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THE SITUATION ROOM
White House to Unveil Gun Reform Package; Lance Armstrong Comes Clean; Interview With Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers; Multi-Year Flu Shot Under Development
Aired January 15, 2013 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: Oprah Winfrey speaks out about her interview with Lance Armstrong and how he surprised her. We talk to the man who was uncovering the truth about Armstrong before anyone wanted to hear it.
Will the gun you own be outlawed? The White House is ready to reveal its gun control plans.
We will go inside the lab working on a flu shot that could last years.
And we will talk to a Republican leader threatening a government shutdown.
Plus, a stolen train off the rails and straight into a house.
Wolf Blitzer is of today. I'm Kate Bolduan, along with Joe Johns. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
New details of Lance Armstrong's highly anticipated interview with Oprah Winfrey from Oprah herself. She's offering intriguing clues about their lengthy conversation.
JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: But Winfrey isn't revealing exactly what Armstrong said about doping, although she hints he did make some sort of confession.
CNN's Ed Lavandera has the latest from Austin -- Ed.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joe and Kate, we are in Mellow Johnny's bike shop in the heart of downtown Austin, Texas. This is a bike shop that is partly owned by Lance Armstrong. And this is a place where he still has many friends, a place of refuge, considering everything that is swirling around Lance Armstrong right now, and it's also a place where you can find his picture still on the wall, his arms up in victory.
But when we see him in a couple of days in that interview before Oprah Winfrey, his arms will not be like that.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): For Lance Armstrong, it was not enough to deny using performance-enhancing drugs. He had to stand on a mountaintop and righteously challenge anyone who questioned how he did it.
This was Armstrong in Paris after winning his seventh Tour de France title in 2005.
LANCE ARMSTRONG, CYCLIST: To the people who don't believe in cycling, the cynics and the skeptics, I'm sorry for you. I'm sorry you can't dream big and I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles. There are no secrets. This is a hard sporting event and hard work wins it. So, vive le Tour forever.
LAVANDERA: So, the question is, which Lance Armstrong will appear in the two and a half hour interview with Oprah Winfrey. Her comments so far only add to the injury.
OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "OPRAH'S NEXT CHAPTER": I would say he did not come clean in the manner I expected. It was surprising to me.
LAVANDERA: But what does that mean? Will Armstrong make a full confession and accept full responsibility for his actions? Will he bring down others in the cycling industry? Or will he be the combative cyclist who, as he has many times in the past, complained that he's the victim of a witch hunt?
WINFREY: I choose not to characterize. I would rather people make their own decision 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.
LAVANDERA: Lance Armstrong knows it is time to salvage his reputation.
Veteran political consultant, Mark McKinnon, who lives in Austin, Texas, and sits on the board of the LIVESTRONG Foundation, says he feels betrayed.
MARK MCKINNON, LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION: I think he's got a lot of apologies. I think he's got to crawl over a lot of broken glass and drag the sackcloth. And -- but I think that they're the one thing they can't take away from him, John, is his cancer survivorship. And he does -- that story gives hope to millions of people.
LAVANDERA: And for Craig Staley, a longtime friend of Lance Armstrong, that's what he is he holding on to. Staley runs Mellow Johnny's bike shop in Austin, Armstrong is one of the owners. Staley and Armstrong have known each other since they were teenagers.
(on camera): Have you -- I mean, have you told him you lost faith in him? I mean, do you --
CRAIG STALEY, MELLOW JOHNNY'S: There's still a lot there. You know, there's still a lot of things that he's done and accomplished outside of the seven Tours of France. A lot of people are sort of abandoning him really quickly, and I think that -- I think that was in some ways a rush to judgment, because I have known the guy a long time and story's not over and he's not finished. LAVANDERA: But many of Lance Armstrong's biggest enemies in the cycling world, and there are many, now must feel like they're the ones standing on the mountaintop, looking down on him.
LAVANDERA: But it's not clear what a full confession to Oprah Winfrey will get for Lance Armstrong. The World Anti-Doping Agency says it won't be enough to simply go in an interview setting and confess to have to doped throughout your cycling career. That agency is calling for Lance Armstrong to testify under oath, and anything short of that will not affect his lifetime ban from sports around the world -- Joe and Kate, back to you.
JOHNS: Ed Lavandera in Texas.
