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Is Nugent A Changed Man?; Will Republicans Stop Campaigning With Nugent?; President Obama Proposes Minimum Wage Increase; Harold Ramis Remembered

Aired February 25, 2014 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, the interview that has a lot of people talking. Ted Nugent says he's a changed man, but even his own brother doesn't believe him. He is OUTFRONT tonight.

Plus the president says the rich are getting richer. Is it the government's problem? And Rush Limbaugh blames the, quote "homosexual lobby" for bulling the Arizona governor on a controversial bill. For real? Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, Ted Nugent says he's a changed man. At least that's what he told me last night in an interview that got a lot of people talking. I confronted Nugent about calling President Obama a, quote, "subhuman mongrel and his response was pretty shocking.


TED NUGENT, MUSICIAN: Live on Erin Burnett OUTFRONT, CNN, Ted Nugent remember the Alamo, February 24th, 2014. I'm not going to call people names anymore.

BURNETT: I think that to me, I mean, I know you're trying to make slightly light of this, but to me these things are not light at all because in a country you talk about --

NUGENT: No, I'm not making light very serious, very serious.

BURNETT: Create more polarization is a horrible thing to do.

NUGENT: You're right. My children, my brothers, my sister, and my wonderful wife Sharmaine have told me that over and over. I think at the tender age of 65, I think you're absolutely correct. Instead of using terms like subhuman mongrel, I'm going to get right to the meat of the matter where our president is a liar.

He lies about you can keep your doctor, period. Over and over again, he lies about Benghazi. He's lying about the IRS. So I won't call him names anymore. I'm going to get right to the nitty gritty and identify the criminal behavior by the people abusing power in the United States government so I take your advice to heart -- Erin.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BURNETT: With that, Nugent got a lot of people talking on our Facebook page, on Twitter and the media. One editorial writer at the "Dallas Morning News" wrote the great thing about the interview is that Nugent clearly was emerging from a visit to the Republican woodshed.

The "Orlando Sentinel" framed it this way, "Nugent doesn't do contrite or apologetic, he does angry. That approach undercuts any point he's trying to make. When he keeps talking, he keeps hurting the politicians and causes he supports. Most of all he hurts himself. Far from apologetic, Ted was on a tear Monday night."

Joining me now CNN political commentators, Paul Begala, Ben Ferguson and Ana Navarro. You're all here because you're all players in the story, which is a story about what's going to happen to the Republican Party.

Paul, you were called out by name. Ben, you spoke with Ted Nugent today and of course, he apologized to you last week. Ana speaks uniquely to whether the GOP has a chance of being a big tent party or a party that becomes increasingly fringed defined by hate speech like we hear from people like Ted Nugent.

So Ben, today he came on your radio show. You asked him what happened and you know, asked him about some of these words he's using. But one of the first things he said to you is the president's a racist. So as far as I'm concerned that pledge lasted not even 24 hours.

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I asked him, I said, all right, give me an example why you think he's a racist. He immediately responded with as soon as is he put himself into the Trayvon Martin case by saying if I had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin. He said, look, that's playing the race card.

So that's what Ted believes when he says things like that. That's why I said can you back it up instead of just being name calling. What's interesting is about this is, one of the things in the polling, I think a lot of people in Texas are not judging Ted Nugent by this one comment.

In fact, Greg Abbott, people thought were going to be hurt by these comments has actually opened up a wider lead, an 11-point lead over Wendy Davis because I think the Democrats went a little bit too hard to try to destroy Greg Abbott because of his relationship with Ted Cruz or I should say with Ted Nugent. It may be backfiring on them today.

BURNETT: That's a pretty incredible thing if it's true. That he would actual see the poll numbers go up on the basis of that.

FERGUSON: Yes, I think they overplayed it. I really do. I think people in Texas that knew Ted Nugent and know what to expect from him and take him with a grain of salt saw them try to destroy Greg Abbott many believe is a solid and a good man and think that they may be overplayed their hand. BURNETT: That's an interesting question about how they're playing their hand, Paul, because there wasn't just the mongrel comment in the comment that Ted Nugent originally made in the very same day that he made that comment. He also used the word chimpanzee in a way that seemed to me to refer pretty clearly to the president. I wanted to play that exchange to you for your reaction because you're part of it -- Paul.


NUGENT: I call my buddies in my band chimpanzees when they miss a good guitar lick. Give me a break on that. I referenced no racial overtones there whatsoever. I was referencing people who would look the camera, four dead Americans in Benghazi and refuse to be accountable and say what difference does it make? You've got to be a punk, liar, grossly dishonest, dangerously anti-American, or some kind of animal to agree with that kind of stuff.

