Return to Transcripts main page
Suicide Bomb Kills U.S. Diplomat; North Korea May Test Missile This Week; Megachurch Mourns Pastor's Son; Megachurch Mourns Pastor's Son; New Laws May Muzzle Gun Business; The Final Four Becomes Two
Aired April 7, 2013 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: It is 6:00 in the East Coast, 3:00 p.m. in the West. I'm Don Lemon. THE NEWSROOM is now. Thank you so much for joining us.
Here's what's happening right now.
Today, we've learned the name of an American woman killed this weekend in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan. The State Department confirms to CNN that Anne Smedinghoff was a public diplomacy officer assigned to the U.S. embassy in Kabul. It's believed she is the only American diplomat killed in hostile territory since the U.S. ambassador to Libya died in a rocket attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, nearly seven months ago.
Anne Smedinghoff was just 27 years old. An explosion killed her, three American service members and a Defense Department employee as they were traveling to a school to deliver donated books. I'm going to talk with Anne's father in just a moment here on CNN.
But, first, I want to go to Washington where Athena Jones has more State Department reaction right now.
Athena, the Secretary of State John Kerry had met this young woman personally.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Don.
That's right. Secretary Kerry met Anne Smedinghoff just a couple of weeks ago when he visited Afghanistan and he was clearly pretty impressed by her. He spoke to a group of U.S. diplomat in Turkey about her today. Let's listen to what he told them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: When I was in Afghanistan, she was part of my team. And she was someone who worked hard and put her life on the line so that others could live a better life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: And Secretary Kerry also told that group of State Department employees that he had the chance to speak with Smedinghoff's family after learning of this tragedy, Don. LEMON: Let's talk about the military drawdown from Afghanistan, Athena. General Dempsey is there this weekend checking on progress. And some prominent Republicans say they're concerned about how that is going.
JONES: That's right, Don. The concern is really about what happens after 2014. That's when the Afghans are supposed to take over responsibility for security, for keeping the country safe.
And we know that some Republicans, I spoke with Senator John McCain today, he said he has always been concerned about this hand off. I asked about the event this weekend, killings over the weekend, raised concern. He said he's always been concerned. The U.S. is sending signs that we're leaving. Not that we're winning, but that we're leaving.
He said there's a failure on this front in Iraq and that he's worried that we're going to see the same movie play out in Afghanistan. I also had a chance to speak with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham about this and he said the U.S. would be crazy not to leave behind a force of 10,000 to 13,000 troops to help the Afghans out after 2014.
And so, that number still has to be determined but you can bet that politicians here in Washington are going to want to have a say and are going to be voicing their concern over just how much that -- how many forces should stay behind after 2014, Don.
LEMON: All right. Athena Jones, thank you very much for that.
LEMON: And, again, we want to tell viewers, that Anne Smedinghoff, the woman that was killed in Afghanistan, 25 years old, her father Tom Smedinghoff will join us a little bit later on in this broadcast.
In the meantime, South Korea's government says North Korea may test launch a missile this week. This comes as North urges all workers to leave an industrial complex near the border by Wednesday.
Meanwhile, China, one of North Korea's last remaining allies, has sent a thinly veiled warning to the country. China's president, Xi Jinping, says -- saying, quote, "No one should be allowed to throw a region and even the world, the whole world, into chaos for selfish gain."
I want you to listen to what former ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, had to say about these comments from China.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON HUNTSMAN (R), FORMER UTAH GOVERNOR: This is rather unprecedented for the head of the party, the head of the military, and the president, all one person, Xi Jinping, to be saying these words. And it suggests to me, as I've watched the ratcheting up of frustration among Chinese leaders over the last many years that they probably have hit the 212-degree boiling point as it relates to North Korea. (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And as a situation reaches a tipping point, the U.S. has delayed a planned missile test firing in California, in an effort to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon for us now with more on the U.S. response.
Barbara, what more do we know about postponing of this missile test?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, good evening, Don.
The Pentagon is saying that it's a prudent action, essentially. They don't want North Korea to get the wrong idea if those routine missile tests were to go forward, they don't want North Korea to construe it, either accidentally or deliberately, as provocation.
