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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  December 26, 2013 8:00pm-9:01pm PST

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they can figure out how to make it work here for everybody, absorb all the people flooding in from all over africa, continue to make mandela's dream a reality, maybe there's hope a reality, maybe there's hope for the rest of us. -- captions by vitac -- tonight how millions are handling a holiday on ice with power lines down from michigan to maine, roads too dangerous to drive. we'll tell you what's happening and who's about to get hit again. also tonight this, wouldn't happen to santa. u.p.s. and fed-ex scrambling to deliver what they couldn't deliver on christmas. we'll see how they explain missing the big day for so many people. and later, two groups of people in pain. one gets a common kind of knee surgery, the other gets a phony operation. which group does better, do you think? well, the answer will surprise you. but we begin with the dangerous holiday weather, deadly weather. authorities now blaming it for at least 19 fatalities in parts of the u.s. and canada. there are power blackouts, highway shutdowns, airport
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slowdowns, icy roads that turn driving into very tough sledding indeed. here's the roundup from 360's randi kaye. >> reporter: this is not how you want to spend the holiday, caught in a pileup stretching more than ten miles in painsville, ohio. it all started with a multivehicle accident on interstate 90 and grew from there with cars piled on top of each other. as many as 40 vehicles were involved, no major injuries. >> i tried to steer my car into the wall to avoid hitting the car in front of me and it did work. >> reporter: constructions barriers that were supposed to have been removed gave cars less room to maneuver and avoid other vehicles. the highway was shut down for six hours. as recently as this morning, the pileups continue. this time in pennsylvania. about 35 different vehicles got caught up in four different accidents. some flipped upside down. no fatalities, but about 44 people were injured.
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25 of them needed treatment at the hospital. in vermont, officials are calling it the worst storm since 1998. about 1500 people are still without power there. in maine, more than 30,000 are in the dark. and another 86,000 in michigan. roads across that state are a sheet of ice, which is only delaying utility crews from restoring power. this consumer's energy truck flipped over on a michigan interstate on christmas day. luckily the driver wasn't hurt. a dozen cars and trucks wiped out on that same patch of ice. in upstate new york in sackett as harbor power is also a problem, though some are getting relief like this man who got his power turned on >> it makes it a lot better. because at least the blower on the furnace will work now. and the refrigerator so we can keep the milk and stuff. >> reporter: in canada, there are some 54,000 homes and businesses without power, down from 300,000 last weekend.
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there is so much snow and ice in the toronto area, trees are splitting in two. power companies are working overtime. but even so, residents are frustrated that they're still in the dark. >> the trees are still down. like the power lines are still down. nobody's been to our street to fix anything. >> reporter: and with the darkness comes danger. four people are dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in the u.s., five more in canada. this man's father was exposed. >> so basically my dad used a barbecue, charcoal to heat up the house. there's a lot of carbon monoxide. >> reporter: his dad turned out to be okay. but residents fear if all the lights aren't back on soon, there may be more close calls ahead. randi kaye, cnn, new york. >> good reminder not to improvise when it comes to heat. and as for what brought us all that ice in the first place, what's in store for the next couple of days, let's check in with jennifer gray and the weather center. what's happening?
