Return to Transcripts main page


14 Dead In Russia Blast; Michael Schumacker In Critical Condition; U.S. Egypt Leaders Speak; No Guns Allowed; Lawmakers Reach To Benghazi Report; Obamacare Enrolment Soars; Vending Machines To Display Calories; Big Box Office Weekend

Aired December 30, 2013 - 07:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. Ana Cabrera has some of today's top stories.

ANA CABRERA, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: And making news this morning, a suicide bombing on a bus is the second deadly terror attack in Russia in as many days. At least 14 people are dead a day after 17 others were killed in the same city at the rail station in the same city.

Diana Magnay joins us from Moscow with the latest on how these attacks could impact security for the upcoming Olympics, of course, in Sochi just six weeks away now -- Diana.

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. Well, Russian government officials are telling us that all necessary security team measures have been taken to make sure that Sochi and the Olympic games themselves are safe. But of course, after this twin bombings in which a total of 31 people were killed on Sunday and also in today's rush hour, many people are questioning that claim that Russian officials have said this will be the safest Olympics ever.

You have a very troubled restive reason very close to Sochi the north caucuses, especially the area Dagestan. That is of course, where the two suspects in the Boston bombings originated from and many are extremely concerned especially when they terrorists targeting successfully major hub cities like Volgograd in the region about 400 miles from Sochi that it is easy for them also to come closer and closer towards the Olympic venues themselves -- Ana.

CABRERA: All right, Diana Magnay, we appreciate that report. Of course, we have been talking about the security issues gearing up for the Olympics all morning long. Famed Formula One driver, Michael Schumaker, is in critical condition after suffering a severe head trauma during a skiing accident.

The 44-year-old fell hit and his head on a rock while back country skiing with his son in France. Schumaker was wearing a helmet when that incident happened on a difficult unmarked run that's reserved for top skiers. Doctors say it's still too early to get any sort of prognosis for his recovery, although, they do say the helmet likely saved his life. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has expressed concern about recent developments in Egypt to the country's army chief. In a phone call, the Pentagon says the two discussed the balance between security and freedom in Egypt's strained political climate. Egyptian authorities have also detained a group of journalists there they say met with the members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been labeled a terrorist group by the military just last week.

No guns allowed. That's the policy at country superstar, Toby Keith's restaurant in Virginia. House rule has some people up in arms. Some angry patrons took to social media to air out their grievances of the restaurant piles, some saying they plan to boycott the establishment. Now, Virginia is a gun friendly state where it is permissible for people to strap on a weapon and go into a bar or restaurant.

It was an unexpected Christmas guest for one Florida family to say the least, a black bear crashing into their Lake Mary home. At first the homeowner thought it was a burglar trying to break if. He was even in greater surprise. You saw the bear and amazingly wasn't too scared of the camera. He broke through the patio door, making a bee line for a large pot filled with turkey oil apparently. When the bear found no turkey inside, he turned around and walked right out.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: He was moving kind of slow. It looks like he had some turkey. It was kicking in.

BERMAN: Who would invite a bear over for Christmas, right?

PEREIRA: A lot of finger pointing. Nobody wants to take the blame.

BERMAN: What do you get a bear who already has everything? Thanks so much, Ana. Appreciate it.

It is time now for our political gut check. There is this new report out in the "New York Times" that deals with the 2012 attack in Benghazi and this has put some members of Congress now on the defensive and then of course, there is the question, could the tide had finally turned for the president on Obamacare?

The administration announced Sunday that over 1 million people have signed up for health care through the federal exchange. We are joining now to talk about all this with CNN political analyst and executive editor of "The Daily Beast," John Avlon. John, thank you so much for coming in.


BERMAN: An early happy new year.

AVLON: Absolutely.

BERMAN: Let's start with Benghazi because this report in the "New York Times," it is an impressive piece of journalism. It makes two big claims. It says, number one, al Qaeda was not behind the attacks in anyway in Benghazi and number two, that this anti-Islam film in some way was an inspiration for at least part of the attacks there. These are the two claims it made. Already you have members of Congress pushing back on this both Republicans and Democrats. It seems like this does not put any of the controversy to bed.

AVLON: No, but it does give folks in the Democratic side of the aisle a lot of cover because it re-enforces the administration's early story and just as importantly, it gives Hillary Clinton's supporters cover as she looks to a future run. This not being a critical report, the fact that Democrats and Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are pushing back and saying their assessment shows there was al Qaeda involvement. It shows that this is far from a settled issue.

BERMAN: You brought up Hillary Clinton there.


BERMAN: That is an interesting issue. You already have some people on the right suggesting the "New York Time's" is putting this out to provide cover for Hillary. I seriously doubt that the "New York Times" is doing this to provide cover for Hillary. But what opportunity does this grant her going forward? How much of an albatross was Benghazi and does this change the equation?

AVLON: Understand that around -- a great deal of the controversy surrounding Benghazi right now is a flanking move designed to depress Hillary Clinton in 2016. When ads were originally put out about Benghazi funded by Karl Rove, they focused on Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama. So to a large extent, the conspiracy theories and concerns about Benghazi are very much focused about trying to derail a possible Hillary Clinton candidacy.

