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Republicans' Crucial Conference; More Cruise Ship Nightmares; ADHD Drugs Over-Prescribed

Aired March 14, 2013 - 13:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Some of the biggest names in conservative politics gathering in Maryland, but CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, also making headlines for the big Republican names not invited.

And here we go again, another cruise ship having trouble. This time it is the Carnival Dream. Passengers are complaining it is becoming a nightmare.

And the selection of a pope from Argentina has Latinos overjoyed. We're going to talk live and we're going to Los Angeles, where 70 percent of the archdiocese is la Latino, for reaction.

This is CNN NEWSROOM, and I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

First up here, thousands of Carnival Cruise passengers stuck on a ship, horrible conditions, waiting to go home. Right, sound familiar? That is right. Just a month after Carnival Triumph's disaster. Well, another Carnival Cruise vacation has now gone bad. This time, the cruise line's dream ship got stuck in St. Marten. Its emergency generator failed. Well, right now, passengers, they're waiting to be flown back to Florida. They've been kept on the boat for hours. Pretty bad conditions here. One of the passengers is now joining us by phone. This is Gregg Stark. He is on board this ship. He is with his family. And, Greg, just take us through what has happened. What has this experience been like for you?

GREGG STARK: It's been pretty horrible. Yesterday around 4:30 p.m., we were supposed to leave and they announced at about 5:30 that we were not leaving and that they need to do some testing. And they had to shut some elevators -- shut down elevators and the toilets. They tested that. I would say everything was down for a few hours. And then they came back. And, you know, they made it sound like it was going to be fixed.

And then later in the evening, probably around 10:00 at night or 9:00 at night they did another test and shut everything down. And at that time, it was down for probably about three hours. During that time, the toilets and everything started overflowing down in the main general lobby areas where people were frequenting the -- frequenting the bathroom. We went down there and spoke with guest services. They didn't even have a supervisor that was on duty. We had to pull them off duty and he was totally unaware of any of the bathrooms overflowing. We offered to go show him, you know, where it was at. And, you know, he was really not interested in it. We tried to get off the boat at that time. And they told us that the port authority was not available 24 hours a day and that we would have to wait until the morning.

MALVEAUX: Gregg, I understand you're there with your wife and kids?

STARK: And it's been -- it's been pretty bad.

MALVEAUX: I understand you're with your wife and your two young children there. How are the kids reacting to all of this?

STARK: I'm sorry?

MALVEAUX: You're there with your two kids and your wife. I wonder how your kids are reacting to all this?

STARK: They are actually OK. And last night when the worst part was, they were actually sleeping. So, they weren't really exposed to it too much. We did pack up our entire room and everything last night in case, you know, we needed to quickly get off the boat. But they have been -- they have been OK for the most part.

MALVEAUX: And what was it like after you packed up the room and the kids were sleeping, you got up this morning, did you see anything different? Did it improve at all?

STARK: The only difference this morning was that the bathrooms were working and that the elevators were working. We actually didn't get an update from anybody on the ship until about 11:00 during the day at which point they told us that they would be flying everybody back to Orlando. For the most part, right now, everything is working on the ship, however they do have, like, the water park on the ship turned off to conserve energy and the main dining room is closed.

MALVEAUX: All right. Gregg, do let us know how you and your family do and if you guys get on your way, when you actually are able to get home. Thanks again, Gregg. Appreciate it.

He only accepted this position 25 hours ago, right? Well, now, Pope Francis well into day one and he's hitting the ground running. Just a short time ago, he celebrated his first mass as pope with the cardinals who elected him. The American catholic church has been rocked by scandal and declining membership as you know. But many are actually hopeful that that could possibly change.

Casey Wian, he is showing us that Latinos in Los Angeles hoping that the first pope from the Americas will bring new life to an old church.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's as if Catholics in the new world have been waiting six centuries for a voice, especially Latinos. They are very happy to have a new pope, especially everyone in Latin America, we are very happy.

JUVENCIA SEGURA: For a long time we were waiting for somebody like that to come from Latin America. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Americas now are on the map.

WIAN: Los Angeles Arch Bishop Jose Gomez leads the largest archdiocese in the United States, 5 million people.

JOSE GOMEZ, ARCHBISHOP, LOS ANGELES DIOCESE: It is a beautiful sign to have a new pope who is the first pope from the Americas, from the new world.

WIAN: In 2011, Gomez replaced Cardinal Roger Mahoney, one of many U.S. church leaders tainted by a cover up of child sexual abuse by priests.

RAY ANDRADE: I don't want to be too scandalous, but I still think we need to deal with, you know, our -- you know, the priests and the stories that we hear about molestation and all of that still. But, you know, that's a big burden on the church right now.