So they're going to delay that test. But it's pretty interesting. I can't recall anything like that happening recently with regards to North Korea. So whatever Kim Jong-Un is up to, certainly the Pentagon is listening -- Don.
LEMON: The top U.S. commander, Barbara, in South Korea has cancelled a trip to Washington. What does this say about the U.S. readiness for an impending launch?
STARR: Well, you know, General Thurman, James Thurman, decided that he needed to stay in South Korea because of the rising tensions. The U.S. military says it's ready for any test-launch, other countries in the region as well. They put s missile defense in place if this test launch were to threaten land such as Japan, there might be an attempt to shoot it down.
So, they say they are ready for whatever comes. But, again, it's like postponing the missile test here in the state, everybody on edge. I think that's what Chinese are addressing.
LEMON: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon -- Barbara, thank you very much for that.
LEMON: In West Virginia today, a sheriff shot dead a few days ago was laid to rest. This is in Mingo County, West Virginia.
Sheriff Walter Eugene Crum was eating lunch in his police car Wednesday when someone shot him dead. He was only sheriff for three months but was already known for cracking down hard on drug dealers. His family believes he was can killed because of his tough stance on drug crime. One suspect in the sheriff's killing is in custody right now.
In southern California, an autopsy is expected this week for the son of evangelist Rick Warren. Twenty-seven-year-old Matthew Warren apparently shot himself to death Friday morning. His family says he struggled with depression since infancy.
Warren did not address his grieving congregation today at Saddleback Valley Community Church, but he did offer this statement about his son. He said, "Kay and I often marveled at his courage to keep moving in spite of his relentless pain. I'll never forget how many years ago, after another approach had failed to give relief, Matthew said, 'Dad, I know I'm going to heaven. Why can't I just die and end this pain?' But he kept going for another decade."
No funeral arrangements had been announced.
I want to refocus now on the young woman killed in that suicide bombing yesterday in Afghanistan. Twenty-five-year-old Anne Smedinghoff, a State Department employee from the Chicago area. On the phone right now is her father, Tom Smedinghoff.
Mr. Smedinghoff, our condolences to you.
TOM SMEDINGHOFF, ANNE SMEDINGHOFF'S FATHER (via telephone): Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you. How are you doing under the circumstances?
SMEDINGHOFF: I'm sorry, I can't hear.
LEMON: Under the circumstances, how are you and your family holding up?
SMEDINGHOFF: We are doing OK. I think we are consoled by the fact that, you know, our daughter was really doing what she loved and making an important contribution, a positive contribution in the process.
And we have been so gratified by all of the outpourings of support and condolences from so many people that she knew from so many lives that she touched. And it really has been just a wonderful thing. And we take comfort in that fact.
LEMON: Mr. Smedinghoff, we are looking at pictures of your daughter, beautiful daughter. Tell us about her service in Afghanistan. What career path brought her there?
SMEDINGHOFF: I'm sorry, I couldn't catch the question.
LEMON: What -- tell us about her career path and what brought her to Afghanistan.
SMEDINGHOFF: Oh, certainly. She has always had an interest in international affairs, foreign diplomacy and things like that, and, in fact, majored in international relations when she was in college. So moving into the Foreign Service was a natural for her and when she took the test and passed, she was, of course, elated.
She joined right after college and just excelled at her first assignment in Caracas, Venezuela. And then she volunteered to go to Kabul, in Afghanistan, because she really felt that there was a lot of good she could do there.
LEMON: Yes. You talked about her path and a lot of good she could do. What did she love about her job? Apparently, to do this work, you have to love it.
SMEDINGHOFF: She -- I think she really enjoyed the challenge. She really enjoyed the opportunity to work with the local people in the community. She did a lot of public outreach. She helped with a lot of the educational efforts in the schools, in Afghanistan. She did a great deal of work with many of the women's groups that were working for equality for women in Afghanistan.
She did -- she helped organize a group -- a musical group to come to the United States. She was helpful in organizing their soccer team, the women's soccer team. Just all kinds of different things, working with the local community to try to really improve things.
LEMON: I'm sure you were worried about her going to these dangerous places and about the dangers of working in Afghanistan specifically, were you?
SMEDINGHOFF: Well, actually, we thought she was relatively safe in the embassy compound. But as it turned out, Anne really wanted to do a lot more, and she was always, you know, finding projects and assignments that took her outside to the various provinces within and around Afghanistan. And that was what she wanted to do. That was what really drove her. So, you know, she really got out quite a bit.
