Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
At Least 19 Dead In Ukraine Clashes; Christie Shows The GOP The Money; Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is Still Captured by Taliban; U.N.'s Released Picture was Fake; Exclusive Interview with Mike Rowe; Jimmy Fallon, New Host of "The Tonight Show"
Aired February 18, 2014 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Next breaking news, violence spiralling out of control in Kiev tonight. Americans warned to stay indoors, 19 dead. We're going to go there live.
Plus, show me the money. Chris Christie cancels a town hall today, but he has time for a fundraiser.
And Mike Rowe of "Dirty Jobs Fame" on his controversial Wal-Mart ad. Why the champion for the working man is proud to be a sellout. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. We begin tonight OUTFRONT with the breaking news. At least 19 people at this moment dead in fierce and fiery clashes in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. More than 40 police officers, 150 protesters are reportedly injured tonight. These are live pictures that you are looking at in Kiev, obviously in the early hours of tomorrow morning.
The government cracking down ferociously on protesters who oppose the government's decision to ally with Vladimir Putin's Russia instead of the west. Vice President Biden called the Ukrainian president today to express quote, "grave concern" urging him to pull back government forces, and to exercise maximum restraint.
Kiev which has the same population as Chicago as you can literally on fire tonight. Our Phil Black is there on the scene and joins me on the phone tonight. Phil, how do things look there now?
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Erin, thousands of opposition protesters have fallen back to independent square in the center of the city and here set up lines and barricades, all involved some way in an effort to try and hold on to this space because they believe the security forces will try and force them out at some point during the night.
At the front, there are young men with homemade shields and behind them, crowds of men and women of all ages beating them with supplies, stones, rocks, chipping away at the road and providing them with ammunition. Lighting huge bonfires here, all of it a defensive effort to try and keep the security forces at bay in what has been the most deadly day of violence throughout this crisis -- Erin.
BURNETT: Phil, obviously this crisis has been going on for several months, but this has really tonight risen to a whole new level when you're looking at the dead and these bonfires throughout the city and as you said in independence square. Is there an end in sight as to what aware seeing, which is an incredibly ferocious standoff now in the streets?
BLACK: Well, tonight we know that opposition party leaders are meeting with the president. They've been talking for some time now, talking for months really and have not been able to -- they want the president to go. They want new elections. They want this country to be closer to Europe and he's resisted that. There is a hope I guess that after such a deadly day, after paying such a price with at least 19 lives that it might be able to (inaudible) to close the gap between them.
Here in the square, there is expectation these people will stop pounding rocks and ammunition. That there is going to be any peaceful settlement, they do not believe that this can end well, certainly not vehemently -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Phil Black, thank you very much, as we said on the scene, on the streets in Kiev tonight.
Now to our other top story, show me the money right now, scandal plagued New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is the behind closed doors at a big money private fundraiser for Senate Republicans. This is taking place right now, right behind these nondescript closed doors in Manhattan. This is a live picture of the Harvard Club in New York City.
The event is chock full of major Republican donors, supporters and lawmakers, which include Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. But for the second time in a row, Christie has postponed a town hall meeting, which was scheduled for this morning. The reason given snowy weather conditions in the state, that's now rescheduled for Thursday.
When it happens, it will be the first time Christie faces questions in person from voters since the George Washington Bridge scandal exploded. Christie, of course, vehemently denies knowing anything about his administration's involvement in shutting down lanes on the bridge for political retribution.
Joining me now the host of "New Jersey Capitol Report," Steve Adubato and CNN political commentator, Paul Begala. Let me start with you, Steve. Postponing this town hall again, smart or not especially on the same day you're meeting with very wealthy donors at The Harvard Club.
STEVE ADUBATO, HOST, "NEW JERSEY CAPITOL REPORT": Look, it's complicated. The optics of it, I can understand the argument that you and others are making this doesn't look right. New Jersey in terms of moving around as someone who had to get here to Manhattan from New Jersey, not easy, not making an excuse for the governor, but the fact is, it is hard to get around. So if you argue safety first, you want to make sure people can get there safely. I'll say this --
BURNETT: People coming to the town hall -- ADUBATO: Here's the thing. You hold that town meeting Thursday, there better be a pretty big storm if you're going to cancel it again and here's why. Governor Christie needs to demonstrate that he is the governor governing the state. Those town meetings were in fact, and you know this as well as I do, they were a key part of who he was in the first time and how he got to be the governor who got 62 percent of the vote over a Democratic opponent, right?
