Return to Transcripts main page
Herman Cain: The Decision; Senate Blocks Payroll Tax Cut Extension; Feds Seize 32 Tons Of Marijuana; Massachusetts Sues Big Banks; Coke Sees Red Over New Can; Unemployment Rate Drops to 8.6 Percent; New iPhone Search App Cannot Find Abortion Clinics; Is Apple's Siri Pro-Life?; Emily Post's Holiday Etiquette
Aired December 02, 2011 - 07:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALINA CHO, CNN ANCHOR: Talking to his wife, checking the cash flow, denying the allegations, Herman Cain heading home today to make a key decision about the future of his campaign.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christine Romans. One of the most closely watched economic reports on Wall Street comes out in an hour. We're talking about the November jobs report. What it means for you, your job and the recovery, on this AMERICAN MORNING.
CHO: Good morning. It's Friday, December 2nd. It's December already.
Good morning. Welcome on a Friday edition of AMERICAN MORNING. I'm Alina Cho, along with Christine Romans.
ROMANS: I know. It's the first Friday of the month. So, that means jobs report in 30 minutes. So, we'll have that for you.
Also, the countdown is on for Herman Cain. He is expected to discuss the future of his campaign with his wife back home in Atlanta.
CHO: That's right. Cain hasn't seen his wife since a woman named Ginger White claimed they had a 13-year affair. She went public. Cain says a decision on his campaign could come by Monday.
Joining us now is host of CNN "STATE OF THE UNION," Candy Crowley.
Hey, Candy. Good morning.
CANDY CROWLEY, HOST, CNN'S STATE OF THE UNION: Good morning.
CHO: So, just about 48 hours until your show. Do you think by then that Herman Cain will still be in the race?
CROWLEY: Boy, I tell you. Just listening to that lead-in, it's like this sort of window into a private life through, you know, the public eye. I mean, he's going to spend this weekend explaining to his wife a friend she didn't know about who is now accusing him of a 13-year affair who he made multiple text messages and phone calls to and lent money to.
I think -- I think he ought to be worried about surviving this weekend with his wife. But beyond that, I think it is very difficult. Take away the problem he has with this alleged affair.
Because let's face it, Newt Gingrich had affairs. And he's now at the top of the polls. This isn't just about the latest allegation. It is about the series of allegations and how he has handled them.
Having said that, I also think it is very difficult to say, listen, I'm going to rethink my campaign. I'm trying to decide whether I should continue or not continue. And then come back and say, yes, I'm going to do it
I think you just lose steam there so that even if you are in the race, you are in the race only -- in name only because I think it's very hard to recover from rethinking whether you should run.
ROMANS: It's interesting -- you point out the irony it is Newt Gingrich who is really rising in the polls, as Cain is falling. You know, he is now saying instead of this coming down to Romney and not Romney; it's going to be Newt and not Newt.
Let's listen to what he told ABC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's very hard not to look at the recent polls and think that the odds are very high I'm going to be the nominee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Then he kind of walked it back a little bit. He said the voters are going to decide who the nominee is.
CROWLEY: Well, listen, this has always been, Newt Gingrich has never been criticized for a lack of confidence and he certainly won't be in this. I think it's a little premature.
Listen, he is riding high in the polls and give him A plus for timing, because if this was going to be this kind of race, when you wanted to be the guy that came to become the not Mitt, you want to do it in December, less than a month before those January caucuses and January primaries.
So, his timing is great. The question is whether he's got an organization that can actually take advantage of it.
Let me tell you, there's two schools of thought right now. One is that he just doesn't have the organization in place and cannot, because of the limited period of time. We have two holidays between now and the January 3rd caucuses. So, he just doesn't have the time to put an organization in place that can put people in every county in Iowa, who are going to be in those caucuses on a freezing night to say, yes, Newt Gingrich and here's why. Nor does he have the time to do the same in New Hampshire.
And then there's the other school of thought which says different time, folks. It is now an Internet world and, you know, you can organize by tweeting and you can organize by blogging, you can use the Internet and have friends tell friends tell friends in the way that the Obama campaign was very good at four years ago. But at the moment, I don't see any sign that he's organized on Twitter or blogging or Facebook.
So, you know, it just, I think that we can get too excited about the polling, which certainly is a -- I don't mean to underestimate that it's threat to Mitt Romney. But I think we have to wait a little bit and see and, you know, again, confidence, as you know, is part of the name of any game and certainly Gingrich has a lot of reason to be confident. But does he have an organization to back it up? Can he get one in place?
