Return to Transcripts main page


Boehner to Sue Obama over Obamacare; Fans Wait for LeBron James Decision; Israeli Airstrikes Pound Gaza; Prince George on "Vanity Fair" Cover

Aired July 11, 2014 - 11:30   ET


REIHAN SALAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR & NATIONAL REVIEW CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: That is actually exactly why it's important that Congress does this. The reason why the Senate didn't take it up, despite the fact that many Democratic senators would have embraced the proposal, is that the President, and his allies in the Senate were very afraid of what would happen if you opened up Obamacare again. Why were they afraid? Because there are many Democrats who would have gone back and actually changed much about the legislation as well. They didn't want to open that Pandora's Box. So rather than go through the classic process -- you know the song, "Yes, I'm a bill, just only a bill" --


SALAM: -- that's how we make change. We didn't go through that process. And Republicans are doing it for political reasons, but to protect the institutions of Congress. When there's a Republican president and a Democratic House, do Democrats want the president to make these changes unilaterally without going through the regular constitutional order? That makes a ton of sense as a precedent.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR & DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: That would be a good point if this president hadn't signed so many less executive actions than President Bush did. Less -- I think president Bush did more than 100 than what president Bush has done. Look, this is an administrative action that this president is taking.

By the way, it's in the constitution he has this ability to do it. It happens when presidents are implementing the laws that are passed by Congress. President Bush did it when he delayed the Medicare Part D in his own legislation. So Republicans -- this is other thing where Republicans are in trouble they see the hypocrisy here. They see the hypocrisy and opposing everything that President Obama is trying to do even when at one point the things that President Obama is proposing are things that Republicans supported, including the health care law.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: You know, we had on Ana -- come on, help me --



PEREIRA: Yes. Ana Navarro was on with us yesterday and she was talking about the fact that, look, these two men and their groups behind them, you have to understand. You have three more years --


CARDONA: Yes, I was on that segment.

PEREIRA: Yes, you were on that segment.

I remember thinking, that's an interesting point, Reihan, that she was making. At some point, it has to be more than just about the fight. There has to be compromise, there has to be coming together, sitting down and working these things out. The American people are going to be very frustrated by watching this back and forth. How do we move forward from it?

SALAM: I think you make a great point, but I want to remind everyone of one little thing, OK? The Supreme Court justices don't always agree on everything. I think we'd agree with that.

PEREIRA: Absolutely.

SALAM: They're not usually 9-0. Recently, they were united 9-0 to rebuke President Obama for making recess appointments when it wasn't appropriate. President Obama said I can define when a recess happens, Congress has no role in that, and I can make the appointments whenever I want and the Supreme Court, including the liberal justices, said, slow down, wait a minute. There are many people who agree that this president has gone too far in abusing his executive power. That's not about Democrats and Republicans. That's about our system of government. I think that the future of Democrats, when they're going to try to restrain a Republican president, are going to appreciate that.

BERMAN: Could have a judge weighing in on this some time soon.

Reihan Salam, Maria Cardona, great to have you with us.


PEREIRA: Thanks for helping me keep my Anas straight, too.

BERMAN: We talked about the politics and the Republicans are going to Cleveland for their convention. Will LeBron James be joining them? Coming up, the big issue. The big -- we won't call it a decision because that has other connotations. Is LeBron James going back to Cleveland or not? Will it happen during our next segment?

PEREIRA: How do you unburn a Jersey?

BERMAN: We'll find out. We'll talk to one man --

PEREIRA: Reanimated.


BERMAN: -- who burned LeBron James' jersey when he left Cleveland. He is going to unburn it when we come back. PEREIRA: I don't know how you do that.



BERMAN: We could find out in the next several minutes, is he staying? Is he going? The big question swirling around LeBron James.

PEREIRA: He can barely contain himself.

Fans in his current city and those fans that he spurned when he left the Cleveland Cavaliers four years ago are anxiously awaiting.

Listen as a few Miami fans weigh in.


