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T-Mobile Tantrum Goes Viral; 4th Of July Scorcher; Lower Gas Prices Spark Road Trips; Extreme Heat in Midwest; Colorado Wildfire; Arafat May Have Been Poisoned; Scientology & The TomKat Divorce; President Obama Welcomes New Americans; Romney Marches In 4th Of July Parade; Romney: Health Care Mandate Is A Tax; Meltdown Pilot Acquitted; Missile Sites In London; Cruise Ship Survivors Share Stories
Aired July 4, 2012 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Store after she says the clerk used the phrase "you people" while refusing to let her use the restroom.
MOOS (on camera): In this case, the "t" in T-Mobile stood for trashed.
MOOS (voice-over): And their slogan, "life's for sharing," well, this cell phone video is sure getting shared, along with comments like "can you hear me now."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I don't recommend it, but what that guy did --
MOOS: Jeannie Moos, CNN --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kudos to him, man.
MOOS: New York.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, my. Well, we're going to keep our cool here in Atlanta. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Have a happy Fourth. And they're keeping their cool in New York too. Much more of the NEWSROOM with Ashleigh Banfield now.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Fredricka, thank you. You're right, we are keeping it cool here. But there is a big story right throughout the country.
I'm Ashleigh Banfield, in for Brooke Baldwin. Huge news hour. So let's get you started right away.
Parts of the country absolutely wilting today. It is one of the hottest Fourth of July holidays on record. Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Minneapolis, extreme heat paralyzing much of the Midwest and all the way up to the Dakotas. The heat index, are you ready, up to 115 degrees. The death toll now from this heat and the heat related storms has reached 20 Americans. We've got mounting worries now in the Virginias where thousands -- hundreds of thousands, actually, of people haven't had power since a wave of storms rolled through there on Friday. Let's listen quickly to West Virginia's governor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. EARL RAY TOMBLIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: That food starts to go bad. And so it's -- you know, we've had massive dumpings of food that has spoiled. And a lot of place, the grocery stores, are still not open because of the lack of electricity. So what we're doing is sending in meals, sending in about 40 big truckloads of water around the state each day plus what people can buy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: You're going to hear a lot more about that situation coming up shortly.
In the meantime, five days. Think about what you've been up to in the last five days. That's how long it's been since the storms swept through and left more than a million people without power in 11 states, from Indiana to Virginia. Listen, we're talking about some serious heat. We're talking about people lining up to by generators just to try to get a fan going or the AC going, if they're that lucky. Somehow make things livable.
We're also getting word of a possible water shortage. And not just one, a couple of water shortages, especially among people who rely on electrical pumps to get their water from wells. And again, this is five days since the storm first hit. Why? Why no power? CNN's Brian Todd trying to get the answer to that question.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ashleigh, roughly a quarter to a third of customers in this state still without power and many people in some of the more rural and hard to get areas may not get power back until this weekend. Why is that? Because of scenes like this throughout the state. Down trees are a huge problem for the power crews. They come upon a scene like this. First they've got to eliminate, you know, the lighter brush and then they've got to start chopping up the down trees. Blocked roads are a big problem. This tree came down right in the middle of a road. You see the double yellow lines here.
And -- but here's really the crux of it. When a typical tree comes down on a power lines, this is what it looks like. This huge oak tree snapped in half, hit this power line, disabled this poll over here. This power line may still be energized because one power company official told us that unless this hits the ground, it may not trip itself off and it may still be energized. So that's a potential peril for the power crews who come upon scenes like this.
Now, you know, there's been a lot of complaints throughout the eastern seaboard against power companies not getting the power back fast enough for so many people. Not moving fast enough. Well, we talked about that with Charles Patton. He's the CEO of Appalechian Power. That's the main power provider for this region of West Virginia. And he talked about what a typical crew goes through in a day. It's grueling and very taxing work. They come upon a scene and it takes hours to clear something like this. Plus they're fighting fatigue. Listen to what he had to say. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES PATTON, PRESIDENT AND CEO, APPALECHIAN POWER: It's sweltering heat. And our employees and contractors are out on 16 hour days in this sweltering heat. And we have to wear insulated protection. So, think about it. They're in rubber suits. Half of their bodies are in rubber suits for a significant part of the day in 100-degree weather.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: And Patton says they have to make sure that the people on these crews are hydrated, that they are taking breaks to eat and gain energy and just so that they can pace themselves through these really long shifts.
