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Biden Weighs In On 2016; Trial In Murder Of Florida Teen; One Creepy Statue

Aired February 7, 2014 - 07:30   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY. There has been a whole lot of speculation about whether or not Vice President Joe Biden will run for president in 2016. He's got a whole lot of time, right, but Wednesday, Biden said one reason not to run would be because he loves his cars and he wanted to take a Corvette from zero to 60 in 3.4 seconds. I got the chance to speak with the president in Philadelphia Thursday and asked him exactly that. Take a listen to what he told me.


BOLDUAN: Other than Corvettes, give me another good reason why you shouldn't run?



BIDEN: There may be reasons I don't run, but there's no obvious reason for me why I think I should not run.

BOLDUAN: Can I have a timetable?

BIDEN: Probably the realistically, a year this summer.


BOLDUAN: Sure sounds like a man who is in the very least considering getting into the race. Let's bring in CNN's chief national correspondent and host of "INSIDE POLITICS," John King to talk more about this. John, he then goes onto say and I love this line, the decision to run or not is going to be determined on whether I'm the best qualified person to focus on a few things I've spent my whole life on, dot, dot, dot. I saw him being more fired up than ever before.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He says, Kate, he can't think of a reason. You could make a list of his age. You could make a list of the American people don't have a history of electing sitting vice presidents. Yes, George H.W. Bush made it after Ronald Reagan, but if you go back in history, it doesn't happen that often.

You could say he's run twice and failed to win the nomination. But listen, Joe Biden wants to be president. I first met him in 1988 when he was running and I was mostly covering Michael Dukakis then the governor of Massachusetts. He wants to be president now. If you ask him and he more or less says it in the interview, he thinks he's more qualified than anybody else.

There are a number of reasons not to run, one of them happens to be Hilary Clinton. Remember the Dick Cheney experience. He became less and less relevant in part because the party did not have to fear him. Joe Biden is very well aware of that. If nothing else, he wants to keep his leverage until the last possible minute.

BOLDUAN: Great point and that was one thing that was left was unsaid in the entire interview. He not once mentioned Hilary Clinton. But you know that he, of course, has got to be looking at the polls. Obviously they can change. There is a lot of time for them to change, but right now, I mean, the latest ABC News/"Washington Post" poll puts Hilary Clinton at 73 percent amongst Democratic leaning independent voters. Joe Biden 11 percent.

KING: You know, we look at polls sometimes and we say polls are not necessarily reflective.


KING: The elections not until two years away and so Joe Biden on the one hand can say, well, you know, I've got time. I could run against Hillary Clinton. He had said in the past her decision won't be a factor and his decision, I just simply don't believe that. Everybody's decision especially when you have a behemoth like that.

Well, listen, he doesn't have to look at the polls. He lived this. Remember, he was in a crowded field in 2008 and President Obama then Senator Obama eventually won after a very long, very close race with Secretary Clinton. Everybody else including Joe Biden was more or less an afterthought in that race. So he has to remember that and he is a very proud guy. He loves winning.

He's an old school guy. You know loves to be in the union hall, loves to talk about jobs. He loves it and he would miss it if he doesn't do it. But again, if she doesn't run, then the pressure is enormous on Joe Biden. When you look around, who else has the national stature, but if she does run, again, again he lived this in 2008, proud guy, remembers losing. I don't think he wants to go through that again.

BOLDUAN: I don't think so either. John, it was your suggestion that I bring up the midterms and how Democrats have made it blatantly obvious they don't want the president coming to their state. Joe Biden spent 36 years in the Senate. I asked him about that. He did not criticize Democrats, but he said there are some plays where I play better and there are some states where the president plays better. He's very optimistic.

KING: He's a born optimist. That's what makes Joe Biden an interesting politician and you want him on your side because even on the darkest days, Joe Biden will come to work with a fighting spirit and that's a good thing. Whether you agree or disagree with his politics. It's good to have people who come to work every day with a smile and who want to fight.

