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Cuomo Push for Gun Crackdown; Bonds, Clemens, Sosa Rejected for Hall of Fame; At Least 57 Injured in Ferry Crash; Armstrong Opening Up to Oprah

Aired January 9, 2013 - 14:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: As I speak, Andrew Cuomo is introducing what's being called one of the toughest gun control laws in the entire country. But, really, will it work? I'm Brooke Baldwin. The news is now.

When celebrities want to confess, they usually go to Oprah. So, for Lance Armstrong, is this the plan?

Plus, the political future of Hugo Chavez on the brink.

And in one county, police don't have enough ammunition because of a run on bullets. One distributor says, he has never seen it so bad.

Good to see you here. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Beating the president to the punch, New York's governor is getting ready to propose sweeping gun control laws. Here he is, Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York. Waiting for him, I should say. That wasn't him there. Using the state of the state address to push for, supporters say, some of the toughest gun restrictions in the whole country.

So here's just some of what we're anticipating the governor to announce. This is according to reporting this morning from "The Wall Street Journal." He is expected to require gun owners to relicense every five years, to broaden the definition of what weapons falls under the state's current ban, and to increase penalties for crimes committed with illegal weapons.

Keep in mind, just if your following the timeline along with us, it has been nearly one month since that school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. And the president's task force in reaction to those killings is also in high gear. The latest development, it will now be talking to Wal-Mart. At first, the nation's largest seller of gun and ammo declined a White House meeting because they said there was some sort of scheduling conflict. But today its vice president of communications said this, let me quote him, quote, "we underestimated the expectation to attend the meeting on Thursday in person. So we are sending in an appropriate representative to participate."

No one, though, is underestimating the pressure the White House is feeling to do something about this. Remember when he asked and announced that the task force here, the president, set this deadline for this month, for some tangible proposals. Today, task force leader, Vice President Joe Biden, pointed out that he has not forgotten when his work is due.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Been doing this a long time. I can't think with -- of all the tragic events we've endured, I don't think anything has touched the heart of the American people so profoundly as seeing those -- learning of those young children not only being shot, but riddled with bullets. We are not going to get caught up in the notion, unless we can do everything, we're going to do nothing. It's critically important we act.


BALDWIN: Want to turn now to someone who studies gun policy for a living. He is Daniel Webster. Joining me now. He is the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.

Mr. Webster, welcome.

Again, we're waiting for the governor, we're waiting for some of the crux of the proposals as he is set to speak there in Albany. But let me just ask you, as we anticipate some of these changes, do you think recertifying gun licenses will actually fly?

DANIEL WEBSTER, JOHN HOPKINS CTR. FOR GUN POLICY & RESEARCH: Well, if you mean will it fly, will it work, I think it's -- I think it's a reasonable measure to put forward. I think it's important to note that New York actually already has some of the most comprehensive gun control laws on the books. And I think they're benefiting from that. They do have a permit purchase licensing system that is much stronger than in most states that my research suggests that really does decrease the diversion of guns to criminals.


WEBSTER: And so I think this measure is just one more layer to improve that. Because they recognize that most of the guns used in crime, particularly in New York City, come from elsewhere. And so they want to make sure people are moving into the state, that they -- they're properly regulated.

BALDWIN: Yes, you mention New York is already pretty tough here. New York is one of seven states that bans some assault weapons. Can you tell me, just run through, since this is what you -- you know, this is your work. What are the other states that have these assault weapons bans? And how difficult was it for each of these states to actually pass these laws?

WEBSTER: You know, so -- yes, as you mentioned, there are seven states that have some form of an assault weapon ban. In my state of Maryland, they only extended two assault pistols. The other states that ban assault weapons, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, Hawaii, I might be missing one. Generally, these were not that difficult to pass because they are in states that generally have been very accepting of gun control. So Maryland has always been one of those states that's sort of been on -- you know, can go either way on a lot of gun control. And I guess they sort of went halfway. They went towards the assault pistols that --


WEBSTER: That actually do feature a lot in violent crime, a little less so in some of the mass shootings. Of course, one was used in the Tucson shooting.

BALDWIN: What about also the -- you know, a lot of people are talking about, you know, if there is more of a ban, an assault weapons ban, let's say if they take that broad measure nationally, for example. If you look at this government report, you think of all the guns that are already in Americans' hands, some 310 million guns, what then happens to those guns? What do you do with them? I know some cities are doing buybacks, but that can't get rid of all of them.

