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CAMPBELL BROWN: NO BIAS, NO BULL
President Obama Visits Europe; Political Football
Aired March 31, 2009 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everyone.
President Barack Obama is in England tonight, far from the turmoil here at home. But this is no vacation. The president has something to prove. He needs to show the world that America is ready to lead again. He will face a group of folks who are, frankly, mad as hell at the United States for the global economic meltdown. They're facing their own political pressures at home, and they're not looking to play nice about how our economy has affected them.
And we haven't even delved into Afghanistan, folks, a tough job for any president, even one with big public support going for him, both at home and abroad. The trick is to use that as leverage and produce some real results.
We start tonight with senior White House correspondent Ed Henry traveling with the president in London.
So, Ed, this is not a sightseeing tour. The president has got a lot of work to do.
ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He really does.
Tomorrow, he has got to get up early. He's got one-on-one meetings, his first time he will be face to face with the presidents of Russia and China, a lot there on the economy, but also on national security, of course. And then he is going to be sitting down with the British prime minister, Gordon Brown, getting ready for this G-20 summit.
He's already facing some static, the U.S. president. He has got the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, saying she is not too keen on the idea of President Obama pushing Germany and other European nations to step up with more economic stimulus money. They have already passed recovery plans. They say they're not keen on taking on deficit spending, like the president is.
Also, we have got French President Nicolas Sarkozy. He came out today and was very tough, literally threatened to walk out of this G- 20 summit unless there is really tough new regulations to crack down on Wall Street.
So the president on two fronts now has to deal with these European leaders who are getting tough with him after, in the campaign, you will remember, President Obama said, look, we are going to turn the page on the Bush years. There's going to be a whole new U.S.-European alliance. I can tell you in public White House officials are trying to be conciliatory. In private, they're being a little tougher, saying, look, that these leaders are talking tough now, but at the summit they may back down. In the words of one U.S. official, told me, look, President Obama is more popular in some of the home countries of these leaders than these leaders are. They have got some real political problems back home.
And they think President Obama might be able to use his clout to push them along on this financial crisis -- Roland.
R. MARTIN: Ed, sounds like a lot of drama taking place in London. We certainly appreciate it. Thanks a lot.
And, folks, we want to break it down for you.
Becky Anderson is the host on "Business International" on CNN International. She's in London in front of the prime minister's home tonight. And in Washington, Peter Beinart, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a "TIME" magazine contributor.
Now, Becky and Peter, I want to talk about the president's three big priorities this week. First, of course, he has to do everything he can to save the economy and convince other nations to follow his example. Secondly, he needs to win over support for the war in Afghanistan as he commits an additional 21,000 troops. And while he remains popular here and abroad, the president needs to reclaim America's moral high ground.
And of course, Prime Minister Gordon Brown talked about moral values today as well.
Let's deal with issue number one, the economy.
Becky, how does he confront the economy when what has happened in America is causing a ripple effect across the globe?
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a tough one, isn't it?
What he might want to do here in order to make some mates as it were is drop his proposed vision of coordinated fiscal stimulus. That is not, as Ed said, what the Europeans are looking for. They are calling that the road to hell, effectively.
What they're looking for is a reform of what they see as the regulatory system in the U.S., which caused this meltdown, this global meltdown. And it is looking for institutional reform, institutional oversight.
As Ed said, Sarkozy suggesting that there will be an empty chair if those regulatory reforms aren't addressed. There is also another issue here. There was this perceived if not real sense that Obama has slightly slighted Prime Minister Gordon Brown who lives here at Number 10 when he was in Washington recently. Whether that is perceived or a real slight, he may just want to work with Prime Minister Gordon Brown, because, after all, he's one of the U.S.'s staunchest allies.
You have then got, of course, the other members of the G-20 outside of the G-8. You have got the developing nations here as well. And there's been a lot of talk here, and before this meeting, about the issue of trade and protectionism. They do not want to see the trade barriers coming up and this sense of protectionism from the U.S. going forward. So, he might want to think about those things before he starts this meeting on Thursday.
MARTIN: Hey, Peter, I want to turn to you, because we are so used to the American president being the dominant force in many of these meetings. Right now, our economy is in tatters. You have the European Union and others who are trying to elevate themselves.
And so how does the president sit here and mend fences and how does he try to have a conciliatory tone, while still projecting American dominance when it comes to the economy?
PETER BEINART, SENIOR FELLOW, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Well, the reality is we are not as dominant as we were a year ago.
Obama is strong, but America is weaker. And it is more evident, in some ways, outside of our borders. Those countries are used to being lectured by us, saying here is what you need to do to get your economy in shape to make it as successful as ours.
Now they're saying, wait a second. All of your deregulation has brought your economy down and is bringing our economy down. And we want you to join us in re-regulating.
I think Becky is exactly right. Unless the U.S. seriously commits to re-regulating our hedge funds and working on these offshore tax havens, we are not going to get anywhere in trying to convince the Europeans to do things they don't want to do.
MARTIN: Well, again, Becky and Peter, we're hearing all kind of different things. Of course, you have the president of the E.U. saying that our policy is a way to hell. You have, of course, the president of Brazil saying the crisis was caused by -- quote -- "white people with blue eyes."
And so the president is facing -- he's facing some folks who are really ticked off. And so, again, in trying to get them to come to his particular side, you throw in Afghanistan, now, he has got a lot of stuff must deal with.
