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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Pay-To-Play Ambassadors?; Victim's Friends Testify in "Loud Music" Trial; Passenger Tries to Hijack Plane to Sochi; AOL CEO Blames 401K Cuts on "Distressed Babies"
Aired February 7, 2014 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Next, pay to play ambassadors. The president's nominee for ambassador to Argentina is a huge donor, but he's never been there.
Then AOL CEO says he is cutting retirement benefits for his employees because of, quote, "distressed babies." Is there any truth to that?
Philip Seymour Hoffman was almost done filming the final movie in the "Hunger Games" series when he died. Tonight's special report, how his producers recreate his image and actually finish the movie. Let's go OUTFRONT.
OUTFRONT tonight, pay to play. Today, the Obama administration facing tough questions about rewarding big donors with plush ambassadorships. Here's State Department's spokeswoman, Jen Psaki being questioned by reporters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much does it cost to become an ambassador, to be named ambassador in the Obama administration?
JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: Jonathan Carl, always a TV question. We don't determine --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's serious.
PSAKI: I'm not. It is a serious question. We don't name ambassadors from the State Department. The White House names ambassadors so I would certainly point you to my old colleagues across the street for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Her old colleagues across the street worked at the White House because these appointees are appointees chosen directly by the president of the United States. White House Spokesman Jay Carney didn't have a press conference today to answer questions. They are serious because some of the political picks to represent the United States overseas are here's the president's pick for ambassador to Argentina just yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Have you been to Argentina?
NOAH MAMET, NOMINEE FOR AMBASSADOR TO ARGENTINA: Senator, I haven't had the opportunity yet to be there. I've travelled extensively around the world but I haven't yet had a chance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Here are the president's nominees for Iceland and Norway.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Barber, I take it you've been to Iceland?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, I've not I've not had the privilege yet and I look forward.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you been to Norway?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: This is not a spoof, this really happened. So why are these people getting these plumb assignments? Well, it could be because of this, each of these nominees raised major, major cash for President Obama. According to "The New York Times," the nominee to Argentina raised more than $1.7 million for the president. The nominee to Iceland close to $3 million, and the nominee to Norway raised only about $750,000, but he was a Republican until 2009.
Now this pay-to-play style diplomacy is not new. I want to emphasize this. This is something both parties do. The president, though, is picking more political appointees than any of his recent predecessors including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush.
Now not all political appointees are big donors but many are. Crony capitalism isn't a good word. Should crony diplomacy be either? Democratic strategist, Chris Kofinis joins me. He knows two of these gentlemen and likes them, I know to Norway and Argentina, and the Republican strategist, Terry Hold, both OUTFRONT.
OK, thanks to both of you for taking the time. Good to see you, Terry. Chris, you're with me though, so let me start with you. I mean, those sound bites do sound pretty bad. I have to give credit to one of the guys and smiled and said, OK, this is not a good situation. These are serious jobs. It makes it seemed like these are gifts. These are vacations like what country do you want to go to that you haven't been to before for a couple of years?
CHRIS KOFINIS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I understand that that's the way people want to look at it. You know, part of it is this is the way this has been done, both by Republican and Democratic administrations for decades. That you basically have in these key positions someone who is close, has some kind of personal or professional relationship with the president. That give that country's leadership believe at least that they have a good relationship with the president so if an issue pops up they can deal with it. Now in terms of the larger question, which I think people are going to raise, what about the expertise? What about the ability to deal with all the diplomatic issues that may develop in that given country? I mean, the reality is in every country, even by the way when you point someone as a career diplomat in one of these positions. They are surrounded by incredibly skilled, you know, individuals who are incredibly knowledgeable in the country?
BURNETT: So you should just be a figure head and not know anything, but does the people around you do?
KOFINIS: Well, I don't think it's a question of being a figure head. If you surround yourself with good, smart people, advisors, you can do the job. Listen, whether you are a former donor or whether you are a career diplomat does not necessarily make you a great ambassador one way or the other.
I think it's a question of how you decide to, you know, fulfil the many challenges of that position. Some countries are clearly more challenging than other. I don't necessarily think it negates. As you said, those two guys are friends of mine. I know them. They're both extremely bright, capable individuals. I've no doubt they'll do a good job.
