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GOP Sets Up Fake Sites to Lure Voters; "Loud Music Trial" Returns This Morning; U.S. Claims Its First Medal Of Olympics; Olympian Who Lit Flame Sparks Controversy; U.S. Warns Of Cybersecurity Threats At Sochi; Woody Allen: "I Did Not Molest Dylan"; FAA "Locking Into" Justin Beiber's Flight; California Sees Some Rain And Drought

Aired February 8, 2014 - 08:00   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And thank you for sharing part of your morning with us.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: We've got a lot coming up in the next hour of your NEW DAY. It starts right now.

A warning about the winter games, the State Department issues a new travel alert amid fresh fears of terror in Sochi and tells Americans don't expect privacy while you're there.

PAUL: And Woody Allen is fighting back today in the letter to the "New York Times," the filmmaker defends his innocence against molestation allegations saying Mia Farrow is the one to blame.

BLACKWELL: And look at this screen, did this week's "Biggest Loser" winner lose too much weight? Coming up, the debate over diets and whether the weight loss industry is caving to pressure from reality TV?

PAUL: I hope Saturday has been good to you so far. We want to wish you a good morning. I'm Christi Paul. I hope that breakfast has been good unless you are on the treadmill and I'm really jealous. I should be there.

BLACKWELL: That's why I was up at 1:30 this morning.

PAUL: You worked out?

BLACKWELL: I did. I did, at 1:45, I was on the treadmill. It's 8:00 here on the east coast now. This is NEW DAY SATURDAY.

PAUL: Yes, I want to begin this morning, obviously with the 2014 Winter Olympics officially underway in Sochi. We already have a spoiler alert for you. We want to make sure you are covered. If you want to look away, turn down the volume just for a second -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: OK, so we can tell you today that Sage Kotsenburg won the first gold medal of the Winter Games competing in the men's snowboard slopestyle competition.

PAUL: He even tweeted, "Wow, I just won the Olympics." Bringing back the first gold to the USA, 230 American athletes at the games and congratulations to him, by the way, the delegation got to take part in a marvelous opening ceremony that organizers say was watched by 3 billion people around the globe.

BLACKWELL: Our Rachel Nichols is in Sochi along with Nick Paton Walsh keeping his eye on security. Rachel, the opening ceremony, beautiful, majestic and lots of lofty adjectives for what was a great display, but there was always controversy. Let's talk about that as well.

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. The Olympic torch was lit in part by a woman named Irina Rodnina. She is an Olympic figure skating champion here in Russia, a hero. She is also a current member of parliament. So you would think she would be a very common sense choice for this honor, except, she tweeted a photo last year of President Obama and the first lady with a banana superimposed over it.

Now, the U.S. ambassador to Russia at the time condemned the tweet, but Rodnina would not apologize for it. She was selected for this honor last night. Afterwards, the head of the Olympic organizing committee here in Sochi was questioned about the choice. He just scoffed it off. He said the Olympics is no place for politics. I'm not sure that answer is going to satisfy people in Washington, but there you go.

The other controversy here, of course, is the anti-gay laws here in Russia, and part of that U.S. delegation sitting in the stands last night watching the opening ceremony were a few openly gay athletes that the Americans brought along with them. I had a chance to catch up with one of them Brian Boitano, our own U.S. figure skating champion. I asked him did he feel like he had to make a statement while he was sitting there.


BRIAN BOITANO, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: I feel like our delegation is the statement. I mean, everybody in Russia knows I work here. Everybody in America knows why we were named to the delegation. Sometimes the things that you don't say are more powerful than things you do say. So I think that everybody knows just by seeing us what we stand for and equality as a word.


NICHOLS: Now, of course, Boitano knows Rodnina from figure skating circles. He said he was surprised to learn of the racist tweet. He just learned about it from me and our conversation. He said it was not a topic of conversation among the U.S. delegation last night. I'm sure by this morning, it is.

PAUL: All right, let's talk about this other photo that was snapped by Olympic bobsledder, Johnny Quinn. It has gone viral. We take a look at it and we can see why. Tell us what happened.

