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NEW DAY

President's Poll Numbers Falters; Flights Diverted by Threats; Colorado Hit by Wildfires; Iran Elects New President; Big Cases for the Supreme Court; Putin, Jewelry Thief?

Aired June 17, 2013 - 07:00   ET

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


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, reversal of fortune. A CNN exclusive, the president's poll numbers plunge. Younger voters are fleeing from him. And why do so many now find him untrustworthy?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Tapped. A new report that another government tapped into world leaders' phones and e-mails. Today, those leaders are gathering again in the U.K. Our president is there.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Lord of the ring. New details this morning. Did Vladimir Putin steal the Patriot owner's Super Bowl ring? A he said/he said battle causing major diplomatic headaches.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

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BOLDUAN: Good morning, good morning, good morning.

PEREIRA: Good morning.

BOLDUAN: I know I need to continue and say good morning to everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. But I just want to stop and say we just got our news by James Earl Jones.

PEREIRA: I'm just saying.

(LAUGHTER)

CUOMO: I think he says your name best, by the way. PEREIRA: He does. Thank you, James Earl Jones, and I'll always say James Earl Jones. I'm Michaela Pereira glad to join all of you this morning as well.

CUOMO: It's great to have you. I'm Chris Cuomo, by the way. Learn how to say it. Monday, June 17th, 7:00 in the East, and we're in the middle of 30 minutes of commercial-free news.

We're going to start off with a major drop in approval for the president this morning. President Obama's approval rating slipped to 45 percent this morning from 53 percent last month. That's eight points. And now 54 percent of people disapprove of the president.

Here to help us break it down, John King, CNN's chief national correspondent. John, welcome back on the show. Good to have you. Obviously, they're troubling. Obviously, it was a big drop. The question is how do you think the administration will try to package this?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You try to move on. You try to focus on things that are your strength. Chris, Kate, and Michaela, good morning to you.

Look, you're a second term president. The clock is ticking towards the midterm election where history tells you your party is going to suffer. You're trying to get things done in the first couple of years. D8he wants Republicans to work with him on immigration reform, some of his spending priorities. He wants to go back to conservative Democrats and maybe make a second run at background checks and gun control.

Well, everybody in politics will look at these pollings and say you have a weaker president at the moment. Don't over-invest in one poll. Remember how he won two elections, independence and young voters. Look at the numbers, a 17-point drop in his approval rating in just one month among young Americans. That's the Obama base. Why? They don't like people reading their e-mails, tapping their phone calls.

Now the government says these accusations by Mr. Snowden are over- exaggerated. But you see a hit right there. Independents, the president down ten points in just a month. And so when you look at this and you're the president trying to get things done, you need to try to turn those numbers around. But if you're a Republican or a Democrat who might disagree with the president, you're going to look at these numbers and say, I don't need to play with him right now. He's weak. Let's see if he can turn it.

BOLDUAN: You list out the major points. It's startling, 18 to 29- year-olds dropped in their support by 17 points. You just mentioned the independents dropping by 10 point. So the president doesn't have to worry about re-election. He needs to get people to work with him. But what about Democrats especially who are looking towards midterms? What do these numbers say for them?

KING: That's the problem here. If you look back at the last couple years of the George Bush presidency, rising opposition to percent the Iraq war, then Katrina came, and people thought, especially Republicans, the president was trying to push immigration, trying to push Social Security, and Republicans backed away.

If Democrats started backing away from President Obama, he's in even more trouble. Remember, Kate, we have a very polarized Washington. But again, look at the numbers. Is the president honest and trustworthy? His personal characteristics are down too, now only 49 percent. A big drop just from May. It's a Democratic president trying to convince you, as the government implements the Obama health care plan, trying to convince you government is an instrument of good. And 57 percent of Americans now disagree with the president's views about the size and the power of government, 53 percent say he can't govern, can't manage the government effectively.

Again, it's only one poll, but if those numbers stick, especially for a Democratic president, getting tough things already hard gets even tougher.

CUOMO: Especially when, John, having problems with policy is one thing. When it's personal, much more difficult to deal with politically, true enough?

