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2016 Presidential Candidates Travel to Iowa to Campaign; Two Michigan Lawmakers Embroiled in Scandal Concerning Extramarital Affair with One Another; "Straight Outta Compton" Reviewed; Woman Walking 100 Miles to Talk to Pope of Immigration; CNN Hero Teaches Filmmaking to Underprivileged Youth. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired August 15, 2015 - 10:00   ET


[10:00:09] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Clinton, Sanders, Trump, the frontrunners in 2016 in Iowa today, but only one is planning a big splash with their entrance. And you can guess who that is, right?


The sex lives and scandal coming out of the Michigan statehouse -- a lawmaker's elaborate scheme to divert attention from an affair with a fellow representative.

PAUL: And new explosions, fires at a blast site in China. Workers frantically digging as they rescue a firefighter who has been buried in that rubble.

So grateful to have you with us as always on a Saturday. Here with Newsroom, I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you. And we're starting this morning for what is said to be a big political day. In just a couple of hours, many presidential hopefuls, a lot of them, will descend on the Iowa state fair. Among them set to attend, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, you have there Lincoln Chafee. We also have Rick Santorum, Donald Trump as well. Now, Donald Trump, he is going to make a grand entrance.

PAUL: To say the least, yes. The business mogul expected to arrive in his helicopter. How else would he, correct?

BLACKWELL: That's just the way.

PAUL: That's just the way. Meanwhile, Clinton and Trump head to Iowa after taking shots at each other and the rest of the GOP field essentially is what's happening this morning. CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny joining us with the latest. We know, Jeff, that Hillary spoke last night. Wondering, first of all, what was the reaction to her speech?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning. You're right. This is ground zero of the 2016 presidential campaign at least for the weekend. But Hillary Clinton spoke with the rest of the democratic field at the surf ballroom in clear lake, Iowa. She was defiant, more so than we've heard ever before, about this whole controversy over her private e-mail server.

Of course, this week she finally agreed after five months of saying no, she agreed to turn over the server to the Justice Department and the FBI and in her speech to Democrats last night she made a bit a joke about it. Let's take a listen.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I know that people across the country are following us on social media as well. By the way, you may have seen that I recently launched a Snap Chat account.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I love it. I love it. Those messages disappear all by themselves.



ZELENY: Now, of course, that joke played well to that audience of Democrats, and that underscores the partisan divide in this whole controversy. She is trying to make the case that this is nothing other than politics as usual. In fact, she said just that.

But Victor and Christi, I can tell you, by agreeing to turn over the private e-mail server the Clinton campaign is taking this very seriously. This has hung over her campaign. It's eroded some of her trust and credibility numbers as well in the first months of her campaign. But sort of across the country in New Hampshire, Donald Trump last night almost at the same time was making a bit of a different argument about this e-mail server.

All Republicans have been hammering her on this and using it to raise questions of her trust and credibility. Donald Trump took it a step further last night in New Hampshire. Let's take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I think at some point she's perhaps not going to be able to run. She's going to have to end her campaign. That seems to be the thinking by so many.

General Petraeus, his life was destroyed with a tiny fraction of what she's done. So, it's very unfair to him. If they're going to destroy him over doing by comparison nothing, I don't see how she can run. I think she's got much bigger problems than running for office.


ZELENY: Now, of course, Donald Trump saying Hillary Clinton is getting out of the race is, you know, filled with partisan politics and almost certainly not true. And it draws a distinction of this, Democrats believe Republicans may overreach on this thing, as the investigation continues in the House of Representatives, the Benghazi committee, when she finally testifies in October, will Republicans overreach?

And by Donald Trump there saying it's like David Petraeus, he makes a point. It's actually not like David Petraeus. It's different in this respect. David Petraeus passed on classified information that was marked classified at the time. The Clinton campaign is saying that Secretary Clinton and her staff did not pass along any information that was marked classified at the time. It later maybe became classified. So a couple distinctions there, a couple differences.

