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Red Sox Arrive at White House; Obama Speaks to Red Sox; Answering Questions About MH370.

Aired April 1, 2014 - 11:30   ET




You are looking at World Series champions, Boston Red Sox.

Who is that?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You're looking right now at the White House. The world champion, Boston Red Sox, they are arriving to meet with the president, of course, at the White House. To the victors go the spoils. Every team that wins the championship gets to go there. This team exemplifying Boston Strong after the marathon bombings. It is so much to Boston and to the recovery of the city.

PEREIRA: What makes this day particularly beautiful is exactly that. It is such an honor. The president and all the teams seem to enjoy the visit from the teams.

Can you tell us about the blazer?

BERMAN: That's Jonny Gomes, plays right field and right-handed and drives in a lot of key runs. He bought everybody on the team that wore one of those blazers.

PEREIRA: He's the only one that wore it.

BERMAN: He is the only one that wore it. There were rumors that he bought the president one of them. They were going to present him with one of those, not that he needs it.

PEREIRA: How about Big Poppy?

BERMAN: He just looks good no matter what.

PEREIRA: Beautiful day at the White House.

BERMAN: I can't see how close the president is to walking up to the podium right now. If we have a second -- oh, there is Joe Biden. Let me just say, Joe Biden uses foul language and so does Big Poppy. Remember, he said, this is our blanking city.

PEREIRA: We remember that.

I would like to bring in another son of Boston, Mr. John King. He is champing at the bit to join in on the day of celebration.

John, doing your city proud.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kind of nice. Michaela, if you grew up a Red Sox fan, it wasn't until our adult life we got to see this at all and now three times. It is great to see that. I don't think the president is -- if Jonny Gomes has that jacket, I am sure it will end up in a closet somewhere.

Big Poppy has something under wraps he is going to give the president. What is he holding there?

BERMAN: He is holding some kind of package.

President Obama, you will remember, John, because you were there, after the marathon bombings, gave a lovely speech lifting the spirits of that city. He talked about, one day, some Boston team would win a championship. Little did he know it was going to be the Boston Red Sox.


KING: It is a great group of people. You see Jerry Remy there. You see the current team, some of the executives. Some are dressed quite corporate. Other players aren't quite sure what to do.

PEREIRA: I still think that that blazer that Jonny Gomes is wearing is pretty styling.

I want both of you gentlemen to be able to revel in this moment for your city. We are going to take a short break and come back and watch as the president speaks to the team, the Red Sox.


BERMAN: Welcome. There is the president addressing the world champion, Boston Red Sox.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As we kick off the 2014 baseball season, I thought I invited the Red Sox here today. There must be a mistake, because I don't recognize all these clean-shaven guys.


Here is one guy, a couple guys that decided they thought the beard was working for them.

But beards or no beards, it is an honor to welcome the 2013 World Series champion, Boston Red Sox, to the White House!


OBAMA: I have to say y'all have some fanatical fans. Many of them occupy my administration and the White House. Look at my White House photographer. He has been thinking about this day all week. I got my press secretary there. I am surrounded by Red Sox fans. I know all the members of Congress from the New England delegation who are equally fanatic.

Back in 2004, watching the Red Sox win the World Series was a novelty. Over the past 10 years, this clubhouse has the winningest championship record in baseball.


OBAMA: Three World Series titles in a decade under the leadership of John Henry, Tom Warner, Larry Lakito and their partners. Since they won this one at Fenway, the diehards can finally declare the curse has definitively been broken.


OBAMA: Obviously, all the wins were sweet for Red Sox fans but I think for the nation, as a whole, there was something about this particular squad that was special and will go down in history. Not just because they went from worse to first but because they symbolized the grit and the resilience of America's -- one of America's iconic cities during one of its most difficult moments. Nearly one year ago, hundreds of thousands gathered on a beautiful spring day to run and cheer the historic Boston marathon but a senseless act of terror turned celebration into chaos, joy into anguish. Four young people lost their lives. Hundreds were injured. The city was rocked. But under the guiding hand of somebody who I consider one of the finest public servants that America has known, Mayor Tom Menino, of Boston, who is here today --


OBAMA: -- and his lovely wife.


OBAMA: Boston stood resolute. Boston stood resolute and unbroken and as the smoke cleared, we gained inspiration from the injured, who tackled their recovery, those who were running and walking again, including the young woman who has returned to professional dancing with the prosthetic leg. We took heart from the first responders who put their lives at risk and bravely ran toward danger. People like Officer Richard Donahue of the NBTA transit police, shot and nearly killed that night, after months of rehab, Richard is walking again and keeping up with his 18-month-old son. We are proud to have Richard here today. Give him a big round of applause.


