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Gas Prices Continue To Rise; Romney Hones In On Economy; Arizona Paper Endorses Romney; MLB Player Defeats Drug Suspension; T. Boone Pickens Interview; Challenger Disaster Video Surfaces; Romney Stumps in Detroit, Union Members Protest

Aired February 24, 2012 - 13:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. It is 1:00 on the east coast, 10:00 a.m. out west. We've got a very busy hour ahead, let's get straight to the news.

It is spring training time in major league baseball and no player has more spring in his step than outfielder Milwaukee Brewers' outfielder, Ryan Braun. Last year's national league MVP is the first player ever to successfully appeal a suspension over a failed drug test. The league ordered Braun to sit out 50 games in the upcoming season, but yesterday an arbitration panel reversed that call reportedly on a technicality involving handling of a urine sample.

We understand that there will be a press conference underway, you can see right there with the live cameras. They are awaiting the player, Mr. Braun, to come out. All the reporters in place and, of course, when that happens, they are out of Maryville Park in phoenix, we'll take you there.

All right. Gas prices keep on climbing. The national average jumped another three cents overnight. According to AAA, this is the 17th consecutive increase. Here's a look at how the price jump is impacting the nation. Prices per gallon range between three bucks and $4.28. So, is this a result of supply and demand or something else? Coming up, Texas gas and oil executive, T. Boone Pickens, explains the price bluff.

And with the Michigan and Arizona primaries just days away, Mitt Romney is keeping busy trying to fend off Rick Santorum who has surged in recent polls. Romney who was born in Detroit is wrapping up a speech there right now. The economy is a big focus in Michigan, there, which is still struggling to recover from the recession.

And things are looking up for Romney, however, in Arizona. The "Arizona Republic," the state's largest newspaper, endorsed Romney today saying he was the, quote, "most prepared of all the candidates."

I want to take you through -- back out to Arizona to Phoenix at Maryville Park. And there, now, is major league's baseball's Ryan Braun. Let's listen to him.


RYAN BRAUN, PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL PLAYER: -- the player's association for supporting me through this situation, through this challenge. I want to thank the entire Milwaukee Brewers organization starting with Mark Attanasio who truly represents everything that's good about our game today.

I want to thank my teammates, many of whom are here today who have supported me through this entire situation. I want to thank my family, my friends, a lot of other players around the league who have supported me, who have been there for me and who have stood by me through the biggest challenge I've ever faced in my life. I also want to thank athletes in other sports who have stepped up, shown their support, and been there for me.

I want to take a moment to especially thank the fans, all the fans who have supported me as well as the fans who withheld judgment as I respected the confidentiality of this case.

You know, as I've previously stated, this is, without a doubt, the biggest challenge I've faced in my life, and it's made it much more challenging that I've had to deal with the publicly. But I truly view this challenge as an opportunity just as I view every other challenge I've faced in my life as an opportunity.

I've tried to respect this process even though the confidentiality of the process was breached early on. I've tried to handle the entire situation with honor, with integrity, with class, with dignity and with professionalism because that's who I am and that's how I've always lived my life. If I had done this intentionally or unintentionally, I'd be the first one to step up and say, I did it. By no means am I perfect but if I've ever made any mistakes in my life, I've taken responsibility for my actions. I truly believe in my heart and would bet my life that this substance never entered my body at any point.

I've always had tremendous respect for the game of baseball and part of the reason that I've kept quiet throughout the course of this ordeal and part of reason why I won't be allowed to get into all of the details today, is to put the best interest of the game ahead of the best interest of myself. And that hasn't been easy.

You know, there were a lot of times when I wanted to come out and tell the entire story, attack everybody as I've been attacked. You know, as my name has been dragged through the mud as everything I've ever worked for in my entire life has been called into question, there were a lot of times that I wanted to come out, tell the entire story but at the end of the day, I recognized what's actually best for the game of baseball and I put that and I put that ahead of what was actually best for myself.

You know, I could have never, ever envisioned being in this position today, discussing this subject with you guys, but I truly believe that everything in life happens for a reason. I learned a long time ago to stop questioning life. I believe that everything that's thrown at us, we're able to handle and that there's a reason for it.

