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CNN NEWSROOM

Deal Reached On Background Checks; How Easy To Get A Gun; Obama Announces His Budget; Five Ways You Delay Restaurant Service; Woman Gets $40 Million; Barack Obama Rolls Out Budget Proposal; Obama Budget, Cut Social Security and Raise Taxes; First Lady Steps into Gun Control Debate

Aired April 10, 2013 - 13:00   ET

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


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it works like -- you actually heat up plastic inside that pen, if you like, and it comes out like that and it immediately cools as soon as it hits the air. And so. it holds the shape that you've been doodling.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: We want one of those.

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President Obama releasing his budget. We're going to look behind the politics beyond the politics to look at what does this mean for you, including cuts to Medicare and Social Security. And two kids abducted by sailboat taken to Cuba now back in the United States. Their parents are sitting in jail. We're live in Florida with the very latest.

Plus, he's no more than 30 years old and has the power to launch a missile from North Korea. We're going to take a look at the life of Kim Jong-Un, including his passions, James Bond, basketball, and how he passed up two older brothers to rise to power.

This is CNN NEWSROOM, and I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

Well, we begin with the breakthrough in the gunfight on Capitol Hill. Two senators, a Republican and Democrat, have now reached a deal on expanding background checks. Across the network today, we are taking a closer look at this issue this is at the heart of the gun control debate. Part of our coverage, "GUNS UNDER FIRE," a CNN special report on background checks.

As you know, the debate over stronger gun laws started with the tragedy, this was in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty children, six teachers, educators, gunned down. Since then, the momentum for new laws has actually slowed. But a new CNN/ORC Poll shows overwhelming support for expanding background checks, 86 percent, almost nine out of ten, favor tougher background checks. Senators who came up with the compromise say, this is a good place to start.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: The bottom line for me is this, you know, if expanding background checks to include gun shows and Internet sales can reduce the likelihood of criminals and mentally ill people from getting guns, and we can do it in a fashion that does not infringe on the second amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, then we should do it. And in this amendment I think we do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: The NRA issued a statement saying expanding background checks at gun shows will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools. Well, this undermines -- this really underlines, rather, the extraordinary debate that is taking place, because in New Jersey today a six-year-old boy is dead after a horrific accident, this is where it happened, this is a shore town Toms River.

Well, yesterday afternoon, two boys just playing, right? Just playing around while their parents stood by. And somehow, one of the boys just four years old got his hands on a rifle and shot the other boy dead.

Pamela Brown, she is following this story from New Jersey. And this is why everybody's talking about the gun debate. This is why people are so passionate about this. When you hear another story, something like this happening here, I mean, it begs the question how did something like this even happen?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're right, Suzanne. In fact, this second incident like this just in the past few days. And what you just asked there is exactly what investigators are looking into right now, still waiting for the answer to that question, Suzanne.

Six-year-old Brandon holt was pronounced dead last night at a New Jersey hospital a day after being shot in the head by his four-year- old friend. New Jersey authorities say the two boys were playing in a yard in Toms River, New Jersey Monday night when the four year old went inside his home, picked up a .22-caliber rifle and discharged it accidentally hitting six-year-old Brandon in the head. The children, whose families live in the same neighborhood we're told, were about 15 yards apart at the time of the incident. Authorities say the younger boy's mother called 911 to report the shooting.

At this point, authorities are not saying who owned the gun or speculating on how that little boy got a hold of it. As mentioned, this is the second incident in the U.S. in recent days involving a four year old fatally shooting another. In Tennessee during a family cookout last weekend, the nephew of a sheriff's deputy picked up a loaded pistol from a bed as his uncle was showing off his gun collection and fatally shot his uncle's wife, Josephine Fanning, according to authorities there.

And now, in that case, officials are saying that charges will not be filed. Authorities in New Jersey haven't filed any charges yet, Suzanne, but they say the investigation is ongoing.

MALVEAUX: So, how do they sort this out? I mean, how do -- how do New Jersey authorities figure out who is going to be held responsible?

BROWN: You know, it's tough to imagine, Suzanne, a four year old being charged. But according to legal analysts, that could happen. But typically, the legal standards used in a child involved is what's in the best interest of the child? It's more likely, however, that the little boy's parents could face charges of endangering the welfare of a child if the parents kept a loaded firearm unlocked and accessible in that home. Now, that's an offense punishable up to three to five years in state prison in New Jersey -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: So, do we know, with prosecutors, are they typically charged? I mean, do they charge in these cases like this?

