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Thousands Weep for Chavez; Love for North Korea's Leader; Bill Clinton Opines that Defense of Marriage Act Should Be Dropped

Aired March 8, 2013 - 14:30   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: American civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson and actor Sean Penn in Caracas, Venezuela, today, joining Cuban Leader Raul Castro and the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the funeral of outspoken Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Ahmadinejad even seen kissing the coffin.

Since his death, just this past Tuesday, more than 2 million people have already filed past his open coffin to see the once revered but equally despised anti-American leader before he was buried. But it turns out they didn't have to rush. It has now been decided that Chavez's body will be displayed in a glass coffin forever.

And just in to CNN, perhaps the most telling pictures yet of some of North Korea's love and devotion for its leader, here it is, this is what we were just talking about, Jim Clancy, an emotional almost fanatic response to Kim Jong-Un as he visited a military camp near the South Korean border.

Troops raising their arms in apparent joy as he left, soldiers and people from a nearby village chasing, look at them go, through the water, towards his boat, swarming the beach, wading into the freezing cold water, there he is waving goodbye, sending him off.

But the reason for his visit to this area, it is a frightening one. This was all part of the young leader's swift and defiant response to U.N. sanctions against North Korea.

CNN International's veteran reporter, anchor, everything else, Jim Clancy, in the studio here. We know that the sanctions were unanimously approved, so explain to me what Kim Jong-Un was doing in the hours afterwards.

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, you know, I looked at that video and I thought to myself --

BALDWIN: What was that?

CLANCY: They really would be cheering if he was actually leaving the country because it is a devastated wreck. He is on the ropes. He is more isolated than ever. This is all staged. We know that.

BALDWIN: Propaganda.

CLANCY: It is a propaganda film that's put together with a great leader there and he's waving goodbye to his, you know, these people, the people into a frenzy. I don't doubt some of the people were really like that, because if they didn't cheer they could end up in one of those labor camps.

Where he has tens of thousands of people including their families, you know, the hermit kingdom just got much more isolated this week, really. I'm sure for him it's a little frightening.

BALDWIN: The U.S. has been in talks with their remaining ally, China, and Susan Rice was talking to Wolf Blitzer. I want to play this sound.


SUSAN RICE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: North Korea is pursuing a course of action that threatens China's interests, its economic interests, its interests in regional peace and stability as well as that of the larger international community. They too agreed it was time for much tougher action.


BALDWIN: Provocations, provocations, we have heard this before.

CLANCY: What she said about China, I'm telling you, for the Kim dynasty there, China has always been the only person that's been there, the only country standing by them, helping them out. What are the Chinese thinking?

They're going along with these sanctions. They are sending this message and it really reflects what we saw published in the op-ed in the "Financial Times," about Chinese Communist Party scholar wondering if the relationship has gone on long enough.

They're afraid. They've always supported them because they were afraid they would collapse. Millions of refugees would pour into China. Now they may be more afraid of these guys getting nuclear weapons and even trying to blackmail the Chinese regime into getting what they want.

When they abandon them, this situation gets very dangerous indeed, that's what we're seeing this week, the threats back and forth. This is serious.

BALDWIN: This is serious. Jim Clancy, thank you very much.

Coming up next, our hot topics panel here, Bill Clinton reversing his stance on gay marriage, is he protecting his legacy here? Remember, he was the one that signed the defense of marriage act into law.

Plus, the trial of Bin Laden's son-in-law, Gitmo or Gotham?

And then Justin Bieber, this one will hit a nerve. Our panelists are standing by. We will reveal them, hot topics panel next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BALDWIN: Here we are. The part of the show where, for the next 20 minutes, we're hitting the hot topics you'll be talking about during the lunch table, the dinner table here today.

First up, former President Bill Clinton says it is time to dump Doma. You know, DOMA, acronym for Defense of Marriage Act. It was the act that Clinton actually signed into law 17 years ago. It defines marriage as a union between men and women.

Well, now, Clinton is loudly jumping on the rainbow bandwagon, writing this editorial in "The Washington Post," urging the Supreme Court to find DOMA unconstitutional and discriminatory.

Let me bring in my panel on this Friday. We have blogger co-founder Jory Des Jardins, radio host Dede McGuire, Columbia University professor, Marc Lamont Hill, also with "Huffpost Live" and economist and comedian, Bill Stein. Welcome to all of you.


BALDWIN: Ben Stein. What did I say?

