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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Interview with Chelsea Clinton; It's a "NEW DAY" on CNN; Colorado Wildfire Claims Two Lives; Self-Proclaimed Psychic Faces Defamation and False Information Charges; CNN Honors Heroes; "GIRL RISING"

Aired June 14, 2013 - 08:30   ET

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


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN HOST (voice-over): It's perhaps not surprising that Clinton, now married and 33, is stepping into a more prominent public role. Her name is now officially part of the Clinton Foundation.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: We are officially renaming the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

CHELSEA CLINTON, BHCCF: I'm just so excited to continue working with my parents. I mean always learn something from them and increasingly I learn with them and that's just such a privilege.

PEREIRA (voice-over): Chelsea graduated from Stanford and has a master's from Columbia and Oxford, where she is currently pursuing a doctoral degree. But she says she doesn't feel the pressure of her family name.

PEREIRA: You talk about the benefits you've had of having two extraordinary individuals raise you as parents.

Did you feel an unbearable pressure to surpass or even to keep pace with them?

CHELSEA CLINTON: No. I think my parents really did such a remarkable job, which I'm even kind of more in awe of, as Mark and I start thinking about having our own children.

I never doubted that I was the center of their lives. My parents worked really hard to ensure that whatever could be kind of made ordinary in my life really was ordinary. We had dinner around the kitchen table every night when I was growing up -- yes, in the governor's mansion, but it was still around the kitchen table.

PEREIRA (voice-over): For a family that has been through decades of campaigns, the Clintons are extraordinarily close. Just this week, Chelsea gave a touching speech about her father as she presented him with the Father of the Year Award.

PEREIRA: He said that day, I believe, that you were his crown achievement.

CHELSEA CLINTON: Well, I hope that I can help him feel that way every day. PEREIRA (voice-over): Chelsea says she feels a special calling to reach out to girls and women specifically, crediting her relationships with her mother and especially her grandmother, Dorothy Rodham, who passed away in 2011.

CHELSEA CLINTON: My grandmother was a huge part of my life and still remains a huge part of my heart and how I think about my life. And she put a lot of positive pressure on me to do more.

And I think, particularly after her passing, I felt like I did need to be doing more. We had a responsibility gene. She said particularly the girls in our family and I'm proud to have her genes kind of quite literally but also philosophically.

PEREIRA: A lot of folks are speculating by the tweets coming from your mother's account lately that this could mean something for her political future.

How would you feel going out and campaigning for her again?

CHELSEA CLINTON: She's my mom and I'm just unabashedly, unapologetically biased towards her, because I think she's just awesome in every way. She exemplifies and supports and advocates for so much of what I believe in. And so I will support whatever she does in the foundation or beyond.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Michaela Pereira joins us now.

This is your inaugural interview --

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Inaugural run on CNN.

LEMON: Couldn't you just like --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Couldn't you have interviewed a name or something for your first...?

PEREIRA: I just -- we just kind of went through (inaudible).

ROMANS: She said she has a responsibility gene.

(CROSSTALK)

PEREIRA: I found that so fascinating. She is clearly driven. I asked her about that. I was trying to figure out what makes her tick.

She is motivated from within. I mean, she's got these two extraordinary parents. She's shied away so much from the media, but, lately -- and I think it's the influence of her grandmother's legacy that sort of allowed her to understand that she has this tremendous legacy a tremendous name, and there's so much work that she could be doing. And she's really taking that very seriously. LEMON: That was just a short part of the interview that is going to run on "NEW DAY."

PEREIRA: On "NEW DAY."

LEMON: You're here --

PEREIRA: I'm here --

LEMON: -- for a new show which starts on Monday.

PEREIRA: Thank you. It's very exciting. We're busy working behind the scenes and the team is assembling. We have a brand-new set being built. Kate, Chris and I are bonding. It's been fantastic.

ROMANS: Well, if you people who have been out in L.A., you've spent a lot of time out there covering a lot of different stories. We know you.

LEMON: (Inaudible) Michaela all the time.

ROMANS: You are -- nine years you had a --

PEREIRA: Nine years at KTLA.

