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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  April 2, 2013 2:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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representing mr. z will actually do or how he'll balance it with all the duties of owning a tiny fraction of the brooklyn nets which include being seen courtside with beyonce. hash tag you're in. we asked you to send us your best headlines covering the new york city bribery scandal involving state senator malcolm smith at ct ironman tweeted malcolm in the middle cell. and blago blushes. mr. smith goes to the slammer. that's it for "the lead." i leave you with wolf blitzer in "the situation room." thanks very much. happening now, put guns in the schools to stop school shootings. that's the controversial finding of an nra backed task force on school security. we'll talk with the former congressman asa huchlts. also the army decides against awarding purple hearts to the victims of the fort hood shooter. former presidential newt gingrich is outraged and is standing by live. this hour to discuss right here in "the situation room."
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and the phone rings during dinner. you pick it up to hear an annoying recorded sales pitch. now winners of a government contest may have found ways to stop those robocalls. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." outrage swept the nation after the newtown, connecticut school shootings and the nra kept a low profile in the immediate days afterwards but now as the urgency to act on gun violence has seemingly faded, and congressional efforts have floundered, an nra task force has outlined its plan for school safety. jim acosta is coming into the situation room right now. you've been following what's going on. pretty extensive plan. what happened? >> wolf, it is important to note when the nra set up and paid for this task force after the tragedy at newtown to come up with recommendations to prevent future school shootings, its initial proposal was war armed security to protect students.
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now that the work of the task force is complete and here it is right here, that plan hasn't changed. >> the plan from the nra's task force on preventing school shootings appears to be simple. more guns and no new gun control. >> the presence of an armed security personnel in a school adds a layer of security and diminishes response time. >> among its main recommendations at least one armed guard or employee like a teacher per school and an nra program to train school personnel to use firearms. there is both a show of force as the task force released its findings surrounded by more than a dozen security guards. >> if you go into a mall there's security. and so there's security here at the national press club. >> and a show of support from the father of one of the children killed in the mass shooting at newtown. >> this is recommendations for solutions. real solutions that will make our kids safer. >> but there were holes in the
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nra's report such as no cost estimates for the armed personnel. task force leader and former republican congressman asa hutchinson insisted while his group's findings were not influenced by the nra it didn't look at gun control measures pending before congress. not even universal background checks. something supported by 90% of americans according to a recent cbs news poll. a level of support far and above the backing for armed guards in schools. >> independent of the nra why did you not consider that piece of the puzzle? >> because our focus is on school safety and making our schools a safer environment. >> with the nra digging in its heels the white house says president obama will keep pushing. >> he believes that passion, that urgency still exists around the country and still exists, you know, if not in full then in part in washington. >> translation, as one top gun control advocate on capitol hill put it, the longer it takes, the
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harder it gets in congress. >> we've argued this and argued that and been distracted by this and that and do nothing, do absolutely nothing. and i think we need to be careful with that. >> a leader of one gun control advocacy group called the nra event, quote, ironic and hypocrite call noting the gun lobby opposes universal background checks but supports them for school security guards. president obama will be campaigning for new restrictions on firearms at events in colorado, tomorrow, and connecticut next week he goes to the scene of the shooting at the movie theater in aurora, colorado. >> seems like an uphill struggle for the president and his supporters on this issue but clearly he is not giving up. >> that's right. he is not giving up because this would be a major political defeat for the president were this to go down. one thing we have heard throughout this process over the last several months is something called the newtown effect. that effect was much stronger in the days and weeks after that tragedy but it has obviously faded since then and the white
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house seems to acknowledge that and members of congress. they know the longer this takes the harder it gets. >> jim acosta reporting for us. thanks very much. joining us now former congressman asa hutchinson the director of the national school shield task force established by the national rifle association. mr. hutchinson, thanks very much for coming in. >> good to be with you. >> your mission was to try to protect kids at schools. one of the proposals not included in your mission is one widely supported by the american government, the american public i should say. universal background checks. wouldn't that help protect kids if they were universal background checks? >> we don't know. i mean, obviously we think it's important to make sure that fire arms do not get in the hands of people who are criminals, convicted felons, or adjudicated as mentally ill. >> isn't that a good way to check it out is if there is background checks? >> that is the purpose of background checks and one of the issues is making sure there is
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enough information in the system. the point being that is a fair debate that is ongoing. our mandate was to deal with the issue of inside the four walls of the classroom, the school property, for safety. you can have your background checks. you can have all kinds of side issues or gun control will not make a difference for the safety in the classroom because you've always got vulnerabilities there. >> but if fewer people get access to those guns because of more thorough background checks, that would protect kids. >> well, that's a debatable point first of all. >> why is it debatable if you make it more difficult for mentally ill people, for criminals, for drug dealers, people who are convicted felons. they can go to a private dealer if you will or a gun show and buy a weapon that can kill without any background checks. >> we're concerned about bad guys getting guns and they get guns from a whole host of
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places. >> shouldn't it be made more difficult? >> you can pass all the laws you want to and you're still going to have challenges for security in the schools and that's where we came back to safety. my mandate is to deal with the school safety issues, access controls, perimeters, locking doors, surveillance. all of these things beyond even armed security in the school. those are the things that we looked at. >> because a lot of those proposals are common sense and they make sense and all of us were horrified at what happened in newtown, connecticut. i'll put one poll up on the screen. cbs poll. federal law requiring background checks on all potential gun buyers. 90% of the american public favor that. only 8% oppose that. what say you? >> if congress decides we ought to expand background checks that is a decision they will make. on my task force, on my task force we had varied opinions on that issue but it was not the
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focus of our task force and so it's -- if you're looking at my personal opinion on background checks i hope congress can look at a way to do better in having good records in the system that does the background checks so that we actually have information as to who has been adjudicated mentally ill, that we can have information, better information on convicted felons, and that we make sure that when someone purchases a firearm that it is going to someone qualified to own it. we're all for that. as to how they -- >> what i hear you saying is you're open to expanding background checks personally. >> yes. absolutely. i'm open to expanding background checks. you can do it in a way that does not infringe upon an individual and make it hard for an individual to transfer to a friend or a neighbor or somebody that, here in montana, and have a casual sale.
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we don't want to infringe upon those rights either. and so i'm more focused on the safety and protecting the kids in the school. i think our initiative will do that more than going down this path of passing stricter laws that somehow we pat ourselves on the back and k we've done something for safety when we haven't. >> at the sandy hook elementary school when i was there in the immediate aftermath adam lanza went in there with a high capacity weapon and he killed 26 people. 20 first graders. six educators. within 300 seconds because he had that high capacity magazine. should something be done to protect kids, to limit those kinds of magazines? >> no. i don't think that there's any benefit from limitations on firearms and ammunition. i think the challenge is to people who have those. and that's, again, one reason that you can look at proper
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background checks but you also look at sandy hook and i was delighted that mark matioli joined me, a parent who lost james at that tragic shooting at sandy hook elementary school. he was with us today saying i applaud you for doing something about school safety. sandy hook parents want to make sure when this was over with that they did have an armed presence in the schools so that the parents would know that children are being protected. >> just want to be precise. while you are open to some changes on background checks you are not open personally to some changes on magazines? >> well, i'm stating my personal views on that. >> your personal views yes. >> i don't believe further gun control restrictions are the answer to our challenge of violence in our society. i think the answer is particularly when it comes to schools to having better investment and safety. i wish mayor bloomberg would take his tens of millions of dollars that he's advocating in
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a campaign for gun control and put that money into school safety programs. i think you'd make a real difference for our children's future. >> asa hutchinson, former u.s. congressman, former dea administrator, you got a good resume under secretary homeland security. thanks for coming in. >> thank you, wolf. up next despite all the president's efforts, he looks unlikely to get all of the gun control measures he wants. our own john king is standing by to discuss what is going on. coming up also, no medals for victims of the fort hood massacre. newt gingrich is here in "the situation room" as well to tell us why he is so angry at the pentagon for this decision. this day calls you.