OBAMA: Today, our hearts are in Boston again. The families of Walter Kennedy and Lt. Edward Walsh, who gave their lives protecting others from a massive blaze last week. Their sacrifice, like the sacrifice of those made last year, remind us of the self-less purge of everyday heroes that put their lives on the line to help others. The first responders, brave citizens, resolute victims of these tragedies, they are all Boston Strong. Ultimately, that's what this team played for last season. Every man behind me did his part to keep the team rolling. There was Zander Bogarts, the upstart rookie that took over at third base and didn't let up. Contested veterans like my fellow Hawaiian, Shane Victorino, and Mike Napoli, who came in and shook off the rust and the injuries to secure win after win. Lackey and Lester, the heart of the rotation that upped their game and started begging their manager, John Farrell, to stay injured, six and seven and eight innings. And, of course, the legend, the only man to play for all three championship teams, the biggest bat in the dugout, Big Poppy.


OBAMA: Love this guy. Even a White Sox fan could appreciate these guys.

For all the big names, this was never a single superstar's team. If you look at the numbers, no pitcher won more than 15 games. No batter hit more than 30 home runs and yet they led the majors in runs scored, won the most games in the American League, had the second best ERA in their hard-hitting division. So this team never lost more than three games in a row all season. They just had a lot of heart. It was that consistency that brought the Red Sox into the postseason. It was the drive to do more for the city that had their backs, that took them on to win in the World Series. With the rallying symbol of Boston Strong, mowed into the outfield and sewed into the uniform, the Red Sox took the field against Tampa and Detroit with the full weight of their city behind them. When they found themselves in game four, down two games to one against St. Louis, the faithful cheered as Jonny Gomes knocked in a three-run homer out of the park breaking home a tie --


OBAMA: -- and giving Red Sox nation the signal they weren't done yet, Big Poppy let it rip and earned the World Series MVP.


OBAMA: Koji Ohara, third choice closer, kept one of the best post seasons with his signature splitter that sank straight into David Moss's mid to win the World Series, four games to two. Then, Koji looked so happy after every game, jumping up on people.

So they all stormed the field ready to duck boats but this was more than just a trophy and parade. With every game they played, the sons of Fenway never forgot what it meant to wear the Boston uniform. When they visited bombing victims in the hospital, when they played ball with kids getting cancer treatment, when they started a program to help wounded warriors getting treatment at Massachusetts General. They were saying we are all on the same team. Big Poppy put it better and more colorfully than anyone of us could.


I won't repeat his quote. But the point is, Boston and the Red Sox were one this season. We knew. last year, even as we mourned the loss and cared for the wounded and resolved to carry on, that the moment would come when the sox would be champions again and the crowds would gather for a parade down Boylston once more. That's what happened. That's how this team helped Boston to heal and, true to that spirit, in just a few weeks, something else we resolved last year will come to pass. On the third Monday in April, the world will return to Boston and run harder than ever and cheer louder than ever for the 118th Boston Marathon. That will happen.


OBAMA: Bottom line is I'm proud of these guys. As a baseball fan, I appreciate their comeback season. More importantly, as a president, I'm grateful for their character and their embrace of the essential role they played in the spirit of that city.

Sometimes, sports seems like it is trivial. It is just an entertainment. Every once in a while, you are reminded that sports represents something else. It has the power to bring people together like almost nothing can. All of you should be very proud of what you accomplished. I know your fans are. I'm grateful to you as well.

So congratulations to the Boston Red Sox and Red Sox nation. Good luck this season. May the best Sox win!



BERMAN: The president finishing up congratulating the Boston Red Sox on their magnificent season last year. Big Poppy actually presenting the president with a gift. Somebody listen to Big Poppy. You never know what he might say.

PEREIRA: Should we listen to Big Poppy?


BERMAN: A nice jacket.


PEREIRA: It does look like it is sized for Big Poppy.

BERMAN: An extra large.

PEREIRA: I love what the president says. It is so true. A team should be a part of the fabric of the city. It has been beautiful to see how this team has personified this.

BERMAN: This wasn't token. These players, they split up into small groups and visited with the victims. I know, because I've been to their homes and I have seen the pictures of these players with people in hospital beds. It meant so much to the people and meant so much to the team as well.

Let's bring back Dorchester's own, John King, who I think enjoyed this as much as I do. You have been at the White House. You know, no matter how jaded these players are and how much they have been through, this is a big day for them too.

KING: It is a cool day for them. Let's drop the formality of going through the White House. It is a great for them as athletes. It is an honor and privilege. I worked there eight and a half years. You might be grumpy going to work every now and then. You look up and see the White House. You see the two players from Japan. Larry Lucino, Big Poppy, he has been there three times. It is cool for them. You saw him take a selfie with the president.


But back to the point you were making, John, that the president made. During the World Series, some of the Boston victims came to be down in the stands, be there with the players. Young Martin Richard, the youngest member who died, his family lives on my old paper route. In those neighborhoods, people did rally around the team. They needed a sign of hope, something to grab on. This team is extra special.

PEREIRA: A lot of these guys live in the area where they played. It is their community as much as it is. But the fact that they mowed Boston Strong into the field and sewed it into their jerseys.

I have been in Dodger territory for the last 10 years. It is really a beautiful thing. It doesn't matter your allegiance. We can all get behind the message of Boston Strong.

John King, thanks so much for joining us.

