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Last Debate Before Iowa; Congress May Avoid Government Shutdown; Students Suspended For "Tebowing"; Italy's Crucial Confidence Vote; Radioactive Material Found on Russian Flight Not Related to Nuclear Weapons; Private Bradley Manning Facing Arraignment Hearing; Sheriff Joe Arpaio Under Investigation for Civil Rights Abuses; Deal to Prevent Government Shutdown; Last Battle before Iowa; McQueary Expected to Testify at PSU Hearing; The "Home Tour"; Man Models Push-up Bra

Aired December 16, 2011 - 08:00   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I'm Carol Costello.

A new eye in the sky. Local law enforcement now using spy drones here at home. And the ACLU is warning authorities this goes too far.

ALINA CHO, CNN ANCHOR: And a last battle before Iowa.

I'm Alina Cho.

GOP candidates get their last chance to pick apart each other before primary season begins -- on this AMERICAN MORNING.


COSTELLO: Good morning to you. And happy Friday. It's December 16th. I'm Carol Costello along with Alina Cho.

First up this hour, GOP candidates going head-to-head for the last time before primary season begins. The frontrunner Newt Gingrich playing defense on his conservative values and his electability.

CHO: Mitt Romney meanwhile, held steady, not running away from his business background, but overall playing it safe. But did that strategy work?

Our Jim Acosta is live in Sioux City, Iowa, for us, where it is 11 degrees.

Chilly out there, Jim. Good morning.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Yes, it was chilly last night for Newt Gingrich, too. He found out what it is like to be the frontrunner in this GOP field. And the weeks heading into the Iowa caucuses, he was hit early. He was hit hard.

Michele Bachmann was leading the charge. She went after Newt Gingrich on the issue of how the former speaker took all of that money from the mortgage giant Freddie Mac five or six years ago. Newt Gingrich tried to fight back but Bachmann had him on the ropes.

Here's how it went.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was trying to se these two entities put into bankruptcy because they frankly need to go away. When the speaker had his hand out and he was taking $1.6 million to influence senior Republicans to keep the scam going in Washington, D.C., that's absolutely wrong.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The easiest answer is, that's just not true. What she just said is factually not true. I never lobbied under any circumstance. I never went and suggested in any way that we do this.

BACHMANN: You don't need to be within the technical definition of being a lobbyist to still be influenced peddling with senior leaders in Washington, D.C., to get them to do your bidding.

GINGRICH: I only chose to work with people whose values I shared. And having people have a chance to buy a house is a value I believe still is important in America.


ACOSTA: All right, that was not a good moment for Newt Gingrich because conservatives right now in the Republican Party -- oh, boy.

CHO: Bad timing. Bad timing, Jim.

ACOSTA: Good morning, everybody. Hi.

Kind of sums up the morning for us here in Sioux City, guys.

I was going to say, I was going to say that later on in the debate, Michele Bachmann went after Newt Gingrich and said, hey, all of the facts that I laid out in these facts have been true and even PolitiFact has checked me out.

It's funny because PolitiFact came out later this morning and said, hey, by the way, pants on fire for that comment. Not all of your facts have been accurate.

CHO: Interesting. Interesting.

Meanwhile, you know, Rick Perry seemed to have the line of the night. You know, comparing himself to Tim Tebow right, Jim?

ACOSTA: Yes, he really did. You know, he's going to need to be Tim Tebow to win the Iowa caucuses. He's so far back in the caucuses right now.

And let's face it, there was also a political reason to bring this up. Tim Tebow is beloved in the evangelical movement right now. That is Rick Perry's bread and butter at this point. He's really appealing to those voters to win these caucuses.

And I have to say, I think the winner of the night was Mitt Romney. He did not go after Newt Gingrich, so, that kept basically Gingrich off of his back after scorching the former speaker all week long.

And then this morning, it was announced by the Romney campaign, he has picked up the endorsement of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. That is a crucial endorsement and we'll probably hear Governor Romney talk about that at the steel factory we're talking out in front of.

But let's get to the Tim Tebow moment because it is the funniest moment of the debate, maybe not the highlight of the debate. But it sure was the funniest. Here it is.


GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are a lot of people out there, I understand it. You know, there are a lot of folks who said Tim Tebow wasn't going to be a very good NFL quarterback. There are people that stood up and said, well, he doesn't have the right throwing mechanisms or, you know, he's not playing the game right. And, you know, he won two national championships and that looked pretty good.

