Return to Transcripts main page


Lance Armstrong Admits to Doping while Cycling; Hostage Crisis Continues in Algeria; Interview with New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly

Aired January 18, 2013 - 07:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome, everybody. Our STARTING POINT this morning, lying and cheating and bullying. After years and years of denials, Lance Armstrong comes clean and admits to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win all seven of his Tour de France titles.


OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: Did you ever take banned substances to enhance your cycling performance?



O'BRIEN: But is it enough? And what about all of the stuff he left out? This morning, we'll examine his confession point by point. Cycling champion John Eustice and Nicole Cooke, as well as Betsy Andreu, she called -- Lance called her a liar after she testified that he was doping.

Then, we'll have new developments in that attempted rescue of hostages in Algeria, including some Americans. We'll have the very latest detail in a live report ahead this morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Wall Street rising. The S&P 500 closes at a five-year high. I'll tell you what's behind that big boost.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": The mystery between Manti Te'o and his fake girlfriend deepens. Meanwhile, cool or not, it has spawned an Internet trend call it Te'o'ing.

O'BRIEN: Among our guests this morning: New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly will join us; Janet Robinson, the Newtown, Connecticut, superintendent of schools; and actress Angie Harmon.

It's Friday, January 18th, and STARTING POINT begins right now.

Welcome everybody. Our STARTING POINT this morning, Lance Armstrong comes clean after years of lying. He admits he used performance enhancing drugs to win all seven of his Tour de France titles. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey the disgraced cycling legend admitted that he consistently lied about doping and then recklessly attacked his accusers. The interview on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, began with a series of yes and no questions.


OPRAH WINFREY, OWN NETWORK: Let's start with the questions that people around the world have been waiting for you to answer. And for now, I'd like a yes or a no, OK? This whole conversation, we have a lot of time, will be about the details. Yes or no, did you ever take banned substances to enhance your cycling performance?


WINFREY: Yes or no, was one of those banned substances EPO?


WINFREY: Did you ever blood dope or use blood transfusions to enhance your cycling performance?


WINFREY: Did you ever use any other banned substances, like testosterone, cortisone, or human growth hormone?


WINFREY: Yes or no. In all seven of your Tour de France victories, did you ever take banned substances or blood dope?


WINFREY: In your opinion, was it humanly possible to win the Tour de France without doping seven times in a row?

ARMSTRONG: Not in my opinion.


O'BRIEN: George Howell is in Austin, Texas, for thus morning, the city that Armstrong calls home and where the interview took place. Good morning.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Soledad, good morning. Right off the top of that interview, right in the first minute, we heard Lance Armstrong confess to something that many people around here had their suspicions of even after years of watching him win, then years of those allegations of doping and now we are hearing in his own words that he was living as he describes it, one big lie.


HOWELL: Lance Armstrong spent years trying to outrun allegations that he used performance enhancing substances to fuel his successful cycling career. That race is now over.

WINFREY: Was it a big deal to you? Did it feel wrong?

ARMSTRONG: At the time? No.

WINFREY: It did not even feel wrong?

ARMSTRONG: No. It's scary.

WINFREY: Did you feel bad about it?

ARMSTRONG: No. Even scarier.

WINFREY: Did you feel in any way that you were cheating?

ARMSTRONG: No. The scariest.

HOWELL: After decades of denials, the seven Tour de France winner came clean in part-one of the wide ranging interview with Oprah Winfrey.

ARMSTRONG: I'm deeply flawed. We all have your flaws, and if the magnifying glass is normally this big. If it is normally this big, I made it this big because of my words and actions and my attitude and defiance.

HOWELL: Armstrong kept his emotions in check as he described years of cheating, lying, and attacking those who would dare deny him. He admitted that teammates may have felt pressured to follow his example.

ARMSTRONG: I was a bully in the sense that I tried to control the narrative, and if I didn't like what somebody said, and for whatever reasons in my own head, whether I viewed that as somebody being disloyal or a friend turning on you or whatever, I tried to control that and say that's a lie, they are liars.

HOWELL: Armstrong admits he was the one telling in his own words, one big lie. That he repeated over and over again, including this 2005 deposition. The hero to so many says he realizes his confession is probably too late for many people.

ARMSTRONG: They have every right to feel betrayed. And it's my fault. And I will spend the rest of my life -- some people are gone forever. But I will spend the rest of my life trying to earn back trust and trying to apologize to people for the rest of my life.


HOWELL: It was interesting, in that interview he described himself as a flawed character or as a bully. The very interesting dichotomy and you get the sense in Austin, he said it, first, on the one hand as a jerk, but other hand, a humanitarian, a person who was very instrumental in cancer research. So this is what we're left with now, and how he moves forward, only time will tell.

