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U.S. Economy Examined; McDonald's and Wal-Mart Criticized for Low Wages; Family has Home Improperly Foreclosed by Bank of America; Germany Sends Officials to U.S. to Examine Spying Program; New App Helps Those with Autism Communicate; Investigator Writes Book on Jonbenet Ramsey Murder; Barney's of New York Accused of Racially Profiling Customers
Aired October 26, 2013 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN HOST: For everyone else, it's about a job, and jobs aren't coming fast enough -- 148,000 jobs added in September, 45,000 fewer than August.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That pace of job creation is below what we can be fully satisfied with.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Too many people are being left behind. That is undeniable.
ROMANS: Also undeniable, America's cratering confidence. Just 29 percent of Americans say the economy is good. That's the lowest level of the year and a four-point drop since before the shutdown. But still Congress snipes.
BOEHNER: We've got the whole threat of Obamacare continuing to hang over our economy like a wet blanket.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The Republican budget priorities that will cost jobs and even put more of a burden on the middle class.
ROMANS: As we lurch from one manufactured crisis to the next, 11 million Americans are still out of work. The country with the best workforce and the best infrastructure will lead the 21st century. Hello, is anybody listening?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Our Jake Tapper is anchor of "The Lead," Greg Valliere is chief political strategist for the Potomac Research Group. Gentlemen, nice to see you. Jake, let me start with you. Americans have a real confidence problem here. Everyone asks me if the problem right now is Obamacare or the lack of jobs or Washington politics. And the answer is yes. There's just overwhelming negativity right now. How does the White House move forward, Jake?
JAKE TAPPER, ANCHOR, "THE LEAD": Well, it's going to be difficult for them. And we saw that with the recent events and the government shutdown and, of course, the debate over the debt ceiling, I think there are a couple of areas of opportunity for the White House to work with Congress. One is some sort of budget deal. I don't think that a large scale budget deal is in the cards because Republicans seem dead set against any new revenue, and I don't think the White House will go along with any deal that reduces the deficit that doesn't also increase taxes in some way, even if it's closing loopholes.
So I do think a smaller deal is possible, maybe some modest trims to social safety net programs when it comes to wealthier recipients and also some spending cuts. And also, of course, there's immigration reform which I think is an area where there can be serious movement. There is momentum for it in the Senate and among the establishment Republicans in the House. The big question is, will the conservatives, the Tea Party coalition in the house block it the way they did with so much having to do with the government funding bill and the debt ceiling debate?
ROMANS: You know, Greg, you heard Jake's analysis is. I want to know your analysis and the president and his ability to take on his own party on entitlements. Maybe he'll be able to scale back the safety net for wealthier Americans. Will you get real entitlement reforms? Can the president take that on?
GREGORY VALLIERE, CHIEF POLITICAL STRATEGIST, POTOMAC RESEARCH GROUP: That's tough. Two things I'd say, Christine. Number one, I think you can't get a big entitlement deal without some revenues, and the Republicans are not going to raise taxes, end of that discussion.
Number two, I think people probably have to get off this debate about maybe doing something to the Social Security COLA, the cost of living adjustment. That's not going to happen. But there are other entitlement savings, maybe some means testing, that I think could be part of this deal that Jake talked about.
ROMANS: Even a small deal could be ugly, guys. We're talking about things that have been real and tractable problems for several years now. Jake, has the tone shifted? I mean, the president changing the subject to immigration reform, maybe that's, you know, a good sign, but has the tone shifted?
TAPPER: It's kind of like if you're in a bad relationship and you stay in that bad relationship hoping that it will get better, and five years later all you have is five years worth of nasty memories and things to bring up. That's kind of the relationship of President Obama.
ROMANS: Love advice from Jake Tapper on the program.
TAPPER: I'm talking about previous girlfriends not my current wife, or only wife.
TAPPER: But the idea that -- for instance, I've asked Republican congressmen what about a deal? What about some sort new revenues? And the answer almost to a Republican is President Obama already got that. Look at the Bush tax cuts and the deal at the end of 2012 and the fact that taxes did go up on individuals earning more than, I think it landed at somewhere around $450,000 a year.
