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Paula Deen To Speak Out Tomorrow Morning Publicly; Russian President Confirms Edward Snowden Is In Moscow Airport's Transit Area; IRS Acting Director Holds Conference

Aired June 25, 2013 - 15:30   ET



JAMIE DEEN, PAULA DEEN'S SON: Twenty five years ago when we started our business, we have had nothing and now we have given the opportunity to help nonprofits across this whole country and it mean a tremendous amount to us. And to do good things in our life and the power we've been given to us through our media career is important to us. And, you know, we're just here to say that this environment of racism that's been spoken about could not be further from the truth.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Joining me now from New York, Peter Shankman, branding and social media consultant at the Geek factory and author of "can we do that?"

Peter Shankman., nice to see you, sir. Let's just begin, actually, with just piggy backing off the interview we just heard. Here you have these, you know, his two sons very much, you know, supporting their mother and a pretty lengthy exclusive here on CNN. And then, you know, along with that, we know that Paula Deen will be speaking out tomorrow morning for the first time publicly since this whole thing broke on the "Today" show. What do you make of all this? What does she need to say?

PETER SHANKMAN, BRANDING AND SOCIAL MEDIA CONSULTANT, THE GEEK FACTORY: Well, you're looking at like almost three separate stories here. The first story is two children sticking up for their mom. You know, it doesn't matter what your mom did. If it's your mom, you're going to stick up for her. So, that was to be expected. They very well spoken. They made some good points.

The problem is though, is that they're defending this woman who it wasn't like it was heard through a friend of a friend of a friend and she said this was in her deposition. These were her words. And the problem is, is that that's really hard to refute. It's what she said.

So, the best situation for her right now, you know, let her come on tomorrow morning, tell her story, and let her disappear for a while. Look at anyone who's ever made a comeback. Eliot Spitzer, Tiger Woods, different scenarios, granted. This was, you know, its one thing to sleep with someone outside your marriage; it's another thing to use that kind of talk. It's a complete different story. But to comeback, America has a very short attention span. And we do love a success story and a revitalization story.

Let her go away for a few years. Maybe then she will do some volunteer work at, I don't know, certain poverty law center and like that and then let her come back. Mark my words. That will come back.

BALDWIN: OK. Here's the "but." You know, she is the kind of she is the face of what she's cooking. She has this restaurant that's doing incredibly well in savannah and she, obviously of what she is cooking, you know. She not only has this (INAUDIBLE) doing an incredibly well in Savanna. She has this upcoming book which pre-sells are going gang busters on Amazon. And we know, obviously she was yanked from Food Network. I know you are saying she should to go away. If, let's say she goes away for just half a minute then comes back, DO you think there -- it there any chance the Food Network gives her job back?

SHANKMAN: No, not right away. You got to realize, the Food Network doesn't care about their fans. All the fans in the word could say, hey, we want her back. Food Network has to answer to their advertisers. And right now, the advertisers are saying, we don't want anything do with that. The advertisers pay the bills and the advertisers can shut off the lights.

Now, that being said, everyone freak out when Tiger Woods step down and went to sex rehab because they said that, you know, well, he is the face of Nike. What's he going to do? Nike hasn't really been harm by that, you know.

So, it really is a question of time. American consumers and the American public has a very short attention span. She can go, she can come back and she can basically say, you know what, I learned my lesson and redeem herself. And mark, there was probably won't be, the Food Network won't bring her back, perhaps it's the cooking channel or actually something similar. But you know, she has this core fan base and we are a society that is willing to forgive if enough time can pass.

BALDWIN: We can wait a little while and I can come back and you can say I told you so as you called it right here.

Peter Shankman, thank you so much.

Let's pivot from the PR angle and we bring in Marc Lamont Hill, professor at Columbia University and host of "Huff Post Live."

Professor, good to see you.


BALDWIN: So, let's just begin with the fact that, you know, it was Paula Deen. She was under oath. And she was basically asked if she has ever, in the course of her lifetime, she ever used the "n" word. She answered that she had. You know, I read quotes of the deposition were she said that, you know, yes, she likely used it when she was held up at gunpoint in the '80s, said she probably used it maybe since then but it was a very long time ago. Still, if it's been a long time, let's say three decades, Mark, if she's telling the truth, do you consider her racist?

