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Weather Forecast; Obama: Pot isn't More Dangerous than Alcohol; "The Bachelor" Apologizes; One Direction Singer Slammed

Aired January 20, 2014 - 08:30   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Monday, January 20th.

Coming up in the show, President Obama gives a long, wide ranging interview in "The New Yorker" talking about everything from U.S. and foreign policy, but also some food for thought. Would you let your kid play football? He wouldn't. And what's worse for you booze or weed? Hear his answer.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, a very special "Good Stuff" today about a police officer doing the right thing, and it was all caught on camera. We'll have more of that.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, it's time now for the five things you need to know for your new day.

At number one, fresh concern about security at the Olympics. A video from extremists threatening attacks during the games targeting athletes and tourists alike.

Kenneth Bae, the American held in North Korea, speaking out to reporters, calling himself a criminal. He is pleading to the U.S. government to intervene.

The massive security breach at Target could be spreading. Cybercrime experts say at least six other large U.S. retailers were hit by the very same attack and there could be more.

Get another - get ready, rather, for another arctic blast. The eastern half of the nation expected to see well below average temperatures starting tomorrow morning.

And the two best teams in the NFL have punched their tickets to next month's Super Bowl. The Seattle Seahawks go head-to-head against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on the 2nd day of February.

We're always updating the five things to know, so be sure to go to for the very latest.


CUOMO: We're talking a lot about the cold here, Mich, because there's bad stuff coming this way. But what about the west? There you got hot, dry conditions causing trouble as well. Will there be any relief in that regard? Indra Petersons is here to answer these most pressing questions.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, I mean, that's the concern we keep talking about, January, February. We should be seeing the West Coast looking like this. They should see the dip in the jet stream and they should be seeing rain. Unfortunately, it's been almost a year that this huge ridge has been setting in place.

So any system that tries to form has been going over the ridge and just east of the area, producing the exact opposite of what they need, and that is that fire danger. It looks like they're still going to be stuck in this pattern here for as far as we can see. No good news for them.

Also not certainly good news as we take you farther to the east because that cold air is diving down again. Look at the wind chills we're expecting by tomorrow morning. It's close, guys, 30 below for Minneapolis by tomorrow morning. Even towards New York City, we're talking about just the teens. Single digits out towards Pittsburgh tomorrow.

And even as we go through the afternoon, that cold air is only still kind of making its way in. So the highs are expected to be below normal. They stay that way through the middle of the week. And even if you go down to the southeast, same problem, those temperatures are going to be well below normal.

And that's all I thought I was going to be talking about today until the latest weather model came out. Now this low that's kind of a clipper that's making its way across, it's picking up moisture, guys, and a lot of it. We're going to be talking about heavy snow by tomorrow.

So D.C., Philly, New York City, look for anywhere between four and eight inches of snow. A little bit less out toward D.C., a whopping five inches. So no longer is it just the cold, cold and a lot of snow to play in. at least you can make a snow man. Got to find a positive here.

BOLDUAN: And I was looking at what you're pointing out. Chicago seems to just be getting the brunt of it. Everything that's been coming kind of our way on the East Coast, Chicago's been getting it worse and -

PETERSONS: Shytown (ph), right? Or why they called it shyberia (ph) earlier because it just seemed -

BOLDUAN: Yes, it was appropriate.

PETERSONS: I can't complain when I look at them. You're very right.

BOLDUAN: So cold.

CUOMO: Four to eight inches. That's for tomorrow?

PETERSONS: That would be Minjana (ph) we welcome (ph).

BOLDUAN: Get excited. Thanks.


BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, a revealing interview with President Obama. What does - what did he say about marijuana and alcohol? And could it mean a change in law?

CUOMO: So here's the proposition. PC police making a false arrest or celebrities offending common sensibilities. We have some of the biggest stars saying some stuff on social media that force a lot of sorrys. Judge for yourself what crossed the line.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back.

This morning, President Obama is getting quite a lot of attention for what he said about marijuana in an interview, that he's said previously that he has smoked it and sees it as just a bad habit and that it's, in his words, no more dangerous than alcohol. Colorado and Washington state, as you well know, have now legalized recreational pot use.

So what does the president stepping into this debate do to the debate about marijuana nationwide? Joining us now are our CNN political commentators, host of "The Ben Ferguson Show," Ben Ferguson on the right, and on the left, host of "HuffPost Live," Marc Lamont Hill on the left.

