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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  December 30, 2011 9:00am-11:00am EST

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♪ hello, there. it's not quite 2012 yet. we still have some news to get to before the new year. i'm hala garani in washington. kyra phillips has the day off and we begin with the latest out of the united states in terms of politics this morning. let's get you straight to iowa and expecting any minute now, by the way, the new jersey governor chris christie will join mitt romney in iowa. christie is a rising star and many republicans wanted in this presidential race. he endorsed romney back in october and this will be their first joint appearance since then. just four days before the iowa caucuses.
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and mitt romney is going into this confident, according to the polls, still leading four days as we said before these iowa caucuses. cnn political reporter jim acosta is awaiting the event. he's in west des moines this morning. hi, there, jim. what can we expect today and how much might this appearance bice chris christie help mitt romney? >> well, it will help him a lot. chris christie, as you know, a very popular figure inside the republican party when these two get out on the campaign trail together it gets all kinds of talk going about whether or not this might be a potential ticket for the republican party heading into 2012. you know, mitt romney, people are talking about mittmentum in iowa right now. a brand-new poll which shows what our cnn/"time"/orc poll showed earlier this week. pull under to a lead in this state and a pretty stunning turn of events and he's only on his
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eighth trip to iowa during this campaign. contrast that with some of the other contenders in this field. rick santorum and michele bachmann have been to every county in iowa and they're no where near mitt romney in terms of where he stands in the polls right now. this is a big day for mitt romney and consider, hala, just for a minute the campaign schedule that is coming up in the next coming days. we understand my colleague just tweeted out a few minutes ago that ron paul, who was in second place, statistically tied with mitt romney in the state will be spending the weekend in texas with his wife getting ready for new year's eve, which is really sort of amazing because that is going to give mitt romney a big opening here, give him lots of air time to sort of put that closing argument out there to the people of iowa heading into the caucuses. mitt romney is going to new hampshire later today but he will be back in iowa for a big swing through the state, basically for the final days before the caucuses start and then he will be des moines on
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caucus night to watch those returns come in and he is going all in hoping that the big mo is swinging in his direction and from all appearances at this point, that's exactly what's happening, hala. >> what is ron paul's campaign saying about why he's going back to texas? just a few days before the caucus. what is the strategy? >> we're not hearing a whole lot in terms of what their strategy or thinking is about this. as you know, ron paul is a maverick inside the republican party. he's drawing libertarian support. the likes of which, i don't think the republican party was really prepared to see. and there are some of the gop who say, wait a minute, this is just an iowa situation. if he wins the iowa caucuses, that doesn't necessarily translate into a nomination. that is probably true. but he does do fairly well in new hampshire. there are a lot of libertarians there. so, ron paul is a force to be reckon with right now. he is certainly on a roll and it is certainly to watch.
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he has the ground forces in place to win these iowa caucuses. mitt romney is debatable whether or not he has the ground forces to translate those poll numbers into a caucus victory. a lot of drama here and we'll watch it over the coming days and no doubt about it. mittmenton is for real right now. >> not an indicator of future performance, but an important one, nonetheless. we are expecting any moment now, mitt romney and governor chris christie of new jersey to make an appearance, a joint appearance. a rainy day there. you're seeing in the foreground an open umbrella. romney for president rally is what is happening in west des moines and we'll go there live as soon as the event starts for you. here's a quick look at where the republican presidential candidates will be today, by the way. beyond mitt romney. michele bachmann gets some help from congressman steve king on the campaign trail in early iowa. rick santorum, who surged in the polls, tripled his support, he will be in ames to host the
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first of two college football watch parties. starts with the pinstripe bowl at 4:00 and heads to johnston and newt gingrich in des moines and phone calls only for that one. rick perry will visit waterloo and ron paul will be in le mars for part of the day. we heard there with jim accoost that mitt romney will be and host romney spaghetti dinner fund-raiser. jon huntsman campaigns in plymouth. this weekend is your chance to see the gop presidential candidates offer their closing arguments, so to speak, uninterrupted and in their own words. this saturday and sunday afternoon at 2:00 eastern right here on cnn. all right, let's turn our attention to international news. there is really a lot going on here on the last sort of home stretch before 2012. just months after nato forces
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began pushing moammar gadhafi from power, there are some reports that al qaeda now has at least 200 fighters in libya. one source says they're ready to strike and their targets may be well beyond libya's borders. what is this about? cnn's nic robertson is following these latest developments and he joins us from london by phone. so, the reports are that al qaeda sent a pointman to libya back in may and he was charged with putting together this al qaeda fighting force in libya, right, nick? >> exactly. it's long been a concern as instability increased in libya, gadhafi was forced out as the ncc was unable to consolidate a government that al qaeda included were trying to gain a foothold on what has happened here is that the head of al qaeda has sent two fop litop lieutenants to libya to set up
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camps there. one of them was captured as he was passing through europe and the other one made it. the man who has made it, who has made it to libya who has established this camp has a track record of being a radical islamist who is known to have, even in al qaeda circles, to have very radical views. he was in training camps in afghanistan in the 1990s. he has been a close ally of al and you have also leaders saying at the same time to libyans, now you need to choose your destiny and your destiny is to build an islamist base. so what we are seeing here is al qaeda now concretely. we have evidence for it. they are establishing themselves, a base where there
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is a lack of government right now. this does come after all that money and efforts and by nato and to put a stable government into libya. >> all right, well, we've seen it in other countries. in yemen, for instance. we'll see if there is pickup and an organized fighting force that will be able to mount attacks. nic robertson is reporting from london on this. now, so much for hopes of a softer relationship between north and south korea after kim jong-il's death. a statement says, "south korean puppets and foolish politicians around the world should not expect any change in policy." beyond that, the north says it's insulted that more south koreans didn't attend this week's funeral ceremonies. let's take you to syria now. a significant day. huge anti-government protests are erupting across the country along with more reports of violence. at least eight protesters reportedly killed today. we have no way of confirming
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that independently. outside journalists are still banned from syria. you're seeing there some images from homs today. people are feeling emboldened, we're hearing. they're going out on hundreds of thousands. because international journalists are barred from syria, it makes this next piece of video all the more fascinating. cnn has obtained exclusive video of the battle in homs between government security forces and troops who have defected. our reporter there needs to remain anonymous. take a look. >> the neighborhood of homs. fighters took me into a house where their men were engaged with a shootout with snipers from the syrian military. these men say they're allfectors and they call themselves the free syrian army. one of the men managed to take
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rifle with a position scope with him when he defected. but most of the fighters from the free syrian army are ill equipped and short on gun and ammunition and with no heavy weapons. still, they have managed to kick outside forces outside and hold that area. it's possibly the first place in syria beyond government control. checkpoints like this mark the frontline. "assad's troops are 25 to 30 meters away from us with soldiers and tanks." we are here to prevent them from killing young and old. >> reporter: the men introduced me to one of their leaders. one of the few willing to be identified. he was a lieutenant in the army before defected. his uncle is a former syrian
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defense minister. "we got orders in army that went against my oath as a soldier. when i saw what the government forces were doing to the people, i defected on june 2nd." >> reporter: people like him are heroes for the people. he was cheered at an anti-government demonstration. but he is surrounded by the syrian military and constantly shelled by tanks and artillery. in a meeting in a safe house, he insists that even though assad has not used his air force against the uprising only a no-fly zone imposed by the international community could help the rebels win. "we are in contact with soldiers in the army and a no-fly zone is
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in effect." >> reporter: for now, the men of the free syrian army are fighting a gurillian war against an overpowering foe. evading government checkpoints. at night, they search everyone entering and leaving the area to stop government death squads from getting in. >> translator: they are known to kidnap our women and children. we try to prevent this. when strangers come here, we stop and search them. >> reporter: people of this part of homs are not afraid to take to the streets. there are regular rallies, but after months of casualties, they have long lost their faith in nonviolent protests. many believe that real change in
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syria will only come from the barrel of a gun. >> remarkable, exclusive video from inside syria, the epicenter of the revolt against assad. we've counted your votes and now we're just about 15 minutes away from revealing your top stories of 2011. times square is getting ready to kick 2011 to the curb. the final preparations for the big new year's celebration in new york city are under way. a live report, next. just hold t. we need a portable x-ray, please! [ nurse ] i'm a nurse. i believe in the power of science and medicine. but i'm also human. and i believe in stacking the deck. [ female announcer ] to nurses everywhere,
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what's in your wallet? cover for me. i have an audition. nyquil tylenol: we are?ylenol. you know we're kinda like twins. nyquil (stuffy): yeah, we both relieve coughs, sneezing, aches, fevers. tylenol: and i relieve nasal congestion. nyquil (stuffy): overachiever. anncr vo: tylenol cold multi-symptom nighttime relieves nasal congestion... nyquil cold & flu doesn't. live images from west des
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moines, iowa. we are awaiting that romney/christie event. governor chris christie of new jersey endorsed mitt romney. this is their first joint appearance since then and we're four days away from the iowa caucuses. this is something that is seen as being something politically possible for mitt romney. possibly increasing his support in iowa. only times will tell in terms of the polls whether that will translate into actual support. just about time for that ball to drop, everyone. 2011 to go away. new york is getting times square ready for the new year's eve party where you and about a million of your closest friends can welcome 2012. workers are putting the final touches on the ball and making sure the lights and confetti machines are ready to go.
