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Georgetown Staff Blasts Rep. Ryan; RNC Accuses Obama of Fraud; Murdoch Admits to Cover-up; John Edwards on Trial; Climate Change to be Campaign Issue; How to Train for a Big Race
Aired April 26, 2012 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Christine. And good morning to all of you. I'm Carol Costello.
Happening right now in the NEWSROOM, Catholics are rallying at Georgetown University this morning accusing Paul Ryan of taking from the poor and giving to the rich. The congressman is speaking there and we're talking to the Catholic group behind a protest happening there in an hour.
Traveler-in-chief, and you're paying for it. President Obama hitting three states in three days. The GOP says that's campaigning. We've got fresh reaction this morning from the White House.
Flash point. A city shattered and battered, wakes up this morning hung over from violent protest over tuition hikes.
And I have failed. News Corp big man Rupert Murdoch coming clean admitting for the first time there was a cover-up in the "News of the World" hacking scandal.
NEWSROOM begins right now.
And good morning, everyone. It is Thursday, April 26th. Also coming your way this hour, inside the Secret Service, is there a culture within the ranks of using prostitutes while abroad? Or was the Colombia incident a one-time occurrence?
There's been a lot of debate this week. Coming up, we'll talk with a former Secret Service agent. He says the Colombian scandal will not leave a black eye on the program.
Also this hour, global warming as a campaign issue. It's the president versus Mitt Romney this morning but with Keystone, Solyndra, the Chevy Volt? Should Obama even go there? We'll talk with Roland Martin and Will Cain about that.
But we begin this morning with a collision of politics and faith, and a Catholic lawmaker who's about to get his knuckles rapped by dozens of Catholic priests. Republican congressman and Catholic, Paul Ryan, is just about to speak at Georgetown University. That's a Catholic institution.
Faculty and administrators say they're upset with Ryan for his misuse of Catholic social teaching in defending his budget cuts. In a letter signed by more 90 professors and administrators at Georgetown they say, "Ryan's faith is not a free pass to dismantle government programs and abandon the poor."
James Salt will be protesting outside Ryan's lecture in just about an hour. He is the executive director of Catholics United, a nonpartisan group that advocates for social justice.
JAMES SALT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CATHOLICS UNITED: Thanks, Carol.
COSTELLO: So you guys not protesting Ryan speaking at Georgetown?
SALT: No. We're simply saying what the Catholic bishops have said. The Paul Ryan's budget fails a basic moral test. Asking our seniors and working class Americans who live paycheck to paycheck to pay for the tax breaks for the super wealthy while not even asking Defense Department to share in that sacrifice, isn't just unfair, it's unmoral and it's un-Christian.
COSTELLO: Well, let me tell our viewers what Paul Ryan said about his faith and as it applies to his budget. And I'm going to quote him here. He says, "Catholic social teaching means don't keep people poor, don't make people dependent on government so that they stay stuck at their station in life. Help people get out of poverty, into a life of independence."
I got to tell you, a lot of -- a lot of Americans feeling exactly that same way.
SALT: Well, Carol, if Paul Ryan and his 1 percent allies in Congress actually spend a day in soul-crushing poverty, living paycheck to paycheck, trying to decide whether to fill the gas tank up or put food on the table, we wouldn't be having this debate.
COSTELLO: But where is the line? I think a lot of Americans wonder -- you're right, the economy isn't so great right now, and a lot of people don't have jobs. But where is the line? We're suffering from a huge deficit in this country and we got to do something.
SALT: Well, certainly deficit spending is an important concern. But there's a moral and there's an immoral way to do that. Making our seniors or working class people pay for the tax cuts for the super wealthy isn't the solution. There's ways to make everyone share in that sacrifice. And that's all we're asking for.
COSTELLO: So what do you want to hear from Paul Ryan? You're not going to be -- are you going to be inside the lecture or are you going to stay out in protest?
SALT: No. We're going to be outside with a giant 50-foot banner saying, were you there when they crucified the poor? And what I would like Paul Ryan to say is, you know, I want to reach out across the aisle to find solutions, to find working solutions that can actually reduce the deficit while not taxing working class people more than the super wealthy.
COSTELLO: Mr. Salt, thank you for joining us today. We appreciate it.
Also, I have this to pass along in an e-mailed statement. A spokesman for Ryan said Tuesday the congressman is looking forward to his visit to Georgetown. "Chairman Ryan remains grateful for Georgetown's invitation to advance a thoughtful dialogue this week on his efforts to avert a looming debt crisis that would hurt the poor first and the worst. Ryan looks forward to affirming our shared commitment to a preferential option for the poor, which of course does not mean a preferential option for bigger government."
