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Plot Twists on Soaps; Jay-Z's Album Brought to App Users by Samsung; Obama's Ratings Take Hard Fall; Obama's Plummeting Poll Numbers; "Man Of Steel's" Christian Connection; Putin Versus The Patriots; DC Delegate Lashes Out At Redskins Owner

Aired June 17, 2013 - 16:30   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

"The Money Lead." No longer a profitable daytime staple, soaps are making a comeback but not on TV. I make a cameo on the set of "All My Children." Will they let me play my own evil twin?

"The Politics Lead." President Obama picked a good time to get out of the U.S., Benghazi, the IRS, the government collecting our phone records. Guess how all of that is affecting his approval rating? We'll hash it out.

And "The Pop Lead." Was there a book in the "New Testament" when Jesus threw a guy through a building? No? I must be thinking of Superman. That's an easy mistake to make especially with a studio asking Churches to preach the gospel of krypton.

Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. "The Money Lead." Gone are the days when your blue-haired grandma would make the midday trek into the living room to watch her stories. Like many characters in the crazy plot lines, soap operas have come back from the dead. They've been resurrected online.

We saw the transition playing out before our eyes yesterday at the Daytime Emmys with "Days of Our Lives" winning Best Drama beating out three other remaining soaps still airing on the networks and one that has since moved to the Web, "One Life to Live."

There was a time when daytime dramas were an ATM machine for the networks. The phenomenon may have peaked in 1981. Nearly 30 million people tuned in to watch the Luke and Laure wedding on ABC's "General Hospital." That soap averaged 11 million viewers an episode that year.

The soaps made so much money that they helped to fund primetime programming. But over the years the audience literally began to die off. Audiences shrank. Cheaper reality and talk show programming became the norm. But with all the programming we're now seeing online and from other content providers such as Netflix, soaps may have a second chance.

Can they survive? It's a dramatic worthy of a soap itself. I've been to the set of "All My Children" now living its second life online to find out. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER (voice-over): Vincent (INAUDIBLE) spent 12 years as Dr. David Hayworth on "All My Children."

VINCENT IRIZARRY, ACTOR, "ALL MY CHILDREN": Our baby died, Kara. And you couldn't come and tell me that in person?

TAPPER: And then in a twist as dramatic as the story lines, his time at Pine Valley was gone. Or was it?

IRIZARRY: I got a phone call saying that we're back on track and it was like one of the scenes that I've played on soap operas before where somebody died for three years and you open the door and they're there saying poignantly, what the -- what the hey, you know? So --


It's that kind of a thing.

TAPPER: The production company Prospect Park acquired the rights to "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" from ABC after the network decided to cancel those soaps and replaced them with talk shows.

Prospect Park partner and former Disney exec Rick Frank saw money- making potential in bringing the soaps back online.

RICH FRANK, PARTNER, PROSPECT PARK: The viewers loved the shows and the advertisers had been in the shows for years. So it seemed like a perfect match.

TAPPER: The second life for "One Life to Live" and "All My Children" has not happened without tension. Prospect Park has since filed a lawsuit against ABC for story lines involving "One Life to Live" characters who have shown up on "General Hospital." And TV fans may notice some differences in the online version. "All My Children" veteran Susan Lucci is gone. No, they didn't kill off Erica Cane, she had scheduling conflicts. And those cute little kids from ABC soaps? Well, they're not so little and innocent anymore online. "All My Children's" storylines have moved ahead five years to create a new set of teenage characters.

(On camera): So your characters before the show went off TV were a little younger than you guys are?



DENISE TONTZ, ACTOR, "ALL MY CHILDREN": Just a little bit. Yes.

NELSEN: They weren't really in the teenage phase yet.

TAPPER (voice-over): Denise Tontz and Eric Nelsen play the soap's young it couple, Miranda and A.J.

TONTZ: Ready? Sure.

TAPPER: The producers are hoping their story line grabs a younger audience, one that's already used to watching shows on their smartphones. They're also paying attention to the viewing habits of their audience and have knocked down the number of episodes from four a week to two in order to keep viewers from falling behind.

FRANK: They want to binge view sort of towards the end of the week if they don't -- are not able to get the show during the week. And having less shows for them to catch up on is more important than having more shows.

TAPPER: Another plus for having the shows online, it's a lot cheaper. Prospect Park was able to cut costs by moving the shooting locations to Connecticut for tax breaks and also by cutting new contracts, although they're currently in a labor dispute with the technical crew.

To save even more money, the producers took a huge risk, casting me to play TV investigative reporter Spencer Phillips. I needed some acting advice so I turned to Thorsten Kay, who plays TV's Zach Slater.

