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The Dope on Baseball; Three Weeks to Iowa; Interview with BALCO Founder Victor Conte

Aired December 13, 2007 - 09:00   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
I'm Tony Harris.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins.

Watch events come into the NEWSROOM live this Thursday, December 13th. Here is what's on the rundown.

Who doped? A baseball steroids report expected today on dozens of major leaguers today. I talk with one of the central figures in the scandal.

HARRIS: A million doses of a common childhood vaccine recalled. Should parents be alarmed?

COLLINS: Minutes ago, the Golden Globe nominations. Will they seal a front-runner for a wide-open Oscar race?

'Tis the season -- in the NEWSROOM.

Unfolding this morning, it could be Major League Baseball's biggest scandal in almost 100 years. We're just hours now from learning which stars are linked to steroid abuse.

CNN's Alina Cho is in New York now to set the stage for us this morning.

Good morning to you, Alina.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Heidi. Good morning.

This is going to be a massive document, said to be 300 pages. It was done over 21 months and cost millions of dollars.

The headline here is that the Mitchell Report will reportedly expose a "serious drug culture within baseball." MVPs, all-stars, Cy Young Award winners are said to be involved. And the report is also said to include documentation, including canceled checks, shipping slips and phone records.


LANCE WILLIAMS, "SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE": I think we'll learn the names of many more players who have used banned drugs because the drug use is more extensive than perhaps many fans believe. And I think it will dishearten fans who care about the cheating problem and the drug problem in baseball.


CHO: Now, reports say Mitchell will also call on Major League Baseball to outsource its drug testing program to an independent agency, one of the biggest problems. He'll also reportedly call for more transparency in drug testing like naming the actual drugs that players test positive for so they can't lie about it. And finally, reports say Mitchell will also call for classes of players on performance-enhancing drugs.

Now, you should know that it hasn't been easy for the former senator to get information for this report. Players have not been cooperative at all. So Mitchell has had to rely heavily on a former New York Mets clubhouse attendant. His name is Kirk Radomski, you see him there in the video. Radomski pleaded guilty earlier this year to dealing steroids to players and he agreed to talk to Mitchell as part of a plea agreement.

Now, Mitchell began his investigation, as many people know, after reports surfaced about the San Francisco-based lab BALCO and its connections to that man there, baseball star Barry Bonds. Bonds pleaded not guilty just last week on charges he lied to investigators about using steroids, but by all accounts, Heidi, this is a very big deal.

Mitchell will be holding a news conference in New York just about five hours from now at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and two and a half hours after that, Major League Baseball will hold its own news conference just about 10 blocks away.

Very big deal. Fans are really upset about this. And, of course, Major League Baseball has been taken to task for not doing something earlier.

COLLINS: Yes, that's right. And you know, we are going to be talking here, Alina, with the founder and president of BALCO Labs, Victor Conte. That will be coming up in just a few minutes right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Alina, thank you.

CHO: You bet.

HARRIS: So let's take a look at the steroids scandal whispers, as first emerged in the late 1990s as more and more hallowed records began to fall.

In September of 2002, baseball and its players reached an agreement for testing for steroids. A new stricter policy was implemented in 2005. The next spring, Major League Baseball announced Mitchell's investigation. Today's release of its findings come after a pivotal year. Barry Bonds became baseball's all-time homerun king, long rumored to be a steroids user. He was later indicted on charges of lying to a federal grand jury about steroid use.

The Mitchell report is scheduled for release at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and you can see it live on our Web site,, or tune into our sister network, CNN Headline News.

And just minutes from now, a major player in the steroids industry, he is out of prison and says he wants to clean up sports. Heidi speaks exclusively with Victor Conte coming up in minutes in the NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: The feds digging into the finances of the Reverend Al Sharpton now. A Sharpton spokeswoman confirm some of his associates have been issued subpoenas.

According to reports, the feds may be looking into Sharpton's 2004 presidential bid, his nonprofit civil rights group and his for- profit businesses. His lawyer tells "The New York Daily News" as many as 10 associates were subpoenaed, but not Sharpton himself. Sharpton is expected to hold a news conference next hour.

