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Bob Filner Expected Back at Work Today; American Ambassador Lives Threatened; Paramedic Giving CPR Suffers Heart Attack; Scientists Warn about Warming; My Purse, My Choice

Aired August 20, 2013 - 10:30   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now in the NEWSROOM, Bob Filner is back in the spotlight. His sexual harassment scandal just won't go away and now there's talk of a potential resignation, but the mayor still has a vocal group of supporters who don't want him to step aside.

Plus this, born in America and celebrating the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens last year in Libya. We'll tell you who he is and why he's calling for more attacks around the world.

And big bag ban, the NLF's new policy is ticking off some female fans. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Good morning. Thanks so much for being with me. I'm Carol Costello. Checking our top stories at just about 30 minutes past the hour, across Idaho right now, there are more than 1,000 firefighters hoping that rain will come. So far a jaw dropping 400,000 acres have burned in the resort area of Sun Valley. Thousands of homes are in danger and that includes pricey spreads of the rich and famous. Actors Tom Hanks and Bruce Willis both have homes there.

Here's a happier image of home and family. It is the newest portrait from the newly expanded Royal family. Proud parents, Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge are all smiles as they show off the future king of England, Prince George. Much of the British public applauding a more relax, less stuffy royal image.

And Republican rising star, Ted Cruz cleared one hurdle in a possible 2016 run for the White House. He has renounced his Canadian citizenship. The senator was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father leading to a Dallas newspaper to speculate if he was a dual citizen. But in a statement, Cruz said he is, quote, "American by birth and never took steps to become Canadian."

It's hard to believe that there's anyone more unpopular in San Diego right now than Mayor Bob Filner. The man at the center of a growing sexual harassment scandal gets ready to return to work this morning. His return could be short lived as Filner and the city he represents meet for mediation and that mediation reportedly includes talk of a potential resignation. Our Filner watch reaches day 30.

Ed Lenderman from affiliate KUSI joins us live. Good morning. Tell us more.

ED LENDERMAN, REPORTER, KUSI TV: Good morning. Well, I should tell you first of all we set up a cot here at city hall. I am here every single morning. There's no reason to go home whatsoever. We are certainly following the mayor of San Diego with a great deal of interest because there is so much going on, on all fronts.

Now, whether the mayor physically shows up here at city hall today remains to be seen. Yesterday, Monday, was scheduled to be his first day back at work after his intensive two-week behavioral therapy. He did not appear to be here at city hall. We didn't follow him for 24 hours, but the only place he appeared to be yesterday and was downtown law office where he was involved in mediation with noted Attorney Gloria Allred and her client, and so there is mediation going on.

We certainly knew there was going to be a great deal of activity behind the scenes here. The mayor has hired a well-known labor attorney Harvey Berger and Berger is known for not being public but working behind the scenes.

So there have been rumors rampant here at city hall that the mayor is involved in some kind of mediation trying to get out from under with both local and state and federal investigators. He might be able to settle with Allred and McCormack but I don't recall the FBI. And this hasn't you know for all of the jokes on the national talk shows and the late-night shows, et cetera, there hasn't been nearly as much made of the mayor's issues with federal investigators.

There are two developments involving the mayor and contributions, a quid pro quo so to speak and at least allegedly in some corners and the FBI is investigating both of these and so whatever settlement is going on in terms of the sexual harassment allegations, the attention hasn't been nearly as much and likely should be on this federal investigation.

If the mayor is going to try to solve some things and get out from under and -- and maybe part of that is tied to his resignation. I can't imagine the federal people being involved in that.

COSTELLO: I was just wondering do you really have a cot there? And on this more serious note, there is a recall effort under way right now. How is that going?

LENDERMAN: Well, the recall -- we've -- we've made a great deal of emphasis on how short the window is for the recall signature gathering but the process itself is very lengthy. The recall people only have 39 days in which to gather 101,597 signatures, valid signatures.

So they think they're probably going to have to get 120 to 130 in order to meet that threshold again of 101,597. They have hit the ground running. There was some concern early on about their -- their organization and their money. They have, they're doing well. They've even enlisted some businesses here to be petition stations if you will. We covered that yesterday.

But they still have to gather more than 2,000 signatures a day. Even if they meet the window, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, a recall election could be as late as next March. We've been talking about that all morning long here in terms of the process.

COSTELLO: Right. Ed Lenderman thanks so much for filling us in. Interesting information. We appreciate it. Thank you.

Bob Filner does have his supporters and they are very vocal. They met Monday in front of the camera to publicly pledge their support for the embattled mayor. One of those supporting Filner is Maxine Sherard. Maxine joins us now. Good morning, Maxine.