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>> hey, bill, this ice is basically left over from this past weekend's storm. what what's happened is temperatures haven't gotten above freezing so the ice is still there. it's causing a lot of stress on those power lines, the trees, and that's where we're seeing the problem. we're not seeing any more ice but we are seeing quite a bit of lake effects snow. you can see in upstate new york still seeing it there. we're also seeing some snow pushing into northern maine. it is steadily pushing out. what we're expected to see through the overnight hours, really not much more. maybe 2 to 4 inches of snow in syracuse, buffalo, and maybe just a trace of snow in maine. but temperatures are going to stay chilly. we are still in the 20s. detroit at 25, toronto at 21, and 26 in burlington. the good news, bill, we are expected to see temperatures get above freezing though in the next couple of days. >> what about the northeast in coming days? a lot of travelers up in these parts looking to the skies. what's it look like? >> yeah. we are going to see another
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storm system push through. i want to touch on these power outage numbers real quick because we are still seeing quite a bit of power outages across the northeast. 30,000 in maine, we're seeing about 86,000 in michigan. and this is that storm system. we're going to stay pretty quiet all the way through sunday morning, but then once sunday morning afternoon hits you can see it pushing through. it looks like this is mainly going to be a rainmaker but we could see a little bit of snow. the situation is still fluid. we're still monitoring yet. but we could see a little bit of snow through the end of the weekend, bill. >> jennifer, thanks very much. our next story, i guess weather is partially to blame for this. i guess we could call it the christmas present that didn't come. shipping giants u.p.s. and fed-ex now scrambling tonight with extra fervor to clear a heavy backlog caused by flight delays from the recent storms and the sheer volume of the truncated shopping and holiday season. parents had to explain you see sometimes reindeer get tired,
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sometimes the elves have to prioritize. elena machodo, any explanation? >> reporter: a lot of explanations here from parents in terms of what happened to those christmas presents. >> and do we know how many numbers were affected by this? are they giving out how many customers were affected? >> reporter: we don't have those numbers just yet, bill. u.p.s. has said that what happened was kind of a perfect storm of sorts. remember that ice storm that hit dallas a couple of weeks ago? that created a backlog. and then came the shorter shopping and shipping holiday season. there were fewer days between thanksgiving and christmas this year. that means that there was a higher volume. and then the unprecedented surge in the online shopping. now, u.p.s. has released a statement on their web site. their latest statement reads as follows "u.p.s. experienced heavy holiday volume and is
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making every effort to get packages to their destination as quickly as possible. u.p.s. has resumed normally scheduled service on december 26" which is today. and their hope is to have all of these packages shipped by tomorrow. now fed-ex, they say they did have some delays. but they're calling those incidents isolated. in fact they say they've been delivering very high levels of service. they say about 99% at fed-ex ground. and the hope is that all of this is starting to resolve. >> but everybody can relate to this even if you did get your packages on time. that sort of dread that kicks in when you check the back porch and realize, all those toys aren't there. you've been talking to some angry folks, i imagine. >> reporter: i have. i have. there are some people who are very upset. and the fact that many people still haven't gotten those shipments isn't helping. take a listen at what some people told us today. >> i am very upset. >> why? >> because the people that i
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ordered it from guaranteed it. and i didn't have any qualms about it, because the amount of time which was four or five days, it would have gotten here anyway in four or five days regular without it being rushed or anything. >> i think people have to be a little understanding. sometimes you can't get everything you want the way you want it. and you have to be a little patient. i'm sure they're trying as hard as they can. >> words of wisdom. >> reporter: good representation of -- absolutely. that's a good representation of what we have seen online on social media in terms of the reactions to what has happened. >> now, i have to speak as someone who once worked at u.p.s. i used to load those trucks at 4:00 in the morning. worst job ever if you imagine lucy and earthel scene with the conveyor belts of chocolates only they're box that is never stop. these people are busting their
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tails i know this. i wonder if we shouldn't be blaming retailers more and our procrastinating severals for waiting. retailers are promising guaranteed christmas delivery even if you ordered on monday night which seems completely impossible given the laws of space and time. >> reporter: it's tough to say exactly what happened, right? where did this all go wrong. that's something that u.p.s. has said are going to be taking a look at at the beginning of the year. i think it's interesting to note that a lot of people online even though they're angry they are praising those workers who have been working extremely hard to get these deliveries out there. >> they are. they should be the fifth branch of the military, the u.p.s. those guys bust it. alina machado, thank you for going out in the cold for us tonight. just ahead, a few people love the folks who work in that building. wait until you see how much some people hate them. new polling on congress and the 2016 presidential race and who hillary clinton would clobber and who might actually give her a very tough time in a couple of years. also a hostage tape surfaces
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with a message from an american being held by al qaeda and the message is for president obama. late word on that ahead on 360. h and sunset skies into rich interior accents. or putting the beauty of a forest in the palm of your hands... it will take you to another place... wherever you happen to be. this is the new 2014 jeep grand cherokee. it is the best of what we're made of. well-qualified lessees can lease the 2014 grand cherokee laredo 4x4 for $359 a month. ♪ how do you explain the feeling of this place? of driving into beautiful. running hard down roads of your own making. and declaring, "" you don't explain it. you just experience it.
