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Chuck Hagel to Be Nominated as Secretary of Defense; Vittorio Missoni Missing Since Yesterday; Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Still Battling Lung Infection; Lance Armstrong's Attorney Denies Discussions with Anti-doping Agencies

Aired January 06, 2013 - 17:00   ET


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Is 5:00 p.m. on the East Coast, 2:00 p.m. out west. Welcome to the CNN newsroom, I'm Martin Savidge in for Fredricka Whitfield. If you are just tuning in, thank you, we are glad to see you.

Here are the stories making news now.

A show of defiance today from Syrian president, Bashar Al-Assad.


SAVIDGE: In front of his supporters, the Syrian leader gave his first public speech since June and effectively thumbed his nose at the international community, insisting his vision of Syria's future will lead the country out of crisis. Al-Assad also refused to work with the opposition, calling them quote "enemies of god who will go to hell." U.S. state department says Al-Assad has lost all legitimacy and he has to step down.

Search is on right now for famed fashion director Vittorio Missoni. Missoni, his wife and four others were on a plane that disappeared off the coast of Venezuela this weekend. Missoni helps lead a fashion empire worth millions of dollars.

And there's this. A U.S. drone attack killed 17 suspected militants in Pakistan's tribal region today that strike near the Afghan border injured three, according to intelligence sources. It follows two similar attacks last week, one of which killed a Taliban commander.

One hundred thirty trained mountain rescuers are combing a five-mile area east of Seattle. They are looking for this man, 29-year-old Curt Rupert of Lake City, Florida. He disappeared three days ago during a skydiving trip. Friends say they last saw Rupert jump when he -- rather when he jumped out of a helicopter above the Cascade Mountains. Authorities are still hoping to find him alive. They say his parachute may have snagged a tree on the way down.

And CNN has learned that tomorrow, President Obama will announce Chuck Hagel as his nominee to be defense secretary. The former senator from Nebraska is a Vietnam War hero and served on Capitol Hill for more than a decade. But his confirmation process isn't expected to be smooth.

Athena Jones is at the White House.

And Hagel, Athena, has angered some lawmakers, many because of the positions he has taken up on Middle East issues. But, what has he done that could cause challenges, say, for him here?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. You know, even though this is a Republican who served as Nebraska senator for two terms, it sounds like a bipartisan choice but really, it's just going to be shaping had up to be another fight. One of the issues here that has angered the LGBT community is comments he made back in 1998 questioning a nominee for ambassadorship because that nominee was in his words, openly, aggressively gay. He has recently apologized for those remarks but these just a sampling.

Of course, the big issues are -- more big issues on the foreign policy side. Let's listen to what South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham had to say about his concerns about Hagel on "STATE OF THE UNION" this morning.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Chuck Hagel, if confirmed to be secretary of defense, would be the most antagonistic secretary of defense towards the state of Israel in our nation's history. Not only has he said you should directly negotiate with Iran, sanctions won't work, that Israel must negotiate with Hamas, an organization, terrorist group that lobs thousands of rockets into Israel, he also was one of 12 senators who refused to sign a letter to the European Union trying to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.


JONES: Now, Hagel has been something of a maverick, you know, he also opposed the 2007 surge our troops in Iraq order by former President Bush. So he had some controversial views within his party. Now, on the Democratic side today, we have heard from Illinois senator Dick Durbin who had some kinder words about Hagel in "STATE OF THE UNION." Let's listen to that.


SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: Chuck Hagel was a Republican senator from Nebraska, a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, a person who has a resume that includes service on the Foreign Relations Committee as well as the intelligence committee. Yes, he is a serious candidate, if the president chooses to name him.


JONES: And so, we know the president is planning to name him tomorrow. You heard senator Durbin say he a serious candidate. He may be a serious candidate but certainly going to be up for something of a fight - Martin.

SAVIDGE: Yes, very interesting to hear the Democrats praising a Republican and the Republicans kind of knocking one. So Athena Jones, thanks very much. We will see how it plays out.

JONES: Thanks.

SAVIDGE: Now, the latest from Venezuela on President Hugo Chavez. We should get new information about his health in the next few days.

Meanwhile, Venezuela lawmakers have re-elected (INAUDIBLE) of the president Chavez to hit the national assembly. And that will put him in line to be care taker of president, if Chavez does not recover.

