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Next Budget Fight; Hollywood Director Attacked; Obama and the Budget Deal

Aired October 17, 2013 - 15:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: And here we go, hour two. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Great being with you.

Twenty-four billion dollars, that's how much the last 16 days have cost the country's economy. This is all according to Standard & Poor's. So what was it all for? Considering this deal, which has ended the government shutdown and now raised the debt ceiling, it isn't permanent. Folks, let's keep in mind, 90 days, that's all we have until another possible government shutdown, until it looms, and then one month after that, when the debt ceiling will again need to be raised.

The president's message to Congress today is crystal clear. Make sure it doesn't happen ever again.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, there's been a lot of discussion lately of the politics of this shutdown. But let's be clear: There are no winners here. These last few weeks have inflicted completely unnecessary damage on our economy. We don't know yet the full scope of the damage, but every analyst out there believes it slowed our growth.

And those of us who have the privilege to serve this country have an obligation to do our job as best we can. We come from different parties, but we are Americans first. And that's why disagreement cannot mean dysfunction. It can't degenerate into hatred. The American people's hopes and dreams are what matters, not ours.

You don't like a particular policy or a particular president, then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election. Push to change it. But don't break it.

And that brings me to one last point. I have got a simple message for all the dedicated and patriotic federal workers who've either worked without pay or been forced off the job without pay these past few weeks, including most of my own staff: Thank you.


BALDWIN: And now a sign of the beginning of progress. Take a look at this photo-op. You might recognize some of the players here. You will see -- there he is the far left of the screen. This is Jeff Sessions, Republican senator. Then you have on the far right Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen and then those two in the middle, these are the leaders here, Democratic Senator Patty Murray and Republican Congressman Paul Ryan here on the Budget Committees and really now that the fate of the country's economy is in their hands. You're looking at them. Key members of this conference committee, they call them conferees, now eying their own deadline. We have a calendar, December 13, December 13.

Take a look. This is when they have been told to come up with a long- term plan for taxes and for spending. That is both the House and Senate, something they can agree on. Another date to remember here, January 15, I know, a lot of dates, a lot going on in Washington. That's when the government is to exhaust its money again.

You say, why so soon? Well, it's actually by design. It's to keep the budget under the numbers it's running right now, seek a long-term agreement on both taxes and on spending, and then lock that in mid- January, the big if being, can Democrats and Republicans come together on an agreement, thus the if.

A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of "The Hill, and Ryan Lizza, Washington bureau chief for "The New Yorker" and a CNN political commentator, good to see both of you.

We asked both of you to come up with these lists because we like lists.

So, A.B., I want to begin with you. We asked for you to come up with these three things, three things necessary to avoid another crisis in January. So let me run through your list. You said constant negotiations involving both sides. You said a commitment to tax reform and also to Medicare reform.

Do you think they will get those things or do you see another crisis in 90 days?

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, "THE HILL": All right, well, I think it will be very hard to avoid stalemate, but I think stalemate is bad for both parties.

I think it's terrible for the rest of President Obama's presidency. He's not likely to see a Democratic House in 2015. And it's time to work with Republicans. So no more talk about people not negotiating. You heard House Speaker Boehner say months ago he would never negotiate one-on-one with the president ever again. You heard the president say he's not going to negotiate over the debt ceiling. Everybody has to negotiate now to avoid another stalemate.

Everyone on both sides has to continue to talk in good faith, repeatedly. That's the only way to get past the breakdowns we have seen of the Simpson-Bowles and the gang of eight and the gang of 12, and the Biden commission and all the commissions the city is littered with that failed to come up with a resolution.

I think that the mutual goal of both parties actually is to change the sequester cuts. And to do that, you need to find more money. The only way to find it is through tax reform and some kind of entitlement reform.

BALDWIN: OK. I also just really liked your adjective, constant negotiations.

Lizza, to you, because we also asked you to come up with this list to avoid this whole...


BALDWIN: Similar list. You're agreeing here. You say Republicans need to agree to higher taxes, Democrats agree to cuts to Medicare, and you point out public opinion, public opinion specifically for Republicans, you know, with craters. Go ahead.

LIZZA: Let me explain myself.

BALDWIN: Explain yourself, Ryan Lizza.


LIZZA: Look, this is now the ninth committee conference gang that has been put together since January of 2011, when House Republicans took -- Republicans took over the House.


