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Bobby Jindal Blasts Republican Party; NAACP Fights Soda Ban

Aired January 25, 2013 - 15:00   ET


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: John, I want to start with you, because it seems like every couple of weeks, there is a high-ranking Republican who comes out to call out the Republican Party. It is Chris Christie one time and then it's Bobby Jindal and then it's Colin Powell, and now it is Bobby Jindal again. There is so much talk.

What is the party willing to do, specifically, to attract more voters to the Republican side?

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Victor, it is a great question, because there is a difference in what the party needs to do and what the party is willing to do.

As you said, the talk is cheap. The problem with the party of stupid speech that Bobby Jindal got isn't that he's not calling out for what it is, it is that it is not enough. The problem with the Republican Party right now in terms of reaching out and reviving itself isn't just perception. It is policies. The Republican Party will have to move on policies to really reach out to voters beyond its older white conservative populist base.

Until they're willing to really confront the problem and really start changing their policies, especially on social issues, they're going to keep having a hard time connecting to a rising generation of Americans.

AVLON: I want to play more of the speech. Let's listen.


GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: We must quit big. We're not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, or big anything. We must not be the party that simply protects the well-off so they can keep their toys. We have got to be the party that shows all Americans how they can thrive.

We're the party whose ideas will help the middle class and help more folks join the middle class.


BLACKWELL: I'm sure there are a lot of people who agree with John, that it has got to be policy, but, Margaret, policy is a heavy burden, especially right now with the culture in Washington. Person to person, the people within their party, how do they connect with voters better? Is it more than just giving a minority party -- minority members of the party, rather, a higher profile?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, it is more than that, because that would be utterly cosmetic and we need to really examine what is going to make us a viable party into the 21st century, not just elevating the few minorities that we do have.

I think that there is a real and sincere effort under way to reflect on what it is going to take. And I think Bobby Jindal's speech is part of that and hopefully it is the beginning of a really serious, earnest, thoughtful conversation, because John's right, it can't just be cosmetic. We really have to actually rethink how to modernize our principles and make them relevant and communicate them, frankly, to America today, which looks very different.

There is a rising generation of millennials, the 30-and-unders, who in 2020 will be 103 million Americans. This generation far outnumbers the baby boomers in terms of its size and its weightiness. And, frankly, we have totally missed the boat, the Republican Party, on how to connect to that generation.

I think we have to rethink. This is the most diverse generation in American history. I think what Marco Rubio is doing right now, in terms of going around to grassroots Republicans across the country, talking to talk radio about what it is going to take to modernize the way Republicans think about immigration, and think about reaching out to the Hispanic population, which is, you know, it is over 40 percent.

The millennial generation is 40 percent nonwhite. And the majority minority in that group is Hispanic. We have to think, how are we going to connect to this generation, how are we going to get back to what George Bush did in 2004, which is earn 44 percent of that vote? Let's get back to that place.

BLACKWELL: It has been on a downside all the way through McCain and Romney. It's probably believed the first option is something on immigration in this Congress.

John, let me get to you on Jindal specifically. Is he just positioning himself for 2016 with this type of rhetoric?



BLACKWELL: Simple answer.

AVLON: That's the simple, true answer. I mean, look, part of what is disingenuous about the speech is he spends a lot of time running down Washington, saying -- running down the federal government. But let's be honest. Bobby Jindal doesn't hate the federal government. He wants to run the federal government.

Sometimes in our politics, the best way to do that is to run against the federal government. That's the honest truth.

BLACKWELL: All right, John Avlon, Margaret Hoover, thank you very much.


HOOVER: Thanks, Victor.

BLACKWELL: President Obama may be facing a high-stakes Supreme Court battle because a federal appeals court unanimously ruled today that President Obama's recess appointments to a federal agency are unconstitutional.

The president named three people to the National Labor Relations Board during Congress' winter holiday break a year ago. They were former Deputy Labor Secretary Sharon Block, attorney Richard Griffin, and attorney Terence Flynn.

Now, today, a three-judge federal panel said those appointments are invalid because the Senate was only in recess and technically still in session.

Let's bring in legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Jeffrey, there are so many questions here. First, let's start with what is the president's next move?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, he will either ask the full appeals court to hear it, or go directly to the Supreme Court.

You know, this is a very technical legal issue. But when you cut through the gobbledygook, this is an immense defeat for President Obama and a huge victory for the Republicans in the Senate. This is a recipe for President Obama not to be able to get through many of his executive appointments if this decision stands.

BLACKWELL: These three people were seen to be pretty controversial because of their views and maybe, in some people's opinion, too pro- union. And what now would be the Republican response to this?

TOOBIN: Well, they don't have to do anything. They won. President Obama appointed these people. They were not approved by the Senate.

