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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Police: Kidnapper's Car Found In Idaho; At Least Two Killed After Plane Hits House; Tiger Tries To Snap Major Drought; The Era Of The TV Anti-Hero

Aired August 9, 2013 - 16:30   ET

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


JOHN BERMAN, CNN: Jessica Yellin, the president spoke about the rift with Russia over that country's plan to enforce strict anti-gay laws during the Winter Olympics. Let's listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody is more offended than me by some of the anti-gay and lesbian legislation you've been seeing in Russia. But as I said just this week, I've spoken out against that not just with respect with Russia, but a number of other countries where we continue to do work with them, but we have a strong disagreement on this issue. And one of the things I'm really looking forward to is maybe some gay and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold or silver or bronze, which I think would go a long way in rejecting the kind of attitudes that we're seeing there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: He also said, if the Russian team doesn't have any gay or lesbian athletes, it will probably make their team weaker.

Jessica, I thought those were really interesting comments.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, this has been one of the signature legacy issues in his time in office, the promotion of gay and lesbian rights, and any objective analysis will say he has done as much more than any other president in pushing that issue. So standing up for the Olympics is not going to, you know, set that cause back for him. It's not a popular decision to take canceling the Olympics.

So I'm not that he's drawn that line. Now I would say more broadly I'd continue press Putin and the Russians on gay rights until the Sochi Olympics unfold. If I can go back for a moment to your comments when you played his comments on Putin, if I can point out that candid and blunt when he said we have good conversations that are candid and blunt, that's diplomatic speech they use when a conversation doesn't go well.

So it was a startling way for him to describe his excellent relationship with Putin who was the last person, by the way, to tweak Obama publicly. So they do this back and forth quite a bit. BERMAN: Very, very interesting. Also the president said he would not boycott the Russian Olympics over issues like gay rights or anything else. Jessica Yellin, Kevin Madden, Hilary Rosen, thanks very much, great discussion here. That was beyond just candid and blunt.

Coming up on THE LEAD, a potentially crucial lead in the search for 16 Hannah Anderson who went missing with a man who may have murdered her mother. A sighting now in a very remote location, we've got the very latest on that story.

And a small plane crashed into a house leaving that house in flames with two young children inside. Now firefighters are trying desperately to save them as their mother looks on. We will take to you that search when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome to THE LEAD, everyone. And a major break in the "National Lead," for days there's been a search, a giant search across much of the Western United States for a 16-year-old girl who went missing with a man police say kidnapped her after killing her mother and possibly her brother. Now his car has been found in the remote Idaho wilderness buried under a pile of trees and leaves.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERIFF BILL GORE, SAN DIEGO COUNTY: The blue Nissan Versa was discovered covered in brush. The license plates had been removed, but local law enforcement in the area were able to confirm through the VIN number that the vehicle did belong to DiMaggio.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: And then this news could possibly be just as big there. People on horseback might have seen James DiMaggio and the 16-year-old girl believed to be with them, Hanna Anderson, they may have seen those two people, those people on horseback in that Idaho wilderness, which by the way, I should add is some 1,000 miles away from San Diego where this all began.

And that is where I find CNN's Paul Vercammen who has been covering this story since it began. Paul, what's the latest?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, as you said, people may have seen them in the wilderness. Good news, they say that Hannah, the girl, looked to be in good shape and good health and did not seem to be, by the way, being held against her will. The bad news is no sign of that 8-year-old boy, Ethan, who is presumed dead in the fire that burned down DiMaggio's home on Sunday night.

So now they're trying to follow the trail and determine just where they disappeared to. We know they have a lot of camping gear and detectives have said all week long that they were always fearful that DiMaggio would make sort of a run like this because he is a skilled outdoorsman -- John. BERMAN: That's where they think they might be, deep in the Idaho wilderness. Paul Vercammen in San Diego, thank you so much.

Meanwhile, two bodies have been spotted in the wreckage now after a small plane crashed into a Connecticut home and set that home on fire. The Hartford current report said the body of one child has been found, but another is missing. Their mother managed to escape. The pilot's body reportedly has been found also, but at least two other people might have been on board. Officials say the plane was trying a second approach to the airport in East Haven near New Haven where it went down and there was no distress signal.

All right, a second opinion on medical marijuana. Our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta changes his mind on medical marijuana. He'll tell us what made him a believer.

