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What the Fiscal Cliff Means for You; Jazz Great Dave Brubeck Dies; John McAfee Seeking Asylum; Ashley Judd to Run for Office?

Aired December 5, 2012 - 15:30   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Forget the politics here, forget the bickering since it looks more and more like we could be heading over the so-called fiscal cliff.

What happens to you? What happens to your paycheck?

Ali Velshi, up next to explain.


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

The sheriff of Washington was run out of town, is coming back and she could have more power than ever. I'll tell you about that in a minute.

But first, let's take a look at the money menu. Twenty-seven days left and Washington continues to push America's economy toward a fiscal cliff.

Republicans offered President Obama a proposal that retained the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and now they say the ball is in the president's court.


REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: This week we made a good faith offer to avert the fiscal crisis. Now we need a response from the White House. We can't sit here and negotiate with ourselves.


VELSHI: Both sides promise to cut trillions from government spending over the next decade, but the Republicans insist they can do it without raising taxes on the rich.

President Obama insists that's a non-starter. He shared his message with some rich folks at the Business Roundtable. He told them they could handle paying more in taxes.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Let's allow higher rates to go up for the top 2 percent. That includes all of you, yes, but not in any way that will affect your spending, your lifestyles, or the economy in any significant way.


VELSHI: Business Roundtable is a lobby group made up of some of the country's biggest CEOs, CEOs of some of the country's biggest companies.

Now, if you don't know what the fiscal cliff is, you've probably been living under a rock. I found this explanation by a rich guy we all know to be very helpful in explaining why the country is heading over the fiscal cliff in the first place.

This is Mr. Burns from "The Simpsons."


MR. BURNS, CARTOON CHARACTER, "THE SIMPSONS": Think of the economy as a car and the rich man as the driver. If you don't give the driver all the money, he'll drive you over a cliff. It's just ...


VELSHI: (INAUDIBLE) what actually will happen if America does head toward that fiscal cliff and go over it even temporarily?

CNN Money's Jeanne Sahadi has been on this story from the very beginning.

Jeanne, here is the question at hand. A lot of people are saying, what happens if we don't get a deal right by the end of December and we get into early January, maybe go over the cliff for a week or two? Is that catastrophic?

JEANNE SAHADI, SENIOR WRITER, CNNMONEY.COM: It doesn't have to be. There are steps the government can take to mitigate the impact of the spending cuts and the tax increases.

But legislative and budget experts I talked to say that really assumes a lot of things. One, that Congress will act quickly, which can it do if it wants to, but, you know, can they cut a deal in January that they couldn't cut in December? That's one question.

January tends to be a slow legislative month because you've got a lot of new members who are getting acclimated and, frankly, you know, people's expectations of how much revenue is raised and how much spending there will be will change completely because the fiscal cliff will be in effect and it is going to result in more than $500 billion in tax increases and spending cuts.

So, it could be hard to get the parties together in deciding how to change that in January.

VELSHI: Jeanne Sahadi is following this very closely on Go there to get a very good understanding of what this fiscal cliff is all about.

Thanks, Jeanne.

All right, word is that Elizabeth Warren, the brand-new senator-elect from Massachusetts is angling to be appointed to the Senate banking committee and I, for one, hope that happens. The consumer crusader is just what the committee needs.

Let me remind you who she is. She was President Obama's pick to run the newly created consumer finance protection bureau, which she designed, but Republican senators on Capitol Hill refused to even consider confirming her. Instead, they did their best to drive her out of town.


REPRESENTATIVE PATRICK MCHENRY (R), NORTH CAROLINA: So it has gone beyond your advice to Treasury, you're also providing advice to other governmental agencies?


MCHENRY: I understand, you can use the word "congressman" a number of times, Miss Warren, but I'm simply asking a very simple question.

REPRESENTATIVE TREY GOWDY (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: Is there a duty to educate yourself, yes or no?

WARREN: I believe that an empowered consumer is a consumer who cannot only protect himself or herself, but one who can change the market.

GOWDY: Mr. Chairman, I give up.


VELSHI: Well, Warren left Washington, but not for long.

After President Obama took her out of the running for the job, she went back to Massachusetts, ran for Senate, and won, so she's back in Washington and ready to add to her legend as the sheriff there to protect your money and this time Republican senators can't do a thing about it.

Warren is a fierce advocate for consumers and believes that the amount of risks banks take should be regulated.

Finally, on Friday, we'll get our first post-election look at how many jobs are being created and the early forecasts are not good.

CNNMoney forecasts just 77,000 net jobs created in November. That's far fewer than the 171,000 that were added in October.