UNIDENTIFIED FAN: I think he's going to make the decision to stay in Miami.

UNIDENTIFIED FAN: Honestly, LeBron leaves, like it wouldn't go past me. I wouldn't be surprised if he does.

BERMAN: How heartbroken do you think the city will be?

UNIDENTIFIED FAN: Oh, very. He won't do it to us.

He did it to another team. He's not going to not to it to us.


BERMAN: So nowhere is this issue more crucial than in the city of Cleveland, Ohio. That is where LeBron James decided to leave four years ago and when he made that decision, Cavaliers fans felt betrayed and they showed it.

PEREIRA: Yeah. Like this guy. His name is Jason Herron. So upset, he torched he jersey, number 23, torched number 23 Jersey up. That lit up the web as a symbolic act of cutting Cleveland's ties with the basketball great. Fast forward four years, and well, it appears things have changed.

Let us go to Cleveland now. There he is, Jason Herron.

Is all forgiven, my man? Ready to welcome LeBron back?

JASON HERRON, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS FAN: We're on pins and needle, Michaela. Two nights ago, we'd find out, and then it was last night, and now it's Friday afternoon. We don't know anything. I was hoping you could tell me what was going on.


BERMAN: We could find out within minutes really here. We'll bring that to you live the second it happens. Can you unburn a Jersey?


HERRON: You know, I was thinking about that before we came on air. Like if you found out your ex-girlfriend broke up with you on national TV and left you for a better looking guy, of course, you'd do things you'll regret. We burned his Jersey. I think we have grown up in four years. I think Dan Gilbert is regretting that letter. We made mistakes. We're ready to move on hopefully with James.

PEREIRA: All of these regrets. As you said, we have grown up, ready to move on. What if he chooses not to come to Cleveland?


PEREIRA: Reburn the unburned Jersey?

HERRON: This isn't the same Cleveland as four years ago. We are calling it the new Cleveland. We have the Republican convention coming. We have Johnny Manziel. We have Kyrie Irving who we re- signed. We got Andrew Wiggins. There's a lot to look forward to in Cleveland with or without LeBron. But obviously it would be a fairy tale ending if he came home and brought us a championship.

PEREIRA: What is your gut telling you? I imagine if you're a Cleveland fan, your gut rarely kind of is filled with optimism.

HERRON: Well, we were optimistic two days ago and now, you know, now it's -- the old Cleveland is kind of crawling back up in me a little bit. But I can't imagine him doing this to us twice. You know? This is his home. His kids are going to go school in Akron. You know, the gymnasium there is called LeBron James gymnasium. I'm sure that's where he wants his kids to two to school. He wants to retire here. He's got a beautiful mansion in bath outside of Akron. If he does this to us again I don't know if he can come home.

LeBron, if you're watching, please come home, LeBron.

PEREIRA: You have an opportunity most would kill for. Come on, look right into the camera. Talk right at LeBron. He may be watching from an airport lounge on the way to the World Cup.

HERRON: LeBron, this is Cleveland, Ohio. Your home. We're waiting for you, buddy. I mean, you can win as many championships as you can in Miami. But that won't mean nearly as much as one would in Cleveland. That would cement your legacy as the greatest of all time with Michael Jordan, maybe better. He's the one guy that I think with the team we have in place that can win a championship and maybe multiple championships. I know it's crazy with never having won one, but the talent we have and him being the best player in the world that will put us over the top.

LeBron, time to come home.

BERMAN: Since you're making public service announcements, we'll allow you to address the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dan Gilbert. How far do you think he should go to get LeBron James? Begging in public be in order?

HERRON: You know, Dan has done everything. He's put all this young talent around. He brought this exciting coach over from Europe who they're saying is like the next great Povich, which is the greatest coach in the NBA. He's built this team, you know, kept the cap room for LeBron James. Yesterday, we just traded three players away and we got nothing in return so we could open the salary cap to get LeBron back. Danny Gilbert is great for the city of Cleveland. He has a casino right by the arena. They call him the Bruce Wayne of Cleveland. So imagine the press conference if LeBron re-signs here in Cleveland. It would be the most watched press conference ever.

