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CNN NEWSROOM

Obama's Push to Cut College Costs; Grading Obama's College Plan; App Lets Women Rate Guys Anonymously; The "Lulu" App Controversy; Celebrating a Civil Rights Hallmark; Photographer Snaps Close Up Photos; Dad: Thrill Killing Was Gang "Initiation"; Arrest After WWII Vet's Death; Couple's Alleged Plot to Kill Cops

Aired August 23, 2013 - 14:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: It is the bottom of the hour. I am Brianna Keilar. President Obama wants college students to get more bang for their buck. The president is trying to sell his plan to shrink college costs and shake up higher education. He wants the federal government to create a new rating system, to rank colleges and universities on the value they provide students. Obama sat down for this exclusive one-on-one interview with CNN "NEW DAY" host Chris Cuomo.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Once we develop the rating systems, part of what we're going to argue to Congress is that we should tie in some way the way financial aid flows to schools that are doing really well on this and not so much on schools that aren't. If a school has a higher default rate than it does a graduation rate, then we should give them a chance to improve, but ultimately we don't want kids settled with debt, we want them to get a degree and be able to get a good job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Obama wants the new ranking system up and running fast by 2015 and he also wants to link government-backed student aid to college performance. So how are folks grading President Obama's plan? Yahoo! finance columnist Rick Newman joining us now in New York. Rick, I'm curious, would you give the president an A or an F on this one?

RICK NEWMAN, COLUMNIST, YAHOO! FINANCE: I think I'd probably give him a B or a B Plus on this. There's something refreshing about this. We're used to hearing President Obama and other politicians in Washington say they've got this great idea. The only problem is it will have to get through Congress. Of course, that's impossible because nobody can agree on anything. The government can actually start doing these ratings that Obama's talking about without congressional approval.

This is something the Department of Education is planning to roll out on its own. It doesn't require any change in the law and the Education Department is already collecting a lot of the information that will enable it to do these ratings. So that is actually going to be a new source of information for consumers, which can only help people who are trying to figure out where they should go to college and where they will get the best return on what is really a humongous investment of money.

KEILAR: Let's talk about the money. There are some critics, obviously, of the government subsidizing loans, and the federal government actually profits from lending college students money. So feds have some skin in the game here. Can the federal government really be a fair arbiter do you think of a college's value?

NEWMAN: Well, that's a fair question. And this gets to the second part of this idea, which will require new legislation, congressional approval, and that's to tie federal aid to these metrics about schools. So if one of your metrics is affordability or graduation rates, people going to those schools might get more federal aid. There are problems with that. That's a thorny issue.

So I think it's less clear that's likely to happen. And yes, there are some issues with federal aid. There's a lot of it. I think it totals about $150 billion a year. A lot of people think that this huge amount of money that the government basically guarantees actually is one factor that has been pushing up tuition.

Now, you can't say well because we want tuition to fall the government should guarantee less aid for students. That's not going to be very popular. But we're talking about small steps that might do something at least in the beginning here to help students.

KEILAR: Yes. And it's interesting to hear talk of what congress has needed to do and what the administration can do without Congress' help because there isn't really a lot of I guess common ground there. Rick Newman, thanks for joining us.

NEWMAN: Sure.

KEILAR: Coming up, a terror plot to kidnap police officers. Put them on trial and kill them. Two people have been arrested. How police foiled this deadly domestic plot next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: The army sergeant who admitted to gunning down 16 Afghan civilians has been sentenced to life in prison without parole. Robert Bales pleaded guilty to 16 counts of murder and a military injury has been decided whether he would be able to get parole. During the sentencing phase, Bales admitted to using steroids, sleeping pills and alcohol and slipping off base to go on a house to house killing spree. He also took responsibility for the killings, calling his rampage a quote, "act of coward." We'll be right back after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: A new controversial and popular app may force some guys to straighten up their act with the ladies. Laurie Segall is here to tell us what this "Lulu" app is all about. Anyway, nearly 1 million women have actually downloaded this on their phones, Laurie. So what is this?

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In short, it's let's you anonymously review men. So you got the next boyfriend, you have relatives, anyone you want. You can go on this app and review them. So a lot of women not surprisingly are going on and reviewing them. You can actually -- there's an actual score that guys get based on these reviews. I want to show an actual profile and I will say, a friend of ours gave us permission to use his.

Their friend, John, he has a 9.4, and his friends went on and they reviewed him based on humor, appearance, manners, ambition and obviously, you know, some of these reviews can be good. Some of them can be bad. Brianna, one of the interesting parts of these reviews and I think a lot of the traction its gaining are the way women can review men.

They are doing it through hashtags. I want to show you some of the most popular hashtags you're going to see if you go on and you review guys on "Lulu," #ManChild, #Can'tBuildIkeaFurniture, I mean, that's an issue, #DoesHisOwnLaundry, obviously very important, #StillLovesHisEx and I think this one might be my personal favorite because I guess, a deal breaker, #OwnsCrocs.

