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Paul Ryan to Announce Budget Plan; Is Obama Neglecting Democrats?; "Lean In" Still Garnering Backlash; Celebrities, Politicians Reportedly Hacked; Threats against Michael Vick

Aired March 12, 2013 - 09:30   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Political Buzz is your rapidfire look at the best political topics of the day. Three topics, 30 seconds on the clock. Playing with us today, Jason Johnson, chief political correspondent for "Politic365" political science professor at Hiram College. And Amy Kremer, chairwoman of the Tea Party Express. Welcome to you both.


COSTELLO: Good morning.



KREMER: Hey Carol, welcome back from vacation.

COSTELLO: Thanks, it's good to be back, well, not all the way good, but 95 percent good.

In about an hour, Wisconsin Congresswoman Paul Ryan formally unveils the GOP's budget proposal. Ryan's ongoing efforts to repeal Obamacare getting a lot of headlines. But in a "Wall Street Journal" op-ed, Ryan also talks about his plan to shore up Medicare. Ryan, was sharply criticized in the 2012 campaign for wanting to turn Medicare into a so-called voucher system. Perhaps sensing the fight ahead, he writes today in part, quote, "anyone who attacks our Medicare proposal without offering a credible alternative is complicit in the program's demise." Our question. Is Paul Ryan right? Amy?

KREMER: Yes, I think he is right. The Medicare trust fund is going bankrupt. It's not sustainable and we need to do something about it. So somebody else has a better plan, step up to the plate and show it, but at the end of the day, these guys and gals cannot continue to kick the can down the road. It's not fair to my generation and people younger than me. We need to take care of our seniors, but can't do it by kicking the can down the road.


JOHNSON: He is absolutely right and absolutely wrong. You can't just criticize his plan without a better plan. But his plan itself is not a go ahead idea. It's still essentially a voucher program, which doesn't work for long-term sustainability, it does not work for low income people, so I applause Paul Ryan for coming up with an idea, but we've seen it before, throw grandma from the train. Not a good plan.

COSTELLO: All right. Onto the second question. It has been described as the people's house. But now that the White House tours have been suspended because of forced spending cuts, the number of people visiting 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will most certainly be on the decline. Some are accusing the Obama administration of playing politics, including one former secret service agent.


DAN BONGINO, FMR. SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Are you seriously going to make the case, the Democrats at this point, that there are no cuts to be found other than keeping school kids out of our house, the White House? It's absurd. The idea of it is absurd.


COSTELLO: But the White House which cited the cost of secret service agents stationed along the tour route, as one of the reasons for the cancellation, says it had no other choice it had to save money somewhere. Our question, closing the White House to tourists prudent or pure politics? Jason.

JOHNSON: Pure politics. Barack Obama wants to do something big and symbolic to talk about how the sequester is impacting people. But, he is missing the real story. He should be talking about the faculty members at John Hopkins who can't get NIH grants anymore to study cancer research. He should talk about those being furloughed who only make $25,000 or $30,000 a year. This is going to be something big. He can talk about it in the press, but the sequester really is a problem. It should be fixed. This isn't the only way he can go with it.


KREMER: I think it's pure politics as well. Especially right now at spring break, when all these kids are taking trips there. The cherry blossom festival is coming up. He is trying to use his bully pulpit to put out there that the sequester is hurting everybody. The sequester has hurt different departments in the country. Carol, why doesn't he stop flying back and forth on Air Force one and being on the campaign trail? I'm glad he's finally in Washington and starting to govern, but at the end of the day, that is our house and we should have the tours going forward, and private individuals have stepped up and said they will pay for the tours.

COSTELLO: Yes, they have. In the form of Donald Trump, right?


COSTELLO: Onto the third question. President Obama kicks off a three- day visit to Capitol Hill today as the White House and Congress try to find common ground on the budget and other second-term agenda items. First up, the Senate, where the president will be meeting with fellow Democrats. At least one of them, Joe Manchin of West Virginia says it's great President Obama has extended an olive branch to Republicans, he needs to reach out to his own party. Our question, is President Obama neglecting Democrats? Jason.

