Return to Transcripts main page
AC 360 LATER
Deep Freeze; Legal Marijuana; The Cheneys
Aired January 6, 2014 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Evening, everyone.
Welcome to "AC360 Later."
Tonight: everything from deadly cold weather to getting baked and whether marijuana legalization could mean trouble. We will talk to a Kennedy. We will talk about the Cheneys and ask our panelists, what is your story? It's all at the table.
And at the table tonight, blogger Andrew Sullivan, founder of The Dish at AndrewSullivan.com, CNN commentator Michaela Angela Davis and senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
Out in the bitter cold, meantime, Stephanie Elam in Minneapolis, Chad Myers too in the warmth of the Weather Center.
Stephanie, I got to start with you. How cold is it where you are right now. What has it been like? You have been out there for hours.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It has been a long day. It has been a long day out here in the cold.
It is negative 15 degrees out here. And it feels more like negative 40 degrees with the wind. We have seen it snow, but the snow has really been of like afterthought. You don't even really think about the snow because really it's about the wind and the cold.
It was so cold today that the governor had the public schools closed. I talked to one youngster and he said this is only -- tomorrow will be the fourth day in his life he has gone without school, because they are used to cold up here in Minnesota. This is what they do.
But it was just so drastic they didn't want to take any chances. A lot of police out making sure people are getting to shelters. One thing that was funny, they said that crime goes down.
COOPER: Sure. Make sense.
ELAM: That's definitely something that happens here, Anderson. But what does seem to go up are the domestic disputes because people are caged up in their houses. That's one thing they do have to keep their eye on.
But all in all, shelters -- there is one shelter here, a Salvation Army shelter that we saw. They had over 700 people spend the night last night and they say that was a record. People just trying to get away from this bitter, bitter cold.
COOPER: Stephanie, I like you make the distinction between 15 degrees below and 40 degrees. When you get to 15 below, is there much difference between that and 40 below? I don't even know how you make that distinction.
In our 8:00 hour, I asked who you pissed off to get this assignment and I understand actually one of our bosses actually e- mailed you saying you didn't piss anybody off.
ELAM: I think we were still talking when he e-mailed me. That was actually very nice of him. But, yes, I think when you look at the difference between negative 15 to negative 40, I didn't know that I would know a difference until today. I learned that today.
COOPER: Do you have your snow trek thing? Because this is incredible. You did this in the 8:00 hour. I don't know if you have any warm water left. But it's actually so cold that if you take a glass of warm water and throw up it into the air, it instantly turns into snow. I didn't believe this, but you're going to show us this.
ELAM: This may be this may be too cold now because we just got this. But it's been standing outside.
Let's see if it works again. If it doesn't, it worked earlier. Go watch the earlier feed, folks. Here we go.
Wow. I made snow.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Wow.
COOPER: If anybody was stoned at this table, we would all -- our minds would have just exploded, because I find that extraordinary. To me, that is the equivalent of magic. I don't know how that works. Do you have another one?
ELAM: Oh, that is the closest I will ever get to doing magic. I can tell you that.
COOPER: I want to bring back in Stephanie, because I understand she actually has another glass of water, because I'm so excited about it.
Now, I just want to warn anyone in Colorado who has legally purchased marijuana today, this is -- just step back from the screen and enjoy this.
(LAUGHTER) COOPER: This is a good thing. Just enjoy what Stephanie is going to show you.
Stephanie, I give it over to you.
ELAM: I have never, ever had a preamble like that. Thank you, Anderson.
All right, here we go, last time for the night, I think. Let see if it works. There you go, nice vapor coming down, nice long vapor in front of your camera. Andrew Sullivan's cutaway was brilliant.
COOPER: Stephanie, thank you for sticking it out so late in the cold with us. Appreciate it, and Chad as well.
Now we turn to the Supreme Court, which today put a chill at least for now on same-sex marriage in the state of Utah.
Were you surprised by this?
ANDREW SULLIVAN, ANDREWSULLIVAN.COM: By the decision?
COOPER: Yes, by the decision -- some 900 couples have gotten married.
I would defer to Jeffrey about the constitutional issues. But, no, I think that when one judge in one state suddenly decides that everyone can marry when there hasn't been a decision process in that state, you have every reason for the Supreme Court to say, hold on a minute.
The trouble is that you have a fundamental right to marry. When you look at the Constitution, I'm sure Jeffrey will agree, the right to marry is so deep in the Constitution as usually interpreted for heterosexuals, that it is incredibly hard to find an argument to take it away. I think that is what they're wrestling with.
And once this becomes more normal and more routine, then I gay people will be saying to each other why can't we and we will have this conflict. To be honest with you, I thought it would take a lot longer for this whole thing to play out. But it is accelerating.
COOPER: Yes. You are one of the people who have been talking about this long before -- you and Evan Wolfson long before most people ever thought it was a possibility.