So insert the word dog or mongrel or chimpanzee, I have nothing against any race. In fact, my whole life is dedicated to my black musical heroes and you know that. I have not a racist bone in my body. That's the stall Lewinsky propaganda ministry running amuck like goof ball friend, Paul Begala, who claims I'm a has been. I just celebrated my 50th year. I'm a black guitar player from Detroit. Get over it.

BURNETT: If I called the president who is a black president a chimpanzee, I would and should be fired.

NUGENT: I didn't call the president --


BURNETT: First, Paul, please respond to Ted Nugent to the substance of what he had to say. I mean, obviously, he watched you on the show last week pretty closely. You were on with Ben, I believe, that night.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, there wasn't any substance. I shouldn't have called Ted a has been. He was a star. It's not about the Ted Nugent. I probably -- I was trying to be goofy and funny. I am a goof ball. That's fine Ted. I accept that. I agree. It's about Greg Abbott. This is what Mr. Ferguson is talking about.

Greg Abbott is the attorney general of Texas. He could choose anyone to campaign with him and he chose this really incendiary, some people think hateful spokesman. The question is, who's next? Is he going to get Vladimir Putin to campaign for him on gay rights?

FERGUSON: Come on, Paul, please, you really think that's a fair comparison?

BURNETT: OK. Paul, go ahead.

BEGALA: Why don't you let me make my point? This is about the judgment of the politician who's choose to associate with him. He is a rock 'n' roller, Mr. Nugent. He is going to speak that way. We all get that. That's his right, by the way. We've talked about this before. I think name calling is part of the American politics from the beginning --

BURNETT: Yes, you have.

BEGALA: That's fine. He has to deal with that. The question is, why does a politician of all the people you can associate with, why does he choose that guy? I think he's trying to send a message that he wants to align himself with those kinds of extremist views. I think it's about Greg Abbott, not about Ted Nugent.

BURNETT: Well, Anna, let me bring you in on that because I think that that really is the core of this, which is what's going to define the GOP, which is these very strident, very particular points of view, which apply to a base that is part of the GOP that alienates a lot of people.

Greg Abbott appears to be more afraid of losing that group, that core group of gun rights advocates than of appealing to anybody in the middle of the aisle.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICIAL COMMENTATOR: I frankly think, Erin, it was a complete mistake by Greg Abbott to bring him out. For all intents and purposes, Greg Abbot does not have a primary. The primary in Texas is March 4th. And for all intent and purposes, he doesn't even have an opponent. He's going to coast through that. He's got, as ben mentioned, an 11-point lead over his general opponent.

He doesn't need to bring out Ted Nugent to prove his bonafides on the second amendment. I think he'll bring out somebody that you just can't control. He's a loose cannon. When I heard yesterday from Ted Nugent was that even when he's trying to have a policy debate, even when he's trying to heed the advice of his brother and his wife and his children, he has a very hard time controlling what he says and how he says it.

Anything can get under his skin. But I do want to point out that I think it's rather unfair to try to point the GOP, the Republican Party, as Ted Nugent. Ted Nugent is not an elected Republican, not in any way have any sort of office as a Republican, not at a county, not on a state level, not at a federal level, not at any level.

He is a rocker who has a second amendment, big advocacy position. I think it was a mistake by Abbott to bring him out because he's become a distraction.

BURNETT: It's Ted Cruz refused to say he wouldn't campaign with him. Mitt Romney's son had gone on Twitter championing when Ted Nugent endorsed his father. Playing at inaugurations of Rick Perry. It's Rich Perry. Perry's hesitation to denounce it. I mean, that's the broader issue here.

FERGUSON: Erin, the broader issue is this.

NAVARRO: I have to tell you, Erin, I actually heard Rick Perry denounce what Ted Nugent said and I heard Rand Paul denounce it.

BURNETT: Rick Perry did on repeated questioning from Wolf Blitzer.

NAVARRO: Right. So but why should people be denouncing somebody that's not even in elected office? I think the Republican Party has done a much better job recently in denouncing Republicans that say outrageous things that are in elected office. Can you police everybody out there?

I can tell you, I have absolutely no qualms, none, in saying that what he said is condemnable, it is refutable. It is just despicable. It is no way to speaking about any human much less the president of the United States.

BURNETT: Ana, I'm just saying a lot of these other people are not as quick to say what you're saying. They're not. They're doing it under pressure, under questioning and not saying they're not going to be seen with him.


BURNETT: Ben, go ahead.