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that's the ball. cnn's susan candiotti joins us from times square. tell us more about the, hello. that's a 2012 -- >> hello. >> happy new year. i have a feeling we will say happy new year to each other several times over the next few hours. susan, tell us about these preparations. can you see through these glasses? >> you know, i can. it's a light green tint. my favorite color. they come in a variety of shades, but i got mine early. yeah, i can see through them, hala. not only give you a taste of this, but a little bit of confetti. there it goes. anyway, they'll drop a ton of that on new year's eve from all these buildings surrounding us and the streets empty now in this area of times square and 24 hours from now, forget about it. as you know, expecting about a million people here and if you take a look now, you can see that they're getting ready to set up barricades. these people that you see over to this side are here not as early as party goers but in line
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to buy broadway tickets. but up at the top of the times square building, you can see the poll where that beautiful waterford crystal ball will be dropping. when it is midnight tomorrow night. of course, they will have big-name entertainment here including the likes of lady gaga and justin bieber. the stage is set for our own anderson cooper. they're all set for a lot of action here, hala. >> security. i imagine with times square, it's always a big concern and i see barricades behind you. how are authorities in new york managing the security situation? for this big new year's celebration? >> of course, security is the number one priority every year for new york city police, as well as getting an assist from the fbi and a ton of federal agencies. they will be out in force tomorrow night in the huge area surrounding here. they've got 16 checkpoints leading into times square.
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every one who comes in here will have to pass through a metal detector and wear backpacks, but, of course, always a terror threat. the possibility of that out there. although there are no current threats, but ray kelly says he is ready to take on any comers, they are ready. >> susan candiotti in new york. let's take you to west des moines, iowa. the event romney for president rally is under way. mitt romney is addressing his supporters there and chris christie is standing, as well, on the podium. let's listen in. >> looking for the highest office in the land. i believe this race is not just about replacing president obama, important as that is, it's also a race about saving the soul of america. this is a time to decide what america is going to be over the coming years over this century and no one that has fought that battle more consistently and effectively than the governor of new jersey. so, i want to welcome the great governor of new jersey chris christie. >> thank you, mitt.
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>> thank you for coming with me to welcome the next president of the united states of america, governor mitt romney. listen, america is watching iowa. as we always do every four years, we're watching iowa and iowa is going to be the folks to help to start this process to get us going and to make sure that the republican party nominates the very best person to take on president obama in november. now, when you look at that debate, you have to come to the conclusion i have come to. there is no person better qualified by his experience and his character to take on barack obama and to lead the united states of america than governor mitt romney. and this election is about our kids. it's about our kids and their future and that's what governor romney has talked about all across this country.
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he and ann and their family have benefitted greatly from all the opportunities that america has offered to them. they want the same thing for their grandchildren. and they want the same thing for your children and the fight to take back the white house starts on tuesday night and it starts here in iowa and we are counting on you to get out there. take nothing for granted. elections are decided by the people who show up, by the people who vote, by the people who care about their country enough to be out here on a friday morning in iowa in the rain and the cold because you love your country and because you believe this man can help lead this country back to greatness. now, listen, this is a fight just starts on tuesday and it's going to continue right through november. and the president of the united states, he's going to be out here and he's going to be trying to tell you a story. a story that somehow america is doing better after his three years of leadership in the white
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house. we know that's not true. we know that's not true. and the president is going to try to convince you somehow that he deserves to be rehired. well, let's be real clear. let's be real clear. president obama came out to iowa three years ago and he talked to you about hope and change. well, let me tell you, after three years of obama, we are hopeless and changeless and we need mitt romney to bring us back. to bring america back. so, i want to thank you all for being here this morning. i am trihrilled to be in iowa. new jersey is watching you, too. we're watching you really closely. we want to tell you something really clearly. i'm in a good mood this morning. i'm feeling happy and upbeat. i love being with mitt and ann, but let me tell you, you people disappoint me on tuesday, you don't do what you're supposed to do on tuesday for mitt romney, i
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will be back, jersey style, people. i will be back. but i'm much, i'd much rather come back to iowa this fall. i'd much rather come back this fall to campaign for mitt romney and to help you help him lead this country. all you need to know is this, i'll be there every minute that i could possibly be to help him because i believe in our country just as much as you do. so, everybody, thanks for coming out this morning. i appreciate it very much and, it is my extraordinary honor to introduce to you the next president of the united states of america, governor mitt romney. >> what a guy that guy is. isn't he amazing? so lucky to have him in our party and fighting the battles to take back america. this morning i have, well, someone i met in high school with me. i went to a party at stu white's house. i'd seen the girl in elementary
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school, but she was in the -- when she turned 16 i thought she was pretty interesting. she had come with someone else and i went up to him and i said, look, i live closer to ann than you do. why don't i give her a ride home for you. and he said, okay. we've been going steady ever since. my sweetheart, ann romney. >> i got one. thank you. >> mitt romney there endorsed by chris christie back in october. the governor of new jersey making an appearance in west des moines, iowa. saying that no one is better equipped to take on barack obama than mitt romney. also, urging the romney supporters to actually show up four days from now for the iowa caucuses. turnout critical for romney to maintain this lead. he is now in a statistical tie in the latest polling and aimed
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his criticism at barack obama, as well. we'll take a short break here on cnn. we'll continue to follow the campaigning out of iowa from other candidates, as well, in the gop field. after the break, this year we saw regimes fall. we saw capitol hill bicker and we saw cities around the world occupied. so, what made your list for the top stories of 2011? the countdown of your picks are revealed in just minutes. stay with us. is it because taking a step represents hope? or triumph? at genworth, we believe in taking small steps every day to keep your promises, protect what matters, and prepare for a secure financial future. no matter where you want to go, one step at a time is the only way to get there. go to [ female announcer ] you use the healing power of touch every day. the healing power of touch can be even more powerful.
