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CNN NEWSROOM

Interview with Kris Anderson; Another Debacle for Carnival; TINA Investing Rising; New Pontiff Sheds Formality; The Latest in the Jodi Arias Case; Portman in Favor of Same-Sex Marriage; Kakenya Ntaiya Starts School in Kenya, Empowers Young Girls

Aired March 15, 2013 - 11:00   ET

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


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": And this, incidentally, is the Dream, not to be confused with the Elation. That had steering problems last weekend. Also not to be confused with the Legend. That ship has issues with propulsion and heading back to Tampa without a scheduled stop in Grand Cayman.

None of this compares to the nightmare aboard the Carnival Triumph barely a month ago. That ship was crippled for days with little power, few working toilets and rationed phone.

I'm joined now on the phone by a Carnival Dream passenger and Memphis TV news anchor who we spoke with yesterday, Kris Anderson, still onboard the ship, still in St. Maarten, but likely to be heading out soon.

So, Kris, what does it look like? Is it a mass exodus? What's the scene?

KRIS ANDERSON, CARNIVAL DREAM PASSENGER (via telephone): You know, Ashleigh, it's relatively calm. They've been organizing small groups, or relatively small groups of passengers into waves.

They have wave one, wave two, and they have them meeting in a common area to then leave the ship to get onto some charter buses that then take us over to the airport.

I actually haven't received my travel information yet, so I have idea when we're leaving. Obviously if we haven't received it yet by late last night, early this morning, means that we're not going to leave until at least tomorrow, possibly into Sunday.

But as far as organization, it seems very organized. It seems like they have a plan in place. And they're doing it in waves where they're taking large groups at a time.

BANFIELD: So give me an idea how people are taking this. Are they angry? Are they frustrated, confused? Or is everybody taking this in stride because these things will happen?

ANDERSON (via telephone): I think everyone's taking it in stride. I think a lot of people saw what happened with the Triumph and quickly realized how much worse it could be. We're stuck in St. Maarten. It's absolutely a beautiful day. We're overlooking gorgeous turquoise waters. We have full amenities. We have electricity. We have working toilets. We have hot food, running water. There's nothing wrong with the ship.

And, in fact, I talked with some senior Carnival officials who flew in onboard yesterday. They said, look, the ship is fine. The ship works fine. What it is, it's the emergency backup system.

All of their systems are operational. It's that emergency backup system that's having the problems and they, for obvious reasons, didn't want to risk going out in the ocean with the emergency backup generators and systems not working properly.

BANFIELD: Well, my friend, enjoy St. Maarten while you can. It's back to work for you on Monday.

Kris Anderson, thanks for being with us.

And, by the way, this is not just Carnival's reputation that's taking a hit this year. The stock price tumbled, down almost 2 percent just today.

And, speaking of uncharted waters for Wall Street, the Dow has been shooting to 11 straight winning days. That's something that has not happened in 21 years.

After hitting another record high yesterday, right now, the Dow is down a wee bit, down about 40 or so. That could change, never know, by the end of the day.

Christine Romans is here to talk about this, live. Is this a circumstance where there's such exuberance, and everyone is so excited?

Are these the people buying in who perhaps sold at the bottom and now buying at the high?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Look, a lot of this is people who bought at the bottom, kept buying along the way and still buying now.

You're seeing a lot of professional buying in this market. You've seen individual investors who have been a little more late to the game because they wanted to be convinced.

But, Ashleigh, this rally has been minting millionaires, about 400,000 new millionaires in this country last year. That's more than a thousand new millionaires every single day.

It's because the housing market is recovering, but, more importantly, it's because of the stock market rally, so you are seeing people actually making money and making fortunes in this market right now.

The big question, though, is what happens next? So, the case for buying stocks is this. The Federal Reserve stimulus, all of this money going into the system, "there is no alternative." I told you about that. A lot of investment managers saying ...

BANFIELD: "TINA, TINA."

ROMANS: "TINA" investing. There's nothing else to do. Interest rates are so low.

BANFIELD: How about all those new millionaires? Are they pumping all that money right back into the stock market, too?

ROMANS: Those millionaires have money in the stock market. They have money in housing. They have money in their jobs.

BANFIELD: Are they employing people? Or are they saying, gee ...

ROMANS: Now, that's a good question. That's a good question because you've got companies that are making money. I'm talking about all the money sitting on the sidelines, cash the companies have that they're not deploying because they don't need to, right?

