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Mayor Bob Filner May Resign Friday; Obama's Plan to Cut College Costs; UPS Drops Working Spouses' Insurance; Fraternity Suspended over Facebook Posts; Tipping Point on Climate Debate?; Twins Suffered from Allergies

Aired August 22, 2013 - 14:30   ET



DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Just past the bottom of the hour, everyone. I'm Don Lemon. San Diego's Mayor Bob Filner may resign and it could happen tomorrow. Our affiliate KGTV reports the 70-year-old Democrat will resign if the San Diego City Council accepts a proposed mediation agreement. The city council meets tomorrow in a closed-door session. Eighteen women have accused him of sexual impropriety. His alleged victims say Filner made sexual suggestions and inappropriately touched them.

I want to bring our legal panel back in now, former criminal prosecutor, Faith Jenkins, joins me. She's right here in New York and criminal defense attorney, Darren Kavinoky joins me, he's in Atlanta. Faith, I'm going to start with you this time. Are you surprised -- I don't think many people are -- that Filner is going to step down or possibly going to step down?

FAITH JENKINS, FORMER CRIMNAL PROSECUTOR: No, not at all. This is not someone who had a fleeting moment of indiscretion. I mean, he, if you believe all of the women who have come forward, this is an individual who really displayed signs of someone who is a serial perpetrator of sexual harassment. And in a leadership position like that, that's not who you want your leaders to be and the kind of behavior you want them to --

LEMON: Accusing sexual harassment victims of sexual harassment.

JENKINS: Right. And it's completely horrible in a city, from a legal standpoint, can you imagine, and the city allowed him to be there and this behavior perhaps continue with additional women, the liability that the city would be facing for essentially condoning this behavior and looking the other way.

DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: But here's one of the problems, if I can chime in briefly on this, Don, and Faith. You used the words "if you believe all of the allegations against him" and that's a mighty big "if." Some of these accusations from some of the women were very -- they described very clumsy encounters, but not necessarily the kind of encounters that would make him a serial sexual harasser. And as a matter of fact, some just seem so innocent. There's clearly strength in numbers, but one of these accusers said that he grabbed both of her hands and asked for a date. If you took out the words "Bob Filner" and inserted the words "Ryan Gosling," you wouldn't have a problem.

LEMON: Wait, wait, wait, Darren, what are you saying here? You're saying because Ryan Gosling is a star and he's, you know, good-looking that it would make a difference to these women?

KAVINOKY: I think in some of these cases, look, I don't say -- I don't come at this story as a Filner defender who's saying everything is rosy. It's clearly not. And I think he's making the right political move to step down. But I've looked a to the details of some of these accusations, and it's not as bad as you would believe just looking at the headline, when you get down to the nitty-gritty, I think Ryan Gosling --

LEMON: He's a serial -- I don't know about that.

JENKINS: Darren, these women have come forward and say that they feel that they have been victimized, and who am I to step into their place and say, actually, no, this was just incidental contact.

LEMON: If this person was good looking, you would want it --

JENKINS: And this is a person who clearly has a pattern and practice of conducting himself in this behavior, doing this behavior with women, not only three of the women involved work in the city, so he's putting himself in a position, and using his position of leadership and authority to essentially prey on employees of the city.

KAVINOKY: And let's remember that it's only those three women that are employed by the city that would actually have standing to bring the kind of sexual harassment claims that we're talking about. In many of these instances, my only point here is that Filner may have been clumsy, may have been misguided. I don't know that in each one of these cases, and I don't say this to put a knock on the victims, or the alleged victims, but I don't know that when you really look at his behavior, that it amounts to him being a serial, sexual harasser. That's my point although I think he's doing the right thing to get out of the way.

LEMON: All right, so, listen, innocent until proven guilty, but I think it's two to one here, Darren. Thank you very much. These guys will be back with us. We'll debate other topics as well here, at least discuss, some of them may be debated.

You know, we have all been hearing about the massive amount of debt that young people are saddled with when they get out of college, the national total, $1.1 trillion and counting. That's more than Americans collectively owe on credit cards. And just a couple of hours ago, President Obama proposed new ways to hold down the cost of a college degree. Here's part of what he said.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: At a time when a higher education has never been more important, or more expensive, too many students are facing a choice that they should never have to make. Either they say no to college and pay the price for not getting a degree, and that's a price that lasts a lifetime, or you do what it takes to go to college, but then you run the risk that you won't be able to pay it off because you've got so much debt. Now, that's a choice we shouldn't accept.