KING: You're welcome.


BERMAN: Great to have you.


BERMAN: This is just beginning of a few weeks to remember what happened last year. We really want you to watch a CNN special report about this. It has Boston Strong written all over it. It is called "The Survivor Diaries." It is story of Adrian Daley, the professional dancer that President Obama spoke of, and survivor of the Boston bombings and amputee.

PEREIRA: You can follow her remarkable journey. It will change your day. It's so moving. She rebuilds her life with the help of a cutting-edge medical prosthesis. Anderson Cooper hosts the CNN special report, "The Survivor Diaries," on Tuesday night at 10:00 eastern and pacific on CNN. Promise me you will check it out.


BERMAN: Back to our top story, the search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370, day 25. We asked you for some questions. We want to read you at least one.

PEREIRA: We have CNN aviation analysts, Mary Schiavo and Jeff Wise.

Jeff, the first question to you. Isn't it possible it landed on the ocean without guidance of a pilot and did not break apart? Just saying.

JEFF WISE, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, it's possible that a plane can ditch, which basically is to do a forced landing on the surface in such a gentle way as we saw sully landing on the Hudson. It's possible a plane could land and more or less remain intact and sink leaving little wreckage. It's hard to imagine that happening without a pilot at the controls, though.

BERMAN: Mary, this question to you. Isn't it possible that flight 370 -- I'm sorry. Why submarines, especially nuclear subs, sending them now to search under the sea. A lot of people are wondering, why don't we just flood the area with subs.

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST & FORMER INSPECTOR GENERAL, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: That's a good question. The answer I do not know. That would have to be put to the various nations with the submarines. We all think of the scene in the "Hunt for Red October" where they hear the singing but instead you would hear the pinging. That's a good question. And that one I do not know the answer to. I do know that they do have other assets they will send once they get a location, such as the grapple and the grass, the big ships to haul things out of the ocean. I can't answer the submarine question.

PEREIRA: OK. I like this. We're stumping some of our experts.

This is for Jeff. Is it possible there was a biological or chemical sabotage used on the plane since it sounds like nobody was alive when it went down?

WISE: Well, it's possible. At this point, anything is possible. We have so little information to go on. Although I would say that there's a lot of talk about this sort of ghost plane theory. Based on what we know about the initial flight of the plane, it does seem pretty well-established that the flight was under deliberate control, at least in the beginning part of the flight.

BERMAN: That's certainly what officials from Malaysia seem to be saying, which is why they seem to be dead set on the notion it's a criminal act, even though they haven't produced evidence that seems to verify.

Jeff Wise, Mary Schiavo, thanks for answer these questions.

PEREIRA: @ THIS HOUR, a land slide devastates two towns in Washington State. Now families are left with only memories of their loved ones.


BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. The death toll continues to rise in the deadly Washington landslide. Officials now say 27 people are confirmed dead. 22 still missing.

PEREIRA: Those lost in the devastating mudslide were sons and daughters, grandparents, friends. Their families are now left to grieve.


DENNIS LENNICK, DAUGHTER KILLED IN MUDSLIDE: The location, being out in the woods, she wanted a quieter place. She liked it. She had lived in an apartment. It's a shock of being alive and vibrant and then just having your life, you know, wiped out.

BRENDA NEAL, HUSBAND KILLED IN MUDSLIDE: Then he said they found out. They recovered his body yesterday. And they identified him. So, of course, we melted. I dropped the phone, and I screamed a little bit. And --


PEREIRA: Many of the dead have now been identified, including this little one. That is the youngest victim, 4-month-old Sonoa Hughestis (ph), killed with her grandma, babysitting. Found a few feet from one another.

BERMAN: Some of the ways you can help, go to They need your help.

PEREIRA: They will for some time.

Let's give a look at headlines making news @ THIS HOUR.

Two weeks into spring. Wouldn't know by looking at the Midwest. Part of Minnesota slammed by late-season blizzard. Some areas getting as much as 18 inches. That's just insult. 18 inches of snow. Meanwhile, the northern plains and upper Midwest bracing for more today. In fact, they could get as much as 12 inches of snow by tonight.

BERMAN: Glad I'm not there.

Asiana Airlines admitting its pilot is partly to blame for the crash in San Francisco. Hit a seawall near the runway. An airline spokesman saying the pilot wasn't solely responsible, but could have failed to respond quickly to various problems, including an issue with the plane's auto throttle system.

PEREIRA: In Japan, hundreds of people who lived in an area contaminated by the nuclear disaster are now being allowed to return home. That area is about 12 miles from the Fukushima Nuclear Plant. They were evacuated after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami triggered a meltdown. Almost 140,000 people were forced to leave. What a relief to them to be able to get home, I'm sure. It's an emotional return, though.

BERMAN: It has been a long road back.

PEREIRA: It certainly has.

BERMAN: Thanks for watching @ THIS HOUR. I'm John Berman.

PEREIRA: And I'm Michaela Pereira.

"LEGAL VIEW" with Ms. Ashleigh Banfield starts right now.