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White House to Unveil Guns Package; Armstrong Confesses to Doping; Girl Abducted at School Found; What FaceBook's Building

Aired January 15, 2013 - 14:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Two brothers about to go blind decide to end their lives together. But it's what doctors do next that's stirring up the debate over the right to die.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. The news is now.

Guns, ammo, and the White House. Find out what advice Vice President Joe Biden gave his boss.

Plus, critics pounce on Coca-Cola's new obesity ad. How scared is one of the world's most popular brands about soda bans?

And --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's got to crawl over a lot of broken glass.


BALDWIN: After getting Lance Armstrong to confess, Oprah says the cyclist didn't come clean in the manner she expected.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. Good to see you.

We've got some developing news right now out of the White House. Let me tell you what we know here. We know that the vice president, Joe Biden, has just briefed the president on his gun violence package. And within this past hour, the White House announced a formal unveiling tomorrow. Tomorrow, just before noon, we're hearing the White House planned to curb gun violence post Sandy Hook.

Want to go quickly to Jessica Yellin, our chief White House correspondent there.

And, Jessica, are we any closer to learning what precisely is in the package?


Well, first of all, Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, explicitly confirmed that tomorrow the president will say that he wants to press Congress to pass an assault weapons ban, to press for more background checks, and to include a limit on those high capacity magazines allowing for more bullets in guns. Those will be three elements.

But we've also heard that the vice president has been talking to people about limiting gun swaps so that I can't privately sell you a gun without having it somehow be registered, and that they'll also be measures on mental health, and some other executive actions, some 19 executive recommendations for things that the president can do on his own. Here's what Jay Carney had to say at the briefing.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president will take a comprehensive approach. But it is a simple fact that there are limits on what can be done within existing law. And Congress has to act on the kinds of measures that we've already mentioned, because the power to do that is reserved by Congress and to Congress.


YELLIN: So next comes the politics and we can talk about that if you want, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Let's talk about that, because we know it is likely to be pretty darn tough. And let's listen, in fact. This is some sound. This is the aunt of one of the 20 children killed in Newtown last month. And her own niece was killed. She is talking about the Second Amendment. She talks gun rights here. Take a listen.


JILL COTTLE GARRETT, NIECE, EMILIE PARKER, DIED IN SANDY HOOK SHOOTING: I think our country is founded in such a different way that, you know, is so much -- with the Second Amendment even being part of the Constitution, it's so much about protecting liberty because of how we establish ourselves as a country. And it's such a part of our foundation as a country. And so I think it has to be a part of the discussion as far as respecting where we came from as a country, but also realizing the world we live in has got some problems that are directly related to safety in schools and that these tragedies are happening, we can't -- we can't ignore what elements are coming into that, what factors. And there are many.


BALDWIN: So that, obviously, an indication of at least where part of the country is on this whole subject. We heard the president talking yesterday at the news conference, and I'm paraphrasing, but he's basically saying, you know, look, I'm going to give my best ideas. Whether they'll fly or not in Congress, we'll have to see. I mean do we know, Jessica, exactly how hard they plan to actually fight for these ideas?

YELLIN: Well, look, Brooke, the president has made it clear that this is a top priority for him. And I have, you know, in the five years I've covered him, I've never seen him quite this personally impassioned about an issue. So does that mean that he'll put more elbow grease into it? I asked in the briefing, will he do more, you know, back slapping with members of Congress? Will he do more personal lobbying? Jay wouldn't say.

I do get the sense that this is an issue that he will personally champion. Members of senior Democrats on Capitol Hill have said that they do not see the votes for the assault weapons ban. Some Democrats have said it needs to be -- if there's an assault weapons passage, it has to be as part of a comprehensive package. I would just add that the vice president is making it clear that their priority is this high capacity magazine limit.


YELLIN: So, we'll see.

BALDWIN: Yes, we'll see.

YELLIN: But I think it's a priority here.

BALDWIN: We will talk tomorrow once this whole plan is unveiled.

Jessica Yellin for me at the White House. Jess, thank you.

In Aurora, Colorado, that movie theater where 12 people were killed last summer in that mass shooting, reopens to the public this week. The theater's owners have invited survivors. They have invited victims' families to tour the complex, both today and tomorrow. And then this Thursday the theater will host what it calls an evening of remembrance including a movie.

Now, the offer to come to this theater offended a number of the families here. One family that will not be attending is that of John Larimer, who died shielding his girlfriend from the gunfire. CNN's Carol Costello talked with his father earlier today.


