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Vatican Smoke Watch Begins; Obama Arrives On Capitol Hill; Black Smoke Appears At Vatican; Cardinals Complete First Vote

Aired March 12, 2013 - 14:29   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: The other interesting thing, I think, that's pervasive through this whole conversation is guilt, right? Whether you are a young mom who's decided to stay home, a working mother who's competing with other working mothers. Who's better? I feel bad. It's like you can never have it all and you feel guilty because you're either like not working enough or not being a good enough mom.

You give an interesting example where the dad versus the mother, the dad is like, you know, not going to a little league game on the weekend and he's like, that's fine, work is a priority, I'm not too stressed out over that. Moms can't do that as much. Why?

PO BRONSON, "TOP DOG: THE SCIENCE OF WINNING AND LOSING": We both -- both genders have a great sense of duty to their family, right?

BALDWIN: But?

BRONSON: But for men, being the breadwinner makes them feel like they fulfilled that sense of duty. They also feel a duty to be there for the kids, but that primary duty that legacy in our society, still living up to that. But for women, it is less clear, they want to -- they really feel this dual obligation. So it is going to make them feel more guilty about what they're doing.

BALDWIN: OK.

ASHLEY MERRYMAN, "TOP DOG: THE SCIENCE OF WINNING AND LOSING": And even on a neuroscience level, how we respond is different. During times of stress, the part of the brain that is responsive to other people's emotions, not your emotions, but others, for men actually is less active.

For women, it becomes more active. So you're looking around the room, how are people feeling? So that that guy who has work on the weekend can call his son and say, well, I know I can't be there, and tune out whether or not his son is upset. But his mother's brain is actually hyperaware of her son saying, you can't make it?

BALDWIN: An increased ability in perception makes you better at doing x, y and z job as a woman than someone else. Have to leave it because we have to go to Rome momentarily. But I just want to thank you, Ashley Merryman and Po Bronson.

Your book is "The Top Dog: The Science Of Winning and Losing," thank you very much. We appreciate it.

As I mentioned, we are watching and waiting to see possible smoke being emitted from this chimney. This is Vatican City, conclave day number one, as the search and the vote for the next pope here is on. Back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Again, let's take you to Rome. We can see some live pictures, the night sky, about 7:30 now time in Rome as we are awaiting possibly as the conclave day number one where these 115 cardinals have been gathering behind locked doors, conclave with key, the translation, shrouded in secrecy to elect the next pope.

Highly unlikely that we will see that white smoke that we will have a new pope, but as John Allen said, anything is possible as this was the biggest surprise, the resignation of Benedict to begin with. So we'll watch and wait for that in Rome.

Meantime though, in Washington, we're starting to wonder what is going to overheat first, is it the president's meeting maker or that great big limo that just zoomed up here. Watch for it on the left. Just zooming up, Pennsylvania Avenue and dropped Obama off at the capital. Don't blink. If you do, you'll miss the president.

Here he is. You'll see him here, walking in -- first of a flurry of meetings. Here he is. Now you see him and now you don't. Still, three days, four meetings on Capitol Hill, Senate Democrats first, that meeting is actually happening now.

Tomorrow, he will meet with House Republicans, doubleheader Thursday, Senate Republicans, House Democrats. So, after four plus years of slights and snubs and hurt feelings and name calling and you name it, everyone is going to make nice-nice, right?

Keep in mind, topic number one is the budget. That means taxes, that means spending, that means deficit, and Democrats and Republicans could not be farther apart on what to do. Who knows that best?

She covers it day in and day out, Dana Bash, our chief congressional correspondent on Capitol Hill. So as we said, the president, Senate Democrats, they're meeting behind you. I see some flurry behind you, behind closed doors.

Tell me, Dana, how significant is this that over the course of the next three days the president will meet with just about everyone there?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's very significant. I should tell you, of course, as we're watching what is going on in Vatican, waiting for the black or white smoke, looking for something not quite maybe as consequential but something similar here.

Because we're waiting for the president to come out of this first meeting he's having as he speaks with former fellow Democratic senators. Now I think obviously the more -- most focus has been on the meetings he is going to have with Republicans. That will happen tomorrow and the next day.

But this is also a very interesting and important meeting that he's having right now because although he is a former member of the Senate Democratic caucus, there are a number of Senate Democrats who say that he's not talking enough to them, never mind Republicans.

I've heard that time and time again from members of his own party. So it will be very interesting to hear if he hears that from them behind closed doors in this meeting that has been going on for about an hour.

Of course, the topic du jour, as you said, across the capital today is the budget. The House Republican budget was released. Senate Democrats are going to release their own budget for the first time in four years.