BURNETT: All right, Argentina, by the way, is a very important country right now when you talk about the global economy and the crisis happening there. Terry, I've actually been to all three of those countries and I'm not qualified to be the ambassador to any of them because obviously going to a country is not enough. You need a lot more experience actually than just that, right.
But obviously, you know, I'll admit it. I do think it should be a basic requirement to be considered for a post. How can you possibly satisfy all the other steps of proving that you care or committed to a country if you've never bothered to go there.
TERRY HOLT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Exactly. It turns out this is really all about respect. We want to be respected by our partners and the countries that we have ambassadors in. We want to show respect. I think it's vital for the relationship particularly in the Americas with Argentina. You know, we stand on the cusp here. We can have friendly relationships with strong democracies, with pro-growth policies with places like Panama and Columbia, or we can let places like Argentina go the way of Cuba or go the way of Venezuela --
HOLT: By putting somebody there who doesn't know the culture, doesn't know the language and now the Argentines know that this is just a political hack. I don't think it helps us promote that American agenda --
KOFINIS: In fairness.
HOLT: -- in the Americas.
KOFINIS: Terry is very stunned that this has happened. I've no doubt --
BURNETT: Terry is a Democratic president.
KOFINIS: I know you will the person one -- wait a second. That this happened --
HOLT: You reported quite a bit.
KOFINIS: Under the Bush administration --
HOLT: I agree that both parties have done this. I don't think it's a good idea and especially after the last three or four years that we've had under this administration with all the to and fro, and all of the indecision over foreign policy, we're sending exactly the wrong message continuing this little game that politicians play with the ambassador.
BURNETT: All right, so let's just talk about Norway, for a second, since you know the person, George Tunice. Ok, just to give everyone a background. One of the biggest oil producers in the world, in terms of supply, one of the wealthiest oil producers and a crucial ally. All right, here's what happened when Senator McCain asked that, your friend, Mr. Tunice, the nominee in Norway about that country's anti- immigration party, which is an important part of the political system there, the Progress Party. Here's the exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will tell you Norway has been very quick to denounce them. We're going to continue to work with Norway to make sure --
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The government has denounced them. The coalition government they're part of the coalition government.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what, I stand corrected. I stand corrected and would like to leave my answer at they are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I know. I know you like him. I know you think he's smart. I know you think he's talented, but how can he be the ambassador to Norway given that?
KOFINIS: He clearly misspoke. He clearly misspoke. In terms of dealing with that situation, obviously that could be done. That being said, he's going to be surrounded by really skilled and capable career diplomats who are going to make sure that he is in the right position. At the end of the day --
HOLT: To hold his hand as the leader? This is the highest ranking official in the country.
BURNETT: Let him --
HOLT: Nothing but a figure head, then it sends the signal that the top of the heap doesn't matter.
KOFINIS: Terry, even when you go to countries that are very serious, you go to Afghanistan, Pakistan, two countries which I've been to, which I've been in meetings with ambassadors and their staff.
HOLT: They delegate a lot to their staff.
KOFINIS: Yes. But they also represent the United States of America.
HOLT: Experts in the given country that they're posted in until they're posted there! You rely on the people around you. I think that's true whether you're the ambassador of Norway or the ambassador of China.
BURNETT: All right, we got to leave it there. Terry, in a word though and I mean a word because we are out of time, but would you be willing to -- there should some sort of a law where you can't have political appointees?
HOLT: I think so, sure, yes. The word is yes.
BURNETT: The word is yes. All right, thank you very much. I think I can endorse that one. Thanks very much to both of you. We appreciate it. Everyone let us know what you think. OUTFRONT next, a white man on trial for shooting and killing a black teen in Florida. Is it Trayvon Martin all over again?
Jay Leno's final show last night went out with a huge bang, we got the numbers.
And is he a real life castaway, so many questions surrounding a man who says he was stranded at sea for more than a year. We are on the ground tonight live. Our reporter there in the Marshal Islands with him for the real story.
Justin Bieber under investigation again! We're back.
BURNETT: The so called loud music trial entered its second day today. This is the case of a Florida man, he is charged with shooting and killing an unarmed black 17-year-old. The 47-year-old Michael Dunn claims he was fired in self-defense after arguing with teens over the volume of music in their SUV. He shot into that car eight times.
A white man shooting a black teen, is this case the same as Trayvon Martin case? Today in the courtroom, the other three teens who were in the car with the 17-year-old who was killed gave virtually identical accounts of what happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you recall anything that Jordan David said to the defendant?
