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NEW DAY

Jordan Davis' Parents Speak; Cruz on Nugent; Harvard Receives Gift to Help Students; Gold Medalist Jamie Anderson Live

Aired February 20, 2014 - 08:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: This is - this is one of the really troubling parts. Right now, everybody knows your son's name. But think about what happened after Zimmerman. Trayvon Martin.

RON DAVIS, FATHER OF JORDAN DAVIS: Right.

CUOMO: Big outrage. That was a much tougher case, by the way, for the prosecution than the Michael Dunn case.

DAVIS: Correct.

CUOMO: And people will say, oh, we want Zimmerman to go away. Make it go away. But what happens when it goes away? Has the law changed?

DAVIS: Right.

CUOMO: Is the outrage still there for that? No, they're outraged at George Zimmerman. But so it's - we're trying to help. The media has to keep talking about these things.

LUCIA MCBATH, MOTHER OF JORDAN DAVIS: Absolutely.

CUOMO: It's painful for you, but important because otherwise the dialogue doesn't happen.

Now, you guys are of one mind in wanting to advocate, let people know your son's life will have a legitimate legacy.

MCBATH: Yes.

CUOMO: But you are divided on something. When you look at Michael Dunn, you see a possibility for forgiveness. You do not.

DAVIS: That is correct.

CUOMO: Why do you see that? His position would be the one most -- we're more comfortable with. I never side against a wife. I want you to know that. Mom is always right. But how? How can you?

MCBATH: I think a lot of that also has to do with gender. For a man, it might be harder for him to have forgiveness. For women, we are creatures of emotion. But not - but more than that, my faith commands that I do. And I cannot not forgive Michael Dunn when I was teaching Jordan to love, accept and forgive, despite whatever has happened. And I never imagined that I would be called by God to forgive Michael Dunn. But if I did not forgive him, then I could not continue to do the work and make this the legacy for Jordan that we've really tried so hard for it to be.

CUOMO: The struggle of the questions that come up about faith when something so wrong happens and yet leaning on it so heavily to help motivate something that otherwise is so difficult for a parent to survive. That is incredible strength for you. And while you say you will not forgive --

DAVIS: Right.

CUOMO: You say you would visit, you would speak to the man and say?

DAVIS: Well, the reason why I said I will not forgive is because, to me, you have to be remorseful. You have to say, you know what, I killed this kid, maybe there was another way out. You know, maybe I shouldn't have killed this kid. He was never remorseful. His family hasn't been remorseful to us, haven't come and apologized for the death of our kid. They all just think of each other. You know, they have -- even if they have to visit him in jail, they still have their child, you know?

So I feel that if you're not remorseful and you say, if you had it to do all over again you would do the same thing because you felt that you were defending yourself, then how can I forgive you if you're not remorseful for what you did? You mean to me that if you had 10 times to do it, you would kill my child 10 times because you don't think you did anything wrong. I cannot forgive that because my child was a wonderful child. And you took something away from my family that we'll never get back.

CUOMO: I know this is a conversation you wish you never had to have. We will be there if this is retried. We will cover it. We will cover the bigger issues.

MCBATH: Thank you so much.

CUOMO: It's not always popular. It's not always easy.

DAVIS: Right.

CUOMO: As hard as it is to imagine, in your position, there are many on the other side who believe that these laws are the right way and that's why they were passed in the first place. We will cover the issue. We'll do it every chance we get.

MCBATH: Thank you so much.

CUOMO: Again, I'm sorry to meet you this way, but thank you for telling your story here.

MCBATH: Thank you. It's been a pleasure talking with you.

DAVIS: Thank you so much. CUOMO: All right. Good luck going forward.

DAVIS: Thank you.

MCBATH: Thank you.

CUOMO: Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Chris, thank you very much. Let's take another break. But coming up next on NEW DAY, Texas Senator Ted Cruz responding to the latest controversy about Ted Nugent and Ted Cruz's home state of Texas. What he has to say about the rocker's incendiary remarks about President Obama. An exclusive interview with Senator Ted Cruz coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: Another CNN exclusive for you now. We showed you an interview earlier in this show with Republican Senator Ted Cruz talking about his fight with members of his own party and kind of his future as well. Well, now the Texas senator is also weighing in on this latest controversy surrounding Ted Nugent and Ted Cruz's home state.

