Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Connecticut to End Death Penalty; Overcoming Destructive Behavior; Santorum's New Math; Breaking the Boys Club; Interview with Rep. Allen West; 120,000 Jobs Added in March; Interview with Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy

Aired April 6, 2012 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips. It's 11:00 on the East Coast, 8:00 on the West. We've got a great hour ahead for you. Let's get straight to the news.

The March numbers are out. 120,000 jobs added. The jobs report also shows unemployment at 8.2 percent, slightly lower than February.

But House Speaker John Boehner still slammed the president this morning. He says, quote, "Today's report shows that families and small businesses are still struggling to get by because of President Obama's failed economic policies."

Could it have been better? We'll break down the numbers for you in just a few minutes.

And President Obama has a message for women. I'm thinking about you. The president spoke just a short time ago, kicking off the White House forum on women and the economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I do think that the conversation's been oversimplified. Women are not some monolithic bloc. Women are not an interest group. You shouldn't be treated that way. Women are over half of this country and its work force.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: The administration is also reining a reporter at the forum on how they've worked to create jobs for women. Republicans have blasted the event as a blatant attempt by the White House to court women voters.

The president also reiterated his support for women being allowed to be members at Augusta National. More on that a little later in the hour.

Marion Barry now apologizing for taking a shot at Asians. The councilman is no stranger to controversy, but just listen to what he had to say at his victory rally this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARION BARRY, WASHINGTON, D.C., COUNCILMAN: We've got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses, these little dirty shops. They ought to go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Barry was saying that the city needs more African- American business owners. Washington mayor, Anthony Gray, ripped Barry over the remarks. Barry just won a primary in the city council race.

Our Athena Jones will be talking to Marion Barry coming up in the next hour of "CNN Newsroom."

A military board is recommending that this Marine, Sergeant Gary Stein, should be dismissed for taking to Facebook and bluntly criticizing President Obama, his commander-in-chief.

The board handed down its recommendations after a long hearing at Camp Pendleton yesterday. They say that Stein's actions amount to misconduct.

Stein insists he is just practicing his First Amendment rights. The board's decision now goes to a general to decide.

Just how blatant were Saints' coaches when they wanted to hurt the other team? Well, new sound pretty much tells the whole story.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

GREGG WILLIAMS, FORMER SAINTS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Every single one of you, before you get off the pile, affect the head, early, affect the head. Continue, touch and hit the head.

We need to decide whether Crabtree wants to be a [bleep] prima donna or he wants to be a tough guy. We need to find that out.

He becomes human when we [bleep] take out that outside ACL.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: That was before the Saints-49ers playoff game last season. Former Saints' defensive coach, Gregg Williams, has been suspended indefinitely for his part in the bounty program.

Meanwhile, Saints' head coach, Sean Payton, is appealing his own one-year suspension.

Well, moments before he shot Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman whispered something during his 911 call. What he said, many speculate, was a racial slur.

But here's a new analysis of his audio. We're going to replay you the phrase, five times. So listen carefully.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: (Inaudible)

(END AUDIO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: It's still very difficult to distinguish what Zimmerman said, but his lawyer and now a forensic audio expert who analyzed that recording say what Zimmerman said was "punks." Listen again.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

ZIMMERMAN: (Inaudible)

(END AUDIO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Now, some members of CNN's editorial staff repeatedly reviewed that tape, but could not make a consensus on whether Zimmerman used a slur.

The usually outspoken Venezuelan president broke down during a pre-Easter mass. Hugo Chavez asked God to spare his life because, quote, "I have more to do for this country and these people."

The 57-year-old leader has been under treatment for cancer and has undergone three operations in less than a year. Chavez says he is recovering and will be ready to win another six-year term in October's election.

End of a long journey for the Japanese fishing trawler swept away in last year's tsunami. The U.S. Coast Guard shelled the unmanned ship, sinking it off the Alaskan coast.

The boat drifted across the Pacific Ocean for a year till it was spotted last month. Officials decided to sink it because it posed a hazard to other ships and the environment.

And we're learning more about the destructive power of those tornadoes that ripped through the Dallas-Ft. Worth area on Tuesday. To get an idea of just how much ground those storms covered, take a look at this 3D animation from NASA.

It shows powerful storms that created the severe weather were more than eight miles high. According to the National Weather Service, at least 13 twisters touched down, destroying or damaging nearly 1,100 homes, and more storms are expected in that same area this weekend.