NAVARRO: Part of it is because he's just Ted Nugent. You know, he's not the president. He's not running for Senate.

BURNETT: Go ahead, Ben.

FERGUSON: Here's the core of this is, you have to take Ted Nugent in context and what Paul did a moment ago is exactly what I'm talking about of overplayings the hand here. Look at Bill Clinton today. Bill Clinton, the former president of the United States of America who hooked up with an intern in the oval office for goodness sakes has a 60 percent approval rating because people still look at the grand what he did as president of the United States of America.

Democrats are campaigning with him today. And they look past that because they saw there was a personal mistake. Ted Nugent made a mistake. He made a mistake in what he said. That's the thing that people look at.

BURNETT: Final word goes to Paul.

NAVARRO: Ben, I have to beg you we stop using Monica Lewinsky from 20 years ago when we are discussing politics. I don't think we're helping ourselves.

FERGUSON: The point is though people look past failures.

NAVARRO: There is a lot of points we can take issue with in regards to Bill Clinton or Hillary Clinton who might be the potential candidate. I don't want to go back to re-litigating what we did, what he did 20 years ago. Please.

BURNETT: Final word goes to Paul, the Democrat. He's been very silent. BEGALA: I think I'm trying to be polite here. My goodness, this is a lively debate. I think the final word is this. The Democrats have chosen the face of their party is, of course, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. You think of Democrats, that's how should think of. Of course, Hillary Clinton. Hillary, please run.

The face of the Republican Party now is Ted Nugent, Rush Limbaugh who said these vial things about that woman from Georgetown who testified on contraceptives, vile things. That's the face of the Republican Party. Republicans have to get a better face. They need Ana Navarro. Ana, I think you should run for president. You should become the face of the Republican Party.

BURNETT: There we go. All right, thank you very much. We appreciate that. All three of you taking time.

Coming up, Ted Nugent's brother, Jeff, is OUTFRONT. He thinks his brother crossed the line. He is going to explain why.

Plus the man behind "Caddyshack," "Ghostbusters" and "Groundhog day." Why the ultimate underdog and the war on the wealthiest 1 percent. Did President Obama fire a round at the rich or levelling the playing field?


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We have got to build an economy that works for everyone, not just a fortunate few. We've got to restore opportunity for all people.


BURNETT: An economy that works for everyone, not just a fortunate and the few. The President wants to change that, wants to raise the minimum wage by 39 percent.

Kevin O'Leary makes a living helping small business owners become millionaires. That's his job. He's a judge on ABC's reality show, "Shark Tank."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Make you $100,000 offer for 40 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You thief. You really do come in on a broom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Problem after problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the biggest problems, you've got to listen to this every day.


BURNETT: Kevin is OUTFRONT tonight.

All right. So, the president making the point that average wages have barely budges. People are working hard not able to achieve the American dream. How can you deny that the economy is only working for a few right now?

KEVIN O'LEARY, INVESTOR, SHARK TANK: The numbers don't support that. This vilification of the rich and one percent and the delta between the one and everybody else is always has existed in America. And thank goodness that is the case because this is the essence of what makes capitalism work.

The problem today is lack of jobs. When you talk about not having a rate hike in wages, it's because there's so many people unemployed. It's basically a demand situation. But why is that the case, Erin? The president talks about using government policy to level the playing field. That's exactly what we don't need.

There are over 20 million small businesses in America. That is where the job growth will come from domestically. Because large companies have already figured out that they can move their jobs offshore and have done that already. That's why they've been so successful and created so many earnings, record earnings in the S&P. Let's go back to what matters in America, those 20 million men and women that are creating jobs for Americans. And the last thing they need is this advice from the president.

BURNETT: Here's my question though, because according to Oxfam, which is you know, one report, they say the richest one percent in the world own 46 percent of global wealth. That's an incredible number. And some people might just turn this on you and say we know it, Kevin. Clearly, governments are supporting the one percent because they're getting more and more of the wealth.

O'LEARY: Sure. But let's remember.

BURNETT: Why not change policy now and help the less fortunate?

O'LEARY: Because it would be a huge mistake. The reason they're the one percent is they created businesses, products and services that were very successful, employed millions of people, paid billions in taxes. And let's not forget, Erin, that all of the wealth in America doesn't come from government at all. It comes from the back of people like the one percent that created the businesses, hundreds of thousands of jobs, we then tax them and by the way, the one percent get taxed at 38 percent. The middle class we're trying to help only pail 12 on average. The numbers don't support the idea of trying to steal from the rich and give to the poor. This isn't a robin hood society. This is a society that --

BURNETT: Steal is a strong word.

