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Seven CIA Agents Killed in Suicide Bombing; Visa Loophole; New Year Countdown; Year in Scandals

Aired December 31, 2009 - 20:00   ET



KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, the CIA under fire and under attack. Seven agents killed in Afghanistan at the hands of a suicide bomber. The agency says, "Revenge is coming."

And President Obama demanding answers; now getting some. How was security so badly breached? A jetliner almost blown out of the sky. Can the Intel holes be plugged?

Also -- the Big Apple filling up for the big New Year's Eve bash. A million partygoers expected to hit Times Square; security, a major concern. New York's finest have been beefed up. The Annual Ball Drop just a few hours away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN TONIGHT live from Atlanta. Here again, John Roberts and Kyra Phillips.

PHILLIPS: And good evening everyone. Thanks so much for joining us. I'm Kyra Phillips.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Roberts. A Happy New Year to all of you. We're going to have complete coverage tonight of all of the celebrations all around the world.

PHILLIPS: And we're going to count down to our special live coverage from Times Square as we ring in the New Year all together.

ROBERTS: But we begin tonight with serious questions being asked about security in Afghanistan. The CIA is vowing revenge, after seven of its officers were killed in a suicide bombing in a military installation there. The Taliban is claiming responsibility for the attack.

Chris Lawrence reports now on one of the deadliest days in the history of the CIA.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): CNN has learned a father of three children was one of the Americans killed in Afghanistan. Harold Brown died in Wednesday's suicide bombing. Unlike their military counterparts, most CIA officers serve in the shadows, their names unknown to many Americans. Some analyze intelligence. Others recruit Afghans to the American side. Now seven are dead, six wounded and a U.S. intelligence official is promising revenge. Quote, "This attack will be avenged through successful, aggressive counterterrorism operations."

On Wednesday, a single suicide bomber got on to this American base in eastern Afghanistan. A U.S. official described it as a crucial base, where the CIA monitored the Pakistani border, and conducted intelligence operations.

FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Even going back as far as 2004, Khost was a very active forward operating base because of its proximity to the tribal areas of Pakistan.

LAWRENCE: CNN contributor Fran Townsend visited the base as President Bush's Homeland Security Adviser. She says it was targeted because it's not a military base.

TOWNSEND: I believe that this was a very deliberate strategy on the part of the Taliban to push back on President Obama's strategy to increase the number of civilians and increase the civilian component.

LAWRENCE: President Obama recently announced a civilian surge to train more forces and improve living conditions in Afghanistan. Thursday he wrote a letter to all CIA workers, honoring those who died and telling others, quote, "Your triumphs and even your names may be unknown to your fellow Americans, but your service is deeply appreciated."

(on camera): It's not only a personal loss for the officers' families, but the U.S. loses their expertise in that part of Afghanistan. And if this bomber was wearing an Afghan Army uniform, investigators will have to determine whether it was stolen or even worse, whether this was an Afghan soldier secretly working for the Taliban.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, the Pentagon.


PHILLIPS: And some information coming in to CNN just now on that failed Christmas Day airline bombing. This just in to CNN, a U.S. terrorism official say that there are indications that the suspect, Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was in direct contact with Anwar al-Awlaki, he's that radical Imam in Yemen with al Qaeda ties. He's also a U.S. citizen.

No word yet on how involved al-Awlaki was in that plot. Officials have also been looking into his connection to the Fort Hood massacre in November.

President Obama getting his first look at a report on the intelligence failures that led to the attempted Christmas Day airline bombing. He's blaming the colossal security breach on systematic failures. The president, of course, still vacationing in Hawaii and has ordered a complete review of the nation's anti-terrorism policies.

Ed Henry in Honolulu with the latest -- Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, you're right, the president, once again, interrupting his vacation, you're going to see it from this photo released by the White House. He was on the phone this morning, secure calls with John Brennan, his Homeland Security adviser as well as Janet Napolitano, his Homeland Security secretary. Getting some preliminary information on these reviews he ordered, the deadline is today for these agencies to get in and tell him what went wrong.

We're learning from White House aides that a couple of key pieces of information are coming to the president in these reviews. Number one, that there needs to be an overhaul, a dramatic one of this so-called terror watch list, that basically this suspect probably should have been on a no-fly list but for some reasons based on the current system, he was not elevated to that.

Number two, we're also picking up that it's very clear the CIA had some information about this suspect's radical ties but did not necessarily share that information with other intelligence agencies. Sort of a pre-9/11 mentality that White House officials are saying this president just will not tolerate.

Finally, as well, we're told that next Tuesday the president, once he returns to Washington, is going to go into the White House situation room with some of these leaders: the head of CIA, Leon Panetta; the head and the director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair and others. Potentially call some of these officials on the carpet for what went wrong but more importantly figure out what they've learned to try to keep the American people more secure.

In fact, today we're learning some new information from the Homeland Security Department. They're basically dispatching some of their top aides to airports all around the world, Asia, Africa, Europe, other places, to try and make sure they coordinate better for these U.S.- bound flights to make sure that in Europe, for example, the screening is just as good as it's supposed to be in the United States.