So economic issues are up front and center, but there are a lot of other controversial issues that divide Democrats that some here say that they want to have a connection with the president on.

BALDWIN: Dana Bash, thank you. As we watch and wait for the president there on Capitol Hill, we also are watching and waiting for that black smoke, the white smoke possibly, no smoke at all, as conclave here on day number one in Rome is coming to a close. We'll check in with Anderson Cooper and crew in Rome live on the other side of the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: It is 2:40 in the afternoon on the east coast, 7:40 at night there in Rome, Italy, as people are filling St. Peter's Square, awaiting, perhaps a sign from this conclave on day number one.

Anderson Cooper and Chris Cuomo are live in Rome. Gentlemen, hello.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are here, looking at about as unique a spectacle as we have. It's just a chimney in so many ways, but the significance is huge.

On top of the Sistine Chapel, we're waiting to see if ballots are burned tonight, if the color is dark, we know there is no pope. If it is white, we know there is. It's as simple as that.

And yet, we must wait, with all the technology in the world we have been talking about it here. This is still a simple antiquated ceremony that really does draw the attention.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN'S "AC 360": And it is extraordinary. And we have smoke there.

CUOMO: It looks dark.

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: I'm going to go with black. I think that's black smoke.

COOPER: Not really a surprise certainly. So what happens now, John Allen?

ALLEN: Well, what happens is shortly in the next few moments, the cardinals will be moving outside of the Sistine Chapel and over to the Casa Santa Marta where they'll have a simple meal this evening and then obviously they'll be talking about the results of this first ballot.

What we're presuming is that there are three or four perhaps candidates who had enough support to suggest that they may be real contenders, but then so they'll be caucusing tonight to decide of that field, who might actually be able to put together that winning coalition across that two-thirds majority.

Now tomorrow, after a morning prayer in the chapel in the Casa Santa Marta, they'll return to the Sistine Chapel. They will do two ballots in the morning and presuming those are inconclusive.

They will then break for lunch, we'll have smoke around midday here in Rome, then they will go back to the Sistine Chapel in the afternoon around 4:00 local Rome time, and do two more ballots.

And they will repeat that process, Anderson, until somebody crosses that two-thirds threshold and becomes the next successor of Peter.

CUOMO: We're getting word that we can officially say at CNN this is black smoke. I have to tell you. I've been watching in 2005, this is a much better quality, dark smoke. They are not joking around. They have heard the criticism they couldn't debt the dark smoke right. That is a really solid --

ALLEN: That's as definitive an issue on black smoke as you're ever going to see.

CUOMO: There is so much smoke. It makes you think that they burned more than the ballots and the notes. Maybe they're going a little bit extra to make sure it is a clear signal.

COOPER: It is interesting though how many people have come out on this night, most people knowing it is not going to -- there wouldn't be an actual decision tonight, people really want to be here to witness this moment in history.

ALLEN: I think that's huge part of it. They want to be part of the scene. The flip side of that, Anderson, you roll the dice. If this smoke were white, imagine the magic of being in the Square at the moment that happened.

But I think fundamentally what is going on is that for Catholics all over the world and even non-Catholics, I mean, you can't tell in a way but be awed by the sense of the moment, the sense of history here.

One of the oldest religious institutions on the face of the earth, for that matter, the oldest democratic process in the way, the secret ballot in history, it is hard not to be enchanted by all of this. COOPER: And the allegiance to history. I mean, the decision -- in this age of Twitter, they can tweet out, we took a vote, it is not going to happen tonight, but instead this is the way they have done it and this is the way they're going to continue to do it.

ALLEN: That's right. I think the genius of Catholicism, the old saying about the church. It is ever ancient and ever new. You see that playing out here tonight. Because as this story rolls forward, once the conclave is over, there are actually several hundred cardinals.

We presume the first thing they do will to be update their Twitter accounts. But at the same time, we are also seeing this very ancient tradition, ancient stage craft, if you like, playing out in front of the eyes of the world.

CUOMO: Obviously the crowd has not left yet. It started to dissipate slowly. Miguel Marquez is on the phone. He was there when the smoke came out. What was the reaction and the mood, Miguel?

COOPER: Clearly having some issues getting Miguel. There is actually -- you can tell by the pictures, that the streets are wet. The weather has not been cooperating the last several days. There was driving rain throughout the day today.

Looked like hail at one point. So communication, even though we are very close to the location at St. Peter's Square, is kind of tricky, because of the weather cells moving through. But you can see people still milling around, some people starting to leave, some people taking out their umbrellas.

CUOMO: The occasion is a big deal whether you're a member of the faithful or not. That said, this does carry some import with Catholics that even 2005 did not. Sure, John Paul II was a beloved hope, had great international presence. But there are big issues on the table. We know it.

