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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Sources: Lawmaker Stabbed More Than 10 Times; New Developments In Creigh and Gus Deeds Case; President Obama Speaking at Medal of Freedom Dinner

Aired November 20, 2013 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): OUTFRONT next:

A day of ceremony for President Obama.

He speaks live this hour at a critical point in his presidency. That's OUTFRONT.

Plus, new details about the state senator who was stabbed more than 10 times by his own son. Police knew there was trouble in that home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is just a tragedy. A young man is dead. A family can never get that young man back. As a society, I don't know what it's going to take for us to pay attention to this issue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Could this tragedy have been avoided?

And George Zimmerman facing new charges, what his girlfriend says about Zimmerman and guns.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The gun (inaudible) was the shotgun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, President Obama is about to speak live. We are waiting for the president to deliver remarks momentarily. It is the Presidential Medal of Freedom dinner. We'll bring that to you live as soon as it begins because it is a critical day and a moment for this president. So far today there has been mental of pomp and circumstance for the White House.

This morning, President Obama awarded the Presidential Medal Of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor to 16 people. Those included former President Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey. The Obamas and the Clintons then together made their way to Arlington National Cemetery, along with some of the members of the Kennedy family. And there as you can see, they laid the wreath at the grave of John F. Kennedy.

This is two days before the formal 50th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination in Texas. Behind the photo ops, President Obama is struggling. His signature piece of legislation, Obamacare is on life support.

We begin our coverage tonight with John King. Of course, John, this speech tonight is a very important speech, right? I mean, he is going to be trying to sort of be in the shadow of JFK. Somebody who, you know, when he first ran for office, he was compared to frequently. He spent the day going from ceremony to ceremony looking very presidential. Inside the White House, there are a lot of problems.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are a lot of problems. This is a chance for the president for a day to step away from them. If you talk to past recipients, past office holders, talk to President Clinton, talk to George W. Bush, they will tell that you sometimes when you're in a ditch it is helpful to have day like this where you're the president, you're leading important ceremonies.

Tonight, he will pay tribute to JFK and to public service and to the Kennedy family. You make an important point. Remember when Caroline Kennedy and Ted Kennedy endorsed in 2008, Caroline Kennedy said the excitement around then candidate Obama reminded her of the stories people told her about the excitement of 1960 when her dad ran for president.

So can the president get a little personal juice and adrenaline out of this? Sure. Is one day away from Obamacare, one day away from a 37 percent approval rating going to solve those problems? No. But it can't hurt.

BURNETT: Let me ask you about that approval rating because the latest numbers are in and as you know, they've been grim from polling institution after polling institution. But the latest, CBS News reporting the president's approval rating is now 37 percent. That may sound on an absolute basis, horrible, it is, but a month ago it was 46 percent.

That gives you how dramatically it is dropping. For comparison since we're talking about JFK, that's going to be the center of what he is talking about. President Kennedy had a 56 percent approval rating when he was assassinated and that was the low for his presidency.

KING: He served two and a half years in the presidency. So all of the hope and the optimism, if you read the history books that accompanied the beginning of the new frontier, the beginning of Camelot as some called it, this president now, President Obama is in his second term and a lot of that hope and wishful aspirational speeches are gone and he is in the nitty gritty now.

The signature domestic initiative, the signature domestic accomplishment of his first term is now the albatross of his second material. What makes those poll numbers so stunning, Erin, is that he has had the double whammy, taking a hit on his confidence, the roll out of Obamacare taking a hit in his credibility. People don't find him honest and trustworthy.

It is hard to change those numbers, but you have to start somewhere. So what this president do, number one, step away from it sometimes. You try to keep your sense of humor. Number two, there is a lot of talk in the White House, the president has said he is mad that he this didn't bring the warnings about the web site and other problems directly to him.

There is talk of a possible staff shake-up inside the White House. The president's biggest hope at the moment though, Erin, is when we go into the next budget negotiations with Republicans, the possibilities of the debt ceiling we have to deal with early in the New Year that the Republicans give him an opening, that they give him maybe not a shutdown, but a political environment like the shutdown that he can benefit from and have a rebound.

BURNETT: All right, well, John King, thank you. John is going to be back with us because, again, as we said, the president is slated to begin speaking in just a few moments and we are going to bring that to you live. This is just a very crucial moment and a crucial speech for this president as he tries to get away from so much of the agony he's been experiencing over Obamacare.

