Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Takes Dig at Rahm Emanuel over Chicago Crime; Obama Meeting with Democrats on Saving Obamacare; Lots of Finger Pointing in Mariah Carey's New Year's Eve TV Meltdown; Future Showcase at Consumer Electronics Show. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired January 2, 2017 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: So let's talk more about what has or hasn't been done already. President Obama, of course, is from Chicago. His former chief of staff, the mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, the mayor now. There are critics are saying that they haven't done enough, they haven't spoken enough. Is there anything you wish they would have done?

CHE "RHYMFEST" SMITH, MUSICIAN & RAPPER: Well, in the terms of -- in terms of President Obama, it's not the president's job to stop violence in Chicago. I think that would fall upon the city council. It falls into especially the mayor's hands, Mayor Rahm Emanuel. HUD had -- the federal government has allocated $420 million for affordable housing in Chicago that has not been released. So, what happens to those people who can't afford a place to stay, who are not employed, whose communities have been divested from? Why hasn't the mayor released that $420 million of HUD funding for affordable housing?

You know, this thing that's happening in Chicago didn't just happen out of a vacuum. It has a history. You know, the affordable housing, the projects, if you want to call them that, were torn down, you know, decades ago in Chicago. And the people who lived in those places were just pushed around to various areas of the city with vouchers and were never give an opportunity to get on their feet. The government had allocated $420 million to help those people that the mayor has yet to release.

So, I wouldn't necessarily blame President Obama because that's not witness his jurisdiction. But I would ask Mayor Rahm Emanuel why hasn't these communities of major violence been invested in at the level that the money has been coming into the city.

CABRERA: So Chicago police say they are planning to invest resources, want to beef up the force with 1,000 new officers by 2018. We know they've increased the number of body cameras. They have offered more training to the police force. I think, you know, we are talking about what is being done and, yet, you talk about the root of the problem, hearing from you, being, in part, unemployment. But there are also poor people in other cities that don't have the same violence issues that Chicago is facing. So, what do you see as the solution?

SMITH: I'm not just saying unemployment is the main problem. It's divestment from communities. So, when we look at Chicago, we also see the biggest school closings in American history happened in Chicago, mainly in black and brown neighborhoods. We also see that social programs -- when we look at Governor Rauner, social programs that were helping people who were trying to get on their feet and gain employment and bring their families together, those programs have been cut.

When we look at Illinois's budget, they have been fighting over the budget in Illinois for about a year now, maybe about two years now. They have been fighting over even having a budget for Illinois. When we look at solutions, these small areas where the violence is abnormal, have to be invested in at the same rate that areas that, by and large, in Chicago that work have been invested in. We have to say, what is happening in the 32nd ward that works that we can bring to the 20th ward that is not working?

When we talk about police, one of the things we find is that the crime is not being solved. So, yes, crime is happening but it continues to happen because murders are not being solved. So instead of saying we're going to hire all these police, why not hire detectives? We need two things. And it's not 1,000 police officers. We need more detectives to solve crimes. And we need more public defenders to get people out of jail who haven't committed violent crimes, and put fathers and sons back together. When we see the break of the African- American family not only in Chicago but around the country, this is also a cause for violence. So, the more we can bring families together, the more we can heal our city and heal our country.

CABRERA: I sure hope that that happens.

Che "Rhymefest" Smith, thank you for joining us.

SMITH: Thank you for having me.

CABRERA: Up next, with Obamacare number one on the list of things President-elect Donald Trump wants to overturn, is there anything that President Obama can do to protect it? We'll talk about his legacy, his plans to head to Capitol Hill this week to meet with Democrats on this very issue, next.


[14:37:55] CABRERA: President Obama back at the White House after a trip to Hawaii over the holidays. He is now ready to fight for his legacy. Before he leaves office, we know the president will deliver a farewell address next week in Chicago. First, he is going to be meeting with Democrats on Capitol Hill this week in an effort to save Obamacare.

CNN's Michelle Kosinski is at the White House.

