Return to Transcripts main page
THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
"The Most Corrupt Games Ever"; Snowden Appears On German TV; Report: "Marlboro Man" Dies Of Lung Disease
Aired January 27, 2014 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back to THE LEAD, live from Capitol Hill.
Some other national news now. Cruise ship adventures should be theoretically about rock climbing and zip lining, not raising to claim a bathroom stall because your dinner won't stay down. But such is the case for hundreds of passengers onboard Royal Caribbean's Explore of the Seas. The ship is being forced to dock two days early because of a suspected outbreak of norovirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 577 passengers and 49 crew members reported symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea.
And if you think all of this sounds way too familiar, that's because it's happened before, including nine times last year alone.
CNN's senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, has more.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another cruise ship cutting short its planned Caribbean island hopping and a maritime version of the walk of shame. This one, Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas now heading back to home port after hundreds of passengers and crew members feel ill, due to a fast spreading virus whose origins remain a mystery.
One passenger, Arnee Dodd, said her gastrointestinal symptoms came on suddenly.
ARNEE DODD, PASSENGER: It was vomiting and diarrhea. It almost had no warning. I noticed, it was like high fever, chills, aches, dehydration.
COHEN (voice-over): By the next morning, she says the infirmary was packed with sick passengers.
DODD: As soon as I got down there, the nurse walked out and looked at everyone and said, if you're not sick, you have to leave right now, because this is spreading faster than we can contain it.
COHEN (voice-over): The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still investigating why so many passengers got sick, but the typical cause is norovirus. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have all those people in a confined space over a long period of time. And this is an easily transmissible virus person to person.
COHEN (voice-over): Unfortunately, this cruise ship scenario has happened before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were here with them two years ago, the same thing. The ship was overrun with this sickness.
COHEN (voice-over): Last year, according to the CDC, nine cruise ships reported illnesses among passengers. The year before that, 16. Royal Caribbean said in a statement that once docked, the ship underwent an extensive and thorough sanitizing.
DODD: They were sanitizing the hallways. I mean, they did ceiling to floor nonstop for about 24 hours.
COHEN (voice-over): And infected passengers and crew were advised to stay in their cabins until they were well for at least 24 hours.
COHEN: Now, you can go on the CDC'S Web site and see inspection reports for individual ships. And if you look at the one for this ship, it's terrific. They have gotten very good grades. So it just goes to show, even if you have a clean ship, if someone walks on who is sick, that illness can spread. Jake?
TAPPER: Coming up next on THE LEAD, it just might be a preview for what we're in for 2016 as potential presidential candidate Rand Paul calls out Clinton for, quote, "predatory behavior" toward young women and suggests it could be a factor for Hillary.
Plus, a church in Italy missing a piece of the pope, literally. How thieves managed to take off with Pope John Paul the II's blood.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD, live from the Capitol, ahead of tomorrow's state of the union address.
More political news now. It's no secret that Senator Rand Paul may be running for president in 2016, and he may end up facing former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and we might already be getting a taste of what that matchup might look like. Yesterday, Paul was asked about a comment his wife had made to "Vogue" magazine arguing that former president Bill Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky should complicate his potential return to the White House, even as first husband. Quote, "I would say his behavior was predatory, offensive to women," she said.
Senator Paul did not back away from the dig when asked about it on "Meet The Press" yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Someone who takes advantage of a young girl in their office, I mean, really. And then they have the gall to stand up and say Republicans are having a war on women? So, yes, I think it's a factor. Now, that's not Hillary's fault.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Not Hillary's fault, he says. But asked whether her husband's scandal should affect the former secretary of state's chances if she decides to run for president, well, Paul said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: I'm not saying that. This was with regard to the Clintons, and sometimes it's hard to separate one from the other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Sometimes it's hard to separate one from the other. Let's get some analysis Neera Tanden, president of the Center For American Progress and former policy director for Clinton's 2008 campaign. And senior editor at "National Review," Ramesh Ponnuru.
Neera, I'll start with you. Hard to separate one from the other?
NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: You know, they are two people. They've had different names and different careers. People seem to be able to distinguish the two of them.
TAPPER: You don't look old enough to remember, but you must remember two for the price of when they were pitching that in '92 when Bill Clinton and Hillary --
TANDEN: I mean, what decade are we talking about here, Jake?
