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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Make Or Break Moment On Gun Control; Is Chelsea Clinton Joining Family Business?; On Alert for North Korea Missile Launch
Aired April 8, 2013 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, President Obama travels to Connecticut and stands with the families of Newtown victims to push for new gun legislation. But is it way too late?
Plus, first it was Bill then it was Hillary. Will Chelsea be the next Clinton in public office at the national level?
And rising tensions in North Korea where the U.S. fears a missile launch could be days away. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, make or break on guns in America. The president's last best chance on gun control late today, just 50 miles from the site of the Newtown shooting, President Obama stood surrounded by families' victims and said he is fighting for them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Connecticut, this is not about me. This is not about politics. This is about doing the right thing for all the families who are here that have been torn apart by gun violence. It's about them and all the families going forward so we can prevent this from happening again. That's what it's about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That's what it's about, but is it already too late? OUTFRONT tonight, Mark Glaze, director of "Mayors Against Illegal Guns" and Larry Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America, a pro-gun lobbying group, just a fraction of the size of the NRA, but maybe more powerful.
"The New York Times" calls Gun Owners of America an influential force and says it is this group's lobbying blitz that helped explain why a bipartisan Senate deal on background checks remains elusive.
So Larry, let me start with you. This week being called a make or break week for the president on gun control. It's now or never. He had that speech today in Connecticut. We just played a little bit for viewers.
Tomorrow, of course, Senate Democrats say they're going to talk about when they're going to bring their bill to the floor. There is going to be families of Newtown victims lobbying on the Hill.
So there's going to be a lot. How confident are you that can you make this a break moment, not a make moment for the president?
LARRY PRATT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GUN OWNERS OF AMERICA: Well, we're cautiously optimistic. We think we should have the votes. There is a number of Democrats that have to run for re-election next year who come from Republican states. They're looking over their shoulder.
I think they might replace some of the missing Republicans who are not necessarily going to be on the reservation when the vote comes. There's been a parliamentary setup. Wednesday morning, we should know whether the filibuster is going to hold or not.
BURNETT: So, you know, this could all fail. Part of the problem here is what happened between Newtown and now to American sentiment. Fewer people support a lot of gun control measures, background checks they do still support.
All in, more Americans disapprove of the president's handling on gun control. That number has gone up since January. It's now more than half of Americans disapprove of how he is handling it. So will the president be able to get this done?
MARK GLAZE, DIRECTOR, MAYORS AGAINST ILLEGAL GUNS: Sure. I think so, in part because the president actually has done the right things and will do more of them. But secondly, because as you say, get away from questions about gun control and on the questions about background checks.
I have to give it to Larry, I mean, he has managed to gin up the 11 percent of the public who doesn't think that everybody should get a background check, which is about the same percentage of people that think Elvis is still alive so kudos to him. But I think we're going to get it done.
BURNETT: All right, Larry, those were some tough words, but he's right. All right, 91 percent of Americans support universal background checks for all gun buyers. That's a Quinnipiac survey from just a few days ago, and you know, according to FBI data, I want to ask you about this because there is a terrorist watch list we all know it in this country.
Individuals on that terrorist watch list were involved in fire arm or explosive background checks, 1,228 times from 2004 through 2010, 91 percent of those transactions were approved, totally legal. So you can be on the terrorist watch list, go in, buy a gun. Isn't that a case in point for why we should have background checks?
PRATT: Let's start with the public opinion polls. That survey and others are showing that also nearly the same number of NRA and Gun Owners of America members support the universal background check, which is really a gun registry system. And, in fact, we polled our members after that data was published and we found that an overwhelming number of them disapprove, only 4 percent approved and 5 percent of the NRA members. GLAZE: Did you ask them if they wanted a national gun registry, Larry? Is that the question?
PRATT: They know what the deal is. They're not buying it. We don't let you speak for us. You seem to have enough trouble getting your message across. I think we'll work on our own ourselves. I'm sorry, Erin, what was the other part of your question?
BURNETT: I wanted to ask you why someone on the terrorist watch list should be able to get a gun because they have.
BURNETT: They passed these background checks.
PRATT: Well, once they have been taken to court and afforded due process and had an attorney and expert witnesses and so forth, then we don't have a problem.
BURNETT: But these are people on the watch list.
PRATT: But that list is sort of like voodoo. Nobody really knows how the names get on the list. Nobody knows exactly what they've done. They haven't had due process. Now if you want to live in a dictatorship, fine, just go ahead and do something like that. But we don't think that's the way America wants to work.
