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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Club Controversy; Interview with William Cohen; Romney Returns Fire; Grade School Loans
Aired April 4, 2012 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, HOST: History calls on the CEO of IBM. Will she answer?
Iran, is it playing a shell game with nukes and the president making a very big move with a key group of voters. Let's go OUTFRONT.
OUTFRONT tonight, it's time. Ginni Rometty didn't ask for this but she has become someone who could make history. Ginni Rometty is the CEO of IBM, one of three sponsors of the Masters who pay upwards of $10 million a year for access to the 42 million viewers of the golf tournament. Given, this the prior four CEOs of IBM have all been given membership to Augusta National and the iconic green jacket that goes with it became theirs.
But Ginni Rometty you see there is a woman and that makes all the difference at Augusta National. Our sources say the club has never invited a woman to join so this is a big moment for them. Will they invite her, as they did each of her predecessors? Ginni Rometty as we've said on this show is a woman to admire. Thirty-one years at IBM, she graduated with a computer science degree from Northwestern.
Her former boss, IBM's last CEO Sam Palmisano told "The New York Times" quote, "Ginni got it because she deserved it. It's got zero to do with progressive social policies." So it might not surprise you to hear that she Ginni Rometty isn't jumping on this issue with the Augusta National Golf Club. She's been silent. Today it was Augusta National's Billy Payne who addressed the media saying he wouldn't talk about membership.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILLY PAYNE, CHAIRMAN, AUGUSTA NATIONAL GOLF CLUB: All issues of membership are now and have been historically subject to the private deliberations of the members, and that statement remains accurate and remains my statement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now, private clubs can do what they want, within reason. In 1990 IBM withheld its sponsorship of the PGA Championship in Alabama in protest to the Shoal Creek Club's refusal to allow black members. The club caved and so actually did Augusta, which let its first black member in that year. Then in 2003 the president of the National Council of Women's Organizations, Martha Burk, protested female membership at Augusta National. The Masters pushed the public brouhaha aside though going without any sponsors that year due to the public pressure being put on them.
Once it was done, the policy didn't change. Still no women and sources today told me that the pressure on Augusta and its sponsors this time is much less from the public. But this time might end differently because this isn't about female memberships. This is about treating a major sponsor the way you have always treated a major sponsor. First of all, there's the precedent of Ginni's predecessors all being invited to join Augusta National, but secondly there's Ginni herself. She is not a woman who made women's issues her cause but like any successful woman, she has dealt with them and here she is at last October's Fortune Women Summit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GINNI ROMETTY, CEO OF IBM: I can remember being offered a big job and I can remember my reaction to the person who offered it to me. I right away said, you know what, I'm not ready for this job. And my husband at the time -- as usual I'm blah, blah, blahhing (ph) and he's just sitting there. And he just looked at me and he said do you think a man would have ever answered that question that way?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne may be waiting for the big photo op moment at the Masters with Ginni by his side with the other sponsors all in their green jackets. He might already have invited her to join. I don't want to jump to conclusions. Maybe today was just you know hey, it's private and then they're going to come forward, but if he doesn't money talks. Ginni Rometty now controls IBM's marketing budget and with the company's contract with the Masters worth a minimum of $10 million a year, she holds the cards. It's going to be interesting to see what happens there. Nick Gillespie joins me now. Let me ask just you, Nick, are you surprised that Ginni Rometty has not been more outspoken on this issue.
NICK GILLESPIE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, REASON MAGAZINE: : No, but I'm not surprised. IBM is a flagging (ph) corporation and I'm not surprised that they're not, you know they're not on the ball on all of this type of stuff. I think that private clubs should have the right to exclude people for whatever reasons they want. I also think that it's just idiocy on the part of Augusta National if they don't extend the same courtesies that they have to previous sponsors to the current one.
BURNETT: Right, so it's not -- this is not an issue of caving to pressure on women's rights, this is different?
GILLESPIE: Well you know it's part of that. I mean golf has a problem in America. It only became a mass sport when it opened up to blacks, to women, to lower -- to middle class and lower class people. I think it should push for that. And you know but again, they have the right to do it and I think people have the right to exclude, you know, watching the Masters and actually if IBM wants to be party to a sport that is held at a club that would refuse its -- the CEO of IBM people should boycott IBM then.
BURNETT: Nicki Neily is with us as well, senior fellow at the Independent Women's Forum and Nikki, what's your take listening to what Nick had to say? Do you agree or do you feel differently about this?
