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It's Sequester Day; Romney Gives First Post-Election Interview; Joan Rivers Unapologetic After Holocaust Joke; Swallowed by a Sinkhole; Duke's Storming Concern
Aired March 1, 2013 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: His home inside Vatican city now officially closed. The traditional Vatican seal now covers the apartment along with the elevator used to reach it. Tradition says the seal will not be broken until a new pope is chosen.
"Political Buzz" is your rapid fire look at the best political topics of the day. Three topics and 30 seconds on the clock. Playing with us is Maria Cardona a CNN contributor and Democratic strategist, and Katon Dawon, a Republican consultant and former chairman of the South Carolina Republican party. Welcome to you both.
MARIA CARDONA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning, Carol. Happy Friday.
KATON DAWSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Good morning.
COSTELLO: Good morning. I know, happy, happy Friday!
CARDONA: Happy sequester day.
COSTELLO: I'm going to celebrate at 11:59:59. Not!
In just about a half hour, seriously though, President Obama will sit down with top congressional leaders to, I don't know, negotiate the $85 billion in forced spending cuts. Those dramatic cuts will impact almost everything from the military to Medicare to education to food inspection and homeland security. The president has until 11:59:59 tonight to sign the order. I'm asking for predictions. Maria, will he put the pen to paper?
CARDONA: Given that nothing can really happen to change if Congress isn't in town, because they would have to pass a bill for the president to sign in order to change it. I do think these cuts are going to go into effect unfortunately. I think today, after a little Parcheesi, a little beer drinking I think they will get down to real negotiations, Carol, in terms of how to avoid the long-term pain that will be inflicted on middle class Americans and those most vulnerable if these cuts are allowed to continue to happen. It needs to be a balanced approach and Speaker Boehner needs to understand that the American people agree with how this president wants to do it.
DAWSON: It's about time that we address the federal deficit. The budget this year is even larger than it was last year. I think Republicans are acting (ph) responsibly. Certainly neither side wanted it to get to this, but was inevitable that the day has come. They will have cookies and cake at the White House and shake hands and do political posturing. At the end of the day the president will do what he can do, which is nothing tonight and what he hasn't done in the past. I think for conservatives, we finally the first step towards reducing the federal deficit something 84 percent of the Americans have as a concern in their top five numbers.
COSTELLO: All right. Second question. We saw Mitt Romney and his wife Ann almost every day for months and months during the campaign. After Governor Romney made his concession speech he quickly faded from view and rarely speaking out. Well, the Romneys are back and doing their first televised interview for Fox News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANN ROMNEY, WIFE OF MITT ROMNEY: And it was really quite a lot of energy and a lot of passion and a lot of people around us and, all of a sudden, there was nothing. But the good news is, fortunately, we like each other.
MITT ROMNEY, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's different. But it's like riding on a roller coaster. We were on a roller coaster. Exciting and thrilling and ups and downs but the ride ends and you get off. It's not like can't we be on a roller coaster the rest of our lives? No, the ride is over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: We know Mr. Romney is going to speak at CPAC, the big conservative gathering in just a few weeks, but what role, if any, do you think Romney should play in the Republican party? Katon?
DAWSON: Well, first, they are a very nice family and well-respected people. I think that Governor Romney can choose rolling the Republican party what he wants. We, as Republicans, have to move past that last election for the reason there are winners and losers and we lost. As a party I think we will go to his wisdom and guidance on the economic matters but I think the governor will be able choose his place in history. I applaud the last nine years of his activism in the Republican party. He is a friend and they are a wonderful family and we thank them for their service, but at the end of the day the party is going to move on pretty quickly repair the damage.
COSTELLO: But good-bye, you're saying. He put that so charmingly, didn't he, Maria?
