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CNN NEWSROOM

Hoax Had "Cruelty at Its Core"; Clinton on U.S. Hostages in Algeria; Al Pacino to Play Joe Paterno; Beauty Queen's Life with Autism; White House Pushes Guns Initiative; Woman Swallowed by Avalanche Survives

Aired January 17, 2013 - 14:30   ET

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


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

From sympathy to suspicion. This Notre Dame football player would have been, could have been the Heisman trophy winner here. Now says the girlfriend he mourned, who passed apparently, as his team fought to the national championship, she never existed. Prayers and tributes poured in for Manti Te'o when he announced that he lost his girlfriend in the very same week his grandmother died. But the University of Notre Dame here, the athletic director, now says Te'o was duped and the girlfriend was a hoax.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE SWARBRICK, ATHLETIC DIRECTOR. UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME: This was a very elaborate, very sophisticated hoax perpetrated for reasons we can't fully understand that had a certain cruelty at the core based on the exchanges that we were able to see between the people who perpetrated it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: We have talked to folks in the sports world about this. I want to talk to people right there at Notre Dame. On the phone with me now is the Student Body president. He is Brett Rocheleau. Hello.

So, Brett, I know you are on the phone with me. Thanks for calling in. We have heard and we have read that Manti Te'o said this whole thing was a sick hoax. Do you believe him?

BRETT ROCHELEAU, STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT, NOTRE DAME (via telephone): Yes. I think unfortunately a lot of students were questioning that when they initially read the article, but after the press conference, I think a lot of students got behind him and helped restore the faith in Manti. I think when he speaks either today or tomorrow, it will get all the students behind him.

BALDWIN: When will he be speaking? What do you know about that?

ROCHELEAU: I don't have any information about when he'll be speaking. I just know when I listen to Swarbricks's press conference yesterday. He mentioned it will be later this week. BALDWIN: So what was about the athletic director's press conference that convinced you, convinced others on campus that what Manti is telling is the truth? What about that?

ROCHELEAU: Yes, I think there are just a lot of questions from the article that he needed to have answered and I think Swarbrick was able to answer the majority of them. Some of them he said he wouldn't be able to answer and that Manti would be telling the story. So I think when Manti finally speaks later this week, I think that will help reassure students and get full support behind Manti.

BALDWIN: We keep mentioning "Deadspin" let's just assume not everyone knows what we are talking about. "Deadspin" is the web site that broke the story about this "girlfriend." He was no girlfriend. The whole thing was a hoax. Here's what the editor of "Deadspin" said when it comes to the doubts about Manti Te'o.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIMOTHY BURKE, EDITOR, DEADSPIN.COM: Te'o's story that he is completely innocent in this doesn't really shake through with us for a few reasons. First, we have a lot of stories about how they met. She was a student at Stanford and they met after the 2009 football game. We know that didn't happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Brett, you sat across from him. I understand you only met him once, but were with him for three hours. What was he like? Was there anything about him and his personality that stood out for you?

ROCHELEAU: Yes, he seems like a very genuine guy. We had great conversations about the competition together. So it was fun interacting with him. Unfortunately, I was not able to hang out with him more often.

BALDWIN: So would you say it's fair to say he is a big hero on campus at Notre Dame?

ROCHELEAU: Yes, exactly. A lot of students rallied behind him through the great football season that we had.

BALDWIN: Sorry about that. I know you didn't go as far as you wanted to, but we will wait and see what Manti Te'o says if in fact he does come forward and speak. A lot of people would like to hear what he has to say. Brett Rocheleau, the student body president in South Bend, Indiana. Thank you, sir. I appreciate it.

ROCHELEAU: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: An assassin is on the loose after gunning down this reputed Russian mafia boss outside of a restaurant in Moscow. Authorities say (inaudible) was shot once in the neck and what appears to be a contract killing. A restaurant worker was also hit. That person is in critical condition here. The gunman ran out before being caught. He survived two previous attempts, both in 1998 and in 2010. Coming up -- coming soon, Pacino as Paterno, but will the movie include the scandal that took down the Penn State legend?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Just in to us here at CNN, the United States for the first time since 1991 is recognizing the government of Somalia. Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is giving this news conference and that was essentially, the news peg as to why she is speaking.

But as she was speaking, she also spoke a bit about the hostage situation under way at this BP facility in Algeria that involves as many as seven Americans being held hostage. Here's what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I can say that more broadly what we are seeing in Mali and Algeria reflects the broader strategic challenge first and foremost for the countries in North Africa and for the United States and the broader international community.

Instability in Mali has created the opportunity for a staging base and safe haven for terrorists. We had success as you know in degrading al Qaeda and affiliates, leadership and actions, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We have seen the great cooperation led by African troops through the U.N. mission that you were just discussing in Somalia.

But let's make no mistake. There is a continuing effort by the terrorists whether they call themselves one name or al Qaeda to try to destroy the stability and the peace and security of the people of this region.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: She mentioned al Qaeda there. So a little bit as far as what we know, the men in charge of the hostages went rogue from al Qaeda long, long ago. Nicknamed Mr. Marlboro and so he apparently is this really evil, evil man and so a lot of questions and more questions than answers.

