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Maurice Griffin Lives Dream; Romney Speaks at CPAC; U.S. Defense Department Major Announcement; Tracking of Facebook "Likes"

Aired March 15, 2013 - 13:30   ET



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Maurice Griffin is living a dream 32 years in the making. He's finally being adopted by his foster mother almost two decades after the legal process first began.

Paul Vercammen has the story.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A son's true love is wonderfully stubborn.



MAURICE GRIFFIN, GETTING ADOPTED AT 32: I love you. Finally going to get it done, huh?


GRIFFIN: I love you so much.

VERCAMMEN: Maurice Griffin, 32 years old, is headed to court, juvenile court, to finally be adopted by his one-time foster mother. They were pried apart almost two decades ago, completely lost contact, but not hope for reunion.

GODBOLD: I just feel like this makes it official. And we don't have to keep explaining it now.

GRIFFIN: I didn't fight for all those years to not finish this. I didn't fight for no reason. That's why it has to happen. I never let anybody get close to me again. I hurt a lot of people. And it was a rough road.

VERCAMMEN: The long road to redemption first took a happy turn when Lisa saw Maurice at an orphan's ranch near the Sacramento home she shared with her African-American husband, Charles Harris, and their two biological sons.

GODBOLD: Back in the early '80s, interracial relationships weren't as common or accepted as they are today. And the fact that Maurice was biracial and we were a biracial family and we were already raising boys, I think made us a great profile.

VERCAMMEN: Maurice moved in with the new family when he was 9, bonded to the two younger boys.

GRIFFIN: We were best friends. We'd run around and did mischievous things and fun things. It was a good time.

VERCAMMEN: But they say, at 13, Maurice was forced to leave before he could be adopted after a dispute over spanking.

GODBOLD: The foster care system, which I believe is this way, you can't use corporal punishment, you can't spank foster children. And Maurice very much wanted that. And we wanted him to feel like the rest of our kids. And there was a difference of opinion with some supervisors.

VERCAMMEN: Lisa says officials threatened to take her biological sons, Maurice was eventually removed and lost touch.

GRIFFIN: It was just a 10-year emptiness. I couldn't talk with anybody about it because nobody was there. I couldn't call somebody and, you know, and say remember this or that. It was just a void.

VERCAMMEN: But they never stopped trying to find each other. Lisa's husband died in 1998. She remarried, changed her last name, complicating the search.

But she found and messaged Maurice on MySpace six years ago. Maurice responded.

GRIFFIN: She said, hey, baby. And I said, I got to call you back.



WHITFIELD: Awe, such a nice story.

We're going to take you to National Harbor, Maryland, there. Mitt Romney there at the CPAC convention, the Conservative Political Action Conference, to give his first speech since losing the run for presidency.

MITT ROMNEY, (R), FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- uncommon courage and conviction and her principles guide her governance, we need more governors like Nikki Haley.


ROMNEY: And thank you for your support from the very beginning. You were there from the very start, made a difference for me. Your campaign gave me the early boost, you worked on the front lines promoting my campaign. You made calls I owe each of you, and appreciate your help and support through that campaign.

With the help of so many of you, I had the honor of becoming the nominee of our party for the presidency of the United States. I was given the --


ROMNEY: -- I was given the great privilege of experiencing America in a way that Ann and I never anticipated we'd get to do. Our fellow citizens opened our hearts and homes to us. Of course, I left the race disappointed that I didn't win --


ROMNEY: -- but I also left honored and humbled to have represented the values we believe in and to speak for so many good and decent people.

We've lost races before in the past. But those setbacks prepared us for larger victory. It's up to us to make sure that we learn from our mistakes and my mistakes and that we take advantage of that learning to make sure that we take back the nation -- take back the White House, get the Senate and put in place conservative principles.


ROMNEY: Now, it's fashionable in some circles to be pessimistic about America about conservative solutions, about the Republican Party. I utterly reject pessimism.


ROMNEY: We may not have carried on November 7th, but we haven't lost the country we love. And we have not lost our way. Our nation is full of aspirations and hungry for new solutions. We're a nation of invention and re-inventing.

My optimism about America wasn't diminished by my campaign, in fact it grew. It grew as I saw the people of America and heard their stories. I've seen American determination in people like Debbie Somers of Las Vegas. She runs a furniture rental business for conventions there. When 9/11 hit and when the recession hit, why that tanked her convention business, but she didn't give up. She didn't close down the business. Didn't layoff her people. Instead, she taught her people how to make furniture. And her business thrives.

