Return to Transcripts main page


Barack Obama Visits Israel; Interview with CEO of Starbucks; Colorado Department of Corrections Head Shot, Killed

Aired March 20, 2013 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, Barack Obama arrives in Israel for the first time as president of the United States, but where does the American-Israeli relationship stand? Naftali Bennett, Israel's minister of the economy is here to answer our questions.

Plus, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, ridiculous. Well, Schultz is OUTFRONT to respond.

And the head of Colorado's Department of Corrections answers the door only to be shot down. We take you to the manhunt tonight. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight with friends like these, well, President Obama arrived in Israel today. It was his first trip there as president. Everything seemed rosy for a little while between him and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: And just as we have for these past 65 years, the United States is proud to stand with you as your strongest ally and your greatest friend.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I want to thank you for the investment you have made in our relationship and in strengthening the friendship and alliance between our two countries.


BURNETT: It sounded so perfect, but then -- later in the day things changed.


NETANYAHU: Iran is a grave threat to Israel, a grave threat to the world, a nuclear Iran. The United States is committed to dealing with it.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Each country has to make its own decisions when it comes to the awesome decision to engage in any kind of military action. And Israel is differently situated than the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: It's interesting to watch each of their faces during that particular exchange. Not just the one talking but the one not happy with what the other one was saying. So where exactly does this relationship stand right after that I spoke with Israel's minister of the economy and a member of the security cabinet there, Naftali Bennett.

Now our viewers, you watch the show all the time you know Naftali, he's been on this program often. He's a former commando in the elite counter-terrorism unit of the IDF, a high tech entrepreneur and he served as the chief of staff for Benjamin Netanyahu from 2006 to 2008.

But now he's a global phenomenon. Gracing front pages around the world, the "Jerusalem Post" called him the man of the moment. The "New Yorker" ran a very lengthy profile. In the U.K., the headline read, Naftali Bennett, set to be Israel's powerbroker.

In the "New York Times," Bennett pushes Netanyahu rightward. I asked Bennett if he was at all worried about the relationship between Israel and the United States of America.


NAFTALI BENNETT, ISRAEL'S ECONOMICS AND TRADE MINISTER: Well, Erin, I think it's OK for friends to disagree on some things. I'll tell you what I saw was a great relationship between our two countries, the bonds between America and Israel go way beyond President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu. Started long before and will continue long after. But the president has been very warm towards the Israeli people and we certainly appreciate it.

BURNETT: Now the president of the United States and the prime minister did not really come off fully on the same page on Iran. Just one way of putting this when the prime minister approached the podium, he talked about Iran first. President Obama mentioned it last, in fact, prefacing it with the word finally. And here's what they said.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: We prefer to resolve this diplomatically and there's still time to do so.

NETANYAHU: Diplomacy and sanctions so far have not stopped Iran's nuclear program.

BURNETT: Do you think the U.S. really has, I'll quote President Obama, all options on the table when it comes to Iran when you hear words like you heard today?

BENNETT: Well, Erin, I think we have to look at the facts. And the facts are that words in Washington or in Jerusalem don't stop centrifuges and events. As all this has gone on, the Iranians actually tripled the pace that they're accelerated the pace of uranium enrichment.

And so it's not actually stopping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. So I agree with the prime minister that we have to be -- have to have credible threat on the table beyond the diplomatic threat.

BURNETT: Do you trust the United States would truly act in a military all in sort of way if forced with that decision?

BENNETT: I would hope that America will stand behind us. You know, we've never asked America to defend us. America's never sent troops to defend Israel. We can defend ourselves, but I think that time is very short and we're talking about a threat to the entire world.

Iran with a nuclear weapon is no different from al Qaeda with an atom bomb. That is something the world cannot accept. It would change the whole middle east and in fact the entire world scene.

BURNETT: You mentioned timing. I want to ask you about that. Prime Minister Netanyahu did seem to backtrack on what he said before. At the U.N. last fall he had said about six months, i.e., now is going to be where that literal red line he drew would come into effect.

Today though, he responded to a question about whether he agreed with President Obama's most recent comment, which is that Iran has about a year and here is what prime minister said.

NETANYAHU: Hasn't yet reached the red line that I described in my speech at the U.N. they're getting closer. We do have a common assessment on these schedules, on intelligence. We share that intelligence and we don't have any -- any argument about it.