Just yards from the border with Turkey, thousands of Syrian refugees are now bracing for an incredibly cold and unforgiving winter. Hoods are terribly scares. They have to burn the trash to stay warm. As Nick Paton Walsh found out, some children are digging out their own bomb shelter.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They fled this far, almost to safety in Turkey, but still they dig. To these boys dragged fast into manhood, it's not really a game. It's an air raid shelter.

We make it so if the jets come and bomb us, he says, we put children here to hide them. But of course, we will make it much bigger for 20 to 30 people.

The holes are so they can see outside when the bombs come, although they have already seen so much.

We were sitting suddenly and the rocket comes, making this noise, he says, a big explosion, an artillery shell. Here in Babal Salama (ph), 8,000 of them fled everything they had, hoping for something, but finding the new free Syria could give them little.

A 100 yards from Turkey, they are not allowed into its bustling camps.

Of course, 80 percent of those here, he says, came hoping to cross into Turkey but the Turkish government stopped hosting over six weeks ago. People are furious. We can't provide a lot of their daily needs. What was temporary in summer is now looking permanent in frost, the distant thud of shelling, a reason to endure even this.

Even though these people about 100 yards from the Turkish border, they still have to bring what little plastic tent shelter they have under cover because of the intense cold approaching. You can still hear sometimes the shells in the distance reverberate inside this open concrete hangar but the real enemy in the months ahead is going to be that bitter winter cold.

For Abdul's daughter, Sinaman (ph) the cold came too fast.

She wasn't sick, he says, she didn't have any problems at all. We were up late that night and playing with her. We woke up the next morning and her mother checked on her. She was curled into a ball from the cold. We buried her in the village. Her sister is afraid now of the cold.

Now, he burns plastic to keep warm. Wood is in short supply and expensive. In fact, they have stripped nature almost bare here. Even these plants cut down for food. Trash, plastic, gathered hungrily, its acrid, poisonous smoke cluttering a dense, wretched world. After 21 months of this war, this is the best the world has done for them.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN. Baba Salama (ph), Syria.


SAVIDGE: The world is reacting to a very defiant speech by Syria's president, Al-Assad.

In Australia, residents are feared dead in their homes as wildfires rip through rural towns.

And a new video of a Seattle policeman's behavior is renewing attention in a 2-year-old arrest.


SAVIDGE: A tense situation along the India/Pakistani border. At least one Pakistani soldier has died in the violence that flared up in the Kashmir region. Now, there are conflicting reports of the incidents, both sides are blaming the other. But Pakistan is saying that Indian troops crossed into Pakistani territory and they attacked the military post, But the Indian defense ministry says Pakistani troops opened fire first on Indian post in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir.

Then, to Australia, authorities there are going door to door to try to comfort dozens of people who are missing after wildfires in Tasmania. Authorities say they believed that some people have died. The fire has been started last weekend destroyed scores of homes and at least one elementary school, hundreds have been evacuated. The regions brought terrain has made fighting this fire very much in challenge.

And doctors say that former South African president Nelson Mandela is completely over his lung infection and gallstone surgery. Good news. He is getting stronger at home every day. Mandela spent 18 days in the hospital during much of December. He has a history of lung problems and suffering tuberculosis near the end of his 27-year prison term.

OK. And now to the speech that has taken many people around the world by surprise. It was Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad. This is his first public speech since June. And despite months of international pressure on him to step down, Al-Assad went on the offensive, blasting nations who support the Syrian opposition. He called those fighters terrorists who are doomed.


BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SYRIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): This is a conflict between authority and power or between the enemies of the homeland. This is a conflict those who wanted to take revenge against the people to fragment Syria. Those are the enemies of the people and the enemies of God and the enemies of God will go to hell.


SAVIDGE: Joining me now is CNN international Ralitsa Vassileva.

And first of all, Happy New Year! Nice to see you again.


SAVIDGE: Assad is now blaming a foreign conspiracy for the violence. And I'm wondering, you know, there was a lot of anticipation before this speech, thinking that maybe he might give in some way. What's the reaction?

VASSILEVA: Well, the reaction has been very negative and critical from those that he blamed for the violence, the foreign conspiracy, those like the United Kingdom, for example, Hague said Assad's speech, beyond hypocritical, deaths, violence and oppression engulfing Syria are his own making, empty promises of reform fool no one.

Again, a call again for him to step down to let the transition process happen. This is from the U.S. state department spokesman Victoria Nuland criticizing Assad's speech saying that it is yet another attempt by the regime to cling to power and does nothing to advance the Syrian people's goal of a political transition. She says he has lost his legitimacy and must step aside to allow that transition.

