Return to Transcripts main page


Movie Inspired By Newtown In Works; Armstrong Won't Be Prosecuted For Doping; Vote On Gay Scout Ban Tomorrow; Hillary Clinton's Mystery Web Site; Governor Christie Takes On Letterman

Aired February 5, 2013 - 14:29   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Bottom of the hour. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

And for the next 30 minutes, we are getting all sides from the stories you will be talking about at the dinner table tonight.

So, want to start with this. Not even two months after 20 children were gunned down in a Sandy Hook Elementary School classroom, new rumblings today that a movie inspired by that massacre is now in the works.

Here's what I know. The film's director and crew were in this town of Ridgefield, Connecticut. This is about 20 miles away from Newtown, just yesterday, starting work on this project. And Newtown, you know the story there, still very much so reeling from a horrific tragedy.

This made for TV film titled "Illness" will be about a mentally ill 13-year-old boy, and how he and his family react after the Newtown shooting. Let's talk about this.

I want to open it up to Jawn Murray, entertainment journalist and all around pop culture expert, Lauren Ashburn, the editor-in-chief of "Daily Download" and CNN legal analyst, Sunny Hostin.

So hello to all three of you. Jawn, let me begin with you, if you're keeping track of the time since the horrendous day in Newtown, 53 days since the shooting, this too soon?

JAWN MURRAY, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, ALWAYSALIST.COM: Absolutely too soon. And what we can't have is we have seen, even in recent days there has been a college shooting. We don't want to encourage copycats. Some of these people want to die in end famously.

And by you doing a movie where you take a categorized and showcase this, it glamorizes it in some way and people are going to try to duplicate it. We don't want that to happen.

BALDWIN: Sunny, what do you think?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think we should take this seriously. You know, I actually disagree. I think that this incident was tragic and really a watershed moment in our culture and our society. It has opened up the dialogue for gun control. It has opened up the dialogue for mental illness.

And I would imagine that it is something that should be documented and why not now? If you don't do it now, I think it almost closes the discourse, closes the dialogue, and pretends that this thing -- this horrible thing didn't happen.

So I actually think now is the time. I think it is right for us to document what is going on in our culture, in our society today.

BALDWIN: Lauren, let me get to you in just a moment. But I just want to play this because obviously the big question, why, why do the movie, why make this movie? Here is the film's director, Jonathan Bucari.


JONATHAN BUCARI, DIRECTOR, "ILLNESS": Why, today, with everything we have at our disposal to prevent the kind of tragedy, we weren't able to do it?


BALDWIN: So maybe he's thinking this could be preventative. Maybe he's thinking this could open our minds further to mental illness. Lauren, what do you think?

ASHBURN: Well, first of all, if you look at this guy on the movie database --

BALDWIN: One film.

LAUREN ASHBURN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "DAILY DOWNLOAD": He's done -- not even one film. He's directed one TV pilot. And if you know the TV business, you know that that means that it did not make it to series and the pilot was called the sacrificial lamb. How appropriate for all of this.

So I don't think that we should be taking this effort that seriously. Notice there is no one attached to the movie. There is no one who is saying that they're going to run this quote/unquote "movie."

Sunny, I have to disagree with you, really I think it is just too soon for those parents who have just been through so much and to have to watch this, on the big screen, they have lived it. They have lived their lives.

BALDWIN: But, Lauren, back to that point, back to your point about this director, if this were a bigger name, would that make a difference?

ASHBURN: I think, I mean, I think you would hear a lot more people up in arms about it. Of course, it would make a big difference. I mean, we don't know the quality of this guy's shooting. Nobody has ever seen anything he's ever done. Now if you get a Scorsese or you get a Spielberg or you get somebody in there who wants to do this, I think that they're going to get a lot of pushback that it just isn't the right time.

BALDWIN: Let me play some sound because obviously people in this town of Ridgefield, they have opinions on having this movie filmed in their neighborhood. Here is what they say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a tragedy. It happened and we're trying to fix it. And you can keep talking about it forever, I suppose.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel for those families and bringing it up all the time, I don't know how that will affect them.