A lot happened last month, Superstorm Sandy, labor turmoil at Hostess and business uncertainty because our elected officials won't get their act together and deal with the fiscal cliff.

So, brace yourself for a job number that could be even lower than the already week forecast. I hope I am wrong about that.

From the CNN Money Newsroom in New York, I'm Ali Velshi. That's it from me. Same time tomorrow.


BALDWIN: Chances are you're probably running his anti-virus program on your computer right now, McAfee.

But lately John McAfee's better known as a man on the run. Police in Belize would like to talk to him. His neighbor in the Caribbean country was found dead on November 11th.

McAfee is now emerging publicly in Guatemala where he's seeking asylum.

Let's talk to Joey Jackson, our legal analyst here, "On the Case."

And, so, the deal is, he was supposed to show up for a news conference today, no dice, no show.


BALDWIN: Been on the run for the better part of a month. Talking to a reporter who did get an interview with him, sort of gave him this circuitous route, had to say a password.

What do you make from his behavior?

JACKSON: It's problematic and here's why. From a legal perspective, Brooke, we call this consciousness of guilt and here's what it means.

It means if a person does nothing wrong, they don't run anywhere. There's no basis to run. There's no basis to hide. And where that's a problem and we know he hasn't been charged, that's true, but in the event that it escalates and he is charged, how do you think this evidence is go to be used against him?

It is going to show, listen, if there is a person who has done nothing wrong, they certainly wouldn't be fleeing. They wouldn't be running. They wouldn't go out of the country. They wouldn't be applying for asylum. They wouldn't be engaged in any of those behaviors.

And, so, legally, it can play out very poorly for him later on.

BALDWIN: Consciousness of guilt.

JACKSON: Guilt. Exactly.

BALDWIN: CNN Espanol just recently talked to him in Guatemala, exclusively. Roll it.


JOHN MCAFEE, INTERNET PIONEER: No one has blamed me for the murder. I have not been charged. I am not a suspect. They merely want to question me about the murder.

I am not concerned. I have not been charged with a crime. There is no basis for extradition.


BALDWIN: Joey Jackson if you were his attorney, what advice do you give John McAfee?

JACKSON: Well, listen, all of that, what he said, is true, but there are really two things I would focus on.

One is his mouth, the other is his conduct and here's why. Number one, I would suggest he just stop talking. You can never do yourself any favors when you talk because anything you say can and will be used against you.

BALDWIN: Kind of surprising how much he is talking.

JACKSON: Absolutely. It's overboard. He has to stop.

The second thing is with respect to his conduct, listen, you hire an attorney, you have that attorney deal with the press, you have them deal with the public, you have them deal with everyone and you just go on and live your life and stop acting in such a bizarre fashion. It can come back to bite you.

BALDWIN: They say they're going to hold a news conference together, together tomorrow, we shall see if they follow through on that one.

JACKSON: Will he show up?

BALDWIN: Will he show?

Joey Jackson, thank you very much, "On the Case." See you back here tomorrow.

Ashley Judd, is she the new Al Franken? The Hollywood star may be considering a run for the Senate and she wouldn't be just challenging really just any senator here, just the most powerful Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell.


BALDWIN: Movie star Ashley Judd's next role might be political candidate. In real life, not on the screen.

Judd may try to unseat one of the nation's most powerful Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. And her liberal politics might face an uphill battle in the red state of Kentucky.

Keep in mind, though, she does have deep, deep roots there. As an article in Politico today points out, she's an eighth generation Kentuckian. She doesn't live there full time. She lives between Nashville and Scotland, native country of her race-driving husband.

Huge Kentucky Wildcat fan, she is spotted a lot of times watching the Wildcat games.

Politico broke the story here earlier this week and, so, I want to bring on their senior congressional reporter, Manu Raju, who joins me now from Washington.

So, Manu, good to see you. I read your piece and my first thought was, OK, how serious is she about challenging, of all people, Mitch McConnell?


Look, she is starting to put out feelers. She spoke with Kristen Gillibrand, the New York Democrat, about the possibility of running. She spoke to a congressman from Louisville, John Yarmuth, about whether or not it makes sense to jump into the race.

She's spoken to pollsters, to fundraisers, really to see if there is an opening for her to run. By several accounts, she looks like she's seriously exploring the possibility either to run against Mitch McConnell in 2014 or, if not, Rand Paul in 2016, the tea party freshman senator who is up in 2016.

Those are things that she's seriously exploring. Now, whether or not she gets into the race is a completely different question, but as of right now, she looks to at least be putting out feelers and considering a run.

BALDWIN: So, as she is exploring, she's a recent Harvard masters grad at the Kentucky School of Government. We know that.

What gravitas would she be able to bring politically?

