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American Morning

Gingrich Rolling In South Carolina; Romney's Reckoning; Beck Grills Gingrich; Obama: Make-Or-Break Time For Middle Class; New Sandusky Accuser; Blagojevich Sentencing Day; This Is What Happens; Geithner In Paris To Talk Debt Crisis; Citi To Cut 4,500 Jobs; Lehman Close To Exiting Bankruptcy; A Nosier Credit Score; Romney's Missing E-Mails; Anti-Putin Protesters Clash with Police; American Killed In Afghanistan Blast; Medicare Open Enrollment Ends Today

Aired December 07, 2011 - 06:00   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Inside four weeks until Iowa, a brand new poll showing Newt Gingrich as running away with it. Now his past is being used as ammo by conservative critics.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: More disturbing allegations against Jerry Sandusky. Another man saying the ex-Penn State coach abused him and gave him alcohol as a boy.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have been excused of being a traitor to both sides.


COSTELLO: A woman goes from Wall Street protester to Wall Street professional on this AMERICAN MORNING.

ROMANS: All right. Good morning, everyone. It's Wednesday, December 7th. Ali is off today. I'm Christine Romans along with Carol Costello on this AMERICAN MORNING. Welcome, everyone.

COSTELLO: Welcome and good morning. Up first this morning, Newt Gingrich is threatening to run away with the Republican race. The former House speaker is going gangbusters in his bid for the GOP nomination.

With less than four weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses, it's beginning to look like a Gingrich juggernaut. Look at the latest Gallup poll. Among Republican voters nationwide, 37 percent now say Gingrich is their choice. He leads Mitt Romney by a whopping 15 points.

CNN's deputy political director Paul Steinhauser joins us live from Washington this morning. Who could have predicted this?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Boy, this has been one crazy ride. We've seen candidates go up and down in the polls. Gingrich is going up right at the right time, Carol.

Let's go and take a look at the brand new staples because remember this is a battle for states new delegates first in Iowa. Check this out, CBS/"New York Times," you see Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker right up there, 14 points ahead of Romney.

And right after Romney, Ron Paul, the congressman from Texas, Rick Perry at 11 percent. Another poll in the last 24 hours in Iowa, let's look at that as well. This is ABC News/"Washington Post," again of people likely to take part in those Iowa caucuses on January 3rd.

There you go again, Gingrich with a 15-point lead according to this survey. It's not just Iowa. South Carolina, the third state to vote in the first southern state. Look at this Winthrop University. This is from yesterday as well. There is Gingrich with a 16-point advantage according to this poll.

Carol, we have CNN/Time/ORC, we have four polls coming out later today in all of the early states including New Hampshire where Romney still leads and Florida.

One caveat here though, even with four weeks to go in all of these polls, all of these likely Republican voters and caucus goers say, you know what, a lot of them say, I'm still definitely thinking about changing my mind. So this electorate is still up in the air -- Carol.

COSTELLO: But still if I'm Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich just opened up an office in Iowa within the last couple of days. He has no organization in that state, and yet he's trouncing Mitt Romney. So how must Mitt Romney be feeling this morning?

STEINHAUSER: I think Romney is starting to feel the heat. No doubt about it. Take a listen to what he told reporters yesterday while campaigning in Arizona.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'll be on the air a good deal more than in the past, doing the very best to communicate to the American people why I'm running for president hopefully getting their support.

And you know, I know the beginning is going to be, what, January 3rd? But this will probably take more than a week or two to sort out. My expectation is this is going to be a campaign that is going to go on for a while and I expect to win it.


STEINHAUSER: And you know what? See, he's got a point there, too. Carol, you mentioned this. Mitt Romney has the campaign structure. He's been campaigning for quite some time now.

He's got the people in the early states to get those voters to the polls or caucus. Newt Gingrich, he's playing catch-up right now. That is the key. Can he get these people in place, get the structure in place by January 3rd in Iowa and in the other early states -- Carol. COSTELLO: We'll see. Paul Steinhauser live in Washington. Thanks.

ROMANS: Wow, all right, despite his double digit lead, Gingrich still has plenty of critics within his own party including talk show host, Glenn Beck.

Beck called out Gingrich on his past statements supporting an individual mandate requiring people to have health care coverage. This is the center of the fight over President Obama's health care law. Listen.


NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): Health insurance or you post a bond or in some way you indicate you're going to be held accountable.

