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Super Parade for Super Bowl Champs; Obama Meeting on Immigration; Republicans Retool Their Message; Menendez Denies Sex "Smears"; Alabama Hostage Crisis Ends; Killing American al Qaeda Members.

Aired February 5, 2013 - 11:30   ET



ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: So officials still don't know what triggered the blackout at the super bowl. We know this, 35 minute delay in the game was not caused by the high energy halftime show, courtesy Beyonce. That's the latest word from the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell. The New Orleans city council says that it hopes to learn more Friday at an emergency meeting with the power company, Entergy. We will keep you posted.

Of course, Baltimore Ravens managed to pull out a victory despite a furious comeback by the 49ers. The Ravens fans elated to celebrate with a super sized parade in downtown Baltimore. Look at the folks gathered. Temperatures in the low to mid 30s. The reason they have to wait longer than expected, Christine Romans and I just talked about it, they are all stuck in traffic. The parade is stuck in traffic.

Rene Marsh reporting live for us right in the middle of it all.

I don't know that I ever heard of this, seriously the victory parade stuck in traffic.

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are. You know what, the fans, they are being very patient. You hear the music. There's a party going on. I'm sitting in Joe Flacco's Humvee. This is the Humvee he will be in when he goes through the parade rout. This is the good man that will drive him. We have members from the 175th Maryland's National Air Guard. They are here as well. You know what, a little fun fact, they do all of those flyovers at the home games. This is the float. We will have players on this float as well.

You hear the music. City hall, they are blaring it's getting hot in here. You know there's a party. Soon we will se the mayor of Baltimore as well as the governor walk through those doors there. They will address the crowd.

Of course, the crowd is waiting for the players. The fans are waiting for the players. They are fired up.

Are you guys fired up?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm ready for the purple love, baby.


MARSH: they are late. They are in traffic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's OK. We will wait for them. We will stay here until they get here.

MARSH: They don't mind waiting for their champions.

I will send it back to you, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Rene, if you can hear me, I can't believe you are holding a pom-pom and not shaking it. Give me a shake.


BANFIELD: There you go.

MARSH: go Ravens.

BANFIELD: Rene Marsh doing the duty line for us, honorary cheerleader.

Renee Marsh, thank you. We'll come back to you when we see the parade as it gets into gear and gets out of traffic.

Back right after this.



BANFIELD: I have bad news for any guys out there who love watching TV, I love that you love watching TV. But being a couch potato doesn't just pack on the pounds. According to a study in the "British Journal of Sports Medicine," it can cut your sperm count nearly in half. I'm so sorry to be the one to bring you that news. Men who watch more than 20 hours of TV per week had a 44 percent lower sperm concentration than those who watched no TV. But men who got at least 15 hours of moderate exercise her week had a 73 percent more sperm, it's hard to report this, than those who got under five hours a week.


They never say in school you have to say these things. And by the way, if you get more than 15 hours of moderate exercise a week, god bless you, you cannot possibly have small children.

Dr. Joseph Alukal is the director of Male Reproductive Health at NYU. Kind enough to jog down here to talk to us about this.

Let's be clear. I love TV. It's not just watching TV. It's the sitting around, right?

DR. JOSEPH ALUKAL, DIRECTOR OF MALE REPRODUCTION HEALTH, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: Absolutely. I do think this study is consistent with the study, if you have a sedentary lifestyle, it makes it tougher in terms of hormonal function, sperm making, all of those things, and those are closely related in a guy.

This study was a couple hundred young men followed for three months. They are college age. They found if you are more sedentary, if you are more overweight you are less likely to have normal sperm count. It fits into the idea someone having trouble getting their wife pregnant, their girlfriend pregnant, their partner pregnant, you can tell them healthy lifestyle will help this problem.

BANFIELD: They took into account diet and sleep patterns and all these other factors that might kind of mess with the results. But those didn't mess with the results.

ALUKAL: With the exception of body mass index. So weight as relates to your height. That's right. So, yes, I think the idea that somebody who's big but active is probably better off than the guy who's big and inactive. It could be inactive not necessarily watching TV. We don't have to bash you guys.

BANFIELD: Dr. Joe, I wanted you to say that for sure.


It's OK to watch a lot of TV, if you are also doing a lot of exercise. Right?

ALUKAL: I think that might be all right.

BANFIELD: You are invited back.


ALUKAL: Thank you.

BANFIELD: Thanks so much. I appreciate it.

If you want to read more about this, check out, because I think you may have more questions about this and there is certainly more you can read up on.

Back in a moment.


BANFIELD: At this hour President Obama is meeting with union leaders and others at the White House to discuss comprehensive immigration reform. Other groups like the NAACP and center for American progress are also meeting right now. And later on, the president is going to welcome CEO's from companies like Marriott, Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, all of it for similar discussion. At 1:15 this afternoon eastern time the president will hit the cameras, go out and call for a short term agreement to put off automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect next month. So there's your update on all things that will be happening like that today. And as much as many top Republicans would like to forget the last election, they really don't want to repeat it. So a week before the re-elected President Obama delivers his State of the Union speech, the number two Republican in the House is making over the GOP message. Eric Cantor speaks to the American Enterprise Institute about 90 minutes from now.