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yes, there are only. >> there are only 1042 shopping days until we pick a new leader of the world. it's never too early for our polling unit to ask americans who they like. right now it seems like they really like hillary clinton over most republican contenders with one big exception. let's run down the list. governor jeb bush she crushes him by 21 points. former arkansas governor mike huckabee by 15 points. she owns the texans with a 18 point advantage over senator ted cruz and 17 points over governor rick perry. another 2012 gop contender former governor rick santorum trails 19 points. a couple newcomers, rand paul, marco rubio running behind her 13 and 19 respectively. at least paul ryan gets into the single digits.
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a wisconsin congressman, former veep candidate within a respectable 8 points to clinton. who does that leave? new jersey's governor chris christie. if the election were held today which would be a huge inconvenience to everyone if it were, those polled would put him in the white house 48 to 46%. our friends also asked americans what they think of congress. and the results are great for crab lice and tape worms. now those are both popular than our congress. 67% say the worst congress in their lifetime with only 28% disagreeing. raw politics of this, senior political analyst david gergen, democratic obama campaign pollster -- >> let's start with the christie-hillary numbers there. who do you think reads that poll and laughs harder longer? >> that's a good question. but i'll tell you something.
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they're not laughing in the clinton camp. because they know while these polls have no predictive value at this time, they do give you a snapshot of what's going on and what this poll reflects is that the obama care troubles that the president has had are now lapping up on hillary clinton as well. she's had a lead over all republicans up until now. the fact that she's in a tie with chris christie in three different polls, especially this one, i think just underscore there's been a lot of damage. and it's not a walk away. remember this. hillary can separate out from most issues regarding president obama. but on health care, she's more tied to him than probably she'd like to be at this point. >> interesting. kevin, let's talk about christie. if you dig into these, he's doing really well in suburban voters, leads with older voters, doesn't do as well with women. that's to be expected as well. but again we are laughingly far away from this election. but do numbers like this help
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shape the republican party, help him build firewalls against the tea party wing? >> well, what's interesting is that the contrast that you see with christie's numbers versus those of congress and probably many members of congress who are republicans. the reason that christie's doing very well is for all the reasons that i think members of congress are being judged very harshly. washington, d.c. seems like a place that has no accountability. it seems like a place that's full of nonsense and partisanship. christie has done very well. he's built a national profile for himself. because he's somebody who seems like he's no nonsense. he seems like he's somebody who puts politics aside and instead has focused on how government can be more accountable to the voters. so i think that's the reason that he's doing very well. and i think it sends a message to a lot of republicans out there who are considering who the best candidate's going to be to fix the party's ills nationally. this is someone who can bring the party together and somebody who can expand the party's
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appeal to a lot of of different voters. >> he also has a little name recognition because he just won re-election. he was kind of all over the place. cornell, if not hillary who? who else the democrats got? >> well, i think the democrats have a fairly strong bench i'll talk about them in a moment. i want to push back on this ideal that hillary is now being dragged down by obama care problems. she's cleaning the clock of most of the field. these a statistical tossup quite frankly with the most popular sort of broadly republican we have. i will agree that none of these polls are predict anything in the future. in 2006 around this time cnn's polling had mccain ahead of obama, nbc's polling actually had him i think by 5 or 6 points. they're sort of meaningless because the contours of the election have not been settled. for me the real challenge for republicans is really this. if you have a candidate who comes out of your primary who cannot compete for that diverse