HILL: I'm really, you know, reluctant go around calling people racist or not racist. My gut tells me if you used the "n" word a long time ago and throughout life, you probably still use it. The fact the she said the one time she used it is when she was held up at gunpoint is a little suspicious to me.

BALDWIN: How come?

HILL: Well, because, I mean, you're not racist. If a black person held you up, I'm sure the "n" word wouldn't come up. I'm not anti- Semitic. If a Jewish person held me up, I wouldn't use an anti- Semitic word. Those words are not in my reservoir of language to use to people. I would just say a really bad person stuck me up. It's a different thing when you have that kind of in the chamber ready to go.

That scares me a lot. But also it wasn't just that. It was the stories that people told. It was the sentiment that people had and those were the real lack of contrition in her initial apology that made me question. And I don't know what's in Paula Deen's heart. I can't say. But, I'm not ready to buy that she is not racist and I know that there is a whole nation of people who feels that same way.

BALDWIN: Then you have, as you know, we talked about Peter Shankman, these two sons of hers coming on and this one son, Jamie told this story to obviously counteract of what of what the country is thinking about her by telling the story about when he was, you know, it was mid-' 70s he told the story about Hank Aaron. Here it was.


DEEN: Let me tell you a story, Chris, when I was a young man. In 1975, before I had my tonsils taken out, Henry Aaron was my first sports here growing up. In 1974, he broke (INAUDIBLE) homerun record by hitting 715 homeruns. Before I had my tonsils taken out, obviously, I was 7-years-old, I was very nervous. My parents gave me Hank Aaron pajamas, and when they gave me these pajamas, my mom and dad told me the story of the challenges that the hammer faced in his pursuit of this record. They told me that he is a man of character and the challenges that he overcome because of this color was unacceptable. This is a lesson that my mom and dad told me when I was 7-years-old and it is a lesson that I've carried throughout my life of inclusion. And to I treat everyone fairly and by their character and by their own merit. Under no circumstances should you judge anybody for any other reason.


BALDWIN: Let's Mark Lamont Hill take him at his word. Let's take Paula Deen at her word. She was under oath. I mean, here we are in 2013. Can we move on from this? Can we accept that, yep, she used it, she hasn't in a while, and it's OK?

HILL: Well, here's the thing. I take her -- whether or not I take her at her words is almost immaterial. She has a right to have a TV show. Say what has a right to say what she wants. She has a right to thing what she wants. So, even though she's racist, I don't necessary think we should take run around taking everyone's job because they're racist. There would be the entire network that didn't exist if that were the case.

BALDWIN: Do you think the Food Network overreacted?

HILL: No, I don't think they overreacted. I think the Food Network also has a right to say, we have a customer based who doesn't like this or we don't want our brand attached to this kind of thing.

So, I think Paula Deen will land on her feet. She's very successful. She is very talented. Somebody will hire her again. And a big chunk the nation will get over it. A bigger chunk of the nation right now will believe her or doesn't care. So, Paula Deen will be fine.

I think it speaks to a bigger question of how we think about race, who we're willing to call a racist, and what we think constitutes racism. I think it's very complex and interesting, but thing if the long term Paula Deen is going to be fine.

BALDWIN: You agree with Paul Shankman. Professor Mark Lamont Hill, thank you so much.

HILL: Thank you, host.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

The cold war reignited? Russia's president admits Edward Snowden is holed up in the Moscow's airport and that a lot of some U.S. leaders raging mad.

Coming up next, hear the harsh words directed at Vladimir Putin and how this ordeal could impact future relations between U.S. and China. Christiane Amanpour joins me live next.


BALDWIN: It seems like Edward Snowden has now reheated cold war tensions, pitting the United States against both China and Russia. These two countries are lashing out at the White House for accusations that Hong Kong allowed the NSA leaker to get away and that Russia will not hand him over. Russia insists it has nothing to do with Snowden. President Vladimir Putin revealed Snowden is in Moscow in a transit zone there at the airport, but his earlier lack of cooperation triggered this from Senator John McCain.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Look. We've got to start dealing with Vladimir Putin in a realistic fashion for what he is. He's an old KGB colonel that dreams of the day of the Russian empire and continues to stick his thumb in our eyes in broad variety of ways.