Michelle, two and a half weeks left in office. Doesn't sound like he is planning to leave quietly?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's hard to believe that time is short considering what the White House still wants to do. Just in the last couple of weeks, we have really seen it. And we haven't seen President Obama really drop off in his efforts, in his lobbying, in his statements that he has been making, promoting those elements of his legacy that he feelings strongest about, and where he feels there is still some work to be done.

Remember, it wasn't long ago that we heard him speak at MacDill Air Force Base talking about corporate terrorism. We thought that would be his last big speech. Here comes another one that's going to be a farewell. So, he is going to hit on those same points of legacy trying to spur Democrats out there to do what they can and really look forward.

When you consider that he heard from the first lady herself talking about a sense of hopelessness, it seems like the president really feels spurred to get out there and stress what he feels can still be worked out. And that's why he is heading to the Hill this week in only two days' time to try to deal with Obamacare and what comes next.

Earlier on, when the president met with President-elect Trump, they had a positive conversation. He talked about, you know, kind of lobbying Trump to keep certain parts of Obamacare that were working. And Trump seemed amenable to some of that. I mean, some of the statements that have been made since then could say otherwise. You know, repeal and replace is what Republicans are vowing.

It's what comes next and what elements could be incorporated where I think President Obama and many Democrats are still holding out hope, that, you know, so many Americans now have signed on and are enjoying those benefits, that they are going to want to keep those -- Ana?

[14:40:11] CABRERA: All right, Michelle Kosinski, at the White House for us.

We also saw a flurry of tweets from the president in the last 24 hours talking about his accomplishments, including Obamacare. As he prepares for battle and fights for his legacy, I want to turn to our national politics reporter, M.J. Lee; "CNN Money's" Cristina Alesci; and also, CNN political analyst, John Avlon, who is also the editor- in-chief at "The Daily Beast."

M.J., I'll start with you.

The president's meeting on Wednesday with Democrats coming up with a plan of some sort to help hold on to Obamacare, what really can be done? What can they accomplish here?

M.J. LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As with any outgoing president, President Obama's focus right now is really about preserving his legacy as much as he can. I think the reality really is that there is not much he can do at this point once he leaves office. And particularly given the fact that Republicans are about to control the House, the Senate, and the White House. This is a moment that Republicans of course have waited for, for many years. And this is why we are seeing the Republican Party move so quickly to try to deal with repealing Obamacare. This is something that they have talked about for years, really ever since Obamacare became law in 2010. And -- but look. When the president meets with Democrats again this is going to be more about sort of talking about the messaging that Democrats can talk about in the new Congress. But again, not much that Democrats can do when it comes to something like repealing Obamacare because Republicans will fully control Washington.

CABRERA: Can they make a move here, John?

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, unraveling Obamacare is more difficult than it sounds just on the procedure grounds. The second, is aspects of it are popular even among the Republican base. Already you have seen President-elect Trump making concessions saying he is not going to touch preexisting conditions, the ability of children under 26 to stay on their parents' plan. Those are concessions to the aspects that are popular. But this is such an ideological wedge issue that Republicans have to follow through. It's been a core campaign promise.

What I think is different is President Obama occupies a unique place because he is still the de facto head of the Democratic Party. He's still the most popular Democrat out there, more popular than both people who ran for president this time around, with a presidential approval rating that's on an uptick on his way out the door. That's unusual. He has more capital than any president in history.

CABRERA: And he's planning to rely on. But if Obamacare is repealed, we are waiting on plans for replacement.

AVLON: Sure.

CABRERA: A lot of people will be affected, Cristina. Talk about the financial implications?

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Republicans have to deal with the fact that right now 30 million people will be uninsured. What do you do with these people? It's not like they don't use the health care system. There will be costs, just they won't be insured. Oftentimes the debate about Obamacare is framed by a discussion about those people that go out and buy insurance in individual marketplaces. Get this, Obamacare really impacts everyone. In fact, if you look at what the White House is saying right now, and this is part of boom defending his legacy, he is saying that, because of Obamacare, people who are ensured under their employers have also saved $4400, the average family, also saying that seniors saved $700 a year because of Obamacare.


CABRERA: Everybody, not just people who use Obamacare, specifically.