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s.w.a. swath of electorate, unable to compete in key states like florida and virginia and nevada for that degreeing diverse electorate, if they have a candidate who can't do that they have very little hope. >> do you think christie can come out of some of these primaries? >> i would throw that to my friend kevin. look, i think if the tea party sort of coalition is coalesced around one candidate, i see sort of christie having a hard time winning that nomination when you've got to run the gauntlet of the south, georgia, alabama what have you in a republican primary. >> cornell, let me jump in here bill if i could. cornell you said the lapover quality from health care. but how then do you explain the big swing that this same poll has on tgeneric vote for congre for the house. a 13 point swing in favor of the republicans. obama care is primarily driving that. after all, just a few weeks ago the shutdown was really hurting
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republicans. we've had this huge swing since. don't you think there's a lapover there? and if so, why don't you think the same lapover would apply to hillary? >> well one thing, i think the shutdown was an artificial bump. look david, i don't think we were ever going to carry that butch over into for several months. i still sort of like where we are in position right now better than they are, particularly when you see millions upon millions of americans actually begin to sort of sign up for health care and get to the points where even in reports today republicans are having some backtracking about what are they going to do about sort of repealing health care when millions of americans are on it and no more perfect example is this "washington post" article a couple of weeks back talking about kentucky. guess what? thousands of rural kentuckians who never had health care before and have never been voting democrat before all of a sudden are sort of now signing up for health care. what is sort of mitch mcconnell going to tell them? i'm going to take that away from you? it puts them in a tough position. >> one last point, too. one of the reasons hillary clinton enjoys a pretty decent
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profile with many voters is that her profile is decidedly nonpolitical. she's been protected from the very partisan debates we've seen over health care, the very partisan debates we've seen over things like the budget shutdown. once she has to get into that fray again, we're going to see these numbers shift dramatically inside the context of a campaign where it's a choice between her and a republican candidate. it will be very different then. >> i want to go back to cornell and get an answer to that question. who else if not her then? you see deep bench. give me two names. >> i think vice president biden did himself a great favor with the base of the democratic party, because he did with ryan in that vice presidential debate which most democrats were hoping president obama would have done with romney. so you cannot count out biden. but of court o'malley looking good, cuomo in new york looking good. they keep talking about elizabeth warren although she says she's not going to do it. >> cornell, i bet you think
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biden can separate himself from obama care too in 2016, right? >> i hope he actually runs with obama care. >> hope is not a strategy. >> these congressional numbers, oh, boy are they low. the special kind of low it seems like. the people who are older who have seen the most congresses, they really hate them the most. >> yeah. >> how does this bode for the mid terms next year? >> well, unless it turns around, i was quite surprised by this poll today, how much of a lead the republicans have built up on the generic. i'm not sure that's going to hold. maybe cornell is right if more people sign up some of this could shift a little bit. we'll see. but right now, i just don't see where there's a path to taking the house back for the democrats right now. and that is not good news for the president. because he needs those last two years with the the democratic house and senate if he really wanted to finish his agenda.
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right now i just don't see that path. maybe kevin will have a view on that as well. >> going to have to save it for another show. you're being generous with my time, david. but thank you to you and kevin and cornell. we always appreciate your ideas. you can always find more on this topic at just ahead, the chilling christmas message from an american held hostage by al qaeda. what he said about his medical condition and what he wants president obama to do to secure his freedom. and later, the race to get 74 people whose polar expedition is now literally frozen in place. [ sniffles, coughs ] shhhh! i have a cold with this annoying runny nose. [ sniffles ] i better take something. [ male announcer ] dayquil cold and flu doesn't treat all that. it doesn't? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms plus has a fast-acting antihistamine. oh, what a relief it is!