The White House will unveil its plans to fight gun violence tomorrow, just one month since the Connecticut school massacre that made the issue a priority for President Obama.
CNN White House chief correspondent Jessica Yellin has the details.
Jessica, what are you hearing?
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Joe.
I have spoken to a number of Democrats who met with the vice president and his guns task force, and they tell me they believe there are two proposals the president will lay out tomorrow that both have the greatest chance of passing Congress and the chance to do the most good, a measure to pass universal background checks for all gun purchases and an effort to ban high-capacity magazines.
YELLIN (voice-over): At the White House, they're ready to unveil their list of gun safety priorities.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president and vice president will hold an event here at the White House to unveil a package of concrete proposals to reduce gun violence and prevent future tragedies like the one in Newtown, Connecticut.
YELLIN: This comes just a month after the Newtown shootings and weeks after the president named Vice President Biden to head a task force on gun safety.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Their task is going to be to, you know, sift through every good idea that's out there, and even take a look at some bad ideas before disposing of them, and come up with a concrete set of recommendations in about a month.
YELLIN: The president will announce his proposal surrounded by children who wrote him in the wake of Sandy Hook tragedy. And they're prepared for a fight.
CARNEY: The president's committed to pushing these proposals. He is not naive about the challenges that exist.
YELLIN: Multiple sources tell CNN the vice president told lawmakers he will outline 19 actions the president can take without going through Congress, examples, better enforcement of existing gun laws, keeping data on where the guns are. The government stopped keeping records in 2004. And improving the background check system, so there's more sharing of information and prosecution of people who try to buy guns illegally.
Then, the president will call on Congress to take action to pass an assault weapons ban, expand the background checks law to apply to all gun sales, and limit the sale of high-capacity magazines.
OBAMA: Will all of them get through this Congress? I don't know. But what's uppermost in my mind is making sure that I'm honest with the American people and with members of Congress about what I think will work.
YELLIN: Now, Joe, CNN has learned the vice president has spoken with a number of families of Newtown victims, this after some of them were critical of the vice president for not reaching out to them sooner. But he has now done so.
We have also learned that among the other measures that the White House will press is for a tightening of laws regarding gun swaps. These are regulations that would prohibit, for example, me from selling you a gun privately, with no record of it, no transaction, and no background check -- Joe.
JOHNS: Chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin, thanks.
BOLDUAN: It's going to be an uphill fight for the president, but we're getting some new information about his battle plans.
CNN's senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash is on Capitol Hill looking into that.
Dana, what are you picking up from there tonight?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, part of the battle plan, according to the vice president himself, he told congressional Democrats yesterday that they intend to use the infrastructure from the president's campaign to try to galvanize support for the proposals that Jessica was just reporting on.
Our Deirdre Walsh was told this by one of the members who was at that meeting. And based on the conversations that we have had with members of Congress all day, even Democrats, they're going to need that infrastructure.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BASH (voice-over): Newtown, Connecticut, is now represented by a freshman Democrat determined to ban the weapons used to massacre her young constituents.
REP. ELIZABETH ESTY (D), CONNECTICUT: It's my job to advocate for my community and all of these other communities. That's what I will be doing and working with leadership to get the votes we need.
BASH: But her burst of fresh energy to pass the new gun control proposals is already colliding with political reality. Listen to how lukewarm the Democrat who runs the Senate is.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: The numbers around the country, most people favor having the ability of people to carry guns. The American people want us to be very cautious with what we do.
BASH: Gun control is still such political dynamite. A House GOP leadership aide tells CNN the Democratic-controlled Senate must go first. Yet the Senate majority leader, a gun owner himself, won't yet commit to any legislation.
REID: Let's be realistic. In the Senate we're going to do what we think can get through the House. I'm not going to be going through a bunch of these gyrations just to say we have done something.
BASH: Never mind Republicans. Harry Reid's reluctance to go through -- quote -- "gyrations" mostly comes from some half a dozen vulnerable Democrats up for reelection next year who represent pro-gun states. Support for any gun control would immediately put them in the NRA's political crosshairs, an organization always looking for new ways to advocate gun rights, like this new app on iTunes, a 3-D target practice game marketing to consumers starting at age 4.
But the NRA doesn't need to pressure Republicans like Cory Gardner from Colorado.
REP. CORY GARDNER (R), COLORADO: I don't think that this administration's ideas on gun control are the right steps forward.