We're the national champions in job creations back in Texas. And so -- but I'm ready for the next level. Let me tell you, I hope I am the Tim Tebow of the Iowa caucuses.


ACOSTA: So, that was the Hail Mary pass, as you mentioned, from Rick Perry on Tim Tebow. But, let's be honest, the touchdown was really scored this morning by Mitt Romney landing this endorsement from Nikki Haley. She is a big mover and shaker in the Tea Party movement.

Mitt Romney is way behind Newt Gingrich in South Carolina. If he could somehow get some momentum here in Iowa, win this state or finish a strong second, go into New Hampshire, win New Hampshire, and then go strong into South Carolina with Nikki Haley at this side, all of a sudden Mitt Romney is looking very good this morning, guys.

COSTELLO: All right. We're going to let you go before the train blows its whistle, again. I hear it coming.

ACOSTA: Yes. I assure you, I'm not standing on the tracks.

COSTELLO: That's a good thing. Thanks, Jim.

Now too, the countdown to a government shutdown. Feel like deja vu. Oh, we've been here a million times before, but I guess the countdown has sort of stopped.

CHO: That's right. Eight times just this year, you know, with just 16 hours to spare, it appears that Congress has reached a deal to keep the government running, an 11th-hour deal. How about that?

Kate Bolduan is live in Washington for us.

Hey, Kate. Good morning.


Well, yes, it seems that Congress has some good news to report, if we will. They may have -- they seem to have almost certainly been able to avert a government shutdown. This came late last night as congressional leaders were able to finalize a deal to fund the government through the rest of fiscal year 2012, which is very good news as they were coming right down to the wire as the latest, the last short-term spending bill was set to run out tonight.

So, that's why there were many threats and many concerns, which may have done the job of pressuring members of Congress to actually work towards a compromise because they were facing a government shutdown and the very bad public relations that would be for Congress with poor approval ratings.

So, the House is set to vote on this bill today. The Senate is hoping to do the same. We know that House leaders are going to be meeting with their members a little later this morning to discuss this bill and, of course, all the other outstanding measures because not all is agreed to yet as they're all hoping to leave town.

COSTELLO: Speaking of that, what about this payroll tax cut holiday?

BOLDUAN: Well, they are still negotiating and it seems that this time, that is a good sign because for a long time, the top leaders were not even talking, really, more to just taking their positions and retreating to their corners. So, we're told by aides that they're still talking, still negotiating, still hoping to finalize a deal to extend the payroll tax cut for a full year by the end of the year, when the current tax cut is set to expire. But they're not there yet.

And in the meantime, Senate Democrats are now considering a short-term two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, as well as the short-term extension of unemployment insurance and a short-term extension of the so-called doc fix, which is a way to prevent some scheduled cuts to payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients.

So, they're considering that. That would cost about $40 billion. Aides seem confident they could find some consensus on how to pay for that, if they would need to. But it's being described as a fallback or backstop measure and they're still working towards the full deal, but they're not there yet. So, they wanted some assurance that people would not see a tax increase, if you will, come January 1st.

But, still, if it's only a two-month extension, we're very likely going to be right back here in a couple months.

COSTELLO: Yes. Well, we'll be on the edge of our seats.

Kate Bolduan, thanks.

CHO: A lot of work. A lot of work to go with two weeks before the end of the year.

Nine minutes after the hour. Here's what else is new this morning:

Penn State's former star quarterback is about to become a star witness against two former university officials. Assistant coach Mike McQueary is expected to testify today at a preliminary hearing for two former Penn State officials.

Earlier on AMERICAN MORNING, CNN legal analyst Paul Callan said perjury cases can be a real challenge for prosecutors.


PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: They are hard to prove. They're hard to get convictions, because they turn on an interpretation of words, OK?

CHO: Right. And that's exactly what's going on here.

CALLAN: It's exactly what's going on here. There's a -- you know, there's a claim that the word sexual contact or sexual activity was used, as opposed to just horsing around and can you be horsing around in the context of sexual activity. This is -- they're going to be arguing about things like that to determine, ultimately, is this a lie under oath.


CHO: Tim Curley, the ex-athletic director, and Gary Shultz, a former university vice president, both charged with perjury, and failing to report suspected child abuse in the Jerry Sandusky case.

