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CNN NEWSROOM

School Shooting in California; Debating Gun Control; Getting a Mortgage Gets Tougher

Aired January 10, 2013 - 15:00   ET

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


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour, I'm Brooke Baldwin. Back to the developing story out of Taft, California, reports of a school shooting. Let me bring in George Howell. We talked about the last hour. We talked to someone from the sheriff's department there in town. What more do you know?

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The CNN NEWSROOM has been in touch to learn that there will be a 3:00 p.m. press conference.

BALDWIN: At 3:00 p.m. Eastern?

HOWELL: Eastern Time. But at this point, we understand, Brooke, that this is a student who walked into the school with a shotgun to shoot another student. We know one student has been shot and airlifted to the hospital. There is a report according to KERO TV that there was a person injured and refused treatment.

This point at least one person was taken to the hospital. This all happened around 9:00 this morning on the west coast. We understand that police arrived and searched the building and took the shooter into custody about 20 minutes after they got there. He is in custody and they spent time searching the building just to make sure they accounted for everyone.

BALDWIN: I want to go to Kyung Lah who is on the scene to let everyone know what the PIO from the sheriff's department told me. There had been one student shot and he said as far as he knew, just one injury. The suspect was a student again as you pointed out using a shotgun.

Kyung Lah, let me go to you. Tell me where you are specifically and what you are know?

KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Brooke, I am actually standing right outside the building just across the street from the science building where police tell us the shooting occurred. Right next to the building is the school auditorium. The doors are open.

You can see teachers holding up signs. They are trying to divide up students, organize students inside the auditorium. And we are starting to see students now start to exit the auditorium. I'm actually standing on the same side and you can hear a lot of voices behind me. A lot of the parents here are on one side of the tape, extremely upset. The school was on lockdown. We understand that the kids are going to start coming out on their own and going to get -- start reconnecting to the parents. Something interesting that I did found out is that a neighbor that lives right across the street from the science building, she actually saw -- and this is again a witness and we haven't confirmed this, but she is saying that she saw a young man, someone who looked like a student walk into the school with a short gun.

She thought it was a toy gun, but then she heard two very loud shots shortly after that. This is still very much an active scene. Again, these students -- we are looking at these teachers holding up the signs trying to get the students organized as the students get reconnected with their very, very anxious and upset parents -- Brooke.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Kyung, let me just ask you one more question. Early on as in cases like this when it's very fluid, different numbers come out as far as number of injured.

I'm hearing now from this public information officer from the county one injury. Does that jibe with what you heard?

LAH: We have heard that there has been one person airlifted. But the same woman who said she saw a young man walking into the school with a short gun, she said that there was another student taken to the hospital, but that the injuries were not that severe.

Again, all of this very fluid. We are looking at witnesses and we know that these stories change later on. But as far as what police are telling us, we are only hearing that one person has been airlifted to the hospital.

BALDWIN: OK, Kyung Lah, I will let you hop off the phone, get a little bit more information. If you get something new, we will have thank call back in, Kyung Lah for us. Thank you very much.

Want to turn now to the story I know a lot of people were talking about a number of months ago, talking about Junior Seau. Now this team of scientist who analyzed his brain tissue have discovered he had a debilitating brain disease.

Doctors believe the former NFL all-star linebacker who took his own life -- that was just last May -- had this disease. It's known as CTE caused by two decades of taking hard hits to his head.

I'm joined now by chief medical correspondent and neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Drew Findling, criminal defense attorney who is involved in a class-action lawsuit, players suing the NFL.

Gentlemen, welcome.

DREW FINDLING, ATTORNEY: Thank you.

Sanjay Gupta, let me just begin with you, Dr. Gupta. I remember the story broke on the show in May, his suicide. Now that we are learning about this debilitating brain disease, can we connect any of this?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think we can say there is an association now.

What people always want is the direct cause and effect relationship. It's just a really hard thing to establish in science. It takes decades to establish that sort of thing. Even between something like smoking, for example, and lung cancer, those things took a long time to establish. It's the same here.