ROMANS: We have like -- I think we have a nice little --

LEMON: All I have to say, though, is that Kate and Chris had better watch out, because you're a fireball. I never knew what was going to come out of your mouth.

PEREIRA: I resemble that remark.

LEMON: Look, see? See what I mean?

PEREIRA: Well, it was a very different show. It was a lighter show than I think you will see on CNN. Let's be honest. I don't think we'll see Kate and Chris doing half the shenanigans -- although you do have to watch the two of them. I have to step in and be Switzerland every once in a while. Those two are like brother and sister. I have to separate them.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: They do have a very strong opinion, both of them. They both seem very goofy and I think that people don't realize how goofy both of them can be and how fun it is.

PEREIRA: (Inaudible) wicked sense of humor.

LEMON: So you may not know that we're going to show this. But this is 1994.

PEREIRA: OK, no. No, no this was not -- this was not run through standards and practices.

(LAUGHTER)

PEREIRA: I do know about standards and --

LEMON: There's Michaela. This is your first -- is this your first time on TV?

PEREIRA: Don Lemon, I thought you liked me.

LEMON: I do. I love you.

ROMANS: (Inaudible) that story. Tell us.

PEREIRA: OK. So this is an afternoon magazine show. This is how I started my career. It's called "Check Around" in 1993 --

ROMANS: Look how baggy we wore the sweatshirts.

PEREIRA: Everything was baggy. They didn't make sweatshirts for girls. (Inaudible). They really didn't -- or T-shirts or golf shirts, for that matter.

And half the target (ph) right there -- (inaudible). So this was a lot of fun. Do we -- I -- this is where I learned that I loved talking to people and getting them to share their stories and all these years later, I'm still getting to do that.

ROMANS: Look what a natural you were right when you started.

And you are a natural.

PEREIRA: That was mean. And there will be pay back.

LEMON: Yes. You're mad at me already?

PEREIRA: I love you.

LEMON: Don't hate. Come on.

PEREIRA: I love you.

We should also point out "GIRL RISING," which is part of the initiative that CGI supports and Chelsea is very excited about is running right here on CNN, 9:00 pm on Sunday, telling some terrific stories of young women around the globe, the importance of educating them. I hope you'll tune in. It's going to be a fantastic, fantastic film.

LEMON: Christiane Amanpour is going to come on a little bit later on this hour to talk about "GIRL RISING" as well.

PEREIRA: You'll have to show old video of her (inaudible).

LEMON: We'll show her like in a war zone.

ROMANS: It's a good idea.

Can we work on that quickly?

LEMON: I know you're happy to be here. I mean, it's --

PEREIRA: Thrilled. I have taken the subway, I've had a slice. New York City is a great city. Let me tell you.

LEMON: Are you moving uptown with me? Because I heard you're looking in my building.

PEREIRA: I might. In your building?

LEMON: Well, you know. I don't own it.

PEREIRA: There might be a rule against that.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: Michaela, so nice to see you. Your first -- we can't wait to see you on Monday. It will (inaudible) all be playing, too, (inaudible).

PEREIRA: It'll be great.

LEMON: I got to tell you, I got to tell you, though, I love watching you.

She -- her personality is infectious.

So, congratulations.

PEREIRA: Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

PEREIRA: Thrilled to be here.

LEMON: And I hope everybody tunes in.

ROMANS: We'll be right back.

LEMON: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: The most destructive wildfire ever to hit the state of Colorado has turned deadly; 750 firefighters are on the front lines this morning, but they are no match for the wind-fueled 16,000 acre Black Forest fire; 379 homes already burned to the ground, 38,000 people forced to evacuate.

And now two victims have been found burned to death. They were trying to flee their house but were overtaken by the fast-moving flames. They were found in their garage, car doors open.

LEMON: One man is dead, at least 75 others recovering following a massive explosion at a chemical plant near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Authorities asked people as far as two miles away to stay indoors to avoid exposures of potentially toxic fumes. The cause of Thursday's blast is now under investigation.