But overall today the e-mail server will probably switch to the backburner, and Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be at the Iowa state fair at the same time as well as Bernie Sanders. So more fireworks of a different kind today in Iowa here at the state fair. Guys, back to you.

[10:05:14] PAUL: All right, we'll look forward to hearing more about that. Jeff Zeleny, we appreciate it. Thank you, sir.

BLACKWELL: Now, consider the day. As Jeff said, you've got Donald Trump. You've got Hillary Clinton there at the Iowa state fair, Bernie Sanders, as well. Now, while they are there, both rivals along with a fiery Jeb Bush. They're not mincing words when it comes to their opponents. Listen.


TRUMP: But Jeb Bush has $114 million. What's he going to do with it? He'll start hitting me with ads I guess. You know, at some point he's got to because he's going down the tubes. The guy's going down the tubes.

JEB BUSH, (R) FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Here's the deal, my e-mail address, write it down and send me your thoughts, By the way, I just gave out my e-mail address is exactly what I did when I was governor of the state of Florida. I released all my e-mails.

CLINTON: Don't let the circus distract you. If you look at their policies most of the other candidates are just Trump without the pizzazz or the hair.

TRUMP: I think at some point she's perhaps not going to able to run. She's going to have to end her campaign. That seems to be the thinking by so many.


BLACKWELL: All right, let's talk more about the race now. We've got with us Iowa Republican communications director Charlie Szold. Charlie, good to have you this morning.


BLACKWELL: So, we know that Mr. Trump will be coming in on his helicopter, flying in to the Iowa state fair soon. I wonder if there is a message that's being received by Republicans there when he flies in and cherry picks events he'll attend instead of what we're seeing from other candidates, like Rick Santorum, like Governor Christie who are staying day after day, going county to county.

SZOLD: You know, each candidate has to run his own race, and if Donald Trump thinks this is the best way for him to reach Iowans then that's for him to decide. We obviously as Republicans here in Iowa always like when candidates are here as often as possible and meeting people in small settings and talking to them in diners.

But Donald Trump is Donald Trump, and if there's one thinks Iowans don't like it's inauthenticity. So if Donald Trump feel like think he can go into a diner and do a sit-down with four or five people, that's for him to decide. So we just want our candidates to be authentic and come here to Iowa and explain their vision for the country.

BLACKWELL: Now, he is at the top of the poll here, so there would be some support or validity to his process. Does that question or weaken the traditional process by which candidates run in Iowa?

SZOLD: No, I don't think so. Like I said, every candidate has got to run his own race. And if you look back to Rick Santorum's campaign in 2012, he ran the quintessential Iowa campaign. He did the full Grassley where you go to every 99 counties, and that paid off in spades for him. So Rick Santorum can run his race, Donald Trump can run his race. And Rick Santorum has been running his race again. He's actually going to complete the full Grassley before Labor Day.

BLACKWELL: You know, I want to talk about the Iowa state fair and the soapbox, because we know that Donald Trump won't be there. We've also read that Jim Gilmore will not be, Rand Paul as well. Do Republicans in Iowa see that as a snub if the candidates don't give them the 20 minutes back and forth?

SZOLD: Only if the candidates have a prior history of not talking to them. You know, Jim Gilmore, you know, he hasn't been here very often. He's going to have to come here and introduce himself to Iowans if he wants to compete. Rand Paul has been here plenty. He'll be here again. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has been running a race where she is staying behind closed doors, not being open with the press. So Iowans might hold it against her.

BLACKWELL: All right, let's listen to what Donald Trump said about Jeb Bush and then talked about his campaign there in Iowa.


TRUMP: But Jeb Bush has $114 million. What's he going to do with it? He'll start hitting me with ads I guess, you know. At some point he has to because he's going down the tubes. The guy's going down the tubes. There's no energy.