COSTELLO: We may finally get to hear from jailed Army Private Bradley Manning today. He's facing an arraignment hearing at a military base in Maryland for allegedly leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents that wound up being published on WikiLeaks. Manning is charged with 22 counts of violating military code from theft of records to aiding the enemy. He could get the death penalty if he's found convicted.

CHO: Still to come this morning, they helped the military in the overseas war on terror. Now, U.S. law enforcement is using spy drones to catch criminals here at home. But some are saying big brother has gone too far.

COSTELLO: And the self-proclaimed toughest sheriff in America under fire this morning for racial profiling. Now, Arizona's Joe Arpaio is slamming a federal report accusing him of civil rights abuse.

CHO: And a breaking story developing story out of Russia. Authorities seized radioactive material from a passenger's luggage at Moscow's airport. That passenger is now missing. We'll have an update live from Moscow.

It's 11 minutes after the hour.


COSTELLO: Dancing (ph) music.

Good morning, New Orleans. Fifty-nine degrees right now. Showers later with a high of 76.

And welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING.

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a spy drone? Could it be an unmanned aircraft in the overseas war on terror might be hovering over a home near you?

Law enforcement is now using them to catch criminals in the United States. Drones helped nab suspected cow thieves in North Dakota. But the ACLU wants to keep big brother out of the sky.

Joining me now is Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst for the ACLU and co-author of the report, "Protecting Privacy from Aerial Surveillance."


JAY STANLEY, SENIOR POLICY ANALYST, ACLU : Hi, thanks for having me on.

COSTELLO: Thank you for being here.

Let's talk about what happened in North Dakota. This was a standoff with three men who were thought to be dangerous and armed. The sheriff thought it was a dangerous emergency situation, so he called in a border patrol drone.

What's wrong with that? I mean, it turned out the men were not armed, but at least police knew.

STANLEY: Yes. We don't have a problem with drones being used in a specific situation like that, although, we would think it would be better if customs and border protection had authorization to use the drones in that way, because this is a very powerful technology. We have not only the gigantic predator drones that are being used in an overseas battlefield which is what they used here.

But the technology includes all kinds of different sizes of drones, including tiny ones the size of humming birds. And they could become very, very inexpensive in the future, and police departments all over America want to use this technology. So, we need to take some steps and put in some protection, some checks and balances to make sure that they don't become generalized surveillance devices.

And everybody in America, you know, once they step out their front door has to wonder if some eye in the sky is watching every move they make.

COSTELLO: We see police helicopters hovering overhead all the time, and those helicopters have cameras inside them. So, how is this different?

STANLEY: I mean, that's a fair point. Aerial surveillance has been with us for a long time. Even the Wright Brothers, one of the first aircraft that they sold was for aerial surveillance. But, you know, helicopters and airplanes are very expensive, and the police departments around America can only afford so many of them. So, there's sort of a natural limit on how much aerial surveillance they can do using that technology.

But if we're looking at a future in ten years or so where they can buy $50 drones and send them up in great numbers over our cities, then we have to ask, you know, do we need some regulations, some rules and protections in place to govern when they can and cannot use this technology, so they don't become tempted to really use it to spy on everybody even when they're not in a specific law enforcement situation like the one we saw in North Dakota.

COSTELLO: So, you're really talking about something like mission creep, and you say it could have these chilling effects. I mean, do you really think this would lead us some (INAUDIBLE) society we're under constant surveillance, really?

STANLEY: Well, I mean, there's a lot of pieces that are coming into play here. Police departments around America are chomping at the bit to get this technology. It's getting cheaper and cheaper and more and more powerful, at the same time, like so many of the technologies these days.

And police departments have shown a tendency and a temptation to use this kind of technologies for blanket surveillance just to watch everybody and make sure nobody is doing anything wrong. And that's not the way, you know, government is supposed to work in this country. It's not supposed to look over your shoulder just in case you're doing something wrong.

It's supposed to be based on specific evidence that you are doing something wrong before they spy on you. And so, you know, there are good reasons for us to ask questions before we bring these military technologies from overseas and start using them on our own people to put some checks and balances in place. That's all we're asking for.

