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Bloomberg Talks Cigarettes; Weapons & Explosives at Florida Campus; Challenging NYC's Stop & Frisk; U.S. and Iraq Linked by Tragedy

Aired March 18, 2013 - 14:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: He shot and killed 20 first graders in a school shooting that rattled America. And now there's word that Adam Lanza had bigger and deadlier plans in Newtown. I'm Brooke Baldwin. The news is now.

Being white in Philadelphia. The city's mayor livid over an article about race. Why he says the author went too far.

Plus, a chilling discovery inside a dorm room. New details about the body and explosives at a major university.

And, a soccer player banned for life for this. My hot topics panel weighs in.

Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being with me on this Monday.

We begin this hour with another health crusade by New York's mayor, Michael Bloomberg. This time the mayor wants stores to hide cigarettes, keep them behind a curtain or maybe behind the counter. This, of course, coming after he loses the legal battle to ban those large sugary drinks. The sodas. And here she was, Sarah Palin, taking a bit of a swipe at Bloomberg, drinking out of that big gulp during her speech at CPAC over the weekend. CNN's Mary Snow is live for me in New York.

Mary, I know, we smile, we laugh, but let's talk about this new initiative. I mean what exactly does this require?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, this would requires stores to keep tobacco products concealed. It would require them to keep them behind cabinets, behind a curtain, under a counter. And Mayor Bloomberg announcing this earlier today, saying this would be the first of its kind in the nation.

And you just mentioned that large ban on sugary drinks that was defeated last week when a judge dismissed it. Unlike that, this would require legislation. And the mayor is proposing to introduce this legislation to the city council on Wednesday. The ban on large sugary drinks he had just gone to the board of health and it was voted on by the board of health. This would require legislation.

BALDWIN: So this would require, as you point out, would need legislation. But hiding it behind the counter, behind curtains. What about advertising? I mean, how would this impact ads in retail stores?

SNOW: This actually won't have -- affect advertising. So that would stay the same.


SNOW: One of the things that's exempt are stores that sell tobacco products, like cigar stores. They would also be exempt. And those stores don't allow people under 18 to get into those stores. So, you know, this whole objective -- the primary purpose is to obviously reduce smoking rates, but particularly among young people.

BALDWIN: OK. Mary Snow, thank you.

We should mention, Mayor Bloomberg will be Jake Tapper's first guest today on his new show called "The Lead." It airs right after this show, 4:00 p.m. today. Don't miss it. Jake Tapper at 4:00.

Meantime, a chilling discovery here inside a room of a serial killer. I'm talking about Adam Lanza and what "The New York Daily News" says police found inside of his home there in Newtown, Connecticut. A huge spreadsheet. So if he were to print this, it would go seven feet in length, four feet wide, laid out like a score sheet. A meticulous tally of the killings by some 500 of the world's most notorious mass murderers. These were the killers police say Adam Lanza tried to outdo when he walked in to Sandy Hook Elementary School that morning back in December gunning down 26 people.

One unnamed veteran officer told Mike Lupica, he's the one who wrote this and got this scoop for "The New York Daily News," that police believe, quote -- this was what they believe, "the work of a video gamer. It was his intent to put his own name at the very top of that list. They believe that he picked an elementary school because he felt it was a point of least resistance where he could rack up the greatest number of kills."

"The New York Daily News" also reports that investigators believe this spreadsheet would have taken him years to compile. This wasn't just someone who snapped. This was a person who spent a very, very long time plotting and planning his murder spree.

And next hour, we'll talk to a law enforcement analyst and a clinical psychologist about the new details that's coming out of this spreadsheet here and also inside the mind of this killer. Stay tuned for that.

To a frightening story here unfolding at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. The campus was locked down for a time today after a shocking chain of events. It all started with reports of a fire. Then a man with a gun. Followed by the discovery of a body and then the unthinkable.


GRANT HESTON, UCF SPOKESMAN: A call came into the UCF Police about a fire alarm in tower one. On the way to respond to that, a 911 call came in about an armed man in the tower. When UCF Police responded to the dorm room, they found a victim of what appeared to be a self- inflicted gunshot wound. We've interviewed people who had knowledge of the situation. And during those interviews, in searching the dorm room, we found an assault weapon and we found what appear to be improvised explosive devices.