SCOTT LARIMER, FATHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM JOHN LARIMER: In fact, they didn't contact us directly. They went through another organization who invite us. And the family, we got together and chatted about it and decided that it wasn't appropriate for us to attend.

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

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


BALDWIN: According to "The Denver Post," some 2,000 theater tickets will be handed out to victims, first responders and to hospital workers. Counselors will also be available.

All right, Oprah Winfrey has called it the biggest interview she has ever done. Sitting down with the man who was once called America's greatest sporting hero. Now, she says, an admitted drug cheat. Oprah appeared on CBS this morning to talk about what Lance Armstrong was like during that interview, went on for some two and a half hours. Watch.


OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "OPRAH'S NEXT CHAPTER": I choose not to characterize. I would rather people make their own decisions about whether he was contrite or not. I felt that he was thoughtful. I thought that he was serious. I thought that he certainly had prepared himself for this moment. I would say that he met the moment. And at the end of it, two and a half -- literally two and a half hours, we both were pretty exhausted. And I would say I was satisfied.


BALDWIN: An admission of doping, a huge about face after more than a decade of public denials.


LANCE ARMSTRONG, DISGRACED CYCLIST: I've said it for seven years, I've said it for longer than seven years, I have never doped. I can say it again. But I've said it for seven years. It doesn't help.

Why would I then enter into a sport and dope myself up and risk my life again? That's crazy. I would never do that. That's -- no. No way.


BALDWIN: That was back in 2005. And here we are today.

I'm joined now by a man who once rode with Lance Armstrong, former teammate Paul Willerton.

Paul, welcome to you.


BALDWIN: You know, listen, you say you've known the truth for years. Now we're getting it vis-a-vis Oprah Winfrey. What's your reaction to this confession?

WILLERTON: Yes. Didn't -- it didn't come as much of a surprise at all, I think. He's -- the big question at this point is, like the previous guest was talking about, was the legal wrangling and how he's going to unravel this and what all that looks like going forward.

BALDWIN: Do you, in some way, feel vindicated? Are you angry? How do you feel?

WILLERTON: I am not angry. I got through that stage many years ago. It would be nice to get some apologies, a lot of apologies, privately and publicly, from him to people like Greg Lemond and Frankie and Bessey (ph) and Drau (ph) and many, many others. The list is very long. But I don't have any anger. What I have right now is a lot of hope for the sport of cycling and the future of cycling, which is in distress right now because of his actions.

BALDWIN: Let me ask you, though, because of his actions, you know about that thousand page USADA report, came out a couple of months ago. That was when the news broke that they were, you know, stripping him of his seven Tour de France titles. And not only in this report did it say Armstrong used, but that he also gave these performance enhancing drugs to his teammates. And basically saying, look, if you didn't juice, you're out.

Paul, I just have to ask, did you ever juice?

WILLERTON: No. No. I was an athlete who got pushed out by all of that. So it really bothers me when I hear people say, always a level playing field, they're trying to justify this in any way, and really people who don't have a background in sports or didn't try to actually make a living at it might want to express that point of view, but that's really sad. And it's a reflection on our society as a whole.

BALDWIN: Were you pushed out because you didn't?

WILLERTON: Not because I refused to at the time that it was all started happening with the blood products and EPO, and blood doping and that sort of thing. We were very confused by what was happening. So the -- when the sport started to change and the speed started to go up so dramatically, there was actually quite a few who got pushed out just because we were confused and didn't do research and didn't -- it never occurred to us that we actually had to do these types of products to compete.

BALDWIN: Did you know some of these teammates who felt that they were forced into juicing or else they were off the team?

WILLERTON: Yes. Lots of them are my friends and they're still friends. So we talk about it. We talked about it back then. And it's not a very large community. A lot of -- a lot of us try to tell this story to the world over a decade ago, and the ones who did just got annihilated by Lance Armstrong.

BALDWIN: Annihilated. That's a strong word. And, you know, you talk about wanting maybe apologies for you or teammates, members of the cycling community. So, Paul, forget about the cheating, the lying, the duping the world for years. What about you and these other cyclists and the teammates? Because Lance Armstrong, for years, basically calling you all liars, daring to blow the whistle, daring to defame him. Is his confession good enough for you?

