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Two Dead, At Least 19 Missing After Omaha Explosion; FBI Interviewing People In U.S. With Russian Ties; New Video Of American In North Korea; Obama: Pot "No More Dangerous Than Alcohol"; Marijuana Debate; Richard Sherman (And His Critics) Pounded After Interview; More Accusations Against Governor Christie's Circle

Aired January 20, 2014 - 19:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Next, breaking news, a massive and deadly explosion in Nebraska. A search operation underway right now as fears grow that as many as 21 people are dead or trapped in the rubble.

Plus a disturbing story, two toddlers found stabbed to death. Their mother told police she was performing an exorcism.

And Seattle Seahawks corner back, Richard Sherman addresses his passionate, post-game interview and the criticism flying his way. Does he deserve to be called a thug? Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. Don Lemon in for Erin Burnett, tonight, breaking news, a deadly explosion in Omaha, Nebraska, officials confirmed two people are dead and at least 19 unaccounted for after an explosion and partial building collapse at an Omaha industrial plant. Rescuers are searching the site for employees who may still be trapped in the wreckage. Stephanie Elam has all the details for us. Stephanie, what's the latest here?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, this is a story that started around 10:00 this morning local time in Omaha when an explosion happened, when there was a partial collapsed of this building. We know that there were about 38 people officials believe who are working in the building at the time. They say 17 of them survived. They know that.

There were four survivors with critical wounds and then you have about a dozen more who had non-life threatening wounds and also some that refused treatment. But we know that at least 19 are unaccounted for. They are either dead or they don't know where they are. They are not going to release that number anymore, but take a listen right now to what one worker and also a family member of a worker said it was like.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard a loud noise and I looked up and seen everything collapsing. I started running. Next thing I know I see a big fire ball. I tried to run and get away as fast as I could. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The only way he could get out was that he had to use his phone to light on his phone so he can get out. He had to climb over cement blocks and everything. Water was pouring on him and he is soaking wet.


ELAM: And now at this point, officials say that it is a recovery effort because they are saying the damage was so bad they actually had to pull teams out so that a special team could go in and sure up the building and secure it before they could go in. Tonight, they plan on working to do that recovery effort here to get those people out. Obviously, it is a very devastating story for those building here, those one plant in Omaha. The urban search and rescue also team has been activated here -- Don.

LEMON: And we will be following. Stephanie Elam, thank you for that.

We have another breaking news story to tell you about tonight. Terror threats against the Winter Olympic Games have the U.S. military on high alert. CNN's Evan Perez has just learned that U.S. law enforcement agents have been interviewing people in the U.S. with ties to the caucuses region in Russia, a hot bed for terror.

The Defense Department has also put in place a contingency plan in case of an attack in Sochi once the games began less than three weeks from now. The plan includes this, up to two warships and several transplant aircraft on standby to help evacuate American officials and athletes if needed.

Russians officials are now handing out these flyers in there for at least one woman, the so-called "Black Widow" who maybe be planning an attack. And on Sunday, an online video surfaced on a Jihadi forum threatening the games. Multiple deadly bombings in the region recently have also heightened concern.

Former CIA counterterrorism officer, Jeff Beatty joins me now. Jeff, even some U.S. officials are saying they wouldn't risk it by going to Sochi. Listen.


SENATOR ANGUS KING (I), MAINE: I would not go and I don't think I would send my family. I don't know how you put a percentage on it, but it is just such a rich target.


LEMON: So Jeff, if you were headed to Sochi, would you be concerned for your safety?

JEFF BEATTY, SECURITY CONSULTANT: Well, hello, Don. I think anytime that we have an Olympic event it is a cause for security concerns and when we think about the pure scope of this you are talking about a perimeter, an outer perimeter between 50 and 100 miles that they have got to secure, if you will. That is kind of their picket line. And within that there are hundreds of miles of roadway, primary and secondary road way, that are, you know, potentially good targets for vehicle improvised explosive devices to be placed there. That is even before we start talking about the challenges that are involved in securing the venue. So it is a security challenge on a scale that we haven't seen before for the Olympics because of the proximity of this insurgency.

LEMON: OK, let's talk more a little bit about that because we hear about security threats to every major gathering like this, every Olympic game, I would imagine is a target. We were, you know, discussing that today. Is this threat in Sochi greater than past Olympics?

BEATTY: Don, I assess that it is greater than past Olympics and the primary reason is the proximity to this insurgency. I mean, there is this great long outer perimeter in mountainous terrain that insurgents could walk across to get into the area. We have seen today CNN's reported that these hand outs have been given out to look for the, quote, "black widow" in Sochi in hotels.