LEMON: Yes. What is the State Department telling you about circumstances surrounding her death? Are they being transparent to your situation?
SMEDINGHOFF: The State Department has been very, very helpful to us and very great in terms of the assistance that they have provided to us. We don't know all of the details of exactly what happened in that convoy but we have a meeting tomorrow with someone who was in the convoy when it was attacked. And we are hoping to learn a lot more of the details at that time.
LEMON: As I understand, you're on your way now. You're driving to go meet your daughter.
SMEDINGHOFF: Yes. We're on our way to the Dover Air Force Base. The plane bringing the casket of the individuals who were killed in the attack will be arriving tomorrow, sometime I guess late morning or early afternoon.
LEMON: Yes, Mr. Smedinghoff, our thoughts and prayers are with you. We are so sorry. We thank you for joining us.
SMEDINGHOFF: Thank you very much.
LEMON: If you need anything, make sure you get in touch. We appreciate that.
As Mr. Smedinghoff said, there were other victims involved in this tragedy. We hope to hear from them as well. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them.
Just ahead here on CNN, President Barack Obama trying to make a deal on the budget. But are Republicans willing to compromise? We're going to look at the chances with our CNN contributors.
And the Final Four now down to two teams. March Madness is happening right here in Atlanta. We're going to look ahead at tomorrow night's match-up.
LEMON: President Barack Obama expected to release his budget on Wednesday. And as he tries to win some Republican support, which he needs to get it passed, he is also fighting push back from his own party over entitlement cuts. This feel a little bit familiar, doesn't it?
So, for that, we turn to CNN contributor and ESPN senior writer L.Z. Granderson. He joins us from Grand Rapids, Michigan. And CNN contributor and Republican strategist Ana Navarro who is in Miami. We are always very jealous in the weather when we see you, Ana.
So guys, a quick look, here is a thumbnail here. For Medicare, part of the deal with the house speaker, it is expected to include $400 billion in Medicare savings over 10 years. It also has a new Republican backed formula that proponents say would reduce some costs of living increases for people on Social Security. So, the bottom line, $1.8 trillion in savings in 10 years replacing the forced budget cuts that took effect last month.
So, now, that we have that, Ana, this does include Republican ideas. But on Friday, House Speaker John Boehner slammed it. He says, "If the president believes these modest entitlement savings are needed to help shore up these programs, there's no reason they should be held hostage for more tax hikes. That's no way to lead and move the country forward."
So, Anna, if the speaker is already slamming it, what chances does the president have in getting the GOP support on this?
ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think the president's budget in the short term, Don, has no chance of getting passed. I think the Republican budget has no chance of getting passed and I think the Democrat budget out of the Senate has no chance of being passed.
But, you know, what the president did, was start to talk about some very important issues, like chained CPI, like putting entitlement reform on the table. This is a starter. Rome wasn't built in a day. I can't assure you a grand bargain is not going to be reached between this White House and this Congress in a day, or maybe in a month or maybe not in a year.
But it is starting to put this issue out there. It's going to get slammed, I assure you, on the right and the left. But people are going to start thinking about it and I think Republicans need to acknowledge and give the president credit for having started this conversation.
LEMON: All right. You said it doesn't stand a chance from either side.
NAVARRO: But he needs to go a lot further than this.
LEMON: Yes. It doesn't have a chance on either side. So, thank you both for joining us. We're moving on. Just can kidding.
LEMON: L.Z., I mean, some of those in the left are even having trouble with the budget, too. So, do you think ultimately this a good stab at some compromise as Ana said, or could this turnout to be a big political gamble for the president?
L.Z. GRANDERSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know, when I look at the budget and I hear the conversation of both sides I'm reminded of why I so wish we had term limits for congressmen. Because when you don't have to run for anything, you don't have pander to people and you can deal with real issues.
And I agree with Ana, we should have definitely at least acknowledged the fact that president is willing to take off his own base in order to get something done. This isn't about political risk for him. This is really simple, as Bill Clinton said, arithmetic.