WEBSTER: No, it certainly can't. And that clearly does indicate the limitations of banning assault weapons in terms of just their sale following the -- of such a ban. So a much more difficult question is, do you ban the possession of these weapons or at least something that I think that might possibly be a little more practical, which is ban just the extended large magazine clips that hold so many rounds of ammunition. That is the thing that really most distinguishes these assault weapons. And the reason why we see them so commonly in these mass shootings. We -- the research does show that the larger the capacity for ammunition in a gun, the more people who are wounded or killed in mass shootings.

BALDWIN: OK. Daniel Webster, we appreciate it. We're going to continue the dialogue here on guns in the country. We're also going to talk about that listening session, is what they're calling it in Washington, with these groups and the vice president. That's coming up a little later. Thank you so much.

And now, baseball fans, a developing story here out of Cooperstown, New York. Within the past couple of minutes, we have now learned the Baseball Writers of America said no to Barry Bonds. Said no to his bid for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Not just a no for Barry Bonds. Roger Clemens, no. Sammy Sosa, no. Three hall of famers in any other era, and it just so happens that all three of these men peaked during the steroid era and all three of them allegedly cheated. With me here, former big leaguer, Brian Jordan.

Brian Jordan, none of them. Surprise?



JORDAN: For me, I felt like if this one player should make the hall of fame, it's Jack Morris. Last year, receiving 66.7 votes. This year, was the first ballot hall of famers. Everybody was so excited. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens. As a baseball purist, though, you've got to scratch your head and say, with those stats that these guys put up, how do you leave them off -- out of the hall of fame this year? They should definitely be first ballot. But because Congress got involved, because of the steroid era, the pressure was on Major League Baseball to do just this. You cannot afford to put one of those guys in the hall of fame and then get the negative side that's going to come with it.

BALDWIN: But what about some of the other guys. And, Eric -- I'm just going to talk to the control room here on the fly since they're listening to this now. So are we talking none -- no players? No Piazza. No Biggio. Wow, no one. No one.

JORDAN: Well, look at Barry Larkin last year. He didn't even get in on the first ballot. He got in on the second ballot. Clearly him and Ozzie Smith, the best short stops of all time, and he couldn't make it to first ballot. So it's going to -- it's going to take time for the steroid era to kind of calm down, and I believe Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, will make the hall of fame one day.

BALDWIN: Do we know how long it's been since there have been zero inductees? I bet it's been quite a while.

JORDAN: Oh, it's been a long time.

BALDWIN: A long, long time.


BALDWIN: What does this mean -- as a player, what does it mean to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame?

JORDAN: Wow. It's a --

BALDWIN: How big a deal is this?

JORDAN: You know what, it's a huge deal. I mean this is what you play for, to put up great numbers, to be the elite of the elite. But when it -- decisions are made by writers, you got to have great numbers on the field and you've got to be a good guy off the field, because writers, they never forget. And that's been the knock on Barry Bonds. That's been the knock on Curt Schilling. That's been the knock on Roger Clemens going through this whole situation.


JORDAN: But you look at these guys' stats, seven time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens, seven-time MVP Barry Bonds.


JORDAN: How do you leave them out of the hall of fame?

BALDWIN: I was just reading ESPN this morning, (INAUDIBLE) Matthews, he could have voted. He said, no matter how I try to justify it, none of these gentlemen can pass -- get past this rule five, which reads, I'm going to quote the rule here, "voting shall be based on the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the teams on which the player played."

But then, Brian, you have, what, Ty Cobb. His name always comes up. JORDAN: Yes.

BALDWIN: You're nodding your head. Always comes up in these kinds of talks. Because the man was a scoundrel.


BALDWIN: But he was an amazing player. He's in. Then you have someone like Pete Rose, gambled, broke the rules, not in. What do you make of it?

JORDAN: Well, that's a -- it's a huge conversation that we can have about that because, for me, I think Major League Baseball messed up by not having a drug policy in order, and now you got these guys who use steroids or whatever, PEDs --

BALDWIN: Sold out the stadiums.

JORDAN: Sold -- that's exactly right.

BALDWIN: They did.

JORDAN: Owners made a lot of money. And these guys never failed a test, you know, because there was no drug testing in baseball. So to hold these guys accountable and not be in the hall of fame because of that, to me, it's devastating.

