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Crossfire Hosts Join National Debate on Syria; Impact Your World; Nascar Smackdown

Aired September 3, 2013 - 08:30   ET


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that mental stamina. I mean there's something to be learned there, I think. You're right, I couldn't do it and a lot of people - obviously most people could not do it.


GUPTA: But the mental stamina, there is a lesson in there for all of us.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely right. Well, thank you so much, Sanjay. Great -- Sanjay, we'll talk to you soon.

And a reminder to our viewers, do not forget to tune in to "Sanjay Gupta M.D." airing weekends right here on CNN, Saturday at 4:30 Eastern and Sunday at 7:30 Eastern. You want to see much more of this.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Can I just say, that notion of fourth time, most people would have packed it in after the first time.


PEREIRA: You know, on anything. Even if you come up against failure the first time, maybe it wasn't in the cards for me. She did it five times.

BOLDUAN: Jumping in that water every time. She's awesome.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, the White House going all out to get Congress to support military action against Syria. We're going to debate it with two of the stars of "Crossfire," Van Jones and Newt Gingrich, coming up.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, they say rubbing is racing, but what about slapping? The girlfriend of a Nascar driver unloading on a rival. We'll hear from him post-slap.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, September 3rd.

Michaela Pereira has the five things that you need to know for your new day. Tell us.

PEREIRA: I sure do. Let's start at number one, the Israeli ministry of defense now confirming the launch of a joint U.S./Israeli anchor anti-missile system. It reports the launch over the eastern Mediterranean Sea was successful. The test was detected by Russia radar systems, causing ripples of confirm.

Heavy rain and flooding put a damper on many East Coast Labor Day celebrations. At least 30 people had to be rescued from floods in Cranston, Rhode Island. Shoppers in Philadelphia, meanwhile, got stuck in this flooded out parking lot.

Massive protests planned in Egypt to mark two months since President Mohamed Morsy was ousted from power. So far at least 900 people have died in the violence since he was deposed.

At number four, the new span of the long-delayed San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge now open more than a decade after construction began. It's designed to withstand a major earthquake.

And at number five, Roger Federer out of the U.S. Open. He was beaten last night in the fourth round of the 19th seed Tommy Robredo of Spain in straight sets. Meanwhile, Serena Williams playing tonight.

We're always updating those five things to know. So be sure to go to for the very latest.


CUOMO: All right, Michaela.

If there's one thing that is a topic for debate, it is what to do about Syria. President Obama is making his big push today, trying to get congressional leaders behind a strike on the Assad regime. So, is the policy adrift or are we on the right target, is this the right move? Let's debate it. Joining me now are two of the hosts of CNN's all new "Crossfire," Mr. Newt Gingrich and Mr. Van Jones.

Thank you both, gentlemen, for being here today.



CUOMO: So, we heard from Senators McCain and Graham. And they do share one supposition that I want you two to take on, that this is the president's fault. That between the red line and the process, he has put us in a bad position where we now have all bad choices.

Gentlemen, let's start with you, Mr. Gingrich, is this about the president making mistakes, or is this about a lot of concern in the world over how we perceive, given what happened in Iraq?

GINGRICH: Well, I think - I hope the members of Congress will take it seriously as what America should be about. This isn't about President Obama. This is about America. And what should America be doing, what risks should America be running, what are our goals? And I thought it was very interesting to watch Senator McCain and Graham, who are both very strong hawks, who came out of the White House and said, you know, now we're reassured this is the beginning of a really big effort.

Meanwhile, you have Senator Leahy, who is a dove, who is drafting the resolution in the Senate, who's saying, well, he's going to make it as limited as possible. Now, we're a long way over the next week or two weeks from figuring out, what is it they're going to vote on and is it a public relations strike of a few missiles or is it a serious effort to get rid of Assad. There's a big gap for the American people between on those goals.

