Return to Transcripts main page
Exclusive Interview with Spike Lee; Seven People Charged in Connection with a Deadly Shooting in Louisiana; Julian Assange, the Founder of Wikileaks, Appeared in public for the First Time in Months; Gu Kailai Admits Crime
Aired August 19, 2012 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN HOST: Tonight, Spike Lee like you have never seen him before.
SPIKE LEE, FILMMAKER: He is a savior. Black Jesus. Expectations were, I think, way to high.
KOSIK: In a kind of interview only CNN's Don Lemon can do.
Running for the U.S. senate, a congressman tries to explain why he is against abortion even in cases of rape.
REP. TODD AKIN, R-MISSOURI, SENATE CANDIDATE: If it is a legitimate rape the female body has ways to shut that kind of thing down.
KOSIK: And now he has explaining to do. It's not quite (INAUDIBLE) from the balcony.
JULIN ASSANGE, WIKILEAKS FOUNDER: United States must renounce its witch-hunt against Wikileaks.
KOSIK: The Wikileaks founder from veranda breaks his silence.
A new study says you want to be more attractive? Be more playful.
What if you are not a naturally playful person, is there a way to kind of loosen up a little bit more?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
KOSIK: Doctor Wendy Walsh holds no punches.
That is more tonight on CNN.
KOSIK: Hello. I'm Alison Kosik sitting in for Don Lemon. Let's get you up to speed on some of the day's headlines.
Seven people charged in connection with a deadly shooting in Louisiana may have had ties to an extremist anti-government movement. Two deputies were killed and two wounded in two separate shooting Thursday. Authorities say some of those arrested had been under surveillance for some time. We will have more on these developments ahead.
More deadly attacks on NATO forces today in Afghanistan. Three troops were killed when a roadside bomb went off in the eastern part of the country. Also today, a man wearing an Afghan policeman's uniform killed one NATO service member. We don't yet know the nationalities of any of the victims.
U.S. distance swimmer Diane Nyad is back in the water attempting another record swim. With a shout of courage, the 62 year old jumped into the waters off Cuba heading towards Florida. If she is successful, the 103 mile trip is expected to take her 60 hours. This is her fourth attempt to complete the swim.
The new president of Egypt plans to visit Iran this month and that is a huge announcement because no Egyptian leader has set foot in Iran since the Islamic revolution in 1979. President Mohamed Morsi's office says he will take part in a summit in Tehran August 30th.
First lady Michelle Obama will travel to Wisconsin Thursday. She will meet with families of the victims of the shooting rampage at the Sikh temple this month. A gunman killed six people and injured four others before killing himself. The first lady will visit with immediate family members of those who were injured and killed.
Singer Kid Rock has surprised an injured soldier with a brand new home. The vet lost his left leg last year after being struck by an IED in Afghanistan. Rock and members of Operation Finally Home waited inside the house which Rock helped pay for to surprise the young Detroit couple.
Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, emerged in public for the first time in months. He is at the Ecuador embassy in London trying to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questions about the alleged sex crimes. He said those are trump of charges so government can prosecute him for leaking world leaders' embarrassing messages.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIAN ASSANGE, FOUNDER, WIKILEAKS: I ask President Obama to do the right thing. United States must renounce its witch-hunt against Wikileaks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: Ecuador has granted Assange's asylum but Britain says the moment he leaves the embassy, he will be arrested.
To politics now, six-term Missouri Republican congressman Todd Akin, he is running against incumbent Senate Democrat Claire McCaskill, in the November election and he is backing away tonight from an answer he gave KTVI television when he was asked whether he thought abortion should be legal in the case of rape. Here is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. TODD AKIN (R), MISSOURI SENATE CANDIDATE: People always want to try to make it one of those things like how do you slice this particularly tough ethical question. It seems to me first of all from what I understand from doctors that is really rare. If it is a legitimate rape the female body has ways to try shut that thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment but the punishment ought to be in the rapist and not attacking the child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: Akin issued a statement that reads in part quote, "in reviewing my off-the-cut remarks, it is clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy. I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year."
But the congressman went on to say that he remains opposed to abortion even in cases of rape. A spokesman for the Romney campaign is also weighing in her words. Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mister Akin's statement, and a Romney/Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.
We asked congressman Akin to come on CNN to clarify his original comments, but we were told he was unavailable.
