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Putin's D.C. Sanctions Club; Ryan Confronted On Poverty; Interpreting Photos Taken From Space

Aired March 21, 2014 - 07:30   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: If one were to invite you on a date for an alcoholic coffee beverage and small bite, is that a good date or does it seem like you're going cheap.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: I think it's good initial.



BERMAN: I just want to know if the liquor is going to have the same burnt taste as Starbucks coffee.

CUOMO: That's a knock on Starbucks coffee from J.B.

Strong words. Speaking of strong words, a strong man known for strong words is John King taking us inside politics on NEW DAY. Search for a plane in one part of the world. Search for meaning in American politics -- John King.

JOHN KING, HOST, CNN'S "INSIDE POLITICS": Tough words for Mr. Berman there. You're right about that. I'll stick to my triple espresso especially early in the morning. Busy day driving inside politics today. Something John just mentioned and with me to share reporting and their insights Maeve Reston of the "Los Angeles Times," Bill Kristol of the "Weekly Standard."

Let's start with the one thing Vladimir Putin has done to unite Washington. Democrats and Republicans want to be on his sanctions list. They are bragging about it. Mary Landrieu, a Democratic senator in a tough re-election campaign says being sanctioned by President Putin is a badge of honor.

John McCain says, "I guess this means my spring break in Siberia is off. Gazprom stock is lost and my secret bank account in Moscow is frozen. A lot of fun with this, Bill, but beneath this is a serious question. A lot of people believe Crimea is lost and the United States Congress and the Obama White House have not been able to agree on the sanctions and aid package. Should they stop laughing and get working.

BILL KRISTOL, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Fine for one day. Crimea looks like it lost, Putin looks like he lost. Can we win Ukraine as a price perhaps of losing Crimea? Things have to be done, bigger ramping up of sanctions I would say. Also military relationships with NATO relationships around Russia, ground troops saying that should not be ruled out to Ukraine. Across two roads that go from Ukraine to Crimea, securing Ukraine wouldn't be a crazy thing. But of course, nobody in Washington wants to talk about ground troops. I agree a little less cute and more serious about doing some stuff that would help us fight push back against Putin.

KING: But the president was pretty clear this week in taking that ground troop idea. He took that off the table. He said we are not we are not going to have a military excursion to the Ukraine.

MAEVE RESTON, "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES": The best thing that happened to Mary Landrieu. She can go home and say she's on Putin's list. She is going to have a hearing next week on energy exports. I mean, it's a great issue for her to talk about at the domestic level rather than focusing on military maneuvering over there.

KRISTOL: A hearing. She's chairman of the committee now, right?

RESTON: Right.

KRISTOL: Are they going to pass sanctions, liberate Europe. I think there are real issues here and a little too much posturing going on in Washington. A little too little seriousness about a real crisis in the world.

KING: A lot of talking, while we could use some action. You mentioned Mary Landrieu, she wants to talk about this because health care is a huge issue in her race. She is being hammered by Republicans for supporting Obamacare or as Nancy Pelosi wants to remind us the affordable care act.

Listen to the Democratic leader, the former speaker of the House. She could argue she lost her job as speaker in part because of the president's health care plan, yet listen to this.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: I believe it's a winner. By the way, it's called the affordable care act. It's called the affordable care act. Affordable. Affordable. Affordable. Affordable. Affordable.


KING: Repetition is a great weapon in politics sometimes. She says she even lectures the president about this sometimes because he sometimes calls it Obamacare. She says don't use that label that's what the Republicans want you to say. Affordable. Can she really make an argument for Democrats in this midterm that it's a winner?

RESTON: Well, I mean, honestly what else is she going to say, right? That it's not a winner? Going into these races, though, the problem the administration has every person out there who sees their health care premiums rising can blame it on affordable care act. The biggest weapon that they have right now is repeating these kinds of mantras over and over again. But when I was in Louisiana, for example, writing about Landrieu's race, what you hear over and over again for people is they are skeptical that it is going to help their families. They are worried that it's hurting them. That's a huge hurdle for her to overcome.

KRISTOL: She's the speaker of the House. They aren't going to lose many House seats. This is her legacy. This is the biggest piece of legislation that's passed when she was speaker. Of course, she wants to defend the affordable care act. Patient protection and affordable care act, isn't this the problem, some of the patients thought they were being protected keep their policy, keep their doctor can't. But for Democratic senators running for re-election, they are in a totally different situation than Nancy Pelosi.

