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NEW DAY

Anthony Weiner Continues New York Mayoral Run; Pope Visits Brazil; Edward Snowden Still in Russia; Tracking Tropical Storms; The Huma-nization of Anthony Weiner; Interview with Paul Begala

Aired July 25, 2013 - 07:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, survivors crawl through windows to escape a burning train after it derails in Spain. The death toll now over 70 people, more than 100 injured.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Huma's struggle. New revelations this morning that Anthony Weiner's wife almost left him, so why did she stay? We talk to those who know her well.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: CNN investigates the shocking conditions for food served on board a high end cruise line. Could you be paying thousands of dollars to be eating this?

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: What you need to know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm here having a serious conversation about issues. That's what these good people came to hear.

ANNOUNCER: What you just have to see.

This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CUOMO: Good morning, everybody. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It is Thursday, July 25th, 7:00 in the East. And look who's back, Chris Cuomo, very happy today.

BOLDUAN: Hi, everybody. I'm Kate Bolduan back from London. Actually what city am I in? Just kidding.

CUOMO: New York City, baby.

(LAUGHTER)

BOLDUAN: Great to see you all. Of course, we're here with news anchor, Michaela Pereira.

PEREIRA: Good morning.

BOLDUAN: Coming up this hour, we're going to be live in Brazil where the pope has a very busy day ahead. First, he's going to visit Rio De Janeiro's slums and meet with the poor. Then, he's taking part in an enormous rally for World Youth Day, up to a million people could attend with several security scares this week. What's being done to keep him safe? We're going to look into that.

CUOMO: Also, a big vote in the House. This bill just missed. They just missed passing a measure to severely restrict the NSA's surveillance program. This, as we wait to learn when NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, will leave the Moscow airport. He's been stuck in there for more than a month. We'll go live.

BOLDUAN: And what exactly is in a name? It turns out a whole lot of history for the royal baby. We'll look at the meaning behind Prince George Alexander Louis' name. Plus, Kate and Will are staying at her family's home not the palace. What does that signal about his upbringing?

CUOMO: Intriguing. But first breaking news overnight, a terrifying accident in Spain, more than 70 people killed in a high Spain passenger train derailed. One train car snapped in two, another caught fire. Now a Spanish official says the tragedy appears to be linked to the train going too fast. Karl Penhaul is live in Santiago de Compostela. Good morning, Karl.

KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. Just in the last few moments Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rahoi declared three days of not mourning here in Spain. He has also said the investigation will now take a twin track to find out what was the real cause of this accident. As you suggest, though, figuring high on the list of speculation as to what caused this is that possibly the train may have been going too fast.

What the prime minister also said, though, was the other priority would be put on identifying the dead, and so their loved ones who have had this anxious wait now for the last 15, 16 hours, can be informed.

The other priority is here cleaning up the tracks, taking away those railroad cars now for investigation.

Let's look a little at how this whole drama has developed.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PENHAUL: The scene is surreal, a packed passenger train approaching the city of Santiago de Compostela derailed as it hurtled around a curve, its cars strewn around the track, mangled. This car snapped in half while flames burst out of another.

Firefighters and emergency workers swarmed the scene putting out the billowing fire and feverishly evacuating the train. In the dark, aided by flashlights, officials pulled injured and dead passengers through the windows, prying open doors to reach the most severely wounded.

This morning, as the death toll and number of injured continues to rise, hospitals are calling for blood donations to aid in the recovery. Initial assessments by investigators indicate this probably was not an act of terrorism, but a senior aide to the prime minister says they are pursuing all possible causes.

Meanwhile, officials are now clearing the scene, forced to use cranes to lift the ravaged train off the tracks.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PENHAUL: I think two facts are putting the scale of this tragedy in perspective for me. First a full one-third of the passengers aboard that train have been killed, and one of those wagons, we are told, when it derailed flew around 18 feet into the air and landed on top of the railway embankment 45 feet away from the track. Back to you in the studio, Chris and Kate.

CUOMO: Wow, Karl, what a catastrophe. Thank you for painting the picture and giving us the latest on that.

BOLDUAN: Seeing those picture, just amazing.

All right, let's talk about politics back at home. Should Anthony Weiner abandon his political comeback? That is what some people are saying after a new sexting scandal surfaces, putting his New York City mayoral run in jeopardy. And this morning CNN learns why his wife Huma Abedin is standing by her man. CNN's Dana Bash is joining us here in New York this morning. You've been following this, so what's the latest?