KING: The great strength of this president has always been through the tough times that people like him. And so that personal support has always been his rallying base when you do have. Remember he went through a very tough economy. And one of the striking parts is that the economy is actually starting to get better. When the president's numbers are going down but the economy is going up, if you study politics, it's that rising tide of an economy that holds a president in trouble up. If you're team Obama and people are feeling better about the economy but your numbers are going down, the little warning light is flashing.

CUOMO: John, thank you for that. Appreciate that. Maybe see the president doing some more feel good appearances coming up.

BOLDUAN: That's exactly what we're going to see.

President Obama is in Northern Ireland for the G-8 summit. His trip comes at a difficult time. The British newspaper, "The Guardian," has dropped yet another security bombshell. It claims in 2009 British intelligence spied on its allies at two G-20 summit meetings in London. Our Jessica Yellin has more from the G-8 summit in Ireland.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, President Obama arrived at the summit site, and he will sit down for his first one-on-one meeting in the next hour, and it's with British Prime Minister David Cameron. The two now have something new in common. The latest report from "The Guardian" fingers both the U.S. and the U.K. for spying on foreign leaders. The report alleges at the 2009 G-20 summit British and American spy agencies tried to intercept calls and e-mails from leaders, including the Russians.

The British are putting out a round of no comments on the report. The U.S. says all these reports about spying and surveillance are irresponsible and egregious and put the U.S.'s fight against counterterrorism at risk. But U.S. officials won't confirm or deny whether the U.S. tried to eavesdrop on Russia's president in 2009.

This latest report, time to release the very first day of this g-8 summit is bound to spread the outrage here. Now G-8 leaders can be angry at powers on both sides of the Atlantic. Kate?

BOLDUAN: And changing the focus of what the summit is all about. Major economic issues globally they'll still be dealing with. And now the focus is going to be on are you spying on me or not?

CUOMO: We've got to talk about what's on the table. The White House trying hard to convince Americans the NSA's secret surveillance is good for the country. It is a tough sell. Take a look at a brand new CNN/ORC poll. And 51 percent of Americans think the government conducting surveillance of our phone records is the right thing to do. Distinguished with this, 48 percent saying it was wrong, pretty much equal if you factor in the margin of error in the polls.

Let's bring in Dana Bash live from Capitol Hill this morning. Dana, again, welcome to NEW DAY. And what do these numbers mean in terms of where the policy will take us in Washington?

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It means that government officials who say that these programs, these surveillance programs help stop terror plots are going to have to prove it. And we're told that could happen as soon as today by declassifying details that show that these surveillance programs actually stop terror plots, made Americans safer.

And all of this is going to happen because of pressure from lawmakers who approved it and powerful executives at Internet companies who are forced to make it happen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: A full court Obama administration press to calm Americans' concerns about secret surveillance programs led by the Republican House intelligence chairman.

REP. MIKE ROGERS, (R) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: If you can see just the number of cases where we've actually stopped a plot, I think Americans will come to a different conclusion than all the misleading rhetoric I've heard over the last few weeks.

BASH: Intelligence agencies are now working to declassify specifics about dozens of terror plots that the national security agency director told Congress the secret programs helped disrupt. Over the weekend the government unveiled a teaser, this document claiming phone data collection programs have helped prevent terror plots, "here in the homeland and in more than 20 countries around the world." Supporters of the surveillance programs are trying to beat back suggestions the government is listening in on calls in the U.S.

ROGERS: It's against the law for the NSA to record and monitor U.S., Americans' phone calls.

BASH: Another supporter, Dick Cheney, someone who rarely agrees with the Obama White House, does on this. The GOP vice president on the day of 9/11 says these programs could have prevented that attack.

DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I guess I would ask Americans to pause and don't automatically fold the NSA in with the other stuff that's going on with the Obama administration, because this is program run by professionals. It has done great work. It has saved lives.

BASH: But naysayers like Colorado Democrat Mark Udall are not giving up.

SEN. MARK UDALL, (D) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I don't think collecting millions and millions of Americans' phone calls -- this is the metadata. This is time, place, to whom you direct the calls -- is making us any safer.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: And Mark Udall is one of several lawmakers on the intelligence committee who say they've seen the intelligence, and they just don't believe these terror plots the intelligence agencies are saying were stopped really aren't helped much by these secret programs. But supporters, Chris, say that's simply not true, and they are banking on the fact that when it's released to the public, Americans will say, OK, I get it. It's tangible. I understand it. It's worth it.

