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American Captain Rescued; America's Cuba Policy Changing?

Aired April 13, 2009 - 20:00   ET



Tonight, Captain Richard Phillips is recovering on board the USS Boxer, one day after being rescued from the clutches of Somali pirates in a dramatic standoff on the high seas. The U.S. must now decide the fate of the only pirate who survived the showdown.

He faces a possible life sentence. And now the first mate who helped stop the hijacking of the Maersk cargo ship is urging the White House to wake up and take a stronger hand dealing with piracy.

And in the small town of Underhill, Vermont, they're getting ready to celebrate a hero's return. The only question is, when?

And, folks, we start with the words of Andrea Phillips, the wife of the rescued captain. She finally broke her silence today. But it wasn't easy. She's recovering from a cold and more than 100 hours of fear.


ANDREA PHILLIPS, RICHARD PHILLIPS' WIFE: But I just want to thank you for allowing us to come out here in front of you like this and make our statement as a family together.

I just want to let you know I spoke to Richard earlier today, and he was kind of funny. When I told him that I was preparing a press statement, that I have got laryngitis, because he knows it would be probably very hard for me to be up here and talk to you.


MARTIN: A spokeswoman took over reading her statement thanking the nation for its support and praising the military's response.

Andrea Phillips added, but not knowing what her husband was going through was the hardest part of last five days.

And we're learning new details about just how a hard-pounding standoff ended with no room for error.

Our Randi Kaye has been following the saga since the very beginning.

And, Randi, so how did our Navy SEALs pull off this rescue of the captain?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very carefully. That's really the only way to say it.

Really for the first time, specially trained Navy SEAL snipers on board the USS Bainbridge, an American warship about 75 feet from the lifeboat, got a good look of the pirates. Two were up top, but one pirate holding a gun to the back of Captain Richard Phillips was still down below in this covered lifeboat.

Now, through a small window, a very small window, the snipers could see that pirate and see his head and shoulders exposed. So, now all three were exposed. Well, the snipers all fired at once and in a moment, the three pirates were dead, all from a single shot to the head, amazing considering this was a covered lifeboat.

This all happened just after sundown local time about 7:19 p.m. in the Indian Ocean, so the snipers had to use night-vision scopes to get the job done. The fourth pirate that had been holding the captain hostage was actually on board the American ship, the Bainbridge, at that time negotiating the captain's fate.

He is now in U.S. custody.


VICE ADMIRAL WILLIAM GORTNEY, U.S. NAVY: And it was a phenomenal shot, 75 feet away. The ship was -- the small boat's moving up and down a couple feet in a two- to three-foot sea state. It was at night. Just remarkable marksmanship.


KAYE: It sure was. And, by the way, as a result of this rescue, we have learned more about the pirates involved in this hijacking.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said today they were between the ages of 17 and 19 years old. Authorities say the surviving pirate is just 16 to 20 years old.

MARTIN: Now, Randi, Captain Phillips was being held for five days. So how's he doing?

KAYE: Well, he's doing pretty well, a bit shaken up, as you might imagine, but remarkably well after surviving some choppy seas and sweltering heat in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

He was crammed into that lifeboat for five days and much of the time he was tied up after he tried to escape last week. He had been shot at in the water before the pirates hauled him back on board the lifeboat. And after the rescue, the captain taken to the USS Bainbridge, where he posed for a picture -- there it is right there -- with that ship's captain.

And then he went to the USS Boxer nearby for a full medical checkup. That ship really is a floating hospital. He thanked the crews on both ships for keeping a close eye on him during this last week. But, bottom line, he's unharmed. He's in good condition. No word yet, though, on when he will be with reunited with his wife and his family back in Vermont.

MARTIN: Well, I'll tell you what. It certainly is a scary situation there.

But also his wife spoke today, right?

KAYE: Yes. She did actually. She spoke today. She told the media that the captain wanted everyone to know that he is not the real hero here, that the military is for saving him.

MARTIN: All right. OK, Randi, thanks so much. We appreciate it.

KAYE: Sure.

MARTIN: Now, folks, I don't know if this is what Vice President Joe Biden had in mind when he predicted that President Barack Obama would be tested early on by an international crisis.

But you can bet the whole world was watching the White House response this week. And of course, last week, the president's stayed mum when reporters tried to get him to talk about the siege, but today after a clear U.S. victory, the president issued a warning to the world's pirates.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I am very proud of the efforts of the U.S. military and many other departments and agencies that worked tirelessly to resolve this situation. I share our nation's admiration for Captain Phillips' courage, and leadership, and selfless concern for his crew.

And I want to be very clear that we are resolved to halt the rise of piracy in that region. And to achieve that goal, we're going to have to continue to work with our partners to prevent future attacks. We have to continue to be prepared to confront them when they arise. And we have to ensure that those who commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their crimes.


MARTIN: Our national political correspondent, Jessica Yellin, is here, and in Washington, we have got our senior political analyst, Gloria Borger.

Now, Jessica, President Obama kept a really low profile during the crisis, but give us a sense of what was happening behind the scenes at the White House.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you pointed out, Roland, the president was even asked at one point about this issue and he wouldn't even comment about the pirates. He changed the topic.