Legally, I mean, how do you look at it?
TOOBIN: This is certainly a loss for the same-sex marriage movement. To have a state where there were marriages and now today there are no longer marriages, that is a big deal.
I think we are building quickly, much more quickly than frankly I or many people expected, to the Supreme Court having to confront the ultimate is, is, does the Constitution command that gay people be allowed to be married in all 50 states? A lot of people thought it would take years. It's probably going to be a year or two.
COOPER: And even with what they have ruled so far, that's not something...
TOOBIN: The two big -- we had the Defense of Marriage Act declared unconstitutional and we had Proposition 8 struck down both earlier this year. But the court very specifically did not address the question of is there a right to marry in the Constitution?
But I think when you see what happens in Utah and when you see other states coming along, they will have to address this sooner rather than later.
MICHAELA ANGELA DAVIS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Jeffrey, what will happen to the couples that have gotten married, the thousands that rushed to the courthouse in Utah that are married now? What is their status?
TOOBIN: And 150 got marriage licenses.
It's not clear how many of them actually got married.
TOOBIN: It's a painful, difficult and unsettled question, frankly.
The attorney general of Utah today made a statement that we are looking into it. And think about it. Are these people going to be able to visit each other in the hospital like spouses are? Will they be able to file joint state tax returns? Will they be able to get health benefits like spouses do? And I think it's clear as a result.
SULLIVAN: But at the same time, if you're married, you're married, and no one has the right to come along and tell you, you are now divorced.
TOOBIN: There is one precedent that when Proposition -- remember, in California, there were some marriages. Then Proposition 8 came along and the question was what happens to the people who got married?
The California Supreme Court said they are married. They stayed married. They get all the benefits of marriage. That was under California law. I suspect something probably like that will happen in Utah, but it's not clear. And it's one of the really painful aspects of this.
DAVIS: When you have a whole community of people that want marriage equality, and some got it just by stroke of luck and then others don't, what happens to the entire fabric of the community at that point is what is at question here.
You got lucky and you made it past the deadline and then all those other people and their friends and their family, how does that work?
TOOBIN: This is our federal system. Some states have different rules. We're going to be talking about marijuana in a little bit, Colorado.
COOPER: The ruling in Ohio, you actually viewed as more significant.
TOOBIN: I think that's...
COOPER: Explain why.
TOOBIN: Remember, basically, this was about a couple who got married in Maryland, but lived in Cincinnati.
And one of them was in the process of dying. And the surviving spouse wanted to be listed on the death certificate as a spouse. And the judge said, yes, he should be listed on the death certificate, even though Ohio doesn't have same-sex marriage.
And I think it's going to be cases like those. Look, Americans are mobile people. People get married in one state and they move to another. They get divorced. They have child custody issues.
SULLIVAN: They travel and have accidents.
TOOBIN: They travel.
All of that I think will contribute to what I was saying earlier, that the country will have to come to terms with same-sex marriage everywhere.
SULLIVAN: I honestly prefer it to go state by state.
TOOBIN: Why? DAVIS: Why?
SULLIVAN: Because I think it gives people a chance to get used to it. It give democratic societies the ability to talk it through.
Look, I have been doing this for like almost 25 years. I think we succeeded, not because a court mandated this on everybody across the country, but because we raised the question. We told our stories and we persuaded democratic majorities in various states.
TOOBIN: Andrew, you just said that marriage is so fundamental and so important. What about the couple in Mississippi that want to get married? You are going to say, oh, well, wait around because we have like convincing to do? If you think it's that important, it's that important.
I'm a bit of conservative on this. I don't think these changes should come about automatically nationally all at once. I think that a process in which this can be thought ability -- and I believe that in this country different states can pursue different solutions.
COOPER: We have to take a break.
When we come back, the price former Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe says he is paying for speaking out in favor of marriage rights for gays and lesbians. He has been fired from the team. The team says it was simply about his playing ability. He says he was fired because three of his bosses, two of them were cowards and one of them was a bigot. That was a direct quote from him.
Also, why Liz Cheney is ending her bruising, almost Shakespearean U.S. Senate run. A lot more ahead.
COOPER: Welcome back. We are back with politics now, the final act of the latest Cheney family drama.
Liz Cheney dropping out of the race for a U.S. Senate seat in Wyoming, citing serious health issues in her family. She was trying to unseat Republican Mike Enzi. Polls last year showed him with a wide lead. Cheney's campaign was rocky to say the least. Some accused her of being a carpetbagger who was trying to coast on her father's coattails and connections.
Then there was her public feud with her lesbian sister, Mary, over same-sex marriage.
We're back with the panel. Joining us as well is CNN political reporter Peter Hamby.
What do you make of her dropping out? PETER HAMBY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think she is being sincere.