By the way, the polls on Obamacare even worse than the polls for the president personally in terms of the drop because the approval of the health care law now 31 percent and that is down 12 points in one month.

OUTFRONT tonight, Democratic strategist, Hilary Rosen and Republican strategist, Terry Holt. All right, good to have both of you with us. Hilary, that poll, the poll that we're seeing for the president personally that he's dealing with tonight as he gets ready for the speech and the numbers that we're seeing for the Obamacare, the signature health care law, these are pretty terrifying polls if you are in the White House.

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, President Obama is not running for re-election so I think the poll really is only relevant for one thing, which is as this program gets fixed and as the work of the country continues, do people still perceive that the president is going to be able to solve the problems of the country? That's what they care about.

I think that they're less worried about his popularity and more worried about does he continue to maintain some political clout? And further than that, you know, we're really are not -- we are so overdramatizing the impact on the Obama presidency I think of this health care rollout. It is going on get better. It is inevitable. Frankly I think we've hit the bottom here and so there is a long way to go and he is still the president for three more years.

BURNETT: Terry, what about that? It is not just his overall approval. It is the very things he used to score so well on. Things like do you like him in do you trust him? He's seen those numbers drop precipitously and those numbers are the hardest to get back once you lose them. TERRY HOLT, FORMER SPOKESPERSON FOR JOHN BOEHNER: When you lose the personal attributes of strong leadership and credibility, you have a really hard time getting it back. And I fundamentally disagree with Hilary. We haven't hit bottom yet. As far as health care law goes, it is just a web site today. The young people that don't sign up for it are going to be the next wave, the next nightmare for the president. And then wait until seniors find out how much change and how much potential harm to their coverage could come from this. The president's problem is that this is the only thing he's got. This is his signature accomplishment. Right now it is in serious trouble.

BURNETT: Hilary, let me ask you about that because, you know, we spoke to one young woman today. She is a freelance writer, you know, kind of a trend that we've seen around this country, right? More and more people who are freelance, who are working for themselves, don't have the health care from big companies. She is very informed. Researched extensively and she said, look, I found out. I was so excited about Obamacare and it is just cheaper for me to pay the penalty than signing up.

Here are the numbers, Hilary, her annual costs, the penalty plus the medical costs that she just paid out of her pocket. Her name is Arina, out of her pocket $960 a year, under obamacare, premiums plus deductibles over $6,000 a year. Those numbers, whether you like the concept of health care or not, those numbers are never going to add up.

ROSEN: And it was an interesting story. And it came down to about $30 a month difference that she said she didn't want to pay. But the studies showed that seven out of 10 young adults are going to be able to get coverage for around $100 a month or less. The reason she didn't qualify was because she made more money than the subsidies would provide for. So what we have here are people who -- overwhelmingly, actually, understand that health insurance is a good thing. It is true that young people feel more invincible and will require more incentive and more encouragement to sign up.

HOLT: But it is those young people that are required for this program to be solvent.

ROSEN: Just a few million.

HOLT: Then you're toast.

ROSEN: Just a few million. We don't need all of them. We just need some of them.

HOLT: We have an aging population and you're asking young people to carry a huge load.

ROSEN: They're not carrying any extra load. They're providing safety and security for their own health.

HOLT: They're opting out of the program.

BURNETT: A lot of them say I get that. I get the moral imperative. I should be paying for this. I want to help the elderly. I want to do my part, but I don't have the extra money to do this. Even when the premiums look OK per month, the deductibles are sky high. And they say I'll pay the penalty. I'm going without insurance. Again, that can't happen and have this work. How is that going to change?

ROSEN: I don't think this is a moral imperative. I think what people are going to find, as Kaiser studies have shown, independent studies, more than 50 percent of people 18 to 34 actually want health insurance. They want that security. Even with a higher deductible they're still getting more than they have currently.

When we have this current analysis that says seven out of ten young people will be able to get policies under $100 a month. That's going to be attractive. Again, this is a long term play. There is a lot of misinformation out there. Like terry doing what he just did before, screaming about seniors and about to get hurt which is just silly.

HOLT: Huge changes in their plans? Seniors are covered under a completely different plan.

ROSEN: You're just using scare tactics. You're gist giving Republican talking points for no good reason.

HOLT: I'm sorry. I was trying to address the policy ramifications for Medicare, for Medicare advantage for other programs that other people are involved with. We talk about the seniors but the way this thing is implement over the next 18 months or so, it will be expensive for average people. They're doing the kitchen table math.

