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tv   Squawk Alley  CNBC  March 31, 2015 11:00am-12:01pm EDT

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>> and the big thing is going to be whether or not our earnings are positive or negative. right now we're set for earnings down 3% for the s&p 500. i anticipate that some of the analysts have overshot that and we'll get a little bit better news. >> especially if you take out energy. all right, bob, thanks. with that, carl, i'll send it over to you for "squawk alley." >> thank you very much. good morning. breaking news. we are awaiting a news conference from indiana governor mike pence on the state's controversial religious freedom restoration act. in the meantime, as we await the governor, let's bring in mary thompson who's also live in indianapolis and has been covering this story. mary, good morning, what's the latest? >> reporter: well, as you said, carl, everyone's awaiting to hear what governor mike pence has to say today. earlier today, on an interview on fox news, he did say that he was ready to change the law so it is clear, it would not promote any kind of discrimination against gays, lesbians, and transgenders. so we see what exactly he
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intends to do there. and what the timeline may do -- may be on this case as well. you know, it's created quite a backlash against indiana, and that is, of course, created a lot of concern among the business community here, who fear it will do lasting damage, not only to the state's image, but its economic activity as well. and so people are looking for a relatively quick fix here. they would like to get this behind them as soon as possible. again, we'll see what kind of details the governor provides during this press conference. >> mary, thank you very much for that. mary thompson. and for more on the backlash that mary just mentioned, let's bring in michael huber, the ceo of the indianapolis chamber of commerce. good to have you with us. thanks so much for joining us. >> thanks for having me on the show. >> we're awaiting the governor. we've talked to the house speaker this morning talking about the bill and the fix. he said it's almost futile at this point to defend it because of what he called a mischaracterization that's taken hold. but also said nothing's off the table when i asked him whether a
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repeal was possible. what would satisfy the chamber? >> so we represent over 2,000 businesses in different industries and we've been against the proposed rfra since its proposal earlier this year. at this point, there are different options that could work. certainly, our members would be open to a repeal. also would be open to stronger state laws that protect people against discrimination, including the glbt community. >> michael, i have a number of friends in indiana, i went to college there, and i know a number of people in indiana join you in being very concerned about not only this law, but also the backlash in the perception of this state. i know that you back in january before state legislators said this was going to be a bad thing, it's turned out even worse than you expected. the explanation from the republican side is that this was really in response to hobby lobby, sounds like it was in response to concerns about health care and certain things being forced on businesses. is there any aspect of that that
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you have sympathy for? or is the chamber just against everything that the republicans were trying to do with this law? >> you know, it's hard to speculate about the intent, because, obviously, a lot of legislators voted for this. and i think they come at it from a variety of different angles. i think, you know, our members across a lot of different industries are sympathetic in terms of protecting the rights and the religious beliefs of people. i think the problem is, if that type of an effort is not paired with a strong anti-discrimination laws, it has the potential to create what we've seen in the past few days. indianapolis as a city has had a strong human rights organization in place for a decade. it was one that was supported by our organization, so i would like to think that we get it. having an inclusive environment is very critical to attracting talent, and that's really -- talent attraction and talent retention is really the differentiator between thriving cities and declining cities today. but it is very frustrating, given the national backlash, and we are working overtime right
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now, trying to craft a solution with our -- members from the business community and with our elected officials. >> that attraction of talent, michael, as well as, you know, the perception of the state courses, one criticism that businesses have lobbed against us, but the other is the real investment that could be lost in the state, jobs taken out of the state and the economic impact. i'm wondering on that front, if there's been an attempt by your chamber or other chambers across the state to quantify what that impact actually could be. >> it's hard to say at this point, because we're compiling that and it works on multiple levels. there's direct job loss, if you're familiar with the decision that the company angie's list made over the weekend. there's also the loss of visitors in the convention industry and in the sports industry. it starts to get scary when you add up all of those numbers together and conservatively, its economic impact in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and
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perhaps over $1 billion. we don't have a solid analysis to release to the public yet, but it's really scary and certainly the national attention has been quite horrific for those of us who depend on companies investing in indianapolis, from all over the country and all over the world. >> we've seen the cover of the indianapolis star this morning, with that giant headline, fix this now. you said that members would be open to repeal. i can't imagine you think the governor's actually going to do that. or do you? >> it's hard to say. i mean, as you all know, when these things happen, you know, in legislative bodies and state governments and the federal governments, things can change from hour to hour, and we're doing our best to stay on top of it. we had our legislative team, meeting with legislative leadership last night. so i remain hopeful that the governor and/or the general assembly is going to produce a solution that could work for business, but my sense is we still have a lot of work to do. >> but you believe the bill can
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be fixed, as "the star" puts it? >> we do. and there are a variety of ways that could take form. there's a way that strong anti-discrimination laws could be passed at the state level. that could be, to my understanding, a part of this bill, or in a separate bill. we have to remain optimistic right now and hope that our legislators and the governor are as concerned about the national backlash as we are. and we want to put them in a position to do the right thing. >> i believe you said that other cities in other states are already running campaigns against you, trying to poach business, based on this. who have you seen doing that and what are you going to have to do, assuming the spoke settles on this to generate some of that business back? what sort of message are you going to have to send out about indianapolis, about indiana? >> so in particular, the city of chicago -- >> michael, let me interrupt you. the governor's about to speak.