They're making money, giving the money back to the shareholders. They're not necessarily hiring.

So, that's the disconnect, you see.

BANFIELD: And, listen, I only ask that because we're in Congress right now at an absolute stranglehold because Republicans say, look, tax cuts give more money to people.

And when people have more money, they open up their smaller businesses, their medium-size businesses they employ more people.

So, if people are getting all sorts of money out of the stock market, wouldn't the behavior be the same?

ROMANS: Well, if people are getting more money out of the stock market, will they start to hire? And that's this interesting disconnect that we're seeing right here, right now.

You're not seeing the job growth come along with the economic growth that you would have expected, so that's what's really frustrating.

And I will be very clear. When I talk about new millionaires being minted in the stock market, I get all this angry feedback from people saying, look, I'm under water on my loan. I'm not in the stock market. I don't have a good enough job to be doing this.

So, there's really two different stories here going on about the American economy.

BANFIELD: You know what they say about depression babies?

ROMANS: What?

BANFIELD: They never change their ways after the depression. That's why they were always careful with their money, even when times got good, and I wonder if we'll behave the same way. ROMANS: If you were careful, you have not -- you have missed a big, big rally here.

BANFIELD: All right, well, good to see you. Have a nice weekend.

ROMANS: You, too.

BANFIELD: OK, Christine Romans in for us.

We have a lot of other big news today. A close call, actually, this morning, for the new head of the Catholic Church. Yikes, a stumble. Good recovery, though.

Pope Francis stumbling while meeting with cardinals in Vatican City. He's OK, obviously. Take a look, barely made a difference.

This is just after one day on the job. The pope is showing us that he is doing things his own way, breaking tradition, shunning formality.

Yesterday, he just went ahead and paid his own hotel bill. Yep, yep, took the bus, paid his own bill, picked up his own luggage. And at his first mass, he spoke off the cuff, unscripted.

And, also, take a look at this. Forget the motorcade. I love it. Just decided to go with the rest of the cardinals on their bus.

It's a Vatican spokesman who said that this approach is sending, quote, "jolts" through the system. I don't know if that's a good thing.

Samsung's Galaxy S4 is finally here. That smartphone unveiled last night. Some analysts saying it will compete for the title of best smartphone of the year.

The S4 comes with a five-inch high-resolution screen, a front- and back-facing camera and it's lightweight because the shell is made of plastic.

But Samsung isn't giving any details on the processor.

It's a never-ending story, my lord, does it ever give. The Jodi Arias trial, it's so coming close to an end.

But what about everything that woman said, weeks and weeks on the stand, is the jury going to buy it? Or have the tables turned? The story's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: A search team using sonar has found five cars in the New Orleans waterways. The trouble is not one of those cars belongs to a missing teacher named Terrilynn Monette.

Hundreds of volunteers and police have been scouring New Orleans, looking for this woman. She is a teacher of the year nominee and she hasn't been seen since March 2nd. In her six weeks on the witness stand, there has been a theme in Jodi Arias' testimony, again and again and again. She tells the jury, I just don't remember, especially all those inconvenient details about the day that she admittedly killed her boyfriend violently and viciously.

And yesterday, her psychologist testified as to why she may be so foggy in those areas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD SAMUELS, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: People who suffer from stress-producing trauma will frequently not recall for a certain period, starting at the beginning of the trauma until sometime thereafter which can be measured in even hours or even days or even weeks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Well, it seems awfully plausible, but will a jury who is seemingly fed up with all of her lying, will they buy that? And will they agree with that expert?

In her 18th and last day on the stand, a woman who simply had an answer for everything, and quick, suddenly couldn't explain the linchpin in the case when the prosecution was trying to prove meditation, just grilled her on the timeline, the all-important timeline. She just couldn't explain one of the most important parts.

So has the tide finally turned against her?

Here's CNN's Randi Kaye, with a quick warning some of the images are graphic.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On her final day on the stand, Jodi Arias was schooled in mathematics.

Do the math, the prosecutor attempted to show. Her story doesn't add up.

JUAN MARTINEZ, ARIAS PROSECUTOR: At some point in your life, you get watches. You know about time, you know that movement takes time, don't you?

KAYE: Martinez said Arias simply would not have had enough time, given the evidence, to first go searching for the knife she used to stab Travis Alexander nearly 30 times to his throat. He says she might have had the knife there.

MARTINEZ: It would have taken time to actually look for it, wouldn't it?