We're also told that the TSA, the Transportation Security Administration, is keeping some of that beefed up security the president ordered after the Christmas Day attempted terror attacks: more canines, more special screenings, et cetera. They're saying they're not doing that because of new intelligence but in an abundance of caution -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Ed Henry, live from Honolulu, Ed, thanks.

ROBERTS: You can expect even tighter airport security, as we head into the New Year. That will mean more air marshals, more K-9 teams and rigorous screening of passengers coming into the United States.

And as Jill Dougherty reports now the bombing attempt a week ago has already caused some changes in the way that the U.S. embassies overseas deal with suspicious people.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One key fact about the Christmas Day bombing suspect is that he had a U.S. visa, allowing him to board a plane to America at any time. But that crucial detail was never included in a cable about him, sent to the National Counterterrorism Center in Washington.

Now, CNN has learned the State Department is ordering American embassies around the world to change their procedures. Any time embassies send so-called Visas VIPER Cables, with information about suspicious individuals, they must answer the question does that person have a U.S. visa? Starting now, that will be required.

Information that the bombing suspect did have a visa was available in government databases, but someone would have to be worried enough about him to search for it.

In another attempt to shut down loopholes the State Department is considering automatic notification of airlines when someone's U.S. visa has been revoked. Right now, department staff may or may not notify an airline of that fact.

Congress, too, is clamoring for a quicker trigger to deny more visas and put more people on watch lists. Current standards require reasonable suspicion based on facts that someone is or is suspected to be engaged in terrorism-related conduct. Mere guesses or hunches are not enough.

Senator Diane Feinstein says, that is "too restrictive and should be changed". She wants to include "anyone who is reasonably believed to affiliated with, part of, or acting on behalf of a terrorist organization".

(On camera): So under rules proposed by Senator Feinstein, could this suspect have been put on a no-fly list?

In theory, yes, because he allegedly was affiliated with extremist organizations, but that in itself raises issues of how to balance privacy with a need for security. And we'll be hearing a lot more about that when the Senate begins hearings on this attempted terror attack beginning January 21st.

Jill Dougherty, CNN, Washington.


ROBERTS: And here at home there's tight security in Times Square in New York City for tonight's celebrations; final preparations for the famous ball dropper underway.

PHILLIPS: Thousands of uniformed and plainclothes police officers on duty tonight: backpacks, alcohol, not allowed.

CNN's Don Lemon in the heart of Times Square; no alcohol, no backpack but a microphone and a really cool hat.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: I didn't realize you guys were coming to me. I was going to take the hat off, Kyra. Oh, my gosh.

PHILLIPS: Come on.

LEMON: But anyway it's -- you know what?

PHILLIPS: I like Elmer Fudd.

PHILLIPS: Listen, only you would appreciate this, because, yes you know how cold it gets here, right?

But listen now, seriously, it's freezing rain and as you can see it it's like sleet that's happening here right now. And they're starting to -- they're rehearsing right now.

So I'm going to talk to you a little bit about security. But as we did earlier in the 7:00 shot, look how beautiful this is across most of the world as they call it and about a million people are even more. Check this out, I'm going up to that ball that you were talking to Poppy about a little bit.

Look at that, beautiful. And everybody has got like all of the info about what this is. A million people here, the ball weighs 11,875 pounds; 2,600 crystals, triangular pattern, 32,000 L.E.D. lights. And guess what? I'm your new trivia guy. Because I'm told that this is a greener ball, right? So this ball only burns as much energy as your oven does in one hour, you used to see a lot more than that. So any way there you go, there is all the information about that.

We were talking about the police presence here. Police will only say, the police commissioner Ray Kelly of New York will only say a robust presence of police officers here tonight, including uniformed, non- uniformed officers. They're going to be cracking down on those quality of life crimes as well.

We talk a lot about terrorism but we forget about things like pick pockets and people are being mugged and things stolen as well. They've also had radar detection devices, some of them small -- small enough to fit on police officers' belt buckle so they can detect radiation in the crowd or what have you.

Also the FAA restricting air traffic over New York City, so only police helicopters and media helicopters and even those are equipped with infrared cameras and also night vision cameras as well.

Everything is closed off here. Most of the garages you can't get into. Traffic here in and out of Times Square, can't do it. Once people come in here they go into these pens, these pens you know those metal barricades, Kyra and John and then, you're stuck there. If you go to the bathroom, if you leave, you can't get back in. You have to go back through security.

As you said no backpacks; they do a body check. It's like going through the airport. Now, it may be even, may be a little bit more brisk search than that.

So it's a very interesting night here. I think it's, you know, it's going to go off without a hitch. We're hoping that nothing happens, but police here definitely say they have it under control.

Kyra, I know, John, I know you guys know this, there we go. The old hand warmers I'm going to be using later. I've got the old toe warmers here. I've got my gloves, two pairs of long Johns and of course, my Elmer Fudd hat that ties.

PHILLIPS: That's the best part. Hey, you've got to do what you've got to do.

LEMON: There you go.

PHILLIPS: Yes and you're in the best place in the country right now. That's right. We won't talk about the rest of the (INAUDIBLE).

