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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Shinseki: "I Was Too Trusting"; Cabinet Secretary Resigns Amid Scandal; Officials Knew Of But Didn't Watch Killer's Videos; Group Hopes To Land On Mars By 2025; L.A. Clippers Sold to Steve Ballmer for $2B
Aired May 30, 2014 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, caving to pressure, the head of the VA, gone. Will that make things right?
Plus, breaking news, the 80-year-old owner of the L.A. Clippers mentally incapacitated. So what will that and a new billion lawsuit he has put on the table mean for the $2 billion deal for Steve Ballmer?
And two teams go 22 rounds and it's a draw. The co-champs of the National Spelling Bee join us. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, a key member of President Obama's cabinet gone. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki forced out today amid charges veterans died waiting for health care. It's widespread across the nation and it has been happening for years. More officials likely will go and tonight there are calls for criminal investigation. Jim Acosta has the story.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For President Obama, there was no time to wait.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Secretary Shinseki offered me his own resignation. With considerable regret, I accepted.
ACOSTA: According to White House officials, the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki was over in one hour. First Shinseki met in the oval office with the president, Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough and the top White House aide now overseeing the V.A., Rob Nabors. Then the president and Shinseki went for a walk on the south lawn for a private conversation. Minutes later, Mr. Obama said Shinseki had concluded he was too much of a distraction.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: And so my assessment was unfortunately that he was right. I regret that he has to resign under these circumstances.
ACOSTA: Shinseki's departure came as the VA released an audit of its health system that found facilities around the country were flagged for further review because of concerns about questionable scheduling practices. The VA secretary was more blunt in a morning speech claiming his own officials have been lying to him.
GENERAL ERIC SHINSEKI, FORMER VA SECRETARY: I was too trusting of some and I accepted as accurate reports that I now know to have been misleading with regard to patient wait times.
ACOSTA: The president said the White House was also in the dark that VA officials were concealing wait times.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: This issue of scheduling is one that the reporting systems inside of the VHA did not surface to the level where Rick was aware of it or we were able to see it.
ACOSTA: Over at the capitol, House Speaker John Boehner had his own rapid response, that Shinseki's departure is not enough.
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: His resignation, though, does not absolve the president of his responsibility to step in and make things right for our veterans. Business as usual cannot continue.
ACOSTA: Besides the internal probes of the scandal already under way, the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee said the Justice Department is also involved.
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (D), VETERANS AFFAIRS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Criminal acts, they should be punished. No ifs, butts and maybes.
ACOSTA: White House aides say expect other VA officials to go.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We'll be holding accountable specific individuals.
ACOSTA: But the VA will be doing that with a new interim secretary, Sloan Gibson, who has only been on the job in his current capacity at the Department of Veterans Affairs as a deputy secretary for three months. And even though the secretary just announced his resignation today, this is Washington, Erin. There is already speculating going on in this town about who the successor might be for Eric Shinseki. But at this point, a White House official says there is just no short list at this point -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, thanks very much to you, Jim Acosta, who has been covering this. But, you know, it was Drew Griffin right here on CNN, his reporting all the time and effort he put into this that exposed the horrible situation at the VA.
And Drew joins me now. And Drew, this is a case of when you see reporting really make a huge difference. But when you look at this and all of the horrible things that you have seen happening at the VA, that you've been reporting on, so the guy at the top now is gone, but that's the guy at the top. This is endemic. It's across the entire system. Does this come close to resolving the problem?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING: Not at all. The guy at the top was the guy who was lied too. By whom? All those people need to go. They're still out there. They're still working at the VA. They're going show up for work on Monday. Somebody really needs to go in to that VA health system and root out all of these simmering, entrenched bureaucrats who have been doing this for a very, very long time -- Erin.
BURNETT: And to that point, it's been going on for years, and it's across the country. For people who have been following this sort of casually and understand there were wait lists, people lied about the lists, they didn't get the care, people lost their lives. But this is widespread, right? It's a lot of people.
GRIFFIN: It is systemic, 200 and some 13 different hospitals they were looking at. Shinseki this morning said it's at all the big hospitals, we've got big problems. We've got whistleblowers at many of them coming forward. Forty two different hospitals is where the Office of Inspector General investigators are at. This is a major, major problem in the VA system.