ROMANS: This is a bizarre story involving a self-proclaimed psychic, a supposed mass grave and now a judgment of close to $7 million.

A bizarre case involving alleged defamation and filing false reports. As CNN's Pamela Brown reports, it all started with a shocking allegation made on a 9-1-1 call. She is here with more on this very, very strange story.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, as you said, it all involved a mysterious mass graveyard and now millions of dollars owed to a couple and it all stemmed from a very misfortunate 9-1-1 call from a psychic.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hays County Sheriff's Office. Do you have an emergency?

PRESLEY GRIDLEY, ALLEGED PSYCHIC: Yes, I need to talk to someone about the kids that y'all have the Amber Alert on.

PAMELA BROWN (voice-over): It was this 9-1-1 call of a so-called psychic, claiming children's bodies were buried behind a farmhouse.

GRIDLEY: I am a reverend and a psychic. Souls and spirits talked to me and there were 32 of them that told me -- they think these kids are there.

PAMELA BROWN (voice-over): That call from Presley Gridley led to a crush of cameras converging on this house in tiny Hardin, Texas, near Houston.

CAPT. REX EVANS, LIVERTY COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: If your child was missing and we received information involving any type of children, you would certainly want your local law enforcement to investigate it.

PAMELA BROWN (voice-over): he FBI was called in to investigate. The lives of the family that lived here turned upside down, but in the end, no bodies turned up.

It's not uncommon for psychics to work with police, but in this case, the couple's attorney says they'll never be repaid for what they went through after Gridley's tip.

ANDREW SOMMERMAN, COUPLE'S ATTORNEY: They've had to remove themselves from their home. They literally have had to sequester themselves. They don't even like to tell people where they have moved to.

PAMELA BROWN (voice-over): This failed prediction comes with a hefty price tag. A judge is now ordering Gridley to pay $7 million for defamation to the family.

SILVIA BROWN, CELEBRITY PSYCHIC: Faces, in fact. PAMELA BROWN (voice-over): You may recall celebrity psychic Silvia Brown also came under fire after claiming this on the "Montel Williams" show about Ohio kidnapping victim Amanda Berry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't think I'll ever see her again.

SILVIA BROWN: Yes, in heaven, on the other side.

PAMELA BROWN (voice-over): Ten years later Berry was found alive.

AMANDA BERRY, KIDNAP VICTIM: Hello, police, help me. I'm Amanda Berry.

PAMELA BROWN (voice-over): For Gridley, a costly lesson not even she could see coming.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAMELA BROWN: And the couple's attorney says that they have moved and will never be able to return to their home after this ordeal. They haven't been able to make contact with Gridley and are still trying to recoup the money owed to them, $7 million.

ROMANS: Wow. And just one call to 9-1-1, totally upsetting the family.

PAMELA BROWN: One unwarranted phone call.

ROMANS: All right. Pamela, thanks.

LEMON: Thanks, Pamela.

Cooking up a plan to save lives through the use of fuel-efficient and nearly smoke-free stoves; in this edition of "CNN Heroes," we meet Nancy Hughes.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NANCY HUGHES, CNN HERO (voice-over): People have no idea that cooking kills people. Indoor air pollution is estimated that it kills millions of people every year. A mother who has got a baby over an open fire, I mean, that's the equivalent of that baby smoking packs of cigarettes every day.

After my husband died of breast cancer, my life changed, because I volunteered with a medical team in Guatemala. There were doctors who could not put tubes down the babies' throats because the throats were so soaked with creosote.

This is what they're breathing. Their lungs are like this inside. I thought, we need to change this.

My name is Nancy Hughes and I work to save lives and save forests by providing fuel efficient stoves to the world.

The stove is called the Ecocina. The E is for environmental and cocina for kitchen. It's safe. It's cool to the touch. It prevents the creosote buildup in the lungs. It contributes to better health by preventing skin diseases, eye diseases. Also you don't have to cut down trees. You can use small branches.

It's kind of a little miracle.

We started six factories in five countries. We wanted to give employment in the areas where there's poverty. Those factories that we started have produced 35,000 stoves.

