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Obama Sets Tone on Same-Sex Marriage; Luke Gets a New "Father"; March to Demand More Gun Control; Te'o Going Pro

Aired January 25, 2013 - 09:30   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Thank you so much for being with us. I'm Carol Costello.

Stories we're following this morning:

Opening bell on Wall Street, which is actually being rung remotely from Davos at the World Economic Forum.

Stock futures pointing to a higher open thanks to stronger than expected corporate earnings, among them Samsung, posting a record $6.6 billion profit for the fourth quarter, that is a 76 percent increase from the previous year.

Rhode Island is on the path to allow same-sex marriage. On Thursday, the state House of Representatives approved a bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry. That bill now heads to the state Senate. Rhode Island's governor says he'll sign it if it reaches his desk.

And as we just told, Brendon Ayanbadejo wants to use the Super Bowl to promote equality. So, kind of banner few weeks for the gay community.

On Monday, President Obama became the first U.S. president to support same sex marriage in his inaugural address.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law -- for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.


COSTELLO: But it's not yet clear what specifically the president will do for gays and lesbians.

Joining us now is Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Welcome, Rea.

REA CAREY, EXEC. DIRECTOR, NATL. GAY AND LESBIAN TASK FORCE: Thank you, Carol. COSTELLO: Thanks for coming back. We appreciate it.

So, when you were listening to the president's speech what went through your mind?

CAREY: Well, certainly, I was struck with the historic nature of him talking about gay, you know, gay people and marriage and our love for each other and the equality of that. I was also struck, though, with what an American inauguration it was. We had Sonia Sotomayor, we had a gay Cuban poet. We were even included in the benediction.

And so, I think what that really showed was it wasn't just Obama saying the word gay once, it was really a representation of the direction our country is headed in, both in, you know, who speaks, and who is made visible.

COSTELLO: And the other interesting thing that happened just today is this Baltimore Ravens player. He wants to use the Super Bowl to promote gay equality. I mean, 10 years ago, that would not have happened.

CAREY: No, it would not. Again, we're seeing in all corners of the country and people saying enough. This is -- I love my gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender friends and family members and let's move through this, let's go forward as a country, and it's -- we'll be the better for it.

COSTELLO: So, some people might say the president has done enough. You know, gays are now welcome in the military, they can serve openly. We seem to be on the path to gay marriage throughout the country and individual states are doing that. So what more do you want the president to do?

CAREY: Well, he has shown extraordinary leadership already and there are many, many things he's done from the ones you've mentioned to our being able to visit our partners in the hospital. But there are many opportunities for his leadership coming up, not the least of which are the Supreme Court cases, we hope he weighs in there.

He also has the opportunity to protect millions of Americans in their jobs by an executive order. Right now, there are no federal protections for LGBT people in this country. And in 29 states, it is perfectly legal to be fired from your job simply because of who you are or who you love.

So there are many opportunities --

COSTELLO: Well, why an executive order, though? Because some people might say shouldn't that be something that goes through Congress? And each individual special interest group now saying to the president, hey, you've done it already. Issue an executive order for us.

CAREY: Well, we are waiting on Congress to do their job with the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. They are slow to take up that task. We've been working on that for years and continue to push that. In the meantime, there are millions of people getting up for work every day, tying up their shoes, going in to work, terrified that they will be fired just because of who they are and we're in this very strange place in this country where there will be couples, thousands of couples who will now go to a number of states in the District of Columbia, have the wedding of their dreams, go back to work, like all of our straight friends do, place a picture of our loved one on our desk and they can be fired for that.

So what we're seeing in this country is, yes, we've made incredible progress, but we still have so far to go, including on issues we've mentioned here, immigration and issues of poverty facing our community.

COSTELLO: Thank you so much for coming in. We appreciate it.

CAREY: Thank you, Carol.

COSTELLO: Remember the fairytale about the kids who dropped bread crumbs to find their way in the forest? It's gotten a Hollywood makeover and it is definitely not for kids.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something else is going on here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You've got to be kidding me.




DARTH VADER: Luke, I am your father.



COSTELLO: His name is almost synonymous with great science fiction. And now, director J.J. Abrams is rumored to be at the helm of one of the most popular space franchises of all time. That would be "Star Wars."