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's not every day you have a candidate for political office talking to reporters about the fact he's still in therapy because he sent dirty messages on the Internet. That's one example why friends view what is going on as an unfortunate circus- like atmosphere with Weiner on the campaign trail.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: With Anthony Weiner on the mayoral candidate's panel a question about using Facebook or Twitter is really awkward.

(LAUGHTER)

ANTHONY WEINER, NEW YORK MAYORAL CANDIDATE: All I can say is oh, god, don't ask me.

BASH: A light-hearted moment to lift the tension after one opponent confronted Weiner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People around the city have called on to you withdraw. You're distracting from focusing on the middle class and ideas.

WEINER: If you want to play to the cameras, that's your ability. I'm having a serious conversation about issues. That's what these good people came to be here. Let's honor them being here.

BASH: A day in the life of scandal plagued Weiner, a rousing speech on public housing.

WEINER: The fact of the matter is we need to change ways to do things.

BASH: Minutes after silent protest, a handful of women turned their back on him. His indiscretions literally followed him. A man dressed as Carlos Danger, Weiner's screen name for lewd messages. Weiner admitted to reporters he fumbled his comeback by not disclosing that he sent sexual pictures and texts to strange women a year after resigning for Congress for the same thing.

WEINER: Perhaps I should have said it will come out at this specific time and this specific person, but there isn't a lot better way for me to answer these questions.

BASH: He still isn't answering all our questions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you say to people who say it's beyond personal and also an issue of judgment and do you have the judgment to be in Gracie mansion?

WEINER: It's a fair question and people have to answer that question for themselves.

BASH: We asked New Yorkers ourselves.

Does it bother you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I mean a lot of politicians have their issues and I just think this one we can put behind us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's kind of creepy. I don't think I'd want that as my mayor.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: And that is an open question especially for women. How is he doing this and more specifically what about his wife? Well, CNN has been told that Huma Abedin, his wife, found out that he relapsed in sexting with other women last summer. In the fall, a friend of Huma's tells Jessica Yellin she learned about it and she was furious, said she was leaving him. And over time she decided it is best for their young son to stay together so she once again tried to repair their marriage. She's obviously still doing that.

But, again, the question is how you go from repairing your personal problems to saying we want to put it out in the public sphere which is exactly what she's doing very actively.

BOLDUAN: They are so out in the public sphere at this point. And Huma has been a generally private person. When she was in Washington she was a private person. You feel horrible for her and their family, but where this goes we will watch and see whatever it is going to go. We don't expect it now.

CUOMO: A little telling, you heard the crowd applaud when he said I'm here to talk about you. I think that it's an easier question if the voters move past this than the media. Will the media give him a chance to move past it?

BASH: That's what he's relying on.

CUOMO: Great words for those who don't know, we'll see.

BASH: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up later we'll talk with someone who knows Huma Abedin as well, CNN political commentator and aide to President Clinton Paul Begala.

CUOMO: The Pope chose the name Francis because he wanted to be the pontiff for the poor. Today he is living up to that name with plans to visit one of the most impoverished slums in Brazil. The pope will also kick off World Youth Day. Concerns over his security are growing. Miguel Marquez is in Rio de Janeiro. Miguel, good morning.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning there, Chris. Is he certainly making his mark here. He met with recovering drug addicts last night. Today he goes to a place where a lot of the drug violence here in Rio is centered.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: Despite heavy security, another moment of concern. While departing his last function the Pope thronged by excited followers, someone tosses something to him and he appears to catch it. And Rio's mayor under fire over security lapses suggests almost mockingly more problems lie ahead. "Protests are not a problem," he says, "they are a part of functioning democracies."

The Pope started his day in the southern city of Operacita, a visit to the shrine of the Virgin Mary the 16 inch statue found by fishermen in the early 1700s is revered here. He encouraged the faithful to resist earthly temptations. "The dragon of evil is present but does not have the upper hand" he says. "Our young people feel attracted to idols taking god's place appearing to offer hope, money, success, power, pleasure."

These are Catholics from far away Mongolia.

ZOLA DORJBAYAR, MONGOLIA: This is a time for change, but I'm really happy, that's why I'm waiting in the rain for two hours because I'm excited to see him.

