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CNN NEWSROOM

President Meets with Business Leaders; Huge Lottery Prize Stimulates Ticket Sales; Black Teen Killed in Altercation over Loud Music; Bradley Manning Could Testify Soon in Military Secrets Case; Elmo Puppeteer Sex Case Examined

Aired November 28, 2012 - 15:30   ET

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


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN: But let's talk Powerball here, because if you're checking in on the gigantic lottery, you're in luck. Here is an update. It is getting even bigger. Move over, $500 million. We're talking $550 million-plus, grew by another $50 million in just the last couple of hours. Take a look at the long lines here.

We have some pictures out of Louisiana. Look at these people back and forth, and back and forth, same pictures really resonating across the country.

Mary Snow, let me go to you. Tell me where you are and how -- Powerball fever. Are they selling like hot cakes?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are, Brooke. We are on Ninth Avenue in Manhattan. We're in a bodega that is open 24 hours and there has been a steady stream of people coming in.

The store owners here are saying that they're seeing sales of about five times what they normally are and, in the past couple of hours, we have seen people coming in, sneaking out of the office, fantasizing about being able to go back tomorrow and quit after they have won.

I wouldn't ever do that.

You know, so many people are daydreaming. We caught up with two New Yorkers who say, you know, the price of the ticket just to play was worth the investment to be able to daydream for a day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SNOW: How many tickets did you buy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I bought $20 worth, ten tickets.

SNOW: And, so, $20, is it worth a day of daydreaming?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, why not?

SNOW: Is that what you've been doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We talked about it on the way here. Yeah, my dad called and asked me if we were playing and started giving me theories about how the numbers would work so ... UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been thinking about who I would help, who I would give money to, who I would donate to, so ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long we would you stay at work?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNOW: And, Brooke, a lot of people, one after another, come in here with plans on how they're going to spend that money.

Just to give you a snapshot of what it is like, just in New York state alone, a lottery officials are saying that they're seeing nearly $2 million an hour in sales today.

Brooke?

BALDWIN: Statistics-schmatistics, let us dream, Mary Snow. Let us dream.

Mary, thank you so much.

SNOW: Absolutely.

BALDWIN: Totally switching gears here, an unarmed black teenager shot to death in Florida, an attorney says the shooter was standing his ground, but this is not at all the Trayvon Martin case.

The victim here is 17-year-old Jordan Davis and the man now charged with murdering Davis is Michael Dunn. His lawyer says Dunn is no George Zimmerman.

She says Dunn was parked in his car when he got into an argument with people sitting in another car, apparently blasting some loud music over the weekend.

He told police he heard threats. Then he thought he saw a gun in the teens' car so he shot back, not once, eight times, killing Davis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBIN LEMONIDIS, MICHAEL DUNN'S ATTORNEY: And he sees that much of a shotgun coming up over the rim of the SUV, which is up higher than his Jetta, and it's -- all he sees are heavily-tinted front windows that are up and the back windows that are down and the car has at least four black men in it.

And he doesn't know how old anybody is, he doesn't know anything, but he knows a shotgun when he sees one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Well, police never found a gun in the teenager's car. Davis' family doesn't see the justification for the shooting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LUCIA MCBATH, MOTHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM: They shot him over some music. And he was in the car. And there's no logical reason. There is nothing logical that you can say that would make me believe that you were threatened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: The mother grieving the loss of, as you're pointing out, this is her only child.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's her only child. I mean, how many of these mothers do we have to listen to having lost their children because someone shoots first and asks questions later.

And I know she says -- his lawyer says during the interview that this is not the Trayvon martin case, but I've got to tell you, when this news broke, Brooke, I got at least 50 e-mails asking me to look at this case.

I got phone calls asking me to look at this case and what it is really about, yet again, is Florida's "stand-your-ground" law.

BALDWIN: I don't know if it's fair to compare them. We're going to get to that in a minute, but again, so, there was no gun, that the shooter says he felt threatened. Was this enough to use deadly force according to the law?

HOSTIN: It very well could be. I mean, he very well could make the case for "stand your ground" because, again, in Florida and in other states that have the "stand-your-ground" doctrine, if you feel threatened, you are justified in using deadly force if you think you can lose your life or could sort of suffer bodily harm, serious bodily harm.

And, so, when you look at the fact pattern, he says he was threatened, he heard threats and he thought -- he believed he saw a gun.

BALDWIN: But eight shots?

HOSTIN: In a court of law -- eight shots.

And he also left the scene. Let's remember that. He also left the scene, went back to his hotel room and didn't do anything until the very next day when he saw this on television.

And, so, again, we're talking about a case that does, in my view, sort of harken back to Trayvon Martin because you also have two 17-year-old African-American young men that were unarmed that are now dead.