Well, good news about the nationwide effort to change a movie rating for the documentary, "Bully." The Motion Picture Association of America dropped the R-rating to PG-13.

With the new rating, children of any age can see the film with an adult. The change came after the distributor, The Weinstein Company, cut a few "F-bombs" from the movie.

Public pressure also helped. Five hundred thousand people signed a petition to have it changed. The director of the film had this to say earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEE HIRSCH, DIRECTOR, "BULLY": So overall, there were six curse words in the film and three in that scene were the ones that were really conveying the power of the bullying. And we drew our line, and we held it.

And then we had so much support from so many celebrities, Ellen DeGeneres, you know, Meryl Streep. The list went on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: "Bully" will open in 55 additional markets on April 13th.

Hiring slows, but unemployment falls and the Republicans waste no time in slamming President Obama. But should they be so quick to criticize?

More on the March jobs numbers coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Jobs, jobs, jobs. We're losing them, we're gaining them, we want them. Well, last month's report is out and 120,000 jobs have been added, plus unemployment is a little lower than two months ago, 8.2 percent now.

And the White House says, well, that basically proves the economy is continuing to recover. So is it?

Christine Romans is going to crunch the numbers for us. You know, Christine, I'm curious, where exactly are the jobs? What sectors are growing? And which ones are declining?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's a very good question because first look at this, 120,000 jobs created. Since when is a better unemployment rate bad news? Well, when it's only 120,000 jobs.

Economists wanted to see more than this, Kyra. When you look within the numbers to where the jobs are being created, you can see that the private sector is doing all the work here, 121,000 jobs created in the private sector.

And the government jobs, Kyra, we're not having those government layoffs that we had been even a few months ago. So this is a positive sign that government layoffs are not quite so bad.

But let me go within the sectors because I think you're going to find this pretty interesting. When you look at retail jobs, we lost 34,000 retail jobs.

The only place you saw gains, really, in retail were, like, home- and-garden centers. It's been so nice out, right? That's where you're seeing jobs created, but you weren't seeing those elsewhere.

On manufacturing, 37,000 jobs created in manufacturing. And that's kind of an interesting trend that we've seen.

Also health care jobs created. But 120,000 jobs overall, it's not enough, really, to even keep up with new people heading into the workforce. That's why economists are concerned, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: So Mitt Romney attacking the president over today's jobs report and here's what he says. "It is increasingly clear that the Obama economy is not working and that after three years in office, the president's excuses have run out."

So considering today's report, who's right, Christine?

ROMANS: Now, who you believe is right is who you'll vote for and who's going to win the election. That's what it comes down to, Kyra. I firmly believe that how people feel about their job and their money is going to decide who wins this election.

Let me show you a little bit of the trend because the trend is what's important here. The president's folks are focusing on the trend, which is jobs created every month for more than a year. You're seeing jobs created.

What the Romney folks and the president's opponents are focusing on the fact that this is not enough to compensate for how all of these jobs lost at the end of the Bush administration and the beginning of the Obama administration.

So to answer your question, there's something for both camps in here. Yes, there is recovery, but these numbers are not as strong as you'd like to see.

And you're going to see both sides start to blame each other and say, we're the best guy to harness the recovery we have to make it better. Both camps are going to make that claim.

PHILLIPS: Christine Romans out of New York for us. Christine, thanks so much.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

PHILLIPS: So did you hear about this? Sarah Palin suggests that Mitt Romney should go rogue. How? She says pick Florida congressman, Allen West, for VP.

So what does Mr. West think about this ringing endorsement? I'll ask him next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Congressman Allen West has been described as conservative firebrand and a loose cannon. Probably the most colorful description came from Allen himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONGRESSMAN ALLEN WEST (R), FLORIDA: I'm here as the modern-day Harriet Tubman to kind of lead people on the underground railroad away from that plantation into a sense of sensibility.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Now, Sarah Palin has an idea for a title. So does South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. Mr. Vice President.

Florida Republican Representative Allen West joining me live from Davy, Florida.

What do you think? Vice President Allen West? Would you consider it if you were asked?

WEST: Well, first of all, happy Easter to you, Kyra. And when you consider the fact that five years ago I was sitting in the desert of Kandahar, Afghanistan, as a civilian military adviser and training to the Afghan army, no one would have ever thought that I'd be a congressional representative for here in south Florida and speaking to you today.