And then when we start doing actuarial math, what it will take to support this program, if it ever gets stood up, it will break the bank and that's what Republicans have been saying all along. It is not a talking point. It is just math.

BURNETT: We're going to leave it there for now, but I look forward having both of you back. Because of course as we know even though the president's speech tonight, he hopes it will turn eyes off the Obama care issue -- eyes will not turn off of it. We'll have more from the presidential dinner. He is expected to speak at any moment about the legacy of JFK and we'll be taking that live. That's the room where the president will be speaking in a few moments. And we'll be going there with you.

Plus, new information about the state senator who was stabbed more than ten times allegedly by his own son. We'll find out whether that attack could have been avoided.

And George Zimmerman faces charges for pointing a gun at his girlfriend's head. What she says about his relationship with guns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: New developments tonight in the stabbing of the Virginia state senator Creigh Deeds and the suicide of his son, Gus. Sources close to the investigation are telling us tonight that Deeds was stabbed more than 10 time outside his home. He then stumbled down the driveway bleeding. His son went inside and shot himself with a rifle.

We are learning that the sheriff was called to the house on Monday of this week before this happened. Brought Gus Deeds to the hospital for a mental evaluation, but he was released after officials failed to find him a bed. We can report, though, that CNN has learned, there were actually beds available.

Chris Lawrence is in Charlottesville, Virginia to begin our coverage OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CREIGH DEEDS, VIRGINIA STATE SENATOR: This chapter is closed but the next chapter is yet to be written.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Virginia state senator Creigh Deeds, never seen far from his son Gus. There he is, smiling behind his dad's right shoulder, and again on the campaign trail with his bluegrass banjo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Upon arriving at the scene, the deputies and troopers found Gus, the son of Mr. Deeds, deceased inside the house from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

LAWRENCE: So how did this father/son team end up like this? The son allegedly killing himself after stabbing his own father in the head and chest 10 times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know as a father he had a lot of concerns about his son.

LAWRENCE: And he is not the only mentally ill person who did not get help in time. James Holmes killed 12 people in a Colorado movie theater. Adam Lanza shot 20 children and six adults at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school.

Liza Long created a firestorm last year when she compared her own teenage son to Lanza, saying she lived in fear of what he might do because of his mental illness.

LIZA LONG, SON SUFFERS FROM MENTAL ILLNESS: As a society, I don't know what it's going to take for to us pay attention to this issue and to be able to help children and families get the services that they need.

LAWRENCE: Gus Deeds was brought in for a mental health evaluation Monday. A magistrate issued an emergency custody order. Mental health officials told CNN that meant he had been declared homicidal, suicidal or unable to care for himself. But that didn't guarantee he would get treatment.

LONG: But this story is actually incredibly common. Parents who are not sure where to turn. Not sure how to solve this issue for their child and who are living in fear.

LAWRENCE: Gus Deeds was apparently sent home, a practice the inspector general called "streeting." A 90-day audit in 2012 found 72 individuals determined to meet the statutory criteria for temporary detention were denied access to inpatient psychiatric treatment. The report said that streeting places the person and his or her community at risk.

That practice was supposed to stop after a mentally ill Virginia Tech student killed 32 people. Virginia gave mental health officials four hours to make a case for involuntary hospitalization. CNN found three hospitals in that state that said they could have taken in Gus Deeds. But officials won't say whether they failed to search hard enough or the clock just ran out.

MICHAEL FITZPATRICK, NATIONAL ALLIANCE ON MENTAL ILLNESS: A tragedy happens, the legislature reacts. You see this in other states. And then over time, that money is chipped away and these services aren't available.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAWRENCE: Tonight, I spoke to a law professor who was brought in by the state to help reform its mental health facilities and the mental health care system. He says he advocated for alternatives to forced hospitalization following the Virginia Tech shooting. Things like crisis centers. Things like services that could be provided in someone's home where perhaps they could be stabilized.

Now, the one bright spot, if you could even call it that tonight, Erin, is the fact Creigh Deeds has been upgraded to good condition in the hospital right behind me.

BURNETT: That is a miraculous outcome. Thank you very much for your reporting, Chris Lawrence.

Of course, so many people talk about this. In this case, it is sort of incredible, right? You have a knife used and a gun used.

So, in 1955, there were more than 550,000 psychiatric beds in the United States. In 2010, there were fewer than 45,000. That is a plunge by any measure. But keep in mind, the population of the country has also nearly doubled since 1955. So, you can get a sense of how astoundingly horrific this number is.