BASH: Gardner is one of many Republicans who will oppose virtually everything the president proposes, even strengthening federal background checks.
(on camera): From the perspective of House Republicans, is anything that the president will announce with regard to gun control measures likely to pass legislatively?
GARDNER: I hope that we can work with the president on issues that concern mental health.
BASH: But what about gun control?
GARDNER: I don't think gun control is the right direction and I believe most of my colleagues in the House Republican Conference would disagree with gun control measures.
BASH: And when it comes to the NRA, they are staying mum until the president and the vice president formally make their announcement tomorrow. We do expect a statement then.
But there is one interesting note that we heard -- again, our Deirdre Walsh was told this today -- that members of the NRA intend to meet with Democratic members of the House task force next week about potentially, potentially coming up with something that they can all agree on.
BOLDUAN: Yes, this is definitely one of those issues that seems to be less a matter of party and more a matter of geography, at least this time. Dana Bash, thank you so much.
JOHNS: The gunfight isn't the only battle on the horizon. The debate over debt and spending also promises to be bruising. Will Republicans go as far as a government shutdown? We will talk to a top Republican lawmaker who questions whether it could be necessary.
Plus, the journalist who raised doping questions about Lance Armstrong more than a decade ago and wound up being accused of libel.
JOHNS: Tough talk from both sides ahead of the coming battle on debt limits and spending.
BOLDUAN: That's for sure. President Obama says when it comes to paying what Congress has already spent, there's no negotiating.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And Republicans in Congress have two choices here. They can act responsibly, and pay America's bills, or they can act irresponsibly and put America through another economic crisis. But they will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Let's talk about that and more with Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state. She's a member of the Republican leadership in the House. She's chairwoman of the House Republican Conference.
Congresswoman, thanks for coming in.
REP. CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS (R), WASHINGTON: Thank you. Good to be with you.
BOLDUAN: Of course. I wanted to get your reaction to what the president said there. His point that he's driving over and over again is that this is not about authorization new spending at all. This is about paying bills that we have already racked up. So how do you counter that? MCMORRIS RODGERS: It's the wrong analogy.
This is about the credit card being maxed out, and then we're going to the credit card company, and asking to raise that limit even farther. We are talking about future spending. And it is a debate that needs to happen. We need the president to get serious about the out-of-control spending, the record debt that we have accumulated as a country. And we need the federal government to stop spending money that it doesn't have.
BOLDUAN: I understand that it -- that you are making, and Republicans are making an argument about cutting spending. But when it comes to the debt ceiling, the debt ceiling, by definition, isn't about authorizing new spending. It is about paying the bills that we have already racked up. So are you just trying to say that you want to have this conversation together, at the same time?
MCMORRIS RODGERS: This is about -- this is raising the debt ceiling is like raising your credit card limit. And, historically, this has been a debate.
You look over the last four presidents in this country, and there's been a debate every time it has come to raising the debt ceiling because there's a recognition, for years now, that the federal government has been spending way more than it should, way beyond its means, much more than it's actually bringing in.
And now it is -- we cannot continue to kick this can down the road. We have come to the end of the road. It is time for us to stop spending money we don't have.
JOHNS: Former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich is not exactly conflict-averse, I think you would agree, and he has warned the House Republicans not to take up this debt ceiling fight. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Asking Barack Obama not to be a big-spending, high-taxing liberal is a denial of everything that we have learned about him in his career. It's much better for the House Republicans to say, this is what we're prepared to do. There are dozens of places you can dramatically change spending without having to get involved in a general crisis over the U.S. debt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: Does he have a point? Do you think this is a message from the former speaker that's worth heeding?
MCMORRIS RODGERS: Well, we definitely want to work with President Obama, and we're at the beginning of the 113th Congress.
I would also say that this is our moment, though. The American people know that our economy is struggling right now, partly because of the debt that is impacting American families, hardworking taxpayers all across this country.
When President Obama was in the Senate, when he was a U.S. senator, he voted against raising the debt ceiling. And he said it was a lack of leadership that had brought us to this point. And so I would, at the beginning of this Congress, hope that the president would make this a new start, where we could look at this, and that we will actually get a budget in place.
The Senate hasn't passed a budget now for four years. The president, unfortunately, yesterday, said that he's going to delay his budget, even though the law says that he's supposed to submit the budget by February 4. That is concerning to me, that we are on autopilot, that the federal government continues to grow, continues to -- we're continuing to spend more money, and we need the president to join in this effort to get our fiscal house in order.
