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Should U.S. Arm Ukrainians; Submersible Bluefin 21 Mapping Ocean Floor; Deadly Ebola Outbreak In West Africa

Aired April 14, 2014 - 07:30   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Let's head over to Mr. John King with "Inside Politics" on NEW DAY. John, you got a lot going on, boy, you got the Ukraine. You got Sebelius. Can you handle it all?

JOHN KING, HOST, CNN'S "INSIDE POLITICS": We'll give it a shot, Chris, Kate, Michaela. Happy Monday to you. We'll be back to you in just a few minutes. A lot to cover so let's go "Inside Politics," to share their reporting and their insights, Molly Ball of "The Atlantic" and Juana Summers of "Politico."

Let's start with the situation in Ukraine, very tense on the ground right now. Everyone is waiting to see what the government does because of these pro-Russian protests. John McCain among those saying the president of the United States should do more. Listen.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We ought to, at least, for God's sake give them some weapons, light weapons to defend themselves. Where is the president of the United States? Should the president of the United States be speaking forcefully and strongly? And didn't the president say if they carried out actions there would be further sanctions? So far, we haven't heard anything.


KING: Two points there, Molly, one more muscle McCain wants, arm them, and more sanctions too, more moral authority, more outrage from the president himself. In this Washington, even in this Republican Party, very unlikely, right, John McCain is a lonely voice?

MOLLY BALL, "THE ATLANTIC": Yes, he really is. I mean, it sort of another day, another John McCain (hooraying) on the situation in Ukraine, but he clearly sees it as his job to keep the pressure on. He does feel that he's the only one who is keeping the pressure on the administration on this front. Washington has a short attention span. Congress has a very short attention span. There doesn't seem to be a lot of focus on this issue. Meanwhile, as we've seen, the unrest is growing. It's not going away.

KING: The vice president going there more than from a week now, Juana. The administration seems to be watching right now. Not doing much at the moment. I'm not saying that in a critical. I am not sure they are great options? JUANA SUMMERS, "POLITICO": Right. There really are not a lot of great options right now. That trip by Vice President Joe Biden is going to be very hotly watched. With the Republican Party and leaders in foreign policy, what are they going to say if violence keeps escalating? If the United States does not do something more force, you're going to hear the John McCains, the Lindsey Grahams and perhaps the Marco Rubios and Ted Cruz's of the world.

Stepping up their consternation about this issue and saying, this another example of President Obama, you know, failing to lead. It's the same you saw from him in Syria. It's the same thing you've seen in Afghanistan, a president who is willing to sit there and watch these things happen all over the world and not do anything about it.

KING: Well, let's bring it home to the biggest domestic political issue in the campaign year, Kathleen Sebelius is leaving as the secretary of health and human services. This is a stunning example of the political parallel universe we live in. Republicans say she's racing out the door because she was such a failure. Democrats say she got the Obamacare enrolment numbers up. She's a great success. Listen to the secretary saying she made clear to the president, I'm going home.


KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HHS SECRETARY: While it made it pretty clear that really wasn't an option to stay on, I mean, I thought it was fair to other -- to commit to January 2017 or leave with enough time that he would get a strong, competent leader.


KING: It stuns me about this one, Juana, again, if you talk to a Republican, they say she's an abject failure. If you talk a Democrat, they say what a horrible start with the web site, but they got over 7.5 million now in enrollment numbers. They think it's a good time for her to leave. Is there a middle ground in this debate or is an ideological perspective?

SUMMERS: I think it's an ideological field debate. In the wake of her decision to step down, she did what she came to do. They exceeded the 7 million number. They have 7.5 million. She did her job. If you listen to Republicans, they're saying this is one more example. She's jumping ship. The administration knows that they failed.

You heard Marsha Blackburn over the weekend saying she made the comment they need to bring in someone to skew the numbers to help Obamacare. So it will be interesting to see just how this changes the Obamacare debate as we look ahead to those 2014 midterm races.

KING: And that's a key point. It's a Washington conversation. It's almost irrelevant. It matters how this conversation play out in about ago in Alaska, in Arkansas, in North Carolina, in West Virginia, in the places with the key Senate races, right?