And so real quickly, how can he somehow save face or come away with saying, hey, I actually accomplish my goals here, as opposed to them dominating this agenda, Becky?
ANDERSON: Yes, I will pick you up on that, because you have got the NATO meeting coming up after this G-20 summit, of course, for Obama. And that will give him an opportunity to grandstand for all intents and purposes. But let me tell you this. Europe is out of cash at the moment and it is out of troops. So don't expect any commitments from any of the European nations any time soon, aside from the U.K., where we might squeeze a few extra thousand troops out.
But the U.K. embroiled in the south of the country in Afghanistan, and they see a schism between the message on the ground from U.S. commanders, which is we're making progress, and what they see on the ground as well.
Look to the Australians and the Canadians, who seem fairly staunch supporters of Obama. Look to them whether they come up with anything so far as Afghanistan is concerned.
MARTIN: Hey, Becky and Peter, we appreciate it. Thank you so very much for joining us.
These things are normally staid affairs, but there's a lot of stuff to watch out for in terms of drama with this G-20. We certainly appreciate it. Thanks a lot.
Folks, while the president fights to restore America's image in the world, back home, some of our country's best--known companies are just fighting to stay alive. But how far are you willing to go, you willing to go to save Chrysler as well as GM?
Also, I heard from a lot of you last night about Madonna's choice to adopt another African child and the broader issue of adoption in America. Listen to this caller.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CALLER: I have been wanting to adopt and I don't have a lot of money. And I have been thinking about this for so long, this issue about so many babies being here and so many kids, and it being so hard to adopt here.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MARTIN: That was our caller. What did you have to say about it? Well, start dialing. I'm taking your calls again tonight on anything you hear us talking about tonight. That's 1-877-NO-BULL-0. That's 1- 877-662-8550.
You can also drop me an e-mail at Roland@CNN.com or jump in on Twitter and Facebook.
MARTIN: Everything must go. I'm sure you have heard that slogan 1,000 times from car dealers in those obnoxious commercials. Well, for Chrysler and GM, it is no gimmick. Their futures can now be measured in terms of weeks. None of us wants to see them fail. But are we actually willing to put our money where our mouth is?
The ripple effect now with our chief business correspondent, Ali Velshi.
Now, Ali, look, in November, my wife and were looking for a car to buy. We're raising my four nieces and we needed ride than my Toyota Corolla.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
MARTIN: And so we were looking at a Toyota Sequoia or a Lincoln Navigator. And so we went with the Lincoln Navigator. But she was a little concerned, asking, should we buy an American car with the drama here? Thank God we bought a Ford.
So, somebody out there right now, if they're looking at a GM or a Chrysler, should they be concerned? And is it natural for people to say, I am going to back off buying one of their cars?
VELSHI: Sure. And in fact whether they should or shouldn't be concerned, they are. The Lincoln Navigator is a sweet ride, by the way.
VELSHI: But let's talk about this.
"Consumer Reports," which really knows a lot about this, did a survey. Now, this survey was taken before the announcements of this week. So, it might have changed. But 78 percent of the respondents said they are unlikely to buy a car from a company that is in bankruptcy -- 64 percent said they are very unlikely to buy a car which is in bankruptcy.
There are two problems here. One is whether the value of the car will exist. And the second one is of course what happens when the car breaks down. You have got a warranty on the car. So the government when it announced what it wanted to do with General Motors and Chrysler on Monday said that they will back the warranties of these companies.
Remember the warranty part of the companies tend to be stand- alone units. And they tend to be profitable. So, that could always be sold. I wouldn't be all that worried about the warranties. But the government said they will stand behind the warranties if you buy a Chrysler or a General Motors.
Remember, Ford is not all that involved in this thing. But Ford is suffering from the fact that people aren't buying cars. So Ford today announced that if you buy a car from them, following on the lead from Hyundai, and you lose your job, they will pay up to 12 months of payments on your car, up to $700 a month.
Hyundai had actually said that, if you buy a car from them and you lose your job, you can take the car back. General Motors followed on that and said that they will pay up to nine months, $500 a month, if you lose your job.
So, there are two reasons people aren't buying cars. One might be the fear that the company might go bankrupt. But they're not buying Nissans, or Toyotas, or Hondas either. And that's partially because people are worried that they won't get the resale value or they may lose their job.
MARTIN: Ali, what about this here? Because you have thousands of car dealerships. If you live in a large city, no big deal, because you see so many of them. But small to mid-sized towns, that car dealership, folks rally around it in a sense.
MARTIN: And so how are they going to be affected, not just the dealer, but then the people who work there, and the people who depend upon the businesses there? This is huge.
VELSHI: Roland, the auto industry was America's industry. And the car dealership was the representation of that in every community around the country.
There are more 10,000 General Motors and Chrysler dealerships in this country. They're sort of salt of the earth. They are responsible for sponsorships. They sponsor those little league teams. They sponsor all sorts of charities and things like that. Those dealerships in some cases are already going out of business.
But if Chrysler and General Motors were to fail, and that is an entire possibility, that could be lost in communities, but not just that. This affects everybody. There are more than 40 states with more than 10,000 people employed in the auto industry, including in dealerships.
More people sell cars, by the way, than make cars in this country. They're very big advertisers in local news, in radio, in newspapers, in things like that. So, part of the problem, Roland, is that if these car dealerships were to fail, it's not a Detroit, or a Midwest, or an Indiana, or an Ohio story. It is your story in your community everywhere across America.
