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McCain on Ukraine Crisis; Pistorius Sick in Court; Medical Marijuana Debate; We Have a Winner

Aired March 10, 2014 - 08:30   ET


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: That's the next countries. And he continues to put pressure on -- accelerate Georgia and Moldova into NATO. There's a -- we have a wide range of options which are not, quote, "military action" and take them quick.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Are they all on the table?

MCCAIN: I think all of those options are on the table and --

CUOMO: Are you hearing from the White House that they're thinking of these things?

MCCAIN: I think they are moving forward with some of the sanctions. We're working with the administration on this package that we hope we can get through the Congress this week as we go out of session next week. I hope we can. But I just --

CUOMO: No boots on the ground though?

MCCAIN: I don't - I don't see it. I'd love to say there's some way we could react militarily, but there's not. There's not a way.

CUOMO: Fair criticism that --

MCCAIN: And the American people, by the way, wouldn't support it.

CUOMO: Well, certainly, 59 percent of the American people in our new ORC/CNN poll say we like sanctions, that's the right way to go, which is obviously a reflection of battle fatigue, and rightly so. Nobody knows that better than you. So, if you see it as going forward now, this -- the issues on the ground are going to stay the same. If they vote in Crimea that they want to go with Russia, and it is a valid, public vote, isn't that us --

MCCAIN: I can promise you they will vote. There will not be a --

CUOMO: But, don't you have to honor it as democracy?

MCCAIN: But, Chris, there won't be a -- this is the hold Hitler-Stalin routine.

CUOMO: So you don't know if it's real? It's a vote, but it's in quotes. MCCAIN: Oh, yes. I mean it cannot be valid.


MCCAIN: I promise you, Vladimir Putin will not be thrown out of Crimea because of a vote.

CUOMO: One other thing. Let's just turn to domestic here for a second.


CUOMO: You go to the CPAC -


CUOMO: Give a strong speech. Well received. You also deal with Ted Cruz a little bit.

MCCAIN: Yes, but I was - I was not at CPAC honestly (ph), but -

CUOMO: I know. But, you know, you were well received there in terms of what you meant in your message.


CUOMO: And then Ted Cruz comes up and says what he had to say, which is talking about you a little bit as running for president -


CUOMO: Romney as running for president -


CUOMO: And Bob Dole. You take exception to talk being about Bob Dole. He says, Ted Cruz, well, I didn't mean it that way. But to you, it rubbed you the wrong way. You believe Ted Cruz overstepped?

MCCAIN: Well, I mean, his words were, we failed to stand on principle. Bob Dole is an older man now. He has fought for his country. He was Ronald Reagan's top lieutenant during the Reagan years. If he -- as I said, if Mr. Cruz and others want to beat up on me and Romney, that's fine, but can't we honor Bob Dole without dragging him into this Tea Party versus non-tea party? It's just - it's just totally inappropriate and I don't think that Bob Dole deserves it. He deserves our honor and our respect now.

CUOMO: A little bit of a look at the new generation of politicians seem to put more of a premium on being ugly than on being respectful. Fair criticism?

MCCAIN: I think it's a fair criticism that if you say things like that about someone like Bob Dole to try to make a point at a conservative gathering. It's just -- he doesn't need to do it. And Bob Dole was so wonderful to me, I can't tell you what -- how I idolize him. And so I and others take exception to using him as some kind of applause line. CUOMO: Understood and the respect is certainly due Bob Dole and you. Senator, thank you for being on the show.

MCCAIN: Thanks, Chris. Thank you.

CUOMO: Appreciate it.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Senator McCain in the studio. Gentlemen, thanks to both of you.

Coming up next here on NEW DAY, graphic testimony in the Oscar Pistorius trial. We will tell you what was so gruesome it actually made the blade runner sick. A live report from outside the courtroom in moments here this morning.


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome back to NEW DAY. Now for the five things that you need to know for your new day.