HARRIS: A vaccine alert for those of you with children. More than a million doses of a common childhood vaccine known as Hib being recalled. Drug maker Merck says they may be contaminated.

The recall involves all Merck Hib vaccines shipped since April. The shot is given to babies as ung young as 2 months old. It protects against meningitis, pneumonia and other infections.

If your little one has received one of the shots recently, officials say you should check for any rashes and contact your child's doctor with any concerns. The recall is expected to lead to a vaccine shortage.


HARRIS: OK. Three weeks left. Democrats battle in Iowa this afternoon on CNN. Your last chance to see them debate before the caucuses.

Jessica Yellin live from Des Moines with a preview.

Jessica, good to see you.

In light of some of the recent dustups between the Clinton and Obama campaigns, what are the challenges, Hillary Clinton in particular, is facing today?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Tony, Clinton is under enormous pressure to retake her lead here in Iowa at this last debate. She has to walk a careful tightrope here as she both tries to seem presidential and above the fray, and also carefully distinguish herself from Barack Obama without appearing to go too negative, which she is criticized for doing and which does not go over well with Iowa voters here.

Now, this comes as there is news of a new -- what the Obama campaign is calling a personal attack on Barack Obama from one of the Clinton campaign's New Hampshire co-chairs, Billy Shaheen (ph), who told "The Washington Post" that voters have to consider Obama's electability in a general election, and when they're thinking about that, they have to consider his admitted past drug use.

OBAMA: Now, Barack Obama has openly admitted in his books that he took marijuana and cocaine some 20 years ago. The Obama campaign is saying this is well known to voters, it's out there, and that it's not appropriate or it's not the kind of campaign the Clinton's promised to run when they said that they would stay above the fray. So there's a sense from the Obama campaign that this, as they say, wreaks of desperation.

Now, Billy Shaheen (ph), from the Clinton campaign has apologized for those remarks, said they were not condoned by the Clinton campaign, which, surprising, from a very well-organized, usually orchestrated campaign. So, as you can see, in light of this ongoing dustup, it's very tricky for Hillary Clinton to walk that tightrope and show that she is trying to distinguish herself from Barack Obama without being seen as making personal attacks on her. And her campaign thinks that too often she's unfairly accused of doing so when she's just trying to distinguish herself.

It's a real struggle for her today and an important day ahead -- Tony.

HARRIS: OK. Jessica Yellin for us in Des Moines, Iowa.

Jessica, great to see you. Thank you.

And you can see the Democratic debate from Iowa right here on CNN. The candidates face off live 2:00 to 4:00 Eastern today, on CNN, home of the best political team on television.



COLLINS: Steroids and baseball. A few hours from now, a major report is expected to blow the lid off the sport's biggest scandal in almost a century. Our guest helped supply illegal drugs to a number of athletes through his company, BALCO Labs. And now out of prison, Victor Conte says he wants to help clean up sports.

He is in New York and is joining us now with this exclusive interview.

Mr. Conte, thanks for being with us.

I want to go back to an interview that you gave "20/20" in 2004.

Put it on the screen for the people at home. You said this: "It's almost like what I'm here to tell you right now is that not only is there no Santa Claus, but there's no Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy either. In the world of sport -- I mean, the whole history of the Olympic games is just full of corruption, cover- up, performance-enhancing drug use -- it's not what the world thinks it is."

We know you met with Dick Pound yesterday. He's the chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency. You say now that you want to bring integrity back to the game and to the profession of sports.


VICTOR CONTE, BALCO FOUNDER: Well, I think there are some changes that can be made in terms of the reallocation of funds, and I talk specific steps that could be taken regarding testing more frequently the top 20 athletes in each event -- and I'm talking Olympic sport now -- as opposed to the mandate is to test the top 100 athletes two times a year. And my suggestion was to test the top 20 athletes 10 times a year.

And to do this specifically during the off-season, because this is when they do their strength training and use the anabolic steroids and develop the strength that serves them throughout the season. So it needs to be the higher-ranked athletes and more target testing during the off-season.

COLLINS: How well was that received?

CONTE: Very well received. He agrees with me completely.