O'LEARY: But look, you can't do that. You can't just decide to come out of the blue and say I'm going to change policy, change the rules on you who have taken all the risk and created jobs. That doesn't work.

Here's what does work. Less government, less taxation, less regulations and let those men and women in small business create those jobs for us. They don't need more government. They need less.

BURNETT: So, what's interesting, though, is that you're going about it from a very different way than the president. But it seems to me that people like you actually agree with him on something that's very important.

O'LEARY: What would that be?

BURNETT: Let me play it for you. I have it here.


OBAMA: No matter who you are, where you come from, what you look like, how you started out, if you are willing to work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead in America.


BURNETT: You have to agree with every word of that.

O'LEARY: Of course, I do. But to make that easier for me, if I was running a business with let's say five employees and I was thinking of hiring two more, I wouldn't want you to increase my labor costs by 39 percent. Because then I can't employ any more people. In fact, I don't want you telling me what I should be paying them. I want the market to do that.

BURNETT: All right. So, you're talking about the minimum wage here.

O'LEARY: Huge issue.

BURNETT: But the CBO, Congressional Budget Office has come out and said, yes, you would bring a lot of people out of poverty by doing this.

O'LEARY: That's not the job of policy in the private sector. What we should be doing to get people out of the situation they're in and unemployment and poverty is creating more jobs so that everybody has that opportunity to work. That's what Americans want to do, they want to find a job.

BURNETT: Haven't you had it your way? I mean, people say look what happened to Wall Street, right? There was a lack of regulation. And what happened there? That was a disaster. Minimum wage has been where it is for a long time. Jobs haven't been created. So, I could say look, your way is not working.

O'LEARY: It is working. The trouble with our job situation is our anemic growth. You know, our three percent less GDP growth when China is growing at five and six and seven percent. We have created such a regulatory environment today, that even a small business on the keep pounding that table on this has to spend $20,000 to $30,000 just complying with the 2800 regulations we layered on them federally last year and let alone the state and local. You know, Erin, I invest in small businesses every week. That's what I do. I'm an investor. You should have these people talk to you. Or even better still, let the president talk to somebody running a 17-person business in Massachusetts or 30 employees in California. And hear what they say. They would not agree with him. And I think that is the core and the essence of America that we're not listening to. We need to listen to these people. They should tell us what to do. And what they want right now is less government.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Kevin, thank you very much.

You know, I remember, by the way, the president saying he was going to go back and cut a whole lot of regulations. There was a big push for that about couple of years ago. When you say 2800 on average, I'm going to assume you know your stats on that. That's horrific. That's probably something you could agree with the president on, too.

Still to come, a controversial bill some say is anti-gay in front of Arizona's governor tonight. Will she sign it or use her veto? We track her down as her plane landed.

Plus, a look back at the life and career of a comedy genius. What made Harold Ramis so great?

And a leopard on the loose making its way on to rooftops, movie theaters and even a hospital.


BURNETT: Paying tribute to a comedy icon tonight. The family of Harold Ramis is preparing for his funeral. The actor, writer and director who is perhaps best known for directing "caddie shack" and as well in "Ghostbusters" died yesterday.

And today, President Obama paid tribute to the Chicago native saying quote "when we watched his movies, we just laugh until it hurt. We questioned authority, we identified with the outsider, we root the for the underdog and through it all, we never lost our faith in happy endings."

That's a pretty eloquent thing to say and shows he really did watch all those movies. Well, Bill Weir is OUTFRONT.

And Bill, you've been looking into Ramis and who how he became this comedy great. People here though -- those aren't the only movies.

BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, not at all. And if you came of age during the age of HBO, like me, he is our Orson Welles. Did you know that on the first day of first grade, Harold Ramis was sent to the principal's office for chewing gum. And as he told 'New Yorker," he remembers thinking well, there goes college. But a tortured rebel he was not. See, Harold was the kind of kid who spent his bar mitts vats money on wall to wall carpeting for his parents. And when he made it to Washington University in the turbulence '60s, his tool of anarchy was comedy.

The satire he wrote in school helped him get into the second city and to avoid Vietnam he told the army he was a bed wetter with bed sweats and attraction to men something he would use in the great movie "Stripes."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are not homosexual but willing to learn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, would they send us some place special?


WEIR: In the early days, Harold wanted to act as much as write or direct but then he saw a guy named John Belushi (ph) on stage in Chicago and his confidence as a scene stealer plummeted. So, he adjusted. And instead of competing with fellow comics he began to complement them to write and direct to their strengths.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was it over when the Germans bombed pearl harbor? Hell no!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: German? Forget it, he's rolling.