BURNETT: When you hear that, Naftali, do you worry that the world may say Prime Minister Netanyahu has cried wolf? He said this was urgent. We had a time and now he is saying wait another year.

BENNETT: I'm confident that Prime Minister Netanyahu will do everything to defend Israel and not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. And I'm also hopeful that President Obama will indeed, you know, keep our backs or have our backs as he called it. I think America respects the notion that we can't outsource our security to anyone else.

And if push comes to shove, Israel will defend itself at any price. We hope that we won't need to get to that and the way to prevent it is to create a viable, a credible threat, a paralyzing threat to Iran, which we're not there quite yet.

BURNETT: Naftali, on the peace process, a very crucial topic here. President Obama said, look, I'm going to listen on that and go home and then I'll be ready to talk about it. But here's what you said on this program back in November.

BENNETT: Every time we vacate a piece of land, hand it over to the Palestinians, what we got in return was a mass wave of terror. We have to learn the lesson just as the United States or President Obama would not imagine to negotiate with --

BURNETT: And here's what President Obama said in June 2009 on that obviously famous trip to Cairo. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Let there be no doubt. The situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. And America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.

BURNETT: And then that was a few years ago. Does he still believe it? Here's what he said today.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Let me just reiterate that a central element of a lasting peace must be a strong and secure Jewish state where Israel's security concerns are met alongside a sovereign and independent Palestinian State.

BURNETT: Would you ever accept that, a sovereign and independent Palestinian State?

BENNETT: Well, it's no secret than my opinion is that forming Palestinian state just a 5-minute ride from where I'm sitting right now would, in fact, create a terrible situation in Israel and 100- year-long conflict between us and the Arabs.

As a citizen of Israel who lives, what, three or four miles from the potential Palestinian State, I don't want my own children to be under direct fire from terrorists and what happens down Gaza strip and Lebanon, any area we vacated turned into a launch pad for missiles and terror attacks on us.

Certainly I can tell you that I do not want war. I've served in wars. I've lost friends in wars more than many others. So there are nothing Israel and myself seek more than having peace with the Arabs, but not at the risk or in fact of the almost certainty of risking my children's lives.

BURNETT: Naftali, the justice minister today told our Jessica Yellin that it is clear in Israel that Syria used chemical weapons. Obviously the United States, the president and the State Department have said they have seen the reports.

They have not yet confirmed whether they think Syria has used chemical weapons, whether the government or the opposition. Have you seen proof that al Assad or the opposition have used them?

BENNETT: Well, I don't know about proof. We're very concerned about these chemical weapons being taken or handed over to Hezbollah in Lebanon. I'll remind you there's roughly 60,000 missiles in Lebanon targeted at the north and center of Israel.

The chemical weapons exist in Syria. The missiles exist in Lebanon. And when you connect the two, it's a mortal risk for Israel and we'll protect ourselves against this sort of action.


BURNETT: Naftali Bennett on the security cabinet and also the economy minister for Israel. Still to come, it's been three months since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. But tonight we just -- this just crossed. It shocked us. A statistic on gun permits.

Plus the CEO of Starbucks comes OUTFRONT. He takes on Mayor Michael Bloomberg and all of Washington. Why not?

And a set of giant rockets have been discovered in the bottom of the ocean. So we're going to show you the pictures and tell you exactly where these came from.


BURNETT: Our second story, "OUTFRONT," the open mic strikes again. Minutes after arriving in Jerusalem, President Obama was caught on camera without realizing it, joking to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he's thrilled to get away from Washington.


PRESIDENT OBAMA: It's good to get away from Congress.


BURNETT: Well, even the music couldn't hide that. It's been less than a week since the president looked like he couldn't get enough of his friends on the Hill though. Remember the dinners, nice wine, phone calls, the meetings? Where did that guy go?

OUTFRONT tonight, Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks. He's been making a name for himself calling out Washington dysfunction in addition to running Starbucks.

So, really appreciate you taking the time, Mr. Schultz. That open mike slip, I guess probably doesn't surprise you.

HOWARD SCHULTZ, CEO STARBUCKS: Not at all. I mean, I think we're facing a situation in America where I would not loosely describe it. I would describe it as a crucible. The crucible is $17 trillion in debt, 14 million people unemployed, 42 out of 50 states are facing a budget deficit. And to be honest, there is very little leadership coming out of Washington.

