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Midwest Pastor to Deliver Inaugural Sermon; 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade; Assault Weapons Bill Planned for Senate; Fight for Social Media Rights; Anita Hill's Life after Hearing; Wind Chill Advisories Across U.S.; Official: Chavez Making Decisions

Aired January 22, 2013 - 10:00   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Stories we're watching right now. Capping the inaugural event, the presidential prayer service going on right now, we'll take you live to Washington's National Cathedral.

The great American debate over legalized abortion, it became the law of the land 40 years ago today and remains one of our most divisive issues. We'll hear from someone on the front lines of this ongoing fight.

It's been 21 years since one of the most famous sexual harassment cases in history now a movie documenting Anita Hill's life is debuting at Sundance.


ANITA HILL, ACCUSED CLARENCE THOMAS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT: It wasn't my desire to talk about sexual harassment or to expose it.


COSTELLO: Hill talks about her life now and closing a painful chapter.

Plus, Facebook and Twitter can get you fired about what you post about your job. We'll tell you why a government agency is now saying, wait a minute, your employer can't do that. NEWSROOM starts now.

Good morning. Thank you so much for being with us. I'm Carol Costello. A solemn morning after last night's gala. You're looking at a live picture from inside Washington's National Cathedral. The national prayer service will begin in a half an hour from now. When the prayers start we'll bring it to you live.

Our White House correspondent, Dan Lothian, is already there. Dan, any notable arrivals yet?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We have not seen any notable arrivals, but a lot of dignitaries will be here along with the president and the vice president. This is part of a long tradition here in Washington and here at the National Cathedral dating back at the cathedral to 1933, FDR's first inauguration. It has not been consistent here throughout the years, but most recently it did. The trend continued beginning with the second term of Ronald Reagan in 1985. The only exception to that is former President Bill Clinton. He did not have his inaugural prayer services here for both terms.

Instead he went to another church in Washington, AMC Church, historically black church, for his prayer services. What usually happens during these services, the president will not make any remarks, but instead there's music.

There are Bible readings and perhaps even some poems as well and prayers, prayers for the country and also prayers for the president and the vice president as they launch into their second term -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Dan Lothian reporting live. We'll get back to you.

Delivering today's sermon at the National Cathedral, a man with Midwestern roots, Reverend Adam Hamilton, founded the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City more than two decades ago.

It's become the largest Methodist church in the country, grown to more than 18,000 parishioners. Reverend Hamilton an accomplished author writing more than a dozen books and he will not shy away from hot button issues like homosexuality.


REV. ADAM HAMILTON, UNITED METHODIST CHURCH OF THE RESURRECTION: I would probably still find myself more on the conservative side of this issue were it not for all of the people that I have met.


COSTELLO: Today in his sermon, Reverend Hamilton will tackle another controversial issue, but this one is from 150 years ago. His 15- minute speech chosen by Reverend Hamilton himself will focus on the 150th anniversary of the emancipation proclamation.

Despite preaching in front of a thousand each weekend, the reverend says he's a little bit nervous for today. The inaugural prayer service scheduled to start in about 25 minutes. We'll take you back there live when it starts.

Here's another sign of the times, 40 years ago Americans were fighting in Vietnam, Watergate was a bungled burglary and then the Supreme Court legalized abortion. It's that landmark case, Roe V. Wade, that still divides and inflames generations years later.

Millions of Americans choose opposite sides of this argument, legal rights versus moral wrongs and those divisions haven't changed much since 1973. According to a new poll from NBC and "The Wall Street Journal", a majority of Americans for the first time want abortion to be legal in most or all cases.

It's 54 percent in all feel that way, 35 percent say abortion should be legal only in cases of rape, incest, and to save the mother's life, 9 percent say illegal without exceptions.

Legalizing abortion is one of the biggest single issues to shape American culture, both legally and politically. Our crime and justice correspondent Joe Johns is in Washington with more. Do you think the U.S. Supreme Court will actually revisit Roe V. Wade any time soon?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Carol, you know, justices can only take up the cases that come their way, in other words, through the courts. So the first thing that has to happen is the right case has to come to them, and right now antiabortion activists can do the math.

You've got a shaky five to four conservative majority on the court. It doesn't really inspire confidence that Roe would be overturned if the issue were taken up right now. In fact, there's a risk, and that risk is upholding Roe in the 21st Century would effectively end the debate for decades to come.