Pope Benedict leaving the way he did and for the reasons that he says he did heightened the urgency of the situation. So this is something to monitor, just to get that reflection of its importance.

Even if you're not surprised that there was no pope on the first vote, the process, what could happen, the expectation is worth coming down here for a lot of people, especially if there are members of the faith.

COOPER: And Becky Anderson is down on the street amidst the crowd. Becky, what are you hearing and seeing?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is remarkable. You turn around and I just saw that smoke. It is very difficult to tell at night exactly what color that smoke is. So you got a sense just for a couple of seconds what's going on and then we work out that it is black.

You hear, you know, this is -- this is a quiet crowd. Don't expect a football crowd, certainly not when it is black. I mean, I can only imagine it is going to be absolutely noisier bunch once we get white smoke. People are moving down the street.

A lot of people here have come after work, you're in the seeing a lot of international people, aside from those who happen to be in town for a holiday. This is, of course, an unscheduled event.

So you -- we met lots of international people today from all over the world, and it just literally been up there for the last couple of hours. Two hours, 7:42 that smoke came through. They have been inside for the past two hours.

We weren't expecting to see, let's face it, white smoke tonight. We may not have seen any smoke, of course, because they didn't have to vote. But it was -- it was quite an emotional feeling when you turn around, and from that chimney, just yards away from us here, just outside Vatican City, you see that first smoke for first time in this election for a new pope.

COOPER: John Allen, Vatican analyst, who has been with us, going to be walking up through the next several days, you've talked to a lot of cardinals who have been inside that room about past votes, about what it is like. There is not much -- there is not a discussion going on inside the Sistine Chapel during this time. Is there? There is -- it is a lengthy voting process.

ALLEN: The Sistine Chapel, what happens there is much more like going to church than going to a convention. It is surrounded by prayer. There is a very lengthy and highly elaborate process of voting, which includes for each cardinal individually professing up with his ballot in his hand, swearing before God and on his own conscience he's casting his vote for the man he believes should be elected.

That has to happen 115 times, of course. Then at the end, there is a bank of three cardinals who count the votes, reading them aloud, carefully marking them down. There is another bank of three cardinals that check the votes. The whole process takes about an hour and a half.

You do that twice a morning, twice in the afternoon, that's your day. So the caucusing and comparing of notes and the building of alliances of reconfiguring of alliances happens instead on -- during the cardinal's down time at the hotel where they're staying, the Casa Santa Marta.

COOPER: Based en what you know from past votes, say they voted twice now today, and we have seen the smoke once, maybe they only voted once, we don't know for sure, but they have a rough idea of whose names are being considered at this moment.

ALLEN: We actually do know they only voted once tonight. The rules say if they vote -- but the whole point of this first ballot is to get a sense of where people stand. Listen, these guys have been thinking about this nonstop the last couple of weeks. They knew this vote was coming. They all have come in with thoughts about who might be elected, who they might personally want to be elected. But until this moment, they had no sense actually of what was plausible, not only who might be desirable, but who could actually get enough votes to cross that two-thirds threshold.

CUOMO: Really it gives you a sense of urgency. We are talking about how many it takes to -- how many cardinals they have to count, but think about it as a process, the three of us. The way it works is the cardinal brings up the vote, I read out Escola, give it to him.

He reads out, Escola, he gives it to you. You mark down Escola. There is three other cardinals that do the exact same thing and all the 115 are marking it on their own ballot, the intensity of getting it right is huge. Think about what other process, what other election works that way?

Obviously we're talking about the smoke that just came out of the Sistine Chapel. It was black smoke here on the first day of the conclave. First vote, the cardinals chose to vote, but did not select a pope.

Welcome to all our viewers in America and around the world. We have Ben Wedeman with us. Ben, in the expectation of this, and the mood of what this means, to people who believe and who do not, how big an event is this in Rome?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Certainly when we saw that very thick black smoke coming out of the chimney over the Sistine Chapel, there was sort of a big sort of gasp of disappointment, but not necessarily surprise. Nobody really expected on the first vote a decision, any sort of white smoke.

In fact, I spoke with an Italian gentleman right next to me, I said, the smoke came out. I asked him, are you surprised? He said, no, actually, I had dinner with a cardinal last night, and I knew it would be black smoke so not a lot of surprise here.

But there were a lot of people. In fact, what is going on right now, if we turn the camera over, the Italian police have opened these barriers to allow all the people who were crowded into St. Peters Square for this occasion to get out quickly and conveniently as possible.

So first vote, and, of course, we'll be watching very closely that chimney over the Sistine Chapel tomorrow and maybe the next.