I've yet to figure out exactly what the reason for this is but I don't question that. I have always stood up for what is right. Today's about everybody who's ever been wrongly accused and everybody who has ever had to stand up for what is actually right. Today's not just about me, it's not just about one player, it's about all players. It's about all current players, all future players, and everybody who plays the game of baseball.

Despite of the fact that there have been many inaccurate, erroneous, and completely fabricated stories regarding this issue, I've maintained the integrity of the confidentiality of the process. There's never been a personal medical issue, never had an STD, many of the -- many of the stories that were erroneously reported by the initial network continue to live on and it's sad and disappointing that this has become a P.R. battle and people continue to leak information that's inaccurate.

I will continue to take the high road because that's who I am, and that's the way that I've lived my life. We won because the truth is on my side. The truth is always relevant and at the end of the day the truth prevailed. I am a victim of a process that completely broke down and failed in the way that it was applied to me in this case.

As players, we're held to a standard of 100 percent perfection regarding the program and everybody else associated with that program should be held to the same standard. We're a part of a process where you're 100 percent guilty until proven innocent. It's the opposite of the American judicial system. This is not innocent until proven guilty situation. So, if we're held to that standard, it's only fair that everybody else is held to that exact same standard.

With what is at stake, this is my livelihood, this is my integrity, this is my character, this is everything I've ever worked for in my life being called into question. We need to make sure that we get it right. If you're going to be in a position where you're 100 percent guilty until proven innocent, you can't mess up. And today's about making sure that this never happens to anybody else who has plays this game.

The system, in the way that it was applied to me in this case, was fatally flawed. The initial test result in question was on October 1st, it was a playoff game. I was made aware of the positive result on October 19th at which point I had a conversation with the Players Association. I expressed to them that I have not done anything that could have possibly led to this test result. I told them that I promise you on everything that's ever meant anything to me in my life, the morals, the values, the virtues by which I've lived in my 28 years on this planet, I did not do this. I told them that I would be an open book. I opened up my life to them. I told them I'd be more than happy and willing to take any and every test to prove that I did not do this.

You know, the entire process has really been frustrating for me. It's been an extremely difficult, challenging time of my life but, at the end of the day, I know the truth, my friends, family, teammates, the Milwaukee Brewers organization and everybody who knows me knows the truth. At the point that I told the Players Association about the positive test, they told me that the test result was three times higher than any number in the history of drug testing.

We've had this program since, I believe, 2003 or 2004. I don't know how many 10s and thousands of tests there have been but the fact that there's a single number that's three times higher than any number in the history of drug testing made me question the validity of the result. At that point, I was able to prove to them through contemporaneously documented recordings that I literally didn't gain a single pound. When we were in Milwaukee, we went in at least once or twice a week.

I was able to prove that I literally didn't gain a single pound. Our times are recorded every time we run. Down the line, you know, first to third, first to home, I literally didn't get one-tenth of a second faster. My workouts have been virtually the exact same for six years. I didn't get 1 percent stronger. I didn't work out any more often. I didn't have any additional power or any additional arm strength. All of those things are documented contemporaneously and if anything had changed, I wouldn't be able to go back and pretend like it didn't change.

I initially took a humanistic approach and explained to them, I'm 27 years old. I'm just entering my prime. I have a contract guaranteed for nine more years. I've been tested 25 times over the course of my career. At least three times --


WHITFIELD: Calling himself a victim of the process, Milwaukee Brewers' outfielder, Ryan Braun, there at Maryville Park there in Phoenix now reporting for spring training. That 50-game suspension now lifted after now it appears as there is some problem in that original testing of positive, a high level of testosterone, now some vindication for him. He says, however, today is about anyone who has been wrongly accused.

It's been the biggest challenge of his life, he says, but he wanted to speak up now because for a long time he wanted to speak up knowing that those positive test results were false but had he to wait it out. So again, that 50-game suspension now lifted for failing that drug test back in October. Now, apparently, there were some real mix- up in his urine sample, so he is now able to begin spring training for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Gas prices are going up, up and up. We're going to talk a lot about that. It's the result of supply and demand, right? Well, how that may not be the case. Business mag (ph) named T. Boone Pickens no stranger to the ins and outs of oil. He'll be joining us live to explain.