JODI ARIAS, MURDER DEFENDANT: I guess under that theory.

MARTINEZ: Sure, under that theory. It would take time, right?

ARIAS: yes, I guess.

KAYE: To prove his theory of premeditation, the prosecutor showed these two photographs, taken just 62 seconds apart, according to their time stamps.

Arias said this accidental photo of the ceiling was taken after she dropped Alexander's camera, when he was still alive. That's when she says, he lunged at her.

MARTINEZ: In the 62 seconds between that photograph and exhibit 162, you are body-slammed. You get away. You get the gun. You shoot him and then, after you're able to get away, you go get the knife and he ends up at the end of the hallway.

All in 62 seconds, that's what you're telling us?

ARIAS: No, that's not what I'm saying.

KAYE: Regardless of what arias is saying, the photo timestamps say something else.

In the second photo, taken a minute later, Arias' foot is seen next to Alexander's bleeding body in the bathroom. By now, he's been stabbed and shot.

Would just 62 seconds between the photos have been enough time to support Arias' scenario that a chase and a struggle occurred?

More than a month into her trial on her 18th day on the stand, Jodi Arias offered a brand-new scenario for how the knife came into play.

Listen to this.

MARTINEZ: You needed to go get that knife at that point, correct?

ARIAS: No, it's possible Travis got the knife first.

MARTINEZ: You never told us that he had any knife there, did you?

ARIAS: No, I wasn't asked.

KAYE: Jury members also had questions for Arias about the knife.

Seems they, too, were trying to make sense of her changing stories.

JUDGE SHERRY STEVENS, MARICOPA COUNTY: You said you remember putting the knife in the dishwasher after killing Travis. But you also say you don't remember anything after dropping the knife on the bathroom tile. Which is correct?

ARIAS: I have vague memory of putting a knife in the dishwasher. I just don't know if that's the memory of June 4th.

KAYE: There were more questions was the gun in a holster or not when she said she grabbed it out of Alex's closet.

This is key because the state said she brought a gun with her to kill Alexander and never grabbed a gun.

Arias seemed to get tripped up again on whether or not the gun was loaded.

MARTINEZ: Did you tell the jury when you were talking about the attack, in response to one of their questions, that you believed the gun was unloaded?

Do you remember saying that? Yes or no?

ARIAS: I don't ...

MARTINEZ: That's all I'm asking, yes or no. Do you remember saying that?

ARIAS: I don't know.

KAYE: After that, the prosecutor let her have it.

MARTINEZ: What were you going to do with the gun, throw it at him?

KAYE: For once, even Jodi Arias seemed too flustered to respond.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Phoenix, Arizona.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BANFIELD: Okay. That is just awesome and great reporting from Randi. You heard her say the magic number is 62. As in 62 seconds. That's how long Jodi Arias said it took her to kill her boyfriend and the whole struggle and everything.

HLN's Mike Galanos put it to the test. He did the whole thing. Everything like Jodi says. He timed it out, just to see if he could make it. We're going to give it to a break and try it, too. Just time it out, too, in 62 seconds, whether you could commit this kind of murder. We'll see the whole reenactment of Mike Galanos in just moment.

And not only that, but a prominent Republican lawmaker shocking a lot of people in coming in support of his son's right to marry another man. You're going hear exclusively from Senator Rob Portman coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: When it comes to same-sex marriage, Republicans continue to surprise. Senator Rob Portman who for years strongly spoke out against gay marriage now says he's for it. He dropped that bombshell in an exclusive interview with our Dana Bash, telling her that the change of heart has come because his 21-year-old son has told him that he's gay. But here's his response when Dana asked him: what do you tell your gay constituents? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What do you say to a gay constituent in Ohio who says I'm so glad that he changed his position. Why did it take him learning that he has a gay son? Why didn't he as my representative care about that before?

SEN. ROB PORTMAN, (R) OHIO: Well, I would say I had a change of heart based on a personal experience. That's certainly true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: In a tweet, Senator Portman's son, Will Portman, expressed his joy declaring that he's, quote, "especially proud of my dad today." Portman is joining a growing list of Republicans who have come out in support of gay marriage. Including Dick Cheney, the former V.P. whose daughter, Mary Cheney, married her longtime partner last year. Former First Lady Laura Bush, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and also Meg Whitman who originally supported a ban on gay marriage when he ran for governor of California in 2010, they've all reversed course.