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>> thank you all for coming. it's been a tough week here in the hoosier state, but we're going to move forward. because as governor, i have the great privilege of serving the greatest people on earth, the people of indiana. let me say first and foremost, i was proud to sign the religious freedom restoration act last week. i believe religious liberty, as president clinton said, when he signed the federal law in 1993, i believe religious liberty is our first freedom. and it is vital to millions of americans, who cherish faith as i and my family do. but it's also vital to the framework of freedom in our
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nation. and this legislation was designed to ensure the vitality of religious liberty in the hoosier state. i believe that hoosiers are entitled to the same protections that have been in place in our federal courts for the last 30 plus years, but clearly, clearly there's been misunderstanding and confusion and mischaracterization of this law. and i come before you today to say how we're going to address that. we've been working, over the last several days, literally, around the clock. have been talking with people across the state of indiana, talking to business leaders, and talking to our organizations around the country, who have spent time in indiana and enjoy the hospitality of the people of indiana, and we've been listening. but let me say, first and
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foremost, as i've said to each one of them, the religious freedom restoration act was about religious liberty. not about discrimination. as i said last week, had this law been about legalizing discrimination, i would have vetoed it. this law does not give anyone a license to discriminate. the religious freedom restoration act in indiana does not give anyone the right to deny services. to anyone in this state. it is simply a balancing test used by our federal courts and jurisdictions across the country, for more than two decades. now, let me say on the subject of the bill itself, i don't believe for a minute that it was the intention of the general assembly to create a license to discriminate or a right to deny services to gays, lesbians, or anyone else in this state.
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and it certainly wasn't my intent. but i can appreciate that that's become the perception. not just here in indiana, but all across this country. and we need to confront that. and confront it boldly, in a way that respects the interests of all involved. personal reflection for a moment, if i can. i abhor discrimination. the way i was raised was like most hoosiers, with the golden rule. that you should do unto others as you would have them do unto you. and i believe in my heart of hearts that no one should be harassed or mistreated, because of who they are, who they love, or what they believe. and i believe every hoosier shares this conviction. but as i said, we've got a
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perception problem here, because some people have a different view. and we intend to correct that. after much reflection and in consultation with leadership of the general assembly, i've come to the conclusion that it would be helpful to move legislation this week, that makes it clear that this law does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone. let me say that again. i think it would be helpful and i would like to see on my desk before the end of this week, legislation that is added to the religious freedom restoration act in indiana that this law does not give businesses the right to deny services to anyone. we want to make it clear that indiana is open for business. we want to make it clear that
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hoosier hospitality is not a slogan, but our way of life. it's the reason why people come here from around the world and they come back again and again and again. because hoosiers are the kindest, most generous, most decent people in the world. let me say i believe this is a clarification, but it's also a fix. it's a fix of a bill that through mischaracterization is confusion has come to be greatly misunderstood. and i'm determined to address this this week. and to move forward as a state. and i know we will. indiana has come under the harsh glare of criticism from around the country. and some of us get paid to be under that harsh glare and that criticism, so we don't complain
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about it. but the things that have been said about our state have been, at times, deeply offensive to me. and i will continue to use every effort to defend the good and decent people of indiana. i think it's important that we take this action this week. i've spoken to legislative leaders all the way through the last hour, and we're going to be working to make that happen. with that, i'll be happy to take questions. go ahead. >> the house speaker criticized [ inaudible ] so i would like to ask you again, under this law [ inaudible ] is this legal for a florist to deny services to a same-sex couple? >> this law does not give anyone a license to deny services to
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gay and lesbian couples. and, look, i -- i could have handled that better this weekend. but i -- going into that interview this weekend, i was just determined to set the record straight about what this law really is. i'm very pleased that the reporting about the religious freedom restoration act has significantly improved over the last several days. i think there is a growing public understanding that indiana has passed a law here that mirrors the federal law that president clinton signed and it mirrors the laws and statutes of some 30 states. i'm grateful for that. but on sunday, my intention was to set that record straight, but i want to be clear on that point. and thank you for the opportunity. go ahead. >> do you regret having signed this bill? >> absolutely not.