We are learning more about the suspects involved in a police shootout in Louisiana. Two deputies were killed and two wounded outside of New Orleans. Authorities say some of the seven in custody were on the terrorism watch list.
CNN's Susan Candiotti has more on the latest developments.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Two law enforcement officials say some of the suspects in the case may have ties to an antigovernment group called sovereign citizens.
Sovereign citizens on the FBI's domestic terror list doesn't recognize the authority of law enforcement and has been known to use violence. Seven people are charged in last Thursday's shooting of four deputies outside of New Orleans. Two were killed and two were wounded.
Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle of De Soto Parish in northwestern Louisiana says his department had previous surveillance on the suspects and turned over its file to state police leading the investigation into the shootings further south near New Orleans.
About two months ago, Arbuckle's deputies set up surveillance on the group for about a week. He says investigators were working on a tip that the men had ak-47s and a lot of ammo in their trailer. But authorities never saw their suspects who were in the process of moving out of state.
One of the suspects, Terry Lyn Smith (ph) has a facebook page that includes a photo of Smith holding a gun. Under the photo he appears to comment quote "for all you haters see the snake eye". It is unclear who he means by haters.
Under political views it is listed independent citizens who stated mission is giving government back to the people. Sheriff Arbuckle says he believes the group is link to sovereign citizens. Law enforcement agencies say it is too early to link the deputies' shootings to the sovereign citizens' extremist group.
Smith's son also charged in the case has a facebook page, as well. In it, he has pictured where he, too, is posing with guns including what appears to an assault weapon.
The Sovereign Citizens United Web site says it does not endorse violence against police or the government.
Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York.
KOSIK: The presidential election is less than three months away and both sides are wrangling to control the conversation. But, who is winning that battle?
KOSIK: Mitt Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan has changed the political discussion in his one week on the campaign trail and shifted much of the focus to Medicare.
Earlier I spoke with Will Cain and Lz Granderson. They are both CNN contributors and Lz is also a senior writer with ESPN.
I started by asking Will if Medicare is a winning issue for Romney and Ryan or if they need to stir the conversation back to the economy.
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Obama care in the Romney team's estimation changed the entire game as far as Medicare debate and conversation. They feel like the $716 billion over the next ten years that Obama care transfers over in to the new entitlement and thus reducing Medicare for seniors is a winning issue for them. That Romney says he wouldn't take that $716 billion out of Medicare. Changing this entire Medicare debate for the first time, Republicans feel like this is a winning issue for them.
So no, I don't think they are afraid to have that conversation.
KOSIK: OK Lz, what do you say? Is it a day spent talking about something other than jobs a good day for Obama?
LZ GRANDERSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, it is. And I don't know what Will is talking about. This is a side issue. The only way that Romney is going to beat President Obama is to hammer him on the economy and on jobs. He is not going to do it any other way. And he really hasn't been talking about jobs since he left in his foreign trip and started bombing over in London. I really think this is a distraction for the Romney campaign. I am shocked that they have allowed it to go that far because in my opinion, what is really going to happen is they are going to start dissecting the rest of Ryan's plan. And you get even further away from the conversation about jobs.
KOSIK: Will, go ahead.
CAIN: Let me help you on what exactly I'm talking about. A, I think we would be getting back to talking about the economy. There are still like three months left to go before the November election.
And b, I will help you visualize what I'm talking about. Stretch back in your memory about two years to the 2010 midterms and picture all those town halls full of seniors upset about the fact that Medicare was being cut back because of Obama care. I think that Romney's team looks back to that and says that is something we can use again.
KOSIK: All right. OK --
GRANDERSON: You mean 2010 back with the tea party came and they were supposed to help grow the economy and help cut back all the spending and then we had the big budget crunch and the debt ceiling conversation, that 2010?
CAIN: Yes, I guess. Yes.
GRANDERSON: OK. All right. Just making sure. I was making sure.
KOSIK: Let's go ahead and move on now that we got that settled. And so, this morning on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION," Obama's deputy campaign manager fought back against criticism that the president is avoiding the national media. Here's what she said to our Jim Acosta.
STEPHANIE CUTTER, OBAMA DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: We are going to spend our time talking to media all over the country. And I don't think --
JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Are they more important than the national news media?
CUTTER: I don't think that they are more important but I think they are equally important. I think that is where a lot of Americans get their news. And I think the president is going to continue doing that.
KOSIK: Will, is this a legitimate argument? Does Stephanie Cutter have a point here?
