CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

NEW DAY SATURDAY

Florida to Hold Pot Vote in November; Firefighters Allegedly Didn't Help Dying Man; Fighting for an AIDS-Free Generation; Ex- Christie Appointee Challenges Governors Claims About Knowledge Of Lane Closures; Plane Forced To Make Emergency Landing; Security Tight Ahead Of Sunday's Game; Amanda Knox Vows To Fight Conviction

Aired February 1, 2014 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for starting your morning with us.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I had no knowledge of this, of the planning, the execution or anything about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: What did he know and when? That is what many are asking this morning after a new letter challenges the accuracy of some of Governor Christie's comments in that two-hour long news conference. The claims and the political implications ahead.

PAUL: And one day before the big game and while a lot of you may be consumed with party planning, law enforcement has a laser focus on protection. Did a white powder scare yesterday show how massive the security and the threat really is?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMANDA KNOX: I will never go willingly back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: But Amanda Knox may not have a choice. A U.S. treaty with Italy means she could serve 28 years in prison or create an international fire storm that hits nation against nation. Your NEW DAY continues now.

PAUL: All right, don't start out stressed. I do that sometimes. Wake up in the morning and I'm already like this. Take a nice deep breath. You made it to Saturday. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. It's 8:00 now on the east coast. This is NEW DAY SATURDAY.

PAUL: We will let start this hour with these new revelations in the George Washington Bridge scandal. This is really threatening New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's second term but as well his larger political future.

BLACKWELL: Yes, so this chapter centers around this man, this David Wildstein, he is the former New Jersey Port Authority official, who carried out a Christie staffer's order to close access lanes to the bridge. Now his attorney is suggesting Christie knew about the incident as it was unfolding although Christie said in public on several occasions he did not.

PAUL: Yes, so Erin McPike is live in Washington looking at this a little more closely. Hi, Erin.

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Victor, good morning. There is tricky wording in just one paragraph of a three-page letter, Wildstein's attorney sent to the Port Authority yesterday so here it is. Evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures during the period when the lanes were closed contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference.

But to stress this does not say Christie knew about the underlying alleged reason, which is political retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Christie for re-election last year or that Christie knew about the lane closures ahead of time. Several hours after the letter posted online, the Christie administration responded in a statement of their own.

Mr. Wildstein's lawyer confirms what the governor has said all along. He had absolutely no prior knowledge of the lane closures before they happened. As the governor said in a December 13th press conference, he only first learned lanes were closed when it was reported by the press.

And as he said in his January 9th press conference, had no indication that this was anything other than a traffic study until he read otherwise the morning of January 8th. Well, let's rewind to those very moments. Here is what Christie claims he knew and when.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: And I knew nothing about this until it started to be reported in the papers about the closure. But even then, I was told this was a traffic study.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCPIKE: But there is still some confusion about whether it was the closures themselves or the motivation behind them Christie was referring to in that later press conference. That is what makes this latest revelation kind of murky -- Christi and Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, so Erin, we started this by talking about this new chapters about one man, David Wildstein, the letter from his attorney, remind people of David Wildstein's role in the closure of the lanes at the GWB. MCPIKE: OK, it was Christie's deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly who e-mailed time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee to David Wildstein. To that incident e-mail, Wildstein replied, just got it. At the time, he was the official at the Port Authority who carried out the order and what makes Wildstein such an interesting figure in the story is that he and Christie go way back as in to high school in 1977.

Christie much later appointed him to the Port Authority, but says he they weren't close. Well, the attorney's second claim in the letter is that he can prove some of the statements Christi made about Wildstein are wrong. So have a listen to some of what he maybe referring to.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: David and I were not friends in high school. We were not even acquaintances in high school. We did not travel in the same circles in high school. You know, I was class president and athlete. I don't know what David was doing during that period of the time. We went 23 years without seeing each other.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCPIKE: Now on top of all of this, let me point out that the whole purpose of the three-page letter in the first place was Wildstein's attorney asking the Port Authority to reconsider their initial decision not to pay Wildstein's legal bills for this whole debacle -- Christi and Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, Erin McPike for us in Washington this morning. Thank you.

