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JOHN KING, USA

President Obama Under Fire Over Supreme Court Comments; No Women at Augusta National Golf Club?

Aired April 4, 2012 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


GLORIA BORGER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us. I'm Gloria Borger. John King is off tonight.

President Obama takes his lumps from an angry judge. The judge is offended at something the president said and has the power to give the White House a huge political headache.

In the wake of their tornado nightmare, people around Dallas are asking the same question. Amid all the destruction, how is it nobody was killed?

And in year 2012, on the eve of one of the world's most prestigious sports tournaments, why do the rules still say for men only?

And we begin with breaking news tonight. CNN just received the coroner's final report with new details about the death of singer Whitney Houston.

CNN's entertainment reporter Kareen Wynter is at the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.

So, Kareen, what are we learning about the sequence of events that led to Whitney Houston's death?

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, Gloria, I can tell you we know a whole lot more about what happened that day back in February, the day before the Grammys, when Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room in Beverly Hills.

Not just that, but the detailed toxicology report just released to us by coroners here in Los Angeles, it is about 45 pages in length, quite extensive. We are actually still going through it. But it outlines everything from Whitney Houston's autopsy to the medical examiner's findings to the different drug levels in Whitney Houston's system, namely the cocaine levels.

She died. That's one of the contributing factors in her death. Accidental drowning is what it was ruled. What I have been able to decipher so far, the timeline, what happened on that Saturday. According to this report, Whitney Houston's assistant was with her in her hotel room on that Saturday, February 11. And Whitney Houston was apparently complaining of a sore throat. She had had it for a couple of days. The assistant said, go ahead, take a bath. I will run out for a bit and I will be back to check up on you. According to this report, when the assistant returned to the room, she entered the hotel room and found Whitney Houston lying face down in the bathtub.

The assistant immediately called Whitney Houston's bodyguard and they pulled her out of the tub. That's when paramedics responded to the scene, so that's a little bit of a timeline here. Some other key things I have been able to pull out of this, again, in reference to that cocaine, there was a presence of a spoon with a white powdery substance in it in Whitney Houston's bathroom. There were bottles of prescription drugs as well as loose tablets found in and around the room, drugs such as Xanax, and there were also signs of small trauma on Whitney Houston's body.

And finally at the north end of the bathroom, there was a baggy ripped open with powdery traces in it and a mirror with a base with powdery remnants on the bathroom counter. It gives you a little bit of an indication as to some of the evidence found in Whitney Houston's hotel room at the time.

Gloria, the investigators just told me at the coroner's office we are done with this case, case closed for us. But the case isn't entirely closed. Because Beverly Hills police, the spotlight is now on them because they have to determine here what exactly happens from here. Are there going to be criminal charges? They have said all along there is no foul play suspected. Nothing seems criminal. But they still have to tie up their end of this investigation.

We also checked in with Beverly Hills P.D. You see how extensive this is. They are going through this right now, combing through it. We are expecting some sort of announcement and some sort of statement from them once they get to look through this very, very thick report.

BORGER: Kareen, stay with us. Thank you.

I want to bring in our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who joins us on the phone from New York.

Sanjay, from a medical perspective, is there a new headline here?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, I don't think so.

As Kareen mentioned, it is a pretty detailed report really looking at all the things that go into an autopsy. And with regard to the cocaine use and its contribution to what they are essentially saying was a cardiac event, describing what may have been a heart failure due to the cocaine use, even a heart attack, that seems to be the same.

They have some very specific values now which is more important just in terms of putting together a timeline that Kareen was starting to describe there, for example, Gloria, talking not only about cocaine found in Whitney Houston's blood but also how much of the various breakdown products of cocaine were found there. It is only relevant, Gloria. It doesn't not change what I think people have talked about as the cause of death from a couple of weeks ago now. But it does say look, this was not likely a one-time cocaine use, but cocaine had been used over the last several hours probably and that's what sort of led to the breakdown product values that are seen in the autopsy report.

But it is not different to your point than what we knew earlier.

BORGER: Sanjay, do we know whether she had a heart attack and then just sort of slipped underwater in the tub or whether she drowned or does this make any of that clear?

GUPTA: The cause of death they are still calling accidental drowning.

These are hard things to sort of even talk about, Gloria. But the reason they know that is because if someone is, in fact, still alive when they go under the water, they will continue to breath and evidence of water from the tub will then be found in one's lungs. That's how they determine if someone had an accidental drowning.