BALDWIN: Improvised explosive devices, IEDs, improvised bombs. Reporter Kelli Cook from Central Florida News 13 is at the scene.


KELLI COOK, CENTRAL FLORIDA NEWS 13: Brooke, we now know that dorm, tower one, has been closed indefinitely. This is still an active investigation. We have learned at this hour that the IEDs that were found inside a dorm room has been removed and a bomb squad is investigating. We're still dealing with an active scene out here. As you can see, right now, the FBI, the Orange County Sheriff's Office, as well as campus police are still investigating.

This is what we know so far. This entire incident began around midnight with a 911 call regarding a man with a gun. They found a UCF student dead with an apparent self-inflicted gun wound. And what they found inside was enough to make sure students got out of the building immediately. Inside the dorm there was a handgun, an assault weapon, an IED found inside a bag in his room. But school officials keeping quiet about the student that committed suicide or what they have learned about why or how he had such dangerous weapons on campus here.

Now, the University of Central Florida, the entire campus, the main campus, was shut down. It reopened at noon. We're expecting to get more information later on this afternoon.

Reporting here in Orange County, in Orlando, Kelli Cook.

Brooke, back to you.

BALDWIN: Kelli, thank you.

And now to some of the hottest stories in a flash. Roll it.

A wobbly day for stocks on Wall Street. Blame the Mediterranean island of Cyprus of all places. Why Cyprus? A proposed EU bailout for Cyprus includes a tax on bank customer's savings accounts. It's an idea that sends shivers through the investment community. Right now, the Dow down just a bit, down 20 points here on this Monday. We promise to keep an eye on that for you.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: LGBT Americans are our colleagues, our teachers, our soldier, our friend, our loved ones. And they are full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship. That includes marriage.


BALDWIN: Hillary Clinton today endorsing gay marriage. The former secretary of state appearing in this video by the human rights campaign just weeks after leaving the administration. Clinton says she wishes every parent the joy of watching their kids get married.

The president's nominee to head the Labor Department, you ready for this, once worked as a garbage collector. That's right. Thomas Perez, the son of Dominican immigrants, paid his way through college by working some odd jobs, including sanitation. Today he thanked the president in English and in Spanish. He will replace Hilda Solis.

It is official, Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn, love birds. The golfer confirming on his FaceBook page the two are an item. She mentioned it on her Twitter account as well. Here are a couple of pics of the happy couple. He, of course, is asking for privacy. Vonn recovering from a recent skiing accident.

The New York Police Department accused of stopping and frisking thousands of people purely based upon race. One lawyer calling this the trial of the century. We're on this, next.


BALDWIN: A huge court battle for Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York Police Department. It begins today. And, nope, we're not talking cigarettes and not talking about the big gulp. We're talking about this controversial and really critics are arguing racist tactic of police stopping and questioning and sometimes even frisking anyone they deem suspicious on any given city street. It's called Stop and Frisk.

Take a look at this. There have been about 5 million stops in the last decade. And more than half, 52 percent, of those people frisked are black, 32 percent Hispanic, 11 percent white. Critics, as I mentioned, they say the practice is unconstitutional. They say that police are racially profiling minority, citing the population breakdown. Blacks and Hispanics are each only about a quarter of the population, while half are white. Police say they forbid racial profiling, but this is also -- they stand by this, a successful means of deterring crime.

Want to talk about what's really at stake here. Defense Attorney Drew Findling joins me. And so here we have this class action lawsuit. Today is day one. This is federal court. And really it's a practical ramifications, symbolic ramifications here in Manhattan. What is at stake?

DREW FINDLING, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, in 1968, the U.S. Supreme Court said in the Terry case, and we call these "Terry stops," that if there's reasonable suspicion by law enforcement that somebody is committing a crime, you can stop them if it's reasonable and articulable (ph) that they're armed and dangerous, you can frisk them. The suit is saying, you've basically kidnapped the Supreme Court decision, New York City, and you are boot strapping it to say, if somebody's black or Hispanic and we don't like the neighborhood you're in, then that's articulable (ph) suspicion, you're armed and dangerous, we're going to pat you down. There's disproportionate number of African-American and Hispanic-Americans you're doing it too and we're going to shut you down by getting a district court judge in at -- in addition to other things, get a third neutral party to come in and monitor your practices.

BALDWIN: What would that third neutral party be?