Look, the odds right now are that the Democrats lose the Senate, but to his point, there are places he can go, blue collar areas where the president might not be so popular where Joe Biden can go in and try to help. Bill Clinton will be in high demand. Watch when we get to September who's out there where.

Here's my fascinating question. You have a lot of Democrats pushing the president away right now. Michigan is an exception. The president will be in Michigan today. The Democratic candidate for Senate will be with the president. Remember the auto bailout. It's a blue state.

So the president's more popular there. Look and see if some races get close. If the Georgia Senate race gets close, if the Virginia Senate gets close, there are three or four states where African-American turn out will be absolutely critical. So let's see if the people who are pushing the president away now suddenly say, need your help coming after Labor Day. We don't know that yet, but that's worth watching.

BOLDUAN: It is worth watching. I know you probably want to weigh in on Joe Biden's comments on LaGuardia being like a third-world country. I asked him about it. He said you're going to have a few New Yorkers. You're going to take some heat from New Yorkers calling LaGuardia looking like a third world country. He goes, a lot of New Yorkers are going to agree with me.

KING: That's a generational thing. Sometimes we forget when we hear people say things that make our head snap a little bit. Part of that's a generational thing, language that might have been used 20 years ago that seems more offensive now. Part of it is, look, you know, Joe Biden is a BFD in the politics for a reason, he's the gift that keeps on giving in some way. Again, I don't say that to be critical with him or --

BOLDUAN: No, that's part of thing.

KING: You know, there are so many politicians who you aren't sure, is that real, is this guy authentic? Love him or hate him, when you see Joe Biden, when you talk to Joe Biden, what you see is really what you get.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely right. He does not look like a man who is ready to get out of the fight.

KING: He would miss this.

BOLDUAN: Great to see you, John. Thank you.

KING: Take care, Kate. Good interview.

BOLDUAN: Great -- great to see you. Thank you very much. All right, and of course, reminder, check out John King's new show "INSIDE POLITICS," this Sunday 8:30 a.m. Eastern. We're going to have much more on our interview with Vice President Joe Biden in the next half hour -- Chris.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, the loud music murder trial in Florida has begun. Is it an open and shut case for the prosecution or will at least one juror believe Michael Dunn acted in self defense when he opened fire on a truck full of teens. The cases from each side laid out and analyzed by none other than, Star Jones, when we come back.

Also, this guy in his underwear freaking people out in Wellesley College, what is it about? The story behind the controversial sculpture. We're going to tell you about it.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. A dramatic first day in the murder trial of Michael Dunn, the 47-year-old accused of shooting an unarmed Florida teen following a dispute over loud music at a gas station. Opening arguments telling two very different stories as jurors saw a shocking video taken the moment gunfire erupted. CNN's Tory Dunnan has more.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My God, somebody is shooting out of their car.

TORY DUNNAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Surveillance video shown in court from the night 17-year-old Jordan Davis was shot and killed. Police say it all started with an argument over loud music blasting from a car parked at a Jacksonville gas station. The 47-year-old software developer, Michael Dunn, charged with first degree murder and three counts of attempted murder, is claiming self-defense.

Dunn told police during an interrogation that he asked Davis and the other teens in the SUV parked next to him to turn down the music. He said at first they complied, and then he says he heard threats. The two sides in court today telling very different stories about what happened on November 23rd, 2012.

JOHN GUY, PROSECUTOR: That Jordan Davis threatened Michael Dunn. You're dead -- this is going down now. With a shotgun barrel sticking out of the window or a lead pipe, whatever it was a deadly weapon. And they'll tell you about the interaction between Jordan Davis and the defendant, that Jordan Davis was upset, no doubt. He was cussing, no doubt. He raised his voice, but he never threatened the defendant.

DUNNAN: Dunn told investigators he saw a weapon pointed at him, feared for his safety, grabbed his gun and fired.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: We have shots fired in the parking lot. The person firing has left.

DUNNAN: Police say they never found a gun in the teens red Dodge Durango. GUY: The only thing he had on his person was a cell phone and a pocket knife. And both of those things were in his pockets when he was shot and killed.

DUNNAN: At the crux of the case, why didn't Dunn just drive off?

