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New York City's Mayoral Race Heating Up; Red Sox Stay Boston Strong; Jezebel.Com's Encyclopedia; Biggest Postmortem Paydays

Aired October 23, 2013 - 16:30   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: No, my understanding was he was a source to several journalists who were all surprised that it was him.

But let me turn to the other big subject of the day, which is Kathleen Sebelius and this meeting that the Obama administration is having with insurance company executives. Do you -- we were talking earlier, a Republican official was outraged that these meetings were private and secret and comparing them to meetings that Dick Cheney had with energy industry officials. Do you agree with that or what do you --

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: There's always been concerns to what extent is this law a handout to insurance companies, to what extent does it make it easier for insurance companies to make a lot of money by, you know, mandating that their product be purchased by people? So, it's always been a criticism of the law.

And I think the lack of transparency around the Affordable Care Act has been a big problem now as it's rolled out. You have a lot of folks who are experts in the tech community who have said if there was more transparency earlier on about the technical glitches we're now seeing, that outside folks could have come in and helped make this better. That if there had been more transparency around this law from the get-go, we could have avoided a lot of this.

TAPPER: And Josh, I want to give you the last word because you've written about this, about the idea that it's the excuses that is the problem for the Obama administration right now.

JOSH BARRO, POLITICS EDITOR, BUSINESS INSIDER: Right. I think if the administration came out forthrightly and said this is the list of technological problems that we believe exist with the website, this is the strategy we're taking to fix them, I think they'd have more credibility. Because right now - and frankly, it doesn't even look clear that the White House has a grasp on everything that's wrong with the Web site. We know traffic is crashing it. We know there are certain problems in the back end. But one thing people are worrying about is there are problems in the back end like these issues where is data is going to insurance companies garbled. They're having to get on the phone with the government to figure out what the applications are supposed to say. It's only working because almost nobody can file an application.

So we don't know how serious those problems are. If the White House would level with us, I think people would be more confident they're on this problem and fixing it. But I think you know, for better or worse, the law involves close cooperation between the government and insurance companies. They need to be meeting with the White House. I wouldn't (INAUDIBLE) for that.

TAPPER: All right. Great. Thank you so much. Kristen, Josh, Ryan, appreciate it.

Coming up on THE LEAD, after 12 years under Bloomberg's rule, New York City's about to get a new mayor, and the candidates are accusing one another of fear mongering and race-baiting. And we'll take you inside that race next.

Plus, it's the moment I've personally been waiting nine years for. Anchorman 2 is nearly here. And today's two new trailers are giving us a sense of what's in store. I'm very excited! That's coming up.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. In other politics news, we're used to name-calling, backbiting and toxic exchanges between Washington politicians. But in a mainstay of civility like New York City?


JOE LHOTA, NEW YORK CITY MAYORAL CANDIDATE: The reality is Bill de Blasio makes promises over and over that he can't keep.

BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK CITY MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Mr. Lhota says he wants to address early childhood education, but hasn't offered a plan to actually come up with the revenue to do it.

LHOTA: My entire career I've done nothing but work with people and bring them together.

DE BLASIO: Your ad doesn't look like something trying to bring people together, Mr. Lotus.

LHOTA: It's trying to tell people what would happen to you --


DE BLASIO: It's fear-mongering. It's race-baiting and fear mongering.

LHOTA: It is not. Stop!

DE BLASIO: You know it.


TAPPER: That was the scene at last night's second mayoral debate in the Big Apple between Democratic front-runner Bill de Blasio and Republican candidate Joe Lhota. The latest polls have de Blasio running away with this thing, leading 68 to 24 percent. This is the same guy who could barely capture a headline among the crowded field of Democratic candidates in the primary including this guy, I don't know if you've heard of him, Anthony Weiner. So how did he end up going from relative unknown to near shoo-in for the most high-profile mayoral office in the country? CNN's Deborah Feyerick has more.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These days getting close to Bill de Blasio takes some maneuvering.

DE BLASIO: Give me a little space, man.

FEYERICK: The Democratic underdog started with 10 percent of his party's vote before winning the primary in a stunning upset in New York's mayoral race.

