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tv   CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell  CNN  December 31, 2021 12:00pm-1:00pm PST

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this is cnn breaking news. good afternoon, everyone. top of the hour. i'm ryan nobles and we have sad breaking news, and this is betty white has died and this is according to her agent and "people" magazine. and we don't know the cause of the death, but more to talk
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about the legacy of betty white -- actually, we will go to stephanie elam who has more. >> in 1949, betty white played a sidekick on a live afternoon show in los angeles, and it ran five hours a day at five hours a week. >> at that point, television was starting and we had no idea it would change the world. >> she went on the appear on sit-coms and game shows with her sharp with it, and she was one of the earliest comedienne and also played rose on "the golden girls." >> i did not care about chickens, rose, she called me a peacock. >> well, you look more like a chicken with the way your neck sticks out. >> reporter: she won a sag award
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and won a screen actor gild award. >> i nearly fell off of the couch. i could not believe it. >> and she won an award from the animal rights organization. >> you are playing with betty white out there. >> that is not what your girlfriend said. >> and there was a campaign on facebook for her to host "saturday night live." the oldest comedienne to ever host the show. >> you know what is a success? to stay awake on the toilet. >> she published books and even a calendar, and she was voted their favorite and most trusted celebrities in a reuters tool. she had a newfound sense of
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ubiquity. >> you thought you could not get rid of me before, and she transcended generations. >> joining me is brian stelter and brian carter and bill, thank you for joining us. and bill, in her late 80s, it was part of the viral internet campaign, and that is something that you would expect from a classic television star, and does that encapsulate her career, because it is putting an incredible book end to a remarkable life. >> it is a cherry on top, because she had done an an amazing job with television, and
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this is a woman with superb comic timing, and then in the late 80s, and she is on "saturday night live," and that is a tough show, and she pulled it off, because that is a show business pro down to the toe. this lady was exquisite in the way she could perform, and so likable, and so universe bli li -- uni universeally likable, and that is unusual. >> and her agent thought that she would live forever. and part of that was a performance on "saturday night live" that somebody could come out and have quite an ability not to leave the earth, because she was so remarkable at an old age. >> and so many of the hollywood colleagues over the years are saying is including seth meyers
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who said on twitter that it is the only snl host who got an ovation and at the end ordered a vodka and stayed until the end. i loved the timing, because it is someone who made a room for million of people light up, and laugh. and sandra bullock said that timing is not easy, but betty can pivot like nobody i have ever seen, and make it look so easy. and it is a form when you can navigate with other actors and actresses, and it is amazing, and she was so special thal had to develop a best actress cat gore. and some people grew up watching
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her on "the golden girls." and some watched itp the reruns years later. so it is attraction that happened even afterwards. and even weeks ago there were news stories looking forward to her birthday party in january and who can you say that about in american life or anywhere else in the world. people looking forward to her turning 100, and of course, now, it is going to take on a somber point. >> and brian, you know that as television actives, they want to pitch to the younger audiences, and the key demographics were going through the minds of the television executives to pitch to requtired women, and that it
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would become such a hit? >> it was on abc and it is the one that was hitting off of the younger demographics, but they had a great writer, susan harris who created the show, and four great actresses ark and it was punny. and frankly, people need to ignore anything else. funny? funny. what brian said with the timing, and doing live comedy, you are doing so many things, setting up the joke, and listening to the other career. she start in 1951 and the history of sit-com, and even
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"leaving cleveland." and she was always game, game to be funny, and she could hit a line and be clever and come back with a kline. she really was an amazing pillow last hour, and she was unirer sally loved. >> >> and i was happy to hear in the interviews including the ones that e stiffer it the she appreciated still in the game, and still getting auditions and humility for her and she joked
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with "people" magazine a couple of weeks ago how she kept living so long, and she said, i avoid anything green, and it is still working, and i could not deliver the line the way she would, but the idea to give off humor with "people" magazine, and she would have the one-liners and put people at ease. it is a crushing loss at the end of 2021, a year that many want to forget and to lose her on the last day of the year is some sort of bookend. >> bill, can you talk about the resurgence of some of her older work, and golden girls included, and my girls will be able to catch it now in the streaming age because of how accessible all of media is?
