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Michigan May Block Federal Gun Control Laws; Boehner: Obama Wants to Annihilate GOP; Apple Shares Plummet on Earnings News; Te'o May Have Been "Catfishing" Victim

Aired January 24, 2013 - 09:30   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Thanks so much for joining us. I'm Carol Costello.

Stories we're watching right now in THE NEWSROOM at 30 past the hour.

Opening bell on Wall Street. Apple shares expected to drag down the market. Despite reporting second highest earnings ever, the stock slipped 9 percent because analysts predicted even bigger sales.

Ringing the opening bell today, Cycle for Survival, the national indoor cycling event owned and operated by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

A new study highlights the dangers of cigarettes. Researchers found people who smoke lose 10 years from their life but those who quit smoking by the age of 40 reduce the risk of death from smoking and smoking-related illnesses by as much as 90 percent. The study was published in the "New England Journal of Medicine."

This morning, Senator Dianne Feinstein is expected to unveil her proposal for an assault weapons ban. The bill would outlaw about 120 weapons and magazine that carry more than 10 cartridges.

But the NRA is already fighting against this bill, claiming it infringes on Second Amendment rights.

Here's Wayne LaPierre from the NRA.


WAYNE LAPIERRE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSN.: We believe we deserve and have every right to the same level of freedom that our government leaders keep for themselves, in the same capabilities and the same technologies that criminal use to prey upon us and our families. That means we believe in our right to defend ourselves and our families with semiautomatic firearms technology.


COSTELLO: And, of course, LaPierre is most likely referring to the AR-15, the best selling semiautomatic rifle. It was used in the Newtown shootings.

One state is trying to stop any new federal gun control laws before they're even passed, before they're even introduced.

Michigan state lawmakers are now considering a bill that would exempt guns from federal regulations and they're doing it in a novel way. The guns have to be made in Michigan for gun laws to apply.

Republicans support the bill and say it will help the state economy, and also send a message to the federal government. But Democrats worry it could be unconstitutional and result in a lawsuit, like it has in other states, with similar laws.

Michigan's GOP Governor Rick Snyder told reporters that lawmakers should not focus on gun control. They should focus on the economy and mental health issues instead.

Joining me from Lansing, Michigan, is state senator, Republican Rick Jones. He's a big supporter of the Michigan Firearms Freedom Act.

Welcome, Senator Jones.

SEN. RICK JONES, (R) MICHIGAN (via telephone): Good morning.

COSTELLO: Good morning. Thank you for being here.

No federal gun laws have even been passed -- so pardon the pun -- aren't you kind of jumping the gun?

JONES: Not really. You know, there's much talk about blocking all semiautomatic guns and Michigan has a rich hunting heritage. We hunt deer with semiautomatic rifles. We hunt ducks, rabbits and turkeys with semiautomatic shotguns. And we believe --

COSTELLO: AR-15s, though? Come on.

JONES: AR-15 style of gun is typically used for hunt things like coyotes.

COSTELLO: But they're not normally used.

JONES: You know, many people use them to defend their selves, their homes. And, you know, as a former sheriff, as a police officer for 31 years, I can tell you that guns are not evil things. The evil people that use them improperly are the ones that need to be locked up, and I support stronger mental health, I support locking up the violently mentally ill for treatment.

COSTELLO: A CNN poll shows that most people support an assault weapons ban and background checks for gun owners. I mean, do those people matter?

JONES: I absolutely support background checks for gun owners. So, we have background checks here in Michigan. Before you're allowed to make a purchase, a background check is done.

COSTELLO: But I mean, for those people who favor gun control and gun control as it applies to the two weapons like the AR-15, do those people's opinions matter in your decision to support this state legislation?

JONES: Well, my constituents believe that we have the right to defend ourselves, the Second Amendment. We believe that the interstate commerce rules are overreaching. It has become judge-made law and judge-made law can be bad.

I'll give you a quick example, separate but equal. Segregation was standing law of the land but it was bad. It was bad judge-made law and we believe the interstate commerce is overreaching.

COSTELLO: But isn't it, doesn't it get dangerous when states pick and choose which federal laws they want to enforce?

JONES: You know, states are doing this constantly. States have medical marijuana. I'm not a big fan of that product. But they have marijuana out there now and the federal law clearly states that marijuana is illegal.