BURNETT: All right, so you're okay with that. Mark, let me ask you something Larry said because he had a point. Americans do seem to believe that a universal background check could lead to the government eventually confiscating their guns, this whole concept of a registry that could be used for that.
Forty eight percent of them think that they could lead to that, 14 percent aren't sure. I mean, these numbers were high. They surprised me. Some of the leftists say it's a few far right crazies that think the government is going to confiscate the guns. Those people are wrong. It's a lot of people who think that.
GLAZE: Well, you know, I think that Tom Coburn who is the Republican senator who has a problem with, you know, a set of laws that requires dealers to actually keep records when they give background checks, which is the way we've been doing it for four years.
His explanation was look, people are a little bit worried about our their government. They don't like what it's doing on debt. They don't necessarily like what it's doing on foreign policy. You can't blame people for being paranoid about this.
But the truth is, it's illegal to create a national gun registry. Nobody wants to create a national gun registry and a lot of states already require background checks for all gun purchases and effectively keep lists of people who have passed the background checks. Nobody in California has come to take way guns. In fact, they had record gun sales this year. BURNETT: So Larry, let me ask you something. On "60 Minutes" last night, they talked to some of the families whose children died in Newtown. Last night on "60 Minutes," a woman spoke about her daughter. She had a son and daughter at the school. She talked about the moment when they were looking and trying to find her daughter. So let me just play that for you for a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a text from Jimmy. I have Isaiah but I don't have Anna. So I was driving with my friend back to Sandy Hook and I just kept texting Jimmy every 10 or 15 seconds on a question mark and then Anna exclamation point. Because we had Isaiah, I didn't understand why we didn't have Anna.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: We know that background checks wouldn't stop Newtown, right, but a limit on magazine capacity perhaps would have. There are changes in the law that might stop one of these horrible things from happening. Would you ever want to stand in the way of that?
PRATT: These are magazines that people have used in self-defense. I think it's stunning that a government that is complicit in the murder of at least 400 Mexicans through the fast and furious program designed to get guns into the hands of the Mexican cartel is now hiding behind the parents of those at Newtown and telling us that somehow they are the people to be trusted with our names and addresses. We're not buying that. We don't trust --
GLAZE: Nobody is ever going to have your name or address, Larry.
PRATT: Excuse me. They tell dealers that when you go for a background check online, you're told that that data becomes the permanent record of the federal government.
GLAZE: I must say, I have no idea what Larry is talking about.
PRATT: Well, of course, you don't. You don't want to hear that.
GLAZE: When you get a background check, the dealer runs that check. The government destroys any record of that check within 24 hours and the dealer keeps a paper record f that gun ever turns up in a crime scene, it can be traced to the person that used it in the crime. Dealers are gun guys. Dealers are not thugs. That's why the records are kept for 40 years and nobody ever complains about it.
PRATT: The records are being kept in a registry on computers and Clarksburg, West Virginia, by the Justice Department, the very folks that ran "Fast and Furious."
GLAZE: Not true.
PRATT: And that's unacceptable.
GLAZE: Not true. BURNETT: All right, we'll leave it there, gentlemen. Thank you very much. We appreciate it.
Please let us know your thoughts on this tonight. Still to come, another member of the Clinton family could be running for office. And of course, I'm not talking about Hillary tonight.
Plus this sounds like a weapon from the future. The U.S. Navy says it has developed a state of the art laser and we have the video.
And it's been described as the worst jail in America. A former inmate who is attacked comes OUTFRONT to talk about what happened to him, what he saw in the jail.
BURNETT: Our second story OUTFRONT, is Chelsea about to join the family business? The daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton revealed said she is open to running for office. Here is what the 33-year-old told NBC's "Today Show."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHELSEA CLINTON, DAUGHTER OF BILL AND HILLARY CLINTON: Right now, I'm grateful to live in a city and state and country where I strongly support my mayor and governor and president and my senators and my representatives. If at some point that weren't true and I thought I could make a meaningful and measurably greater impact, you know, I'd have to ask and answer that question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So will she make a trifecta for the Clinton political dynasty as it now is? OUTFRONT tonight, a conservative commentator from "The Daily Caller," Matt Lewis and Democratic strategist, Kiki McLean. She was also the former senior adviser to the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign.
So good to see both of you. Matt, let me start with you. Chelsea, politician, smart?
MATT LEWIS, "THE DAILY CALLER": Look, she would have to bone up on the issues, but it's not out of the question. Nepotism, you said the word dynasty, Erin. Nepotism is alive and well. I fully expect in 20 years that Tag Romney will defeat George P. Bush for the nomination. They will run against Chelsea Clinton. It will be covered by the grandson of Tim Russert and debated by Irving Crystal, and Lucy and Goldberg's grandchildren. So this very possibly could happen.
