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DOW, S&P 500 Hit Record Highs; Republicans Seek to Rebrand; "GOP has a Grown Stale"; Weiner Hoping for a Comeback; Redemption in Politics; Obama Releases FY 2014 Budget

Aired April 10, 2013 - 10:30   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Carol Costello, thank you so much for joining us at 31 minutes past the hour. Let's take a look at our "Top Stories".

An American couple sit in a Florida jail after Cuba sends them and their two children back to the United States. Josh and Sharyn Hakken face several charges, including kidnapping. The family arrived in the U.S. early this morning after being spotted by a CNN crew in Havana. The children will live with their grandparents. The grandparents have legal custody.

This morning, a winter-like storm hammering parts of South Dakota and it's only going to get worse. Ice covered trees and telephone poles have toppled over and left many without power. Now, temperatures are dropping and snow is piling up. Up to 20 inches could be on the ground by this time tomorrow.

The University of Louisville couldn't complete the sweep the day after the men won their college basketball title. The lady Cardinals fall to the University of Connecticut in the women's final. The game wasn't even close, 93-60, the UConn's women team now has eight, count them eight basketball national championships tied for number one all time.

Turning now to your money, the Dow and the S&P -- S&P 500 both hitting record highs this morning. Christine Romans is in New York to tell us what this all means.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: What it means is if you've got a 401(k), Carol, that's doing a little bit better. I mean, it's been high after high after high for the year. I mean you're up double digits if you've got a stock portfolio just this year that's, you know, basically reflected in the S&P 500.

That's the index of 500 different companies and that's up about 11 points if you look down in the bottom right hand corner of your screen, you can see that ticker flicking it's up about 11 points, it's the level of about 1,579 or 1,580 or so.

I just spoke with Sam Stovall from Standard and Poor's and he says his projection is you could see 1,610, which would mean that the stock market could keep going up a little bit, at least reflected in the S&P 500. He said it's been very resilient, Carol. And other analysts have told me there's no other place to be right now. You don't get money if you put it in the bank. You know that, you don't get money if you put it in the certificate of deposit --


COSTELLO: Yes I know.

ROMANS: -- so a lot of people are saying the only game in town still is the stock market.

COSTELLO: That is if you have any money to invest in the stock market. I know you're going to say 401(k), but tell us, what is the average amount that people have in their 401(k)?

ROMANS: Well, about half of Americans are invested in the stock market. So for those who invested in the stock market, when you look at the 401(k), Fidelity says the average size of a 401(k) at the end of last year was about $77,300. $77,300, you look at people who are a little bit older, 50 to 54, that's an age that needs to really be planning welfare retirement.

The number is a little higher, $111,000 is that -- is that -- neither of those numbers are enough to retire on, that's the sad news.


ROMANS: But the good news is, those -- those balances are 12 percent higher than they were a year ago today.

COSTELLO: OK. I feel a little better now. Thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome, Carol.

COSTELLO: We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: He has blasted the Republican Party as stale and moth covered and says his fellow conservatives need to be more inclusive. And today, Rand Paul is taking his own message to heart. The Tea Party Movement darling is heading to Howard University, his first visit to a historically black college or university.

Press release says Paul will focus on minority outreach and civil liberties in a speech today.

Joining me now is Stanford Fraser a senior at Howard University and director of political and external affairs for Howard Student Association. Welcome.


COSTELLO: Just give me a sense of you know, what the sentiment is on campus about -- on campus about Rand Paul's visit. FRASER: Well, there are two different sides to the sentiment. You have the people that are skeptical call the Republican Party, you know, people of African descent in America are leaning toward the Democratic Party. But you also have the people excited and are curious on what exactly Rand Paul's going to talk about today or Senator Paul.

COSTELLO: Well I was going to ask you I mean, what do you want Rand Paul to talk about?

FRASER: Well, our student government has been heavily involved with attacking the war on drugs as well the debt pay to repeal in Maryland and we want to talk to him about that. Because we understand that the whole fiscal conservatives are very concerned with those movements, as well.

