Return to Transcripts main page


Has Easing Of Sanctions Already Begun With Iran?; The Downfall Of Cycling's Superman; Economy Survived Government Shutdown; Starving For An Oscar

Aired November 8, 2013 - 16:30   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: They reported today that by looking at treasury notices, since Rouhani was elected in June, the U.S. government has all but stopped the financial blacklisting of entities and people that help Iran evade international sanctions. It looks as though there's already been some carrot even without any stick or any action earning those carrots.

RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: That would be a pretty modest carrot. It's kind of like the small ones you buy in the grocery store, not the big ones, and the argument would be that would be a kind of confidence building measure, really limited one. If for example these agreements, these negotiations rather came to naught, the United States could move ahead on that sort of a front with considerable dispatch. In any negotiation, you often try to create an environment where you increase the odds and that to me wouldn't be anything say that's irrevocable.

TAPPER: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just met with Secretary of State John Kerry. He is very public about not being happy with what's shaping up to be the deal. Take a listen.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I understand the Iranians are walking around very satisfied in Geneva as well they should be because they got everything and paid nothing. The international community got a bad deal. This is a very bad deal.


TAPPER: Are we hurting our relationship with Israel and other allies by working with Iran?

HAASS: Clearly, the Israelis and the Saudis are incredibly nervous. This doesn't take place in a vacuum. It takes place in the context of what was seen as American lack of reliability or consistency in Syria. It takes place against the backdrop of American political dysfunction here at home. But clearly, the Israelis are nervous and they are also worried, Jake, about being boxed in, that while such a process is going on, their ability to act independently militarily is really all but taken off the table.

TAPPER: So you think that the Netanyahu, his very public anger, is 100 percent legitimate and that's not for show in any way? HAASS: Well, again, I think it's meant to toughen the U.S. position as you move towards the last hours potentially of negotiation. It's also meant to some extent to stimulate not just political support at home in Israel, but perhaps in the U.S. to get people in Congress and elsewhere to scrutinize any sanctions relief that is provided to the Iranians and you've got to look at an interim agreement and basically say do we get enough out of it in terms of what we potentially put into it. That's the only framework that everybody has to use.

TAPPER: All right, Richard Haass, thank you so much for your time.

HAASS: Thanks for having me.

TAPPER: Coming up on THE LEAD, it was meant to capture the incredible comeback of an aging sports star until the documentary project was turned on its head when Lance Armstrong finally admitted having used performance-enhancing drugs. Next, I talk to the film maker behind quote, "The Armstrong Lie."

Plus, they just named David Copperfield the most powerful man in the world three years running, but not even he could cast a spell to save the onion from the changing times. Stay with us.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Time for the Sports Lead now, it's getting uglier in Miami. They even brought his sister into it. The Dolphins' Jonathan Martin is now fighting back through his attorney who released a statement saying this is not a matter of toughness, but that Martin endured harassment from several teammates that went far beyond your typical locker room hazing and slammed that point home with a quote, allegedly made by a teammate, about what he would do to Martin's sister.

Quote, "So vulgar it would make the cigarette fall out of Andrew Dice Clay's mouth." Meanwhile, Richie Incognito also hired lawyers to fight his suspension without pay for conduct detrimental to the team.

In other sports news, the plot line, it was going to be nothing short of epic. A cancer survivor hounded by detractors does the impossible. He returns to the sport he loves and proves them all wrong. Cue the inspiring theme music and let the credits roll. That's the film that Director Alex Gibney thought he was going to make in 2009 about Lance Armstrong's comeback to the world of cycling.

Of course, the project came to a screeching halt when the doping scandal finally engulfed the sport's biggest star. But after Armstrong finally confessed to his sins, Givney reopened the project and what began as a sort of fan film turned into an unflinching look at a spiraling web of lies.


LANCE ARMSTRONG: Living a lie, I didn't live a lot of lies, but I lived one big one. It's different, I guess. I certainly was very confident that I would never be caught.


TAPPER: Alex Gibney, writer and director of "The Armstrong Lie," joins me now from New York. Alex, congratulations. It's a riveting documentary, partly due to the fact that there's something, well, fascinating and maybe even frightening about how much Armstrong believed the lies he was telling to the world. Do you get any sense that he's sorry for what he did or just sorry that he got caught?

ALEX GIBNEY, DIRECTOR, "THE ARMSTRONG LIE": I think he's sorry for what he did to an extent, but I think most people feel that he's not sorry enough. I mean, I think he hasn't really grappled with the damage that he did off the bike. I think the fury that served him very well on the bike turned out to be very damaging off the bike and also, he told this kind of grand story that didn't need to be so big, he told a lie that was so enormous.