The fact of the matter is that the cost of medical care is going up. People are living longer. We don't have as many people funding programs. We need some sort of entitlement reform and we also need to address rising cost of health insurance and medical insurance and medical care. But that's a later conversation.
We first must lead to just effect that the entitlements have to be addressed and I'm just happy that he's at least now having this conversation more seriously. It's just a shame that the conversation has to be held hostage by people who are running for reelection.
LEMON: Well, let's hope that there's some movement on this. Let's talk about immigration reform now.
The Senate so-called "gang of eight" could be ready to propose legislation as early as this week. Senator Lindsey Graham was on "Meet the Press" this morning and he sounds almost optimistic. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Politics of self deportation are behind us. Mitt Romney is a good man. He ran in many ways a good campaign. But it was an impractical solution. Quite frankly, it was offensive.
Every corner at the Republican Party, from libertarians, to the RNC, House Republicans, and rank and file Republican Party member is now understanding there has to be an earned pathway to citizenship, that gives us leverage on immigration with our Democratic friends.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Wow, self deportation was defensive. Did you hear that? Ana, are we getting close to some real immigration reform?
NAVARRO: I think we are as close as we have been in my lifetime, Don. And I spoke to Lindsey Graham on the way here and he is optimistic. He is warily optimistic. He realizes we have been closed before only to see it blow up. He's got the scars to show for it.
But part of the reason I'm optimistic is because both in the House and Senate, you got two gangs of eight, of people who are so incredibly committed to passing this issue.
LEMON: How about just two gangs?
NAVARRO: Well, yes. These are the good gangs. But these are people in the Senate like John McCain, like Chuck Schumer. They may not get along on other else, but they are committed as seeing a policy deal through.
And I'm going to tell you, we are going to see a deal announced in the next week and next two weeks, sometime within the month of April, probably. It's going to get slammed by the left. It's going to get slammed by the right. But we need to keep our eye on the ball.
Two things: one, we need to address the issue, address the problem of the 11 million. Number two, we need to have a deal that can get approved. And we've got to have confidence and the guys that are in that room and the lady also on the House side, that they are doing their best to try to come up with what is the art of the possible to see this through to the finish line.
LEMON: L.Z., are we nearly there?
GRANDERSON: Yes, we're nearly there simply because of the 2012 election. You know, I'm not as joyful, I guess, as my comrade Ana is. I know this is about one thing, though, trying to get ahold of the Latino vote, plain and simple.
You know, John McCain, God bless him for doing this, but he I could authored the DREAM Act then voted against it when it wasn't politically expedient for him. And we have seen the Democrats go the exact same thing. Get close to it then back away when it seems that their constituents didn't want it.
It wasn't about doing the right thing, it's about doing the political savvy thing and this is just another politically savvy thing to do. No one wants to lose the Latino vote. And so, yes, we will get this done. Not because it's the right thing to do, but because it's the politically savvy thing do.
LEMON: All right. Thanks to both of you. Appreciate at. Conversation to be continued. After two cliff-hanger games last night, Michigan and Louisville will meet in the NCAA championship game. We're going to look at that match-up.
LEMON: Final Four sliced in half. Now, Louisville and Michigan will square off tomorrow night for the NCAA men's championship.
Joe Carter is tracking the story right here in Atlanta -- Joe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE CARTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right, Don. After two awesome games last night, no games today. Both games just had practice some pressers. The feeling that we get from Louisville out of the presser is that they had been here before and they came up short. So they don't want to have that feeling again. Coach Pitino basically saying this team is more unified than ever before.
As far as Michigan goes, they want this dream run to continue. They want to do what the fab five, guys like Chris Weber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, the most famous names associated with Michigan basketball, this team wants to do what fab five wasn't able to do, and that's win a national championship.
Forty minutes separates the winner from the loser. Tip time just after 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Michigan, Louisville, the odds maker say Louisville is a slight favor. But, Don, it's college basketball, anything can happen.
LEMON: Going to be great. Thank you, Joe.
Beyonce and Jay-Z, maybe in some hot water. Their vacation destination has people raising eyebrows, doing more than that as people talking. That story is straight ahead.
But, first, looking back at what people say is the forgotten war. Tom Foreman reports of the complexities of the Korean War and how its outcome contributes to today's crisis in North Korea.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Korean war was a complicated affair from the start in 1950. A distant battle over whether the Korean Peninsula divided by World War II would be reunited under a democratic or communist government. The North's invasion of the South spurred world powers to join the fight and in short order almost 2 million American troops found themselves facing little-known enemies in a little-known land.
