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Same-Sex Couples Get Same Benes Per Justice Dept; Rand Paul Says Bill Clinton Is "Sexual Predator" and Dems Are Hypocrites; Hillary Clinton Called Monica Lewinsky "Narcissistic Loony Toon"; Copenhagen Zoo Kills, Cuts Up and Feeds Giraffe to Lions in Front of Spectators

Aired February 10, 2014 - 11:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN CO-ANCHOR: Is the NFL ready for its first openly gay player?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CO-ANCHOR: We are learning that Hillary Clinton has some strong opinions about Monica Lewinsky. You don't call someone a "narcissistic loony toon" because you like them.

BERMAN: And then children watch as a giraffe is dismembered then the animal is devoured by lions. Oh, by the way, this happened to a healthy giraffe at a zoo.

Hello, everyone. I'm John Berman.

PEREIRA: And I'm Michaela Pereira.

Those stories and much more, right now, @THIS HOUR.

The city of Atlanta says this will not happen to us again. You remember this, don't you, Atlanta? Snow, sleet and rain, they are in the forecast again, starting tonight.

But a new task force is on the job to make sure everybody is ready ahead of time this time before the storm. In fact, the governor has already declared a state of emergency for 14 counties.

BERMAN: You better believe they will be ready at this time.

Meanwhile, @ THIS HOUR in Jacksonville, Florida, the medical examiner is on the witness stand in the so-called "Loud Music" murder trial. The defendant admits he shot and killed a 17-year-old in a dispute over loud music, but was it self-defense or was this murder?

Ashleigh Banfield will have much more in our next hour.

PEREIRA: The Obama administration is considering a mission to kill an American citizen involved with al Qaeda and suspected of plotting attacks against the U.S.

They won't say who it is, but a senior official tells us the administration is holding high-level discussions with military commanders about whether to take this person out. They're weighing the risk and they're weighing the importance of the target.

BERMAN: Also @ THIS HOUR, same-sex couples are being granted the same status as other couples regarding federal legal matters, such as bankruptcy and death benefits.

A Justice Department memo makes this all official.

The expanded recognition affects even the 34 states that have not made same-sex marriage legal. That's the key here.

Attorney General Eric Holder compares today's move to the government's role during the civil rights movement.


ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Nothing less than our country's founding commitment to the notion of equal protection under the law was at stake.

And so the Justice Department's role in confronting discrimination must be as aggressive today as it was in Robert Kennedy's time.


BERMAN: That major milestone for the gay-rights movement comes amid another first.

All-American football player Michael Sam reveals he is gay. And could he become the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL?

We will speak to sports commentator Sid Zeigler and Olympic champion Greg Louganis, who knows a thing or two about being openly gay in the world of sports.

PEREIRA: Very much looking forward to that conversation.

Right now, @ THIS HOUR, there's certainly a lot of buzz about Hillary Clinton.

BERMAN: Always.

PEREIRA: There's a book about her -- always, right -- writings about her from an old friend. Those are coming to the surface.

And her husband, Bill, certainly taking a beating from Republicans.

BERMAN: Let's start with that, because, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, he is campaigning like it is 1999.

Paul's name is floating out there as Republican candidate for president in 2016, so he has been discussing, inevitably, Hillary Clinton, but he's also talking about Bill Clinton, calling the former president a "sexual predator."

He says that Democrats are hypocrites if they let him raise money for them.


SENATOR RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Anybody who wants to take money from Bill Clinton or have a fund-raiser has a lot of explaining to do. In fact, I think they should give the money back.

If they want to take a position on women's rights, by all means, do, but you can't do it and take it from a guy who was using his position of authority to take advantage of young women in the workplace.


BERMAN: All right, that, again, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, but he is not the only one stirring up the Monica memories here from the 1990s.

A new report based on the writings of a Clinton confident says that Hillary Clinton referred to Monica Lewinsky as -- get this -- a "narcissistic loony toon" and that Bill tried to break off the relationship, but it got beyond his control.

PEREIRA: CNN political commentator Will Cain is here, along with Ellis Henican from "Newsday."

Gentlemen, you are the inaugural guests @ THIS HOUR.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So proud to be here.