NICHOLS: Yes, it is pretty funny here. You've heard about all of the Sochi problems here with the accommodations. Well, one of them is that people have been getting locked into their rooms and bathrooms. Johnny said that he went to go take a shower. He tried to get out of the bathroom after taking a shower. He was locked in. He did not have a phone with him and there was nobody else in the room. No one he could yell to.

So he just barrelled down the door. He said he used his bobsledding push skills. So you got to think that is an impressive use of your athletic ability. It's a good thing it wasn't a steel door. You see there are some cardboard scraps there around the photo. I don't know. I am going to back to my place and check my door later and make sure the lock works and make sure I can push my way through it if need be.

BLACKWELL: Knock on it. Listen. Make sure it is cardboard.

PAUL: Rachel Nichols, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: On the serious side of all that's happening in Sochi, the U.S. has issued a new travel warning for Americans going to Sochi and basically it is saying don't expect any privacy. It is warning people about possible cyber security threats.

PAUL: Basically talking about Americans using Russian internet links is what this comes down to. I want to bring in CNN's senior international correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh. Nick, what have you heard about this fresh warning here?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, I mean, it is no secret when the internet first started, a lot of hacking and problems people faced seem to come back to Russia. That was the lawless '90s. Things have changed since then. This warning is more about coming inside the Russian internet and coming inside their domain where they have surveillance.

A lot of it to keep security at the level they promised here and American tourists would like to see to make sure extremists and communications are intercepted. Some of it is to do with keeping tabs on political dissent here. It is no question here that Russia doesn't accept open discussion about Vladimir Putin.

The State Department here a few weeks ago said be careful when you come inside here. They monitoring and they have in their law the right to look through your communications. Be wary of that. I had to renew that warning again yesterday just to be clear to people that that is potentially an issue. And people feeling they can talk with the Russians listening in on that. There is no malice behind Russian eavesdropping, just a legitimate reason.

We talk every day about security here. Some of that perhaps is related to that, too. The State Department here wanted to be sure to remind people again that that is an issue. I experienced cyber hacking here myself. One day I was in Dagestan during the bombing. I opened the computer and the screen appeared and all these files started moving around.

I had to pull the battery out and close down and put it on the bed to be sure it all stops. You don't know where it comes from. It is a problem here. But certainly the State Department wanted to remind Americans about the issue.

PAUL: My goodness.

BLACKWELL: Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much.

PAUL: All right, so family feud, this is one heck of a nasty really playing out in the spotlight this morning. This morning, Woody Allen is fighting back against allegations that he sexually abused his adopted daughter, Dylan.

BLACKWELL: The op-ed in the "New York Times." He accuses Mia Farrow, his ex, of coaching Dylan of more than 20 years ago. Let's bring in CNN's Alexandra Field in New York. First, we heard from Dylan Farrow last week in "The New York Times" and now we are hearing from Allen. There has been a back and forth and now already a response.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Victor. This time around Woody Allen is categorically denying allegations first made more than 20 years ago that he had sexually abused Dylan Farrow, the 7-year-old daughter that he had adopted with Mia Farrow. He chose to speak out writing an op-ed "New York Times" and that op-ed will be published about a week after Dylan Farrow wrote her own open letter detailing the alleged abuse.

So here is what Allen is saying, he writes, quote, "Of course, I did not molest Dylan. I loved her and hope one day she will grasp of how she was cheated out of a loving father. This happened when Mia Farrow and Woody Allen went through a bad break up. He now says the claims of abuse are fuelled through Mia Farrow herself. Christi, Victor.

PAUL: All right, so talk to us again about Dylan's response here because we are wondering if this is going to ever end on a public plane.

FIELD: Right. A lot of back and forth here, Dylan then Woody now Dylan again, this time talking to the "Hollywood Reporter," and she is sticking by her guns what she wrote in that original letter a week ago. She said Woody Allen's letter is full of lies. She tells the Hollywood reporter, quote, "I have never waivered in describing what he did to me. I will carry the memories of surviving these experiences for the rest of my life." The question is will Allen respond to the op-ed? He says that is the last he will say on the topic. We will have to wait and see.