So he's got to hold that town meeting. He's got to answer all the questions, totally unscripted, right? And he's got to be that Chris Christie, but I would argue a kinder, gentler Chris Christie meaning tough and strong, but not as in your face, if you will. But he can't cancel again. He just can't.
BURNETT: Paul, can he do that? Can he be that Chris Christie that Steve is describing?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you know, I think Steve's exactly right. I think he has to be. I actually don't think he's got a kinder, gentler gear. Steve's been watching him more closely. He was terrific after Sandy. That's true. If he could go an hour at a town hall meeting and not call one of his own constituents an idiot, I'll be very surprised and I'll be impressed.
This guy is a real political talent. Don't get me wrong. He has terrific talent. The fact he's being sidelined. He went to Florida last month. The governor there, Rick Scott, is up for re-election, would not appear with him. Then he went to my beloved Texas, pretty red state. Barack Obama lost Texas by 16 points to Mitt Romney.
The politician Republicans there would not appear with him, not even Rick Perry who does a lot of dumb things. So these guys are all running from him like the devil runs from holy water. That's a real problem for the Republicans when one of their most talented politicians is halfway sidelined.
He can raise a lot of money and that's great, but he's fighting with one hand tied behind his back, which he is not able to use that political talent to help his party.
ADUBATO: Paul, I hear what you're saying. You know the Democratic side really well, but here's the thing. The Republicans want Chris Christie out there. He raised, as you know, a record $6 million on behalf of the Republican Governor's Association in January. That's twice the amount, if I'm not mistaken, Erin, twice the amount that anybody ever raised in that position as head of the Republican Governors Association.
The question is, Paul, how do you continue to raise that money while some Republican candidates running for governor are like, Governor, we'll take the money, but listen, we don't have to take the picture, do we? Over time, that's going to be a problem. Chris Christie knows that. My opinion is this.
Chris Christie needs to get the message to some of those folks. You want the money. You can't be running from me, and I'm telling you, they want that money. And that doesn't mean they know everything that's happened here or they know how it's going to end. You can't be running from someone if you're going to take their money.
BURNETT: Paul, what also seems interesting to me about this point is there are plenty of Republicans out there, some of whom, by the way, want to run against Christie in this 2016, right?
ADUBATO: The presidential.
BURNETT: Right. They -- look, they clearly, they're happy sort of that this is all happening right now, right? But as long as money matters and money is what matters, is that going to be what determines his fate? As long as he can still raise money, he's going to be the front runner? Forget what the polls say right now.
BEGALA: Even before the bridge scandal, I've been a dissenter about the notion of Chris Christie ultimately being the Republicans' nominee. I could be wrong, I often am. I never thought, first off, I think he's too regional. I didn't believe he would play very well in the south and the Midwest.
But also I think it's very likely that if he gets out there, he does the same schtick that worked so well in New Jersey calling his citizens idiots and does that a nice lady in Ottumwa, Iowa? No way. I also think frankly for his party he is a little too moderate. He took the Obama money for Medicaid. He obviously hugged President Obama on Sandy. I think he's got some positions where the base --
BURNETT: Incredibly tight gun laws, some of the tightest in the country.
ADUBATO: But I'll just say this, I think -- I do not think Chris Christie, the idiot thing you keep repeating, Paul, I hear you. Yes, my opinion over the top, but I'll tell you what, I believe Chris Christie understands that some of that language is not only over the top, but inappropriate.
And he can still be a tough, strong, aggressive governor and still without being rude to people. I think he can pull it off. I think he knows he has to pull it off, particularly now.
BURNETT: Steve, let me ask you about his two-time campaign manager. He fired him aggressively just like he did --
ADUBATO: Bill Stepian.
BURNETT: Bill Stepian and also of course, Brigitte Kelly. Bill Stepian is rejecting the subpoena. He is not giving the information over. My question to you is why. There's still this question that people have there might it be something to hide no matter how (inaudible) the governor denies it.
ADUBATO: OK, anyone who says that they know why Bill Stepian or anyone else is pleading the fifth or the fourth amendment, you'd better be his lawyer if you know that. I don't know why, but I'll say this. There's the legal process, the legal court system and you have every right to do that constitutionally. I understand that. If you're the lawyer, you may say listen, let's work out a deal, do whatever you want to do.
But in the court of public opinion, let's not kid ourselves, and Chris Christie knows this, sooner or later, those people keep adding up who say I'm not going to testify. I want to plead the fifth, the fourth, it doesn't look good. It looks like there's something to hide even if they don't have anything to hide, particularly because the governor has said I want my people to cooperate.
To the average person, pleading the fourth and the Fifth Amendment doesn't look like that. So my opinion is this, people are going to have to start cooperating and cooperating to me means turning everything over.