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2011 was a year of highs and lows. big events and even bigger changes. so, we asked you, our cnn viewers to vote on the top ten stories that affected our world and changed our lives this year. without further ado, let's count
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them down. number ten, the royal wedding. prince william and kate middleton become husband and wife. sealed with a royal kiss and the ceremony watched worldwide, kate the commoner is now catherine the duchess of cambridge. number nine, s&p lowers the credit rating after an 11-hour deal to raise the debt ceiling. standard & poor's lowers from aaa, the best in the world, to aa plus, an unprecedented move. why? in the days leading up to the downgrade, here was president obama's take. >> not because we did vnlt the capacity to pay our bills, we do. but because we didn't have a aaa political system to match. our aaa credit rating. >> in the end, s&p gave two reasons for the downgrade, a broken political system and a
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last-minute debt ceiling deal that didn't cut far enough. number eight, u.s. unemployment remains high. jobs, jobs, jobs. for much of the year, the unemployment rate stays around 9% before slipping to 8.6% in november. still, that means around 7 million americans are out of work. number seven, deadly tornadoes usher in a year of severe weather. 200 tornadoes, four days, five states. a deadly april tornado outbreak has followed the very next month. by the monstrous tornado that devastates joplin, missouri. add to that, wildfires in texas and hurricane irene along the east coast. 2011 was a year of dangerous weather. number six, the "occupy wall street" movement spreads from
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new york city. a grassroots protest against policies that favor the richest 1% takes hold. "occupy wall street' starts in new york and then spreads to cities across america and around the world. well, if we only had those five stories, it still would have been an incredible year, but our countdown just begun. coming up, we reveal your picks for the top five stories of 2011.
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back to our top stories. before the break we revealed ten through six and now it's time for the top five. number five, apple founder steve
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jobs dies of cancer at 56. he was a pioneer, an innovator, a man who put the world in the palm of our hands. steve jobs started apple in a silicon valley garage and built it into the world's leading tech company. always leading edge, always cool. he lost his battle with cancer in october. number four, congresswoman gabby giffords is shot in the head at a public event and survives. in january, accused gunman jared lee loughner goes on a shooting rampage in tucson, killing six, wounding 13, including the congresswoman, gabby giffords. she survived and is making strides in her recovery. number three, the arab spring spreads from tunisia, regimes fall in egypt and libya. around the globe, it's been a year of protests, of people
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power, of revolution. and the arab spring started with the single salesman in tunisia who lit himself on fire in protests when officials prevented him from selling his goods on the streets. his desperate act set off a call for freedom that echoed across the region. the protests brought the downfall of tunisia's leader and doomed the long-standing regime in egypt. it helped spark a war in libya. dictator moammar gadhafi flees and is later killed. number two, japan suffers a major earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis. >> oh, my god. that is the biggest earthquake to date. it is still going. oh, my god, the building is going to fall. >> on march 11th, a devastating 9.0 earthquake strikes off the coast of japan, but the worst
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was yet to come. the quake triggers a massive tsunami, sweeping away nearly everything in its path. then, a partial meltdown at the fukushma nuclear plant. with radiation leaking into the air and sea. number one, u.s. commandos killed osama bin laden in a pakistan raid. >> i can report to the american people and to the world that the united states has conducted an operation that killed the murder of innocent men, women and children. >> on may 2nd, navy s.e.a.l. team six raids a compound in pakistan killing osama bin laden, leader of al qaeda, and the terrorist network that orchestrated the 9/11 attacks. and there you have it. your picks for the top stories of the year. you can explore all of them and look back at the year that was
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on so, that was the year that was. that was 2011. what about 2012? will the economy in this country be any better? coming up a financial expert and author gives us his predictions. stay with us. you'll save 100 calories a day. that could help you lose up to 10 pounds in a year. and now get even more with splenda® essentials, the only line of sweeteners with a small boost of fiber, or antioxidants, or b vitamins in every packet. just another reason why you get more... when you sweeten with splenda®. ♪
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hollywood's box office the worst it's been but 2011 ends with a bang thanks to a pair of blockbusters. look. you asea that there and "sherlock holmes" are doing well but overall attendance at the movies hasn't been this low since 1995. nischelle turner is here to break down the details. what is going on? people aren't going to the theaters any more it seems. >> this has been a down year for hollywood. you know, after each weekend when the numbers would come out, all sorts of predictions on how things would improve and they just never did. not that there weren't hits. we saw the last harry potter film do very well, but more of a consistency thing and now the hollywood reporter is calling this the worst year at the box office since 1995. now, according to projections
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domestic box office revenues for january 1st through the december 31st will reach roughly $10.2 billion. that is down 3.6% from the $1.28 billion collected last year. 1.34 billion people went to the movies in 2011, the lowest turnout since 1995 bh 2.11 billion showed up at their local theaters. attendance reached an all-time high in 2002 which was 1.57 billion. the only good news at the box office came internationally. that's where, according to the hollywood reporter, the major hollywood studios collected $13.35 billion in ticket sales. that is an all-time record. up 6% to 8% over last year. plenty of speculation on why this happened. the poor economy might be keeping people home, or it could be something like it just wasn't a very good year for movies,
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which i don't actually agree with because i think it was a good year for movie, hala. >> i always heard in recessionary times, people actually go to the movies more. there has to be another explanation as to why box office numbers are lower this year. it could be interesting to hear -- >> it could be. >> or it could be that people's tvs are getting bigger and they're enjoying watching movies at home. i mean, that could be a possibility, as well. what about this, okay, you're going to have to tell me about that. special romantic christmas gifts for a few high-profile celebrities. romantic. >> romantic. that means love is in the air, hala. all over hollywood love is in the air. we've all seen it. christmas time is a great time to get engaged. some celebrities, well, they just pop the question. number one, wynonna judd. she's getting married for the third time. her musician boyfriend popped the question on christmas eve, so, congratulations to them.
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but, also, michael jordan is apparently getting married. he's doing it for the second time. cnn has confirmed that he and his model girl just got engaged. and here's another repeat offender. it appears that steven tyler and his girlfriend, erin brady might be getting married, too. brady was seen out and about with what looks like an engagement ring but tyler's repwould only tell "showbiz tonight" no comment. >> what number would that be for steven tyler? >> i think i lost count. no, i think maybe his third. i think it's his third. yeah, i think it's his third. >> thanks, nischelle. by hollywood standards, that's not too bad. want information on everything breaking in the entertainment world watch "showbiz tonight." how will the job market look next year and how tough will it be to start a business? coming opfinancial expert and author looks into his
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crystal ball, stay with us.
