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How Real Is Elysium?; "Classiest" Memoir Ever; Crowdsourcing Her Internship; Baseball Fan Falls

Aired August 13, 2013 - 16:30   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Now, it's time for our Money Lead.

You remember when BlackBerrys were lovingly called Crackberrys because we were so addicted to them? When presidential candidate Barack Obama won election in 2008, he was warned by CNN's John King that may have to give up his device. He found a way around that. In fact, "TIME" magazine caught a glimpse of the president's BlackBerry on his Oval Office. That's just this past December.

But, President Obama is in the minority on this issue. BlackBerry has had a disappointing period of sales of its latest smartphone, the Z10. It's been on the decline for years. Tech watchers say the company never quite recovered from Apple and other companies invading its market.

So, BlackBerry on Monday said it's putting itself up for sale or considering a joint venture. Is there anyone out there who might buy it?

Joining me to talk about the future of BlackBerry is tech expert Katie Linendoll.

Katie, thanks for joining us.

You wrote a piece in 2011 in which predicted the demise of the BlackBerry. You said the only way to save the brand was to innovate, to bring something to the market that no one else has. So, is that what has happened? They just failed to innovate?

KATIE LINENDOLL, TECH EXPERT: Absolutely. And, you know, I've been covering this piece for quite a while and I like to say, we're at the point now where it is too little too late: And BlackBerry trying to cash out now is me trying to make bank on my Beany BB collection from about 10 years ago.

And you hit the nail on the head. Consumers, they expect innovation and technology to accelerate at a very fast pace, especially when it comes to smartphone technology. Blackberry, they sat back and became complacent and they got passed by Android and by Apple. And it's amazing to look at these statistics. In 2009, they had over 50 percent of the market share. Now they're hovering at just around four percent. So, in a matter of seconds, if you don't innovate quickly, you quickly can see as we see here with Blackberry their demise. TAPPER: So, Katie, I used to be a Blackberry guy until December/January I got my first iPhone. The thing that kept me clinging to my Blackberry for so long was the superiority of the keyboard, that the iPhone still cannot match. Is there any other reason why somebody should keep a Blackberry, other than the keyboard?

LINENDOLL: And I got to tell you, I am with you. I have my iPhone, but I also still am on contract with my Blackberry. And as a tech expert, it's a little embarrassing when I pull it out. I only use it for its keyboard now these days. But I can tell you, I'm cashing this in for a Samsung any day now.

But you know, the cons outweigh the pros here in terms of an acquisition, and let's start quickly with the cons. First off, in terms of gaining customers, anyone going after Blackberry right now is not pulling in a huge client base. Typically in the past, Blackberry was known for their business sector. But then we saw brands like Yahoo!, Halliburton, the government, they all started dropping Blackberry quickly.

They are known, however, for mobile security. So I think there is still value in that. And I think there is still value in intellectual property. Anyone picking up Blackberry is going to acquire a number of patents, a number of engineers. So there is still value in an acquisition. It's just a matter of getting it now at a cheap price. They should have sold one, two years ago, absolutely.

TAPPER: All right, Katie Linendoll, thank you so much. Great stuff.

Let's check in with our political panel right now in the green room. If you want to get famous or infamous as a rodeo clown, a surefire way do it apparently is to put on a President Obama mask and put a broom handle to improper use. That happened at the Missouri State Fair, causing an uproar. And now that clown, that rodeo clown, has been banned for life.

Donna Brazile, was this just a clown being a clown or something else going on here?

DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Oh, it was offensive. I mean, it harkened back to those old days where we had those comical, lyrical shows with black faces. So, I'm glad he's banned for life. That's funny, too.

TAPPER: All right. We'll talk more about that and much, much more in the Politics Lead when we come back. Thanks for joining us.


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

Now it's time for the Politics Lead. So, you want to know if Hillary Clinton is really running for president in 2016? Well, just ask New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. He expertly fielded a question about his wife, Huma Abedin's relationship with the former secretary of state. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN SMITH, BUZZFEED EDITOR: Do you know what her role in Hillary's 2016 campaign is going to be?


