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Monica Lewinsky Writes Tell-All Essay; Sarah Palin Hopes Becoming Grandmother Changes Hillary Clinton on Abortion; Life After Ariel Castro; Athlete Tackles Sleep Apnea

Aired May 7, 2014 - 12:30   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Andrea Peyser, who does a lot of mean writing, she took a real swing at Lewinsky, saying, "Lewinsky, I'd recommend you use your special talents to forge an exciting new career in whatever it is you do best." That's Andrea Peyser.

Barbara Walters, who I know you'll remember got that remarkable interview, I think there were like 70 million people who watched it that night, she has finally weighed in on this, as well.

In fact, just a few moments ago on "The View," she defended Monica Lewinsky. Have a listen.


BARBARA WALTERS, TV HOST, "THE VIEW": She's a nice girl. Nice is the wrong word. I'm trying to think of the adjective.


WALTERS: She got herself into this. She didn't know how to get herself out of it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In over her head.

WALTERS: She's still struggling with it.

She hasn't capitalized on it. She hasn't sold her story. She has no money. She has no job. She has no boyfriend.

JENNY MCCARTHY, TV HOST, "THE VIEW": It's all been in her failures -- it's in our failures that we often find our strength. And that's one of the things that I like about this.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, TV HOST, "THE VIEW": I just want to point out there's no good party here. There's no good Democratic party. There's no good Republican party, because a Republican friend of hers put her out there, as well.


BANFIELD: Joining me to talk about the difference between the collective opinion of Lewinsky and the collective opinion of the Clintons, particularly Bill, CNN commentator and defense attorney Mel Robbins.

I don't know what it is or why this strikes such a chord a decade and a half later. I don't know why they didn't put her on the cover of "Vanity Fair." Because if she's good enough for the cover of "The Post" like this, and for Andrea Peyser to just rip her to shreds, what's she ever done to Andrea Peyser?

MEL ROBBINS, CNN COMMENTATOR: I don't know. But, you know, the reason why I said -- you asked me what I think and the word that came out was disgusting is because I'm so pissed off right now.

And the reason why I am is because I cannot believe how many women, Ashleigh, have come out with the pens and the swords drawn and have filleted Monica Lewinsky for coming out and telling her story.

And, in fact, that beautiful photo that you showed, Maureen Dowd from "The New York Times" called it a "come-hither" pose. It's interesting that Maureen Dowd is trashing Monica Lewinsky when she actually won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting about this whole thing.

BANFIELD: I've got to say something. I'm a big Maureen Dowd fan. And sometimes I kind of get a chuckle out of Andrea Peyser, too.

I actually read Maureen Dowd's column a little differently. I saw her as skewering the Clintons for forging on with very successful lives and essentially the wake of Monica has almost been forgotten for Bill Clinton. I don't think it's --

ROBBINS: That's true.

BANFIELD: -- unless you get really, really nitty-gritty into the political argument, and where people really want to go low-brow in the political argument against him.

ROBBINS: Yeah, and a lot of people do.

BANFIELD: But for Monica, she has absolutely nothing, because she was nothing. She was 21. She has no foundation. She had nothing else to pin on her.

This was the only label people could pin on her, and they just couldn't take it off.

Here's -- she hid I, when the Internet went ballistic and sucked the air out of everything but Monica Lewinsky, and no one knew how to capitalize on that at that time --


BANFIELD: -- another world.

ROBBINS: And also the media certainly capitalized it. So all these people who are complaining that Monica Lewinsky is looking for a payday, first, why shouldn't she get one?

BANFIELD: But I meant this. They grabbed her and ran with her, and we started to learn what the Internet could do, right at that moment.


BANFIELD: But she didn't know what the Internet could do for her in the positive.

Like Kim Kardashian, I know a lot of those people stumbled into ecstasy --

ROBBINS: V. Stiviano, for crying out loud.

BANFIELD: These people, they were brandished as every sort of scarlet word you want --

ROBBINS: But, Ashleigh, this is why I'm angry about this. And the reason why I'm angry about this is it's super convenient to point fingers and to look at all the bad.

But what people don't want to acknowledge is actually the psychological impact that this had on Monica Lewinsky. Nobody wants to talk about the fact that she was suicidal. Nobody wants to talk about the fact that for three months her mother sat by her bed because she was terrified to leave her bedside.

And what really got me going, and I mean really got me going, is when Maureen Dowd wrote, disingenuously and pretentiously, Monica said that the tragedy of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers freshman who committed suicide in 2010 after his roommate secretly streamed his liaison with another man over the Web is what got her to decide to take her humiliation and try to find purpose.

