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Obama Speaks on Health Care in California; May Jobs Report; Putins Call it Quits

Aired June 7, 2013 - 12:30   ET


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The president said we must define the nature and scope of this struggle, or else it will define us.

In some ways aren't these leaks defining this for the president? If he welcomed this debate, why didn't he initiate it before somebody leaked it against him?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Because the fact is, if it comes in -- I mean, this president has an agenda he'd like to get to in the second term. And it's proving difficult because he has been interrupted by any number of things. And this is the latest interruption.

It is also an uncomfortable conversation, I think, for this administration, precisely because when he was campaigning, he criticized George W. Bush -- then-president George W. Bush -- and said you don't have to give up civil -- this is a false choice between civil liberties and security.

But you just heard him say, yes, we're going to have to give some things up for security. And it's the difference between campaigning and being president.

Things just look different when you get into the Oval Office. The whole weight of trying to keep the country secure does, I think, really feel on their shoulders and fall on their shoulders.

So I do think this is a president who clearly has changed his mind around the nuances of a program that is going to necessarily infringe on what some people think are civil rights.

And let's face it, you know, although he said, oh, gosh, this is a different debate, and these Republicans didn't seem to have a problem when George Bush did it, the fact is libertarians and progressives always had a problem with the Patriot Act. And they will continue to have a problem. And this re-emerges that argument.

I don't think he probably welcomes it because he'd rather be talking about other things, but I think, as Jessica said, he's quite clearly ready to defend it.

KING: And he is defending it, totally. You make a ...


KING: Hang on just one second for me, Jessica. I know, as people watch this conversation, they just heard the president essentially say, oh, shucks, trust me; the government is doing this in a responsible way.

Millions of phone calls being tracked, metadata, the president says, people are connecting who's calling whom, and only if they go back to court, only if they have probable cause can they go back to court.

Let's listen again to the key part from the president of the United States, not so much for the conversation in Washington but the conversation you might be having around your dinner table or at the office today about whether the government is listening to you.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: When it comes to telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone calls. That's not what this program's about.

As was indicated, what the intelligence community is doing is looking at phone numbers and durations of calls. They are not looking at people's names, and they're not looking at content.


KING: Jessica Yellin, the president tried to assure people we're doing something careful, cautious, regulated and supervised. We're not listening to you when you call your grandmother, when you call your spouse, when you call a friend. We're only doing this if we absolutely have to.

But some members of his own party in Congress are the ones complaining, saying Mr. President, as you've expanded these programs, we think you have gone a bit too far.

YELLIN: This, John, goes back to the fundamental disconnect between people who voted for the Obama they wanted and then got a different president.

They sometimes -- he was never a bleeding-heart liberal. He was never a libertarian. He voted in favor of the FISA reauthorization in 2008 for the law that allowed Bush to continue part of his program.

So people who supported, thought they were getting a liberal Obama who would fight these measures didn't -- saw what they wanted to see.

And, you know, the president talks about transparency and talks about protecting privacy, but you have to watch what he does and how he votes and the measures he supports.

And, you know, he has changed many of Bush's policies. He ended the war in Iraq. He does not send detainees still to Gitmo. But he finds himself today saying exactly what President Bush said many years ago when Bush was defending the NSA wiretapping program, which is, we're not listening to your phone calls.

I mean, I bet we could put video side by side. They said the same thing. And sometimes President Obama engages in transparency only when his hand is forced.

KING: A bit of an I-told-you-so moment, Candy, for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who predicted near the close of their administration that this administration would get into office, read those daily intelligence programs and keep many of their programs.

Let me ask you this, Candy. The president says, essentially ,we're doing this in a safe responsible way. Then he comes back and condemns the leaks, at a time when people are also seeing this administration subpoenaing, tracking news reporters records to try to track down the leaks.

Does that add? They're apples and oranges to a degree, but does the aggressive government role in trying to find out who is doing things, does it add to the suspicions people will have about, are they really not listening to my phone call? Are they really not going into my e- mails in a way that oversteps hunting for terrorists and just becomes Big Brother on steroids?

