Return to Transcripts main page


Reports: Armstrong Admits to Doping; The Philosophy of Lance; Schumer Supports Hagel for Defense Secretary; House Reads the Constitution Aloud; Rehearsing for the Presidential Inauguration; Obama to Use MLK Bible; Families Protest Aurora Theater's Invitation

Aired January 15, 2013 - 10:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Stories we're watching now. Lance Armstrong reportedly comes clean and Oprah Winfrey is fascinated.


OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: I would say that for myself, my team, all of us in the room, we were mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers.


COSTELLO: Oprah dishes about her sit-down with Lance Armstrong.

In just six days, the president will stand in front of the nation to take the oath of office and with him a piece of history from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The schools divided as teachers refuse to give their students a standardized test. Why they say there's no benefit. NEWSROOM starts now.

Good morning. Thank you so much for joining us. I'm Carol Costello. We begin with Lance Armstrong and one of the most remarkable sports stories in history. He beat cancer. He reinvented cycling and he rewrote the record books.

And now based on Armstrong's interview with Oprah Winfrey, he was cheating the whole time and lying to the nation. This is video of where the interview happened with Oprah at the Four Seasons in Austin, Texas.

Winfrey told CBS this morning the interview will air on her network across two nights, Thursday and Friday. Winfrey declined to characterize Armstrong's statement saying she'd prefer for viewers to make up their own minds. She said she walked into the room with 112 questions and during the 2-1/2 hour interview, she asked most of those questions.


WINFREY: I would say there were a couple of times where he was emotional, but emotional doesn't begin to describe the intensity or the difficulty that I think that he experienced in talking about some of these things.

I would say, you know, all the people who are wondering if he actually goes there and answers, to answer your question that you asked earlier, Charlie, Charlie and Nora and Gayle, I think that you will come away to understanding that he brought it. He really did.


COSTELLO: Before sitting down with Oprah, Armstrong met with the staff of his cancer foundation, Livestrong.


MARK MCKINNON, BOARD MEMBER, LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION: I think he has a lot of apologies, I think he has to crawl over a lot of broken glass and drag the sack cloth. But I think that the one thing that they can't take away from him is his cancer survivorship.

And he does that story, gives great hope to millions of people like my wife who lived through it, and so there's a lot of good work that he can continue to do there if he's willing to sacrifice and make clear that he is sacrificing for the cause and that's he is willing to serve a cause greater than himself.


COSTELLO: As you know, Armstrong's confession flies in the face of what he has said publicly for years. Back in 2005, Lance Armstrong went to court against an insurance company that refused to pay him performance bonuses. Armstrong was deposed and in his testimony, he repeatedly denied doping and blood transfusions.

Here's part of that testimony taken from an Australian TV documentary.


ATTORNEY: So you think -- is it your testimony Mr. Andrew was also lying when he said that he heard you say those things regarding your priorities?

LANCE ARMSTRONG, CYCLIST: It's 100 percent. But I feel for him.

ATTORNEY: What do you mean by that?

ARMSTRONG: I think he's trying to back up his old lady.

ATTORNEY: It's not that you don't remember whether the Indiana hospital room incident occurred. It affirmatively did not take place?

ARMSTRONG: How could it have taken place when I've never taken performance enhancing drugs?

ATTORNEY: That was my point. It's simply you don't recall.

ARMSTRONG: How many times do I have to say it?

ATTORNEY: Just trying to make sure your testimony is clear.

ARMSTRONG: Well, if it can't be any clearer that I've never taken drugs then incidents like that could never have happened. How clear is that?

ATTORNEY: I think it's clear. Can I ask you some additional questions to follow up?


ATTORNEY: You have never taken any performance enhancing drug in connection with your cycling career?


ATTORNEY: And that would include any substance that's ever been banned, is that fair to say?


ATTORNEY: Why don't you give me the definition of what you're using? What would that include?

ARMSTRONG: Well, it would include anything on the banned list.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For example, would that include that you've never used use own blood for doping purposes?

ARMSTRONG: That would be banned.

ATTORNEY: I'm not trying to agitate. I'm just trying to make sure your testimony is clear.


ATTORNEY: I understand that you find allegations regarding that to be agitating, but I'm just asking you questions. OK, I'm not trying to insult you.

ARMSTRONG: OK, all right, fair enough.


COSTELLO: Let's talk about that because in light of what we know now, Lance Armstrong was lying, flat out lying as he's done for the past decade.

Clinical psychologist Jeff Gardere joins us on the phone from Los Angeles.

Dr. Jess, we thought it was important to talk to you today because it's difficult to understand how someone can look into someone's eyes or take an oath to tell the truth or look into the lens of a camera and simply lie.

JEFF GARDERE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST (via telephone): Carol, people do it all the time. And the way that they can do it, the way that they justify it in their own minds, is by actually starting to believe what they say.