COSTELLO: So, the FAA, they're going to announce these new guidelines next month. They are going to do that. What would you like to see in those guidelines? STANLEY: Yes. Well, the FAA has really been holding up the use of this technology because they have very serious concerns about safety. We don't want these sort of robotic planes crashing into other planes or crashing into people's houses, and there have been a number of accidents with these drones.

But they're under a lot of pressure politically and from industry to sort of loosen the regulations that govern how this technology works. And we're saying that, you know, you need to keep an eye on safety, certainly, but you should also be looking towards privacy because our civilization has certain, you know, privacy traditions and heritages and values, and we need to protect those values and not let technology just sort of change the nature of American life.

COSTELLO: Jay Stanley from the ACLU, thank you for coming in this morning. We appreciate it.

STANLEY: Thank you so much.

CHO: Rob Marciano is off today. Our Alexandria Steele is in the Extreme Weather Center with the look at today's forecast. Hey, Alexandria. Good morning.

ALEXANDRIA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning to you guys. All right. The corners of the country having a few issues if you're flying or even driving around the country. Starting things off, here in the northeast, it's really the wind. Already actually some power outages in the capital district of New York.

Winds gusting 30, 35 miles per hour and that will persist, especially through the afternoon, and then, it will kind of decrease tonight, but the tailing edge of this, what we've got is a rainmaker. So, it's wind and rain along the same front. So, let me show you what's happening in the northeast. Predominantly rain and on the whole, though, just to kind of a partly cloudy drive and very windy day.

It has some snow showers throughout the early morning in upstate New York and western New York. Kind of dissipating in scope as will the rain, but, again, the story, certainly, the very strong, gusty winds. In the southeast, on the tail end of this front, not so much a wind maker, but you can see the rain.

The yellow will show you where the heaviest rain. So, from Memphis to Jackson all the way through Atlanta, we're going to see a chance for some wet showers, but, south and east of Atlanta, 70 degree temperatures. So, the warm December continues really for much of the east.

Story here in the southwest, kind of a typical Santa Ana scenario setting up. So, the mountains around Southern California and Los Angeles mountain, Santa Monica mountains gusting to about 60 miles per hour today. So, looking at everyone, if you are flying, the biggest threats and certainly the biggest slow downs. What's happening in the northeast, especially New England. So, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, the strong, gusty winds will slow you down, and Atlanta maybe isolated in scope. Heaviest rain from Memphis to Houston, of course, in the southwest. Not only around the L.A. basin, but in Phoenix, as well. There's a look at your weather. Back to you guys.

CHO: All right. Alexandria, thank you very much.

COSTELLO: Group of high school seniors from Long Island have been suspended for tebowing. If you don't know what Tebowing is, you've been living in a cave. So, if you have been living in a cave, I'll explain. It's when you kneel and bow your head in prayer like Denver Broncos quarterback, Tim Tebow, does when he scores.

Well, four teenagers were sacked with suspensions for organizing mass tebowing in the school hallways. The school says students were punished because they were clogging the hallways and causing a fire hazard. It has nothing to do with religious discrimination. Of course, the students beg to differ.

CHO: That's right.

Up next on AMERICAN MORNING, you could be getting something for free from some of your favorite retailers today. We'll explain. It's 21 minutes after the hour.


CHO: Twenty-four minutes after the hour. Watching your money this morning.

U.S. stock futures are trading higher today. Markets were also up yesterday, thanks to upbeat reports on both the jobs market and manufacturing.

In Italy, a crucial confidence vote this morning on an austerity package designed to help the Eurozone's third largest economy get its finances in check. This vote is needed to help ensure passage of the $39 billion package of tax hikes and spending cuts.

Back here in the United States, mortgage rates are falling, again, to record lows. According to Freddie Mac, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is down to 3.94 percent, matching the all- time low hit in early October. So, you may want to check into refinancing your mortgage.

If you're making an online holiday purchase, today is the day to do it. It's expected that more than 2,000 retailers will pick up your shipping costs today.

Up next, singer/songwriter, Mary McBride, is live. We're going to ask her why she prefers performing in homeless shelters and on skid rows (ph) these days when AMERICAN MORNING continues. It's 25 minutes after the hour.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The conduct that he observed involved the most egregious racial profiling in the United States that he had ever personally observed.

COSTELLO (voice-over): America's toughest sheriff accused of being too tough on Latinos. The justice department civil rights case against sheriff Joe Arpaio on this AMERICAN MORNING.