CARDONA: He sure did. Good for you, Katon. Unfortunately, I think that is where most Republicans are. I don't think they want Mitt Romney to play any sort of role, small or large, in the Republican party because of the loss that Katon talked about. I certainly don't think they will put him in charge of any message development any time soon. They won't put him in charge of any Latino outreach any time soon. I think he should do what he does best, which is make millions of dollars and maybe he could do that for the Republican party is continue to raise money. He was certainly good at that. I think most Republicans want to run as far away from him as possible. His own son said he really didn't want to be president.
COSTELLO: On to the third and final question. In about two and a half hours, this man Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan is set to announce a state takeover of the city of Detroit. The governor will appoint an emergency financial manager, someone who can slash city jobs and services. It will probably mean bankruptcy for the city of Detroit which would be the largest of its kind in U.S. history. After all this, should the federal government bail out Detroit like it did New York City back in the 1970's? Maria?
CARDONA: Well, I say why not? I mean, why should Detroit not be a city that the federal government comes to the rescue just like New York City was? But I would propose something different. Why don't we ask all of the banks that you and I and Katon rescued in 2008 during the financial crisis, why don't we ask them to put some money on the table to come and rescue Detroit?
COSTELLO: Interesting. Don't think that is going to happen, though. Katon?
DAWSON: Carol, another example, let me give kudos to the Republican Governor Snyder who has come in and do the responsible thing. Do I trust the federal government to help anybody back home do anything right now? Probably not. Look at what is happening today. So Detroit, it went from 2.8 million people in the late '60s to 500,000 people right now. It's caused its problem by bad political policies and so, right now, the governor has done the right thing. No, the federal government should not do anything in New York -- I mean, Detroit. Excuse me.
COSTELLO: I got what you meant.
Thank you so much for playing today. CNN contributor Maria Cardona, and Republican consultant Katon Dawon.
CARDONA: Thanks, Carol.
DAWSON: Thank you.
COSTELLO: You're welcome.
Joan Rivers is known for her bawdy humor but some are saying she went way too far after making a joke about the holocaust when she was talking to German supermodel Heidi Klum on the red carpet. Now Joan is responding to her critics.
COSTELLO: Heidi Klum, stepping out and looking great at an Oscar viewing party on Sunday. Joan Rivers agreed but her compliment has the red hot comedian under fire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOAN RIVERS, COMEDIAN: The last time a German looked this hot was when they were pushing Jews into the ovens. (LAUGHTER)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: "Showbiz Tonight" A.J. Hammer is following this story. I know you talked with Joan. What did she say?
A.J. HAMMER, HOST, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Well, Carol she is completely unapologetic and when we spoke just last night she was actually visibly upset how upset people have gotten over this but she has her rationale for why she thinks people need to be okay with it, and here is what she told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: All right. Got to ask you about the controversy.
RIVERS: Of course.
HAMMER: That has been going on. You're very well aware of it of a particular joke you told on E!'s "Fashion Police" talking about Heidi Klum's very revealing dress at the Oscars. We're looking at it right now, and your reference made with reference to the holocaust. There are some people, including the Anti-Defamation League, who said your joke was offensive. How do you respond to that?
RIVERS: It's a joke, number one. Number two, it's about the holocaust. It's the way I remind people about the holocaust. I do it through humor. My husband lost his entire family in the holocaust so let's just start with that. So people, your generation doesn't even know what I'm talking about. By my doing a joke gets them talking. It didn't bother Heidi, doesn't bother me.
HAMMER: And there are people say you should apologize. What do you say to them?
RIVERS: For what? Why don't you worry about Mel Gibson. Why don't you worry about the anti-Semites out there and not pick somebody who doesn't have a single living relative?
HAMMER: Any subject to serious you wouldn't be joking about?
RIVERS: I think that's how you get through life. That's how I - you make people laugh. You laugh, you can deal with it. Done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: So, Carol, it's clearly Joan being Joan. She has been through this before in the 50 plus years she has been telling jokes and I would have to say there is little doubt she will go through it again.
COSTELLO: She was on the verge of tears, wasn't she?