MARQUEZ: The last stop, a Catholic hospital treating addicts hooked on crack cocaine, even meeting some of those in the program.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: Now, despite how miserable it was last night, despite how miserable it is today, this is Copacabana beach and these are pilgrims now watching and waiting for the Pope to show up here at the beach, 10 hours they will be waiting. Some of them looks like they slept here overnight.

And one note about the Mongolians we talked about in our story there. There are a total of 500 Catholic Mongolians. We met two of them. There are four others. They've been looking for them. It's pretty amazing to be here and see the world come together in order to support the church and this Pope. Back to you guys.

BOLDUAN: All right, Miguel, thanks so much.

MARQUEZ: Let's talk more about the NSA leaker update there. Edward Snowden remains stuck in a Moscow airport this morning despite Russian media reports saying he had been cleared to leave the airport. This as the White House is turning up the heat demanding the NSA leaker be turned over to the U.S. immediately to stand trial.

Phil Black is tracking the latest developments from Moscow and Brianna Keilar is live from the White House this morning to talk more about this. Phil, first let me get an update from you. There was some confusion -- did he have the papers to leave the airport? Did he not have the papers? Where does that stand at this moment?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In the end he didn't get the papers, Kate. His lawyer thought he was going to get them yesterday. The Russian media started reporting he had received them and he was on his way out of the terminal but that didn't happen. His lawyer said there was a delay and he blames that on the complexity of the case.

But there's another issue, too, and that is that these decisions in this case are being made from high up within the Russian government, and the Russian government knows if it lets him out of this airport terminal that will trigger an angry reaction from the United States.

BOLDUAN: That's absolutely right, Phil, that brings me to you, Brianna. The latest information was he able to leave or not, obviously sending the White House spinning making phone calls, trying to do as much as they can to get the outcome that they want. What are you hearing from how the White House is reacting this morning?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right the administration very much reacting here Kate. Secretary of State John Kerry called his counterpart, this is the highest level of these conversations that we're aware of, he called Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to really say a couple of things, one to figure out what the exact status is of Snowden amid the reports that he'll be able to leave the Moscow airport, and also to put pressure on Russia.

If he leaves, this is what we were told by the State Department spokesperson, Lavrov was told by Kerry this will be very disappointing to America. And you may obviously think "disappointing" is a pretty mild word, but that's diplo speak for the U.S. will be really ticked off if this happens. This has gotten way beyond the level of the White House and the administration wants. President Obama had to weigh in a couple weeks ago with Putin and this is something he didn't want to have to do, Kate. BOLDUAN: So the pressure campaign is on, Phil, there are high level conversations going on. But what will work and when will his status change? What are you hearing about what's next?

BLACK: Well, for the moment Snowden has little choice but to continue waiting in this terminal. He's approaching five weeks since he arrived here and his lawyer says that it looks like hitting somewhere around that time but he could in theory receive the necessary paperwork at any time. Until he learns any more Snowden's lawyer says he is studying Russian language and Russian culture and now says he wants to stay here in the long-term, wants to settle here longer than the one-year temporary asylum that he's already applied for.

BOLDUAN: And while all of that is going on in Moscow and Russia, Brianna, back here at home the House attempting to take some action or some members of the House attempting to take action to stop the surveillance program that Edward Snowden revealed. But that was defeated. What is the latest on that?

KEILAR: Narrowly defeated. This bill would have said to the NSA if you're gathering Americans' phone records as we found out from Edward Snowden they were doing it would have to be related to a specific investigation. But again, it failed. The Senate's not expected to take it up. The White House wasn't on board with it. You have a lot of interesting bedfellows, liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans registering their discontent.

BOLDUAN: Brianna, great to see you, as always, Phil Black, great to see you as well. Thank you guys so much.

Still remains a question, when will he leave, what will he do if he leaves, Chris, and no one has the answer.

CUOMO: Everybody will be waiting for it.

A lot of news developing at this hour. Let's get to Michaela. We talked about the train derailment in Spain but we have one here as well involving chemicals.

PEREIRA: It's a concern in Tampa. Let's take a look at it right now. Cargo train derailment at the port of Tampa shut down the entire port all together now. Overnight at least 15 cars derailed, three are leaking ethanol. A hazmat crew is on the scene to clean up the spill, and firefighters are using foam to reduce chances it will catch fire. It's unclear what exactly caused that derailment but happy to tell you no injuries have been reported.