So what President Obama did, he did what presidents have done for decades, which is he appointed them during a recess. They did a recess appointment, which means they can serve for about a year. What this court did, these three conservative Republican judges, they said, that process is unconstitutional.

That means President Obama has no remedy for his appointees that don't get confirmed by the Senate. That's a big, big problem for him.

BLACKWELL: And this could also have some ramifications for Richard Cordray, who was tapped to head up the new consumer protection agency that the president also during this period chose Cordray.

TOOBIN: Hugely important, because Cordray, the decision not only means that he can't take office, that these people can't take office, is that any actions they took while they were in office are now unconstitutional.

So Cordray, which is in now a very high-profile position, head of this consumer financial board, that -- his status is very much uncertain. So this case is really a very, very big deal.

BLACKWELL: Is there any precedent or anything in the justices' history that gives us an idea on what the Supreme Court will do with this possible appeal?

TOOBIN: Well, you know, it's increasingly difficult to predict because the Supreme Court has become much more conservative in recent years and they have become much more aggressively conservative, striking down gun control laws, striking down campaign finance laws in Citizens United, and here it looks like they have a chance to strike down a whole method of appointment for president.

You know, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, this wasn't even controversial. Now the conservative majority could deal a very, very serious blow to President Obama's entire tenure in office. It is a -- so that's what the stakes are.

BLACKWELL: It is as big of a deal as it seems.

TOOBIN: It sure does. I know it sounds like legal gobbledygook, but it's actually very important.

BLACKWELL: So many questions, but I have been told I'm out of time.

Jeffrey Toobin, thank very much.

The frigid weather is hitting the Northeast is hitting especially hard for some victims of superstorm Sandy. People whose homes are still not livable are finding their terrible weather now is not helping matters at all.

Susan Candiotti is there.

Susan, I see behind you tents in this weather. People have resorted to living pretty much outside.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Actually, no, these tents are not set up for people to live here. But they are acting because of a woman who is helping people out as a place where they can gather, where they can get a hot meal and where they can talk to each other about, frankly, getting through this cold weather and more importantly getting through -- living through the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

So let me show you around this place. This is a tent set up again by a woman who is trying to gather supplies like car seats and the normal things you would need to get by after a storm, all kinds of things to help in your household. And this tent has been sent up, being heated -- they received a heater a month ago from the police commissioner of New York City, Ray Kelly, who donated it.

And inside this tent, you have some people who are warming up. Dave, come on in with me. And here you can get a hot meal over here. They got all kinds of food set up. It is being run by volunteers, some of whom are spending the night here, so that they can help more people as they come here during the day.

These are people who live in the area whose homes have been destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, who need repairs. And they are also living in apartments that are provided to them by FEMA, but come here during the day. A handful of volunteers do stay here all night, however, to watch over supplies.

Now, Larry Gonzalez, you are -- you live in this neighborhood, right? You're getting a rental apartment from FEMA. How is your family getting through this cold snap? You know they're predicting snow tonight.

LARRY GONZALEZ, RESIDENT OF STATEN ISLAND: We're indoors, so the cold is not really a major factor. The volunteers are staying out more outside during the cold weather. So it is more credit to them.

CANDIOTTI: How big is your family?

GONZALEZ: Wife and two kids, so there's four of us altogether.

CANDIOTTI: What are the long-term effects of this? How long do you think it will be before you can get out of that apartment and back into your house? Will it be repaired?

GONZALEZ: The house theoretically should come down. Theoretically, it's probably going to take two years or, so by the time everything is said and done.

CANDIOTTI: Two years?

GONZALEZ: Two years.

CANDIOTTI: How are you getting by and how are you getting through the snow predicted tonight and just why are you here today?

GONZALEZ: I'm here to hang out with my neighbors and friends, stuff like that.

CANDIOTTI: You're trying to encourage each other. What is that?

GONZALEZ: Well, just moral support. So we're all just hanging out having -- trying to make the best of what is happening.

CANDIOTTI: Thank you very much for joining us. We certainly wish the best to all of you who are here this day and are trying to recover from the storm.

And as we indicated as well, the city is providing hotel rooms to anyone whose home still has not been repaired to get minimal repairs. They can call a phone number and get into a hotel. Or if the minimal repairs have been done and it is still not hot enough, then they can also call and get a hotel room. There is no limit on how long they can stay. FEMA has a similar program going on. And people -- the deadlines have been extended as well for people who need to get repairs done to make application to FEMA for additional help. George, it is going to be a cold weekend either way here in New York City -- back to you.

BLACKWELL: It is Victor, but I will -- it is good to know that the only people staying...

CANDIOTTI: Victor. Sorry.

BLACKWELL: It's already. The only people staying in that tent are people who stay there by choice to watch the supplies, but still a long way back for all the people up there in New York.