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you just heard my interview with asa hutchinson. the nra task force calls for
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training school personnel to carry guns. is that the best way to keep school kids safe? our chief national correspondent john king is here. i was a little surprised. i don't know about you, john, to hear him say he personally would support expanding background checks knowing that the nra doesn't support expanding background checks. >> we should applaud his candor for that. you had to be persistent to get to that point. he was trying to dodge the question until you asked him directly. it was a few years back when wayne laperriere the director of the nra testified before congress. that was after virginia tech when you had republican george w. bush in the white house and the nra went on the record to say it would support expanded background checks. now the nra says no. it has nothing to do with the fact there is a democratic president. it says the system hasn't worked as it has beenimplemented. they say there are kinks in the system and you can improve what we have without expanding it. it is an interesting question and the most likely thing the president wants that will be
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passed. maybe not universal background checks but more robust background checks. i recently talked to david keen now the nra president and asked him if republicans who support background checks are on the ballot in 2014 will you punish them? he answered with one word. he said yes. we'll see if that changes. >> the president will be out in colorado tomorrow. next week he is going back to appendecto connecticut. he is pushing for something more robust. >> at the moment many people say the president seems to be wasting his time because he is not changing the math. not changing the math and the conservative republican controlled house but most importantly not controlling the math, changing the math in the short term in the democratic controlled senate. wolf, you have a half dozen close to 10 or 12 democrats up in 2014 who are wore bitd thrie this issue. who are from gun rights states. they don't know if the new campaign by mayor bloomberg is going to move the numbers as much. our own polling shows the urgency after newtown has dropped. support for gun restrictions has dropped some in recent months.
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there are a lot of skittish democrats, the biggest obstacle to the president right now. even if he could get them he could still have republicans to convince. in a way you can't fault the president for keeping up his campaigning if he truly believes in this because on this and other issues he needs to prove to his own base he'll continue to fight even when the numbers aren't there. >> if 90% of the american public supports universal background checks, 8% oppose it. why is it so difficult to get that through congress? >> welcome to special interest politics and this is an issue, much of what we talked about as a democrat, republican, partisan polarization. when it comes to guns it is more regional and cultural. you were talking to asa hutchinson from arkansas. there are people in arkansas who might agree with having armed guards at school while mayor bloomberg in new york would say that is crazy. some of this is a partisan break down and some is the people who right now say they won't go for expanded background checks and don't feel it would hurt them politically. they don't feel they will lose because of that one issue. i think it is because of that polling and because the president will keep at this and keep asking for the assault weapons ban. he'll keep asking for the big
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magazine clips to be banned. he is most unlikely to get either one. if he keeps on the background checks, eric cantor the majority leader in the house, republican house supported the virginia law. it is not universal but is more robust. that is most likely where we're going but the president has to worry about democrats in the senate and the possibility of a republican led filibuster. >> asa hutchinson, former congressman from arkansas i think will run for governor of arkansas next year. he has a good shot getting elected. >> the technology advancements make it hard to argue against the background checks. >> all right. john, thanks very much. when we come back, a surprising new update in college basketball player kevin ware's condition just two days after suffering a really gruesome injury. plus the pentagon fighting a push to award the prestigious purple heart to victims of the fort hood massacre. former presidential candidate newt gingrich is outraged. he is here live in the situation room. room. we'll discuss. a regular guy with an irregular heartbeat. the usual, bob? not today. [ male announcer ] bob has afib: atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem,
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angry mobs are storming newspaper buildings right in the heart of baghdad. lisa sylvester is monitoring that. some of the other top stories in the situation room right now. what is going on? >> at least six people were injured as equipment was being stashed, workers being beat up and files stolen. one person was tossed off a roof. investigators say the string of assaults which unfolded simultaneously yesterday stemmed from outrage over a story viewed as being critical toward a shiite cleric. a spokesman says the cleric had nothing to do with the attacks and condemned them. the arkansas attorney general is opening an investigation into what caused last week's massive oil pipeline
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leak which sent thousands of barrels of heavy crude oil leaking into the city of may flower. about two dozen homes have been evacuated for at least another several days. a wildlife rehabilitation is under way on site treating the animals that have been affected. remember this woman, the so-called new jersey tan mom accused of child endangerment after allegedly taking her 5-year-old daughter to a tanning facility? a new law signed by governor chris christie prohibiting minors under the age of 17 from using commercial tanning beds in the state and banning those under 14 from any spray tanning procedures. california and vermont also banned indoor tanning by minors. college basketball player kevin ware has been released from an indianapolis hospital and is back in louisville after that gruesome leg break scene by millions on television at sunday's ncaa tournament. there was a two two-hour surgery
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to repair the break. he tweeted saying back to my brothers i go. louisville made it to the final four after beating duke sunday and plays wichita state saturday in atlanta. who could forget the images of that leg break. so painful to watch that video. >> i'm happy he is beginning the long road to recovery. we wish him obviously the best. up next the pentagon won't give purple hearts to the victims of the fort hood massacre. newt gingrich will tell us why he is so outraged by this decision. the former presidential candidate will also talk about a potential future presidential candidate as hillary clinton's now trourng treturning to the s. at tyco integrated security, we consider ourselves business optimizers.
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after months out of the spotlight. is she setting the stage for a potential presidential run? as north korea ramps up its threats against the united states is it time for president obama to pick up the phone and call its leader? newt gingrich is here. he's weighing in on all of that and much more. i'm wolf blitzer. you are in the situation room. the victims of the mass shooting at fort hood, texas were honored as if they fell in combat. rifles up out of empty boots with helmets place onondaga top but the u.s. army has decided not to award purple hearts to the dead and wounded in the incident and that has some families and lawmakers outraged. cnn pentagon correspondent chris lawrence is looking into the story for us. what's going on? >> reporter: some people feel that calling this attack workplace violence is a real insult to the victims here.
