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Can GOP "Crush" The Tea Party; Clinton-In-Law On The Ballot; Mike Pence For President?; MERS Transmission Confirmed In U.S.; Parental Rights Battles Spark Debate

Aired May 20, 2014 - 07:30   ET


PETER HAMBY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: It is going to be a very tight general election against the Democrat -- likely Democrat nominee, Alison Lundergan Grimes, the secretary of state there. He does have to keep the Republican base in the fold. But, to your point, Mitch McConnell, this is personal to him. He has been laying the groundwork to beat back a Tea Party challenge for years. This goes back to four years ago when he reached out to Rand Paul and brought him into the tent.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST, "INSIDE POLITICS": After Rand Paul beat his buddy in a primary.

HAMBY: That's right. Brought these grassroots folks into his team. He's going to need Rand Paul in the general election, too, to help keep that side of the field in the fold for him.

KING: How much -- well, it's personal, I guess, Jonathan. How personal in the sense that when Peter says he laid the groundwork, he lost his best friend in the Senate, Senator Bennett lost to a Tea Party challenge. Senator McConnell takes it personal because he watched them say bye.

JONATHAN MARTIN, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": He and Bob Bennett were very close friends. They were both appropriators. The fact is when Bennett lost in 2010, I think it really did have a big effect on Senator McConnell. And it's about the future though, too, John. The fact is, he wants to demonstrate if he next year becomes majority leader that this is his majority. In 2016, these groups best not even bother with a primary challenge. He wants to snuff out this cycle once for all.

KING: It's interesting point about the power because it's very hard to think in a year we think will be a big Republican year. Democrats are looking at maybe a dozen seats they now hold in the senate that are at risk. Some Republicans say it's 14 seats. If the Democrats are going to pick up seats they think their best opportunities are in Kentucky and Georgia, red states.

Listen to Mitch McConnell here talking to our chief congressional correspondent, Dana Bash. There's a gender gap there because as Peter noted, he's running against Alison Grimes. She is the secretary of state. He says I can make up the gender gap by focusing on the Republican, not so secret weapon, Obamacare. We don't have that sound. I'm sorry. What Mitch McConnell says, surveys indicate women object to Obamacare even more than men. I think it ought to be pulled out from the root of the grass and we ought to start over. I know that's not the view of my opponent in the fall. Allison grimes sought to distance herself from the president. Can Mitch McConnell glue her to the Obama and the healthcare plan?

HAMBY: That's what he's going to try to do. McConnell people firmly believe the environmental factors here are very tough for Alison Grimes in a state like Kentucky. Even, you know, in the east, you know, where the traditional Democratic stronghold there are still a lot of cultural conservatives. President Obama got creamed in that state in 2012. Obama is going to talk about this.

Look, the other thing complicating this is the fact that the Kentucky health care exchange has been relatively successful. The governor, a fellow Democrat, has been out there talking about it. He is very popular. Bashir people and the Grimes people are not exactly best pals. It's going to be a difficult line for her.

KING: I have a hard time, unless he runs a perfect campaign, Mitch McConnell makes a mistake, I have a hard time seeing a Democrat winning Kentucky in a year like but it's possible. A lot of people think this race could cost more than $100 million. Kentucky is not a big state. Doesn't have a huge media market. A $100 million, that would be by far the most expensive congressional campaign in history?

MARTIN: They do want to beat McConnell because he probably is the ripest target for Democrats in terms of a pick-up this year. I agree. The circumstances make it very hard for a Democrat this year in a federal race. Keep in mind Democrats have not won a Senate race in Kentucky since Wendell Forbes last re-election in 1992. That's been a long time. McConnell's numbers are very bad, though. He's under water. Is McConnell a campaigner 30 years in the Senate that he has been over the last decades. Does he still have a last ball?

KING: The perfect opportunity. We're going to play six degrees of Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton was running for president in 1992. Soon after that he had to pass a budget in the House of Representatives. The deciding vote was cast by a Congresswoman Marjorie Margola Mezvinski and she lost her seat because of that vote. Now continuing the six degrees game, she's Chelsea Clinton's mother-in-law. Chelsea Clinton married her son. She wants a seat back in Congress. She wants a seat on the ballot today. If you live in that district, guess who called you on the phone?


FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Twenty years ago, Marjorie cast the deciding vote on my economic plan. It reversed trickledown economics and set our country on the longest peace time expansion in history. One that all Americans participated in. That's what we got to do again.


KING: My apologies to Kevin Bacon, but that but it was just irresistible.

MARTIN: She cast that vote and lost the next year.

KING: She cast the vote, lost the next year and 20 years later, she wants to come back to Congress. A lot of people if you call in that area they will tell you she's losing. Is this a test of the Midas touch?

HAMBY: It's two things. It's a little bit of that. Hillary Clinton has raised money. Bill Clinton has cut a TV ad and robo call. There are questions at how hard she's been campaigning. She hasn't gone a lot of local grass roots events. There's a young guy, Brendon Boyle, who I think is probably the front-runner backed by labor. He's a fresh face. So there's going to be a little bit of a generational aspect, too.

MARTIN: Talking to party regulars at a meeting and all the talk was about this young Boyle, not about her.

KING: Candidates matter, energy matters whether it's Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, a new face there. Let's turn back to 2016. Mike pence is the conservative governor for Indiana. Seems to send a signal here, in Washington speaking to a conservative group. At a time when President Obama says the health care plan is starting to work I think Republicans are going to talk about it less. Look at Mike Pence.


GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: It was a government takeover of health care and the overly regulated top-down command and control structure the law will never allow the exchanges to operate freely as they should and, as a result, access will stay the same or get worse as costs go up.


KING: We know Chris Christie is looking at it. Former Governor Jeb Bush is looking at it. Maybe Scott Walker out of Wisconsin. Mike Pence starting to put out the 2016 feel.

HAMBY: It depends who else is in the field because if there is someone like Scott Walker from Wisconsin or Christie, it makes a little bit tougher for him.

KING: Peter is a nonbeliever.

HAMBY: Pence likes showing it. This guy loves the buzz. Christie loves the buzz. Ted Cruz loves the buzz. He thought about it in 2012. He's going to be flirting with it in the media.

MARTIN: If he was he would be in Fort Wayne instead of Washington, D.C., John. Look, what's going to be fascinating the watch is how mike pence sell what's he is doing now on the affordable care act to the conservative base. He's trying to sell it as this is federal -- I'm taking federal dollars and implementing our own program while the right has -- saying that's not what it is. KING: Jonathan Martin, Peter Hamby, up early. Interesting races. Senate primary in Oregon as well. The gubernatorial in Pennsylvania. We'll be working late. See you tomorrow morning.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, looking forward to it. Big day.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, how do you stay safe from MERS? Now the illness has been contracted on U.S. soil. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is going to be here to talk about what you really need to know.


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: A whole lot of questions about how MERS or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome managed to jump from person to person in the United States. There are now three confirmed cases in our country. One patient was released from the hospital Monday, but this morning doctors are taking a close look at the last case. They're even seeing some signs for hope. We'll talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about it all. He's at the CNN Center. Tell us about the latest case, Sanjay.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Keep in mind the first two patients that we talked about both had come from the Arabian Peninsula back to the United States. There was some suspicion already when they developed symptoms they might have MERS. The third person hadn't been to the Arabian Peninsula, by accounts just had a couple of business meetings with one of the infected patients. So that was the concern, was it because he hadn't traveled to the Arabian Peninsula he must have contracted person to person within the United States.


GUPTA: That's sort of the news part of it. To your point, real quick, he did not get sick. He was found because they just started screening anybody the infected people may have come in contact with and he was found to actually have been exposed to the virus but he did not get sick. I think that may be an important point in terms of figuring out how the virus behaves.

PEREIRA: And then watching it and tracking it. You may carry it and not show symptoms, but let's talk about this symptoms because I think that's what people at home are trying to figure out how they can keep an eye out for it.