BURNETT: You know, it sounds terrible when you say that, but the only thing worse would be not one of those families.
LEWIS: It's going to happen.
BURNETT: Kiki, what do you think? I mean, Chelsea has a very high profile position at the foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative. I've seen her. I was with her in Africa. She asked a lot of questions. She knows what's going on.
She's been outspoken in legalizing gay marriage. She obviously has a role at NBC News at this point. She is probably doing all those things to figure out what she wanted to do like any normal person would do. But it also all does set her up for a political career.
KIKI MCLEAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, look, I hope every 33-year- old American is interested in public service. No one should be shocked that a young woman who grew up in a home that respected, honored and engaged in public service would consider that as parts of her potential future. But that is not a commitment to run for office. That is not breaking news. That is a young woman who is engaged in the world who just isn't going to limit herself and no 33-year-old should.
BURNETT: Well, I have to say, I'm impressed she would consider it. After what she went through and her parents went through, I would probably rather die than run for public office. But anyway -- I'm just saying. I know the Bush daughters feel that way. They won't run because it's so salacious.
MCLEAN: Well, but I think that also speaks to the honor with which both of her parents and people she's had the opportunity to meet place on public service. There are lots of ways to serve. You don't have to engage in public service by being in elected office.
BURNETT: Interesting point.
Now, I want to talk about Hillary Clinton here. Obviously, Chelsea also talked about her mother running for public office and saying she would support that. But Matt, let me just ask you a question here. Maureen Dowd of "The New York Times" wrote about Hillary running. She talked about her hair and how that could be an issue. And by the way, the way women look is still always an issue. And she said "Hillary jokes that people regard her hair as totemic and just so, her new haircut send a signal of shimmering intention. She ditched the skinned-back bun that gave her the air of a KGB villainess in a Bond movie and has a sleek, new, layered cut that looks modern and glamorous."
Modern and glamorous equals Hillary Clinton. True or false?
MATT LEWIS, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Well, look, I don't think we can read into how she looks whether or not she's going to run or not. But I do think that appearances and optics are always important. If she runs, she would be as old as Ronald Reagan. AIDS was an issue for him. She'll be 69 years old when she became president.
And I think more importantly, it would be an example of passing -- instead of passing the torch to a new generation, America will be going backwards generationally. And Hillary very likely could go up against someone like a Marco Rubio, who is young. So, look, I think that energy and youth could be an issue.
BURNETT: All right. And Kiki, to that point, to that point, what about Rush Limbaugh said that made a lot of people really mad. But you know what? It made them mad because at the time he said it, it was probably true. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, CONSERVATIVE RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Will Americans want to watch a woman get older before their eyes?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That's what he said of Hillary Clinton, Kiki, back in 2007. And you know what? There is truth in that. Has that changed?
MCLEAN: Listen, I think that there will always be people that care more about what's on the skin than what's in the brain. But the reality is most Americans are going to pick who serves them based on what they believe they can do for them and the kind of leader they can be. And I think if we spend all of our time thinking about how someone's hair looks, what the hem on somebody's skirt may or may not be, that doesn't really get to the issues. I promise you that other than good-natured effort that anyone wants to be presentable and well groomed, that's really not something Hillary Clinton is ever really worried about to my knowledge.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks very much to both of you. By the way, everyone, let us know what you by this whole concept of a dynasty or nepotism. And keep in mind, there's only three Clintons. Remember, there were more Bushes. And we all know there were a heck of a lot more Kennedys.
A massive six-day auction by Sotheby's in Hong Kong came to an end, and it raised $208 million. And one of the items in particular caught my eye. The Magpie's treasure nest clock. Look at that thing. Diamonds, rubies and a 104-carat oval tanzanite. Whatever that is, it is very valuable, apparently. An anonymous Asian buyer paid more than $2 million for it, three times the estimate, and the most ever paid for a Patek Phillipe clock at auction.
Which brings me to tonight's number, $11 million. That is the most money ever paid for a Patek Phillipe watch. No joke, watch. I'm not wearing one, you notice. They're much smaller and less ornate than the clock. The super complication watch sold for almost $9 million more than, and that was back in 1999, people. It's excessive. But apparently some people like to spend excessive amounts of money on watches.
There is a section of The Financial Times newspaper called "how to spend it." You can imagine the kind of people who spend that kind of money. Well, every week a bunch of us go through this magazine in shock and awe at the hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars people spend on watches. I mean, look at these watches. Every one of them, several hundred thousand dollars, at least. That would be a cheapo watch.
