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CNN NEWSROOM

Teen Killed Hours After Obama's Speech; Chicago High School Sees Third Shooting Victim; Lakers Owner Jerry Buss Dead At 80

Aired February 18, 2013 - 14:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN ANCHOR: When President Obama spoke in Chicago recently, he was surrounded by young Chicago teens to make the case against gun violence, which is ravaging the city. Well, little did anyone know one of the kids behind him would be the next to mourn a shooting victim.

Just a couple of hours after the president's speech ended, someone gunned down Janay McFarlane in a Chicago suburb. McFarlane is the older sister of Destini Warren. Warren is highlighted in this video standing just a few feet away from the president Friday when he pushed for Congress to vote on gun control legislation.

He spoke at Hyde Park Academy, which Warren attends. Our affiliate WBBM says McFarlane also went there until she gave birth to her son and moved to an alternative school.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEASJA HAMMOC, SHOOTING VICTIM'S COUSIN: It hurts because, like, I was, like, my sister. We did everything together. We were supposed to go prom shopping the next morning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FEYERICK: McFarlane's family says Janay would talk about Hadiya Pendleton. She is the Chicago teen who performed during the inauguration festivities for the president only to be killed herself a week later.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANGELA BLAKLEY, JANAY MCFARLANE'S MOTHER: She was, like, mama, that's sad. I feel so bad for that little girl. Every time she saw her on TV, she said, ma, that's so sad, I feel so bad for these people that got to leave their kids.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FEYERICK: And the violence in Chicago continues. There was another shooting death hours after the president spoke Friday. Francis Cologne was killed. He was just 18 years old. Investigators told our affiliate, WGN, that the shooter was aiming for someone else and Cologne took the bullet to the back. WGN reports Cologne was the third student killed in the last three months who attended Chicago's Roberto Clemente Community Academy.

The man who brought glitz and glamor to the NBA has died. Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss passed away this morning from an unspecified cancer. Buss took over in 1979 when it was in near bankruptcy. The Lakers earned ten championships over two decades and featured such star players as Magic Johnson and Shaquille O'Neal. Buss was 80 years old.

Up next, hot topics debates. Celebrities battle addiction and mental illness. Are the problems these stars face bigger than reality TV shows and seemed to help them?

Plus the forgiveness tour, politician Mark Sanford releases an apology ad before looking to get back into politics.

And did a Christian college act un-Christian-like after firing a staffer? The panelist will be revealed up next.

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FEYERICK: I'm Deborah Feyerick in for Brooke Baldwin. For the next 20 minutes we're going to be discussing the hot stories that you're going to be talking about at the dinner table tonight.

First up is the tragic death of country music star Mindy McCready. Authorities say she shot herself on her front porch in Arkansas yesterday. She was 37 years old. McCready shined in the musical spotlight, she also fought a public battle with addiction and mental illness. McCready had attempted suicide twice before in 2005 and 2008.

In 2010 she was trying to turn things around and appeared on Dr. Drew's "Celebrity Rehab."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST, HLN'S "DR. DREW ON CALL": She had actually been doing very well. Things were looking up for her. She had children with a boyfriend who ended up killing himself a few weeks ago. She was struggling after that. Actually was admitted herself to a psychiatric facility.

And there is a cautionary tale here about the stigma of mental illness and the way in which the public attacks celebrities who take care of themselves. She became so fearful of the stigma and the way people were responding to her being hospitalized that she actually checked herself out prematurely and now we have what we have.

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FEYERICK: Now, McCready is the fifth person who has died after appearing on "Celebrity Rehab." The others are Allison Chain's bassist Mike Starr, actor Jeff Conaway, Rodney King died of accidental drowning involving drugs last year, and former MVT "Real World" cast member Joey Kovar. We did just got a statement from the McCready family and right now it says they're focused on Mindy's two children, one of whom is just 10 months old. And the family is asking folks to honor this period, this time of quiet as they call it. They say that there is an event that is going to be planned in Nashville, a musical event.

