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Hillary Clinton Fundraises in California; Interview with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; Zookeeper Killed by Tiger; Japan Devastated by Multiple Earthquakes; Bernie Sanders Visits Vatican; NBA Addresses Controversial North Carolina Law and Holding All-Star Game in Charlotte in 2017. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired April 16, 2016 - 14:00   ET



[14:00:48] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, hello again, and thanks so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Wredricka.

On the heels of a tense Democratic debate in Brooklyn and a crucial upcoming primary race in New York, Hillary Clinton is looking forward to California today. These are live pictures of an event about to begin in Los Angeles. CNN's Sara Sidner is there. So, Sara, all right, so that's getting -- getting it started right now. What is expected to happen?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're expecting to see Hillary Clinton come out and talk to community folks, folks here in south L.A., at the Southwest College here. This college, a historic place, a place built after the '65 riots here. It was a place that people were able to come to try to uplift themselves, and that is one of the reasons it was built to try and serve an underserved community.

She's expected to discuss, for example, raises in wages as well as breaking down barriers to being able to lift oneself up in America. You can hear the saxophonist who is playing the national anthem right now, and there are lots of folks here. We've been talking to some of them, about some of the controversies that have befallen this campaign, which include the other reason why she's here, which are two mega fundraisers. Fred?

WHITFIELD: OK, sorry. It's hard to compete with the national anthem there. This other fundraiser that's taking place this evening at George and Amal Clooney's home in Studio city. Is this an event to appeal to Hollywood, the deeper pockets of Hollywood, or is there another message being sent at this event?

SIDNER: Look, this is an event that, George Clooney himself sent a letter out talking about not in the terms of using Trump's name, but talking about we -- what kind of America we want to see and talks about not making people angry, not trying to gin up anger between groups, not being a place that says not to letting in people of a certain religion. So clearly targeted Donald Trump and trying to say this is the person I believe can win.

But there is the controversy over the numbers. We're talking about $353,000-plus to sit at the table with Hillary Clinton and the Clooneys, or $33,000 per person. So a lot of people are saying, hold on a second. That's a heck of a lot of money to be able to sit down with her. But there are people here, Fred, who have seen her for free. And they say all we just show up to the events and we're able to see her, so we don't have a problem with that. Either you can pay the money or you can come and try to go to some of her events and see her for free. Fred?

WHITFIELD: All right, we'll check back with you at that event when it gets underway again. Apologies having to interrupt the national anthem having to put you a position, Sara, where you're competing with a beautiful saxophone for the national anthem. Appreciate it.

All right, so the primary in New York is just three days away, and the stakes are particularly high for the Democrats with a whopping 247 delegates up for grabs. Significantly trailing Clinton, some say New York is Bernie Sanders's last chance. Earlier I spoke to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who explained why he believes Clinton has an advantage.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, (D) NEW YORK: I think Hillary Clinton is going to do very well in New York, because there's one basic advantage. New Yorkers know Hillary Clinton. She was here for senator. We've seen her work. We've seen her performance. We know that she's effective at making change, which is what this race really comes down to at the end of the day, in a my opinion, Fred. As Democrats you listen to Bernie, you listen to Hillary. They're basically saying the same thing, same goals. The question is, who can actually get it done?

And I think Hillary has proven, especially to New Yorkers, that she can make change. She can make the government work. You know, when you become president, they don't give you a magic wand that you wave. You have to get legislation passed. You have to get agencies to run programs. And that's an art form in and of itself, and that's what Hillary does very well.

WHITFIELD: It's interesting, because even the closing remarks of that debate, she really laid out these are the things I've done. Whereas Bernie Sanders laid out this is the vision that I see.

[14:05:05] But bottom line, voters want to feel inspired. Are they more inspired by seeing someone present, these are the results I want a continuation of? Or the candidate who says, this is the America, this is the change, this is what I see for the future?

CUOMO: Yes. Well, it's an interesting question. We just did an event with President Bill Clinton rallying for Hillary, and I quoted my father, who we lost last year, former governor of New York Mario Cuomo, who said, "We need ideas that are good and sound, not ideas that sound good."

What we're saying to the electorate is, let's be smart. We don't want just 12-second sound bites. We need ideas that are actually going to happen, that you can get passed a Congress and through a Senate. And we need ideas that are going to actually work in people's lives.

So it's not as simple as just saying, you know, free lunch for everyone, free this, free that. You have to show people that it can actually happen. And that's what Hillary's strength is.