MARTIN: Also folks who buy tables at events and all kind of stuff like that.
VELSHI: That's absolutely right.
MARTIN: So, sponsorship plays a critical role as well.
MARTIN: Ali, we certainly appreciate it. Thanks so much.
Now, folks, I want you to meet someone with a unique point of view. He used to own car dealerships in Southern California, but now he's a member of Congress.
California Congressman John Campbell, a Republican, joins me from Washington.
Now, Congressman, look, you have insight into this, because, look, you ran a car dealership for 25 years, owned and operated those dealerships, 300-some-odd employees. And so how do -- what is your sense, look, of Chrysler and GM possibly going into bankruptcy and affecting the broader community?
REP. JOHN CAMPBELL (R), CALIFORNIA: Well I think that there is a concern.
If you lost both General Motors and Chrysler, you lose suppliers that also supply Ford and Toyota. And the impact on the economy really would be devastating.
But I think, as a dealer and so forth now, what -- you have to really dig deep and do the things you can to try and survive in this marketplace. But you have a lot of fixed costs as a car dealer. You have the inventory. You have got the real estate. You have got all those sorts of things. And it's tough to deal with here.
And when you look at the bankruptcy, I think what bankruptcy would be getting at is, certainly with General Motors, they're trying to get the bondholders to make concessions. They're trying to get the unions to make concessions. The UAW won't make concessions unless the bondholders do. The bondholders won't make concessions unless the unions do. Neither one seems to be ready to go first.
So I think the bankruptcy is there in case they can't get there. They will have to go to bankruptcy to make them both make concessions, because that's the only way these companies can survive.
MARTIN: Congressman, a lot of tough love from the president on Monday. Is he handling this right? Is he going about it the right way in terms of telling them, look, you got 30 days if you're Chrysler to strike this deal, GM, 60 days, you get rid of Rick Wagoner, get your house in order, or you are going to go to bankruptcy?
Is he doing the right thing?
CAMPBELL: There has to be some deadlines. Obviously, you can't just pour money into this forever. You have to have a plan that gets you out of it.
Some of it I think is right. Some of it I think is not so right. I just don't think that the president of the United States firing the head of a company that the taxpayer doesn't even have equity in at this time is the right thing to do.
Now, if I were on the board of GM, I think I probably would have voted to remove Mr. Wagoner several years ago.
CAMPBELL: But I am not. And he is not either. And so, I'm a little concerned about that. The other thing in the end, I was pleased to see him bring up something that has to do with the demand incentive. In the end, you can put money into these companies all you want. But people have to be -- there is a fear out there now where people aren't buying cars.
CAMPBELL: And we have to create some incentive, so that people will get up off the couch and say, yes, I am afraid, but that's a heck of a deal.
MARTIN: Congressman, about 20 seconds left.
MARTIN: What about the bill by Betty Sutton of Ohio, who is saying, look, any car over 27 miles an hour, a $4,000 voucher? Good bill?
CAMPBELL: I would prefer something that was a little broader, that actually got people to buy.
CAMPBELL: We have got inventory in cars and plants, in all types of cars and trucks. I would prefer something broader.
MARTIN: All right.
Well, Congressman, look, we certainly appreciate it. Thank you so very much. We will be watching this story very closely.
Folks, there is a raging debate in sports that even brings out strong feelings from the president. So, it was only a matter of time before, yes, Congress started poking around. We will look at why your lawmakers want to tackle the biggest controversy in big-time college football.
Also, he's a legend in one of the world's other greatest sports. Tennis star Hall of Famer John McEnroe is here tonight with a warning millions of men need to hear.
MARTIN: They call it March madness. But there's nothing mad about it. It's real simple: Win, and you are number one in the country.
Next week, the NCAA crowns national champions in men and women's basketball because of a playoff system.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM MORA, NFL HEAD COACH: Playoffs? Don't talk about -- playoffs? You kidding me? Playoffs?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN: We all love that sound bite. Let's talk about the playoffs. Congress wants to know, how come all the other major college sports have a playoff system, but big-time college football don't? They can't figure it out. What is going on?
I think it is flat-out outrageous. And here to hash it out with me is Roy S. Johnson, editor in chief from "Men's Fitness" magazine, longtime writer "Sports Illustrated." And he says, dump the BCS. And Bryan Curtis, senior editor at TheDailyBeast.com. Bryan says, hey, what's wrong? Leave it like it is. What's the big deal?
Now, Roy, the winner of the six biggest conferences get an automatic bid. You have four at-large bids. And, so, based upon rankings from different polls, AP, coaches, as well as the computers, then they figure out the whole deal. But, at the end of the day, if you're looking at Utah, they got screwed. They got hosed. So, how does this resolve a national championship?
ROY S. JOHNSON, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "MEN'S FITNESS": Well, let's put it in a little bit of perspective. I don't know if Utah got hosed, because they did take home $17.5 million for being in a BCS bowl.
However they should have had the opportunity, being undefeated, to play for the national title. And the reason they didn't is because of this system, the BCS, which is essentially sports red-lining. It prevents certain people because of where they live, what conferences they're in, from participating in the championship game.
If they're really lucky, if they're really good, and really, really just, they lobby hard, they might get an opportunity to get some money. But they don't get the opportunity for the crown.