A new report this morning suggest over-sexed body behavior at the Secret Service was not limited to Colombia.
CNN affiliate KIRO-TV in Seattle interviewed a U.S. government subcontractor. That source says he worked with the Secret Service advance team in El Salvador before President Obama visited that country last year. The man said about a dozen agents and some U.S. military personnel got drunk at a strip club, paid extra for sexual favors in the VIP room, and bragged that they took strippers back to their hotel rooms all the time.
CNN can't confirm the allegations. We have reached out to the Secret Service for more information. They have no comment at this time.
As far as the Colombian scandal goes, here's what Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said about the investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: The likelihood that this was the first and only time that such behavior occurred, do you think that's great or not so great?
JANET NAPOLITANO, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Well, I think part of our investigation is confirming that this was an aberration or not. But I agree with you, Senator. The Secret Service does a marvelous job. I've worked closely with them.
GRAHAM: The only reason I suggest that we need to maybe to look a little harder is because we're lucky to have found out about this. Had there not been an argument between one of the agents and a -- I guess a prostitute for lack of a better word, about money, we probably would never have known about this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Nine Secret Service agents have been fired or have resigned since the Colombian scandal went public.
And in just about 50 minutes, we'll talk to the Seattle reporter who just got back from El Salvador with the latest part of that story. He talked to the strip club owner who say agents partied at his club for three straight nights.
The Supreme Court getting a full look this morning at Arizona's controversial immigration law. And that didn't stop scores of people in Arizona from taking to the streets in protest.
That's what it looked like in Phoenix where demonstrators blocked traffic in several city streets. Critics say the law could lead to racial profiling. Something Arizona Governor Jan Brewer told John King isn't true.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JAN BREWER (R), ARIZONA: Right off the bat, I was very grateful that Chief Justice Roberts asked the government whether this piece of legislation and this hearing was about racial profiling and the government answered absolutely not. So for all those people throughout our country that keep wanting to say that this is a piece of legislation that's about racial profiling, I think it was pretty much discounted today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling on Arizona's law in June.
Police in riot gear run through the streets of Montreal to control violent crowds of protesters. Dozens of people were arrested. The protests started after talks broke down between student leaders and government officials. Students have been demanding that the government drop a planned tuition hike of $375 a year for five years.
Charles Taylor will now likely spend time in a British prison after an international court found the former Liberian president guilty of helping rebels during the civil war in Sierra Leone. Prosecutors say Taylor financed the war with money from so-called blood diamonds. More than 50,000 people were killed in the decade- long conflict.
Republicans this morning are accusing President Obama of committing fraud. RNC officials say he's using taxpayer money, your money, to pay for campaign stops masked as official business trips and the GOP is now calling for an investigation.
Dan Lothian is our man at the White House. Tell us more, Dan.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, for weeks now we've been hearing this complaint from the Republican National Committee in particular because the president has made a lot of trips to battleground states and they believe that, you know, with the cost of Air Force One at about $180,000 per hour, that these events that the White House has said are official, they believe are mostly campaign sort of events.
And so you have the head of the Republican National Committee writing a letter to the Government Accountability Office saying, in part, quote, "Throughout his administration but particularly in recent weeks, President Obama has been passing off campaign travel as official events, thereby allowing taxpayers rather than his campaign to pay for his re-election efforts."
Again, this is not the first time that we've heard this. There were complaints where President Bush was in office and other presidents as well and the White House is making that clear saying that there is a formula for this. That the campaign does reimburse the administration, the government, whenever they use the plane and travel on campaign events.
And pushing back, Eric Schultz, a White House spokesman, saying that this week's travel has been part of the president's official responsibility to get outside of Washington, D.C. to meet with young people and talk about keeping those student loan rates low. He went on to say, quote, "When there is political travel we follow all rules and regulations that all other administrations have followed." Carol?
COSTELLO: So, Dan, I'm wondering, the Republicans want an investigation. Who would conduct that investigation? And how much would it cost?
LOTHIAN: Well, that's unclear. You know, I think, also what's unclear is that, you know, this is something usually that Congress, members of Congress would have to call on the Government Accountability Office to actually launch an investigation. So right now this is sort of the early stages of this. Filing a complaint.