PEREIRA: A little bit of pressure on the two of you.

You know, it was funny. I was listening to you talk about that. You made a reference to Monica Lewinsky and the year, 1990.

It is 2014, gentlemen. Are we here again? Why on earth is this happening?

WILL CAIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think we're hear because of hypocrisy. I think that's the reason we're having this conversation.

I honestly think Republicans are so fed up with hearing about this false war on women over serious disagreements on abortion or who should have to pay for birth control.

Finally, Rand Paul stood up and goes, You know, this is coming from a man who took advantage of a girl in the workplace.

That's why it's coming up. It's a separate conversation of whether it is smart or right to do so, but that's why it's coming up.

PEREIRA: Some would argue, it takes two to tango.

ELLIS HENICAN, "NEWSDAY" COLUMNIST: Clearly. There is a reason we do not have "Take Your Spouse to Work" Day in America.

This is still a little bit of awkward territory for Americans. But, hey, this was, in the end, been very good for Hillary Clinton. In the end, it was pretty good for Bill Clinton once Americans reacted to the over reliance on these kinds of issues.

I think it makes Rand Paul, who sometimes says smart stuff, make him look kind of stuck in the past, doesn't it?

CAIN: I'm going to agree with Ellis on this. I don't think it's that smart, politically.

Number one, I'll say this. Eighty percent of men do not care who Bill Clinton slept with. They do not care, especially with the fact that it occurred 20, 30 years ago.

And for those others, I think, like you said, it paints Hillary in the perfect situation, as a victim, as a sympathetic figure.

BERMAN: Let's talk about the Hillary papers that are coming to light in "The Washington Free Beacon." These were collected by a friend of the Clintons who passed away in 2000.

We're really seeing them for the first time now, and Mrs. Clinton called Monica Lewinsky, contemporaneously, at the time, a "narcissistic loony toon."

HENICAN: I think maybe I agree with that. Who wouldn't?

CAIN: You and I talked earlier. Who wouldn't? What scorned woman wouldn't?

HENICAN: It's not so bad. Honestly, what Hillary Clinton needs to do at this point is continue to humanize herself, to make her someone people relate to partly the way they relate to her husband, Bill.

BERMAN: OK, on that note, doesn't it help Hillary Clinton every time Rand Paul brings up Monica Lewinsky then, if the idea is to humanize her?

CAIN: I do think it helps Hillary. I do think, as I said, it paints her as the perfect victim, as a sympathetic fugue figure, and, yes, it humanizes her.

But we've talked about why it's happening, what -- how it may play politically, but there is a third angle to this, and that is, should we be having these conversations?

Those papers published in "The Washington Free Beacon" reveal a ruthlessness in Hillary. The reveal a harsh, strategizing politician.

You need to ask yourself, is this someone who should run the country? These things --

PEREIRA: OK, I just want to flip the script for a second.

If those terms were used to describe a man, people would say -- would likely say those are laudable qualities? CAIN: Let me say this, Michaela. Over the last couple of years, we've talked about the Obama administration being extremely tight on leaks, of persecuting anyone who comes and says something they do not like.

What we're talking about is, man or women, president or secretary of state, this kind of ruthlessness is worth knowing about it because it comes up in the presidency.

BERMAN: Ellis, last word.

HENICAN: Michaela makes a point. If the gender were flipped, it would be very different, and the reason not to talk about is that it's old, it's icky, it's none of our business really, and in the end it helps --

BERMAN: We're going to leave this on "icky."

Ellis Henican, Will Cain, thank you so much. Thanks for being our first guests. We really appreciate it, guys.

PEREIRA: (Inaudible) parting gift.

All right, ahead @ THIS HOUR, AOL's CEO is now backpedaling on a benefits policy after an insensitive comment about employees' children. We'll have the details ahead, right here, @ THIS HOUR.

BERMAN: But next, imagine taking your kids to the zoo and they see this happen to a giraffe.

Everyone who hears about this story, I've got to say, is shocked, they're disgusted, especially our guest, the famous Jack Hanna.

We are speaking to him, next.


PEREIRA: I think it's fair warning, John, that we should let people know that this next story we're about to tell you is pretty shocking and kind of hard for us here in North America to fathom.