THORSTEN KAY, ACTOR, "ALL MY CHILDREN": What are you going to do? Arrest me?


TAPPER (on camera): I was thinking of doing a voice. I was thinking like Spencer Phillips.

KAY: OK. Tell me the difference again. What's the first one?

TAPPER: Spencer Phillips.

KAY: And your voice?

TAPPER: Spencer Phillips. Spencer Phillips, American Business Networks.

KAY: Is he older than you?

TAPPER: I haven't been given any back story.

KAY: OK. Is he the same weight as you?

TAPPER: I would assume so.

KAY: OK. Then I would use the same voice.

TAPPER (voice-over): After going through make-up, wardrobe and rehearsal with my co-star, Julia Barr, it was time for my acting debut. It was going to be a stretch playing a pushy reporter, but I was up for the challenge.

(On camera): Brook English?

(Voice-over): Nailed it. Oh, wait, there's more lines. (On camera): As Mr. Chandler's fiance and interim CEO of Chandler Enterprises and Chandler Media, do you care to comment on the behavior of Mr. Chandler's son just now?

(Voice-over): Whether to cut costs or because let's face it, I'm really, really good at acting, I did my scene in one take. In your face, Thorsten.

(On camera): But I was thinking like, Spencer Phillips, American Business Networks.

KAY: So you only want to do this for one day?


TAPPER: Right. I'm not pursuing another career.

KAY: Then I'll think you're fine.


TAPPER: And if you can't get enough of my acting you can see the full "All My Children" episode on August 19th.

Jay-Z released a three-minute commercial that aired during the NBA Finals and teamed up with a giant in the cell phone industry just to promote his new album. Sorry Twitter haters but in the words of the rap mogul, you can't knock the hustle.

Jay-Z is taking flak from fans who accuse him of selling out by partnering up with Samsung. The first million Android users who download a special app will get his album for free. And since Samsung has already purchased the copies to give away, that means Jay-Z's album went platinum before it was even released. Brilliant.

Despite all the backlash, he's not the first artist to use social media or a brand partnership to promote an album. Justin Timberlake's song "Suit and Tie" was used in this Bud Light commercial. And the country group Pistol Annie is used Vine to reveal their album cover "Artwork."

For those of you who can find it in your heart to forgive Jay-Z his album "Magna Carte Holy Grail" drops July 4th.

Kids are growing up fast these days. I never had to worry about the question, what do you drive on the playground, apparently answering a 12-speech wind doesn't cut it anymore. Now there's a new status symbol for the under 10 crowd.

Porsche is now selling a pedal powered go-kart made specifically for children who are under 110 pounds complete with a tubular steel frame, inflatable tires, composite rims and a rear breaking system, all for just $900 for a toy they'll probably outgrow by next summer and grow bored with before the end of the week.

We're not sure if there's a cup holder compatible with a juice box. But hash tag you're it. How do you promote a kiddie sports car, say, a Porsche go-kart? Because it's never too early to drive them to uber-consumption?

Tweet your promos to @theleadCNN. Use the hashtag kiddieporsche.

Coming up, in politics it looks like somebody just took a (INAUDIBLE) stick to his poll numbers. President Obama is in Northern Ireland while back home his public image is taking a dramatic hit.

And who wouldn't trust this face? Russia's President Putin says he did not steal a Super Bowl ring. The owner of the New England Patriots, well, he seems to disagree. Stick around for more of THE LEAD.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Now it's time for "The Politics Lead." The president is overseas but his poll numbers have him underwater. His approval rating has dropped 8 percentage points over the past month, leaving him at 45 percent. His lowest rating in more than a year and a half.

He can thank scandals from the NSA surveillance leak to the continued questions over Benghazi for that dip.

Let's bring in our panel to talk about it. CNN contributor and former senior adviser to Mitt Romney, Kevin Madden, Democratic strategist Tracy Sefl, and chief national correspondent for the "New York Times" magazine, Mark Leibovich.

Mark, do you think -- well, first of all, do you believe this poll? I know some people are questioning this poll. It's a very comprehensive poll. Do you think this is just the first one of a whole bunch that are going to show that these scandals have had an effect?

MARK LEIBOVICH, NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE: It certainly could. I mean, if you look at the period that it covers, it does -- it's really the first poll that covers the entire run of bad news that's sort of clumped into about 10 days about a month ago or three weeks ago or so.

So look, I mean, this administration has gotten pretty good at riding the wave of ebbs and flows and poll numbers. I think that especially in the second term it's easier to sort of not shrug it off but certainly to ride it out a little bit and then -- and obviously you want these stories to blow over and hopefully they will for the administration but we just don't know.

TAPPER: Kevin?