BOLDUAN: You're quoted in telling Politico that a government shutdown seems surely possible. You said in part that "I think it's possible that we would shut down the government to make sure President Obama understands that we're serious."
And the point President Obama is making, and has been making, especially this week, is that House Republicans are holding the American people hostage to prove a political point. I mean, do you see a government shutdown on the horizon? Because it's hard to argue with that point that the president's making, because the American people don't like gridlock, and they surely don't want to see the government shut down.
MCMORRIS RODGERS: No one wants to see the government shut down. But what we need is for the president to get serious about addressing the out-of-control spending.
Under President Obama, we have spent more money -- he has spent more money than any other president in this history, actually, the combined total from Washington up to George W. Bush. President Obama has racked up more spending, $1 trillion deficits. And it's time that he join us in this effort to get our fiscal house in order. What is a drag on the economy is the spending.
That is what is hurting hardworking taxpayer right now. And so we need him to join us in this effort.
JOHNS: At the end of the day, this is going to be a question about public opinion. What makes you think talking about not raising the debt ceiling or shutting down the government, what have you, is a winner in the court of public opinion?
MCMORRIS RODGERS: Well, again, we don't want to shut down the government, but in the court of public opinion, people also know that the federal government and the out-of-control spending is unsustainable.
And large majorities of the American people want us to cut spending, to start making the tough decisions, to balance our budgets, start living within our means. The American people, in their own families, they understand that you have to do that. You have to make the tough decisions. You have to get your budget. You have got to put it in order. And they expect their elected officials and their leaders to do likewise.
And that's what needs to happen over the next few weeks, as we approach all of these fiscal debates.
JOHNS: So you think it's possible that there could be a shutdown of the government, but you're saying you don't want to shut down the government?
MCMORRIS RODGERS: No, we don't want to shut down the government. What we want is for the president to get serious. And, as I mentioned earlier, we don't even have a budget in place.
To think that we are running the federal government, this $3.7 trillion enterprise, without a budget, just -- I think it blows most people's minds. It blows my mind. We need to get a budget in place. We need the Senate to pass a budget. We need the president to at least a propose a budget. That's pretty foundational.
And the ways that we leverage and make this happen comes at points like this, where we're raising -- where we're talking about the -- raising the debt ceiling, sequestration, and the continuing resolution.
BOLDUAN: Unfortunately, Congresswoman, we're going to have to leave it there. I think everyone would agree it would be great to see a budget pass Congress, but I think, right now, everyone is a little bit more worried about facing the debt ceiling crisis yet again.
Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, thank you so much. We will definitely be talking with you a lot. Thank you.
MCMORRIS RODGERS: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Still ahead, a stolen train goes flying off the tracks and right into a house -- surprising details of who police say is to blame.
JOHNS: He covered Lance Armstrong and doping allegations for more than a decade. His paper was even sued for libel. Sports writer David Walsh is here to talk about the exploding scandal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How could you be Lance Armstrong and walk into a room now knowing that there are people looking at you thinking, this is the greatest cheat that sport has ever known?
(END VIDEO CLIP) BOLDUAN: A sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey alone won't be enough to ease sanctions against disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong. That's the world from the World Anti-Doping Agency in the wake of news that Armstrong apparently came clean about using performance-enhancing drugs during his career.
JOHNS: The reported confession comes after years of vehement denials and could have serious implications for Armstrong's future and his former teammates.
Joining us now is "New York Times" sports reporter Juliet Macur. She's covered the doping scandal extensively for years.
So this is just quite an amazing story. What are you hearing now about how far he actually went in this interview with Oprah Winfrey?
JULIET MACUR, SPORTS REPORT, "NEW YORK TIMES": Well, we know for sure that he's said he's doped, which is really quite a revelation, after even -- it's almost been 15 years of his vehement denials of that.
How far he goes, we don't know. We don't know if he's going to talk about the secretive blood transfusions or the needles of the blood booster EPO, which increases endurance, all the nitty-gritty and dirtiness of the sport, I don't...
MACUR: Testosterone, human growth hormone, cortisone.
JOHNS: Because people think this is just about blood doping, but there's a lot of other performance-enhancing drugs that are alleged to have been involved.
