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CNN NEWSROOM

Two Americas, the Gun Control Debate; Cleanup Continues after Arkansas Oil Spill; Hillary Clinton Back in Public Eye; Chrysler has Best Month in Six Years; FGCU Basketball Coach Hired at USC; Kevin Ware Moving Around, on Crutches

Aired April 2, 2013 - 09:30   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EDITH PORTILLO, NELSON CITY COUNCIL: That doesn't mean that they are going to be somebody knocking at their door and say, you have to have it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Okay, maybe it's a symbolic gesture, but not in Tucson. If you want a gun and you cannot afford one, you may be in luck. There's a plan to give guns away to help fight crime. Now, the other America lives in Connecticut, where state lawmakers just agreed to a deal on some of the strictest gun laws in the country. Fifteen weeks after Sandy Hook. For the families there, of course, it's personal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACKIE BARDEN, SANDY HOOK PARENT: It's our job to make sure it doesn't happen, for our son.

MARK BARDEN, SANDY HOOK PARENT: Everybody needs to think about it and look into their hearts and try to do what's necessary to make the changes that have to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Exactly what those changes are depends on which side you're on. Today the NRA is coming out with its plan for school safety, including more guns in schools. Not exactly a priority for the Obama administration. It's focused on background checks and gun trafficking. It's like Americans live in two totally different countries.

Talk back question for you today, will America ever come together on guns? Facebook.com/CarolCNN. Facebook.com/CarolCNN or tweet me @CarolCNN.

Good morning, thank you so much for being with me. I'm Carol Costello. Stories we're watching right now in the NEWSROOM. It's 31 minutes past the hour, marking World Autism Awareness Day on Wall Street. Autism Speaks cofounder Suzanne and Bob Wright join families affected by the disorder to ring the opening bell. Stock futures have been pointing to a positive opening.

The first of 35 indicted Atlanta educators turned herself in early this morning at the Fulton county jail. All 35 must surrender by today. They are accused in a cheating scandal where students' standardized test scores were changed. The improved scores led to more federal money for schools, and bonuses for some educators.

Former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford has Republican primary runoff today for his old congressional seat. Sanford tells CNN he's seeking redemption in running again for office. Sanford's political career was derailed by an extramarital affair that came to light in 2009.

Up next in the NEWSROOM, sure, it's three years away, but are we getting early signs about 2016? Today, Hillary Clinton returns to the public spotlight. What that could mean, you know, for a potential presidential run. We'll talk next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: To politics now. The cleanup continues in Arkansas after an oil spill dumped nearly 12,000 barrels of crude oil into a neighborhood near Little Rock. Take a look at that. Nearly two dozen homes had to be evacuated as the oil seeped into backyards and actually ran down the streets. The cause of the leak has not been determined. Exxon says recent inspections of the pipeline carrying the heavy crude underground, which runs from Illinois to Texas, showed absolutely no signs of problems, but critics of another project, the politically charged Keystone pipeline, say the incident in Arkansas clearly shows what a pipeline running under the ground can do to the environment.

Joining me now, Jason Johnson, chief political correspondent for "Politic365" and political science professor. And Amy Kremer, chairwoman of the Tea Party Express. Welcome to both of you.

AMY KREMER, CHAIRWOMAN, TEA PARTY EXPRESS: Thanks for having us.

JASON JOHNSON, CHIRF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "POLITIC365": Morning.

COSTELLO: You knew there was maybe a leak in an oil pipeline that was running underground in Arkansas, maybe environmentalists would point to that as an example of why not to move quickly on the Keystone pipeline, because the pipeline in Arkansas carried the same kind of heavy crude oil that the Keystone pipeline would though Nebraska and Oklahoma. Is it a fair comparison, Jason?

JOHNSON: I think it's a fair comparison, because what you're seeing in Arkansas, that's only about 80,000 gallons a day, and the Keystone pipeline is going to be like 900,000 gallons a day. If we have these kinds of problems in one or two places in Oklahoma, in Nebraska, this would be a huge expense. I do think this is a legitimate concern for environmentalists and taxpayers who don't want to pay to clean it up.

COSTELLO: Should the president pause? I mean he's supposed to make a decision on the Keystone pipeline sometime this summer, but should he wait?

KREMER: I actually think that this is the -- shows exactly why we need the Keystone pipeline, because this pipeline is 60 years old. We need to upgrade and get that oil from Canada to the states. I mean, obviously, you know, age is a factor here, so I think it's all the more reason why we should have the Keystone pipeline.

COSTELLO: Those in favor of the pipeline do have a point, those pipes underneath Arkansas are really old and there will be new technology associated with the pipeline that's going to run through Nebraska and Oklahoma.

JOHNSON: I'm a big NIMBY (ph) fan, does anybody want this in their backyard? I don't think so. You could say it's the safest nuclear power plant, or oil pipeline in the world, most Americans are not going to want it. The problem that I have as a tax paying American citizen is, whenever this happens, we end up paying. So, unless we get some assurance that the Keystone pipeline, any mistakes will be paid for by the oil company, I think we need to reevaluate it.