Again, more of what we've heard over the last several weeks because they believe even though the administration says that they are not using taxpayer money for campaign related events, they believe that this administration is sort of flaunting that rule and using Air Force One and other resources for official events that they believe are campaign events.
COSTELLO: Dan Lothian at the White House. Thanks.
COSTELLO: If you didn't catch it, President Obama's appearance on Jimmy Fallon stole the show and Fallon joked about what it was like with the president in the house last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY FALLON, HOST, LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON: Yesterday's show was incredible. We had the president of the United States, Barack Obama on the show. Obama hung out with me backstage. He did slow-jam the news. He did a long interview. At one point even I was, like, dude, don't you have a country to run? I mean -- what are the priorities?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: The president's appearance did seem to struck a cord with people especially the "Slow Jam the News" segment which has become a hot topic online.
Coming up on NEWSROOM, a Marine is discharged for criticizing President Obama on his Facebook page. Among other things he called the president a liar. But some critics are now saying the Marine's punishment goes too far.
And take a look at these violent protests. Look at that. Would you believe this is all over about $375? We'll explain.
And later, Oakland A's pitcher Brandon McCarthy is no fan of kiss cam. He says the stadium segment is anti-gay. That's coming your way in sports.
COSTELLO: Fourteen minutes past the hour. Checking our top stories now.
Republican Congressman Paul Ryan is getting a chilly reception at Georgetown University where he's set to speak in just about 45 minutes. More than 90 professors and administrators signed a letter accusing Ryan of misusing Catholic teachings to justify his cuts to social programs.
This morning, we're seeing more evidence that the foreclosure logjam is freeing up. Filings have spiked. A billion dollar robo- signing settlement has been settled causing more banks to pursue foreclosures again. In Florida alone, many cities have reported jumps in foreclosure filings in the first quarter according to RealtyTrac.
Rupert Murdoch is admitting to a phone-hacking cover-up at his "News of the World" tabloid newspaper. But he says News Corporation was actually a victim. Murdoch wouldn't name people responsible saying they could face criminal charges but he did say he was sorry for not taking more control of the situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUPERT MURDOCH, CEO, NEWS CORP: I have to admit that some newspapers are closer to my heart than others, but I also have to say that I failed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that may be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: We want to bring in Dan Rivers. He's outside of the court in London.
Mr. Murdoch is known as a tough guy. He seemed emotional there.
DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he seemed it. Yes. I mean, we have kind of seen this sort of contrition before. This kind of, you know, this is the humblest day of my life was the famous phrase last summer when he was before politicians. Today admitting he was wrong and another key part of his testimony was admitting there was a cover-up over the phone hacking scandal.
So not only admitting phone hacking happened but it's more widespread than they initially said but also today admitting that some of his executives had sought to cover it up, which I think is going to be one of the key kind of takeaways from his testimony here in London today. And I'm sure will be emblazoned across a lot of front pages. That's not something we heard him say before, that specific phrase.
He was questioned closely as well about, you know, just generally the kind of underhand practices that his journalists are alleged to have used such as blackmailing people in order to give his papers a story. On all of those kind of issues, he said I don't really know about that. I'm not aware of it. He was asked repeatedly about allegations of a bullying culture in his newspapers, pressure on journalists to bend the rules, to break the law, do whatever it took to get the story.
Again, he just said, "Well, I'm not aware of that. I thought they were a happy crowd."
So there are times it seemed almost naivety that he seemed not to be aware of what was going on in his papers. Other times when he was admitting, yes, there was a cover-up. And at one point he said he wished he got rid of the "News of the World" a lot earlier than he did, which was a pretty sort of damning blow for the people that worked on that paper.
COSTELLO: Dan Rivers reporting live from London.
He once worked for John Edwards. But now, Andrew Young is testifying against his former boss and defense attorneys are attacking young's credibility. The latest from the Edwards trial, next.
Plus, find out why Kim Kardashian is invited to dinner at the White House.
COSTELLO: Twenty minutes past the hour.
A former aide of John Edwards faces another day of grilling from Edwards' attorneys. Andrew Young is the government's star witness against Edwards, accused of using political contributions to conceal of affair.
CNN's Joe Johns is covering the trial in Greensboro, North Carolina.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Carol, the cross examination of star prosecution witness Andrew Young continued today here in Greensboro. It's been a brutal cross-examination so far in an attempt to destroy the credibility of this witness before the jury, defense attorney Abbie Lowell has been reading page by page, line by line from the book that Andrew Young wrote about the Edwards' case, all in an attempt to discredit him before the jury.