Our reporting shows that there are some real health issues, some sensitive issues with her children. This isn't like a lot of people said this morning just an excuse to abandon what I think a lot of people thought was a pretty terrible campaign.
And you're totally right. She was never able to articulate a coherent message, why I'm running, other than we need new blood in Washington. But is that really enough against a senator who is fairly conservative, certainly conservative than someone like Lindsey Graham.
COOPER: Her argument against him was that he talked too much to the Obama administration. He was too willing to compromise.
HAMBY: Right, sort of the typical Tea Party challenger argument against an incumbent. But she wasn't the typical Tea Party person.
COOPER: She was neocon.
HAMBY: Yes, neocon. She supported the surveillance state that came up under the Bush administration, a strong national security apparatus. This does not fly with libertarians, those grassroots conservatives, especially out West, I think.
TOOBIN: But the whole controversy made me think of Chris Christie and I will explain why.
TOOBIN: Chris Christie, whatever else you think of him, people believe he is authentic, that he's not faking. Everything about this campaign was a fake. She didn't live in Wyoming. She wasn't really as different from Enzi.
COOPER: She messed around with a fishing license thing. I was talking to the governor, former governor of Montana in the 8:00 hour. He was like, you don't mess with a fishing license in Wyoming.
TOOBIN: But it related to the issue of her living not there, because she said she had lived there for 10 years, and she had lived there for about 10 weeks.
And once people believe you are a phony, I mean, Al Gore had this problem, justifiably or not. People don't think you are authentic, it's hopeless.
HAMBY: And she ran a TV ad recently. And it is cheap to buy TV ads in Wyoming. She had a lot of money. You can saturate the state for three weeks for $150,000 and she could have raised a ton of money. Maybe she could have turned this campaign around.
But she ran a TV ad with her children saying, we're from Wyoming, and our family has been here for generations and for generations and for generations, really just trying too hard. It's like Mitt Romney saying I'm severely conservative. Right? If you have to say it, you're not severely conservative.
DAVIS: And is Cheney new blood in Washington? Even that argument...
HAMBY: That's the other thing that undercut the whole sort of anti-establishment Tea Party frame that perhaps she was pursuing. But again that doesn't really square with other primary challenges that we see.
SULLIVAN: She also took on a really well-liked and well- respected senator. People liked him. He wasn't doing anything wrong. He was fine.
The only thing that could explain her run was naked ambition. Now, look, naked ambition has served many people well over the years. But I think taking him on, taking Enzi on the way she did just felt a little disloyal almost.
TOOBIN: Some people have said she is positioning herself for a later run do. Do you buy that? Or do you think it's over for her.
COOPER: She certainly had a ton of money still left over from her campaign.
HAMBY: And here's the thing. Her campaign -- her political future isn't over. You know, she's young. She's in her late 40s.
COOPER: Thank you for that, by the way.
HAMBY: Lot of people lost their first campaign.
COOPER: You're welcome back here any time.
HAMBY: Barack Obama lost his first campaign. He's president of the United States.
HAMBY: But Bill Clinton got voted out of office in Arkansas and became governor again. People lose. If you lose your first campaign, you can run again. I think she is saving herself a little face within the party.
DAVIS: What do you think she wants? What does she want? COOPER: Power.
SULLIVAN: I think she definitely wants to promote and to make sure her father's legacy is not regarded as a blot on American history, as I think it was. And they both are dedicated to that posterity and legacy position.
COOPER: And I also want to talk about this other story, which is fascinating to me. Former NFL punter Chris Kluwe, he says he was forced out by the Minnesota Vikings, fired.
He wrote about it in a Deadspin piece title: "I Was An NFL Player Until I Was Fired By Two Cowards And A Bigot."
He's talking about his former head coach. That's one of the cowards, according to him. And the bigot is another coach, a coordinating coach.
We spoke earlier tonight in the 8:00 program. I asked at what point he suspected his career with Minnesota was over and what evidence he had that his departure was related to his stance on same- sex marriage. Here's what he said.
Clearly, we are having some audio issues with that. We will try to get that -- but what is interesting about this guy is he says he believes and that other people saw, other players witnessed this coordinating coach using homophobic language, saying that all gays should be brought to an island and nuked, that he was going to hell, along with all the gays.
TOOBIN: Here's the problem. And you know this because you're such a big football fan.
He had been the punter for eight years. The average NFL career is about three or four years. So, he was sort of living on borrowed time anyway. He wasn't one of the best punters in the league. He was a good punter. So, it's not like one of the great players in the NFL got fired. The Vikings could certainly make an argument...
COOPER: They are investigating. They have hired -- they have appointed two jurists to look into the allegations.
HAMBY: Yes. I think Jeffrey is right, though, a little bit, not to take the Vikings' side on this.
