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Obama Travels To West Point; Dems Attacked Over Veterans; Obama Delays Deportation Review; Sterling Fighting To Keep Clippers; One-on- One With Boko Haram Attack
Aired May 28, 2014 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Can I tell you something else that's very interesting about that story? The four students, students, right, one is a psychology student, one is education, one is a nursing student, and one is a social work student.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: The right people.
PEREIRA: The right people, right.
BOLDUAN: That's more than anything we've talked about today that stops me.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: See something, say something. You got to be involved.
CUOMO: Very good. We needed that.
PEREIRA: We did.
CUOMO: Happy endings are good.
So if you don't have a yen for politics today. You don't know what a yen is. Let's get to "Inside Politics" on NEW DAY with John King. The job is too easy for you today.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST, "INSIDE POLITICS": There's a lot to cover. I don't know if that makes it easy, but we'll see. Let's get right to it. We'll get inside politics. With me this morning to share their reporting and their insights, Jackie Kucinich of "The Washington Post" and Julianna Goldman of "Bloomberg News."
Let's start with the president's big foreign policy speech today. He tee'd up a bit of it yesterday when he announced he is going to start drawing down troops in Afghanistan leaving a modest amount there for another year after this year when we says the combat mission ends.
But listen to the president here essentially laying out to the American people, yes, we have goals in Afghanistan but let's be realistic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We have to recognize Afghanistan will not be a perfect place and it is not America's responsibility to make it one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That last part, Juliana, it's not America's responsibility to make it one, is that the tone of this speech, the president wants to say we will be active, interventionists when necessary but let's set realistic expectations?
JULIANNA GOLDMAN, "BLOOMBERG NEWS": Yes, and to explain how he sees the U.S. away from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and more towards counter terrorism policy that's focus and partnerships around the world. Funding these kinds of partnerships. He will be calling on Congress to fund a counter terrorism reserve fund essentially to help train and equip those kinds of missions.
But look they know that they have not done a good job explaining the role of U.S. leadership around the world over the last year, eight months. So kind of think of this speech as everything that the president has been trying to say over the last year and actually hasn't been able to because of the distractions from Edward Snowden, from Ukraine, from Syria.
And so this is meant to reset that narrative. He was in Afghanistan over the weekend. Announced the troop levels. He's going to be going to Europe next week as well to continue this messaging.
KING: There's been a lot of criticism, Jackie, of the president's foreign policy and the White House's push back often is use troops or so military force or send military equipment into Syria, do it here, do it there. Their argument has been that was done in the Bush years so that is unrealistic. Can the president sell that approach?
JACKIE KUCINICH, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I don't know if some of his critics if he's ever going to be able to sell an approach. I mean, there's a group of Republicans particularly in the Senate where the president is never going to be able to convince them.
KING: Never going to be able to convince them. We'll see if the president mentions at all the VA scandal. This is a foreign policy speech, but we'll see if it comes up in any way because he's standing there at West Point with the young cadets today. But we are now beginning to see evidence that the VA scandal will play in some 2014 races issue in the big mid-term election here. This is first on CNN this morning. A brand new ad being aired in Alaska by the pro conservative Republican super PAC "Crossroads" targeting the Democratic incumbent, Mark Begich. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: A national disgrace. Veterans died waiting for care that never came. Senator Mark Begich sits on the Veteran Affairs Committee. His response, if there's a problem they need to fix it. If there's a problem? Tell Senator Begich, when veterans are dying, it's a problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Again, that's "Crossroads GPS," a first on CNN this morning. They're air that ad in Alaska. Let's move to Arkansas. Democrat Mark Pryor is the incumbent there. Republican Tom Cotton his opponent. This is a brand new ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Even if they agree that Secretary Shinseki should resign, Mark Pryor refuses to clean up the mess. Mark Pryor's response to the scandal, silence, he sides with Obama. Our veterans deserves a stronger leader than Senator Pryor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Jacqui, those are two of the most competitive Senate races, but actually two races where the Democrats have recently felt a little bit better about Begich and about Pryor. Still a long way to go, but do you find it interesting or just common sense that the Republicans have decided let's try the VA scandal?
KUCINICH: I think in states where Obama is unpopular, absolutely you're going to see -- I'm surprised there are not more ads in some of those states and I think that's why you're seeing candidates like Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky come out immediately and call for Shinseki's resignation.
KING: All right, we saw that in Kentucky and Georgia. You have these Democratic incumbents who so far their leadership has been asking them to hold their fire. How long can they hold it?
GOLDMAN: This is a challenge for the White House, too, here. Look, rule number one in crisis management is you want to cauterize the wound. Here the way to do that would be to fire Shinseki. It's not black and white. This is not Obama's style either like we saw with Kathleen Sebelius, the HHS secretary with Obamacare. He wants to let it play out. He wants to investigation to go through. My understanding is that what they're finding in the investigation is it's really difficult to tie Shinseki directly to this and he also still has a lot of support from veterans groups.