This is a situation Dr. Charles Sophy deals with every day as a psychiatrist and director of children's services for the county hospitals of Los Angeles. Dr. Sophie is OUTFRONT.

And Dr. Sophy, this was a state senator, a prominent family who ran up against the system, couldn't get a bed for his son. This is a connected guy who knew what he was doing. If he couldn't get access, what does it mean for people who are not as fortunate, who are dealing with children who could have horrific problems and be a risk to themselves or others?

DR. CHARLES SOPHY, DIRECTOR OF CHILDREN'S SERVICES, L.A. COUNTY HOSPITALS: I mean, it is a reality is the unfortunate thing here. Because are no beds. And then there is a bed, the criteria to get into that bed of a danger to yourself, danger to others or inability to care for yourself, that criteria is so stringent that it is very difficult to even get to that criteria.

There are many barriers to getting a child some help. And those are the things we're seeing. No matter who you are, as you see with this instance, it doesn't matter.

BURNETT: And we hear these mental issues happening again and again. Some people point to them as to why guns are used. That's why I emphasized in this case, a gun and a knife. Aurora, Colorado, Newtown, Connecticut, the Navy Yard in Washington, Los Angeles Airport with the TSA just a couple weeks ago. This is -- we just keep hearing it happen again and again. Mental health involved every single time. So, who can do something to stop it?

SOPHY: Well, I think what can be done to stop it is really looking at the whole system in general and being able to work with insurance companies and criteria and the ability to pay for a really good, solid evaluation, access to those evaluations. It really takes a whole community and a hospital system, an insurance system to be able to look at the issues. Because if we can't evaluate, we cannot treat. We have to be able to evaluate.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Dr. Sophy. We want your feedback on this issue as well.

Still to come, President Obama expected to speak any moment about JFK's legacy. As you can see, the ceremonies have already begun. This gentleman is going to speak, and then the president. We'll be going live there to see how he handles this crucial moment.

Plus, George Zimmerman accused of pointing a gun at his latest girlfriend's face. She's been commuting - communicating, I'm sorry -- with a reporter for weeks who comes OUTFRONT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: New details on the mental state of George Zimmerman, now accused of pointing a shotgun at his live-in girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe. Zimmerman was arrested on Monday and released on bail yesterday afternoon. He is facing a felony charge of aggravated assault as well as misdemeanor counts of domestic violence battery and criminal mischief.

Now, the girlfriend he is accused of assaulting has reportedly been talking for weeks with Eric Sandoval of CNN affiliate WKMG. And Eric is OUTFRONT.

Eric, thanks for taking the time. So, you've been communicating, even before Monday's incident. Scheibe's mother, Hope Mason, has been texting you and was texting you during a period when her daughter and Zimmerman were separated. Now, quote, one of the texts that you received, "Things have gotten hotter on her end. He's shown up two times already to her house, so we need to move sooner than later so she stays safe." What else did she tell but George Zimmerman?

ERIC SANDOVAL, WKMG REPORTER: Well, for instance, she said he has been very suicidal over the last few weeks. She basically says he's a changed man, especially since the verdict a few months back that basically acquitted him of murdering Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. This is a woman who's been in George Zimmerman's life for at least 12 years now. She met him when she was a teenager. She actually dated him a little bit back when she was a teenager and he was in his 20s. And now she has come full circle with him. He is basically a different man, she says. At the start of this relationship --

BURNETT: All right, Eric -

SANDOVAL: Yes?

BURNETT: I'm sorry I have to interrupt you. I'm interrupting you for the president of the United States, who has just begun speaking at this JFK event. I apologize to you. Let's listen to the president.

(BEGIN LIVE COVERAGE OF PRESIDENT'S SPEECH)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Michelle and I are so pleased to honor the legacy of an American leader in a building dedicated to the preservation of our American history. And we are thrill to be joined by so many people whose accomplishments helped write new chapters in that history.

This morning, I recognized 16 brilliant, compassionate, wildly talented people with the presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award. And that was intimidating enough. Tonight I'm facing dozens of you, to the presidential Medal of Freedom recipients of this year and years past. It is a great honor to be with you for this anniversary celebration.

To Wayne Cluff (ph), thank you for hosting us. And for all the Smithsonian does to enrich our cultural heritage. And to Jack, I have to say our new ambassador to Japan, I'm sure would be pleased with how you performed this evening. I'll give her a full report. To all the family members of the Kennedy family, we are grateful for your presence and your enduring contributions to the life of our country.