As far as whether it was a heart attack specifically brought on by the cocaine use or some sort of cardiac event, as they call it, some sort of heart event, it is a little bit more difficult to determine than you might think. When someone has a heart attack, there is evidence of heart muscle actually having died. You see evidence of that in someone's blood.

But if it occurs so quickly, sometimes, you know, it is harder to find. So what they are saying is that she is a woman that had a history of -- she had atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries. They knew that, about 60 percent blockages in her arteries. When someone takes cocaine, it can oftentimes cause spasm of the blood vessel and cause it to constrict even more.

If you compound that with the already narrowed blood vessels, that can lead to an inadequate blood flow to the heart. That's a scientific description, Gloria, but that's, essentially, trying to really summarize a lot of pages here, is what they are driving at.

BORGER: Yes, a very, very detailed autopsy report. Thanks so much, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, for being with us.

And turning now to politics, the president has another fight on his hands today. He is getting backed into a corner by, of all people, a judge, who took offense at something the president said Monday while defending the health care reform law.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress. And I would just remind conservative commentators that for years what we've heard is the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BORGER: Well, those comments didn't exactly sit well with the federal appeals court judge who ordered the Obama Justice Department to explain just what the administration thinks the federal courts can and cannot do when it comes to health care reform and ruling on it. This judge is clearly angry. Listen to this.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

JUDGE JERRY SMITH, FIFTH CIRCUIT: I would like to have from you by noon on Thursday, that's about 48 hours from now, a letter stating what is the position of the attorney general and the Department of Justice in regard to the recent statements by the president, statements specifically and in detail in reference to those statements what the authority is of the federal courts in this regard in terms of judicial review.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BORGER: At the White House today, the president's top spokesman was not surprisingly bombarded with questions and spent at least half- an-hour playing defense.

CNN's chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin, was there.

Jess, it was really a heated briefing at the White House today. But Jay Carney, the president's spokesman, did not admit at all that the president had overstepped, right?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right.

He made no such admission, Gloria. He was pressed specifically on the president's words when he said that it would be unprecedented for the court to overturn a law passed by a democratically elected majority of Congress. Well, since 1803, the Supreme Court has been empowered to do exactly that.

Conservative commentators and this lower court have suggested that it was bullying by the president to suggest otherwise. Today, Carney did a little fancy footwork saying what the president really meant was that it would be unprecedented for the court to overturn any law related to commerce and the economy.

So he was sort of reframing the president's original remarks, which is what the president also did when he updated his remarks in his comments yesterday. But, again, this is a little bit of parsing and what's really going on here is exactly that, sort of walking back and reframing, adding more nuance to the original comments by the president, which were a little bit messy, Gloria.

BORGER: (AUDIO GAP) the position when you are the spokesman to walk back something the president said, right? Thanks so much. And joining me now, Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, and Jeffrey Toobin, CNN senior legal political analyst.

Thanks so much to both of you for being here this evening.

Jeff, let me start with you. Did the president make a mistake here in seeming to warn the court that it had better leave health care reform alone?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: That's not what he said. He said he thought the law was constitutional and he is, among other things, a citizen of the United States with First Amendment rights.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: He is not just an average citizen.

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: No, of course he is not.

But he said was, I think the law is constitutional, which he is perfectly entitled to say. Most people who know the law agree with him. I just think it was entirely appropriate for what he said.

BORGER: Jay?

JAY SEKULOW, CHIEF COUNSEL, AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE: Gloria, I disagree with my friend Jeff in this context.

Number one, it wasn't just saying the law was unconstitutional. The president of the United States said nine unelected -- he said unelected judges were making this decision and he said it would be an act of judicial activism if they were to strike the law as unconstitutional, which is exactly opposite by the way of judicial activism.

And especially after -- Jeff, last week, you were talking about the train wreck and the airplane wreck, and I think what they did this week was complicate the wreck even more and continued that complication especially as they got to a situation where the president was trying to backtrack on what he said. I don't think that sits well with courts.

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: Well, first of all, I give the Supreme Court a lot more credit than thinking they are deciding their case based on what Barack Obama says in the Rose Garden.

But wait a second. They are nine unelected justices.

(CROSSTALK)

SEKULOW: All federal courts are unelected.

TOOBIN: Exactly. That's all he's saying. It is again a factual statement.

And Marbury vs. Madison said that courts have rights to declare laws unconstitutional, which is clearly correct. Nothing Obama said conflicts...

