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: Awaiting a Royal Arrival; Phoenix Swamped by Flash Floods; Mom Killed After Fall at Six Flags; At Least 75 Dead After 5.9 Earthquake in China; Interview With Rep. Steve Cohen
Aired July 22, 2013 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news, Duchess Catherine is in the hospital in labor. The big announcement could come any moment. We have the story covered like no one else.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Water rescue, the daring escapes as monsoon rains flood a city, drivers trapped and the only way out is a helicopter rescue. We have the dramatic video.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: New details on a woman killed on a Six Flags roller coaster. How did this happen and who has oversight over theme park safety.
CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: What you need to know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's scary and it's heartbreaking, you know, to know someone that you think is close to you or your friend could turn out to do something like this.
ANNOUNCER: What you just have to see.
UNIDENTIFIED KID: Impossible. I can't believe it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She just gets to be a care-free kid and get to enjoy her life as long as she can.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Everyone, good morning, and welcome back to NEW DAY. It is Monday, July 22nd, 8:00 in the East. I'm Kate Bolduan.
CUOMO: And I'm Chris Cuomo here with Michaela Pereira.
PEREIRA: Good morning.
CUOMO: It is the day the world is waiting for. The Duchess of Cambridge is in labor and could give birth to a little prince or princess any moment, or not. But either way, we're live outside the hospital.
BOLDUAN: Plus, we're going to get insight from people who know the royals better than anyone. How has the family been preparing and what happens when the heir to the throne arrives? We're covering this story like no other network can. We have reporters live in London and experts in London and here in New York, as well.
PEREIRA: And lots of other developing news we're watching this morning. A suspected serial killer caught in Cleveland. The concern there is more victims. We also will be watching rallies across the nation for Trayvon Martin.
Also, a look at the political comebacks of Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer and the role that their wives have been playing in their campaigns. All those things we'll get to.
BOLDUAN: Yes, those comebacks. Very interesting how they're playing out.
But, first, let's get back to the big, breaking news of the morning. The royal baby almost here. The royal baby is on his or her way. The duchess of Cambridge in labor right now in the same hospital wing where Princess Diana gave birth to Prince William and Harry.
And CNN's Max Foster is live in London outside the hospital. So, what's the latest, Max?
MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, she has been in labor for at least seven hours now. It literally could be any moment. Even Prince Charles has been out saying we could expect this baby in the next few hours. And the atmosphere really is one of excitement, anticipation, big crowds turning out here. Huge police presence as well.
What are we looking out for? Well, at some point, an official, a palace official will come out on that doorstep with an envelope. That's going to be the first sign that the baby was born. It will be delivered to Buckingham Palace on an easel. And that's going to be the sign that the baby was born officially, but also we'll find out if it was a boy or a girl.
So, everyone is gripped to their TV screens for the moment.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely right. The world really fell in love with this couple from their fairy tale wedding and a very healthy baby on the way. Thanks, Max.
CUOMO: Not just on an easel but first they put the announcement into a frame and then put it on the easel.
BOLDUAN: What do you expect for a royal baby?
CUOMO: This story is all about the detail. That easel is going to be at Buckingham Palace and come into the courtyard, and everyone can then see it. And that's where Erin McLaughlin is, live right now. Erin, what's the latest from over there? ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Chris. Well, people I have spoken to wishing the duchess a very healthy and safe delivery -- even the prime minister of United Kingdom, David Cameron, sending his best. As you mention, that birth notice will be driven to Buckingham Palace and displayed right over there on the gates of the palace forecourt. It will be displayed on the very same easel that carried Prince William's birth notice over 31 years ago.
That will be followed by two separate, yet simultaneous gun salutes -- one at the park just adjacent to the palace and announcing to the world that the monarch is here. Back in the day before they had telephone and Internet, this is how the people would find out about the royal birth. So, a sense of history, a sense of tradition to the occasion.
People here outside Buckingham Palace is pretty excited.
BOLDUAN: And everyone -- many people around the world excited, as well. Thank you so much, Erin. We'll be back with you throughout the show.
Now, also, there's a lot we don't know and there's a good reason we don't know. Some privacy that this family should have. There's some more live pictures right outside St. Mary's hospital. The guard outside has never gotten so much press and so many pictures of him ever before.
CUOMO: Yes, he must be loving it. No, he doesn't like the commotion because he likes what is quiet.
Here's another interesting detail that we have here. When the baby is born, they are going to mint 2013 for the year, coins that will be given out to other kids born on the same day.
