Return to Transcripts main page

American Morning

Government Shutdown Looming; Iraq War Ends; Dad Gets Adopted Sons Back; Bernanke Worried About Europe; Berkeley's Middle Class Financial Aid; U.S. War in Iraq Officially Ends; U.S. Soldiers Continue to Return from Iraq; Golden Globe Nominees Announced; Jobless Claims Hit Three-Year Low; Dems Drop Demand for Millionaire Tax; Iraq War Ends; No Criminal Charges in Basketbrawl; Convenience Store Crash

Aired December 15, 2011 - 07:59   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Carol Costello. Democrats drop a key demand and now there could be compromise in the works to extend the payroll tax cuts. A move that would save the average American worker about 1,000 bucks a year.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, I'm Christine Romans. They're up dark and early in Hollywood for a major movie and television event, the nominations for the 69th Golden Globe Awards. And you'll see it here live, on this AMERICAN MORNING.

COSTELLO: Good morning. It is Thursday, December 15th.

ROMANS: All right, up first this hour, signs of progress this morning in the battle to extend the payroll tax holiday. Senate Democrats are working on a new plan now that drops their demand for a surtax on millionaires to pay for this. It's a huge compromise. It has the two sides talking at least. House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, they met privately for about an hour in the capitol last night. If Congress cannot reach a deal and the payroll tax holiday expires in 16 days, Americans earning $50,000 a year would be hit with a $1,000 tax increase in 2012. And the more you make, the bigger the hit.

COSTELLO: In addition to extending the payroll tax cut, Congress is facing another critical deadline this morning. Lawmakers need to pass a spending bill by tomorrow or, guess what, the federal government could shut down.

Kate Bolduan live in Washington.

So, can Republicans and Democrats get their act together?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is a fabulous question, Carol and Christine. We'll see if we can find the real answer to that one today.

What I can say is if they want to work together, they can move mountains up there. But as of this morning, we can say that there is movement and that the leaders are talking, which, in and of itself, is actually a development in this fight. But, I'll caution, still not clear that they are any closer to a final deal.

Last night, Senate Democrats did offer a pretty major concession. Following the meeting with the president yesterday afternoon, according to a Democratic source, Senate Democratic leaders dropped their demand for the so-called millionaire surtax to be included in any final deal as a way to cover the cost of a payroll tax cut package.

Now, this is significant because Democrats and the president, they've insisted all along that this millionaire surtax be included in a deal and it's not surprisingly, since it's a tax increase is something that Republicans are very much opposed to.

Now, adding to this standoff and really kind of adding to what's at stake is that while the payroll tax cut expires at the end of this month, Congress is now staring down another government shut down tomorrow. That's because the approval of a massive spending bill that, honestly, they've been working on for months to fund the government for the next year, it's now being held up while they battle over the payroll tax cut and the most recent short-term spending bill that they were able to come to some agreement on. That runs out tomorrow night.

So, we have two issues that previously were not related, Carol and Christine, who are now intertwined and linked in this messy battle.

COSTELLO: It's the holiday season. They should be saying merry Christmas --

ROMANS: But more important for them than the holiday season is the election year. So, that trumps even the holiday season.

BOLDUAN: Honestly, that is a really excellent point, actually, because they do -- they are working. These are serious issues that they need to take care of at the end of the year, but kind of laced throughout all of this, linked throughout all of it is election year politics. And there is a lot of messaging going on on why it has been hard until this point, I'll say, for either side to kind of come out of their corner.

ROMANS: If you can't agree on $20 billion for a tax holiday that you all agree you want to extend, if you can't agree on that, how are they going to fix a $4 trillion hole in the --

COSTELLO: We're already seeing that.

BOLDUAN: That is the question I do not have an answer.

COSTELLO: So, if Democrats have agreed to drop this surtax on millionaires, Republicans have said they want to pay for this payroll tax cut extension by freezing the wages of federal workers. Is that still in the mix?

BOLDUAN: It may be. I know that -- Christine, you really hit it on it after our last conversation a couple hours ago, is that Republicans want to pay for the cost of this tax cut through continuing -- at least in part, it wouldn't pay for the whole package -- continuing a freeze on federal workers' pay. Will that be part of the final deal? Unclear. Because if the Democrats are dropping this demand on the millionaire surtax, it's not clear yet how they're going to pay for it.

There's obviously some assumption and some talk that they'll kind of cherry-pick from some of the areas that they found agreement on and reducing spending and cutting some -- increasing government fees, kind of really unexciting things to talk about that were agreed on in a kind of preliminary basis in the supercommittee conversations. Remember that success?

ROMANS: If they can't agree on $200 billion, I'm sorry, I'm bearish on Congress -- $200 billion, they have so much more work to do than that. So, hopefully, they'll at least get this done.

Kate, thank you.

BOLDUAN: No problem.

COSTELLO: Thanks, Kate.