CROWLEY: I do think it still goes to the trust issue, and it's very hard to govern whether you're a congresswoman or a senator or a president if people don't trust your judgment.

And essentially you heard what the president said was, you elected us. You need to trust us. We're doing this within the confines of the law. I'm very protective of both civil rights as well as civil liberties, et cetera, et cetera.

But I do think that it's a complicated subject and it's a nuanced subject. That doesn't always play well on talk radio. It doesn't always play well with those who are worried about this what they believe is overreach.

And I don't think it's the depth because certainly our conversation and the conversation I've seen most people reporting this has not been about they're listening to your phone calls. It's been very clear that they simply have numbers.

Nobody said they're listening to your phone -- at least as far as I've heard. I'm sure somebody got it wrong, but the fact is this is a huge cache of information.

And it's not even just, do you trust the president? It's, do you trust the next president? Do you trust the next head of the FBI? Do you trust -- so, you know, I think people are asking those questions and balancing what's worth it and what isn't.

KING: Whether the president truly welcomes it or not, it is a debate worth having.

Candy Crowley, Jessica Yellin, thanks for your help here.

This conversation will continue between the president and his Chinese counterpart as he goes on to those key meetings.

Our coverage will continue in just a moment, "Around the World" with Suzanne Malveaux and Michael Holmes after the break.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to "Around the World."

Tropical Storm Andrea creating dangerous conditions along the East Coast. Right now it is moving over the Carolinas bringing heavy rain and strong winds to the central and eastern parts of the states.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: In Florida, Andrea took a violent turn, though. Tornadoes damaged homes, injured at least one person.

Chad Myers tracking the storm from the CNN Weather Center. Chad, where's it headed now?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, headed through the Carolinas with rain all the way to D.C., New York City, Philadelphia, even Boston at this hour.

So there you see the heavy rain. Now, this isn't going to be a major rainmaker. We did have four to six inches across the Deep South, but now the storm has really picked up speed. Now it's moving northeast at 28.

That's such a difference compared to where we were yesterday, which was northeast at 15. So you get half as much rain if the storm's moving twice as fast because it gets out of there quicker.

Still flood watches from Providence, Boston, all the way down to New York City, two to four inches of rainfall expected.

Turn around; don't drown. Get out of there. Go a different way. Find a different road. Simple as that.

It's not going to be a great flood threat like Sandy or Irene, but this is going to move to sea and be gone by tomorrow afternoon.

And maybe the Belmont will dry out by about 10:00 or 12:00 for the horses that are going to try to run around that maybe possibly muddy track. We'll see. You know where my mind's at.

HOLMES: I know what you're thinking about. Exactly. I'm with you.

MALVEAUX: Folks in central Europe are bracing for more rain. This is after days of deadly floods. In parts of Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, rivers are spilling into neighborhoods. Fifteen people have died. There's hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

Our Matthew Chance captured exclusive pictures of the damage. This is in Dresden, Germany.

HOLMES: Now, as bad as it looks, flood defenses around the swollen Elbe River actually saved that city. The Danube River also surging, threatening now to reach its highest level ever in Hungary. That crest sort of moving down the river towards the coast.

MALVEAUX: And Turkey's prime minister standing by his riot police and his government's handling of a weeklong protest that swept through his country.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to a European Union conference today in Istanbul. Now he said he's not against democracy. He's against terror and vandalism. Said his security forces handled the protests better than other European countries would have.

HOLMES: Yeah, violent street fighting, of course, grew out of a protest over plans to tear up a park, one of the last green spaces in Istanbul, and build a new development, including a shopping mall.

Two people died. A policeman also died. Four thousand were hurt over several days and nights of demonstrations.

MALVEAUX: And Britain's Prince Philip, the queen's husband, will spend his 92nd birthday in the hospital. The Duke of Edinburgh is expected to have exploratory surgery on his abdomen today, we're told. He might stay in the hospital for two weeks.