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>> yes, those episodes will be copping on for years to come, and that is the same as "i love lucy." and she did the game show work, and that is how she met her husband. and she met him as guest on a game show, but once she got on "mary tyler moore" and hit the nerve scenter of a great breakout, she was instant comedy. shy would insert her in a scene, and she would get laughs, and people suddenly said, betty white, where is she from? they knew she was around tv, but the great sit-com, you can watch the great episodes, and my wife was just a huge hit even among the great shows and she could
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make people laugh and she was essential to the shows and at the heart of them. >> we would be remiss not to talk about her charity rights, and especially animal right, and she said that television and entertainment was just a hobby. >> that is right, and she credited the love of animals with the vacations she would go on with her family to the santa monica mountains, and go off to live in the wilderness, and one year, they gathered the up all of the animals with a real. and her agent in his statement this afternoon referred to the love of animals and how important it was to her. in the last few year, she was not visible in terms of new
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television, and new episodes, but she was living a quiet life at home, and focusing on the cher tees, and nonprofit endeavors. >> well, i can guarantee you that the streaming numbers for "golden girls" and' "tapsing with the stars on sup a breaking news here with betty white passing away at the age of 99. we'll be right back. throughout history i've observed markets shaped by the intentional and unforeseeable. for investors who can navigate this landscape, leveraging gold, a strategic and sustainable asset... the path is gilded with the potential for rich returns.
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concerning questions about his phone call with vladimir putin. >> i made it clear with president putin that if he makes more moves about going into ukraine, we will increase the sanctions, and there is going to be a heavy price to pay for it. >> did you get any sense that it is going to be agree to it? >> i got the sense that there are going to be three major conferences in europe beginning in the middle of the month with our senior staffs that relate to the osce, the russian nato council and the continuation of the strategic nato russian doctrine, and he did not disagree with that, and he laid out some of his concerns about nato and the united states and
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europe, and we laid out ours, and we said that we will begin to negotiate some of issue, but i made it clear that we could work if we escalated and not de-escalated. >> and so, he pressed the president on what they talked about, and what are your main takeaways of what the president said? >> yes, that is what the senior officials are telling us about before the call, and after the message that he is making it clear to the russian leader that there are two paths that he can go down. one is the diplomacy being set up betweening january 10th beginning if he goes forward the invasion, and at that point, the united states is going to
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increase a very heavy price if he continues to move forward, and he said that he cannot, and emphasize cannot move forward with a invasion of ukraine, and he made it clear not only to the russian leader, but to the world if the russian leader decides to move forward there, and the president is talk about the meeting on january 10th, and this is something that u.s. officials have emphasized. there is not going to be progress unless russia de-escalates. so far we have not seen russia de-escalating. they said they would withdraw 10,000 troops, and so far, we have not seen any of those efforts, the flights over
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eas eastern, and finally, the president was asked about the passing of betty white, and he said that he was so sad, and the first lady said who didn't love betty white. >> thank you. and we will talk about this to white house post and sun young kim and also stan herman, and obviously, you covered joe biden when he was in the senate, and now president, and one thing that he prides himself on is the knowledge of foreign policy, but in these situations, and conversations with president putin, does it appear that he
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has caused the situation not to get worse? >> he has pulled all of the levers to keep the situation from becoming worse by ukraine. he is taking steps that brought this to bear last time to dissuade vladimir putin from this potential invasion of ukraine. now, it is not clear what action the president is going to take, and he is delivering a new year's address within the hour, and so that is going to be interesting to watch as well. and certain ly president biden has touted his knowledge of actors, and and we will be watching the conversation with
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the russia n yuchenski later. >> and we have seen the white house use the threat of sanctions earlier, but we don't know if russia is going to respond to that, and the only person who is going to control that is president putin, and so are they going to draw the red line and let the world know where the united states stand, and we know they are an agitator, and provocateur and this is the warning shot, and the din low matic shot that we have seen from private homes prior, and this is the backdrop
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heading into the next year, and how much could this affect the campaign trail? >> yes, it is popping up into the top of the national agenda, and the pullout of afghanistan is certainly something that made the ripples throughout the country. it can happen if we see these things historically being said is where the direction is going, and are you happy with the direction of the presidency, and have the congress done well with the direction of the white house, and the control of congress, and so i believe it is going to be a big question of those specifics, and this is going to filter through that. >> yes, and right now, the
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domestic agenda of joe biden is hitting a resistance with joe man manchin's resistance to the build back better plan. do they still believe that the best way forward is to push it through in one reconciliation package. >> i think that they are hoping that the brick wall right before t and once the congresspeople return in january, and people have a time to pull a, and so i think that both the senior white house officials, and the senior dem krafks have had a-- democras have had. and you have heard the democrats