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the state department says it is working hard to verify the authenticity of a deeply disturbing christmas message. it is a 13-minute video purportedly from al qaeda showing an american named warren weinstein, a contractor for usaid, who was pistol whipped and abducted from his home in pakistan more than two years ago. in it, the 72-year-old says he is in poor health and has this plea for president obama. >> mr. obama, you are a family man. and so you understand the deep mental anxiety and anguish that i have been experiencing for these past more than two years. i am therefore appealing to you
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on on a humanitarian basis if nothing else and asking that you take the necessary actions to expedite my release and my return to my family and to my country, to our country. >> he says that because president obama's now in his second term, he can make a hard decision such as negotiating with al qaeda without worrying about re-election. jill dougherty is working her sources at the state department and throughout the administration and joins us with the latest. >> so jill, the state department says they're trying to authenticate this tape now but it looks like him, sounds like him. what's can they glean from this video? >> reporter: they can find out exactly when it was made. there may be other signs. you know, he looks different. there have actually been three videotapes that have been made by al qaeda of him. and in each one he looks slightly different. so there are various points of information that they can glean from that. but yes, you'd have to say that
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probably that definitely is mr. weinstein. >> which must provide some bit of comfort for his wife, his daughters, his grandchildren. he talks about them in the letter he wrote as well. cold comfort, though, the hell they've been through for the last couple of years must just be heart breaking. >> reporter: it is. and he refers to that every single minute that he is in captivity he thinks of them. but bill it's a very difficult situation. because what he is saying in this video is he's urging president obama to negotiate with al qaeda. and that basically is not going to happen. the policy of the u.s. government is not to negotiate with al qaeda. and that's the dilemma. i can't see really the u.s. ever giving in to some of the demands that al qaeda is making. >> and they're not looking for money. there are plenty of kidnapping chains in that part of the world. they grab an american and sell them to the highest bidder. it seems like their demands are pretty clearcut, and they're
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nonstarters. >> reporter: yes, they are. in fact, i actually have a list of them. there are about eight that were made a couple of years ago by al zawahhiri and they are things that the united states is not prepared and will never do. you'd have to say. one of them is to release sheik omar abdel rakman, the mamasterf the 1993 world trade center bombing. free prisoners at guantanamo, shut guantanamo. pakistan somalia, gaza. the u.s. government does not want to and refuses to get into any type of tit for tat deal. because that just could, they would say, encourage al qaeda to
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grab more americans. >> and that leaves really only the possibilities of release or rescue. any hope for either of those? . >> reporter: boy, that is very difficult to say. obviously they feel -- al qaeda seems to feel that there is reason to keep holding him. they're not getting very far, but they continue to make that case. whether he could be rescued is a very difficult as you know complex question that i don't think anybody can answer at this point. >> especially he is in waziristan. no man's land. just ahead the scandals and lies that shocked and awed in 2013. two athletes, an out of control mayor, a celebrity cook all made headlines. anderson looks back at their audacious turns in the spotlight. also ahead, a new study that may make you think twice about having a very popular type of knee surgery. what researchers found when they compared it with a phony operation.
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well, the day after christmas seems like a good time to recap some of the least shining moments of 2013. thanks to the dependability of human nature, the last 12 months have produced a conga line of bad behavior from garden variety shameless to flat out bizarre. we've had scandals and lies and extraordinary hubris. here's and sorn with a look back. >> 2013 started with one of the more bizarre hoaxes in recent memory, centered on notre dame star football player manti te'o, whose girlfriend supposedly died of leukemia during the season.
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>> i lost my grandparents and girlfriend for cancer. >> details made him a media darling until it was revealed that his girlfriend never existed. turned out she was a hoax cooked up by an acquaintance of teos who pretended to be the girlfriend online and on the phone. >> i'm just calling to say good night. i love you. >> teo claims he didn't know it was a hoax. >> at that time i didn't know. to be honest with you. i did not know. >> according to him, he didn't deliberately lie. unlike lance armstrong, the champion cyclist and cancer survivor had been under suspicion for doping for years. and for more than a decade vehemently denied the allegations. >> there are no secrets. this is a hard sporting event and hard work wins it. >> but the lie came crashing down in january when he finally began to tell the truth to oprah winfrey. >> did you ever take banned substances to enhand your cycling performance? >> yes. >> armstrong has largely stayed out of the spotlight since his partial confession. >> i want people to know who i
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am. >> and so has paula deen. celebrity chef known for her bubbly personality gave a tearful interview to "the today show" earlier this year after she was accused by a former employee of discrimination and using the n word. deen's southern food empire was badly damaged after that interview. >> i tell you what. if there's anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, if you're out there please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me, please. >> anthony weiner's sexting scandal seemed behind him, even launched a serious bid for new york city mayor this past may. he performed well in the polls until another woman came forward in july with another story of an online relationship. >> he got a little bit controlling with me towards the end. >> unlike the last scandal,