You don't want a player who is a punter, a down roster guy, overshadowing your team, especially kind of a crappy team this year.
TOOBIN: But, see, now, there, I disagree with you, because his views on same-sex marriage shouldn't matter one way or another. The question is, can you punt?
SULLIVAN: And he could.
COOPER: Look, he says his record was on average and that the Vikings...
HAMBY: But he is an eight-year veteran who just had surgery.
What this reminds me of a little bit is the Jason Collins story in the NBA. He came out as a homosexual in "Sports Illustrated" and lots of people were critical of that within the sporting community. He wasn't picked up as a free agent the next year.
COOPER: I talked to Kluwe about whether or not he thinks he is going to continue on in the NFL. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Do you think you will be able to play again somewhere else? Do you think another team will have you? It's one thing to speak out and it's another thing to write this article saying your former coach is a coward and the special coordinating coach is a bigot.
CHRIS KLUWE, NFL PLAYER: Yes, that pretty much threw the stick of dynamite on that bridge.
But, no, I think my time in the NFL is done. I mean, you can't write an article like that and expect to play again. And really that's also why I'm going to insist on anonymity for the players who witnessed this, is because it's very much small this could affect their careers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: If there are players who witnessed this, as he says, homophobic language by this coach, does he have a case? Is there...
TOOBIN: I don't think there will be a legal case out of this. There are too many variables.
But the irony here too is football players get arrested all the time and there are all sorts of criminal allegations that don't end their careers. If speaking out for gay rights ends your careers, but getting arrested doesn't, I think that does indicate a problem with the NFL.
SULLIVAN: And it was free speech. He's perfectly entitled to say what he thinks. And, in fact, of course, as a straight football player, it was important and is important for someone like that to have complete freedom of speech, especially when you're addressing a difficult subject like that, especially within the context of sports. I read the piece very closely and I wasn't entirely persuaded.
I don't think he is entirely persuaded that it was a clear-cut case of discrimination. He definitely does think however that that coach definitely harbors some horrible feelings about homosexuals.
COOPER: Yes, he calls him a bigot.
HAMBY: I don't want to defend the Vikings too much, but...
DAVIS: You are really stuck on that.
DAVIS: Let's be clear, I'm not defending the Vikings.
HAMBY: There was an intriguing part of that piece when he said he talked to Leslie Frazier, the coach, and he said you can't talk about religion and politics.
HAMBY: Which is like sort of the Thanksgiving rule with your family, right?
SULLIVAN: Always broken.
HAMBY: But it seems to be true. Every time an athlete sort of wades into the culture wars, or a coach, even if they're vindicated later, going back to Dean Smith and Bill Walton, teams don't seem to want this in their locker rooms.
COOPER: Although the owner of the team, according to Kluwe, came up to him and praised him for what he was doing. And then when he told the coach that, the coach said, well, I guess I have been overruled.
TOOBIN: Actually, a lot of athletes have done pretty well.
Dean Smith, former coach of the University of North Carolina, was a hero of the civil rights movement. I mean, not all of...
HAMBY: I'm just saying not everyone in North Carolina at the time...
TOOBIN: But he is an icon there. So it didn't hurt him. (CROSSTALK)
HAMBY: Obviously vindicated since then.
COOPER: Peter Hamby, is that your version of a beard, by the way?
HAMBY: It's kind of a beard.
COOPER: Because I was away for 10 days and that's about what I was able to -- we were talking about beards right before the program.
SULLIVAN: That's pretty sad.
COOPER: Jay Carney appeared with a beard. That is a reputable...
SULLIVAN: Not a beard.
COOPER: That's not a beard?
HAMBY: ... "Game of Thrones"...
SULLIVAN: He just hasn't shaved for a few days.
A beard has to have it own heft. If the wind is blowing, you have to feel the beard tug against the skin on your face. That's when you have a beard.
COOPER: Wow. You have given this a lot of thought. You write about...
COOPER: All right, Peter Hamby, great to have you on the show.
After the break, we are putting pot on the table. We're going to get right down into the weeds and talk about Colorado's groundbreaking experiment with former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, who is going to join us in the fifth chair.
COOPER: Welcome back to the show.
Colorado's bold experiment in retail pot is now six days old. As you no doubt here, business is booming. In our weeklong "360" series "Gone to Pot," we're taking an in-depth look in our 8:00 hour at what is happening in Colorado and how we got here.
It's fascinating how public opinion about pot has changed. In a new CNN/ORC poll we commissioned, 55 percent said they think that marijuana should be legal. That is more than half. That is a big shift, up from 26 percent in 1996, 18 percent in 1973.
Still leaves a lot of people unconvinced, of course. We're going to hear from one of them, former U.S. Congressman Patrick Kennedy, who joins us in the fifth chair tonight.
You don't think the experiment that is happening in Colorado is a good idea?
