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THE SITUATION ROOM
Suspected Atlanta School Gunman in Custody; Oklahoma Teens Arrested on Murder Charges; Mixed Messages on U.S. Aid to Egypt; Arrests in Egypt's Deadly Power Struggle; Maine Governor Denies Harsh Remark About Obama; '72 Super Bowl Champs Finally Visit White House; Obamas Welcome Second Dog
Aired August 20, 2013 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: murder charges in the killing of a promising college basketball -- baseball player. Police say the teenage suspects simply were bored.
Plus, who's to blame nor extreme weather? U.N. scientists are more convinced than ever that humans are causing climate change.
And critics say the White House is getting something for nothing and the president needs to start paying his interns now.
Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off today.
I'm Jake Tapper and you are in THE SITUATION ROOM.
It's being called a senseless attack, but that doesn't even really begin to describe a killing so apparently random and deeply disturbing. Three teenagers were in court today in Oklahoma accused of gunning down a 23-year-old Australian student who happened to be jogging by. Police say the teens had nothing better to do and they wanted to see someone die.
CNN's Alina Machado is following this story.
Tell us about the charges filed today.
ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, we just got these court documents. They show two of the teens are facing felony murder charges. The third is being accused of being an accessory after the fact. All three, as you mentioned, went before a judge just hours ago in a case that has sent shockwaves across the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just can't imagine it happening in this neighborhood.
MACHADO (voice-over): Shock and disbelief in the small Oklahoma town where Chris Lane, an Australian student at East Central University, was gunned down in what police say was a random attack; 15-year-old James Edwards Jr. and 16-year-old Chancey Luna are charged as adults with first-degree felony murder. And 17-year-old Michael Jones is facing two charges, including accessory after the fact to murder in the first degree.
Authorities say the teens were on a mission to kill, supposedly just for the thrill of it.
DANNY FORD, DUNCAN POLICE CHIEF: They witnessed the young man run by on the street, chose him as a target.
MACHADO: Chief Danny Ford says Lane was out jogging Friday afternoon when the teens drove up and shot him in the back.
FORD: There was some people that saw him stagger across the road, go to a kneeling positioning, and then collapse on the side of the road.
MACHADO: A woman told police she ran to Lane and tried to help by performing CPR. Another witness dialed 911. Lane was taken to a local hospital where he died. Police say one of the teens told investigators details of the killing and where they could find the murder weapon. Thousands of miles away in Australia, Lane's father shared the family's heart break.
PETER LANE, FATHER OF VICTIM: He's left his mark, as we know. And, you know, there's not going to be any good come out of this because it was just so senseless. It's happened. It's wrong. And we will just try and deal with it the best we can.
MACHADO: Tens of thousands of people have liked the rest in peace Christopher Lane Facebook page, sending their thoughts and prayers to the 23-year-old's loved ones. Lane's murder has sparked outrage here in the U.S.
MARIE HARF, SPOKESWOMAN, STATE DEPARTMENT: The United States is deeply saddened to hear the tragic news of the death of an Australian citizen in Oklahoma.
MACHADO: And, in Australia, former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer released this statement cautioning Australians about going to America. He says in part: "Tourists thinking of going to the USA should think twice. I'm deeply angry about this, not just because of the callous attitude of three teenagers, but it's a sign of the proliferation of guns on the ground in the USA."
MACHADO: Now, Lane was on a baseball scholarship at East Central University. We just got a statement from the head baseball coach there describing Lane as an extremely well-respected teammate who was a shining example of the school's baseball program. He ended the statement by saying -- quote -- "I pray that his soul receives the light he deserves" -- Jake.
TAPPER: Alina, thank you.
We're joined on the phone right now by the Duncan, Oklahoma police chief, Danny Ford.
Chief Ford, thanks for being with us. Three teens were charged today in connection with this murder of Australia baseball player Christopher Lane. This murder is thought to be a random act of violence. But what with can you tell us about the motive?