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weiner didn't lie about the allegation but he did give another public apology. >> there is no question that what i did was wrong. >> this time with his wife by his side. >> i love him. i have forgiven him. i believe in him. >> but the public had enough of weiner. his campaign sank and weiner lost. toronto mayor rob ford is still holding onto his job even after his bizarre behavior was caught on tape. >> i will [ mute ]. >> and his public confession. >> yes, i have smoked crack cocaine. >> when, sir? >> do i? am i an addict? no. have i tried it? probably in one of my drunksen stew f stew f stupors. >> he was stripped of his duties but still hold the title of mayor and says he will not step down. >> pretty impressive list there. how would you rank such
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audaciousness? depends on who you ask. here again is anderson. >> joining me now is dan savidge, andrew sullivan frommal drew senior commentator michaela angela davis and senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin in terms of scandals and scoundrels, who is at the top of your list? for me it was rob ford. cane not get enough of the rob ford. >> this man has done more for journalism and those of us who revel in it than anybody else this year. every story, every quote. just completely nailed. >> one amazing press conference where he said probably one of my drunken stupors and you'd think there's no way he could top it and he he'd top. >> it he did. i'm from d.c. so i have the original mayor that smoked crack that then we re-elected. so it's a bit of nostalgia for me. but i'm thinking like his wife. there's a whole lot of people behind him that this has probably been not so cute for. >> just to draw another scandal in, i mean, to me what's awful
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about these scandals is when you do see the wife. anthony weiner embarrassed himself, but his extremely accomplished, admirable wife has to stand there. and it's just -- that's what's worse. >> she's amazing. >> i'm waiting for one of the wives at one of the press conferences to stand up and say, i knew. i don't care. all of you can go. because they're the only ones to whom all of that stuff should matter. eventually there's be a sex scandal with someone is outed and the couple will stand there we have a relationship, we're mon og mouse. >> i think women know when they marry politicians it's a rare breed and there are things that go with it. especially someone like weiner's wife who's so smart, they're not victims. but they still have to manage their husband's mess. >> certainly if you marry rob ford you know he's irresistible. and you know that people are drawn to him. and you just have to deal with it. >> that quote that he said about her? like he's got plenty to eat at
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home? >> which was so delicious. oh, my god. [ overlapping speakers ] >> that was the press conference i was referring to. that specifically. >> one of those actual miscreants who says i did this. i didn't think anything was wrong with it. the entire generation now sending selfies to each other. >> do you think 20 years from now when that generation is running for office and all those things. >> it won't be an issue. >> because everybody will have them. >> pot used to destroy careers. obama was like i smoked pot. then we're going to get to sexting yeah, that's my penis. it's nice, right? >> what about lance armstrong? nobody's mentioned him. do you think he can have a third act? >> i think that was a really really bad thing. we in the united states don't take cycling all that seriously. the tour de france is one of the great sporting ooh vents in the world. he was one of the most admired athletes in the whole country, the whole world.
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and the scale of his lies is so enormous and the betrayal of so many people. and all the people he insulted and destroyed along the way. >> to me that's what's interesting, it wasn't just him doing this, he and forcing his teammates to do it as well, it was his bullying and destruction of the lives and careers of other people. >> and he also has the problem of being an athlete who is now in his 40s. so what's he going to do? >> he could be doing triathalons. it's a huge business. but he won't be able to compete in those events. >> and nor should he. there should be some consequence for deception on that scale. he betrayed his sport. he lied about what he did in the thing that made him famous. i think that's different. >> was it unfair what happened to paula deen? >> michael kinsley my mentor in journalism said the scandal isn't what's illegal, the scandal is what's legal. this is a woman who peddles this horrible fan thing food, becomes diabetic and uses it as an
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opportunity to promote diabetes drugs instead of healthy eating that. bothers me much more than any ridiculous stupid thing she said. >> the issue of actual integrity what they're doing as opposed to some human failing that happens to everybody in any line of work. and i think that distinction between that kind of trivial what we used to call veen yal sin in the catholic tradition and mortal sin which is really a betrayal of something important. that's an important distinction that we often lose. >> i don't think that it's little as in african-american, the culture in which she was also using to make people sick was -- it went deeper than these just said the n word. it's also that whole all the other things about and people dressing up as slaves and the way she treats her staff and black people having to go through the back. it was so layered with history and hurt and her kind of not dealing with that i felt it wasn't a little thing to at least this community. and we talked about it. it was kind of a big deal.