BURNETT: Right. All right, well, thanks very much to both of you. We appreciate it. Interesting Paul's thing that he dissents in terms of the frontrunner status, certainly the polls show that right now, Paul.
ADUBATO: I don't think the Republicans are burning it up with any hot candidates on the other side.
BURNETT: All right, thanks to both.
OUTFRONT next, the star of "Dirty Jobs" Mike Rowe called a sellout for teaming up with Wal-Mart. Tonight OUTFRONT, he responds.
Plus, a vase worth $1 million smashed in a museum. The entire thing caught on video, which you will see and why some think it's time for America to make a deal with the Taliban.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clearly if negotiations do resume at some point, we will want to talk to the Taliban about the safe return of Sergeant Bergdahl.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Trying to make a deal with the Taliban. There is word tonight that the United States government is trying to negotiate the release of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl who has been held captive by a Taliban-affiliated group for nearly five years. He is the only known American prisoner in Afghanistan.
In exchange for Bergdahl, the United States reportedly would free five senior Taliban prisoners currently held at Guantanamo Bay. For Bergdahl's family in rural Idaho, the wait is excruciating. Ed Lavandera has been following this story since Bergdahl was first captured and he begins our coverage now.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The only snapshots we've seen of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl in nearly five years are from a handful of videos posted by his captors.
ARMY SERGEANT BOWE BERGDAHL, CAPTURED BY TALIBAN: Let me go. Let me to go, just release, get meet to be released.
LAVANDERA: His mother and father have waited and waited for their son's release. They live in the small town of Hailey, Idaho, this is banner showing the weathered strains of this painful ordeal has hung outside the coffee shop where Bowe worked before he joined the army. The Bergdahl family has mostly shunned the spotlight but occasionally speaks out publicly in hopes their son can hear their words.
ROBERT BERGDAHL, CAPTURED SERGEANT'S FATHER: I will not leave you on the battlefield, Bowe. These people here will not leave you on the battlefield. Your country will not leave you. You are not forgotten.
LAVANDERA: Robert Bergdahl has become a self-made expert in the Pakistani cultures reading voraciously and teaching himself to speak Pashtu, the language of his son's captors
R. BERGDAHL: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
LAVANDERA: But Bowe Bergdahl's parents have been here before, talk of a prisoner exchange between the United States and the Taliban has come up many times in the past, each time the talks have fallen apart. The Bergdahls released a statement on Tuesday saying they are quote "cautiously optimistic these renewed talks will lead to their son's safe return.
CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen says is the time is right for the Taliban to agree to a prisoner exchange.
PETER BERGEN, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: I think the timing by now is pretty good because U.S. is leaving Afghanistan. They are pulling our combat forces. That's what the Taliban wants. You know, the United States can sort of say well the war is winding down. At the end of every war we do a prisoner exchange. You know, I think the -- and the politics around this is better.
LAVANDERA: Bowe Bergdahl's picture since in the U.S. military central command offices, a reminder the fight to bring him home isn't over.
R. BERGDAHL: Have faith. Do good works. Continue to tell the truth. But above all, have the patience that can be only come from God. We are being tested and God tests those who he knows can persevere.
LAVANDERA: It's a test of emotional endurance for Bowe Bergdahl's family waiting nearly five years to hold their son again.
Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.
BURNETT: Gunnery Sergeant Jessie Jane duff is a 20-year veteran of the Marine Corps who provided logistical support to combat unit in Iraq and Afghanistan. Press secretary Jay Carney today said the U.S. isn't actively negotiating with the Taliban, but clearly something is going on.
And I really appreciate your taking the time, Jessie. Let me just say, first of course, everyone feels for the family here. I mean, they have been missing their son for five years. Apparently though Bergdahl walked away from his base. And it is very unclear what the circumstances were. Should that have any influence on whether the United States does a deal with the Taliban to get his release?
GUNNERY SGT, JESSIE JANE DUFF, RETIRED U.S. MARINE CORPS: This it is definitely very emotional for the family and however, our military forces are fully aware, when you abandon post you put yourself at great risk such as this. He has not been declared a prisoner of war by DOD. It is basically that his whereabouts are unknown. That's how he's classified.
So, for the past three years, this has been a dilemma. If we look at releasing prisoners that in Guantanamo Bay, we need to understand that these are some of the most egregious of all the prisoners left and remaining. We've already found 60 of them return to the battlefield that we had released, 30 of them DOD has listed by name. So, are we going to look at more Americans and our allies slaughtered and killed by these terrorists? These are the worst of the worst remaining in Guantanamo.