Patrick O'Donnell is a combat historian and the author of "Give Me Tomorrow". PATRICK O'DONNELL, COMBAT HISTORIAN: These men in the first -- in 1950, 1951 had to go against 20 to one odds in some cases against the Chinese army. They had to fight the temperature which dropped to 30 to 40 below zero. And they also did it with inferior weapons.
FOREMAN: The conditions during the war were worsened in a sense by the outcome. After three hard years, the war ended essentially where it began, with the North, the South, and not peace, just an uneasy agreement to stop fighting.
Historian Bruce Cummings from the University of Chicago.
BRUCE CUMMINGS, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: Korea ended in a stalemate. Americans didn't really understand the war, and veterans came home not to difficult circumstances like the veterans of the Vietnam War, but rather to a country that didn't really know where Korea was on the map and wasn't sure what the war had been about.
FOREMAN (on camera): These days a great many Americans don't really know much about the Korean War. It has become the providence of historians and old soldiers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Captain Benjamin Franklin Pearce. Who are you sir?
FOREMAN (voice-over): American consciousness of it has been shaped more by the TV show MASH than any reality. Only about a third of those who served during the Korean conflict are still alive making it almost certain the forgotten war will stay that way.
Tom Foreman CNN, Washington.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Half past the hour. We're going to get a look at the headlines here on CNN.
Anne Smedinghoff's family is remembering her today as someone who was always looking for ways to make a difference in people's lives. The 25-year-old State Department employee was one of five Americans killed this weekend in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan. They were on a mission to deliver donated books in a school in remote southern Afghanistan.
The South Korean government says it believes North Korea may launch another missile this week. And this test -- this test launch could be as early as Wednesday. The U.S. and South Korea have been watching the movement two of missiles to North Korea's west coast.
The missiles are widely believed to be Musudans, medium range missiles with the potential range of 2500 miles, which would put American bases in Guam within its reach. Immigration reform will top the congressional agenda this week. The House and Senate have dedicated groups working on the issue. Both chambers are optimistic that they will have legislation soon, possibly by the end of the week.
Iconic fashion designer, Lilly Pulitzer, has died. Her bold print dresses first became a fashion hit in the 1962 -- in 1962 when a classmate was First Lady Jackie Kennedy. She was photographed for a "Life" magazine cover wearing one of her dresses. She died in Palm Beach today surrounded by her family. She was 81 years old.
In Southern California, the congregation of one of the biggest churches in the country mourning the tragic death of its pastor's son. Twenty-seven-year-old Matthew Warren, son of evangelist Rick Warren, apparently shot himself to death Friday morning. His family says he struggled with depression since infancy.
Our Nick Valencia was there at today's service.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, the mood out here at Saddleback Church was very solemn. A lot of sad faces in attendance. You get the sense that this is more of family than it is a church at Saddleback ranch.
One of those important members, the church says, was Matthew Warren, the 27-year-old son of Pastor Rick Warren. They said he was an instrumental part of the church but more of a quiet leader. He worked in the mail division of the church where they distributed books and DVDs. Earlier the church provided us with some friends that we spoke to about the legacy of Matthew Warren.
They said he was extremely sweet. A very compassionate person and one person that could tell when people were going through pain because he himself was going through so much pain.
Earlier I spoke to one of his friends and asked him how Matthew Warren would have wanted to be remembered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE CONSTANTZ, SADDLEBACK CHURCH MEMBER: He was one of those young men who even in his most challenging times, when -- when other people kind of shared their problems and their suffering, he would just enter into those times and express his concern for them and, you know, how he wanted to somehow try to help them and reach out to them even in some of his most challenging times.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VALENCIA: Today's message was delivered by Matthew Warren's uncle, Tom Holiday. Rick Warren is recovering from a case of pneumonia. He was not expected to be here today. He came down with that pneumonia earlier this week. But on the death of his son, he released a statement on Saturday and in it he said, quote, "I'll never forget how many years ago after another approach had failed to give relief, Matthew said, Dad, I know I'm going to heaven. Why can't I just die and end this pain?"