CHO: Right. And, also, as you know, Candy, a lot of people think Mitt Romney is more electable in a general election. So, you know, we will have to wait and see now. What else are you going to be talking about on Sunday?
ROMANS: Is there anything else to talk about?
CHO: And who do you have lined up?
CROWLEY: Well, actually, I will say that there are a couple other things we do want to talk about. But, no, listen, 'tis the season, as you know. We're going to be talking about the Republican primary season as it comes up. Is it now down to Newt versus Mitt?
Listen, don't underestimate some of these people still out there. I think you heard Hilary Rosen talk about Jon Huntsman in New Hampshire. He may get a second look.
Don't underestimate Ron Paul, his ability to organize and get very passionate people into Iowa. Suppose he takes Iowa, that throws a chink in everybody's plans. So, that's you know, that's great.
But we also want, there's been some very interesting things going on overseas, the Egyptian elections. What's going on in Syria, what's going on in Iran, that kind of thing. And so, we brought, we're going to bring kind of a twofer guests along with our others to discuss overseas things, as well as Republican politics and who gets (INAUDIBLE). But last year, or last time around, Republican nominee John McCain.
So, we're going to talk to him about both sides of the pond, as they say.
CHO: Great, Candy. All right. We'll be watching. Thanks.
ROMANS: All right. Herman Cain's attorney Lin Wood went at it with CNN's Piers Morgan last night blaming the media for asking questions about the scandal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIN WOOD, HERMAN CAIN'S ATTORNEY: You want me to answer your questions that I don't believe that a candidate or any individual should be forced to answer.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST, CNN'S PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT: This is shockingly naive, Mr. Wood.
WOOD: Let me stop you there, Piers.
MORGAN: It would be shockingly naive, the idea that a presidential candidate -- the idea that a presidential candidate can be paying a woman who claims to have had a 13-year affair, he admits to paying her money to calling her at 5:00 a.m., making repeated texts over a period where he's actually actively running for president. The idea that none of this is remotely relevant is preposterous.
You know, it's a relevant thing. All I'm asking you for, I'm not saying he's guilty of anything. I'm just trying to get some facts out of you.
And the fact that you as his attorney know the answers but don't feel it's relevant to tell me information is itself a little strange.
WOOD: Thank you. I am sorry if you find me naive or if you find my statements about Mr. Cain preposterous.
What I find naive is the failure on the part of the members of the media to be asking the tough questions of the accuser.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHO: There you have it. Spirited exchange.
Strong winds carving out a path of destruction in California, meanwhile, gusts topping 140 miles per hour in some parts. That's hurricane force, by the way. Tens of thousands of people without power and trees ripped right from the ground there as you can see there, crushing some homes, and residents describe those terrifying winds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sounds like hurricane. Very scary and we couldn't sleep.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was listening to my little radio and all of sudden, bam!
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
ROMANS: Rob Marciano monitoring the winds in the extreme weather center this morning.
Good morning, Rob.
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, guys.
It was an extraordinary event -- a number of ingredients coming together to give L.A. what they saw and really a widespread event beyond that.
Today, right now, the wind is relatively calm but they'll probably pick up in the next couple hours. Forty to sixty-mile-an- hour wind gust potentially. L.A. and Ventura Counties under a wind warning through this afternoon, and that may be extended through tonight as we get an impulse that strengthen things tonight into tomorrow morning and finally the pattern breaks down come Sunday morning.
But, meanwhile, look at some of these wind and not just in California, Centerville, Utah, 102-mile-per-hour wind gusts and these aren't typically at high elevations. Here's some video coming out of Utah. Damage across the area, downtown Salt Lake City saw a wind gust of 69 miles an hour. So, again, not just at the mountaintops.
But speaking of mountains, we go a little bit further west to Las Vegas and just outside of Vegas where snow was coming down at the higher elevations. Matter of fact, the Las Vegas ski resort had about a foot and a half of the snow.
All right, that system begins to move off to the east, or at least part of it will bring the snow to the southern Rockies and parts of New Mexico. Six to 12 inches potentially and some of that wintry precip will get into the Texas panhandle, freezing rain slicing into parts of Oklahoma and Kansas as this system makes its way off to the east.
Speaking of the east, we're OK and relatively quiet. Temperatures are finally rebounding after the chilly start. This system, though, will make its way across towards the western Great Lakes over the weekend and some rains from Dallas up through parts of Memphis and eventually through the western Great Lakes, including Chicago as we go through Saturday and Sunday.
Your Friday afternoon highs today, today, 43 degrees in Chicago. It will be 55 degrees in New York and 64 degrees in Atlanta. Still, all eyes out West after they had that battering of strong Santa Ana winds the past couple of days -- guys.