<08:05:11>

PAUL: So we want to dig a little deeper into what this means legally for Governor Christie and the former Port Authority official, David Wildstein as well.

BLACKWELL: So joining us now is famed attorney, Alan Dershowitz, also a Harvard Law professor in addition to that author of the book, "Taking The Stand, My Life In The Law." Alan, good to have you this morning.

I want to go specifically to the words chosen in this letter by Wildstein's attorney. He writes evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge about the lane closures. I'd imagine as an attorney if you want to make a stronger case to get the reimbursement and to get immunity eventually you say more than evidence exists. You say I have evidence or my client has evidence. Do you believe he actually has this evidence that exists?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Well, as very simple way to find out. It should be subpoenaed. He has no Fifth Amendment right not to disclose physical evidence that exists. They can get that without giving him broad immunity. So on Monday, they ought to simply subpoena all of his documents. But I think a little common sense is in order here.

How can anybody possibly believe that a hands-on governor with a long history of taking revenge could go four days of a major traffic jam without once asking his staff, Kelly or Wildstein, is this really a traffic study or is this another example of revenge against a mayor who did not support me?

Anybody who believes that, I have a bridge to sell them. There is no way this guy didn't know. The Wildstein letter simply shows the dominos are beginning to fall, that his friends are beginning to abandon him. The first thing the U.S. attorney has to do is now subpoena those documents.

The second thing they have to do is get Christie under oath. So far he has had a free pass. He can talk all he wants at press conference. It is not a crime to lie at a press conference. If you lie to a law enforcement official, if you lie under oath, then you go to jail. There is no reason why the U.S. attorney shouldn't ask Christie specific questions.

What did you learn? When did you learn it? Who did you call? Did you have any conversations with Kelly? Are there any e-mails? Why don't you use e-mails? Why do you use texts because texts disappear? You know, you can still subpoena a person's text. The government doesn't have the text or the phone companies don't have the text, but the individual has the text. They should subpoena all the texts as well. This investigation is far from over.

PAUL: OK, so let me ask you in light of these allegations coming out, would you call Christie in and talk to him now or would you do other some investigations first and see what really you have on the table and call him in later because when you call him in, you call him in once, twice, how many times?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, you call him in now so that he gets the story out before he knows what the evidence is. You don't give him an opportunity to listen to all the evidence and frame his answers around the physical evidence. Right now, he doesn't know what is out there. So you call him in now, not later. You get him to tie his story down under oath under law enforcement officials.

Let's see what he is prepared to say now. You don't wait until he can frame the story. Look, I know, I'm a criminal defense lawyer. I'm on the other side of this usually. I'm the guy advising people like Christie not to go in now, wait, delay. Wait to see what the evidence is and then you can make your answers coincide with the physical facts. But if you get him in there now before he knows what the physical evidence is, you require him to tie his story now and ask hard him questions.

PAUL: All right, Alan Dershowitz, OK, thank you so much. I know you are going to stay with us here for a couple of minutes because we do have a lot of other questions we want to ask you about, get your perspective on another legal case, Amanda Knox's new murder conviction. That's in just a couple of moments so thank you for sticking around with us. DERSHOWITZ: Sure, thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, so new this morning, United Airlines flight -- excuse me -- a United Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing at Newark Airport after the smell of smoke was reported in a cabin. The plane had been traveling from Washington to Frankfort, Germany.

PAUL: This is what we know. United says the plane landed safely around 11:30 last night. All of the flight's 210 passengers were given hotel rooms for the evening. Their flight will continue later today.

BLACKWELL: Super Bowl organizers are taking no chances with security this week.

PAUL: Especially after yesterday's hoax. So we are going to give you a look at how they plan to keep the game and everybody there safe.

Plus, convicted of murder, acquitted and convicted again, will Amanda Knox wind up back in an Italian prison or is she going to live free here in America.

<08:10:10>

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Denver Broncos and Seattle' Seahawks have spent months fighting to make it to the Super Bowl.