So obviously the Russian security forces are concerned that perhaps people have penetrated their outer perimeter and are in Sochi. We don't need to be distracted by the one or twos because while that would be bad if the "black widow" would have a suicide bomb upon her and kill or injured 50 people, the real concern and the real capability of the threat in the region is in fact to mount an attack with 20 or more people.

They have done this multiple times in the past, Don, and on a couple of occasions they have created more than 300 casualties in their attacks. One of them in the region 2004 was at the school where over 300 people were killed.

LEMON: Jeff Beatty, we appreciate you. Thank you so much.

A plea for help from detained American, Kenneth Bae. A new video of the 45-year-old being held in North Korea was released today. According to China State run news agency, Bae admits he committed a, quote, "serious crime" against the communist regime and asks to be pardoned.

Bae was arrested in November of 2012 and sentenced to 15 years in a labor camp for trying to bring down the North Korean government. But is this video an indication he may be released? Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT with the story tonight.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a startling move, Kenneth Bae came before the cameras begging U.S. officials to help free him and to stop criticizing North Korea, saying he had committed a serious crime. Bae added I would like to plea with the U.S. government, press and my family to stop worsening my situation by making vial rumors against North Korea, which are not based on facts. The appearance comes on the heels of Dennis Rodman's latest basketball diplomacy visit to North Korea after which he suggested that the fellow American should be in jail.

DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER NBA PLAYER: Do you know what he did in this country?


RODMAN: You tell me. Why is he held captive? I don't give a --

FOREMAN: Rodman later apologized, but Bae's comments seem aimed at the White House. Last month, Vice President Joe Biden spoke up after North Korea freed a captured American veteran.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It is a positive thing that they have done. They have Mr. Bae who has no reason to be held.

FOREMAN: Bae's family dismisses reports from North Korea that the 45- year-old father was plotting to topple the government.

TERRI CHUNG, KENNETH BAE'S SISTER: He had no ill intentions, never, and he has definitely not tried to overthrow the government.

FOREMAN: North Korea captured Bae while he was leading tourists there in 2012 as he had done more than a dozen times. Family members suggest his devout Christianity might have worried officials who are suspicious of organized religion.

(on camera): Whatever the reason for his arrest many Korea watchers suspect this confession was coerced and yet something the fact that Bae is being allowed to speak is promising.

(voice-over): After all, he was arrested amid growing tension over North Korea's missile and nuclear programs.

BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.N. AMBASSADOR: Possibly the North Koreans are sending a signal, OK, we have had Kenneth Bae for 15 months. We are ready to negotiate. We are ready to deal.


FOREMAN: What kind of deal would they be after something involving those missiles in the nuclear program, we don't know, maybe just a matter of saving face by letting him go, but extracting some kind of demand. We do know this though, Don, the family is certainly ready for some kind of change because prisoner 103 is believed to be in failing health and for the time being is still serving a 15-year sentence at hard labor -- Don.

LEMON: Tom Foreman in Washington. Tom, thank you.

Still to come, President Obama says marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol and opens up about his own drug use.

Plus as new allegations against Chris Christie emerge, one of his strongest defenders joins me and things really got heated. You want to see that.

And with the Super Bowl right around the corner, Velveeta issues a massive recall.


LEMON: The president says marijuana no more dangerous than alcohol. In an interview with the "New Yorker," the president also weighed on incarceration rates for those caught smoking weed saying, quote, "Middle class kids don't get locked up for smoking pot and poor kids do."

Tonight, CNN legal analyst, Paul Callan and editor-in-chief of, Nick Gillespie, join me. Paul, to you, first, it is a pretty strong endorsement coming from the president. Do you think it is a dangerous move, why?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think it is a very dangerous move. I mean, here he is, the most powerful man on earth. Everything he says is listened to by kids across the country. Here he is pretty much saying, in an off hand comment, marijuana legalization is OK. Marijuana use is OK.

Later on, he hedges a little bit more, but I think he is sending a really bad message. You know, the majority of American states still say marijuana use and possession is illegal and in essence he is encouraging people to violate the law.

LEMON: If you are looking at the number of people, 55 percent say yes marijuana should be legal, 44 percent say no. He has the people on his side. He may not have the states on his side so to speak, but he's got the people.

CALLAN: They elect representatives who pass the laws. Those laws haven't been repealed. It is not a good idea for the commander in chief to be telling people go ahead violate the law.

LEMON: And Nick, I hear you grunting. Why are you doing that?

NICK GILLESPIE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, REASON.COM: Well, you know, there is a lot of ambivalence in Obama's rhetoric surrounding marijuana including his past use. He very clearly in this interview came out and said he didn't think it was a good idea for his daughters to use it, for instance, so he is pretty careful about that.

But the fact of the matter is this is a great statement by a president who is finally catching up to the American people. It is actually according to Gallup 58 percent of people think that marijuana should be legal. It should be treated like alcohol, beer or wine.