Right now, I do want to bring in my hot topics panel today, Lisa France is a writer, producer for cnn.com, David Begnaud, host of "NewsBreakers," Jawn Murray, all-around pop culture expert and editor- in-chief of alwaysalist.com and Jennifer Hutt, the host of "Just Jenny" on Sirius XM Radio.

The first question, the most obvious question and that is, is it healthy for these vulnerable, fragile, almost broken celebrities to go on a public rehab show to try to get themselves cleaned up. Let's start with you, David.

DAVID BEGNAUD, HOST, "NEWSBREAKER WITH DAVID BEGNAUD": I don't think it is, Deb. I mean, look, I think if you really want to get help, you don't go on television. OK, rehab should be the one place where if you're going to get help, you do it off the air.

Look, I love this woman. I listened to her growing up. She had a beautiful voice, but time and time again we saw her life troubled. And when I watch some of Dr. Drew's show last night, and I watched some of what was recorded, I'm not sure if it was done for television or if it was done for help.

That was my opinion. But going forward, I think we need to think hard and clear before we put these celebrities in front of a camera. Are they really there to rehabilitate?

FEYERICK: It is really striking to see that poor woman basically having a fit during this Detox session where she's just trembling on the floor. I don't even know -- that's hard enough to do in private.

Jawn, what do you think in terms of is this something that maybe we as a society need to rethink which is, you know, if they're having problems, give them their space, give them their privacy.

JAWN MURRAY, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, ALWAYSLIST.COM: Yes, Deb. You know, I have a great deal of respect for the work that Dr. Drew is doing and the passion that he has for it. But disease is an illness and it should never be packaged for entertainment purposes, particularly when you have someone who is also mentally ill.

I mean, the combination of the two, that's a combustible combination, and so we should not have been seeing that. It should not have been exploited for ratings. And for television, because the end result just is not good.

FEYERICK: Jennifer, what's your thought?

JENNIFER HUTT, HOST, "JUST JENNY" ON SIRIUSXM RADIO: Respectfully I have to disagree. I think to blame "Celebrity Rehab" or to blame Dr. Drew in any way is like blaming the biggest loser when a contestant gains weight back. The fact is, yes, addiction is a horrible -- it is a complicated thing as is weight and everything else.

I feel like these people are troubled, maybe being on the show is the last ditch effort for them. If it doesn't work, and if it fails, well, that's sad and tragic, but we get to have a dialogue now about addiction. And frankly I think that's a positive thing.

FEYERICK: But let me take it one step farther. I don't think anybody is blaming Dr. Drew. I think that --

MURRAY: Not at all.

FEYERICK: -- the question, Lisa, the question really is, there you are, you're exposed, you're vulnerable, do you get the kind of follow-up care you really need or does this become one more show and move on to the next, Lisa?

LISA FRANCE, WRITER/PRODUCER, CNN.COM/ENTERTAINMENT: I think they are getting the proper care. I think part of the issue is that, you know, addiction is difficult for anyone and there are additional challenges when you're a celebrity.

But these celebrities are used to being in front of the camera. They are used to living their lives very openly like this. You know, I've read many of them who said that they chose to do the show because they want to help other people and bring it into the light and out of the darkness.

So, you know, being an addict is hard for anyone, but it is even harder when the entire world is tuned in to watch.

FEYERICK: Yes, there is no question. Think about the pressure. It is so sad, now the family is saying now we need our quiet time. So anyway, let's move on to the next panel.

Mark Sanford, he wants to get back into the political game. The former South Carolina governor is appealing to voters and a God of second chances. That's coming up the other side.

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FEYERICK: Well, we're back with our panel and the apology tour begins for former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. He's just released his first congressional campaign ad, and in it, he addresses the controversy that derailed his marriage and reputation back in 2009.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK SANFORD, FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR: Washington's math doesn't add up and so for years while many have talked, I've fought to do something about it. I've cut spending, reduced debt, and made government more accountable. More recently, I've experienced how none of us goes through life without mistakes. But in their wake we can learn a lot about grace, a God of second chances, and be the better for it. In that light I humbly step forward and ask for your help in representing Washington. I'm Mark Sanford and I approve this message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FEYERICK: Well, you'll remember that Sanford made headlines after his extramarital affair with a woman from Argentina. He is now engaged to her, but he and his wife divorced a year later before the then-governor finished out his second term in 2011.