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religious liberty is vitally important in the life of our nation. and to ensure that hoosiers have the same level of scrutiny when they believe their religious liberty is intruded upon in our state courts, that they already have in our federal courts and that 30 other states have already had for some time, was simply the right thing to do. it's that important. and i was pleased to have sign it and i stand by the law. >> are you still opposed for giving protective status to [ inaudible ]? >> jim, i've never supported that. and i want to be clear, it's not on my agenda. but i think it's a completely separate question. i mean, we are talking about the religious the freedom restoration act, which is about restoring the highest level of scrutiny in our state courts.
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when matters of government action intrude upon the religious liberty of hoosiers. that's where i want to stay focused. but i do believe that moving legislation this week, that would make it clear this law does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone would be appropriate. >> what would the legislation say? >> that's still under discussion and consideration. but that's the direction. >> governor? >> yes, please. >> governor, were you expecting this kind of backlash? >> was i expecting this kind of backlash? heavens no. to be candid with you, when i first heard about the legislation, heard that it was already federal law for more
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than 20 years, i heard that it was the law through statute and court decisions in 30 jurisdictions, in the wake of last year's supreme court case, the hobby lobby case, i just thought it was an appropriate addition to indiana statutes. it moved through the legislative process with good debate, but not a considerable amount of controversy. and so, candidly, when this erupted last week, even though i'd made my position clear weeks ago, that i would sign the bill, without much discussion, i was taken aback. and i have to tell you that the gross mischaracterizations about this bill early on, and some of the reckless reporting by some in the media about what this bill was all about, was deeply
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disappointing to me and to millions of hoosiers. but we're making progress on that. i think we're turning back. i'm grateful for the expressions of support that are being given from around the country, including many in the media, that are articulating what this is all about. and we'll continue to move forward on that. >> governor, there's a bill lawmakers are trying to find what works [ inaudible ] a lot of concern in indiana is an exemption for human rights [ inaudible ] so just to make it clear that people can use as a defense [ inaudible ]. are -- your thoughts on making sure that language is specific [ inaudible ] local human rights ordinances are [ inaudible ]. >> let me say that the smear here against this bill is that it created a license to discriminate. or a license to deny services.
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>> and that's just completely false and baseless. professor conkel, who i quoted in my editorial this morning in the "wall street journal," said it well. this is not a license -- there's no license to discriminate. so i think the proper legislative remedy is to focus on the perception that has been created by the mischaracterization, that -- and to make it clear that this law does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone. yes, please. >> thank you, governor. speaking of the backlash, indianapolis republican mayor rick bower said [ inaudible ] talking about bills from 1993, states passed it in the late '90s or 2000s, poll numbers on gay rights issues have moved tremendously nationally and in indiana.