But it is really about this particular law and there have been so many people that are asking for legislators to really look at that law.

Do we want that on the books, Brooke? Do we want this to continue happening? Shoot first, ask questions later.

BALDWIN: How many times do we have to wait for these kinds of stories to happen for someone to look at the law?

HOSTIN: That's right. I mean, hopefully, we'll see some -- at least some change in the law because I just -- we shouldn't be reporting on these so often.

BALDWIN: OK. Sunny Hostin, "On the Case," thank you.

HOSTIN: Thanks.

BALDWIN: We just showed you what happened at President Obama's cabinet meeting a couple of minutes ago.

Coming up next, Ali Velshi interviewing one of the CEOs meeting with the president this afternoon. Don't miss it, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: From the CNNMoney Newsroom in New York, I'm Ali Velshi and this is "Your Money."

First up, something that will affect almost none of you out there and, therefore, should be completely unimportant to you, the Powerball lottery.

I'm trying to focus your attention on the important things going on out there and you're busy rushing out to buy lottery tickets. You get what the chances of winning are, right?

Statistics-schmatistics? Well, right now, it's fascinating how that it's $550 million. People are rushing out because a really bad chance of winning $335 million wasn't enough to make you part with your $2, but for $550 million, you'll take a flyer. I get it.

Now, let's talk about something that will affect your future. We're 34 days off from the fiscal cliff.

Today, both Republicans and Democrats met with business leaders to gauge and garner support for a budget deal that is likely to include tax hikes on the wealthy and could include some sort of spending cuts, all with an aim to cutting the deficit.

I couldn't tell you what happened at those meetings because I wasn't there, so let's talk to somebody who was.

Tom Wilson is the president and CEO of Allstate Insurance. Tom, thank you for joining us. What happened in the meetings?

TOM WILSON, PRESIDENT AND CEO, ALLSTATE INSURANCE: Well, it is good to be here, Ali.

I think what happened in the meetings is we got a sense that there needs to be more progress made quickly because, while everybody agrees something needs to be done, really the structure to get it done is still not formed up yet.

VELSHI: Did you get some sense that they are moving towards some kind of an agreement, both sides?

WILSON: I got the -- I'm concerned as to where we're at.

Let me tell you the good news. The good news is everybody sees this as an opportunity to show that America knows how to act and get the fiscal house in order.

Everybody wants to make a deal. Everybody agrees it should be $4 trillion and everybody agrees there is three buckets.

Bucket one is reform entitlements, bucket two is raise revenue, bucket three is reduce spending. So, everybody agrees on all those three.

The bad news is that nobody agrees yet on how much goes into each bucket and there is really an absence of what do we do now in terms of our down payment and then how do we sort this out next year? And lastly, they're both waiting for the other party to lead.

VELSHI: Tom, there is a sense that the president was going to put pressure on big businesses, who have largely in the last electoral cycle supported Republicans and Mitt Romney, to say why don't you put pressure on Republican lawmakers.

On the other side, there are things the business community needs out of this deal. Who is putting pressure on who in these meetings?

WILSON: I think the pressure is on both parties, both the Democrats and Republicans.

We met today with the Senate Democrats and we met with the House Republicans. We also met with the White House economic team yesterday.

And we've said to all of them this needs to be fixed. It needs to be fixed because it is good for the economy and our businesses. It needs to be fixed because it is good for our employees and, if it is not fixed, the people that are going to get hurt the worst are the poor and the elderly.

A recession has some impact on wealthy people because their net worth goes down, but the people that get permanently set back are the poor and the elderly and, if we go over this cliff, it will be bad for them.

VELSHI: Obviously, the big discussion, you described them as buckets, but they all come down in some way to taxes, whether they go up or go down.

We know that a deal will probably raise taxes on at least some people. What is the sense from the business community as to what they want or don't want to see with respect to the income tax situation?

WILSON: I think the fix the debt community, which is we have about 100 CEOs, which is widely supported across country, 300,000 people signed up to support us, is that revenues need to go up.

At the same time, we need to be very clear that entitlements need to be reformed and we need to reduce spending.

And the issue today on taxes, it is all about -- it really is not the main stage as to whether it is deductions or the rate.

The main stage is how much is in each of those three buckets. Whether it's a rate increase or it's deductions, that could be worked out later.

But right now, we need to focus on getting the amount of money in each of those buckets so we get to $4 trillion.

VELSHI: Tom, did you buy a Powerball ticket?

WILSON: No, but I'm thinking about it after watching the show. $550 million is a lot of money.

VELSHI: It's a lot. Goes a long way. Tom, good it see you. Thanks very much. Tom Wilson ...

WILSON: Thank you.

VELSHI: ... is the president and CEO of Allstate.