But his public quiet revealed what was going on inside the White House. I should say it didn't reveal what was going on inside the White House. He was very busy. He took 17 separate briefings about the pirate standoff during the days of this hijacking and he had convened what is called a maritime response group. It is really a coordinated effort with the military, diplomatic and law enforcement agencies to make sure that their response is working together in a coordinated way.

Finally, of course, Roland, he issued what were those crucial orders. First, Friday night at 8:00 p.m., gave the Department of Defense the OK to use force if necessary. And again, the next day, 9:20 on Saturday morning, he let them know that a separate team, presumably those snipers, are able to take aim if they needed to and take out those pirates -- 27 hours later, as you know, they were taken out.

And, Roland, the White House's message is that he was methodical and deliberate about all of it, bottom line, quiet in public, but very busy behind the scenes.

MARTIN: Jessica, he was quiet.

But ,Gloria, a lot of other folks, they were talking. I want you to check out something that Newt Gingrich wrote on his Twitter post.

He said: "President Obama is making a major mistake in not forcefully outlining the rules of civilization for dealing with pirates. And we look weak."

Now, of course, said today, he wrote: "The Navy SEALs did exactly the right thing in rescuing the American captain. President Obama did the right thing in allowing the Navy to act."

So, obviously, a little change in tune politically.

So what did the president prove here?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he proved to all of those who said during the campaign that he didn't have the national security credibility to become commander in chief, that he wouldn't be able to handle a situation under pressure, I think, Roland, he just passed a very important test this time.

Not only was he incredibly involved with those 17 meetings, as Jessica pointed out, but his agencies talked to each other, which is something we haven't always done in this country in a crisis. And, also, he gave direct orders and he stuck to those direct orders. They were very clear, very precise. Even Newt Gingrich approved of those.

MARTIN: Jessica, the American captain is back. But there are still some 200 hostages who are still being held. The president said they're going to halt the sense of piracy. How are they going to do that? Have they given any indication of the plan to do that? YELLIN: What the White House wants is a multilateral approach. It's not going to be the U.S. being Rambo in this region and going in solo and taking the heat on our own. And that's what we saw from President Obama.

He wanted to hang back, let the military do its job. And moving forward, he will want to work with other nations.

MARTIN: Gloria, can we afford to use troops, when you look at what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan? People are saying we're stretched thin.


MARTIN: Can we afford to use them in Somalia to deal with pirates?

BORGER: I think some people would say we can't afford to do it any other way.

But don't forget this is not going to be conventional manpower, the kind of combat forces that we see in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is going to be unconventional, like those Navy SEALs we just saw take those shots.

And, as Jessica said, we are not in this alone. Don't forget, over 200 hostages are currently being held by pirates right now, so there are other countries that have a great deal of interest in getting rid of this problem.

MARTIN: All right, Gloria Borger, Jessica Yellin, we certainly appreciate it. Thanks so much.

Now, folks, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has a secret obsession. Check this out, dishwashers, the mechanical kind. We are going to have that and more of his rather unusual revelations in tonight's "Political Daily Briefing."

Plus, what's really going on with our taxes?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We bailed out the banking industry. We're bailing out the auto industry with taxpayer money. Let us bail ourselves out with our own money.


MARTIN: Tonight, no hype, no bluster, no crying, just the real deal. Call in with your tax questions. Some of the best financial minds in the country are here tonight. The number, 1-877-NO-BULL-0. That's 1-877-662-8550.

You can also e-mail me, or hit me up on Twitter and Facebook.


MARTIN: Well, is it time to take the family to the beach in Cuba? Well, not quite. But the president is making it easier to travel to communist country. Will this lead to the end of the animosity between the two nations?

Plus, the Sunday school teacher who stands accused of killing an 8-year-old California girl, a horrific story that raises troubling questions about who's watching our kids.

And, oh, no, President Obama is going to take all your money. Chill. Other folks, they drama. We don't have drama here. When we come back, we will give you the real deal about the president's tax policies and how it will affect your pocketbook.

So, start dialing right now, 1-877-NO-BULL-0. That's 1-877-662- 8550. Or send me an e-mail, Don't forget, I'm on Twitter and Facebook.

And I promise not to cry.


MARTIN: Well, folks, after nearly 50 years, President Barack Obama is thawing the chilly relationship between the United States and Cuba. He's easing travel restrictions to the communist nation just 90 miles south of the tip of Florida.

Now, the president is also relaxing the rules on Cuban Americans sending money and gifts to family members there as well. Is this the beginning to the end to America's 47-year Cuban embargo? And how will it play among Fidel Castro's fiercest Cuban American critics?

Joining us to hash it all out is Florida State Rep. David Rivera and Joe Garcia of the Cuban American National Foundation.

Now, David, I want to begin with you.

We have got a new poll, CNN/Opinion Research poll, that says that 64 percent of Americans want to lift the travel restrictions to Cuba and some 71 percent want diplomatic relations between the two countries. Isn't it time to end this embargo and the nonsense?

DAVID RIVERA (R), FLORIDA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Well, those polls are taken when don't know that Cuba, for example, has been designated as an official state sponsor of terrorism by our own government, the U.S. State Department. Those polls taken before people know that Cuba has fugitives from U.S. justice, including drug traffickers and cop killers, from here in the United States that are being given asylum inside Cuba.