(CROSSTALK)

COSTELLO: Yeah, but isn't the bottom line, though that people are still trying to find jobs?

KREMER: They are trying to find jobs, but the oil companies do end up paying for it and there's always a risk. There's always going to be a risk. We've got to have fuel and energy in this country.

JOHNSON: We do have that fuel.

KREMER: This is one example of where you have Republicans and Democrats come together in those states in support of this Keystone pipeline.

JOHNSON: I think we did something about infrastructure in general, this would be great. I don't think just the pipelines. We should be talking about roads and bridges, but again, I think the risks are too great and they end up being too expensive. We don't need to push this through now. There's other things to focus on.

KREMER: Where are we going to get the fuel? I mean we've got to have, I mean we need the energy.

JOHNSON: We have our own drilling, we have our own opportunities to get through here (ph).

(CROSSTALK)

JOHNSON: We don't always have to use these pipelines, in particular when they have these kinds of issues.

COSTELLO: Okay, so no meeting of the minds on this issue. We get the point. Let's talk about Hillary Clinton now, because hey, that didn't take too long, right? Hillary Clinton back in the spotlight today, just two months after stepping down as Secretary of State. Clinton making her first public appearance at a ceremony honoring women leaders from around the world. April is shaping up to be quite the busy month for Hillary Clinton. In addition to tonight's event, she'll also speak at the Women in the World summit on Friday and then Clinton gets her first paid speech later this month in Dallas. This all comes after she publicly endorsed same-sex marriage in a web video last month. Is there any doubt Hillary Clinton is going to run for president in 2016, Amy?

KREMER: No. We all knew that. She went and took a much needed break and I hope she did rest, because, obviously, she had some health issues. Look, she is the front-runner right now, but anything can happen between now and 2016. The Benghazi thing, that is something I think she's going to have to deal with, because no one wants that attached to their presidential candidate, and, of course, her health. I think it's good she's getting out there. I knew when she walked away from the State Department we had not seen the last of her. .

COSTELLO: Hillary Clinton's camp says we haven't made decisions yet, probably won't run for president, but because she's not making a decision yet, isn't that holding off other Democratic candidates who might want to jump into the fire?

JOHNSON: It's not holding off anybody. This is going to be a very, very, very important election for Democrats. I think there are going to be tons of people that want to run. Even if she is the front runner, I'm already preparing for Hillary Clinton fatigue because that's going to be the case, in two years since we all know she's going to run. I don't think it's going to hold anyone else back. Joe Biden still wants to run. And they're going to be at loggerheads on this, so it's going to be an open field.

COSTELLO: On the Republican side, Amy, in Florida, let's say, Hillary Clinton is actually way ahead of Marco Rubio, let's say, so how will Hillary Clinton running affect who runs on the Republican side?

KREMER: I don't think it really will. I think the Republicans are going to do their own thing, but Hillary's going to be a force to contend with, but the thing is, Hillary's numbers are off the charts right now, and it's because she hasn't had to be political. She was the -- representing the administration, so she hasn't had to be political. I think once she starts getting into the politics, her numbers will fall some, but she's popular. I mean, people love her.

COSTELLO: Especially Democrats. Thanks to both of you, Jason Johnson, Amy Kremer, we appreciate it.

Attention New Jersey spring breakers, if you want to tan and you're under the age 17, you may want to bring a parent or go outside and tan in the actual sun. We'll tell you why in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: All right. This bit of news just in for CNN.

It's good news about the auto industry, Chrysler, its U.S. sales were up five percent in March. Now, that is the highest month in sales for Chrysler in six years.

We'll have more news on Chrysler in just a bit. Just kind of wanted to pass that along to you.

At 51 minutes -- at 45 minutes past the hour, time to check our other top stories.

Skilled foreign workers are in high demand here in the United States and that's leading to a jump in request for the so-called H1-B Visa. The "Wall Street Journal" reports U.S. companies are expected to reach the limit on those visas by this Friday after the application process opened just yesterday.

Jodi Arias' defense team is seeking a mistrial claiming juror misconduct in her murder trial. Her attorney say juror number five is, quote, "Unfit to continue as a juror". The defense says the comments that the female juror made in front of others during a sealed hearing last Thursday makes her impartial and unfit to continue.

Colorado theater shooting suspect, James Holmes will have to stand trial. Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty against him for last summer's shooting rampage that killed 12 and injured 58. His defense team was seeking a sentence of life in prison in exchange for a guilty plea. Holmes' trial has been pushed back to next year -- has actually have been pushed up to next year.

Just in time for spring break, kids in New Jersey who are under the age of 17 cannot use tanning beds, that's according to several reports this morning. The governor there, Chris Christie, signed a bill into law noting the risks of skin cancer and protecting the safety of minors. The law bans children under 14 from getting spray tans in those salons, too.