Now here's the thing. Who the hell would actually understand what Tyler Clementi was going through? Monica Lewinsky, because she was betrayed by a friend just like Tyler was, when her secret conversations with her friend were turned over because they turned out to be taped.

BANFIELD: Let's remind everybody --

ROBBINS: And she also had suicidal thoughts.

BANFIELD: Let's remind everybody under 40, look, if you don't know the nitty-gritty, the facts matter in this story, Monica Lewinsky never breathed a word of this. She confided in her friend Linda Tripp. Linda "Tripp-wire," who recorded it and released it for the world to hear. She kept quiet afterward.

ROBBINS: She lied in an affidavit for the president.

BANFIELD: She was in love with that man. If you read her words, she was a 21-year-old love struck kid who got sent under the bus. Sent under the bus, and here we are again at 40, throwing her under the bus again.

ROBBINS: And article after article written by women.

BANFIELD: Women! Ladies, back off. Back off a sister.

ROBBINS: Here's my theory, and I have -- I'm going to tell you right now, Ashleigh.

I have absolutely no evidence to substantiate this, but in all of my study of human behavior, the number of speeches that I've given, the number -- the amount of people that I've poached, I'm going to tell you something.

When somebody explodes with vitriol, it's because you hit a nerve. I would not be surprised that there's something about this story that hits awfully close to home for the ladies that are writing these horrific nasty pieces.

BANFIELD: It can happen to y'all.

ROBBINS: Just saying.

BANFIELD: I'm just -- you know, I think you hit the nail on the head.

And, P.S., Monica's beautiful.

ROBBINS: She looks great.

BANFIELD: Forty-years-old, girl, you've got it and you're going to have a great life.

And harness it, take it, do what you want with it. Maybe let's leave this one -- let's let this sleeping dog lie, but move on with the other things.

ROBBINS: Hopefully, she'll go do good, like what she's saying.

BANFIELD: I hope so.

Mel, I wasn't sure if you were going to have anything to say about this. Thank you, Mel Robbins.

Next, coming up on "LEGAL VIEW," Sarah Palin, someone else who's known for saying stuff, lots of it, now saying stuff about Hillary Clinton and going there, yes, she's going grandchild.

And what she's saying about Hillary Clinton's grandchild is striking a nerve.

You're going to hear it. You're going to hear what people are saying about it, next.


BANFIELD: Sarah Palin's making some he headlines this morning saying Hillary Clinton's future grandchild might make her rethink her stance on abortion.

She had this interview with "Extra," in which Palin said she thinks becoming a grandmother will broaden Hillary Clinton's world view on abortion and other issues that could affect that grandchild's long- term future.


SARAH PALIN, FORMER REPUBLICAN VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She just knowing that her daughter Chelsea is pregnant with the baby, it's a real baby, you know. It's not some disposable something.

And I know that's going to be controversial, but those who perhaps get in this -- they're in this position now, as a parent or grandparent, they realize that sanctity of life, how innocent, how precious it is. Of all places, it should be in the womb that these babies are protected. So maybe even on a social issue like that, she'll open her eyes.


BANFIELD: I don't know. She's a mom, so she's already had one of those real babies. But Palin was also defending her recent controversial remarks in which she said, quote, "waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists."


PALIN: Somebody needs to get to Webster's dictionary and look up at what it means to baptize. It means to submerge. It means to dunk.

As for that, you know, the sacredness of the term, even baptism, I have such a great respect for it as a born-again Christian. I was baptized in the water in a freezing cold lake just about 10 miles up the road.


BANFIELD: I don't get it. Was it the sacred definition that you were referring to? Or was it just dunking someone? Because I kind of think it was the sacred thing, because it's funny.

During the interview, Mrs. Palin dodges the question about whether she has actually plans, though, to run for office, the big one, in 2016, so hang your hat on that one.

Joining me to talk about Palin's remarks, CNN commentator, defense attorney Mel Robbins. You're not going to believe how I'm going to come at you on this one.

ROBBINS: Please.

BANFIELD: While that was kind of, you know, perhaps inartfully said, the whole business about, you know, a real baby, not some disposable thing --


BANFIELD: I think she makes a really good point. This is fair game.

These conversations are fair game. Hillary Clinton is a political figure, and abortion is a big platform.

ROBBINS: Oh, there's no problem with Palin speaking out. That's what she does for a living. In fact, that's what many of us in the media business do for a living. We give our opinions.

I think the real question is, do you actually think she's right?


ROBBINS: I don't either.

BANFIELD: I don't think Sarah Palin is going to change Hillary Clinton's viewpoint on anything.

ROBBINS: And the other thing is that what's interesting is that I can almost imagine what Hillary would say.