At the end of the day, though, the question will be whether the center of the prosecution's case holds -- that will be the prosecution's contention that John Edwards acted with specific intent to break campaign finance laws. Andrew Young is expected to remain on the stand throughout the day.
Carol, back to you.
COSTELLO: Joe Johns reporting.
Now is your chance to talk back on one of the big stories of the day. The question for you this morning: why is climate change such a hot button issue? We haven't heard a lot about climate change this election cycle but that may change.
In an interview with "Rolling Stone" magazine, President Obama said, quote, "This is going to be a debate that will be part of the campaign and I will be very clear in voicing my belief that we're going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way," end quote.
But why the slow jam on the climate issue, Mr. President? Mr. Obama said that with people more worried about jobs and the economy, the other side has been able to pour millions of dollars into debunking climate change science.
His opponent, Mitt Romney, has expressed skepticism on climate change like in this video from an October fund-raiser posted on ThinkProgress.org.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My view is we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet, and the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to reduce CO2 emissions is not right course for us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: The lightning rod in the climate change debate this year is the Keystone pipeline. Environmentalists oppose in part because they say the use of fossil fuels adds to global warming. But the president hasn't talked much about climate change. Is it because Republicans keep talking about the much need jobs the pipeline would create or is it because the issue is just too hot to handle?
So, the talk back question for you: why is climate change such a hot button issue? Facebook.com/CarolCNN, Facebook.com/CarolCNN. I'll read your comments later this hour.
Coming up, the U.S. Postal Service may get a lifeline after all, worth $11 billion. We'll tell you about the effort to keep post offices open.
COSTELLO: And good morning to you. I'm Carol Costello.
Stories we're watching right now in the NEWSROOM.
In just about half hour, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan will defend his budget proposal at Georgetown University, a Catholic institution. Faculty and administrators say they are upset with Ryan. They say he misused Catholic social teaching to defend his proposed budget cuts.
A new report suggests oversexed behavior in the Secret Service was not limited to Colombia. A source told a CNN affiliate KIRO TV of an incident where agents pay for sexual favors from strippers after a drunken night. This happened in El Salvador supposedly.
CNN cannot independently confirm the report. We have reached out to the Secret Service. They have no comment.
The Senate is willing to free up $11 billion to help keep the U.S. Postal Service from shutting down your neighborhood post office. With the bipartisan 62-37 vote, Saturday delivery would be safe for another two years. It would also keep 100 mail processing plants open.
We have good news to tell you this morning, and it has to do with the auto industry. Chrysler, which was in bankruptcy just a few years ago, is now making a lot of money.
Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange.
So, tell us how much.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know what? Considering, Carol, that Chrysler didn't double, it didn't triple, but it quadrupled what it made in the first quarter. Yes, Chrysler does close like it kind of turned a corner -- a corner there. It made almost $500 million between January and March of this year. Gosh, we haven't seen Chrysler post numbers like that in 13 years.
And more good news, it's not a one-hit wonder either, because if you look at last year, Chrysler posted its first annual profit since 2005 and that's notable because Chrysler relies heavily on truck sales, more so than rivals. And trucks are a pretty hard sell right now because of higher gas prices.
And even more good news, this is part of a bigger turnaround happening in auto industry as we speak. As far as the overall mark goes in the next few seconds, the opening bell is going to ring. It looks like stocks are going to open a little lower.
Wall Street, Carol, is worried about the European debt crisis again. This time, Italy had a weak bond option. It doesn't look like investors are so gung-ho in buying Italy's debt.
Also, new jobless claims came in. It didn't move much last week, they kind of stuck around just under that 400,000 level. Really, investors want to see those jobless claims numbers improve and they just haven't been improving over the last several weeks -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Alison Kosik, reporting live from the New York Stock Exchange.
President Obama took some hit for going on Jimmy Fallon show this week. Critics say he was trying too hard to be hip and cool, and going places beneath the office of the president. Well, his critics might not like this either. Obama is on the cover of "Rolling Stone" magazine. The magazine's founder interviewed him.
Will Cain and Roland Martin here to talk about that interview.
Guys, one thing that stood out to us was this quote from the president. He was asked about climate change and the Keystone Pipeline and NASA's leading climate scientists, and said it would mean game over for the planet.