But we do know there is an association and we know the CTE that you are describing, chronic traumatic encephalopathy...

BALDWIN: What is that?

GUPTA: You can almost describe it like an Alzheimer's-like thing that is happening in the brain.

BALDWIN: Wow.

GUPTA: Typically, you think of that happening in people of their seventh and eighth decades of life. This is happening in people much younger.

We know it is associated with hits to the head. We don't know of any other cause for this sort of thing. There is this triad -- Brooke, we talked about this -- I remember reporting this with you and it was really sad and this depression and anger and impulsivity and memory loss. The three sort of things often are what mark CTE and that's what people and family members and friends often describe when someone is alive.

Again, as hard as it is to talk about, he shot himself in the chest, as did Dave Duerson. Dave Duerson left a note saying he shot himself in the chest because he wanted his brain studied and people surmised that may have been the same with Junior Seau.

BALDWIN: I see this brain here and I want to get to it in a minute and talk a little bit more in the minutia about what this is when and what they found.

But, Drew, to you, as we mentioned, you are involved in one of these cases. Why sue the NFL?

FINDLING: We sue the NFL because there seems to be a body of work that was available to the NFL.

In 2002, the relationship between CTE and the death of Mike Webster, Hall of Fame football player, was brought forth by an independent physician. From 2002 to 2007, the NFL did a study with different physicians advising the NFL and the NFL was quite frankly dismissive of that study, referring it in very un-nice terms what they thought of the science involved.

Because of that dismissiveness and the fact that the NFL has been flourishing during this period of time, this lawsuit is brought on behalf of players that are saying we sacrifice ourselves physically for you and we need to be compensated like any other work force where there is some disease attributed to the workplace. BALDWIN: You think of the NFL, it is an incredibly profitable enterprise. Right? But these guys, I talk to some of them. They get their bell rung week after week. We don't know what the results of some of these cases, what may happen. But how could this impact the NFL in general?

FINDLING: This is what I would say.

Since '09 when the NFL came up with a certain number of rules to govern how head injuries are handled, the NFL has stepped up. We are really looking historically. And the reason we are looking historically is these players were the foundation of this industry that is spinning off not millions, but billions of dollars.

BALDWIN: Billions.

FINDLING: It's this foundation, these people that constitute the foundation that need to be compensated.

I say this to the viewers. Who can really name their favorite 10 offensive linemen in the last 25 years? Nobody can name any of these guys, but yet these guys were just in full physical contact with their heads for years and years and have sustained terrible injuries.

BALDWIN: Sanjay Gupta, we have the brain. Tell me where -- what was found exactly.

GUPTA: The interesting thing, first of all, they relate this to concussions a lot, but it doesn't -- we're learning it doesn't have to be concussions per se that can cause this thing in the brain, CTE.

Is it can be these sub-concussive hits which I think Drew is alluding to, the hits where a player gets right back up and seemingly nothing is wrong. They can accumulate over time in terms of impact on the brain.

In the case of Junior Seau, we are talking about a very specific area of the brain and the area that the hippocampus it's called, and it is often responsible for memory and storing memories. That's why forgetfulness is one of the cardinal symptoms of this.

But I saw this firsthand as well, Drew, at some of the labs where they were actually looking at this. I want to show you the specific thing known as tau protein. Tau protein is something we typically think of with regard to Alzheimer's disease.

But look at that. Sometimes, a picture is worth 1,000 words. On the left, a normal brain. I don't know, Brooke, if you can make this out, but those brown spots...

BALDWIN: On the bottom left?

GUPTA: Yes, On the bottom right now, the brain with CTE, the brown spots, that is the protein that accumulates in the brain. Again, you see this with Alzheimer's-like diseases, but here we're seeing it in someone in Junior's case 43 years old. BALDWIN: We will follow it. Gentlemen, thank you. It's sad.

GUPTA: Thank you.