TEVIN THOMPSON, FRIEND OF SHOOTING VICTIM: Yes, sir. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you see the driver of the other car do when Jordan Davis said, yes, I'm talking to you?
LELAND BRUNSON, FRIEND OF SHOOTING VICTIM: He reached into his glove compartment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what did the driver do with the gun after you looked at it?
TOMMIE STORNES, FRIEND OF SHOOTING VICTIM: To my recollection, he started to fire.
BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, Michael Skolnik, editor-in-chief of globalgrind.com and Janet Johnson, a criminal defence attorney in Jacksonville. All right, thanks to both of you. Michael, a lot of people are comparing this to the George Zimmerman trial. A black teenage victim, it turns out that he was unarmed although I know that's in dispute, obviously. Two of the same prosecutors are on this case. Can you make predictions based on that, how this trial will go?
MICHAEL SKOLNIK, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF,GLOBALGRIND.COM: Well, I hope that we don't make the same prediction we had in the George Zimmerman trial certainly as a supporter of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, we don't want see Michael Dunn walk free. But I do think there are similarities, but there are also a lot of differences. In this case, Michael Dunn was arrested right away. He has been in jail ever since. Witnesses to this crime, there weren't a whole lot of witnesses. Witnesses in the George Zimmerman case, so I think there are a lot of differences here as well.
BURNETT: Janet, what -- you know, this does come down to this whole issue of the weapon, right? Michael Dunn's attorney wants to convince the jury that this teenager was, indeed, armed and they were able to throw the gun away. It just hasn't been -- no one's been able to find it since. So that the teenager was armed and that would justify self- defence in this case. What do you think?
JANET JOHNSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, it's interesting, Erin, because everyone agrees he actually didn't have a knife in his pocket. So to call him unarmed may not be accurate. He had a pocket To be unarmed, he had a pocket knife. That was four inches long.
BURNETT: They were in two separate cars. Not like they were side by side.
JOHNSON: Right, but to say unarmed may not be accurate. He doesn't have to literally have a weapon. There has to be the perception that's reasonable that he did and what came out today is that he was the aggressor. That Jordan Davis was the one who initiated the verbal dispute even though obviously Mr. Dunn asked him to turn the music down but that he was sort of threatening in his language if not literally threatening Mr. Dunn. I think this should have been a strong day for the state and I'm not sure it was.
BURNETT: What do you think about that? That he could have possibly feared for his life? They did all admit that the teenagers were being obnoxious and rude, all of those things. That's not the same for fearing for your life.
SKOLNIK: I totally disagree with Janet. You have to look at the case here. There could be an argument if he shot into the car, but he shot in there eight times. You have to be in fear of your life for imminent danger. Michael Dunn did not de-escalate. He kept shooting at them as they were driving away. Unless Michael Dunn can prove that Jordan Davis had a gun or a lead pipe as the defence attorney, you know, says he did, this case is very hard for Michael Dunn to win.
BURNETT: Would you agree with that, Janet? Eight times of shooting does appear to raise the bar.
JOHNSON: Well, you know, it does, but two issues. One is I think that of goers have said and are going to say that there is adrenaline and a component of their adrenaline. They saw him late injury and they didn't continue shooting. Victory doesn't have to be a not guilty. This is charged as first degree murder which is not what Zimmerman was charged with. If they can't prof it was premeditated, which I think they can't. I'm going to go out on a limb and say they have not; I think it's a lesser.
BURNETT: If they over charge, Michael, they could make a huge error.
SKOLNIK: Well, in a first degree murder case you have lesser charge, secretary degree murder and manslaughter. The jury can take up a second degree charge and in this case I think it's the second volume of shots, he shot a foot Nava way from the car. He did not shoot to scare, he shot to kill.
BURNETT: So you're saying the first shot may not have been premeditated, but that the others were you could think
SKOLNIK: You could argue the first time that could be traumatic head injury. As he continues to shoot, you don't have adrenaline if you shoot four more times in a car that's driving away.
JOHNSON: Well, you know, I think the premeditation has to have come before any shooting began. It can't be in the middle. The other issue is if he was doing this cold blooded, this is malice aforethought. This is execution style murder. Fourth degree, it is never a situation where you have that. This is the same prosecution team that uses the cynical strategy and it didn't work there.
