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CNN NEWSROOM

White House On Medical Marijuana; School Bus Overturns: Injuries Reported; Smart And Sexy: Yahoo! CEO Goes Glam; Anderson's DNA Samples Requested; Letter: "Euthanize" Your Autistic Son

Aired August 21, 2013 - 14:30   ET

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


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, this is something that I know everyone has been talking about, medical marijuana. Many of you watched Dr. Sanjay Gupta's documentary called "Weed." He made all kinds of waves and buzz because essentially over the course of the year, doing research on medical marijuana, Sanjay Gupta sort of apologized to everyone and changed his stance.

So our chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin was in this White House briefing. She actually asked the deputy White House press secretary about the president's stance. Here's the response.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. government currently classifies marijuana in the category of most dangerous drugs with no medical benefit, the same category as heroin and more harmful than cocaine or meth. Sanjay Gupta, as you may know --

JOSH EARNEST, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: You're distinguished colleague.

YELLIN: Yes, my distinguished colleague, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has just called for reconsideration by the government. Given the reported medical benefits of marijuana, does the president believe the government should reconsider this classification?

EARNEST: Well, Jessica, I can tell you that the administration's position on this has been clear and consistent for some time now. That while the prosecution of drug traffickers remains an important priority, the president and the administration believe targeting individual marijuana users, especially those with serious illnesses and their caregivers is not the best allocation of federal law enforcement resources.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: That just in from the president when it comes to medical marijuana. Question asked by Jessica Yellin.

Coming up, we're going to talk about these pictures getting a lot of buzz as well. Have you seen in "Vogue" Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer making waves with this photo? Some say it shows that smart girls can be pretty too. Others, you (inaudible) with powerful women, what do you think? We're going to have that discussion, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Got some breaking news I want to pass along to you as we look at these pictures. These are aerial pictures from our affiliate out of Kansas here. This is Bonner Spring, Kansas. You see a heck of a lot of emergency personnel. Here's what we know. You can see it there, the school bus on the right side of your screen on its side. This is what we have according to our affiliate KCTV.

This school bus overturned. If you know this area, this is southbound Kansas highway 7, multiple injuries. It's clear by what you're looking at, as they're walking people away. Multiple injuries have been reported. This accident happened just before 1:00 Kansas time near Highway 32. Police say multiple students were onboard and so multiple injuries have been reported.

Also crews are working to rescue a trapped student so huge scene here, many, many personnel tending to multiple students. Presumably here, looks like there are reports it was an occupied school bus as it's now overturned in Kansas. So as soon as we get more information, here's a better look as this cameraman -- you can see several ambulances here on scene treating students onboard this bus. If we get more information, when we get more information, we'll pass it along to you here live.

Meantime, have you seen this picture? Take a look for yourself. Marissa Mayer, Yahoo!'s somewhat controversial CEO. The same Marissa Mayer who's been turning Yahoo!'s corporate culture on its head. Remember her short maternity leave? Two weeks? She also banned Yahoo! employees from working from home. Now here she is striking a pose in "Vogue" magazine.

This single picture has ignited this huge debate among women about climbing the corporate ladder in a world where only 14 percent of executive officers are female and how a woman really should be acting and handling herself when she finally reaches that, you know, much coveted corner office.

Kelly Wallace covers career and family as a CNN digital correspondent and editor at large for CNN digital and Grace Chan is vice president for product management for Wonderful Media. Ladies, let's talk about this image. Kelly Wallace, first to you. What's wrong with this?

KELLY WALLACE, CNN DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting. I personally don't think there's anything wrong with it, actually. I kind of embrace smart women that can be beautiful and sexy and all things. So I sort of am on the side of that debate. But as I was doing a story yesterday talking to a lot of women, there are women who feel that way. But there are other women who feel, you know, this is not appropriate and not an appropriate pose for a female CEO.

That it sets women back in time. And then there's also a lot of discussion, Brooke, about a double standard. Would a men's magazine ever ask a male CEO to strike such a pose and would a male CEO do that whereas a woman's magazine and a woman CEO might go ahead and do this very same thing so a lot of debate for sure.