BOLDUAN: On the same day?
CUOMO: How about that?
BOLDUAN: A lot to see. Then there's all this discussion of what will the name be? What will the baby's name be and what will that mean for other babies being born? Certainly there's a lot --
CUOMO: Jeremiah, I heard, is the favorite if it's a male.
BOLDUAN: Because you like making things up on television. Exactly right.
CUOMO: Yes, I think it's funny to play the names.
BOLDUAN: Let's continue the conversation. Let's bring in Kate Williams. Another Kate. I am trying to only have Kates be the experts that we talk to -- except for Victoria, I love her, as well.
Kate Williams is joining us now. He's a royal historian and author of "Young Elizabeth: The Making of Our Queen." Kate, it's great to see you, as well. KATE WILLIAMS, ROYAL HISTORIAN: Great to see you.
BOLDUAN: A lot of excitement, of course, in the U.K., as well as here in the U.S.
Now, one thing we have been talking about together is what the differences are in how and in terms of how this baby will be brought up versus royal babies in the past, even different from how Charles and Diana raised William.
WILLIAMS: Yes. Well, Diana broke tradition because previous to her royal babies were always born at home, even C-sections. Diana said I want to have my hospital in the Lindo Wing which is St. Mary's, where is, of course, William and Kate are now.
What we know about William and Kate is that they want hands on childhood. Kate herself had a very normal childhood, like a lot of young people in Britain. She doesn't want to have 24-hour nannies, and give up the baby to 24-hour nannies. She wants to be there. She wants to be (INAUDIBLE) Kensington Park, around the palace.
And, so, what we're going to see is when she comes out of the hospital baby, the amazing moment we're waiting for they're going to go to Kensington Palace and then have a cocoon time with the three of them, and then, the baby will be taken out and showed to the queen. He or she will be brought to Buckingham to be introduced to great granny, the queen.
CUOMO: Now, obviously, plenty of staff where they're staying, but is it true no plans for a nanny?
WILLIAMS: Well, what they've said is that they have housekeepers and assistants, but at the moment they haven't hired a nanny. What I think is going to happen is that Kate is going to take some maternity leave, perhaps five or six months. She will have to do royal duties and it is not practical to take a baby in some of the more exhausting world duties.
So, perhaps we'll see a baby for the first few months and then a nanny will be brought in. But it's not going to be a live-in, around the clock, non-stop nanny. It will be a day nanny, when Kate is out, they're doing real engagement.
CUOMO: You talked about bringing the baby to meet his or her great- grandmother, the queen. Talk about the significance of this for the queen. This is something that she's worked so hard, really worked hard for herself creating the continuity of this monarchy that's going to take this monarchy into the next century.
WILLIAMS: This is going to be -- absolutely be in the next century because if this child lives as long as all the Windsors do, they've got this incredible habit of longevity. The child might not come to the throne if he or she is 60 or 70 and many of us all around here waiting for it won't be here either.
What's really exciting for the queen, this is a long succession list. The thing is about monarchs, they have to have children. They can't choose to be child-free. If he or she doesn't have children has failed. So, Elizabeth I chose not to marry to be the virgin queen, and that was rather disaster for the country, because she left the country without an heir.
Monarchs keep -- they need to have children. William and Kate are going to have this child and one day be the future queen or king. That's what's really exciting. If it is a girl, she will be a queen. That wasn't the case 10 years ago.
CUOMO: It's also interesting. They're starting family life to figure out what the name of their child. They also in a way have to figure what last name will be. Even though he's Windsor, they have an option, right?
If they wanted to use a surname, I understand the royals don't usually. They could use Windsor. They could Cambridge also, couldn't they?
WILLIAMS: Yes, when the baby is born because it won't be named, we will know the sex of the baby on the scroll in front of Buckingham palace. We'll know the sex. We'll know the weight and won't know the name. The name probably won't come out for the next five or six days. So, until the child is named it will be called in the hospital baby Cambridge and be titled the prince or princess of Cambridge. But first of all, baby Cambridge.
Say it is George or Alexandra, the two (INAUDIBLE) at the moment, it could be George Cambridge or George Windsor.
CUOMO: Or Jeremiah Windsor or Cambridge.
BOLDUAN: Do not listen to him, Kate. Just having fun making up names.
All right, Kate Williams, we'll talk to you soon.
WILLIAMS: Well, you know it could be.
BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.
WILLIAMS: Thanks so much.