In response to all of that, Mr. Obama said and I quote, "Part of the challenge is that people's number one priority is finding a job and paying the mortgage and dealing with high gas prices. In that environment, it's been easy for the other side to pour millions of dollars into a campaign to debunk climate change science. I suspect that over the next six months this is going to be a debate that will become part of the campaign and I will be very clear in voicing my belief that we're going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way."
OK. So, liberals might be rejoicing, Roland Martin, but some might say, why get in to all of that when it's the economy. It's always about the economy.
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first of all, there are conservatives that recognize the need to deal with our climate. Keep in mind that Newt Gingrich sat down with Nancy Pelosi to also talk about this very issue.
Look, bottom line is here, we can try to deny the reality of our climate in this country having a problem. But at some point, it's going to catch up with us.
The problem for Americans, we are naturally reactionary. We wait for things to blow up. We wait for things to get -- to hit rock bottom before we go, now let's actually deal with it. That's always been our problem. That's the same problem I think on this story as well.
COSTELLO: It is a hot button issue, though, isn't it, Will? And it's deeply partisan issue. And I'm just wondering why? Why can't we just talk about it?
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: OK. Do you mind if I address the first question, Roland, first? I'll come to that. I won't filibuster it.
Let me say this: it's a very interesting admission by President Obama in that article that he recognizes the number one issue among voters is the economy. But he won't forget or let you forget that he spent the first six months debating a cap and trade bill on carbon emissions and restructuring one-sixth of the American economy on health care. And if you forget, he's going to remind you that he's going to double down this election cycle and talk about the climate again.
So, where is this importance of the economy that he recognizes that voters see? I don't understand his dedication to that.
Carol, let me say this to your second question. Why is this hot button? Because of this right here. We can debate, first of all, there's no debate the climate is changing. It would be odd if it didn't.
The debate is whether man is contributing to that change, whether or not we can do anything significant to affect that change. And fourth, whether what we can do to affect possible man-made climate change is worth the cost.
But we won't have that elevated debate. We won't have those because what we'll do is listen to critical thinkers like Debbie Wasserman Schultz or Chris Matthews saying Republicans don't believe in science and we'll be done.
COSTELLO: But you have to admit --
MARTIN: No, no, no.
COSTELLO: OK, Roland, go ahead. I know what you're going to say. You're going to say Republicans that once believed in climate change and that some of it was caused by man have now backtracked. Why is that, Roland?
MARTIN: No, that's actually not what I was going to say. What I'm going to say is, I'm not listening to political people. I'm listening to people who are scientists. I'm listening to people who actually have taken the time to get educated on this issue and I listen to them.
Here's what we have to recognize in this country, Carol. Any time you talk about climate change, the natural reaction is: oh, my God, it's going to cost us jobs. That is the kryptonite to any conversation about change in this country.
And so, when Will says, or anybody else says that, hey, is man contributing to it? Guess what? Efforts too late we can say, man, bummer. We should have done something. Maybe some people are saying, let's not wait until it's too late.
COSTELLO: Will, what do you have to say to that?
CAIN: I just want to be clear. Kryptonite to the climate change conversation is to talk about its potential cost.
MARTIN: No. Any time you want to shut down any kind of conversation in this country when it comes to changing anything is jobs. When they talk about student loans, cutting out the middle man, guess what they say, Carol? They say, oh, we can't do that. It's going to cost jobs. That's always the natural reaction.
Can you deal -- here's the deal. I want to breathe, Will. So, I can't go to a job if I'm having a problem breathing, if I'm having a problem when it comes to water. So, yes, those things are important, too.
CAIN: OK. So let me say this. If I accept your premise that man is causing climate change, which I don't. But for this debate I will.
MARTIN: I didn't say cause. Having significant role.
CAIN: Hold on, Roland. If I accept your premise that man is causing climate change and cost don't matter, let's say this: if we put every person in the United States and for that matter the world, out of work and halt all economic growth but we could clean up the air, would it be worth it?
MARTIN: That is that's nonsense when we have this debate. You want to go to the extreme.
MARTIN: One second. When you say put everyone out of work, that's a nonsensical statement.
So, Will, don't do the histrionics and try to earn an Academy Award right now for acting. Deal with reality.
CAIN: No, I'm walking you through a logic. I'm not doing histrionics. I'm walking you through a logical process here.
COSTELLO: Let Will have his say. One at a time. Go ahead, Will.
CAIN: So we are on the same page on this debate, Roland. This isn't histrionics. This is logic.
When you say cost is kryptonite to a conversation, I take you to the far end of that spectrum and see if you still agree. You see, if you could put every person out of work, but fix the air, then would you be for that? I think you'd come back to me and say, no, the cost is too great, which says to me --
MARTIN: No, I'd call that histrionics.