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well, there's been positive economic news in the united states in 2011. the unemployment rate has gone down and will that trend continue next year? we want to know how the job market and three other pillars of the economy, crucial for the american economy will perform in 2012. markets, housing and also
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entrepreneurship. how will they look next year? basically talking about retirement funds, your house and everyone's ability to start a business and keep it going. plight anderson is financial expert and author, he joins us live from atlanta. hi, clyde. if you invested wisely in stocks in 2011, you did pretty well. how will 2012 look as far as stocks are concerned? this is important for anyone with a 401(k) or stock funds out there. >> it will look even better in 2012. a lot of investors are breathing a sigh of relief. tough times don't last and tough people do. if you made it through this year, you're breathing that sigh of relief and knowing that you're going into more positive terms and more positive times. really what we're looking at is an election year. a lot of times you see a more robust market in election years and a lot of people will benefit from it, a lot of people
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breathing a sigh of relief that we had a recession. we won't see that. of course, who knows what to predict as far as some of the things that will happen. who knows what will happen in europe. i think we'll see the uptick and on the brighter side of that and investors are in a good position. >> historically, stocks, always a good investment longer term. if you're planning on holding your shares for a while, many analysts will recommend that you buy in now, but, let's talk about the issue here in america. housing prices, they are still falling. >> yes. >> you think they will fall in 2012? this is important for americans because perceived household wealth is what will push someone to go out and buy big ticket items, right? >> we have to make the point that real estate is local. it will look different in some markets but overall we'll see the prices continue to drop. foreclosures still the buzz word and it's what we're hearing a lot of. we'll see a lot. i think 1.4 million foreclosures realty track says out there on the market.
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but what a lot of people are looking at is that shadow inventory that we hear about. it sits in the pipeline of banks and financial institutions that hasn't hit the market yet. we'll see prices continue to fall. i think for the rest of 20 12. still a great time to buy, but, again, for those people sitting in neighborhoods and seeing their values still decline more. >> okay, yes, this market does not need more supply. what about the jobless rate? where is that going to go? we saw it fall under 9% this year. do you think it will go down further next year? >> who would think we'd see the job market fall below 9% and be happy about it. we'll continue to see that trend. i think we're seeing companies and employers will feel more comfortable hiring, spending some of that cash that they've been sitting on and i think we'll see them go out and hire some more. you'll see a lot of people in jobs that they weren't happy with that they had to take exploring their options for other opportunities. health care are the big ones that drive the economy. health care and home care are going to be huge.
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a lot of people are looking into what industry they want to be in and what other opportunities are out there for them. this is the time to really to explore it and a lot of people are looking at the aspect of social media. 18 million people credited facebook to finding jobs. we really have to lot of people the aspect of social media driving this. 18 million people accredited facebook to finding jobs. we have to look at technology to help us explore the job opportunities as well. >> all right. interesting. clyde anderson, thanks very much. pleasure talking to you this morning. >> thank you. we're following many developments this hour. on the next hour of "cnn newsroom" jim acosta is live in west des moans, iowa. >> reporter: hi, hala. that's right. i'm covering mitt romney's campaign here in west des moines. he's riding high on the polls to a victory in a state that could make it very hard to stop for the gop nomination. >> reporter: i'm george howell in atlanta. it is a public safety threat in
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neighborhoods across the country. instead of fireworks to celebrate the new year some people turn to firearms and celebratory gunfire. we look at some of the things cities are doing to make people think twice. that story coming up here at the top of the hour. >> and i'm alison kosik at the new york stock exchange. so you say you want to pay your verizon wireless bill? some people are going to have to pay verizon for the privilege of paying their bill. i'll tell you how you can avoid fee. >> please da, alison. thanks very much. thank you to you all. coming up next hour iran's threats to shut down a crucial shipping route get louder as its navy plays war games. we're talking about how serious the threat is in the strait of hormuz, what it means for the white house contenders, and how it could hit your bottom line. [ female announcer ] splenda® no calorie sweetener is sweet...
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checking stories across the country. a cane know erupted on a remote alaskan island sending an ash cloud 15,000 feet into the air. the u.s. geological survey is raising the alert to orange. the third highest of four possible warnings. it says more explosions are possible there. outside laipgs a teenage hiker and his dog wound up trapped on a steep cliff yesterday. the dog slid off the trail and the owner went after her. they couldn't climb back up and both were in danger of sliding all the way down the mountain. l.a. fire department rescuers used ropes to repel down and get them. and in las vegas, something no one had ever seen before.
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an inventor debuted his fly board which allows him to zoom over any lake or ocean using a powerful jet stream of water. kind of like a jet ski but for the air. he plans to market them for about $5,000 a piece if you're interested. no matter what you have planned for new year's eve, there's probably an app to help you along the way. we take a look at the best options next. tissue box (whispering): he said nasal congestion... nyquil: i heard him. anncr vo: tylenol cold multi-symptom nighttime relieves nasal congestion... nyquil cold & flu doesn't. forty years ago, he wasn't worried about retirement. he'd yet to hear of mutual funds, iras, or annuities. back then, he had something more important to do. he wasn't focused on his future but fortunately, somebody else was. at usaa we provide retirement solutions for our military, veterans and their families. from investments... to life insurance... to health care options.
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well, what are you doing new year's eve? whatever it is there's probably an app for it. karen is in washington with a look at some of the must have smartphone apps for tomorrow night. what is an app that might help people plan their new year's eve celebration, karen? >> well, good morning, hala. as is the case with most of these things nowadays, there are a lot of apps out there. we decided to take three of them that could be really useful and really enhance your new year's celebration, starting with the official app of the time square ball drop. hall a i don't know if you've ever experienced new year's eve in time square, but it gets very chilly. it gets very crowded. the app takes all of that out of the equation and instead puts the countdown in the palm of your hand. you can send your friends greetings. if you want to read up on the history of the ball drop, which has taken place for over 100 years, they've got everything you need to know about that as
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well. you can join them back for the countdown at the stroke of midnight. another key element is a toast. a lot of people are watching their wall lets after the holiday season. this app lets you do a virtual toast with a variety of glasses, champagnes, and wines. you can also clink smart phones with someone who is at the party with you to celebrate that new year's toast. can you take a picture to capture the moment. another important one to keep in mind, hala, as people go about their new year's celebrations, if you do decide to drink tomorrow night, you think you've had a little too much, look for an app like the taxi magic app. it will find you a variety of car companies and cab companies in your area that can pick you up. a lot of these cab companies will be doing free rides tomorrow for new year's eve. even if they don't, you really can't put a price tag on your safety. check out that app and get yourself a ride if you've had too much to drink. >> so i'm doing the checking off your apps here. i would choose the virtual times
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square celebration, the real champagne, and probably the taxi magic app. i don't know. depends how far i stray from home. thanks very much, karin. bring in the new year with anderson cooper and kathy griffin live from times square. our live coverage starts saturday night at 11:00 eastern. welcome to our next hour of newsroom. this morning we begin with presidential politics once again. mitt romney showing off some star power on the campaign trail. just last hour he stood alongside new jersey governor chris christie. the one many people wanted in the race. christie endorsed romney back in october. this is their first appearance together since october. it comes four days, of course, before the iowa caucuses. jim acosta is in west des moines, iowa, with more on how this might help romney. hi there, jim. >> hi there, hala.