CUOMO: "When" is the key word, Dana. Thank you very much for the reporting. When are we going to hear what's in the leaked documents? When are we going to know what's going on? We'll talk about NSA operations with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the 8:00 a.m. hours of NEW DAY, so wait for that.

PEREIRA: Not one, but two flights disrupted Sunday as a result of potential security threats by passengers, an alleged bomb threat on a flight to Denver and a New York bound Egypt air flight was diverted to Scotland. CNN's Pamela Brown joins us now with the latest. Pamela, welcome to NEW DAY. But what's going on? A very scary weekend for passengers.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's any air travelers worst nightmare, especially for nervous flyers like me. Imagine being tens of thousands of feet in the air and learning there's a problem on your flight. That's exactly what happened to passengers in two separate incidents over the weekend. So is it a coincidence, or could air scares prompted by passengers be the new norm?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: It's not the way these passengers expected to arrive in Denver on Saturday. Take a look at this cellphone video. A bomb squad, firefighters, and police rushed to a Frontier Airlines plane flying from Knoxville after a man onboard the flight claimed he had a bomb in his backpack.

NICK DANNEBERGER, FRONTIER AIRLINES PASSENGER: If you looked around, you could see everybody's eyes were real wide, and their jaws were dropped. BROWN: Nick Danneberger says he was sitting across the aisle from the unruly passenger and describes how the crew quickly jumped into action.

DANNEBERGER: They went and tried to remove the backpack from the guy and took him to the very back of the plane. Then they started insulating it with other people's bags and seat cushions and what not.

BROWN: No bomb was found in the bag, and the man was taken into custody. That same day a passenger on Egypt air flight from Cairo to New York's JFK airport found a threatening note inside the plane's bathroom, saying, "I'll set this plane on fire." The flight was diverted to Scotland. No one was harmed, and police are still investigating the incident.

MARY KIRBY, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, APEX MEDIA: My concern is, are we seeing a large trend of nonviolent terrorist threats on aircraft?

BROWN: Flight experts say passengers behaving badly is on the rise. This picture shows a passenger duct taped to his seat after he became disruptive on a flight from Iceland to New York in January. And just last month, a man on a flight from anchorage, Alaska, to Portland, Oregon, attempted to open an emergency exit, passengers restraining him with seat belt extenders and shoe laces. These incidents cannot only be frightening, but costly and inconvenient.

KIRBY: You're talking about tens of thousands of dollars of cost to the airlines. You're also talking about obviously a lot of passengers being put out.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: And an air scare of a different kind. On Saturday former president George W. Bush's flight was diverted after the pilot reported smelling smoke on board. No one was injured at any of these incidents, which flight experts say is proof that aviation safety measures are in fact working. Still it's clear that these types of incidents take a tremendous toll in other ways.

BOLDUAN: I was also thinking, as we were watching this, there's those scenarios where you think this happens to someone else. It doesn't happen to me. They're happening more and more. Unfortunately, they're bound to happen to you.

BROWN: It's very unsettling. That's what they're saying. Travel has become so much more of a hassle, so much more inconvenient, and sometimes that just puts people over the edge according to flight experts we're talking to.

BOLDUAN: I make a point of looking at the passengers I'm on the plane with now. I never used to do that. I get into my book. I make eye contact, watch people, watch their behavior now. I never used to do that.

BROWN: Now you have to watch a person at the emergency exit. Are they going to try to open the door, like that passenger in my story? That's very troubling.

PEREIRA: Cuomo is an air marshal.

(LAUGHTER)

CUOMO: You've got layers of problems. Flying is scary, and on top of it, just our national history what's happened with airplanes, and the threats of terrorism take it to a new level. That's why everybody is always on edge, as you saw with the passengers with the guy duct taped to the seat. Pamela Brown, thank you very much.

Moving on to another story that is developing, a crime scene that covers 16,000 acres. That's what officials in Colorado are dealing with as they look into the most destructive fire in the state's history. By the way, still burning and dangerous. Let's bring in CNN's George Howell in Colorado Springs. George, welcome on the show again this morning. What's the latest?