SMITH: And what will it be?

WEINER: I'm not telling you.



TAPPER: Hmm. Well, that would kind of suggest that she's running, wouldn't it? Let's bring in our panel. CNN contributor and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile. Republican strategist and vice president of the Winston Group, Kristen Soltis-Anderson. And Washington bureau chief for USA Today, Susan Page.

Donna, do you think, on a scale of one to 10, how annoyed do you think the Clintons are with Anthony Weiner right now?

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I don't think it's on the charts right now. Look --

TAPPER: It's off the charts?

BRAZILE: I think it's off the charts. Look, the election is September 10. And Anthony Weiner will likely soon be history. Given the recent revelations, I don't think anybody is going to take him seriously. I don't want to be called the establishment because he's now running against the establishment, but voters have some excellent choices up there. I'm sure they will pick a winner, and it will not be Anthony Weiner.

TAPPER: Susan, yesterday in San Francisco, former secretary of state Clinton got political; she talked about the voter I.D. laws. She talked about the one the North Carolina governor signed into law this week. How much do you think this is part of a plan for her to continue to have a political future in the 2016 race?

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "USA TODAY": I think she's keeping her name out there. Easy for her to do because any time she speaks, she gets a crowd, she gets a crowd. She gets news media. It seems to me she's leaving the door open to run. Not necessary yet for her to decide yet whether she's going to run because she can raise some money in a snap. She can get the attention and the endorsements in a minute. But it seems pretty clear to me she is making it possible for her to make a run, which I assume she's going to do.

TAPPER: But don't you think -- it's not like she just walked outside and there was a friend and they had a conversation. You fly to San Francisco, you give a speech, you talk about voter I.D. laws. This is not just leaving the door open. This is like opening the door a little bit.

PAGE: Opening the door and giving -- just like what Bill Clinton did in giving a couple of big speeches before his run in 1992. Big policymaking speeches. She has another one coming up that deals specifically with national security. Yes, I think this is part laying the groundwork for the presidential campaign we assume is going to follow.

TAPPER: So, Kristen, I want to talk to you about the voter I.D. laws. Because in North Carolina, the governor Pat McCrory defended the law, signed it into law. Here is what the governor had to say.


GOV. PAT MCCRORY (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Both Democrats and Republicans joined together to require a valid government-issued photo I.D. to buy Sudafed at your local corner drugstore. Our right to vote deserves similar protection.


TAPPER: A lot of people think that's preposterous, like the idea of comparing a right guaranteed enshrined in the Constitution with one to buy a drug that, this is a reason to disenfranchise Democratic voters.

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: So, the reason why public opinion polls tend to show that large numbers of people support voter I.D. laws is because of that normalcy of having to show your I.D. to do all sorts of regular things that people do in their day to day lives.

I think the challenge is when you're putting forward a voter I.D. law, can you also make the case that you're allowing folks to get an I.D., free, very easily, so that you're not on the wrong side of that balance between how do you protect voter integrity, plus how do you protect people's right to vote?

BRAZILE: But right off the bat, Kristen, as you well know, college students with their college I.D.s issued in the state of North Carolina will not be eligible to go out and register to vote. And also out-of-state voters with out-of-state I.Ds

The problem with voter I.D., Jake, is something I learned back in Florida of 2000. It's like, what form of I.D.? I mean, my own sister had to show three forms of I.D. to vote: her driver's license, her voter I.D. card and a utility bill. So the problem is, it becomes a poll tax because you don't know what form of I.D. the governor will action .

The other restriction --

TAPPER: Wait, poll tax? How do you say it's a poll tax?

BRAZILE: It's a modern-day poll tax. Jake, when is the last time you had your driver's license renewed? It's $25, $30, $35 depending what state you're in. They're expensive, by the way. They're not cheap. ANDERSON: That's why some proposals say that as a stopgap, you change things so that you allow another type of I.D. to be permissible that's free and easy to get. And I think if you're going to put forth a voter I.D. law, you need to be able to say that you're offering that as well.

