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Did Flight 370 Veer Off Course?; Recreating Pistorius Deadly Shooting; Top Commander In Afghanistan To Testify; Alarm For Dems In Florida Results; Senator: CIA Spied On Senate

Aired March 12, 2014 - 07:30   ET



MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Half past the hour near on NEW DAY. Let's take a look at your headlines. We start with Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Did it veer hundreds of miles off course before radar contact was lost? A senior Malaysian Air Force official tells CNN the jetliner strayed west towards the Strait of Malacca on its way to Beijing. Now he also claims the plane's transponder was turned off cutting off transmissions of crucial data such as altitude, direction and speed. Top Malaysian officials meanwhile are disputing that claim.

A gripping testimony and a gripping re-enactment in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial. Prosecutors using the actual door that Pistorius shot through and a cricket bat to break it down to recreate what they say happened the night his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was killed. The defense now questioning a forensic expert's testimony about that door during cross-examination.

The top commander in Afghanistan will testify on Capitol Hill today about the situation overseas. Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford will face questions on how long American troops should remain in Afghanistan since President Hamid Karzai refuses to sign a security agreement. Dunford has proposed keeping 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan until 2017.

After 30 years behind bars, most of them on Louisiana's death row, this man, Glen Ford, is a free man this morning. A judge vacated his conviction and death sentence after prosecutors said there was new evidence in the 1983 murder case that exonerated him. The 64-year-old Ford walked out of Louisiana Angola Prison Tuesday. Ford says he has always maintained his innocence and he feels some resentment for being locked up for a crime he didn't commit, but not bitterness.

And lastly a burglary at Pastor's Joel Osteen's Houston mega church, $600,000 and $400,000 in checks stolen from a safe sometime between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning. Some envelopes had credit information, but church officials say there's no data breach and the funds that were stolen are insured. That is a brazen thing to do, break into a church -- Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Robbing from Joel Osteen, just when you think it can't get any worse. All right, there's a lot of politics at foot this morning so let's get to John King and get "Inside Politics" on NEW DAY. John, good morning.

JOHN KING, HOST, CNN'S "INSIDE POLITICS": Good morning too, Chris. Let me check in first, the ladies treating you better today?


CUOMO: We'll discuss it later.

KING: We just -- no watching the internet while I'm having this conversation here. There's a lot to talk about "Inside Politics." Driving our day, the huge Republican win in that big special election in Florida. With me here to share their reporting and their insights, Juliana Goldman of "Bloomberg News" and Jonathan Martin of "The New York Times."

It is impossible to look at this Florida race, the Republican candidate, David Jolly wins in a district, Alex Sink, the Democratic candidate carried when she ran for governor in 2010, the president carried it. There's a dozen seats out there that the Democrats have a pretty good chance of getting. This was one them, Juliana. How does the White House spin this? There is no way to look at it upside here. This is a bad loss.

JULIANNA GOLDMAN, "BLOOMBERG": They look at this and say this had been a Republican-held district for 50-plus years. Look, they wanted to win this race. David Jolly was a worse candidate than Alex Sink. She outspent him, raised more money. So this is going to be really tough. It looks like midterms could be more like 2010 than 2012 for Democrats.

KING: More like 2010 means the Republicans -- you have to go to a bar at closing now to find a Democrat who thinks Nancy Pelosi is going to be speaker again. A lot of Republicans now think they can get the Senate as well. The one thing that the Republicans will take away from this, am I right, Jonathan, is that the Obamacare assault worked. Even Jolly complained it was overkill by some of the outside groups. So many ads attacking Obamacare, but we're going to see more and more, right?

JONATHAN MARTIN, CNN "INSIDE POLITICS" CONTRIBUTOR: At a very minimum, it bulks up the GOP turnout. Even if you buy into this for Democratic line that it's not moving swing voters, it is in fact moving the Republican base in a special election even in the midterm election bringing out base voters is crucial. One of the other things here is Alex Sink raised more money than David Jolly.