KING: It will be interesting to your point. If these ads get any traction, if the numbers start to change, you won't see them in two races. You'll see them across the country.
Let's move on, we've been talking throughout this political year that it's been a tough time to find a Tea Party victory. If you're a Tea Party supporter or an anti-establishment conservative, you can celebrate the results last night in Texas. Anti-establishment candidates winning in the race for lieutenant governor in Texas.
That's probably the most powerful job in the state. Even more powerful than governor. Tea Party candidate winning in the primary for attorney general and the conservative winning in the race against Congressman Ralph Hall. He is the oldest member of Congress. The 91- year-old Ralph Hall first elected in 1980.
He served in world what two and will be the last when they are retired from Congress. Saying the tea party wins this morning. America loses. This is not so much a political statement, but the last two members of the greatest generation to serve in Congress will be gone come January.
GOLDMAN: That's right. In terms of the Tea Party versus establishment argument, this is not as clear cut. What it does show is that money likes to win and in the runoff, all had the support of club for growth and conservative groups, but his opponent also had the support of Tea Party icons like Michele Bachmann.
KUCINICH: I think it will be interesting to see how this narrative play out in Mississippi next week withed that Cochran and Chris McDaniel because it's very similar arguments of much nastier race, but similar arguments.
KING: The base has been demoralized a bit, the conservative base, the Tea Party base, demoralized by losses. Can they bring that over to Mississippi, a good point? All this talk that possibly, possibly they'll get to immigration before the election. I'm a skeptic. With word that the administration is delaying and plan to have a review of the deportation policy looking to get legal guidance to slow down deportations and wanted to do that. Outreach to the Latino community.
The president has asked the Department of Homeland Security to wait until after the summertime. In part we are told because he doesn't want to anger House Republicans. He's trying to keep open the opportunity for passing immigration reform. Is that opportunity really still there?
GOLDMAN: You know, I think I agree with you, John. You can see this in and say what the White House is saying they still see this opportunity. They don't want to pro preclude it from happening. Then you have to believe you could get immigration reform this year. I think even with this they there's a 20 percent or 30 percent answer of getting it done this year. You're going to see a push from Democrats now that the Republican primary season is winding down to try and get it true and then we're going to be back to the old Washington blame game so the White House and Democrats can say, look here, we gave you the opening and you didn't take it.
KING: Can you see it getting done, hold this up and show it on the screen as well. This is a conservative mailing from Eric Cantor. He's the number two House Republican. If here going to pass a bill to a path to citizenship or legal status they're going to need Mr. Cantor on board. He has a Tea Party challenger, Jackie, who has not given much of a chance and yet Eric Cantor is putting this in the mail essentially saying I'm going to block President Obama from granting amnesty. Doesn't that tell you all you need to know about the prospects before the election?
KUCINICH: I think so. I think best case scenario something marginal is done in the lame duck but I agree. I don't think there's much hope when you say mailers like that from one of the top Republicans in the House.
KING: Jackie Kucinich, Julianna Goldman, thanks for coming in this morning. As get back to you guys in New York, Suze Orman picking a president. Guess what, she's not a Hillary Clinton plan. She prefers s Elizabeth Warren. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUZE ORMAN, PERSONAL FINANCE EXPERT: If she would run for president against anybody --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even Hillary.
ORMAN: Including Hillary Clinton, I would vote for her hands down. She is the real deal. I think that woman -- I couldn't have enough good things to say about Elizabeth Warren.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Interesting. She doesn't say things by accident. We got to hear the voice of our old friend, Larry King, there, too.
BOLDUAN: Didn't she also say but I love Hillary Clinton, kind of like having her cake and eating it too.
KING: She loves Elizabeth Warren more.
BOLDUAN: I love you, John, and I love you, Chris, and I love you, Michaela. I cannot say who I love more. I won't do that.
KING: Until we're in the primaries together, then you have to pick.
BOLDUAN: Right. Well, then I don't love you because obviously then I'll want to win.
CUOMO: Then we'll have better people than Suze Orman to use as our basis for political discussion. Come on, since when is she a king maker.
BOLDUAN: -- I was coming from a place of aggression the other day. Now Chris is taking it, John.
KING: I'm taking a pass on that one.
CUOMO: You don't want to take on the Orman, good for you, John. Safe move.
BOLDUAN: Thanks, John. That's right. That should be the headline.
CUOMO: That's true. I like that.
Coming up next on NEW DAY, this is a story you want to hear. She survived an attack by Boko Haram, the group that abducted hundreds of Nigerians school girl and still holding them. Exclusive interview with the girl just 12 years old when the militant group killed most of her family right in front of her. You will want to hear her story and her powerful message.