NICKI NEILY, SR. FELLOW, INDEPENDENT WOMEN'S FORUM: No, I agree with Nick. I think it makes good business sense for Augusta to allow -- to extend membership to her. Again, IBM doesn't have to sponsor them going forward. And all that being said though, Augusta is actually not the worst of the bunch. There actually is a club in Maryland outside Bethesda that used to -- all the presidents used to belong to called Burning Tree (ph) and they don't actually even allow women in the door. So this is -- this is not as bad. Women are allowed to play at Augustan, but women just can't be members, but --
GILLESPIE: And we should point to this in a way this is a story about progress because we're talking about a millionaire being excluded from a golf club that is -- you know that only gives out memberships to extremely rich people. We're not talking about a woman who couldn't become CEO of IBM, so with that as a backdrop, I mean it's kind of hard to get too worked up over this situation.
BURNETT: And what you said -- just hope that they will resolve it. I mean the question is though, you know talking to sources today, there isn't a real public uproar on this.
BURNETT: And if they don't do anything, I mean maybe there won't be, Nick. I mean what would that say?
GILLESPIE: Yes, but -- you know what, I mean it's interesting that in the past, sponsors have dropped out of sponsoring the Masters because of the exclusive policies of the club it's held at.
GILLESPIE: Why not continue that and IBM I mean really should -- I think IBM should take a stand on this if they get kind of the back of the hand of the club.
BURNETT: I mean and Nicki, it would seem to me, just to be honest, I mean I think it's pretty obvious how I feel about it, but that just seems to be the right thing to do. But last time around when Martha Burk with the National Women's Foundation was saying -- made this a big issue, there were three sponsors. There's always three. There were IBM, Coke and Citigroup. Two of them never came back. It's interesting that IBM was the only one that did when the club refused to change its policies to women.
NEILY: Yes, I mean (INAUDIBLE) packing (ph) the Virginia Rometty issue from what's going on here though is that will this actually have any impact on companies promoting women to CEOs in the future. If we suddenly become a wealthy corporation and we have the opportunity to sponsor the Masters, will we or will we not, absolutely not. So I think what she's doing she's serving as a good, strong role model and that's a positive influence for women. And IBM, as you said, can really make an influence in that they can influence the debate by sponsoring it next year or not, depending on how the Masters acts.
BURNETT: Nick, let me ask you a broader question here as someone who, you know you want the government out of people's business.
BURNETT: You don't want other -- right, so private clubs. I mean this is obviously -- and you made it clear how you stand on this specific issue.
BURNETT: But in general, private clubs do things that are offensive, exclude people, offends some people.
BURNETT: Is that OK?
GILLESPIE: Yes, I think it is because for the same rights that they have to exclude people, give people the right to cast social opprobrium on them and also then what do you with groups, organizations, voluntary associations like churches or various types of charities that have really strong ideological or theological views. We don't want to live in a world you know that's filled with prejudice and bigotry and what not, but we also don't want to live in a world where nobody is allowed to take a stand and create the world that they want. And however repugnant we might find those beliefs, as long as it's peaceful, I think you should you know allow it to continue and then use kind of outrage and public discussion to change people's minds.
BURNETT: All right, well Nick and Nicki, thank you very much. Appreciate both of you taking the time. Obviously tee-off is tomorrow, so we will be eagerly avidly awaiting.
All right, nuclear talks with Iran have hit a major hurdle today. We have some late-day reporting on that.
And Mitt Romney has accused the president of hiding something. Is he?
And Whitney Houston's final autopsy report. We have got the full details coming out. Sanjay Gupta has been going through it and he comes OUTFRONT with the details.
BURNETT: A possible delay in talks with Iran over its nuclear program tonight. These were the first talks in more than two years and they're scheduled for the end of next week in Istanbul. But today the Iranian foreign minister said not so fast. In fact they say that they haven't set on Istanbul and they want to talk about possibly other locations. The Iranians offered instead to meet in China or Baghdad. Asked about the last-minute changes, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said time is running out for Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The time for diplomacy is not infinite. And all options remain on the table to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: This is -- this could possibly be a very serious issue because you know it's not just about a venue. A venue could be part of a broader stalling tactic and the nuclear issue with Iran is one of the most important in the world right now. William Cohen is former secretary of defense and he's OUTFRONT tonight. Secretary Cohen, first let me ask you how much should we read into this? Is this literally just a change of venue or is this opening the door to undefined delays?
WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER SECRETRY OF DEFENSE: I think it's a typical Iranian tactic. First of all, we have to start with the premise the Iranians are not interested in reaching any kind of agreement. They are not interested in producing a nuclear power. They're interested in acquiring nuclear weapons. If it was just a question of nuclear power for civilian and peaceful purposes, they could have done that in the open. They would have had international community support for it.