CAIN: Well, look. I think she might have a point when she says they are of equal value. I mean, I don't know. I mean, news media, you would think would have a little bit more legitimacy and substance and entertainment tonight than people. But that doesn't mean I think the president shouldn't be giving interviews to entertainment tonight and people.
Feel free. Do that. You are right. A lot of Americans watch it. But you might fit in that time, a press conference or interview with CNN or some other mainstream news media outlet.
KOSIK: Well, do you think --?
CAIN: Which he hasn't done since May, is it?
KOSIK: Are you getting the feeling that he is avoiding the national media?
CAIN: I think it is more than a feeling. I think it is obvious.
KOSIK: Lz, what do you say?
GRANDERSON: I say that Mitt Romney had a photo app with him going grocery shopping. So clearly, making sure that the American people feel good about you as a person is just as important to this campaign as what people say is the most substantive kind of conversation to be having.
And no one between President Obama and Mitt Romney has ducked the national media more than Mitt Romney. So, I don't think this is a really good conversation for the Republicans to be having. Sure, you can criticize him about "People" magazine, but the fact of the matter is that Mitt Romney has been using FOX News as his person's PR. And as long as he is doing that and avoiding will be considered more mainstream or more legitimate new sources than I think that he really is barking up the wrong tree here.
KOSIK: All right.
CAIN: Didn't he give a press conference on Thursday?
GRANDERSON: You mean that he is going to release more taxes, that press conference you are talking about?
CAIN: That one.
GRANDERSON: Yes, sure. I guess you can count that one where he says I paid at least 13 percent. I guess we should be giving him kind of back --
CAIN: He gave one. You didn't like what he said. But he gave one.
KOSIK: Will Cain, Lz Granderson, always a pleasure.
A mob attacks Japanese made cars.
Ahead, frustrations are running high in a fight over territory with both sides claiming ownership.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KOSIK: Sensationalized murder trials may seem like to happen every day in the U.S. But in China they are pretty rare. Now, a court has handed down a verdict in a trial that made headlines around the world.
Gu Kailai, the wife of a former communist party leader and an aid were accused of fatally poisoning a British businessman. During the trial, Gu stance court watchers by confessing to the crime.
Stan Grant joins me now from Beijing with more.
Stan, what is the verdict?
STAN GRANT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Alison. What we are hearing now, we got a confirmed from our own sources, a friend of the family (INAUDIBLE) that she has been given a commuted death sentence.
Now, that is a two year reprieve. At the end of the two years they will then hand down a full sentence, perhaps, that would be life in prison. Of course, that is still to be determined.
Now, her accomplice in this as well has been given a nine-year jail term. Now, neither of them we understand are going to appeal this verdict. But this has been the most extraordinary story because it has peeled open the curtain here on the highest level dealings of the communist party. This is the secretive party. We never get to see or hear about the people at the top. In this case this is the very top.
Gu Kailai is married to a man called Bo Xilai. He is someone who is the son of the revolutionary hero here in China, someone who self. He was talked about as the potential future president of China. He ruled over the biggest city in the country of more than 30 million people. He was someone who dressed himself in the slogans and the songs of Mao Zedong, someone who saw himself as the very conscience of the communist party.
Well now, he has been stripped of his position. He has been kept behind closed doors. We have heard nothing from him. His wife, in the meantime, has admitted to murdering - poisoning Neil Haywood, a British businessman who had strong and very close business links with the family.
Now, this is something that has involved Neil Haywood, a person as I say a businessman in China, somebody who apparently himself has links to spy agencies in the United Kingdom. The man who broke the story wide open. A senior Chinese policeman ran to the American embassy with news when the story first broke. And of course, Bo Xilai, a man touted as the future president of the country now held behind closed doors and all of these playing out at a time when the communist party itself is going through a once in a decade leadership transition. An extraordinary story that has ramifications from the very tough of this country.
KOSIK: Definitely a fascinating case.
Stan Grant from Beijing, thank you. Another headline out of China where today was a bad day to own a Japanese import. A mob attacked Japanese made cars in one Chinese city as anger over disputed island chain grows. Both countries claim the islands and the Japanese group landed on one of the islands today sparking protest in several cities. Japan deported 14 citizens who landed on the islands last week.
In South Africa, the company at the center of a deadly miner's strike says they must go back to work tomorrow or lose their jobs. On Thursday police opened fire on the striking minors, many of whom were armed with machetes. Thirty four miners were killed in the shooting.