There is no reason to think that pot is in any way shape or form more dangerous than booze and it is about time that we start acting like that and drive out the black market from drug or weed that is really not bad at all for people and we can move on to a better America.

LEMON: Because the president didn't say that marijuana should be legal. He just said it is no more dangerous than alcohol. Alcohol is legal and plenty of studies show, you know, most people there are no overdoses from marijuana, plenty of overdoses from alcohol. What did the president get wrong here?

CALLAN: Well, he has been wrong. If he is saying it is as safe as alcohol that is a pretty bad thing.

LEMON: It is safer than alcohol. Studies show that it is actually safer than alcohol.

CALLAN: Well, one in three Americans will be involved in an alcohol- related driving accident in the United States in their lifetimes. Thousands of people die as a result of alcohol use. Thousands of people --

LEMON: But that is alcohol. What about marijuana?

CALLAN: It is even worse. I tell you why it is going to be worse. Because you smoke marijuana and --.

LEMON: You don't want to get in a car.

CALLAN: No. Are you going to get in a car with someone who is driving?

LEMON: People who smoke marijuana don't want to drive.

CALLAN: I don't know that is true.

NICK GILLESPIE, EDITOR IN-CHIEF, REASON.COM: We are talking in circles here. The idea everybody, and I assume the president is against the idea of driving while intoxicated. That isn't the issue.

CALLAN: I'm not so sure.

GILLESPIE: We have created a drug war and its principle target is pot. Because pot is the only illegal drug that anybody uses with any regularity. We created a $50 billion behemoth which has destroyed our foreign policy or education policy or law enforcement. It has stacked our prisons with people in it like court wood that are just wasting their lives. And Obama, in his interview, he pointed out that, you know, blacks and Latino used drugs at the same or lower rates than while but they get arrested far more often and prosecuted more. I mean, we had 750,000 arrests.

CALLAN: Here is the flaw.

GILLESPIE: We had 750,000 arrests for pot last year.

CALLAN: Here is the flaw in your world view. I know you are a libertarian and everything is black and white, but it is not. We live life in exchange of gray. And here is what is going to happen if you legalize in all states. A lot of people who wouldn't use the drug now are going to start to try the drug. And I'm not suggesting that it is a good idea to put people in jail that use marijuana. Keeping it illegal keeps a certain percentage of the population away from the drug. LEMON: Hold on. Let me jump in here. wait. Hold on.

If something -- alcohol is legal. And if the studies show that marijuana is less detrimental to you than alcohol for people than alcohol, overall in general, why shouldn't marijuana be legal? Why is it bad if you legalize something and people try it once it is legal? How is that bad?

CALLAN: Because government has a moral --

LEMON: Why is -- hold on. But why isn't the same argument made about alcohol?

CALLAN: Well, it was and we tried prohibition.

LEMON: And it is legal now, though.

CALLAN: We tried prohibition, it didn't work. And the only reason -- it is regulated carefully because at a certain amount of the population that can't handle easy access to recreational trust.

LEMON: But then why --?


LEMON: Hold on. A certain number of people that can't handle access to alcohol, as well. I live in New York City. There is a bar on every corner. Maybe two, maybe three.. There is a liquor store in every corner.

CALLAN: So, you want to add a marijuana shop?

LEMON: No. If you are an adult you get to choose these things if you want to use it or not.

CALLAN: Not if you want to live in a society that doesn't have a marijuana shop on every single block. What is going to happen when elementary kids start using the stuff?

LEMON: What happens when they start drinking?

GILLESPIE: Absolutely.

CALLAN: You want to give them another drug to use?

GILLESPIE: But here, you know, let's grant the idea that marijuana is somehow bad and that suddenly teenaged kids and, you know, grammar school kids will start using it. You have implied a cost benefit analysis. How much money and how many people are you willing to destroy in order to keep pot, you know, the status quo?


GILLESPIE: Let me finish.

LEMON: Hurry, both of you. Nick, make your point and then Paul. CALLAN: But I think you need low level parking ticket type laws to prevent people from getting easy access to drugs.

GILLESPIE: I believe that individuals, adults have, and you know, they own their body. They own what goes into their body and they are responsible for it. That is what America is supposedly founded on. Marijuana is not a dangerous drug. What is dangerous is the war on drugs which creates a black market which means there is a huge amount of violence and there is all kinds of --.


GILLESPIE: Here is the thing. George Washington grew hemp.


CALLAN: He wasn't smoking it.

LEMON: In Colorado you know who is buying most of the marijuana in Colorado? Your generation, the baby boomers, people over 40, 50, 60 years of age. Baby boomers are buying it. It is not doing that thing where teenagers and young people are going to and buying it.

CALLAN: Not yet.

LEMON: It is older people.