WEIR: "Animal House" was his first stab at screen writing. In the process, Ramis saw himself as otter, the smart ass bon vivant, the leader of the anti-establishment pack. And that same period, because that same soul showed up in "Meatballs" and "Caddy Shack"" and "Stripes" and "Ghostbusters", a spring of film that turned it Ramis and Murray into the Lennon and McCartney of comedy, films that inspires a whole new generation of funny including a teenaged Jud Apatow who begged him for a meeting to better understand the comedic master and tweeted this photo yesterday as all those condolences began flowing in.

BURNETT: I mean, it's amazing when you talk about all those movies, you know, every one of them icons, right, in their own way. Obviously, there's been a huge outpouring from Hollywood. But what he saw as funny, his brand of comedy changed over the years, right?

WEIR: It evolved because like the rest of us adulthood happened. He had a marriage end and he, well, he put on a lot of weight and then lost it and then put on more. He entered therapy, discovered Buddhism. And then he started making movies, not so much about bucking the system, but about self-discovery and redemption.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is your perfect guy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First of all, he's too humble to know he's perfect.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's intelligent. Supportive. Funny.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Intelligence, supportive funny. Me. Me, me.


WEIR: "Groundhog day," such a huge chord with everyone from Buddhists to Christians to psychoanalysts who found meeting in a self- evolved character doomed to live the same day till he becomes a better person. But the ironic casualty of that film was his friendship with Bill Murray. They had a falling out after wrapping, they didn't speak for almost two decades. I have had dreams about him that we were friends again, Ramis said in 2010 for a rare disease that swells the blood vessels laid him low. It got so bad, he had to learn to walk again, suffered a relapse, never recovered. But among those who visited his Chicago home towards the end, Bill Murray.

But before we get muddled here, it would be -- it would shame the memory of Harold Ramos if we got too sentimental. This films are so anti-sentimental, so let us go into his memorial eating Twinkies and singing boom shakalaka and quoting "Caddyshack." He will be missed.

BURNETT: And you think Babe Ruths (ph), and my favorite scene from "Caddyshack".

I don't know. I love it. I somehow never grow up from that sort of humor.

All right. Bill Weir, thank you very much.

WEIR: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, a controversial bill that some say is anti-gay in front of Arizona's governor tonight. Will she sign it or use her veto?

Plus, First Lady Michelle Obama busts out a rap and a fan flips Justin Timberlake the bird and gets a reaction she probably wasn't expecting.


BURNETT: It's looking more and more like businesses won't be allowed to deny service to gays in the name of God. CNN has learned that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is expected to veto the divisive legislation that would allow businesses to refuse service to certain individuals that goes against their religious beliefs.

So, in just a couple of days, Brewer has faced intensifying pressure from politicians, even the NFL, which is going to have a Super Bowl in Arizona, and CEOs across the state. In fact, Mitt Romney got involved, tweeting this afternoon, "Governor Brewer, veto of Senate Bill 1062 is right.' Our Miguel Marquez has been following the story. As you know, he's on this program every night with the protest. He's there tonight.

And, Miguel, Brewer just got back a few hours ago. I know you were trying to get to the bottom of whether she would say this is what I'm going to do. What were you able to find out?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, she's not going to say what she's really going to do, but we have been doing a lot of reporting around it.

And here's how we think it's going to go down -- tomorrow, she will meet with stakeholders here and with legislators to figure out how all of this came down. We expect on either Thursday or Friday, she will issue a veto, that is not done deal yet though. The organizers of the protests here are certainly getting more organized. Tonight even has a theme, "welcome back, Jan" for Jan Brewer and they promise to be here every single night until there's a decision.


PROTESTERS: Veto, veto, veto, veto, veto --

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Protests here turning into a movement. The so-called "Religious Freedom Bill" now a rallying point for lesbian and gay rights.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've had a boyfriend for the past three years. I know how I feel about him. If I felt that way about a girl, then I wouldn't want people to tell me I couldn't be with them.

MARQUEZ: What prompted the bill? Legal cases against businesses with religious owners denying services to lesbian or gay couples seeking to hold a marriage ceremony. A photographer in New Mexico, a florist in Washington state, a baker in Colorado with support for gay marriage in Arizona now hitting 55 percent in a recent Rocky Mountain poll, the writing here on the wall.

(on camera): People who have deeply held religious beliefs don't believe that same-sex marriages, commitment ceremonies any of that should be taken. They see that as the threat, yes?

