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CNN NEWSROOM

Residents Talk School's Future; Python-Hunting Contest Under Way; Bath Salts and the Military; Flu Epidemic Covers 47 States; "American Journey"; Gun Violence Sparks Religious Divide; Biden to Present Gun Control Recommendations; Inauguration Prep Ongoing

Aired January 13, 2013 - 19:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN ANCHOR: You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Drew Griffin in for Don Lemon tonight. Let's get you up to speed on this hour's "Top Stories".

Gun rights activists on one side, people calling for tighter gun control on the other. This is the week those two sides will butt head again when the Vice President and his task force send gun violence recommendations to the Oval Office. The head of the NRA says he is ready to fight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID KEENE, NRA PRESIDENT: The likelihood is that they are not going to be able to get an assault weapons ban through this Congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: Stay right there. More voices from the gun control debate in a minute.

But first, police in San Diego were forced to shoot a man with a gun who ran inside a movie theater. It happened yesterday. Police responding to a domestic disturbance called chased the armed suspect into a crowded theater. Witnesses say moviegoers poured out as police raced inside. An officer shot the suspect; that suspect survived but is in critical condition. Nobody else is hurt.

A political wound may be reopened in Egypt. Former President Hosni Mubarak has won his appeal and is going to get a new trial. An Egyptian court overturned Mubarak's life sentence for his role in the killing of protesters during Egypt's revolution. Mubarak supporters cheered in court when the decision came down.

Mubarak will remain in custody until his new trial starts. His lawyer says the next court date likely in April.

Hundreds of thousands of people opposing same-sex marriage rallied in the streets of Paris today.

France's president is pushing a plan to legalize same-sex marriage and adoptions, but it's facing strong opposition from the Roman Catholic Church and social conservatives. The plan, expected to be voted on by the National Assembly in February or March.

New allegations of gang rape sparking outrage again in India -- police say seven men gang-raped a woman this weekend. The victim is a 29- year-old woman. She says she was riding a bus home Friday night when she was attacked. Police arrested six men. They are searching for a seventh suspect.

It is a brutal reminder of a similar case last month, a 23-year- old woman died from injuries after she was gang raped on a bus.

A break for Americans hoping to adopt Russian children: a ban on American adoptions will not go into effect now until next year. That's according to a Russian news agency.

These are hundreds of Russians protesting the ban in Moscow believing the government passed it as backlash for a new law -- a U.S. law that targets human rights violations in Russia. Well, the decision to delay the ban means that 46 adoptions now in process should go through.

A quick update from the NFL, the Atlanta Falcons blew a 20-point lead against the Seattle Seahawks today, but did pull out a victory anyway. Atlanta's Matt Briant kicked a last-second field goal to give the Falcons a win 30-28. Atlanta advancing to the conference championship game next weekend against San Francisco. The winner goes to the Super Bowl to take on the AFC champion.

It is 30 days since the massacre at that elementary school in Connecticut. Two days until the Vice President and his task force make public their ideas to put breaks on gun violence. Listen to some of the voices today from both lawmakers and gun rights lobbyists.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: I'm urging our country's major gun retailers like Wal-Mart and Sports Authority to suspend sales of modern assault-style weapons until Congress is able to fully consider and vote on legislation to curb gun violence.

KEENE: When a President takes all of the power of his office if he's willing to expend political capital, you don't want to make predictions. You don't want to bet your house on the outcome, but I would say that the likelihood is that they are not going to be able to get an assault weapons ban through this Congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: CNN's Susan Candiotti is in Newtown, Connecticut, right now. The people of that town marked one month since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School and discussed the delicate subject of what to do about the school itself.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Drew, tonight in Newtown there was a public forum with many people trying to decide what to do about the future of Sandy Hook Elementary School where the shooting occurred. And there were so many different opinions. Do they tear it down forever? Do they rebuild the school? Do they put a memorial there? Hard to get a consensus, but not surprising in this town since it's only been a month since the shooting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): St. Rose of Lima Church lost nine of its youngest members at Sandy Hook. A vigil drew thousands that first night, and then there were the funerals.

DEACON RICK SCINTO, ST. ROSE OF LIMA CHURCH: I was this far away from the -- from the families. It was -- it was palpable what they were going through.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): How well are people healing?

SCINTO: There's still a lot of pain, a lot of grief. When that's going to go away, I don't know. It might not -- it might not ever go away.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Arriving daily to ease that pain, something that astounds Deacon Rick Scinto and fellow parishioners.