GUPTA: Yes. You know, it's challenging sometimes with the types of viruses because the initial symptoms are vague. They can seem like just about anything and that's how they sometimes get missed p you talk about cold like symptoms, cough, fever as well, muscle aches that can develop. What seems to be causing problems is respiratory or lung failure and kidney failure. About 30 percent of those documented to have infections have died. It's usually because of those causes.

PEREIRA: We're coming up on a busy travel season.

GUPTA: Yes. PEREIRA: A lot of people are going to be getting on airplanes and buses and trains. We're around a lot of people. How can we protect ourselves, Sanjay?

GUPTA: Well, you know, the basics do apply here. This particular case, again, where you had someone presumably shake hands just six feet away and develop, those raise some concerns. But we also know that simply wash joining our hands regularly. It sounds silly to say but it works. Make sure you don't touch your eyes, nose, and mouth throughout the day. People do this without thinking about it all the time. That's probably how a lot of viruses gets transmitted.

I want to point out if this particular gentleman, this third patient in fact had the MERS virus and did not get sick, there could be many, many more patients like him out there and that could be good news. There could be a lot of people who get the virus and never get sick at all or have just minimal symptoms.

PEREIRA: Interesting that you look at it that way because I was thinking all of these people could be walking around transmitting it, but you're saying at least people are not getting terrible indications with it and becoming ill with it.

GUPTA: That's right. That's what this third case could signify. When this virus was likely transmitted, the person who transmitted it was sick, was having symptoms, sneezing, coughing, all that sort of stuff. The basic message here applies. If you're sick, stay home, whether it's MERS or the common cold or flu or whatever it may be. If you're somebody around sick people, make sure you're not interacting with them. That's how it spreads.

PEREIRA: How concerned are you, Sanjay, about this? I know we've been watching it. It sounds scary. We talk about the transmission and it can kind of not be footed right away because the symptoms don't always show. How concerned are you as a physician?

GUPTA: You know, we've been bracing for this news for some time in is a particular virus that's going to spread around the world. I covered Ebola earlier this is going to continue. The numbers will increase. I do think we're probably going to find a spectrum of people, people who get infected and have no symptoms and people who suffer the consequences, even death. Keep many mind the common flu kills 36,000 people a year.


GUPTA: So put it in a little bit of context, 181, it's a very important 181 people, that's a large number. But these respiratory viruses, they can be bad players. The key is to prevent the spread of them.

PEREIRA: Absolutely. Thank you for giving us context because that's a very important thing with -- without putting our hand on the panic button too much. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, appreciate it so much.

CUOMO: Important information, thank you for that. We're going to take a break here. When we come back, do men matter? Specifically when it comes to reproductive rights. When should they have a say? The answer is seemingly more and more like never judging by two huge cases. One involves frozen embryos, another features a Hollywood star fighting to see his own son. We're going to discuss and debate, and you be the judge.


CUOMO: Parental rights. Other than men sometimes being forced to pay, do they have any real say in the law when it comes to reproduction? Two big cases in the news and raise exactly this question. In one case a man is trying to prevent an ex-girlfriend from using frozen embryos they made when they were together. He says he signed a consent form that requires his approval. A judge says it doesn't matter.

And Jason Patrick, his ex claimed he was just a sperm donor and should have to claim over their son, Gus. California Supreme Court ruled Patrick can at least seek legal custody. The first win that's taken over a year and the case is not over. Let's discuss the issue with Mel Robbins, CNN commentator, a legal analyst and Mr. Darren Kavinoky, a criminal defense attorney and founding attorney of the Kavinoky law firm aptly named. Start with this.

Kavinoky, let's start with you. The general proposition why men should have a say in an area traditionally the courts have they do not?

DAVID KAVINOKY, THE KAVINOKY LAW FIRM: Here's just one more example of how the courts tend to lag behind trends that are happening in society, and there's a lot more that science can do now in this world of procreation that has historically been left to human beings to solve on their own, and so I think now we're just seeing courts confront these issues for the first time in these cases of first impression.

CUOMO: Mel Robbins, it's always been left to the woman. It's her body. She has the right to choose. The man somewhat excluded. Fair? Why?