HOLMES: Yeah, this is an operation that Buckingham Palace says was pre-arranged, not an emergency. Prince Philip has been in hospital four times, though, since Christmas 2011, and yeah, his birthday, his 92nd, on Monday in the hospital.

MALVEAUX: Yeah, all right.

And you just heard President Obama wrapping up his health care speech a short time ago in California, but also talking about all of the reports regarding the phone calls and the Internet, whether or not the United States government is spying on its citizens.

The president is going to go on to focus on China. That is later today.

HOLMES: He is. The new Chinese president's going to be his first face-to-face meeting with Xi Jinping, and that's going to happen this afternoon at an estate near Palm Springs. It's a weekend summit designed to be pretty informal, a get-to-know-you kind of thing.

MALVEAUX: And a very powerful that's going to take place, a lot of speculation about why the first lady has decided to actually skip that trip.

Erin McPike, she's got that.


ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's being billed as a sign of progress for American and Chinese diplomacy, these two major world leaders rolling up their sleeves and building a personal relationship. The Chinese president will be bringing along his wife, Peng Liyuan.

Like Michelle Obama, Peng Liyuan is considered a rock star in China, except Peng actually is a rock star.

But she won't be serenading Michelle Obama. President Obama is going it alone, meaning there will be no face-time for the first ladies.

It's a curious turn. First ladies entertaining other first ladies is customary for many major state visits.

There are mixed reactions on Chinese social media about Mrs. Obama's decision to stay home. One said, "Because our first lady is so pretty that she was scared to show up?" Another, "Why disappointed? It is for sure and understandable that she put family and her kids in the first place. Also, she's a mom in the first place, then the first lady."

Still, critics say that's a mistake for the White House as it tries to thaw tensions with the Chinese.

CHENG LI, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION EXPERT ON U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS: Whether this is kind of a political gesture from the U.S. or this part of a disrespect and et cetera, people in China will think, you know, this may not be just a family matter.

MCPIKE: Cheng Li studies U.S.-Chinese relations for the Brookings Institution.

LI: It is unfortunate that the first lady will not be there, otherwise would be a perfect story, would be a double date.

MCPIKE: The White House says the first lady is staying home to tend to her job as mom-in-chief. Sasha Obama's 12th birthday is Monday.


MALVEAUX: All right. Erin McPike joins us from Washington.

So are they accepting that explanation? I mean, Sasha's birthday. Come on.

MCPIKE: Well, Suzanne, the White House said to me yesterday when -- that when these meetings were set up with the Chinese, the Chinese counterparts were perfectly aware that Michelle Obama would not be able to make it and they say they've gotten no complaints. Although obviously the Chinese are disappointed that Michelle Obama won't be able to attend, they're satisfied that these meetings are happening anyway.

And, Suzanne, let me also point out, you know full well from covering the White House that President Obama has gotten some praise over time for how he's managed the Chinese relationship. So, generally, they're excited about these meetings this weekend.

MALVEAUX: All right, Erin, thank you. The first lady, she gets a - she gets a lot of attention.


MALVEAUX: People love her when she goes overseas. I mean --

HOLMES: They want a distraction.

MALVEAUX: They are going to miss out. Yes.

HOLMES: Yes. Exactly.

All right, now he's a 60-something newly single Russian male. He does a little judo. He likes to ride motorcycles, shoot bears, go hang gliding, lots of shirt off stuff.

MALVEAUX: All right. Ladies, Vladimir Putin on the market. That story up ahead.



The United Nations today launched its biggest-ever humanitarian appeal in its history. Now, this is for the people of Syria whose lives, of course, have been wrecked by their country's civil war. The U.N. estimates half of Syria's population, you're talking 10.5 million people, will be in need of some sort of aid by the end of this year.

