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Standoff Over Payroll Tax Cut; Interview With Congresswoman Nan Hayworth; Letters to President Obama, Not Santa; Insight Into North Korea's New Leader; Chinese Hackers Hit U.S. Chamber of Commerce; A Final Best Friend; Dutch Magazine Slurs Rihanna

Aired December 21, 2011 - 14:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: And hello to all of you. I'm Brooke Baldwin, as always.

Top of the hour. Let's get you caught up on everything making news. "Rapid Fire." Let's go, beginning with Washington.

The stalemate over the payroll tax cut showing no signs of easing, but today we learned recently in a White House briefing that President Obama did in fact reach out to House Speaker John Boehner, also reached out to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on seeking resolution. If -- here's the "if" -- if Congress does nothing, the average paycheck will be $40 lighter each and every pay period.

The White House Web site in fact shows this countdown. Take a look with me.

Ten days left now before the tax cut ends. Right now, the leader of the House Republicans trying to restart talks. But Democrats say they first want that two-month extension approved.

Stay with me. Minutes from now I'm going to speak with one Republican who is staying behind in Washington. We'll see if she's optimistic that a deal will get done by the end of the year.

Also happening any minute, the government expected to unveil new rules aimed at protecting the environment. We're told the new rules would force power plants to reduce the amount of mercury in the air which ultimately ends up in our water. This means less contaminated fish, which some experts link to learning disabilities in kids.

And the grieving family of a U.S. soldier found dead in Afghanistan says he lost his life because of who he was. Eight U.S. soldiers face charges in the death of their fellow serviceman. The Army says 19- year-old Private Danny Chen (ph) shot and killed himself. His family says Chen had suffered physical abuse and ethnic slurs by both soldiers and superiors.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We cannot allow this to happen to our sons and daughter. As Asian-Americans, this is our country, and we want to serve.


BALDWIN: The eight soldiers are essentially charged with hazing and abusing Chen in the weeks before he took his own life.

And your safety in the skies is a hot topic today on Capitol Hill. Pilots will fly on shorter shifts and get longer rest periods. This is according to new rules from the FAA.


RAY LAHOOD, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: This is a big deal today. It's a big deal because for 25 years, people have been talking about this and haven't done a dang thing about it.


BALDWIN: Included in these new rules -- take a look -- pilots have a flight time limit of eight or nine hours. They're now required to have 10 hours off between shifts, and we're told the changes could cost airlines nearly $300 million a year.

Too many times you can just see the horrors of war in the face of a child. Case in point here, a 4-year-old girl burned, reportedly in a U.S. drone attack in Pakistan two years ago. She is now receiving free reconstruction surgery in Galveston, Texas, but scars cannot hide her smile. Her caretakers named her Shakira (ph), which means thankful.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's coming towards her goal to be treated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One thing that I've learned over the years is that children adapt to adversity a lot better than adults.


BALDWIN: Shakira (ph) was found burned beyond description in a trash bin. Doctors say her recovery will take at least a year.

And we want to take a moment now -- I've got to warn you that you may find our next story disturbing. A father is in court today. Police say he bound and gagged his 22-month-old daughter with tape and then posted the photo on Facebook.

This is the photo. It's no longer on the social media site.

Police say her wrists, her ankles -- you can see the tape -- her mouth, even, were bound with painter's tape. Twenty-one-year-old Andre Curry (ph) is charged with aggravated domestic battery. He made his first court appearance just this morning in Chicago.

And the International Space Station about to get three new visitors from Earth. And there she goes. A Russian rocket made a spectacular and, might I add, successful launch into space just this morning. The crew, with one American astronaut, is expected to reach the space station Friday.

And we are just getting going here. A lot more to cover for you in the next two hours, including this --


BALDWIN: It must be nice. Most of the folks who represent you on Capitol Hill are gone on vacation, yet lawmakers are nowhere close to getting their work done, which means your taxes are about to go up.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. The news is now.

REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD), MINORITY WHIP: Take this bill up and pass it.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: We're here, ready to work.

BALDWIN (voice-over): I'll speak live with one of the Republicans staying behind in D.C.

His daughter is missing after a bizarre encounter with a strange man. I'll speak life with Aisha Khan's family about the chilling messages she left just before vanishing.