So when Jeb and Hillary and all of these other candidates start spending money, remember this, that money was given by people that have total control over them. And those people, many of whom I know very well, they don't care about him, they don't care about the color of his hair, they don't care anything about him. And they don't care about the country in many cases. They only want whatever they want. And they'll get plenty.


BLACKWELL: So, Jeb Bush in the latest poll appears to have slipped to seventh place here. He says he's all in in Iowa. Does that correspond with what you're seeing on the ground?

SZOLD: Yes, absolutely. He's got a top-notch team here. He's coming more often. He just was at the state fair yesterday for four hours. He did everything he had to do.

[10:10:00] He went to the bud tent. He went to the pork producers' tent. He even stopped by the Republican of Iowa, signed our "Field of Dreams" backdrop that we've got there. So Jeb's doing a great job here, you know. It's up for Iowans to decide who they like and who they don't. But Jeb's absolutely putting himself out there and working hard for everyone's vote.

BLACKWELL: All right, Charlie Szold, I know you've got a full day of double fried Oreos and butter cows. So I'm let you get back to the Iowa state fair. Thank you very much for being with us.

SZOLD: Thank you very much. And thanks for paying attention to Iowa.

PAUL: Am I wrong not to know what butter cows are?

BLACKWELL: It's a big cow mailed of butter is exactly what it is.

PAUL: It makes sense, I suppose, then, much more than this next story does.

BLACKWELL: This one makes no sense.

PAUL: This is so crazy. A Michigan lawmaker accused of covering up an affair with another state rep. The alleged cover-up itself is so bizarre. We'll tell you what's going on that we know of.

Also, new explosions in China at the site of that deadly warehouse blast from earlier this week, reigniting fires sending black smoke into the air. Those are the pictures coming to us this morning. And a rescue to tell you about as well in that case.

Also, next month Pope Francis making his first visit to the U.S. as head of the Catholic Church. How one group is doing something pretty unique to get his attention on immigration.


PAUL: Well, an alleged love affair between two Michigan law makers is sparking a lot of calls for them to step down. Now, one of them we should point out is speaking out. The other is accused of trying to cover it up in a really weird twist. CNN's Ryan Nobles is joining us live from New York. So Ryan, just to clarify, as I understand it, one of the aides who knew of this alleged affair is about to go public with the details, is that right? [10:15:08] RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right,

Christi. That staffer his name is Joshua Klein. He claims he has the inside story on this scandal and he's going to go public on Monday. This as the two law makers at the center of this controversy attempt to repair their reputations.



NOBLES: For the first time, the female state representative at the center of a sex scandal rocking Michigan's state capitol is speaking out.

GAMRAT: I know that I have made some poor decisions as they relate to my personal life.

NOBLES: Cindy Gamrat and her fellow Republican Todd Courser are accused of engaging in an extramarital affair. Both are conservative lawmakers with spouses and children. The alleged affair came to light after "The Detroit News" obtained an audio recording captured by a staffer where Courser hatches a self-targeted plan to send an e-mail under a fake name falsely accusing himself of soliciting a male prostitute. The alleged goal to distract attention from his relationship with Gamrat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does this do?

TODD COURSER, ACCUSED OF EXTRAMARITAL AFFAIR: I need to, if possible, inoculate the herd against gutter politics that are coming.

NOBLES: The salacious details are leading to calls for both Courser and Gamrat to resign. A tearful Gamrat acknowledged mistakes, but stopped short of admitting to the affair and has refused to step down.

GAMRAT: My husband is here, Joe, and I have three children, sorry. They don't deserve what's come upon them. I take full responsibility.

NOBLES: Meanwhile, Courser, who has not admitted to the affair, has released a 27-minute audio statement where he does admit to faking the e-mail and describes himself as a broken messenger. But he, too, refuses to step down, claiming that former staffers led by political opponents are trying to blackmail him.

COURSER: So, I've refused to leave quietly and have decided that these efforts really need to come out.

NOBLES: Back at the state capitol Michigan House Speaker Kevin Cotter has ordered an investigation in to the allegations and whether any House rules or laws were violated. It's an investigation Gamrat welcomes.