CHO: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING for a Friday. It's 29 minutes after the hour. Your top stories right now.


CHO (voice-over): Last battle before Iowa. Newt Gingrich defense during the final debate before the Iowa caucuses. Gingrich defending himself against questions about his electability and conservative record and for his work at the troubled mortgage giant, Freddie Mac. Gingrich firing back that he never lobbied under any circumstances.

COSTELLO: It looks like there will be no government shutdown after all, because overnight, Congressional leaders struck a $1 trillion deal, though, that agreement will still be voted on by tonight's deadline, and, of course, there's still no agreement on extending the payroll tax cut.

CHO: Japanese officials say they've achieved what's called a cold shutdown at the crippled Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima Japan. That means the temperatures in three crippled reactors are now consistently below the boiling point, but it could still take decades to completely contain and clean up the disaster.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

COSTELLO (on-camera): And breaking news into CNN. Russian custom officials are now confirming they have seized radioactive material from the luggage of a passenger. Phil Black is tracking the story. He's live in Moscow. Phil, what do we know?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Carol, let me just talk you through the facts as we know them. This is at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, one of the two major international airports that services this city. Custom officials were screening luggage for passengers on a flight from Moscow to Tehran, Iran's capital, when we are told a radiation control system detected and sounded an alarm because of something suspicious within one particular passenger's luggage.

They searched the luggage and initially determined that radiation tests were high, according to customs, 20 times higher than is found in nature. Then on further inspection opened up the case and found what they say were 18 metal objects packed in individual steel cases. Further tests have determined that this is the radioactive isotope NA- 22.

It certainly sounds alarming. We've been talking to the Russian atomic energy agency. They tell us that there is no real risk posed by this material. They say that those radiation levels are not particularly high, and if it was taken on to the flight, it is no more radiation than any passenger would have normally experienced on any other sort of commercial flight.

And that view is being backed up by other nuclear experts that we are speaking to, including the International Atomic Energy Agency. They say that sodium 22 or NA-22, as I say, has some common medical and calibration applications. It does seem that this is principally used in medical and scientific research.

But, key question, who was the person who was trying to bring it out of the country in such a way that customs people were initially alarmed by it? We are told he was an Iranian man. We understand from customs that while they detected, they detected this radioactive material were searching his luggage and so forth, he simply boarded the flight and left on that flight to Tehran as expected. We don't actually know if he is aware that his luggage has been intercepted in this way. But he has left the country. He has either arrived or is on his way back to Iran, as we speak, Carol.

COSTELLO: So, could these devices also be used to make a nuclear weapon?

BLACK: The initial things that we are being told by experts in this field is that, no, there is no weapons capability associated with this isotope NA-22. Initially we were a little alarmed when Russian customs told us that this isotope can only be obtained from a nuclear operation. We have been told from a number of sources including the Russian atomic agency and other experts in the field that that is not the case. That it can be created or obtained in other ways. But, no, it does not have, we are told, any weaponized capability, nor is it created in a reactor or used to a fuel a reactor. Carol?

COSTELLO: That probably makes a lot of people feel a lot better.

CHO: Phil black, live in Moscow for us watching that developing story. Thank you very much.

He is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified military documents that wound up being published on WikiLeaks. And today we may finally get to hear from Army Private Bradley Manning. Manning is facing an arraignment hearing at a military base in Maryland, and he's charged with 22 counts of violating military code and he could get the death penalty if he's convicted.

Our Brian Todd is live in Ft. Meade, Maryland, following all the developments this morning. Brian, good morning.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alina. As you mentioned, it's going to be a fascinating few days here at Ft. Meade, Maryland, our first chance to maybe get our first look at Army Private Bradley Manning and maybe hear from him for the first time and see what he has to say in defense of himself, and also our first look at how his defense team is going to make their case. We're told that they've drawn up a very ambitious wish list of potential witnesses, including President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Why? Because they may, may be making the case there is what they call undo command influence on this case. President Obama made some public remarks not too long ago saying that he thinks Bradley Manning broke the law, and his defense team would argue that it would be impossible for him to get a fair trial in a military court if the prosecutors and others and other people on the jury see their own commander in chief essentially giving his opinion of this in public. So they may argue that it's impossible for him to get a fair trial.

