Return to Transcripts main page


Obama Approval Rating Plunging; Lawmakers Tackle NSA Scandal; Interview House Majority Leader Eric Cantor; New Questions Ins Missing Kid Cases

Aired June 17, 2013 - 08:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: The president's poll numbers plummet as more Americans find him untrustworthy. Why his image is taking a beating and can he turn it around?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: New details. Just how much information did Apple give the feds about users' accounts? How about Facebook? The numbers just out this morning.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: And don't mess with mom. Meet the woman who fought off a knife wielding carjacker and then ran the suspect over -- anything to protect her kids.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.



ANNOUNCER: What you need to know --

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Six in 10 Americans think government is too big. He can't manage it effectively.

ANNOUNCER: What you just have to see.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fifteen boys went into that barbershop. Fifteen men walked out.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michael Pereira.


BOLDUAN: Love the sound of that.

Good morning. Good morning. Good morning.

PEREIRA: Good morning.

BOLDUAN: Good morning, everyone. Welcome back to NEW DAY. I'm Kate Bolduan.

CUOMO: And I'm Chris Cuomo. It is Monday, June 17, 8:00 in the East. The headline this morning: the president's approval rating is dropping like a stone as he arrives in Northern Ireland for the g-8 summit.

Take a look at our brand-new CNN poll. Just 45 percent of Americans believe the president is doing a good job. That's an eight-point plunge in one month.

Let's bring in Jessica Yellin who is traveling with the president.


JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Obama can't seem to get out from under his dark cloud. Fueling the fall in his approval --

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody is listening to the content of people's phone calls.

YELLIN: Six in 10 Americans object to the way the president has handled surveillance of U.S. citizens, scoring worse than President Bush on this issue. A series of controversies is a eroding Americans' trust in him.

OBAMA: The IRS has to operate with absolute integrity.

I have complete confidence in Eric Holder as attorney general.

YELLIN: The number of Americans who think President Obama is honest dropped eight points since May. Though long been his strong suit, now only 49 percent of Americans say he's trustworthy.

OBAMA: Our nation is still threatened by terrorists from Benghazi to Boston --

YELLIN: He rates above 50 percent on terrorism, but that number took a 13-point hit in the last month.

All this has fueled a stunning 17-point plunge with his core base of supporters, people under the age of 30. President Obama is having a tough go at home and is now attorney to face fire at this summit in Northern Ireland for the latest revelations about U.S. surveillance and a slow response in Syria.


YELLIN: The latest revelations from Edward Snowden are only increasing the tensions around today's meeting here. The British and the U.S. governments are not commenting on the latest "Guardian" reports that their spy agencies were snooping on foreign leaders when the British last hosted one of these global summits in 2009.

As we speak, President Obama is meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

So, the next question then is: who is listening in on that meeting -- Chris, Kate. CUOMO: Jessica, thank you very much.

The intrigue continues.

BOLDUAN: Amazing number of stories on this whole leaking, spying, listening. Much more to come.

That CNN/ORC poll that we're talking about that's out this morning shows also a majority of Americans support government surveillance of phone records. Fifty-one percent say it's right for the government to track Americans' phone calls, 48 percent say it's wrong.

CNN's Dana Bash is live on Capitol Hill with more on this, our chief congressional correspondent.

Welcome to NEW DAY, my friend.

What else can you tell me? What is the latest on Capitol Hill? I'm trying to figure out about these NSA surveillance leaks.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're told that there could be news today that intelligence agencies could be releasing declassified information on the terror plots that they say have been thwarted because of these sweeping surveillance programs.

Now, we heard from opponents of these programs that have been briefed with the classified information, who say, you know what? They're just not as productive and as positive as people have said. And that these terror plots could have been thwarted in other ways. But supporters say that's simply not true that gathering this data, especially phone records has been incredibly helpful and they hope that tangible information that the Americans see, really, information on how they were made safer to help them digest this idea of having their phone data collected in such a big way.

The problem, Kate, is that it's unclear how much is actually going to be put forward because we are told there is a vigorous debate inside the intelligence community about just what to declassify, because, as you well know, there are a lot of squeamish about declassifying and perhaps hurting sources and methods in the intelligence community.

So, we'll see what they put forward. Again, it could happen as soon as today.