So I think what I've tried to do is raise these issues with civility, whether you're Republican or Democrat, we're all Americans. And I think we deserve more. We deserve better. And Washington really needs to help us create the kind of leadership and decision making by putting their feet in the shoes of every day Americans. That's not what's going on.

BURNETT: Oh, that's absolutely not what's going on. You recently were speaking at the National Retail Federation, and you said that the lack of leadership in Washington, I just want to quote you, because I thought it was beautifully said, is "sapping the life blood, the soul and the confidence of our country as the world witnessed a lack of leadership in the United States."

Is that message ever going to get through? Are we reaching a point where for someone like you, you say look. I grew up in the greatest country in the world, I grew up poor, I became wealthy, I was able to start a company. And it's not going to be able to happen to people in the next generation?

SCHULTZ: I think you're bringing up a very important question that, you know, let's frame it as the future of the American dream. And whether or not that dream is filled with the same level of aspiration today that it was 10, 20, 30 years ago, and I think it's under question.

However, we still live in the greatest country in the world with a treasure chest of resources and opportunities. This is really not about the American people. This is about putting policies and legislation in place that is not divisive, leaving party at the door, and focusing on America. And I think, you know, we've seen things like this before in our lives. But perhaps nothing quite like the polarization we're facing today.

BURNETT: Let me ask you about something else that's getting so much conversation, and you are right smack in the middle of it. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ban - in this case, I'm talking about sugary drinks. I know it's hard to keep track of his bans on things he's doing.

But Starbucks isn't going to comply while this is litigated in the courts. Good for you, although he has a pretty good history. He fights with courts until he wins. He called your objection ridiculous. But let me ask you a question --

SCHULTZ: I heard him say that.

BURNETT: Yes, he said you were ridiculous.

SCHULTZ: Well, I, you know, I know the mayor. And I have tremendous respect for him.

This is how I see this issue. First off, Starbucks is in compliance with the law that he is proposing. And secondarily, our business is really based on customization. And that customization is one of the reasons why we've been successful because people are able to customize their own beverage.

And I think Americans and adults are old enough and mature enough to make their own decisions with regard to the customization. We will comply with the law one way or the other. But the way the law was proposed, it did not cover what we do because most of our drinks are with milk, not with sugar.

BURNETT: With milk, not with sugar. All right, let me ask you about that, though because there was a study saying 180,000 obesity deaths in America -- I'm sorry, worldwide. 22,000 in the United States can be linked to sugary drinks. Which is a stunning number, but I guess not that surprising. So we looked at Starbucks, and I have to admit, there are some drinks at Starbucks that I really love, but it means foregoing a meal. So, here's one: 20 ounce venti java chip frappachino, which sounds absolutely delicious. With soy, so I kind of went healthy here -- 570 calories, 80 grams of sugar. Twenty ounces of Coca-Cola only has 240 calories and 65 grams.

So, Coke is getting slaughtered. But don't you feel that you kind of have a problem, too?

SCHULTZ: That particular beverage that you just talked about is probably less than one percent of Starbucks sales. That's a de minimus beverage. Our core business is brewed coffee and a cafe latte. That's our core business You're talking about the beverages at the outer edge --

BURNETT: I'm talking the ones that tempt me, that's all. So, I have to admit -


SCHULTZ: Oh, you can get a smaller size.

BURNETT: But are you going to keep selling those kinds of things? I mean, you know, I'm just saying is part of the responsibility on the seller not just the person buying?

SCHULTZ: Well, we're putting caloric content on the menu. So, we are being very responsible and 100 percent transparent. That's the business we're in. To be truthful and honest with our customers. And we will comply with whatever the law happens to end up being, in all fairness to the mayor.


BURNETT: All right. I have to talk to Howard Schultz the one place I have never seen a Starbucks in every corner. That, of course, Italy. And it's actually the country that inspired Schultz to create Starbucks and its lifestyle. So, why are there no Starbucks in Italy and will there ever be one? His answer, actually, pretty damning. Go to We have that special there.

And still to come, new developments in the Newtown shooting and why there will be more guns in Newtown.

Plus, has the GOP turned its back on G-o-d? We ask conservatives why the word Christian didn't show up once in the Republican autopsy.

And President Obama's car troubles in Israel. Why a tow truck -- yes, a tow truck -- had to be called to get his car to Jerusalem.