CALLAN: And I think let the experiment go in Colorado and Washington. Let's see how it works out.

LEMON: I would love to sit there and talk to all of you and maybe Nick, we should offer Paul a joint and talk about it. But I have to go because my producers are going crazy.

Thanks to both you.

Still to come a shocking story. Two children stabbed to death according to police. Their mother says she was performing an exorcism.

And forget about the football game, all anyone is talking about Richard Sherman's post game interview. Did he cross a line or did his critics go too far by calling him a thug?

Then, newly released recordings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech.


LEMON: OK. Here is a segment you have been waiting for especially those on social media saying, I know Don is going to talk about this. It is a rant that has gone viral. The Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman certainly didn't hold back after their team's NFC championship victory over the San Francisco 49ers last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICHARD SHERMAN, SEAHAWKS CORNERBACK: I'm the best one in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree that is the result you are going to get. Don't you ever talk about me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Who is talking about you?

SHERMAN: Crabtree. Don't you open your mouth about the best or you understand it real quick.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: And Joe, back over to you.


LEMON: Yes! Sherman's critics pounced after that interview, many on twitter calling him a thug, a word we have spent a good time talking about on this show and whether or not it is racist.

Well today, Sherman explained that interview writing to those of you who call me ea thug or worse because I show passion on a football field, don't judge a person's character by what they do between the lines. Judge the man by what he does off the field, what he does for his community, what he does for his family.

Amen Mr. Sherman.

Nathalie Jackson is a defense attorney and she is OUTFRONT tonight.

Natalie, why did this become such a big deal that Sherman felt he needed to respond to his critics?

NATALIE JACKSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think because of the things that were said about him on social media. He is an entertainer and his market is the fans and people.

LEMON: Ok, Natalie, let me say this. Do people really worry about what people say about them on social media? Don't you know it is an echo chamber for extreme behavior? I call twitter hater. We should start putting so much, I don't know, concern about what people say on twitter. Who cares? They on to the next scandal in two minutes.

JACKSON: I agree with you. But obviously Sherman did care. He wrote a letter to respond to it. So, he cared and I'm guessing, maybe his agent cared and the team manager and team marketer cared.

LEMON: That was the best thing I saw on television yesterday.

JACKSON: It was an interesting thing. I thought Erin Andrews (ph) reaction to what he said was also very interesting.

LEMON: Well, that what I should say, that listen, she appeared on the Dan Patrick show. And she felt she had to explain the look on her face, the one that you have been talking about. You think it was the look on her face, really, that got so much attention for this. is that correct?

JACKSON: Well, I think what he said, obviously, got attention. But I think her reaction to it, it was kind of taken aback where I think, you know, maybe another person would have just gone with the flow. But her reaction was taken aback like perhaps he was talking to her.

LEMON: Well, clearly, more people wanted to hear more because I was upset when -- because I could tell she was having the ear piece in her ear and the producers trying to say wrap, wrap, go back, whatever. Here is what Sherman said next about that. Take a look.


ERIN ANDREWS, FOX SPORTS: The look I was giving was I was trying to think. I had a feeling who he was talking about. But I didn't want people to think anyone at the media or I had said it. So I was like do I ask him who is talking about him or do I try to get out of this and say hey, you told us you are not allowing yourself to think about New York. You just saved the game for the Seahawks. S, I was trying to think do I follow up or what do I do? That was the face.


LEMON: I thought, well, that was her responding. He is also responded today saying I didn't want Erin to think I was talking about her, right? She also explained the abrupt end to the interview saying again, it was her producers, like I thought, who were getting out.

So, do you buy her explanation to that?

JACKSON: I do. She said what she said was that she wanted to make sure he wasn't talking to her. And that is what I got that she was like are you talking to me?

LEMON: Does this guy deserve to be called a thug?

JACKSON: From his educational background, no, I don't think so. But maybe from what he said and for Denver fans who are going to be playing him, I think that they do it to provoke him. So --

LEMON: Natalie, it is a football game. They are not there to play Tidily (ph) winks. They are not there to say I like your hair. They are there to torment each other. What is wrong with that? Get over it people. That is all I have to say. It is a football game. The guy was doing his job.

JACKSON: He was on national television, Don.

LEMON: Right. He is on national television and it was in the heat of the moment. He is all amped up on adrenalin. He just made the game play. So, that is it, end of story.

Thank you, Natalie Jackson. I will see you next time.

JACKSON: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Still to come, Chris Christie hit with a new controversy as lieutenant governor responds to allegations she threatened withhold Sandy relief funds from a New Jersey mayor. Plus, a shocking double murder in Maryland. A mother tells authorities her kids are dead because they were possessed. Police were at the house that they reportedly killed.