ROMANS: It seems a lot of people are ganging up on Newt Gingrich these days.


ROMANS: The speech in Iowa City yesterday, Gingrich was interrupted by Occupy protesters. One demonstrator who had a heated exchange with the candidate appeared earlier on AMERICAN MORNING. And he told us he felt compelled to challenge Gingrich because he believes the former speaker is a hypocrite.


MAURO HECK, OCCUPY IOWA CITY PROTESTER: Even '94, '95. He was cheating on his wife and he wants to look in the Congress like he's a saint and trying to get Clinton impeached, while he's -- you know, while Clinton was having an affair with Monica, he was cheating on his wife and being a big hypocrite about it.


COSTELLO: The Republican frontrunner is refusing to go on the attack, though, and insist he will not turn negative, even though his rival Mitt Romney told "The New York Times" he believes the former House speaker's judgment is zany.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Zany is great in a campaign. It's great on talk radio. It's great in the print. It makes for fun reading.

But in terms of the president, we need a leader. And a leader needs to be someone who can bring Americans together.


ROMANS: Congressman Ron Paul is rising in the polls in Iowa. He's now tied with Mitt Romney and nipping at the heels of Newt Gingrich. And Paul told our Wolf Blitzer yesterday that he's feeling good about his chances in the Iowa caucus.


REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think I have a good chance, but I'm not saying that I'm not working on the data basis assuming I'm going to win this thing. I'm not at that point. But I'm assuming we're going to do very, very well and have a much better showing than anybody has given us credit for.


COSTELLO: And Rick Perry, he is launching a bus tour that will crisscross Iowa with a bunch of stops. His first event yesterday was billed as a town hall meeting. Only the Texas governor didn't take any questions from the crowd. Instead, a former Marine who was wounded in Iraq spoke about why he believes Perry is the most qualified to be president.

ROMANS: All right. It is over. Earlier this morning, U.S. forces lowered the flag in Baghdad to mark the end of the nearly nine- year Iraq war. The final few thousand U.S. troops are leaving Iraq ahead of the New Year's Eve deadline.

COSTELLO: Earlier on AMERICAN MORNING, I asked Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt if the U.S. will declare victory.


BRIG. GEN. MARK KIMMITT, U.S. ARMY (RET.): In this case, winning will be judged in the years to come, will Iraq remain a self- sustaining democracy, at peace with its neighbors, no longer a threat to the region. If that's the case, then these soldiers can say, yes, indeed, we've won.

There will be no victory parades. There will be no marching up and down Times Square. There will be no kisses in the middle of Times Square. But every soldier and their family should walk away extremely satisfied and proud of what they accomplished and what they left behind.


COSTELLO: CNN's Martin Savidge has been with the troops and the long and dangerous road out of Iraq. He joins us live now from Camp Virginia in Kuwait.

Good morning, Martin.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. How are you this morning?

I just want to echo that the troops are feeling pretty much just what you have heard in that last interview that was done just a few seconds ago, that same kind of sentiment that the real success, how well they did is going to be measured in time. It's not going to be measured now. It's not measured when they come across the border out of Iraq. It's going to be measured as how successful the Iraqi people are at controlling their own destiny.

I'll warn you here that we got a rock band warming up. So, if you hear some loud noises in the background, that's what that's based on.

The camp here right now, it's quiet. They had a lot of troops go through here, oh, a couple weeks ago. And then the real push of troops coming out of Iraq subsided for a bit. There is another push, of course, that is coming, and that will be the final push of U.S. forces coming out and that is still several days away.

But the attitude of these troops, they're upbeat, they're positive, they feel good about the mission. But as we point out here, they say, look, the U.S. has done the best they could preparing the Iraqi soldiers, training the Iraqi officers, helping the seeds of democracy get planted in that country.

But they also realize that's a nation that's facing a lot of problems, has a lot of political division, ethnic division and religious divisions. So, the real test will come in the coming years and a lot of them say they will be watching carefully to see what happens because of all the U.S. invested, Carol.

COSTELLO: So, how will security be maintained in Iraq now that most U.S. troops are gone?

SAVIDGE: Well, of course, now that falls to the hands of the Iraqi security forces themselves. The Iraqi military is still training up. There are advisors that stay behind as part of this U.S. effort. There are several hundred soldiers that remain in Iraq, they will continue to help train and equip.

The U.S. government is still continuing to sell military hardware to the Iraqis -- things like trying to build up its air force. And then on top of that, you have a bolstered police department. So, those are the forces now that will have to respond if there's some sort of crisis. They will have to react if there is some sort of conflict that breaks out.

The U.S. had been kind of the mediator for the last year and a half or so. Not a combatant, but helping to negotiate.

Now, the U.S. is gone, which is why the Iraqis are nervous. But it's like one soldier said, it's your kids, you got to eventually let them go. Let them take their first steps and maybe they fall down a few times, but that's the only way they will be able to grow up.

