Return to Transcripts main page
Woman Almost Faints In Rose Garden; More Trouble For Rock Pushing Scout Leader?; Soldier's Controversial Headstone; Critics Call New Eminem Song Anti-Gay; NSA Spying Claims Go Global
Aired October 21, 2013 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: An unexpected or shall we call it an unscripted moment that happened today at the president's Rose Garden ceremony earlier this morning, because one of the people - you see all those people standing behind the president. There was a woman actually directly behind the president as he was talking about Obamacare today, she came mightily close to fainting, and the president actually had to stop his remarks just to make sure she was OK.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The one illness -- there you go. You're OK. I'm right here. I got you. No, no, you're OK. This happens when I talk too long. You'll be OK. Here, why don't you go -- you got it? Yes, come on. Good catch, by the way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Good catch, he says. Want to let you know, the woman, you heard the applause, she's OK. Her name is Karmel Allison and we have her on the phone to talk about what exactly happened.
So, Karmel, how are you?
KARMEL ALLISON, ATTENDED OBAMACARE EVENT IN ROSE GARDER (via telephone): I'm feeling much better now, thank you.
BALDWIN: How long were you standing there?
ALLISON: It wasn't actually that long. The 20 minutes of the talk, and we had come out right before the president, but I'm just -- I'm 20 weeks pregnant at this point and I hadn't had much to drink because I was worried about possibly needing to go to the bathroom during the speech, so I wanted to avoid that. As the sun hit me, I got a little bit lightheaded, but everything is OK and back to normal.
BALDWIN: I'm glad to hear it. I know you and I were chatting briefly in commercial break. This is your first little one. So congratulations. I guess you'll have a good story to tell down the road.
ALLISON: He met the president.
BALDWIN: Exactly, exactly. So what happened once we see this woman come and take you? What happened next? ALLISON: Well, I mean, you know, I just was taken back and got the best care possible from the White House physicians, which now I get to say the ACA got me care by the White House medical professionals. I think I won that one. But you know, it was an honor to be there, and I'm rather sorry I fainted in the middle of the speech. But I was really happy to be able to be there on stage at that moment and to be part of this amazing opportunity for us as Americans.
BALDWIN: Let's talk about that.
ALLISON: With the ACA.
BALDWIN: I read since you were 9 years of age, you have had Type I diabetes. So you stayed on the same insurance plan even though it's gotten increasingly expensive because of this pre-existing condition. Now with Obamacare, you feel like this is levelling the playing field, so to speak.
ALLISON: Yes, you know, I was diagnosed at the age of 9, and at the time, I wasn't aware, but as I aged and grown up, it has become an expensive disease to take care of. If you don't have health care, I don't understand how people do it without health care. I was lucky enough to be covered beforehand and had continuing coverage, but there was always a fear in me that, you know, if I ever needed to move, if I ever need to leave the current plan, that could be devastating financially.
I mean, my husband and I might not be able to handle that and you know, it might require me taking jobs I didn't want to take just for health care or not being able to do what I wanted to do. And so, you know, for me, the moment I went on shortly after the web site's opened and was able to just fill out three or four questions, a very short questionnaire.
And just spent a moment thinking about, wow, I'm not looking to switch, but if I wanted to, this is how easy it would be. It really was an amazing moment that I was not expecting. I was more just curious to see what the website was like.
BALDWIN: So you were able to get in a-OK because we heard the president today. He says he's the angriest of everyone for all these --
BALDWIN: I don't think glitches fully cover it, but what do you make of all the issues with the web site rollout.
ALLISON: Well, you know, I spent many years as a software engineer and building web sites is hard, and building web sites that get lots of sudden traffic is hard, too. That's technicalities, logistics and as the president said, not what the health care law is about. For me it was fine, but maybe it was because it was in early October and just beginning, but that's something that can be fixed. If you have the force of the president behind you, it's something that will be fixed quickly, you know -- BALDWIN: No, no, I'm just so glad you're OK, Karmel. Thank you so much for calling in. Like I said, you'll have a great story to tell your first child. So Karmel, thank you. Our best.