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talk about the pieces need republican help to pass it, and when you are down on the nit ti credit like the child tax credit, and paid family leave, it is hard to get 50 plus republicans, fand with this done is to work ing and to keep quie and continue to work with the caucus to make it work. >> and is it an open for the democrats or instead an opening. another vote that will need to be looking at is georgia's governor has signed a new law to flip at least one conand of course, lucy mcbath, and
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caroline bordeaux would be forced to run against each other. is there a path for voting rights? is there a way to get it over the ion -- the line? >> well, they are going to try to protect the voting line, and pass hr-1 or hr-4 and to bolter th -- bolster the access to the voting booth. and that is not going to matchup to the largest which is the voting boost. if they agree to the bolting right to some. >> it does not have a den nim bl
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legislation that has universal opposition by republicans, and democrats have not gotten on the same page, and so it is rhetoric versus policy action on the campaign trail, and this is the number one issue going state to state to say it would happen, but the reality where the senators have to go back to the next voters to say that our best efforts were not good enough. >> and then talking about good, best, better, and this is a topic that we will be exploring. thank you both for being here. >> thank you. >> and now, a massive number of
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averages a 55,000 new infections per day fueled by the omicron variant, and led to a global first this week, the world averaging a million cases in a single day leading some cities to cancel the new year's events, and still some cities are opting for otherwise, i should say scaled back celebrations. new york is one of those cities sticking with the new year's plans. polo sandoval is there in times square, and once again, tonight is a very different experience than in the past. >> ryan, it is definitely going to be different than last year as people come in to see it first hand and then different from the pre-pandemic times as people are going to be allowed to come in to look at the ball drop which is going to be smaller than other years, because instead of 50,000, only 15,000 will make their way
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through the pens, and part of it is because of the lingering terms of the bathrooms. you have to increase your bathrooms stin -- will be increasing, and people will have to show their vaccination cards to be here, and the thing is that authorities will only be able to do so much, and there are revelers already here, and you can see the space that the nypd have left space here, so people can have elbow room, and, ryan, because of the excitement, folks are already huddled as close as they can to the site of that ball drop. that is where it might be complicated, but in terms of what we have seen overall, again, people are feeling like they want to be participating in
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this, as we have seen from the new york state authorities the, they want to send a message to the rest of the world, they want to fight through this and who is to the point of wrapping up right now, and do so with the appropriate happy and healthy new year, and they have done little to calm the concerns of the officials out there who are worried that it could act as a super spreader next year. >> polo sandoval, and reporting on the reveille reveille of thi and joining us now is the emergency physician who is on the executive committee of health care, and we spoke earlier in the week, and you said that your hospital is thick in the delta variant, and are
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you seeing omicron take over as in other parts of the country? >> happy new year, and thank you for having me again, and the reality is in real time, we don't know which case is delta or which is omicron, and in our state, delta is the majority of the cases, but the problem is that once with this disease, people are hospitalized and they stay a long time, so we have people who have been in the hospital three or four weeks, and clearly those are the folks with delta, and on ventilators and folks flipped on their backs and bellies to try to get them to recover, and this is the stress of people taking up hospital beds for a long time that we can't get the people admitted with covid coming in new, and those with belly pain, an chest pain, and the routine things that we see all of the time, and the influenza that people have all of the time, and it is extremely tight, and
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getting the beds every time is a challenge every shift. >> so it is that omicron is a less se surges with delta and everything, so is it by around large though, these are unvaccinated people? >> absolutely. absolutely. the only so-called breakthroughs are the folks who have not had the booster shot or the second or the third case if they had j and j, and that is what i am seeing of peoplesh and those folks are not that sick. they are breakthrough case, and sicker than the sniffles, but it is not the folks admitted to the icus and they are not sick with the ventilators, and we don't know what omicron does in hitting so far, and i'm in a county of 45%, where it is still
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under 40% in some of them. so when it is hitting these places with the obesity rate of 35%, and the unvax rate of 30%, that is an extremely that needs to be see what is happening, and we can't declare victory except for the vaccinated and the boosted, it is brb the reality. i don't think that we will be zero covid, but we will be covid but not in the cases where we are. >> and so, with the cdc talking about the kwash teen teams, and -- >> well, news of news, they did,
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and the messaging is difficult because it is variants with different levels of protection in different communities. i support shortening the isolation period with a testing feature, and if everyone were to test with day five and it is negative, great. negative antigen shutting test. fooe -- and so those of us who have been tested and vaccinated, people who have been vaccinated shed a viral load, but for those who have not been vaccinated, it is a wild card. so as soon as the viral requirement can be adds safe as
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possible. >> and i have talked to a number of doctors over the course of the pandemic, and the commonality is get vaccinated. so it seems that we need to say that the most commonality is cnn's camille bernal is there at the hollywood walk of fame, and fans are honoring her already, and what can you tell us? >> ryan, so many people gathering here, and many of them coming here because they found out what happen, and others are passing by and now in shock as they are hearing the news. so many people, and they loved her as a person, as an akess