BALL: Well, sure, absolutely. And not popular in a lot of those places, but you know, there is this denialism going on saying that the administration is cooking the books that these numbers aren't real. And I think there is a real uncertainty in both parties of how this is going to play out.

You know, if this situation does seem to be now on a stable course, are Republicans going to be seen to have been overreached in declaring the whole thing a failure. Obviously, the sky hasn't fallen. You know, it also hasn't turned into flowers and sunshine.

KING: A lot of buzz in politics over comments first from Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democrats in the House and then her deputy who runs the congressional campaign about whether there's an element of racism in the Republican Party including in Republicans in Congress. Nancy Pelosi last week said she's heard from Republicans that if immigration were about the Irish, it would have passed.

Listen to Steve Israel here. He wants the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee asked by CNN's Candy Crowley if he sees racism in the Republican ranks?


CANDY CROWLEY, HOST, CNN'S "STATE OF THE UNION": Do you think your Republican colleagues are racists?

REPRESENTATIVE STEVE ISRAEL (R), NEW YORK: Not all of them, of course not. But to a significant extent, the Republican base does have elements that are animated by racism.

CROWLEY: But you know, even --


KING: The retort from Republicans, Juana, is the Democrats are saying this to gin up turnout. To get African-Americans interested in the election. This is a dangerous conversation to have. The congressman saying not all of them. If you're going to say, that means some of them, doesn't it?

SUMMERS: with the reaction on twitter, people are asking if you're saying not all are racist, enlighten us who actually is. What I think is really dangerous about this particular conversation on both sides of the aisle is that it's avoiding actually have a debate about policy issues like immigration, like the pay equity bill that Republicans walk up over the last week. And instead focusing on this sexy headlines, but really just avoid any meaningful substantive conversation.

KING: Is there a way to have this conversation? The president's way, when this comes up, sure, there are some people out there who oppose me because of race and then he himself prefers to move on to I think not give them the benefit of talking about them?

BALL: Sure, well, and as Juana said, you know, there are issues here to be discussed, but the Republicans feel like they can't raise objections to anything without being accused of being racist or being anti-woman, and these are all sort of political ploys. I mean, Steve Israel there didn't bring it up. He was asked a question. There is this idea that people vote because they're angry.

People vote because they're frustrated. People vote because they're fearful. So there is a feeling that Democrats because they need to increase turnout among occasional voters who could only vote in presidential elections are trying to generate that sense of fear and anger.

KING: It is only April 2014, but New Hampshire had several presidential contenders on the Republican side up there this weekend. One of them is Ted Cruz. He is a Tea Party favorite. He is the freshman Republican senator from Texas. Listen to him here saying President Obama has never met a law he doesn't want to unilaterally change.


SENATOR TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Then there is the pattern of lawlessness in this administration, ignoring law after law after law. If this president doesn't agree with the law, he refuses to enforce it. Then you take Obamacare -- please, take Obamacare. Thirty times this president has simply unilaterally changed the law. No authority in the law for that.


KING: Now, I love and breathe politics, but it is remarkable how early the Republican maneuvering has started. In part because it's still wide open. They have no clear frontrunner. Did anything substantive happen in New Hampshire this weekend or a cattle call to get attention?

BALL: Well, I think it was really interesting to have Rand Paul and Ted Cruz on the same stage in front of this crowd of Tea Party activists. Because this is really a situation where Paul has been preparing to run for quite some time now. Cruz seems to be parachuting in and he could be a real problem for Rand Paul.

The people I spoke to in the crowd felt that Cruz was more compelling. Cruz was a better speaker. His speech was sort of as you saw there, pure red meat. At the end, he gave out a cell phone number that you could text to join his movement. That's pretty building 101 right there.

KING: Juana and Molly, thanks for coming in on a Monday morning. As I go back to New York, I'm going to say it before it can be said to me, Congratulations, Mr. Cuomo, to your New York Yankees, three out of four, that was tough.

CUOMO: I take no pleasure in it, though, John King, because I'm in complete Boston strong mode with the anniversary of the marathon coming up. I cannot be anti-Boston right now, although you're right, it was a shellacking this weekend.

KING: See you in September. BOLDUAN: There we go. It will never end.

CUOMO: Take a break right now. We'll be back with NEW DAY. This search for Flight 370 is going deep. That is an unmanned submersible. It is on a mission to find the plane. We're going to break down what the search looks like right now. What chances are today?