(on camera): It's a month later. What are all these boxes doing here?

SCINTO: These are the gifts, these are letters, these are prayer cards coming in from all over the country, all over the world.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Thousands of pieces of mail carefully sorted for each victim, including the shooter's mother and the killer himself.

(on camera): What is this all a sign of?

SCINTO: This is the world putting their arm around Newtown and saying that we're here for you in some way.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Like a huge banner that reads "We are with you, Newtown", filled with signatures hanging from an overpass. It's all the way from Tucson, Arizona, the site of the Gabby Giffords mass shooting. Down the street from the elementary school a bouquet marks a spot where a makeshift memorial once stood, now dismantled, composted, preserved for a permanent memorial.

In this community people turn to each other for strength, many with the same question.

SCINTO: The main questions of why, why did this happen? How did this happen?

CANDIOTTI: Seeking answers no one may ever have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CANDIOTTI: And at this point no perfect answer about the future of Sandy Hook Elementary -- Drew. GRIFFIN: Susan Candiotti tonight in Newtown, Connecticut.

Well, a weapon of an entirely different sort turned up in New York City a couple of days ago. I want you to take a look at this that is a revolutionary war cannon. It was on public display in Central Park for more than 100 years. Workers cleaning it on Friday realized it was loaded the entire time. There was a cannonball inside and live gun powder.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an amazing surprise. That it was there for so many years and people could have -- were sitting on it when it was a loaded cannon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: Amazing the cleaning crew called the bomb squad who disarmed the cannon and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. A police spokesman says in theory that cannon could have been fired all those years it was on public display.

Well people are hunting pythons in Florida today and they can win prizes. It's part of a month-long contest called "The Python Challenge" designed to tackle the problem of exploding python population. Our own John Zarrella talked with a python hunter and a state officer about this contest.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTIN MATTHEWS, PYTHON HUNTER, NATIVE WILDLIFE REHAB FACILITY: You can go out there for days and days and days and not see one python. I don't care how much experience you have. It is going to take some luck.

JORGE PINO, FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION: If we remove one snake from the ecosystem, we've done a good thing. So imagine if 700 people are out there and they all bring one snake, that's 700 snakes -- less snakes that we have out in the ecosystem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: John Zarrella is in the Florida Everglades with the latest on the python hunting contest -- John.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm out here on the Tam Miami trail and this is a road that goes east/west and bisects the Florida Everglades between Miami and Naples. We're actually closer to Naples now than we are to Miami and we've been out here for a couple hours looking for pythons. It's not that easy to find them that's for sure. But at night the reason we're out here is because they like to come up by the road and take the warmth of that road off the pavement and that keeps their bodies warm, their cold-blooded creatures.

And I'm joined by Justin Matthews. And Justin we've been out here with you. You're an expert, a wildlife expert trying to find these things, but the reality is we didn't get any, we didn't find any.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

ZARRELLA: But that's to be expected.

MATTHEWS: Yes, it is. A needle in a haystack. I would actually be surprised if we would have came out today and got a snake.

ZARRELLA: And that's because it's been so warm lately.

MATTHEWS: Yes it's been so warm. They've been curled up. They've been, you know, hiding in the shade, in the thicket where people can't go, and chances are we've walked right by one today.

ZARRELLA: We didn't even see it.

MATTHEWS: We didn't even see it.

ZARRELLA: Now it's an invasive species. They're trying to get rid of them here.

MATTHEWS: Right.

ZARRELLA: They're a real problem in Florida, south Florida especially, right?

MATTHEWS: Yes, big problem. They're killing our native wildlife.

ZARRELLA: Car going by of course right here.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

ZARRELLA: Not that many though.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

ZARRELLA: And they're doing -- they're killing the native wildlife --

MATTHEWS: Yes they are. And that's why we're here. You know we've run a wildlife rescue and we want to save native wildlife.

ZARRELLA: Well you know good luck. There's a month of this hunt to go so you will be back.

MATTHEWS: Yes right, oh definitely. Yes.

ZARRELLA: You're going to try and get some more. So -- but the reality is, as Justin was saying you know, it's like a needle in a haystack out here or anywhere. There's millions of acres of Everglades and maybe there's 100,000 or 150,000 of these snakes that -- that are out here. And that's at the top end.

So it's -- it's really going to be interesting to see how many people over the course of the month catch snakes and how many actually are brought in, in total.