CHO: All right. Rob, thank you.
The leader of al Qaeda is claiming responsibility for the August kidnapping of a 70-year-old U.S. citizen in Pakistan. Ayman al- Zawahiri can be heard on a number of radical Web sites saying the terror group has captured, quote, "an American Jew" called Warren Weinstein. Gunmen took Weinstein from his home in Lahore just days before he planned to move back to the United States.
Al-Zawahiri lists eight demands for freeing Weinstein, including the release of anyone arrested on charges of belonging to al Qaeda and the Taliban, and the closing of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.
ROMANS: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrapping up a landmark two-day visit to Myanmar by meeting with the dissident Aung San Suu Kyi. The Nobel Peace Prize winner plans to run for parliament in the Southeast Asian nation after she has spent nearly two decades under arrest.
She told Clinton she supports the immediate return of a U.S. ambassador to Myanmar. The secretary told her the time is just not yet quite right.
CHO: The Senate has unanimously passed harsh new economic sanctions against Iran. The plan would cut off Iran central bank from the rest of the world's banks, but the White House balking at this, fearing the move could backfire and wind up costing all of us a lot more money at the gas pump.
ROMANS: All right. Wall Street protesters desperately trying to stand their ground in two more cities. Anger boiling over at Occupy San Francisco. Police moved in and barricaded some screaming protesters there as a noon deadline to leave their camp came and went. The city offered to move them to a new site, but many people refused.
And in Oklahoma City, occupiers filed suit to stay in their park. They asked a federal judge to stop the city from imposing an overnight curfew. Protesters have been camping out in Kerr Park in downtown Oklahoma City for almost two months now. But they were recently denied a new permit after there was apparently some kind of a drunken brawl that trashed the camp. The city gave them all until 11:00 p.m. last night to clear out.
CHO: Standoff continues. This morning, Congress another standoff has just 30 days to work out its differences or you and, oh, 160 million other Americans may face a tax hike.
ROMANS: That's right.
Last night, the Senate failed to pass both the Republican and the Democratic versions of an extension to the payroll tax holiday that is set to expire at year's end.
Our Brianna Keilar is live at the White House.
And, Brianna, it seems both parties want to pass an extension, but they disagree on how to pay for it. This is also proof that temporary tax cuts are very difficult to take back, politically.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
And, Christine, as you know, Republicans were proposing to pay for this by taking a chunk out of the federal payroll, which, of course, pays the salaries of federal employees. Democrats wanted to pay for it by increasing taxes on Americans who make a million dollars or more. The millionaire surtax, as they call it.
Why does this matter? Well, it really does matter because this is about $1,000 a year for most American families. Right now, they're getting this tax cut and, so, obviously, that would be $1,000 less for them if they didn't get it. And in this economy, of course, $1,000 would help.
But the thing is -- I have to tell you -- the bottom line is the expectation that ultimately Congress will pass this payroll tax cut extension so that Americans aren't hit with a tax increase. But, really, there's a lot of uncertainty and a whole lot of politics that is going to go down before we see that.
Now, take a look at what President Obama said last night in a statement after the Senate failed to pass the payroll tax extension. He said, "Tonight, Senate Republicans chose to raise taxes on nearly 160 million hard-working Americans because they refused to ask a few hundred thousand millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share. That is unacceptable. It makes absolutely no sense."
Now, Republicans are reasoning here, they say, is that this is something, a surtax that would hit too many small businesses. That it would hurt job creation, but Democrats are really taking attack here, Christine and Alina, where they're saying you have Republicans who are basically coming to the aid of wealthy Americans at the expense of the middle class.
And this is an argument they have been pushing for some time and they feel it's a winning one and they're going to keep pushing it.
ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Briana.
That fight is going to be --
CHO: I'm sure they'll come up with a deal at the 11th hour.
ROMANS: You look when they come up, how much fire and grim stone comes from just a small little, relatively considering the size of our debt, how much pain and suffering to get Congress to do anything. It's also sort of scary how long it's going to take them to fix our big problems.
All right. Still to come, chilling newly released audiotapes from the deadly stage collapse last August in the Indiana state fair. We'll take you inside the chaos and the confusion to those tapes from moments after disaster strikes.
CHO: We're watching this very closely. A critical jobs report about to be released this morning. In just about 15 minutes, we'll break it down and what it means for our recovery.
ROMANS: And cold, hard cash. Is it an appropriate holiday gift? How to ask for it and how to give it without offending anybody. We're going to ask our etiquette expert, Anna Post.