BURNETT: And what about this issue of people were talking about Montel Williams. A former veteran was on the show last night talking about how veterans are always treated differently. And the question have I for you, Drew, in your reporting, you know, we see these veteran's hospitals. Why a separate hospital? Separate never rarely means equal. Why does it have to have a whole separate line of care?
GRIFFIN: You know, I think we are quite frankly trapped in the past in this country. We've started this VA a long time ago. It was great in the glory days and everybody liked going there. But Erin, why don't all these guys and gals come out of the service and get an insurance card that says no matter where you go, the government will treat you with the money.
Then we don't have to have or run this huge bureaucratic problem. It's not the health care providers that are doing this. It's the bureaucrats and the administrators who are doing this. We could get rid of them if we just gave them all a shortcut Obamacare card, or whatever they want to call it here in Washington.
GRIFFIN: We have the money. We can do this. Let private practice take these people and treat them like they treat us. That's how Medicaid works, Medicare works.
BURNETT: That's right.
GRIFFIN: We don't have separate hospitals for Medicare.
BURNETT: All right, Drew Griffin, thank you very much. And Gloria Borger joins me from Washington. What Drew just said, Gloria, incredibly poignant, right? Because of the past. That's why we have separate hospitals where you don't get equal care. It's been built in a bureaucratic system of the past. This is a president who said he is going to take on bureaucracy. He is going to make the government smaller. He has explicitly said this a couple of times and yet it doesn't happen.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. He said he is going to make the government smarter. And this is a president, don't forget, Erin, who has proposed government solutions to a lot of problems. At every turn, though, we've seen the problems with government. I mean, you look at the roll-out of the affordable care act in addition to the VA problems, you know, you look at the IRS scandal.
Even the question of NSA surveillance. Was that government run amok? So here is a president who said trust government. I'm going make it work better. I'm going make it work for you and now you've seen all these bureaucratic problems. And it goes to the question of is this a competency problem with the Obama administration, or is it just impossible to make huge government work efficiently?
BURNETT: Gloria, you know, one of the interesting things, Chris Christie, obviously who is a presumed Republican candidate for the presidency just gave a brief interview. We weighed in on this. His quote was, "I wish the president had been more aggressive since minute one to go in and fix it himself because what happened there is a disgrace." Obviously he is coming from the other side of the aisle.
BURNETT: But the point he makes is one the Democrats seem to agree with as well. The president who said nothing is going to be beneath me. I'm going to get into the details. But yet it doesn't seem in the case of this or the IRS or the NSA or healthcare.gov that he really wants to get into the details.
BORGER: Well, you know, in some things, Erin, in watching this president, he does get into the details. Foreign policy seems to be managed from the west wing. But when it comes to things like the Veteran's Administration or the roll-out of health care reform, these things seem to be delegated. And for one reason or another, they haven't bubbled up into the oval office.
And so the question you have to ask is, is this administration in which everything is so siloed that problems that should reach the president's desk don't reach the president's desk? Don't forget, Senator Obama made Veteran's Affairs very important when he was senator and when he ran for the presidency the first time and then for re-election. He made Veterans Affairs the cornerstone in many ways of his campaign.
So while we feel his frustration and understand it, as you take a step back, you have to ask yourself a question. You know, does the president himself now even trust the government to work properly? And what can he do to fix it if he wants Americans to believe that the government can work.
BURNETT: Right, right. It's something you say is personally important to you.
BORGER: Yes. BURNETT: That would be something where you get in the details.
BURNETT: Gloria, thank you very much.
BURNETT: Of course, you can check Gloria's column out on our web site, cnn.com.
Next, where school teachers can be fired for being gay even if their kids are gay. OUTFRONT investigates.
Plus weeks before Elliot Rodger went on a killing rampage, police were notified about his troubling video. So why didn't they ever watch them?
And reality television goes where no one ever has before -- Mars.
BURNETT: And breaking news, the NBA has announced it has settled with Shelly Sterling, the league planning to sue to force the Sterlings to sell the Clippers. But now, in spite of Donald Sterling's wishes, the Los Angeles Clippers will be sold to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer approval by the NBA Board of Governors. If all that happens the lawsuit will be dropped against Shelly Sterling.