For centuries, awards have existed for military valor. And fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy established a way to award extraordinary civilian virtue. Contributions to our country. Service to our democracy. A dedication to our humanity that has advanced the common interests of freedom-loving people both here at home and around the world.

Since its creation, the presidential Medal of Freedom has paid tribute to the creativity of writers and artists and entertainers. We've recognized the leadership of elected officials and civil rights organizers, the imagination of scientists and business leaders, the grit and determination of our astronauts and our athletes, because there is no one way to contribute to the success of America. What makes us great is that we believe in a certain set of values that encourage freedom of expression and aspiration. We celebrate imagination and education and occasional rebellion, and we refuse to set limits on what we can do or who we can be.

In other peoples, in other time have marked their history by conquest at war, by dominion over empires. But in the arc of human history, the American experience stands apart because our triumph is not simply found in the exertion of our power. It is found in the example of our people. Our particular genius over 237 years has been something more than the sum of our individual excellence but rather, a culmination of our common endeavors. It is a truth that resonated with President Kennedy when he said, I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we will be remembered not for our victories or defeats, in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit, and that unbending belief that the power to make great a nation is found in its people and in their freedom.

That was his philosophy. That is his legacy. And it is a legacy told in villages around the world that have clean water or a new school and a steady friend in the United States thanks to the volunteers of the Peace Corps.

It's a legacy found in the courage of all who served under our proud flag, willing like President Kennedy himself to bear any price for the survival and success of our liberty. It's a legacy on display in the arts and culture that he and Jackie championed as part of our national character. A legacy planted on the moon that he said that we would visit and that we did and the stars beyond, but also in the breakthroughs the generations of scientists that has audacious promise inspired. It's a legacy continued by his brothers and sisters who have left as you more gentle and compassionate country.

Jean, a Medal of Freedom Recipient herself and a diplomat in every sense, is with us tonight. Bobby whose wife Ethel is one of my dearest friends, as Jack noted, we'd be celebrating Bobby's 88th birthday today. Eunice and Pat were devoted advocates for Americans of all abilities. And Teddy, the youngest brother with the biggest heart, he was a happy warrior who never forgot who we were single here to serve and waged a decades long battle on behalf of those folks who sent us here, for workers rights and immigrants rights and the rights of affordable character.

Tonight, our sympathies are with love of Teddy's life, Vicki, as she mourns the loss of her father, Judge Edmund Reggie.

And it's all told, the legacy of service that the Kennedy family continues to this day -- from Caroline, who is already drawing crowds of her own as she settles into a role as ambassador to Japan, to his great nephew and Massachusetts's newest congressman, Joe Kennedy, to the school of public service that bears the family name and teaches its young leaders how they too might one day pass the torch to a new generation.

You know, this is a legacy of a man who could have retreated to a life of luxury and ease but who chose to live a life in the arena, sailing sometimes against the wind, sometimes with it. That's why 50 years later, John F. Kennedy stands for posterity as did he in life, young and bold and daring. And he stays with us in our imagination, not because he left us too soon but because he embodied the character of the people that he led -- resilient, resolute, fearless and fun- loving, defiant in the face of impossible odds, and most of all, determined to make the world anew. Not settling for what is but rather for what might be.

And in his idealism, his sober square jawed idealism, we are reminded that the power to change this country is ours.

This afternoon, Michelle and I were joined by President Clinton and Secretary Clinton to pay tribute to that proud legacy. And we had a chance to lay a wreath at the gravesite at Arlington where President Kennedy is surrounded by his wife and younger brothers and where he will rest in peace for all time -- remembered not just for his victories in battle or politics but for the words he uttered all those years ago. We will be remembered for our contribution to the human spirit. How blessed we are to live in a country where these contributions overflow in ways both heralded and not so heralded.

The thousands of people in San Francisco who just helped a little boy recovering from cancer live out his super hero dreams. That's part of that spirit.

The Marines deploying relief after a devastating typhoon all across an ocean. People checking on their neighbors after a tornado. The families across the country who will spend Thanksgiving Day cooking feasts so others less fortunate might eat. That's part of the spirit.

That's who we are -- a people whose greatness comes not by settling for what we can achieve in our own lives, but also because we dare to ask what we can do as citizens to contribute to this grand experiment we call America. That's what our Presidential Medal of Freedom honorees embody, each and every one of them here today, and those who we remember posthumously. That's the living legacy of the Kennedy family. And that is the responsibility we all welcome as Americans for our lifetime on this planet.