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that's right, mitt romney was campaigning with the governor of new jersey, chris christie just a few moments ago. when you see these two out on the campaign trail you'll have a lot of people talking about, well, is this a potential ticket for the general election campaign? you're going to hear that conversation going on all day long today. really these last few days for mitt romney here in iowa are all about seizing on this momentum that are basically showing up in a number of polls. there's a brand-new nbc marries poll that came out this morning that shows romney in the lead statistically tied with ron paul but in the lead, nonetheless. basically the same picture we got you a few days ago in that cnn "time magazine" orc poll. chris christie is a good spokesman for mitt romney and he proved that earlier this morning making the case that he is the candidate to beat president obama. here's what chris christie had to say just a few moments ago. >> america is watching iowa. as we always do every four
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years, we're wampg iowa, and iowa's going to be the folks who are going to help to start this process to get us going to make sure that the republican party nominates the very best person to take on president obama in november. now when you look at that statement, these debates, i think you have to come to the conclusion that i've come to. there is no person better qualified by his experience and his character to take on barak obama and to lead the united states of america than governor mitt romney. >> all right. there we heard from chris christie, the governor of new jersey, an important support there for mitt romney. one of the other things, jim acosta, he said was he urged the supporters to come out and show up. he said elections are won by people who actually show up and bother to vote. this is crucial for mitt romney, isn't it, that his supporters actually take part in this process? jim acosta is gone. we'll catch up with him a little bit later once we're able to
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reconnect. he is in west des moines iowa where that campaign event took place, romney for president, with chris christie the governor of new jersey. he's currently tied statistically with ron paul in the latest polling by cnn and other organizations. here's a quick look at where the republican candidates will be today, by the way. michele bachmann is getting some help from congressman steve king in early iowa. rick santorum will be in ames to host the first of two football watch parties. he starts with the pinstripe bowl at 4:00 and then he heads to johns stop later. newt gingrich is in des moines. he will do a teletown hall meeting with phone calls. rick perry will visit water loo. two candidates head to new hampshire today. mitt romney will be in merrimack this afternoon to host a romney for president spaghetti dinner fundraiser dinner.
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jon huntsman, we haven't heard from him that much, is campaigning in plymouth, new hampshire. this weekend you can watch them offering their closing arguments uninterrupted. the contenders 2012 this saturday and sunday afternoon at 2:00 eastern on cnn. tune in for that as well. it will give you an opportunity to see the candidates unfiltered. just months after nato forces began pushing moammar gadhafi out of power there are disturbing reports that al qaeda is stepping into the leadership vacuum in libya. a terrorist group has sent veteran militant groups into the country and has reportedly amassed 200 fighters ready to strike. that is according to a brief source. now another trouble spot in the world, north korea one day after the nuclear power paid its final tribute to kim jong il, the new leadership sends a message to the world. cnn's paula hang cobs is across
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the border? seoul, south korea. >> just one day after the official mourning for kim jong il is over and the confrontational statements from north korea have started once again. there have been much debate as to whether the new leader, kim jong un, who is much younger and has also been educated abroad for a year or two would have a different outlook on how to run north korea. now the initial impression from this statement shows that he would not. this is the statement from the national defense commission and i quote, we solemnly declare with confidence that the south korean puppets and foolish politicians around the world should not expect any change from the dprk. that's the north korea. now this is really a very clear message that it is business as usual, that kim jong un will be doing exactly what kim jong il was doing in his time. now we also heard from the north
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korea anns that they have no intention of dealing with the south korea ann government and the president. they are particularly angry that president lee did not allow many delegations to travel to pyongyang to pay their respects to kim jong il. he did allow one delegation, a civilian delegation of 18 people, but the north is angry that more were not allowed to come. now a little context for this statement. obviously this is the sort of statement that we are used to hearing from north korea and also the statement has phrases such as retaliate, refire, to burn the group of traitors. it's the kind of rhetoric we are used to hearing from the political and military leadership through the state media. what is surprising is that it did come so quickly. clearly a sign by north korea that they want to show that it is business as usual and nothing much has changed even though there is a change in leadership. now it is interesting as well that the south koreans had
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softened their stance towards north korea. the government had issued condolences to the north korean people for the death of kim jong il, but clearly for the north it wasn't enough. paula hancocks, cnn, seoul. now in egypt 10, 11 months after the revolution egyptian authorities storm the offices of 17 non-profit groups, including three american-based groups. they took computers and files in the raids. it's extra strained on an already tense situation between egypt and the united states. egyptian officials say it's part of an investigation into alleged illegal funding from abroad, but washington is calling on egypt to, quote, immediately end the harassment. in syria there are huge anti-government protests today erupting across the country along with reports of new violence. more than 30 people have reportedly been killed today. we have no way of confirming the number because outside journalists have been banned.
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cnn's mohammed jamjoom is gathering information. he joins us now live from cairo. when we see these images from i had lib, ham ma, there are reports that hundreds of thousands of syrians are out in the streets possibly feeling a little safer because there are these arab league monitors crisscrossing the country. >> reporter: we've heard that this week, hall a. we've heard the fact that the arab league monitors there is em boldening people to come out. we're still hearing reports of violence. we're seeing these pictures emerge today purporting to show thousands upon thousands of people out for this day that's called the crawl to freedom square. they're encouraging opposition groups, encouraging syrians to defy the government, to go out in public spaces in different cities and express that they don't want bashar al-assad in power anymore. we've seen pictures from homs and idlib. hearing reports of violence.
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they're telling us that at least 30 people have been killed, 25 injured in different accounts of violence of security forces firing on these crowds that are out. we got some video earlier that purports to show a man in douma, a suburb of damascus. protesters we're told there gathered in an anti-government demonstration. this man was shot in the leg and had to be carried away. again, it's raising more questions as to how effective, how credible this mission s. even though people are encouraged and emboldened to come out, the fact is violence is happening. it's causing a concern about how effective this monitoring can be. >> well, you know what's interesting is the free syrian army, i'm sure you've seen these amateur videos of them. we featured some of them in the reports by that journalist who made it in homs. they are saying today that they are halting attacks against government forces. is that correct?
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what's behind that announcement? >> reporter: we spoke to a lieutenant colonel in the free syrian army earlier today. he confirmed to us that the free syrian army had been ordered to halt attacks. this is part of the initiative to let the arab league monitors in to try to calm the situation down but, you know, we've seen reports and heard rorlts this week that there were ambushes that were carried out by the free syrian army against security forces. there was video that came out and purportedly showed the army ambushing a convoy. we're told four security forces were killed. we asked about that. they said, if we're attacking right now, our attacks are defensive in nature. if the syrian security forces are going to attack us while the ash league monitors are in the country even though we've ordered a halt to the attacks, then we are going to respond in kind. that is a legitimate tactic. >> you're seeing some of that amateur video there of free
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syrian army fighters. thanks very much. mohammed jamjoom is in cairo. you remember this story of iran threatening to shut down one of the world's most important oil routes. is it easier said than done? we'll look at the politics and logistics and what closing the strait of hormuz could mean for your wallet and gas prices. next, a ♪
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looking at stories from across the country. we'll know tomorrow if the coroner in allentown, pennsylvania, decides to exhume as many as 60 graves. the problem, a huge sinkhole, probably from a water main brake. many of those graves date back to the 1880s. also in new york work has stopped on the museum portion of the national september 11th memorial. the mayor says there's, quote, no chance it will be completed on time. it was scheduled to open next year on september 11th. the problem, a money fight with the port authority. talk about waiting to the last second. the mystery person holding iowa's winning lottery ticket had a law firm deliver it to lotto headquarters just before the ticket expired. it's worth $14.4 million. happy new year.
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this morning a poignant reminder of the dangers of one particular new year's eve tradition, gunfire at midnight. every year we hear stories of how stray bullets wound or kill unsuspecting victims. it happened last year in atlanta to a four-year-old boy who was in church. his mother is working to make sure the tragedy doesn't happen to someone else. cnn's george howell reports. >> i see a spark. i see a spark. >> reporter: it's a dangerous tradition that plays out across the country each year with deadly consequences. >> we were sitting exactly over here on this right-hand side exactly where that bucket is. that's where both of us were sitting next to each other. >> reporter: something natalie peters knows all too well since her son was killed two years ago inside this church at a new year's watch party. >> reporter: you can still see. >> yes, right there. >> reporter: when you look up there you can still see -- >> it pierced the roof.