MACUR: Sure. And that's exactly why the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has said it was one of the most sophisticated, professional, and organized doping schemes in the history of sports. It's not just -- they weren't just using one banned item. They were using the cocktail of banned items that made them or helped them win seven years in a row.
BOLDUAN: And Juliet, you've been doing some fabulous reporting on a very tough story to really decipher the facts from the spin, I'm sure. So what do you know and what are you hearing about what the motivation is, the big question everyone's asking now, what was his motivation for coming forward to do this interview and admitting to doping?
MACUR: Well, on "Oprah" on Thursday, I'm not sure what Lance Armstrong will say his motivation is, but we've heard, from our sources, that the motivation is really, he wants to compete again. He hasn't competed for a long time, because he's been banned from every Olympic sport. And that means he obviously can't compete in the Olympics. But he also can't compete in any sport that is sanctioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which is almost any sport you can think of. It's a triathlon. It's a local race in your hometown. It's all of those things. He cannot compete in them.
BOLDUAN: It sure sounds like coming forward brings more legal trouble than it doesn't, in this admission.
MACUR: That's for sure. A lot of people are asking me, why would he come forward if it means, you know, maybe tens of millions of dollars in lawsuits against him he'd have to pay out?
But what they don't understand against Lance Armstrong is, he is not motivated because he wants to be rich. He is not motivated by the cars or the mansions that he owns. He is motivated because he's an athlete. He's motivated because he likes to beat people, and that's in an athletic competition, so he needs to compete again.
JOHNS: The World Anti-Doping Agency released a statement about this interview. I want to read part of it to you.
"Only when Mr. Armstrong makes a full confession under oath and tells the anti-doping authorities all he knows about doping activities, can any legal and proper process for him to seek any reopening or reconsideration of his lifetime ban commence."
So this means that this interview with Oprah really only opens the door, and he has to make a much fuller and complete statement if he expects to get back into the game.
MACUR: Sure. This is really just the first step. It's like a P.R. step, pretty much, going on Oprah, who's known to be pretty soft when it comes with the questions. You know, he's pretty much going to be able to control part of the interview.
But what he has to do is turn on the people who helped him dope, which are officials in cycling, maybe at USA Cycling, maybe at the International Cycling Union, which is the world governing body of the sport, maybe going up as high as the International Olympic Committee.
BOLDUAN: And real quick, because we're out of time, but a final question. I think a lot of this loses focus on the charity, the Livestrong Foundation. I mean, just real quick, what kind of impact has all of this had, would you think this admission would have on that foundation?
MACUR: The admission, I'm not sure how it will affect the foundation from here on out, but we had a story in "The Times" this week that says that a lot of corporate sponsors have either scaled back their donations to the foundation or had ended them completely. So the foundation has been hurt badly by it, whether he's...
BOLDUAN: I think that's the saddest part.
MACUR: It is, it's a sad part. It's a sad story, actually.
BOLDUAN: Yes. Juliet Macur, doing some great reporting, sports reporter for the "New York Times." Thank you so much for giving us the time.
MACUR: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
JOHNS: More on Armstrong next. The sports editor of the "London Sunday Times" joins more than a decade ago, where he saw a world champion start out taking the heat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID WALSH, CHIEF SPORTS WRITER, "LONDON SUNDAY TIMES": From the moment Lance won his first Tour de France in 1999, I was convinced that he was doping.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: Plus, a single flu shot that could protect you for years. We go inside the lab where researchers are working on it right now.
JOHNS: Was it a confession, an admission, or something else? Oprah Winfrey won't say exactly what Lance Armstrong told her about doping.
BOLDUAN: But Oprah did say as part of her research, she read a key book by a man who's researched Armstrong for more than a decade.
Joining us from London is David Walsh, chief sports writer for "The Sunday Times." He's been covering Lance Armstrong's doping accusations since 1991 and has written three books on the subject. His latest is "Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong."
David, thanks so much for coming in. I mean, after covering him for more than a decade now, I'm sure, at some point, you thought he would never be coming forward. I mean, you even wrote at one point, "Those who expect him to falter may have a long, long wait."
So what was your first reaction when you heard of this interview he was giving and also reports that he confessed to doping?
WALSH: Well, my feeling is that everything depends on what exactly he said. In other words, the devil is going to be in the detail.