We are extraordinarily blessed to be Americans because we have the opportunity to serve in ways that so many of you have served, because we have the opportunity to touch lives in ways that so many of you have touched lives.

God bless you all and God bless the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

BURNETT: And, of course, that was the president of the United States speaking at the Presidential Medal of Freedom Dinner. That Medal of Freedom is something that was established by JFK.

John King is OUTFRONT, John Avlon, and, historian Nick Ragone.

And, of course, John king, we were talking earlier about what an important moment this is for this president. This is a president who has been compared many times by the Kennedy family which I'm going to share in a moment. The Kennedy family itself to JFK who has become a -- an idealistic, sunny, lionized figure in American politics.

In that speech, did he measure up?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He was very subdued in the speech which I thought was quite interesting.

BURNETT: Very subdued, yes.

KING: But that's the tone he decided to strike because I think he is reflecting on the legacy of President Kennedy even though this is a celebration of the Medal of Freedom winners tonight.

But the talked about in the arena, about being in the arena, how Jack Kennedy could have lived a life of privilege as a wealthy man who decided to enter politics and seek the highest office. He mentioned Ted Kennedy's legacy of fighting for affordable health care, something that was very important for the Obama-Ted Kennedy relationship, that we all saw blossom in the big endorsement in 2008.

Being in the arena has its peaks and its valleys. President Kennedy only served two and a half years but, Erin, he had some valleys. This president is in one right now. When you're in a valley, I think sometimes it helps make to step back and reflect on the peaks.

BURNETT: A deep valley, some might say. But I think it's interesting, as you point out, John, the subdued tone that he took. And I think maybe that does surprise a lot of people.

John Avlon, you know, this is how it started, the past couple days. We've seen Caroline Kennedy in Tokyo with the horse drawn carriages and all of the pomp and circumstance. She was the one that wrote an op-ed when President Obama was running for office titled, "A President Like My Father."

The next day she endorsed President Obama with these words. This is incredible and I want to play it for you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAROLINE KENNEDY, DAUGHTER OF JOHN F. KENNEDY: Over the years I've been deeply moved by the people who have told me that they wish they could feel inspired and hopeful about America -- the way they did when my father was president. This longing is even more profound today. Fortunately, there is one candidate who offers that same sense of hope and inspiration --

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

KENNEDY: And I am proud to endorse Senator Barack Obama for president of the United States.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: But it is, John, that was an incredible moment and it showed how the Kennedy family wanted for the first time to say, not to the Clintons, by the way, not to the Clintons, to the Obamas, you are the new Camelot.

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That was such a decisive moment in the 2008 campaign. It is easy to forget. But when the Kennedys gave their imprimatur to Barack Obama instead of the Clintons, it was decisive in saying this was the new candidate of generational change. And that's the continuity.

JFK was a candidate for generational change, and that's one of the reasons he was such an inspiring figure. And that's the way President Obama presented himself, also a young candidate, a senator, in his 40s, running for the highest office. That moment, that endorsement, that association was pivotal.

BURNETT: And, Nick, can this president get back that halo? That JFK halo?

Because we all do remember that moment with Caroline Kennedy. Remember Ted Kennedy talking about Barack Obama. Now, Barack Obama going through what might be the toughest part of his presidency.

JFK didn't have to do that. He didn't have to get through one term. So, maybe part of this is the luck of timing. Can President Obama get back that JFK comparison and all the good things it brought to him in?

NICK RAGONE, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, it's a good question. It is difficult. I mean, I think Mario Cuomo once said you campaign in poetry, you campaign in prose.

And I think the president has learned the last five years really. Campaigning is about -- it's about hope. It's about inspiration. It's about rhetorical flourishes.

Governing is very hard work as John knows covering it every day. It is about the minutiae of policy. It's about politics, about choices.

It's not a lot about inspiration, unfortunately. And I do think you make a good point which is it would be nice if the president got back to kind of thinking about our better angels, our long term future, feeling like it's a campaign and talking about bigger issues, bigger ideas, I don't know if you can put the genie back in the bottle but he should try.

BURNETT: And, John King, what about the tone that he took? I want to play just for a moment, because to contrast -- I mean, this is the sort of tone you might have expected tonight. It might have been more similar to the sort of excitement you felt when Ted Kennedy talked about Barack Obama and how Barack Obama was so much like his brother.

Here's Ted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FORMER SEN. TED KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: There was another time when another young candidate was running for president and challenging America to cross a new frontier. It's time again for a new generation of leadership. It is time now for Barack Obama!