HAMMER: She really was moved by the fact that she had to sit here and rationalize it. I haven't talked to anybody who laughed at the joke and thought it was funny but, as I said, this is something she has gone through before. She has told jokes that may have made reference to the holocaust in the past, and she's gone after by people like the Anti-Defamation League, and sits here and explains and emotionally I think because she was touched by the holocaust why she thinks it's okay.
COSTELLO: Wow. A.J. Hammer, thanks. That was fascinating.
For the latest entertainment headlines watch A.J. on "Showbiz Tonight" 11 eastern on HLN.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
COSTELLO: We told you at the top of our show about a terrible story out of Brandon, Florida, near Tampa. A sinkhole opened up in a man's bedroom. It sucked him in. He is presumed dead. He was a 37-year-old man and he was sleeping in his bed when the sinkhole opened up and swallowed him. Hillsborough Count, Florida officials are now holding a news conference. They're talking about the equipment they lowered into that sinkhole to try to find this man's body.
(BEGIN LIVE FEED)
RON ROGERS, HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: We're here to talk about a situation that's evolving and continues to evolve. But first of all, let me say our hearts go out to the Bush family during this terrible time when they are dealing with a lot of questions and a lot of unknowns and I'm going to help you try to understand what we saw last night and then we'll answer any questions that you have.
Essentially shortly after 11:00 last night, the family, the Bush family was in the house behind us. They heard a sound that they described as a car crash emanating from the bedroom in the back of the house. They rushed in. All they could see was part of a mattress sticking out of the hole, essentially the floor of that room had opened up.
They could hear the nephew in the hole but they could not see him. His brother jumped to try to extricate him out. I could not see him. He had to be rescued by a Hillsborough County Sheriff's office deputy who was first on the scene who heroically went in and extricated him.
Then our personnel Hillsborough County fire rescue personnel arrived on the scene began to assess the situation and help the other family members out of the house and secure the house and begin to attempt to rescue Mr. Bush.
They -- we placed some of our urban search and rescue equipment that's specialized for this type of emergency, some listening devices that are designed to hear essentially the sound a mouse would make walking across the floor, they are that sensitive. They did not detect any signs of life. They did insert some cameras into the hole as well to try to locate him. While this was going on, there continued to be collapses of the earth below the floor to the point where they eventually had to back out of the house. Our structural engineer that is on call with us arrived, Bracken Engineering. They began to assess the structural stability of the structure and determined that the whole floor where our personnel was, was undermined. Essentially the home is undermined.
Our personnel and the sheriff's office began to evacuate the surrounding homes to try and assure that this did not become a bigger emergency than it already was.
Our crews have continued in their efforts to try and locate Mr. Bush. We have brought in additional sophisticated equipment this morning to try and help us determine the structure's stability, what our efforts can be to try and locate him safely without endangering more personnel.
As I said, this is a multiagency event. Hillsborough County sheriff's office has been a key player from the beginning, including, as I said, rescuing the nephew, and the Hillsborough County Code Enforcement has been here helping us to secure and make sure that no one -- other homes are involved, Bracken Engineering is involved and that's where we are right now.
And I -- I failed to identify myself. I'm Hillsborough County Fire Chief Ron Rogers. There is no "d" in Rogers but if you would r-o-g-e- r-s --
(END LIVE FEED)
COSTELLO: All right, we're going to hop out of this. 37-year-old Jeff Bush is the man he's talking about, the man who was sleeping in his bed when the giant sinkhole opened up. As you heard, Ron Rogers say from the Hillsborough County Fire and Rescue that 37-year-old Jeff Bush is presumed dead. Everybody else in that house got out safely.
We'll have much more on this story in the hours to come on CNN. We'll be right back.
COSTELLO: "Talk Back" question today, "Does grade point average matter in high school?" You know as it applies to getting into college.
This from Alex, "As a current student I can tell you your GPA really doesn't reflect how much you know, it just that it shows well you can test with that knowledge."
This from Tom, "It does matter to strive for the highest possible score. I graduated with a 3.7 and it made a difference in my life and job."
