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Harry Reid Under Fire; Mark McGwire Admits Steroid Use
Aired January 11, 2010 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey there, everybody.
President Obama speaking out on the racial firestorm surrounding Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tonight. It's an exclusive interview with CNN's Roland Martin. We're going to bring that to you in just a moment. And I will talk bonuses and bailouts with finance whiz Suze Orman as well.
But we're start, as always, with the "Mash-Up." We are watching it all so you don't have to.
And a new book is all the buzz today. You may have heard a thing or two. The headline is what Harry Reid said during the 2008 presidential campaign, that Obama could succeed as a black candidate because he's -- quote -- "light-skinned and speaks with no Negro dialect unless he wants to have one." The book called "Game change" is a dishy, insidery window into the campaign.
Tonight, in an exclusive interview with Roland Martin, the president defends his top Senate ally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a good man who has always been on the right side of history. For him to have used some inartful language in trying to praise me and for people to try to make hay out of that makes absolutely no sense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: We are going to have much more from Roland's interview with the president coming up a little later.
But, first, let hear what the man at the center of the controversy had to say. Harry Reid spent the day fending off calls by Republicans for his resignation. First, check out again what he said to say for himself, and then what a tiny little summary of what everybody has been saying on TV all day long courtesy of the ladies of "The View."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: I have apologized to the president, I have apologized to everyone that -- within the sound of my voice that I could have used a better choice of words. And I will continue to do my work for the African-American community. WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": Basically said he's not going to scare white people, and he doesn't always sound like he's black.
BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": It is something that a lot of people feel.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, what does it say when you say Negro dialect? Are you saying anybody...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If Harry were Republican, people would be more up in arms, asking him to step down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Now, this debate not likely to end any time soon. More of President Obama's exclusive interview again with Roland Martin coming up.
Harry Reid not the only politician raising issues about the president's blackness. Disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich boasts to "Esquire" that he's -- quote -- "blacker than Barack Obama," this because he used to shine shoes, live in a five- room apartment and his father owned a laundromat in a black neighborhood.
Brilliant. Well, today, mea culpa city.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROD BLAGOJEVICH (D), FORMER ILLINOIS GOVERNOR: What I said was stupid, stupid, stupid. It was a metaphor. I was speaking metaphorically. Obviously, I'm not blacker than President Obama. What I was saying was stupid. And, again, if anybody is offended, I deeply apologize for the way that was said and for having said it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: For the record, Blagojevich used the world stupid 14 times in his news conference today. We counted. Too much? Not enough? You decide.
We are going to turn now to something noteworthy, but not at all surprising. Sarah Palin has signed on as a contributor for the FOX News Channel. And as of now, there is no plan for her to host her own show. Palin also prominently featured in that new book we have been talking about. On CBS' "60 Minutes" last night, the authors dished the dirt on Palin and so did the McCain/Palin campaign manager Steve Schmidt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": In public, Palin looked like the game changer McCain had wanted, but in private the authors say she was struggling to learn too much too fast.
JOHN HEILEMANN, "NEW YORK": Her foreign policy tutors are literally taking her through, this is World War I, this is World War II, this is the Korean War. This is the how the Cold War worked. This is the new war or terror. They're trying to teach her receive, because Steve Schmidt had gone to them and said, she knows nothing.
A week later, after the convention was over, she still didn't really understand why there was a North Korea and a South Korea. She was still regularly saying that Saddam Hussein had been behind 9/11. And literally the next day, her son was about to ship off to Iraq, and when they asked her who her son was going to fight, she couldn't explain that.
STEVE SCHMIDT, FORMER MCCAIN CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: In the immediate aftermath of her selection, it was clear to us that we had a lot of work to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: So, unclear whether that says more about Sarah Palin or about the candidate and the campaign staff that picked her.
Turning now to a real-life deep freeze, Florida still gripped by arctic temperatures and it's costing both money and lives. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Florida farmers have another night of waiting and worrying about a hard freeze. They say last night's record cold did substantial damage to the state's multibillion-dollar citrus crop.
KATIE COURIC, HOST, "CBS EVENING NEWS": From 14 degrees in Tallahassee to 42 in Key West, frigid conditions are taking a real toll on the Sunshine State.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the ice has had dire consequences. Two teens drowned in a thinly frozen lake, part of a busy weekend for emergency responders.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Robert Harrington (ph) has spent the past few nights at the Westgate Community Center. Sunday night, 186 people showed up to escape the cold.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These times, when you're homeless, you can't ask for a whole lot more than that. This has been a great difference. Without it, I think most of us would have frozen to death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: For the sake of comparison, Southern Florida is generally right around 68 degrees this time of year. Good news, the temperatures expected to head back that way later this week.
