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Clinton to Announce Candidacy Today; Obama, Raul Castro Hold Historic Meeting; Investigator: Deputy Fires Gun Instead of Taser. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired April 12, 2015 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[07:00:14] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Today is the day! Hillary Clinton and her message to voters. We've got new details for you as to what she'll say as she embarks on a new campaign to win the White House.

Plus --

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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Cuba is not a threat to the United States.

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VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: A historic meeting between President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro and this is more than just a photo op. This is the first substantive sit-down in decades.

Plus --

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I shot him. I'm sorry.

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PAUL: A sting operation goes horribly wrong. An officer thinks he is using his taser, but it is actually his gun.

We'll tell you more about that story. But I want to wish you a very good morning here on a Sunday and thank you for sharing your time with us. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell, always good to be with you.

The race to the White House adds another name to the lineup today, Hillary Clinton. In just a few hours, former Secretary Clinton is expected to announce her candidacy through a video message posted to social media.

PAUL: Now, new this morning, her soon to be campaign team outlined part of that message through a values statement that was handed out at their Brooklyn headquarters promising to, quote, "give every family, every small business and every American a path to lasting prosperity by electing Hillary Clinton the next president of the United States."

We are covering the story from all angles this morning. John King looking at Clinton's challenges ahead.

But let's talk to Brianna Keilar first with more on Hillary's message.

Good morning, Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Christi and Victor. This is the day. We've known that Hillary Clinton was very likely going to be running. That was very apparent. But the question has been how is this going to be different from 2008, her very disastrous campaign? And that memo that you just referenced is really part of this. That was a memo that was given to staffers as they begin this sort of adventure and this big task of this campaign.

But this was also a memo that is for public consumption just to be clear, because Hillary Clinton, about eight years ago when she threw her hat into the ring, again, with a video that was on social media, she said, I'm in and I'm in to win. Well, that was really seen especially in retrospect as Hillary Clinton, the front-runner kind of taking it for granted and what you're hearing now from the campaign is they're taking nothing for granted and they want to aggressively fight for every vote and show that they're doing that.

This is something that came from that memo, this is a quote. It said, "We are humble, we take nothing for granted, we are never afraid to lose, we always outcompete and fight for every vote we can win."

It's fascinating, because this is really the language that you might hear from the underdog, maybe not from the campaign for the candidate that is, so far, ahead in the polls. But they are trying to reason as if they aren't on this day where we expect Hillary Clinton to make it official before she heads to the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire to reinforce what her campaign message will be.

BLACKWELL: All right, Brianna.

Let's bring in CNN chief national correspondent John King.

John, we heard from Brianna there, this more humble campaign strategy. They are taking nothing for granted. Is this a different Clinton or is it just a different strategy?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are about to find that out, Victor and Christi. And that's the key question.

Look, you are who you are at a certain point in your life. She ran a disastrous campaign in 2008, but remember, it wasn't just that she ran a big campaign, there was a big divide in the Democratic Party, most of the senators running, including Senator Clinton, had voted for the Iraq war, the young Senator Barack Obama had not.

So, where's the big ideological divide in the Democratic Party right now, they will say they are humble, they will say they'll outcompete for every vote. They also know that right now, her biggest enemy is herself. Her biggest threat is herself within the Democratic Party. She is far away the front runner.

So, they want to get be cautious. They want to get the rust off. She hasn't been a candidate for a long time, and they want to get her out there.

Will she be new? Look, she is a very smart person. We have seen her as first lady of Arkansas, then first lady of the United States, then as a senator, then as a candidate for president. Not so great that chapter. Then, as secretary of state.

She has reinvented herself more than anybody in public life over the past 25 years, so we'll see what is different in this campaign, but she is the boss. She's brought on a very different. She's brought on a much more tested staff. She's brought on a lot of veterans of the Obama campaign.

But remember, she is the CEO. She's the candidate. So, if it's going to be different, it has to come from her.

PAUL: You know, Clinton's campaign is promising to go small in a sense. You know, smaller gatherings, fewer people, more intimate settings so they can have conversations.

When you have to hit five states in three days, though, how much time can you really allot this? How does that work?

KING: Bri, you want that one?

[07:05:00] KEILAR: Well, yes. This is -- I mean, I think what we know from Hillary Clinton and the forums in which she performs better, the smaller ones she does much better in. She struggled in 2008 and I -- with big sort of speeches.

And I think even recently, when we have seen her with some paid speeches, they are OK but they're not super captivating, so that's not really the place where she's going to clean up, right? So, I think the smaller venues are good for her.

