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Report: ISIS Leader Makes Public Appearance; Teen Beaten in Jerusalem is American; Obama Vows to Take Action on Issues Where Congress "Refuses to Act; Joan River's Outrageous Comments; Joan Rivers Walks Out on Interview; Mississippi Republican Primary Bitter Politics; Tim Howard Next American Hero?

Aired July 5, 2014 - 17:00   ET


ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for staying with us here in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York in for Don Lemon tonight.

American and Iraqi officials are going over an internet video that many say shows the leader of the Islamic extremist group ISIS. This is that video. The man shown here leading prayers at a mosque in Iraq yesterday is reported to be Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He is not photographed very often, really don't know much about him. Now the man in the video is urging people to take part in Jihad during this holy month of Ramadan.

I want to get Arwa Damon in here, she is in Baghdad. Arwa, it is confirmed that the man on that video is al-Baghdadi, what does this mean for his group there in Iraq?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it most certainly solidifies the grasp that they have on the city of Mosul, which is where that video is said to have been filmed inside one of its most historic mosques. It also shows you how confident ISIS is in its movements. Not just in Mosul but the vast terrain inside Iraq stretching all the way to Syria that it now claims to control. Now, this video first emerged on an official ISIS twitter account. The video identifies the man Khalif Ibrahim. That is how Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi is now known to his followers ever since ISIS declared this so-called Islamic state.

According to an eyewitness who was there, he arrived in a massive convoy, SUVs, blackened windows, gunmen preaching that now was the time for jihad, urging his followers to take up jihad, to please god, and then they will be rewarded in heaven and in paradise. That being said on the worshippers who were at the mosque had absolutely no idea that he would be showing up. That he appeared four to five minutes before the sermon would have begun. And he had armed gunmen with him. They are seen in the video. You'll also notice that in portions of the video, the men in the front row are blurred. That is because they are believed to be part of his entourage.

An incredibly brazen move at this stage too, given all of the U.S. aerial and other countries' aerial surveillance that is buzzing all over Iraq. That being said we cannot verify the authenticity of the video or his identity. But either way, at this stage, this is the man, the face that ISIS wants to put out there as being their leader, their Amir.

CABRERA: I'm curious, how is this message now being received there in Baghdad?

DAMON: Well, there's a lot of widespread fear and anxiety here that has been going on ever since ISIS launched its takeover of Mosul and the vast majority of northern and western Iraq. People in the capital are bracing themselves for what they believe to be an imminent ISIS assault. Not a Mosul-style, charging in, taking down the capital sort of thing. But we are seeing some entrances into Baghdad being more fortified. We are seeing people expressing their growing anxiety. Because what's contributing to a lot of it is just how quiet the capital has been. Prior to this ISIS takeover you had explosions and attacks on a fairly regular basis.

That has all relatively speaking dissipated. So, people think that's a sign of the worst to come. When it comes to what people in Mosul are going through, living under ISIS, we spoke to an eyewitness who is at that mosque, a woman who is describing how she and the other women were quivering in fear, trying to conceal the fact that they were crying. That's how frightened they were of the ISIS gunmen. Afraid for their lives. Talking about how unbearable life there had become with ISIS fighters on every single street corner. A lot of people in this nation, Ana, are so terrified of the unknown that the future now holds.

CABRERA: All right. Arwa Damon there in Baghdad, Iraq tonight, thank you.

From Baghdad now to Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan about 400 trucks filled with oil and gasoline are burning and have been for several hours. No official word on what started the enormous fire. But the Taliban released a statement saying they attacked a parking depot used by trucks that take fuel and supplies to NATO troops throughout Afghanistan. You can see just how intense and how huge this fire is burning out of control right now.

The United States government now is confirming that a teenage boy beaten by Israeli troops in Jerusalem is an American citizen. This is what 15-year-old Tariq Kadir looks like today. A video emerged a couple of days ago that shows him being held town and punched by Israeli police officers. Now officials at the U.S. State Department have seen this and they're reacting.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is at the White House. Sunlen, what are U.S. officials now saying about this incident?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, a strongly worded statement just out by the administration. They say they're gravely concerned and condemn this incident. And this comes after today officials from the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem visited with the 15-year-old. Jen Psaki, White House spokeswoman says, quote, "We are profoundly troubled by reports that he was severely beaten while in police custody and strongly condemn any excessive use of force, we're calling for a speedy, transparent and credible investigation and full accountability for any excessive use of force. We reiterate our grave concern about the increasingly violent incidents and call on all sides to take steps to restore calm and prevent harm to innocents."

Now, it should be noted at about the exact same time that this statement came up from the State Department, Israel's justice ministry, they announced that they are launching an investigation into this incident -- Ana.

CABRERA: Sunlen, do we know if this beating is in any way connected to the other violence and kidnappings we've seen in and around Jerusalem in the past few days?