The NFL referees are in a contract battle right now. So, while they are in the sidelines it may surprise you where one of the replacement refs used to work. That's next.
KOSIK: One of the best hitters in baseball this season gets suspended. And the NFL prepare to begin the season with replacement referees. Seems one of those odd weeks in the sports world.
Jon Wertheim joined me earlier and I asked him about San Francisco Giants' outfielder, Melky Cabrera. He was suspended 50 games this week after testing positive for an elevated level of testosterone. He was one of the league's leading hitters, the MVP of the all-star game. But John told me the bust wasn't such a big surprise.
JON WERTHEIM, SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: A blogger in the bay area (INAUDIBLE) actually confronted Cabrera about the rumors. Cabrera denied them. But this was definitely sort of the in the chatter. The report of this failed test was not a great shot.
KOSIK: All right, Cabrera plays for the giants, the same team that Barry Bonds played for. And we all know about the allegations that shattered Bonds deal. Is this a coincidence or does this organization have a problem here?
WERTHEIM: Yes. It is interesting. You know, apart from Bonds there were others Giants that figured prominently in the metro report few years ago. I mean, I don't think it is an organizational issue. But the fact that there is a history that says it is Barry Bonds' cloud over the Giants is certainly another component. This is a strange case all the way. But the fact that this is the Giants is certainly another angle to the story definitely.
KOSIK: You know, there is a report in the "New York Daily News" today that says Cabrera concocted this crazy wild scheme to explain his positive test by creating a fake Web site to claim to have taken by accident. Does this report mean Cabrera could be in more trouble than we thought?
WERTHEIM: Yes, I don't know. It is definitely a case where sort of the cover up is going to be clumsier than the crime. But I think, you know, whether or not this is going to causes more trouble, I think this shows is that players still think that there are loopholes or ways to circumvent the policy. In this case, they are going to create this product and say hey, look on the Internet. It is mislabeled. By took this innocently, and the fact that somebody would be that bold suggests that players may not be as serious as they need to be about this testing program.
KOSIK: Or there's a lot of ego involved.
Let's go ahead and switch gears to football. The NFL season just a couple of weeks away. And the referees in the league are in a labor standoff. So, you know, we could start the season with replacement referees. So, how much money are they really fighting over though?
WERTHEIM: The money is actually very little. You know money into that, $2.2 million for this year. Remember, this is a $9.3 billion industry. And they are going to really have replacement refs over a difference of $2.2 million.
I'm concerned of dumb founded by this. You know, a year ago we were talking about a player strike and real labor negotiations and splitting a pie and that, that made sense. This is seems like - I mean, this is you know, this is pocket change and for a sport where the TV is through the roof and there is all the success, the franchise values are soaring and the NFL is wildly successful. The one issue they have is player health and safety. There is litigation. I mean, this is the one issue that could really hurt the league to have anything other than the best most highly trained, highly regarded officials is this dumfounding.
KOSIK: Yes. I mean, these replacement guys, they have experience, sure. But one replacement ref reportedly used to work for - for something called the lingerie football league. I think we have got - there you go. It seems that pretty, you know. But you mentioned that. there's been serious safety issue here.
WERTHEIM: Yes. I mean, and already we seen, you know, a one ref called Atlanta Arizona.
WERTHEIM: There was a call for holding against the (INAUDIBLE) which is not - is not easy to do. And you know, I mean, the lingerie will tell get a lot of yaks. But really, I mean, this is -- the NFL has this very serious issue that really shrouding the whole league. And again, you have all this sorts - this litigation and this liability issues. You know, you hate to go there. But you know, if there is one incident or injury that is a result of having a sort of substandard officiating it is going to be disaster.
KOSIK: Yes. I mean, people go to the games to see the players and not the refs. But a bad ref could really make the call that decides who wins and who loses, right?
WERTHEIM: Absolutely. I mean, anyone who watches football knows it is true. And this is the NFL. This is what they keep saying. No one goes -- no one pays to go to see the refs. But, you know, no one pays to see the owners either. The refs have an indispensable job and especially for a product where health and safety is really at the forefront. I can't imagine why they are playing hard ball over a couple of million dollars.
KOSIK: And that was Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated.
The stories coming out of Syria are some of the worst imaginable. But, what does it even take to get the stories out?
Ahead, our Ben Wedeman shows us what it takes to get the story from inside the war zone.
KOSIK: Half past the hour. Let's take a look at the headlines.