So we don't know which path your life may take and if someone were to believe that I have a capacity to serve this country at a higher level is very humbling, very honorable.

And as I did back in 1982, as my father did, as my older brother did, as my young nephew does, we will continue to serve this country in whatever capacity we can.

PHILLIPS: OK. So bottom line, you're telling me yes, if Mitt Romney comes to you and says, I want you on the ticket with me, I want you to be my vice president, you would say yes?

WEST: Yes, well, right now, you know, the focus is, of course, being a good congressional representative.

But if someone were to make that call to me, which I really doubt is ever going to happen, you would have to make sure that it is something that god would ordain for you, and you'd have to talk to your wife, my wife and my two daughters about.

But we have always stepped up to the plate to serve our country. And if it's the right fit, then I will do so.

But as I said, I really much so doubt that that would happen.

PHILLIPS: You know, there's a lot of things that we thought would never happen in the past couple of years, Congressman, so I think anything is possible.

WEST: That is true.

PHILLIPS: Indeed if Mitt Romney came to you, do you like Mitt Romney? Do you support his views? Would you feel comfortable on a ticket with him?

WEST: Well, you know, I've never been out on a dinner date with him if that's what you're asking me. So I don't know if I would like him, but I think that we'd have to sit down and discuss things.

And look, I think that Governor Romney and I definitely have a different vision for this country, a vision that gets us away from debt, despair and the horrible situations you see with our economic security, our energy security and our national security.

So I think that we will be able to come together as a team and be able to develop the right type of platform to turn this state around for the United States of America.

PHILLIPS: Let's talk about President Obama's health care law. You've been very outspoken about this and outspoken opponent. In an op-ed, you said there's no question that the individual mandate is unconstitutional.

You voted to repeal the law last year, but just the other day, you said you liked a couple of the provisions, coverage for preexisting conditions and letting kids until the age of 26 stay on their parents' coverage.

Now, voicing any support for that bill, could that be problematic for you as a vice president?

WEST: No, it's not going to be problematic for me because I'm a pretty pragmatic and principled person. I don't have to go and follow as a mindless lemming of the cliff.

But when I talk about the fact that we want to keep preexisting conditions covered, we want to make sure we keep the doughnut hole closed and, if an American parent wants to keep their child on their insurance coverage till they're 26, that's fine.

But that's probably, you know, about 20 pages. It's the other 2,680 pages of that legislation, now law, that I'd be very concerned about.

The fact that it is not going to cost the American taxpayers $940 billion over the next ten years, it will cost $1.76 trillion.

There's 159 new government agencies and bureaucracies, 11 new taxes, 16,000 new IRS agents, the federal government now controlling college education loans, $575 billion of cuts to Medicare, and a 15- member panel of unelected bureaucrats that's going to do all the price controls for Medicare.

Now, those are the type of things that I absolutely disagree with and I do think that when you do the analysis of the individual mandate against the commerce clause, you cannot stretch the commerce clause in any way, shape or form to make the individual mandate fit within there.

PHILLIPS: All right. Gay marriage. A big issue. Bottom line, do you think it's something that the federal government should make a decision on?

WEST: I think that when you look at who is issuing out marriage certificates, I think it's a states' issue.

But I think right now, there are a lot of people that try to take you down a rabbit hole to discuss things that really aren't that important.

The United States of $15.6 trillion in debt. That's what we need to be talking about.

PHILLIPS: Wait, are you saying that gay marriage is not important?

WEST: I think if you poll the American people, Kyra, I don't think they'll bring up gay marriage as one of the top concerns.

The American people are concerned about where they're working. As a matter of fact, in yesterday I was up in Ft. Pierce, Florida, speaking with folks at Twin Vee. The make catamaran boats. They produce about five boats every week.

About three or four years ago, he had 100 employees. Now he's down to 30 employees and based upon the tax and regulatory environment and the health care law and several other things that are really being onerous and invasive coming from the government, he will probably have to go down to 25 employees if it continues on that path.

I think that's what people are concerned about.

PHILLIPS: I think no doubt people are concerned about jobs and the economy, but gay marriage is a big issue. You were military. Don't ask, don't tell ...

WEST: Gay marriage is not as big as the gas prices. The gas prices, when President Obama came into office, was $1.84.

PHILLIPS: Agreed.

WEST: Gases on average now are over $3.90.