But, we saw in the defiant speech, nothing new, basically saying he is not going anywhere, despite the international calls and what he is fighting is not an uprising against him and his regime, but he is fighting terrorists supported by outside powers who just want to destroy his country.

SAVIDGE: Yes. It almost sounded like a man who is living in another dimension. I mean, that he wasn't somehow connected to reality. So, where does this leave the efforts by the international community to come up with some sort of peaceful resolution?

VASSILEVA: Well, there have been international efforts but they have gone nowhere. It is almost two years now. The latest international effort presented a plan, beyond what even met a week or so ago with Assad presenting that plan, doesn't specify whether he should leave but it calls for a transitional government.

We saw no support for that plan. In fact, he laid out his own plan which basically starts with his regional neighbors take the first step. He called on them to stop supporting the opposition. He calls the terrorists against them, ruling out any negotiations with the terrorists and he alludes to basically most of the people who are opposed to them, he calls them terrorists. So how do you have a resolution when he will not speak to them and they say they will not speak to him? He must go.

SAVIDGE: Unfortunately, seems to paint an image of we have a long, bloody road still to come.

VASSILEVA: Sixty thousand people at least have been killed so far, most of them civilians.

SAVIDGE: Right. Ralitsa Vassileva. Thank you very much for filling us in.

Well, there are a few job openings expected in Washington. It isn't just secretary of state and defense. President Obama will also have a couple of other high-profile departures he will have is to deal with. We will tell you where the resumes are coming from.


SAVIDGE: President Obama has arrived back from his winter vacation in Hawaii today and he got right to work. The president signed a $9.7 billion super storm Sandy aid package, a new law to provide money to help the government pay flood insurance claims. A little over a week from now, Congress will weigh in on an additional $51 billion in Sandy aid.

A source confirms to CNN the White House is calling senators' offices today to tell them that Chuck Hagel's nomination as defense secretary is imminent in an effort to help build support for that nomination. Administration officials say that nomination will be announced tomorrow. The former senator from Nebraska is a Vietnam War hero and served on Capitol Hill for more than a decade, but his confirmation process won't be smooth sailing. Hagel angered some lawmakers were supporting talks with Hamas and opposing sanctions on Iran.


GRAHAM: Chuck Hagel, if confirmed to be secretary of defense, would be the most antagonistic secretary of defense towards the state of Israel in our nation's history. Not only has he said you should directly negotiate with Iran, sanctions won't work, that Israel must negotiate with Hamas, an organization terrorist group that lobs thousands of rockets into Israel, he also was one of 12 senators who refused to sign a letter to the European Union trying to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.


SAVIDGE: Joining me now live from Washington, CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" anchor, Candy Crowley.

And Candy, tough words there from Senator Graham. But, that is not the only beef, he and other critics have, with Hagel when it comes to Israel. What are the other big ones?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, what is interesting is, it is sort of compellation of thing. It's building up. Nothing really directly sort gasp-worthy, but when people look at the totality of it for instance, Hagel, at one point, talked about how the Jewish lobby in the U.S. intimidates lawmakers on Capitol Hill but then he is not an Israeli senator, he is a U.S. senator that just hit people wrong. He has been opposed to sort of this open talk about whether the U.S. or Israel ought to strike at Iran if they are close to developing nuclear weaponry. So, you put all of that on top of that his critics' come away thinking that this is a candidate who, as defense secretary is not that strong a supporter of Israel.

But I will tell you, that friends of Chuck Hagel pushed back very hard saying they are just not true. They are adding things up and coming up with something that simply isn't true. He is a strong supporter of Israel, et cetera. So, but it will play very big in confirmation hearings, should it get that far.

SAVIDGE: And something else that may play big is tough questioning. He is expected to face for his lack of support for the troop surge, you know, in Iraq that was under President George W. Bush. And that surge in 2007 turned out actually to be a success. So, how do you think he will handle that?

CROWLEY: It did. And I will tell you. It wasn't just that he opposed the surge, because there were people who did that and even some Republicans, but the fact here is a Republican the day after then-President Bush announced the surge of troops in Iraq to try to steady the ship there and get a foothold back on terra firm ma in Iraq and Chuck Hagel came out and said biggest foreign policy mistake since Vietnam. That's huge. That is gasp-inducing.

SAVIDGE: I have to ask you about also about the next looming big battle in Washington, and that, of course, the fight in February, about raising the country's borough limit. And we get a glimpse what that's going to look like with "THE STATE OF THE UNION" today, right?