WILLERTON: No. No. It was never going to be about a confession. I think the confession now is really just the starting point for him to help the sport of cycling. There are a lot of people out there who are still lying. There is his former doctor, Michele Ferrari. There's his former team director, Johan Bruyneel. These guys are still perpetrating the lies that -- and deception that Lance ruled over. And Lance holds the keys. He wants his control back. And he desperately wants to be liked by the American public. And I -- you can't have it all. So there are people who are going to have to get taken down. And Lance does have the ability to do that. So, right now, and I think that the Oprah interview was in part to position himself. It's always been about a numbers game for Lance and his agent, Bill Stapleton. Their -- they put that out there to see what their options are and what types of deals they can make, whether it's with the Department of Justice or --


WILLERTON: Yes. They -- go ahead.

BALDWIN: No. Just to be clear, you threw out the name of a doctor and someone else and this is just what you're saying. We can't confirm that whatsoever. But let me just end on -- are you worried at all that, you know, people talk about the magic touch of Oprah, that Oprah will let him off the hook, that this will be that and it's over?

WILLERTON: I think that Oprah is -- you know, went down in Lance's hole with a crow bar and helped him turn around. It's going to be up to Lance to climb out of that hole now. And I just -- who knows. Who knows. We'll have to see.

BALDWIN: We will have to see. Airs on Thursday. Paul Willerton, thank you.


BALDWIN: A brazen child abduction caught on camera. Look at this. This little girl taken right out of her classroom. Up next, find out how the five-year-old managed to escape from her abductor.


BALDWIN: She is just five years old, but she escaped a situation many grown-ups probably couldn't handle here. This Philadelphia girl, seen in this surveillance video, apparently escaped from her kidnapper. Police say it's the woman -- you have to watch it back again. See the woman there, dressed in black? That is who picked up this little girl, right out of her kindergarten class at Brian Elementary School yesterday morning. Now, a Philadelphia school spokesperson admits it was a substitute teacher in this class, admits this substitute teacher, who didn't let the girl go, who let the girl go, I should say, did not follow the right protocol. The spokesman said this to CNN. Quote, "it is disturbing that an adult is able to walk into a classroom and have the teacher release the child without knowing who the adult is," end quote. Police say the woman knew the child's name.


CAPT. JOHN DARBY, PHILADELPHIA POLICE: It would appear that this was not a random act that, in fact, this child was targeted. And there's a number of, you know, indications of that, and that is that the mother -- or the woman that came into that school kind of knew exactly what to do.

ASIM ABDUR-RASHID, VICTIM'S GRANDFATHER: But I have no idea why someone would come and pretend to be her mother and take her.


BALDWIN: The school realized something was very wrong when a day care worker came to pick this little girl up and she wasn't there. And then, just before sunrise today, investigators say a passerby found her alive in a playground. They say she was just wearing a t-shirt, nothing else, at this playground in Upper Darby. This is a town that borders Philadelphia.

And just want to be clear. CNN is choosing not to identify this five- year-old because investigators are still trying to figure out if she was sexually assaulted.

On the phone with me now is superintendent of Upper Darby Police, Michael Chitwood.

Superintendent, welcome to you.

First things first, how is this little girl? How are her parents?

MICHAEL CHITWOOD, SUPERINTENDENT, UPPER DARBY POLICE (via telephone): To my knowledge, the little girl is fine. She was treated at the hospital. She was released. She's being questioned by forensic people, child advocates or child workers, child youth service workers. And hopefully a little more information will be forthcoming about exactly what happened to her, and while she was being held captive.

BALDWIN: Take me back to early this morning. I saw that it was somewhere around 4:40 a.m. she was, what, heard crying on a playground by someone who just happened to be passing by. What happened?

CHITWOOD: There was a gentleman that lives in our township who was walking up to the transportation center to get a train that he does every day to go to work. And as he's walking on 69th Street, past an athletic field, he hears crying, help me, help me, of a little girl. He stops, he looks and he sees underneath the sliding board what appears to be a little girl. And he yells for her, and she yells for him, help me, help me. And she comes out from the sliding board and comes over to him. And he notices that she's attired only in a black t-shirt. And no underwear, no pants, no shoes or socks. And he grabs her and he said, where are your clothes? And she just said to him, I ran away, I ran away. And he asked her name. She said her last name. And he grabbed the little girl and he just -- he had a heavier coat on and he put her in his coat and he dialed 911. The police arrived and when the first officers on the scene, they identified her as the little girl that had been abducted the day before in Philadelphia.

BALDWIN: That is -- that is chilling. And the words she used, I understand, superintendent, the words she used, she said I was stolen. I was stolen.