PHILLIPS: People are very concerned about gas prices, absolutely.

WEST: Economic security, energy security and national security. So I think the best thing that you could do to help me and help out America, let's stay focused on the things that are critical for the American people right now ...

PHILLIPS: OK.

WEST: ... and not try to create some type of situation you try to take me down through a rabbit hole.

PHILLIPS: No, no, I'm not trying to do that.

WEST: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, you are.

PHILLIPS: I'm talking about millions of gay Americans. I'm just laying out the facts here. I'll move on.

WEST: Millions of gay Americans should be concerned about ...

PHILLIPS: They are concerned about gay marriage.

WEST: They should be concerned about the four years of trillion- dollar deficits we have had in the federal government.

Millions of Americans should be concerned about the fact that if we don't do something about the federal government, 62 percent is mandatory spending.

If we don't reform Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and reduce the debt because the net interest of the debt is soon going to be close to $1 trillion.

That's what we should be focused on, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Congressman, let me ask you about Trayvon Martin.

WEST: Tragedy.

PHILLIPS: What do you think - tragedy? "Stand-your-ground" law, should it go?

WEST: Well, first of all, once again, that's a states' issue. "Stand-your-ground" law has nothing to do with this.

What I am upset about is that a young man lost his life and there's no doubt about the fact that Mr. Zimmerman should not be walking around still with a concealed weapons license when, as a regular citizen, he shot an unarmed -- another citizen.

Now, when people try to use this tragedy as a means by which they propel a certain ideological agenda, then I get upset with that.

There have been a lot of irrational voices to include members of Congress, some of my colleagues, that are starting to get us away from what really happened here.

Now, as far as the "stand-your-ground" law, I know one of the local representatives down here in South Florida has a task force to look at that, but that's a states issue, and I'm not going to make a comment about that.

But it has no relevance in this case.

PHILLIPS: Final thought. It has become a national, international issue, Trayvon Martin and what has happened. You have called yourself the modern-day Harriet Tubman. It's triggered tremendous conversation about race in this country. What do you think --

WEST: And that's --

PHILLIPS: What do you think should happen, Congressman?

WEST: I think that's why we've had irrational voices.

PHILLIPS: What do you think should happen?

WEST: Well, I said already in two statements that I put out that looking upon some of the mishandling early on of this case that the sheriff up there should have been relieved of his duties, that I think that Mr. Zimmerman should have been held in custody until a good, complete, full investigation has been done.

I think that now we have the right type of enforcement agencies and also the right type of attention from the state, local level and also the federal level to make this a good investigation.

But also, let's be very honest. We don't need organizations like the New Black Panther Party going out there putting bounties, million- dollar bounties, on the head of an American citizen.

We also don't need starlets that are out there twittering out people's addresses trying to create a situation of intimidation.

So what I want to see happen is rational voices come to the front and I think that's what you heard in statements that I put out.

PHILLIPS: Congressman Allen West, sure appreciate your time today.

WEST: It's a pleasure. Thank you.

PHILLIPS: Likewise.

Still ahead, the national debate over what Trayvon Martin's killer said on that 911 call. The newest analysis next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Besides the "stand-your-ground" law, the national outcry and the controversy surrounding the death, the 911 tapes are another hot-button issue.

Many say George Zimmerman used a racial slur in that call. CNN ran the clip past his lawyers and an audio expert, and they all disagree. Martin Savidge explains.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I specifically asked George Zimmerman's attorneys about the issue of the racial slur because it is so inflammatory in this story.

They say it never happened. They said they specifically have asked George Zimmerman what did you say on that 911 call? And he's told them that he said "those f'ing punks." Then I turned to another independent source, Tom Owen of Owen Forensic Services. He is a man who specializes in enhancing audio and analyzing audio and what he did was, as he began to study that particular part of the 911 call, he realized there was some interference.

At the very moment George Zimmerman utters the words people say he said, that interference is either something electronic or that he bumped the phone and it distorted or changed the words that are heard on the recording, which is why people may hear a racial slur, but after Tom took out that interference, well, listen to what the recording sounds like now.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

ZIMMERMAN: (Inaudible)

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: According to Tom Owen, he says, "those f'ing punks." So what it means you've got the attorneys for George Zimmerman and at least one audio expert who says it was not a racial slur.

In Sanford, Florida, I'm Martin Savidge.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: CNN also enhanced that 911 call. Several members of our editorial staff repeatedly listened to the audio but could not confirm whether or not Zimmerman used a racial slur.