LIZZA: The ninth. And why did the eight previous ones fail? A lot of reasons, but at the heart of it is Democrats want more revenue, more taxes. Republicans don't. And they have never been able to agree on any formula that unties that knot.

So the deal that's been on the table for the last three years is a trade of entitlement cuts and tax hikes. A couple of things now that have changed. The deficit, people don't realize this, but the annual federal deficit has come down. And it has come down a lot.

BALDWIN: President mentioned that today.

LIZZA: You will be hearing that a lot because it was 10 percent of GDP, and the best measure is as a percentage of GDP. It's now 3 percent of GDP, where most economists think it's a normal, manageable level. The short-term deficit is not that big a big problem. That takes a lot of pressure off a deal, right?

Because the whole deal was being driven by high deficits. I think a lot of Democrats say, you know what? Deficits aren't so bad. We don't want to cut Medicare and Social Security. And a lot of Republicans are going to be back in the corner of, we don't want to give on revenues. I hate to be pessimistic, but it's really hard to see where the pressure for a deal is going forward with this ninth committee.

BALDWIN: I know. I'm not reading much about a grand bargain these days. Final question just quickly to both of you, the president, how does the president emerge from all this, A.B.?

STODDARD: I think the president was the winner because he just lost less than the Republicans did in this battle.

BALDWIN: Lost less?


LIZZA: It's a good way to put it.

STODDARD: I think he that actually, though, he is going to have to step it up. And I think he's going to have to show the American people he's willing to try to use his leadership as president to get us through the next impasse and break the stalemate and try to come up with some kind of deal.

It doesn't have to be grand. It just can be small, but it needs to be something bipartisan because without getting through the fiscal hole, there is no immigration reform, there's no energy reform, no education reform, anything that both parties actually have an interest in, and I don't think President Obama, like I said, can have a good productive rest of his presidency unless he gets through the fiscal hole.

BALDWIN: Ryan Lizza on the president.

LIZZA: I think that, look, nobody won this thing. This was a disaster for everyone, but at the end of the day, politics is a zero sum game. And so as A.B. said, the Republicans certainly lost more than Obama did.

Look, going forward, it may be the case that a bigger, grander bargain is easier than a smaller bargain. The more moving parts in these things, sometimes the better. If you look back to 1997, when Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich cut a deal, that was a big deal of just trades, you know? The Republicans got a few things and the Democrats got a few things. In some ways, they were ideologically mutually exclusive.

They didn't meet in the middle. They just traded ideas. Maybe if these guys get in a room, they could come up with something like that.

BALDWIN: Maybe, maybe. Ryan Lizza, we will see. We will see.

Ryan and A.B., thank you both very much.

Coming up, a Missouri teenager claims she was raped by a high school football star. She says charges were dropped because he's from a prominent family. But the prosecutor here is fighting back. He maintains she is to blame for the move and now we're learning about another twist in that case. We will have that for you.

Also, want you to take a look at this video. First, you have a school bus and then many, many police officers in hot pursuit. We will tell you what led to this wild chase and how it ended, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BALDWIN: An unwanted light is now shining on this small town amid an allegation of rape involving the football player son of a powerful local family and the 14-year-old girl left on her lawn in the dead of night in freezing weather. More than a year now after the charges against this alleged rapist were dropped, the case is getting a second look.

CNN's Ana Cabrera reports from Maryville, Missouri.


DAISY COLEMAN, ALLEGED SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIM: I was more than excited. I felt like I was going to be able to work with someone who was actually excited about this case and willing to put forth a real effort.

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Alleged sexual assault victim, Daisy Coleman, and her mother say it's a small victory to have their case re-open.

ROBERT RICE, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY, NODAWAY COUNTY: I have asked the court to appoint a special prosecuting attorney to conduct an independent review of the facts and determine whether to re-file charges.

CABRERA: For the first time, the man at the center of a controversial case is speaking out. Prosecutor Robert Rice under fire after dropping charges in the alleged sexual assault of 14-year-old Daisy Coleman. While now asking for a separate review of the case, he stands by his action, claiming Daisy and her friend Paige, another alleged victim, refused to testify.

RICE: I can't go into their minds. I don't know, ma'am. I can just tell you this, we were very careful, very deliberate to make sure that we recorded that there was no misunderstanding, that they understood by when they at that time invoked their Fifth Amendment right that by doing so was going to force the dismissal of the case.

CABRERA: The Coleman family believes Rice dropped the charges against 17-year-old Matthew Barnett not due to lack of evidence, but because of Barnett's deep-rooted ties to the community.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think because it was football players from Maryville, had lots of power and connection and we didn't matter.