(CROSSTALK)

SEKULOW: But he said it would be an act of judicial activism.

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: It would be an act of judicial activism.

SEKULOW: Judicial activism is when the court creates a law or a right that doesn't exist. How is it judicial if five justices decide that this law is unconstitutional? I am with you. I don't know. When they get back there, they made the vote. We don't know how it will go. It was very, very close.

Five justices strike the law down as unconstitutional, are you going to say that that is an act of judicial activism?

TOOBIN: I sure am.

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: My definition of judicial activism, which may be different from yours, is when the judicial branch, which is unelected and unaccountable, overturns the will of the people as reflected in the acts of their elected representatives. It may be good or bad, but that's judicial activism.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: But let's take a step back for a moment because isn't the basic problem here that people now believe that the court is political?

We did a CNN poll and about half of the public thinks that the court makes political decisions. Maybe this goes back to Bush vs. Gore. But isn't the problem that they don't think the court is above politics anymore?

TOOBIN: You know what I would describe the people's attitude? Correct. It is a political body. It does respond to politics. I don't see any problem with recognizing the reality of what's going on here.

SEKULOW: Jeff, here is the problem. Your definition of judicial activism is if the court rules in a way you don't like, they are judicial activists.

That's just not the way it works. If a court declares a law unconstitutional and they strike it down and five justices decides that's the way it is going to be, you may not like the opinion, you may think they got it wrong, but that's not what judicial activism is.

(CROSSTALK)

SEKULOW: And I think what the president did here, Gloria, the big mistake was the president of the United States was the one who politicized this by in front of two foreign dignitaries lecturing basically the Supreme Court of the United States saying judicial activists if they strike it down as unconstitutional.

Does he have the right to say whatever he wants? Yes, but there are consequences to the statement.

BORGER: My bugaboo is that huge pieces of legislation should not be passed along party lines as health care reform was. It is not my original thought. It is Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan's thought.

Isn't that part of the problem here, that no matter what happens now, it is going to be suspect because it is regarded as partisan legislation?

SEKULOW: The president made the statement that -- when he made the statement about the unelected judges, he also said this was passed with wide support, which of course is not actually correct. It was not wide support. It barely got through, literally by a vote.

But the reality is I think we have to respect the institution of the Supreme Court. Elections have consequences. This is where you and I will agree. Elections have consequences. The president gets to nominate the justices to the Supreme Court of the United States. That's the way the Constitution is set up and for good reason.

BORGER: And Jeff will say it is judicial activism. We will have to have this debate again. Thanks so much to both of you.

(CROSSTALK)

SEKULOW: Thanks.

BORGER: And some of Rick Santorum's friends are saying, maybe it is time to get out and get ready for 2016. You will hear the candidate's answer.

Later, why tornadoes this destructive didn't kill anyone.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BORGER: And now to the wild race for president, never mind the calendar and never mind the delegate count. it's game on between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in what looks like a brutal fight for the White House. The president took the first shots. But today, Romney hit back and hard.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He wants us to reelect him so we can find out what he will actually do. With all the challenges the nation faces, this is not the time for President Obama's hide-and-seek campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BORGER: Now, CNN's Dana Bash was there.

Dana, pretty tough words.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It really was a different Mitt Romney, Gloria.

The candidate who we saw for months and months tried tying himself into a pretzel trying to convince voters that he is conservative, he was gone. It was written in a big way and really written for him to look and sound like the party's nominee. He gave us a peek you heard in the sound bite of the strategy against the president going into the fall.

Specifically, effectively, that the president doesn't really stand for anything, that his ideas are flexible, and that he is out of touch. Does that sound familiar?

BORGER: Yes. It sounds a little familiar. They are each calling each other out of touch.

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: It's what they say about him.

BORGER: But he was also very specific in criticizing the president on entitlements of all things. A Republican bragging that he has a plan on Social Security and Medicare.

BASH: Exactly. The point he is making is that the president isn't giving specifics. He has got to then follow up with specifics and that is what he did. He was talking about the fact that he wants to raise the retirement age for Medicare recipients and get people who have higher incomes to have fewer benefits. He also hit the president on what he isn't proposing. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I would be willing to consider the president's plan, but he does not have one. That's right, three and a half years later he has failed to enact or even propose a serious plan to solve the entitlement crisis.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: He also even made fun of himself saying that people are amused by the fact that he has a 59-point economic plan. But the point that he was making today was at least I have a plan, the president doesn't. As you can imagine, at the White House today, they said, give me a break, we have some plans, they are just philosophically different.

