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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Dow Soars, Unemployment Drops; Bin Laden Son-In-Law In New York Court; Report: Fake Bomb Gets Through TSA Check
Aired March 8, 2013 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, a little economic sunshine today stocks up, unemployment down, but are there dark clouds on the horizon?
Plus Osama Bin Laden's son-in-law finally faces a judge in New York and there's some lawmakers that are very unhappy about that, i.e., New York versus let's jus say, Guantanamo?
Later in the show, Dr. Andrew Weil is our guest. He has a stunning critique of health care in America tonight. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good Friday evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, rays of economic sunshine. History on Wall Street with the Dow soaring more than 2 percent this week to a record high and news that the unemployment rate in America fell from 7.9 percent to 7.7 percent. That's actually the lowest level we've seen in four years.
Rosier than even the rosiest of forecasts so we're on the up and up, right, I mean, all this stuff about forced spending cuts was just a bunch of b.s.? Well, remember when President Obama issued this warning a few weeks ago?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: People will lose their jobs. The unemployment rate might tick up again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right, today's report, and this is important, is based on data from last month, before the cuts went into effect. So the president could still be right. And even White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest, I love that name, had to hedge when he was asked whether the forced cuts could weaken the economic outlook next month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRINCIPAL DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I'm not an economic forecaster. I'm not going to get into that business now. Even weather forecasters have a pretty tough week so I don't want to be an economic forecaster.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, Daniel Altman, economics professor at NYU, and Doug Holtz-Eakin, former director of the CBO. Good to see you both. Daniel, you cited numbers on this show not long ago when you said job losses from the forced spending cuts could be 700,000 to 1 million jobs. That is a lot of jobs and obviously the complete opposite of what we just saw, do you think it could still happen?
DANIEL ALTMAN, ADJUNCT ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, NYU'S STERN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: It could happen. I mean, that has to happen over a period of time. Even with today's great jobs report we still had a reduction of jobs in the public sector, federal employment. That's been the big drag on the economy the last couple of years.
The private sectors has been creating jobs for several years now, every month, month after month, but they're federal government because of the cuts we've been making and now these new cuts has been trimming employment and that's a drag.
BURNETT: It may be a drag, but is it a bad thing? If we have fewer government jobs, the private sector would hire those people.
DOUGLAS HOLTZ-EAKIN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ACTION FORUM: Certainly we'd love to see the private sector expand. Today's report was a good report and you'd love to see it. But I just remind everyone, one month is just one month's data and you'd like to see more.
I think if you're concerned about "The Sequester," you should be concerned about all the tax increases and spending cuts that are hitting the economy. We have very large tax increases at the turn of the year.
The Federal Reserve reported in its Facebook that the new health care reform is starting to cause employers to think twice about hiring. So we're hardly out of the woods. But I do think, Erin, that one of the nice things about this report is that we saw the fundamentals of income growth.
We saw more hours worked. We saw more earnings for those hours worked. If we could get a couple of those in a row I think that would be great news to the economy.
BURNETT: It would be. You know, this comes from the heels of what we found out yesterday $1.2 trillion, I believe, if I remember correctly, of an increase in wealth in this country last year. House Speaker John Boehner, you know it was good news when he didn't want to come in front of the cameras.
ALTMAN: Well, it's kind of difficult, right. You've had people saying, all these cuts are actually what we need, they're good for our economy. Then you have someone like Doug saying, well, actually, watch out because these spending cuts and tax increases could be bad for our economy.
Which is it? I mean, is it important to reduce the debt or is it important to bolster the economy now so that we can deal with unemployment? Yes, a guy like John Boehner, it's difficult for him to come out when people, especially in his party, have been saying that the stock market and the jobs numbers are the ultimate verdict on the president.
HOLTZ-EAKIN: If I could, we've been around this before. I mean, I'm not concerned about the scale of these spending cuts. My point is simply, I don't understand how people can single out the sequester and say the world's going to end when they said nothing about raising taxes so severely at the turn of the year. That doesn't add up from the administration or even your point of view. I think that we should be --
ALTMAN: I wasn't the one who said the tax increases would be good for jobs.
HOLTZ-EAKIN: Good, because I think that's a fair thing to be concerned about.
ALTMAN: But I don't think that they're that bad either.
HOLTZ-EAKIN: Well, I think the biggest concern in this report, I mean, I am all for reducing the debt, I think it's harming the economy. The thing in this report that stands out is the fact that we have real problems still with discouraged workers. We saw the labor force participation decline.