LEMON: And Happy New Year to both of you.

ROBERTS: Yes, his mother made a good impression. That's heat you lose through your head.

PHILLIPS: That's right.

ROBERTS: The new greener ball burns as much as your oven. Do you have any idea how much electricity the oven burns in an hour?

PHILLIPS: Yes, because I cook. Maybe we ought to get you a little more in the kitchen there, pal. Obviously Don's mom did a good job with him. Anyway...

ROBERTS: We'll have to check on how much electricity the oven burns.

Well, people in Sydney, Paris and other European cities are already well in through the New Year. Josh Levs has got more on New Year celebrations around the world, minus the really cool hat.

Hey, Josh.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I don't know. I want one. Is it bad that I would rather be here looking at all these celebrations around the world than freezing in the middle of Times Square?

ROBERTS: No, I think it's perfectly reasonable.

LEVS: No kidding. I'm glad that Don's got it under control though.

So here's what we're going to do. I'm going to take you on a tour around the world. Some of the coolest, most amazing celebrations we've seeing throughout the day.

I want to start off with what we're out of Paris today. Let's just take a look at this and you're going to see this image of the Eiffel Tower. And what's really interesting there, is they put together this massive light show using the Eiffel Tower for New Year's because it's not only New Year's, it's also the 120th anniversary of the existence of the Eiffel Tower; so lots of people coming around to check out those lights. Very cool.

Now we have some sound for you. Let's move our way over to Copenhagen. Listen to this.




LEVS: Great stuff. You can hear the revelers there. And let's keep looking at it. What this is, is City Hall Square where a lot of people pack in every year.

And it's interesting because they have all these fireworks there. And then basing on what I've been reading, at end of it you find that people all over the city start firing off these fireworks in different directions but generally towards City Square -- that City Hall Square. So what you will find is that people need to be careful.

Next one here, Moscow; take a look at this. Really beautiful. We're seeing Red Square there and St. Basil's Cathedral obviously. Well- known. Beautiful fireworks. So many people turned out there.

I cannot end the day without going back to the single, best fireworks display around the world and that's this one out of Sydney. Listen to the music. Come on. It is good, isn't it.




LEVS: Of course it's going to be a good night. You got to love any song that says Mazel Tov in the middle of it. This one is the biggest in the entire world. Come on. Like I wasn't going to mention that?


ROBERTS: Jump in the car, Mazel tov. I'll tell you, that is going to be the song of 2009 as we go into 2010.

PHILLIPS: It's a great party song, don't you think?

LEVS: Absolutely. What better song to celebrate the night. You know?

ROBERTS: Exactly.


ROBERTS: It's also going to be the theme song for a new movie coming up. Was it the Tina Fey/Steve Carrell movie I think?

PHILLIPS: Oh yes. Actually yes, I saw the trailer to that, you're right.

ROBERTS: It's like a good film. Stay with us here on CNN. Our special New Year's Eve coverage continues throughout the night. Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin will ring in the New Year with coverage beginning at 11:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Send us your New Year's Eve wishes; text them to AC360. Standard text rates apply, of course or find us on twitter @Andersoncooper.

PHILLIPS: Also still ahead. Tiger Woods may be the biggest name to fall to scandal in 2009 but there were lots more.

We're going to look back at some of most notorious scandals of the year.

And we'll also look back at the year of the great recession. It may be over, but not for millions of Americans who are still out of work.


ROBERTS: 2009 was a fine year, if you enjoy a good scandal from octo- mom to balloon boy to Tiger Woods. It seems like not a week went by without celebrities and unknowns stepping into the kind of muck that destroys reputations.

Louise Schiavone takes us through the year in scandal.


LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You know who they are because we can't stop talking about them: Tiger Woods, David Letterman, Jon and Kate, and many more. For them, the year didn't exactly end the way it was supposed to.

The predictable world of success upon success came to a shocking end Thanksgiving night for golf superstar Tiger Woods.

911 OPERATOR: Are you able to tell if he's breathing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No I can't tell right now.

SCHIAVONE: Entangled in romantic escapades outside his marriage.

TIGER WOODS, PRO GOLFER: Hey, it's Tiger. I need you to do me a huge favor. Can you please take your name off your phone? My wife went through my phone and may be calling you.

SCHIAVONE: Woods lost millions in commercial endorsements, and proved that not all publicity is good publicity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Earlier today I had an unfortunate incident with my golf clubs.

SCHIAVONE: Other luminaries pierced by Cupid's devilish arrows: late night talk host David Letterman.

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": I have had sex with women who work for me on this show.

SCHIAVONE: Potential presidential prospects, Senator John Ensign, a Nevada Republican involved with a staff.

SEN. JOHN ENSIGN (R), NEVADA: Last year I had an affair. I violated the vows of my marriage.

SCHIAVONE: And the Republican governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, whose dalliance came to light while supposedly on the Appalachian Trial when he was actually in South America.

GOV. MARK SANFORD (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I've been unfaithful to my wife.

SCHIAVONE (on camera): ... were transfixed by their larger than life personas and mesmerized by their foibles. We start out wishing we could be them and end up glad that we're not.

