the business side of Apple.

SIMON: Long-time technology analyst Tim Bajarin says the critics are asking too much of Cook.

BAJARIN: What I'm hearing is that they want Apple to innovate faster. And that's really an unfair thing to do. If you look at the original iPhone, that was actually took four to five years to bring to market.

SIMON: If Jobs was the product visionary, Tim Cook is more executive. And since taking over nearly 18 months ago, he's put his stamp on the company by making Apple more charitable through matching employees' donations and by issuing Apple shareholders dividends. Something many felt should have happened long ago with the company's $100 billion- plus cash award.

In a bit of rare introspection Cook said this to NBC's Brian Williams when asked about the comparison to jobs.


COOK: One of the things he did for me that removed a gigantic burden that would have normally existed is he told me on a couple of occasions before he passed away to never question what he would have done. Never ask the question what Steve would do to just do what's right.


SIMON: Such as responding to critics and protesters who complain about long hours and human rights abuses at its Chinese supply factories. And sending inspectors to identify the problems.

Also for the first time in many years, Cook says the company, known for outsourcing its manufacturing, will begin making one of its Mac products in the U.S. If this suggests a kinder, gentler Apple, the must-have devices continue to roll out.

COOK: We've got some really cool stuff to show you.

SIMON: Nearly every single one of them has gotten a makeover under his watch. But Book has had his share of challenges, beginning with the Siri feature on iPhones.

SIRI: Here's the forecast for today --

SIMON: Too slow and undependable at times. Then there's maps skewered by users. It's gotten better but many regard Google's new app as being superior. Cook has also yet to deliver his own breakthrough product. And with competitors like Samsung setting their own sales records, cook now faces his first real test of leadership. Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.


COSTELLO: I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me today. CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with Ashleigh Banfield.