Now an update on the burning natural gas rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Workers there preparing to drill a relief well if needed. Two firefighting boats have moved a safe distance away as they wait for reinforcements to assist in fighting that blaze. It was sparked after the rupturing of a natural gas well. The rig has partially collapsed. And 44 workers were evacuated from the rig Tuesday after the blowout occurred. Again no injuries have been reported in that incident.

A tractor trailer gets a little too close for comfort as a Wisconsin state trooper just pulled someone over for speeding. He was headed back to his cruiser when an 18 wheeler goes screaming by. The truck smashed his police car ripping off part of the front end. The accident there was caught by the trooper's dash cam. Way too close for comfort.

Academy award winner Jennifer Lawrence getting star struck? She clearly really, really, really loves The Dude. She showed it at Comicon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CROSSTALK)

JENNIFER LAWRENCE, ACTOR: I'm your biggest fan, oh my God, I'm so sorry.

JEFF BRIDGES, ACTOR: Great to see you.

LAWRENCE: Good to see you. I'm so sorry for interrupting you there's cameras everywhere.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERIERA: She got all twitter-pated. It was cute. Lawrence goes on to interview Jeff Bridges. The riff on and on about their favorite movies and enjoy quite a conversation. Look she takes the microphone and everything. It's kind of fantastic. Everybody's a fan of somebody, right?

BOLDUAN: I am a huge fan of hers. She has done some of the funniest things when she has been on the stage and miked up. She's hilarious.

CUOMO: The innocence of it is nice because you worry about stars getting jaded.

BOLDUAN: Very real.

PERIERA: We all do at times.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Please. Talk to the mirror.

BOLDUAN: Let's talk about weather here, folks. Tropical storm Dorian, the fourth named storm of the hurricane season is gathering strength out in the Atlantic. Where is it headed, what does this mean and when? Indra Petersons is here tracking it all.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: So many good questions, Kate.

There is so much uncertainty going on out there. Now, this is a strong tropical storm. It formed rather quickly. It's currently about 60 miles-per-hour steady winds; 39 miles per hour makes it a tropical storm, 74 miles-per-hour steady winds makes a hurricane. You can actually see it form really close to Cape Verde there, now making its way through some open water. That's the question, will it strengthen or weaken? A lot of factors could inhibit its growth. We're looking at a lot of dry air ahead of it. With that, if it goes over the dry air, it's expected to weaken, but that's not the only thing. It needs warm waters. Now it needs temperatures above 79 degrees to really stay strong, I should say.

Now, notice where it is. It's right on the borderline between the 70s and the 80s. If it goes over warmer waters, more likely it really stays together. But once it goes over cooler waters it's expected to weaken. How fast it's moving is a timing issue. If it moves quickly over cooler waters, it may able to just hold together even if it goes over that path. Currently the system is moving rather quickly. So, that's another factor.

Third factor being upper level winds they could see a lot of shear (ph) out there and that could break it apart. Where is it going? Here is the big Bermuda high, we've seen it all summer long keeping us warm, that will steer it in the west-northwesterly fashion. So, it is making its way towards the Bahamas. Current thinking, it looks like it will stay above the islands and here's the piece of good news, it is a small system so with that in this current track here it's not expected to affect the islands directly. Maybe just strong surf and winds out there. The big question is after that where does it go? It's so far out we hope it doesn't hold together, but if it does, current thought is still that it's actually going to curve back out to sea. But, as we know, so much uncertainty going on (INAUDIBLE).

BOLDUAN: We'll watch it, thanks, Indra.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, the Huma factor. We'll take you inside Anthony Weiner's wife's inner circle with someone who knows her.

BOLDUAN: Wait until you see what one luxury cruiseline did to avoid health inspectors. You're not going to like it. Food piled high, where? In crew members' cabins.

CUOMO: Yeesh!

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY everybody. One of the more notable details of the Anthony Weiner -- this most recent sexting scandal is his wife, Huma Abedin's conviction. She says she's still committed to their marriage and his mayoral campaign. But what will the voters say? Let's take a look at this. Let's bring in CNN political commentator and former aide to President Clinton, Paul Begala. Paul, a pleasure. Welcome to NEW DAY, thanks for being on the show.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, the first question to put your genius to, does Anthony Weiner stick in the race?

BEGALA: Oh I think he definitely stays in the race. There's actually very little downside for him to stay in it. I have to say, I think it's really tough for him to win and it's for a reason you alluded to earlier in the broadcast, Chris. His strategic imperative is to make it about the voters, not about himself. As a guy I used to work for used to say it to me if I make it about their lives instead of mine we will both be better off. And I don't think Anthony can make it about their lives, the voters in New York City any longer because it's all about him and I think that's going to be very tough sell to the voters.