We're not going to get a sustained recovery unless we get both the business community and the household sector optimistic and looking forward. That's a task that remains to be accomplished.
ALTMAN: But there's something that's much bigger in the longer term that's going on here. I mean, we've seen that the employment to population ratio has been going down. It's basically at low levels reminiscent of the 1980s right now. Ask yourself why that is.
One reason is that younger people have been dropping out of the labor force. But this has been happening for years, even before this recession. The recession just accelerated it.
And the reason is, you've got to stay in school longer now to get a job or to get a good job. And the more we see that, the more we're going to continue to have this low employment to population ratio.
BURNETT: All right, I want to ask you both about this issue though of tax increases. Because right now the conversation is that what we're going to do about the forced spending cuts, do they matter or not, right?
Then the other question is, how are we going to deal with the problem of the debt, right? And Daniel, you right now the president's saying, balanced. He wants more tax increases. He's willing to take some spending cuts, but he wants more tax increases. Is that a good thing to do right now?
ALTMAN: Well, the thing about tax increases is it really depends how you do it and it's exactly the same with spending. If you put tax increases on people who are probably going to pay those taxes out of money they would have saved instead of money they would have consumed, that doesn't hurt the economy so much today. It may hurt capital accumulation in the long term, as I'm sure Doug will remind us, but it doesn't hurt the economy so much today.
BURNETT: So you're saying you can raise taxes more on the wealthy right now?
ALTMAN: If you want to raise taxes in a way that doesn't hurt the economy so much right now then you've got to do it on people who are not going to spend that money, and that's probably wealthier people.
HOLTZ-EAKIN: All the data suggests in fact the wealthy are spending money right now so I'd check the data before you make that claim.
ALTMAN: I don't know what you're talking about. Which data are those?
HOLTZ-EAKIN: That would be the consumer expenditure survey. You've got to look at that. They're the ones driving the economy. Lower income Americans are strapped and not spending a lot of money.
ALTMAN: The personal propensity -- come on.
HOLTZ-EAKIN: That's a theory, a radical idea, look at the data, Daniel. This is about what this economy's doing right now and we need to be cognizant that this economy is running off a debt cliff. We are in an unsustainable spiral. You'll have to deal with that.
If the president wants to talk about balance, he should start talking about balancing the budget so that we're not running up more debt. This is the fundamental problem that plagues the economy over the next ten years. Until he comes up with something to deal with that, we're not making real progress.
ALTMAN: I don't know how many Nobel laureates are on your side, Doug, but there are several who have been saying that if anything, we should be spending more money now, we can borrow at extremely low rates. We've had Robert Solo, Paul Krugman.
I mean, name me Nobel laureates. Even if you look at the IGM survey that comes out of the University of Chicago, a conservative institution, they survey economists of all different stripes and they all said that the stimulus worked.
So if you want to juice the economy now, I think it's time to consider a little more spending and definitely not the deep cuts that would be required to balance the budget, let's say this year.
HOLTZ-EAKIN: But that's -- no one's talking about balancing the budget this year, I'm talking about balancing it at all president the president's put out four budgets that lead to a debt spiral. And all the name-dropping Nobel laureates is not going to change that. They'd say, if you don't obey the fact that debt can't explode, you're going to harm the economy. That's a fundamental of economics.
ALTMAN: We're not worried about interest rates the way you are.
HOLTZ-EAKIN: I'm not worried about interest rates. I'm worried about the fundamental un-sustainability to fiscal opposition.
ALTMAN: The only reason it's unsustainable is you have to pay interest.
HOLTZ-EAKIN: Daniel, let me finish, please.
ALTMAN: Why not interest? What is it?
HOLTZ-EAKIN: Basic courtesy would imply that I can say, if you've got an unsustainable fiscal trajectory, you are going to be in a position where you're going to have to raise taxes dramatically or face a financial crisis, both of which are very harmful for economic growth. There's no way around that.
Anyone who's looked at the numbers knows we cannot grow our way out of this problem so the growth genie from the right is not possible. We can't tax our way out of this problem, the tax genie from the left is not a possible solution.
We're going to have to get serious about spending. That's the discussion we're having right now and every time it comes up your side of the aisle says, we can't cut spending. If we don't, we are toast technical term.
ALTMAN: Just do it later, Doug, doesn't have to be now.
HOLTZ-EAKIN: It's always later, when is it never later?
BURNETT: Later, you are both going to come back because we love having you. Thanks very much to both of you. Have a good weekend.