And over the years, one of the things that she's developed among many is the ability to be super quick on her feet. I mean, I think when somebody threw the shoe at her, she said, Thank God you didn't have such good aim, and they missed here recently.

BANFIELD: I think the first thing she would say is Sarah who?

ROBBINS: That or she might also say that it's -- the fact that my daughter's pregnant has made me even more certain that she should have control over decisions about her body.

BANFIELD: But, you know, for all the ribbing that Sarah Palin takes, and you know she does say some silly things, but she's got some points of view that are widely held and widely respected and revered across this country.

So when she said waterboarding's how we baptize terrorists, again, there will be those who think that's inappropriate, and there will be those who think, To hell with it. That's exactly what you should do with terrorists.

ROBBINS: She doesn't care what you think. She's saying what she actually believes.

The thing I found weird about that comment is I think she meant baptize terrorists, and when she then tried to back off it, and say I just meant dunk, I didn't mean baptize. So she makes her living being controversial. And so everything that comes out of her mouth I expect to cause controversy. I thought she should have said, I hope this is controversial.

BANFIELD: Look, she's no dummy. But sometimes she says things before her brain can catch up with them.

ROBBINS: Don't we all?

BANFIELD: I've been doing it for 26 years. But when she said somebody needs to get a Webster's Dictionary and look it up, I think she was backtracking. Webster's, I think, says a Christian sacrament marked by ritual use of water, admitting the recipient to the Christian community. I don't know. Pretty clear to me. Just own it. Own it. Like Monica, own it.

ROBBINS: I'm telling you right now, there are plenty of people listening and watching. You may be one of them right now that actually agree with her. A lot of people hate terrorists. Don't care about waterboarding.

BANFIELD: And they'll agree with her in what they think might happen with Hillary Clinton becoming a grandmother. Although I will say this, becoming a mother I think is maybe more significant about what it's like to have a baby than being a grandmother. Call me crazy.

ROBBINS: Although my mother says all the time that becoming a grandmother was like the greatest thing that ever happened to her.


ROBBINS: Yes. Yes, absolutely. Not that I'm looking to become one, Sawyer, please.

BANFIELD: I'm the youngest of four, so when I had my two kids my mom called and said, yeah, how's everything going down there? You all right? You OK? You need anything?

I'm kidding. She was there. She was there.

Mel Robbins, thank you. Good to have you.

Hey, coming up, Anderson Cooper's been doing remarkable work this week. And we've got part two of this special report. this emotional interview he had with Michelle Knight.

She is that extraordinarily brave woman who survived more than a decade in Cleveland's "House of Horrors."

You're going to hear what she told Anderson about some of the more grisly details about what she survived.


BANFIELD: She was Ariel Castro's first kidnap victim. And Michelle Knight says that she was, quote, "the punching bag" to the man who held her for 11 years until she and two other women escaped a year ago this week. Here's part two of Anderson Cooper's exclusive interview with the woman who defied her captor by staying strong.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): On the outside, no one knew the horrors of what was happening inside 2207 Seymour Avenue. For months, 21-year-old Michelle Knight was all alone, chained, starved, brutally beaten and raped by her captor.

MICHELLE KNIGHT, KIDNAP SURVIVOR: I'd take myself outside of myself and look at a brighter side, at least I'm not dead.

COOPER: Then on April 21, 2003 --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If anybody knows anything about my daughter, I wish somebody would come forward.

COOPER: Michelle saw TV reports that a young girl named Amanda Berry had gone missing.

COOPER (on camera): And when you heard that, what did you think?

KNIGHT: The first thought in my head is, he did it.

COOPER: You knew right away?


COOPER (voice-over): The man she's referring to, Ariel Castro, in fact had kidnapped Amanda Berry. And even though they were held in the same house, Michelle and Amanda rarely saw each other. When they did, they were not allowed to talk. Michelle says one thing was clear to her, in that house, though they were both captive, they were far from equal.

COOPER (on camera): And you got the feeling -- you still have the feeling that he did not like you?


COOPER: But he treated her differently.

KNIGHT: Always.

COOPER: Always. How so?

KNIGHT: She got better food. She got clothes. She got blankets. She got basically whatever she wanted. Except for home.

COOPER: Why do you think that was?

KNIGHT: He had a fascination with her. More than me.

COOPER: Was that physical?

KNIGHT: It's more than likely she was the wife type of person. I was a punching bag.

COOPER (voice-over): Michelle's captor often talked about getting yet another girl. And almost a year after Amanda was taken, he did just that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Gina's family spent the last three days posting these missing flyers.

