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Asteroid Passes Close to Earth; Crippled Cruise Ship to Be Inspected; President to Address Gun Violence in Chicago

Aired February 15, 2013 - 15:30   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": OK, Ed Lu, here's a crazy question. Could you land on one?

ED LU, FORMER SHUTTLE MISSION SPECIALIST: It's not really landing on an asteroid that you do. It's more like docking with it.

Their gravity is actually quite weak, so it's not like you'd be standing on the surface. It's like if you see videos of people up in the International Space Station. It would look kind of something like that.

You know, you're not really standing on the floor there. You wouldn't really be standing on one of these asteroids.

BALDWIN: The docking, so near it. Ed Lu, thank you very much.

And Chad Myers, my favorite space geek, thank you very much. What a day.


BALDWIN: We know you love it. You were giving me a straight face last hour, but I feel the love now.

MYERS: Because I love the meteor story better. This stuff over in Russia ...

BALDWIN: And that it happened on the -- in the same day.

MYERS: Same day.

BALDWIN: Just a total coincidence.

MYERS: It is.

BALDWIN: Chad, thank you.

You can hear a little bit more from Ed Lu on "The Next List." Please watch, Sunday 2:30 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN, "The Next List."

The crippled Carnival Triumph on the move again. Find out what is next for the disabled cruise liner that ruined thousands of vacations just this past week.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BALDWIN: Bottom of the hour. I'm Brooke Baldwin live inside CNN's World Headquarters. And we begin with some of the hottest stories in a flash, "Rapid Fire."0 Roll it.

First up here, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, battling cancer, has been out of the public eye since he underwent surgery in December, but today, his son-in-law released this photo -- you see his face, swollen.

He's surrounded by his daughters here in this hospital bed. He is reportedly is still having problems speaking.

The Chicago Crime Commission has named a new public enemy number one, and he doesn't even live in the United States.

He is Mexican drug lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, inherits the title first given to Al Capone.

Agents say Guzman's cartel is the major supplier of narcotics in Chicago. Guzman escaped from prison in 2001 and Forbes estimates his worth at $1 billion.

Next stop here for Carnival cruise ship Triumph, the repair yard. Crews are moving this stricken ship here today after it limped into Mobile Bay late last night. The ship will undergo repairs to the engine and most learn certainly get a deep, thorough cleaning.

The Triumph isn't expected to carry any more passengers again until mid-April. The ship's previous passengers, though, they are just happy to be on land.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Feels really good to be on land and not be swaying back and forth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After being on that boat for that long and not knowing when or how we were getting back, it was just so good to finally be back.


BALDWIN: And we have some brand-new details on the smelly, disabled cruise ship, the lead investigator now speaking out, speaking out to Martin Savidge, live for me now out of Mobile.

You talked to this investigator. You learn anything?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, we learned a lot actually, Brooke.

In fact, the investigation to find out how that fire started on that cruise ship began on Sunday, hours after that fire broke out. They began pulling records, looking at stuff they could find from the ship, even though it was still at sea. Yesterday, investigators got on the ship before it even got into port. They wanted to talk to passengers and they also wanted to have a look for themselves at where that fire was.

And here's what that investigator saw.


PATRICK CUTY, SENIOR MARINE INVESTIGATOR: It's dark in there, and it's wet, and it was not necessarily a safe environment to walk in.

We just went there and just took a quick look to see if we can quickly determine what the cause was or get an idea. We were really weren't able to from what we saw yesterday.

We just need to get some lighting in there. And that's what they're doing today is moving it to the shipyard so we can get lighting and operate safely within the engine room space.


SAVIDGE: Patrick Cuty says that, whatever happened, that fire flashed like that. It was seen on a television monitor.

They also point out that it appears the fire was not that big, but it was in exactly the wrong place and it might have taken out a major circuit or a major wire, which is why that little fire took out the power to an entire huge ship.

They do have black boxes on these vessel, and they are downloading the information now. The investigation takes eight-to-12 months.