There's a lot of people that are mourning the loss of 27-year-old Matthew Warren who of course was the youngest son of Pastor Rick Warren. And earlier the church told us that pastor has always been here for his members. Now it's time for his members to be here for him -- Don.
LEMON: Nick Valencia, thank you very much, Nick.
The manufacture and sale of firearms is a billion-dollar industry in Connecticut. Ahead, will the economic impact of stricter gun laws have many businesses packing up?
LEMON: Tomorrow, President Barack Obama travels to Hartford, Connecticut, to push for gun control legislation. It's about an hour away from the elementary school where a shooting rampage killed 20 children and six adults in December. His visit also comes days after Connecticut's governor signed into law some of the country's strictest gun measures.
The new laws are getting backlash from the National Rifle Association and from some Connecticut businesses who make some of the weapons that fall under the ban. Governor Dan Malloy responded to that criticism on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. DAN MALLOY (D), CONNECTICUT: People are welcome to stay in our state as long as they are producing a product that can be sold in the United States legally. By the way, those companies have been courted over the years to move many, many times. We've been in discussion with some of those firms about their desire to move or not to move in the past. But you know what, we've decided that the public's safety, that school children safety that, school teacher safety trumps all of that.
I hope they stay and manufacture products that can legally be sold but if they leave, you know, that will be a decision they make. We're not making them leave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, one of the businesses deciding whether to stay or leave employs hundreds of resident and brings in tens of millions of dollars to Connecticut's economy every year. If it closes its doors, it will have a ripple effect.
Here is national correspondent Deborah Feyerick.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When it comes to shooting competitions, this is one of the most popular sporting rifles in America. Thirty-four-year-old Mark Malkowski owns not only the semiautomatic rifle, he owned Stag Arms, the company that makes it.
(On camera): You sell about how many guns per month?
MARK MALKOWSKI, OWNER, STAG ARMY: We sell about 6,000 rifles per month.
FEYERICK (voice-over): Stag Arms opened its doors 10 years ago. The Connecticut based company has grown to 200 employees and was poised to bring in an estimated $80 million in sales this year. He says about four million of that in Connecticut.
All that, is now in jeopardy. Connecticut's strict new gun laws ban the sale of these firearms in the very state where they're made.
(On camera): Have you thought about the possibility of leaving Connecticut?
MALKOWSKI: I've considered it more than I ever have. The offers out there are very, very tempting. They are offering everything from building you a factory, helping you recoup moving costs, tax -- incentives. Tax abatements. Our industry here is $1.75 billion industry just in Connecticut.
STEVE SANETTI, NATIONAL SHOOTING SPORTS FOUNDATION: There's a huge economic impact.
FEYERICK (voice-over): Steve Sanetti heads the National Sports Foundation which is based in Newtown, not far from Sandy Hook Elementary School. Figures from the trade organization show last year the American firearms industry paid $5.1 billion in federal, state and other taxes.
SANETTI: You could well have an excess of the few remaining firearms manufacturers from the states that pass strict firearms control legislation where they can't make or sell their products any more.
FEYERICK: At first, it may seem like an empty threat, moving companies and families. Firing employees. But Jonathan Scalise, who employs 150 people and supplies bullet magazines for Stag Arms among others, says pressure is coming from outside buyers threatening to boycott.
JONATHAN SCALISE, ASC AMMUNITION STORAGE: We've gotten a number of responses that have essentially said we really, really like you. We like your company. We like your product. We like what you do. Unfortunately, we're having a tough time justifying spending our dollars in Connecticut.
FEYERICK: Both Malkowski and Scalise are fathers with young children. They say their hearts broke during Sandy Hook. But the new laws could have unintended consequences.
SCALISE: There's a very, very strong likelihood that it's going to be decimated by the actions that the legislature have taken. And the shame of it is, the real shame of it all, is we're no safer.
FEYERICK: Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New Britain, Connecticut.
LEMON: All right, Deb, thank you very much.
Who would have thought a simple anniversary could become an international incident? I guess when your Jay-Z and Beyonce, it's not so simple. But why is their vacation getting the attention of Washington lawmakers? Next.