(voice-over): The desperate end of the king of pop linked to, of all things, anesthesia.

PARIS JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S DAUGHTER: I just wanted to say I love him so much.

SCHIAVONE: The tragic transformation of a pop music A-list couple to battered woman and her attacker.

2009 was a tough year for the wannabes seeking fame through reality TV. Jon and Kate had eight children and a huge cable contract but it wasn't enough to keep the marriage together.

The Heene family of Colorado played the media like a violin when they falsely claimed to have lost their son in a flying weather balloon but have actually faced jail time and fines when exposed by the same boy and the same media.

FALCON HEENE, BALLOON BOY: We did this for a show.

SCHIAVONE: And in a bid for reality show fame, a couple from Northern Virginia's hunt country crashed a White House state dinner with plenty of embarrassment to go around.

But sometimes there are happy endings, despite the messy beginnings. This was not one of Kanye West's best moments.

KANYE WEST, SINGER: Taylor, I'm really happy for you. I'm going to let you finish but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time.

SCHIAVONE: The pop princesses famous for meltdowns and legal problems in recent years' past: Britney, Lindsay, Paris had a pretty good year in 2009. But make no mistake we'll keep an eye on them and all the others in 2010. It's only human nature.

Louise Schiavone for CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ROBERTS: Wow. "People" magazine senior editor David Caplan joins us now with more on 2009 scandals and the year in pop culture.

I'll tell you David, when you look at it altogether, like Louise put it, 2009 was quite a year. What was the standout scandal for you?

DAVID CAPLAN, SENIOR EDITOR, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: I think Tiger Woods really has been a really standout scandal because it really took a lot of people by surprise. Unlike a lot of athletes out there Tiger Woods actually had a clean image. So for him to have sort of you know -- not just infidelity with one other woman, but 14 women, that sort of really exacerbated it.

And we really saw that it wasn't just -- it really had all of the ingredients of a great scandal. It involved sex. It involved money. It involved sort of very secret deals. And of course he lost all these endorsement deals so it also involved a huge amount of money.

PHILLIPS: You know what David? Let's just put it in perspective here. We see everybody else's issues. We see all the cheaters. We see the scandals. It sure makes us feel a lot better about ourselves.

CAPLAN: It definitely does.

You see somebody like that and you see, you know, Elin, his wife who is gorgeous. Everyone's like what is he doing?

But again, you know, people say it's common with athletes, but 14 women, so it really does put things in perspective.

ROBERTS: It's kind of like watching Jerry Springer. You watch Jerry Springer because you say, thank God that's not my life.

CAPLAN: Exactly.

PHILLIPS: Right. And you say it so trashy but you still want to watch.

ROBERTS: What about Michael Jackson though? That was a huge story, as well. And...

PHILLIPS: He was an icon.

ROBERTS: And in the initial going you thought that it was all Michael Jackson's fault. That was the story that seemed to be emerging. And then we find out that there were other factors involved and the whole thing might have been just some huge, tragic accident.

CAPLAN: Yes, actually you know, when Michael Jackson died there was this huge obviously outpouring. He was a great icon. But what it did, it really opened up this Pandora's Box into Michael's life. And we saw exactly that there these sort of enablers around him; whether it was physicians or sort of friends, associates, family members who sort of knew that he was battling that he had drug issues but they turned a blind eye. And you know specifically, it really put a focus on these sort of celebrity doctors in Los Angeles who prescribe pills and there's not really much monitoring of what they're doing. And there was so much sort of interest in Michael Jackson leading up to his death because he was going to do those concerts in London. There were rumors he was bankrupt. So it really sort of -- really just put so much -- shed a light on what his life was really like.

PHILLIPS: You know, David, there's definitely been a shift in pop culture. These reality shows didn't exist, you know, when we were growing up and they're a hot thing now. Why is that?

CAPLAN: Reality shows, people love them because, in theory, people think they're unscripted, so it's sort of it's real. For many people, reality TV stars are almost more relatable. Whether it's sort of the women from the Hills or the Kardashians or there's so many of these shows people relate to them.

And it really -- you know it's not even just really those sort of MTV- type of characters. You're seeing the Heenes from Colorado, they're just -- people think they're quote, "real", they're relatable. But we all know they're not.

And also, there's also really an economic reason. These reality TV shows are actually cheaper to produce than traditional TV shows for studios and networks since they don't have to hire writers and so forth. So given the current economic climate it's a very feasible option.

ROBERTS: But David, you have to wonder though, to some degree, what the reality show is doing to America because if you take the Heenes as a case in point, the entire farce, the facade that was built around that entire family, and you've got children involved here who are playing into the whole thing as well, so what -- what potentially...

PHILLIPS: It's not healthy.

ROBERTS: ... are reality shows doing to the fabric of American society?

CAPLAN: You know, absolutely. What reality shows have really done they've sort of opened up this area that people who are seeking fame they want to get themselves out there. It's allowing them to really sort of exploit this notion of celebrity, that they figure -- and they can do sort of outrageous things because really that's what gets attention. And that's what many reality TV shows are based on, drama.