So you know, it's kind of become this online forum for women to go in and anonymously review guys that they might have an opinion on -- Brianna.

KEILAR: It could be a deal breaker owning Crocs, very possible. OK, so Laurie, our friend John there knows that he's on it. He volunteered for it, but some guys don't know that they are on it. I imagine that raises privacy concerns.

SEGALL: It absolutely does. We did a quick review of the newsroom and a lot of the guys in the newsroom don't know that they are on it. So, you know, that does raise privacy concerns. I actually spoke to the folks at "Lulu." They said, you can go, there's actually a "Lulu" app that you can actually go on and change your review, but you can edit your profile a little bit. You can request to be taken off, but you know, the women at "Lulu" say, this could encourage better behavior with me if they're accountable. But let's be honest, anytime you have the ability to anonymously review somebody online in this age of online polling, you got to be a little bit careful -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Certainly, but you remember hot or not. So this is kind of like -- this is like a girl's revenge, I think.

SEGALL: It totally is. You're absolutely right.

KEILAR: Laurie Segall, thank you for that.

Some critics of the "Lulu" app say if the tables were turned and guys could rate women it would be flat-out sexist. A writer for the "Daily Beast" even said it's a form of cyber bullying. So I want to bring in David Begnaud. He is host of "News Breaker with David Begnaud." David, do you think there's sexism here and if so, does it fly because it normally goes the other way?

DAVID BEGNAUD, HOST, "NEWSBREAKER WITH DAVID BEGNAUD": Brianna, here's the thing. We're used to rating movies, now we are rating dudes? What's going on? But the bottom line is, if there was an app where guys could rate women the first headline would be sexist app hits mobile phones. I don't think it's sexist. I think it's fun in the sense that as your reporter just said, maybe it makes guys step up their game and act better. I do not think it's sexist but there is a total double standard because we're poking fun at it now and saying it might make guys be better gentlemen. But if this is what a dude app and we were rating women, my gosh the firestorm.

KEILAR: Of course, and when you're talking about something like this you can always sort of see the room that there would be for as you mentioned maybe guys behave better. But there's also room for abuse.

BEGNAUD: Right.

KEILAR: So "Huffington Post" says the app lets women review men like restaurants. We mentioned earlier the issue of cyber bullying. How big of a concern is that?

BEGNAUD: Look, here's the thing. I think to the degree that the app will allow you to remove yourself to some extent if you feel like you're being bullied I think that's a safeguard that should be built in. For the most part I think it's poking fun, owning crocs, like you. You probably want to stay away from a guy like that. But if you feel you're being bullied there should be a safeguard built in if that's built any think no harm no foul.

KEILAR: Certainly there should be a safeguard against crocs, no, really against obviously the issue of abuse here.

BEGNAUD: Right?

KEILAR: David Begnaud, thank you for your insight.

BEGNAUD: You got it.

KEILAR: Now up next it's one of the most iconic events and images in American history. And as thousands get ready to mark the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington, one photographer is talking about the pictures that he took behind the scenes. But it's the image of one woman who never knew her face became so iconic until now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw this earnest face. She's really a beautiful young girl. She was so intense. I wasn't the only one to be struck by it.

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: It is the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered for the defining moment of the civil rights movement, a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Our Don Lemon is here now to tell us more.

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, we all know those words. "I have a dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up" and on and on. Those were the words that people remember from the original march on Washington. But there were also the images, those indelible images you see in black and white of the faces who were there, the black and white people who were there.

And one of those was taken by a very young photographer. His name is Roland Sherman, and he was there and spotted one little girl with a sign in her hand behind a picket fence. And she became the face of the march.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was out there covering this giant event, a kid cub reporter with a couple of cameras photographing the whole thing. I was the official government photographer. I couldn't be denied access to any part of it. I was like a free roving guy. You could see the access I had, the proximity I had. It looks like they're in their backyard singing folk songs to each other just for fun.

But as hundreds of thousands of people gather around and listening to them. I'm really so happy with this picture. It shows all the emotion that's gone through this man's face. He was the guy who created the march on Washington. This picture shows the spirit of it. Another face in the crowd, it just happens to be caught at the right moment. I saw this earnest face.

She's really a beautiful young girl and she was so intense. I wasn't the only one to be struck by it. She has become like the face of the march on Washington. I wanted to show the people who couldn't be there the greatness of it, the majesty of it, the scope of it, close ups and long shots and all the faces in the crowd.

And not only the superstars but the people themselves. I was just a kid. I was just starting out. I was like you're a freelancer and this is your first job? What if your first job is like the biggest event that's ever happened in your lifetime?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: So you heard it. It took almost 50 years for her to figure out that she was the iconic face of that march on Washington because a family member told her. So it's not just the words that came out of the march, it was also those images that will leave a lasting impression on the nation not just the nation the world -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Amazing. Don Lemon, thank you.

