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Lance Armstrong Confesses to Doping; White House to Unveil Guns Package

Aired January 15, 2013 - 15:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hour two. I'm Brooke Baldwin, top of the hour here.

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. Earlier in the show, I talked to a former teammate of Lance Armstrong's, asked him what he thinks about this confession.


PAUL WILLERTON, FORMER LANCE ARMSTRONG TEAMMATE: It is not a very large community. A lot of us tried to tell the story to the world over a decade ago, and the ones who did just got annihilated by Lance Armstrong.

I think that Oprah is -- you know, went down in Lance's hole with a crowbar and helped him turn around. It is going to be up to Lance to climb out of that hole now.


BALDWIN: Armstrong's been denying claims of doping for years. In 2005, made this claim, under oath, while giving a deposition in a lawsuit he had filed against a Dallas-based insurer. Here he was.


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


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that would include any substance that has ever been banned? Is that fair to say?



BALDWIN: Looks a lot like perjury, but because of the statute of limitations, more than three years has gone by, any chance of punishment in that regard has expired.

I'm joined by contributor of "Outside" magazine, Brian Alexander. Brian, welcome. Straight up with me, has language Armstrong's doping, has it hurt the sport of cycling?

BRIAN ALEXANDER, "OUTSIDE": The sport of cycling was hurt long before these revelations came out from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. It is well known within the sport, and among aficionados of the sport that doping has been rife for the -- at least the last 20 years.

BALDWIN: The last 20 years. And now, here we have Lance Armstrong, this confession, and his fame, of course, came from more than just his cycling. He was a cancer survivor, a hero for his work with LIVESTRONG. We know he went to that headquarters yesterday, personally apologized to them. But will his cancer battle make the public forgiveness easier, do you think?

ALEXANDER: You know, I don't think so. I think the statement from your last guest is what is really going to be the hurdle that Lance faces going forward.

And that is that Armstrong literally tried to destroy people who were starting to talk about doping on his team and on other teams. He really went after people personally, and I think that's going to be a problem that he's not going to be able to overcome very easily.

BALDWIN: Yes, I straight-up asked my guest who rode with him in '92 if he juiced. He said, no, but he has a bunch of friends who absolutely were sort of forced into, as they say, forced into doping or else they would be kicked off the team.

Let me throw this at you. Why is Armstrong doing this now? The timing of this, is that significant? Even Oprah says she didn't really get a clear answer to that. Take a listen to this.


OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "OPRAH'S NEXT CHAPTER": I asked that question and I'm not sure I have the answer to that question, why he wanted to do it now. I specifically asked that question. I think he was just -- he was just ready.

I think the velocity of everything that has come at him in the past several months and particularly in the past several weeks he was just ready.


BALDWIN: What do you make of the timing? Any significance about...



That -- I have to say, that's a little bit of a mystery to me too. I wrote a story last year for "Outside" magazine where I consulted with a number of legal experts who all said that Armstrong would be foolish to talk. I had an outing the other night with some lawyers who are very knowledgeable in this field . They said Armstrong would be an idiot to say anything.

I don't know what is motivating him. And I'm not sure anybody really does. I'm not sure that I buy the idea that Armstrong really wants to run triathlons and that's why he's going to do it. I think there is something else, maybe even something deeply personal, that maybe he wants some sort of public redemption. I honestly don't know. I don't think we're really going to find out here for some time, because frankly it is a mystery to me too.

BALDWIN: You talk about public redemption. But when you talk to these cyclists, many of whom I'm sure you are intimately familiar with, they're furious. I talk again to Paul Willerton, who's a teammate, and he did tell me -- he said he moved past the anger, like phases.

He's moved past the anger. Other people are furious. He says Lance Armstrong needs to personally apologize to some of these guys. Who, Brian, do you think should be most furious over this?


ALEXANDER: Well, you know, there are a couple of people.

It is. There are so many people that I have spoken to, a woman by the name of Betsy Andreu, who is the wife of a cyclist who was a teammate of Lance's who has been vilified over and over and over again, called all sorts of names, including crazy and insane, the former team operator Emma O'Reilly, an Irish woman, who I spoke to, who he really went after, tried to sue personally, tried to ruin her life.

There are a number of people. Whether or not they would be willing to accept a personal apology, after all the water that has gone under the bridge, I don't know. I think there is a kind of sort of sigh of relief among some of those people, but I also think a lot of those people are sort of, now that it is out, we're done with Armstrong, and frankly we don't care about him anymore ever.

