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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Rand: Clinton A "Sexual Predator"; Free After 21 Years Behind Bars; Japan's Beethoven; So Long, Farewell

Aired February 7, 2014 - 16:30   ET

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


JAKE TAPPER, CNN: But according to the American Foreign Service Association, President Obama has passed over qualified career professionals in favor of political friends and fundraisers, more than any other president in the modern era. The president also, in January 2009, said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Are there going to be political appointees to ambassadorships, there probably will be some.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Some. Actually, the majority of President Obama's second term ambassadorial nominations have been political, 52 percent. The Center for Public Integrity says President Obama has nominated 23 major fundraisers who have collectively raised at least $16.1 million for Obama since 2007.

Coming up on THE LEAD, another Bill Clinton dig from Rand Paul over the former president's relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Will it help the Republican senator win over voters for a potential 2016 run against possibly Hillary?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. The "Politics Lead," it was a simpler time, a time of grunge and flannel, of Melrose Place and of presidential sex scandals. Now Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who many believe will be running for president himself in 2016 is digging into the political vaults to, once again, accuse former President Bill Clinton of being a, quote, "sexual predator."

It's at least the second time this year that Paul has publicly made reference to the Monica Lewinsky-gate scandal of the late '90s. Now he's telling Democrats if you took money from Bill Clinton, you ought to give it back. Here he is in a C-Span interview that will air this Sunday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: The Democrats can say we're the great defenders of women's rights in the workplace and we will defend you against some kind of abusive boss that uses their position of authority to take advantage of a young woman when the leader of their party, the leader of the fundraising country is Bill Clinton, who was a perpetrator of that kind of sexual harassment. Anybody who wants to take money from Bill Clinton or have a fundraiser has a lot of explaining to do. In fact, I think they should give the money back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Man. Joining me now is Michael Crowley, the deputy Washington bureau chief for "Time," Molly Ball, national political reporter for the "Atlantic" and Matt Bai, national political columnist for Yahoo! News. Michael, I'll start with you. It's almost impossible to view these comments outside of the realm of 2016. He wants to be the Republican nominee. Hillary may be the Democratic nominee. Is there anything else going on do you think here?

MICHAEL CROWLEY, "TIME" DEPUTY WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: I hate to reduce it all to politics and Rand Paul is a guy who doesn't play by normal political rules. He says things that other people in politics don't so, you know, maybe this is how he really feels, but this would also be consistent with finding a way to whip up the Republican base to say something kind of new and different.

But I think that to most other Americans it's kind of bewildering. Why are you talking about this now? I mean, there was a feeling that Republicans were beating a dead horse even at the time when we reached the end of impeachment. As you know, the midterm elections did not go well for them. So it really does look like a base play to me.

TAPPER: What do you think? What do you make of this? And also, I mean, do you think this could hurt Hillary or do you think it's just all water under the bridge and nobody holds her responsible anyway?

MOLLY BALL, NATIONAL POLITICAL REORTER, "THE ATLANTIC": Well, I do think that this is going to strike a lot of people as old news, but that is kind of a problem for Hillary as well, right? This whole wrap on her that Republicans have been preparing for a while that she's part of, sort of an older time in politics and her time has come and gone.

I think also it's indicative that Republicans are still scrambling to come up with the right response to this war on women narrative that I think they are much more obsessed with than the Democrats are. Certainly Democrats have used it as a political weapon, but you know, whether it's Mike Huckabee and his recent controversial comments or this from Rand Paul that however correct seems sort of out of left field, they have had trouble coming up with the right sort of response to that.

TAPPER: You said "however correct" so do you agree with what he's saying?

BALL: No, I'm saying whether or not you agree with him.

TAPPER: I wanted to clarify. I thought you were. Appreciate it. Matt, what do you make of all of this? MATT BAI, NATIONAL POLITICAL COLUMNIST, YAHOO! NEWS: Those are excellent points. I would only add, it's not just whipping up the Republican base. You have to understand the history of the Republican electorate. You have the libertarian economic conservatives as you know, Jake, and then you have the social conservatives.

It's very interesting to me. Rand Paul is essentially the heir to the libertarian base. You know, he is going to have a real audience with the economic conservative. This feels to me like because he's now revisited this a couple times, it's not just an accident. He didn't just come out with it once, he went back to it.

It feels to me now like a pre-deliberate attempt to make himself marketable and interesting and intriguing to the social conservatives, which is the hard thing is unifying those two groups and, in essence, I think that's got to be what he's doing.

TAPPER: You know, what's intriguing about it also though is he didn't just go back to it. He upped the ante. You should give back the money.

BAI: Well, that's rhetorical.

TAPPER: He's a former president. I mean, give back the money?

BAI: How many people will, do you think?

BALL: I would point out that I think, you know, Rand Paul, quite cleverly, has been preparing on multiple fronts to potentially run against Hillary or at least to demonstrate to the Republican base that he is taking the fight to Hillary. You know, he grilled her very hard on the Benghazi hearings and he's been more aggressive than a lot of Republicans in saying, you know, this makes her unqualified to be president so he's attacking her on that front.