WHITFIELD: All right. If you have to buy gasoline, and who doesn't, the daily, even hourly, price hikes are maddening. Gas prices fall sometimes, too, of course, but we're now on day 17 of an upward trend. And if you try to figure out why, well, it's even more frustrating. AAA tells us the average nationwide price of unleaded gas is $3.65 a gallon, up 12 cents in a week.

As usual, the west coast and northeast pay more than that. The mountain west pays quite a bit less and we all known oil prices are the single biggest factor in gas prices. When there is plenty of oil and demand for gas is low, prices drop. And vice versa. Tight supply, then high demand means higher prices. But get this, oil supplies aren't tight. The U.S. alone now produces almost six million barrels of oil a day, the most since 2002. And U.S. demand for gasoline is the lowest since 2004.

We even export gasoline to other countries, roughly 600,000 barrels a day. So clearly, other forces are at work here. Market speculation of government policies and world events, perhaps? Well, my next guest knows all of the ins and outs. T. Boone Pickens is a Texas oil man who's now an investment manager and champion of clean energy technology.

Mr. Pickens, good to see you. So, what do you make of the high gas prices? What's at the bottom of this?

T. BOONE PICKENS, FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN, BP CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: Well, it's going to go up because you -- the Gulf supply for oil is tight. You say, you know, the states produce six million barrels a day, but we use 20 million barrels a day.

So we import there -- we have natural gas liquids produced in the United States, about 2 million barrels a day. So we import about 12 million barrels a day. So the West Coast or East Coast is where that oil is coming in, or in the Gulf of Mexico. So the -- two points I'd like to focus on is the Saudis, who claim to have 2.5 million barrels a day spare capacity. They announced last week they were opening up an old oil field, Damam (ph), which was discovered in the 1930s. That is crappy oil. It's low gravity Arab heavy crude. And they're going back to open up that old field that's been shut in for 75 years.

WHITFIELD: So what would be at stake?

PICKENS: Why? Because --

WHITFIELD: What would you see the end result being as a result of opening up those fields?

PICKENS: The result? They're trying to get more oil. They need it. The market wants it. So the market is tight. And so there's not an oversupply of oil.

WHITFIELD: OK, but you said it was crappy oil.

PICKENS: That's right. That's what they have left. It's low gravity, high sulfur crude. And they -- if they had Arab light crude field, they would have opened that up. But they're opening up a heavy crude field, which means that that's what they're down to.

WHITFIELD: So how great a role are the speculators making as to why we're seeing the spike in gas prices, particularly here in the states? Of course, around the world, we may be at the lower end of the kind of gas prices we're experiencing at the pump. However, for a lot of people here in this country, they're very uncomfortable with $4 and near $5 in some parts. What's behind it?

PICKENS: Well, blame it on the speculators. That's what the politicians will do. Speculators don't have anything to do with it. We have the cheapest energy in the world in the United States. Our oil is 15 percent under Brent North Sea crude, which is the global price. And our natural gas is $2.50. Natural gas in Beijing is $16. In the Mideast, $15. Europe, $13. We have the cheapest energy in the world in the United States.

WHITFIELD: President Obama has commented on this quite a bit this week and he says, quote, anyone who tells you we can drill our way out of this problem doesn't know what they're talking about or just isn't telling you the truth. How much of what he's saying do you agree with?

PICKENS: Well, I thought -- I saw his speech yesterday and it was -- you know, it was -- it had a lot of amusing remarks in it. He opened up with that, you want to cut down -- you want to have better insulation in your house and you want to cut -- you want to conserve the oil and all. Well, focus one more time. Seventy percent of all the oil used every day is transportation. It doesn't have anything to do with your house being better insulated. I'm for saving -- conserving any kind of energy, but you've got to go to the problem, where the problem is. And the problem is transportation fuel. And so --

WHITFIELD: OK. And as a result, because of transportation fuel, that's why you're a big advocate of natural gas as motor fuel. How do you see its future potentially?

PICKENS: Well, natural gas is $2 a gallon cheaper than diesel. So I think, you know, that that is exactly what's going to happen. You're going to use natural gas for heavy duty trucks for sure. So all the energy -- the energy picture --

WHITFIELD: How far off in the future are we seeing that?

PICKENS: Well, it's happening today. We moved from gasoline to diesel in 1972. It took five years. You're moving now from diesel to natural gas and it will probably take you about five years.

WHITFIELD: All right, T. Boone Pickens, thanks so much for your time. Good to see you.