BRAZILE: And also, why restrict the amount of time citizens can go out and vote? He restricted it from 17 days where people who are working two jobs just need to go and vote. And of course, this governor didn't read the bill before he signed it, and now it's down to 10 days.

TAPPER: We didn't have time to do the Missouri rodeo clown.

BRAZILE: Oh, he is a clown.

TAPPER: We didn't have time to do it. We'll have to you have guys back to talk about it.

Kristen, Donna, Susan, thank you so much for being here.

Coming up, the first lady goes where no first lady has gone before. I'm not talking about Abigail Adams, Eleanor Roosevelt. I'm talking about Michelle Obama and her hip-hop album. That's coming up in the Pop Lead.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

Now it's time for the Pop Culture Lead. Hollywood has not always been very good at predicting the future. This was supposed to be the decade when we all got flying cars. At least according to "Back To The Future Part 2." In the latest box office hit, "Elysium," Matt Damon's character wears some kind of exohuman skeleton connected to his brain, making him part man, part machine.

But believe it or not, we may be much closer to this than to Deloreans in the sky.


TAPPER: In the box office smash "Elysium," the difference between Matt Damon being able to save the world and fail is this exoskeleton. It's technology that turns the metallic frame into a costume that boosts you beyond human capability. And of course, Matt Damon is just the latest star to try on a super suit. "Iron Man" and Nintendo's "Metroid" have one. Sigourney Weaver stomped around in this in contraption for "Alien." And of course, "Starship Troopers" paved the way for them all.

With the robust history of pop culture examples, it's no wonder that real life prototypes have also been evolving for decades. Check out this bad boy from General Electric's "Hardy Man" project funded by the U.S. military beginning in the 1960s. According to the manual it could help you lift 1,500 pounds. But it also weighed 1,500 pounds. You would literally need one to lift one. Fast forward to today and the suit has gotten much more sophist sophisticated. There one, dubbed "The Hulk," is built by Lockheed Martin and it helped soldiers' toad up to 200 pounds without significantly weighing them down. Today this super technology is used to help people like Michael Gore.

MICHAEL GORE, CLINICAL TRIAL PARTICIPANT, INDEGO EXOSKELETON: If I have it on and I want to stand up, I stand up.

TAPPER: Though Gore has been paralyzed from the waist down ever since a horrific workplace accident, he can now move around with this new 27-pound device called the "Indego," which enables him to stand erect and move forward without his wheelchair.

GORE: It is an emotional boost to be able to stand up and talk to someone.

TAPPER: Using gyro scopes, microprocessors, sensors and battery technology, today's exoskeleton suits are much more intuitive than their predecessors.

CRAIG MAXWELL, VP AND CHIEF TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION OFFICER, PARKER HANNIFIN: The control of the device actually mimics what you and I do when we walk normally. The next frontier for us will be how we control it so the human/machine interface, do we tap right into the neural network of the brain in order to control the device.

TAPPER: Craig Maxwell is the vice president and chief technology officer for Parker Hannifin, the company behind the technology.

MAXWELL: When you see someone stand up and then you see the reaction of not only their reaction but their family's reaction, many times I have to leave the room because I can feel myself getting choked up over it.

TAPPER: Right now worldwide there are just a handful of patients using the Indego models in clinical trials. All of them are at the Shepard Center in Atlanta. But Indego is not the only model along with Parker Hannifin. Companies like Rewalk and Exobionics are evolving exoskeleton suits at such a pace that the Elysium's 2054 model may be outdated well before the real world reaches 2015.

MAXWELL: It's hard not to imagine a future where we'll be able to restore mobility to the point where a wheelchair will be a thing of the past. The technology is moving very, very quickly so I wouldn't be surprised to see it in the next 10 years.

GORE: Now you got it.


TAPPER: The Parker Hannifin VP also notes that eventually they hope to makes exoskeletons that aren't so exo. They want to make them more streamlined so they can be worn under the clothes nearly undetectable in the future. A new rap album is coming out next month from an artist you might call the "Notorious M.O." as in Michelle Obama. The first lady always wants children to exercise and eat healthy. This album sets that thing to a hip hop soundtrack. Songs for a healthy America, it will have healthy Diddies like "You Are What You Eat" and "Veggie Love." I'm not sure if fat Joe got an invite. I'm guessing not. Will Mrs. Obama be kicking some flows? No, she won't, but she will appear in the music videos.