WIAN: It's just one of the issues on the minds of American catholics, including the role of women in the church and immigration reform.

REV. JAMES HEFT, USC INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED CATHOLIC STUDIES: There's no reason why this newly elected pope coming from Argentina would not be highly sensitive to this very issue.

WIAN: Archbishop Gomez says the choice of the name Francis is especially significant.

GOMEZ: I think the example of St. Francis (INAUDIBLE) building the church anew, it's a wonderful example for all of us, today and always.

WIAN: The catholics we spoke with shared one thing, faith in their new pope to lead the church through its recent turmoil.

DEAN SMITH, KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS: Well, I'm not going to really comment about that, because I think that's something to leave to the Holy Father to address. As a faithful catholic, we will follow his lead, his direction in any way he takes us.

WIAN (on camera): Do you think the church needs to change in any way?

SEGURA: Probably but we don't know exactly. He's doesn't know what he's going to do for a better catholic church in the world.


MALVEAUX: I want to bring in Casey Wian. And, Casey, talk a little about what the catholic church has meant when it comes to education in Los Angeles.

WIAN (live): Well, Suzanne, it's no secret that the Los Angeles unified school district has been underperforming for years and years. Catholic schools provide an alternative for many parents. There are 250 in the Los Angeles archdiocese, 120,000 students in those schools, many of them on scholarship. Also, to look at it more broadly, the catholic church is the largest social welfare organization in the United States. It served 7.8 million needy people last year of all faiths -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: That's a very significant contribution. Thank you very much, Casey, I appreciate it.

Any moment now, we are watching Florida here our Florida Senator Marco Rubio is going to go to the podium. This is the Conservative Political Action Conference's annual meeting taking place. He's actually one of the key GOP players who did get invited to this political gathering. It's just outside of Washington. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell are two of the noted Republicans who were not invited. You see him there, Rubio. The event considered really a gauge of conservative thinking and even an early preview of the 2016 presidential race. You see him. He is just starting to speak. I want to bring in two of our players here. Brianna Keilar, she is actually here at this event. And tell us why -- first of all, Brianna, why is this moment important for him?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly this is an event, Suzanne, that I think people look at, they wonder really how relevant CPAC is. But it's certainly often relevant in the fact that you're seeing sort of upcoming political players in the Republican Party. A lot of them come here maybe for their debut or to kind of cement their status.

But there's another issue this year that I think makes this something that's more to watch and that is what is the future of the Republican Party? That is actually the theme of this year's conference at a time where Republicans agree that what they've been doing isn't really working. So, this is supposed to be kind of an ideas' forum, although a lot of times it does sort of take this political stage.

And I think there will be a lot of what these speakers are discussing today will be kind of looking to see what their ideas are for the future of the Republican Party. Big names that we're seeing today this hour in fact, Senator Marco Rubio who, as we understand, will kind of be following on what he said during his response to President Obama's State of the Union speech. The theme of his remarks will be why limited government is something that is good for the middle class.

And then, I think something really to watch will be the remarks of Senator Rand Paul. He comes right after Senator Rubio. And the -- I will tell you, his camp is setting expectations pretty high here. He sees this kind of following on that filibuster of the president's CIA director nomination last week as sort of his chance to cement his role here, not just as a big name, but as a name for the Republican mainstream.

So, we'll see if he's able to do that. But he's going to trying to take, I'm told, a very serious leadership tone and give what, I've been told, is a uniting speech. We will see if he is able to deliver on that -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right. Brianna, we're going to be checking in back with you later in that conference to see his speech as well as many of the others. We also want to remind our viewers here, a reminder program note here, Jake Tapper, he's got his new show. It's called "THE LEAD." It's starting at 4:00 p.m. Eastern and that's on Monday on CNN right here. You're going to want to watch.

Here's what we're working on as well for this hour. Republicans as you're seeing meeting in Maryland doing some soul searching at this Conservative Political Action Conference. We're going to continue to check in live throughout the hour.

Plus, live reports from Phoenix. That, of course, where the Jodi Arias trial continues.

And imagine free falling in terror after your parachute fails. The skydiver lives to tell about this terrifying experience.


MALVEAUX: A group of doctors is warning that drugs used to treat ADHD are now being overprescribed. Kids are using them as study aids. Now, Elizabeth Cohen, she is joining us. And -- so, what do we know about this? What are they normally used for? And then -- and how are they being misused?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Suzanne, ADHD drugs like Ritalin are supposed to be used by kids who, well, actually have ADHD drugs. And a group of pediatric neurologists have gotten together and said, look, enough is enough. We're tired of parents coming to us, asking for ADHD drugs when their children don't have the disease. The parents just want the child to be able to focus better, say, to turn a B student into an A student. And so, these neurologists have gotten together to tell parents, don't do this.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: A group got together saying enough is enough we're tired of parents asking for us for ADHD drugs when their children don't have the disease, the parents just want the child to be able to focus better to turn a B student into an A student. So these neurologists have gotten together to tell parents don't do this. And they're also telling doctors, hey, don't give into this. When a parent comes to you and wants these drugs just so this child can improve their grade point average, just say no. Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Elizabeth, remind our viewers, you say the disease, remind us what that is.