BROWN: Well, you know, prosecutors rarely bring such cases because you really have to weigh the pursuit of justice with compassion here, you know. But with the recent shooting incidents involving minors, some legal analysts saying it's time for prosecutors to file cases against parents who don't secure dangerous weapons in their homes.

MALVEAUX: All right. Pamela, thank you. We appreciate it.

Guns, it's the third leading cause of death for kids between the ages of five and 14. And, of course, this begs the question, what about the parents, really? I mean, do they need to do more? Later, we're going to talk this hour about what parents can do, if they can do anything, to keep their kids safe.

And the idea behind background checks on gun purchases, well, this is pretty simple, right, to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them. We're talking about criminals. We're talking about the mentally ill. So, the deal to background checks pushing the debate forward on Capitol Hill, most don't know what is involved in the process, how easy is it or difficult to actually get a gun? Chris Cuomo, he walks us through it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIKE MARINELLO, OWNER, SOUTH SHORE SPORTSMAN: Chris, Mike. What can I do for you?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I'm looking for a home protection shotgun.

MIKE: OK. I'm going to bring you down to our shotgun section.

CUOMO (voice-over): Seems simple but there's more to it than you might think. Every purchase from a licensed dealer requires a federal background check.

(on camera): Are you under indictment? No. Have you been convicted of any felony? No.

(voice-over): Twenty-seven personal questions including criminal and mental health history, all requiring government confirmation. Add potential state and city laws, thousands across the country, and it could feel like an obstacle course.

MARINELLO: There's a background check for the rifle. Then if you live in the city, there's the rifle shotgun card. Then if you have a pistol, there's also a pistol license.

CUOMO: But this pales in comparison to the pain the nation felt on December 14th in Newtown, Connecticut. The most vulnerable victimized by dangerous weapons in the wrong sick hands. CNN's latest poll shows people want it to stop. Calls to do something resulting in demanded background checks, despite the fact they wouldn't have stopped the Newtown shooter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We know that background checks can work, but the problem is loopholes in the current law let so many people avoid background checks altogether.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Gun control advocates want all gun sales, not just those by dealers, subject to background checks.

COLIN GODDARD, BRADY CENTER TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE: This background check law that we're talking about is enforcing the law.

CUOMO: Colin Goddard works for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. He is a gun violence victim, shot four times at Virginia tech six years ago.

GODDARD: How are you supposed to know if someone's got a felony record? How are you supposed to know if someone's got a restraining order or dangerous mental illness without doing a background check? You're supposed to, what, look at them really hard?

CUOMO: Gun rights advocates fear checking all sales could lead to a national gun registry and maybe confiscation. The larger concern, making it harder to buy a gun lawfully may not stop massacres and handgun violence. Before owning this Long Island gun store, owner Mike Marinello was a police officer for 11 years.

(on camera): In your experience as a cop, did that hold true?

MARINELLO: In 11 years, I have never had a legal pistol licensee use his gun in a crime.

CUOMO (voice-over): Gun control advocates say the nearly two million people who have been denied guns is proof of effectiveness.

DAVID KEENE, PRESIDENT, NRA: Most of those people, it turns out, were not on a prohibited lists. Most of them were false positives, their name looks like somebody else, there was records in there that were incomplete.

The first thing you have to do is take the system you have and get it fixed and make it work.

CUOMO: Mike says, the big issue isn't the law but enforcement.

MARINELLO: If somebody comes in and they're hell bent on buying a gun, we let them fill out the form, and they fail. And then, in a perfect world, (INAUDIBLE) back on firearms, we'll go arrest that person.

CUOMO (on camera): That's the big catch, right?

MARINELLO: Current laws on the books would make this state the safest in the union if they were enforced.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In my case, the system worked. After25 minutes of completing forms and waiting for approval, I had my shotgun. Thank you very much.

MARINELLO: We appreciate it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: Wow. Chris Cuomo joining us live from New York. So, Chris, you got the gun pretty quickly there. There are folks who say, look, you know, what are we going to do about addressing some of the problems when you talk about mental illness or the fact that some of these existing gun laws, they don't really enforce them? Do they address that, in any way, these gun owners expanding these background checks? Could that do anything to kind of solve some of the other issues that are out there that are very, very important?

CUOMO (live): Well, arguably, Suzanne, one has mothering to do with the other, right? I mean, the check --

MALVEAUX: Yes.

CUOMO: -- is a good idea. If you're going to do checks, obviously you would want to check as many different types of sales as possible. But remember this, it is an odd situation where our first step, what we're saying is the most important fix, is to go after the good guys, people who want to buy guns lawfully. A big part of the resistance here is not only do we already have extensive checks, as you saw in the piece, and that doesn't even include state and city and other municipalities that put on checks, --

MALVEAUX: Oh.

