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Is There a War on the 1 Percent?; Ice Storm Cripples U.S. Travel; 100 Plus Cars Wreck on Pennsylvania Turnpike; U.S. Speed Skaters Struggle Blame Suits; Jurors Struggle in "Loud Music" Trial

Aired February 14, 2014 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Next a war on the 1 percent. The man who compared the experience of wealthy Americans to a deadly Nazi campaign is at it again. What he's saying now in defense of billionaires.

And American speed skaters reportedly blaming their poor performance on their high tech suits. Are the uniforms slowing them down or are they just sore losers?

Plus, Philip Seymour Hoffman's alleged heroin dealer in court today. The judge makes a damning statement against him. His lawyer, our exclusive guest tonight. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight a war on the 1 percent. That was actually the name of an event in San Francisco last night attended by nearly 300 people where billionaire, Tom Perkins, again claimed that the rich in America are under attack.

You may remember Perkins. He was the venture capitalist who compared the vilification of the rich to the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany. He apologized for that extreme comment, but he is doubling down on the sentiment. His latest idea, if you have more money, you should get more votes.


TOM PERKINS, VENTURE CAPITALIST: So the Tom Perkins system is you don't get to vote unless you pay $1 of taxes. But what I really think is it should be like a corporation. If you pay a million dollars in taxes, you should get a million votes. How is that?


BURNETT: Perkins later said his intent was to be outrageous, but he's not the only member of the 1 percent fighting back. Billionaire, investor, Sam Zell and Bud Konheim, the CEO of the fashion company, Nicole Miller also got attention for defending the rich.


SAM ZELL, BILLIONAIRE REAL ESTATE INVESTOR: This country should not talk about envy of the 1 percent. It should talk about emulating the 1 percent, the 1 percent work harder.

BUD KONHEIM, NICOLE MILLER CEO: We've got a country that the poverty level is wealth in 99 percent of the rest of the world. So we're talking about woe is us, the guy that's making, my God, he's making $35,000 a year. Why don't you try that out in India or some countries we can't even name, China, any place, that kind is wealthy.


BURNETT: Is there really a war on the 1 percent? Joining me now conservative columnist, Reihan Salam and Democratic strategist, Paul Begala. You all love this topic. I love you on this topic. Paul, I know this makes your blood boil. The Tom Perkins comments last night. I know this because, you know, I'm up at all hours of the night now with an infant.

I see everything that happens during the night east coast time. I saw a tweet that you forwarded. It was a picture of a hopeless man, a block away from where the war on the 1 percent was going down. You reacted viscerally.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITCAL COMMENTATOR: I saw that tweet. Journalist was covering the speech. I was covering it on his Twitter feed. Jesus said the poor will always be with us. It's obviously not the fault of the rich. I think most Americans want to do more to lift people up. It is ironic two blocks away from this man clearly struggling and suffering.

There was a billionaire whining, whining that he's being picked on. I mean, when did the wealthy become such wimps? Quit whining, Mr. Perkins. Pay your fair share of taxes, which is what, 39.6, really? That's a war? Give me a break.

BURNETT: That's interesting, Reihan, because of course, in many locales in this country, it's 39.6 plus your state, plus your local, plus your capital gains, the numbers get up to 60 plus percent.


BURNETT: Right. Now here's the question though. Are wealthy Americans unjustly vilified? I mean, this comment from Tom Perkins, you don't get to vote if you don't pay $1 in taxes. He said these kinds of things several times. It's safe to say he pretty much believes it.

SALAM: You know I would love to see, Erin. I would love to see a world in which we pay as much attention to failed public sector institutions like public schools that are both among the most expensive in the world, in the developed world and also some of the most mediocre. I would love for us to pay some attention to a criminal justice system that wastes huge amounts of money putting people behind bars instead of whatever the hell some old rich white guy has to say. It's let's focus on public institutions failing not because they don't have enough money, but because they're run by bozos.

BURNETT: You know what? It's an interesting point. It's a smart point. I give you credit for you didn't like what he said. You changed the topic a little bit. Paul, let me ask you this though. Tom Perkins is doubling down, right? The wealthy are persecuted. But let me ask you this because when you talk about paying more taxes, according to the tax foundation, the top 1 percent pays more in taxes than the entire bottom 90 percent.

In fact, in 1980, the rich paid 19 percent of taxes in the United States and they now pay 35 percent. When you look at it that way and I know you can slice these numbers a lot of different ways. That sounds like they're certainly paying more than their share. It's one set of numbers.