OUTFRONT next, Osama Bin Laden's son-in-law in New York today in court. There's big controversy over whether he should be here or, say, somewhere a lot further south.
Plus a huge failure by the TSA, what an undercover agent got through security at one of the United States' busiest airports.
Justin Bieber's bad week continues. This time -- anger issues.
BURNETT: Our second story, OUTFRONT, crime and justice. Osama Bin Laden's son-in-law pleaded not guilty to charges in a New York court today that he conspired to kill Americans. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith appeared in videos sitting next to Bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks and he issued this warning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SULAIMAN ABU GHAITH (through translator): We advise them not to fly in planes or live in high towers. The storm on planes will not stop. There are thousands of young Muslims who are desirous to follow the path of Allah.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Not everyone though is happy to see the suspect in a New York court. OUTFRONT tonight, Cliff May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, and David Frum, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush.
All right, appreciate both of you being with us. Cliff, you want to see him at Guantanamo. The Justice Department though put out this statement last night. It said the president's policy is clear on this issue. The administration is seeking to close Guantanamo, not add to its population. Why can't justice be served in this case outside of Guantanamo?
CLIFF MAY, PRESIDENT, FOUNDATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES: Well, a number of reasons. One reason is that he has now been read his rights, his right to remain silent. He is somebody we very much should have been able to interrogate thoroughly, not harshly but thoroughly. He's been living in Iran.
Al Qaeda has an agreement with Iran. Al Qaeda has what's called by the administration a facilitation network in Iran. We needed to know from him exactly what are the relationships between al Qaeda, our terrorist enemy, and Iran, the leading sponsor of terrorism in the world? We may never find this out from him now.
Secondly, it's very important to say this. We are now giving him every right that an American citizen has under the constitution, every right. We are treating an unlawful combatant, not just an enemy combatant, an unlawful combatant, with all the rights you'd give to somebody who's been accused of cheating on his taxes.
We're going back to the pre- 9/11 civilian justice and criminal justice model for what is a war. Al Qaeda declared war on the United States, and the Congress authorized the use of military force against al Qaeda. We should not be treating him like a common criminal.
BURNETT: All right, I want to get to that in a moment. Because the numbers in terms of convictions at Guantanamo versus let's just say, New York courts are pretty stunning. David, first to you, though. You said you would have agreed with Cliff a few years ago but not anymore?
DAVID FRUM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: We have seen the collapse before the military tribunals of the Khalid Shaikh Mohammad prosecution. The military -- I completely accept the rationale for doing the military commission approach, but it has not worked. It has not been able to deliver the kind of results, especially in the high-profile cases.
And ironically, the civilian judicial system with all of its protections has been able to be more -- not expeditious, but more expeditious than the commission system has been. BURNETT: That's a pretty interesting point. Let me get to this, the follow-up, which I wanted to ask, about the numbers. When you look at Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, he was arrested a decade ago, still awaiting trial, 777 detainees have gone through Gitmo, six convictions of 779. In the New York courts, 39 cases so a lot fewer, but 35 of them have ended with a guilty plea or conviction. Sounds like it would be better to go in New York.
MAY: I think you have a point. I think David has a point. The point is that the military commissions, as fashioned by Congress, are pretty much of a mess. Congress fashioned this system of military commissions, Congress should fix it. Mend it, don't end it.
And while the military commission system is bad, the civilian legal justice system does have its problems as well. I would ask if the names O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony mean anything to anybody.
We also had one terrorist trial, pretty famous on in which the suspect, we call him a suspect now, was dismissed on all but one charge. Luckily that charge was for a life sentence, but it almost went badly.
I do wonder if we're going to have a conviction in this and other cases. It's a conspiracy case, not a murder case. And that's led to bad results in the past. FALN terrorists were sentenced on a conspiracy case after setting of more than 100 bombs and then President Clinton released them, commuted their sentence, let them all go.
So I think there are problems with both systems of justice. When you have an enemy combatant, you want system like we have in Guantanamo and again, you want to be able to interrogate someone like this. We are not interrogating terrorists anywhere in the world, as far as we know, and that's a big mistake for the future.
BURNETT: David, the other thing is there are people in Guantanamo, 166 of them, still remaining, who the government doesn't know what to do with. This president promised to close Guantanamo, he hasn't. He doesn't know what to do with these people. Maybe he couldn't convict them in a court but he doesn't want to let them go.
