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Armed U.S. Drones Now Flying Over Baghdad; Matt Lauer To GM CEO Mary Barra: Can You Do Your Job Well And Be A Good Mom?; Joan Lunden's Struggle With Breast Cancer

Aired June 27, 2014 - 15:30   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Just past the bottom of the hour. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Drones in Iraq. We know the U.S. has eyes in the skies over Baghdad, but now we know those drones are armed. An official tells us the armed drones are not to be used for offensive air strikes against militants. They are simply there as added protection for those U.S. military advisers now in Iraq.

So joining me now, our senior international correspondent there, Arwa Damon. So Arwa, we're told President Obama would still have to order any air strikes that are not defensive in nature. But this is certainly an escalation. What are people in Baghdad saying?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, this is also the U.S. making sure that should President Obama decide that strikes are, in fact, the course of action the United States wants to take, all of the pieces are in position when it comes to the reaction of Iraqis. There is an understandable level of concern, given America's history in Iraq.

And the fact that there is very little faith in America's intentions. And also, there's very little faith that the United States is actually going to make the right decision. There is this realization amongst Iraqis that if the United States does decide to launch air strikes and needs to proceed with great caution to cause minimum casualties.

But also not to be perceived as launching those air strikes on behalf of the Shia-led government of Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki, because that would almost certainly further aggravate the situation on the ground. Additionally, this is something that America has also been highlighting, you cannot militarily defeat an organization like ISIS, especially not as long as it had the support of the Sunni tribes and these various other Sunni insurgent groups.

So there needs to be political developments first as sort of outreach to those various Sunni leaders before any sort of air strike does, in fact, take place. Otherwise, the consequences of that could see this country's already devastating levels of violence taken to an even greater level -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Arwa Damon in Baghdad, thank you.

The CEO of General Motors, grilled over the company's recalls and ignition switch failures. But it's not her answers to those questions that people are talking about today. Instead it's one of the questions, Matt Lauer asked her. So what did he say and how is he responding to all the backlash? That's next.


BALDWIN: General Motors will finally say how much money it will be paying out to victims affected by the company's ignition switch recall problem. The automaker plans to reveal the compensation plan on Monday. And this will be a first for GM. This will be the first time they actually disclose who will be eligible. GM has been reporting that 13 people died, because of that specific defect.

GM's CEO, Mary Barra had to testify before Congress about the recall and explain what steps the company is taking to resolve its safety crisis. But Mary Barra is also in the spotlight for a very different reason and it's not because of something she did or said, it's because of something she was asked by NBC "Today" anchor, Matt Lauer.


MATT LAUER, ANCHOR, NBC "TODAY": You're a mom, I mention. Two kids. You said in an interview not long ago that your mom -- that your kids said they're going to hold you accountable for one job, and that is being a mom.


LAUER: Given the pressures of this job at General Motors, can you do both well?

BARRA: You know, I think I can. I have a great team. We're on the right path, we're doing the right things. We're taking accountability and also I have a wonderful family, a supportive husband. And I'm pretty proud of my kids the way they're supporting me in this.


BALDWIN: That interview happened yesterday. And Matt also asked Barra about speculation that she got her job because GM wanted a quote/unquote, "softer image," a maternal figure, to guide the company through what they knew would be turbulent times.

So now Matt Lauer has come under fire for his line of questioning, specifically asking the CEO about being a mom. Her kids, and this is what he said on Facebook, "As part of the interview, I referenced a "Forbes" article where Barra talked about the challenge of balancing work, life and home life."

"If a man had publicly said something similar after accepting a high- level job, I would have asked him exactly the same thing. Work-life balance was one of our focuses. It's an important topic, one that I'm familiar with personally."

So let's discuss. With me now Denise Albert, with the and CNN's chief political analyst and mom, Gloria Borger. So welcome to both of you. Here is my two cents. My two cents is, I definitely, if I was sitting in front of her, I would have gone there about being a woman.

Listen, she's the first CEO in a historically male-dominated field. I feel that is entirely fair. But I have to sit with myself and think if it was a male CEO, would I be asking that same question about how are you handling the kids and the job? I don't know if I would. I don't know if that's fair, Gloria.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, to me, and believe me, I think Matt Lauer is a fabulous --

BALDWIN: Phenomenal.

BORGER: I think that the question that you point out is that I might have asked, is, OK, what's it like to be a woman running General Motors, which has been run by man forever.

BALDWIN: All the guys and ties around the table.

BORGER: And you're now testifying before a congressional committee. This is tough times. And how is it internally for you at General Motors. Does it make a difference? I'm sort of over the questions about can women do both. Because even though women talk about it more than men, and we do. It's over. Women can do both and it's time to stop asking us whether we can or we can't or how guilty we feel. Because men are never asked that question. Just women.

