Return to Transcripts main page


Syrians Surge into Refugee Camps; Obama to Address Nation Tuesday; Castro: Police Could Have Broken the Case; Video Confession: "I Killed a Man"

Aired September 6, 2013 - 14:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN's special coverage of the crisis in Syria. It's a country that has a population of just over 22 million people and more than 6 million of them have been displaced from their homes by this two-plus year old civil war. The United Nations says now more than 2 million mostly women and children have fled to neighboring countries as refugees. That has put an enormous strain on those countries.

And our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, visited a mosque in Lebanon that's been converted now into a clinic to treat these wounded refugees -- Sanjay.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: We're in Becca Valley, literally walking distance from the border between Lebanon and Syria. And we've been to some of the refugee camps trying to figure out how people are being cared for and what they're seeing here specifically. We're in sort of this secretive clinic, this makeshift clinic, was actually a mosque. I want to show you something here, victims of gunshot wounds or explosions. They are getting their care now here in this makeshift clinic.

The entire staff including the doctors, the nurses, all part of that coalition from the Free Syrian Army as well, operating in this particular area, again, just minutes away from the border. Now, the concern is for so many people here, especially the medical staff, what to do if the numbers grow, if they have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of more people. They don't have enough resources. They don't have enough room. Not enough supplies to be able to take care of everyone.

They're trying to come up with emergency plans. Again, behind me, this is what it looks like. These are some of the consequences that we see of what's happening here, so many people having suffered these gunshot wounds and now trying to get the best care that they can. Back to you.

BALDWIN: Sanjay Gupta for us. Sanjay, thank you.

Coming up, never before heard tapes of Ariel Castro, the man convicted of kidnapping and torturing three women for ten years. Took his own life this week. He has been seen talking openly to the FBI about the time he was nearly caught by police. Don't miss this video. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: President Obama says he's not exactly itching for military action in Syria. That he would rather have an international coalition backing him up. But, he says, the United States must stand up and act. This coming Tuesday the president will address the nation and tell you, the American people, again why and how he reached this decision.

I want to take a look back at some of the times he spoke publicly about Syria in recent weeks beginning with the president speaking with our own Chris Cuomo after Syria's chemical weapons attack.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: First of all, I have not made a decision. I have gotten options from our military, had extensive discussions with my national security team.

Now, I have not made a final decision about various actions that might be taken. After careful deliberation, I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets. I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people's representatives in Congress.

I didn't set a red line. The world set a red line.


BALDWIN: I want to bring in Princeton University Political Historian, Julian Zelizer. Professor, welcome. Let's begin with Tuesday. It's a big, big day for the president. We've heard the arguments. We have heard some of the evidence in some of these hearings on the Hill. What more, in your opinion, that is not classified, can the president say to convince a skeptical nation?

PROFESSOR JULIAN ZELIZER, POLITICAL HISTORIAN, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: I think he has to provide a bigger argument about why this intervention is essential to the national interest. He has to connect the dots. He's made a lot of different arguments about humanitarian issues, about red lines, about regional interests. But ultimately he's failed to persuade a lot of Americans on both sides of the aisle. So he needs to frame this war and explain where he plans to go and what the mission is before, I think, members of Congress are going to vote in favor of it.

BALDWIN: We've been hearing from these constituents, though, in some of these town halls, one ongoing in Alabama as I speak. Is Tuesday too late?

ZELIZER: Well, it's not too late. I mean, the president does have the power to shape public opinion. It's limited. But he does have that power, and a lot of people will be watching. But clearly the first few weeks of this did not go well for the president. He lost the public to a certain extent and he failed to make this argument early on. So now he's in a bit of a defensive position in trying to win back support rather than to shape public opinion from the start.

BALDWIN: What about, Professor, just taking this beyond Syria, let's just hypothetical here. If the president doesn't get congressional approval for a strike, how might that, thinking domestically, they've got to talk budget. The Congress has a lot else on their hands. How might that affect anything domestically for the president to try to get through?