At number one, of course, we're still watching Malaysia. No sign of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. No debris has been found in the South China Sea. Investigators, right now, focusing on two passengers who boarded that plane with stolen passports.

A military hospital in Crimea has been overtaken by a mob of Russian supporters. It comes as Russians lay claim to the (INAUDIBLE) border separating Crimea from Ukraine and attacked Ukrainians at a rally.

Oscar Pistorius getting sick in court as details of his girlfriend's autopsy are revealed. The judge pulling the plug on making those autopsy details public, saying they're just too graphic for live TV, the Internet and social media.

The father of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooter says he wishes his son had never been born. Peter Lanza telling "The New Yorker," quote, "you cannot get any more evil."

And just ahead of March Madness, President Obama is recognizing last year's winners. He'll welcome the Louisville men's team and Connecticut women's team to the White House to honor their 2013 championships.

I guess we better get our brackets ready, kids.

BALDWIN: Go Tar Heels.

PEREIRA: We're always - we're always updating the five things to know. So be sure to go to for the very latest.


BALDWIN: March Madness, best time of the year. Michaela, thank you very much. I want to take you back to the Oscar Pistorius trial because as we mentioned this morning, autopsy revelations are proving to be too much for this Olympian because we're hearing now these reports from inside the courtroom. They say he is vomiting as gruesome details of his girlfriend's death are revealed. Those autopsy details, they are not being broadcast, but we are finding out Reeva Steenkamp was shot in the arm, thigh and head. Robin Curnow is following every development for us this morning from Pretoria, South Africa.

Robin, good morning.


I was in the court and it was upsetting just listening to those details. Oscar Pistorius was absolutely physically devastated by the pathologist going over quite clinically the details of her wounds. He literally, as you said, was retching, vomiting. He, at time, he would hold his hands over his ears as if he didn't want to hear it. So much so that at one point the judge said, is your - said to the defense, you know, is he OK?

And she wasn't concerned about whether he was emotionally OK, she wanted to make sure that he was hearing everything, that he was taking in every detail, because that, of course, is his right to a fair trial. He has to be able to deal with this testimony.

So besides the fact that we heard those three bullets going into her head, her arm and her groin, there was a fourth entry through her -- the webbing of her finger. And the pathologist also detailing other smaller injuries that came from splinter-like object, consistent with the fact that these bullets went through a wooden door first.

So all in all, upsetting testimony for Oscar Pistorius, no doubt for anybody reading about it afterwards, including her family. And I must say, frankly, even for us journalists.

BALDWIN: And, Robin, it seems like we're getting, now, into the expert witnesses. Do we expect to see more in this next week?

CURNOW: Absolutely. I think, you know, as we've been chatting over the past week, you know, there's been a lot of scene setting type witnesses, what people heard, what they think they heard. This is now the hard pathological facts, the forensics. You know, all of this stuff. We're going to start hearing from the police, from the doctors, the first responders, all of that. And, of course, this is all boiling down to cold hard facts and how it is interpreted, you know, under law. So this, I think, is very important what we're hearing in court today and, of course, over the next few days.

BALDWIN: OK. Robin, thank you very much in a very rainy Pretoria this morning. Incredibly gruesome. So gruesome he is ill.

CUOMO: Just one of the very unusual aspects to this trial early on, which is why we're following it so closely.

BALDWIN: Yes. CUOMO: And we'll continue to do so.

But first, a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, the debate over medical marijuana is heating up. Dr. Sanjay Gupta back with a new documentary here on CNN. He's going to tell us all about it. "WEED 2: CANNABIS MADNESS."


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

We hear a lot about the down side of prescription pain killers, right, and it's a tradeoff, easing pain against the danger of addiction or even over dose. Well, CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta says, for many patients, there's another good yet equally controversial option, medical marijuana. Sanjay is joining us now.

Always great to have you, doctor.


CUOMO: So, look, you've pioneered on this. You say, I used to believe what the main feeling is out there. I've changed my mind. I've done the work. You're now doing a second documentary. What is the fundamental problem here?