Do I understand that sometimes the details can become boring and people just want to hear the big picture? Yes. But primary voters are smart, especially here in New York. These are seasoned primary voters. They pay very close attention, and you're not going to fool them with just a broad brush approach. You know, the old expression "if it sounds too good to be true it probably is." That is especially true with New Yorkers, who can be a little cynical at times. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

WHITFIELD: You just recently signed a $15 minimum wage plan. Clinton supported you, and this happened to be a moment during that debate. Sanders wants $15 minimum wage nationally. Clinton has said, nationally, how about start with about $12. So is it your view that the rest of the nation should go as New York has gone?

CUOMO: Yes. This is a perfect example of what we were talking about. You can talk in a broad stroke, or you can actually be a little more specific, and factual. If you go from $7 to $15 in a very short period of time, potentially that could have a negative effect on some economies, because that is a very big jump. And you're saying to businesses that employ a large number of minimum wage workers, your payroll is basically going to double. That could have a negative impact. It would have to be studied.

And the economies are different across the country. Some states are doing better than others. Some states naturally have stronger economies. So it's not as simple as saying, let's go to $15. If you do it wrong, you can hurt the very people you're trying to help.


WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for that interview.

Meantime, Senator Bernie Sanders is due back in New York next hour after attending an economic conference at Vatican City. We're also learning today that Sanders had an impromptu meeting with Pope Francis. The senator told CNN it was, quote "a great honor to meet the pontiff." The Pope said their meeting had no political implications, just common courtesy.


POPE FRANCIS, (via translator): It was manners. It's called manners and not getting involved in politics. If anyone thinks that a greeting is getting involved in politics, then I recommend they look for a psychiatrist.


(LAUGHTER) WHITFIELD: Sanders will be campaigning in Brooklyn later on today, and we'll find out more about Bernie Sanders trip to Vatican City tomorrow morning on "State of the Union." Sanders joins Jake Tapper live starting at 9:00 a.m. eastern time.

And then there's the Republican side. It's a cross country battle for votes and delegates. Donald Trump and John Kasich focusing on the big prize of New York, both campaigning in the state, which has 95 delegates up for grabs on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz is in Wyoming where he is expected to pick up most of that state's delegates at the GOP convention. Here's a sample of what all three had to say today.


SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, it's easy to talk about making America great again. You can even print that on a baseball cap. But the real question is, do you understand the principles and values that made America great in the first place?

[14:10:02] DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You look at what happened in Wyoming and what's happening there, when you look at what's happening in Colorado, where the people -- where the people never got a chance to vote, and they're going nuts out there. They're angry. The bosses took away their vote.

GOV. JOHN KASICH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Leadership matters. That's why I run for this office. But at the end, you know, it needs to be kept in perspective.


WHITFIELD: All right, don't miss CNN's live coverage of the New York primary all day Tuesday.

Also, still ahead, rain and heavy winds are stalling rescue efforts in Japan today. CNN's Matt Rivers is in the quake zone. That's next.


[14:14:19] WHITFIELD: Bad weather in southern Japan is hampering rescue workers who are scrambling to reach survivors who may be trapped after a 7.0 earthquake toppled buildings, collapsed bridges, and left many homes in ruins. More than 30 people are reported dead. Today's earthquake was centered near the city of Kumamoto and comes two days after a 6.2 earthquake struck nearby. CNN's Matt Rivers is in one of the shelters set up for residents who have lost everything and those fearing another powerful aftershock.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are inside one of dozens of evacuation centers set up here in the Kumamoto region for people displaced as a result of these two different earthquakes.

[14:15:03] You're seeing people inside here from one of two different tracts. On one hand, people have their homes destroyed so they have nowhere to go. But the reality is most people that are inside this evacuation shelter are here because they're afraid to go home. They're not sure that maybe there might be another aftershock. We've been here about 12 hours now or so and we've felt several different tremors on our own, and that certainly has people here very spooked given what we've seen over the last two days.

But, frankly, these people were able to make it out of a very, very difficult situation where others were not so lucky. We know that at least 40 people have died as a result of both the earthquake on Thursday and the earthquake early morning here on Saturday. And because of those two earthquakes, the amount of rubble, the amount of destruction that's gone on in this area is immense. That's the task that is facing rescue workers right now.

You see these trucks behind me. These are from the Japanese defenses force that will send from 25,000 of its members by the end of the day tomorrow, that would be Sunday here local time, to help with these rescue efforts. But they face a herculean tank. It is raining outside now and there's a lot of debris to try and go through to try and find anyone who might still be alive trapped in the rubble. A very tense situation, a very nervous situation here for people in southwest Japan.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Kumamoto, Japan.