Now, Bryan, now, help me out here. Baseball, volleyball, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, all -- every other sport -- they probably got a domino tournament that has a playoff for NCAA.
BRYAN CURTIS, SENIOR EDITOR, THEDAILYBEAST.COM: Right.
MARTIN: So, they have all figured it out. What's the deal with football?
Well, football actually already has a playoff system. It's called the regular season. And it's a single elimination playoff. When Michigan plays Ohio State, whichever team loses is effectively knocked out of the national championship picture. When USC plays Notre Dame, whichever team loses is in really bad shape. And I actually think -- I think Utah actually has a case to play for the national championship last year. But I think they should have been put in the national championship game against Florida. We don't need a playoff to do that. We just need to put them in the game.
JOHNSON: Bryan, unless every team plays every other team, the regular season can't really determine which teams should be eliminated.
What I believe is, you do. You take a certain number of teams, maybe -- I believe in the top eight. You give one and two byes and let the others play a bracket for the national title, because Utah didn't get to play Florida or Oklahoma.
MARTIN: Good point. But here is what interesting. You look at basketball. Michigan State didn't win the Big Ten title, in the Final Four.
But here is the issue. Congress is all of a sudden involved. Now, should they have a role here? Now, obviously, Senator Orrin Hatch, he's a little ticked off, because he is from Utah.
MARTIN: But should Congress be holding hearings and making this kind of noise when it comes to the BCS?
CURTIS: Congress? I mean, Congress, really?
JOHNSON: We're talking Congress? Congress?
CURTIS: If you think that the BCS is a corrupt, rotten institution, wait until you get a load of these guys.
I mean, this is -- no, absolutely not. Don't you think they have a lot of problems on their plate right besides how we pick a college football national championship?
MARTIN: But, Roy, Congress has been involved when it comes to antitrust issues in football, in baseball, dealing with pro wrestling, dealing with steroids, dealing with all kinds of other issues, horse racing. So, it's not like Congress has never dealt with sports before.
JOHNSON: And all those things are fixed?
MARTIN: I'm just making the point. I'm just making the point.
JOHNSON: And maybe they probably will fix the Electoral College system before they fix the BCS.
MARTIN: So, how do we resolve the issue? Obviously, the president, he's been quoted on this issue, where he has said, look, I want to see a playoff system.
So, how do we resolve it? Because obviously the current system, folks are not happy.
Bryan, 20 seconds, then Roy.
CURTIS: No, absolutely, there is no resolution necessary. The system works great. Everybody is making a ton of money. ESPN just paid $125 million a year to maintain the current system.
JOHNSON: Bryan, we already have seen history. I think we're going to see history again. Before we are off this planet, there will be a system, a BCS playoffs, and we will crown a true college national football champion.
MARTIN: Man, you guys are hard on Congress. They're not that bad.
MARTIN: All right, Bryan -- Bryan and Roy Johnson, I certainly appreciate it. Thanks a lot.
Folks, anger at the boss boils over. The result, a hostage crisis. Why some factory workers are holding company executives captive right now.
MARTIN: A little Trick Daddy, one of Zain's personal requests there. So, we had to go find that on iTunes.
Folks, Madonna is in the African nation of Malawi tonight, waiting to see whether she will be able to adopt a little girl. Now, last night, we wondered why we never seem to hear about celebrities adopting American children these days.
Well, you have been sounding off on that on the phone lines, on the e-mail, everywhere.
Here is what Monica in Colorado had to say.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I agree that the United States makes it much too difficult to adopt children. And this is the primary reason why people go abroad.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MARTIN: Still, doesn't it be easier to adopt a child in this country? We will be talking about that in a minute. I'm taking your calls again tonight at 1-877-NO-BULL-0. That's 1-877-662-8550 about adoption, BCS, take your pick.
But, first, Zain Verjee joins with a briefing, our musical...
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Thanks for warming me up a little bit there, Roland.
MARTIN: I had to. I had to.
VERJEE: Well, just across the channel from where President Obama is tonight, some disgruntled workers are holding their bosses hostage. It is happening at a factory in southeast France run by the American company Caterpillar.
The workers blockaded five managers in their offices this morning, demanding negotiations over threatened layoffs. One manager has been released for health reasons. But the workers told French TV that they plan to hold the others overnight.
We have news on two national recalls tonight. Yamaha is recalling some 145,000 off-road R.V.s, after 46 deaths and hundreds of injuries. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says that owners should stop using Rhino models 450, 660 and 700, and call a local dealer for repairs.
Meanwhile, the FDA says don't eat pistachios. Two million pounds of pistachios were recalled on Monday because of a possible salmonella contamination. No illnesses have been reported.
And, Roland, too, we are hearing finally from the police officer who kept an NFL player from getting to his dying mother-in-law's hospital room in time. Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats was stopped in the hospital parking lot after he ran a red light. The incident was caught on the patrol car's dashboard camera.
And here's what officer Robert Powell told a Dallas TV station.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT POWELL, POLICE OFFICER: I don't know why I didn't do that. And I should have. And that was my mistake. I should have let them go in. I should have at least gone in with them, let them do what they needed to do. And that was be with their -- their mother.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERJEE: Officer Powell remains on paid leave, and sounding remorseful there.
MARTIN: Well, again, I think a lot of people have been weighing in on this story. And folks are saying, what were you thinking?
