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Winning Powerball Tickets Sold in Arizona, Missouri; Americans Planning to Buy More Guns; U.S. Planned to Nuke the Moon; Hillary Clinton Announces Blueprint to Fight AIDS; Dolphins Mysteriously Killed.
Aired November 29, 2012 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No one has come forward. No one has come forward in Missouri or Arizona. What they're advising -- and it's sort of surreal to hear the lottery officials say, OK, this is what you have to do. You have to take the ticket, you have to sign the back of it. Get a lawyer, get a financial planner. Very surreal to actually think about doing that, but there are two people in America who are probably doing that right now.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Do they have to become public? Do they have to be public or can they be anonymous and still get the money?
LAH: Not technically anonymous. They can abstain from a media appearance, but they have to tell the lottery official who they are. You know, the lottery does encourage them to do media interviews. We'll have to see if that person crops up later on in the day.
MALVEAUX: Next go round for us. We'll win next time.
All right. Thanks. Good to see you.
MALVEAUX: You can always dream, right?
MALVEAUX: Yes, I guess.
Background checks for gun buyers, they are actually up after President Obama's re-election. Why Americans are now buying more guns.
MALVEAUX: We just learned the last hour, former President H.W. Bush was hospitalized six days ago at Methodist Hospital in Houston. We're getting a statement from his office that reads, "President Bush has been in and out of Methodist Hospital in the Texas Medical Center being treated for complications related to his bronchitis. He is in stable condition and is expected to be released within the next 72 hours." Former president is 88 years old. We wish him the best in his health.
Americans are now buying more guns these days, a lot more guns. On the first Black Friday last week, more people asked the FBI if they could own a gun than ever before on a single day. So take a look at this. Black Friday 2012, almost 155,000 people submitted an FBI firearms background check request. And that is up, way up, from previous Black Fridays. This is really the best way to measure gun sales since the government doesn't track actual purchases. Gun store owners say customers are driven by one major issue. They belief a Democratic president will crack down on gun ownership or even take away their guns. People are stockpiling ammunition. They did it back in 2008. According to store owners, they're doing it again.
Joining us from New York is Craig Whitney. He is a former foreign correspondent and editor of "The New York Times." Also wrote a book, "Living with Guns, a Liberal's Case for the Second Amendment."
Craig, explain this to us, why this is happening. You have 2008, gun sells soaring. Again, it's taking place this month as well. Why?
CRAIG WHITNEY, FORMER FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES & AUTHOR: Because ever since President Obama was elected, groups like the National Rifle Association have been telling their members and everybody else that what he really wants to do is take their guns away from them eventually. So people think you better buy your gun now or you may not get a chance. He has won a second term, so better get a gun if you want one. It's nonsense, of course, but it seems to have traction with a lot of people.
MALVEAUX: Tell us, why do you suppose this is still such a hot-button issue? I mean, this is not -- give us a reality check, if you will, because the president certainly has not threatened to take away anybody's weapon.
WHITNEY: No. In fact, he has signed legislation that makes it possible to take a gun with you onto an Amtrak train in a locked container or into a national park. It's just that the NRA gets its money basically by spreading fear among gun owners and people who are sympathetic to gun ownership that what liberals really want is to make sure that nobody in this country can have guns. My purpose in writing this book was to show liberals that they could take that argument away from the NRA if they would concede the reality that gun ownership is a right, an individual right protected by the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
MALVEAUX: Well, the NRA, I'm sure, would take issue with the fact that you're saying they promote fear. They would argue that they have a right to own those guns, and that there has been an effort to limit their abilities, their rights to do that.
WHITNEY: Well, there have been gun control measures throughout the history of the republic and the constitutional -- the Supreme Court ruling that gun ownership was an individual right. Two rulings in 2008 and 2010, both said -- both those Supreme Court rulings said that reasonable gun control measures are constitutional.
But the NRA does spread fear. It was telling its members all during this year, leading up to the election, that President Obama, if re- elected, would not only take away your gun freedom but all our freedoms. And if that isn't fear-mongering, I don't know what is.