CUOMO: So we have one Sterling quite happy to sell the Clippers and the other is Donald Sterling, just wait until you hear what he is saying about what is going on and he is being basically victimized by the NBA.
CUOMO: So Donald Sterling, he's not bulging. He's blasting the NBA in a 26-page later accusing the league of violating his rights all trying to end the ownership of the Clippers. He says they can't act on an illegally recorded of a conversation of a, quote, "lover's quarrel."
Meanwhile his wife is trying to sell the team, separate herself from Donald, looking to make billions of dollars. Let's bring in Mel Robbins, a CNN commentator and legal analyst. Let's do it a little differently. Let's hash this out quick in like a lightning round.
MEL ROBBINS, CNN COMMENTATOR: Got it.
CUOMO: I will take Sterling's position, not popular, but I want you to be liked. I'm way passed that. I'm sterling. Here's what I'm saying --
CUOMO: I know what I said was offensive, OK, but this is all about the how, all right? You're going to take my team, my constitutional right to property. You can't do it on something where you know I wasn't intending any kind of transmission of this communication. I was actually pushed into saying it by this woman who I thought I loved. These are not even my real words. I've told you I'm sorry. Is too harsh a punishment?
ROBBINS: Sorry, Mr. Sterling. It may not be about the how because it's about the what. And what happened after the mess with you and your lover where you were distraught and you were baited and everything else is that there was materially adverse impact to the NBA. We don't even need your stinking recording in the proceeding in order to prove to you that based on the fact there was a threat of a boycott and at least 16 sponsors that went for the hills as soon as your acts were made public, we've got it all locked in and loaded. Fight.
CUOMO: I would say you're talking to a mirror because you started this whole thing. You went crazy with that TMZ.
ROBBINS: I started this whole thing? Your lover started this whole thing. You let her tape you with your knowledge. She's going to come in here --
CUOMO: I didn't know she was taping me. ROBBINS: That's what you say. She's going to come in here to this proceeding when you're done and tell us that she had your permission. And besides, you keep focusing on the wrong thing, Donald Sterling. Tell us how it is that you're not 100 percent responsible based on your actions for causing a materially adverse impact to the NBA in terms of players threatening to boycott and sponsors threatening to leave.
CUOMO: I think my answer is simple, which is, I did none of that. I was responding to one very specific part of the conversation which by the way selectively you never play. Which is where she's talking about this taunting me about these pictures she took with four particular black men. I'm saying don't bring them to my game. Do whatever you want with them and you made it into me talking about all blacks which unfairly characterized me. I was the president of my high school class and there were plenty of black people in the school.
ROBBINS: You said no blacks can come. You want to cherry pick what was going on in that conversation.
CUOMO: I was upset.
ROBBINS: Clearly you were upset. You were upset about black people coming to the game.
CUOMO: You took this illegally recorded tape and made it into a big media circus. You're the one who brought all of this attention to it. I certainly wasn't. I never said it in public.
ROBBINS: What's also interesting, Donald Sterling, is in the five of six days after this after this went public, instead of coming out doing a mea culpa, explaining to the public you were distraught, you didn't mean those things, this is a terrible mistake, dear Lord, please forgive me, you were not only quiet, but you and your group put out a press release that was misleading, which in our opinion added to the damage. We have all of the law on our side.
You signed contract after contract after contract and it was your behavior and we believe in personal responsibility. I don't care who you want to associate with in your private life but when your associations have an impact on the NBA, which this one did, and it's as huge as it was, we are going to follow the rules and we're going to proceed with kicking you out.
CUOMO: I don't like your face.
CUOMO: That's my new defence.
CUOMO: That's all I have. That's all I can say.
ROBBINS: You sound like my 8-year-old.
CUOMO: That's all he can say after that.
ROBBINS: He did a kitchen sink Hail Mary.
CUOMO: His best point that he can make at the end of all that is, OK, even if that's all true, even if it's all true, you can't take my team. It's worth too much. It's too severe a penalty based on what I did.
ROBBINS: Yes, yes. In fact, the most compelling thing that he says, I think, when I read this is when he throws out Kobe Bryant and what he said to the ref. When he talks about Harry Belafonte and what he said about Jay-Z and Beyonce and other people's responsibilities to their communities when they get famous. When he pulls in all the other allegations that have happened in the NBA that are sexist, homophobic and racist and what the NBA's response has been, it stops you for a minute.
CUOMO: Except they don't own teams and they don't have the same power over them and person that Kobe was talking to who did a big apology to her, was not a homosexual. It changed the context a little bit.
CUOMO: You beat me like an egg this morning on that one. He's got a tough -- he's got a tough road to hoe, which is why the wife is obviously pursuing a very big strategy.