I don't have money to give to anybody. Don't ask me, anybody, because I don't have any money. Mom's got no money.
Fifteen minutes after the hour.
ROMANS: All right. Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING.
We have gripping new audiotapes from emergency responders at the scene of that deadly stage collapse in August at the Indiana State Fair. The tapes were obtained by CNN affiliate, WTHR, in Indianapolis. They revealed chaos and confusion in the aftermath of the tragedy.
It turns out state police knew a bad storm was coming and concerns about all those fans who were gathering for a Sugarland concert that never got started.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All units, all units. Severe thunderstorm warning until 9:45 for Marion County. Use your best judgment and find shelter when needed.
ROMANS (voice-over): That state police radio call came five minutes before disaster struck. Dispatchers expressing concern for a swelling crowd of Sugarland fans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have they released fans from the grand stand yet?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no information on that. I will check and advise.
ROMANS: It turns out, there wouldn't be enough time. Within three minutes of that radio call, all hell broke loose.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stage just collapsed! Control, grandstand EMS. The grandstands are gone. Fire control to grandstand EMS. I'm calling a mass casualty.
ROMANS: CNN affiliate, WTHR, obtained this 11-page fire department post incident report, but the city of Indianapolis has blacked out its findings because of a possible lawsuit. Here's what is clear from the dispatch tapes. In the moments after the stage collapse, there was no clear disaster plan in place. And ambulances were challenged getting into the fair grounds and getting out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have 13 and 27 en route. 5, 20, 24, 31, and 61 are on property. They're trying to make their way to the grandstands but are meeting a great deal of gridlock.
ROMANS: The scene was chaotic one ambulance was loaded with two injured patients, but no one could find the driver. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're trying to locate the drivers now. They are loaded and ready.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me an update on what trucks you have. What we're running into and we have multiple people that are just taking off with the patients. We're having a hard time controlling it. If we get medic trucks down here closer to the state, it would be really good.
We need to rethink our strategy. It's not working. We need to get the trucks down here in order for us to start working a medical scene to get patients out of here. Do what we have to do. Have state police open up fine, but we need to get the trucks down here. We can't keep having the patients dragged across the path facing (ph) up to you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm out of transport units but continuing to scrounge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kind of plan do we have? What resources do you have down there? Critical on a lot of our patients are certainly going from yellow to red on us. They're going into shock.
ROMANS (on-camera): Four people died at the scene. Three more died later. Over 40 other people were hurt. The country duo, Sugarland, has been named in this lawsuit filed by the survivors and the family members of four of the victims who were killed. The suit alleges breach of reasonable care to the victims and seeks unspecified damages.
You know, CNN has reached out to the Indiana State Police for a comment about all this in these tapes, and we expect to hear back from them later this morning.
CHO: Twenty-one minutes after the hour. Here is what's new this morning.
CHO (voice-over): Take a look at this. That's 32 tons of pot. It's worth about $65 million on the street, and marijuana was discovered when the feds busted a secret underground tunnel that ran from Mexico all the way to San Diego. The smuggling operation was so sophisticated that the tunnel was equipped with elevators and rail cars. Six people were arrested during that raid.
ROMANS (voice-over): Seventy-two hours under water. That's the goal for Florida scuba diver, Allen Sherrod. He's attempting to break the world's record for the longest salt water scuba dive. Sherrod began his three-day dive yesterday. It's his second attempt at this record. Last time, rough waters forced him to bail out early. The current record is 48 hours. They must have someone who goes down and changes his tanks.
CHO: I don't know how's he going to stay down for three days, but we'll be watching that.
And the world's first Superman comic. That's a new record. Action comic's number one sold at auction for more than $2 million. That's a look at it there. It's the highest comic book sale ever. And get this, it costs just 10 cents when it was published way back in 1938.
According to "The Hollywood Reporter," actor, Nicolas Cage, who was the seller. Cage, by the way, bought it 14 years ago for roughly $150,000.
ROMANS (on-camera): All right. Remember new Coke and how big a flop that was?
CHO (on-camera): Oh, yes.
ROMANS: You know, don't change what's already perfect, right? Well, these new Coca-Cola cans are being pulled off the shelves. Consumers, they don't like them. They want the old red can back. We're going to tell you why, straight ahead. It's 23 minutes after the hour.
ROMANS: It's 26 minutes after the hour. Watching your money this morning.
The jobs report for November comes out in about five minutes. This is probably the most important economic report in the world, because it tells us what the American labor market is doing and economists forecast 110,000 jobs were added to the economy last month, and the unemployment rate likely stayed at that stubbornly high nine percent. I'll break those numbers for you live in just a few minutes.