You know, one other thing that they encounter, at least here in West Virginia, you know, not every downed power line is on a road like this one. A lot of them are very tough to get to. They're in -- just in the middle of forests and mountains. And so these crews sometimes have to navigate those areas. Sometimes even having to climb big trees and polls in the middle of nowhere where there's no road to get to it. So some of those things are slowing down crews efforts as well. But they're working around the clock to try to reboot as many people as they can, as quickly as they can.
BANFIELD: All right, Brian Todd in Charleston, West Virginia, on a hot assignment himself too.
And on this holiday, more Americans, believe it or not, despite the heat, they're actually hitting the roads and they're actually doing it in the highest number in years. This is probably a pretty good reason for it. Take a look at the national average for a gallon of gas, $3.33. Now, that is up a little bit from yesterday. In fact, we've had two increases after 20 straight decreases, but this price here is still way down from a year ago. And some of the cheapest prices are in the southeast.
So that's where we send David Mattingly. He's live in Atlanta.
So, is it really the gas prices -- the relative low gas prices that are sending people to the roads instead of the skies?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a couple of things going on this year, Ashleigh. First of all, the Fourth of July is right in the middle of the week. Instead of a three-day weekend, people are looking at it as a possible three, four or five-day holiday. And leading up to it, we had 78 straight days of falling gas prices. That's something that's unusual. We haven't seen that in a long time. So people took that, looking at the opportunity ahead of them, and a lot of them began thinking road trip.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): More Americans in more cars are traveling more miles this Fourth of July holiday. Lower gas prices is one of the big reasons why. AAA estimates more than 42 million Americans are on the move during their time off. The most since 2007. Eight out of 10 are hitting the highway.
NANCY WHITE, AAA: This year we've seen the highest volume of vehicle travel for the Fourth of July holiday period in over a decade.
MATTINGLY: Nationally, prices for regular fell earlier this week to $3 a gallon in Alabama and $3.74 in California. There's a feeling of, get it while you can. Prices average about 24 cents a gallon, less than last year, but 60 cents more than in 2010. And already there are signs this consumer roller coaster is already on the climb again. Maybe up 10 to 15 cents more on average.
BETH HEINSON, OIL PRICE INFORMATION SERVICE: Sort of a range of $3.25 to $3.50 through the summer, until about September.
MATTINGLY: And just yesterday, the price of oil jumped more than 4 percent, the highest since May.
MATTINGLY: And the reason for that jump is uncertainty in the futures of the prices of oil. They're looking at problems in the Middle East, also the potential for problems from weather. Hurricanes this summer here in the western hemisphere. All things that could disrupt the flow of oil and cause prices again to go up.
BANFIELD: And we're not far into that embargo either on Iran and the Strait of Hormuz keeps, you know, rearing its ugly head as well.
All right, David Mattingly, thanks very much.
I want to go up to Minneapolis now. Minneapolis, Minnesota. That's up there near Canada where you don't expect to see a heat index taking you up into the 100s. But Chris Welch is there, and it is hot, and he is live.
And I am sorry for this assignment, sir, but what is the temperature?
CHRIS WELCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, where I am standing right now, Ashleigh, at this community center here in Minneapolis, Minnesota, it is 95 degrees. But forecasters say it could get up to 100 today.
Now, this is Fourth of July holiday and a lot of those places where people would typically go to cool off, you know, community centers, libraries, those kind of things, are closed. Now, they've made sure this one park here with the local pool, where kids are playing behind me, they made sure this stayed open today because it could become a real scorcher. The last time we saw 100-degree weather was in 1949. So we could break even more records today.
BANFIELD: Is there a concern? I mean, is this community starting to look at, you know, checking on the elderly, making sure people have fans if they don't have air conditioning? I mean this is the kind of thing that you normally see in the southern states, not up in Minnesota.
WELCH: Oh, absolutely. And, you know, one of the things people are particularly concerned about are elderly and anyone really living in an urban areas, because the urban areas in cities are often 10 degrees warmer on average than those in the suburbs just because of the pavement everywhere and the buildings. So they're making sure people there are safe and sound.
And the other thing to mention here in Minnesota, a lot of these cities when they were built, you know, 100 years ago or so, did not have any kind of air-conditioning. And even now a lot of places downtown still don't have central air-conditioning and they have, you know, the window air-conditioners, which is something I have in my apartment at home and it's really been working the last couple days, I can tell you that.
BANFIELD: And my assumption is, that's where you'd probably prefer to be right now, being that it's a holiday and being that you're standing in 95 degree direct sunshine.
Chris Welch, thanks for doing that. Do appreciate it, sir. Happy Fourth.