O'BRIEN: A lot of questions to be answers. Let's get to John Eustice, a two-time national cycling champion. He's a cycling analyst and called Lance Armstrong's first Tour de France race. What did you think of the interview last night? JOHN EUSTICE, CYCLING ANALYST: I thought for Lance, it was pretty good. He's never going to give a weepy, crying, I'm sorry interview. I think he gave as much as his advisers allowed him to give, if you will. I think he told a lot of truth. I thought the big was admitting to the cortisone prescription. I thought that was huge.

O'BRIEN: Why was that huge?

EUSTICE: Because that set at the beginning of entire seven Tour de France run he actually did have a positive test and have everybody not been willing to get rid of that, that seven years would never happen. I thought that was a very big admission.

O'BRIEN: Oprah asked him a lot about cheating, and I thought his answer was riveting. Listen.


ARMSTRONG: I had this exercise, because I kept hearing --

WINFREY: That you're a cheat.

ARMSTRONG: I'm a drug cheat, cheat, I'm a cheater. I went in, looked up the definition of cheat.


ARMSTRONG: And the definition of cheat is to gain advantage on rival or foe that they don't have. And I didn't view it that way. I viewed it as a level playing field.


O'BRIEN: There's something psychologically so odd about that answer. First of all, who looks up that definition of cheating? If you are winning over and over, you clearly having some kind of advantage.

BERMAN: And that is not actually the definition of cheating that exists in most dictionaries. Most definitions say breaking the rules. So Lance either chose a definition that didn't exist or a very convenient for him.

O'BRIEN: What does that answer signify to you, John?

EUSTICE: I think it's an insight into the mind of a professional athlete. How many pro football players say human growth hormone, steroids, amphetamines, I did it all. Here's my contract. No one is going to do that. When are you in that bubble of high level sports, and whatever the tools of the trade are at the time you are competing, that's what you use. You consider it the tools of the trade. It may not be what people wanted to hear, but that's what it is. In that era of cycling, there was this incredibly powerful drug EPO.

O'BRIEN: But it's more than just the cheating. There is another whole part of this story that the tone I thought was very strange in his interview. He was in charge to a large degree of the team. He was the top of it, and then he also would go after people who claimed that he was doing what he was indeed doing.

EUSTICE: His bullying, the way he defends his kingdom, that's a different issue. But the issue of, what it is to get your spot on a professional team -- again, go back to football. If you are a lineman, 280 pounds to make the team, you need to be 320, they say get to 320, and they don't care how do you it. It's the same as having a pro team. If you can't go up that mountain at 20 kilometers and you can only go to 18. Guy, you aren't going to make the team unless you go at 20. They don't care how do you it. That's the rawness of professional sport, you do or you don't.

ROMANS: He's not an average athlete. He built a $125 million personal kingdom on this mythic idea that he's this uber athlete, that he survived insurmountable cancer. He actually did a Nike ad, paid for a Nike ad where he boasted on his bike. He lied, a bully, but he also profited personally, more than just being part of a team. He took it to a different level.

O'BRIEN: He also destroyed a lot of people in the lawsuits and undermining people who were trying to, in fact, sue him. He took people out. One is a woman named Emma O'Reilly, a former masseuse for the team who claimed she knew, in fact, they were trying to cover up the doping. Here is what he said about her in the interview.


ARMSTRONG: She's one of these people that got run over, got bullied.

WINFREY: Yes. Isn't she -- you sued her?

ARMSTRONG: To be honest, open remark we sued so many people -- I'm sure we did.


O'BRIEN: It's like a throwaway line when you destroyed someone's life. There is some of a personality disorder that he has to have. I don't think he's exaggerating. He has this clinical description for something that has ruined a lot of people's careers.

EUSTICE: This is who Lance is. He came from nothing, he took this little sport, insignificant sport, and with his character and his personality, he was, in spite all of this, a great athlete. There is no one in that peloton. He won those seven Tour de Frances.

O'BRIEN: With the EPO.

EUSTICE: But they all did. A majority of them were using the same level of medical preparations as he euphemistically put it. So there is no one in the peloton that can say he didn't win those. You have to understand that.

The second that, he has this wild, massive ego drive. And he couldn't control it very well and his advisers didn't control it very well. The future of the story, it will keep going. It won't be just about Lance and this one guy. It will be about the entire team around him. He's not going to re-launch because that's the real story behind all this. And he's saving that. My guess is he's holding onto that for the negotiations.