Most of us who look it up don't even wear watches. And we're not alone. According to a survey by yougov.com, 60 percent of men under the age of 35 use their cell phone as their primary time piece. That doesn't bode well for Patek Phillipe, whose watch slogan is, "You never actually own a Patek Phillipe. You merely look after it for the next generation."
Maybe that person who bought that $11 million Patek Phillipe should resell it quickly while it still has some value, so they don't leave their kid with a watch that used to be worth a lot of money.
But maybe I'm too harsh here. So here's a question: do you wear a watch and if so, how much did you pay for it. One of those Patek Phillipe people: we're looking for you. Let us know on Twitter @ErinBurnett or @OutfrontCNN.
Still to come, new developments in the Rutgers University basketball scandal. The controversial settlement that the school's athletic director left with.
Plus, Jay-Z and Beyonce in Cuba. Did they violate the law?
And the U.S. Navy adds a new weapon to its arsenal. We have video of the lasers that have just been added to our war ships.
BURNETT: Our third story tonight, modern warfare. So, we saw this today and had to share it with you. The Navy says it's going to being deploying solid state laser weapons. More on what that means in a moment. But it's going to be onboard American warships. Officials say it's a revolutionary technology, more powerful, more precise and less expensive than what they're using now.
So, Chris Lawrence is OUTFRONT tonight from the Pentagon. And, so, Chris, I guess the first question is how do the lasers work? Why are they so amazing?
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The thing that the Navy is really touting here, Erin, is the thing officials tell us is basically, lasers run on electricity. So when you take a look at this video and see these lasers in action, what they're doing -- think about the idea of having no ammunition. You don't have to load a ship down with a bunch of precision-guided ammunition. The cost of this alone, they estimate to be about a dollar a shot. Compare that to the sending out $5,000 a shot on regular artillery, and you can get an idea of why this is so promising. When you look at the laser and what it's doing, basically it's sending this concentrated beam of light. And they can control what it does, anything from dazzling the enemy sensors to actually injuring, say, a drone like you're seeing in this or going all the way up to full-fledged destruction.
BURNETT: I mean that's just -- wow. I'm watching this drone come down. It's pretty amazing. I guess when you say it's electricity, I'm hoping that they have better generators than the Carnival Cruise Line. But that is a separate issue. I know they have other ways of powering it as well, all joking aside.
But how big of a breakthrough is this technologically?
LAWRENCE: I got to tell you, some officials say this could be as big as gunpowder, basically, in what this does. I mean basically it's sending a beam about the size of this dime, you know, into the air. And what is especially good for going after those fast-attack boats like Iran has. Also drones.
What it can't do, it can't curve. It can't go over the horizon. And it's probably not powerful enough yet to take down a jet or an incoming missile. But when you look at the fact that an interceptor missile costs millions of dollars, if they could find a way to power this up to even, you know, a little bit -- to a fraction of what that cost is, you could be saving a lot of money. And that's something that Russia and China have been heavily investing in. Now for the first time, the U.S. Navy going to put a laser onboard a ship next year.
BURNETT: Seems almost like science fiction. Thanks so much. Appreciate it.
BURNETT: Still to come, tensions between the White House and Kim Jong- un continue to escalate. Why some expect a North Korean missile launch as early as this week.
Plus, some call it the worst jail in America and a former inmate says that prisoners have drugs and weapons comes OUTFRONT next with his story.
BURNETT: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT. We start with stories we care about where we focus on our reporting from the front lines.
And we have new developments tonight in the conspiracy case against Osama bin Laden's son-in-law regarding 9/11. Defense attorneys representing Sulaiman Abu Ghaith said in a federal court hearing in Manhattan today that they may file a change of venue motion.
Former Army JAG attorney Greg Rinckey the venue motion makes sense because it would be extremely difficult to find an impartial jury in an area so close to the Twin Towers. He also says part of the strategy is to delay the trial altogether.
Abu Ghaith has pleaded not guilty to charges he conspired to kill Americans on 9/11.
Well, it's passed. The proposal to tax marijuana in Colorado could mean the green stuff is taxed at 38 percent. That's getting up there with the 1 percent.
State Representative Dan Pabon who chairs the committee trying how to implement the legalization of marijuana tells us the proposal includes two taxes each capped, quote-unquote, "at 15 percent." That means it could be lower. The other 8 percent is the sales tax already at stake.
There is a concern that 38 percent tax will mean users will turn to black market. Pabon concedes that is a factor but points to Washington state where he says, whoa, a 75 percent tax has had a minimal effect on the black market. Whoa.