PAUL: All right, Alexandra field, thank you for walking us through the latest. So, unfriendly skies perhaps?

BLACKWELL: Maybe. Justin Bieber is reportedly so difficult on the flight. The FAA is now springing into action. We are going to explain.

PAUL: Plus the winner on "The Biggest Loser," is so thin, people are asking how many pounds do you have to lose safely?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PAUL: Justin Bieber, legal troubles reaching new heights. We're talking about the FAA now quote, "Looking into the flight that he took from Toronto to New Jersey." Sources saying Beiber and his father were verbally abusive to flight attendant who kept insisting that the two stop smoking marijuana. But it's the pilots' account that's really frightening, right?

BLACKWELL: Yes, and this is something that shocks a lot of people. The report from Customs and Borders Protection that the pilot repeatedly warned the two to put out the joint that they even had to wear oxygen mask and from the border of customs says they had to put out the marijuana and the flight crew had to put on oxygen masks --

PAUL: And shut the door --

BLACKWELL: Because they didn't want to -- CNN's Nick Valencia joins us now. This is serious.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is serious. You just get a sigh out of the way, Justin Bieber, we are It is serious. It can get more serious, 19-year-old with lots of legal problems. They are mounting. The latest is the FAA investigating whether or not his entourage, his dad or Justin Bieber himself, may have interfered with the flight crew. Of course, that is illegal.

And it could cost him a lot. Civilly if he is found guilty of interfering with the flight crew, he could face a fine between $11,000 and $27,500, probably pocket change for the multi, multi-millionaire.

But here is where it really gets serious, Victor, Christi, twenty years in prison and fines up to $250,000. You still have the outstanding case in Los Angeles. The district attorney looking at his role in the egg-throwing case which his neighbor says costs $20,000. So it just keeps getting worse and worse for this guy.

PAUL: He has already been arrested two other times, right, including the Miami fiasco.

VALENCIA: You would think that would change his public image, but we just saw pictures of him emerged from Atlanta where he was partying with well-known hiphop stars with his shirt off. If you are a Justin Bieber fan, you appreciate it. He wants to show off his abs or something. I don't know.

BLACKWELL: I guess. There is also the thing in Canada, I mean, the list continues. Nick Valencia, thank you so much.

VALENCIA: You got it.

PAUL: So a piece of cheese has Clint Eastwood saving the day.

BLACKWELL: Clint comes in, save the guy. I mean, he is 83, but the movie legend proves his reaction time is right on the money in life- saving fashion.

PAUL: Also, take a look at this web site. It looks like it is promoting a Democrat, right? It is made by Republicans though. Get the story behind this controversial political tactic. We're going to see it more.


BLACKWELL: Look at this. This is an amazing view from Mars. This is a picture of home from NASA's rover "Curiosity." When I say home, I mean here on earth. NASA tweeted this photo Thursday. The last time "Curiosity" was on earth was back in November of 2011, very successful.

PAUL: You know, we have been talking about how if you love veggies, get ready, because the prices are going up because of the weather in California. Maybe, maybe a little bit a help this weekend. I mean, California has been under this drought emergency for weeks at this point.

BLACKWELL: State officials say this could be the worst drought in 100 years. Let's bring in meteorologist, Karen Maginnis. Where will we see the hope? Christi mentioned maybe some hope, where we potentially going to see the help?

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: The hope for that precipitation that is occurring now is in Central and Northern California. And also Oregon, Oregon has also seen drop conditions. Southern California, no. The records in California have been in place since 1850. They are saying that the drought conditions here across the state could be the worst that they have seen since 1850.

I just checked some of the reporting stations in Southern California. I picked Los Angeles. Los Angeles, since last July, has only seen a little more than 1 inch of rainfall. Typically, they would have seen in excess of 8 inches. The snow pack across the Sierra Nevada, it is 12 percent of the typical snow pack.

They are predicting the produce prices are going to go up. They produce cauliflower and almonds. Now San Francisco north, they have seen quite a bit of rainfall. It will still be a significant rain event as the pineapple express moves in, but not in Southern California, Christi and Victor, where it needs to be over the next week or so at least.