O'BRIEN: You know, if you look up narcissistic personality disorder, all of the things you just described, just described that. Just saying. Nice talking to you. John Eustice, thanks for talking with us. This interview was so fascinating. Part two is tonight. We'll get to see more into the mind of Lance Armstrong.

Still ahead this morning, we'll continue the conversation with cycling champion Niccole Cook and Betsy Andrew. She is the one that testified that Lance was doping and then he came after her hard. And then this weekend, we'll break down the case against Lance Armstrong tomorrow at 10:00 eastern, a closer look at the constant doping chatter. "The World According to Lance Armstrong," right here on CNN, Saturday night at 10:00 p.m. eastern.

Other news, John Berman has a look at that for us this morning.

BERMAN: Thank you so much. I can't get the Lance Armstrong thing out of my head.

Anyway, other news, big news overseas. The hostage crisis in Algeria has entered its third day, and it's outraged the international community. British, Norwegian, Japanese, and U.S. citizens believed to be among those held by militants in Algeria. The exact number is still unknown. BP also confirms some of their employees are unaccounted for. A British official said there were a significant number of British victims. British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke out this morning about the crisis. Here is some of what he said.


DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I spoke to the Algerian prime minister later last night. He told me that the first operation was complete, but this is a large and complex site and they are pursuing terrorists and possibly some of the hostages in other areas of the site. The Algerian prime minister just told him they are looking at all possible routes to resolve the crisis.


BERMAN: U.S. defense secretary Leon Panetta said "The United States is working around the clock to ensure the safe return of our citizens." CNN's Matthew Chance joins us live from London. What's the latest?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: David Cameron within the past few minutes, the British prime minister coming out and giving the latest update we've heard about the situation, expressing his concerns I think to a certain extent about the fact that he had been in repeated contact with his Algerian counterpart, the prime minister of Algeria. Before this Algerian military raid against the gas plant went ahead, they weren't consulted, neither the British nor the Americans nor any of the other leaderships of the countries of the citizens involved before it went ahead. He said the Algerians had seen the militants were moving the hostages to a different location. They judged there was an immediate danger to their lives and so they felt they had no choice but to move in. And David Cameron says he feels the fault of this, not at the hands of the Algerians, but the militants that took the hostages in the first place.

BERMAN: Matthew Chance, thanks very much. Still a lot of unknowns in this story.

The nation's capital will be busy all weekend with final preparations and rehearsals for President Obama's inauguration to a second term. The public swearing in happens at the Capitol building Monday at noon after the official oath on Sunday. You'll want to stay with CNN to see all of the events live, Zoraida, Soledad, and I will be in the capital on Monday with all the best, interesting stories, and big guests. Coverage begins at 5:00 a.m. eastern.

The pressure is mounting for Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o to explain himself after it was revealed that his inspirational story about overcoming the death of a girlfriend to lead his team to the championship game was a hoax. There are reports this morning that the scheme allegedly engineered by an aspiring singer named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo who auditioned for "The Voice" at one point. And inspired by Manti Te'o's girlfriend hoax, there is a new Tebow-ing on the Internet called Te'o'ing. You put your arm around your invisible girlfriend. There is a mockup of President Obama doing it, and then there's the "Last Te'o in Paris," and Clint Eastwood, who started it before it even happened.

O'BRIEN: John, thank you.

Ahead this morning, will the president's new gun control agenda put a dent in the huge problem that is gun violence. We'll talk to New York city police commissioner Ray Kelly pushing for stronger gun laws. He will join us up next.

Business news as well.

ROMANS: Do investors believe in Wall Street again? Apparently they do. We have signs that money is going back in the market after it has doubled.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. As the president pushes his gun control man, a new poll this morning shows what "The New York Times" is calling unprecedented support for tighter gun control. The "The New York Times"/CBS News poll says 54 percent support stricter gun controls. Just last April that number was 39 percent.

I want to get to New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. He has been pushing for stronger gun control laws. New York state just passed a bill that would ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines, really made that strong. Thank you for joining us. You think because what we see in New York, we will see two years out, three years out, a big decline in gun deaths?

RAY KELLY, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: Probably not. We know there are 300 million guns bought in America. The universe won't be reduced significantly. In urban America, we're plagued with handguns, and most of the laws focus on assault weapons, which is a good thing. But the concealable handguns are a big problem certainly in New York and the large cities.

O'BRIEN: If all we've been talking about is an assault weapons ban, which many people think won't make it through Congress, and if you look at the items on the president's list of executive orders that he could issue, they are more about meetings and strengthening things. What do you do about gun violence, especially in New York City?