But I think we just want to send a strong message that we have a strong hunting heritage here. I know that the town where they make Remingtons, the Remington factory is under great duress, and I would invite them to bring their high paid union jobs here to Michigan. We would be welcoming them.

COSTELLO: Nobody is talking about outlawing all guns, just certain kinds of guns. And some people might say the argument over gun control seems hysterical now, at least to gun control advocates. There are gun rights advocates who say arming the slaves would have meant no slavery in America. There are people who say the president is determined to abolish the Second Amendment, even though there's no move to do that.

Some might accuse you of playing into these fears to get your law, your personal beliefs passed.

JONES: Well, I am chair of the Senate judiciary. I had five bills assigned to my committee yesterday and I simply had a hearing on those bills.

COSTELLO: But even the Republican governor says this is not the right way to go, that the state legislators in the state of Michigan should be focusing on the economy, because things are still pretty rough there.

JONES: We are focusing on the economy, and perhaps you haven't seen the latest news. We've got jobs coming from Canada into Michigan. Mid-Michigan is booming in jobs and we have made this state a very, very pro-business state, where people want to bring their jobs, and we have good highly-skilled workers here ready to work.

COSTELLO: Senator Rick Jones from Michigan and Michigan state senator -- thank you so much for joining us this morning.

JONES: Have a great day.

COSTELLO: Annihilation. That's what John Boehner says President Obama is trying to do the Republican Party. Could it end up sending us into, I don't know, even more gridlock? We'll talk about it.


COSTELLO: The Republican Party, it might go the way of the dinosaurs, annihilated not by a giant meteor but by President Obama.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: So we're expecting here over the next 22 months to be the focus of this administration, as they attempt to annihilate the Republican Party. And let me just say, I do believe that is their goal, to just shove us into the dust bin of history.


COSTELLO: The House speaker was talking to a group of Republicans a day after President Obama laid out his agenda in his inaugural address. That agenda includes climate change, gun control and gay marriage, issues only a Republican-controlled House can block. Hence, the president needs total annihilation of the Republican Party to achieve his goals, at least in John Boehner's mind.

Will Cain is a CNN contributor and analyst for "The Blaze".

Roland Martin is a CNN political analyst.

Welcome to you both.



COSTELLO: You know, it seems yesterday Democrats were relenting Republicans wanted to make Obama a one-term president. Is this tit- for-tat, Will?

CAIN: Well, I'll be honest to you, it's not a news flash. Look, one party wants complete control of government. They want to get the other one out of the way. Republicans in the House stand in the way of Obama's agenda, an agenda he laid out pretty clearly, explicitly in his inaugural address.

So, yes. I mean, I think we would like Democrats and President Obama would like to se to takeover 2014. That's no surprise, right?

COSTELLO: But those are strong words to use, Roland, annihilate them, put Republicans in the dust bin of history?

MARTIN: Well, first of all -- I mean, look, we're already used to Speaker Boehner crying and so, now, we're dealing with him whining. Let's remind the American people, Karl Rove talked about a permanent Republican majority, when President George W. Bush was in office. That didn't last long.

Go back to President Ronald Reagan, Republicans talking about the Reagan revolution. You could say that from eight years of Reagan, you get four years of Bush, eight years of Clinton, then eight years of Bush, that Reagan's vision, if you will, sort of dominated the conversation.

But here's what Speaker Boehner also has to understand. Look on the state level, Republican governors and state legislatures. So, you have Republicans who control more state branches than they actually do Democrats.

And so, this is just typical political whining. As Will said, both sides want to be in control. It's no doubt because you want to govern a lot easier, if your party controls all levels of political office.

CAIN: Right.

Can we -- Carol, can we talk about what inspired Boehner's statement? And that is that President Obama's speech was openly progressive, not just on its face on its policy goals like you pointed out in climate change or gun control, but in its philosophy as well.


CAIN: He talks about the elevation of collectivism, of collective rights, of collective action. So, just to piggyback on Roland's point, this is the cycle of American politics, one party begins to feel tough, big dog bows its chest out and reaches for goals that are beyond the American public's desires.

It happened in 1934 with FDR packing the court. It happened in '66 with LBJ's Great Society. Roland pointing out some Republican examples.