PAUL: All right, Karen Maginnis, thank you so much.

Feel like winter will never end? It does for my friends up north in Ohio covered in snow yet again.

BLACKWELL: A lot of people are feeling it. Look at the bright side. Spring is around the corner. If you are looking to get away, you might want to consider my hometown. Charm city, baby.

PAUL: Baltimore for spring break?


PAUL: Sell me on it. BLACKWELL: Well, I'm going to leave it to Carol Costello to sell you on it. Here's this week's travel insider.


CAROL COSTELLO, ANCHOR, CNN'S "NEWSROOM": I'm Carol Costello and this is my city. Baltimore, Maryland. Most people come to visit the national aquarium, but I prefer to show you the quirkier side. This is kind of eerie. Hi, Mr. Poe. He wrote some of his biggest masterpieces in this very house. This is a traveling writing table.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the oldest place where he lived that still in existence.

COSTELLO: He died in Baltimore, but it still remains a mystery to this day.


COSTELLO: Supposedly this is the last place Edgar Allen Poe had a drink before he collapsed and later died. Word is he still haunts this place. My gosh, it is you.


COSTELLO: You portray Edgar Allen Poe in a lot of plays, all around the country. When you are walking the streets of Baltimore and in character, how does that feel?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It feels to me, very mysterious and wonderful. I certainly enjoy going around and thinking about this is what he saw.

COSTELLO: The bartender and owner of this establishment say they see evidence of ghosts all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll have to come back more often.

COSTELLO: Of course, you must end your visit at Edgar Allan Poe's grave. Take a look. You wouldn't have been the first.


BLACKWELL: So visit Baltimore. I want you to look at this web site. We will put it up here for you. It says John Lewis for Congress, but some people are saying there is funny business going on here. If you donate using this page, it helps his opponent. The story behind this web site is coming up.

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

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Victor, some billionaires say they are picked on when they should be the role model for everyone else. It is not the rich who has let you down. See you at 9:30 a.m. Eastern on an all new, YOUR MONEY.


PAUL: You made it to 8:28 already this morning. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. That is an accomplishment here this morning. Here are five things you need to know for your NEW DAY. Up first, Woody Allen is speaking out about allegations of molestation in an op-ed released by the "New York Times" last night. The 78-year-old filmmaker says he never committed a crime against his adopted daughter Dylan. One week ago, Dylan wrote her own letter accusing Allen of abusing her as a child. Allen said Mia Farrow coached their daughter after their highly publicized split in 1992.

PAUL: Number two, the U.S. brings home the very first gold medal in the Winter Olympics in Sochi. A spoiler alert here. If you want to step away here for a few seconds, please do. The winner, Sage Kotsenburg, he competes in the men's snowboard slopestyle event and this is what he tweeted, quote, "Wow, I just won the Olympics, bringing back the first gold here to the US of A."

BLACKWELL: Number three, the U.S. is urging North Korea to release American Kenneth Bae immediately. The U.S. is deeply concerned that Bae has been moved from a hospital to a labor camp and worried about his health. The ailing father of three has been held since November of 2012.

PAUL: Number four, live long and prosper and quit smoking now. That is the message from "Star Trek's" Leonard Nimoy who has announced he's now battling lung disease after quitting smoking 30 years ago. The 82-year-old actor who played Spock pleaded that he's struggling to walk distances. But that he is doing ok.

BLACKWELL: Number five film legend Clint Eastwood made one man's day in a very big way. The actor and director saved the man from choking to death. He gave him the Heimlich maneuver. Eastwood rep says the man had a piece of cheese stuck in his throat during a volunteer dinner at Monterey, California Wednesday. Now get this, the man Eastwood rescued is Steve John. He is the director of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Golf Tournament.

PAUL: Well there is apparently this GOP tactic to lure voters that has struck a big debate. The National Republican Congressional Committee setting up state Web sites apparently that appear to be official campaign sites for Democratic candidates. And this is an effort obviously, you know, to get the GOP (inaudible).