That was a race because you have the outside groups on the Republican side come in and play. My question last night for Democrats was when are you guys going to find your outside money to start competing with Republicans?

GOLDMAN: I do think though that the silver lining for Democrats here is that Alex Sink was able to shave off independent support with the argument of fix and it move on as opposed to repeal and replace that Republicans have been sounding.

KING: Republicans were nervous about this. As recently as last week, they promised to catch up in the technology game. The Republican actually beat the Democrat on Election Day, which Republicans will think is some proof that they're getting their act together when it comes to technology.

Let's move on, but it's related that this happen in an election defined by Obamacare when we see the enrolment numbers not quite what the administration needs. New enrolment numbers get them over 4 million. They wanted to get to 7 million by the end of the month.

Juliana, one of the big questions is younger people. How do they get there? About 25 percent of those who have signed up are millenials. The administration says you need to get to about 40. Can they get there by the end of the month?

GOLDMAN: Well, they are certainly hoping as we saw on the internet the other day. But that's what they're making a big push to get young people. The success of Obamacare really relies on having this pool that's balanced out with young, healthy people to balance out the elderly and sick.

KING: You mention the funny or die. So let's show a little bit more of it. Zach Galifianakis has this series. I called it a web series yesterday. I want to go behind the scenes. Bill Clinton went on "Arsenio Hall." That he did MTV, "Boxers and Briefs," fast forward 16 years or so, was this demeaning or was it brilliant? Let's have a little bit more.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to know, what is it like to be the last black president?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seriously? What's it like to be the last time you ever talk to a president?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It must stink though that you can't run three times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, I think it's a good idea. If I ran a third time, it would like having a third hangover movie. It didn't really work out very well, did it?


KING: Maybe there will be a fourth hangover movie. Who knows? You know, Republicans are saying this is beneath the presidency.

MARTIN: Well, some are, I think most the strategists on there understand in the modern media age you have to be creative on how to get your message out. I think he's pushing the line a little bit. It also reflects the age we are in, not technologically, but also just in terms of irony. For a lot of folks, the kids you mention, the under 40 crowd, that kind of humor is sort of standard these days. KING: They're sleeping in right now, those kids. What do they do behind the scenes? You cover the White House every day. This is always a tough one. He is the president of the United States. His approval ratings are in the tank a bit right now. There's always a tough call when they do these unconventional ways. Why do they do this?

GOLDMAN: Well, first of all, at one point yesterday, and this I think speaks to why they did this, the funny or die web site was the single biggest driver to So it was directing people to sign up.

MARTIN: So it worked.

GOLDMAN: Yes. The White House says this was just a really funny time. There was a lot left on the cutting room floor. Most of this was adlib. North Ikea that was all adlib.

MARTIN: How did they hold it together?

GOLDMAN: They didn't. They had to stop and restart. Galifianakis said I can't believe you guys are letting us do this.

KING: The great part at the end is when the curtain drops. We'll see if he gets back. On a serious note, though, the president is trying to do this at a time he's trying to drive people to especially roll for health care. His approval rating has him at the lowest ever, 41 percent. If you average them out, the president is somewhere in the 40s in the wake of the Florida election, we're going to see Democratic jitters. Are we not?

GOLDMAN: Definitely and I think our poll shows that he is seeing an uptick in his approval ratings, it also shows that strong majorities disapprove of his handling on specific issues, namely, the economy and that's something that could be a real drag in November.

KING: There is a huge story playing out right now that if true, kind of a Nixonian poll over this administration. Diane Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, they are investigating water boarding and the like. She says this administration, the Democratic administration has been meddling with the investigation. Listen.


SENATOR DIANE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: I have grave concerns that the CIA search may well have violated the separation of powers, principles embodied in the United States Constitution.


KING: Again, Juliana, this goes back to the Bush administration. She says Leon Panetta, President Obama's appointee in his tenure at CIA and since then in her view, they've been interfering, tracking what the Senate is doing. CIA says not true. If true, it is Nixonian. GOLDMAN: Well, look, in the wake of the Edward Snowden, NSA spying revelations, the last thing that this administration wants to be dealing with now are allegations that they're trying to keep information from the American public, particularly when it comes to dealing with Diane Feinstein who has defended the NSA spy program and over a program that the president campaigned on ending and ended when he was first in office in 2009.