Tonight, we're getting a new glimpse into the mind set of Elliot Rodger. That's the young man who murdered six people in Santa Barbara, California a week ago. A survivor shot five times outside her sorority house tells ABC News she will never forget Rodger's smirk before he opened fire, killing two of her friends.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIANCA DE KOCK, SHOOTING VICTIM: I see his face. He smiles at me and just starts shooting. He was -- just he wanted to do this. He looked happy about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And tonight the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department is facing serious questions and the question is, did they miss an opportunity to stop this. As we first reported, authorities were aware of Rodger's disturbing videos when they spoke to him last month. They actually recalled it. They went to a welfare check. At that time, they were aware of the videos. But as Sara Sidner reports OUTFRONT tonight, they never actually watched them.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just three weeks before this deadly rampage unfolded in this California college town, sheriff's deputies were warned about the 22-year-old who we now know went on a killing spree on May 23rd that left seven people dead and 13 injured.
On April 30th, a mental health professional called 911, alerting the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department to videos Elliot Rodger had posted online that concerned his family. The caller asked deputies to check whether he is a danger to himself or others. Four deputies went to his door along with a police officer and a dispatcher.
SHERIFF BILL BROWN, SANTA BARBARA COUNTY: The deputies contacted the suspect, at the time found him to be polite and courteous. He downplayed the concerns for his welfare and the deputies cleared the call.
SIDNER: They took Rodger's word for it and left. We now know they did not do a weapons registration check, and they never watched the videos that concerned Rodger's mom and mental health professionals. Former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Sunny Hostin says that was a huge mistake.
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: This tragedy in my view could have been avoided. The first thing you do in an investigation of an emotionally disturbed person is look at their history. And what better history other than that video evidence of what their thoughts are, of their demeanor. So that certainly was a missed opportunity.
SIDNER: And Rodger knew it, writing in his 137-page diatribe that he was relieved police didn't search his apartment to find his three legally obtained guns and a huge cache of ammo. Rodger's family spokesperson says his family does not blame the department for missed warning signs.
SIMON ASTAIRE, RODGER FAMILY SPOKESPERSON: They have no blame for them whatsoever because in a way, he had been fooling everyone for many years.
SIDNER: The sheriff's office has determined that the deputies who responded on April 30th handled the call in a professional manner consistent with state law and department policy. By the way, Erin, the suspect took the video in question down May 1st. That was the day after deputies made that visit -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much. I appreciate that, Sara. So Paul Callan is with me now. You heard what Sara just said. He took the video down the day after they visited. So clearly this kid, who has proven himself in other instances to have been very adept at fooling people as to his real intent felt there was something in the videos that if the authorities watched them, they might stop him.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: We know he felt that way because he writes in his manifesto that he was terrified when he was talking to them that he might reveal something that would cause them to search the apartment.
BURNETT: And see the guns and the knives that he had accumulated. CALLAN: Of course. So you have to say, borrow a phrase from the old Watergate investigation, what did the police know and when did they know it? Here is what they knew. They know his mother was so worried about him, she called the cops on him. They knew a therapist called the cops on him based on videos. So why wouldn't you say I want to see the videos? And why aren't these cops carrying iPads or social tablets with them so that they can check this kind of stuff? Everybody is posting things.
BURNETT: A commentary on budgets and other issues in this country.
CALLAN: I'm telling you, we're talking about six dead people here. So the cost of an iPad in a police cruiser to look to see what is posted on YouTube.
BURNETT: It sure makes you think that they should be spending that kind of money. But from the perspective of even when they went back, say they went back to the police station, how would it have happened that they didn't watch the videos? Do you think it was an active choice, we don't need to watch it, we already checked on this kid or was it an act of omission? There was a lot of things going on and there was a whole list of stuff and they just skipped it.
CALLAN: I know how this stuff works. I spent the whole day today in a deposition where a psychiatrist is being sued for making a mistake about admitting or not admitting somebody for psychiatric care. The cops are used to being in a place where somebody is drunk with a knife chasing after his wife that person gets taken to the hospital. They confront this kid. He is well dressed. He is polite. He is quiet.
They say we don't even have to look at the video. There is nothing wrong with this kid. But they should be thinking why is his mother calling us? Why is his therapist calling us? That is a red flag that demanded that they look at those tapes and see what made a mother call the police on her own son.
BURNETT: So should they be held accountable? Some people watching say this is horrible, it could have been prevented. At the same time what you just said, he is a well-dressed kid. They have a lot of other things that they are doing and see how this horrible omission could have happened.
CALLAN: Well, you have you to hesitate to criticize them. They have a hard job.
CALLAN: But on the other hand, that's why I get back to the first question. What was in the tapes? We haven't actually seen the tapes the mother was so disturbed about. We've heard about the manifesto that was published later on.