PICKENS: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: The space shuttle Challenger blew up more man 26 years ago. You remember that, right? Well, now rare home video has surfaced from that horrific day.

The man who recorded this incredible video, joining us live, next.


WHITFIELD: All right, new footage capturing the old disaster of the space shuttle Challenger has surfaced. You'll remember a big moment in U.S. space history turned to tragedy back in 1986. The Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight. Bob Karman and his family were on their way home from a family vacation in Orlando and caught it all on camera. But they didn't realize at the time, no one did in fact, that they were recording a horrifying accident. All seven crew members died in that explosion. Karman's daughter, who now works for the New Scientist Magazine, recently published the video. Bob Karman joining me now from New York.

So, had you all forgotten about this videotape? And, if so, when and how did you relocate it?

BOB KARMAN: Well, what happened was in my -- as part of my retirement plans, I wanted to take all my home movies from my VHS tapes and to digitalize them. So in the process of doing this. I realized that I did have this tape. It was a lot better than I had remembered. And I sent the copy to my daughter at New Scientist Magazine. And from there it became an Internet sensation.

WHITFIELD: So, Bob, when we look at that videotape, you can hear the voices around you. Those who were on the plane. And no one -- it sounds like no one knew that this Challenger was breaking up. Instead, you heard a lot of oohs and ahhs. At the moment that you were taking pictures of this, did you know that this exemplified tragedy?

KARMAN: No, you're absolutely correct, while we were in the airport, basically everybody was just returning from their vacations. And they happened to ask me what I was doing, and I told them to look over there, you'll see the space shuttle taking off. I had a sense in viewing it that something did go wrong, but it really wasn't until we got on the airplane that the pilot made the announcement and announced the tragedy had occurred.

WHITFIELD: And at that moment, what was your feeling and what was the feeling of the people around you?

KARMAN: Well, people were just devastated. As I say, most of them were returning from family vacations. A pleasant time at Disneyland. And to hear this tragic news, the rest of the plane flight home was very somber.

WHITFIELD: And now fast forward so many years. When you look at these images again, are your emotions different? Given you've got a lot more detail about what tragically happened that day and these pictures have been squirreled away for so long.

KARMAN: Yes, it's amazing. You know, the emotions do come out every time you see the tape. The tragedy that occurred. But it just reinforces the bravery of these astronauts going up in space and how our space program, even though it stopped for a short period of time, you know, we got right back in it and became the success that it is today.

WHITFIELD: So for a long time there was this thinking that there may only be like one home video documentation of this and now, come to find out, yours just might be the other one. KARMAN: Yes, I had gone online, did a little research on it and found out that one was shot on a beta max video in Florida, but apparently I have the only VHS copy of this -- armature copy of this event.

WHITFIELD: All right, Bob Karman, thanks so much for sharing these images and sharing your story and what it meant to you that day and all these years.

KARMAN: Thank you very much.

WHITFIELD: All right, appreciate that.

And, of course, if you want to see that video again and get more information, you can go to

All right, TV networks want to reach more Latinos but are having trouble figuring out how. Maybe the new show "Rob" about Mexican- Americans is the answer. Or could it be the Hispanic counterpart to "The Cosby Show"? That's next in "I Am America."


WHITFIELD: All right, primetime television has a lot of work ahead to accurately reflect America's diversity. A 2011 diversity report card show broadcast networks wants to reach the booming U.S. Latinos audience but don't understand how to do it. It says there have been breakout stars in front of the camera, like Eva Longoria and Sofia Vergara, but behind the scenes it's a very different story. Just 10 percent of TV writer are people of color. But that may be starting to change. CBS just premiered "Rob," a sitcom loosely based on the life of comedian Rob Schneider. In real life his wife is Mexican. On the show, he marries a Latina and into her large family. Some critics it perpetuates stereotypes. Others at the very least say it's a start.

Nischelle Turner has today's "I am America".



NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The new CBS comedy "Rob" is a hit --


ROB SCHNEIDER, ACTOR: You speak Spanish?

TURNER: Loosely based on the real-life marriage of star, Rob Schneider, Mexican TV producer, Partricia Azocora Arza (ph), the show has been a top-10 sitcom.

(on camera): In the show you meet your new wife's family and it's like oil and vinegar at the beginning. Was it like that in real life? Did you have to kind of really work?