BURNETT: Thanks very much to both of you. Whatever you think about gun policy! It's hard to argue if people weren't driving around with guns lying around in their car. Still to come, for the first time we have a look inside the Florida movie theatre where the Florida police officer shot and killed a father who was texting his baby-sitter. The crucial evidence seen on video camera! Plus, Putin tops President Obama as the most powerful man on the planet.
And Joe Biden takes a shot at a New York institution. Tonight I stand with Joe.
BURNETT: Suspect in custody tonight after attempting to hijack a plane and divert it to Sochi. The passengers aboard this plane identified the man with the number 11 jersey as the suspect. Now the plane was diverted to Istanbul. The suspect was detained there. The scare comes at an intense time with the threats surrounding the Olympics, an event that was meant to be a crowning achievement for Vladimir Putin.
It's been talked about the games have obviously had a bit of a rocky start, half-finished hotels, things like that. Today during the opening ceremonies, an Olympic size ring failed to illuminate. They were trying to advertise for BP. That's a problem. In St. Petersburg and Moscow they arrested several people.
Randall Lane joins me now, editor of "Forbes". Now when you look at what's happened today, and the past few days, how does it reflect on Putin? This is one man's games in some ways.
RANDALL LANE, "FORBES" EDITOR: It's the wizard of Oz Olympics because what's happening now is the entire world is seeing behind the curtain. While Putin can project strength, Ukraine, Syria, when you bring the entire world's media and all of these problems illuminate the problems Russia has internally. They have terrorism problems. They have economic problems. They have corruption problem. That's what's really damming and hurts him. Its real problems Russia has. Not Olympic problems.
BURNETT: There was the moment when reporters were complaining about things in their hotel rooms. A member of the Russian government says they have cameras in the bathroom.
LANE: Right. They whisk him away. That brings up the Snowden thing. All of the issues going on beforehand are amplified. These are all metaphors. When you spend $50 billion on the Olympics and you get four rings to light up, $10 billion a ring, that shows the problem of the Russian economy, $50 billion, everything should work. If they can't get you toilets and rings right, it shows you how much has fallen off the truck, gone into people's problems.
BURNETT: Incredibly corrupt, now there are 70, $100 billion! By far the wealthiest person on the planet! 20 residence, ski lodge, 15 helicopters. 43 planes! A presidential jet furnished with gold. Why is it so hard to figure out how much money this guy has?
LANE: Like any head of state, especially when you're head of this state, which gets up what the state has and what he has. Because of the corruption, we don't know how much they have in secret bank accounts. We've looked at Forbes many times on what Putin is worth but we think he's a billionaire. Very hard to prove it because he doesn't have a bank account! We met with the number three gentleman. That's a big deal.
He said, look, we were asking him about the rule of law. He pointed out that he had disclosed recently that he was worth, I don't remember, $100 million. Somehow the number three official was now worth $100 million. He said, this is a good thing because I'm showing how transparent we are. If he's bragging he's only worth 100 million, it's incredible.
LANE: Thank you very much.
BURNETT: And that brings me to tonight's out take. So, sure, the Sochi Olympics are officially in project. Look at those, red square action. One of the Olympic rings as I pointed out at the top of the show refused to work. There were plenty of other things to show, dancers, glow in the dark skaters, enormous set pieces and a gaggle of adorable mascots. There was, however, one very important Russian mascot missing, perhaps the most important mascot, Edward Snowden.
We looked high and low for Snowden during today's ceremony. We didn't see him. We didn't expect him to be carrying the Russian flag or lighting the flame. We didn't think they would be quite so flag grant about it. Maybe it would be a small welcoming speech, a little face time with his buddy Vlad. The opening ceremony are a country's opportunity to show off what they're capable of, strength, precision, defines. Nothing proves more than what Russia is capable of. We're holding out hope that snow different will appear at the games. If they're about showing off, he's a gold medal for Russia.
Still to come, the CEO of AOL is cutting his benefits because of sick babies? Plus, an update on the man who lost his race for a year! On the ground in the Marshall Islands to get the truth!
BURNETT: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT on a Friday.
New developments in the Florida movie theater shooting case. The judge has failed to grant bail to Curtis Reeves. He's the 71-year-old former police officer accused of killing a father over texting at a movie. In the courtroom today, jurors saw this surveillance from inside the theater.