RAJU: Will, she certainly would have significant name recognition, way more than any other potential Democratic candidate.

She would be able to raise a lot of money from not just Democratic groups who are very excited by her liberal views and her politics, but also big donors, a lot of her allies in Hollywood.

But, you know, like, she does not have any elected experience. She has not run for political office before, much less against someone against senate minority who is a shrewd campaigner who's very, very experienced, who's building a presidential level campaign operation.

So, this would be a very, very tough bid, especially for a first-time candidate like her.

BALDWIN: You know, when I was reading your piece, I started thinking of other celebrities who've turned to the politician path and you think of Ronald Reagan and Jesse Ventura, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Al Franken, Fred Thompson, Sonny Bono.

But, Manu, what's missing in that list is a woman. What are some of the challenges she'd be facing here if she were to try to blaze the trail? RAJU: Well, I think probably the biggest challenge is the fact that Kentucky is a state that voted overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney, 116 out of 120 counties in Kentucky supported Romney and she was a very, very big Obama supporter.

She's got a lot of liberal point of views that would certainly energize the Democratic base, such as she's very adamantly opposed to the practice of mountain-top removal mining.

That is a practice in which the coal industry strongly supports and, of course, the coal industry is very prevalent in Kentucky.

You know, those are the types of challenges she would face. She would have to sort of finesse both her positions that may be out of step with some of the more conservative voters in the state and come across as someone who would be -- should be taken seriously as a Senate candidate

You know, there is time for all that to happen and a lot of her supporters say that she can certainly do just that given the right circumstances.

BALDWIN: Yeah, I know, we're talking potentially 2014, maybe later, but she would be someone to watch for.

Manu Raju, thank you so much, senior congressional correspondent for Politico. Appreciate it.

RAJU: Any time.

BALDWIN: Next, remembering Dave Brubeck. Not only was he one of the greatest jazz musicians, he was a fighter for civil rights and justice. Don't miss this.


BALDWIN: And, now, a tribute to a jazz legend.

Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck has died. He passed away from heart failure just one day before his 92nd birthday.

And he was legendary for breaking racial barriers, bringing jazz into the mainstream with his innovative style and rhythm.

CNN's Nischelle Turner gives us a look at the life and legend of David Brubeck.


NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Late in his long life, Dave Brubeck was still able to play with the dexterity of a much younger man, the younger man who composed such jazz classics as "Blue Rondo a la Turk" and "Unsquare Dance."

His hands first touched the piano as a boy in Northern California, tutored by his mother, herself a musician, but for a time, he saw his future not in recording, but in ranching.

DAVE BRUBECK, JAZZ MUSICIAN: I grew up around vaqueros and American Indians and real ranch life.

TURNER: His music would become known for its pioneering use of polyrhythm, a style influenced by his time in the saddle.

BRUBECK: Riding horseback on a 45,000 acre ranch, you're alone a lot. And I had nothing to think about except music and the sound of the horse walking or trotting and I would always put another rhythm against that.

TURNER: During the Second World War, Brubeck put together the first integrated Army band, using two black musicians. He later refused to play at venues that didn't allow his black bass player on stage.

While serving in World War II, Brubeck met saxophonist Paul Desmond who later joined his quartet.

In 1959, the group released "Time Out," featuring the Desmond-written tune, "Take Five," one of the most popular songs in the history of jazz.

In the late 1960s, Brubeck disbanded his quartet and focused his energies mostly on orchestra works. Over the course of his career, he recorded more than 100 albums and earned a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement among many other honors.

Well into his eighth decade, he continued to compose and perform on stage, his joy in music still evident.

In 2009, one more life achievement, the Kennedy Center Honor. Upon receiving the accolades, Brubeck said jazz had become an integral part of American culture.

BRUBECK: It's still the most important thing that our culture has produced.

And people don't realize if they go to a Broadway show, they're hearing jazz. If they go to a football game at half time, they hear it.

From the time they're born, they hear it.

TURNER: Nischelle Turner, CNN, Los Angeles.


BALDWIN: Nischelle Turner, thank you.

And before I let you go. You know, Bill Cosby was on CNN a little while ago talking about the legendary Dave Brubeck who was a friend of Mr. Cosby's.

And Bill Cosby said, as he said before, that, you know, racism is just a waste of time and how Dave Brubeck knew it, lived, he had a black bassist who because of this man, Dave Brubeck said no to about two dozen different venues in and around the South, because they would not allow his bassist in to play.

Dave Brubeck died one day shy of his 92nd birthday.

Wolf Blitzer in "The Situation Room" starts now.

WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR, "THE SITUATION ROOM": Brooke, thanks very much.