BALDWIN: You played. Is this a knock on your sport?

JORDAN: It is. It's a knock. And a knock that I don't know if Major League Baseball will recover from.

BALDWIN: How about that?


BALDWIN: Brian Jordan, thank you so much for swinging by. We appreciate it.

JORDAN: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Go Braves. There you go.

JORDAN: That's right.

BALDWIN: Appreciate it. Thank you, sir.

Now to this. Did you see this, this morning? This huge jolt rattled this morning's commute in lower Manhattan. This commuter ferry crashed into a dock, injuring at least 57 people. Two are in critical condition. The accident happened right around Wall Street, about 8:45 this morning. And you see there, look closely, center of your screen, now you can really see it, this gash in the ship's bow. This is the Seastreak ferry. It was traveling from New Jersey to New York City -- this is Pier 11, if you know the area. A passenger says she was asleep when this whole thing happened. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I was actually sleeping. All of a sudden we just hit, boom. And people were catapulting forward. It was a big bang, and it was just all of a sudden my face was in the seat in front of me. It happened so fast.


BALDWIN: We do not yet know what caused today's crash. Paramedics, they were out there, they treated dozens of people.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The nature of the injuries are basically the two critical patients are head injuries. One was taken to Cornell and the other one to Beakman (ph). Twenty some odd other patients were long boarded for spinal immobilization and the others were walking wounded taken to various hospitals.


BALDWIN: Let me bring in Alison Kosik. She's there for us right at that pier in New York.

And, Alison, I heard your team actually just spoke with the president of this ferry company. What did they tell you?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. The president of the company said the captain who was at the controls has been with Seastreak for 10 years. That he is actually a senior captain. That he's concerned about these passengers who were injured in this -- in this crash because he knows a lot of them. He's been doing this for many years.

You know, you showed that picture before, but if a picture really tells a story, it really is that huge gash in the hull of the Seastreak Wall Street. Right now, on board, Coast Guard investigators are there, crime scene investigators are doing measurements, they're trying to figure out why this vessel crashed into the dock.

If you ask the New York City transportation commissioner, this is how she puts it. She says it appears the ferry tried to dock at a first slip. It missed it and actually wound up hitting it and then wound up hitting a second dock. And that is the sort of abrupt hit that these passengers are saying that they heard, not the one who was sleeping, but a lot of the passengers who we spoke with, some saying it went from 60 to zero, just a sudden hit.

Another passenger telling me that she remembers flying through the air and then waking up on the ground. A woman shaking her, trying to make sure she's OK. Another passenger saying, what this vessel usually does is it slowly rolls in, and then it goes in reverse and this time around it didn't do it.

But, you know what, we did talk with the president of this company, and he said this captain has been with this -- has been doing this for 10 years. And here's more of what he had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So can I ask you, where was the captain when this incident took place?

JAMES BARKER, PRESIDENT, SEASTREAK: He was in command of the vessel.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So why would this have happened?

BARKER: Sir, we have a full investigation, which we are cooperating with fully right now.


KOSIK: And the breathalyzer test has been conducted on this captain. According to the Coast Guard, initial results show that they came back negative. Also, breathalyzers were done on five crew members. They also came back negative. A drug test on the captain, though, that is pending.


BALDWIN: OK, Alison Kosik, thank you so much. We're going to also be talking to a passenger on board that vessel a little later this hour live on the show.

Still ahead, President Obama announced his pick to replace Tim Geithner at the Treasury Department. How Jack Lew's influence will impact your wallet.

Plus, Lance Armstrong, heading to Oprah. But will he confess to doping? My next guest calls it ridiculous. Don't miss it.


BALDWIN: Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong is headed to the celebrity version of the confessional booth, Oprah Winfrey's sofa. Twitter went wild when Oprah tweeted about the interview which, by the way, will air a week from tomorrow on the Oprah Winfrey Network, calling it "next chapter." It is Armstrong's first interview since the doping revelations led him to being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from Olympic sports for life. Over the years, Armstrong has strongly denied using performance enhancing drugs.


LANCE ARMSTRONG: Everybody wants to know what I'm on. What am I on? I'm on my bike.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: But since the U.S. Anti Doping Authority found him guilty, and his sponsors started fleeing, Armstrong hasn't said a word. A written statement announcing he is stepping down from his foundation Livestrong, this is all we've really had. No admission of guilt. No admission of wrongdoing. Oprah says it will be a tell-all. They're billing this as a no holds barred interview. She, of course, known for snagging the big confessional interviews. Big, big names with sullied reputations heading to her to tell their side of the story.