LEMON: The president's centerpiece proposal, rating colleges on tuition, on-time graduation rates, how much students owe on school loans upon graduation, how much graduates earn in the working world, and the percentage of students who are lower income. The idea is to give bigger federal grants and more affordable loans who students who choose to attend schools that do well in the ratings.

Rana Foroohar is at CNN. She is CNN's global economic analyst and assistant managing editor of "Time." So Ranna, will the president's proposals do much to hold down the rising costs of going to college?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, they're not necessarily going to hold down the inflation that colleges have been presenting us with over the last years, but they are going to offer a way for lower-income kids to get to school. And the fact is that the 14 million new jobs that are going to be created in our economy over the next decade will require at least a community college agree, if not a four-year degree. So that's going to become more and more important. If you want to have a future that is something beyond $15 an hour, you're going to need that degree.

LEMON: So, Rana, I also want to ask you about U.P.S., the big change in U.P.S. health insurance. If you're a non-employee and your husband or wife works, U.P.S. plans to kick your spouse off its medical plan, and the company's blaming Obamacare. Is that the wave of the future? I mean, is that the full story or are they just looking for a scapegoat?

FOROOHAR: Well, you know, A, it is the way of the future. You know, speaking about college price inflation, health care inflation is between 7 percent and 10 percent a year, and that's with or without Obama care. So I do think that you're going to see a lot of companies using Obamacare in the ACA as an excuse to make changes in their plan that they might have been planning to make already.

In fact, there was a big survey of a bunch of Fortune 500 firms. About 4 percent are planning similar changes this year, 8 percent in 2014. And one interesting point is that women of child-bearing age tend to drive up health care costs. And that may be one reason that you'll see a lot of companies opting to push spouses off if they can.

LEMON: All right, Rana Foroohar, thank you, Rana. Appreciate that. And tomorrow, the exclusive interview with President Obama. CNN's Chris Cuomo meets up with the president today as he hits the road on that bus tour for education reform. His exclusive interview is tomorrow morning on CNN's "NEW DAY," 6:00 a.m. join them then.

Coming up, Al Gore compares climate change skeptics to racists and homophobes. Why? Well, that's later. But first, a Facebook page gets a Florida fraternity suspended. Drug deals, indecent pictures of underage girls and more. What charges they could face. That story is next.


LEMON: A fraternity at Florida International University gets busted after a private Facebook page becomes public. Now Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity is suspended and under investigation. John Zarrella is with the details from Miami. So John, what are the allegations against this fraternity?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, an anonymous e-mail was sent out to university administrators and multiple news organizations and that e-mail contained some 70 posts from a private Facebook page that appears to belong to the fraternity. And on these posts, there's everything from worrying about hazing, drugs, alcohol, pictures, indecent pictures of women. I'm going to go through just a few of what we saw and found in those posts.

Here's the first one. "Guys, my boy made weed cookies and is trying to get rid of them quickly." Another one, "on campus, I only have v- vans left." Another one, "so I'm sold out of 20 milligram Adi." Those are apparently references to Adderall, ADHD medications. Another one, "what exactly are we supposed to teach these ruby pledges? Do we haze them?" And one of the responses, "haze the blank out of them, end of story."

And a last one, "whoever is in charge of t-shirt sales, I think it goes without saying, but please, for the love of blank, do not sell tanks to heavyset women." That's just a sampling, Don, of what was out there and there are a lot that are even a lot more graphic than that.

LEMON: So, has this frat -- and I have to tell you, these are serious charges, but we all went to college, we know how fraternities operate. Some of this may not raise eyebrows to a lot of people, but has this particular frat had a history of violations?

ZARRELLA: Yes, you go back to 2006, 2008, in '08, they had an unregistered party, alcohol to minors and drinking games and they received probation for about a year. In 2010, probation again, and in that particular instance, they had spray painted somebody's car with obscene words and broke the windshield and they were, you know, they were found to have actually done that. So they were on probation again. And, in fact, they were on conduct probation right now, which was supposed to expire on the 25th of August. Obviously, that's not going to happen.

LEMON: All right, John Zarrella, appreciate it.