The race was tight. De Blasio up against New York mayor Bloomberg favorite Christine Quinn. There was also Anthony Weiner. He lost his lead after a second sexting scandal. Since winning the primary, de Blasio has surged more than 40 points ahead of Republican tender Joe Lhota.

(on camera): You've had a small stab. What qualifies you to run a $70 billion budget?

DE BLASIO: I've talked about this many, many times. I've been in public life in this city almost 25 years now.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Twenty-five years, and yet in many respects, New York City is just getting to know Bill de Blasio and his biracial family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to tell you a lilt bit about Bill de Blasio.

FEYERICK: His 15-year-old son, Dante, has been prominently featured in political commercials. His daughter, Kiara, rallied the crowd on primary night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The man with the plan, Bill de Blasio.

FEYERICK: And wife Sherlain (ph) McCray is her husband's key strategist. She once identified herself as lesbian.

DE BLASIO: She is strong. She is smart.

FEYERICK: De Blasio's diverse family featured prominently and to good advantage in the campaign --


FEYERICK: -- says political analyst Costas Panagopoulos.

COSTAS PANAGOPOULOUS, POLITICAL ANALYST: We live in a very diverse city in which that kind of personal background, I think, is embraced.

(on camera): Is this an election you can win without your family?

DE BLASIO: I am first and foremost a husband and father, and I was showing the people of New York City who I am and what I believe.

FEYERICK (voice-over): De Blasio's diversity is strongly reflected in his dyed-in-the-wool progressive thinking, from his student roots as an anti-establishment activist fighting college tuition hikes to his current platform closing the money gap between New York City's rich and New York City's poor.

DE BLASIO: I've asked for a very modest increases in taxes for those who make a half million or more. I think I can safely say those who are folks who are doing well.

FEYERICK: De Blasio calls himself the, quote, "unapologetically progressive alternative to the Bloomberg era."

DE BLASIO: After 12 years of Mayor Bloomberg, it's time for a real change in this town.

FEYERICK: After running America's largest city, Bloomberg is aiming for even bigger things. De Blasio now concentrating on what he feels needs to be fixed in New York.

DE BLASIO: Don't shed a tear for the developers. They've done very well.

FEYERICK: He would push real estate developers to build or preserve 200,000 affordable homes. And he would also create universal pre- kindergarten programs paid for by tax hikes on the city's well-to-do. But will it backfire?

PANAGOPOULOUS: The electorate is not in a mood to be risky and take chances on the economy because things can change very rapidly.

FEYERICK: New York City hasn't had a Democratic mayor in 20 years.

(on camera): Are New Yorkers ready to change the ship's direction right now?

PANAGOPOULOUS: Well, I think not all New Yorkers are ready to change the ship's direction. I would venture to say for most New Yorkers, they're happy with way things are.

FEYERICK: De Blasio is walking a fine line between progress and change. Felony crime is down almost 75 percent. De Blasio focused on changing policing strategies targeting minority communities.

DE BLASIO: We can be safer in fact if we take the foundation, the core of what we have, and build upon it a better working relationship between police and the community.

FEYERICK: A delicate balance as he sells his program of progress, trying to convince New Yorkers the city as a whole could do better.

Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.


TAPPER: There's going to be one more debate between these two candidates leading up to election day, which is November 5th.

When we e come back, Boston strong. It's the reason even some Red sox haters are rooting for them this time around. But just what does it mean to the players and the city?

Plus, it's a rivalry 500 years in the making. The Church of England versus the Vatican. But this time, it could be playing out on the field. We'll explain in our sports lead next.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. In sports, it's been a wicked good year for the Red Sox. Tonight Boston takes on the Cardinals in game one of the World Series, but it was a year you might remember that began with an unimaginable tragedy. Just moments after the final outs of their Patriots day game at Fenway in April, two homemade bombs exploded just blocks away near the finish line of the Boston marathon.