CROWLEY: We did indeed. We had Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican saying now is the time talk about cutting spending. We are not going to raise this debt ceiling without a one-to-one corresponding spending cut. The number two democrat in the Senate said well, look, I will talk about anything, but I don't want to do this last-minute stuff. Republicans are saying we are done with tax hikes; that was done in the fiscal cliff deal. We are not doing any more tax hikes. And Senator Durbin says there are more tax hikes probably looming out there for the wealthy. This may sound very familiar because it's pretty much the same argument they have been having around other fiscal issues for two years.

SAVIDGE: Right. But it could be a more fervent one. So, we will see.

CROWLEY: Yes. Yes.

SAVIDGE: Candy Crowley, as always, a pleasure. Thank you.

CROWLEY: Thanks, Martin.

SAVIDGE: The president is also expected to fail couple other key cabinet posts. He has already said that Senator John Kerry is his pick to replace Hillary Clinton when she steps down as secretary of state. Kerry has support among Republicans and he should, underline should, have a relatively easy ride through its confirmation process. White house chief of staff Jack Lew is considered to be a front-runner for treasury secretary. Tim Geithner, the current head of the treasury, is expected to leave around the time of the inauguration. And the void left by David Petraeus as head of the CIA could be filled by John Brennan. He is currently a counterterrorism and homeland security adviser at the CIA.

Along with the New Year come new higher prices and all sorts of things. We will show you technology to help you save.


SAVIDGE: A lots of us made New Year's resolution to save money this year and now prices and just about everything are shooting up. So, our Josh Levs is back to show is to use technology to try to find deals and do basically trim your budget right.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I told you I would be back. I promised. We are talking in the last hour about these basic goods where you are seeing all sorts of prices go up this year on dairy products, on meat, on all sorts of things. And I said I would be back because I want you-all to know, at the same time prices are going up, that there are all sorts of technologies that allow to you save money in ways that you might not have ever even thought of. Most people would never think of the things, and every year, I'm really impressed of what comes.

Here is what I'm going to do. I'm going to bombard you with the bunch of Web sites right now. Don't write them down. At the end I'm going to show one place that I linked up for you a bunch of apps and Web sites that can help you save money, if you spend a little time on it spend a few hours, take a look at it I promise the end of the year, you will look back, see you save money.

One of them is right here is called red laser. Take a look at this one. This, you can use to look up a barcode on any product or you can just type the barcode in, it will search a bunch of different stores for you and find prices and where it's cheapest.

I will cross over the screen here. See another one here called slice. This one is really interesting. This one can pull together all these different things that you're buying and keep track of your online orders and it can send you words, send you an alert if something you're interested in suddenly goes down in price.

Take a look at these coupons sharing site you coupon share parks which is one major one, this also, this one here, If you know the product it is you want, you type it in find the coupons, one really good way to go and a lot of people are saving here.

Now, here is something you might not be familiar with, called shop kick. And this is really interesting. This is something that a lot of people are just discovering now. It gives you rewards for walking into a store. Upon entry, you sign into that app, it can start offering you discount, deals, all sorts of stuff like that. Keep in mind, something I have showed you before as well, maps, where to get the cheapest gas in your area. Gas buddy is a really good Web site that helps a lot.

Look at this one here. Expensify, this keeps track of your expenses, all of your different cards in one place. So, any given time, you want to know actually how much you have spend so far that month. It's all pulled into here.

And more things that I want to show you, it is the perfect place to something no one would have thought of, take a look at this called air B and B, when you travel, instead of booking a hotel, thousands of people are renting out space in their homes.

Now this and many more links are posted four at my facebook and twitter. Take a look at my screen there joshlevsCNN. Post the ones that work for you as well. It really is work taking half a day and making sure you know some of these tools so you can save that money - Martin.

SAVIDGE: That's very kind, Josh. It is always a place in my garage. You too, by the way. Thanks Josh.

LEVS: Really? Well, thank you so much.

SAVIDGE: Coming up, this man's lawyer says that he was beaten by a Seattle cop. But police say that is not the whole story.

And a Florida woman is thanking God after a plane lands on her house.


SAVIDGE: It is half past the hour. I'm Martin Savidge. Welcome back in CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for joining us.

Here are some of the stories we are watching right now.

A source confirms to CNN, in the White House that is, that they are calling senators today, offices, telling them that Chuck Hagel is the nomination as defense secretary and that it is going to be imminent, an effort to help build support, apparently, for that nomination. Administration officials say that nomination will be announced tomorrow.