I'm addicted to this. The first year I went to Latin America eight times on my own nickel. There are a lot of women and a lot of children who are breathing a lot easier because of the Ecocina stove.

I'm 70 now and this is what I do in my, quote, "retirement," unquote.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: Wow. Changing the world. Thanks so much.

Ahead on STARTING POINT the power of the human spirit, the quest for an education told through nine remarkable girls in nine different countries. "Girl Rising," a CNN documentary, airs this weekend. Senior international correspondent Christiane Amanpour joins us next. You're watching STARTING POINT.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have come to this house, the house of her master, to say you must set her free.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Welcome back.

Ahead of the CNN film "GIRL RISING" airing this Sunday night on CNN, we're sharing the stories of girls who are trying to get an education. Girls like Waldly from Haiti. Thousands of schools in Haiti were damaged or destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. Amid the devastation, Waldly wants nothing more than to return to class.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Waldly could not remember how she and her mother got to the open field near the university. It was still the dry season, but wild flowers no longer bloomed. In the tent camp, she often heard the most days of the adults say ashes to ashes, dust to dust. This they said when they were finally resigned to the fact that their missing loved ones would never be coming back.

Life tried to return to normal, except now her mother roamed the city during the day, looking for friends and family from whom to seek help. And instead of school, Waldly went to the water fountain with a bucket. Every day now as she passed through the camp and the ruins of her neighborhood, she thought about school. Sometimes, as she walked by the rubble of the school itself, she thought she heard the voices of her friends reciting the lessons that she now missed so much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour joins us and this issue Christiane -- good morning by the way.

AMANPOUR: It's great to see you.

LEMON: -- this issue of girls and education really important and it's good to see it being profiled in this manner.

AMANPOUR: It really is. A group of colleagues, friends of mine who've made this film and it is remarkable. You saw this young girl was from Haiti. They've got kids from all over the world and you heard a voice narrating her story. They paired a leader in their field with a young girl and they're telling each other their story.

So it's a very different way of telling this. But all over the world I've covered this story whether it's in Haiti, Afghanistan, Africa, wherever it is, girls want to be educated and so do boys. Just inside of them. They're desperate. They know their escape from poverty and into some kind of future.

ROMANS: If we could take better care of our girls by just giving them education wherever it is in the world we can change history, the storyline changes.

AMANPOUR: And there is simply no doubt about it. You can take any indicator, you can take any report, whether it's the U.N., whether it's microfinance. You, yourself, working the economy you know that with each extra year of primary and secondary education a girl's earning power and therefore a nation's earning power jumps up by a certain percentage. 35 million girls are not in school right now -- imagine that.

If girls were equally empowered with boys, the whole world would be lifted. All the facts and statistics show it. It is truly a no brainer and yet so many girls are denied the basic right of education. Sometimes violently, sometimes due simply to the ignorance and poverty of their -- of their parents, sometimes because they have to be the breadwinner even at the age of four or five.

LEMON: You wrote an open letter to girls on CNN.com. What did you say and what did you hope the impact would be?

AMANPOUR: I said, the obvious, I said look, we are a planet of seven billion and half of us are girls and in so many parts of the world girls and women are not being fully empowered and that has an absolutely dramatic impact in every indicator -- the economy, health, the environment, everywhere you look. Peace, for instance. Even in peace forging, women are often so empowered in that way. So these girls want to go to school, they just do. And parents have to be able to do that. They have to be some kind of ability to send them to schools and all these places. If you just look, for instance, in the Arab world which is rising right now, we know that because of the laws, because of the Islamic misrepresentation of what should be done with women, many women are not allowed to fulfill their potential and therefore, these countries with such rich, natural resources are unable to fulfill their potential because half the population is kept down.

ROMANS: One of the things I think maybe some people see these as international stories, but it's not an international story.

AMANPOUR: No it's not.

ROMANS: I'm sorry, this -- this comes right back to the United States completely.