By now you have likely seen the very dramatic, really heartbreaking photographs and video coming out of Colorado. Homes scorched. Some of them burned right to the ground with not even framework left behind. Lives completely destroyed by all of this. It was the worst wildfire ever to hit that state. And up next, you're going to hear an up close and personal story behind these pictures. We're going to speak with a woman who lost her home. And, get this, she's been staying at a Motel 6 for almost a month with her entire family in tow and five pets.
BANFIELD: We is some welcome news out of Colorado today. The most destructive wildfire in that state's history has now reached 80 percent containment. We're talking about the Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs. That's also near the Air Force Academy. That fire has really wreaked havoc. It has torched 350 homes since it ignited back on June 23rd. We're going to get a live report on this just a little bit later on in the program.
But, first, the live story. I'm going to talk with a woman who lost her home near Fort Collins in that massive High Park fire. She's been living in a motel with some of her pets and her family for a month. Her name is Patti Rosenfelder. She joins me live on the phone now from Fort Collins.
Hi, Patty, how are you?
PATTI ROSENFELDER (via telephone): Hi, Ashley. Getting a little better every day, thank you.
BANFIELD: I mean you have just really gone through hell. ROSENFELDER: Yes.
BANFIELD: I want to just touch on what your neighborhood was like. You had a lot of neighbors who were actually firefighters too.
ROSENFELDER: Yes. We have a small volunteer fire department in our very rural mountain subdivision, and to call it a subdivision makes it sound like suburbia, and, believe me, it's not. It was 17 miles of dirt road. And our volunteer fire department is the Rist Canyon Fire Department, and that is the name of the canyon in which we lived, in the Red Stone Estate subdivision.
And approximately half of the properties in our subdivision burned. There were 51 that burned out of a total of maybe 115, 118 homes. So very close to half.
BANFIELD: Patti, this picture, I'm not sure if you've got a TV monitor on right now, but we're seeing a picture with a white station wagon that's burned out and what looks like the remnants of maybe a hot water tank. That's your home?
ROSENFELDER: Yes, it is. The white station wagon was actually a metallic blue Toyota 4Runner and if you look --
ROSENFELDER: If you look closely, you can -- you can see some silvery substance running out from underneath the 4Runner. That is melted aluminum.
BANFIELD: You're kidding me.
ROSENFELDER: And the tank you're looking at was actually our propane tank. Most people up there have propane for their heat and for cooking and things like that. And the rocks --
BANFIELD: How on earth did that not blow in the fire, Patti, the propane tank?
ROSENFELDER: It -- I'm not sure that it didn't, to tell you the truth. I haven't been up there to see it yet. But usually that they will do in extreme heat is they will vent. And it almost sounds like they're blowing up. There's a heat vent that opens up and it's this very shrill noise almost like a tug boat or something. And I know that tank was full.
BANFIELD: So, listen, some of your neighbors, as we mentioned, the firefighters, do you know how many of them actually are in the same boat as you, lost their homes, ironically as firefighters have the same problem you're facing?
ROSENFELDER: I've been getting conflicting numbers over the last month. It's somewhere between six and nine. And I have to tell you, these are all volunteers. It's men and women. Some of them have lived up there even longer than we have. We've been up there 32 years. And this really was an incredible burden for them to bear, I mean, with losing their own homes and then continuing to fight the fires with 12 hours on, 12 hours off. It was --
BANFIELD: And I think I'm seeing a picture of your husband and your grandchild in this image, right?
ROSENFELDER: Yes. That's my husband and our seven --
BANFIELD: You know, I get you have the most -- you have the most precious things. I mean you've got your husband, you've got your own child, you've got your grandchild.
BANFIELD: And how many pets?
ROSENFELDER: Two dogs, two cats, my horse and a one-eyed left (ph) gecko that was a rescue.
BANFIELD: You got the gecko.
ROSENFELDER: The gecko, yes.
BANFIELD: Oh, I mean, all we can do is laugh. And, Patti, at this point, all we can do is laugh because these are the most precious things in your life, but you -- all of this --
ROSENFELDER: That's right.
BANFIELD: In a Motel 6 for a month.
BANFIELD: Are you out of the motel yet? Has insurance kicked in and helped you out?
ROSENFELDER: Yes, ma'am. Yes, they have. Our insurance company has been wonderful. They have assisted us in every way they possibly can. I cannot say enough about the Red Cross. They were giving away shoves and rakes and buckets full of heavy duty cleaning materials, rubberized gloves. Things that we're really going to need to sift through what's there and start rebuilding. And we are going to rebuild. I've only talked to one neighbor who is not going to rebuild. But everybody else is. And it's going to take some time and all that, but we're going to do it.