FORD: I think pretty well all the information is out on how it occurred.
Certainly I will try to answer any questions that you might have, but I think the charging today puts the -- puts kind of the -- obviously not a period, but at least a comma in our job here and that we got it to the judiciary system. That's our job. That's what we have tried to do.
TAPPER: Have you been able to talk to these teens?
FORD: Our investigators have talked with all three of them. Two of them obviously are not talking, but there's a third one that has given us the information as you reported there.
TAPPER: What do you know about their background? Do they have any sort of history of violence?
FORD: They have some -- some of the teens have juvenile backgrounds. Of course, juvenile records on them are part of sealed information, so I'm not real familiar with what the situation was. I know one of them was reporting to a state agency for some of those problems.
TAPPER: Chief Ford, do you have any idea where the weapons used in the crime came from?
FORD: No. We sure wish we did. The one that talked to us gave us the location of where they left it. And it was not out in the open. It wasn't in some place where no one would find it. I think they left it in the apartment complex with other people. So we have been -- that's probably the biggest disappointment to us is that we have not found that weapon yet. But we're not through.
TAPPER: Is this kind of violence, this random, nihilistic violence, is it a problem in your community?
FORD: No. I think that's what everybody needs to understand. I think in the last five years, we have had three or four murders, but this is -- nothing like this, nothing that was for apparently no reason or a reason of sheer boredom.
TAPPER: This murder in your small city with a very small population just under 24,000, it's gained global attention largely because the victim was an Australian baseball player. And those in his home country are outraged.
What do you say to Australians about your community? And have you spoken at all to his family?
FORD: What we have done with the family basically, we tried to -- if you get too many people giving information to the family, so what we did, we assigned a couple people that have been giving them information, so that we don't have everybody from the department calling there.
And they have spoken with them, in fact, did again last night. Brought them totally up to date with what was going to occur today. So they have been talked to. As far as the community, the community is outraged. The community has some fear. I think they have some of the same questions that maybe folks in Australia have. That's about how did the kids get guns? Pretty Simple. They steal them.
The shotgun that we found in the car which was not involved in the incident had the serial number ground off. It was obviously hidden in the vehicle. It was under the spare tire in the spare compartment. That's a pretty good indication that those weapons have been taken illegally.
TAPPER: One final question before you go, sir. Can you give us any idea about the parenting of these kids? Do they come from two-family homes? Are their parents outraged, shocked, surprised?
FORD: I can just go by what I have read in the local media about the parents. I know that one of them has a parent that is incarcerated. I know that the others have -- one of them has a two-parent home or at least that's what the indication is. But I don't know a whole lot about the family situation.
TAPPER: All right. Police Chief Danny Ford, thank you for your time. We appreciate it.
FORD: You bet. Not a problem.
TAPPER: Now to Georgia. We have new information about shots that rang out at an elementary school and the suspect who is now in custody.
CNN's David Mattingly is at the school in Decatur just outside of Atlanta -- David.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, the most remarkable thing about this incident is that no one was hurt. Parents now, hundreds of them, having taken their kids home now thinking about what might have been and thinking about how tragic this could have been.
Right now authorities are telling us exactly how this played out. A gunman, a lone gunman carrying an AK-47 was able to get into the school by going through when the door was still open after it had been buzzed open for someone else. He went in that way, went into the office. Held a couple of the office personnel hostage. Then as police arrived, he exchanged gunfire with them firing about a half dozen times at the officers.
They returned fire, and then this gunman described only as a 19-year- old man gave just himself up without incident from there. But you can imagine how tense and how scared everyone at that school was. And particularly after the man was taken into custody, then they found his car out in the parking lot and one of the police dogs was able to get a sniff of something that could be explosives.