BLACKWELL: Yes and to get some money.

Ok so here is an example. This is for John Lewis for Congress. If you Google John Lewis he's a Democrat who's running for Montana's open house seat. One of the results is this., it seems official, but it's really set a laundry list of reasons why the person who go to this site should not vote for Lewis.

Joining us now is CNN's political commentators, Kevin Madden, Errol Louis both with us. Good to have both of you.



BLACKWELL: So is this underhanded as some claim? Kevin, let's start with you.

MADDEN: Well, you know, spoofing of this type where you have opposition campaign setting up Web sites and snapping up domain names of their opponents is not -- is not new. I think what's new here or what is I think a very delicate balance is the fund raising part. The big problem for I think the NRCC or at least the consideration that has to go into this, or any other campaign, would be is it really worth it? Are you going to really raise any money off this and is some of the bad publicity or some of the controversy that are listed for it, the simple fact that we are having a conversation about it now, is it worth it?

But I think it's also important to remember this is not something that is just for Republicans. This is a tactic that Democrats and Republicans have used in the past.

PAUL: Ok, so Errol let me ask you this, if someone goes to the site say and they don't read the fine print, now the onus is on us, you know, for not reading it through. We go ahead and donate you know our money wherever realizing -- not realizing it just went to the NRCC. At what point or you know or to Kevin's point the other party at what point does this not scream fraud to somebody?

LOUIS: Well I don't know if it constitutes fraud. I mean if you look at the Web site, it says pretty clearly a bunch of fairly nasty things about the candidate on that John Lewis site and you know we all click on little acceptances all the time without reading necessarily the fine print or the not-so-fine print. So I think you'd have a hard time getting your money back if the NRCC wanted to really fight about it.

But as Kevin says you know this -- this kind of runs the risk of spoiling the whole game. In other words if this tactic gets thrown into court, is the subject of a lot of negative commentary, if the candidates starts to denounce themselves or separate themselves from it, well you're not going to see very much more of it.

So it's a case of where you know some consultants maybe try to be to a little bit too clever by half and might end up taking what might have been an interesting, you know fun kind of prankish idea and turn it into something else.

BLACKWELL: Hey I want to turn to an interview that CNN's Kate Bolduan did with Vice President Joe Biden and the Vice President said if he doesn't see any reason why he shouldn't run 2016 for the Democratic nomination. Do you see one of it, Errol?

LOUIS: No I don't see any reason at all. I mean, you know, there -- I mean there is one reason which is you know called Hillary Clinton. But she was supposed to have cleared the field back in 2008. And you know, but Barack Obama and his advisers will tell you inevitability is free and can be fleeting and can be challenged and Joe Biden among other things is saying if you want me out of this race Hillary Clinton or anybody else you know you're going to have to talk to me and I'm not going to just go fading off into the sunset, which is a perfectly reasonable thing for somebody in his position to say.

PAUL: All right Kevin what do you say to that?

MADDEN: I think Errol is right. I think the one big reason is Hillary Clinton -- Hillary Clinton with a click of a mouse is probably going to be able to raise more money than Joe Biden ever could.

But also look there is not a real rationale for Joe Biden. It would essentially be arguing for an Obama third term. And President Obama's numbers right now are in the low 40s or mid-40s. So he doesn't really have this -- this great platform or an obvious platform I think to really to run for president.

BLACKWELL: You know, there was another, some people call him the "Oh, Joe moments," where you just go, oh Joe.


BLACKWELL: When he -- he described LaGuardia as a third world country. I wonder is there a point where the threshold has been met for losing credibility. I mean he said you know they want to put black people back in chains. And went on down the list -- you both know them. Is there a tipping point for these comments, Errol?

LOUIS: Well look on the airport comment I was born in New York City. I lived here pretty much my whole life except for college. And the man was absolutely right. So you know maybe he could have put it a little bit more gently. But you know there is a certain amount of truth telling where people will say, well, maybe it wasn't delicate, but it was accurate. And if people like straight talk, you know, Joe Biden will give you straight talk.