SCHNEIDER: Partricia (ph), it was her idea. She said, you should have a family and meet and whatever. CBS liked the idea and the next thing you knew, we were shooting it.

TURNER: In reality, Schneider's in-laws live in Mexico and do not speak English. On the show, they are middle class Mexican- Americas played by Diana Maria Reva and Cheech Marin.

SCHNEIDER: This dip is excellent. I believe it's called guacamole.


CHEECH MARIN, ACTOR: Impressive. You know your stuff.


TURNER: But for many, Rob's fish-out-of-water humor lacks authenticity.


TURNER: La Opinion's Martha Sarabia has been reporting on the show and watching it closely.

SCHNEIDER: This is a big family because you're all Catholic.


TURNER: Sarabia's greatest concern, stereotypes from the overt --

SCHNEIDER: You don't use protection.

TURNER: -- to the more subtle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't wait until we're spending time together, sharing our deepest secrets. Lending each other $7200.


SARABIA: The stereotypes that have offended people are the uncle. Believe the Mexican, they don't want to do anything. And he may be illegal or undocumented. I think that that hurts people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm visiting Mexico for the weekend.

SCHNEIDER: That's nice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not kidding (ph).

TURNER: Schneider admits he knows some would find it offensive but defends it as comedy.

SCHNEIDER: For me, it's trying to make ourselves laugh. But people also might be offended by it.

TURNER: For their part, CBS tells CNN, quote "'Rob' is based on his real life experience of marrying into a large Hispanic family. We are pleased with the positive feedback from several Hispanic groups and leaders," end quote.

One of those groups is the National Hispanic Media Coalition, which praises the show's casting, saying, "It's not often that we get to see so many talented Latinos on a primetime television show," and adds, the show has potential, telling CNN, "the key to the long-time success will be, the voice of the Latino writers are heard by the producers and show runners."

Sarabia is also thrilled to see Latinos in primetime, and wishes the show success, but hopes it finds a way to make people laugh without laughing at stereotypes.

Nischelle Turner, CNN, Hollywood.


WHITFIELD: And for more of what it means to be an American, go to CNN/iamAmerica.

Presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich, isn't too happy with President Obama's apology to Afghanistan over U.S. troops burning the Koran.


GINGRICH: There seems to be nothing that radical Islamists can do to get Barack Obama's attention in a negative way and he's consistently apologizing to people who do not deserve the apology of the president of the United States, period.


WHITFIELD: Should the president have apologized or is Gingrich out of line? That's next in "Fair Game."


WHITFIELD: President Obama is taking heat from Republicans for apologizing to Afghanistan for burning of Korans by American troops. Deadly protests by angry Afghans continue for the fourth straight day. In a letter to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Mr. Obama pledge to take action against those responsible and make sure it doesn't happen again.

The debate over whether he should have issued an apology is today's "Fair Game."

Democratic strategist, Robert Zimmerman, joins us from New York.

Good to see you.

And Republican strategist and columnist for "The Hill" newspaper, Cheri Jacobus, in Washington.

Let's listen to what Newt Gingrich had to say about this just last night. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH, (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Obama surrendered twice today. And I think that deserves to be brought to the country's attention.

There seems to be nothing that radical Islamists can do to get Barack Obama's attention in a negative way and he's consistently apologizing to people who do not deserve the apology of the president of the United States, period.


Robert, you first. Who is right? Who is out of line, Newt Gingrich or President Obama?

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, look, clearly, I'm not speaking as a Democrat. I'm speaking as an American. Clearly, Newt Gingrich's comments are an offense to all Americans who value the safety and security of our servicemen and women in battle. There are some issues that used to be and should be above Republican politics. Protecting our servicemen and women has always been above that.

For example, when President Bush apologized because soldiers damaged a Koran during his administration, you didn't see Republicans attacking President Bush for the apology or Democratic presidential candidates or congressional leaders attacking President Bush. It was done, one, because it was the right thing to do, and secondly, most importantly, it protected the security and safety of our servicemembers.

That's why it's an important issue. And as far Speaker Gingrich's comments about standing up to radicals or the fact that President Obama has taken out, not just Osama bin Laden, but the al Qaeda leadership, shows his commitment and leadership in fighting terrorists around the world.