BURNETT: And now, you know look, a lot of people share your point of view. But, when you think about it this way, there have been at least half a dozen prison breaks in Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen. Thousands of terrorists have escaped over the past year. I mean, the numbers are pretty stunning. And people don't look at it every day. But there are prison breaks that are happening. You might look at it this way. Will trading five more really make the world more dangerous for the United States?
DUFF: You know, that's somewhat insulting though to those that sacrificed their lives. We have 6800 dead in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have close to 400 who have -- 400,000 that have traumatic injuries. We're talking about missing limbs and brain injury. Tell that to their families. Because the reality is, that would be like releasing a murder in the backyard of any one of us. We would be appalled. They have slaughtered our own. So this is troubling when we look at the outcome to release him and have further future death.
BURNETT: So, for the bottom line is, do you think that then the U.S. government should just let him stay there?
DUFF: You know, this is troubling. I don't want to see him stay there. I don't think anybody wants to see him in this situation. Yet, it is causing a great dilemma for all of us that that are observing from the outside and our government officials. It has been very turbulent with Carsai. He could helped us negotiate with Pakistan. The two administration have allowed us to become very, very tedious and at best difficult.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Gunnery Sergeant Jessie Jane Duff. We appreciate you are taking the time.
And of course, again, I want to emphasize, we don't know exactly why Sergeant Bergdahl left that base that night.
Still to come, the picture that capture the world's attention yesterday. The real story behind it coming up.
And the star of "Dirty Jobs," Mike Rowe, sell out for teaming up Wal- Mart. You know what, he said bring it on. I embrace it. He is OUTFRONT tonight.
We will be back.
BURNETT: Tonight, the White House against drastic military action is off the table when it comes to ending the civil war in Syria. That bloody conflict has been captured in a photograph, the image we showed you last night. This Syrian child named Marwan (ph) surrounded by U.N. workers as he tried to the desert in Jordan.
Now, his family, we were told as the time when this picture was released was nowhere to be seen. But sometimes a pictures shows only one angle. And we are taking a close to look at the picture.
And Bill, you know, you really took the time here to look into this and it was a little bit different than you thought, but still very pointing.
BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm sure as a new mom it has touched you, the way it did me. I saw this and it just sent my heart right into my throat. So, I had to do again. I bit obsessed all day and there it is, as Erin said. Little boy, big desert according to the U.N. worker who took that picture. According to him, that little boy's name is Marwan (ph). Her is four. And he lives on the other side of that big desert which now happens to be arguably the worst place in the world, Syria. A place where men from the government filled giant barrels with explosives and scrap metal and rustic cattery. They light a fuse and kick it out of the helicopter into the neighborhoods below.
And the guys fighting, those guys, it is like star wars can't keen a terrorist and Jihadist and freedom fighters and possible with all the good guys from the past. There is no wonder that must too have million people have fled Syria including this little guy, who somehow crossed that big desert to get the safety of Jordan, somehow, got separated from his family.
And somehow, after three years that China digest a whore show of this for, that's the photograph that absolutely jammed me inside. And granted it is as iconic, it is not as horrific as this one. Her name is Kim and when she was nine, (INAUDIBLE) that he is playing accidentally made palm the village were about for close.
But after 17 surgeries, she grew up and started an American foundation to help children's scarred by war. It's beautiful, right? So if Kim can get out of that hell, maybe this hold for Marwan (ph). But where is his family? A wave of concern followed that picture all around the world. So the U.N. workers started tweeting updates. He had been reunited shortly after crossing a boarder. But how long was he out there alone? Well, photos were examined and enhanced, then you can see him struggling, struggling, separated but not alone which brings a bit of relief followed by conspiracy theories.
This is another attempt of propaganda for a march to intervention against Syria? If so, your image fails. Someone named Bruno tweeted that the U.N. as funny, history repeats. Thanks to his White House tape recorder, we know that Richard Nixon, when he saw those pictures of Kim, earned from Nay Palms (ph), said I wonder if that was fixed, as if anyone needed to manufacturing the horror in Vietnam.
So the insinuation from this little corner of the Internet is that Marwan (ph) is sort of -- some sort of wag the dog prop. You remember the movie? But the White House says Dustin Hoffman, the director used an actress in the sound stage in a computer generated cat to beat the drums of war.
Well, after dozen years of Americans dying in the desert, it is going to take a lot more than Marwan (ph) to convinced any of us. It is a smart move to invade Syria these days. The Obama administration there, out of ideas. It is frustrating they out of ideas.