BLACKWELL: All right. Kevin Madden and Errol Louis, thank you for talking with us this morning.

PAUL: Thank you gentlemen.

MADDEN: Great to be with you guys.

LOUIS: Thanks.

PAUL: Sure.

So let's tell you about this man who is accused of murdering a teen after arguing with him over loud rap music. The trial is continuing in a matter of minutes, yes, on a Saturday. Hear why the suspect's story and the witness's story just aren't adding up here.


BLACKWELL: In a matter of minutes, the so-called loud music trial continues. And so does the dispute over what actually happened. PAUL: Yes remember, Michael Dunn is accused of murdering 17-year-old Jordan Davis after an argument at a gas station over the loud music in Davis' car.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Tory Dunnan is covering this case and is live outside the courthouse in Jacksonville, Florida this morning. So we're resuming this morning. What are we expecting?

TORY DUNNAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right so Victor and Christi, it's actually up to the jury about whether or not they wanted to work today. They told the judge they did. So the court will be in session at 9:00 this morning. But I do want to point out they've already had some key witnesses on the stand.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I reached and touched him, blood appeared on my fingers.

DUNNAN (voice over): Michael Dunn, the man charged with first degree murder in the Jordan Davis case looked on his witnesses relived the night the 17-year-old was shot and killed. Davis's best friend Leland Brunson among those who testified. He was sitting next to Davis in the back of the a red SUV when an argument over loud music broke out at a Jacksonville gas station.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's fair to say he asked for the common courtesy just to lower the music -- correct?


DUNNAN: Tevin Thompson another teen in the SUV says Dunn who was in his parked car next to them asked them to turn down the music. Everyone agrees the music was turned down, but that's when things escalated between Davis and Dunn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But isn't it true that Jordan Davis said to you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) and turn it back up.


DUNNAN: Thompson testified he did exactly that. And that he turned the music back up. It's at that point the timeline gets fuzzy. Dunn told investigators he heard threats and then saw a weapon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw a barrel come up on the window. Like a -- like a single shotgun with a barrel. You see this part of the barrel and I saw that part of the barrel. And it's either a barrel or a stick. But, sir, there -- there -- they're like we're going to kill you.

DUNNAN: Dunn by his own admission says he pulled out a gun that he kept in his glove compartment and he says in self-defense -- fired multiple times. Jordan Davis was shot. As for Michael Dunn's claims of being threatened with a weapon first, police say they never found a weapon inside the teen's SUV. In court, all three teens maintained they never had a weapon.


DUNNAN: And Victor and Christi, as to who might testify today, we've heard that it might be a ballistics expert. That obviously is going to be a key testimony because of the fact that so many shots were fired and beyond that, it could be Jordan Davis' father. We've heard at some point over the next few days, he might take the stand.

BLACKWELL: So many people paying a close attention to this case. Tory Dunnan in Jacksonville for us, thank you.

PAUL: Ok so let's talk about these two Brooklyn men who spent the last 21 years in prison for three murders that they did not commit. And thanks to new DNA evidence, Antonio Yarbough and Shariff Wilson have been cleared of killing Yarbough's mother, young sister and another 12-year-old girl.

Shoddy police work and inadequate legal representation they both contributed to the 1992 conviction. In an exclusive interview with CNN, Yarbough called this experience horrible -- understandably.

PAUL: So coming up, she lost 155 pounds and now the winner of "The Biggest Loser" is really stirring some debate about how much weight is safe to lose at one time.

BLACKWELL: And a designer of Barbie is firing back at critics of the doll's body.

But first, Starr Jones says she thought only old white men got heart disease until it happened to her. The TV personality will be decked out in red this entire month to spread the word about the nation's number one killer of women.

Here is Chris Cuomo with how Jones is "Impacting Our World".


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): Starr Jones wears many hats -- attorney, author, TV personality -- but the one she takes most seriously is heart health advocate.

STARR JONES, ATTORNEY: Heart disease is not an old white guy's disease. Heart disease can affect any woman anytime -- any race, any size, any age.