PATRICK KENNEDY (D), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: I don't.
KENNEDY: I had the privilege of authoring the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act in Congress.
We are now embarking on treating the brain and mental health like we would all other physical health issues. A big part of treatment is prevention. There's nothing unscientific about prevention. Public health is well-founded.
What we know is when you make something legal, if accessibility is readily available, there is going to be more people who use. Now you deduct the fact that with probability, if a certain percentage of people who are prone to addiction, if more people use, more people will be prone and more people will get addicted.
And we know, with kids, that this isn't about 21 or older. This is about now, because the NIH just did a report, survey of the future, which they showed that there is greater usage because kids, guess what, they look at what their parents, their friends do who are older. They get it.
COOPER: So, even though it's illegal for kids, you still think it's going to...
COOPER: ... down to them?
KENNEDY: Well, it doesn't matter.
It's like alcoholic. Fifty-two -- 52 percent of our teenagers use alcohol. It's because it's legal.
COOPER: You don't buy -- you don't buy this argument, though?
SULLIVAN: No. I just don't think there's any data to back it up. If you can look at, for example, California where there's the medical marijuana extremely liberally applied -- I think too liberally applied, myself -- you haven't seen much increase in usage at all compared to other states in the last seven or eight years.
But you've also seen, actually, with states that had medical marijuana, you've seen a big decline in drinking. What people do is substitute. And in fact, people don't drink as much now, and they smoke pot, which of course, is much better for you than drinking alcohol and much less addictive.
COOPER: You don't believe it's addictive at all?
SULLIVAN: No. I don't think there's any -- look, there are alcohol dependency issues. But there's no -- there's no chemical addiction.
KENNEDY: So I don't propose to be an expert on this. But I do rely on the Nora Volkow, who is the director of the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, and she says you're flat wrong. First, the statistics show that more kids are using it, twice the rate of the national average in Colorado. It's higher...
KENNEDY: So here is the answer. All the states with medical marijuana or legalization had two or three times greater use amongst teenagers than those states without medical or...
TOOBIN: Patrick -- Patrick, what about this...
SULLIVAN: Just look at the data today, actually.
KENNEDY: Well, go to the NIH Web site.
TOOBIN: Criminal prosecution and jail...
TOOBIN: There are thousands of people in this country...
COOPER: Make your point.
TOOBIN: There are thousands of people in prisons in this country, many of them African-Americans. I spent a lot of time studying and reporting on stop and frisk. Basically, in New York City it's legal for white people to smoke pot, and black people get arrested for it.
KENNEDY: I don't disagree with you.
TOOBIN: How -- how can that be tolerable? And how can it be tolerable to throw people in prison for pot?
KENNEDY: It is not tolerable. But you're conflating two separate subjects, Jeffrey. You're smart enough to understand that there is bigotry and discrimination in the overall judicial system.
African-Americans, minorities, get arrested and get more time than whites, no matter what the crime. You're saying that you're going to fix the racially-charged judicial system, incarceration, by legalizing a drug when what we do know is the commercial drugs, alcohol and tobacco, have a disproportionate impact on minorities, because guess what, Andrew? In Los Angeles there's ten times as many liquor stores in minority neighborhoods.
Here's the implication, Jeffrey. You have more minorities now have availability, use, then get drug tested. Guess what's going to happen? And THC, as you know, Andrew, lasts in your system for 30 days. What do you think this is going to do for the unemployment rate but for minority communities?
TOOBIN: Your answer is more criminal prosecutions of white people to even it out?
KENNEDY: I am for decriminalization, Jeff. But it's not the same as legalization. There's a big difference.
TOOBIN: What's the big difference?
KENNEDY: You don't have a new industry. So tobacco, you know, Joe Camel. It took us 60 years to reverse the tobacco industry's insistence that cigarettes were good for you. How long is it going to take with $1 million a day, Anderson, where these marijuana growers are now getting all this investment banking money, Jeffrey? They're going to be in the business of addicting kids, Andrew.
SULLIVAN: You don't addict kids. The whole point of ending prohibition is to keep this drug away from kids. Because you don't think they have access to this drug? They have easy access to this drug via criminals.
What we're trying to do is to create a situation where this drug, which is basically harmful (ph), is not addictive can actually be available to people freely and in a regulation regime.
The point of the Colorado initiative is safer. Keep our kids safer. Because they can control it. You're never going to stop kids from getting a hold of this. You're never going to get them stopped from getting a hold of alcohol. But you can have a saner system whereby this is demystified; it is de-stigmatized for people to use, because it's a pleasurable thing to use. I don't know whether you have a problem with pleasure, but I sure don't.
COOPER: But Andrew, if more people have access to marijuana in the state of Colorado, more adults who have legal access to it, doesn't that mean it's going to filter down to kids more readily? It's not just going to be criminals who have access and are selling to kids. It's going to be somebody who, you know, buys...
