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$50 Million To Combat NRA; What Is Mitt Romney Up To?; Ferry Sinks, Nearly 300 Still Missing; Inside Ebola Isolation Wards In Guinea

Aired April 16, 2014 - 07:30   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Let's get to inside politics on NEW DAY with John King. Good morning, John.

JOHN KING, HOST, CNN "INSIDE POLITICS": Good morning to you. A lot of ground to cover. Let's go inside politics and with me this morning to share their reporting and their insights, Juana Summers of "Politico" and Jonathan Martin of the "New York Times."

Let's begin with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, just moments ago, he was on the "Today" show on NBC. He says he is taking several different anti- gun groups, gun control groups merging them into one, a new organization. He says he will spent $50 million or more if that's what it takes to promote new laws for more background checks and then perhaps additional gun control measures. First, let's listen to the mayor moments ago.


MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: And if you want to know how tough this is, go to one of the funerals and you look at the parents, look in their eyes and you will see what real tragedy is and why we really have to do something.


KING: That, Juana, is his answer to how hard it will be politically to take on the NRA. Michael Bloomberg saying we need to put fear not just into the NRA, but into the politicians to get them to pass these laws. He says he's going to do more grassroots organizing now. Learning a lesson, he spent a lot of money on TV ads in the last generation of. Success?

JUANA SUMMERS, "POLITICO": I'm not convinced. The political part is just one side of this equation. If you're taking this message back home to folks who really see gun ownership as part of their culture, tied into tradition, things that they share with their families, it's a really hard argument to make for these people, you know, who see this very seriously. So yes, there's a political argument to be made here in Washington, but convincing families at home is going to be really tough for Mayor Bloomberg.

KING: More background checks, Jonathan, is the safest part of this politically in the sense that even a lot of gun owners say they're open to that conversation. As mayor, as we've seen him evolved in this fight, does he get that Midtown Manhattan is not the same as West Virginia or Arkansas or Alaska when you are having this conversation?

JONATHAN MARTIN, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": He does in his head, but obviously in his heart he still wants to make change on this issue and that's why he's putting more of his fortune in. People will be fascinated to watch this year, does his money have adverse impact on Democrats and could that potentially hurt the Democrats in their attempt to keep the Senate majority. The tension between Harry Reid, Michael Bloomberg could be a fascinating story line to watch this year.

KING: Watch them this year, where they get involved and how high profile they get involved in criticizing Democrats. Here is another one that I find really fascinating and you started this conversation, Jonathan, a few weeks ago. What is Mitt Romney up to?

You know, he ran for president twice. He was the nominee last time. Nominees disappear for a while, but now all of a sudden not only do we see a lot of Mitt Romney, a lot of interviews especially during the Ukraine crisis.

But a lot of buzz in political circles that said I got a call from a Mitt Romney fundraising, leaving the door open to 2016. Look at Mitt Romney here. This is not is surprise. Mitt Romney appearing in a Republican primary ad in the state of Idaho supporting Congressman Mike Simpson. Let's listen to this.


MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The stakes are very high in this election because Washington spending is out of control. You can take it from me, the conservative choice for Congress is Mike Simpson.


KING: Now, a bit of a risk there in the sense that he has a Tea Party challenger so Mitt Romney is getting involved in a Republican civil war. Let's look at this. Josh Romney tweeted this out yesterday. It was tax day yesterday. We are led to believe here that that's Mitt Romney, a very wealthy man, I don't begrudge him his wealth. He earned it. In line at the post office dropping off his taxes on tax day. I'm going to guess he has a tax preparer, what is this about?

SUMMERS: Mitt Romney, I think if you take all of these things together what you're seeing is Mitt Romney searching for a way to define himself after the 2012 election. I think that's probably not a question, but he's trying to figure out how does he define his legacy and what does he do to define any potential political future for any of this children who might be interested there.

KING: I was just in touch with somebody very close to Governor Romney who said this is part grudge. Remember in the last campaign, the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid raised questions about does Mitt Romney pay his taxes. Part grudge and part fun they say, that he just want to get this out there. When you talk to Republicans, every now and then, a weird undercurrent going on.

MARTIN: He wants to stay in public life. Probably not going to run for office again. But I think he wants to have a role in the party. He does not want to be one of those nominees who becomes disappear and sort of a soviet style way from the picture after they lose a national race. I think he will stay in the conversation.

And in Idaho where the ad was cut he has a strong following. Idaho is a heavy Mormon state. Romney can do good there for Mike Simpson. As for him standing in line at the post office, maybe he had stamps to get, too, John.

KING: And picked up stamps. Let's call this one a clean-up on Aisle 5. Rand Paul, who is a potential 2016 candidate as well, the son of Ron Paul. So because of that, because of his libertarian leanings, because he's the son of Ron Paul, just about anything Rand Paul says on foreign policy gets extra scrutiny not just from Democrats but from Republicans. There's a big debate in the Republican Party right now. Here's Rand Paul talking about sanctions on Iran with ABC's John Carl a while back.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I've repeatedly voted for sanctions against Iran. I think all options should be on the table to prevent them from having nuclear weapons. People who say, by golly, we will never stand for that, they are voting for war.