Abolishing the death penalty, Connecticut debating that right now. I'll ask the state's governor about it next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Abolishing the death penalty. Right now that debate is playing out in Connecticut. Already these are the states that have abolished it. And if passed, Connecticut would be the 17th state to get rid of it.

Now, keep this in mind. This is also the state traumatized by the gruesome murders of the Petit family. And because of those brutal killings, these killers are two of the 11 convicts on death row right now in Connecticut. And the details of what they did are chilling. Dr. William Petit, beaten and tied up. His wife, raped and strangled. His youngest daughter molested, both tied to their beds. All left to die as their house burned down around them. Dr. Petit, the sole survivor.

There's a lot of people that think those two murderers should die for what they did. And therein lies the complicated debate over the death penalty. Connecticut's Senate voted to repeal the death penalty just yesterday. The House is expected to pass it. And Governor Dannel Malloy joins me now, and he vows he'll sign the measure into law. Governor, thank you so much for being with me. Let's go ahead and start with why repeal the death penalty?

GOV. DANNEL MALLOY (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, you know, there are any number of reasons, not the least of which is research that demonstrates that many people have been put to death improperly in the United States. And that there are a distinct racial biases in the use of and actual executions. So there are many reasons.

Listen, the Catholic Church is against it. The Episcopal Church is against it. A majority of the major religions represented in the nation are against it as a matter of their public policy and on moral grounds.

I'm a former prosecutor. I tried four homicides as a prosecutor and once as -- once as a defense attorney. I began my life as a lawyer, believing that the death penalty was appropriate. But when you study this issue and you understand how many people have had ineffective counsel and the racial bias and how many people have been wrongly put to death, then you actually have to come to the conclusion that this tool, although it may make some people feel better, really doesn't lower crime, is not in any measurable way a tool to lower the number of homicides, and then you understand that the United States is really in a very small group of -- actually, almost no other industrialized nation carries out executions any longer.

So we join Iraq and Iran and other nations that still have it. You know, this is an interesting piece of history.

PHILLIPS: Yes, well, Governor, let me -- let me ask you something.

MALLOY: But Wisconsin -- let me just say this. Wisconsin did away with this in 1853. Maine did away with it in 1876. This is a not a new concept.

PHILLIPS: OK. Let me -- let me just bring it back to your constituents. I see you've made all your points about those who are against it including yourself. But if you look at the recent Quinnipiac poll, 60 percent of Connecticut residents think that abolishing the death penalty is a bad -- excuse me, 62 percent, forgive me, Governor, 62 percent of Connecticut residents think that abolishing the death penalty is a bad idea.

It looks like most residents don't agree with you, your constituents.

MALLOY: Well, listen, I ran for governor, and everybody knew what my position was. And what we said is that if a repeal came that was prospective in nature, I would sign it. Listen, I almost lost the election taking positions like that. But I didn't lose the election. Now it's a matter for the legislature to decide. The Senate and the House. The Senate has already decided that they want to repeal this.

In fact, both the House and the Senate vote in 2009 to repeal it, and my predecessor didn't, actually vetoed that legislation. But, I mean, this is a much bigger issue than simple politics. So let me take on that poll for a second. What they didn't ask in that poll is give people an option for life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or release. So when you give the option to the citizens of Connecticut, the support for the death penalty falls below 50 percent.

PHILLIPS: OK. All right. Two questions. I'm going to try and get us -- get them both in there, Governor. Back to the Petit family, because we brought that up obviously at the beginning of this interview. You know, what do you think, then, should happen to killers like that? Specifically those two?

MALLOY: Under -- well, listen. Let's be very specific. Under this statute as passed by the Senate, people would be sentenced to life imprisonment with the same conditions as if they were on death row. Meaning that they actually are in a cell for 22 out of every 24 hours. That's what we would do. That's what the other 16 states do. This is not a question of whether you punish someone.

In fact, let's be very specific. The only person put to death in Connecticut since 1960 is someone who volunteered for it who was so miserable in the conditions that he was being held in that he dropped all of his appeals. We have not put a person to death in Connecticut since 1960. We have several people who are on death row for more than 20 years. And there's -- and there's no date set.

We don't have a workable death penalty statute, nor are we going to have one. And it looks like we're going to repeal the statute that we have.