SULLIVAN: I think the one thing that's going to turn kids off smoking pot is seeing their parents buy it. Part of the appeal of kids with marijuana is its illegal, subterranean quality. If it becomes like alcohol, which I agree can be abused. All these things can be abused. And you can have legal regimes in which you protect children. I agree keeping pot away from kids is incredibly important. KENNEDY: Answer the tobacco thing for me, Andrew. We had to sue tobacco. They had to have a global settlement in order to get them to retract their advertising targeting kids.
Now, the liquor industry today targets kids. You can argue with that. But the fact is, I watch it on cable TV.
COOPER: You're concerned also not just targeting kids but also targeting communities that can least afford to have more drug use (ph).
KENNEDY: I'm talking about a for-profit business, Andrew, where now what they're going to -- Anderson, they're going to have an ability to say I have a market. I can go on the air and buy CNN's time. I have the ability to...
SULLIVAN: Why is that a problem?
KENNEDY: Because the public health is never going to have equal footing. If you put in the law...
SULLIVAN: What is the public health threat of marijuana?
KENNEDY: Well, again, we go back to the statistics...
SULLIVAN: It cures diseases. There are children today who suffer from seizures who, because of high-CBT, low-THC marijuana, are now cured, essentially, of something horribly debilitating. There are people who...
COOPER: But you are not advocating marijuana use for kids who don't have -- obviously...
SULLIVAN: No. I'm just simply rebutting the idea that somehow this is a public health problem.
KENNEDY: You have raised the exact problem. And that is you're conflating, again, two separate issues. Is there medicinal for CBT? You bet. Does FDA need to approve a specific drug for those kids with epilepsy? You bet. But Andrew, that's not -- that's the message all kids are getting now: oh, it's medicine.
SULLIVAN: It is medicine.
KENNEDY: Come on, Andrew.
COOPER: What about the argument that this is not helping people compete? This is not helping people do better, necessarily, in their jobs. It's not -- is this really what the country needs to get -- you know, I mean, I think Tina Brown was sort of getting at this a couple days ago in various weeks (ph). Is this something what -- is this going to help us...
SULLIVAN: I'm not a Puritan. I'm sorry. I don't believe that pleasure needs to be banished from our society or is some kind of threat to our ability. There are so many millions -- millions -- of law-abiding adults in this country that use this drug as a -- like they would use alcohol in moderation. The key thing is moderation.
KENNEDY: I don't -- I don't disagree with you. The problem is the statistics, Andrew. And the statistics show that more kids are going to use when you say there's a permissive environment. That's a fact. It's not whether...
TOOBIN: It's a prediction.
DAVIS: How do we know?
KENNEDY: Because alcohol and tobacco are our evidence. If you need to know what the future looks like of marijuana, with big marijuana...
SULLIVAN: And the prohibition of alcohol?
KENNEDY: If you could go back and impose the regulations that they initially envisioned when they first legalized alcohol, we'd have a different situation today, where you wouldn't have these fruit- flavored liquors that are being peddled to kids, these hard lemonades, the fact that liquor stores are opening up outside of Native American reservations that they're banned alcohol and they're targeting people who are genetically vulnerable.
SULLIVAN: What makes you think they're completely incapable of making choices in their own lives? Why can't someone have a beer if they feel like it?
KENNEDY: What we do have in this country is a bargain. It's a social contract. I'd like to do everything in the world, OK. I'm an addict.
SULLIVAN: Who does it harm?
KENNEDY: You know what? We have laws that say I trade my civil liberties for a general social contract so that I reduce the chance of someone running me over on the rug with my three children today. I want to reduce the chances of my kids eating a marijuana-laced brownie. I want to reduce the chance of my kids being peddled this stuff, because it's more readily available.
SULLIVAN: So you would ban anything that could possibly find its way to your kids?
KENNEDY: No. I surrendered my heart to my three children. I'm going to be worried about them for the rest of my life. And what I worry about, Anderson, is there is not a chance that I can make a difference in reducing and minimizing the opportunity for them to get addicted because of easy access or to become affected because they're passengers in a car...
SULLIVAN: It's illegal...
KENNEDY: ... being driven by someone under the influence of marijuana. DAVIS: Question, how old are your children? How do -- how do you negotiate having this conversation with them when they say, "I don't know any of my friends who have died from complications with marijuana. But I do know that so and so's dad died of alcoholism or smoking cigarettes or prescription drugs"? And they can give you this litany of other things and the -- how do you explain to them what the difference...
KENNEDY: Because I don't make the...
DAVIS: I'm just literally asking...
KENNEDY: I'm saying, two wrongs don't make a right. You say alcohol is bad. I agree with you.
DAVIS: It's not bad...
