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Defending The "Obama Doctrine"; Obama Dismisses "Ignorant Folks"; Palin Supports Waterboarding; Tornado Outbreak Kills 18 In Central U.S.; New Phase In Search For Flight 370

Aired April 28, 2014 - 07:30   ET


JAKE TAPPER, HOST, CNN'S "THE LEAD": -- with Maeve Reston of the "Los Angeles Times" and Jonathan Martin of the "New York Times." President Obama on this big trip overseas and everywhere he goes, he's being hammered by critics and by some in the media for his foreign policy. He was asked in Manila specifically about his doctrine, the Obama doctrine. Here's what he had to say, taking his critics head on.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Criticism of our foreign policy has been directed at the failure to use military force. And the question, I think I would have, is why is it that everybody's so eager to use military force? After we've just gone through a decade of war at enormous costs to our troops and to our budget. And what is it exactly that these critics think would have been accomplished?


TAPPER: Maeve, he usually doesn't address his critics so head on. Were you surprised with what he said?

MAEVE RESTON, "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES": I was. And it's also interesting that most of his critics are not advocating for the use of force. There's almost no one right now who is advocating for the use of force in the Ukraine situation. So it's interesting that he would take it out that far to deflect criticism. When really the criticism has been that he's not moved quickly enough on sanctions and perhaps that the U.S. should have acted more unilaterally without doing so much negotiation with partners abroad.

TAPPER: That's right, John. I mean, Maeve has a point. The critics are saying he should be arming the rebels in Syria. He should be arming the Ukrainian military. No one is saying boots on the ground.

JONATHAN MARTIN, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, here we are six years on. But that's always been the response, do you want to go back to days of Bush and pre-emptive war. You see on the front page of our paper today, "The New York Times," we have a story about an internal split in the administration over how to address Ukraine. Some are concerned that we are too closely aligned with Europe who, of course, economically, much closer to the Russians and ahead to push sanctions.

TAPPER: Big scope in the "Daily Beast." Josh Rogan has a report about John Kerry, the secretary of state, talking to the trilateral commission. These individuals were very powerful.

MARTIN: Still exist.

TAPPER: And saying if Israel doesn't make peace with the Palestinian soon and vice versa, Israel risks becoming an apartheid state specifically like old South Africa. Here's what he had to say, a two- state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second class citizens or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state. A lot of Jewish groups not happy about this comparison?

RESTON: Right. What's really interesting about this is that it's a real step away from what Obama has said about this. Obama has rejected that term when it comes to talking about Israel and so it's seems to be more of perhaps behind closed doors sort of sense of frustration for Kerry who has had a series of setbacks here on foreign policy over the last couple of months even though he's been taking a very active muscular role on that front.

TAPPER: John, the State Department pushing back on the story saying even Israeli leaders have used the term?

MARTIN: Right. It's one of those great moments in Middle Eastern diplomacy where the things that are said in the country itself aren't controversial the outsiders can't say.

RESTON: And Mitt Romney in 2008, a lot of misstep there.

TAPPER: Let's turn to the controversy that everybody waking up out there is talking up about over water coolers and kitchen tables that's with Mr. Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. President Obama weighing in over the weekend. He was asked what he thought of the controversy. Here's what he had to say.


PRESIDENT OBAMA: When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything, you just let them talk. And that's what happened here.


TAPPER: President Obama weighing in, again, on the thorny issue of race and racism.

RESTON: And he also in that same statement came out and talked about, there's a legacy of slavery and segregation that this country needs to deal with and he's obviously talked about that in the past with the Trayvon Martin case, for example. Talked about why there needs to be a conversation around the dinner table. A teaching moment with your children about it and so it's interesting that he is coming out so strongly and condemning what were absolutely awful alleged remarks.

TAPPER: John, I remember covering President Obama early on in his term. His advisers didn't like him to weigh in on these things. Now second term Obama he'll say what he wants to say.

MARTIN: This was always the critique from a lot of black leaders against President Obama was that he was reluctant to become the leader of black America as well as the leader of America. But second term, clearly much more comfortable to himself.

TAPPER: And let's turn to the NRA convention over the weekend and the former vice president candidate, Sarah Palin was speaking there in Indianapolis and she had some very strong words when it came to how if she were president she would be treating terrorists. Take a listen.


SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF ALASKA: If I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.


TAPPER: You know what's interesting, the people I saw objecting to this over the weekend on Twitter were not so much liberals who I don't think pay that much attention to her anymore. But some conservative Christians that she'd be using the term "baptism" in a sarcastic sense.

RESTON: Yes, to say those are remarks on the fringe is an understatement. That she's the cheap provocateur on topics like this. I just don't think many people are really listening to her the way that they were at one time. It's sort of like everyone discounts comments like these.

TAPPER: Well, they were listening to her at the NRA convention. She's still a big draw --

MARTIN: She still draws a crowd among conservatives who still like sort of provocation. But that is separate from having the kind of real political ambition. Her future, she will probably concede this herself is probably not going to be in a political arena. That's why she started that with "if I was in charge." But she shows no signs of actual want to be in charge.

TAPPER: There was an opening, a Senate seat.