And, look, it's a young cop, made a mistake.
MARTIN: And so I think he is probably going to learn a lot from it.
VERJEE: And everyone can relate to it. What if it was us?
Zain, we certainly appreciate it. Thanks a lot.
VERJEE: Thank you.
MARTIN: We will play some music a little bit later.
MARTIN: All right, Madonna is in Africa tonight waiting to hear if she will be allowed to adopt a 3-year-old girl from Malawi. But is it harder to adopt a child in America than in Africa?
I'm taking your calls again tonight at 1-877-NO-BULL-0. That's 1-877-662-8550.
Back in a moment. There you go.
MARTIN: Madonna is due back in court in the African nation of Malawi on Friday to find out if she'll be allowed to adopt another child. The pop star wants to adopt 3-year-old, Mercy James, a child she reportedly met in an orphanage two years ago.
Last night, we talked about this very issue but really the larger issue of adoption in America. And we got a ton of e-mails and calls from folks on this issue. Also on CNN.com, here's what Carolyn in California had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAROLYN, CALIFORNIA: I agree that the United States makes it much too difficult to adopt children. And this is the primary reason why people go abroad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN: Folks, these are real issues and real people. And joining me now to talk about adopting American children, Mardie Caldwell. She is CEO and founder of Lifetime Adoption. She's also the author of "Adoption: Your Step-by-Step Guide." In Houston, my hometown, federal judge, Vanessa Gilmore, who adopted a child eight years ago.
And Judge Gilmore, I want to start with you because you decided to adopt a kid. You're one of those folks, take care of other folks' children. You want to do it yourself. But how -- what was it like as a single woman, adopting a child? Was it difficult? What was the process you went through?
JUDGE VANESSA GILMORE, ADOPTED A CHILD IN 2001: Well, every time you go through the process of adopting there is a lot of anxiety that comes with it. It took me exactly nine months, but I don't think that I went through any more anxiety than a woman who might go through the same nine months to have her own child.
So yes, there is a lot of anxiety. Yes, there is a lot of red tape. But if parenting is your goal, then I think that it's something that you feel at the end is actually worth it.
MARTIN: Mardie, I don't think a lot of people truly understand the intricacies of adoption because you have different states and different rules. You were initially denied because you were overweight?
MARDIE CALDWELL, LIFETIME ADOPTION: That's right.
MARTIN: Explain that.
CALDWELL: Well, I was also denied because I was almost 30 and my husband was also 40, and they said we couldn't adopt a newborn, and that we'd have to look at a special needs older child. And then we had a lot of restrictions against us at the time because they looked at our weight and said we were unhealthy.
And this has changed now in the last, 10, 20 years. But you know, adoption, I want to get rid of some of the myths because in your heart people want to adopt, as I did. And there are ways to do it. It's like anything else in life. It takes persistence and time, and a lot of patience. But it is not that difficult to adopt in the United States.
And you have to go through the steps as I did when I adopted, and as people do today. And a lot of the myths that we're seeing, people don't know the steps they need to take. And that's one of the reasons I wrote the book and the work we do.
MARTIN: But, Mardie, is part of the problem and, Judge, you can weigh in because being a federal judge in Menlo, you see all kinds of things in the courtroom. Is part of the problem here 50 states, 50 different rules?
MARTIN: And so when people move they're not sure in terms of what works in California as compared to Texas, as compared to Louisiana.
MARTIN: And so should we have some kind of federal oversight that we have some kind of consistency when it comes to adoption?
GILMORE: Well, I think that it is a state-by-state process. And I'm not sure that having the federal government weigh in on each individual state's rules and laws, with respect to adoption, would make it any easier. It just would be another level and another layer of -- of work that you would have to go through to do that. I think state to state, just getting through the laws in your own state is probably enough.
CALDWELL: It would be nice to have standardized adoption laws. Texas has different laws than say Nevada, which is 72 hours. California and (INAUDIBLE) passed two laws in California, have different laws.
It's very confusing to adoptive parents and birth parents. And when you're dealing with interstate adoption, that means the birth mother is in one state, adoptive parents in another state, it causes a lot of confusion. And even attorneys have to stay on top of all this information.
I would like to see some reform in adoption laws internationally and also locally to get these kids out of foster care to make it easier for birth parents that want to go through adoption so we don't see the kids in foster care and that we see it more affordable. We have a federal tax credit right now that may be going away, and we need to continue to have that because it's over $11,000 to help families defray the cost of adoption.
Also, employers can get involved and offer adoption benefits to their employees. A lot of companies do this now, but we need to see more people...
CALDWELL: ... so these kids can go into permanent loving homes.
MARTIN: Hey, Mardie, here's an e-mail we got from Ben in Virginia. He said that in too many instances when adopting in the U.S., the birth parent changes her mind and the adoptive parents are left heartbroken at the prospect of losing their new child. And so, you know, the role there of the birth parent -- does that have a negative impact in terms of people thinking about adoption?
Mardie, real quick, then we go to Judge Gilmore.
CALDWELL: Right. You know, it's like anything else. You have to make sure this is the right decision for the birth mother. It's an emotional case of the heart. A lot of these women really love their children that's why they're choosing adoption.
You've got to have counseling and all the steps in place. But like anything else, you can go internationally too and have the country close down and have that heartbreak.
MARTIN: Great point.
CALDWELL: Families have to be educated, so I think it's very important that we have education and we make sure we look in the best interest of everyone involved.