They had a covert program for nearly two decades. They have kicked out the IAE inspectors from time to time. If they really want a program for civilian purposes let the inspectors come in. Let them conduct full inspections without any hiding and seeking on this and go forward so that you can join the international community and have a nuclear power for peaceful purposes. So they're not interested in that. What they're interested in doing is stalling, engaging in obfuscation. Now it's an issue of, well, the site is wrong.
Well, if we change the site, then the shape of the table will be wrong and so you can see what they're trying to do to put President Obama and the others in a position of caving in to them on the little issues so that when the time comes to the big issues, they'll be able to stall even more. So I think it's just a tactic. I think time is running out. I think the more they do this, it conveys to everybody the understanding they're not really serious about wanting to reach an agreement that prevents a war from taking place.
BURNETT: I'm curious, Secretary Cohen, though, as Secretary Clinton says time for diplomacy is not infinite. You know is this rhetoric going to heat up again? I mean again there comes into this, this huge question of what is the timing that we're talking about and what is it that the United States is talking about doing when that clock theoretically runs out?
COHEN: Well, as we know, there are two different clocks running here. The Israelis have a much narrower time frame as far as they're concerned. The president of the United States has said we need to pursue diplomacy for as long as we conceivably can, reasonably can. And then if that proves to be a failed option, then we'll look to the military option as a last resort. I think what they're doing now is they're looking at a win-win situation. If they can paint the president as caving in to the site location, then they can make him look weak to the Republicans, to be sure, but also to the other members of the P-Fi (ph), members of the National Security Council. So I think that they will cave in at some point on the little things, but stall on the big issues --
COHEN: -- which are you really willing to sit down and negotiate an end to your pursuit of nuclear weapons? I don't think they are.
BURNETT: Secretary Cohen, my question though and it may come to this (ph) the American people, the U.S. doesn't have proof of what Iran is doing. It thinks it knows what Iran is doing but it's not sure. And if it's not going to have that proof, maybe the American people will never be willing to do any kind of strike and would be willing to let Iran, if that's what they are actually doing, go ahead and acquire that nuclear weapon.
COHEN: That may be the case. I think that the Israelis are looking at that as a conceivable option. The issue then will be will Israel take action whether the United States is supporting them or not. So this is one of the big issues that need to be resolved. Some people say let them have a nuclear weapon. Well, that means the gate is open, others will want the same thing and then we have a situation of proliferation of nuclear technology.
Is the world safer with that taking place? I think not. Can Iran be deterred from launching a nuclear weapon attack against Israel, the United States or European capital? I think deterrents will work in those cases. But it's not really deterrence, which is the issue here. The issue is once Iran gets nuclear weapons, others will want it. Then that means the entire world is at greater risk of a nuclear weapon at some point in time being exploded. That's the situation we don't want to see take place. So I hope that China in particular will come down very hard. They have said rhetorically that they're opposed --
COHEN: -- to them getting a nuclear weapon. Now is the time for China and Russia to put more effort and more meat behind the sanctions.
BURNETT: All right, well thank you very much, Secretary Cohen. We appreciate it. It's going to be a very tough decision for the president and what he does if there is a delay.
All right now to politics. The next phase of the race for the White House has begun because now you have President Obama versus former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. All right, it's not formally there yet, but, you know. We're there. OK, full steam ahead.
After winning three primaries yesterday, he has ignored his Republican rivals. He has focused squarely on the fall election. Just a day after President Obama launched a very harsh attack on the Republican Party in Washington, Romney actually went on the exact same stage where the president stood yesterday and, well, he returned fire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The president came here yesterday and railed against arguments no one is making and criticized policies no one is proposing. It's one of his favorite strategies, setting up straw man to distract us from his record. And while I understand the president doesn't want to run on his record, he can't run from his record either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Our political panel is here, the musketeers, John Avlon, Reihan Salam are here in New York. Jamal Simmons is in Washington. All right, great to see all of you, Jamal, do you think this was a good attack?
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I do actually. I think -- I'm not sure it really holds water in the sense that he can make it effectively over the course of the next six months, but I do think that he's on a better track than where he was. When you're running for president, getting to these questions of character and qualities of leadership are really where people make the decision about who they want to elect to be the president. And I think Mitt Romney is trying to zero in on that.
This is a reminder to my Democratic friends that although the primaries have been very hard on Mitt Romney, he does really have a chance to reset the clock and try to get a better stab at it. He's got a vice presidential pick coming up. He's got a convention coming up. He's got these new arguments he can make. I just don't think this attack works over time because he doesn't have enough evidence to prove it out of President Obama, but it is a better strategy than the one he was waging before.