But I think that also what you're going to see is it's not just the smaller. I think you'll see her do some bigger events but it's that she is going to try to have things of all different sizes ultimately, but I think what you're going to see just in this initial phase, this sort of launch phase, is these smaller events. Right now, it's not necessarily about hitting five locations in a day.

I think you're going to see her vary her strategy more as we get closer to the election.

BLACKWELL: Hey, John, did you want to chime in?

KING: I just want to say, yes, look, we're going to focus on a lot of what does she look like, what are the events look like, are they big, are they small, and is she doing a lot, is she doing a few? And that's important to see stylistically if she's different.

But the biggest question, as Brianna was going through that value statement. You guys read something from the beginning. The biggest question why?

Republicans are going to say she's yesterday, she's the past. She would be as old as Ronald Reagan, who is our oldest president ever on election day elected in the United States, and they're going to say it's time for a generational chance, it's time for a chance after eight years of a Democratic President Barack Obama.

Her biggest challenge is, why? Why me?

Not "it's my turn". "It's my turn" is not a winning presidential message. How would you make the economy different? What would be different on the world stage?

So, as we watch the events and we watch the strategy, I think more than the strategy, the biggest question is, how does she communicate why she thinks she should be president, and why she would be different than the options before us?

We're going to have a very crowded Republican field. We'll see what happens on the Democratic side. But if anything, today, it tells you 2016 is fully on. This is not second gear any more. Let's go.

BLACKWELL: All right. John King, Brianna Keilar, thank you both.

PAUL: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: We'll continue to have this conversation throughout NEW DAY.

Also, catch John on "INSIDE POLITICS" today and every Sunday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

This morning, President Obama is back in the U.S. after a trip to Panama, where he sat down for talks with Cuban President Raul Castro.

PAUL: The historic meeting ends a decades-long freeze in U.S.- Cuba relations.

CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta has more for us -- Jim.

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JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Victor, simply put, history was made at this Summit of the Americas after President Obama and Raul Castro held what were the highest level talks between U.S. and Cuban leaders in more than half a century.

(voice-over): It's a Cold War no more, as the president and Raul Castro came face-to-face, the first exchange between U.S. and Cuban leaders since before Mr. Obama was even born.

OBAMA: It was time to try something new.

RAUL CASTRO, CUBAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We are willing to discuss everything but we need to be patient.

ACOSTA: The president told leaders gathered at the Summit of the Americas in Panama, he wants to turn the page with Cuba.

OBAMA: The United States will not be imprisoned by the past. We are looking to the future.

ACOSTA: Though, he conceded, these long time adversaries will still have their differences.

OBAMA: We will continue to speak out on universal values that we think are important. I'm sure President Castro will continue to speak out on the issues he thinks are important.

ACOSTA: And Castro did speak out. Joking he was making up for missing past summits when Cuba wasn't invited. Castro blasted U.S. meddling in his nation's affairs over the course of ten presidents. But in a remarkable moment, Castro said he admired Mr. Obama.

CASTRO: In my opinion, President Obama is an honest man.

ACOSTA: An assessment Castro said he made after skimming through the president's autobiographies.

CASTRO: I admire him. And I think his behavior has a lot to do with his humble background.

ACOSTA: There hasn't been a take like this between the U.S. and Cuba since Vice President Richard Nixon met Fidel Castro in 1959, when Dwight Eisenhower was president.

Even after a series of encounters with Castro, the president stopped short of saying he trusts the Cuban leader.

(on camera): Do you feel that Raul Castro is an honest man?

OBAMA: It was a candid and fruitful conversation between me and Raul Castro. I can tell you that in the conversations I've had so far with him, two on the phone and, most recently, face-to-face, that we are able to speak honestly about our differences and our concerns in ways that I think offer the possibility of moving the relationship between our two countries in a different and better direction.

ACOSTA: Next, the Obama administration is expected to remove Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism -- a move blasted by some lawmakers, including Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who said, "I don't see how they can rationalize taking them off the list, other than the president's desire to achieve a legacy issue."

[07:10:05] The president argued, times have changed.

OBAMA: Cuba is not a threat to the United States.

ACOSTA (on camera): The president did not resolve the issue of whether Cuba will remain on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. But a senior administration official told reporters that the president is nearing a decision on that issue, but the process doesn't end there as Congress will have 45 days to weigh in on the issue -- Christi and Victor.

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PAUL: All righty. Jim, thank you so much.