PAUL: And you know what? Police in New York and New Jersey have spent years preparing to, you know, protect one of the biggest sporting events on the planet. They can't let their guard down not even an inch. Yesterday's hoax at several hotels proved just how vulnerable the area maybe to a terror threat.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Alexandra Field went up in a helicopter to see what they are doing to keep the skies safe too.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Protecting Metlife Stadium and patrolling the spectacular air space around it. It's expected 180 million fans will have their eyes on the field while U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents take over the skies above it. We took a ride on one of three Blackhawk helicopters that will form part of Super Bowl XLVIII's defensive line, a 10-mile perimeter, a strict no-fly zone. If anyone breaches that perimeter for any reason, they expect to see a Blackhawk up close.

(on camera): It's sort of a scary experience if you are up here flying and you unintentionally breach the perimeter.

PHIL PETRO, AF INTERACTION AGENT: Exactly. You know, unless you have been trained in the military, it is highly unlikely you ever flown in formation with another aircraft. You have never been within 500 feet of another aircraft when you are flying.

FIELD (voice-over): In the case of an air space intruder, a Blackhawk would be first to intercept flying alongside the offending aircraft and escorting it to the ground where federal agents would be waiting.

PETRO: They are going to first be shocked to have a large aircraft like this come up very close to them and then secondly, they are going to come to the realization that something is wrong.

FIELD: On our tour, we got our own surprise, although, this was a welcome one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chinook and Blackhawks, amazing.

<08:15:15>

FIELD: A fleet of military helicopters in the distance and heading for Metlife Stadium where military aircraft will perform ceremonial Super Bowl duties on Sunday, an exception to the no-fly rule and a stunning one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will hold it here for a few minutes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: Beautiful view and informative one as well. Alexandra Field over East Rutherford, New Jersey, for us, thank you.

PAUL: All right, so still to come on NEW DAY, Amanda Knox again, she's been found guilty of murder. She said she never willingly going to go back to Italy. Will she have a choice is the question.

BLACKWELL: We have more on our possible extradition with our two super lawyers, Paul Callan and Alan Dershowitz. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KNOX: I will never go willingly back to the place where I -- I'm going to fight this until the very end and it's not right and it's not fair.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Obviously a pretty emotional and defiant Amanda Knox there speaking out on "Good Morning America" after being convicted for a second time by an Italian court for the 2007 murder of British student, Meredith Kercher. But Knox says she will appeal this latest conviction and she is vowing never to return to Italy to face her penalty.

<08:20:10>

Here is everybody's question, does she have a choice and what exactly is the evidence against her? Let's bring in CNN legal analyst, Paul Callan, and Harvard Law professor and attorney, Alan Dershowitz. Gentlemen, we're so glad to have both of you here.

First of all, you know, we have double jeopardy in this country. A lot of people are saying I don't understand how they can try her twice when they already acquitted her once. Paul, why don't you take that one, what is the plausibility that the U.S. is going to send her back to Italy?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, those are really two different questions. Double jeopardy I think is misunderstood and not really analyzed properly frequently on this Italian thing. The Italian system is very different than our system. They try the case before a judge, lay person, combination court. It goes up to an appellate court. It is the same thing. It is some judges and some ordinary civilians on the case.

The difference between the United States and over there, the appellate court can call witnesses and hear testimony. It is kind of like another trial. It goes to the Italian Supreme Court. They send it back to appellate court for yet a second trial. Now she was acquitted in one of those trials.

In the United States, that would have been double jeopardy, end of the case. But in Italy, the judgment is not final until all the courts have finished with this appellate procedure. So the Italian say, double jeopardy doesn't apply.

Second issue is on extradition generally the American courts don't apply the double jeopardy rule to the country that we are sending somebody back to because obviously different countries around the world have different rules about how they process cases. They look to see that there was due process of law and that the defendant was treated fairly.

But we don't require that foreign systems mimic our system exactly. So from a legal standpoint, I don't think she is going to avoid extradition based on double jeopardy, politically she might. American public opinion may support Amanda Knox and the president may say I'm not sending her back, but on the law, I don't think she is going to win.

PAUL: Alan, what do you think?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, first of all, I don't know why public opinion is so supportive of her innocence. There was a compelling circumstantial case presented against her, the kind of case that results in thousands of people being put in American jails today. First, she would falsely accuse somebody of a crime of which she was entirely innocent.