Right now, we're on track for a strong opening for stocks. U.S. stock futures are trading significantly higher. The Dow up more than 143 points right now, this coming after a mixed day yesterday. There's optimism about that jobs report, also about some comments Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, we're going to continue to follow all of these moves on the market for you this morning.
Massachusetts attorney general is now suing some of the nation's biggest banks accusing them of, quote, "unlawful and deceptive conduct" in the foreclosure process. Among the banks targeted, Bank of America, Citi, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase. The banks, meanwhile, say they're negotiating a settlement with a number of attorneys generals regarding their handling of foreclosures.
Potential relief for homeowners facing foreclosure. Mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, they're going to put foreclosures on hold for the holidays. We should know this only applies to mortgages held or controlled by Fannie or Freddie, but that's more than half of the mortgages in the country. A number of banks have also said they will suspend evictions during the holidays.
Coca-Cola is pulling that limited edition white arctic home can that was designed to raise awareness for polar bears. The problem, customers thought the new can looked too much like the diet Coke can. So, Coke is going to go back to the red version of that limited edition can.
Up next, Herman Cain on the clock. Will he still be in the race when the weekend is over? AMERICAN MORNING back right after this quick break.
CHO: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. It's 31 minutes after the hour. Your top stories now. We are standing by for the latest jobs report. Economists predict the economy added 110,000 jobs last month based on that estimate, the unemployment rate would stay unchanged at nine percent.
Fierce Santa Ana winds ripping through southern California. In some areas, the gusts are topping 140 miles per hour. That's hurricane-force winds. Tens of thousands of homes without power. L.A. County even declared a state of emergency. It's the strongest wind storm there in nearly a decade.
Herman Cain heading home today to consider his political future. He's meeting with his wife and family in Atlanta and says dropping out of the presidential race is now an option. Cain admits giving money to his alleged mistress Ginger White but he claims they never had sex.
Earlier on AMERICAN MORNING CNN contributor Will Cain talked about what will happen if Cain hangs in there and who will benefit if he leaves.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHO: What do you think, is he staying in or getting out of the race?
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That depends on what he's campaigning for, right? If he's campaigning for president, the logical conclusion is he's probably done. If he's campaigning to raise his own profile or sell more books, I see no rush. Why get out? I have been slow to this analysis --
CHO: Why get out? He's running out of money.
CAIN: But he's still raising his profile. He can keep his name out there, sell more books.
Look, I've been slow to adopt that analysis. The reason I am beginning to think that might be true, that he's not truly running for president, is all of these scandals and all of these issues, the existence of a 13 year relationship, the sexual harassment claims that he knew about, he's known about them all along. He could have been prepared and yet, he wasn't. He has been winging every single aspect of his campaign, which says to me he was never very serious about actually becoming president.
Something you said absolutely before blows my mind. That is Herman Cain support stands to flow Newt Gingrich. The ultimate Washington outsider, Herman Cain, the reason for his fandom, his support, threatens to flow to the ultimate Washington insider.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: OK, just in, the labor department releasing its November jobs report, and some big changes and big numbers to report to you here today. And 120,000 jobs were created last month. That is more than what economists were expecting. But the big news here the unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent. That's the lowest level since March, 2009.
I'm going to show you why, because you had some revisions here. OK, so now we know it was about 120,000 jobs for the month of November, but if you look at October, October had a big revision -- 200,000 jobs were created in October. And when you look back at September, it was 210,000 jobs created in September. So when you look at the last three months, you can see, you can see that jobs were more plentiful than we had thought.
So, a couple big revisions, 120,000 jobs created in November and then an unemployment rate of 8.6 percent now, the lowest since March of 2009. The underemployment rate -- this is people who are working part-time but like to be working full-time or working in jobs that aren't sort of up to their ability, 15 percent. That number is still too high, folks, but it is down a little bit.
I want to show you where the jobs were created, as well. The jobs created in the private sector, 140,000 jobs overall. The government laid off 20,000 people. We say jobs created in retail, about 50,000 jobs there. Half of those were in clothing stores and apparel and accessory stores, 22,000 professional business services, education and medical facilities added about 27,000 jobs, and leisure and hospitality added some jobs, too.
I want to show you something really quickly. This is since the president took office, and you know on the campaign trail he is hammered by the Republicans who say that things have gotten worse under his watch and that the things that he's tried to do to fix the economy haven't been working. This is when he took office. You can see after that -- oh, wow, the job loss here was just ferocious and very, very difficult.
