Return to Transcripts main page


Clinton "Gone Through Fire"; Perry: Leave Gay Rights To States; Deadly Tornadoes Rip Through Nebraska; Supreme Court Takes Up Online Threat Case

Aired June 17, 2014 - 07:30   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. Let's get to "Inside Politics" on NEW DAY with John King. Boy, Iraq is a hot topic. There is a lot of finger pointing going on and a lot of really convenient remembering of the past -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST, "INSIDE POLITICS": A lot of -- that's a good way to put. I enjoyed your interview with Secretary Wolfowitz a few minutes ago. Chris and Kate, good morning. Iraq is the dominant subject so let's start as we go inside politics and with me this morning to share their reporting and their insights, Margaret Talev of "Bloomberg News" and Ron Fournier of "National Journal."

A lot of experience covering the White House between you two. Margaret, let's start with the administration. It has to be incredibly frustrating and incredibly serious obviously and sober for this president who made his name in national politics by opposing the Iraq war, by saying it was time to get out as fast as possible.

Now he's sending in some U.S. troops, let's be clear, 275 or so, the initial thing is to protect the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, but part of the conversation has to be once you start, can you stop?

MARGARET TALEV, "BLOOMBERG NEWS": What happens next? That's exactly right, and this is a very frustrating situation for the president. This was the war that was stupid in his view and he's own a legacy of the Bush administration having to explain his handling of the legacy of the Bush administration to the Republicans in Congress who are now attacking him for mishandling it.

Of course, he was California over the weekend in Palm Springs, but it's very much on his mind, meeting with and talking with national security officials and then last night gets home and goes straight into the situation room meeting with top officials, but the question is what comes next beyond this.

There are warships positioned. There are options being considered but an air strike, if that's the route they choose to go is very complicated and requires neighboring partners and requires to know what's the end game, you know, once you start.

KING: What's the end game? You mentioned neighboring partners, even conversations about having conversations with Iran, whether you can have at least have cooperation here. This is a new issue for this president, but I remember taking a trip with George W. Bush. It was eight years ago to Baghdad, a secret trip on Air Force One to talk to Nuri Al-Maliki who was relatively new as the prime minister.

And they said the president needed to look him in the eye, the last president, look in the eye and say you have to work harder to solve the problems between the Shia and Sunnis and Kurds. This is not a new movie. It's a crisis right in front of us right now. Is there any expectation that Maliki will do anything, any American president?

RON FOURNIER, "NATIONAL JOURNAL": This is Groundhog Day with a lot of blood. The politics of this are very depressing. Bungled our way into that war and out of war and now we have parties arguing over whose bungle is biggest instead of working our way out of this. The thing with Iran, obviously, we have to have some kind of quiet diplomacy working with our allies and enemies.

To find a way to stabilize things there because it's not in anybody's interest. Not in the Saudis or Iranians for this to spiral out of control, but you can't work silently, can't do silent diplomacy when the secretary of state is talking publicly about it.

KING: I mentioned the irony for President Obama, the difficulty because he so made his name oppose the Iraq war. Tonight on CNN, a live town hall at 5:00 Eastern and replaying at 9:00 Eastern with the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Remember, she lost to Barack Obama back in 2008 because he used her vote for the Iraq war against her so we may get some more thoughts from her. Christiane Amanpour will moderate that town hall.

Keep an eye on that and as we remember Secretary Clinton has been having a big book rollout and talking a little bit more, listen to her in this interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation talking about she doesn't like to do this much, but why Democrats think by far she is the best candidate.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: A lot of the women, senators, we have a couple of women governors, I'm talking the Democratic side, so we have a good bench, so to speak, but they haven't gone through the fire. And part of the reason why there's a big drumming beat for me to run is because I've done it. They see me as someone who just has to make up her mind and get going.


KING: Just make up her mind and get going. I think the big decision she has to stop running. The question is do you stop for any reason down the road, but to that point history says after a two-term president, the other party usually wins, George H.W. Bush succeed Ronald Reagan, but after Bill Clinton, the Republicans came in. They are thinking is history says after Barack Obama, the Republicans should come in. Is that why Democrats think she's the only one?