CHITWOOD: Yes, words to that effect.


CHITWOOD: You know, he said, well, what do you need? She says, I'm cold, I'm cold, and I got to pee. So he -- we immediately transported her to a children's hospital in Philadelphia.

BALDWIN: And, still, you have no idea who this woman, this abductor is at all?

CHITWOOD: No. I -- at this point in time, I don't believe they do. I mean you can see the photo. The only thing you see is her eyes. I mean obviously, from my perspective, the little girl apparently had to be dropped off into that playground because there's a fence around there. There's no way she would have gotten in there unless somebody actually lifted her over the fence and put her in there. And, again, we didn't question her at all. I mean we just transported her right to the hospital just to make sure she was safe and that there were no injuries to her. So that was our role. Obviously the investigation is being handled by -- by Philadelphia.

BALDWIN: Right. No, I know you point out she was just wearing a t- shirt, so they're just checking to see if she was abused in any which way. Here is hoping --


BALDWIN: Here is hoping she was not. Michael Chitwood, we're going to stay on this story right with you and Philadelphia Police. Michael Chitwood, Upper Darby Police Department.

Thank you, sir.

CHITWOOD: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Oh, just moments ago, a major announcement from FaceBook on something new it's unveiling. Nope, not a phone. We'll find out what the hype is all about today, next.


BALDWIN: FaceBook. FaceBook held a big news conference last hour at its California headquarters. The company invited reporters using the mystery line "come see what we're building." "Come see what we're building" so says FaceBook today. Felicia Taylor is standing by for me in New York.

And, all right, spill it. What's the news, Felicia?

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you know, this is the first major press event since the May IPO. So there was a lot of hype around it. They're rolling out a new type of search calling it Graph Search. It allows users to filter through their friends' information. It's -- and that's important. It's not new. It's photos, things they like, more efficiently, people, places, things like that. So it's not a traditional web search.

For example, if you and I were FaceBook friends, which we might be, I can type in co-workers of mine who live in Atlanta and you'd show up in the search. So it's not a new kind of search. But only if we're already friends and have shared information together. FaceBook says no changes to privacy settings are required. They're well aware of the issue of privacy. Graph Search only accesses information you already have access to.

So the question is, you know, did it live up to the hype? I don't think it really did. I mean, as you mentioned, we were really looking for more like a phone.


TAYLOR: And FaceBook shares have been steadily rising in anticipation of this event. I mean over the last three months, they've been up about 60 percent. And today, at the announcement, they were literally back and forth all over the place. At last check, which was about 10 minutes ago, they were down about two and a half percent. So the problem with building up this kind of a mystery announcement is, you get the rumor mill going, you build up expectations and the market can --

BALDWIN: Wa, wa.

TAYLOR: Exactly. Exactly. But you know what's interesting?


TAYLOR: As one analyst says, that this is a clear blow to Google and Google should be worried now because what FaceBook is trying to do is keep people on their site to access information.

BALDWIN: I gotcha.

TAYLOR: Or let's say, for instance, you're coming to New York and want to go to a great restaurant. You might say, what is Felicia -- where does Felicia go to eat and what does she love? And then you get this list of restaurants.

BALDWIN: Great. When in turn -- no, (INAUDIBLE) trust your friends, right? So you'd rather see what your friends would say than maybe something on Google.

TAYLOR: Exactly.

BALDWIN: Because I would trust what Felicia Taylor tells me to do and where I should go eat.

Felicia Taylor, thank you very much. Appreciate it. For me in New York right now.

TAYLOR: No problem.

BALDWIN: Now to this one. What -- what a story this is. You have these adult twins. They find out they're about to go blind, both of them, so they decide life's not worth living anymore. And what doctors do next has sparked a huge fiery debate all around the world.


SAWYER: Some of the hottest stories in a flash. "Rapid Fire." Roll it. The House of Representatives is poised to vote today on a $51 billion aid package for victims of Superstorm Sandy. I know it sounds like an automatic yes vote, right? But some conservative Republicans say the bill has gotten way too expensive. They have, though, as you know, come under pressure and criticism from members of their own party, from the northeast, including from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Sports anchor Stuart Scott of ESPN says his cancer -- his cancer has returned. The anchor tweeted out the news that he will undergo chemotherapy every two weeks, but he will continue to work during the treatment. Scott battled cancer in 2007 and again in 2011. No word on where the new cancer was discovered.