I don't know if you know this but he's kind of a big deal, knows all about writing, has already leather bound books. Now Ron Burgundy is writing a memoir. A publisher has announced it acquired the rights to the new book called "Let Me Off At The Top." It's not clear how much will Ellen Ferrell will contribute to the book, but it's due out about a month before sequel. "Anchor Man, The Legend Continues" hits theatres on December 20.

Coming up on THE LEAD, you need an internship to get a job, but you need money to support yourself during internship, but you need a job to get that money. It's all very confusing, but one enterprising intern may have found a way to break that vicious circle.


TAPPER: Welcome back to "THE LEAD." I'm Jake Tapper. In money news, Washington isn't cheap, especially when you're an unpaid intern on Capitol Hill. But one enterprising young woman is crowd sourcing her way to the capital. Erin McPike has the story.


ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Calling all benefactors, would you spare a nickel to pay for this UNLB's student's living expenses while see interns for Harry Reed in Washington this fall? Jessica Pedron went online to beg for help in paying for food and shelter while she toils away with no pay.

Otherwise she says she will miss out on this once in a lifetime chance to take advantage of this crucial career move without loans. Ironic because plenty of lawmakers here are constantly fighting to raise the federal minimum wage, but in their own offices they're not even paying some of their hardest workers.

ERIC GLATT, SUED OVER UNPAID INTERSHIPS: Only Congress among anybody in the federal government, only Congress is allowed to use unpaid interns because they've explicitly written an exemption for themselves into the law.

MCPIKE: It's not just Washington looking for free labor. Lots of those Hollywood internships don't pay either. Eric Glatt worked for free on the blockbuster hit "Black Swan," but he later sued complaining it was unfair to pay him nothing. He warns that only rich kids can score prestigious internships.

GLATT: The vast majority of people cannot work for free or have their parents afford to have their children work for free. MCPIKE: But the Employment Policies Institute's Michael Saltsman warns mandating internships be paid could rob everyone of experience.

MICHAEL SALTSMAN, EMPLOYMENT POLICIES INSTITUTE: I think it's crucial we maintain a situation where interns don't have to be paid. If do you have a situation like that, you have employers who may decide it's not worth the hassle.

MCPIKE: And these jobs are not all full of copies, coffee and mail rooms. One intern asked a question at the White House briefing and serve reached fame for sprinting right out of the Supreme Court with copies of crucial rulings. Even if it's not quite that glamorous, there's pressure just to get one.

EMMA DOLSON, PAID INTERN: All I hear from the career center at the school is internships are a necessary thing these days or you are way, way behind.


MCPIKE: So how much has Harry Reid's intern raised so far? Well, about half of her goal, which is about $6,400 and that's to survive in four months in Washington. That's a lot more than I made when I was interning several times.

TAPPER: You deserved every penny. Erin Mcpike, thank you so much.

They weren't riding the bench, they were in the stands, but what were these Red Sox players doing off the field? Stay with us.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Our sports lead isn't so much about a sport as it is a about a spectator. An Atlanta Braves fan fell 65 the upper deck at Turner Field. The 29-year-old Ronald Homer landed in the player's parking lot and died from his injuries. Police say it looks like an accident. They say it's too early to tell if Homer had been drinking but his parents have some idea about what happened.

They say his son was about 6'7" tall and that the rails in the upper deck were not high enough to protect him. The Braves will have a moment of silence for Homer before tonight's game. What do you do on your day off? A few of the Boston Red Sox, they just couldn't stay away from the game in their only off day in weeks. Three players behind home plate watching the A's take on the Blue Jays yesterday, a chance to scout their upcoming opponents, a chance to jaw at their opponents?

That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I now turn you over to Wolf Blitzer who brought "THE SITUATION ROOM" to Atlanta today. Mr. Blitzer.