PEREIRA: I know you -- I think you work in auto sales, but I'm thinking you might need to start yourself an Internet radio show. You have some talent and I love the way you speak.

Thanks so much, Jason, for joining us. Thanks for sharing your passion not only for the sport of NBA and LeBron, but your city.

HERRON: Thank you.

Come home, LeBron.


BERMAN: I want it for Jason. How can you hurt this man again?

PEREIRA: He's willing to forgive.

BERMAN: Do it for Jason, LeBron.

PEREIRA: Do it for Jason. We could start a new hash tag. I love it.

BERMAN: Ahead for us, another basketball fan, but also one of the most serious and important journalists in the world, right now, Wolf Blitzer, is in Israel right now. He is reporting on the intense conflict. Bombs falling in Gaza. Rockets being shot into Israel. Wolf got caught in the middle of it, had to run for safety. We'll show you what happened next.

PEREIRA: But first, a look at this week's "CNN Hero."



JON BURNS, CNN HERO: The atmosphere at World Cup is like nothing else. It's electric.


BURNS: You get that kaleidoscope of the different nations that all come together.


BURNS: Futbol is the only worldwide sport really. In 2004, I saw all the fans around. It was like a little army.

Some of the children, they're in very poor areas. I started to ask myself, what could we do if we could mobilize some of the people to do some good? So with Lionsraw, we bring people to the World Cup. They get to watch the games but, for a huge chunk of our time, local charities that are working with children and how can we help you?

That is going to be three classrooms. To come and do this for us, for the children, this is a World Cup spirit.

In Brazil, we've got about three volunteers here, from about 12 countries. Within a couple of days of being part of the team, we're working really hard.


BURNS: When we invest in the players, it's for the long term. Lots of guys come in and get it in their blood. That's what I'm about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my second go. This time my son has come with me. A bit of bonding and just building things together.

BURNS: I know you're not get -- I know you're tired out, but look at how far we have come in a week. Fantastic.


BURNS: Futbol has already broken down the barriers. We're taking it a step further, trying to harness the passion of football fans and try to make a difference.


PEREIRA: Way to harness it. To nominate a hero, visit


PEREIRA: The violent conflict in the Middle East is reaching terrifying proportions. 100 people are in dead after Gaza after Israeli air strikes pounded the region and a rocket launch from Lebanon landed in a northern Israeli town. No injuries reported.

BERMAN: The familiar sound, the wail of sirens a familiar sound in Israel as well. It caused Wolf Blitzer to have to run to a nearby bunker. Watch this.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, THE SITUATION ROOM: I was driving. After we left that gas station, we were driving on a major street, major highway in Ashtar (ph), not far from the border with Gaza. And all of a sudden, we heard the sirens. And cars immediately stop right in the middle of the street. Everyone gets out of their cars. The doors are open. They run towards the closest bunker, the air raid shelters, which are all over the place, especially this close to Gaza. You run in, you get inside a bunker. You wait at least five minutes, maybe 10 minutes for the all clear. Then you go back to your vehicle. The doors are wide open, everyone gets back in and they leave. So it's a pretty -- it's a pretty tense situation, I must say, especially the closer you get to Gaza. And this area where I am right now is very, very close.


PEREIRA: Let's bring in our military analyst, Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona.

It's amazing to see that video. You commented that you've had to do that in your time.

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yeah. They use all of the little bus stops. They're armored for that reason.

PEREIRA: Isn't that crazy to think that's their reality?

Look, we're looking at the new figure, 100 people dead in Gaza. Is this turning into a lopsided battle? We haven't seen the casualty count remotely close to that on the other side.