And then you saw some false starts last year of job creation. And then this year, on average, about 125,000, a little more than 125,000 jobs created every single month, slowly adding not enough to bring down the unemployment rate necessarily, but adding jobs.
So, again, that's what it looks like. You have things better than we thought for the last couple of months, 120,000 jobs and an 8.6 percent unemployment rate for November.
I want to bring in Sheila Bair. She's the former chairwoman of the FDIC. And, Sheila, even when we talk about these numbers, 8.6 percent unemployment rate and it's still very difficult and shows you how slow and plodding this recovery has been. SHEILA BAIR, FORMER FDIC CHAIR: It has been sluggish, but this is good news. We have reached a good psychological barrier by getting it below nine percent. So that is good news. But there are a lot of challenges on the horizon and growth is still very sluggish. So still a lot of work ahead, that's for sure.
ROMANS: Yes, no question, and that's a very important point to make. And part of the thing that is bedeviling right now is you look at these slow and careful gains in the American economy and our recovery and we're watching Europe, and we're worried about the health of the banks in Europe. How healthy are European banks and what does it mean to us and our economy?
BAIR: Right, well, the European banks are not very healthy. And, of course, they have a huge volume of sovereign debt that is under such duress right now. So I think that things are starting to come to a climax there. We saw some very important signals from Mario Draghi and Angela Merkel yesterday that appears that the ECB is willing to move forward with more aggressive bond purchases if the political leadership in Europe will come to agreement on better constraints on budgetary policies for countries that have not acted fiscally responsible and greater movement towards fiscal integration. So, I think there is some movement, although we've seen false starts before, but these most recent proclamations seem to be taking hold in the markets. So let's keep our fingers cross they'll finally get their problem under control.
ROMANS: I know that Angela Merkel said last night this is a marathon. When you look at how long, this will take years to fix these problems. And one of the big complaints there and here about debt issues is a real deficit in leadership. We've seen the central banks moving in, you know, the world's central banks moving in, but do we have the leadership on both sides of the pond to really fix this long term, run a marathon?
BAIR: We have to have political leadership to fix it long term. The central banks can only paper over the problem, if you will. They can print money and buy up this debt and prop up prices over a period of time and keep liquidity in the banking system. But that's not the long-term fix, and longer term that will likely have inflationary impact.
So the fiscal situation needs to be dealt with and the politicians both in Europe and the United States, they really need to make some tough decisions and move ahead. And I agree with her, it will take a period of years for Europe to right its ship, but I think if people know what the game plan is and know there is a process and they're following through, I think that will do a lot to settle the markets.
ROMANS: There's been a lot of squabbling of what that game plan is, 17 other players --
BAIR: For sure. And their bureaucracy is a real problem, too. Too many fingers in the pot. ROMANS: You're the expert on banks, banking and keeping our deposits safe and keeping our banking system safe. You know more about this than anyone. So how healthy are the American banks right now and the American banking system? They're different than the European banks.
BAIR: They are. They're definitely healthier than the European banks. We always kept much stronger capital standards here in the United States and I think a lot of that was due to the FDIC. We also through our stress testing in early 2009 required them to raise a lot of additional capital as part of the TARP repayments we again required that they raise a lot of additional capital. So they're not in the best of shape, but they're stable right now. I think there are some improving indicators in the economy, as we just discussed. I think housing is still a huge issue, one of unrealized losses yet to be realized there. But over time I think they can withstand it. But we need to move on with it.
ROMANS: This foreclosure moratorium for the holidays, I worry that it's respite for now, but that you just have a lot of housing problems and foreclosing problems. It's a pause button on a big problem that hasn't been solved.
BAIR: It is, that's exactly right. And the servicing of these mortgages, I think people have underestimated the importance of just operationalizing, having people on the ground dealing with these troubled loans in an effective way, and the large banks, which are the major servicers, have not done a good job on that score and that still hasn't been fixed.
ROMANS: So thanks for your input and I guess your first take on that jobless number to 8.6 percent for the unemployment rate. It's under nine percent. You point out that's a psychologically good place to be right now. Sheila Bair, thanks so much. It's nice to see you this morning. Have a good weekend. Alina?
CHO: Apple's new iPhone will help you find just about anything. The virtual assistant app Siri will look up phone numbers and addresses. One thing it won't find -- abortion clinics. So is Siri pro-life or just an accident? We'll have that story coming up.
It's 41 minutes after the hour.
CHO: Welcome back. It's 43 minutes after the hour.
This story is so incredible. You know Apple's new iPhone is apparently being called prolife.
ROMANS: Here's why. The iPhone 4s' virtual assistant Siri helps you find phone numbers and addresses, but some users say it won't find abortion clinics. I was wondering, is that -- whatever. CNN's Mary Snow has the story.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Where can I find a supermarket?