That's power precedent at the court. So instead of attacking Roe head on, the opponents have essentially been doing what they've been doing for years, chipping away at its impact. They support some restrictions on abortion that don't go to the heart of the case, things like government funding, parental consent, bans on later term abortions and so on -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Joe Johns, reporting live from Washington this morning. Our next guest is involved in the debate as an abortion rights activist. Nancy Keenan is the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. She joins us now from Washington. Nancy, welcome.

NANCY KEENAN, NARAL PRO-CHOICE AMERICA: Great to be here, Carol. Thank you.

COSTELLO: You know, it's interesting you wanted us to refer to your organization as Pro Choice America. I've read numerous articles that your organization doesn't like the term pro choice any longer.

KEENAN: Well, you know, Pro-Choice America is what this country reflects, people in the country that don't believe that politicians belong in this decision, that it's between a woman, a doctor, and her God and that the bureaucrats, the politicians should stay out of it. Here we are 40 years later making sure that that right and freedom is -- remains for women across the country.

COSTELLO: Some abortion rights activists say that pro choice seems to say you either choose between life and death and that's why they don't like the term.

KEENAN: You know, it's a term is a term. I think the issue here is who makes the decision? Who decides? And there are some on the anti- choice side that say that government should make the decision, a politician should make the decision and not a woman and her doctor and her family.

And so the terms can be something that is debated one way or another. Fundamentally, we believe in the right and the privacy of women to make these decisions and not the politicians that either sit in the statehouse or here in Washington, D.C.

COSTELLO: A recent cover of "Time" magazine says 40 years ago abortion rights activists won an epic victory in Roe v. Wade. They've been losing ever since. Joe Johns mentioned it that slow chipping away at the decision in state legislatures across America. What's your take?

KEENAN: Well, I think the issue is not that it's legal anymore. Roe remains that abortion is legal in this country. The question becomes access. What the other side has been doing is denying women access by throwing barriers up.

But when we see when the people have a chance to vote, example is in Mississippi on the personhood amendment. We reject that. They rejected an outright ban in South Dakota twice. When the people have a chance to put that ballot in the box, they reject this kind of anti- choice activity.

Now elections matter, and you have to elect politicians that protect that right and that freedom and not the folks, quite honestly, like the Todd Akin's who showed up here and don't even understand how a woman's body works let alone him making a decision for women across this country.

COSTELLO: You have to admit that his comments, his unfortunate comments kind of field your movement. I think there was a poll out that women under 30 have no idea what Roe V. Wade is. They have no idea! Todd Akin introduced it and he did the work for you.

KEENAN: Not necessarily. We fought so that our daughters and our granddaughters wouldn't have to worry about this issue. What we learned in Todd Akin, an anti-choice politician, you forever have to be vigilant. That they never stop, they don't give up until they deny women this basic freedom in this country.

So, yes, younger generation, they are working in this movement. They are fighting and the fact of the matter is we have to be vigilant and the other side is never going to give up until they take this right away from women all over this country.

COSTELLO: Nancy Keenan, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, thank you so much for being with us this morning.

KEENAN: My pleasure. Thank you.

COSTELLO: Senator Diane Feinstein plans to introduce a bill this month, actually this week, to place a ban on assault weapons. Feinstein had promised to introduce the legislation in the wake of the Newtown shootings.

Says the bill will ban the sale, transfer, importing and possession of assault weapons, but would not be effective retroactively. Feinstein said similar legislation will be proposed in the House. We expect her to introduce her bill Thursday.

Countdown on Capitol Hill, tomorrow, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton due to testify on the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya. The U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed under siege.

Clinton was due to testify last month before falling ill and being hospitalized. Critics accused the administration of security failures leading up to the attack and being misleading in its accounts afterwards.

Whether your boss likes it or not, you have a right to talk about your job on Facebook and Twitter. We'll tell you about the agency fighting for your rights.


COSTELLO: It's 13 minutes past the hour. Time to check our top story. More tests for Boeing 787 Dreamliner. This time on components of a battery from the aircraft, a lithium ion battery caught fire on a Japanese airliner in Boston this month. That fire, coupled with other incidents, led to the grounding of the Dreamliner. Only 50 of those claims have flown since Boeing started using the model last year.