ROBBINS: This is a dual strategy. She's selling. He's preserving their legal claim.
CUOMO: Mel Robbins, thank you very much.
ROBBINS: Great to see you.
BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram are still missing. I sat down exclusively with a young girl who survived an attack by the militant group. Her harrowing and brave story next.
BOLDUAN: The head of Nigeria's military said this week that he knows where the nearly 300 school girls abducted by Islamic militants are being held. But he also said they cannot go in to rescue them without putting the girls' lives at risk. American officials say they cannot confirm those claims.
Few dispute that the girls all are in grave danger and no one knows that better than Deborah Peter who at 12 years old survived a deadly attack by Boko Haram. I had the opportunity to sit with her for an exclusive interview as she fights to bring home those girls.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BOLDUAN (voice-over): The 15-year-old Deborah Peter recently traveled to Capitol Hill. With her she brought a story no teenager should ever have to share. Her father and brother were shot and killed in front of her by Boko Haram militants. She was spared, but three years later she remains haunted by the memory.
(on camera): How often do you think about that day, December 22nd?
DEBORAH PETER, BOKO HARAM SURVIVOR: Almost every day, but I pray about it.
BOLDUAN: You pray about it every day? Boko Haram militants came to your house, knocked on the door and asked for your father. Why did they come for your father?
PETER: Because my dad is Christian and he's strong. So they wanted to kill him because he's a pastor.
BOLDUAN (voice-over): Deborah says Boko Haram terrorized her family for years, torching her father's Christian church and finally in 2011, attacking the family in their own home.
(on camera): What do you remember about that night?
PETER: I remember when they killed my dad and brother. I remember what they said to them.
BOLDUAN: What did they say?
PETER: They told my dad to deny his faith, and he refused to deny his faith. That's the reason they shoot him, because he didn't deny his God.
BOLDUAN: Why did they then shoot your brother as well?
PETER: Because one of the Boko Haram say if my brother grow up, he would become a pastor like my dad.
BOLDUAN (voice-over): The soft-spoken young girl says the terrorists dragged her between the bodies of her father and brother, leaving her there. Neighbors too terrified to help until the following day she was brought to the hospital.
(on camera): You were there for the whole thing and you were stuck there afterward all night.
(voice-over): Deborah was just 12 years old at the time. She is from Chibok, Nigeria, the very same village where these 276 school girls were kidnapped by the Islamist terror group in April, their school left burning.
(on camera): What did you think when you heard that had happened to them?
PETER: I got scared, and from there I the world to know my story, and I want the world to know how terrible the Boko Haram is to my country, and they're really horrible. I just want the world to know, maybe they can help.
BOLDUAN (voice-over): She knows she's lucky to have escaped. But she is still under threat, and because of that, Deborah is in the United States attending school on scholarship.
(on camera): What are you looking forward to while you're here?
PETER: My education and what I want to be.
BOLDUAN: What do you want to be?
PETER: I have to think. Maybe I want to be a doctor. If not possible, maybe I want to be a dentist.
BOLDUAN: Doctor or dentist? I'm pretty sure, everything is possible for you.
(voice-over): With the whole world paying attention, Deborah has another mission, to use her experience to help bring back those school girls, some of them she knows. All of them she now calls her sisters.
(on camera): I've seen you holding a sign that said bring back my sisters. Do you consider them your sisters now?
PETER: Just because -- we're like one family.
BOLDUAN: You're linked. Your town is very small. Do you think you'll see them again?
PETER: Yes, by God's grace.
BOLDUAN: By God's grace. That's absolutely right. What do you want those girls to know from you? If they could hear you, if you could speak to them, what would you want to tell them?
PETER: Maybe they should keep praying and probably maybe God will answer their prayer, because God love them, too. I just want them to know that God is with them, God loves them.
BOLDUAN: Pretty simple message, but a powerful one. Deborah also shared that not only is she still under threat, so is her mother who is still in Nigeria. She says her mother still receives threats from Boko Haram. It shouldn't come as a surprise that Deborah says she doesn't want to go back to Nigeria fearing what awaits her if she returns. She's 15 years old, so soft spoken, seems like she has the world ahead of her. She's been here for nine or ten months, her faith is her key.
CUOMO: Uncommon resolve to be able to discuss things like this that really could paralyze her. BOLDUAN: You can see she has that trauma when she speaks about the story. But putting a face to the 276 girls just like her from the same village are still not with their families, still captured by Boko Haram.
CUOMO: Good reminder. Still out there. Just because you don't hear them reported on as often, doesn't mean the danger is any less.
We'll take a quick break here. When we come back, someone who actually could help these girls, Secretary of State John Kerry, the layout of foreign politics criticized and weakened and ineffective. What are we going to do about it? The secretary of state joins us next.