And, boy, are they philosophically different.

BORGER: But he was surprisingly specific and out front on some very controversial things.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: Thanks, Dana.

And despite going zero for three in Tuesday's presidential primaries, Rick Santorum turned up in his home state of Pennsylvania today insisting he is still a viable candidate. He also turned aside speculation that he is getting advice to drop out now and wait his turn until 2016.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Next time? You haven't talked to my wife, obviously.

QUESTION: For all intents and purposes, next time around, though...

SANTORUM: You didn't hear what I said. You haven't talked to my wife about next time.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: So there is a next time?

SANTORUM: The last thing we are thinking about is next time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BORGER: John Brabender, a senior adviser to the Santorum campaign, is with us now.

Thanks for being with us tonight. I have to be blunt about it. You took a very big shellacking last night. Lots of Republicans coming out and saying, it is time for Rick Santorum to consider giving it up. Listen to what John McCain said and then you will respond on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Mitt Romney has already pivoted to the general election campaign, that whether Rick Santorum stays in or not, it is now basically irrelevant.

And Mitt has a lot of ground to make up. It has been a very nasty primary. His unfavorables are high. I am confident that he will do very well, but the fact is that every day that goes by without being in the general election campaign mode is a day lost. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BORGER: So what's your response? He called your candidate irrelevant.

JOHN BRABENDER, SENIOR SANTORUM CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Well, look, I have a great deal of respect for Senator McCain. He's a great American, but he's also a moderate. And I am sure he gravitates towards a moderate like Mitt Romney.

Also, based upon the presidential race of four years ago, we saw that that didn't go real well. I'm not sure Senator McCain is the right one to be putting out political advice.

I think you have to remember one other thing. Rick Santorum with half the states voting roughly has won 11 of them. In delegates, there are two others that he actually tied, Michigan and Alaska. We only have played half the game. And if everybody was saying this about Mitt Romney caring so much about beating Barack Obama, why didn't he spend his $55 million in super PAC money attacking Obama instead of attacking fellow Republicans?

BORGER: But just by saying these things, aren't you hurting Mitt Romney if he looks like he is going to be the nominee? Doesn't that bother you that you might be hurting the Republican chances?

BRABENDER: Well, let me ask you this. When he was spending $20 million against us in negative ads, I guess he was also hurting us.

The point is we are all Republicans. Whoever is going to be the nominee, we are going to rally together behind. One thing I will say about Barack Obama, he is a great unifier. He will unify his entire opposition in November and I believe Republicans will win.

BORGER: I want to read to you something that a friend of Senator Santorum's said, Republican State Senator Jake Corman in Pennsylvania.

He said of Santorum -- quote -- "He is a realist. He doesn't have his head in the clouds. As long as he sees a pathway to the nomination, he is going to stay in it, but he won't stay in it to prove a point. If it gets to the point where he doesn't think he will be the nominee, he will get out."

Are you hearing that message from friends?

BRABENDER: Well, no. I think we are hearing that message in our own heads.

Look, Rick Santorum entered this race for one clear reason. He believed that Barack Obama had to be beat. He still believes the best one to do that is a conservative who doesn't agree with him on health care, and didn't do mandates in his state, who didn't agree with the bailouts, who didn't agree with cap and trade.

We have these big differences. Clearly, we think we offer a strong contrast. BORGER: But let's talk about when that point would be, John. Is the point if you were to lose Pennsylvania either in the popular vote or the delegate count, is that the moment?

BRABENDER: I think there's a couple dynamics that are going on.

I will say this. Winning Pennsylvania, we believe, is critical for us, there's no doubt about it. It is our home state. Mitt Romney had all his home states where he has houses so far. We have Pennsylvania. But I think we also have to win some of the states in May that do line up very well for Rick Santorum.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: You have to get to May first.

BRABENDER: Absolutely. And Pennsylvania has to give us that momentum.

I think that if we can win Pennsylvania, we will get a lot of momentum going into May. If we win Texas with all its delegates in May, all of a sudden, you have a different ball game.

BORGER: And if you don't win Pennsylvania, you will drop out?

BRABENDER: I am not going to go that far. But I will say this. I think it is critical for us and I think it is critical for either nominee to win Pennsylvania and Texas. I think we need to win both those states, quite frankly.

BORGER: Do you think like you are living in an alternate universe here, that everybody is talking about Mitt Romney and Barack Obama and you are still talking about Rick Santorum?