And in pop, she's got one of the most famous faces on the planet, but Oprah got treated so badly that an entire country is now apologizing. Find out why when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to THE LEAD, everyone. In the "Buried Lead" or we could call it the "Leafy Lead," call it a marijuana mea culpa. For years CNN's chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta was deeply skeptical of the claims surrounding medical marijuana. Now he is apologizing and saying he was wrong. He spent nearly a year reporting on the drug and says he found that decades of research told the wrong story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): People are lighting up all over the country. They call it the green rush. Marijuana has moved out of the back alleys and into the open. In some states it's legal to grow, to sell, to smoke, and marijuana could be legalized in a city near you. So easy to get and many think so harmless. But when the smoke clears, is marijuana bad for you or could pot actually be good for you?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Sanjay is here with me now. There's been an incredible reaction to your op-ed about how you were wrong about marijuana, about how you've now changed your opinion on it. Why do you think people are responding so strongly?

GUPTA: I'm not entirely sure. You know, I mean, in part, I think this is obviously one of these very provocative issues going on, people are very divided on this in terms of the legislation in several states right now, that's part of it. But I also think, you know, with regard to medicinal marijuana, which is where we focused our attention for this. There's been a long history regarding medicinal marijuana.

You know, up until 1943, it was actually part of the pharmacopoeia, you know, doctors could legitimately prescribe this and there's been a significant change in attitude over the last 70 years, almost a demonization of cannabis and I think a lot of that just sort came out here. It could have been a slow news day, John. I don't know. It did seem to touch a nerve with people.

BERMAN: So one pundit did call your change of opinion, said maybe you're suffering some side effects. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: What's even more disturbing, folks, about Sanjay feeling those Gupta vibrations is that we've all seen what happens when he gets the munchies.

GUPTA: These are bull testicles, these are --

COLBERT: Really? Is that really who you want to burn down with America?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right, that aside, you're a good sport for listening to that, Sanjay. You're a doctor. You see a lot of patients. Is marijuana something you'd want to prescribe for your patients?

GUPTA: I think there are certain situations where not only does it seem to work, but it seems to work better than what's already out there. You know, that's a strong statement if you think about it. I mean, you know, you take something like a neuropathic pain, which is very difficult pain to treat, sometimes they use various pain medications including narcotics, but they don't always work very well.

And now there are a lot of literature, at least several papers, that show the benefit of marijuana towards treating this pain. John, let me just add if I can for a second, you know, when you talk about these narcotics, someone in this country in the United States dies every 19 minutes of an accidental prescription drug overdose.

And with marijuana I couldn't find any documented cases of death with overdose. So you have something that works, you have something that probably works better than what's already out there and from a macro level is much safer. Yes, I think there's pretty good evidence.

BERMAN: It's a terrific special. It airs this Sunday at 8:00 and 11:00 Eastern Time. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much for being with us. Terrific research in here and has started really I think it's safe to say a new national discussion. So thank you.

GUPTA: Thanks, John. I appreciate it. Thanks for having me.

BERMAN: All right, coming up, you've probably seen his face on a Wheaties box more than once but, is Tiger Woods the same golfer he was before all those dalliances? There is one thing missing about Tiger's resurgence story and we'll ask him about that in the "Sports Lead" coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BERMAN: Welcome back to THE LEAD, everyone. In the "Sports Lead," he is the number one golfer in the world again and he steam rolled through the Bridgestone Invitational last week, but one thing is still missing for Tiger Woods, a major, this year at least. Last five years, in fact, he hasn't won one since the Bush administration and he came in today nine strokes behind the leader at the PGA Championship. This is his final chance this year to win a major and get off the snide.

Our Rachel Nichols spoke to Tiger and joins us now from Ochil in Rochester, New York. Rachel, 0 for 17 since he won the U.S. open in 2008. How close does Tiger think he is now?

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, he is certainly thinks he's close. If you look at the big picture, you understand why. He's had a better year than any other golfer. He's won more titles. He's won more money. Even in the majors he's had his moments, but he's played better in those of these majors in the early days than he has on the weekends. I asked him when we talked, how can you be more clutch, well, in the clutch?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: Just keep getting myself there. Just keep putting myself there. The key is if I'm there, then I got a chance to win and I just haven't done it over the last five years, but the key is keep putting myself there and I'll start getting them.

NICHOLS: I know for you you've had a tremendous year, you've played great golf, but you seem to still want that major so badly. Why is it so important to you after all this time?