They actually suppress the information. They tell themselves consciously that they are going to forget it and then at some point subconsciously they do forget the fact that they are lying. And that's why they can do it with such conviction.

COSTELLO: I mean, is it also a case of, everyone else is doing it, I have to do it to win. People probably won't understand that, so I can't tell them the truth?

GARDERE: Well, that's a defense mechanism that we call rationalization. We know that Lance Armstrong was doping at a time when many people were doping. So he puts it together in his mind if everyone else was doing it then it cancels out that I was doing it.

And, therefore, I wasn't doing it. That's the mind game that people play with themselves. But that's why we recognize these defense mechanisms as being almost pathological because they're rigid. They're intense and after a while, they don't work.

COSTELLO: So investigators say not only was Lance Armstrong doping, but he was force -- he was forcing other team members to dope and to lie about it and to lie about him. What does this tell you about Lance Armstrong as a person.

GARDERE: We tend to see, and I'm not saying that he is one of these persons, but we tend to see that sometimes people with personality disorders who may be narcissistic, they don't change themselves in order to fit the world. They change the world to fit who they are.

And certainly we see by getting everyone else, people around him to be part of that particular picture, that's a way of not taking responsibility. It's very, very manipulative and that's something that-will-an image that he'll have to change of lying, of being manipulative, certainly of being belligerent, narcissistic.

So he has a long road ahead of him in rehabilitating his image, but I do believe that he can do it. He has done some amazing things including beating cancer.

COSTELLO: Dr. Jeff Gardere, thanks so much for sharing. We appreciate it, fascinating.

GARDERE: Always a pleasure. Thank you.

COSTELLO: All right, let's talk about politics. This is just into the CNN NEWSROOM. Chuck Hagel wins over a major critic in his nomination for defense secretary. At this very moment, a key Democratic Senator is announcing his support for this embattled nominee.

Senior Congressional correspondent Dana Bash is on Capitol Hill. And tell us why this is so important to Hagel's nomination. DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is important because the former Senator Chuck Hagel certainly has been in a lot of trouble and this support from Chuck Schumer, who is the number three Democrat in the Senate, makes it pretty likely that he is going to get confirmed.

It's not a sure thing, but it makes it a lot more likely. Let me read you a part of what Chuck Schumer said in a statement. He said based on several key assurances provided by Senator Hagel, I'm currently prepared to vote for his confirmation. I encourage my Senate colleagues who have shared my previous concerns to also support him.

Now, the background here is that the two men met for 90 minutes yesterday to discuss the concerns. And the concerns that Senator Schumer has or had are really similar to what many current Senators have, those that have concerns on his position on Israel, on his position in the past on Iran specifically opposing sanctions.

And for some unfortunate remarks that he made with regard to the Jewish lobby and also gay Americans. On all of those, it's a pretty lengthy statement that Senator Schumer released, and all of those he said that he went through in this 90 minute discussion with Senator Hagel.

And he feels that he has endorsed or at least supports now the president's position on Iran and Israel for example and he made apologies for comments he made on the Jewish lobby and gays. And so this is very significant because Senator Schumer, with him he will probably bring some other members.

But also if it went the other way, Carol, if Senator Schumer, the number three Democrat, were to say I'm not going to support him, it would effectively be over for Chuck Hagel. It was kind of hard to see that happening based on the relationship Schumer has with the White House.

He is the chair of the Inaugural Committee. He's going to walk the president down to put his hand on the Bible and take the second oath. But still this is a significant move that he's making.

I should also note that Barbara Boxer, who is another person who had concerns, Democrat who had concerns about the former Republican Senator, also says that she's is going to support him now.

COSTELLO: All right, Dana Bash, stick around, because we'll take our viewers to the floor of the House where members of the House of Representatives are now reading the U.S. Constitution. Let's listen for a bit, shall we?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No person shall be a Senator who have not have attained the age of 30 years and been nine years a citizen of the United States and who shall not when elected be an inhabitant of that state for which he shall be chosen.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I yield to the gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Franks.


COSTELLO: OK, as you can see, this is going to take a long time, 84 minutes to be exact. That's what it took in 2011. Conservatives say this is a reminder of our founding principles. Critics call it a stunt and a waste of 84 minutes.

So, Dana, why are they doing this, this year? Is there any special reason? I can maybe kind of guess what that might be.

BASH: Well, you know, the House Republicans, when they took over the majority, they sort of started this tradition, which I guess if you do it twice it's officially a tradition, back in 2011.

The answer is that they want to symbolize that they want to stick to as much of the constitutional principles as possible. Because a lot of the members, many of whom you see actually right now you see a Democrat in fact one of the Democratic leaders, Steny Hoyer speaking.