That might be an oversimplified explanation. But that was the way they feel.

COSTELLO: Put it well, actually. It sounds like the party is getting started. The rock band has started warming up. People are playing basketball behind you. We like to see that.

ROMANS: Thanks, Martin.

COSTELLO: It's nine minutes past the hour.

In other news this morning, it was a lucky Wednesday night for seven miners at the Lucky Friday Silver Mine in Idaho. They were injured when a rock burst more than a mile underground. The mine company says their injuries, the miners' injuries, were nonlife threatening.

ROMANS: Digital Globe, a satellite company here in the U.S., said it photographed China's first aircraft carrier. This is believed to be the first time this retrofitted Soviet vessel has been photographed sailing. The image was taken last week off the Chinese coast.

China claims the carrier for research and training. Others here closely watching it to make sure that it's not for dominance in an area where the United States dominates the naval situation.

COSTELLO: Moonshine killing more than 100 people in India. Police are expecting even more victims. Right now, at least 100 people are sick, they're in the hospital. Police say most of the victims are poor and bought the toxic brew because it's cheap. Four people have been arrested.

ROMANS: All right. Rob Marciano is off this morning. Reynolds Wolf is in the extreme weather center for us this morning, at 11 minutes after the hour.

Good morning, Reynolds.


We're taking a look at some pretty rough weather along parts of the eastern third of the country and with that, you're going to have some backup and some delays. And it's not just going to be at the airports, but also on a lot of the roadways, as well.

A couple of key places along parts of 75. You're making that drive from Detroit down through Kentucky. It is going to be very rainy at times. In fact, you could see several inches of rain on the roadways.

Not only rain, but also snow for parts of the West Coast, especially high up in the Sierra Nevada. You're going to see the snow stack up in places like Donner Pass, through a good part of the mid- day hours and perhaps even into the afternoon.

The big weather-maker we have, though, is this weather system right here that extends from the Great Lakes clear down to parts of central Texas. It's going to bring some rain. It's going to bring some wind. Winds especially strong back towards Chicago and even into the twin cities, might see backups in those spots. And temperatures are going to be fairly cool out towards the west.

We have that big trough and the jet stream with it. It's going to allow that cold air to spill down through places like Billings, 35 for your high, 39 in Salt Lake City, 39 in Denver and Albuquerque for your highs, 69 in Los Angeles, very breezy in Los Angeles, by the way, 50 in Chicago, 71 in Atlanta, and 54 in New York.

So, your delays, yes, have them in New York. New York, Philadelphia, due to showers and wind. And Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, you might have some backups.

And out towards the west and San Francisco and the other side of the bay in Oakland, you're going to have some delays possibly exceeding an hour due to the morning showers and, yes, the fog. I know, big shocker for you in San Francisco, but it's going to be frustrating, no doubt, if you're trying to get there on time.

Back to you.

ROMANS: Reynolds Wolf -- thank you, Reynolds.

WOLF: You bet.

COSTELLO: Just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING, his dad has his adoptive sons taken away after he admits he's gay. After a big battle with Colombian authorities, they're back -- all of them, one big happy family. They're in our studios after a break.

ROMANS: And what's black and white and silent all over? Answer: "The Artist". The movies have gone from critical darling, and now is it poised for a Golden Globe nomination?

Twelve minutes after the hour.


COSTELLO: Ah, it's always a beautiful day in Miami, isn't it. Good morning, Miami. Seventy-four degrees, partly cloudy later today, sunny with a high of 78. Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING.

He was blocked from bringing his adopted Columbian sons home because of his sexual orientation, but now, after a long and emotional fight, they're all home. They're reunited. Joining us now is Chandler Burr, his sons, Joe and Brian are a little shy. So, they're sitting off to the side. We understand it could be a little overwhelming for them to come to a new country.


COSTELLO: Yes, yes, they're sweet. Hi, boys. BURR: Hi, guys.

COSTELLO: Hi, guys. Buenos dias.

BURR: Hola.


COSTELLO: We'll recap your story in just a minute, but how are you feeling this morning?

BURR: Exhausted and pretty thrilled.

COSTELLO: I can't even imagine. Can you even -- they're here.

BURR: I know. And they took them away, and they, you know, and they were -- for me, they were an image on Skype for the past eight months, and it was unbelievable.

COSTELLO: They're OK over there. Don't worry. So, just to recap your story, you're going through with this adoption process. It's not illegal for you to adopt.

BURR: No, it's quite legal.

COSTELLO: But authorities there suddenly said that you weren't honest with them about being gay, and they stopped the adoption process.

BURR: No. That's the thing that made it. I adopted them legally. I arrived on March 1st, you know, you do for four weeks to finishing it. The 23rd of March, I got the adoption. (INAUDIBLE) And I was their legal father from the 23rd on. And as we were going out on March 30th, you know, you see all of these kids.