It -- and the one message I would like to get through, I don't know how we are on time, but I -- there are other people who are -- have been through or will go through disasters, whether it's fires like this or floods or hurricanes or whatever. And don't let yourself get into that dark place. It truly does get better every day. I have lived through this for the last almost month. I am here to tell you, it does get better every day. And swallow your pride and your fierce independence and accept kindness from people when they offer it. People who have given in the past, I paid a little girl's library fine once and I remember how good I felt walking out of the library. And it goes both ways, that warmth, that feeling of something being accomplished.
BANFIELD: I hope you're feeling the thousands and thousands of viewers who are sending out good wishes your way, Patti. I'm amazing that you have this capacity to feel this way at this point. But you're a great American, and I do wish you the best.
ROSENFELDER: I'm a Jersey girl and I'm the daughter of a World War II Marine. And if I could just ask your listeners, above all, please pray for these brave men and women of the fire fighting community who are working all over the west right now to do this. It's a dangerous job. It's very dangerous. And please pray for them.
BANFIELD: You're absolutely right. Patti, it's good to talk to you and it's a great way to close out. Thank you very much. And the best of luck to you and your family and your neighbors as well. Patti, thanks.
Coming up, his widow believed that he was poisoned and now she really wants to prove it. And he's not just any he. He's Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat. Yes, he died, but did he die of polonium poisoning? It was discovered on is toothbrush. It's been discovered on his clothing. And now they want to dig his body back up. We'll explain this.
BANFIELD: All right, let's go globe trekking.
There is some brand new intrigue over the death of one of the most divisive leaders of our time, but one who also won the Nobel Peace Prize. We're talking about Yasser Arafat. There's a new controversy theory suggesting that the PLO leader did not die of natural causes back in 2004. The theory is that he was actually poisoned. And now his widow wants his body exhumed and tested. And the whole reason is the Palestinian icon's clothing and toothbrush contained, quote, "an unexplained amount of the highly radioactive element polonium 210. And adding to this conspiracy theory, polonium is that same substance that was used to kill a former Russian spy after he began working for British intelligence. These were the last pictures of that spy.
Let's now bring in CNN's Elise Labott, who's live in Jerusalem.
So this is an incredible story that's breaking. First of all, take me through this. How did this all of a sudden come about? Here we are, years after his death, and now we're hearing this is a possibility?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ashleigh, this was the product of a documentary done by al Jazeera, an investigative report, and the network and Arafat's wife, Suha Arafat, asked the Swiss institute that does these kind of studies, these medical studies, to test some of his belongings, his clothing, his toothbrush, alongside with his medical records from the days leading up to his death in a French hospital. And what they found were these traces of Polonium. Now, we have to be careful to note that this does not prove anything. The researchers are saying all they did was found these abnormal levels. These surprisingly abnormal levels of polonium. But it doesn't prove that he was poisoned and it doesn't prove he was assassinated, only that they found those traces. So a lot more questions than answers at this point.
BANFIELD: OK. But here's another question, that you just don't get Polonium 210 on the world market. It's not easy to get. You usually have to have a reactor. And, of course, a lot of people will say Israel has reactors. So, how is that -- sort of that question shaking out where you are?
LABOTT: Well, that's the very thing that the Palestinians are saying right now. We talked to Hanan Ashari (ph), a senior member of the Palestinian leadership, earlier today and she said, this is exactly what she's saying. You know, Israel has never admitted that they have a nuclear program. Of course, there's a lot of suspicion that they do. But this is basically confirming what the Palestinians have felt all along, that Yassar Arafat didn't die of natural causes. He had this sudden illness that baffled doctors, deteriorated before their eyes and they're saying not only did Israel have the means and the opportunity but also the reason.
They obviously had a lot of problems with Yasser Arafat. Had said more than once that they wanted to get rid of them. They say this confirms their suspicions all along. Israelis are saying this is baseless, absurd and, hey, listen, you closed his medical records for eight years. Open them up and you can clear the mystery. They're looking to the Palestinians to say, you can clear this up, but we had nothing to do with it.
BANFIELD: Well, and then we should all remember that Alexandra Litvindenko (ph) -- it was hard to pronounce his name, Litvindenko (ph), when he died, he had lost all his hair. His bone marrow was weakened. You can see the condition that he's in when he died. And Arafat did not die like this. So a lot of the folks who say that's just all bonk (ph), suggest that the medical condition of Arafat when he died was nothing like you would suffer if you were poisoned with Polonium. So the mystery continues.
Elise, you'll have to stay on it for us and let us know what happens if they do, in fact, exhume his body. Thanks very much.
LABOTT: You bet.
