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Beyonce, Jay-Z, Solange Break their Silence; Wildfires Caught on Camera; V.A. Delays; CNN Hero

Aired May 16, 2014 - 08:30   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: You guys know that. Will you be doing this again anytime soon?

BYRON BAUMANN, SHOT WILDFIRE VIDEO: Yes. I don't think so. And just to be clear, so people understand, we weren't really showboating or trying to get this. It was -- from the way all the cars were being evacuated out, it was our only way out.


BAUMANN: So we didn't have a choice but to go through where we did. So it's not something I would recommend to somebody just, you know, if you're seeking some kind of thrill or adventure. It's really something that we just found ourselves in the situation. Jeb was an excellent driver and got us out of there pretty quick and he got us out the only way we could go out.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And you both did - I do know that you did call 911 to make sure that they knew the situation, where things were and to make sure that they were aware of what it looked like. But you did catch some amazing video to show just what firefighters are up against and how dangerous it is and how unpredictable it really is. Jeb, Byron, thank you so much. I'm glad that we were able to speak with you this morning. Thanks for waking up early.


BAUMANN: Thanks for having us. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have a great day.

BOLDUAN: Of course.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: If the beeps are any indication on that video -

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

CUOMO: They were - they were pretty scared themselves, that's for sure. Coming up on NEW DAY, the V.A. scandal. Now, it's all about getting better care for our vets, right? Or is it about - or is becoming about something else? There's talk about the V.A. secretary stepping down, but there are some that have the entire V.A. in their crosshairs. Could that be true? We'll discuss.

And, Jay-z and his sister-in-law making nice after that elevator fight. They say they're like any other family. Are they? Morgan Spurlock is here to break down their statement, coming up.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

This morning, many are calling for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. This follows a grilling that he faced on Capitol Hill. The White House, right now, is standing by the secretary. And this all comes, as you'll remember, after a CNN investigation uncovered some veterans died waiting months for hospital care and really a broken V.A. health care system. Listen to what the secretary said yesterday.


ERIC SHINSEKI, SECRETARY OF DEPT. OF VETERANS AFFAIRS: Any allegation, any adverse incident like this makes me as - makes me mad as hell. I could use stronger language here, Mr. Chairman, but in deference to the committee, I won't.


BOLDUAN: Richard Socarides, Margaret Hoover, they're both here. Richard, a senior adviser to then president -- former President Bill Clinton, now a writer for, and a Democratic strategist. Margaret, a CNN political commentator and Republican consultant.

Good morning, guys.



BOLDUAN: So you listened to the secretary yesterday. What did you make of his testimony? I guess that's the best question to ask right now.

SOCARIDES: I mean, you know, I thought it was - I mean, first of all, let me say, this is a very serious problem.


SOCARIDES: It needs to be addressed seriously. And I think they are taking it seriously. I think President Obama's taking it seriously. I think his testimony was candid and forthright. I think what emerges for me is that this is not really a leadership problem, this is a resources problem. We do not give enough money - BOLDUAN: What makes you confident of that?

SOCARIDES: Well, because I think, you know, Congress wants our veterans to have the best care available, and they should, but they refuse to allocate, you know, the money that's necessary. I mean we're - you know, in the last decade, we've have two - we've prosecuted two wars, we're treated all kinds of things we've never treated, like PS - P - you know -



SOCARIDES: PTSD. And the Congress is not allocating more resources. I mean rather than get mad at the people in charge, they should allocate more resources.

BOLDUAN: OK. All right. Money -

CUOMO: Money is not the answer to accountability and doing it the right way. These waiting lists, if they're true, they don't go to having more money.

SOCARIDES: Right. And if that is true, that is a very serious, specific issue of fraud. And those people need to be dealt with.

CUOMO: All right, so who -

SOCARIDES: And they maybe need to be dealt with criminally. But there's no suggestion that the people who work at Veterans Affairs lack the heart. They lack resources is what they lack.

HOOVER: My dear friend Richard here is speaking almost with the same temperament as the secretary spoke with yesterday, which is, he's mad as hell and he's not going to take it any more. And that's the problem is that I think your temperament, his temperament doesn't match the severity of the problem. You can say you're mad as hell, but you've got to show that you're mad as hell and you've got to show you're doing something about it.

An investigation, which is one of 20, 30 investigations that have been looked at -- done to look into the problems at V.A. is simply not enough. You have to have accountability. Somebody's got to get fired. At least one person. And I'm not saying Shinseki should be fired, but somebody's got to go.