BALDWIN: And now to this. A short time ago, Vice President Joe Biden announced he will have gun recommendations on the president's desk by next Tuesday. He just finished meeting with the gun rights defenders and with the NRA. In remarks before the session, he seemed to suggest the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School four weeks ago tomorrow have brought the nation to a turning point.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is nothing that has gone to the heart of the matter more than the visual image people have of little 6-year-old kids riddled, not shot with a stray bullet, but riddled, riddled with bullet holes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Joining me now from New York is CNN's Fareed Zakaria of "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS."

Fareed, I was thinking about this before. You and I haven't even talked since the shootings in Sandy Hook. And 20 kids, six adults shot dead. We haven't spoken since the president declared these tragedies have to end. Fareed, do you think that the vice president is right? Has something changed because of this, keeping in mind we have had debates before and nothing seems to have really happened?

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN WORLD AFFAIRS ANALYST: The country is clearly changing, Brooke.

I think Sandy Hook has been a huge turning point and there is a shift of consciousness. We are becoming more aware of just how anomalous the U.S. is. We have 30,000 gun deaths a year and most countries have a few hundred. We have 10,000 gun homicides a year. England and Wales have I think it's 35 or 40.

We are beginning to realize that. The question is, will the political system change? There is still such a powerful lobby. There so many entrenched interests that have gutted, that have traditionally gutted any effort. First of all, they block it and then if it happens, they gut it and riddle it with exceptions and loopholes.

So the real challenge here will be to take this shift in national consciousness and actually drive it through to make it a shift in policy.

BALDWIN: Riddle it with holes and Mayor Bloomberg calling it like Swiss cheese.

We mentioned the vice president. Just yesterday, he alarmed defenders by saying a gun control package might include an executive order. This executive order, that seemed to strike some as ominous, but our legal analyst, Jeff Toobin, tells us it's really not a big deal. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: President Obama by his own by executive order cannot impose an assault weapons ban, because Congress has to do that. Only Congress can pass a law. All an executive order can do is use power that Congress has already given to the president in a different law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: You have a limit to what the president can do himself and as soon as you say the two words, gun control, as pointed out a moment ago, you have members of Congress they start fleeing for the exits. Is the problem too big for our government, Fareed?

ZAKARIA: I don't think it's too big for our government. I think it's too big for our politicians, by which I mean we know what the solution is. This is actually one of these cases where people say it's all very complex. It's not very complex. Australia put in place a ban on all automatic and semiautomatic weapons. Gun homicide in Australia has gone down 60 percent since then. Why? Because there is a real ban. They didn't have 600 exemptions like our '94 assault weapons ban had.

We know what to do. The government could do this very effectively. The question is will our politicians have the courage to protect our children?

BALDWIN: Tell me about your special this Sunday, speaking of challenges the president faces. Right? You have assembled some major heavy hitters to talk about some of the challenges facing President Obama during term number two.

ZAKARIA: He is only the 17th president to have a second term. These generally don't go so well. So what I did was, we talked to former secretaries of state and secretaries of Treasury, chiefs of staff and asked, what would you do to snake this a successful second term? They have got some surprising answers.

BALDWIN: What would you do? Fareed Zakaria, thank you.

Programming reminder, Fareed's special "Memo to the President" airs Sunday at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: Another domino falls in the president's Cabinet and as he is naming replacements, none is a woman. I'm Brooke Baldwin. The news is now.

(voice-over): Listen up, homeowners. The Fed is introducing new rules that could make it harder for you to get a mortgage. Plus, one group wants to see pictures of Osama bin Laden's body. Now a court is hearing its case against the president. And...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The nominees are...

BALDWIN: The glitz, the glamour, the controversy. Some big names left off the Oscar list. You will hear them right after this.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: It is the biggest debt most of us ever take on, a mortgage. We all watched what happened with the mortgage meltdown.

Whether you are a homeowner or a renter, it affected all of us by bringing on the great recession. Well, today, the government's consumer watchdog, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, announced these new rules for home loans.

What are they supposed the to do? They're supposed to protect borrowers from getting loans they can't afford and protect lenders from lawsuits. Let me just run through some of this for you. Take a look at the screen.

