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Democrats Blame Kentucky Group for McConnell Tape; "Glee" Airs School Shooting Episode; Interview with Andrew Paley; Detroit Lions Sign Norwegian Kicker

Aired April 12, 2013 - 09:30   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Carol Costello, stories we're following right now in the NEWSROOM at 30 minutes past the hour. Watching the opening bell on Wall Street. Stock futures have been pointing down. Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase released earnings reports that failed to impress investors. Christine Romans is watching it all from New York. Hi Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there. Well, you know, we're looking at a market that's been hitting record after record after record, Carol. And so, a lot of people looking for a pause, a reason to take profits, you're seeing that. The retail sales report this morning, very disappointing. And so that's another reason why people are saying, look. Looks like consumers having a little bit of pullback after records and new highs almost every day this week. Time to take a little bit off the table.

We took a look at bank results. Banks coming up with record profits, Carol, but their sales were a little bit softer. Jamie Dimon over at JPMorgan, their results, you know, record profits, butagain their loan growth pretty soft and Jamie Dimon saying that small businesses are being more cautious than they need to. There you can see the first quarter profit numbers of the banks.

Look at the numbers. Wells Fargo pulling in $5 billion in profit in the first three months. Take you through the disappointing retail sales. Electronics and appliances down. Department stores down. Gas stations down, consumers spending a little bit less in the month, for whatever reason, and that's something that's got people thinking that maybe -- maybe, the end of the first quarter not as strong as they had hoped, and you've got investors taking profits. Carol, let me be very clear: 14,825 on the Dow Jones Industrial. You're up 10 percent this year in your stock portfolio. A lot of people saying look, I mean stocks have been doing well, people have been plowing money into them. It's not a surprise to see a little bit of pullback on a Friday morning. Who knows how it will close?

COSTELLO: You are right. Christine Romans, thank you so much.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

COSTELLO: Let's talk politics now. In Kentucky, a mystery solved. Maybe. In case you have forgotten, the staff of Senator Mitch McConnell, were caught on tape discussing how to take down potential rival actress Ashley Judd, in part by attacking her mental health. Those tapes were leaked and outrage soon followed. But now there's a new firestorm after one state Democratic official claims a liberal group called Progressive Kentucky is responsible for the secret tape.


JACOB CONWAY, LOUISVILLE-JEFFERSON CO. DEMOCRATIC PARTY: They were there, for whatever reason, whether or not somebody from McConnell's campaign tipped them off, or what I don't know. But they were there. They overheard this salacious conversation and decided to record it.


COSTELLO: Joining me now, CNN contributor and Democratic strategist Maria Cardona, and "Politic365" chief political correspondent and Hiram College political science professor Jason Johnson. Welcome to you, both.



COSTELLO: Good morning, so what he was talking about, the location of this, supposedly this liberal group in the hallway of McConnell's reelection campaign headquarters and they were listening through the door and they had a recording device and they recorded it through the door. It's very convoluted and we don't know exactly what happened. But that's how things stand right now. As you know, Mitch McConnell said this is a Watergate-style bugging. How would you characterize this, Jason?

JOHNSON: This is like Matthew Broderick and Tracy Flick in "Election." This is so incompetent. I don't see how it raises to the level of political controversy. Progress Kentucky is known as a joke in the state. They raised $1,000 as a super PAC. I mean, I certainly think somebody should get prosecuted. Maybe a misdemeanor. But these people are no political geniuses. This isn't something that's going to hurt Mitch McConnell it just makes the liberals in the state look really incompetent.

COSTELLO: Well, what was recorded and released, selectively perhaps, if I were Mitch McConnell, I wouldn't be happy about that, Maria.

CARDONA: I agree. But I think Jason has a point in that the tactics that Mitch McConnell was talking about on tape, though ugly and disgusting and I think underscore what a lot of people, even in Kentucky believe about Mitch McConnell, that he can get really down and dirty in politics, they are really nothing new.

And so I think on that point, the outrage should stop. Because this is something that both parties do. What I think we need to focus on is were any laws broken? My understanding is that the folks at Progress Kentucky are talking to the FBI and cooperating with them as they should. This is a group that does not have a very good track record in Kentucky. They were involved in some disgusting tweets about the senator's wife, which are completely abhorrent, and the Democratic -- the official Democratic party has completely said that is not the way to go, as they should. So I'm actually glad that the gentleman talked about this was not something that the official Democratic party is involved in and basically called out progress Kentucky for those tactics.

COSTELLO: Oh, but the left isn't finished with McConnell yet, because this watchdog group, a left-leaning watchdog group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, has now asked the FBI and the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate if any laws violated by McConnell's staff members. They say they might have done this research on Ashley Judd on Senate time, using Senate resources. Come on, really? Jason.

JOHNSON: Yes, I think this is ridiculous. Maria knows this, I know this. Anybody's who's worked on a campaign, and I have worked for both parties. This is what you do. I don't even think that what Mitch McConnell was saying, or it actually wasn't him, it was one of his staff members, was saying about Ashley Judd was really that bad. Anything in your background except for the race and ethnicity of your wife should pretty much be in play. If Ashley Judd had mental problems, they can talk about it. It's not like they ran an ad about it. So, I think the left is just running around chasing their own tails, trying to justify some bad behavior, Mitch McConnell didn't do anything that bad. Neither did his staff. Progress Kentucky can be completely ignored. McConnell will be fine.