COSTELLO: We often hear that Ron Paul, Rand Paul's father was sort of a God among young people. He had many, many young people supporting him. Do you sense that Rand Paul has that that same support among young people?

FRASER: It's a little different. I was actually a big supporter of Ron Paul, as well. I followed some of his policies. And I know a couple of people on campus. So we're curious about Rand Paul. He has the opportunity to build upon that foundation.

COSTELLO: What's different between Rand Paul and Ron Paul?

FRASER: Well, some people say Ron Paul is a big ideologue, that he would never compromise. Rand Paul seems to have a lot of press around him and who is very -- actually a lot of things we're talking about his filibuster for 13 hours. He definitely put his name on the hot spot.

COSTELLO: So that impressed a lot of students.

FRASER: Yes, definitely impressed a lot of students, a lot of students made jokes about it, but he definitely put his name in our ears because not a lot of students knew about him before hand.

COSTELLO: The Republicans really want to embrace the black community. What in your mind do Republicans need to say to seem more welcoming?

FRASER: Well, I think some of the issues with the Republican Party, the media takes extreme remarks and try to paint it as broad based on Republican beliefs. But I believe the Republican Party if they focus on things such as reforming the war on drugs or the debt payment repeal or just try to make fiscal conservatives and those philosophies more appealing to minorities would have go a long way.

COSTELLO: And you know, you have African-American conservatives like Dr. Ben Carson, he appeared on Fox News. He's become this Republican darling, but he's gotten a lot of blowback too. Why do you think that is?

FRASER: Well I think a big issue and a lot of people are concerned on Howard campus they don't want African-Americans to become tokenized by the Republican Party and they fear that in African communities in regards to Dr. Ben Carson.

COSTELLO: What is your assessment of Ben Carson?

FRASER: Well -- I apologize, Dr. Ben Carson. I've listened to some of his remarks and they kind of stand on how he equated homosexuality to bestiality, but at the same time I do believe them, it's been a little overblown.

COSTELLO: Do you -- I mean are you open to what he says if he ran for office, would many in the black community embrace him?

FRASER: I don't believe so.

COSTELLO: Why not?

FRASER: Well, it depends what type of office he's running for. But I know he's definitely -- his first speech at the prayer breakfast they had a lot of -- there's a lot of push behind him, but with his more recent comments towards homosexuality, people are very wary of him.

COSTELLO: Got you. Stanford Fraser, thanks so much. And maybe we'll talk to you after Rand Paul's speech don't you think?

FRASER: All right.

COSTELLO: Thanks so much.

FRASER: Well thank you for having me.

COSTELLO: You're welcome.

He left office in disgrace now Anthony Weiner is reportedly hoping to be the next comeback kid in the world of politics. But, will voters give him a second chance?


COSTELLO: The politics of redemption. It's the thing. Mark Sanford is doing it in South Carolina and now Anthony Weiner is dipping his toe into the pool of redemption. Yes, back, Anthony Weiner the former Congressman from New York who tweeted nude photos to a woman who was not his wife and then lied about it and then admitted to it and then was forced to resign.

Well, Anthony Weiner is back or he wants to be. So let's talk about that. L.Z. Granderson is a CNN contributor and a senior writer for ESPN and Ana Navarro is also a CNN contributor and a Republican Strategist. Welcome to you both.



COSTELLO: Good morning. According to the "New York Times" magazine, Weiner's PAC but more than $100,000 on polling. Are voters willing to give him a second chance or not, that was the question. Regardless of what race or what contest, that was the question that this polling asked the voters.

So I'll ask you the question and I'll start with you, Ana, does Weiner deserve a second chance?

NAVARRO: Oh, that's up to the people of New York to decide, it's not up to me. But definitely there's redemption in politics, Carol. His name is William Jefferson Clinton. You know, he went from being a man who had a big, big problem to now being the most popular politician in the United States.

I think a lot of it depends on what you do afterwards, how you deal with the crisis and also, by the way, if your wife forgives you or your spouse forgives you. In this case, that seems to have happened. If your spouse doesn't forgive you, you've got a problem. I think that was, you know, John Edwards, please, do not think of a comeback, that's not going to work.