Second, she admitted and then denied that she was at the crime scene. She created a false alibi, which her boyfriend then disputed. Third, they found small amounts of her DNA on the knife including DNA of the victim although not enough to establish conclusively her presence.

Fourth, they found the boyfriend's DNA on the bra clasp, again, not enough. Then they found that you needed more than one person committing the murder here. Who was that one person? So this is not a case as has been projected in the media of no evidence at all. It is the case of a kind that would have resulted in a conviction in most courts in America.

So yet, because she is attractive and because she is created a media campaign all over the country, she has become very popular. I don't think we should do justice by popularity or justice by the way a person looks. This is a case for extradition.

PAUL: You think she should be extradited?

PAUL: Well, if she is convicted and if the conviction is upheld on appeal and if there are no other clear violations of due process and no compelling evidence coming forward, this case should be treated like a routine case. If she were an ordinary guy, she'd be extradited. If she were being tried in America, she'd probably be convicted.

Having said that, I think there is a reasonable doubt about her guilt. I think it is a compelling circumstantial case, but not an overwhelming circumstantial case. I think that a good lawyer in America might have won this case and a good lawyer in Italy might have won this case. It is a reasonable case with evidence on both sides.

PAUL: Paul, what about this Guede guy that they have convicted and he is in prison right now?

CALLAN: Well, Guede -- you know, people who really know the evidence in this case would pretty much agree that Guede was one of the killers. Guede admitted as much at point stirring -- well, he admitted that he was in the apartment when the murder took place. But his DNA, his foot prints, it's all over the place. He by the way incriminates Amanda Knox in an early statement that he gave in the case.

He said that he heard Amanda Knox in another room in the apartment that night. So he actually brings her into the case himself. You know, just to touch on what Alan Dershowitz had to say. You know, cases like this and I think one of the things, they are very forceful advocates who know the evidence inside now for the Amanda Knox side.

And they basically go through every piece of evidence and say this is ridiculous. This is nonsense. You can't base a decision on this DNA.

<08:25:10>

But what is never mentioned here is, that of course, prosecutors in Italy had experts on the other side. This is evidence you can rely on. Ultimately, the Italian courts credited or at least now they have credited the prosecutor's witnesses more than the defense witnesses. We use the same system here in the United States.

Expert testimony, we send it to a jury and we say which side do you believe? Alan Dershowitz I think is involved in the infamous O.J. Simpson case and a lot of Americans think O.J. Simpson was guilty of that crime including myself, by the way, Alan. However, the jury decided to believe the witnesses that were called by the defense in that case.

DERSHOWITZ: There is one other point that has to be added. That is although there are six or seven pieces of evidence, none of which alone, proves her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, practically every single piece of evidence points in the direction of her guilt. If you have a DNA that is 20 percent likelihood it is her or 20 percent likelihood it is the boyfriend. You have a false alibi. You have all that.

But every one of them points in the same direction of her guilt and if you add those all up together, you have a compelling circumstantial case. For me, the great concern is that the media has presented this case as if there is no evidence and if this is a poor woman who has been falsely accused.

Never any mention of the victim. The victim has been ignored by the American media. In Italy, it is exactly the opposite. In Italy, she is Al Capone. She is the worst murderer in history. So a little nuance and a little calibration and little understanding that gray area exists would help both sides of the case.

PAUL: Paul, what are the options here? I mean, she is going to appeal. It is not like this will be over tomorrow.

CALLAN: Well, you know, it is really astounding the Italian system how long these cases take to when through. Here's where we are right now. You know, the case went to the intermediate court, she was acquitted. Then it went to the Italian Supreme Court. They said no, no, no. You ruled improperly on several issues. We want you to look at it and sent it back to the intermediate court.

Now they issued a conviction decision the other day, but it hasn't been published. They have 90 days to publish. They will publish an extensive analysis of the evidence. That will then go back to the Italian Supreme Court. There may even be an appeal to an international court on human rights issues. Then back to Italy and then a request to extradite if Italy even makes such a request.