BALDWIN: Denise?

DENISE ALBERT, THEMOM.COM: I actually -- I actually disagree and I'm going to defend Matt Lauer. Because I actually think it's a fair question, considering what she said about her children. I think it's a fair question as a journalist. Is it doesn't mean it's his opinion. As working parents, we can learn from each other. I don't think he's attacking her. I think he's asking her.

Because we all can take from her whether you're the CEO of a company or work in a store, it's something that all parents struggle with every day. You wouldn't be a working parent if you didn't struggle with how can you be the best at being the best at your job and the best pattern. It's something that parents struggle with every day and just because you ask the question doesn't mean a woman can't do it.

BORGER: No, it doesn't. I agree with the second half. It doesn't mean a woman can't do it. It doesn't mean it has to be at the top of your list when you're sitting down with somebody who is the --

ALBERT: I don't think we know if it was at the top of his list.

BALDWIN: I don't think we're there yet as a society. I can't relate as being a mom. But I can relate as being a single female. I've never been married. But as a full time journalist, you know, I've had people say to me, OK, Brooke, you're really successful. But at what point do you cool it?

I have the peanut gallery. I've dated all kinds of people and people weigh in and tell me who I should marry. It should be someone financially who can provide for you. And no, we think it should be a nurturer so you can continue on that path. And I'm like, people! Back away. What man gets that question? Just saying.

BORGER: Work life balance is an issue that we women talk about more than men to. And she talked about it and I agree with you on that.

ALBERT: I'm going to disagree with you again. I think a lot of men -- I'm -- like you, Brooke, single. I'm a single mom and a lot of the men that I talk to that are also single dads struggle with this very much. So I think it's something that men --

BORGER: I would have to argue that male CEOs talk about it less than female CEOs.

ALBERT: I'm hearing it from them.

BALDWIN: Let's pivot to Wendy Davis, she is a state senator in Texas, Gloria Borger, she has been under fire. Did the commute from Texas to Harvard. Was it law school she was going to?

BORGER: She was going to law school and had two young children.

BALDWIN: Tell me her situation.

BORGER: So she had -- she sort of an up by the boot straps story. Two young children, a husband. Commuted back and forth to Harvard Law School. And, you know, some people have raised questions about whether it was the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do.

BALDWIN: Let's listen.

BORGER: I asked her about it.

BALDWIN: We have the sound bite. Roll it.


WENDY DAVIS (D), TEXAS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: It was very difficult, as I was commuting back and forth from school. There were some pretty tough nights leaving my girls. But I was doing what I felt was best for them and for me.

BORGER: Is there some undercurrent here about a woman's appropriate role, particularly as a mother?

DAVIS: I think were I a man, this would not even be a topic of conversation.


BORGER: And you know, it's been a topic of conversation in Texas. Because there are suburban women who are voters that she is trying to appeal to that disagree with the choices she made. And that's fair enough.

BALDWIN: Interesting. Denise, final word. As we have marinated. ALBERT: I think it's a great topic and all parents should be talking about it, men and women. We can all learn from each other. It's not easy to be the best at everything, but it doesn't mean that you can't do it.

BALDWIN: Denise Albert, Gloria Borger, thank you both so much. This is the kind of thing I feel like I talk to my girlfriends all of the time. Thanks, ladies, very much.

Now to this. Millions watched her as the anchor of "Good Morning America" and now Joan Lunden's fans are sending their support after learning she is battling breast cancer.


JOAN LUNDEN: So I've been very proactive and that's kind of kept -- that's put me in the right frame of mind.


BALDWIN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, just sat down with Joan Lunden this afternoon for a revealing interview and will join me live with more on her cancer diagnosis and how she first learned about the news.


BALDWIN: News today of a shakeup on daytime talk. Sherri Shepard, host of ABC's "The View" is leaving the daytime talk show after seven years. Sources tell us Shepard has been ready to leave for months, but didn't want to jump ship before Barbara Walters retired last month, and then to add another layer here, you have co-host, Jenny McCarthy who tweeted this. If Sherri goes, I go too. If that happens, Whoopi Goldberg will be the only remaining host on "The View."

Now to someone I certainly look up to and respect. Joan Lunden, was a fixture on morning television for nearly two decades. And now the spotlight is turning back on Lunden days after she has announced she is battling breast cancer. It is a struggle millions of women are facing.

Lunden just talked about her ordeal to chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. And I'm so grateful for you sitting down with us, as you just did this. She is so lovely. We were just gushing over her in commercial break. First of all, and this is what freaked me out. Her mammogram was clear.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Her mammogram was clear. Look, this is a controversial topic because a lot of people who think mammograms are oversold and others say we need some sort of screening test, it's not a perfect test. She talked about the fact it came back clear.

