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Steve Bullock (D) is Interviewed about Running for President; Crisis for American Farmers; Sanjay Gupta Shares his "Champions for Change" Story. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired May 16, 2019 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] GOV. STEVE BULLOCK (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We actually make sure that everybody can stay safe. And gun owners and non-gun owners want people to be able to stay safe. Universal background checks. The vast --

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And you've changed on that, correct?

BULLOCK: I have changed on it.

CAMEROTA: And why?

BULLOCK: You know, it happens when -- you know, I've -- a fourth of the times that I've been asked to lower the flags, as an example, is due to mass shootings. When I drop off my -- my sixth grader, my youngest, his first week at a new school, they learned where you need to go actually if an active shooter occurs. No sixth grader should have to deal with that. So really trying to look at, if you could take the politics out of it, what would make a difference. I think universal background checks would make a difference. I think red flag laws, as an example, where you could remove a gun in a household where domestic violence and other things would make a difference.

And I think that we're finally at this point where we have to have a much greater conversation about how to keep families and people safe. Now, that doesn't mean because the NRA and outside dollars would like to say, oh, these Democrats want to take everybody's guns away. It's not about that, it's about making sure that a sixth grader doesn't have to feel that way his first week of school. It's about concrete steps that we could take if we could take the politics out of it, to help people feel that they're going to be safe and in a safe community.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So foreign policy is obviously a big issue for any presidential candidate. And I was inclined to ask you a question about Iran or something. But then I had heard you ask the question, who do you think the biggest global foe is to the United States and your answer was the United States.

BULLOCK: Well, think about when, I mean, President Trump is with Putin. I mean we were not -- by militarily, but we were attacked during the 2016 election. When the president will turn around and say, you know what, he says that they didn't intervene or interfere with our elections, so I believe him. And then we didn't even, as a country, Republicans and Democrats, say, now, wait a minute. I mean the division, divisiveness where weren't even going to be able to be together, I think can be a threat because internally we can have a lot of disagreements and we can have some disagreements externally, but if we are so divided as a nation with things like Russian intervention in election that we all can't come out together and say, this is unacceptable for our representative democracy. And it's not just the election, we need to -- we are typically united to the rest of the world as a country when it comes to foreign policy. And those divisions are becoming deeper and deeper in this country. And it's not just on TV shows, it's not just on Twitter feeds, it's in D.C. where we cannot come together.

CAMEROTA: Governor, how do you explain what's going on in Alabama where they've just signed into law the most restrictive abortion law that does not make an exception for incest or rape? Obviously, again, being from a red state, you understand that the public -- even the public polling doesn't support something that draconian. And so what's going on with these states?

BULLOCK: Well, I think that -- I mean I can't speak for Alabama. I think it's pretty problematic when 1973 is when we actually said, you have the right to make decisions over your body, not me. And, fundamentally, if we want to roll back the clock 45 years, this is bad, not just for Alabama, but it speaks to our whole country. And that's part of the areas where I think we've got to turn around and say that it's time to be promoting women's health, not attacking it.

BERMAN: All right, you have one more question. I think it's about the Steve Miller rant.

CAMEROTA: We -- it's true. We like to ask the presidential candidates about their musical preferences. We call it candidate mixed tape. That's our rock and roll sting. So, who's your favorite band?

BULLOCK: My favorite band of all time was probably actually Jimmy Buffett. Steve Miller was the first album I ever bought is "Book of Dreams," which this "Jungle Love" and --

BERMAN: "It's Driving me Crazy."

BULLOCK: And things like that. But now when I talk to my kids -- when I talk to my kids about, yes, the albums I owned, they're like, what are you talking about, dad?

BERMAN: On Steve Miller, do you go to, abra-adbr-cadabra, I want to reach out and grab ya, or do you stop at like, fly like an eagle?

CAMEROTA: Tell us.

BULLOCK: You know, do you ever go later on, "Born to be Blue" was a later album where it's actually more of a blues album.

BERMAN: Now you're getting controversial and I think you need to be careful, governor.

CAMEROTA: That's so great. Thanks for playing along. Thanks so much for being here in studio.

BULLOCK: Thanks for having me.

BERMAN: Governor, come back.

BULLOCK: For sure.

BERMAN: We appreciate it.

BULLOCK: We'll do it.

BERMAN: So, Mick Jagger appears to be feeling better after undergoing heart surgery. We'll show you the video that has his friends in a frenzy, next.


[08:38:50] CAMEROTA: Time now for the "5 Things to Know for Your New Day."

New details about why the Trump administration says they are on high alert over Iran amid skepticism from U.S. allies. "The New York Post" reports that the government has declassified a photo of missiles being loaded on to boats by Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf. CNN was first to report the new intelligence last week.

BERMAN: The nation's most restrictive abortion ban is now law in Alabama. The governor there says she wants the Supreme Court to revisit Roe v. Wade. The governor's signature does not immediately outlaw the procedure. It takes some time for it to take effect.

CAMEROTA: President Trump plans to release his new immigration plan today. His proposal would shift the U.S. to a merit-based system that prioritizes high skilled workers. CNN has learned the plan does not offer any protections for dreamers. The news comes as "The Washington Post" reports that a two-year-old Guatemalan boy apprehended at the border with his mother has died in Texas.