CUOMO: Huma Abedin, those who know her are moved greatly by her sense of self-respect, that she is known for doing the right thing. What is the simple explanation for why she decided to get out there in front of this? Didn't do it for the resignation but did it here, why?

BEGALA: Well this is not a woman trapped without options, as you point out. She's strong, she's smart, she's successful. I have to say for me, I have to -- this is more a topic for Dr. Phil than a spin doctor, right, so I fall back to the Blaise Pascal, the philosopher who said "the heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing." In other words, I don't think this is simply a strategic decision for her. I think Huma loves his guy, she's going to stick with him, she thinks he'd be a good mayor. What you saw yesterday at the press conference was the real Huma, very emotional but also very committed and that's why I don't think this is any kind of strategy. I think this is just her revealing her heart which must be an incredibly painful thing for her, an intensely private woman.

CUOMO: Blaise Pascal you say, Begala. I counter that with a question some are asking from Shakespeare, has she eaten on the insane root that devours intellect and takes reason prisoner? She got out there in front of us, everyone was -- when I was watching that press conference I couldn't believe she was there. And then she comes up and she says the magic words, I love, I forgive, I believe. I heard them and it did a shift in my little black reporter's heart and I said I think she does Huma-nized Anthony Weiner and gave him a basis for sticking in the race with voters, not the media because the bloodlust for the details would be too great. Do you think she saved him?

BEGALA: She's given him the only chance he's got. That's right, she could have ended this and no one would have thought less of her for that and I think she at least gave her husband a chance to stay in the race and to see this thing through, but if this is simply a quest for redemption by Anthony Weiner that's not enough. The city of New York needs a mayor, not someone on a redemption quest. I think what Huma did was necessary but not sufficient for Anthony Weiner to win.

CUOMO: A neglected question I think you'll give us good perspective on. You look at Eliot Spitzer, the Sanford, and now Anthony Weiner, most specifically, maybe they'll forgive you, maybe the bar is so low for politicians these days you'll skirt under it but should you run when you've had these kinds of problems? What about that question from a political acumen standpoint. Even if it's up to the voters why put them in this position of having to choose someone who could be so compromised, with other leaders?

BEGALA: That's a great point, Chris. I guess what I would say is as long as we're electing human beings, we're going to be electing flawed people, and the thing I find -- I teach at Georgetown, I've got teenage boys and I find that younger people have no more expectation of privacy from public figures even from politicians. Old school guys like me still believe in a zone of privacy and wish we did not know frankly so much about the private lives of our leaders. I think voters now, I think sadly, frankly, regrettably want it out there and expect it to be out there. Maybe we're losing our capacity to be shocked. That's more of a generational thing and perhaps that's why the scandal is so new because the technology is new. Certainly the sin is the most unoriginal sin but the technology maybe gives it a new wrinkle.

CUOMO: It'll be interesting to see. His negative was at 37 percent his unfavorable before this. That will be the number they have to watch and see how many voters they can claim. The silver lining in this may be if people are so done with hearing about these kinds of things in politicians it may force reporters like myself to focus on what matters more to voters. We cover this because we think it will work and frankly it's easier. It will be interesting to see if the voters send a message that I don't want to hear about this anymore, don't tell me, I won't watch you if you talk about this but I don't know.

BEGALA: I would love it, Chris. In fact the coverage -- I'm in the New York media market here in Connecticut today, and the coverage I saw last night was this: they said Anthony Weiner went to a forum on public housing and affordable housing and they began by booing him and ended by cheering and I kept asking the television set, what did he say in between? What's the substance? What's he going to do for poor people who need housing and frankly that didn't make it into the piece I saw last night on New York TV.

CUOMO: Well, there's no questions that's what voters want to hear the most. They care about themselves, and the should. Mr. Begala, a pleasure, welcome to NEW DAY. thanks for being with us.

BEGALA: Thank you, love it, Chris you're doing great. Kate?

BOLDUAN: All right, Chris, thanks so much. Coming up next on NEW DAY a luxury cruiseline going to great lengths to avoid health inspectors. You won't believe what happened to some of the food that was served on board.

Plus what's in a name? When you're the future of King of England the answer to that question is quite a lot. We'll be digging deeper on prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)