TAPPER: Ask Rand Paul! I'm not the one that brought this up.
TANDEN: I think that's the point. I think people are able to distinguish them. She's had a rich career. She's been a fantastic secretary of state, and I think the idea that people are going to look back at these issues that have been litigated for decades. If the Republican Party wants to talk about the '90s and things that happened back then, I think that would be a long campaign for them.
TAPPER: What do you think when this is brought up? As somebody who wants a conservative in the White House, do you think, great, bring it on? Talk about it? Or do you think really that's not -
RAMESH PONNURU, SENIOR EDITOR, "NATIONAL REVIEW": I think one of the background issues if Hillary Clinton runs is going to be Bill coming back to the White House and does this bring a return of all the psycho drama of the Clinton years?
But I think it would be a mistake for Republicans to try move that into the foreground. Because Neera's right: it was a long time ago. People don't want to obsess on this and dwell on this to the exclusion of people's agendas for the future.
TANDEN: But Hillary was secretary of state for four years. She has a record to go on. I think that's the issue people are going to focus on.
TAPPER: Well, and speaking of that record, earlier today, secretary of state Hillary Clinton was before an auto dealer manufacturer trade association, and she was actually asked about regrets. I believe we have that tape, if we could roll some of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: You know, I had disagreements with President Bush. But, yes, I also had some disagreements with President Obama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: She also went on to talk about how her biggest regret as secretary of state were deaths of the two diplomats and two CIA officers in Benghazi.
I think Benghazi is a serious issue. Sometimes I feel like Republicans get a little rabid about it, disproportionate -- not that it's not serious, not that she shouldn't be asked about it. But there are a lot of conspiracy theories about stand-down orders and such. How important do you think Benghazi is?
PONNURU: Well, I think it's an issue. I think that it's certainly something that right now is something where the intensity is found among conservatives. I don't think they've punched through and made a compelling story yet that gets the public thinking that Hillary Clinton has to answer some questions.
TAPPER: And conversely, Neera, I do think that sometimes liberals are a little flip about it. It was a big scandal. It was a serious tragedy, and there are serious questions that bipartisan investigations have concluded that the State Department failed in providing adequate security. And the intelligence committee, Senate Intelligence Committee, said it was preventable.
Do you think she needs to do more? I know she did six hours of congressional hearings. Does she need to do more to discuss this issue, to explain where she is coming from and put it behind her?
TANDEN: Look, I assume she's going to talk about these issues in her book and I think that's to the good. I don't think she's running away from this. She's talked about it, and she talked about today how she really regretted what happened. And you know, it is a tragedy. And I think the more that people dissect it for what it is, which is a terrible thing that happened and take away conspiracies on both ends of this. I mean, I do think there has been a lot of conspiracy talk about it. And look at it from a policy perspective. I think that's all to the good.
TAPPER: Let's talk about the state of the union, Ramesh. I'll give you a choice: you can either give advice to the Republican response, Cathy McMorris Rodgers or advice on President Obama. But it has to be legitimate advice. What would you want that person to say?
PONNURU: My legitimate advice to the president, I think that the theme of opportunity and expanding opportunity is a stronger theme than combating inequality, and that's where I think he should go tomorrow night.
TAPPER: And what do you think for tomorrow? What would you advise? You have advised in the past. So suggest away. Maybe he's watching.
TANDEN: I'm going to agree a little bit here. I do think that expanding opportunity is a foundational principle. And he should put that in context. We do have great challenges, but there's a lot of work to do. And I think minimum wage, expanding pre-k, those are issues that are actually about expanding opportunity, and that's a real opportunity for him to talk about tomorrow.
TAPPER: But some -- I've heard criticism from conservatives and from some moderate Democrats saying going after income inequality then raises the question, what exactly is income inequality? Because that's not exactly what --
TANDEN: Yes, look, I don't think anyone is saying that we should have fewer rich people. I think people are concerned that the middle class itself is declining. Not that there's too many rich people, but that there's not enough middle-class people and that there's not enough opportunity from poverty into the middle class. And I think the president has made that clear in the past, but it's an opportunity for him to say it again.
TAPPER; Neera, Ramesh, thank you so much. As always, great stuff.