CALLAN: Now, if he was just complaining about being lonely and maybe not getting dates with girls, maybe disturbing to a mother, but maybe not an indication of violence. But on the other hand, if he was making direct threats, then the cops are in trouble, and a lot of questions are going to be asked about whether it was negligent, grossly negligent for them not to pursue that.
BURNETT: All right, Paul Callan, thank you.
OUTFRONT next, Donald Sterling drawing a line in the sand, suing the NBA for a billion dollars, which would bring his total take to $3 billion. A billion against the NBA and the $2 billion deal for Steve Ballmer to buy the Clippers.
Plus, one man wants to go to Mars and he is willing to abandon his family forever to do it. Wow. This reminds me of "Contact." Would you do it?
BURNETT: Astronauts could soon lift off in a new ride. Elon Musk's Spacex unveiled the newest spacecraft called "The Dragon V-2." It can carry seven people to and from earth and Musk says it can land anywhere, sort of like a helicopter. And you know what? This thing could actually be put to real use, not just a test thing.
Spacex is competing for a NASA contract to have this work to take astronauts up and down to the space station. But what if you don't want to go to the space station? It's kind of boring and old. That thing is going away anyway. What if you wanted to go somewhere truly pioneering like Mars. Another group says they can do it. Jason Carroll has the story.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): America has already seen shows about idols, survivors and housewives. But now reality TV is going where no man has gone before, Mars.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just like Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, when they landed on the moon it was a story shared.
CARROLL: Bas Lansdorp is co-founder of the Mars One mission, a non- profit foundation that hopes to send its own astronauts to the red planet and televise every step of the way.
BAS LANSDORP, CO-FOUNDER, MARS ONE: I compare it more readily to the Olympic games where extraordinary people do things that almost nobody else can do and share that success with us.
CARROLL: Lansdorp spent nearly a decade researching the mission. Its cost, $6 billion, and Mars One has already partnered with Lockheed Martin, which built ten space crafts for NASA.
ED SEDIVY, CHIEF SPACE ENGINEER, LOCKHEED MARTIN: This is the first privatized space mission that Lockheed Martin is going to be involved with, right, and that makes it very exciting.
CARROLL: Mars One's goal -- get people there by 2025. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON, ASTROPHYSICIST AND HOST, "COSMOS": I think it's unrealistic. I think they have underestimated the challenges of long- term space flight. I think they have under assessed what it means to sustain a person in a holy hostile environment.
CARROLL: Did we mention the trip is one way? The astronauts would set up a permanent Mars colony. So who would sign up for such an adventure?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be my dream come true to go to Mars.
CARROLL: Two hundred thousand worldwide sent video applications. The field narrowed to just over 700. These six made the second round of cuts.
(on camera): Why would anyone want to take a one-way trip to another planet?
MARINA SANTIAGO: So I grew up watching "Star Trek" with my dad and was completely inspired.
LEILA ZUCKER: I wanted to be a doctor and I wanted to go into space. I'm a doctor. Now is my opportunity to go into space.
BRIAN ROBLES: You face a suicide mission and you're going die on Mars. Well, we're going to die here too. So might as well live your whole life to the fullest.
CARROLL (voice-over): But is one way the best way?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got to applaud their enthusiasm.
CARROLL: Still, astronaut twin brothers, Scott and Mark Kelly have their doubts.
MARK KELLY, NASA ASTRONAUT: We didn't send people to the moon on a one-way trip for the first time. It would have been easier to do that, but it's not what our country is about.
CARROLL: Mars One is a private venture. These candidates say they thought about the risks, the rewards.
GREG SACHS: It may inspire millions, if not billions of people across the earth.
CARROLL: And the goodbyes.
DANIEL CAREY: I'm torn. I do not know if I have what it will take to turn my back on my family. But this is the only thing that would make me even think about trying.
CARROLL: Mars One, an idea once out of this world. For OUTFRONT, I'm Jason Carroll, New York.
BURNETT: So would you do it? Please, let us know on Twitter. I've been wondering that ever since that Jodie Foster movie.
OUTFRONT next, Hillary Clinton's pre-emptive strike, fierce accusations. Republicans are playing politics. Hillary with a huge slap.
Plus, teachers canned for having in vitro fertilization treatments. At one school, that is the house rule. An OUTFRONT investigation next.
