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Interview with Jesse Jackson on MLK March; Syria Talk Makes Markets Jittery; Miley Cyrus Dance Sets Twitter Record; Martin Wants Florida to Pay Trial Costs.

Aired August 27, 2013 - 13:30   ET



SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Quick update on Syria. Syria's foreign minister warns against any possible military strike saying, quote, "Syria is not easy to swallow." The White House says there's little doubt that the chemical weapons were used on a massive scale there. White House Spokesman Jay Carney says the Syrian regime is responsible.

This, as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the U.S. is quote, "ready to go," if President Obama orders attacks. His comments come days after the U.S. moved warships armed with cruise missiles into the Mediterranean Sea. A senior Defense Department official tells CNN that any strike could be completed in days. Meanwhile, in Syria, U.N. inspectors will not examine suspected chemical attack sites in Damascus for a second day now. They were turned back because of security concerns.




KING: Let freedom ring.



MALVEAUX: Tomorrow marks 50 years since the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr shared his vision of racial harmony. His "I Have a Dream" speech marked a turning point in this nation's fight for racial equality. King's march on Washington drew more than 200,000 people to the National Mall.

Civil rights leader, Jesse Jackson, was part of Dr. King's inner circle. He was in the crowd that day. He was one of Dr. King's advisors. He was just 21 years old at the time and was a student leader. He has since become one of the country's foremost political figures.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson joining us from Washington.

Reverend, good to see you as always.


MALVEAUX: I want to talk about that moment that day back in 1963. What was it that stood out in your mind when you were among a sea of people? Did you realize what you were on the precipice.

JACKSON: So much black and white interaction that was prohibited across much of the South. Hope meant despair and encouragement how this after all, from Texas across to farther up to Maryland. We couldn't use a single public toilet. We could not public facilities by law. Racial apartheid was enforced by law. And that kind of an oasis in that desert. Dr. King took us to another level. It was fair to say it was in a certain climate, the speech, and (INAUDIBLE). It was a season of turmoil. This was a high-mountain moment of hope.

MALVEAUX: I want to play a bit. This is King's son. This was over the past weekend. He's talking about his father's vision and his dream. Let's listen for a moment.


MARTIN LUTHER KING III, SON OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR: We got to keep walking. We going to keep on talking. We're going to keep on voting. We're going to keep on job building. We're going to keep on educating. We're going to keep on mentoring. We're going to keep on community building. We're going to keep on ending violence. We're going to keep on creating peace. We ain't going to let nobody turn us around.


MALVEAUX: It's all about keeping on. Reverend Jackson, originally, that march was the march on Washington for jobs and freedom. At the time, black unemployment was twice that of white citizens. That figure still remains true today, twice --


JACKSON: It's greater. 50 years later, we're freer but we are less equal. 31 cities where black joblessness above 50 percent. That includes New York City. When New York Mayor Bloomberg says stop and frisk, we say stop and employ or stop and provide access to transportation. Stop and create job training skills. We must not confuse President Obama's role with that of Dr. King. Dr. King is in the Frederick Douglass line. President Obama is in the Abraham Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy line. He will do quite well. What we need from him is a response to the dream. That's what you get from Lyndon Johnson's 1965 speech, speaks to how a commitment to racial justice, gender equality. We need a speech focused on legislation and appropriation.

MALVEAUX: How does the president do that, President Obama? How does he bring -- create the kind of environment where you have jobs for African-Americans so you don't still see the same disparity? JACKSON: Well, these are abandoned urban zones. We can plan for reconstruction which will put people back to work. We need a commitment of the and emphasis on the constitutional right to vote, maybe equal rights for women, a plan for reviving the war on poverty, for urban reconstruction, a commitment to provide the integrity and visibility of the Civil Rights Commission, student loan debt forgiveness. This is bold kind of stuff that only presidents can do. President Obama is equal to the task.

MALVEAUX: All right. Reverend Jackson, thank you so much. Good to have you as always.

JACKSON: Thank you.

MALVEAUX: Just ahead on the NEWSROOM, housing prices are rising. That's been the case for months. We'll tell you what it means if you're thinking of buying or selling your house.



MALVEAUX: We learned today that home prices rose in June. That's right in line with the trend of the last few months. What does it mean if you're buying or selling a home?

Christine Romans has that today on "How to Speak Money."


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, home prices are surging. They're up 12.1 percent year over year in June. That's according to S&P Case-Schiller. Strong but not quite as strong as the performance in May. The biggest gains came in areas hardest hit by the housing crisis -- Atlanta, Las Vegas, Phoenix. Home prices there, up 20 to 25 percent over the past year. Prices in Dallas and Denver are hitting all time highs. San Francisco home prices have enjoyed the biggest rebound. San Francisco home prices rising 47 percent from their low back in March 2009.

Now, it's unlikely this goes on forever. Already home price gains are stabilizing in many spots. Rising mortgage rates are one reason. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is up more than a percentage point to 4.6 percent. That might be discouraging to some buyers. Mortgage rates are still low historically. Take a look at this chart. As the housing market improves further, interest rates are bound to climb.