TAPPER: They say there it is. That's the Obama tax increase. He already got it and they don't want to talk about anything beyond that. If you ask Democrats, some of them say, well, the Republicans already got their spending cut, look at the sequester cuts, those built-in budget cuts. They already got their spending cuts. So right now there's a lot of baggage that I think is impeding any sort of attempt to come to the table and start dealing anew with new revenues or new changes to safety net programs and spending cuts.
ROMANS: Well, we all can keep hoping for progress and try not to be mired to the negativity. Nice to see both of you guys, have a great weekend.
TAPPER: Thank you.
ROMANS: There's more than just Washington that matters to your money. For other stories that matter to your bottom line, give me 60 seconds on the clock. It's "Money Time."
ROMANS: More young people are just saying no to work. In 2000, 83 percent of 20 to 34-year-olds had jobs or were looking. Today, it's less than 78 percent. Men are doing more grocery shopping and food makers are taking notice. Darker packages, buzz-words like "ultimate" and commercials like this --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eat like that guy you know.
ROMANS: -- are designed to snag male customers.
From singles bar to search bar, according to a new survey, 38 percent of Americans who are single and ready to mingle have used online dating. Almost 60 percent of Internet users say it's a good way to meet people, a 15-point jump from 2005.
Good news for gas prices, they could fall to three-year lows if the current trend holds. But watch out for airfares. You can expect to pay nine percent more this year for Thanksgiving travel.
Tax season will be delayed thanks to the government shutdown. The IRS will start processing returns around the end of January, a week or two later than planned. But that won't push back the April 15th deadline to file.
And Lionel Trains chugging into cyber space. The 113-year-old brand is going digital with a new iPad app and a new iPad game.
ROMANS: Coming up, McDonald's caught advising full-time employees to apply for food stamps. We'll tell you the high price we all pay for low fast food wages and fast food prices next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ROMANS: As if the "Do you want fries with that?" economy was bad enough, but now workers are left to ask, do you want food stamps with that? This week an advocacy group called Low Pay is Not OK posted a recording of a McDonald's employee calling the McResource help line. During the call the operator advises the worker to apply for food- stamps and Medicaid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have kids?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, two kids.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You would most likely be eligible for SNAP benefits.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Also this week, Wal-Mart's CEO revealed the majority of the workers make less than $25,000 a year. Both companies say the headlines have been taken out of context. McDonald's says the video is not an accurate portrayal of the resource line, and Wal-Mart says many of the employees are part-time by choice, which helps explain low annual salaries.
But the bottom line here is not about the he said/she said of the details. It's the glaring fact these are people with jobs struggling to get by in this economy. The question, is it time again to start talking about a $15 minimum wage? Mid wage jobs were hit the hardest during the recession. What's coming back? Low-wage positions like those in fast food and retail. Now, these used to be thought of as a gateway job for young people, but for many today these are careers. The median age of a fast food worker is 29 years old. And more than half of those workers get government assistance. That cost taxpayers an estimated $7 billion a year.
In an era of endless stalemates between the right and left, no one can be happy here. Conservatives decry the exploding government entitlement programs that fill the gap. Liberals express outrage that profitable billion dollar companies have employees forced to make decisions like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHENITA SIMON, FAST FOOD WORKER: Sometimes my husband eats and I don't and sometimes I eat and my husband don't. We have to alternate like that because we can't eat every day and still supply for our children three meals per day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Look, a $15 minimum wage may not be the answer, but it's hard to deny this economy is not working for everyone. Meantime, workers demanding higher wages not the only issue for McDonald's these days. Between controversies and sluggish sales, is the shine off the golden arches?
ROMANS: Seen the Hamburglar lately? It might be time for McDonald's to bring back the burger bandit. Slow sales, menu flops reaching beyond the brand, and now the end of the dollar menu as we know it. Starting in November, get ready for the dollar menu and more with new items up to $5. McDonald's CEO says it promotes value at different price points. It's the latest attempt to bring in business and bank more bucks.
And Burger King is trying to play the fitness first game with low fat fries. But are customers satis-fried? It's too early to tell.
Meanwhile, Wendy's is getting a makeover. Wendya's is revamping its image and its stock price has doubled in the last year. Its sizzling new menu item, a pretzel bacon cheese burger.