Hard to believe, it was 1977 when the first "Star Wars" movie came out and Abrams is said to be picking up where "The Return of the Jedi" left off.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know there is good in you.

DARTH VADER: You don't know the power of the dark side. If you fight, then you will meet your destiny.


COSTELLO: Nischelle Turner is in Los Angeles, and I can only hope that Mr. Abrams will not include Jar Jar Binks.


COSTELLO: Nobody is.

TURNER: Maybe just me then I'm the one Jar Jar fan in the history of the universe.

But you know what? I love this story because if you want to find a director with geek street cred, can't do much better than J.J. Abrams. And the reports are the force is strong with him, he will be directing a new "Star Wars" film. From "Alias" to "Star Trek", you know he's going to treat the fantasy world with respect.

And, you know, there are usually battle lines drawn between fans of "Star Trek" and "Star Wars", I really think that everyone agrees J.J. is one of those few directors on each side's short list and, yes, everybody is wondering what the new "Star Wars" film will look like -- Carol hopes there's no Jar Jar -- because under Abrams, he did a really good job with those remaining "Star Trek" series.

Now, there is some reaction, Carol, already. I saw someone tweeting as Darth Vader by the way, warning him not to use a smoke monster in the updated film so now we have no Jar Jar and no smoke monster.

But as a fan of J.J.'s "Star Trek" and "Star Wars", I really have no idea what this new film is going to look like, but everyone is excited about the seventh movie. And you might not look at me and know it, but I am a huge "Star Wars" fan. I cannot wait.

COSTELLO: I know. I love -- I saw them all, I did, although I fell asleep in the last one. But I know Abrams will make it better than that.

Let's talk about "Hansel and Gretel" because it's not a fairytale for kids anymore.

TURNER: No. Less bread crumbs and more butt kicking, definitely. Hansel and Gretel, they're all grown up now. And instead of potential victims, they're the witch hunters now. So don't expect a lot of gingerbread houses in this action film and, by the way, this is rated R.

It's more about stunts and special effects than pushing a witch into an oven, because after all f two could escape from a witch as children, with a handful of bread crumbs then they should be OK in witch hunting. The modern take on the old fairytale is expected to win the box office this weekend.

And, Carol, it stars Jeremy Renner of "Hurt Locker" fame and new face on the scene, Gemma Arterton. And I've got to get her name right because I might be saying it much more often now. COSTELLO: Arterton.

Nischelle Turner --

TURNER: Yes, she's a looker.

COSTELLO: I bet she is. Thanks, Nischelle.

You may remember her from "Romancing the Stone", but now, Kathleen Turner is joining protesters to demand stricter gun laws. I'll talk to her in just a minute.


COSTELLO: Forty-three minutes past the hour. Time to check our top stories.

Authorities in Washington's Dulles Airport are investigating whether a United Airlines plane from Brussels clipped the wing of an empty aircraft. The 777 was pulling into the gate when the collision reportedly happened. No injuries reported.

Just after noon today, President Obama will name the next White House chief of staff. We expect it to be this man, Denis McDonough, one of the president's most trusted advisers. He's been at the White House four years and now serves as the deputy national security adviser, McDonough replaces Jack Lew who is now the president's nominee for treasury secretary.

For the first time, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will appear in an interview together. It will air this Sunday on CBS's "60 Minutes." Clinton is expected to leave her role as secretary of state as soon as John Kerry is confirmed, possibly next week. CBS also points out, this is the first interview Obama has done with someone other than his wife.

Tomorrow thousands of people are expected to march silently on Washington in support of gun control. The event will include residents from Newtown, as well as pastors, doctors, lawmakers and victims of other mass shootings. They're asking Congress to ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and require background checks.

Speaking at the event is actress and activist Kathleen Turner and of course you remember her from those great films "Body Heat" and "Romancing the Stone."


DANNY DEVITO, ACTOR: What went wrong? I'll tell you what went wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First of all, guess who else is here? You're dead right, solo.


DEVITO: Secondly, you've got yourself a partner who likes shooting holes in everything.