CUOMO: Now this vote obviously negative. It begins again tomorrow. What do you think you expect in terms of crowds, Ben? When they start having these votes two in the morning, two in the afternoon session assuming that no pope is selected, what type of crowds are anticipated to follow?

WEDEMAN: Well, I think as the suspense grows, as the anticipation grows, if there is not white smoke, we'll be seeing larger and larger crowds because really this is the only show in town at the moment.

There are thousands of tourists that come here according to the Vatican Press Office, 5,600 accredited journalists as well. So I think we can only expect the numbers to grow. Now, back in 2005, as I think you heard, there were four votes, four separate votes for Benedict XVI.

Our Vatican watchers are saying they're expecting possibly not a day and a half, but rather three days conclave in this instance. So the crowds are only going to get bigger.

COOPER: Certainly is, and the anticipation growing. John Allen, you talk -- I saw a tweet you sent earlier, I think it was interesting what you were talking about, you know, we say well, we believe these are the leading candidates. We think we know this. How do you think you know this? If there is secrecy surrounding this, the cardinals themselves are not publicly saying, how are you getting information?

ALLEN: Well, I mean, this is one of the great unsourced stories, of course, who is in and who is out in this. The cardinals are not on the record and in full public view ever are not going to tell you who they plan to vote for.

So you end up on relying on three things, one, as a journalist, over the years, you develop your own context of cardinals and on background usually they give you a kind of reality check.

There are several cardinals I could call and say, there say lot of buzz around this name, is that serious or not? And they would say, I think you should take it seriously or if I were you, I would go shop somewhere else.

COOPER: You actually say to the cardinal there is a lot of buzz around this name?

ALLEN: With the American guys, you can use phrase like buzz.

COOPER: What is the Italian expression for buzz?

ALLEN: Some noise around this name, that kind of thing or find the French or Portuguese, whatever. The second, you look at what other reporters are doing and you learn over the years whose byline you can trust and who you can't.

Third thing, you listen to what the cardinals are laying out in terms of what they think qualities the next pope needs to have and match that against bios and you try to see if you can discern who they're talking about. As I said in my post today, this is a mix of old-fashioned recording and reading the tea leaves.

COOPER: One cardinal was quoted in a publication, as saying that the names that are in contention -- the names that have been out there are the names that are being discussed.

ALLEN: Yes, this is Cardinal Francis George of Chicago who said that in his view, the main difference between last time, that is 2005 and this time is that he felt last time the names that were being floated were never really serious candidates. Whereas this time, the names that are out there in terms of the public discussion he believes actually do have traction.

COOPER: Fascinating stuff. How well do these cardinals know one another before coming?

ALLEN: Well, some know one another better than others, but I think it's better than last time. In 2005, there are only two cardinals who had ever been in a conclave before. This time, 50 of them had been through this process before, which means there are 50 guys who look at one another last time as potential candidates. So there is some water under the bridge.

COOPER: Right, certainly a lot more to cover. We'll have a lot more coverage from here in Rome throughout the day on CNN. Stay tuned. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the search for a new pope, the conclusion to a very exciting day here. I'm joined by Chris Cuomo, Father Edward Beck as well. We saw black smoke, not unexpected, the first vote taken, your thoughts on the conclusion of this day?

FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Two things. First, let me say before we added chemicals, how they used to do this was they would take straw and it was black smoke, it would be wet straw. All I could think is there would be no trouble getting wet straw in Rome during this.

The second thing I was thinking is so much for the environmental papacy. If you remember a few years ago, St. Benedict issued a new set of Ten Commandments, thou shall not pollute, look at all that smoke coming out of the chimney.

There is not yet enough votes to have a pope and so we'll have another election tomorrow and we expect that, of course, there wouldn't be. This first vote is always beware of the -- talk about it tonight over dinner, and some of that will be going on and we'll gather again tomorrow and see what happens.

CUOMO: Rare exceptions, the two most important votes, Anderson, are the first and the last because this does set the table. The names are out there. They can change. One of the most interesting dynamics here in picking a pope as opposed to presidential politics is that when you have two candidates who are head to head and neck and neck, in politics, and the presidential type of election. There is a consensus, there's a compromise and somebody winds up winning.

Here, because of this kind of third factor, that it is my mind, your mind, and then God's mind, they often disqualify both. We don't think God wants either of them to get 77 votes. And that's when you get this third man in. That's how in 1978 we got John Paul II. That's why someone like Marc Ouellet from Canada, Cardinal Ouellet, is getting talk.

Sure, he's not one of the main guys, but if an Angelo Scola , as we keep hearing, the archbishop of Milan, Odilo Scherer from Brazil, if those two cardinals can't get 77 votes, then maybe we need someone else. And that's how -- that fuels the speculation. This first vote set the table.