HOWARD PENNEY, MANAGING DIRECTOR, HEDGEVE RISK MANAGEMENT: Wendy's has definitely gotten back to the core foundation. Its quality, its freshness, its burgers, fries, cokes, it's what people go to a Wendy's for. And McDonald's is, you know, trying to do all things to all people.
ROMANS: So does McDonald's need to keep its eyes on the fries?
PENNEY: To grow again they actually need to shrink. If they take their menu and eliminate those items that aren't selling, then people will gravitate to the items that are more popular.
ROMANS: Tell that to Starbucks. After conquering coffee, the Seattle house of high-priced hot liquids is opening tea houses.
HOWARD SCHULTZ, CEO, STARBUCKS: The acquisition of juice, the acquisition of food, all of that is enhancing the experience of Starbucks creating different need states for our customers and recognizing that these things are about creating complementary experiences for our coffee customer.
TAPPER: But back in burger land, customers would rather keep it simple.
PENNEY: McDonald's is the biggest restaurant company on the planet for a reason. It's done one thing well for 50 years, sells burger, fries, and coke.
ROMANS: Mess with the menu and you may get grimaced.
ROMANS: You have to appeal to a younger audience too, so a lot of work ahead for McDonald's.
All right, up next, housing market hot or cold? I'm going to show you the only three numbers that matter in housing.
Plus, imagine your home ravaged by hurricane Katrina, you rebuild, and now your house is taken away from you again eight years later.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GAYNELLE SORINA: You could digest tragedy from Mother Nature, I can, me personally. But when you have this kind of storm to take place, I can't digest that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: These families are not battling a storm, they are battling the banks.
ROMANS: All right, I have the real story of what's going on in the housing market in three simple numbers to explain. First, falling mortgage rates, 4.13 percent, the average for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, that is the lowest now in four months. And those rates are likely to drop even more. Why? Because of this little number, the yield on a ten-year treasury note dipped below 2.5 percent this week. A blah jobs report likely means Ben Bernanke and his Fed will keep the extraordinary bond buying for a while longer, at least until Janet Yellen takes over next year. The Fed's bond buying keeps rates low, and that's great news for first-time home buyers or anyone looking to refinance.
But my third number shows that low interest rates often don't matter in housing. Cash, baby, cash -- 49 percent of all home purchases in September were 100 percent cash, no mortgage, more evidence people with money are still making money.
And then there's this -- it's been more than eight years since an active nature devastated New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina killed hundreds and left thousands homeless. Rosa Flores here with more. Rosa, families that live to tell the tale now victimized again.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Believe it or not, Christine, many of them homeless again due to a perfect storm they didn't see coming that left middle class families like the one you're about to meet in foreclosure.
FLORES: Gaynelle and Adolf Sorina celebrated when they finished repairing their home after it was destroyed by hurricane Katrina.
ADOLF SORINA: You had to do what you had to do.
GAYNELLE SORINA: Yes. It was survival.
FLORES: They look forward to sewing these suits in their family home, a tradition for four generations among members of the black feather Mardi Gras Indian tribe. But today they're without their historic home once again, lost not to a hurricane but to foreclosure.
After losing your home during Katrina, you weren't expecting something like this to happen again.
GAYNELLE SORINA: You could digest tragedy from Mother Nature. I can, me personally, but when you have this kind of storm to take place, I can't digest that.
FLORES: Their troubles began when their son became very ill, all while they were rebuilding after another hurricane. Fearful of falling behind on their mortgage, they asked their bank to renegotiate their loan.
ADOLF SORINA: "Notice the date is July 11th, 2009. We are pleased to advise you your loan modification has been approved."
FLORES: Yet each month, Bank of America kept billing them the higher amount from the old mortgage. Ada Serena kept paying on time as bank reps assured him it was just a mistake.
And did you make all of those payments?
ADOLF SORINA: Made all of those payments.
FLORES: On time.
ADOLF SORINA: On time.
FLORES: A year later, the bank foreclosed anyway, taking the home where he grew up, where his son was born. The bank sold off their home for $48,000, less than half of what they owed.
JAMES PERRY, GREATER NEW ORLEANS HOUSING ACTION CENTER: These are some of the files of people that we've helped over the years since Katrina.
FLORES: James Perry leads an organization that fights foreclosures.