I thought, OK, I'll adopt this one, I'll adopt that one. They have 30,000 kids that need adoption in Colombia of which, you know, 8,000, 9,000 are difficult adoption like mine because they're older. Mine were abandoned at birth. They didn't get to school.

And I said to this very highly placed woman, you know, in the child organization, look, please, guys. It's legal in Colombia. There's Colombia and there's Supreme Court decision 1995. It's T-290. It excludes sexual orientation from being considered as a criterion like religion.

They never asked me my sexual orientation. They never asked me my religion, and I never told them either one. But, when I said, please, apply this law and let gay people adopt, because these kids need, you know? They freaked out.

COSTELLO: At what point did you find out -- just refresh our memories. At what point did you find out, oh, there's a problem because I'm gay, and this is shocking to me because I never thought it was a problem. BURR: It was immediate. It was immediate. I really felt that, OK, I'm going to have this conversation, and you know, it's going to be fine and, you know, they freaked. And I never met, I mean, I met all these Colombians during that month there, and they said where's your wife. I said, I don't have a wife. I'm single. I'm gay.

That's interesting. You're adopting the boys. Yes. Where are they from? That was, you know -- you just think, they're going to be rational. They're going to be normal. They're going to, maybe, they'll disagree, they'll agree but you can have a conversation about it, right? Boom! Take the kids away. All illegal.

COSTELLO: OK. So, how did you resolve the situation. I know you were reaching out to the U.S. government for help.

BURR: Yes.

COSTELLO: And so, how did you finally resolve this and what did you have to go through?

BURR: OK. So, first, a big shout out to Senators Menendez and Lautenberg, state of New Jersey. Go to New Jersey. They wrote a terrific letter. They were completely behind me. There was a legal (ph) defense and education fund. They were behind me. I had a lawyer there, all pro bono. And in Colombia, there was an organization called De Justicia of justice, social justice organization.

There's a lawyer named Rodrigo (INAUDIBLE), amazing. Eight months pro bono organization would have cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars if I had to pay for it. And he went. He did the entire thing with his team, and they represented me, and you know, they finally decided Monday, I flew down.

I arrived Saturday night at midnight, Sunday morning I did a -- are you ready for this? I had a psychological study because I'm gay.

COSTELLO: So, what did they ask you in that psychological study?

BURR: It was hilarious. I think I can do this without getting the psychologist in trouble. She was great. She was awesome. You know, we were sitting there, and you know, I was starting to do this, and she said, where are you from? She was like, you know, it's silly. Can you imagine giving somebody a psychological test because they're gay?

COSTELLO: Well, I know that the archbishop in Colombia did not say kind things about this adoption.

BURR: What did he say?

COSTELLO: I think he intimated you would be a pedophile.

BURR: A pedophile, I know, from a Catholic bishop. That's sort of interesting.

COSTELLO: So, after you take this psychological study, was it lengthy?

BURR: Yes, it was four hours, but the last two hours were us hanging out and talking.

COSTELLO: So then, after you supposedly passed the psychological --

BURR: Right. So, I passed that. This is important. They interviewed the boys, and they said to the boys, they said, each one (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE). You know that your father is gay. And my older son, he said, (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE), and he actually said, it doesn't matter.

And he said, look, if I had a girlfriend, my dad wouldn't tell me that I could have a girlfriend. That's normal for me because I would have a girlfriend and my dad would have a boyfriend. And he said, he's amazing. He said, there's respect there.

COSTELLO: So, they interviewed the boys. You passed your psychological study. The boys are with you. Now, the really, really hard work begins.

BURR: Yes. So, they gave the boys back to me on Monday night, and we did the press in Colombia, and then, we got on the plane and we got here at 5:40 a.m. in JFK, went through, gave the adoption papers. You carry this thing up in the U.S. embassy, right?


BURR: You can't open it, so you give it to them, and they open it, and they say, welcome to the U.S. We got two brand-new American citizens.

COSTELLO: Well, congratulations. We're glad everything turned out well and thank you for coming in and I know your boys are tired. So --

BURR: Yes. I think we're going to go razor skating in Central Park now.

COSTELLO: Sounds great to me. Thank you so much, Chandler Burr, for coming in.

BURR: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Still ahead, adjusting to life after Iraq. Thousands of troops haunted by the horrors of war, and America being called on to help them with the wounds we cannot see. It's 22 minutes past the hour.


ROMANS: Good morning. Twenty-five minutes after the hour. "Minding Your Business" this morning.

In just a few minutes, the initial jobless claims report will be released. It's expected to show that 390,000 jobless claims were filed for the first time last week. Any time that number is below 400,000, it's considered a good sign for the labor market.

U.S. stock futures are trading higher this morning. The markets took a hit, though, yesterday. The Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 all dropped more than one percent.

Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, is concerned that Europe's problems may spill over to the U.S. That's according to Republican senators who were briefed by the fed chairman yesterday. They also say Bernanke assured them the fed does not intend to bailout Europe.