So you do see people whether it's not necessarily directly breaking the law acting completely out of control. You know, many times when you see these reality TV stars acting out in Los Angeles, at clubs, there's a camera nearby. There's a reason they want the attention for it.

PHILLIPS: David Caplan thanks for talking with us. Happy New Year.

CAPLAN: Thank you. Happy New Year guys. ROBERTS: All right.

PHILLIPS: All right.

Coming up, what words should be banned this year? Well, we're going to tell you, when we come back. You might be surprised.

And throngs of people filling up Times Square, waiting for the stroke of 12:00 to bring on the New Year. We're there live.


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. We're counting down to 2010. Let's go to New York's Times Square now.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: People from all around the country and the world at the crossroads of the world to watch the world famous ball drop and we're joined by our Poppy Harlow who probably cannot hear us because you can tell the party's already started.

Hey, Poppy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY: Big party over here. I can totally hear you guys. We are talking New Year's resolutions because our friend from Denmark, by the way, is braving what is turning into lovely sleet here in Times Square.

Your New Year's resolution is?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To travel more.

HARLOW: To travel more. You've done pretty well. You're in New York City. Good luck with those travels. What about our girls here from Arizona? What's your resolution?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lose weight and keep loving my husband more and more. Love you, Lenny.

HARLOW: What about you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To graduate -- to pick my career for college and continue doing good in school and go to Columbia and Chile, where my family is from.

HARLOW: That's great. Well, congratulations. You guys, stick to those resolutions. We've got some more down here. Our friends here and our friend who is in law school who's got a great resolution. What's that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My resolution to spend more time with my fiancee and family from Louisiana instead of law school.

HARLOW: That's a pretty good resolution, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's a great resolution.

HARLOW: What about our friend from New Jersey? What about you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to stop procrastinating this year.



HARLOW: Good resolution.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Probably this week.

HARLOW: Good resolutions, guys. And John and Kyra, I just thought you'd be really jealous...

PHILLIPS: Here she goes.

HARLOW: ... of my stylish looks.

PHILLIPS: I knew it.

HARLOW: So these are for you.

PHILLIPS: I knew she was going to do the glasses.

HARLOW: How is that? Pretty good.

PHILLIPS: I knew it.


PHILLIPS: I was betting for the hat.

HARLOW: Just the first of many...

PHILLIPS: The glasses...


HARLOW: You got it. You got it. Happy new years, guys.

ROBERTS: You know, the early 2000s were so perfect because you had the two O's right in the middle and you can put the number on either side. Now you've got that 1 that's kind of...

PHILLIPS: You always look at things so technically.

ROBERTS: Well...

PHILLIPS: It's the way you're wired.

ROBERTS: It's so emotional. It's the way you're wired, too.

PHILLIPS: All right. Don't start talking about me being emotional.

(LAUGHTER) A more unique New year celebration -- speaking of emotional -- is Key West, Florida. This day began with the Wiener Parade, of course. You know, all of the wiener dogs running through the old town. Well, the climax, of course, happens at midnight with their version of the Times Square ball drop.

And our John Zarrella, who just happens to make it every year there in west Florida because, hey, it's just his kind of place.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kyra, you're absolutely right. I get all choked up and emotional, too, when I'm down here. This is our eighth year down here doing what is known as the Drag Queen Drop.

That's why I'm wearing the shoe, because Sushi, the drag queen, will actually drop in a giant high heel at midnight with a bottle of champagne. You can see all of the people already standing here ready to go. Having a good time. What's your name?


ZARRELLA: Britney, you having fun?

BRANDY: Brandy.

ZARRELLA: You having fun?


ZARRELLA: And your name?


ZARRELLA: Having fun?


ZARRELLA: You're going to be here for the whole night?


ZARRELLA: Oh boy. It's going to be a good event. I got to tell you, one of my favorite people, Kylie, who has been with me every year, is joining me again.

Kylie, it is so good. I live for that moment every year, Kylie. You know that.

KYLIE, PARTY ATTENDEE: Well, yes, I know.

ZARRELLA: It's going to be a good time again, right?

KYLIE: It's going to be great. I mean the revelers already reveling.

ZARRELLA: And they always do early here and they go late into the night. John, Kyra, let me show you. There's the shoe right up there, the red high heel. And Sushi will be getting into the shoe at about 10:30 or 11:00. And every year she makes her own dress. I have no idea what she's wearing this year but I'm sure it will be stunning.

The 13th year that Sushi has done this and our eighth year here in Key West. Guys, back to you.

PHILLIPS: Here what happens I want to know. John Zarrella, I want to see you in the shoe, you go there every year, you give them dedicated coverage, I want you in the shoe.

ZARRELLA: I was in the shoe one year when it was on the ground, very briefly. But not when it went up there, no. No room for two of us in that shoe, Kyra.


ROBERTS: Well, he can go in the shoe, as long as he stays out of the dress, everything will be fine.


ROBERTS: John Zarrella in Key West. John, thanks so much. Stay with us here on CNN. Our special New Year's Eve coverage continues throughout the night. Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin will ring in the new year beginning at 11:00 p.m. Eastern time.