Those polls are taken before many Americans even know about the human rights abuses, the lack of civil liberties, the executions of political prisoners in Cuba, the horrible treatment of political prisoners. So, I think when the American people realize the reality of what's going on in Cuba and the fact that they are a state sponsor of terrorism and are harboring terrorist organizations that want to harm America, that will have a very different result in those polls.

MARTIN: Well, first, I never assume that Americans don't know those things.

But, Joe, let me ask you this question. It's interesting. So, we don't like communist Cuba, but we have no issues with communist China. We complain about human rights abuses in Cuba, but we have no real issues with them in China, maybe because China owns so much of our debt.

So explain to me why Cuba is so bad, but China is so good.

JOE GARCIA, CUBAN AMERICAN NATIONAL FOUNDATION: Look, Roland, Cuba is bad. Let's not make a mistake.


GARCIA: This is a -- I agree with most of what David said about the Cuban regime.

But what we have to be honest with is 50 years of a failed policy. It is time for something new. I have got a daughter. I want her to someday see a free Cuba. I don't want my parents to die without seeing the country they left over 45 years ago.

I think this is an opportunity. And the truth is, by imitating the Castro regime, in other words, controlling family visits, controlling the ability of people to help one's loved ones, we have achieved very little.

And that's why we have got a new policy that makes sense and we're very thankful that President Obama went this way. He had promised to do this 18 months ago. He did it again less than a year ago at the Cuban American National Foundation. And today he makes it a reality and we are thankful.

This is a first step. And I'm glad that instead of having the Castro dictatorship dictate terms, Obama made the first move on the chess board and I think that's a smart move.

MARTIN: David, do you agree that the embargo hasn't worked? And if it hasn't worked, OK, then, fine. What is next?

RIVERA: No, I think it absolutely has worked for the reason it was intended.

First, it was a punitive measure to punish the Castro regime for stealing millions and millions of dollars in assets from U.S. citizens and U.S. corporations. Then it was a measure to punish them for expanding their communist revolution throughout Africa and Latin America. And now it's been always a bargaining chip to seek reform inside Cuba. I think every administration has always wanted to see reform. But no one has wanted to give the unilateral concessions that Barack Obama is giving now.

We know during the campaign, Barack Obama said he was willing to bow down to dictators in Iran and Venezuela and Cuba.




RIVERA: We saw just this last week...


MARTIN: David, David, David, he never said that. David, he never said.


RIVERA: If I could speak without interruption.


MARTIN: No. But, David, if you're going to say something, do it as a fact. He never said that.


RIVERA: I will say exactly what he said. He said he would sit down with dictators...

MARTIN: That is not bow down.

RIVERA: ... at a table, at a negotiating table. And you know that is what he said.

So, last week, he bowed down to a dictator in Saudi Arabia. We all saw him bow to that dictator. And now he's just bowing to two more dictators.


MARTIN: How about this, Joe?


GARCIA: Here's the difference between the policy.

You know, when we had George Bush in the White House, we have never had nastier, more aggressive rhetoric. And, sure, a Chihuahua barks when it's got a fence between itself and another dog. But now you lift the fence and these guys are scared. They're scared because they can't confront.

Look, we won the Cold War. Cuban Americans are the best example there is for the success story of the American dream and the values that this country holds. And so we shouldn't be scared of Fidel Castro. We have won by all measurable scale.

And what we have to do is help the Cuban people. What the U.S. government shouldn't do is be in the business of regulating family visits or how much you can send your aunt, your sister or your cousin. That's absurd. It is a bad business for a democracy to be in.

RIVERA: Well, actually...

GARCIA: It is absurd when a Republican government talks about doing it. Last eight years were a total failure in U.S. policy on Cuba. More people were in jail. Less was achieved.


MARTIN: David, go ahead. About 20 seconds, go ahead.

RIVERA: Actually, what we should not be in the business of doing is giving unilateral concessions with dictators.

It didn't work with Neville Chamberlain and Hitler before World War II. And it's not going to work with this dictator. No dictator has ever responded to unilateral concessions. The change should come in Cuba. The change doesn't need to come from the United States government. It should come from Fidel and Raul Castro.


MARTIN: David and Joe, I will tell you this here. If Cuba owned $500 billion of our debt, like China, trust me, we would not have this policy.

David, Joe, I certainly appreciate it. Thank you so very much.

Folks, talk about a scare in the air. A plane passenger discovered a major problem at about 9,000 feet. The pilot had died. Listen to what he radioed to the tower.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have got a dead pilot sitting beside me.


MARTIN: So, who landed the plane? We will tell you up next.


MARTIN: I was just Twittering some folks here.

Oh, what President Obama's taxes plan will do to your wallet? Well, look, don't believe everything you hear. We will give you the real deal tonight. And we're taking your phone calls, 1-877-NO-BULL- 0. That's 1-877-662-8550.

But, first, Jessica Yellin is here with the briefing.

Hey, Jessica.

YELLIN: Hey, Roland.

Phil Spector guilty of second-degree murder, that's the verdict from a Los Angeles jury today. It was the famed music producer's second trial for the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson at his mansion six years ago. Spector's first jury deadlocked 10-2 in favor of conviction in 2007.