And from that point, the police chief said they had to be even more careful with the children's lives. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CEDRIC ALEXANDER, DEKALB COUNTY POLICE CHIEF: Upon further investigation, what we learned that the vehicle that he came in was parked in front of the vehicles and when our canine dogs hit on the vehicle, we suspect it may have been some type of explosives inside of the vehicle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: Needless to say, they're being very careful about proceeding with that car. But they are looking at it very slowly, very methodically. No word yet on actually if there were any explosives inside.
TAPPER: All right, David Mattingly, thank you so much.
Coming up next, we will break down a new report on climate change and the role humans play in global warming.
And did the governor accuse President Obama hating white people or not? This is a man who has been known to say some outrageous things.
TAPPER: Parts of Idaho's pristine mountain areas are engulfed in flames this hour, where two raging wildfires have taken already devoured more than 100,000 acres.
TAPPER: Scientists were 90 percent certain humans are causing global warming when a United Nations panel issued a climate change report in 2007. Now they say they're 95 percent certain.
That's the new figure anyway in an upcoming report. CNN obtained a draft summary of it.
CNN's Tom Foreman is combing through it -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Jake.
This really is big news for people who have been following this debate on both sides for a long time. You know about climate change, the idea that basically greenhouse gases are trapping heat from outside. And you're correct. They're now well over 90 percent saying that human activity is responsible for the preponderance of this.
Important to note they are saying there are other factors, but the preponderance of it is coming as a result of humans doing this. What is making -- and what is the result of all this? Rising oceans. Why? Because we have warmer oceans and those warmer oceans are causing melting icecaps and beyond that melting of glaciers and other large ice areas in the world, for example, Greenland. I want you to watch this amazing piece of animation from NASA here tracking over the past few years what's been happening to ice up in Greenland. You see all these light blue areas around the edge there, that's where the ice has been steadily melting and retreating for this entire country of Greenland.
As you go on through on the years, this is about 2005 here. As it's moves forward, you start seeing even the middle of the country here as it starts warming up and they're losing even more and more ice. By the time you get through this entire animation, what you see is that NASA captured how basically this entire area has seen significant loss in ice all of which goes out into the oceans, Jake.
And that's the real key here, the concern about what's that's going to add up to in the long run.
TAPPER: Todd, what about the effects on American cities?
FOREMAN: Yes, that's the thing that most people are concerned about here.
Let's take a look at that. If we move on beyond this, you look at Miami down here. This is where Miami is right now, Everglades National Park. It's a little bit hard to see. But I want you to watch. As this progresses, what they're predicting is over the next 80 or 90 years if nothing changes, what you would see is a real encroachment. Areas like this down here where you have the Florida Keys, they would basically go completely underwater. And a lot of areas would also be affected by much, much higher water levels.
And even if you go up to major cities like New York City, for example, look at this. This is the island of Manhattan right here right now and this is the edge of it. And you can see that's where the new edge would be. All of this out in here would be lost.
What would that include? The simple truth is if you had it lost all the way out there, you would see things like Wall Street essentially starting to go underwater. You would see the Statue of Liberty, the island that supports it out here starting to go underwater. Does that mean it'll happen?
No. We have a lot of time in which people could build levees and that sort of thing to keep it back. But it does mean it would become a genuine problem if this goes on unabated. That's what this whole debate is all about. Now there's an even greater agreement among all these climate scientists from around the world that, in fact, humans are making some of this happen and only humans can stop it from happening worse -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Tom Foreman, thank you.
Coming up, it's a great learning experience, but White House interns are pushing now to get paid. We will take you behind the scenes of the lobbying campaign.
Also at the White House, a magic moment in sports history four decades in the making.
TAPPER: There's growing pressure on employers across America to pay their interns. The newest target? President Obama. White House interns traditionally work long hours without pay. Now some say they can't afford it.
CNN Money reporter Emily Fox was an unpaid White House intern a few years ago. She joins me now.
You have talked to the group lobbying the White House to pay interns. What did they tell you about why the interns should get paid?
EMILY FOX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're saying that the president has been stumping for months for a higher minimum wage, yet at the same time he has people working for free in the White House. So they're asking the president to step up and set an example for other employers.