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>> reporter: that's where it came down? >> yes. i didn't know what happened. i picked him up because he was bleeding so much. then others were saying it was a bullet. >> reporter: the victim of celebratory gunfire. a stray bullet struck him in the head. his mother may never know who fired the fatal shot, but the tragedy has sparked a movement. officials are asking people to take his pledge on line, a promise not to fire off weapons. >> has his pledge made a difference in decal be county when it comes to celebratory gunfire. >> i think that we can make head way and slow it down. we saw a 47% decline in celebratory gunfire from one year to the next as a result of our awareness campaign. >> reporter: many other cities are taking similar stands. from los angeles to birmingham, alabama, police are using technology called shot spotter. microphones placed in neighborhoods that can at that point tur the sount of gunfire and pinpoint its origin. in miami city officials are
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promoting a campaign saying one bullet kills a party. >> when you hear the gunshots, when you see someone out there this holiday season, when you see them out there celebrating with gunfire, please, stop, pick up the phone, dial 911. >> reporter: whether people don't think about it or if they don't realize it at the time, you fire a bullet in the air. it can travel great lengths and it must come down somewhere. in this case two years ago it came down through the roof of this church and changed a family's life forever. >> it took my only child away. >> reporter: do you think people realize what they're doing? >> that person probably didn't know what he did, but probably didn't know what happened. >> well, george howell joins me now from atlanta. george, when you cover, as you know, in the middle east funerals or celebrations, oftentimes people will shoot in the air. you know that that bullet is going to come back down.
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i imagine atlanta after this and georgia is going to try to make it tougher for people to do this and the punishment harsher. >> reporter: hala, as you can understand, natalie peters not satisfied with the current laws in georgia. right now you fire a bullet in the air, it can be a misdemeanor if you're caught. you have to pay a fine. she wants to see this become a felony. she wants jail time attached because clearly this can be a very dangerous tradition with deadly consequences, hala. >> but is this a common practice in georgia? >> reporter: you know, you see it. you hear it in neighborhoods from time to time. i worked here at one of the local affiliates. we'd drive around at night and you'd hear the gunfire at times on new year's eve, new year's day. so it happens. it happens in neighborhoods all around the country. this here in georgia is an effort to stop it, hala. >> well, it makes it particularly tragic that the victim in this particular case was a four-year-old little boy. thanks very much, george.
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should newt gingrich be worried about his fluctuating poll numbers in iowa? our political buzz panel sounds off just ahead. and iran's navy plays war games as the country's threats to shut down that crucial oil shipping route get louder. we're talking about how serious the threat is and what it means to you next. nyquil (stuffy): hey, tylenol. you know we're kinda like twins. tylenol: we are? nyquil (stuffy): yeah, we both relieve coughs, sneezing, aches, fevers. tylenol: and i relieve nasal congestion. nyquil (stuffy): overachiever. anncr vo: tylenol cold multi-symptom nighttime relieves nasal congestion... nyquil cold & flu doesn't.
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wharf words escalating now between the united states and iran as iran's navy plays war games and the fight now centers on the strait of hormuz. iran is threatening to choke oil tanker traffic through the strait. that, of course, would have a big impact on the world and your
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wallet. here's why. the strait is only about 34 miles wide, but more than 15 million barrels of oil pass through it every single day. that's about a thirty-third of all soil shipped by sea nationwide. that would stifle iran's oil exports to pressure iran to abandon its nuclear program. he's the author of a single roll of the dies. obama's diplomacy with iran. thanks for being with us. >> thank you for having me, hala. >> let me ask you this. you wrote a piece on, the title of which is "without renewed diplomacy war with iran lies around the corner." are we at risk of war here? >> we are. i think this is one of the things people may not realize. we are kind of sleep walking towards a military confrontation. i don't believe the obama administration has the intent for war nor do i think
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necessarily the iranians are looking for war, but the policies we are pursuing nevertheless are increasing the risk of a military confrontation. what we are seeing now with their warnings of closing down the strait is just an indication of the things that can come and that can actually spark a much larger military confrontation. >> is this not just saber-rattling by iran? closing off the strait of hormuz would choke off its own ability to supply oil to the world. aren't these just words? >> i think at this stage the risk of the iranians doing this is very little. however, if the u.s. pursues these sanctions and actually manages to already choke off iran's oil exports then they have far less incentives not to do this. this is a negative dynamic. the two sides are essentially trying to maximize the amount of harm this they can do on the other. in that type of a dynamic taking a step like this, even if it hurts you, unfortunately that's what states tend to do. >> let me ask you this. you're saying essentially that the more sanctions are placed on
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iran, the less that country has to lose in engaging in the kind of brinkmanship that would possibly lead to closing off the strait of hormuz? >> well, it's not any type of sanctionness this case, we're actually talking about central bank sanctions as well as oil embargo. that is something that the iranians have essentially defined as an act of war in and of itself. we're very close to something that we can't control. here's the main point, these things potentially could be pursued effectively, but only if coupled with very significant diplomacy. when you're doing it in the absence of diplomacy, you have very little capabilities of dialing things back, toning things down and de-escalating the situation. >> here's one thing you wrote as well. you said, all hope is not lost. contrary to common perceptions, diplomacy has not been exhausted. >> it certainly has not. i think the obama administration did a very genuine effort at
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diplomacy earlier in 2009. hour, because of a lack of political space and because of the response from the iranians it ended up being simply a single roll of the dies acdice. we have not exhausted diplomacy. >> one one is more effective? >> sanctions or diplomacy? >> yeah. >> well, sanctions we've had for more than 30 years. look at the situation that we're in. if sanctions were effective, we would not be in this situation. if we're pursuing diplomacy with a type of determination, persistence and patience that we pursue other policies, then i think it has a much greater chance of success. >> thanks very much for your analysis. a pop singer throws her support behind ron paul. the endorsement not so popular with some of her twitter followers. our political buzz panel weighness on which celebrity
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endorsement would be helpful for the gop contenders. [ sniffs ] i have a cold. [ sniffs ] i took dayquil but my nose is still runny. [ male announcer ] truth is, dayquil doesn't treat that. really? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms, plus it relieves your runny nose. [ deep breath] awesome. [ male announcer ] yes, it is. that's the cold truth! [ male announcer ] yes, it is. what is it about taking a first step that we find so compelling? is it because taking a step represents hope? or triumph? at genworth, we believe in taking small steps every day to keep your promises, protect what matters, and prepare for a secure financial future. no matter where you want to go, one step at a time is the only way to get there.
