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Phil 5500 personnel in addition to the 6800 U.N. troops and police already on the ground of South Sudan; Forty million customers' debit and credit card information compromised a Target; Support For Obamacare Drops To Record Low In New CNN/ORC Poll; Politics and Power In 2013: A Look Back; Utah Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Upheld; Apple's Major Deal With China Mobile; Former Cheerleader Honored By Eagles

Aired December 23, 2013 - 20:00   ET



RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is as if mother nature couldn't make up her mind. Dropping snow, ice, rain, and tornado force winds across dozens of states.

In Hughes, Arkansas, a tornado chewed through this barn. That same storm caused this Arkansas mother her home and all her Christmas gifts, but she managed to save her children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I threw my body weight over my 16 month-old child to saved his life, and my daughter, I flung her to the bathroom to save her life.

KAYE: In Mississippi, another tornado took a man's life, after blowing over his mobile home, trapping him between a tree and his mattress. The fire chief spent hours trying to get his friend out.

CHIEF JAMES LEE, FIRE DEPARTMENT: We pulled Christmas presents out of this trailer home all day. We pulled a body out and presents today.

KAYE: In Charlotte, North Carolina, the rain was not nearly as deadly but it sure drenched this fan at the Carolina Panthers/New Orleans Saints game. Maybe next time, he will try the upper deck.

And in some places there was so much rain this was the result. Streets turned into rivers in parts of Illinois. And in (INAUDIBLE), Ohio, some residents got around in kayaks instead of cars. The water got so high this woman had to be rescued by boat from her retirement village. Rising water is to blame for the loss of three lives in Nelson county, Kentucky, five people in the SUV tried to cross a small bridge but the river was too much.

CHIEF FRANK HALL, ROLLING FORK, KENTUCKY FIRE DEPARTMENT: It appears they tried to turn around and dropped the front edge off the front of the bridge and it just swept it away.

KAYE: Two inside the SUV managed to escape but could not pull the others to safety. Elsewhere, like Des Moines, Iowa, Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Wichita, Kansas, it was not rain but snow that was the problem causing horrible accidents on the roads. And there was ice, too.

At this outlet mall in Oklahoma city, sheets of ice slowed down holiday shoppers a bit. In upstate, New York, ice knocked out power to thousands, even further north in Toronto, Canada, ice froze power lines leaving nearly 200,000 customers in the dark possibly until Christmas.

Officials are calling it a catastrophe. Transformers are exploding like firecrackers. Just trying to get the word out proved dangerous for this reporter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With that, I'm going to send it back inside. Oh -- there goes! That just landed on a Toronto hydro truck. That just landed on a Toronto hydro vehicle, and the wires are down, you hear the cracking, listen for a second, the cracking, we're sending it back inside and are not going to stand here anymore.

KAYE: It seems one of the few places spared all of this nasty stuff was New York city, where just days before Christmas folks enjoyed a record high of 71 degrees over the weekend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love it. It feels like it is may in December.

KAYE: Too bad winter has only just begun.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You see those pictures there. It is a big mess for a lot of people in a lot of places.

For more on what caused it and what is coming for Christmas, let's check in with Chad Myers. He is in the holiday weather center, we might call it.

Chad, this has been a crazy December. Just yesterday, many around the country, including the -- I went to Baltimore for a football game. It was like spring, but maybe not for long?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: No, not for long. It is just outside your door. It has been warm up and down the coast because the jet stream has been up and down Canada.

Now, it has cold in the west, I will give you that, but it hasn't been called in the places here along i- 95 for the past couple of days. We will see all of this go away. We are going to see this entire system go away as this cold front slides on by. This jet stream will move to the east, and it is going to pushing all of that warm air and it is going to be gone.

And finally, we are going to change all these warm, warm to cold, cold, cold. And in fact, significantly colder. We have temperatures right now in parts of Dakotas that are approaching 25 degrees below zero with the wind chill. There is 27 below in Fargo. And guess where the air is moving? Right toward the south and to the east. And that will move right through New York and Philadelphia and D.C. You were 70 degrees a couple of days ago. The morning low in 36 hours is going to be somewhere around 20. That is a 70, 70 degree shift, John.

KING: That is a big shift.

So, how about those of us who would enjoy a white Christmas? The cold weather going to bring some snow?