Here's a new snapshot on the housing recovery. The National Association of Realtors just announced that sales of existing homes are at their highest level in five years. But for the month of December the group noticed sales dipped 1 percent.

And take a look at this. It's exactly what it looks like, a massive boulder that's crashed into a home. It happened in Saint George, Utah. A woman was home. She was injured. She was taken to the hospital. She's gone to the hospital and has checked out. She's checked into a motel. Not known yet what caused this boulder to come loose.

Facebook and Twitter can get you fired, just ask Charlie Sheen, Anthony Weiner, or Gilbert Gottfried, but now a government agency that protects workers' rights says companies need to be clearer when it comes to what you're not allowed to say on social media. Alison Kosik is at the New York stock exchange to explain. Good morning.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. It's easy to get in trouble when you're on social media. So what the National Labor Relations Board is doing at this point is picking apart social media policies at various companies.

What it's trying to do is kind of refine its position and really laying out what's legal and what's not. Let me start with an example from an actual social media policy from an unnamed company. It says employees are prohibited from posting information regarding the employer on any social networking site that could be deemed material non-public information.

So what the labor relations board said is this kind of restriction is not allowed because the issue is it limits an employee's right to discuss these issues at the workplace, to discuss them freely. Also, the policy says the NLRB is just too vague. The labor relations board is even backing a number of employees who complained that they've been fired unfairly for violating their employer's social media policies. In fact, the board has even ordered that some people who lost their jobs, Carol, because of what was posted on the social networks, that they should get their old jobs back -- Carol.

COSTELLO: But, I mean, is the government saying there's no line? There's no line you can't cross?

KOSIK: No, it's not saying that. So, I mean, just keep in mind, if you can't say it in person, you can't say it online, that's at least what the NLRB is saying. It supports some restrictions in social media policies if they're specific, and what it asks is that employees be respectful and fair and courteous online.

Give you an example. It says harassment, bullying, discrimination, or retaliation that would not be permissible in the workplace is not permissible between co workers online. Again, employers cannot restrict employee rights. So you can't say anything you want though online, but it is restricted in some ways.

I mean, the same with posting pictures, Carol. Probably wouldn't be a wise move to blatantly post naked pictures of yourself let's say on Facebook if you do what you do for a living. Probably wouldn't be a good idea. Common sense goes a long way in that as well. Are you OK there?

COSTELLO: I'll take your advice and never, never do that. Alison Kosik. I needed to laugh this morning. Thanks so much.

More than two decades after accusing Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, Anita Hill is back. She's starring in a new documentary and talking about her life after her landmark testimony.


COSTELLO: OK, this will make you feel really, really old. It's been 21 years since Anita Hill testified in front of Congress accusing then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.


HILL: It is only after a great deal of agonizing consideration and great number of sleepless nights that I am able to talk of these unpleasant matters.


COSTELLO: I remember that like it was yesterday. During those nine hours of testimony it was attacked as a scorned woman with an ax to grind and accused of lying. Despite her claims, Thomas was confirmed and Anita Hill dropped out of the spotlight.

Now she has resurfaced in a documentary that premiered at Sundance. CNN's Nischelle Turner is in Park City, Utah. Nischelle, I know you got a chance to talk with Anita Hill. What did she say?

NISCHELL TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, she said a lot, Carol. By the way, she said, first of all, that whole thing changed her life, as I'm sure you can imagine. I asked her point blank, did you believe that saying what you said and the testimony that you gave would end up being a modern day statement for sexual harassment in the workplace? Here's what she said.


HILL: It wasn't my desire to talk about sexual harassment or to expose it as the critical issue it is. My desire was to give testimony about the competency of Clarence Thomas to be on the Supreme Court. It was almost like unintended consequences that the issue of sexual harassment was exposed.

TURNER: Then the attacks came. Do you ever think, why did I do that?

HILL: I knew why I did it. I always knew why I did it.

TURNER: Did you regret doing it?

HILL: I didn't regret doing it. I regretted that I had not been better prepared, but I don't think there was any way to be prepared. I regret so many people got hurt. I could do nothing about that, but I have no regrets about the testimony itself.


TURNER: Now, you know, I went on to ask her if she had forgiven Justice Thomas. She parsed her words a little bit. But she did say at this point it's not about forgiveness for her. What she's still trying to do 21 years later is process the whole thing and move forward with her life.