He has been in Washington before, but let's go to our panel again. First of all, Jennifer, I want to ask you, look, he cheated, he lied, and then he disappeared. Nobody knew where he was. So fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Jennifer, what do you think?

HUTT: Right, so this is what I think. I think typically I don't really care who sleeps with whom or whatever, but I do care if tax dollars are spent on disappearing to Appalachian Trail. That's just not OK and that's an infidelity on the professional front. So that makes me uneasy.

FEYERICK: Jawn Murray, do you think there is a way for him to come back as a politician and personal failings aside?

MURRAY: Deb, let me tell you, Mark says God forgives the imperfect, which is true, but God is not a registered voter and goes to the polls. So you can go on sermonizing, but it doesn't mean we have to welcome you back into political office.

Maybe you should go and host a show for the Christian Network TV, but political office is not where you need to be until you can keep the Ten Commandments dealing with adultery and lying.

FEYERICK: David Begnaud, do you think this is something that voters will be able to overcome?

BEGNAUD: I got to tell you, Deb. I think people are going to have a really hard time with this. If you want forgiveness, go to church, not to Congress, OK. I mean, this guy, how many nights did we watch CNN and his staff was on there saying he was hiking a trail and he was in South America and he knew they were lying.

He knew it and he was OK with it. I got a real problem. I think you know it is another Republican who has done something, comes forward, admits it, and wants forgiveness. Yes, good thing I don't live in South Carolina. I don't buy it, you know.

FEYERICK: Look, there are a lot of GOPs that are running for this particular nomination. But what is so fascinating to me is that the Democratic candidate, OK, happens to also have deep Republican ties.

She is the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, she's Elizabeth Colbert Bush. You know, when you think about the intrigue and the interest, Lisa France, do you think this is going to be sort of a different race?

FRANCE: Yes. I watched "Scandal" so I see where people are willing to --

FEYERICK: I love that show! Nothing is as it seems.

FRANCE: Exactly. People are willing to forgive infidelity in the name of true love because, come on, we love Olivia Pope, and she's cheating. Let's be honest. She's a side piece. So I think that people are going to be willing to forgive him.

FEYERICK: What I learned about that show, she's cheating but of course, the husband is unhappy. Who hasn't heard that before? It is a lot of intrigue. It will be interesting to see how far he goes in this particular race and whether in fact people will put all his personal failings aside to look at whether his political skills are what is needed in Washington.

OK, everybody, we're going to take a quick turn. The next topic that we're going to be tackling is being fired for having premarital sex. A woman is suing a Christian college in Southern California. She's hired a high profile attorney. She says she's being treated in a very un-Christ-like manner. So get your thoughts together. We're going to be back.

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FEYERICK: We're on a roll in San Diego, one woman is suing a community college where she worked after she says the school fired her because she had premarital sex and got pregnant. According to our affiliate KGTV, Cherry James who is represented by Gloria Allred says the San Diego Christian College wrongfully fired her after the school found out she was pregnant with her then boyfriend, now husband.

But get this, Allred says the man who got James pregnant, who is now her husband, got completely different treatment from the school and was even offered a job there. School officials told KGTV there is a contract all job candidates must sign before they're hired, which says, quote, "sexually immoral behavior including premarital sex," unquote, is not allowed.

Back to the panel, well, OK, so it seems she didn't follow the rules, but with all due respect, it seems he didn't either. Lisa France, what is your thoughts?

FRANCE: Yes, so I think she's going to have a bit of difficulty in the fact that she did sign something that said, you know, clearly laid out what the school expected. It is interesting that he's not held to the same standard, however, but this is a private college.

I worked at a private university for eight years. Shot out to St. John's University. And you know, you have to abide by the rules when you work at a private institution. So, but I would be interested to see if there is going to be an outcry regarding him. FEYERICK: OK, Jennifer, step in. You have thoughts on this.

HUTT: I think what the cause of action would be would be discrimination because of the fact that she's a woman. So it is obvious she's pregnant, where it is not obvious if a man is having premarital sex. So there may be discriminatory action that she can raise.