BALDWIN: That's a long time. And, so, the investigation begins as does the cleaning. Martin Savidge in Mobile. Martin, thank you.

Any minute, President Obama, addressing gun violence in his hometown of Chicago. We'll take you there live. Don't miss this.


BALDWIN: All right, keeping a close eye on the clock here, live pictures out of Chicago. As we mentioned, any moment now, the president is expected to address the economy, and he will also talk gun control in his old stomping grounds of Chicago, where, as we have been reporting here at CNN, gun violence is spiraling out of control.

And that is where CNN's Chris Cuomo is joining me now, live from Chicago. Hey, Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, how are you, Brooke?

This is very important what's going to happen here today for two reasons, one for the president and one for the conditions in the country in general.

Dealing with Chicago on its own at first, the rate of homicide here because of handgun use is one of the highest in the country. The rate of poverty? One of the highest in the country.

So, the two attendant problems that really circle around the whole gun control issue, the amount of death and the reasons for it, are really taking root right here.

Now, for the president, of course, this was the birthplace of his political career in the '80s. He was a community organizer in the same parts of South Chicago where he will be today.

And, of course, the Hadiya Pendleton death that happened most recently, her parents were in the president's box for the State of the Union. The first lady attended her funeral. She was collateral damage here in the gang warfare here, authorities say, also piques interest in this situation, but fraught with concerns for the president.

And I want to bring in Gloria Borger about this. Gloria, if you can hear me right now, the president is basically coming back home in one respect, but this is also the home of the biggest problems that are going to be most difficult to solve, poverty and violence.

What do you make of it?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: And don't forget, the mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, a very good friend of his, used to work for him as his White House chief of staff.

Look, this is part of what the president does after his State of the Union. He takes his hopes, dreams, aspirations for the country, on the road. Part of that is, of course, attacking gun violence, so there's no way to avoid it.

In fact, one would argue that when you talk about gun violence, an urban area is a place you have to talk about it, and also talk about the other aspects of his plan, which would include access to education, access to social programs, access to mental health services.

So, I think you're going to see the president weave in the problem of gun violence into a larger context, and it makes sense to do it in an urban area and to admit that this is a part of the problem.

And, as you know, Chris, the mayor in Chicago is talking about, you know, mandatory minimum sentences, truth in sentencing, saying the people, if you're sentenced to two years, you serve two years.

So, he's talking about controlling gun violence at the other end of the spectrum.

CUOMO: Well, that's a good point, Gloria. You know, tonight on "AC 360," I'll be subbing in and we're going to take on the issue of why the violence has gotten so out of control here in Chicago.

The rates are worse now than when the president was organizing here in the '80s. So, in giving this speech today and talking about opportunity, the organizers here now say more laws will not help end the violence here, Gloria.

It's going to take opportunities for these kids to find something else to do with their lives, so the stakes are high for the president.

BORGER: Yeah, and I think what you're going to hear him say is that it's all part of the same thing, right, Chris? That you -- in order to attack this problem, it's not just monolithic, right?

So, there are different pieces of it, and that's what he spoke about in his address.

CUOMO: Absolutely.

All right, Gloria, thank you for the analysis.


CUOMO: We'll see how it plays out in the speech, what everybody's reaction is to it after it.

From Chicago here, let's go back to Brooke Baldwin in New York. Brooke?

BALDWIN: Chris, we'll come back to you, obviously, momentarily here. And, gain, we're looking at live pictures.

Let me just tell you where the president will be speaking. You see all these young people sitting behind him as he will be speaking much about education.

This is the Hyde Park Career Academy, so he will be talking education, talking about the ladders to opportunity that he mentioned in his State of the Union just this past Tuesday night.

And someone who has written about this today, and who can certainly talk Chicago politics better than anyone is Lynn Sweet. She is the Washington bureau chief for the "Chicago Sun-Times."

Lynn, welcome. Read your piece today, and I want to just play a little sound here. Because Chris was talking about the mayor of Chicago, the president's former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, here he is, speaking just this past Monday.