BRABENDER: Well, you know, here is what I do know.

I know that Rick Santorum offers a much better contrast with Barack Obama. I do know this as well. Rick Santorum has won more than twice as many counties in this entire country than Mitt Romney and Mitt Romney can't win in the South.

So I think Rick Santorum brings along blue-collar voters, rural voters, Southern voters. I think in that way, he becomes a much better matchup with Barack Obama. If conservatives are serious about this, it is time for people like Newt Gingrich to unite behind Rick Santorum. It's time to take Gingrich's delegates and put them behind Rick Santorum and get a real conservative as our nominee.

BORGER: John Brabender, thanks for being with us. And we will see you in Pennsylvania, I bet.

BRABENDER: Looking forward to it, Gloria. Take care.

BORGER: Thanks a lot.

And still ahead: How can one of the most prestigious golf clubs in the world get away with this policy of no women allowed, even if she is a CEO?

Also, the kickoff of what you might call the Keith Olbermann apology tour. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BORGER: And welcome back.

Here is Kate Bolduan with the latest news you need to know right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Gloria.

Hello, everyone. Some headlines to catch you up on.

The man accused of orchestrating the 9/11 terrorist attacks will face the death penalty -- death penalty charges. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others involved in the plot will be arraigned at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay. Obama initial -- President Obama initially stopped charges filed in 2008 while trying to close the detention center and move the case to a federal court in New York.

And five former New Orleans police officers were sentenced today to between six and 65 years in prison for shooting unarmed civilians after Hurricane Katrina. The ex-officers were convicted for multiple civil rights violations, including killing two victims on the Danziger Bridge just one week after the 2005 hurricane. A Justice official says he hopes it will give the victims' families peace and closure.

And check out these frightening pictures. A 65-foot -- look at that -- 65-foot yacht was engulfed in flames last night off Malibu, California. The boat's only occupant made it safely to shore. The Coast Guard put out the fire. Investigators say there's still no word on what started the blaze. An expensive one at that.

And on-air personality Keith Olbermann told David Letterman last night that he takes the blame for the public -- his public ousting at current -- as a Current TV host.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEITH OLBERMANN, FORMER CURRENT TV HOST: I screwed up really big on this. Let's just start there.

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, CBS'S "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": All right.

OLBERMANN: I thought we could do this. It's my fault that it didn't succeed in the sense that I didn't think the whole thing through.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Olbermann's apology lost steam a little bit, though, when he compared himself to a $10 million chandelier without a house. It's the liberal host's second abrupt termination, I'm sure you'll remember, from a news network in just the past 15 months. I am sure, Gloria, we will hear very soon where Mr. Olbermann will be ending up, because I'm sure this is not the last of him.

BORGER: I'm sort of stumped on the $10 million chandelier part.

BOLDUAN: So am I. When it takes you a long time to explain your analogy after your analogy, you might have lost them.

BORGER: A little tough on that one. Thanks a lot, Kate. See you later.

And up next, we're going ahead to Texas to assess the damage from the devastating tornadoes. We're going to share a survivor story with you. And it was a very close call.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BORGER: This half hour, violent Texas tornadoes flattened homes and devastated neighborhoods. But tonight, happily and maybe miraculously, it seems everyone survived. We're asking how.

Mitt Romney and President Obama slinging insults at one another and only 216 days to election day. In case you're counting, the slugfest is on.

And what will it take to see a woman wearing a green masters jacket? Tonight, there's mounting pressure over a male-only policy at a prestigious golf club.

More than 600 homes were damaged or destroyed in those raging Texas tornadoes. Some of them were utterly flattened. There's nothing left but piles of wood and tons of trash. Rescuers are still searching to make sure no one's trapped. But thankfully, no deaths have been reported so far.

Still, there were lots of close calls. And Ed Lavandera spoke to one woman who says her toddler grandson was almost swept away by a twister.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHERRY ENOCHS, SURVIVOR: I saw the tornado -- you know, I saw the tornado coming across this field.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sherry Enochs was looking out her bedroom window into a wide-open field south of her home when she first spotted the vicious tornado gaining steam and quickly advancing headed in this direction right at her.

She was home alone with her 19-month-old grandson and two other children. She was babysitting. She rushed them into a bathroom, but she could feel her grandson getting ripped from her arms.

ENOCHS: The wind pretty much took him for a second, and I grabbed him back, you know, to keep the wind.

LAVANDERA (on camera): Did you feel like he was getting sucked out of the house?