AARON BAER, CENTER FOR ARIZONA POLICY: That definitely is a part of it. And the crux of the issue here, what they're saying is they shouldn't be forced to use artistic expression, whether it's a photographer, whether it's a cake baker, to celebrate something they hold a sincerely held religious belief about.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Another concern, reproductive rights. Employees who are oppose to any birth control possibly suing employers for offering those services through their health insurance. Big companies including Apple and American Airlines have asked the governor to veto the bill -- a growing storm on several fronts against it.

(on camera): Frustrating to be where you are now, though?

BAER: It's disappointing and it's sad that we can't have an honest discussion about religious freedom and it turns into this big sort of debacle that it's turned into.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Other conservative groups defending business owners with deep religious beliefs view this as a culture war that is only growing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are seeing certainly a growing hostilities and a push from the so-called tolerance crowd to say, you know, we're not going to be tolerant towards your views but you have to bow down to ours.


MARQUEZ: Now, when the governor does make her decision, we believe that will be a veto, we also expect her to use that opportunity to talking about Arizona, the debate that has happened here and make it basically a platform for whatever it is she decides to do -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Miguel, thank you very much, covering that story from Phoenix.

And today, conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh said Governor Jan Brewer is being, quote, "bullied into vetoing the bill." Here's Rush.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The same sex homosexual advocates want her to veto it on the basis of human rights, civil rights, gay rights and what-have-you. The governor of Arizona is being bullied, by the homosexual lobby in Arizona and elsewhere.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council. That's the group that supports the bill and has supported similar bills in at least eight other states across the country.

All right. Tony, what do you think about what Rush Limbaugh just said? Is Governor Brewer being bullied by the gay lobby in order to advance their agenda?

TONY PERKINS, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Well, Erin -- you know, Erin, I think what's happened is the water has been clearly muddied. No question about that. I think too many people have gone to the Nancy Pelosi school of public policy. They're going to dispose of this and then read it.

It's a one-page bill. It's pretty easy. You go back -- it amends a 1999 law that essentially does three things. The major thing it does is it says you don't have to leave your faith within the walls of your church or your home. As a businessperson, it makes clear that you have religious freedoms as a business owner. It also sets in place, which is the actual the opponents should support this, puts in place a clear test to make sure these are orthodox genuine religious beliefs. So, it would be very hard as some have tried to portray this that if you own an ice cream shop, you could deny serving someone who was a homosexual.

Simply not true. You couldn't do that. There's no basis for that in religion. We're talking about marriages, we're talking about those ceremonies that really when you participate in them as described in the package about being artistic, you're affirming of something that runs counter to your religious beliefs.

BURNETT: You're saying I can't ban -- I have the bill in front of me. It printed out, two pages for me, but basically saying that you can do this if the person's refusal to act is motivated by religious belief. So, you're saying to me if I'm -- someone could ban me from coming in if I was married to another woman, but not if I was simply a lesbian and not married to the woman?


BURNETT: It's gay marriage, that's your problem?

PERKINS: That is -- it sets in place this has to be a religious belief that is deeply held and you can't just come up and create a religion. You can't come up and say, I'm not going to serve somebody this food, and that would be inconsistent with a Christian world view. Christians want to serve people.

Where the issue is, and this is what happened in New Mexico, what drove this was that you had Elane Photography, a Christian photography company, that was sued for not photographing a same sex wedding ceremony. That's the issue here is that the reason they -- the riffraff (ph) of that state of New Mexico didn't cover it is because they were a business.

It's the same thing right now with the HHS mandate that's going to be argued before the Supreme Court next month.

Rasmussen polling a couple of months ago conducted a nationwide polling, 85 percent of Americans agree that a Christian photographer should not be forced to participate in a same sex wedding. That's what this is about is making sure that as an individual, when you enter the marketplace, you don't have to leave your religious freedom behind.

BURNETT: But as an individual, you can already do that. Someone could say to me if I was getting married to another woman just say no. They don't have to give me the reason for doing that, right? But this is institutionalizing in law something that would not only enable you to do that it would seem to me, but there are a lot of other things that religion may condone that I think we could all agree might be discriminatory to a lot of people, right? I mean, people can do anything they want in the name you have religion and say it's a deeply held conviction. I believe it. It just happens to be hateful. So, now, it's protected?

PERKINS: Erin, I have to disagree with you on that. That's why the third component of this amendment is important, is that it puts in place this has to be a not just some kind of belief you pull out of the sky. You've got to be able to defend that belief and it sets up a standard which it's not a given. You would have this defense but it's not a given when you go into court.