MALVEAUX: It's interesting that the gun -- the anti-gun lobbying group, the Brady campaign, gave the president an "F" on gun control policy during his first term. How do you explain that, that the president doesn't really seem to be winning from either group on either side?
WHITNEY: No. He has never done anything to advance gun control. As I said, he signed two measures that make it easier to take guns into certain places. And he has never done anything or said anything really to indicate that he has firm plans to impose strict gun controls on the country. I don't believe that he thinks the issue is worth fighting because so many people feel so strongly on the other side. Liberals have traditionally -- and I think Obama has done in his first term -- given up arguing for strict gun control.
I argue that strict gun control alone is not going to solve the undeniable problem with gun violence that we have in this country, but reasonable gun controls should exist, and do.
MALVEAUX: How do you actually take away some of the emotion out of this debate, out of this argument here, because people are very, very adamant about this, and seem very emotional. It's almost a political issue that we saw neither Obama or Mitt Romney deal with because it is such a hot-button issue. How do you take that out of the equation?
WHITNEY: Well, it is an issue, like abortion, that appeals to passions on either side of an argument. As I say, I think the only way liberals will ever de-fang the gun rights groups that argue -- that use fear-mongering as their argument, is if they make clear that liberals do not contest the individual right of all Americans guaranteed by the Second Amendment to own firearms and to be reasonable about regulations to make it safer for all of us to have so many guns in this country.
MALVEAUX: All right. Thank you for starting the debate, one that we are going to try to just talk about the emotion and the baggage that goes with it. We really appreciate it.
A top-secret plan to send nuclear weapons into outer space. How this mission to nuke the moon did not detonate.
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MALVEAUX: This might sound impossible but the U.S. hatched a plan to nuke the moon, not recently, but during the Cold War.
Brian Todd has the story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just think of what a nuke explosion would look like up there. The U.S. government once considered it. CNN has documents, and interviewed the leader of a once-secret Air Force project innocuously titled "A Study of Lunar Research Flights," with the just as low-brow nickname "Project A119." What was it really?
LEONARD REIFFEL, LEADER OF THE MOON NUCLEAR BLAST PROJECT: To evaluate the value of putting a small -- emphasize small in this world, anyhow -- nuclear explosion on the moon.
TODD: Physicist Leonard Reiffel, now 85 years old, led the project in 1958. It was the height of the Cold War. America and the Soviet Union were in a nuclear arms race. The soviets had just launched the world's first satellite, Sputnik, and were ahead in the space race. U.S. officials needed a big splash.
REIFFEL: In comparison the United States feared -- was feared to be looking puny so this was a concept to sort of reassure people that the United States could maintain a mutually assured deterrence and, therefore, avoid any huge conflagration on earth.
TODD: According to Reiffel's now declassified report on the project, team leaders also thought they could get information concerning the capability of nuclear weapons for space warfare.
(on camera): Reiffel says the plan called for an intercontinental ballistic missile to be launched from an undisclosed location, travel 240,000 miles to the moon, and detonate on impact. Various news reports say they considered using a bomb the same size as the one dropped on Hiroshima, but Reiffel now says he wasn't in on those discussions.
(voice-over): Could the blast, as some news reports suggest, have actually blown up the moon?
REIFFEL: Absolutely not. It would have been microscopic, so to speak. It would have left a crater that would have been, I think, essentially invisible from earth even with a good telescope.
TODD: Reiffel had some brilliant minds on his team. One of them, an up and coming graduate student, named Karl Sagan, who went to become one of the world's most astronomers.
Later on, Reiffel says, Sagan violated security when he mentioned the still-classified project on a job application.
Sagan's widow told us he is not sure if he ever did that is correct but, if he did, it wasn't intentional.
By 1959, project A119 was drawing more concern than excitement and was abandoned.
REIFFEL: We didn't want to clutter up the natural radio activities of the moon with additional bits of radioactive activity from the earth.
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TODD: Reiffel says other factors in killing the project were that they weren't sure of the liability of the weapons, the possible nuclear to turn against the Soviet Union would not have been worth the gamble, and he said there would have been a lot of public backlash in the U.S.
Contacted by CNN, the Air Force would not comment on project A119, even 54 years later -- Suzanne?