GAMRAT: I am looking forward to the investigation. I think that will vindicate me in that.

(END VIDEOTAPE) NOBLES: And Michigan speaker of the house has also called this entire affair disturbing, and he's called on both of these two representatives to step down. Christi?

PAUL: All right, Ryan Nobles, we appreciate it, thank you.

BLACKWELL: And a new round of explosions rocking China. Hear from the man remarkably pulled from the rubble. A second man now rescued as well.

Plus, will he run for president? Vice President Joe Biden still deciding on his political future. How close is he to making that decision?


[10:21:41] BLACKWELL: A new round of explosions rocks China overnight, flames rekindling and smoke we see here billowing once again from the site. And this morning, a bit of hope. Crews pull another person out of the rubble. This is the second survivor. And now we're hearing for the first time from the first survivor. The firefighters talking about what it was like to be inside this.


ZHOU TI, FIREFIGHTER: I only remember the first blast was very loud. I was on the ground, hands covering my head. I don't remember what happens after that.


BLACKWELL: Will Ripley has been at the site of the explosion for days now. Will, what's happening now?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're at an emergency shelter, Victor, which is a little over a mile away from the blast site. But you can see last night there were hundreds of families staying here, but they've all been evacuated and sent to another shelter farther away. The reason for this is concern about the air quality in light of those new explosions and fires that reignited during your overnight hours in the United States. It was daytime here when a lot of people heard the booms and they saw three different black smoke plumes rising up.

It was really alarming because then came word from government officials that deadly sodium cyanide had also been detected in this area and there was a lot of concern that anybody who breathed that in could potentially be lethal. That's in addition to all the other dangerous chemicals.

That's why you see a lot of people walking around with masks like I'm wearing right now. It's just a reality of life for the people here in Tianjin for their own safety.

There was that second survivor rescued today. That is one piece of good news. It was remarkable to see that so many hours after the blast that a 50-year-old man was able to survive. That's in addition to the 19-year-old firefighter who survived for 31 hours. And while he has pretty severe injuries, he is expected to be OK.

There's also a mother who gave birth to a babe prematurely during all of the explosions and the height of the danger and the blast. But we're told that her baby and the mother are both expected to survive as well.

Also at a press conference this morning families of missing firefighters. They were screaming in the hallways. They were demanding that they get answers about their missing loved ones, and it really is heart breaking if you take a look because the families have written the names on white cards, and you see them outside of this shelter here. And look at all the names, people who have not been found yet. Even though the Chinese government says they have rescued 40 people so far, there are still dozens at least that are missing. And it's expected that that death toll which jumped just within the last couple of hours to this 104 may increase even more in the coming hours and days, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Still hoping for many more answers in this. Will ripley there for us. Will, thank you so much. Christi?

PAUL: All right, well, the big question is, is he going to sit on the sidelines or are we going to see Vice President Joe Biden jump into the 2016 race for the White House? We'll tell you what we've learned this morning.

And does it matter really where the candidates stand right now 15 months from the election? We're talking about the polls. Do they matter this far out?

[10:25:00] Or could they really be prognosticating what we'll see in 2016?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

BLACKWELL: And breaking news is in New Orleans this morning. A SWAT team has been deployed to a Walmart store in one of the city's northern neighborhoods. The store has now been evacuated. And here's what we're being told. The New Orleans PD just tweeted moments ago "SWAT roll under way at Walmart at 4301 Chef Highway. Store evacuated. Armed robbery suspects believed to be inside." We will continue to follow this story and bring you the latest as soon as we get it. Again, this store has been evacuated, all the customers outside, all the employees, as they're searching for this armed robbery suspect inside that store.