Now to this one, this is a follow-up on something we brought you about those Boy Scout leaders accused of vandalizing this ancient rock in this Utah State park, maybe in even more hot water legally speaking because we showed you this video. So they, of course, rolled on the whole thing, they're muscling, wiggling this boulder from the Jurassic era. Here it was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's crazy. It was held up by that little bit of dirt. Some little kid was about to walk down here and die, and Glen saved his life by getting the boulder out of the way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Turns out, Glen Taylor, the man you saw pushing the rock off its perch, apparently filed a disability case just a couple weeks ago. ABC News is reporting that Taylor had been involved in a car accident that allegedly left him permanently injured, so how could he then move that rock?
And is he in more legal trouble? CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, Danny Cevallos is in Philadelphia. Danny, if you know, this whole disability revelation is true, does it then solidify the vandalism charges?
DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST/CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This has been happening for years. People who go out and file disability claims or have personal injury cases and then they're on video throwing a baseball or playing basketball. As to the disability claim, that could be a real problem for him if it's potential fraud if he's saying he's permanently disabled.
The other thing to consider is now that everybody has a phone or a video on their phone, more and more, people are creating the entire body of evidence to be used against them by themselves. In other words, the entire body of evidence of this crime was created by the defendants or the suspects.
BALDWIN: They're providing it.
CEVALLOS: If they hadn't taken the video, there would be nothing. Not only are they providing it, they put it on Facebook for all the world to see. So no video, there couldn't be possibly be any charges. However, when it comes to defacing a monument or whatever these charges are, this is not a case where you have the Lincoln Memorial or something with a plaque.
These are just -- one of these goblins, as they call them, these rocks are one of many in the park. So the question arises, were they aware they were defacing a monument. It's something that may not be marked and is a rock. The question becomes, are they on the hook if they pushed over a rock in the park?
BALDWIN: I don't know how many stories we have do, but I'm consistently surprised by what people seem to do and the videos they post for the world to see. Danny Cevallos, thank you, sir.
A soldier's final resting place becomes the center of this new controversy after approving this pretty unique headstone, actually, two of these here. Cemetery officials now want the special monument removed. We'll tell you why next.
BALDWIN: The 28-year-old Army Sergeant Kimberly Walker had served not just one, two tours of duty overseas only to be murdered while on vacation in Colorado. Her grief-stricken family just wanted to lay her to rest, is now facing this whole new heartache. It involves Kimberly's headstone and a popular kid's cartoon character. Our affiliate, WLWT, has the story.
DEBORAH WALKER, SOLDIER'S MOTHER: She loved Spongebob. You know, and she went everywhere from the curtains, the shower, the bathroom, everything was Spongebob. Spongebob went in her casket before we laid her down in the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER (voice-over): The 28-year-old Army Sergeant Kimberly Walker's murder left her family numb, wondering how something like this could happen. Now, eight months later, the family says controversy over this monument of the cartoon character Spongebob at Kimberly's grave site in Spring Grove cemetery has caused them more pain, more disbelief.
WALKER: They came and said, you know, we can go ahead and do Spongebob. She gave us a statement. We signed a contract and then they started the design. We had to put down a third of it.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: That was in March. In fact, the family ordered two Spongebob monuments and over $13,000 apiece. Each weighs 7,000 pounds.
WALKER: They stand 6 feet tall and he's 4 feet wide. So when he's on a platform at eight inches so it makes him 6'8".
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: On Thursday, October 10th, the monuments arrived and were put in place in the cemetery, each one in a military uniform, one Army for Kimberly, one Navy for her twin sister, Kara, who is currently a Navy I.T. specialist.
WALKER: I thought it was like the greatest thing in a cemetery. I told the people there, I think this is the best monument I have ever seen and the best headstone in the cemetery. They all agreed, like it came out really nice.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So you could imagine how surprised they were when they received a call from Spring Grove Cemetery one day after the Spongebob monuments went up saying they were not appropriate and had to be removed.