PHILLIPS: So let me ask you, so the proposed repeal, it would not apply to these two killers in the Petit case or the others already sentenced to death. So couldn't getting rid of the death penalty actually open up the door during their appeals process, getting their sentences reduced to a life sentence, and doesn't that cost lots and lots of money?

MALLOY: Well, I'm not sure you heard what I said. We have people on death row who've been on longer than 20 years. The reality is, we don't have a workable death penalty in the state of Connecticut. No one's going to be put to death under that statute as it currently exists. In the foreseeable future. You're more likely to die of old age in Connecticut on death row than anything else.

PHILLIPS: Got it. How much does it cost to put someone to death?

MALLOY: Well, we're calculating that by doing away with the death penalty, we'll actually save about $850,000 over the lifetime of that individual during their incarceration because it's cheaper to incarcerate that person than it is to pay for appeal after appeal after appeal after appeal. We're talking about 20 years of appeals.

PHILLIPS: OK. How much does it cost to put someone to death?

MALLOY: The specific act of putting someone to death?

PHILLIPS: Yes.

MALLOY: Is relatively inexpensive. I mean, that's relatively inexpensive. But that's not -- that's really not the measurement. As I said to you, we have people who've been on death row for over 20 years. And they are still pursuing appeals. It doesn't end in Connecticut. And that's why I think some people support doing this.

But I think -- I think it really is unethical on moral grounds whether the government should, as a matter of practice, be putting people to death. And I think Connecticut probably will join 16 states that have made a decision that that's not appropriate. One of those states recently was Illinois which did an exhaustive study of how death row cases had been handled and actually concluded that more people were underrepresented, ineffectively represented, and potentially put to death by mistake than any one -- any other group.

PHILLIPS: Final thought, Governor. What would you say to the Petit family?

MALLOY: I've said it time and time and time again. I've extended our condolences. We certainly understand how horrific this particular crime was. And I hope that they get the closure that they ultimately need. But I think the legislature will move forward and join 16 other states and the rest of the industrialized world as ruling that the death penalty should not be carried out in Connecticut any longer. And by the way, it hasn't been except on a voluntary basis since 1960.

PHILLIPS: Governor Dannel Malloy, appreciate your time this morning.

More from the CNN NEWSROOM straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Well, swimming for gold wasn't the only obstacle this Olympic swimmer faced. She also battled an eating disorder. Amanda Beard explains her destructive behavior in the new book "In the Water They Can't See You Cry." Her story is today's "Human Factor" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This little girl always dreamed big.

AMANDA BEARD, FOUR-TIME OLYMPIC SWIMMER: I was 10 years old watching the '92 Olympics. And right then and there decided, that's what I wanted to do.

GUPTA: Only four years later, swimmer Amanda Beard's dream did come true. The 90-pound 14-year-old walked away from the '96 Atlanta Olympics with a gold and two silver medals.

BEARD: After that, I had a huge growth spurt. I grew to about 5'8", and then I weighed about 130.

GUPTA: Her growing body sparked her struggle with a negative body image.

BEARD: All of a sudden, I wasn't swimming very well. And I blamed that all on because I got bigger.

GUPTA: Uncomfortable in her new body, she turned to bulimia, sometimes throwing up a couple times a day.

BEARD: It totally was based on how I was feeling emotionally and how I felt, you know, in my own skin.

GUPTA: She began abusing drugs and alcohol. She struggled with depression. But despite her inner demons, she continued to succeed in swimming. Her emotional low triggered a dangerous new habit.

BEARD: I felt this kind of -- this, like, rage almost, take over me like just running through my veins. And I just grabbed my hand and started digging my thumbnail into myself.

GUPTA: She'd hide in the bathroom using eyebrow razors to slice small scratches on her arms or ankles.

BEARD: You know, it was like this relaxing, like, outlet for me.

GUPTA: It wasn't until her boyfriend, Sasha Brown, discovered Beard's self-destructive behavior that she began to seek help to overcome it.

Now at 30, four-time Olympian Beard and photographer Brown are happily married. They're proud parents of 3-year-old Blaze.

BEARD: I went through all of these things. And here I am, happy, healthy with a great family and continuing on, trying to make my fifth Olympics.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: Straight ahead, a golf fanatic all set to go to the Masters. Four tickets in hand. Then enters his dog. Make sure you digest your breakfast. Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: OK. As a journalist, I'm no math major, but even I know that Rick Santorum may be grasping at straws here. Santorum's creative way of counting actually makes this a closer race than everyone thinks. He's counting Florida and Arizona in his win column. Mitt Romney won both states. But Santorum thinks that they could change their minds and just give him all the delegates instead.