And the president should speak to this directly. He should go visit those health care centers. They should really shine a spotlight on this and show specifically what they're going to do to fix it. Is it a bipartisan commission of Republicans and Democrats to review the V.A., to look at reforms and pass legislation? There is legislation out there that gives the secretary more enthusiasm -

CUOMO: Where were all these ideas when the same things were going on under a Republican administration?

HOOVER: Well, you know, Jim Nixon (ph) was actually a pretty engaged V.A. secretary.

CUOMO: Had (ph) the same problems.

HOOVER: What - but, you're right, this is a bipartisan problem.

BOLDUAN: Yes. We had a veteran on the show and he said it's been going on for decades.

HOOVER: And, you know what, to your point, ideologically, we have a little Twitter war going on right now, Chris Cuomo, and here's the deal.

CUOMO: A one-sided war.

HOOVER: Here's the deal.

CUOMO: By the way.

HOOVER: Well, you started out in the hall before this segment even started.

CUOMO: Oh, yes.

HOOVER: You were saying Republicans want to eliminate the V.A.

CUOMO: I'm more -- I'm wondering, because it has been suggested to me, that the V.A. is being seen as a metaphor for what's wrong with Obamacare. It's big government health care.


CUOMO: And that it doesn't work. It doesn't work. So what are you suggesting? You don't want our vets to get free health care? You want to dismantle the V.A.?

HOOVER: Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. Well, you're putting words in my mouth. Yes, Republicans - you've got to be crazy.

CUOMO: I don't -

HOOVER: I mean do you think John McCain doesn't want veterans to get health care? That's nuts.

CUOMO: No, but I don't think John McCain controls your party.

HOOVER: Here -- it is a travesty the notion that our veterans, people that have put their lives on the line, are not getting swift and efficient and excellent health care. That is - that - everybody agrees about that.

CUOMO: It's not difficult (ph). Fix the system, keep the V.A.

HOOVER: This is not a partisan issue.

BOLDUAN: Here's the thing -

HOOVER: But if you have livioson (ph), if you have bureaucracy that is so big, 150 medical centers.

CUOMO: Livioson is a huge sea monster, by the way, it's what she's calling the V.A.

BOLDUAN: Let me - let me just stop because I want us to cut through it. Because I want us to cut through it.

HOOVER: It's the metaphor for bureaucracy, that's all.

BOLDUAN: The "USA Today" put it really well saying that more anger is not what is needed. More than anger is need. Us pounding our fist.

HOOVER: That's true. That's true.

BOLDUAN: The media being angry. People speaking out. That's not what's needed. Action is needed. You both are a product of Washington. What gives you any confidence that anything really is going to change?

SOCARIDES: Well, I'm hopeful that Congress will appropriate the resources necessary to end these long waits. The truth is, is that health --

BOLDUAN: You think purely throwing more money at this is going to be - is going to be the fix?

SOCARIDES: Listen, I think that - I think that we have - that the health care system in general in the U.S. has a lot of issues. One of them is the long -- sometimes that it's hard to get to see a doctor, especially if you're referred to a specialist. I think that, you know, we need to put more resources in health care generally. But, for me, veterans should take preference. If you've served your country, you should not have to worry about waiting 14 days.

BOLDUAN: No one's going to disagree with you.


BOLDUAN: Then why are we where we are?

SOCARIDES: We are where we are because the Republicans in Congress don't want to spend money on this.

HOOVER: That's crazy. Come on. Come on. That's -

CUOMO: So why are we are - why are we where we are?

HOOVER: Listen, because there are systemic problems in this bureaucracy that can be fixed easily through a couple of different things.

SOCARIDES: Can (ph) be fixed easily?

HOOVER: You can - the secretary - there's legislation that can be passed that would strengthen the secretary of the V.A.'s hand so he can fire people, give it more accountability and make it easier to remove directors. You could have a bipartisan commission to review where all these systemic flaws exist in V.A. This is the largest medical system in the country. There's a lot of problems with it. It needs to be reviewed systematically, not -- in a bipartisan way so that it doesn't become a political football. And there's legislation that could be passed right now.

BOLDUAN: Let's turn the lens on ourself as well.

HOOVER: The president could ask (ph) all of those things and be done.

BOLDUAN: Let's -

HOOVER: And by not asking it makes him look aloof and out of touch, just like it did on the BP oil spill, just like on the Obamacare website problems. And he risks falling into the same trap on an issue that he purportedly, and I believe (INAUDIBLE), cares a lot about.