COSTELLO: You have known the mayor for 20 years. You're standing by him. In light of all of the national embarrassment he's caused, why are you standing by him still?

SHERARD: Mr. Filner is a dedicated public servant. He has served San Diego for more than 30 years. He has served on the school board for better schools. He has served on the city council to better the San Diego community. And he served as a congressman and the recent accusations should not define the great contributions he has made to the San Diego community.

COSTELLO: What about all of these women coming forward? Because there's more than just one or two -- there's more than a dozen now.

SHERARD: Yes. I -- I -- these are legal issues that I would choose not to discuss but I have read about some of the accusations. Some of them are very old and I guess some are recent. But I believe that he should have due process. He should have his day in court. And he should be accountable to those who put him in office the voters of San Diego.

COSTELLO: But -- but most of city council want him out. How can he possibly work with them now? Because you have to work as a mayor to get things done in your city with the city council. How is it possible for him to do that now?

SHERARD: Well the city council did not put him in office. The voters of San Diego put him in office. And they're the ones who should decide if he should go.

COSTELLO: All right. Thank you so much for joining us this morning. We really appreciate it. Maxine Sherard.

SHERARD: Thanks.

COSTELLO: And before we move on, an invitation for Mayor Filner. I would love to hear your side of the story. We reached out to you by e-mail and by phone and now on the air. I would love to have you in the NEWSROOM or on camera. I'll fly to San Diego so the invite is there. The ball is now in your court, Mayor Filner.

We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: Born in America and calling for the death of more U.S. diplomats. Islam (inaudible) and al Qaeda spokesman, Adam Gadahn actually releasing a video urging terrorists around the world to kill American ambassadors and even earn lavish rewards for doing so.

CNN's Brian Todd has more for you.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's California born and raised. The son of goat farmers had at least one pair of Jewish grandparents. Now as one of al Qaeda's top propagandists, he lavishes praise on the people who killed America's ambassador to Libya last year in Benghazi.

ADAM GADAHN, AL QAEDA SPOKESMAN (through translator): The American Ambassador to Libya was killed to heal the chest of believers and enraged the criminals.

TODD: The latest video from Adam Gadahn the American-born spokesman for al Qaeda was posted and analyzed in recent days by SITE (ph), a global intelligence company. In the video Gadahn calls for more attacks on U.S. ambassadors in the Middle East urging wealthy Muslims to offer rewards for killing them.

Gadahn himself has a $1 million bounty on his head. He's on the FBI's list of most wanted terrorists.

(on camera): The video indicates it was produced in March of this year. Did it have any bearing on the recent decision to close American embassies in the Middle East. An administration official told me the video was not specifically a factor.

(voice-over): Still Gadahn has made an extraordinary journey from being what family members described as a teenager obsessed with heavy metal music to a role as one of al Qaeda's most visible figures.

GADAHN: Today could be your last day.

TODD: Raised and homeschooled on this Orange County goat farm, relative say he converted to Islam at this nearby mosque but fell in with hardline Islamist group there and had a run-in with the mosque leader.

HAITHAM BUNDAKJI, ISLAMIC CENTER OR ORANGE COUNTY: He came charging into my office one day screaming and yelling and angry. Really angry. And he caught me off guard. And he slapped me right across the face.

TODD: Shortly after he was placed on the most wanted list, Gadahn's father said this.

PHILIP GADAHN, ADAM GADAHN'S FATHER: I was surprised. Because I really couldn't imagine that he would do anything that would get him in this position.

TODD: I asked analyst Peter Bergen if Adam Gadahn is as dangerous to the U.S. as another American who joined al Qaeda?

(on camera): Could he be like Anwar al-Awlaki and have an operation role in al Qaeda.

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I mean so far there's no evidence that he's got an operational role in al Qaeda. That's what we said about, that's what the U.S. government view of Anwar al-Awlaki was originally that he was a propagandist and a cleric and he didn't really have an operational role. And one of the reasons that you know the president signed off on the drone strike is that he was suddenly the people decided hey this guy really does have an operational role so things can change.


TODD: So where is Adam Gadahn now? Peter Bergen believes he's very likely in Pakistan. Bergen points out that As-Sahab which is the video production arm of al Qaeda is based in Pakistan.

I reached out to Gadahn's family to ask what they think of this latest video. His mother, sounding upset after I described the video to her over the phone, told me she didn't want to speak to us -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Am I right to assume the United States is actively looking for this man?