Is it possible that -- there is a theory out there that says that there is drug testing in place. Of course, a lot of people say, look, the drug testing, specifically in baseball, is just an absolute joke. But is it possible that there is a testing in place that does test for what it needs to test for and people like the athletes, people like you, who have just gotten better at getting around that testing, finding the loopholes and cheating?

CONTE: Well, let me give you a specific example involving baseball. The WADA List, the World Anti-Doping Agency List, has 60 stimulants on that list. For whatever reason, baseball has chosen to put 30 of those stimulants on their list.

What that basically tells the players is that the front doors to the barn are closed, but the side doors and the back door are wide open. So if you choose to use steroids, don't use these 30, but it's OK to use these 30.

And the same thing applies in the NFL. Their list has 10. So they tell the players, don't use these 10 stimulants. But it's open season, green light to use the other 50.

So this is a message that is given to them, and they don't tell them to use them, but they do inform that they are not being tested for, which is basically the same thing.

COLLINS: I think there's a lot of people who find it very interesting that you did it meet with Dick Pound, especially given your past with basically the creation of these designer drugs, specifically The Clear that a lot of people are familiar with that does not show up in this drug testing.

Tell me why people should see you as a credible source for trying to, as you said, bring back the integrity to sports?

CONTE: Well, I was a part of this problem for a long period of time. And, obviously, there was some consequences for my behavior and bad decisions. And so I did the crime and I did the time, and I've decided now that I would like to be a part of a collective team that can help to come up with solutions for the problems that have existed for decades. So...

COLLINS: Why should anybody believe you?

CONTE: Well, I think that the fact that Dick Pound, after our meeting yesterday, said, in his opinion, that I was credible. I think that it's ironic, I will admit, that since I was the person that was able to so easily evade the system in place, that I know exactly where the loopholes are, and by me being able to define those and provide the dimensions of those loopholes, collectively, we can put together the peg to plug those holes.

COLLINS: Should the...

CONTE: I think that I am qualified to make a contribution.

COLLINS: OK. If that is the case, shouldn't Major League Baseball themselves, shouldn't they be responsible for some of that? What is the feeling? And what did Dick Pound have to say about their organization and their role in all of this, their responsibility for these players?

CONTE: Well, he expressed that he was disgusted with baseball in general. He thinks that there's not a real genuine effort being put forth.

As we talked about, you know, for you to allow the side doors and the back door of the barn to be completely open -- and the other thing that is really -- needs to be transparent is that in the verbiage, they say that the athletes, the baseball players, are subject to out- of-competition testing during the off-season, but there is really no testing there. If you look at the policy, what is the consequence for making yourself unavailable if there is a request for testing? Well, there is no consequence.

So it's really an inept program, and until they really step up and put an effective program in place, there will continue to be players that will be using performance-enhancing drugs.

COLLINS: Did you name names when you went and spoke with Dick Pound? Obviously, that is what we're all waiting for, whether you're a fan of the sport or not. At 2:00, when the Mitchell Report comes out, people want to know who (INAUDIBLE).

CONTE: I didn't name specific names. I talked about the techniques that were used by specific countries, and there are many countries in the world.

To give you an example, in 2004 at the Olympic games, there were 208 countries that participated. Only 24 of those countries had their own independent anti-doping federations in place. That meant that the other 180-some-odd, while they are training on their home soil -- and I'm talking about countries like the Ukraine and the Bahamas and Jamaica...


CONTE: ... and Trinidad, they have no testing federation. Therefore...


COLLINS: Yes, but isn't there a serious difference? And I'm not giving a pass to anybody, but isn't there a serious difference when we talk about the Olympics and "amateur sports," versus professional sports, professional athletes?

CONTE: Yes, there's a big difference.

COLLINS: OK. You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to take this opportunity and take that pause to go to a quick break, and we'd love to see you back in just a couple of minutes.

So, stick around, everybody. More with Victor Conte in just a moment.


COLLINS: We are joined once again now with the founder of BALCO Labs, founder and president, I should say, Victor Conte, in the heels -- or I should say proceeding this report that will be coming out.

A lot of people very interested in this, Victor. About 2:00 today, Senator George Mitchell is going to be releasing this report on steroids, going to be naming names.