And was this spelling bee wordsmith too confident for his own good?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know it! I know it. I totally know it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BURNETT: And the breaking news, the NBA announcing it has struck a deal with Shelly Sterling, despite her husband's wishes. The Los Angeles Clippers will be sold to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.
Now, the deal still has to be approved by the league's board of governors. That is anticipated that it will happen.
Brian Todd is OUTFRONT."
Brian, what more are you learning about this agreement? Because this comes as Donald Sterling, of course, is trying to sue for another billion.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's unbelievable, Erin. You've got two different sides speaking in two completely different tones tonight, almost simultaneously. First with the NBA's announcement, that's the latest news here.
As you mentioned, the NBA says it's resolved its dispute with Shelly Sterling over the ownership of the Clippers. That it's going to withdraw its charge to terminate the Sterlings' ownership of the team. It's going to cancel the June 3rd meeting and vote that would have voted to have the owners vote on the termination of the Sterlings' ownership.
In return, Shelly Sterling and the trust have agreed not to sue the NBA. And here is the interesting part here -- the NBA says Shelly Sterling has agreed to indemnify the NBA against lawsuits from others, including Donald Sterling.
Well, that's not necessarily what Donald Sterling's side thinks because they are suing the league. They just announced that suit within the last hour, saying that they're suing the NBA for a billion dollars in damages. They're calling for Donald Sterling's lifetime ban from the league to be lifted, for his $2.5 million fine to be lifted. They're saying that this case against Donald Sterling relies entirely on an illegally recorded conversation.
So, those are the two sides speaking in very different tones tonight. And, Erin, this comes just after we have learned from sources that two different physicians, neurologists declared Donald Sterling mentally incapacitated over the past several weeks.
TODD (voice-over): Tonight, sources tell CNN that doctors have declared Donald Sterling mentally incapacitated, a finding that opened the door for his estranged wife to sell the L.A. Clippers for a record $2 billion. Sources say Donald Sterling was examined by two independent doctors, both neurologists some time over the past month.
It's an important finding because the Clippers are owned through a family trust with two trustees, Donald and Shelly Sterling.
Tonight, CNN has learned from one source a clause in that trust says if either Sterling becomes mentally unfit, the other would become the sole trustee. Sources say Shelly was only able to negotiate the mega sale because of that declaration. But it might not be that easy. Experts say Donald Sterling still has grounds to challenge the finding and the sale of the team.
NANCY FAX, TRUST & ESTATE ATTORNEY: He would retain his own physicians, neurologists, psychiatrists, whatever it may be and have those physicians take issue with the findings of the physicians that found him incapacitated.
TODD: Donald Sterling's attorney says the claim of mental incapacitation is a, quote, "vast overstatement." All of which means what seems like a done deal still could wind up in court.
Waiting to take over the team is Steve Ballmer, the Microsoft billionaire, who has agreed to buy the team for $2 billion. His enthusiasm was legendary at Microsoft, where he introduced new products himself and even did spoofs.
Last time he tried to buy a team, his bid was unsuccessful. But this time analysts predict he will be welcome.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ballmer is the ultimate owner. He's got the money. He should be fantastic for the NBA and professional sports. Certainly, this is a guy whose got all the makings of being the ideal professional sports franchise owner.
TODD: And going back the lawsuit one more time, it's not clear if this lawsuit is going to interfere with the sale of the Clippers. Donald Sterling's lawsuit, because his attorney, Maxwell Blecher, had told us just hours ago when we asked him for reaction to the sale that Donald Sterling was going to look at all of it and decide where to go from there. And here is an operative quote from the lawyer. Quote, "He doesn't want to fight with Shelly." That's the bottom line -- Erin.
BURNETT: Well, that means that there is going to be a sale.
All right. Thanks very much to you, Brian Todd.
Well, tonight, Hillary Clinton, Clinton with a preemptive strike. Former secretary of state taking on critics who keep questioning her role in the 2011 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in which four Americans were slaughtered. In a chapter of her upcoming book obtained by "Politico", Clinton accuses Republicans of exploiting the tragedy. And she writes in part, quote, "I will not be part of a political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans. It's just plain wrong, and it's unworthy of our great country."
OUTFRONT tonight, CNN political analyst John Avlon.
So, she writes that. It's very powerful, John. Although the chapter, 34 pages, was then described to go on and say that Clinton accused Republicans of flat-out lying about Benghazi. So, she certainly is in the political slugfest even if she says she doesn't want to be.