MYERS: Well, to some, not a lot. And we are going to see some snow into parts of the northeast here tonight. And so, this is this going to be still covered up here in parts of New England. But the accumulation is going to be across parts of Minnesota to Wisconsin, back even to Michigan and Buffalo. That is not really a place that is unusual to get all that much snow. We are going to see some snow, but probably not as much of a white Christmas as some kids would like.

KING: Chad Myers keeping an eye of all this and obviously in our weather center. They will throughout the Christmas day. Stay with us here.

And a fresh reminder now, the controversy notwithstanding, it is truly a "Duck Dynasty" out there. And you might say, we just living it. After fan pressure, including threats of a boycott, the cracker barrel restaurant chain reversed its decision to drop selling products from the show. You told us you made a mistake and you were not shy about it. Nor is Dynasty patriarch and the star of the show, Phil Robertson. He is not backing away from a statement he made, suggesting homosexuality could lead to bestiality.

Leading a bible study group yesterday, Robertson said quote " I love all men and women. I am a lover of humanity not a hater." And he is only repeating lessons from the scripture, he says. Quote "I'm just reading what was written over 2,000 years ago," he told the group. Those who live like this will not inherent the kingdom. All right, I did was quote from the scriptures, but they, meaning his critics, just didn't know it.

Will Payne, a reporter from Britain's "Daily Mail" was with Robertson when he said that at the bible study. He joins us tonight.

KING: So Will, you had this up-close look and you say Robertson doesn't seem fazed by this in the least by this firestorm?

WILL PAYNE, SENIOR REPORTER, DAILY MAIL ONLINE: Not in any way shape or form. And he is perfectly comfortable with what he said, he believes in what he says and has steadfast religious believes that will not be affected in anyone, acting what you must may -- any networks just going to make any difference to what he believes. And he doesn't see it as anything hugely controversial.

KING: He doesn't think it is at all controversial?

PAYNE: Well, I mean, obviously he is aware of what has been going on around him and has seen the media reaction. But from his perspective, he is simply saying what he believes. And he is spreading the word of someone that, you know, a higher power. And you know, the fundamental issue is that from my limited experience down there, it seems as though the vast majority of the local population concurred with him and agreed with him.

KING: You say concur and agree with him, actually, give us a little bit more insight. You say the people in church actually refer to this controversy as a blessing? How so?

PAYNE: Well, they're a hugely religious community, firstly. And they see this as an opportunity to spread their message and their message that they firmly believe in. And it has given them a forum and a platform by which to spread the word of God as they see it, anyway.

KING: I want you to take us inside. You're invited to attend a small bible study group that was led by Robertson there at the church. Take us inside that room.

PAYNE: I was showing up to a small classroom, I suppose you could describe it as upstairs. And Mr. Robertson was there in full camouflage gear. And several of his friends were there, also fully bearded with camouflage on. They were incredibly friendly, welcoming, interested to know what I was doing there and where I was from, et cetera. And then after ten minutes of preliminary conversation, and he started this bible study group. And which went on for about 45 minutes, referencing me on a number of occasions and it was interesting.

KING: Referencing you on a couple of occasions, he also said this at the end.

I will not give or back off from my path because you conquered death, father, so we're not worried about all the repercussions. Talking in a biblical sense, but you think talking about himself as well?

PAYNE: It was a prayer. I mean, he was saying a prayer that he had come up with off top of his head. I mean, it was something that the, you know, that they do a lot of these things on an ad hoc basis. And that was a prayer that was obviously specific to what had happened the previous week. I mean, obviously, it has connotations beyond that. But I think it was directly in reference to the controversy and the fire storm of last week.

KING: And so after the bible study class, Robertson joined the congregation, about a thousand people for the Sunday service. And you say, he was -- I should have out of the church through a back door about ten minutes before the service ended, you think to avoid the media?

PAYNE: Well, I think so. That was the slight paradox in this. And obviously, I was invited in and they were very welcoming. But by the same token, they did seemed to be taking measures to avoid him from being accosted by anyone from the media. I think also they were potentially concerned about protests or anything like that. From a known media perspective obviously, what he said has upset a number of people.

So yes, he left 10 minutes earlier. And you know, he read it a bit casually, but it was very much a concerted effort, I think, to get him away before he could be spoken to by anybody else.

KING: For transparency sake here, why do you think he has spent a little bit time with you? And did the "Daily Mail" pay for the interview or access of any kind?