GLENN BECK: That is the individual mandate, is not?

GINGRICH: It's a variation on it.

BECK: You seem to be very interested in the government finding the solution.

GINGRICH: Well, let's go back to what I just said. What I was asked was if a program is unpopular, should the Republicans impose it anyway?

Go back and listen to exactly what I was asked on the show and what I said I'll stand by, which is in a free society you don't impose things you disagree with. We just went over this with Obama care.


ROMANS: Beck also brought up something that Gingrich has called one of his dumbest mistakes, one of his dumbest mistakes. The climate change ad he made for Al Gore, sitting side-by-side with rival Nancy Pelosi.


BECK: Do you still believe in the inconvenient truth as outlined by global climate change advocates?

GINGRICH: Well, I never believed in Al Gore's fantasies and, in fact, if you look at the record, the day that Al Gore testified at the Energy and Commerce Committee in favor of cap and trade, I was the next witness.

And I testified against cap and trade and in the Senate, I worked for solutions to help beat the cap and trade. Cap and trade was an effort by the left to use the environment as an excuse to get total control over the American economy. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Join us at 5:00 p.m. Eastern when Newt Gingrich sits down with Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM," to discuss his improvable surge in the polls and what he needs to do to maintain his momentum with the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries just around the corner.

Don't forget it was just at few months ago, Carol, that he was been criticized by his own campaign staff for being on a Mediterranean cruise and now being serious about Iowa and now he's leading in the polls in Iowa.

COSTELLO: Interestingly enough, I was reading, Eric Erickson's blog and he doesn't wholeheartedly support Newt Gingrich. In fact, later on down his post, he's supporting Jon Huntsman maybe, sort of, kind of.

We're going to talk to Eric Erickson about that and that's important because he's a big Tea Party guy. The Tea Party is driving this primary season. So we're going to talk to Eric Erickson about that. Maybe it's Jon Huntsman time, who knows.

President Obama, talk about him for a second, taking his push to extend the payroll tax cut on the road. The president was in Kansas stressing how vital a deal is to your paycheck and also emphasizing the widening inequality between the rich and the middle class in America.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This is a make or break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get into the middle class because what's at stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, secure their retirement.


COSTELLO: The White House has even place add countdown clock on its web site to pressure Congress. Republicans and Democrats can't agree on how to pay for the tax break.

The Democratic plan on the table right now calls for a 1.9 percent surtax on millionaires to get the cash. Republicans say many millionaires own businesses that create jobs and should not be taxed more.

ROMANS: All right, new developments this morning in the Penn State sex abuse scandal. A 19-year-old man came forward with new allegations that former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulted him when he was just 12 years old. And this new accuser claims that Sandusky gave him alcohol first.

Joining us now is "Patriot News" reporter and CNN contributor, Sarah Ganim. Good morning, Sarah. What do we know about this new victim and what he says happened is different than from the other victims who -- who are named in this case against Sandusky. It's a little bit different.

SARAH GANIM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, Christine, you're right. There are a lot of new things in this allegation. First of all, we've never heard before Sandusky gave one of his victims alcohol.

And this man who is 19 years old said when he was 12, he was a Second Mile camper staying in the facilities on the Second Mile boarding house and he was in a swimming situation with Jerry Sandusky and a bunch of other kids was then separated from the kids.

Taken on a tour of the football building, which we have heard before, but then he was taken to an office, and this is something new. Because before many of the others felt it didn't happen in Jerry's home or in situation where is they were traveling.

A lot of them were in the showers, in the locker room of the football building, but in this situation, this man alleges it was in an office in this building and he was given whiskey while Jerry Sandusky talked to him about his life and how he ended up with the Second Mile and then was assaulted.

That's all the allegation, but this man is talking to the police. He is talking to the attorney general's office and his attorney says they're going to try and corroborate this story by possibly even going to the building and looking for that office, and then they're potentially filing a lawsuit.

ROMANS: So this fits sort of in the profile, then, with some differences of the other cases that we've seen. Do we know if they'll be any additional charges because of this particular, these allegations?

GANIM: You know, by my count, Christine, this is the fifth person to make public allegation since Jerry Sandusky was arrested. His preliminary hearing is next Tuesday. I think we have to wait and see what the attorney general's office plans to do if they're going to file more charges.