The former senator from Nebraska is a Vietnam War hero and served on Capitol Hill more than a decade but his confirmation process may not be smooth. Hagel has angered some lawmakers because of positions he has taken on issues pertaining to the Middle East.

An Ohio town is fighting back against the perception that it coddles the football team and turns a blind eye to rain acquisitions. Steubenville has been -- or has, rather, a new Web site that says relays facts not rumor. Two high school football players are accused of raping an unconscious girl at a party back in August. City leaders say that the football team does not runt town.

It was a narrow escape from death a small plane crashed into a home in Florida killing three people on board, but the homeowner got out. Somehow, she gives credit to God. Here is Nick Valencia.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some of the drama was captured in this 911 call from the airport control tower.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The (INAUDIBLE) crashed into this pump coast Florida home, Friday. All three people on board were killed in an explosion that engulfed the home in flames but the woman who live there is escaped with only minor cuts and bruises. Her daughter called 911.

SUSAN CROCKET, HOME HIT BY PLANE: All I could say is I'm alive. I'm still here.

VALENCIA: Susan Crocket says she was in the exact spot where the plane ripped through her home moments before it happened and that she escaped the fire by crawling through a window. The plane had just taken off from nearby airport and headed for Tennessee when the pilot reported smoke coming from the engine and vibrations shaking the plane. Police say it plunged a short time later.

LIEUTENANT JUSTIN ASBURY, FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL: What it looks like, because the steepness of the trees in the area, the tall pine trees, looks like it was a pretty steep descent and it went right into the roof.

VALENCIA: Susan Crocket credits her religious faith for her survival.

CROCKET: People don't believe there is a God. They better start believing, because there is a God. And there only reason I'm --


SAVIDGE: And Nick Valencia joins us in the studio here. Any idea how this happened? What happened?

VALENCIA: Well, Martin, the cause of the crash is still a mystery. Investigators say it could take more than a week to pin that down. It's miraculous that she lived and survived through this. So much air traffic over her house, one of the local affiliates saying she was joking, one day a plane would crash through her house. I don't think she ever thought it would actually happen, but it did. She miraculously survived.

SAVIDGE: Credit to God she gives.

All right, Nick. Thank you very much. And uplifting story in some ways.

Lance Armstrong keeping quiet this evening. The "New York Times" reporting that Armstrong was considering an admission that he did use banned substances in former races. That is something Armstrong has adamantly denied in the past.

CNN's Mark McKay spoke with Peter Flax. He is editor in-chief of "Bicycling" magazine.


MARK MACKAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let's talk about the question that I've been asked so many times and I will ask you, why come clean and why now?

PETER FLAX, EDITOR IN-CHIEF, BICYCLING MAGAZINE: Well, I think, I think his situation now appears to be different than it was a few months ago. I think he has had his tour de France titles stripped. He has been forced to step down from web strong and I think he may well feel like the path forward to be -- to remain relevant with live strong and be in the public eye and not be a pariah is to make an admission and start moving forward from there.

MCKAY: I'm not here to parse Lance's words, Peter. But isn't the consideration of make a confession an actual confession notice own right?

FLAX: Yes, it kind of seems like a sneaky almost confession already, but the reality is Lance has been feeling out the conditions of a confession for some time the only thing that's changed in the last day is that the "New York Times" wrote a story about it. But you know, he is definitely looking at ways to sort of cushion the story before it hits.


SAVIDGE: Armstrong, by the way, had been tested for doping more than 300 times during his professional career.

Well, the story we are about to tell you includes some disturbing images and you have about 15 seconds, I guess to look away, if you wish. In Seattle, a 2-year-old arrest is getting renew aid tension, that's after police released dash cam video that seems to show an officer punching a man in a head. Tom Yazwinski is our affiliate KCPQ has this report.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't you fight me.

TOM YAZWINSKI, REPORTER, KCPQ: On December 29, 2010, Seattle police were attempting to detain Isaac O'Jack. Just before the altercation, police discovered a suspicious vehicle, locked, with the engine running next to a department store in Westwood village. O'Jack came out to claim the car but officers say they were concerned because he did not own it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put yourself in the officers' shoes. Doing police work, suspicious car they make a stop.

YAZWINSKI: During a news conference, police also explained that O'Jack had a criminal history and was flagged as an assault risk. Police say they tried to place him under arrest but he resisted, even biting an officer. That is when the situation escalated. O'Jack's attorney, James Egan, says nothing O'Jack did warranted the level the Seattle police took it to, but the SPD disagreed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The initial stop was constitutional. And that the force that was used during the course of the arrest was reasonable and necessary to take that person into custody.