And before we went to the break, we were talking about the difference between amateur athletes regarding the Olympics and professional athletes. I want to get to some of those professional athletes, because I know that you have a personal connection to some of those.

Barry Bonds and Marion Jones, were you surprised by the indictment of Barry Bonds knowing what you know?

CONTE: I was surprised. I was not surprised Marion Jones was charged, because I knew there was overwhelming amount of evidence against her. I know there is some evidence they have collected against Barry Bonds, but I just didn't think that they would indict because I didn't think they had enough credible evidence to reach the beyond a reasonable doubt standard.


CONTE: I was wrong.

COLLINS: I mean, that is saying a lot. I guess there's, you know, this whole issue of telling the truth and what you know and cheating, versus getting caught.

CONTE: Uh-huh.

COLLINS: So, that being said, what should happen? Should Barry Bonds' record stand?

CONTE: I think we have to wait and let the case play out. I have not seen all of the evidence. I've seen a lot of it, but I would like to see all of the evidence. I hope the case goes to trial.

COLLINS: What do you think about the fans? You had mentioned the fans just a few minutes ago, whether or not they are concerned about this.

Isn't it true that everybody just kind of wants to see a good competition? Do they really want to see those -- the high number of RBIs on the board? I mean, is it really important to have a high- scoring game, or is competition more important, an even playing field?

CONTE: I think that an even playing field, the competition is more important. They want to know that what they are seeing, there is a level of integrity there that the value of the experience will last.

COLLINS: So how do we ever go back? Will there ever be a chance for there to be no steroids, no performance-enhancing drugs in sports again?

CONTE: Let me start by talking about the upside and the downside of what I've already seen here that's been leaked out regarding the Mitchell Report. The upside is they're talking about having an independent agency conduct this drug testing program. I think that's great. I think having the fox guard the henhouse is a very bad idea.

COLLINS: Is it realistic?

CONTE: Well, I'll be able to tell you that shortly. The downside and very much so a deficiency of what I've heard already is that the Mitchell Report does not address the issue of the use of amphetamines or stimulants.

COLLINS: Exactly.

CONTE: Stimulants are equally as bad for you in terms of adverse health effects as steroids, and they just seem to be glossing over that at this point in time.

COLLINS: In fact, there is something interesting that I read that you said that I really don't get, and maybe you can clarify it for me. You actually think, is it not true, that it's OK for young athletes to use some of these performance-enhancing drugs but not for adults?

CONTE: No, it's the exact opposite. I don't think kids should have anything to do with any type of performance-enhancing drugs.

The types of statements that I've made, knowing that intense training causes a depletion in the circulation levels of testosterone, for example, so an elderly player, 25 years and older, let's say, if they're tested and they're found to be low in testosterone, I do not believe they should be allowed to take super-physiological levels, like 5,000 milligrams a week...

COLLINS: So limit it?

CONTE: ... a bodybuilder would take, but hormone replacement therapy to have normal levels. If the range is 300 to 1,000 and an athlete is tested and found to be 100, should they be allowed to bring it up to 400 and be within the normal range?


CONTE: I believe they should.

COLLINS: Last question. Why did you come on the show today?

CONTE: To help provide whatever input that I can to help create a more level playing field. And my primary purpose is to try to help for the young athletes of the future so they don't have to come up into a culture of rampant drug use.

COLLINS: Victor Conte, we appreciate your time here today, the president and founder of BALCO Labs.

Thank you, Victor.

CONTE: Thank you for having me.

HARRIS: Whoa, whoa.



D'ALESSIO: Do we have anybody at the airport? Because, you know, once this whole report comes out, there is probably going to be a lot of guys...

HARRIS: Don't start.

D'ALESSIO: ... boarding flights to head down to the Caribbean or something like that and shutting their phones off.

HARRIS: Right, exactly.

D'ALESSIO: That is my question right now. HARRIS: Like there...


D'ALESSIO: Do we have anybody at the airport? Yes.


Hey, look, so much in that. The Mitchell Report -- let me sort of get myself together here. The Mitchell report later today.


HARRIS: Why is this important?