BOLDUAN: And the CNN exclusive, chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is live in West Africa, where officials there are trying to contain a deadly Ebola outbreak. How easily can this outbreak spread to the rest of the world? Sanjay is going to help us understand.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Right now, the U.S. Navy's unmanned submersible vehicle, the Bluefin 21, it's called is being deployed in the search for Flight 370. It will use sonar, side-scan sonar, it's called to map the bottom of the ocean, but where they start depends on what little information they know so far.

Let's bring in David Soucie, CNN's safety analyst. The author of "Why Planes Crash" and a former FAA inspector to discuss what we know and what we don't know and where they're going to be, David. This all comes back to the pings. The pings that we know. This is the first ping they detected, the second, the third and the fourth. Where is the search today?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: What they're going to do is focus on the first one because the first one was the longest and the most consistent. These others are most likely artifacts. They're other pieces -- these are the echo ones. These are the ones that kind of bounced and moved around out here and transmitted --

BOLDUAN: Why do you think they know they want to focus on this one -- it's the first one they got, but why isn't that an echo?

SOUCIE: Well, because it's solid and for a long period of time.

BOLDUAN: This is the two hours.

SOUCIE: Yes. If you look at where the beacon would be and it's radiating out. Remember, it will go three miles or so and that's a minimum it can go farther than that. This is 160 decibels, which is the same as a gunshot. That's how loud it is. We've seen the demonstrations on the CNN web site that talk about how far this thing went. We drop it in and it went ping, ping, ping.

That's a meek sound. It's not really that. It's a dog whistle frequency, so we can't hear it with our ears, it's nonetheless, 160 decibels. You know, it's ten times louder than that. It radiates quite a distance so that's why we have the pings out here.

BOLDUAN: So we assume it's going to focus generally here.

SOUCIE: Correct. BOLDUAN: It's a large area, still, that we're talking about. It's like 500 square miles, but the mission today that the Bluefin is going to be taking on, they're starting at 40 square kilometers, some 15, 16 square miles?

SOUCIE: Right. And again, that's focused on this line -- oops --

BOLDUAN: That's OK. Pick a color. Any color.

SOUCIE: All right, so let's go out for a second and this line is two hours, they have that ping.


SOUCIE: Now, think about that, as to where within the pinger would be, it has to be within that circle that I drew before. So it has to be within a circle that's something like this. The center does three miles this is more like a mile and a half or two. So it's either here or a circle like this. Does that make sense? I've got a lot lines.

BOLDUAN: No, no. It make sense though.

SOUCIE: It's got to be in one of these two areas. I think they're going to be looking here. And they're going to be looking here because those are really the only two viable options for it to be, to produce a signal like that.

BOLDUAN: So if they don't come back, the Bluefin comes back up to the surface. They download the information. That takes four hours. Then they look and they don't see anything abnormal. They don't see anything that could be the ping. Could be the black box. What then? Where else do they go?

SOUCIE: There are other places you could look around here because remember, I said the minimum requirement is 3-mile distance.


SOUCIE: It could be more. It most likely is more. Just like with the batteries, they said it was 30 days. That's a minimum but it went clearly --

BOLDUAN: Thirty-plus days?

SOUCIE: Thirty five, 37 days.


SOUCIE: So, again, this radius could be bigger and again just keep extending out. I would guess that this pattern is going to look something like that.

BOLDUAN: The more days this goes on are we in a better position because they're going to be ruling out areas or is it becoming more unclear? Earlier, we said it's good to know where it isn't so then we can look for where it is. Is that the same thing with the Bluefin? SOUCIE: Every time they didn't find something, the level of confidence in this one went up. That's where we can begin our investigation to determine the facts. So the level of confidence is going up when they didn't find anything else.

BOLDUAN: Does that define this phase of the search though?

SOUCIE: It does not because if they don't find anything that these two likely places then we're going to get into some trouble. Then we're going to have to expand the search. It's difficult at that point, this is most likely not in as solid a lead.

BOLDUAN: Which is the opposite trajectory.

SOUCIE: Exactly right, Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, David Soucie, thank you so much, David. We'll be back with you throughout the show -- Chris.