BURNETT: John Avlon, what Jamal says brings me to this point about the Independents, and you've talked a lot about them.
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.
BURNETT: Forty percent of people say they're Independent. I know some of those people lean one way or the other, but in December 39 percent of them would vote for Obama, 46 percent for Mitt Romney, and that's now flipped, 48 for the president --
AVLON: That's right.
BURNETT: -- 39 percent for Mitt Romney. How set in stone are those views? How much could they change? AVLON: There is still time to make the case and to move the Independents. They are swing voters. They are persuadable. They are not hard partisans, but what here -- this is a big deal. This is a sea change over four months, a complete reversal, an advantage Mitt Romney had with Independents to now advantage Obama. And that is directly a reaction to the cost of these Republican primaries.
The further they have dragged the candidates to the far right, the more they have alienated the Independents. That is the tale of the tape here. It is a big deal and Mitt Romney is going to have to take serious action to contradict -- to counter balance that because he cannot lose the Independents and win the presidency (INAUDIBLE).
BURNETT: One thing that I think, Reihan, is going to be really interesting, we'll have to see what happens to gas prices. They're up 20 percent this year and as they have risen, the president's approval rating has taken a hit. People think he can do a lot about gas prices. Let's put whether a president can or can't aside for a second and just acknowledge the fact this is going to be a political fight. The president is coming out running an ad trying to pit Mitt Romney as friends of big oil. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, POLITICAL AD: Why is big oil attacking him? Because he's fighting to end their tax breaks. He's raising mileage standards and doubling renewable energy. In all these fights, Mitt Romney stood with big oil for their tax breaks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Mitt Romney says it's unfair and he fired back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, POLITICAL AD: Obama attack machine has started, spending millions to sling mud or oil at Mitt Romney. Why, because in the five states where Obama is attacking Romney, gas prices have roughly doubled, but Obama's mud can't cover up his failed energy policies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Who's the winner there Reihan in that dueling ad war?
REIHAN SALAM, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY: I've got to say I think Romney has a very strong case for a very simple reason. All of the tax breaks for the oil and gas industry amount to about $4.4 billion a year. And if you get rid of the most important of them, the break for so-called intangible drilling costs, then natural gas prices will go up by about $11.5 billion for consumers. That is you get back $4.4 billion for the tax man and then consumers have to give up $11.5 billion. So it looks like a good deal.
Oh, we're attacking big oil. It's actually going to be something that's going to hit the pocketbooks of every American who counts on natural gas. Not only that, but also a lot of those states, the Utica Shale Formation in Ohio, the Marcellus Shale Pennsylvania, upstate New York, these are all areas where natural gas development is a huge economic boon. So do you really want to sock those guys and that big development with these big new tax increases? I think Romney has a very strong case to make and I think he's going to press that case more and more.
BURNETT: That is a very nuanced discussion though.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reihan --
AVLON: It is, I mean, Reihan makes a great point --
AVLON: -- about the natural gas economy and it's benefiting in particular swing states like Pennsylvania. This is nothing the Obama campaign, the Obama administration wants to squelch. That said I don't think that ending a long-term tax break -- a long term tax incentive amounts to an outright tax hike. It's been a benefit baked in the cake for oil companies for decades and decades. But I think Reihan makes a great point about not wanting to stop the shift to the natural gas. It could occur and be a win-win for the American economy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Erin --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- for what it's worth.
SIMMONS: Erin, also had another point here that I think the president was trying to get to which you see in some of the polling when you talk to people who are focused on this, is that people in America do feel like there are two sets of rules, and there are people with the big boys on top who get to play by their own rules and everybody else who gets stuck with the bill. And when we're talking about solving the deficit, growing the economy, everybody's got to put in the pot together, entitlements might have to get reformed. Why should we be giving tax breaks to companies that make billions of dollars in profits when everyone else in America is being asked to give up some?
BURNETT: All right, thanks very much to all of you. That's why when you hear those small numbers and you say well it's only three billion (INAUDIBLE) with the top one percent it's only this in taxes people don't care, right? It's about fairness and righting that. We'll see how it plays out.
Total student loan debt in America is a crisis for people on both sides of the political spectrum. It crossed the trillion dollar mark this year. Not surprising given the rising costs of college tuition. But there is another form of student debt that is rising, loans taken out by parents to pay for the cost of sending their children to private school. Deb Feyerick joins us with the story. And this is pretty amazing, Deb, how early in life this is happening and how late in life it's affecting people.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. You start your debt in kindergarten. Chances are it's going to take you a very long time to pay it off. It's a rite of passage for so many moms and dads in particular cities. They pull out all the stops, anxiously trying to get their 4 and their 5-year-olds into kindergarten.