BERMAN: More than pretty shocking. Incredibly shocking.

PEREIRA: Incredibly shocking.

A zoo in Copenhagen killed a healthy young giraffe and then cut him up and fed him to the lions and leopards.

BERMAN: And did this while children were watching.

Now, we have to warn you. We're about to show you some images that are very graphic, very hard to look at.

Remember, there was nothing wrong with this giraffe. He was perfectly healthy. Zookeepers called him Marius, and zoo administrators say they killed him because he had almost the same genes as other giraffes in the zoo. It didn't work for the breeding plan that they had.

PEREIRA: Why do they insist that they had to kill the animal at all, and why on Earth would they do it in such a fashion with an audience and let children see this giraffe get ripped apart.

BERMAN: So we are joined now by Jack Hanna. You, of course, know who Jack Hanna is. He is the host of "Jack Hanna's Into the Wild" and "Jack Hanna's Wild Countdown."

Jack, thanks for being with us, first of all. I've got to say this seems so incredibly outrageous, killing a healthy giraffe, doing it in front of kids.

What possible justification could there be?

JACK HANNA, HOST, "INTO THE WILD" (via telephone): Well, I can tell you now. I did a big program last night here in Florida for the Columbus Zoo, where I've been for 35 years, been doing this for 40 years.

I was up until 2:00 in the morning, got up at 5:30 in the morning, and I'm a pretty fun-going person. You've seen me do TV.

But this right now is the most abominable, insensitive, ridiculous thing I've have heard of.

Now, they talk about genetics. OK, let's say the animal -- genetically, there was nothing wrong with him, just they had too many of them.

If they had that then, why, number one, did they keep breeding animals? That's number one. Number two, I don't care if it's the European Associates of Zoos, the American Association of Zoos, the Columbus Zoo in Columbus, Ohio, would never, ever do anything like this.

Even if the animal -- sometimes I might have had an impure gene. Yes, we do have problem with overpopulation in our zoos. Yes, that's true with some animals. What do you do, though, then? You find a home for it.

Right now, I personally, the Columbus Zoo would, too, but if I had to sell something, and I'm not just saying this to be patted on the back, if I had to sell anything I had to get the $100,000 to ship him over to our country and put him in the zoo, if the zoo didn't have room, I would have room on a little farm I have in Montana, 40 acres.

Not just me. I understand there was big offers made to help this giraffe.

Now, listen, nothing was wrong with the animal. Let's say they do something with the animal, something was wrong with it. Let's say, by themselves, that's up to them what they want to do with the giraffe.

But (inaudible) shoot it, or whatever, they shot it, then they cut it up in front of people. I saw the picture. I have not seen the article. I kept myself away from them.

I'm sitting here like you going, what in the world is going on? Someone did this analogy. I did not do this. Someone said, is Hitler running the animal world in Europe? I did not say that, OK? Let me repeat that.

I'm not being -- I'm just saying, yes, these are animals. It's a beautiful creature that represents a beautiful animal. They are trying to teach young people about why we have zoological parks.

What does this teach you? What has it taught you, by the way?

PEREIRA: And, Jack, I can hear the anger. And I think so many people echo your sentiments.

We have seen a lot of reaction and outcry, online, Twitter, online, et cetera, people's comments coming in that they can't believe this was done at all, and the fact that they did it with an audience and in front of children.

Now, they spoke to us. There was one comment that they said that they did this as sort of a teaching lesson.

Do you see there is any aspect of this that could have been viewed as educational?

HANNA (via telephone): Not that thing at all. I don't see any education in it number one.

Now, someone said to me this morning, called me up and said, Jack, maybe -- all of us eat hamburger. Sometimes we bake it. Sometimes we do things and everything, but that's humane, I guess.

You know, the point is, I don't get involved in that. The point is, and education-wise in a zoo, I see none whatsoever other than, is that what we do with our excess animals? The answer at my zoo is no. We'll find a home. We have a place in called the wild (ph), 10,000 acres.

FEMALE: A refuge or something.