Coming up next, allegation of waste and fraud, kickbacks and mind- blowing corruption in Vladimir Putin's Russia?! Really? How Putin is responding to reports of a multibillion dollar hole in the Olympic tab.
Plus, first he pulled the movie. Now director Quentin Tarantino is reportedly going to court over the leaking of his latest script. Who is he taking on? Coming up.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. We are live from the capitol in Washington, D.C. ahead of tomorrow night's "STATE OF THE UNION" address. In our World Lead now, at an estimated cost of more than $50 billion, Sochi is already the most expensive Olympic Games ever, but now it's also being called the most corrupt.
One member of the International Olympic Committee says that a third of that multi-billion tab, a third has mysteriously disappeared. But asked President Vladimir Putin about the accusations and he says it's just the price you pay to do business in Russia. Foreign editor for "Buzzfeed," Miriam Elder joins me now from New York. Billions and billions, Miriam, allegedly siphoned off here. Where exactly do we think all of that went?
MIRIAM ELDER, "BUZZFEED" FOREIGN EDITOR: Well, according to this new report that came out today by this opposition leader (inaudible) who has been investigating Russian corruption for years. He has found that a lot of this money seems to have been stored offshore so we don't actually know who the end participant is, but the allegations that he makes in this report are just kind of friends of Vladimir Putin that he's had since childhood, the officials that he surrounded himself with since he's been ruling Russia.
TAPPER: And he goes into detail and this reporter reportedly cost $8.7 billion to build a new road and rail line connecting the Olympic events on the coast with the events in the mountains. One Russian magazine says it would have been cheaper to pave the road in Cavier. None of this is exactly new. These stories have been going on for months and months. Why haven't alarms been raised sooner?
ELDER: Well, the question is, how do you raise the alarm? The fact that Russia is a corrupt country, you're right, it isn't news at all, but the International Olympic Committee knew this when it awarded Russia the Olympics in 2007. So they have been kind of quietly sitting back and letting Russia go through the motions, just kind of more concerned that they get the stadiums and all infrastructure built.
TAPPER: The Olympic stadium, supposedly, ended up costing 14 times what it was budgeted for. How did that happen?
ELDER: That's a good question. The company has even been investigated by the Russian authorities for raising the price with no reason. It's been embroiled in embezzlement scandals back in Moscow. I mean, this is just how business is sort of done in Russia. It's really, really hard to find a company that isn't corrupt.
TAPPER: Tell me about the so-called Russian Disneyland project. The price tag is $238 million. What is it?
ELDER: Right, this is one of my favorites from this report issued Navalni today. It's supposed to be sort of like a Russian folklore fairy tale amusement park. The price tag is over $200 million and it's not even meant to be built until 2020.
TAPPER: So -- OK, I would say why, but there really isn't an answer beyond the -- somebody is going to make money off of it. One local mayor is getting a pretty sweet new ride out of this deal. Tell me about -- he has a $15 million helicopter?
ELDER: Yes, which is fine, I guess, officials are allowed to have helicopters, but the problem is, when it was presented as part of the Olympic budget, it was presented as a medical helicopter. So if anybody needed to be evacuated from the mountains where the skiing events would be held, they would have this helicopter. Instead, this report has been found that it is fitted with leather chairs and air conditioning and iPhone holder. It appears to be the governor's personal helicopter now. TAPPER: The former deputy prime minister, Boris Nemsof, calls this the most expensive and most corrupt games of all time. Is the Olympic Committee doing anything to stop it?
ELDER: Not that I've seen officially. There was one member of the IOC that came out a couple of weeks ago saying that he believed like 30 percent of the budget had been stolen, but on an official level, not as far as we've seen at all.
TAPPER: Of course, the International Olympic Committee is not exactly held up as the most incorruptible group of individuals in the world historically at least, between the anti-gay rhetoric, the threats of a terror attack and now these widespread, widely known allegations of corruption. Is there anything positive that we would learn in the way the Russians have handled the planning for the games so far. Any silver linings for Sochi?
ELDER: I hope the silver lining is just that somehow, despite all of the difficulties, all the horror of the anti-LGBT law and anti-LGBT campaign, all of the corruption, incredible security concerns, you still have tens and millions of Russians who are really, really excited about the fact that these games are coming and I just think if it goes off without a tragedy, that will be amazing.