CABRERA: Matthew is the grandson of long-time Republican state representative, Rex Barnett.

Can you understand people's suspicions about that?

REX BARNETT, MATTHEW BARNETT'S GRANDFATHER: Sure. I can understand why they would think that. I knew if this thing drag on very long, I would be pulled into somewhere just for political reasons. So, I made it a point not to talk to the prosecuting attorney, to the sheriff, any of the witnesses directly or indirectly. And I stuck to that.

CABRERA: Do you have a relationship with prosecuting attorney, Robert Rice?

BARNETT: We're acquaintances, not close friends or anything like that.

CABRERA: Rex Barnett retired from politics in 2002. Rice became Nodaway County prosecuting attorney in 2010.


BALDWIN: Ana Cabrera reporting there.

The mayor of Maryville also wants action and a swift resolution in the case. Mayor Jim Fall says he and many others have started to receive threats from supporters of Daisy Coleman.

I want to bring in CNN's legal analyst Sunny Hostin, because, Sunny, I know there are a lot of, you know, questions raised about this case and specifically how it was handled, but aren't there some basic facts that are just simply not in dispute?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think that's right.

What is so odd about this case, Brooke, is that it doesn't seem to be in dispute that sexual contact occurred. Right? You have got the boy saying, listen, it occurred, but it was consensual. There was drinking involved, but it was consensual. And now you have the girl saying it wasn't consensual, this was rape.

And so I have got to tell you, in a case like this, it is very odd that they're saying now that the girls have refused to cooperate, because as someone who used to try sex crimes, especially child sex crimes or crimes involving victims that are very young, you oftentimes try cases where victims are not cooperating for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, they're traumatized, Brooke. Sometimes, they don't understand the legal process. Sometimes, they just simply cannot bring themselves to testify.

But if the facts in this case are true, or as we have been reporting, that these girls were taken to the hospital and there were rape kits taken, and that means there is forensic evidence here, and those are cases, quite frankly, that I have tried.

BALDWIN: And I know with this case in particular, in Missouri, a lot of people are already jumping to compare it to what we saw in Steubenville, Ohio, that rape case involving, you know, a couple of football players and this unconscious girl down to the demands for action by the hacktivist group Anonymous getting involved.

Is there a lesson here for authorities in small towns nationwide?

HOSTIN: Absolutely. I don't think only the lesson is for small towns. I think the lesson is for large towns, I think the lesson is for cities, and the lesson is that your actions are not in a vacuum. Your actions, and you -- will be on the public stage and you will be forced, forced in the court of national public opinion to explain yourself. And I actually think that's one of the promises of social media and one of the promises of the Internet, that we're now very much so transparent when it comes to law enforcement and the law and crime with cameras in the courtroom and tweeting and that sort of thing. And so, you know, sexual assaults, that has to be a priority crime. It has to be. And now these types of cases, these small-town decisions are going to be heavily, heavily scrutinized, as they should be.

BALDWIN: Sunny Hostin, thank you.

A Hollywood director attacked on the set of his latest movie. Michael Bay has directed a lot of huge hits, but, today, he's the one telling his story, out-of-control suspect armed with an air conditioning unit, and cops with riot gear. What? Do not miss the rest of the story in this wild attack next.


BALDWIN: Michael Bay, you know the name? He's the mastermind director behind the mighty "Transformers" superhero movies and, well, this hot shot director probably could have used his big guy, Optimus Prime, in one of those stunt moves while recently on set in Hong Kong.

Here's what we have now learned. Bay and his crew were attacked by some people trying to shake them down, and it apparently got pretty ugly.

CNN entertainment correspondent Nischelle Turner live in New York.

Nischelle, what the heck happened?

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, this sounds like one of his big-budget blockbusters that we're talking about.

BALDWIN: It does.

TURNER: We're now hearing Michael Bay's version of what happened. He just posted a statement on his Web site.

And here's what he says. He said they were shooting the fourth "Transformers" film on location in Hong Kong when some men came up demanding money or else they were going to disrupt filming. They said they would play loud music and throw bricks, things like that.

Now, here's what Michael Bay said. This is quote from his Web site. he said: "One guy rolled metal carts into some of my actors trying to shake us down for thousands of dollars. I personally told this man and his friends to forget it. We were not going to let him extort us."

