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Weather Helping Fire Crews in California; MERS Virus Spreads Inside U.S.; Sixty Years after Brown Vs. Board of Education; NYT Fight Turns Public and Nasty

Aired May 18, 2014 - 08:00   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Look who is up and at 'em? We're glad for it. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Eight o'clock here on the East Coast. This is NEW DAY SUNDAY.

And we're starting with the destructive wildfires in southern California. The firefighters now, they seem to have the upper hand. And you can thank the weather for that. Four major fires are still burning.

PAUL: We know in some areas, a lot of residents have been given the all clear to return to their homes to assess the damage. But at Camp Pendleton, nearly 20 percent of the base has burned.

Our Indra Petersons has got a unique look on how to fight the blaze.


INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: This is the airstrip the marines use to battle these blazes. In all, they dropped a half a million gallons of water and 150 round trips and we just went along for one of them.

(voice-over): A wall of flames closing in on a marine airstrip, a military base under siege.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I watch as this marched from about a half a mile away almost to within 200 meters of us. And I could feel the heat on my face as this thing approached.

PETERSONS: Enter the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and 22 helicopters ready to battle the flames. On this flight, we're headed for a lake on the base with a 300-gallon bucket in tow. Our chopper is guided by a crew chief manning a door in the chopper floor known as the hellhole.

From our window, you can see the delicate balance as other choppers lower toward the lake. Our pilot does the same, lowering the bucket until it's submerged. Once it's full, we head for the fire line. (on camera): Right now, we're flying directly over the fire line. You can actually see how badly burned this area is after these fires.

(voice-over): Again using the hellhole and a lot of precision, the crew chief spots the right moment to make the drop. On his signal the water is released. In all, these choppers made over 900 drops.

At the fire's peak, Captain Bradley Gibson pulled it off with zero visibility.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see your lead aircraft go into smoke and he just disappears. You don't know if he goes straight ahead, you don't know if he's coming out to the left, you don't know if he got his bucket dropped off or not. So, best you can do is hope.

PETERSONS: The smoke so intense it cut off the main water supply on the base, forcing the crews to look elsewhere. This video shows a marine chopper hovering over the Pacific Ocean.

(on camera): So you just went along on one ride, but in all, these marines have spent 250 hours in the air fighting these blazes. It helped them get the upper hand on this fire and the cooler weather here is only expected to help even further.


BLACKWELL: Our Indra Petersons for us -- thank you, Indra.

PETERSONS: OK. So, earlier we said the weather was cop rating with the firefighting efforts today. The question is, what about tomorrow? There's still so much to be done?

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in meteorologist Alexandra Steele on our severe weather center.

How about looking forward? Good weather?

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. Improving conditions, no question about it. So short-term it's fine, and certainly improving. But it's the longer term. You know, we've been in this blocking pattern, our third dry winter in a row, 2013 going down as California's driest on record and 2014 looking even worse.

But in the short term, we've seen kind of a change in the pattern. Cooler air coming off the water now, so increasing the moisture. Temperatures coming down out of the 90s, in toward the 70s where we should be in southern California and an increasing humidity. So, that's all good news.

But the bigger picture, the fire danger in and of itself. So, the weather forecast is favorable, but the fire forecast is less so. This year alone, we've doubled the five-year average. So, the fire forecast not looking bright.

All right. In terms of other news and weather across the world and the country, here is what we've got. This line of showers and storms, in the Southeast stays in place today. Showers also in the northwest and kind of a much cooler pattern for the next couple days on the Eastern Seaboard. Then, warming up as we head toward the beginning of the week.

BLACKWELL: All right. Looking forward to it. Alexandra Steele, thank you very much.


PAUL: An Illinois man who may have thought he had a spring time cold instead had the sometimes deadly virus MERS. Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is the first known case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, spreading person to person inside the United States. Two other people are thought to have brought the virus to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia. One of them infected the Illinois man in a business meeting. The new case was very mild, though, we want to let you know, and the patient is already better.