FRANCONA: Yes, there's always more casualties on the Palestinian side because the Palestinians are in this much more concentrated area, nowhere for them to go. They don't have the shelter system, the warning system that the Israelis do. And, you know, the Israelis want to inflict casualties on Hamas. Unfortunately, in that environment you're going to kill a lot of civilians. It's just -- it's just no way to get around that. No matter what they do.

BERMAN: The president, President Obama, called the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, and tried to broker a cease-fire. If you're Israel right now, if you're Hamas right now, what do you need to have happen, so you can achieve what you want to achieve?

FRANCONA: They need some reason to stop. Somebody has to blink. Is it going to be Hamas, is it going to be the Israelis? Until that happens, this is going to go on. We may see a ground incursion that I don't think anybody really wants, but they feel that they have to, because no one's willing to back down. In the long term, nothing will come out of this. It will end up like it ended in 2009, like it ended in 2012. There will be a temporary cease-fire. We'll go for another year, another two years, and then we'll be doing this again. The underlying problems between Hamas and the Israelis are not going to go away.

PEREIRA: So let's talk about this. The ground incursion is looking or sounding somewhat imminent? What is it going to look like?

FRANCONA: I'm thinking in the next few days, because they've mobilized all of these reservists. The Israeli economy suffers when they mobilize reservists. So when they mobilize that many, they either have to go or send them home. If they go, it will be fast. It will be violent. The way they always do. They'll go in, they'll cut Gaza in half. They'll roll it up from there. They'll go after the rocket launchers and Hamas. Unfortunately, where they are, there's going to be tremendous amount of civilian casualties.

BERMAN: We talk about this being a cycle. It happens every year or two. In 2006 when this was happening with Hamas Hezbollah and Lebanon launched rockets from the north, from Lebanon into Israel.

FRANCONA: Well, the '06 was the war between Hezbollah and Israel.


BERMAN: Right, I was there. And you saw Israel caught in the middle of what became a two-front war. Overnight, a rocket came into Israel from Lebanon. What kind of a risk does that pose?

FRANCONA: This presents a real problem for the Israeli defense strategy. Now they have to look at how they're deploying the Iron Dome. Will they move it further north to protect northern cities?

PEREIRA: But it leaves your flank exposed.

FRANCONA: Exactly. They only have so many batteries. I think it's around five. So they can protect five areas about the size of Manhattan. You have to pick where those are. This complicates efforts to do that. Then are they going to launch an invasion into southern Lebanon as well? This splits their defense effort. This is classic strategy. Who's pulling the strings in this? The Iranians? The Syrians? I don't know.

BERMAN: All right, Lieutenant Colonel, thank you. Could be a long weekend in that region.

Of course, our man, Wolf Blitzer, reports live from Jerusalem at 1:00 eastern on "Wolf" and he'll be there for "The Situation Room" as well.

PEREIRA: Still ahead, the World Cup finals. Pope versus pope? How's that work? Pope Francis is from Argentina, Pope Benedict is from Germany, so who will Catholics root for?


PEREIRA: No. The pope or the former pope? Will either team get some divine intervention from the big referee upstairs?

BERMAN: All ahead, he isn't even 1 yet and already he is a fashion icon. He's on the cover of "Vanity Fair." We'll talk about all the accomplishments of Prince George.


PEREIRA: We should get you a Onesie like that.

BERMAN: I look good in a Onesie.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PEREIRA: Welcome back. It's been almost a year since the little prince, Prince George, was born. The royal sensation made a huge impact on anything from baby style to the British economy. And he has certainly turned around public opinion about the royal family.


VICTORIA ARBITER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: George is like the secret weapon in the royal family, and they saw Kate step off the plane holding that baby and the monarchy is riding high again in terms of popularity.


BERMAN: So we're talking about this 1-year-old like he has accomplished so much through grit and hard work.

PEREIRA: He looks darling in a Onesie.

BERMAN: Now he's achieved something -- really, it's almost never in done. He's on the cover of "Vanity Fair" as a 1-year-old.

Let's take our hats off to baby Prince George. He will turn 1 on July 22nd. Feels like just yesterday that he was born.