Plus, caviar, pork, mangos. Kim Jong-il's former chef revealing secrets about the dictator's lavish lifestyle.

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "On a trip to Japan, I bought a whole tuna for $40,000."

BALDWIN: But perhaps even more fascinating, what the chef thinks the son will do as leader of a nuclear nation.

And instead of letters to Santa, some kids pouring out their hearts to President Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More kids are going to be more upset than they've ever been in their life.

BALDWIN: Their message: don't deport me or my parents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything I have is right here in Georgia. And I just don't want to go.



BALDWIN: Some are calling this politics at its worse. Republicans, Democrats, both on Capitol Hill, seemingly unable and unwilling to agree on extending and funding the payroll tax cut. So check your calendars here and this countdown that the White House is more than happy to provide for you.

In 10 days, the White House countdown clock shows 160 million Americans will be on the losing end. That means starting in 2012, your paycheck will get smaller, about $1,000 less a year for the average family.

And it looked like maybe relief was in sight when the Senate approved that two-month extension as the parties hashed out a bigger long-term deal, but then yesterday, if you were with us right around this time, House Republicans, going against their own members in the Senate, rejected the extension. We heard from the House Speaker, we heard from the president as well. Now the move is to get those talks started again.

Let's go straight to Capitol Hill, to Congressional Correspondent Kate Bolduan. She's back up there with the latest here.

And from what we heard -- I heard Jay Carney in that White House daily briefing saying that the president has in fact recently reached out to House Speaker John Boehner. Do we know what exactly "reached out" means, and does that mean there could be a meeting soon?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I wouldn't say that there's any word of any meeting soon, but there were phone calls, and maybe we could read at least that little bit of news as progress, Brooke.

The president, according to the White House, did reach out -- did call, place calls separately to House Speaker John Boehner, as well as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. And in that call to House Speaker John Boehner, according to a readout provided by the White House, President Obama, he reiterated kind of what we've heard from him in the past days, which is that he's committed to working with Congress to reaching a longer-term, a more comprehensive deal, a one-year deal to extend the payroll tax cut, but in the interim, to avoid Americans seeing a tax increase come January 1st. He says the only viable option is to pass the bipartisan compromise that was passed by the Senate.

This comes as House Speaker John Boehner met today with Republican members that he has appointed to what he hopes will be a conference committee to hash out differences between the House and the Senate. And on this same phone call, according to an aide to Speaker Boehner, he urged the president to call on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to do the same, to appoint negotiators to kind of get these talks started back up again.

But as you well, know, the Senate Majority Leader and congressional Democrats, they have no intention of starting back up talks again even though they all want to get to a one-year deal until the House moves to pass this short-term extension. So, as you can see, they are talking, but a lot of talking past each other right now, Brooke, because neither side is budging. And other than that, there is very little going on up here since both the House and Senate are out and most members are not in Washington.

BALDWIN: Well, we know some of Congress are still in Washington. I know you've seen some. We're about to speak to one here not too far from where you're standing.

But I'm sure you've seen "The Wall Street Journal" today, a fiery, critical opinion piece, essentially going after Republicans. "The Wall Street Journal" doesn't often do that. And I'm just curious, because we've also seen on the Senate side, Senate Republicans critical of House leadership as well, is the House -- is Speaker Boehner at all feeling the pressure today?

BOLDUAN: Well, I think you can be sure that the pressure is mounting. And you mentioned that "Wall Street Journal" editorial. That seems to be one of the most recent kind of ads to this mounting pressure not only on Congress. This is specifically on House Republicans.

Just a little bit from that "Wall Street Journal," if I can read to you. In part, it says, "Given how he" -- meaning Senate Minority Mitch McConnell -- "and House Speaker John Boehner have handled the payroll tax debate, we wonder if they might end up re-electing the president before the 2012 campaign even begins in earnest." It goes on to say, "At this stage, Republicans would do best to cut their losses and find a way to extend the payroll holiday quickly."

Now, this comes in addition to a growing number of Senate Republicans -- and this does not always happen, Brooke, so it is very noteworthy -- coming out to criticize their colleagues in the House to say that this move to reject the Senate compromise is irresponsible. And we're also getting a sense, I am, from Republican aides, both publicly and privately, saying that there's a general frustration up here of how House Republicans have played this. One aide saying to me that they are on an island of their own and that House Republicans went all in on what they thought was a good hand, and it wasn't -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Kate Bolduan, I appreciate you. Thank you so much.