Well, baseball fans are mourning two favorites. Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Mark "The Bird" Fidrych was killed today in an accident on his Massachusetts farm. The 1976 American League Rookie of the Year was 54.

And legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas collapsed and died in the press box before the Phillies-Nationals game in Washington today. The longtime voice of the Phillies was 73.

One woman took a swan dive into the polar bear den during feeding time at a Berlin zoo. Look at the video, bad move. Take a look at that picture. She was bitten several times before zookeepers fished her out on Friday. And she's still recovering. No word yet on why she did it.

Now, high in the sky above Florida, an airplane passenger ended up at the controls when the pilot died after takeoff. Air traffic controllers had to guide him from the ground. And here's what that sounded like.

We don't have that sound, but one controller called a friend who is a pilot for instructions to relay to the cockpit. And the plane, it actually landed safely in Fort Myers. The passenger is a certified single-engine pilot, but he had never flown a twin-engine turbo prop before Sunday. Fortunately, it was a happy ending.

And, finally, we are proud of our own three CNN colleagues. Yes, "Ebony" magazine's list of the most influential black Americans is out. And guess who's in it, Roland?

Our own Don Lemon, Soledad O'Brien, and this other guy. I don't know. I have been hanging out with him lately, part of this year's power 150.

Very impressive. Congratulations.

MARTIN: Well, thank you so very much.

YELLIN: And also in the special section called mothers and sons, there's Roland and his mom, Emelda.

MARTIN: There you go.

YELLIN: That looks nice.

MARTIN: Got to give props to moms.

YELLIN: I love it. Congratulations.

MARTIN: That's right. Played a role in me being here.

YELLIN: Really?


YELLIN: Good boy.

MARTIN: Jessica, I appreciate it. Thanks so much.

Folks, we are taking on President Obama's tax plan tonight, trying to separate fact from fiction, truth, no hype. A lot of that noise you're hearing certainly may not be the truth.

We want to hear from you tonight. So, give me a call, 1-877-NO- BULL-0. That's 1-877-662-8550. You can also e-mail me, And you can fine me. I was just on Twitter and Facebook.

So, I will see you in a few.


MARTIN: Folks, tragedy in Florida, but then tragedy averted when a passenger in an airplane actually took the controls after the pilot died after takeoff. Listen to this.


DOUG WHITE, PASSENGER: Now, when I touch down, if I ever touch down, do I just kill the throttle, or what?

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: That's correct. When you touch down, slowly kill the throttle.


MARTIN: And one controller called a friend who is a pilot for instructions to relay to the cockpit. The plane landed safely in Fort Myers. The passenger is a certified single-engine pilot, but had never flown a twin-engine turbo prop before Sunday.

Man, talk about a scary situation.

Also scary, we turn now to a mysterious killing that's particularly ugly. The victim is an 8-year-old girl. Her name is Sandra Cantu of Tracy, California. It's a small town south of San Francisco. And a woman suspected of the crime is not only the mother of the dead girl's best friend, but is also, of all things, a Sunday school teacher.

CNN's Brooke Baldwin has been covering this unsettling story.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Roland, it is unimaginable, just listening to the different pieces of the story.

We are learning a little bit of new information late this evening, in fact, including charges. Prosecutors say they're considering rape and molestation allegations against this woman suspected of killing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu. Now, the San Joaquin County deputy district -- district attorney did tell CNN affiliates today that a homicide charge against Huckaby could also include what they call special circumstances.

That includes rape with a foreign object, lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, and murder in the course of a kidnapping. And keep in mind here -- we did some digging and find out that in California if someone is convicted of first-degree murder and special circumstances, they then will be eligible possibly for life in prison or the death penalty.

And that is just the latest in this horrific story here. Take a look at this video unfolding in Tracy, California. This is just the last few moments we have of this little girl, Sandra Cantu, captured on camera. You can see she was skipping, waving her arms.

We understand this was happening right around the mobile home park where she lived. And also coming out today, police believe Cantu was killed very soon after she was seen on this tape.

So, do the math. Nine days later, April 6, police found her. The little eight-year-old's body had been stuffed, Roland, in a suitcase and submerged in a pond in a dairy farm.

MARTIN: Now, Brooke, that suitcase appears to be what led police to Melissa Huckaby, led them to her.


MARTIN: Now, we don't usually think of women as killers like this.

So, what have we learned about her?

BALDWIN: It is a good question, a good point you make, you know, police over the weekend saying that this is an anomaly when it comes to murder.

We know Melissa Huckaby lived in the same trailer park as Sandra Cantu. Their daughters were close. In fact, according to Huckaby herself, we dug out some of the sound, the one you'll listen to a phone interview in between Huckaby and a local KPIX reporter. Take a listen.


MELISSA HUCKABY, SUNDAY SCHOOLTEACHER: The only reason that the police are over here and over at the church so much is because Sandra was my daughter's best friend and came over here almost everyday and played with my daughter.


BALDWIN: Almost everyday, she says. Huckaby also taught Sandra Sunday school, you mentioned down the road at Clover Road Baptist Church. And CNN affiliates also reporting now that police say the crime, Roland, may have happened in the church, which by the way is where Huckaby's grandfather is the pastor.