John Zarrella, CNN, reporting from the Florida Everglades.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: All right John, thanks.

A terrifying new commercial about a synthetic drug aimed at U.S. sailors.

We've got the details about this jaw-dropping ad and the even more frightening trend that prompted the U.S. Navy to make it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GRIFFIN: The U.S. military has a new challenge to fight, the use of synthetic drugs. They're known as "bath salts". Among the rank and file, it is a growing problem because the drugs are cheap, readily available and don't always show up on drug tests.

Here is our Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: It's a shocking video in which an actor plays an American sailor high on bath salts. He sees other sailors as demons, punches his girlfriend, and gets wheeled into the ER pinned down by paramedics.

LT. GEORGE LOEFFLER, NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER: Bath salts not only will jack up your family and your career, they'll jack up your mind and your body, too.

LAWRENCE: The Navy is increasing efforts to warn sailors after military doctors started seeing more cases. These bath salts don't have anything to do with therapy or the salts you use at home.

DR. ALEXANDER GARRARD, UPSTATE NEW YORK POISON CENTER: What we're talking about here are very potent synthetic drugs that are probably synthesized somewhere overseas and we think possibly China.

LAWRENCE: Dr. Alex Garrard has seen dozens of cases first hand.

GARRARD: People act very primal -- primal instincts, animalistic behavior.

LAWRENCE: He's seen users who think they have superhuman strength and are almost impossible to subdue.

GARRARD: That's where we see things you know like the ripping out you know the taser wires, they're impervious to pain, they don't really feel anything.

LAWRENCE: Why are bath salts popular with troops? They're sold under catchy names like "Bolivian Bath" or "Vanilla Sky". A packet only costs $25 to $50.

GARRARD: It's cheap, perhaps sometimes cheaper than other drugs on the street. You can get it from a head shop, smoke shop. So it's readily available.

LAWRENCE: You can inject or snort it, smoke it, or swallow and it doesn't pop positive on a normal urinalysis. In 2011 an Army Sergeant killed himself, his wife and young son while he was high on bath salts. The Naval Academy kicked out 16 midshipmen for using another synthetic drug "spice". The military started random testing for synthetics last year, but it's hard to keep up with the science.

GARRARD: But all the drug dealers, the chemists have to do is manipulate the molecule ever so slightly, you have a new drug, a new chemical that kind of flies under the radar.

LAWRENCE: In fact since the U.S. government banned the two main chemical called naphyrone started showing up, and it's ten times as potent as cocaine. Now, bath salts cannot (ph) be detected during a normal urinalysis, but just this week the navy started testing sailors and marines specifically for the drug.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: "USA Today" is reporting that disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong will admit doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. Armstrong's interview with Winfrey will air Thursday. It will be his first television interview since he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. Some cycling observers say it is about time Armstrong confessed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Better late than never. I mean, it's bad that he did it to start with, but at least he'll come clean, to so speak.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now that he's been dropped from the cycling world, I don't think it will hurt him. I think -- I believe that this will soften up and maybe, you know, his admission of -- if he does admit it, it will bring him back into the cycling world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: Thursday's interview will air at 9:00 p.m. on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Well, if you can't be king for a day, someone was able to be president. These are preparations under way for President Obama's second swearing in, almost a week from tomorrow. We've got the details on what it takes to arrange and protect a presidential inauguration.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GRIFFIN: There's a new Miss America and she's a student of fashion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your new Miss America is Miss New York.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: Miss New York is Mallory Hagan, a student of the Fashion Institute of Technology. The win brings with it $50,000 of scholarship money. For the talent competition she tap danced to James Brown.

If you're coughing and sneezing today, you're a member of a very big club. The flu is making life miserable for thousands of people this weekend. Health officials in 47 states are reporting widespread flu activity and several governors have set in motion public emergency measures.

Here is our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's the worst flu season in years, by now you know that. Emergency rooms in many places are overflowing. It's a fast-moving story so here is what you need to know.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GUPTA: The flu strikes fast, and symptoms much more severe than a common cold. You feel fine one day, and then the next, a sudden fever, sore throat, headache, and tightness in the chest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over 200,000 people every year are hospitalized with influenza, and anywhere from three to nearly 50,000 people will die each year.

GUPTA: Flu cases are at epidemic proportions now in some areas of the country. It's the most we've seen this time of year in a decade.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They may get more complications from this particular H3n2 strain which may make them ill for a longer period of time.

GUPTA: The active strain is H3N2. It typically surfaces earlier in the season, tends to produce stronger symptoms.