We should also point out that the White House, taking advantage via Twitter, it's posting this Twitter page, asking Americans, "What can you do with $40?" That's the amount an average family making $50,000 each year would lose in a paycheck if this payroll tax cut is not extended.

And joining me now is one of those eight Republicans on that committee, Congresswoman Nan Hayworth of New York.

And Congresswoman, we appreciate you sticking around town and talking to me here. And I can only guess that you're staying in Washington not because you like how the Jefferson Memorial lights twinkle, but it's because you're hoping that you're going to be called back to do your job. Yes?

REP. NAN HAYWORTH (R), NEW YORK: Right. Yes. We are hoping very much, because we're here to fight for the American people.

Two months versus one year, you be the judge, Brooke. It's far preferable to have a one-year tax holiday than two months, and then being on a cliffhanger again.

And not only that, but we have Medicare, seniors, their patients, their doctors who are seeking relief from what will be a terrible burden, a 27-plus percent cut in reimbursements that will start up two months from now, or two months from January 1st, if we don't act. In the bill we passed through the House, with Democratic votes, we had a two-year relief from that burden. It's going to be hard to make appointments. It's hard to make a schedule. It's hard to make plans when you have got that hanging over your head.

So we're fighting as hard as we can.

BALDWIN: I want to press you on this a little bit, but I do just want to ask -- as we pointed out, a number of your colleagues are in town. I'm just curious about Democrats. Do you know how many of them are around town right now? And have you at all spoken with any Democrats at this point, the last 24 hours?

HAYWORTH: I haven't spoken with any of our Democratic colleagues since we left the floor yesterday, but would be more than happy to. And I think at least a couple of them are around. And we'd love to join them at the negotiating table.

BALDWIN: Here's the thing, Congresswoman Hayworth. And I know you talk to your constituents, you know this. Americans are fed up.

You've seen the approval ratings for this Congress. They are at an historic low. There is bipartisan -- I don't even want to use the word "malaise." I think it's beyond that. It's frustration, it's anger. And many saying, including Senate Republicans, it's the leadership in the Republican-controlled who is holding this thing up.

Listen. If I may, I want to play some sound. This is Republican Senator McCain speaking with Wolf Blitzer just yesterday. Take a listen.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: It is harming the Republican Party. It is harming the view if it's possible any more of the American people about Congress, and we've got to get this thing resolved.


BALDWIN: Harming the Republican Party. Harming your party. Do you agree?

HAYWORTH: Well, Brooke, we were elected overwhelmingly in 2010, the most immediate voice of the American people to -- actually, then Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The most immediate voice to fight for the American people, to fight for common sense in the way we burden them with taxes, in the way we burden them with regulations.

We're trying to lift those burdens. We'd like to lift them for a full year. That's fighting for the American people. That's common sense at work.

BALDWIN: But a lot of these voters, they certainly did vote for change. They wanted members of Congress such as yourself to hold the government accountable, but yet we're looking at this impasse, and in 10 days we're looking at these Americans who voted for you to serve them to be paying a little bit more in their paychecks if this things expires.

HAYWORTH: Well, Brooke, I think that the firm aim of all of us participating in this conference committee so far designated only by our House Republican majority, it's true, is to assure Americans that they will have that relief. We're not trying to leave anybody in limbo, and we're going to get this done as fast as possible.

We are all too mindful, as we should be, of their needs. So we will get the relief that they need.

BALDWIN: So, straight up, 10 days. What do you tell your husband, your family, who I'm sure are eagerly awaiting you to come home for the holidays? Will you be home for the holidays with a deal?

HAYWORTH: Well, I certainly hope so. And the best Christmas present that someone like me could have, or Hanukkah present, in the case of my combined family, is to be able to work out a longer-term solution for America's taxpayers, for our seniors and doctors who participate in Medicare, and for everybody who needs some certainty that things are going to improve, the federal government is going to be on their side.

BALDWIN: But if the short-term deal is the only thing on the table, and you've got 10 days, two days, do you take it and walk away, or do you not?

HAYWORTH: Well, you know, Brooke, we're here ready to work. So we're concentrating on that goal right now, and I think that's important.