But very clear, both from Hillary Clinton and from Leon Panetta who is traveling in Europe. Secretary of defense saying very clearly this is an act of terrorism.

We want to move on and talk -- let's talk movies. Coach Joe Paterno's legendary career ended with a sex abuse scandal as you well know involving an assistant coach that brought his football program to its knees, but now Hollywood bringing his life story to the big screen.

"SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" host A.J. Hammer here with more on this film. So it's Al Pacino playing Paterno?

A.J. HAMMER, HOST, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Yes. It is. Pacino has been linked to the project for months now, Brooke. He has officially signed on to play Joe Pa. This film will be an adaptation of the "New York Times" bestseller "Paterno." The working title of the film is "Happy Valley."

It will reportedly focus on the end of Paterno's life as the Sandusky scandal unravelled a career that made Paterno, as we all know, a moral authority in college sports and of course, the winningest coach in all of college football.

I think this is going to be a great role for Pacino. It's going to be very interesting to see however exactly how they interpret what made this man tick. It's a big reunion for Pacino, Brooke.

Brian Depalma is going to be at the helm of the film and of course, Depalma famously directed Pacino in the gangster classic "Scar Face" some 30 years ago. I think it's a perfect role for him.

BALDWIN: You mentioned briefly that this will include the Sandusky scandal, do we know how much of that will be included in the film?

HAMMER: We don't. Those details are pretty sparse, but it is based on that "New York Times" bestselling book that I mentioned and it will lead up to the time of Joe Paterno's death. So I think you can expect quite a bit.

BALDWIN: OK, A.J. Hammer, thank you so much from New York. Alexis Wineman grew up knowing she was not like other kids, but it wasn't until she turned 11 that she found out why. Chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has the story of this girl who did not let her disorder get in the way of her dreams.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Miss Montana surrounded by more than 50 other beauty queens on stage, all hoping to become Miss America. But for most of her early life, Alexis Wineman spent her time alone.

ALEXIS WINEMAN, MISS MONTANA: I was very quiet because I couldn't say anything right. I was picked on for the way I spoke. I really didn't have any friends.

GUPTA: Her parents knew there was something wrong, but the small town didn't have the resources to help them figure out what it was. At the age of 11 after years and years of searching for answers, a doctor finally put a name to Wineman's condition, pervasive development disorder, a mild form of autism.

Children with autism are very intelligent, but very quiet and socially awkward and don't respond appropriately to interactions with other people. Typically they don't become beauty queens either, but one day she simply decided not to let her condition define her.

WINEMAN: I longed to really accept myself and my autism and I realized my autism is not what defines me. I define what is autism.

GUPTA: She entered the Miss Montana pageant as a way to prove to herself she can do anything she set her mind to.

WINEMAN: I fell in love with the program and it's a good thing because I won. It's funny how things work out sometimes.

GUPTA: That win put her on the national stage in Las Vegas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Miss Montana, Alexis Wineman.

GUPTA: Wineman made it as far as the top 15 and won the America's Choice Award for garnering the most online votes. She said the whole experience has been an amazing ride.

WINEMAN: It's been a challenge, but I've enjoyed it immensely. There were times where I do feel a bit overwhelms, but those are going to happened in life whether you are in Miss America or not. So I'm willing to take all of that on.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: And we should tell you that at 18, Alexis was the youngest contestant in this year's pageant. She didn't win, but finished in the top 16.

The president proposed ban on assault weapons has struck a nerve with many lawmakers and law men.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ban every firearm out there. It's not going to fix it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: A sheriff who says he refuses, he will refuse to enforce it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: There is a lot of talk today about the president's push to reduce gun violence. In fact, we have just heard from Vice President Joe Biden who essentially did the leg work for the guns package that rolled out yesterday, here he is speaking moments ago at the U.S. Conference of Mayors about denying gun sales with a swath of trouble makers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Time and experience has demonstrated we should continue take a close look at the list to see if it fits the needs of society at the moment. It is part of our recommendations to the president and it suggested that the president direct to attorney general study that question.

Should any other people be added to the prohibited category? Should we look at a variety of categories, for example, right now certain convicted stalkers can still purchase guns.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: So again that was the vice president just moment ago. As you have probably heard by now, a lot of folks are uneasy. That puts it mildly about this whole White House guns initiative. We have a House Republican who threatened to try to defund the White House and impeach the president.

We have a state rep in Tennessee who wants to arrest a federal agent who tried to enforce gun laws and the governor of Mississippi is talking about nullifying federal arms directives in history state.

Tim Muller is the sheriff of Lynn County, Oregon and three days ago, he wrote to the vice president. Let me quote from his letter. Quote, "Any federal regulation enacted by Congress or executive order of the president offending the constitutional rights of my citizens shall not be enforced by me or my deputies."

Tim Muller is on the phone with me. Sheriff, thank you for being with me. I have the 23 here, 23 different expectative orders that were signed. We watch watched them be signed by the president yesterday. I assumed you reviewed these. Is there anything to your mind is unconstitutional?