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I mean, running for president while saying you're above politics is an old play. But this may be a foreshadowing of a fight to come. This is also, of course, the beginning of a book tour. And the name of the book tour is to get attention to sell as many books as humanely possible.
The fact she is approaching this like a political campaign in some respects is an interesting tell. But a very interesting tactic on the part of Hillary Clinton to position herself above the partisan fray and to say the folks still fixating on Benghazi are disgracing the memory of dead Americans.
BURNETT: Here's the question. I mean, it's a 34-page chapter. And everyone thinks, well, who leaked it out? I think it would seem it would make a lot of sense that the Clinton camp would have leaked it out itself. As you said, sell more books, but also show she's going to fight on Benghazi.
AVLON: Oh, yes. Well, there are plenty of people who want to fight with her on Benghazi. I mean, you know, for God's sakes, there has already been a basically preemptive attack ad launched on her by GOP super PACs explicitly about Benghazi.
So, this is definitely a fight that isn't over. But she is trying to, you know, regardless of where this leak came from, and we don't know, it's clearly the newsiest element of the book. It's the most controversial element. And it's a way to -- we're already talking about it.
But this is a fight with future hearings already scheduled that is not over. They may be betting that it will fall on deaf ears to the vast majority of the American people, that this is essentially an echo chamber debate. But this is exactly the way to get attention for a book that is coming out now. This is the chapter that everybody wanted to see. This is the controversy.
BURNETT: All right. John Avlon, thank you very much.
And now, imagine applying for a job and being told, you can't have sex outside of marriage. You can't have in vitro fertilization. And you can't have a homosexual lifestyle. And, by the way, neither with your kids.
That's what is happening in Ohio, where a school district, Catholic school, is under fire for implementing a new morality clause. At least two schools are fighting the restrictions that will classify all teachers as ministers.
Our Susan Candiotti has an OUTFRONT investigation.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Molly Shumate loves teaching at the same Cincinnati area Catholic school where she and her two sons attended.
MOLLY SHUMATE, LANDING JOB IN CATHOLIC SCHOOL: Being a Catholic teacher, you know, you're not in it for the money, most definitely.
CANDIOTTI: But a newly revised morality clause in next year's contract covering 2200 teachers in greater Cincinnati is throwing teachers for a loop, including Shumate. She is walking away from her dream job after 14 years.
SHUMATE: It's sad, and my spirit is broken.
CANDIOTTI: The new contract now has a litany of thou shall nots -- including no sex outside marriage, no in vitro fertilization, no remarriage without an annulment, no homosexual lifestyle, and no public support of any of those.
For Shumate, that homosexual ban is a slap in the face. Her son Zack is gay.
SHUMATE: This isn't the religion that I was raised with telling me that I can't support my son.
CANDIOTTI (on camera): When the archdiocese says this doesn't mean that any relationships should be severed within one's family.
SHUMATE: I don't believe that. You know, I don't think you can separate the two.
CANDIOTTI (voice-over): There have been protest rallies and billboards asking, "Would Pope Francis sign the new Catholic teacher contract?"
Forty-three-year veteran language teacher Roger Rosen did sign, but held his nose.
ROGER ROSEN, TEACHER: I signed it because I'm cowardly, and I would like to be able to have a check at the end of the week. Isn't that terrible?
CANDIOTTI: There is also worry that students will suffer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The students cannot feel comfortable coming out, if you will, to teachers, even trusted teachers. And that's a shame.
CANDIOTTI: What's behind the so-called morality clause on steroids? Mainly an increasing number of teacher lawsuits. Last year in Cincinnati, a federal jury ordered the archdiocese to pay this unmarried teacher $170,000 after she was fired for using in vitro fertilization.
(on camera): We asked the archbishop to meet with us and explain the new contract. Ask him some of the same questions that teachers and their supporters have been asking us. But through his representative, he said no. And instead gave us a copy of an open letter written by his school superintendent.
(voice-over): It states in part, "The contract is not an excuse for some type of witch-hunt, but merely a clearer verbalization of what it means to be a Catholic school teacher."
But at what cost?
FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGION COMMENTATOR: The direction that Pope Francis is moving our church is against these divisive social issues. And so, it's interesting that there are certain dioceses that seem to be going in the opposite direction.
CANDIOTTI: For Molly Shumate, enough is enough.
SHUMATE: Thank you for standing up for your son.