And I believe that the confession is going to be a pretty comprehensive confession. I mean, Lance has been reaching out to people, journalistic adversaries, you know, people that would have been perceived to have been on the other side. So I imagine that he's trying to make a new start, and that begins with the proper confession.
BOLDUAN: I sense that you don't really trust it. And you said, devil's in the details, until you hear it for yourself. Did you, by any chance, receive one of those calls from him? WALSH: No, I did not. But that may -- may or may not have had something -- may have something to do with the fact that my newspaper, "The Sunday Times," is attempting to recoup money that they paid to Lance Armstrong in 2006, arising out of a lawsuit.
The "Sunday Times" was perhaps the only newspaper in the world at that time, consistently asking questions of Lance Armstrong, and we were the ones he was always going to sue.
And, you know, the settlement that we made at that time was based on assurances from Lance Armstrong that he didn't dope, would never dope, and we had no right to even question him on that.
Of course, the truth is now out there. And "The Sunday Times," at the very least, is entitled to its money back.
JOHNS: David, it's Joe Johns. Oprah this morning on CBS News wouldn't give details of the interview, and she just guessed that he was ready to start talking about this now. Why do you think he came forward at this point?
WALSH: And my feeling is that he came forward because his -- he's been in a pretty bad place since the truth has emerged in his story. And the only way he can begin to rebuild his life is -- is to make a full confession of all the things he did.
And I would say, a confession won't be enough. He's got to -- he's got to make reparation to the people he wronged. He's got a lot of apologizing to do.
I mean, if you consider that Lance Armstrong, speaking under oath, in a Dallas, Texas, tribunal in 2005 described his former masseuse, Emma O'Reilly (ph), as a whore, I mean, to do something like that, under oath, to me, that was perhaps the lowest point in terms of human behavior during what was a very sad experience.
JOHNS: But the purpose, then, you think, is to start competing again? Perhaps in triathlons? That's what's motivating him to come forward now?
WALSH: No, I don't think that's the primary motivation, although it's certainly an ancillary motivation. I think he just needs to begin to rebuild his life, to regain some of the respect, or attempt to regain some respect.
Because he's in a very bad place right now. I mean, how could you be Lance Armstrong and walk into a room now, knowing that there were people looking at you, thinking, "This is the greatest cheat that sport has ever known, and he -- and he hasn't even admitted it."
So, you know, for Lance to come back, it had to begin with -- with a full confession. And that's why we're -- that's why we're going to see on Thursday evening, what we're going to see.
BOLDUAN: Ahead of this interview with Oprah, you, along with "The Sunday Times," put an ad out in "The Chicago Tribune," offering up some suggestive questions that she should ask Lance Armstrong, and we have a graphic here of it. Some of the questions included, "Did you sue 'The Sunday Times' to shut us up?" Also, "Did you expect your lying to the cancer community was your greatest deception of all?"
Some pretty tough questions. Of course, we're not sure exactly what Oprah Winfrey asked him, but we do know that looked to you and your -- your research in preparing for her interview. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST/MEDIA MOGUL: I had prepared. I'd read the reasoned decision. I'd watch all of Scott Pelley's reports, "60 Minutes" reports. I'd seen the Tyler Hamilton interview. I'd read "Seven Deadly Sins." I read "L.A. Confidential," David Walsh's books.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: So, David, what was the point, the motivation of putting that ad out? And also, after all this time, does this -- if -- if he acknowledges what you think he will acknowledge, is this vindication? Is this redemption for all of your work? How do you feel about it?
WALSH: I don't feel vindication. That's the first point. And -- because I never felt in this story that there was any possibility that I was wrong. From the moment Lance won his first Tour de France in 1999, I was convinced that he was doping. I started asking questions, and once you started asking questions, the truth became very obvious.
JOHNS: At the end of the day, why do you think he got into doping in the first place? And then why do you think he lied about it?
WALSH: I think he got into doping, because he came to Europe, and he discovered a culture that was a doping culture, and -- and he decided that the only way he could be a champion was to dope. And I think that was an understandable kind of a conclusion to come to.
What was, I suppose, a bit shocking was that, after having very serious cancer and, you know, life-threatening, according to some reports, he came back from that and put banned performance-enhancing drugs in his body. Because, remember, his great defense at this time was, "After what I've been through, do you think I would put that stuff in my body?" And of course, everybody said, everybody bought that, because it was so plausible.