You would have to prove you have a genuine religious conviction that prevents you from participating in this. You can't say that about not serving someone. I'm only speaking for the Christian faith. You can't say that because there's no biblical basis for that. In fact, we're told to serve those who oppose us.

It comes to the issue of weddings, of those things which Christians and other people of faith hold to be sacred. And to be forced to participate in that, I have to say, Erin, that is the height of being un-American.

BURNETT: I don't understand how anyone was forcing you. That's what I don't get. You can always say no to that. I called someone and said can you take photographs of my wedding. He could have said no without giving me a reason. Now you have a law that allows him to say because you're a lesbian.

That's what I don't understand.

PERKINS: That's not the case. That's why this is taking place. Colorado, a baker was charged and even threatened potentially with jail until they changed the law for not baking a cake. Elane Photography fined, went all the way to the state Supreme Court.

And because they were a business, they didn't have the individual protections. They're appealing to the United States Supreme Court.

So, your point, you're actually agreeing that we ought to have the ability to say no. That ability is not there right now because you're a business.

BURNETT: I'm not agreeing. I'm just saying we have it on an individual basis. I don't want to confuse that with agreeing we should or shouldn't.

PERKINS: That's the point of this. It's allowing them to take it into the marketplace. Right now, they can't take it to the marketplace.

BURNETT: All right. Tony, thank you and I appreciate your taking the time to come on, as always.

Still to come, a tale of two brothers. Why Jeff Nugent thinks his brother Ted crossed the line.

And then Justin Timberlake flipped off during one of his concerts. Wait until you see how he responded.


BURNETT: And now, let's check in with Anderson Cooper with a look what's coming up on "AC360" -- Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Erin. Yes, the bill that some say protects religious freedom, others say it's a license to discriminate, tonight, we're keeping them honest. Ahead on the program, the special interest groups that helped write the Arizona bill. But they won't come on the program to defend it.

Also, Randi Kaye is in Phoenix tonight, trying to get some answers from lawmakers.

And the mystery illness in California with paralyzing symptoms. It's a "360" exclusive with one of the families whose child is battling this crippling disease. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us with a latest on the race to find some answers.

Those stories and tonight's "Ridiculist", a whole lot more at the top of the hour -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Anderson.

Well, now, a tale of two Nugent brothers.

Ted Nugent's brother, a former Neutrogena and Revlon CEO Jeff Nugent, doesn't agree with his brother's rhetoric or all of his politics. In fact, during our interview yesterday, Ted credited his brother Jeff for helping him to decide to change his ways.


TED NUGENT, ROCKER: Whether it's my wonderful wife, my brother Jeff and John or Cathy, my great kids, or someone like you, Erin, and people around me. They think I'll be more effective if I back off that Detroit street fighter rock 'n' roll stage rhetoric.


BURNETT: Jeff Nugent joins me now.

Jeff, thanks very much. You know, and I'm really glad you came OUTFRONT (AUDIO GAP) struggle to understand your brother. He obviously has very significant following, cult following, some would a say, but people who care a lot and deeply about the Second Amendment.

You had a conversation with him about his recent rhetoric. How did that happen? How did you tell him to tone it down?

JEFFREY NUGENT, TED NUGENT'S BROTHER: Well, Erin, I'm delighted to be here, but it's a conversation we've been having for longer than you can imagine. And I think Ted referred to that last night because my advice to him over the years has been -- please tone it down. And there's a line that you shouldn't cross. And his latest comments about President Obama and Hillary Clinton have crossed the line. And I was offended with those. And he knows that.

And I was, frankly, very pleased to see the conversation you had with him last night because he did apologize for making those statements. And not a direct quote, but in front of you and CNN and your millions of viewers, he promised not to the call people names in the future.

And I respect him for doing that. And as I've said, I will continue to be the cattle prod and the adviser as he goes through life fulfilling that promise.

BURNETT: Now, do you think he can keep that promise? I mean, he went on Ben Ferguson, who you know was on this program earlier.

NUGENT: Of course.

BURNETT: Went on his program today and I listened to an interview today. He called the president a racist.

NUGENT: That could be described as calling someone a name. And I haven't seen that.

So, I didn't bring my cattle prod with me because it's not allowed in New York City. But I am very serious about helping Ted calm his rhetoric down and be more fact-based than attack individuals in an inappropriate way.

BURNETT: So, why does he do these things? I mean, he's known as this. Some people say he does it because he wants the attention and publicity. If he didn't hurl these insults at people wouldn't pay attention to him. Is that why he does it?