MICHAEL DOUGLAS, ACTOR: A minimum price for taking a stranded woman to the telephone is $400.

TURNER: $375 in traveler's checks?

DOUGLAS: You've got a deal.


COSTELLO: You saw some shoot them up scenes there but Turner is now an outspoken gun control activist and earlier she told me she will not act in another movie with gratuitous gun violence.


COSTELLO: You know what some people say though, like you're -- you're an elitist Hollywood actress, the real purpose behind this march on Washington is not to limit some guns but to do away with all guns is what you really want is the end of the Second Amendment.

KATHLEEN TURNER, ACHRESS AND ACTIVIST: Oh, no, I think that's really exaggerated. I think that any -- any opposition or any suggestion of control over, you know, like a federal level of control over gun sales is -- is you know, automatically responded to as -- as an attack on the Second Amendment. It's their knee-jerk reaction.

I'm not so much, I must say, a Hollywood actress. I'm really a very serious stage actress and that's my true, my true -- my true love, but this is not an attack on the Second Amendment. I don't think anybody is going to say no, you may not own a gun. It is simply let's own it responsibly and wisely.

COSTELLO: Yes but you know what they're going to say. Ok, so I won't call you a Hollywood actress, but people would say oh, you're a New Yorker, that's even worse when it comes to gun.

TURNER: Oh, you got me there. Since we just enacted the quickest, harshest gun controls in the country for which I am very, very proud of our -- of our city, of our state. Yes, you know, there is -- there is -- I don't think our gun control laws that have been passed in New York State in any way keep anyone from owning a gun. It's simply you know, guidelines on how to purchase it and what you're able to register, about ownership.

COSTELLO: The other thing gun rights advocates might say is, you're part of the entertainment industry, and in their mind the entertainment industry is responsible for gun violence in this country and you're not doing anything about that.

TURNER: Well, personally I make a choice in -- in choosing the material that I work on, you know, that I get involved with. I do make that choice to avoid that kind of random and unnecessary violence simply it's a matter of personal tastes. I don't wish to be associated with that. I don't think, however, that it's a cause of gun violence. I think that exists well without any what, any inspiration from the entertainment industry.

COSTELLO: Well, I'd just like to -- it was interesting what you said. So you would actually decline to be in a movie that depicted gratuitous violence?

TURNER: Oh, yes, I have. I will.

COSTELLO: Yet those types of movies are ok to show, despite your feelings about being in them?

TURNER: Well, again, you know, we might get back to a question of censorship that I don't think that because I choose personally not to be, you know, involved with any of that kind of violence, unnecessary violence doesn't mean that I feel no one else should be allowed to either. I don't wish to impose my -- my will on other people. I think we all need to exercise our own sense of responsibility.

COSTELLO: Now see the NRA might say well, then you should understand our position because that's exactly how we feel.

TURNER: Well as I say, I don't think it's an attack on the Second Amendment. It's simply common sense, in order to -- to, so that people who buy guns are registered, are known and their background is checked for any kind of mental illness or, you know, criminal behavior.

COSTELLO: And then my final question, you know, lots of people say the NRA has such a strong lobbying arm that no sort of meaningful gun control will ever pass the legislature. Do you think that's true?

TURNER: I think it's changing. It think that this march you know, that we're having on Saturday in Washington, the march against gun violence and -- and -- and in support of, you know, the victims of gun violence, I think it is a genuine expression of the people's will, of the people's desires now in this country.


COSTELLO: And thanks again to activist and actress Kathleen Turner. The march on Washington for gun control takes place tomorrow on Capitol Hill.

Our "Talk Back" question today "Should the Super Bowl be politicized?" I'll be right back.


COSTELLO: "Talk Back" question today, "Should the Super Bowl be politicized?"

This from Rigo. "When it comes to equal rights, everything should be politicized. Why should there be any moment of rest until equality is achieved?" This from Joni, "No. People tune in to enjoy the game and commercials. Let's not polarize the events. Let's just have some fun."

This from Randy. "You mean -- you mean do the players have a right to have political opinions? Absolutely. If they want to use their platform to share those opinions and further their causes, then why shouldn't they?"

This from Robert. "It's the Super Bowl and not a political venue of any sort. The presidential election is over. Give us a couple of hours of political and cause-free entertainment."