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they want these victims to be treated with the same sort of combat status as those men and women who were here in the pentagon, who were hurt and wounded when the terrorists attacked on september 11. it's a small pin, but the fight to award it has big implications for how the u.s. defines an act of terrorism. >> as we've seen anything is possible. we are at war. >> reporter: some in congress want to award the purple heart to victims of the fort hood shooting of 2009. the wounded soldiers and the 12 troops killed, including a teenage private and a pregnant soldier heading home for maternity leave. the pentagon is pushing back. >> what is the rationale for opposing this legislation? we're simply saying that our position has not changed. this is a matter that is pending before a court. i'm not going to get into it. >> reporter: cnn obtained the pentagon position paper which does. in it officials argue awarding
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the purple heart would taint the case against the alleged shooter major hasan. quote, this provision would be viewed as setting the stage for a formal declaration that major hasan is a terrorist. such a situation would fundamentally compromise the fairness and due process of the pending trial. >> that argument is total rubbish. >> neil share is an attorney for the victims and says it is absurd to think that high ranking officers who make up the jury will be swayed by an award and he argues hasan is a terrorist. >> as he was firing mercilessly on his victims, he was yelling, god is great. he was getting advice from al awlaki who was i believe in yemen. >> hasan corresponded with al qaeda leader awlaki a dozen times in the months leading up to the incident. but the pentagon will not call the shooting a terrorist attack. and there is the rub.
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because some would say, well look. just let the hasan trial finish and after it's done the pentagon would be free to award the purple heart. but what the pentagon is arguing is that this is not an international terrorist attack and that is the criteria to get the purple heart or even be eligible so really no matter what happens in this trial hasan would have to be found to be acting as a direct agent of al qaeda for then these victims to be eligible for the purple heart. >> which raises the question, chris. if he was inspired by anwar al awlaki the al qaeda operative later killed by a u.s. drone in yemen, if he was inspired, coordinating if you will, some of the messages, if he was saying what he said when he was killing those individuals at fort hood, why isn't it a terrorist act? it looks like it has the feeling of a terrorist act. >> to a lot of people it does. i mean, what he said, the fact that he was in contact, some of
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the motivations, the alleged motivations for this attack. for a lot of people, they say this is clearly motivated by terrorism and he was clearly targeting some of the troops who were preparing to deploy over to afghanistan. but for some reason the military in some parts of the obama administration do not want to refer to it as such. that doesn't mean the army at some point when this does eventually go to court-martial and trial that the army could not say that. that this isn't a closed book so to speak. the army could designate that at some point down the road in these court proceedings and it could possibly open the door for this award down the line. >> chris lawrence, over at the pentagon, thanks very much. among those very outraged by the pentagon's decision in this fort hood case is the former speaker of the house of representatives the former republican presidential candidate newt gingrich who is here in the situation room. thanks very much, mr. speaker, for coming in. your blood is boiling. i've known you for a long time.
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you hear this and you're very upset. >> well, as you know, we made a movie on this called "america at risk." there are two things that should just infuriate every american. this is such a sick situation. and it's sick for two different reasons. first the fact he's still not been tried. somebody jumps up in a room, shoots 33 people, kills most of them. has in his wallet warrior of allah. is communicating with someone who is so dangerous the president personally approves killing him. spies in a matter of weeks.rman there is no question this man is guilty. none. zero. >> he is innocent until proven guilty. >> this is an act of treason against the united states. >> he has to be proven guilty. >> so prove it in a week. you bring in all the different witnesses and say did this guy
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shoot people? >> there is a military court of justice and a system. >> and the current system is sick. >> let me just read to you the pentagon position paper chris lawrence mentioned. it says that if they were to do what you and so many others would like to do to declare this a triflt act it would undermine the prosecution of major hasan by materially and directly compromising major hasan's ability to receive a fair trial. >> look, does anybody doubt he was in the room? does anyone doubt he yelled? does anyone doubt he shot all those people? we have a lawyer driven system that is sick. i use that word deliberately. this is a country which has to face certain problems. we have two sicknesses here. an intellectual sickness in our national security system that doesn't want to admit this was an act of terrorism. the army bent over backwards to pretend this was a work place incident. this is not a work place incident. there is no conceivable belief on the planet that this man happened to randomly snap.
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he had studied to do this. he had communicated with a man we later on killed who was also an american citizen. as i said when somebody jumps up and yells you probably know they don't belong to the local rotary club and they're probably not complaining about the local garbage dump. >> you could complain about the system. you got to change the system. you say it's bad. the legal system. the military justice system if you will. you got to change that. but right now the guys who are prosecuting him, the military jag officers, have to go according to the rules and that is how they determine the rules exist. >> one of the ways you establish rules is the u.s. congress passes laws. the congress should pass a law that says if you are hurt by terrorism in the united states it is an act of war and you get a purple heart and the united states congress ought to have serious hearings about how, and this is even truer of our civilian system, i mean i personally as a citizen am tired of being told that we will eventually some day maybe get around to trying somebody who
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you have every evidence possible is guilty. >> judicial proceedings take time. we'll continue this conversation. other subjects to get to as well, newt gingrich is not going away. more of the interview coming up. i'll ask him also about hillary clinton. she is about to return to the public stage here in washington over at the kennedy center tonight in a few hours. here is the question. could she be getting warmed up for 2016? also, just how seriously should the united states be taking the growing threats coming from north korea's leader? kim jung un. i know the speaker has some thoughts on that as well. wish i saw mine more often, but they live so far away. i've been thinking about moving in with my daughter and her family. it's been pretty tough since jack passed away. it's a good thing you had life insurance through the colonial penn program. you're right. it was affordable, and we were guaranteed acceptance. guaranteed acceptance? it means you can't be turned down because of your health.
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the former speaker newt gingrich. do you think hillary clinton will run for president again? >> probably. i mean, she is clearly the front-runner of the democratic party. she has this remarkable opportunity. she does one thing like tonight -- >> she'll be a vital voice at this event which promotes women from around the world. a beautiful event. she is one of the organizers of it. and she is going to be there with the vice president. joe biden is going to be there as well. interesting that he showed. >> well, look. obviously he'd like to run. but she has the unique luxury reagan had after '76 that she can go out about every six weeks, do one very high profile event that feels good, and sustain a momentum while thinking things through, getting out of the washington cycle, resting, getting ready so she wants to run. i think she is very formidible. >> you think she could win?
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>> oh, yeah. >> not just the nomination. i'm talking about the presidency. >> remember, i was so sold on hillary that i thought she'd be the nominee in 2008 up until i think mid april. so i may not be a very good -- i've worked with her on health issues and national security. i think she is a very formidible, very intelligent person. >> you're not endorsing her. >> no, look. we'll try to beat her and may be able to. >> you are thinking about running again? >> no. >> you're over thanchs t. >> i'm focusing on ideas. >> speaking of ideas, kim jong un, this young leader -- what a jump. >> how do you think the obama administration is handling all these threats coming from north korea? >> well, i think, you know, again, i obviously have lots of complaints with the president about issues, but i think sending the b-2 bombers in a very public way, communicating very clearly we stand by south korea, i think so far they have
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been very balanced and very reasonable in their response. everyone needs to understand, nobody understands north korea. the chinese don't understand north korea. the south koreans don't understand north korea. presumably, we think he's doing this to consolidate his power inside the country. but it's a very isolated country. and we have no idea what they believe about the world. >> what is so scary, though, and i've been to north korea, is that one miscalculation, you've got a million north korean troops just north of the dmz. seoul, just 30 miles below the dmz clearly within artillery range and the devastation in the first hours of the war would be horrendous. >> does it make sense and i know we're all laughing about dennis rodman for the president to send a high level envoy to reach out to call kim jong un to try to ease this crisis right now? >> i think i wouldn't do it at the presidential level but i do think it makes sense.