WALKER: The next day. Yes and like I said, you know, we had our hearts set on Spongebob.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The president of Spring Grove Cemetery told me they feel horrible and they are sorry for the problems involving the monuments. In a statement he send me, it reads in part, although the family chose a design with the guidance of a Spring Grove employee, unfortunately, the monument didn't fit within the spring grove cemetery guidelines. We're working with the Walker family and are committed to design a solution at our expense that will properly memorialize Kimberly within the context of Spring Grove's historic landscape and guidelines.
(on camera): What is that middle line, if there is one?
WALKER: I feel like Spongebob should stay there, you know. That's where -- I mean, because we bought the plots, all six of them. Put the monuments there, we did what we had to do, and that's what we wanted.
BALDWIN: That's what the family wanted. We can also tell you that cemetery representatives and the Walker family are meeting later this week in hopes of reaching some kind of resolution. Thank you WLWT for reporting on that. Let me know how you feel sent me a tweet @brookebcnn.
Coming up, this bizarre video, you see this man hunched over, drooling, holding up traffic. Wait until you see what happens when he wakes up.
Plus this -- one of Eminem's new songs full of homophobic lyrics. My next guest says he's getting a free pass. Don't miss this.
BALDWIN: Country music star, Kellie Pickler is crisscrossing the country, performing for fans, but it's entertaining our troops that really touches her heart. This granddaughter of a retired Marine impacts her world through song.
KELLIE PICKLER, COUNTRY MUSIC ARTIST: Hi, there. I'm Kellie Pickler. I come from a military family. I've always a great deal of respect for our service men and women. Work a lot with the USO. I love working with them, and we've been able to go and do so many tours overseas. Where are my girlfriends? All right.
To be in a position where you can take a piece of home to your service men and women, why would you not do that? Because they need to know that we have their back because they have ours. It's the right thing do. That's why I do it. The USO, they have been doing this for over 60 years. You cannot compare those shows to any other show that you do. I wish I could just donate my whole time to doing the tours because I would do it in a heartbeat. I love it. Join the movement. Impact your world and be a part of something really special.
BALDWIN: Marshall Mathers, Slim Shady, Eminem, call him whatever you want, his name is synonymous with controversy. That is berserk, the first single off new album. Set to come out next month. And leading up to this release, Eminem has been posting a couple new songs online.
The latest called "Rap God." It's a 6-minute song that's earned huge, huge praise from fans. But some of the critics are taking offense here. They're calling the song homophobic for anti-gay lyrics in some of the verses. Here's just a small part of what people are pretty upset about.
Kevin Fallon, reporter for "Newsweek" and the "Daily Beast" joins me. Kevin, I read your piece today. I mean, you were one of these critics. It's really your whole column saying that Eminem is getting a free pass on this album from other reviewers. Why?
KEVIN FALLON, REPORTER, "NEWSWEEK" AND THE "DAILY BEAST": Hi, Brooke. Thanks for having me. So, yes, I wrote those columns saying he's getting a free pass from reviewers for using homophobic lyrics. He uses slurs in here that are used as insults, which is offensive in and of itself, and these are words that people say before they commit hate crimes, and they're words that are told to teenagers before they commit suicide.
They're hurtful, dangerous words. And the fact that when the song came out and reviewers glossed right over them and instead talked about how great it was, means that we have become accustomed to Eminem using those kinds of lyrics. That shouldn't be OK.
BALDWIN: So how does Eminem feel? We know that Anderson Cooper, he sat down with him in 2010 to explain himself. This was a clip from that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMINEM, RAPPER: I felt like I was being attacked.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN'S "AC 360": Like you were being singled out?
EMINEM: I felt like is it because of the color of my skin, you're paying more attention? Is it because -- there are certain rappers who do and say the same things I'm saying and I don't hear anyone saying anything about that. I didn't just invent saying offensive things.
COOPER: Do you not like gay people?
EMINEM: No, I don't have any problem with nobody. You know what I mean? I'm just whatever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: OK, so he says I'm like whatever to quote Eminem. You point out, I love this line in your piece, this is where Eminem pulls a Paula Deen before Paula Deen even knew she would have to pull a Paula Deen. It's not his fault he says hateful things. It's how he was raised. So this has been Eminem's defense, but what do you make of the point where he said, look, other rappers use lyrics like this. I didn't invent offensive things. Is that fair?