JAMES EGAN, ISAAC O'JACK'S ATTORNEY: What was excessive was all of t there's absolutely no need for force at all.

YAZWINSKI: O'Jack's attorney filed a complaint with the office of professional accountability, claiming his client was racially profile and beaten for no reason. The suit spotlights the lead officer in the arrest, Larry Langley.

EGAN: This officer is a bully with a badge. And I think that's really unfortunate. It's a waste of taxpayer money.

YAZWINSKI: Professor William Bailey teaches pretrial procedure at the University of Washington.

WILLIAM BAILEY, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: You could feel the temperature rise over the five minutes.

Reporter: He tells Q13 FOX News, after seeing the footage, he sees both sides.

BAILEY: If they have enough probable cause to take him into custody, then just do it. There was a toying back and forth that did not seem professional.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at this how many keys do you need for a house?

YAZWINSKI: But Professor Bailey also says that O'Jack should have been more cooperative.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not asking, no more questions.

BAILEY: When you are placed under arrest, you have to cooperate.

YAZWINSKI: Now an investigation is being conducted by the OPA, reviewing the entire incident.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any time we deal with someone, our goal, first and foremost, is a clean encounter.

EGAN: This is not proper police procedure, right? This served absolutely no purpose at all for them to throw him onto the hood of the car.


SAVIDGE: A Seattle police spokesman told CNN that officer Larry Longly is still on duty with the department and we want to thank Tom Yazwinski from our affiliate KCPQ for that report.

Now, checking some stories that are trending only the Internet. A hall of fame track and field coach has resigned after admitting she had an intimate consensual relationship with a University of Texas athlete in 2002. The story of recovery from a paralyzing auto accident has inspired people around the country.

After a record number of women were elected to Congress this year, Democrats were already looking for the right woman to field as their 2016 presidential candidate. In last year's political cycle, Democrats won female voters a lopsided 11-point margin.

Brazilian prison officials say they have foiled a bizarre jailbreak plot. Prison guards became suspicious after they spotted an oddly shaped cats and entering the prison. After they caught it they found it had a cell phone, drills, assorted batteries and two sauces taped with its battery. Officials say they don't know yet who the cat was supposed to be helping. Not the dog.

The fiscal cliff, it may be gone but it's not forgotten. And now you investors have another lackluster jobs report under their belt as well. So what's going to move the markets this week?

Hal Surkin is a partner at the Boston consulting group and he follows overseas markets as well and he joins me from Chicago.

Thanks very much for being with us.


SAVIDGE: All right. So even though we have a deal on the fiscal cliff there is of course, plenty of overhung here, since we still have spending cuts and a debt ceiling to come to grips with. Is this what investors are thinking about now or are they over it already?

SURKIN: Well, investors know that the fun and games in Congress have only just begun. As they think about it they think it's one down and three to go. There's the debt ceiling coming up in early February which is a very, very dangerous game to be playing. It's playing with the full faith and credit to the U.S. and could do significant damage to the economy. If we survive that one, we move to the sequestration you can the sequestration is basically budget cuts, 9.4 percent of nondefense spending, 8.2 percent of nondefense spending would be cut, a big impact on the economy that could change and hopefully, we will have a more balanced perspective on that. And then finally, we get through that to the continuing resolution, which is basically the budget that's would come in place. Now, if we get all through that, investors are going to be very happy you the uncertainty will be over around we will be able to get glowing our economy.

SAVIDGE: Yes. We have a long way to go before we get to that. But, let's talk about the Europe because much of the year, Europe was the big concern for investors. Now, of course, we are talking about the U.S. So, in the mind of investors, which one is the greater worry, the U.S. or Europe?

SURKIN: Well, the answer is both. In the U.S., at least a shorter window. Hopefully we can get this resolved the next couple of months or the timeframe Congress set up for all of this. And if we do that then we will be past a lot of this and the U.S. will be more on the mend, the U.S. will stop being the focus.

Europe is a much bigger problem. You have to get 17 countries to agree on a solution, all with their own Congress' parliaments and other organizations. This is a very difficult task, and a much bigger problem and it is something that will take probably years and years to resolve. So, in the short term, it is the U.S. But in the long term, the Euro crisis is very substantial.

SAVIDGE: And then, let's add one more concern. There are apparently seems to be new concerns about Brazil. And you know, this is a country that is supposed to be the economic dynamo, but it is now apparently seeing growth slowing. What's happening?