COSTELLO: So actually, Maria, this could help Mitch McConnell.

CARDONA: Well, yes and this is why I think the progressive left in Kentucky is missing the boat, because there is plenty to run on from a substantive standpoint and from an issues standpoint against Mitch McConnell. He is vulnerable. He has a 36 percent approval rating in Kentucky. So what -- what these -- the liberals are giving Mitch McConnell is a place to talk about issues that he doesn't want to talk about, because he knows he's vulnerable. Let's focus on the issues. Let's focus on how he is not very well-liked in Kentucky. Let's focus on how what he is really afraid of is somebody challenging him from the right. From the Tea Party. The Tea Party hates him in Kentucky. Again, another vulnerability for him.

COSTELLO: All right. Well, I'm sure will this will continue in the days and weeks to come. Maria Cardona, Jason Johnson. Many thanks to you.

CARDONA: Thanks so much.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Nearly four months after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, Fox's TV show "Glee" airs an episode about a school shooting. Newtown residents are not happy. We'll talk about that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COSTELLO: Forty minutes past the hour. Time to check top stories. Are you expecting a tax refund this year? Well, it's probably not as much as Facebook. Social media giant expects to get back almost $430 million bucks. Wow, that's after raking in more than a billion dollars in profit last year, according to the Center for Tax Justice, because Facebook is writing off the value of its CEO's stock options. The practice is perfectly legal, but some in Congress want to close that loophole.

An elephant named Carol in Missouri is recovering after being hit in a drive-by shooting. The elephant is part of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The bullet hit Carol in the neck, between the shoulder and ear. CNN asked Carol's trainer if she knows why someone would want to do this to the elephant.


CATHERINE CARDEN, TRAINER: That's the million dollar question. It was just a horrible act, and I believe that if it wasn't for a witness that actually jumped into action and chased the gunman, that he would have shot her again. I believe it was totally intentional. We just don't know why.


COSTELLO: Look at her. She seems okay behind her trainer, doesn't she? Police do say that attack was deliberate. There's a reward of at least $20,000 now for any tips leading to an arrest.

Pastor Rick Warren made some startling revelations about the suicide of his son Matthew on Thursday, Warren tweeted, quote, "Someone on the internet sold Matthew an unregistered gun. I pray he seeks God's forgiveness. I forgive him." Matthew Warren shot himself to death last Friday. Law enforcement officials haven't confirmed the pastor's claim, but did say the gun's serial number had been removed.

Last night's episode of "Glee" is causing quite a controversy. So, if you're a fan, and you haven't seen the latest episode of "Glee," this segment contains spoilers. It was about a school shooting and scenes like this upset some people from Newtown, Connecticut.


MATTEW MORRISON, ACTOR, GLEE: All right, let's get started.


MORRISON: Everyone spread out. Spread out. Over there. Spread out and hide.


COSTELLO: It does give you the chills, doesn't it? Some Newtown residents say it's too soon to show an episode like this and they also said no one from Fox or "Glee" reached out to the people of Newtown. The school superintendent even sent a letter to families warning about the shoe's potentially disturbing plot. With us now via Skype is Andrew Paley, he lives in Newtown. He's a parent of children who survived the shooting at Sandy Hook. Welcome, Andrew.


COSTELLO: Did you watch the episode?

PALEY: I did not.

COSTELLO: Why do you choose not to watch it?

PALEY: We're in a healing process here in Newtown, and it's too soon for those of us so close to what happened on 12/14, that it would have reopened wounds that we're trying to heal.

COSTELLO: The episode itself, it opened with a warning, suggesting parental guidance. Was that enough?

PALEY: That's great that there was a warning for parental guidance, but at least for us in Newtown, where this is too new for us, that wouldn't have been enough if we didn't know about this.

COSTELLO: What did you want the Fox network to do, or the producers of "Glee?"

PALEY: We have no problem, at least the parents I've spoken to, that they aired an episode that had a school shooting. It's reality. It happened. It happened here, it happened at Columbine, it happened in many other places. What is really upsetting is that no one, none of the producers reached out to the town of Newtown, to let us residents, who are so close to this, know that this episode was airing and if anybody is a fan of "Glee," which I am not, so I don't usually watch it anyway. But I know many of my friends who do, it would have just been a shocker to them if they didn't know what the episode was about.

COSTELLO: You know it must be tough to watch any television or see any movie these days, because there is so much violence on our TV shows and movies.

PALEY: Yes, it seems like that's the big seller. People love guns and shooting and blowing things up, and it's part of our culture. But I think when it comes to movies, we know what we're going to see. You can make an informed decision. When you're watching TV, if you don't know what the episode is going to be about, it's more of a surprise.

COSTELLO: Is it upsetting to you that the gun control debate, they are actually going to debate a law on the floor of the Senate, it starts on Tuesday, and they're not going to be debating anything about the violence depicted on television shows or movies. Should they be debating that too?