HANNA: We've offered these to people who have an overpopulation of animals to bring them out to us. So that's all we can do. But I can tell you now, education wise -- look at my show on TV. You know something? We show the hunt only one time. And that was my mistake. We showed a cheetah on a hunt. We showed the takedown. And we are not to show -- we do not show -- I know it is natural. I have been (inaudible) people in this world. I've seen all kinds of hunts when the final thing takes place.

One thing, we have families watching our show. Yesterday, they see the last part of it. And only one time did I see an impala that was partially consumed by a cheetah. And that was my fault on our show, not because I'm not trying to be, oh, this Jack Hanna not to show anything. I know what's natural in nature. I'm not an idiot. But I don't need to have some two and three and 6-year-old which cannot understand at that age. They don't understand nature. They haven't been to Africa.

And so, that's what we do at the zoos. We try to educate people at zoos of what happens in the wild. And then there's a logical role. We're trying to teach them while we have zoos. We have about 98 (ph) percent our animals in zoos throughout this country from other zoos. They're not from the wild. If I can get a giraffe, for example, I'll take my veterinarian over there. I'll get the sperm or the eggs from the animal and I can bring it back. (inaudible) But they have to cull certain animals to get help with that gene pool too.


PEREIRA: Jack, we're gonna have to -- obviously, you feel very strongly about this. And we understand. We know the work you have done to educate people about wildlife. We certainly appreciate you joining. You're very passionate about the topic, and I know many people --

HANNA: I'm sorry I have to be this way. But that's --

PEREIRA: No, no, no, no. We want you to tell us how you are feeling. And you certainly did that. Jack Hanna, thanks so much for joining us.

BERMAN: Well, you can hear it in his voice. I was wondering was something lost in translation here? Not according to Jack Hanna.

PEREIRA: Well, and it brings up a whole bigger discussion about how we treat animals in captivity and why do we do it to begin with? You know? That's an argument animal activists have been saying for many years.

BERMAN: It was great to hear from Jack on this.

All right, ahead at this hour, an all-American football star reveals he is gay. Will he be the first openly gay player in the NFL or is he hurting his career chances here? We'll have that discussion coming up.

But next Woody Allen's very public battle plays out in the papers. Hear how he defends himself against his adopted daughter's allegations that he sexually molested her years ago.


PEREIRA: AOL employees did not like the company's recent change to their 401(k) plans. Matching 401(k) contributions will be made at the end of the year, rather than with each pay period.

BERMAN: Even less popular was how AOL CEO Tim Armstrong explained this. He talked about rising healthcare costs, incited two AOL families, who used the benefits to cover high-risk pregnancies. He referred to babies as distressed babies.

PEREIRA: Well, you can imagine outrage ensued. Then, Armstrong apologized and AOL reversed the policy change. One of the mothers whose children Armstrong referred to as a distressed baby spoke to NBC about the comments.


DEANNA FEI, AOL EMPLOYEE: It was sort of impossible to process that he was talking about my daughter who was home with me at that time, you know, to hear her labeled a distressed baby. And to me, there did sound like the implication that somehow we were greedy consumers of healthcare benefits, that we had kind of gobbled up more than our share of the pie.


PEREIRA: That mother, that's Deanna Fei, wrote a really moving and compelling article for saying quote, "He", Armstrong, "exposed the most searing experience of our lives for no other purpose than absurd justification for corporate cost-cutting.

BERMAN: So here's my thing about this. Tim Armstrong is the guy that most people haven't even heard of, who's the ceo of a company that a lot of people would be surprised to know still exists, America online. He's been in the news twice in the last year for this, talking about distressed babies and also for firing a guy who was snapping photos in a company meeting. This is bad press.

PEREIRA: This is an interesting disconnect that we have seen before between corporate ceos and real people. This woman was the face of a situation that was very painful to her. They almost lost their baby. She's a little miracle to begin with.

BERMAN: This is why you get health insurance, I think. Deanna Fei will join Erin Burnett at seven o'clock Eastern tonight. Don't miss that. That's on "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT".

PEREIRA: To another discussion that a lot of people are having. Certainly this one is being discussed around water coolers everywhere. That very public battle that is being played out between Woody Allen and his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, who claims he sexually molested her more than 20 years ago. It's certainly very difficult to watch no matter whose side you believe.