TIM MUELLER, SHERIFF, LINN COUNTY, OREGON (via telephone): The executive orders that I have right in front of me here too, Brooke is I went through the orders myself and it might surprise you, but I support the president in a number of those.

The biggest problem we have that we have seen in law enforcement. I can speak for Oregon and I don't speak for the rest of the country, but is the mental health piece of it. That's a huge issue in my county as well as other counties in the state of Oregon since the mid- 1990s.

When the state fell on the state treatment follows for folks that had mental impairments of all kinds up to and including criminal types and very violent offenders. By closing down most of the mental hospitals and Oregon except for the main in Salem, which is also the oldest one, just about the oldest in the state, about 125 years old now, I believe, but it really changed the landscape for the folks that would have been taken up to the state hospitals for treatment.

BALDWIN: So in that regard, Sheriff, you have been in support of what the president is trying to do when it comes to beefing up mental health?

MUELLER: You bet. I'm behind him 100 percent.

BALDWIN: I hear all this agreement with the president, but I understand if you say you won't enforce some of these rules, give me a rule you will enforce.

MUELLER: If there is an executive order that offends the second amendment and the other constitution of the United States and those are orders that I would really take a hard stance and I take issue with. BALDWIN: I'm looking at number seven, launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign. Does that violate the second amendment in your opinion?

MUELLER: Well, what's the definition of that? I don't see an explanation of what does that mean? If it's defined more and we can take a look at it, I'm not the only sheriff around or law enforcement official that is looking at this.

You take a look at it and you see if there are points in it that we don't agree with. We need to have a discussion about it. That's how this thing came about. I was getting lots of questions from my citizens in my county and my deputies were too.

My position on this and I decided I needed to let my citizens know where I stood as the sheriff. Instead of having the deputy guess out and pay lip service and tell them what I'm saying.

I put it out and when I did that, I decided at that time I didn't see a lot of information coming out of the committee that the vice president was the chair of. I didn't see a lot of input as well being asked for by sheriffs and especially western sheriffs and especially in my case.

BALDWIN: I hear you.

MUELLER: It's a totally unsolicited letter and it took off from there.

BALDWIN: It sounds to me like you have a lot of questions and you want these terms defined, explained, before you then have to carry them out. I understand that and I would be curious to see if the vice president is yet to get back to you.

MUELLER: Well, he hasn't gotten back to me yet. He's a busy guy and has more important things to do, but -- I'm sorry I interrupted. Go ahead.

BALDWIN: It's been a couple of days since you sent a letter. Bottom line, as a law enforcement official, would you be willing to lose your job or go to jail if you don't want to force one of these actions thaw believe infringes your rights?

MUELLER: Well, if my voters decide that they don't appreciate the job I'm doing, that's the unique thing about being the county sheriff. We are the only elected official in the country. Every four years, they can tell me whether or not they like the job I'm doing.

That being said, local police and deputies don't enforce federal law. There is a operation of powers. They were prohibited from enforcing the laws. I don't think anyone would reasonably expect local law enforcement to enforce gun regulations.

BALDWIN: That's why a lot of this has to come to pass with Congress and we will see what ends up happening when it comes to, you know, you talk about yesterday with the universal background checks and the military style assault weapons

That would certainly be something to trickle down to the states and be something that would need to enforce there. Sheriff Tim Mueller, Linn County, Oregon, we will follow-up with you. Thank you so much for calling in.

MUELLER: Thanks for having me, Brooke. I appreciate it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: You are about to hear from this Utah woman who triggered a 700-feet wide avalanche while on a backcountry skiing trip. She lived to tell about it. Here's Noah Bond of our affiliate KTVX.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NOAH BOND, KTVX REPORTER (voice-over): Elisabeth Malloy remembers vividly what it was like to be trapped inside a moving avalanche.

ELISABETH MALLOY, SURVIVED AVALANCHE: I was flailing, yes. I was swimming.

BOND: Then the snow stopped.

MALLOY: And I decided the best situation for me is to meditate and breathe slowly.

BOND: When the snow settled, Elisabeth's skiing partner, Adam Morrey, found himself above the avalanche. Elisabeth is alive today because she was wearing an avalanche beacon and Adam had a receiver.

ADAM MORREY, RESCUED ELISABETH: We picked up a signal and again that reaffirmed that she was buried somewhere.

BOND: After three passes, he found her in snow facedown and head down the mountain.

MORREY: I did my best to clear out the area to breathe.

BOND: Moments after getting her out, Elisabeth essentially died. Her breathing stopped but soon returned. Adam pulled three jackets from Elisabeth's backpack and put them on her body.

He then wrapped her exposed foot in a jacket she had. This saved her foot from permanent damage. Her hands and feet were essentially frozen so badly blood flow stopped to the right fingers and toes.

Elisabeth was flown to the University of Utah hospital after a two- hour hike out. She knows she almost died, but says getting so close to it was eerily calm.

MALLOY: It was like I was having a little nap and I remember being woken up by sweet kisses.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: Elisabeth is expected to make a full recovery.

Coming up next, "Why We Cheat," a special report from Lance Armstrong all the way to scrabble champions. I will go behind the psychology and the science to try to find out just what makes people break the rules. Don't miss this.

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