PHILLIPS: And as far as Wall Street goes, 2009 is already over for the year. The final numbers look pretty good. The Dow was up 19 percent. The NASDAQ and S&P 500 were each up 24 percent. But step back and look at the figures for the decade.

Since 1999, the Dow was down 9 percent, the NASDAQ lost 44 percent. And the S&P dropped 24 percent.

And for anyone who was out of work in 2009, the year can't end too quickly. As Bill Tucker reports, it was a year marked by recession and a lot of misery.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For millions of Americans a TARP used to be something to protect the surface of a playing field. Washington's TARP, though, was a pool of money created by all the bad mortgage derivative products created by Wall Street and open up lending to businesses again.

But the Troubled Asset Relief Program began under the Bush administration was always controversial and it didn't work the way it was intended. And the Treasury tapped into some of the money to directly bail out a few of Wall Street's biggest firms deemed too big to fail.

One hundred and forty other banks were not so distinguished, and they were allowed to fail. But Washington wasn't done handing out the money. Congress, worried about the economy, passed an $800 billion stimulus package. President Obama signed it less than a month into his term.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't want to pretend that today marks the end of our economic problems. Nor does it constitute all of what we're going to do have to do to turn our economy around.

TUCKER: A month later the market hit bottom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has been one of the more painful moments that any investor, any long-term saver, has had to live through.

TUCKER: The pain would be eased at the end of the year with the S&P 500 up 66 percent and the NASDAQ marked up 80 percent from their lows. But the economy did not share the market's joy.

In the spring, the American automobile industry collapsed. Chrysler and GM filed for bankruptcy and emerged courtesy of another taxpayer bailout...

FRITZ HENDERSON, FORMER CHAIRMAN, GENERAL MOTORS: Today marks the beginning of what will be a new company.

TUCKER: Both GM and Chrysler closed plants, fired workers and shut down dealerships. By the fall the unemployment rate had risen to more than 10 percent for the first time since 1983.

OBAMA: This is a struggle that cuts deep and it touches people across the nation. Every day I meet people or I hear from people who talk about sending out resume after resume, and they've been on the job hunt for a year or a year and a half, still can't find anything and are desperate.

TUCKER: In the third quarter home foreclosures rose to a record 937,840. While the economy did start to grow again this fall for the first time in over a year a sense of caution controls most economists' predictions for next year.

PROF. PETER MORICI, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: The U.S. economy is starting to recover, but that recovery is so weak, because we really haven't fixed our structural problems. What we have done is laid the seeds for economic and political decline because we can't manage our own economy.

TUCKER: Because we rely too much on money we borrow from other countries to fund our growing deficit, which now stands at 10 percent of our GDP.

(On camera): And so a decade which began with a budget surplus and an unemployment rate of 4 percent ends with an economic thud. Yet, there was one constant.

We began with the scandals of Enron and we ended with the scandals of Bernie Madoff and the bloated Wall Street executive pay.

Bill Tucker, CNN, New York.


ROBERTS: Well, every year for the past three decades a small university in Michigan has tried to do us all some good at the end of the year by coming out with a list of trendy words that ought be banned from the English language.

This year the Word Banishment Committee of Lake Superior State chose "shovel-ready" to top the list followed by "transparency", "czar", and "teachable moment", as well as "sexting", "tweet", and "app".

Unfortunately for those of us who despise cliches, the list of banished words does not have such a great batting average. For the past 16 years phrase likes "24/7", "It is what it is", and "happy camper" have all made the list because they just will not go away.

PHILLIPS: What happened to "just sayin'"?

ROBERTS: That one's still alive and well, too.

Well, coming up, the master of links gets hit with yet another response that wants out. And stay tuned for much more live coverage of the countdown to 2010 from Key West, which is so much fun, to Hawaii.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody has those little odd jobs around the house.


PHILLIPS: It was a bad year for Tiger Woods, that's for sure. AT&T is the latest corporate giant to drop the golf giant Tiger, and the company has not revealed its reasons for actually dropping him.

ROBERTS: Yes. And so he joins a growing list of companies that are severing their relations with Tiger Woods.

Joining us now to talk more about this, dig deeper and find out where it's all going next year, Lisa Bloom, CNN legal analyst, and Christine Brennan, "USA Today" sports columnist.

So Lisa, when you heard that AT&T was bailing, you know, in addition to Accenture, Tag Heuer, which is cutting back its relationship, Procter & Gamble, I mean, the fall from grace here is nothing short of spectacular for Tiger.

LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Hmm, yes, I wonder why, I wonder why AT&T dropped Tiger Woods, even though they didn't give a reason. I mean is there anyone on planet earth who doesn't know why they dropped Tiger Woods?

I'm just surprised that they've stuck with him this long or that any major companies are still sticking with him. That doesn't make any sense to me. Who wants Tiger Woods associated with their product at this point? PHILLIPS: And you know, it's not just about Tiger and these companies and the money involved there, but Christine, you're a golfer, and you know what he's done for the game. I mean, he's brought people into the game, he's brought people to watch the game, he's raised the purse.