FINDLING: Well, it would be similar to what we see in these jail lawsuits. They'd come in and they'd monitor the way the policy is being implemented to see if it's targeting minorities.

BALDWIN: You hear from Bloomberg vehemently defending this. NYPD. We just -- when you look at the crimes and the murders, they say it's in the numbers that show this is effective. Is that a solid defense?

FINDLING: Well, people are going to look at about three years ago when Plaxico Burress was prosecuted and they -- and New York waved its flag of our no issuance policy. In other words, there's not a place in America that's stricter with the issuance of gun rights and the ability to carry a concealed weapon than New York at the time Mayor Bloomberg and his other colleagues were saying, hey, we have the toughest laws in the country, look at the crime and how it's gone down. And some of the people are saying, on the side of stopping this practice, hey, which one is it here or is it other factors that have nothing to do with stopping people.

You know what they're also saying, Brooke, is, you're replacing one crime with another crime. Because to go to somebody that's innocent of a crime, a high school student on his way to school, and frisk them and search them, has a terrible impact in and of itself is a kind of crime.

BALDWIN: This not only would have ramifications, of course, for New York City, but for other cities that use the stop and frisk tactic. I know a number of other cities are considering it as well. So would this, this judge, this ruling, have ramifications throughout?

FINDLING: It will. And the reason is this. The only time the courts look at the degree that police go too far is a Stop & Frisk or a "Terry stop" is when there's a prosecution for a crime. In other words, John Doe is charged with a crime and he's searched and his lawyers say he was illegally searched and it's reviewed by the courts. Here, the court's going to look at cases where nobody is prosecuted. People are completely innocent. So it's going to be the first time that's happened and it's clearly going to be looked at by other courts around the country.

BALDWIN: To see how they rule in New York. Drew Findling, thank you.

FINDLING: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: We'll watch it.

Coming up next, scary and out of touch. That's how Republicans are describing themselves. And what the party is calling today an autopsy. Find out which voters they're now going after and what they regret. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: The Republican Party, widely viewed as being stuffy, out of touch, even scary, a bunch old men? And that's -- I'm not, you know, pulling this out of anywhere. This is what the party is saying about itself today. I'm not making this up. These are the words I just read plucked right out of the GOP's self-described autopsy. That's right, they're calling this an autopsy. Remember, Campaign 2012, they lost the presidential election, lost seats in the House, blew an opportunity to seize control of the Senate. Here is the party's chairman, Reince Priebus.


REINCE PRIEBUS, REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIRMAN: I think people wanted the report to be real, they wanted it to be honest, they wanted it to be -- if it had to be raw and maybe a few pieces of china needed to be broken. But I think that's what this -- this is what our party need.


BALDWIN: So, let's dig straight into this. Alex Castellanos, Republican Party consultant. He's also a partner in a media firm that represents corporate clients, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. His specialty is Republican ad campaigns.

Alex, welcome.

Good grief, you know, the words I just uttered, stuffy, out of touch, scary. I mean, do you think Republicans, the party itself, that they'll buy this analysis? Are they going to turn on the messenger, Mr. Priebus?

ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: You know, I don't think so. I think the truth hurts. And Reince Priebus today, chairman, looked the party -- you know, we just looked straight in the mirror and this is what we saw. This is what America saw, I think, last election.

The good news for the Republican Party is, we can't fall off the floor. This is about as low as we can get. And the party is trying to figure out how to move forward. What we saw today was not the Grand Old Party, the GOP, we saw the "growth and opportunity party." A party that's trying to apply its principles to a new world.

The party's job is not really to come up with new policy. That's for candidates, campaigns, people on The Hill. But the party's a machine. And it says, look, we haven't been reaching out. We forgot that we're supposed to be the party of opportunity for all Americans. The party that's supposed to be in every community. The party that's supposed to lift people up everywhere. Let's remember that and get to work.

BALDWIN: So if you're saying picking the party up off the floor, let's talk about one step in doing that. I know one of the concrete fixes contained in this particular report is for the GOP to drop its opposition to immigration reform. And this may be the reason why. When you look back, in presidential elections, Latino support for Republicans has dropped in a span of eight years from 44 percent, that was what George Bush received, to just 27 percent for Mitt Romney. Alex, why do you think that's happened? Can the party reverse it?