GUPTA: Well, in terms of what we know, I think there's a very interesting fundamental problem, and that is, that if you look at the context of the United States, marijuana is considered a schedule one substance, which puts it in the category of the most dangerous substances that has no medicinal benefit.

Now, whether you agree with that or not, a lot of people don't agree with that, but what it -- it has real ramifications for the research that's done in this country. It's very hard to get research approved when it's a schedule one substance because it's already preordained to not have any medicinal benefit. Ninety-four percent of the studies in this country that I've reviewed look specifically for harm, not for benefit. So you get a distorted picture. And that's part of the problem.

But I think that starts to have an impact on the way people actually think about the substance as well -- very different than in other countries. You have a medication out there right now to help treat MS, for example, very tough thing to treat. It's approved in 25 countries -- Chris. Not the United States.

CUOMO: Can medical marijuana treat things that other things cannot and treat things that we need treated?

GUPTA: Yes. The answer is yes. With marijuana what seems to happen, this is interesting, it both has an anti-inflammatory effect but it also seems to disassociate people from the pain. My arm really hurts but you get the pain quality benefit but you also get this disassociation. I'm not as emotionally attached to that pain -- whatever it maybe. But it seems to either decrease people's need for narcotic medications or eliminate that need all together.

CUOMO: This is brave what you're doing because despite the research, despite the logic you apply, despite trying to keep it clinical you're going to get beaten with the permissiveness stick. How do you separate the two? Because people are afraid if you use it for medicine eventually it's going to be used for recreational use and now we're going to be introducing new reasons for addiction.

GUPTA: I am worried about that. I mean look, I think that there is a permissiveness and if I go out there I try to be very careful what I say on this and that's a concern. You know, the other concern, I mean you have kids, everything is sort of memorialized forever on the Internet and things. I don't want my great grandkids to think of me as the pot doc. It's sort of the issue that I decided to, you know, really associate myself with.

But here's the tradeoff. It is because of that concern about permissiveness, that concern that people are going to go to the doctor, feign an ailment just so they can get their marijuana, are you willing to sacrifice a legitimate option for needy patients. That's the trade off.

It's not the first time that we've had this discussion as you point out Chris. The same discussions we had around poppy and opium and the advent of these narcotic pain medications. But for some reason this has taken on this cultural permanence and so provocative in people's minds. I don't understand really why.

I try not to get into the moral equivalent of this but you know with prescription pain medications someone dies in this country every 19 minutes accidentally. We couldn't find any documented cases of marijuana overdose. There's a possible real benefit and much reduced harm.

CUOMO: And something people need to know, there are more kids in this country right now trying to go through your medicine cabinet and take your prescription pain pills and they are going to use them to get high than they are messing around with marijuana in a way that it's going to become addictive or painful to them.

You want to learn more about this? Of course, you do. Sanjay's new documentary is debuting tomorrow. It is called "WEED 2: CANNABIS MADNESS". It premieres Tuesday March 11 at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

All right. Back to you.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Coming up next on NEW DAY Chris Cuomo can you spell "epic". 66 rounds failed to produce a champion. We finally have a winner from that marathon spelling bee in Missouri. We'll tell you the word that ended this whole stalemate.


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN HOST: All right. Welcome back.

A winner has finally been crowned in that marathon spelling bee in Missouri. Remember last month, the two finalists went through the word list, 66 rounds before they ended in a tie. CNN's George Howell explains how it all went down this time.


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The first time this fifth and seventh grader faced off in the Jackson County, Missouri Spelling Bee the judges ran out of approved words. After more than 60 rounds and a veritable war of words, 13-year-old Kush Sharma and 11-year-old Sophia Hoffman were unstoppable -- an epic spelling bee. It ended in a tie two weeks ago putting both teens in the national spotlight. The two, fiercely competitive on stage but on the couch pleasant with Chris, Kate and Michaela.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Do you see each other as competitors or are you friends?