GILMORE: And there's a lot more power in the hands of the birth mothers these days because a lot of times, most of the time now, the birth mothers actually have a big role in selecting the birth parent. The parents that are going to be the adoptive parents of their child, they get to look at that parent's lifestyle and who they are. And that was actually from my perspective helpful to me and helping me to be able to adopt as a single mom, because they want to look at how different their child's life might be with you than the life that they might have had if they were not adopted.
In fact, I've just finished myself, writing a fiction novel about that very issue comparing the life of the differences between the life of a child who is adopted...
GILMORE: ... and what his life might have been like if he did not have the chance to be adopted, which was inspired in large part from looking at the differences in my own son's life.
MARTIN: Right. We also have the issue of gay would-be parents having issues when it comes to adoption as well. That's where the different states come in. So again, an issue that we certainly are going to be watching and looking out for as we move forward.
Mardie, Judge Gilmore, we appreciate it. You guys take care, and give those kids a hug.
GILMORE: Thank you.
MARTIN: Thanks a lot.
Michelle Obama is taking Europe by storm. We've got the latest on the first lady's first trip abroad.
And John McEnroe, the bad boy of tennis, is here to talk about men's health. If you are one of those guys who just doesn't make time to get to the doctor, oh, trust me, you want to hear what he has to say.
MARTIN: A couple of years ago my dad told me he had a cataract in his eye. He could barely see out of it. A year passed and he still hadn't gone to the doctor and get it taken care of, even after numerous calls from a ticked off son. Yes, this son.
So one morning I called him out about it on my radio show. Actually called him up, got him on the phone. I said look, go to the doctor. He finally went to the doctor who found another cataract in his other eye.
My dad is like a lot of stubborn men who absolutely refuse to get themselves checked out. Oh, I'll be fine. I can handle the pain. I don't want a doctor poking on me. All typical responses and all pretty dumb.
Now, look, black men in particular drive me crazy. I heard several say their aversion to doctors stem from the Tuskegee syphilis experience, the infamous study that monitored but didn't treat black sharecroppers who are infected with the disease.
And look, we all love the men in our lives but we can't enable this irrational fear. The question is, what are you prepared to do?
Look, if it means lovingly reminding, fine. If you have to badger them, whatever. We need to tell the men we love to grow up and go see the doctor. It really could save their lives.
Now, one man who's got a message for all you guys who've been avoiding doctors, John McEnroe. He's one of the greatest tennis stars in history and a sports legend, but he's also a paid spokesman for the drug company, GlaxoSmithKline and their 50 over 50 prostate health challenge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Johnny Mac at the tourney? You cannot be serious.
JOHNNY MCENROE, TENNIS LEGEND: Wow, I haven't heard that one before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really? So, John, I hear you turned 50 this year.
MCENROE: Yep. The big 5-0.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN: Pretty interesting. You know, we all get over this all good.
John McEnroe, we certainly appreciate it. Glad you're here.
JOHN MCENROE, THREE-TIME WIMBLEDON AND FOUR-TIME U.S. OPEN CHAMPION: You're a busy man. I tell you. It's good to see you in person though.
MARTIN: Tough economy. I've got to keep working.
MCENROE: All right. All right.
MARTIN: Let me ask you this, you heard me talk about that a bit with my father. Do you hear those stories all the time as you travel, men who they feel the pain, whether it's a leg, in the body, they don't go to the doctor?
MCENROE: You hit the nail on the head. I mean, guys are reluctant to go to the doctors. So the wives we got to push your man to do so.
My father had prostate cancer, so this issue is close to my heart. I just turned 50. I know I don't look a day over 49.
MARTIN: No, actually, you don't. You don't at all.
MCENROE: And I take pride in keeping -- thank you -- I take pride in keeping myself in shape. And what we're simply asking, go to this 50over50 challenge.com, the Web site. Quickly take a health assessment. It'll take you five minutes and go see a doctor. Get a checkup. And let's be proactive instead of reactive. So --
MARTIN: Have there been times when you went to the doctor and you found out something? You said, wow, I didn't realize, you know, my blood pressure has gone bad.
MCENROE: Knock on this glass but you know, no, I haven't had any shocks yet. You know, obviously I'm getting tested being part of this campaign and checked. And all is well and good. But I'm one of those guys. I'm also the guy that would drive a car, and you know get completely lost, and no, honey, I don't need to ask for any directions. That's fine.
MARTIN: No, I'll ask for directions. But look, if I get any little pain, I sit there and say, OK, if it last 30 seconds or a minute, or go a little bit longer, I'm going to the doctor.
MCENROE: You're the minority though. You know, and that's good though. So I'm glad you're here. This is perfect.
As much as I wanted to see Campbell in, you know, NO BIAS, NO BULL, I know you're NO BULL either but this is good, and you laid it out for me.
MARTIN: Well, I appreciate it.
MCENROE: You're almost as good looking, not quite.
MARTIN: You know, I appreciate that. You mention in terms of what women should do, I've talked about this issue around the country, and I've been telling married women, look, OK, you want to get your man's attention and say, no doctor, no sex. Trust me, he probably will listen.
MCENROE: Are you kidding? He'd be running a 100-meter dash, be faster than Carl Lewis at his peak. So, you know, you're helping me out here. You're doing my work for me.