But many of those who we saw sitting out there are relatively new members from the Republican side and they say they were elected to try to redirect legislation to try to be more -- adhere more to what the founding fathers supported. Of course, I think what you're alluding to there is one of the amendments that is very much in the news, the second amendment with regard to guns.

I know there have been a lot of questions who will read the second amendment on the floor. We don't know yet. Because what's happening right now is pretty much for the most part a first come first serve basis. People are sitting there, lined up and they're reading parts it and when they get to the amendment, everyone will at least get part or an entire amendment.

One thing I want to share with you, which I think is noteworthy and somewhat related to this, two years ago when they did this, Gabby Giffords read the first amendment. The first amendment being, of course, what gives us our freedom to do our job and many other people, the right to free speech.

A few minutes after she did that, I happened to be talking to her right off the House floor and she was talking about how proud she was to do that. And it just so happens that about 12 hours later, she went back to Arizona and that's when she was shot. So it was one of the last things that she did on the House floor before she was shot.

COSTELLO: OK. So as our elected representatives read the constitution and promise to adhere to it, will they then sit down and pass major legislation today? BASH: They will likely. And that will be about $51 billion in disaster relief for victims of Sandy mostly in New York and New Jersey, but Pennsylvania and other places. But that won't be before a long fight.

We're going to see a pretty big tussle on the House floor today, particularly from conservatives who don't think that this should be any new spending, even in disasters should be done without offsetting it elsewhere.

So we're going to see a vote on that probably not pass, but we'll still see the kind of doing and fro-ing that has led to a lot of the big fights, Carol, on the fiscal cliff, on the debt ceiling and so forth that conservatives who are in the majority in the House want to cut federal spending and they'll do it however they need to.

COSTELLO: Understood. Dana Bash, thanks so much.

Practice makes perfect even on the steps of the U.S. capitol. Rehearsals have been under way complete with stand-ins for the first family before Monday's public presidential inauguration. President Obama will actually take his oath twice.

On Sunday, January 20th, the first day of his second term. That's where he'll use first lady Michelle Obama's family Bible. And on Monday during the public ceremony, he'll use two other Bibles.

One of them belonged to President Lincoln. It's the same one President Obama used in 2009 during the inauguration. The second Bible belongs to civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

King's son, Martin Luther King III, joins me now from Washington. Welcome. We're so glad you're here.

MARTIN LUTHER KING III, SON OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: Thank you. I'm honored to be here today.

COSTELLO: You wrote an op-ed, even your description of the Bible is touching. You say it's faded and some of the pages are torn. Tell us how your father, Dr. King, used that Bible.

KING: Well, number one, we found that when he was pastoring or preparing a sermon, his first sermon at the Dexter Avenue Memorial Baptist Church, that he actually had markings where he actually designated certain things within the Bible. We know that he traveled with the Bible, derived inspiration from it. It certainly is worn and at tattered, but I think that shows how much he used it.

COSTELLO: And you say you never thought the Bible would be used again. Why?

KING: Well, you know, you certainly could never imagine that it would be used in the capacity that it is going to be used on Monday as the president accepts his oath of office, which is quite phenomenal. We had it on display at the king center so that when people come, they can see it and it certainly will be returned to the center after the ceremony. But we never could have envisioned this.

COSTELLO: So I'll ask you this question. What would this day and the use of Dr. King's Bible side by side with President Lincoln's Bible, I guess they'll be on top of one another, I don't know, what would this symbolize for your father? I mean, expound on that for us.

KING: Well, I think my father -- this is a significant year for anniversaries of the modern civil rights movement. Certainly when you look at the 45th anniversary of his passing or the sanitation work strike, it's the 45th anniversary of the poor people's campaign, 50th anniversary of the letter from the Birmingham jail writing and 50th anniversary of the march on Washington just to name a few.

So what I hope this does is inspires all of us, obviously the president is consistently inspired by President Lincoln, but hopefully dad's Bible would inspire the president and the nation to work to really realize the dream. We have not realized the dream yet, aspects of the dream have been realized, but not the entire dream.

COSTELLO: And I assume you will be at the inauguration.

KING: Yes, I plan to be here.

COSTELLO: So as President Obama puts his hand on your father's Bible, how will that resonate for you personally?

KING: Well, certainly my wife and I will be here and I hope our daughter can join us. It depends on how cold it is. It will be a chilling but very fulfilling moment. I know we'll be exhilarated.

And again, my hope is that the nation is inspired. This time the nation needs a lot of inspiration. Hopefully, Congress will be inspired for work to help the president achieve the vision that he has chartered for our nation.

COSTELLO: I think should you bring that Bible in the House of Congress. But I hope so, too. Today would have been Dr. King's 84th birthday. How will you remember this day? How will you remember your father today?

KING: Well, later today when I return to Atlanta, I'll be going by his crypt and saying a word of prayer and of thanks. You know, often on his birthday, his last birthday, he spent working. He was engaged in planning for the poor people's campaign that was to have taken place in May.