KING: That's April 13th. Pick up "The Washington Post" today, Juana, and this is what you read, an op-ed from Rand Paul trying to clean this language up again. "To be against a we will never contain Iran resolution is not the same as being for containment of a nuclear Iran. If foreign policy is complicated and doesn't fit neatly on a bumper sticker, headline, or tweet." Why does he get such immediate scrutiny when he says anything on foreign policy?

SUMMERS: John, I think you're exactly right that he is defined so strongly on this particular area by his father, Ron Paul, and what he said and done and, also frankly, Rand Paul is an outlier in a lot of ways from the modern Republican Party, the other 2016 contenders. I think he makes a smart point there by saying this is something you can explain in 140 character or a bumper sticker topic.

In order to appeal to voters at a time when foreign policy is a more dominant force in the news, what's happened in the Ukraine and Syria, he's going to find out how to make his views accessible and intelligible for people when we have a passing sense and don't follow it as closely as the three of us do.

MARTIN: He does have this pattern though, John, of making news and then being criticized and then sort of irritably coming back and making point of clarifying his point. In Rand Paul's defense, part of the reasons why his words are being scrutinized so much is because the hawkish wing of their party two years away from the next campaign is rarely being aggressive with him and coming after him in ways that are visible and in ways that are not so visible.

KING: In part coming after him because they see at least building a threat, building an organization.

MARTIN: Absolutely.

KING: All right, yesterday morning we talked about this ad, Mary Landrieu, Democratic senator from Louisiana in a tough re-election battle. I pointed out the ad because she's bragging about her political clout in Washington, which a lot of consultants say don't do that this year. Well, some others have scrubbed the ad more closely and realize not everything you see is real. Mary Landrieu using a Senate hearing in the new ad, you're not allowed to do that by Senate rules. Look at this.


SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: Do you think that there are a bunch of fairy godmothers out there that just wish a magic wand?


KING: That's the Senate hearing. Do we have the actual ad?


LANDRIEU: Do you think there are a bunch of fairy godmothers out there that just wave a magic wand?


KING: She wished a magic wand at the hearing. She waved one in the recreation. I get the fact that Senate rules prohibit you from using the actual footage. If you're doing to recreate it do you have an obligation to put a little re-enactment or something up there?

SUMMERS: It's really interesting because the average voter doesn't know about the Senate rules change or all the back story behind this. She's criticized for using actors in this ad. She's trying to show her clout. Mary Landrieu is one of these people in 2014 who is running on Washington, so to speak, is actually kind of blowing up in her face because there are so many details that are not true. Look at the name placard in front of her. Not what you and I are used to seeing in a Senate hearing.

KING: Like Mitt Romney may be trying too hard?

MARTIN: For the folks back in Louisiana who will see that ad they will probably never know there's a flub there.

KING: As we go back to you guys in New York, Juana and Jonathan, thanks for coming in. We all want to do that, right? When we're done with live television, fix our hair, get the makeup just right. BOLDUAN: I was going to say the exact same thing. I don't think it's fair for us to criticize because there are many moments on live TV that we would like to wave or wish a magic wand and recreate.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Even in context, you know, with all the dissembling that's going on in Washington right now correcting a grammatical mistake in a commercial, that's OK. A lot of other stuff to deal with.

KING: And misdemeanor, not a political felony.

BOLDUAN: Exactly, John. The arbiter of justice. Thanks so much, John.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, the latest on this rescue mission. Just look at this ship. Rescue mission is under way to find hundreds of people still many believed to be teenagers who are missing after a ferry sank overnight off South Korea's coast.

And the Ebola virus, one of the world's deadliest and it's ripping across West Africa. We're going to take you to a treatment ward there. We're going to check in with Sanjay Gupta. He's live in Guinea.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back. We're continuing to follow the dramatic search and rescue for now almost 300 people missing after a ferry sank off South Korea's coast overnight. Four people are now confirmed dead so far and that number is expected to rise. Tragically many of the 459 people that were on board, just look at this video, many of them were high school students. The ship on its side sliding in to the freezing water.

Let's bring in former inspector general for the United States Department of Transportation, Mary Schiavo to discuss really what we're seeing unfold before our eyes. I want to go over, I just saw this on Reuters. One passenger described the impact like this to Reuters. It was fine, then the ship went boom and there was a noise of cargo falling. Does that suggest that they hit something under water or that something malfunctioned with the ferry itself?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, it could be either. Another passenger described it as a bump. So if they hit something that would have meant they were out of the channel, which is of course quite easy to do while it's a vast expanse of water. What people don't see when they look at the glassy expanse is underneath there are intricate and detailed channels that are maintained.