KENNEDY: Marijuana is not as bad as them. Let's legalize marijuana. That doesn't follow any logic to me.
DAVIS: But I think it's -- I think it's difficult to have these complex conversations with these hard lines. Alcohol isn't bad. It is bad to people who are prone to addiction. Or fast food is not bad; it's bad to people who are prone to addiction.
KENNEDY: My point is the commercialization, such that we're marketing in a degree that I don't think people have envisioned.
COOPER: Do you any concerns about how this is going to be marketed once it becomes a big business thing?
SULLIVAN: I think if it becomes marketed to children, then absolutely, I would be concerned. But I don't think it's going to be marketed to children. Or the same way like high alcohol...
DAVIS: But also look how it was marketed how the propaganda was marketed when it -- when it became illegal that Mexicans were bringing it in, and this whole colorization of it, the propaganda around marijuana was very racially charged, too. In 1944, they determined that it didn't lead to violence, sexual deviancy, which was this message that would be in the '30s.
In 1944, they started to say that it did not lead to these other things. But it said -- ancillary, they were saying about this whole idea of you might have sex with black people or Mexicans. So there's a history in how marijuana was marketed to the country of it being deviant, and these kinds of people and these kinds of communities do it.
So we have to kind of look at the history of how we've all absorbed what marijuana is and what is it in the society.
COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. Up next, a lot of people probably on a New Year's diet. How about an all McDonald's diet? We were talking about whether we should be able to eat whatever you want. Believe it or not, a teacher from Iowa lost 37 pounds in three months doing just that. We'll look at that when we come back.
COOPER: Check out some of our favorite videos of the day. This one, a bullfighting exposition in Costa Rica where a woman fell into the ring. A bull proceeded to launch her into the crowd. Unbelievable, yes. She's OK. She said she was terrified, obviously, but was able to laugh about it afterward. Yes, crazy.
DAVIS: Wow. That was as good as the snow.
COOPER: Again, if you're in Colorado your mind has just been blown.
The -- also, the three teenagers in Minnesota made good use of the snow there, making a 10-foot tall snow shark, which is pretty cool. Austin, Connor and Trevor worked for about 95 hours on that. Not bad.
And they say American kids are, you know, not creative.
DAVIS: This is the high show.
TOOBIN: Don't say that.
COOPER: Yes, that's true. You remember the documentary "Super Size Me" where Morgan Spurlock gained a bunch of weight and got pretty unhealthy after eating nothing but McDonald's for three months.
For the record, I love McDonald's. I don't eat there often, but when I do, it makes me so happy.
Anyway, now a high-school science teacher from Iowa says it doesn't have to be that way. He says he lost 37 pounds in three months and lowered his cholesterol eating exclusively at McDonald's. That I find amazing.
DAVIS: Lowered his cholesterol?
COOPER: He ate the Big Macs, which is my personal favorite, and all the good stuff but kept it to 2,000 calories a day and started walking 45 minutes a day.
Take a look. There's his picture, before and after. By the way, those before and after pictures can always be faked. It's all about...
SULLIVAN: It's true. It's the calories that count. You're going to get a lot of fat.
COOPER: A lot of saturated fat. DAVIS: And the added exercise, I mean, that's the game changer.
COOPER: He was walking 45 -- right.
TOOBIN: And there's a new menu at McDonald's.
COOPER: Well, that is true, although they've done away with my favorite, which was the apple walnut -- the fruit and walnut salad, which you know...
DAVIS: You ordered that?
TOOBIN: You ordered a salad at McDonald's?
COOPER: Oh, my God, yes. The salads are really good. The grilled chicken, it makes you feel healthy. With the fries on the side, just to get that little...
DAVIS: What about McRibs? Do you like McRibs?
COOPER: I'm Big Mac and fries guy.
SULLIVAN: One reason I emigrated to America was McDonald's. The fries, they're just...
COOPER: The fries. The fries are good. Yes.
SULLIVAN: This is not sponsored content right there.
COOPER: We're actually all raving about McDonald's, which is really sad.
DAVIS: But not a salad.
COOPER: What's the other story we're looking at? No, not really. Let's move on to the other story. What's the other story? Where is that?
COOPER: Do we -- do we have anything on this? Do we have video on this?
SULLIVAN: I think he's been to Colorado.
COOPER: Video of the McDonald's person.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN CISNA, TEACHER: This isn't something to say he went to McDonald's and ate salads. I had the Big Macs. I had the Quarter Pounders with cheese. I had every -- I had sundaes; I had ice-cream cones. We all have choices. It's our choices that make us fat, not McDonald's. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: All right, so...
TOOBIN: That makes no sense at all. If you choose to eat, like, two Big Macs a day, you're going to get fat. He had one.
SULLIVAN: If you only eat two Big Macs a day and keep it to 2,000 calories and you exercise, it doesn't matter what kind of food you eat. You will lose weight.