CAIN: -- don't measure cost is nonsense.
MARTIN: Will, this is very simple. And that is, can you have a balance? Can you have some form of balance? The problem is --
CAIN: Balance between what? Between what?
MARTIN: One second, one second.
You have folks who don't want to have a climate discussion who don't want to achieve balance. They say --
CAIN: Balance between what?
MARTIN: They say no to everything.
Balance between what is a cost but also how do you also save lives.
COSTELLO: We're going to have to leave it there.
COSTELLO: OK. Wait a second. We're going to have to leave it there. We'll let you two continue the argument behind the scene and maybe it come to fisticuffs and I want to hear about it later.
But it's been a fascinating conversation. Thanks as always.
MARTIN: Thanks so much.
COSTELLO: America's favorite modern family is going to be making a special musical appearance. Our A.J. Hammer will be here with where and when, right after this break.
COSTELLO: Kim Kardashian, she is on the guest list for the White House correspondents dinner.
So, what's up with that? It's coming up this Saturday. And it looks like it's going to be a star studded event.
FOX News reportedly bringing along an entourage of celebs. Every year, this turns into more of a circus. I can't even remember what the purpose of that dinner was. It's changed so much.
A.J. Hammer is here to talk more about this.
Like why? Why do stars want to go to listen to a bunch of politico speak any way?
A.J. HAMMER, HOST, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: Well, here's the thing. I'm going to tell you what's happening this year and I'm going to give you a little bit of history, Carol. The correspondents dinner or nerd prom as it's been called in the past does seem to have this particularly fascinating guest list this year. Maybe they don't like the term nerd prom anymore which is why they step it up with celebs.
Kim Kardashian has been invited again. She's bringing her mom, Kris Jenner, along with her.
But here's the history. The trend of celebrities attending the dinner which seems to peak during Democratic administration and drop off when Republicans are in office, this has been going on for years. And it all started back in 1987 during the Iran-Contra scandal. This is when Fawn Hall, who was Oliver North's document-shredding secretary was invited. The next year, it was Donna Rice attended as a guest and it was her affair with Gary Hart that ended his presidential bid.
Well, after those two pop culture figures attended, the floodgates were open to all sorts of celebrities who could get a headline for the media organization that was inviting them. Let's remember, these are people invited by the media organizations that pay for the tables, not by the White House. So, that's in the past, we have seen a lot of stars, like Ozzy Osbourne and Larry Flynt, and yes, Kim Kardashian.
This year looks particularly star-studded. In addition to Kim, George Clooney is expected to be there. Daniel Day Lewis, Stevie Wonder, Martha Stewart, Kelly Ripa, Viola David, Claire Danes, the cast from "Hunger Games," Carol, even Lindsay Lohan made the list. Most of my cast of my favorite show, "Modern Family" is expected to be there as well.
So, at least, there will be, you know, somebody, a family of TV stars worth respecting.
COSTELLO: Yes. Back in the day, you just invited some boring congressman to go with you and today it's Kim Kardashian.
COSTELLO: So strange. Let's talk about something good.
The stars of "Modern Family" -- they are going to host some big music awards show, right?
HAMMER: The Billboard Music Award show. I'm thrilled with this choice. Dunphys been tapped to host. The show is going to be on ABC on May 20th. They'll be there as awards are handed out, stars like Adele, LMFAO, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne, all expected to home awards this year. It should be great night.
Billboard announced the news saying they were thrilled that television's favorite Emmy Award-winning couple as host this year. And, yes, count me and I'm sure thousands of fans as being thrilled that the Dunphys will be hosting the show. It should be great.
COSTELLO: It will be great. A.J., thanks so much.
A.J. will be back with us in the next hour to talk about the New York townhouse where Carrie Bradshaw from "Sex and the City" supposedly live. You got to hear how much money someone is forking over to buy it.
Also, it's like nothing he's ever seen before. That's one Secret Service veteran says about the prostitution agency rocking the agency. After the break, a former Secret Service agent joins me. He will give you an inside look.
Also, Oakland A's pitcher Brandon McCarthy slams the kiss cam. I love the kiss cam. You know what I'm talking about. We've all seen it. And now, McCarthy says the JumboTron segment is insensitive. We'll talk about that in sports.
COSTELLO: Just about 45 minutes past the hour. Checking our "Top Stories" now.