CUOMO: The boys used Wales as their last name for the military and stuff like that. But it's interesting -- they don't really have a last name.
All right. We're going to get back to that, but there's other news to tell you about this morning.
Severe weather that is plaguing much of the country, even after the heat wave broke. Thunder and lightning storms, heavy rain, flash floods in Phoenix, and we have it covered for you doing our team thing on this.
Stephanie Elam is in Apache junction, Arizona, this morning. Meteorologist Indra Petersons here with us in New York, of course.
Let's start with Stephanie and some news of dramatic rescues, right, Stephanie?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Definitely, Chris. Good morning to you, Kate and Michaela.
We're seeing the neighbors come up as the sun is breaking here. One gentleman came out and said everything that happened here was within an hour and a half and then the water pretty much dissipated. But look what happened during that time.
ELAM (voice-over): Raging monsoon waters flooded parts of the Phoenix area on Sunday. Leading firefighters to a series of dramatic rescues caught on camera, at least half a dozen people brought to safety.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is pretty bad. I mean, I think the worst I have seen so far. I've lived here for three years.
ELAM: Emergency crews braved the thigh high flash floodwaters that swallowed whole cars in its wake, one rescue after another after another. Watch as emergency crews rush to the aid of these two 19- year-old boys in Apache Junction who crawled out of their submerged SUV to a small patch of land nearby.
LON EDER, MESA FIRE DEPARTMENT: At that point their natural instinct is to get out of the vehicle. At that point they're going with the flow of the water, which is very powerful.
ELAM: A helicopter hovers above, lowering a harness, lifting one of the teenagers across the rising waters to safety. The second snaps pictures of the scene even appearing to take a self-portrait mid rescue.
Firefighters conducting rescues by air and land, lowering a ladder from a fire truck to rescue this couple stuck in a pickup truck for nearly an hour before following a safety line to land.
And just west in Scottsdale, a firefighter carries this woman to dry land as the water consumes her car.
A similar fate for this Corvette, carried some 100 yards by the floodwaters. The driver, rescued.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He got out of the vehicle and was sitting on top of it. The water was so high that you couldn't see the vehicle at all.
ELAM: And another neighbor came out here to talk to us overnight and he said that he was at work when everything happened and his wife told him what was going on and he thought she was exaggerating until he got home and saw it with his own eyes. The good thing I can tell you, no injuries. Everybody was able to get out safely. That's the good news there.
BOLDUAN: All right. Stephanie, thank you so much for watching.
From that end, let's talk about from this end, what this means for the rest of the country right now. Week of stifling heat and millions of Americans are now coping of extreme weather with violent storms.
Indra Petersons is here with more on that.
INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. Yes.
We're still watching the threat for monsoonal moisture on the West. And really what that is, once you talk about June, early summertime, weather from west to east. Once you get into July, you pull that monsoonal moisture and shifting the direction from the East to the West and moisture from the gulf and heavy thunderstorms. With that change now towards the end of the pattern here, we're talking about another day of threat for that flash flooding. We're monitoring that on the west.
As far as the rest of the country, good news, finally. That cold front did push through and temperatures went down to where they should be for this time of year and that is great news. But, of course, with that, we know we have the threat for thunderstorms, as well. We're pulling up all that moisture to a slow spinning north of the Great Lakes. So, with that, we'll be looking at the threat of thunderstorms. Not a huge amount here, one to inches in heavy thunderstorm.
But, overall, I know I can't win. First, everyone was complaining that it was hot. I have feeling they're going to complain today it's raining. But I tell you what? This is a lot better.
BOLDUAN: It sure is. All right, Indra, thank you so much.
CUOMO: We're going to move down to this story we're covering down in Texas. Witnesses say that mom Rosie Esparza complained that her lap bar wasn't secure moments before she fell to her death in a rollercoaster in Six Flags there in Texas. That's just part of an investigation that's in early stages this morning.
CNN's Ed Lavandera is live in Dallas with the latest.
Good morning, Ed.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris.
Well, that part of this investigation will be crucial in trying to figure out what was supposed to be a fun day at an amusement park turned into a horrific tragedy. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
LAVANDERA (voice-over): The Texas Giant starts with a spine tingling drop. This is where witnesses say they saw Rosie Esparza fall from the wooden roller coaster.
Carmen Brown was next in line to get on the ride when she heard the horrific screams.
CARMEN BROWN, WITNESS: She goes up like this. Then when it drops to come down, that's when it released. She just tumbled.