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>> when you look back at the year what stands out in terms of these kind of -- >> scandal-wise? >> yeah. >> it's like a buffet. so many delicious ones. i want to be an american patriot, but really for me rob ford, too. i love a good cunnilingus joke on the evening news. >> who doesn't? who among us has not. >> my mom once wrote a romance memoir about the man she had dated. and i use that term loosely. she described one guy she was currently dating who my mom was 85 at the time as the najinski of cunnilingus. she made me proof read the book. mom, i don't know much about modern dance. >> nor modern cunnilingus. >> exactly. >> do you see what rob ford has done for us? >> yes. brought us forward in so many ways. all right. we'll leave it there.
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dan sta my panel, thanks. >> hands down best panel of the year. i haven't watched all of them, but i love that one. just ahead what new research reveals about a type of knee surgery nearly three quarters of a million americans get every year, research that could make you think getting it done at all. we'll also tell you about a new security breach at one of america's busiest airports on one of the biggest travel days of the year. [ male announcer ] this is george.
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up close tonight, a new study that has stunned a lot of people because it literally adds insult to injury. knee injury to be specific. see, every year about 700,000 people tear that little bit of cushion in their knee called the meniscus and have arthroscopic surgery to fix it.
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a new study found that a fake operation worked just as well in treating the knee pain as actual surgery. that's right. they pretended to operate on some patients in this study. and the results are rather staggering. to talk about them all sort them out an orthopedic surgeon who chairs the american academy of orthopedic surgeons committee on evidence-based quality and value which is a long way of saying you are a b.s. detector for medical studies, right? >> i hope that i'm good at that. >> you hope you're good at that. all right. this one really took us by surprise this. happened in finland. about 150 people, five different hospitals. some of them had like clicking in their knees, locks up, real pain. half of them they operated on, gave them a prescription and therapy remedy. the other people -- they weren't under general anesthetic. most people were awake for this. so they rubbed knives on their knees and made i guess operation sounds, gave them the same prescription. a year later even those who
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still had clicking and locking said it worked for them. so as the b.s. detector, is this a good study? >> this is a very well-done study. and i think a study that would be very hard to reproduce in the united states. it would be hard to recruit patients for a study like this. i think that the big thing about this study, it does a very good job of showing that removing that torn piece of cartilage may not improve patient's symptoms. but i hope people don't extrapolate to this if you have a general meniscus tear -- both groups had surgery. in one group cartilage was removed, the other group it wasn't. so there has to be more research done in the future as to what is the most important aspect of this study and why did patients get better in both groups? >> it never occurred to me that surgical placebo would have this kind of effect. can they just chalk it up to that? how do you account for all those people who say i'm much better i would do it again even though there was nothing to be done
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again? >> well, i think there's two aspects to this. one is that patients do want to live up to the expectations of the surgeon. so there is a placebo effect for surgery different than a placebo effect for a pill. i think the second part of this arth arthroscopy were performed on both groups. i think as this moves to the future it's important additional research occur and we can isolate what was the most important factor in this study. >> there's a whole host of doctors who think we overtest in this country, we overprescribe and overoperate. do you think this is a symptom of that sort of thing? are people demanding the scope because they want to go full bore and get rid of that pain? do you think doctors are guilty of doing this too much? >> well, i think most of my o orthopedic colleagues in the united states would do some sort
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of therapy before we move to surgery. but there certainly is a group of patients who would like to have that red badge of courage that they had surgery to help justify their pain or validate their pain to themselves but also family members and friends and co-workers. so there is an aspect of that that occurs at least in our country with these types of situations. >> at least it's good to know if you start with limited therapy, some common sense, you can work your way up to that scope in the end. doc, we appreciate your time tonight. thanks for your insight. >> thanks for having me. appreciate it. let's get caught up on some other stories. susan hendricks has a 360 bulletin. >> reporter: a major security breach at newark liberty airport. officials say a man hopped a fence and walked onto the runway yesterday, christmas day. he was arrested. this is the second security breach in a new york-area airport in a year and a half. and a russian ship wedged between thick sheets of ice the coast of antarctica is waiting for help to arrive. 75 people are on board including