So if it got out of the channel it could have hit something. It's also very common to have an engine failures, explosions, those kinds of things on the ship particularly in the engine room. And it would have sounded like some kind of a boom or an impact sound. But that probably alone wouldn't account for the sinking this quickly.

It probably was something else then happened off and on ferryboats when you have quick sinking or taking on water, the doors through which vehicles can enter the ship sometimes fail. And it's not that the doors are weak per se, it's just that often when you have some kind of an event on a ship, and they turn sideways or they have any kind of damage to the hull. That those doors can then be damaged and can fail. Some of the ferry accidents in the United States have involved that.

BOLDUAN: So some kind of a chain reaction, not just one thing happening, but kind of a catastrophic domino effect because according to the "New York Times" there were some 150 cars on this ferry.

SCHIAVO: Right. And it sounds like it was, of course, very heavily loaded. So if you had any kind of a breach in the hull and it started taking on water, that would also account for the order for them not to get -- to get the life rafts out or to take time to get in life boats, but to immediately jump ship because if you have some kind of breach where water is coming in quickly the physics of the event are such that you may not be able to get out.

Once it starts taking on water there's a sucking, there's a motion that just makes it impossible to fight. So the order to abandon ship might have indicated that that -- this event was occurring. It's almost like a suction that occurs when the water starts coming on and you can't fight it. It's hard.

BOLDUAN: It's not unusual when you're dealing with such a catastrophic situation, there seems to be still conflicting reports what passengers were told. Told by some passengers they were told to jump in the water, abandon ship and take on their life jacket. I also see reports of some passengers saying that the on board announcement told people to stay put and this passenger believing that the people who stayed are the ones who were trapped.

SCHIAVO: Yes. And there may have been both. The problem with an -- I don't know anything about this particular ferry company. But if they haven't practiced and they don't know the commands and they aren't coordinated then you get conflicting commands. Some will say put on the life vest and stay put. Some will say, go back to your assigned area, your passage area, wherever you're assigned.

And so there can be a lot of confusion in an event like this, particularly if what happened was so catastrophic, you know, for example, say the doors did fail or the hull was breached and it was taking on water quickly. You know, a lot of people instead of following the set rules, lots of different people giving lots of different orders. And that is pretty common when things are happening quickly.

BOLDUAN: It does definitely suggest that things happened very quickly, Mary. We're looking at some of the video that was coming in and you see some of the life rafts still on deck in the early moments before the ship had really completely submerged under water. So many questions, Mary. Stick with us. We will check back in with you as we get new details coming out as the search and rescue urgently continues right now -- Chris. CUOMO: All right, let's take a quick break here on NEW DAY, when we come back a silent killer on the move in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak hitting the city of Guinea, a city of 2 million. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta is there.


CUOMO: The death toll is rising. An Ebola outbreak creeping across West Africa has taken 121 so far in Liberia and Guinea. Most of the 200 or so confirmed cases are in Guinea. Making it worst, the deadly virus has spread to the capital city there, which is home to over 2 million people. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta is on the ground, in Conakry, Guinea with the very latest on the desperate fight to contain a killer.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You're about to go inside an isolation ward in Guinea. There is a reason you may not have seen images like this before. These patients are fighting one of the deadliest diseases in the world. Ebola. It has disarmed their immune system, shut off their blood's ability to clot and invaded their organs in their body.

Up to nine out of ten patients will die. But this horror is isolated in Conakry, Guinea, we found traffic still busy here. Markets are full. Children, lots of children still smiling.

(on camera): You see as scary as Ebola is, it is not particularly contagious. It doesn't disperse easily through the air. It doesn't live long on surfaces either and people don't typically spread it until they're sick, really sick.

(voice-over): When that is the case, the patients are not usually walking up and down the streets, they are down in beds, in hospitals or even worse. Even the dead are highly contagious. Dr. Pierre Rollin from the CDC has helped to trace Ebola outbreaks for more than 30 years.

DR. PIERRE ROLLIN, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: This risk is not the people dealing with the Ebola patients. It is dealing with regular patients not thinking of Ebola.

GUPTA: You see it only takes a small amount of virus anywhere on your skin to cause an infection and as I learned no precaution is too small for the doctors who care for these patients. Tim Jagatek is one of the "Doctors Without Borders." He is from Canada who comes in for weeks at a time. He is not married. He has no children. That would be a job liability, he tells me.

Multiple pairs of gloves and masks, the head is completely covered. A multi-layer gown, boots, and then an apron. It is positively suffocating in the 100-degree weather. Prepares to help a patient with Ebola is like preparing for a visit from somebody from the moon. They do this so people outside the wards, the people on the streets will never know what it is like to be inside. (END VIDEOTAPE)

BOLDUAN: Some amazing reporting by Sanjay in West Africa. We'll continue to get reports from him.

Let's take a break. Coming up next on NEW DAY, it's a race against time as crews search the ocean for hundreds of people still missing after a South Korean ferry sank overnight. We'll have the latest on the rescue effort live from the scene shortly.