BALDWIN: Let me also just read this, Jawn, before I get to you, because this is what the film production's company says. They posted this to Facebook. It has since been deleted, quote, "we are not doing the movie about what happened in Newtown and will never do so. We are doing a non-profit film about mental illness." Jawn, you get the last word on this, does that make it OK?

MURRAY: It just doesn't make it OK. The guy has generated enough attention that we're talking about this today. So, first time filmmaker or not, he's getting buzz. I still think it is too soon and I don't think the people in Connecticut deserve to see this yet.

BALDWIN: OK, let's move on. We're now getting word that Lance Armstrong will not be prosecuted for doping at least for now. Has justice been served? My panel weighs in next.


BALDWIN: All right, let's pick up where we left off with our panel. Let me bring them all back in. So to all of you and to our viewers, here is what we've just now learned at CNN, we talk about Lance Armstrong, we knew about the seven Tour de France titles and the foundation and the sponsorships. So that's all gone.

Question lingered as to whether or not he would be prosecuted for doping, which by the way, if you watched him on Oprah a couple of weeks ago, you know, he said, yes, I did it.

So now we're hearing that this U.S. attorney who had initially said he wouldn't pursue pressing charges or prosecuting, I should say, is standing by that statement. Here he was.


ANDRE BIROTTE JR., U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA: We made a decision on the case a little over a year ago. Obviously, we have been well aware of the statements made by Armstrong and other media reports. That has not changed my view at this time. Obviously we'll consider -- we'll continue to look at the situation, but it hasn't changed our view as I stand here today.


BALDWIN: Sunny Hostin, I'm coming straight to you, our lawyer on the panel here.

HOSTIN: The former federal prosecutor for the Justice Department, right?

BALDWIN: Yes, ma'am. Are you surprised?

HOSTIN: You know, I am surprised, but there is that thing called prosecutorial discretion, right? And prosecutors do look at cases and they have -- they get to make that determination. He's lucky that I wasn't the prosecutor on this case, quite frankly, Brooke.

Because I always believed in the power of making an example out of people and you've got to do that in a case like this. I mean, he bastardized the sport. He is the guy who bullied people. He is the guy who lied. He sued people knowing the truth.

When you have that kind of an example, you have to tell the people of the United States this is wrong, you don't get to do this and get away with it. So I think it was the wrong call. We don't know what the U.S. attorney's office knows.

We don't know if the statute of limitations is up. But what we do know is he's a bad guy and he behaved so poorly and he should have been made an example of.

BALDWIN: So if he is this bad guy, behaved poorly, sat with Oprah, yes, admitted to being a bully, yes, admitted to doping, has justice been served?


HOSTIN: Not in my view. Not in my view. I think, again, you know, you can't underestimate the power of a federal criminal action. That speaks volumes and the government hasn't been that successful in prosecuting these cases. And perhaps that's one of the reasons why we don't see it, but that's no excuse in my view not to go forward.

BALDWIN: Lauren, jump in, I heard a no from you.

ASHBURN: Can we stop talking about Lance Armstrong? I'm so done.

BALDWIN: You're over it? You're ready to move on?

ASHBURN: This is a guy who has admitted to this and Sunny laid out the case against him. In addition to that, his lawyer tells "USA Today" that he is not going to pay back $12 million in a bonus that he received for the last couple of titles? I mean, what kind of guy is this? BALDWIN: Listen, let's broaden out. If we don't want to say Lance Armstrong here, what is the overall message to society, cheating, you're not punished if you cheat?


BALDWIN: Jawn, what do you think?

MURRAY: Yes, the overall message to society and to the victims, this guy bullied his fellow riders. He bullied media people who reported the truth about him. You're sending a wrong message by not going after him. The least they should do is try, even if they're not able to get him completely, just go after him, tell people you can't do wrong and get away with it.

BALDWIN: OK, Lance Armstrong, we're moving on, Lauren Ashburn, I hear you loud and clear. I think a lot of people watching are agreeing with you. Let's stand by because I want to also talk about this decision here.

We could be learning, you know, that a former presidential candidate, what this person says could mean for the end of the Boy Scouts, talking about the big decision, possibly allowing, you know, gay scout leaders, gay scouts. Be right back.