WHITFIELD: Thanks so much, Matt.

Still ahead, a rare tiger attacks and kills a Florida zookeeper. We'll hear from someone who knows these big animals well.


[14:20:39] WHITFIELD: The Palm Beach zoo is releasing very few details in the death of an experienced animal keeper. Stacey Konwiser was mauled by rare a male tiger while she was preparing for an event. The zoo says Konwiser knew the dangers of the job.

Joining me now is a big cat expert Lorne Sulcas joining me live from Cape Town, South Africa. Good to see you. So we keep hearing she knew the dangers of the job, was very experienced, but when you've got animals, such as this, who are held in captivity, can anyone really be prepared for their potential?

LORNE SULCAS, "BIG CAT GUY" WILDLIFE EXPERT: You know, it's I think when one understands the nature of wild animals, whether they're in a captive environment or not, I think the short answer is you really -- you really can't.

You know, the reality was that this tiger was a 13-year-old male. The average longevity of a Malayan tiger is somewhere around 18 to 20 years roughly, and in captivity it would be even a little longer. And you know, so the tiger at 13 years old, and a male especially, is in its absolute prime. It's an incredibly powerful animal, massive, you know, pure muscle. It's hardwired to be aggressive and dominant, and that's absolutely key for its survival in the wild. You know, these are instincts that are encoded in their DNA over millions of years, and that's the key to their survival. The reality is you really can't take the wild out of a captive wild animal.

WHITFIELD: And we know that this was a male tiger that attacked Stacey, and it happened apparently in a place the public doesn't see.

SULCAS: Right.

WHITFIELD: And -- but, you know, one has to wonder if there is an area, you just described, you know, this animal being in its prime, being very strong. If it makes being in the company of these animals any more volatile, being in the feeding area, being in the preparation areas as opposed to being, you know, in another area that may be secured differently for the public view?

SULCAS: Right. You know, I don't really believe that the area makes a difference. I think what you've got is a situation where you -- my understanding was there were three males together with one female in an enclosure, and with a 13-year-old male in its prime thrust together in an unnaturally tiny area, necessarily that is the way zoos are. You know, you get the heightened competition and then a displaced aggression. That tiger, that male tiger, has no natural outlet for its aggression, and to be able to defend and command a territory. And so, you know, Stacey was obviously no match for a 300 -- you know, a 300-pound killing machine. And I don't think it matters where it was. I think it's the fact that it's in an unnatural environment, in a small, you know, a small enclosed confined area.

WHITFIELD: Very sad, very tragic. Lorne Sulcas, thank you so much from Cape Town. Appreciate it.

SULCAS: Appreciate it. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: And we'll be right back after this.


[14:27:55] WHITFIELD: Cirque du Soleil is the latest performance group to cancel shows in North Carolina. They join several other artists protesting a new law they say is anti-LGBT. The law prevents North Carolina cities from creating non-discrimination policies based and gender identity. It also forces transgender people to use public restrooms that match their birth gender. Several cities from across from New York to Hawaii are banning non-essential travel to North Carolina. Meanwhile, the NBA says it still plans to play the 2017 all-star game in Charlotte for now.


ADAM SILVER, NBA COMMISSIONER: The law as it now stands in North Carolina is problematic for the league. There was no discussion of moving the all-star game. What the view in the room was, we should be working towards change in North Carolina. The best role for the league to play here is through constructive engagement towards change, not setting deadlines, not making ultimatums, but working with the private sector and the government to affect change in North Carolina.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: And as you recall, I spoke with former NBA star and TNT commentator Charles Barkley earlier this month, and he says, that's not enough.


CHARLES BARKLEY, FORMER NBA PLAYER: You know, as a black person I'm against any form of discrimination against whites, Hispanics, gays, lesbians, however you want to phrase it. And it's my job with a position of power that I'm in, and being able to be on television, I'm supposed to stand up for the people who can't stand up for themselves. So I think the NBA should move the all-star game from Charlotte.


WHITFIELD: So again, my Barkley interview was before Adam Silver's comments, but that's how he has been feeling about the whole idea of the all-star game playing in Charlotte. The NBA later issuing a statement about Silver's comments, saying, quote, "At no time did Adam affirm that the league would not move the all-star game. Rather he stressed repeatedly that the legislation is problematic, that we feel it is best to engage with the community to work towards a solution that change is needed, and we are hopeful that will occur," end quote.

All right, we've got so much more straight ahead in the Newsroom at the top of the hour. Thanks for being with me this afternoon. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. "Vital Signs" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta is next.