KING: House members' smaller district statewide is a much tougher sell. Want to return to a subject we talked about here last week, Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman. He is also with military last night thinking about running for president in 2016. He was on Bill Bennett's radio show and talked about a cultural problem in inner cities, people too lazy, didn't have a culture of going to work. He is home in Wisconsin district and took some heat from an African-American constituent. Let's listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This statement is not true. As a code word for black, but there are people in the inner city who are white, Hispanic, Armenian, Danish.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: This is not a race thing, it's just a poor thing. Poverty knows no racial boundaries. You don't know me, so you don't know who I am. Race has nothing to do with this.


KING: Give some credit to NBC News Young Jedi Luke Russert, he was at the town hall. This is a tough one for Paul Ryan. I've known him a long time. When I first came working as a protege of Jack Kemp on these issues. I know he cares passionately about these issues. He cited work of Charles Murray who has argued in some of his books that people below the poverty line are somehow genetically inferior.

RESTON: Well, I mean, this is a very difficult issue to talk about in a sound bite culture that we have here. The other issue for Paul Ryan is that even though he's worked so long on these issues, he's trapped in that framework of the Romney campaign where he's sort of stuck in the 47 percent comment that Romney made on the campaign trail last year. So it makes it very difficult for him to talk about substantive issues in short, quick sound bites that people are going to relate to.

KING: Because of the Republican Party's problem with African-American voters here, is there a higher bar for especially white Republicans to try and talk about these issues? You're mad at him because he not necessarily apologized, but he said you took me the wrong or if I misspoke, I'm sorry. KRISTOL: You know what, we now can't discuss the truth? I mean, Charles Murray, fantastically good social scientist, wrote a good book entirely about white America, new book and how the new problems of the lower class in America, the unique quality, a liberal theme. Not allowed to talk about the cultural factors?

In troubled neighborhoods all across this country, many of them heavily African-Americans, too few of our citizens have role models to guide them. Barack Obama. Barack Obama can say it and Paul Ryan can't, that's not a political culture that we want to have.

KING: The use of the Charles Murray reference, you mentioned some work. But he has argued previously --

KRISTOL: He's a very fine social scientist. He's argued that IQ matters. Yes. He said it's an unfortunate thing, IQ, highly educated society, harder to make a good living, that's a problem for lower IQ individuals. It doesn't mean they are morally not as worthy of health and respect. In fact Paul Ryan's point entirely was we need to figure out more manageably how to help those in poverty.

KING: This conversation will continue. I want to close by showing something here. Paul Ryan has talked about these issues, might want to spend more time with hero of the civil rights movement. This has nothing to do with civil rights. It has everything to do with a little bit of a, shall we say, mojo. Watch John Lewis right here dancing to "Happy" by Farrell. You guys do this in the office all the time, too?

KRISTOL: Not at "The Weekly Standard." Strictly forbidden.

KING: All right, I can't -- good luck, Congressman. Teach me that. I don't know how to do that. One other thing to watch, the president's meeting with high tech executives at the White House today. They are not happy about NSA. They are not happy about privacy issues, the future of the internet. So keep an eye on that one. Chris and Michaela and Mr. Berman, we continue our day with politics.

CUOMO: Techy should be worried about their own privacy standards. John King, you can dance. It's all in the hips. See the congressman using the hips. I hope that wasn't his voice, that falsetto singing "Happy?"

KING: I have no rhythm.

CUOMO: I know the song is Farrell, but I wondered if John Lewis' voice. Dig on it. Dig in on that, J.K. I know you can dance.

KING: We'll dig deep.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY. It is being called the most remote place on earth. The distance is not the worst part for searchers. We're going to take you to the map and the conditions and challenges searchers are facing. Some of the worst anywhere. Our meteorologist, Indra Petersons, will take us through it. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Right now, a U.S. jet is over the surf zone looking for those two objects spotted by satellite some days ago. We believe about 15 miles south southwest from Perth, Australia, 1500 is how far they have to travel just to start the search. The ocean always a tremendous challenge.