FOURNIER: I don't know why she thinks she's the only one. I don't think it's a good thing for the Democratic Party to think she's the only one. She will need some competition to be a better candidate. She's still running the '08 campaign. When she talks about the fact that I'm the only one who has seen the fire, sounds like the 3:00 a.m. phone call argument that she made in 2008. I'm the inevitable, I'm the most experienced and this should be my nomination. Not the signal you should be sending to the American people.

KING: What do you look for here? She had made a few gaffes. She is not immune to gaffs, most seasoned politicians in America, but she made some gaffes in 2008 as Ron notes. What do you look for her in these kinds of settings, one-on-one interviews as part of the book rollout and sometimes you also get surprised by the questions?

TALEV: As we saw in the past few days, there are situations that should be soft predictable situations that you can prepare for and letting the emotions getting the best of her. We've seen her test this alternate route, which is I'm going to be a grandmother. I'm embracing, you know, my womanhood, and this is not that.

And so she's signalling to the female Democrats in other own party, stay on the bench and keep it warm. This isn't your time right now. We'll all be looking to see whether she's combative in her response or whether she's sort of presents an aura that's of more confident and less defensive.

KING: It's interesting to me as she tries to push back on domestic problems, world problems are front and center. So we'll see how that one plays out.

Another person whose run before and who thinks that works to his advantage is the Texas Governor Rick Perry who stirred up a bit of controversy in recent days by saying he believes being gay is a choice and that if you are gay, you can change your way or refuse to act on your behavior.

Now the Texas governor has faced a lot of criticism for this, but listen to him here. He won't back down, but he also says I believe the question of same-sex marriage should not be decided in Washington but by each state.


GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: I don't know the fact is we'll leave that to the psychologists. I don't necessarily condone that lifestyle. I don't condemn it either. We're all children of God, and the fact is that people will decide where they want to live if Washington will respect the tenth amendment.


KING: I'm actually a little confused by the strategy here. Is he trying to use this as a wedge issue or just answering questions and he keeps getting asked about this. We have the Texas Republican Convention that said Texas should never block any law that allows for the reparative therapy, which a lot of the psychiatric community has said is damaging to children. What's Rick Perry up to? TALEV: I'm not sure as this was the same issue as it was one or two national campaign cycles ago. When you look at, you know, Republican- controlled states and sort of the mainstream mentality, the positioning on this has really shifted so it seems to me almost that he's sort of -- this has gotten away from him and he's trying to catch up.

KING: A great point about the arc, the speed of this arc. George W. Bush in 2004, that was the closing paragraph of every speech, one of the reasons he won Ohio against John Kerry saying I will protect traditional marriage. Is Rick Perry behind the debate or can he get away with saying I have my views but let each state decide?

FOURNIER: This issue is certainly moving too fast. You don't want to use the tenth amendment argument, the same argument that the south used to justify slavery. Have to be real clearly here. The Republican Party doesn't want to be on the wrong side of history.

KING: Ron Fournier, Margaret Talev, thanks for coming in. We'll keep an eye on the big political conversations. As we end, we want to move back to sports and we salute the U.S. World Cup victory, but we won't go there.

First we'll show you as we get to New York, here's the mayor of New York on Jimmy Kimmel, look what he's wearing, wearing an L.A. Kings jersey. Make a bet in politics, got to pay the bet and Rangers lost to the Kings. Let's listen to the mayor for one second.

That's probably embarrassing for Bill De Blasio, but good for him for paying his bet. But now look at the other mayor, the L.A. Mayor, Eric Garcetti who says this is such a great win for L.A., he's willing to break two of the biggest rules in politics.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two rules in politics. Never ever be pictured with a drink in your hand and never swear, but this is a big day. Way to go, guys.


KING: Product placement there, L.A. mayor using the Joe Biden word endorsing a certain kind of beer that I would mention because it would be wrong.



KING: A little early for that, Mr. Cuomo, a little early.

BOLDUAN: Like happy hour for us, John.

KING: Didn't your dad teach you anything, Chris Cuomo? No beer for breakfast.

CUOMO: We're not Irish, Italian, it's wine.

BOLDUAN: My goodness, thanks, John. Don't dance on TV, good thing to live by.

CUOMO: Don't dance, don't sing. It seems like it's embarrassing, but let's be honest. When a politician is on TV, they are happy.