PAUL: Well, Hillary Clinton, as you know, is leading the polls in Iowa this morning, nearly 20 points, in fact, ahead of her nearest competitor Bernie Sanders. But the biggest challenge could be from a challenger who is not even a candidate yet. You see there who is down at number three? Yes, Vice President Joe Biden. Apparently he is weighing a presidential run and calls to his supporters as he tries to determine what he's going to do here. Michelle Kosinski following the story with us from Martha's Vineyard. So what do we know, Michelle, at this point about the possibility of Biden 2016?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think "could be a possibility" are the operative words here. It really seems like no matter who is talked to, people close to Biden have been quoted anonymously. Analysts have been talked to at length. And it truly seems like it's a question mark at this point, that he hasn't fully made that decision yet.

But what we do know is that the groundwork is being laid. We know that he's been reaching out to certain people, again, people close to him. It doesn't seem like it's a large number. But then those people are having conversations with others.

[10:30:00] So, they, too, are working on a possible framework, looking at the realities on the ground and looking at the possibilities of, you know, if he did decide to do this, where would the money come from? What states would they need to focus on now? What kind of inroads would they make now? What would the ultimate outcome be likely to be? And also how are the other candidates doing at this point? So they're looking at every aspect of this.

But I think it's funny when you look at all the reporting that's been done, this has been a hot political topic for some time. There are people quoting sources close to Biden who believe that he's eventually not going to run and others quoting other sources close to Joe Biden who say this is really taking some shape and it seems to be going somewhere.

So, a lot of talking going on but still no decision. And he may make that in a couple of days or it could be a couple of weeks. It's, like everybody wants to know what that answer's going to be. But given his situation and given his personal tragedy, the death of his son that he just experienced in May, you know he's going to take all the time he needs on this. And he can because he's Joe Biden. I mean, he doesn't have a super PC or this big campaign structure right now, but he has decades and decades of experience, and America knows him. I mean, he's not somebody who's just coming in and needs to get name recognition. He's Joe Biden. So he has a lot more leeway than many, many other people would, Christi.

PAUL: And that's evident in the fact that he is not even officially running and he's still number three in that one particular poll. So we appreciate it, Michelle Kosinski, good to see you this morning, thank you.

BLACKWELL: So, when is a state fair just not a state fair? When you're in Iowa, because all of the candidates, at least nearly all of them, will be there with the stump speeches and they're going to be, of course, enjoying some fried foods. Expected attendance of more than a million people. The big event marks a defining moment in this multimillion dollar battle for the first in the nation caucus state.

But just how important is it for a candidate to win the hearts of Iowans? Look at this, Bill Clinton in '92, George H. W. Bush in 1988, Ronald Reagan, they didn't win the Iowa caucuses, but they won their party's nomination and eventually the election.

But a win in the Hawkeye state can also make or break a candidate. In 2008 Barack Obama's Victory helped propel the then senator to the White House. There are many who said if he lost Iowa it would have ended there.

Larry Sabato is the director for the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. Larry, I guess, is it overhyped in some way, or is it really a must-win now?

LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Well, Victor, Iowa has one great virtue that no other state has. It's first.


SABATO: That's literally it. I'm sorry, with all due respect to Iowans, and I know they pay close attention to politics and they care about their caucuses, but if any other state were first, that state would be very important. You don't have to win Iowa to win the party nomination. That's been proven again and again. For that matter you no longer have to win New Hampshire and win the -- to win the party's nomination.

BLACKWELL: The question, then, is why is it first? CNN contributor John Avlon says the caucuses is a low turnout, high-intensity elections. But "Politico" magazine's John Ralston who has covered Nevada politics for decades said Nevada should be the new Iowa. Here are three of the 10 arguments he wrote up. Iowa is 92.5 percent white. New Hampshire is 94.2 percent white. No major city in either state like Las Vegas. And Nevada has voted the victor in every cycle but one in the last 100 years. I mean, is it time -- great arguments there -- for Iowa to move a little further down the line?