BALDWIN: All right, my panel is back. In Texas now, Boy Scouts of America leaders were in this historic debate over lifting the ban on gays. Monday marked the first of a three-day meeting at Boy Scout headquarters. They're expected to vote on the ban tomorrow. Word of the talks certainly has sparked strong reaction on both sides.


GREG BOURKE, FORMER ASSISTANT SCOUTMASTER: After decades of being out of the closet, the Boy Scouts of America forced me back into the closet with its "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. I pose no harm to anyone. I passed all their background checks. I go to church every Sunday with my family. Lord knows we're philanthropic. I don't know what else they want from us.


BALDWIN: The former assistant scoutmaster and others there delivered what they say are 1.4 million signatures to the Boy Scouts of America yesterday urging this group to lift that ban. Despite the support, though, it will be tough.

I want to bring my panel back in. And to all of you, you know, you heard one side. There is very much so another side of this. I was up this morning working on the morning show, talked to someone with the Southern Baptist Convention, his name is Richard Land. And here is just part of what he told me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICHARD LAND, SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION: There is going to be a catastrophe for the Boy Scouts, 1.1 million scouts belong to troops that are sponsored by the Mormon Church, by Roman Catholics, by Methodists and by Baptists.

And overwhelmingly those groups are opposed to this change in policy. If they do, it will be a catastrophe, because Baptist scouts and Catholic scouts and Mormon scouts and Methodist scouts, many of them are going to vote with their feet and they're going to leave the scouts.


BALDWIN: Sunny, let's begin with you. What's your reaction here, both sides?

HOSTIN: You know, I quite frankly don't think the proposed ban goes far enough. I mean, what it is proposing is that the national ban is lifted, but that individual groups can choose in my view to still discriminate.

And so it is almost much ado about nothing for me, Brooke because it just hasn't gone far enough. And to his point, who cares if the Roman Catholic Church and Mormon Church and other sponsors withdraw?

I mean, we're giving, I think, local scout groups license to discriminate and that is wrong all the time.

BALDWIN: But wasn't the Supreme Court in 2008 sided with the Boy Scouts sort of over their morals, right? And these people saying -- these people are saying this violates the group's core values.

HOSTIN: Yes. That's right. That little thing about --

BALDWIN: One side.

HOSTIN: And, you know -- go ahead.

MURRAY: Brooke, as a proud Christian, you know, I'm always challenged when people like contest Christianity. As a person of color whose faith discrimination, I don't like to see anybody discriminated against.

If they say Christianity is the core basis of their moral teaching and their bylaws, Christ is teaching us to love everybody. So to love everybody is to exclude none and so that's the core of what they need to be building the boy scouts around.

ASHBURN: My question is, is Richard Land a boy scout? Is Rick Santorum, who is against this, a boy scout? I thought the boy scouts should be allowed to decide what the boy scouts want to do.

BALDWIN: So Rick Santorum and Richard Land are saying something similarly. It was Richard Land who said the scouts will vote with their feet and leave. And Rick Santorum is basically saying, look, if the ban is lifted, the boy scouts may not survive. He might have a point.

HOSTIN: They have been arguing that, Brooke, for years. If you let --

BALDWIN: You don't buy it.

HOSTIN: A black person marry a white person, society will end. If you let gay and lesbian couples marry, society will end. That's an argument that has failed time and time again.

And so to argue that we should discriminate because you want the Boy Scouts of America to survive is just a bunch of nonsense. And, again, I think you can't ever give anyone the license to discriminate and that's what this proposed ban does.

MURRAY: They can raise money like the girl scouts.

ASHBURN: They can -- if they don't like the boy scouts it like watching a TV show. If you don't like Brooke's TV show, you change the channel.

BALDWIN: Change the channel, but nobody does.

ASHBURN: Which nobody does. But if you don't want to join the boy scouts because you are opposed to the boy scouts' moral values then find your own group that has your own moral values where you can be with like-minded people.

BALDWIN: Leaving it there, moving on to the next one. Days after leaving her secretary of state post, a new Hillary Clinton web site surfaces. We will show you this new photo that some say paints Clinton as very presidential?