Congresswoman Nan Hayworth, I really appreciate you speaking with me. Thank you.

Coming up in a couple of minutes, we'll speak live with Craig Crawford, who says Congress should just go home and never come back. He's fired up over this. Can you tell?

Stay tuned for that.

Also, it is the holidays. Kids are supposed to be happy and smiling, but when all you want for Christmas is to keep your family together, forget writing to the North Pole. It's the Oval Office that's getting letters, all these letters from kids who don't want to be deported.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This right here is my life. Here's my town. Here's my -- everything I have is right here in Georgia. I just don't want to go.


BALDWIN: Don't miss this. Two minutes away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BALDWIN: I don't know if you ever did this. I know I did. It's that time of year for the little ones to write those letters to Santa. But many children are actually skipping the "Dear Santa" letters for "Dear President Obama." And no, they're not asking for toys. They are pleading, in fact, for their loved ones not to be deported.

CNN en Espanol's Gustavo Valdes has their story.


GUSTAVO VALDES, CNN EN ESPANOL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ana Fragoso has one wish for Christmas --

ANA FRAGOSO, WROTE TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: I don't want my family to be separated.

VALDES: The Georgia native says some of her relatives are not in the country legally, so she fears they could be deported.

FRAGOSO: It would be sad for me.

VALDES: Ana and some 5,000 children across the U.S. wrote letters not to Santa Claus, but to President Obama.

TEODORO MAUS, LETTER WRITING ORGANIZER: They are angry at the things that have been created to take their parents away.

VALDES: Teodoro Maus is the head of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights. He organized a letter-writing campaign in Georgia. Maus says that the almost 400,000 deportations reported by the government last year are having an effect on the kids.

MAUS: They are writing to Obama and saying, listen, don't do this to us, leave my father here, let him spend the Christmas with us. Let the family be together.

VALDES: And not all of the letters are written by kids whose parents are undocumented. Daniel Godina says his parents and brothers are U.S. citizens, but still wanted to reach President Obama.

DANIEL GODINA, WROTE TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: So I could be able to give the president a better understanding of why I don't want this.

VALDES: He says he has friends whose parents have been deported from the only place they consider home.

GODINA: Hopefully my friends from school don't have to go. And I -- this right here is my life. Here's my town. Here's my -- everything I have is right here in Georgia. And I just don't want to go.

VALDES: Maus said these children have shown an awareness to this difficult issue far beyond their age. Their letters were sent to the White House and members of Congress in hopes the leaders can reach an agreement on immigration reform.

But for now, the fear of the unknown overshadows the joy of the season.

FRAGOSO: What I think is going to happen is more kids are going to be more sad than they've ever been in their life because their parents have been separated.

VALDES: Gustavo Valdes, CNN, Atlanta.


BALDWIN: Gustavo, thank you.

Men, women, children, they are all under fire right now in Syria. According to the Syrian National Council, nearly 250 people have died just in the last 48 hours alone. Coming up, who is being asked to now step in and help.

Plus this --


COREN (voice-over): And while many North Koreans were starving, Kim Jong-il would send Fujimoto (ph) around the world to buy ingredients for lavish dishes.


BALDWIN: How about this? We are getting this rare glimpse into the mind of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il through, of all people, the eyes of his personal chef. What he reveals, next.


BALDWIN: "Globe Trekking" now.

And reports of more horrific massacres in Syria. An opposition group says some 250 people were slaughtered in just two days. The White House released a statement saying the only way to bring about change that the Syrian people deserve is for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to leave.

CNN's Rima Maktabi is following that story. She has more -- Rima.

RIMA MAKTABI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, an alarming death toll has come out of Syria over the past couple of days, urged the Syrian opposition, Arab League, and the international community to voice out concerns over the situation in Syria.

In a strongly-worded statement, the White House says, "Assad's regime has no credibility and has flagrantly violated its commitment to end violence." The Syrian National Council asked for an immediate meeting for the U.N. Security Council and Arab League ministers to take necessary measures to protect civilians. The SNC called the violence a horrific massacre that left more than 200 people dead within two days only.

CNN cannot verify the authenticity of reports or social media that is coming out of the country. The Syrian state TV showed Syria's military and navy staging war games as a show of strength.

