Return to Transcripts main page
Obama Keeps Up Inaugural Tradition; Obama Outlines Second-Term Agenda; Mariel On The Hemingway Curse; Three Americans Killed In Algeria; The Abortion Debate in 2013; Clinton to Testify on Libya Tomorrow
Aired January 22, 2013 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: And finally, a look closely at this video from Madrid. This is a woman waiting for a subway train, faints, falls onto the tracks. My God, look at that. It happened while the train was actually entering the station. Well, a police officer jumped down to get her out safely, see him, like, there just taking her away just in time as the train stopped. Unbelievable.
I'm Suzanne Malveaux. I want to get right to it here. President Obama taking part in a few more inaugural traditions and celebrations before getting down in the business of doing second term work. The president and first lady attended a prayer service at the National Cathedral in Washington. It was a lighter moment when the Reverend Adam Hamilton talks directly to the president. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. ADAM HILMILTON, NATIONAL CATHEDRAL, WASHINGTON: God has given you a unique gift, Mr. President. Unlike any other president we have ever had, you have the ability to cast a vision and inspire people. You should have been a preacher.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Well, Vice President Biden and the second lady also attended. It's a tradition that dates back to George Washington. Want to talk a little bit about the president's agenda and where we're going from here. There were some Republicans who say, of course, that they're trying to find common ground with the president during his second term but there are also some who were criticizing him for his speech saying he was too partisan. And I want to bring in a Republican senator who was there at the ceremony, Charles Grassley, joining us on the phone. Senator, what did you make of the inaugural address?
SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), IOWA (via telephone): Suzanne, I'll give you a very positive and then a little detraction from the positive comment I make.
GRASSLEY: Number one, I really praise the president for speaking about one nation, not divided, we've got to be unified, we have to move ahead. But at the same time, I think it's wrong for him when he gives some speeches, because he is the bully pulpit, and he's got public opinion, the best place to inform public opinion. He, in too many speeches, divides the country into Republican and Democrats or rich and poor, and that's not the way you carry out what you say is -- what you want the nation to be. One nation under God, one nation unified.
MALVEAUX: And, senator, what do you make of the fact that he really did talk about some struggles. He linked a lot of struggles together. One of them was gay rights with civil rights and with women's rights. Did you think that that was a message that was a positive one, a good one, for Americans?
GRASSLEY: Well, it's a positive one, but it also speaks to a president that wants to pander to the left wing of the party. And we -- a Republican would probably pander the right wing of the Republican Party, but when you're trying to unify the nation, I think that that detracts from that effort. On the other hand, those are issues that Congress is going to have to deal with, in some instances, the courts are dealing with them. But there are -- there are issues out there that come up at my town meetings all the time.
MALVEAUX: Senator Grassley, what do you hope is the first thing that Republicans and the White House sit down and get together and sort out and work out to get through some of the partisan gridlock?
GRASSLEY: Yes, well, between now and march 27th, there's going to be three fiscal issues that ought to have top priority because our deficit is such a big problem, and it's a damper on the economy, and it's going to keep us from creating jobs. So, I talk about the fiscal cliff on March 2nd, the continuing resolution for the funding of the rest of the fiscal year, March 27th. And then, somewheres in between there will be the debt limit. I believe we -- the House will take action that ought to get us over the debt limit issue.
So, the issue of spending would be solved in those other two issues, the fiscal cliff, March 2nd, continuing resolution, March 27th, and I think we get through those, then we get to various gun issues, and we ought to get to some trade issues because trade's very important for our nation. And hopefully, we will be able to do something about Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, because that's 44 percent of the budget.
MALVEAUX: Right, right.
GRASSLEY: And we haven't touched that at all.
MALVEAUX: And, senator, you think -- do you think one thing that you will be able to accomplish as well as immigration reform, there seems to be, at least both we're hearing from Republicans and Democrats that there is a good possibility that something will get done along those lines?
GRASSLEY: Yes. And I'm sorry, Suzanne, that I didn't mention that because that ought to be right after the gun issues. I think it's going to be immigration. And I do believe that on a lot of the subsets of immigration, it's going to be real easy to get a bipartisan agreement. But on the issue of what about the 10, 11, 12 million people that are in the country here already, there are some people won't settle for anything less than them being made citizens right now, and there is the other end of the continuum is that you got people that say, well, they ought to be shipped out of the country. We've got to be able to find middle ground there, and that's going to be very difficult to do but if that can be found, then I think we're going to have good immigration law.