CROWLEY: He's not only attacking her. He's attacking Bill.

BALL: He's attacking both of them.

CROWLEY: Right. The Benghazi attacks I think are played out. They are not working well for Republicans and it's interesting to see a choice --

TAPPER: It might work in the base, though. Speaking of people running against Hillary, before Hillary gets the nomination and I know there's mixed feelings about whether she will even run, there is somebody else who theoretically might run against Hillary and that's Vice President Joe Biden who talked to our Kate Bolduan from CNN's "NEW DAY" this morning. Here's what he had to say about whether or not he's going to run.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: There may be reasons why I don't run, but there are no obvious reasons for me why I think I should not run. KATE BOLDUAN, ANCHOR, CNN'S "NEW DAY": Do you have a timetable?

BIDEN: Probably the realistically, a year this summer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: So summer 2015. Do you think he has a shot?

BAI: Well, look, I don't write off Joe Biden as readily as some other people. It's too early to say who has a shot. Let's look at it this way. This is the challenge that Democrats have to look at. Since 1952, I think -- don't hold me to it, when they signed into law the amendment that says you can start two consecutive terms, only once has a party actually gotten a third term in the presidency that was 1988, for all kinds of reasons that we could probably having to do with the ineptness of the Democratic campaign.

So it's extremely hard I think what that tells us historically to make the case both for continuity and that you can change the status quo. It's almost impossible to see two people so closely linked to an administration doing it at the same time. I think there's a window for him to go out and make his case and he should -- if Hillary Clinton doesn't run, but I doubt he would take that run if she does because he's so far behind her in momentum at this point and it's almost impossible to see them running against each other.

CROWLEY: That's true. But if we know anything about Joe Biden, this man has force of will. He is wanted to be president. I know we say it -- he's run twice and not only that but a guy who wanted it and then he's been in the motorcades, he's been in the sit room. He's been weighing in on the key decisions on Afghanistan and national security, and I think he's got to feel like he's already halfway there. And I think it's going to be hard for him not to.

BAI: Well, there's no reason he shouldn't. He's earned that right.

TAPPER: Molly, is there an audience? Is there a group for Biden to appeal to?

BALL: There is. You know, if you think about it, Biden has carried the administration's water on a lot of causes near and dear to the hearts of progressives. I think, gun control, for example, where he was the point man on that. So in the Senate that was the case, too. He did a lot of really substantive work on liberal issues.

There's an element to the Democratic base that really loves Joe Biden and not just because he's got a crazy Uncle Joe image in the popular media. Do they love him more than Hillary? I think that audience is pretty small.

But, you know, voices like this, voices like Martin O'Malley this week also saying he can't keep waiting for Hillary to make her decision, this is what is going to put pressure on her and make her decide is the fact that the party needs someone to start running.

TAPPER: Of course, we have seen some key Obama aides including his campaign manager from 2012, Jim Mecina, former deputy chief of staff at the White House signed on with pro-Hillary effort. He is just one of several. So President Obama has not endorsed and he probably almost definitely will not make a choice, but it seems as though the team is starting to head that way. But Molly, Matt, Michael, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

Coming up next on THE LEAD, he confessed to a double murder even though he did not do it and now after two decades in prison he's finally out and telling his story next.

Plus, he was hailed as a modern day Beethoven, a deaf composer, so brilliant and popular. One figure skate chose his song for the Olympic performance, but now the musician is being called a fake by the man who actually wrote the music.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: The Buried Lead now, that's what we call stories that demand more attention. Deon Patrick was 20 years old when his life was stolen away from him. He was one of eight men arrested in 1992 for the deaths of a drug dealer and a prostitute on the north side of Chicago. Patrick immediately said he was innocent. No physical evidence linked him to the murders, but 30 hours in police custody without a lawyer present can have a way of changing a young man's mind.

At one point his friend, co-defendant, Daniel Taylor, was brought into the interview room and he told Patrick to just tell the police what they wanted to hear and they could go home. So Patrick wrote down and signed a confession and was given life in prison without parole.

Twenty one years ticked by. His children grew up without him, but now Patrick has been exonerated along with Taylor after the Cook County State's Attorney Office admitted they could not reach the legal burden in the case anymore. The story is hardly an anomaly according to a new study by the National Registry of Exonerations.

There were a record number of wrongful convictions overturned last year in the United States, nearly half of them stemming from murder trials. I had the chance to talk to Deon Patrick along with Rob Warden, the executive director at the Center on Wrongful Convictions and I asked him what it was like to walk out of prison a free man after being wronged for so long.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEON PATRICK, EXONERATED AFTER 21 YEARS IN PRISON: t was somewhat surreal to actually have it happen after so long.

TAPPER: You have kids, your wife, what has been the best part of being a free man?

PATRICK: Spending time with them and actually getting to know them a lot better as opposed to just talking to them on the phone and seeing them on visits.

TAPPER: Rob, a lot of this case and a lot of the other cases are about false confessions. How does that happen?