BEGALA: I think they should pay their fair share. People now have agreed with the top marginal rate at 39.6, which is what they paid under President Clinton. We had a Marxist paradise under Bill Clinton with 23 million jobs and more billionaires created than under Ronald Reagan or any other presidency. It's all just complaining. They should pay their fair share, but the notion that Mr. Perkins raises perhaps --

BURNETT: Easy word to throw out there, but what the heck is it? It sounds to me when people use that word. They're saying it should be more. I'm just saying, if they're already paying more than the bottom 90 percent, how much more, Paul?

BEGALA: That's income taxes. You know, it's just like saying cigarette smokers pay all the cigarette taxes. People with high income pay, higher income taxes. Poor people pay sales taxes, excise taxes, property taxes and gasoline taxes and working people and poor people as we have discussed who actually fund this government in this country, there's nothing -- nobody wants to be demonize rich people. Nobody does.

But I will not allow this man to say he should have a million votes when, say, there's a staff sergeant in the army who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor that makes 30 grand a year and he should be effectively like shut out of voting so that this Mr. Perkins because he's rich --

SALAM: Thanks to President Reagan and President Clinton and a variety of other folks, actually a lot of poor people for very good and sensible reasons actually pay negative taxes because of things like the earned income tax credit. A lot of people are getting tax funds that help them lead decent lives. That is a good thing.

But it's also truth the picture about tax is a lot more complicated and the truth is that the taxes now are actually higher than they were during the Clinton era for a variety of reasons. We're talking about investment taxes. We are talking of wide range of other Obamacare taxes, as well.

So look, it's a more complicated picture. It's not quite that simple. The thing is when we say fairness, it is always more and we never ask, is government spending the money as well as possible? We're trying to pick the rich against the middle class against the poor rather than ask the real question, which is how well is this money actually being spent in practice? BURNETT: Let me just give you all a brief glimpse of how this is playing out politically because it is. It isn't just some rich guy talking about this or a bunch of rich guys who are saying things about how rich people give more to society and should have a million votes, but it's playing out in politics.

We got Joe Biden and Chris Christie weighing in on this. Let me play it.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The middle class is being clobbered. You know, they talk about the fact that we shouldn't be talking about income inequality. I think it would be a sin if we didn't talk about income inequality.

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Do you want income equality, that's mediocrity. Everybody can have an equal mediocre salary. That's what we can afford or do you want the opportunity for greatness?


BURNETT: Reihan?

SALAM: Look, I think that -- I think Christie gets a lot right.

BURNETT: Who gets the votes for those two comments?

SALAM: I think that actually Christie understands what's really going on. In his state of the state address a little while back, he talked about the fact that America is a country that is wasting a huge amount of human talent. By talking about income inequality, we miss the real story going on in America, which is that people in the bottom fifth of the country are not climbing.

They are not escaping that bottom fifth because we're not creating enough jobs and we are not creating enough opportunities for those people. That's the real question. We want to talk about rich guys being obnoxious and being silly, and having crazy antics. We're not talking about how do we fix the problems for people at the bottom. Actually Bill Clinton was a Democrat who got this.

BURNETT: As supposed to dividing up the pie you have --

SALAM: Bill Clinton was the Democrat who got this and his Democratic successors don't get this, and that's a big problem.


BEGALA: I disagree, they do. Watch -- look at President Obama's "State of the Union" address where he did not talk about income inequality. Reihan makes a very important point here. If you can invest and grow and the country only grows when the middle class and the poor are doing better. We tried it with Bush. We focused all the tax breaks on the rich and the economy collapsed. If instead you do what President Clinton did, which is focus on working class people, middle class people, even poor people, lift them up? Guess what happens. Bill Gates gets all the richer. Mr. Perkins gets all the richer. The Wal-Mart family, the Walton family, the wealthiest family in America, they get all the richer. Their fortunes are built on the American middle class.

We think that's great. But even rich people will only do better if the middle class is what we focus on. This is the key here. Democrats are talking about lifting up, not levelling down. There's a huge difference. People like Mr. Perkins -- he is his own worst enemy. He is hurting his cause.

BURNETT: How do you do it through taxation? Isn't that just redistributing what you already have?

BEGALA: What you do is take income at some small slice, like we do now, 39.6 percent top marginal rate and then you invest it in things he's talking about.

SALAM: Programs that aren't working.

BEGALA: We decoded the human genome that was a federally-funded effort that created billions of dollars of wealth, much of it private sector wealth, thousands of jobs. The taxpayer money created the internet. It's true and that's created billions of billions of dollars of wealth.