CANDIOTTI: After supporting her son, Shumate is getting support from others.
SHUMATE: I know in my heart I'm doing the right thing.
CANDIOTTI: Praying her diocese will have a change of heart.
Susan Candiotti, CNN, Cincinnati.
BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, a White House official who President Obama calls one of his closest friends is stepping down. Just who are we referring to?
And meet the spelling bee champs. Yes, it's plural.
BURNETT: For the first time in more than 50 years, we have not one, but two national spelling bee champs, 13-year-old Ansun Sujoe and 14- year-old Sriram Hathwar were both crowned winners. I'm going to speak to them both in a minute, but first, here is how they took home the trophy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct.
BURNETT (voice-over): A surprisingly emotional and at times hilarious competition at last night's Scripps National Spelling Bee.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tabatha discovered that while her milk shake brought all the boys to the yard -- oh, boy, oh, I'm sorry I was reading the wrong sentence.
BURNETT: Fifteen-year-old Jacob Williamson from Cape Coral, Florida, was a crowd favorite for his unrestrained confidence.
JACOB WILLIAMSON, CONTESTANT: I know it, I know it! I totally know it.
BURNETT: Unfortunately, being too confident is what did him in the end.
WILLIAMSON: C-a-b-a-r-a-g-o-y-a. What?
BURNETT: And 13-year-old (INAUDIBLE) had everyone cracking up after this little ditty.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gatatum (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Also gatatum.
CANDIDATE: Gatatum, gatatum (INAUDIBLE).
BURNETT: But it was 14-year-old Sriram Hathwar and his formidable opponent, 13-year-old Ansun Sujoe who stole the show.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alganfillogi (ph).
BURNETT: After 21 rounds, the two faced off in a riveting final round duel, where they were able to correctly spell so many words, the list of words ran out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct.
BURNETT: Forcing bee pronouncer Jock Bailey (ph) to declare --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ansun, you spell this word correctly, we will declare you and Sriram co-champions.
CANDIDATE: OK. Whatever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: However you say it, just spell it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct.
BURNETT: And the co-champions of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Ansun Sujoe and Sriram Hathwar are OUTFRONT tonight.
So you guys are sitting there together. And I know when you went, in you weren't even sure if you would win, right? But you were both hoping. Now here you are, Ansun and Sriram. How does that feel? Is there a part of you that goes I like that guy sitting next know, but it would have been nice if it was just me?
ANSUN SUJOE, CO-CHAMPION: Well, not really. I may have liked to, but it wasn't -- but I didn't really want to just win by myself. I really wanted someone to share the victory with me. Then it would make me feel a lot more happier. And I really like to be a co-winner with someone I looked up to.
BURNETT: Oh, and that's great. And you feel that way about Sriram.
Sriram, how do you feel? I mean, are you -- you know, you look at Ansun, are you two -- you have this now for the rest of your lives you're going have this together. The past 24 hours, you have gotten to know him a little bit.
SRIRAM HATHWAR, CO-CHAMPION: Right.
BURNETT: Are you going to stay in touch with each other?
I mean the whole co-championship came to me as a surprise because when they called me up on the stage I was quite unsure of why they did. But Ansun had to spell his word. And then I had known that I had already won. And then once Ansun got his word I knew that we would be co-champions together.
BURNETT: All right, your words, guys, I have to say -- this is what I have to ask you. You both are obviously incredibly gifted in a lot of ways. So you get this word, stichomythia, right? Sriram, stichomythia was your word. I probably saying it wrong.
When you got that word people probably thought okay, you spelled that right. That's pretty darn incredible. I don't know what that word means, and I don't think anybody watching knows what that word means, did you know what it means? Or just you were able to figure out how to spell it?
HATHWAR: Well, this comes from two Greek words, there is like styco, meaning like verses or lines. So, I was thinking something along the lines of like dialogue, like verses about myths and everything. So, I had a general idea of what it meant. And then once they said the definition I was able to clarify that.
BURNETT: That is pretty incredible. You're spot on there.
And, Ansun, what about you? Yours was another word I'm not sure how to spell. Feuilleton, how did you say it and how did you spell it?
SUJOE: Well, I actually saw that word once, like -- and I was familiar with the definition, so when he said the definition, when Mr. Bailey said the definition I was pretty confident I would get the word right. I was feeling a little doubtful. But still I continued to spell the word. And I was pretty happy when I got it right.