I've seen the perseverance. Harold Hamm drove a truck for 10 years so he can afford to go to college. He majored in geology. He was studying some geological surveys, concluded there must be oil in North Dakota --


ROMNEY: -- went to North Dakota and drilled a well, dry hole, and told it costs $2 million to drill a dry hole. He drilled 16 more. They called it Harold's Folly up there until the 17th. The Bakken Range he discovered is estimated by some to have as many as 500 billion barrels of oil.

(APPLAUSE) ROMNEY: I'm seen risk taking. The flagging lumber business and mounting losses convinced the International Paper Corporation that they needed to shut down their mill in New Hampshire. Into the breach stepped Jim Smith and Kim Moore, the plant manager and sales manager. They borrowed and invested in every thing they could find to save the business. They saved their job and the jobs of 30 of their colleagues and grew sales from $5 million a year to $50 million a year.

I've met people of great faith. I've add the honor of being in the home of Billy Graham and the Cardinal Dolan and prayed with these men of God. I've met heroes in our armed forces. Men and women who have resigned with the National Guard after multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan, knowing that if they resigned, in all likelihood, they would be at another tour in the future. I met heroes in the homes of the nation. Single moms who are working two jobs so their kids can have the same kind of things other kids in school have. Dads who don't know what a weekend is because they've taken on so many jobs to make sure they can keep the house.

We're a patriotic people. The heart of America is good. Our land is blessed by the hand of God. May we, as a people, always be worthy of his grace and his protection.


ROMNEY: Like you, I believe that a conservative vision can attract a majority of Americans and form a governing coalition of renewal and reform. Now, as someone who just lost the last election, I'm probably not in the best position to chart the course for the next one.


With that being said, let me offer this advice. And perhaps because I'm a former governor, I would urge us all to learn lessons that come from some of our greatest success stories, and that's 30 Republican governors across the country.


ROMNEY: They're winning elections, but more importantly, they're solving problems, big problems, important problems. Governor Nathan Deal in Georgia secured an amendment for charter schools. Governor Rick Snyder --


ROMNEY: -- got in place Right-to-Work legislation in Michigan.


ROMNEY: A number of these Republican governors were able to secure tort reform. And a whole horde of Republican governors inherited budgets that were badly out of balance and have replaced deficits with surpluses.

(APPLAUSE) ROMNEY: Look, these governors have shown that they're able to reach across the aisle, offer innovative solutions and then willing to take the heat that you have to take to do important things.

We need the leadership and the ideas and the vision of these governors. We particularly need to hear, by the way, from the governors of the blue and purple states because those are the states we're going to have to win to be able to get back, people like Bob McDonald, Scott Walker, John Kasich --


ROMNEY: -- Suzanna Martinez, Chris Christie --


ROMNEY: These are the people we've got to listen to and make sure their message is heard loud and clear across the country.


ROMNEY: Now, we can also learn from the examples of principle and passion and leadership that we've seen during these last few weeks here in Washington, D.C. by our Republican leaders. I may be a little biased, but I applaud the clear and convincing voice of my friend, Paul Ryan.


ROMNEY: Now, if I were to offer advice to any person who was or became the president of the United States, it would be this: Do whatever you can to keep America strong, to keep America prosperous and free and the most powerful nation on earth. It's no secret that the last century was an American century. And it's no secret that, over this span of the coming century, that is not written in the stars. America's preeminent position is not guaranteed. And the consequence if America were to become surpassed by another nation would be devastating.

Why do I say that? It's because the other leading contenders for world leadership, China, Russia, the jihadists, not one of them accepts freedom as we understand it. Only America and American strength can preserve freedom for us and the world and the people we love.


ROMNEY: Freedom depends on America. And American leadership depends on a military so strong, so superior that no one would think to engage it. And our military strength --


ROMNEY: depends on an economy so strong that it could support that kind of a military. And our economy depends on the people that are so strong, so educated, so resolute, so hard working, so inventive, so focused on providing a better future for their children that the rest of the world looks at America with admiration and respect. That's the America we grew up in. And that's the America our children deserve.


WHITFIELD: All right. Just a couple days after celebrating his 66th birthday, Mitt Romney there at the Conservative Political Action Conference there in National Harbor, Maryland, spelling out his hopes and visions still for an America, and also making it very personal, saying how he expressed his gratitude for being the nominee for the Republican ticket in the race for the White House.

All right. The U.S. Defense Department is about to make a major announcement. A live report from the Pentagon right after this.


WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. This just in to CNN. We've learned that in about two hours from now, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is expected to announce that the Pentagon is beefing up its ability to defend the United States from a nuclear attack by North Korea.