CUOMO: Right. Right. But, Van, when the rest of the world is weighing in, right, the perception right now is, well, they're upset because Obama didn't do anything with the red line. McCain says was it written in disappearing ink? Do you think that the international community is more concerned about the red line and consistencies, or about making sure that the United States has the best case to move forward because of what they remember about what happened with the Iraq War?

JONES: Well, I think the world's watching. I think we have a couple of challenges here. If we do something that is too little, it's too -- costs less to the regime to make a difference. If we do something that's too big, it's too costly to the American people and we're stuck. We're not stuck because of President Obama, we're stuck because there's a mess over there in the Middle East and we had a big role in creating that mess the last time we rushed into war.

And my concern is, it's deja vu all over again. I don't think that we are in a position right now, as the United States, to be rushing over there. We would go in right now with a smaller coalition than George W. Bush had when he went into war with Iraq. I think we are clear. A red line has been crossed. It's not because Obama said it, it's because there's a red line in the human consciousness and morality, you don't gas children.

But what you do, it's not you do nothing or you do something reckless and stupid. The president was smart to have us - have a break in the action to consider. We have not exhausted our diplomatic opportunities here. We've not talked about an arms embargo. We have not built a global coalition. We should not be rushing to war.

CUOMO: So what do you say, Mr. Gingrich, do we have to jump right to military action or are there some steps we're skipping?

GINGRICH: No. I mean, first of all, this idea of an international community doesn't hold up if you look at it in detail. The Russians are deeply opposed to us doing this. The Chinese are deeply opposed to us doing this. The British parliament directly rebuked the prime minister and said, no, we're not going to do it. So I think its -- this question of what is it -- you know, what is an international community.

And, frankly, when the Saudis are counted as a part of the international community, that is a monarchy run with a secret police that may be our ally for tactical reasons, but it -- not because it shares western values and is eager for the rule of law. So I think we ought to be clear, we should think through what we're going to try to accomplish.

And I agree with Van, we have no clear strategy right now. We have no end state outcome. The president has opened the door for the Congress. It doesn't just have to vote yes or no, it can actually think and can actually ask questions.

JONES: And that's, I think, the most important. The most important thing I think right now is for the members of the U.S. Congress to look at this. You know, we cannot just write a blank check and go in open ended. The United States could be in a situation where we think, well, we'll just do a little strike and we'll go home. Well, if we do something, they're going to do something. Then we're going to do something. And then you're jumping around on a pogo stick in a room full of banana peels and the voices of peace always get drowned out when the drums of war started and then five years later you say, oh, you know, those peace guys had something to offer here.

I think we have a diplomatic offensive that needs to be unleashed. We can do this. But I don't think that at this point the case has been made to rush into war by ourselves in that part of the world.

CUOMO: How about arming the rebels?

JONES: I think there are too many wars.

CUOMO: How about arming the rebels, Van?

JONES: We can - we can arm -

CUOMO: Senator McCain says he believes the president will arm the rebels. Do you feel confident that you wind up getting the right group ruling?

JONES: Well, listen, we are already in a posture where we said we're going to arm rebels. We'd upgrade the humanitarian relief. By the way, we keep forgetting there's about a million people right now who are almost sleeping outdoors because we aren't doing enough for the existing refugees. You start dropping bombs, you create even more refugees. We do not have a comprehensive strategy.

I am so glad that this president was smart enough to create a break in the action. But Congress needs to constrain what we do. No boots on the ground, up humanitarian relief and exhaust all peaceful options before any bombs start falling. Once you start going down the slippery slope to war, nobody can control what happens.

GINGRICH: And, Chris, let me add to that. The Congress ought to take this as an opportunity to ask, what are our goals in the region? Is the number one threat in the U.S. an Iranian nuclear weapon or is it Assad? Is the number two concern in the region the growth of radical Islamism again, which has come back dramatically and is, frankly, a large part of the anti-Assad movement in Syria? Where do you rank Syria about -- among all the different problems we're faced with, and are we really convinced that firing off a handful of missiles is going to decisively change anything? The administration's already said publicly, they don't want to use this to defeat the Assad regime. Well, then what's the point? I mean if you're not going to defeat Assad, this is a dictator. He's not impressed by the fact you can fire a handful of missiles from Navy ships.