STEIN: Bill.

BALDWIN: Come on, I know Ben Stein. Slip of the tongue, my friend, I apologize. Marc Lamont Hill, let me begin with you. What do you make of the fact that Osama Bin Laden's son-in-law will be tried in Manhattan?

PROFESSOR MARC LAMONT HILL, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, New York has had a lot of pain. New York has been through a lot. We all as a nation felt the tragedy of 9/11, but New York had a special pain to it and so to that extent I think it is a good idea.

People want to see him, you know, tried somewhere like Gitmo. We want to close Gitmo so you don't want him there. All of that makes sense. My only problem is this creates more of a spectacle and it becomes extremely costly to have a trial like this in New York.

It puts the big red terrorist bull's eye on New York City. I'm not sure it is a safest or financially smart thing to do. But it does help the city heal, so I can go either way with this.

BALDWIN: We're going to go to Clinton here in a minute. I jumped ahead. We're talking about how Osama Bin Laden's son-in-law will be tried in Manhattan and not at all in Guantanamo Bay. And we're also hearing from some Republicans who are absolutely livid.

Let me jump in, who say he should be tried in Guantanamo, specifically reading a quote from Mike Rogers, chair of the House Select Intelligence Committee, saying, quote, "We should treat enemy combatants like the enemy, the U.S. court system is not the appropriate venue. The president needs to send any captured al Qaeda members to Guantanamo.

So kind of Marc perplexed. Ben Stein, what do you think?

BEN STEIN, ECONOMIST: When we were capturing German prisoners during World War II or Japanese prisoners, we didn't send them for trial. They're enemy combatants. I think they go to Guantanamo Bay and they should be kept there. Look, these guys are still dangerous.

The idea of bringing them to New York, creating a target for al Qaeda to attack and blow up, there is no point in spending all this money on it, when we're supposed to be saving money. I don't see any plus to it whatsoever.

BALDWIN: Ben brings up an interesting point. Do you all agree? Are there fears of retaliations, attacks in Manhattan? This is on a much smaller scale than we would have seen with KSM and other masterminds of 9/11. That was taken to Guantanamo back in 2010, but do you fear that, Jory?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was going to say -- go ahead, I'm sorry.

JORY DES JARDINS, CO-FOUNDER, BLOGHER: I don't care if it's Guantanamo or -- I don't. I don't care where it is. I do think we need to heal. I think we have to have a trial nonetheless. I do think though that people heal differently and some people really will have a lot of pain come up as a result of this trial. It is not the trial of the century. We can't treat it like the trial of the century.

BALDWIN: But -- go ahead, Dede.

DEDE MCGUIRE, NATIONAL RADIO PERSONALITY: I totally agree. I think this is closure. I think New York, the nation, we want to see closure. I think when we find out about Bin Laden, the capture and everything with Bin Laden, how that went down. We didn't get a chance to really know until after the fact. And I think that this right here could help with closure, not just in New York, but for the nation. That's something that --

BALDWIN: Is closure really possible?

STEIN: With all due respect, with all due respect to Miss McGuire, there is never going to be closure when you have an attack like this that kills 3,000 people --

MCGUIRE: You talk to the families. I guarantee you, if you talk to the families. I guarantee they'll want closure you can say you don't, but think about the families with lost loved ones.

HILL: I don't think Ben is saying he doesn't want closure. He's saying it is hard to have closure, but one of the things that we often confuse for closure in this country is blood lust. That if we just go around assassinating people or having Kangaroo court, we can somehow feel better about ourselves. I say let us be the paragon of democracy. Let's have an actual trial. Don't send him to Gitmo --

MCGUIRE: We never know what's goes on. We never see what happens.

BALDWIN: This time we will see what goes on with the fact that --

HILL: That's the point.

BALDWIN: It is playing out in court.

STEIN: What is going to be charged with? What is he charged with if he's in trial? He's not a U.S. citizen, so can't be treason? He's going to be charged with being an enemy combatant. That's not a crime under U.S. code, so he should just be treated as a military prisoner. That's what he is.

BALDWIN: But when you hear from Peter Bergen, CNN terrorism analyst, written books on these kinds of things. He says when you look at the military panels, they have barely accomplished anything, just one opinion among many.

STEIN: Just keep him there until he rots.

BALDWIN: I promised, let's move on. I promised Bill Clinton reversing this stance on DOMA. Is he protecting his legacy? We will talk about that and the opinion he's written now and looking ahead coming up.