When they're going to file more charges, you know, his attorney says they are definitely having that hearing, but then a question, if more charges come, will they have another hearing and then possibly another hearing?

So I think we're going to have to wait and see what happens. Next week I think is a big week in this case.

ROMANS: All right, Sarah Ganim, CNN contributor and also crime reporter at "The Patriot News." Nice to see you this morning, Sarah. Thank you.

COSTELLO: It's 10 minutes past the hour. Here's what's new this morning. New information about the U.S. spy drone that crashed in Iran last week. U.S. officials telling CNN the drone was part of a CIA reconnaissance mission and was flying over western Afghanistan to look for insurgent activity.

One senior official insisting there was no directive to spy on Iran or fly into Iranian airspace. Another official confirming when the drone went down the U.S. considered options for retrieving it or even bombing it, but both scenarios were ultimately considered not practical.

ROMANS: The Federal Aviation Administration is looking for a new leader. Randy Babbitt has resigned three days after getting arrested on DWI charges. Police pulled him over Saturday night in Virginia. They say he was driving on the wrong side of the road.

COSTELLO: Today, marked 70 years since the Japanese bombing on Pearl Harbor, the attack that led the United States into World War II. One hundred twenty survivors are expected to arrive in Hawaii for the annual commemoration.

There'll be Rifle salutes and wreath presentations to honor and remember the nearly 2,400 people who died in that attack. This is the last time the survivors association will gather together because its members are aging and their health is declining. You know, if were you 20 back then you'd be 90 years today.

ROMANS: Seventy years ago, an event that defined more than a generation of America.

All right, the U.S. speaking out on election protests in Russia. Thousands of people flooded the streets accusing President Putin of ballot rigging and voter intimidation.

Questions haunting Mitt Romney. Countless e-mails from his term as Massachusetts governor are missing. Did he use taxpayer money to keep those records secret?

ROMANS: Alec Baldwin booted off a flight all because he says of a cell phone game and everyone following on Twitter. Details ahead.


ROMANS: Welcome back. It's judgment day for disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Federal prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 15 to 20 years behind bars for his conviction on 17 counts of corruption.

But his lawyers have called that excessive and have asked the judge for leniency. The federal judge is expected to issue his decision at the end of sentencing hearing today.

CNN's Ted Rowlands is live in Chicago and of course, people in Chicago and Illinois are no strangers to watching their former leader being sentenced. Good morning.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. And well, Rod Blagojevich is asking for three to four years. His lawyers went basically for an entire day yesterday pleading his case in front of this judge. But if any indication, the judge's rulings yesterday are to the eventual sentence, it doesn't look good for Blagojevich. The judge did rule on a couple of sentencing guidelines, some enhancements and he totally sided with the prosecution.

So most courtroom experts, or legal experts, in the courtroom basically say this does not look good for Blagojevich. He will have a chance to address the court today face-to-face with this judge. This will be the end of the sentencing portion of this trial.

This has gone on four two days. Today, we're also expected to hear from prosecutors. Yesterday, the lawyers for Blagojevich basically changed tacks. In their filings they really haven't said anything about guilt.

Yesterday, they said he is very remorseful and also said that this is a family man and he should be given leniency because he is leaving his daughters and his wife. At one point the lead attorney, Aaron Goldstein told the judge he doesn't deserve mercy because he has a family.

His family deserves mercy. They also read a portion of a letter that Blagojevich's teenage daughter, Amy, submitted to the court saying in part, I need my father. I need him here.

Today it is likely the prosecutors will argue, it's sad that he has a family, but according to the law, it doesn't make a difference in sentencing, unless there are extraordinary circumstances and they just aren't there.

So today we'll have, what, 15 to 20 minutes. Prosecutors say their case, and then the judge will ask questions of both sides and then we'll have Blagojevich addressing the court for who knows how long, and then we expect that the sentence will be delivered by this federal judge later this morning, guys?

ROMANS: Ted, just quickly, what is the public response then? I mean, what do people think? They want him to get a lot of years? They're tired of this story, this scandal and drama? What are the people of Chicago and Illinois think?

ROWLANDS: Well, you know, quite frankly, a lot of people you talk to, they think, well, he's definitely guilty of buffoonery on a large scale, but a lot of folks don't want to see him going away for too long because they've gotten to know him over the years through all of these reality shows.