FRUM: Right. Guantanamo has its uses and detention is part of war. I think we're going to regret though, we already regret, 2004, 2005, we should have written a comprehensive statute to govern how we're going to deal with the detainees in counterterrorist operations.
The Bush administration instituted a series of ad hoc emergency measures that helped to secure the -- enhance the security of the country in the short run. But didn't answer long-term problems for how you deal with this long-term war.
Now we find ourselves with this alternative of, as Cliff says, do we treat this like an income tax fraud case in the alternative is Guantanamo, the military commissions, and they really are failing.
MAY: Can I ask, one other thing, that is that we have released a lot of people from Guantanamo and dozens of them have gone back to waging war against us. In Syria and other places, that's a problem too.
Don't forget, the people we have there are not necessarily meant to go to trial, they're meant to be detained during the hostilities. They're not meant to go to trial because you cannot expect either the CIA or your military personnel to be playing CSI Kandahar.
They're not collecting evidence on the battlefield, evidence that can be used in a court of law. I hope the prosecutors know what they're doing. I'm on the mystic that they have good, solid evidence.
There's going to be discovery, insistent own of the lawyers for Abu Ghaith that all kinds of evidence and perhaps classified information be turned over. I hope this goes well. I hope it's quick, I hope he's convicted and spends the rest of his life in jail or is executed. If not, you heard warnings of this on your show -- Erin.
BURNETT: An interesting point. David Frum, what do you think about that? Some have said, this man, Osama Bin Laden's son-in-law, he's not a big fish. So I guess the question is, maybe he just doesn't count?
FRUM: This is like the joke in the movie industry. Times are so tough we're now even firing the sons in law. I think, look, even super villains have idiotic sons in law and perhaps this is one of them. He does seem to have played an important role.
I think one of the things that backstops all this, Attorney General Eric Holder said during a board are Khalid Shaikh Mohammad civilian prosecution, don't worry, even if he's acquitted he's going to be detained.
The detention power of the executive lurks in the background. So I don't think there's much worry that dangerous characters are going to go free. The worry is, we're not going to have a resolution of these problems in ways the American political system can live with.
BURNETT: All right, thanks to both. Appreciate it.
Still to come, a huge failure at an American airport, an undercover agent was allegedly able to sneak something. You're not going to believe what, through security. We'll show you exactly how he did it.
Plus a town in Georgia considers a new gun law, which would make it illegal not to own a gun.
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad honors Hugo Chavez in a very intimate way.
BURNETT: Our third story, OUTFRONT," TSA fail. The "New York Post" reports an undercover TSA agent made his way through two checkpoints at Newark Airport with a fake bomb hidden in his pants. Mary Snow is OUTFRONT with the story tonight.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The test at Newark Airport was to see if a fake improvised explosive device would get past screeners. According to the "New York Post," it did. It quote sources saying, an undercover TSA inspector with a mock IED in his pants went undetected twice including during a pat down.
The TSA wouldn't confirm the report, but said in a statement, "Due to the security sensitive nature of the tests, TSA does not publicly share details about how they are conducted, what specifically is tested, or the outcomes."
The TSA says it regularly conducts covert testing and this is what it looks like.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Slip the inert detonator in.
SNOW: CNN went along with undercover TSA inspectors called "Red Teams" in 2008. The inspector had a fake IED on him when he went through security at Tampa International Airport. A screener failed to detect the device and the undercover inspector then instructed him on what he did wrong.
Just how many screeners fail to detect devices in these drills is unclear, but one aviation security analyst says some failures are to be expected.
RAFI RON, NEW AGE SECURITY SOLUTIONS: There are a lot of very important lessons to be learned in order to improve the program and to increase the level of alert and the professionalism of the people that implement it.
SNOW: Just this week, the head of the TSA said protecting against IEDs are the top priority.
JOHN PISTOLE, TSA ADMINISTRATOR: The greatest risk is non- metallic IEDs, whether it's an exclusive, electronic initiator or a chemical initiator, whatever that may be, that's what I want our security officers to focus on.
SNOW: While the TSA wouldn't specifically address Newark Airport, the airport has had problems in recent years. There was a man who became known as Romeo who slipped past security to greet a woman forcing a terminal to shut down for hours.
Last year, roughly two dozen baggage and traveler screener were fired for security lapses and thefts. Former TSA Administrator Kip Hawley says it's unclear why Newark continues to make headlines.
KIP HAWLEY, FORMER TSA ADMINISTRATOR (via telephone): I don't understand why it should be. They have had a lot of problems at Newark, which is probably why they are testing it.