AMANPOUR: Exactly. Exactly and the thing that I've learned is even here in the United States and we all know this, all around the world, kids really want to be in school. They don't want to be out so-called having fun or playing truant or, you know, not being in school. They want to be in school because people know whether girls or boys, frankly, they know that education is their way to a future and their way out of poverty.

And I we say, we all know that that makes a difference.

LEMON: Yes I love that you say that thriving society starts with women. I love that. and of course, we're going to watch "GIRL RISING". But can we talk to you because you're Iranian born, right?

AMANPOUR: Yes I am.

LEMON: I want to talk to you about the elections going on over in Iran.

AMANPOUR: Yes.

LEMON: You're thoughts on --

ROMANS: Women can vote right, but women could never stand for President.

LEMON: You're right.

AMANPOUR: Women can vote, they can't stand for President. And unfortunately in Iran's systems although women are allowed to do a lot of things they're not allowed to do in Saudi Arabia, in a court they are worth only, you know in the legal system, they're only worth half the value of a man.

So put that aside, there is an election today that's incredibly important for the United States. However, it has been stacked very heavily. The deck is very heavily stacked. The theocracy there banned any kind of, you know, threat to the regime, any kind of reformist candidate. There is a reformist candidate who is running. We'll see if he benefits from a last-minute surge.

But what everybody wants to know is, what will the next president mean in terms of not only Iran's economy and for their own people, but how will they react with the United States and the West particularly over the nuclear program, which is the big crisis.

LEMON: We'll watch it very closely. Thank you.

ROMANS: Thank you. Nice to see you this morning.

LEMON: Our chief international correspondent. Of course, make sure you tune in to the film "GIRL RISING" this Sunday June 16th. June 16th this Sunday, 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

ROMANS: We have the final block of STARTING POINT right after this quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: How did I get the assignment?

Today is the final edition of STARTING POINT and I have to say I'm sort of sad that John Berman isn't here with us, not only because I didn't get any sleep this morning but because he has been, you know, over the last few months doing a very busy during the commercial breaks. I want you to watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Romans, what is your favorite Lionel Richie song? Christine Romans, what is your favorite amusement park ride?

ROMANS: Roller coasters.

BERMAN: Christine Romans, what's your favorite dance? Christine Romans, who is your favorite (inaudible)?

ROMANS: I have a new summer intern. His name is George.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm happy to be here. And I'm great.

BERMAN: Christine Romans, weekend plans?

ROMANS: 158,000 jobs is the expectation.

BERMAN: You party. All right. It's 5:21 in the morning, do you know where your co-anchor is? Look, no Christine Romans. Romans, what is your problem today?

ROMANS: Too many to name just one.

BERMAN: What is your favorite Christopher Cross song? Romans, what color would you say your suit is?

ROMANS: Jolly rancher orange. BERMAN: Will anyone own up to be the one snoring in the bathroom? Christine Romans, it's our last four-hour broadcast together, how do you feel about that?

ROMANS: Relieved.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: She's very happy.

ROMANS: Berman has been torturing me for like two months -- torturing me every day.

LEMON: Christine Romans, who is the most nagging anchor you have ever worked with?

ROMANS: John Berman. He once said to me, "Don't talk to me. I don't like people right now." He really said that.

LEMON: I tweeted out this morning, I'm really mad at John Berman because he's sleeping right now. And I'm not.

ROMANS: Poor Berman is still going to be getting up early because he's going to still be hosting "EARLY START". So he will be on the air at 5:00 a.m. He's also going to be a part of "NEW DAY" which launches on Monday. So I'm going to do business. He's getting really cool stuff. He's going to be doing that show too. And "NEW DAY" of course with Chris Cuomo --

LEMON: Yes.

ROMANS: -- Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira, it beings Monday at 6:00. It is going to be a heck of a lot of fun. A heck of a lot of fun.

LEMON: And I was so naughty today, I'm sure that I won't be back here.

ROMANS: I'm sure you will. I'm sure you will.

LEMON: All right. Thanks for being such a great co-host.

ROMANS: You, too.

LEMON: Enjoy your sleep tonight Berman.

"NEWSROOM" continues now with Brianna Keilar.