BOLDUAN: Dancing or just talking. Coming up next on NEW DAY, we'll talk to the big story coming out of Nebraska, twin twisters tearing through the Midwest. We'll talk to a woman whose home was destroyed. She will give us a firsthand account what have this devastation looked like up close.

CUOMO: Plus, I hope you know threatening someone online can be a criminal act, or it can be just free speech. The Supreme Court is going to decide this question. It's very important given where we're going with our internet culture. We'll break down the stakes and the likely outcomes. Stick with us.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are going to merge!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a massive tornado, just massive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two tornadoes. Two massive wedges rotating almost around each other.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gosh. It's ripping up a whole town.


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: The town of Pilger, Nebraska is now being compared to a war zone. Deadly tornadoes leaving unimaginable destruction behind. More than half that town destroyed. Joining us now is a resident, Becky Hauf. Her home was destroyed by one of the tornadoes that hit Pilger.

It is sure good to see you. A sight for sore eyes. I bet this has really rattled you. Tell you the story. You were in a convenience store where you worked. You worked there for some 20 years. What happened when the tornado hit?

BECKY HAUF, HOME DESTROYED BY STORM: We've always been told to go to the coolers. That was the safest place. We had customers that had come in. We locked the doors and had everybody centralized in the meat room which is the middle of the store, and I said once the whistles go, everybody goes to the coolers. Co-workers that work for the farmers co-op and the Pilger store was watching the back door and they were saying get ready, get ready.

It's coming and coming. As pretty soon, Tim Sweeney, by neighbor and co-worker, he also lost his home said go, go, go. We all went to the coolers and we bunkered down in there, and it seemed like forever, but I guess it was only a couple minutes and it was coming down on top of this. But the coolers held together wonderfully.

Some of the guys could push up and keep watching the weather, but the rest of us pushed open the cooler door. Luckily enough the glass only broke on the outside and not the inside so we moved shelves and we could get out and we were out of it. It was over. It was just over.

PEREIRA: It happened so quickly, even though I'm sure like you said it felt like forever to happen. What did you see when you emerged from that cooler? What was in front of you when you came out?

HAUF: We had to remove the shelves in the cooler first to get out so I guess the first thing I saw was a Sara Lee Hostess cupcake box and a 24-pack of Budlight.

PERIERA: Well, the Budlight stood up, didn't it?

HAUF: And we just kept walking. We just kept walking around the store, you know. After you've been there 22 years you know the routes and bounds of the store and the nooks and crannies, and we headed towards the front doors and we got out that way.

PEREIRA: We're so glad you were able to get out. So quick thinking and followed instructions well. You talk about your home, so your home, how about the rest of your neighborhood? How many homes were destroyed there?

HAUF: If you can see behind me, it sat down here on this corner and it looks like it went straight from the southwest corner straight to the northeast corner, wiped out everybody in its path. It took out the farmers co-op where I work, the Pilger store, my home. I feel so devastated for the people that lost their lives in this.


HAUF: But emergency people have been here helping us, and, you know, so far I think we're all OK. It's just something I was always told Pilger would never be hit by a tornado because we're too close to the river. Well, I hate to say this, wrong. We got hit good.

PEREIRA: Boy, did you. We can sure see the damage here.

HAUF: My whole neighborhood is gone.

PEREIRA: Your whole neighborhood is gone, and it will take some time to rebuild here. You've been a longtime resident. Ever seen anything like this, these two twisters coming down? It's such a rarity to see.

HAUF: Well, we got a model here that Pilger is a little town. We're too tough to die. We're kind of proof of that. I married my husband, a longtime resident of Pilger. I married him in 1980. We've been married for 33 and a half years. We've been through a house fire, a bank robbery and now a tornado, and I guess the good Lord just isn't ready to get rid of us yet. So we'll just rebuild and -- we'll just rebuild and we'll go from there.

PEREIRA: That's right, Becky, you're made of tough, tough and the community of Pilger is as well. Down but not out. The whole nation supports you as you guys begin to rebuild. Thanks for joining us on NEW DAY to tell your story. Girl, you're a tough lady.

HAUF: Yes. I was a good man until I got married, let's put it that way.

PEREIRA: Still able to smile.

HAUF: Thank you.

PEREIRA: We send our love and our support to you and the other people of Pilger. It's going to be a tough road ahead, Chris and Kate, but they have that fire in their belly that this won't keep them down.