SERFATY: Well, we've certainly will learn more in the coming days. But certainly this first confirmation from the State Department that of course this is a 15-year-old from Tampa. He has been connected, the cousin of that Palestinian that we learned this week died in that brutal, brutal way. We do know, and I believe that you have a report coming up from the region, confirmed from his parents, that this is connected to this Palestinian teenager. Interesting that we'll hear details as more come out -- Ana.

CABRERA: Oh, Sunlen Serfaty, thank you for reporting on this. Sad story.

Authorities say a California woman was resisting arrest. But did she deserve this?



UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Stop. Oh! He's beating her up.



CABRERA: Just blow after blow caught on camera. And now the California trooper you see here is off the street, on administrative leave, while his actions are under investigation. CNN's Sara Sidner has the story.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Video from a California freeway shot by a driver stunned by what he was seeing unfold. A woman being punched over and over and over again by a California highway patrol man.

DAVID DIAZ, EYEWITNESS: And you see it, you heard it, you're like, thump, thump, thump! And then you hear her head bouncing bam, bam, on the concrete.

SIDNER (on camera): How many times did he hit her?

DIAZ: I've seen 11 on the video. He took more shots than that. I think around 15 shots. To her head. And then --

SIDNER: Punching?

DIAZ: Punching. Like this is not like just jabs. These are hooks. Lights-out punches. Those aren't like taps.

SIDNER: The highway patrol report says the woman posed a danger to herself and other drivers because she was walking within traffic lanes at times. And when she was asked to stop, she continued ignoring the officer's command and ultimately she becomes physically combative, it says.

ASSISTANT CHIEF CHRIS O'QUINN, CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL: The tape only shows a small part of what transpired. There are events that led up to this. Until all that's collected and put into perspective, we aren't going to be able to make a determination.

SIDNER (voice-over): The eyewitness who goes by the name David Diaz says he saw exactly what led up to it before he started recording.

DIAZ: When you see the video, the first thing you hear is me laughing. The reason why is because before we got the video starting, they were playing with a ring around the rosy behind the red truck. A grown man and grown woman running around the truck, it's kind of like a Bennie Hill moment, right?

SIDNER (on camera): She's avoiding him?

DIAZ: She's avoiding him, he's trying to like -- it's almost like when we laugh when someone runs on the field in a baseball game.

SIDNER (voice-over): He says she did eventually start walking towards the officer and that is when the takedown began.

DIAZ: He grabs her. And she kind of like, you know, does the resistance in terms of like natural reaction. And then he then grabs her, throws her to the floor, and then gets on top of her, which then you would think, OK, he's just going to wrap her up, call it in, another day in Los Angeles. But no, this wasn't the case.

SIDNER: The CHP says the woman, who carried no I.D., was taken to hospital for a physical and mental evaluation.

O'QUINN: The report indicated that the individual was not injured and the officer didn't notice any injuries on the individual.

SIDNER: Diaz has a hard time believing that. After seeing and hearing this.

DIAZ: She didn't put up any restraint. She did what anyone else would do when they're getting pounded. To go like this, to go like this. Now they say, oh, she's restrained. It's an excuse. We're giving too many excuses. There's no more rationalizing this. We need to stop this. And that's why I put the video on, I posted this video.

O'QUINN: We're going to make a determination as to what transpired in this situation. And we will do the right thing.

SIDNER: The officer involved has been put on administrative duty while the case is investigated. Sara Sidner, CNN, Los Angeles.


CABRERA: Our thanks to Sara. Now, we're spending the rest of the hour talking things over with our contributors, Marc Lamont Hill and Ben Ferguson. So, stay with us for more on immigration, Tim Howard, freedom of speech, and this.


JOAN RIVERS, ACTRESS: Stop it with you do this, you're mean, you're that. You are not the one to interview a person who does humor. Sorry.




CABRERA: President Obama says, when it comes to immigration and a host of other issues, if Congress won't take action, well then he will. All hopes for an immigration bill are basically dead on Capitol Hill, so earlier this week the President said he's going to use all of his executive powers to remedy the crisis along the Mexican border where we are seeing thousands of migrant children, the majority from Central America, showing up unaccompanied. But the President has a potential problem here. He may not have as much power as he would like. Take a listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue, and Congress chooses to do nothing. And in this situation, the failure of House Republicans to pass a darn bill is bad for our security, it's bad for our economy, and it's bad for our future.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: One of the lines that sort of jumped out at me said, and I'm paraphrasing but a close paraphrase, I take these executive actions when we have a problem and Congress refuses to act. Well, that's not necessarily the way the constitution set it up. He can only act when article two of the constitution says the president has the authority.


OK, let's bring in CNN commentators Marc Lamont Hill and Ben Ferguson there joining me now. We're going to cover this and a lot of other hot topics today. Marc, that was our senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin there.