D'ALESSIO: There's a number of factors. And I mean, for me and I know for a lot of people, hopefully it will answer a lot of questions. I mean, up until now, let's face it; this whole steroid era has been, you know, a lot of speculation. Gee, I wonder if this guy is doing this or was this power surge because of that? Well now, when this report comes out, which supposedly is going to name names, like we said, up to 80 names including MVPs and all-stars, you're going to have people go, ah-ha, I knew it.

That would explain this that would explain maybe why his numbers dropped once testing began. Then on the flip side, you're going to have people who are also going to go, you're kidding me. Why would he be doing this? If he was already going to be a hall of fame career?

HARRIS: Ray, no one cares. Look, baseball has been enjoying record growth. No one cares. Curious of the game here. The number crunches care. What is it? The number crunching, what is the key word there?

D' ALESSIO: Sexy. The whole thing is sexy, too. It is. And there's going to be a lot of questions, you know, Tony and a lot of people are like, OK, well, what impact is naming the players going to have? Well, it's going -- I think it's going to be up to Commissioner Bud Selig. I mean, is he going to decide to suspend these guys based on the evidence collected and absolved, what evidence are we talking about? Are we talking about paper trails? Are we talking about word of mouth from a convicted steroid dealer? And if he does suspend these players, how will the players union react?

HARRIS: Here's the other thing. Victor Conte said, just a moment ago to Heidi, that he was surprised that Barry Bonds was indicted.


HARRIS: You know, Victor Conte, he still claims -- and I don't know if he still claims it today, but he has in the past, that there was no Barry Bonds, quote/unquote, "Program at BALCO."

D' ALESSIO: Which when you look at the indictment, it mentions in there that they had this positive test on Barry Bonds, which was supposedly done by BALCO to monitor his -- and to make sure that none of this stuff was throwing up a red flag. So that was surprising.

HARRIS: Any quick thoughts on what this means? Does the sport survive this? You talk about the Black Sox scandal and baseball survived, obviously you talk about the strike in '94?

D' ALESSIO: '94, '95.

HARRIS: And then the game bounces back with the home run derby with McGuire and Sosa. Does the game survive these reports today?

D' ALESSIO: You just mentioned your own question. After the strike, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire, they saved the sport and we mentioned it earlier. You know, they are still setting attendance records despite all the allegations facing Barry Bonds. If I recall, people still packed the stands every night watching him in the home run chase.

HARRIS: What do they call the stat man?

D' ALESSIO: Stat boy?

HARRIS: Ray, see new a couple of hours. Appreciate it. Thanks.

OK. The Mitchell report again is scheduled for release at 2:00 p.m. eastern time and you can see it live on our website at or tune into our sister network, "CNN Headline News." And let's take a closer look at George Mitchell who spear-headed this investigation. He is a longtime U.S. senator, as you know, may know. The Democrat also served as the Senate's majority leader away from Capitol Hill. He was a key player in the Northern Ireland peace process. Today, Mitchell is listed as a Director of the Boston Red Sox. That stirred some questions about whether he could be impartial in naming names.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: OK. Let's get to Tampa now. We are getting some information in, I want to get, from our affiliate there at WFTS is reporting this horrible bus crash. Take a look. The video is very disturbing. Right now, here is what we know. This is from Hillsboro County Fire. In case you're familiar with the area. The driver of a car broadsided that school bus there. The driver is going to be air-lifted once they get him out of the vehicle. Not quite sure, if that is the individual or that is someone, looks like they're coming from the bus. So, difficult to tell from this angle or to be sure.

But once again, six people on the bus have also been injured including the driver of that school bus. Not certain of the severity of those injuries, just yet but once again, this is happening in Tampa. A car has broad-sided a school bus. We know that there are injuries involved, just not sure to the extent of those. We're going to keep our eye on it for you.

HARRIS: There, she is walking down the street. A stranger hands her a 50.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it was awesome. I'm like I'm going to make my way over to Wal-Mart and to the dollar store and maybe I'll get lucky.


HARRIS: A secret Santa and one town is guessing.


HARRIS: You know they don't call it "Hotlanta" for nothing around here, Heidi. Atlanta, now the bank robbery capital of the country? CNN's Rusty Dornin tells us why.


RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some have made headlines. There was the grandpa bank robber and of course the young woman dubbed the Barbie bandits but there were plenty more that didn't make the 6:00 news and scenes like these pushed the city known by some as "Hotlanta" to the nation' number one spot for bank robberies. 350 in 2007. A dubious distinction, fueled FBI officials say partly by the population explosion here.

STEVEN EMMETT, FBI: We would attribute a lot of that to the growth and the fact that the banking industry has matched that growth with the increase in bank branches throughout the area.

DORNIN: In some places just about every street corner sports a financial institution. According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the city has more banks in the metro area than the entire state of North Carolina. FBI officials say it's also part of an upward climb nationally in violent crime and during the holidays, robberies spike. Some speculate all of the economic stress this time of year may just push someone to don sunglasses, hat and gloves and play Bonnie and Clyde. But what most often drives a bank robber is drug addiction and that often makes for suspicious behavior.

EMMETT: He's either nervous because of what he is about to do or nervous because of the drug addiction. Those things might stand out to the observant bank employee. Not only what he is wearing, but his actions.

DORNIN: Banking officials told CNN, the whole idea is not to make a bad situation worse and employees are urged to get the robber out of the bank as soon as possible for the safety of everyone inside the bank. The FBI has warned banks nationwide to be vigilant this time of year and be on the lookout for customers dressed to rob.


HARRIS: Wait a minute, Rusty. Oh, she is with us on the set. Rusty, I'm looking at this guy, whoever, in this last picture here. There's a hat and you know, wears a glasses. Why not just have the bank managers, has a blanket policy, you can't come in here with a hat and the glasses? DORNIN: Well, they are trying that. Some banks are trying that in other states. But I talked to the Georgia Bankers Association President Joe Brannon and he said, we chose not to do that here in Atlanta, because there are so many people here who wear hats for religious reasons and you couldn't do that. Also, think about, it's winter, OK? People wear hats and they wear gloves and that sort of thing because of the weather.

HARRIS: But come on, the sunglasses. Come on, you know.

DORNIN: Now, the sunglasses might be over the top.

HARRIS: You don't isolate yourself.

DORNIN: Right.

HARRIS: All right and what about the ability to investigate all of these bank robbers? I can't imagine, the manpower is there.

DORNIN: Well, the FBI, of course used to do that but after 9/11, they've got a manpower problem and their focus really is terrorism. So, what they do is they keep track of all the cases, but they only really investigate the most egregious ones. Those are ones where somebody actually pulls a weapon or they start seeing that there is a serial bank robbery situation going on. But here in Atlanta, it's a problem because there is so many jurisdictions. A bank robber can go through several counties and several cities. You know, the question is, you know, how many.

HARRIS: And then, Rusty, you have a spectacle a few weeks ago, here where the police essentially shut down I-75 if you know this area, the major expressway in Atlanta and they shut it down and people were outraged.

DORNIN: Well, the reason they did that was apparently they put a GPS tracker inside the cash bag, OK, and so they thought they were going to catch the robber. They didn't catch him.

HARRIS: Right.

DORNIN: And of course now, these guys are learning, well just you know, if there is one in there, take it out and throw it out, so it doesn't track you.

HARRIS: Oh, boy. All right, Rusty Dornin with us here. Good to see you, Rusty, thanks.

COLLINS: OK. Let's go ahead and look at the opening bell. There you go. A couple of minutes ago. And you know, this is kind of like a sporting event itself, isn't it? Because, yesterday, up, down, all around. It ended up gaining 41 points yesterday. And now we're down 20, but at some point yesterday, tell me if I'm confused on this because it was very confusing, we were up 200, we were down, and then did we go up 300, anyway.

HARRIS: You got it. COLLINS: There you have it. 13451 for the Dow Jones industrial averages right now and we're going to be watching that as well as more follow up, if you will, for the fed rate cuts and wondering if there is going to be yet another one. Not to get greed or anything, but we'll take it.

Making the A-list. Hollywood's Golden Globe Nominations are out. Who is who in movies and TV.


HARRIS: Yes, Heidi.

COLLINS: Take out your bag.

HARRIS: I did this totally poorly.

HARRIS: No, no, no, there's no way. There's no way.

COLLINS: Roll the tape.