MARTIN: I talked to Sanjay Gupta, of course, chief medical correspondent for CNN for some tips in terms of what men should do. And here's what he said.
He said first of all, that men should not forget to exercise. One thing he also said they should eat seven different color foods every day.
MCENROE: I don't know what that means.
MARTIN: I said, doc, you need to break it down for us.
That means strawberries, spinach and blueberries, things like that. He also said never skip breakfast. Try to meditate for at least 15 minutes every day. See your doctor regularly, obviously, for cancer screenings, heart disease checks and general physicals.
And so, it's a whole lot of stuff there. I think the whole point there is, that when it comes to your health, it's about wellness. You have a role in this. And don't just wait till you get sick and you have to take medicine. You can prevent a lot of this stuff.
MCENROE: Again, thank you. But, I mean, for me, as a 50-year- old, I'm different than when I was 25 years ago. I sort of got off on the fact that I would have this talent but I wasn't in the great shape that maybe I needed to be and to keep winning. And now as a father of six, and someone who wants to remain healthy and stay ahead of the curve, I think it's important to be part -- I'm proud to be part of this.
MCENROE: Whether I'm paid or not, I'm proud to be part of this campaign. And I think that this is something that if one person goes out there and gets proactive and does this and something good comes from it, which I think it will, I mean, it doesn't take a whole lot to go see a doctor and get a checkup.
MARTIN: I agree. I agree. And, of course, next Tuesday is take your loved ones to the doctor day. That's the annual deal every year.
They had Tom Joyner. I'm involved in his morning show. I tell people don't wait till that one day. You can do it tomorrow. You can do it the next day. But look, too many of our people are getting sick, they're dying early. Even men.
Because look, men, on average living to 74. Women, 80. We could be living a lot longer and hang on to our grandkids.
MCENROE: Roland, you're the man. I like this.
MARTIN: Well, you know, look, this is the topic. I mean, I don't blame when it comes to this because black men are also dying a lot earlier.
MCENROE: That's true.
MARTIN: And we should be fighting this thing and calling men into account. So again, I certainly appreciate you doing this. And like you say, paid or not, hey, keep it up.
MCENROE: Thank you.
MARTIN: And we'll get you back.
MCENROE: I think I'm hanging around.
MARTIN: Yes. You're hanging around and take some phone calls. So you'll stick around. We'll hang out, chat with some folks here.
And again, we're taking the phone calls, folks, regarding this issue, talking about adoption, but also the BCS system. Are you sick of it? We want to hear from you. Check out this call from Arkansas what they have to say about adoption.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here in a rural area, we just voted in not to allow gays and single people to adopt. And I feel like that is so wrong when there are people out there willing to share their love and have supportive families to not allow them to adopt children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN: John, real quick? BCS, like it or not?
MARTIN: Good. If you disagree with him, give us a call. 1-877- no-bull-0 or 1-877-662-8550.
Also, drop me an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or check me out on twitter at twitter.com/rolandsmartin. Also Facebook.
Back in a moment.
MARTIN: All right, folks, your turn and your voice. We're taking your calls on everything we've been talking about tonight as we welcome back John McEnroe. We certainly want to do that.
So on the phone lines right now, must me a John night. We got John from Michigan. John!
JOHN, MICHIGAN: Yes, my comment. Sorry it's not for John McEnroe. It's on adoption.
MARTIN: All right.
JOHN: My wife and I waited for a long time to adopt domestically. Any race -- we're open to any race and it took over a year to get matched. And then the mother changed her mind the day before the due date. So not only did we lose the baby, we lost over $6,000.
We've since adopted from China and now we're adopting a girl from China. Now, we're adopting a boy from Ethiopia.
MARTIN: So I take it that experience left a bad taste in your mouth, adopting kids in America?
JOHN: Well, it's just -- it's one of those things. There are so many things about it. The people who look down on international adoption are people who generally are not informed about the drawbacks to domestic adoption compared to international adoption.
MARTIN: All right.
JOHN: We would love to do a domestic adoption, but we don't want to go through that again.
MARTIN: I understand. We certainly appreciate it. John from Michigan, thanks so much.
Let's go to the Tar Heel State, John from North Carolina -- John.
JOHN, NORTH CAROLINA: Hi, I was calling in response to the female caller earlier talking about the cost of U.S. adoption. We had adopted five years ago from Catholic Social Services. Wanted to let that caller know they are a low cost non-profit organization.
Our son was U.S. born. And he was a newborn, 2 weeks old when we brought him home. And as far as the time that it took, it literally was about nine months from the time we completed our paperwork till placement.
MARTIN: OK. I think we lost him there. Now, one of the issues we were talking about this whole issue of cars as well.
And so Brian from Ohio had something to say about the car problem in America.
BRIAN, OHIO: Yes, I think that Americans should support American-owned companies for all that they've done for this country. And I think it's very important -- it -- it --
MARTIN: I think we lost the call there.
MCENROE: We're losing a lot of people.
MARTIN: Yes. We'll figure the cause.
John, go ahead.
MCENROE: Well, I would say -- in response to that a little bit, of course, we'd like to help the American companies but why don't we do that all the way around. I think that we changed and switched gears with NAFTA and all these other things when we opened up everything up to the world. So how can we now take the car companies, if we're not going to help all the other, and protect all our other industries, right?
MCENROE: Can I ask one question?
MARTIN: Yes, go ahead.