In Washington, senators want to hear from the father of the alleged Christmas Day bomber. The Foreign Relations Committee has invited Dr. Umaru Abdulmutallab to testify about how his son became radicalized. Many arrows point to this man, cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, an American now hiding out in Yemen. Awlaki is widely considered to be the next Osama bin Laden. But his father denied it all in an exclusive interview with CNN's Paula Newton. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: This is a very anguished father. He says he is trying to contact his son, trying to convince him to surrender.
But he also says that his son is not a member of al Qaeda and that he should not be linked to that group. Wolf, it was a very interesting exchange. I will just give you some of the quotes.
He says: "I'm now afraid of what they will do to my son. He's not Osama bin Laden. They want to make something out of him that he is not."
But what is so interesting is the way he characterizes his son and his time in the United States." He say: "He has been wrongly accused. It's unbelievable. He lived his life in America. He's an all-American boy. My son would love to go back to America. He used to have a good life in America. Now he's hiding in the mountains. He doesn't even have safe water to drink."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Paula Newton reporting for us from Yemen tonight.
Here on the home front, one of the worst kept secrets in baseball. Home run hero Mark McGwire admits he used steroids throughout his baseball career. He says he needed them to overcome injuries, not to enhance his performance.
Check out his emotional interview with Bob Costas on the Major League Baseball Network.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK MCGWIRE, FORMER MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER: I took very, very low dosages, just because I wanted my body to feel normal. The wear and tear of 162 ball games and the status of where I was at and the pressures that I had to perform and what I had to go through to try to get through all these injuries, yes, it's a very, very regrettable thing.
And I wish it never came into my life, but we're sitting here talking about it. And I'm so sorry that I have to.
And I apologize to everybody in Major League Baseball, my family, the Marises, Bud Selig. Today was the hardest day of my life. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: We're going to have a whole lot more on this story tonight, including more from McGwire itself.
And that brings us to the "Punchline." This is courtesy of the NBC late-night trio, three of the unhappiest campers around right now. To bring you up to date, NBC has officially canceled Jay Leno's 10:00 p.m. show. They want to move him to 11:30, push Conan O'Brien back to midnight, and Jimmy Fallon even later, to 1:00 a.m. Ouch.
The network brass have made their position very clear on this. The hosts themselves are still negotiating in private. This is what they're saying in public.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN": There's a lot of speculation out there. And I just wanted to go over just some of the rumors that have been flying around.
NBC is going to throw me and a Jay in a pit with sharpened sticks. The one who crawls out alive gets to leave NBC.
JAY LENO, HOST, "THE JAY LENO SHOW": You probably saw it. It's in every news -- it's all over the place. Everybody is commenting on it. I even saw it on the news. Take a look at this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you feel about the NBC executives and their plans for Jay Leno?
OBAMA: We're determined not only to thwart those plans, but to disrupt, dismantle and defeat their networks once and for all.
LENO: Defeat the networks.
JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": Thank you, NBC, for announcing that Jay Leno will move back to 11:30. It will be interesting to see how Jay and Conan do against Dave and how we do against The Perfect Pushup infomercial.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Conan O'Brien, Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon. Deep cleansing breath, guys. It's going to be OK. That is the "Mash-Up" tonight.
Up next: an exclusive interview with President Obama. Hear his reaction to being called a Negro by the Democratic Senate majority leader when we come back.
BROWN: Tonight, an exclusive interview with President Obama, who is weighing on the bombshell comments about race by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. This afternoon, the president gave an exclusive interview to CNN's Roland Martin for a TV One special called "Living the Dream."
Listen to what the president said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Harry Reid is a friend of mine. He has been a stalwart champion of voting rights, civil rights. He's spending a lot of his political capital in the middle of an election to provide health care to every American. And that's going to have a great impact on African-Americans and Latinos around the country.
This is a good man who has always been on the right side of history. For him to have used some inartful language in trying to praise me and for people to try to make hay out of that makes absolutely no sense. He's apologized, recognizing that he didn't use appropriate language.
But there was nothing mean-spirited in what he had to say. And he's always been on the right side of the issues. And the fact that we spend days on this, instead of talking about the unemployment rate or talking about how we deal with critical issues like energy and health care, is an indication of why I think people don't understand what's happening in Washington.
I guarantee you the average person, white or black, right now is less concerned about what Harry Reid said in a quote in a book a couple of years ago than they are about how are we going to move the country forward. And that's where we need to direct our attention.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And Roland Martin is joining me right now.
Roland, just listening there, the president didn't just accept Senator Reid's apology. He told you Reid's a friend. He praised his record on race. He really went above and beyond with you, didn't he?
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, absolutely.
Look, on the initial statement on Saturday, he said he accepted his apology and said frankly as far as he was concerned the book was closed, but they recognize that come Monday after the comments made yesterday about RNC Chairman Michael Steele calling for his resignation and others, that this story was going to go on and on.