CASTELLANOS: You know, we -- I think we lost our way. We forgot, I think, that this country, at some point everybody goes back and their family came here from somewhere. Most Americans. And we forgot that the new blood re-energizes this country. And I think part of that was the contribution that, well, we didn't have secure borders and at a time when the economy is cratering (ph), all of a sudden it became a very dark process. We're eating our own tail. More jobs for immigrants may have meant less jobs for someone else.

And the way you lead yourself out of that is, no, no, everyone has something to contribute. Let's get an immigration process that brings people who want to come here, who want to become Americans, who want to contribute to this country, not take from this country. And that's always been the Republican message. Fortunately, they allowed -- they've allowed a few Republican media consultants to stay. I'm happy about that.

But, you know, its -- our problems are bigger than just Hispanics or women or young voters. Our problems are that, as a party, you're supposed to lead people over the horizon to a better place. And we forgot that. We thought our principles were just good for saying no, to be the brake pedal on the car, not to get our hands on the steering wheel.


CASTELLANOS: So we're -- but you're seeing that change. These past couple of weeks, Brooke, you saw a change in the cast of characters in the Republican Party. It wasn't John McCain who was dominating the stage.

BALDWIN: A lot of Rand Paul, Marco Rubio.

CASTELLANOS: A brand new cast of Republicans saying, no, no, follow us, we're going to lead you in a different direction to the future. That's healthy for the party.

BALDWIN: All right, Alex Castellanos, we'll be looking for the leading and where you go next off the floor as you hope. Alex, I appreciate it.

CASTELLANOS: Any time. Our chairman -- a bold and gusty thing today.

BALDWIN: Thank you, sir.

Coming up, 10 years after the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, we return to the scene of some of the war's fiercest fighting. It's pretty chilling.


BALDWIN: This is after nearly nine years, the U.S. war in Iraq is officially over. Hard to believe it's been a decade now since the start of the war in Iraq. As a network, we devoted more time to that story than any other in the past 10 years. In the middle of it all, though the years, CNN's Arwa Damon. You recognize the face. You have heard her reporting. We're going to talk to her in just a moment after we relive one of her memories from the war in Iraq.


ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was November, 2005. I was embedded with U.S. Marines on Operation Steel Curtain. It was similar to countless other embeds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's been fingered as a bad guy.

DAMON: Troops going house to house. Civilians filing out, petrified. A man named Mohammed Rejeb was among them. And he told me --

MOHAMMED REJEB, HUSAYBA RESIDENT (through translator): We want them to save us from the terrorists. We want stability.

DAMON: A simple wish perhaps, but al Qaeda killed anyone who spoke out against them. No civilian I had ever met had dared do so, so openly. I was in awe of Mohammed's courage.

The battle for Husayba was intense. Fighters lurked in alleyways, hid behind doors. The ground shook in the U.S. bombardment. But it wasn't only al Qaeda they hit. In one strike, one entire family was killed. People had buried the dead in a garden. A curfew prevented them from going to the graveyard. When we arrived, they were digging up and moving the bodies. All but one were women and children. And there was Mohammed Rejeb, still searching for victims. The dead were his relatives. As the body of 11-year-old Abdullah (ph) was recovered, Mohammed said --

REJEB (through translator): Look at him. Look at him. You would swear that he was sleeping.


BALDWIN: With us now from Baghdad, as promised, Arwa Damon.

Arwa, I read your incredible but gripping piece first thing this morning. You write about how Baghdad was your home for seven years. The man we just saw in that piece, Mohammed, he seemed to be on America's side. Lost 17 family members in a U.S. bombing. You have now returned to visit Mohammed. I'm just wondering, what are his thoughts now? Are they emblematic of other Iraqis? It's 10 years later now.

DAMON: You know, he's really someone who stuck with me because he displayed such courage at that point in time and then paid really such a devastating price. And I've always wanted to ask him why it was that he took on the risk to say to the Americans, we want you to save us. And we went back to Husayba. It's completely changed right now. We found him. He was so friendly. He was so warm. It was absolutely humbling.

And when we asked him that question, he said, look, back then, we had nothing left to lose. But he also said that he didn't expect that they would pay such a high price once the U.S. military went into Husayba, launched that operation to win it back from al Qaeda. He said that the U.S. wasn't differentiating between friend or foe and now he completely regrets the fact that the U.S. invasion even happened.