Thank you so much, Susan Candiotti.

By now, you have heard about Mayor Bloomberg's ban on supersized drinks in New York City, right? It is a controversial issue, but the move is getting slammed by a group that you might not expect, the NAACP. I will speak with a woman who's leading the charge next.


BLACKWELL: Now to a story about civil rights and soda. The NAACP is fighting the ban on big sugary drinks in New York City. It is supposed to go into effect in March. Now, restaurants and other venues won't be able to sell sugary drinks in cups larger than 16 ounces, all to combat New Yorkers' weight problem as the mayor explained when the board of health approved the measure in September.


MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Nearly 60 percent of adult New Yorkers are overweight or obese and each faces a greater risk of developing a host of diseases, including type 2 diabetes, and cancer, and hypertension and heart disease. And, of course, obesity doesn't just affect adults. Among New York City kids, nearly 40 percent are overweight or obese.


BLACKWELL: Joining me now is Hazel Dukes, president of the NAACP New York State Conference.

Ms. Dukes, thank you for joining us.


BLACKWELL: Listen, when we think about the great fights of the NAACP, we think about civil rights, we think about voting rights, we think about desegregating schools. And now sugary drinks. Your group joined with the Hispanic Federation just -- and filed a joint brief in support of the lawsuit to stop the ban. Why is the NAACP in this fight?

DUKES: The NAACP is in the fight on the economic type rule.

Let me say, we are not for sugary drinks. We applaud the mayor when he took sugary drinks out of our public school system. But as the ban stands now, there is not a level playing field. There is an economic -- the small business and the mom and pop stores in our community will be punished, while the chain stores can sell mini (INAUDIBLE) and 32 ounces as they want to.

And so we're saying there's a holistic approach that we need to take to obesity. We understand obesity is a dreadful epidemic in our city and our state and in the nation. But there is other things we can do to -- components that we ought to have with this ban, just not the sugary drinks.

We need to have physical education in our schools. We need to have nutrition matters, curriculum. We need to reach out to parents to educate them. There is culture and there is behavior, the reason we have obesity in our in our community, not only in the African-American and Hispanic community, but in all communities.

BLACKWELL: Understood. But New York City officials say that black New Yorkers are three times more likely as whites to die from diabetes, Hispanics twice as likely. I understand you say you don't like sugary drinks. But why not stay just agnostic on this suit? Critics say that you're prioritizing business over health.

DUKES: No, we are not prioritizing business over health. We have a health program. Our health program includes the kind of things that prevent obesity. It is the intake that you have. It is not just sugary drinks.


BLACKWELL: It is also the availability of them.

DUKES: Well, that's true.

And in our communities, sometimes we don't have a fresh fruit and vegetables. When you walk into the supermarkets in our area, the first thing you see is sodas. You don't even see water there. You have to go down the aisle to even find water, so there's many different things we can do in this without just saying to the small business, and the mom and pop stores, if you sell over 16 ounce, we're going to punish you.


BLACKWELL: But, Ms. Dukes, I think you just made your opponents' point for them, when you said that there are not many options other than the sugary drinks. If you take the sugary drinks of the shelf, the large ones, then they have to drink something else or get a smaller size, right? I think you just made the point.

DUKES: Or you have to drink water. On a display when you walk into stores in our community, and I live in African-American community, you do not see water. You see all of the sugary drinks. BLACKWELL: Get them off the shelves. That's the city's position. Right?


DUKES: I didn't say take all -- I didn't say take all of them off the city, but you can do education. If you are going to have the sugary drinks, where's the water? Why is the water down, way down in the aisle where you have to go look for it if you are going to have your display?

I am saying that there is not a level playing field in the ban that has been put forth by the city. We need to come together, government, corporations, community groups, parents, to find a way that we can combat the epidemic. And we can do that.

BLACKWELL: Let me look at this from a different angle. Let me look at this from a different angle. And I hate to interrupt.

Coca-Cola has donated at least recently $130,000 to the NAACP since 2011 and other -- reports of other donations. Did this corporation's money influence this move at all?

DUKES: Absolutely not. Coca-Cola Foundation gives to many organizations, not just African-American, to the Jewish community, to the Hispanic community, to every community.

You go on their Web site and apply for grants. This has nothing to do with the NAACP and the Coca-Cola Foundation. The Coca-Cola Foundation has scholarships for children. Coca-Cola Foundation has a health component. So, no, that is not the reason that we have taken this on.

BLACKWELL: Let me come back with. And I have been asked to wrap up, but I think this is important.

This is from an article I read in "The Guardian" from the U.K. We can put this up. "When 'The Guardian' called the New York chapter of the NAACP, the reporter was told to contact a Washington phone number and ask for the association's statement."

DUKES: That's not true.