NADIA SULEMAN, MOTHER OF OCTUPLETS: I'm being this thing that they invented in the freaking media. This octomom. It's gusting.

MARION JONES, TRACK STAR: And when I saw the substance, I mean it's one of those moments that you wish you could go back and you wish you could have again.


BALDWIN: Christine Brennan, "USA Today" sports columnist joins me here on the phone.

Christine, you and I have spoken many, many times about Lance Armstrong. You have been very vocal against him, calling him all kinds of names. Here we have 90 minutes with Oprah. What was your first reaction?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, "USA TODAY" SPORTS COLUMNIST (via telephone): Brooke, my first reaction was, this is stunning. I mean, frankly, for all the years of doping and transgressions that he has been involved with, he's going to need a miniseries to confess to everything. You know, it's only been three months since all of the evidence came out and since Nike dropped him and he had to disassociate himself from Livestrong. Only -- less than three months. And to come clean now, it just looks so transparent, trying to get back in the good graces of fans or potentially sponsors or maybe even the U.S. Anti Doping Agency, although that would not, by itself, change his banishment for life.

BALDWIN: Well, you write a little bit in your column out today about some of this -- how this interview came to be or how they were talking about the possibility of a public admission. Tell me what you know.

BRENNAN: Yes. Well, we have found out at "USA Today" sports that Lance Armstrong and the U.S. Anti Doping Agency's CEO, Travis Tygart, met for more than an hour in early to mid-December to discuss the possibility, Brooke, of a public admission from Lance Armstrong, saying that he used performance enhancing drugs and blood transfusions during his long career. Our source tells us that they believe he is giving -- Lance Armstrong is giving serious consideration to confessing to the American people. So this story is evolving quickly. And we're certainly staying on top of it.

BALDWIN: What if there is a public admission? What will you make of that? What will the cycling world make of that? BRENNAN: Well, it seems -- it does seem transparent, as I said, you know, that he is trying to get something. I mean here is a man who, for years, decades, was so adamant in saying he never did this. And then to turn around so quickly, it certainly, I think, takes us into a window into his world right now. Is it -- is he panicking, certainly missing sports. Of course, these are things he should have thought of years ago. But you wonder about just the depth that he has sunk to, that he feels he's going to try to come clean. And that fans, Brooke, would buy it. You know, I think -- I don't know if it's going to do him more harm than good, frankly, if he were to come out at this point.

BALDWIN: Let me ask you something just on the Oprah side of things, because we just played a clip of Marion Jones several years ago. She did the interview with Oprah in 2008 after she got out of federal prison for lying about steroid use. And Oprah, at the time, was really criticized for going too easy on her, not taking a hard enough line on drug use and sport. If you, Christine Brennan, if you could write a question or two for Oprah to ask Lance Armstrong, what would they be?

BRENNAN: Well, they'd be very specific questions, Brooke. What did you do? When did you do it? As I said, it would require a -- probably a five-part series or miniseries to get to all the answers. I mean we're talking years and years, months, decades.

BALDWIN: Give me one. Give me one good one.

BRENNAN: But, yes, I mean, I would ask specifically, when did you start? Why did you start? And also I think a big one we've all wondered about is, did your use of steroids, performance enhancing drugs, did that actually cause his cancer, which is something that we've always wondered about.

BALDWIN: What about -- finally, let me ask you something here that the head of USADA, Travis Tygart, as you mentioned him, he talked to "60 Minutes" and Armstrong had been involved in intimidation tactics against him, and other members for years. Here's what he told CBS.


SCOTT PELLEY, CBS: Was Lance Armstrong personally involved in intimidating these other riders to keep them quiet?

TRAVIS TYGART, CEO, USADA: He was. It was tough. All these witnesses were scared of the repercussions of them simply telling the truth.

PELLEY: What could Lance Armstrong do to them?

TYGART: Incinerate them.