RAHM EMANUEL, MAYOR, CHICAGO: Well, part of this is having an honest conversation, given that the lion's share of both the victims and the perpetrators are young African-American men, who better to have that discussion than the president of the United States who has repeatedly talked about fathering and the role of fathering.


BALDWIN: Lynn, here's my question, because some folks are saying that the president has been resistant to address the situation, specifically in Chicago. We were giving the number. It's north of the 500-mark in terms of murders just last year because maybe the president hasn't been there because the fear is that he might show up his good friend Rahm Emanuel, maybe call attention to a problem that's gotten worse here under Emanuel's watch.

Do you think that there is any truth to that?

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": I think that from Rahm's perspective, nothing happens on Rahm's turf that he doesn't -- that Mayor Emanuel doesn't want to have happen.

So, he wasn't afraid to have the spotlight shown on this terrible problem in Chicago by having the president there.

As we speak, or it might have just wrapped up now, speaking to the point that the mayor was making about young men being part of the problem, Obama has -- was having a private roundtable with about a dozen of the young men who are from the school, who are from that neighborhood, to talk to some of these issues that lead to violence, lead to gang warfare and lead to the tragedies like that 15-year-old girl shot a few blocks from where he's speaking today, which is also not far from his Kenwood home where he raised his kids until he went to Washington.

So, yes, this shines a spotlight on a terrible problem in Chicago. Civic activists have been calling on Obama to come home for years now to try to help.

BALDWIN: For years. And now he's coming and now we await the president of the United States.

Let me also mention, as Chris pointed out, Hadiya Pendleton, the 15- year-old who was basically collateral damage, shot and killed as part of this gang warfare after she performed over inaugural weekend in Washington, shot in Chicago.

We now know her mother is there inside this building. She apparently is taking some photos here.

So, just to know, obviously, he will be speaking about her and the mother is inside this Hyde Park Career Academy.

We will come back to you here, Lynn. Also, Chris Cuomo, again, in Chicago. Gloria Borger covering this for us in Washington.

Let's take a quick break as we await the president to speak. Be right back.


CUOMO: I'm Chris Cuomo here in Chicago. We are waiting for the president to come to the podium and speak to a school on the south side of Chicago. He is here to push the agenda that he laid out in the State of the Union. But this is at once a home and a battleground for the president. Why? Well, where he is, the south side of Chicago, is registering more homicides than just about anywhere else in the country for a big city.

So, the problem of gun violence, very real here. What is causing that violence? In this community, they say, poverty, lack of opportunity, not an accessibility of guns or gun laws or any of the other mainstream arguments we're hearing.

So, I want to bring in Linda Sweet right now from the "Chicago Sun- Times." Let me ask you, the idea of the president coming home, how is that mixed with the perceptions of whether or not he has provided enough leadership and incentives for people here as president?

SWEET: It is incredibly important. There is a lot of sense of ownership of President Obama in Chicago because, after all, it's a city that spawned his political career.

He wouldn't be in the White House today if not for the political start that people in Chicago gave him, not only in their support in making him a state senator and then a senator, but in another level when he ran for president from the very financial support that led him to mount a national presidential campaign.

It's also the city where his campaign has been based, where his home is, where he taught and, most important perhaps to him, the south side of Chicago, just a few blocks, too, from where he is speaking today, is where first lady Michelle Obama also grew up.

So, you see this whole story of a national problem also melts into very much the personal story of the Obamas in Chicago, which is a reason why I think Mrs. Obama and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett came back to Chicago last Saturday to attend the funeral of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton because they felt such a personal connection.

It's that connection, I think, the city wants from the president. Even if he doesn't have any new proposals today, he's going to talk about some of the high schools in Chicago he thinks are doing things right, but if he has any message at all that can help resonate or can help stop what's happening or give some new tools to the mayor, all that will be incredibly welcomed, Chris.

CUOMO: Well, what the communities here say they've never need the help more, even though the mayor here now, Rahm Emanuel, who, of course, worked for the president and President Clinton, he says the numbers are going down, things are getting better here.