BALDWIN: Ever. Ever, you say.

ALEXANDER: Ever. The depth of -- the depth of hatred for Armstrong within that small community of cyclists who were affected by him is really deep.

As far as the general American public is concerned, that may be a different story.


BALDWIN: That's something else entirely. Brian Alexander, "Outside" magazine, fascinating. Brian, thank you.

ALEXANDER: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Developing this hour, the White House is saying tomorrow is the day for the president's gun control package. Chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin just a short time ago talking to me saying, yes, it will include some sort of assault weapons ban, but just to be precise, this is a proposal. The president, as you know, can't do this by himself, can't do a ban alone. He needs Congress. And here is the White House spokesman, Jay Carney, on that.


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 have already mentioned because the power to do that is reserved by Congress and to Congress.


BALDWIN: Jessica Yellin also telling us this gun violence package will include proposals on the high-capacity magazines, on background checks, gun swaps, mental health issues there. We will look for those details officially coming out tomorrow.

Meantime, Miguel Marquez is in Vegas for us today. This is the scene of the biggest -- world's biggest gun show, being held as we speak.

Miguel, we have heard about the surge in gun sales. Do the gun owners, do the gun makers believe this time that it is real, that -- this gun control push?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If sales, existing sales are any indication, they certainly believe it.

Some gun manufacturers are saying it is as long as two years to wait for one of those AR-15s. There are several manufacturers who make those guns and every gun owner we talked to who is going to the SHOT Show here in Vegas says that they can't keep them in stock. These AR- 15s made by a range of manufacturers retail for anywhere from $1,100, $1,200, up to $2,000 a copy for each one and they can't keep them in their stores.

I talked to one guy out of Indiana, who said he had 17 of the weapons and sold them in 36 hours. He had 2,100 high-capacity magazines, sold them in 24 hours. And we're hearing that same theme for retailers across the spectrum.

Manufacturers, retailers watching very closely what the president will say tomorrow. Gun owners, they're concerned, they seem to be hoarding a lot of ammunition, those. 223 rounds and the AR-15s. But sport shooters and others, they are not as concerned. They don't think it will really affect them as much. But there is a lot of focus on what the president will say tomorrow and how this is all going to play out.

It is -- there is a lot of worry here in Vegas among gun owners, manufacturers, retailers, about what is going to be proposed tomorrow.

BALDWIN: Miguel, I just got sent something. Apparently, talking of gun owners, the NRA, the NRA has now seen what the organization is calling an unprecedented spike in membership numbers over the past month. This is according to the group's spokesman -- 250,000 people have joined this organization here since this whole -- all the talk of gun control began.

Just give me some color. Have you been on the inside of this show? What is it like? It's right there on the Strip, right?

MARQUEZ: It is. It is at the Sands right up the street from where we are. CNN could not get into the show. They had to close off the number of press that got in at 2,000.

They said they had to turn away over 700 members of the press. There is not a lot of cameras allowed inside the show itself. It is a massive room with gun manufacturers, retailers. It is all trade, only trade. So there is no just individuals walking in off the street in order to get into the show. It is -- they bill it the largest show of this kind in the world.

So people from around the world literally have descended on Vegas this week to talk guns, to make deals, and to figure out where the gun industry is going. One to thing a lot of folks are telling us, though, as we see on streets of Vegas, though, is they can't figure out where their business goes from here. They want to grow their business, they want to do other things, they want to open a shooting range. They're not quite sure how they can move ahead until they know what the president comes out with tomorrow -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: OK. Yes, again, the plan will be unveiled tomorrow at the White House. Miguel Marquez for us in Las Vegas. Miguel, thank you.

Gun control advocates take their message directly to one of the biggest gun sellers in the country, Wal-Mart. Take a look here. This is Wal-Mart. These are people standing in front of a Wal-Mart. This is a Wal-Mart in Danbury, Connecticut. This is a town right next door to Newtown, where 20 children and six adults were shot and killed one month ago yesterday.

And one of the people present today was a woman by the name of Pam Simon. She was wounded back in the Tucson shooting that almost killed Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. And with guns and ammunition sold in stores all over the country, Simon had a personal reason to single out Wal-Mart.


PAM SIMON, SHOOTING VICTIM: Bullets that were shot in my chest came from a Wal-Mart. And they were purchased very easily, much more easily than you can buy Sudafed or spray can, cans of paint. So it just makes sense that maybe we need to rethink this, and really it is a -- it is a family-friendly store. It is not a place for assault rifles. There is no place in our society for assault rifles.