PALEY: I think as part of the gun control issue, there's several different layers, because there is the mental health aspect. There is violence in our culture, and there is the gun control debate. I think the three separate debates that need to go on. I don't know that they, at least on the Senate floor, are three debates that should be happening at the same time. I know there are advocacy groups in Newtown throughout the country who are looking to control or put controls on gun use and clip size, things like that. But with the other aspects, I think those are debates that still need to occur and need to occur soon. But they are separate.

COSTELLO: And just the last question for you. Are you relieved that some sort of gun control bill involving background checks finally is going to be debated by the federal legislature?

PALEY: I think most people here in Newtown and Columbine, Virginia Tech, they just want a vote. We want to know what our legislators, that we elected, have to say. So then we can make informed decisions when it comes to the next round of elections.

COSTELLO: Andrew Paley, thank you for joining this morning. We appreciate it.

PALEY: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Talkback question for you today. Should Social Security be cut? or tweet me @CarolCNN.


COSTELLO: Talkback question for you today, should Social Security be cut?

From Jake, "Yes, it should, for people 35 and under. Social Security was never meant to be a safety net for everyone forever."

Leila, "I live on Social Security. Tell me how you could live on $16,000 a year and take a pay cut."

This from John, "No. Other countries take care of their own, why can't the most powerful nation in the world take care of the world take care of theirs?"

And this from Christal, "All we have to do is raise the income limit to 150k or 200k. Why do we always try to save programs on the backs of those who can ill-afford it, and not on those who can?"

Please, keep the conversation going., or tweet me @carolCNN.

Detroit Lions fans are saying, is this a joke? Meet the NFL's newest kicker, a Norwegian man with an unbelievable leg, you know, from the famous Norwegian football league? Not. Detroit Lions fans -- I can't even go on.


COSTELLO: The Dodgers don't know how long they will be without star pitcher Zack Greinke after he broke his collarbone in one unbelievable bench-clearing brawl. Joe Carter is here with the bleacher report.

JOE CARTER, BLEACHER REPORT: Carol, there's no official timetable on his injury yet, but that kind of injury, the broken collarbone takes six to eight weeks rehab. Of course, this is a big loss for the Dodgers because they just signed him to a big contract in the fall, six years $147 million and he ends up breaking his left non-throwing collarbone when he collides football-style last night with a charging Carlos Quentin.

Now, the Dodgers Matt Kemp also got inlved in this thing. He did it on the field and then he got a little exchange in the parking lot. He went to words with Quentin in the clubhouse and it spilled out into the parking lot. The best part about this, Carol, these two teams will play again on Monday. Monday. This will be in L.A., though, not in San Diego.

So, after 18 holes at the Masters, the 14-year-old from China has everyone's attention now. This guy can play. Tianlang Guan posted a better score than ten guys who have won major championships before. He's even beating defending champion Bubba Watson. Guan shot an impressive 1 over 73. If he posts the same number or better today, is he going to make the cut.


TIANLANG GUAN, GOLFER: I feel great to play a first round here and I just a little nervous on the first tee and after that hit a great tee- shot on it and after that I was just feeling (INAUDIBLE).


CARTER: Let's talk a little Tiger Woods. He is not at the top of the leaderboard at the start of today but he is playing good enough after one round to be there on Sunday. He shot a 2 under par 70. Thursday, excuse me, Thursday on Friday, today, he will tee off at 1:41 eastern. For all things Masters, you can check out

This weekend, the Texas Motor Speedway is the site for all things Nascar. The big race is sponsored by the NRA which, of course over the last few months, has brought on its share of controversy and critics. The NRA has sponsored a Nascar race before but it was before the Sandy Hook Shooting. Nascar said they have no official position on the gun debate but will take a look at evaluating future sponsorships.

Remember this video that surfaced last September that got more than 2 1/2 million views on the internet? The Detroit Lions liked him so much, they brought this man in for a tryout, waited a little while to decide, and they they said you know what? Let's sign this guy to a contract. Norwegian rugby player Harvard Rugland (ph) is his name, is going to join David Akers as Detroits two kickers come football season. Now, the Lions just cut Jason Hanson. He's been in the league for 21 years. They liked this guy instead. And of course, his trick shot video which has gone viral is called "Kickalicious." He also had a tryout with the New York Jets, which didn't work out. So, once that tryout was over, Carold, he decided to move to Florida and hooked up with a former NFL kicker, and the two of them basically honed in on his skills for months and as you can see, with a contract, it obviously paid off. COSTELLO: But for the Detroit Lions -- I'm a Detroit Lions fan. I'm just flummoxed by this.

CARTER: I like it. I like everything about it. Because he's got a really, really powerful leg. If you just work on him getting better with his accuracy, which clearly in the trick shot video, the guy can kick it into a trash can and wherever --

COSTELLO: But he's not on the field with players who could tackle him.

CARTER: True. That's the wild card. You never know. He's obviously talented. He's obviously athletic. Take a chance. He's a kicker.

COSTELLO: Okay. I hope you're right. Joe Carter, thanks so much.

The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts after a break.