LEMON: OK, so here's a story now. Diplomatic backlash for Beyonce and Jay-Z. The superstar couple were all smiles as they celebrated their fifth anniversary in Cuba last week. Now two Florida lawmakers say the couple may have violated travel restrictions to the communist island and they want a government agency to investigate now.
Tourism restrictions began in 1959 when Castro took power. The Obama administration lifted some of the restrictions last year. Not the end of this story. So stay tuned.
"Star Trek" fans, eat your hearts out. This Phaser rifle carried by Captain Kirk on the Starship U.S. Enterprise -- USS Enterprise is now in the hands of the highest bidder. The rifle went for, get this, you ready? Oh, you see it on the screen. All right. 231,000 bucks in an auction in -- of Hollywood Memorabilia yesterday. 231,000 bucks. It was expected to sell for around 70,000. It went for a lot more than that.
Finally, it comes down to this. This. Last night, the Final Four became the final two. They will play tomorrow night. An inside look at college basketball's biggest game of the year, next.
LEMON: The big dance, down to two. Louisville will play Michigan tomorrow night for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Championship, I should say. Both teams survived close games last night to advance.
It's been a wild and whacky tournament with a slew of upsets early on. Now, here we are with the number one overall seed, Louisville playing against Michigan team that was ranked number one during the course of the season.
I want it bring in Terrence Morris, CNN.com's sports contributor and columnist at MLB.com.
Before we talk about this, let's shift here what's happening here in Atlanta.
TERENCE MOORE, CNN.COM SPORTS CONTRIBUTOR: Wow. Just crazy.
LEMON: Can we take you outside? Look. Centennial Olympic Park, it's packed. Sting is playing, is performing right now. And he performed last night at the Tabernacle. There he is. This guy looks great, I want to see him. Sting doesn't age and he sounds great. A little bit later on, Dave Matthews will be playing here. And of course tomorrow night is a big championship. The city is on fire.
MOORE: It really is. It took me about an hour to get here.
MOORE: And I was a block away.
LEMON: You get all the way down here, near the CNN center, you can see the building but you just can't get here.
MOORE: That's right.
LEMON: So what happened to these Cinderella teams in the tournament?
MOORE: Well, you know, Don, another name for March Madness is --
MOORE: -- the big dance.
LEMON: It is madness.
MOORE: And also the big dance. OK?
MOORE: They've had 75 big dances. And almost never does Cinderella do the Watuzi or the Harlem Shake at the end. OK? The upsets that have come in the past -- that's bad. That's bad.
LEMON: The what?
MOORE: The upsets that's come in the past has always been, like, major teams.
MOORE: And major schools. You had at '85, you got Villanova beating Georgetown. You had two years before that NC State winning. The last two upsets, the last two Cinderella that we had was way back in 1966, Texas and El Paso, that all black team beating the all-white Kentucky team.
LEMON: Wow. OK, so let's see if I can -- you know, word that goes to Watuzi. Who wins the whole kit and caboodle? The whole shebang?
Is it going to be Michigan or is it going to be Louisville? Is it going to be Pitino or is it going to be Ware? Who's going to get --
MOORE: Well, I mean, it's clear that Louisville is the definitive team of destiny here. OK?
LEMON: All right.
MOORE: You've got the Kevin Ware thing, we all know about that with a broken leg. This guy is a living gipper, as opposed to this dead gipper at Notre Dame. This guy is at courtside every game inspiring his teammates, OK? Then you've got all this Rick Pitino stuff, Don.
MOORE: Rick Pitino had a horse yesterday, went as Santa Anita.
MOORE: OK? So his horse is in the Kentucky Derby which is where Louisville and it gets even better. Rick Pitino, any day now officially will be in the basketball Hall of Fame. They say -- just give the guy the trophy right now and call it a day.
LEMON: I was going to say like who gets it? He's going to be in the Hall of Fame and then Ware -- all attention is on Ware.
LEMON: And I think he got more airtime yesterday than the actual team.
MOORE: Well, I tell you what, being at the Georgia Dome last night.
MOORE: Every five minutes on the big screen, they were putting the camera on him.
LEMON: That's what I meant.
MOORE: On the courtside.
MOORE: So it's almost like they were willing Louisville to win the game.
LEMON: To win the game. All right. It was a great game.
MOORE: It was.
LEMON: A great game.