And as long as Russia keeps propping up the chinless eye doctor turned pirates Bashar al-Assad, the bullets will keep flying, families will keep flame, but that doesn't mean we can't rally around survivors.
And I talked to a brain scientist today and said it helps for us to actually focus on the little stories to make sense of mass tragedies. Handed away Malala sort of distills the fight against religious madness. So she was 11, she began blogging about life under the Pakistani Taliban. Just 14 when they shot her in the head for that. Of course, she survived and became a symbol of strength. And where was she yesterday? Well, she was on the Syria-Jordan boarder greeting refugees like the Marwan's (ph) family, helping carry their stuff, helping them grieve.
So, our diplomats argue in Abu Dhabi tonight about stopping this war, I guess all we can do is root for the Malalas and Kims and the Marwans (ph) and the people out there devoting their lives in trying to help.
BURNETT: Yes, that's pretty amazing when you look at that picture. How do you pull that, you know. (INAUDIBLE) but it did show different story.
WEIR: Yes. And it is interesting to note that neither Bashar al- Assad or any of his stuff deputies, they claim to care about the Syrians, none of them have visited any of this massive refugee camps in Lebanon and Turkey or there in Jordan.
WEIR: This is kind of long. BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks very much, Bill. Appreciate it.
And still to come, the host of "Dirty Jobs" comes OUTFRONT to respond to his critics if he has sell out for teaming up with Wal-Mart.
Plus, the all new "Tonight Show" debuted last night, just in case you were under the planet, did not happen (INAUDIBLE). The question is, was Jimmy Fallon, a hit or a miss. Jeanne Moos investigates appropriately.
And mountain turbulence, have you ever heard the term? And could it hit your next flight.
BURNETT: And welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT.
Mountain wave turbulence, that is apparently what made heading United Airlines flight turned 119 people when it is about land in Billings, Montana Monday night. Experts say this kind of turbulence happens when wind blows over the top of the mountain that can cause planes to surge or plunge a thousand feet. Unite is looking into the incident. It is clear passengers though were caught utterly off guard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERRI MULLINS, PASSENGER: In that split second, we were tilting to the far right and ponging and it was just instantaneous everything that everybody had in their hands were flying through the air.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Seems remarkably calm when you just consider the fear you might have. Five of them were taken to the hospital. One woman had to feeling too harsh, she cracked the panel above her head.
And a buzz buys in a million dollars created by the famous Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei, has been destroyed by fellow artist. Let's show the video.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
BURNETT: You can this man and Miami's spreads are -- in casually pick up the pot and just let it go. You can see the pleasure with when he did it too. He was protesting the museum's position to only display international art. Ai Weiwei was telling to CNN quote " the protest itself may be valid, but to damage somebody's work, to do that is questionable." That's a pretty kind response. I would have used the word much stronger than questionable. The vandal has been charged with criminal mischief.
Olympic working man's champion selling out to Wal-Mart. You bet he is. We are talking about reality star, Mike Rowe. As we first told you last week, Rowe, the former host of reality TV show "Dirty Jobs" has come under incredible fire for narrating a Wal-Mart ad. The as promote Wal-Mart's pledge to buy more American made goods. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will build famous, will build families, and build dreams because work is beautiful thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now, to understands some of the outrage over Rowe's role in that commercial, you first need to know more about how Rowe got to where he is today.
BURNET (voice-over): Mike Rowe doesn't mind getting dirty. The former host of the Discovery Channel hit reality show "Dirty Jobs" has pretty much seen at all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to hell.
BURNETT: From working at a sewage treatment plant to drilling for oil to carrying for camel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 98.6. This camel is a person.
BURNETT: All in the name of showcasing the grandest, slimiest, not to mention smelliest jobs in the world. TV carrier began as the pitch man for QBC selling knick knacks in the middle of the night. After three years of selling everything from Porsche (ph) doll to cat toys, he landed major gigs on Shark Week, Deadliest Catch, American Chopper, even Sesame Street.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kind of dirty job can you do exactly?
BURNETT: Rowe is used his celebrity status to be a voice for the working man. In 2008, her launched the Web site, mybroworks.com to help promote blue collar job. In 2012, he joins Mitt Romney on the campaign trail to get people interested in construction and manufacturing.
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A man who cares about the American worker like almost no one else, my friend, Mike Rowe.
BURNETT: But now, Mike Rowe's commitment to average Joe is being called into question. Critics say he is a corporate sell out for teaming up with Wal-Mart on this commercial.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is time to get back to what American does best.
BURNETT: Critics blasted Rowe in social media writing, I looked up to you for the longest time. What happened to your support of the underdogs? Sad times Mike. \
BURNETT: And Mike Rowe joins me now.