PAYNE: No, we didn't pay in any way, shape or form. And if you ask me why he spoke to me specifically, I think with all of these things as I'm sure you're aware, luck and timing, and being, you know, in the right place at the right time plays a part.

But I think as I said at the very beginning, Mr. Robertson is steadfast in his believes and not ashamed of what he said, because he believes it to be true. So therefore, why would he be scared of speaking to talk to me or the media, he is confident in what he said and pro actively wants to get the message out there.

KING: Will Payne, thank you so much.

PAYNE: No problem, thank you.

KING: And a lot happening tonight including American in Jeopardy caught in a war zone in South Sudan, marines rushing to get ready just in case they are needed. We will have the very latest.

Also, much more on that Target data breach, how hackers of that 40 million credit and debit card numbers and what you need to know about staying safe. Security expert has the lowdown when "360" continues.


KING: Help is on the way for Americans trapped by violence in a fractured country now tethering edging on civil war. They're stuck in South Sudan, targeted along with the rest of the civilian population, some 40,000 men and women and children now are taking refugees in U.N. camps.


BAN KI-MOON, U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL: Let me be absolutely clear, the world is watching, all sides in south of Sudan, attacks on civilians and the U.N. peacekeepers deployed to protect them, must cease immediately.


KING: In response to the secretary general, they're calling for another 5500 personnel in addition to the 6800 U.N. troops and police already on the ground. Now, some of those attacks you mentioned include an assault over the weekend on a U.S. mission to air lift Americans to safety. That mission had to scrubbed. More troops were wounded, at least one seriously.

So with that and the possibility of another Benghazi in the air, the Pentagon today wanted the marines contingent to move closer to the region.

Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr has the latest.

And Barbara, the Pentagon seems to be taking no chances here, moving marines toward south Sudan. What is the latest on their movements and the American civilians they may have to evacuate?


About 150 marines are now on the ground in the horn of Africa in the nation of Jubuti (ph). Heavily armed, awaiting for orders, if they get the orders, they will go in. They have two possible missions, to reinforce to provide additional security for the U.S. embassy in the capital Tuba (ph), and or to evacuate the rest of the American in the south Sudan. The (INAUDIBLE) about 100 hundred Americans mainly associated with the embassy. But the problem is right now, the fighting is so bad, so vicious, so severe. The state department is incompletely sure. They are on the lookout for any Americans who may be hankered down in U.N. compounds and hotels in their homes, anybody who wants to get out they want to be able to provide that air lift to get them out in the coming days. But this is very tough going, as the U.N. warned today, the concern is the fighting is spiraling out of control.

KING: Tough going, Barbara. How much is the response anyway to what happened with the stakes here, and how much is the ghost, if you will, the worries about another possible Benghazi?

STARR: We have to tell you, the U.S. military was very open about it today when they announced that the marines were on the way. They say this was one of the lessons learned of Benghazi. That when you have Americans at risk in areas of the world where they may not be U.S. military for forces at the ready, you have to put the military force there. As everyone will recall in Benghazi, there were no nearby U.S. military forces, nobody to come help at that compound. This time, the Pentagon taking no chances. Putting the 150 marines into the region, even before there are orders to go. They don't want this to happen again.

KING: And Barbara, what is the latest you are hearing about those U.S. personnel wounded over the weekend?

STARR: Yes, this is both sad and happy news, John. Three of the four Navy SEALs are expected shortly as in the coming hours, as a matter of fact, to land at the U.S. military hospital in (INAUDIBLE), Germany. The very hospital that has treated thousands of wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan over the years.

One Navy SEAL remains behind in hospital in Nairobi. He was very seriously hurt. He is expected to make it, but his injuries were so serious, the military flew a special surgical team into Nairobi to provide him medical care and they have a medically equipped plane on standby, to bring him out when he is able to travel -- John.

KING: Our thoughts and prayers would go for them and with everyone else in the region.

Barbara Starr, thanks so much from the Pentagon tonight. Again, military or civilian, this is a very dangerous time to be an American in that part of the world.

Rob McKee is out stations operations manager for the private security firm, warrior security which has a major presence in south Sudan.

Rob, your security company has about 3500 guards throughout the country. What is the situation right now and what do you make of these reports of movement by U.S. marines?

ROB MCKEE, WARRIOR SECURITY: Yes, and we're unique positioned here, like you said, we are security has about 3500 people across the country and in all ten states. You know, I think it is an interesting development. We heard what happened in Bor the other day with the osprey being shot at. And so, clearly, the United States is taking a very active role in what seems to be a blossoming conflict here.