TAPPER: Why is all this outrage mounting now?
FOX: Well, it's really been the summer of the unpaid intern. We have seen a number of interns take their former employers to court actually from places from Fox Searchlight and "Hearst" magazine. And it's really coming to a head because young people just can't afford to work for free when they're staring mountains of student loans in the face.
They're saying that this is the only way to get their foot in the door, but it's really putting them in a tough spot.
TAPPER: Also, of course, there are those who argue that it discriminates against those people, only allowing those who can afford to work for free to have these opportunities.
You are a former White House intern. What specifically were your responsibilities and how did you and other interns pay for things?
FOX: Yes. I worked in the White House as an intern in the Department of Cabinet Affairs in the summer of 2010. And I have to say it was the most interesting job I have ever had, my present job excluded, mostly because I got to see Bo Obama around the White House.
But it cost me several thousands of dollars just to be and to live and to work there. Many employer -- many former interns have to rely on their families for support and many rack up a serious amount of debt just to be a White House intern. So it's a tough spot.
TAPPER: Emily Fox, thank you so much.
FOX: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: Next: a Cabinet-level meeting on the future of U.S. aid to Egypt. But the White House says the reports about it are wrong. And the governor of Maine denies making a stinging remark about President Obama. So what did he actually say?
TAPPER: Happening now: A Republican governor who has said some outrageous things about the president insists it isn't true this time.
Plus, an honor worth waiting for. The NFL's only undefeated team in history finally makes it to the White House. Hall of Famer Larry Csonka tells me about it.
And during the dog days of summer, the White House tries to make things sunny. You will understand those horrific puns in just a second.
Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Jake Tapper. And you, my friend, are in THE SITUATION ROOM.
President Obama held a Cabinet-level meeting today on the future of U.S. aid to Egypt. The administration is reviewing its financial help as Egypt reels from political turmoil and violence. And the White House insists no decisions have yet been made.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: That review that the president ordered in early July has not concluded. And reports to the contrary that reports -- published reports to the contrary that suggest that assistance to Egypt has been cut off are not accurate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: But some officials on Capitol Hill say they were told that that aid to Egypt is on hold.
Let's bring in our chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin.
Jessica, what are you learning about that?
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, one U.S. official tells me although the administration will not call events in Egypt a coup, they're behaving as though that's exactly what happened and withholding economic and military assistance to the country.
Now, as you know, the White House disputes that and they're saying some money is still going to Egypt. In fact, at the White House briefing today, Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest was careful to avoid getting specific about just what kind of money is going to Egypt and he instead tried to explain the White House's larger goals with the aid and in the process even define how aid works. Here's Josh Earnest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) EARNEST: While that broader package of assistance is under review, there are some smaller packages that have moved forward. One of the things the administration is doing is trying to preserve some flexibility, so that the outcome of that review can present the president with a range 9of options.
It's not like the faucet is turned on, right? It's not.
QUESTION: But we understand that. But that...
EARNEST: The faucet is not turned on because it's not a faucet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YELLIN: So the faucet's not turned on, Jake, because it's not a faucet.
What is clear is the White House is not going to make any official pronouncements about aid until this review here is complete.
The bottom line is, with the delicate situation in Egypt, they're just mindful of the words they're using from the podium. So they're being very careful about what they say and obviously saying something very different to officials behind the scenes -- Jake.
TAPPER: I appreciate the clarity on the faucet issue. Jessica Yellin, thank you very much from the White House.
And now to Egypt and the bloody power struggle between the interim military government and opponents in the Muslim Brotherhood. Our senior international correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh, joins us live from Cairo.
Nick, the crackdown continues there with the military getting the upper hand. What's the latest?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's very quiet again on the streets. We have had a series of arrests in the past 24 hours. Prominent amongst them, of course, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, mounted by the -- picked up by police in the house of a school teacher. The school where that school teacher worked was then searched, 38 people arrested, weapons confiscated. They said police equipment that was seized by -- by militants during a raid on a nearby police station.