This morning he spoke exclusively with our Dana Bash.

Dana, I want to bring you in on this. Eric Cantor is not the first Republican to shake up his party and give a new direction. There's a brand new poll that shows President Obama has a 70 percent approval rating among Hispanics. Are Republicans listening more to that than Eric Cantor or a little of both?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A little of both. I think if you ask Eric Cantor they are not mutually exclusive. A big part of why he will give this speech is because Republicans understand what happened in the last election, which is that they got the majority of white men, that's about it. But interestingly enough, when it comes to immigration, we have seen big movement on the Senate side, especially among Republicans. But still house Republican leaders, including Eric Cantor, they are still very cautious, when it comes to immigration reform that includes a path so citizenship.

Listen to what he said on immigration.


REP. ERIC CANTOR, (R-VA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: I'm glad that I have colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the capitol trying to address the issue. Now, there are some things that have got to take place. And that is recognition we have over 1 million people here illegally. And so we have been a country of immigrants. I talk a lot about the fact I wouldn't be here if this country wasn't welcoming to my grandparents who fled religious persecution in Russia to come here. There is that, and the compassion for the families that are here, who frankly many have become part of the fabric of this country. We have to balance that with the fact that we are a country of laws, that there are folks who are in line, attempting to get here legally.


BASH: So his doing one thing right, if you talk to Latino Republicans, which is that the tone of his message is clearly different from what we heard from say Mitt Romney during the presidential campaign when he talked about self deportation. But when you talk about the policy, Ashleigh, he and John Boehner later on, they were very, very cautious, they simply would not talk about a path to citizenship. They said they would wait to see whatever comes out of the Senate and wait to see other options as we go down the road.

BANFIELD: I want to switch gears for a moment. I watched your really compelling interview, it was like the hallway grab almost with New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, he has been under fire, a lot of accusations have been flying around on small-time blogs and big time news organizations, about spending lots of money and flying around with rich friends. It's even gone so far to suggest that he spent time with prostitutes, and I got the sense from your interview, Dana, he is pretty darn angry about all of this.

BASH: He is. That is why he decided to come out and talk after he had been avoiding reporters for a couple of weeks and made an effort to come to where our camera was permitted to be in the capitol to talk to us. On the issue he admitted that he had to pay back almost $60,000 for a private flight with his friend down to the Dominican Republic. He said it was an oversight. He insisted he didn't just pay it back because he got caught as I asked him about.

Then, of course, there are as you mentioned the allegations that have mostly been on conservative blogs and the web that have made their way into the mainstream press about him using prostitutes. So I asked him about that. And listen to his answer. Can you just answer the allegation that has been out there that you were with prostitutes?


SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ, (D), NEW JERSEY: The smears -- the smears that frankly the right wing blogs have been pushing since the election, and that is totally unsubstantiated. It's amazing to me that anonymous, nameless, faceless individuals on a web site can drive that type of story into the mainstream. But that's what they have done successfully. Now nobody can find them, nobody ever met them, nobody ever talked to them. But that's where we are. So the bottom line is all of those smears are absolutely false. That's the bottom line.


BASH: Now, the other thing I should tell you that is out there about Senator Menendez are questions about him using his influence as a Senator to help his friend and big donor, who has a contract that hasn't really been honored by the Dominican Republic, if it would be honored, it would give him millions of dollars, he insisted that he was simply doing his job in the Senate. And it wasn't to do any special favors for somebody who has raised a lot of money for him.

BANFIELD: Dana Bash, good reporting. I saw you chase after him to get more questions to him. You did a great job with the moment he gave you, the brief moment that he gave you.

Dana Bash, thank you.

You can see more of Dana's great interview with Eric Cantor as well on the situation room at 4:00 eastern time here on CNN.


BANFIELD: After being held prisoner in an underground bunker in Alabama for nearly a week, a little kindergartner named Ethan is safe and sound with his family, but we are left with a lot of questions about his kidnapper, Jimmy Lee Dykes who died in Monday's FBI raid. Beginning with this, how was this man free to pull this off. Neighbors are telling us he was a pretty scary and dangerous guy. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL CREEL, NEIGHBOR TO DYKES: I regret not warning some of the neighbors of some of his tendencies and telling him he's the type of guy you might need to stay away from. He could be dangerous in the future.

JOSHUA TUCKER, NEIGHBOR TO DYKES: Something is not right with him and it's just very hard to explain, unless you have seen him and saw how he acts.

RONDA WILBUR, NEIGHBOR TO DYKES: He has been for a long time a source of concern. He killed one of my dogs. He has been like a time bomb waiting to go off.


BANFIELD: A time bomb waiting to go off.

Our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin joins me for more.

A lot of people wondered how Jimmy Lee Dykes got to the point of being a man in the center of a crisis, how this kind of menacing person was able to go about his life without authorities getting at him sooner.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: We asked similar questions in Newtown, in Tucson, in Aurora, people who are obviously troubled and may be dangerous. What can we do in advance, so they don't commit horrible crimes? The answer is not much. Our legal system is backward looking. We arrest people for things they have done in the past. That's difficult enough. It's even harder, and the law really doesn't have much of an ability to stop people who seem like they are going to do something, because we don't have an appropriate way of measuring that.