CUOMO: A quick break here on NEW DAY, when we come back, trying to contain a deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa. We will go there. Chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is on the ground in Guinea on the efforts to keep it from spreading. Sanjay is going where many would not to show a danger that could spread. Check it out.


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY, a desperate effort is underway right now in West Africa to contain what's being called the most challenging outbreak of deadly Ebola virus in the history. So far more than 100 people have died, the overwhelming in majority in the nation of Guinea. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in the capital city there of Guinea. This morning, he has an exclusive front line look at the battle to save lives -- Sanjay.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: One thing I'll tell you, Michaela, talking about where Ebola comes from, the remote forested areas, that's where typically it has been in the past. As you pointed out, it's getting into the capital city. The concern is we're a stone's throw away from an international airport.

This is one of the isolation areas, got unique access here. They're trying to prevent that scenario from happening. They know, we know Ebola is a swift, effective and sometimes bloody killer. Even testing for it, Michaela, can be very risky.


GUPTA (voice-over): A simple blue box potentially carrying one of the most dangerous pathogens in the world on its way to be tested. In less than four hours, we'll find out whether it contains the Ebola virus. The fate of three patients depends on what's inside. Simply getting the blood samples is a life-threatening job. One of these workers told us he has a 9-month-old baby at home. They'll do everything they can to protect themselves. Three pairs of gloves, booties and layer after layer of gowns. They go in to see the patients.

Every single inch of their body covered in permeable suits. Nothing in. Nothing out. Even the drop of the Ebola virus that gets through a break in the skin can infect you. We all have breaks in our skin.

(on camera): This is the painstaking detail and process you have to go through to interact with these patients with Ebola. This is as close as we can get. They're decontaminating themselves. They've taken the blood samples and put them in this blue ice chest over here. It's highly suspicious it contains Ebola.

(voice-over): WHO lab technicians suit up next. They've been handed the blue boxes. It's their job to test the sample for the deadly virus. They'll have results just two hours from now. A few years ago being able to test for Ebola on its own turf was impossible. Precious blood samples had to be taken out of remote forested areas in Central Africa and flown to the CDC in Atlanta or the WHO in Geneva.

Pilots would sometimes refuse to fly the dangerous pathogens. Even if they did, it could take days or weeks to get the results. At 8:00 p.m., we get the call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two of these are positive.

GUPTA (voice-over): Two of the three patients now have confirmed Ebola.


GUPTA: Michaela, one of the things I want to point out, it's very important is that after someone is exposed, it can sometimes take anywhere between two to 21 days for them to develop symptoms. You can see the problem there in exposure and maybe get on an airplane and travel around the world. It's an unlikely scenario, but they're trying to prevent it from going global.

PEREIRA: One of the things we're concerned about, obviously, Sanjay is your safety and the safety of our crew. Given what we don't know about how it's spread, given what we do know about the death rate, 90 percent death rate, what are you guys doing to protect yourselves?

GUPTA: It's worth pointing out that Ebola is actually a difficult thing to, quote/unquote, "catch." It's not airborne, for example, like the flu. You have to have long contact with somebody's bodily fluids. That's why health care workers, family members are most at risk. Fourteen health care workers have died. The real key is obviously just keeping your skin protected if you're in close proximity.

You saw the suits that people wear. We are keeping our distance while still being able to report the story. That's sort of the key. The problem -- the bigger challenge is for the people behind me. They go through that painstaking process, as you saw, just to be able to have any proximity to these patients.

PEREIRA: Yes, 14 health care workers already killed in this. Sanjay, thank you so much for bringing us this story. The big concern, of course, as he was talking about is the fact that this outbreak is a stone's throw from an international airport. They don't want it jumping the continent and getting anywhere else around the world.

BOLDUAN: That's why they're paying more attention to it than they would ever --

CUOMO: A dangerous assignment. Sanjay knows what he's doing. He's done more in those situations than pretty much any of us. A unique passion to tell that story.

Let's take a break on NEW DAY. When we come back, a mini sub is now searching the floor of the Indian Ocean for Flight 370. The question is, is this finally the break search crews needed or was it the only hope they had left?

BOLDUAN: Another violent day in Ukraine. Pro-Russian activists ignoring an order to disarm and disburse and setting fire to a police station. Is the country inching towards civil war?