CUOMO: -- but that most crime is done within a legally obtained weapon. So, you want to hear about how we treat the mentally ill, not just those who are looking for guns, but those who just need to be treated because that's what we saw in Sandy Hook. A kid who was known to be sick who wasn't getting help. What do we do about that? It's expensive. A lot of health care companies won't give you the help you need. What about enforcing criminal laws as they stand today?

MALVEAUX: Yes.

CUOMO: The biggest deterrent to gun crime, Suzanne, is to put people who use a gun unlawfully in jail.

MALVEAUX: All right. Chris, thank you. We appreciate it. And, of course, the first lady is going to be addressing that as well. Michelle Obama, she is joining now the White House push for tighter gun control. Today, she's in Chicago. She's at a luncheon and it is all about reducing violence among the city's young people there. The violence in Chicago, I mean, unbelievable, hitting close to home for the first lady. This happened back in January, a 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton shot and killed. This was just days after performing during the inauguration in Washington. The shooting happened just blocks from the Obama's Chicago home.

She is also going to be at a school rocked by violence. The statistics in Chicago are sobering, 535 people killed last year. That was up from 433 back in 2011. And the school where the first lady is visiting, 29 current or former students shot this year. This is what we're working on as well for this hour. The president just releasing his budget including raising taxes on the rich as well as smokers. We're going to break down those details up ahead.

Plus, have you ever waited for what seemed like an eternity for your meal, wondered where your waiter went when you need a drink to be refilled? Well, it might not be their fault. It's right, we've got five ways you could be delaying your food.

And a huge surprise for a Canadian family that's been struggling financially. This is what a $40 million happy dance looks like.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: U.S. Navy announced it is canceling all Blue Angels shows. The, the nation's best fliers and the rest of the governments (ph) of course dealing with the $85 billion forced spending cuts. The Blue Angels had 32 performances left this year. They're going to continue training with the hope of coming back when the budget fighting ends.

A woman in Canada thought she had hit it big with a $40,000 Lottery win, right? She's doing a happy dance there. But when Maria Carrero's (ph) daughter checked the ticket online, she discovered her mom had actually won $40 million. Manuela Carrero (ph) says the family is overjoyed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANUELA CARRERO (ph), LOTTERY WINNER: It still hasn't sunk in. My dad works so hard and we've been struggling so much. $40 million is so much money.

MARIA CARRERO, LOTTERY WINNER: I'm going to go for dinner with my whole family. All you can eat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: All you can eat. Going to be eating a lot there. Maria says that she's going to use some of the money go on a honeymoon to Hawaii with the man she's been married to for 30 years. They're going to be celebrating in Hawaii, all you can eat. Good for them.

The president hoping to get his new budget proposal to draw some Republican leaders to the table. It was delivered to Congress, you can see it there, this morning for the first time. It has included changes to mediocre as well as Social Security. That is of course in the hopes of bridging the gap between the president and Republicans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For years the debate in this town has raged between reducing our deficits at all costs and making the investments necessary to grow our economy. This budget answers that argument because we can do both.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Christine Romans is with us. She joins us. Christine, good to see you as always. Of course a lot of people looking at this, they wheeled this into Congress, boxes and boxes, pages and pages here, break this down for us. What does it mean for you, for me, for most folks when you take a look at the budget, who's going to hurt, who's going to help?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's big, you're right. Boxes and boxes wheeled in there, Suzanne. As you know, it's really a mission statement for the president. These are his priorities and how he thinks the family budget, if you will, the American budget the books should be run. There's infrastructure spending in there $50 billion in infrastructure spending. There's a tax on wealthy -- higher taxes on wealthy hedge fund and private equity managers. There's a minimum wage increase. There's a host of things that appeal to and actually infuriate the right and the left in here.

But basically, this is the president's $3.77 trillion budget that would stabilize -- the goal they say here stabilizing our deficit over the next ten years or so. When you look at what that chart looks like, you can see the budget deficit is the size of the economy very, very big. And then it levels off about 2015. That's what they say this projected budget would do, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Christine, talk about this concession that was made to Republicans. Because there are quite a number of people who are not happy with this. And this really has to do with the way that inflation is measured and how that would impact older people.