PERRY: They're so proud of what they accomplished because they worked so hard to get there. And it didn't matter how many hurricanes came, it didn't matter what happened, those families rebuilt because they were there to stay.
FLORES: In a statement, Bank of America said "We apologize to the Sarinas for the events that clearly should not have happened the way they did. While we did not provide the service they expected from us, we're confident this is a unique case."
The federal government accused 13 banks, including Bank of America with unsound foreclosure practices in 2009 and 10. The bank's admitted no wrong doing but paid $3.6 billion in settlement money. The Sorinas' cut, $2,000.
FLORES: Now hear this, Bank of America made the Sorinas made a verbal offer of $100,000 in an effort to make things right in a fair way they say. But the Sorinas tell CNN that $100,000 is not a fair settlement. And, Christine, here's their wish list -- or the majority of their wish list -- a mortgage-free five bedroom, three bathroom new home in the Pontchartrain Park subdivision in New Orleans, which is where they live, and also a monetary stipend for $750,000 for the five members of their household.
ROMANS: Sounds to me like a reasonable way for Bank of America to get out of a bad and sticky situation that obviously Bank of America made a terrible mistake and hurt this family. We'll keep up to date with what they're doing and what happens in the very end. Thank you so much. Thank you for bringing that story and we'll follow up.
Coming up, finding a voice, there's an app for that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACQUELINE CEONZO, MOTHER OF 18-YEAR-OLD WITH AUTISM: To watch a video of my son go into a subway and order lunch and use a credit card and pay for it, I mean, can you imagine?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: You're going to meet an 18-year-old with autism who has never spoken to his parents until now.
ROMANS: It was a week of tablet showdowns and soaring tech stocks, but it's important to remember profound ways technology is changing lives. You probably know a child or a parent affected by autism. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the number of children on the autism spectrum in the U.S. has increased tenfold in the past 40 years. In some cases those with the disorder are nonverbal. They struggle to communicate even with their parents. Finding a voice, there's an app for that. CNN Money's Laurie Seagall introduces us to a teen named Joey. Hi, Laurie.
LAURIE SEAGALL, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Christine. We were lucky enough to spend a day with Joey. He's got supportive parents and teachers. And they helped us understand how technology has changed his life. Take a look.
SEAGALL: Ordering a sandwich has always been tough for Joe. He's 18 years old and he has autism.
CEONZO: Joe doesn't talk. Joe has never spoken to us.
SEAGALL: For his entire life Joe expressed himself by pointing.
CEONZO: Do you want yogurt or grapes?
SEAGALL: That's what he could eat and where he could go, even the bathroom. He could get agitated at times, even violent.
CEONZO: He was biting himself, which a lot of kids on the spectrum will do. And I think that comes out of frustration from not being able to communicate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put paper plates on the table.
SEAGALL: But a year ago, his communication skills improved. For the first time, he was able to get through to his mother. He's using an iPad app called Autismate. Joe's still pointing, but his communication abilities have improved.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want strawberries.
SEAGALL: His interaction less frustrating.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put the silverware on the table.
SEAGALL: Using the technology, Autismate it combines a child's physical surroundings with videos of the child in those surroundings.
CEONZO: It's Joe in the pictures, which all the other things are those symbols of things which Joe doesn't have an imagination, so trying to figure out what the picture meant just made things more complicated.
SEAGALL: He's learning, and he's much, much calmer.
MARK KANTER, SUPERVISOR, SPEECH AND LANGUAGE, THE MCCARTON SCHOOL: When Joe came to us at 15, really the extent of his communication was he was pushing us away if we were stopping him from something or grabbing what he wanted. But there was no real attempts at verbal language.
SEAGALL: Autismate has become a common teaching tool for kids in his school.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get the putty, Joe. Nice work, bud. That is the putty. You drink with a -- cup. Nice job, bud.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me something that goes with seat belts. Car goes with seat belts, you're so good.
KANTER: We're trying to give that correspondence where this magazine or this putty is represented by this picture here, literally what you're seeing in front of you. So if you touch what you want here, we'll give it to you.
SEAGALL: Subway is a block away from Joe's school. For the first time, he can order on his own.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A 12-inch Italian bread, Italian BMT, provolone cheese, pickles and chips please.
CEONZO: To watch a video of my son go into a subway and order lunch and use a credit card and pay for it. I mean, can you imagine?