LEMON: Coming up, Al Gore raising some eyebrows for comparing global warming skeptics to racists and homophobes. But what set him off? That's next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Former Vice President Al Gore says the debate over climate change has reached a tipping point. In an interview with the "Washington Post," he said, even some opponents in Congress have told him privately that they've begun to come around to his point of view. He compared it to other contentious social issues that face long uphill struggles such equal rights for gays and minorities, and as he put it, "I remember a time when one of my friends made a racist joke and another said, man, we don't go for that anymore. And then a few months ago, I saw an article about two gay men standing in line for pizza and some homophobe made an ugly comment about them, holding hands, and everyone else in line told them to shut up. We're winning that conversation."

Our chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley, is the anchor of CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" and he joins us from Washington. So, Candy, is this really a direct comparison of, you know, climate change to people who oppose it to racists and homophobes or is he just relating a story here. Did he go too far in making a point?

CANDY CROWLEY, HOST, CNN'S "STATE OF THE UNION": We come across this sort of thing all the time, I think, when something is as important to someone as climate change and all that that means to Al Gore, he really devoted most of his public life, and now his private life, to arguing what is coming, what needs to be done, about climate change, about global warming. They tend to sort of tag it to things that we already know were pivotal moments in history, or pivotal movements in history.

We've seen it before, whether it's the holocaust or civil rights movement. And there are some that don't like the comparison between gay rights movements and the civil rights movement. So, you know, in his -- I think if you said to him, are you comparing the civil rights movement to global warming, he would probably say, well, not, you know, it's not a word for word, but I think it is what people do to express their, like, this is really important to me, sort of thing. And a lot of people are going to say it's clumsy.

LEMON: I'm just wondering if there's real outrage around this. Have you heard any African-Americans speak out about it? Have you heard any gay groups speak out or is it just in the media or people who don't happen to like Al Gore. I'm not making excuses for Al Gore, I'm just wondering if this is a faux outrage.

CROWLEY: I have not taken a measure of the outrage or talked to people who have found it was just so horrible. But, again, some of these movements that -- where people bled and died or, times in history when people were massacred, just the holocaust, there are people, you know, standing on this earth who survived that and went through it. And when someone uses it to attach it to what really has been a political conversation, which is climate change, they don't tend to like it. I'm sure there are some people that are outraged by it. But Al Gore thinks that climate change -- many people think that climate change is about survival on this earth. So you can see where he's going. You can also understand that people would say, wait a second here so --

LEMON: Yes, very well-put, great answer. Thank you, Candy Crowley. Appreciate that. Make sure you catch Candy on "STATE OF THE UNION" this Sunday, 9:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN. Again, our thanks to Candy Crowley.

And coming up, she was kidnapped for days without knowing her mother and brother were murdered. Now Hannah Anderson is breaking her silence and she makes a big revelation about her relationship with her abductor. We'll talk to a psychologist about that.

Plus, Bradley Manning wants to be a woman, but the army won't pay for it. My legal panel is going to debate that, whether he has a case.


LEMON: Epipens can prevent life threatening reactions for allergy sufferers, but Evan and Eric Edwards found them cumbersome to carry around, especially for teenagers, so they vowed to make an alternative version. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta has their story in this week's "Human Factor."


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As long as twins, Evan and Eric Edwards can remember, they had allergies. The official diagnosis came when they were 3.

ERIC EDWARDS, HAS SEVERE ALLERGIES: We grew up allergic to all egg products, all seafood, including shellfish and fish, all peanuts, all tree nuts, and most antibiotics.

GUPTA: Plus, seasonal allergies as well. For them, school was a huge challenge.

ERIC EDWARDS: We were those guys who had to be placed at a special table at lunch to try to ensure that there was no potential for contamination.

GUPTA: With the near-constant threat of anaphylaxis, which is a severe life threatening allergic reaction, the twins had to have Epipens at all times. That's a pen like device that injects a dose of epinephrine to stop a sharp drop in blood pressure and serious breathing problems. But they both thought their Epipens were too bulky and they often didn't carry them. Both have had these really close calls.

So when they left high school, they decided to invent a smaller, more portable device. They tailored their college classes around the new invention they were designing. After college, they started their company, Inteliject, and last year the FDA approved Auvi-Q. It's an epinephrine auto injector that's about the size of a credit card, and it's the first to talk you through an injection. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.