SABATO: Well, if I had my way, absolutely. Years ago I proposed a system of regional primaries and taking all the small states, those with just a handful of electoral votes, and having a lottery to determine which one would go first every four years and not doing it until January 1st of the election year so that you couldn't have candidates moving in there years in advance. Of course, the idea is scheduled for adoption on the 12th of never. And John Ralston's idea is scheduled for the 12th of never.

BLACKWELL: It's on the 13th.

SABATO: Victor, he did add in a very powerful argument about the fact that Iowa does not have casinos and Las Vegas and Nevada do. So, that's a powerful argument for Nevada. But it's not going to make any difference. Iowa and New Hampshire are determined to go first. New Hampshire even has a law that allows the secretary of state in that state to put the primary in the year prior to the presidential election so that they can remain first. How do you beat that?

BLACKWELL: Has the, I guess the attention on national polls, because of the necessary weed-out of candidates for these debates, especially on the GOP side, has that impacted the importance of Iowa this time around? I mean, you see candidates all over the country not day after day in Iowa as they have been in previous cycles?

[10:35:09] SABATO: I think the debates have had an impact, because FOX in the prior debate and CNN in the coming September debate, are using national polls, not Iowa and New Hampshire polls. Therefore the candidates gain a lot by getting national publicity and traveling and campaigning all over the country, not just in those two small, very unrepresentative first states.

BLACKWELL: All right, we'll be standing by for the 12th of never. Larry Sabato, thank you so much for joining us this morning.


SABATO: Thank you, Victor.

BLACKWELL: As Larry mentioned there, CNN hosts the Republican presidential debate, the next one, that's Wednesday September 16th, and then the Democratic presidential debate, that's Tuesday, October 13th.

PAUL: Well, walking 100 miles to take matters straight to the Pope. The message of this mom of two wants to deliver.

Plus --




PAUL: A '90s rap group with controversial lyrics that may still be relevant today. How the new movie "Straight outta Compton" is adding to the conversation about race and police brutality.


PAUL: It's 39 minutes past the hour, and, you know, it's just a little more than a month until the Pope's big trip to the U.S. And when he gets here he'll be met by one woman on a crusade to bring immigration to his attention.

[10:40:04] Pilar Molina is so determined she's walking 100 miles with 100 friends to tell her story to the Pope. In 2013 her husband was locked up and authorities arrested him for being an undocumented immigrant. He spent five months in a cell, was released by a judge, and Pilar calls that move nothing short of a miracle. She joins us now. Pilar, thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate you being here. Why do you say that his release was nothing short of a miracle?

PILAR MOLINA, MEMBER OF JUNTOS: Because -- I'm sorry, I get very emotional every time I tell my story.

PAUL: It's OK. MOLINA: I guess because everyone told me, even the attorney was

telling me, that it was going to be very difficult to get him out based on his reentry back in 2013. So, he told me the chances were very slim basically, maybe, like, five percent.

PAUL: That he would be released.


PAUL: But he was released. And we have a picture of you with you and him with a couple of your children -- with two of your children there. What is life like right now for you?

MOLINA: Well, we're still -- he still has a hearing coming up in December, so I guess we're still in a limbo, you know, we're still -- our future is still uncertain because we don't know what's going to happen next.

PAUL: So, then, let's talk about this walk that you want to take, 100 miles to the White House where the Pope will be meeting with the president. What's your plan once you get there?

MOLINA: Well, I'm actually very excited to meet the Pope. Our plan is, I guess, for him to see that what we're doing, it's basically a pilgrimage that we're doing. And we want him to see that what we're doing so, then, hopefully he can talk to the congressmen and tell him, you know, to be able to tell our stories, like mine.

PAUL: So your hope is that the Pope will actually be able to in some way effect change in this country regarding immigration?

MOLINA: Hopefully. Right now he's our light through this dark tunnel that we're going through right now.

PAUL: If you could meet with him, what would you say to him, and what would you want to hear from him?

MOLINA: Well, if I could meet with him, there are a lot of things that I can tell him, because it's just not me. It's everyone else's story, similar as mine, you know. I will try to tell him, you know, try to please talk to the president and to the congressmen, people there, and try to be able to touch their hearts and, you know, let them know, you know, what's going on.