SALAM: We keep spending more and more and it's not working. We need to build better institutions. It's not always about more money, Paul. More money isn't always the solution. It's about reinventing --

BURNETT: I love you both on this topic. I hope you'll come back and we'll continue it. I have a lot of stats to go through. Thanks very much to both of you. We still want your comments on this as we tackle this issue. Now as you can see with Chris Christie and Joe Biden, it's one of the biggest issues in the country.

OUTFRONT next, echoes of Trayvon Martin, could a white man who fatally shot a black teen in Florida get off? We have late breaking news on that jury.

Plus a jackpot for weed, another green light for pot from the Obama administration.

A massive interstate pile-up in Pennsylvania, a hundred cars involved, dozens injured.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I started watching cars bounce off the center divider.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: Now to the travel nightmare affecting millions of Americans tonight. In the past 36 hours, there have been more than 8,000 flights canceled, thousands more delayed after that massive winter storm. The backlog has left travelers stranded from Atlanta to Boston making it a brutal start to the holiday weekend across the country. Those delays pan out.

This was the scene in Charlotte earlier today. Some passengers forced to spend the night at the airport.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's pretty frustrating and it's really frustrating because we've been given a variety of reasons why they canceled the flights.


BURNETT: Similar frustrations in New York, Washington, Boston, long lines unavoidable. Thousands stuck with no idea when they're going to get home. By the way, it's been a really horrible year for airline travellers. Here's the statistic that made my jaw dropped to the floor. More than 75,000 flights have been grounded in the United States this year, which is the biggest disruption in the airline industry since the September 11th terrorist attacks.

CNN meteorologist, Chad Myers is in the Severe Weather Center tonight. Chad, that is incredible that statistics, I mean, 75,000 flights, the most since 9/11.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And you think about on average, 100 people per flight. You do the multiplication, that's 7 million people. When does it get better? Everybody wants to know that. The answer is simple is when there are more seats leaving than people trying to get on them. That's the only time it gets better.

So if a plane is about 80 percent, 90 percent full if it wasn't, they'd cancel the route anyway. Charlotte today canceled 169 flights. That's 20 percent of the flights. Newark 164 flights were cancelled. That's 25 percent of the flights. Philadelphia 104 flights, that's 16 percent, and LaGuardia 103 flight that's 17 percent.

If the flights are 90 percent full and only 80 percent of the flights are leaving, we didn't make any progress today. We got no more people where they wanted to go than we had yesterday because we couldn't get enough planes in the sky. Yet, there are right now the 5,800 planes out there.

It's just the capacity of these planes, planes are always so full. Try to get an upgrade, can't even do that anywhere. Even on a diamond, silver it, whatever you are, people always complain that they can't believe how full these planes are. There's another storm coming because there's snow in Indianapolis and Cincinnati and there will be snow into West Virginia.

Winter storm warnings all the way across, yes, even into Pennsylvania, but the biggest story will be Boston. If you're stuck there you might want to get on a train to New York and try to get out of there because a blizzard watch now from coastal about Cape Cod almost to Boston and winter storm warnings are now posted there.

BURNETT: Wow. All right, thank you very much to Chad. Pretty amazing just the math of it, though, I love that part. That's what it comes down to. You realize no progress made. Thanks to chad.

The nightmare at the airports Chad's talking about is a horror show on the roads. It's not as if suddenly you decide to drive it's better. I mean, this was really incredible pictures. A massive accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, more than 100 vehicles involved in a series of wrecks that injured at least 30 people. People described as cars bouncing off at high speed. Icy roads left over from the winter storm are to blame.

CNN's Margaret Conley was actually in the middle of it for several hours and she filed this had story OUTFRONT.


MARGARET CONLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A massive pile pile- up on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hit the brakes a bunch of times but couldn't stop. I probably hit the car in front of me doing 20.

CONLEY: About 100 cars and trucks crashed into each other in a series of at least 20 separate accidents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't hit the car in front me, I said I survived and then somebody comes flying in back of me.

CONLEY: Heather Pasco was sandwiched between two trucks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I looked in my rear view mirror and there was a big Moyer truck right behind me. He was trying to stop, but he was sliding and he slammed right into the back of me, which then made me slam into the car in front of me.

CONLEY: Cars backed up for more than three miles, spanning across two counties. Drivers stuck for hours all waiting for the wreckage in front of them to be cleared. Ashleigh Crandall was on her way to work, but ended up stuck for well over four hours. So she hiked to a sandwich stop, made a big purchase and went back to hand out sandwiches.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's making good of a bad situation.

CONLEY: For 30 people, a very bad situation landing them in the hospital, five with serious injuries but not life-threatening.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We saw mostly what we would call soft tissue injuries, bumps and scrapes kind of injuries, and you'll see sprained necks, et cetera.