SNOW (voice-over): It's one of the hottest functions of the new iPhones.
SIRI AUTOMATED VOICE: I found a number of supermarkets.
SNOW: Siri the virtual assistant. Ask it just about anything and it finds an answer. If it can't, it leads you to a search engine. But Apple is having to respond to questions about its new voice- activated assistant. Those questions were first raised by bloggers asking why Siri could find everything from strip clubs to Viagra but apparently draws a blank when asked about abortion and conception.
(on camera): We're standing outside a Parenthood clinic in New York. Where can I find an abortion clinic? This is the latest iPhone with the Siri app.
SIRI AUTOMATED VOICE: Sorry, I couldn't find any abortion clinics.
SNOW: Asks the same question is Washington D.C. and the story says Siri comes with antiabortion center in Virginia and one in Pennsylvania. A similar search on Google directs users to several clinics where abortions are performed.
The ACLU and abortion rights advocates raised concerns, but Apple is blaming it on a technical glitch, saying "These are not intentional omissions meant to offend anyone. It simply means that as we bring Siri from beta to a final product, we find places where we can do better and we will in the coming weeks."
Not everyone is buying it. Eli Pariser is the former executive director of moveon.org and the author of "The Filter Bubble".
ELI PARISER, AUTHOR, "THE FILTER BUBBLE": I think the answer the fact is that for a long time media companies have, you know, made it more difficult for women to, you know, find family planning assistance. This is not the first time that this has happened.
SNOW: One analyst who covers Apple says he doesn't believe there's a hidden agenda, since Apple doesn't use its own database, but rather relies on information gathered from partners. But he says, the company's culture of silence will likely only add to suspicions.
VAN RAKER, VP, GARTNER: You see lots and lots of pretty wild theories and speculations about new products and services and, you know, hidden agendas and all those kind of things with Apple more than you do with other companies because they tend to constrain the amount of information that they make available to the marketplace.
SNOW: Meantime, the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation posted an e-mail it received from Apple's CEO after writing him. The group says, it appreciates the prompt response and that it will continue to monitor Siri until Apple's efforts to work out the kinks are finished. Mary Snow, CNN, New York.
ROMANS: All right.
Ahead on AMERICAN MORNING, what's an appropriate gift for your child's teacher? I've been asking this question --
CHO: I know you have.
ROMANS: -- and I can't wait to hear the answer.
CHO: Here is what I want to know, how much do you tip your doorman? Right, so there's something for everyone here. We're going to get your answers to these and other holiday etiquette questions from our expert Anna Post, the great, great granddaughter -- granddaughter rather of Emily Post.
ROMANS: It's 47 minutes after the hour.
CHO: Forty-eight minutes after the hour on a Friday; here are your "Morning Headlines".
Markets open in just 45 minutes and right now U.S. stock futures are trading significantly higher after this morning's job report showed that the economy added 120,000 jobs last month. The unemployment rate also dropping to 8.6 percent.
The Senate has blocked both the Democratic and Republican plans on extending the payroll tax cut that expires at the end of the year. The parties remain divided over, you guessed it, how to pay for it.
The leader of al Qaeda is claiming responsibility for the August kidnapping of a 70-year-old U.S. citizen in Pakistan. Ayman Al- Zawahiri can be heard on a number of radical Web sites saying the terror group had capture quote, "An American Jew" called Warren Weinstein. Gunmen took Weinstein from his home in Lahore just days before he planned to move back to the United States.
And we are watching very closely Herman Cain. The GOP candidate heading home today to speak to his wife, their first face-to-face meeting since he was accused of having a 13-year affair. Cain says he'll make a decision about his campaign by Monday.
That's the news you need to know to start your day. AMERICAN MORNING is back after this.
CHO: Welcome back. It's 51 minutes after the hour. It is the season for giving. Of course we need to start thinking about that. But given the uncertain economic times you might not be able to do as much or spend as much as in the past. So how exactly do you handle that?
ROMANS: Or you may want to use the uncertain economic times as cover for people you don't like. Oh you know, I can't do it this year. For that and other holiday etiquette questions we're going to turn to an expert. Don't ask us.
Anna Post, co-author of the 18th edition of "Emily Post's Etiquette. And she's the great, great-granddaughter of Emily Post and Anna Post joins us, once again. Nice to see you.
ANNA POST, AUTHOR: Thank you.
ROMANS: How do you tactfully downgrade expectations for gift- giving, you know, this year?