MARTIN: Which is so striking in Alaska. But she's much more content being on TV and being a sort of king maker in a lot of primaries than having to actually go back home and run for that seat herself and being a freshman senator.

TAPPER: Do you see her ever running for office again?

RESTON: I think she's much more interested in TV and has a lots of projects and development out in Hollywood. That's clearly where her career is going.

MARTIN: Who wants to be a freshman senator when you can be on TV --

TAPPER: You know, what's interesting one of the individuals who she helped in power in the past in Alaska, Joe Miller --

MARTIN: Joe Miller.

TAPPER: -- is in his very divided Republican primary that some experts in Alaska politics say might help the Democrat and very embattled Senator Mark Begich get re-elected.

TAPPER: It's going to be one of the great questions of this year and a very tightly controlled Senate campaign. Does Joe Miller lose Republican nomination and run as a third party candidate therefore empowering Mark Begich who could in fact in some ways be the first Democratic senator? That's we're doing. We're all at 3:00, 4:00 in morning watching Alaska seeing what happens and seeing if Begich can pull it out and I'm sure Miller runs third party. It's much more likely.

RESTON: She's got a very mix record. I mean, if you look at the candidates she supported and has not supported and whether or not she can actually help him pull out a victory.

TAPPER: It will be interesting though to see if she would run that race. It's interesting to see if that star power in her home state if it would be able to push --

MARTIN: It's almost May, it seems very unlikely.

TAPPER: No, I don't she's going to run. The fate of the Senate is still very much up for grabs. Republicans could very well win the Senate this year. I think that's all the time we have. Maeve Reston of the "Los Angeles Times" and Jonathan Martin from "The New York Times," thank you so much.

Before we go, I want to play a bit of sound of Bill Clinton in Detroit over the weekend talking to Michigan Democrats about the constraints and the difficulties of being a former president. Take a listen.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: One of the sad things at the end of the course, since you don't have any power, nobody cares what you say. Except if your wife might run for something, then you got to avoid messing up too bad.


TAPPER: If your wife might run for something -- Chris and Kate, back to you.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: That is not your best Clinton impression.

TAPPER: No. Not at all.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You have a better one.

TAPPER: If your wife --

BOLDUAN: There you go. There you go. Thanks, guys.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, tornadoes slam America's heartland. We've been talking about it all morning and it comes with devastating and deadly consequences. Coming up, we're going to go live to a local hospital for an update on the injured.

CUOMO: And we show there's so many questions in the search for Flight 370. We actually have some answers. One of the experts is going to explain what is going to be in that upcoming report we've been talking about. Stay with us.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. We're following breaking news at this hour. Tornadoes spiralling through the central United States killing at least 18 people, 16 of those deaths were in Arkansas. And this is how the state's biggest newspaper described the chaos overnight. "Deadly tornado slams state." That's about all you can say about it.

Let's get an update from the ground though. Joining us on the phone is Lori Palladino-Ross, a spokesperson for Conway Regional Medical Center in Conway, Arkansas. It's the largest hospital in the area and because of that receives many of the wounded. Thank you very much for jumping on the phone. I know it's been a very long night and it will be a very long day for you. Give us an update on how many people you've treated so far.

LORI PALLADINO-ROSS, CONWAY REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER (via telephone): Thank you, Kate. Yes. We had about 100 patients come through and of those 100, we've admitted nine of those patients. Two of them went straight to surgery. We transferred ten of those patients to Little Rock. And we saw a variety of injuries from minor injuries to code blue. We had people -- we had a man come up strapped to a door in the back of a pickup truck. We had another person bringing truckloads of people in. We are anticipating quite a few walking wounded to come in this morning. The sun is just rising. Various in Vilonia and Mayflower, they're just assessing some of the damage.

BOLDUAN: That's right. The sun is just coming up this morning. I did want to ask you what you said. One of the patients came in strapped to the door of a pickup truck? Is that how they were able to bring him or her in?

PALLADINO-ROSS: Yes, they were strapped to like the door of a house. Braced that way. He was on the bed of a pickup truck on the door. They used that like a bed on the door. Others on the pickup truck, had folks sitting on the bed of the truck coming in.

BOLDUAN: And it sounds like absolutely desperate times calling for desperate measures. Lori, Conway is right in between the two towns that were hit really hard and you probably were there all night. What did the hospital experience?

PALLADINO-ROSS: From a weather standpoint, we were not damaged in any way at the hospital. All of our staff were called in and we had three triage areas set up for E.R. and lots of family members around. Most of those folks have gone home. There were lots of phone calls from concerned family members. Out of state, looking for -- you know, looking for a family member and we were able to help many of those. And tell them either they were here or had been discharged or transferred. But there were some folks that we just couldn't help.

BOLDUAN: Lori, and you expect you're going to see more patients coming in as light comes up, right?

PALLADINO-ROSS: That's right. We call those walking wounded. The folks that aren't brought in by ambulance. There's a lot of people that wouldn't leave their homes. There were homes down to concrete slabs just torn up and gone. There's some folks, just from the adrenaline have not gone to bed. They don't realize their cut, hurt or bleeding. Those are the types of folks that are coming in today.