ROB WARDEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER ON WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS: Well, indeed. People are -- have a very hard time imagining that they'd ever confessed to a crime they didn't commit and that's why it's such powerful evidence before juries. But we know it's a quite common phenomena and the psychological techniques that are actually taught at the police academy lead to many false confessions. The techniques involve sometimes what they call minimization and maximization. That is that you're going to get the death penalty, but if you can -- if this was some kind of an accident or something, you can probably leave today or things of that sort.

TAPPER: Lies in other words, lies.

WARDEN: -- hours of interrogation, people lose their resistance.

TAPPER: Deon, the justice system failed you. It also failed your co- defendant, Daniel Taylor, who was also doing life for these murderers before being exonerated six months before you were. What do you and Daniel want to see happen to try and somehow right this wrong?

PATRICK: In our case, I'd like a sense of accountability where the people who do this and cut corners to get cases closed, they should be held accountable for what they do because they constantly preach to us about due diligence to find and prove certain things when they don't use due diligence to actually put people on these cases.

TAPPER: You're 42 years old. You still have a life ahead of you, what do you want to do with it?

PATRICK: Well, actually, I want to go back to school and I'm going to look for a job. I just want to enjoy the rest of my life and enjoy the rest of my life with the grandkids.

TAPPER: Rob, according to the study, which is just a staggering study, there have been more than 1,300 exonerations since 1989. Last year was a record high. How many young people do you think are doing hard time for crimes they did not commit and why are these stories coming out now?

WARDEN: Well, nobody knows who has been wrongfully convicted. The only ones that we can study, the only ones we know about are the ones in which exonerations occur like in Deon and Daniel's case. Now, if it's sheer serendipity, there would have been there still, had it not been discovered that Daniel in fact was in police custody when this crime occurred and, therefore, these false confessions from multiple defendants, all of which implicated him and all of which implicated each other were simply false. We have now begun to recognize that phenomena.

And I think this record number of exonerations that we had in 2013, 87 nationally reflects the fact that the system is now paying more attention to false confession cases and cases in which people pleaded guilty. Years ago, those would have just been absolutely ignored by the system. TAPPER: There must be other innocent people in jail and in prison right now as someone who has fought the system and finally got out, convicted for a crime he didn't commit, what is your advice to those other innocent people in prison?

PATRICK: Just to keep -- the hope alive and just know that one day the truth was going to finally come out because there are days where you actually start to give up, but you have people like Mr. Warden and other organizations that are finally coming to bat for us and they are finally fighting hard for us and proving our innocence.

So try to get some form of help because a lot of people don't get the help that me and Daniel was forcing to get as far as media attention and the help from the center and the different organizations. If you don't get that, sometimes you'll find yourself stuck even though you know you didn't do it, but the courts are going to continue to shoot you down when you don't have any type of a form of help from a higher source coming to your aid.

TAPPER: Deon Patrick and Rob Warden, God bless both of you. Thank you so much for telling your story.

PATRICK: Thanks a lot.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: When we come back a personal story so compelling, it was hard to belief, a deaf brilliant composer with a string of hits now he is admitting he is a fake after his music was set to be used at the Olympics. How he finally got caught coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. The Pop Culture Lead, whatever you do, don't blame it on Milli Vannili. The music world can't seem to learn its lesson from the German pop duo who lost their 1999 Grammy for best new artist after admitting they didn't sing on the album or in concert. Those dances moves were all their staff.

No one ever suspected Sagachi was nothing but a musical genius. His story could have been taken from the pages of a Morakami novel. The son of an atomic bomb survivor and a child of music prodigy he lost almost all of his hearing by the time he turned 35 only to rise to fame for his orchestral tribute to the nation's worst tragedy.

Hiroshima Symphony Number one. Critics called him Japan's Beethoven. He landed contracts, scored movies and video games and in an interview with "Time" magazine in 2001 he said his disability made his music better. That quote, "If you trust your inner senses sound, you create something that is truer."

So it came as something of a shock Wednesday when the beloved composer admitted that someone else had written the music. On Thursday morning, a music teacher from Tokyo came forward and said not only did he write more than 20 songs under the composer's name, he claims Sagachi isn't even deaf. The scandal has even in snared one of Japan's Olympic hopefuls, Daisuke Takahashi. The figure skater won bronze at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and hoped to win gold while skating to one of his songs. The Olympian had used the piece in one of his routines before. At this point, the skater says it's too late to choreograph a routine to a different song and he still plans to use the sonata when he competes next Thursday.

Twenty two years of late night laughs with Jay Leno at the helm of "The Tonight Show" ended with a star studded tribute and plenty of tears.

Anyone who can get Oprah to show up and sing "Farewell," it must be a pretty big deal. Comedian, Billy Crystal, led the celebrity sing along with featured icons in the entertainment industry. And of course, also Kim Kardashian, but the most touching tribute of all may have been the one that Jay delivered to his fans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, COMEDIAN: I want to thank you, the audience. You folks have been just incredibly loyal. This has been the greatest 22 years of my life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: The end of Leno's two-decade reign marks the new beginning for "The Tonight's Show." It will be hosted by Jimmy Fallon when the show returns after the Winter Olympics. That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I now turn you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Have a great weekend. Mr. Blitzer.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Jake, thank you.