Now, for buyers on the fence, rates will rise further. It's still a good time to lock in these lower rates. For sellers, it's a good time to list your house. There's small number of homes for sales and in good zip codes those houses are going quickly -- Suzanne?


MALVEAUX: Thanks, Christine. All the talk about the possible strike against Syria is making the markets jittery. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has been down lower all day. Take a look at the quick board, down about 130 points.

I want to bring in Alison Kosik at the New York Stock Exchange to talk about the impact of all this, this talk of potential military strike, potential war.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You can depend on the fact that if there's uncertainty about all this it's going to rattle the markets. That's what we have going on with Syria. Investors are on edge over the possibility of a U.S. military strike on the country. You think about the world, it's a big place, but the global economy can make it feel pretty small. We're all interconnected.

Any time we have these geopolitically or potentially war-related issues, investors will hit the sell button. It's the reason you're seeing stocks fall. The Dow is tumbling 128 points. You're seeing investors buy into gold and treasuries. Then you roll into the fact that the market was already nervous about when the Federal Reserve is going to be pulling back on stimulus.

You factor in any type of unrest in the Mideast, it adds to the anxiety. If you're looking for proof of the anxiety, you can see it in a certain number called the VIX Index (ph). It's jumping almost 11 percent. That measures the fear on Wall Street and there's definitely fear at this point -- Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: Alison, we're talking about the Middle East. Is there any impact when it comes to oil?

KOSIK: There is. We are seeing crude oil prices jump today as well, almost 3 percent higher, sitting at $108.93 per barrel. Syria is not an oil giant, by any means. The International Energy Agency ranked it 32nd among global producers. The concern is there could be a spillover risk if neighboring countries get involved and there's a disruption in supply. You look at Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq, they're all big oil producers. And prices are already relatively high because of the ongoing conflict in Egypt. So if we wind up seeing a ripple effect from Syria, we could see prices rise even more than they already have -- Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: Alison, thank you.

More than a month after the jury acquitted George Zimmerman in the death of the unarmed teen, Trayvon Martin, he wants the state of Florida to pay his legal expenses. We'll talk about that after the break.


MALVEAUX: Say what you like about Miley Cyrus' raunchy dance at the VMA Awards. One thing is for sure, it broke Twitters all-time record for tweets per minute.

Nischelle Turner has got the story. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the performance everyone is still talking about.


TURNER: Former Disney darling, Miley Cyrus, twerking her way into infamy with this outrageous performance on Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards.


TURNER: All that twerking set a Twitter record with more than 306,000 tweets per minute, many by celebrities. "New Girl" Actor Max Greenfield tweeted, "Billy R SIGHrus." Actress Nia Vardarins (ph) is worried, "Got to go. Miley's at my door waving that giant finger and twerking my dog." Miley weighed in as well, tweeting, "Smilers! My VMA performance has 306,000 tweets per minute. That's more than the blackout or Super Bowl. #fact."

The Parents Resource TV Council was not happy about the raunchy performance, releasing a statement saying, "How is this image of former child star, Miley Cyrus, appropriate for 14 years old"? Ironically, Miley's father, Billy Ray Cyrus, is a member of that group's advisory board. It's not clear that he had anything to do with the statement.

Robin Thicke's mom, Gloria Loring, told OMG Insider, she wasn't impressed by Miley's dirty dancing to her son's hit "Blurred Lines."

GLORIA LORING, MOTHER OF ROBIN THICKE: I think she's misbegotten in this attempt of hers. I think it was not beneficial.

TURNER: But maybe all this controversy is just what Miley was looking for.

JOE CONCHA, MEDIATE.COM: This was a calculated business and P.R. decision. Of course, it's to help her album but I think it's to advance her second career as well. I can guarantee this, E!, MTV and Bravo are talking to her people about a reality show right now.

Nischelle Turner, CNN, New York.


MALVEAUX: Ahead on NEWSROOM, should Florida taxpayers foot the bill for George Zimmerman's legal fees? The man acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin says yes. We'll talk about it, next.


MALVEAUX: The rodeo clown fired for mocking President Obama says that he has mocked other presidents in the past without anybody saying anything. Well, now he is banned for life from the Missouri State Fair. He is speaking out in his first televised interview.

Athena Jones has his story.


TUFFY GESSLING, RODEO CLOWN: I didn't do this to do any hating on anyone. I did it to be funny. I did it to be a joke.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a joke that caused an uproar.


GESSLING: President Obama.

Hey, I know I'm a clown. He's just running around acting like one, doesn't know he is one.



JONES: This is Tuffy Gessling, a rodeo clown whose act mocking President Obama ignited controversy, an act some called racist. Gessling's bit got him ban from the Missouri State Fair for life. Now he's talking to CNN affiliate, KCTV, about the controversy.

GESSLING: I've had somebody threaten to run me over. One of them wanted to burn my house down.