KING: Spokesman for the South Sudan, his military saying the violence falling short of a full-blown civil war, how much would an American intervention intensify things?

MCKEE: It is tough to say at this point. What I can say is that, you know, I've been here in South Sudan for four years. And Warrior Security has been operational here since shortly after the CPA was signed. It is a very, very large country. They are almost no roads here. The distance is our difficult to fathom unless you have actually been on the ground here.

So, any type of prolonged campaign by the United States would have to be concentrated in specific areas. I mean, politically what is happening right now is we're seeing the army defect along tribal lines. And we have more reports on the ground from our personnel with Warrior Security on the ground that the charges have in fact taken the oil fields. And he has released a plan about how heavy wants to divert that oil money and deal directly with the oil companies and directly with the cartoon regime.

So, things are shaping up here in a very complex way. And will U.S. military intervention work? Not sure, will it even happen? I can't say. What I can say is the conflict here is taking an ethnic direction, and spiraling out of control.

KING: Well, help to put us in context for us. The reports of looting, gunshot, dead bodies, out of control, youth and guns, does that match what you're security teams are seeing?

MCKEE: Yes. I mean, we have eye witness report military personnel on the ground in Bor and (INAUDIBLE) and other places that have witnessed or seen, or heard and you know, killings and you know, pretty much right outside of the gate of some compounds. So those reports of looting I would say are definitely true. The reports of killings are definitely true. Trying to document them and prove that they're happening is the job that the United Nations and other missions. But we're there to protect life and property and provide integrated killing-made security solutions for people in the ground. KING: And you mentioned the United Nations. You say you had a helicopter hit with small arm fire over the weekend? Tell us what happened?

MCKEE: Well, yes, there is confirmed reports of one aircraft being downed and a second aircraft going in and extracting that crew. I believe it happened in place called (INAUDIBLE) in (INAUDIBLE) state which as we know from the reports, they have seen widespread fighting.

I know casualties in that. But you know, in the past there was a U.N. helicopter that was downed by some type of weapon, you know, an RPG or surface to air missile is not confirmed. But I think that the precedent has been set. That whatever forces are on the ground and whoever it is, they're willing to take down a U.N. aircraft and clearly from what we saw the other day, they're willing to fire at U.S. aircraft. So it is taking on a dangerous dimension.

KING: Dangerous and sober assessment.

Rob McKee, thank you so much.

MCKEE: My pleasure.

KING: KING: As this develops, as always, you can find more on the story at

Coming up here, the lawsuits starting to pile up after Target that hit by hackers compromising 40 million customers' credit and debit card data. The question is how could this have happen? Our Gary Tuchman show us easily hackers can get of your private information.

Also ahead, even as more people sign up public support for Obamacare hits an all-time low according to a new CNN poll. We'll crunch the numbers.


KING: It looks like the backlash is just beginning, that after hackers targeted target. Forty million customers' debit and credit card information compromised a Target during, as we know, the busiest shopping time of the year. Now many banks and credit card companies are monitoring customer's accounts and at least one, JPMorgan Chase is temporarily limiting ATM withdraws and purchases for customers whose accounts were at risk.

Meanwhile, already lawsuits in the works in California, Oregon, and Rhode Island accusing Target of not taking steps to protect sensitive information. Two senators are now calling for investigations.

With that in mind, we wanted to know how easy it is for the hackers to use the major retailers to get to your sensitive information.

Gary Tuchman reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ADAM MYERS, VICE PRESIDENT, CROWD STRIKE: I could teach you in an hour to have a limited attack against somebody and get into their system.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Get their financial information? Banking information?

MYERS: Sure, yes.

TUCHMAN: Adam Myers is the vice president of intelligence at the security company called Crowd Strike. And he is about to show us how relatively easy it is for people to hack businesses so they can access your credit card information. Myers says the way they sometimes start is by just going on Google and typing in "how to hack".

MYERS: What do you want to hack? You want to hack Facebook? You want to hack Instagram? You want to hack a twitter account, WI-FI?

TUCHMAN: I want to hack a bank. That is where the money is.

MYERS: How to hack a bank account, a bank. So, it is automatic, these are people who are searching for.

You tube video on how to hack credit card information.

TUCHMAN: This is not any dark secret, how people learn stuff like this. They can just do it in ten sec seconds.

MYERS: Sure.