The Brotherhood moves swiftly to say the charges against him are all trumped up, appoints his deputy as a successor. But the real issue here is the government being much more successful in painting the Brotherhood as terrorists. They seem pretty oblivious to outside criticism.
And we've seen really, most importantly, despite about a hundred arrests and including the most senior leader the Brotherhood has, they have not called their people back out onto the streets to protest. That's the difference here. We're not sure if it's because they're regrouping or because they lack enthusiasm at the ground level here, but really, this appears to -- there could be something going underground because there's no other real option, Jake.
TAPPER: Nick, we have been -- we in the United States have been blamed for being on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood. We have been blamed for being on the side of Mubarak, of the current military.
When you are out there in the streets, do people think that we're just on the side of whoever they are against? Is there any sense that anyone thinks that the U.S. is on their side?
WALSH: No. There's little rationality in the conversations you have with people on the street here.
The pro-Morsy people are reasonably friendly towards us in the media, to be honest, because their own access to the outside world has been cut off. They see you as a way of telling their story. Although they're broadly suspicious of the U.S. and the west for their support, they say, of Israel in the region.
The anti-Morsy crowds, the people pro-the military intervention, the coup, call it what you like, they're very anti-the U.S. because they consider the U.S. to be in support of Morsy.
It's a very delicate situation out here. And as you can see, it's why the U.S. are treading so carefully. Whatever they say upsets somebody.
But at the end of the day, the reason you and Jessica had to pass the White House and State Department's statements so carefully is that they're trying not to say anything right now. I think wait for the moment and the fuss to pass, and then really continue businesses as usual. Because at the end of the day, Washington and Cairo simply need each other. Washington really needing this strategic ally, not just for Israel's security, for its ability to function in this region as efficiently as it does at the moment -- Jake.
TAPPER: And before I let you go, you've been to a lot of very, very dangerous places. How safe is it for you to walk the streets of Cairo?
WALSH: It's pretty tricky at the moment. We don't get around to film very much. When you do try filming -- we filmed at a mosque recently. And within minutes of being there, there are people asking what are you doing? Why are you here? And you have to leave, frankly, because the problem with this city is when crowds gather around you, that's when tension builds.
I've had colleagues who have been attacked in the past few days. And there's a real sense here of people turning on the foreign media because they believe them, in the eyes of those pro-military intervention, to be behind some of the negative depictions of what's been happening here in the past. And by that, I mean the deaths of hundreds of people, mostly at the hands of security forces -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Nick Paton Walsh, my friend, be safe. Thank you for your report. Coming up next, Maine Republicans engage in damage control even though the governor is denying an outrageous remark about the president. Coming up next.
But first, as we count down to the return of CNN's "CROSSFIRE," take a look at this vintage clip from the CNN "CROSSFIRE" archives.
STEPHANIE CUTTER, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": 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, FORMER CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": You're against the thing that makes this country a unity and that makes this country great. And I -- I think you -- 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 damn disgrace to the country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. No.
BRADEN: Oh, yes, you are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a strong belief.
BRADEN: And you know what? You people were beaten, beaten, beaten, beaten. I don't know what we're doing in 1982 talking to you.
TAPPER: The Republican governor of Maine is responding to reports that he publicly accused President Obama of hating white people. CNN national political correspondent Jim Acosta has more on that -- Jim.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, as you know, Maine's governor, Paul LePage, has courted controversy before, but this time, he is denying reports of an outrageous remark he allegedly made about President Obama.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Inside Maine's capitol building, reporters were on the chase, because the state's gaffe-prone governor, Paul LePage, had reportedly stepped in it again. According to two of Maine's top newspapers, LePage was quoted by unnamed sources as telling a GOP fundraiser last week President Obama, quote, "hates white people." LePage insists that's false.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell us what you said?