The president was very clear. What's also interesting, Campbell, is that you're not hearing the same level of criticism of Senator Reid among African-Americans that you heard when Senator Trent Lott made his comments and when others made their comments. I think part of that is that because in the context Reid was talking about his support of then Senator Obama, but also the fact that his record as a Democrat, as he himself said, someone who has been championing civil rights, all that plays a role frankly in how the president views Senator Harry Reid and frankly how African- Americans, loyal Democrats in many cases view Senator Harry Reid as well.
BROWN: I know you said the president did seem in your view kind of annoyed or frustrated, not by Reid, as much as sort of the whole episode and the attention it's getting. Explain that.
MARTIN: Well, first of all, you will see this in the interview later on where we talked about this whole notion of a post-racial America and also what do we utilize as a conversation piece.
And I mentioned his race speech when he was running. And he said, look, I had 45 minutes to be able to lay out my case and speak to the issue of race. He said, but, look, in these days, it's tit for tat. All of a sudden, it's a gotcha moment, if you will, where people are trying to attack someone, as opposed to having constructive conversation about these various issues.
And I said, well, shouldn't dialogue be considered good, a learning opportunity? He said, yes, if we're actually learning from it. And so I think that really jumps out, because, look, we know how these stories, like it or not, whether it's talk radio, whether it's cable television, whether it's anything, how issues of race is like touching the third rail and begins to go crazy, as opposed to stepping back and saying, well, what's the context of what he said?
And that's really critical, Campbell, because it's amazing, when you even hear African-Americans -- I have had African-Americans e-mail me all day on Twitter and Facebook saying what he said is right. And so the question then becomes, well, should we be having a different conversation, or is the issue really as a white guy who is a politician he should have never made the comment in the first place?
BROWN: Well, fair point.
You know, the president said very bluntly he didn't think the average person even cared about this story. There's so much going on right now.
But do you think that is really the case here? Is this a lot of activists sort of worked up, or...
MARTIN: First of all, I don't think that this story has created the same level of firestorm certainly as Senator Trent Lott.
And, also, again, people's reactions to the story plays a role in how the story is driven. But what's very interesting, people have had more of an issue, African-Americans I have talked to and been speaking with for the last couple days, with the comments in this book attributed to President Bill Clinton regarding Ted Kennedy, that he would getting coffee for us a few years ago... (CROSSTALK)
MARTIN: ... because he's black.
BROWN: Yes, explain that, just so people understand.
And that is, in this book "Game Change," former President Bill Clinton was trying to get Senator Ted Kennedy's endorsement for his wife, Senator Hillary Clinton. And it is reported that Clinton told Kennedy, hey, a few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee.
Now, President Clinton has not come out and denied the statement, condemned the statement. But, again, African-Americans find that more offensive, because that is seen as a negative about him, as opposed to how Reid was explaining how some whites may actually view Senator Obama.
BROWN: Well, to that point, stand by, Roland, because we are going to come back right after the break with a panel and talk a little bit more about that, about whether we really are having an honest dialogue about all this stuff. Stand by. We will be back right after all this.
BROWN: As we have been telling you, a tough day for Harry Reid, but we wanted to clear up something from earlier. Reid didn't call then candidate Obama a Negro. He said Obama speaks with no Negro dialect unless he wants to have one, a very important distinction we wanted to clear up there.
Roland Martin back with me now, along with Peter Beinart of TheDailyBeast.com and Dylan Glenn, a Republican who served in the administrations of both Presidents Bush.
Welcome to everybody, once again.
And, Peter, I know you wrote in your column that: "There is nothing Americans love more than demanding honest talk about race and then kicking the teeth out of anybody who engages in it."
BROWN: Is that what we're seeing here?
PETER BEINART, THEDAILYBEAST.COM: Yes. I mean what Harry Reid said was the ugly, ugly truth. The ugly truth is that white voters are less willing to vote for dark-skinned African-Americans who speak in stereotypically African-American ways. Don't take my word for it.
There have been a lot of political studies -- science studies on exactly this point, which have shown over and over again that -- that white Americans are, in fact, less willing to vote for dark-skinned African-Americans. It's an ugly part of our racist history, which has always been involved with skin gradations for centuries now. And I think we should talk about it rather than trying to kind of suppress this discussion, which is important in revealing how far we still have to go as a nation.
BROWN: Dylan, do you agree with that?
DYLAN GLENN, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, you know, Campbell, I -- I guess I think that there's sort of an incredible double standard here. I don't completely disagree with Peter's assertion that maybe there should be a real discussion.
But the other issue here is the partisan political issue, which is whenever there is a statement uttered by someone who might be conservative or happens to be a Republican, that could be construed as -- as less than sensitive, they're hit over the head with a political two by four in terms -- in being called that ultimate accusation of a racist.
Here we had the majority leader of the United States Senate make an off -- just an odd remark in -- in my view, I think as you could best characterize it. And -- and, you know, the right is being criticized for having the same reaction that -- that the left had.