TUCHMAN: Criminals can easily find malicious software online, also known as Malware. They often go on underground forums to buy a so- called builder's software which builds the Malware.

MYERS: So open up a builder, and this is the thing that is going to allow me to meet my Malware.

TUCHMAN: The Malware code often looks like this, like gobbled the cook (ph). But when used effectively, criminals can hack into the computers of retailers and steal your bank information when you swipe your card at checkout.

So basically this code and knowing how to do this and learning it, and often learning it from the internet and Google search can lead you to being able to steal millions of dollars.

MYERS: Right.

TUCHMAN: This Malware is called Zeus, and Myers says there are many other types of Malware with thousands of variations?

This person who setup this Malware, this Zeus Malware, they are now at a position when someone puts in their financial information and it comes to them, too.

MYERS: Exactly. TUCHMAN: The criminals actually have a score board of sorts. It is a management system where the bad guys keep track of their victims.

Right now it says zero, but possibly it could say 8,000, that means you're controlling 8,000 people's companies and computers.

MYERS: Absolutely.

TUCHMAN: And you could do whatever you wanted to their computers?

MYERS: Absolutely.

TUCHMAN: If the United States had more widespread help like Europe, they could cut down on it. In the meantime, the U.S. does have companies like Adam Myers, where many crooks are nailed, crooks who are not bright enough to not leaving their fingerprints on the work they do.

MYERS: It is not about how smart you need to be to do this. It is about how good you have to be not to get caught.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, Washington.


KING: Frightening listening to this.

Up next when it comes to Obamacare, well, it is all about numbers. You enroll the numbers are a little stronger, but the poll numbers, well, they have never been lower.

And later, 2013, the year in politics and power, health care and beyond. We'll take a look back.


KING: After a rocky start, and boy is that an understatement, the pace is picking up as the Obamacare deadline approaches. As of this afternoon, more than half a million have signed up for new insurance. The enrolment deadline has been extended to tomorrow that's for anyone who needs coverage by January 1st. Now meanwhile support for the president's health care drops now to an all-time low according to new CNN polling.

Senior White House correspondent joins us and Brianna Keilar, there's bad and there's really bad. Tell us about this fall.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. This really has gone from bad to worse, John. When you look at what we are seeing right now on the most recent CNN/ORC poll, 35 percent favoring the president's signature health care reform program, 62 percent opposing, that eroded from just last month when 40 percent favored and 58 percent opposed.

The big problem here is, John, a lot of women now, their opinion of this is going down. Obviously, many of them do make health care decisions and one of their primary concerns, it appears, is that their health insurance costs are going to cost more. It is a big problem for the Obama administration. And this is a trend that we already saw getting worse before the problem of the rollout of Obamacare and it has gotten only worse after the fallout on the web site.

KING: That's a political problem and Bri, they have a policy problem that people don't sign up because they need the numbers to make the program work. Just today, the administration confirming they are extending the deadline to sign up by one day. Why this change?

KEILAR: Yes, and they want to say that they're not really extending it, that the deadline is still today. But the truth is if you go on the web site up until the end of tomorrow, you're still supposed to be guaranteed to have coverage by January first. This really is supposed to be a bit of a buffer because they've anticipated that there is going to be increased interest.

In fact, here's what a CMS spokeswoman has said, they are anticipating high demand and the fact that consumer maybe enrolling from multiple time zones. We have taken steps to make sure that those who select a plan through tomorrow will get coverage for January first. And the way they're trying to explain this, John, is that it's like if you're going to vote on Election Day, if you get in the line to vote, if you're still standing in line you're going to be able to vote.

And that is really what they're talking about here, if you go to sign up on the website and get queued and told the web site is not available. As long as you're trying to sign up you should be able to do so.

KING: Not quite sure how tomorrow equals today, but we'll just let that go and count the numbers tomorrow. Explain this to me. The White House says the president himself signed up for Obamacare. I'm guessing he didn't wait in the cue online or on the hold call for the center, did he?

KEILAR: No, he didn't. So as we understand now, we have learned that an unnamed staffer actually went in person to sign him up for the D.C. exchange because obviously he does live in Washington, D.C., but because of his unique circumstances, you know, that being president thing, it wasn't something that could be handled online. His personal information couldn't go through the online process or this staffer couldn't.

KING: Brianna Keilar, thanks.

KEILAR: Thanks, John.