MARTIN: So, we have a woman facing charges of kidnapping, rape and murder and she taught Sunday school. Now, did we know if the church performed a background check on her?

BALDWIN: We do not know for sure, but we do know that Huckaby had a record. In fact, we did a little digging. We found out she was due at a mental health court this Friday on charges of misdemeanor petty theft.

I did manage to get one of the pastor's daughters on the phone today in California. She's also Huckaby's aunt and she told me that Huckaby taught a very small class of young children including her own daughter. She was there only on a temporary basis, apparently filling in on maternity leave for a more permanent Sunday schoolteacher. And she described this church as small, close knit, and she told me she would be surprised if there were many hopes for anyone to have to jump for it to become a Sunday school teacher.

MARTIN: Now, man, this is crazy. Now, Brooke, you learned new details about the case today? Correct?


MARTIN: So anything new?

BALDWIN: Right. Like I said, the different charges, involving rape, involving molestation, and all those kinds of things. She will be arraigned tomorrow afternoon in California. We'll see what family has to say, what prosecutors are now saying in this horrific case involving this little 8-year-old girl.

MARTIN: All right. Brooke, thanks so much. We appreciate it. So the rape, molestation stuff is all new and folks, the details don't get any more shocking.

Again, an 8-year-old girl is dead. The suspect, a Sunday schoolteacher, the pastor's daughter, and the mother of the victim's best friend. Talk about strange.

Joining us to talk about this upsetting case, frankly, is Lisa Bloom, the anchor of truTV's "In Session." And in Washington, criminal profiler Pat Brown.

Now, Pat, everything about this case when it comes to profiling, you would think this is a male suspect in this kind of case. Now look at the stat from the FBI. A percentage of men who kill females, 90 percent. The number of females who kill females only, nine percent. Now, look, you're a profiler. How surprised are you to see a female suspect?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, she's kind of the anomaly of anomalies, Roland. Women do kill children. This is true, but they usually kill their own children, little babies, where they kill them and then they are labeled SIDS deaths and the mothers just love that they get a funeral and then they get pregnant again and they do it again. They also kill their children in anger, especially stepchildren and foster children. And sometimes they'll help their boyfriends or husbands abduct women so they can give their husbands that little pleasure.

That's the kind of killing women usually do. Oh, and also nurses who kill off their patients in the hospitals but we rarely see anything like this where a child is abducted and the sexual crime is against a child of this age by a woman. Yes, we all suspected it would be a male offender.

MARTIN: Lisa, we did some checks and did some research. Forty- two sex offenders live in this town of Tracy. Now, should the police been looking for other folks, or do you believe the evidence is so strong they're zeroing in on this Sunday schoolteacher?

LISA BLOOM, ANCHOR, TRUTV'S "IN SESSION": Well, she is innocent until proven guilty and we can't convict her now. We don't know everything that the police know, but we do know this.

This little girl's remains were found in a suitcase owned by the Sunday schoolteacher. This is where she was going in that video where she's skipping along. We know that she went there almost every day and apparently the Sunday schoolteacher said enough to the police that they are convinced that she is the sole perpetuator. That sounds to me either like a confession or almost a complete confession.

MARTIN: Now, it's possible that the suspect's 5-year-old daughter may have seen this take place. Could she be called to the stand before the grand jury to testify against her mom?

BLOOM: That's a great question and the answer is yes. Absolutely. There's no parent/child privilege and a 5-year-old would have to show that she's competent to testify.

The court would have to be sure that she knows the difference between truth and a lie, but 5-year-olds routinely testify in American courts. And if she saw anything, God forbid, only making this case even worse, then yes, she could be hauled in to testify.

MARTIN: Now, again, innocent until proven guilty, but you say the Sunday schoolteacher fits the mold of a psychopath. Explain that.

BROWN: Well, yes. The behavior we have seen so far is very psychopathic. For example, that radio -- the interview she had with the reporter, where she was talking about her luggage, now, this woman has been arrested. She's been accused of killing a little girl. She is like the scum of the earth to everybody. She's going to lose her freedom. She's going to lose being mother to her child. She's going to lose everything.

And she's so calm and she's so pleasant when she talks about it. If that were me, I'd be a wreck. You know? My voice would be going up and down. I'd be very agitated because I'd be angry I was arrested. I'd be frightened, but she is talking like she is having coffee with somebody.

That is a sign of psychopathy which shows that she is on to her next story and she has changed her story many times. She's on to her next story which she hopes will convince people. For her, that's a part of her manipulation and she likes doing that.

MARTIN: Lisa Bloom, Pat Brown, we certainly appreciate it. Thank you so very much.

BROWN: Thanks, Roland.

MARTIN: Folks, more of this case tonight on "LARRY KING LIVE." A lot of people, folks, are scratching their heads about some recent comments from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Now, you think we have too many rights and what's this all about dishwashers? Trust me. That's coming up in the "Political Daily Briefing."

And so is a long promised and long awaited first pooch. Prepare to be charmed.


MARTIN: Here's some very late breaking news about that endless Minnesota Senate race. Could the end be near? A three-judge panel in that state has just ruled that Democrat Al Franken won the most votes and is entitled to be certified the winner. But, guess what? Republican Norm Coleman, the incumbent, now has ten days to appeal. So, we'll see what happens in that race. And men, talk about drama.