So there is a long road ahead for Amanda Knox, more time for her hair to grow out, by the way. She is sporting a new hairdo. I don't know if you noticed that yesterday, in what I think is a public relations effort to sort of humanize Amanda Knox and keep the high public opinion poll that's out there for her.

The American public is very supportive of her. So that is the important thing. The president of the United States, State Department and Justice follow the public opinion rather than the law.

PAUL: I have a couple of seconds. Alan, go ahead.

DERSHOWITZ: I think we have a hint from Italy that they may not seek her extradition. Look, they let her go back to the United States even though the case was then pending knowing that it would be very difficult to get her back in Italy. So the Italian government may be satisfied with convicting her and then letting her spend the rest of her life in the United States and not able to travel to Europe or to Italy so it may resolve itself that way.

CALLAN: I agree with Alan on that. It's true.

PAUL: Both of you brought some great points and important things for us to all think about. CNN legal analyst, Paul Callan and Harvard Law professor and attorney, Alan Dershowitz, author of "Taking The Stand My Life In The Law." Gentlemen, thank both of you so much for sharing your perspectives with us and your expertise. We appreciate it.>

Still to come on NEW DAY, Florida voters take on pot at the polls this November, but this one medical marijuana initiative could have a huge impact on the 2016 presidential vote. That's ahead.

But first, Christine Romans has a preview of "YOUR MONEY" coming up in an hour from now. Good morning, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, HOST, CNN'S "YOUR MONEY": Hi, Christi and Victor. Think there's nothing left to say about the Super Bowl? Think again, from counterfeiting to controversy to NFL superstars that are media moguls on the side. I'm going to take you behind the business of the Super Bowl. That's coming up at 9:30 a.m. Eastern. We've got a special edition of "YOUR MONEY" -- Victor and Christi.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: It is the bottom of the hour right now and we just want to say a hearty hello to all of you as we welcome you back. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: It's so, so hearty -- I'm Victor Blackwell.

Here are five things you need for your NEW DAY.

PAUL: Yes and number one a former New Jersey official making new claims against Governor Chris Christie -- this is all part of course of the scandal over closures of the George Washington Bridge. David Wildstein's attorney said in a letter that quote, "Evidence exists to contradict Christie's claim that he didn't know about the closures until after they happen." And no evidence had tied Christie to ordering those lane closures which a lot of people suspect was political retaliation.

BLACKWELL: Number two, a shooter is on the loose in or around Michigan this morning. Police are on the hunt for a man in his 20s who they say shot two college students near Michigan State University. Police also say the shooting did not appear to be a random act. One of the victims is still in critical condition.

PAUL: Number three, after months of hearings, the State Department has finally issued its reports on the Keystone Pipeline. The verdict: it won't significantly impact the climate. Environmentalists worried about greenhouse gasses emissions and climate change are condemning the reports. The proposed pipeline would stretch between the U.S. and Canada.

BLACKWELL: Number four, investors gave stocks the cold shoulder in January. The Dow tumbled 150 points on Friday. Of course the index is low about five percent for the month. That makes it the Dow's worst January performance since 2009. Investors are concerned over falling currencies and emerging markets and disappointing corporate earnings in the U.S.

PAUL: And number five, Justin Bieber in trouble again this after airport officials smelled pot on his plane after it landed in New Jersey. Now they brought in dogs to search the jet. They did not find anything. Bieber is in town, of course, to be with friends and watch the Super Bowl tomorrow.

BLACKWELL: Well, speaking of pot, marijuana is set to light up the voting booth in Florida this November. The Florida Supreme Court this week narrowly, but they did approve a ballot measure that asks voters to legalize pot for medical uses. It's going to be on the ballot in November. But the side effects may be decidedly political.

Some conservatives are concerned medicinal pot maybe so popular with Democratic voters, that they'll fly to the polls and it may just oust the Republican Governor Rick Scott and the other Republican officials.

So joining me to discuss this Matt Gaetz is a Republican state representative in Florida and Maria Cardona, a Democratic strategist also a CNN political analyst for us.

<08:35:03>

Let's start with Representative Gaetz. So you support medicinal marijuana, but at a lower THC level. But you're young Republican supporting medical pot. Why?

MATT GAETZ, FLORIDA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Well Victor the Republican Party can no longer have a bumper sticker approach to medical application of marijuana. In this country I don't think you can stage a debate with two people under the age of 40 on whether or not there is any appropriate medical application for cannabis. The question is how to do it in the most responsible, safe way in a way that it doesn't incentivize abuse.

BLACKWELL: Yes the polls would suggest that you couldn't stage a debate between people over 40, under 40, black, white, Hispanic, of any demographic group because you know I'm looking at the polls from Quinnipiac the latest of Florida in November and there is no group here that is less than 70 percent who support medical marijuana in the state of Florida.

I'm coming to you Maria with this, is this for the Democrats in Florida what marriage equality was or let's say the marriage protection was in 2000 for the Republicans nationwide?

MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well I think initially definitely because clearly Democrats are much more on the side of legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. And the -- the sea change that it's happening in the country is going towards that. And we're seeing it play out on the state level and now we're seeing it play out in Florida. But I commend Matt Gaetz because I think that he is certainly on to something, not just in terms of the right thing to do medicinally with what he's trying to do with Katie Edwards in Florida and by the way, big bipartisan effort there so congratulations on that. More Americans need to see that.

But I think it's also a way to start getting the Republican Party to open up on issues where younger voters, voters of color, women voters need for this party to open up if they ever want a chance of trying to get more of those voters, which they need on a national level.

BLACKWELL: Yes the reference was in 2000, Karl Rove putting on the protection of marriage amendment in states across the countries to bring out Republican voters who then while they were there would vote for George W. Bush.

Are you concerned that that will happen in Florida, Representative Gaetz? That you bring out so many people. We know that you bring out a lot of young people to the polls potentially and we know from the last election, overwhelmingly, they voted for Barack Obama.

GAETZ: Well it's usually a recipe for success to put yourself on the opposite end of 70 percent to 80 percent of the electorate. Now I'm no political scientist but I would think that that's probably not good politics. What's so interesting is that Democrats, if they wanted to, did the right thing for patients, could actually moot this issue.

Attorney General Eric Holder has the authority if he wanted to, to (inaudible), to -- by the fiat of his own pen declassify marijuana as a schedule one narcotic. That would mean that we could actually do some of the research into all streams of marijuana into their efficacy. And I think we could prove to people that there is an appropriate medical application that can occur without the risk of abuse and without eroding the social fabric of our neighborhoods.

But the Attorney General hasn't chosen to do that and maybe because of the point that you and Maria are making. That this is a blunt force for the Democrats to be able to use in upcoming election cycles and that as you pointed out used to be a club that was in the bag of Republicans. We would put marriage equality issues or we would put marriage protection issues on the ballot and we would also put a lot of times pro-life issues on the ballot because that would bring out voters more likely to vote conservative. And I think across the country you're not going to see too many marijuana initiative that fail.

If you look at what happened in Colorado, unexpectedly, many Republicans lost down ballots because the types of voters that will turn out for these issues don't just go and vote for the ballot initiative. They vote up and down the ballot. And I think that there is a realization there that that politics will eventually catch up to Republicans.

I believe in the Republican Party. I want it to be a national party in the future and I think that when we talk about extending people's liberty, we need to really mean it. BLACKWELL: So I just want to be clear about this. I don't know if it can be boiled down to one sentence. But if I'm hearing you correct.

CARDONA: Right.

BLACKWELL: You say you want the Republicans to be a national party. Can the Republicans only be a national party if they support medical marijuana?

GAETZ: Look, I think that there are two issues that are problematic for the Republicans if you simply look at demographics. And it's marijuana and gay marriage. And I think that increasingly, you're going to see Republicans have a pro liberty view on -- on those subjects.

BLACKWELL: Well let me -- you can make some news here, too. You're also saying the party should support gay marriage?

GAETZ: Well I think look, I think that -- I think that the party can always support traditional marriage but I think it's a matter of tone.

<08:40:05>

I don't think that most Americans, you know, in the front of their minds are worried about what other people are doing in their bedrooms. And I think they are more worried about the fact that we have, you know, $16 trillion -- $17 trillion debt that we're diminishing the country for the next generation.