BANFIELD: Its supporters are calling it a religion. Some critics are calling it a cult. But up next, the intrigue surrounding Scientology and the question, does that controversial church really target high profile celebrities like Tom Cruise and those of his ilk (ph)? We'll answer that question when we come back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BANFIELD: Well, theirs was a tabloid marriage that is now falling apart before our eyes and it appears that Tom Cruise's religion may have played a part in all of this. "People" magazine saying that Katie Holmes filed for divorce over concerns their daughter would be raised under the Church of Scientology. Cruise is a devote follower, even earning the church's first Freedom Medal of Valor Award. Here's the video to prove it. The church made this video on behalf of him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: I said, well, I'm a scientologist. And she goes, yes, yes, yes, now but I want to understand who you are. I said, no, no, no, you better read about -- you know, go read about what Scientology is. And she said, well, no, no, no, but I want to know who you are. I said, no, I'm a scientologist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Other celebrity scientologist include actor John Travolta and actress Kirstie Alley. In fact, CNN belief blog editor Dan Gilgoff says the church targets the famous. And he joins me live now from Philadelphia.
Hi, Dan. Nice to see you.
DAN GILGOFF, CNN.COM RELIGION EDITOR: Ashleigh, good to be here.
BANFIELD: OK. You got to walk me through this one, because I follow the tabloids like everybody else as well and I've always been somewhat suspect that it's just easy to lump in a bunch of people and suggest that the church must be going after them because they're famous and they're making headlines for their religion. But you really do believe they do?
GILGOFF: Yes, it's a fact that the Church of Scientology is very unusual in that it actively recruits in Hollywood and actively targets high-profile people, celebrities. And there's a few reasons why they do this. I mean, first, we've got to remember that the Scientology movement is relatively new. It was born in the 1950s. And the very first church opened up in 1954 in Los Angeles. So this whole history is linked to that town and, you know, the Hollywood industry.
And there's another big reason too. Because it's new, scientologist really want to get the word out about their religion and it's also been very embattled. There are all these people who challenge its legitimacy. And so getting high profile celebrities like Tom Cruise is seen by a lot of folks as a way to add legitimacy to this religion.
BANFIELD: Let me ask you this. One of the tenants of the religion, as I understand it, and please correct me if I'm wrong because I do really want to understand Scientology more and I think it's difficult to find out information about it. But one of the tenets is that past trauma in your life affect your ability to be spiritual now and that's why you need these audits to help your work through these past traumas.
So I wonder if that's way that some of the celebrities end up staying with it because once you admit that stuff, you don't have a lot of traction in sort of, you don't hold the cards anymore.
DAN GILGOFF, CNN.COM RELIGION EDITOR: Well, Tom Cruise himself has talked about this, very recently in an interview last month. He talked about this appeal of self-improvement.
He admits to being this intensely driven person who does everything seriously including sort of how he approaches his own life. What you were saying about these audits, scientologists view that as a way to live the traumas of our current life.
And also what they believe are the traumas of our past lives in order to gain this kind of clarity about reality. And this is something Cruise and other celebrities have talked about.
That's really the appeal of the religion to them. It's really meant to sub plan modern day sort of mental health and therapeutic approaches as way to gain clarity and to live a better life.
BANFIELD: That is targeting celebrities. If the mission was to gain more legitimacy, did it backfire? Because it tends to bring a lot of bad headlines that connect to the religion.
GILGOFF: Yes, you're right. There are folk's life that are very controversial like Cruise who are attached to it. Another challenge for the church seems to be their membership numbers. So that the church says it has about four and a half million new members joining every year.
You talk to scholars who study who study the church really closely and they say the real membership numbers are likely in the hundreds of thousands.
So to get wealthy celebrities to be associated with their church is also a way for the church to raise money to keep its growing international network of going even at times when they are actually experiencing some challenges in growing their membership.
I think some of the reasons why they are feeling that challenge is because they are associated with these controversial situations and of course, the Katie Holmes-Tom Cruise split is kind of Exhibit A.
BANFIELD: All right, Dan Gilgoff in Philadelphia. It's nice to see you. Thank you very much for that.
GILGOFF: Good to see you, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: Better to see you. Happy Fourth. Speaking of the Fourth, it may mean rest and relaxation for a lot you out there, but it doesn't mean rest and relaxation for these guys.
You think they are on vacation, think again. Presidential politics on Independence Day and signs from both campaigns there is no rest for the weary not even on a holiday.
BANFIELD: Presidential politics full swing on this 4th of July holiday. At the White House, President Obama took part in a naturalization ceremony as 25 active duty service members were sworn in as new U.S. citizens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: What a perfect way to celebrate America's birthday, the world's oldest democracy with some of our newest citizens. I have to tell you this personally. This is one of my favorite things to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: One of my favorite things to watch too. Welcome, new Americans. In the meantime, Mitt Romney in the small town of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.