But this is something different. Home to some of the most unforgiving weather patterns on the planet. If these two objects are even confirmed from Flight 370, maybe the worst place to try to recover them. Let's bring in Indra Petersons, our meteorologist, of course. What are we dealing with here? The distance you are telling me maybe the least of their problems.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. I mean, you're talking about the currents, the winds and also the depth. Three of the worst things in all scenarios. We are talking about the worst case scenarios for all of them. One of the things I want to talk about is notice the location of debris. When you talk about these latitudes, 40 south and 50 south of latitude, between 45 and 55, talk about polar current. Long word. What it means is one of the strongest currents in the world. It's 1200 miles wide, all the way down to the depth. It can move debris anywhere as fast as 25 miles per day.

CUOMO: So 25 miles per day. We believe the red dots are where they last sighted debris. We don't know where it is now, but this is something that we have to take into consideration. That current not only pushes it farther but could push it down as well, right?

PETERSONS: Right. And you are talking about that five days old and keep in mind, so you are talking about 125 miles. They only have a couple of hours every day to search for this. So by the time they come back to Australia back to the debris spot, there is a potential this has moved another 125 miles in just that one day. That's a huge concern.

CUOMO: So if they guess right on the current then they have to deal with the wind.

PETERSONS: Correct. That's the other problem. Exact same latitude. Talk about roaring forties, also furious fifties. These are some of the strongest winds. These go all way around the globe. Notice you're not talking about any land that is intersecting. With that you actually have friction to slow down wind. No friction here, very strong winds, tropical storm force. So even 60-mile-per-hour winds especially the farther south.

And we are switching seasons. This is a concern. We start to see the wind strengthen and actually come a little bit higher up. Notice where that debris potential is. We're going to start to see the winds only strengthen as we go forward in time.

CUOMO: So the location is a challenge, the season is a challenge. Having no land is also a challenge because it increases the wind effect. Then you have some of the deepest ocean as well, right? Tell me about that.

PETERSONS: Well, first of all, we are talking about rough seas. So anything that potentially should be floating may not be floating anymore. So that's the concern. Of course, you have these air patches and wing a plane, but you could have those rough seas to bring it down. We do have a map here. Kind of show you the depth there. Talking about the depth anywhere from about 1,000 to even 10,000 feet.

So when you talk about that, you are talking about that slope really going farther down to the south. It doesn't look like we have that map so I'll take you back down here and kind of show you what we're looking at. So there is this ridge right in the region. If you're right along the ridge, you're actually talking about 1,000 feet, which is going to be better searching.

But once you go farther down to about 10,000 feet, you know that slope is very deep. The good news, though, the very smooth surface. That is the one plus they have in the area. It is a lot easier to navigate underneath the water.

CUOMO: We had some of our sources we are talking about the properties of the ocean in that area, which I guess deals with the bottom of the ocean. This is relevant not because of available area that they have to look at, but because of what you're dealing with, with signal strength of the beacon, right. They have to be within like three miles of it to hear it at all.

PETERSONS: Yes. You need to be close enough. It looks like we actually have that map here behind us now. So if you zoom in, right now looking at debris area, a good 2 million nautical miles. That's the search area they are looking for. Once they get underneath, look how smooth it is. That is the plus I was just talking about. Definitely smooth terrain underneath there, but we need to narrow this down about 5,000 square miles before it really makes sense and they are able to actually find something underneath the water.

CUOMO: You are also dealing with top sea conditions as well. Yesterday, they had freaky white cap waves, right. That makes it difficult because they are looking for something white and it's just general navigability whether on water or in the air, right?

PETERSONS: Yes, you are talking about waves now going from anywhere about 15 feet, of course, as we start to shift towards winter. We are talking about 30 even 40 foot waves are going to start kind of shifting farther to the north. Who is to say you talk about a current that's 1,200 miles wide where that debris originally started and where it could be. That impact makes a difference, how scattered that debris is going to be out there. Farther south, a lot more trouble. That's the biggest concern.

CUOMO: Slows down in terms of getting to the area. Slows down how much they can search and over the next few days, they will start seeing tough weather again, which is going to slow down the search period.

PETERSONS: Yes. The conditions are only worsening. A lot talking about this. The Indian Ocean, big circulation, most of the debris is typically small unless there was a huge weather event like a tsunami, brings larger amounts of debris in the area. Of course, if there's been anything to fall off a ship. Typical trade pattern of westerly, a lot of times you could see a large container, but that's very large.

CUOMO: So that will be an unusually large container. Tsunami debris in the gyre, comes from gyrate spins in a circle.