He has helped other golfers get better sponsorships. I mean this is going to be devastating to the players within golf and everybody else that's come out to help support the game.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, USA TODAY SPORTS COLUMNIST: It certainly is, Kyra. The TV golf ratings will drop 50 percent. There will be jobs that are lost because the golf industry -- it will take such a hit because Tiger is going to be gone for x amount of time.

The fact that AT&T did this, of course, a holiday weekend, wanted to kind of sneak in there maybe when we weren't looking. But AT&T sponsored Tiger, also that AT&T name was on his golf bag, and they couldn't risk that. They couldn't be associated that closely with Tiger, literally next to him on the golf course when he does return.

But they also -- Tiger will no longer host, Kyra, the AT&T National Tournament over the Fourth of July weekend. And that's interesting because maybe that gives us a little window into how long he'll be gone. The PGA Tour has said he will not host in July. Does that mean that he won't be back even in July? We don't know. But another little interesting storyline here in the Tiger Woods saga.

ROBERTS: Lisa, you said a moment ago you don't know why any company is sticking with him. But let's look at companies that have pulled away. Accenture, Gillette, Tag Heuer, Procter & Gamble, and now AT&T. He's basically just a figure head for them.

But when you get to a company like Nike, they have entire product lines developed for Tiger Woods. They've got golf clubs, golf equipment, they've got shirts, other apparel. Much more difficult for them to sever their relationship.

BLOOM: Well, I've got to tell you, among women, Tiger Woods is persona non grata. I mean I'm not speaking for all American women but I've been talking about this a lot. Ever since the thanksgiving day incident and women are outraged at Tiger Woods.

They see him as stupid and cruel. Stupid because it was so obvious that out of a dozen or more affairs, eventually he was going to be caught. And cruel because he did this while his wife was pregnant and nursing twice newborn babies.

I mean this is just behavior that's beyond the pale, it's not a one- time incident. It's a pattern of behavior that really is beyond questionable. It's stupid and cruel, as I said. And that's why I'm surprised anybody would stick with him. Even Nike. Look, half of Nike's customers are women.

PHILLIPS: All right. You know what, let's just step aside from the money for a minute and let's talk about the woman and have just maybe a woman's moment here, John, bear with me. There are a lot of, I think, men...

ROBERTS: Is this going to go ugly?

PHILLIPS: Yes -- no, it's not going to get ugly.


PHILLIPS: I'm still laying it out here. There's a lot of women and men out there that are saying, you know what? Who cares about Tiger and his money and the sponsorship and golf? How about this woman and what she's had to go through and how embarrassed she is and these poor two kids and how she's got to deal with all of this?

And you know, how do you tell your children about this, as they grow up? I mean it's pretty darn disgusting and it's pretty devastating. So I mean, I think there's a lot of people that just want to see her get divorced, get her money, and see Tiger fall off the face of the earth.

BRENNAN: Well, and Kyra, of course, Tiger played into this storyline by putting the family pictures on his Web site. It was all about his wife, you know, the two beautiful children. And so Tiger wanted us to believe an image that clearly didn't exist.

And I think you've hit on a very strong point here, the sense that women who might not have cared about sports, cared about Tiger Woods. I had so many women, neighbors and friends of mine, who aren't big sports fans, who have looked at me and just shaken their heads over the last couple of weeks and said, Tiger, Tiger, almost like they found out about Santa Claus.

And I think that's why this is such a stunning fall from grace, much bigger than Kobe Bryant or Michael Vick or some of these other athletes.

ROBERTS: Right. Lisa, you got some thoughts on that? And what about this idea of a comeback? America loves a comeback, too.

BLOOM: Well, I think America does love a comeback. And first of all, he has to come back for it to happen. He's been in hiding, really, since the thanksgiving day incident. We haven't seen him. He hasn't even done a video on his own Web site which just fuels all the speculation about his having some kind of facial injury from the golf clubs.

We really don't know what's happened there. But there's a lot of tabloid speculation about what's been going on with him and with his wife behind the scenes. And by the way, she has not, as of this moment, filed for divorce, despite all of the breathless speculation that that was about to happen.

Perhaps he can hold on to his marriage, hold on to his relationship. I think that would fuel a comeback, a faster comeback. If they split up, if it's an ugly, messy divorce, that's going to take a lot longer.

But I think, ultimately, America loves its celebrities. Tiger Woods sits down on the couch with Oprah, you know, cries, confesses, talks about being a sex addict, you know, whatever his problems are, and eventually, comes back and we forget all about.

Look at Michael Vick. He's back. And Tiger Woods, well, he's accused of only consensual adult behavior.

ROBERTS: Although we should point, probably, that Michael Vick isn't back the way he was initially with the Atlanta Falcons.

PHILLIPS: Life definitely changed for him.

ROBERTS: Yes, definitely. Lisa Bloom, Christine Brennan, good to talk to you tonight. Happy new year to both of you.

BLOOM: Happy new year.

BRENNAN: And happy new year. Thanks.

PHILLIPS: Thanks, ladies.

Well, coming up, the way we were in 2009. We've got some of the most memorable TV moments of the year. Stay with us. We want to see your favorites, too.