KING: As you know, Obamacare was the thread that was woven throughout this year in politics. Anderson takes a look back.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): The 2013 kicked off in Washington with the start of President Obama's second term.


COOPER: And the hope to end partisan gridlock.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: For now, decisions are upon us and we cannot afford to delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle or substitute spectacle for politics.

COOPER: But soon after the celebrations ended, the spectacle of politics began. Congress drew even deeper partisan lines that nearly no one could or wanted to cross, and started with Congress's failure to stop the federal spending cuts that went into effect in March then the big one.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: At midnight last night for the first time in 17 years, the Republicans in Congress chose to shut down the federal government.

COOPER: In October, the federal government partially shut down after another failure by Democrats and Republicans to pass a spending bill that would have kept the government up and running. The source of their disagreement, Obamacare.

SENATOR TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Do you like green eggs and ham? I do not like them, Sam, I am. I do not like green eggs and ham.

COOPER: Tea Party hero, Ted Cruz took to the Senate floor for more than 21 hours before the shutdown to protest the funding of Obamacare, saying the government should shutdown rather than spend federal money on the new health care rollout, but the shutdown didn't prevent the rollout and many saw Cruz' marathon speech as a stunt, even within his own party. Poll numbers plummeted for the GOP. The president suffered, as well.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.

COOPER: This broken promise by the president didn't help his standing with the public, after hundreds of thousands of Americans were dropped from their existing health care plans. And technical problems with the plan's web site,, made the rollout of the plan an unmitigated disaster. The Republicans slammed the administration for neglect and mismanagement.

OBAMA: That is on me. We fumbled the rollout on this health care plan.

COOPER: The 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi was the subject of politically charged hearings on Capitol Hill this past year with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton under fire from the Republicans on the misinformation following the attack.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: The fact is we had four dead Americans, was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they would go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? COOPER: Clinton left her posts soon after the hearings, furthering speculations she would make a future run for president and though a new administration is still years away, this next year will surely see more presidential hints and teases from both sides.


KING: Digging deeper, listen here, Anderson also spoke with our political panel about the year that was.


COOPER: Joining me now is senior political analyst, David Gergen, founding editor of the "Dish" and CNN panelist, Andrew Sullivan, political commentators, Ana Navarro and Charles Blow. Ana is a Republican consultant. Charles is an op-ed columnist at "The New York Times." As you look back, Andrew, on the year, what stands out in terms of politics and power?

ANDREW SULLIVAN, CNN PANELIST: I would say two things, one, that I think the Republicans really did go to the edge of the abyss and looked down it. And I think by the end of the year, it figured out maybe not jumping right into the Ted Cruz vortex is the right thing to do. And I think we've seen maybe, I don't want to be too premature, but maybe a recalibration of the Republican Party towards more constructive proposals in government.

On the other side, obviously the president starts -- ends the year nearly ten points down from where he started. And the health care rollout was I think, an absolutely terrible display of what can go wrong with liberal government, but I would say this. At the end of the year it is still true that 2013 will be the first year that Americans and the United States had universal health insurance or close to it. That is, in terms of the historical timeline, that is a big deal.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, for me, it was the October surprise. October was a surprise from start to finish. It began with two very bad weeks for Republicans, and ended with two very bad weeks for the White House and Democrats, the first weeks for the government shutdown and the second two weeks after the government shutdown got off the screen it became all about the debacle of the launch and then the implementation of Obamacare.

So I think it reminded us that in politics things can change in a nano second and did. And I think it is leading to the re-calibration of the Republican Party. We have seen an emboldened John Boehner, and had he has had it, he is fed up and fighting back. We're seeing a moment where more main stream Republicans are saying you know what? This was a political suicide, we went down a cliff, hell, no, we are not going to take it anymore.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: We've talked an awful lot in the last few years about polarization. I think we are now adding factionalization into the process. It clearly got two factions emerging in the Republican Party. We are going to deck it out here over the next two to three years.

Is the libertarian Tea Party going to succeed and nominate somebody like a Ted Cruz or Rubio or more importantly Rand Paul or is it going to be a Chris Christie or Jeb Bush? We don't know the answer to that. They are going to fight it out here. It's a fight over the soul of the party. You're beginning to see something of the same thing happen in the Democratic Party, new populism, something that is spreading especially in urban areas.