Then she has an ultrasound on top of the mammogram to find this particular abnormality. She had never been. She had no symptoms. This was routine and she has no family history. She's 63 years old. There's a lot of reasons why she expected it to be clear. It was quite a shocker when it came back with something there.

BALDWIN: Which makes it more important she's coming out and talking about it. When she found out, what was that moment like for her?

GUPTA: I asked her that as well. I'm curious. There's a little bit of denial for anybody. Her life is all-around healthy living. Within a few moments, she said look, I've got to be very proactive about this and started to collect lots of information from people.

BALDWIN: She's a journalist.

GUPTA: And she's smart and she knows that every patient's going to be different. She opted to have chemotherapy first and then have an operation. A lot of people told her to have the operation first. This is not again, not an exact science. That's what she opted to do. Taking a cue from Robin Roberts, she shaved her head starting on the chemotherapy and now wearing a wig. She looks lovely. You couldn't even tell.

BALDWIN: I had no idea.

GUPTA: She said can you tell? I can't tell. She looks fantastic. She did a lot of homework though.

BALDWIN: Good for her. She was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. What does that mean?

GUPTA: When you talk about cancers, if you have a particular target for drug, that's the drug you'll use. It will hone in on the cancer specifically. Triple negative means there are no targets. The top three targets she doesn't have those targets. They'll have to treat this cancer differently. She said the doctors told her, her prognosis is excellent in large part because it was caught early. But this is a particularly difficult cancer.

BALDWIN: Let's listen to your interview.


LUNDEN: I started the chemo right away. I thought it was very important to not be paralyzed, but jump into action, get a lot of opinions, which can be very confusing. And put a team together. And that's what I did. So I've been very proactive, and that's kind of kept -- that's put me in the right frame of mind.


GUPTA: Even she admits to being a little confused. It's a lot of information.

BALDWIN: Thrown at you all at once.


BALDWIN: I don't know. But I know too many people who know. Prognosis wise? GUPTA: Her doctors tell her excellent because it was caught early. But triple negative is a serious breast cancer that will require a lot of treatment for her.

BALDWIN: Dr. Gupta, thank you. We'll watch your whole interview with Joan Lunden right here on CNN tomorrow. Thank you, sir, very much. Joan Lunden, we wish you well.

Coming up next, we're introducing you to a woman who is helping teenage girls find their voices and futures by using a ballpoint pen. Meet our "CNN Hero" next.


BALDWIN: This week, "CNN Hero" is giving a voice to at risk teenage girls in Los Angeles. The non-profit organization called "Write Girl" pairs professional female writers with young women to help them deal with life's troubles. Brain child of our hero, Karen Taylor.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I blossomed with each pen mark.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I found myself in the words.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every girl has a story to tell.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some of our girls are facing some of the greatest challenges teenagers could ever face, pregnancy, incarceration, violence in their family, at school. Those girls need a mentor. They need to be inspired about their own voice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Life in the light can be so bright. Nothing can be so pure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Writing is self-expression, can give them a tool for moving forward.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Say something that nobody else has said before because you have your own way of saying things.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We match underserved girls with professional women writers for mentoring and group workshops.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to match you, Krista, with Christie.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The moment you ask a young person, tell me about something you're passionate about, the writing and ideas just flow.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you know you were going to read today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was kind of scared. I keep to myself, but I met Emily and she's so excited and enthusiastic about writing. I absolutely love her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Writing gave me that position in life like I'm a girl and I have a story to tell.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Their senses are diluted by the sparkly things across their eyes. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to help girls see their voice matters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You've got a lot of good stuff here. What I would like to hear more about is you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To give a girl tools to be able to be positive and thrive and rise above whatever challenges she's facing, what's better than that?


BALDWIN: If you know someone you think is a hero, we would love to hear about them. Go to to nominate them,

Finally, it is a dangerous journey, but what's more frightening is they make the trek alone. Thousands of unaccompanied kids mostly from Central America are flooding into Texas through Mexico. The numbers are so huge, U.S. facilities are overwhelmed struggling to feed and house those who are detained. President Obama issued a plea to parents in Central America.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Our message absolutely is don't send your children unaccompanied on trains or through a bunch of smugglers. That is our direct message to the families in Central America. Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they'll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it.


BALDWIN: I want you to watch this weekend a program from a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist living in America. Again, he is undocumented, but the title of this film is "Documented," it's his story. It's phenomenal, Sunday night 9:00 Eastern and Pacific here on CNN.

It is Friday. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Please do not move. I'm Brooke Baldwin. That's it for me here at CNN. Now to Washington, Jim Sciutto is sitting in for Jake Tapper. "THE LEAD" starts right now.