Portman's surprise comes as conservatives are holding their biggest event of the year. It's known as CPAC. Happening outside of Washington, D.C. Wolf Blitzer joins us to talk about that. Wolf, while we talk about what Senator Portman has said in his exclusive interview with Dana Bash. Gay groups are not even invited to CPAC. Is there still this disconnect among the larger Republican party?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, there's still a major split in the country on same-sex marriage, equality as it's also called. And those differences are reflected not only in conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans. Although the divisions have narrowed over the past several years, they're reflected in the public opinion polls as well. Though we have seen steady increases over these years, in the number of Americans who support same-sex marriage who want gay couples be allowed to get married. So that has clearly changed over the years.

What Senator Portman is now doing, albeit, in part at least in large part because he discovered his own son is gay, is reflective of a much wider acceptance of gay marriage all across the country.

BANFIELD: So what about the issue of social policy? The evolving Republican party? The need to change? The effects of the last election, immigration, gay marriage, abortion all of these things? How much is gay marriage a part of this evolution if there is going to be such?

BLITZER: Well, I think if Republicans and conservatives are going to be reaching out to young people, the overwhelming majority of young people in all of the polls we've seen are much more open to gay marriage than older Americans, more traditional Americans. And even as president -- former President Bill Clinton who signed the Defense of Marriage Act which maintains that marriage is between a man and a woman 17 years ago, he signed that into law. He now opposes the Defense of Marriage Act and thinks that gays should be allowed to get married just as any other American should be allowed to get married.

So there's a generational gap, if you will. And I think that politically speaking, a lot of Republicans are beginning to say to themselves, you know what, since their stance opposing gay marriage is not necessarily popular with younger Americans, they've got to see the handwriting on the wall, if you will.

But it's significant, very significant with Senator Portman. He does this on the eve of the oral arguments that will be made before the U.S. Supreme Court on the Defense of Marriage Act on gay marriage. That we expect a decision by the nine justices before the end of June. Look, these justices, while they try to just look at the law, they're also impacted by public opinion, I think it's fair to say. So his decision to express the support for gay marriage I think is significant.

BANFIELD: And we're within two weeks of those oral arguments, too. Wolf, great. Thank you so much.

I have a reminder, too, we've got this terrific new program that's coming. We want everyone to take a peek. It's CNN's new show called "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper. it gets underway on Monday afternoon at 4:00. How could not watch a very smart guy who likes comic books? Admittedly so. Jake's a good guy.

This week, CNN, our hero, is giving young girls in her village a chance to go to school, a chance to challenge their destiny. She's doing to by challenging a cultural tradition that many people around the world as cruel and barbaric and yet it just keeps happening. It's called female genital mutilation. Even though it's outlawed in Kakenya Ntaiya's homeland of Kenya, it still goes on in some rural areas. An it affects, are you ready, 140 million women worldwide.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KAKENYA NTAIYA, FOUNDER, KAKENYA'S DREA: I avoided the ceremony as far as I could. Most of the Maasai girls undergo this mutilation when they're 12. I really liked going to school. I knew that once I go through the cutting, I'm going to be married off. And my dream of becoming a teacher was going to end. My mind said to run away, but I had to face my dad and say I will only go through the cutting if he lets me go back to school.

It was done in the morning, using a very old rusty knife with no anesthesia. I can never forget that day. Eventually, I was the first girl in my community to go to college in the U.S.. I am Kakenya Ntaiya. And I returned to my village to start a school for girls so they, too, can achieve their full potential. When girls start at our school, they are very shy, but over time, you see them very confident.

How are you girls?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: Fine.

NTIYA: They are doing very well. It's the most exciting thing. Our work is about empowering the girls. These girls say no to being cut, they're dreaming of becoming lawyers, teachers, doctors. Fathers are now saying, my daughter could do better than my son.

Why should you work hard? To achieve your goals.

I came back so girls in my community don't have to negotiate like I did to achieve their dreams. That's why I wake up every morning.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BANFIELD: Kakenya's school has 155 students. To enroll in that school, parents have to agree not to circumcise their daughters.

To learn more about this program, or you can nominate someone you think deserves to be recognized go to CNNheroes.com and tell us about them now.

The trial of two high school football players accused of raping a 16- year-old girl several times while she was dead drunk hits court with a fury. You won't believe some of the text messages that are coming out in evidence. I'm going to show them to you. And you can be the judge, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)