BOLDUAN: Do you - let me turn the lens on ourselves just for a second. Do you think that when there is anger, and there is rightful anger here, everyone is too quick to jump to say the secretary should step down?

SOCARIDES: Listen, as I said before, I don't think it's a question of leadership. I think it's a question of resources. And I think if the veteran - if the V.A. --

BOLDUAN: Does someone need to be fired?

SOCARIDES: Some - if -


SOCARIDES: if those wait lists were fabricated and if there was intentional misleading and intentional skirting of the rules, of course someone needs to be fired.

CUOMO: It's a crime.

SOCARIDES: It's a crime.


CUOMO: If the allegations are true and they're falsifying paperwork on the federal level --

SOCARIDES: Exactly right. It's fraud. And people should be prosecuted. Absolutely.

BOLDUAN: Are Republicans too quick to jump to say the secretary should step down?

HOOVER: Look, yes, I think that's true. I think you need to look at it first. But somebody's head needs to roll. I think the president's been too slow about assigning accountability, but I do - I do -- am wary of too quickly saying somebody needs to be fired because the problem doesn't always lie at the top. The problem is in these systemic, bureaucratic systems that are allowing bad things to continue to happen.


SOCARIDES: Yes. I think - I think you'll see the president moving very quickly, though. I think he's put one of his top --

HOOVER: We haven't. He's been having -

SOCARIDES: One of his top aides on this.

HOOVER: It's been going on for three years.

BOLDUAN: Real quick, what's your definition of quick?

SOCARIDES: A couple of weeks. A matter of weeks. I mean I don't - I think that especially given -

HOOVER: It's been three weeks (ph).

SOCARIDES: You know, the Obama administration, in all candor, does not have the --

BOLDUAN: A vet that we had on the show earlier today said he - they should have concrete action laid out by the president before Memorial Day.

HOOVER: Absolutely.


HOOVER: That's great. I'd be happy.

SOCARIDES: Try (ph) that.

HOOVER: Yes, advice to the president right here on NEW DAY.


BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys.

CUOMO: And you called the V.A. a lobiatha (ph). That's all I'm saying. We'll take it to Twitter after that.

I want to turn right now to this week's CNN hero who happens to be a full-time firefighter in San Diego where those bad wildfires are. His - the name, we're looking at -- is Robyn Benincasa. No stranger to adversity. She's a world class adventure racer, was once told she would never run again. Now she's giving back and inspiring others to do the same. Take a look and a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I initially got hurt in 2005. And I had 46 surgeries in attempts to salvage the leg. And I finally decided on amputation. A lot of people view it as a loss, but I got my life back.

ROBYN BENINCASA, CNN HERO: Very often people are saying, OK, I survived, but now what? And we want to be that "now what."

I was a world class adventure racer. In the world championships, I hit the deck and the doctor said, you're never going to run again.

I've had four hip replacements. After my first, I said, I'm just going to put something on my calendar so that I'm still training for something. And it just makes you realize it's about the comeback. So I thought, let's do that for other women.

I started an organization that helps survivors of medical or traumatic setbacks live an adventurous dream as part of their recovery. Being an Athena, you're not just a survivor, you're an adventurer. We give them a different label to put on themselves. And it's something they become on their way to the finish line.


CUOMO: Love it. Love them all. Boy, if you know someone like Robyn who deserves recognition, go to and let us know about them.

BOLDUAN: A little bit of warming you up when you really need it these days.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, we are family. Beyonce, Jay-z and Solange Knowles say it's all good after their brawl in an elevator. But will the public move on. Please. Morgan Spurlock joining us to discuss.

CUOMO: Look at that.

BOLDUAN: That - I am scared.


PEREIRA: They have now broken their silence about the family feud in an elevator. Jay-Z, Beyonce and sister Solange putting out a statement -- a joint statement saying "Jay and Solange each assume their share of responsibility for what has occurred. They both have apologized to each other and we have moved forward as a united family."

But despite their pleas for privacy the question is does the public move on? Morgan Spurlock -- part of our family -- joins us. He's the host of CNN's "INSIDE MAN". The second season kicked off with an episode all about paparazzi and celebrity culture.

You are the man to talk to because you got to look inside this world. What do you think -- good morning --


PEREIRA: -- what do you think was the thing that surprised you most about this world?

SPURLOCK: I think what surprises me the most is how much news it became, like how much people are talking about it. But I think a part of that is because it is Jay-Z and Beyonce. These are superstars. And you know, we don't expect superstars to be in a situation like this and when we see them we react.

But the fact it just -- it is this never ending conversation is part of the problem.