KEVIN MADDEN, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO MITT ROMNEY'S CAMPAIGN: Well, you know, when I look at polls, I always look at the trend line. And what I find troubling if I'm in the White House right now is that the president's trend line on his popularity and the level of trust that Americans have for him is going down.

TAPPER: Right. MADDEN: Right as many Americans feel that the economy is starting to recover and their perceptions about the economy is starting to go up. Usually the president rides those numbers up. So that means that there may be an erosion here on attributes whether or not you can -- trust this president, whether or not he's a strong enough leader, that may cause some irreparable harm for his second-term agenda. That's what I'd be very worried about.

TAPPER: Now and we should also say, just that Congress is having incredibly poor approval ratings as well. And that's always, when you say to the White House your approval ratings are bad, they said, well, Congress is barely out of the single digits. And that's true.

But, Tracy, if you worked at the White House right now, would you be worried?

TRACY SEFL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, it's interesting. I also, like Kevin, like to look at trend lines but I don't see any reason for concern here. And one of those reasons is because if you look a little deeper beyond the overall approval and you look at voters' opinions on the economy and jobs he's actually unchanged. He's within the margin of error. There is not that devastating dip that others are trying to portray. So that's the number concern of the voters --

TAPPER: On the economy and jobs? Yes.

SEFL: On the economy and jobs.

TAPPER: Where is he on that one? So was --

SEFL: He's within the margin of error so there's not a strong dip in the way that we're talking about overall approval numbers.


SELF: And that's the encouragement here, that this isn't some devastating dive that's unrecoverable. I think Mark's point about the clump of scandal coverage is certainly something that would have an impact. And to your point that voters look around and say, well, nothing's getting done in Washington and does Obama bear some blame for that?

TAPPER: One of the things that's so interesting is that he has a huge drop among young voters, down 17 points over the past month among people under 30.

One thing that he's now recently done that people disagree with also even more is -- is on Syria, 70 percent of Americans oppose sending arms to the Syrian rebels, according to the new Pew poll conducted before and after White House announcement on Thursday on chemical weapons.

Shifting to this, this is exactly what President Clinton in that, quote/unquote "private meeting" said Obama should not worry about. Don't worry about the polls, just do what you think is right. Do you think that that's the right advice? LEIBOVICH: Well, I mean, I think, look, as the one member of this panel who doesn't look at trend lines, I guess, I feel I need to speak for the non-trend line viewers.

TAPPER: We appreciate that. We welcome all views.

LEIBOVICH: No. Look, I mean, President Clinton obviously has a great deal of credibility as a re-elected -- fellow re-elected president who actually knows how to take a moral imperative or think he is taking a moral imperative into making a decision like this that is frankly much more remembered by history than it is by short-term poll numbers. So I think that's clearly something that could resonate with the president and obviously he speaks with a bully pulpit there.

MADDEN: Well, I think with younger voters it's that he -- you know, he always patterned himself as somebody challenging the status quo. He is a very different politician. He's become very conventional in their eyes. I think with Syria the big problem is that he hasn't really made clear to the American public what the objectives are and what the goals are of this policy. So there's a muddled message coming outs of the polls because there's a muddled message coming from the president.

TAPPER: Possibly, Tracy, last word on this because he is obviously very ambivalent about this. President Obama himself seems very torn.

SEFL: Well, he has been for a good reason. These are impossible choices. Do you attempt to intervene with a civil war, recreate with the Russia on one side and U.S. on another? It's a very 1980s dynamic or do you attempt to create peace in the Middle East and who has had success there?

TAPPER: Exactly. All right, well, Mark, Tracy, Kevin, thank you so much. We appreciate it. Up next in the "Pop Lead," it's a bird, it's a plane, it's a Christian allegory. "Man of Steel" lays on the Jesus metaphor is pretty thick and it's no accident. How the studio is reaching into the pews to sell the new Superman movie.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Now it's time for the "Pop Culture Lead." Despite what can only charitably be described as a lukewarm reception from critics, the Superman movie "Man of Steel" managed to leap over its Box Office competition in a single bound. The movie took in more than $125 million in its opening weekend making it the biggest June opening in Box Office history.

Even though an attempt at a Superman update flopped just a few years ago, there is a savior being tied to the success of the film's latest instalment and I'm not talking about producer, Christopher Nolan.

THE LEAD's Erin McPike is here now with more on "Man of Steel's" Christian connection.

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, there are Christian illusions throughout the movie, but you may not have known this unless you're one of the foremost experts of everything on the internet, which you actually might be I think, but Superman is actually an allegory for Jesus. And now Hollywood has turned that into a big marketing push.


MCPIKE (voice-over): When "Superman: The Man of Steel" landed in theatres this weekend, it got a surprising boost from the pulpit. Warner Brothers partnered with a Christian public relations firm to get pastors across the country into advance screenings of the film.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somewhere out there you have another father.