Coming up, brand-new developments in the murder of a World War II vet, police are hinting this may be a thrill kill by a teenager. We have that story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: Now to a possible motive for the apparent thrill killing of an Australian student in Oklahoma. One father from the community where the suspects live say Christopher Lane's murder was not a random act, but it was part of a gang ritual. Police have not confirmed this claim. But listen to what the dad said to the "Sydney Morning Herald."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES JOHNSON, FATHER: I don't think it was for fun. I don't think it was at random. I think it was an initiation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gang initiation?

JOHNSON: As I understand it, after that happened there's a list that pops up with my son's name at the top of the list and four others they were going to bump out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: In fact, the "Sydney Morning Herald" reports it was Johnson's call to police that led to the arrests of the three suspects. Duncan, Oklahoma police have charged James Edward Jr., age 15 on the left of the screen there, and Chauncey Luna, 16 there, with first degree murder. Michael Jones, who is 17, faces lesser charges for driving the car. Now, the father says these teens tried to get his son to join a gang and they threatened his son's life when he refused to.

James Johnson says his son told him this. He spotted the suspects outside the son's home where police detained them. Johnson told the "Sydney Morning Herald "I just thank God I was there and that Chris was not outside. They could have just driven past and shot him. I don't even like to contemplate that."

Now across the country another apparent random killing, an 88-year-old man survived World War II but not the streets of Spokane, Washington. Police say that they have arrested one of two suspects who beat him to death on Wednesday night, and the defendant is a juvenile. Investigators say the attackers left Delbert Belton for dead after robbing him in a parking lot. His friends called Belton Shorty and they toasted him at one of his hunts, the Eagles Lodge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know he's up there looking down on all of us and we love him, to Shorty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To Shorty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every time I come into town he'd have a project for me to do. I thought of him more as a dad than I did a friend, really. I don't understand how come somebody can do this. I really don't.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Now, friends say that Belton was hit in the leg during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II.

What this couple are accused of will shock you, the 42-year-old David Broush and 67-year-old Devin Newman are members of the Anti-Government Sovereign Citizen Movement. For five months, Las Vegas police have been watching them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LT. JIM SEEBOCK, LAS VEGAS METRO POLICE: As the investigation progressed, we became aware that these two individuals were extremists in their beliefs and were actively plotting to kidnap and kill at least one Southern Nevada police officer. The suspects further believed once the first kidnapping and execution was accomplished they would be compelled to keep repeating their actions, kidnapping and killing multiple officers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Important to mention here, the FBI lists members of this anti-government movement among the nation's top domestic terror threats. Police say the two found a vacant house. They rigged it with bolts drilled into wall supports creating a makeshift jail where they planned to hold captive officers, try them in a court of their own laws, and then kill them.

With us now, Joey Jackson, he's HLN's legal analyst. He's also a former prosecutor. So Joey, this all came undone thanks to undercover officers and recorded conversations over four months. Are undercover operations like this problematic when it does get to a court and should they have waited longer to see if they actually tried to follow through on their plans?

JOEY JACKSON, HLN'S LEGAL ANALYST: You know, interesting enough, Brianna, they, I believe here have compelling evidence. When you look at undercover officers and the work they do, you don't have to allow the work to be completed in order to have a case. And here as we know, Brianna, the charge is conspiracy. What does that mean? It means that you've agreed to engage in criminality.

So if you match up that and you look at the fact that there was this house that they constructed or at least took over and made into this makeshift court that they were going to do these trials for these police officers, because we don't follow the laws of the United States. And then you match up that with the undercover work that was additionally to that, which was surveiling other police officers to seat nature of the stops that they do, then the undercover went with them to see if they could purchase guns.

So I think there's a substantial amount of evidence to try them with conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to kidnap, and other charges which are likely to evolve as the investigation continues.

KEILAR: And obviously, Joey, you don't want them getting to the point where they're actually carrying out what is this alleged heinous I guess heinous plan that they had. So when you're looking at most of these sovereign citizens, they distrust the government. They claim its members are not ruled by U.S. laws. How do you defend someone that is so against authority?

JACKSON: Well, with great difficulty. Because the first thing is -- I should tell you before that that under Nevada law, what happens, Brianna, you don't need for conspiracy an overt act. What does that mean? Under federal law and many other state laws you need to establish some other substantial step and furtherance of the conspiracy.

So Nevada voids that, which makes it even more difficult to defend because now you have other evidence that's brought to bear. But I think the first thing you have to look at their psychological state, see if they are competent to stand trial based upon what they were looking at doing, and then perhaps you cut a deal with the government.

KEILAR: We will have to see if that's what happens. Joey Jackson, thank you.