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a scientific expedition. the vessel sent out a distress call on christmas morning. to los angeles now, an incredible rescue. you've got to see it. a man trapped inside this burning car was pulled to safety with just moments to spare by a police officer who was on his way to work. an off-duty firefighter who was driving by also stopped to help out. literally with seconds to spare there. >> incredible. wasn't even on the clock and did his job there. thank you, susan. good story to end on there. a quick reminder about new year's eve. anderson and kathy griffin aring to again from time's square with all the hilarity it starts at 9:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. coming up next you the loyal 360 viewer you voting on line. after the break your choice for the number three ridiculist of 2013. but my sinuses are acting . it's time for advil cold and sinus. [ male announcer ] truth is that won't relieve all your symptoms. new alka seltzer plus-d relieves more symptoms
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you the people have spoken in choosing your favorite ridiculist of 2013. here you go. your choice for number three. >> time now for the ridiculist. tonight we offer "the ridiculist" tips to get in shape for summer calls prancercize. >> hold on, anderson. i'm sure we're all on the edge of our seats. we're waiting to go hear your take on that prancercize video. but i think that could wait until tomorrow. since today is your birthday, anderson, i'm officially taking over "the ridiculist." so you can just sit back and relax, enjoy and let the viewers at home. they can see us side by side. they can decide, by the way, who's more of a dream boat? would that be you or me? and i thought i'd like to take this opportunity, anderson, on the occasion of your birthday, to offer you some tips on aging gracefully as a news anchor
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since as you know i have a few years, not many but a few years on you. so here's the question. should we get started? >> you go right ahead, sir. >> all right. you seem to have your workout program down as anyone who has seen you in a t-shirt can attest. you don't need any advice from me on that. whatever you're doing just keep it up. no background check necessary at that gun show, by the way. but there are a few areas in which i think i can be of some assistance. as you get older, anderson, you're going to have to stop -- i personally was shocked a lot of of our viewers around the world were shocked to see this a few weeks ago on snl which i assume is a news program. watch this. >> anderson cooper 360. >> as you age, anderson, you're going to have to learn that
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violence doesn't solve anything. use your words, anderson. there's one other area i'd like to address and i'd like to address it right now. that is your tendency as you well know to burst out laughing at certain types of words and ideas. you know what i'm talking about. let's just remind the viewers. >> so an actual thespian actually thes-peean. they should thank their lucky stars it wasn't depar 2. sorry. sorry. [ giggling ] >> by the way, a kung fu panda is going to cost you. if you're the adventurous type or just like to splurge on crap? >> anderson, i got to tell you. that kind of behavior may fly in your 40s. but it's not going to cut it in your 60s you. have to learn how to keep it together. meditation maybe.
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maybe find a way to center yourself, repeat a mantra in your head. for instance, i'll give you an example. i calm myself often by repeating over and over and over again "you're the situation room." but that may not work for you because it has the word "urine" in it. i hope you'll find as you mature that you'll be able to keep a straight face when saying nearly anything. so watch how a master does it. the pussy willows blowing in the wind on the shores of lake titticaca are almost as imagine curveball as uranus. i make it look easy, don't i, anderson? that's the way you do it. you mature, you learn how to deal with these things. but let me just point out you're doing just fine. so tonight on behalf of everyone at 360, we want to thank you for the work you do every day for your dedication, your
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leadership, and for letting us all get the last laugh with you on "the ridiculist." >> so proud to be part of this team. thanks for watching this edition of "ac 360." "anthony bourdain parts unknown" starts right now. after nine days of threats of imprisonment, confiscation of footage, and what was the most chaotic, difficult, yet amazing trip of my life, the last thing that stands between us and our flight home is the reason we came. the congo river itself. [ speaking in foreign language ] >> the u.n. truck just said he's been here since this morning. >> i've been held up for days. >> what's up, freddie? >> they're starting the engine. >> awesome. >> just broke down again? >> yeah.


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