HARRIS: You are a highly skilled professional. There's no way you (INAUDIBLE).

COLLINS: No, I can't do it.

HARRIS: Here is what we're talking about. The podcast which is coming up a little later today. We finish up the NEWSROOM and then we structure the podcast to give you something a little different than we're able to work into, the action-packed three hours of the NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: It wasn't even yesterday. It was the day before.

HARRIS: Oh, it was? OK, got you. All right. So, that is what we do. And then, we make it available to you online. What you do is you go to and then you download the daily NEWSROOM podcast available to you 24/7. Do it today. Don't miss it. Fun stuff coming into the NEWSROOM all the time. You'll see it in the podcast, the number one podcast. I think we're beating Anderson's podcast.

COLLINS: Oh, absolutely. No question about it.

HARRIS: So, do that today to keep us number one.

COLLINS: I'm not over it. It was really bad.

HARRIS: No, it wasn't.

COLLINS: Anyway. So, here is the deal. Nice to be nominated, isn't it? Contenders for Hollywood's Golden Globe Awards revealed just about an hour ago. So, entertainment correspondent Brooke Anderson has all the details for us in Los Angeles this morning. Who is getting the buzz? I think I heard quite a bit about "Atonement"? Am I right? BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: "Atonement" is the leading nominee this morning. You're right about that, Heidi. But the main story I got from the nominations, and you have to remember the Golden Globe honors in 25 different categories, at least five nominees in each category.

The main story I got was tremendous star power here. I'm talking Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks both honored for "Charlie Wilson's War." Also, Angelina Jolie is up for best actress in a drama for "Mighty Heart." Along with Jodie Foster for "The Brave One." Cate Blanchett in "Elizabeth: The Gold Age." Blanchett, also nominated in the supporting category for "I'm Not There." In that film, she actually plays Bob Dylan.

Over in the best actor in a drama, you've got Denzel Washington. Talk about star power in "American Gangster." Alongside George Clooney for "Michael Claytons", Daniel Day Lewis for "There will be blood." Now, a lot of these nominations, individual and otherwise for the films as well, were a little bit expected because they've already been receiving a lot of critical acclaim, many critic circles around the country including Los Angeles, Boston, New York and D.C. and The National Board of Review have already recognized a lot of these people. So, we did expect a number of these people's names to be called.

Now, speaking of the movies, a few of the notable films up for best drama include "Michael Claytons," "No Country For Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood." On the more upbeat side, the Golden Globes, you remember, divides its categories into drama on one side and musical or comedy on the other. So, in that musical or comedy category, you've got "Hair Spray," "Juno," "Sweeney Todd," and I want to note "Juno" because it could be this year's "Little Miss Sunshine." It's fresh, it's witty, it's stars new comer Ellen page. He also received an individual nomination. I love this film as did, obviously, the Hollywood more impress which determines the nominees.

Over on the television side, I have to say that things have changed dramatically there. Not one "Desperate Housewives" was nominated. "Lost" was left out, as was "Heroes," but "Grey's Anatomy" a familiar name was nominated for best drama, as was "House." And "30 Rock" is up for best comedy. Now, Heidi, you both, you and Tony both know that we are in the sixth week of the Writers Guild strike. So, the big question here today is how will that affect the Golden Globes and it could have a tremendous impact.

One potential wrinkle is that they need writers. The Globes need writers, two or three to write the broadcast. So, will they be able to hire writers? Will the guild give them a waiver? Also, will the stars, presenters and nominees cross picket lines if the pickets are raised here for the Golden Globes. It could be a conflict of conscious. We'll have to see what happens. January 13th is when the Golden Globe Awards will be handed out.

COLLINS: Wow, there's a lot going on, right?

ANDERSON: A lot going on. COLLINS: Some of my favorite shows just didn't get the nod. That's all right. "Grey's Anatomy" I'm still there. I'm with you. OK, Brooke Anderson, thank you.

HARRIS: Wow. High wire act. How did this work out for the driver of this car? We're going to keep you in suspension?


COLLINS: Rutland, Vermont has 17,000 residents and one secret Santa. Someone is handing out $50 dollar bills. Mary Moran (ph) of affiliate WMUR has a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't be screaming or yelling or something.