BOLDUAN: All right. We'll be tracking that. That's absolutely for sure. Dana Bash on Capitol Hill, thanks so much, Dana.

We're just telling you about that's a big story. But also, other many big stories coming out of Washington today. So, let's talk them all with Congressman Eric Cantor, the House majority leader and also Republican congressman from Virginia.

Congressman, welcome to NEW DAY.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: Kate, good morning. Congratulations on the NEW DAY. BOLDUAN: Thank you very, very much.

I want to get straight to these poll numbers that we released just his morning. New poll numbers out saying many things. A couple important points, the president's approval rating has slipped by eight points in just one month.

But here's a really interesting point that got my attention. This poll also asked, do you trust and is the president -- is the president trustworthy and is he honest? People's belief in that has dropped nine points.

Are you surprised that the president's trustworthy rating has taken a hit?

CANTOR: Well, certainly, I would think it's troubling for the president in the fact that half the American people now don't think the president is trustworthy and honest. And what they're witnessing is a Washington and a government that has abused its power and, frankly, has lost focus on the issue that most Americans care about, which is getting people back to work.


CANTOR: And that's why we as house Republicans are very focused on trying to restore the faith in our government and the trust that people should have in that government, as well as their faith in the economy.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, how do you separate when you talk about all the scandals coming out of Washington -- how do you try to separate or how do you try to separate Congress and the Republican House from these scandals, as well? How do you separate yourself from the trust deficit that we're seeing the president has.

CANTOR: Well, Congress' role is oversight and we're engaged in a very rigorous oversight. Many of these agencies that have committed this violation of trust in the American people as the IRS issues, in particular, I think raise big concerns. We've got both Chairman Camp on the Ways and Means Committee, as well as Chairman Issa interviewing the necessary people and reviewing the documents to understand exactly what was going on.

As you know, there was news out this morning which indicated the kind of targeting of conservative groups was not just taking place or was not just made aware and people in Cincinnati. It actually was communicated back to Washington, which, again, I think, underscores the importance of these oversight hearings and investigations.

We've got to get to the bottom of this. The facts will lead us to the truth and hopefully all of that will restore people's faith in government. Right now, we have a lot to work to do as this administration abused its power and violated the trust of the people.

BOLDUAN: Let me ask you about the NSA leaks real quick before we move on. A lot of questions are, who know what when, as we look forward and there is talk from some of your colleagues about declassifying some of this information to show to the American people. What did you know about the program before it leaked?

CANTOR: Well, these were programs that were put into law after 9/11, as we knew and saw that day, Americans in the world, the free-loving world begun to have to think the unthinkable. These programs have assisted lawmakers in going after terrorists. But, again, I think it's important that the American people can see that we put a priority on national security, but, equally, a priority on the protection of civil liberties.

That's what makes America who we are and I think the discussion that will unfold through the committee process, the oversight hearings are going to be able to demonstrate that. These programs, hopefully, will be proven to strike that balance that's so necessary in our country.

BOLDUAN: And, Congressman, you're talking about priorities and that's something that obviously is an issue facing Congress every day because you have kind of conflicting priorities on what you fund and what you do not fund. You're pushing the kids' first act. This is basically, you want to fund research for pediatric disorders and how you want to do that. You want to pay for it by eliminating funds for political conventions.

At a time when Americans want to see private money kind of taken out of the political process, why is that a good way, why is that the good route to go, even though, obviously, funding research for pediatric disorders is an admirable cause?

CANTOR: Well, first of all, the context from which we're operating here in Washington is tremendous fiscal stress? And it just doesn't seem the president has put forward his best, you know, offer in terms of wanting to come to an agreement with House Republicans who for years now have insisted that we've got to get this debt and deficit managed down. We need to bring it to balance in 10 years.

But it also means we've got to set our priorities. Americans, as well as conservatives, as liberals, independents, Republicans, Democrats -- I think all of us can agree that research and science has, in fact, allowed America to lead with innovation. Certainly if we put our priority on health care research, pediatrics, in particular, we can help kids. We can help cure disease, which also will lower costs.

And I tell you, Kate, I have a constituent. Her name is Katie and she is 12 years old. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was 1- year-old. And she has been struggling back and forth to St. Jude and other hospitals and is doing quite well, but has a condition as a child, as a 12-year-old that, frankly, lot of research around it.