ENOCHS: Yes, right out of my arms. And I grabbed him back and put him back, you know, to my chest. And I didn't know if he was OK or not.

Where did you say the bathtub was?

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Sherry's home exploded all around her. And now, she can't even find the bathtub that protected her.

ENOCHS: Underneath that tool box.

LAVANDERA (on camera): How did you get out of there?

ENOCHS: A man helped me. I asked him. I said -- I was screaming, because I couldn't get out. And I had my grandson in my hands and looking for the others.

Just scratches, a little knot.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): They all walked away with only a few bruises and scratches. Only the grandbaby's crib was salvaged.

Sherry's home was the first house hit. From here, the tornado continued shredding its way through this neighborhood. From this vantage point, you can see the trail of mangled debris left in its path.

(on camera) What strikes you as you walk around this neighborhood in Forney, Texas, is the incessant sound of home alarms still blaring. The intruder here was a fierce and powerful twister.

(voice-over) Incredibly, no one was killed in the outbreak of tornadoes across Texas. But the wave of storms left behind unforgettable images capturing a tornado's furry.

Watch this video, shot seconds before a tornado swooped out of the sky into this neighborhood in Arlington, Texas. Listen to the wind, the howling.

(WIND SOUNDS)

LAVANDERA: Mike Chambers had to run inside. When he came out, the first thing he saw was what the tornado did to a neighbor's house right across the street.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAVANDERA: Gloria, in the day after these wicked storms, it's actually been a beautiful day. The cleanup process begins here. You can see what is left of this home. All of this blown off of the foundation.

You go down here along the line. All of these homes, people starting to show up and clean up what they can. About two houses down from here, half the house, the kitchen and the living room blown off the foundation, as well.

So this is a neighborhood that took a strong direct hit from this -- this tornado that came through in the town of Forney, Texas. And many people still grateful that they're able to live and talk about it -- Gloria.

BORGER: Ed Lavandera, thanks so much. That destruction looked just so horrific. Thanks again.

And CNN meteorologist Chad Myers is standing by in the CNN Severe Weather Center.

Chad, we just saw Ed standing in one of the worst hit areas, Forney, as he mentioned. Show us what this neighborhood looked like before and what it looks like now.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Gloria, is was a well-built neighborhood. These are well-built structures. Many of them had brick facades obviously on top of the wooden structure. So this is the neighborhood. There is the school that didn't get hit as the tornado went right through the neighborhood. That home right there doesn't even exist anymore.

So here's what it looked like before. These are all Bing maps. These are maps you can look at at home. Now they're not live. This is obviously before the grass was planted in many of these areas. But that's the house that Ed was standing right by. That house literally doesn't exist anymore. It is just about gone.

And then it continued to go on through here, right through the neighborhood. You can see these are two, three-story structures. And then all the way back, there must be 5,000-square-foot homes in this neighborhood, obviously very well built.

And let me show you now from the aerial view what this neighborhood looks like as this now we know was an F-3 tornado rolled right over these well-built structures. Most of them do not -- that were hit -- most of them do not have the top floor on anymore. But every single one has some type of wall still standing on the lower level. And that's where people survive.

That's why we tell you, get to the lowest level. Do not stay up on top on the second floor. Get to the lowest level. Get to the basement if you have one. These -- all these houses here are on slabs. There are no basements here at all. But the slabs, if you get down to the lowest level away from the windows is the best thing you do.

And people have asked me all day long, how did no one die in this tornado? And my only answer, and I got this from my producer, Sean, was from what we can tell, what we can see, no mobile home parks were hit by these tornadoes, because if a 150-mile-per-hour wind hits a mobile home, it won't stand up to that type of pressure.

BORGER: And maybe a few miracles to boot, Chad. Right?

MYERS: You bet. Absolutely.

BORGER: Thanks very much.

And to -- and to find out more on how you can help those affected by the Texas tornadoes, go to CNN.com/impact, and there you'll find all the organizations and ways you can help those in need. That's CNN.com/impact.