BURNETT: Our third story OUTFRONT, Newtown's gun boom. So, police in Newtown, Connecticut are telling us that the number of people trying to buy guns since the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary has surged. According to the police, the city averaged 130 applications annually for gun permits. That goes back to 2009. Last year, though, 169. Obviously, you know when Newtown happened, December 14th. A good portion of those were in the last two weeks of the year. Since that day, 82 permit applications had been filed.

Now, police say some of the requests are because of potential new laws that could limit gun ownership rights. Meantime, the debate over gun laws is raging in Newtown. Many are angry and upset at Congress for giving up the fight to ban assault weapons like the one that was used to murder and slaughter those children in Newtown. Mary Snow is OUTFRONT.


MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With the pain raw just three months after the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre, there are still messages of support coming from around the world. But it's the message from Washington that right now pains Alexandra Thompson. She supports a ban on assault weapons. And even had a sign for a petition to ban them in her store's window. She takes it personally that the Senate has shelved a plan for a ban.

ALEXANDRA THOMPSON, NEWTOWN RESIDENT: You don't need that kind of gun to protect yourself.

SNOW: And when you put that sign in your window, did a lot of people come in?

THOMPSON: Every day. Every day they came in, wanting to know where they could sign for this petition. So -- and I don't know. Shame on Congress. That's all I have to say.

SNOW: Parents of victims have gone to Washington to personally appeal to lawmakers.

NEIL HESLIN, FATHER OF NEWTOWN SHOOTING VICTIM: I'm Jesse Lewis' dad. Jesse was brutally murdered at Sandy Hook school on December 14th, 20 minutes after I dropped him off.

SNOW: Neil Heslin testified before a Senate committee in February, calling for a ban on assault weapons.

HESLIN: Those weapons were used in the battle fields of Vietnam. They were used in the Persian Gulf. They were used in Afghanistan and Iraq. The sole purpose is to kill a lot on a battlefield quickly. That's what they can do.

SNOW: Also there that day, Reverend Matt Crebbin of Newtown's Congregational Church. He and other clergy members have been trying to turn up the pressure on lawmakers to ban assault weapons.

REV. MATT CREBBIN, NEWTOWN CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH: I guess I would say I'm disappointed. I'm not surprised.

SNOW: Why? CREBBIN: Well, I think -- I was down in Washington, D.C. I'm not surprised by the reluctance of politicians still even given what's happened here in Newtown.

SNOW: But Reverend Crebbin says he will not give up the fight.

CREBBIN: The event that took place here on December 14th I do think altered America and altered the conversation. And I think what happens, though, in the short term is that people tend to think that oh, this effect, this Connecticut effect, the Newtown effect, is going to go away. Well, it's clear to us that it's not going to go away.

SNOW: Reverend Crebbin says even if the assault weapons ban is part of an amendment to a broader gun bill, he'll be thankful. He says he wants to see a vote, and he says he plans to hold lawmakers accountable for what he sees as a moral issue.

Mary Snow, CNN, Newtown, Connecticut.


BURNETT: Emotional, seeing that father.

Well, still to come, the head of Colorado's department of corrections was gunned down on his doorstep at his home. He answered the door and he was murdered. We're going to tell what you is going on with the massive manhunt underway tonight.

And the future of same-sex marriage and the Catholic Church. Here's a shocker. Does Pope Francis support civil unions for gay couples?

And the adventurer who found - (INAUDIBLE) calls it we an underwater wonder land. John Mayer asks (ph). We're going to show you the pictures and tell what you you're looking at, next.


BURNETT: And welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT. We start with stories we care about, where we focus on our own reporting from the front lines.

We begin with what we learned from the State Department. We found that they put $5 million bounties on the heads of two Americans who allegedly belong to an al Qaeda affiliate in Somalia. Before now the most notable award offered for an American-turned-al Qaeda operative was $1 million. So this is a big increase.

Meanwhile, an alleged al Qaeda operative Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun was indicted today on charges of conspiracy to attack Americans in both Afghanistan and Nigeria. He faces life in prison if convicted on all charges.

CNN learned tonight that the CIA could be losing control of the drone program. Sources tell us the CIA would maintain a role, but the Defense Department which, of course, already has its own program, would be the only agency to operate and fly the drones. "Daily Beast" reporter Daniel Klaidman (ph) first broke the story and he tells OUTFRONT the shift would add an extra layer of accountability, because the military has a much more vigorous vetting process when it comes to a, quote-unquote, "kill list".