He's obviously in the news here every day and was when he was governor and there's a certain likability. You hate and like him. There are some people I talked to in the courtroom. The courtroom was packed with spectators from the public.

Some did want to send a clear message to politicians here in the state of Illinois, which you alluded to, has had problems over the years that this can't happen. So it is really mixed.

The defense is arguing don't make an example out of this guy just because of George Ryan and other politicians in this state. We'll have to see what this judge says, but boy, after sitting through yesterday's testimony and listening to this judge, it doesn't look good for Blagojevich.

This judge seemed very stern and with his ruling on the enhancement, that right away add some years. It doesn't look good.

ROMANS: It doesn't matter what the public thinks. What the law says and what that judge thinks. All right, Ted Rowlands, thanks so much.

COSTELLO: Don't try to rob a guy who can kill you with his bare hands. Talk about picking the wrong dude to mess with. Police say this man, Anthony Miranda, pulled a gun on a driver in Chicago.

And instead of cash ended up with two black eyes, bruises and a gun shot in his own ankle. Chicago station, WLS, reports the intended victim was trained in the mixed martial arts and says he competes in the ultimate fighting championships. So -- the story makes me laugh.

ROMANS: Crime doesn't pay --

COSTELLO: No, it doesn't.

ROMANS: -- in that particular situation.

Rob Marciano is in the Extreme Weather Center, really well trained. He knew to shoot him in the foot where he wouldn't kill him.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Exactly, exactly. You know, some days my thoughts are consumed with what I would do if approached in that manner and I realized my mixed martial arts skills are fairly limited.

ROMANS: Are you the criminal or the cabbie in that situation?

MARCIANO: No, no. I'm the cabbie. You know, if we had a larger frame here I'd show you my "karate kid" stance. Good morning, guys, again. Listen now, rainfall across the northeast. Mild, and the rain extends down to the south until it turns over to snow in places like Memphis, where it's covering bridges and roadways.

Right now, Little Rock, Arkansas got two inches of snow. This is the second time so far and we're not even into the second week of December yet that this has happened across parts of the mid-south. All right, so this is going to be some heavy rain at times and believe it or not, it changes over to snow tonight and the tomorrow.

Meanwhile, 33 degrees in Houston, actually 26 in Austin and 61 degrees in New York City. You want to talk about a topsy-turvy atmosphere. We're going to even things out in a bit. Winter advisories out for parts of West Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama, a couple inches of snow expected there.

The rains turn to snow on the back side of this. Not until really late tonight and into tomorrow. Two to six inches of snow potentially, mostly away from the bigger cities.

Here's the heavy rain right around rush hour and tonight and early tomorrow turns to snow, mostly away from I-95, but I think seeing snow a brief period of time.

Air travels are going to be a problem today, New York metro, Philly, D.C., even Atlanta will see some gusty winds and that will be a problem there. Memphis, rain or snow in, and even the atmosphere outside, but right now things are a little nutty, crazy. Something's in the air.

ROMANS: I think it's winter.

MARCIANO: Yes. I like it.

COSTELLO: Thank you, Rob. The cast of "Myth Busters" busted when their cannonball, their cannonball stunt, it was a crashing failure. We'll put it that way. That story's coming up.

ROMANS: Myth busters, more like door busters.

Plus, tired of the drop calls and the poor customer service, you're not alone. Find out which cell phone provider was ranked the worst carrier in the country. It's 22 minutes after the hour.


ROMANS: Welcome back. "Minding Your Business" this morning. The Dow up for two days in a row. Right now on track to keep rallying. U.S. stock futures trading higher as investors are optimistic a lasting long-term solution to Europe's debt crisis will be found and announced this week.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is there for just such an event. Three-day European whirlwind tour right now taking him to Paris this morning where he's meeting with more of his European counterparts.

Speaking this morning, Geithner said he is confident that E.U. leaders will be successful in negotiations to tackle the debt crisis. Those negotiations begin Friday in Brussels.

Here at home, banking giant Citigroup planning to lay off 4,500 employees over the next four months. The CEO says these cuts are needed to cut costs with a weak economy.

Citi will also take a $400 million charge in the fourth quarter to cover the severance and other costs related to this new downsizing.

Lehman Brothers who's collapsed was a defining moment in the financial crisis, it has been granted court approval to exit the biggest bankruptcy in American history.