JOHNSON: No, he's not neglecting Democrats. This has always been the case with Obama. With friends like these, who needs enemies? He's got cowardly democrats who won't have his back and he has Republican who hate his guts and won't work on any policy one way or the other. The president, trying to get people back to work. He is trying to solve the budget problem and the fact that Democrats in the Senate are whining every 15 minutes because they didn't get invited to the tea party as soon as Republicans got invited, no joke to Amy Kremer about the Tea Party, I think it's pathetic. I think the Democrats need to get in line, get it done, because people are suffering.


KREMER: I am glad that he's back in Washington and governing and I think he needs to reach out to everyone. That is his job. He doesn't just represent the Democrats, he is all of our president. He needs to be leading, and we have serious budget issues that need to be dealt with. A $16 trillion debt. We cannot continue down the path.

And so I'm glad he's in Washington, glad he's finally governing and leading, and bringing people together. I just hope they can do something. Carol, I'm afraid it's not going to happen. And I think the reason he's doing this, honestly, is because we've seen his poll numbers just drop in the past couple of weeks.

COSTELLO: That is true. But I'm sure we all hope something gets done soon. Jason Johnson, Amy Kremer, thank you for playing today.

The pushback on "Lean In." More criticism facing Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Ahead, why some are saying she did not address all of the issues she should have in her new book.


COSTELLO: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg still making waves as she tries to help women climb to the top of the corporate ladder.


SHERYL SANDBERG, COO, FACEBOOK: I want every little girl who someone says they are bossy, to be told instead, you have leadership skills.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because you were told you were bossy.

SANDBERG: Because I was told that, and because every woman I know who is in a leadership position was told that.


COSTELLO: Sandberg's book, "Lean In" still drawing a lot of criticism, like it's aimed at the elite and doesn't address other factors that hold women back like race or gender bias. Lisa Belkin, is Huffington Post's senior columnist on life, work, and family. And Areva Martin, is a working mother, attorney, and author of "Journey to the Top: How to Take Charge of your Career." Welcome.

Areva, I'd like to start with you because I continue to be surprised at the backlash that Sandberg's book has created. Why the backlash?

AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY: I think, Carol, because there is a one-way conversation going on. You can't talk about women progressing in the workplace unless you are prepared to talk about a two-way situation. Have you have employees and employers.

So I don't care how hard I work as an employee, if my employer is not willing to allow me the opportunities that allow me to advance in my career, I'm not going anywhere. So I think there is the sense amongst women we're being attacked and we're being told we're not working hard enough when I know women in my generation, the opposite is true. We are working our butts off and no matter how hard we work, there are things systematically that continue to hold us back which prevent us from being CEOs, which prevent us from going to the top of corporations and we can't have this discussion unless we're willing to take on these issues on head on and deal with those systemic issues.

COSTELLO: But, Lisa, isn't Sheryl Sandberg right when she says women have to better learn to negotiate their salaries, better learn how to ask their husbands to do more in the house so they can devote more time to their career? Those aren't controversial things.

LISA BELKIN, SENIOR COLUMNIST, HUFFINGTON POST: Yes, Sheryl Sandberg is right and Sheryl Sandberg is talking about half the problem. She says she's talking about half the problem. She says in her book and in speeches that she is talking about the internal things that hold women back, which doesn't mean there aren't external things that hold women back, but this is what she chose to address. Whether or not she should have gone further is what the debate is about.

COSTELLO: And Areva, I'd like you to get into a little more as far as -- you seem to be blaming the employer, not the employee. The woman and is it possible that both are partly to blame?

MARTIN: You know, clearly, Carol, there are some things that women can learn to do. Yes, we spend more time being liked than being respected. Yes, we can learn how to build better relationships, how to pick mentors better. There are things that women have been talking about for decades that can help us be more successful in the workplace.