UC Berkeley is launching a financial aid program for middle class families under the new initiative. Families earning up to $140,000 a year will be expected to contribute no more than 15 percent of their annual income to pay the tuition.

Google says it's providing $11.5 million in grants to ten groups working to end modern day slavery and human trafficking. The recipients say this will free about 12,000 people from slavery and prevent millions more from being victimized.

Will Meryl Streep be a Golden Globe nominee for her role as the iron lady? We're about to find out. The nominations are just minutes away now. We'll go live to Beverly Hills for the announcement. AMERICAN MORNING is back right after this break.



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You stood up for America, America needs to stand up for you.

COSTELLO (voice-over): Haunted by the horrors of war with thousands of troops returning home from Iraq, a growing need to help them adjust to being civilians again on this AMERICAN MORNING.


ROMANS: All right. Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. Top stories.

We're just minutes away learning who will compete for this year's Golden Globes award. We're going to go live to Beverly Hills for that announcement when it happens.

COSTELLO: In politics, Senate Democrats are caving on their demand for a millionaire's surtax. They're now preparing a compromise deal to extend the payroll tax cut and avoid inflicting a $1,000 tax hike on 160 million working Americans. Leaders of both parties met privately at the capital last night.

ROMANS: After eight years and nine months, the Iraq war officially ended this morning in Baghdad. President Obama marked the occasion with troops at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, yesterday, saying U.S. forces are leaving with their heads held high.

COSTELLO: But he did stress that America still has an obligation to its returning heroes, many of whom are suffering from the invisible wounds of war. David Mattingly is live at Fr. Bragg for us this morning. Good morning, David.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. After so many years in Iraq, the troops here at Ft. Bragg were telling me they have a big question for the president when he was speaking to them yesterday, and that is, what is going to happen to us in the years to come.




MATTINGLY: Soldiers out of Iraq and home for the holidays, that alone is worth celebrating. But troops at Fort Bragg are looking for more, assurances from the president their sacrifices will not be overlooked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a lot of stuff behinds that we will never understand, but we know the government is going to do its cutbacks.

MATTINGLY: After eight years in Iraq and budget cuts at home, soldiers worry about holes opening in safety nets, pensions, medical support and treatment for PTSD.

(on camera) How much pain are you in right now?

SPECIALIST WESLEY DODD, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: Quite a bit. I mean, on a daily basis, you know, it's aches and pains and stabs and needles.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Iraq vet Wesley Dodd came home in 2008 with a painful knee injury, PTSD, and eventually an addiction to pain medication. Today he's medically retired and in a methadone program.

(on camera): Do you consider yourselves lucky?

DODD: Absolutely. I'm alive. I came home alive. That's -- I can't say the same, you know -- I have a number of these bands. This is Corporal Ryan Woodward. He was killed on a mission while I was there. So there's a lot of people that don't come home. It is not easy.

MATTINGLY: But Dodd was also arrested for forging a prescription. He's now on probation. He believes as more troops come home there will be more like him, in pain and in trouble. Since the war in Iraq began Fort Bragg and the army also have the h to find new ways to deal with long-term problems of domestic problems and suicide. In just the last week outside of Bragg, there have been two murder/suicides involving soldiers. One killed a sheriff's deputy, another killed his wife.


MATTINGLY: And the soldiers yesterday leaving from the president's speech feeling like they got the assurances they were looking for. The president very specific, saying that we will be standing by you, we will be looking after your needs for however long that might take.

ROMANS: Thanks so much, David Mattingly.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is taking center stage this morning with nominations for the 69th Golden Globe awards. You will look at a live picture from Beverly Hills where the nominees will be announced. We will go there when there are actually people there.

COSTELLO: One thing we already know, Ricky Gervais will be hosting again after ruffling more than a few feathers at last year's Golden Globes. "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" Nischelle Turner is live in Beverly Hill, and "Us Weekly" senior editor Bradley Jacobs is here in the studio with us.

ROMANS: Let's go first to Nischelle Turner. OK, set the stage, the scene for us, if you will.

NISCHELLE TURNER, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": I think you guys showed, the stage is clear, so let me give you some information first off. The sun isn't up here in Hollywood, but most of the Hollywood people are because the golden globe nominations are going on.

They have started the nominations already. They will come back at 5:30 for some of the bigger motion picture, acting categories. The thing about the golden globes that is so interesting a lot of times, they like to mix things up and maybe have a lot of fun and throw you a curveball here and there and they've actually already done that this morning, guys. One of the nominations that has come in already is in the foreign film category and Angelina Jolie's movie was nominated in the foreign film category.

Now, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association does love Angelina Jolie and they love for her to come to the awards. So a lot of people thought would they find a way to get her movie in the award show this year? And yes, indeed, they have done it.

A couple of the other things that I want to tell you about that came across this morning. Amy Poehler who some say were snubbed by the SAG awards.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're three minutes away. Can we please get talent back in the room, please?