And so I -- has had in the past.
And so I guess I think there's an incredible double standard here. That's not to take away from Peter's point, which I think is a valid one, that we should have a conversation and -- and that's always a good thing. But I think there's the political reality here, as well, that -- that, you know, this is a -- a less than sensitive remark that -- that the majority leader made and the only reason he's owning up into it is because it was made in private and released publicly.
So I -- I -- you know, I -- I don't know that there's not a double standard here.
BROWN: Roland, it -- it did seem that -- I want your take on this Roland.
BROWN: It did seem that Democrats were circling the wagons to a certain extent, around the majority leader.
If the Republican -- if a Republican had made the same statement, would you have -- would you have seen just a level of outrage that's not comparable to, I think, what we're seeing now? MARTIN: Well, you know what, I -- I actually had lunch today here in D.C. And I asked the -- I ran into Hilary Shelton, who runs the Washington chapter of the NAACP, their Washington bureau. And I asked him that very question.
And he said here's -- because he used Trent Lott as an example. He said here's the difference. Senator Harry Reid has an A record from the NAACP on issues that we care about, Trent Lott had an F.
He said you also look at a person's history. You look at it in terms of where they stand on those critical issues. But that's what you see. You don't see many African-American leaders of organizations even coming out being critical of Harry Reid, because you actually have that particular issue that comes up as well.
But certainly what a person has done in their political history plays a role in how people perceive them and how they give them more leeway when they screw up and make various comments. That's the reality of politics.
BROWN: And, Peter, in a much broader sense, you know, there's obviously a long history between the Democratic Party and African- Americans when it comes to social issues, from civil rights to education.
I mean because of the alignment in -- and some ideology, do you think that -- that, on occasion, the Democratic Party takes this all for granted?
BEINART: Yes, I think the Democratic Party does take it all for granted. And I think the Democrats are, of course, more willing to defend other Democrats than Republicans. Democrats have a level in general -- it's a broad statement -- of trust because they win 90 percent of the African-American vote.
But you know who made an almost identical comment to what Harry Reid made?
A Republican. Colin Powell, when asked in 1995 why he was so popular with white Americans said, basically, because of my speech patterns and because of my skin color. And I don't remember -- I don't remember a big deal being made of it because what he said was an ugly reality that we need to deal with it in terms of understanding why we have not overcome racism in America, even though we elected Barack Obama.
BROWN: Dylan, give me your view...
MARTIN: Well, the other play...
BROWN: Let me let Dylan in here.
BROWN: Go ahead, Dylan.
MARTIN: Sure, go ahead.
GLENN: Well, Peter, I was just going to say, you know, there wasn't a hue and cry when the president's own vice president said, you know, Barack Obama has got an edge because he's articulate and clean. I mean, you know, there -- there -- this is consistent. And...
BROWN: There was a -- there was a fair amount of hue and cry at the time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BROWN: They were able to get beyond it, but that was -- that was certainly a story.
MARTIN: He got ripped apart, yes.
GLENN: My only -- my only point is that, look, you make an accurate statement when you say that -- that the Democratic base relies -- relies upon the black vote. It's 90 percent reliable to them.
But at the same time, that -- that means that same base, in my humble opinion, has given a key member of the Democratic Party a pass on -- on an issue that may not be a career-ending issue, but it certainly deserves, in my estimation, an -- an honest discourse. And -- and I don't think you're getting that from both parties here.
MARTIN: And, Campbell, the...
So I think there is a double standard.
BROWN: Go ahead, Roland.
MARTIN: Campbell, the one thing that we -- the one thing that we did not show and we will have it, my interview with the president on TV One next week on the MLK anniversary, is that if we're using this situation with Reid as an opportunity to talk about how we do things, our perceptions, stereotypes, then it's a good thing. But if it's a tit for tat, if it's a left-right thing, then it's the same kind of conversation.
And so we have to move on to the point where, say, we can have the kind of dialogue that we're talking about.
I remember a study that came out last year talking about baby- faced, light-skinned black CEOs, how they are seen as more doubtful and less threatening to whites in the workplace. That was a serious kind of study and -- that deserves conversation. But a lot of times, between the shouting, there's no conversation.
BROWN: Roland Martin with us tonight; Peter Beinart and Dylan Glenn.
Guys, appreciate it.
GLENN: Campbell, good to be with you.
MARTIN: Thank you.
BROWN: Harry Reid not the only politician feeling the heat because of this new campaign book, some pretty embarrassing details about Bill Clinton in it as well. Anderson Cooper has the scoop for us. He's going to join us next.
BROWN: More than one bombshell coming out of that book we have been talking about tonight, including revelations about Hillary Clinton's war room within a war room.
