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AC 360 LATER
Are Olympics Safe?; New Toronto Mayor Video; Texas Life Support Case
Aired January 22, 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: Good evening, everyone. Welcome to "AC360 Later."
Tonight, we have breaking news, a crushing development in the case of the brain-dead Texas woman who is being kept on life support because she's pregnant. Also, is it safe to actually go to the Olympics in Sochi? That utterly amazing new Rob Ford video and the crack-smoking mayor's reaction to it. Also, the executive producer of "House of Cards" joins us and more.
You can join the conversation. Tweet us using #AC360Later, weigh in at Facebook.com/AC360. We will show your comments on the bottom of the screen.
We begin tonight with breaking news and a story that's set off a national debate over life and death and whether being pregnant takes away a woman's right to have her end-of-life wishes respected.
Marlise Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant when she collapsed of an apparent blood clot. Her family says she's brain-dead, which means under the law in all 50 states, including Texas, where this is happening , she is dead. In any event, well before she fell ill, her husband said they discussed being in precisely this kind of situation, not when she was pregnant, but in general.
Neither wanted to be kept alive like this, according to her husband. However, under Texas law, because she's pregnant, the hospital is refusing to take her off life support until a baby can be delivered.
Tonight, though, attorneys representing the family released a statement on the fetus' condition. It is -- quote -- "distinctly abnormal," so deformed, they say, that the gender cannot be determined. In addition, the fetus suffers from fluid on the brain and a possible heart defect.
The statement concludes with this: "Quite sadly, this information is not surprising, due to the fact that the fetus, after being deprived of oxygen for an indeterminate length of time, is gestating within a dead and deteriorating body, as a horrified family looks on in absolute anguish, distress and sadness."
Last week, Marlise Munoz's husband went to court asking that the ventilator be shut off so her family can take her and give her a proper burial. Any way you look at it, it is deeply troubling story.
Join us tonight is senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, Republican strategist Ana Navarro, "New York Times" op-ed columnist Charles Blow, plus legal analyst Sunny Hostin and Mark Geragos, and chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Sanjay, let me start with you.
The medical condition of this fetus, how serious is this? What does this actually mean?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It sounds very serious here.
You're talking about deformities of the lower extremity and also hydrocephalus, which is essentially fluid on the brain. That's serious, no matter what the cause is. Now, I think one of the things that people will sort of ask is, why is -- what has happened to the fetus here? Could it have been that there was a low-oxygenated blood situation for the fetus, for the placenta, the same thing that happened to the brain of the mother actually affected the placenta as well, or is this some sort of a genetic abnormality that would have existed regardless of the situation?
We don't know the answer to that. You could find out by doing a genetic test and finding out if there is some sort of genetic abnormality, but regardless, to your question, this is a very serious situation. It's not even clear what sort of brain function or other functions this fetus has.
COOPER: There's going to be a hearing about this, an emergency hearing on Friday.
Sunny, all along, you have said the courts should decide this, because you have said you don't believe that the mother would have wanted to be taken off a ventilator and the like if she was pregnant, which she now is.
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, I think...
COOPER: And the condition of the fetus for you doesn't change this situation?
HOSTIN: It certainly doesn't change the legal analysis.
Her attorneys -- the family's attorneys have admitted that. That doesn't change the analysis. But, Anderson, I mean, I think that certainly this is tragic. There's no question about it. This is sad.
But now we are really, I think, talking about the elephant in the room that no one has wanted to talk about. This child may not be perfect, right, and so does that mean the child should not be born? And I think, while they may have had the discussion about end-of-life directives, it's not in writing, and we know that, you know, they didn't discuss it in this context. And context is really important.
COOPER: Mark Geragos, you completely disagree on this?
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I couldn't disagree more. I will give Sunny this one issue.
All this does, the fact that this fetal matter is now deformed, which to anybody at least who has any passing knowledge of the condition of this mother, who is now dead, would expect, all this does is give life to what this really is. This is nothing more than the abortion debate masquerading in the Trojan horse of the right to life.
This person is dead. She is dead under any jurisdiction in the United States. This is nothing more than the hospital playing games, and misreading the statute, frankly, because the statute is clear that it's for life support. She's not in a vegetative state. She's not in a coma.
COOPER: Let me bring in Sanjay in here, because, Sanjay, the hospital has not said she's brain-dead. That's coming from the husband. The hospital isn't commenting. They say the husband hasn't signed the necessary forms to be able to release that information.
But in terms of -- this is different than a woman being in a vegetative state. Assuming she is brain-dead, that is not a vegetative state, from which she could potentially be brought back from in some sort of a miracle?
GUPTA: That's absolutely right, and I think terms really do matter here.
People off commingle the word coma, vegetative state and brain death. They are very different sort of situations. With brain death, as you mentioned, every state in the United States, that is the definition of death.
GUPTA: So when they talk about trying to provide life-sustaining treatment to a woman because she's pregnant, that is impossible in this situation. You cannot sustain life in someone who is dead.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Sanjay, can I ask you, what is the life expectancy of a baby that is born with this fluid in the brain?
GUPTA: It's hard to know.
Depending on what stage it actually developed, how long it's been there, it can be very different. There are people who develop the situation even after being born. So it varies.
The concern is, if this hydrocephalus is significant, it basically got fluid in the places where brain should be, so a normal brain can't develop, and some of that brain could actually be responsible for the baby's own ability to regulate the heart rate, the heartbeat for their oxygenation. So if it's not there, then the baby may not be able to survive without the mother in this case.
COOPER: So, Charles, in your opinion, should the condition of the fetus, should it matter in this case?
CHARLES BLOW, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I don't think that is the determining factor here. I think that there's something very disturbing, almost an abomination, if, in fact, the mother is, in fact, dead.
To grow a fetus in a dead body is a very strange concept, and to have the hospital either acting in that capacity or even have statutes written so that it could be ambiguous as to whether or not this is what the hospital should do in this case, I mean, I think we have to really think about this philosophically.
When you grow -- you're growing a fetus, whenever you consider it to become a baby, in a dead body is a very strange thing for anyone to be...
COOPER: One at a time.
NAVARRO: I think the facts do matter here, and the fetus does matter, because let's think if the facts were different. Let's think if this was a fetus that was normal, where the father actually wanted to see it born, where the family wanted to see it born, and was close to being viable. Would we then all be in agreement of keeping that baby alive by keeping the mother alive?
HOSTIN: Of course we would be.
COOPER: But this occurred at 14 weeks.
NAVARRO: Right. But what I'm saying is, I get the sense that the spirit of the statute was that.
COOPER: Let me give you the alternative.
NAVARRO: To protect in those cases, and this is a horrible case.
COOPER: At 14 weeks, had she chosen to terminate her pregnancy, legally, they would have been able to terminate the pregnancy.
HOSTIN: But this was a wanted pregnancy. There's no indication of that. And I think, Ana, you have really gotten to the crux of it, because there have been cases in other states with very similar laws where the family has wanted the child, and, by the way, there have been children that have been born and they have been normal. And they have been...
HOSTIN: I'm not saying there are a lot of them, but there are some.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: This is a political issue.
This is the logical extension of what the anti-abortion woman -- movement wants. They want women to have no control over their own bodies. They want the Texas legislature to decide whether this woman has to carry this baby to term, even though she's dead. It is a repulsive abrogation of women's autonomy. This is an anti-woman law.
NAVARRO: I don't agree with that.
And the reason I don't agree with that is because I lived in Florida through the Terri Schiavo case.
NAVARRO: And that became a very political case, with politicians, even on the federal level, weighing in and taking action.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I have not seen any political involvement...
GERAGOS: The law is totally politically driven. The law was designed -- this is nothing but a Trojan horse for the abortion...
HOSTIN: We don't know that, Mark.
TOOBIN: Of course we know that, Sunny.
GERAGOS: We do know that. The very example Ana just gave was the abortion example, and that's the only one that you jumped in to agree with.
NAVARRO: Absolutely not, Mark. Listen, if I was pregnant with a baby that I thought might be able to survive and I was in this condition, I probably would want the baby to be able to survive.
HOSTIN: I think 99 percent of women would want the baby.
BLOW: But, Ana, this is not a condition. She's dead. If her brain is dead, she's dead.
BLOW: You're talking about it as if it's a medical condition that she's in, that she can somehow recover from. This is a dead body that they're growing a fetus inside of.
COOPER: One at a time.
NAVARRO: The statute was written probably to protect in cases like the one I'm talking about. And this is a horrible case that is unanticipated. And, frankly, I think that's why the facts should matter.
COOPER: Mark, let me ask you this, because I get a lot of tweets from women who are saying, look, this mother, had she known she was going to be in this state when she was pregnant, she wouldn't have told her husband that she wanted to be taken off the ventilator.
Any mother would want to do everything possible to bring the fetus to life. To that, you say what?
GERAGOS: And my response to that is, stop projecting. You have got her father. You have got her husband.
Why does everybody think that they can project into, as Jeff says, this kind of stealing away the family's rights here? She is dead.
HOSTIN: You're taking it out of context.
COOPER: One at a time.
GERAGOS: She is dead. She is a cadaver. It's ghoulish, what you people are talking about.
HOSTIN: It's not ghoulish. COOPER: Sunny, what about that? If she has told her husband, I don't want to be on a ventilator, I'm a trained paramedic, I know what it's like, I don't want to be on a ventilator, they have had this conversation?
HOSTIN: And I don't doubt that they had that conversation. I doubt the fact that they would have the conversation in this context. That's why I keep on saying context matters.
COOPER: But aren't you projecting yourself into what she wants?
HOSTIN: No. Context matters. We don't know what she wants. And that, I think, is the point.
TOOBIN: How can you say that?
COOPER: One at a time.
NAVARRO: I think it's very difficult for women to talk about this without projecting ourselves, because, but for the grace of God, any of us could find ourselves in that position.
TOOBIN: That's all right.
HOSTIN: I don't think I'm projecting my own opinion.
COOPER: One at a time.
TOOBIN: But the issue is, who decides? We have the people who love her most in the world, the people who know her best, say let nature take its course, let her die.
Alternatively, we have you and the Texas legislators saying, we know better.
HOSTIN: Well, we have the law.
TOOBIN: Well, that's right, the law, which is a disgrace and an outrage.
GERAGOS: Well, and it's being misinterpreted, totally misinterpreted by the hospital. The law does not say that you keep brain-dead -- that you can give life to a brain-dead person. It is scientific nonsense.
(CROSSTALK) HOSTIN: It's unclear.
COOPER: No, no, but it's not unclear. And, again, I'm not taking a side on this, but if you read the actual wording in the law, it says taking away life support that would then cause the death of the patient. She's already dead.
HOSTIN: Isn't the baby the patient as well?
COOPER: So you're saying the fetus is the patient?
HOSTIN: It's very possible. And that's why I say the law is unclear. It's murky.
And you should not be taking Mark Geragos' side here.
COOPER: I'm not. I'm trying to play devil's advocate here.
HOSTIN: I feel like you are.
TOOBIN: I will also just raise one other point here is that this child clearly now, if it's born, will suffer from horrendous financial -- medical condition, which the Texas state has no interest in taking care of, because Texas is a low-tax state, low-service state.
All they care about is forcing women to deliver babies that they don't want, but they have no interest in taking care of those children once they are actually born. And I think that's a relevant factor in this...
GERAGOS: That's because they're also a low legislative I.Q. state. That's the other problem.
HOSTIN: See, he always goes so far.
COOPER: So, Mark, in terms of the legal aspects of this, there's a hearing on Friday. What happens? Will whatever is decided at that hearing, that can be appealed?
And if you have a judge who is non-elected, meaning appointed, he will read the statute or she will read the statute, and they will say to the hospital, this is nonsense, and they will let the father do with his dead wife what he wants to do, instead of infusing this with an abortion debate.
Now, if you get some appointed judge, who is worried about being reelected, you may -- they may punt it. But, even if you get the right decision under the law by looking at it, somebody is always going to be able to take some kind of appellate review of this and take it on an expedited basis.
COOPER: All right. We will see what happens. Friday is the hearing. We will obviously cover that.
We have got to take a quick break.
Up next: How safe are the Winter Olympics? A lot more headlines ahead. We will be right back.
COOPER: Hey. Welcome back.
Olympic officials are downplaying the latest news item about the upcoming Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, Olympic organizing committees in the United States and several European countries receiving e-mails that they're going to face terrorist attacks in Sochi. They say they're not credible.
That said, there are plenty of other credible threats and bombings, shoot-outs and manhunts for three female Islamic militants, so-called black widows. Russian security forces have flooded the Sochi area. These are the three -- two of the women being looked for. One woman was killed over the weekend. And there's a third woman also being looked for.
American authorities are making contingency plans for evacuating Americans in case of an attack. The situation is about as serious as you can get. The question is, given all that, would you attend the Games? Should anyone?
Back with the panel.
CNN national security analyst Fran Townsend, Fran is the former homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush. She currently sits on the Homeland Security CIA external advisory boards.
Fran, good to see you.
You were involved with the planning for the Olympics in Athens. How dangerous do you think this situation is? The Russian authorities say they are actively looking for three so-called black widows.
FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. This is the most specific threat we have seen at an Olympic Games frankly in recent memory, certainly post-9/11. During the Athens Games, there were threats. We worked with the Greek authorities to thwart them. But what makes this different, Anderson, is that, one, you have got a group that is clearly capable looking at the most recent Volgograd bombings.
Two, they're inside kind of the perimeter, the borders of the country that is the host country for the Olympics. And they have actually sort of stated their intentions. And so, intentions, capability, and access, all those three things combined make this a very, very serious threat.
COOPER: It's also interesting. One of the bombers that we know about on the bus in Volgograd was a woman, and Chechen militants, Chechen terrorists have shown a propensity to use women in these kind of attacks, starting with the hostage-taking in the theater back in the early 2000s.
TOWNSEND: That's right. And two women wore suicide vests on aircraft and brought aircraft down in Russia.
Look, these women are highly motivated. Typically, these are widows of Islamists who have been killed by Russian security forces. And so there's an element of revenge for them sort of, if you will, in their minds, an honor-type killing.
And the fact that they're inside Russia and have access, if not to Sochi itself -- and they may -- but certainly to sort of transportation hubs, public places, public venues, where there will be large gatherings, makes them a very significant threat.
All right, Fran, appreciate the update. Thank you very much.
COOPER: I want to stick with sports. A lot of people are still talking about the postgame rant by Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, including Sherman himself. It happened Sunday night after his team beat the San Francisco 49ers, earning a trip to the Super Bowl.
Sherman, caught up in the victory, had a few choice words about himself and San Francisco's wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
Here's some of what he told Erin Andrews of FOX Sports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD SHERMAN, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: I'm the best corner in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that's the results you're going to get! Don't you ever talk about me!
ERIN ANDREWS, FOX SPORTS: Who was talking about you?
SHERMAN: Crabtree. Don't you open your mouth about the best, or I'm going to shut it for you real quick. LOB!
ANDREWS: All right, before -- and, Joe, back over to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, the Seahawks' Richard Sherman Sunday night obviously caught up in the excitement of the game. That message led to a Twitter firestorm, including a number of racist comments that have since been taken down, like these, one calling him a straight thug.
Another post with the message Sherman is -- quote -- "proving you can still go to Stanford and be a thug." Several others on Twitter calling him a monkey, and Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors wrote this: "We just got set back 500 years."
In an exclusive with CNN's Rachel Nichols, Sherman, who was a communications major at Stanford, said he was immature and regrets those words. Nichols also asked him about the backlash. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have seen this. We have seen Deion Sanders and Terrell Owens and Bart Scott. And you can go much further back, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali.
We have seen guys get excited in the moment, make big pronouncements. What interested me so much about what happened to you was the reaction afterward, the way it mushroomed, and the fact that race so quickly became involved.
SHERMAN: Yes, you know, it was really mind-boggling for the people who did react that way and throw the racial slurs and things like that out there.
It was really sad, especially that close to Martin Luther King Day. you're judging -- you're not judging a guy. I'm not out there beating on people or committing crimes or getting arrested or doing anything. I'm playing a football game at a high level. And I got excited.
But what I did was within the lines of a football field. What they did was in actual reality.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Let's talk about it with the panel.
It's interesting. I think what he said was really an interesting point there, which is what he said was in the excitement following this game. And you see him there. He's very clear-headed and well- spoken.
What these people on Twitter wrote, and some people under their names, calling this guy animals, a monkey, they were doing it not caught up in the game, but sitting at their terminals. That is, I think, more stunning.
BLOW: They could be caught up in their own moments. We don't know what kind of moments they're having at their own houses.
NAVARRO: Bad moments.
BLOW: But what social media has done, I think, is kind of democratized vitriol. Like, it elevates any person with any kind of beef, any kind of gripe, any kind of nasty thing to say to the same level as any of us or anybody else or any sports athlete.
So he's going to see that on his Twitter feed, just as the same -- Twitter evens all that out. You see a lot more of it. People get a lot of bravado behind their keyboards and they say things that they would never say to your face.
COOPER: But it's interesting to me the willingness of people to just go on social media to do this, even under their names.
And I bring this up to ASU -- at a fraternity at ASU, they had a party called MLK Black Day Party, in which they dressed, like, hip-hop clothing. They were doing gang signs. One white girl was drinking out of a watermelon cup. And they posted these pictures on Instagram, as if this was normal behavior.
NAVARRO: That's just plain old stupidity. Right?
COOPER: Yes, and racist.
NAVARRO: The Twitter reaction was amazing, because I'm not going to even pretend that I was watching a football game on Sunday night.
COOPER: Me neither.
NAVARRO: I was watching "Downton Abbey."
COOPER: As was I.
NAVARRO: And when I saw this stuff coming through Twitter -- Twitter just exploded. I thought it was like a new mayor of a town in New Jersey coming out with a new rant against Chris Christie. And everybody just had to give an opinion on it.
TOOBIN: I was watching the game. I'm a big football fan.
And I think Richard Sherman is great. He is accurate when he says he's the best cornerback in the league. And what I don't understand is, where is it written that every athlete has to be as boring as Derek Jeter? Derek Jeter is a great player who hasn't said an interesting thing in 20 years.
Richard Sherman, he is a Stanford graduate, he's an interesting person, he's got a lot to say. He got a little excited after the game. So, what? Good for him.
BLOW: And that happens. And that happens.
TOOBIN: And, apparently, Michael Crabtree, the receiver, had been trash-talking him during the game, so he responded. It all strikes me as just fine.
COOPER: But the other thing that's weird to me is, there was another football player -- and, again, I don't know much about football -- there was another player a couple weeks ago who was criticized for his comments after a football game. The mother, I think, of one of the teammates, one of the people he beat said, you know, that this person doesn't know how to speak the English language.
And what was interesting to me about that is, people jumped on that quarterback for -- or that player for how they spoke after a game, totally impromptu, extemporaneously.
Michael Bay, the director, Hollywood royalty, was reading off a teleprompter and his teleprompter broke at some convention and could not form a sentence and walked off the stage. No one calls him an idiot. No one calls him -- but people attack these young guys who are speaking extemporaneously.
NAVARRO: The good thing is that he's been able to react to it.
And, frankly, the image that we saw right after that game, or people who were watching the game saw right after that game, and what we have seen today through this interview is just so dramatic, that it goes to the point that the guy was caught up in the moment. I don't know what the adrenaline feels like when you score, but...
BLOW: There's also an important sociological and kind of etymological point to be made here about wording and how people are using different words as kind of codes, because now it's really not OK to use the N-word, but people still feel like it's perfectly OK for them to use words like thug.
BLOW: This is just a substitute for the N-word in modern parlance., because what about him is thuggish?
He has dreadlocks. What is it that says thug? He's loud after a game. The adrenaline is pumping. He's just made the biggest play of his life. Of course he's going to be a little bit louder. He's screaming. Everybody is screaming. Everybody is all over the field. There's a microphone shoved in his face.
Nothing about that says thug, nothing about that reads thug, but thug becomes a placeholder for N-word and monkey and all of that stuff.
COOPER: He made that point in an interview today.
He also said, look, there's hockey games where they don't even play hockey. They just go out on the ice and fight each other, but no one is attacking these guys as being complete thugs, but somehow he gets that thug label. He wasn't throwing a punch to anybody.
And I think we have to really be careful about the kind of proliferation of the word thug in kind of modern media. We throw it around as if it's like something that we use.
NAVARRO: Charles, honestly, with social media, there's little that any of us can do.
Ignorant people are going to resort to these kind of offenses.
NAVARRO: I'm sure you get racial offenses, because I know I get called all sorts of things, a lot of times, like illegal Mexican.
Well, guess what? I'm not Mexican. Not all Hispanics are Mexicans. So, it's -- and it's just endless.
And I'm sure you get horrible things sent to you. There's nothing we can do about it. It comes with social media.
COOPER: It's just interesting to me when it's people who actually their name -- it's one thing when it's an egg on Twitter and like some fake name, when it's actually their name saying a racist comment.
TOOBIN: I think when you combine the anonymity, usually, of social media -- you say some people use their names, but I think most people who are saying the really bad stuff are anonymous -- with the immediacy of it, in the old days, like 10 years ago, you would have to sit down and write a letter and put a stamp -- in an envelope and a stamp. And who had the patience to do that?
Now all you have to do is pick up your phone and say something horrible. It's a lot easier.
NAVARRO: The ones that you say use their names, a lot of these are people who are not known, who are anonymous, even if they're using their name. But we saw, for example, let's not forget what happened to that executive of the P.R. company that made the tweet as she was heading -- and she lost her job and she became the laughingstock...
COOPER: Well, any head of a P.R. company, any P.R. person who says that is -- anyway.
NAVARRO: But my point is that if you have -- if you have something to lose, if you are somebody with something to lose, you better be very careful what you write on Twitter, because they might come back to haunt you.
COOPER: Well, or just don't be a complete moron.
COOPER: A footnote: You can also watch Rachel Nichols' exclusive interview with Richard Sherman Friday night on CNN's "UNGUARDED" at 10:30 Eastern.
Up next: politicians behaving badly. And, yes, it's happened again, including the mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford. He calls this latest incident -- rambling in a Jamaican accent in a fast food restaurant, he called it a private matter and that he fell off the wagon.
We will see what the panel has to say after the break.
COOPER: Welcome back to AC 360 LATER. Tonight, a new installment in the long running and completely -- well, I guess basically sad story of Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto, the crack- smoking mayor, reacting to this video of him we heard last night of a rant in a fast-food restaurant on Monday. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROB FORD, MAYOR OF TORONTO: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TOOBIN: Sad. Sad.
COOPER: I mean...
TOOBIN: It's sad.
COOPER: Other than...
NAVARRO: ... fast-food restaurant...
COOPER: The truth is, though, other than the Jamaican accent, hasn't everyone been out in a bar with somebody drunk, making that conversation?
BLOW: It's like, dude, get away from these camera. People have cameras, filming everywhere. Stop it.
TOOBIN: Yes, but they're not a mayor of a major city.
COOPER: Right. You are standing in the front of a fast-food restaurant, holding court. The -- Mayor Ford, he addressed the video today. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FORD: Monday was unfortunate. I had a minor setback. We all experience these difficult bumps in life. I am telling the Toronto residents that I'm still working hard every day to improve my health and my well-being.
But again, this is completely a private matter. There are some councilors who claim my personal life is somehow impacting their work. Folks, that is absolute nonsense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He said he's working every day. Clearly at night, maybe a different matter.
To the panel. Also CNN's own Paula Newton. And in the fifth chair, Beau Willimon. He's the executive producer of the Netflix series "House of Cards," which certainly features politicians behaving badly but not always for laughs, and it is an amazing, amazing show. The new one comes out Valentine's Day.
BEAU WILLIMON, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, NETFLIX'S "HOUSE OF CARDS": Valentine's Day, February 14.
NAVARRO: So could you even -- could you even come up with a character like this, in your wildest dreams?
COOPER: Maybe too...
WILLIMON: Truth is stranger than fiction, I think applies to politics more than anything else. You know, when you look at Ford or you look at Chris Christie, I mean, you know, we spend a lot of hours trying to come up with great stories, and sometimes reality just trumps us.
NAVARRO: Let's not compare -- let's not compare Christie to Ford. OK? Christie is (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
COOPER: Does it surprise you guys that he has been sticking it out, that he didn't just say, "You know what? I'm going to take time off"? I mean...
TOOBIN: Let's ask Paula. I mean, because Paula -- How is this playing in Toronto? Does anyone care anymore? Or have they written this guy off? Or is this something that they really -- this just shows he's -- he is who he is and they like it?
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look, I can't speak for all of Toronto. I'm not going to try. What I am going to tell you is that Anderson was wrong; he was working that night at the restaurant. That's his constituency. He is the common man and like any of us who've made a mistake.
Many people who are in the Ford nation -- those are people that vote for Ford -- thought, look, he was on a night out. Personal business. He made a mistake. Yes, he does say he's trying to get off the booze and perhaps the drugs. But yes, he -- he fell off the wagon; he made a mistake.
And I think from a political point of view, you know, this cuts so much, so deep into those political lines in Toronto. And again, you can imagine them in Washington, Toronto, wherever you are, and it's going to cut across political lines. Believe me, his supporters are saying, leave the man alone.
NAVARRO: I don't think this is a minor setback. A minor setback is me exceeding my Weight Watcher points for the day. This is a guy who has an addiction and is in denial about it. That's why he's still sticking through it.
And I can't believe his family continues aiding this denial of what is this very obvious problem.
BLOW: ... on some level. But listen, I think he -- if you're having drinks and maybe you have a few too many, that happens in the word. I mean, let's just be adults about this.
But if he says he goes on benders and then smokes crack, I mean, that's when you -- I mean, that's the problem that I see in that. And whether or not people of Toronto give this guy a break on this, that's their business as the people of Toronto.
I don't think that -- I'm from Louisiana, the land of politicians behaving badly. Before agenda (ph), it was a complete war. But before that, they all behaved badly, and we kind of gave them a break for it.
WILLIMON: Look, I make a living making up characters, thinking about why people behave the way they do. And everyone has anomalies. They have that night out with their friends where they got a little out of hand.
But a person who's making repeated choices that are consistent with, you know, character traits that are not reflective of someone who should be running a city, that's speaking to their character, not to an anomaly.
COOPER: You're also representing a city as the mayor of that city.
NEWTON: And to that point...
COOPER: Yes, Paula.
NEWTON: To that point, you know, he was sitting in a budget meeting today, just a few hours ago, where the budget was approved for police. He talked about the chief of police in Toronto, Bill Blair. I mean, profane language, all the slang, if you could decipher it, and many people could. You know, it really cut to the core of what he thinks of his own police chief.
And now a lot of the powers are stripped of him, but it really is a serious issue. And in terms of the people of Toronto trying to get a good deal for their money, billions of dollars, it's just not happening.
TOOBIN: Paula -- Paula, can you explain what was behind the Jamaican accent? That's the part of this that I don't get at all.
NEWTON: Well, here we go again, can you explain? You know what? I wish -- I wish I could explain. But let me tell you, he has certain constituencies that support him. And in speaking of the Jamaican community, yes, some were...
COOPER: I think there was somebody in there with a Jamaican...
TOOBIN: Oh, he was relating...
BLOW: Also, there's also a sizable Jamaican population in Toronto...
NEWTON: Yes, and the point is he does -- he does that.
BLOW: ... 70,000 Jamaicans living in Toronto.
TOOBIN: I mean, I -- look, he's the mayor of Toronto. I'm not. My sense of how you appeal to people is not drunkenly imitate their accent. But maybe...
BLOW: I'm not trying to understand him. I'm just trying to say in Toronto...
COOPER: Plenty of politicians start -- when, you know, somebody is down South, all of a sudden...
TOOBIN: Like Bill Clinton, all of a sudden sounded very...
BLOW: That happens, right? So people go south and they start saying -- the twang comes out and the "y'alls" come out. And we're -- and I'm...
COOPER: A Jamaican accent is maybe taking it a little far.
NAVARRO: This mayor -- this mayor is wrong also in saying, you know, "This is my private life." The bottom line is, he put himself out for public service. He doesn't have the private life that a normal private person does, because he is representing a city. Ana also, he's saying it's not affecting his work. Let me tell you, that guy is -- that guy is hung over in the morning.
WILLIMON: We can all have our opinions about his behavior, who he is, and whether he should be the mayor of Toronto, but ultimately, it's the people of Toronto. They're the only ones that matter.
I mean, if you know -- if you take Anthony Weiner as an example, the voters chose, after he broke the rules a few times, to not reward him by making him mayor of New York City. When it comes to Toronto, ultimately it's the people in those city limits who go to the polling place to decide who their leaders are, that will be the ultimate deciders on whether this guy should be their leader.
TOOBIN: As an artist who deals with politicians, do you think people want to look up or look down at politicians?
WILLIMON: I think the biggest problem we have is that we want our politicians to be two things. We want them to be saints, right? We want them to be perfect people who never do anything wrong.
At the same time, we want them to be effective leaders. And effect -- being an effective leader often means doing things that we ourselves don't want to do and having to grapple with ethical boundaries all the time. Those two things conflict with one another, and no one can be both of those things completely.
This is a little different, because he's not going to a restaurant and getting wasted because he thinks it will make him an effective leader. There's -- you know, the guy's got problems.
But you know, the bigger, more important issue is when our leaders break the rules, we want to condemn them. But we also want to condemn them when they don't maybe push the boundaries in order to get done what we need them to do.
COOPER: I think his next slogan, if he runs again, is "the guy's got problems."
Just ahead, what happens every year in Japan in Taiji Cove is hard to watch. Now it's happening again. Dolphins rounded up, slaughtered. Worldwide outrage. Also thousands captured and used for -- you know, sent to hotels where people swim with them. What could stop it? We'll take a look, ahead.
COOPER: Japan's annual slaughter of dolphins happened again this week, despite worldwide outrage. Dozens of dolphins were reportedly killed. That's out of hundreds that were captured and herded into the notorious Taiji Cove. Some will end up at marine parks around the world. All the dolphins that endure this are traumatized, obviously.
In 2009, the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove" exposed the secrets of this annual tradition. Hidden cameras captured the bloody details.
Dolphin activist Ric O'Barry was featured in the movie "The Cove." He joins us tonight.
It's good to have you on the program again. It's really interesting to me, because when you hear from people in Japan, "Well, look, this is an ancient tradition." We talked about this the other night. That's simply not true. This is not some 100-year-old tradition.
RIC O'BARRY, DOLPHIN ACTIVIST: That is a flat-out lie, that this is cultural and traditional. It actually started in 1969, and I believe the popularity of the "Flipper" TV series had a lot to do with that, capturing dolphins for these dolphinariums that are all over Japan. There's about 100 of them.
COOPER: That's also interesting, because it's not -- I hadn't realized; I hadn't really given it much thought, I guess. But people go swimming with dolphins in hotels and places around the world. I mean, I kind of thought, well, maybe -- I guess these dolphins were born in captivity. But that's not true; these are dolphins stolen out of the wild, taken away from their families.
O'BARRY: Exactly. But some are born in captivity, quite a few in the United States.
But if you look at the inventory report, the international marine mammal inventory report, it doesn't matter if they were born in captivity or captured. They die from all the same stress-related diseases. Captivity kills.
TOOBIN: Can I ask you this? You know, I'm as horrified by this as anyone. But why is this worse than killing the cow that I enjoyed, the hamburger for lunch today? Why is killing dolphins worse than killing other animals that we kill without thinking about it much?
O'BARRY: Well, it's all bad, killing -- killing animals. But they're terrorized for hours and hours, and sometimes days and weeks on end, before they're actually killed.
The boats go out, and they put these long metal poles in the water, and they bang on them with hammers. The dolphins are terrorized by this sound. They're sound-oriented creatures, and they're literally driven into the cove. Sometimes it may take six hours to drive them in.
The old are left behind. Some have heart attacks. Babies are separated from their mothers. So you don't do that at a slaughterhouse. There are rules...
TOOBIN: Well, I mean..
COOPER: The way pigs are raised, though, and kept, and a lot of animals, it's pretty inhumane.
TOOBIN: It's inhumane, but I mean, in fairness, these -- not all these dolphins are even killed. All the pigs are killed for bacon. All the cows are killed for hamburger.
COOPER: Do you make a distinction between wild animals and domesticated animals?
O'BARRY: This is a -- this is a national park, by the way, and there's some question about the legality of killing the wildlife in a national park.
These are about 50 men. It's not the town of Taiji. It's about -- it's a small group of men, a minority of men who are doing this. And they put up barbed wire in a national park and keep the cameras away. It's a violation of Article 21 of the Japanese constitution. The Japanese media has -- international media has the right to go into that park and cover what's going on.
COOPER: It's interesting, though, because sharks around the world are being slaughtered for their fins, for shark fin soup. They're taken out of the water alive. Their fins are cut off while they're alive. Oftentimes, they're pushed back in the water. The sharks actually drown to death.
No one really cares about sharks, because people are scared of them. Dolphins are obviously much more friendly. But I mean, there's abuse of a number...
BLOW: There's abuse, but I take exception to what your -- to your preposition here, Jeffrey, which is that, you know, if you -- if you -- if you kill an animal for food but you have allowed that animal to live a decent life, and a lot of times these animals do not live decent lives. A lot of times they live in horrible conditions.
But assume that you had free range, whatever, and you were eating it, and that animal was used for food. I think there's a very big difference between that and the kind of using of animals for entertainment and then having those animals die of stress-related diseases. Basically, you know, torturing them to death. That's a very different kind of death scenario than to kill for food. I think that those are just two different sorts of scenarios.
TOOBIN: I agree. I'm not wedded to this proposition here, but I guess -- I guess the problem I have -- and I admit that I -- you know, I'm a meat eater and I don't think about where the chicken comes from and what kind of life it led. But, you know, we seem to have a different standard for cute, cuddly animals and for animals that we don't like. Even Flipper was a...
BLOW: I was brought up basically on a farm and raised on hogs and cows, and my grandfather raised chickens. They lived a decent life. They weren't -- they weren't mistreated, and the time of death was swift and those animals were used for food. And I think there is a very different thing when you torture something for entertainment.
WILLIMON: This is actually part of the bigger conversation, which is our relationship to the environment. And this is an extreme, you know, in some people's minds, violent example of how we interact with the environment.
You can say is it inhumane to destroy the wildlife or the ecosystems of certain animals through global warming? I mean, there's all sorts of examples for you to look to, and this is an important one, because it forces us to debate and ask the question, how should we relate to our environment and what is our -- what is our responsibility within it?
NAVARRO: Is it our role as Americans, who are shocked and horrified by these images, to be putting our standards on the rest of the world?
O'BARRY: We're not doing that. We're not doing that.
NAVARRO: In Spain they do bullfighting. In Alaska they kill seals.
COOPER: How do you respond to that?
O'BARRY: The dolphins do not carry a Japanese passport. They don't belong to the Japanese people. The dolphins are -- the dolphins are migrating great distances. They're trying to get around Japan. And the boats go out and they drive them into the cove. And it's extremely cruel what happens there.
And we should be talking about how -- we should be outraged by this. And I think a lot of people who have watched CNN, millions of people who saw "Blackfish" and "The Cove," are frustrated. They don't know what to do.
Well, I'll tell you what to do, folks. Break out your iPhone or your computer and start tweeting and get on social media and express your frustration and your outrage at Japan, the government for doing this. It's a form of genocide actually, because the fishermen told me, it's not about money; it's about pest control. In other words, the dolphins -- they're overfishing in Japan. That's the problem. They eat fish three times a day, and I'm sorry...
COOPER: Ric, I appreciate it. We're short on time, but I appreciate you being on again. We've been covering this for several days now. It's an important subject, and it's good to have you on again. The documentary "The Cove" is an excellent piece of work.
Up next, stories you might have missed. I'll ask the panel "What's Your Story?" We'll be right back.
COOPER: All right. Time now for "What's Your Story?" where the panel shares a story that caught their eyeballs. Let's start with you. What's your story?
WILLIMON: Well, folks like Snowden and Bradley Manning have gotten a lot of attention over the past year, but I think Barrett Brown, who's facing 100 years in prison -- he's a journalist, activist, whose main crime, as the government sees it, is including a link in some of his analysis of hacked material that sort of linked private surveillance firms potentially to the American government. He didn't steal this information, but he did put the link out, which is something that a lot of news organizations have done in various forms, and he's facing 100 years because of it.
COOPER: Interesting. Ana, what's your story?
NAVARRO: Mine's a little lighter than that.
COOPER: That's fine.
NAVARRO: OK. I read several articles this week about Spanx. And by the way, there's something called Manx. Not that any of you need it, because you're all in fine shape. But the Spanx, it turns out...
COOPER: You know what Spanx are.
NAVARRO: It's a torture chamber.
TOOBIN: It's like a girdle.
But they squeeze your organs.
NAVARRO: They squeeze your innards.
COOPER: You should know what it is. You don't know what Spanx is? It's a huge success.
COOPER: This billionaire, she created them out of, like, she just cut pantyhose one day. And that was...
NAVARRO: It can cause damage to your internal organs. I mean, I thought...
COOPER: Jeff, what's your story?
TOOBIN: The -- the president got a report from the commission today about voting, about you know, long lines and how to, you know, improve voting. One of the facts in there was that schools are not allowing voting as much anymore, because of the Newtown massacre, because they don't want adults in school buildings anymore. So you need new places to get...
COOPER: We're out of time. Sorry, Charles.
BLOW: Oh, come on!
COOPER: No, I'm sorry. Next time. We'll do yours next time.
That does it for "AC 360 LATER." Thanks for watching. Also, the "House of Cards," Beau Willimon, I appreciate it. Again, Valentine's weekend.
WILLIMON: Valentine's Day, February 14.
COOPER: Amazing. I'm (ph) going to be here that weekend. We'll see you tomorrow.