Jay-Z and Beyonce are in at center of a controversy surrounding a trip they just took to Cuba. They were spotted in Havana and two Republican and Cuban-American members of Congress sent a letter to the Treasury Department demanding to know if they violated restrictions on U.S. travel to the communist country.
It appears, though, that Jay-Z and Beyonce got the green light to go from the government. "Reuters" is reporting that the Treasury Department which grants licenses to travel to Cuba OK'd the couple's trip as a, quote-unquote, "cultural visit." It happened to be also during their fifth wedding anniversary. Although we're told because it was a cultural visit, they didn't go to the beach.
It has been 613 days since the U.S. lost the top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back? Well, stocks were up to day. Investors are unsure about the company's future of J.C. Penny. The troubled chain said its CEO is stepping down and that made the market happy actually.
Then the market got upset because they said, oh, no. He's being replaced by his predecessor. That is not change. Well, sorry.
And now our fourth story OUTFRONT: preparing for a missile launch.
There are signs tonight North Korea may be preparing to fire a missile just in the next few days. This, of course, as the tensions between the United States and North Korea continue to escalate. The South Korean government says Pyongyang may launch a missile as early as Wednesday. And the news comes as a new CNN poll shows 41 percent of Americans see North Korea as an immediate threat, up 13 percent in just three weeks.
Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT in Seoul.
And, Kyung, the situation has forced the top American general commander in South Korea, General James Thurman, to cancel a trip. He was supposed to come back to the U.S. to brief leaders here. He's had to cancel his trip.
How tense is it right now?
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's tense and not tense all at the same time. And here's why. Seoul is just one hour south of the DMZ, a city of 11 million people, just in this immediate area. You can't possibly have so many people living this close in North Korea without going completely nuts if you did not learn to live with it.
So, people here are simply living with it. They are used to having North Korea say all the things. They think of the country as being full of hot air and crazy. What's different now is that this is a bit of a different temperature. So the tension is a little bit higher.
And here on the peninsula, people pay attention to what North Korea does, not what they say and what North Korea just did is pull its 53,000 employees out of a joint industrial complex. The fact that North Korea is doing this for the very first time, closing this down completely, Erin, is a sign that the young leader is willing to go a little bit further than his father. So, a little bit more difficult to predict this sort of crazy.
BURNETT: And we're going to be joined by a former CIA agent in just a moment.
But you've been looking at what people are doing there to actually prepare. And what have you found?
LAH: Well, a lot of people do is they're kind of used to this idea of civil drills. They live with this. This happens almost on a monthly basis here in Seoul.
But in the surrounding communities, we actually went to a border city right near the border, 15 miles south of the DMZ. And they were actually posting flyers. These flyers have the markings of where you can go if there is some sort of a disaster, whether that be a natural disaster or some sort of impact from the North. So people are preparing for it in a quiet way.
But if you talk to people, they don't really want to think about it because they are, again, so numb. It is so difficult to think about what would happen if North Korea actually did launch something into South Korea, the casualties would be unthinkable.
BURNETT: They would be unthinkable. Well, Kyung, thank you very much reporting live from Seoul tonight.
One of the key questions tonight is what do we know about what North Korea is going to do? I mean, is this bluster or different? Former CIA operative Bob Baer has been working his sources and he's OUTFRONT tonight.
And, Bob, I know you've been talking to a lot of people you work with in the CIA. They deal with North Korea. What are they saying about this?
BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: They say it's different. They say that North Korea's determined to have a deliverable nuclear weapon. North Korea has taken offense at the White House's actions. It's coming back at it, threats by General Thurman and the rest of us. And they are really worried about some sort of accident happening to trigger this or in fact the North Koreans may attempt to make a statement by firing a missile somewhere. They think it's different this time.
BURNETT: So, they think it's different. From an intelligence gathering standpoint, how much access do -- does the United States really have? I mean, what do we really know? People have been making jokes about Dennis Rodman knows more than the CIA.
But how much do we know? BAER: We don't know much. The people I've been talking to, one of them it's just been in North Korea, talked to North Koreans. But, frankly, he didn't get much from them.
The North Korean military can move large units without causing a spike in intercepts or anything. They can move missiles. They can launch them at a minute's notice.
And, frankly, as we've always been, we're blind to North Korea. It's nobody's fault. It's a hermit kingdom. They keep their own council, say whatever you like. But it's very difficult to predict what they're going to do.
Now we're all keeping our fingers crossed that this is bluster. But, again, the Korean experts I talk to are starting to worry.