CABRERA: He said the President is treading on what he called treacherous legal grounds. Is the President going too far, do you think with his desire to use executive authority here?

HILL: He hasn't gone too far yet but the language is very, very dangerous, to me. I don't want him to say things like, well, if Congress doesn't act, I'll do it from my executive office. Because that sounds like overreach. What the president is actually doing is attempting to redress some of the issues within the boundaries of his power. He is able to address some issues around immigration reform from a federal level. He did the same thing with raising the minimum wage -- he didn't raise the federal minimum wage, he couldn't do it by himself, but he could do it for federal workers. It's the same idea --

CABRERA: Is there something specific and tangible that he can do here?

HILL: There are certain dimensions of the Senate reform bill which came through which is died in the house that he can address. He's trying to protect and prevent deportation for people who are largely targeted in the Senate bill that didn't go through, he's going to try to protect them, try to help them reunite families, try to do the things within the boundaries of his power. But nothing beyond that. Ultimately though I am always scared of the language of a president saying, I'm going to do a lot of his executive orders. I don't like when it Bush did it, I do love it when Obama does it.

CABRERA: Ben, I know you want to get in on this.

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I know, what Obama should have said was, hey guys, I act and in the Supreme Court taketh awayeth. I mean, that's exactly what happened to him last week when he was doing these racists appointments. The Supreme Court smacked him around pretty tough and said, hey, you can't do this. You can't just have and do and say and appoint whoever you want to just because you don't like what Congress does. And I think that is the biggest issue the President does not seem to understand. And what's going to get him in trouble here is, you know, there's a Senate bill, is a great example.

They passed it, the President likes it. The House has chosen not to take it up, not to move forward. He says, well, hey, I'm going to go ahead and implement the parts of that bill that I agree with and stop deportations. Well, you can't do that. I mean, as a citizen, I can go to the police and say, next year guys, this bill might be passed that I like so I can do what I want to do. Smoke pot, for example. You couldn't use it as a defense in Colorado before it actually became law. Just because someone introduced it. And I think this is where the President I think is going to lose a lot of the American people and it's making the problem worse because people around the world, they hear that Obama says you're not going to be deported and they're coming here and that's the biggest issue.

HILL: OK. But you're leaving out a really -- two important points. First of all, the republican counter argument has not been largely that it's illegal, they say that it's counterproductive. Your second point, which they don't bring people in. But the Obama administration's been very clear in saying, we are not -- we're going to return children to Central America if they come. We're going to send a message to Central America that if you come they're going to be sent back because it's a dangerous journey and we don't want overpopulation across the border. The President has not sat on his hands, he's been very clear and directed by this, you have to acknowledge that Ben.

FERGUSON: But when he says that he's going to stop certain parts and have deportation hearings for unaccompanied minors, which is by the way not the law of the land, it's a possible law. There are possible laws that pass all the time. One chamber. And never become actual law. And so --

HILL: Like immigration.

FERGUSON: So, you can't say that I'm going to act as if it is law when it's not law and that's what Jeffrey I think was saying is, you can't make up the rules, you have to play --

HILL: That's not what he was saying.

CABRERA: So, hold on, hold on just a second. Because I want to bring in another element here. John Boehner is now saying he's so fed up with the president taking executive action that he's in fact threatening to sue him. The President is calling this a stunt. Ben, is this a stunt?

FERGUSON: Well, the Supreme Court last week said the President overreached with his executive powers where he had a recess appointment when they weren't in recess. So I don't think John Boehner necessarily is too far off here. And it ultimately, if he does sue, then it will go to the courts and they will decide. But I think even Democrats are realizing true legal scholars that this is very treacherous water. You can't do this just because you don't like Congress. And you can't do it just because you don't like the leader of the house. There are checks and balances. Every President's had to deal with them. Sometimes you lose and he doesn't like losing so he does executive privilege.

HILL: I love you, Ben. And the great thing about you Ben is I've known you long enough to know that you said none of this when Bush was doing issuing and signing statements and executive orders in the later part of his presidency, you said absolutely nothing about these things when I made that very same critique. At least I'm being consistent here.

FERGUSON: The Supreme Court never slapped down George Bush, though.

HILL: The Supreme Court hasn't slapped down President Obama on the immigration issue or on the issue of federal minimum wage hikes in other areas where he was within the purview of his power. And what I'm saying here is the President can still operate within that. What Jeffrey Toobin was saying, and Jeffrey is absolutely right as he often is, is that the President is entering treacherous territory when he says the Congress didn't pass this so I'm going to use my power. It sets a dangerous conversation going but he's -- I don't think he will. CABRERA: Now, Republicans also say Marc that the President is picking

and choosing which laws or parts of laws that he wants to enforce, take for example he told the attorney general, you know, not to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act. Do they have a point?