MALVEAUX: The president extended, really, an olive branch, if you will, before the inaugural address to Republicans saying that he's going to try to reach out more, perhaps invite people over to the White House, whether or not, you know, he kind of joked about playing cards and golf and that type of thing. If the president were to reach out to you more in the second term, would you take him up on it? Would you be a part of a group that --
MALVEAUX: -- would really try to break through some of the nastiness that we've seen in Washington?
GRASSLEY: Of course I would. And I would give an example of my doing that as I tried to work very closely with Republican and Democrats in the Congress and with the president the first nine months of Obama care, trying to reach a bipartisan agreement, but we weren't moving fast enough for the president. He decided to go ahead on a partisan basis. So, I got nine months there of working very closely. But I can tell you, more recently, there was an inaugural lunch after his speech and I was invited to that, and he came up and shook hands with a lot of members of Congress, but he specifically said, I hope we can work together. And I said back to him, I hope we can.
MALVEAUX: All right. Well, good, that's a good sign. A little bit of hope there. Senator Chuck Grassley, thank you very much. We really appreciate it.
I want to bring in our own Jessica Yellin. Jessica, to talk a little bit about the agenda here. Spent a good part of the weekend, there were balls, there were ceremonies, now back to reality. A lot of people a little tired but we're back to reality here. They got to get some stuff done. What's -- what is top? What do you think is top on the agenda here? Because the President outlined a pretty aggressive, pretty ambitious plan for the next four years.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, in terms of where do they move first? I think that they'll take quick action on immigration reform, and they will also act quickly, because they have to, on trying to forge some sort of deal on debt and deficit because of the coming fight over the sequester, those massive spending cuts that are going to kick in and they'll have to find some sort of compromise with Republicans, Suzanne. So, those are the near-term goals, both major battles.
But that leaves open the question of the legacy issue for the president. One of the major topics he talked about yesterday was climate change, his commitment to that. And we have a little bit of news today which is that during his first term, the Keystone Pipeline was a major point of contention. Many environmentalists, as you recall, opposed this pipeline that was supposed to go from Canada through the U.S., carrying gas from the sand shales and now the president put off a decision on it until after the election. Now, one of the opponents of the Keystone Pipeline has come out and said they now support it -- that's Nebraska's governor, supports the reroute of the Keystone Pipeline bringing them at least politically a step closer to being able to approve this move, something that will not please environmentalists.
Now, I don't want to overstate that this is a major development in moving that toward approval, but, politically, somewhat probably uncomfortable for the administration that the day after the president gives a speech in which he promises climate change and a major olive branch to environmentalists, this, something they don't like, is -- there's progress on that front -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: And, Jess, we heard Senator Chuck Grassley saying he's going to take the president up and he's going to try to get along with him a little bit better. Does -- is the White House, is the president, do they feel like they are a little bit more optimistic as well that maybe there is a little bit more of a good mood, if you will, after the day of the inauguration?
YELLIN: There's a good mood because there was a nice sense of ceremony and reminder that everybody in Washington serves because they believe in service. So, that always creates sort of a sense of goodwill. It doesn't last long, Suzanne. I don't want to be the Debbie downer here, but, you know, they are realistic and know that when it comes to fighting over policy battles, it's -- they're still going to have to get in the muck and fight it out the way they have been lately which is taking their case out to the American people. That's their strategy now, using the American people to lobby Congress on their behalf a lot more -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: Yes. We're -- a lot of muck. We're in the muck, Jess.
MALVEAUX: We're in Washington and that's where it is. All right. Maybe a little bit of goodwill will last just a little bit longer. Thank you, Jess.
All right, coming up this hour, speaking with the granddaughter of author Ernest Hemingway, Mariel Hemingway, talks about her family's curse and her new documentary "Running From Crazy." We are talking live at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah later this hour.
And three American hostages killed in a stand-off with an Islamic militant in Algeria. The family of one of the victims is now speaking out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had a really great Christmas, and I got to spend about five days with him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: You're going to hear more from Victor Lovelady's family.
MALVEAUX: Algerian forces are right now searching for five foreign nationals who are still missing. After militants linked to Al Qaeda stormed a sprawling oil field in the Sahara Desert last week. They captured hundreds of workers. Well, the stand-off came to a bloody end on Saturday. Officials say 37 hostages from at least six countries were killed. We are getting new details about the American victims. Just a short time ago, we heard from the family of Victor Lovelady. He was one of three American hostages killed in that stand- off. His daughter and brother spoke at the family's home in Texas.