Since 2004, the CIA has conducted 365 drone strikes in Pakistan alone, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Well, the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant says a rat is to blame for a power outage. Japan's Kyoto news agency reports a rat may have caused a short circuit in a switchboard that led to the outage, than then disabled cooling system for spent fuel pools. Obviously, this is no laughing matter, but it made us wonder, could a rat take down a nuclear plant in the United States?

Well, Daniel Wachbam (ph) from the Union of Concerned Scientists says it's not likely. Critters can cause problems. But facilities here have several backup systems and Fukushima is still trying to recover theirs. It sounded like one of those things it's easy to say it could never happen here until it does.

Well, a set of giant rocket engine used in Apollo mission has been recovered from the darkest depths of the sea. This is amazing. Now, they're seeing the light of day, thanks to billionaire and adventurer Jeff Bezos. He and his team are optimistic that engines belong to the rocket that carried Neil Armstrong to the moon.

Now, each of them weighs nearly nine tons. So, some of the parts that they're recovering you're looking at here are the size of small cars. Now on his blog, Bezos described the scene 14,000 feet below sea level as an underwater wonderland.

It has been 594 days since this country lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?

The Federal Reserve today scaled back its forecast for economic growth this year, not a good thing. But the Fed said, look, we're going to keep on buying bonds, buying bonds, buying bonds. And that, of course, sent the market ever higher.

Now, our fourth story OUTFRONT: killed in cold blood. At this hour, a manhunt is on for a killer in Colorado who gunned down the chief of the state's corrections department.

Tom Clements was shot last night as he opened the door to his home in Monument, Colorado. That's about 50 miles south of Denver. Investigators have not identified a suspect or motive, but they are looking into whether this may have been related to his job.

OUTFRONT tonight, Casey Wian in Monument.

Casey, this is a horrific story to even contemplate. Are they close to identifying the suspect?

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, it really is a bizarre story, a tragic story. And, no, it doesn't appear that they're close to identifying the person who walked up to the front door of Tom Clements' house last night and shot him dead, apparently in cold blood. They are telling us that another family member was home at the time of the shooting. They will not identify who that family member is. That person called 911 immediately after the shooting.

We do not know of any specific threats against Clements before the shooting took place. In fact, he was universally liked -- in fact, even loved by many of the people who knew him and worked with him. Investigators say they are not ruling out anything at this point.


LT. JEFF KRAMER, EL PASO CO. SHERIFF'S OFFICE SPOKESMAN: As you know from the start of this investigation when it began last night because of the fact that Mr. Clements served in the position that he did, as the executive director of Colorado Department of Corrections, we're sensitive to the fact that there could be any number of people who may have a motive for wanting to target him for a crime such as this. However, we also remain open minded to all of the other possibilities as well.


WIAN: Now, we also spoke, Erin, with Reverend Leon Kelly earlier today. He worked with Clements on gang prevention programs, involving youth in Colorado's prison systems. He said he is not the kind of person, was not the kind of person who would make enemies and who would be the target of this kind of a shooting. The Reverend Kelly, though, did say that this is a reminder of how dangerous working in the corrections department can be, even for people who give their lives, give their careers toward helping rehabilitate criminals, Erin.

BURNETT: Casey, another one of the strongest leads they have is a car that was apparently seen in the Clements' neighborhood. What are they saying about that? Do they think that really is a lead or is that (INAUDIBLE)?

WIAN: Yes. Well, several witnesses before that 911 call was placed, about 15 minutes before that 911 call was placed say they saw a strange vehicle in this neighborhood. They said it was about 200 yards from the Clements' home and it was idling and no one was inside the car.

Here's what investigators said.


KRAMER: That's being described as something similar to perhaps a late '80s, early '90s model Lincoln, perhaps a Cadillac, something of that nature. It's a boxy style vehicle, if you will.

It's a two door. It's dark in color. It's either black or some other dark color. It's being described as shiny.

We don't have any information on the license plate of that vehicle. Obviously, that's information we would like to have.


WIAN: Other information investigators would like to have, surveillance video. They're not aware of any in this neighborhood. Homes are spaced very far apart. But they are looking at nearby stores, convenience stores, gas stations near the nearest interstate to see if any of those businesses may have surveillance video. We did stop at one restaurant in the area and they say investigators were there this afternoon asking them for surveillance video.

This restaurant did not have any. But that's one of the areas they're also looking into, Erin.

BURNETT: Casey Wian, thank you very much, reporting from Colorado tonight.