BLACKWELL: New this hour, 18 people are set to be arrested in connection with the deadly turkey mine disaster. That's according to state media. The search for victims has ended with 301 bodies recovered. But investigators are still trying to figure out what caused this tragedy.

Also, riot police are patrolling the streets of that mining town. Authorities have banned protests after police clash with demonstrators furious over the government's handling of the disaster.

Also, this weekend marks 60th anniversary of the Brown versus Board of Education ruling. That landmark Supreme Court decision overturned segregation in America's schools.

PAUL: Well, this morning, CNN's Candy Crowley has an exclusive interview with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick who is opening up about how that decision shaped his life.

Hi, Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, "STATE OF THE UNION" HOST: Hey, good morning. You're right. Deval Patrick, really an interesting politician on the scene right now, the two-term governor from Massachusetts, which has produced I think I should tell you, a couple of presidential nominees. He also is going into the private sector at the end of this year.

But in many ways, he is the son of Brown versus Board of Education. He was born two years after and he has gone basically from a south side tenement where he was raised by a single mom in his grandparent's apartment to the governor of Massachusetts. So, he has quite the story to tell and a lot of observations about race in this country and kind of the bitter words that we've heard in the past couple weeks versus what really we should be discussing.

BLACKWELL: All right. Candy, we're looking forward to it. Thank you very much.

Watch Candy's exclusive interview with Governor Patrick. That's today at 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

So, a "New York Times" firing is now getting public. It is turning nasty. These allegations of sexism after the executive editor was fired, but the publisher says that's not what happened here. See how he's responding.

CROWLEY: Also, Hillary Clinton just had her first big political event this year, hosted a fund-raiser for a congressional candidate. We're going to tell you why she's helping out here.


BLACKWELL: Hillary Clinton is still pretty tight-lipped on a 2016 bid for the White House, but she was on the campaign trail last week stumping for a House candidate in Pennsylvania.

You know, that had a lot of people wondering, what's Hillary -- what brought her out for a kind of, as they called it, run-of-the-mill congressional race.

CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger explains.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: I wouldn't be here if her son was not my son-in-law.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): She is Marjorie Margolies, her son happens to be married to Chelsea Clinton.

Chelsea is now expecting a baby.


BORGER: And her mom may be running for president.

(on camera): Your son has married into a political dynasty. What's that like?


BORGER (voice-over): That depends on how you define normal. Because the back story of the two families is anything but.

BILL CLINTON: I'm not saying vote for her because 20 years ago she saved the economy.

BORGER: She also saved Clinton's presidency, it was 1993. Clinton's defining economic plan was on the House floor and about to die.

MARGOLIES: The Republicans were high-fiving, saying it's going down.

BORGER: She was a holdout, a Philadelphia freshman who had won by just over a thousand votes.

MARGOLIES: A lot of Democrats were talking about changing their vote.

BORGER: That's when the president called.

MARGOLIES: And I said and I will only be your last vote. I know how important this is.

BORGER: He hung up and then watched her from the White House.

PAUL BEGALA, FORMER CLINTON ADVISER: As we all gather around this little one-foot 13 inch screen and watch the vote, Marjorie walked down the aisle and cast the vote. And Republicans stood there and said, bye-bye, Marjorie, bye-bye, Marjorie.

MARGOLIES: The vote was needed and I gave him the 218.

BEGALA: So, I'm quite sure he knew that that was -- a political death knell.

BORGER: And it was.

MARGOLIES: I do not regret my vote, nor do I apologize for it.

There was a lot of hostility in that room.

BORGER: Hostility that would send her packing in just one term.

Fast forward 20 years, and now, her old seat is open with one big difference, the district has been re-drawn and it's solidly Democratic. So, she is at it again, locked in a tight primary as an advocate for abortion rights and the middle class.

(on camera): Is this a little bit the politics of redemption, to a degree?

MARGOLIES: I'm not sure. I think it would be more resilience. I don't have any retirement skills.

BORGER (voice-over): She spent the last two decades on women's issues both outside and inside politics.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sexual harassment in Capitol Hill, is it there?

MARGOLIES: Well, first of all, I think it has to be addressed.