TURNER: Steve Carell was not nominated in the category of best actor in a comedy. So those are two notables that stood out.

At 5:38 they'll come back with all the big awards. This is kind of the exciting time because now we're starting to really ramp up everything in award season.

COSTELLO: I was pretty frightened of that voice.

ROMANS: "Three minutes to go. Talent back to the room. Three minutes."

COSTELLO: Nischelle, stand by, because I know you're preparing, because the voice of god tell us something is happening in three minutes.

Let's turn to Bradley Jacobs now, the senior editor for "Us Weekly." Bradley, do you expect any surprises this year?

BRADLEY JACOBS, SENIOR EDITOR, "US WEEKLY": Golden Globes are never about surprises because they can nominate so many people. There are two categories for best picture. They divide them in comedy, musical and drama. There are two categories for television, you know, best actress in comedy and drama, et cetera. It's always more about the wildcards. Who managed to get one of those 10 nominations. We have already seen one. I don't think anyone was expecting Matt Leblanc to be nominated for his show "Episodes."

COSTELLO: What? I didn't know he had a show.


JACOBS: That's one of those things, one of those head scratching moments. But that's what the Globes are about.

COSTELLO: What about "Glee"?

JACOBS: They have a nomination, it always gets a nomination. Don't worry about "Glee." It's very, very safe. But it's great to have Angelina nominated for her movie so that ensures that she and Brad will be there because Brad's a shoo-in to get a nomination for "Moneyball." Very cool.

COSTELLO: That's not exactly very cool just to like nominate Angelina Jolie --

JACOBS: But that's what the Globes are about. The Globes are the best part of the year in Hollywood.

COSTELLO: Is it really about talent or who has the most friends? How do you get nominated?

JACOBS: That's a whole different segment.


JACOBS: But the point is, when you picture the globes, you picture all those A-listers sitting in the same room boozing it up with Ricky Gervais right in middle criticizing them, parodying them. It's always, basically, the second best night of the year after the Oscars. But the Oscars are seen as so much more uptight than the Golden Globes. The Golden Globes is just acting, best picture and, you know, that's --

ROMANS: We have a one-minute warning, I'm told. One of the films that could be highlighted is this film that has no words.

JACOBS: "The Artist." I saw it. It's one of my favorite movies of the year, yes. And I think it will win its golden globe category I think it will probably win best picture in February. It is incredibly a silent film about a silent star in black and white. But after like a minute or two, you forget that you're in that world and the movie is so charming.

COSTELLO: The other thing that surprised me is a lot of the nominees, we haven't even seen yet they released them at the end of the year.

JACOBS: That's the gripe. Every year they save all these movies until like December 10th.

ROMANS: Is the Angelina Jolie film out?

JACOBS: No. It's not out until Christmas.

COSTELLO: "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," that's one of the possible nominees. That's not out yet.

JACOBS: I got to see it last week. But I'm a member of the media. The viewing public, the one who the Golden Globes are for, they don't get to see the movies until Christmas week.

COSTELLO: OK, the voice of god is telling us we have eight seconds to go. So let's go back to Beverly Hills and listen to what's happening.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the nomination announcement the Golden Globe awards. With us this morning are Rashida Jones, Gerard Butler, Sofia Vergara, and Woody Harrelson. Rashida, please, get us started.

RASHIDA JONES, ACTRESS: Best performance in an actor or miniseries or motion picture made for television -- Hugh Donahue, William Hurt, "Too big to fail." Bill Nigh "Page Eight Masterpiece," Dominick West, "The Hour."

Best performance by an actor in a television series drama, Steve Buschemi "Boardwalk Empire," Brian Cranston, "Breaking Bad," Kelsey Grammar, "Boss," Jeremy Irons, "The Borgias," Damian Lewis, "Homeland."

Best television series drama, "American Horror Story," FX, "Boardwalk Empire" HOB, "Boss," Starz, "Game of Thrones" HBO, "Homeland," Showtime.

Best performance by an actor in a motion picture, comedy, or musical. Brendan Gleason "The Guard," Joseph Gordon Levitt, "50/50," Ryan Gosling "Crazy, Stupid Love." Owen Wilson, "Midnight in Paris."


GERARD BUTLER, ACTOR: Best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a motion picture, Jessica Chestain "The Help," Octavia Spencer "The Help." And Shalin Woodly, "The Descendants."

Best performance by an actor in a motion picture drama, George Clooney "The Descendants," Leonardo DiCaprio, "J. Edgar," Ryan Gosling, "The Ides of March," and Brad Pitt, "Moneyball."



BUTLER: Best motion picture in a comedy or musical , "50/50." "The Artist," "Bridesmaids," "Midnight in Paris," and "My Week with Marilyn."