BURNETT: And that, obviously, as you say, is a big shift. I mean, that's different. And for the first time, Bob, it seems like a majority of Americans are perhaps coming to that point of view themselves.
We look at the most recent poll. Today, 51 percent of people in the CNN poll in this country said this situation will not be resolved diplomatically.
That's pretty incredible. Do you think that they're right? Can the Obama administration still resolve this diplomatically?
BAER: Well, we need to reopen communications with North Korea. We have to start recognizing what they think are their legitimate demands. Their leadership is isolated. They live in a bubble. They truly believe they're major military power and they can hit the United States and hit it hard.
And, you know, we simply have to talk them back from this position which right now we're not doing. This is not kind of regime that you say, listen, we stop talking to them they'll behave.
They don't work that way. The Koreans will do something if we don't quickly establish some sort of communications.
BURNETT: All right, Bob Baer, thank you very much.
Now, update to an OUTFRONT investigation we brought you last week. It's been described as the worst jail in America.
And the images from inside this New Orleans detention center show why -- inmates out of control, waving around a gun in their cell, doing drugs, and drinking alcohol. One of them even escaped to roam free on Bourbon Street.
This video was shot by an inmate on his cell phone in 2009. It is a key piece of evidence in the lawsuit against the city of New Orleans and the sheriff.
OUTFRONT tonight, Jamie Hernandez, a former inmate. He spent 13 months behind bars in the Orleans Parish facility.
When you see the video, Jamie, and I know it was filmed four years ago. That was before the jail, the particular video we're showing viewers. But was that still going on when you were there? And to emphasize to our viewers, you just got out last month. So, you have a very recent view on what it's like.
JAMIE HERNANDEZ, FORMER INMATE, ORLEANS PARISH PRISON: Absolutely. For every inmate on a tier, they would have at least two to three knives on them. SOD would not periodically check the tiers. The deputies wouldn't monitor the tiers, they come sign a book, walk right out the door.
Inmates would do what you would call a kick-down. You would get jumped by four or five inmates. I've been jumped twice. I've been assault the twice. I've had two surgeries in my face from one stabbing across my right eye.
BURNETT: How did this happen? I mean, tell me -- you say people just had guns on them. Most people think when you're in jail, you don't have guns, you don't have cell phones, you don't have knives. You're saying there were plenty of all that?
HERNANDEZ: Yes. Yes. You know, they get the drugs through windows. They take broomsticks, break the windows, take sheets, braid the sheets. They take the sticks and the sheets, throw them out the window. They call one of their family members or one of their friends on the street and they come, drop the drugs off, throw the package back over the fence and they pull it up. It is called fishing.
I never participated in any of it. It's horrible.
BURNETT: It is hard for anyone to imagine when we, you know, look at the video and you're describing this is still going on now.
The sheriff, Sheriff Gusman, gave a press conference to talk about the allegations. Some of the things you're saying are in the video. Here's what he had to say about the video particularly. I want you to hear what he said so you could respond.
Here's the sheriff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF MARLIN GUSMAN, ORLEANS PARISH: The video quality looks like it's been greatly changed up. I don't know. I don't know what to say about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: It sounds, Jamie, like he's implying the video was doctored.
HERNANDEZ: Right. I don't believe it. You know, the people who jumped me, they were never rebooked. One inmate that, you know, I was -- I never really wanted to fight anybody.
I didn't come to jail to make friends. You know, I was fighting my charge. There are a lot of inmates there fighting their charge.
And, you know, when you go to jail, you don't expect to be getting into fights or, you know, having to be afraid to go to sleep at night because you might have said something wrong that might offended another inmate and you're there alone. It's every man for himself.
BURNETT: When you say that you were jumped and assaulted, for -- what is the difference between the two? What happened?
HERNANDEZ: When I say I was assaulted, the inmates were playing homosexual games. They would go to the showers. They come out the showers and what they call punk games. They walk around the tier, you know, naked. They walk over to your cell and ask you homosexual questions.
You know, I ignored most of it. The best I could. I tried to ignore most of it and they just thought it was a joke. They thought it was funny.
Those inmates are living like that. A lot of them are looking at a lot of time. And I guess it's just something that they have to get used to.
BURNETT: The sheriff said, you know, he was in charge of the jail, obviously blamed the conditions on hurricane Katrina and also on a lack of funding. How do you react to that? Do you think that is true?
HERNANDEZ: I don't. A natural disaster has nothing to do with the training of deputies or the well-being of inmates housed in their facilities. They just don't go together.