LAVANDERA: Some witnesses told local news media that Esparza told a Six Flags employee she was worried that her seat restraint had not locked properly. Esparza's son and other family members rode along with her. They had to ride out the 2-minute roller coaster fearing the worst the rest of the way.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were screaming when they came back and they are trying to get out of the restraint. They were screaming, my mom, my mom, we got to get my mom.
LAVANDERA: Six Flags over Texas Hurricane Harbor refuses to answer questions on camera, but in a written statement says, "We are committed to determining the cause of this tragic accident. It would be a disservice to the family to speculate regarding what transpired."
According to a National Safety Council analysis of amusement park injuries there were just over 1,200 ride-related injuries in 2011.
About 4 percent of those caused serious physical harm. Roller coaster accidents accounted for about 28 percent of the injuries. But industry observers say amusement parks are loosely regulated and that it is Six Flags that will be in charge of conducting the investigation, not an outside independent agency.
KENNETH MARTIN, AMUSEMENT PARK SAFETY ANALYST (via telephone): Whatever organization comes in, whomever comes in, their work is the property of Six Flags and it will remain the property of Six Flags because there's nothing in Texas or many other states that make them have to release that information.
LAVANDERA: And in a Facebook posting, Rosy Esparza's sons talked about how much they love their mother and they said one of the reasons they loved her so much was her sense of adventure and that's what brought them here to Six Flags. The investigation will continue, although, no word yet on how long that will take. Chris and Kate.
BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, Ed.
There is a lot of news happening at this hour, so let's get straight to Michaela for some of the latest headlnes.
PEREIRA: OK, let's do this. Good morning, everyone. The suspect in the killings of three women in East Cleveland will reportedly be formally charged today. Suspect, Michael Madison, reportedly told investigators he was influenced by serial killer, Anthony Sowell, who was convicted in 2011 of killing 11 women and hiding their bodies in his Cleveland home. Investigators say they fear there could be more victims.
At least 75 people are dead, hundreds others injured after a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck this morning in Northwest China. Military and Red Cross rescue teams are converging on the area rushing tents and other equipment to the scene. Those rescue efforts could be hampered, though, by rain in the forecast. Experts are warning also about potential landslides.
Public support for the Massachusetts State Police photographer who leaked bloody photos from the night Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured. Sgt. Sean Murphy was suspended for the unauthorized release of those photos. A same Sgt. Murphy Facebook group calling for his reinstatement, so far, has more than 32,000 likes.
Murphy says he leaked the pictures in response to what he calls the glamorization of Tsarnaev on the cover of "Rolling Stone" magazine.
Quite an incredible survival story here. Twenty-year-old Morgan Lake of Maryland driving to Philadelphia Friday night when a tractor trailer rammed her from behind on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland. After teetering over the edge, her car plunged more than 40 feet into the water below. Morgan says she was sure she would drown but then she said she went from panic to calm.
Somehow managing to unbuckle her seat belt and swim through a cracked window to safety. After spending a night in the hospital, Morgan is back home and reportedly doing just fine.
It is the attack of the Brooklyn tomatoes. Some 5,000 people gathered to get sauced by flinging 40,000 unripe tomatoes at each other. People who were the most colorful -- wore the most colorful costumes got first dibs on the rotten tomato ammunition. Others came ready for battle wearing gas masks and goggles for protection.
You could Brooklyn is playing catch up. Tomato wars was inspired by the La Tomatina festival in Spain. A 60-year tradition with upwards of 50,000 participants. What's hilarious is just to watch the grins on the people having a time. And you know, I'm going to -- doesn't look like there's a lot of people over 40 or 50 in that group.
CUOMO: Shocker. You need to cover yourself up, though.
CUOMO: You need to cover up because the tomatoes are acidic.
BOLDUAN: Yes, I know.
CUOMO: And it actually gets in your eyes, it bothers you.
PEREIRA: A lot of people were goggles. BOLDUAN: Hence the goggles and the gas masks
CUOMO: That's right.
PEREIRA: Safety first.
CUOMO: Yes. Whenever it comes to tomatoes.
Coming up on NEW DAY, more on the exciting, breaking news. The Duchess of Cambridge is in labor. We're live outside the hospital where she's giving birth, hopefully, in London.
BOLDUAN: And then, Congressman Steve Cohen live in the NEW DAY studio here to respond to the tweeting incident he unexpectedly found himself in the middle of.