Did I mess that up? I might have. But you guys know who you are. Good morning to both of you.



BOLDUAN: No pot jokes here, gentlemen.

First, let's go to what the president said, Marc, and I'll have you weigh in and then, Ben, jump in. This is kind of what really has this conversation going. He said in this interview with "New Yorker" magazine, he says, "as has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don't think it is more dangerous than alcohol." What were your first - what was your first thought, Marc, when you read this, what the president said?

LAMONT HILL: I said, duh? I thought everybody already knew that. You know, this is not a big deal. The president made a comment that many people know that most people understand as a sort of collective understanding, but it was sort of awesome to hear a sitting president concede this point. And to be clear, he wasn't saying that it's good, just that it's no worse than alcohol. BOLDUAN: Do you think that it was an important step in the marijuana debate or do you think people are just paying attention to it because there's a bit of a giggle factor whenever the president talks about weed?

LAMONT HILL: It's both, right? I mean, obviously, we all giggle when we read it. Some of us pumped our fists. But at the same time, it moves the conversation forward. Again, when you're the sitting president acknowledge that we need to move this forward, not just for health reasons but for legal reasons.

BOLDUAN: So, Ben, do you think the president is moving this conversation forward?

FERGUSON: He's certainly moving it forward, but I don't think it's in the way that he should be. The commander-in-chief is a guy that you look up to. And young kids look up to the president. I mean when you're a little kid, most kids are like, I either want to be a policeman, a fireman or president of the United States of America.

And when he basically says to every young person in America, hey, if you get busted smoking weed, just tell your parents it's the same thing as a cigarette, so don't worry about it, it's not that big of a deal, mom, it's not that big of a deal, dad. I mean it's a terrible precedent for the president to basically say that an illegal activity is somehow -

LAMONT HILL: That's not what he's saying.

FERGUSON: Oh, let me finish. Is basically saying that an illegal activity is really not that big of a deal. It is a big deal. And as president of the United States of America, he should make sure that he lets kids know that smoking pot is actually a big deal and it's not the same as going and buying a pack of Marlboro Reds.

BOLDUAN: Go ahead, Marc.

LAMONT HILL: I'm so glad you said that. I'm so glad you said that, Ben, because that's exactly what he said in the interview. He said, I tell my children you shouldn't do it. I acknowledge that I did it, but I tell my children it's a bad idea, don't try it. Also, the president didn't say you should do an illegal act. He said, we should move towards legalization so that it is - so that it is not an illegal act. That's a huge difference, Ben.

FERGUSON: But, Marc, he normalized it. He normalized the act of smoking weed. That's my big issue here. He normalized it to make it seem like it's the equivalent of getting caught with a beer or getting caught with a cigarette. And there is a difference. And the president of the United States of America should know that there's a difference -

LAMONT HILL: What's the difference?

FERGUSON: And that when you say this - when you say this --

LAMONT HILL: What's the difference, Ben? What's the difference?

FERGUSON: Well, OK, if I have a beer -

LAMONT HILL: You keep saying -

FERGUSON: I'll going to explain it to you. I'm - let me explain it to you. If I have a beer, I'm not drunk. If you smoke weed, you are high. There's not not getting high from having -- getting weed. I mean, there is a difference. Now if you abuse alcohol, that's totally different. But you can have a beer in society and not be drunk. You can't smoke weed and not get high.

LAMONT HILL: That's the - that's an argument for why the president said it's a bad idea, it's a vice that we shouldn't engage in. His point was, from a health perspective, it's not worse. From the effects that it does on society, it's not worse. And from the criminal justice perspective, it's far worse than alcohol and cigarettes because a small portion of society is being punished more so than everyone else. Those are the president's critiques.

BOLDUAN: And, Marc -

LAMONT HILL: Again, he wasn't saying do it.

BOLDUAN: Marc, now, you bring up a good point that I actually - I want to get, Ben, your reaction to it.


BOLDUAN: When you -- when the president talked about kind of his reasoning and where he is on the marijuana debate, he said this in part. Let's throw this also up on the screen for our viewers. He said, "middle class kids don't get locked up for smoking pot and poor kids do. And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties." That's what he's saying, maybe the country should continue this conversation of - towards legalization or at least decriminalization. You don't see that?

FERGUSON: I don't have a problem with the president coming out and saying that we need to change the sentencing laws around marijuana and that you shouldn't have an advantage because you're wealthy when it comes to the resources you have to stay out of jail where another kid doesn't have those resources and he goes to jail. I don't have a problem with the president saying, we've got to look at sentencing laws with marijuana and maybe go to more of a fine system than locking people up. But that's not what he said.

He said, I've told my kids it's not a good habit. I've told my kids it's something you probably shouldn't do. But it's basically no different than alcohol or cigarettes. That's the comparison that bothers me the most because the president has the weight of the world that he -- the influence of the world all over the place.

And if I'm a young person and I hear what the president said, I'm going to think, "Hey, the president said it's not a big deal, so I can smoke weed, and it's not that big of a deal." And that's not what the president of the United States of America should ever be implying to young people.

BOLDUAN: So, Marc, I want you to jump in, but I also want to get your take, Marc, and you know that the president knows exactly what he's stepping into. He knows when he's doing this interview if he comments about this and how far he went. He knew what he was doing. Why do you think he did it?

LAMONT HILL: Because he's been re-elected already. He has nothing to lose. And I think he actually believes in moving the conversation forward with - about being a -

FERGUSON: I agree with that.

LAMONT HILL: One of the great things about being a second term president is that you can actually move forward policy and leave a legacy. And I think he's genuinely concerned with the fact that a certain population, poor people, black people, brown people -


LAMONT HILL: Are over sentenced on this - on this issue and I think he wants - he wants that to stop.

BOLDUAN: Last comment -- Ben.

FERGUSON: I think Marc brings up -- I think Marc brings up a brilliant point. He didn't have the guts to say this before he was running for re-election or running for president. He clearly believes this. As much as he claimed he did, then why didn't he bring it up five years ago or four years ago or six years ago? He got re-elected OK let's go off the record on pot because no one is going to have to vote for me again so I don't really care.

BOLDUAN: Marc, you can respond.

LAMONT HILL: I never said that, Ben. I didn't say that. The president has guts. But the point is that all politicians make different decisions in their second term than their first term across the political aisle -- that's all.

BOLDUAN: One thing we agree on is there are two vastly different views on this topic right here which really mirrors the debate going on in the country which is why it's a great discussion.

Thanks guys. Great to see you.



BOLDUAN: Happy MLK day to you. Thank you so much Marc.

Chris, back to you. CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY: celebrities and social media not a good mix. Just ask the newest bachelor or Madonna or One Direction's Liam Payne. We'll tell you what they posted over the weekend that got the PC police on their back sides.


PEREIRA: You could call it the great bachelor back track. The star of the latest season of "The Bachelor" Juan Pablo Galavis is now apologizing for what he said about same sex couples. That having them on the show would be a bad example for kids. He called gays "perverts".

He's not the only celebrity that is saying "sorry" after quite a weekend.

Christopher John Farley joins us now. He's the author of the upcoming book, "Game World", and the editor the "Wall Star Journal's" entertainment blog, the "Speak Easy". Always good to have you here with us.

CHRISTOPHER JOHN FARLEY, AUTHOR, "GAME WORLD": Thanks for having me. Happy MLK day.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

PEREIRA: To you as well. To you as well.

And I guess we have to talk about the apology tour that many of them are going on. Let's start with "The Bachelor", if you will.

FARLEY: "The Bachelor".

PEREIRA: In fact why don't we play the sound of what he said?


JUAN PABLO GALAVIS, "THE BACHELOR": There's this thing about gay people that, it seems to me, you know, I don't know if I'm mistaken or not, well I met great, you know, I have a lot of friends like that but they're more pervert in a sense.


PEREIRA: So he says that -- ABC quickly condemned his comments. He then went on Facebook and tried to stem the tide saying that English was his second language and that he was misinterpreted. Do you buy it?

FARLEY: Well, here's the thing about him. You know, he actually was born in New York. In New York State but grew up in Venezuela so he says, you know, English is his second language.

But if you look at his apology on Facebook in many ways it's almost worse than what he said originally where he says that, you know -- characterizes gay people as maybe more tense and affectionate and that's why he thought maybe they didn't belong on TV.

My whole feeling is guys like him should probably get someone to help him with the social media. They can hire someone to sort of monitor their tweets and their Facebook posts and their apologies and maybe their entire so they don't make these kinds of mistakes in public.

It's just shocking to do this again and again.

BOLDUAN: Over and over again.

PEREIRA: That actually could be -- well, that's the thing. That could very well be sort of the topic right here in general is that a lot of the people that we're now going to talk about could be using their publicist to vet some of this stuff.

Let's move on to One Direction.

FARLEY: Let's see that.

PEREIRA: So talk about what happened here with Liam Payne -- adored by millions of young people.

FARLEY: And also disliked by millions who don't like One Direction -- I got to add that in.

PEREIRA: So then let's talk about what happened.


FARLEY: I'm not saying that I'm one of them. I'm saying there are people out there I've heard theoretically who maybe don't like One Direction.

PEREIRA: Let's clarify. Basically he's facing massive criticism because he tweeted support of Willie Robinson the member of the family of "Duck Dynasty". Tweeting, "Huge love to you, your family; huge respect for your business prosperity and the family values you still all behold." Got a lot of heat on Twitter.

FARLEY: Yes. And he tweeted explanations saying, attacking the media. Second mistake people make, attacking the media for a problem you're having, it's like a tornado destroys the house, no sense punching the air. It's not going to help. So I don't understand why he's doing that.

Blasting at the media never helps. It's not going to get him what he wants. He should have signed off, saying you know, I'm going to stop talking about this. But, you know, he's got himself into more troubles. And fans they're sort of -- a little bit, you know, they are attacking the media too. But again it's all sort of strange.

BOLDUAN: Because the fan of One Direction tends to be of a younger age, correct?


BOLDUAN: I wonder if the fans of One Direction even know what he was even talking about in that tweet.

PEREIRA: This one over here, you're squirming in your feet.

CUOMO: Look, a little bit of the defense is -- these two examples are running up against political correctness also. There are a lot of people who believe what that bachelor said -- yes. Was he awkward in it because of language -- probably but there's an underlying feeling about gay life being different. That is unaccepted in the culture of political correctness but a lot of people feel that way.

PEREIRA: It has nothing to do with political correctness.

COSTELLO: Sure it does. I think that what we say now-- what is allowed to be said -- the diversity of opinion is shrinking. It just is. So this kid comes out, he backs "Duck Dynasty" which I believe A&E learned a harsh lesson that when you quote out of the bible in America be careful before you criticize someone for doing it. They put him back on.

I understand the backlash but sometimes they may not see it coming. This kid may not have seen it coming.

FARLEY: Well the problem is when you've a mainstream product like "The Bachelor" or like "Duck Dynasty", if you're going to alienate large sections of your viewership that's not a good idea.

CUOMO: That's right.

BOLDUAN: People don't want to hear that with "Bachelor". They just want the --

FARLEY: They just want the fun, they want to see the roses.


FARLEY: They don't want to hear your views on gay life.

BOLDUAN: They barely even want to hear anything from out of your mouth.

CUOMO: I agree.

BOLDUAN: They just want to look at you and see you hand the rose out.

CUOMO: Now, the next example, we're doing Madonna next -- right.

PEREIRA: Well, do we have time?

CUOMO: But she falls in -- she's a different category.

PEREIRA: Madonna used the n word on Instagram. This is a whole different situation. She used the n word describing as a hash tag describing a picture of her son calling her son the n-word essentially and said that it was a term of affection.

FARLEY: She said it was a term of endearment so which I guess leads the way for terms of endearment to the n word starting Madonna. You know, it's a very odd thing for her to do.

Here's the problem with Madonna here. She deleted the original post, added a new caption first attacking her critics and then she apologized.

One, you can't delete anything online. Someone like Madonna -- someone took a screen shot, someone had it -- someone can find it. So deleting it doesn't help the problem. It just signals to people hey you're not going to stand up to what you said before and you're trying to cover things up. It made her look bad.

PEREIRA: It points to the fact that a lot of these people could use a publicist or someone to vet some of the things they're posting.

Christopher Farley great to have you here with us. Thanks so much --

FARLEY: Thanks. I really appreciate it.

PEREIRA: All right. We'll take a short break.

CUOMO: Absolutely.


CUOMO: Obviously, today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. If you're going to measure a man's impact or someone's impact by how their words live on certainly he's a great man.

My 10-year-old is learning one of his speeches in school and to hear the words they really do ring true today. We need him today just as much as any.

PEREIRA: Now more than ever.

CUOMO: So take some time to reflect.

BOLDUAN: Take a moment.

CUOMO: It's a good day to do that. That's what the day's about.

Thanks for joining us here. A lot of news so let's get you to you the "NEWSROOM", Ms. Carol Costello --

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: You're about that Chris -- thanks so much.

"NEWSROOM" starts now.