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, good morning. We know that an arson investigator is here on the scene. They're looking into arson as one of many possibilities as it falls in the scope of scrutiny to be considered a crime scene. Again, they're working to determine the point of origin. They're narrowing that down. But we still do not yet know the cause for fire.

I want to bring your attention back to the sun coming up there. You see no smoke on the horizon. That's great news because yesterday we learned this fire is now 65 percent contained. The hope is that there will be more rainfall today as we saw over the weekend, Chris, to help with this fire fight. Again, good news at this point, 65 percent containment with this fire.

CUOMO: George, thank you very much. And 65 percent is great. Let's remind everybody, not over there yet. Please keep your eyes and your hearts thinking about Colorado.

In less than three hours, we expect to hear from Iran's newly elected president. Many are calling Hassan Rohani a moderate. Many are wondering how much of a reformer he really is. That's the big question. CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour joins us. Thank you for joining us.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a great pleasure. Delighted to be here with you.

CUOMO: So here's the basic question. Is the new boss the same as the old boss? S what the answer?

AMANPOUR: You know, in a word, no. Appearances matter. He is more centrist. We had eight excruciating years of the bombastic Ahmadinejad. And now with this new man, who has publicly said he's a centrist, a moderate, he is in the reformist camp. He wants to do something different, he said it, for inside Iran and outside Iran. That will make a difference. It will calm down the temperature and perhaps provide at least an opportunity. CUOMO: He wins big, gets a majority vote with multi-people in there, 18 million votes, they say, were cast. So that's good. On the other side, since '79 a fixture in the government. He's aligned with Khomeini. He is known to have suppressed pro-democracy movements. How do you balance?

AMANPOUR: Not a pro-democracy movement, and everyone was aligned with Khomeini. This was the founding fathers of the revolution. And all of these were moderates. But within the system, there is a group of people who are more centrist and who want a better day for Iran, particularly with the United States and the West. Now is a huge time of trouble in Iran, and this man wants to work his way out of it. Will he be able to? Will the United States seize the outstretched arm? We'll wait and see.

CUOMO: The word Syria now enters into the dialogue. Already a pledge of support. Moving in, could it be, on two levels? You understand this world so much better. Iran, Shiite, helping Assad, the head of Syria. Shiite, in what was seen as a Sunni-Shiite conflict, or is it a thumb in the eye to the U.S.? That's the concern. Does this man make it more likely we'll have to get involved?

AMANPOUR: Rohani, I don't think, will make it more likely. What I do think is the United States has now committed itself to doing something very little so far. We really don't know what the president is actually going to do beyond small arms. Take it as a negotiation. You and I, we all know, if the president wants a negotiated settlement to Syria, he's got to have a balance of power. Right now Assad is winning. So what the U.S. wants to do is try to bolster the rebels a little bit to make it a little bit more of a fair and level playing field because they want to have a peace conference.

CUOMO: You know what people are worried about here, Christiane. We can't take another incursion. We can't put more boots on the ground. We're still not out of Iraq. You have Afghanistan. How do you think this helps shape the dialogue for people here at home?

AMANPOUR: Well, first of all, there will be no boots on the ground. The president has made that very clear, and everybody's made that clear. It's certainly not necessary. The idea is to try to arm and train the opposition, who the president has already put America's backing behind. If you back the opposition, you've got to give the moderate opposition the wherewithal to be able to stand up and create a level playing field in the event that either they win or you can have some kind of negotiated settlement. The president has brought the United States out of Iraq. Afghanistan will happen. And you're right, nobody wants another engagement. This is a vital issue, and the bad guys, Iran, Hezbollah, are aligned with Assad.

CUOMO: Right. Christiane Amanpour, thank you so much for the perspective.

AMANPOUR: Thank you. Congratulations to all of you.

CUOMO: We'll be listening what we hear in this speech from President Rohani. AMANPOUR: Very important. We'll all be listening.

CUOMO: All right thank you very much. Have you back a again soon I hope.

AMANPOUR: Thanks Chris, Kate, Michaela.