Hey, today's installment of what can cost you more is gasoline. There is a real proposal out there to almost double the 18.5 cent per gallon federal tax on gasoline.

The federal gas tax funds about $32 billion in repairs to roads, bridges and transport.

By the way, the feds kick in another $18 billion or so every year because our transportation infrastructure is in rough shape.

Raising the gas tax an additional 15 cent a gallon will cover that short fall, but clearly, it's not just the rich who drive.

That is what you need to know right now. For those of you who don't win the Powerball tonight, I'll be back at this time tomorrow with the most important five minutes about business and the economy.

Unless, of course, I win the Powerball, in which case, I most certainly won't be returning to work.

From the CNNMoney Newsroom in New York, I'm Ali Velshi with "Your Money" daily.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: The scrutiny of the man who voiced Elmo for four years is now spreading to his former employer, Sesame Street.

Did they take the right action? Did they take it fast enough after learning the sexual misconduct allegations against Kevin Clash.

Victor Blackwell reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After 28 years as the voice of Sesame Street's Elmo, Kevin Clash is now off the block.

He resigned last week and now he's fighting a third accusation of sexual misconduct with boys who are now men.

The first of the three has actually recanted.

The producer of Sesame Street, Sesame Workshop, says it received an allegation this summer.

In a statement to CNN, Sesame Workshop writes, "In June we received one allegation from one accuser. Based on our own internal investigation, the use of outside investigative firms and Kevin's vehement denial, we found no evidence of an under-aged relationship."

However, Clash was still employed by the company even as it investigated claims he had a sexual encounter with a 16-year-old boy. That accuser later recanted his story and claimed he and Clash had an adult, consensual relationship.

Last week, the second accuser, Cecil Singleton, says he had sex with Clash when he was 15. He's now suing Clash for $5 million.

CECIL SINGLETON, PLAINTIFF AGAINST CLASH: Kevin, with his profession, was in a unique position to know that I would be a receptive victim.

DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST, HLN'S "DR. DREW": You mean the fact that he deals with young people?

SINGLETON: The fact that he works with children, yes.

JOHN HERMAN, ATTORNEY FOR "JOHN DOE": When you have an employee who is accused of sexually abusing kids and is working with kids, then you make the safest choice which is to immediately suspend them and investigate.

BLACKWELL: Jeff Herman represents Singleton and an anonymous third accuser who said he had a sexual encounter with Clash at the age of 16. None of the accusers ever contacted police.

In 2011, Clash spoke with CNN's Erin Burnett to promote the documentary "Being Elmo."

KEVIN CLASH, VOICE OF ELMO: Elmo is laughter and love and just wanting to hug and kiss and be validated. And that's what kids are like.

BLACKWELL: In a statement to CNN, Clash's attorney says the federal case is filed against Kevin Clash are without merit. The cases and Mr. Clash's reputation will be defended vigorously.

Sesame Workshop confirmed Clash violated company policy regarding Internet usage and Clash was disciplined.

HERMAN: So, I want to see these e-mails that they confiscated or they looked through. And I want to see who knew what and when.

BLACKWELL: Sesame Workshop has not confirmed on the record that e- mails were confiscated, but the company tells CNN, "We did not know about subsequent accusations until we read about them in the press. We trust the judicial process to reach the ultimate conclusions about the truth or falsity of these allegations."

HERMAN: It is the easy way out for them. And, so, I have no problem with them not jumping to any conclusions, as long as they're making a safe choice and investigating, but suspending while they're investigating.

You know, so they just -- you know, their whole position now that he's resigned and it is out of their hands is just an easy way out.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: Victor Blackwell now joins me here. What is Sesame Workshop saying about this?

BLACKWELL: Well, they're only speaking through statements, as you saw, all those written statements in the story.

We're hoping to get them on camera and the central question is, if sesame workshop took the allegation in June seriously enough to start an internal investigation and hire outside counsel, why was Kevin Clash still working around children, whether it was in the studio, voicing Elmo, or if he was out working at personal appearances?

Of course, we're still hoping to get that answer and we'll continue until we get an answer to the question. Brooke?

BALDWIN: Victor Blackwell, thank you.

The Army private accused of leaking U.S. secrets could testify as early as this week. The man at the center of it all, Wikileaks chief Julian Assange, joins "Erin Burnett OutFront" tonight.

Erin joins me right here, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: The U.S. Army private accused of leaking all of those U.S. Government secrets that ended up on the Internet for all of us to see could testify as early as this week as part of his court-martial.

This pretrial hearing for Private, First Class, Bradley Manning, it's under way in Ft. Meade, Maryland. Manning was an Army intelligence analyst and he allegedly gave hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the anti-secrecy group, Wikileaks.

Manning is expected to testify about how he was treated in the brig at that Marine base at Quantico, Virginia.