Lehman now is just a collection of assets, real estate investments and the latest court ruling clears the way for the sale of those assets, some $65 billion worth.

A new credit report is digging deeper into your financial history. A company called "Core Logic" has introduced a new credit file based on its massive database of information that includes whether you paid your rent and utility or cell phone bills on time.

This is generally not information that's currently considered by credit bureaus. Bottom line for you, you make a payment on time every time, your credit score will stay high.

You don't have to tell cell phone users, but for a second year in a row, "Consumer Reports" says AT&T is America's worst mobile carrier. Oregon-based Consumer Cellular got the highest marks. AT&T says it's committed to getting better and better.

AMERICAN MORNING will be right back after this break.


COSTELLO: Where have all the e-mails gone? New questions about then-Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, did he use taxpayer money to purge electronics records of his term in office -- on this AMERICAN MORNING.


ROMANS: All right. Welcome back at 31 minutes past the hour. Time for the morning's top stories.

Newt Gingrich looking like he's about to run away with the Republican race, at least the way the polls look now. He's opened up a double-digit lead over Mitt Romney in three new national polls.

And a programming note -- at 5:00 p.m. Eastern, Newt Gingrich sits down with Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

COSTELLO: A new accuser coming forward saying former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulted him when he was just 12 and gave him booze. Sandusky's charged with 40 counts of child sex abuse, involving eight other young boys. A preliminary hearing has been set for Tuesday.

ROMANS: And according to U.S. officials, an American spy drone that crashed last week in Iran was not spying on Iran, and it was not programmed to fly in Iranian airspace. Officials tell CNN the drone was on a CIA mission over western Afghanistan looking for insurgent activity.

COSTELLO: Getting the endorsement of former Vice President Dan Quayle is nice, but Mitt Romney, once a GOP favorite, suddenly faces an uphill battle for the Republican nomination. And now, there are allegations Romney spent taxpayer dollars to hide electronic records from his term as governor of Massachusetts.

CNN's Brian Todd is following the story.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Aside from Newt Gingrich, new hurdles for Mitt Romney to clear in the Republican race -- questions about records from his term as Massachusetts governor that disappeared; questions about whether he'd be transparent as president.

Democratic Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's office says they "found no e-mails from 2002 to 2006 in our possession," which covers Romney's term as governor. Patrick's office says the computers used during Romney's term were replaced right before Patrick took office.

Governor Patrick's team gave us copies of leases for the computers, indicating it cost Romney's administration Massachusetts taxpayers nearly $100,000 to replace those computers near the end of his term. Patrick's team says all of the computer files were removed and the server used during Romney's administration was taken out of service.

An advocate for government transparency says those records should have been preserved.

PATRICE MCDERMOTT, OPEN THE GOVERNMENT: Clearly in Massachusetts, it's not illegal to do that. I mean, that has been made clear in the press reports, anyway. But because something is not illegal doesn't mean that it's right or ethical or acceptable to the public to do so.

And we believe that the records of political officials, elected political officials belong to the public.

TODD: Governor Patrick's office also showed us records of canceled checks, indicating Romney's aides paid the state to buy the hard drives they used in their government jobs.

Theresa Dolan, director of administration in Massachusetts under Romney and several previous governors, told "Reuters" that in all of those years, "no one had ever inquired about, or expressed the desire to buy their hard drives."

John O'Keefe, a former Romney aide who was in charge of archiving all records when Romney transitioned out of office, says he was allowed to go anywhere, to gather any records he needed for the archives, but with Romney's third floor office --

JOHN O'KEEFE, FORMER ROMNEY AIDE: The so-called third floor was actually really office specific. You had the chief of staff and communications director and deputy chiefs of staff. They archived their own offices. So, it was handled differently than the rest of the governor's office.

TODD: O'Keefe does not believe it was a directive from Romney. It was just, he says, how it worked out.

The story was first reported by "The Boston Globe."

Romney's campaign tells CNN, the decision to erase most electronic files is not illegal or unusual, that several other governors have also done that.

Romney said this.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We actually put in 700 boxes of information to the archives that weren't even required. So, we followed the law exactly as intended and as written.