BOLDUAN: Coming up in less than three hours, Supreme Court justices may rule on some controversial and very divisive cases that could redefine what it means to be an American. CNN's crime and justice correspondent Joe Johns is in D.C., outside the Supreme Court, with more. Joe, we've got same-sex marriage, we've got issue of affirmative action. What could we see today?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, ee could see any of the four big cases, Kate. This is the Supreme Court returning to the culture wars in this country, as they do occasionally. As you said, we have affirmative action. That's a question of whether you can use race in college admissions. Voting rights -- the question of whether the 1965 Voting Rights Act could be a thing of the past. Of course, those two big gay marriage cases and whether gay marriage ought to be treated the very same as heterosexual marriage in this country. These are issues right on the fault lines of red state and blue state America, and we could see any one of those four cases decided today, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Joe, on the issue -- on the same-sex marriage, on the Defense of Marriage Ace, it that is struck down or however the justices decide, it's a little convoluted thinking, but I wanted to get your thoughts on this. If the Defense of Marriage Act, if the justices strike down that part of the Defense of Marriage Act any time, obviously, in this coming month, that leaves -- that creates more questions than answers for so many states, especially states who currently do not allow same-sex marriage. If they strike down that restriction against giving federal benefits to same-sex couples, what does that mean for the states who don't allow same-sex marriage?

JOHNS: It's really just a mixed bag, Kate. As you know from covering this, all about how the court actually decides the case. So if you have a number of states -- and we do -- that say they don't believe in gay marriage, doesn't work for them, it creates a real conflict between them and the other states. A lot of people suggested you have sort of two Americas going forward once again, red states and what they believe in and blue states and what they believe in. All about how the court decides a case. There are probably 20 different iterations of how they could, Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right. Joe Johns, tracking it all for us. Joe, thanks so much.

JOHNS: You bet.

BOLDUAN: Huge cases. Again, another crazy end to the session.

CUOMO: My mom says my tie's not straight. How does it look? Is it all right? Is it better now? All right, mom? Better? PEREIRA: Immediacy.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, Mrs. Cuomo, looking out. Thank you, thank you. It's a very big -- you want to continue?

CUOMO: My whole morning's blown.

PEREIRA: You'll be fine. We'll play through.

BOLDUAN: Chris won't make it through. It's a very busy news morning. Let's get to Michaela Pereira with the other stories developing.

PEREIRA: All right, Kate, thank you so much. Tie looks fine, Chris. Don't worry.

We begin with a major about face for North Korea. It is proposing high level talks with the U.S., saying it is ready to discuss easing tensions and pulling the plug on its nuclear ambitions. A top North Korean official says they're willing to meet at any time and at any place the U.S. wants. It also proposed talks with South Korea this month, but that agreement fell apart.

A bloody weekend in Chicago. "The Chicago Tribune" reporting a staggering 46 people shot, 7 of them fatally, in separate incidents of violence. CNN has not been able to independently confirm these numbers yet. Chicago has seen a large dip in overall homicide and shooting numbers so far this year, but this latest rash of shootings is casting doubt on the Chicago P.D.'s crime fighting strategy.

It is week two of jury selection of the George Zimmerman trial. The neighborhood watch volunteer charged with second degree murder for killing an unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman claims the shooting was in self-defense. So far, 29 potential jurors have passed an initial screening by the prosecution and the defense. The eventual six-person jury will be sequestered during the trial.

Today Julie Hermann takes over as athletic director of Rutgers University. Hermann replaces Tim Pernetti, who was forced to resign after former basketball coach Mike Rice was caught on tape physically and mentally abusing his players. Now, this is an interesting part: some former volleyball players at the University of Tennessee say Hermann harassed them when she coached there back in the 90's. Hermann, for her part, is denying those charges.

Talk about devotion. This is quite a story. I need to breathe through it. A 68-year-old man wanted to get a second tattoo in honor of his 28-year-old wife. Wait for it. He got this tattoo.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Oh, no.

PEREIRA: In a bikini, pushing a lawn mower, on his bald spot. His kids paid the tab for the trip to the parlor. It was a Father's Day present. I can't with this story.

BOLDUAN: You know what, I actually love it. Why not? Men don't really like to go bald.

CUOMO: Why not? He's got a tattoo on the top of his head.

BOLDUAN: Dress it up.

PEREIRA: You're owning the male pattern baldness cover-up story here?

BOLDUAN: I am owning the male pattern baldness --

PEREIERA: If people are going to stare at it, stare at something they enjoy.