Missouri congressman Todd Akin is clarifying remarks on abortion and rape he made his KTVI television. AKIN referenced what he called cases of tote legitimate rape, then, he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AKIN: The female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment but it ought to be in the rapist and not attacking the child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: Congressman Akin issued a statement today that reads in part quote, "in reviewing my off-the-cut remarks, it is clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy. I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year."
Akin went on to say that he remains opposed to abortion in the case of rape. He is running against incumbent senate Democrat Claire McCaskill in the November election.
Some families who lost loved ones in the world trade center have a big problem with plans for the 9/1 memorial and museum at ground zero. Memorial organizers are planning to keep some unidentified human remains underground in the space where the twin towers once stood. That plan is on hold while the court considers an appeal by some victims' families who insist those remains be kept above ground like the remains of unknown soldiers at Arlington. The New York mayors' office is involved in the decision, too.
A young Canadian swimmer has had an unforgettable weekend last hour. 14-year-old Annaleise Carr finished a swim across lake Ontario becoming one of the youngest to complete the feet. Her swim lasted more than 24 hours over more than 30 miles and isn't just a personal accomplishment. She also raised more than $70,000 for a camp for children with cancer.
There is another death in the worst west Nile virus outbreak the country has seen in eight years. This time the mosquito born virus is blamed for a death in Illinois, one of at least 26 deaths nationwide. Dallas, Texas hasn't seen this sight in forty five years of playing taking off to dust the city with mosquito pesticide.
City leaders began spraying this week and hope to finish soon. It was a controversial decision, but one city there felt they had to make. Most of the, what now deaths have come in Texas.
Earlier I asked CNN's Nick Valencia about the decision.
KOSIK: This spraying has been pretty controversial in Texas. How safe is it?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, all signs point to yes, Alison. We are hearing from EPA officials and Texas state department of health officials that there is no reason for concern. There is nothing to worry about here.
Having said that, we spoke to residents who were blogging about this and they had some concern about what exactly the spraying targets. Is it the larva? Is it the mosquitoes? We spoke to one resident whose municipality was telling her this doesn't kill the larva. This only kills mosquitoes. We have the Dallas mayor on earlier, last hour with Fredricka Whitfield. He disputed that saying final results will come out later this week. So, right now we just don't know.
KOSIK: You wonder how effective it will be, I mean, to start spraying and spraying before you know what is the point.
VALENCIA: Sure. It's a - but they think it's the best bet right now to help residents there.
KOSIK: OK. Let's talk about -- what happens when someone contracts the what now virus? You know, what the possible outcome?
VALENCIA: This is the scariest part about it. Sometimes there can be no symptoms. There is an incubation period for about two weeks where people who are affected and have made contracted that west Nile virus, they don't have it.
We talked to the mother of one 14 year old who doesn't fit the mold of somebody who contracts the virus. It usually have toddlers, elderly, people with pre-existing health conditions. This 14 year old Jordan Connor had none of that. Her symptoms were beige. And you know, she told her mom that she had a headache one day, the next day had a fever. That night she ends up in the emergency room. In fact, one of the concerns that Ebonie Connor had, the mother of this 14-year-old, was that the vague symptoms weren't diagnosed properly by the doctors. She is talking to us about what a difficult time she is going through with her family yesterday. EBONIE CONNOR, JORDAN CONNOR'S MOTHER: The symptoms play peek a boo with you. And so, we were seven to ten days into it. It's when that headache, Jordan has never really said she had a headache. So when the mention of a headache became a complaint of a headache I was very concerned. And when the complaint included vomiting, well, the next day we had a doctor's appointment. But, co-incidentally that night that is when the sedation, her naturally being deeply sedated came in. And I took her straight to the emergency room.
VALENCIA: So what Jordan contracted less than one percent of those that get the virus end up getting this neurological disorder? It is called West Nile Mandingo encephalitis. It controls -- it hits the brain functions, Alison. So, the mother right now is worried about seizures. And the guidance that she has been given from the doctors, if you can believe it, is just sort of wait it out. We'll see what happens.
KOSIK: And that was CNN's nick Valencia on the west Nile outbreak.
Across Syria, at least 170 people were killed on Sunday in street fighting and shelling in cities across the country and we are including in that number 20 burned bodies found in the town close to border with Jordan. We are about to see the civil war in Syria from a brand new perspective, it is through the eyes, sometimes hiding from sniper fire of our senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: All right.