I can't help come back to the issue of the systemic things. I'm an African-American woman. I deal with issues of racial bias, I deal with issues of gender bias and they're not excuses, because I will get in there, and I'm going to do the job and I know so many hundreds of thousands, millions of women do the same thing.

Not making excuses, but I want to see this conversation elevated I want to see it expanded to include those things that are really going to make a difference 10 years from now, 20 years from now. I have a daughter, two daughters, and I tell them every day, you can be the president, you can be a CEO. I don't think women are telling little girls you are second class citizens, and you can't get ahead in this country. But they run smack into that reality, that there are some things that have to change through legislation and through litigation that will make a difference if women are to be equal to men across so many different factors of society.

COSTELLO: Lisa, I'm sure you have run into some of the same problems while you are on the job. What really needs to change so women can be all they can be?

BELKIN: Well, right now, we're still dealing with a way of working that's archaic. It was designed for men, back when all men had someone, namely a woman, at home taking care of the home so they could take care of work. Now, you have work expanding, it's no longer 9 to 5, it takes your entire life. And you have most families where two incomes are necessary to keep it afloat. And so you don't have the structures at home anymore that the workplace assist designed assumes. So we need to change the way we work. For men and for women. We need to change work.

COSTELLO: I know. And you're right. Wouldn't it be great if every employer provided daycare or some -- paid for some care?

MARTIN: That's a place to start.

COSTELLO: Such a great place to start. Areva Martin, Lisa Belkin, thank you for sharing this morning.

MARTIN: Thank you, carol.

BALKIN: Good to talk to you.

COSTELLO: Your personal information might be at risk. Talk about not wanting to share. You could be a victim of what's known as doxing. We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: Forty-six minutes past the hour. Time to check our "Top Stories".

Track star and accused murderer Oscar Pistorius is asking for more lenient conditions for his release. He also wants to travel overseas so he can sell some assets to settle his legal bills. Pistorius is charged with premeditated murder in the shooting death of his girlfriend on Valentine's Day. His family is also denying a BBC report that he is suicidal.

Add Congressman Ed Markey to the list of those wanting to keep small knives out of the airplane cabin. The Massachusetts Democrat will join others in just about 15 minutes to ask the TSA to reverse its recent rule change passengers can carry on some small knives beginning in late April. Many flight attendants and pilots oppose that decision.

Today the NFL is announcing a four-year-plan to reduce the danger of head injuries. It's joining GE and equipment maker Under Armour on a $60 million venture. Concussions have affected life in football and this program will look for better and quicker ways to identify and treat them.

Celebrities and high-profile politicians appear to be the victims of doxing. What is that you ask? Well it's the hacking of information that's already available to the public. And now the FBI is investigating who posted all of that info online.

"SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" host A.J. Hammer is following the story. It's very confusing, like why would that be illegal if it's already public and you post it in one place? Why would it be illegal?

A.J. HAMMER, HLN HOST, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Yes exactly I was looking in the Urban Dictionary and that's exactly right, doxing is just the technique of tracing someone or gathering information about somebody using sources on the Internet. So yes we can all do it.

And despite some of the headlines you see out there about celebrities being hacked, that's what could be going on here. But yes there is a Web site that is boasting the release of a lot of sensitive information for our hosts of celebrities and politicians and to some, the info that's posted on the site looks like the kinds of details you might find in a credit report. You have things like mortgage information, car loans, past addresses.

I like the Atlantic's take on the whole thing. They point out, if it is a hack, it's probably the most boring hack ever, because among the things you can find out on the site, the fact that Hillary Clinton used to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

So it's not exactly invasively private Carol. And we also can verify that a lot of the information is accurate. That some of the phone numbers that at list don't seem to be current. Now one of the numbers that we tried to call because we wanted to verify it, it was supposed to belong to Ashton Kutcher. Ashton did not answer the phone, it belongs to an accounting firm. I was thinking maybe it's the place he does his taxes or something.