HILL: I mean, certainly he's picking what laws he agrees with to use executive orders and sign statements, absolutely, I think that's what presidents do. They're not going to issue executive orders for something they don't agree with. I think it's the job of Congress though to push back. And I think it's a healthy pushback that needs to happen. Has the President at times been very selective? Absolutely. I think he's open the critique on that. But I don't think the President's gone too far yet. But I think we need to stay visually and watch this.

CABRERA: All right. Ben and Marc, don't go anywhere. Go ahead, Ben, real quick.

FERGUSON: No, I think the biggest issue here is the victims and the children whose parents truly believe that if they get across, they're going to get to stay. And we need to have a very clear pr campaign from our ambassadors and the President directly talking to those countries, telling them, do not put your children at risk. We are going to send them home. That's a message we should all be bipartisan on board with. Because these kids being held -- and this, you know, somewhat like jail cells for months on end. We should all want that to stop right now.

HILL: I agree.

CABRERA: All right. Well, and we agree, yay. We have a lot more to talk about this hour, so guys stick around. Including the recent twitter rant that cost one of the co-hosts of that popular radio show "Opie and Anthony" his job. Did he deserve it or are we as a society maybe too sensitive?


CABRERA: Well, he's one-half of the shock jock duo "Opie and Anthony." And now he's out of a job. The latest media personality to stay or writes something that crossed the line. In Anthony Cumia's case he used sexually and racially explicit language on twitter after an altercation in Times Square.

Here's CNN's Alexandra Field.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anthony Cumia says on the air may sometimes surprise you. This time he wasn't even on the job but his former employer Sirius XM says it was still enough to cross the line.


(voice-over): They are the shock jocks fans love to hate.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: They're checking out the Opie and Anthony show.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Hey, thanks for being there, people. Our first day on XM Satellite radio.

FIELD: But after 20 years together on the air, "Opie and Anthony" are no more.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Once it's over, it's over.


FIELD: Sirius XM pulling the plug on Anthony Cumia this week for his seemingly hate-filled remarks on twitter after he claimed an African- American woman punched him in New York's Times Square.

(on camera): If you're out here in times square it's almost impossible to take a picture without someone getting in the frame. Cumia says, that's what he was doing on Wednesday night when a woman who didn't want to be photographed got in the picture. After that he says that she assaulted him.

(voice-over): That's when Cumia took to social media. Now his actions and subsequent firing have some brand experts shaking their heads.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It is amazing. Has he been living under a rock for ten years that he doesn't know that things you do on the internet by yourself, unencumbered from your station, are going to have a much, much different repercussion than those that you might do on the air?

FIELD: Media watchers say, there's always risk involved when a company puts a personality like Cumia on the payroll.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Sirius knew exactly what they were getting. They knew what they were buying when they hired these guys years ago.

FIELD: In a statement to CNN, Sirius XM says about Cumia's firing in part, quote, "After careful consideration of his racially charged and hate-filled remarks on social media, those remarks and postings are abhorrent to Sirius XM and his behavior is wholly inconsistent with what Sirius XM represents."


FIELD: CNN has reached out to Cumia for comment, our calls have not been returned. He did however tweet on Friday pointing out that he was fired for something that he didn't say on-air and that wasn't illegal. The posts have now been taken down -- Ana.

CABRERA: So the big question here is, free speech. CNN commentators Marc Lamont Hill and Ben Ferguson are back. Ben, this guy is a shock jock. As the name implies he says a lot of things that some might consider distasteful and so maybe it's no surprise that he might lose his job by using certain offensive language. But we've seen a lot of other people who have also paid price for words they've used. Paula Deen, Donald Sterling, others. Is offensive speech no longer free speech in this country?

FERGUSON: It's free. And you can do it. Because he's not in jail for it. And that's the true definition I think of freedom. But there are consequences for your actions. "Opie and Anthony" are two guys that do a very entertaining show if you like vulgar, crude guy humor, talking about sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. That doesn't allow you to be angry and bitter and hateful and to trash talk a human being on your twitter account.

And he knows that. I mean, if it would have been him saying something about some football player, quarterback, who is awful and he made a joke about him, that's probably OK. That's why they make millions of dollars doing it. This crossed a line when it came into, I hope someone kills her or shoots her, implying that. You can't get away with that and they held him accountable.

CABRERA: What do you think, Marc, are there some words or remarks that are just too much, that this is an acceptable reaction from Sirius?

HILL: Certain words, certain remarks, certain behaviors and also certain sentiments. Right? Because it's not just what he said, it's what he implied. It's been spoke too, right? Violence, angry violence, rage. Using awful language against this woman. It was very troublesome to me. And I've known him for a very long time. I was actually shocked to hear him go that far. I always thought of what he did as being a sort of on-air persona. When he took it to twitter it felt far more real and he effects are powerful. I think the key thing to remember is Ben said, if you have a right to say what you want but you also have to pay the consequences for it. Companies have a right to say, we don't want to stand next to someone who thinks like this, who behaves like this, and acts like this.