TODD: They are actively looking for him Carol. There is a bounty on his head of $1 million for his capture. Now Senator Lindsey Graham of the Armed Services Committee, a Republican on the Armed Services Committee, says that he should be taken out in a drone strike or some kind of lethal action because Graham says he's an enemy combatant.

However, Gadahn has only been indicted in the U.S. for treason not for any kind of operational role in al Qaeda so whether the U.S. would have any legal basis to actually take him out in a drone strike that's not clear right now.

COSTELLO: Brian Todd reporting live for us this morning. Thank you.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, a neighbor sends a letter to the family of an autistic boy. Wait until you hear what it said. We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: Checking our "Top Stories" at 45 minutes past the hour.

Mud and lots of it keeping a southern California highway closed this morning. Mud and large rocks cascaded onto the highway in Kern River, Canyon and left several drivers stranded. California's state highway patrol says it could take a few days to completely clear the roadway.

You don't often here anyone called a hero, life saver and miracle in the same breath. But that's how some are describing veteran Detroit paramedic Joseph Hardman. He was giving CPR to a heart attack victim last week when he suffered his own heart attack. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSEPH HARDMAN, DETROIT PARAMEDIC: A sudden explosion type-feeling in my chest that never went away. It just boom, it was there.


COSTELLO: Wow. Doctors say Hardman had a blockage in what's called the widow maker artery which is extremely rare. Hardman and the patient he was saving both recovering. They're going to be just fine. That is amazing.

A new television network is launching today on American TV. Al Jazeera America is replacing Current TV which it bought for $500 million back in January. Al Jazeera America will be based in New York City and available in more than 40 million homes. That's roughly half the country's pay TV households. The new network is funded by the government of Qatar.

A family struggling with a son's autism receives a shocking letter from a neighbor. Ashleigh Banfield is talking about that letter on "LEGAL VIEW" next hour.


COSTELLO: This was just mean.

BANFIELD: You know what? I have the letter here. You have to actually hear it to believe that someone could put pen to paper about a child.

14-year-old child playing on the backyard apparently and this is what a neighbor unanimously sends to that child's family. This is just the part that I can read on TV. "You selfishly put your kid outside every day and let him be nothing but a nuisance and a problem to everyone else with that noise polluting whaling he constantly makes." Here's where it gets nasty. "Do the right thing and move or euthanize him. Either way, we're all better off."

I'm not making it up. And there's so much in between those two lines that I just read you that's so cruel. It just defies logic. And you know what; it may be illegal. The police in Canada are looking into this.

And we're going to talk a little bit about just what your rights are if you're a neighbor, if you have this kind of harassment, if you have this kind of treatment from neighbors -- albeit anonymous ones. Here's a tip, Carol. You're not always as anonymous as you think you are -- surprise.

COSTELLO: Yes. I think neighborhoods are pretty -- well, some are tight knit anyway. They know what's going on. There's always one person in the neighborhood that knows what's going on.

BANFIELD: Yes. And guess what, forensics. Good old fashioned CSI can get to the bottom of a lot of this stuff. This person used a -- you know, a system that can be tracked.

COSTELLO: Awesome.

BANFIELD: Awesome.

COSTELLO: Ashleigh Banfield thanks so much.

BANFIELD: You're welcome.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, some still doubt it but many scientists say they are more certain than ever in what's to blame for the earth's warming. And guess what? It's you.

But first, with "CROSSFIRE" returning September 16th, here's a "CROSSFIRE" classic.


STEPHANIE CUTTER, CNN HOST: One of the earliest crossfires was also one of the most controversial. The guest was the grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and Tom Braden, the co-host was outraged.

TOM BRADEN: You are against the thing that makes this country a unity and that makes this country great. And I think you're a disgrace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know nothing about what I believe and what I --

BRADEN: I just heard what you believe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've had more racial problems --

BRADEN: You're a disgrace to the country.


BRADEN: Yes, you are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a strong belief --

BRADEN: You know what; you people were beaten, beaten, beaten, beaten, beaten. I don't know what we're doing in 1982 talking to you.



COSTELLO: A draft report by the intergovernmental panel on climate change says it's now at least 95 percent certain humans are to blame for the earth's warming. "The New York Times" is reporting the leaked document also warns sea levels could rise by more than three feet if greenhouse emissions are not reduced.

CNN's Chad Myers joins me now with more. So this is a very well- respected agency.


COSTELLO: So give us the bottom line.

MYERS: Here's the deal. This comes out every six years. They're going to put the final report out in September, the end of September. People got an early draft of what this could and probably will say. It could be massaged just a little bit. But what they're saying is there is so much CO2 in the air now. We went from Hawaii, over 400 parts per million this year in May, that there's really no other explanation -- maybe a five percent other explanation that it's not human-induced that we're warming the planet.