Anderson Cooper talked with the book's authors just a little while ago. Let's have a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: You also write in the book about concerns, as you said, about Bill Clinton that maybe Republicans would have been aware of, but also that it was a big concern within Hillary Clinton's campaign. And you described that there was a war room within the war room just dedicated to this.
HEILEMANN: Well, when Hillary was getting ready to run in 2006, Patti Solis Doyle, who would be her campaign manager, would go around to Capitol Hill and say, my boss is getting ready to run. What do you think?
And Democrats would say, we think she's great. She will be a great candidate. She will be a very good president, but what are you going to do about Bill Clinton? Because they had been hearing these rumors about Clinton's personal life. They were concerned.
And Patti Solis Doyle started to hear more and more, that there were conference calls taking place amongst senior Clinton backers, people who were sympathetic to Hillary Clinton, people who had been in her husband's Cabinet, who were talking on the phone and saying, Bill Clinton is jeopardizing Hillary Clinton's future with his reckless behavior.
She conveyed that information to Hillary. Hillary was incensed to hear that people were talking about her, her friends were talking about her that way behind her back and about her husband that way. But she needed to know the truth.
And so she put together this group, this war room within a war room that consisted of three of her senior aides including Patti Solis Doyle, Cheryl Mills, currently a senior figure on her staff in the State Department, and Howard Wolfson, communications strategist and said you have to get ready to deal with this if it explodes in the press. And further, we need to know whether it's true or not. And they engaged in an investigation and came to the conclusion that, in fact, there was in one instance a woman that Bill Clinton was engaged in a serious romantic relationship with and they needed to know that so they can prepare for the political fallout if it became public.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And Anderson Cooper here with me now. Pretty explosive stuff.
COOPER: Yes, there's a lot of stuff in this book that's really interesting. They spent a lot of time interviewing both Republicans and Democrats, some more than 300 interviews with people over the course of two years. And I pressed them a lot on their sources. We'll hear a lot more about that coming up at 10:00.
BROWN: But they are getting a little bit of push back, right?
BROWN: I know some people have come forward and said wait a minute, this didn't happen. This is not true.
COOPER: Senator Schumer has put out a statement saying one of the things that they wrote about him, he didn't actually say they weren't true. In fact, when he clarified in his statement actually kind of supports what they said in the book. So -- but they stand by their sources. They said these are people they talked to for a long time. The numerous interviews in some cases went back to them several times.
BROWN: All right. We'll be watching tonight more of Anderson's interview with Mark Halperin and John Heilemann tonight at 10:00 Eastern on "AC 360." Thanks, Anderson.
BROWN: Coming up next, Suze Orman, she has some tough words for the bankers who are cleaning up with year-end bonuses. She says they're making it off your back. We'll talk about that when we come back.
BROWN: You thought it wouldn't happen but you kind of knew it would. Those Wall Street bonuses are back and they are big, and the White House is taking note.
We all know how much Americans love it when the bailed-out companies reward their own employees. Well today, the White House floated the idea of a new tax on bailed-out institutions to make sure that some of that taxpayer money goes back into the government till.
Well, who better to talk about big picture economics and dispense real world advice than Suze Orman, finance expert, best selling author and host of the "Suze Orman Show" on CNBC.
BROWN: Her latest book is "Women and Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny." It is just out in paperback. And she is here right now to tell you how you can weather the financial storm.
Suze Orman, it's so good to see you.
SUZE ORMAN, FINANCE EXPERT: Thank you.
BROWN: Let me first ask you a little bit about the news of the day, I guess, these Wall Street bonuses.
When you hear about these Wall Street banks awarding them enormous -- six, seven, eight figures, in some cases in these bonuses, how do you react?
ORMAN: It drives me crazy. And the reason it drives me crazy is this.
How were the banks able to make that much money to award that much in bonuses?
Oh, they were able to do it, in my opinion, on the fact that they're paying zero interest rates to people who are depositing money. They're making it so that if you have credit cards with them, oh, in many of these banks they're giving out 30 percent in interest rates, they're charging you. They're charging you fees across-the-board, all kinds of things.
So they are making it off of your back. And they're doing it saying that they need to be able to retain the people that are working for them. Oh, you know, Campbell, it's just not right. It...
BROWN: You don't buy it?
ORMAN: I've never bought it. Something is radically wrong.
BROWN: And you said yourself -- I mean, millions of people do business with Bank of America, Citibank, Chase.
But you also say that you're not as helpless as I think a lot of us feel, like we're stuck with what they're doing, there's nothing we can do about it. And you say you actually can do some things and push back.
ORMAN: They can do some -- so, for instance, almost everybody has debt. Everybody has a credit card.
ORMAN: If you happen to have a credit card at a financial institution that is not respecting you, charging you fees, charging you all kinds of things, you ought to do something. You should get a credit union credit card. You all should go to creditcardconnection.org to find a good credit union near you -- because not all credit unions are good, also.