And, so, if we can help people and kids like Katie, we can, obviously, put them and their families at ease. We can cure their disease, put them back on track to a healthy life. But we can also try to deal with some of the health care costs that continue to spiral out of control here in Washington.

BOLDUAN: Clearly, a lot on your plate and a busy session heading into the race into the July 4th recess.

Congressman Eric Cantor, the number two Republican in the House -- thank you so much for your time this morning, sir.

CANTOR: Kate, thank you.

BOLDUAN: Clearly a very busy morning. So, let's get to Michaela for the other big stories developing.

PEREIRA: All right, Kate. Thank you so much.

We begin with this: Iran's president-elect, Hassan Rouhani, talking about his plans for that nation. You can see him live right now, delivering his address. He says number one on his agenda, fixing the economy. He also talked about creating substantive relationships with other countries.

The centrist candidate was an unlikely dark horse winner. He'll take office August 3rd.

Well, President Obama attends the G-8, First Lady Michelle Obama and First Daughters Sasha and Malia will meet the staff and families at the U.S. embassy in Dublin. Also check out a special performance of "River Dance" at a local theater.

It looks like blind activist Chen Guangcheng is at odds with New York University. He first made headlines last year when he escaped house arrest in China. Now, he's being forced to leave NYU. He believes the university, which wants to build a campus in Shanghai, is being pressured by the Chinese. But school officials say his one-year fellowship is coming to an end.

Former South African leader Nelson Mandela's loved ones expressing their appreciation to supporters around the globe. His wife says the family has been overwhelmed with so much love and generosity. Mandela has been in serious condition since he was first rushed to a Pretoria hospital with a recurring lung infection more than a week ago. President Jacob Zuma now says his Mandela's health is improving.

Finally, police say, a quick-thinking Texas mom went head-to-head with a carjacker and she won. This morning, the alleged criminal in the hospital while the woman's two young sons are home safe and sound. She's being called a hero.


PEREIRA (voice-over): Meet a mom with nerves of steel. Dorothy Baker was leaving this drugstore with her 2 and 5-year-old sons when she says a knife-wielding robber popped out from the back seat of her van.

DOROTHY BAKER, MOM: Threatening my kids with a knife. Threatening to hurt them.

PEREIRA: Police have identified the suspect as 54-year-old Ismael Martinez. Baker says he demanded money and tried to force her to drive to an ATM machine. BAKER: I asked him how much he needed and he said $200. And I told him, I didn't have that kind of cash. I had about $20 in my account. And he said, I have to figure out how to get it or my kids were going to get hurt.

PEREIRA: The Texas man says she ignored his demand to make a turn.

BAKER: Well, I just thought if I swerve, he's not wearing a seatbelt. He'll go through the windshield.

PEREIRA: This mother of six managed to knock that knife out of his hand while keeping one hand on the wheel. She says she then pushed him to the passenger seat and punched him in the face. And then she made some demand of her own.

BAKER: I told him to get out of my car and he said fine, he got out and he started running. And the next thing I thought, if he gets away, he can do this to someone else.

He kind of zagged and I turned intending to clip him in the side or something to get him to stop and I ended up actually running completely over him.

PEREIRA: Martinez was airlifted to the hospital for treatment. Baker says she's no hero. She said she did what she needed to do to protect her family. She's got the scars to prove it.

BAKER: That's all I was thinking -- to get him away from my kids.


PEREIRA: But not just being a mom to her kids, but also others. She didn't want him out there doing that to somebody else.

CUOMO: Just amazing. Love of the mother. In times of crisis, you see it come up again and again, right, Kate?

BOLDUAN: Yes. Don't you think the police will also say, don't do that? It seems like that is a dangerous thing to do.

PEREIRA: It is clearly a crime of passion when you think about the fact that she reacted so quickly as a mother would.

CUOMO: Legally, it could get a little tricky. You know, once he's out of the car, are you allowed to run him over? I don't know, but probably not -- charges against the mom.

BOLDUAN: Right, exactly.

CUOMO: Now, one of the things that we love about this story, it's good news, right? We're always saying, oh, the news is so dark. It's so dark and that's all you people talk about is the bad news. Well, guess what, we agree with you.