BORGER (on camera): Do you think women have a harder time still, running?

MARGOLIES: When I was running in the '90s, I always got questions as to who is taking care of your children. And even if the questions aren't asked, they're there.

BORGER (voice-over): In this campaign she started as the big name frontrunner and has been attacked on campaign finances, for coasting early on and for her use of a valuable asset, the Clintons.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He seems like a great guy, but everything he is talking about happened in the past.

MARGOLIES: We always knew that if they came in too much, we would be blamed for they're coming in too much. If they didn't come in enough, that people would say they didn't come in enough. You're kind of damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

They have done everything we've asked them to do, and I am running on what I have accomplished in the last 20 years, and not on my affiliation with the Clintons.

BORGER: But she is not exactly running away from them either.

BILL CLINTON: And this district will be well served if you elect her.

BORGER: Did she consult with the former president about running?

MARGOLIES: I called and he said, I think it's a good idea. But that's pretty much it.

BORGER: She is even more guarded if you dare to ask some personal questions about life in the Clinton family.

MARGOLIES: It's just -- it's an area that I will not get into. I -- they are lovely. The Clintons couldn't be any nicer.

BORGER (on camera): Are you going to talk about what it is going to be like to be co-grandmother in chief?


BORGER (voice-over): After four decades in the public eye, Margolies knows how to stay on message, even when it's Hillary Clinton.

(on camera): Is there any doubt in your mind that she is running?

MARGOLIES: She has said that she has that she is making up her mind, and I take her at her word.


MARGOLIES: She has said that she's making up her mind and I take her at her word. She has said --


BORGER (voice-over): Gloria Borger, CNN, Philadelphia.


BLACKWELL: All right. PAUL: Making it very clear there.

BLACKWELL: Very clear. Even put (INAUDIBLE)

You know, typically when someone is fired, it's a personnel matter, it's private. This is now turning into something very public.

PAUL: We're talking about the termination of Jill Abramson from "The New York Times." her boss is weighing in now. It is getting dicey.


JOHN KING, "INSIDE POLITICS WITH JOHN KING": Coming up, a new scandal prompts embarrassing questions about President Obama's management style. Plus, Karl Rove provokes a firestorm but still gets what he wanted -- a serious discussion about Hillary Clinton's health, with none other the former President Bill Clinton weighing. We'll see you in a few minutes inside politics.

PAUL: All right. "INSIDE POLITICS WITH JOHN KING" airs at the bottom of the hour, 8:30 Eastern.

So, let's talk about the publisher of "The New York Times", disputing claims that sexism fueled the firing of executive editor Jill Abramson.

BLACKWELL: Yes. So, there's this new statement that Arthur Sulzberger goes into details about Abramson's alleged shortcomings. Here's a quote, "During the tenure, I heard repeatedly from her newsroom colleagues, women and men, about a series of issues including arbitrary decision making, a failure to consult and bring colleagues with her, and adequate communication and the public mistreatment of colleagues.

PAUL: CNN has just confirmed, by the way, that Abramson will deliver the commencement speech tomorrow at Wake Forest University.

So, let's talk with Brian Stelter, host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES" about this, because as if people didn't know, but just, you know, for all clarification, Brian, you worked for "The Times."


PAUL: Yes. OK, until now it appeared both sides agreed not to speak publicly about the departure. What's going on?

STELTER: It sure seems that way. But for three days there's been this native in the media. Within hours of Abramson's firing, it started to come out in the press, that she had been paid less than the male editor that came before her.

There were also questions about whether the behavior that she exhibited as the editor of the newspaper was that much different from the prior male editors that had been in the past. We saw this statement on Saturday from the publisher trying to break that narrative and present a new narrative. He says this is about her poor management skills.

As one who worked for "The Times" for six years before I came over to CNN about six months ago, I can tell you his statement rang true to me. As a reporter, I never experienced that behavior that he was describing. But I know that editors of "The Times" did. So, that's why the timing is surprising, but maybe not the decision to do it was surprising. You know what I mean?