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: John King, what made the president make that choice to seem so subdued? I actually thought he looked a little exhausted.

KING: I don't know and I don't read minds. So I'm always careful right after a speech to say why did a president, why did anybody take tone that they took? I would say in part because he was paying tribute to the late President Kennedy on this 50th anniversary of his assassination, it's large part of it.

But it is interesting, when you play the bite from Teddy Kennedy, Teddy, you know, they became great partners in the United States Senate because Ted Kennedy was so close to the Clinton family and developed such a good relationship with then-Senator Hillary Clinton, that's why as John Avlon noted, it was such a powerful and such surprising in some ways moment.

But what this president misses at the moment, consider what he is doing. He is spending the first year of his second term, defending the signature achievement of his first. All of his energy, all of the oxygen is going into fighting to protect the law that already passed. Not fighting to add to his legacy by passing new laws.

One of the people -- the type of people he misses is somebody like Ted Kennedy who knew how to work with Republicans, who also knew how to rally, who had so many initiatives that were lost and gone and somehow revived themselves. That's the kind of advice helped and sometimes just morale boost this president could use right now.

AVLON: Yes. And, you know, just to add to that -- I mean, JFK needed an LBJ as well. I mean, there's that contrast, the idealistic leader and the guy who could twist arms in the background and get things done.

And that together created the Democratic Party's heyday in the 1960s. And Barack Obama is a more cerebral figure. He did campaign as this idealistic figure. But sometimes, you long for that LBJ in Washington right now, someone who had the real muscle and the connections to really be able to push through an agenda, because that's one of the things that's missing. And in that twilight between two that Barack Obama seems stuck at the moment.

BURNETT: And, Nick, what about whether this president can recover from where he is now, before we go?

A nine-point drop in his approval rating according to the last poll in just one month. In independents, the center of this country, now one of the biggest voting blocs, dropped from 41 percent to 29 percent in just one month. A drop of 10 points among women in just one month. These numbers are stunning.

Can he come back?

You're the historian.

RAGONE: Well, I think John makes a good point which is he is defending his first term right now. It's hard to come back when you're defending what was already passed. I think for him -- and he is not thinking about short term polls. I think, like President Clinton, you start thinking about legacy soon into your second term.

I think he needs to pick out a couple more signature items that he needs to get done before next year's midterms, that he can start thinking about building a legacy. He can't be defending what he did in the first term. He needs to start thinking about big picture for the second term.

BURNETT: All right. And what Congress will work on him with, I guess right now. You've got to pray that's the budget if you are the White House.

Thanks to all three of you.

And still to come, the Florida congressman busted for cocaine possession apologizes. But we will have that full story, coming up after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: And now to some of the other stories we are following tonight.

Trey Radel, the Florida congressman busted for cocaine possession has been sentenced to a year of provision after striking a deal with federal prosecutors. The Republican freshman pleaded guilty today to a misdemeanor and apologized to a judge for what he's done saying, quote, "I think in life I've hit a bottom where I realize I need help."

He said he's checking into an inpatient drug treatment program. Radel was charged after paying an undercover cop $260 for 3.5 grams of cocaine in Washington, D.C., at DuPont Circle.

And A-Rod, out of control. The New York Yankees player stormed out of an arbitration meeting over his suspension after learning Major League Baseball will not be coming in from Milwaukee to testify. The commissioner, that is.

Shortly after the hearing A-Rod explained his outburst to WFAN's Mike Francesca.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

ALEX RODRIGUEZ, NEW YORK YANKEES PLAYER: I lost my mind. I banged a table and kicked a briefcase and slammed out of the room ask just felt like the system -- I knew it was restricted and I knew it wasn't fair, but what we saw today is just -- it was disgusting and the fact that the man from Milwaukee that put the suspension on me with not one bit of evidence, something I didn't do and he doesn't have the courage to come look at me in the eye?

(END AUDIO CLIP) BURNETT: Rodriguez was one of 14 players accused of using performance enhancing drugs. He refuses to participate any further in the process which he called a, quote-unquote, "farce."

Major League Baseball meanwhile says it's committed to finding a fair solution.

Well, after laying low in recent years, former President George W. Bush made a rare appearance on the tonight show with Jay Leno. He's happy to be out of the spotlight because it keeps him out of Leno's monologues.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, COMEDIAN: President is getting the late night jokes now.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: Better him than me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Since leaving off, he's been a serious painter. He takes lessons once a week and here he is talking about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: She said what your objective? I said there is a Rembrandt trapped in this body.