BERMAN: So in an op-ed yesterday, the director, Woody Allen, he defended himself. And he blamed Mia Farrow for turning Dylan against him as retribution after their relationship broke up.

He writes, "Not that I doubt Dylan hasn't come to believe she's been molested, but if from the age of seven a vulnerable child is taught by a strong mother to hate her father because he is a monster who abused her, it is so inconceivable that after many years of this indoctrination, the image of me Mia wanted to establish had taken root."

Dylan then wrote a letter to the Hollywood Reporter saying, "Once again, Woody Allen is attacking me and my family in an effort to discredit and silence me, but nothing he says or writes can change the truth."

Wow. So we're joined now by Kelly Wallace and psychologist, Jeff Gardere.

Kelly, this is a mess. We are seeing dysfunction being played out here at, you know, a level I have never seen before. What are we supposed to take from this?

KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I know, and we were talking before it is hard to know what to take from this, right? And it is very, very sad. Because on the one hand, you have a young woman who is coming forward and saying that she was sexually assaulted as a 7-year- old and saying this has permanently impacted her life.

And as a mother of children, we all want to take any allegation like that seriously. On the other hand, you have a man, Woody Allen, who is saying he has been falsely accused and that Mia Farrow has been brain washing his child for two decades now.

The thing is, we don't know what to make of it, because we don't have certainty here. We don't know exactly where the right answer is and what the wrong answer is.

PEREIRA: It is the ultimate he said, she said. And our job as society is to protect victims. And our jobs as journalists is to uncover the truth. It also seems like the truth is incredibly elusive here.

JEFF GARDERE, CLINICAL PYSCHOLOGIST: It really is. Because here, on the one hand, you have Woody Allen who says Mia really hated him. Well, let's see. Did you give her any reason to? I mean, you went ahead and married her daughter. So I think anyone might hate you for that.

And then on the other hand, you have Dylan, who said, "Yeah, he abused me. He did this to me." But, a lot of people are saying, perhaps she has false memories. And it is because of that marriage that Woody had with Soon Yi that she may have turned her head in that way.

So at this point, even if Woody Allen were innocent, he did things that were crossing the boundaries within that family, is it inconceivable he could do it again?

But once you go ahead and you accuse someone of sexual abuse, whether they did it or not, guess what? People keep that taint on them forever.

PEREIRA: You know, it's so interesting. I was thinking about this notion of family. We all know how complicated and we love them to death. But family is complicated. We've seen family feuds last decades.

BERMAN: But we're watching this one play out in front of us.

PEREIRA: In front of us right now. And there is family that believe each side of each story. BERMAN: Kelly, I keep on being left with this question. So what am I supposed to do now as a movie fan? That seems like a trite thing. But look, you are a mom. What do you say to your kids when they are old enough to understand this? How would you tell your kids what went on here when they are in high school?

WALLACE: Well, you know, we've been planning a piece, actually, for in light of, not necessarily taking sides, but continuing the conversation that I think Dr. Gardere agrees is always a good one to have, which is, you know, your private parts are private. If anyone ever does anything that feels wrong and inappropriate any way, speak up. Because too often, too often, kids don't speak up.

And in a way, Dylan Farrow coming forward, she said she's coming forward in a way to protect other victims out there who might be afraid to speak up. My concern, though, is if victims watch this back and forth and this mean-spirited thing that goes on, they might think why on earth would I go forward?


GARDERE: Absolutely, we give unconditional positive regard to our patients who say they have been sexually abused. But there's also a legal component to it as to whether, factually, it happened.

Bottom line, Dylan does need the help whether it happened or not. This has destroyed her life. Whether these are true memories or implanted memories, at this point, to me as a psychologist, it doesn't make a difference. She needs help.

Jeff Gardere, Kelly Wallace, thank you so much for coming on.

PEREIRA: Thank you.

BERMAN: Appreciate you coming in.

All right, our next story, an all-American football star reveals he is gay. Is the NFL ready for this, the first openly gay player? We'll speak to sports commentator Sid Zeigler and Olympic champion Greg Louganis. Greg Louganis is gay. He's gone through this. We'll have that straight ahead.