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♪ yoo-hoo. hello. it's water from the drinking fountain at the mall. [ male announcer ] great tasting tap water can come from any faucet anywhere. the brita bottle with the filter inside. checking top stories now. 3,000 gallons of water a minute are cooling a russian nuclear sub. it caught fire yesterday while docked in mormunsk. the fire, thankfully, is out now. the russian navy says they were already shot down and that no radiation leaked. the president and first lady laid a wreath at the u.s.s. arizona at pearl harbor. this month marked the 70th anniversary of the japanese
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attack that propelled the u.s. into world war ii. many people died aboard the arizona. china wants to become a major player in space exploration. it's outlining plans to build space stations, even put a man on the moon. china's army runs the space program though raising concerns it will use it for military purposes. iowa is the center of the political universe right now. just four more days until voters there christen the 2012 presidential race. the most recent poll from nbc shows mitt romney leading the pack. also a cnn time orc poll from wednesday looks a lot like this. you don't even see jon huntsman's name there. this week he said they pick corn, not presidents, but history tells a different story. here's cnn's mary snow. >> reporter: republican presidential hopefuls make the
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final sprint in iowa. as they crisscross the state, campaigns and reporters flood the air waves with ads. $8 million worth and counting just this month. how much can a win in iowa matter? that depends. >> this is the place where america remembered what it means to hope. >> reporter: for barak obama, a victory in iowa proved to be a game changer. on the republican side, a different story. >> but tonight, i love iowa a whole lot. >> reporter: mike huckabee's upset victory in 2008 with the help of iowa evangelicals failed to gain momentum outside the state. john mccane was the eventual nominee. >> reporter: when you take a look at who won compared to the party's eventual nominee, they have more traction on the republican side. in 2004 for john kerry, particularly in 1976 for jimmy carter. on the republican side in recent years iowa victors george w.
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bush in 2000 and bob dole in 1996 went on to win their party's nomination but the wins in iowa were not as crucial to their campaigns. >> reporter: starting in 1972 the caucuses are more about winnowing down the field of candidates. winners gain no delegates and some political watchers say it's more about the media attention. >> it's essentially in and of itself a meaningless event, but it has tremendous political impact because if a candidate does worse than expected, support and especially funding tends to dry up. and if a candidate does better than expected, that support tends to expand and in particular funding, campaign contributions tend to increase. >> reporter: last presidential election about 118,000 republicans took part in the caucuses, and in iowa there's a stronger focus on social issues than other parts of the country. 60% of gop caucus goers in 2008 described themselves as
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evangelical or born again christians. that turnout of republican caucus goers in 2008 amounts to roughly 1/5th of registered republicans in the state. estimates for what turnout may be this time are all over the map. mary snow, cnn, new york. well, this reminder. tune in tuesday night for the country's first real votes and the candidate's first real test. america's choice 2012. live coverage of the iowa caucuses for you begins tuesday night, january 3rd at 7:00 p.m. eastern. newt gingrich says he's not worried about a fourth place finish in iowa. should he be? we'll put that question to our political buzz panel. nyquil: you know i relieve coughs, sneezing, fevers?
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tylenol: me, too. and nasal congestion. nyquil:what? tissue box (whispering): he said nasal congestion... nyquil: i heard him. anncr vo: tylenol cold multi-symptom nighttime relieves nasal congestion... nyquil cold & flu doesn't.
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political buzz is your rapid fire look at the best political topics of the day. three questions, 30 seconds on the clock. and playing today with us cheri jacobus, republican strategist and columnist for the hill. sirius xm political talk show host, pete dominick and democratic strategist, john rouley. first question, newt gingrich isn't sweating his fluctuating poll numbers. he says there's more than three tickets out of iowa. listen. >> if you come in fourth, will you stay in the race? >> oh, sure. >> there are more than three tickets out of iowa?
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>> sure. depends what happens. depends what the margins are. more than three tickets considering i'm 20 points ahead in some other states. it would be fairly foolish for me not to stay in the race. >> how much does newt need iowa. sherry? >> if he can come in fourth, that's really effectively a third place because i think that we have to put ron paul in a different category. i don't look at him as being in the same category as the other candidates. i think that newt can live to fight another day. what really hurt him, i think, was the perceived arrogance that he had. then people have to remember that our nominee on the republican side is going to be going up against a guy with extreme arrogance. barak obama one of the worst presidents in the century who thinks he's in the top four. a healthy ego on the republican side is going to be a good thing when you look at the outrageous ego of the current occupant of the white house. >> john? >> newt gingrich is delusional. 's going to go down as one of
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the volatile presidential candidates. he reminds me of a character in the film the holy grail. there he is a knight that had both arms and legs cut off and says, it is but the a flesh wound. dropping 15 points in the polls is not but a flesh wound. >> great scene, by the way, that one. pete, what do you think? >> well, i think cheri had a good point. his arrogance isn't perceived, it's real. people really think this about newt gingrich. people who know him think this. he acts like he doesn't need anybody's house to get in the white house. can he will it. there's probably more than three tickets out of iowa, but newt gingrich's ticket is going to take him back to virginia where he's from and where he can't even vote for himself because he didn't get on the ballot there. does anybody really think he ever took this presidential run more serious than trying to sell books?
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i never understood t. i haven't. >> all right. question number two, rick santorum's got momentum of course because he's fresh off a bump in the iowa polls. he's tripled in his support. 's trying to capitalize on t. he's put out a new radio ad. he says he's ready for the race ahead. here he is on jonk king u.s.a. >> this isn't my first rodeo. i've been through tough campaigns. big national scrutiny types of campaigns in the state of pennsylvania. most of the media says that mitt romney can beat president obama. but what history does mitt romney have? >> there's polling. >> so what is santorum's battle plan beyond iowa, john? >> well, there's one brutal irony for rick santorum. a few months ago i don't think anybody thought he had a chance to win. now he's in danger of performing well but coming in under expectations because some are even talking about rick santorum winning iowa. i think, a, he needs to keep expectations lowered going into
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iowa. two, he has to broaden his appeal beyond the evangelical base. he needs a good battle plan going into south carolina where his socially conservative message has a chance of taking hold with that electorate. >> cheri, what is his battle plan beyond iowa? >> have i to agree with a lot of that. if he can beat the expectations game on tuesday, then he comes out being able to draw on a lot of media attention and a lot of money which will be important. if he can, as he does go into south carolina, that will be where he has his best shot. but this is his time. he's going into tuesday on a positive, on a high. so he could be, i don't know if it's a full-on wild card, but if he does well and hangs in there, you'll see perry and bachmann fall by the way side. rick santorum will be the next guy in line after romney. >> pete dominick, beyond iowa, santorum, what happens? >> there's nothing beyond iowa for santorum. i think that he popped just at
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the right time. i attribute that to the sweater vest look. very presidential, rick, but the truth is the only reason he's so popular in iowa is because of those two issues of equality for gay and lesbian americans and abortion really matter to those 120,000 evangelical voters in iowa. this is mitt romney's dream. rick santorum is the only person who can make mormonism look less crazy with his brand of evangelical christianity. he's nutso. he's going to make mitt romney look great in new hampshire. >> your buzzer beater now. 20 seconds each. "american idol" kelley clark son endorses ron paul. she tweeted this. i love ron paul. if he wins the nomination for the republican party in 2012, he's got my vote. too bad he probably won't. it sent many of her followers, by the way, into a tizzy. if you're a republican candidate looking to seal up eye owe warnings which celebrity
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endorsement would you want, cheri? >> if you get a big political name like chris christie has that's good. in terms of hollywood, you don't want anybody. midwesterners, particularly people from iowa, i spent a few months out there running a congressional campaign a million years ago and you can swing a dead cat and -- you can't swing a dead cat from hitting a candidate running for president. they don't care about celebrity endorsements. they want you there. >> john, what do you think? which celebrity endorsement would work for one of these gop candidates in iowa? >> they probably want someone without a twitter account. i think celebrity rehab is in order for this field given how much rehabbing and operation of their campaigns. in reality, given how important the socially conservative vote and evangelical vote is, a dream endorsement that anybody would push a pea with their nose would be tim tebow.