CABRERA: And when you have a platform like radio or television, I know it, you guys know it, when you're on TV, what you say is public. And you do have consequences for what you say. Ben, I know as a radio host yourself, you probably watch these people and I wonder, do you worry about saying something accidentally, something slipping out, or taking an argument too far that might get you in trouble?

FERGUSON: Yes, I mean, look, I've got four hours a day where everything I say is being broadcast. There are going to be days where I probably say something in a way that I wish I could rewrite it later. But that is also I think one of the perks of this business is usually you can explain yourself. But if I come on the air and I personally attack someone and wish harm to their body, as he did, that is not I don't think an issue of free speech. Look, you can say the "n" word, for example, but it doesn't mean that someone has to keep you on their payroll if you do. If you use words like this. If you call a woman a vulgar name, that's not entertainment at that point.

That is you personally having an issue and that doesn't mean that they don't have the right to fire you. And I think he knows that. And a lot of this was pure arrogance. If he would have taken down these tweets earlier and apologized, I think they probably would have kept him because he makes them a lot of money. But when he refused to and showed that arrogance, I'm not taking them down, I'm not apologizing? He cooked his own fire right there. You know? I mean, he poured fuel on the fire. And guess what, it burned him finally. HILL: I don't think, though -- and I think you're right Ben, they

probably would have brought him back, not because it's the right thing to do but because it's the financially prudent thing to do. But I would not have accepted that apology, I would not have bought into the apology. People make mistakes all the time. I've been on air, I've said things that I regret and I've apologized for them. Ben, I'm sure you've been the same.


HILL: And you can't talk for a living and not say something stupid at some point.


HILL: But there's a difference between a slip of the tongue or even a bad moment, catching someone at their worst, and actually articulating some of the most vile and violent sentiments against a person that you can do. That's very different. I don't see that being an accident.

CABRERA: We'll continue this conversation because Anthony Cumia isn't the only one under fire for saying something bad or for something they said.

Joan Rivers had some pretty outrageous comments about the president and the first lady. And as we found out here today, the comedienne can really dish it. But apparently, she can't take it.


RIVERS: I made people laugh for 50 years. I am put on earth to make people laugh. My book is funny. I wear fur that was killed 15 years ago. I work for animal rights. Stop it with -- and you do this, and you're mean, and you're that. You are not the one to interview a person who does humor. Sorry.


CABRERA: See what set her off, next.


CABRERA: Now to Joan Rivers, comedienne, octogenarian -- and hellion? She's making some outrageous statements about the president and the first lady as seen in this YouTube video.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you think that the country will see the first -- the United States will see the first gay president or the first woman president?

RIVERS: We already have it with Obama. So let's just calm down.


RIVERS: You know Michelle is a transgender.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I'm sorry, she's a what?

RIVERS: A transgender. We all know.



CABRERA: So she calls the president gay, Michelle transgender. Rivers is saying these comments just as her new book "Diary of a Mad Diva" hits shelves.

Let's get back to our commentators, Ben Ferguson and Marc Lamont Hill.

Oh, Ben, what do you make of this?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR; I think there should be quite a few med students that should look at doing a case study on the side effects of too much Botox and plastic surgery and how it can have effects on your brain. Because I'm pretty sure if you can get Joan to participate, it would be an amazing study that we could all find out from.

I also think that if you look at Joan Rivers, she's pretty smart of knowing when to lose it, freak out, to make a little bit more money. It's expensive to pay for all the plastic surgery. She's got to sell a lot of books. You walk off set. We talk about her. You know. And maybe, maybe that's what it was all about for her was, hey, I walk off, get cranky, and they'll -- maybe somebody will buy my book afterwards.

CABRERA: You know what's so interesting is we were just having a conversation in the last block about somebody saying something and having to suffer some consequences.

Marc, where do we draw the line? We see Anthony, with "Opie and Anthony," be fired for comments that he made. And yet, Joan Rivers makes comments and she sells more books.

LAMONT HILL: Yeah, I think it comes down to companies deciding who they want to stand next to. The same standard should be held for her, for him, for anyone else. If you find her comments so distasteful that you feel like she doesn't need to have a job at her network, people should go to the network and ask for that.

I don't think her comments were nearly as hateful or problematic as Anthony Cumia. I don't think they're in the same category. She's a professional comedienne who made jokes.


LAMONT HILL: Sometimes I think her jokes are too far. I read her book. Her book is hilarious. It's an awesome book. There are moments I think, I would never say that. But that's her business. But people have the right to let the market decide as opposed to saying you can't say it at all.