So -- so for Lance to have -- to have actually doped after cancer was a -- was a pretty tough thing to do. And I think it indicated a win-at-all-costs attitude that was far from commendable. And -- but he regrets it now, hopefully, because it was a -- it was a seriously wrong thing to do.
BOLDUAN: Fascinating conversation with David Walsh there.
Still ahead, a flu shot that could protect you for years. We'll take you inside the government lab where groundbreaking science is happening right now.
JOHNS: Health officials are urging anyone who hasn't been vaccinated yet to get a flu shot now. Many people get one every year, but that could soon change with a flu shot that can protect you for multiple years.
CNN's Brian Todd got a look inside the government lab where work on a universal flu shot is happening now -- Brian.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joe and Kate, the flu virus kills about 500,000 people around the world every year. As we know, this year there's a particularly bad strain of it going around.
But government researchers are furiously working on something they call a universal flu vaccine that could combat different strains of the flu for years to come. And this place is at the cutting edge.
(voice-over): It's not a pandemic this year, but as always, it causes serious illness and even death. A big part of the problem: vaccines that can't keep up with the flu virus.
(on camera): Why isn't the flu vaccine that we're getting now as effective as it should be?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: People get exposed to influenza, more or less, every year. But the influenza virus itself generally changes a little bit. It drifts.
TODD (voice-over): Not like illnesses that we get childhood vaccines for, like measles or polio, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the U.S. government's Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He took us inside the lab that could be turning that battle in our favor, the Vaccine Research Center at NIH, where more than a dozen top minds are developing a universal flu vaccine. If they nail it...
FAUCI: Then you'll have a vaccine that you can give to someone and not worry about those little changes from year to year. And you'll have a response. You may need to give it every few years, every five years, every ten years, but you won't have to give it every year and have to chase after those little changes.
TODD: But Fauci says it means changing the plan of attack.
(on camera): This is the flu virus. On it are a bunch of proteins called hemmagglutinins. Blown up, they look like this. Now, the with the vaccine as we know it now, is that it induces a response that only attacks the head of each team of gluten, which changes basically from year to year, so the vaccine can't quite keep up with it.
Now the goal of the universal vaccine being developed at this lab is to attack not only the head, but the stem of the hemagglutinin, which doesn't change. If they can induce a response that attacks the stem, they can combat multiple strains of the flu for years to come. A crucial step takes place in the tissue culture room.
DR. JOHN MASCOLA, DIRECTOR, VACCINE RESEARCH CENTER: What you see here are studies where we've actually grown the flu virus in culture, and we're taking human serum specimens, blood specimens, and we're asking if we've taught the immune system to make antibodies to the conserved region of the virus.
TODD (voice-over): Fauci says when it's ready, the universal vaccine won't eradicate the flu.
FAUCI: But I think that you're going to have a significant impact on the incidence of influenza as well as the degree of protection.
TODD (on camera): So how far out are we from people like you and me being able to actually get the universal flu vaccine? Dr. Fauci says it won't be next year, but it also won't be 40 years from now. He says realistically, maybe in a decade, but if they can accelerate it, maybe sooner -- Joe and Kate.
BOLDUAN: Brian Todd, thank you.
Right now, the House is debating a Bill funding disaster relief for people hurt by Superstorm Sandy, but there's some criticism that some of the money is going for the wrong things. Erin Burnett is taking a closer look at that at the top of the hour.
Erin, so what are you looking into?
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: You know, Kate, it's amazing, they sometimes can't seem to stop themselves, it seems like, when it comes to this. But $2 billion of this Sandy aid, some of it is going to highway repair. Some of that will be in, of course, the stricken areas. Some of it, though, will go to Guam. Obviously, as one Republican said, that is in a very different ocean than the one where Sandy was even spawned.
Then there's money going to fix Amtrak in the Northeast Corridor. Some of the -- only about a third of that money, though, is actually going to parts of Amtrak that were damaged during Superstorm Sandy. Two-thirds of the money is going to completely unrelated repairs.
So this is why a lot of lawmakers are very angry about the Sandy Bill. But we do expect a vote sometime in the next hour on whether this is going to pass or not. We're going to be joined by Congressman Frelinghuysen. He has been taking on John Boehner on some of these things and is going to be voting no on this Sandy aid Bill. We're going to talk to him about why he's doing that.