CONLEY: Rich Yager's grateful he survived without a scrape. His new Volkswagen Golf not as lucky.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you are not on an icy patch, you get through.


CONLEY: Now the turnpike that you could see behind me, it is now open. More patients that were taken to the hospitals, they have been dispatched. Those cars that were part of the pile-up have been taken to a separate location where police, they're investigating them. That's expected to last through the weekend -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Margaret, thank you very much. Coming up, the U.S. speed skaters having real trouble in Sochi and they're blaming their clothes. Does that excuse add up?

Plus, a man suspected of selling heroin to Philip Seymour Hoffman faced a judge today. He says the police have it all wrong. His lawyer is an OUTFRONT exclusive guest tonight.

And how a tiny town in wine country saved itself by switching to beer.


BURNETT: America's struggling speed skaters are they the victims of a wardrobe malfunction or just sore losers? So this is a team, keep in mind, this is a seriously amazing team. They won four medals during the Vancouver games. This time around in Sochi they have failed to reach the podium. In fact, no skater has finished better than seventh place from the U.S.

So the squad is now apparently blaming poor performance on the design of their suits, which are made by Under Armour. According to reports, they claim the vent on the back of the suits created drag and slowed them down. Now we've just learned they'll be wearing an older version of the suit for the remainder of the games. Is the suit to blame or is Team USA making excuses?

Mediaite, Joe Concha is OUTFRONT. I mean, come on, this is a country where everybody's a winner now and nobody's a loser. Maybe it's OK to blame the vent on the back of your suit?

JOE CONCHA, MEDIAITE: Is that sarcasm, Erin?

BURNETT: No, why would that ever be sarcasm?

CONCHA: A good craftsman never blames his tools. The tone of finger pointing and complaining at these Olympics happened well before even the Olympics began. Remember that brown water, those glasses and the toilets because brown water never happens in New York. That ring malfunction, the Super Bowl we had a blackout for 45 minutes.

BURNETT: That is a good point.

CONCHA: Even in this year in Jersey, you could have walked from New York faster than get over there. Yet, it's complain, complain, complain. Sochi is horrible. Now the athletes are following suit whether it be Bode Miller, Shaun White or the U.S. speed skaters.

BURNETT: All that point taken. But the races are decided by hundredths or even thousands of a second. So maybe the panel and the vent, I mean, it's not as if they're saying, we hate Under Armour, they are just going back to an earlier version of the Under Armour suit. So it's possible that it's true, right? You would think they would have tested.

CONCHA: You would think so, right? Under Armour is a fantastic company. I went to the Maryland at the same time the CEO did.

BURNETT: Are you a terp?

CONCHA: Yes. Kevin was actually a walk-on. He used to sweat through his stuff so much it weighed him down. He invented Under Armour. All of these years later, he graduated in '93, all of these years later that the U.S. speed skating team is not winning because of its uniforms, all I can say is if they don't win now that they've switched back then they're run out of excuses.

BURNETT: It's interesting though that you're saying this is part of a broader cultural phenomenon. This blaming, that we blame, we blame, Americans.

CONCHA: Americans, in general, right? One guy who never blamed and never complained, he announced his retirement this week at the end of this baseball season. His name is Derek Jeter. The thing about Jeter was, he didn't have the greatest numbers, wasn't the best defensive shortstop, but he was a winner and never made excuses.

What we're going to see this year, you're never going to see an athlete more celebrated in terms of his retirement and celebrating his career than with Jeter because he didn't whine. He didn't complain. We see the same thing with Michael Jordan and we see the same thing with Peyton Manning. The winner who's never complained, those are the ones that we pay attention to and put up on a pedestal.

When Bode Miller says the skiing conditions at Sochi aren't great and that's why I didn't win, it was too warm there. In Vancouver, remember, it was warm there too. He won a gold there. We didn't hear a thing from him. Shaun White, that half pipe is dangerous. Everybody else that competed that night didn't have a problem with it.

So it seems like the culture starts with the media and then it extends with the athletes, but the real winners like Jeter, you near hear a people out of them.

BURNETT: That's a really interesting point. All right, Joe Concha, thank you very much.

CONCHA: Erin good to see you again. Happy Valentine's Day, by the way.

BURNETT: Thank you very much. Happy Valentine's Day. We're going to be talking about that later in the show. We have an interesting take on the day of the Valentine. Still to come, a white man fatally shoots a black teen in Florida over loud music. You've heard about this. We have late breaking news from the jury. The question, will he get off?

Then President Obama's pot deal. His latest decision could forever change how marijuana laws are enforced.

And the truth about sinkholes, just how big could the next one be?


BURNETT: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT.