BALDWIN: So, Hillary Clinton has a brand-new web site. As you can imagine, the 2016 presidential rumor mill back in full steam. Look at this with me. If you go to, she's looking as some have suggested very presidential.

It was registered as she left her post as secretary of state last week. And, get this, if you visit her old campaign web site, you'll find a link to this new site and this picture, presidential picture.

Let's just continue, let's jump in on that stream of speculation. Jawn, let me begin with you. When you see this picture, what do you think?

MURRAY: Look, we know nothing in politics is done by happenstance. I think she's running for office. She's gathering information because when you go to the site, it is all about collecting e-mails and your data, so they can correspond with you. Hillary knows what she's doing. I think it is a run for the White House in store.

BALDWIN: Lauren, is this just one of the stories that media sees and we grab a hold of it and run with it for 24 hours?

ASHBURN: We are obsessed with Hillary Clinton. You know, did you see the interview that they both did on "60 Minutes" where he -- Ppresident Obama, in answering a question about whether or not Hillary is going to run in 2016, said it's been four days since I was elected. Don't you guys have anything better to do?

I think political reporters are bored. They're bored and they, you know, you want to get that going, but Hillary is very smart. This say very savvy woman, who is not going to announce anything because as soon as she does, her polls are going to tank.

Right now she's riding high with two-thirds approval. People who look at her favorably, according to an ABC/"Washington Post" poll and there is no good to come out of her saying anything about 2016.

BALDWIN: Sky high approval ratings for Hillary Clinton and also pretty decent approval ratings, Chris Christie, post Superstorm Sandy and everything he's done. He's a jovial kind of guy. He pops up on "The Late Show" with David Letterman last night. Let's play the part with the doughnut.


DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW": Welcome to the show.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Thrilled to be here.

LETTERMAN: Now, you, how do you feel about me?

CHRISTIE: I love you, Dave.

LETTERMAN: No, but --

CHRISTIE: No, a love that I have a difficult time really explaining, a deep and abiding love.

LETTERMAN: Now we have a real problem. But I've made jokes about you, not just one or two, not just ongoing here and there, intermittent, but --


BALDWIN: I mean, listen, Sunny Hostin, the governor has a sense of humor.

HOSTIN: I absolutely adored what Chris Christie did on "The Letterman Show." Because you have to do that with David Letterman, right. He will eviscerate you otherwise.

I think what it showed is someone who can take control of the issue, because everyone knows he has a weight issue, and someone that is saying to the world, yes, I'm overweight, and I can take it. I can take the jokes. It is fair game.

And I've got to tell you, I think he's in a terrific position, again, to open up this discussion about the fact that there are folks who are overweight, about the fact that we do discriminate against people that are overweight. I'm using overweight instead of the f word because --

BALDWIN: Let's say whatever adjective you want to use. It hit the blood stream because of his interview with Barbara Walters a couple of months ago. She asked him about it. The idea if he couldn't be president because he was corpulent was ridiculous. Is it fair for Americans to look at him and be a little judgy?

ASHBURN: Yes. He's a public figure, right? So he's a public figure, people can say what they want. There was a piece in "The Washington Post" style section about Michelle Obama's derriere. People can talk about these public figures and they have to be tough enough to take it.

And to either ignore it or chime in or eat a doughnut or put up those barriers around them that don't allow it to get to them. But Chris Christie did say that he doesn't like when people, who are not the funny men.

When people come after him and say there is an obesity epidemic and you are part of the problem and you're not setting a leadership role in America. He doesn't like it. He gets very testy.

MURRAY: You got to show you have a sense of humor, Brooke. You have to. I once had a celebrity friend overweight. She is like the media is relentless toward me. I said it is because you're the easy target, you don't laugh.

The minute she got in on the joke, they stopped poking fun at her. She's thankfully taken control of her health and lost a significant amount of weight. You have to show you have a sense of humor, otherwise the jokes are mean.

BALDWIN: He did, he said, look, I've done the work to prove it, look at my 18-hour day post Superstorm Sandy. Chris Christie for you, add him to the speculation for 2016 as well.

Laura Ashburn, Jawn Murray and Sonny Hostin, same time tomorrow. Be right back.