NUGENT: Well, I think it's very simple. I think it's very clear that Ted's very passionate about the things that he believes in. And part of his personality is that he is provocative. So, you put those two things together and it comes out the way you see it.

I agree with him on some points, but I disagree vehemently on others.

BURNETT: Like you said, you thought what he said about president was utterly inappropriate.

NUGENT: Over the line. There's no reason why you would call the president what he did. And I've told him that. And he's admitted that that was a mistake. And what it really boils down to -- and I'll get right to the issue here -- is that I am amazed at the attention that his comments and his vocabulary has gotten the attention that it has when we're dealing with so many more substantial issues in this country.

And the fact that Ted actually uses the vocabulary he does is inconsequential relative to the will of the people of the United States. And, you know, as we discussed earlier today, I'm amazed that there are so many surveys out, and I'm convinced that our government is not paying attention to the will of the people.

And "The Associated Press", the University of Chicago conducted an extensive survey in December. And the number one issue facing the United States according to the people interviewed --

BURNETT: The economy.

NUGENT: -- is the economy. And it's twice the level of concern that health care is, which I would include Obamacare as part of it.


NUGENT: And you go down the list, and both of those are five, six times the level of concern that immigration represents, that the environment and global warming represents. And since whenever you talk about Ted Nugent, the subject of guns and gun control comes up, they fail to even meet the top 10 list.

BURNETT: It's a fair point.

NUGENT: So if you listen to the people of the United States, the leaders that we have in Washington are not paying attention to the will of the country. And as far as I'm concerned, if you want to talk about embarrassment and not listening to what the people are saying, then it's very clear that both Houses of Congress have embarrassed themselves more than I think my brother ever did.

BURNETT: A lot of people would disagree with that. But I have to leave it there. Thank you very much. Appreciate your taking the time, Jeff.

And OUTFRONT next, a fan flips off Justin Timberlake during a concert. What was his response? Jeanne Moos reports, next.


BURNETT: Even if you're Justin Timberlake, every now and then, someone flips you the bird.

Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Justin Timberlake has given us a heck of a lesson in how to handle a heckler. In this case a female with an upraised finger.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, SINGER: Why are you flipping me off? You got second row to flip me the bird? That makes no (EXPLETIVE DELETED) sense.

MOOS: Though this concert in Philadelphia took place back in November, it's only now gone viral. The heckler said she wanted Timberlake to see her. Timberlake imitated her getting ready for the concert, planning her finger-wagging, attention-getting strategy.

TIMBERLAKE: You know what? I know what we should do.

MOOS: The fan who shot this video won the concert tickets and a trip to Philly in the contest.

STEPHANIE LOUGH, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE FAN: He's so charming. He's so charming.

MOOS: Stephanie Lowe was especially impressed with how he handled the heckler.

LOUGH: I've seen a lot of comedians get heckled. Usually, they kind of throw it back at the person, kind of insult them.

MOOS: Daniel Tosh (ph) for instance is known for dishing it out to hecklers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to edit you out. Like your parents wish they could?

MOOS: How about comedian Jamie Kennedy who was interrupted when he used the word "waitress"?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're called servers.

JAMIE KENNEDY, COMEDIAN: Well, I'd like you to serve your mouth shut.

MOOS: But Justin Timberlake wasn't serving up put downs.

LOUGH: He made it really positive. He made it -- he laughed at it. He got the whole crowd laughing.

MOOS: He turned the finger into a kumbaya moment.

TIMBERLAKE: OK, let's all do it at the same time so we get this over with.


MOOS (on camera): OK. So, if that's the perfect way to handle a heckler, what would be the imperfect way?

(voice-over): Ask Kanye West.

When fans asked Kanye to take off the mask he was wearing, Kanye took it personally.

KANYE WEST, MUSICIAN: Are you trying to tell me how to give you my heart?

MOOS: He had security remove the fan.

WEST: Do I look like a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) comedian? (INAUDIBLE)

MOOS: Well, we wouldn't have mistaken him for Justin Timberlake --

TIMBERLAKE: OK, let's all do it at the same time so we get this over with.

MOOS: -- who's put his finger on how to handle a heckler.

TIMBERLAKE: That's also the weirdest moment I've ever had with a crowd. Thank you.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos --

(on camera): So, thumbs up for the middle finger.

MOOS (voice-over): -- CNN --

LOUGH: He does deserve a thumb up or his finger up.

MOOS: -- New York.


BURNETT: Way to go, Justin. Kanye?

Anderson starts now.