Let me just show you -- tell you what you're looking at. Reeves is at the bottom of the right-hand corner of the screen. A hand appears, apparently, the victims are buying a popcorn and throws it back at reeves. That seems to be when he pulls out a gun and fires.
Now the debris that you see firing over the camera lens is dust from the gunshot. That's according to "The Tampa Bay Times". You see, that's debris. Jurors also listened to recordings of police interviews with Reeves in the two clips. Reeves expresses regret.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURTIS REEVES, SUSPECT: As soon as I pulled the trigger, I said, "Oh, (EXPLETIVE DELETED), this is stupid." If I had to do it over again, it would never have happened. We would have moved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Reeves faces life in prison.
Well, the FAA is investigating allegations Justin Bieber was flying high. Sources tell CNN that Bieber and his father refused to stop smoking pot and were extremely verbally abusive to the flight crew on a chartered flight to New Jersey. The pot smoke is said to have been so strong that the crew was forced to put on oxygen masks. The pilot also advised the flight attendant to stay close to the cockpit to avoid contact with Bieber.
Under FAA regulations, no person may assault, threaten, intimidate, or interfere with the crew member's performance.
And a final curtain call for Jay Leno and it was -- well, well- deserved. "Variety" reports that Leno's last night as host of the "Tonight Show" was the most watched "Tonight Show" in more than 15 years. Fifteen million viewers, close to it, tuned in.
Before signing off after his 20 years on the show, a choked up Leno joked he got to work with lighting people who made him look better than he really is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": And I got to work with producers and writers, and just all kinds of talented people who made me look a lot smarter than I really am.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Very emotional. And also pay tribute to the man he replaced, Johnny Carson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LENO: I want to quote Johnny Carson who was the greatest guy to ever do this job and he said, I bid you all a heartfelt good-bye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: It was a sad good-bye but it's highly unlikely that will be the last we see of Leno.
Well, tonight, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong is getting slammed for linking cuts in retirement benefits for his employees to sick babies. You may say, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. OK, let me explain. AOL is cutting 401k contributions that it makes to employees -- to some of the employees that leave the employ before the end of the year. That's a pretty specific thing, but Armstrong told our Poppy Harlow that the reason he's doing this, making these cuts is due to the rising cost of health care. Partly due to -- drum roll, please -- Obamacare.
But he got more specific on an employee-wide conference call. That's where this whole conversation begins, because according to a transcript of the call that an AOL staffer gave "Capital New York," Armstrong said and I want to quote him, but I don't want to -- this isn't a situation to paraphrase.
"We had two AOL-ers that had distressed babies that were born and we paid a million each to make sure those babies were OK in general. And these are the things that add up into our benefits cost. So, when we have the final decisions about what benefits to cut because of the increased health care costs, we made the decision and I made the decision to basically change our 401k plan."
Now, here's the problem -- maybe you buy into it, and maybe you don't. But just yesterday, AOL announced its most successful year in a decade with revenues of $2.3 billion.
Venture capitalist and investor on Shark Tank, Kevin O'Leary.
All right, Kevin. So, just how can two complicated pregnancies justify cutting the 401k for the company?
KEVIN O'LEARY, VENTURE CAPITALIST: Because, Erin, something has changed -- the rules of health care and how we pay for them are now different. We know that with certainty because we have a new law. I think we're seeing the unintended consequences.
I'm not saying the merits are good or bad in this new health care policy. It's just that it's different. And we have to separate his comments regarding the success of his company from the costs he's trying to control. I think he may have wanted to have chosen different examples but the point he's making is very important. And this is the beginning of what I consider to be a very long, difficult implementation of this law.
BURNETT: All right. So, you know, look, the type of change that he made to 401k plan has been done by other companies. There are companies who are saying that they have these problems. IBM was among them, a couple of years ago.
What makes this case unique is how he did it, right? And maybe you'll say, well, if he hadn't brought up the distressed babies and singled two employees, nobody would care, nobody would be talking about this. The only way to get it in a national conversation, have it on CNN tonight is to blame these two babies.