DAVIS: Yes, it's just...
TOOBIN: Who eats two Big Macs and nothing else the whole day?
SULLIVAN: Well, this man.
COOPER: All right. There's a study that -- studies now show looks matter. If you want to boost your company stock, you hire an attractive CEO. A University of Wisconsin economist found that CEO appearance has an impact on shareholder value. Basically now two studies out that say the importance of good appearances.
DAVIS: What does that...
SULLIVAN: Blow me over with a feather.
TOOBIN: Your family is so good-looking. Don't you think that was a big part of the appeal of your family? Everybody looks good.
KENNEDY: Listen, it's human nature. That's a fact. And it's unfortunate in a lot of cases where people are dismissed because they don't look the way...
SULLIVAN: Do you think we could get a homely ugly president again? I mean, a really homely guy, a bald one?
I mean, there comes a point in which they all look pretty handsome and good-looking.
KENNEDY: Well, you know what? You can have the looks and if you don't have the umph behind it, people know that. You talked about that in an earlier segment. That's critical. People need to feel...
COOPER: It's even in schools. There's this other study by two sociologists. In high school, students will be rated higher in intelligence, personality and potential for success just because they're considered good looking.
DAVIS: I think that study is the one that's the most disturbing, because of the politics of pretty starting so early and the difference between building self-esteem and building ego. When you are praised because of the way that you look, you've had nothing to do -- like, you've had nothing to do with your eyes, Anderson. You didn't make that. Right?
COOPER: These are -- I paid a lot of money for these eyes.
DAVIS: So if you're -- so if you're being rewarded for something you didn't create, what that does to your character or doesn't allow to happen to your character...
COOPER: It's horrible.
DAVIS: It is. And then so what about the things that you do? You know, building self-esteem is doing estimable acts.
SULLIVAN: Remember Jon Hamm on "30 Rock"? Where the most beautiful boyfriend is useless at everything, because he didn't know anything, didn't do anything, because everybody forgave him.
COOPER: So unfair particularly against women. I've seen studies where women who wear more makeup are perceived as more intelligent, all this stuff. Which is just so ridiculous to me in this day and age.
SULLIVAN: Come on. It's human nature.
COOPER: But that makeup somehow is different?
SULLIVAN: We're never going to -- it's so deep in our genetics to want to find attractive and fertile-looking mates. It's just driving...
COOPER: ... setting women up. Guys can be shlubs, and so...
DAVIS: Or are older, George Clooney. But I think the social media is -- because I was having a conversation with young women about this today. And they're very concerned about it. Scholars are very concerned about it.
But I think that the social media can be a solution, meaning that they now get to share images of who they think is beautiful or what their friends look like aside from, you know, this male construct of or Eurocentric ideal of beauty.
TOOBIN: Don't you call George Clooney old.
COOPER: We've got to take a quick break.
DAVIS: He's beautiful. Women are...
COOPER: We'll be right back. We'll be right back.
COOPER: A quick "What's Your Story?" Stories you might have missed. Michaela, what's your story? DAVIS: I love that "SNL" finally hired a black comedienne, Sasheer. And what I love about her -- yes, she's fine. What I love about her is not just that she's, like, this really clearly young black woman but I think she's going to bring some millennial comedy to "SNL." Because I looked in the work, and it's not that she's just bringing black women's perspective, but she has a young perspective, and they haven't had a woman of color since 2007, Maya Rudolph. So I think that she is really funny and has great hair.
COOPER: Mine just really briefly is Dennis Rodman going back to North Korea, then saying it's not that bad there. My tweet today, "Dennis Rodman says North Korea is not that bad. Dennis Rodman is deeply stupid," which is a phrase my mom likes to use, deeply stupid. And I tend to adopt it, because I think it's rather appropriate in this case.
Patrick, what's your story?
KENNEDY: Pete Corelli, the former four-star general, ran operations in Iraq, has devoted his post-military life for -- to address the invisible wounds of war. He's the CEO of One Mind for Research, and during the Super Bowl, he's going to talk about the need for us to address concussions but also be used as way of leveraging better treatments for our returning soldiers who, by the way, also received a lot of concussions in their service to our country.
And I just admire this guy. He could be making so much money out there as a retired general and he's just doing this because of his dedication to his fellow soldiers.
COOPER: Yes. It's an issue, obviously, also that's close to your heart and you're doing a lot on, too. Thank you for what you're doing.
But we're out of time, but I just want to show you Stephanie Elam throwing water into the air again. Colorado get ready to have your mind blown yet again.
That's it. There you go, water becoming snowflakes.
I want to thank everybody.
KENNEDY: Thank you.
COOPER: Thanks for being with us. That's it for us. We go -- just because -- well, I think we're out of time. We'll see you tomorrow. Bye-bye.