BALDWIN: I want to get to the double standard. I want to get to the fact we're even having this debate in 2013 in a hot second. Grace, you know, you're a big VP of a company. If, you know, Anna Wintour comes to you and says we think you're smart and powerful and sexy. You have a smart business dress, photo shoot, the whole deal. I see you shaking your -- would you do it? No? Yes?

GRACE CHAN, VICE PRESIDENT, FINDNSAVE.COM: Well, first of all, I want to say that these pictures are beautiful and stunning. And as a new mother myself, I really admire how Marissa can lose all that baby weight in no time.

BALDWIN: She looks good.

CHAN: Beautiful, beautiful pictures. It is just that if given a personal choice, I probably would not take that picture if I were so lucky to be approached by "Vogue."

BALDWIN: Why not?

CHAN: Well, because my personal opinion is that I would like people to focus on my work as a professional. Rather than trying to blend in my professional image with an overly feminine image. Case in point, for instance, I was looking at this picture, very beautiful. I've seen the picture at least five, six times by now. It was only the last time when I noticed that Marissa had an iPad in her hand.

BALDWIN: Instead you were focused on maybe the pose, the dress, the hair. Kelly, you talk to a lot of people. Are many people in Grace's camp and agree that -- at the same time, your piece points out, look, this isn't "Playboy." It's not that suggestive. What do people tell you?

WALLACE: Exactly. I like hearing from people like Grace who are female executives, who are in that same boat. You have some women who agree with Grace. You have other women, another CEO who said, come on. Why do you have to put your personal, you know, enjoyments to the side. If you like fashion, if you like the way you dress, if you want to look good, why do you have to sort of put that to the side and be in a business suit and dress like a man? Why can't we celebrate a woman?

Why isn't femininity something that we really treasure? So you really get that disagreement, Brooke, from people about, you know, whether it's something that we can celebrate and something that helps women. And other women who feel like this is sort of the last thing we want to do. We don't want women to be sort of valued, as Grace was saying for their looks. We want them to be valued for their brains.

BALDWIN: To your point earlier about the double standard, let's put the picture up because this -- I love Richard Branson and many things that he's doing. But you have this Richard Branson picture. Not this one, but the one with Richard Branson. He's dressed up as a flight attendant. Here we go, right in the middle there. To your point about double standard, Grace, do you see -- do you see, is that fair to call it a double standard?

CHAN: Well, this is a nice picture as well, by the way. But, again, it's not --

BALDWIN: This picture with the lipstick?

CHAN: Well, the thing is that, frankly, I think the picture is very nice. But, again, it's just as a technical female, I think, you know, we really every day work very hard and want to make sure that people see us as professionals. And I think it is my personal opinion that I, again, want to make sure that I do not blend in my feminine image so much with my professional image. For example, I would usually not choose to, if I do have a job interviews, I usually do not choose to wear a skirt for that same reason. Again, this is my personal opinion.

BALDWIN: Absolutely. Every woman, the more successful they get, it's fascinating to hear the different perspectives, read Kelly Wallace's piece. Ladies, thank you.

Coming up, Hannah Anderson, she was kidnapped by James DiMaggio, and her mother and brother were found dead in the burned out home. Well, now DiMaggio's relatives are asking for DNA samples from the 16-year- old. Why? We're on the case.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: More bizarre twists in the Hannah Anderson kidnapping case. What we now know is the family of James DiMaggio wants paternity tests. DNA samples to determine whether DiMaggio may be the father of Hannah and her little brother. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDREW SPANSWICK, SPOKESMAN, JAMES DIMAGGIO'S FAMILY: There's been a lot of rumors about whether or not Jim might be the father of either or both children. We find it very strange he's left all this money without any explanation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: DiMaggio was killed as FBI agents rescued Hannah in the wilderness in Idaho. He left his $112,000 life insurance policy to Hannah's grandmother. DiMaggio allegedly tortured and murdered Hannah's mother and her 8-year-old little brother, Ethan. Their bodies were found in the rubble of this burnt out home. The Anderson family fired back at his paternity test request. Here's what they say. Brett and Tina Anderson did not meet Mr. DiMaggio until the sixth month of Tina's pregnancy with Hannah. Brett Anderson's DNA was used to identify the body of his dead son, Ethan Anderson.