BERMAN: There are real concerns. We see people have legitimate concerns and issues with what happened there.

AVLON: I am talking about the political aspect.

PEREIRA: All right, let's move to another topic that we want to get to you is Obamacare. December looks like it was a good month for sign-ups. The surge, over a million people have now signed up for the affordable care act. Do you think -- it looks now that they are on track to meet this goal, a bold prediction, 7 million by the end of March?

AVLON: Yes, there is a big gap between 1 million and 7 million. It is a significant milestone in that direction. So the administration after that, they planned a rollout. They say, look, we were able rally, get 1 million people up before the end of the year and those folks will be covered going forward.

That march to 7 million will be significant. Here's what we know about Romney care. The real surge of sign-ups happen before the penalties are about to kick in. That's March 31st. People responded. We're journalists. We focus the mind. So that's going to be the real thing to watch out for. Not just how these plans work in the initial rollout as we get closer to March, do they get closer to that 7 million, which is the mark they said needed to be in place for the markets to start working. PEREIRA: So here's the thing, will this surge and positive numbers and sign-ups and the individual exchanges sort of make us forget? We are revisionist history and forget that failed launch?

AVLON: It could very well. Look. People are going to be able to judge this rollout ultimately not on how they were introduced to it, but whether the insurance and plan works.

That's right. You want to him sauce. You don't want to watch the whole darn thing. Here's the point I think that is significant. Republicans made the rollout of Obamacare and the entire policy look like it was apocalyptic, the end of freedom.

That's a high bar when people go to the polls in November. Right now it is unpopular because of the botched rollout. You know, 11 months from now when people are going to the polls, will the result be better than this rhetoric?

BERMAN: It depends on the glitches still continue. Some people are having a hard time signing up. It affects over 1 million people in fact, long-term unemployment benefits, which were not extended. Congress has chosen not to extend them before the New Year. It did not come up as a part the bucket compromise. John, do you think there is any chance these will be reinstated in the New Year?

AVLON: It's got to get through the Republican House. That's a tall order. Here's the key thing 1.3 million people losing unemployment benefits still with this great gap between how the super-rich are recovering and the rest of the folks. The Republican Party needs to find out and put forward what is their agenda to deal with this? It's not simply enough to go back to boiler plate. There is 1.3 million at the height of the holiday season. That's a tough fact. Congress has to do something. That fact in the dividing government is a tough bridge to cross.

PEREIRA: Are you ready to roll in the New Year?

AVLON: Let's do it.

PEREIRA: All right, John Avlon, we appreciate having you here. Enjoy your last two days of 2013.

AVLON: I love it.

PEREIRA: Coming up next on NEW DAY, a new initiative will have calorie counting in many vending machines in the New Year. But what is the cost to you? We'll have that story coming up.

BERMAN: The holiday weekend was a big one at the Box Office. We'll tell you which movie about a hobbit took the top spot?

CABRERA: Which could that be, John?

BERMAN: We'll tell you all about this coming back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. We all know that moment, the middle of the afternoon where tummy grumbling. The vending machine full of snacks is calling your name. Starting next year, about 5 million vending machines nationwide will have to contain calorie information. This upgrade is not going to be cheap. Christine Romans is here breaking it all down for us.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I know. What will you do with that information? Will it change your behavior? The government thinks it will. I don't have. New FDA regulations go into effect early next year as a part of Obamacare. The new rules apply to 10,000 vending machine companies nationwide that operate 20 or more machines.

The result will be similar to calorie count menus in restaurants and vending machine boards that you see. Customers will see the calories next to their snack choice. Vending machine options include Lay's potato chips, 240 calories. Skittles 250 and my personal favorite Snickers. For three years I have Snickers every time, 250 calories. Yes, I'm trying to cut that.

The FDA hopes this will help consumers go for alternatives that will help you stick to your New Year's resolution, things like Baked Lay's. Fig Newtons, 190 calories, but they have fruit. Honey roasted peanuts, 160 calories. They are high in protein.

This program is expensive. The FDA estimates it will cost the industry about $25.8 million, maybe $24 million year after that. The industry's trade group says complying with the new law is going to be expensive for small companies with few employees and already low profit margins.

So they're not thrilled about it, but it is the law. Also they point out at 0.2 percent of obese adults, 0.2 percent ate 100 fewer calories a week. It would pay $24 million a year in annual health care costs. A few people eat a little less from the vending machine, what it saves society is apparently what the whole goal is here.

PEREIRA: How interesting. All of us could. Really, will you have all of that for breakfast?

BERMAN: I was thinking, I need all three for one.

ROMANS: It was interesting because I was talking to people online about this, this morning and they say this isn't a meal plan, it's an emergency.

PEREIRA: Yes stop gap measure.

ROMANS: You have worked too long, it's your only choice a. Lot of people online saying it will not change their behavior.

PEREIRA: It's a numbers game. You always tell us this. If you look at the numbers and you make the best choice.

ROMANS: The least calories. There is not a lot of demand for an Apple vending machine.