PEREIRA: That's right. Because people can get all (inaudible) -- that's not news, that's not news but everybody is interested.

SPURLOCK: Everybody is interested. And you have to talk about it because if everybody else is talking about it and you just ignore it then why wouldn't you even like acknowledge that this thing happened. We have to talk about it.

BOLDUAN: And such a statement about the culture and the interest is be it true, a little bit off or completely off base. The idea is that person who leaked this got some $250,000.

SPURLOCK: Yes. And I mean you would hope that that guy also doesn't have a job anymore.

BOLDUAN: He has been fired.

SPURLOCK: I mean if this guy took the security video and sold it off, I mean, you know, he should be gone.

BOLDUAN: How much does the paparazzi make for those photos?

SPURLOCK: I mean in a situation like this where you catch something that is so completely explosive I mean it is hundreds of thousands of dollars potentially. Most of the time it is very, very small but in a situation like this, this is a big money sell.


SPURLOCK: And I'm sure that -- I'm sure the guy who is in the elevator watching the security cameras this was coming down it was like "Oh my God, I'm going to be rich."

BOLDUAN: You know he was saying that. You know he was saying that. That is absolutely right.

CUOMO: To me it is a no-brainer. Who, having received this tape -- I'm not saying you should buy it. That has been a big problem in the business for a long time. We are actually moving away from that on the news side to be sure.


CUOMO: Who doesn't cover the story? You have decided celebrities matter more than anyone else in your culture, period.

SPURLOCK: That's right.

CUOMO: Just look at how we treat Jay-Z and Beyonce. You know what I mean? Like, you know, what is their value in society? High. How would you not cover them getting in a fist fight? SPURLOCK: That's exactly right. And you know, here we are -- how many -- how long has it been since Miley Cyrus's, you know, VMA performance? And that pops up in the news constantly. Any time there's Miley, that story comes up. So I mean I feel like we have created tremendous amount of value around these types of people. And that's going to continue to be around.

PEREIRA: When did it happen? I was thinking about it. When -- it feels like it has been a slow slide towards this celebrity-obsessed culture in the society that we live in.

SPURLOCK: Reality TV was a big booster shot.

PEREIRA: Reality TV, the Internet, cell phones, cameras --

SPURLOCK: Yes, you know, JFK Jr. I think this idea of this kind of American royalty -- he became chased by the press just by being, you know, the son of John F. Kennedy and I think there were a couple of touch stones that kind of pushed things in this direction.


SPURLOCK: But he was at least someone who you acknowledge of having a bit more merit. He wasn't just somebody who got famous by putting out a sex tape or being a reality show.

BOLDUAN: And from your experience kind of living in the world of paparazzi what do you make of the balance or lack thereof between the paparazzi and any expectation of privacy that celebrities have because you have kind of pointed out that it is a bit murky.

SPURLOCK: And once you become famous and you are in the public eye when you walk outside you are in public space. You are free game, you know. And that's -- you have played that hand. You have said I'm going to be a part of this game.

Where it becomes murky is when it comes down to your kids. You know, my kid didn't sign up for this. Jennifer Garner's kids didn't sign up for this. Halle Berry's kids didn't sign up for this.

CUOMO: But they pimp out their kids sometimes.

PEREIRA: Some do.

CUOMO: They get paid for pictures of their kids. They put them in outfits, they want to be seen. I mean that's the unspoken part of the story.

SPURLOCK: Again, why is it unspoken?

CUOMO: Because we favor the celebrities.

SPURLOCK: Or the celebrities like the Kardashians who basically will call ahead and tell the paparazzi where they're going to be --

PEREIRA: Right. We're going to be here. SPURLOCK: They're going to be here so that the paparazzi will show up and take pictures and they get a kickback from all those photos themselves.

PEREIRA: Beating the beat.


CUOMO: Do you buy that they're OK. Do you buy the "We're OK now, we're moving forward"?

SPURLOCK: From Jay-Z and Beyonce? I think that ultimately you have to say that. Whether or not they are internally, you have to put the best face forward.

CUOMO: Quick turnout.


CUOMO: If my family fight like, you know, we would still be choosing sides in who is right, who was wrong.

SPURLOCK: We could be -- I would still be in the elevator.

BOLDUAN: You have no idea. The last fight that Andrew and Chris had they're --

SPURLOCK: Andrew fights a lot like Solange did.

PEREIRA: That is our governor that you're speaking of. I will not --

CUOMO: Politicians, they're scratchers.