And now, I want to go to Rome and whether Pope Francis passed signals that he is open to something that we were talking about a new pope, nobody thought he would be, civil unions in the Catholic Church.

According to "The New York Times," the newly elected pontiff privately supported civil unions for gay couples when he was the archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2010. Then-Cardinal Bergoglio publicly opposed gay marriage and went against the government of Argentina in so doing. But his willingness to accept civil unions as compromise, if true, offers insight into how he might change the church.

OUTFRONT tonight, Father Edward Beck, host of "The Sunday Mass," and a contributor.

Good to see you again.

We talked about this getting ready for when we were -- what was going to be the next pope. So, senior Vatican officials say, we have no comment on this. We're not going to say whether he supported civil unions for gay couples or not.

What's your take?

FATHER EDWARD BECK, HOST, "THE SUNDAY MASS": Listen, it wasn't so private, there was a bishop's meeting in 2010 of all of the bishops in Argentina. He was the head of the bishop's conference. It looked like same sex marriage was going to pass in Argentina.

And so, as a compromise, he said, we want to come out for human rights. Let's support same sex civil union.

For the first time in six years, they voted him down. He got everything else through as head of that conference. They voted against him -- which means that most the bishops in that room were less progressive than Pope Francis on this issue.

BURNETT: Which is pretty incredible. And, by the way, for some people that may be surprised what civil unions would get him would be, well, you can have civil unions and that you don't necessarily have to use the word, quote-unquote, "marry" or have a religious ceremony, as gay couple --


BECK: Right, because that has a sacramental religious context. And, obviously, the church is not ready for that, nor would Pope Francis be ready for that. But he wanted to respect human rights.

That's the real surprise here that people say he's anti-gay. You can be anti-gay marriage and not be anti-gay. I think there's a distinction here. He's really moderate in this issue, it seems.

BURNETT: I mean, it's an interesting point. I don't know that everyone would agree with you on that issue of whether you can be anti-gay, anti-gay marriage. But you're trying to draw that distinction, right, on the human right side of the civil union?

BECK: I think so, because there is a distinction to be made. First of all, I don't think we should have heterosexual marriage, civil marriage.

BURNETT: Really?

BECK: No. I think civil marriage, heterosexual or homosexuals, it's about legal rights. It's about rights and responsibilities.

Marriage, I think for us takes more religious context. So if you want to be married sacramentally and have it blessed -- have your civil marriage, then if you're Catholic, you're married in the Catholic Church, if you're Jewish, get married in your temple.

But I think, then, everyone is on the same playing field. Everybody has civil unions, gay and straight people. And those who want to be married sacramentally or have it blessed, do that.

BURNETT: All right. There is another thing -- you know, we've talked a lot about this also which is priests marrying. Sixty-six percent of Americans who are Catholic believe that priests should be allowed to mayor rich.

You talked about this. You're in an order that would not do that even if the pope were to say priests can marry, right?

BECK: Right.

BURNETT: So there is a distinction here. But apparently he said, this is just for the moment, I'm in favor of maintaining celibacy, he said last year. It is a matter of discipline, not faith. It can change.

For the moment and not a matter of faith --

BECK: Right.

BURNETT: -- that seems like a huge thing to say.

BECK: It is huge because we haven't heard a pope say that before, even previously. So he said, yes, for the first 1,100 years of the Catholic Church, he said priests could marry, which means it's a possibility. He said now I respect celibacy and what has happened.

But he talked in this article, I don't know if you read that, he was at a wedding of an uncle and he was a seminarian, he was smitten with a girl. He fell head over heels --

BURNETT: Pope Francis?

BECK: Yes, and it was such a human touch. He said, gee, he had a vocational crisis. He didn't do what to do. And he understands this pull. So, he put a human face on it. And then he said, it is not a matter of faith or doctrine. It is a discipline. It can change.

Those three words, "it can change," well that means maybe as pope he can say it can change.

BURNETT: That's incredible. And now, we just have to get women priests. But you know what? You already made two great steps for mankind there. So --

BECK: Well, he did.

BURNETT: Yes. All right. Thanks very much, Father Beck. Great to see you.

BECK: Thank you.

BURNETT: And still to come, God and the GOP. Is turning away from a focus on religion the only answer of the GOP to survive?

Plus, President Obama's trip to Israel hits a speed bump. The real reason his limo needed a tow today is next.