What happens when that hubris takes hold, the pendulum swings the other way. So, I would caution Democrats, you know, I know you're feeling big right now, but this is when you're in most danger.

MARTIN: This is not a hubris. This is not sticking your chest out. This is what is called laying out your vision. The president of the United States --

CAIN: It's about division.

MARTIN: No, no, the president of the United States has every right to lay out his vision because he won. Remember, he won.

CAIN: Let me explain something, I'm explaining the risk for the future, not the fact that he won already.

MARTIN: There's always a risk.

COSTELLO: Roland, I think the biggest point, if you overreach, that's always a dangerous thing.

MARTIN: No, no, there's no such thing as overreaching until you try to make it happen and it doesn't pass. So, you're casting a vision. No one says everything he talked about actually is going to happen, but you still have to cast the vision. And so, how can we call something overreaching when you haven't even seen it go through Congress yet?

CAIN: No, no, no, I think you're not keeping -- I'm suggesting that it's a warning. He's laying out a vision that might include something that overreaches.

MARTIN: It's always a warning.



CAIN: And if history is our example, we can guess will it be gun control, climate change?

COSTELLO: Republicans have a secret weapon, because Boehner in that same speech also mentioned that he has legendary Notre Dame Lou Holtz to give freshman Republicans a pep talk. And I wondered what might that look like?

MARTIN: Easy. I didn't do so well when I coached the New York Jets, that's probably what he had to say.

I mean, give me a break. Look, you can bring in Lou Holtz. You can bring in Bryan Kelly. Pull in Chip Kelly. Call Lou Saban. It doesn't matter.

So, maybe he's trying to buck up their spirits.

CAIN: It really time to buck into the Notre Dame mythology? Is it really?

MARTIN: Well, actually, they loss.

COSTELLO: It's really not. We should end it there on that note.

MARTIN: Real quick, Carol, my Texas A&M Aggies beat Lou Holtz's Irish in the Cotton Bowl. So, you know what? Maybe you ought to call the Aggies to give the pep talk.

COSTELLO: Oh, whatever.

Roland Martin, Will Cain, thank you so much.

We're back in a minute.

CAIN: Thanks.


COSTELLO: Forty-seven minutes past the hour. Time to check our "Top Stories". The five-alarm fire that destroyed a Chicago warehouse is burning again, debris inside that vacant structure has rekindled but -- but firefighters can't get their hoses to fight the fire because the building is now encased in ice that formed when firefighters battled the initial fire in subfreezing temperatures.

It's the off-season so where is Derek Jeter? Why he's at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, of course. The Yankees team captain is banging the drum for climate change. After Superstorm Sandy, he said the issue must be addressed.

Home improvement giant Lowe's plans to hire 54,000 part-time workers this spring and will also add 9,000 permanent part-time jobs. The company says it's looking to beef up staff around peak shopping times.

We're watching shares of Apple dive, I mean dive today following an earnings report that fell short of analyst expectations. Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange and you predicted this and of course as always you were right.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh yes as always Carol. We're watching Apple shares drop like a rock down 11 percent. You know we look back at what Apple said in its earnings after the bell yesterday.

What really happened here was Apple kind of cannibalized themselves. You know people wound up buying lower priced products, instead of the higher priced ones. Meaning instead of buying the iPhone 5, more bought the iPhone 4 or the iPhone 4s. Instead of buying the higher priced iPad they bought the iPad mini.

Still though, let's put this in perspective Apple reported record profits. You know they sold 48 million iPhones in the latest quarter, that's more than half a million iPhones sold every day in October, November and December combined. You look at their iPad sales, almost 23 million iPads sold. Apple even sold 12.6 million iPods so you know as much as we're watching the share price fall this isn't a company that's going down in flames just yet, Carol.

COSTELLO: Oh gosh I hope not. This would seem impossible to me. Alison Kosik live at the New York Stock Exchange.

"Talk Back" question for you today, "Do you agree with John Boehner, will President Obama try to annihilate the Republican Party?" or tweet me @CarolCNN.


COSTELLO: "Talk Back" question for you today, "Do you agree with John Boehner? Will Obama try to 'annihilate the Republican Party?'"

This from Patrick, "Obama doesn't have to. They are doing a fine job on their own."

From Teresa, "That's just what Mr. Obama wants to do. He wants to get rid of Republican Party but the American people won't let him do it."