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because some people are bringing her the flowers here, and gathering the, and i also wanted to talk to greg donovan, because he specifically met betty white, and i wanted to talk to him about who you will remember her as and how you remember her, because you told me that you met her. >> yes. >> tell me how you will remember her. >> she was a lovely human being and warm and humble. gregarious, and it is a sad thing. i was waiting to see her 100th birthday and only a few days aw away. it is a sad day in hollywood and around the world, and her ten nasty for life, and i rb i quoted her that we are all the same age only at different times, and look, she kuld do it. >> and you were waiting for
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100th celebration. and where were you when you found out. >> i was in shock, because people were asking where her star was, and i was in shock when they told me. it is a sad day. >> so a number of the fans here did not expect this, and they are waiting for the 100th birthday celebration, and many of them are sad because they watch her and continuing to do so in the re-runs, and here to bring those flowers to gather around and to talk about the many times that they watched her on television and the many times that they say they will continue to watch her on television, because this is someone that we will continue to see through the return, and the many things that she accomplished, and people here also bringing that up, and everybody is gathering because of heerm tribute. and the walk of fame p. and
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camille lee thank you so much. and people writing about betty. i loved her very, very much, and the world has lost 1 in 1 million. and ryan reynolds who starred with her in "the proposal." she is great at defying expectation, and grew very old, and somehow not old enough. we will miss you, and now you know the secret. >> we will talk to jim collucci who is the author of "golden girls forever" and he has had many conversations with betty white for the writing of the book, and jim, betty white is one of the people who is we open the same adds real life as she is on camera a beloved figure, but what about when the cameras are off? >> it is incredible, that she is
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everything that she is and more. and i get to a special part to interview her, and she had the unique combination of brilliant mind and loving heart. >> you get to be there with the feature of the "golden girls" and that wonderful time when the show was conceived and interesting that they got it on primetime television, and that it was a massive hit. >> it is.
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i don't understand how it happened then and certainly would not happen now, because then as now, television is an ageist medium, but it took some forward thinking and writers and producers and the network stars and the talents of those four incredible women to pogt together a package of a show, and those who were not allowed on set to see it, but those who were not only in the teens and 20s, and will seeing the show anew, but the incredible relationships. >> and much like her personality, we wanted to think they were best friend, but was it like that? >> betty had been around forever, because she was literally practically there when they turned on the first tv cameras in l.a. when it was experimental, and hosting live
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talk shows for five or six hours a day, and she had worked with rue and bea and knew them socially, and it was a team dream, and a super group of comedic talent, and so betty and rue had the shorthand to play the word games backstage to keep the minds sharp, and really two of a kind in terms of being good friends. it was reported that they had friction, but it is because of the performing styles and people they were so different, but look at how they convinced us that they were best friends, and always models of best friendship for decades to come as we watch that show, so they certainly found a way to love each other, and to be a team when they approached the press or whenever they approached the network. those four women were a great team. >> does it surprise you how popular the show is? it is one of those things that if you are clicking through on
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cable, and it pops up in a rerun, you find yourself stopping, and it does well on the streaming platforms as well, and surprise you that a show like that resonates even now in this period of time? >> it does but then it doesn't. it is surprising that more clueless network executives talk about a show about four old ladies, but it is now, that they were feeling like outsiders because as older women they were marginalized and we have felt like that, or we have felt like we were ditsy like rose or curious sexually like blanch, and especially the issues they tackled. >> and we have a retired member of the family in florida who
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hangs out with, and we see our loved ones with those four characters, and thank you, jim, for sharing the perspective with us, and is a sad day, but a life well lived. thank you. we will be back in a moment >> you didn't see this. >> you didn't see this. as a dj, i know all about customization. that's why i love liberty mutual. they customize my car insurance, so i only pay for what i need. how about a throwback? ♪ liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty ♪ only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty ♪
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back to our breaking news on this new year's eve. comedienne and actress betty white has died just days short of her 100th birthday. joining us to talk more about her career, stan zimmerman. he was a writer for "the golden girls." stan, talk about that experience. what was it like to write for such an iconic show? >> well, i was there season one,
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and she was such an iconic performer. i had grown up watching her on the password, which is a game show that she did with her husband al ludden and a huge fan of the "mary tyler moore show." as a baby writer, i couldn't believe she was going to be saying my lines, and it was such a thrill to watch her do it every week. >> what is it like? such an incredible team on "the golden girls" a group of actresses so accomplished. did that sometimes make your job harder or easier? i imagine it was a challenge to live up to their expectations? >> especially in season one when you have that level of performers and every sengle one of those women we had to write a joke to hit it out of the ballpark. it made it nerve-racking for us and being so young and being in that room of such experienced writers, but we stayed late until we did the best jokes and the best lines and most meaningful stories.