BLACKWELL: "The phone number turned out to be that of a publicist for the American Beverage Association."

What about this, Ms. Dukes?

DUKES: No one has called my office and been told to call anybody. I have been speaking to all reporters. I have been on all television stations that have invited me to come. So that's the darn truth.

BLACKWELL: The report also goes say on to that the NAACP, the Hispanic Foundation and the American Beverage Association then put out a joint statement. Is that also untrue?

DUKES: No, I have not put out a joint statement with the American beverage company. You should have my statement on my NAACP letterhead.

BLACKWELL: Hazel Dukes, thank you very much. "The Guardian" says otherwise. But we thank you.

DUKES: Thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: We will be right back.


BLACKWELL: A judge is set to decide whether the public will get to see the trial of two high school football players accused of raping a 16-year-old girl after a party.

A hearing on a motion to close the trial is being held this afternoon in Steubenville, Ohio. The girl and her parents want the trial closed to protect her privacy. One defendant wants it closed to prevent anyone from intimidating defense witnesses. The news organizations are arguing to keep the trial open. They say an open court will stop speculation that the trial might be skewed in a town that is crazy about its high school football team.

Authorities have arrested the man they believe opened fire wounding three people on a campus of Houston's Lone Star College on Tuesday; 22-year-old Trey Foster is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. This man, Carlton Berry, was originally charged with the shooting. But our affiliate KHOU says that may have been a mistake because according to KHOU, one victim said Berry shot him, but then changed his story after he was shown a photo lineup that included Foster.

The Harris County Sheriff calls the shooting a case of idiocy that apparently resulted from an argument that started when one of the victims bum s bumped into Foster and a maintenance man was also shot.

A suspected murderer on the loose in the Midwest.

Brooke Baldwin follows the radical plan to catch a serial killer.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Here in the Midwest, several young girls went missing. Some were found murdered. Others were never found at all.

Laurie Depies, 20, in Appleton, Wisconsin; Rayna Rison, 16, from La Porte, Indiana; Wendy Felton, 16 from Marion, Indiana; Michelle Dewey, 20, in Indianapolis, Indiana, all of these cases went unsolved. Officials believed only one man knew what happened.

LARRY BEAUMONT, FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: We knew he was responsible for several deaths.

BALDWIN: And to get answers, it would take a risky, unusual plan: Send a convicted drug dealer undercover into a dangerous prison to befriend an alleged serial killer. JIMMY KEENE, INFORMANT: I'm not a serial killer hunter. I said, so how am I going to do this?

BALDWIN: At stake, answers.

GARRY REITLER, FATHER: Wondering where she is, what happened.

BALDWIN: Peace for grieving families.

DONNA REITLER, MOTHER: You want to find her and bring her home and you can't.

BALDWIN: And one man's freedom.

KEENE: They don't just turn around and give out candy and say, you're free to go. I went through hell and back.


BLACKWELL: Don't miss "CNN PRESENTS: To Catch a Serial Killer" Saturday night at 8:00 Eastern and again at 11:00.

Just when you thought you were just about done with the flu, something new to worry about: a norovirus, and it is nasty. We will tell you what to look out for next.


BLACKWELL: If the flu is not enough this season, the CDC now says there is a terrible stomach virus that has some awful symptoms.

Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is here with us. What is this Sydney 2012?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Sydney 2012 is a strain of something called norovirus, which a lot of people call stomach flu. That's not really the right terminology.


COHEN: But it's this just icky, for want of a better phrase.


COHEN: We're talking about forceful vomiting.

BLACKWELL: Oh, that's terrible.

COHEN: It's lovely. We're talking diarrhea. It is really not pleasant.

BLACKWELL: Yes. It's something you don't want to go to work with.

COHEN: Right.

BLACKWELL: Nobody wants this. How do we stop this from coming into our bodies?

COHEN: You know, to some extent you can't. It is incredibly contagious. If you were sick right now and God forbid you were vomiting, I would be inhaling that. I would be in real trouble. Wash your hands a lot with soap and water.

You can use an alcohol-based sterilizer, but you should also be doing soap and water. Also, wash down surfaces and remember that even after you're better, you can still be contagious. And so don't cook for other people for a little while, or if you do, be really careful.

BLACKWELL: This is what I find fascinating, is that I could have it and give it to other people and not even know it.

COHEN: Yes, exactly. Some people have this virus, but they're not contagious. So they walk around, they feel fine, and they give it to other people. This is another reason why this is so bad. It is highly contagious to begin with. It is highly contagious and people don't know they have it.

And, third, it is new. So we haven't developed an immunity to it yet.

BLACKWELL: All right. Hopefully, we won't get it.

COHEN: That's right.

BLACKWELL: Elizabeth Cohen, thanks.

COHEN: Thanks.