(on camera): And it is highly contagious. In fact, when someone coughs or sneezes, these tiny droplets are released into the air. You can't even see them with the human eye. So you can breathe them in but they can also live on surfaces -- a lot of people don't realize this. They can stay on these stays for eight hours.

So say your co-worker is sick, you come over, use their keyboard, you get the germs on your hand, and then you touch your nose or mouth, and now you're infected.

(voice-over): And the problem escalates if you spend several hours in tight quarters like on an airplane. At highest risk, passengers two rows in front or behind the infected person.

(on camera): The best way to kill germs is to wash your hands and do it often, and use real soap and real water. The problem is that most people don't actually wash their hands long enough. My best advice, actually sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice while you're washing your hands. That's going to be long enough. It's not quick to get rid of these viruses.

(voice-over): Another key to prevention is getting the flu shot. Getting vaccinated reduces your risk of getting the flu by around 60 percent.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GUPTA: Now another benefit to getting your flu shot is if you do get sick your symptoms aren't likely to last as long and won't be as severe compared to those who weren't vaccinated.

GRIFFIN: That's Dr. Sanjay Gupta, our chief medical correspondent here at CNN.

Where do U.S. religious institutions stand on guns and gun control? Like the topic of religion itself, sometimes there's no simple answer but we will look at a new poll ahead.

But first --

"Extreme Makeover" host Ty Pennington has joined our sister network HLN. His new series "AMERICAN JOURNEY" is about thinkers, entrepreneurs, and what we can learn from them. This week's "AMERICAN JOURNEY" takes us to the coast of Maine.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TY PENNINGTON, HLN HOST: The lobstermen of Maine are a rare breed -- bold, brave, and fiercely independent. They spend long days and lonely nights out at sea. The ocean provides a good life for their families and it's been that way for generations. But now these proud fishermen are working harder for less money. They're fed up, but they're more determined than ever to keep this tradition alive.

I'm Ty Pennington, and this is their "AMERICAN JOURNEY".

JASON JOYCE, LOBSTER FISHERMAN: I'm Jason Joyce. I'm an eighth generation lobster fisherman on Swan's Island, Maine. You know, this is where my family has fished for the last four generations. I own the boat, I run the boat. It's a small business. It's a family business supporting, you know, the communities here on the coast.

The scary thing is you have to invest so much into the business before you get anything out of it. This is our harvest time, just like a farmer going out and harvesting his crop. So this is when we're supposed to make the bulk of our income.

Nice, firm shell on it. He'll have quite a bit of meat in him. $2.05 a pound -- it's a shame. I hope when I get in that the price hasn't dropped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's tough. I have heard of people up and down the coast losing their homes and their boats, and we've been wondering how far away that is for us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GRIFFIN: Tuesday Vice President Biden and his task force are expected to announce recommendations on how to curb gun violence. No doubt there will be some for and some against what is proposed, and some of that discord will be from religious groups.

CNN's Athena Jones has more on the religious divide on the gun control debate.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You all know this is a complicated issue.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gun control is front and center at the White House and a matter of debate among Christians.

ROBERT JONES, PUBLIC RELATIONS RESEARCH INSTITUTE: There is a fascinating religious divide on the issue of gun control.

A. JONES: A survey by the Public Religion Research Institute conducted before the Newtown shooting found six in 10 Catholics support stricter gun control laws, compared to about a third of white Evangelical Protestants and 42 percent of white mainline Protestants.

R. JONES: It's not just about theology. It's also about culture and geography.

A. JONES: The poll also found white evangelicals are the mostly likely to own guns. Many live in southern and rural areas where guns are a way of life. So, what does the Bible say about weapons?

SHAUN CASEY, WESLEY THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY: The Scripture teaches that Christians are not to take weapons and avenge other people. However, there is an affirmation that the government has a divine role to punish evildoers.

A. JONES: With polls showing increased support for gun laws after Newtown, could we see a shift among evangelicals?

CASEY: It maybe a tipping point where more folks on those communities realize that there are things we can do as a society to tamp down this kind of mass violence that doesn't require taking away everybody's guns.

A. JONES: Pastor Daniel Darling is calling on fellow evangelicals to support limits on high capacity magazines and assault weapons.

DANIEL DARLING, EVANGELICAL PASTOR: The Scripture calls for us to love our neighbors more than we love our guns.