CABRERA: Our own Fredericka Whitfield interviewed Rivers on her book, talked about "Mad Diva." Rivers walked out of this interview after Fred asked her about protesters demonstrating against her book cover, which shows her in a fur. So watch this.


RIVERS: You know, I'm going. I really am going, because all you have done is negative.


RIVERS: All you have done is negative. I haven't heard -- I made people laugh for 50 years. I am put on earth to make people laugh. My book is funny. I wear fur that was killed 15 years ago. I work for animal rights. Stop it with -- and you do this, and you're mean, and you're that. You are not the one to interview a person who does humor. Sorry.

WHITFIELD: Are we serious?


CABRERA: Yes, she was serious.

Ben, is this just another stunt for book sales?

FERGUSON: What is the name of the book? "Mad Diva"?

CABRERA: "Mad Viva."

FERGUSON: Yeah, I'm going with the perfect publicity stunt. And she saw an opportunity to be a "Mad Diva" and to hopefully sell a few more books. I think this was one of those moments where she said, you know what, I'm going to take it. I'm going to get the press. People are going to think it's hilarious or shocking. They're going to buy my book. And I make more money. And she's laughing all the way to the bank.

LAMONT HILL: I don't think so, Ben. I'm going to chalk this up --



LAMONT HILL: No, I don't. I want to chalk this up to miscommunication. I think they misread each other.

CABRERA: You think she misunderstood what Fredericka was asking her?

LAMONT HILL: Nobody is nicer than Fredericka. Fredricka is --

CABRERA: She is.

LAMONT HILL: This wasn't a gotcha question, a take-down interview. This was a reasonable and appropriate question. I don't think Fredericka had ill intent. At the same time, Joan Rivers was reading it differently. I sat down with Joan Rivers last week and interviewed her for 45 minutes, asked the same questions, she didn't get angry.

CABRERA: Interesting.

LAMONT HILL: I think this was a bad day, miscommunication.

CABRERA: We did reach out to Joan Rivers' folks and did not receive anything back --


CABRERA: -- in terms of a comment after --


FERGUSON: She's counting her money.


LAMONT HILL: So cynical, Ben.

CABRERA: We'll leave it there for know.


Coming up, the Mississippi Republican primary was as bitter as politics could be. But while the election is over -- or is it -- the drama is not.


CABRERA: Let's talk politics now. CNN commentators, Marc Lamont Hill and Ben Ferguson, are back.

And we start with the turbulent Republican runoff between Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran and his Tea Party-backed challenger, Chris McDaniel. McDaniel tells CNN he is going to challenge the runoff results which saw him lose to Cochran by about 7,000 votes. So it was close. But he says Cochran got support from traditionally Democratic voters who voted in both the Democratic and Republican primaries illegally. You have to vote in only one or the other.

Ben, you know Mississippi. You went to school there. Does McDaniel have a chance with this legal challenge?

FERGUSON: I actually do think he does. On my show, I straight-up said, did you vote in the Democratic primary, then vote in the Republican primary, and did you know that's breaking the rules? I had callers call in, saying, I was told I could vote whenever I wanted to in both primaries in these ads that ran on predominantly African- American radio stations that said, if you don't vote for Thad Cochran tomorrow, you will lose all your government aid, food stamps, including money that goes to African-American universities. If you don't spend $5 on gas, you'll lose every government dime that you're receiving now. And there was 25,000, 30,000 people that went and voted that would have never showed up otherwise. He only lost by 7,000 votes. And a lot of those people voted in the Democratic primary, which means they're not allowed to vote in the Republican runoff. And they said they were not told that otherwise. They just went and voted. I do think they have a very legitimate case.

CABRERA: He's certainly educating a lot of people about how the election works there in Mississippi.

Marc, I'm curious. If the runoff result holds, Thad Cochran goes on, does this say anything about the Tea Party's strength going forward, that another Tea Party candidate lost?

LAMONT HILL: Yeah. And first, I want to be clear, Ben's anecdotes don't make data. Although people called his radio station doesn't mean the 30,000 people he's pointing to did that. There's a good chance most of them knew the rules, followed the rules, did it appropriately. Let's let the facts --


FERGUSON: Most people didn't.

CABRERA: Those facts will play out. We'll see.

LAMONT HILL: But to the bigger point, this speaks to the way people often mobilize against the Tea Party. The Tea Party's far from dead. We see Tea Party energy. We've seen Tea Party candidates winning in other states. We see their message continuing to drive --


CABRERA: We saw a Tea Party candidate take out Eric Cantor.

LAMONT HILL: That's exactly my point.


LAMONT HILL: It would be foolish to say the Tea Party is dead. Tea Party continues to drift Republican Party further to the right.