GOV. PAUL LEPAGE (R), MAINE: No, I never said that. And you guys are all about gossip.
ACOSTA: Still, the state's GOP leaders have gone into damage control. The spokesman for Maine's Republican Party pointed CNN to what the state's GOP chairman told one reporter, that while he didn't hear the comment in question, "Governor LePage said President Obama had an opportunity to unify the country on race but didn't do anything."
A top advisor to the governor e-mailed CNN this photo, featuring LePage, his wife and children, and a teenager from Haiti, raised by the state's first couple for nearly a decade.
But state leaders have grown weary of LePage's highlight reel of inflammatory comments, whether they're on the president...
LEPAGE: Governor LePage to Obama, go to hell.
ACOSTA: ... on Obama care...
LEPAGE: You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo, the IRS.
ACOSTA: ... on the NAACP...
LEPAGE: Tell them to kiss my butt.
ACOSTA: ... or on Democratic lawmakers.
LEPAGE: But he's the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.
ACOSTA: It's no wonder Maine's assistant GOP Senate leader wrote an op-ed in June he was embarrassed: "The governor's behavior is something I've never seen in Maine politics and could never imagine coming from a Republican."
And it's not the message top Republicans want to hear in Washington, after the RNC just last week tried to spread the word that it hopes to be more inclusive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Republican Party is a party that's open for everyone.
ACOSTA: LePage, whose adviser -- advisers blame the Portland newspaper for the story, say he is running for re-election next year but he will do without the full backing of his party. As one state GOP lawmaker told me privately over the phone earlier today, LePage speaks his mind, and sometimes he says things -- Jake.
TAPPER: He does. He definitely says things. That's an undeniable fact.
ACOSTA: A bit of an understatement.
TAPPER: Let's take a quick look at some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Surprising new details about journalist Michael Hastings of "Rolling Stone" in the L.A. County coroner's report, which rules his death an accident. The 33-year-old former war reporter died in a fiery car crash in Los Angeles in June. Toxicology tests found small amounts of methamphetamine and marijuana in his system. Hastings may have been battling drug addiction. He had relatives who were hoping he'd go to rehab. He may have been using marijuana to treat posttraumatic stress disorder.
Popular and prolific writer Elmore Leonard has died. Readers loved his snappy dialogue, misfit characters and sense of humor, and so did Hollywood, which brought "Get Shorty," "Out of Sight" and his other books to the big screen. Leonard was working on his 46th novel when he died following a stroke two weeks ago. He was 87 years old.
Shares of Barnes & Noble tumbled today after the bookseller reported a big loss and the chairman dropped his bid to buy the retail part of the business. The stock was off as much as 16 percent at one point but ended the day down 12 percent. Last quarter Barnes & Noble lost $87 million, more than double the loss from the same period last year.
Heartwarming pictures of beaming new parents and their baby and even the dogs not good enough for a future king of England, say some critics. The duke and duchess of Cambridge broke with tradition with the first official photos of Prince George, pictures snapped by Kate's father instead of professional photographers. And that's prompted lots of social media sniping about the focus, the lighting, and more. Ah, social media sniping.
Up next, NFL legend Larry Csonka takes us behind the scenes as the 1972 Super Bowl champs are finally honored at the White House. He says it was a hoot.
And move over Bo. It's Sunny at the White House. We're on the move with the Obamas' new dog.
TAPPER: This was a big day at the White House for the sports fan in chief and for the only Super Bowl champs in NFL history to remain undefeated all season.
President Obama hosted members of the 1972 Miami Dolphins, an honor that took four decades to finally happen.
TAPPER (voice-over): This is what perfection looks like. Meet the 1972 Miami Dolphins. Today, 41 years after they accomplished perfection, the only undefeated Super Bowl winning team in NFL history finally had their day at the White House.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know some of them are a little harder to recognize these days. You know, they don't have the afros or the mutton chops, the Fu Manchus.