Republican Congressman Paul Ryan will be getting a chilly reception at Georgetown University, a Catholic university, where he speaks in just about 15 minutes. More than 90 professors and administrators signed a letter accusing Ryan of misusing Catholic teachings to justify his cuts to social programs.
Rupert Murdoch is now admitting to a phone hacking cover up at his "News of the World" tabloid newspaper. And he said he's sorry for not paying more attention to the incident. Those comments came at a hearing in London where Murdoch said his papers was quote, "The victim of that cover up".
And a new report suggests oversexed body behavior in the Secret Service was not limited to Colombia. It might have happened in El Salvador last year ahead of President Obama's visit. A Seattle reporter interviewed a source who claimed that dozen agents and some U.S. military personnel got drunk in a strip club, paid extra for sexual favors and bragged that they took strippers back to their hotel rooms all the time.
CNN cannot confirm these allegations. The Secret Service has no comment this morning.
So is that another isolated incident or is it a sign of a bigger problem? Here's what Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano thinks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANET NAPOLITANO, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: The actions were unacceptable and they were unacceptable taken by themselves. I think every mother of a teenager knows that a common defense is well everybody else was doing it. You know so I get to do it.
First, not everybody else was doing it. And second this behavior is not part of the Secret Service way of doing business. They are very professional. But we are going to get to the bottom of this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Joining me now is President and CEO of the Atlanta Police Foundation and former Secret Service agent -- Secret Service agent rather, Dave Wilkinson. Thanks Dave for joining us this morning.
DAVID WILKINSON, PRESIDENT & CEO, ATLANTA POLICE FOUNDATION: My pleasure. Good morning.
COSTELLO: Did you get a chance to watch any of the hearings on this matter yesterday?
WILKINSON: No I didn't. But I've seen some of the news pieces from it.
COSTELLO: And your thoughts?
WILKINSON: Well, as you can imagine it's -- it's -- it's a tough day for the Secret Service, tough couple of weeks I should say for any former or current Secret Service agent. I can tell you, Carol, that Secret Service agents live by a code of conduct. They have a culture of zero tolerance toward any type of personal misconduct. And from the day you become a Secret Service agent, this type of behavior -- it's drilled into you that that's not acceptable.
So we're all just blown away by that.
COSTELLO: But we hear that all the time. But now this report surfaces from the Seattle television station that in 2011 in El Salvador Secret Service agents were getting drunk, you know, off their rockers and going to strip clubs and bringing the girls back to their hotel rooms.
WILKINSON: Well you know obviously they'll have a full investigation on this and I will tell you this. The Secret Service takes this so seriously. They will investigate this to the nth degree. They'll turn over every stone to make sure they have all the facts here and -- and -- and they will punish those involved very harshly.
They do not tolerate this sort of thing, there is no second chances; there's no excuses. You have an organization that's mission- driven, team-orientated and there's absolutely no excuses or -- or no allowance for that sort of behavior.
COSTELLO: Ok we hear that all the time.
WILKINSON: I know you do.
COSTELLO: Right? We hear it all the time.
COSTELLO: But a lot of people are wondering is this part of the culture of the Secret Service because now we have incidents happening this year. Maybe an incident happened in 2011. Who knows how far back it goes?
WILKINSON: Yes. Well again, I think we should wait for the investigation to unfold. But I think the investigation will show these are isolated incident, an incident or incidents if you will. And -- but --
COSTELLO: Yes but you can't say isolated anymore if there's another one right?
WILKINSON: That's true but I will tell you this. That you will find that absolutely this is contrary to the culture of the Secret Service. Any suggestion that there's a culture of partying and that sort of thing takes place in the Secret Service, absolutely not the case.
And I -- and I think that will show. Now there are obviously a few people have acted out of line here and, of course, the Secret Service is paying for that with their image. But it's an absolute professional organization that I think in the end it will show that basically this is just sort of an aberration.
COSTELLO: There are calls, some calls from one congressman, who says that Director Sullivan ought to step down because it happened on his watch. I mean, he's the guy. So why is he still in his job?
WILKINSON: Well, I understand that. But -- but I will say Mark Sullivan the Director of the Secret Service, we came up to the ranks together and he is the ultimate public servant. He does a terrific job. He's dedicated. And -- and he has done a terrific job running the Secret Service.
And I -- and -- I'll say again that this type of behavior is -- it's drilled into the agents from the day they become Secret Service agents and I think the leadership of the Secret Service has done a tremendous job in responding to that and I think they will continue to do that.