But how can he blame two people out of 5,600 employees? People are going to know who those people are. O'LEARY: You know, I want to go back 30,000 feet and talked about what happened in the last year or two. Think about it this way -- when you're married to somebody and you make unilateral decisions without consulting your spouse, you end up divorced. If you're in business and you never talk to your shareholders and you make financial decisions without their vote, you get fired or, worse, you go to jail. When you're in politics and you ram through policy, like this, and you never consult the other side, even if you have the power to implement, this is what you get.
Obviously, this law impacts the financial cost of health care. And that's the point we should be focusing. Not that he made this make this mistake about talking about $2 million cost to babies. The truth is, this company and thousands others like it are going to have to make changes like this.
BURNETT: So, you're saying you agree with my point of view obviously. I'm a new mother and obviously when you are a pregnant woman, people know who you are. Like I said, you can't hide who you are.
So, you don't think it was appropriate for him to say these two babies ran up costs of $1 million and that's why everyone else is taking a cut.
O'LEARY: You know, here's what I will say, Erin, I am glad this topic has come to the fray and you and I are talking about it, because you ain't seen nothing yet. Wait until you start to talk to small business about what they have to deal with, let alone AOL, a public company, which by the way has been a fantastic investment and pays millions of dollars in taxes, employs tens of thousands of people. I celebrate that.
But I'm telling you, this is the beginning of a very difficult challenge regarding how we're changing the cost of health care. I'm not glad that he said that but I'm glad we're talking about it right now.
BURNETT: And I want to ask you about something else that has really -- I don't know, sort of captured my attention and captured the attention of a lot of viewers, and that is this great divide that has grown between rich and poor and what to do about it, and whether the very, very wealthy are being unfairly demonized.
And as you know, Sam Zell, one of my luckiest and most successful real estate adventurers in the world has weighed in on it. I want to play that for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAM ZELL, BILLIONAIRE REAL ESTATE MOGUL: The, quote, "1 percent" are being pummeled because it's politically convenient to do so. The problem is that the world and this country should not talk about envy of the 1 percent. They should talk about emulating the 1 percent. The 1 percent work harder. The 1 percent are much bigger factors in all forms of our society.
(END VIDDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: What do you think about that? Paul Begala made the argument that, look, a marine, a teacher, all of these people work incredibly hard. And just because they don't earn money doesn't mean the 1 percent work harder. What do you think?
O'LEARY: You know, we live in a capitalist society and we have now started to focus on this disparity that's also existed. In America, we believe in capitalism. When you're successful, you become one of the 1 percent. You also pay the most taxes. You also employ most of the people. You also create products and services that benefit all of us.
And while you're at it, you know, we're talking about poverty because this topic started with an Oxfam report that said that top 85's people wealth in the world is equal to $3.5 billion.
You know something, in that same 30-year period that this has occurred poverty went from 42 percent down to 17 percent because of the success of those 85 people, plus hundreds of thousands of others who paid billions in taxes and are provided to pull all those people out of poverty.
We should be celebrating this, Erin. We should be talking about it and proud of it. And I'm one of those people that say, don't change anything. It's working.
BURNETT: It's working. But, I mean, but a lot of people say that and they just -- you know, they don't agree with you.
I mean, you know, you're dealing with a country that's been in the midst of what was an economic crisis, right? Then it was close to a depression, it's been a recession for years. You have no wage growth while you have records for corporate profits and CEO pay has been rising while regular workers pay hasn't.
How's that one OK?
O'LEARY: It's not OK and I'll tell why you we have that problem. We have record profits in the S&P 500 last year and looks like the same this year. But we've made the regulatory environment in our own country so difficult to create new jobs that they simply moved out of the country.
You want to blame somebody, it's not the rich. Blame the government for making it impossible for small businesses all across America, which there are 6 million, and they can't even deal with all the compliance issues. Twenty-eight hundred new regulations last year alone, federally. That doesn't include state or local.
BURNETT: All right.
O'LEARY: And you're asking why there's no jobs in America. Now you know why. I'm right about this.
BURNETT: All right. But what I was really asking is why CEO is going up when regular worker pay isn't. How do you blame the government for that?
O'LEARY: You don't blame the government. You simply say you want more jobs at the end of the day. The reason that there's no increase in the regular salary you're talking about is there's no competition. In other words, there's thousands of people out of work, why pay more when you can simply hire somebody that's unemployed at the same price?
This is a huge problem. And it's time to start looking at what the cause is. There's nothing wrong with American capitalism or the businesses that work in it.