MALVEAUX: Wow. It's a fascinating story.
Brian, you also talk a little bit about the fact that the U.S. had plans to actually house nuclear weapons on the moon?
TODD: That's right, believe it or not. Mr. Rifle said that generally in military circles at that time they discussed the possibility of making the moon what he called a military high ground. It sounds crazy. But he talked about they were discussing even possibly having nuclear launch sites on the moon. The thinking, was at that time, that if the soviets hit the U.S. With nuclear weapons first and wiped out America's ability to strike back, the U.S. could launch warheads from the moon. He says these are horrendous scenarios, and he is very glad now that they're in the realm of science fiction -- Suzanne?
MALVEAUX: Yes, really.
All right. Hard to believe there.
Thank you, Brian. Good to see you, as always.
TODD: Good to see you.
MALVEAUX: We have some pictures here coming out of the White House. Mitt Romney leaving the White House just moments ago. This was after he had lunch with President Obama in the private dining room. You can see him getting into his vehicle there. He was with -- they were together about an hour and 10 minutes or so. We don't have details yet on what they discussed, but, of course, good to be a fly on the wall just to get a little bit of the flavor of that lunch. We're going to bring you more as soon as we can.
And we are going to also cover as well, Hillary Clinton, out with a plan to fight the global battle against HIV and AIDS. It is a fight for an AIDS-free generation.
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HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: HIV may well be with us well into the future, but the disease that it causes need not be.
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MALVEAUX: A vision of a generation free of AIDS. Today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a detailed plan to fight HIV and AIDS. The announcement was partly to commemorate World AIDS Day, which is on Saturday.
Elizabeth Cohen is joining us to talk about this plan.
This was something started under President Bush, continued under President Obama's administration. What does it involve?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: First, let's talk about why she did this. In the speech, she talked about the improvements. In so me countries, 25 percent lower incidents of HIV, which is terrific, and death rates are going down. But still, there is more than a million and a half people dying every year from HIV and AIDS. And that's -- that has to be addressed. So she talked about a couple of things she wants to see get done.
COHEN: First of all, she would like to see increased male circumcision, which has been shown to reduce the transmission of HIV. That's voluntary, I should add. Also, increased generic drug use. Get those drugs out to the people that need them. And also she wants to see condom use promoted more and more distributed. So, you know, that's been sort of a controversial thing in many countries. But she was very specific about this.
MALVEAUX: Where do we stand when it comes to HIV and AIDS? How does it differ place to place or group to group?
COHEN: Sub-Saharan Africa has suffered the most. No question about that. And that's where a lot of the efforts have centered on. But in this country, we see too many people dying of HIV and AIDS. One problem is many people with the disease don't know they have it.
COHEN: Still, they don't know they have it.
COHEN: That's still a problem. 18 percent of people with HIV do not know that they have it in this country. And that's why there's a government task force that tells doctors, hey, you should be doing this test for this person and this test for that person. They're, what they say, is very highly regarded. And they just said recently they think every adult American should be screened for HIV. Doesn't matter if you're male, female, gay, straight, whatever. They think everyone should be screened for HIV.
MALVEAUX: Why so? There's a specific independent panel saying everybody 15 to 64.
MALVEAUX: -- should find out. Why do they believe that's important, that's necessary?
COHEN: So many people don't know. And I think sometimes people have in their heads, well, I'm not gay, I don't need to get tested or I don't use I.V. drugs, I don't need to get tested. But the reality is even if you're not in one of those two groups you can get HIV. And so the best way to keep the death rate down and from spreading is to know that you have it in the first place.
MALVEAUX: There's a lot of women who have male partners who give it to them, as well.
COHEN: Unfortunately, what happens is some married women say, why do I need to get tested? I've been married for 20 years or whatever and he's not going to give it to me. You don't know what he's doing when you're not watching. You don't know who he's having sex with. And you could get it from him. And this is the situation women sometimes find themselves in.
So this group is saying that everyone should get tested every year. This group was saying that different people should get tested at different frequencies depending upon who they are but everyone should be tested.
MALVEAUX: It's better safe to get tested.