But of course, it's near impossible that President Obama or Hillary Clinton will appear in these proceedings. So that will be one issue that comes up. Other issues abound as to how private manning has been treated while in custody and some of his background in the military. His lawyer has hinted in the past to us and to other media outlets that private manning acted erratically and acting unhinged that his commanders were aware of that and still did nothing to get him removed from his intelligence post and removed from the base. That may also come up in these proceedings, Alina.

CHO: You know, it has been fascinating to read all the WikiLeaks documents. But has it been established, I would imagine this would be a key question going forward. Has it been established that the massive leak actually damaged national security?

BLACK: His supporters, Manning supporters argue that it has never been established that any national security was really breached by this, that no one was hurt or killed as a result of the leaking of this, these hundreds of thousands of documents. One analyst in these kinds of cases said that a case could be made possibly that a lot of the stuff is what he called over-classified, that you didn't really need, that the information about a Saudi prince having a wild party didn't need to be classified. That was some of the information that came out on the WikiLeaks case. Those are issues that are going to come up. That's one side telling you that national security has not been compromised. This is going to be our first chance today to maybe hear from the prosecutors and maybe any other details that they have been keeping under wraps until now.

CHO: it's going to be a different version of that story from the government. Thank you very much.

Still to come this morning, America's toughest sheriff says it's a sad day for America. Sheriff Joe Arpaio responding to a federal report accusing him of civil rights abuse. We'll have more on that controversy straight ahead.

It's 37 minutes after the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COSTELLO: Feeling lazy this morning? It's Friday. You're allowed. Good morning, Phoenix. It's still pitch black outside but for a couple of light. It's 54 degrees going up to a sunny high of 67.

CHO: That sounds terrific. Welcome back. It's 40 minutes past the hour. The Department of Justice getting tough on America's toughest sheriff. Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is under investigation for civil rights abuse.

COSTELLO: That's right. Arpaio is offering no apologies, dismissing the report as politics. Here's CNN's Casey Wian.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio often brags about being the toughest sheriff in America, especially on illegal immigration. Now after a three-year investigation, the Justice Department says his policies and practices are violating the civil rights of all Latinos in this Arizona county.

THOMAS PEREZ, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Our expert found that Latino drivers are four to nine times more likely to be stopped than similarly situated non-Latino drivers. The conduct that he observed involved the most egregious racial profiling in the United States that he had ever personally observed.

WIAN: A blistering investigative report accuses Arpaio's report of the detention and arrest of Latinos, unlawful retaliation against critics, and discrimination against Spanish-speaking jail inmates. The charges are civil. There is also an ongoing civil investigation. The government says both have been delayed by a lack of cooperation by the sheriff's department.

SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA: I do have compassion, but I'll tell you one thing, enforcing the law overrides my compassion. That's as simple as you can get it. I took an oath of office. I am enforcing the state and the federal laws.

WIAN: The Department of Homeland Security says it will restrict access to federal immigration enforcement resources. The Justice Department also identified what it called other areas of concern, including the use of excessive force against Latinos, lack of adequate police protection in Latino neighborhoods, and the failure to investigate sexual assaults.

(on camera) The Justice Department cites the Los Angeles police department as an example of a law enforcement agency that has successfully reformed after allegations of civil rights violations. It has given Sheriff Arpaio an Maricopa County 60 days to show good faith cooperation or face these allegations in court.

Casey Wian, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COSTELLO: Still to come this morning, singer/songwriter Mary McBride will be live in our AMERICAN MORNING studios. We'll ask her why she's passing on the big arenas to perform in senior centers, homeless shelters, and prisons.

CHO: Wow.

The model in these photos isn't just turning heads, but also changing minds about how the fashion world sells clothing. It's 43 minutes past the hour.


COSTELLO: It's 45 minutes past the hour. Here are your morning headlines.

Markets open in just about 45 minutes and right now U.S. stock futures are trading higher after a positive day yesterday.

Today Congress must vote on a last-minute deal to avoid a partial government shutdown. Overnight negotiators agreed on a massing spending bill that will fund the government through October of next year.

The last debate before the real battle for the nominations begins. GOP candidates battling it out in Iowa last night trying to pick apart the frontrunner Newt Gingrich; Gingrich defending his conservative values and his electability.

Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary is expected to testify today at a preliminary hearing for two former university officials. Tim Curly and Gary Schultz are charged with perjury and failing to report suspected child abuse in the Jerry Sandusky case.