The state's attorney general, Greg Abbott, campaigned alongside Nugent as he runs for governor, despite the most recent incendiary comments Nugent has made calling President Obama a "subhuman mongrel." CNN's Dana Bash spoke exclusively with Senator Cruz. She's in Houston for us this morning.

Dana, you talked about many things in this interview, of course. This is one of the many topics that came up.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, because, obviously, this is a national story. But for Ted Cruz, as a Republican in Texas, it's a local story. So I wanted to get his thoughts on the controversy and whether or not he would campaign with them. Listen to his answers.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

BASH: Because we're here in Texas, I want to play something for you that has been playing all over the air waves pretty much everywhere nationally and even internationally.

(END VIDEOCLIP)

TED NUGENT, CAMPAIGING FOR GREG ABBOTT: A Chicago communist-raised, communist educated, communist nurtured subhuman mongrel might be acorn community organizer, gangster Barack Hussein Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP)

BASH: As you know, that's Ted Nugent. And he is campaigning here with the leading Republican candidate to be your next governor. Is that appropriate for them to campaign together?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Oh, look, I had not seen that video until you just played it.

BASH: What do you think of it?

CRUZ: You know, I think it is a little curious that -- to be questioning political folks about rock stars. I've got to tell you, listen, I'm not cool enough to hang out with any rock stars. Jay-z doesn't come over to my house. I don't hang out with Ted Nugent.

BASH: Jay-Z doesn't call the president a "subhuman mongrel."

CRUZ: Um -

BASH: Is this an appropriate thing to say?

CRUZ: I would be willing to bet that the president's Hollywood friends have said some pretty extreme things.

BASH: The reason why I played that for you and the reason why it's an issues is because this week here in Texas, as I mentioned, he was invited to campaign with the man who may be your next governor in your party.

CRUZ: Look, those sentiments there, of course I don't agree with them. You've never heard me say such a thing, and nor would I. You know, I will note, there's a reason Ted Nugent, people listen to him, which is that he has been fighting passionately for Second Amendment rights.

BASH: Would you campaign with Ted Nugent?

CRUZ: You know, I haven't yet and I'm going to avoid engaging in hypotheticals.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

BASH: So he's not going there. Clearly he doesn't appear to know Ted Nugent well, unlike other politicians here in Texas, because he is such a staple on the political scene here.

But, Kate and Chris, one of the reasons I also wanted to bring this up with him is because the controversy it sparked kind of is - I mean frankly it's disturbing the kinds of things that he said and the reason why the gubernatorial candidate asked him to campaign is because he understands that he's a popular person, not -- despite the kinds of comments, controversial comments that Nugent made, but even because of those comments here in the lone star state with many in the Republican base.

And so, you know, it really does go to the heart of why politics is broken because these kinds of comments in some parts of the electorate are applauded and it really helps some candidates.

BOLDUAN: Yes, but we often say, but it is not often seen, is that the definition of being a leader is doing something that may not be popular because it's the right thing to do. And I think condemning those comments and saying it just ain't right is the right thing to do. BASH: Yes.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Dana.

BASH: Yes. And that's what Ted Cruz did.

BOLDUAN: Yes, you're right.

BASH: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much, Dana.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, a big gift for a top university. Harvard is getting some help for financial aid. We'll tell you how much, which will blow you away, and talk about it with the president of Harvard University coming up.

BOLDUAN: And, she conquered the slopestyle in Sochi. Now she faces the real challenge, a NEW DAY interview. Gold medalist Jamie Anderson will be joining us to talk about her serious success at the Olympics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: Welcome back.

An enormous gift this morning to one of our country's top universities. Hedge fund CEO Ken Griffin is handing over, get this, $150 million to Harvard, a hefty sum the university plans to use as scholarship for hundreds of undergraduate students. Let's talk more about what an amazing gift this will be and what benefit it will bring. To answer that, Drew Faust, the president of Harvard University. She's joining us from Cambridge this morning.