WHITFIELD: Cheri, you are shaking your head. Do you agree?

CHERI JACOBUS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST AND REPORTER, THE HILL NEWSPAPER: What Newt Gingrich has said is dead on. This president, first and foremost, has to have loyalty to our troops. two Americans were killed and he's out there apologizing and trying to protect a religion, when he just showed great disrespect for the Catholic religion by forcing Catholics to pay for and have insurance to pay for birth control and abortion-inducing drugs, and that he's willing to do that to the Catholic religion but is out there protecting another religion.

More importantly, our troops -- this is an all voluntary military that we have. Americans have deep affection and loyalty and are extremely grateful for what our troops do. To have this president go out there when two American troops were killed and do this sort of thing, I think he really miscalculates how loyal are Americans to the troops. Our troops deserve better from their commander-in-chief. I think what this president has done is shown that he's not qualified to be a commander-in-chief because our troops deserve his support, fidelity and loyalty. And they did not get it in this instance.

WHITFIELD: All right. Let's talk about --


JACOBUS: He underestimates the impact this is going to have in the next election.

WHITFIELD: Let's talk about a Republican contender the White House. His economic speech in Detroit taking place within the last hour or so. Anything strike you, Robert? Mitt Romney?

ZIMMERMAN: I think this is the second or third economic speech or second or third economic plan. but, at the end of the day, it's really not about what I think or what Cheri thinks. When you speak to the Independent experts, like the Center for a Responsible Federal Budget, a bipartisan coalition, when they did their analysis, they pointed out that Mitt Romney's program just accelerates our federal deficit and, in fact, Santorum and Gingrich balloon it even more so.

At the end of the day, all Mitt Romney is doing is introducing different agendas that go back to the Bush administration's failed economic record. That's what this election is going to be about. Do we want to follow the Romney strategy, which has been endorsing bankruptcy for Detroit, saying that foreclosures should run its court and federal government should not be interfering in the foreclosure of American homes? Or do you want to keep this economic recovery on track? Now there are many areas that I would differ with the administration --


ZIMMERMAN: For example --


WHITFIELD: I want to make sure that we get equal time here.

ZIMMERMAN: Of course. Excuse me.


WHITFIELD: Cheri, let me ask you this. There is a lot at stake for Mitt Romney in general, but particularly in the three southern states as we come up on Super Tuesday, where delegates in Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma are handed out proportionately. How in trouble is Mitt Romney if he is unable to clench those southern states come Tuesday?

JACOBUS: The southern states are important obviously and he's got to do well and he's going to be protecting his own turf in Florida, as we know. Some people don't consider that the real south. He's going to have to have a good showing in the south.

I want to saying in about his economic speech. Any Republican is going to do better than this president. And this president now is very happy to have the focus be on the Republicans because what we know from the new Gallup survey is we are still at 9 percent unemployment. Those numbers that dipped down to 8.3 last month were because of the holidays. The president doesn't want to be accountable for the 9 percent. And when the Bureau of Labor Statistics comes out in a few weeks with those numbers that are going to back up what Gallup says, this president can't blame Republicans.

WHITFIELD: All right --


JACOBUS: He promised us no higher than 8 percent. And he --


WHITFIELD: -- Department of Labor Statistics, just so we offer clarity on that.

Cheri, Robert, thanks so much to both of you. Appreciate your coming in. Have a great weekend.

ZIMMERMAN: Thank you, Fredricka.

JACOBUS: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: And that's "Fair Game."

All right, 23 million Americans battle with addiction to drug and alcohol addiction. That's approximately one in 10 people over the age of 12. With addiction being a big problem in the U.S., CNN has devoted the entire week into finding solutions. Coming up, we'll talk with Dr. Reef Karim about treatment and the misconceptions of addiction.


WHITFIELD: All right. All week we've made it our mission to tackle drug addiction. It's not an exaggeration when say addiction is one of the most preventable and costly health problems we face in the United States. Before you say, not me, listen to this. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse say a staggering 48 percent of the nation, in one way or another, is affected by addiction and the use of risky substances that threaten their health. Think about that. And nearly every other person might be involved there.

But there's still a lot of confusion and misconceptions about drug addiction. For many, the problem is not just about addiction but their mental health.

Dr. Reef Karim is the founder and medical director for the Control Center for Addiction.