LENO: Right. Wow.

BUSH: Your job is to find him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: A Rembrandt. Well, Bush has even painted a portrait of his late dog Barney. That's pretty good.

Anyway, that Barney story, the best one he told involves Russian President Vladimir Putin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: I introduced Barney to Putin.

LENO: OK.

BUSH: And he kind of dissed him.

LENO: Really?

BUSH: You call that a dog? A year later --

LENO: You call that a dog?

BUSH: He didn't say it. His body language said that's not really a dog. Of course, it's a dog, you know? And I love the guy. And so a year later, Putin introduces me to his dog and a huge hound.

LENO: Big, yes.

BUSH: Bounding across the lawn and he says, bigger, stronger and faster than Barney.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And he went on to joke about Putin saying you should have, quote-unquote, "nuked him."

All right. It's one of the biggest days of the year in the magazine world. "People Magazine" announcing sexiest man alive. The winner was Adam Levine, the lead singer of Maroon 5 and a judge on "The Voice."

Levine has his own fragrance and his own clothing line at Kmart. And this year, he was able to fend off the likes of Justin Timberlake, Chris Pine and Jimmy Fallon to claim the crown.

Now, there have been 26 previous winners of this price, Johnny Depp and George Clooney each won twice, and you can check them all out at People.com, which brings me tonight's number, which is number one. We don't usually get to say number one is our number, so let's enjoy.

The sexiest man alive is "People Magazine's" number one franchise and one of its bestselling issues every year. The winner is always more about sales and sexiness, because, you know, Adam Levine, he's very popular, sexy to some perhaps, not to all, all right? Let's just be honest, not to all. Not like George Clooney, you know, not necessarily.

Anyway, 28 years after "People Magazine" launched the list, every other magazine jumped on the bandwagon. They all feature, people, men and women and all the most popular issues released every single year, despite the fact that the winners aren't the hottest or sexiest people. In that case, they probably are. The one you're looking there.

But anyway, we want to know what you think, who is the sexist man alive or woman alive? Let us know on Twitter @OutFrontCNN or @ErinBurnett. We look forward to your feedback.

Next, Steve Job's spaceship is about to land. This is a real thing you're looking at here. We have a special report.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: In tonight's "Money and Power", Apple's futuristic new headquarters got final approval last night.

Dan Simon is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is a spaceship from Hollywood. This is a spaceship in Silicon Valley. It is Apple's future headquarters in Cupertino, California, and as this new artist renderings reveal, it is sure to be as iconic as the company's products.

STEVE JOBS, APPLE CO-FOUNDER: I think we have a shot of building the best office building in the world.

SIMON: Steve Jobs first showed it off to the city council in 2011, in what turned out to be his last public appearance. He approached the project with the same meticulous attention to detail for which he became legendary.

Its cafeteria will have retractable walls so employees can feel like they are eating outside. The new campus will have its own transit center. And check out the striking lobby to a pavilion where Apple will hold its famous events to unveil new products.

(on camera): The new headquarters is going here, 176 acres of property at one time was owned by Hewlett-Packard. When it's finished, the complex will be so big that you'd be able to fit an NFL stadium right in the middle of it.

JOBS: We've seen these office parks with lots of buildings, and they get pretty boring pretty fast. So, we'd like to do something better than that.

SIMON: It's nearly 3 million square feet, four stories high and will be built with an unprecedented volume of curved glass.

JOBS: We've used our experience in making retail buildings all over the world now and we know how to make the biggest pieces of glass in the world for architectural use.

SIMON: The outdoors was just as important to Jobs. He wanted the building center and its outer perimeter to be filled with trees, including apple trees, of course.

(on camera): I've heard it described as a manmade forest?

MAYOR ORRIN MAHONEY, CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA: It will be. I think they are planting 7,000 trees. A lot of the trees are going to have to come down, of course, for the building, but they're replanting 7,000 trees.

I mean, they have gone as far with an arborist from Stanford to look in the future as climate change happens, will these trees be adaptable to climate change. That's the level of detail they are looking at.

SIMON: Cupertino Mayor Orrin Mahoney also points out that while Apple's products make it easier to work outside the office, the company specifically designed the structure to foster in-person, hands on collaboration. The spaceship is expected to land in 2016, a piece of architecture for the ages.

Dan Simon, CNN, Cupertino, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: And thanks for watching. Anderson starts now.