CUOMO: A reality that slapped Jones in the face after being morbidly obese for more than 20 years, she had gastric bypass surgery, changed her eating habits and started exercising. Eventually she lost 160 pounds.

JONES: I thought I had accomplished everything I needed to on the health front. And then I got diagnosed with heart disease.

CUOMO: Even though Jones felt and looked great, she was getting lightheaded, experienced shortness of breath and was exhausted. JONES: Those are classic symptoms of heart disease, especially when it comes to women.

CUOMO: Symptoms some women may just chalk up to their busy lives.

JONES: Women don't take care of our health in the same way we take care of our families.

CUOMO: Something Jones vowed to change after she had open heart surgery.

JONES: I sort of wear my heart scar as a badge of honor because it means I'm a survivor.



BLACKWELL: Welcome back. The lead designer of Mattel's Barbie is defending the doll's proportions. Mattel's vice president of design told Fast Company, quote, "Barbie's body was never designed to be realistic. She was designed for girls to easily dress and undress," end quote there.

PAUL: I get that as somebody who used to play with Barbies. That makes sense. She also said that Mattel has no plans on any drastic changes in the doll's proportions wanting to make sure Barbie clothes that moms used can be passed on to their daughters.

Mattel's VP also said she doesn't think girls are comparing their bodies to Barbie.

BLACKWELL: It took them 50 years to say this, though. I'm surprised we're hearing it now. Barbie has been out forever.

PAUL: Yes. And you know, for those of you that maybe aiming for that tiny little waistline, there's this new diet out there and its premise is really a change of tune for the man who developed it.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Dr. Ian Smith's "The Super Shred Diet" touts big results in a short period of time.

He joins us from Chicago. I'm glad, Dr. Ian, we have you on because we have been talking about having you on for some time. We have dietician and obesity expert Julie Schwartz in studio with us.

Dr. Ian, I want to start with you. Now for years you said it was safe only to lose about one or two pounds a week. So I wonder why do you now consider it acceptable to lose much more weight in a shorter period of time?

DR. IAN SMITH, AUTHOR, "SUPER SHRED DIET": Well, (inaudible) I looked at exactly why do we always say one or two pounds a week. And I realized that we were concerned about people who lost weight quickly, not because the quick weight loss was the issue, but the methods they used to lose the weight were the issues-- elimination diets, eliminating entire food categories or nutrient categories. Only drinking lemonade or only eating soup.

So these extreme diets were unhealthy thus we said the weight loss was unhealthy. So I wanted to see if I could put together a program that was fully-balanced nutritionally and with some exercise and see if people could lose weight quickly. The average loss in four weeks on super shred is 20 pounds.

So the methods they use are completely normal healthy methods, they just lose weight rapidly because of all the techniques used in the program.

PAUL: Ok. What are -- I have to ask, what are the techniques? I mean what makes this so different and how many calories are they consuming when you say that they are eating healthy food?

SMITH: Well one thing I do is called calorie disruption which means that every day you're consuming a different calorie count. You're consuming anywhere from 900 calories one day all the way up to 1,400 calories another day. And every day is different so it keeps your body off kilter.

The next thing I call sliding nutrient density which means toward the latter half of the day, most of your meals are from plant-based products. Plant-based products are higher in fiber, they tend to be lower in calories and towards the evening your metabolism is lower so you don't want to load up on calories.

And the last thing is something called negative energy balance which means that if your body is not getting the energy from food, it goes right into your fat storage to get the energy and with the workout that I have you doing as well as the meal spacing that's what drives that state.

BLACKWELL: Rapid weight loss, Julie, we're going to come to you with this -- I heard the number 900 calories. You are not a fan of rapid weight loss.

JULIE SCHWARTZ, DIETICIAN: I'm not a fan of rapid weight loss. What we know is when I work with clients, rapid weight loss creates unrealistic expectations. People get discouraged because they cannot achieve those rapid weight results.

The other thing that happens is that we really don't -- our body doesn't adjust up and down every day. If we are on 900 one day and 1,400 the next, people are probably going to be consuming a lot more than that in the real world because they are going to be very hungry. 900 calories is not enough to sustain an exercise routine. So when people are on the lower calorie range, they are really not going to be able to burn the calories and get the results that they are looking for.