ALESCI: Exactly. The ability to slow the rising cost of health care is what we are really talking about here and more broadly speaking, people, all workers, have been covered under this pre -- this requirement under Obamacare that they get screenings for very basic things like colonoscopy, mammograms, all of those things are under Obamacare as a requirement. We could see some workers lose that as well.

CABRERA: A lot of people are worried -- we have a story about Kentucky coal miners and their concerns about Obamacare.

John, let me move to the conferring about the farewell address we are anticipating from the president next week. You just came out with your book, "Washington's Farewell, The Founding Father's Warning to Future Generations". President Obama talks about George Washington. In that context, what can we expect to hear?

AVLON: Presidential farewell addresses go back to George Washington. They all tend to be warnings. Most presidential speeches are promises. But farewell speeches are warnings. Not only recitations of what has been accomplished but more about the dangers they she ahead. George Washington warned about hyper partisanship, excessive debt, foreign wars, the influence of foreign nations on our politics. Prescient things. Dwight Eisenhower gave a famous farewell address warning about the rise of what he called the military/industrial complex.

It will be interesting to see. as President Obama not only recaps his legacy but projects it forward, when he is passing it during a time when storm clouds are on the horizon, listen for those warnings and see what transcends and what applies specifically to our times.

[14:45:16] LEE: It has been interesting to see President Obama engage President-elect Donald Trump since the election, even though it was such a contention and divisive election, really harsh rhetoric we saw against the person he hoped would be his predecessor, Hillary Clinton. He has indicated he wants a peaceful transition, a smooth transition and most importantly that he wants to have a role and he is willing to play role into helping Trump make that transition. I think Chicago will be an indication of what kind of a role Obama wants to play in his post-presidency, if he wants to be someone who is very involved in the public discourse, if he wants to continue speaking to Donald Trump whenever Donald Trump allows for that. I think if you are sort of thinking about the Obama legacy and thinking about it from the president's perspective, if he wants to preserve his legacy as much as possible you can understand why he would you video it as advantageous for him to be in constant contact with the future president.

CABRERA: I'll leave it there, guys. Thank you for joining us. Good to have you M.J., John, and Cristina.


CABRERA: Be sure to watch tonight, at 10:00 eastern, CNN's special report, "The Legacy of Barack Obama." Fareed Zakaria sits down with Barack Obama with the triumphs and more. Don't miss it.

Next, Mariah Carey's fumbled New Year's Eve performance. What went wrong? Some were saying her appearance was sabotaged. But my next guest says leave her alone! We will discuss next.


[14:50:05] CABRERA: It's kinds of what everybody is still talking about, what was up with Mariah Carey on New Year's Eve. Lots of finger pointing on what some are calling a meltdown on national TV. Carey's team says she was sabotaged. Dick Clark Productions fired back calling those accusations absurd.

If you missed it, here's what happened when Carey took the stage in Times Square.



MARIAH CAREY, SINGER: All right. We didn't have adjustments for this song. We'll just say it went to number one. And that's what it is. OK.


CABRERA: It really was painful. At first, you are kind of like, hmm, what's going on, am I not understanding what's supposed to be happening here? Painfully awkward. It all ended when Mariah Carey just walked off the stage.

I want to bring in Kevin Fallon, from "The Daily Beast." His article on Carey's performance is titled, "Leave Mariah Carey Alone."

KEVIN FALLON, SENIOR ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST: That's going to go on my tombstone, isn't it?


CABRERA: It is something that just doesn't happen every day. When you see something like that of course with the social media on fire over this incident, it's a story that continued to live on for the last couple of days. When entertainers reach a certain level of stardom, of fame, you kind of expect a level of performance out of them, and I guess polish.


CABRERA: Why should people leave her alone?

FALLON: We keep forgetting that live TV is live of it's exciting. There is a lot of things that could go wrong. We are so used to things never going wrong because everything is so canned. Everything is lip-synced so when something like this happens we are jarred back into the reality that show business isn't perfect. Imagine being live on stage like she was stand willing pretty much naked and afraid everything going wrong where no safety net. It's everyone who does live TV's worst nightmare. I think compassion is warranted here.