Activists and opposition report massacres in Syria while the Assad regime talks about terrorist armed groups committing horrors. And the past nine months, the international media have not been allowed into Syria to report freely about events that may mark history -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Rima Maktabi, reporting for us in Abu Dhabi.

Rima, thank you.

Now to North Korea, where we have learned the first orders have been given by the country's new leader, Kim Jong-un. The son of former leader Kim Jong-il gave orders to the military before his father's death was announced. That is what South Korea's news agency has been reporting. They say it's a sign that, yes, he has taken "complete control" of the military.

CNN spoke with a man whose family is inside North Korea. He paints a grim picture, saying people are starving, and he's risking his life just by talking to CNN.


STAN GRANT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "North Koreans don't speak openly," he says. "If anyone knows I'm talking, I would be sent to prison, and there's no mercy there. I would be shot dead."


BALDWIN: CNN's Anna Coren gives us a unique look inside the regime. She spoke with a former chef who describes this lavish lifestyle of former leader Kim Jong-il.


COREN (voice-over): As North Korea mourns the loss of its "Dear Leader," the world is anxiously waiting for his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, to reveal what sort of successor he will be.

One man with a personal insight is Kenji Fujimoto. For 13 years, he worked as Kim Jong-il's personal chef, one of the few outsiders allowed into this secretive and reclusive world. He says he was a (INAUDIBLE) sushi chef from Japan who would be invited to Kim Jong- il's private parties and drink with him.

"He would ask me, 'Do you like me?' I would tell him I love him and kiss his cheek."

The two men shared a passion for fine food. And while many North Koreans were starving, Kim Jong-il would send Fujimoto around the world to buy ingredients for lavish dishes.

He says he traveled to Iran for caviar, Denmark for pork, and Thailand for mangos and papayas. "On a trip to Japan, I bought a whole tuna for $40,000," he tells us. "I would do this trip a few times a year." But while in Pyongyang, Fujimoto spent time with the young Kim Jong- un, who he described in his 2003 memoir after defecting to Japan as a chip off the old block, believing this teenager would one day succeed his father.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He would always take the lead over his brothers. He was always going to succeed his father.

COREN (on camera): Kim Jong-un has inherited a country with nuclear capabilities, a crippled economy and a humanitarian crisis. The U.N. estimates a quarter of the population is facing starvation.

And while many are concerned that Kim Jong-un will follow in his father's footsteps, Fujimoto believes this Swiss-educated leader is worldly and very aware of what his country does not have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I believe he is aiming at reform in open society, explains the chef. He will look to China as an example so that the country can move forward.

COREN (voice-over): While there are fears Kim Jong-un and those around him may act to prove his leadership, Fujimoto is hopeful he may bring stability to the Korean Peninsula and lead his country out of the wilderness and into the international arena.


BALDWIN: Anna Coren for us from Seoul.

Now this, kick the can down the road, pinning themselves into a corner, way too many analogies describing Congress right now. Not enough compromise in this whole fight, this impasse really over this payroll tax cut extension.

Ten days until it expires. If they don't get their acts together, your taxes will go up in those 10 days. Columnist Craig Srawford, good enough to stand by. I have a feeling he's fired up over this one. We're going to talk right after this quick break.


BALDWIN: A lot of pressure in positioning right now in Washington over the fate of this payroll tax cut extension. Any American working has been benefiting for this past year.

Is the countdown clock on the White House Web site likes to show us, unless Congress state act, this payroll tax cut will expire in 10 days and your taxes are going to go up? The Senate has passed that two-month extension. The House is now balking Republicans want the cut extended for the entire year. So just a little perspective.

Take a look at this with me. If it expires, here you go, you're going to feel it right away. So figure out maybe the ballpark as to how much you make. So for example, if you make $35,000 a year, your taxes go up by $700 next year.

If you make $110,000, your taxes go up by more than $2300 and it adds up. Joining me now is Craig Crawford, blogger for

Craig, you can help me out on this list as well. I mean, obviously, this is not the first 11th hour decision that we've been covering on Capitol Hill this year, right?

Debt ceiling, funding of the government, you know, funding of the government, what, three times just about and now this. What gives? What's going on?

CRAIG CRAWFORD, BLOGGER, CRAIGCRAWFORD.COM: That's all this Congress could get done, Brooke, is to keep the roof from caving in at the last minute they put up some scaffolding and put it up for a couple of months.