PETERSONS: But you'd have to have a recent event, which right now we don't have on that is actually hitting land in that area. So that's not very improbable.

CUOMO: But they are dealing with enough already.

PETERSONS: Enough and weather is getting worse.

CUOMO: Couldn't have picked the worse area and truth is they don't know if they are in the right area. This is a lead. Indra, very helpful. Thank you for this. Appreciate it.

We'll take a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, to most of us those satellite images, they are just blobs. The question is how did authorities go from grainy patches to full scale search for debris? We'll tell you about the incredible technology and expertise at play here.


PEREIRA: Back here at NEW DAY. Right now, a U.S. Navy jet is flying over the Southern Indian Ocean searching for visual confirmation that debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 might be in those waters. But how did we get here? How did experts makes heads and tails of these grainy captures taken from space.

Here to explain it, Wes Green, he is director of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance from BAE Systems and also an imagery analyst and former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer. My man, you've been busy. Let's take a look at it. It's good to have you with us.

I want you using your expert eyes to look at what folks at home are thinking is a grainy black and white photo that doesn't really show us anything but a blob in the ocean, what do you see? What do you think that could be?

WES GREEN, IMAGERY ANALYST: Well, when we do imagery analysis, we look at it from a context around what we're able to see and pick out on the image. That consists of several things. The first is going to be the size of the object, which we have here for us. We have it at 24 meters.

PEREIRA: Here we go.

GREEN: And 79 feet and 16 feet. The second thing we look at is can we determine shape of the object and what does that shape of the object tell us about what we're potentially looking at. Then we look at the surroundings. In this case, the surroundings don't give you as much clue because you're in the middle of the ocean. You're having a very sterile background to look at.

Then you look at shading, potential shading of the object itself. Is there something draped over the object that could be giving you some clues about what you're looking at or potentially obscuring it. And the last thing we look at is the shadow, the object itself make it off? Again, this is difficult in this case because it's on the surface of the ocean and it's not casting a shadow.

PEREIRA: Shipping container? A pod of whales. An oil slick. All of these theories have been put out there as to what this could possibly be. Do you look at that and think any of those things could be the cause of this?

GREEN: Well, one of the key things to think about here, too, is that imagery analysis, something that you're trying to put together a picture. It's kind of like trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle. In this case, this is one piece of what that jigsaw puzzle would be. Just like when you have that puzzle and you're looking at it, trying to put together matching pieces, get together kind of a bigger context around what you're looking at, you know, that's what we would be looking at here. Unfortunately in a case like this, because you only have one piece, you don't have the full context.

PEREIRA: That's a very good point. Australian military assets are looking to get new satellite imagery. Talk to me about what new information that they're hoping to get to capture in this area that they're searching?

GREEN: Sure. Just like that analogy I just gave you about the jigsaw puzzle, imagine if you're able to say I have two, three, four pieces and now I can the start drawing a connect the dots where it starts to give me that context where I can put one object and it may be lining up with another object. Now it starts telling me more about the greater picture. That's really what these additional satellite images would give them.

PEREIRA: Look further, obviously, we don't know how this object has since moved.

GREEN: Correct.

PEREIRA: It's four days from when it was taken until these images were released. There's been a few more days that have then transpired currents. It could have sunken into the ocean. They come into play. The delay, there was a four day delay. Is that standard, once you capture the images, you analyse. It would be safe to release your information from that four days later?

GREEN: In every case it's going to be different. The reason I say it's different is because in the case like this you're looking across such a vast background of the Indian Ocean. In that background space you're trying to look -- in this case, you're looking to get over 1400 miles of just surface area and you're trying to find an object that's 79 feet? So imagine putting together that. Sometimes even when you're collecting these images across this large area you have to -- it's been a tremendous amount of time just to go in and search those images and pull the granularity out from that background and then to find those objects and say, yes, this is of value in this case.

PEREIRA: You're a value to us using your expert eyes. We'll keep you around. Next hour we want to talk about the assets that are being pressed into service here to aid in the search of the missing flight. Wes Green, thanks so much for that.

GREEN: Thank you.


CUOMO: All right, Mich, coming up on NEW DAY, discouraging news in the remote waters off Australia. Nothing has been found yet. That is the word from authorities in the search for Flight 370. We will bring you the very latest and test the information coming out of investigators.