A. JONES: Still, some conservative Christians say the focus shouldn't be on guns, but on the environment giving rise to this violence.

TONY PERKINS, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Instead of having, as the NRA proposes, a policeman in every school, our policy should be focused on getting a dad in every home.

A. JONES (on camera): Vice President Biden said Friday he is glad evangelical groups have participated in his gun policy task force meetings, because in the past, they have been, quote, "reluctant to engage on the gun issue".

Athena Jones, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFIN: The President is promising action when it comes to curbing gun violence. The vice president even expected to endorse efforts to reinstate that assault weapons ban, but the opposition says that just isn't going to happen.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GRIFFIN: Half past the hour now. Let's take a look at headlines right now.

Two days from now a task force headed by Vice president Joe Biden is expected to recommend a ban on assault-style weapons. That's just one option the task force may put on the president's desk in the wake of the Connecticut elementary school shooting a month ago. President Obama made clear this weekend that he's ready for a fight over the gun control recommendations.

Former President George H.W. Bush may finally get to leave the hospital this week. The 41st president shown here on his last birthday in June has been in the hospital since November 23rd, first for bronchitis and then what was described as a stubborn fever. A family spokesman says they are hopeful that he will be discharged but are still taking it a day at a time. His son, meanwhile, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, said yesterday that his dad is expected to be released tomorrow.

These are hundreds of thousands of people we're told opposing same-sex marriage rallying in the streets of Paris. France's president is pushing a plan to legalize same-sex marriage and adoptions by those couples. It's facing strong opposition from the Roman Catholic Church and social conservatives. The plan expected to be voted on by the national assembly in February or March.

There's a break for hopeful parents of Russian children. A ban on Americans adopting Russian children is not going to go into effect until next year according to a Russian news agency. These are protesters in Moscow. They are protesting that ban believing that their government passed it as a backlash for a new U.S. law that works against human rights abusers in Russia. The decision to delay the ban means 46 adoptions currently under way should go through.

It was a somber day for families marking the one-year anniversary of the "Costa Concordia" cruise liner tragedy. Thirty two passengers and crew who died aboard that massive ship were remembered during a mass today on the small Italian island where the liner ran aground. The priest also recognized the bravery of those who came to help during the tragedy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): All the rescue workers who were so courageous and tenacious who immersed themselves in the tragedy that was happening, they shared everything and risked everything, giving the best of themselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: The ship is still partially submerged in the harbor. Its captain still could face charge charges. He denies wrongdoing.

People are going all out to prepare for the president's inauguration. It's a week from tomorrow. Hundreds of band members, military personnel, media, and law enforcement took part in, I guess, a dress rehearsal today. They used stand-ins for the president and the first lady. Meanwhile, the military is getting ready to make sure everyone stays safe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the morning of the inauguration, the biggest movement you will see is in the Pentagon south parking lot where they will screen all of the buses and parade participants, about 10,000 parade participants.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: Washington expecting more than 500,000 people attending the inauguration, two million attended President Obama's first inauguration.

CNN is your home for complete coverage of the inauguration. It all starts next Sunday morning and will lead up to the official swearing in of the president on Monday for his second term all the way through those official inaugural balls Monday night.

Vice president Biden's proposals on reducing gun violence expected to address things like movies, video games, as well as mental health, but a potential new effort to reinstate the assault weapons ban is what has Washington talking. Let's bring in CNN contributors LZ Granderson and Anna Navarro. LZ, a senior writer at ESPN. Anna is a Republican strategist.

LZ, let's assume the White House goes for this new assault weapons ban. The NRA president told our Candy Crowley this morning he doesn't think it will get through Congress. And, you know, some studies show the last ban didn't work. Is it really worth all the effort?

LZ GRANDERSON, WRITER, ESPN: Well, absolutely. I mean, the studies also tell you why the last ban didn't work, because of all the loopholes and in that the way the gun manufacturers were able to get around the restrictions that were put in place during the Clinton administration. You know, the thing about what Vice president Biden is going to unveil on Tuesday is really interesting because there are three different conversations in my opinion that's happening in regards to guns.

The first conversation is about mass shootings and what are we going to do about that. The second conversation is about the shootings that happen every other day in our streets, particularly like in Chicago. And then there's a conversation about the culture of guns and that's where the movie violence and the video games comes in from. So I'm really curious to see what Vice president Biden is going to unveil because those are three different conversations and you can't clean this all up with one fell swoop.