President Faust, thank you so much for coming in.

DREW FAUST, PRESIDENT, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Thank you so much for having me.

BOLDUAN: Of course.

I mean this is a huge number, $150 million. I mean you could argue this is going to change lives. Whose lives is this going to change? What students will benefit from this?

FAUST: This is going to be substantial portion of this gift is going to be dedicated to undergraduate financial aid and to making permanent Harvard's commitment to expand its support for students from every income background. We wish to make sure that students have the opportunity to come to Harvard if they have the talent to take advantage of our educational offerings. And we want to send a strong message that this is our commitment.

And this marvelous gift from Ken Griffin has made an important statement about Harvard's affordability and accessibility and has also provided us the means to make our commitments permanent through an endowment for financial aid. BOLDUAN: I wanted to ask you about that because Harvard is in a good position where it is not necessarily hurting for cash. There's some $32 billion in the endowment. What does this gift do that the school couldn't do already?

FAUST: Well, over the last decade, we have greatly expanded our commitment to financial aid and the number of dollars that we have dedicated to it. We have a policy that provides that for students from families that make under $65,000 a year, there is no parental contribution to Harvard tuition and room and board. And then for students and families up to about $150,000 a year, we are committed to, in general, not having those families pay more than 10 percent of their income towards the cost of college.

And so to sustain this commitment, we have over the past number of years used increasing amount of our discretionary funding to support financial aid. Our financial aid costs, for example, have increased 90 percent since 2007.

BOLDUAN: Wow.

FAUST: And we would like to make sure that this is a permanent commitment because it is one of the most important values we have, this value of accessibility and affordability. And Ken Griffin's wonderful gift to endow financial aid will make this a permanent reality for students today and students tomorrow and students into the future.

BOLDUAN: This gives actually a great opportunity to talk about something that I think we can all say we do not talk about enough on our -- in the news, on our show included -- the truly insane price of a college education today. I mean all in, I think it costs something close to $60,000 a year to go to Harvard. I want to get your take. And I know it's not easy -- an easy question to answer or it would have been done.

But President Faust why is the cost of a higher education so high and what can you do as a university, one of the premier universities in our country, to stop that and change it?

FAUST: Well, what we have done is to really transform the cost of higher education for students coming to Harvard. 60 percent of our students are on financial aid and for those students the average amount they pay is $12,000. That's a pretty great bargain. If you consider what is available for students at Harvard and how many lives have been transformed by the opportunity to have a higher education.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Might not be the case, though, for students -- for universities across the country.

FAUST: So that when you think about what students actually pay -- I think we get an important insight into how we should think about college costs. That said, overall colleges are very aware of increasing costs, which comes in considerable part from the cost of talent of the importance of individuals in teaching and advising and making students' lives all they can be.

And so that is a costly element of what goes into how we deliver an education and, therefore, what it costs to us, even though that cost is not transmitted to our students in full form.

I know it's no surprise the average student leaves college with an average of $29,000 in debt. That's not something anyone should accept. But until that can be changed, I think we can all at least today smile and say thank goodness for gifts like that of Ken Griffin to try to help and change the lives of some students who wouldn't otherwise be able to go to college.

President Faust, it's great to meet you. Thanks so much for coming in and congratulations.

FAUST: Thank you. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Of course -- Chris?

CUOMO: Good, anything that helps keep those college costs down.

Coming up on NEW DAY, look at that. Jamie Anderson doing the U.S. proud in the first woman's slopestyle competition. Look who it is. She's here. Gold medal, with the board. What's better than this? Applause all around. Come back and we can talk.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Welcome back.

It's time for the good stuff. And if our next guest isn't the good stuff, I don't know what it is. 23-year-old Jamie Anderson, the first woman to win a gold medal in Olympic snowboard slopestyle. Even more importantly, she is inspiring young people all over the world and for the right reasons. Congratulations to you. Don't block your medal.

JAMIE ANDERSON, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: Thank you. Thank you. Here it is.

BOLDUAN: So cool.