You know, if we were to look at obesity treatment, there's guidelines that are out there and there's more guidelines being discussed next month by all of the major medical groups and government agencies to really have more delineated treatment options.

It is a disease and we know that there's much research out there that shows quick weight loss results in quick weight regain.

PAUL: So, Dr. Smith -- go ahead. When you talk about your success stories --

SMITH: I have to jump in here.

PAUL: Go ahead.

SMITH: Yes, I mean listen, you know, there's a big theoretical push out there, people who write papers and talk theoretically. I'm in the field ok, so I work with thousands of people. If you go on our Web site or our Facebook pages, you will find tens of thousands of people who have been doing this for over a year. And they reason why they are able to do it is because studies also show that people who see early results become more engaged with the program and stay on the program longer.

Now, she mentioned that 900 calories is small. But what she has to understand is that when the days that the calories are small, the exercise requirement is not as high. So I very strategically match your caloric intake for the day with your output of energy. No one ever feels hunger on the program. We snack all day long on the program. And if you just read from the testimonials, they speak for themselves.

PAUL: Ok. Let's talk about, you know, all the backlash --


PAUL: -- NBC right now to this week when -- you know, the winner of "The Biggest Loser" obviously dropped from 260 pounds to 105 and a lot of people are saying she looked frail. She looked so, so thin -- look at her there, almost skeletal.

Here is the trainer's reaction too if you want to take a look. It was almost as though Bob and Jillian were shocked as well when she walked out. So, Julie, let me ask you, this program, something like this where they push them, is this healthy?

SCHWARTZ: It is not healthy. It is not realistic. But the one thing that a program like "The Biggest Loser" though is they have a medical team, a dietician, and their trainers working with these people eight to 10 hours a day. This is their job. And that makes a whole big difference. But when we lose that much weight --


SCHWARTZ: -- that quickly, you run into other issues, gall bladder issues --

BLACKWELL: Can I ask about one of the issues because I look at this video. If we could put the video of "The Biggest Loser" winner back up. Dr. Smith I'm going to come to you -- can you see this video from where you are in Chicago?

SMITH: Yes, I have seen the video of Rachel -- absolutely. BLACKWELL: I'm looking at Rachel. And as someone who lost a lot of weight in a rapid period of time -- a short of period of time -- where is the extra skin? I mean are you suspicious that there has been some surgery here? Her arms are tight. Anyone who lost weight knows you have the flabby arms, the belly says -- some of that skin. Where is all that?

Are you suspicious that there has been some surgery here?

SMITH: Well, you know -- well, there are questions abound in the medical community. Of course, you know, people when they are overweight for a long period of time, the skin loses its elasticity -- like a rubber band. When you stretch a rubber band too long, it doesn't come back.

So typically someone who has been overweight like she has been for a long period of time, it doesn't come back. But there are some people who are very young who still retain that elasticity. Maybe, you know, she is very fortunate genetically. Maybe something has happened from a plastic surgical standpoint.

But I want to say this. She lost 60 percent of her body weight over a short period of time. Now, that is what I think is unhealthy.


SMITH: I'm saying four weeks and 20 pounds on my program but 60 percent of your body weight in a short period of time is unhealthy and it increases your risk for all kinds of problems like dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and other issues.

BLACKWELL: All right. Dr. Ian Smith and Julie Schwartz -- thank you both for talking about this.

SCHWARTZ: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: The backlash on that video on "The Biggest Loser" was such a big story this week we wanted to talk it through.

SCHWARTZ: Definitely.

BLACKWELL: Thank you so much.

SMITH: Thank you.

PAUL: Coming up in our next hour, this family feud has been playing out in the spotlight really for two decades that now seems to be coming to a head. Woody Allen firing back against his critics and slamming his ex over allegations of abuse.

BLACKWELL: And the controversy brewing over a set malfunction at last night's opening ceremonies. See what's wrong here. This is what the world saw, but it's not what viewers in Russia saw. We are live in Sochi next.