Democratic strategist Tara Dowdell and Republican strategist Cheri Jacobus.

All right, guys, I'd like to get your take on Santorum's new math.

Tara, let's start with you.

TARA DOWDELL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, Santorum's new math is definitely quite interesting. The good news for President Obama is that as long as this primary continues, he benefits from this protracted and very divisive primary that's going on. And this is also still bad news for Mitt Romney because it continues to reinforce him as a very weak frontrunner. He cannot get Newt Gingrich to bow out, even though Newt Gingrich is clearly never going to win this primary. And he cannot get Rick Santorum to bow out. And as long as Rick Santorum stays out there criticizing Romney, that's not helpful to Mitt Romney.

PHILLIPS: Cheri?

CHERI JACOBUS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I'm only going to agree with part of that. I do think it's clear that Rick Santorum is not going to be the nominee. And he's being a little bit creative with the math. I think, though, that this protracted primary in a way is helping Mitt Romney because it's making him a stronger candidate.

You know, here he is getting hit from all sides from his primary opponents. Yet in some polls he's only a couple of points behind the president nationally. So the real problem for the Democrats is when this really is a head-to-head between Obama and Romney, and those numbers start changing. And they start focusing on the president.

So I don't think it weakens. Now I personally think it's about time for Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich to bow out and do so as gracefully as possible so that they can have -- there's real benefit to their endorsement. So the fact that Rick Santorum is now taking a few days off and he's behind closed doors talking to conservatives -- I think what he's probably doing is trying to find the best way out where he can be helpful rather than be a detriment.

PHILLIPS: Well, and that was my next question, the fact that he met with these conservatives, we don't know exactly what was said, but Tara, what should have been said? Now the two of you might have some inside scoops, so Cheri, I'll get back to you on that. What do you think, Tara?

DOWDELL: Well, Rick Santorum, I think, is still trying to figure out how he can stay in the race. I do believe, though, that it's really a long shot, it's a very uphill battle for Rick Santorum and -- but the fact -- the fact of the matter that conservatives still have not put very much pressure on Rick Santorum to step out of the race, to bow out, that there's still a group of people that are behind him. Pushing him, trying to figure out a way forward.

Again, that is not very helpful to Mitt Romney because it shows just how odious it is for them to line up behind Mitt Romney which many of supporters of Gingrich have asked him to bow out. They've asked him to step aside. But that has not been the case as much so for Rick Santorum.

PHILLIPS: All right. Let me ask you both, I just had a chance to interview Congressman Allen West, as you know, Sarah Palin said hey, go rogue, pick him as your VP. Also, Nikki Haley weighing in, too. South Carolina governor. He told me he wouldn't say no.

(LAUGHTER) What do you think about that, Tara?

DOWDELL: Well, of course, he wouldn't say no. I think that Allen West would be a disaster for Mitt Romney. He's a loose cannon. Allen West says -- he basically shoots from the lip most of the time and he's very polarizing and divisive. And he said many things and then part of the goal is people thinking that he will help Mitt Romney with the African-American community.

That is not going to happen. Many African-Americans find the way he talks about our support of the Democratic Party to be very condescending as if we can't think for ourselves and that's why we support the Democratic Party, and that's a very condescending thing and it does not sit well with the African-American community. It's (INAUDIBLE).

PHILLIPS: Cheri, I've got 15 seconds. Cheri, give me your thoughts.

JACOBUS: Allen West is one of the most impressive politicians I've ever met. I just met him recently. He doesn't (INAUDIBLE). But having said that, I think that he'd be better later on down the road. I think what the whole discussion of all these various people shows what a strong bench we have in the Republican Party. I think the Democrats are frightened of that and I think they're particularly frightened of Allen West given what we just heard.

He's impressive whether you're an African American or if you're white. If you're Republican or Democrat, he's a very impressive man.

PHILLIPS: All right, ladies, do you play golf?

JACOBUS: No.

(LAUGHTER)

PHILLIPS: Tara?

DOWDELL: No. And --

PHILLIPS: All right. It's OK.

DOWDELL: I wish I did.