SEAGALL: The progress he's made is really unbelievable. I should mention, Christine, Autismate is not cheap. It costs $150 in the app store. But I'll say this, it's comparable to a lot of other therapy apps out there, and it's still a lot less than some of the older tech out there, which costs thousands of dollars. And, you know, when it comes down to it, it's an investment a lot of families are willing to make and also a reminder that technology can change lives.
ROMANS: Really finding his voice for the first time, what a wonderful story. Laurie Seagall, thanks.
For more on the stories that matter to your money this week, visit our blog at CNN.com/yourmoney.
I'm going to take you through everything you need to know about J.P. Morgan's record $13 billion settlement and what the future holds for Jamie Dimon, the CEO. Have a great weekend.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, I'm Fredericka Whitfield. Here are the top stories we're following in the CNN Newsroom.
Right now protesters are gathering in D.C. showing their anger over the U.S. spying on international allies and U.S. citizens.
And 17 years after her murder, what happened to Jonbenet Ramsey remains a mystery. Straight ahead the former lead investigator in the case reveals his thoughts about a possible new lead in the case.
And two people are suing Barney's department store in New York, claiming store clerks racially profiled them. And now fans of rapper and media mogul Jay-Z want him to reconsider his business ties to the store.
An intelligence team from Germany is preparing to come to the U.S. after claims the NSA spied on foreign leaders. Those claims have sparked sharp criticism from abroad and also at home. There's a protest right now going on right in the nation's capital, and we'll get to that in a minute. But first, let's start in London. Jim Bolduen is there live. So Jim, what is the latest from Germany and other countries who have learned that the U.S. has spied on them?
JIM BOLDUEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well Germany seems to be taking the lead on this here in Europe because Angela Merkel, the chancellor, the allegations are that her phone was snooped on by the U.S., and this is a phone she uses and we see her using in many meetings, et cetera. So she seems to have taken the lead on this. And the Germanys have told CNN that the head of the domestic intelligence unit and the international intelligence unit from Germany will be heading to the U.S. in a couple of weeks.
Now, the National Security Agency, the NSA, has confirmed that and has released a statement about this. It says that "We understand that Germany officials plan to travel to Washington in the coming weeks and that the U.S. government looks forward to meeting with them. We expect a range of meetings with the relevant officials across the inner-agency but we do not have specific meetings to announce at this point." I think what's important about this is that the U.S. is trying to get maybe a little bit ahead of this, Fredericka, because Germany has been very much at the forefront the last 48 hours or so by showing the anger of this country and others in Europe, France and Spain, as well, and looking for some kind of reaction out of the U.S. President Obama has said he spoke with Angela Merkel on Wednesday assuring her they are not doing this now or won't do this in the future. But that has not calmed people down here, I have to say, Fredericka.
WHITFIELD: So, Jim, it's not really new that countries kind of spy on one another or learn about intelligence about one another, but what's different in this case, now we're talking about telephone conversations and that's ruffled the feathers of so many leaders. But what kind of responses are coming from say, France or even Spain, some of the countries that apparently have been in those reports?
BOLDUEN: Yes, well, the France -- the president of France Hollande has said he would like to see a new world kind of thought about how we collect this data, how we use this data, how we share this data. He has come out and said he'd like to see some kind of meeting where you would actually discuss this. Many of the European leaders have said they want to see more talk about data protection within the European Union itself.
But of course, also, you have some ambassadors being called in to various capitals. And Spain said on Friday that it would be calling the U.S. ambassador in to Madrid -- I think you could say it's tongue lashing in diplomatic terms -- just to say what happened, why, and is it continuing to happen?
WHITFIELD: Jim, thanks so much from London.
So anger over those claims is spilling into the streets of Washington. People are rallying right now, in fact, in the nation's capital and their message is clear. They want the U.S. to stop watching them. Erin McPike is live for us right now in Washington. So Erin, what's going on there right now?
ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, this rally is actually about data collection of private citizens in the United States. So it's about the domestic side of it and not the surveillance of foreign leaders. So that's an important distinction, but all wrapped up in this big controversy.