Now other political happenings, we feel confident saying there's only one place you can get news about a Supreme Court justice and the presidential pooch at the same time. And that's right here in the "Political Daily Briefing" and Jessica Yellin has it all.

YELLIN: The dubious distinction, Roland.

MARTIN: Yes. Yes, somebody has to do the job.

YELLIN: But thank you for that intro. All right. We are going to talk first about Clarence Thomas, the justice. And guess what? Tonight, he speaks.

Now, Justice Thomas rarely speaks from the bench but today he answered questions from high school students in Washington, D.C. He was a keynote speaker at the Bill of Rights Institute event and "The New York Times" says he told these high school students a number of very interesting things.

First of all, that he can sometimes get morose, that his job can be an ordeal. And when he needs a little pick me up, yes, he likes to go to his basement and watch the movie "Saving Private Ryan."

MARTIN: That's a pick up?

YELLIN: I mean, it's not a stretch to say it has a terribly violent sequence in it at least.

All right. In a serious turn, the 60-year-old justice revealed that he really thinks we focus too much on our rights and not enough on our responsibilities. He's convinced that Americans think we're owed things like prosperity and "air conditioning, cars, telephones and televisions." But there's one luxury, Roland, that he wouldn't want to live without. Wait for it.

MARTIN: Wait for it.

YELLIN: The dishwasher. Yes. He calls it a miracle and said, "What a device! I like to load it. I like to look in and see how that (ph) dishes were magically cleaned."


YELLIN: You know, I know someone who clerked for him. Says he's a lovely guy.


YELLIN: And at least he does the dishes.

MARTIN: Dishwasher. Cool.

YELLIN: A good husband.

MARTIN: All right.

YELLIN: All right. And other news, a quick update on the president's diploma controversy. You remember this one?

MARTIN: Yes, we do. Yes, we do.

YELLIN: All right. Last week, Arizona State University said it wasn't going to give the president an honorary degree when he speaks at commencement next month as a new president "his body of work is yet to come."

Well, that caused quite an uproar and now ASU has announced plans to rename a scholarship program in the president's honor but they still won't budge on the diploma front. It seems they keep digging themselves deeper on this one. You think it's enough.

MARTIN: No, they haven't learned that lesson yet. All right. Jessica, we certainly appreciate it.

That's one that's just nuts. I'm still trying to figure that one out, but I got to go back to Justice Thomas. I don't understand.

Finally tonight, folks, we'll figure that one out. It is news to Americans they've been waiting for for some time since the president was elected in November. What's the big news?

YELLIN: The big news, Roland, that first dog. It is finally here and we have details.

Now, the actual White House puppy is arriving tomorrow but what we know, there you have them. A very well trained 6-month-old Portuguese water dog. He is hypo-allergic. He's from Texas and a gift from Senator Ted --

MARTIN: Texas?

YELLIN: Texas. A gift from Senator Ted Kennedy who has two Portuguese water dogs and lobbied hard for this one. Now, the presidential kids, Sasha and Malia, they decided to name the dog because Mrs. Obama's father was named Didley and so the dog is called --

MARTIN: His nickname, his nickname.

YELLIN: His nickname was Didley, right? Correct, thanks. And the dog is called Bo.


YELLIN: Bo Didley. All right?

MARTIN: Hey, Bo.

YELLIN: The Obamas are going to make a donation to the Humane Society since they didn't actually get the dog from a shelter which they promised. It's a cute dog. Even you have to think that dog is cute.

MARTIN: Oh yes, it's cute. All right. But Bo, I like that.

Jessica, thanks so much.

Folks, it is time for the nitty-gritty. Folks, the real deal on the president's tax policies and what they all mean for your wallet. You need to keep watching and listening to for what you and other viewers think on this topic.


MARTIN: Folks, you have been hearing a lot this week about tea parties and noise about what President Obama's tax plan, how it's going to kill you and what it means for us.

Well, look, we are going to skip past the misinformation and the fear mongering with a "No Bull" test. This week, only one network is bringing you the real deal on your taxes.

Chief business correspondent Ali "Bo" Velshi is here to give us the facts. So, Ali, break it down for us. Who's actually going to end up paying more if the president's plan goes through?

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: All right. There's a reason the tax code is as complicated as it is, and it's hard to sort of categorize it but the folks over at "Forbes" and at Deloitte (ph) tax have crunched some numbers and what it turns out to be is that the people who are going to be paying the most are those exactly who President Obama said would pay the most when he was campaigning. Those people, couples making more than $250,000 or individuals making more than $200,000.

So take a couple with two young kids earning $300,000 a year. Under the existing system, they would be paying about $59,100. Under the new system that the president has proposed, they would pay a little bit more tax, about $60,200. So it's not a big increase. As you go higher in the income scale, people end up paying greater taxes.

MARTIN: Who's getting a break from the plan?

VELSHI: Well, the president had said he'd campaigned on the basis of 95 percent of working Americans getting a tax break. And that's kind of how it works out.

Take the same couple with two kids earning $35,000. It's a very low income in this country. Under the old tax system, this year for instance, they would get back $2,900. Under the new system, they'll get $4,100.

Some of that is from stimulus. Some of it is from other programs. So at the lowest end of the scale, you'll benefit.