BALDWIN: The protesters outside that store delivered a petition with nearly 300,000 signatures asking Wal-Mart to stop selling assault weapons.

Meantime, New York state is taking action on guns. The state assembly there is considering a restrictive new measure this afternoon that would ban assault weapons and magazines that hold more than seven bullets. It is also designed to make it easier to keep guns away from the mentally ill. New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo says voters are ready, they are ready for lawmakers there to do their part.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: This is a scourge on society. People had to live through these tragedies, tragedy after tragedy after tragedy. And people are sitting there saying at what point do we get it?


BALDWIN: The bill passed the New York State Senate last night by a wide margin. If passed by the entire assembly, it will become law as soon as it is signed by the governor.


BALDWIN: Leon Panetta says the U.S. is getting involved in Mali, as violence there is spiraling out of control. But, really, how far is America willing to go?

I'm Brooke Baldwin. The news is now.

(voice-over): Nude pictures, a palm print, and a denial -- why interrogation tapes poke holes in this murder defendant's story.

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 reports suggest the owner of the New York Knicks used microphones to record the chatter of his star player on the court. We're "On the case."


BALDWIN: Got an update on this death penalty murder trial. This is happening in Phoenix, Arizona, and take a look with me, because if this woman here looks familiar, this is Jodi Arias, Jodi Arias accused of brutally slaying her boyfriend, an alleged fatal attraction.

Stand by here. We're about to view part of a four-and-a-half-year-old interrogation first revealed in public just yesterday. This seems to have been where Arias learned that police had photographs of herself and the victim, Travis Alexander, taken the day of the killing. And that's important. Why is that important?

Because Arias now contends she shot and stabbed Alexander, stabbed him 27 times, in self-defense, whereas before she learned that police had the pictures, she said she wasn't even there, never saw him the day of the killing. Let's watch and listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you in Travis' house on Wednesday?

JODI ARIAS, DEFENDANT: Absolutely not. I was nowhere near Mesa. I was nowhere near Phoenix. I wasn't even close to him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What if I could show you proof you were there? Would that change your mind?

ARIAS: I wasn't there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to be honest with me, Jodi.

ARIAS: I was not at Travis' house. I was not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were at Travis' house. If you want, I can show you some pictures of him. Do you want to see pictures of him?

ARIAS: Part of me does and part of me doesn't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why? Because you don't want to remember?



ARIAS: I just -- there is a morbid curiosity. I wanted to know how he died.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jodi, we can keep playing these games over and over again, and I'm not going to believe you. Your blood is in the house mixed with his. Mixed. Not on the side, but mixed. Your hair is there with blood. And your palm print is there in blood. It's over.

ARIAS: I'm not, like -- I'm not a murderer, but I guess if I were to do that, I would wear gloves or, you know, something. I just -- how can I -- I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know you tried to wash him off, tried to get some of the blood off, tried to clean him up a little bit, because you're even denying the pictures of you being there. There is pictures of you laying on the bed in pigtails.

ARIAS: Pigtails?



BALDWIN: The Arias trial continues today. State of Arizona plans to pursue the death penalty should she be convicted.

The North African country of Mali probably not the first place you would think of when you think of al Qaeda. The government of Mali is now under siege, right now, from Islamist militants and France has deployed just about 1,000 troops on the ground there. The U.S. has promised to help. But how far will America go there?


BALDWIN: For the very same reason that the United States has gotten involved in situations in Yemen and Somalia and Pakistan, the U.S. is now entering into what is happening in this Western African nation.

OK, so this is Mali. The reason? To stop al Qaeda. Here's what Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said just yesterday. Here you go. "We have a responsibility to go after al Qaeda wherever they are. We have a responsibility to make sure that al Qaeda does not establish a base for operations in North Africa and Mali" -- end quote.

A rebel group has been aligning with al Qaeda to try to take over the government here and they have been gaining territory. And this is why. We mentioned France a moment ago. This is why France has entered the conflict, actually putting up to 800 troops on the ground to keep the capital city from rebel control.

The United States plans to assist French operations, and here's one more reason why you should watch what is happening in Mali, and the developments there. Because more of your tax dollars may be going there.


VICTORIA NULAND, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: The funding mechanism for the U.N. mission is still being worked out, but we are assuming that the U.S. will be asked to contribute significantly, as we did to the Somalia operation.