ZELIZER: Well, I think it's already having an effect. Obviously the big bill everyone was waiting for was immigration. In addition to that is the battle over the budget and what happens is that the calendar changes because of this debate. Everything's getting pushed further and further down. We get closer and closer to midterm elections.

There's a real fear that if this debate goes on too long, if the military operation itself consumes a lot of attention, if it goes forward, a bill like immigration, which is really central to his agenda, will die. And so there could be a high cost to him on the domestic front if he does not handle this foreign policy issue well and swiftly.

BALDWIN: Julian Zelizer, Princeton University, thank you so much.

This, of course, Syria, Congress coming back, the big vote, huge, huge hot topic next week when CNN's "CROSSFIRE" is back beginning Monday. Here's one of the new hosts with a clip from a classic "CROSSFIRE" episode.


VAN JONES, HOST, CNN'S "CROSSFIRE": One of the great things about "CROSSFIRE" is not just about politics. Back in 1986, Frank Zappa came on the show all cleaned up in a suit and tie to talk about dirty lyrics in music. Check this out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think it's a good idea to write lyrics that say incest is good for you? Does that make any sense?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it might make sense to Prince. That's his business because that's mainly the song that they're talking about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't you have an opinion on it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My opinion is he's got to right to sing it. He's got a right to say it. I got a right to not buy it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where does the right to advocate incest come from?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That song does not advocate incest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are songs that advocate incest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven't heard them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You ought to get out more. You said there's a right to do this. Where does the right come? Your group was called the mothers of invention? You're a very inventive guy. Like a lot of stuff. What was in the mind of the founding fathers? Would you look in the camera and tell them --



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you directing the show now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You certainly need direction, Mr. Zappa.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're into that, too?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love it when you fluff like that.



BALDWIN: All right, my space geeks. If you were in the Mojave Desert in the last 24 hours and you heard a sonic boom. Here is why. Virgin Galactic took another giant step towards space tourism with this flight high above the Southern California area. It's the second test flight of the experimental space craft dubbed "Spaceship Two." The company said the vehicle broke the sound barrier as it rocketed to the edge of space 69,000 feet. It then returned to earth at a slow, controlled descent.

Coming up, Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro on camera talking to the FBI about kidnapping those three women and the close calls that could have led to his capture much earlier. That's after the break.


BALDWIN: Just three days after Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro committed suicide in his prison cell, chilling police interrogation tapes have now been released. And what they show is a stunning confession from Ariel Castro hours after his arrest back in May. You know the story here. He was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping and raping those three women for about a decade.

And on the tape, first shown on NBC, Castro says police could have caught him. But that they missed some obvious signs. Castro mentioned one close call after he invited a girlfriend over one night. Here he was.


UNIDENTIFIED INVESTIGATOR: If police had broke the case right then and there because they had surveillance cameras.

ARIEL CASTRO: She seen that I had a TV on in the upstairs room.


CASTRO: And she says, what is that? You have a TV on up there and my heart started beating and I was like, OK, she's probably catching on to something.




BALDWIN: Martin Savidge back in Cleveland to talk about these tapes. So in one instance in the call, he tells police he called Amanda Berry's mother?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That was, to me, the most shocking revelation that came of these tapes. That interrogation that day, there were several, that one lasted four hours with the Cleveland Police Department. And you realize he was very open right away. I mean, he didn't couch anything. He didn't hold it back. He told them everything. One of the most shocking was he claims after he had taken Amanda Berry and held her, her story, Amanda's was huge in Cleveland. Of all the girls, hers was the largest.

He sort of got thinking about her mother, apparently. Felt, my gosh, she's probably thinking her daughter's dead. So what he does is he takes Amanda Berry's own cell phone and he claims he used it to call her mother. Basically to say she's alive. But there was more, listen.


UNIDENTIFIED INVESTIGATOR: What did you say to her mom?