FALLON: It's fair. He uses the victim excuse in the interview and he has in the years since come out in support of gay marriage and said he's more tolerant of this thing. But the fact of the matter is the rap industry has changed over the years. Whereas when he was being raised and first starting to use these lyrics, it was acceptable, that's not the case anymore.
Now we have Frank Ocean who is an out bisexual. We have Macklumore, and it shows that the industry is not going to tolerate hateful speech anymore, and the fact he keeps doing it is a problem. And he needs to change with the times, too.
BALDWIN: Will it not tolerate it? Because when you look at the album sales in the past, do you think part of this, not just endorsing same- sex marriage? He did that whole duet with Elton John at the Grammy awards, a little bit of a Kumbaya moment there. But I mean, do you think this is just what Eminem does? This is his thing. He stokes controversy, or is this just even though you have the Macklamores and Frank Oceans, this is just what rap is in 2013?
FALLON: Eminem has been doing this for over a decade now so he knows when he uses lyrics like this what kind of reaction he's going to get. When I wrote this piece for the "Daily Beast," a lot of people responded me asking me if I ever heard of free speech, which of course I have. He has every right to say these things and we have every right to be offended by it and tell him we're offended by it.
And to implore as an artist with such reach and mass appeal, to take that position with more responsibility and stop using words like this and perpetuate hateful speech and dangerous speech, and we really hope he starts doing that.
BALDWIN: Kevin Fallon, I appreciate you coming on. Thank you.
Coming up, more of our breaking news out of Sparks, Nevada, police say a staff member of this middle school shot to death by a student. We're digging on a possible motive.
Plus this --
BALDWIN: Growing list of countries furious with the NSA. The U.S. ambassador summoned to meet with French diplomats immediately. Why, over this shocking allegation leaked by former security contractor, Edward Snowden. So the National Security Agency was accused of sweeping more than 70 million French phone records in a 30-day period.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURENT FABIUS, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER (through translation): These kinds of practices between partners that violate privacy are totally unacceptable. We must quickly assure that these practices aren't repeated. So the ambassador will be received this morning at the Cudorsey.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Paris today, is expected to schedule a meeting to try to smooth things over. Today's allegations of NSA cross-border spying come just 24 hours after Mexico demanded an explanation for Snowden's revelation that the U.S. had also been accessing the e-mail of a former president of Mexico, Felipe Calderon.
Now to some of the hottest videos of the day here we call it hit play.
BALDWIN (voice-over): In Atlanta, a bizarre scene. TV cameras catch this drooling driver slumped over, his car blocking traffic. The man wakes up, drives off, and bang, smashes his car into several others and then the guy makes a break for it, running up a hill, over a fence. Police still looking for the driver.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one. Ignite.
BALDWIN: Twenty one people in Cleveland burning themselves into the Guinness Book of World Records. Category, most people performing full body burns. Money raised by the stunt went to a local food bank.
Knives, oxygen tanks, and pumpkins? These divers in the Florida Keys getting into the Halloween spirit with a pumpkin carving contest at the bottom of the sea.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who's in the military?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: My mom. U.S. Air Force, but she's in Afghanistan.
BALDWIN: And a big surprise for this second grader. Her military mom isn't overseas, but steps away from a tearful reunion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She has no idea that I'm here. I'm just overwhelmed. I'm about to cry myself. I'm so happy to see you.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: You said the 17th.
BALDWIN: And that's today's hit play.
BALDWIN: The Obamacare sign-ups, a fiasco, a disaster, a total mess. Whatever you want to call it, the president himself is calling in his techies and we're talking to one of our own. The question we're asking, how would you fix it? I'm Brooke Baldwin, the news is now.
A mysterious blond girl found inside a gypsy camp. Abducted or adopted?
Dick Cheney tells CNN's Sanjay Gupta he feared hackers could assassinate him, but is it possible? CNN investigates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: A mom goes on national TV saying her daughter would never, ever bully.