But if you had a credit union credit card, do you know that federally chartered credit unions cannot charge you more than 18 percent interest rate on your credit cards to begin with?
Credit cards -- credit cards with a union -- remember, credit unions care about their members.
ORMAN: Banks care about their shareholders.
ORMAN: So a credit union is going to take better care of you than you having a credit card at a bank. So that's one thing you can do.
The other thing you can do is start paying everything in cash. If you don't use a credit card, there aren't the interchange fees, the transaction fees.
ORMAN: So go to the ATM, take out cash. When you go to the store, spend cash. If you spend cash, then these banks and Visa and everybody, they aren't making the two or three percent every time...
BROWN: Every time you swipe the card.
ORMAN: ... you swipe it.
BROWN: Do you think this recession is over?
ORMAN: No. All right, it's going to feel like it's over. Maybe the numbers are going to say that it's over. But you tell the people -- the 10 percent unemployment rate -- supposedly 10 percent -- there are so many millions of people out there that are unemployed. You tell them that this recession is over.
The recession is over, where is their job?
Now where is the interest rates for the elderly to put their money in CDs, in the bank accounts, savings accounts, so that they can make interest in order to live?
No, things haven't come back to normal yet. They can say the recession is over, but until it really feels like it is to everybody, as far as I'm concerned, what difference does it make if we're in recession, out of recession, things still are not good.
BROWN: They know it's about jobs, you get the sense from the administration. We had the jobs report come out on Friday. Everybody was fairly depressed...
BROWN: ... to hear about it, in terms of their reaction.
So when are the jobs coming back, I mean if that's the indicator?
ORMAN: I have to tell you, I don't see a reason why the jobs should come back. And let me say why. The corporations -- again, in my opinion -- are finding that they're able to be very productive without all these employees working for them anymore.
So if they can do what they're able to do today with less people working for them, why should they hire all these employees back?
BROWN: Let's -- let me talk about your book, because it's called "Women and Money"...
BROWN: ... first of all. And you talk about how unemployment affects women and men very differently and how that's played out, certainly, given the recession.
ORMAN: Women -- what's happening to women is this. When they've lost their jobs, it's women that will go and they will become a bartender, a waitress. They will do anything and everything to make sure that their family is OK.
ORMAN: Men, on the other hand...
BROWN: Won't stay at a job.
ORMAN: ... I'm sorry to say, when they lose their job, they're making $80,000 a year, they get fired. They will only go to look for jobs that pay them $80,000 a year. And if they can't find a job that pays them $80,000 a year, they will stay at home and do nothing except look for that job that doesn't exist until all the money is gone. And then chances are they still won't do it.
And the other thing is, do you know, 50 percent of the workforce now is made up of women.
ORMAN: Almost 40 percent of the women are the primary breadwinners of their family. Corporations understand that women make less money than men. Corporations understand that women work equally as well as men. So if you lay off the men, you then get equally as good of a worker for less money. And that's why, in my opinion, women now make up 50 percent of the workforce, because of how many men have been laid off because of how much money we had to pay men because men asked for what they were worth.
BROWN: If there is one financial resolution we should all make this year, one resolution that Barack Obama or Congress should make and should keep for 2010, what is that?
ORMAN: Well, it would be a few things. It would be get involved with the refinancing of these homes -- these home loan modifications, that, in my opinion, have been an abysmal failure. Can you just help people who are so underwater in their homes they don't know what to do? They're good people and the banks just aren't dealing with them.
Can you figure out some solution there that makes sense?
Can you really get on these credit card companies and really get it so that it is illegal to charge 30 percent interest to consumers?
Something is radically wrong there. So if I had President Obama sitting here, I would say, can you just make it illegal that these credit card companies can charge anything above 18 percent?
BROWN: Suze Orman.
ORMAN: Campbell Brown.
BROWN: Tough words.
BROWN: And when we come back, Mark McGwire finally fessing up. He admits he used steroids. What's next for McGwire and for baseball, when we come back.
BROWN: Today, Mark McGwire finally admits he was juiced up on steroids when he was hitting all those home runs. We're going to have an interview with him in just a few minutes. First, though, Mike Galanos here with tonight's "Download."
MIKE GALANOS, HLN PRIME NEWS: Hey, Campbell. First, off, a history-making trial in gay rights kicking off in California today. Proposition 8, the state's ban on gay marriage, challenged for the first time in federal court. The trial now was supposed to be carried live on YouTube, but the idea was killed today by the U.S. Supreme Court.
It will soon be OK to use marijuana in New Jersey with a prescription, that is. Now today the state passed a bill legalizing medical marijuana for chronically-ill patients. The measure will go into effect in six months and make New Jersey the 14th state to allow marijuana use for medical purposes.