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do you think that explains the backlash? >> i would leave it -- i think the -- you mean the public reaction? >> right. >> i think it's explained by the fact that this was grossly mischaracterized by advocates who oppose the bill and also by, frankly, some very sloppy reporting for the first several days. so i really do believe that. i mean, look, i mean, if i read some of the stuff about this bill, i would have had the same concern that millions of hoosiers have had and people across the country have had. it just isn't so. i mean, when president clinton signed this bill in 1993, the american civil liberties union said then that the religious freedom restoration act was the most important legislation considered by congress since the first amendment was approved. okay? when then-state senator barack
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obama voted for this bill in illinois, it was with broad and bipartisan support. one of the great pieces of the legislative history of the religious freedom restoration act is that it has been a way of bringing people together, consensus. this has been broadly supported on a bipartisan basis. so i, i would suggest to you that what explains the concerns that have been expressed across our state and across this nation, is the mischaracterization. and in very real sense, i think that's why they need to focus specifically on this perception that this creates some license to discriminate and that's what i i'm calling on the legislature to do. >> [ inaudible ] but what about
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housing and [ inaudible ]? >> i think that the language is still being worked out. okay? what i want to make sure is that it is clear to hoosiers, which are the people they serve, and frankly clear to anyone that would come to visit our state that there is in this legislation, no license to discriminate, no right to deny services. and i think we can -- i think we can develop that language. >> governor -- >> [ inaudible ] and he just this morning issued an e-mail to his supporters saying that christians [ inaudible ] supporters of homosexual marriage. [ inaudible ]? >> look, this law does not give
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anyone a license to discriminate. this law i signed last week does not give anyone the right to deny services. the language that i'm talking about adding, i believe, would be consistent with what the general assembly intended and certainly what i suspended. back there. >> if the legislature does send you a bill that includes anti-discrimination measures, would you sign? >> i'm calling on the general assembly to send me a bill that focuses on the issues here. to focus on the smear that's been leveled against this law and the people of indiana. and that is that somehow, through our legislative process, we enacted legislation that created a license to discriminate. that is so offensive to me as a hoosier. and i know it's offensive -- and
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i know it's offensive to people across the state of indiana, that we have to correct that first, just because it's not true. and secondly, we have to correct that perception. because it has to do with the perception of our state and our businesses. eric? >> [ inaudible ] the other is that [ inaudible ] would be trumped by this law. [ inaudible ]? >> i just think that we need to make it very clear, irrespective of whether those ordinances exist in a community or not, that this law does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone. okay? and that's what i have to say
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about that. go. >> [ inaudible ] what the law is? >> the intent of the law? well, the intent of the law when president clinton signed it, the intent of the law when i signed it was to give the courts in our state the highest level of scrutiny in cases where people feel that their religious liberty is being infringed upon by government action. i'm sorry, let's go here. >> you talked about the perceptions up there and the smear. how does the state of indiana get its good name back? >> well, first, the state of indiana has a good name. this law has been smeared.
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but, look, i'm going to mark our 200th anniversary next year. and the name and reputation of the people of indiana is strong and secure, but the reputation of this law, and the intentions of our legislature have been called into question. and i believe we need to deal with it. i believe we need to deal with it this week. and we will. we will fix this. and we will move forward. that's what -- that's what hoosiers do. >> [ inaudible ]? >> no comment. tom? >> what exactly do you want to
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see in the clarification, what are you looking for? >> well, i want to make it clear in the law that the religious freedom restoration act does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone. that this is about, and i've said before to people, you know, and i want to stipulate, the coverage on this has gotten better and more fair, okay? but early on, there was some really reckless and irresponsible reporting about this. i just would submit to you that it's important that we address the principle allegation here, with legislation in this law that makes it clear that it does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone. maureen?
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>> [ inaudible ] responsible reporting. we're all here [ inaudible ]. could you go ahead and specifically call us out [ inaudible ]? it's a serious question. you keep saying that. can you cite an article? can you cite a report? can you cite a newspaper? >> maureen, i wasn't talking about you. >> thank you. >> and frankly, can i just say this, i don't want to let the indiana press off the hook here, but i will anyway. i think the indiana press has had this right from early on. but some of the national reporting on this has been ridiculous. >> can you go ahead and cite a specific story? >> i -- i would encourage you to do a quick google search on this license to discriminate business. you'll find all of it. >> yes, sir? >> how are you [ inaudible ] ceos [ inaudible ] yesterday? >> well, i've been on the phone, talking to business leaders, our