But in the communities, the concern, they say, has never been more acute, that they believe that, once again, they're in a cycle where there aren't opportunities for these kids, and everybody's talking about gun control laws instead of reducing the demand.

It was a very interesting analogy that was given to us here. You're talking about reducing supply, harder restrictions on guns, making it more difficult to get, but not reducing demand.

And until you do that, you're always going to have the violence problem.

So, the question is, to Gloria Borger, let's bring her into the discussion. The president's coming home, but is this home -- of course, they're going to welcome him. They love him. They birthed him politically here, so he's going to have a lot of support.

But if you hear the community saying the ones that you worked in, President Obama, need you now more than ever, how do you balance that as a place that you want to have as a comfort zone as a politician?

BORGER: You know what? You're coming home, Chris, as president of the United States, and you're saying, I understand this cycle of poverty and violence and guns, and lack of opportunity, lack of social services in this community.

And that's what I was talking about in my State of the Union, and that's what I'm trying to do in Washington. And I am trying to do it for the children of Newtown and I'm trying to do it for the children of Chicago, as well, and for Hadiya, and for all of you here.

So, I think he has a real moment here because this is urban America, and he has a real moment here to talk about this in a different way. Not just talking about whether the assault weapons ban has a shot of getting through the Congress or whether you're going to get universal background checks and what are the political chances of that and does he hurt the Democratic party, et cetera, et cetera.

He gets to talk about this as a father, as somebody, as Lynn pointed out, whose house is in Chicago, whose home is in Chicago. So, he gets to talk about it from the gut in a very different way. That's what I'm sort of expecting to hear today.

CUOMO: It'll be interesting. One thing is for sure. There's nowhere that needs the president's message to become a reality in terms of money and programs more than where he is speaking today.

We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, hopefully, the president will be at the podium and we will hear the message he has on the south side of Chicago. We'll be right back.


BALDWIN: We're going to take you back to Chicago here in just a moment, but a couple of other stories I want to pass along to you.

Horse DNA showed up in school dinners in Europe and now the European Union will start testing meat in all 27 member countries.

British authorities say a shepherd's pie dish was yanked from 47 school kitchens after testing positive for the horse DNA. The horse meat has been found in products ranging from frozen lasagna to burgers to school lunches.

And here's a hazard you will only find at golf courses in Australia, kangaroos. A herd of them decided to get in on the action, bouncing around during the first round of play. This is the Australian Women's Open.

The animals have apparently been all over the course this past week. Look at this. They are attracted to the green, to the lush, cooler conditions at the gulf course and, remember, it is summertime "Down Under."

Ah, yes, the commercial brings back memories, Gatorade and Michael Jordan. He turns 50 years young this Sunday. No doubt many basketball players still want to be like the six-time NBA champ.

He has a lot to be thankful for here on his 50th birthday. His most popular shoe, "A.J.s," still the hottest shoe out there and, might I add, he went to college at the fine institution UNC, Chapel Hill.

And we are now getting some new information. Lynn Sweet, I'm going to bring you back in, "Chicago Sun-Times" columnist, because we've been reporting here on former Illinois Democratic Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., son of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson.

We know he resigned back in November right after he won re-election in the House. He had been treated for bipolar disorder, but still there's been -- he's been an ongoing subject of -- for this federal investigation over campaign funds.

Tell me about this plea deal that's being filed, apparently, today.

SWEET: Well, the "Sun-Times" is reporting at that the plea deal is going to be made public today. We have a statement from the Jackson lawyers where Jackson says that he says he offers no excuses for his conduct and he takes responsibility for all the improper decisions and mistakes I've made.

We expect this document to be filed in the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., and it has to do, the "Sun-Times" is reporting, with -- the allegations center over misuse of campaign funds.

The investigation also takes in his wife, Sandy, the former alderman in Chicago who served as his campaign manager.

BALDWIN: Lynn Sweet, thank you very much. We'll have much more on this, coming up.

Also, we'll be hearing from the president in Chicago.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. Have a fantastic weekend.

Let's send it to Jim Acosta in for Wolf in Washington. Hey, Jim.