You have no more down payment loans -- no more no down payment loans, I should say, no more qualifying for a loan at artificially low teaser rates. No more of that. No more so-called low doc or no doc loans. Borrowers' total debt cannot exceed 43 percent of their income and loans cannot be longer than 30 years.

John Adams is nodding his head to all of the new rules here. He's a longtime real estate expert, writes for a column on Sunday, "Atlanta Journal-Constitution" newspaper.

Welcome, John Adams.

JOHN ADAMS, "ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION": Thank you.

BALDWIN: Let's just off the bat. What are these changes? All these new rules we read through, what does that mean for if you are buying or refinancing a home?

ADAMS: It will be more difficult to get a loan than it was five or seven years ago.

Everybody knows that the lending environment was far too loose. Anybody could walk in seven years ago and you didn't have to prove any income. It was a no doc loan. You could probably get it with no down payment. That didn't make sense. You had no skin in the game and that's why we had so many loans go bad.

(CROSSTALK)

ADAMS: Right.

The pendulum has swung and the now lenders are worried that if they make loans now that they have financial liability. The rule is the ability to repay. If the borrower does not demonstrate the ability to repay the loan, then the loan goes bad and then the lender can be charged with the loan.

BALDWIN: This protects the lenders as well.

ADAMS: This protects the lenders, exactly.

If they use these new rules, which everybody will, it will be designated a qualified borrower. And qualified borrowers are sort of like pre-approved by Fannie Mae and they say we will take that loan and if it goes bad, it's our fault, not yours.

BALDWIN: The pendulum has swung, new rules. How does it affect the housing market?

ADAMS: It's not good. A lot of the housing market right now depends on first-time homebuyers. These are the people who most need help, because they tend not to have much in the way of a down payment and they tend not to have the best credit in the world, because they are just getting started.

BALDWIN: Right.

ADAMS: Builders frequently have offered these adjustable rate mortgages with teaser rates to get them into the house and get started. As we talk about in real estate, once you are on the ladder, you may be on the bottom rung of the ladder, but when the ladder moves, you are still on it.

This is just going to make it harder for people who don't own real estate and have not established themselves financially to grab on to that bottom rung.

BALDWIN: What if you are very, very low on the ladder, let's say you are underwater on your mortgage. Does this affect you at all?

ADAMS: No.

BALDWIN: No.

ADAMS: You can't borrow anyway. The problem is now only the most qualified borrowers that have a large amount of cash and a solid gold credit score and a traditional provable income are going to get loans today.

If you are like me and you have non-traditional income, sort of self- employed or that type of thing, it will be very difficult. If you don't have a big chunk of change to put down, it will be very difficult. And woe be unto you if you are looking for a jumbo mortgage which exceeds the Fannie Mae limit and they are changing it, but around $340,000.

BALDWIN: Good luck with that?

ADAMS: Good luck with that.

BALDWIN: Good luck with that.

John Adams, we will read your column in the "AJC." Thank you, sir.

ADAMS: My pleasure.

BALDWIN: By the way, we just heard from Fareed Zakaria about his special on President Obama's second term. That special airs 8:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m. Eastern Sunday night right here on CNN.

Top-secret classified photos of Osama bin Laden's body. Coming up next, you are about to hear from the head of the group suing the president to release the photos.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: A federal appeals court heard a case today about someone who was America's most hated man, Osama bin Laden. The terrorist leader who was killed two years ago. The president proclaimed it. Multiple movies and books have chronicled it.

But now one group is pushing for more. It wants the government to release all 52 photos of bin Laden's body from the killing to the burial at sea. Judicial Watch was initially turned down, but just this morning its lawyers made an appeal to a panel of three federal judges in D.C. and inside that hearing room was the president of Judicial Watch, Mr. Tom Fitton.

Tom, welcome.

TOM FITTON, PRESIDENT, JUDICIAL WATCH: Hey. Thank you.

BALDWIN: Why do you want the photos released?