TAPPER: Well, at least most of the team. A few former members of the championship squad refused to go, because they disagreed with the president's politics.
DON SHULA, HEAD COACH, 1972 MIAMI DOLPHINS: Even though you're a Bears fan, we understand you've got to root for somebody. So...
TAPPER: But after four decades, many of them have remarkably remained a team, bonded by history.
B. OBAMA Each and every time that perfect record has been challenged, team after team has fallen short. But these Dolphins didn't always get the credit they deserved.
TAPPER: It's a trip that may not have happened if not for the former Dolphins tight end Marv Fleming, who spent the past 15 years writing letters and talking to public officials, trying to get some presidential love for his old team.
MARV FLEMING, 1972 MIAMI DOLPHINS TIGHT END: I talked to congress people, mayors, governors. I talked to everybody who was involved at the White House.
TAPPER: His battle cry, why not us? It's a good question. Why not the '72 Dolphins? In case you haven't heard, they're kind of a big deal.
The team, coached by the legendary Don Shula, capped a 17-0 season with a win over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII. It's a feat no other team has been able to accomplish since.
The Dolphins famously, or some might say insufferably, break out a champagne toast when the last undefeated team loses their game each season.
Still until today, no respect from Washington, D.C. So why weren't they honored after running the table in '72? Well, for one, President Nixon was jowls deep in the Watergate scandal at the time.
By while, back then, there was no annual tradition of always hosting winning teams at the White House, just two weeks before the Dolphins beat them at the Super Bowl, Nixon did invite Redskins coach George Allen to a ceremony in the Rose Garden.
Legend has it that Nixon, a Redskins fan, even called a key play for the Redskins in 1971. Perhaps it was a trick play. There's even a tape of Nixon and Allen talking football after the Redskins beat the Cowboys in the regular season that year.
RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You were 15 points behind. And when your offense just wouldn't do a thing. And you know, I thought you were dead.
TAPPER: But today the present White House made good, settling a 40- year-old grudge, giving the perfect team a chance to finally be America's team.
B. OBAMA Congratulations to the Miami Dolphins.
TAPPER: Let's bring in right now one of the most famous players from the undefeated 1972 Dolphins, Hall of Famer and fullback Larry Csonka.
Mr. Csonka, it is an honor. Thanks for joining us.
LARRY CSONKA, 1972 DOLPHINS FULLBACK: It's good to be here, Jake.
TAPPER: So we're used to seeing teams come through the White House all the time to celebrate with the president. You guys are kind of a big deal. And is this an important event for you?
CSONKA: I think so. It's any reason we have after some 40 or 41 years to get together is always appreciated. The fact that we were called to the White House made it even more special.
TAPPER: What's a bigger deal? Being inducted in the Hall of Fame or this? Which one is bigger?
CSONKA: Oh, I don't -- that's a pretty tough comparison. I don't know if either is bigger. I think within the confines of the game, certainly the Hall of Fame is bigger. As far as the public is concerned and the following of the team, even the notoriety of the team, certainly going to the White House is bigger in that respect.
TAPPER: So some of your former teammates -- Jim Langer, Manny Fernandez -- decided not to attend today because they -- they really don't like President Obama's policies and politics. What's your take on that?
CSONKA: Well, that's a political issue. Some of the fellas, this is a country where you have your freedom of speech, freedom to express their politics, freedom to do what you want to do. And I think that's exemplified by the fact that some of the team decided not to come. And that's the political side of it.
On another note, the team side of it, a reason to get together was greatly appreciated by myself and the other fellows. We kind of got a hoot out of being asked to come to the White House and meet the president of the United States.
TAPPER: There's been a lot of talk about why Nixon didn't invite you. Obviously, he was a huge Redskins fan, and he had Coach Allen to the White House two weeks before the Super Bowl. What's your take on why Nixon didn't have you guys come?