CORY STROLLA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He just had somebody threaten his life, display a weapon, try to exit a vehicle and say this -- is going down now -- and for the first time in his life, he has to use a firearm to defend himself. Tory Dunnan, CNN, Jacksonville, Florida.


CUOMO: All right, let's talk about the trial. It's already drawing comparison to the Trayvon Martin case and renewing the debate over Florida's self defense law. So let's break down both sides and bring in an author and attorney who certainly knows how to analyze the situation, Star Jones. It's great to have you.


CUOMO: We are here for another very important reason with you this morning. We're going to talk about national wear red day, why it's important, hard health in general, but let's do what we do when it comes to this.

JONES: You know if there's a big legal case going on, I know you got to ask me some law questions. So let's rock and roll.

CUOMO: You know how to do it better. So let's look at this big macro issue. You have the black victims, that it seems innocent, that it seems like now will be explained away by an obscure law, the obvious comparison. Do you see it?

JONES: Well, a couple of ways I do see the comparison between Trayvon Martin, the victim, and Jordan Davis, the victim. It's the quote, "fear of the black man syndrome." That stand your ground laws has allowed people to use as a defense whether the fear is reasonable or unreasonable, the same type of man is implicated in both of these cases.

George Zimmerman was perceived to be a middle aged white dude and the defendant in this case, Dunn, is perceived to be the same way. He actually is. The second thing is the conscious decision not to walk away from a situation and to escalate that situation. And I think people forget that.

Both Zimmerman and Dunn had the opportunity to remove themselves from the situation, but stand your ground gave them permission to stay right where they are. And I guess, the third thing is, why do people just presume that a young black guy should comply with their wishes, desires and instructions?

He didn't have to have free papers. Jordan Davis doesn't have to walk around in apartheid South Africa and show his right to be on the street. Neither did Trayvon Martin. So those are the similarities that I see.

CUOMO: Do you think it is fear or entitlement and contempt when you size up what happened in both situations? Zimmerman said these kind of guys are breaking in. Dunn says it is written in letters, I don't like what they represent in this culture and these thugs, and what kind of people they are as an assumption.

That contempt gave an entitlement of action. Zimmerman, I'm going to follow this cat. I'm a community patrol guy. Dunn even more so, I'm going to take action here, I'm going to talk to them. I'm going to tell them what to do.

JONES: And I'm going to get respect. It's that second part that both Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis did not give Zimmerman and Dunn respectively. Trayvon Martin did not stop in the street and produce identification. He was not compliant. In George Zimmerman's mind, he should have been compliant. I think it goes to your point of entitlement. Dunn is the exact same way. He expected when he said turn the music off that these guys would turn the music off. He is not entitled to tell somebody what they can and cannot do.

CUOMO: He can tell them, but they don't have to listen.

JONES: They don't have to listen.

CUOMO: Now I'll tell you when I listen to these arguments yesterday, here's my concern from those who were saying it's a slam dunk case.

JONES: It's not.

CUOMO: I'll tell you, if one juror believes that Jordan Davis was getting out of that car with bad intentions and that there may have been a gun in the car, because there's a weird time lapse issue, weird depending on how you want to analyze it. They disappear, they come back. The defense is saying --

JONES: Allegedly.

CUOMO: The defense is saying that's when they got rid of the gun allegedly, but that's their argument, if one juror believes it?

JONES: It could hang this jury. If one juror believes it, it could hang. If that jury is a strong voice in the jury room, they could sway over people.

CUOMO: I'm wondering if is it enough because the analysis has gotten so shallow of what it takes to be in fear of serious injury to trigger the ability to defend yourself. You know, because in my mind I'd say you still don't know that he though the guy was going to try to kill him. Even if he is getting out of the car, even he is just going to come confront him. Is that the same thing as saying I need to kill you to protect myself?

JONES: I think what happens is in Dunn's brain, he says if it's a young black guy, then he is a thug. I don't even have to think that. That's what he wrote. If it's a thug, then I need to be in fear of my life. He doesn't know Jordan Davis from a can of paint. He didn't know anything about his background. What his intent was, but he knew what Dunn's intent was. Dunn's intent was to kill someone. Otherwise he wouldn't have fired all those shots in that car.