GRIFFIN: Anna, I want to ask you about the strategy here because the president, if he goes for an assault weapons ban, will have to use a lot of political muscle to do that and if you just look at the FBI statistics, although we have horrific events that occur with these guns sometimes, mostly it is pistols and handguns that are involved statistically in the crimes. If you are going to attack the murders in this country, you would attack those other guns. I'm wondering why you think it is that they'd like to go after the assault weapons at this time.

ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think LZ was exactly right. There is three different conversations going on and I think they have to turn it into one big comprehensive approach. If it's only framed as an assault weapons ban, it will have a very difficult time going through Congress. But, yes, you know, the president is going to have to spend the capital. He has it and he's going to have to spend it. I'm sure Vice president Biden, who is now pregnant with this, this is his baby, and in case we haven't noticed, he's already running for president, is going to want something done.

And the problem, Drew, is the issue is not going away. As CNN was covering the meetings of the vice president on the issue, they had to break away because there was yet another school shooting going on at the same time. So every time there is a shooting and the sad reality is that these things will continue happening in all likelihood, the American people are going to ask what has been done since Newtown? That will become the new question.

You see, this issue had been under the rug for the last four years. It had been awfully quiet despite all the different episodes we've had of shootings, but now the Pandora box is open, and the expectation of the American people that something moves is much greater than it's been in the last four years.

GRIFFIN: Yes.

NAVARRO: And I think his only way of doing it is a comprehensive approach.

GRIFFIN: Well, Ana, to your point, Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut says this assault weapons ban could pass this time because Americans' attitudes on this have shifted since Newtown. Since that one school shooting. Here is what he told Candy Crowley.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D) CONNECTICUT: I get it. The NRA is going to use all their resources to try to stop this thing, but ultimately the people of this country have been transformed, and these assault weapons and they know it, these are not used by sportsmen. You don't need an assault weapon to kill a deer. You don't need an assault weapon to do target practice. Sportsmen are not going to have their rights abridged or their ability to enjoy their sport changed by having these dangerous military-style assault weapons taken off the streets.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: Ana, let me ask you because it's a Republican sort of issue, did Newtown really change the minds of Republicans in the Senate and the House on assault weapons?

NAVARRO: I think it has greatly affected the perception of the American people, and I believe it is the American people who are going to demand and get action on gun control, but if we frame it as only a ban on assault weapons, it just really is doomed to failure.

Now, the NRA, Drew, they're not stupid. They've been around for a long time. They are savvy political operators. If they see that it's going to pass, they're going to have to, you know, put in some other things. I think the way to frame this is that gun control and gun rights are not mutually exclusive. We can do both things.

It's just going to require some crafty deal making and that's what Joe Biden and that's what leadership should be there about. But the American people are going to stay on this. The issue is not going away, sadly.

GRIFFIN: Guys, let's turn the table here. I want to ask you about something else which is kind of exposed in a couple pictures this week if you watch closely on Capitol Hill today at the White House. The second term Obama cabinet, his picks include John Kerry, Chuck Hagel, Jack Lew. You're going to have to wait on the new labor secretary but what's the bottom line here, LZ, is they're all white guys. Is the nation's first black president going to find some women or some minorities to join him?

GRANDERSON: You know, when this conversation first started to percolate, I thought it was from the onion because it just didn't seem serious to me that we're really questioning whether or not President Obama is an advocate of diversity. But I see now that it's not the onion, that it's actually real and we're actually having this conversation. I personally just think it's ridiculous. Especially when you consider what I think is the most important appointments - appointment a president can make and that's to the Supreme Court because long after this administration is gone, those Supreme Court justices are going to be there shaping the laws of this country. And who did President Obama pick? Not one but two women. Long after he's gone out of the White House those two women, those two appointees will be there.

So this conversation about the president not being in support of diversity, the same person who pushed forward the overturning of don't ask, don't tell which affected, by the way, more women than men and more black women than white women, it's just - to me it's just a silly conversation to be having.

GRIFFIN: LZ, Ana, we got to leave it there. Thanks for joining us.

Well, here is something that may prompt you to take a deeper breath. Look at this.

How do you even function with this kind of pollution? We're going to tell you where that is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GRIFFIN: Millions of Chinese are being warned to stay inside because the toxic air is dangerous to breathe. A thick blanket of smoke, look at this, covers Beijing. Parts of northern China are on a health alert. Our own Azadeh Ansari is tracking the latest developments on China's smog problem, joins us now. How bad is this?