All right, what happened to your support to the underdogs? Sad times Mike. Rise Kevin and you say to him?
MIKE ROWE, AMERICAN MEDIA PERSONALITY: Kevin, listen. What if people find what they look for, right? And you can look at "Dirty Jobs" and you can see an honest tribute to hardworking skilled labor. And that is exactly what it was. But it was also a tribute to risk and entrepreneurship and the business.
There was always two sides of the same coin, you know. And so, for me, I have never looked at it as selling in or selling out. It is just work. And the idea of it, you can either be on the employee side or the employer side. It is a bad choice, you know. And I just don't want to make it.
BURNETT: And I want to just to make it clear here, because you were there with Mitt Romney on stage, you never actually endorsed him, right?
BURNETT: Some people like see you on home grown, OK. Well this guy is Republican and this -- right? You are saying no? You don't work for anyone?
ROWE: Right now, what is going on in the country, as I'm sure you know is, there is certain things, if you touch them, people immediately can't hear what you say, what they are going to do is they are going to look at who are you talking to.
Like a couple of months ago, I did appearance with Bill Maher on HBO. And later the same week, Glenn Beck. We talked about the same exact stuff, manufacturing, skilled labor, we talked about college debt, we talked about these things. Same stuff I have been talking about since I started a foundation back in 2008. But the explosion didn't come from anything anybody said. It just came from who I was talking to.
So, it is the same thing with Wal-Mart, you know, it's -- I think my comment to Kevin was, you know, it is hell of a thing when somebody you have been trained not to like, suddenly does something that you actually agree with. It is cognitive business and it enforces you to look at American manufacturing as separate and apart from really everything.
BURNETT: Now, some of the other comments, not just Kevin. Some had wrote, RonApple (ph), it is hypocrisy. Wal-Mart's products were all made in China. Wal-Mart contributes to those empty factories. So, what is so powerful about an ad that makes absolutely no sense.
I looked at the numbers. I can only policy institute did find that from 2201 to 2206, so obviously, these (INAUDIBLE) numbers, not up to date but, 133,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs were lost to China because of Wal-Mart. So the what do you say when someone comes to you and says, you're supposed to be the guy who wants jobs here in the U.S.? Wal-Mart's not doing that.
ROWE: I'm not a spokesman for Wal-Mart. I'm a spokesman for American manufacturing, self-appointed maybe, but I am a fan. So, I feel like when a company that has a reputation, deservedly or not for doing a thing a lot of people disagree with, suddenly does a thing that people have been calling for, for decades.
BURNETT: Investing $250 billion in the U.S. manufacturing like they say.
ROWE: It's a quarter of a trillion dollars. It's like a PO to the U.S. economy for a quarter of a trillion dollars, right? Now, there are a number of ways. If you really want to twist yourself up to feel bad about that. But you can also step back and you know something, I hope they work. I hope this works.
BURNETT: So, are you proud of that? Or does any of this -- I mean, let's go with the numbers. Seven million people have seen this on Facebook. Half a million people are involved in this conversation with you. A lot of them are mad, some of them are defending you.
BURNETT: But, you're going to say tonight to look I'm still proud I did that ad?
ROWE: Of course. Look, here's my favorite part.
ROWE: You have to think of it in terms of PR and the big criticism is, it's just a PR campaign, dude. They're using you for PR.
BURNETT: That's right. People say too that to you.
BURNETT: And I say, well, sure they are. But don't you think maybe it's possible I'm using that, as well? What's it take for me to get on your show? Right? I have to have somebody somewhere get suddenly upset because something suddenly feels counterintuitive. Now I get a chance to talk about my non-profit foundation, I got a chance to talk about skilled labor, work ethic scholarships, a whole list of things that I genuinely believe are decent for the country.
BURNETT: All right, well, still to come, we got much more of our conversation with Mike Rowe because I wanted to ask him about something really important we've been talking about on this show which is whether he agrees with this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This country should not talk about envy of the one percent. It should talk about emulating the one percent. The one percent work harder.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And now let's check in with Anderson and look at what's coming up on "AC 360." Hey, Anderson.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, AC 360: Hey, Erin.
Yes, we have a lot more breaking news tonight. I want to show live pictures of Kiev, a city in Ukraine where protesters are clashing with police. A bloody day with 19 people both police and protesters reportedly dead. A live report from the middle of the mayhem ahead tonight.