MALVEAUX: So far, the U.N.'s refugee agency says it has received $1 billion to help them. It needs $4 billion more. Officials say 1.6 million Syrian refugees are being hosted across five countries. They actually expect that number to more than double to 3.4 million. And they say twice that many people will be displaced inside of the country as well. We want to do a quick check on the markets right now. You see the Dow up 159.

HOLMES: Yes, a whole percentage point up on the day.

MALVEAUX: Yes, 159.

HOLMES: Yes, that's that jobs report I guess that came out this morning. The May jobs report showed the unemployment rate is up, but only just 0.01 percent, I think.

MALVEAUX: And 175,000 jobs were added in May and that is actually more than analysts expected. Better than we did in April. Let's bring in Alison Kosik from the New York Stock Exchange.

What do we make of these numbers here? Was it --

HOLMES: Boy, a big jump.


ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, Suzanne and Michael, the jobs report is good. It's an improvement from April, as you said. But the thing is, it's just not exceptional. It's still just kind of average when you look at how job growth had been over the past three years. Yes, the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.6 percent. That's because more people jumped back in to look for a job. That's good. But the problem is, a lot of them, they haven't gotten a job yet.

Now, the market, as you can see, up in the triple digits here with the Dow up 164 points. The market's taking it well. Stocks, though, have been all over the place this week with investors worried about whether the Federal Reserve is going to begin to pull back on its economic stimulus. So with the jobs number, you know, investors wanted it to be good, maybe not too good. So this may have hit the sweet spot. That is not to say that Wall Street wouldn't have welcomed a bigger improvement for jobs, but it looks like the status quo seems to be sitting pretty well with the market today.

Suzanne. Michael.

MALVEAUX: All right, Alison, thank you. Appreciate it. That's great news.

HOLMES: It is, indeed. Yes, a full percentage point, 1.11 percent up now.

All right, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife called it quits. I mean a lot of people did expect this really. Thirty years of marriage nearly.

MALVEAUX: All right. So we've got to say this. All the single ladies out there, you're not going to want to miss this one. We're going to take you live to Moscow right after this.


MALVEAUX: The private life of Russian President Vladimir Putin just went public. Here's our Phil Black in Moscow.


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It started as a pretty ordinary Russian version of date night, going to the ballet. But there's never been anything ordinary about Russia's first couple. During a break, they walked into an empty room to stand in front of a camera and review the show.

"Excellent," they said.

Then the reporter asked a question many Russians have been wondering about for a long time, is it true you no longer live together?

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): This is true. All my activities and work are related with the publicity, with the total publicity. Some like it. Some don't.

BLACK: Not the clearest answer. So Lyudmila Putin had to spell it out.

LYUDMILA PUTIN, VLADIMIR PUTIN'S WIFE (through translator): Our marriage is over because we barely see each other. Vladimir, Vladimir (INAUDIBLE) is completely engaged with his work, our children have grown up, they're living their own lives. So it just happened that we both have our own lives.

BLACK: This break-up appearance was the first time they've been seen together since Putin's inauguration as president over a year ago. Over the 13 years he has dominated political life in this country, sightings of his wife had become increasingly rare. In 2008, a Moscow newspaper reported he was planning to divorce her and marry the Russian Olympic gymnast Alina Kabaeva. Putin angrily denied that and the newspaper shut down soon after. This time as Lyudmila confirmed the divorce, she explained she doesn't like flying or publicity. That had to be a big problem if you're married to a man famous for traveling across the world's largest country, attracting lots of attention with highly publicized tough-going stunts (ph).

Despite those differences, their marriage lasted just short of 30 years. They have two adult daughters. Lyudmila Putin says her soon-to- be ex-husband is a loving father and someone she'll always be close to.


HOLMES: That's an interesting date night, wasn't it? Go to the ballet, announce that you've split up.

All right, that will do it for me. Thanks for watching AROUND THE WORLD.

MALVEAUX: CNN NEWSROOM starts right after this break.



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody is listening to your telephone calls. That's not what this program's about.


MALVEAUX: President Obama speaking out about the massive government surveillance programs and says that your privacy is safe.