BOLDUAN: All right, coming up -- thanks so much, Michaela. Coming up next on NEW DAY, how far is too far in the digital era? The Supreme Court is about to take up a case whether violent threats on the internet should be considered criminal. We'll weigh the pros and cons coming up next.


BOLDUAN: The Supreme Court has agreed to take up the case asking the question, how far can online threats go before they are considered criminal. The case in question, a Pennsylvania man who was sent to prison for writing Facebook posts about killing his ex-wife, hurting former co-workers, even taking on a federal agent.

But he argues he never intended actual violence. Now it's up to the high court, of course, to decide whether people who make violent threats over social media, over the internet, if they must show intent to follow through in order to be prosecuted. Huge questions here.

CNN's senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin is joining us, also a former federal prosecutor. This comes up over and over again. Have statutes, have the laws caught up with the digital age. This is an important one. This could have a big impact on everything we do on the internet.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: That's right. People are stupid on the internet.

BOLDUAN: True. This guy was really stupid on the internet.

TOOBIN: And it's very easy to spout off on Facebook, social media, you're just -- people are sitting there typing. Everybody knows that comments on works of journalism are often very nasty. I'm going to kill that guy, that's terrible, and the question here is, is what this guy wrote about his ex-wife and others a crime.

BOLDUAN: And how do the justices take it up? It comes to this question of intent which sounds like that's tough for the justices to decide a sweeping rule on.

TOOBIN: Well, the issue really is how do you judge the intent of the defendant, and the defendant argues here I didn't intend any harm. Subjectively I didn't intend to hurt anybody. This was just rhetoric. The government argues, no, no, your subjective intent is not the standard. What would a reasonable person, what would an objective observer say? Is this really a threat in the eyes of the objective observer, not necessarily what you particularly intended?

CUOMO: Look, I like it because I think the internet needs more policing. I think it feeds the worst in it more than it does the best in us. But that's an opinion. The question is whether or not this is worthy of review. It is, as Jeffrey explained to me, because it's a federal law. So the federal courts, ultimately Scotus should look at it. States seem to handle this pretty easily. Why can't they handle this themselves?

TOOBIN: I think this is an issue that needs to be settled because it comes up a lot. The issue of subjective versus objective, is it your state of mind alone what determines it or what an outside observer would determine as a realistic threat. I think that comes up a lot and I think that is --

CUOMO: Which way does it come out?

TOOBIN: I think they'll probably go with the objective standard. For one thing it's often very hard to determine subjective.

BOLDUAN: Sure. It's a free speech question.

TOOBIN: But that cuts both ways. If it's free speech, you know, this came up a lot in the '60s during the anti-war protests where you had like there's a famous case where a guy said in substance, you know, if the government sends me to kill, LBJ is next for me. That was held to be free speech. That was held to be sort of political rhetoric. But, you know, these cases get hard once you get into the details.

PEREIRA: When you get into the details that's where I have an issue with it. We look at stories that we've been reporting on here and see the signs were missed. People posting things online. Aren't we supposed to say let's flag this guy, that doesn't seem right, this person is threatening to kill something?

TOOBIN: But you make a really good point because we are now -- we're in this epidemic of school shootings and we're looking for the signals. This is why I think the criminal justice system needs a lot of humility. We have enough trouble determining what happened in the past, much less predicting what's going to happen in the future. But online postings are certainly evidence. Now, certainly cops can go visit someone who posts stuff that's troubling and talk to them and check them out. Whether they can actually lock them up is a different story.

BOLDUAN: He's the one bringing the case because he thinks he's got -- it's his free speech that's protected, so we'll see. This is going to be an interesting case for everybody to watch. It's one of those simple ones, I think, that everyone can wrap their mind around.

TOOBIN: You know what, the rule is don't be an idiot on the internet.

BOLDUAN: Good standard. There's your standard.

CUOMO: The jails are full now. If he made that a crime, America's economy would be back building prison cells.

Coming up on NEW DAY, deadly and devastating. Twin twisters, you're looking at them right there in this tiny town in Nebraska. Devastation all over. We are live from the scene with the latest.

And thanks to a quick start and a very strong finish, Team USA won its World Cup opener. How far can they go? We're loving it and we're talking about it.