PAUL: Well, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Best of luck to you, Pilar Molina. Thank you for being here.

MOLINA: Thank you.

PAUL: And good luck our pilgrimage as you call it.

MOLINA: Thank you.

PAUL: Certainly. We'll obviously have complete coverage of the Pope's trip to the U.S. right here on CNN, Victor. BLACKWELL: All right, still to come fans of the film "Straight Outta

Compton" says it has a message that is loud and clear -- black lives matter. How the movie is playing a role in the debate over race, gang violence, and police brutality.

And coming up in the next hour of Newsroom, Donald Trump and FOX News clash, again, over host Megyn Kelly and her nearly two-week vacation. Why Trump says her time off may have everything to do with him.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want NWA, let's give them NWA.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is only the tip of the iceberg, gentlemen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's going on? What do you have in that bag?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you kidding me? You can't take that on the bus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This song glamorized gangs and drugs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our art is a reflection of our reality.


[10:47:38] BLACKWELL: "Straight Outta Compton" already a big hit at the box office, predicted to bring in $50 million to $60 million this weekend. And it's reigniting an important conversation on black culture and history. It's a biopic about the '90s rap group NWA from the group's controversial lyrics about gang violence to police brutality and racism. The film takes those experiences and speaks to a new generation facing many of the same issues.

Joining me now is Kevin Powell, author of the new book "The Education of Kevin Powell, A Boy's Journey into Manhood," an autobiography that deals with racism, sexism, violence in America, also documents his long relationship with hip-hop culture. Kevin, good to have you back.

KEVIN POWELL, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Always good to see you, thank you.

BLACKWELL: So this focuses on an era long before black lives matter movement, right? It examines that relationship between officers and the communities they police 20 years. Look at a scene and we'll talk about it.

POWELL: Well, absolutely. You're talking about the late 1980s. It was the Reagan/Bush era --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you stay right there, please? We're trying to check the bangers make sure they're clean. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, I'm sorry. These are not bangers, OK?

These are artists.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me, artists?




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kind of artists?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rappers. And they're working with me in the studio right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rap is not an art. And I'm sorry, who are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm their manager.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you're wasting your time, Mr. Manager.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got to be kidding me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're wasting your time because these clients of yours, these rappers, they look like gang members.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't come down here and arrest people just because of what they look like. What, are you crazy? That's police harassment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said you're a manager, right?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does that matter? You cannot come down here and arrest these guys because they're black!


BLACKWELL: Now, this scene, of course, scripted by Hollywood, but things like they were going on 20 years ago. You were outspoken about it then. Has there been progress or is this essentially the same fight?

POWELL: Well, unfortunately NWA really prophesized what was happening at that time, they prophesized the L.A. rebellion, the riot of 1992, and they prophesized this whole black lives matter movement. So you are talking about 25 years or so of this issue of tension between the police and our communities, of racial profiling, et cetera, as is demonstrated in the film "Straight Outta Compton."

BLACKWELL: So we know as of any film there are parts that are left out, and particularly nasty incident, one incident involving Dr. Dre slamming journalist Dee Barnes against a wall, punching her, trying to throw her down a flight of stairs. [10:50:09] There's an interview with "Rolling Stone" magazine, which

he -- we're going to put it on the screen. I'm not going to read the whole thing. He says that he was young, he was stupid. All the allegations aren't true. Some of them are. Your thoughts on Dr. Dre's comments now about some decisions he made back in the '90s?

POWELL: Well, both Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, because they're executive producers of the film, what I said on a blog I wrote this morning is that this is an opportunity to really examine not just race in our country but also violence against women and girls, because that's a real incident that really happened. That's what he's referring to. And it's also telling in the "Rolling Stone" interview with Ice Cube now in his 40s still refers to women by the "b" word.