President Obama's pot deal. The U.S. government for the first time is giving banks the all clear to do business with licensed marijuana companies. Obviously, this is very good news for pot businesses because a lot of them have been dealing in cash. They can now come out of the shadows and not be worried about being prosecuted by the federal government.

And today, a major headline from Saudi Arabia that I saw. Women have been officially banned from seeing male doctors without having a male guardian also present. According to, guardians include sons, grandsons, husbands, or uncles. Many women, though, say their relatives won't always be available to come with them.

As we reported on this show, Saudi women are not free to do much on their own. They can't leave the country, unless their male guardian has approved. They cannot drive. And now they have to show even men what they look like naked in the doctor's office in the name of protecting their virtue.

Well, these pictures are not of a snow-covered New York, but of an ash-covered Jakarta after a volcano erupted at Indonesia's Mt. Kelud. It's pretty amazing to look at that. Look how thick it is, like an inch or two.

It has been raining pebbles and ash for two days. The government is on high alert. Two of three people have died of smoke inhalation. The military has been called in to help evacuate more than 75,000 people from the area.

Indonesia is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area known for powerful earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

And finally on a Friday night, a runaway camel near Los Angeles. We are not kidding. Authorities today received a call that this camel was running loose, attacking people and chasing cars. I question the motive of the use of the word attack. But the camel did apparently nibble somebody. They don't believe the injury is serious.

The camel is now in custody. Animal control says they had to quarantine him because of the bite and the alleged owner does not have a permit for him. One hell of a hump.

Whatever happened of the owner, we're told the camel will not be euthanized. Well, it appears jurors are struggling to reach a verdict in the so-called loud music trial. We can report right now that they just called it a night, and they're going to be back at it tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern, trying to decide if Michael Dunn, 47- year-old white man is guilty of first-degree murder for 17-year-old Jordan Davis who is a black teenager.

Just hours ago, the injury asked the judge if it's possible to not reach a verdict on one count but reach a verdict on others. The judge said yes.

Now, the state has charged Michael Dunn with first degree for the killing of Davis at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida. He was also charged with three counts of attempted murder for the shots fired at an SUV with teens inside.

OUTFRONT, Judge Glenda Hatchett and Janet Johnson, a criminal defense attorney. I appreciate your taking the time.

Janet, let me just ask you, what did you think when you heard answer -- the jury asked the question if they couldn't reach a verdict on all counts? I mean, this is a case I know not everybody agrees but with all the gunshots that were fired, people thought guilty or innocent, that this verdict would be very quick. And here we are going into the weekend.

JANET JOHNSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, I was at the courthouse when the question came down. My first impression was it's not going to be not guilty. They're not believing it was self-defense because if they thought it was self defense, that count one is the murder, then all the other counts would be not guilty. If this was justifiable homicide, then there's no attempted murder, there's no shooting incident into the occupied vehicle.

So, what I think and what everyone at the courthouse thought was they decided maybe that those four counts of attempted murder and shooting into the vehicle, that those are guilty. But they don't know whether it's first degree, second degree or manslaughter, so they may get hung up on that murder charge.

BURNETT: Judge Hatchett, do you agree with that analysis, or do you still think there's a chance there that Mr. Dunn could be exonerated by this jury?

JUDGE GLENDA HATCHETT, AUTHOR: It's interesting because we don't know who posed the question. When the jury brings back a question and pose it, you don't know if it's one person's question or if it reflects the entire panel. It may be just to satisfy an answer for one particular juror.

And so, the real question for me is whether it is a discussion that maybe they aren't going to find first degrees murder, or maybe it is so divided in that discussion that it may be a hung injury. And I think we're all trying to read the tea leaves in this, but until we get a verdict, we honestly will not know. But I do think --

JOHNSON: But, Judge -- HATCHETT: Yes, go ahead.

JOHNSON: Judge, I -- what about the fact that same that they asked that question, they also said can we take a 30-minute break? Which implies to me, things were getting a little testy. They needed to separate and maybe they were deciding on some of the counts but not that one.

HATCHETT: I agree. Or the other thing could have happened, Janet, that they needed a break just to let tempers cool down because there may be a real division in that jury room that they can't come to a verdict.

BURNETT: Let me ask you all about that and how this jury, with the Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin case, we talked about the makeup of the jury and the lack of diversity. In this case, very diversity diverse. Four white females, two black females, four white males, an Asian female and a Hispanic male, a very diverse jury.

Does that -- I mean, again, I get to this point of this was not a case guilty or innocent on the verdict that anybody thought would take this much time. Never mind going to a weekend when you have jury who says they don't want to be doing this over the weekend.

JOHNSON: And they're sequestered, and its Valentine's Day.