BURNETT: All right. Still to come, the latest in the Rutgers basketball scandal. Why the former athletic director is walking away with more than $1 million. Yes, you heard me right.
And remembering the Iron Lady as I remembered her growing up, Margaret Thatcher.
BURNETT: And now, let's check in with Anderson Cooper on what is coming up on "A.C. 360."
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Erin.
Yes. Right now, President Obama on his way back to the White House after emotional speech and live pictures you see there of Air Force One. An emotional speech on gun violence not far from Newtown, Connecticut. The question, of course, can Congress get past the politics, get a deal done?
Our political panel weighs in including Dana Bash. She, this weekend, spent time with a victim of gun violence herself, Gabby Giffords. Her exclusive interview, ahead.
Also, it's not often you can say someone changed the world. Margaret Thatcher certainly did. Tonight, we'll talk about that legacy with two people who lived history with the former British prime minister. We're talking to a former first lady, Nancy Reagan, also, James Baker, former Reagan chief of staff and treasury secretary. Also, chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour.
Those stories and tonight's "RidicuList" all at the top of the hour -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Anderson, looking forward to that and see you in just a few moments.
And now, our fifth story OUTFRONT: gone.
Rutgers former athletic director resigned for $1 million plus. Not bad work if he can get it, you know? Tim Pernetti may have lost his job after this video was released by ESPN which shows former coach Mike Rice shoving players and berating them with anti-gay slurs. But he is not living empty handed.
Pernetti, who suspended Rice in December when he became aware of this video, according to a settlement agreement, will get $1.2 million in salary, a car allowance, more than two years of health insurance, and because I don't want to leave anything out, an iPad and a laptop.
All right. Does the settlement add up?
OUTFRONT, our contributor Reihan Salam, radio show host Stephanie Miller, and political comedian and former practicing attorney, Dean Obeidallah.
All right. Good to have all of you.
This is a pretty interesting situation. So, Dean, let me start with you as a former attorney.
DEAN OBEIDALLAH, FORMER PRACTICING ATTORNEY: Yes.
BURNETT: Is this a typical severance package for an athletic director at a school like Rutgers?
OBEIDALLAH: You know, there have been similar packages like this, but I will say, my new dream job is to be an athletic director at Rutgers and then screw up and get fired to get $1.2 million.
But the Rutgers does this buyout, as any corporations do with executives, is to avoid any lawsuit and to cap damages because it's over. Now there -- you can fire him for cause. It would be litigated. It could be in courts for years. You keep talking about the scandal. So, this puts the scandal behind him and ends the whole issue.
BURNETT: And they just signed him. I'm looking at the terms of the employment contract, bullet by bullet here. And this is signed. So, Reihan, is this atrocious? Should this be stopped? Or is a contract a contract? Once you violate it against Rutgers, the whole country's contracts are going to go up in flames.
REIHAN SALAM, CNN COTNRIBUTOR: Yes, I just got to say, I'm not outraged by this. But there's a lot of other stuff I'm outrage by. College basketball and college football is a $6 billion a year business.
Urban Meyer, the coach of Ohio State, signed a six year, $24 million contract. These are huge jobs.
But here's the thing: who doesn't make any money out of the deal? The players. These are players who, look, Kevin Ware, look at what happened to that guy's leg. It is going to change his whole life and they're going in there just really putting themselves in danger a lot of the time and they don't get a darn thing out of the deal compared to these coaches and everyone else making huge amounts of money off of them.
BURNETT: All right.
SALAM: So, look, fair enough, you have a severance package. But what about the players?
BURNETT: All right. Fair point. I want to ask you something about what's in his contract.
But, first, Stephanie, let me get to you, because initially, Pernetti tried to keep Rice on staff. He said fined him $50,000, he's suspended him for a few games when he found out about the video in December. But then when it became public via ESPN recently, he changed his mind, but only after it went public. It clearly wasn't his intent.
So what were they thinking when they came to these terms for the resignation?
STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO HOST: You know, I don't know, Erin, because -- I mean, let's leave aside the homophobic slurs at a college where a young gay kid killed himself. This is assault. We just watched the video. Is that not assault? Whipping basketballs at people?
This is pretty egregious. This is not just bullying and homophobic slurs. This is assault. And the fact that he's getting a $1.2 million payout and free health care? You know, wouldn't the rest of us love to get that? We have all these Republicans screaming about being fiscal conservatives including Chris Christie and really, a million two of taxpayer money is going to this guy?
BURNETT: Well, Reihan, let me ask you this. It said in the contract the university may terminate Mr. Pernetti for conduct tending to bring shame or disgrace to the university. And if you're terminated, you don't get $1.2 million.