BLACKWELL: So, not so much about -- at least from your experience, about the sexism and the money, but these few items said in the statement, inadequate communication, public mistreatment of colleagues, those rang true to you. Let me ask you --

STELTER: Well, here is the thing. It becomes about whether there's unequal expectations for women. Even if she wasn't the best manager in the world, and I think even she would say she wasn't, were there unequal expectations. Is there a double standard for women at the top of the journalism ladder? I think a lot of men and women say there is.

BLACKWELL: Well, there was a piece in "Politico" about bringing in potentially a co-ed tore and that being Sulzberger's last stand. I think that's the name of the article.

But do you think she'll talk about this tomorrow at wake forest?

STELTER: I sure hope so, because Sulzberger put some pretty serious, pretty damning allegations, and she should be able to respond. No matter whether the non-disparagement clause exists in her exit deal, she should be able to respond. You know, her daughter has been responding.

Her daughters has been posting Instagrams since Wednesday. One of them had Abramson at a boxing ring with boxing gloves on, implying that there's a fight to come. And then, on Friday, she wrote, this story is not over, not by a long shot. So, I do think we're going to hear from this editor, I do think it's going to continue a conversation about how men and women are treated differently, not just in the media, not just on television, for example, but in newsrooms.

PAUL: OK. What is your take on that? I mean, do you think women in your experience, from what you've seen, women are treated differently or expected to do things differently?

STELTER: At "The New York Times" -- I talked to a lot of my former colleagues there in the last few days, there are some pretty important questions that have come up about whether women are promoted as often and as well as men and whether they're paid the same amount. There's not a lot of clarity on that issue.

Arthur Sulzberger says "The Times", you know, feels strongly about equal pay and about equal treatment of women. And "The Times" has been progressive in many ways in that regard. But I still hear from female editors and reporters who say there is a double standard, that there is somewhat of a glass ceiling at "The Times." Of course, in Abramson's case, people call it a glass cliff. Once you reach the top, then you're pushed out.

BLACKWELL: We'll, of course, stand by to hear what she says tomorrow.

But let's talk about another story developing this week, AT&T and this deal to buy DirecTV for potentially $50 billion, comes after the Comcast and Time Warner Cable deal. What does this mean for the folks at home?

STELTER: This may be announced as early as this afternoon. The boards of the two companies are meeting today to approve this deal. It affects a lot of people at home. In fact, one out of four people watching right now either has DirecTV or AT&T U-verse. I don't think their service, I don't think their packages will change right away.

But this is further consolidation in an industry that seems to have fewer and fewer players, Comcast and Time Warner Cable emerging. If AT&T and DirecTV also merge, it will be one fewer option for consumers about how to get television, how to pay for television every month.

And the reason why they're doing this, the reason why all this consolidation is happening, because everything is moving to the Internet in one way or another, the way we watch television, the way we access information. It's all digital. It's all internet-based in the future and AT&T and DirecTV are trying to get ahead of that trend.

PAUL: All righty. Hey, Brian Stelter, good to see you.

STELTER: You, too. Thank you.

PAUL: Sure.

So, you can watch Brian on "RELIABLE SOURCES" this morning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

All righty. Have your invitation to the big wedding?

BLACKWELL: What big wedding?

PAUL: Kanye and Kim. Isn't everybody invited? Come on, people.

BLACKWELL: No. Maybe it's lost in the mail. Maybe. But what is not lost is "Saturday Night Live's" take on Kimye's big day.

PAUL: Oh no.

BLACKWELL: Stay with us for this.


BLACKWELL: So, "Saturday Night Live" poked a little fun at Kim and Kanye. Kimye as they are called now.

PAUL: Yes, you've got to see it. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to our show, "Waking Up with Kimye." It's America's favorite morning team. We've got so much chemistry, we can finish each other's --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On May 24th, Kim and I are getting married. What's marriage mean to you, baby?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's the thing you need in order to get a divorce.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In one week, Kim will walk down the aisle, take her place at the altar and watch me ride down the aisle on a male elephant.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Elephants are the best.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what better place for a cultural icon, like Kim to get married --