HATCHETT: It's Valentine's Day. It's a long weekend. Monday is a holiday.

I'm surprised it has gone over into the weekend. I really am. And I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't get a verdict this weekend, frankly.

BURNETT: Wow. That's a pretty incredible statement, especially because they are sequestered.

HATCHETT: They are sequestered. I think that is more of a concentrated, maybe they already want to get this over with. Of course, we don't want them to rush and we want them to take their time.

BURNETT: Judge Hatchett, do you agree with Janet's point? She says they might agree on the first degree murder of this teenager Jordan Davis who was killed but not on the intent for the other three teens who are in the car. Do you think they're going to reach guilt on than crucial first charge?

HATCHETT: They may we'll be. To Janet's point, she makes a very good point. They may not be able to come to an agreement or decision that he should be charged on three counts of attempted murder because, his whole testimony is that he was focused on Jordan Davis.

BURNETT: And the question -- let me ask you this. I'm curious what you think about this, a lot of parallels have been drawn between this case and the George Zimmerman case because of the similarities here, right? You have a white man shooting a black teenager.

If he is found not guilty, Mr. Dunn, if he is found not guilty, there be a great area backlash than with the Zimmerman trial? Because in this case, there were eight shots at this kid. I mean, it wasn't as if he stopped with one shot. There were a lot of shots.

HATCHETT: I absolutely think so. I think that -- one, I think, Erin and Janet, can the nation is sensitized in a way they weren't before Zimmerman. We have to be very honest about that.

BURNETT: That's fair.

HATCHETT: People are paying close attention to this case. I do think there will be a different kind of reaction because there was no physical altercation between the two. This is a man who left the scene, who did not call the police. I mean, we could go through the whole litany of things that have happened in this case, not to minimize what happened in the Zimmerman trial by any means.

But I've talked to people of all races, cultures, economic backgrounds, ages who were really outraged, not just Africans Americans who were outraged by the Zimmerman verdict. I do think this is going to be some backlash on this.

BURNETT: All right. Well, it's going to be fascinating to see especially as the jury goes into the weekend. Thanks to both of you.

Well, help will soon be on the way to farmers in California who are struggling to make ends meet as they suffer through the worst drought in state history. The president of the United States is in California taking a look at the devastation. The White House has pledged $100 million in disaster relief which will go to farmers responsible for producing nearly half the fruits, vegetables and nuts grown in the United States.

It's not just the farmers who have been hit hard. There's only been three inches of rain in parts of California this year. And some towns are also running out of drinking water. We found one place, though, that's making it through the drought, thanks to a very unlikely choice, beer.

And Dan Simon went OUTFRONT.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One thing has been pouring in Cloverdale, California. And it's not rain. It's beer. Its local beer company has been making beers for nearly 15 years. That one is credited with helping to save the city from the crippling drought.

Richard Norgrove is its CEO.

(on camera): So, when people say, thanks to beer, Cloverdale is going to have its water needs met, you say?

RICHARD NORGROVE, SR., CEO, BEER REPUBLIC BREWERY: I say here here. SIMON (voice-over): It started with a problem that many companies would love to have. Too much demand.

(on camera): This is where the production happens with 125 bottles getting filled up every minute. Beer Republic wanted to get that number up, so it acquires some new space. There was only one problem: the city said it couldn't have any more water.

(voice-over): And with no water, there's no beer.

(on camera): What do you think?

NORGROVE: I think, well, maybe I need to pack up and go somewhere else.

SIMON (voice-over): The town would need two additional water wells. But Cloverdale, population 8,700, lacked the money, nearly a half million dollars to build them.

MAYOR CAROL RUSSELL, CLOVERDALE, CALIFORNIA: Funding is always a problem for everybody and when you're a small city and we certainly are a small city, it can be even tougher.

SIMON: And what no one realized at the time, there was going to be an even tougher problem, a record-setting drought with the local reservoir dwindling to dangerous levels. But then came Norgrove's irresistible offer.

NORGROVE: If we front you the money to put wells in, could we be somewhat guaranteed that we'd have water by July of 2014?

SIMON: The city took the money, and is in the process of constructing the wells. It's not a gift though. The money will be applied to water fees Beer Republic would have paid over time. But in the end, it gets to make more beer, and the town, according to the mayor, should have more than enough water to weather the drought and beyond.

RUSSELL: Everybody benefits. It's a wonderful arrangement.

NORGROVE: I think it's beneficial that we give back to the community. This is one way we did it. It helped us and it also helps the communities.

SIMON: And for folks who live in the small northern California town, that's worth celebrating, perhaps over a beer.

Dan Simon, CNN, Cloverdale, California.