BALDWIN: Wow. Incinerate them. We also, Tygart said, that Armstrong offered the agency a donation of $250,000. This was a couple of years before the investigation, Christine. But what do you make of that? BRENNAN: Well, one of the things, Brooke, that I think is important to keep in mind, if Lance Armstrong were to come clean and confess to everything, that would open up, as Travis Tygart was talking about, all of these people in his -- who he's left in his wake, who he's destroyed, their businesses, their livelihood, their reputation. The lawsuits, the legal implications if Lance Armstrong does admit to everything would be enormous. And that's why I think a lot of experts are saying, he's not going to admit to it because there is way too much legal damage that it could cause him. But it's true, I mean, Lance Armstrong -- the story of Lance Armstrong is an ugly, messy, terrible story of how he treated people for, as I said, more than a decade.

BALDWIN: Ninety-minute interview a week from tomorrow. Christine Brennan, "USA Today" sports columnist, thank you.

BRENNAN: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: One city declaring a state of emergency over the flu. Up next, details on the drastic measures being taken to contain the deadly virus.

Plus, new revealing cell phone photos of the Aurora, Colorado, shooting suspect here. How these pictures of the theater itself and the suspect could prove the deadly massacre was planned days in advance. We're on the case.


BALDWIN: Some of the hottest stories here in a flash. "Rapid Fire." Roll it.

Get a flu shot. Four simple words. I know I did about a month ago. This is the message here from health experts at the CDC. At least 43 states are now reporting widespread flu cases. Hospitals across the country struggling to keep up with the patient load. In Allentown, Pennsylvania, a hospital was forced to open up tents outside just to treat the overflow.


CHERYL PALM, NURSE, LEHIGH VALLEY HEALTH NETWORK: We are loaded with a lot of patients that are testing positive for the flu.


BALDWIN: In Boston, Mayor Thomas Menino today declared a public health emergency with 700 confirmed cases of the flu there since October.

In Australia, fires continue to tear across the country's southeast. Look. Look at this. This is the state of New South Wales. More than 100 fires there burning on the outskirts of Sydney and the capital of Australia. The change in wind direction has brought temperatures down just slightly, they say, but temperatures continue to soar above the 100 degree mark. This is the worst heat wave on record for them there. And Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III had surgery just this morning to repair those two ligaments in his right knee. The Redskins rookie sensation was initially hurt in that 12th game of the season, then did additional damage Sunday in a playoff loss to Seattle. Experts say he faces a lengthy rehab as he tries to return for next season.

Hillary Clinton speaking publicly for the very first time since her dramatic health scare. The secretary of state back at work this week after a concussion and a blood clot. Today, during a photo-op with America's ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney, she talked about leaving her job and she talked about her replacement, Senator John Kerry. Here she was.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: It's, you know, obviously somewhat bittersweet because I've had the most extraordinary experience and I work with just an amazing team of people. But I'm very much looking forward to doing everything we can these last few weeks to resolve and finish up wherever possible and to then to, you know, have a very smooth, seamless transition to Senator Kerry to continue the work.


BALDWIN: By the way, doctors say Clinton will be OK.

Question, did ESPN react too harshly here to announcer Brent Musburger's comments over Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron's girlfriend? Katherine Webb sure thinks so. ESPN issued a statement apologizing for Musburger's comments to the reigning Miss Alabama USA, saying the comments there, they went too far. But she spoke to Matt Lauer on the "Today" show and she thinks the sports network has been unfair to Musburger. Listen.


KATHERINE WEBB, GIRLFRIEND OF ALABAMA QUARTERBACK AJ MCCARRON: I think the media has been really unfair to him. I think that if he would have said something of -- along the line of -- that I -- we were hot or sexy or made any derogatory statements like that, I think that would have been a little bit different. But the fact that he said that we were beautiful and gorgeous, I don't see why any woman wouldn't be flattered by that.


BALDWIN: That's not all. Webb has become an overnight sensation online going from a modest Twitter following to more than 228,000 followers. This is as of this afternoon. So what does she think about all that attention?


WEBB: You know, I'm honestly really shocked that it really took off like that. And, you know, I think that we need to draw back our attention to who the real winners are and that's, you know, the Alabama football team. They spent so long getting ready for this season and they won their second back-to-back national championship, and that's such an accomplishment.


BALDWIN: Another domino today in the president's cabinet shuffle. This time, this is a position that impacts your wallet, especially with the new fiscal deadlines coming up. So, who is Jack Lew and what would he do at the Treasury Department? That's next.

But first, quick check here of the big board, the Dow is down. Let me take a look. It is up 57 points. Here you go. You're CNN NEWSROOM.