KELLY: It's a complex issue. I think universal background checks will make a difference. It will take time for that to have an effect. But there is no easy answer here. We will have a gun problem in America, irrespective of what legislation is passed. The Supreme Court has made certain that the Second Amendment is alive and well.

O'BRIEN: So how do guns come into New York? We had a fairly stringent law. How do guns come into the city?

KELLY: And 90 percent of guns are coming from out of state, come up the iron pipeline, U.S. 95, and feed into New York.

O'BRIEN: How would a universal background check help that?

KELLY: Well, 40 percent of gun sales are not recorded anywhere. So it would slow that down somewhat. You know, it's a help, and each of these are a movement in the right direction, the president's proposals, but clearly not a panacea.

O'BRIEN: Armed guards in schools, arming teachers in schools, what do you think of those proposals?

KELLY: I don't think it's a wise idea. I don't think we need it certainly universally. In New York City we have some police officers in some schools. We have 1.2 million students. Some schools may be more problematic than others. Obviously they're focused on internal order for the most part. I don't think it's a solution. And, again, people who have gone into the schools, these madmen that have done this are suicidal, and so they very easily would shoot the person armed to start on one of these rampages.

O'BRIEN: Because of that thing, people would say nothing would have changed in Newtown. The laws would not have made that massacre not happen.

KELLY: Probably not -- yes, it would have happened, but it reduces the size of the magazines, maybe a child or two or three children would be alive today as a result of that. Every little bit helps, and I think -- I think the large capacity magazines have no place in the civilized society.

O'BRIEN: Let's talk for a minute about prescription drug theft, and are you proposing something that I -- it's really sounds very strange on its face, which is to put chips inside prescription bottles. Explain to me the theory behind that.

KELLY: A GPS device. This was done by the manufacturer of Oxycontin, actually started this program. We certainly support it. They have been supportive of us. We think more can be done as far as being able to track these drugs. People break in, do burglaries, do robberies, take these drugs. We want to know where they are going. We think it can be a deterrent and investigative tool for us, another move in the right direction.

ROMANS: There is also technology to lock the cap of an Oxycontin drug so that it opens only at the prescribed time to open again so somebody can't take too much or take it off label. There are lots of things you can do to try to keep the pills in the bottle until they're needed. There are some interesting technologies along the line.

KELLY: Emergency room visits have doubled in the last two years. So it's a major issue, and it causes violence. And that's what we're trying to address.

O'BRIEN: That relates back to the gun violence issue. Ray Kelly is the New York City police commissioner, nice to have you with us.

Ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, we'll take a look at what helped stocks reach some of the highest levels since the financial crisis. Christine has that for us next.


ROMANS: Welcome back. I'm Christine Romans, minding your business. U.S. stock future slightly lower. New this morning, General Electric beat Wall Street estimates for the fourth quarter. GE's CEO says the company has "great momentum going into 2013."

The S&P 500 hit a five-year high, now the highest level since before the financial crisis. Also housing starts and jobless claims, the S&P 500 has doubled, doubled since February 2009. The S&P 500 is the best indicator of stocks in your 401(k). Now that it's doubles, now investors are pouring money back into stocks.

O'BRIEN: A good time to get in.

ROMANS: In the first nine days of this year, investors poured $8 billion back into U.S. stock mutual funds, the largest amount since 2007 when the IPI started keeping records. Last year, though, investors were pulling money out of stock, $150 billion taken out of stock mutual funds last year.

BERMAN: Investors on e-trade accounts, these are institutional investors?

ROMANS: This flows into mutual funds, so this is us putting money back into stock. Last year it was hedge funds, some big investors, but also a retail investor, that's us, were pulling money out of stocks and putting it into bonds. A lot of normal people missed the stock market rally.

O'BRIEN: The little I know, they've done it backward there. That's not the way to do it. Thanks, Christine.

Lance Armstrong has come clean, but he says he never really felt like he was cheating while he was cheating. Can the confession fix his image or does it end up hurting him even more? Sports agents and champion cyclists will weigh in on that coming up next.

And then it's a fear by many who ride underground trains. A woman was attacked on the platform and thrown onto the tracks. We'll tell you what happened to her. And police have made an arrest. We'll update the story, straight ahead.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching STARTING POINT. Lance Armstrong admits he doped to win all seven of his Tour de France titles. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, he left no doubt that he used performance-enhancing drugs, but that's not all.


WINFREY: It was a big deal to you? Did it feel wrong?

ARMSTRONG: At the time, No.

WINFREY: It did not even feel wrong?


WINFREY: Did you feel bad about it?

ARMSTRONG: No. Even scarier.

WINFREY: Did you feel in any way that you were cheating?

ARMSTRONG: No. The scariest.