SURKIN: Yes. Brazil is seeing trouble now. Their main export is iron ore to China. And with the slowing growth in China, China has now a surplus of iron ore, so, they are seeing less sales. But Brazil has a lot of other things that might be helpful in the long run. They have the pre-salt oil, which could be billions and billions of barrels of oil that they will start coming on stream in the next five or ten years. They have a very strong agricultural economy.

Brazil actually, in the last quarter, the third quarter, grew much slower than U.S., 0 .6 percent, the U.S. grew at 3.1 percent the third quarter. So, Brazil has a way to go and hopefully they will able to rebound.

SAVIDGE: Hopefully indeed. We all like to rebound.

All right, Hal Surkin, a partner at the Boston consulting group, oversees foreign markets. Thank you very much.

SURKIN: You're welcome.

SAVIDGE: All right. A magazine article that brought down the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan two years ago, remember that? But now, General Stanley McChrystal has written a book to give his side of the story. We will talk to him.


SAVIDGE: Egypt is weighing in on the war in Syria. Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi says his country will always support the Syrian people.

Wolf Blitzer, anchor of "the SITUATION ROOM," has this exclusive report.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR, SITUATION ROOM: We are getting immediate reaction to the latest speech from the Syrian president, Bashar Al- Assad, from the highest levels of the Egyptian government. We are here at the presidential palace in Cairo. And I just sat down for a lengthy interview with you the Egyptian president, Mohammed Morsi. He has no love lost for the Syrian president, Bashar Al-Assad. He wants Bashar Al-Assad to go and go right away. Listen to next change that I had with President Morsi.


BLITZER: So, you want Bashar Al-Assad to leave, to give up power? One, I guess amendment to that, do you believe he should be tried by the international criminal court for war crimes?

MOHAMED MORSI, EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): It is not I who want this but the Syrian people who want this. This phase is the phase of the people, similar to what the Egyptian people wanted, the Syrian people wanted. And we support the Syrian people. And they are going to win and they have the will to win.

BLITZER: So, you say the Syrian president want Bashar Al-Assad to be tried for war crimes?

MORSI (through translator): The Syrian people, through their revolution, and through the movement will, when the bloodshed stops, move to a new stage where they will have an independent parliament and the government of their choosing. And then they will decide what they want to do against those who committed crimes against them. It is the Syrian people who decide.


BLITZER: It's clear that President Morsi feels that time is running out for the Syrian leader. That the Syrian leader can either do it the easy way or the hard way but he wants him gone. He wants him gone right away. He says that's what the Syrian people want, the Syrian people deserve, and he wants to make sure that that happens.

Wolf Blitzer, CNN, Cairo.

SAVIDGE: And you can see Wolf Blitzer's full interview with Mohamed Morsi on "the SITUATION ROOM" this week.

Well, we are now hearing from the retired general, General Stanley McChrystal, for the first time since he resigned more than two years ago. We are hearing it in the form of his new memoir that is coming out tomorrow. He takes the blame for the "Rolling Stone" article that ended his career. But he also questioned fairness and the accuracy of the piece. McChrystal was the top commander in Afghanistan at the time of his resignation. He stepped down after the article quoted and criticizing President Obama and vice president Biden. The magazine stands by its reporting.

Washington seems hung up on three major issues as the new Congress get downs to work. Will Chuck Hagel win confirmation as defense secretary? Is this the year for a new gun control law and the standoff over the debt? Here are the highlights from the Sunday morning talk shows.


CROWLEY: Why isn't Chuck Hagel the man, should the president nominate him?

GRAHAM: Chuck hagel, if confirmed to be the secretary of defense would be the most antagonist of secretary of defense for the state of Israel in our nation's history. He has long served in his ties with Republican Party. This is an in your face nomination by the president to all of us who are supportive of Israel.

DURBIN: Chuck Hagel was a Republican senator from Nebraska, a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, a person who has a resume that includes service on the Foreign Relations Committee as well as the intelligence committee. Yes, he is a serious candidate, if the president chooses to name him.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: You got to remember the second amendment is about freedom. And frankly, that that bad guys aren't stupid, they are just bad. They are going to figure out a way. If they are intent on doing something bad, they will find a way to get a firearm and use it.

REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), WASHINGTON: Look. The argument against gun safety provisions is because it doesn't solve everything, we shouldn't do anything. Right now, right now, you can be on the terrorist watch list. You can be prevented from boarding an airplane but you can go down the street and buy a semiautomatic assault weapon that does not make sense.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: It is ashamed that the president done embraced the effort to reduced spending. None others like using this situation to like the sequester or the debt ceiling or the operation of government to try to engage with the president to deal with this.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: The debt ceiling is about spending that is already occurred. You are going to say I'm not going to pay my bills unless you stop buying stuff. Well then, stop buying stuff so you don't have future bills. But right now, we have to pay the bills that had been incurred. Now, if you want to say cut spending for what we do next, fine. But don't tight it to the debt ceiling.


SAVIDGE: So, let this one sink in for a second, vice president Biden with his own TV show.

We'll tell you who is pushing for it and why they want to see more of middle class Joe.


SAVIDGE: We talked about this. And I've already said what a fan I am. But of course, if you didn't hear it, then I will tell you again. Tonight is a big night for "Downtown Abbey" fans because the third season gets underway. The TV drama is premiering tonight. And there is new addition to the cast, long-awaited, Shirley McLain. The story begins after World War I and it includes a bad investment by the Crowley family, a visit from Cora's mother, Martha and the death of two major characters. I don't want to be the spoiler here. So, I won't. Just know, you can start watching as of tonight and it is on PBS.

And believe it or not, there is now a petition to get vice president, Joe Biden, his own television show, sort of, the petition that the White House wants the vice president to take part in a TV show that highlights his daily activities. The vice president is well-known for his ability to work across the aisle, but also for his sometimes public gaffes, that big smile and that sense of humor that definitely came out when the new Congress was being sworn in last week.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Spread your legs, you are going to be frisked. Drop your hands and -- you say that to somebody in North Dakota and they think it is a frisk. Drop your hands on the side -- they think you're in trouble, right?


SAVIDGE: There you have it, the vice president. There is a lot more in the CNN NEWSROOM at the top of the hour. Deb Feyerick is in for Don Lemon.

And Deb, what do you have going on?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: First of all, I do want to say that since Congress is the greatest reality show going right now, that giving Biden a slice of that, not the worst thing.

SAVIDGE: Could be high ratings.

FEYERICK: Yes, that is exactly right.

But you know, with all the back and forth going on with the fiscal cliff negotiations, the one thing we didn't really see when all of it was finally over was President Obama extending any sort of an olive branch to house speaker, John Boehner.

So, we are going to take a look to see whether the president missed a key opportunity to consulate with Republicans to try and restore some trust. And it is trust that's really going to be needed as we go in the next round of negotiations. Otherwise, both sides are going to become more entrenched.

Also, the Ohio high school football rape case, students recorded what happened to a 16-year-old girl during a party last August. Well, a number of the students posted about the incident, rather than step forward and do something to help the girl. We're going to hear from Dr. Drew Pinsky about what this may say about the character of those teenagers and why they allowed this to happen.

You know, the lawyers had said, well, this is the media that is generating this. But in fact, students saw this going on and they did nothing to help. So, it is problematic on many levels.

SAVIDGE: Absolutely. All right, Deb Feyerick, nice to see you and Happy New Year.

FEYERICK: Of course, you too.

SAVIDGE: We are going to come back right after this.


SAVIDGE: Welcome back. Let's have a look ahead.

Tomorrow morning, really important hearing in the case against the alleged Colorado movie theater gunman, James Holmes. This is the first time prosecutors will all under case against in detail. Holmes is charged with 166 counts of murder -- attempted murder and other offenses in that shooting. You remember the rampage at a movie theater near Denver in July. Twelve people died, dozens more were injured in that attack.

Also tomorrow, jury selection is set to begin in the perjury case against two former top Penn State investigators after Gerry Sandusky's scandal. Gary Schultz retired as the school's vice president. Tim Curley is on leave from his job as athletic director. They are both charged with lying to a grand jury that was investigating sex abuse allegations against Sandusky.

Then on Tuesday, an inquest into the death of singer, Amy Winehouse, will be heard again. The first inquest concluded Winehouse died from alcohol poison. But that finding was thrown out after they discovered the coroner that oversaw the inquest was not properly qualified.

On Wednesday, baseball players Barry Bonds, Roger Clemons and Sammy Sosa will find out if they have made it into the hall of fame. It is the first time they have been eligible that allegations they used performance-enhancing drugs, well they could hurt their chances.

And then on Thursday, the inauguration of Venezuela president, Hugo Chavez is scheduled but it could be called off. Chaves has been in bad health since his fourth cancer operation three weeks ago.

That's going to do it for me. Remember, you can always find me on facebook. CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with Deb Feyerick, in for Don Lemon.

Have a great week.