You know there are tests, personal essays, letters of recommendation, interviews for both the parents and kids. And then if the child actually succeeds in getting in, the price, upwards of $30,000 a year and that's not even including any of the extras. now we spoke with Dana Haddad, a former New York City admissions director. She advises parents on how to get in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What percentage of parents now are taking out loans?
DANA HADDAD, FOUNDER, NEW YORK ADMISSIONS: It's very difficult to put a percentage on something like that because parents are very quiet about taking out the loans. There's a big piece of keeping up with the Joneses and they don't want anyone to know that they can't afford the tuition, even those families that are receiving financial aid are very quiet about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FEYERICK: What's so fascinating is that with more families actually staying in cities, the demand for private schools even at that price it keeps going up and up, the competition even greater. So there is a real growing demand for loans to pay for K through 12, Erin.
BURNETT: And Deb, how many people -- what percentage of families are taking out loans for K through 12?
FEYERICK: This is what's so interesting. If you think about it, it's $30,000. Well, for a parent to cover that before taxes, you have to make about 45 to $50,000, 23 percent of families are now opting to take out loans. That's just under one in five who are actually taking out the loans. And they have been going up every five years and the rates are rather high. You know, you've got -- in some cases you've got about 7.25 percent, in another case 13.82 percent. There is a fixed rate of 3.99, but again all of that you have to qualify for, so 200 grand in a city for example like New York City, it's all relative.
BURNETT: That is unbelievable. I mean it dwarfs what people pay for mortgages. It's a stunning number.
BURNETT: I know then people say well they're doing this because their kid is going to get into a great college or get a better job or it pays off over time. Does it? FEYERICK: Well, you know, I asked Dana whether in fact there was some sort of a guarantee that a child would do better in life or do better in terms of career success. And there is no hard and fast rule about that. You know, one of the reasons that parents really want to send their kids to these schools is because it is a guaranteed education, a sort of central hard-core basic education. Kids are not just studying so they can pass a state or city exam.
They're really learning. You know, I know a child in middle school who was learning about the Euphrates River and (INAUDIBLE), so the level of learning is really quite high. There are all these extracurricular activities, physical education, art, in some cases you know fashion design, whatever you want to take. So it is, it's something that in fact parents are willing to do. But think about it, $800,000 for K through 12 and that's only for one child, Erin.
BURNETT: It's just --
FEYERICK: God forbid you have a brother or sister.
BURNETT: It's obscene. All right, Deb Feyerick there.
Whitney Houston's final autopsy report was released late this afternoon and Sanjay Gupta has been through it. He's OUTFRONT with the details.
Plus the latest in the Trayvon Martin case. Today the results of George Zimmerman's voice stress test.
BURNETT: We start the second half of our show with stories we care about, where we focus on our reporting, do the work and find the OUTFRONT five.
Up first, we're now learning about the real damage caused by yesterday's tornadoes in Texas. The Red Cross telling us at least 650 homes are damaged, that 200 more destroyed, but still there are no reported deaths.
Our weather team tells us between six and 13 tornadoes touched down, including one in Forney that we showed you last night, that had winds up to 150 miles an hour. That is the same twister that storm chaser Jason McLaughlin recorded and told us he was literally shocked by the amount of damage he saw from it.
Number two: the United Nations confirmed what OUTFRONT has been saying for more than a week now, that al Qaeda is becoming a growing threat in northern Mali. Two weeks after a military coup seized power in the country, the U.N. Security Council today called for an end to violence and return to constitutional rule. There have been reports of violence in the north and power outages across the country.
Phil Paoletta, an American working and living in the capital of Bamako, and he came OUTFRONT earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHIL PAOLETTA, WWW.PHILINTHEBLANK.NET: Things are mostly calm here, but it's pretty clear that we're going to start having some problems. There are still commercial banks that you're able to get money from, but the central bank has been shut down. We're stocking up on fuel and basic essentials.
In the north of the country, there's at least two rebel groups in Mali, (INAUDIBLE) rebel groups, that have effectively taken control of all of north Mali right now. There's a lot of different reports about looting and there's been allegations of vandalism, of rape even.
A lot of people are afraid to leave their homes. It's unclear who's really in charge because the military, the Malian military, fled and the two rebel groups don't really see eye to eye. So, it's not really clear who's in charge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The economic community of West African states has placed 3,000 troops on stand by to try to deal with the coup.
Number three: posttraumatic stress disorder could be inherited. This is according to UCLA scientists who linked PTSD to two genes involved in serotonin production. The researchers extracted the DNA from families who had people who suffered PTSD symptoms after surviving the 1988 Armenian earthquake.