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i've talked to franklin graham. he has done a lot to help feed north koreans who are starving. he believes there are lower level things and actually the basketball is one of the things that actually breaks through culturally. dennis rodman might not have been your first choice but that trying to reach them on levels that aren't directly diplomatic and starting a conversation may be the right way to begin to get them beyond their current state. >> michael jordan was their first choice. >> the president is pretty close to michael jordan. maybe he should ask him to go over. >> see if michael jordan can make peace. who knows? mr. speaker, thanks for coming in. >> good to be with you. coming up another republican senator endorsing same sex marriage. what is behind his powerful statement? stay with us. [ female announcer ] the only patch for the treatment
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you heard asa hutchinson the former republican congressman who heads the nra backed task force on school safety raise some eyebrows when he told me a little while ago he personally would support expanding background checks for gun purchases. listen to what he said. >> we make sure that when someone purchases a fire arm that it is going to someone that is qualified to own it. we're all for that. >> what i hear you saying is you're open to expanding background checks personally. >> yes. absolutely. i am open to expanding background checks. you can do it in a way that does not infringe upon an individual. >> all right. that is what asa hutchinson just said. we're getting a statement in from a spokesman for the nra saying asa hutchinson was not speaking for the nra.
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he meant expanding it to include more people into the national instant check system. asa hutchinson made it clear those were his personal views not speaking for the nra. just want to update you on that. let's discuss what is going on a little more. ari fleischer is joining us the former bush press secretary. also donna brazile the democratic strategist. both cnn contributors. what do you make of this whole issue of expanding background checks? ari, first to you. >> well, it all depends on the whens and the wheres and the hows. if you are talking about a grandfather's right to give a rifle or gun to his grandson waunt to do a background check on the family. i don't think anybody is going to go for that. if you're talking about gun show loopholes that would allow for a broader check i think people are trying to figure out a way to be for that and it looks pretty good to do that. what he said is very subject to interpretation without knowing exactly what he was referring to. by what it was he would
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personally support as an expansion. it's very hard to judge what he had on his mind. >> he certainly did make it clear that these were his personal views not speaking for the nra. it looks like the proponents of major gun control, donna, are going to be in for a disappointment because some of the major proposals are going down. >> wolf, i wouldn't, you know, basically say that those proposals are going down. this is a major fight. the gun industry is very well financed. putting a lot of money out there right now to lobby against these common sense, sensible gun proposals. i wouldn't, you know, basically say that these proposals will go down. there will be a debate. there will be a conversation. and let's hope that harry reid is able to corral a vote and not just pay attention to those five senators that would like to filibuster the whole thing let's move on to a dramatic endorsement of same sex marriage this one from a senate
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republican. mark kirk of illinois becoming the second republican senator to take that stand. a social moderate he made a dramatic return to capitol hill after spending a year recovering from a stroke. that helped prompt this powerfu climbed the capital steps in january, i promised myself that i would return to the senate with an open mind and greater respect for others. same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage. our time on this earth is limited. i know that better than most. life comes down to who you love, and who loves you back. government has no place in the middle. last month senator rob portman of ohio, another social conservative, announced his support for same-sex marriage, saying he was swayed on the issue by his gay son. 48 of 55 democratic senators have endorsed same-sex marriage. ari, do you think more republicans are going to follow these other two republican senators' lead? >> only slowly, wolf.
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this is an issue that i got involved in this when i was working on that report for the republican national committee on the future of the republican party. one of the most interesting discoveries made is there is a real jen rigs al split among rbs involving gay marriage. you really have a large part of the base, that is fundamentally opposed to it. and you have then a growing younger group of conservatives who are more libertarian, laissez-faire. that's okay. that's a split that will play itself out over time in republican circles. i don't think in the immediate short term you'll see a lot of switches other than for personal reasons, as senator portman did, or for senator kirk in this instance. but it also does show when it comes to what republicans like to believe about themselves, we say we're's a big pent. there is room in the republican party for both sides of this issue. and i think, frankly, the future is changing underneath republican feet on the issue. in is a generational split.
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and a split among republicans. >> there are at least seven democratic senators, gone na, who still have not endorlsed same-sex marriage. i'll put their names up on the screen so the viewers can see them and their pictures. matt what do you think, are they going to start turning around pretty soon as well? >> we'll see, wolf. we've seen so much evolution on this issue. this is the first major civil rights issue where i've seen the public shift over the last seven, eight years. eight democrats came onboard over the last seven days. yesterday, tom harper, from delaware, mr. casey from pennsylvania two days ago. so we'll see how they will evolve over the next couple days, weeks, months, years. we'll see. >> donna, ari, guys, thanks very much for coming in. at the top of the hour, if
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push comes to shove with north korea, the biggest danger right now is not necessarily a nuclear conflict. we'll show you what a war could look like. also coming up, how to stop the annoying robo calls. the government pays the public to come up with some ideas and it may, repeat, may have found an answer. ♪
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...and we inspected his brakes for free. -free is good. -free is very good. [ male announcer ] now get 50% off brake pads and shoes at meineke. there are a few things a lot more annoying than that dinnertime phone call. you pick up the receiver, you hear a pause, a click and a recorded sales pitch that starts something like this. >> hello, this is rachel at card holder services calling in reference to your current credit card account. >> now, the government's come up with a new way to try to end those annoying calls by picking the brains of the american public. renee marsh has the details. what are you learning? >> wolf, we all know the calls can drive you crazy. they come at the most inconvenient times. robo calls, selling you something that you don't want.
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and many times, they're scams to rip you off. the problem will just not go away. the federal trade commission launched a contest looking for the best ideas to put an end to these calls. >> hello, this is rachel. >> i'd be delighted if i never heard those recorded voices again. >> ask anyone and they'll agree, life without that national nuisance we know as robo calls has a nice ring to it. >> if you don't solicit them, why should they be calling you? >> it's illegal for companies to use any sort of pre-recorded device about express written authorization. >> but cutting off those illegal robo calls is a tough task. >> there are no problems currently with your count. >> reporter: a long island software developer was up to the challenge. >> i like to think of it as a mute button for robo calls. >> reporter: he was one of near 800 people who entered the ftc's
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contest, for the new ideas on stopping the calls for good. they split the $50,000 prize. you have the great technology, pitch it to the ftc. let's try it out. >> you're the robo caller and i'm the family that is sitting down for dinner. >> reporter: all calls are routed to a secondary line. that line from robo callers. it hangs up on pre-recorded messages before the phone even rings. but allows real callers through. acting as the robo caller, i dialed foss' number. >> hello, you are not a will legitimate caller. >> reporter: there's a test. will. >> enter the number 358. i'm sorry, that is incorrect. your number has been black listed. >> reporter: foss is now waiting for a facompany to come calling ready to put his idea on the
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market. what do you want to say to the robo callers? >> watch out, we're coming for you. >> all right. the federal trade commission said they get about 200,000 complaints about robo calls every month. the do-not-call registry only works to a certain extent. legitimate telemarketers obey it, but robo calls, usually fraudulent, do not. >> good advice, renee. thanks very much. meanwhile, lots of star power on this day here in washington. the first lady, michelle obama, getting a little star-struck herself welcoming harrison ford and the cast of the new film "42" to the white house. >> i want to thank harrison ford. i wanted to say that for a while. harrison ford. so you think you trip because i'm here? i'm tripping out. >> the film is slated to open next week, tells the ground-breaking story of jackie robinson, the first african-american to play major league baseball. also at the event, students from across the country.