And today could have been the day that the Augusta National Golf Course made history by admitting its first female member. Well, it didn't happen. Instead, the chairman of the club that hosts America's most prestigious golf tournament avoided the issue. Here's what he had to say about the possibility of admitting the female CEO of IBM, which is a chief sponsor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILLY PAYNE, CHAIR, AUGUSTA NATIONAL GOLF CLUB: Well, as has been the case, Mike, whenever that question is asked, the -- 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)

BORGER: Well, that's not much of an answer. But I spoke just a little while ago to Christine Brennan, sports columnist for "USA Today."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BORGER: Why are we even having this conversation about whether a golf club will admit women, particularly the CEO of a major corporation?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, SPORTS COLUMNIST, "USA TODAY": That's a great question. And it is something that, as I said when I first asked the question in '99, I figured in a couple of years, they'd have a woman member. It really is mind-boggling, considering especially, Gloria, the man we're talking about here, Billy Payne. Before he became chairman of Augusta National, he ran the Atlanta Olympics.

And as people remember those Olympic games in 1996, those are known as the women's Olympics. On Billy Payne's watch, women's soccer, women's softball, women's swimming, women's basketball, there were some great strides for women in sports. And Billy is proud of that. I've known Billy for 25 years. He's a "Sound of Music" fan. We've talked about that. He seems like -- like the modern guy. And he puts on a green jacket and he's somebody that I have no idea who he is.

BORGER: But -- but isn't this now a little easier for them than it was nine years ago, because Ginni Rometty is not making a big stink about it? It could happen quietly. They don't look like they're being forced into it by unruly women. So, you know, does this in a way make it easier for them to change the way they've operated? BRENNAN: Gloria, you're absolutely right. Ginni is one of their own. She's the CEO of IBM. She is one of them. It's -- this is not a journalist asking a question and Billy can swat it away like he did today. This is not Martha Burke, a determined outsider with -- who was completely right. But this is not causing trouble from the outside of the gates. This is one of them.

Ginni Rometty is the CEO. And why wouldn't, if you're Augusta National, all those guys, why wouldn't you want to have the CEO of IBM be a member of your club? That's the dilemma for them.

And more and more women in the next 10, 20 years will become CEOs. And these guys want to keep these antiquated views and ways? It's going to lessen the value of the membership of their club if they keep this going.

BORGER: That's right. Christine Brennan, thanks so much. And we're going to have to watch for the ultimate fashion statement, right? Which will be whether she shows up in a green jacket one of these days.

BRENNAN: That's exactly right. Thanks, Gloria.

BORGER: And coming up, with the Republican race for the nomination still going on, Mitt Romney turns his fire on President Obama and what he calls his hide-and-seek campaign.

And after losing 24 contests, is Rick Santorum considering bowing out? Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BORGER: You're looking at live pictures right now, Mitt Romney's rally in Rick Santorum's home state of Pennsylvania, out there campaigning to beat him on his home turf.

Earlier today in Washington, Romney fired back at the president, saying that Obama was hiding his true agenda from the American public.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He wants us to reelect him so we can find out what he'll actually do. With all the challenges the nation faces, this is not the time for President Obama's hide-and-seek campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BORGER: And joining us to discuss this bruising preview of the general election and more, deputy "TIME" magazine bureau chief Michael Crowley; Democratic strategist Maria Cardona; and Romney adviser Kevin Madden. Thanks to all of you for being here.

I'll get right to you, Kevin, on this. So what's with the hide and seek? What -- this is a theme that seems to be emerging. What does he mean by that? KEVIN MADDEN, ROMNEY ADVISOR: Well, look, I think the country faces great challenges, whether it's spending and deficit that we've keep -- that we've seen pile up under the president's leadership.

And we've also seen a number of issues related to the economy that the -- that the president has now led on, namely entitlement reform. So what you're seeing is Republicans are putting out very specific ideas about their vision for the future and what it would do to put the country on track.

And the president hasn't stepped up to the plate and hasn't worked with either Democrats or Republicans on Capitol Hill to confront these big challenges. And I think that's going to be one of the big choices that voters face in November.

BORGER: Well, that's what was so interesting to me about his speech today -- and I'll give this to you, Maria -- because he was very specific in terms of what he would do on entitlement programs. And he also hit the president pretty hard on entitlements. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I mean, how in the world can you be running for president -- how can you be president, as well, and not have put forward a plan to make sure that Medicare and Social Security are solvent?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BORGER: There is no plan from this White House on making Medicare and Social Security solvent, is there?

MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Actually, the president already talked about how you do Medicare, and it's actually done through health-care reform. He saved billions of dollars on Medicare.

He has actually put forth a plan several times, State of the Union, in his budget, that balances the budget, not on the backs of working-class families and middle-class families, the way that Mitt Romney's plan does, and actually puts investments where we need them to be in order to continue to create jobs and continue on the path of economic growth that this president started, thanks to the recession that he was handed that, frankly, the policies that Mitt Romney wants to embrace were responsible for that recession in the first place. So I think he's in a good place with voters.