PTSD affects 7 percent of Americans and it has become a pressing health issue for many of the war veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The researchers say that if confirmed, the findings could lead to new ways to screen people at risk and target specific treatments.
Number four: it's been 44 years since Reverend Martin Luther King was assassinated on a hotel balcony in Memphis. Since then, more than 900 U.S. cities have named streets after the civil rights leader, with one big exception, the city where he was killed. That was corrected today when a one-mile stretch of Linden Avenue where King marched in support of striking sanitation workers were renamed Dr. MLK Jr. Avenue.
If he was alive today to see it, he would have been 83 years old.
Well, it has been 244 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?
Well, there was a new report today on jobs from ADP that says the private sector added 209,000 jobs in March. That's in line with economists' expectations and that's a number that would continue to bring the unemployment rate down.
We have some breaking news tonight.
Whitney Houston, found face down in her hotel bathtub when she was found dead but she may have been there, we're finding out, for more than half an hour. This is according to the full autopsy report which was just released late this afternoon from the L.A. County coroner's office.
Sanjay Gupta joins me on the line. He's had a chance to go through it.
And, Sanjay, what do -- what do you see in there?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, it's a pretty extensive autopsy report, as you might imagine, Erin. A lot of anticipation, 42 pages.
And, you know, there's a lot of detail in here, but it pretty much confirms what the initial findings were. You know, you have the initial finding a couple of weeks ago, if you remember. And at that time it was pretty brief, but what they said was that, you know, a combination of cocaine use in a woman who had a history of atherosclerotic disease, that means hardening of the arteries in her heart. Those two things in combination led to her accidental drowning.
So, the autopsy report confirmed a lot more details specifically about what was also found in the bathroom where she was found, the other medications that were found in there, for example. Also some of the specific testimony from her assistant, who was the person who had been with Whitney Houston before she died and also came back to the hotel room and found Whitney Houston.
So they were putting this altogether. A couple of points medically that they put across in this report was that she didn't have cocaine that was found in her system, in her blood specifically. But they also found the breakdown products of cocaine. That's important, Erin, mainly because it suggests, as had been speculated by the coroners earlier that she had been taking cocaine recently but that she had also probably taken it within the last 12 hours to 15 hours as well. It would take that long for some of the previous cocaine to break down into those metabolites.
GUPTA: So again, it doesn't change the cause of death, accidental drowning, but that's how they put it together.
BURNETT: And I know that the autopsy report said she was found in 13 inches of water. You mentioned that it was very careful going through everything that was found in the bathroom. I wanted to put that screen up again for those of you that didn't see it and just read some of these out, as Sanjay has said.
Ashtray with multiple cigarette butts, small spoon with white crystal-like substance, rolled up piece of white paper, bottle of prescription medications, remnants of white powdery substance and portable mirror.
Obviously, you know, you hear that and it makes you think one thing. GUPTA: Sure.
BURNETT: Is that sort of your takeaway, this sort of supports what you're saying about cocaine?
GUPTA: Yes, I think so. And, you know, it's important because there was a lot of speculation around the other medications that had been found, including medications known as benzodiazepines which are anti-anxiety medications. And while there was these medications found in her blood, one of the important things that came out today, Erin, that I think sort of answered a question mark, because people kept asking how do you know it wasn't a combination of those other medications that led to this? The concentrations were pretty small.
So this is -- you know, when they're doing an autopsy report like this, they're looking specifically at levels, figuring out, you know, how much does she weigh, how much of an impact would these medications have had on her and putting it altogether and saying, look, we don't think it was those other medications. We think the cocaine specifically caused some sort of heart event. It could have been -- it caused a disturbance in the way that the heart beats, an arrhythmia it's called.
GUPTA: It could have caused her to have significant loss of blood flow to her heart, something that is a precursor to a heart attack. Whatever it was, when she went into the water, she was still alive. It was subsequent that she drowned.
And they know that -- and it's a tough thing to talk about, but he way they know that is because she was still alive when she went into the water, she would breathe some of that water into her lungs and that's exactly what they found was some of that water in fact in her lungs.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, Sanjay Gupta, who has been combing through that autopsy report, which, as he said, is incredibly detailed.
We also have some news in the Trayvon Martin story tonight. A new attorney for George Zimmerman says that he believes his client acted in self defense. And the reason for this is in part because Zimmerman says -- he said he passed a voice stress test during questioning.
Now, authorities in Sanford confirmed to CNN that the police department does use voice stress tests. They're not going to confirm directly that they gave one to Zimmerman after the shooting, but we wanted to look into this and we wanted to find out for you what a voice stress test is and what it actually says and whether it's reliable.