BALDWIN: Back to the panel, back to Bill Clinton, writing this opinion piece in "The Washington Post." Here he is. How often do you have a president who is basically asking the Supreme Court to strike down a law that he signed, the defense of marriage act. Jory, I want to begin with you. Curious if you think he's doing this just to protect a legacy.

JARDINS: Yes. I do and I applaud it. I think that every politician has a right to change their mind. I wish they did it more because we wouldn't have the problems that we have now with Congress. But I also don't think there is anything wrong with changing your mind afterwards.

I personally believe that Clinton did what he felt he had to do at the time, which in a country that clearly did not have any laws that were protecting people who -- gay people who wanted to get married.

He had to do what he had to do. He had to pick his battles. I think it is -- he still believes he could go back and right this and it is a time when he can right it.

BALDWIN: Why are you shaking your head?

HILL: Two things, one, I don't think he changed his mind. I think his stance on gay marriage is the same it was 20 years ago. I don't think --

BALDWIN: So then why sign the bill into law?

HILL: Well, he signed it into law because he knew they would help him get re-elected. He knew he would be able to support his base. This isn't an out liar. If you look at President Clinton's legacy three strikes bill, the crime bill, prison litigation reform act, defense of marriage act.

He imposed lots of laws that essentially allowed the right to support him, to make him this centrist bipartisan candidate and helped him endear him to the right and to the south, made him a stronger candidate. This is all --

MCGUIRE: I agree with that.

HILL: One, he didn't change his mind and, two, he didn't have to do it. He could have vetoed any bill going over his desk. He did it because he wanted to because like all Clintons, he did what was in his best interest.

BALDWIN: Got it, Dede, go ahead.

MCGUIRE: I agree with that. To say is it going to be part of his legacy, I think that's already part of President Obama. My only thing about this one is, why are we tripping when politicians flip-flop? I like that. I like knowing that you're not perfect, and it is either black or white. I like the fact that you can say, I was wrong and it takes a big person, a big man, a --

HILL: But he's not saying I was wrong. He was lying. He's lying.

MCGUIRE: He's lying?

HILL: He's lying. He's pretending -- he's rewriting history. He's pretending there is a moment where he had to sign this bill to protect gay people from the Supreme Court. He did it so he could be re- elected as president.

BALDWIN: This happened not too long ago. You have these 72 plus -- you have these 72 plus Republicans, pretty prominent Republicans and some would argue no longer in the spotlight signing that, wanting to do away with Prop 8. A lot of people came forward and said they're flip-floppers and a lot of people and a lot of people say you shouldn't be flip-flopping.

MCGUIRE: Everybody acts like there is no such thing as I was wrong, growth, coming up and saying -- I met a couple -- I met a couple who changed my mind. I met a couple who changed my mind. It is OK to change your mind and to flip-flop. You act like it is a bad thing that somebody can say --

STEIN: It is not a bad thing.

BALDWIN: Ben Stein.

STEIN: The whole world has changed now. The gay population is incredibly well organized. They made a lot of good points, have incredible political clout. The whole world has changed completely since he signed the bill and now he's going along with the flow now as he did then.

HILL: Exactly.

JARDINS: More impact now.

MCGUIRE: You mean to tell me you can't feel one way -- hold on a second. We can't feel one way 20 years ago and change our minds today? Is that what you're saying?

STEIN: He's a politician for God's sake. He's not a saint. He's not a pope. He's a politician.

MCGUIRE: Nobody said he was a saint. I didn't say he was a saint.

BALDWIN: Ben stein gets the last word there. Coming up, two words, Justin Bieber. Break.


BALDWIN: The Biebs, Justin Bieber says he will perform tonight in London, even after today's brouhaha. Watch this. The Bieber tangles with the Paparazzi and looks like he pushes one, obviously surrounded by bodyguards, jumps in this van. I'm sure the paparazzi are screaming at him. Couple of minutes later, he unleashes a string of profanities. Listen for the beeps.


JUSTIN BIEBER: What did you say? What did you say?


BALDWIN: Beep, beep, beep, beep, from the Bieber. Here is his apology via Twitter saying, "Sometimes when people are shoving cameras in your face all day and yelling the worst thing possible at you, well, I'm human. Not going to let them get the best of me again. Going to get focused on the show tonight, adrenaline is high now, going to put it on the stage. Only way someone can break you is if you let them."