MARY MORAN (ph), AFFILIATE WMUR: Outside the dollar tree in Rutland is much more than wrapping paper and glistening decoration.

PAT PERRINE, SHOPPER: That's the spirit of Christmas, I think. You now, blessing people.

MORAN(ph): There is a sense of mystery in the city's downtown. Sparked by an unknown man who has been walking up to people handing them envelopes and then walking the way, inside, $50.

JENN SPALLIERI, SHOPPER: Yes, it was awesome. I'm like, I'm going to make my way over to Wal-Mart and to the Dollar Store and maybe I'll get lucky.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are people who deserve to, you know, have a secret Santa and get something.

MORAN (ph): Santa Claus sent a letter to the Rutland herald. He says he will give out more than a dozen anonymous gifts up to $50 each and he says he chooses people pretty much at random.

RICHARD KACHMAR, SHOPPER: I heard that Donald Trump gave someone waitress a $10,000 tip like last week. But now, I never heard anybody giving out any money. So I think, it's cool. If the guy is genuine and giving out money to people, I'm all for it.

MORAN (ph): No, it doesn't appear to be the Donald sharing the holiday spirit at Rutland. The secret Santa said, I am not one of great means but adequate blessings and good fortune. And keeping with the situation, this is my holiday gift to myself. He said he wishes to provide common comforts to those in need.

TOM BOSWELL, SHOPPER: I think it's absolutely fabulous that we have somebody that do that, give back to the community. I've been an anonymous Santa Claus myself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I could do it, I would do it, because I know many families this year that are really having a hard time. MORAN (ph): Who their Secret Santa is will likely remain a mystery while many benefit from his good wishes. In Rutland, Vermont, Mary Moran (ph) WMUR News 9.


HARRIS: Health alert to tell you about, an important childhood vaccine recalled. Find out what it means for your little one.


HARRIS: Well, coming up at the top of the hour right here in the CNN NEWSROOM. He found a fortune hidden inside a bathroom wall.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought I was going to pass out.


HARRIS: Well, he wants to keep the cash. Oops. It's not his house.

COLLINS: But first, if you have joint pain while exercising, do not ignore it in this morning's special series. Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains why you need to pay attention to those pains, as you get older.



DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Calling 49- year-old Nyetta Nichols competitive is probably an understatement.

NYETTA NICHOLS, TENNIS PLAYER: I get so intense. I love, I love the sport. I love it. I love it.

GUPTA: Her ground strokes, well, they are improving but her joints are suffering from something called overuse injuries.

DR. NICHOLS DINUBILE, ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON: They are the ones that build up overtime from running, jumping, overhead activity like tennis serve. Repetitive activity, over time, that the body cannot adapt or adjust to, the body begins to break down.

GUPTA: The result -- small tears called micro damage in the joints. Those tears cause inflammation like tendonitis or bursitis or even stress fractures. In your 30s, overuse may not be a factor yet. But improper technique is a recipe for problems.

NICHOLS: The little things that I did wrong, and then all of a sudden, you just move and that knee says huh-uh. Not like that.

GUPTA: Leave that technique uncorrected and that micro damage builds. Spelling worse injuries in the 40s and 50s. DINUBILE: Like those gray hairs and wrinkles, we are -- our collagen which is the building blocks of our tendons and ligaments and so on, they are not quite as elastic as they used to be and you get these micro tears. The circulation isn't as good and these parts become vulnerable.

GUPTA: For minor pain, over-the-counter pain medication may work but if the pain is persistent or last more than a day, don't ignore it. Go see your doctor.

DINUBILE: Number one, they can get worse and or they can turn into a bigger problem that needs surgery and, number two, you're not going to perform as well and you're not going to be comfortable and enjoy the activities.

GUPTA: So, how do you avoid overuse injuries in the first place? Spend more time warming up before you play. Ice down afterwards. And if your technique isn't great, get a coach.

DINUBILE: Don't wait till it gets to be a bigger problem because many of these do.

WILLIS: Nichols has joint problems. Still, she's determined to keep playing.

NICHOLS: I want to play until I just can't do it anymore.

WILLIS: Addressing those overuse injuries is the first step. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.