CNN's Chris Lawrence joined me live now from the Pentagon.

Chris, what more can you tell us about this expected announcement in about the 3:00 eastern hour?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fred. It's going to come in little over an hour. And officials are telling us that secretary Hagel is likely to announce that the U.S. will deploy up to 14 additional ground-based interceptors on the west coast of the United States. These interceptors are specifically designed to shoot down incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles aimed at the United States and presumably they expect that those missiles would be coming from North Korea. All of this is in response to North Korea not only testing a long-range missile, putting something into orbit, into space, but then following that up with its third nuclear test and then these very, very intense comments threatening nuclear action against the United States. The Obama administration now expected to announce that it will put additional resources to protect the United States.

The catch here, Fred, is that it's going to take several years and costs about $200 million to open up some of these silos. Some congressional Republicans I was speaking with say they argued against closing down some of these silos a few years ago when the Obama administration did so. They said at the time the administration felt there wasn't a needed threat, that they didn't need as many interceptors. Now they're going back and having to reopen them.

Some of the Republican congressional folks I've been speaking with say the threat was there, the intel was there, and now it's going to cost a whole lot of money to get these turned back on.

WHITFIELD: All right. 14 more interceptors to be put in place.

Thank you so much.


WHITFIELD: Chris Lawrence, appreciate that from the Pentagon.

I know he'll be briefing us later on as well.

For all you tech fans, Samsung's new Galaxy S4 is here. We're previewing the new features.

And we'll tell you why you might be giving up more of yourself these days on Facebook when you click on the "like" icon. That, too, is coming up next.


WHITFIELD: The Smartphone wars continue. Take a look at this. Samsung unveiled its latest phone. Its latest phone, the Galaxy S-4. And with features like the big screen and hands free control, some analysts are already predicting it could be in the running for the best Smartphone of the year.

Katie Linendoll is the tech expert over at ESPN.

What do you think about this? How does it stack up against the iPhone 5?

KATIE LINENDOLL, ESPN TECH EXPERT & CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It is crazy to be on the air and talking about a Smartphone other than the iPhone. I'm actually pretty excited about this one. I was at event last night. Some of the features on the S-4 are amazing. The S-3, the prior model, was the best-selling Android phone. So this is the next model in the lineup.

And I want to get right to some of the features, because pretty dynamic in terms of what they were touting yesterday. First up, five- inch screen, 1080 P high def screen. The camera features were incredible. Dual camera mode, both cameras, front and rear facing and erase mode. You can erase things out of the background. There is a translator on board. It will translate at anytime. Awesome if you're traveling. There is an updated health feature on there. Also there's things like Smart Pause. You can watch a video, if you look away, the video will pause.

So I think in terms of capability -- and you see there Phone Works with gloves on. All these software features stacked up and hardware features make it a pretty powerful device. I'll tell you, the iPhone 5 is the best-selling device of all time. But in terms of global sales, Samsung is the winner. Grab some popcorn and let's watch this play out.

WHITFIELD: Fun stuff. A lot of folks have Smartphones and almost everybody is on Facebook. Tell me more about Facebook. When you click on that "like" button, you're actually revealing a lot more about yourself than you know. LINENDOLL: That's correct. So the University of Cambridge over in London actually did a study on nearly 60,000 Facebook users. And what they found in conclusion was that all of your "likes" that you're clicking can tell more about you than you might have realized, from your political values to religion to your gender, happiness and age. I don't know if I needed to survey 60,000 people to come to that correlation, but it is pretty powerful in terms of again, we talked about Facebook privacy. You have to remember that anything you "like," it's going to be tracked somewhere. I talked to Facebook yesterday and they said, yes, we do do interest targeting. They should because advertising is their biggest revenue generator.

Anything you "like" is being tracked and anything that's on your timeline they are privy to. So something to think about.

WHITFIELD: You're being watched.

Katie Linendoll, thank you so much. Always good to see you.

LINENDOLL: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: We'll have much more of the CNN NEWSROOM after this.


WHITFIELD: A streak is on the line tonight for the Miami Heat. The NBA champs are going for their 21st straight win when they take on the Milwaukee Bucks. Wednesday night, Lebron James and company edged out the Philadelphia 76ers, 98-94 for the Heat's 20th consecutive win.

And for you college basketball fans, NCAA March Madness is just days away. And you can test your bracket skills against me -- that's laughable -- and other CNN anchors. Go to and see if you can pick the NCAA bracket better than me. That's the challenge.

That's going to do it for me this hour. I'll see you throughout the weekend.

Don Lemon takes it from here after this.