And we were with, then, our royal commentator, Victoria Arbiter. She joins us now.

Let's talk about Prince George. A handsome young man, strapping baby. He's sort of taken the world by storm.

ARBITER: He has taken the world by storm it on the one hand, he's a baby. He's third in line to the throne. So you want to know, is all the hysteria worth it. But he's got people talking about the royal family in a positive light. We saw that really come to fruition in Australia. Kate arrives with George, suddenly he's on the page of every paper and they decide they want the monarchy a little longer. He might only be 1 years old but he's pretty powerful.

PEREIRA: We've watched out this happens in our own families. A new baby injects spirit and joy and energy into a family. We haven't heard a whole lot about them. They've done things their own way. We talked about that. They christening, at the wedding. Is there a sense of that in England, they're just sort of doing this their own way and keeping it under wraps, this child's' life?

ARBITER: Very much so. I think William grew up in the fish bowl that is the royal family and he's going to want to protect George from it as long as possible.

George stands to be the first monarchy of the 22nd century. He has a lifetime of service and duty. And so I think William and Kate, they understand that, to a degree, they are publicly bound, as far as duty's concerned, to share George with the world. But at the same time, they want him to have a normal childhood. BERMAN: You make an important point. I've been joking a little bit

about all he's accomplished. He's a 1-year-old baby. But it is his parents and the family who have done this and managed this to an extent. I'm sure they want to raise him in the perfect way that any parent would. They're also raising a future king and a public figure.

ARBITER: It was quite interesting to see him on the play date in Australia. There's this idea that they're closeted away at Kensington Palace and he can only play with upper crust babies. Yet, Kate plunked him down with regular children from regular families. George was stealing toys with other children. He was making them cry. He seemed very confident, very self assured. But what was nice for William and Kate, they didn't rush in and try to rectify the situation.

PEREIRA: They weren't helicopter parents.

ARBITER: Right, they just let the baby be a baby.

BERMAN: I think they probably do own a helicopter.


ARBITER: He may fly helicopters.

PEREIRA: Talk of a second child in the "Vanity Fair" article.

ARBITER: Michaela, talk of a second baby started the minute they left the hospital. This is just going to be Kate's cross to bear during her baby years. Yes, certainly, there will be another child at some point. William and Harry are two years apart. Kate and Pippa are two years apart. They're going to want their family to be close and enjoy each other's company. At the same time, I don't think there's any rush. They're enjoying George as he is right now. They've got a lot on their plate with the rest of the year in store. So perhaps the end of the year, they might start talk about another baby.

BERMAN: What will he do next? What will this Prince George do next that will shock us all?


Victoria Arbiter, great to have you here with us.

PEREIRA: "Spotlight: The Little Prince" airs tonight 10:00 eastern right here on CNN.

I know you're checking it out.

BERMAN: I like the royals.

PEREIRA: I know you do.

BERMAN: And this prince.

PEREIRA: And the World Cup. BERMAN: Another big story we can't stop talking about. Germany faces

off against Argentina on Sunday.

PEREIRA: Catholic fans, do they cheer for Argentina, the homeland of Pope Francis, or do they back Germany, the native country of Pope Benedict XVI?

BERMAN: Both are big soccer fans. Earlier, Pope Francis, huge soccer fan, had this to say, it's going to be war.


PEREIRA: I can't wait to see. Maybe they'll be tweets.

BERMAN: But Francis, you know, showed up to games. He was really into soccer when he was in Argentina. I want this for him.

PEREIRA: Wait, do you want that for the pope and you want the Cleveland thing for Jason?

BERMAN: My statement is --

PEREIRA: I'm confused.

BERMAN: -- I want LeBron to go to the Vatican.


PEREIRA: Thanks for joining us @THISHOUR. I think I need a weekend. I'm Michaela Pereira.

I'm John Berman.

"LEGAL VIEW" with Ashleigh Banfield starts now.