He and has family marching down main street as part of the town's Fourth of July parade, but you know, something this wasn't all about fun and games, folks.
He was making news today because Dana Bash is there and pressed him on a topic we've all been waiting for and girl friend, you got it on a holiday. You got the big news. You got this man to admit that the mandate is a tax. How did you do this?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, interestingly he had already done that in an interview with CBS News and in sort of classic Romney style they sat down, he and his wife sat down with CBS in order to give a carefully crafted response to what we know is a very thorny issue for him.
Which is you've said is whether or not he considers the mandate a tax. So just -- the crowd was right behind me. Our producer, Shauna Shepherd and I kind of got in there and pressed him.
I asked him several times and he literally told me several times to check the transcript and it would be out later. He couldn't say it. Finally he relented.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Supreme Court is the final word. They said it was a tax, so it's tax. That's what they say it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: So there you heard him say it. It's a tax. One of the reasons this is such a thorny question for him, just one of the reasons, is because earlier this week one of his top advisors was asked point- blank whether Mitt Romney believes it's a tax and the answer was no. He said he believes it's a penalty, which is what the Democrats call it. Senate Republicans in particular who I cover every day were infuriated, Ashleigh, because they were swinging from the chandeliers when they thought that they got this political gift from the Supreme Court.
That they could hit Democrats and the president through the summer and fall into the election by saying that he has imposed the biggest tax in American history and they thought that Mitt Romney basically took -- the Republican candidate away from them and so now Romney is trying to make right.
BANFIELD: Well, and I suppose for anybody who maybe hasn't been following this as intricately as the people who absolutely live and die by every political development, this was going to be a big deal for Mitt Romney.
He was going to face if he agreed with the rest of the Republican Party that this was a tax, he was going to have to face the reality that wasn't it a tax in Massachusetts when you had the mandate in Massachusetts as well.
So I don't know. How is he going to be able to fend off those criticisms because you know after this is aired, good for you for scooping CBS, it hasn't been aired yet. But you know after this, after his admission Democrats are making tape and creating commercials.
BASH: There's no question about it. Truth is, this probably would have been a bigger issue for him when he was trying to seize the Republican nomination. It's maybe less so now, but what does it do?
It makes it clear that frankly some of the criticisms that he got from people like Rick Santorum during the Republican primary season that if you put him at the top of the Republican ticket.
It will muddle the Republican message of health care maybe gives a little bit credence to that. The reason is because, of course, we should remind our viewers, Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts when the mandate in that state was put into place.
I didn't have a chance to ask that question. That is, of course, Ashleigh, the logical next question was his own mandate a tax. I would be interesting to see how he split the baby.
But that is why this is very difficult. I can tell you, you said Democrats are going to jump. They already are. Some of the Obama campaign folks from New Hampshire and elsewhere were here trailing Mitt Romney.
We talked to some of them and already they said, you know, it just proves that President Obama did the right thing, and we're just going to let Mitt Romney argue with himself.
BANFIELD: Sunday morning talk shows are thrilled about this one. All right, Dana Bash, stay cool out there. Thanks so much. Great to see you. Happy Fourth, my friend.
You remember the story back in March of the JetBlue pilot who literally lost it. He was the one that left the cockpit mid flight and went screaming throughout the cabin on a rampage about Jesus and al Qaeda and a bunch of other frightening things for passengers.
Well, the judge has spoken. Not guilty. Not guilty, really? There's a great explanation for this. You'll find out in a moment. Back right after this.
BANFIELD: A JetBlue pilot who had an in-flight freak out, really no other way to put it. It had happened in March. He's been found not guilty. He's been found not guilty by reason of insanity.
He was charged with interfering with a flight crew after a total meltdown on a JetBlue flight from New York to Las Vegas. Do you remember this?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm so distraught. My God, we got Israel, we got Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: So Osbon had been acting strangely in the cockpit before all of that. They kept him restrained, the passengers, until they were actually able to divert that plane to Amarillo, Texas, which is where we got the jurisdiction on this.
That's why you're seeing him actually in Amarillo with the charges and actually a bench trial and boom, boom, just a couple of months later, this case is over.
So Joey Johnson is on the case here to explain. Listen, I can never talk enough about these insanity defense and not guilty by reason of insanity. It does not mean you walk out the back door of the courtroom.
JOEY JACKSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Does not, Ashleigh, at all, unbelievable. First, can you imagine being on that plane that day when you have someone freaking out like that who is supposed to be the captain, supposed to be one running the ship?