CSONKA: Well, I think President Nixon must have certainly had his own reasons. I don't know what they were. But I think that also was a time before it was really a regular thing to bring the Super Bowl champions to the White House. So, while in some respects it may seem that we were neglected, I don't necessarily feel that way.
I think it was even neater to be, 40 or 41 years later, a unique situation that was even more unique after 40, 41 years, then coming to the White House coming to celebrate the team with a pretty unique president that we have right now.
TAPPER: And before you go, one of my favorite things about the '72 Dolphins is that you have a champagne toast every year when the last undefeated team loses. You came close a couple years ago. Before the Patriots lost the Super Bowl, they were undefeated. Do you -- do you think that you will ever see another undefeated team?
CSONKA: I hope not. I hope not to see another undefeated team. But certainly if it happens, you have to recognize the facts. In '85 it was the Bears. A few years ago it was the new England Patriots. Seems like there's always someone knocking at the door, trying to climb the mountain. But right now, we're still alone, setting on the peak.
TAPPER: Of course in '85 the Bears would have been undefeated if it wasn't for a certain team from Miami.
CSONKA: The coach -- coach should have brought that up to the president when he was talking about him being a Bears fan and how they'd only missed by one game. And he should have asked the president what team was that that beat the Bears that year. He always had great timing.
TAPPER: It was, of course, the Miami Dolphins. Larry Csonka, thank you so much for your time. Congratulations 41 years later.
CSONKA: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: Move over, Bo. Now there's a second first dog. CNN's Jeanne Moos is next.
TAPPER: A major shakeup at the White House. At least in the pet department. The Obamas got another one. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Now that there's a second first dog, maybe old-timer Bo could give newcomer Sunny some advice. For instance, expect humans to mix up the two of us for a while.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's the new one.
MOOS (on camera): No, that's the old one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. I don't even know who Bo is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The old one has the white paws.
MOOS (voice-over): You're calling me old? But you're right about the white.
Some dos and don'ts. Don't do what I did and bark at a big guy in a red suit.
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: He hasn't seen Santa before. Quiet.
MOOS: Don't slobber on the White House windows. And don't expect your mistress to keep your most intimate secrets.
M. OBAMA He loves to chew on people's feet.
MOOS: do jump up on her lap. Even if she says not to, she secretly loves it.
Pretty soon you'll grow out of that lame stuffed flamingo and learn the best chew toys are what the TV people use to get sound.
(on camera): Better bone up on your acting skills, Sunny.
(voice-over): They'll probably make you star in holiday videos. Just try not to leave any presents under the tree.
(on camera): And Sunny, be prepared to wear goofy hats or even worse, goofy ears.
(voice-over): That's what I get for barking at him. And this is what I had to wear to promote the Easter egg roll.
Do not trust the media. Barbara Walters once complained that I couldn't shake her hand.
BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS: I said somewhat jokingly, "Well, he's not so smart." OK?
MOOS: Well, smarty-pants, look who got a call from my mistress.
WALTERS: It was Mrs. Obama, would I cut out where I said that Bo wasn't too smart.
MOOS: Though reporters can be insulting, don't do what President Bush's Barney did to one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he get you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got bit by Barney.
MOOS: Remember that when our master says no, he sometimes means maybe. Like when he told his daughters...
B. OBAMA: But I will say that for now one dog's probably enough.
MOOS: Well, here you are.
And we can't fight all the time like the Clintons' cat Socks did with Buddy. That's President Clinton trying to bring about peace.
Forget Socks and Buddy. You and I will be buddies as long as you remember who the first "first dog" is.
M. OBAMA: And then there's Bo.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
TAPPER: One final programming note. My special report, "An Unlikely Hero," will air tomorrow at 10 p.m. Eastern. It's about the next person to get the Medal of Honor.
Remember, you can follow us and what's going on in THE SITUATION ROOM on Twitter. Just tweet the show, @CNNSitRoom. Or tweet me, @JakeTapper.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts coming up -- and now.