That's the news you need to start your day. AMERICAN MORNING is back after a break.


CHO: Good morning, New York City. Do you recognize that song? It's one of my favorites it's called "Home" written and performed by my friend, Mary McBride.

Meanwhile you're looking at Central Park there in New York where it's 46 and partly cloudy, windy with a high of 52 later on.

Welcome back. Have you been to a concert lately? Well, a ticket to see a big headliner could set you back hundreds of dollars, unless that headliner happens to be Mary McBride. She just wrapped up a ten- day tour in Los Angeles passing on upscale venues like the Staples Center and playing instead in shelters, senior facilities, even skid row.

It's all part of what she calls her "Home Tour." We're going to let you tell -- let her tell you about it. Mary McBride joins us now. We were just playing that -- that song "Home" which I have heard you perform many times. You know you could, you're a singer/songwriter and you know a lot of people are in it to become famous and make a lot of money.


CHO: And that you pass on doing all of that to do what you do. How did you come up with the idea and why are you doing it?

MCBRIDE: In December of 2009, I was in Washington with my family and we decided to volunteer for an organization called "We are Family" which provides services to the elderly. And we visited with this one woman who was over 90 and unable to leave her house and she asked me what I did and I said, I'm a singer/songwriter and she said oh, I don't get to hear live music any more. The next time you come to Washington, you have to do a concert for me in my living room.

And I realized in that moment how many people love live music and because of lack of resources or physical disability don't have the opportunity to hear it. So I decided to start the "Home Tour" with a focus on playing live music where people live.

CHO: Well, I think it's so wonderful what you do and, particularly great to talk about it around the holidays. You know, and they are places that people call home, but that people don't traditionally think of as home, right?


CHO: You know and I think it's interesting you make it a point not to say the word "homeless." You think that's important.

MCBRIDE: I do. I mean, I think that there are a lot of people who are in transitional homes. I mean we play everywhere from shelters to transitional living centers, affordable communities all over the country and we play for women centers and we've played all over the world in these kind of places for children and adults and for the elderly. And I realized that for people it's important to feel at home no matter where they find themselves at any given point.

CHO: I mean, how do you -- how do you continue to do this? How do you make money? How do you make a living if you're doing all of these things where you're not getting paid?

MCBRIDE: Well, we are very, very lucky to have amazing sponsors. We're supported by Starwood Hotels, which gives us a home while we're doing the "Home Tour", which is amazing.

And we've also had incredible support from the artist Eric Fischl and April Gornik who have been huge supporters of us and also the Gibson Foundation. We're lucky to have that support. In terms of how we keep going and doing this, it is a really a joy and there's never a dull day on the "Home Tour."

CHO: I want to talk more about that. Just the reaction you get from people when you go and perform for them. This is something, as you mentioned, they don't really get to see, right? MCBRIDE: It's not. I mean there are a lot of people that we have played for who have never heard a live concert before and a lot of people who are living in these places who are not able to get out and hear live music. So, to go and play for them where they live, it's validating where they live and it's also empowering. And we also invite residents to perform with us and that sort of creates this whole community celebration, which is always exciting.

You know, in addition to what you're doing, which is, I think, incredible, you just came back from a tour overseas. You were asked by the State Department to go to Russia, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. What were you doing and what was that like?

We were asked by the U.S. State department and an amazing NGO called the Humpty Dumpty Institute which works on humanitarian issues and cultural diplomacy issues to perform in Russia, Saudi and Pakistan. And we performed versions of the "Home Tour" there. We performed regular concerts for mixed audiences. But in Pakistan, specifically, we played a lot of shows at orphanages and schools.

CHO: What an experience.

MCBRIDE: It was amazing. It was amazing. And we really were made to feel so welcome in all of these places.

CHO: You were there for three weeks, approximately? Overseas?

MCBRIDE: The whole tour was about six weeks.

CHO: Six weeks.


CHO: Oh, wow.

MCBRIDE: A mistake.

CHO: And you just wrapped up a tour in Los Angeles, right?


CHO: What's next? What is on tap for 2012?

MCBRIDE: We are going to do the "Home Tour" in the U.S. in four more American cities this year.

CHO: Wow.

MCBRIDE: And we're also working with the State Department to develop more "Home Tour" programs --

CHO: Amazing.

MCBRIDE: -- in other countries this year. So, that's the plan. We're really excited about it.