He didn't just say look, I have never tested positive. He would always say how dare you say that I, as a cancer survivor, would ever use performance-enhancing drugs and the enormity of that miraculous story if it were true came crashing down on him because so many people were disappointed.

TAPPER: The film makes a clear case Armstrong would have gotten away with it all if he hadn't returned to the Tour De France in 2009 so why did he come back especially when that risk was out there?

GIBNEY: I think that's the big mystery of the story. That's the mystery that haunts the story. I asked him that very question. I said didn't you think that people who had suspicions about doping before would come back after you if you came back in 2009? He didn't just say yes. He said, of course. I thought wow, of course.

So he knew the risk he was taking and yet I think it was too tantalizing to him. He had been so confident that he could pull it off in the past. I think also as an athlete he just couldn't stand being away from the field of battle. So he went back right into the lion's den.

TAPPER: You had incredible access to Armstrong for the film. You agreed to pay him for that access. Armstrong will still get a cut of the proceeds of the film despite the turn that the story line ultimately took. Is there any reaction from him?

GIBNEY: I haven't heard any reaction because he hasn't seen it. You know, we offered him the opportunity to see it, and he sent his representatives instead. I think he should see it. I think he should see it.

TAPPER: Watching the film, it's clear you had a friendly relationship with Armstrong, who seems likable on one level. You admit in the film that there was a time when you were rooting for him, you were a fan. You wanted him to make the impossible comeback. He calls you Alex when he speaks to the camera. Do you personally feel betrayed at all? GIBNEY: Yes, I feel betrayed. I mean, I think I was used. That maybe is what really pissed me off the most. I understood that part of my role in the 2009 film, the comeback film, was to be part of the PR machinery and a guy who had done investigative films before now watching this great comeback, which would then hopefully, you know, give some coloration to the magic of his career and help solve some of those questions that people had raised in the past. So that's the part I think that infuriated the most -- infuriated me the most, that I felt like I had been part of the PR campaign, the cover up.

TAPPER: Of course, there were all those people who had been trying to drop a dime and tell the truth about him and he went out and tried to destroy them. How much did people like Sheryl Crow and other people who were big parts of his life, how much did they protect him knowing what the lie was?

GIBNEY: I think one of the most fascinating aspects of this story is that this was a lie that hid in plain sight for many, many years and there are many people complicit in this. The sponsors, the cycling organization, celebrities, people close to Armstrong, cyclists who had the code of Omerta, the code of silence and the media, I would add, and us fans who you know, on the podium in 2005, Armstrong said as he was leaving seemingly for the last time, I'm sorry for you who can't dream big.

I'm sorry for you who don't believe in miracles. Well, this is from an Atheist and yet somehow, we wanted to believe in the miracle even though we knew better. And there was a huge mechanism around Armstrong's lie that enabled it to happen.

TAPPER: I just have to ask you. Neither one of us is qualified as a psychologist or psychiatrist, but his lies just seem so deep that it seemed almost sociopathic. That's why I think so many people are so angry at him because they believed in him and his lies were just staggering. I mean, I really honestly, thinking about it, can't think of a bigger liar in the sports world. I know you can't diagnose him, but how deep do you think these lies are?

GIBNEY: Here's what I think about that. I'm uncomfortable with the word sociopath, but I think he was deeply afflicted with what the police call noble cause corruption. That's what they call bad cops who slip marijuana cigarettes into people's pockets because they can't get them any other way. I think Lance felt that his story was so inspiring, so good, that he could be bad. That was OK. It was OK if he went after people and went after them hard, why, because he was raising millions of dollars for cancer.

You know, a social psychologists tell us that we may be hard- wired for social mediocrity. I think the grander that Lance's story became, the more vicious he lashed out at his critics and the more able he was to tell the most fantastic lies straight to our faces without any compunction at all. I think there were times, in order to be a really good liar you have to believe your lies in some fundamental way, some emotional way. I think that's what allowed Armstrong to get away with it.

TAPPER: Well, it's a brilliant work. Congratulations, Alex.

GIBNEY: Thank you.

TAPPER: The documentary is "The Armstrong Lie," it opens in select cities today. Alex, Gibney, thank you so much.

GIBNEY: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: Coming up next, forget going to the gun show or the sporting goods store. Now one company has developed a metal gun using a 3D printer and it really works.

Plus, it's become an almost guarantee at getting an Oscar nomination. Actors transforming their bodies for that coveted role. What is the ultimate cost?


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Now it's time for the Money Lead. An October surprise, the jobs report that survived the partial government shutdown, the latest figures showing the economy added 204,000 jobs in October, about 80,000 more than economists predicted. Other figures showing personal income and spending edged up a few percentage points, although the jobless rate rose to 7.3 percent from 7.2 percent.

That's likely from the hundreds of thousands of furloughed government workers. So apparently, the fact that the federal government was closed for more than half of October did not torpedo the economy as some experts had feared. Wall Street liked today's news. The Dow added 167 points today.