It will show up in Boston, New York, elsewhere. That populism is also supporting Elizabeth Warren and calling for her to run. There are an awful lot of people who feel that -- really just as strongly as people feel about Rand Paul on the right. They feel that way about Elizabeth Warren. And I don't think she is going to get in right now, but I think she is going to pull Hillary to the left. There is going to be a lot of pressure to pull her to the left and the Democrats have to emphasize who they are too.

CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Let's stay on this Hillary question, you say pull her to the left. I'm not convinced anybody knows where Hillary is? -- I think you're right about that, but --

SULLIVAN: She will have some polls --

GERGEN: Now, now, now --

BLOW: Any particular moment --

GERGEN: I thought you wanted to see more of the center.

BLOW: This is what happens when on the right you have a Chris Christie who seems to be high in the polls.

GERGEN: Right.

BLOW: And nobody really knows what Chris Christie is all about other than he is blustery and people say he tells it like it is, there are a lot of YouTube videos.

SULLIVAN: But if you're on the right that actually tells you that it will affect and deal with people with pre-existing conditions. For example, I would like to hear that argument --

BLOW: But here is the problem on the left, what will be the Hillary position other than the Democratic position? What will be the position other than "I can win." It is really hard to know what is the Hillary Clinton platform, if you're going out on the street and ask people, what does Hillary Clinton stand for politically, what would they say? I'm not exactly sure.

GERGEN: Rescue.

NAVARRO: And -- let me tell you what I think Chris Christie stands for right now after winning his election. He stands for a Republican who can bring others, groups that are beyond the base into the tent. The Republican who can win -- SULLIVAN: A uniter, not a divider.

NAVARRO: Something like that that is a familiar line.

BLOW: And do you want to see --

NAVARRO: Regarding anything --

BLOW: I'm just saying you have to take the next step, to do what. Currently, there is very little out there.

COOPER: David --

GERGEN: I think you're absolutely right that the Republican Party has to be a party of ideas again. It just sort of had one basic idea of cut government and taxes, almost everything. They have to come up with a much more constructive view, what do you do about jobs? How do you get growth going again? What do you do about the economy? Chris Christie has been trying to get legislation passed and has actually been a reformer on education and has gotten things done. He has never played in national --


GERGEN: I think people -- I think winning a nomination would be tough for him. But I think in terms of winning public support that would help him with the nation, I think -- he is a tough guy, he talks straight. People usually do, when they have an incumbent. They want somebody not quite like him who fills in the gaps of the current president. He is a non-Obama.

NAVARRO: You're right on that one.

BLOW: And the Democratic left will run against the legacy of the conservative president, Barack Obama.

COOPER: All right, thanks, guys, David Gergen, Andrew Sullivan, Ana Navarro, Charles Blow.


KING: Lovely conversation there. Up next, a federal judge has struck down Utah's ban on same-sex marriage, makes another major decision.

Plus, Anderson teams up again with Kathy Griffin to welcome in the New Year in Times Square. They will have a preview for us when we come back.


KING: Almost that time again, yes, that time again, when all eyes are on Times Square to see if this will finally be the year that Kathy Griffin gets Anderson fired. Kathy and Anderson once again teaming up, yes, they have hired lawyers for CNN's live New Year's Eve coverage. This is the seventh time they will be co-hosting. Now, if you have a calendar, you know New Year's Eve is still more than a week away, but already a snag in Kathy's plans. Here is Anderson and Kathy.


KATHY GRIFFIN: I have a lot to talk to you about.

COOPER: Really?

GRIFFIN: Yes, I think you know what I'm referring to. You have hurt somebody's feelings.

COOPER: I don't know what you're referring to.

GRIFFIN: I think you do. I think you know that Ryan Seacrest and I have been trying to face time you and I never thought I would say this. I am now Team Seacrest instead of Team Cooper, what is going on? Why the hate? What's going on?

COOPER: How have you possibly teamed up with Ryan Seacrest? He has been your nemesis for years.

GRIFFIN: That is right, Cooper, you mess with me, I bring out the big guns. I actually have an e-mail exchange between Ryan Seacrest, myself, and Anderson Cooper. It is as follows, Ryan Seacrest, "Good to see you, Kathy, let's figure out dinner with Coop, how should we loop everyone in?"

Kathy says, "It is awful to see you, here's Anderson's e-mail," and then of course, I give it out, I don't have Carson Daily's, I wish I did. He is the most solid of the bunch. Sorry, I didn't think you would see that, and then dinner, are you guys up for dinner before the shows?