FEYERICK: That leads to the next question, which is, you can sign something saying you're not going to do something and as long as you lie about it and don't get caught then technically you've lived up to the obligations of the document. That doesn't really sound so good. David Begnaud, what do you think?

BEGNAUD: Yes, look, I went to Catholic school. Thank God they didn't make me sign that kind of contract. If you break the rule, they're not always going to know. In this case, they do. I think it is ridiculous.

I mean, all that contract phooey stuff with the church is like I think it should be separate. However, she signed it, she got pregnant, sorry, you're guilty. I think they're well within their rights.

FEYERICK: OK, but Jawn Murray, let me ask you this and that is for all intents and purposes, I thought, yes, you're right. They did the right thing by firing her, but then they treated the boyfriend differently. That's the big problem I have.

MURRAY: Well, and unless they have a sex tape seeing the two of them together, the school doesn't know that he actually slept with him. So, listen, she knew what she got into when she signed up, applied for the job and signed that community covenant.

If I took a job at a college that was set up on Muslim principles and I posted photos of myself eating a pork chop and ham sandwich on Instagram, they have the right to tell me (inaudible) and fire me too.

FEYERICK: So, David, you agree with this?

BEGNAUD: Yes, look, I think they have every right to fire her. I mean, the boyfriend is a separate issue, but she signed the contract. She got pregnant. Bye.

HUTT: They don't have every right to fire her if they didn't fire him.

BEGNAUD: That's right.

MURRAY: You can't see he's pregnant or that he had sex. You can't see it unless there is a sex tape.

FEYERICK: But he's admitted paternity. He's admitted paternity.

HUTT: He married her.

FEYERICK: Did the college go too far --

BEGNAUD: Gloria will handle it.

MURRAY: Of course, Gloria Allred will handle it.

FEYERICK: Always handles it. But did the college go too far, asking them to sign this particular document, or are they within their rights? Now employers are asking for the password to Facebook. Isn't that a little bit of an invasion of privacy, especially if you know you're not going to be able to live up to that term?

BEGNAUD: I think it is. However, when you go that kind of college and you know you subscribe to those kinds of rules, you can't complain afterwards. If you don't want to subscribe to that, don't go to a private college.

FRANCE: And don't sign the document.

MURRAY: Don't sign up as a lifeguard if you can't swim. You know what you're signing up for.

FEYERICK: Should he be fired? Go ahead, Jennifer. Go ahead.

HUTT: I was just going to say, nobody has an expectation of privacy on Facebook. Whether you give your password or you don't. It's on the Internet, it's not private.

FEYERICK: Does anyone feel the husband should have been fired? Should the husband have been fired?

MURRAY: He should have been fired.

BEGNAUD: No.

MURRAY: But, listen -- let Mark Sanford go do it. He's the one out here on the apology tour.

FRANCE: Way to connect the dots, Jawn.

FEYERICK: Lisa, what are your thoughts?

FRANCE: Did he sign the same document? That's the same question. If he signed the same document, he's as liable as she is, it seems.

FEYERICK: That's probably the case.

HUTT: Even if he didn't, if that school would allow him to not sign that document, and it is OK for him to have premarital sex but not for her, come on!

FEYERICK: Yes. That's the tricky part.

BEGNAUD: He's not pregnant. He's not showing.

FRANCE: No, you didn't say that. MURRAY: There is no sex tape.

FRANCE: That's a whole different show.

FEYERICK: I'm sure we as a society are breathing a sigh of relief that there is no particular sex tape in this particular case. So I guess what you're saying, when you sign a morality clause or some clause saying I agree to this then it is set in stone. Is that what we're thinking?

FRANCE: It is a contract. A contract is a contract.

BEGNAUD: Right.

MURRAY: Read your job description, people.

FEYERICK: Yes, that's exactly right. It is always in the fine print and it is the fine print that always comes back to get you. All right, our fabulous panel, thank you so much for all your energy. Lisa France, Jennifer Hutt, Jawn Murray and David Begnaud, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Just ahead, a Texas court case is underway, as a pregnant teenager says her parents are trying to coerce her into getting an abortion against her will. We're on the case.

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