And what has just happened within the last hour is that a statement was read by Edward Snowden, he of course is that whistleblower who brought this big controversy out into the open this summer. And I want to read part of that statement to you. "We are here to remind our government officials that they are public servants, not private investigators. This is about the unconstitutional, unethical, and amoral actions of a modern day surveillance state and how we all must work together to remind the government to stop them."
So, again, Fred, like I said, this is just about the domestic side of it. But last night, Hillary Clinton was speaking at Colgate University and she addressed this controversy in a broad context and basically said we need to explain why the government has to use these techniques for surveillance. It's been an important thing since September 11th. But she understands why there's some frustration, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, Erin McPike, thanks so much for that from Washington.
So the White House said this week that the healthcare.gov Web site should be running smoothly by the end of November. Republicans responded today in their weekly radio address. Congressman Fred Upton saying Americans should expect reliable service from the website. He also said the deadline for individuals to sign up should be pushed back because the site is still, quote, "not ready for primetime."
Friends and family will gather this weekend to say goodbye to a teacher police say was killed by one of her students. Colleen Ritzer's viewing will be Sunday in Andover, Massachusetts. Officers say the teacher at Danvers High was killed Tuesday, her body dumped in the woods behind the school. Police arrested one of her algebra students, Phillip Chism, for the murder. Sources say the 14-year-old used a box cutter in the killing, and after the murder, officers say Chism changed clothes, grabbed fast food, and then took in a movie. Prosecutors haven't decided whether to charge him with first or second degree murder.
Grand jury documents have been unsealed in the Jonbenet Ramsey case nearly 17 years after the six-year-old's death. But it's not likely to help solve her murder. Here's Ana Cabrera.
ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, the newly released documents show that a grand jury in 1999 voted to indict John and Patsy Ramsey in the death of their six-year-old daughter. That never happen and DNA evidence eventually exonerated the family.
But the new information raises even more questions about what really happened the night Jonbenet died.
CABRERA: It's a murder mystery that remains unsolved after 17 years, who killed Jonbenet Ramsey. Apparently a jury in 1999 believed her parents had something to do with the six-year-old's death. A Colorado judge just released previously sealed documents, four pages from a 1999 grand jury indictment. The documents show the grand jury voted to indict John and Patsy Ramsey on two counts, child abuse resulting in death, and being an accessory to the murder. Yet charges were never filed. At the time, then district attorney Alex Hunter said there just wasn't enough evidence.
DANNY CEVALLOS, LEGAL ANALYST: Although the grand jury concluded there's probable cause, that is not anywhere close to the same standard as beyond a reasonable doubt.
CABRERA: All along, the Ramseys claimed an intruder killed their daughter.
JOHN RAMSEY, JONBENET RAMSEY'S FATHER: We think it was a pedophile, a male.
CABRERA: The Ramsey family was eventually cleared in the case by DNA evidence. In response to the newly released documents, Ramsey family attorney Lin Wood released this statement saying, quote, "The released documents from 1999 were the product of a grand jury that did not have the benefit of the conclusive 2008 DNA testing that led to the unequivocal public exoneration of the Ramsey family by the Boulder district attorney."
Nearly two decades after the heinous crime, the search for Jonbenet's killer continues. The DNA evidence is still considered the biggest clue in the case, but no match has been found.
CABRERA: The boulder police department confirms this is still an open investigation, but it's a cold case, meaning they are not actively investigating right now. A spokeswoman for the police department tells me they continue to receive tips but they have not received a credible tip in a very long time, and right now they have no solid leads. Fred?
WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much.
So coming up, the former lead investigator opens up about what he calls a possible lead in the Ramsey case, the one family member he says should testify before a new grand jury.
WHITFIELD: A moment ago we talked about the grand jury documents unsealed in the Jonbenet Ramsey murder case. Jonbenet's parents have maintained she was killed by an intruder. But former lead investigator in the case has his doubts. James Kolar wrote about the unsolved case in his book "Foreign Faction, Who Really Kidnapped Jonbenet?" He spoke earlier to Christi Paul.
JAMES KOLAR, FORMER INVESTIGATOR, BOULDER, D.A.'S OFFICE: I think it's unlikely an intruder was involved in this situation. What's frustrating for me is that the DNA evidence continues to be proffered as proof that an intruder was involved. The fact of the matter is --
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: So who do you think was involved, James?