LEMON: More accusations of political intimidation by those close to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Today, Christie's lieutenant governor defended herself against allegations that she issued an ultimatum to Hoboken's mayor to support a redevelopment project backed by Christie or lose Superstorm Sandy recovery aid.



LT. GOVERNOR KIM GUADAGNO (R), NEW JERSEY: The suggestion that anyone would hold back Sandy relief funds for any reason is wholly and completely false.


LEMON: Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer says she is standing by her word.

Dana Bash joins me here in New York.

So, Dana, first, bridgegate, and now, there's this. We don't know the allegations are true or false. But how much trouble are they causing Chris Christie right now? A whole lot?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Of course. Absolutely. There was one thing for bridgegate to be out there and he said, look, I don't know anything about it.

It's another thing for this story to come out there for a couple of reasons. One is the way it is being portrayed by Hoboken's mayor it's like a lifetime movie. She meets in the parking lot with lieutenant governor and she says support this.

LEMON: Like "Sopranos".

BASH: Right, right. Nobody is getting whacked. Support this or you are going to lose your sandy aid. Right now it is she said/she said. We don't know what happened. But it is the first time there is an allegation and by somebody who is an elected official. She is a Democrat, the mayor of Hoboken, but elected official. It wasn't just the aides but a message that came from Chris Christie, an ultimatum.

LEMON: I want to talk about the big fundraising event this weekend. It was a big campaigning fundraiser for his role as chairman of Republican Governors Association.

And earlier, I spoke on the phone with Ken Langone. You have to listen to this conversation. He is a mega Republican donor, Christie supporter and he hosted a meet and greet for Christie on Sunday. Many key GOP donors were there.

Langone was contentious from the very starts, very first question I asked him and I said was he concerned he was wasting time or money as Chris Christie's poll numbers drop?

And here's how it went.


KEN LANGONE, HOSTED CHRSITIE MEET & GREET (via telephone): What money am I wasting?

LEMON: You just had a big rally for him, a big function for him at your house. You are a big Republican donor. He is head of the Republican Governors Association.

LANGONE: There was no money involved here at all yesterday.

LEMON: Have you donated money to Chris Christie?

LANGONE: Yes, I have.

LEMON: OK, that's the money I'm talking about.

LANGONE: Well, I feel I've gotten my money's worth and the people of New Jersey got their money's worth.

LEMON: And then why did I have to say that dreaded word "scandal"?

LANGONE: He won a lopsided victory in the election.

LEMON: I'm not talking --

LANGONE: Wait a minute, he won 56 percent of the woman's vote. He 52 percent of the Latino vote.

LEMON: Well, Mr. Langone, you have to admit that was before the scandal. That was before the scandal. That was before this made no news.

LANGONE: There is no scandal here. There are people in his administration that did a very bad thing.

Can I ask you a question? What do you think is worse? The people, these idiots that did what they did at the bridge or the IRS targeting people for political purposes?

And, by the hold on, a government official in the IRS taking the Fifth Amendment, and more importantly being given paid leave and then being allowed to retire. You tell me what is more of a scandal?

LEMON: There are a number of things that happen in the government. There are a number of scandals. Each one is not equivalent.


LEMON: Will you let me finish and I will let you finish. We have spoken about the scandals many times on CNN.

LANGONE: You are calling it a scandal.

LEMON: Let me finish.

LANGONE: Go ahead.

LEMON: I'm talking about Governor Chris Christie and the bridge scandal. Yes it is a scandal. Anytime someone or a group of people are accused of wrong doing in an administration, that in itself is a scandal.

So, my question to you is --

LANGONE: Let's not argue about the meaning of the word scandal.



LEMON: The one that started about the word. And here is what happened when I brought up Christie's national poll numbers.


LEMON: He has a 38 percent favorable rating across the country.

LANGONE: I don't know where you got that one? My last number was 69 percent. Look, let's not argue about the number.

Let's talk about -- you can say what you want. I can tell you last night there were 750 people in a room that gave him a standing ovation twice, not once, twice. That's the most recent, if you want to call it a poll, I have seen.


LEMON: What is going on here? I was very nice to the guy. Is he in denial? Or is he just a cranky guy?

BASH: He is not many supporters. I mean, he is somebody who has been a Christie supporter for a really long time. He told me, I talk to him on the phone Friday. Look, he said, I've got lots and lots of money. I don't want a job. I don't want to go to the inauguration. I got nothing to lose. He said he just wants to fix the country and believes Christie is his guy.

So, he certainly is a force as people have described him. When you have billions of dollars and nothing to lose you can be like that, too. But it certainly creates a character.

But what is interesting is that he did have 750 people in a forum last night in Florida. And from what I have been told by people who were there, it was a really fascinating moment because Chris Christie announced there and actually some others that he was going to put his 2016 potential race on hold for a year. And he also made clear to these people -- I'm told these were like major heavy hitters who flew in from all across the country who could have been at home or on their jet or on an island watching the football game, but they wanted to comment, they wanted to listen to him. A lot of them were just not sure that they're holding their powder and Christie gave them an out to do that.

LEMON: And those are big money donors. He is going to need them if he's going to run. But it's interesting, because he has been saying I'm not running. Now he is saying I'm going to put it on hold for a year. That's a whole another topic.

Thank you, Dana Bash. It's great to have you here in New York. Good to see you. It's always a pleasure.

BASH: Thank you. You too. Good to see you.

LEMON: Joining me now CNN political commentator Paul Begala and CNN political commentator Reihan Salam.

OK. Paul, will Christie be the 2016 GOP nominee? Even though he is saying he will put it off for a year?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: OK. No. He never was. Here is one reason, if he is taking political advice from out of touch right wingers like Ken Langone, I don't know if he was right winger, but out of touch billionaires like Ken Langone, that is so amusing. As a professional who actually gives advice for a living you wouldn't hire me to run a big business, the way you might hire Ken Langone, if he is listening to guys like that, who by the way, the last time Mr. Langone was in the paper, at least that I saw, he was criticizing the pope.

So, you know, I mean, he was saying, in fact, very sort of similar bullying tactics, probably telling the cardinal in New York, well, a lot of rich people don't want to give because the pope is too rough on the rich. Well, wait until he hears what Jesus said about the rich.

Christie, look, the problem is, I'll defer to Ryan. I never thought he would get the nomination.

LEMON: Reihan, a new poll shows unfavorable views of Christie have doubled over the past. You opinion -- this is the opinion of Chris Christie now from January 2013 favorable, 38 percent to 40 percent. Unfavorable, 34-17, unsure, 28-42. So, can we count Christie out for 2016? Or can he move past the numbers which appear to be going down?

REIHAN SALAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I wrote a column a little while ago referring to Chris Christie as the Republican Bill Clinton. And public knows Bill Clinton is a guy who had a lot of brushes with near political death.

And the thing about Chris Christie is that he is a different kind of a Republican. He's a Republican who's been willing to criticize members of his party. He's a Republican who's been willing to reach out to people on the other side of the aisle. He's someone who's very pragmatic and I think that those are still things that are going to count on his favor.

He's had a very rough couple of weeks. There's no getting around that. But I think that a lot of the charges we are starting to hear now sound pretty thin. And I think that if he gets through this, I think he has a very good chance.

Because the truth is he is a gifted political performer and a guy who knows how to govern. So I think that he still has a lot to offer Republicans and I wouldn't count him out yet.

LEMON: We'll be watching. Thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.

And you won't want to miss "AC360" at the top of the hour. Anderson's guest, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who claims Governor Chris Christie's administration withheld Superstorm Sandy aid in a bid to force her to approve a redevelopment project. Now, the mayor says she has new proof of her allegations.

Anderson at the top of the hour, 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

And now, to a disturbing story out of Maryland. Police say a mother stabbed to death two of her young children and wounded two others, while attempting an exorcism. One year old Nouriel Harris (ph) and her two year old sisters Diana (ph) were found stabbed to death in their home. A 5-year-old sister Timeya (ph) and 8-year-old brother Martello (ph) were also injured during the alleged ceremony and remained in the hospital tonight.

One other woman, Monefa Denise Sanford (ph), was also at the scene and has been charged with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of attempted murder, the same as the children's mother. Right before, the show I spoke with the director of major crimes division at Montgomery County Police Department, Marcus Jones, and asked if he has heard of people performing exorcisms.


CAPTAIN MARCUS JONES, DIRECTOR, MAJOR CRIMES DIVISION: This is the first case I have ever heard in my jurisdiction. When we did gain entry into the residence, they came downstairs to meet the police, but they actually ran right past us.

And the mother actually exited the residence and ran outside where we had to basically tackle her to put her in custody until we could determine exactly what we had. It was then at that time that we also discovered the gruesome -- it was a gruesome discovery of the children found upstairs in the bedroom, the two children that were deceased. And we also found the 5-year-old daughter who was actually in another bedroom but who suffering from stab wounds.

The mother actually ran out of the townhouse with her son, the 8-year- old who actually ran and got into the vehicle while the other police officers were dealing with the mother. We were able to see that he had extensive injuries on his body, as well. And we were able to give him some medical attention. LEMON: Captain, what is going on with this mother? That's the question. I mean, did authorities or the neighbors witness strange behavior prior to the murders? Were there warning signs?

JONES: There were not extensive warning signs. The only thing that we had that was different was on Thursday night, the night before, what had happened was we had a call from a neighbor who observed two of the children who were in a vehicle at about 9:30 at night. He said they had been in the vehicle for some time.