CUOMO: Stay with us.
CUOMO: All right. Welcome back to NEW DAY, everybody. A follow-up on the story we brought you exclusively about Congressman Steve Cohen, remember, tweeting with a young model during the president's State of the Union address at the time. He thought the woman, Victoria Brink, was his daughter. We worked with the pair to get a paternity test and discovered he is not her biological father.
Well, good surprise for us, Congressman Cohen joining us now. Sir, appreciate you taking the opportunity to be here.
REP. STEVE COHEN, (D) TENNESSEE: You're welcome, Chris.
CUOMO: So, where is your head and your heart in this situation at this point?
COHEN: Well, they're both in a state of flux. I mean, static to know that I had a daughter and Victoria and I were working on a relationship within three years plus. And, I had visions of her being my heir and going to her wedding and having grandchildren and all those things and loving her and she's the most lovable, sweetest person in the world.
We'll still have a relationship. Obviously, it won't be the same because she's not going to have my grandchildren and she's not my child. But I still care about her greatly. So, it was just heartbreaking and devastating and I've just been crushed. And I know she has been, too. It's been difficult for her, but she's with her father. And I told her that's the best thing. He raised you and you're with your father and you probably landed in the right --
CUOMO: And she has been great through all of this and she's a special young woman, figuring out. And she's figuring out what she wants to do with her life. She, obviously, developed a very strong bond with you, which you found out about through her mom, to be clear, right? COHEN: Right. Her mom called -- I called her mom and she said that every time she looked at Victoria, she saw my face and said I've lifted a great burden off of her and the only other person she shared this with was Victoria a year earlier and with her previous husband, Frank Sinatra Jr.
So, there's something happened to Cynthia (ph) and Victoria needed a body part, they could go to the source. I guess, at that point, you know, that was it.
CUOMO: Now, interestingly, when this first happened, it seemed like a no brainer. Here's another lawmaker caught doing something naughty -- and you tell me if this was intentional. You seemed to take a little bit of heat early on while it seemed now, understanding everything, you wanted to shield Victoria, right, because you had a great and 100 percent defense to the situation. But you held it for a while at first. Why?
COHEN: For her. I mean, she had not revealed to her father that she thought I was her father and that would have been a difficult thing to do and that she and her mother didn't want to do it until absolutely necessary. And so, I didn't have the right to come out and say -- I could have come out and said, listen, I'm her father, but that wouldn't have been right.
That was her decision. So, I would have taken all the slings and arrows that were thrown at me and was doing that until absolutely necessary. And it got to the point that we knew it was going to be in Texas and grown nationally.
CUOMO: Was that difficult for you? You know, I'm sure you had advisors around you saying, you got to tell them, Steve. You know, we can't take this.
COHEN: Right. I have advisors who say just come out and say it. And I said I can't do that. I'll take whatever political consequences there are, unless, it comes to the point that she tells her father and that's her decision.
CUOMO: Must have been important to her because Victoria has spoken about how she watched that and it meant something to her that you really were putting her first.
COHEN: She was first in everything I did for the last three years. I mean, whenever I went any place, she was a person I thought about. I tweeted her from everywhere I went and try to explain about the consequences of visits I made to holocaust locations to places in the world to get a perspective and sent her gifts from everywhere because I wanted to -- I wanted to be part -- she was my daughter, and she was my family. She was my only family.
CUOMO: You know, I found this story very fascinating. We've spoken before. You know, we kept saying we, we. We've been following it. It was me. I've been very fascinated with this. I met with Victoria. We wanted to do a big story about this, because I thought it was so interesting about how perception is not always reality. But this has been difficult for you. You love Victoria. You love your bond with her. You don't like talking about this.
COHEN: Well, I thought it should have been personal and Victoria, particularly, at first, there were a lot of barbs thrown at her because she's beautiful and there were all these suggestions about sex. And that's the least -- I mean, that's just absurd. And it's continued and people make cracks and the internet gives people the opportunity and bloggers want to be first with stories and they didn't listen.
And we try to tell people there was nothing untoward and they still have suggested, and even to this day they're suggesting things, and it just really, it's an indictment of society and people's minds because this is -- it's a personal tragedy for me. It's a drama for situation. And it's been such for Victoria and we just need to go on with our lives.
CUOMO: I want to make sure that the record is clear. You didn't like something you thought we selectively edited. What bothered you, because I want to help you with that?