BURNETT: Just want to share an uplifting story about the drought given how bad it is for so many.

Still to come, Pope Francis has some love advice for you. He wants you to do something he cannot.

And a man accused of selling heroin to Philip Seymour Hoffman went to court today. His friends insist he's innocent.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're shocked and believe that he's being railroaded for political reasons.


BURNETT: His lawyer exclusively, OUTFRONT, next.


BURNETT: We are back with tonight's "Outer Circle".

And we start tonight in Vatican City. Pope Francis decided to celebrate Valentine's Day and gave love advice to thousands of young engaged couples.

I asked our Erin McLaughlin who was there what he said.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, he may not exactly be Dr. Love, but he sure can draw a crowd on Valentine's Day. Some 10,000 couples from around 28 countries registered to attend a special audience with Pope Francis. There was music and comedy. I even saw smooching is going on in St. Peter's Square. It was all before Pope Francis arrived. He fielded three questions from some of the couples in the audience.

One of the couples asked him about the secret to a successful marriage. He said the answer lies in three words: permission, thanks, and forgiveness. He also had some advice for couple who might get into an argument. He said, even if you throw a plate, never end a day without being at peace with each other.

So, there you go. Some love advice from Pope Francis himself -- Erin.


BURNETT: And that was very wise advice, but it brings us to our OUTFRONT "Outtake" which is the Valentine's Day is here. And love is in the air.

All day long we spotted people on the street and it was nasty streets, you know, with all of the snow. They were carrying flowers and candy. Social media users for once were not being snarky, they were gushing about the loves of their life. And TV personalities and guests wore red and pink to celebrate the most romantic day of the year.

All over the world people smiled a little brighter. But here we dismissed it as a Hallmark holiday. When we tried to book guests for our show, a lot of them said the same thing, sorry, it's Valentine's Day. Look, even CNN employees said, oh, can we not do this today? I want to leave because it's Valentine's Day. We thought, come on. And then John Boehner sent a tweet saying you are not alone. And so we read on and the tweet said this. "This Valentine's Day, millions of Americans have broken hearts from President Obama's broken promises."

Wait, he was talking about Obamacare? Putting Obamacare in the same sentence at Valentine's Day? Oh, that was -- that was just not romantic.

Then, we found another Debbie Downer, the dating site, which encourages people to have fairs. It chose today to release an annual survey of the least faithful cities. For the third consecutive year, the nation's capital, Washington, D.C. came in first, which was sadly not a shock.

But it may just feel badly. We realize, if the other curmudgeons are John Boehner ranting about Obamacare and, then for that reason alone, we needed to embrace the day of love. So we mean it -- happy Valentine's Day.

And now, let's check in with John Berman who's in for Anderson Cooper, with a look at what's coming up on "AC360."

Hi, John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Erin. Happy Valentine's Day.

BURNETT: Yes, exactly.

BERMAN: All right. Ahead on "360" for us, we do have breaking news. A blizzard watch now in effect in Massachusetts. Ugh! Part of the severe winter storm punishing the East Coast for days, threatening more misery for travelers trying to get pretty much anywhere. Chad Myers is in the weather center for us.

This question, if you're 6'5", 300 pounds like NFL lineman Jonathan Martin, can you be bullied? The NFL today answered that question. Ahead: what you might not note how things are run in an NFL locker room. I'm going to be joined by a former NFL player and CNN's Rachel Nichols.

Also, we go back in the baby lab at Yale University to find out what's going on inside the minds of babies. What researchers have learned seems to suggest we're all born with a particular type of bias. This all coming up right at the top of the hour -- Erin.

BURNETT: I know they're born with a bias to not sleep -- as John Berman taught me, the father of twins.

All right. Thanks, John.

BERMAN: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: The alleged drug dealer suspected of selling heroin to Philip Seymour Hoffman was granted a $200,000 bond today. Robert Vineberg sat in a Manhattan courtroom as his attorney denied he was a drug dealer, said the 300 bags heroin that were found in his apartment were for personal use.

Now, the self-admitted heroin addict was arrested two days after Hoffman was found dead in his apartment from an apparent overdose. Police say Hoffman's number was found on Vineberg's cell phone. His attorney Edward Kratt says they were just friends.

And Edward joins me now exclusively OUTFRONT.

Edward, thanks very much for taking the time.

EDWARD KRATT, ATTORNEY FOR ROBERT VINEBERG: Erin, great to be here. I'm ecstatic on a Valentine's Day to be here.

BURNETT: Someone who would be here.