COHEN: Right. ADHD is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It's when a child has a severe, severe problem focusing and paying attention. Not when a kid is reading and looking around and looking out the window. My kids don't have ADHD, but they do that all the time. Kids just sometimes do that. It doesn't mean that they actually need drugs. There is a real difference between a kid who might be a little spacey sometimes and a kid who actually has ADHD and could truly benefit from these drugs.

MALVEAUX: So what is the danger if you had that kind of drug and this child did not have ADHD? COHEN: First of all, we don't really know the long-term effects of ritalin and other drugs for ADHD. That really hasn't been studied for many, many decades to look at what it would do to a child. But even in the short-term we know that these drugs can have issues. For example, children can sometimes become irritable when they're taking these drugs. They can develop insomnia, loss of appetite, they can even develop, and this is not the majority of children, but some can develop heart arrhythmias, this is not just like giving your child a piece of candy. These are serious drugs.

MALVEAUX: All right. Elizabeth, thank you very much. And of course want to let folks know if you want more information about when you should actually test your child for ADHD, you can go to

Following this, people in one New York neighborhood filling the streets now for the third straight night to show their anger at the police. So this is East Flatbush in Brooklyn. A protest last night started peacefully turned ugly however when people threw bricks and bottles at this police station. There's tension in East Flatbush, it's been rising since police shot dead a 16-year-old just last weekend. Officers say the teenager pointed a gun at them. More than 45 people were arrested last night. Mostly for disorderly conduct.

Also in New York, this is really sad. A woman she fell eight stories to her death while holding her 10-month-old baby.


STEVEN DOMINGUEZ, EYE WITNESS: The baby bounced off her chest on to the floor face down and was crying. My mother tried to pick up the baby, but there was already a detective there. And it was his responsibility after that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You look a little shaken up.

DOMINGUEZ: Yes. I wish I never witnessed that. I wish nobody ever has to witness that. It's disturbing. And horrible.


MALVEAUX: That's awful. The apartment building in west Harlem police say 45-year-old mother died instantly but somehow this baby survived. And neighbors say they heard arguing in the apartment before the baby's mother fell. Investigators, they have not officially said whether or not this woman committed suicide.

Want to go to the CPAC conference in Washington. We're following it. Senator Marco Rubio. Let's listen in.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: America's changed and our people have changed that we reach this point in time and we have too many people in America that want too much from government and that maybe the changes that have happened are irreversible and it will never be the same again.

I want you to understand that's not true. Our people have not changed. The vast majority of the American people are hard working taxpayers who take responsibility for their families, go to work every day, they pay their mortgage on time, they volunteer in the community, this is what the vast majority of the American people still are.

What's changed is the world around us. It's changed in dramatic ways. Just think how much the world has changed in the last ten years. The global economy is real. We don't live in a national economy anymore. Everything you buy, everything you sell, everything you touch, it's all impacted by things that are happening halfway around the world.

The information age is real that's made our lives easier. It's allowed you right now to take pictures with your phones and tweet every word I say for or against me. It's changed the world. And it's made our life easier. It's also changed our economy. You go into a grocery store today and you will find machines doing the jobs that people once used to do. You find a day in many businesses that one person because of automation can do the work five people used to do.

It's the world around us that's changed. And this has had an impact on our people. On our hard working people. Many have seen their jobs wiped out. Jobs they've been doing for 20 years disappeared overnight. Many of them -- and many of them do things the right way. For example, they pay their mortgages on time. And now when the housing bubble came they were stuck with a bill for bailing out the banks that caused it, for bailing out the people who took out mortgages that couldn't afford to pay.

Everywhere they look they see trouble around them. They look to Washington, D.C. As if they don't have enough troubles to begin with. Every week Washington's creating some sort of manmade crisis for them to worry about. And they look at the political process whether it's fair or not and what many of them see is they think that one side is fighting for the people that have made it. And all the other side does is fight for government policies to protect the people who are struggling.

And they don't want to take anything away from anybody, the vast majority of Americans and the hard working middle class. They don't want to take away from people that have made it. They don't want to hurt the people that are trying. But they wonder who's fighting for them. Who's fighting for the hard working every day people of this country who do things right and do not complain, that have built this nation and made it exceptional?