SOFIA VERGERA, ACTRESS: Best performance by an actress in miniseries of motion picture made for television. Diane Lane, "Cinema Verite," Elizabeth McGovern, Emily Watson "Appropriate Adult," Kate Winslet "Mildred Pierce." Best performance by an actor in a supporting in a motion picture, Kenneth Branagh, "My Week with Marilyn," Albert Brooks, "Drive," Jonah Hill, "Moneyball," Vigo Mortenson "A Dangerous Method," Christopher Plummer "Beginners."

Best director motion picture, Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris," George Clooney "The Ides of March," Alexander Payne "The Descendants," Martin Scorsese, "Hugo."


WOODY HARRELSON, ACTOR: Best performance by an actress in a motion picture drama, Glenn Close, "Albert Nobbs," Viola Davis "The Help," Rooney Mara "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," Meryl Streep, "The Iron Lady." Tilda Swinton, "We Need to Talk about Kevin."

Best performance by an actress in a motion picture, comedy, or musical, Jodie Foster, "Carnage," Charlize Theron, "Young Adult," Michelle Williams "My Week with Marilyn," Kate Winslet, "Carnage."

Best motion picture drama. "Rampart," opens January 27th.


HARRELSON: I don't see it on the list here.


There are a lot of things left off today, I just want to say.

"The Descendants," "The Help," "Hugo," "The Ides of March," "Moneyball," "War Horse."

(APPLAUSE) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congratulations to all the nominees. Don't forget to join us on Sunday, January 15, for the golden globe awards hosted by Ricky Gervais live on NBC.


COSTELLO: OK, let's get some instant reaction now to the Golden Globe nominations. Joining us again from Beverly Hills "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT," Nischelle Turner. It was exciting. Woody Harrelson is funny.

TURNER: I know. That is my instant reaction, that Woody Harrelson is a riot. That's definitely my instant reaction.


COSTELLO: Ok, let's get some instant reaction now to the Golden Globe nominations.

Joining us again from Beverly Hills "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT'S" Nishelle Turner. Oh, it was exciting.


ROMANS: Woody Harrelson is funny.

TURNER: I know -- yes, that's my instant reaction that Woody Harrelson is a riot. That's definitely my instant reaction. You know what; there's so much to digest when these nominations come out.

But a couple of things that automatically stood out is that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association loves George Clooney. I think he was nominated in just about every category that he could be nominated in. If he could have -- he might have even been nominated in the best actress category. I'm trying to remember.

But "The Help" got a lot of acting nominations, as well. The SAG Awards -- the SAG nominations didn't nominate them for Best Picture, but they did get a Best Picture nomination here for the Golden Globe Awards.

Also, the Golden Globes like to, like I said before, try to give you a curveball every now and then. "My Week with Marilyn" was nominated for Best Picture in the comedy/musical category. I don't know, maybe they wanted to find a way to fit it in there because it has been such a critically-acclaimed movie. So they did fit that in there.

Michelle Williams also nominated for Best Actress for that movie. The Best Actor category, wow, several heavy hitters there. It's like the good-looking man category. You've got George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, and also Ryan Gosling he's clinging up this morning, he was nominated in both categories for "Crazy, Stupid Love" and also for the "Ides of March."

And they actually did give a lot of love to the "Ides of March". It was a movie that everyone really liked, but in the -- in the last few months, it wasn't getting a lot of play because a lot of other really good movies came out. But the Hollywood Foreign Press Association did give a nod to the "Ides of March" this morning.

So like I said, lots to digest here this morning. We also saw, of course, Meryl Streep getting a nomination and that was something that a lot of people expected for her portrayal as Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady".

Back to you guys.


COSTELLO: Ok, Bradley Jacobs is here with us too. And you brought up a good snub and I agree with you. Melissa McCarthy.

BRADLEY JACOBS, SENIOR EDITOR, "US WEEKLY": What happened? Everyone was talking -- you know Kristen Wiig got a nomination. But everyone talked about the standout Melissa McCarthy. She's been on magazine covers. She's like you know a new type of woman and she got snubbed.

COSTELLO: I just love, I know you haven't seen a movie in five years. But you have to see "Bridesmaids" Christine.

ROMANS: It's not really a badge of honor. Oh but that is on my list.

JACOBS: And it's actually on DVD now, so you really have no excuse.

COSTELLO: That's right.

ROMANS: If it's not a Curious George episode, I don't get to watch it. So I'm not qualified for this segment.

COSTELLO: Yes you are. So Nishelle went through her list of snubs and highlights. What is yours?

JACOBS: Yes it was interesting Steven Spielberg and (INAUDIBLE) did not get a nomination for Best Director where Woody Allen did and like she mentioned George Clooney did. So that's kind of a big deal because some people think "War Horse" might actually be the Best Picture of the year. So that was interesting.

ROMANS: And what about "My Week with Marilyn." Putting it in the --


JACOBS: I don't think that that's unusual I think it was -- I think that they were --


JACOBS: -- yes, it's a musical. ROMANS: Right.