You know, President Obama is weighing in on the woman who could replace him in the White House two years from now. Coming up at the half, what he says about Hillary Clinton's announcement.

BLACKWELL: Plus, an undercover police officer in a sting operation pulls out his gun when he says he meant to pull out his taser. We have the new video of the chase and those fatal moments, and the comments from the family coming up next.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roll on your stomach.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I shot him. I'm sorry.

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BLACKWELL: A sting operation, and you see the video here, goes terribly wrong, leading to a deadly police shooting you saw a moment ago there. Authorities in Tulsa, Oklahoma, say they are now investigating what went wrong leading up to that incident which was all caught on camera. Watch.

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BLACKWELL (voice-over): The incident on April 2n captured on police video shows the suspect Eric Harris appearing to sell a 9 millimeter semiautomatic pistol and ammunition to an undercover officer. Shortly after allegedly selling the gun to a Tulsa County gang task force member, Harris runs from officers trying to arrest him.

It's while Harris is bolting from the police that one of the officers catches up and the suspect is wrestled to the ground. It's in the ensuing take-down that you can hear on the tape the 73-year-old Tulsa County Reserve Deputy Robert Bates shouting that he has a taser.

ROBERT BATES, DEPUTY: Taser! Taser!

JIM CLARK, TULSA POLICE SGT.: That's done to warn other law enforcement officers that you're about to deploy this device.

[07:15:04] BLACKWELL: Investigators say bates accidentally pulls the trigger on his gun instead of the taser, firing a round into Harris. And you can hear him apologize for what he has done.

BATES: Oh! I shot him! I'm sorry.

BLACKWELL: Tulsa City Police Sergeant Jim Clark, who was brought in as an independent consultant said Friday during a news conference a scientific phrase explains what happened to Bates in that moment. It's called slips and capture, that's when someone reacts differently in times of extremely pressure.

CLARK: You can train someone as much as you can. And you train in every area that you can. But in times of crisis, sometimes training is not going to take you through the scenario.

BLACKWELL: Clark says that in the 200 shootings he has investigated, he has never seen a weapon leave the officer's hand and he believes there's no doubt that Deputy Bates thought he was getting ready to discharge a taser.

CLARK: He, obviously, had a taser grip when caused the gun upon discharge to leave his hand and fall to the pavement.

BLACKWELL: Before the tape was released, Harris' son spoke to the press about what he talked to his father.

AIDEN FRALEY, SON OF SHOOTING VICTIM: That I loved him, that I'll talk to him the next day. But when I didn't get to talk to him, I knew something was happening.

BLACKWELL: And as the investigation is happening, the family and their attorney still want all the information to come to light.

ATTORNEY: There's a lot we know about what happened to Eric Harris, but there's a lot that we don't know.

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BLACKWELL: Let's get a little more insight into this case. We have back with us, former FBI assistant director and CNN law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes.

Let's show you a graphic first of the gun and the taser that were used. We've got the information here, both are similar in weight, just a few fractions of an ounce off. It would be easy to confuse the two.

I mean, does it happen often?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It doesn't happen that often. It does happen occasionally. And one of the things police departments do, Victor, to try to avoid that is the training with insisting that the firearm is always on the same side, same holster. The taser is on the opposite side of your gun belt on your other hip in a cross-draw position and try to get it so that it's a reflex that when you need your firearm, you draw your firearm. When you pull the taser, you pull the taser.

Now, obviously, we hear from the audio part of this tape that the officer believes he is firing the taser. So, he is caught up in the excitement of the moment. These kind of arrest situations with a potentially violent individual don't come up every day.

Keep in mind, this subject has just sold firearms and ammunition. So, the expectation is that he's not going to get rid of every weapon he has. He's going to keep one to protect himself so he doesn't get robbed of his weapons.

So, the expectation is that the police may have been justified in using a firearm instead of a taser, you know? He was trying to use a taser. Accidentally used a firearm, but the investigation is going to have to determine is that accident or not, even using the firearm might have been justified in this situation.

And again -- yet, again, we see a subject who doesn't comply, doesn't want to be arrested, takes off, fights with the police, and that almost guarantees bad things happen. Tasers don't always work. So, even though that was the first attempt was to tase him, it may not have taken any way, even if done properly, and they may still have had this continuing violence with the subject resisting arrest.

PAUL: Tom, one of the things that stands out to a lot of people when they hear about this story is the fact that this reserve officer was 73 years old and this was really had the potential to turn violent. What do you say to that?