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team has been talking to business leaders. i've been reaching out to the leaders of associations and corporations around the country, just setting the record straight about what this law actually does and what our intention is in passing it and our determination to correct the perception that's taken hold. >> [ inaudible ] last week, this was a long time coming, why did indiana act now, less than a year after the [ inaudible ]? >> good question. well, i think the more relevant event was the hobby lobby case by the supreme court. which is a case in point of the value of the religious freedom restoration act. it really is. the obamacare was passed into law, it included mandates on health care coverage for
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businesses. and hobby lobby, and i also might add, the university of notre dame, among others, filed federal lawsuits. to challenge obamacare, under the religious freedom restoration act. the supreme court in a majority opinion last year upheld the right of private business owners under the religious freedom restoration act. citing the act. but here's the background. in 1993, the federal law was signed by president clinton. in 1997, the supreme court of the united states ruled that the act did not apply to states that did not have their own statute. and that's why you had 19 states that have adopted statutes, you have about 11 other states that have adopted it in their case law, this balancing test, this standard. indiana never did. and so in the wake of the hobby
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lobby decision, to ensure that hoosiers in our state courts have the same level of scrutiny when their religious liberty, they believe, is infringe ed up, the general assembly moved this legislation. and that was the precipitating event. yes, sir? >> yesterday, senator long said to a small group of opponents who are mischaracterizing as well and another question used for how he described other opponents who are saying [ inaudible ]]? >> people are entitled to their opinions. but this law does not create a license to discriminate, and this law does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone. i think it would be helpful if the general assembly were to get legislation to my desk that made that clear and made that clear
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in the statute. yes? go. >> governor -- >> i didn't hear the first part of your question, tony. go ahead. >> this law has been used in court cases where [ inaudible ] a different type of law? >> the purpose of the religious freedom restoration act is to give the people of this country the opportunity to go into our courts, state, now, and federal for more than 20 years, where they believe that government action has imposed and impinged upon their religious liberty. that's the foundation of this idea. this is about, this is about restraining government overreach. and i want to say, again, the reason why this was such a broad
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and bipartisan measure over much of the last two decades, is because every american cherishes religious liberty. we all understand the importance of the freedom of conscience. it's enshrined in our constitution. it's enshrined in the constitution of the state of indiana. and that's what this is about. but, look, i understand that the perception of this has, you know, has gone far afield from what the law really is. we've been doing our level best to correct that perception, however imperfectly. and we'll continue to do that. i want to say, i am extremely grateful for voices around the country who have stepped up and stood by indiana, as we stand by this law. but that being said, as governor of the state of indiana, i believe it would be the right thing to do to move legislation that would make it clear that this law does not give
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businesses a right to deny services to anyone. john? do you have one? >> in your conversations with the businesses here, are you confident that this fix will [ inaudible ]? >> those conversations are ongoing. but i'm -- you know, i remain -- i remain very hopeful that if we focus on the principle misperception that we will garner support, we will store confidence, and we'll be able to move forward. >> is it true that [ inaudible ] does not have a statewide nondiscrimination law that protects [ inaudible ]? >> well, i think a number of the 30 states that have this standard in their courts are also in the same position indiana is in and the same position the federal government is in.
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in terms of protected status. but let me say with great respect, i think that's a separate issue, all right? it's not my position. i'm not advocating for it. i understand some people are. but that's a separate question that ought to be considered separate from this idea of religious liberty, and that we will give our courts in indiana and have given our courts in indiana the ability to discern with the highest level of scrutiny, where the people of our state believe that government action has intruded upon their religious liberty. right here. she's right here. >> [ inaudible ] -- >> i'm sorry, say again. >> [ inaudible ] protection of the law, and some states choose [ inaudible ] businesses [ inaudible ]? >> why is it contained? >> yeah, or why [ inaudible ]
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protections? >> well, you would have to speak to the indiana general assembly and the members who crafted the legislation. i'm pleased to support it, to answer the legislative history question. i believe it would be appropriate to make it clear that this law does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone. how about you? >> governor -- >> go ahead. >> there was a question, should it be legal in the state of indiana to discriminate against dp gays and lesbians? >> i don't support discrimination against gays or lesbians or anyone else. >> so no? >> no, i don't support discrimination against gays or lesbians or anyone else. i abhor discrimination. i want to say this. no one should be harassed or mistreated because of who they are, who they love, or what they
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believe. i believe it with all my heart. this issue of discrimination has been an anthem throughout my life. i was -- i started out in politics as a democrat when i was in high school. and was the youth democrat party coordinate in my hometown. not exactly a community organizer, but, we worked door to door. the reverend dr. luther martin luther king jr. was one of the heroes of my youth, he's my hero to this day. five years ago, john lewis approached me on the floor and asked if i would co-chair or co-host the annual pilgrimage to selma with him. and it was one of the greatest honors that i had during my 12 years in congress. we felt so strongly about it,