JACOBS: So I don't think that's unusual. Michelle Williams, who knew. And we were watching her on "Dawson's Creek" all those years ago that she would grow up to be this high-caliber actress.

ROMANS: Right.

JACOBS: She really has a lot of soul.

ROMANS: Right.

JACOBS: I think it's wonderful to see that. And you know like we talked about before with Angelina and Brad, they will up the celeb quotient of the year. They were also in the TV category. We didn't talk about it, but there was a lot of fresh blood in the TV category in the Best Television Series Drama. You have "American Horror Story" which was kind of a dark horse candidate. It's the hot and new and that's what the Hollywood Foreign Press Association loves.

Also, "Homeland" the show time show with Claire Danes it's maybe every critics best -- the top of every critics list.

COSTELLO: And if you love "24" you'll watch "Homeland" it's even better than "24."

ROMANS: All right. Bradley Jacobs, senior editor of "Us Weekly" thank you so much.

JACOBS: Thank you.

ROMANS: They are in, the Golden Globes.

And your "Morning Headlines" are next. Also, we've got to you the most recent jobless claims, lowest in three years, boys and girls. And futures are higher. So some good jobs news this morning.

We'll tell you more about that when we come back.


COSTELLO: Nine minutes until the top of the hour. Here are your "Morning Headlines".

Markets open in just about 45 minutes and right now the U.S. stock futures are spiking. Dow futures are up too, more than 100 right now. That's because the Labor Department just announced that 366,000 jobless claims were filed for the first time last week. This is the lowest level since May of 2008 and shows that hiring is picking up and layoffs are slowing. A very good sign for the labor market.

Senate Democrats caving making a big concession to extend the payroll tax cut. They are working on a new proposal that drops their demand for a tax hike on millionaires and that has both parties talking. The Iraq war now over. Earlier this morning U.S. soldiers lowered a flag in Baghdad, officially bringing the nearly nine-year conflict to an end. Only a few thousand troops remain in Iraq right now.

A bad batch of moonshine kills more than 100 people in India and police expect to find even more victims. Right now at least 100 people are being treated at the hospital. Police raided liquor vendors, arresting four people they suspect of selling the illegal brew.

And the Golden Globe nominations unveiled just moments ago. "The Descendants" was among the top nominees earning a best picture as well as Best Actor nod for George Clooney.

And that's the news you need to start your day. AMERICAN MORNING, back after a break.


ROMANS: It's my favorite Christmas song. It's Memphis, 64 and rainy, later it's going to be about 64 and rainy.

COSTELLO: My all-time favorite Christmas song remains "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." All right. On to the news now. No, stop laughing.

ROMANS: I thought you were going to say "Jingle Bell Rock" or something.

COSTELLO: No, it's "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen".

ROMANS: Carol that's so --



OK, on to the news now. No criminal charges will result from that nationally-televised basketball brawl last weekend between Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati. After talking with coaches for both teams Ohio prosecutors decided the situation could be handled more effectively by the schools internally rather than in the criminal justice system.

ROMANS: A spectacular crash caught on convenience tape at a convenience store in Columbia, Tennessee. A pickup truck barrels right through the glass into the store and, guess what, it was on purpose. Police say the driver was aiming for his girlfriend who'd run inside. But then he pinned the store owner instead.

A Good Samaritan, who is also a nurse, saw it all happen. She called 911 and ran inside to help the owner and then things turned bad for her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANDREA KREISEL: That's when I turned around and I noticed the guy's out at my car and I was like, he's stealing my car.


ROMANS: But driver foiled his own getaway because he ran head on into a bread truck. The suspect is in the hospital and under arrest charged with, among other things, attempted murder.


ROMANS: It's about 55 minutes after the hour. We're right back.


COSTELLO: Good morning, San Francisco. 50 degrees and rainy right now. But it's going to be -- going to go up to 57 with more showers. How surprising.

ROMANS: I know. There's fog earlier in San Francisco.

We will be watching the markets this morning because futures are up, Carol. We told you that that initial jobless claims a weekly report about how many people are filing for unemployment benefits was the lowest in three years, since May of 2008 showing you that maybe hiring is picking up, but this showing you that layoffs are slowing.


COSTELLO: And that combined with past jobless claims reports means good things about the economy, right?

ROMANS: You can jump around a little bit, but over the past few months, we have been seeing slow improvement in the labor market which is why all this attention on Europe is so important because no one wants Europe to derail what is looking like a very slow and cautious recovery in the U.S.

COSTELLO: So, we should feel optimistic, but not too optimistic.

ROMANS: There you go. That's a technical term. In economics they call it -- optimistic, but not too optimistic.

COSTELLO: In real language we call it frustrating.

ROMANS: Yes, exactly. That's right.

All right. That's going to do it for us for today.

COSTELLO: Yes. Let's go to Atlanta and T.J. Holmes. Good morning -- T.J.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": Yes. Good morning, ladies. You all enjoy the rest of your day.