I would think that it's pretty clear he brought shame and disgrace to the university, that's why they decided that he is resigning now.
SALAM: Well, I think Dean explained that very neatly earlier on. Look, you can go ahead and litigate that for years and years and years and then, guess what, people are going to say? They're going to say gosh, to make a point, you wound up spending six or seven or eight times as much on the litigation as you would to buy the guy off? It's not very tasteful but again, I mean, the larger issue is the whole economics of this business is totally crooked.
BURNETT: All right. So, Chris Christie weighed in on this, as Stephanie indicated. So, here is Chris Christie today in classic style.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: What parent would let this animal back into their living room to try to recruit their son, after this video?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. He called him an animal. A lot of people might agree, all right? That's what you like about Chris Christie. But people are wondering whether it will hurt Christie down the line.
We found a great irony in this, Dean.
BURNETT: Chris Christie yelling at a guy because of yelling at other people. Take a look at a little bit of Chris Christie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
CHRISTIE: Yes, you know what, first off it's none of your business. I don't ask you where you send your kids to school. Don't bother me about where I send mine.
And you know what? You know what? Let me tell you this. You know what? It's people who raise their voices and yell and scream like you that are dividing this country. We're here to bring this country together, not to divide it.
You know, I think all of our mothers taught us if we could avoid it, don't be stupid. So don't be stupid. Get out.
Excuse me, sir. You were not in the room. Let me answer the question. You were not in the room --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got the microphone, sir.
CHRISTIE: Sir, you said --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no. Mr. Christie, you had no idea -- CHRISTIE: Let me finish.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
BURNETT: That's how if you're going to bully someone, it should be done.
OBEIDALLAH: You do. I'm from New Jersey.
BURNETT: You don't need to wing a ball at them.
OBEIDALLAH: That's how we communicate in Jersey. I'm also half Sicilian like Chris Christie. Have you seen "Real Housewives of Jersey"? This is how we do it. We argue and scream at each other and he's leading the polls 35 points over his Democratic opponent in this year's gubernatorial election.
But this will be an issue, though, the money. Because we have a 9.5 percent unemployment rate in New Jersey, higher than national average. And the guy gets $1.2 million.
Twenty percent of their budget is paid by state legislature, by taxpayers. So taxpayers are going to be outraged by this. They're going to say, $1.2 million, you're firing the guy essentially and I can't find a job?
BURNETT: All right. Thanks to all three of you. Let us know what you think, $1.2 million or as Reihan and Dean were saying, six or seven times that to litigate it.
All right. We were all very excited around the office today.
We saw this headline. "Monkey chatter smacks of human speech." We got really excited, OK? That's what a researcher says.
We are as you know big fans of animals at the show so we were excited by the prospect of a monkey that talks like a human. I mean, that would be amazing, right?
Now, when we clicked the video, it didn't quite live up to our expectations but let's see if it does yours.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
BURNETT: OK. That's all right. It was just a couple monkeys screeching at each other. Not exactly the human speech we were promised.
I mean, when you speak of human speech you don't think of screaming and spitting and banging on the ground. Then we thought about it and realized what the monkeys did sounded really familiar to us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to do the math?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do it all the time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Entitlements.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Kind of like Howard Dean. Just as the screeches of the monkey didn't live up to expectations, the screeches on the news channels often don't, either. I can't speak for everyone else but we included something from our show in that as well. On this show, we're going to try to do a little better than the monkeys.
Next, the essay, a look at Margaret Thatcher.
BURNETT: Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has died at age 87. And, you know, whether you agreed with her politics or not, there is no denying she had a remarkable life.
For a decade, the mother of two and yes, she managed to have children and have her job. She had conservative policies, she led her country into a war, she led it through the war and she was re-elected twice.
And while her nickname, "The Iron Lady", has been referenced a lot today, her gender didn't seem to be a major issue during her career, at least not to me. As a little girl, I watched her and her being a woman never crossed my mind. She was just a leader of one of the most powerful countries in the world, period. In fact, the coverage of her wasn't about her being a woman. And that's the ultimate inspiration.
Compare that with what America faces today, more than three decades after Thatcher took power, we have not had a female president. In fact, we're still debating whether we're ready for one. We obsess over the role of a working mother. We read books with titles like "Lean In." Articles about not having it all.
That's what it's all about in this country. But there, Margaret Thatcher, the Great Queen Elizabeth I, women of longevity are part of British history. So, in the U.S., you know, we like to remind ourselves we won the Revolutionary War but you know what? It seems we have a lot more to learn from Britain.
"A.C. 360" starts now.