COOPER: On April 22, 2004, he abducted 14-year-old Gina DeJesus. And soon after, Michelle and Gina were chained together in that boarded up room. KNIGHT: When we were sad and we got knock down by things that he said, we would tell each other, you know, it's OK, that one day it would be over. We would try to encourage ourselves to keep hope that we would go home, even though sometimes we didn't feel like we were.

COOPER: Hope was hard to come by. Until December 2006, when Michelle was forced to deliver Amanda Berry's daughter, Jocelyn (ph).

KNIGHT: It was just so amazing to actually bring a new life into the world. But it was also traumatic at the same time.

COOPER (on camera): You write that you saved the baby's life.

KNIGHT: Yes. The baby came out not breathing. And at the point in time, I knew what he said, if the baby didn't come out breathing, I'll kill you. So I did --

COOPER: He told you that he would kill you if the baby didn't survive?


COOPER: He wanted that baby born?


COOPER: Who did he consider his family, all of you?

KNIGHT: Yes. But I was like the traitor of the family.

COOPER: The tough (ph) one.


COOPER: You smile when you say that. That was important to you, to remain defiant.


COOPER: And now it's a source of pride that you remained defiant.


COOPER: Explain that.

KNIGHT: All my life, I was made to feel insecure, like I was worthless. And for the first time in my life, I stood up to a person that was a demeaning person. And it felt good to stand up for myself because I never did before.

COOPER (voice-over): For the next seven years, Michelle, Gina, Amanda and her daughter Jocelyn were prisoners inside the home.

COOPER (on camera): Were you able to roam around the house?

KNIGHT: No. Never. Any time he would leave the house, he would lock our doors. And he -- COOPER: So was it - because I think a lot of people imagine, OK, you were just kind of all three living in this house, wandering in the house, cooking, doing all this stuff. That's not the reality?

KNIGHT: Oh, no.

COOPER: You were trapped - you were locked in this room?

KNIGHT: We were locked up in a room. We wasn't allowed to walk around the house. And if we did walk around the house, he was there. And he made sure we didn't do anything.

COOPER (voice-over): Their tormentor had locks and alarms on every door, mirrors at every corner. The windows were boarded up so no one could see in and no one could get out. Michelle says he would occasionally let them out in the backyard to play with Jocelyn, but only under his supervision and the threat that he would shoot them if they tried to escape.

COOPER (on camera): When you were in the backyard, did you see other people?


COOPER: You would see neighborhood people?

KNIGHT: Uh-huh.

COOPER: Did you ever think of saying anything to them?

KNIGHT: Uh-uh. I didn't want to get shot.

COOPER: He told you he had a gun?

KNIGHT: Oh, I know. He had one. Kept it everywhere he went.

COOPER (voice-over): Unable to escape from the hell she was living, Michelle's only solace was a pencil and some paper.

COOPER (on camera): What would you do with that?

KNIGHT: I would write songs, poems. I would draw. Anything and everything.

COOPER: That was a way for you to escape?


COOPER: Who would you write to?

KNIGHT: My son. I would write songs about what happened to me. I would write poems about things that I never had, things that I wanted. Like just random things that you never got to do because of the way your lifestyle was.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BANFIELD: Lifestyle. It's unbelievable. You can hear more from Michelle Knight in her interview with Anderson Cooper. It airs tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time right here on CNN.


BANFIELD: It might surprise you, but a Super Bowl champion suffers from a potentially deadly condition that, in fact, can affect millions of Americans too. Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us about this battle in this week's "Human Factor."


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Super Bowl champion Aaron Taylor's job as a guard was to be big and strong to defend. First at Notre Dame, a two-time all-American, and then for the Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers. Some of the same things that got him to the NFL may have also been affecting his health. Just like 60 percent of former linemen, according to a 2009 Mayo Clinic study.

AARON TAYLOR, SUPER BOWL XXXI CHAMPION: I was waking up more tired than I thought I should have been. Waking up feeling like I was hung over. I had a headache. My throat hurt. I had trouble concentrating. I was irritable.

What kind of sandwich is that?

GUPTA: While he had a family history of sleep apnea, a potentially life threatening illness cause by structural obstruction of the airway during sleep, Taylor never thought it would be something he'd have to deal with himself.

TAYLOR: Throughout the night, 20 times per hour for 20 seconds per time, I wasn't breathing. That night after night after night after night is what led to all the problems that I had.

GUPTA: Once he was diagnosed with sleep apnea, he made working out and eating healthy a priority. And Taylor started using a breathing device called a CPAP to help him overcome it.

TAYLOR: That basically keeps my throat open so that I can breathe continuously. The result has been my kids get their daddy back, my employers get a good employee back, my wife gets a good husband back.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.


BANFIELD: And thanks for watching, everyone. My colleague, Wolf Blitzer, starts right now.