FITTON: The law requires it. This is basic information about the death of Osama bin Laden, the most important military victory frankly in the entire war against terrorism.

The administration wants to withhold these documents simply because it might upset foreign populations and get the terrorists upset. We don't think you can just throw aside our nation's transparency laws because doing so would upset the terrorists. What other laws do we throw aside?

BALDWIN: I know you say -- you talk about the law, but I just have to read you what Jay Carney, the White House spokesperson, said at the time. I'm quoting him: "It is not in our national security interest to allow these images to become icons to rally opinion against the United States."

When we talk about and we hear from the White House the possible consequences of releasing these photos, it might inflame the Arab world and we think of our men and women fighting overseas, they may be in harm's way, do you not believe that that could happen?

FITTON: It may happen, but we don't know it's going to happen.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Why do you want to take that chance?

FITTON: The law requires the release of this information. It's more important that we follow our laws that give the people access to information about what its government is doing than to say we are not going to allow the American people to allow what its government is doing because doing so might upset the terrorists.

Everything we do upsets the terrorists. What other laws shouldn't we follow because they upset the terrorists? The government for instance in withholding -- trying to withhold this information cited a false "Newsweek" publication as upsetting the terrorists and the publication of cartoons as upsetting the terrorists.

The implication is maybe we shouldn't do those things. Maybe the government should censor that information.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Why would you want that to happen? If you look at the uproar from that silly -- it was a silly YouTube video mocking the Prophet Mohammed just before 9/11 of last year. You had all the riots globally. Why do you want to take that chance? Is it really just about the law or do you not believe that he is dead?

FITTON: Oh, it is about the law. I believe he is dead.

Certainly, the Obama administration leaked all sorts of other information about the bin Laden death. We will have the motion picture courtesy in part of the Obama administration extolling the victory there.

And that's fine. But then to go ahead and say we can't have the basic information is ridiculous. Interestingly, one of the judges today said that Benghazi video caused the death of an ambassador. This is a perfect example of the government putting out a line that turned out to be false, that the video actually did result in the death of the ambassador, when it was something else.

The terrorists always have excuses to go after us, and we should follow the law and blame the terrorists if they do anything inappropriate, but we can't just throw out our laws because the terrorists don't like the results.

BALDWIN: As you point out, you are mentioning what a judge said this morning in the hearing room. How confident are you when it comes to your appeal? What happens next in the process?

FITTON: It will be a few months before the court rules one way or another. The lower court ruled against us. The courts are very deferential to the federal government on matters like this.

But let's be clear. Never before has the government sought to successfully withhold information simply because it would upset outsiders like the Obama administration is alleging here. This would be rewriting FOIA law. And we would be in very dangerous territory when it comes to government transparency for both the American people's right to know and the First Amendment and the exercise of that by the press if the government is able to withhold information just because it might upset folks.

BALDWIN: Let me take this a step farther. If you win, if the pictures are released, what would you do with them?

FITTON: They would be made available to the public.

BALDWIN: How so?

FITTON: And CNN could choose to run them. They would be on the Internet or made available otherwise everywhere we could to folks who wanted access to this information.

The law requires that access be given. If they want to withhold certain information that relates to intelligence specifically, that's appropriate. But, for instance, the burial of bin Laden where he is put in a sheet and wrapped and on the aircraft carrier, how is that inflammatory? That's just straightforward information.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: What's the takeaway for the average American to see a photograph of bin Laden dead? We know he is dead. Why do we need to see evidence?

FITTON: It's not for us to judge whether or not we need the information.

The government is required to give it to us under law. If the government says you can't have information because you don't need it, that's not a republican form of government. That's a government that is at odds with American values.

BALDWIN: Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, thank you.

FITTON: Hey. Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Let me name-drop for a second. John Kerry, Chuck Hagel, John Brennan and now Jack Lew, all men who could become part of the president's second-term Cabinet. So, the question is, where are the women? Gloria Borger has some thoughts.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: We are here.

BALDWIN: We're here. We're next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)