AZADEH ANSARI, CNN INTERNATIONAL DESK EDITOR: Drew, look at those pictures. Those pictures alone make me want to cough.

GRIFFIN: Right.

ANSARI: Now, breathing seems like work let alone trying to get to work in these environmental conditions. But the official Chinese state news agency, Xinhua, came out today and said that the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau has encouraged residents to stay indoors and really limit their exposure to the outdoors. You can see why.

You have this dense shroud of pollution literally suffocating China's capital city. You have over 700 flights that were canceled this week and drivers can't even drive without seeing what's in front of them. And if you want to go outside, don't leave without your gas mask. Not your gas mask, but your face mask I should say.

GRIFFIN: Really?

ANSARI: Yes, because it's barely breathable conditions. And speaking of gas masks, a Chinese dissident, (INAUDIBLE), posed his own protest on Facebook by posting this picture of himself wearing a gas mask.

GRIFFIN: What are the health effects of this?

ANSARI: Well, these tiny air pollution particles sometimes in diameter can measure a fraction of a hair, so they get in your lungs, they get into your bloodstream and it can - health organizations says that it can cause anything from obviously respiratory disease to lung cancer to heart disease. So the implications are really dire. And not to mention that the World Bank says that out of the world's 20 most polluted cities, China has 16 of those cities. So 16 of those cities are in China.

GRIFFIN: I know they tried to clean it up during the Olympics but what is the cause? What's causing this right now?

ANSARI: They absolutely did, Drew. That's a really good point because that was really a temporary fix. It was like putting a Band- aid on this bigger problem. You have this expanding rapidly growing population coupled with the fact they're primarily dependent on coal for their energy source and they're the world's biggest car market. You put all that in a pot, what do you get? You get a mess.

That's what we're seeing right now. In terms of what the government is doing? They've acknowledged that. That's why they're encouraging residents to stay indoors but whether or not this is going to be a long-term solution, you can't tell people to stay indoors all the time, right? So there has to be a more permanent solution. In fact, we can see the smog carry into Wednesday until winds come in and clear it out.

GRIFFIN: Incredible. Azadeh, thanks for coming by.

ANSARI: You're welcome, Drew.

GRIFFIN: Appreciate it.

How should President Obama deal with the gridlock in Washington so the nation's business can get done? Well, perhaps he should take a look to the past for guidance. At other times when Washington was an angry mess. CNN's Fareed Zakaria asked former statesmen and women what they would advise the president about his second term. And he uses that advice to draft his "Memo to the President."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: Robert Rubin was secretary of the Treasury during another very partisan time.

How did you deal with Republicans on the hill for something like the '97 budget agreement while they were trying to impeach President Clinton?

ROBERT RUBIN, FORMER TREASURY SECRETARY: The partisan divide was bad in that period. I think it's worse today. In order to have a political system that's effective, I think we have to do exactly what President Obama said right after the election.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to be clear, I'm not wedded to every detail of my plan. I'm open to compromise. I'm open to new ideas. I'm committed to solving our fiscal challenges. But I refuse to accept any approach that isn't balanced.

RUBIN: In a democracy you can only move forward if both sides albeit having very different philosophical views are willing to come together and govern and that's what we've been lacking. Without it, I think we're going to be in terrible trouble. (END VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFIN: Much more advice to the president on Fareed Zakaria's special "Memo to the President" coming up at the top of the hour, 8:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

Well, it is a big day in the NFL this past week, a surprise move in baseball. This year there will be no new faces at the hall of fame. We've got a hall of fame voter to run all that down for you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GRIFFIN: Well, baseball hall of fame voters pitched a shutout this week electing no one to join the elite in Cooperstown. First time that's happened since 1996. A lot of new names on the ballot were from the so-called steroids era. Like Barry Bonds, Mark Maguire who broke some of the league's greatest records but were also linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Terence Moore is here to talk about. He is a sports contributor to CNN.com, also a hall of fame voter.

TERENCE MOORE, SPORTS CONTRIBUTOR, CNN.COM: Yes, sir.

GRIFFIN: So are you glad people like Bonds, Sosa didn't get in?

MOORE: I'm elated. Because I (INAUDIBLE) to the shutout. I didn't vote for any of these knuckleheads that used steroids. And I tell you something, Drew, on the hall of fame ballot it says very clearly, that you must consider integrity and character. I mean that's not integrity and character, doing that, and the one thing that makes my head want to explode, OK, which would be an ugly sight if I did it here, all these people say well what about the bad guys who were already in the hall of fame?