I want to bring in our Ed Lavandera who's in Dallas. You know, it had to be shocking what had happened here. They're working, nobody ever anticipated that there was going to be a problem and then you've got this what almost seems as just a massacre by the time this is all over.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, there's no question. And the family of Victor Lovelady says that Victor had given them no indication during his time there that he was in fear or was worried about the security situation around there.
In fact, he had told family members that everything was safe. I mean, this was actually his second stint, he'd actually worked in this area two weeks back in November and had just returned for a month-long stay there at that complex in Algeria and he had -- was in the middle of doing that.
Right now the family is struggling with trying to figure out and get information. What is interesting about all of this is that they were actually told, just -- I think a day or so after the siege had started, that from the State Department that they had actually gotten information that Victor Lovelady was still alive.
And then it was 3 o'clock in the morning on Saturday, this weekend, they were called by FBI officials and told that indeed they believed that Victor Lovelady had been killed by the militants there at that complex in Algeria. So the family is struggling to get answers at this point. And they say they will continue to fight to get answers until they figure out exactly how Victor Lovelady was killed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIN LOVELADY, VICTIM'S DAUGHTER: I feel 100 percent comfortable going there. And he wanted that. I mean we didn't -- it was never about -- never about money. It was never -- it's never about that. He was going to retire early. And you know -- sorry.
MIKE LOVELADY, VICTIM'S BROTHER: I want to know how my brother died. It's just important to me because we will -- we will always -- this -- with terrorism, you don't think of it hitting like us. Like I said earlier, I just want to know how my brother died. It means a lot to me. They told us that they don't think he suffered.
ERIN LOVELADY: They did tell us that.
MIKE LOVELADY: And we -- I want to know that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAVANDERA: Suzanne, the family says that they were able to speak with Victor Lovelady last Sunday; that was the last time that Victor was able to speak with his two children and his wife. They weren't able to, or at least they're not exactly sure what kind of communications Victor Lovelady might have had with U.S. authorities while the siege was going on and before he was killed.
They hope to get answers like that in the coming days. And on top of all of what the family's dealing with right now, they still have no idea when they will be able to get his body back here to the United States, that they can have a funeral. Suzanne?
MALVEAUX: Wow, that is tough, even not to know when your loved one could come home for a proper burial.
Ed, are there other families who are expressing concerns?
LAVANDERA: Actually, you know, there's three families, as you mentioned off the top there, that -- American families that were killed in the siege.
But interestingly enough, there's seven other Americans that were inside that facility who survived. We still have not heard from them and what their stories might detail as to what exactly happened and how all of this unfolded and what it must have been like inside the facility while all of this was going on.
MALVEAUX: All right. Ed Lavandera, thank you, Ed, appreciate it.
Forty years ago today the Supreme Court legalized abortion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX (voice-over): But the abortion rights fight, it goes on at the state level.
MALVEAUX: Today's the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion. In the decades since that decision was handed down, well, the issue has gotten even more contested. Anti-abortion activists have been taking their fight now to the states.
In the last year alone, 19 states enacted 43 provisions to restrict abortion. Arizona put the most restrictions into effect, seven. And our Elizabeth Cohen, she went back to Texas where Roe v. Wade, well, the decision began. We're going to learn more about the decision fight today.
ELIZABETH COHEN, SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Roe v. Wade originated in Texas and 40 years later the situation here and in much of the U.S. is complex. On the one hand, the governor has made this vow --
GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS: My goal and the goal of many of those joining me here today is to make abortion at any stage a thing of the past.
COHEN (voice-over): on the other hand, this is the reality.
COHEN: Hi, it's Elizabeth at CNN.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, great. Come on in, ma'am.
COHEN (voice-over): I'm at the Whole Woman's Health Clinic in Austin, where seven women will have abortions today.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do we have any more ultrasounds?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think we have any more. I think they just did the last one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
COHEN (voice-over): Amy Hagstrom Miller started Whole Women's Health 10 years ago, and her business has grown. Now she has five clinics in Texas, offering gynecology care that includes providing abortions to about 9,000 women a year.
AMY HAGSTROM MILLER, CEO, WHOLE WOMAN'S HEALTH: My main goal is provide an oasis for her where she feels safe, where she feels comfortable, where she can feel at peace.
COHEN (voice-over): In the entire state, 72,470 women received abortions in 2011. In the U.S. nearly 1 in 3 women will have an abortion before the age of 45, according to the nonpartisan Guttmacher Institute.
Elizabeth Graham is the director of the anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life.
COHEN: You have a lot more work to do.