BERMAN: The NTSB is investigating a helicopter crash in New York's Hudson River. Look at that. The pilot had just refueled when the chopper started spinning downward. He only suffered a hand injury and was rescued by a nearby ferry.

[08:40:01] CAMEROTA: OK, and Mick Jagger flashing some of his signature dance moves in a new video. OK. He does not look like he's just had surgery. The Rolling Stones front man posted it on social media just over a month after he had heart surgery. OK, I think he's back in action.

BERMAN: How old is he? Is he 70 something?

CAMEROTA: He's easily -- yes, in his 70s. How is he doing that?

BERMAN: Without pulling a muscle, mind you.

CAMEROTA: Oh. Are we sure that's Mick Jagger? BERMAN: That's what they say.

CAMEROTA: Not his grandson. That does look like him.

BERMAN: I -- when can I sign up for that class?

CAMEROTA: I don't know.

BERMAN: That's what I want to know.

All right, for more on the "5 Things to Know," go to for the very latest.

CAMEROTA: What Zumba class is that?

All right, President Trump has signed an executive order banning U.S. companies from using telecom equipment deemed to be a national security threat. And that's a direct shot at China and its tech giant Huawei.

So, this is also an escalation of the trade war with Beijing and that's bad news for some of the president's biggest supporters, American farmers.

Martin Savidge knows a lot about this. He is live in Davenport, Iowa.

Martin, what's the latest there.


Well, farmers have been dealing with the fallout from this trade war since last spring. In other words, this is the second planting season that they're going up against these tariffs. And they're having a really hard time. So in some cases, the best way to compete, they find, is by teaming up. Here's what we found.


SAVIDGE (voice over): In the middle of an Iowa cornfield, Amy Nelson's in the middle of solving a problem.

AMY NELSON, IOWA FARMER: I would say we are probably about two weeks behind.

SAVIDGE: She's got to get a quarter of a million dollar tractor, with a $125,000 planter moving again or her corn crop is in trouble.

NELSON: We are going to fill our planter with corn seed.

SAVIDGE: Amy is a farmer. She prefers a different title.

NELSON: I'm the primary farmer or farm-her.

SAVIDGE (on camera): I like that.

NELSON: Yes. SAVIDGE (voice over): It's not just her gender that makes her stand out, it's also her youth. Up until seven years ago, she was a finance director of a national organization in a big city. Then her dad said he needed help.

LARRY ENGLER, IOWA FARMER: I couldn't handle it anymore. So one night about 9:00 I called her. She was having a -- out on her back deck. And I said, do you ever think about coming back home to Iowa and helping out? The next night she said, yes, we're coming.

SAVIDGE: She quit corporate life and entered, well I guess you could say a much different field.

Now father and daughter work together, managing 1,100 acres of corn and soybeans during one of farming's worst down turns in almost 40 years. Larry says President Trump's trade war with China will cost them $150,000 this year alone and vows never to vote for Trump again.

Trump's economics also put pressure on Amy to get things right.

NELSON: I need to be very cautious of every penny I put in the ground or put into equipment.

SAVIDGE: Her days start at 5:00 a.m.

SAVIDGE (on camera): How late will you go?

NELSON: As long as we need.

SAVIDGE (voice over): When not growing crops, she's also raising two children and married to a non-farming husband. This may not seem to be the best time to take over the family business in a male-dominated industry in the middle of a crises, but Amy says it's the perfect time for a woman to step in.

NELSON: Being, I think, outside of farming has been able for me to bring some other resources to the table.

SAVIDGE (on camera): Right. And a kind of different mindset.

NELSON: A different mindset, exactly.

SAVIDGE (voice over): She believes she's right where she belongs, and dad agrees.

ENGLER: Oh, once she came back, she just -- she just dug into it and never looked back.

SAVIDGE: Amy will be the fifth generation of her family to farm this land. She doesn't miss the corporate world one bit.

NELSON: I like my view from my office right now. It's a beautiful view.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SAVIDGE: A lot of farmers are trying to come up with anything to make it through these difficult times. Some have talked about different crops, maybe hemp. Some have joked about growing marijuana. Others are thinking about opening up B&Bs, this kind of agri tourism. Even others have taken on second jobs. Anything they can do to hang on to the farms in these very tough times.


BERMAN: It's such a tough season there with the tariffs and the floods.

Martin Savidge, thank you for bringing us these stories. Appreciate it.

The day that Kevin Hines attempted suicide, he told himself that he wouldn't follow through with it if one person was kind to him. After surviving, he has now dedicated his life to showing others compassion. We'll bring you Dr. Sanjay Gupta's "Champions for Change" piece, next.


[08:48:55] BERMAN: All this week we're bringing you stories of some incredible people who are true champions for change. This morning you'll meet a man who made a lasting impact on our Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

In 2000, Kevin Hines tried to end his life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Not only did Kevin survive, he is now thriving and has dedicated his life to suicide prevention.



KEVIN HINES, SUICIDE SURVIVOR: Oh, my brother. This is amazing.