It's good to see you, Dr. Karim.

DR. REEF KARIM, FOUNDER & MEDICAL DIRECTOR, CONTROL CENTER FOR ADDICTION: Thanks for having me. WHITFIELD: You're in a rather unique position. You're a board- certified medicine addiction specialist and psychiatrist. What is it that perplexes a lot of people about addiction?

KARIM: You know, everybody's talking about -- especially with celebrity deaths, everybody is talking about addiction and the prescription pill epidemic. That's obvious. The question is, what do we do about it? We're hearing people that blame the doctors and say doctors need to stop prescribing all of these medications that can get people in trouble. It's easy to blame the doctors. It's also easy to blame the families. Why didn't the families jump in? But this is a much bigger problem and a much bigger epidemic than just blaming doctors but just blaming doctors and family members --

WHITFIELD: What you're explaining there, you're making the parlegal of family members and doctors. That it's as much their fault as somebody is addicted as to the person who is addicted. You're saying that's all wrong?

KARIM: I'm not saying it's wrong. It's much bigger than that. The problem is the drugs themselves. We can put doctors on trial that are shady doctors. We can definitely do that. And there's three types of doctors that are problematic. There's shady doctors, naive doctors and people-pleaser doctors. Because some doctors just get manipulated left, right, and center to the point of describing these meds. That definitely happens.

But we need to put the drugs on trial, the prescription pills on trial. There are five major medications that are abused more than any others, Xanax, Oxycontin, and that's causing people to die. We need to change the way that they are prescribed. We need to put a warning.

WHITFIELD: Are you also saying that they shouldn't be distributed at all because some people are not clear as to whether their doctor is going to be the one who says, you really don't need this. There are alternatives. Or, your doctor is going to be one of the three doctors that you described as not being a good doctor. So doesn't the FDA approve all of these medicines hoping that there is a discretion, good judgment of a doctor who is going to prescribe these things?

KARIM: Yes. So, Fredricka, in medicine, with the FDA, we have schedules that the DEA and FDA are looking at. There are schedule classes of these medications. Schedule I, II, III, and IV. And what happens is you are dictated by what schedule that drug is in. So there are some schedule drugs that you can prescribe all day long. You can take 180 of these pills per month and do your thing. There are others where you can't give them refills or only prescribe so much of that drug at one time.

WHITFIELD: And are you saying that many of those drugs where there are refills, you're saying that the rules need to be changed, that there should not be a refill so there's greater control over these prescription drugs? We're not talking about street drugs because that's a whole other problem. KARIM: Yes. I don't think we should be controlling cocaine and say give them one refill. But with regard to prescription pills, yes. We can regulate them and cut down on the abuse implications.

WHITFIELD: Let's talk about treatment and how effective it might be. Are we talking about treatments that then lead to this kind of prescription drug addiction or are we kind of prescription drug abuse, or are we talking about treatment that helps to curb these prescription drug habits?

KARIM: What we don't know, what most people aren't aware of, is if you look at the research, 60 to 70 percent of people that come into treatment for addiction problems or addiction-related problems have a diagnosable mental health disorder, an axis I or axis II mental disorder. The real way of treating people with addictive problems are both mental health treatment and addiction treatment. It's a biological, psychological, social and spiritual disease.

So basically, what that means is that we have to change brain chemistry biologically with medication and with other treatment modalities. We have to look at the psychological aspect of addiction. And many of these people have depression, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, some underlying trauma.

We have to look at the social aspect of the disease. How does it impact the family, the spouse? How do they deal with express stressors and we have to look at the spiritual aspect of the disease. Most of the people that come to my office or for treatment have no sense of self, are super destructive and don't like themselves.

WHITFIELD: No easy fixes.

Dr. Reef Karim, thank you very much for your time. I appreciate it.

We all use this every day. It's not illegal. It's not even something you're prescribed. I'm talking about Google. The search site seems to know everything. Did you know it also knows everything about you? Every time you search on Google, you are being watched. But there may be a way to block Google and other search sites from following your moves. Google's privacy settings, next.


WHITFIELD: Actor Sacha Baron Cohen is responding to his red carpet snub at this Sunday's Oscar. Actually, to be clear, his next big screen alter ego is being snubbed.