TODD (on camera): Romney's team says the decision by Governor Patrick to put out this is politically motivated. Deval Patrick is a close ally of President Obama's and an aide to Patrick denied that, telling us they were only responding to media requests for public documents.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


ROMANS: Mitt Romney, meantime, taking a pass on the Donald Trump presidential debate. Romney declined Trump's invitation to participate in the Iowa forum, citing his crowded debate calendar. Romney is the third GOP candidate to say no to Trump following Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul. Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have all committed to the December 27th debate, which will be moderated by the Donald.

And the Donald will be on "PIERS MORGAN" guest tonight, 9:00 Eastern Time, right here on CNN.

COSTELLO: I know. It's a little surprising to have to say moderated by the Donald.

ROMANS: Donald Trump.

COSTELLO: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling for a full investigation into election fraud in Russia. Thousands of protesters stormed the streets of Moscow angry over alleged ballot rigging by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia Party. And outside watchdog group accuses his party of stuffing ballot boxes, manipulating voter lists and harassing election monitors.

CNN international correspondent Phil Black is live in Moscow with the latest.

So, are police cracking down on these demonstrators now?


The first night of spontaneous protests was big. There were thousands of people. The second night, not at many people, but they were met with a very firm response from the security forces here.

There were some scuffles. They arrested hundreds of them. But generally just slowly pushed and squeezed them out of the square, that they were hoping to occupy. As well as that organized response, they were met with a large number of pro-government demonstrators. People supporting the United Russia Party. They banged their drums drowning out the crowds of the opposition.

So, on the whole, it was not a very successful demonstration. In any event, not in any way carry over the momentum of the first night that saw thousands of people on the streets.

But the protest organizers, they hope to keep going with this. They say they're going to try and organize another protest tonight, voicing their anger about the weekend's parliamentary elections and their belief that they were not held fairly, as well as their general dissatisfaction with the government in this country.

And they're also pointing ahead to a much bigger protest this weekend, which they hope to get tens of thousands of people to attend. I think in the coming days, we're going to get a real sense of whether this burst of public outrage has already peaked or whether it does have any true staying power to become some sort of constant movement against the government here, Carol.

COSTELLO: So, when Secretary of State Clinton calls for a full investigation, can such a thing happen?

BLACK: Well, not given the response of the government so far. From the outset, the president, the prime minister here, have both said they believe the elections were fair and Democratic, that is despite many Russians claiming to have witnessed breaches of electoral process here, that is, despite the criticism that has been given by independent international observers, and that criticism that has been voiced by the U.S. administration as well.

And if anything, the language from the Russian government in response to that criticism has been very harsh as well. It is described the words of Secretary Clinton as unfriendly, and unacceptable and potentially damaging to the relations between these two countries -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Phil Black, reporting live for us from Moscow this morning -- thank you.

ROMANS: All right. A reality TV show stunt gone terribly wrong, Carol. The show "MythBusters," accidentally lost a cannonball, through the front door of a California home, smashed through the front door in the wall.

COSTELLO: That would wake you up.

ROMANS: Clearly, the cannonball misfired and incredibly, no one was hurt.

COSTELLO: How would you explain that to the insurance company?

ROMANS: I want to know what the myth they were busting was, but I'm sure in the next episodes, we'll find out what myth busting required a cannonball in a neighborhood.

COSTELLO: That cannonballs are accurate?

ROMANS: Who knows? Who knows?

COSTELLO: Alec Baldwin, let's talked about him now, because he was kicked off an American Airlines flight at LAX. The actor says he was reamed out for playing "Words with Friends" while they sat at the gate not moving. He sent out a bunch of angry tweets including one with a hashtag, "there's always United." Baldwin even took some jobs at the flight attendants.

But some passengers have a slightly different version of what happened. Like former boxing champion Oscar de la Hoya.


OSCAR DE LA HOYA, FORMER PROFESSIONAL BOXER: I actually felt Alec Baldwin -- I mean, he was turning off his devices. And he just got a little angry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was on his phone and he didn't want to get off the phone. And he snuck into the bathroom, and became a little irate and they had to remove him from the flight.


COSTELLO: The airline is looking into the incident, but I don't think Alec Baldwin will be taking any American Airlines flights in the future.

ROMANS: And he just tweeting about it. I was on the plane, everyone on my plane was laughing about him getting kicked off his plane in real time, in a different plane, in a different part of the country. I mean, he's tweeting every last thing of it.

And then people are tweeting whether you should follow Alec Baldwin or not. It was crazy. The whole thing was crazy.

Bottom line is, when the flight crew says, turn it off, turn it off.