And I think that Republican has the best approach on our economy on how to create jobs. And the more we're losing battles on some of these traditional issues where we've been I think perhaps too rigid in a dogmatic ideology of the more role we'll see those outcomes at the election.

BLACKWELL: I hear you -- and let me get to Maria -- I just 15 seconds for you.

CARDONA: Yes.

BLACKWELL: I want you on this. If this works and you know voters come to the polls, they also vote in Chris -- not Chris Christie -- Governor Crist.

CARDONA: Governor Crist right.

BLACKWELL: Governor Crist in Florida and you get Democrats across the board in many of these races, what does that mean for 2016 if anything?

CARDONA: Well I think that it will certainly become much more of a central issue. But I really don't think at this point even though majorities of Americans do approve legalization of marijuana, I don't know if by 2016 it's going to become an issue that is front and center with all Americans. You know Matt's right that this is not an issue right now that from a national level Democrats frankly all agree on what needs to be done, which is why we're seeing it played out state by state.

But it could, just like equality of marriage, certainly become an issue that is going to be more front and center in 2016, but I think it's probably going to be more than issue beyond 2016. And I would just add one more issue to what Republicans need to do in order to open up their possibilities to become a national party.

BLACKWELL: Very quickly.

CARDONA: They need to -- they need to make some action happen on immigration reform.

BLACKWELL: All right. Representative Gaetz, Maria Cardona --

(CROSSTALK)

GAETZ: Well Victor we -- Victor we don't get too worried about the positions Charlie Christ takes because we don't even know what party he'll be a member of in 2016.

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKWELL: I knew something was going to come in which I said Charlie Christ.

CARDONA: He'll be a Democrat.

BLACKWELL: I thank you both.

CARDONA: He's a Democrat Matt.

BLACKWELL: I thank you both we've got to wrap it up.

GAETZ: Well he may be a Whig Party by the next election.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, both.

CARDONA: Thanks.

PAUL: All right. I want to tell you about firefighters in Washington. They could be in some trouble here after an elderly man died just outside their station. Some people saying they did not act. We'll tell you exactly what happened.

Plus, what do Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and Craig Morgan have in common? Well, they are all members of the Nashville's Grand Ole Opry. Take a back stage tour here of this American icon with our national -- a Nashville travel insider country music star Craig Morgan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This old boy got it going on -- CRAIG MORGAN, COUNTRY SINGER: I'm country singer Craig Morgan and Nashville is my city. It's the capital of country music. We'll take you on a VIP back stage tour here at the Grand Ole Opry.

First thing we do when we get in, is we have to check in and find out where our dressing room. Where am I at tonight? As a member, you have a mailbox so the fans can send mail to us here.

Not everybody that plays at the Grand Ole Opry is a member of the Grand Ole Opry. To date, there are just over 200 members. This is the list of every member past and present.

There's 19 dressing rooms -- well actually there's only 18 because there's not a number 13.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, there.

MORGAN: You never know who you're going to run into.

What is your favorite thing about being here at the Opry?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Porter, Roy cups and standing in the big tall shoes.

MORGAN: Look who we have here. Mr. Ricky Skaggs.

This is the green room. During the flood of 2010, this is how high the water level got.

This is the infamous circle here the Grand Ole Opry where the legends as well as the new artists stand and perform.

Thanks for spending time with me back stage at the Grand Ole Opry. I hope to see you next real. It's time for me to hit the stage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome Mr. Craig Morgan.

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

<08:47:40>

BLACKWELL: Firefighters are supposed to respond to emergencies, but when a 77-year-old man apparently had a heart attack outside a fire station, no one inside would help. Even after repeated pleas from his daughter.

PAUL: The thing is Cecil Mills later died at the hospital. So now the lieutenant in charge of that station has filed for retirement.

We want to get more now from Erin McPike has the story.

ERIC MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Victor, the incident happened last Saturday here at this fire station where there is now an investigation underway to determine exactly what happened, whether red tape got in the way or bad judgment or it was just plain negligence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCPIKE (voice over): When 77-year-old Cecil Mills collapsed outside this shopping center his daughter Marie saw one silver lining. They were just across the street from a fire station. Help would surely be on the way quickly.