And there's a growing trend of super skyscrapers, I don't think there is a better word to describe some of these guys, being built around the world. Whose is biggest?


BURNETT: The president's Israeli trip hit a speed bump day. The armored limousine that was supposed to drive him from the airport, it broke down. Yes. The car's nickname, "The Beast". You've seen it before. See, we're not lying. Here is proof. There it is on the flat bed broken down.

"The Beast" had actually been shipped from Washington to Israel. This wasn't like a fill in Beast. This was the real deal. And then it wouldn't start. And it had to be towed to Jerusalem.

Now, the president had not yet arrived. So it wasn't like he was sitting there waiting for a ride. But, you know, it's still embarrassing.

Fueling speculation about what the Secret Service was doing after all the president's car is sort of crucial to the pomp and circumstance and frankly logistics of a presidential foreign visit.

Which brings me tonight's number: 6.5 liters. That is the reported size of what some say is a diesel engine in the Beast.

Now, why is that important? A source from the Israeli government says the driver of President Obama's limo put gasoline instead of diesel into the tank and, of course, that would be a problem. And that would be the reason it did not start.

Now, the Secret Service rep says, no, it was a mechanical problem. The Israelis are standing by the original statement.

Now, if it's true, then the president's driver, one of the men in charge of his life, does not seem to know which fuel his car takes, at least we can hope though that he knows what side of the car the gas tank is on.

And now let's go to our "Outer Circle" where we reach out to our sources around the world. Tonight, we go to France where police searched the Paris home of Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund.

Police conducted the raid as part of an investigation into her role in settling a business dispute between a French bank and a businessman when she was the finance minister for the country of France.

Jim Bittermann is in Paris. I asked him if anyone knew about the investigation.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR EUROPEAN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, the International Monetary Fund knew about this investigation going on surrounding the affairs of Christine Lagarde when she was finance minister in France. But they chose to discount it when they named her director two years ago. It could very well have a tarnishing effect on her image as squeaky clean image which she's enjoyed up until now. But it's an investigation that has some time to run and has so far no charges against her have been laid, Erin.


BURNETT: Thank you, Jim.

And now our fifth story OUTFRONT: are Republicans ignoring God?

After four long months, the Republican Party released its autopsy this week of the 2012 campaign season. It is a rather grim word, "autopsy". It wasn't just an election, perhaps.

Anyway, it was nearly 100 pages and it detailed what went wrong, what the party needs to do to fix it and you could tell it was done by some very fancy consultants. We count in there, 50,000 words on the pages and not one of them is Christian. Some in the party are not too happy about that. OUTFRONT tonight, McKay Coppins, who wrote about this today for "BuzzFeed"; Reihan Salam, writer for "National Review"; and Hogan Gidley, former communications director for Rick Santorum 2012.

OK, great to see all three of you.

McKay, Sandy Rios, an evangelical radio host, contributor for FOX News, said about the GOP report, "They should be deeply concerned they're going to be alienating their base. It seems to me the leadership of the party is intent on that course. Most Christian conservatives are not party loyalists over principle, so the GOP has a lot more to lose than the Christians." Really?

MCKAY COPPINS, BUZZFEED: Well, I mean I think what we're seeing is a remarkable shift in the power dynamics within the Republican Party. I mean, not long ago the grassroots evangelical base was the engine that powered the Republican electoral victories. George W. Bush in 2004 was carried to re-election in Ohio because evangelical voters swarmed to the poll to outlaw gay marriage in the state and put that in the constitution.

Now, we're seeing that not only was Christian not anywhere in that report, God was not anywhere in there, church was not anywhere in there. There was no mention of abortion or marriage, which are two of the driving issues for this base.

So, to a lot of folks on the religious right, it seemed like the party really doesn't want that much to do with the base anymore.

BURNETT: It's kind of amazing. God comes out. Remember when God came out on the Democratic side, that still caused a problem. God out in the Republicans is pretty significant.

I mean, Hogan, you know, it does seem to be part of a broader shift. The Christian base didn't win the election last fall and in four states, same-sex marriage on the ballot and lost in all four states. Anti-abortion candidates were also defeated.

So what do you think is happening here? The evangelicals just losing all power?

HOGAN GIDLEY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I don't think so. I still think at the core of the Republican Party are the social conservatives. They're the ones who vote. They're the ones who care deeply about this country. The future, the way it's going.