Well, the father of the so-called balloon boy hoax reported to jail in Fort Collins, Colorado today. We're talking about Richard Heene, of course. Didn't talk to reporters there, frankly, a sprint to the jail door so he can begin serving his 90-day sentence. Prosecutors say he and his wife sent everyone on a wild-goose chase by lying about their son being swept away on a homemade balloon last October.
And finally this one. It's official. Simon Cowell is leaving "American Idol." Now the sharp tongue brutal putdowns -- come on, people tune in just for that -- it's been a signature part of the show. It's helped make "American Idol" such a big hit on television.
Well, Cowell says he's going to now bolt "American Idol" to focus on his new talent show. It's called "X Factor." No word yet on who will replace him. Yes, it's only Simon Cowell, but a lot of people tune in and he's made that show what it is.
BROWN: Would you watch without him?
GALANOS: It depends. They have to going to get somebody who's pretty brutal to fill those shoes, you know.
BROWN: Yes. I won't watch with him. But, we'll see.
BROWN: We'll see who the replacement will be. Mike Galanos for us tonight. Mike, thanks.
GALANOS: Thanks, Campbell.
BROWN: Here's news that surprised pretty much nobody. Mark McGwire finally admits he used steroids. What happens now? The very latest on that when we come back.
BROWN: Today, Mark McGwire finally admitting to what everybody suspected for a long time, that he is a cheat. The former slugger revealed today he used steroids for nearly a decade. He was juiced when he broke baseball's single season home run record in 1998. McGwire repeated his confession in an exclusive interview with sportscaster Bob Costas for the MLB Network just minutes ago. Listen to this.
BOB COSTAS, SPORTSCASTER, MLB: Do you think that you would have hit nearly 600 home runs, that would you have hit 70 homers in one year and 65 homers another year and topped 54 times if you had never touched anything stronger than a protein shake? MARK MCGWIRE, FORMER MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER: I truly believe so. I believe I was given this gift. I -- the only reason that I took steroids was for my health purposes. I did not take steroids to get any gain for any strength purposes.
COSTAS: But did you get that gain incidentally?
MCGWIRE: For my health purposes to make my body feel normal.
COSTAS: But did you become stronger? In addition to helping you battle injuries and stay healthy, didn't you become stronger? Didn't you get greater bat speed? Didn't you become not just a very good power hitter but an extraordinary power hitter?
MCGWIRE: I've always had. I've always had bat speed. I just learned how to shorten my bat speed. I learned how to be a better hitter.
There's not a pill or an injection that's going to give me the hand/eye or give any athlete the hand/eye coordination to hit a baseball. A pill or an injection will not hit a baseball.
I took very, very low dosages just because I wanted my body to feel normal. The wear and tear of 162 ball games in the status of where I was at and the pressures that I had to perform and what I had to go through to try to get through all these injuries, you know, it's a very, very regrettable thing. I wish it never came into my life, but we're sitting here talking about it.
I'm so sorry that I have to. I apologize to everybody in Major League Baseball, my family, the Marises, Bud Selig. Today was the hardest day of my life.
COSTAS: McGwire's tainted home run record has since been broken, but baseball's reputation still very much on the line. Many other star players excelled during the so-called steroid era. What is the not so shocking news mean for America's past time?
Christine Brennan is a sports columnist for "USA Today." She's also author of "Best Seat in the House."
Christine, you know, we just heard him admit -- or refuse to admit frankly that steroids helped his performance and that he only took them for health reasons?
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, "USA TODAY" COLUMNIST: Yes.
BROWN: Pretty unbelievable, huh?
BRENNAN: Well, if this is the apology, you know, my goodness, he's backpedaling already from that and, you know, a little of this and a little of that. I mean, enough already, Mark.
Campbell, there is a word for taking performance-enhancing drugs to get better from injury, and that word is it's cheating. It is absolutely, positively cheating. So if he wants to sugarcoat it and say he wasn't cheating to get bigger muscles, he was cheating to get healthy, the reality is Mark McGwire's career was marked by injuries so many seasons and all of a sudden in the late '90s as he was getting older, he was healthier. He was healthier for one reason. He was cheating.
Obviously, a lot of players didn't do that, and he took advantage. And that's why I think this fraud that he perpetrated on the American public is even worse now to know that it was a decade long in the making. Pretty sad.
BROWN: So, you know, he argued that he still would have done all that. He would have set all those records had he not been on steroids. There's no way in your view that he could have performed at that level without them, right?
BRENNAN: That's true. And even if we take for, at face value what he said that he had the God-given talent and the bat speed and hand/eye coordination and all that, then I would go back to the injury thing. Injuries are part of the game and many, many players have had. Mickey Mantle was a great player who was injured. So many players have had injuries, Ken Griffey Jr. as being part of their career. Mark McGwire refused to allow nature to take its course and decided to cheat his game, cheat himself, cheat his family, cheat the Maris family, the history of the sport. He did all of that so that he could stay healthy. The fact that he --
BROWN: Do you agree --
BRENNAN: Go ahead.