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that not only did my wife go with me, but our three teenage kids went with us. it was the 45th anniversary of bloody sunday. the night before in montgomery, we sat in dr. king's church. we talked to people who had been there. and we were deeply moved by the courage and the faith of the people who were there. butly always count it one of the greatest privileges of my life, that on the 45th anniversary of bloody sunday, i was walking across the edmund pettis bridge with john lewis. i think that's probably what's been most grievous to me about the debate the last week. is that i'm very typical in indiana. >> you are watching what has been a 40-minute, remarkable political adjustment by the governor of indiana, mike pence, defending the religious freedom restoration act, saying that the law, essentially, is not the problem, but he will ask the state legislature for language that will clarify the law by the
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end of the week. mary thompson has been cover this story from the beginning in indianapolis. mary, your take? >> reporter: well, first of all, he did state that he would look for language that did say that businesses have no right to discriminate against anyone. of course, carl, in these situations, the proof the in the pudding, so i think anyone who would voice opposition to this law, would want to say exactly what this language is before they give their opinion. also, there's a timing issue. he said he wants it done by the end of the week. the governor, interestingly, also said that he could have done a better job in describing what this law's aim is. you might recall that over the weekend, he was in an interview on abc, where he repeatedly refused to answer the question as to whether this law would allow a business to discriminate against someone who was gay. and he wouldn't answer the question. so while he said that the national press kind of elevated this argument, this outcry that we have seen in indiana,
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certainly, his actions didn't do anything on a national level to clarify this law. i also want to point out that during this time, he has been saying repeat drink that the law in indiana mirrors that of the federal law, and as well, a number of state laws that have been enacted. and while the language is similar in many ways, there are subtle differences. and those subtle differences are what has caused the public concern about this law being adopted in indiana. but, again, the government taking -- the governor taking a step back today, saying that he has encouraged the legislation to provide him with additional language that will be attached to the law, stating that businesses in indiana, this law does not give them the right to discriminate against anyone. he wants it by the end of the week. and of course, we'll wait to see what that language is. back to you. >> mary thompson, thank you for that. a lot of people talking about the microphone, which was especially sensitive at this lectern. michael huber is the ceo of the indianapolis chamber of commerce and has been joining us all morning long.
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michael, the governor called it a smear in his words, false, baseless, carried out in part by the national media, as mary just said, but also advocates who were arguing against the law. is that what you felt you did? >> i don't think so. look, i'm sympathetic to the governor's feelings about the attacks on indiana, because i think that many of them have been exaggerated in the last few days. but when he says the bill has been mischaracterized, it has been mischaracterized to an extent, but parts of it has been accurately characterized as well. you know, i'm not a lawyer, but our legal team and the businesses with whom we work have reviewed the original rfra and said it could open the door to discrimination, especially against the gblt community. so mary mentioned, the proof is in the pudding. that will be our attitude as well as a business organization. we will review whatever changes come across with an open mind. but we've got a serious, serious perception problem in a state that's impacting our state and
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our city. and any solution has got to remove all doubt that individuals can be discriminated against, or it's just not going to work. >> michael, that's what i wanted to get at. because the question i kept having as i listened to him, he was saying that the law does to the give a license to discriminate, but that's different from saying, he's calling for new, non-discrimination language that would protect gays andle lesles lesbians. indianapolis has that. the state of indiana does not. do you think the state needs to take a firmer stand on zrims? >> i did notice that difference. i know that some of our largest employers, including eli lilly, you may be aware of the letter that nine ceos from major employers wrote to the governor yesterday, urging him and the state legislature to fix this. that's going to be the key. does the -- would the language essentially work instead of
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stronger anti-discrimination laws at the state level? i want to take a little bit of issue with one of the things the governor said and has been saying. when we cite the fact that 19 other states have rfras, every state that we've identified so far has got anti-discrimination law at the state level, which effectively balances out the religious freedom protections in rfras. so your question, i mean, that is going to be the key. does the clarifying language that says that businesses may not discriminate, could that, you know, serve as some kind of a substitute for stronger anti-discrimination laws? i don't know. and certainly, a second question is, we would want to make sure that in the absence of that, that local human rights ordinances were not superseded by state law. we would have to sit down and read the language. >> michael, thank you so much for your time and your patience. michael huber, the ceo of the indianapolis state chamber of commerce. when we come back, the future of
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tv is now online. the ceo of hbo, richard plepler, will join us in an cnbc exclusive. his first interview since taking the stage with tim cook of apple a few weeks ago. "squawk alley" continues in just a moment.