ROMANS: That's exactly right. It's kind of a budget wonky change in how they would calculate CPI, that's that annual consumer price increase people get in their Social Security checks. Here's what it would look like. It's that basic measure of inflation. They would recalculate it so people would have a smaller check. Seniors ultimately would have a smaller check that would reduce the deficit, but it would also reduce what seniors bring home in their checks.

And that has been something that enraged many progressives and people on the left who do not want seniors to come home with less money in their check. The White House says, look, we have made important, important safeguards for disabled people on Social Security, for people who are the very poor, the elder -- the very poor elderly people. So we are going to have safeguards in there, but this is what it would come out to. Eventually you would see people who are 80, they would take home about $894 less each year. Eight-five, $1,100, age 90, 1,300, and as you can see by 95 it would be $1,600 less each year. This is something that progressives, people on the left, and senior groups don't like at all, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: For a lot of people that's a lot of money there especially when you're on a fixed income. Christine, thank you. Appreciate it.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

MALVEAUX: Democrats, Republicans, they are trying to find some common ground when it comes to gun laws.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOE MANCHIN, (D) WEST VIRGINIA: We have an agreement on an amendment to prevent criminals, and the mentally ill and insane from getting firearms and harming people. That's extremely important for all of us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: So sounds like lawmakers could be inching towards a real deal. But is the NRA going to jump on board? We're going to take a look at GUNS UNDER FIRE up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Senate likely to begin debating tomorrow on new gun laws after two senators reached a deal on expanding background checks. Wolf Blitzer's joining us live. Wolf, this is not the kind of universal background checks the Obama administration had wanted or had been pushing. This is very limited. It is a watered down version. Is this the best that the president thinks he's going to get?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Probably, if he can get it. It's by no means a done deal, it's a done deal, Suzanne. It might get through the Senate, then it's got to go through the House of Representatives. Let's see what happens as far as amendments are concerned, what kind of NRA-type amendments might be attached that would turn off the other side, the gun control advocates. But you're right, it doesn't include all of the universal background checks, the expansion that the president, so many Democrats really wanted. But this is a compromise by two moderate members of the Senate. Both of whom have good records with the NRA. Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin, one Democrat and one Republican.

We'll see if the president gets this. He's not going to get the other stuff he really wanted, the high capacity ammunition clips, he's not going to get anything on the military-type assault weapons, but this is a step as far as the White House is concerned in the right direction. But it certainly doesn't go as far as he would have liked.

MALVEAUX: Does he think it's going to get anymore cooperation that he can move forward or push this? This is pretty limited in scope.

BLITZER: Yes. I don't think he's going to get much more than this. Not just because of the Republicans, but in the Senate for example there are a whole bunch of Democrats including some Democrats from sort of gun states, if you will, up for re-election in 2014 or are reluctant to go further than at least the limited expansion of background checks. They don't want to deal with the ammunition, with the magazines, they don't want to deal with the assault-type weapons, at least not now.

So I suspect this is about as much as you're going to be able to get despite the overwhelming majority of the American public that wants a lot more, you've seen all the polls, Suzanne. Our viewers have seen them including our brand new CNN/ORC poll, almost 90 percent of the American public would like really tougher background checks, universal background checks but they're going to get something we suspect but not anything close to what the president actually wanted. The loopholes that will still be in there will be pretty significant as far as person-to-person sales are concerned.

MALVEAUX: And, Wolf, very quickly here, we've seen the first lady. She is in Chicago today. I imagine that that is pretty significant that she is now stepping into an issue that is seen somewhat as controversial or at least up for debate when you talk about how far you're going to push gun control. Now, the first lady is now stepping into the fray. That's rather significant, I think.

BLITZER: I think you're right there. And I think it's important she's going to her hometown of Chicago, which has been plagued by gun violence over the past year, several years. And we all know the number of gun deaths in Chicago has been going up. The Mayor Rahm Emanuel is trying to do something about it, but it's a very difficult problem given the gangs in Chicago and what's going on right there. The ability to be able to go elsewhere and purchase guns, if you will. She's going to get into that. Not just talking about health related issues and exercise, she's now getting involved in a highly-charged issue of gun control in the United States. I agree with you, this is significant for the first lady in this second term to be doing that.

MALVEAUX: Absolutely. Wolf, thank you so much. Of course it's in her hometown of Chicago just blocks away where a young girl was killed. Join us at 5:00 eastern today. This is a one-hour special it is on guns. Wolf Blitzer's going to talk to Senator Dianne Feinstein as well as Larry Pratt with Gun Owners of America.

The parents who allegedly kidnapped their sons, fled to Cuba, now behind bars. Coming up, how the U.S. and Cuba came together to bring these kids home.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)