If they make a musical about this, they really should call it "Annie, Print Your Gun." A company in Texas claims it has made the first metal firearm using a 3D printer. It's a version of an M-1911 pistol. Company officials say it works. It's made of 33 mostly stainless steel parts with a carbon fiber hand grip carved with a laser. Think weird science, only with a gun instead of Kelly Lebrock.

Some people don't like this trend. They foresee criminals making copies of untraceable weapons at home, but the company says most people will not be able to afford the equipment. How reassuring?

Coming up next on THE LEAD, it's one of the best kept secrets in music. Who is the ex-boyfriend Alanis Morrissette is singing about? We finally get the answer.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. The Pop Culture Lead" now, this weekend, the "Dallas Buyers Club" is expanding to more theaters after pulling in more than a quarter million dollars on just nine screens last weekend. The reviews for the film are stellar. But you won't get more than a few paragraphs in before critics mention the most attention-grabbing aspect. It stars Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto lost startling amounts of weight to portray AIDS patients during the epidemic of the 1980s. You can imagine actors practicing their Oscar speeches in their trailers as they undergo physical transformations, but the big question, is it worth the health risk?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It changes the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you think.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forty percent of the energy that I lost from the neck down sublimated to the neck up.

TAPPER (voice-over): For Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey, transforming into their characters has become a full body experience.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've tested positive for HIV.

TAPPER: Their roles in the "Dallas Buyers Club" as patients with HIV required each to embark on an intense weight loss regime waiting from fit stars to dying characters within months.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been looking for you, Lonestar.

JARED LETO, ACTOR: I stopped counting between 30 and 40 pounds. It provides a certain amount of fragility to the character which was essential here.

TAPPER: Essential, perhaps, to convince the audience. Nothing conveys commitment to viewers more than a rigorous and intense physical transformation. It conveys commitment to voters at the academy awards, too. Just look at best actor award recipient, Robert DeNiro, in "Raging Bull." Both as young cut, Jake Lamotta, and older overweight Lamotta or best actress, Charlize Theron in "Monster," or multi-award winner, Tom Hanks, in "Philadelphia." or "Castaway." Hanks was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and told the BBC that gaining weight for roles did not help his health.

TOM HANKS, ACTOR: You don't exercise very much and you kind of eat whatever you want to. I can't imagine that was good for blood sugars, but I'm not going to say, I have type 2 diabetes because I did "Castaway."

TAPPER: Celebrity nutrition expert, Jackie Keller, says for actors, the motivations and risks are both sizable.

JACKIE KELLER, FOUNDING DIRECTOR, NUTRIFIT, LLC: Affecting weight that is far below their normal is really a difficult thing for the body to adjust to. So there are problems with sleep. There are problems with energy level, but it can be done at least safely in the time frame that's allowed for it.

TAPPER: Keller helped Jake Gyllenhaal gain weight for 2010's "Prince of Persia," but that former client cut quite a different figure last month as he prepared for a smaller role. JACK GYLLENHAAL, ACTOR: I'm playing a character who is hungry, literally and figuratively.

KELLER: He's a very healthy eater so I'm assuming that for this role, he's doing it in a healthy fashion. We don't totally eliminate any particular macro nutrient source and we keep the diet fairly well balanced so that we try to minimize the cravings that people have.

TAPPER: For these actors, those cravings are far outweighed by their desire to look the part.

MILA KUNIS, ACTRESS: It's one of those things where you can only fake it so much.

TAPPER: Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman trained intensely for 2010's "Black Swan."

KUNIS: In order for me to look like a ballerina, I needed to have my collarbone protrude in a certain way.

TAPPER: Repeat efforts are not uncommon. Just six years before "Buyers Club," Leto went for another extreme played John Lennon's killer in "Chapter 27." He added a whopping 67 pounds to his naturally thin frame.

LETO: It is kind of a gross thing to do to yourself. I will never do it again. Put it that way.


TAPPER: McConaughey appears to have gained the weight back. He said he made a beeline for a cheeseburger after the movie wrapped.

It was one of the biggest albums of the '90s that had us all going. Not Uncle Joey, really? The cut it out guy? For now it looks as if Broadway is getting ready to swallow a jagged little pill. Alanis Morrissette is writing a stage album that will expand her story. The musical will have the same title along with every song off the album, all of them. The same team who helped put together Green Day's "American Idiot" musical will help with "Jagged Little Pill."

That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. For those of you in the Los Angeles area on Veterans Day, Monday, I will be speaking at the Reagan Library in the morning and at the Nixon Library in the evening. Hope you can stop by. I now turn you over to Brianna Keilar, filling in for Wolf Blitzer in a place called "THE SITUATION ROOM" -- Brianna.