He did not live to see that come to fruition. So on one hand, it's certainly unfortunate that today we have more poor people in our nation than we've ever had. But it also gives us an opportunity to begin anew, to work more diligently, to roll up our sleeves so that we can address the issue.

That issue, as well as issues around balance in our nation. And, you know, we look at the fact that there is a gun control debate. That is very positive. The hope is that our nation will move in the right direction on that issue. COSTELLO: Martin Luther King III, thank you so much for being with us this morning. We appreciate it.

KING: Thank you.

COSTELLO: We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: Now is your chance to talk back on one of the big stories of the day. The question for you this morning, can Lance Armstrong redeem himself? How far mighty have fallen? Lance Armstrong has reportedly confessed to Oprah he took performance enhancing drugs.

Even as the world famous charity Livestrong is now tainted. The one time hero branded a liar. As the "New York Post" puts it it's lie strong, that's how Lance Armstrong will go down in history, as a liar. Let's take a moment to revisit Armstrong's years of prickly denials.


ARMSTRONG: How many times I have to say it?

ATTORNEY: I'm trying to make sure your testimony is clear.

ARMSTRONG: Well, if it can't be any clearer that I've never taken drugs, then incidents like that could never happen. How clear is that? I've said it for seven years. I've said it for longer than seven years. I have never doped.


COSTELLO: Now Armstrong's redemption tour starts Thursday when Oprah airs her interview with a tearful Lance Armstrong live streamed around the world. Expect to hear lots of I'm sorry.

Many are saying, yes, right. Armstrong is just coming clean because he wants to qualify for competitions in the future. The "L.A. Times" dubbed it the Tour de Fraud and a charade accusing Armstrong of playing the celebrity card for sympathy instead of standing up like a man.

But Oprah on CBS this morning defended the interview.


WINFREY: I feel that he answered the questions in a way that he was ready. I didn't get all the questions asked, but I think the most important questions and the answers that people around world have been waiting to hear were answered and certainly answered -- I can only say I was satisfied by the answer.


COSTELLO: Oprah said in terms of exposure, it is the biggest interview she's ever done. For Lance Armstrong, it certainly is. Our talk back question today, can Lance Armstrong redeem himself? or tweet me @carolcnn.

He's vowing to help stop gun violence in America even if he has to act on his own. But President Obama's vow is angering at least one member of Congress. He's threatening impeachment.


COSTELLO: Nearly six months ago, 12 were killed and 58 others were wounded during a mass shooting at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater. That same theater is reopening to the public this week.

Victims and their families have been invited to what the theater's owner, Cinemar, call as special evening of remembrance and a free movie. The 27-year-old Petty Officer John Larimer was one of the 12 victims shot and killed on July 20th.

He died shielding his girlfriend from gunfire in that theater. His father, Scott Larimer, is boycotting the reopening of the Cinemark theaters and he joins us from Chicago. Welcome, Scott.


COSTELLO: First of all, how are you doing six months later?

LARIMER: Well, last week was kind of tough because of the preliminary hearings and we were getting daily briefings. Some of the testimony was heart warming or I should say heart rendering to say the least. It was pretty graphic.

COSTELLO: Yes, the suspect was going through that primary hearing in Colorado. And at about the same time you get an invitation from the theater. And what did the invitation say?

LARIMER: Well, basically the invitation was for us to join them for some kind of a special movie showing or visit. It wasn't we'll clear. Personally, we're 1,000 miles away and this was the first time the theater had even tried to contact us.

COSTELLO: And you say you don't know what they mean by a special evening of remembrance. I mean, I'm sure it's gone through your mind, what could they mean by that?

LARIMER: You know, I don't know. I have no idea what they have in mind. In fact, they didn't contact us directly. They went through another organization to invite us. And the family, we got together and chatted about it and decided that it wasn't appropriate for us to attend.

COSTELLO: And you also suggested that other families of victims and other victims boycott this special evening.

LARIMER: Yes, we talked a little with some of the other families and agreed that this was not really the best way to handle the situation.

COSTELLO: Might someone want to go back into that theater? What would you get out of that?

LARIMER: Tears mostly I'm afraid. It was pretty emotional time since July and we have been trying to put this in perspective. But it's been kind of stuff because we constantly have things coming up that would remind us of the situation, letters and preliminary hearings and things like that. So it's been kind of tough to try and put this in perspective.

COSTELLO: Do you think they should continue to show movies in that theater?

LARIMER: You know, I'm not sure that it should be allowed to continue on, but on the other hand, I'm not sure that it's appropriate to tear it down. I'm not sure where you would go with it after that. The event is done. The people have been hurt and we really need to try and put some kind of closure to this.

COSTELLO: Scott, thank you so much for joining me this morning.