All right, let's switch gears now. Because I want to talk to you about that Rutgers scandal that Coach Mike Rice got the boot after video of him berating and hitting players surfaced. Then the athletic director Tim Pernetti was forced to resign. Guess who still has a job? Rutgers University president Robert Barchi.
LEMON: Do you think that he should stay?
MOORE: Yes, you know, I mean, this guy is making a total you know what out of himself. OK? I mean, this guy comes out and says that, you know, basically it was a failure in process, a failure of process. What does that mean? It's like the old Richard Nixon saying mistakes were made. OK? But the most ridiculous thing about this guy, he has the nerve to say that back in November when the video came out, he didn't have time to watch it.
LEMON: He didn't see it.
MOORE: He didn't have -- he didn't have five minutes to watch this thing?
LEMON: They had other issues, too, with players calling some another name, someone calling slurs before.
LEMON: You would think this would be high up on his list.
MOORE: That's exactly right.
MOORE: You know, and I guess to continue my presidential analogies here, just like the Ronald Reagan thing, plausible denial. OK? He told his underlings, you guys take care of this but don't tell me anything so it can get to this point right here, we're going to say, why, I just didn't know.
MOORE: That's unacceptable.
LEMON: All right. Hang on. Don't go anywhere. I know that you're all fired up. But wait a minute. I want your reaction to this story. This year's tournament is the 50th anniversary of a historic handshake at the NCAA tournament, one that changed the country.
It was this moment in 1963 just before tip off between Loyola University, Chicago, and Mississippi State. Two players with a simple pregame handshake, it bridged a huge racial divide, Terence. You see Loyola and four African-American starters. The team from Mississippi was all white. And Mississippi politicians did their best to stop them from going to the game. But the Mississippi state players defied them. Sneaking off to play Loyola and they lost 61-51 while Loyola went on to win the championship.
Afterward, one Loyola player said all he remembered was that handshake, calling it the proudest moment of his life. The final Loyola and Cincinnati started seven black players. The first time in NCAA history that a majority of players on the court were black and that was 50 years ago.
MOORE: Well, as you know, the great part of this story is that as far as the handshake that's concerned, the white gentleman who died, the black guy who shook his hand was at his funeral and cried like a baby. Just standing over the casket. Great story. And you know what, because of what happened to 66, with that Texas El Paso team, this team, the Loyola team kind of gets overlooked.
LEMON: Yes. Gives you hope, doesn't it?
MOORE: It does. Keep hope alive.
LEMON: Keep hope alive.
MOORE: And not Bob hope. He's been dead for about eight years.
LEMON: Thank you, Terence. I appreciate it.
MOORE: Thank you.
LEMON: A good preacher sometimes is half religious scholar, half performer. In Mississippi, this preacher is just half, as in half the size of just about any other preachers you'll see. That's next.
LEMON: A Mississippi preacher is getting as much attention for his age and size as he is for his sermons. Meet 7-year-old Samuel Green of Variant Seventh Day Adventist Church in Jackson, Mississippi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMUEL GREEN, 7-YEAR-OLD PREACHER: Job had nothing. He lost his land, he lost his animals, he lost his sons and daughters, but do you know what Job did? Job bowed to his knees and began worshipping God saying, the Lord has gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. After all -- after all --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: All right, amen, brother. Believe it or not, that's Samuel preaching at age 5.
Miguel Marquez spoke to Samuel and his mom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREEN: I did prayers and then they asked me to come to their church and do a live sermon. And that's how it all got to the start.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: But you don't use notes? I mean, how do you do this? Just -- from memory? Feeling? How do you -- how do you actually do this? It's amazing.
MARQUEZ: And what do you want to be when your grow up? Maybe a doctor?
GREEN: Yes, that takes care of children.
MARQUEZ: Really? So -- and why not a preacher? Why don't you want to go into -- go into church?
GREEN: Well, that's actually two jobs. I really think I'm going to own a church.
MARQUEZ: You're going to own a church but you want to be a doctor as well?
MARQUEZ: Wow. Well, you're going to be a very busy young man. What do you want most people to know about you?
GREEN: That it's not me. It's a gift from God, that it's God and he's working through me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, his teacher says he helps him out with his introductions, but says Samuel is a driving force behind the messages in his own sermons.
The next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.