But shockingly, firefighters several desperate requests from the dying man's daughter and witnesses. Marie says a firefighter watching did not help.

MARIE MILLS, DAUGHTER OF CECIL MILLS: I even ran to the curb and said "Are you going to help me or are you going to let my dad die?"

MCPIKE: Marie firefighters told people trying to get help they had to call 911 before anyone could respond.

MILLS: Protocol is heartless. It's heartless. That's how I felt.

MCPIKE: Someone did call 911 later, but to make matters worse, that ambulance went to the wrong location 26 blocks away. Cecil Mills died later that day leaving his daughter heartbroken and D.C. officials outraged.

They are now investigating, questioning 15 people, including three firefighters believed to be involved directly.

We tried to talk to them, too.

(on camera): Was anybody here today here on Saturday?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, they're not.

MCPIKE: The deputy mayor who oversees the department saying nothing should have prevented helping Mills.

PAUL QUANDER, DEPUTY MAYOR FOR PUBLIC SAFETY: Firefighters routinely go into danger. They don't wait to be called. They respond. And so that's what's troubling about this. This goes against what firefighting is all about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCPIKE: It's still unknown what, if any role, the delayed response played in Cecil Mills' death, but late Thursday, two firefighters were placed on paid administrative leave -- Christi and Victor.

<08:50:02>

PAUL: All right. Erin McPike, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Celebrity photographer and filmmaker Nigel Barker shares his passion for helping children suffering from HIV and AIDS. For Nigel Barker it is all about making the next generation AIDS free.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL (voice over): This is the face of hope. Faith was born HIV negative even though her mother has the virus. She is the ultimate example of the goal of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation creating an AIDS free generation.

NIGEL BARKER, CELEBRITY PHOTOGRAPHER: We have the reception. We have the medication. People have to be educated around the world. We have to get rid of the discrimination and the stigma that is associated with even getting tested.

BLACKWELL: Celebrity photographer Nigel Barker saw the success of the foundation's program when he visited Tanzania. Even in a nomadic tribe, steeped in culture and tradition and reluctant to change.

BARKER: I spoke to the women who had been trained by the foundation in the ways of how to deliver a baby safely. If you can reach a group like this, you can treat children anywhere in the world.

BLACKWELL: And the foundation seems to be doing just that.

BARKER: Take for example, sub-Saharan Africa. Several hundred babies are being born every day HIV positive. But the good news is, when I first got started in 2008, I was saying, 1,000 babies are being born every day HIV positive. We realize a generation free is doable in our lifetime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Best of luck to him on his efforts. Continue, sir.

Next, we're going to take a look at the other reason millions of you are going to watch the Super Bowl.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

<08:55:36>

PAUL: Well, David Stern's legendary 30-year tenure as NBA commissioner is over.

BLACKWELL: Yes, Stern ran the league as it exploded in popularity around the world. We can list off the superstars -- Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan -- heard of him? Yes.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, he is going to replace Stern.

So, speaking of another sport, football --

PAUL: Yes. BLACKWELL: -- Super Bowl is coming up. And all this morning we are showing you the ads that are set to air, of course, during the Super Bowl.

PAUL: And this one for Oikos Greek Yogurt delivers on the "Full House" reunion you did not know you wanted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have something on your right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oops. I did it again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take off your pants, Greek boy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You heard the man. Take those pants off. That's going to stain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt -- feel your please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no please. Don't leave me alone with them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She wasn't good for us anyway.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Who was he is what we'd like to know.

BLACKWELL: Yes who was he?

PAUL: I don't know.

Tomorrow, I know a lot of you are in Super Bowl heaven. Really? What does it feel like to be playing there?

BLACKWELL: You know who we're going to ask? Baltimore. Stand up. Ravens head coach who won last year -- the big game last year John Harbaugh is standing by still today. Super Bowl champion Ravens coach is going to be after the break.

PAUL: Ok. This coming from the man who says he's not a football fan. He is not a (inaudible).

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: This is Baltimore. This is Baltimore.

After the break. John Harbaugh.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)