But certainly, we've seen, you know, Jenny Sanford would have run against Mark Sanford, decided not to. And we've seen in the cases where there have been redemption that the American people are forgiving if the family has been equally forgiving.

COSTELLO: You have a point there because certainly it seems like Anthony Weiner's wife has forgiven him. He's sort of playing Mr. Mom these days while I guess she brings home the bacon so to speak. He stays home and tends to their child. But L.Z., those pictures --

NAVARRO: She wants him to run. She wants him out of the house, Carol.

COSTELLO: You think so.


NAVARRO: The article says he's been -- the article says he's been stuck at home in a five-block radius for the last 15 months.

COSTELLO: He's lying low. He just wants to like be under the radar for a while until this whole thing blows over. But there's still those pictures out there, L.Z., how can you overcome that?

GRANDERSON: You don't. You don't overcome that. That's just the point. I mean especially with the Internet, they're out there, they're permanent. But the real issue is that the American people and voters, we aren't the ones who hold the redemption card, you know. Ana's correct -- it's all about the wife.

The wife is the only one that could forgive. We're the ones that could decide whether or not we could forget. You know, forget the scandal, forget the initial lies and decide whether or not this person's the best person to run for mayor and be mayor of New York City. Ultimately, that's the question for the voters. The redemption part of it, you know, we abuse that word, but the fact is that only his wife can allow him to be redeemed. And if she feels that he's worthy, then he's been redeemed. Now the question is, will voters forget?

COSTELLO: You know, he does have a sense of humor about it all. I want to read something to you out of the "New York Times" magazine because they did a big article on Anthony Weiner. Despite his troubles, Mr. Weiner appears to have retained his trademark sense of humor. He's quoted recounting what people say to him on the subway. It's one of the following he said. One: "Oh, you should run." Two: "Man, you got screwed." Three: I'm so sorry about what happened to you." And four: Spitzer. You're Governor Spitzer.

GRANDERSON: It's absolutely hilarious. You know what, if there's any city that's willing to just let bygones be bygones, it would New York city. Maybe San Francisco a close second, but certainly New York is not going to sit here and say what he was doing in his private life is going to hinder whether or not he has the ability to be mayor of the city.

And prior to the scandal, he was considering the run, he was well- positioned to run. I talked to several people who were also part of the feelers before the scandal broke about him possibly being mayor of New York. He's still very popular. And let's face it, at the end of the day all he did was flirt with a woman who wasn't his wife. And there's not a lot of people --

COSTELLO: You call that flirting?

GRANDERSON: -- in New York. Yes. A lot of people --

NAVARRO: That's not a little thing --

GRANDERSON: There are a lot of people in New York who are not going to look at Anthony Weiner and what he did and judge him so harshly they're going to eliminate him from being mayor.

COSTELLO: Come on.

NAVARRO: L.Z., L.Z. we can judge him a little harsher. He did a little bit more than that. He lied about it. He did --

GRANDERSON: Yes, he lied about it. Of course he lied about it.

NAVARRO: He sent nude photographs.

COSTELLO: He sent a woman pictures of his nether regions. I don't know -- that's not normal flirting to me.

GRANDERSON: That's flirting 2.0. That is flirting 2.0.


COSTELLO: So I really -- NAVARRO: The fun we're going to have with Anthony Weiner runs again, Carol, it will be endless amount of entertainment from the late night shows, from the New York papers, and, you know, I'm glad he's got a sense of humor. When you're blessed with a name like Weiner, you need a sense of humor.

COSTELLO: Oh my God. I'm going to have a serious question to end it all. If something like that ever happened to me, and I can't envision a day that it would, I don't think I have the intestinal fortitude to show my face in public again. It constantly amazes me that people will do something -- and he did. He cheated on his wife L.Z.. She was pregnant.

Come on. I mean he was tweeting these foul, lewd pictures to women. And then he's going to come back on this redemption tour and say I'm really, really sorry. I don't think I would have the intestinal fortitude to do that. What does that say about people in politics? Ana?


NAVARRO: It says that they've got more intestinal fortitude or less shame than you do because certainly in politics we see it happen all the time. We can go through a long list.