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mrs. obama had a special message for them. >> you will be something great. don't know what it is. i still don't know what i'm going to do with my life. >> happening now, north korea crosses another line in its nuclear defiance. and the u.s. promises to defend itself. we're going to show you how a new korean war might play out. busted in new york. a lawmaker is accused of trying to bribe his way into a powerful job as the city's next mayor. inside a massive school cheating scandal. educators, educators, accused of holding parties to tamper with test scores and get bigger bonuses. i'm wolf blitzer. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around of the world. of the world. you're in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- north korea's kim jong-un is being warned that his
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warmongering has gone too far. the communist regime annoyancing it will restart a closed nuclear reactor. another in-your-face taunted of the west even as the united states sends more fire power to the region. here's our foreign affairs correspondent jim doherty working the story for us. >> hey, wolf. just a short time ago here at the state department, secretary of state john kerry standing next to the south korean foreign minister, said that the north's actions were provocative, dangerous and reckless, and he said the united states will not accept the north as a nuclear power. north korea hurls another threat. announcing tuesday it will restart a nuclear reactor it shut down more than five years ago. from the united nations secretary-general, an ominous warning. >> the crisis has already gone too far.
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nuclear threats. >> reporter: in washington, secretary of state john kerry meets with south korea's foreign minister. the north's escalating belligerence topping their talks. >> let me be perfectly clear here today. the united states will defend and protect ourselves and our treaty ally, the republic of korea. >> reporter: back in 2007 there were signs of progress, when the north's previous leader, kim jong-il, ordered the reactor to be dismantled. but soon after, nuclear tests continued. the latest one in february appeared to be the biggest yet. >> the seismic signature was larger than the previous two tests, which means whatever they blew up had a higher yield to it. which probably represents an advanceme advancement. >> but u.s. officials say they've seen no signs yet the north is trying to restart that
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reactor. the consensus for now at least, it's more bluster than reality. so the united states has parked a destroyer in the western pacific that is capable of shooting down missiles and ordering another one to remain on station in asia. wolf? >> jim doherty over at the state department, thank you. for the biggest danger right now isn't necessarily a nuclear danger. the regime could trigger a new korean war with conventional weapons. cnn's tom foreman is at the magic wall. tom, what could happen if north korea were to start a war with some of those conventional weapons? >> wolf, all we're really looking at is a lay of the land here. if you look at north korea up here, you can see it's got this advantage in an interesting way. there's water on both sides makes a big difference because it makes it relatively hard to get in and respond to them. you have the dmz down here where they could reach in to south korea with any kind of attack they wanted to stage there.
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let's look at the bigger picture of this. it's a small nation so why does it matter. because of their missile capability. some have a range of 430 miles. that completely engulfs all of south korea and reaches over toward japan. their bigger missiles come out to 2,500 miles. we've talked a bit about the idea of some that can go all the way to the u.s. but that technology isn't quite there yet, so they're off the table. there are an awful lot of people. when you talk about the ground forces, 1.1 million active troops in north korea, almost 5 million in reserve. that's simply an awful lot of people for a small area. 605 combat aircraft, 43 naval missiles. these could be limited if they tried to do anything. but when you combine it with all the artillery, they have an active system. >> what does the defense system does the u.s. have in the
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region? >> a lot of bodies. 30,000 u.s. troops stationed in south korea. f-22 raptors just sent there yesterday. in japan, strong presence, ever since world war ii. 3,800 u.s. troops there. a second early warning radar system has been put there to keep track of the missile attacks coming from north korea. and guam, 5,200 troops. this is the most important base in the world. there are a lot of forces that could respond to north korea, but what you have is a push/pull for all these forces trying to get in, if it came to that, and the conventional flow out of missiles from north korea. if indeed you move to a conventional war. everyone, of course, hopes it doesn't go that way. but that's a bit of the lay of the land. >> it would be a disaster all around. thanks very much for that report, tom foreman. for more on north korea's threats, go to for five things you should know about the regime and what it's capable of
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doing. other news we're following. in texas right now, hundreds of investigators are trying to figure out who killed two local prosecutors in two months. we're learning about a new development in this case. cnn's ed lef augh an laugh an d is working the case for us. >> reporter: the assistant prosecutor in kaufman county, we know investigators have been starting from scratch. poring through over his case files trying to find some clues in those case files that might point them towards someone who might have had a grudge against these prosecutors and would want to kill them. there's been a great deal of attention to cushioned in the last couple of days on the aryan brotherhood, perhaps drug cartels and whether groups like that might have been involved. we are learning that this investigation is going well beyond that, thand investigators are taking a closer look at public corruption cases, local
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public corruption cases in kaufman county. and in thumbing through those files, to see if there's something there. one case in particular, we spoke with an attorney of a man who was convicted last year, this man is out of jail, and serving probation. but according to this attorney, on saturday night, just hours after mike mcclellan and his wife cynthia were found murdered in their homes, according to his attorney his clients was called by investigators and they met with this man at a denny's restaurant in kaufman, texas, just hours after the bodies were discovered. those investigators wanted to take a swab of this man's hands to test it for gun residue. we don't know the results of that residue and what ha is showing to investigators. but this attorney says that his client met with investigators, cooperated, voluntarily, because he has nothing to hide. wolf? >> what's the significance, though, of this development? >> you know, i think it's significant, there's been a lot of questions surrounding, and a lot of talk about the aryan
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brotherhood, the drug cartel, what could be behind this mysterious rash of murders, assassination of two prosecutors. prosecutors have almost next to nothing. but it doesn't necessarily mean they're not pursuing any leads. this is obviously very different from what we've heard over the last couple of days and a lot of attention is focused on the arian brotherhood angle. this clearly shows investigators are looking in other places and poring over the case files, looking where mark and mike might have worked together on cases and see if there's a grudge there locally that might explain all of this. >> they should look at that, as they obviously are. thank you so much, ed. and we're getting new information about the man who killed colorado's prison chief. he removed his ankle monitor five days before the shooting. colorado court officials have revealed that ebel was still supposed to be behind bars at the time of the killings.