ROBERTS: We want to go back to Times Square in New York City right now because things are really starting to cook despite the cold and the rain. Our Don Lemon is there.

And how's the party going, Don?

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John, you're great. You're always right about everything. But cook, I don't know. I think things are really starting to freeze and get really wet. And look at this. So you left the rain behind and then you went to Atlanta where there's great weather. But it's really -- I mean it's going great.

We've been listening to some great bands, we've been listening to music, they've been rehearsing for all the activities to start. I want to tell you, make sure you watch our special coverage tonight at 11:00 p.m. Eastern, 11:00 p.m. Eastern, it will be our New Year's Eve special.

What's the name of it again? "NEW YEAR'S EVE LIVE". I can't remember that. "NEW YEAR'S EVE LIVE" on CNN. So it's a lot of fun. I wish you guys were here. We can have toast -- toast a little champagne to you. But hopefully this rain will stop and everything will go off without a hitch. A lot of security as we talked.

And to all our viewers and to you, John and Kyra, happy new year.

ROBERTS: And the same to you, Don. Stay warm, as warm as you can. We'll see you a little bit later on.

PHILLIPS: Well, as we look back on 2009 the accomplishments and the follies. One particular event should not go unmentioned. An honor that was awarded to a select few from the Canadian Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame. It's 2009 honored inductee, yes, our own John Roberts.

He was recognized in a ceremony in Toronto earlier this year for his achievements in broadcasting. John actually started his career in Canada, J.D. Roberts. Got to love that hair.

As he put it, the proverbial 5,000 watt radio station in the middle of nowhere. But let's remember, that middle of nowhere got you here, pal.

ROBERTS: Exactly.

PHILLIPS: And now he's the co-anchor of "AMERICAN MORNING" and of course, our special coverage tonight. Had to say something. Couldn't let that go unsaid after...

ROBERTS: Thank you for reminding me of the old photographs.


PHILLIPS: We all constantly remind you.

ROBERTS: The 1980s. Weren't they a gem!


PHILLIPS: All the rockers still love J.D.

Coming up a year of memorable TV moments.


ROBERTS: 2009 made for some unforgettable television moments, many of them unexpected, and some of them downright uncomfortable.

Our Jeanne Moos has a look back.


JEANNE MOSS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We never turn up our nose for news.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is disgusting, I know.

MOOS: Especially not at those wonderfully awkward moments.

CARRIE PREJEAN, MISS CALIFORNIA: Larry, you're being inappropriate, you really are.


PREJEAN: So I'm not going talk about...

KING: I'm asking a question.


MOOS: More weeks have more than their share of awkward moments thanks to the former Miss California USA. Maybe you saw her getting miffed at "LARRY KING" and taking off her mike.

KING: Is she leaving? Because I asked what motivated the settlement? Did you hear the question?

PREJEAN: No, I can't hear you.

MOOS: But I'm answering what I can't hear.

PREJEAN: And I'm about to leave your show.

KING: Who are you talking to? Hello?

MOOS (on camera): But we crown Carrie Prejean Miss Awkward Moment because she inspired awkward moments on more than one show.

JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": And that you say that you're a victim. I don't totally buy it.

PREJEAN: Did you see the attacks that I was under?

BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": It's the best thing that happened to you.

BEHAR: I'm not worried about you, Carrie.

MOOS: But our favorite awkward moment was Barbara Walters describing Prejean's x-rated home movie.

WALTERS: You alone doing whatever you were doing with yourself.

MOOS: What was Sean Hannity doing on FOX News? Jon Stewart wondered using video of a major rally two months to illustrate a smaller protest against health care reform.

JON STEWART, HOST, "DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": Not a cloud in the sky, the leaves have changed. All of a sudden, the trees turned green again and it's cloudy.

MOOS: Trying to make the smaller rally seem bigger, said Stewart. Inadvertent mistake, said Hannity, but he apologized.

HANNITY: So, Mr. Stewart, you were right. I want to thank you, and all your writers for watching.

MOOS: CNN's "SITUATION ROOM" went to pot this week.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Wolf, would you know a marijuana plant if you saw one?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm not sure I would know. I could smell it You could smell a marijuana a little but you probably wouldn't recognize a plant. Am I right or wrong? LOU DOBBS, FORMER CNN ANCHOR: Well, you're dead wrong.

MOOS: Certitude, plus attitude, what a dude. Lou, we're going to miss you.

DOBBS: This will be my last broadcast here on CNN.

MOOS: From veteran leaving to Cobb arriving, the "Today Show" announced the win of its Kid Reporter competition.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Deidra Shores. It's you. Deidra, it's you. It's you.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're the winner. Your today's Kid Show Kid Reporter winner. You're the winner, Deidra.

MOOS: If you're going to be a reporter, kid, you've got learn to fill dead air.

We said fill it not kill it.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


ROBERTS: All that time it took to sink in suddenly came out.

PHILLIPS: She better not do that on CNN if she ever gets to this point.

Thanks for being with us tonight. We wish you a very happy new year and a safe one, of course.

ROBERTS: Next, "LARRY KING LIVE" with Candy Crowley filling in tonight for Larry.