COSTELLO: That's right.

ROMANS: All right. The royals were ready to rock last night. The duke and duchess of Cambridge hit the town with Charles and Camilla for a charity concert.

COSTELLO: They did. The sold out show raised money to benefit young people living in areas hit by the U.K. riots.

CNN royal correspondent Max Foster joins us with details on that.

And I'm sure some people are hoping you'll also talk about the rumors that, you know, the princess might be preggers.

ROMANS: She can't carry her clutch in a certain way, she can't turn down a little taste of peanut butter somewhere, and people go crazy.

COSTELLO: Even what she was wearing was a sign.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: It's always about protecting her, her stomach, isn't it? And she had a bag in front of her stomach. That's all there was to it.

Everyone's waiting for that story. Last night -- I haven't got it. But last night, we see them arriving here. There you go. The duchess of Cambridge, out with the in-laws, first time kind of joint appearance.

Just to express the commercial value of Catherine, though, on this -- that dress she's got on in a $99 dress from Zara's, new to the market. It sold out immediately around the world last night. Can't get it in the U.S., can't get in the U.K., can't get anywhere. That's the commercial value there.

And there they are standing for the national anthem. And a bit later, they got into the pop concert. One of Catherine's favorite bands is Take That and Gary Barlow is singing. Not on this particular clip. That's Gary Barlow, one of her favorite singers.

But a serious message, guys, this was all about raising money for the young people affected by the U.K. riots earlier this year.

ROMANS: All right. They mingled a little backstage afterwards. Tell us about that.

FOSTER: Yes. They went backstage and met Gary Barlow and the team and some young people affected by the riots who need help from the princess' charities.

Interesting conversations come out of these. It turns out that Catherine and William every night sit down and watch TV every Saturday night. Sit down and watch "The X Factor." A few stars there and they knew everything about them. So, they're there rooting for their own favorite contestants.

So, Simon Cowell will be pleased today.

COSTELLO: They seem so nice and down to earth. It was a good cause. But I can't help but wonder, the dress did have a busy print, which is more effective in hiding baby bumps.

ROMANS: I know. But the poor thing, she'll look great she's a bump. She's a little, tiny thing, you know? She's holding her clutch to hide the grapes she had.

COSTELLO: She was wearing a blazer, too, and it wasn't cold in that room.

ROMANS: I'm sorry. Max, get on that. We will not -- we will not dissolve into the waiting game, for when there will be another heir. Thank you, Max.

He doesn't have that exclusive yet.

COSTELLO: Just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING: from desperation comes inspiration. How an Occupy Wall Street protester managed to land her dream job on Wall Street.

It's 43 minutes past the hour.


ROMANS: All right. With no job, little hope of finding one, a down and out New Yorker goes from Occupy Wall Street to working on Wall Street in just a matter of weeks. Welcome back. Tracy Postert joined the Occupy Wall Street movement back in October.

COSTELLO: She did. And even though she's has a Ph.D. in biomedical science, she could not find a job, so she headed to Zuccotti Park and went From Wall Street protester to Wall Street professional. Chris Knowles joins us this morning with her remarkable story.

KNOWLES: Isn't it, though? Good morning. You know, though, occupiers at Wall Street have been portrayed by some as radicals, young kids without a focus, ne'er-do-wells who do anything but get a job. One woman used her time at Zuccotti Park differently and finds herself occupying a different space on Wall Street.



KNOWLES (voice-over): Somewhere in this gathering of a so-called 99 percent, there is one who would soon join the one. She just didn't know it yet.

TRACY POSTERT, FORMER OWS PROTESTER: There were some days when it was a carnival or lots of music, drumming, costumes, marching, protesting.

KNOWLES: Tracy Posters says she jumped right into the Occupy Wall Street movement all-in, banging drums, and washing paint and dirt-covered sidewalks. In the past few years, the biochemist says she's found herself at times unemployed and underemployed.

Until a few weeks ago when she said she decided to change her protest sign to a job wanted sign and bunkered down in Zaccotti Park with a handful of resumes.

POSTERT: Passersby would say, get a job. And I wouldn't have like a really good response to that. You know, I wanted to say, I'm trying to get a job, but you know, you can't really prove it. So, I just said, why don't I make a sign and hand out my resume at Occupy Wall Street? That is proving that I am actively looking for a job.