It's been the least productive Congress I've ever seen in 25 years of covering the place. I mean, they've gotten less done than they used to do back in the 1800s when they only met a few months a year and on this payroll tax cut, all it does, even if they reach a deal is maintain the status quo.

It doesn't improve the economy. It just keeps things the same. It doesn't help people who are hurting get better. It just helps them keep from getting worse. And that's all they would be accomplishing even if they reached a deal and they still can't do that.

BALDWIN: You know you mentioned the scaffolding and I think a lot of Americans and I tweet through this show, and just after speaking with members of Congress. You know, they were frustrated with some of what she was saying and really on both sides.

I mean, you look at the congressional approval rating. It's the lowest it's been at an historic low and you look at someone like Senate Republican John McCain who was speaking with Wolf Blitzer yesterday.

So Senate Republican saying that this move here, this desire to have the full-year extension is harming the Republican Party. Do you agree, A? And, B, if they let this lapse and it expires, how will it hurt both parties come next November?

CRAWFORD: Yes, I think the approval for Congress is so low. It's only those that worked for it on Capitol Hill who approved them about the only ones left. This has been political incompetence on the part of Republicans.

Even Republicans are outside Congress are saying that "The Wall Street Journal" editorial because they had an opportunity to actually make Obama look pretty bad to his own supporters, liberal base, because he's the one who caved in the beginning on scrapping the millionaire tax that he wanted to pay for this payroll tax cut.

That's something that upset his base very much. So had they agreed to this, he would have been in the political hot seat with his own base, but now they have gone so far is actually what it boils down to is Republicans in the House particularly.

They are so concerned about maintaining low taxes for millionaires, that they are willing to cut taxes for -- as your chart showed people making $35,000 losing $700. They would rather do that than give their supporters, millionaires, any kind of higher taxes.

BALDWIN: Let's just say the what if game. Again, here is how it translates for any working Americans. If members of Congress allow this thing to lapse, is this as some analysts are saying really an early Christmas gift for President Obama? You know team campaign Obama can say, look at this dysfunctional Congress. Pick me. Is that a boost for him?

CRAWFORD: Yes. His -- you know, Republicans want soak the rich and stick it to the middle class campaign theme is so well supported by how this debate is ending up. Sometimes I wonder how Republicans, people who make 35,000 aren't their voters any way.

They don't care about them. They are more concerned about the millionaires. But also in this bill that was a real treat for Republican constituencies is doctors who provide Medicare services.

If this bill doesn't get done, if this deal isn't made, those doctors who provide Medicare services would see 77 percent plus cuts in Medicare payments for their services.

Now, there's a Republican's constituency that I think would get pretty worked up about the party not getting anything done.

BALDWIN: Well, Republican Congresswoman Nan Hayworth said she's in Washington. She is sticking around and she is willing to work. We'll wait to see. Ten days, the clock is ticking. Mr. Craig Crawford, I appreciate you. Thank you very much.

CRAWFORD: Good to be here.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

The United States Chamber of Commerce was hacked and investigators are saying the hackers are in China. Coming up, more suspicious activity on the computer servers and what's being done to fix that problem.

But, first, CNN Money put out its annual list of what they get dubbed and I'm quoting, "the dumbest moments in business." And some of these, I have a feeling you've been affected by.

In fifth place, remember this the Blackberry apology for that lengthy outage and a $100 in free apps to customers? Number four, Blackberry's worst ever outage.

Phones around the world not working for three whole days, remember that? Ever lost a dollar? How about a billion? Number three, Jon Corzine, former CEO of bankrupts MF Global who claims he has no clue where $1.2 billion of investors' money is.

Top two dumbest moments in business after this.


BALDWIN: Back to CNN Money's top five dumbest moments in business this year. The top two, second place, Netflix upset customers with a 60% price hike. Millions of customers canceled their accounts. One month later Netflix dropped that idea.

And the number one dumbest moment, the debt ceiling debacle, sound familiar? Congress behavior, which among other things led to the loss of America's AAA credit rating not too long ago.

A group of hackers in China reportedly broke into the servers of the U.S. Chambers of Commerce, America's top business lobbying group with about three million members and, get this, the chamber says it continues to see suspicious activity.