GUPTA: The thing that you've been fighting for, for nearly 20 years, there it is.

I know -- I know this is emotional, but this -- this is -- this is in large part because of you, man.

I think we tend to be very reductionist when we cover stories. It's very binary. Here's what happened. Here's the outcome. I think what Kevin Hines and this story did for me was make me realize that the shades of gray in between stories aren't things that you should just dismiss.

[08:50:03] GUPTA (voice over): No detail is too small, especially with the story like the one I'm about to tell you.

On September 25, 2000, 19-year-old Kevin Hines walked to the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge and jumped.

HINES: So, you know, I'm falling head first and I -- I immediately recognize, if I hit head first, I will die. I hit the water and the impact reverberated through my legs and it just shattered my T-12, L-1 and L-2. When you hit from that height at that speed, it's like hitting a solid brick wall.

GUPTA (on camera): And what did you -- what did you -- what was going through your mind?

HINES: The very millisecond my hands left the rail and my legs cleared it, instant regret. Instantaneous regret.

I just wish I could go back in time.

GUPTA (voice over): Kevin and I first met back in 2003. His was one of the first stories I reported at CNN.

GUPTA (on camera): Why did you come here? Why the Golden Gate Bridge?

HINES: I was under the impression that it was the easiest way to die.

GUPTA (voice over): Over the last two decades, the suicide rate in the United States has gone up 33 percent. That makes it the number two cause of death in this country for people age 10 to 34. And over that same time period, 537 people have died after jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge.

Kevin Hines has spent the last 16 years trying to change those tragic numbers. His singular goal, to get a net placed on this beautiful bridge, a barrier to stop someone from dying, someone like him.

HINES: What are the aesthetics of a bridge compared to one human life? What if that was your mom or your dad?

GUPTA (on camera): This is the place where you jumped.

HINES: Yes. This is the place where I lived.

GUPTA: I love that.

What surprised me then, and still surprises me now, is this story that Kevin tells about the day that he jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. He made this -- this pact with himself, which was that if anybody basically is kind to me, if anybody looks at me and says, what's wrong, can I help you, wants to be compassionate in some way, if anybody had done that for him, he wouldn't have jumped. That stuck with me and I think it's -- I think in some ways it has influenced and directed a lot of the other stories that I do. It's never about a single individual, it's always about the circle of individuals, the ecosystem of society as a whole.

In some ways you look like a totally different person.


GUPTA: I mean, first of all, just physically. I mean both of us, I mean, in some ways, I think, look better now, you know? I think Kevin first got me thinking about this idea that if someone

drops all of a sudden in front of you from a cardiac arrest, most people would have some idea of what to do, call 911, you know, start pushing on the chest. But if someone is clearly in trouble from mental illness, somebody who may be clearly suicidal, not only do we often not know what to do, we often turn the other way.

HINES: Today is our gift.

GUPTA: Kevin Hines won't admit this, but he has probably saved many, many lives. People who thought nobody cared and then Kevin Hines shows up and says, I love you, I care about you, I understand the pain that you're feeling and there's something that we can do about it.

Let's go check this out together.

HINES: Yes, man, let's do it.

GUPTA (voice over): And, today, I get to show him that his story, his fight, has meant something. That net is finally going up.

HINES: That's the net. That's it. It's going up on the Golden Gate as of 2021. Not one more death by someone's hands off the Golden Gate Bridge. This is one of the most special days of my life.


BERMAN: Oh, what a story, Sanjay, thank you so much.

Tell us more about the net, because that's interesting.

GUPTA: Yes. And the debate for a long time was, you've got this beautiful bridge. Will this like ruin the aesthetics of it versus people who say, look, this has become one of the number one suicide spots in the country. That's the debate for the last, you know, couple decades now.

One of the -- one of the facts that I think really changed the debate was this idea that people would say, hey, look, if they don't jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, they'll just go -- they're go do something else. That's actually not true what studies have shown, is that if someone is actually thwarted from their attempt, the likelihood of them actually attempting again is actually very low. So not only does this make a difference at the time, it makes a difference in their lives long term.

[08:55:06] CAMEROTA: You know, so often we don't get to talk to somebody who fails.


CAMEROTA: And to hear him say that one second later he had regret, that is to powerful.

GUPTA: It's -- it's -- I mean -- and -- and if someone had just given him friendly eyes, as Kevin calls it, friendly eyes at that moment, he wouldn't have done it. I mean, we could all save a life, right, if you see someone who's hurting mentally -- if it's physically you know what to do, push on the chest, hurting mentally, don't -- don't -- don't turn away.

CAMEROTA: We can all try to do that today.


CAMEROTA: Sanjay, that was beautiful.

GUPTA: Thank you.

BERMAN: Thanks, Sanjay.

CAMEROTA: Thank you so much.

GUPTA: I appreciate it. Thank you.

BERMAN: We have more inspiring stories tomorrow. Don't miss a one hour prime time special hosted by Sanjay, that's Saturday, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

CAMEROTA: All right, there is a battle over the intelligence that's leading to the Iran threat and tensions. CNN "NEWSROOM" has much more after this quick break.