In any event, insanity defenses in general, they are infrequently used. Less than 1 percent of the time is it raised and guess what, Ashleigh, less than 1 percent of the time is it successful when it is raised.
I think it's like 0.26 percent technically. But ultimately, what ends up happening is that you don't just get set free. You go to a psychiatric institution.
You're evaluated, but then if a judge determines at some later point that you're capable and don't pose a threat or danger to society then ultimately, you're released.
BANFIELD: The judge is not alone. I mean, this is not, you know, by fiat. This is with the prosecutors and the victims have the right to have some input as well. But it's really team of doctors that have to give you a clean bill of mental health before you get out.
JACKSON: No question about it. You know, because ultimately, and you see these trials, Ashleigh, doctors disagree, lawyers disagree. You're not going to have everyone in unison making the right and essentially the same decision.
So you want panel of people to evaluate. You want people to see if you're OK and if they agree, then OK, we'll let you go.
BANFIELD: So let's just quickly give a quick school here. It's standard by -- you have to meet this standard.
JACKSON: So real, real quick. What happened is our jury prudence has gone through an evolution where this is concerned. We first thought (inaudible) rule. What does it mean? Do you know right from wrong?
If you don't, then obviously you're insane. Then we shift it to the irresistible impulse rule, which says, I know right from wrong, but I can't help myself. I'm doing it anyway.
And then, of course, you had the Henkley trial with President Reagan at the time and there was so much outrage and that was based upon another rule.
It was the American Law Institute, which was a combination between McNawton and that other one on irresistible impulse. Everyone was outrage because the burden of proof was on the government to show that you're sane. Now the law says we're going to flop that.
BANFIELD: It's up to you to prove you're crazy.
JACKSON: There you go, Ashleigh. If I say that I'm crazy. I have to show by clear and convincing evidence that I indeed am.
BANFIELD: And you also -- this is the best way I heard it describes to me at one point the nature and consequences of your actions. I'm holding a banana, but I think it's a gun. I'm holding a gun and I think it's a banana.
BANFIELD: I'm that out of it. You can't understand what you're truly doing.
JACKSON: That's so true. It has to be so significant the impairment of your ability to appreciate and understand has to be so significant that indeed psychiatrists who testify say you were not all there.
BANFIELD: You know, I have to wrap this up, but give me one last comment, real quick on this. Do you think, we rolled back the clock in terms of mental health and how we handle mental health in a courtroom because of Hinkley, because of the assassination attempt on Reagan. Are we soon to change?
JACKSON: You know what? I have to tell you, there are three states that don't allow an insanity defense at all. They say, you know what, if in the event that you committed a crime, you're going to be found responsible.
And there are other states who say this, you're guilty, but mentally ill, which has the same effect by saying you're going to prison.
BANFIELD: For juries that's better because no jury is ever told if you say guilty by reason of insanity, he's not walking out the door. So don't fear that verdict. That's why they say forget it. I'm not letting that guy walk. If they said guilty, but insane, it's a little easier for a juror to say that makes sense.
BANFIELD: Joey Jackson, it's good you're here, Professor.
JACKSON: Pleasure and a privilege.
BANFIELD: Happy Fourth. I'll see you in the next hour.
Police in London pulling out all the stops. Real worried about the summer games and security. Of course, they are. But you will not believe what they're doing on the top of people's homes and businesses and buildings.
Let me just say, this London looking like a war zone. Missiles, yes, surface to air missiles on the top of people's roofs. You're going to hear how they feel about that in a moment.
BANFIELD: Summer games starting in London this month. Time is ticking down as the government is just nailing down exactly where it plans to place the ground to air missiles.
The ones that are designed to create a shield around Olympic stadium, it's a big, big thing they are doing. So how would a missile installation mounted on your roof go over?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a highly built up area. I can't imagine any situation in which you could safely use a high velocity missile.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I kind of felt like it was extreme. I wouldn't want it to be on top of my house, so not too happy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that's exciting to look at the missiles go off like from the tower.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's still a missile that could take down a helicopter. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's a bit much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: That's a great interview. CNN's Nic Robertson live for us now from London. So, Nic, you know, security issues aside, I'm sure that Londoners understand security is critical, but there's a lot of opposition to this.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's understanding and then there's having it on the roof of your building.
I think perhaps the way the government set about doing this, breaking the news to the residents a couple of months ago by putting a leaflet through their door didn't create an environment where people would be happy with it.
Look, there is expectation here that security is going to be stepped up, and traffic is going to be bad. All sorts of things is going to happen around the Olympics to make the place safer. That's what the British government is saying.