BOLDUAN: Lori, did you get a sense of where the more serious injuries, did they generally come from one area of the state or town?

PALLADINO-ROSS: There were two towns that were primarily hit, one is Mayflower, which is in-between Conway and Little Rock. And the other town is Vilonia, which is east of Conway. And I know that we had many more people from the Vilonia area that came in. I can't say that they were more injured. More severely injured. There were more folks from Vilonia.

BOLDUAN: Lori, did you get a sense from victims what they saw, what they experienced, how quickly it went from ugly to dangerous when they were brought in?

PALLADINO-ROSS: No, I really didn't. We were just busy trying to help people find their loved ones and you know, triage them so I did not get any sense like that. Many people have stories this morning.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely right. This is one of those situations unfortunately where the picture tells the whole story. Lori Palladino-Ross, thank you very much, a very long night for you and all the hospital staff. We thank you for what you're doing. We'll check back in with you. Thanks so much.


BOLDUAN: Of course -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Kate, coming up on NEW DAY, an intense new search for Flight 370. We have much more ocean to cover. New tools and new companies running them, and a new time line, eight months or more. We will tell you what is behind the changes.


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Breaking overnight, the search for Flight 370 entering a new phase now. Authorities have announced plans to scan an even larger underwater area after the Bluefin missions turned up no signs of the missing plane. Jeff Wise joins us for the latest. He is a CNN aviation analyst and contributor to Always good to have you here, my friend.

So let's talk about, first off, the expanded search area. I'll do a little drawing here. Right now, we know the search area has encompassed 154 square miles.


PEREIRA: But we know it's now going to be expanded to a much bigger area, Jeff, some 23,000 square miles. That's like 150 times the initial search. What is that indicating to you?

WISE: It kind of gives you sinking feeling in your gut.

PEREIRA: It does.

WISE: The whole last month we basically spent hearing these promises that these pings that were detected corresponded to the black boxes from MH370. They finally went down and scoured the seabed. It wasn't there. This is big, big news. It tells us that those pings did not come from MH370. All the hopes we had have been dashed. The Australian prime minister said he was baffled and disappointed. The Malaysia prime minister says they have made no progress since March 28. The whole last month have been a waste of time.

PEREIRA: To be fair, the pings could have come from the plane.

WISE: No, they couldn't have because basically they took the location of the best ping, searched the area around it within detection radius and it wasn't there. That means whatever caused that ping was not MH370. You recall there was reason we suspected that to begin with, the frequency was wrong. So this is a very important data point. This is why we're hearing this kind of disappointment from the Australian and Malaysian prime minister. Now we have this huge area, why? We don't have any good idea where this thing is.

PEREIRA: They're calling it the entire probable impact zone. What does that mean to you, 23,000 square feet?

WISE: When we've come to a dead-end, this thread of the investigation has reached a dead-end so what do you do when you've got nothing else to do? Just kind of cast a huge net. Look at this, 150 times larger. This is a huge area to search. Remember, the way you try to find a plane in an ocean is you've tried to narrow down the general part of the ocean where it is. Then you look for floating debris. Only then do you start to look on the bottom. We skipped right to the end part of this. It's really a Hail Mary pass again.

PEREIRA: All right, another part of this new news is the fact that they're going to reach out to private contractors, bring in new search technology. Details of what they're going to be bringing in.

WISE: OK, so basically, the Bluefin-21 is a really fine instrument, like a scalpel. Looking at a tiny area.

PEREIRA: You need a bigger instrument. WISE: Now you need a blunter instrument. Almost like they're going to a less sophisticated kind of technology. The underwater robot could follow the terrain and go a certain distance that lets you get a good look at the surface under water. Now they'll bring in something less sophisticated, you drag it behind a ship.

PEREIRA: The advantage here is it continuously is sending update that.

WISE: Right. You get a constant data stream. You don't have to pull it up every 24 hours. You can just keep going, going, going, going and have people on board the ship analyzing the data in realtime. It lets you cover a much, much bigger area.

PEREIRA: Even that, Prime Minister Abbott from Australia saying this could take up to eight months.

WISE: And he doesn't sound very optimistic even then.

PEREIRA: Not at all. Jeff Wise, thank you so much. We appreciate it -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, coming up next on NEW DAY, communities waking up to unbelievable tornado devastation in the Midwest and southern plains. Look at that video. We'll speak with a man who says he was picked up inside the twister inside his truck.

CUOMO: And a quote, "defining moment" for the NBA. Outrage after racist statements attributed to the owner of the L.A. Clippers. How can you punish an owner? What's on the book? What's available to the commissioner? What isn't? What should be? Where are the other owners? All these are good questions. We'll ask a former NBA superstar to weigh in.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A deadly tornado outbreak tears across the heartland.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By far the biggest one I've ever seen.


CUOMO: At least 17 dead, neighborhoods levelled. Rescuers going through the rubble in the hardest hit parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma this morning. Now more dangerous storms on the way. We're covering it all.

BOLDUAN: Breaking overnight, the next step.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are moving the a phase over a much larger area.