(END VIDEOTAPE) SNOW: The issues at Newark Airport have now prompted a call for an extensive security review. Congressman Peter King, the former chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, wrote to the TSA administrator asking for a top to bottom look at Newark's TSA operations and a plan to fix them -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, thanks very much to Mary.
Still to come, America responds to North Korea. The U.S. counter measures following the threats of an attack we've been reporting on.
Uncovering just how bad the American health care system is. Dr. Andrew Weil OUTFRONT next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) * BURNETT: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT.
We start with stories we care about where we focus on our reporting from the front lines.
There are new revelations tonight about mental health problems that James Holmes has been experiencing since his arrest of last July. According to a motion filed by Holmes' attorney that was made public today, he was sent to the hospital in November because he was, quote, "a danger to himself." He spent several days at a Denver hospital and was frequently put in restraints. According to the filing, this was separate from an earlier hospitalization which results from possibly self-inflicted head injuries in his cell.
Holmes is due to enter a plea in the case on Tuesday. The case, of course, is regarding the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, at a movie theater.
A necropsy is being performed on the African lion that killed a young woman at a California sanctuary. We're told blood and tissue samples from Cous Cous have been taken to test for diseases, including rabies. Meanwhile, Dianna Hanson's family is urging people inspire by her story to make a contribution to her favorite organizations, including the sanctuary where she died.
In a statement to OUTFRONT her family says, "Dianna would not want us to be angry at the animals, but rather, remember their beauty."
Last night, we spoke with Dianna's father Paul who told us he worried about her work but he supported her decision nonetheless. You can see that interview on our blog, CNN.com/OutFront.
Well, with only months left in his term, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is bent on going out with a bang. At the funeral of Hugo Chavez today, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad kissed the casket and lauded his dear friend as, quote, "the emotional pillar for all the revolutionary and freedom-seeking people of the world." That may make sense to some, but this probably to few.
Two days ago, Ahmadinejad said Chavez would be resurrected with Jesus. Yes, he did say that.
(INAUDIBLE) group talks the dramatics, says it's another Ahmadinejad production and says Iran's supreme leader will be seeking a president with less flamboyant and provocative behavior. There is, of course, a crucial election in Iran this summer.
It has been 582 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating, what are we doing to get it back?
Five hundred and eighty-two days -- well, it could be worse really. Ratings agency Fitch downgraded Italy's credit rating today, saying last month's elections are putting the country's already fragile economy at risk.
Our fourth story OUTFRONT: North Korea's brutal prison camp may be expanding tonight. There are signs the secret prison has been hidden in the mountains has actually grown. It has now taken over nearby villages.
We're going to show you a satellite image, OK? So, let's just hold this up and I'll explain it to you. It's from Amnesty International.
The area in yellow is highlighted. It's what Amnesty International believes is a new security perimeter complete with guard towers all the way around. It's estimated that more than 1,000 additional people may be in what has been described as a modern-day concentration camp.
These new images come at the same time that CNN has learned the U.S. is significantly stepping up its surveillance of North Korea. That move is driven by the escalating threats from the country's unpredictable dictator, Kim Jong-Un, including talk of a nuclear strike on the western coast of the United States.
Barbara Starr's OUTFRONT at the Pentagon.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Almost hysterical North Korean troops greeted their leader, Kim Jong Un, during his made-for-TV inspection tour of military border facilities. Kim wants the world to see this as he has dramatically stepped up his dangerous rhetoric.
STARR: On his way to Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made clear how closely the U.S. is watching.
CHUCK HAGEL, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: The United States of America and our allies are prepared to deal with any threat.
STARR: CNN has learned the U.S. has recently stepped up surveillance using aircraft, radars, and satellites already nearby. Military officials say, so far, there are no signs of unusual military moves by the North. But there is a disturbing new weapons program, the KN-08. U.S. officials say this missile, shown in a North Korea military parade last year, is now undergoing engine testing. It's a three-stage ballistic missile with a potential 3,000-mile range.
That's not as far as the rocket North Korea recently launched, which could hit Alaska or Hawaii. But what makes this so dangerous to the U.S., the North Koreans can drive the KN-08 around on a truck launcher.
JOHN PIKE, GLOBAL SECURITY: They would have a bunch of these in an underground bunker, in a garage, and possibly under the cover of darkness, they would all leave the garage and start driving around at random and within a few hours you could really have a hard time figuring out where they had gone off to.