KING: That's the key political point, right? That Diane Feinstein has supported them on the new interrogation tactic, supported the president and the CIA on drone strikes. If they lose her on Capitol Hill --

MARTIN: That's what I was going to say. You have to look at the source. She's a very senior respected figure. It reminds me of towards the end of the Bush administration. You have some senior Republicans speaking out against the Iraq war. It has that similar feel, where you have elder statesmen in the president's own party going south on the president. Never a good sign for an incoming president.

KING: Jitters about the special election. Jonathan, Juliana, thanks for coming in early. Chris, Brooke and Michaela, as we go back to you, I think you had a great interview there with Mike Rogers to try to take this over to the House side. He was very careful. He said this would be horrific if true and that somebody would go to jail. So we need to keep our eyes on this.

CUOMO: Senator Graham said it would be all-out war against the CIA. John, I defer to you on all of these types of things, but this is about as serious as I've heard about a government agency let alone the CIA spying on those supposed to oversee them.

KING: A lot of tension right now. We have to watch this one. We have to be careful. There's a lot of tension here.

BALDWIN: Yes, Mike Rogers kept saying, I don't want to speculate. We'll be on it. John, thank you.

CUOMO: The facts will be all important, but the reaction to them, equally so.

Let's take a break here on NEW DAY, the mystery surrounding that missing Malaysia Airliens jet only gets deeper. New conspiracy theories are brewing. On NEW DAY, we will separate fact from fiction.

BALDWIN: And you like to smooch?

CUOMO: Of course I do.

BALDWIN: I don't want to get into your smooching habits. Let's talk about these people. Guess what? They're strangers. It's awkward, these encounters. These love birds just met. Their first kisses forever on film. Quite the back story behind this video.

CUOMO: Doesn't look that awkward to me. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but that's pretty familiar.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Conspiracy theorists are having a field day with the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The search for the missing jet is now in its fifth day and it seems everyone has an idea, a notion, about the fate of the missing jet liner. Some of them need vetting. Others need to stay on Twitter if vet. We will take care of it right now with Pamela Brown breaking down the situation.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The agonizing wait taking a terrible toll on the hundreds of families who still have no idea what happened to their loved ones. With the wreckage still missing, speculation is swirling. Outlandish theories about the mysterious disappearance of Flight 370 surfacing all over the internet and social media. Aliens? An international kidnapping? A Hollywood stunt for the remake of "Lost"?

JONATHAN KAY, JOURNALIST: It's accelerated in the recent years because of the internet and because in this case of the international aspect of the story where you have people piping in with their conspiracy theories literally from all around the world.

BROWN: Another theory, a meteor took the plane down. There was known meteor in the area at the time the plane took off. Could it have hit the plane? Given what we know about erratic flight path, highly unlikely. Then there is the idea the miraculous might have happened that the plane somehow landed near the rocky outcrop of an island called Pulau Perak and the passengers are still alive.

The hope fuelled by so-called phantom phone calls. Family members saying they're loved ones' missing cell phones are still ringing. Is there anyone on the other end of those calls? Doubtful. But it does give the loved ones of the vanished plane's passengers a place to put their hope. Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington.


BALDWIN: Phantom phone calls, I feel like we keep focusing on, you know, what we think happened and you know, the trajectory of the plane and everything else, but you just -- I have to bring it back to those families. We're talking 239 souls on board sitting in a room with no answers.

PEREIRA: How frustrating it must be for them.

CUOMO: Facts must drive the speculation, but the urgency has to stay there because they deserve the answers. You have to balance the curiosity, with which direction you take the story.

BALDWIN: Coming up next here on NEW DAY, we will tell you -- this is his favorite story of the day -- what happens when you bring 20 complete strangers together, pair them off and have them kiss for the first time? Do not miss -- it doesn't look awkward. Hello, nice to meet you.