MCPIKE: The marketers have also prepared an entire sermon titled "Jesus, The Original Superhero," complete with clips from the film, all aimed at pointing out how Superman could be interpreted as an allegory for Jesus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You'll give the people of earth an ideal to strive for and help them accomplish wonders.

MCPIKE: Pastor Quentin Scott from Shiloh Christian Community Church in Baltimore attended one of the screenings.

PASTOR QUENTIN SCOTT, SHILOH CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY CHURCH: There was an actual, you know, push to say, we're actually putting out something that speaks to your group and everything.

MCPIKE (on camera): Did you take it seriously at first? I mean, what did you think?

SCOTT: Truthfully, no. When I sat and actually looked at the movie and started to see how it was the story of Christ and the love of God was weaved into the story, I was very excited.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's the "s" stand for?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not an "s." In my world it means hope.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, here it's an "s."

MCPIKE (voice-over): All this may sound strange, but Hollywood has long known that churches can make movie miracles occur, not just with overtly religious movies like the "Passion of the Christ," but also with the general family oriented fare. The formula, get pastors talking and congregations start walking right into the Box Office.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be, Clark.

TED BAEHR, MOVIEGUIDE: I think it's a very good thing that Hollywood is paying attention to the church as market place.

MCPIKE: Ted Baehr runs Movieguide.

BAEHR: Where it's sticky is when they try to manipulate market and where it gets sticky is when the church is trying to manipulate Hollywood. So both of those become problematic, I think in this case you've got a good match.

SCOTT: Here we have a message about Superman and really an underlying message about the original Superman, Jesus Christ.

MCPIKE (on camera): Are you concerned that this studio is using you and religious groups to sell this movie?

SCOTT: They're using us, but in fact we're using them. If you give me another opportunity to talk to someone about Jesus Christ and I can do it because of your movie, that's a win for me because it is about spreading the gospel.


MCPIKE: Now, other groups have seen allegory connections as well. Superman is seen by some as Jewish and the original writers of Superman were, of course, Jewish. Now the other thing we should also add is that Warner Brother --

TAPPER: So was Jesus, by the way, Jewish.

MCPIKE: Exactly. It all comes together. We also need to add that Warner Brother Studios, like CNN, is owned by Time Warner.

TAPPER: Time Warner, the big daddy. Thank you very much, Erin McPike.

Coming up, Patriots owner, Bob Kraft accuses Vladimir Putin of stealing his Super Bowl bling. What did the State Department have to say about that today? That's our "Sports Lead" and it's next.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. It's time for the "Sports Lead." Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall. Mr. Putin, may I please have my ring back? Doesn't quite have the same ring to it? But according to the "New York Post," at a gala in New York City last Thursday, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft told the crowd that Russia President Vladimir Putin allegedly stole his Super Bowl ring back in 2005 when they met in St. Petersburg.

According to Kraft, Putin admired the $25,000 ring and said, "I can kill someone with this ring" before he put it in his pocket and walked off with it. As quote, "KGB guys surrounded him." The State Department today said they're staying out of it. A spokesman for Putin said the ring was a gift and even Kraft himself may not believe it's true. A Patriots spokesman today said it's a story that Kraft likes to tell to get a laugh.

If you're debating whether the cost of higher education is still worth it for your child, well, this is not going to help. There was a giant typo of top of the dugout at the College World Series in Omaha, college with three "L's". The sign is now spelled correctly, too late though. Photoshops like this have already started. Whether the Washington Redskins agree to change the team's name or they don't, they've already been unofficially renamed by at least one of member of Congress. D.C. delegate (inaudible) Inga will hereby refer to the team as the "R' word out of respect for Native Americans. While speaking today on the House floor, the delegate also called out NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and team owner, Dan Snyder.

Snyder has refused to change the team's name despite mounting pressure and last week Goodell defended the decision to keep it. Last week, 11 members of Congress sent a letter to the league and all 32 team owners are pushing for the name change.

Hash tag you're it, we asked you earlier to help Porsche promote its new $900 go-cart for 5-year-old. At Michelle Douglas tweeted, Kiddie Porsche because is it really that much more ridiculous than a 10-year- old with a cell phone?

At Little Blook sent in Porsche "providing solutions for the under 10 mid life crisis" and Twitter user "Tank' tweeted, "Kiddie Porsche because my daddy makes more money than your entire immediate family." Make sure to follow me on Twitter @jaketapper and also @theleadcnn. Check out our show page at for video, blogs and excerpts.

That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I turn you over to Jim Acosta who is filling in for Wolf Blitzer right next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM."