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Another Piece In The Vast Puzzle Of Autism; 2016 Presidential Hopefuls Flood Iowa; From L.A. To San Francisco In 30 Minutes?; New Images Of Florida Hotel Collapse; TV For The "Cause Of Liberty"; "Elysium" Tops The Box Office; Lady Gaga's "Pop Music Emergency"

Aired August 12, 2013 - 16:30   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Now, time for more of our National Lead.

It's potentially one more small piece in the vast puzzle that is autism. A new study just released this hour suggests that there's an association between inducing or speeding up labor and a heightened risk of developing the disorder. The findings were particularly pronounced among boys with a 35 percent increased risk of autism, if their mother's contractions were both induced or sped up, or what doctors call augmented.

Joining me now is associate professor Simon Gregory from Duke University School of Medicine who did this study.

Simon, these findings are going to terrify a lot of concerned parents and parents to be. How big a risk are we talking about here?


So the type of risk that we're looking at is in the realms of say a mother who decides to have children at an older age, a mother who's got potentially birth complications or complications that the unborn child experiences in the uterus. So, we're talking about, say, an elevated risk of 30-odd percent, as you said.

TAPPER: But that's not an elevated risk from all pregnant women who would induce or augment labor, it's just for ones who are in high-risk groups?

GREGORY: No, what we found from our birth cohort, so (INAUDIBLE) at the University of Michigan's birth cohort that we looked at, it took 65,000 births in North Carolina and married them to educational records and we're able to identify from that set the children who had autism and then the children whose mothers were induced or augmented. And I think it's important to remember that here, we're looking at an association. We're not necessarily looking at cause-and-effect type relationship.

So, it could be the circumstances that dictated the use of drugs to induce or augment the birth or the maternal on child factors that have required the induction or augmentation. TAPPER: OK. Just to be clear for our viewers, the takeaway is not that doctors should stop inducing labor necessarily but is there a takeaway that you see? Would, for instance, you recommend against a mother, a pregnant woman having her pregnancy -- her pregnancy induced or augmented if she were in these high-risks groups?

SIMON GREGORY, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, DUKE UNIV. SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: No, absolutely not. The point of the study is really to find if there is an association. The potential negative effects from not inducing or augmenting a labor far outweigh the risks we've identified. The health care professionals will recommend or indicate induction or augmentation for specific medical reasons. And those reasons are really important.

What we've found is sort of an elevated risk in the induced and augmented mothers, and, as you said, in boys, which is interesting for us because autism affects more males than females. But what we really need to do is work out where the association is coming from, what is the cause of this association. And we're absolutely not recommending that where it's medically indicated that a woman decides against induction or augmentation.

TAPPER: So we've done a number of stories about studies about possible links to what causes this disorder. A few months ago, we talked to somebody who talked about possible environmental factors. Where does your paper rank with other risk factors that doctors have concluded, whether it's environment or older mothers or certain types of drugs? Where do you think this ranks?

GREGORY: I think we have to put it in the context that autism is a spectrum of disorders. It's no one particular disorder. Kids with autism can have a broad range of display of the disorder itself. And as you cited, the development of autism is really based on genetic predisposition, the genes that we inherit from our parents but also the environment we're exposed to.

In this instance, we're talking about an in-utero exposure potentially with the induction or augmentation. But potentially as well, it's really the maternal health and the health of the child in the uterus, which is important. So, it's really a marrying of the genetics and environment or the effects of the environment on that genetic background. It's a very complex disorder. And it takes studies like this to start pulling apart these environmental effects.

TAPPER: All right, Simon Gregory, thank you so much.

GREGORY: You're welcome.

TAPPER: Coming up on THE LEAD, come for the fried butter sticks, stay for the political momentum. That's always been the logic behind White House hopefuls visiting Iowa. And a deluge of potential 2016 candidates have already touched down there, years before the election. We'll talk about that.

And later, what's worse than the boss calling you into the office and canning you? Try getting fired on a conference call with a thousand people listening in. Stay with us.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

Now it's time for the Politics Lead. You want to run for president in 2016? Well, you better book a ticket to Iowa now. That's the rumored reasoning behind several high-profile trips to the land of fried butter and the first-in-the-nation caucuses. Vice President Joe Biden will be in Iowa next month to deliver the keynote speech at Senator Tom Harkin's annual steak fry. It's a not-so-subtle move by a not-so- subtle politician.

And Biden's certainly not alone. Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and even Donald Trump have all already been out to Iowa to press the flesh more than two years before even the Iowa straw poll.

Joining me now, two co-hosts of CNN's new show "Crossfire," former Obama White House official Van Jones and Republican strategist S.E. Cupp.

S.E., I'll start with you. The last politician to claim victory in Iowa and go on to win the Republican nomination was George W. Bush.


TAPPER: In 2000. A long time ago. You were probably not even out of high school at the time.


CUPP: That's very kind.

TAPPER: So, why the continued rush on Iowa?

CUPP: Yeah. Well, at least for the Republican side, it definitely doesn't predict a victory in the White House. But there is PR value. There is political value. There's some cache there. Just ask Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann. Rick Santorum in the last election won that caucus, saved his campaign effort, only really had a campaign because he had that. And Michele Bachmann's campaign was really sort of flailing until she won that Ames straw pole.

So, it really can breathe new life into a struggling campaign. Now, it's up to them to do with that what they will and make a go of it. But Iowa is still really important, I think, politically and PR-wise.

TAPPER: So, Van, you know what's interesting is Hillary Clinton, all the speculation about former secretary of state and senator Hillary Clinton, who came in third in Iowa in 2008. She has not visited any of these early states. What's going on here?

VAN JONES, CNN CO-HOST, CROSSFIRE: Well, A, she doesn't have to because she's a huge, huge frontrunner. She hasn't even signaled she's going to do it. But I think it's very interesting. You look at that display of all of those Republican leaders, and you don't see one of them, as best I can tell, who inspires a lot of confidence they can become president. Iowa --

CUPP: What!

JONES: It looked like Huey, Duey and Louie to me.

CUPP: What!


JONES: Look, you got Rand -- Senator Cruz just got there. You got Donald Trump. You didn't put Donald Trump up there, but --

CUPP: You don't want to talk about Marco Rubio and Scott Walker and folks who are doing pretty popular things?

JONES: I'll tell you what I will say about this particular moment. I think it's time for us to start shuffling the deck. I think Iowa is a place where, at least for the Republicans, people who really don't have a shot can get an artificial boost and then flame out. I don't think that helps the process very much.

I just think we're stuck in this weird pattern now. Why doesn't we shuffle the deck, let other states go first? Why don't we have a national popular vote where the key person who wins the general election, wins the general election? The whole electoral college now I think could be looked at --

TAPPER: Van, you're veering off. That's a whole -


TAPPER: We're not talking about electoral college reform. You'll have Al Gore on Crossfire, and you guys can talk about that.


TAPPER: But just sticking to Iowa, there's one interesting note. The Iowa State Fair is a popular spot for candidates, where they are all go. But there was this weird thing that happened because the famous Iowa State Fair butter cow was slathered in fake blood. I don't know if we have a picture of this. The group Iowans for Animal Liberation are taking responsibility.

That is the beloved butter cow. I'm not sure -

CUPP: How dare they.

TAPPER: That's not a real cow, of course. So, I'm not really sure what the objection is.

CUPP: That's never stopped them before. Undefined objectives.

But I really like what Van had to say about Hillary Clinton, if I can just get back to that for a second. I hope he and other Democrats keep talking about her inevitability. She doesn't have to go to Iowa, she's the clear frontrunner. I hope that lasts for the next two years because there is nothing that voters like less, especially Iowa voters, than that sense of inevitability and entitlement.

JONES: Fair enough.

CUPP: They want to pound the flesh. They want to feel like their candidates are coming in a year, even two years in advance. Not doing these last-minute fly-ins and pretending that they care about Iowa. So, keep at that, Van, please.

JONES: Hillary Clinton - by the way, Hillary Clinton has done her time in Iowa for a long time. She has a huge base of support there.

The interesting thing about Biden going. We haven't talked about Joe Biden. The weird thing about Joe Biden going is of all the politicians in America, he's probably one of the few that actually likes to go to these rubber-chicken dinners and press the flesh and pound on backs and stuff like that. He's the only one of all of them that would probably show up anyway, even if there was no election going on.

TAPPER: I want you to weigh in on one little thing, this radio interview with Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader. He was talking about Republican efforts to kill Obamacare. Let's take a listen.


SEN HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: It's been obvious that they're doing everything they can to make him fail. And I hope, I hope that it's -- and I say this seriously -- I hope that it's based on substance, not the fact that he's African-American.


TAPPER: The only black lawmaker in the Senate, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott fired back, saying, quote, "I hope senator Reid will realize the offensive nature of his remarks and apologize to those who disagree with the president's policies because of one thing: they are hurting hard-working American families."

Van, why did Harry Reid say that? How much do you think opposition to Obamacare is based on the fact that Obama is African-American?

JONES: Well, you know, it's very hard to know. And I think that -- I don't think Senator Reid had to go in that direction at this moment. It is very, very difficult.

Let's not forget, Bill Clinton when he tried to do health care, he got beat up really bad, too. He and Hillary Clinton got pummeled and hurt very badly. Health care is a very tough issue for Democrats to move in this country. This president, I think, deserves a lot of respect. LBJ couldn't get health care done, the Kennedys couldn't, LBJ couldn't, the Clintons couldn't. This president got it done. There is a backlash. I wouldn't go so far to say it's 100 percent about race. The first black president, Bill Clinton, got beat up, too.

CUPP: You know - yes. I think Harry Reid just proved himself an old fogie time fighter. I mean, that is a hallmark of his generation. Young Democrats, young Republicans, folks my age, Van's age, we don't see racism in every single moment or every single division. That really is something that Harry Reid's generation is -- a world that they're still living in. I think we've moved past that. I think there's reason to see a substantive debate about Obamacare, and it doesn't have to be about the color of his skin.

TAPPER: I need to cut it off. But the thing is, this is great stuff. CNN viewers are lucky because of course Crossfire is going to be returning to CNN September 16 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern. And there's going to be a lot of this stuff.

CUPP: We could go all night.

TAPPER: You could literally go, as Joe Biden himself would say, you could literally go all night.

Coming up, cross country in the time it takes to resolve a crisis on a sitcom. We'll take a look at the hyper-fast future of travel as imagined by billionaire Elon Musk.

Plus, we're waiting to hear from the father of Hannah Anderson about the latest details about his daughter's abduction and rescue. Stay with us for that.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Now it's time for our "Money Lead." It's a bird. It's a train. It's a hyperloop. What? It's a hyperloop. Hyperloop, that's an idea developed by Elon Musk. He is that guy that brought you the all-electric car, Tesla. He also manufactured space rackets with his company Space X. So he's got some street cred when it comes to big ideas, but what exactly is hyperloop? Well, here's how Musk explains it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a cross been a concord, a rail gun and an air hockey table.


TAPPER: That sounds a little terrifying but really fast. Musk says this travel mode of the future will take passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco nearly 400 miles in the time it takes a pizza to be delivered to your door. Musk has just posted some details of this plan, the hyperloop.

So let's bring in Hannah Elliott. She is covering the hyperloop for "Forbes" magazine. Hannah, thanks for joining us. We should first make clear that Elon Musk does not plan to build the hyperloop himself. He just wanted to share the idea and he hopes someone else will pick it up. Are there any early takers?

HANNAH ELIOT, "FORBES" MAGAZINE: Well, no one in particular has come forward, although there have been a couple tinkerers that have tweeted at Elon and said, I've drawn up some ideas, what you do think? So far no corporate investors, we'll see.

TAPPER: Musk says this can travel up to 800 miles per hour in aluminum pods. It sounds like it would be complicated technology, but Musk disagrees with that idea, that it would be complicated?

ELLIOT: Yes, that's right. He actually said we have the technology pretty much that would already enable this, again, if we're talking a rail gun. That's an electromagnetic projectile launcher. An air hockey table, that's air, you know, so we kind of have the tools already to make it.

TAPPER: You wrote a cover story for "Forbes" on Elon Musk. Do you think this will be a new this thing for him introducing ideas for others to carry out? How does this fit into the Musk brand? Previously, he is the one that's brought these ideas forward to the public.

ELLIOT: That's a really good point. The method in which he is talking about this is very Elon Musk. He has great ideas, very visionary. What is new is the fact he is saying this is an open source thing and he wants people to collaborate. So that is a little bit new, but the general idea, general concept, very typical to his personality.

TAPPER: It sounds a little terrifying, I have to say. Would you be willing to be a passenger in that first voyage from San Francisco to L.A. in 30 minutes?

ELLIOT: Absolutely. How could you say no? It would be historic and fun, and exciting, absolutely.

TAPPER: It would be very easy for me to say no, but I appreciate your sense of adventure. Hannah Elliot, thank you, thank you so much.

Donald Trump might be the king of firing people, the high priest of the pink slip, but he doesn't really hold a candle to the CEO of AOL, Tim Armstrong who apparently is a bit camera shy.


TIM ARMSTRONG, CEO, AOL: Able, put that camera down right now. Able, you're fired, out.


TAPPER: Even a GIA team doesn't roll a head that fast. Able Lenz was the creative director of AOL's local news network "Hatch" and he got dispatched with about a thousand people listening on a conference call. Oddly enough Armstrong set up the call to talk about layoffs and cutbacks. CNN is still waiting on a comment from both parties. And also who knew that AOL still was around. He wants you to turn off the TV and turn on the truth for $9.95 a month. What does Ron Paul have planned for his new web-TV channel? Stay with us.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. There are any numbers of obstacles that can derail your Florida vacation, flight delays, lost reservations, your hotel disappearing in a massive 60- foot wide hole. We're getting a look at this brand new video showing the Summer Bay Resort near Disney World collapsing into a massive sinkhole. Nearly three dozen guests had to be evacuated from two buildings.

One witness tells WFTV that she saw a couple breaks a window and escape through with their baby after a door frame collapsed. Florida is, of course, notorious for these sinkholes because the ground is often so wet.

In the "Pop Culture Lead," he didn't have the votes, but there's one thing Ron Paul had that most other Republicans did not. In the past two presidential cycles, a young and enthusiastic fan base and a campaign that took on a life of its own on the World Wide Web. Even in retirement Paul is keeping the movement alive with Ron Paul TV. THE LEAD's Erin McPike is here with more. What is this?

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Already Ron Paul had shocked the Republican establishment, of course, with his network of report, but 200,000 people have already expressed interest in signing up for this TV channel, but today is the first day any of them can sign up. Already the web site crashed earlier today just temporarily after the first show was posted online.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The revolution is on. This is the Ron Paul Channel.

MCPIKE (voice-over): It turns out the revolution will be televised, the Ron Paul revolution at least.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, everybody. Welcome to the Ron Paul Channel Studio.

MCPIKE: The former congressman and three-time presidential candidate launches an internet channel today that will air, well, Ron Paul. Three 45-minute shows starring the libertarian icon every week.

RON PAUL (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Welcome to the very first episode of the Ron Paul Channel where you get my take on stories of the day and get news the mainstream media won't tell you.

DARRELL WEST, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: There are some evidence he is actually had an impact. I mean, on some issues, the country actually has moved in a libertarian manner, same-sex marriage, marijuana legalization. MCPIKE: Even though he's now out of office, Paul still may have a fan base that may be willing to fork over $9.95 a month for a steady stream of his libertarian views.

DAVID ALL, SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIST: There's a classic case of Republicans trying to get around the mainstream media and they have to.

MCPIKE: Paul complained throughout his last two campaigns he wasn't getting enough attention from mainstream media, so he's circumventing it joining a growing list of those who speak directly to supporters online. For Paul, this venture is not just a vanity project or a profit-making enterprise. His son, Rand, is an influential conservative senator from Kentucky eyeing a presidential bid of his own in 2016 and Ron Paul's subscriber list could give him a leg up on the competition.

WEST: In electoral politics, it's all about the names and the e-mails and the phone numbers. If he can build good and up-to-date lists, that could be very valuable. That can turn out to be the secret benefit of this for his son.


MCPIKE: Of course, whether Rand Paul appears on his father's show or not, it is a way to keep his supporters engaged the next few years leading up to the 2016 presidential election. But Jake, it's not one big campaign speech. They're having segments and interviews. They have a former NBC correspondent doing some news. On today's show, Glenn Greenwald from "The Guardian," who broke the NSA leak story was their first interview.

TAPPER: And they are going to have something every day, every week, how often?

MCPIKE: It's Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

TAPPER: Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, very interesting.

MCPIKE: We're hearing some big Hollywood names are on board and giving some money so --

TAPPER: Is that right? Erin McPike, thank you so much. You'll have to come back and tell us those big Hollywood names. Three movies elbowed each other for the top spot at the Box Office this weekend. "Elysium," the sci-fi thriller with Jodie Foster and a bald buff Matt Damon came out on top with $30 million. "District 9" had a more lucrative debut with no big names in the cast and a much lower budget.

The comedy "We're The Millers" with Jennifer Aniston and the handsome Jason Todikas finished second and "Planes," which is a spinoff of cars finished third. If you were waiting patiently for Lady Gaga's new single to be released next week, you ask stop. She went ahead and released it today. Apparently hackers were trying to steal Gaga's thunder and leaking the song onto the internet. Some of them of dubious quality to say the least, Gaga's fans could not plug the leaks fast enough so Gaga decided to issue a pop music emergency. She rushed the single out and took her thunder back. The album is due out in November, unless maybe pirates get a hold of that one, too.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @jaketapper, all one word and also @theleadcnn and check out our show page at for video, blogs and extras. That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I now turn you over to Wolf Blitzer. He is right next door in a place we like to call "THE SITUATION ROOM." Mr. Blitzer.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR" Thanks very. Happening now, a kidnapped teen didn't even know that her mother and brother had been murdered until she was rescued. Now the father of Hannah Anderson is about to speak out on that rescue and on the tragedy that struck his family. We'll bring it to you live this hour.

A quarter of the world's prisoners are incarcerated right here in the United States and the attorney general of the united states unveils a bold new plan to reform what he calls a broken criminal justice system.

And it's bad enough when the boss says you're fired, but what if it happens on a conference call with a thousand colleagues listening in? I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in "THE SITUATION ROOM."