But I think there's something to be said, particularly in places like Mississippi, where Democrat and black voters say, we're not going to win this election, we're not going to get a Democratic Senator in this state. But what we can do is jump in the Republican election and have sway on who's going to represent us on the Republican side. Instead of having a Tea Party candidate, we can have a more moderate candidate. Still, it's the best of two bad choices. But it's what can happen. I think the Tea Party you may see more mobilizing around them.

FERGUSON: I think that the big takeaway from this is, Thad Cochran would have not won this election if it wouldn't have been for the last two days when they went to predominantly African-American stations and said, put this out there that if you don't vote for us you're going to lose your government aid. That, to me, is the most vile form of politics.


FERGUSON: And he also lost the popular vote -- It is vile.

LAMONT HILL: How is that vile? Based on that?


FERGUSON: Hold on. No. I'm going to answer your question. I'm going to answer your question. It's vile because, as a candidate, he talked down to African-Americans implying the majority of them are on food stamps. How is that not vile? You, as a Democrat and the minority, should stand up and denounce that. I'm denouncing it. That, to me, is vile, political game. To say, spend $5 on gas or you're going to lose your food stamps.

LAMONT HILL: No, no, no. Don't get me wrong --


FERGUSON: That's vile.

LAMONT HILL: No, it's not vile. There's racial coding in that. It's exploiting voter bases, no doubt about that. It's a deeply cynical politics that makes anyone do that at all.

But there is a very real conversation about what it means for black voters to use their vote in responsible ways. Somehow when black people mobilize their vote in ways that represent their interests, suddenly it's vile? There's nothing vile about the black vote --


FERGUSON: It's vile that you talk to people -- Marc, it's vile that you talk -- I can't believe I'm actually having to say this to you. Come on, buddy. It's vile to talk down to minorities and run ads on only minority stations implying to everyone that listens to this station is on food stamps and government aid.

LAMONT HILL: But that's not the point.


LAMONT HILL: Mississippi is a poor state. Black people are disproportionately poor in that state. If a candidate is coming attempting to cut off a government safety net and necessary government support, it is not unreasonable to say, there's a better choice for you. Don't get me wrong, Cochran is not a good choice.


LAMONT HILL: Both of them are awful choices.

FERGUSON: He never said that, though.


LAMONT HILL: The black people mobilizing their vote in their own economic self-interest is self-determination. It's not vile. It's not stupid. It's not wrong-headed.

CABRERA: We digress, guys.

Let's take a break.

Ahead, let's talk about Tim Howard, something to make everybody smile.


Great athlete, goalkeeper extraordinaire, but the next American hero?


CABRERA: He is not a member of the Obama cabinet but he's earned the nickname "secretary of defense." USA World Cup soccer goalie, Tim Howard, won over fans everywhere with his amazing performance in the team's valiant but ultimately losing effort against Belgium. The team came up short, but Howard's 16 saves, a World Cup record, made him America's newest sports hero.

Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Talk about well-armed. The U.S. may have suffered heartbreak --


MOOS: -- but ended up with a heartthrob.


MOOS: "Timmy Howard," they're chanting.

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: The man of the match.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY: The new Captain America.



MOOS: But the Internet didn't clap. It Photoshopped its love, replacing George Washington on the quarter, "In Tim we trust." The goalkeeper's 16 saves earned him the title "Human Wall."

Here's a photo of Tim Howard's proud parents.

CUOMO: You, my man, are popular. MOOS: Tim Howard trails only Jesus in saves. Difference between Tim

Howard and Jesus? Jesus had 11 guys he could trust.

(on camera): All of which brings us to our goal, the top-10 tributes to Tim Howard.

(voice-over): Many of them inspired by the #thingstimHowardcouldsay.

Number 10, the dinosaurs from extinction. That's Howard intercepting an asteroid.

Number nine, the Titanic.

Number eight, saving that Italian defender from the bite of Uruguay's Luis Suarez.

Number seven, Mt. Rushmore became Mt. Howard.

Number six, gloves that blocked so many shots, not sure they're regulation size.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's just amazing.

MOOS: Number five, Howard saves Taylor Swift from Kanye West as she accepts her MTV video music award.

Number four, the king of blocking shots even saves blockbuster. Maybe he should have saved his voice.


MOOS: He was hoarse from yelling to his teammates, and humble as he received praise in interview after interview.

HOWARD: That's what I signed up to do, stick my face in front of balls and try to keep them out.

MOOS: Number three best tribute, Tim Howard contraceptive, blocking sperm from fertilizing an egg.

UNIDENTIFIED NEWS ANCHOR: I think right now the man needs a nap.

MOOS: Number two, best tribute goes to whoever changed the Wikipedia entry making Tim Howard U.S. secretary of defense. The goalkeeper later got a congratulatory call from the actual defense secretary, Chuck Hagel.

In our number one tribute, Tim Howard time travels from the World Cup to the Super Bowl. A World Cup goalkeeper who saves Janet Jackson from her own malfunctioning cups.


Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.



CABRERA: All right. Let's talk about sports, soccer and American heroes with Marc Lamont Hill and Ben Ferguson.

Ben, before the World Cup, most people had never heard of Tim Howard. Now he's all the rage --


CABRERA: -- especially online. You know, here he is on Mt. Rushmore, replacing George Washington on the dollar bill, and on and on and on. People can't get enough of this guy. What is it specifically about him, do you think?

FERGUSON: Because it was so insane to watch a guy always guess and go the right way when the ball is kicked at him. I mean, it was incredible. And there were so many times that you're yelling at the rest of the American team, like get your -- get it to go, guys.


He's saving you every 15 seconds. Kick the ball the other way. Put it in the other goal or do something, you know?

I mean, I think that's why everyone loved him, plus he was so animated. I mean, he would save it and get up and he was so focused, kind of like a superhero. Somebody said he's the new Chuck Norris, the new MacGyver.


FERGUSON: He can fix anything, stop anything, run faster, jump higher. It's why we love him. Kind of like the Olympics. You always have a great human interest story. He's the guy. And I hope he makes a ton of money off this because, let's be honest, he's playing soccer in America. Come on.


CABRERA: One thing I think is so cool, here he is a defender. So often in American sports, when you look at football or basketball, we give all the praise to the people who are scoring points. I love that he's a defender.

Marc, is it saying something more about America and our culture, in general, you know, that we have these unknowns overnight and then we turn them into superheroes?

LAMONT HILL: Yeah, I think it's two things. I think, one, we love the unknown. We love the feel-good story. We love someone to go from nothing to something overnight. What better story than this one where the team is losing -- we had a great run, but obvious fly not a World Cup worthy run. He sets a record with style, grace, dignity, humility. He's animated, fun to watch. Nothing better than that.

But we're a country about individualism. In the midst of a team sport, he's the one who stands out. Football, ultimate team sport. But if a quarterback is throwing touchdowns -- that never happens to you, Ben, because you're in Dallas.


But if you're team gets those touchdowns, the quarterback will be the one who people would look to. Here the guy scoring the goals, blocking the goals. It's an awesome thing.

CABRERA: Ben, let's --


FERGUSON: He's the one man -- I told somebody this week he's the one man that could actually change the name of soccer to football all over the world. That's how much --




CABRERA: When I hear from both from you, it almost seems like we're looking at this story of sort of an example of the American dream. And maybe that's why people love Tim Howard so much.

FERGUSON: Absolutely.

LAMONT HILL: Absolutely.

CABRERA: Well, thanks to you both.

We'll be right back.


CABRERA: After all, it is Fourth of July weekend. Even the threat of a hurricane could not keep the American spirit down. Patriotic revelers from all over the country gathered to celebrate our nation's founding last night.




CABRERA: In New York, the East River was lit up by 50,000 pounds of explosives to the delight of tens of thousands who had gathered there to watch. Fireworks were even shot off the Brooklyn Bridge.

In Washington, the big show was at the National Mall. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)



CABRERA: In honor of the 200th anniversary of "The Star Spangled Banner," a new arrangement debuted featuring New Edition, choirs and cannons. Definitely different.

Well, every day is Fourth of July for these five "CNN Heroes." Take a look.




ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, A.C. 360: Since being honored as a top-10 "CNN Hero" last year, Dale Batey and his group have nearly doubled their efforts to modify or help provide homes to disabled veterans.


COOPER: With 1,000 applications received, the group's new chapters will bring more neighbors together to meet those needs.

TARA DAVIS, CNN HERO: I come bearing --


COOPER: 2011 hero, Tara Davis, helped 1,600 young military widows find a network of support.


COOPER: Last year, she launched an education program that empowers widows as they move forward.

JAKE WOODS, CNN HERO: I'm going to go through, and going to number the best.

COOPER: 2012 hero Jake Woods' disaster relief group made up of military veterans increased its network of volunteers tenfold. Now 16,000 strong, their teams have already responded to 12 disasters this year.

MARY CORTANI, CNN HERO: Pick up the pace.

COOPER: With the help of 2012's, Mary Cortani, dozens more veterans are managing their PTSD and moving forward in life with their service dogs.

CORTANI: There you go. Walk with confidence. Relax.

COOPER: Cortani's group is employing veterans and has expanded its efforts to southern California.

ROY FOSTER, CNN HERO: There will be no man left behind as long as we are this nation.


COOPER: 2009's Roy Foster and his non-profit have now assisted more than 7,000 veterans, men and women, struggling with addition and homelessness. Their new job training and placement program has so far helped 50 vets gain employment. With new projects on the horizon, these heroes show that service to community never gets tired. It just keeps growing.


CABRERA: And we end on a feel-good note. Thank so much for being with me today. I'm Ana Cabrera. Stay with CNN and for breaking news all night.