So, to get a jump on that, we're using some of our existing funding that we already have in the budget and will be going to the Congress for additional funding over the coming days.


BALDWIN: Chris Lawrence, let me go to you at the Pentagon, because -- our Pentagon correspondent, I should say. The U.S. will not be sending in ground troops, so how exactly will our military help in Mali?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, they're considering sending big Air Force cargo planes to get more French troops and heavy equipment, vehicles, into the fight there, also considering putting up more drones and spy planes to get a better sense of what is happening on the ground.

And they may be sending some aerial refueling craft so that those French jets can refuel while they're in the air and do more sustained, longer missions.

BALDWIN: Why not boots on the ground? LAWRENCE: Short answer, Mali is a mess in a lot of ways. The U.S. still has 66,000 troops in Afghanistan that they're trying to draw down. And the U.S. special forces trained some of the Mali army soldiers, trained them how to shoot, taught them how to kill, gather intel.

One of the Mali commanders actually came to the United States several times to get training and then they defected, went over to the other side. They were supposed to help bolster the government. Instead, they were the ones leading the coup.

BALDWIN: You say Mali is a mess. There has to be some kind of concern, Chris, that al Qaeda fighters could launch an attack on the U.S.

LAWRENCE: Yes, they don't think that concern is today. What they're worried about is tomorrow. Listen to what analysts say who have studied this part of Africa extensively.


JENNIFER COOKE, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: This is the big fear that is driving France, that is driving the United States, that it becomes a magnet for jihadist groups worldwide, that they may link up with groups and disenfranchised youth in Nigeria and Western Africa or even as far as Somalia and Al-Shabab.


LAWRENCE: They didn't think these rebels were going to aggressively take the territory that they did. The long-term concern is that it becomes sort of a pot where all of these elements from all over start to gather. And if that area then became a safe haven, it could be used to launch attacks down the road. That's why this sort of strike now to try to cut that of at the pass, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence. Chris, appreciate it.


BALDWIN: Coca-Cola releasing a new ad campaign calling obesity -- quote, unquote -- "the issue of this generation." My next guest here says, wait a minute, he thinks Coke is going into damage control mode. Don't miss that conversation.

Plus, just in to CNN, the government reporting that last year in 2012 was the biggest ice melt in history. How this impacts the climate change debate next.


BALDWIN: Got a story just into us at CNN, government climatologists reporting the biggest Arctic ice melt in history.

For that, I want to go quickly to Chad Myers here. What are we talking about?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Talking about the free Arctic sea ice that floats up in the Arctic. It has melted to the smallest amount ever, ever seen by satellites, in 2012.

There is less sea ice up there than there has ever been before. It was the ninth or the 10th depending on the data you use warmest year ever on record globally. This is a brand-new news conference that just came out. NASA and NOAA got together and said what do we think? What is going on here? Well, obviously, we know it is carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, more parts per million than ever before.

Let's get right to it. It has not the warmest on record. Why is it just keeps going up, the deniers -- if it just keeps going up, why isn't it the warmest, why is it the 10th warmest? There might be some particles in the air from some of the China fires we will show you in a second kind of blocking some of that out. But it is the warmest decade on record and the decades on average are going up and up and up and it was the warmest on record for a La Nina year.

And so that's what the map looks like, just red and orange. Everywhere it is orange or not blue, that is warmer than normal for this time period.

BALDWIN: You bring up China. We have been reporting sort of on the mess we have seen in China and all the air pollution, right? Aren't the air pollution levels in China, it's like -- look at these pictures. You can't even see the buildings. The pollution levels in China off the charts. In the U.S., we're trying to make these cleaner cars and adopting other measures to help, but we're not the only ones.


MYERS: Talking about Beijing, and also a lot of Eastern China. This is an area here. The World Health Organization says if you have particulate matter in the air greater than 25 parts per million, you should stay inside.

BALDWIN: That's why people are wearing masks.

MYERS: Beijing had 870 parts per million. When 25 is the alarm, they are 870. They're so far past the alarm. Now, this was because the weather pattern didn't blow this dust, smoke, particle stuff away.

But so what if it blows it away. It just blows it somewhere else. It is still in the atmosphere. They have had a very bad couple of days in Beijing over the past couple of days.


BALDWIN: I can't believe some of those pictures in China. Gosh.


BALDWIN: You think Atlanta and L.A. are bad. My goodness. Chad Myers, thank you.

MYERS: You're welcome.