And as conservative believers in limited government and free enterprise, that is both our challenge and our opportunity to be their voice. By the way, I can't think of a better call. Because our hard working middle class is one of the things that makes America different and special from the rest of the world.

Every country in the world has rich people. Unfortunately every country in the world has poor people. But few have the kind of vibrant widespread middle class that America does. A widespread middle class that everyone we have said should have an equal part opportunity to be part of the middle class or even better. It sets us apart from the world. In that light you hear all this debate about infighting among conservatives, infighting among people that believe in limited government. That's really a foolish notion. People who disagree on all sorts of things in the real world work together all the time on things they do agree on. And there has to be a home and a movement in America --


MALVEAUX: Our Brianna Keilar is actually at this conference. Also weighing in our chief political correspondent Candy Crowley here in Washington. Good to see both of you. Brianna, you're there. I want to start with you first here. What are the conservatives in that audience, what are they listening for in his speech?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, I think they're actually listening for some of what we heard from him before. And that's really what they're going to get. He's talking about actually something that reminds me a little bit of President Obama. He's talking about the middle class and equal opportunities for the middle class. So taking a page out of President Obama's book and this is really his message that we heard in his response to President Obama's state of the union. We're not expecting any new policy prescriptions coming from Marco Rubio. I will tell you people have been flooding in here ahead of the speech, it's standing room only at this point. They have great expectations obviously to listen to Marco Rubio and what I've been told by someone close to him is sort of a venue that's personally important to him. Remember he gave a keynote speech here in 2010 when he really wasn't that well-known and he was running for U.S. Senate. He alluded to that. He talked about how I was here talking about running for the U.S. Senate when I had about as much a chance of winning as I did a papal conclave and I managed to win. Next up we'll be listening for Rand Paul, it's a really big hour here at CPAC for conservatives who have come to watch these speakers.

MALVEAUX: Candy, I want to bring you into the discussion here. How important is the gathering of conservative Republicans? You've covered many of these conferences before. Is this really kind of a test case, a tryout for 2016?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, sure. Absolutely. And it's the most important thing until the next important thing. The Republicans are as we like to say in the wilderness right now. This is a party that is not in the White House. When you do not have a member of your party in the oval office, there comes sort of the internal search. This is part of that, the conservative wing of the party. CPAC has been very influential both money wise and certainly in terms of support for presidential candidates and on down the line. This is a very early cattle call, if you will, the sort of inelegant name we use for, hey, what about this guy for 2016?

So make no mistake about it this is an electric speaker inside the Republican party. They really like Marco Rubio. He's young, he's a son of Cuban immigrants. There is a lot to kind of recommend him to the national stage. So they are sizing these guys up not just about the next couple of years what are you going to do in the Senate or where's the conservative movement going, but how do I feel about this guy? And it is not a mistake, I don't think, that he and Rand Paul, two of the most talked about members of perhaps the 2016 class of Republicans are talking back-to-back. I think that comparison was meant to be. So, yes, this is absolutely about 2016 and the direction of the Republican party.

MALVEAUX: All right. Candy, Brianna, good to see you guys as always. We'll be keeping a close eye on that conference. And what Candy was mentioning before is Republican now known for his marathon speaking. Take you back to the CPAC conference, the conservative political action conference right outside of Washington where Rand Paul is also expected to speak soon.


MALVEAUX: In New Orleans crews are continuing to search for a missing teacher. Police are combing the bayous, the ponds near the area where she disappeared. There are still no signs of Terrilynn Monette. She was last seen at a bar on March 2nd celebrating her nomination for teacher of the year. Nick Valencia has the latest from New Orleans.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A SONAR teal from the Texas-based Equusearch organization is helping authorities try to find a schoolteacher missing for nearly two weeks.


TONI ENCLADE, MISSING WOMAN'S MOTHER: I can't sleep at night. I can't sleep at night. I can't eat. I keep thinking about my child and where she could be. I just want her back. So please if you're listening and you're watching this, please bring Terrilynn home.


VALENCIA: Terrilynn Monette's mother spoke from outside the popular bar where her daughter was last seen on March second. She went there with friends to celebrate her nomination as district teacher of the year. The search is focused on the waterways and canals around city park that would have been on her way home. Equusearch helped in the high profile searches for Natalee Holway and Caylle Anthony and it says that it helped recover more than 300 people since its formation in 2000. Monette, age 26, moved to New Orleans from California in 2001, and was in her first year of teaching second graders at Woodland West Elementary.


AMY HOYLE, PRINCIPAL WOODLAND WEST ELEMENTARY: If there are superheroes in any way, she is the superest of superheroes because she came in with a beautiful smile, a determined attitude and a lot of intelligence that helped her students to really elevate their test scores.