There's a lot wrong with the government regulation, which in my view over the last five years has become very anti-business. And that, Erin, is un-American.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much. Kevin, appreciate your taking the time tonight.
And, everyone, I'm sure you have some pretty ardent views about what he just said. Please share them with us on Twitter.
And still to come, Philip Seymour Hoffman was just days away from completing his final film. Tonight, we meet the special effects team that's going to actually finish the job, make him there, make him alive. It's pretty incredible story and it's next.
BURNETT: The real life castaway, the man who says he was stranded at sea for more than a year has been released from the hospital. His name was Jose Salvador Alvarenga. And he was suffering from severe dehydration and malnutrition. He was found last week after more than a year adrift in the Pacific Ocean. His journey took him from Mexico, all the way to the Marshall Islands.
And as you can see exactly how far that is. Across the entire Pacific past Hawaii, all the way there to the Ebon Atoll, an island he's been met with fascination.
But a lot of skepticism and Miguel Marquez is there to try to find out the truth of this story in the Marshall Islands.
Miguel, I know you're trying to talk to people and find out what really happened here. But, first of all, what do you mean about his condition right now? So many people have focused on how he looked, swollen, and as if he has been eating. And, obviously, that could have just been a medical condition.
What have you found out?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Yes, (AUDIO GAP)
So, he was swelled up enormously. We have a freelance crew here who was the only crew that talked to him. CNN has an exclusive interview with him. The next day, once that water started passed through his system, his entire body became very skinny. His face is gone, his legs are very thin.
This has been the concern with his health in the last few days, he has gone up and down, back and forth. Hydration has been tough to control. He seems to be stable now.
He's not making appearances right now. It looks like he may be getting out and off to Honolulu probably on Monday -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks to Miguel.
I wanted to stay with that, everybody. I know there was a little bit of trouble with the audio. But Miguel trying to find out, because so many people have said this could have happened. It's sort of like a modern -- you know, "Life of Pi", but for real.
And Miguel is going to be reporting on that and exactly what would have happened to him over those 13 months.
And I want to check with Anderson Cooper now with what's coming up on "AC360."
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Erin. Yes, that's fascinating story.
In our true politics segment tonight, the high stakes battle to win over women's voters to 2014 midterms and even 2016 presidential election could be in play and it's getting personal. Sandra Fluke, who came under attack especially from Rush Limbaugh for advocating contraception coverage in the Affordable Care Act. GOP consultant Margaret Hoover will weigh in tonight.
Also, journalist Green Greenwald reporting on NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden has made him a hero to some, are target for others, particularly in the government. My interview ahead where I'll ask him why he's ready to call the bluff of the U.S. government, which is threatening prosecution. He's planning (ph) of returning to the United States for the first time.
It's all ahead at the top of the hour, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Anderson, really looking forward to all of that.
And now, a final farewell to Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Today, those closest to him gathered at a church in New York City for a private mass. Among the mourners, Hoffman's long-time partner, Mimi O'Donnell, and their three young children. Outside, Meryl Streep was seen. Other actors were there to pay their respects, including Amy Adams, Michelle Williams and Joaquin Phoenix. Hoffman was found dead on Sunday in his apartment with a needle still in his arm, along with what police now say are 50 bags of what they say is heroine. In the meantime, New York City police commissioner Bill Bratton said they're still searching for the dealer who sold Hoffman the lethal dose.
Well, Philip Seymour Hoffman's death last week left a few projects that he was working on hanging in limbo, including the third installment of the incredibly popular and successful "Hunger Games" movie.
Hoffman reportedly had seven days worth of work left on that movie, which has left producers scrambling because, obviously, so much of it is in there. You can't just start from scratch. So, they have to if figure out what to do with Hoffman's remaining scenes and one option is to actually digitally recreate the actor.
Our Casey Wian spent time with a group of visual effects artist to show exactly how they're going to do it.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Philip Seymour Hoffman appears to be fighting himself in "Mission Impossible III." It was Hollywood magic, blend in the two of the actor's performances into one scene.
Technology could save the final installment of "The Hunger Games" series. Filming was almost complete when Hoffman died. Now, producers must create a performance that never happened.
With enough time and money, it can be done digitally.
JEFFREY OKUN: To complete the movie using Philip Seymour Hoffman is not an impossible task. It's kind of easy to do. Compared to 20 years ago, we have advanced the art so much that we can absolutely put a photo realistic breathing human in there that you will be not able to distinguish between the original.