JONES: You know, Chris, one last thing. I know we're almost out of time. But, you know, Chris, you've done a lot of work in urban communities, and so have I. You know, we always tell kids in the neighborhood, you know, it's a big man that can figure out a way to deescalate rather than escalate. We always tell these urban kids, don't do something out of pride now that may bring you shame later. Why do we tell kids one thing in a conflict and then, as adults, we act totally differently? We've got to make sure that we're setting the right example for our kids.

This guy's a bully. He's a thug. He's done something despicable. But let's make sure that we do the right thing, not just anything, but the right thing in response. A smart thing, something that will deescalate this conflict and not put us on a slippery slope to even more body bag, more funerals, more war. I'm tired of war. I think America's tired of war. We need to be as creative in figuring out non-violent solutions, as we've been in coming up with all these weapons.

CUOMO: Van Jones, Newt Gingrich, thank you very much for the perspective today. Look forward to "Crossfire." Always great having you on NEW DAY.


JONES: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right. And just in case you're watching, their "Crossfire" returns to CNN on Monday, September 9th, at 6:30 p.m. Eastern. That's 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

Michaela, over to you.

PEREIRA: All right, Chris.

Now to "Impact Your World." Rock star Roger Daltrey has thrilled audiences for years as front man of legendary band The Who. But behind the scenes, he's dedicated to helping teenagers, and not just with his music.


PEREIRA (voice-over): Decades in the spotlight has given rocker Roger Daltrey a lot of opportunities to work with charities. But after talking to his own doctor, Daltrey found a unique need.

ROGER DALTREY, LEAD SINGER, THE WHO: We just recognized that teenagers with cancer, there's kind of no provision for them. And this is nothing to do with medicine, this is to do with the environment. There's fabulous children's hospitals. There's fabulous, you know, things for adults. But when you actually look at what a teenager is, which is neither a child nor an adult, there's nothing.

PEREIRA: Daltrey and band mate Pete Townshend created Teen Cancer America, based on a program they've both been involved with for years in the U.K. The charity creates teens-only cancer wards in hospitals.

DALTREY: You've got enough psychological problems as it is with just being a teenager, without having that lumped on top of you. So we provide specialized environment where they can be comfortable being teenagers. How about a life of privilege? And it was supplied by some teenagers supporting it.


BOLDUAN: All right, good stuff. Love your music and love what you're doing.

PEREIRA: Especially with kids.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, the Nascar driver slapped across the face by an opponent's girlfriend. Remember he said his jaw was dislocated. Now his jaw's a little bit better, but his feelings are still hurt and he's going to talk about this smack everyone was talking about as well.


BOLDUAN: We've known that for a long time.

CUOMO: My suggestion for the song here was "keep them separated." Welcome back to NEW DAY. Why? Because Nascar fans had front-row seats when the girlfriend of one driver slapped another driver. According to that driver, the slapee, the slap was so hard, the impact dislocated his jaw. "Early Start" co-anchor John Berman is on the case.

BOLDUAN: On the case.

CUOMO: John.

JOHN BERMAN, CO-ANCHOR, "EARLY START": We are still talking about this. Why? Because that video you saw, it's so amazing. It makes you want to conduct sort of a frame-by-frame analysis to see how the whole thing went down and who started it. But we have new information about the events surrounding the incident. Of course, the big cosmic question here is, when someone gets slapped after a Nascar crash, does anyone really win?


BERMAN (voice-over): Think Nascar racing isn't a contact sport? Tell that to Nascar driver Max Papis. This open-handed slap took place right after Sunday's Camping World Truck Series race in Ontario, Canada. The woman delivering the smack heard round the world is the girlfriend of another driver, Mike Skeen. Papis says the hit left his earring ringing.