Let me ask you this -- the judge didn't seem to buy the claim that you and your client are making that the 300 bags of heroin found in Vineberg's apartment were for personal use. There was also $1,300 of cash. The judge said, look, if you don't have a job, why would you have this much cash sitting around if you weren't a drug dealer? That much cash and that much heroin. So, what's your response to that?

KRATT: Well, the judge had certain facts from those facts he drew certain conclusions. I have a set of facts that he's not privy to and I've drawn the opposite conclusion. Clearly --

BURNETT: What can you tell us that would of that that would say, look, you have 300 bags in your apartment and that is not anything more than you'd need just for personal use?

KRATT: Well, Mr. Vineberg confided in me the extent of his addiction which is 10 bags a day. So, if you do the quick math, we're talking about 300 bags supply of a month.

You know, I'm not contending that each and every bag was for him but the substantial amount of drugs that were found in his apartment were for personal use.

BURNETT: Now, when you say you're not contending each and every bag was for him, obviously his phone number was found, Philip's phone number was found in your client Vineberg's cell phone. That's one of the reason authorities think he may have been dealing drugs to him.

I mean, this point, did your client ever give, sell heroin to Philip Seymour Hoffman?

KRATT: Well, I'd rather not comment on that. But I will say that Mr. Vineberg and Mr. Hoffman were friends and had been friends for a considerable period of time. Whether they bonded over drugs or bonded over their struggle to kick drugs, that's clearly an issue. But --

BURNETT: So your issue is with the term dealer. It sounds like you're not really contesting that they may have sold him. They may have done drugs together. He may have given him some.

But you're trying to say the dealing itself is a different thing? KRATT: Clearly, no profit motive here at all. And that would be informed by the fact that you know, the small amount of drugs and small amount of money, $1,000 in the drug business is nothing. It's ridiculous.

On top of that, there was no indicia of paraphernalia or in the apartment which would indicate a real enterprise as supposed to having drugs for personal use.

BURNETT: OK. So let me ask you this. Robert Vineberg says he's a scapegoat and told the "New York post" that he could have saved Hoffman. What did he mean when he said that?

KRATT: I think what he meant was that he had a personal relationship with Hoffman. And that he might have been in a position to advise him or if he was in trouble to assist him in a certain way. I think that's what he meant.

BURNETT: So when people -- you know, obviously there's so much attention on this case and that's why your client is getting attention. You know, if it turns that they can prove that the heroin that Philip Seymour Hoffman, that dose he died from came from your client, from Robert Vineberg, whether it was purchased without a profit motive or not, that puts your client on the hook for very serious charges.

KRATT: I think clearly at this point, that the prosecution has reached the conclusion that the narcotics that Mr. Hoffman took that resulted in his overdose did not come from Mr. Vineberg. There were two separate stamps, different stamps. There was different purity levels.

And, in fact, Mr. Vineberg had not been in contact with Mr. Hoffman for some period of time. So --

BURNETT: For some period of time. You're saying it wasn't part of the recent stuff that was found and Philip Seymour Hoffman, it did not come from Mr. Vineberg.

KRATT: Yes, initially, based on a statement of an informant, the prosecution had some question as to whether Mr. Vineberg was the individual who supplied Mr. Hoffman within that fatal dose of heroin. Clearly, I think they've come to the conclusion that's not the case.

BURNETT: Well, thank you very much, Edward.

KRATT: Thank you.

BURNETT: We appreciate your taking the time as people follow this case so carefully and the tests that it may provide in terms of whether a dealer could be charged with some sort of murder in the death of an addict.

Still to come, massive sinkholes have wreaked havoc in a number of states. Is the worst of this behind us? We're going to take a look. We have a special report, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: One of the stories we've been following all week is the massive sinkhole that opened up the National Corvette Museum in Bowling, Kentucky. Eight classic cars were damaged, many of them falling into the earth. They looked like toys the way they fell.

Last night, we got an update from the director. He told me as a game plan for how to get them out of the hole involving a crane in through the roof. Today, General Motors is going to oversee is the vehicles restoration.

Now, our sinkhole segments have been popular discussions. We're all fascinated by them, probably because of their sudden and destructive nature. I mean, over the past few months and years, we've seen cars, trucks, boats, even entire houses disappear into the ground in a blink of an eye, with no warning.

And yet, some of the most incredible sinkholes exist where we don't see them at all underwater. In fact, one of the world's largest exists off the coast of the Bahamas. This video shots by (INAUDIBLE), a world champion free driver, we can see how exceptional the hole is, 663 feet. He went in one breath, touch the bottom and came back up. It sounds incredible.

Did you realize sinkholes can be three times that size? Three times that size and one could be under you right now.

Happy Valentine's Day.

"AC360" with John Berman is next.