ELIZABETH GRAHAM, DIRECTOR, TEXAS RIGHT TO LIFE: We do have a lot more work to do. Because we continue to miss this many women in Texas and in other places, we redouble our efforts.
COHEN (voice-over): Anti-abortion groups like hers have already been hard at work. Texas has cut off funding to Planned Parenthood and women in Texas have to see a doctor and then wait 24 hours before having an abortion.
Plus before a woman is allowed to have an abortion, she has to come here to the ultrasound room. The doctor has to ask her, "Do you want to see the image? Do you want to hear the heartbeat?"
Now she can say no, but she does have to listen to the doctor describe the image, "Are there internal organs, are there arms and legs, is there a heartbeat?"
COHEN (voice-over): These restrictions haven't people like Amy Hagstrom Miller, who provide abortions.
COHEN: The anti-abortion movement here is so huge, they're so strong, have they won?
MILLER: I don't think so. We've had all of these attacks from the outside and we're still able to manage to provide not only access but really good care for women.
COHEN (voice-over): Like in many other states anti-abortion groups in Texas are working to pass legislation to make it even harder to have an abortion which means a new fight in a state where both sides have vowed to never rest -- Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Austin, Texas.
MALVEAUX: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is promising a full and accurate accounting of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX (voice-over): Tomorrow, four months after the attack, she gets her chance. Secretary Clinton will be questioned by both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
You might remember that her testimony was delayed, first because she was traveling and then because she got sick. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died in that Benghazi attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: And the Cinderella story of the inaugural ball.
It's the prettiest dress I've ever had. I feel like Cinderella. And if we can't go, it's going to break both of our hearts.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): How a Minnesota soldier and his wife made it happen just in time with the help of their community. Staff Sergeant Dan Westby and his wife, Kari, up next.
And don't forget, you can watch CNN live on your computer while you're at work. Head to CNN.com/TV.
(MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MALVEAUX: It's awesome. It's really kind of like a Cinderella story of the inaugural balls.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX (voice-over): A Minnesota soldier and his wife, they dreamed of coming to the commander in chief's ball. But with seven kids and a tight budget it did not look like Staff Sgt. Dan Westby and his wife, Kari, would actually make it to Washington.
But thanks to some folks in their hometown of Berkham (ph), Minnesota, well, it looks like it all came together. Sergeant and Kari Westby joining us here.
You guys are smiling. Look at you, Kari. You have a huge smile on your face. I guess you are Cinderella; you're the Cinderella in the story. Tell us how it happened.
SGT. DAN WESTBY, MINNESOTA ARMY NATIONAL GUARD: Well, we -- about a week and a half ago got an e-mail just asking who would like to come to the ball. And I'm, it's not going to happen. So we -- I talked to my wife, and we sent an e-mail back and said go ahead.
And hadn't heard anything for over a week and pretty much gave up all hopes of it, just the odds were pretty slim. There was 180 soldiers in the National Guard that were allowed to come. And out of thousands upon thousands, in Minnesota alone, the odds were very slim.
So on Thursday of this last week we got a call, an hour before I had the deadline of letting them know. They said we're going. And my wife was screaming and so was I, just in amazement of it. And we didn't know how it was going to happen.
So we started booking a hotel with no money from -- with the help of our -- my mother-in-law, her mom, and we got a gown for her. And found out there just wasn't any funding unless we got help from somewhere. And the people in our community just helped out greatly.
So Kari -- Kari, pick it up from there. So what happened? How did people in the community find out that it was just going to be too hard for you guys, right, to afford this? I mean, it is very expensive, because you're talking about, I mean, you know, Washington, the hotels were like, you know, 500 bucks a night and we know how much the gown and the shoes and all of that costs.
So how did your neighbors, how did they find out that you needed help?
KARI WESTBY, "CINDERELLA": Our local news station, my mom e-mailed our local news station and they came out and did a story on us and they aired it on the 5 o'clock news on Friday night.
And within an hour we had donations coming in for airfare and hotel and travel expenses and people pulled together to borrow me jewelry. And it was just amazing. We got first-class service all the way out here from the CEO of Sun Country Airlines.
And viewers gave their Marriott points so we could stay in this amazing hotel room. And once we got to the hotel, they found out our story and they gave us rooftop seats to the parade yesterday.
MALVEAUX: No way! I couldn't even get those.
KARI WESTBY: We were greeted at the airport. They gave us -- they knew our name. We were greeted at the hotel. I mean, it's just been amazing.
MALVEAUX: Do you feel like Cinderella?
Of course, you are Cinderella, are you kidding me?
Dan, tell us what it was like, because, I mean, your life is really incredible.