Also tonight, we are Keeping Then Honest, hard look at lobbying, not just the thousands of run of the mill lobbyist who's earn a healthy living in Washington. You know about those. But some of the members of Congress whose actual family members are lobbyists, some with important committee appointments, all that and more at the top of the hour, Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Anderson, I'm looking forward to that. We'll see you in a few minutes.
And now we're back with Mike Rowe, the former host of the reality TV show "Dirty Jobs."
All right, I want to get your take on some comments that have incensed a lot of people. I want to play them for you. Sam Zell, the CEO of fashion company called Nicole Miller and the venture capitalist, Tom Perkins. Here goes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAM ZELL, BIOLLIONAIRE AND REAL ESTATE MOGUL: This country should not talk about envy of the one percent. It should talk about emulating the one percent. The one percent work harder.
BUD KONHEIM, CEO, NICOLE MILLER: We've got a country that the poverty level is wealth in 99 percent of the rest of the world. And so, we're talking about how woe is us, the guy that's making oh, 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 or something like that, China, any place that kind is wealthy.
TOM PERKINS, VENTURE CAPITALIST: 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?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, let's start with that one.
ROWE: Good luck with that.
BURNETT: I mean, what do you think? I mean, these guys are saying, you know, they're being picked on.
ROWE: I'm with the middle guy.
BURNETT: You are with the middle guy.
ROWE: I'm with the middle guy in the sense that you just have to decide how bad you want to feel in advance of making your argument. Context matters. So if you're going to talk about the one percent, you can't do it in a vacuum. Is it the one percent of the United States or is it the one percent of the world?
We're in a global economy. I mean, I'm no economist but I'm pretty sure we compete globally. We import, we export. That's how we measure ourselves and our country. But how come when we're talking about who's in the one percent and who's not, we're not looking at the population of the globe? Why do we suddenly narrow it to our country. I mean -- and it is great. And I'm happy to have the conversation too about, OK, let's talk about the country. You have to decide going in first, what's the context?
BURNETT: He's saying what he's saying is true, all right? If they lived in those other countries and made the salary they make here, they'd be wealthy. But it seems really insensitive to say that. They don't live there. They can't go there. They make, you know, minimum wage in this country and they can't buy the things they need. I mean, it is --
ROWE: It is a trap, right? Because whenever your argument depends upon some kind of relative comparison, you need to defend the fact that you're making the comparison in the relative way that you are. So, it falls in my opinion, and again, what do I know.
Look, I've spent ten years crawling through sewers, painting bridges, sexing chickens, milking camels. I work with people who don't have time to talk about who's got it worse and who is got it better. The jobs on "Dirty Jobs" to a T were opportunities. And that was the big lesson. That's what people looked at. It wasn't about there's more over here, less over here. It was about what can I do to advance faster?
BURNETT: So then, on that front, let's talk about a minimum wage. Because there's a huge fight in Washington going on about this. You know, the president wants to raise it to $10.10 an hour. The CBO came out today, the government agency, and said look, if you do that, you have some jobs that go away but you will reduce poverty. Do you believe that? Is raising the minimum wage a smart thing to do?
ROWE: I'm so flattered that you would ask me that. You know who I am, right? I'm a simple man.
BURNETT: Well, I mean, and I know this because I thought about how I phrased it. You're not an economist. But you've worked with people. Are people going to suddenly say, I'm going to work harder or I am going to? Are they going to lose their jobs? What do you think from those jobs you looked at?
ROWE: My foundation awards work ethic scholarships because I do believe in a very general way that we get the kind of behavior we reward. So scholarships can reward academia, they can reward athleticism or talent or need. I prefer to reward work ethic. So to answer your question, in a general way, I do believe that we confuse causes and symptoms a lot. And I think right now, a lot of things we talk about as problems, a crumbling infrastructure, a widening skills gap, a trillion dollars in student loans. I think all these things might be symptoms of what we believe and how we feel and the way we've been trained to think. It's just a theory. I don't know. But that was my lesson on "Dirty Jobs."
People used to ask me all the time, how come everybody's laughing? How come everybody's having such a good time on your show? They're covered in crap or something worse. And the truth is, because so many of those people had prospered doing a thing that the majority of us would never contemplate.
BURNETT: And they took -- there was some sort of I'm sure a real pride in that.
ROWE: You were going to say perverse pride and you're right.
BURNETT: Some of the jobs were rather perverse was the only thing I was thinking.
ROWE: It's more about taking the reverse commute and feel really shrewd about doing it. And I believe that's --
BURNETT: That's an interesting analogy.
Let me just also have you weigh in on this though, because both of these people may be running for president. I think what they both had to say on one of the big issues of our time, income equality is important and let me play them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The middle class has been 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.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: 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?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Who's right?