Our legal contributor Paul Callan is here.
And, Paul, good to have you with us. So, we looked into this voice stress test to try to figure out what it is, since obviously it appears that it's going to be key in why they chose to not arrest him. It appears that the Sanford Police Department has used a voice stress test from a company called CVSA before and the company has a video on its Web site that says what it is.
Here's what it is. Let me show you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: The CVSA is a patented solution that's become the truth verification device of choice for law enforcement, military, intelligence and other investigators the world over. Upon closer inspection, it's easy to see why. An interviewer simply asks a series of questions. As the subject speaks, the computer displays each voice pattern. The CVSA then automatically analyzes these voice patterns to detect deceptive reactions. The interview process is that straightforward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: It sounds like a lie detector or polygraph test.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: It sounds similar, but this is sort of the Holy Grail of truth-telling, because with a lie detector, you've got to hook wires up and measure skin galvanic response, blood pressure. This is just measuring sound waves that are emanated when you talk, and then they look at it on a screen and theoretically, they can tell whether you're telling the truth or not.
It's actually kind of scary. I mean --
CALLAN: -- somebody could have this machine set up in a room and you walk in and they'll know whether you're telling the truth or not. I don't buy it. But --
BURNETT: Sanford Police Department is not the only department that uses it. I know they are about $10,000 of machines, thousands of departments across the country use it. I know the results aren't admissible in court. So, what does this do?
CALLAN: They're not admissible in court. And I think that's the key thing. You know, you look at that ad and they're talking about everybody using it, the military, the police.
Well, the courts don't accept it because the science on this just isn't there at this point in time. I'm not saying that it won't be at some point in time, but to think that you're going to base a murder prosecution on this brand new science, it's not going to happen.
And we've heard now in this Trayvon Martin case, on both sides, there was a witness who came forward last week and said that he had analyzed the stress emanating on one of the calls and it supported the Trayvon Martin side of the story. So I'm not buying into it and I don't think the courts will either.
BURNETT: All right. Paul Callan, thank you.
Well, a woman was raped and forced into prostitution. She broke free and she is now running for city council. John Avlon brings us this remarkable story.
And Google glasses are here, although we were unable to get a pair. But we are going to show you exactly what the world would look like if you put these new glasses on. We promise, we've got that for you. Have we reached the world of "Terminator"?
BURNETT: And now an incredible story of survival. In 1989, Jeri Williams was raped and forced to turn tricks. Today, she's running for a seat on the Portland, Oregon City Council.
Our John Avlon has her story.
JERI WILLIAMS, CANDIDATE FOR PORTLAND CITY COMMISSIONER: There used to be nothing down here but crack heads. Nobody was out here.
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (voice-over): In the summer of 1989, Jeri Samble (ph) Williams was viciously raped by 10 men. After they finished, she was locked in a room, let out only to turn tricks, forced to return after she met her nightly quota.
WILLIAMS: Fifteen dates a night, seven days a week. And then I'd go home. And my pimp would cavity search me to make sure I wasn't hiding any money from him.
AVLON: Jeri's story is heartbreaking but all too typical for victims of sex trafficking. Married at age 19, she had four children before her husband turned abusive. Scared with no one to turn to, she fled to Portland and moved in with a friend.
That friend turned out to be a former prostitute who was in the business of trading women to the Crips gang for crack cocaine. Jeri's nightmare had just begun.
WILLIAMS: If you could for a moment just imagine what it would take for you to stand out on this street half naked and let some crazy stranger pull up and you would have sex with them.
AVLON: It would be months before Jeri was able to escape and begin her long path to recovery.
WILLIAMS: I've changed like this neighborhood has changed, which is why I like coming here.
AVLON: Now a 50-year-old grandmother of eight, Jeri is using her past to combat human trafficking.
WILLIAMS: Hi, how are you? Are you a Portland voter?
AVLON: Jeri is running for the Portland City Council in a campaign that proves that life can go on when the nightmare ends.
MARK STRONG, PASTOR, LIFE CHANGE CHRISTIAN CENTER: I think any time a person has a bad deck dealt to them in life and they can still come up triumphant, I think that is an inspiration and a beacon of hope to people that are in that similar situation.
AVLON: And she has a lot of support.
TOM POTTER, FORMER PORTLAND MAYOR & POLICE CHIEF: She brings a lot of good assets to the job. She's smart. She's honest. She's approachable. She's what you would want to see in an elected official.
BURNETT: And we are going to see her now. Jeri Williams joins us.
Jeri, thank you so much.
It's an -- it's impossible for me to even comprehend your story and what you have been through.