This from Billy, "The Super Bowl is a platform that millions watch a great way to get a message across why not politicize it."

And from Wayne, "We are inundated with pro athletes who use sports as a venue for airing their views on religion, so why can't Ayanbadejo use this forum to call attention to the issues he cares about?"

Keep the conversation going or tweet me @CarolCNN.


COSTELLO: This is a critical time for Manti Te'o, the football player. You've heard it by now, I'm sure. Bleacher Report's Vince Cellini is here to talk more about it and he's going to have to impress the NFL scouts now despite the scandal.

VINCE CELLINI, BLEACHERREPORT.COM: Right. With all of this he's bringing a lot of baggage to the NFL. And he has some work to do that's for sure. First things first and that is setting his draft status or try to keep it. Now here's the latest with Te'o. He's not playing in the Senior Bowl on Saturday. I've covered some of the top seniors from across the country instead he's training in south Florida and he's trying to convince these NFL personnel that he remains a mid to late first-round pick but the lasting image we have of Te'o, once he got the news and played the national championship game, horrible. His team was horrible.

And now this controversy surrounds him. So he's put himself in a hole, Carol right now. And he's trying to hang onto to what he had.

COSTELLO: Yes but -- but couldn't he say to these NFL scouts, look, I was -- I just found out that my girlfriend wasn't real, I was emotionally distraught, I didn't know how to handle the controversy and it affected my play in this game.

CELLINI: Well he'll have a chance to do that at the NFL scouting combine in late February in Indianapolis. And at this time he's going to go through a couple of important things. One, the eyeball tests, they'll test him, measure him, put him through drills.

But secondly, to your point, they're going to interview him. He'll be interviewed by all 32 teams and these people want to know why he got into this controversy, what it's about, is he mature enough and emotionally stable enough to handle the rigors of the NFL and deal with some personal issues. And those questions have to be answered.

And frankly I think his interview process is going to have to be better than it was with Katie Couric.

COSTELLO: Well, just a note on that. I mean, the NFL has drafted players with steamier backgrounds than Manti Te'o's.

CELLIN: It's true.

COSTELLO: So I just don't get it, I mean who did he really hurt with this?

CELLINI: Well to -- to some scouts it doesn't matter. All of this doesn't matter, it matters what type of player he is. And I think that's what he's banking on. He's going to trust his talent, he's a highly decorated college football player, a Heisman Trophy finalist and maybe some people will see through all of this wacky fake girlfriend stuff.

COSTELLO: Ok, let's talk about something happier now.

CELLINI: Ok. How about -- how about this. The New Orleans Hornets went through a name change and logo change. The new name is -- ready? Go ahead.

COSTELLO: I keep wanting to say Storks.

CELLINI: No. It's Pelicans. Get your birds straight here. The New Orleans Pelicans. Starting next season they have --

COSTELLO: The fighting Pelicans.

CELLINI: It makes sense because it's the state bird and it's the brown pelican, the state bird, and it's the pelican state. It appears on the flag and seal. Not everyone is with this decision including Chris Paul who's a former Pelican -- Hornet, now current Clipper, and he had a great tweet about this. His tweet was "Pelicans? And then he said I'm not rolling. But anyway, New Orleans used to be the Jazz, remember? And the Jazz went to Utah and I always think of Salt Lake City when I think of great Jazz, don't you?

COSTELLO: Yes, me too. That comes directly to mind. I can understand why they wouldn't want to change the nickname. Pelicans. I was going to say storks again.

Tom Benson bought them and he was never happy with it. Let me finish. It's the feel good story of the week, maybe the year. It involves Owen Grosser, 8th grader, Down Syndrome and he goes to a junior high in Rochester Michigan. Got to play in junior high game. Didn't play all season long. Made a three-pointer in a play the coach drew up, made another three-pointer later and the kids there got into a whole twitter campaign to get him featured. He was and his dad was excited about it.

In his next game, four points. So Owen, he has it going. What great story.

COSTELLO: You go. That's awesome. You did it. Thanks so much. And of course, check out for these stories and all the NFL experts on Manti Te'o's draft status.

The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts now.