But at a minimum, Carol, we may want to take this story as a reminder, there is a whole lot of info about all of us out there online and anybody can put it all together and compile it.

COSTELLO: Oh you're so right about that. A.J. Hammer, many thanks.

"Talk Back" question for you today. "Is closing White House tours prudent or pure politics?" Your response is coming up next. or tweet me @carolCNN.


COSTELLO: Our "Talk Back" question today "Is suspending White House tours prudent or pure politics?"

This from Mary, "People thought the sequester was going to mean we just go on as usual? They're canceling tuition assistance for military members. Let's see the outrage over that."

This from Nancy, "It's a slap in the face to the American people; another way Obama wants to demonize Republicans.

This from Hadayai, "It's a good idea to show people that when we don't work together, things like this can happen."

This from Lisa, "Pure politics, though honestly, anything they'll cut no matter how petty it may seem is better than the nothing they've done so far."

Please keep the conversation going, Or tweet me @carolCNN.

Coming up next in the NEWSROOM Michael Vick had to cancel his book tour. Why the NFL quarterback says his safety was in jeopardy.


COSTELLO: March Madness in full effect. And Gonzaga put an exclamation point on their argument they should be the top seed for the NCAA tournament. Jared Greenberg in with today's "Bleacher Report" hi.

JARED GREENBERG, BLEACHER REPORT: We have it for you Carol, they are dancing in the streets of Spokane. Gonzaga backed up as number one ranking and is headed back to the NCAA tournament.

Monday night, the Zags beat rival team St. Mary's to win the West Coast Conference title, all but locking up a top seed when the NCAA tournament is announced on Sunday. Gonzaga will now attempt to win its first ever men's hoops national championship.

Four other teams punched their tickets to the big dance last night. Western Kentucky, Davidson, James Madison and Iona. Three more bids up for grabs tonight.

And the Michael Vick book tour has been sacked. Reports have surfaced that credible threats of violence has caused the organizers to cancel the quarterback book signings in New Jersey as well as in his former hometown of Atlanta. Back in 2007, you'll recall Vick served an 18- month prison sentence for his role in a dog-fighting ring.

Neither snow, nor rain nor an earthquake can stop a television broadcast. A 4.7 quake hit the pro tennis at the Indian Wells in California, while its tennis channel was taping a segment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We go now 76 sheets it's flooding through my brain and I keep hearing that particular element of the game. But having said that, he coped with it really well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those comments were so powerful, Neal, we actually just endured an earthquake.


GREENBERG: You got to keep an eye there on Bret Haber (ph) a veteran sports broadcaster on the left side of your screen. Carol watch him, he knows something's up but no Ashton Kutcher showing up here to tell him he just got punked it was a legit quake.

The San Antonio Spurs made a big statement last night. You can logon to right now to check out a recap from their first- place showdown with the Thunder. And that leads in to a big, big Tuesday night in the NBA. The Miami Heat tonight put the NBA's longest active win streak on the line, 18 in a row tonight for the Heat, as they take on the Atlanta Hawks.

COSTELLO: Oh, my God, the Heat keeps on fire.

GREENBERG: They have been white hot in Miami. And tonight, they'll try to make it 19 in a row.

COSTELLO: Ok enough with the Heat fan. Thank you so much Jared.


COSTELLO: The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

Happening now in the NEWSROOM, waiting for the white smoke. The doors of the Sistine Chapel will close and lock and then an ancient tradition will begin. 115 cardinals casting secret ballots for a new pope, looking for an uncommon man.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The church does not run on just Hail Marys. I mean, you know we've got to make it work in terms of personnel and money and -- and being effective. I think the question is how effective is the curia in an Internet 24/7 world.


COSTELLO: Also the New York City soda goes flat but Mayor Michael Bloomberg --