BALDWIN: The senator, of course, referring to accusations Putin -- you didn't hear the end of the sound bite, he actually calls him a super bowl ring stealer. It was the ring from the owner of the New England Patriots. Putin, by the way, denies that.

Let's go to chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour.

And Christiane, let me just begin with what we just heard. It was pretty feisty interview this morning with the senator McCain. And just, you know, sticking a finger in the eye, does senator McCain have a point about Putin?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look. This is a powerful point because American officials are angry with Russia in general and of course, you know, Senator McCain is furious with Russia with Syrian over its obstructionism on the Syria issue. Russia is stopping any movement in the Security Council that would help the Syrian opposition. But beyond that, they're very angry that Edward Snowden had been allowed to leave China. And they do, the U.S. have an extradition treaty with China, Hong Kong, et cetera, but they have none with Russia.

You know, some they are just happy in saying since the weekend that Russian is doing this deliberately, that president Putin is doing this deliberately. And we do know from own experience that the relationship between the Russian and the United States, where Putin and the United States is not a good one.

Having said that, Putin today was the first who officially confirmed, that yes, Edward Snowden is in the transit area. They are parsing the reality and parsing words saying, he's not entered into the Russian federation and the saying that he's not committed a crime according to Russian law on Russian soil, so they have no reason to arrest him or deport him or whatever. He said that the soon as Snowden find as destination and somewhere to go, the better for all of us that he goes. But, again, saying that at this point they have no reason to arrest him.

And adding to that, Putin says that he hopes that this wouldn't damage what he called cordial or some other of translated to this, business- like ties with the United States. But clearly, you know, the U.S. is now going to have to work overtime politically to try to convince the Russians to give him back. And as former representative Jane Harmon said, in general, the U.S. has no huge amount leverage with Russia. That's her assessment of how this is going.

But obviously, talks are still going on. And Putin said, look, let your FBI director talk to our counterpart and work it out between themselves.

BALDWIN: We'll see how that goes. Christiane Amanpour, thank you so much.

And you remember the story, of course, the IRS targeting so-called conservative groups. Well, we have an update on that. It turns out there were a wide range of groups that may have been flagged, a wide range here. Jake Tapper is all over that. He is going to join me next on what many Democrats now saying, I told you so. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: You know all about the uproar surrounding the IRS. We are looking harder, an application for tax exempt status from group conservative. Well, things just got a little bit muddy because the IRS review has found that wide range of groups, I'm quoting, "wide range," not just conservatives have had their applications flag. So, that the original allegations seemed to smack above a partisan witch- hunt and it figured no fewer than six congressional investigations.

Jake Tapper with me from Washington.

Mr. Tapper, late out for me.


BALDWIN: Because this new information, you know, who does it come from? What does it say about the fairness that the guys at IRS handling all the tax-exempt requests?

TAPPER: Well, you're right in saying that this is muddying up. What happens is that acting director of the IRS held a conference called what reporter are saying that the 30-day investigation he has been asked to conduct by President Obama led to his learning that there were other names other than tea party that were used for this immediate scrutiny for the groups in the IRS that were tasked with finding out whether or not groups deserve to have tax-exempt status.

And in addition to tea party and patriot, there were other key words such as progressive and occupy and Israel. So it does appear that it was not just a targeting on conservative groups but other groups in general. There is a Democratic Congressman Sander Levin who wants to know how come the IRS inspector general who put out the first report that caused all this controversy, how come he didn't go into that?

We don't know the answer to that yet. In fact, we still don't know a lot about what even the acting director of the IRS is saying, so I would say that while some on the right may have run too quickly possibly with the charges, it should not be an excuse, therefore, for some on the left to run too quickly and use this information to say that there was no scandal and no controversy worth having at all. We still need to find out all the details, and we don't have them right now.

BALDWIN: I know you'll be talking about this, so, folk, stay right here. In tem minutes, "the LEAD" begins with Jake Tapper. I know you are also be talking to Jessie Jackson reacting to the big decision the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the curtails of voting rights act, so we will see you, sir, in ten minutes.

Thanks, Jake, so much.

TAPPER: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Also today marks four years to the day since the death of Michael Jackson and it could also be the day that his oldest son testified in his family's wrongful death lawsuit. What Prince Jackson could reveal next.