BANFIELD: Short of the minority report who assesses who will be a criminal. This guy shot at neighbors and was due in court. He killed a dog. You heard the neighbor who said he killed my dog felt he was seen patrolling with a gun and shovel at night and shooting at quote, anything that moves. That's the kind of person I would think actually is infringing on other people's civil rights.


I understand he has civil rights. Where are his more important than mine?

TOOBIN: Basically, what you have to do is identify if he committed a crime. Because that's the only way you can arrest him and take him off of the streets. Walking around your own property with a gun is scary and weird perhaps.

BANFIELD: What about surveillance?

TOOBIN: You could. But remember, you are talking a rural area, doesn't have a big police force. But if he actually shot at someone, that's attempted murder. Shooting someone's dog is definitely a crime. So perhaps the authorities should have arrested him for those crimes denied him bail. Other than that, just being weird and creepy, that's not a crime.

BANFIELD: And I have to wrap it up. That is the question, if he shot at someone, it could be considered attempted murder, could he be held without bail if he has this extra in his background?

TOOBIN: Absolutely. The two issues relevant in bails are they a risk of flight and danger to the community. Danger to the community seems to be the very definition of this guy.

BANFIELD: Backward looking, of course.

TOOBIN: Again, this is hindsight.

BANFIELD: Don't go anywhere, lots more questions for you about another story.

We will make Jeffrey Toobin work, right after the break.


BANFIELD: Should the American government be allowed to target people for execution if they're suspected of a high-level involvement with al Qaeda? If that's an easy answer for you, let me add this twist. Should the government be able to target American citizens if they're suspected of that behavior? Turns out the government, the current government, thinks, yes, you bet. The Justice Department memo obtained by NBC News suggests that it should be legal to terminate American citizens, but only under specific circumstances. If it's become -- it has become a feverish debate in the country, especially since the assassination of Anwar al Awlaki, a member of al Qaeda, American citizen born in New Mexico. This is what he looked like in Yemen, before a drone strike killed him in September 2011. No trial, no judge, no jury, an American. It's important to point out that this memo was written months before al Awlaki was killed.

Jeffrey Toobin is here to explain.

The memo specifically cites imminent threat and it's longer than I'm pointing out here. If there's an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States and capture's not feasible, that an informed high level official of the government can decide that a target can actually be taken out. Remarkable.

TOOBIN: It's an amazing document. Hats off to Michael Isikoff who got this. Think about the discretion, how much power, not even the president --


BANFIELD: A high-level official.

TOOBIN: Not defined who that is. That could be a general. The vice president, who knows. Is it secretary of defense? OK. So he decides --



TOOBIN: Well, currently a he. Could decide this person is an imminent threat. No judge, no jury. This person is dead right away.

BANFIELD: I want to add that, no judge, because it says this memo asserts courts should not play a role in reviewing or restraining these decisions. There will be no probable cause hearing. There will be nothing other than that official saying take him out.

TOOBIN: This memo is probably the last legal word on this subject, because there is no real way under American law to challenge this policy in an American courtroom. Al Qaeda is not going to go to court. Nobody has standing to challenge this. So there is not really a way that this could be in front of a court. So we are really just trusting the executive branch to say they are going to execute -- they are going to use this power wisely.

BANFIELD: Let me be clear here. To listen in on my conversations a court has to OK that. But to kill me, if I'm suspected of this kind of imminent threat, it requires me being off U.S. soil.

TOOBIN: Right. There's a big distinction here, that's important to talk about. This memo only applies in situations where an American citizen is in a combat area. Not even -- they can't do it in the streets of London. The memo talks about in a place that is essentially a war zone.

BANFIELD: But we don't have a declared war against these places.

TOOBIN: We do have authorization of use of military force against al Qaeda. That's --


BANFIELD: The zones.

TOOBIN: Those are the areas. You know, Yemen, Afghanistan, formerly Iraq, that's where we use those powers. But you talk about your phone calls, you have a -- they need a warrant to listen to your phone calls in the United States. But if you call Yemen, they don't need a warrant.

BANFIELD: They can listen in.


BANFIELD: What about Mali, is that considered to be a place where, if you're planning an attack against me and you're safe, from I don't know, Poughkeepsie, they can take you out there?

TOOBIN: The memo doesn't deal with in a directly but you can bet the answer is yes. Mali -- anywhere where we think al Qaeda might be active and there's a war zone, which Mali is, would be covered.

BANFIELD: I have to wrap it up. But not before you define imminent.

TOOBIN: I can't.

BANFIELD: You can't.

TOOBIN: Because they don't. And it's imminent is not like an hour or a day. The memo defines imminent in such a way that it could be, you know, pretty soon, which again gives the executive branch enormous life-or-death powers.

BANFIELD: Jeffrey Toobin, I knew you'd have the answers or ones we can get to.

Thank you for that.

That's all the time we have. Thanks for watching. NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL is next.