We are going to Aleppo. (INAUDIBLE). So we had two cars going to Aleppo but the other car apparently got bad gas and therefore in it so it is not going to make it. Now we are six people crammed into this little van.
WEDEMAN: We are literally just a few meters from our destination in Aleppo.
All right we run out of gas. We are pushing it up a hill. I don't know where we are going to get any petro.
All right. We made it. We left our safe house at 11:00 in the morning. Now it's 10 minutes past 10:00 at night. We finally made it to Aleppo.
All right. We're now going in the direction of Salaheddine where of course all the fighting is taking place.
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
WEDEMAN: OK, he's saying, here's there a sniper that's shooting.
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
WEDEMAN: OK, he's saying you want to go back and drive fast through the intersection, because there's a sniper. He says get down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get down, mate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a sniper.
WEDEMAN: Get down. Get down. Get down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just plug it, mate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't go any farther.
WEDEMAN: That's already, you're fine. Come down. Just get down. Even if it's uncomfortable, just get down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not because it's uncomfortable.
WEDEMAN: OK. We made it past that one. OK. Maybe now's a good time to get out, get our bearings. Wait, what are you doing? OK, he's going to take us between the buildings. Probably will park the car there and --
KOSIK: Not sure about you but we are holding our breaths to see right there.
Ben Wedeman's dangerous journey in Aleppo continues in a moment.
KOSIK: We left CNN's Ben Wedeman hunkered down in the back of a van in Syria with bullet flying over his head. He hasn't arrived in Aleppo, the place where some say the fate of Syria will be vitally decided. We go back now to our senior international correspondent in the middle of Syria's fighting.
WEDEMAN: I met (INAUDIBLE) who insists she and her family of six will not leave. I ask her where the front line is. But she brushes off the question saying she has become accustomed to the shelling. Her son, 1 1/2-year-old (INAUDIBLE) seems confused and squeezes my hand tightly.
A two minute walk down the street, an apartment building was hit in an air strike. This building or what is left of this building which really isn't much is in an area where civilians are still living. And of course, among the ruins we found a French book and somebody's studying English, the life of William Shakespeare.
Residents say two bodies remain buried inside. Here is the absurd nature of the situation. Here we are, we came in this door just because there were air raids going on in the neighborhood. We came inside. This nice gentleman first gave us water and then gave us juice and now gave us tea.
Now, we are staying inside because they are shooting up the street but the hospitality does not stop when the fighting goes on.
We are leaving Aleppo for the second time. We are taking a route that we are hoping will get us to our safe house faster, but it looks like the route we were going to take they are saying don't go that way. We are hearing some shooting in the distance and some boom booms.
OK. All right. Plan a, has quickly melted into plan b. Now I don't know where we are going. Now we're going on to plan c. And it looks like --
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
WEDEMAN: He was saying in his army. His army means two things. Normal or regime. So, we thought we were driving through a regime area. Plans a, b and c melted, evaporated. We are shot by snipers. So, now we are going back to plan d which is the long way out of here which takes hours. However, it is relatively safe. No way is really safe. We'll cross our fingers.
KOSIK: Amazing stuff.
Don Lemon sat down with film maker Spike Lee. He has been a political voice over the years and Don asks him some tough questions about the Obama administration. That's ahead.
KOSIK: So, what's the best way to attract a mate? Good looking, successful, sure, none of that hurts but you may need to be playful.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's have some fun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, kids. Come on. Kids were hitting me like this. Hey. Are any of you up for adoption?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: That is Bill Murray trying to impress a girl with his playfulness in "groundhog day." But, I'm thinking that maybe a little too playful, it didn't impress the girl he was trying to impress. So, I spoke with relationship expert Wendy Walsh and she told me a bit of playfulness can actually go a long way.
WENDY WALSH, HUMAN BEHAVIOR EXPERT: It's always been that women often look for a sense of humor in men because it is linked with intelligence. Believe it or not you have to be really smart to be funny. You have to sort of anticipate how your audience will take it. You have to think in double meanings. And for that, you have to be pretty smart. And women like smart guys because they can be good providers, right? They could bring in the boxes well.
KOSIK: So for women does humor trump what is outside? You know, how hot the guy is. Is the sense of humor really the most importance?
WALSH: Right. Well, the study we are talking about is a new study out of Penn State. And it shows that for women, it definitely does. It the sense of humor, playfulness and fun trump looks for women.