BROWN: No, no. We were just showing the sort of before and after photos. I just wanted to put them back up while you're talking. Finish your point.
BRENNAN: Right. And so the fact that he's now trying to say oh, that's not cheating or I did it to get healthy, let no one be deceived. I covered this story as you know since the '88 Olympics with Ben Johnson.
BRENNAN: And so we should never be deceived. If you're trying to get healthy from an injury by taking performance-enhancing drugs, that is definitely cheating.
BROWN: You know, his image has pretty much been in tatters I think you could say since his congressional testimony when he refused to answer the question after question about steroid abuse. Let's play a little bit of that. Hold on, Christine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK MCGWIRE, FORMER MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER: Asking me or any other player to answer questions about who took steroids in front of television cameras will not solve the problem. If a player answers no, he simply will not be believed. If he answers yes, he risks public scorn and endless government investigations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Well, certainly not his finest moment.
BROWN: Do you think this interview with Bob Costas helped at all? Helped him image? Certainly in light of that, in light of what we now know?
BRENNAN: And he said to "AP" and "USA Today" and others today the same things. And, you know, he's doing this for one reason. He's coming -- Mark McGwire is coming back to baseball in a couple weeks as the hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Again, I hate to sound so cynical, but this is a man who cheated millions of children. That great home run derby in 1998, I remember running off a plane to catch an inning to see if Sosa or McGwire hit a home run. I think we all did that. Grandmothers did that. Everyone was into that. And it was a fraud. And this man willingly chose to deceive the American public.
So now, he's saying this right now because he's coming back to baseball. To me, I think we need to see it for what it is, which is a publicity ploy, I think, to try to get back maybe into the good graces of the game just a few weeks before he comes back as a hitting coach.
BROWN: Christine Brennan for us tonight. Christine as always, thanks.
BRENNAN: Thank you, Campbell.
"LARRY KING LIVE" starting in just a few minutes, but coming up next, tonight's "Guilty Pleasure." Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien now starring in the late night talk show saga and giving everybody some great material.
BROWN: "LARRY KING LIVE" starts in just a few moments. But first, the very latest on the late night follies. Jeanne Moos has tonight's "Guilty Pleasure."
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a little over seven months, we've come full circle.
ANNOUNCER: It's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."
With Conan O'Brien.
Jay Leno. REGIS PHILBIN: Let them all go and have Trump at night.
MOOS: Sorry, Donald. Here's NBC's latest claim.
(on camera): So Leno would move from 10:00 to 11:30 and Conan would move from 11:30 to midnight.
(voice-over): 12:05 to be exact.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Though it's a little weird to start "The Tonight Show" at a time when it's no longer tonight.
MOOS: Conan himself has been making plenty of jokes about all the rumors.
CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN": Both of our shows will be on at 11:30 running simultaneously in split screen.
The Tonight Show will be an iPhone app and the Jay Leno show will become an Xbox game.
MOOS (on camera): Hey, they're both already a game.
(voice-over): TMZ let's you use your mouse to make Conan catch his ever-changing contract.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boom, boom, boom.
MOOS: Until Leno's big head gets in the way.
O'BRIEN: Jay and I will be joining the cast of "Jersey Shore" as a new character called "The Awkward Situation."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My ads are so ripped up (INAUDIBLE).
MOOS: But what is the situation TMZ asked?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So are you happy about the switch, Jay?
JAY LENO, HOST, "THE JAY LENO SHOW": Oh, we'll see what -- we'll see what happens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got to be happy, though.
LENO: Welcome to show business.
NBC is working on a solution they say in which all parties will be screwed equally. So I --
MOOS: Maybe not so equally.
(on camera): You know how Leno is always doing those jaywalking bits.
LENO: What separates your inner ear from your outer ear? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your brain, right?
MOOS: Yes. Well, instead of jaywalking now it's Conan who could walk.
(voice-over): Walk into the arms of another network like FOX, the musical chairs have tongues wagging on YouTube.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give Jay Leno his 11:35 slot back now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOOS: Multiple choice. Was he A, scratching his tongue, B, looking for a mustache hair, or C, trying to make himself gag because all of this programming movement is making him queasy?
LENO: Hey, Kev, what does NBC stand for?
KEVIN EUBANKS: What is it?
LENO: Never believe your contract. But you know --
MOOS (on camera): Sounds vaguely familiar.
LENO: Welcome to NBC, which stands for never believe your contract. Thank you very much.
MOOS (voice-over): That was back when Leno was finally awarded "The Tonight Show" over Letterman. Oh, what a difference 17 years doesn't make.
LENO: Never believe your contract.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN.
LENO: Never believe your contract.
MOOS: New York.
BROWN: And that's it for us. Thanks for joining us. "LARRY KING" starts right now.