All of a sudden, surgeons were battling wounds usually only seen in combat. Three lives were lost, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, 8-year- old Martin Richard, and 23-year-old Lingzi Lu. Then there was the manhunt that virtually shut down the entire city forcing the Red Sox to postpone a game, a search that ultimately ended with suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, dead along with MIT Officer Sean Collier and led to the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Today we got official confirmation of what our Susan Candiotti first reported back in May, that his dead brother, Tamerlan, was also implicated in a 2011 gruesome triple murder in Massachusetts. Through all of this, including the sad news today that a young teacher was murdered just north of Boston, the city and their beloved Sox remained Boston strong.

Victims are learning to walk and run again on their prosthetic legs and the Red Sox are playing for the title. I spoke to Red Sox President Larry Lucchino in the days after the bombing who talked about the team's pivotal role in the city's recovery.


LARRY LUCCHINO, PRESIDENT AND CEO, BOSTON RED SOX: We think it's important. Baseball can play a role as the Bruins and Hockey did last night. Resilience the mayor talked so eloquently about today, Bostonians coming together and this is the wrong city to mess with.


TAPPER: Our Andy Scholes is here with a look at how this fall classic is bigger than the game -- Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS: Hi, Jake. This season has been a pretty amazing journey for the Red Sox as they rallied around the Boston Strong theme. A season ago they finished in last place in the American League East. This year they have the best record in baseball. While they certainly have talent, the emotions and team camaraderie that followed the marathon bombings are what got them to the World Series.

And one simple powerful phrase, the Red Sox David Ortiz captured what the entire city of Boston was feeling following the marathon bombings when he said this is our bleeping city. And ever since that moment, big Papi and his teammates played inspired baseball. This season the Red Sox they were more than a welcome diversion from what happened. Fenway Park has been a sanctuary and safe haven for the people who were most affected by the tragedy.


MIKE NAPOLI, BOSTON RED SOX CATCHER/FIRST BASEMAN: It's a tough time for the city. You know, for us, we wanted to come here and be able to play a good game so their minds would be off, you know, that tragedy for a couple hours. The city is strong. All came together and got through it.

JON LESTER, BOSTON RED SOX GAME ONE STARTER: This really has been the only team I've been on where just the starting pitchers don't hang out. Everybody hangs out together. Everybody gets together. Everybody has a good time.


SCHOLES: The bond between the Red Sox players doesn't stop in the clubhouse or on the diamond. This year the team made more community appearance than ever before. In the past we've seen teams rally around terrorist attacks. The Yankees made it to the World Series following 9/11. Earlier this year the Boston Bruins, they made it to the Stanley Cup finals, over the next two weeks the Red Sox are trying to do something both teams failed to do, finish off their emotional season by winning a championship -- Jake.

TAPPER: Andy Scholes, thanks. The Red Sox have told us they will honor the memory of murdered teacher Colleen Riltser tonight with a moment of silence before game one.

It's one sporting event where if you see fans holding up the John 3:16 signs they probably really, really mean it. The Vatican announced today its forming its own cricket club. The pope is more of a soccer guy, but he still agreed to launch the team in the hopes it could compete against other church clubs and bring together people of different faiths.

Cricket is, of course, huge in England but also in places like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Australia's ambassador to the Roman Catholic Church, who also created the Vatican Club hopes to put priests against students at Muslim or Hindu schools. The team could be formed as early as next spring.

Coming up, the legend continues. Today we're getting a preview of what's to come.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's take a look at the big map. Where's the map?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the monitor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ron, where's my leg? I don't have any legs, Ron!


TAPPER: "Anchorman 2" is taking us back to pleasure town. Our "Pop Culture Lead" is next.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Now it's time for our "Pop Culture Lead." I don't pretend to be an expert on women or things that women like or the big words they use. But now I have a book to explain it to me in simple terms. It's our LEAD read. "The Book of Jezebel," an illustrated encyclopedia of lady things. It's out this week and it covers everything from suffragist, Alice Paul, to nervous breakdowns, which apparently started with housewives in the 1950s.

It was edited by Anna Holmes. She founded the women's blog "Jezebel" in 2007 and is a columnist for "The New York Times" Sunday Book Review. I spoke to her earlier about the encyclopedia and the intense prep work she did to complete it.