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and the cool thing was that, unlike any other show that i've ever been on, those four women would always go on every talk show and always mention the writing staff and how much they appreciated good writing. but we appreciated such great acting. >> yeah. there's been a lot of talk today about betty white's comedic timing. she was able to nail jokes in a way that few actresses had the ability to do. as a writer, you must have had a concept in your mind as to how you wanted your jokes to play out. what was it like to see her just execute them in a way that you had hoped they'd turn out. >> it was like watching a great sports figure or a baseball player hit it out of the park every time. and you knew if -- especially betty, if she couldn't get a joke, then we had to rewrite it. it was our fault. we had to get a better joke. so i was very, very fortunate to be witnessing that and to see that show start -- we didn't
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know if anybody would watch the show in the first season. conventional wisdom that nobody would care to wuch a show about four older women. and i think we proved them all wrong because we're talking about it today. >> no doubt about that. talk a little about that challenge, though. i mean, did you just assume that maybe you'd only get one crack at this? did you ever imagine it would take off in the way it did and even resonate now decades later? >> i was lucky to have a job and to keep the job and to be there every week. and -- but i had no idea that we'd be talking about it all these years later. but i knew, you know, just from her experience, that we were in the hands of really good people and good actors. and for any actor or writer or person in this business, you are lucky if you get one hit show. and the fact she had so many, mary tyler moore, golden girls and hot in cleveland, it goes to show what a special person she was and what a special performer she was. >> a lot of people talked today,
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too, that the person you saw on camera was very similar to the person you saw in real life. just talk about your personal interactions with her. what was she like when the camera was off? >> she was still on. she was just really sharp and funny and even years later, i was shadowing the director on "hot in cleveland." she was on. i couldn't believe she was saying the things she would say. such a great point of view. i know i'm getting so many texts from people that are very sad about this, but, being a rose-colored glass kind of guy and because she's a rose, i think today is a day to celebrate the wonders of betty white and not to be sad. obviously, we'll all miss her and miss what she brought to television and film and just our worlds. >> stan zimmerman, writer for "the golden girls" thank you for sharing your memories of betty white and thank you for being a friend. before we go today, i want
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to say a special shout out to my father, ron nobles, who turns 70 today on this new year's eve. happy birthday, dad. i love you very much and thank you for everything. and thank you for watching "cnn today." "the lead" starts after a quick break. maybe what your family needs is a vacation home slash vacation home. find yours on the vrbo app. (vo) subaru and our retailers believe in giving back. that's why, in difficult times, we provided one hundred and fifty million meals to feeding america. and now through the subaru share the love event, we're helping even more. by the end of this year, subaru will have donated over two hundred and twenty five million dollars to charity. this is what it means to be more than a car company. this is what it means to be subaru.
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you need to hire. i need indeed. indeed you do. indeed instant match instantly delivers quality candidates matching your job description. visit roll tide. "the lead" starts right now. medical experts are encouraging americans to stay home tonight, hospitals are slammed and schools aren't sure how to reopen safely. is the new year looking too much like the last one? 100-mile-per-hour winds spread flames across neighborhoods burning hundreds of homes in the blink of an eye. now we may know what started the sudden fires in colorado. ♪ if you threw a party ♪ thank you for being a friend. beloved actress and american icon betty white has passed away, just a few weeks shy of her 100th birthday


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