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partnership with vice, a deal with apple, and an over the top streaming service and "game of thrones" debuting in the next two weeks. hbo is a huge name to watch in
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media right now. and here for an exclusive interview, richard plepler joins us in new york and our own julia boorstin, take it away. >> richard, thanks so much for joining us today. i know you're getting ready to launch your over the top streaming app, hbo now. any day now, it's going to be launching. and the big question is, how big of a deal is this for your bottom line? >> well, listen, we're not looking at this as a 2015 revenue expansion. what we're looking at this as focusing on our future, on optionalty of viewing, on maximum flexibility for us. this is a long-term, strategic play for us. it's not about 2013. we don't have a lot of visibility on 2013, but we think it's the right strategic play for us going forward. >> now, apps for hbo now have been spotted on cable tv. so based on that, it would seem like you're marketing to cable subscribers to cut the cord and just subscribe districtly to hbo
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now -- do you think hbo now will eat into your core subscriber base? >> we do not. we think it's very additive to our business. we're talking to our cable partners, our teleco partners, our cell phone partners about working with us to take hbo now and make it a part of their packa packaging, as well as working with apple and in the future other digital partners. we see this as an expansion of the pie, not cannibalistic at all of our current products. >> imd assume you're earning higher margins on the $15 hbo now subscription by going directly to consumers rather than being part of the part of the cable bundle. would you rather switch people over to the stand-alone app? >> no. we would rather work with a multitude of partners. this is not a binary decision on our part. this is a multi-lateral decision on our part. we're going to work, as i said, with our current partners. we're going to work with new partners. we're going to expand the options for viewers to get hbo.
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and we think this is a terrific opportunity. there are 10 million broadband homes in the united states, as you know. that's largely a millennial audience. we think hbo now is something of a millennial missile. and it's an opportunity for our partners and apple and future digital partners to go after that market. it's a terrific product, we mentioned some of the extraordinary content early on, as you were introducing me. and i think that's going to drive a lot of new business for us, a lot of new subs for us. but it is not at the expense of our current partnerships. that's very, very important to pu punctua punctuate. >> you call it a millennial missile. jay-z is trying to get millennials and others to pay maybe 20 bucks a months in subscription for music. how do you think about a millennial's willingness to pay that for a digital product? because there are a number of
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people who are questioning it. what's going to make them feel that's a great deal? >> listen, we think we have a premium product. we have extraordinary content. we have four hollywood movie studios. we have 2,800 hours of library programming 2,800 of library programming and current programming across a wide range of genres. documentary, mini series, late night content, movies, drama, comedies. it's an extraordinary amount of programming. and we think it's worth it. it's the price of a movie ticket and a bucket of popcorn. if you look at the value of that, we think it makes perfect sense. and we think the consumer is going to agree with us. >> now you mentioned some of your partners. you partnered with apple for three month exclusive. what are the advantages with teaming up with apple for that exclusive period? >> well, listen, obviously they are an extraordinary company with a wide range of devices. and those devices are proliferating throughout the consumer base. but also as we looked at hbo go,
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which is our streaming service tethered to our distributors, we saw about 60% of usage on apple devices. so it made perfect sense for us to work with apple in introducing hbo now. and they do have a 90-day exclusive. we think we're going to do very, very well with them at launch and in the future. and after that 90 days, we'll work with additional partners as well. >> now in terms of your cable partners, cablevision is the only cable carrier who's agreed to start selling hbo now. do you think some of the other big cable carriers will get onboard as well? or are they a little bit more iffy about this idea of selling hbo now outside of their tv bundle? >> i do think they'll get on board because it's good for their business. nobody is doing any favors selling hbo. they are selling hbo because it expands their business and it's a great product. if you look at the broadband
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only opportunities inside our partners' universe, it would make perfect sense for them to take hbo now, leverage their business, and expand their consumer base. and that's what we think is going to happen. and we're delighted that cablevision is the first, but we think there are many more to follow. >> richard, when you're looking at how to reach that millennial audience, and you were making the pitch on hbo now to me. i'm a cable subscriber. so it's not me. i'm kind of a gen xor. but in terms of marketing, is mobile a bigger part of the mix? do you have any plans to move toward social media? >> we're going to use a lot of social media. and 29 million people, for example, watch "game of thrones" trailer alone on facebook. obviously, social media plays a tremendously important role in driving our brand forward. but at the end of the day, this is all about the content. and you need to produce the best