Case in point, a printer used by a Chamber executive was randomly printing Chinese characters earlier this year. Felicia Taylor live at the New York Stock Exchange, Chinese characters? What kind of information did these hackers get?

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, the information that they actually got was sort of opened to these individuals' e- mails that continued names of key people and things like that.

Ultimately communication ended up with about 50 Chamber of Commerce members that were actually compromised. Initially it was just four members that were targeted.

All the members have been notified naturally and the Chamber of Commerce has confirmed the breach with CNN, but it also had set an example bolstered up the chamber's computer defenses naturally and in the hopes that it doesn't happen ever again.

BALDWIN: As they hope that it doesn't ever happen again, I mean, have they said how vulnerable they could be to another potential breach?

TAYLOR: Well, in their opinion it's not necessarily that they are vulnerable to another breach because like I said, they bolstered up their computer defenses.


TAYLOR: But, you know, the incidents of these things seems to be happening more and more and seems to be coming out of China. So that's where the concern is. I mean, the Chamber of Commerce is huge.

It has 450 employees and its members include some of the largest U.S. companies. Companies are unlikely to share trade secrets with the group so that's good news.

But they do talk about trade and policy. So there's a lot of stake here. There's no evidence of harm to the members so far, but any time there's hacking, it's worry some, naturally.

U.S. intelligence officials have issued a warning last month saying that there's a number -- a growing number out of China. That's definitely not good news.

BALDWIN: Not at all. Felicia Taylor, thank you, I suppose, for that. Now this --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now look at death differently as being a part of the whole life process and I don't think I understood that until I started doing hospice work.


BALDWIN: Coming up, the heart-wrenching story. These amazing people who work in hospice to help bring just a little bit of comfort into the lives of the dying. Stay with us.


BALDWIN: Time for America's Choice 2012 update here. Wolf Blitzer as always joins me from Washington. Wolf, let's play this. I know a Mitt Romney super pac has been flooding the airwaves in Iowa with attack ads against Newt Gingrich. Let's take a look at this one.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Barack Obama's plan is working. Newt has a ton of baggage. He was fined $300,000 for ethics violations and took $1.6 million from Freddie Mac before it helped cause the economic meltdown.

Newt supports amnesty for illegal immigrants and teams with Nancy Pelosi and Al Gore on global warming. Maybe that's why George Will calls him the least conservative candidate. Check the facts at


BALDWIN: So how has the Gingrich camp responded? Are they still staying positive?

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, CNN'S "THE SITUATION ROOM": It goes against everything that I know about Newt Gingrich because when he gets slapped, he slaps right back and that super pac is not directly affiliated obviously with Mitt Romney.

But it supports Mitt Romney. When they come out with an ad like that, he would respond in kind, but instead, Brooke, watch this ad that he's just started putting out in Iowa.


NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These are challenging and important times in America. We want and deserve solutions. Others seem to be more focused on attacks rather than moving the country forward.

That's up to them. I believe bold ideas and new solutions will unleash America's creative spirit. When I was speaker, our budget was balanced and 11 million jobs were created. We can do it again and rebuild the America we love. I'm Newt Gingrich and I approve this message.


BLITZER: Another ad with his wife, Callista wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. He's not getting drawn into this fight although I think his instincts would be there. We're going to see if it has an impact because right now he's trying to stay above that fray. I don't this he is a very happy camper right now.

BALDWIN: Let's talk about Ron Paul because we're two weeks out from the Iowa caucuses. He's topping a new poll. Do you still think it's really anyone's game or does he have the mo behind him?

BLITZER: Well, you know, Ron Paul, by the way, he's got a whole bunch of ads slashing Newt Gingrich as well, even more powerful than some of those Mitt Romney super pac ads.

Take a look at this new poll that we'll put it up the screen. Brooke, this is a new poll of Iowa State Gazette, KZRG poll. Ron Paul 28 percent, Newt Gingrich 25 percent, Romney 18, Rick Perry, 11 so he's the leader right now sampling error at 5 percent.

So it's very close. But, remember, 13 days to go. Not a whole lot of time especially when you factor in Christmas and New Year's. There will be a couple of days around each where they're not going to necessarily be campaigning.

Ron Paul could surprise a lot of folks actually win the caucuses in Iowa. What that means, it will be up for grabs.