POST: Sure, the earlier the better. If you have to change plans whether it's visiting friends and relatives whether it's giving gifts, as early as possible to change that expectation. The 11th hour, they probably already bought the gift and that would be very awkward.
CHO: You know one question that I had. I was talking to my producer about this yesterday when we found out you were coming on and we were saying, you know if you get somebody, if you got somebody a gift last year, you're making your list this year and -- and you're really looking, you are counting your pennies. Can you cross that person's name off the list this year or do you get them a lesser gift or what do you do?
POST: Sure. Well, you can always adjust your budget and what you're able to give that is completely fine, choice of gift always up to you. If you're changing a long-standing gift exchange with someone, I would let them know so they don't show up ready to go.
But yes, we all do have to make changes and whatever is in the bank account, that's what we have to work with.
CHO: Right. Right.
POST: That part is not going to change.
ROMANS: I have 100 reasons why I don't like gift cards. One of them, I'll give you the first two, 25 percent of people don't ever use them and then people who do use them, they have to go over to use it all, so, you're asking them to pay money. So --
CHO: Yes, I feel a little bit differently. I get gift cards -- I give gift cards to some people because I feel like maybe I don't know them well enough.
ROMANS: I know your audience.
CHO: Right and you know maybe it's good to let them choose.
ROMANS: But the problem is this year is that if you gave somebody one last year and it was $50 and this year you can only afford $25. They know -- they know that you're not giving as much.
POST: They do, that's when you maybe wrap some you know a box of cookies with it or something like that to soften the blow. But here, never re-gift a gift card because --
POST: It wasn't properly activated. If you used part of it, $17.21 left on it you will be outed very quickly.
CHO: Somebody sent that before.
ROMANS: Wow. Never re-gift a gift card. What do you give a teacher? This is my most important question of the year.
POST: Sure, always check school policy first, never cash gifts obviously. Teachers have asked me, please, no more mugs.
ROMANS: Yes I know.
POST: Get your child involved to whatever it is. Whether it is something that you are baking or making for the teacher or picking out for them, maybe books for the classroom. Have your kid give some input on that, too. It's a great way to involve them.
CHO: What about, obviously, in New York City, in particular, tipping is a big deal.
CHO: Especially your doorman if you live right here in Manhattan or in these parts and the dog walker, the mail carrier, you know, when you tip them is it a percentage is it a dollar amount? I mean, how do you figure out who to tip and how much?
POST: Sure -- the doorman and I know this is a big deal in New York. We're probably talking minimum threshold of $50 a person here. And this is New York, that can go up very, very fast. If you work with one doorman particularly, sure, the bulk goes to him and the rest could be smaller.
Dog walkers, babysitters, people like this. The value of one service. So one week's worth of dog sitting that's what you're shooting for, if you can't make it, a little bit less, they'll still appreciate it.
ROMANS: And I heard people who in the service industry say, we don't want your cookies, we do want your cash.
POST: Yes they like the money.
CHO: Right yes, yes.
ROMANS: All right, thank you so much, Anna Post, nice to see you.
POST: My pleasure happy holidays.
ROMANS: You too.
CHO: Don't give me an empty card. You can give me a gift card, if you want to.
ROMANS: I will take a gift card from you.
CHO: Ok, all right, good.
ROMANS: What do you think?
It's 55 minutes after the hour. We're back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KRISTEN CHENOWETH, ACTRESS: Hi, as founder of Maddie's Corner I am committed to celebrating the bond between people and their pets while lending a helping paw to those in need.
Now, I'm absolutely thrilled to help introduce one of this year's Top Ten CNN Heroes.
RICHARD ST. DENIS, COMMUNITY CRUSADER: In Mexico, people with disabilities who can't get around have no options. Their world is the four walls of their house.
When someone has a disability, the whole family has to pitch in to help them. If they don't have the money, the care that they provide for them is the very basic care.
My name is Richard St. Denis. I take wheelchairs to people in Mexico who can't afford them but really need them. In 1976 I broke my back skiing and severed my spinal cord. I see what happened to me as an opportunity to help other people with disabilities.
We collect used wheelchairs from the United States Race Cardinal and Hot Rod. We teach them how to use it.
Mobility means being independent and more active. Someone said, Richard, I want to thank you for giving up your legs so we could have a better quality of life. When I see them happy and seeing their self-confidence. I know people's lives are getting better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: All right. That's it for us for the week.
CHO: Have a good weekend.
ROMANS: Yes, you too. I'm Christine Romans. See you next week.
CHO: I'm Alina Cho. "CNN NEWSROOM" with Fredricka Whitfield begins right now. Hey, Fred.