Now, let's take that up to a single person, single man earning about $50,000 a year. Under the old system, $6,400. Under the new system, a little bit of a break. He'll pay $6,000.

And finally, let's take a couple with one child in school and an older child in college because they'll get the benefit from the college tax credits that are being brought in by the Obama administration.

Let's say they earn $150,000 between the two of them. Under the current system, they'd be paying about $22,300. These are federal taxes, by the way, not counting state taxes. Under the new system, look at the drop. They'll go down to $15,500 because they are taking advantage of the college tax credit.

MARTIN: All right, Ali, no crying. Just facts. We appreciate it. Thanks so much.

VELSHI: All right.

MARTIN: Now it's your turn and your voice. We're just about to open the phone lines. And we me right now, though, we're going to go to the first.

From Brooklyn, California, former labor secretary Robert Reich. He's the author of "Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Every Day Life." And in Washington, Stephen Moore. He is the senior economy writer for "The Wall Street Journal" and also co-author of "The End of Prosperity: How Higher Taxes Will Doom the Economy If we Let it Happen."

Now, Stephen, you heard Ali break it all down. Most Americans won't see a tax hike under the president's plan, including probably the majority of these tea party folks.


MARTIN: So, what's up with the tea parties? Is it about anger?

MOORE: Well, I think two things, Roland. One is that at the state and local level, taxes are going up in every which direction, Roland. You've got income taxes, sales taxes, food taxes, cigarette taxes. Even taxes on booze are going up in states and cities and that's made Americans angry because that's where they pay a lot of taxes.

The other thing that you are kind of left out a little bit of the equation is that over the next ten years under this budget, we're talking about borrowing about $10 trillion. And if you super rate that to every American, it comes to about $100,000 of new debt and eventual taxes that have to be paid by Americans. I think, by the way, debt is the reason that people are really revolting. They're very angry about the deficits, the bailouts, and the debt.

MARTIN: But the difference here, though, we want to focus on the actual issue of taxes and that's one of the reasons why we did that.

Now, Robert, I want to go to you right now. And I understand what Stephen said but what we're seeing on the local level when it comes to those state and local taxes, what they're getting is people saying about potholes, health services. People are clamoring for more services, so where can these cities and states find additional money other than taxes?

ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: Well, Roland, that's exactly the problem right now because unlike the federal government, states and cities cannot run deficits under their constitutions, under state constitutions. And that means that if they are going to deal with all of the new demands put on them because of this recession, everything from unemployment insurance to behalf of Medicaid to all of the needs that people have, they are going to have to either raise taxes or they're just going to have to cut services.

States are doing both right now. That means a huge fiscal drag on the country. About $350 billion is being sucked out of the economy over this year and next year because of all the cuts in services and also because of the state and local tax increases.

MARTIN: So, Stephen, when it comes to these cuts, President Bush, he cut taxes. Critics say hey, that helped the rich. Is this the question of being able to pay their fair share or is the criticism really saying that you're affecting the middle class? Resolve that issue.

MOORE: Well, the tax system is quite progressive already, as Robert Reich knows. I mean, the richest one percent, you know, the evil one person, they pay about 40 percent of the income tax. The top 10 percent pay about 70 percent of the income tax. So the rich do pay a big share of the tax right now and the problem with continuing to put more and more tax burden on the rich is that those tend to be business owners, small business owners, medium and large business owners. And what we care about most right now is jobs and it's hard to get new jobs if you're sucking taxes out of the businesses that create the jobs.

MARTIN: Stephen, Robert, hold tight one second. Stick around. We got a lot more calls and e-mails full of tax questions as well as taxing questions. We want you, guys, to answer those. So, back in a moment.


MARTIN: And we're back talking about President Obama's tax plan and what it really means for you. Former labor secretary Robert Reich still with me as well as Stephen Moore from "The Wall Street Journal" as well.

Now, folks, we gave it the "No Bull" test now we're putting it to you. We've got lots of people who've been calling us and talking to us on e-mails and taxes. Take your pick. And so we want to go to the phone lines right now.

So I want to go Texas (ph), Teresa calling from Frisco, Texas. Teresa, what's your question?

TERESA, TX (via telephone): Hi. I wanted to know how I am going to benefit from the stimulus package when I don't have a paycheck. I have a pension, but I don't receive a paycheck.

MARTIN: All right. Great question. Thanks so much.

Robert, Stephen, how does she benefit?

REICH: Well, she benefits. Teresa benefits in a couple of ways. One, the stimulus package, Teresa, is designed to expand the economy and create jobs. And a larger economy, more growth, more jobs is going to benefit you directly or indirectly.

Also, you're probably going to have a lot of benefits with regard to if you have any educational needs. You could easily benefit from the stimulus package if you have people you know who are in construction. You could benefit from the stimulus package.

Teresa, it's a very important way of getting the economy going again.

MARTIN: All right. Let's go Cecil in Oregon. Cecil, 10 seconds, what's your question?

CECIL, OR (via telephone): Hey, how are you doing, Roland?

MARTIN: Great.

CECIL: My question is I'm retired from the military and single. Why is it that a single person doesn't get the tax breaks like a married person? I have to go out and get married, have four kids, and purchase a huge house to get a tax break.