STARR (on camera): The U.S. believes a recent North Korean satellite launch actually included some testing of KN-08 components. And at that test site now, classified U.S. imagery is showing more activity, equipment, electronics, and personnel. Perhaps signs that North Korea is getting ready for yet another missile test -- Erin.
BURNETT: Thank you, Barbara.
And now our fifth story OUTFRONT: putting a gun in every home. A city in Georgia is set to vote on an ordinance next month that would make it illegal not to own a gun. Let me just say that again -- make it illegal not to own a gun. Just so you don't think I misspoke or something. Sometimes I know I stumble a lot.
According to the ordinance, in order to provide for and protect the safety, security, and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, every head of household residing in the city limits is required to maintain a firearm together with ammunition.
If passed this would become the second city in Georgia to require people to own a gun, the second city.
But does putting more guns in more homes make people safer?
OUTFRONT tonight, liberal radio talk show host Stephanie Miller, conservative talk show host Mike Slater, and our contributor, Reihan Salam.
Right. I assume I know where you're all going to fall on this issue? But I don't ever like to make any assumptions on this show.
All right. Mike, is this a good idea? Should the whole country do it?
MIKE SLATER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Yes, I mean, I don't support this bill but I support what they're trying to do. I don't think it's any more constitutional to force someone to do something than it is constitutional to prevent someone from, like in this case, buying a gun.
But I like what they're trying to do. So, here in San Diego, we have a police chief who does not want law-abiding citizens to own guns, and it's so frustrating because we want to be able to work with the police, you know, law-abiding citizens and the police to work together to make a safer city. The best part about what's going on in Nelson is the police chief is a firearm instructor and he wants to work with the citizens of his city to make responsible gun owners. You know, we can't have a cop on every corner but we can have a responsible gun owner in every house.
So I support the effort, but I don't think this bill's quite what we need.
BURNETT: All right. I mean, of course, some people may say, Nancy Lanza was a responsible gun owner maybe, but then look what happened when someone else got ahold of her guns. I mean, that's always the other side of it, right, Stephanie?
STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Yes, Erin, what could possibly go wrong here? Listen, everybody should be -- the mentally ill, domestic abusers, alcoholics, sure, everybody should have a gun. What could possibly go wrong, Erin?
I mean, this is ridiculous. We just did a study on the radio show today. Here's a big shock. In the states that have the fewest guns and the most gun laws, there's the fewest gun deaths. You know -- excuse me, and vice versa. It's ridiculous.
It's not like we don't have any sort of data supporting all of this. There are the fewest gun deaths where we have the fewest guns.
BURNETT: Reihan --
SLATER: If you read the second part of the bill there's a lot of people who are exempt from this. The law says everyone has to have a gun, unless you don't want to. So there's not a lot of teeth to this.
MILLER: But you're 43 times more likely -- if you have a gun in your home, you're 43 more times likely to kill a friend, acquaintance or a loved one with a gun or have it used against you. I mean, we have a lot of studies --
REIHAN SALAM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Swimming pools are more dangerous than having a firearm in the home.
MILLER: Right, and hammers.
SALAM: Well, look, swimming pools definitely are very, very dangerous to children, certainly far more so than having a hand gum in the home. But bracketing that question, we have many different municipal governments and they pursue experiments --
MILLER: Since the assault weapons ban has expired, assault weapons deaths have tripled. There is a cause and effect here, there really is.
SALAM: There are a lot of folks who question that. Talking about cause and effect, these are different cities with different population compositions. You have different cultural traditions in these different places. There are confounding variables --
MILLER: So more guns is always the answer?
SALAM: But another basic idea, is the idea that citizenship entails rights, it also entails obligations. And those obligations of citizenship are going to vary from city to city depending on the shared cultural traditions and political ideas in that community.
I don't necessarily think Nelson's idea makes sense where I live in New York City. But I do think nelson should be allowed to pursue this idea and say, look, maybe it's a terrible idea, then it should be abandoned, but allow Nelson to pursue that experiment. I think that makes a lot of sense.
BURNETT: Stephanie, let me ask you this. In Kennesaw, Georgia, which is the other town where they have tried this -- by the way, they don't necessarily enforce it. But crime is pretty low, population has grown from 5,000 to more than 33,000, but guns are involved in less than 2 percent of the crime around the city. And they have a law where you're supposed to have a gun.
Again, like I said, you don't have to if you don't want to. But on the surface, it would sound like the law is having an effect to the positive, certainly not to the negative?
MILLER: Well, you know, Erin, all I can do is look around the world. You can see country after country. You know, where there are so few guns -- I mean, literally in some countries in the single digits, gun deaths.