TAPPER: Anna Holmes, welcome.


TAPPER: Good to have you here. I've known you for a long time. It's great to see you so successful. This book is a great read.

HOLMES: Well, thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

TAPPER: How did you decide what to include in here?

HOLMES: It was a lot of free association and just brainstorming myself and the writers. We went back and forth with different lists, alphabetized lists of things, people, ideas, and pop culture products. We cross-referenced stuff. I read the dictionary at one point, not like the Oxford English dictionary, but still probably about a 2,000- page dictionary just to make sure I hadn't missed anything. And we definitely missed us, so it wasn't perfect.

TAPPER: What did you miss?

HOLMES: People like Susan Brown Miller or Althea Gibson, the movie "She's Got To Have It." Just on the way here on the train I was thinking about Spike Lee. I saw a guy who looked like Spike Lee and I thought we didn't put in "She's Got To Have It," a famous film with regards to its depiction of women and sexuality. There's a list of at least 100 things that we have on file that we missed.

TAPPER: Well, all the more reason to do the "Book of Jezebel Two."

HOLMES: Right.

TAPPER: One of the terms in the book is cover lies. It says magazine editor misrepresentations often found on the cover of women's service and fashion titles in order to sensationalize mediocre content, appeal to women's insecurities, and sell out copies. Explain what you mean by that.

HOLMES: Women's magazines in particular tend to have a way of funnelling the truth on a cover in order to have it fly off the newsstands. They have at least historically suck to a formula that worked and that I found to be a bit patronizing, exhausting, both as a consumer of magazines but also as an editorial staffer at them. And so when we started the site we thought we would give them the old critique.

In terms of the sorts of, like, fabrications or fibs that one finds in women's magazines, the cover lies are not the worst offenders. It's what's inside the magazine. A lot of women's magazines or media in general was selling us a phony bill of goods, especially women who I think are under more pressure than men are to look a certain way, to behave a certain way, to buy certain things. That's not to say men aren't under those pressures but I think that women see it a lot more and are marketed to more in that respect.

TAPPER: You've said in the past that was founded as a reaction to a lack of quality content for women in magazines and online. That was six years ago. Are things changing?

HOLMES: I do see things changing. You know, I see Cosmo, which was a worst defender, at least in our eyes in terms of ridiculousness and the kind of condescending nature of the content they published. Had a new editor, Joanna Coles, who was at "Marie Claire," and she is kind of turning a corn we are the magazine, which is to say they're not doing as many hundred sexy sex tips or how to lose 30 pounds in 30 days type of stories.

So I'm seeing a bit of a change in women's magazines. But you're also I think more seeing more women's websites online. I think the Jezebel helped inspire any number of young entrepreneurs and editors and writers to start their own websites, many of which are very popular and successful.

TAPPER: The "Book of Jezebel," Anna Holmes, thank you. We wish you every success with the book.

HOLMES: Thanks so much.


TAPPER: The biggest celebrity on the planet, not even death can stop you from living large. "Forbes" released its list of the top earning dead celebrities and the "King of Pop" still reigns supreme. In fact, Michael Jackson's estate is worth more than any living celebrity, an estimated $160 million over the past year, the bulk of that coming from Circus Soleil shows built around his music.

Coming in at number two with the biggest post-mortem pay day, "The King," Elvis Presley, his estate earned close to $55 million in the past year.

He had a voice that could make a wolverine purr and suits so fine they made Sinatra look like a hobo. Legendary anchorman Ron Burgundy is back, and this time he's -- let's just say not so comfortable with the evolving face of the news industry.


ANNOUNCER: Welcome to CNN, the global news network.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell us about the new head honcho.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Linda Jackson is a winner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you, my friend?




TAPPER: Two new trailers for "Anchorman 2" were just released today, but the movie doesn't hit theatres until Christmas. You can expect some familiar faces from the original along with new cast members like Kristen Wiig. If you can't wait until Christmas, check out this new Ben & Jerry's flavor called "Scotchy scotch scotch," dedicated to the legend's favorite cocktail.

That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I turn you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."