CUOMO: So the sports signature event now at the biggest occasion, the Olympics. And you win it. Did you even imagine that coming in?

ANDERSON: I mean, of -- I did visualize and see myself winning, that's the goal.

CUOMO: Of course, it is.

(CROSSTALK)

ANDERSON: It was a challenge. It was insane, you know. I mean the Olympics is the biggest stage in the world. It was just such an unbelievable experience.

BOLDUAN: I have to tell you, it's one thing and amazing to watch happen on TV as I watched it when you won. But when I meet you in person, I mean, I'm a small person. You are smaller than me and you get crazy air. How do you do it?

CUOMO: Strong.

BOLDUAN: Seriously.

ANDERSON: Lots of yoga.

CUOMO: Look at this.

BOLDUAN: If that's what yoga does I'm in.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: I'm going to stand up. Look at this. This board is almost bigger than her -- stand up here real quick. You said that you use a bigger board than this -- right.

ANDERSON: Sure.

CUOMO: They're not high joke stuff.

LEMON: I know. But that is a giant -- that's pretty big. I always thought snowboards were smaller than that.

CUOMO: Well, how much of it -- what do you think makes you great at a sport like this? Obviously, it's not just physicality. Of course you are a great athlete.

ANDERSON: Right.

CUOMO: But what do you think? What separates those who wind up excelling from people who just don't get to the podium?

ANDERSON: I think passion. I mean finding something that you truly love and you're passionate about and working hard towards achieving your goals and being your greatest.

BOLDUAN: We want to ask you about something that was related to your big win. But it was really cool. You shared a letter that you received from probably your biggest fan. And she essentially in the letter just said how great you are and how proud she was of you and how she really wanted to be like you. You replied to her on Twitter and you said the most precious letter from a little girl named Leanne.

We've got a little surprise for you, Jamie Anderson. Leanne Phan is hopefully joining us by Skype.

CUOMO: There she is.

BOLDUAN: We wanted to make sure she could talk to you in person.

ANDERSON: Oh my god.

LEMON: Hi Leanne.

BOLDUAN: Leanne do you hear us? LEANNE PHAN, JAMIE ANDERSON FAN: Yes.

BOLDUAN: Well, Jamie is sitting right here Leanne. Say hi.

PHAN: Hi, Jamie.

LEMON: Oh, my gosh.

ANDERSON: Hi, Leanne. How are you, little love?

PHAN: Good. How are you?

ANDERSON: Good. Thank you for the lucky penny.

PHAN: You're welcome.

BOLDUAN: Leanne, what was it like when you got to see Jamie do what she does best and win and she, obviously, loved your letter and it probably helped her.

PHAN: Congratulations for winning the gold medal, Jamie.

ANDERSON: Thank you Leanne.

CUOMO: See, she takes none of the glory there herself.

ANDERSON: I know.

LEMON: That is so sweet.

BOLDUAN: Thank you Leanne. Thank you so much. It's great to meet you.

(CROSSTALK)

(inaudible)

ANDERSON: The most amazing part about the letter was a star in between every word.

LEMON: Yes, very nice.

ANDERSON: Like just so much love and already passion.

CUOMO: You are inspiring them all over the place.

LEMON: She made my day and you did too. Congratulations.

ANDERSON: Thank you so much.

BOLDUAN: Congratulations. Thanks for coming in.

ANDERSON: Thanks for having me.

BOLDUAN: I know it's been a wild ride and probably will continue to be. ANDERSON: Embracing every moment of it.

CUOMO: Well, you may have another moment tonight. We hear tell that Justin Timberlake wants to invite you to his show at Madison Square Garden tonight to congratulate you in person.

ANDERSON: Oh my goodness.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

CUOMO: Just saying.

LEMON: You've got your suit and tie. As long as you have your suit and tie --

ANDERSON: I'm going ahead.

BOLDUAN: Go dancing.

CUOMO: Congratulations. Dance your way to the podium. Now you can dance anywhere you want, whenever you want.

Our thanks to Jamie.

Thanks to you for watching us. We're going to take a break here on NEW DAY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)