BERMAN: I do leak having the information there. At least you know what you are getting yourself into, even if you are thinking about it two seconds.

ROMANS: I never thought it was good for me.

BERMAN: All right, Jennifer Gray is in for Indra Petersons. Let's take a look at the forecast -- Jennifer.

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Guys, it is very cold out there especially in the north. We have wind chill advisories and warnings in place. Because it feels 20 to 30 degrees below zero. It's a dangerous cold where frost basis point can set in, in a matter of minutes. Minneapolis right now before the wind chill is 10 degrees below zero. Chicago you are in the single digits. It is 2 but feeling like 8 below zero and Washington, D.C. right now at 37 degrees is what it feels like.

We are going to see low temperatures stay chilly the next couple of days. In fact, the cold air will stay in the north. Not really going anywhere any time soon. You can see these peaks, that indicates the cold air. It will slowly slide to the east. New York will be at 34 degrees. Your high temperature on Thursday, but look at Friday, 17 and so that cold air is going to seep into the northeast t. Good news is temperatures will warm up a little bit as we head into the New Year.

PEREIRA: Take it easy, then.

GRAY: Yes.

PEREIRA: Thanks so much. Coming up next on NEW DAY, a sleeping giant suddenly comes to life with a frightening and dangerous roar. Folks living near this volcano in Central America are running for their lives fearful of what could be next.

BERMAN: Why Hollywood is celebrating after the biggest Box Office weekend of the year. Which point of view took home the most? The list of the winners and losers.


BERMAN: All right, welcome back, everyone. A bit of an unexpected scare in El Salvador, a volcano in San Miguel broke 37 years of silence when it erupted Sunday. It sent dark clouds of ash three miles into the sky and the thick cloud that enveloped the street we low. Thousands evacuated their homes and the international airport had to redirect flights to other countries including Guatemala. Officials are not sure if this volcano will erupt again. Sure sign, get out.

PEREIRA: You heard that voice it means Nischelle Turner is here. We'll talk holiday weekend Box Office. They got some of my money. "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" led the pack for the third week in a row "Frozen" a close second. We bring in Nischelle Turner with more. Lot of people go to the theaterr.

They got my money, too, 20 bucks, a 3D movie, "Walk of the Dinosaurs" educational told through a story. Thank you, john, for bringing in my movie. This was a good weekend for movies. What did you see?

CABRERA: I saw "American Hustle."

PEREIRA: "Wolf Of Wall Street."

CABRERA: I've heard that "Frozen" is really good.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: A lot of people, box office 10% this weekend over last year at this time. We didn't see the traditional adult movies do as well as some thought they would, "Wolf of Wall Street" is a very, very, very adult movie and three hours long "The Hobbit" the desolation of John Berman --

BERMAN: Smaug.

TURNER: Was number one at the Box Office. "Frozen" has been getting great reviews. People feel it's the best Disney movie they've seen in a very long time. So those two movies topped the Box Office, "Anchorman 2" a solid third. Will Ferrell was everywhere. The movie has made $80 million on a budget of $50,000. Take this with the first "Anchorman" it had a budget of $27 million and made $85 million so it's a little bit behind pace off of its predecessor but still doing fairly well.

PEREIRA: A pretty good year.

TURNER: There's been a couple of -- but for the most part we've seen a good return on movies that didn't cost that much, Lee Daniel's "The Butler" and did you see "where are the millers?" I saw that a couple weeks ago on a plane, this movie, really good. The budget $37 million, made $150 million at the Box Office and "Best Man Holiday" budget of $17 million, $70 million, so far at the Box Office.

CABRERA: Make sure to write those down if you're like me. We'll make you a list.

TURNER: The movie that will pass everything "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" made $390 million, and "Iron Man 3" made $400 million or so and it was out for four months. So it's going to eclipse that as the number one movie this year.

BERMAN: Jennifer Lawrence will amount to something.

TURNER: Think she's got a future?

BERMAN: Next up on NEW DAY live to Russia where a second suicide bomber blew up a bus killing over a dozen people, these attacks raising serious security concerns a few weeks in advance of the Olympics in Russia and raising questions are the Russian authorities prepared?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The rescue of people op. A strapped ship in an Antarctica because of blizzard conditions there. Is there a plan b? We'll have the latest for you.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think if we don't see one, an attempt on the Olympics I'd be very surprised.


PEREIRA: Breaking overnight terror before the games another suicide bombing in Russia, a dozen more dead, the Olympics just weeks away. We're live from Russia with the latest.

BERMAN: Battle over Benghazi, a new report says al Qaeda was not involved in the attack on the U.S. Consulate there, but now Republicans are fighting back. We are live with the latest.

PEREIRA: Mystery of the missing doctor, she's a medical school graduate missing for three weeks, but there are no videos this morning and investigators want to know who is the mystery man she's talking so affectionately to? Your NEW DAY continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

PERIERA: Do not adjust your sets, it is us, Michaela Pereira, alongside John Berman. Ana Cabrera is here with us this morning. It is the 30th day of December. We have two days left in the year. It is 8 a.m. East. Kate and Chris are off on much a deserved vacation.