KOLAR: I do not think an intruder was involved. There was more than one sample of DNA that was discovered over the course of this investigation. Touch DNA that was done late in 2008 and 2009 revealed additional unknown, unidentified male samples of DNA on the implements used in the murder of Jonbenet. If you look at the totality of the circumstances, there are six unidentified samples of DNA, trace amounts.
PAUL: So do you think the parents are incriminated in this case based on all the evidence you've seen? KOLAR: I believe a strong look was warranted by investigating the family as a possible --
PAUL: But when you say investigating the family, do you mean specifically the parents? Or do you mean someone else in the family?
KOLAR: There were three people in the home that evening. I think investigators needed to look at all three of them.
PAUL: OK. Do you think -- boy, at this point, do you think this case is ever going to be solved? That we're ever going to know?
KOLAR: It's very unlikely unless there's a confession or someone else comes forward that has information that's been shared with them. There is one other possible lead that I proposed to the Boulder Police Department and the D.A.'s office over the course of writing "Foreign Faction," and that was another grand jury inquiry and calling Burke Ramsey to the stand in that event.
Would anything come of that? I couldn't say for certain. But he turned efforts away from investigators to interview him back in 2009, and a grand jury might be another opportunity to see if they can get that interview.
PAUL: And again, who is it that you would like to hear them interview?
KOLAR: Burke Ramsey.
PAUL: And Burke is?
KOLAR: Burke is the son who was in the home at the time of the homicide.
PAUL: The 13-year-old. Did you interview Burke yourself?
KOLAR: No, I did not interview him. Boulder police attempted to interview him after the chief called the cold case task force meeting to review all the circumstances before he took the case back from the D.A.'s office. Those efforts to speak to him, he is now an adult, were not granted. So that's one additional possible lead I think could be followed up on.
WHITFIELD: All right, coming up in the 3:00 eastern hour, the journalist who pushed for these court documents to be unsealed, why he fought so hard to get the information and what he thinks about the grand jury's recommendation to indict the parents many years ago.
All right, shopping while black, that's the crime that two more people say they were accused of at a high-end New York store. Now Jay-Z has found himself caught right in the controversy.
WHITFIELD: Racist comments cost a Republican leader in North Carolina his job. Don Yelton was interviewed by the "Daily Show" about North Carolina's new voter I.D. law. His comments, well, they're enraging people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON YELTON, FORMER NORTH CAROLINA COUNTY GOP CHAIRMAN: If it hurts a bunch of college kids that's too lazy to get up and go get a photo I.D., so be it. If it hurts the whites, so be it. If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that wants the government to give them everything, so be it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Yelton resigned his position as Republican committee chairman for his county on Thursday. Later he defended himself in the radio interview saying he's not a racist but that the "Daily Show" tried to, quote, "create an illusion about him."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YELTON: I talked with the state chairman. He said the state was going to put out a statement asking me to step down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do you think that is?
YELTON: Because they're a bunch of chickens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe it's because they're embarrassed.
YELTON: No, look.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe because they're embarrassed by what you said.
YELTON: Let them get embarrassed, too bad. I'm embarrassed by the fact they don't stand up and fight for what's right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Yelton also says he has no regrets.
All right, a luxury store is under fire for allegedly racially profiling some of its customers. Two people are suing Barney's, the department store, in New York. They claim store clerks called the police after they bought big-ticket items from the store. Now angry fans are asking rap star Jay-Z to end his multimillion dollar deal with the company. Here's our Nick Valencia.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Next month, Jay-Z is set to sell a new fashion line at Barney's, but a Change.org petition is calling for him to end all partnerships with the New York retailer. That's because a second African-American college student has come forward to allege racial profiling, saying undercover officers stopped and questioned her after she bought a $2,500 bag at Barney's New York.
KAYLA PHILLIPS, CLAIMS SHE WAS RACIALLY PROFILED: I had good intentions. I went, bought my favorite bag, you know, I wanted this bag, I deserved that bag. And then to find out, you know, I'm being accused of using someone else's card. I just really felt demeaned.
VALENCIA: And 21-year-old Kayla Phillips came forward after 19-year- old Trayon Christian made headlines claiming he too was racially profiled after purchasing a belt at Barney's in April. Both shoppers want damages from the store and the New York Police Department.