TAPPER: Miriam Elder from "Buzzfeed," thank you so much.
TAPPER: Your eggs may not be the only things getting poached in a game of "Angry Birds," the NSA and its British counterpart are developing ways to use popular apps like "Angry Birds" to collect user data according to "The Guardian" newspaper. Think about all of the info that you give up to your apps, age, gender, location, much more.
"The Guardian" broke this story today using files stolen by Edward Snowden. Snowden, the former NSA contractor turned ultimate leak source appeared last night in an interview on German television. Among the revelations, Snowden says the NSA has not only been collecting your info and surveying foreign governments, he says the agency is also involved in industrial espionage as well.
I asked Snowden what it would take for him to return to the U.S. during an online chat on Thursday of last week. Snowden told me and the world that the current whistle blower laws in the U.S. would not protect a security contractor like him and at this point, he does not believe he could get a fair trial here so he would not come to the U.S. It sounds like the plot of a movie that could save the Indiana Jones franchise.
Right now, Italian police are hunting for a stolen relic that contains the blood of the late Pope John Paul II who will be declared a saint this spring. It was taken from a tiny chapel in the mountains where the pope would go to pray when he needed and escape from the daily pressures of life at the Vatican.
A few years ago, the blood was given to the community there as the token of the pope's love for the area. The thieves apparently took that and left the collection box. It felt more like a kidnapping than a robbery.
Coming up, you know those movie trailers that tell you the whole story, the whole movie, they might be going away if movie theaters have their way with Hollywood. That's coming up next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD live from Capitol Hill. I'm Jake Tapper. Now we turn to the Pop Culture Lead. He was the cowboy who represented everything that was considered cool about smoking back when some doctors even lit up in the delivery room. But now he is the poster for what a life of smoking can do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come to where the flavor is, come to Marlboro country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: The Associated Press reports that Eric Lawson, who portrayed the Marlboro man in cigarette ads during the late 1970s has died of lung disease. Lawson started smoking at 14 years old. Later in life he appeared in anti-smoking commercial, parodying the Marlboro man. He talked about the dangers of smoking even while he himself could not kick the habit. He's the fourth Marlboro man to die of a smoking- related illness. Eric Lawsan was 72 years old.
You mess with the director whose movies have an onscreen body count somewhere in the hundreds and you can pretty much expect that vengeance shall be his. Quintin Tarantino is reportedly suing Gawker Media for publishing a leaked copy of his script for a western called the hateful eight.
As we reported last week, Tarantino announced after the leak that he planned on shelving the project. He says the script had only been given to a handful of people and that it only made it on the public's radar when Gawker posted a link to the screenplay. CNN has reached out to Gawker for comment. We're waiting to hear back.
In a world where movie trailers seem absurdly long, an unlikely hero emerges to save us from the frustration of preview overload. According to the "Hollywood Reporter," movie theatre owners across the country are teaming up to cut down on how much time we spend watching trailers before the main event.
The new voluntary guidelines called for trailers to be no longer than 2 minutes. Right now, trailers can run up to 2.5 minutes. The average theater shows about eight trailers before a movie, which means we all lost about 20 minutes of our lives before getting to the movie we actually paid to see. Even though the move is voluntary, Hollywood studios are already pushing back. They trailers are their main marketing tool and there is no reason to shorten them. In other national news, many parts of the country have gotten an all- too brief respite from those bitterly cold temperatures, but now it's coming to an end. A wave of arctic air over the Midwest and the plains is expected to spread into the southeast today bringing a chance of snow to several major cities by tomorrow. There's a 70 percent chance of a wintry mix in New Orleans, Tuesday night.
Here in the nation's capital, there's a hypothermia alert going into effect for tomorrow morning. Tomorrow, I will be right back here at the capital at 4 p.m. Eastern where we will be looking ahead to the president's "State of the Union" address and later I will join Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper at 7 p.m. Eastern for CNN's live coverage of the "State of the Union" address. Make sure to follow me on Twitter @jaketapper and also @theleadCNN, and check out our show page at cnn.com/the lead for video, blogs and extras.
That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Now I'll turn you over to Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM -- Wolf.