MCENROE: Why didn't that person get the $6,000 back? The first question, tried to adopt, didn't get the money back. Why would that? That doesn't make sense.
MARTIN: You know what? We'll actually try to find out how the whole thing works. I would do that.
Eric in Missouri. We have a sound bite from Eric?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't have to get rid of a CEO and the financial institutions didn't have to get rid of anybody. The UAW had to make a bunch of concessions. The people that worked at the banks didn't have to give up anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN: Good point there. John, to the car dealership, because you played professional sports for tennis. A lot of these folks sponsoring these various tournaments, so losing potentially two automakers that's going to hurt professional sports as well with sponsorships not only the local level when it comes to sports.
MCENROE: And banks. OK.
MCENROE: Banks are one of the biggest sponsors of tennis events. And you know, it's a very worldwide game so that's an issue as well when you talk about American carmakers. And I've been -- I'm out to get a new car. You talked about it earlier in the show.
MCENROE: I mean, are we safe? I mean, you tell me.
MARTIN: Are you thinking about buying an American car? Are you saying they're not?
MCENROE: No. I'm thinking about it, but I'm also like well, is this what's going to happen here?
MARTIN: You got a point there.
I'm going to Linda on Facebook. She said, "If she wants to adopt an orphan child, what is the problem with that?" Talking about Madonna. "Oh, because she is African? Please, let the child have a decent life."
Also, Kimberly writes, "There are a lot of children in the U.S. that need educating, that didn't stop Oprah. Americans have a detachment from their children."
So some pretty interesting comments there.
John McEnroe, keep doing your thing when it comes to driving me and to get tested. We appreciate it.
MCENROE: Thank you.
MARTIN: Thank you.
MCENROE: Nice to see you.
MARTIN: All right. We appreciate it.
We got the king, Larry King coming up next.
John, say hello to Larry just minutes away.
MCENROE: Larry, good to see you. You have your prostate checked regularly?
LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Every six months, John.
MCENROE: All right. God bless you.
KING: I stay on top of it, baby. By the way --
MCENROE: You look great. You look great.
KING: Thank you. You do too, John. John, why don't you take up tennis? You might be good at that.
MCENROE: That's what I did.
KING: What have you got to lose? Do something.
MCENROE: Let's talk about it. KING: Let's think about it. I like you when you hit the ball with the guy with the car rental.
MCENROE: That was a good shot, wasn't it?
KING: Yes. Yes.
We've got an exclusive tonight, guys. Natalie Cole is with us. And still unforgettable. One challenge after another. Now a serious health concern. She'll tell us all about it.
We will take a look at the Obamas' visit to England and are the Brits crazy for America's new president and first lady? Or are they kind of playing it cool? All next on "LARRY KING LIVE."
MARTIN: Hey, Larry, we appreciate it. I think I got a new co- host in John McEnroe.
Hey, folks, we'll tell you all about the president's serious visit overseas. The first lady is on her European adventure including a spot of tea with Her Majesty. Raise your cups. We'll tell you what else is going for Michelle Obama this week in tonight's "Political Daily Briefing."
Time to go to break now.
MCENROE: We'll see you in a minute.
MARTIN: Folks, Michelle mania in Europe. Let's go to Erica Hill with the "Political Daily Briefing." What's going on?
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is all eyes, Roland, on Air Force One" this afternoon as the president and Mrs. Obama arrive in the U.K. for their first official overseas trip. They touched down just outside of London before 8:00 p.m. local time, 2:51 Eastern here at home. And already a bit of fashion news from the first lady.
Bit of a costume change from earlier today when Mrs. Obama boarded the plane in Washington. And, Roland, as I'm sure you know, this will be the first of many wardrobe changes ahead, all of which will be breathlessly documented as the Obamas five-day, eight country journey continues.
Of course, the fascination with the first lady, as you mentioned, Roland, hardly an American one. Europeans are equally taken with Michelle Obama. They've been giving her plenty of ink for her "Vogue" and Oprah covers. And, of course, the organic garden she helped start at the White House and yes, those much documented and oh, so coveted arms.
The attention to Mrs. Obama has inspired more than one reference to Jacqueline Kennedy's visit here as first lady in 1961. She easily charmed the continent prompting President Kennedy at that time to quip he was the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris. The story ends (INAUDIBLE), Roland, that had helped boost Mrs. Kennedy's popularity at home.
Of course, this first lady may not need that. A new "Washington Post"/ABC News poll finds Michelle Obama's overall favorability rating now at 76 percent. That's up four points from January.
MARTIN: Wow. So that's pretty interesting there. You know, all that talk about, you know, will people get used to her in the White House?
HILL: Apparently they have.
MARTIN: Proof is in the pudding.
HILL: Yes it is.
MARTIN: All right. Then, we'll -- look, great trip. We'll see what happens. You'll keep us abreast of everything.
HILL: Indeed I will. I'll be on it.
MARTIN: All right. Erica, thanks so much. Folks, we'll be right back.
MARTIN: I want to tell you about a pretty cool new project we have at CNN. We're calling it class project. Whether you're a student, a teacher or parent, we want to know what's going right, or needs fixing in your schools. So be sure to upload your videos to ireport.com/classproject. And we want to show your video here on NO BIAS, NO BULL.
Folks, that's it for us. You can give us an e-mail. You can talk to us on twitter. Love to hear from you. We will see you tomorrow night.
The king, "LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.