COHEN: Well, thank you. I thought it should have been clear that Victoria's mother, which we did today, is who told me that I was her father and Victoria, too. Because some people got the impression I looked at a Facebook page and Googled her and just decided she was, and that's not true.
Second thing, you know, obviously, it was nothing creepy about my tweeting her from the State of the Union. I will never take my iPod to the State of the Union, again. But I was just so ecstatic that she was watching the State of the Union because she has other interests and she was starting to get an interest in politics, and I was just ecstatic and so I immediately responded.
CUOMO: The perception was that it was creepy. You know what I mean? Because we didn't know it was your daughter. That's what we were talking about when we talk about the original perception. And when Victoria says, "He's not my father." He's not my biological father -- though you may share a bond, just to be clear, you're not her father in any definable way, right?
COHEN: I'm not, although, she sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers for Father's Day and as sweet as she could be, and she said, "You'll always be my father in some ways," and she sent me a nice card.
CUOMO: And look, I know this touches you. I know this does. And even though the biology isn't there, the bond is. And that's something that I'm sure warms your heart, as well. True, Congressman?
CUOMO: All right. You know what? I'm going to do something I almost never do with politicians. I'm going to give you a break on this and let us move on because you want to talk about the work of being a congressman.
COHEN: Yes. I don't want to be John Boehner. (LAUGHTER)
CUOMO: On a lot of levels, because I know that about you, although, you have good reason to cry and be emotional about this. I know she's important to you, and I appreciate you coming here to talk about her, but let's talk about politics, OK?
We have all this going on in the country right now about stand your ground and race in America. And that's something that's bringing a lot of tears and hurting a lot of hearts of people in this country. That matters to you, as well. What do you think should be happening in the country right now?
COHEN: I think the discussion that President Obama started is terribly important. I wanted to start back in 2008. I passed a resolution to apologize, the first one ever for slavery and Jim Crow. There are still vestiges of slavery and Jim Crow that exist in this society and that we need to deal with those vestiges.
It was my hope that the Senate would have passed an identical resolution, and we could have had a major event in joining those two in the rotunda or in the emancipation hall. And I was thinking that Bill Clinton would have been the perfect person or possibly your father to lead the discussion of race in America and to have a dialogue and a meeting and a discussion.
It didn't happen because of some issues with the Senate concerning reparations. There are other things we can do. The president needs to look at the prison population and I have written him about this and talked to Gen. Holder. There are a lot of people in prison that don't need to be in prison. Most of them were African-Americans.
On crack and cocaine, we've changed the law from ratio of 100-1 for crack to cocaine to 18-1. So, there's a public policy difference in this country, and people serving sentences under a public policy that no longer exist. Those people should be out of prison. There are people in jail for marijuana possession, just proportionate members of African-Americans are arrested even though the same proportions smoke marijuana --
CUOMO: The law reads like a good thing, but it's applied in a way that you say is unfair.
COHEN: It is applied racially and that's been -- ACLU just did a study on this. That needs to stop and people don't need to be incarcerated for things that ruin their lives later and stop them from getting housing, stamps, college education. Their racial justice is far away from happening and some of it could be through legislation. And the president can start some of it with a dialogue on drug laws and on who's in prison and who shouldn't be prison and using his commutation (ph) power.
CUOMO: So, the hope is that, as we move away from the Zimmerman case, we move to these issues that are real and present in everyday life?
COHEN: I hope we do. I don't know if the Republicans will. The Republicans have not worked on jobs bill and jobs bills it affect the African-Americans. They're in need of these jobs more than others. And unemployment is higher there. The sequester hurts African- Americans more than anybody else because they need public education. They need public health care. They need public social programs. They're not getting them.
So the whole culture in Washington now is messaging and it's not considering those the least fortunate of us and that needs to be our priority and the White and Black and majority of Blacks have needs for benefits because of the vestiges of Jim Crow.
CUOMO: Well, hopefully, all of you down there in Washington are watching what's going on in the country and it's something that you realize needs resolve. Congressman Steve Cohen, appreciate you being here.
COHEN: Thank you, Chris. It's so nice to be with you today.
CUOMO: Thanks for taking the opportunity. Look forward to having you back here on NEW DAY.
Kate, over to you.
BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, Chris. Coming up next on NEW DAY we're waiting for a very special royal arrival. The Duchess of Cambridge is in labor as we speak. We're going to you back live to London shortly.
But also this. Politics, people. Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer both on the comeback trail trying to win elections in New York after some embarrassing scandals. But can it really be done?