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turns out he was released four years too early because of a clerical error. the judge is apologizing, promising an investigation. up next, a man who apparently hoped to be the next mayor of new york city, busted. busted in an alleged bribery scheme. and will a longer school year make schools better, or parents' lives worse. we went out and asked people a simple question: how old is the oldest person you've known? we gave people a sticker and had them show us. we learned a lot of us have known someone who's lived well into their 90s. and that's a great thing. but even though we're living longer, one thing that hasn't changed: the official retirement age. ♪ the question is how do you make sure you have the money you need to enjoy all of these years. ♪
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or if patients weigh less than 110 pounds. people at risk for stomach ulcers who take certain other medicines should talk to their doctor as serious stomach problems such as bleeding may worsen. patients may experience slow heart rate. free trial offer for them. nurses to talk to for you. visit ♪ sounds like a plot right out of a movie. a lawmaker trying to scheme his way onto a ballot in order to become one of the most powerful politicians in the country. turns out that's exactly what officials claim this man had did, in hopes of becoming new york's next mayor. mary snow joining us from white plains right outside of new york city with what's going on. what are you learning, mary? >> reporter: well, wolf, what prosecutors say is that this was
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a scheme that was cooked up over the last four months. what defendants didn't know is they were dealing with an undercover agent, and a witness cooperating with the government. it all ended early this morning when the fbi showed up at their homes, and arrested six defendants on federal corruption charges. as new york city's mayor winds down his last term in office, the race to replace him now includes an alleged corruption plot involving six politicians. the key figure, state senator malcolm smith, once one of the highest ranking democrats in the state. smith remained silent as he was released on bond after fbi agents arrested him at his home in the morning. he stands accused of trying to buy his way onto the ballot in the 2013 mayoral race as a republican candidate with the help of a city councilman and two gop leaders who were also charged. steps from city hall, manhattan's u.s. attorney says,
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the corruption charges are indicative of a show me the money culture. >> every new yorker should be disheartened and dismayed by the sad state of affairs in this great state. from time to time the question arises, how common is corruption in new york. i can tell you based on the cases that we have brought and continue to bring, it seems downright pervasive. >> reporter: a federal complaint details three separate bribery schemes, and more than $100,000 in bribes passing hands. the government relied on an undercover agent posing as a real estate developer and a cooperating witness. in the plot involving smith, he's alleged to have given instructions about the amount of payments to be handed out. smith also said that before a committee leader received even a nickel more, he'd have to stand on the empire state building and drop every person he endorsed and hold malcolm up and say he's the best thing since sliced
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bread. smith's attorney said he will enter a plea of not guilty if an indictment is returned. >> the allegations in this complaint do not tell the full story. i think there is much more to this story. i ask anyone, reading this, or reading about this, to withhold judgment. >> reporter: in smith's district, constituents were shocked. >> a lot of people in the community depend on people like him to do the right thing. if he's doing stuff like bribery, he shouldn't be in the position he's in. >> reporter: now, according to the criminal complaint, the next meeting about this was scheduled to take place tomorrow. all defendants were released on $250,000 bond. their passports confiscated and their travel restricted. wolf? >> real scandal unfolding in new york. mary, thank you. today the national rifle association trying to get a head-started ochb the upcoming debate over new gun laws but ended up apparently disagreeing with one of the top representatives, what he said right here in "the situation room." former republican congressman
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asa hutchinson of arkansas unveiled plans to train school officials who want to carry firearms. hutchinson's task force was set up by the nra. here in the situation room, just a little while ago, he revealed he's personally supporting the idea the nra opposes, expanding background checks for potential gun buyers. >> we make sure that when someone purchases a firearm, that is going to someone that's qualified to own it. we're all for that. >> i hear you saying that you're open to expanding background checks personally. >> yes, absolutely. i'm open to expanding background checks, if you can do it in a way that does not infringe upon an individual. >> little bit ago, spokesman for the nra emphasized that hutchinson was speaking for himself, not for the nra. president obama, meanwhile, jumps back into the gun debate tomorrow. he's heading to colorado for a speech at the denver police academy. he'll be in connecticut next
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week. today the president ha his attention on a much different subject. what goes on inside our minds. he wants congress to spend millions of dollars on brain research. lisa sylvester is here to explain what this money hopefully would buy. what does the president want? >> wolf, much the way researchers were able to map the human genome, scientists are hoping to develop actually a map of the brain. and to one day be able to turn on or off certain cells and cure diseases. the white house is backing it up with a proposed $100 million. >> go ahead. >> in this demonstration, with actor alan alda, 8-month-old kendall shows she has mastered the art of imitation. >> good. >> again and again she takes turns copying what the grown-ups do. scientists at the institute for learning and brain sciences at the university of washington
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have been studying the toddler and baby brain and have made astonishing discoveries. >> the new science is showing they're born learning, born connected, more than learning from others and want to be like you. >> children are sponges, soaking up new information, language, culture, accepted behavior, what's right and what's wrong. >> that first 2,000 days when the child is learning more than they will ever learn in any other five-year period in their entire lives. >> but understanding how the brain works, how we imitate, retrieve a memory or learn a language is still a mystery. the white house announced a $100 million initiative, a push to map the human brain for the first time. the hope is that it will lead to new treatments for alzheimer's, parkinson's, brain injuries or epilepsy. >> we can identify galaxies light years away, we can study particles smaller than an atom, but we still haven't unlocked
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the mysteries of the three pounds of matter that sits between our ears. >> the synthetic neurobiology group at m.i.t. said there are 1 billion cells in the brain operating at a very high speed. >> we're talking about an enormous amount of information every second, comparable to the scale of the entire internet. being generated by a single human brain. >> but why with a tight government budget should we spend millions on mapping the brain now. well, the science is there, and researchers hope the federal dollars will be used to create new jobs and develop new technologies that will one day allow us to see how neurons work in the live brain. >> there are 11 million americans who suffer from diseases of the brain. it's costing us $500 billion each year to give health care to those individuals. if we want to make progress, we have to build a foundation of how the brain works. >> we use it every day, but know so little about it.
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it is still up to congress to approve the money for this project. but it would bring together some of the best minds in the private sector and government, and the president's bioethics committee will make sure this research is done in a proper way. wolf? >> we waste so much money on stupid stuff, it would be good to spend some money and maybe really learn something about this critically important issue. >> the potential, i mean, that's what everybody is hanging their hope on, the potential, if you can just think about it, the possibility of finding a cure for alzheimer's, for parkinson's, epilepsy, even curing blindness and hearing loss and so forth. so they are just at the infancy in this type of research, and so in that sense it's a sense of excitement. >> i'm excited. >> i am, too. >> thanks very much. if you thought we were done with -- with the michael jackson trials, there may be the most sensational trial yet. also, the rapper jay-z
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a grim milestone in syria's civil war. li lisa's got that and the other top stories in syria. >> a group opposed to bashar al assad, the single deadliest month. syria cannot independently verify the numbers, the overall death toll is estimated between 60,000 and 70,000. we have newly released and
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dramatic pictures of the sinkhole that killed a man near tampa, florida, on the last night of february. take a look here. these were taken by first responders. what you are looking at, you're looking down at what used to be the bedroom floor. jeff bush was in bed asleep right there, right where that hole opened up. we also learned today the owners of both homes on both sides of the sinkhole had been told the ground is so unstable, that their homes are being condemned. now to someone who doesn't have to worry about florida's problems anymore. the new basketball coach at the university of southern california. he took florida gulf coast university to the sweet 16 round of this year's ncaa basketball tournament. espn reports he's going from making $157,000 a year to well over $1 million a year. and you may not think of jay-z when you think of sports, but from now on, you can. jay-z is branching out by
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launching a sports management company called rock nation sports. it's his first high-profile client, the new york yankees all-star slugger, ribben son hano. i think the link between music business, sports, i could actually see that. it's all one big brand, after all. >> he's going to do just fine. >> i think he is. any of those businesses. >> he's got a little bit of the magic touch. >> he does. up next, educators turn themselves in, in a massive school cheating scandal. we're going to get inside details on how student's tests were doctored. the mother of a disabled boy talks about his once in a lifetime experience getting kissed by the pope. [ male announcer ] break the grip of back or arthritis pain
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with odor free aspercreme. powerful medicine relieves pain fast, with no odor. so all you notice is relief. aspercreme. happening now, teachers accused of being cheaters. teachers. inside a massive school scandal, students' tests allegedly doctored for profit. summer break just got shorter. a new plan at fixing some schools, getting angry reaction. jon stewart playing a serious free speech controversy for laughs. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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it may be the biggest school cheating scandal in u.s. history. today, suspects began turning themselves in. 35 atlanta public school educators are accused of tampering with students' standardized tests to improve their scores. and earn cash bonuses for themselves. the lawyer for one defendant spoke out, claiming his client is innocent. >> this is the closest she's been to a jail in her life. she's been an edit indicator since she graduated from college, for about 20 years now. it's very unfortunate. she's absolutely not guilty of these charges, and we look forward to going forward with this case. >> there are reports some teachers actually held pizza parties to doctor students' test scores. as you can imagine, this scandal has rocked the atlanta school system, and has horrified parents. >> i'm disappointed. as a parent.