Then Anderson Cooper says, and I hope that all of CNN can see this. "I'm not sure I'm going to be able to do dinner, I get back on the 30th, but I have to be on air that night until 11:00. Looking forward to see you," that is a blow off.

Ryan Seacrest is sobbing, in Times Square right now, spiking his hair, getting a mani-pedi, reaching out, just wants a hug, I don't even know if you can count on me this year, I may just march over to Ryan this year and spoon.

COOPER: I'm looking forward to being teamed with you again/dreading it a little bit.

GRIFFIN: OK, the slash was really not necessary, because they're very different things, usually a slash means things that are grouped together. So of course you're looking forward to being with me, I mean, of course, I'm looking forward to being with you.


KING: We can all debate whether the slash was necessary. Help Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin ring in the New Year from Times Square. Tune in "New Year's Eve Live" starting at 9 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN. Let's get caught up on some of the other stories. Susan Hendricks is here with the 360 News and Business Bulletin. Hi, Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. Former NBA star, Dennis Rodman has left North Korea where he spent four days helping to set up a basketball game for Kim Jong-Un's birthday. The game will be between North Korean players and NBA veterans, who have not been named yet. Dennis Rodman did not meet with Kim Jong-Un during this trip.

Today, a federal judge in Utah refused to block his own decision allowing same-sex marriage in that state. Gay couples have been lining up to marry since the judge struck down Utah's ban on same-sex marriage last week. Utah's governor vows to fight the decision.

And Apple has a potential pull of more than 700 million new cell phone customers now that it reached a deal with China mobile. In China, the iPhone 5 costs more than $700 and that price is out a large part of the population.

And Army First Lieutenant Rachel Washburn was honored on the field by the Philadelphia Eagles, this was yesterday. It turns out the Bronze Star recipient who served two tours in Afghanistan was also a cheerleader for the Eagles for three seasons. Well-deserved honor there.

KING: Well-deserved, great for her, and great for the team for noting that. That's awesome.

HENDRICKS: You're right.

KING: Susan, thanks so much. Up next, now you out there voted online, now see your choice for number four on our countdown, of the top five "Ridiculists" of 2013.


KING: We're grateful to all of you who have been interrupting your holiday shopping to vote online for your favorite "Ridiculist" of 2013. The results in and then we're counting down the top five as the year draws to a close.

Tonight, your choice, for number four, this was back in June when a certain internet sensation just galloped her way into Anderson's heart. Take a look.



COOPER: Time now for the "Ridiculist." And tonight we offer the "Ridiculist" tips to get in shape this summer. It's of course called prancer-cise. So ridiculous, prancer-cise -- it's described as springy rhythmic way of moving forward similar to a horse's gait and ideally induced by elation and elation is exactly what one feels when watching one Ms. Joan Rohrback demonstrating the proper way to prancer-cise.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've got my ankle weights in place and my music's ready. So let's stop talking and do some walking.

COOPER: I mean, I really -- I thought this was a "Saturday Night Live" skit. It's not. You can prancer-cise apparently anywhere, if you dare, the sidewalk, at the mall, on a serene path in the woods, even on the "Today" show.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're going to go forward rhythmically.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow. This is spectacular. You know, I'm surprised I never came up with this myself.

COOPER: Since the prancer-cise video started getting popular online, there have been a lot of comments and here's a shocker. Not all of them have been kind. You know how people are, but Joanna is doing what she does best. She's taking it all in springy rhythmic stride. Here's what she told CNN's Jeanne Moos.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know what? I'll take all of it. The harsh, the goof, everything, because that's what getting famous is about, right?

COOPER: Don't I know the harsh, the goof, one big ball of fame. I happen to think Joanne is way ahead of her time and developed prancer- cise in the '80s. May I remind you what was the exercise of the moment in the '80s. I had my hair really long in that video. One other point I would like to make about prancer-cise is that viewers of the "Ridiculist" are well aware a horse-based fitness routine is already popular in other parts of the world. Are we going to show this again? Are we really? The Korean fitness machine? Take a look.

I watch that daily, but with prancer-cise, you don't need equipment, but just a spring in your step and music in your heart. I don't care what anyone says, prancer-cise rocks!


KING: Well, we ask you to keep tuning in as we countdown the Top Five "Ridiculist" throughout the week. That does it for this edition of 360. I'm off to do anything but prancer-cise. "ANTHONY BOURDAIN, PARTS UNKNOWN," starts now.