And quite frankly, I think it's a mistake for the Republicans to disavow all social issues. I mean, let's be honest -- that might be the only way we can get in front of and court African-American voters, potentially Hispanic voters, because of their propensity to be more socially conservative as it relates to religious values.

The problem with us in those realms, when you talk about Hispanics, we often have a nonstarter out there, and that's our problem with immigration. With African-Americans, the same thing, we have a nonstarter, and that some of our views on social safety nets. So, until we kind of break down those things, we can actually use religion. We can use God to remind people just where we stand as a party and actually expand our fold amongst the African-Americans and Hispanic communities, which as we know we did so poorly with them in the last couple election cycles. We need to get them back and get in front of them.

And we have a hook here. We just need to break down some of those other barriers so they'll listen to us on those social issues.

BURNETT: Hogan, I like your pragmatism. We can use god, and I'm just teasing. I know you didn't mean it that way, it just came out funny.

GIDLEY: Right.

BURNETT: Reihan, gay marriage, though, because when -- Hogan makes this point, no social issues can help us with African- American/Hispanic voters because of religious conservatives. What about the issue of gay marriage? Just take that as a basic thing -- 53 percent now of people think that should be OK. And that's shifting around this country. I think we all can acknowledge there has been a tipping point. I don't know when it's going to become overwhelming, but looks like it's going that way.

How can a party win when they're going to say no to an issue that's going the other way?

SALAM: Well, a new "Washington Post" poll found that a slim majority of Americans under age 50 also support same-sex marriage and that's a big deal. That makes it tricky for the Republican coalition, because again the younger voters seem to be for it where older voters are determinatively against it.

I actually like Hogan's framing of this issue. You have to look at cultural conservativism in a broader economic policy context. When you're looking at what a lot of evangelical, socially conservative voters want and care about, they care about better policy for middle- income families. They care about strengthening stable marriages. Not just for folks who are Christians, but for other folks, as well.

So I think when you're taking that core culturally conservative message by moving it away from what looks -- what sounds to many Americans like sectarian language about evangelicals and what-have- you, by making it a general appeal to strengthening families, I think you can have a very appealing political message that doesn't turn off non-Christians or the religiously unaffiliated, but that really resonates with the evangelical base.

BURNETT: You need to start getting non-Christians too. Good point. Thanks to all three, we appreciate it.

And still to come in our essay, the tallest building in the world and why it is great news for the USA.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: According to an interesting article today in the United Arab Emirate newspaper, "The National", America is falling behind with it comes to tallest buildings, sort of an international, you know, whose bigger contest of the top 10 in the world, only the Willis Tower, formerly called Sears Tower made the list. It's number nine in just a few years there will not be any American buildings on that list at all.

In the next decade, six new buildings will be added, all of them in Asia and the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Tower set to open in 2018. It will be the tallest building in the world as well as the first to pass 3,000 feet. That's 564 feet taller than the current champ, which is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Now, I've spent some time in the Burj and outside the Burj, and it is an absolutely beautiful thing to watch. You can sit there at night and watch it light up for hours.

It's kind of sad to think that even with all of our American exceptionalism, this country doesn't have a building that compares, because it's not just the world's tallest buildings that are moving east. Economist Danny Quah, writing in global policy, has calculated the world's economic center measured by looking at income averages around the world has shifted east. It used to be in the transatlantic, sort of New York/London kind of deal. No, not anymore. Now, it hovers right over the Arabian peninsula.

And what's more, if current trends continue, it will shift from what you're looking at now, which is the Burj in Dubai, to what you're looking at now which is the Las Vegas Sands in Singapore. Singapore will be the center of the world.

So is there is a connection between tallest building and strongest economy?

Now, an economist named Andrew Lawrence is behind something called the skyscraper index that we found, which shows that the construction of very tall buildings is actually a great way to predict the onset of economic changes.

So here's how it works: when a skyscraper begins construction, everybody is all excited, ebullient, right? The country is growing. Well, usually, they are too excited and too ebullient. And then, there is a dramatic plunge in the economic outlook of a country.

But according to the index, once the skyscraper has finally finished, the economy will be climbing back.

One World Trade Center will be America's tallest tower when it is completed next year. And even though Americans' confidence in the economy is bad, our new tallest building seems to indicate things are looking up.

Hey, you know, I know it's just one tower. And sure, it's a rather thin hope. But if the index holds true, America's economy is going to be in a way better place, a lot sooner than anybody thought. Anderson Cooper starts now.