BURNETT: So before you guys go, I have to ask you something. The president of the United States tweets out. "Congrats to Ansun and Sriram, incredible co-champions of the spelling bee. You make us all proud. B.O."
Can you believe that?
SUJOE: Well, I'm not -- I was kind of shocked to hear that because I have never really received any -- like acknowledgment from the president. Like -- but now, I was pretty happy when I heard about that. And it's kind of shocking. I couldn't believe it. But, he was pretty fascinating, too.
BURNETT: He was probably watching, Sriram, had you known, would you have been more nervous?
HATHWAR: Well, I don't I mean, I guess, I really was focusing on my words. The competition was pretty fierce yesterday.
BURNETT: Al right, well it was fierce, but you all of course triumphed. And thank you all so much for joining us and how gracious you're being about sharing this with each other. It is a rare and special thing. Thanks guys.
HATHWAR: Yes, thank you.
SUJOE: Thank you.
BURNETT: And another big personal announcement from the White House today. Press Secretary Jay Carney is stepping down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Jay has been one of my closest friends and is a great press secretary and a great adviser. And I'm going to miss him a lot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Jay is unafraid to take on big personalities who frankly don't like to be picked on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Did the president seek the endorsement of Donald Trump?
JAY CARNEY, OUTGOING WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: You know, I -- I'm not going to comb over that question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Jay does not back down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: What does slash mean?
CARNEY: Don't you have like a dictionary app on your iPhone?
REPORTER: Why do use it instead of cut?
CARNEY: Slash is I think quite clear, you know, is a slash. It's like that. Significant whack.
REPORTER: The point is it is not the same thing as cut, is it?
CARNEY: It is slash. And I don't mean the guitarist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And it is Jay's ability to stick to his guns and roses that likely earned the president's trust. He never gives an inch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARNEY: I would refer you to the department of justice. I would refer you to the Pentagon. I would refer you to the FBI, the Secret Service and the Capitol police. I would refer you to V.A. I would refer you to agencies that handle flight paths. I would refer you to the Chinese.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. So, what does Jay want to do next? Well, he didn't say. But looking back at some of his briefings, we have found a clue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARNEY: You and I, we're going to do this on "Crossfire" one day, I promise you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, Jay, I refer you to Jeff Zuckerberg.
OUTFRONT next, should the super rich be doing more to level the playing field? Morgan Spurlock is next.
BURNETT: The American Dream, if you work hard and do the right things you can have it all. That's what they say, right? But it doesn't seem to be happening for everyone. And I spoke with Morgan Spurlock about, well, the subject of this week's "INSIDE MAN".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So this is a really serious topic, one of the most important facing the country.
MORGAN SPURLOCK, INSIDE MAN: I agree.
BURNETT: What did you find out about income equality?
SPURLOCK: Well, where we shoot the show, which is what I love to begin with is we decided to shoot in New Orleans, where in New Orleans, Louisiana, rich and poor literally live side by side. You know, they're not down the street. They're not invisible. People have to interact with one another.
And what you realize is that, you know, it doesn't take much for someone to suddenly get pushed further down and that's what we see happening everyday, the middle class is getting crushed, more and more people are having to come a member of the working poor. And those 1 percent, you know, they seem to be the people that we love to point fingers at them, blamed for a lot of this, and it's not just the case.
BURNETT: Some people said, I just everybody to be equal. But what do you think? Is it a necessary evil to have inequality so that tension on some level causes to people strive? Or do you think that's a load of bull (ph)?
SPURLOCK: Well, I think that having rich people does create an era of separation within the country, but at the same time, some of that, I think, a positive. I think that you can't suddenly have anybody living as equals, everyone can automatically be middle class. But what you do hope is that even there is a 1 percent in the population, or a very wealthy percentage of the population, that there is empathy that exists within that degree of population that they want to help, they want to give back. And that's what we found in the show.
BURNETT: And where are you going to take us on this one?
SPURLOCK: You know, we take you to where we're volunteering with people who are struggling to get their bills paid, to a 1 percenter who races Ferraris for a hobby, like that's what he does on weekends. That's not a bad hobby.
BURNETT: It's not a bad hobby.
Wow. All right, thank you.
SPURLOCK: Thanks, Erin.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: All right. Don't miss "INSIDE MAN". It's Sunday night, 10:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.
All right. Everyone, hope you have a wonderful weekend. And thanks so much for watching. I'll be back here on Monday.
"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts right now.