We don't think there's something wrong with the tens of thousands of gun deaths we have? We don't think there's some correlation between 300 million guns we have here?
SALAM: Canadians own the large number of firearms, yet they have fewer gun deaths in the United States. It's not purely owning firearms. The Swiss require large numbers of their men to have firearms in their homes on the grounds they want to defend the country. But Switzerland does not have a rash of gun violence.
MILLER: Well, aren't they also taking care of their own people, they have socialized medicine --
SALAM: That's not actually -- they don't have socialized medicine, they do have universal coverage. But it's (INAUDIBLE). I'm happy to talk about Swiss medical coverage.
BURNETT: And, by the way, I love having all three of you together, have a good weekend.
Still to come, we pay more in health care than any other nation on the planet. Speaking of health care, what you and Stephanie got us there -- is it worth it? Dr. Andrew Weil on what he says is a broken system OUTFRONT next.
And pop singer Justin Bieber lashes out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTIN BIEBER, SINGER: What'd you say? (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: He's got some gums on him, he has grown up. What set him off?
BURNETT: And now to our country's health care crisis.
It's no secret the system is broken. We pay more in health care costs than any country in the world, $2.7 trillion in 2011. We get shockingly little for our money. People die earlier.
"Escape Fire" is a new documentary airing on CNN Sunday at 8:00. It looks at these problems in a new light.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have had enough!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we want?
CROWD: Health care!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When do we want it?
DR. ANDREW WEIL, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA: All I hear is how we're going to give more people access to the present system and how we're going to pay for it. And to me, that's not the only issue. The present system doesn't work and it's going to take us down. We need a whole new kind of medicine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight: the man you just saw, Dr. Andrew Weil, is a heading expert on holistic medicine.
And, Doctor, it is good to talk to you again.
You know, what -- I was having this conversation with someone on a plane today and it struck me, and I was actually tabbing it because you said what's on the show tonight? I said I was talking to you. And we were talking about Obamacare. I'm just saying, well, this is supposed to fix health care in America, but yet here we are.
How come it didn't solve the problems?
WEIL: I think we have to shift this whole enterprise in the direction of health promotion and disease prevention. At the moment, we don't have a health care system in America. We have a disease management system that's functioning very imperfectly.
And the tragedy is that most of the diseases that we're trying to manage are lifestyle-related and therefore preventable. We cannot do a better job of prevention until we can make prevention pay. At the moment, it doesn't.
BURNETT: Right. So, I mean, when you look at the statistics, 65 percent of Americans are overweight, 75 percent health care spending goes to preventable disease. It is a shocking number. It would be unacceptable in any business in the world.
How are we supposed to break that cycle?
WEIL: I think we have to face the fact that as dysfunctional as the health care system is, it's generating rivers of money. And that money is flowing into very few pockets. It's the pockets of the big pharmaceutical companies, the manufacturers of medical devices, and the big insurers.
Those vested interests do not want anything to change and they have total control of our politicians and elected officials. I think change can only come from a grassroots movement. If enough people understand the problem and begin to elect different kinds of representatives who do not or are not beholden to those vested interests.
BURNETT: And I want to talk a little bit about who those might be, because in this documentary of which you're a part, we hear from a former insurance executive from CIGNA. And a lot of people watching, CIGNA is probably your insurance company. Well, this guy decided to speak out about what happened after he left the company. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WENDELL POTTER, FORMER EXECUTIVE, CIGNA: The folks who were there were not trying to shirk their responsibilities. They couldn't get insurance. They either couldn't afford it or maybe worked for small employers that had been purged by big insurance companies.
It was either come and get care there or not get care at all. And every year they have to turn people away. It was like something that I could never have imagined that I'd ever see in this country.
And I knew what I was doing for a living was making it necessary for those folks to stand in line to wait for care and in animal stalls and barns.
I ultimately had a crisis of conscience because I was not at all proud of what I was doing. I had difficulty sleeping at night. There were even times honestly that I looked in the mirror and I said, how did you get here? I just could not continue doing what I was doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And, of course, Dr. Weil, he was talking about when he visited a medical clinic that was set up for people who couldn't afford to even get insurance.
Who is the most to blame? The insurance companies? Is it the government payment system? Is it the doctors? Is it us, the patients?
WEIL: I think doctors are as much victims of the system as patient are today. And the whole system is not working, and it is on the verge of total collapse. As you said, we spent more per capita on health care than any people in the world, and our health outcomes are worse than those of any other developed nation.