COSTELLO: I know you weren't born yet but in 1978 right there, that's the last date, 1977 and '78 -- those are the last dates that if you were born you experienced a below normal temperature year. For the rest of the century and all the way into the 21st century, we've seen above normal temperatures on average climate over the globe.

So back here in the 70s we had some below normal. Back in the 60s we had some below normal. Back in the 50s, below. But since then -- since that point -- that was almost like a breaking point in the climate -- it has gone straight up from there. Hockey stick if you will.

This is now going to be put out in September massaged a little bit. It's not new data. This government agency takes every other piece of research, puts it together in a clearing house and makes its own assessment. If this and you found this, we're going to bring it in. If this, you found this, bring -- so they're not just making assessments on one person's judgment. They're taking all of the data, all of the research from all of the people across the globe, putting it together trying to come up and jumbling it together and coming up with an assessment for what they believe that all of this data, all of this research says.

COSTELLO: Ok. So tell us the people behind the study and who they are. Because there are many people in this country who don't believe that humans are causing the bulk of climate change.

MYERS: And that's because climate has changed in the past. Climate changed 7,000 years ago. Climate changed 20,000 years ago. Climate changed 100,000 years ago and humans clearly weren't involved, you know. I mean just because two Neanderthals are rubbing two sticks together to make a fire didn't change the earth, didn't change the atmosphere enough. But you know, what we're seeing now, this increased right through here since man has been really burning fossil fuels at such an alarming rate and putting so much CO2 in the atmosphere. They're saying that there's a 95 percent chance that humans must have created this ramp.

COSTELLO: Well, we'll see what happens from here.


COSTELLO: I'm guessing not much. Right? MYERS: You know what? You're getting better cars that put less pollution but guess what -- you're putting twice as many of them on the road. So we're not really gaining anything.

COSTELLO: All right. Chad, hopefully you're going to be talking much more about this because it's an important issue.

MYERS: I certainly will.

COSTELLO: And there's really no doubt now. It's just kind of scary.


COSTELLO: Chad Myers, thanks so much.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, the NFL adds another layer of security at stadiums. No big bags allowed as in no purses, ladies. Many women fans aren't into that. It's an epic battle.

We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: Call it handbag gate. If you go to an NFL game and you're a lady, you can no longer bring a big, huge, giant purse to the stadium. Your purse has to be the size of your hand and if you are going to bring a big giant purse to the stadium, it has to be see- through which means people can see everything that's in your handbag.

Of course all of this is in response to the Boston bombings that the NFL is instituting this new policy. It's created quite the handbag backlash and many parodies. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The NFL has restricted women to carrying their personal items and purses the size of their hands.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We take these rules as a personal attack on women and our freedom of choice. We're tired of men telling us what to do with our bags.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My purse, my choice.


COSTELLO: It's a really funny video. Nischelle Turner, we turn to you because you used to cover sports and --


COSTELLO: -- frankly, like what is the big deal? Like what do you carry in that purse that you absolutely need to bring to an NFL game?

TURNER: My thoughts exactly, Carol. I'm glad you feel the same way I do. I thought I was going to be alone on an island here because my view is if you're going see a game, put a couple of bucks, your ID and a credit card in your pocket and go watch the game. Why do you need a big bag?

But yes, it is causing a bit of conversation. The video is cute. But the backlash that's happening is because fans are trying to get into the stadium and being given a choice to either dump their possessions or not go into the stadium.

So we want to hear a little bit more from these two comedians Lauren Laborde, and Colleen Allerton on "My Purse, My Choice". Listen up.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The NFL would have women resort to carrying their personal items in plastic bags.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- which is disgusting because I don't want strangers to see what's in my purse.

So visit and let the NFL. (inaudible)

Tweet us with the hash tag my purse, my choice and let the NFL know that these regulations hurt women.

Come and take it.


TURNER: So this new policy Carol went into effect this season and actually they are saying that you can bring a couple things in. You talked about the purse the size of the hand. I kind of have my makeup bag here. And this is -- you can bring this. And you can also bring a gallon size plastic bag. But anything other than that, it has to be 12x12 inches and not anything big and see-through.

So just so you know. And it goes for men and women. Men, you can't bring those binocular cases. None of them -- no (inaudible), no sling bags -- none of those things.

COSTELLO: Got to go. We'll discuss after the show. I'm Carol Costello.

"LEGAL VIEW" with Ashleigh Banfield starts now.