CASTRO: I think I said something -- that I have her daughter and that she's OK, and that she's my wife now. Something like that, you know, probably not the exact words.

UNIDENTIFIED INVESTIGATOR: What was her mom's response?

CASTRO: I hung up. So we didn't have a conversation.


SAVIDGE: He talks about how he called her, told her --

BALDWIN: My wife?

SAVIDGE: My wife. Yes. How awful is that? On top of that, doesn't even listen to what the mother has to say.

BALDWIN: Hangs up the phone.

SAVIDGE: Yes, just completely. As far as reaction, I've reached out to Amanda Berry's family, reached out to the attorney. They said they were not aware of this. As of yet, there is no comment. Whether they knew that, I don't know, really, really shocking. The other thing he talked about missed opportunities here.

There's another one he talks about to the authorities when he says he took Gina Dejesus, she was at school. He had been waiting outside that school. There were surveillance cameras. He figures that about 15 minutes before he took her, the cameras saw him. He always thought that would be his undoing. Never was.

BALDWIN: Now that he is gone, I just hope these women and these families can just move forward.

SAVIDGE: Exactly.

BALDWIN: Martin Savidge, thank you very much.

Coming up, this --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ended up going the wrong way down the highway, directly into oncoming traffic. I struck a car. I killed a man.


BALDWIN: This chilling confession. We're going to tell you who this man is and why he's making this confession online, next.


BALDWIN: This summer in Ohio, a 61-year-old man was killed by a drunk driver going the wrong way on the interstate. The man responsible for that crash has yet to be charged. That didn't stop him from releasing this gut wrenching confession on the internet.


MATTHEW CORDLE, ADMITTED DRUNKEN DRIVER: My name is Matthew Cordle. On June 22nd, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani. This video will act as my confession. When I get charged, I will plead guilty and take full responsibility for everything I've done to Vincent and his family. If I take a different route, maybe I would get a reduced sentence and maybe I would get off. But I won't dishonor Vincent's memory by lying about what happened.

By releasing this video, I know exactly what it means. I'm giving the prosecution everything they need to put me away for a very long time, but I'm willing to take that sentence for just one reason. That reason is so I can pass this message on to you. I beg you, and I say the word "beg" specifically, I'm begging you, please don't drink and drive.

Don't make the same excuses that I did. Don't say it's only a few miles or you've only had a few beers or you do it all the time. It will never happen to you because it happened to me. All those are just excuses to make yourself feel better about a decision that you know is wrong and could cost lives. I can't bring Mr. Canzani back and I can't erase what I've done. But you can still be saved. Your victims can still be saved.


BALDWIN: I just got the chills. Prosecutors say Cordle's confession will likely accelerate bringing formal charges in his case. We're going to talk about this with our legal panel next hour.

Coming up, special coverage of the escalating crisis in Syria, Iran now reportedly ling up a terror attack if the U.S. strikes, find out where and how, next.


BALDWIN: Hour two, you're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin, special coverage of the crisis in Syria beginning here with the president. We now know that he will be addressing the nation Tuesday on the crisis in Syria and what he hopes to do about it. Today from the G-20 from St. Petersburg, Russia, the president spoke, acknowledging that he faces an uphill battle if he is going to convince the public and Congress that striking Syria is the best plan of action.

Back here in the United States, Samantha Power spoke at this think tank in Washington, D.C., she in her new position as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Not mincing words when it comes to Syria and what she believes the U.S. Congress should do here.


SAMANTHA POWER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: I'm here today because I believe and President Obama believes that those of us who are arguing for the limited use of force must justify our position, accepting responsibility for the risks and potential consequences of action.

When one considers pursuing non-military measures, we must similarly address the risks inherent in those approaches. At this stage, the diplomatic process is stalled because one side has just been gassed on a massive scale and the other side so far feels it has gotten away with it. What would words in the form of belated diplomatic condemnation achieve?