We are also going to be talking about the history of the NRA. Kate and Joe, I'm really excited about this. I'm so curious how the NRA got to be so powerful, because it is, basically, I mean, one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, lobbying organization in this country. A few decades ago, the NRA was actually lobbying for increased gun control. And now it's become a much more absolutist organization.
So the history of the NRA, pretty exciting and fascinating. All that coming up, top of the hour.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely fascinating. I'd love to see that. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" top of the hour. Thanks, Erin. See you soon.
Still ahead, Bill Clinton's talking about his wife's health. Stay here if you want to hear what he has to say about that.
And Jeanne Moos has a fish story about the one that got away.
JOHNS: This just in. President Obama has picked another pastor to deliver the closing prayer at the inauguration. The Reverend Luis Leon of St. John's Church just across Lafayette Park from the White House tells CNN he's been invited to deliver the closing prayer at the inauguration.
An Atlanta pastor was scheduled to participate but had to withdraw after a controversy over an anti-gay sermon he delivered years ago.
And despite Hillary Clinton's comeback after last month's bout with the flu, followed by a concussion from a fall, and then, of course, the blood clot in her head, there has been plenty of speculation about her health. Today, what you could call a pretty knowledgeable source weighed in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She's always been very, very healthy, and she has very low blood pressure, very low standing heartbeat. I tell her that, you know, she's still got time to have three more husbands after me. I think she'll live to be 120.
And I always know that she's thinking about that whenever I'm, you know, stubborn about something, in her constant quest at my self- improvement. She refers to me as her first husband. Because I told her once she's going to live to be 120 and have time for plenty more.
But anyway, my advice is that she should rest up and decide what she wants to do with the rest of her life.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BOLDUAN: She will definitely have time to rest up soon. That was Bill Clinton, of course, speaking today in California at his second annual conference entitled "Health Matters: Activating Wellness in Every Generation."
JOHNS: Are you the king of bleeding hearts who goes fishing and ends up feeling sorry for the fish? I do.
BOLDUAN: No. I don't. Well, then you can share the outrage over a video that's getting more than a nibble. CNN's Jeanne Moos shows us why it's going viral.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The fish were biting, all right. Biting this guy's arm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get off!
MOOS: Though this looks like a "fish eats man" story, experts say it's really a tale of man molests fish.
DR. AARON ADAMS, TARPON CONSERVATION ORGANIZATION: Stupid is as stupid does.
MOOS: Dr. Aaron Adams is an official of a tarpon conservation organization. The Tarpon is so legendary, Michelangelo painted one chasing Jonah on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
But this was no chapel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SCREAMING)
MOOS: It's Robbie's Pier at the Florida Keys, famous as a place to hand-feed the tarpons. But if this video is from Robby's, management wants nothing to do with it. An angry employee told us, "He is truly molesting that animal."
(on camera) Tell me what is wrong with this video.
ADAMS: Oh, boy. Where will I start? He stuck his arm, his fist, into the fish's gills, which I'm sure caused permanent damage and killed the fish. There's no way that fish survived.
MOOS: The tarpon has teeth. Rather than being razor sharp, they're more like sandpaper. Some compare this to noodling, also known on Animal Planet as...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Hillbilly Handfishin'."
MOOS: People use their hands to catch catfish by the mouth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hang on!
MOOS: Sometimes giant catfish, but catfish are OK to catch and eat. Tarpon are protected recreational fish. Fish you catch and release unless you have a special permit.
ADAMS: It's not legal to do what that guy did.
MOOS: Some say what should be illegal is the woman's screaming.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know about her, though. I hope she's OK. Are you OK, miss?
MOOS: Though the video is now going viral...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hold him, Billy (ph). Hold him!
MOOS: ... it was first posted over a year and a half ago. The tarpon got away, and we were unable to catch the fisherman for comment. But online, folks were rooting for the fish. Give that tarpon a hand.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let me down (ph), Jimmy. (SCREAMING)
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN...
MOOS: ... New York.
JOHNS: Oh, man.
BOLDUAN: So many things we could say.
JOHNS: That's pretty great (ph).
BOLDUAN: That is not what I was thinking of, but that is how we're going to end the show today.
JOHNS: Remember, you follow what's going on in THE SITUATION ROOM on Twitter. Just tweet me, @JoeJohnsCNN.
BOLDUAN: At Kate Bolduan. That, as usual, is all for us this evening. Thank you so much for joining us.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.