CABRERA: I can definitely relate to the stage fright feeling. Things start going on the wrong track and your mind goes there and it seems to be a snowball effect. Now her team has come out and said she was sabotaged. That's taking it to a whole other level of conversation. That's a big deal, isn't it?

FALLON: There is he said she said going on. Her team said sabotage. Dick Clark says that's absurd. I can sort of understand why no one in the situation wants to take full blame for this because it's so embarrassing and it's gone so viral and it's been a huge train wreck.

CABRERA: You, in your piece, say a lot of people are questioning, will this incident, this one performance, have lasting damage on her career. What's your take? Will it?

FALLON: I am a fan, so I hope not. I think there is a little bit of truth to the fact that all publicity is good publicity. Plus, she is a diva. And the divas always go on.

CABRERA: What's the response been to your article, specifically that title to leave her alone?

FALLON: It's pretty divided. It's been all over the place. Anyone who watched it and thought she acted maybe unprofessional or her response since then hasn't been quite the classiest, thinks I'm being too kind on her.

CABRERA: You are taking the criticism as it comes, huh?

FALLON: I am, yes. Me and Mariah, in this together.


CABRERA: The nature of the beast.

Thank you so much, Kevin Fallon. Great to have you here.

FALLON: Thank you.

CABRERA: Up next, President-elect Donald Trump says he has information on the Russian hacking that others do not. What does he mean? That's next.


[14:57:19] CABRERA: Las Vegas is the place to be this week to catch a glimpse into the future of technology. More than 150,000 people are expected to attend the Consumer Electronics Show where science fiction becomes science fact.

Andy Scholes is there. He's joining us from the Las Vegas strip.

Sounds like a fun assignment, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It's not bad, Ana. If you like tech products and you wanted to know what the next cool gadget is going to be, this is definitely the week to be here in Las Vegas.

This "Bleacher Report" is brought to you by Ford, go further.

More than 4,000 companies will be here in Las Vegas pumping their new products. And they are expecting over 150,000 attendees from all over the world to be here. One of those attendees is going to be none other than "Turner Sports,"

Shaquille O'Neal. Shaq tell us his love for technology actually goes back a long time, and he is super excited see what cool new gadgets they have here this week.


SHAQUILLE O'NEAL, FORMER NBA BASKETBALL PLAYER: In 1988, I became a geek. This is when they had the big Apple things when you had to press control-alt-delete and MOS. I love CES. For me, it's like I'm a kid at Toys-R-Us. I'm actually upset because last year I was at CES, I saw the luggage that was like Blue Tooth, like you connect it to your phone, and you put your phone in your pocket, and wherever you walked, the luggage would follow you. I ordered three. I ain't got them yet. So, I hope they ain't getting me. You see stuff like that. You see robots. It's awesome. I love geeks and nerds. You can say it to my face, Shaq, you are a geek. I know. I'm sorry.


SCHOLES: For that luggage company's sake, I hope if they run into Shaq here this week, they have his stuff for him.

But Shaq won't be here just to check out all the technology, Ana. He is going to be broadcasting live with the inside the NBA crew. There be here Thursdays doing that. It's all a part of "Turner Sports," "Sports Business Innovation Showcase." They are going to be hosting panels during the week with Adam Silver (ph) and Mark Amrit (ph). They'll be talking about the new technologies. Turner's E League is also going to be hosting a virtual race with professional video gamers taking on fans. A million-dollar prize pool on the line for that. So definitely excited to see that event later in the week, as well as all the cool technology that will be unveiled here throughout the week.

CABRERA: That will be fun and inspirational, too, I can imagine for the inventor types.

Andy Scholes, thank you for joining us.

SCHOLES: All right.

[14:59:52] CABRERA: Top of the hour. Thanks so much for being with me. I'm Ana Cabrera, in for Brooke Baldwin. You are watching CNN on January 2nd, 2017.

We're just 18 days away from officially seeing Donald Trump become the next president of the U.S. And he is setting up for a big reveal, either today, tomorrow or Wednesday, when he says he'll offer some details not yet released on why he continues to question intelligence experts --