MEL ROBBINS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's fair when you're talking about embryos, because women have a right to privacy that's well established under the law of the land to make decisions about their bodies. At least up through the first trimester, and, of course, it's state by state, but I think there's a big difference, Chris, between the cases involving frozen embryos and the cases that actually involve kids that be born through in vitro fertilization.

CUOMO: How so?

ROBBINS: Well, because first of all, an embryo still needs a woman in order to bring it to life, so to speak. And so the woman has control over the embryo in the same way that, if you get pregnant, whether you get pregnant through having sex in the back seat of a car or in your marital bedroom or using a petri dish and technology, the woman still is the vehicle, so to speak, that is going to create the child, and just like a man can't use, quote, "parental rights" to then terminate a pregnancy he can't use parental rights to then terminate an embryo.

CUOMO: Kavinoky?

KAVINOKY: Hang on. The courts are wrestling with this issue, who owns these embryos? I don't think it's as simple, well, the woman owns them because she's got to house them in order to bring them to life. The courts have wrestled with whether this can be resolved by contract, a mutual agreement, not just at the time that the eggs are fertilized, but at the time they're actually put into use or a balancing between who's got the stronger equitable play in this, the man or the woman?

And the court, at least in this Illinois case, ultimately came down to is that it should be the parties who decide this in the contract they engage in with each other, and it's not just as simple as, well, we're going to give it to the woman, because she's the one that needs it and it can't exist without her. So this is a thorny area --

ROBBINS: In each particular case, it is a thorny area, but in this particular case, Darren, you're right. They looked at the contract and agreement and said two things, when they signed the consent, it was consent for the procedure and he was giving up any right to anything later on and they also looked at the situation and said this was a gal with cancer. This was her one shot. He knew going in what was happening and I tend to agree with you, this should be resolved at the state when you have two adults about to go through a procedure that is expensive. This isn't like going to get a shot at the doctor's office. Takes multiple procedure, it's a lot of are money.

CUOMO: Let me pull us out of to get to the main thrust of what this is about. Say you're married, it's perfect. Any expert says this is a great man and woman couple. They're great. Both of them. If the woman is pregnant and decides to terminate the pregnancy, the man has no say in the decision. No matter who he is. He could be --

ROBBINS: Correct.

CUOMO: Ozzy from Ozzie and Harriet. Is this fair in today's day and age?

ROBBINS: Yes, I do.


ROBBINS: Because it's -- it's the woman's body. Chris, you cannot create laws that allow somebody to decide to force someone to do a particular procedure, because they have, quote, "buyers' remorse," after they concede a child, and you can't also force a woman --

CUOMO: Chilling effect on Mel's argument. Literally frozen out of the conversation. Kavinoky, make your point.

KAVINOKY: Yes, I think what Mel is talking about is, this is just a great example of the court's engaged in this balancing test and they've ultimately come down on the idea that, where there's a dispute between the man and the woman about whether or not the pregnancy should be terminated, because it's woman is the one more directly impacted by that decision, we're going to give her the right to make that particular call. Although things are very, very different when we're talking about, about these rights as it relates to an actual child as we saw in Jason Patrick's case, out in California.

And there it was very different, where the mom in that particular case was trying to use this -- this legal situation, which said that -- that a sperm donor doesn't have any parental rights. She was trying to use that as a sword to keep Jason Patrick out of the kid's life, and the, of course, the rationale behind that law is that we want to encourage people to be able to use these sperm banks without fear.

That they're going to be the subject of a lawsuit and here we had a woman that was using this in an entirely novel way, and now this is something that's going to be back to be fought out in the courts and ultimately that's the right result, too.

CUOMO: Kavinoky, quick sum up here. The right of a woman to control her body is winding up being extended into these new ways of baby- making that we're seeing more all the time. So for men, know this -- if you are involved in that and want to be involved with this child and have any control over the process, you're going to have to consider contracts with the mother now. Nothing will be assumed for you. Know that and check the law in your own state.

Kavinoky, thank you very much. Let's get Mel on the phone and let her know I didn't do that. I'm not taking the blame for that.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, a terrifying close call. Two planes came within yards of each other at one of the busiest airports. What's being done to prevent this?