WIAN: Twenty years ago when lead actor Brandon Lee died in an on-set accident, "The Crow" was finished using a facial image of Lee superimposed on a body double. Two decades earlier, Lee's father Bruce died before "The Game of Death" was finished. A look alike filmed his remaining scenes, the best option at that time. Not anymore.
ERIC BARBA, CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER, DIGITAL DOMAIN: The holy grail of visual effects has been able to pull off a digital human.
WIAN: Eric Barba and his team at Digital Domain won an Oscar for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." For 52 minutes, the film shows an incredibly life-like digital image of an artificially aged Brad Pitt.
BARBA: Here is Brad where we're capturing the details of how his face moved.
WIAN (on camera): So the head is superimposed upon another actor's body. BARBA: Yes. The facial expressions, the characteristics that Brad was able to portray in the performance was then put on the other actor.
WIAN (voice-over): Digital Domain also created a full-size digital image of the late rapper Tupac Shakur who appeared to be resurrected at the 2012 Coachella Music Festival for a performance with Snoop Dogg.
Look at this French-produced Dior ad featuring Charlize Theron, back staged with long dead stars such as Grace Kelly.
While characters can be brought back to life digitally, visual effects artists say the powerful emotions of a real-life actor remain difficult to duplicate especially for one as talented as Philip Seymour Hoffman.
WIAN: Now, we want to make sure that we're clear, Erin, that we don't know if Digital Domain or any other company is actually going to recreate these digital images to finish this "Hunger Games" series. It's just one possibility.
These technologies, though, can provide some other benefits to producers. We were told by one of these visual artists about the story of one particularly petulant, uncooperative actor who was actually persuaded to get back on set and do his scene under the threat of replacing him with a digital image, Erin.
BURNETT: Well, that's pretty incredible. I mean, so, Casey, what do you think the chances are they do this? I guess how long and painstaking is the process?
WIAN: Well, it can be very, very long. It can take months. And it can be very, very expensive. Millions of dollars, depending on how long the scene that needs to be shot is.
The reports are that there's not that much left to shoot in this film. So, it's probably fairly likely that they could use some sort of this digital technology to make it look as real as possible, given the fact there's not that much left to do, apparently.
BURNETT: Amazing technologically.
All right. Thanks so much, Casey.
And still to come, tonight my stance with Joe Biden.
BURNETT: Vice President Joe Biden, infamously sometimes has a little bit of trouble keeping his foot out of his mouth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm proud to be president of the United States.
A three-letter word: Jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs.
You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent.
If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barreled shotgun.
Folks, I can tell you, I've known eight presidents, three of them intimately.
This is a big (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Not the smoothest speaker. But tonight we stand with one of Biden's infamous outbursts, 100 percent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: If I took him blindfolded and took to the LaGuardia Airport in New York, you must think I must be in some third world country. And I'm not joking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Oh, and people are crawling all over him for that. But you know what? He is right. LaGuardia, the airport he's talking about, is awful. That's bad news for America.
The first impression the world has of your country is your airport. And America's first impression is often abysmal.
Our customs agents are professional and excellent. But could they overcome the dingy halls, smelly carpets, ancient bathrooms and geriatric baggage claims?
And it's not just LaGuardia. JFK airport is worse. Most of this country's other major international airports need some facelifts, too. It's not good especially when you compare the United States to the airports in Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing and basically anywhere in Europe. They are beautiful and they are welcoming.
One thing they have in common is sort of soaring customs areas. That's the norm that makes you feel like you're entering a country that is literally on the rise.
Sure, gorgeous airports do not necessarily reflect an entire nation. They do, though, leave a lasting impression. I think America needs to follow their lead.
And I'm not alone. I had the chance to interview Janet Napolitano when she was homeland security secretary. She agreed. So, much so that she made Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C. expand and renovate its entry area just because that's the first thing foreign dignitaries see. She felt the airport's dated, tired, grisly appearance made America look less powerful. So, she made the customs area state-of-the-art.
New York needs to do the same.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was angry when he heard Biden's comments, but he had to admit LaGuardia needed work. The truth is the truth after all.
How about this? Now is the time to do it.
Everyone, I hope you have a wonderful weekend. We'll see you back here next week.
"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts right now.