Well, you know, first of all, I wasn't voting back then and second of all with that sort of logic you wouldn't have a third of U.S. presidents in the history books, you know, with all the slavery things and some of the bad things you've been hearing about lately.

GRIFFIN: Well does that - did that ballot always have that clause on there? The integrity clause?

MOORE: Since 1936. The first hall of fame ballot, it was there.

GRIFFIN: Well, let's talk about another guy. Pete Rose. You know, he's got a lifetime ban from baseball for gambling. He's also one of the greatest hitters of all time. Here's what Don Lemon asked him what he thought about the recent hall of fame vote. Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETE ROSE, FORMER BASEBALL PLAYER: I don't know if I'll get in trouble for this. But I have to defend Roger Clemens in this and the reason I have to defend him is because until this day, he says he didn't take steroids and he's never flunked a drug test and he went in front of two different courts and they both ruled in favor of him. So, who am I to sit here and say Roger Clemens took steroids because he won some games after he's 40 years? Now Bonds admitted that he put the steroids on him. OK. Sosa flunked the test. Palmiero flunked the test.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOORE: Well, true confessions. OK? I personally have known Pete Rose for 35 years. He was my all-time favorite player growing up as a youth and it pains me to say this but Pete is absolutely wrong about this. OK? Roger Clemens' best friend, Andy Pettitte even said that Roger Clemens told him that he used steroids and Andy Pettite backed out at the last minute when he was talking to the feds and the other thing that Pete said in the same interview that numbers matter more so in baseball than any other sport.

I mean baseball has been around professionally since 1869. You got these steroid users going against says William Mays and Hank Aarons in the history books is not fair to those guys of the past when you lump these knuckleheads in with them.

GRIFFIN: You know, this steroid era lasted a while.

MOORE: It did.

GRIFFIN: Is there a chance we could see a repeat next year and the year after that? I mean could it be a whole era of these people not getting in.

MOORE: Well, the good thing is next year, for instance, we're here in Atlanta, Georgia. Two former Atlanta Braves heroes, (INAUDIBLE) they're going to right the ship. They will be first ballot hall of famers. No steroids there. So, this will become a moot point.

GRIFFIN: All right. Terence, thanks a lot for coming in.

MOORE: Thank you.

GRIFFIN: Appreciate it. I know how you're voting now next year now.

MOORE: Yes, sir.

GRIFFIN: OK. Great, terrific.

Hey, want to hear more from what Pete Rose had to say? We're going to have that for you tonight. You know, he thinks about some of the biggest names in sports history being excluded from the hall. His interesting comments will happen at 10:00 Eastern.

In Virginia, there were fears of baby lion was on the loose. Listen to this, Terence. It wasn't a lion. What it really was, that's kind of odd, too. Stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GRIFFIN: Some very startled people in Virginia called 911 saying a lion was on the loose, roaming the streets. But it wasn't a lion. It was a labradoodle. Here's the story that only our Jeanne Moos can tell.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We have seen a dog at a pet show in China made to look like a panda and a horse made to resemble a poodle. But this is the tale of a dog with such a convincing haircut that people thought he was a lion and called 911.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And there is a lion that ran across the street, a baby lion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, OK. Where - what kind of animal?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lion. A baby lion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had the mane and everything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was about the size of a Labrador retriever.

MOOS: Actually, he's a labra doodle named Charlie, says his owner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I tell people he's a labalion.

MOOS: A labalion shaved like this so he can play the part of an unofficial mascot for old Dominion University. In the wake of the 911 calls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not going anywhere.

MOOS: Charlie has become famous. On his Facebook page, he's getting a lion's share of likes.

(on camera): We would be lying if we said the color of Charlie's mane is natural.

(voice-over): He gets his man and the tip of his tail dyed at a groomer's called Doggie Style.

(on camera): How often does he needs maintenance to look like a lion?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About once every four months.

MOOS (voice-over): At least he's no cowardly lion, even if he does resemble the one in "Te Wizard of Oz."

It's enough to give a dog a split personality. No wonder folks are in an uproar. Charlie may not be an MGM trademark. He's already made his mark, and he's only three.

Jeanne Moos, CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's the most friendliest labra-lion you will find.

MOOS: New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFIN: I'm Drew Griffin. I'll see you at 10:00 Eastern. Fareed Zakaria GPS special "MEMO TO THE PRESIDENT: ROADMAP FOR A SECOND TERM" begins now.