WOODS: Well, they're the biggest events and it's neat being part of golfing history. You know, I've won 14 of them and they're so unique and so different. You're playing against the best fields, you're on the most difficult venues and the pressure is fantastic, it's fun. That's why there's a rush, that's why we play them, that's why we love them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NICHOLS: Tiger right now is about halfway through his second round, John. He's one over through the tournament so he is going to have to get more aggressive this weekend if he wants to finally claim that major.

BERMAN: You know, for any other human being, five victories in a year would be an accomplishment. For Tiger Woods, you get the sense that he feels he's coming up at least a little short.

NICHOLS: absolutely. This is a guy who lives for the majors. That's what puts new the history books. He's still chasing Jack Nicklaus. Golf at his age he's not that old, he's still got some time and he has to get on it starting right now. BERMAN: Rachel Nichols, thanks. This weekend, Rachel takes us behind the scenes at the PGA with Tiger Woods and all of the big golf names. Get "All Access" in the PGA Championship Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

And coming up, the one who knocks is back. We've waited long enough. "Breaking Bad" begins laying out its end game this weekend. It's not the only drama that's got us touch with our dark sides but could it be the best?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to THE LEAD, everyone. In the "Pop Lead," could a nation known for fine clocks and watches be running behind the times in race relations? Oprah Winfrey talking about a trip last month to a she-she handbag store in Zurich, Switzerland.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OPRAH WINFREY: And I go into a store, which shall remain nameless. And I said to the woman, excuse me, can I see the bag before your head and she says to me, no, it's too expensive. And I said no, no, no, the black on one is folded -- and she says, no, no, you don't want to see that one, this one is too expensive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So the store manager says it wasn't racism. She says the salesperson was embarrassed over the price and tried to stir the billionaire Oprah Winfrey to some cheaper bags, but the Swiss Tourism Office apologized to Oprah saying the clerk acted terribly wrong.

So I'd be hard pressed to name another character on a TV show that's gone through a bigger transformation than Walter White, the chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin, of course, at the dark heart of "Breaking Bad." For five seasons now, the hit ANC show has turned viewers really into accomplishes as lies and kills and endangers of lives of everyone around him. Antiheroes like Walt have dominated TV dramas for more than a decade now because no matter how far they fall, we just can't look away.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: This Sunday night chances are a few million of us will be at home cuddled up with our loved ones watching murder and sex and crystal meth making on television. Yes, "Breaking Bad" is back for its final eight episodes and despite all moral obligations to reject the series. It was just named program of the year by the Television Critics Association.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you believe that there's a hell, I don't know if you're into that.

BERMAN: If a murderous drug dealer isn't quite your thing, other villains have lit up the screen in groundbreaking shows. How about an adulteress advertising executive like "Mad Men's" Don Draper or how about this handsome devil named Dexter. He binds people in wrap and kills them. Unseeingly as they are, these three fellows attracted nearly 9 million total viewers during their most recent season premiers.

BRETT MARTIN, AUTHOR, DIFFICULT MEN: The relationship is that of rooting for these characters who are doing these terrible things and asking ourselves why are we rooting for them? That is the kind of television that makes it so exciting.

BERMAN: In his new book "Difficult Men," author Brett Martin looks at America's transition from the small time troublemakers on programs like the "Andy Griffith Show" --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's from little misdemeanor that major felonies grow.

BERMAN: To the downright criminal lives of today's hit characters.

MARTIN: That was the common wisdom is that people just wouldn't let these characters into the living rooms. That has obviously changed and I think we root for them because they're real. They are full characters. They're incredibly well written. They have problems much like we have problems.

BERMAN: Martin argues that the complex programming transforming our Sunday's into black holes of viewing is the stuff of a revolution, a new golden age of storytelling more open to taking risks.

MARTIN: The key to this revolution I write about is all of a sudden you don't need the most people watching any given show. Frankly, it's still an incredibly exciting time to watch TV.

BERMAN: Exciting, he says, because he control the stage.

MARTIN: When we think about film, we think about the director and how much power the director has. This new role of show runner elevates the writer for the first time to the real king of television.

BERMAN: And right now it seems television is the king of entertainment, one with royally bad habits that we just can't stop watching.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: And that is all for THE LEAD today. I'm John Berman filling in for Jake Tapper who is back on Monday, allegedly. I now turn you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM.