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Interview with Dennis Rodman; Amanda Knox Speaking Out

Aired January 31, 2014 - 08:00   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: (INAUDIBLE) his feelings about the last interview, about the situation in North Korea and basically anything that's on his mind. We're going to get all of that in just a second.

But there's other news this morning as well. Let's bring it back to New York so you can get the headlines -- guys.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely. Thanks so much, Chris. We'll get right back to you in just a minute.

But there's a lot to get to here in New York. Breaking this morning: Amanda Knox speaks out about her second conviction in Italy. She says she's never going back to the country willingly. We have the brand- new interview that she just did. We had new sound on that. We'll bring that you in just a second.

And we also have that CNN exclusive the president going one on one with Jake Tapper. They talked about his push to get long term -- to get the jobless back to work, and also his take on the new pope.

But, first, let's get right back over to John Berman, in for Michaela, for a lot of other top stories this morning.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks so much, Kate.

Making news this morning: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. That's the surviving Boston bombing suspect. He is facing 30 federal charges in the terror attack that killed three and injured 260 at last year's Boston marathon. Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty. No trial date has been set.

Happening today: Syrian peace talks wrap up in Geneva with little or no progress made on most issues. Secretary of State John Kerry and other world leaders now head to Germany where the discussions will continue at the Munich security conference. The United States is now also accusing the Syrian government of stalling on its commitment to remove chemical weapons from that country.

This is not the news the family of Kenneth Bae wanted to hear this morning. North Korea's ambassador to Britain says in an interview, that the government does not plan to release the jailed American missionary until he serves out his sentence of 15 years hard labor. The diplomat says Bae is being treated well and denies he's being held in any sort of labor camp. Bae was leading a tour group in North Korea when he was arrested and jailed for what they call anti- government acts.

A nasty summit bug hits a second cruise ship in the span of a week. The CDC expected to board the "Caribbean Princess" cruise ship today because the norovirus outbreak made at least 170 people sick on that ship. It abruptly returned to a Texas port Thursday. On Wednesday, a royal Caribbean Cruise got cut short there after nearly 700 crew and passengers got sick also from suspected norovirus.

New this morning, officials at an elementary school in Salt Lake City apologizing for taking food away from children with negative balances in their lunch accounts. Now, they are acknowledging they could have handled the situation better. Many of the kids cried when their lunch trays were just taken away from them, infuriating parents who claimed they were never informed of issues with these accounts.

BOLDUAN: We also got a lot of news going on this morning. Let's get to CNN's exclusive interview with President Obama. The commander in chief sitting down with Jake Tapper, host of "THE LEAD", to talk about a lot of topics, including marijuana and whether it should be decriminalizing. The president also weighing in on the upcoming Winter Games, and whether he thinks Sochi is safe.

And with or without Congress, president plans to throw a lifeline to the long term unemployed, telling CNN, telling Jake, that he has several major corporations already on board.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Folks are looking at that gap in the resume and they're weeding them out before these folks even get a chance for an interview.

So what we have done is to gather together 300 companies, just to start with, including, some of the top 50 companies in the country, companies like Walmart and Apple, Ford and others, to say let's establish best practices. Do not screen people out of the hiring process just because they've been out of work for a long time.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: A lot of members of Congress and not just like the fringe ones, the ones who are serious lawmakers have said to CNN that they would not let their family members go to Sochi, that they are not confident that it will be safe.

OBAMA: What I would say is, is that if you want to go to the Olympics, you should go to the Olympics, and, you know, we're not discouraging in anyway Americans participating in what is always an amazing wonderful event.

TAPPER: Are you considering not making marijuana a schedule one narcotic? OBAMA: Marijuana for casual users, individual users, is subject to abuse just like alcohol is, and should be treated as a public health problem and challenge. But as I said in the interview, my concern is when you end up having very heavy criminal penalties for individual users that have been applied unevenly and in some cases with racial disparity.


BOLDUAN: And you can watch the full interview today on "THE LEAD" at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

Also much of this interview will be the topic of discussion on John King's show, "INSIDE POLITICS." The show is returning to CNN this Sunday, 8:30 a.m. Eastern. And we're all looking forward to that. Congratulations to John.

Now, we will get to Chris's live interview with Dennis Rodman in just one moment. You don't want to miss that. But, first some breaking news this morning.

Amanda Knox speaking out after the latest chapter in her legal saga. An emotional Knox was defiant, saying she will never go back to Italy willingly and she expected better from the courts. Knox was convicted of murder again despite already being acquitted on the very same charge.

Erin McLaughlin is back with us live from Florence with some of what Knox had to say this morning and getting her reaction.

Good morning again, Erin.


It was an emotional interview with GMA's Robin Roberts. At times, Amanda's voice seemed shaky at other times she was strong. And she insisted that she needs to stand up for herself. Take a listen.


AMANDA KNOX, FOUND GUILTY OF MURDER: My first reaction was, no, this is wrong, and I'm going to do everything I can to, to prove that it is. And I felt very determined and my family felt very determined.

But it was only on my way here that I really got my first cry. I talked to Don Salvo (ph). Don Salvo is the priest in the prison, we've stayed in contact and he reminded me that people still believe in me and that, like this is an experience that I have to testify to, that -- that really horrible things can happen and you have -- you have to stand up for yourself and you have to believe that it's going to be OK.

I will never go willingly back to the place where -- I'm going to fight this until the very end, and it's not right. And it's not fair. And I'm going to do everything I can. Granted, I need a lot of help. I can't do this on my own and I can't help people understand this on my own.


MCLAUGHLIN: Meanwhile, the victim, Meredith Kercher's brother and sister speaking out this morning as well, saying that nothing will bring Meredith back, adding that they would support Amanda Knox's extradition from the United States if it came to that.

As for Raffaele Sollecito, well, we are hearing from Italian police that he has been detained in northern Italy. He was found in a hotel at 1:00 a.m. in the morning, near the border of Austria and Slovenia. He was found with his girlfriend.

Police have been looking for him after a court order to seize his travel documents. We understand from his lawyer that he's currently still at the police station sorting all of this out insisting that he was not trying to run -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Erin, thank you very much. And we're going to talk about the next legal steps for Amanda Knox later on in the show.

But, first let's get back to our other big story this morning and to Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Kate. Thank you very much.

I'm here now with Dennis Rodman. We're in a rehabilitation facility.

You wanted to have this interview. You said you had some things you wanted to get off your chest.

Let's start with the obvious. Why are we here? Why are you here, Dennis?

DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER NBA PLAYER: Oh, well, you know -- why am I here? Well, I think it goes back a while, a way back. I think the fact all the things I've been going through the last year and a half, but -- certain situations and I think that this is a great time for me to come here to reflect and try to put myself at ease, at peace with a lot things that's been going on with me for the last year and a half.

And I thought this was an appropriate time to be here to try to gather my thoughts, gather my views about life and which direction I wanted to go.

CUOMO: How do you work on controlling alcohol?

RODMAN: Well, I wish people wouldn't say it like that because I've always been a party animal. And I've always said to the media and to the world that, you know what? I don't hurt anyone. I never carry a gun. I never had a gun. I don't have a knife. I don't have anything that would damage anyone's, their future about what they do in life. That's not my job.

My job is to do one thing and that is to be a professional entertainer and human being on this planet to entertain people and keep people happy and keep people strong and keep people's spirits uplifting. I think I've done a great job at that.

But I think that, for me, the reason I drink is because I'm bored.

CUOMO: You drink because you're bored.

RODMAN: Absolutely. I've been saying that for years, ever since 1993, because I need to be active, I need to be productive and keep my mind on life in general.

CUOMO: But drinking does all the opposite things doesn't it, Dennis?


RODMAN: Well, I guess, you know, you want to ask all the hard questions. I'm the only guy in the world to answer these questions. I come straight at you.

You know, I speak from my heart and I speak from my sleeves. I got to say, Chris, you can ask me anything in the world. I will not mention anything like that.

CUOMO: You think I'm asking you hard questions or obvious one. We're in a rehab center. First step is we admit we're powerless over alcohol.

RODMAN: Well, (INAUDIBLE) I think to the fact that, you know, if you give a person that you give an interview to, given an interview, an opportunity to speak out. I've been in rehabs, but for me rehab -- it's like I don't have to drink. I came to the realization 15 years ago, I don't really have to drink, you know? I don't need to go in a bar or a restaurant and feening for alcohol. That's not my job.

You know, I did it for recreational purposes. Like most people in the world, when they go to the bar or a restaurant, you know, 90 percent of the people in the world have a drink. It could it be a glass of wine. It could be anything that's very simple, you know?

And for me, it's more like I love to have a good time. I love to be around people to have a good time. And for me, yes, I admitted so many times to that, hey, I drink and people know that. Am I alcoholic? Absolutely. I can't deny that.


CUOMO: Did you dome rehab to try to control the addiction and try to take it out of your life or something else?

RODMAN: Well, I said it to Dr. Drew. Like I said, I'm a human first. I'm not a product, I'm a human first.

And the one thing that people, for human beings in America has always done or people in America they always have gave people first, second, third chances. And to redeem themselves and try to be a part of society, with or without alcohol, with or without drugs, people always have that heart of hearts to know that, you know what, people are trying to get help. CUOMO: So, let's talk redemption. Last interview we had -- were you drunk in that interview?

RODMAN: Oh, my God, really?

CUOMO: Were you? That's what I've been told.

RODMAN: You know what? I think the fact that when I was in North Korea, after the game, stuff like that, yes, we had -- absolutely we had a lot of drinks. You know, we partied after the game.

We went back to the hotel. We had some wine and some sake, stuff like that. Absolutely.

CUOMO: During the interview, were you of right mind?

RODMAN: No, it wasn't about me being in the right mind. I want people to understand this. It wasn't about that.

I think the fact when a certain person asks you a question when they are not supposed to ask you that question, at that particular time, knowing the fact that I wasn't in the state to really properly answer that question, I think it was unfair. And -- but, you know --

CUOMO: So, your answer was the way it was because you thought me asking you about it was unfair?

RODMAN: I think the fact that, you know, you wanted a story you could have at least asked me first. I think that was the proper thing to do. And at the moment, you know, I didn't think too much about it.

And I told you before this interview, I said, I don't hate you, man. You're just doing your job. You know, I'll treat you like anybody else. I'll shake your hand, hug you, we can go out and have a cigar anytime of the day.

CUOMO: That works both ways. I mean, I asked the question because I feel it's so obvious, they are so important to how people view you and what's going on with this situation --

RODMAN: Right.

CUOMO: -- that I cannot ask them.

RODMAN: Absolutely.

CUOMO: I mean, when you call somebody a friend who a lot of people believe is one of the most dangerous people in the world, you got to answer for that. You got to explain it.

RODMAN: Absolutely.

CUOMO: So the question is now that you've had some time to get your thoughts together here do you believe that trip was something you shouldn't have done. Do you believe the way you acted in the interview was something you shouldn't have done? RODMAN: Well, like I said, I'm not going to say too much because I'm going to do a press conference next week in New York, and like I told you I'm going to have an open mic for anyone in the world, any press that wants to come to see this interview, they can ask me anything in the world about North Korea. And like I said, I speak from my heart. And like I said, I'm a human first.

What I said in the media, stuff like that, like I said, I don't know the -- as a dictator. I don't know him like that. All I know with the fact with him is more like he's a 31-year-old guy and I call him a kid all the time. And I said, yes, he's my friend. I look at him like that because he gave me the opportunity to at least come in to the country of North Korea to bring a basketball team, to show the world, just show the world that we can actually get along, Americans and North Korea.

I wasn't trying to look in the history book and what really went on back what his grandfather or his father, that wasn't my job.

CUOMO: Or him.

RODMAN: Or him. It wasn't my job. It wasn't my job. That wasn't my assignment to go over, hey, you know, Kim Jong-Un, can I come over here and ask you questions about why you're such a bad guy. That wasn't my job. Now, we go into the political stage of this. That wasn't my job. And I said that from day one. I'm not an ambassador. I'm not, you know, a diplomat. That's not my job.

CUOMO: I agree.

RODMAN: My job was to go and do one thing, to go do a documentary with a team from Beijing and we did the documentary stuff right there.

CUOMO: Now, did you go over there originally because you were getting paid or was this out of some sense of purpose or both?

RODMAN: (INAUDIBLE). I'll explain this. I didn't believe -- thought I was going to North Korea at all. You know, that just popped out of the blue. This company in Beijing wanted us to do a documentary with them with the North Korea.

CUOMO: So, it was about getting paid, though, also, right?

RODMAN: The one thing that anyone in the world especially professional basketball, anything like that, I said, it's my first game in the league (ph). I said, guess what? You can pay me a dollar I'll still play the game of basketball. Phil Jackson, anybody in the world -- it's not about the money. It's never been about the money.

CUOMO: All right. So, it's not about the money. You go there to do the documentary. I get that you're not an ambassador. I get that. I get that you're not about the politics. I get that. But, you have to get that when you call this man your friend, and you seem to suggest that he's not a bad guy, and see there's no not to you. There's either, he's good guy or he's a bad guy and there's really not a close call on this, Dennis, because of the atrocities that happened there that he's responsible for, that the regime is responsible for, the oppression, what's happened with his uncle. You got to deal with that. He can be whatever you want him to be to you, Dennis.

But you have to be open to people being really upset by the idea that you'd call him a friend and a good guy when he does very bad things. Do you get that?

RODMAN: Well, you know, I get that. But I just say the same thing, you know, this is like wow, you know? I keep telling people, I'm not there to be an ambassador to try to figure out why did you go -- why are you doing all these things. That's not my job. My job is to go there and do one thing, to go there and see if I can actually bring two countries together for at least a couple of days, to see that we can actually get along.

CUOMO: Just avoid it. Just avoid talking about him at all. Don't say he's a good guy and my friend.

RODMAN: But I know that. But you know what? You know what's amazing. Since I've been in this place here, you know, Gorbachev?

CUOMO: I do.

RODMAN: I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Did anyone say the fact that Gorbachev was president of Russia and we went over there and try to make amends and try to blend us and Russia together? Did anyone even talk about stuff like that? Because I thought, you know, as I've been saying TV, I don't know anything about politics, but -- TV. Russia was the first country to have nuclear wars, nuclear weapons while we, as Americans, that we always do.

We, as Americans, are the forefront that would take anyone in because we love people. We love people in America. I love people. I'm not judging because, you know, that person did something really, really bad. I don't know.

CUOMO: You can know. The answer is yes, he did. And you got to judge him by what he did. He's not just somebody looking for a new chance.

RODMAN: I know that. But, you know what? I know that. But you know what, I think that, you know, in the bible, everyone reads the bible, right? I mean, everyone reads the bible.


RODMAN: No matter what color, what creed, or what bloodline you are, we on this planet, we are human beings first. I'm sorry, you know, that people think that I'm just leaning towards he's a great guy. I want to live in North Korea. No. That's not even about that.

CUOMO: The first part is, though, that yes, he's a great guy. I don't know him that way. I don't know what he did. He's my friend. RODMAN: I just look at him like -- guess what? As I saying, Chris, I'll ask you a question one thing.

CUOMO: Please.

RODMAN: Let me just ask you a question.

CUOMO: Please.

RODMAN: You were in North Korea, right?

CUOMO: No, I haven't been there. I'll go there with you.

RODMAN: You go with me. I will give you this opportunity now on national TV, on national TV.


RODMAN: I will take you over there and introduce you to him.

CUOMO: Great.

RODMAN: And I will love you to come back here and tell the world, tell the world, in person-to-person with him, is he a nice guy when you meet him. When you meet him. Not politics. When you meet him and sit down and have dinner with him and -- I want you to come -- I'm giving you the invitation.

CUOMO: I'll take it.

RODMAN: That's what I say --

CUOMO: I take the invitation. I take the invitation.

RODMAN: I will take you -- I want you to go over there and see for your own eyes.


RODMAN: I'm not worried about the politics. If he does these things -- I'm sorry.

CUOMO: There's no if.


RODMAN: I don't go to the camps. I don't do anything.


CUOMO: That's your choice. But they're there.

RODMAN: That's great. That's great. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

CUOMO: You don't have to apologize for it. You don't have to apologize for it. It's not your fault. I'm just saying you have to understand while when you try to make this man into something that he is not, it upsets people. That's it. I take your invitation. Let's see how I feel when I meet him. I'll go with you, whenever you want. Whenever you want.

I'd be surprised, I'll tell you this, though, Dennis, as close as you are, as tight as you are with this man, I'd be surprised if they let me come with you. I'd be surprised if they let me come with you, Dennis. You got to ask yourself why. Why don't we want this guy?

RODMAN: You know what? Please, people take this in the right way, you know, I'm not trying to take the spotlight away from the Super Bowl. It's a great week for New York people. A great week for people around the world. It's going to be a great weekend and stuff like that. But I want to come on and say this because I want people to understand this. You know, I'm not a traitor.

I've never been a traitor. I've never been anything, but one thing, to people happy in the world. That's my whole goal right now is to make people happy, because I've done everything in the world between the time I was born to 52 years old. And I'm still happy. And I'm blessed the fact I'm still living. I'm so happy the fact I got great people around me. You know (INAUDIBLE), Phil Jackson --

CUOMO: People believe in you.

RODMAN: People believe in me and know the fact that I don't mean no harm.

CUOMO: People think you have a good heart.

RODMAN: I have a great heart. Guess what, my intentions are not bad intentions. And I want people to understand that, you know? When I was playing basketball, people loved the hell out of me.

CUOMO: They still do.


CUOMO: I know, because they came at me for our last interview. A lot of people who support you, Dennis. That's not what it's about. You know, you say you're here. I want to take a little quick break here. So, we'll give the show a little bit of a rest. We'll come back and keep talking to Dennis, but it puts us to where we are right now. You're trying to figure out what comes next for you, in here, in here, and in the outside world.

RODMAN: Right.

CUOMO: I'm very interested in where you're going to go from here. So, let's take a break and we'll come back with Dennis.

RODMAN: All right.


CUOMO: All right. Welcome back to NEW DAY. We're still here with Dennis. You're smiling. You're laughing. I guess that's good. How is it going so far?

RODMAN: I'm just smiling, because it's awesome to be alive. And it's very encouraging the fact that, you know, I have an opportunity to speak my mind on national TV around the world. And like I said, I want to say hello to my kids. Hope you guys are watching this. Daddy is safe. And he's trying to get things together. And hopefully that I'll see you guys soon. That's all I want to say.

CUOMO: That happens to be the most important. When you think about why you're here, are your kids at the top of the list?

RODMAN: Well, you know, I said it, you know, around the world. And I think people always respected me from saying what my heart feels and what I said in the hall of fame speech, you know what? The one thing I regret is the fact I haven't been a great dad. I've been an awful dad, you know, because of the things I've been doing and some mishaps I've been doing and stuff like that that I have no control over.

Like I said, one day, I will be that father and like I said, there's a lot of steps that I have to take before I die. And this is one of the major ones I take to show my kids that, you know, I'm not a dead beat dad. I'm always a cool guy. You can come to and we can show the crown. And like I said, I will be a father one day and like I say, you know, things don't happen overnight.

CUOMO: What does it take to you get there? What's that struggle about?

RODMAN: Just release a lot of inhibition about Dennis Rodman, you know? I came just be Dennis Rodman all the time.

CUOMO: Who is Dennis Rodman --



RODMAN: You create this monster, Dennis and, all of a sudden, you can't get out. I can get out. It just depends if I want to get out. You know, it's just like being in the rehab or whatever, trying to face your, you know, your inhibitions and your demons and stuff like that, what drives you to do some things you do.

CUOMO: What is that life for you?

RODMAN: What's that life for me? You know, it has its good and its bad. You know, it's like a seesaw. Stuff like that. But I think I've had the opportunity of all these years, of all the years to try to balance it out. And I've told myself and I told other people, you know what? Yes, I tell people absolutely if I drink two or three days in a row, yes, I'm an alcoholic.

Absolutely. I have no shame in that. I have no shame in that. But I told Dr. Drew when I was on the show that, you know, he asked me "can you stop drinking," and I said, "I don't think so." And that's honestly -- that's honest. CUOMO: What does that mean to you that you don't think you can stop drinking.

RODMAN: I've seen myself -- I've seen myself grow up at the age of 45, 50 years old. I'm always a kid at heart first, but I've seen myself over the last five years really grown up to have my eyes open instead of, you know, walking around with blinders and think that, hey, you know, I'm the shit.


CUOMO: We're on cable.

RODMAN: Thank God, all right. So, you know, I said I'm here to do one thing, to try to keep everything in perspective, to realize that I don't need to put myself in harm's way to drink or do anything.

CUOMO: But you got people who are worried about you. I mean, you know, look, we joke around about what this interview, what's hard questions, what isn't. You know what, North Korea is what it is. That situation is what it is. I'll tell you what I think the hard discussion is. It's the big reason I'm here, as you know. This is no joke what goes on in a place like this.

And, I have less concern about what happens with you and foreign policy than I do about how you take this opportunity, what it means because people don't come here just to get their head together. You know, if you want to face up -- everybody drinks for a reason, Dennis. It's never just to have a good time. You know that. I don't need to lecture you about it.

But, it's hard. I know it's hard. I'm just not hearing that process. It just sounds like this is just kind of like, you know, a little rest point for you to kind of collect yourself and move forward as opposed to taking on addiction. Is that fair?

RODMAN: Well, I've had my addiction for the last 20 years. I don't want that. You think it don't take effect? Oh, Lord. Yes, it does. Yes, it does.