FUENTES: Well, I say that's a good question, Christi. You know, the police will have to explain that. What they'll also have to explain, you know, in my mind is how much training does that auxiliary or reserve officer get? And that is the difference we see bought of budget cuts, even regular police officers are not getting the continuing training, once they graduate from the police academy and all states have a mandated minimum to graduate and be certified as a police officer.

But once they graduate, how much training is mandated as they continue in their career?

But somebody is a reserve or auxiliary -- the police department that I was with before joining the FBI, the auxiliaries were not armed. They assisted in traffic directing and other activities, when you have special events but they were not ever going to participate in what could be a dangerous arrest situation.

And, yes, I think the department's judgment will be called into question. Why didn't they ask for more assistance from a neighboring department or have members of their own department that are full time, fully trained police officers at that potentially violent scene and, instead, use a reserve officer?

BLACKWELL: All right. Tom Fuentes, thank you so much.

FUENTES: You're welcome. Thank you.

PAUL: Thank you, Tom.

So, you know, the Pope has morning mass this morning and he talked about something from 100 years ago.

[07:20:05] We're going to explain to you why one word is making, you know, some particular news.

BLACKWELL: Plus, former President Clinton says his role in the 2016 election should be as a back stage adviser. But Mr. Clinton is not exactly known for avoiding the spotlight. We'll have more on his potential impact on the race and a young African-American man gets pulled over by police and records his interaction with the officer.

Now, this video is going viral. Millions of people have watched it. We will show you part of it.

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PAUL: Twenty-three minutes past the hour.

Good morning to you. Let's take a look at some of the other stories that are developing this morning.

BLACKWELL: Pope Francis mass today is getting a lot of attention for one word in particular -- genocide. The pontiff said the killing of Armenians 100 years ago is widely considered the first genocide of the 20th century. The Ottoman Empire, the forerunner of modern Turkey, is accused of slaughtering more than a million Armenians. Turkey has long disputed that genocide is an appropriate description of what happened. The Armenian president attended today's Vatican mass.

A 2-year-old boy fell into a cheetah exhibit at the Cleveland Metro Park Zoo yesterday afternoon. Here is what heard from our affiliate WEWS. Eyewitnesses told a zoo official that he may have been dangled over the rail. Well, now, zoo officials, they may push for child endangerment charges against the boy's parents. Fortunately, the cheetahs did not go after the toddler or his parents who jumped in to grab. We hear that the boy is in a stable condition at a nearby hospital.

[07:25:00] President Obama is blasting Senator John McCain for his attacks on John Kerry and the Iran nuclear deal. You'll hear it after this.

But, first, listen to this bit of sound.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People need to understand that not all officers are crooked. Not all officers are racist, bad people. And not all people --

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BLACKWELL: This young man's message, you're going to hear more of it in just moments. It was recorded after he was pulled over by a cop and it went viral. We will talk to him live about this video coming up.

PAUL: And in this weeks' "Human Factor", a centenarian shares the secrets of long life.

CNN's Sanjay Gupta has more for us.

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DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Robust would be one way to describe Dr. Ellsworth Wareham. The 100- year-old retired heart surgeon occasionally does his own yard work. He walks regularly, still drives.

GUPTA (on camera): You drove here today?

DR. ELLSWORTH WAREHAM, CENTURION: Driving is nothing. I worked until I was 95, assisting, mind you.

GUPTA: Yes.

WAREHAM: I could have done heart surgery, but it wouldn't have been fair to the patient because sometimes you need reserve strength. And if you gave me something to memorize, I would memorize it just as quickly now as I would when I was 20.

GUPTA: How is your health?

WAREHAM: Oh, superb. I haven't got an ache or a pain.

GUPTA (voice-over): The great-grandfather believes his plant- based diet plays a big part in all this.

WAREHAM: If your blood cholesterol is under 150, your chances of having a heart attack are pretty small. Now my blood cholesterol is 117. There's no chance of me having a heart attack.

GUPTA (on camera): So, you're heart attack-proof?

WAREHAM: Let us say I'm dealing in an area which I understand.

GUPTA (voice-over): Perhaps another key to Wareham's longevity, not letting problems weigh him down.

GUPTA (on camera): How big a role does stress play in your life and --

WAREHAM: You asked the wrong person. I have a philosophy, you do the best you can and the things you can't do anything about, don't give any thought to them.

GUPTA: What motivates you nowadays?

WAREHAM: I feel that if I have to make a contribution. When I was doing surgery, I made it by operating. Now I try to make it by speaking about preventive medicine.

GUPTA (voice-over): And showing people just what 100 years old can look like.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.

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