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>> pete dominick? >> well, first of all, kelley clarkson supporters are going to be disappointed when they find out they can only vote one time and it can't be by text. she's a game show winner. i give her credit for going out there and saying what she believes politically. the truth; there is no celebrity that could help any of these candidates because anybody who would help them is dead. john wayne. if it was somebody, i guarantee you it would be some old white tough guy. that will really put them over. anybody who cares what a celebrity thinks shouldn't be voting. >> thanks for playing to all three of you. thanks to you all. >> happy new year. >> happy new year to you as well. 2012 is on the way. we're almost there. now we're going to ache a short break on cnn. verizon wireless has a new way for customers to pay their bills and customers aren't very happy about it. we'll explain. also, thanks to this year's economy the rose bowl parade will have fewer floats. don't worry, the new additions
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are sure to get a lot of attention. nyquil (stuffy): hey, tylenol. you know we're kinda like twins.
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if you are a verizon wireless customer, well, you're probably unhappy about this new measure. the company has announced a new fee. alison kosik is at the new york
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stock exchange with the details. what is this fee? >> you know what the response to this fee first was? if you were anywhere near facebook or twitter yesterday, hala, you saw the outrage from consumers. what is this fee? what verizon is going to be doing starting january 15th, verizon wireless, i mean, is going to be charging $2 if you make a one-time payment. if you use your credit or debit cards either on line or over the phone, but there is a way you can avoid this new fee. here's what you can do? you can use electronic check on line or over the phone, you can enroll in auto pay, use a gift card. you can pay at a verizon store. do the old-fashioned way, put the check in the mail. you can avoid the f that way as well. verizon is saying that this fee is designed to cover costs associated with the one-time credit card payments. translation here in english it's actually passing on those transaction fees that the credit card companies charge them. some people may think of it as a late fee if you forget to pay
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your bill, but we'll see if this outrage has legs. you think about what bank of america did, hala. it folded. it pulled back on its $5 debit card fee because of the consumer backlash. we'll see if the consumer backlash on this has any bearing. >> it was interesting what happened with bank of america. that was part of the outrage after the bailout. customers felt you're charging me $5 a month to use my own money. in this case people might say you're charging me money to pay my bill? we'll see what happens with that. let's talk about the last trading day of the year. how's it looking on this december 30th, alison? >> ghostly quiet. it's very quiet out here on wall street. the dow is on track, hala, to end the year with a modest gain of about 6%. the nasdaq looks like it's headed for a loss of more than 1%. the s&p 500 is really the wild car. it's on the fence. we're watching the s&p today because that will determine
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whether or not it's going to close with a gain or a loss for the year. >> thank you. alison kosik at the new york stock exchange. floats in the annual rose parade have wilted in the bad economy. companies are still investing in them. we'll find out more in a live report. nyquil: you know i relieve coughs, sneezing, fevers?
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123rd rose parade is monday. if you watch you might notice some changes.
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some of the well-known sponsors dropped out because of the bad economy. cnn's casey wian tells us how that's opened up some spots on the parade route. >> reporter: perennial award winner rainburg sprinklers, the famous collides dals, and the city of long beach all have withdrawn from the 2012 rose parade because of economic concerns. this float was entered in 1999 and wowed with the member moral entry fee during the tuskeege airmen. they stopped funding its float in 2004 turning it over to a private foundation which pulled out of the parade this year. >> we did our very, very best too try to raise the funds to pay for the float. the economics, the businesses are hurting. they wanted to go ahead and if they had any additional available dollars to use it for other purposes. >> the picturesque back drop of the rose parade route
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traditionally has been viewed by cities as a valuable promotional tool to attract businesses to the region. with so many municipal budgets in trouble, cities are now facing a difficult choice. pay for a float in the rose parade or pay the salary of a police officer or librarian. >> certainly when you have cities where their major financial issues going on, putting a float in the parade just seems like not necessarily the best use of resources. >> reporter: the smallest of the four companies that build floats for 75,000 to $200,000 or more each has shut its doors. >> we started off january 1st well with a good parade and two happy clients and we're finishing the year out of business. >> people aren't spending money like they used to. everybody's holding onto it. >> reporter: he runs phiest sta floats. he's lost long-time client rainburg, others have taken its place. >> there's been an impact.
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there's been cost increases with raw materials, flowers, steel, labor, insurance costs. i'm fortunate. >> reporter: float builders and parade organizers even with the slow economy say the rose parade remains a big draw for many advertisers. >> we seem to have weathered all the economic storms for the last 123 years to be in existence. >> reporter: things may be a little uncomfortable after the upcoming parade. protesters from the occupy movement plan to voice their concerns by staging a demonstration behind the final float of 2012. >> casey wian joins us live from pasadena. i can see some floats behind you. tell us what's around you and what interesting floats will be on display this year. >> reporter: well, hala, we're at the phoenix decorating company here in pasadena. you can see the finishing touches are just now beginning to be put on these floats. the parade will be happening on monday this year, january 2nd. you know, despite what a lot of
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the people were worrying about, this company, which is the largest float building company, says that its business has actually continued to remain strong. as we mentioned, advertisers believe that this is a real sort of a bang for your buck issue. you get about six times as many eyeballs with the rose parade float per dollar as you do with an ad in the super bowl. even with the down economy, that's one reason why you see all those float builders. we have children's hospital over here. that's going to be their float. that's why you're seeing these folks continue to build these floats and invest this money even with the down economy. >> thanks very much. casey wian is live in pasadena. thanks for the preview. they were rescued from a roadside attraction after a criminal investigation. >> you don't usually put your face in a wolf dog's face because there's always a danger of them being startled by something. >> but now these wolf dogs are getting help.
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they're helping war veterans. we'll have this story in the 12:00 p.m. eastern hour of the "cnn newsroom." [ child ] it's so cool!
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new polls out this morning bring even more bad news for newt gingrich. the former front-runner's numbers have been dropping for a few days now. details now from des moines, iowa, and cnn political editor paul steinhauser. what do the latest numbers reveal, paul, today? >> hala, i know we've been
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talking about this earlier this morning. the main poll numbers show romney and paul tied. look at this little breakdown from the polls. very interesting. very fascinating. this is from nbcmarist. it asks the people likely to partake who's not acceptable as a nominee, 41% say ron paul not acceptable. newt gingrich pretty high up as well, 35%. congresswoman michele bachmann at 34%. who's at the bottom, mitt romney. only one in five say romney is not acceptable as the gop nominee. now why is gingrich's numbers so high there, 35% saying unacceptable? here's one reason why. all that negative advertising we've seen here on the air waves in iowa being directed at gingrich. a new study by campaign media analysis group, it says that almost 50%, almost 50% of all the political ads run in iowa over the last month have been attack ads against the former house speaker. that's a pretty high number,
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hala. >> well, yeah, it is a pretty high number. it seems as though negative ads are having an impact, but let's talk about the candidates themselves. some of them are actually leaving the state of iowa, at least for part of the weekend. we're so close to the iowa caucuses. which candidates are taking off, paul? >> reporter: isn't that amazing, four days to go. i put the story up earlier this morning. ron paul, the congressman from texas, going back to texas. he's here all day campaigning. tomorrow and sunday he spends the weekend, new year's eve, with his wife. the campaign tells me he'll be back here monday morning. mitt romney, you saw him earlier this morning with chris christie. he's going back to new hampshire. right now he has an event there today and tomorrow morning. back here later on saturday. while he's gone chris christie and romney's wife, ann, will continue to campaign here in iowa. >> thanks. paul steinhauser. we'll see you later throughout the


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