Coming up, a vicious, cruel letter targeting a 13-year-old autistic boy, the letter says so many disturbing things. But most of all suggests that the parents of this young boy should euthanize him. We're going to talk to the boy's dad after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: In a sense when you hear about this letter, there really aren't words, cruel, made this mother cry just reading this. Her son, Max is 13 years old and severely autistic. This letter that they received is about their son.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARLA BEGLEY, MOTHER OF TEEN WITH AUTISM: 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 wailing he constantly makes. That noise he makes when he's outside is dreadful. It scares the hell out of my normal children.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: It was an anonymous letter that was sent by this neighbor to max's grandmother who lives in the Toronto area. And our affiliate CTV news reports that Canadian authorities have opened a criminal investigation. But they do not consider this letter here a hate crime. And there are questions especially, they say, when you hear the worst of the letter. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEGLEY: The part about donating his unretarded body parts to science because he's no good for anything else? That made me want to puke and then when it ended saying to euthanize him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: That is Max's mom. You're about to hear the voice from Ontario, Max's dad, James Begley. James, thank you so much for calling in. First up here, do you know by now who wrote this letter?

JAMES BEGLEY, MAX'S FATHER (via telephone): No, we don't. It's still under investigation. The local police department are still investigating and I believe it's an ongoing investigation.

BALDWIN: We just saw your wife through tears reading parts of the letter. If you can, just take me back to the moment when the two of you read it for the first time.

BEGLEY: My mother-in-law actually received the letter via mail from the post office on Friday afternoon. On my way to her house that night, and she showed the letter to me after phoning the police. I seen it before my wife did. I'm reading it in utter disbelief. You know, totally, totally shocked and appalled that an individual, you know, on this earth in this day and age could feel such hatred. It was -- you know, it was beyond me how ignorant this person was. I -- I then went home and showed the letter to my wife. And, you know, my poor wife was just bawling and shaking. It's so disturbing and disgusting.

BALDWIN: Is it -- I hear words like ignorance, disgusting, sad. What word best expresses how you feel now that a few days have passed? BEGLEY: Well, we've had some time to process it. You know, at the end of the day, it's just one sick person's words. It doesn't mean anything to us. It's sad that somebody can be so ignorant and hateful. But, you know, it in no way reflects the nature, you know, of our son and our son is nothing like -- like the letter may state.

BALDWIN: I know we were talking on commercial break. You said really the world has rallied behind you. You've been getting e-mails, et cetera, just sort of voicing their own support. I just wanted to end with this question. If and when you do discover who wrote this, who cowardly wrote this letter, what would you say to him or her?

BEGLEY: Well, to be honest, physically, I think I would need some restraint. You know, because I might just, you know, try to physically kill this person. But to say something to this person, to be honest, I think it would be an utter waste of time. A person this sick and demented would not understand, you know, any education that I would try to bring to this person. You know, I could try to explain how ignorant this person is and, you know, provide some autism awareness. But it's not going to sink in. This person is a lost cause and they wouldn't get it.

BALDWIN: James Begley, I thank you very much. Give our best to Max, will you? Thanks for calling in.

BEGLEY: My pleasure.

BALDWIN: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: One of CNN's most famous programs returning next month so one of the new hosts shares a clip. We'll call it a "CROSSFIRE" classic.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH, HOST, CNN'S "CROSSFIRE": New "CROSSFIRE" is going to bring a lot of new things to television. It's also going to bring some that have been around a long time. I'm going to share with you 21 years ago a topic that we're going to be talking about for the next few years, maybe for the next decade. Hillary Clinton. If Hillary Clinton has a public life, if she is a professional woman who gave up baking cookies to have a full-time profession, if she goes to the bar association luncheon to praise Anita Hill, if she is the head of the children's defense fund at one point, if she's on the legal services board, as a fool professional I would assume she'd want to be in the fray. It's a distinction every professional woman in the United States has to make in terms of how they're dealt with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)