KNOWLES: In two days, she says someone spotted her, exchanged e- mails, and a job offer followed. That someone, a top executive at a Wall Street financial firm, in other words, the enemy.

WAYNE KAUFMAN, MARKET ANALYST, JOHN THOMES FINANCIAL: It might sound like it's a fish out of water story or a square peg in a round hole, but it's really not.

KNOWLES: Tracy, how's your new boss?

POSTERT: I like him.

KNOWLES: For now, Tracy is researching early stage biotech companies for the firm. She says she plans to take a test that will allow her to become a broker and a full-fledge member of the one percent. So, what are her former occupiers saying?

POSTERT: I have been accused of being a traitor to both sides. Some people are saying that the whole time I was at Occupy Wall Street, I was really a Wall Street insider.


KNOWLES (on-camera): Tracy says she's going to keep that sign of hers and promises to protest again when she finds something, well, worth protesting. Something tells me her bosses may not approve of that, but we'll see.

ROMANS: It's a really good idea, because you hear that down on occupy -- well, you heard it when they were basically living in Zuccotti Park, get a job. Why don't you get a job? And people would say, because there's no opportunity. There aren't jobs, and she was going to turn that around (INAUDIBLE) to passing out resumes. Smart.

COSTELLO: I don't know. So many people with so many different opinions that are protesting on Wall Street. She's not working for the banking industry, right?

KNOWLES: Well, it is a financial firm. So, I guess, they're all -- sort of --


ROMANS: Looking at different companies and how to get money --


ROMANS: It's pretty much - yes. But, a job's a job, right, in this economy? I don't know. All right. Thanks so much, Chris Knowles. Nice to se you this morning.

COSTELLO: Fifty minutes past the hour. Just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING, it's decision day for seniors. It's the last day you can change your Medicare part D prescription drug plan, and it needs (ph) a deadline snuck up on you this year? You are not alone.


COSTELLO: Fifty-one minutes past the hour. Here's what you need to know to start your day.


COSTELLO (voice-over): Newt Gingrich gaining momentum. The former House speaker opening up double digit leads on Mitt Romney in several national polls with less than four weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses.

A new accuser coming forward saying former Penn State coach, Jerry Sandusky, sexually assaulted him when he was 12 and gave him alcohol.

A U.S. spy drone that crashed last week in Iran was not spying on Iran. U.S. officials telling CNN the drone was on a CIA mission over Western Afghanistan looking for insurgent activity.

An American citizen is among the victims killed in a series of deadly attacks in Afghanistan. Fifty-six people were killed yesterday at a crowded Shiite Muslim shrine in Kabul and a second bomb in Northern Afghanistan killed four others. Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, cut short a European trip.

And a big heads up now -- big head up for more than 42 million Americans. The Medicare open enrollment period ends today for seniors. The deadline coming three weeks earlier than previous years. Today is the last day seniors can enroll in a new prescription drug plan or renew their old one.


COSTELLO (on-camera): That's the news you need to know to start your day. AMERICAN MORNING BACK after a break.


ROMANS: Newt Gingrich finding out that life at the top comes with a price. The Republican frontrunner getting a late-night grilling. Look.


DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN: Now people are saying, wait a minute, Newt, I think when Newt was a congressman, wasn't he fined and reprimanded for some House ethics violation? Remember that, back in the 1990s, 1998? And they say, he can't -- thank you -- he can't run for president. Remember, he got in trouble -- remember this? Here's what they're talking about. See what he did? Get in there close.

(LAUGHTER) JAY LENO, HOST, THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO: Hey, Newt Gingrich met with Donald Trump yesterday. There's a good combination. Two guys, six wives, zero chance of either one ever them ever becoming president of the United States.


CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, CONAN: Newt Gingrich is now riding very high in the polls. Yes. He's the frontrunner now, I believe. Some polls (INAUDIBLE) frontrunner by quite a margin. I'm surprised that Newt's doing so well, because -- if you've seen him, his campaign ads, his message, it isn't very positive.

NEWT GINGRICH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The America we know and love is a thing of the past.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America, it's over. Newt Gingrich 2012, it's over.




COSTELLO: OK. That was funny. I'm sorry it was.

Ahead in the next hour, sensitive military secrets in the hands of America's enemies. New details live in the Pentagon about that top secret U.S. drone that went down in Iran last week, and who might want to get their hands on it?