MAX PAPIS, NASCAR DRIVER: I'm kind of turning away and, bang! I mean it was like a - I was in disbelief. She hit me as hard as she could.

BERMAN: It all started when Papis and Skeen were battling for second place in the final corner of the race. Papis says that Skeen pulled an amateur move, pushing him into the wall and ultimately wrecking both trucks.

PAPIS: You don't pull a move on someone who has 20 years of experience like me.

BERMAN: The cool down lap was anything but. Papis and Skeen exchanged words and hand gestures. A member of Skeen's crew even reaching in Papis's truck after the race. Then, following an interview, Skeen's girlfriend, Kelly Heaphy, confronts him and, smack.

PAPIS: I don't hit back a lady. I don't do stuff like that. And I think a situation like that - the situation with that was better just to turn back and leave.

BERMAN: Papis later tweeted that the hit had dislocated his jaw and that he had to get it fixed. Now he says it was strained.

PAPIS: She hit me so hard that even now I can't eat properly.

BERMAN: Mike Skeen told CNN, "Max further escalated the situation by coming in our trailer and grabbing Kelly aggressively."

PAPIS: Was I polite? No. Did I move her out of the way? Yes. You know, that, you know, goes a long way from hurting someone or something like that.

BERMAN: Papis calls the entire incident an embarrassment for the sport.


BERMAN: Now at this point, Papis does say he is not going to press charges. He says he would like to put all this behind him. Good luck with that, Mr. Papis. I'm sure no one will ever talk about this again.

BOLDUAN: Yes. I mean, I don't know, I don't know. I don't actually know where I land on this one.

PEREIRA: I don't understand why she slapped him. Why did she get involved?

BERMAN: That's a lot of slapping. Lot of jaw slapping.


BOLDUAN: A lot of passion in Nascar, to say the least.

CUOMO: Well done, John.

BERMAN: Thank you very much.

BOLDUAN: Fans and spouses or girlfriends.

CUOMO: Thank you for that.

BERMAN: Thank you very much. CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, what would you do if you had next to nothing and someone accidently handed you a $4,000 diamond ring? What would you do? I'd give it back. Would you? Would you?


CUOMO: We love it. We need it. And here it is. Time for "The Good Stuff." Billy Ray Harris was a fixture on a Kansas City street corner begging for change. That was until a woman accidently dropped her $4,000 diamond engagement ring into his cup. Yes, it was an accident. No marital discord. Billy could have sold it.

PEREIRA: Oh, no.

CUOMO: He could have changed his life. Many would have. But he didn't.


BILLY RAY HARRIS: She said, well, I might have gave you something very valuable. And I said, was it a ring? And she says, yes. And I says, well, I have it. My grandfather was a reverend. He raised me from the time I was six months old. And thank the good Lord it is a blessing that, you know, I do still have some character.



CUOMO: When you judge someone for being homeless, you make a mistake. The woman and her husband were so moved by the kindness, they started an online donations page for Billy Ray. They were hoping to raise, you know, $1,000 or something like that. At the end of the 90-day campaign, $190,000 had poured in from all over the world once this went viral.

BOLDUAN: Oh, my goodness.

CUOMO: And now we have the latest. Billy Ray, with this help, just purchased his own car. He has offers for speaking engagements. He's about to launch his own painting business. And, yes, even put down a payment on a home.


HARRIS: You cannot believe how good it feels to me right now to be able to stick my own key in the door and open the door and go in and lock it when I leave. That is a great feeling. I'd probably be standing around out here one day going to shop at Urban Outfitters or something and somebody walk up and hand me a dollar. They're so used to seeing me out here doing this.


BOLDUAN: Oh, my goodness.

CUOMO: And he has a sense of humor about it all. That's why it is "The Good Stuff."

PEREIRA: Never lost his character there (ph).

BOLDUAN: So much to say but no words, you know?

CUOMO: Right. He gave, it was returned many fold.

Let's take a break.