So, it's time really for things to change, but we cannot look for our government to change them because it's tied into the vested interests who do not want change. So, it's really up to us the people to do that. That means getting informed.
Viewers who watch this documentary I think will come away with a much better idea of what is wrong and what needs to change.
BURNETT: And I just have to ask you because you have some answers to these questions. What are we supposed to do -- let's say you want to be healthy and you start looking on the web or buy magazines. This week, it's go gluten free. Next week, it's have less salt. Then it's actually, no, you need more -- I mean, I don't know what to do, and they contradict each other.
So how do you even know?
WEIL: Ideally, your physician should be able to guide you through this maze. The Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine has now graduated almost 1,000 physician fellows from intensive training in the new system I think is necessary. We have practitioner all over the country.
And those are doctors trained to answer your questions and be your guides. There will be more and more of them out there. So, I'm working as fast as I can to improve medical education in order to answer your questions.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Dr. Weil, we appreciate it. And it's good to see you. I look forward to seeing you again soon.
And, again, "Escape Fire", the fight to rescue American health care is here on CNN, Sunday night, 8:00 Eastern.
And now to tonight's "Outer Circle," we reach out to our sources around the world and tonight, we go to London where global superstar Justin Bieber's week ended pretty badly. It also started pretty badly. He was released from the hospital following a health scare during a concert last night, but as he was leaving the hospital, he attacked a member of the paparazzi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIEBER: What did you say? What did you say?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Erin McLaughlin is covering the story and I asked her what led to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Following the incident, Justin Bieber taking to Twitter, apparently responding to the altercation, saying a camera had been shoved in his face, that he was heckled, that he simply let the paparazzi get the better of him.
Now, the incident was a culmination of a pretty bad week for the superstar. On Monday, an entire arena of fans booed him because he made them wait hours for his performance. On Thursday, he was admitted late at night to the hospital complaining of respiratory issues. He was released really only just this morning.
Every move Justin Bieber makes here in the U.K. has been heavily scrutinized by the media. It's really quite a lot for a 19-year-old to handle, albeit a global superstar -- Erin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Thanks very much to Erin.
Still to come, I spent International Women's Day with former First Lady Laura Bush. An exclusive look at our conversation, OUTFRONT next.
BURNETT: It's International Women's Day today, and this morning, I had the opportunity to attend an event at the Bush Institute in Dallas, Texas. It was founded by former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush to advance freedom around the world, and one of the programs offered by the center is the Women's Initiative, which currently is focusing on Egypt.
I had a chance to talk to Mrs. Bush about the program, her daughters, and the importance of empowering women here at home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I'm curious, there's a new book which I know you know about, Sheryl Sandberg's book "Lean In", and I know you're on the board. I was actually reading your testimonial --
LAURA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY: My lead in? BURNETT: Yes, your lead in about 9/11.
And I was curious why -- why you chose to join that board, why that was important to you.
BUSH: Well, I just thought it was interesting, this whole idea of empowering women by the idea of being able to lean in to an issue, or a way that you can both develop your own self in a broader and deeper way, but also to be able to help other people. And, you know, I have two girls who have been leaning in since the day they were born, I think. They're both very interested in the outside world, and in life outside of themselves.
When you go through those teenage years, teenagers are usually very self-conscious and my advice always to teenagers and young people is to move outside of yourself by looking at other people, by looking at ways you can use your own talents to either help other people or support other people or develop your interests. And I would say that Barbara and Jenna have certainly done that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: This past year, 14 women took part in the Bush Institute's Women's Initiative. They spent time in the United States working with American mentors, and they learned new ways to advance their work at home.
Today, they celebrated their graduation from the program, sharing their ideas and welcoming 19 new women who are about to begin their own fellowship. These are all Egyptian women. The future of the women in her own life was on Laura Bush's mind, because while she's hoping to attend the birth of her first grandchild, coincidentally on the day that Bush Center where you just saw that picture, officially opens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The minute the institute opens, you're leaving because --
BUSH: Well --
BURNETT: Jenna's having her baby.
BUSH: Either right before or right after. We'll see, but I can't wait to go.
BURNETT: Wonderful time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Egyptian poet once said when you educate a woman, you create a nation. That's what Laura Bush is trying to do.
Our full interview with the former first lady will air Monday at 7:00 Eastern right here on CNN. You're going to want to hear also what she has to say about the Republican Party.
Have a wonderful weekend.
"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts right now.