Now, he goes on to say that the men went away and then they came back carrying what he described as a long air conditioner unit which they tried to use as some kind of weapon to hit him in the face with it. He said he ducked, but then security came and two brothers were arrested by Hong Kong police. They're now being charged with blackmail and assaulting a police officer.

Now, according to the local police, these guys were demanding money, about $100,000 in Hong Kong money, which is about $12,000 American. But here's the capper, Brooke.


TURNER: These two guys didn't go quietly. According to the Hong Kong police report, several of the officers and one of the suspects were injured during a whole scuffle, but Michael Bay said that something more dramatic happened. He says it took seven security guards to bring one of these men down.


TURNER: And during the fight he says -- here's another quote from him -- he said: "He actually bit into one of the guards' Nike shoes. Insane."


TURNER: Yes. "Thank God it was an Air Max." He said, "The bubble popped, but the toe was saved." Crazy.

He said it was like they were fighting one of the zombies from "World War Z," like these guys just wouldn't go down. Isn't that bananas?

BALDWIN: Totally nuts. Totally nuts.


BALDWIN: At least they caught the guys, biting and all.

TURNER: Exactly.

BALDWIN: Nischelle, good to see you. Thank you.

TURNER: You, too, darling. Good to see you.

BALDWIN: Coming up, forceful, stern, and even frustrated, President Obama talked about politics, the politics really of the shutdown and this whole debacle and had a message for Congress, had a message for Republicans. Coming up next, talking to the hosts of "CROSSFIRE," Van Jones and S.E. Cupp. Did the president divide the country even more with his remarks today? We will discuss next.


BALDWIN: And here we go, near the bottom of the hour. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

You don't like the policy, change it, but don't break it. That was part of the president's message to Congress, urging both sides to work together, as we all are watching the clock tick toward January, when another possible government shutdown looms, and then there's February, too, when the debt ceiling will again need to be raised. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: And today, I want our people and our businesses and the rest of the world to know that the full faith and credit of the United States remains unquestioned.

But to all my friends in Congress, understand that how business is done in this town has to change, because we've all got a lot of work to do on behalf of the American people -- and that includes the hard work of regaining their trust.

Our system of self-government doesn't function without it. And now that the government is reopened, and this threat to our economy is removed, all of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists and the bloggers and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists who profit from conflict, and focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do, and that's grow this economy; create good jobs; strengthen the middle class; educate our kids; lay the foundation for broad-based prosperity and get our fiscal house in order for the long haul. That's why we're here. That should be our focus.

And there's no good reason why we can't govern responsibly,despite our differences, without lurching from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis.


BALDWIN: Joining me now, two of our "CROSSFIRE" hosts, S.E. Cupp and Van Jones.

Great to see both of you.

VAN JONES, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Great to see you.

BALDWIN: S.E., I'm going to begin with you here. I have heard a lot of words thrown out to describe the tone of the president today. To you, my question is, was it a call for bipartisanship or does it deepen the divide even further?

S.E. CUPP, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": It was really small, I thought. You know, he talked a lot about the dysfunction in Washington as if he's been living in Duluth the last six years.

He's the president of the United States. This is where he's been. Washington is very much sort of his design, even though he came in, in 2008 and in 2012 trying to transcend Washington politics and change the tone, and, sure, he's only one man, and he can't do that alone. But I think he really doesn't ever miss an opportunity to be divisive, instead of an opportunity to be humble.

I would have loved to have seen him come in today and say, look, let's reset. Let's push the reset button and start over. No one is proud of how we have all acted the past three weeks. Let's start over. We have a lot of work to do and I want to work with you. I want to listen, I want to help. It wasn't that. It was a lecture yet again about how he thinks Washington should work and how he thinks Republicans should be behaving.

BALDWIN: Speaking of working -- and, Van, when I heard the president today, and he mentioned a lot of things he had mentioned we remember from the State of the Union, immigration. He mentioned the farm bill. Do you think that this has been a lost year in Washington for the Obama agenda?

JONES: Well, yes and no.

First of all, you did see the exasperation. I wish maybe he had gotten a little more rest so he could come out with -- a little bit more fresh.

BALDWIN: A little...


JONES: Yes. But, honestly, you can understand why you would have some exasperation, given what we have just gone through.

Let me just say a couple things. First of all, the president actually did the country a great service by taking off the table now this kind of crazy crisis-to-crisis stunts on the part of the worst part of the Republican Party. He is -- he's a man of his word. He said, listen, I will negotiate anything, but not with a gun to my head.