MICHAEL CROWLEY, DEPUTY WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Yes, and you know, I think that it's true that the president hasn't -- there's not kind of a nice published thick plan, that there is the budget but some of the details on entitlements, I think, the president has not committed to paper.

But I think what the White House would say and it's a reasonable answer, is he really did try to work with Republicans on Capitol Hill. They tried to have a grand bargain. It seems like John Boehner could not deal -- could not deliver the Tea Party.

It's true. It's true, but it's not as though the president has just sat back and thrown his hands up in the air. I mean, it really does seem like he's made a good faith effort. I think Kevin would quibble with some of the details on this, but I think he has.

A quick point: on health care, what happened when he tried to control health-care costs? Death panels. When -- Romney himself said in a recent interview, if you get too specific, you get distorted and attacked, so it's tricky.

BORGER: So we have...

CARDONA: ... ran in 2010, hitting the Democrats for cutting Medicare.

BORGER: So we have one -- the hide and seek campaign. And now, both sides seen to be accusing each other of being out of touch. Just listen to this quickly, and we'll get your view on that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to win here, and we -- we plan on winning here. You know, as I said last night, the people in Pennsylvania know me. You know, all of the -- all of the negative attacks are, I think, going to fall on a lot of deaf ears here. And we've got a strong base of support here. And we're going to work very, very hard. And we're going to get in...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BORGER: OK, that's not -- that's not our sound bite about out of touch, but it was Rick Santorum, saying that he's going to stay in the race.

CROWLEY: Which is somewhat out of touch, arguably.

BORGER: Right, OK.

MADDEN: I'll let Michael make that argument.

BORGER: That's a very good segue, but I want to get back to the out-of-touch thing for a moment, which is so you have somebody who says that his wife drives a couple of Cadillacs, calling the president out of touch because he flies around on Air Force One with, quote, "true believers." Can we call it a draw here or not?

MADDEN: Well, look, I mean, I think you're talking about small things, anecdotes versus really big things. And I think this is going to be an election about very big things.

The challenge that this White House has and this president has is going -- taking a message to the American public that says over 8 percent unemployment is the new normal. And we're going to -- we're going to kind of plod along at 2 to 3 percent growth, and that that is the best America can do. And I think that sets up very perfectly for Governor Romney to come in and say, "Look, the American economy is not living up to its full potential. This president will tell you it is. I have a vision, I have a plan forward that's going to put the country back on track economically. It's going to create more jobs, deliver more economic growth." And that, again, is the choice I think that's going to be before voters.

BORGER: OK. We are running out of time. Very quick, very quick.

CARDONA: If Mitt Romney's only criticism can be out of touch, it's like saying, you know, "I'm rubber, you're glue," and it sounds very middle school-ish, and it's not credible.

MADDEN: That is small and it's going to be a very big debate.

CARDONA: It's going to be a very big debate.

CROWLEY: The president was arguing before that the economy could be worse now. Romney has the burden of saying it could be better. I think it's a hard argument for Romney to make. So the question is whether he can pull this off.

MADDEN: Not with an aspirational American public.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: All right. Last word, last word. We'll have to bring you guys back. Sorry about that.

And coming up, screams of agony as officers pepper spray student protesters in California. What happened in the moments leading up to this ugly scene? Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BORGER: Here's Kate Bolduan with the latest news you need to know right now.

BOLDUAN: Hey, again, Gloria.

Hello again, everyone. Just in to bring this to you.

The JetBlue pilot who had to be restrained by passengers because he was ranting about a bomb may not be mentally competent to stand trial. A hearing for Clayton Osbon is postponed until next week while he undergoes psychiatric evaluation.

In other headlines, dozens of California college students were doused with pepper spray while protesting a plan that would quadruple tuition for some classes. This is the scene outside a board of trustees meeting at Santa Monica College. Three students were sent to the hospital, but the school says it needs the money because of a very big state budget crunch. And investigators at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are looking into the source of a salmonella outbreak. More than 90 people have gotten sick in dozens of states since late January. And the CDC says victims have reported eating sushi and similar foods before becoming ill.

I always like to say so sorry if you're in the middle of dinner, everyone.

BORGER: I know, and I love sushi. So...

BOLDUAN: Well, just be careful.

BORGER: I will. I promise you I will.

And that's all for -- from us tonight. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.