He contacted us in order for us to come and check out what was actually going on. In the midst of him calling us, the mother and her friend actually came out and confronted the neighbor to basically tell him to mind his own business that they were doing something inside of the house and that's why the children had to be in the car.

Before the officers were able to respond, the mother actually took the children back into the residence. And then when the officers did respond they knocked on the door. They were not able to get inside of the residence in order to have a conversation with the mother at that particular time.

LEMON: So, no history of mental illness or anything like that from the mother, right?

JONES: We've done interviews with the family. We believe that there has been some history of mental illness. What exactly that is, we are still investigating. We're trying to get more details as it relates to that, but we don't really know specifically what types of issues that she's had extensively in the past.

LEMON: And how are the children doing?

JONES: The two children are recovering. They are still in critical condition but they are getting better and they are expected to survive.

LEMON: Captain, thank you.

JONES: Thank you.


LEMON: Still to come, Sarah Palin's controversial advice for President Obama.

Plus, the sports rant heard around the world but football player Richard Sherman isn't the first celebrity to make controversial comments on camera.


LEMON: Two words for you, Sarah Palin. Have your attention now?

Sarah Palin has a message for President Obama. Stop playing the race card she says after quoting from King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech. Palin wrote on Facebook, "Mr. President, I honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., and all who commit to ending racial divide no more playing the race card."

Now, Palin didn't give a specific example of a president playing the race card, but her comments followed an interview the president did with the "New Yorker" over the weekend in which he said, "There's no doubt that there are some folks who just really dislike me because they don't like the idea of a black president."

Well, I'm joined now by Republican strategist and radio talk show host, Alice Stewart, and CNN political commentator Marc Lamont Hill.

OK, I'm glad you guys are in different cities because I might have to separate you two.

Alice, is the president playing the race card, as Palin suggests, or he's just stating the obvious?

ALICE STEWART, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Two more words on this: stop it.

Of course, he is playing the race card. The problem is especially on MLK Day is, look how far we've come. We have elected the first African-American president. We've re-elected him.

And the fact of the matter is, he's not -- people don't dislike him because he is a black president. It has nothing to do with it. It's because he is a blind president. It's not about the pigment of the skin, it's about his policies, his job-killing policies. And the numbers that he really needs to be concerned with, the fact that 53 percent of Americans don't trust him.


LEMON: But, Alice, is it really, I mean, he didn't say all people. He said some people.

Don't you think it is disingenuous to think all people dislike the president disliked him because of his policies? I know black people who didn't like George Bush because he was white. That's the truth.

You don't think there are white people who don't like the president because he's black?

STEWART: I think the concerns people have and the reason people don't like President Obama is because of his policies, nothing to do with the color of his skin.

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hold on, hold on. But that wasn't the question.

LEMON: Go ahead, Marc.

HILL: That wasn't the question. The question, do you think there are any or a majority? Do you think that they are a majority? Because the point is 39 percent of white people voted for Obama. Most white people did not vote for Barack Obama. I have no doubt that some of them did it on racial grounds.

But let's be clear: President Obama also said that there are some black people who only support him or give him the benefit of the doubt because he is black. So, it's not as if Obama came out and said, white people are picking on me. He's saying that some people -- black people and white people, vote along racial lines and support along racial lines.

But one more thing here: just because you mention race doesn't mean you're playing the race card. Somehow the race card has become this thing to stop black people from talking about race.


HILL: -- white supremacy without playing a race card.

LEMON: Go ahead, Alice.

STEWART: It's used in the discussion. That's what's used to stop any kind of person that has any opposition to the president. Here's an important quote --

HILL: Did Obama do that, though? Did Obama do that?

STEWART: He does. He came into office --

HILL: Did he do that yesterday?

STEWART: This is what he's done ever since he's been like, he came in and promise a unity. We are one nation. I'm the president of all America -- when all he's done is class warfare and divide.

He needs to remember one MLK quote. Very important here, "The means you use must be as pure as the ends you see." His end game is to unite this country. Playing the race card every time he has a chance doesn't do it.


LEMON: OK, Alice, the president --

HILL: That doesn't even make sense.

LEMON: Hold on, hold on. The president has tried to work with Republicans. They have said that their number one thing was not to work with him, not to get him re-elected.

And so, how is he not trying to work with the other side. The president didn't come into office talking about race. People were talking about race. He's having to respond do it.

STEWART: Well, the problem -- the reason we have log jam here in Washington, D.C., is because he's not a consensus builder. He hasn't united both sides of the aisle.

LEMON: What does that have to do with race, though? How is it become the race card?

HILL: The answer to your question, Don, is nothing. She just said, he wages a class divide. He's playing the race card. She says he's been bitterly partisan, yet he's saying it's the race card.