COHEN: And there's no downside. There's no downside to the testing, exactly.
All right. Elizabeth, thank you.
MALVEAUX: Appreciate it.
They're smart and playful and friendly, so why would anybody, anybody want to shoot and kill dolphins? They're searching for a killer.
MALVEAUX: Dolphins, playful, smart, friendly. Why would anyone want to shoot and kill them? That's the question investigators are asking after at least six dolphins were tortured and killed along the northern gulf coast.
Ed Lavandera reports on the search now for those responsible.
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ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To reach the crime scenes, you need to catch a ride and take a guide.
(on camera): This island we see off to the left is Deer Island where you found two of them?
MOBY SOLANGI, LEAD BIOLOGIST, INSTITUTE FOR MARINE MAMMAL STUDIES: That's correct.
LAVANDERA: A Harrison County, Mississippi, sheriff's chopper and Moby Solangi, the lead biologist of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies -- they took us to the sight where the murdered dolphins have mysteriously emerged along the Mississippi gulf coast.
(on camera): So get us up to date. How many dolphins turned up killed so far?
SOLANGI (ph): About six or seven. We know that at least three or four of them were killed with bullets and that the other ones have been mutilated, some with their tails cut off, jaws cut off or a screwdriver in them.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Dr. Solangi performed the necropsies, or the autopsies, of all the murdered dolphins.
(on camera): What does that tell you?
SOLANGI: I think it's a sick ritual of some sort.
LAVANDERA: Someone kind of getting a thrill out of doing this?
SOLANGI: I can't see any reason than kind of a horrific act to do something like that. I don't know.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): The pictures of the mutilated dolphins are disturbing to look at. The bodies clearly show signs of attack, bullet wounds in parts of the dolphins cut off, some too gruesome to show here.
(on camera): Do you think this is a situation where you have a serial killer of dolphins?
SOLANGI: It looks like we have deranged person doing something cruel, repugnant and senseless.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Federal investigators say they don't know yet if it's the work of one dolphin killer or all unrelated but even in the wild it's easy for a killer to lure in dolphins.
Katherine Burton trains dolphins at the Institute for Marine Studies.
KATHERINE BURTON, MAMMAL TRAINER, INSTITUTE FOR MARINE STUDIES: They're very curious and I think by getting fed -- (on camera): Even out in the wild?
BURTON: Yes, even out in the wild, they will get fairy close.
LAVANDERA: So they can get themselves in a bad situation, just unsuspecting?
BURTON: Right. I think sometimes they get close without realizing they're going to be in any kind of danger.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): That's why it's actually illegal to feed dolphins in the wild.
(on camera): So this is Ship Island where one of the dolphins was found?
RUSTY PITTMAN, OFFICER, MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF MARINE RESOURCES: Right.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Rusty Pittman is an officer with Mississippi's Department of marine Resources, one of the agencies patrolling these waters.
PITTMAN: I've never seen, come up on a dolphin that's been shot. And that's in 22 years.
LAVANDERA: It seems so much more difficult to investigate something like this. If you have a murder of humans, you have evidence. There's a crime scene.
PITTMAN: Right. This, you don't have.
LAVANDERA: This crime scene is huge.
PITTMAN: And they do -- on the first dolphin that was recovered, they have the bullet. They did recover the bullet. How much that will help, I don't know. But, like you said, you have so much area through here. This is totally different than a crime scene involving humans.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): This part of the gulf coast is home to the largest population of dolphins anywhere in the United States, as many as 5,000. In the next few months, females will move in to give birth. Moby Solangi fears baby calves could be the next victims.
SOLANGI: This is gruesome, really. If it's somebody that's deranged, is not going to stop.
LAVANDERA: The race is on to catch a dolphin killer before he strikes again.
Ed Lavandera, CNN, Gulfport, Mississippi.
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MALVEAUX: Sad story.
CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with Don Lemon.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Suzanne. Thank you very much.
I'm Don Lemon, coming to you live from New York this afternoon.
Developing right now, in Syria, Damascus International Airport shut down. Flights in and out are canceled. Fierce fighting closed off the main road to the airport.