MARTIN: All right. Cecil, great question.

Stephen, what about that? Single people say we're getting jacked!

MOORE: Well, we tried to create a family-friendly tax code. And so, for example, families with two or three or four kids get more tax breaks than people who are single, that's the way our tax system works.

I tend to agree with that policy. I have three kids myself. It costs a lot to raise a family and so I think it makes sense to give a tax break for children.

MARTIN: All right.

REICH: Cecil, a couple of years ago it was just the opposite. In fact, it used to be that married people paid what was called a marriage penalty. And then married people got so upset about it, the tax code slipped in the other direction.

MARTIN: Well, here's what I have learned. Nobody wants to pay single or married.

Let's go to Tony. He's calling from Pennsylvania. Tony, what's your question?

TONY, PA (via telephone): Hi.

MARTIN: Hi. How are you doing? What's your question, Tony?

TONY: My question is, I heard that Obama is going to put a $3,700 tax credit on each household in Pennsylvania or Philadelphia, or across the country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via telephone): Increase.

TONY: Increase. Is this true or false?

MARTIN: All right. We'll find out.

Robert, Stephen, know anything about this?


MOORE: I think he may be talking about. REICH: Well, it's absolutely -- it's absolutely false. Let me just go back to what Ali said at the beginning.

Ninety-five percent of Americans get a tax cut under the Obama plan. Ninety-eight percent of Americans don't see a tax increase at all. The only increase is on the top two percent. That increase doesn't happen until 2011.

MARTIN: Got you.

REICH: And it basically takes them back to the 1990s Clinton's tax cuts.

MOORE: But, Roland.

MARTIN: Stephen, go ahead.

MOORE: These goes to my point that I was making earlier when you said we might as well talk about taxes not debt. And I understand that but, you know, when you have to pay your bills at some point, households have to pay their bills. As Bob Reich said, states and localities have to pay their bills. At some point, this debt has to be paid for and Bob Reich, my concern is that that's going to lead to higher taxes in the future. I think that's why Americans are very concerned about too.

MARTIN: Stephen Moore, Robert Reich --

REICH: The only way we're going to get this economy going again...

MARTIN: Real quick.

REICH: ... is that the government has got to be the buyer of last resort of consumers and also businesses that are not going to buy.

MARTIN: All right.

REICH: So Stephen Moore, you know, you're a good guy but you're awfully --


MARTIN: Gentlemen, gentlemen --

MOORE: First and last resort.

MARTIN: Stephen and Robert, we'll continue this conversation on Twitter and Facebook. We appreciate it. Thanks so much.

Folks, a major policy speech. We've seen that side of the president. Today, we saw another. Listen to this.


OBAMA: So this was them in the while rumpus. Aaah, aaah! (END VIDEO CLIP)

MARTIN: Howling good time today on the White House lawn. There's more just ahead.


MARTIN: Man, things got buck wild at the White House today. The first family hosted -- Erica's laughing -- an Easter party with lots of wild things and she's here to tell us how it all went.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think pretty much we can say it went well. The biggest White House Easter Egg Roll yet. Some 4,000 kids on hand from across the country along with their parents, entertainers and, of course, just a few cameras.


HILL (voice-over): It is this first family's first ever Easter Egg Roll.

OBAMA: How's --

HILL: Due to some issues with the microphone, for a little while it looked like the host would be seen but not heard. When all else fails, though, the first lady for a little vamping.

The president tried one microphone and the other, even the Easter bunny's ear. Finally, first daughter Malia took a hand.


B. OBAMA: Hello, everybody. That's Malia, our technical adviser.

HILL: The microphone crisis over, time to get down to business.

B. OBAMA: This is one of the greatest White House traditions because it reminds us that this is the people's house.

HILL: The White House has been hosting Easter Egg Rolls since 1878. Of course, things have changed a little over the years.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: We want to focus on activity, healthy eating. We've got yoga, we've got dancing, we've got story telling. We got Easter egg decorating. Oh, we've got basketball.

HILL: Not so fast. Before anyone can dribble, there needs to be some serious egg rolling.

B. OBAMA: On your mark, get set.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on. Come on. Come on. Come on.

HILL: The idea, use big spoons to roll hardboiled eggs along the course. Not as easy as you might think.


HILL: Next up, story time.

B. OBAMA: And when he came to the place where the wild things are, they roared their terrible roars. And gnashed their terrible teeth. And rolled their terrible eyes and --

HILL: The president read "Where the Wild Things Are" and really seemed to really get into it.

B. OBAMA: And now cried Max, let the wild rumpus start! So this was them in the wild rumpus. Aaah! Aaah!

HILL: With all the official duties behind him, finally, some time for basketball. The president visited the free throw toss, both to shoot and offer some help.


HILL: Not bad. A wild rumpus at the White House. We should mention, some of the tickets were actually made available on the Internet this year, and the Obamas also set aside tickets for gay and lesbian families to come be a part of the event.

MARTIN: Hey, family affair. All right, Erica. Thanks a lot. We appreciate it.

And folks, I want to thank all of you who called and e-mailed and twittered all that good stuff. Your voices are important and we love hearing from you.

Well, that's all for tonight. We'll see you guys tomorrow. Same time, same place, same channel.

"LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.