This from David, "The Republicans are doing a pretty good job of self- annihilation, Obama can just sit back and watch."

This from Rebecca, "He's not only wanting to annihilate the Republican Party, but do away with our democracy as we know it." And from Dorothy, "Boehner is a sore loser. Instead of whining, he should put down the hankie and work with Obama. This Republican pity party is getting out of hand."

Keep the conversation going or tweet me @CarolCNN.

The women's top seed at the Australian fights the crowd favorite and her own injury. Now a former tennis star is calling that injury time- out a charade.


COSTELLO: One day after upsetting Serena Williams Sloane Stephens tries to keep her Australian Open run going. The 19 year old American taking on the defending champ. As Stephens broke Victoria Azarenka in the second -- Stephens broke Azarenka in the second set to pull within 5-4. At that point Azarenka went to the locker room for what the tournament called treatment of left knee and rib injuries.

The medical time-out was a turning point. Azarenka returned to win the match 6-1, 6-4, afterwards the top seed admitted she almost choked. Former tennis star Pam Shriver tweeted the injury was a charade and suggested the sports rules ought to be changed.

The BBC reports a soccer player will not be charged after this incident involving a ball boy. Aidan Hazar (ph) was trying to get the ball back in play with his visiting team near the end of the game. The home team ball boy had the ball underneath him and when Hazar went to kick the ball, he kicked the 17-year-old. The player was ejected but after the game he apologized to the ball boy.

Manti Te'o said he was the victim of a hoax -- what many people are calling "catfishing". The new meaning of the old word refers not to bottom feeders but Internet leeches. It was popularized in the film catfish about a guy's real relationship with a phantom woman.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're voice is not at all what I expected.

She must be pretty awesome. At least from Facebook.


COSTELLO: As CNN's Deborah Feyerick reports, "catfishing" is more common than you might think.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As crazy as it sounds, what apparently happened to Notre Dame football player Manti Te'o happens every day.

DAWN RICCI, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Doctors, lawyers, law enforcement. I mean people who are really smart.

FEYERICK: Private investigator Dawn Ricci says she's spoken to hundreds of men and women who get caught after falling deeply in love online.

(on camera): What is it they are hoping for?

RICCI: Everybody just wants to feel needed and loved and find that romance, the wonder, the excitement of it all. The scammer just knows how to pull them into it.

FEYERICK: it's called catfishing, a term popularized by the 2010 film called "Catfish" about a man who has an online love affair with the ideal woman who turns out not to exist.

It's a scam built on trust. One e-mail, one text, one phone call at a time over months or in Manti Te'o's case, perhaps years.

RICCI: He fell in love with a fictional character. I mean just a thought and a fantasy in his head.

FEYERICK: Ricci believes Te'o is like many of her clients, the target of a cruel hoax.

RICCI: The bottom line is, that there is money. They'll always ask for money.

FEYERICK: Ricci says she's had clients send tens of thousands of dollars to pay outstanding bills or buy expensive gifts like airline ticket and jewelry and in one case a new BMW. Te'o told ESPN he never gave money to a so-called girlfriend though admits she wanted to him money and asked for his checking account number. He says he refused to give it.

RICCI: It's very hard for people to accept the fact that this person doesn't exist. Nothing is going to match up. Phone numbers aren't going to match up. Addresses aren't going to match. I mean you can send me to an address and it's not going to be the person.

FEYERICK: In most cases, once the money dries up, the scammer disappears. In Manti Te'o's case, his girlfriend faked her death.

RICCI: My clients are truly embarrassed of what has happened to them in their life. They don't want to talk to their friends, their family, they've depleted their bank account. They feel completely humiliated.

FEYERICK: Humiliated and left facing questions. How could it happen in the first place?


COSTELLO: Deb Feyerick is here with more. So where do scammers find people to target.

FEYERICK: You know, they go to where people are needy. Dating Web sites, hugely popular. But so is Facebook. Other social media sites. You know, this is a con. It targets people who are looking for the perfect person.

And that's exactly what the scammer is selling. For example, I like tennis, my God, I love tennis. I like traveling. I love traveling. They become the person who you need, even if it means taking somebody's photo or taking somebody's life story. You know, they may just be messing with you but most often they are after your money.

COSTELLO: Deb Feyerick, reporting live from New York, thank you so much.