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content, superior content, premium content, things that people want to watch. julia mentioned "vice" at the top. another extraordinary brand. john oliver, bill maher. we're launching "game of thrones" again on april 12, followed by "silicon valley" and "veep." this is an extraordinary range and array of programming. if we deliver the top content, we believe not only millennials but we have a tremendous opportunity to grow our base in the coming years. it's the most exciting inflection point in the modern history of our company. not only because of the content, but because of the optionality of distribution that we're providing. >> i wanted to ask you about that deal with vice. you announced you'd be launching a daily 30-minute newscast. why get into the newscast business, and why do it with vice, rather than cnn, your sister company? >> we may very well do it with
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cnn down the road. but vice has been a wonderful partner for us. the show has performed extremely well. we think the brands are elegantly aligned. we like shane and his team very, very much. if you look at the story telling of vice and the range of things that they have done across all categories, from africa to ferguson, you see a very unique voice in the vice story telling, which we think syncs up beautifully with hbo. so building upon that relationship, doubling down on that relationship, made perfect sense for us. we're not so much in the daily news business, julia. we're in the vice business. and we like them very much. we like their sensibility very much. and we think this partnership and the expansion of this partnership is going to be terrific for them and terrific for hbo. >> your documentary "going clear" which ran sunday has sparked an examination of scientology's tax exempt status. are you trying to take down the
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church of scientologist? >> that was hardly the goal. the number one documentary in hbo in 10 years. raised a multitude of issues. and now those issues are in the public dialogue and the public sphere, and we're see what happens from here. >> we're out of time. but we will have "game of thrones" launching a week from sunday, anything you can tell us to get us excite about the new season? >> i only can tell you we say every year how are they going to top last year, and every year they seem to do it. i have the privilege of seeing many episodes, and they have done it again. it's just an extraordinary array of programming. i think it's really more like watching 10 movies than watching 10 hours of television. that's how good it. >> richard, thanks so much for joining us. and we look forward to testing out hbo now as it launches. >> pleasure, julia. >> guys, back to you. >> julia, thank you so much. call it the next big unicorn.
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another $52 million today. it's on the heels of its$90 million investment. it's their largest position ever, and they remain the only partner. steven, good to see you. welcome. >> good morning. >> that is saying something, the largest position. >> well, we are super excited. this is a really significant investment for us. but really david and o-ryan, the founders, have done an amazing job with the superb product. >> and, steven, it's john ford. it gives people the ability, the real time ability, to see potential vulnerable smartphones, pcs, send messages to people who might have those, push fixes, but it's enterprise. and andreessen horowitz has a
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big legacy there. is that missed in the hype of valuing as and whatnot, are there really attractive companies to look at there in the enterprise? >> well, the enterprise of course is the infrastructure of the world in terms of computing. and there are probably 1 billion end points. those are pcs or macs or laptops, desktops, virtual machines, cash registers, atms, all managed at the enterprise level. and taniun is an important part of that market. >> it seems with companies increasing their own cyber security budgets and government increasing their budget here, it's hard to have an accurate number here of what the possible spending in this space actually is and what tanium could capture there. >> budget is enormous. but the key for tanium is that
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the target market are all of the end points. it could be servers in a data center, laptops, design work stations, virtual machines, atms, cash registers. easily 1 billion possible end points are the target for the tanni um company right now. >> semantic has had a hard time pivoting and adjusting in this real time cloud era. do you think that tanium has the potential to be at that level, the next big huge security company? or is it a little bit more niche? >> no. in fact, it's actually the other way around. it's broader than any one security company or anyone in the traditional area we used to call systems management. what's so incredible about tanium, it takes a modern approach to what used to be the mundane task of inventorying and tracking your pcs with the
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network and edge detection of companies like palo alto networks and the like. and semantic is sort of a legacy provider of end point protection, the signature files and malware. and tanium is all about 15-second response across a billion end points in the enterprise world. >> i know you're leaving the valuation to the company. but is the ongoing conversation about valuations tiring to you? is it boring? is it important? where does it rank in your head? >> no. to me, the most exciting part are just the innovation and the inventions and the amazing work that the entrepreneurs are doing. and the valuation just comes and goes as part of the conversation. it's an important thing for us and the companies, but much, much more important are just the things that they are delivering to customers on the marketplace. >> we'll keep our eye on this one for sure. steven, thanks so much for being with us. see you next time. >> thank you.
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meantime, dow down triple digits once again as we wrap up the first quarter. can you believe the year is 25% done? >> it feels like we just started. it's unreal. every year. >> either that or it feels like it's been six months. now back to wapner who is back at hrkeadquarters for "the half." ♪ guys, thanks so much. welcome to "the halftime show." jim lafenthal. josh brown. john and pete, co-founders of option monster. joe terranova. mike santoli columnist for yahoo finance. our game plan looks like this. is the price right? shares of priceline get an upgrade today to buy. we'll talk to the analysts who made it live. portfolio challenge. the best and worst trades of the


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