But she admits she's had a hard time doing that and she really hasn't put it all behind her yet. I also asked her if she had a chance to see Senator Arlen Specter again before he passed away. He was one of her most dogged critics.

She said, you know, she actually ran into him at an alumni event for the University of Oklahoma. She said he came up to her and said, we should work on a project together. She thought, well, that's rather interesting. Carol, this documentary, by the way, opened to a standing ovation here at Sundance.

COSTELLO: Well, I mean, you say she wants to put it behind her yet she's -- I guess she's cooperating with the documentary maker. I mean, why the documentary now.

TURNER: Well, that's a good question. I asked the director that, why now and why you? Because there have been other people that have approached her about doing projects and she said after talking to Frieda, there had been some people she said no to.

She just felt like it was right, it was the right time, she was at a place in her life now that she could talk about it, that she could put it out there and that she didn't feel so, I guess, icky still the about the whole thing.

COSTELLO: Nischelle Turner reporting live. I totally got that. Nischelle Turner reporting live from Park City, Utah, this morning.

The president's inaugural celebration will officially end this morning with a visit to the National Cathedral. You're taking a look at a live picture. We're just minutes away from the start of the national prayer service, the Obamas and the Bidens will be in attendance.

We'll explore the question, why does faith play such a major role in the White House?


COSTELLO: Good morning. Thank you so much for being with us. I'm Carol Costello. Stories we're watching in the NEWSROOM. It's 26 minutes past the hour. Temperatures sweeping from the Midwest to the north east, some face seeing wind chills to 50 degrees below zero. Example, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, people woke up to 12 degrees below zero. It was 21 degrees below zero in Duluth.

We're learning more about a 57-year-old Texas man killed in Algeria. Victor Lovelady was one of three Americans killed after militants took hostages at a natural gas facility. His daughter he told her actually felt safe there.


ERIN LOVELADY, VICTIM'S DAUGHTER: Nothing has happened there in so long. My friends have been doing it for so long. It's so safe. We have protection, and he really, truly felt safe there.


COSTELLO: A total of 37 hostages were killed at the plant. At least 5 people still not accounted for.

Venezuela's foreign minister has met with Hugo Chavez in Cuba. He says the leader is still making decisions for the country. The minister also says Chavez is progressing in his recovery from cancer surgery. Opposition activists have questioned who is in change in Venezuela since Chavez was unable to be sworn in nor a new term this month.

Faith plays a major in many American's lives. It's also very important in Washington. That's why it's fitting that the final celebration for the president's inauguration is a national prayer service. It will start soon at the National Cathedral known as the spirit actual home of the nation.

It was 80 years ago for President FDR's first inauguration that a national prayer service was held. Our White House correspondent, Dan Lothian, live at the National Cathedral. Jeff Mason is the White House correspondent for Reuters and John Black is the producer for

Dan, I want to start with you. Kind of set up the event for us.

LOTHIAN: Well, as you pointed out, it's a long tradition that happens here at the National Cathedral on inauguration after the inauguration the president is coming here, a chance for people to read from the Bible and other spiritual books and to pray for the president, the vice president as they look to take on some of the big challenges of their second terms.

I saw a lot of dignitaries showing up here this morning to take part in this service. I should point out in this long tradition, which most recently has been fairly consistent since former President Ronald Regan's second inauguration, it did take a little bit of a break when former President Bill Clinton did not have his service here.

And, in fact, for both of his services they were held at the AME Church, historically African-American church here in Washington, D.C. So it's a combination of prayers here but also some choirs, some bands will be playing music here as well, again, launching the president into his second term essentially.

COSTELLO: And, John, I want to ask you about the significance of holding the ceremony at the National Cathedral. I know it's the spiritual home for the United States, but also not so long ago it came to light that same-sex marriage ceremonies will take place inside the National Cathedral.

JOHN BLAKE, WRITER/PRODUCER, CNN BELIEF BLOG: Well, I think it's part of what makes Obama exceptional. We think of him as a racial pioneer, the first African-American president, but I think he's also a religious pioneer so to have a same-sex marriage to talk about it in such a public way in the National Cathedral. To also support it as a president, that's never been done before.

COSTELLO: And it also entered into who is going to lead the prayer service, right? The Reverend Adam Hamilton, a Methodist, is going to lead the service.