TRAYON CHRISTIAN, CLAIMS HE WAS RACIALLY PROFILED: Undercover cops, they had regular clothes on, stopped me from the left side and acting, like, oh, I got a call from Barney's saying your card is not real.
VALENCIA: In a prepared statement, Mark Lee, CEO of Barney's New York, said, quote, "No customer should have the unacceptable experience described in recent media reports and we offer our sincere regret and deepest apologies. We want to reinforce that Barney's New York has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination. Our mission is to ensure that all customers receive the highest quality service without exception."
The New York Police Department says it's investigating the incident. Jay-z's representatives have not commented, but Kayla Phillips hopes they do.
PHILLIPS: He knows it's not right and he'll make the right choice.
VALENCIA: And Jay-Z isn't the only star getting caught in the middle of a high-end store controversy. Robert Brown filed a lawsuit this week against Macy's. Brown says he, too, was the victim of racial profiling. He says police accused him of using a fake credit card and detained him back in June.
WHITFIELD: That was Nick Valencia reporting.
All right, some people are calling it the best Halloween costume ever. The viral video, the cutest stick figure you'll ever see.
WHITFIELD: Here's one of the most touching touchdowns you'll ever see. Eiler Buck from Texas was born with clubbed feet and a brain malfunction that left him unable to speak. The eighth grader had several surgeries just to be able to make walking possible. So his dream was to score for his middle school football team over their big rival. This week, both schools got together and made that dream come true. Eiler scored a 40-yard touchdown and then spiked the ball as you see right there. He was so excited he forgot to do his kind of happy dance in the end zone. Congrats to him. And a $6 World Series ticket that will sound way too good to be true. Well, it was. Derrick Jabs bought a $6 ticket to game one of the World Series in Boston on stubhub.com. The seat typically sells for $750. But a few hours later, the website gave him the bad news, it wasn't real. But Derrick's $6 dream didn't die. Stub Hub gave him a free ticket for an even better seat to see the Red Sox beat the Cardinals in that first game.
That's the real deal. It may look like an animation, but that wobbly little stick figure is California toddler Zoey. She's getting a jump on Halloween with the cutest costume so far this season. Zoey's father actually constructed that get-up with kind of LED lights and Velcro. Now you can see Zoey's face. And the little girl wasn't the only one impressed with the creation. When he actually posted the video online, it went viral getting over 180,000 hits. Something tells me he bought party a patent on that one. That's going to be a popular costume if duplicated many times over.
Who is the mystery Obamacare website girl, the one that appears on the front of the healthcare.gov home page? Jeanne Moos asked how would you like to be a face of a dysfunctional website?
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Have you seen the mystery girl? She's not missing but she Is impossible to miss.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The troubled launch President Obama's health care law.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The botched rollout of health care has not only embarrassed the White House.
MOOS: She's been floating across our TV screens, smiling out at us from our computers, online, at least. This isn't the face of Obamacare. This is. And critics are having a field day tweeting congrats vapidly smiling healthcare.gov splash page photo girl. You're now the most despised face on planet earth. How would you like having your face associated with phrases like "problem plagued." Watch your back newscasters, she's behind you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Takes the heat for the Obama Web site glitches.
MOOS: Screen right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The problems.
MOOS: When we asked about her identity, the company responsible for building much of the website didn't call us back nor did health and human services. A small company that originally worked in the homepage told us she was part of the mock-up from the design folks. We checked stock photo files but couldn't find her. Her face is even being defaced. "Does she have Obamacare?" someone tweeted. Obamacare girl isn't getting the love the original Obama girl got back in 2008.
(SINGING) MOOS: Some are crushing Obamacare girl by comparing her to Joey on friends.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As of today, I'm officially Joey Tribiani actor/model.
MOOS: But Joey's dream modeling job became a nightmare when he saw his photo plastered all over New York in a poster warning "VD, You never know who might have it." Are Obamacare girls snickering like Joey's?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know how laughter can be infectious.
MOOS: But Obamacare is the treatment, not the disease, and while the original Obama girl sang of healthcare reform.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Universal healthcare reform.
MOOS: Poor Obamacare girl gets the cold shoulder and all she does is smile, the enigmatic Mona Lisa of health care.
Jeanne Moos, CNN --
If this is you, call me.