PEREIRA: You're friends.

SHARMA: Once it was, I've never felt so mentally drained.

HOFFMAN: You didn't know what word was coming next but it was also exciting.

HOWELL: It came down to the big rematch this weekend. The two went nearly 30 rounds but this time Sophia got stifled on the world "stifling". Kush ended up walking away with the win breaking the tiebreaker by spelling out a word he knows all too well.

So your final word came down to the word "definition". That's a word you use all the time on stage when you're asking for the meaning of a word. Were you surprised that that was your final word?

SHARMA: I was sort of caught off guard by, you know, level of difficulty of the word, you know. I was really thinking it should have been a harder word but they already picked it so there's nothing else that could be done.

HOWELL: He gave credit to his friend and worthy competitor and when I asked about preparing for nationals --

SHARMA: No time for, you know, your Playstation, no time for TV, no time for Facebook or whatever you do, you know. If you want to win then you just need to dedicate every single minute you have to spelling and to studying.

HOWELL: His winning formula, the very definition of focus. George Howell, CNN, Chicago.


PEREIRA: He's not going to get an easy word when it comes to the competition in May. The last word was "Knaidel". Can you spell that? No?

BALDWIN: Natal like pre-natal?



BALDWIN: Tricky word.

CUOMO: Yes. That's what it is.

PEREIRA: Proud of you.


CUOMO: A knaidel which is a strange Danish pastry, knaidel. Coming up a little boy takes -- that's not what it is -- a little boy takes on a really big struggle.

BALDWIN: I love this story.

CUOMO: What would you do if you knew that there was someone in your life who wouldn't soon be able to see? Find out what was done for this kid.


CUOMO: Time for "The Good Stuff". This is a good one. 12-year-old Louie Corbett (ph) from New Zealand suffers from a rare eye disorder. He's going to be blind by age 40. And that's terrible -- right.

But look, instead of letting it get him down here's what Louie's doing. He's ticking off a bucket list to see everything he wants to while he still can. At the top of the list he tweeted he wanted to see his beloved New York Knicks -- no, his Boston Celtics.


BALDWIN: Boston Celtics, Cuomo.

CUOMO: Remember Louie is from New Zealand so it makes some sense. It turns out one of the co-owners of the Celtics has a son who is blind and she answered the tweet saying "Thank you for bringing this to my attention our son has a similar disease that affected him at birth. I'm on it." And guess what? She was.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you excited. I can feel you're shaking a little bit. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Before they knew it Louie and his dad were in Boston meeting the team, getting a standing O at the game, even shooting a round with the guys. Louie and his dad couldn't believe it.


LOUIE CORBETT, LOSING HIS EYESIGHT: It's very generous of them to do this for me.

TIM CORBETT: Slowly coming in and he's probably back here now. So the chance to see all this while it's still wide is gold.


PEREIRA: It is gold.

CUOMO: Through it all Louie has some advice that you're going to want to hear.


L. CORBETT: There's tough times but then a good thing always happens so just think of when that's going to happen.


PEREIRA: I love it.

CUOMO: And matter of fact too.


CUOMO: Great for Louie. He's getting to do what he wants to do and he's teaching us all something along the way.

BALDWIN: There's a couple of other things on that list, I hear.


BALDWIN: Just imagine that, you know, for only so long these are things you can see.

PEREIRA: Yes. Live in the now.

BALDWIN: Absolutely.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: He's not only seeing it, he's experiencing it. It's amazing.


CUOMO: Let's get to Carol Costello at the newsroom. Carol Costello --

BALDWIN: Good morning.

CUOMO: -- you are certainly one of the beautiful things to see every day.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you. You just made my day, Chris Cuomo.

PEREIRA: What did you do for him?

BALDWIN: Bribery gets you everywhere.

COSTELLO: "NEWSROOM" starts now.

CUOMO: Don't hate, appreciate.