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that wants the best for their child. i'm very disappointed. >> the test cheating scandal was first exposed in an investigation by the "atlanta journal-constitution." we're joined now by the newspaper's editor, kevin reilly. thanks very much for coming in. thanks obviously for your good work. this is the culmination of a long investigation. your paper certainly has been at the forefront. what indications did you have at the beginning of all of this, and what was your reaction when you first reported -- got some serious reporting on what was going on? >> well, wolf, our reporters have been working on this for years. this story. and at first it happened years ago when a couple of our reporters noticed that a couple schools advancements in the tests didn't seem to make sense. so they kept digging deeper. and ultimately we did a computer analysis of the scores. it showed the teacher -- the
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students had made advances in the tests that just really weren't possible. >> give us some examples of how the cheating allegedly occurred. what kind of things did the teache teachers, principles do to cover it up? >> it seems to have started at the top, if you look at indictment. principals were told that they would be fired if their students' test scores did not improve. and it went from there. in our reporting, and in the state's investigation, examples were things like teachers standing up in front of the classroom, giving students hints about what the appropriate answers were. and even teachers getting together after the test sheets were filled out and changing them. to make the answers correct. >> how fearful were teachers about all of these standardized tests, getting involved in this alleged cheating ring, and what about the superintendent? >> well, as you know, our national education policy is
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based on testing. and so there's enormous pressure around these tests for superintendents, for principals, for teachers, for students. and so it seems as if people got caught up in proving their test scores at any cost. >> the motivation was what, to get a bonus? was it money? is that what you're discovering? >> certainly that's how the district attorney feels in fulton county. because the indictment, which includes racketeering charges, indicates that they will pursue a case that says this. people were financially motivated, they got bonus, all the way to the top, in fact, the superintendent's bonuses totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars. and it looks like the d.a. is going to try to prove that that's behind all of this. that the better the scores were, the more money people made. >> this bombshell, the reporting, the indictment, all of this, this school cheating scandal, if you will, what's been the impact on the schools?
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what's been the impact on the kids, the students? >> well, that's an important part of this story. i mean, it's a real tragedy. we're talking about educating our children. nothing could be more important than that. and we have kids who were told they were learning what they should learn. we have parents who thought their kids were learning what they should learn. and in fact, they were not. and another part of this is that, don't forget, there were almost 200 teachers named in the initial state report. we have about three dozen educators indicted now. but most teachers in atlanta, most educators in atlanta were not cheating. >> that's a good point to make. kevin, thanks very much. kevin riley the editor of the "atlanta journal-constitution," doing serious reporting in atlanta. there are lots of proposals out there to improve public education. here's what three elementary schools in yonkers, new york, are trying to do. starting next year, the last day
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of school will be delayed until july 31st. shortening summer vacation to just one month. when kids are in school, the days will be longer. cnn's pamela brown has more from yonkers. >> well, wolf, the school behind me here is one of three in yonkers deemed to be failing by the state. so a deal was struck with the district to make this school days and the school years longer, something that's not sitting so well with some parents. >> we want to enjoy the summer, and not be in school all day. >> reporter: now summertime isn't going to be what it used to be for kids at three yonkers new york public elementary schools. >> i always put them in baseball, that's it. >> reporter: now they may not be able to do that. how do you feel? >> they're wrong. sad. >> reporter: this mother is shocked to learn summer vacation next year won't start until august 1st. she believes it will take away valuable time with her 6-year-old daughter. >> i'm upset.
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really. because i like -- me and my children do a lot of things in the summer. we look forward to the summer. family values and vacation is very important. to take it away i don't think is fair. >> reporter: the students will also have to stay in class an hour longer each day and half the teachers will be replaced. >> it's just unfair all across the board. >> reporter: 48% of the nation's public schools are not making the progress they're supposed to. now in the most extreme cases districts across the country like yonkers are forced to use plans like this one to get extra funding for failing schools. what do the kids think about this plan? >> every child wants the freedom of summer. >> reporter: but shorter summer vacations equal almost 10% higher achievement levels among students. >> we have to do something different. our children are not achieving at the levels we need them to achieve at. >> reporter: not every education expert agrees, keeping kids in
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the classroom longer is the answer. >> these are children. they're not auto ma tons. you can't force them into the kinds of learning situations that we put them in. continuously. why can't they have a little time off. >> reporter: as districts across the country deal with the challenge of underperforming schools, kids losing more of their summer vacation could be something we see more of. wolf? >> pamela brown, thanks very much. she's reporting from yonkers. it's been almost four years since michael jackson's death shocked the music world. the whole case is about to go back to court. it could be worth millions, if not billions of dollars. we went out and asked people a simple question:
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how old is the oldest person you've known? we gave people a sticker and had them show us. we learned a lot of us have known someone who's lived well into their 90s. and that's a great thing. but even though we're living longer, one thing that hasn't changed: the official retirement age. ♪ the question is how do you make sure you have the money you need to enjoy all of these years. ♪ she was a picky eater. well now i'm her dietitian and last year, she wasn't eating so well. so i recommended boost complete nutritional drink to help her get the nutrition she was missing. and now she drinks it every day. well, it tastes great!