(CROSSTALK) CUOMO: -- on the NEW DAY is tell you about the good news out there. Stories about people doing the right thing every chance we get. So, here's our first addition of some of the good stuff. A heartwarming story out of California about a little boy beating cancer. And after going through treatment, showing signs of radiation therapy, right, we know what happens, you lose your hair.

He was nervous about returning to school. So, what do his classmates do? Fifteen of them all (ph), they decide to go to the barbershop and shave their heads in solidarity. Listen to what it meant to the boy's mother.


LYNNE SELINKA, TRAVIS' MOTHER: Fifteen boys went into that barbershop. Fifteen men walked out. Every time I think about it, it brings tear to my eyes.


BOLDUAN: Don't think you can say --

CUOMO: Really gets you.

PEREIRA: And the fact that fourth graders would think of that on their own. They just wanted their buddy to feel OK.

CUOMO: Makes a world of difference to the kid, too.

PEREIRA: Sure does.

BOLDUAN: Especially at that age.

PEREIRA: Sure does. It's a lot of acceptance.

CUOMO: Some good stuff going on. People doing the right thing.

BOLDUAN: We're going to bring that to you and much, much more.

Still ahead on NEW DAY, two young children missing and their parents are under suspicion. The latest in the search for Babies Elena and Levon.

CUOMO: And family discord. Unintended (ph), Paul McCartney's son is speaking out about depression, drugs, and how much he didn't like his step-mom.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everybody. Thank you for joining us in the first day of our show. Now, I want to bring your attention to something that couldn't matter more. Two missing children's cases at two different states. New questions about the parents in both. CNNs Nick Valencia has the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hundreds scoured in Ohio River bank over the weekend looking for a missing toddler. They looked through streets and even garbage cans, searching for clues to find missing 18-month-old, Elena Steinford (ph). Her mother, Angela, is in jail, charged with child endangerment after her daughter disappeared. The search has been going on for two weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The baby was injured at one point. She was aware of it and did not seek medical attention for the baby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not going to say she was directly responsible for anything, but my daughter was in her care at the time this happened and the police are handling it the way they feel they need to.

VALENCIA: In a missing baby case in Utica, New York, investigators have had to play catch-up, because the father waited two weeks before reporting him missing.

AMY WARNEY, MISSING LEVON'S MOM: If you know anything or if he's alive or dead, just please, call the Utica police so I can put him to rest.

VALENCIA: The father, Jevon Wameling (ph), says he left his nine- month-old Levon on the front porch after locking himself out of his home. He says he walked to the back of the house to find a way in and by the time he got back, Little Levon was gone, but he didn't tell anybody for two weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The last (INAUDIBLE) the father, he asked for an attorney and no longer wanted to speak to us. So, at this point, we've had no further communication with the father at a this point.

VALENCIA: Neighbors are troubled.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm like petrified now because my baby.

VALENCIA (on-camera): In the case of both missing children, police are lacking solid leads, and they hope that somebody comes forward with information that will lead to a break in the cases.

Nick Valencia, CNN, Atlanta.


CUOMO: All right. Our thanks to Nick.

Now, let's start with what matters most. If you're from Utica, if you're from Toledo, please take another look at these missing kids cases. Here the first picture, Elena Steinford, 18 months old. She was last seen June 2nd, wearing orange shorts with flowers. She's two feet tall, brown hair, blue eyes. OK? Levon Wameling (ph), nine months old, last seen May 29th, wearing nothing but a diaper. He has brown eyes, black hair.

If you have any information about either of these missing children, please contact the center for missing and exploited children at 1-800- the-lost. 1-800-the-lost.

All right. Let's bring in HLN's Nancy Grace following both cases, joining me from Atlanta. Nancy Grace, welcome to NEW DAY. Thank you very much for being here with us, first of all.

NANCY GRACE, HOST, HLN'S "NANCY GRACE": Thank you. Thank you for inviting me. Good morning.

CUOMO: Good morning to you. Let's start with the Steinfort case, Elena. Very curious that starts as a little bit of a custody dispute. The father comes to get the baby. The mother doesn't want to give her up. She then goes back to get the baby. The baby is missing. She later tells police the baby was hurt and she didn't get her care. That's why she's in jail right now $250,000 bond for child endangerment. Future charges maybe. What do you see here?