CHO: As you should. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the holidays. I hope I get to see you over the holidays, Mary.


CHO: Mary McBride, thanks for coming in this morning.

MCBRIDE: Thank you so much.

CHO: Great that you shared the "Home Tour" with us.

And if you want to support Mary McBride's "Home Tour", you can. Visit her Web site,

Coming up, the beautiful model in this photo that you're about to see is breaking down barriers with a bra.

CNN's Jeanne Moos has the story when we come back.


COSTELLO: One of the most beautiful cities in the United States. Good morning, Seattle; 43 degrees and cloudy, sunny later today with a high of 47.

CHO: I have to agree. I love Seattle, Washington, my home state.

COSTELLO: Oh, that's right. Lovely love affair (ph).

Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. It's one of the craziest stunts we've seen in quite some time, but, man, is it a rush. Take a look, a kayaker plunging over 90-foot falls in Alabama and he's doing this on purpose. Thankfully he strapped on a helmet cam before he went over the falls. The daredevil joined Brooke Baldwin in the "CNN NEWSROOM" yesterday and says even though this looks crazy, he left nothing to chance.


ISAAC LEVINSON, KAYAKED OVER NOCCALULA FALLS: I've looked at this waterfall multiple times and decided that that day was the right time to kayak off in the Noccalula Falls. As you crest over the lip, that's when you lose control, so you have to set your angle and be really focused on your landing from there.

The idea is to land with your kayak pointed vertically down and so that that was really necessary on this waterfall to keep from being injured. I will not be running Noccalula Falls again, but I was loving the memory that I have of it now.


CHO: Really good idea not to try it again right? Don't tempt fate.

COSTELLO: Why, for God's sake.

CHO: That's right.

You don't need a pair of wings to sell bras, apparently, and also, you don't need to be a woman. A male model has been chosen as the face and chest of a new lingerie ad campaign.

COSTELLO: He's a beautiful person.

As CNN's Jeanne Moos tells us, the unique approach could really boost sales.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How do you prove your push-up bra could push up even the most minuscule busts? Have a man model it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's attractive.

MOOS (on camera): She is actually a man.


MOOS: Now, she is a man, actually.



MOOS: She is a man.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. She looks really good.

MOOS (voice-over): Serbian-born model Andrej Pejic is the latest it girl -- or boy. He got to be the bride in a John Paul Gaultier fashion show. "Out" magazine named him "Style Maker of the Year." Huffington Post awarded him "Ultimate Style Game Changer of the Year" and now he's changing how bras are sold.

(on camera): And she's advertising bras.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does she have breasts?


(voice-over): He flaunts what he doesn't have. Not shy about appearing shirtless and that's the point that Dutch department store Hema is trying to sell. Saying its mega push-up bra will pump you up two cup sizes even if you're starting cupless.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If he can look like that, what can it do for a woman?


MOOS (on camera): Would that convince you that that's one heck of a push-up bra?


MOOS (voice-over): You think busty sales lingerie? Move over Victoria's Secret. Pecs rather than breasts are making waves.

"New York Magazine" named Pejic "male model of the year", but even on the portfolio page of one of his modeling agencies, he's rarely seen dressed like a guy. What a year it's been for him.

ANDREJ PEJIC, MODEL: It's been an amazing experience.

MOOS: He may leave some confused.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm mixed up on what's going on today.

MOOS (on camera): You're mixed up?


MOOS (voice-over): Even a woman who gave us an earful about being unable to get used to gender swapping, even she broke down.

(on camera): Would you buy this bra when you see what it can do for him?


MOOS (on camera): His cups may not runneth over but when it comes to gender bending, there is no one more elastic. When it comes to selling bras, we'll see if he really can-can.

(voice-over): Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


COSTELLO: I know 20 of my relatives who would love that bra. I'm going shopping.

CHO: I think it's going to work.

COSTELLO: Just me. Just saying.

That does it for us, thank you for joining us this morning.

CHO: The "CNN NEWSROOM" with my friend T.J. Holmes starts right now. Hey, T.J.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Is that supposed to be some cruel joke you all segue to me with that story? Are you all just testing me today? What is that?

COSTELLO: I was going to say something to you, but I couldn't bring myself to be that cruel.

HOLMES: Thank you for doing that. Good to see you, as always, ladies. I will talk to you both soon.

CHO: Bye.