SACHA BARON COHEN, ACTOR: While I applause the academy for taking away my right to free speech, I warn you, if you do not award my sanctions and give my tickets back by 12:00 p.m. Sunday, you will face unwanted consequences!

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: Cohen was warned by the academy to not be a character on the red carpet. He is still invited but only as himself. Cohen is one of the stars of the best picture nominee "Hugo." The academy is familiar with Cohen's style. He has pulled red carpet stunts before, like showing up as a gay Austrian super model, Bruno, at the 2009 MTV Movie awards. His new production, "The Dictator," comes out in May.

Keep it right here for big Oscar news. "Showbiz Tonight" will be all over the red carpet Sunday.

Several Internet companies, including Google, will soon have a "do not track" button. It's supposed to prevent web sites from keeping tabs on our every move online. It comes after outrage over some big privacy violations by Internet companies. Since most of us have a very active cyber life, it's comforting to know that companies can no longer watch our every move, but is that really the case?

Dan Simon is joining us now.

So, Dan, does this mean this button can really prevent companies from keeping tabs on all of us?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The answer is no, Fredricka. This is a good step, but if you're worried about privacy, this really does not do a whole lot.

Let's get to the background here. The backbone of the Internet economy is advertising. It is significant that there is a button available on browsers where you can block your data from going to advertisers so they can't target ads against you. Let's go through the things this button will do. Companies can't use your data for anything pertaining to employment, anything pertaining to credit, health care, insurance, and customized ads, but they still can use your data for market research, product development. And your record could also go to law enforcement. So as I said, this is a good first step, but privacy warriors, if you will, aren't going to be too happy about it -- Fred?

WHITFIELD: And when does this go into effect?

SIMON: This is going to go into effect in about six to nine months. We should add, this is a voluntary agreement between all the Internet companies and the advertisers, so there's really no enforcement mechanism that the government has if these companies violate it in any way. Again, this is a voluntary agreement and you really have to sort of twist their arms to do this thing, because, when you're talking about blocking ads, that means less money for all these companies, and it could dip into the revenues.

WHITFIELD: It seems like, in some way, shape or form, we've been talking about Internet privacy off and on every other day. What's really behind all this?

SIMON: Well, if you look at a theme of early 2012, I think consumer privacy on the Internet has really become a major theme in the news. And I think it has to do, because more and more of us are sharing our personal lives online. And I think people want to limit who can see that information. Of course, we're using social networks. and everything we do on mobile is a big deal. You see here all these apps that are getting into our address books and getting some of our contact information and very sensitive data.


SIMON: And because of all that, you're seeing sort of a push- back from both consumers and privacy advocates to try to get some mechanisms in place that better protects our data.


Thanks so much, Dan Simon. Appreciate that.

We're all looking for ways to comfort and preserve our privacy, online or not.

Let's talk politics now. Mitt Romney, on the stump today in Detroit, pitching his economic plan. While he spoke to a friendly audience, the Detroit Economic Club, Union members were demonstrating in the streets.

And taking it all in, our political editor, Paul Steinhauser.

Paul, what did you get out of this speech?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Fred, he talked about a couple things we've heard before and he added more details about his economic plan. He said he would limit the capital gains on those making under $200,000 a year. He said all these changes he's proposing would not add a single penny, he said, to the deficit.

While he was talking inside to 1200 people in Michigan, outside, there was a protest against him by the United Auto Workers and they were criticizing Romney's lack of support in 2008 and 2009 for the bailouts of the big auto companies in Michigan.

Let's talk about Rick Santorum briefly. Remember our debate two nights ago? I think it's fair to say he got beat up a little bit in Arizona. Well, Santorum is at an event tonight Michigan. At that event, we're going to hear some tough language form Rick Santorum. Here's what he's going to say specifically, Fred. "Mitt Romney has criticized me for taking one for the Republican team and we all know why, because Mitt Romney's teammates are all Democrats."


STEINHAUSER: That's from Rick Santorum. Tough language to come from him tonight -- Fred?

WHITFIELD: All right. That's going to be his last word and yours, too.


WHITFIELD: Paul Steinhauser, always good to see you. Thanks so much.

I'm Fredricka Whitfield. I'll see you later.

Right now, more of the NEWSROOM with Brooke Baldwin.

Hi, Brooke.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Fred, thank you so much. We'll see you on TV this weekend.