How did you do it? How did you get to where you are now after going through that hell?
WILLIAMS: Well, I got stabbed and left for dead and I got out of the life. My pimp was arrested on different charges. I had to go through therapies and hundreds of AA meetings, lots of therapy. There was an organization called the Council for Prostitution Alternatives. I ended up living in a shelter for 14 months, going through full-blown posttraumatic stress disorder.
I had to get a job so I could get my children, and just worked really hard. I became an organizer with the workers organizing committee fighting toxics, which was my first way of fighting back abusers. And went from that organization, working with jobs with justice, chairing jobs with justice, and then working to be the executive director of the Environmental Justice Action Group, fighting pollution in Portland and then got asked to work at the city.
I went to the city when Mayor Tom Potter was there, who is an incredible person. And I have been organizing in communities of color for now almost 17 years.
BURNETT: How -- have you experienced any opposition in your run for the council or has there on the other side been someone who supported you that you never thought would?
WILLIAMS: My commissioner, who's my boss currently at the city, has given me tons of support. Former Mayor Tom Potter has given me tons of support. My church, which is about 500 members-strong, prayed over me and that was my kickoff party with Pastor Mark Strong at Life Change Christian Center.
The biggest thing is when you're a nonfactor, you're not a known politician, you have no name recognition. So, people just kind of -- they don't call you, they don't ask you to do news reports or anything else. They just kind of figure that you're a nobody.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Jeri, thank you very much. Certainly somebody to recon with. Thank you for being with us.
And now, let's check in with Wolf Blitzer. He's on "A.C. 360" tonight.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Erin. Thanks very much.
We're keeping them honest ahead on "360". More conflicting evidence on what really happened the night Trayvon Martin was shot and killed. New audio analysis of the possible slur George Zimmerman may or may not have uttered on those 911 tapes. We'll play it for you and let you decide what he said.
Our legal panel weighs in on whether this could be a game changer if charges are filed against Zimmerman.
Also ahead, "360'"s ground-breaking study, "Kids on Race: The Hidden Picture" -- a fascinating examination of children's attitudes on race. The findings for African-American kids, a lot changes between ages 6 and 13. For white kids, where they go to school makes a huge difference on racial attitudes.
It's all at the top of the hour -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Wolf, looking forward to that.
I hope that you'll look forward to this because we've got some Google glasses. This is pretty scary. This is -- this is like, be careful when you go in a public bathroom kind of a thing.
And France squaring off with Snooki. We've got the story.
BURNETT: So Google is known for thinking outside the search box. They did invent the first driverless car. And today, they unveiled another Google gadget, a computer you can wear. The project has been dubbed Project Glass. You look at it on that guy's face.
It's an augmented reality glasses that display information to the wearer in front of your eyes. There's a video they put out. You can check the weather, check in locations, you know, see -- literally read what people are texting you, take photos in the bathroom. You can even video chat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, what's up?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, you want to see something cool?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Sure. Is that a ukulele?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. OK, here goes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's beautiful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: How strange is that?
Google will be field-testing the glasses. It's unclear if or when they'll be fully available to the public, but that brings us to tonight's number, 27. That's how many years it's been since we first saw the world through "The Terminator" cyborg eye. It's also older than five members of the OUTFRONT staff. Wow.
All right. Is France trying to be American? Up next.
BURNETT: So the American children's network Nickelodeon has been forced to scrap its French ad campaign after facing stiff opposition from local groups. Why? Well, Nickelodeon planned to place 13-foot statues of SpongeBob SquarePants and his friends underwater near the southern city of Marseille.
The idea was that children would see the statues when they went swimming and would want to watch the show. Yes. I mean, it kind of ruins the view.
France said no. Arguing the spectacular natural sight should not be used for marketing purposes.
And Nickelodeon eventually back off. But this is not an isolated event. It's the latest example of the Americanization of France. Earlier this week, it was announced France is getting its own version of MTV's "Jersey Shore". I am not kidding, people. A new show called (INAUDIBLE), "The Beach," is set to premiere in France later this year.
And producers are currently searching for French Le Situation and a Snooki. There's no translation for that. Snooki.
This has got to stop. We want the real France back -- the one with great wine, culture, romance and, yes, the France American tourists complained about too -- a little rude, dismissive and snobby. French were offended when someone says their wives are more beautiful than they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is our first meeting since newest arrival of the newest Sarkozy, and so I want to congratulate Nicolas and Carla on the birth of Julia. And I informed Nicolas on the way in that I'm confident that Julia inherited his mother's looks rather than her father's.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: See his face? The smile got wiped right off it. That's the France we love.
"A.C. 360" starts now.