This from Jose, "Grades represent years of work. They are much more reliable than a test taken on a weekend." This from Rosemary, "If they reflect true performance, that's good. Young people can raise the bar and set goals that will help them become more productive."
Keep the conversation going, Facebook.com/CarolCNN or please tweet me @carolCNN.
In college basketball, when the final buzzer sounds, nothing says upset like fans storming the court. But Coach K is getting a little tired of it. Carlos Diaz has all the details of this morning's Bleacher Report.
CARLOS DIAZ, BLEACHER REPORT: Good morning. Yes, Duke you know, Duke shouldn't have had to deal with the fans last night because they shouldn't have had a problem beating Virginia last night. I mean, they came in unranked the Cavaliers did but the underdog Cavaliers had an amazing evening with Joe Harris having a career night. And after the game there's the fans storming the court and Coach K not so happy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI, DUKE'S COACH: Congratulations to them and they should have fun and burn benches and do all the stuff that they -- I'm all for that. You know they have a great school, great kids. But get us off the court. That's bottom line.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAZ: Pour some sugar on this 80's style baseball jerseys because they are sweet. Adidas has unveiled its new special college basketball unis complete with sleeves that will debut during the NCAA tournament. The neon colors and wild panthers -- patterns make the uniforms look like they're from the '80s. You know remember those pants that you always used to wear to gym back in the MC Hammer days? So they're great for, I don't know, basketball hoops lovely extravaganza or a Wham concert.
I'd like to tell you we're going to the golf course, but we're actually going to the pond. Tiger Woods had to take off his shoes and socks and put on his weather pants all to hit a ball out of the water at the Honda classic. There's no way he -- yes, he does right back on to the fairway. He saves par on the hole. Not a bad effort by Tiger. He did have to towel off afterwards.
And the NBA champs are doing the Harlem Shake. Full disclosure, I'm sick of this song, but you know what, after watching this performance, I think I'm all about it again. Take away the bird man.
That is Lebron James in the King James outfit. You've got Chris Bosh on the left with the big boom box. Dwyane wade in the Kanye West bear head. My favorite though, my favorite look to the left, see the horse head and (inaudible) outfit? That's Shane Battier. Duke grad Shane Battier, loving that.
For more reaction to the fans storming the court in Virginia's upset win over Duke, log on to Bleacherreport.com -- Carol. COSTELLO: I wish I could match that, but I can't. That was really great. But I do have myself as a bobble-head.
COSTELLO: Yes. Because Carlos, I'm going to Tiger Town next week. I know you're jealous.
DIAZ: I am jealous.
COSTELLO: Of course this is where the Tigers have spring training. I'll be taking in a few games, sending you back interesting pictures and of course, sitting down to interview some of the greats like -- well, that's not Justin Verlander. That would be great if I could get him, right?
DIAZ: John Leland's the man.
COSTELLO: John Leland's the man but I will be sitting down with Justin Verlander and big old Prince Fielder. And I can't wait.
DIAZ: What's the over/under on how many hot dogs you can put down in a 9-inning affair?
COSTELLO: I probably think I could pack away 12. How about you?
DIAZ: I'm suddenly impressed and -- I'm not going to lie to you -- a little turned on.
COSTELLO: I'll take it.
Next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts after a quick break.
COSTELLO: Happening now --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you on your way home? You're headed to your car. I assume you're going home to New York. Going to the airport? Ok. Bye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Skipping town. As America faces a midnight dead line on spending cuts, lawmakers run for the exits.
Also breaking overnight -- fires in California.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Burning in the Santa Ana River here in Riverside, a 10-acre blaze quickly spread to 50 acres.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COSTELLO: 30-foot flames and evacuation orders, Riverside on edge this morning.
Plus saving Detroit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you call the police now, you wonder if they're coming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Michigan takes over the motor city, an emergency manager to fix what the city cannot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He or she could fire everybody quite frankly.
COSTELLO: You're live in the NEWSROOM.