Ben Stein, just because I never thought I would be asking you about Justin Bieber, I want you to open this one up here. I mean, you saw the video, you see the tweets, can't even imagine the paparazzi following anyone that closely. What do you think? Are we watching another star fall?

STEIN: No, I don't think we are. Nobody seems to have noticed he has a stomach ache and also the queen has a stomach ache, obviously some kind of stomach bug going around the United Kingdom. I don't think we should blame him for being upset when he's not feeling well and he's jet lagged.

I sympathize with these people. I know a lot of celebrities. All around me where I live in Malibu are celebrities. They talk about it all the time, people yell at them and push them around. I sympathize with them tremendously.

BALDWIN: Are they chasing you like that, Ben Stein? STEIN: They used to when I did "win Ben Stein's money." And sometimes TMZ comes up to me all the time at inconvenient moments and asks me questions and I don't like it.

BALDWIN: I'm sure you don't.

MCGUIRE: I was going to say, in defense of Justin Bieber, can you imagine how tough that must be that you are now 19, and you are coming into your world as -- going into manhood and everybody in the world is watching. Miley Cyrus, makes me think about Britney Spears, and what must that be like?

He's just 19 and he's got all these young fans, but yet he's trying to grow up and trying to get people to take him seriously probably now, doing some -- I think I saw something where somebody wrecked his car and this or that. It is so much going on. Imagine being a 19-year- old kid, a boy, going into manhood and got all this money, all this money, all these people around you.

JARDINS: When you're 19 years old, there have very few 19-year-olds that would admit they need their mama, but he needs his mama. He can't have his mama. He needs someone there who can ground him and say this isn't normal, right. This is not normal.

And I know he probably thinks it is not that stressful having 25,000 girls screaming at him while he sings one last lonely girl, but it is stressful and no 19-year-old is going to admit that or be aware of that. He could be falling apart without even knowing it.

BALDWIN: Marc, last word.

MCGUIRE: He just had his big breakup with his girlfriend, Selena Gomez. Maybe also he's got his first heart break --

STEIN: Let's hear it from Marc.

HILL: Just give the kid some space. Give the kid some space. Give the kid some space. Let him live. He's grown up in front of us. It is a tough life. His music sucks, but he's a decent kid. And we should -- my only advice to Justin, take some time off the road, grow up in private for a little bit. He's going through a lot. The media is going to attack him. I don't want to see him turn into Britney Spears.

BALDWIN: All right, Jory Des Jardins, Dede McGuire, Marc Lamont Hill, Ben Stein, I need stripes and a whistle today. Thank you. Back after this.


BALDWIN: The recent recession took its toll in a lot of areas even the consumption of beer, but a small brewery in Brooklyn proved to be the exception. Tom Foreman pays a visit in today's "American Journey."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Every day amid the hustle and hum of Brooklyn, something is brewing at Steve Hindy's place. It looks like, tastes like, and goes down like beer, but it smells like success.

STEVE HINDY, CO-FOUNDER/PRESIDENT, BROOKLYN BREWERY: We sell beer now in 25 states and the name Brooklyn rings bells in Sweden, in Britain, in Italy, in France, in Germany, in Japan, in China.

FOREMAN: Hindy was a long time foreign correspondent in some of the world's most dangerous places. He quit the news business back in the 1980s and decided to turn his hobby of making beer into a small business. He started in a part of New York where property values were comparatively reasonable.

His small team focused on keeping costs low, quality high, helping community charities instead of buying big ads and crafting distinctive brews that stood out from mass produced beers.

HINDY: I think the reason why we have been successful is that we have always trusted that people have good taste. Rather than trying to dumb things down or do focus groups and try to figure out what does everybody like?

FOREMAN: The result, even as the recession raged, Hindy's place kept going. Even as per capita beer consumption plummeted, the Brooklyn Brewery kept growing.

HINDY: Well, I think it is just the fundamental fact that people are drinking less beer, but they're drinking more special beers. And, you know, we offer a whole range of -- a whole rainbow of flavors of beer.

FOREMAN: This year he says they will expand their staff of 90 people, open a new shop in Stockholm and sell $50 million worth of beer.

HINDY: Our future is very exciting.

FOREMAN: For a former reporter and Brooklyn, that's a headline. Tom Foreman, CNN.


BALDWIN: The men deciding the next pope finally revealed the big date. What the heck have they been talking about behind closed doors? I'm Brooke Baldwin. The news is now.