BALDWIN: The world lost a huge talent exactly four years ago today.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, AC 360: Today, at home on the west side of L.A. something happened. Michael Jackson's heart stopped, he stopped breathing. Medics were called, efforts were made but despite those efforts, Jackson died.


BALDWIN: At the time Jackson was preparing for a very ambitious concert run. Now his family is suing the concert promoter for wrongful death. The court has already heard from Jackson's 15-year- old daughter, Paris. And now, it is the turn of her older brother, 16-year-old Prince Jackson.

CNN's Alan Duke has been covering the trial for us in Los Angeles.

Alan, do we know when Prince Jackson might be testifying?

ALAN DUKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I expected tomorrow morning, first thing in court, perhaps about 9:30 or 10:00, here in Los Angeles. Prince Jackson will walk up, take the oath, begin testifying, answering questions from his own lawyers about his father's last days, his lives, his hopes, his dreams, his relationship with his children. It should be very dramatic testimony.

Prince is not just there for the emotional effect, though. He was a witness to meetings that his father had, telephone conversations. And he also will tell us about his father's distrust of the producers and how his father was upset, angry, sad, crying at times when he would have -- after he would have meetings or coming back from rehearsal. So, there will be a lot of information that this young man, now 16, will be asked about. And of course, he will undergo cross-examination by AEG live lawyers who will try to shake his story.

BALDWIN: Alan Duke, thank you so much for us from Los Angeles.

Coming up nest, good news for the housing market, it's something that hasn't happened before, having a tremendous impact on the stock market today. That's next.


BALDWIN: All right. Stocks have been on an upswing today. Look at the big board, up triple digits which is great news. Investors responding to positive economic reports, such as strong news about the housing market today.

Let's go straight to CNN personal finance and business correspondent Zain Asher in New York with good news in the show today on these numbers. It is good to see you, Zain.


Yes, you know, home prices up 12 percent in April compared to last year in 20 of the largest metropolitan cities in the country. That, by the way, is the largest gain since 2006. Now, San Francisco reigned supreme showing the largest increase, 24 percent in April compared to a year ago. Right behind it Las Vegas, Atlanta and where you are, in Phoenix, all up more than 20 percent.

Here in New York, however, where suiting with the opposite end of the spectrum, home prices up just three percent. What we have seen is that, you know, the areas that was hardest hit during the recession posted the largest gains, so is really (INAUDIBLE) are like Detroit. That is where we are seeing the biggest increases.

But generally speaking though, home prices are up for three reasons right, so, strong demand, number one, thanks to more and more people having jobs and also low supply. There really is a shortage of new homes available for sale and that really is driving up prices. Lastly, low interest rates which makes mortgages more affordable and obviously, more attractive.

And also Brooke, by the way, we did get positive news on new home sales up two percent in May, definitely evidence of this housing recovery is really real. When people is going to buy new homes, they do tend to buy appliances and furniture as well, definitely good news for spending -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Zain Asher, thank you very much.

And before I let you go, there you go. Roll that animation guys. Some of the hottest stories in a flash wrap as fire beginning with money, a whole lot of money. $1.2 million cash, missing, presumed stolen here. Authorities say it was supposed to be in a secure shipping container aboard a Swiss air flight from Zurich but when the plane arrived Saturday at JFK international airport, the money was gone. The FBI, they are investigating. Right now, it is not known if the money disappeared before the plane left Zurich or after it arrived in New York.

Also in California today, have you heard about this where inmates most at risk of contracting this valley fever have to be moved out of not just one, but two state prisons. Valley fever is a potentially deadly fungus that thrives in dry soil in the state central valley. And so, the L.A. times is reporting that a federal judge has given the state seven days to start this prison transfer process. Several thousand inmates are affected by the fungus.

Also, all records related to the investigation of NFL player, Aaron Hernandez, have been sealed by order of the court. Police have spent a lot of time searching Hernandez's property in connection with the death of the man by the name of Odin Lloyd, his said to be a friend of Hernandez's. Lloyd's body was found last Monday in an industrial park not too far from Hernandez's home. And I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being with me today. We always put interviews up on the Brooke blog. Just go to And that will do it for me today. I will see you back here tomorrow, I hope.

In the meantime, let's take to you Washington to my colleague Jake Tapper.

"The LEAD" starts right now.