GRACE: Well, number one, I have here in my hand the affidavit from police who have arrested the mother on child endangerment. And what we learned from that, by careful reading of what police say is that the mother says that the child, her little baby, just 18 months old, Elena, was, quote, "hurt." All right? And she didn't take her for medical treatment.

You know what, I'm frankly disgusted with the whole kit and caboodle. I talked to the Toledo chief of police and the paternal grandfather, and they told me this is how it went down. The father, the bio dad, comes over to pick up the baby, Elena. Nobody will give him the baby. They screwed around on the front porch for like two hours. They hear the mother inside.

She then comes out and says, oh, the baby's gone. OK. That is a lie. Now, obviously, I am not a lie detector. But that's a lie. All right? I also know that a van, a GMC Safari has been searched. Now, why would they be searching a van if the baby was actually hurt inside the home and why didn't they take the baby to the hospital?

Last night, John David told me he had a stomach ache, and my mother had to stop me from taking him to the emergency room. This morning, he's fine. So, why didn't they take the baby to the doctor? I smell a rat. I think the charges are coming down, and the most important thing, the mom is behind bars on this technical charge. She's going to crack, and then, we're going to hear the truth.

CUOMO: We also understand, Nancy, help me with this, that the discussion that the mother had with the police also led to searching the specific part of Toledo. And that there were questions about the ex-boyfriend and others involved. There's a lot of speculation. What do we know about where the investigation is leading at this time?

GRACE: Well, I think that there's a parallel investigation going on as there usually is. That means they're looking for a live child and a dead child. Typically, when children are killed following an abduction, they are killed in the first three hours, according to statistics. I want the baby to be alive. But statistically, Elena is dead. And I'd also like to know, where's the boyfriend? Why isn't he front and center out there begging for help? Mom's behind bars, but where's the boyfriend? I only hear from the natural father's family. Nothing from the boyfriend who is apparently there when the baby was, quote "hurt." He should be out scouring the streets, the bodies of water looking for this child. Where is he?

CUOMO: OK. Nancy, let me take your attention quickly to Levon Wameling. The big factor in this situation, two weeks --

GRACE: Levon.

CUOMO: I'm sorry, Levon Wameling. We're told two weeks before he was reported missing. What do you make of it?

GRACE: Well, this is what we know. At about 11:30 that night, mom is in rehab, number one. That's the jumping off point. Mom is in rehab. Not judging. Dad says the boy, the baby boy, nine months old can't sleep. He takes the boy for a walk around the neighborhood. Did anybody ever hear of rocking them?

So, he goes for a walk, gets home, he's locked himself out, leaves the baby and nothing but a diaper on the front porch, climbs through a back window, comes out, and the baby's gone, again. So, to me, both the stories stink. I also don't see the father anywhere looking for the baby. He has not taken part in the searches.

And not only that, he waited two weeks and then his mother called the police. The mother is the one who instigated the phone call to police. I mean, it's like these people treat their babies like their pets.

CUOMO: And yet, still no charges in that case, right, unlike with Elena Steinfort (ph) where the mother is right now in custody.

GRACE: You know what, these things take time. And in some of these jurisdictions, they have never prosecuted a murder case without a body. So, that's what they're waiting on. But, you know what, I don't think they're going to have to wait too long in the first case and Baby Elena with mommy behind bars.

She's not going to take that very kindly. She's going to crack and blurt out what happened. Then, they'll find out the truth. With the other one, it may take a little bit longer.

CUOMO: Nancy Grace, thank you for coming on NEW DAY. You're following these most important stories. Look forward to having you back. Appreciate it, my friend.

GRACE: Thank you, friend.

CUOMO: All right. Coming up on NEW DAY, this is our first day on air here. Feels good. Doesn't mean that we haven't been spending any time together. Let me tell you that.

We're going to show you how we've been bonding. Look at Michaela.


CUOMO: And also, watch -- there it is. That's the part I was waiting for.


CUOMO: All right. Then, how about this. Watch out for that deer. John Berman will be here to tell us what he learned on the internet. Yes. Now, who's laughing, the guy getting the beat down or the guy filming the beat down or the deer?

PEREIRA: He keeps the shot pretty steady given the fact that they were probably like shaking.

BOLDUAN: I love it.