And we've got to make progress. If we're going to talk about racism in America, which this film talks about, we also have to talk about sexism which is equally oppressive to half the population in this country and on this planet. And I think that's the glaring omission in the film. It's not just Dee Barnes. His former partner Michelle Leigh also talks about it in the recent past.

So the hope is the film will be a way to talk about some of the stuff even though it's not captured in the film. But I actually disagree with the director when he says these are stories that are side stories. A woman's life is not a side story and we as men, if we're serious, not just black men, but all men, if we're serious about addressing any kind of inequities we have to deal with what women are going through.

BLACKWELL: Well said, well said. Let me ask you finally your thoughts on the redirecting of the resources from the LAPD to theaters showing this film and universities affirmation that they will assist any theater that needs help with security.

POWELL: I think it's really funny because in the early 1990s we saw the same thing with "Boyz in the Hood," with "Juice," with other films. There were shootings at the "Batman" screenings, we know what happened in Colorado. There was a shooting at the "Train Wreck" screening. So we cannot racially profile movies either. We should not racially profile people. We should not racially profile films.

Yesterday when I saw "Straight Outta Compton," black, white, Latino, Asian, multiple generations of people there all very peacefully seeing the film. So we've got to really think about what we're saying when we make those kind of statements.

BLACKWELL: All right, the book is "The Education of Kevin Powell, A Boy's Journey into Manhood." Kevin Powell, good to have you back.

POWELL: Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: All right, we'll take a break and we'll return.


[10:56:51] PAUL: Well, a recent report out of UCLA found when it comes to diversity, Hollywood has some work to do.

BLACKWELL: Yes, but this week's CNN Hero is opening doors that some say had historically been closed. Watch.


FRED HEINRICH, CNN HERO: In the film industry there are very few people of color. I think people feel shut out. As an editor for over 40 years --

I go back and forth back and forth.

Picks up the pace, makes it more exciting.

I thought I would help the people that need the help the most.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Growing up I loved film and television. But my childhood was mostly taking care of my dad. He was pretty ill. I really didn't have, like, the opportunities to pursue my dreams.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In improv, you always say yes. Yes to everything.

HEINRICH: We bring in industry professionals to teach low-income and minority youth how to make films.

And action.

The training we provide is hands-on.

Once the camera is set, you want to shoot everything that you possibly can from that angle.

Screenwriting, directing, camera, editing, producing, casting, it's necessary that they learn all these skills.

We're trying to make emotionally impacting films here.

The students who graduate find jobs through contacts with studio personnel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't even imagine a world without the program. Words can't say much about how much appreciation I have for Fred. When my dad passed away, like, he's given me good advice.

HEINRICH: We are looking for a more diverse future for our students in Hollywood. And they're achieving that.


PAUL: It's the last month to nominate a 2015 CNN hero, so if you know someone like Fred, an everyday person going the extra mile to help others, we would love to hear about it,

BLACKWELL: All right, coming up on the top of the hour now. Let's take a look at other stories making headlines. A man was rescued from the roof of his car overnight. Look at the pictures here. Heavy rainfall, flash floods made roads in that area impassable. Affiliate WIBV reports that about 7,000 customers lost power during the peak of the storm last night.

PAUL: And investigators arrested what they are calling a dangerous scam artist accused of impersonating a clinical psychologist and medical doctor. This is in New York. Officials say Donald Lee Edwards, whom you see there, lived with his parents and ran a pseudo- office out of the basement of that home. He potentially provided mental health services and prescriptions such as anti-depressants to more than 100 patients over a span of three years. I think the basement office in my parents' home would have given me away.

BLACKWELL: Over the patio and through the door in the back and downstairs. A little bit.

PAUL: We're so glad to spend our Saturday mornings with you. Thank you so much for being with us.

[11:00:00] BLACKWELL: That's it for us today. Be sure to keep it right here. We're handing over the reins to Fredricka Whitfield.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, I'll take them right there.

PAUL: There you go.

WHITFIELD: Thank you so much.