Look, running for public office requires a big ego, great deal of self-confidence and requires a great deal of daring, frankly, to put your name out there. I think Anthony Weiner is a guy who has been known for being very ambitious, very hard driving and obviously if you're spending $100,000 in polling, you are very serious about looking at it.

GRANDERSON: But there's also this element of it too. We've already had this conversation decades ago. Vanessa Williams was dethroned because of lewd pictures of her. Madonna was questioned early in her career because of lewd pictures. Both of those women survived those things in the '80s when we were much more conservative as a country. You're asking me in 2013 can lewd pictures forever derail a politician?

I'm forced to say no because of what history has already taught us and because of what history has shown us about the American people. It's a disgusting industry, politics is, and so anyone who gives into it, you've already got to raise a eyebrow anyway. You're certainly not going to disqualify them because of pictures.

And yes, in my book, Carol, he did cheat on his wife. But in a lot of people's opinions, all he did was flirt.

NAVARRO: He just -- you see L.Z. just redeemed himself with the women of America.

COSTELLO: Partially, partially.


GRANDERSON: I'm going to have some problems.

COSTELLO: Ana Navarro, L.Z. Granderson, many thanks.

We'll be right back.

GRANDERSON: Thank you.

NAVARRO: Thank you Carol.


COSTELLO: 53 minutes past the hour. Check of our top stories. In just a few minutes President Obama will talk about his brand new budget plan. Among other things, it's expected to put a cap on retirement plans for the rich. Tax advantages would disappear on accounts exceeding $3 million. Every day savers I should say likely will not see any impact. Study says less than a tenth of one percent of retirement plans would actually be affected.

A circus elephant is expected to fully recover after being wounded in a drive bay shooting. The 39-year-old elephant was shot in the shoulder on Tuesday morning while she was on circus grounds. The animals part of the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey circus visiting Tupelo, Mississippi. A $16,000 reward is now being offered.

To Toronto where a woman ran down the street like a crazy person when she found out she won $40 million. Actually, at first she thought she'd only won $40,000 until her daughter checked online and saw all those zeros.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Work so hard and so much. $40 million is so much.


COSTELLO: Oh, I hope we see the dance. There it is, the happy dance. Maria Carreio knows how she'll spend the money. She says she'll finally take her dream honeymoon to Hawaii after 30 years of marriage.

Thank you so much for joining me today, I'm Carol Costello. CNN NEWSROOM after a quick break with Wolf Blitzer. CNN's special coverage as the President unveils his budget plan.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. Welcome to the CNN NEWSROOM. We're following two special developments unfolding here in Washington right now. The President of the United States is about to step into the White House Rose Garden with his new budget plan. It's later than scheduled, but as a lot of people say, better late than never. This is a dramatic moment in the President in his effort to try to come forward with new budget ideas.

On Capitol Hill, meantime, there's a breakthrough of sorts when it comes to background checks for gun buyers. That so-called Gang of Two Republican and Democrats clearing the way for the senate to at least attempt to start a serious debate on gun violence in the United States.

We're watching both of these developments unfold once the president starts speaking in the Rose Garden. We'll have live coverage of that. We'll also have live coverage of these two senators, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, both of these senators are Republican and a democrat. They've worked hard to come up with a compromise on background checks.

Our chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin is over in the Rose Garden already. First on the budget, Jessica the house has a budget, the senate has a budget, now the President's coming forward, albeit late with his own budget for the fiscal year 2014, which starts October 1st. Give us a couple of headlines what the President wants to do.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I will. When he comes out here, he'll lay out the highlights of a 3.7 plus trillion dollar budget. Some of the other headlines in it. It includes $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, some $600 billion in new revenue, and I'll let the President tell you the rest.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good morning, everybody. Please, please have a seat. Well, as president, my top priority is to do everything I can to reignite what I consider to be the true engine of the American economy -- a rising, thriving middle class. That's what I think about every day, that's the driving force behind every decision that I make.

Over the past three years, our businesses have created nearly 6.5 million new jobs, but we know we can help them create more. Corporate profits are at an all-time high but we have to get wages and --