Apple's CEO Tim Cook has now apologized to customers in China. This comes after China's state media slammed the tech giant over its warranty standards for customer service, but many are still wondering what the real reason behind the apology is and if there's much more to this story.

A stretch of I-75 in south Florida shut down this morning due to a combination of heavy smoke from a brush fire and fog. The affected area is a 78-mile section of Alligator Alley. Part of that same stretch closed for seven hours yesterday because of smoke from that very same brush fire.

"Talk Back" question for you today, "Will America ever come together on guns?" Facebook.com/carolCNN or tweet me @carolCNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: "Talk Back" question for you today. "Will America ever come together on guns?"

This from Frederick, "Probably not as long as both sides refuse to compromise." This from Joseph, "America has overwhelmingly come together on some key issues regarding gun control. Unfortunately it's our leaders who refuse to act."

This from Doug, "Probably not, but the right to own or not own guns is a right that should not be infringed on."

And this from David, "Not until each side respects the differences of the other. They don't have to agree. Agree to disagree and not be disagreeable. Now that would be a great start."

Keep the conversation going, Facebook.com/carolCNN or tweet me @carolCNN.

Showtime comes back to L.A. this time on a college court. Andy Enfield takes his Dunk City brand of basketball from Florida Gulf Coast to USC.

The story in "Bleacher Report".

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: Big news this morning for the coach of Florida Gulf Coast University. Guess what -- he's leaving the team he led to the sweet 16. Here's Vince Cellini with today's "Bleacher Report." Hi Vince.

VINCE CELLINI, BLEACHER REPORT: Hi, Carol. They call Florida Gulf Coast "Dunk City". So we'll see now if "Dunk City" travels. Like his team, Andy Enfield burst onto the national scene --excuse me -- and now he goes from Ft. Myers Florida to Hollywood.

After just two seasons at Florida Gulf Coast, Enfield is headed to USC. His 15th seeded Eagles made that crazy sweet 16 run, have a high-flying, wide-open style that appealed to Southern Cal and they'd swept up the 43-year-old coach.

He'll go from making about $157,000 a year to a six-year deal, reported over a million per. He is central casting for L.A. young coach, exciting style of play, ex-model wife, three kids, perfect.

FGCU Guard Brett Comer tweeted this upon hearing the news "I love coach Enfield to the end. I was his first recruit. He made me the player I am today."

Well Enfield and the Eagles were the tournament's feel-good story while Kevin Ware of Louisville the heartbreak. Ware suffered this gruesome leg injury on Sunday. Later had surgery to repair a compound fracture of his right tibia.

On Monday, though, Ware moving around on crutches. He was in good spirits. He could be released from an Indianapolis hospital today. Hopes to join his team in Atlanta midweek for the final four. He played his high school ball in Atlanta area. So it's a homecoming for him. His mother Lisa talked about her son's ability to come back from this big injury.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LISA JUNIOR, KEVIN WARE'S MOTHER: I have no doubts that he would be back stronger and even better than he was. Like I said, he's had to overcome a lot of obstacles and it seems as if every obstacle that he has to go through he becomes a better man because of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CELLINI: And of course, wishing him well.

Baseball the Nationals' Bryce Harper accepted his Rookie of the Year award on opening day and then showed he is no rookie. He blasted not one but two monster homeruns leading the Nats over the Marlins. At 20 Harper became the youngest player in Major League history to hit two homers on opening day and it is safe to say that Harper has the highest approval ratings right now in Washington D.C.

And the Los Angeles Dodgers, they put on a show not far from Hollywood on opening day yesterday. Matthew Johnson on the mound to throw out the ceremonial first pitch but Skipper Don Mattingly decided to come out from the dugout and replace him with all-time great baseball icon Sandy Koufax. He made a surprise appearance. That's wonderful.

Meanwhile, it was Kershaw the current left field who carried the day. Not only homering in the eighth inning, first career giving the Dodgers the lead, but he followed that up with a complete game shutout of the defending world champion the Giants. No one has thrown a shutout and hit a homer on opening day since Cleveland's Bob Lemon back in 1953.

And Carol, no, I did not cover that game in '53 when Lemon homered and did the shot out. But it's not Tigers' news right so --

COSTELLO: It's not Tigers news but the Tigers did win, they beat the Twins.

CELLINI: I knew you'd know that. Yes absolutely.

COSTELLO: Thank you Vince.

CELLINI: Baseball facts. Yes.

COSTELLO: The next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM after a break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: Happening now in the NEWSROOM, not what you'd expect on your way out the front door. Crude oil in your front yard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To see oil running down the road like a river all along that side there. It's just black crude oil, and it smells terrible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Green activists say it proves the Keystone Pipeline is a dangerous idea.

Plus, the case of Michael Jackson back in an L.A. courtroom.