This clown bit has been around for a generation. I didn't think anything more of it than what we've done 15 years ago, 10 years ago, five years ago when we've done it with Bush and Clinton and Ronald Reagan.

JONES: Some conservative talk-show hosts who came to his defense agreed.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK-SHOW HOST: This is infantile. This is childish. This is worse than political correctness.

JONES: The president hasn't commented but his spokesman did.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: I can tell you, as a native Missourian, this isn't one of the finer moments of our state.

JONES: Now that the dust has settled over his rodeo routine, Gessling would like to clear a few things up.

GESSLING: I never did anything because of somebody's race. I don't care if they're blue, white, green, striped, polka-dotted. It doesn't bother me one bit.

JONES: Gessling says he'll be at another rodeo coming up in Missouri and --

GESSLING: If President Obama turns out, I would be honored to shake his hand.

JONES: Athena Jones, CNN, Washington.


MALVEAUX: Up next, George Zimmerman acquitted in the killing of Trayvon Martin. Well, now he is asking for taxpayers in Florida to pay his legal bills. Will he be successful? That up next.


MALVEAUX: Now to Florida where lawmakers for George Zimmerman say they want the state to pay for some of the legal expenses. The attorneys who successfully argued self-defense in George Zimmerman's killing of Trayvon Martin are prepared to ask for at least $200,000. Florida state law says that if you are acquitted you can ask for some of the money that you spent to defend yourself.

Want to bring in a legal analyst, criminal defense attorney, Mark Nejame.

Mark, first of all, some people might find this quite surprising that he could get some of this money and Florida taxpayers will be paying to foot his legal bills. Is this the standard? Is this usual?

MARK NEJAME, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: There's a lot of confusion. First, it does not cover attorneys' fees. It only -- the statute, 939.06, under Florida statutes, only covers certain very limited expenses. There was a Supreme Court case that came out in 1937. Before that, if you won a case, you could get all of your expenses. The Supreme Court of Florida came back in '97 and said, you're only limited to certain few expenses -- witness fees, sheriff's expense, clerk fees -- those types of things and that's it. This attempt to get the $200,000 or $300,000 will fall flat and they'll get but a very small pittance.

MALVEAUX: They're still working on the numbers, right? Tabulating the actual numbers. How high could this go, do you think? How much could he end up getting?

NEJAME: Well, I think that they've estimated that they have $200,000 or $300,000 worth of costs for their expert witnesses, for their witness fees, for all the expenses that surrounded this. Remember, the state spent by estimates $800,000 to $900,000 and the defense is in at $200,000 or $300,000 from what we understand. They, I think, are simply barking up the wrong tree. It's understandable they'll try to get a reimbursement but the law has changed radically over the last 13 years. Whereas, folks were able to get their costs, pretty much all of them, I think if we see them get 10 percent of the $200,000 or $300,000, they're very lucky. They'll get a small amount. The Supreme Court of Florida has ruled and said they're not entitled to all of it, only the statutory expenses, which are very small and very limited.

MALVEAUX: They can ask for the money. Does the judge have to grant it? NEJAME: Absolutely not. What's happens is, with all the budgetary shortfalls and everything else, it is set up in such a way now that you have to basically go through an obstacle course to even make the request and then it gets reviewed and then it comes back. So I think that they're going to make a play to try to get it. They're going to claim that this was an improper prosecution and they'll bring up all of these equitable issues.

At the end of the day, this is all controlled by statute. The statute limits them. Although they'll make an effort to get it, I think they're not going to see but the smallest amount, 5, maybe 10 percent, best case.

MALVEAUX: The verdict here, very controversial. This country very much divided over whether or not there was justice done in this case. I would imagine, is the judge considering the reaction, the response of people to potentially paying for his legal fees?

NEJAME: Well, if I might, we're not talking about the legal fees. We're not talking about the attorney's fees, which I think were estimated, from what I read, about a million dollars. These are the out-of-pocket expenses used by the defense. This judge, as we saw throughout, she's very much scholarly. She's very much a student of the law. She is very strong when it comes to really following the dictate of each particular statute and the statute in this case is very clear. There is no common law which controls a reimbursement. This is all statutory. Being statutory, this Florida statute, 939.06, I think she'll follow it strictly as the Supreme Court, in 1997, said she must do. If she follows the law the public opinion, either side, truthfully, be dammed, and she'll follow the law that says expenses are limited.

MALVEAUX: When would she make that decision, Mark?

NEJAME: I'm sorry?

MALVEAUX: When would she make the decision? How much time does she have?

NEJAME: She could rule from the bench. I think both sides will submit a lot of affidavits and everything else, and then she'll go back, be reflective. I think we could expect a relatively quick order as we saw throughout the trial with her.

MALVEAUX: All right. OK.

NEJAME: I think you'll see the same here.

MALVEAUX: Thanks, Mark. Appreciate it.

That's it for me. Have a great afternoon. Brianna Keilar takes it from here.