So I think it would be unfair to have calls for his job at this time.
COSTELLO: So -- so was it sort of like you know, you say it's drilled into their heads. They are very moral upright people. They don't talk much to the media because they're not allowed to. I mean, they really are protective of their image.
But there was more than one Secret Service agent involved in this scandal. So was it sort of a mob mentality? Was it one rogue agent then he talked other people into joining him? Was it just like a big -- what was it? What would do that?
WILKINSON: We don't know. We don't know and any Secret Service agent in this country right now are probably -- they are all having that same conversation. What happened? How could this happen? With our culture, the way we've been -- we're taught to behave in these situations, how could this possibly happen?
So the answer is we don't know. We're surprised. I would say we're even shocked by it, that is, current and former agents of the Secret Service that this has taken place and it's been a bad couple of weeks.
Certainly the image of the Secret Service has been tarnished somewhat, but I think in the end they'll do a thorough investigation. They'll weed out the bad apples and they'll go on doing the great job that they do protecting our world leaders.
COSTELLO: Thank you very much for being with us.
WILKINSON: It's my pleasure.
COSTELLO: Dave Wilkinson, former Secret Service agent. We appreciate it.
WILKINSON: You bet.
COSTELLO: Still to come this hour, don't forget our "Talk Back" question today. We're asking you this question "Why is climate change such a hot button issue?" I'll read your responses in just a minute.
We're back in a minute.
COSTELLO: And welcome back to NEWSROOM. Are you watching us right now at the gym? Burning up the treadmill this morning and training for that big run? Well, you are not alone because I'm a little crazy, I'm training for a mini triathlon and I want to keep you motivated, along with myself.
So I spent the day with a professional triathlete and if you ever wanted to get in shape for a big race, she's got some great advice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: The goal is to get you moving. I'm waiting for April. She's a professional triathlete. She has some simple tips to get you moving.
I've never run a race before, like where should I start?
APRIL GELLATLY, CNN FITNATION ATHLETIC DIRECTOR: Start with a goal that you feel is attainable and kind of break it up into manageable steps of, you know, ok this week I'm going to try to hit, you know, seven miles over the duration of the week.
COSTELLO: I was going to say --
GELLATLY: Not in one day.
COSTELLO: -- she's crazy.
GELLATLY: A little bit.
COSTELLO: If I think I cannot run a mile --
COSTELLO: -- I probably can't. So how do I get that out of my head?
GELLATLY: You can't hold yourself back because you're scared to start moving. You've got to do it, you know. How do you know what you can achieve until you've tried, you know, until you've pushed yourself to that point?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: If you want to get in shape with me every Thursday, I'll have a tip on how can you get there as part of the 2012 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. Of course, as you know, dr. Sanjay Gupta is leading that challenge because he is superman. But every Thursday we'll bring a tip. So be sure to join us.
We also asked you this morning to "Talk Back" on one of the big stories of the day. The question for you this morning is "Why is climate change such a hot-button issue?"
This is from Chris. He says, "Because climate change is a joke and it's overblown."
This is from another Chris. "It's a hot-button issue because those of us with brains don't want the earth to turn into a desert planet like Mars."
This from Rob. "Because hoaxers like Al Gore and the liberal media keep fanning the flames of glo-Bull warming" -- like Glo-Bull -- "The reason they are doing this is to implement a new global tax on your carbon footprint."
This from Jess, "With our culture of excess we are destroying this planet, not just for us now, but much more so for future generations. There is not enough profit for the government to even give a good try at fixing it."
And this from Philip. "If it weren't for politicians on both sides of the aisle spouting hot air, perhaps global warming would not be a problem."
Keep the conversation going, Facebook.com/carolcnn. I'll read more of your comments in the next hour.
Still to come on NEWSROOM, talk about a daredevil. Felix Braungartner (ph) prepares for his ultimate jump to the earth this summer from 23 miles up in space. Wow.
He's hoping to break the speed of sound and the highest ever freefall record. I'll talk with him live next hour.
COSTELLO: I'm Carol Costello.
Happening now in the NEWSROOM, the Secret Service scandal widens. You've heard about the dozens of agents connected to prostitutes in Colombia. Well, this morning there are new reports now of similar behavior in El Salvador more than a year ago.
Does this Web site look familiar? It's called Optimizely, and it could help determine the next President of the United States.
Two men help create a medical history, a transplanted kidney failing in one patient is taken out and placed in another with amazing results.