ROWE: I think the last guy a little bit more, only because I think it's a false --
BURNETT: Don't tell me you don't know who that guy is.
ROWE: I don't want to drop names. I just drove across the G. W. Bridge, OK? It only took me 20 minutes. I'm OK. No. The thing is, the idea that everybody who is poor and everybody who is in the middle and everybody who is wealthy stays there is their whole life. That I don't believe. I think there's a lot of moving back and forth. And I think it's dangerous to say this group is always going to be in this spot.
BURNETT: Before we go, I want you to know I took a very perverse pleasure in doing a very dirty job that you have also done.
ROWE: That's a tease. That's a tease, Erin.
BURNETT: I'm going to show you doing the job, me doing the job. We got it. We got the video here of this particular job?
ROWE: I can't even imagine what's about to happen.
BURNETT: There's you. That's a camel.
ROWE: There is a difference.
BURNETT: There you go.
ROWE: Look at you.
BURNETT: Yes. I've milked a camel.
ROWE: You were like wrapped in bubble pack, what did you think was going to happen to you?
BURNETT: I almost die of heat, by the way because of that bubble pack.
ROWE: Look at you. You look like a giant Q tip. Are you going to crawl inside the thing? That's extraordinary. That's commitment. That's no minimum wage gig, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much.
ROWE: You should talk to your boss. Call Osha. There's going to be overtime, there is going to be perks.
BURNETT: I'm suing.
ROWE: That camel -- get the camel's name. You're going to be very popular down on the farm.
BURNETT: Thank you very much. All right.
89-year-old actress Elaine Strich appeared on the today show this morning. And actually, I got Mike Rowe here will appreciate this. It didn't go as planned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Elaine, you are so beloved but as much for your work, of course, but for your mouth, you know. You say whatever you want to say.
ELAINE STRICH, ACTRESS: Thank God it hasn't been not passed on television. If you just say things naturally, it's fine. They just think and (mute).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, dear. Oh, dear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROWE: She's fantastic.
BURNETT: Yes, she said the f word. Hoda and Kathy Lee flustered. Somewhat offended. Not Elaine who tweeted, love these broads but no f-ing way they get the last word on this show. It seems silly that the f bomb is still considered shocking because it is being used on the air so often. If you don't believe us, take a look. We've got the proof.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dozens of people were forced from their homes. Good morning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know when we're going. Near does Jim. I can't get this (mute) in there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We apologize.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll tell you how to get the most. What the (mute) are you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll be back tomorrow after football.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's get the (mute) out of here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Teens are having (mute) -- having luck --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the top of their lungs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those lucky (mute) from northwest Missouri.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't know what the hell you're talking about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't watch us play throughout the year, to tell you the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Got to love it, huh?
ROWE: I only have one word. Fantastic.
BURNETT: I wish you'd done it. We wouldn't have been able to beep it fast enough.
ROWE: Never. BURNETT: Maybe it's time we just child out about that word.
All right, OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos on Jimmy Fallon.
BURNETT: Last night Jimmy Fallon made his debut as the new host of "the tonight show." And Jeanne Moos has the story.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Jimmy Fallon looks back at his "Tonight Show" debut. He'll remember his parents in the audience, will Smith dancing at his side, with U2 on the roof. While critics will remember it went --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fantastically. Probably a b.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was a little nervous but a great show.
MOOS: How can it be great when Fallon talks a friend who bet against him getting "The Tonight Show."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You owe me $100, buddy.
MOOS: And outcome De Niro, Tina Fey, Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, celeb after celeb with Mariah Carey pulling her cash out of her cleavage and Sarah Jessica Parker pulling hers from her shoe. And Stephen Colbert pouring pennies over his late night rival.
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, THE COLBERT REPORT: Welcome to 11:30.
MOOS: Let's see. Fourteen-star cannons, that's $1400, one unimpressed naysayer posted "when leno returns in 2016 I hope they all return to get their $100 back."
The evolution of Hip Hop dancing instantly became a viral hit. Though some sniffed that it was just a remake of a you tube classic called "evolution of dance" by comedian Judson Lapley.
Previously, Fallon has don't evolution of dad dancing and the evolution of mom dancing with Michelle Obama, prompting Judson Lapley to thank Fallon for the shout out. Some critics suggest Fallon isn't shouting enough, that he's overplaying the role of humble or shucks host.
JIMMY, HOST, THE TONIGHT'S SHOW: I'm Jimmy Fallon and I'll be your host for now.
BURNETT: Thanks so much for watching. "AC 360" starts right now.