BALDWIN: January 3rd. Wolf Blitzer, thank you.

BLITZER: Thanks.

BALDWIN: Doing whatever it takes to make life easier for people who are dying, even just having someone there can make a world of a difference. It's our "Giving in Focus" today, strangers caring for the dying.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's me. Hi. I do more in-patient care where you go into people's homes and usually give the caregiver a break. It's too early for your pills.

With each patient it's different. You just have to find out what's -- what they are comfortable with.

What do you want to do today? How about your nails? Just so that she knows she's not alone on this journey that she's on. People are there that care about her and want to make her life easier.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good afternoon, Montgomery hospice. Can I help you?

CHRISTIANE WIESE, VOLUNTEER SERVICES DIRECTOR, MONTGOMERY HOSPICE: I'm looking for volunteers who don't look for fame, who don't look for being important, who don't be -- wanting to be loved. We're looking for somebody who is truly wanting to give back and understand that the person in need will die.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need the oxygen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You need the oxygen. OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For many patients, it's the last friend that they make in life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's people like Bonnie that will bend over backwards to do things for me.

BONNIE BENEDICT, HOSPICE VOLUNTEER: I now look at death differently as being a part of the whole life process. And I don't think I understood that until I started doing hospice work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has been a wonderful relationship.

BENEDICT: Life is a journey and death is the end of that journey. What we're doing is trying to, as we say in hospice, gentle the journey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would not have made it this far without their tender loving care.



BALDWIN: Trending now, this magazine editor has up and quit after printing an article where the author of this magazine calls the American pop star a racist and sexist slur. entertainment reporter, Lisa joins me now as we're going to talk about Rihanna. Rihanna, Wolf Blitzer has corrected me. It's Rihanna.

She was written about in this Dutch magazine article where she is called the "n" word and "b" word. Why? What happened?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The article was supposed to be stylish like Rihanna, but it went a little far. And it said, you know, how you can be stylish like here without being the ultimate "n" word and "b" word, "g" word. We can say ghetto.

BALDWIN: She is furious over this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is furious. She tweeted a response and said, I hope you can read English because your magazine is poor representation of the evolution of human rights. I find you disrespectful and rather desperate. You ran out of legit, civilized information to print.

There are 1000's of Dutch girls who would love to be recognized for their contributions to your country. You could have given them an article instead you paid to print one degrading an entire race. Strong words.

BALDWIN: She goes on to use even stronger words, which we're not including. The editor in chief of this magazine initially apologized.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Said it was a bit of a joke, sorry, you know, she realized it was insensitive. They didn't mean anything by it, but ultimately she resigned.

BALDWIN: She resigned?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. She quit her job over it.

BALDWIN: And this happened pretty recently?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pretty recently. She just posted on Facebook to let everybody know that she felt really bad about it. She was sorry, no disrespect was intended and because of it she is resigning.

BALDWIN: Yes, I saw on (inaudible) on last night and I thought, my goodness. I've never seen anything like that. Hello, we're in 2011. Who uses that phrase? OK, Taylor Swift, beautiful young woman. She is face of "Cover Girl" and in this other magazine, she has these long lashes --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because of cover girl mascara.

BALDWIN: I mean, it's all in the mascara, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it's all about volume and length. Photo shopped?

BALDWIN: Yes, maybe you think?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. And that's not a good thing. No truth in advertising here and people think that they are going to get those types of results with mascara. It's not going to happen.

But we can try. Procter & Gamble released a statement. Our scientists work very closely with our advertising teams to ensure that benefits are accurately portrayed and Procter and Gamble's policy feature visuals and claims that accurately reflect these benefits.

As soon as we were aware that the NAD had concerns, we voluntarily discontinued the advertising a move that the NAD itself regarded as entirely proper.

BALDWIN: I wonder if the ad is anywhere else? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been pulled. It happens a lot in Europe where a lot of watch dog groups are on this type of thing, but I believe this maybe the first time it's happened in the states.

BALDWIN: Would we surprise if she comes on Twitter. She's quite the twitterer herself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's going to be on the cover of "Vogue" in February.

BALDWIN: She doesn't need all that --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Your lashes look fabulous, by the way.

BALDWIN: Not fake. Thank you very much.


BALDWIN: And as we roll into the second hour, watch this.