PEREIRA: You know, it's interesting. I'm curious what sense you got of these guys. Like a paparazzo, these guys are trying to make a living. They are trying to make a living.

SPURLOCK: Like anybody else.

PEREIRA: But there are folks that are like something like ambulance chasing.

SPURLOCK: Yes, well with some of them I think there are one, two -- there is I think -- there are some that actually have ethics -- a code of ethics in their job.

PEREIRA: Are they rare?

SPURLOCK: I think it is rare. I think there are ones who won't photo -- won't take kids or won't chase people down the street, who won't camp outside people's homes. But then there are others who are chasing the buck all the time.

CUOMO: But this wasn't a paparazzo.

PEREIRA: No, no, no. But I think it was because of his show -- I was just curious because he's had an inside look.

SPURLOCK: Yes, I know. This is a guy who had capitalized on a moment.

CUOMO: You know, it's so hard -- you know, look, there are plenty of people who have such high ethical values. And you know, they would have seen this tape --

SPURLOCK: Both of us.

CUOMO: Right. I mean I'm not one of them.

And they would have seen the tape and said I'm going to let that go. But in a culture suffused with every kind detail of a celebrity's life, how do you not expect someone to pay attention?


CUOMO: It was a fist fight. It wasn't an argument.

SPURLOCK: Yes, it was a fist fight. And we also live in a world where everybody is like when is my opportunity.

BOLDUAN: What am I doing?

SPURLOCK: Where is mine? How am I going to get rich? Where is my lotto ticket?

BOLDUAN: Morgan before you go, what is coming up on Sunday?

SPURLOCK: This Sunday is fantastic. It's UFOs.

CUOMO: That's good. That was a high C.

SPURLOCK: That was a high C.

PEREIRA: That's going to be exactly what the show is about.

SPURLOCK: This Sunday we go on the hunt to find out is there life in the universe as we know it.

BOLDUAN: Answer?

SPURLOCK: You'll find out Sunday night.

BOLDUAN: Oh come on, Morgan.

SPURLOCK: Sunday night, 10:00.

CUOMO: The answer is yes, on earth.


PEREIRA: (inaudible) "INSIDE MAN" Sundays at 10:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN. You got the spooky sound effects so you know what's coming up on the next episode. SPURLOCK: It's such a good episode. They're going to love it.

PEREIRA: Come here whenever you want. We like you.

CUOMO: We all are.

SPURLOCK: I love you guys.

BOLDUAN: Morgan -- was a man.

CUOMO: We love Morgan Spurlock.

BOLDUAN: He's now an alien.

CUOMO: Let's go fight in an elevator.

SPURLOCK: Done. Let's go.

PEREIRA: I've got my camera ready.

CUOMO: That will be sympathetic at the same time -- win-win.

Coming up, a sister's love, the joy of sacrifice and the power of sportsmanship all rolled into this one image. It is "The Gooder Stuff. And it is coming up.


CUOMO: It's Friday, it's been a tough week. We need some good stuff and boy do we have it.

In today's edition Chloe Gruenke (ph), 13-year-old twins OK -- it's who we're dealing with here. Illinois, running in a track meet -- here's what happens. Something goes wrong.


CHLOE GRUENKE: I felt something like pull and pop in my thigh and around the first curve of the second lap it like just hurt too bad so I couldn't go any more. And then I fell to the ground.


CUOMO: So without even thinking about it her sister says "I'm finally going to beat her", no. She hoists Chloe on her back and even though an entire lap was left, carries her sister all the way across the finish.


CLAIRE GRUENKE: The energy from the crowd made me like stronger. Love and sportsmanship, like even if you do help somebody, even if you are losing it is still worth it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: And they won. No, of course, they didn't. They came in dead last but they won the hearts of the crowd, many of whom were seen crying afterwards.

PEREIRA: That is so phenomenal. It's going to make us cry.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely right.

PEREIRA: Sister love.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: For all the craziness in the world, people are still getting the right message. That's all it is.

BOLDUAN: And 13 years old. They have good parents as we always say behind them -- right.

PETERSONS: Nailed it.

PEREIRA: Absolutely.

CUOMO: She didn't think twice.

PEREIRA: She needs (inaudible) after that.

BOLDUAN: Would you have picked me up?

CUOMO: I would have picked you up. I do not think I could carry you the entire lap right now. I'm just kidding. I would carry you anywhere.

"NEWSROOM" Carol Costello, a little baby talk there -- Carol. I was talking to the baby.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, yes. I'm coming to New York Chris Cuomo, you're in trouble.

I'll stand up for my Kate Bolduan.