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the man described as the egyptian jon stewart has a fierce defender, after his arrest on charges he insulted the egyptian president, mohamed morsi. last night the daily show start talked about his counterpart, and he mocked president morsi. >> so he pokes fun of your hat. and your lack of promised democrat performs. what are you worried about? you're the president of egypt. you have an army. he has puns in shows. >> his weekly show won't ease up
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on the political satire because of his arrest on sunday. >> i'm not intimidated. i'm just exhausted by this. so i'm not going to let this drain me. i'm just going to continue and continue with the show, continue with the same high tone of the show. we're not going to back down. >>ious recei his arrest came, a insisted he is committed to allowing free speech in the country. jon stewart played my clip last night. >> had just to tie up this issue, possible use of youssef, they don't have to worry about going to jail? >> translator: they are egyptians, they are part of my family from egypt. there's no way any harm can befall them because of their
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opinions. >> youssef is facing three lawsuits for his political satire. the website for u.s. forces in korea, the website, get this, has now gone down in the midst of rising tensions on the korean peninsula. a u.s. defense department official tells cnn there was a hardware crash and it could be a while before that website goes back online. we're told as of right now, there is no sign that this had anything to do with a cyber attack or some kind of outside interference. we're monitoring this situation. we'll update you as more information comes in. up next, a kiss from the pope may have changed one disabled boy's life. my conversation with his mother, that, and a lot more coming up. c
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in los angeles today, they started looking for a dozen or so people who can listen to weeks of lurid, sensational testimony, then figure out who's to plam for michael jackson's death in 2009. jackson's family is suing the company that promoted what would have been his comeback tour. miguel marques is watching this whole trial unfold. it hinges, i take it, on the hired doctor, conrad murray. what kind of evidence are we expected to see, miguel? >> we're going to see a lot of evidence in this case. stuff that we haven't heard about michael jackson before. if this goes to trial. if they don't work out some sort of deal. that seems possible, given how the sparks are flying in the courtroom already today.
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michael jackson's kids, paris and prince michael, are expected to testify. they'll talk about their father in open court. that's something we'll never have heard about before. the will lawyers for aig saying they will extensively talk about michael jackson's medical records in that trial as well. so we can expect to hear some revealing details about the king of pop. >> are there going to be tv cameras inside that courtroom? >> that is yet to be determined. the court today was on fire between these two attorneys, these two teams. very, very high stakes here. billions of dollars at stake. the defense team for michael jackson, or the team for michael jackson, the plaintiffs, they want cameras in the courtroom, aeg, the defense in this said, nope, we don't want the cameras in. and that's where the real battle took place today. because the aeg's and michael jackson's lawyers went on camera with cnn over the weekend. we ran some of that today. there will be a longer
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documentary this weekend. and the -- michael jackson's attorney just hammered away at the aeg attorneys over them taking part in the cnn interview and talking about evidence in the case. he said it's not funny, a man is dead here. it got intense in there. >> jury selection is going to be intense. what kind of questions are we anticipating to these prospective jurors? >> reporter: we're through about 30 jurors. they've come up with a handful that will come back and be questioned further. they're going through another 35 jurors to see how many they can get. 123 questions total for the jurors, specifically on jackson. more generic questions, just to see whether or not they can actually last for the two or three months of this case. two questions are interesting. number one, number 40, do you think celebrities and high-profile people are allowed to act however they please? famous musicians are powerful. they're asked to agree or
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disagree. are you familiar with any of the following prescription drugs or medications? sleeping pills,watching. thank you very much. watch later tonight. 8:00 p.m. eastern. "anderson cooper 360" with an exclusive jail interview with michael jackson's doctor, conrad murray. that's at 8:00 p.m. you'll want to see it later tonight. check out this alarming video of espn's "outside the lines." it shows a coach mike rice berating and abusing the players in practice. heaving basketballs at them, pushing them aggressively and anti-gay slurs yelling at a player. the clips by the way compiled from 2010 to 2012. last year, coach rice was suspended for three games for, quote, inappropriate behavior and language and not been fired.
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player interviewed by "outside the lines" calls it out ray you but other former players defended the coaching technique. the governor by the way of new jersey chris christie upon seeing all of this and learning about it said he was deeply, deeply disturbed. rutgers, the state university of new jersey. we also have some pictures, many of you will think are cute but believe it or not it's also an important moment for science. ♪
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and now get adt installed for just $99. this is the computer that didn't get stolen, keeping priceless photos and financial records safe. this is the reason why. you can't predict when bad things will happen, so help protect yourself with adt. isn't your family worth america's number-one security company? call and get adt installed for just $99. and ask about adt pulse, advanced home management here today. adt. always there. there is a look at the hot shots. in puerto rico, a large moon. look at this. shines over the water. here in washington, kites fly high in the annual blossom kite festival. in england, the sunsets on a cold, gray day. in new york, people dress up to participate in the annual easter day parade. hot shots. pictures coming in from our cnn ireporters around the world. this next story demonstrates
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the power of a simple gesture of love and concern. while mingling with the easter crowd on sunday, pope francis hugged and kissed a disabled boy. people around the world were charmed and intrigued and last night i had a chance to speak with the boy's mom. >> not every day that someone's son gets kissed by the pope. what was that moment like for you and for dominic, especially for dominic? >> you know, it was really moving and he was -- yes. it was really moving. it was -- dominic is a people person but i think he understood that that was exceptionally special and i think that you can see that in the pictures and the video because he broke out in a huge smile and wrapped his arm around the pope. which is very moving as a mother. and for my family to see that. it was very beautiful moment, even for the people around
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because there was not a dry eye around us. it was really, really moving. >> i love the way dominic, he smiled. you could see that powerful smile on his face and he put his arm around the pope. it was an emotional moment. everyone who saw it, look at that. sweet little boy. the pope gives a nice kiss and then you can see a smile from that -- watch. look at that. look at that smile. look at that hug. that is a wonderful, wonderful moment. i was moved. a lot of people, in fact, around the world were moved. we have a lot of reaction from that. birds do it. people do it. it turns out sea lions can move to a musical beat, as well. cnn's jeanne moos shows us a very cute moment that's important for science, as well. >> reporter: if you think this is the only way a sea lion moves, watch her groove. ♪
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>> her favorite song is "boogie wonderland." >> reporter: fired up is what researcher peter cook is. >> took a lot of training. >> reporter: almost after a year and a half of study, researchers at long marine lab published a california sea lion can keep the beat even to the backstreet boys. ♪ now, you probably think, big deal. any idiot can keep a beat. but sometimes it's hard, even for humans. ask karl rove. ♪ or rodney dangerfield. ♪ scientists used to think only humans could keep a beat. but then a cockatoo wowed the web with the backstreet boys. ♪
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research on snowball showed birds with a talent for vocal mimicry keep the beat. now the sea lion with no talent is getting down to earth, wind and fire. ♪ of course, ronin needed fish as a reward and start by bopping to the click of a metro gnome. eventually, she learned to find the rhythm buried in music. though youtube is awash in dancing animals like lucky the elephant -- ♪ and stewart the salsa-dancing dog -- ♪ even walruses dancing to michael jackson. ♪ difference is, they're likely responding to cues from a trainer or simply swaying rather than keeping the beat. alone with nothing but music as stimulus and fish. ♪ but how do earth, wind and fire
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feel about having a sea lion for a fan? >> jeanne, he's nailing it. he's nailing it. he might have to join the group. right? >> reporter: next assignment, ronin the rapper. jeanne moos, cnn, new york. ♪ >> got the groove, indeed. love earth, wind and fire. this is important. tomorrow, ted turner, the creator, the founder of cnn, he will be my special guest. that's man who hired me, by the way, here at cnn 23 years ago. ted turner, an amazing. in june, 1980. he thought the world, not just the united states, needed a 24/7 cable news network. he created cnn. we have been on the air ever since. the whole world, he changed the whole world. think of all the cable news networks that are out there right now, not just a half-hour newscast or an hour newscast but