CUOMO: His own lawyer says, God didn't make men equal. Colt did that, the gun maker, by giving him the means to equal the odds --

JONES: Honestly, I might convict him just on that stupid statement from his defense attorney. It was offensive. It was absolutely offensive and basically what he was saying is Dunn had a right to take this kid's life, a right to take his life because he was a young black dude and in Dunn's mind, that means threatening. I found that very offensive in his argument.

CUOMO: Two important distinctions and we are going to leave it at this right now that if you want to analyze the case and looking at the Zimmerman case. One, Dunn was in a car that he could have left. Zimmerman, you remember, wind up in an ultimate situation that he says he could not avoid. The second one is Zimmerman immediately contacted authorities in his situation. Here, the man, Dunn, immediately left with his girlfriend and ate pizza. OK, so those are some facts --

JONES: And watched movies and chilled.

CUOMO: And there's a lot more there. The trial is just getting started. Star Jones, thank you so much. Star's going to be joining us later this morning as I said to discuss national wear red and the fight against heart disease, it's a very important and personal campaign for her and for all of us -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Coming up next on NEW DAY, the statute of a sleep walking man is surely turning heads and scaring some students at one college. Could it be the underwear? Maybe, but what is going on here? You get to decide.


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: So this in the middle of your sleep. Take a look at it. Not actually a real person, a sculpture has a lot of people talking at one of America's top universities. They are upset. Jeanne Moos explains.


JEANNIE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Wake up, buddy, you're sleep walking in your underwear and you are causing a raucous, and you are roaming the campus of an all-women's school, Wellesley College.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's definitely startling.

MOOS: Even your creator had to admit.

(on camera): Do you mind when people call him creepy?

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: It is a little creepy. MOOS (voice-over): But artist, Tony Matelli, never imagined his sculpture, the sleep walker, would leave some people freaked out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we can't put clothes on it, I'd liked it to be moved.

MOOS: On Thursday, Matelli met with students who had circulated a petition to have the statue moved inside the campus' Davis Museum. They said it has become a source of apprehension, fear and triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault for some members of our campus community.

(on camera): What's the problem with just moving him inside the museum?

TONY MATELLI, ARTIST (via telephone): Well, because he was designed to be outside. The point of the sculpture that he is out of place, the he wandered off, that he's lost.

MOOS: He may seem cold, but don't look for goose bumps. He's made out of bronze and took five months to sculpt.

(voice-over): The sleep walker instantly became a magnet for students taking selfies, for students putting clothes on the poor guy or slinging a bag over his shoulder. He was photoshopped to look like an Olympic skier. Students made him a snowman to keep him company. The artist said he's even seeing kids --

MATELLI: Twerking up against it, those kind of stuff. When is the last time anyone talked so much about sculpture.

MOOS: Maybe when the pope inspected a life-size chocolate statue of himself made by students from a chocolate making academy, but even a chocolate pope doesn't even have his own Facebook accounts like the sleep walker does taunting move over Beckham and tweeting out, "Now I know how Britney feels, #thatlyricfromhersongthatgoes.

(on camera): Would be vandals don't even try to think about trying to pull down the sleep walker's underpants. They may look like fabric, but they are sculpted on.

(voice-over): The artist chose briefs over boxers partly because boxers are hard to sculpt. Why the Hanes brand? Well, they needed something to copy.

MATELLI: We were raising the underwear on him ad Hanes was just the thing they had at JC Penney.

MOOS: He may never have to change his bronze underwear, but please change that beer hat. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BOLDUAN: Has anyone ever talked so much about a sculpture.

CUOMO: That's the point. BOLDUAN: I say it in a very high pitched voice.

CUOMO: It brings it out in you. That's what the art is supposed to be about.

BOLDUAN: It was funny. We'll re-enact it, kidding. Coming up next on NEW DAY, ready or not, Sochi the winter games are here with the threat of terror looming we're going to preview the opening ceremonies coming up.