CUOMO: Positive vibes, I'll take it.


BALDWIN: None of that here. Michaela says, no, no, no. Welcome back. We're going to talk kissing. This is NEW DAY and we can do that. This is something you don't see each and every day or rather ever. Twenty strangers kissing for the very first time. This is a YouTube video. It's called "First Kiss." It's racked up tens of millions of views in a matter of days. Here is CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): kisses. From Super Bowl ads to the sublime, but imagine kissing a stranger.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What was your name again?


MOOS: Someone you've met only a minute or two before your lips meet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Justin. How are you? Shall we make out?


MOOS: That's the concept behind a video burning up the web. "First Kiss" is sponsored by Ran, a clothing line. But the awkward lines are what you remember.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since you're an actress you've done this before.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have nice eyes.

MOOS: There are gay kisses.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you turn out the lights?

MOOS: Kisses between young and older. Jill Larsson, for instance, was an actress in the now canceled soap "All My Children."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What kind of a mess have you gotten yourself into now?

MOOS: But in this case she's playing herself. Some were ready to plunge in.


MOOS: Others seemed nervous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can we just do this any time?


TATIA PILIEVA, DIRECTOR, "FIRST KISS": The interesting moment was before and after the kiss. It was more intimate and more awkward.

MOOS: Director Tatia Pilieva picked the 20 strangers from friends and friends of friends.

(on camera): How long did you torture them until you had them kiss?

(voice-over): Only a minute or two.

PILIEVA: That's a long time with five cameras pointing towards you.

MOOS: Let the kissing begin. Some critics mocked it as a kissing audition. The shyest kiss was between the gay guys. The song, we might be dead by tomorrow was performed by Soko, one of the kissers. Kissing completed, awkwardness returned.

PILIEVA: It was so tender. The world seemed like a kinder place just watching people be so sweet.

MOOS: Love this posted one person. I wonder if any went back for dessert.

(on camera): One of the couples ended up going to a park. Others ended up going to lunch.

(voice-over): May these first kisses --


MOOS: Aren't necessarily their last. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


PEREIRA: It interesting how the headline seems kind of tawdry.

BALDWIN: I got first kiss butterflies a little bit. Brought me back to like --

CUOMO: Kind of that's what the whole magic is about, right? It's actually what happens before the kiss. I love it. Love everything about it. People are going to say it's false intimacy. You should know each other.

BALDWIN: It's a clothing ad.

CUOMO: More love. Take it where you can find it. I love it.

BALDWIN: Softies.

CUOMO: I love the guys. I love what the director said, made us feel when we were doing this the world was a little sweeter.

PEREIRA: Absolutely. We could use that.

CUOMO: What do you think? Tweet us? If you're mean about it, forget it.

BALDWIN: Forget about it, he says. Speaking of not sweet, coming up next on NEW DAY, we have to get back to the investigation, the search for Flight 370. Word, the Malaysian Airlines jet veered hundreds of miles off course before vanishing and the questions continue. Did someone intentionally turn off the plane's transponder to hide the plane? The latest on that investigation ahead.

PEREIRA: And a story that we have to show you. Imagine this. You're doing your shift working at the Gap. This guy strolls in, the president.


PEREIRA: And he did some shopping.

BALDWIN: Can I help you?

PEREIRA: Drop some tags. The sales associate who helped him here live next hour on NEW DAY.

CUOMO: Selective editing.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will never give up hope. This we owe to the families.


CUOMO: The Malaysia flight mystery deepens. Conflicting reports over where the missing flight was heading when it vanished. Was it off course? The search area continues to expand as do the theories as to what happened. We have the latest.

BALDWIN: And grave concerns. The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee makes scathing accusations against the CIA saying the agency broke laws by secretly seizing documents. We will sift through the war of words in Washington.

PEREIRA: Just like us, the president making a surprise visit to a Gap store in New York City. We'll meet the store clerk who helped him shop for the first lady and his daughters. So what exactly did he buy?

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now.