They're saying we have to make the Olympics safe whatever the cost is. The minister of defense is saying look, if these people in these houses really want to take us to court, we'll fight it, and we'll win.
But, I mean, imagine you're one of the people who has this on your building. A piece of London where the systems are going in, it's not have been the most salubrious area over the years.
Some bits have been gentrified. You are convinced that it's an up and coming neighborhood. It's gentrified. You got a nice building there and you move in and now you get a missile system on your house. You understand where these people are coming from.
BANFIELD: Yes, I've seen the pictures of the armaments and they look like giant guns. I mean, they look like guns on steroids. So I can imagine why they are upset about it. Nic Robertson, thanks very much. Appreciate it. Good to see you, sir.
So this is an image that is hard to forget, the capsized massive cruise ship off the coast of Italy. About six months later we're getting personal stories from folks on board that ship.
Let me just tell you this, men pushing women and children out of way. I am not kidding. That's coming up.
BANFIELD: Panic and chaos and people running for their lives. You remember the Costa Concordia disaster. The ship listing to the side and then it was on its side completely.
Now some of the survivors are sharing with us what happened the night disaster hit and took many people's lives. Our Dan Rivers has been digging into why the ship capsized and how 32 people died.
Tonight at 8:00 Eastern, we're going to hear more on what's being done to prevent another cruise ship tragedy. Here is a preview.
DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When the order to abandon ship was given, Hector Perez was at a lifeboat. The crew member who had access to the boat told passengers to calm down.
HECTOR PEREZ, CONCORDIA PASSENGER: As soon as he opened the door, everybody ran towards that emergency boat and pushed him out of the way. Everybody was panicking.
Everybody was running for their own lives. A lot of them didn't realize they were going to let people jump into the boats without an actual seat.
Those that realized it, they jumped into the boat and they just stayed standing on the boat. It was way over 150 people limit.
RIVERS: The boat carrying Perez made it to the sea, but even then they were not safe.
PEREZ: I look up and I see the emergency boat A go sideways one way. Suddenly, it went this way again and fell right on top of our boat.
SOHAIM KHAN, CONCORDIA PASSENGER: If our boat would have turn when we were evacuating and the second boat fell on us, we would have been dead.
RIVERS: Several lifeboats couldn't be lowered and with the ship listing, the problems of evacuating people multiplied. The Ananias family boarded a lifeboat, but were forced to return to the ship when the lifeboat wouldn't launch. Once back on board.
CINDY ANANIAS, CONCORDIA PASSENGER: Bam, screaming. The boat flips.
DEAN ANANIAS, CONCORDIA PASSENGER: It takes another five to eight more degrees roll to its side.
RIVERS: One of the crew told investigators that some officers literally pushed passengers into the water. For the Ananias family turned around and tried to climb across the ship with nothing to hold onto.
VALERIE ANANIAS, CONCORDIA PASSENGER: The side of the ship is now the bottom of the ship. You're literally walking on the side of the ship.
RIVERS: The speed with which the Concordia tilted fist one way and then the other has alarmed maritime experts.
BANFIELD: I cannot wait for this special tonight. Dan Rivers joins me live now. Before I get to some of the personal stories on board, Dan, when I covered this live with you back in January, I seem to recall them saying it would take three months or so before they could get that ship out of there. Where is the ship now?
RIVERS: It's still right where you saw her last time on those rocks, Ashleigh. It's going to be a while. They have announced the contract to salvage her and they are beginning to slowly put that in place. They have to get all that fuel off and she will be towed away. They're going to scrap her completely.
BANFIELD: Just a remarkable feat that they have to undertake. In the meantime, tell me a bit about this remarkable detail that you're going to have in your special report tonight. Witnesses were saying that men on board were pushing women and children out of the way trying to get to the lifeboats.
RIVERS: Absolutely. Yes, we got several people speaking with video that it's never been seen on TV before. That does really put you on board the Costa Concordia that night and some of the things they describe as they try to get off are really pretty horrifying. They said it was the kind of - they saw the worst of human nature tonight, some people told us. People - men shoving women and children out the way in an effort the get into life rafts.
They also, though, say they saw the best in human nature, as well. Some of the people were trying to do their best. For example, the violinist in the band on board, he tried to his best to save as many kids as he could getting them into life jackets. He ended up dying because of his valiant efforts to save children.
BANFIELD: Oh, Dan. I'm really looking forward to this piece tonight. Thanks so much. A reminder to our viewers, Dan, that your special runs tonight. It's CNN Presents: Cruise to Disaster. 8 o'clock eastern time. Some exclusive images and details. Make sure you tune in.