Every example you've given has nothing to do with race. Obama goes to extravagant means not to avoid talking about race. Obama would love to never mention race. He only brings that up when he's asked a direct question. Even when he mentions that white people sometimes vote against him because he's black, he has his verbal tick where he also has to mention black --

LEMON: He also has to mention that there are African-Americans and people who like him and support him just because he's black.

I have to say, I think my mother is one of those people. And I talk to her all the time, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter to her, whatever he does is fine, or whatever. He is the black president.

And so, I think both of those sides, the extreme sides, there are people -- white people who say, OK, well, they deny that they like the president because he's black. Some white people, not at all, and there are some people who deny that they only vote for the president and he does no wrong because he's black, and both sides will never admit it.

Am I wrong?

STEWART: The key is, the quote he said is, people don't like me, and he's referring to that, and he says because --

LEMON: There are some --

STEWART: Job killing policies.

HILL: He said some.

STEWART: You're not honest with the American people.

HILL: Can I ask you a question? Are you suggesting that there's not one white person in this country that oppose Obama on the grounds of race? Are you saying is there not one? It's a simple question.

STEWART: The people who dislike the president do so because they don't like his policies, and the way he is --


HILL: This is the problem, you can't acknowledge the exist answer of any level of racism. You can't even acknowledge that one white person out of hundreds of millions of people might be racist. That to me is so absurd that that actually eliminates any possibility.

LEMON: Last word, Alison. Alice, sorry.

STEWART: This is not about the fact that -- what he's talking about, he refuses to acknowledge the fact that he's made history, he's the first African-American president of the United States and re-elected. We've gone far beyond where MLK started. He sees any time there is opposition or when he sees someone doesn't like him, he claims it's because of his race. He's blind to the fact that --

HILL: He's never said that.


LEMON: OK, I've got to go.

HILL: Not one time has he said that.

LEMON: Thank you. I'm glad you guys are on opposite ends of the country. Appreciate it. See you soon here on CNN.

HILL: Happy MLK.

LEMON: Happy MLK day to you.

Coming up next, two huge football games this weekend. But all anyone is talking about is the post game interview. Jeanne Moos looks back at the best rants of all time.


LEMON: So, we've been talking about Richard Sherman's rant.

But as Jeanne Moos shows us, he's just the latest celebrity to flip out on camera.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): First, he tipped the ball and he ran his mouth.

RICHARD SHERMAN, NFL PLAYER: When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that's the result you're going to get. Don't you ever talk about me.

MOOS: Now, we can't stop talking about him. Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has joined the ranks of the ranters.

Number nine, Bobby Knight, famous for shooting a chair across the court and shooting off his mouth at his own team.

BOBBY KNIGHT: Now, I'll (EXPLETIVE DELETED) run your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) into the ground. You think last night was a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) picnic. You better get your head out of your (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

MOOS: Number eight, Oklahoma State coach who defended one of his young football players. MIKE GUNDY, OKLAHOMA STATE COACH: Because it's garbage. Come after me, I'm a man. That's all I got to say. It makes me want to puke.

MOOS: Or instead of throwing up, throw things. That's what the press made then Kansas City Royals manager Hal McRae do.


MOOS: One sportswriter hit with a tape recorder left with an inch and a half gash.


What was Charlie Sheen smoking during his rants?

CHARLIE SHEEN, ACTOR: Can you smell your rotting dog (EXPLETIVE DELETED), your fermented puke that is your viscera?

MOOS: Viscera, fancy word.

Alec Baldwin used a three-letter word in a phone rant to his then teenage daughter.

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: What a rude little pig you really are.

MOOS: All grown up, she said it was made out to be a much bigger deal than it actually was.

BALDWIN: You are a rude, thoughtless little pig, OK?

MOOS: Mike Tyson threatened to eat his rival's kids.

MIKE TYSON, FORMER BOXING CHAMP: My style is impetuous. My defense is impenetrable. And I'm ferocious. I want your heart, I want to eat his children. Praise be to Allah.


MOOS: Before he was shamed by his own sexting scandal, Congressman Anthony Weiner was a ranter par excellence.

WEINER: I will not yield to the gentleman. And the gentlemen will observe regular order.

MOOS: Regular order went flying when an Illinois state representative lost it.

STATE REP. MIKE BOST (R), ILLINOIS: These damn (INAUDIBLE) all damn the time.

MOOS: And then there was the guy who was asking Ohio Republicans to nominate him for county treasurer. Treasure this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have been Republican when it was good, and I have been a Republican when it was bad. MOOS: He didn't get a nomination, but he did get a Volkswagen nomination.

SHEEN: Everybody wins.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will hit the grounds running, come out swinging and end up winning.

MOOS: -- New York.



"AC360" starts right now.