Now, not for men. Because men always like that youth and beauty, of course, is always a signal of reproductive fitness in our anthropological past. So, that's where they go. But yes, women love -- if you heard the saying women fall in love with their ears and then their eyes.
KOSIK: So, guys don't even care if women have a sense of humor? Is that what you are saying? Personality doesn't count?
WALSH: Well, you know how much I hate to generalize, Alison. There are guys that care about personality more than anything and there are guys that care about a nice rack more than anything.
So, you are going to have a range there just like you are with women. But this particular study shows there is a tendency to choose fun and playfulness over good looks in men.
KOSIK: OK. But what happens as you get older? Does the playfulness come across as being too immature?
WALSH: Like in the clip we showed from the "groundhog dog?" Yes. Absolutely. Because you have to think about what kind of humor displays intelligence. Is it smart, clever humor or is it sarcastic dingy humor? Are you making your audience feel better? Are you helping them engender themselves towards you or are you putting people down with your hate humor or you are being just completely immature when you - it's time to grow up.
KOSIK: All right. So, what is you are not a naturally playful person? Is there a way to loosen up a little bit more?
WALSH: No. Basically you can't fake intelligence and you can't fake humor. But what you can do is reduce the amount of stress, anxiety and depression in your life. And for that, we can all do the work of personal therapy, personal growth to get rid of the baggage that made the cloud. That black cloud just hanging over your head, you can definitely get rid of that.
KOSIK: Time now to look ahead to the week's top stories. This is going to be a week packed full of campaign events, big economic news and looking back at one of Hollywood's biggest weddings of the year.
Our correspondents tell you what you need to know. We begin with the president's plans for the week.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dan Lothian at the White house.
This week President Obama heads back out on the campaign trail flying west to Nevada, a state that has been hit hard by the mortgage crisis. He will also visit the state of Ohio, a key battle ground state where he currently leads in the polls.
Both of the states can decide who wins the White House. And then the president heads to New York city, a fundraiser to raise much needed campaign cash.
PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: I'm Paul Steinhauser on the campaign trail in Florida.
After campaigning separately for a week, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan reunite. They team up tomorrow for a big rally in New Hampshire, a crucial battle ground state. Later in the week both men hold a lot of fundraisers in the crucial last week leading up to the Republican national convention in Tampa.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN MONEY.COM CORRESPONDENT: I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.
We have a packed week ahead towards economic news. First off though, Wall Street will be watching for some key corporate earnings. We will hear from Dell, Hewlett Packard, Lowes and Barnes and Noble.
And then, on the economic front, we will get the minutes from the federal reserve's latest meeting that is going to shed some light on economic conditions across the country where we stand.
Also ahead the latest new and existing home sales report looking for any signs of continued recovery and those numbers.
Then, on Friday, we wrap up the week with the latest durable goods numbers.
That's all ahead and we will keep an eye on it for you on CNN money.
NISCHELLE TURNER, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT CORRESPONDENT: I'm "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT's" Nischelle Turner.
Here is what we are watching this week. It is the one year anniversary of Kim Kardashian's wedding bonanza. We take a look back at the 72-day marriage that had us all trying to keep up with the Kardashians.
Plus, as you get ready to pack away your summer gear we are counting down the biggest most shocking stories of the summer of 2012.
KOSIK: Our Don Lemon sat down with the always political and always opinionated filmmaker Spike Lee and talked about President Obama with him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you think he has lived up to the promises?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: Spike Lee's answer may surprise you. We have that next.
KOSIK: In a special one-on-one our don lemon sat down with Spike Lee and asked if the president has lived up to his promises.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Do you think it was too high, the expectations?
SPIKE LEE, ACTOR, DIRECTOR: He was the savior, Black Jesus. And I don't care who it was. I mean, expectations were I think way too high. What somebody can deliver knowing how politics works and knowing that you had to deal with the Congress in my opinion, a Congress that solidified by saying whatever you do we are blocking that. We are blocking. We are blocking. And every breath we take we are going to do what we can that you don't get a second term. Bottom line. And if it hurts Americans in the process, tough business.
LEMON: Do you think he has lived up to the promises?
LEE: Look, the man is not perfect. Who is perfect? But my wife and I had a fundraiser at our house and then we raised one billion dollars for him. He has my full support. And I'm going to do what I can to help that he gets a second term in office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: I'm Alison Kosik at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. Have a good night and a great week.