BOLDUAN: At least he makes his wife look pretty good.

PEREIRA: It's like one of the mud flaps on one of those big mac trucks.

CUOMO: I'm like Yosemite Sam, back off. This story rocks back and forth -- 68-28, amen. Bravo for him. Unless she's 6 feet tall, she's not going to see it anyway. It's on the top of his head. It had to hurt. What do you think? Go to our website. Let us know. Tattoo on the head, love or no?

Coming up next on NEW DAY, can a Super Bowl ring rekindle the cold war? We're only kind of joking. We'll tell you about the showdown between the owner of the New England Patriots and Vladimir Putin.

BOLDUAN: And a moment of prayer before the I dos. Why this wedding photo went viral.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Thank you for joining the show on our first day. It's great to be here with all of you.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: And yet I digress because here is a U.S.-Russia dispute nobody saw coming. A spokesman for the owner of the New England Patriots now saying Robert Kraft was only joking when he accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of swiping his Super Bowl ring. Putin denied he stole it, saying it was a gift.

What is going on here? Let's bring in John Berman. He has more on the international swipe scam suggestion. it is a new day here at CNN.

BOLDUAN: Exclusive info, straight from the Kremlin.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it is a NEW DAY, here at CNN. The question is, is it a new day for the Cold War? Is it beginning again? President Obama set to sit down with Russian President Vladimir Putin in just a few hours with some of the world's most important issues on the agenda -- Syria, nuclear proliferation. But no issue perhaps more contentious and more confusing than Super Bowl jewelry. Vladimir Putin is an imposing character, but is he a jewel thief? You decide.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Russian President Vladimir Putin was a KGB agent, martial arts expert, goes topless, and has intercontinental ballistic missiles. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, he has Tom Brady. So it's pretty much a fair fight. A fight between a nuclear super power and a football super power over all things, jewelry. Not just any jewelry, it's a brewing international incident over a ring, a super bowl ring.

ROBERT KRAFT, OWNER, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: I'm tremendously humbled by this great honor.

BERMAN: At a gala in New York City last Thursday, Kraft told the crowd that Putin allegedly swiped his Super Bowl ring back in 2005, when they met in St. Petersburg. According to Kraft, Putin admired the ring encrusted with 124 diamonds and said, "I can kill someone with this ring." Kraft went on to explain, "I put my hand out, and he put it in his pocket, and three KGB guys got around him and walked out."

Putin, a thief? A spokesman for the president says, niet. "I was there when it happened. So what Mr. Kraft is saying now is weird. I was standing 20 centimeters away from him and Mr. Putin and saw and heard how Mr. Kraft gave this ring as a gift."

Maybe it's a case of lost in translation. Literally, maybe he lost the ring because of translation, or maybe there were bigger global forces involved. "The New York Post," which broke the story of Kraft's comments on Thursday, quotes Kraft as saying that White House officials urged him to say the ring was a gift, in the interest of U.S.-soviet relations. And now Mr. Kraft seems to be backing off a bit. The patriots releasing a statement, it's a humorous anecdotal story that Robert retells for laughs. He loves his ring is at the Kremlin, and as he stated in 2005, he continues to have great respect for Russia and the leadership of President Putin.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: So the 4.94 carat ring, which is big, is in the Kremlin's library where all official state gifts are kept. It's worth more than $25,000. You know what's nice for Robert Kraft? His Patriots have won three Super Bowls. So he has some extra jewelry hanging around, he's got some rings. Though, if I were him, I wouldn't show them off to Angela Merkel or anything right now. Probably just keep it to yourself.

BOLDUAN: He puts a little case around it whenever he shows people.

(LAUGHTER)

CUOMO: One aspect of this controversy is did Robert Kraft have a change of heart because he doesn't think the Patriots will win another one any time soon because of the preeminence of the Jets in his division? We're going to get to that because there's another international --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: That's coming, and it's going to be very eye-opening. There's another level of dimension to this. We have to get the Moscow reaction. Let's bring in CNN's Phil Black joining us from Moscow this morning. Phil, you understand the dimension of this. What's going on in there, in Moscow?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, there are many Russians who often refer to Vladimir Putin as a thief -- people who don't like him.