PHILLIPS: You don't have to. You'll see why, I'm going to have you stick around. We're talking Augusta next.

Meanwhile, by now you have known or you know the name, you know her, you know this video. Mirlande Wilson. If not her name you know at least the so-called claim to fame, right? Keep in mind, she's the one that reportedly approached "The New York Post" and told them she is one of the three Mega Millions' jackpot winners and the McDonald's worker was apparently responsible for the employee pool, too. But she says the winning ticket is actually just hers. So then, Wilson calls a big press conference, only to have her attorney tell us this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) EDWARD SMITH, LAWYER FOR MIRLANDE WILSON: I cannot say with any certainty that this ticket exists. I think the easiest way to be over with all this really is for you all to go home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: OK, wait a minute. Let me get this straight. You called a press conference for your lawyer to tell us that he doesn't even know if you have a winning ticket and this we should all go home.

And here's the kicker. Wilson now says that she has lost, yes, lost her massive, monstrous, Mega Millions lotto ticket. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SMITH: I don't think she wants to seek 15 minutes of fame.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Speaking of 15 minutes of fame, Mirlande Wilson, my dear, yours are up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: All right. Such a cliche excuse, my dog ate my homework, but this one, this is new. What about four tickets to the Masters golf tournament? Here's the proof, or at least what's left of it. Apparently, Russ Berkman's dog Ciara has the munchies and by the looks of it has quite a taste for golf tickets. Berkman says that when he realized what had happened he just couldn't tell his buddy, so instead he gave Ciara hydrogen peroxide, and well, you're looking at what she coughed up.

A whole lot of, yes, phone calls later, Augusta's ticket office reprinted the tickets for Berkman and yes, he and his buddies got to go to the Masters. As for Ciara, she's doing fine, just feeling a little guilty right now.

Well, that's all you need to get into the Masters, a ticket, but it's not so easy if you're a woman and you want to get in as a member. That's been a hot topic this week. So much so that it's hit the campaign trail. Even the president is talking about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, the president's answer to this question is yes. He believes -- his personal opinion is that women should be admitted. I happen to have a discussion with him about this so I know that that's his answer.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If I were a member and if I were -- if I could run Augusta which isn't likely to happen, but of course I'd have women in Augusta. Sure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Let's bring back Tara Dowdell and Cheri Jacobus.

I had to get you guys to weigh in on this. Does anyone have more to win or lose on this issue? Cheri?

JACOBUS: You know, since neither one of them can really do anything about it it's kind of a moot point, but I think it's more organic for Mitt Romney to give this response since he did head up the Olympics and made our country proud when the U.S. was hosting the Olympics, and apparently it was just about the most fun he'd ever had. So he has a real history, obviously, working with women in sports. It's not-- it's just not an issue. I think the president has a problem because he's known to have kind of a boy's club there in the White House and there was a kerfuffle that he was playing golf with all these male big wigs and kind of leaving women out, so the president has to try a little bit hard. Mitt Romney, already is legit on the issue.

PHILLIPS: Tara, what do you think? I mean enough pressure even from the president of the United States and Mitt Romney? Could we see a change? Should this be a political issue? Why are they bringing it up?

DOWDELL: Well, I really hope there is a change at the Augusta National Golf Club. It's unfortunate that in 2012 there is a place where women are not admitted. And how this issue came up is very interesting because the new CEO of IBM is a woman. And IBM is a huge sponsor of the club and all the men CEOs prior to her were admitted into the club and it was sort of a standard understood thing that if you're the CEO of IBM you automatically become a member.

Now they're in a bit of a quandary because the new CEO is a woman. And I do think while this is not a political issue per se I think it's the right thing to do for the candidates to talk about it because a lot of women find this to be problematic. And so they want to know the leadership, President Obama stands with women. And I think it's very clear, contrary to what Cheri, I think it's very clear that the president does stand with women on a number of issues and a number of appointments of women that he's made I think speaks for itself.

PHILLIPS: All right, guys.

JACOBUS: He just won't play golf with them. That's the problem. The president only plays golf with men.

DOWDELL: You have to ask Valerie Jarrett about that. She plays golf with him all the time.

PHILLIPS: I'd like to see Obama and Mitt Romney playing golf together.

All right, real quickly before I let you guys go, do you think it was Ann Romney breathing down his back saying you better say something, Mitt?

JACOBUS: No.

PHILLIPS: Or do you think it was Michelle Obama breathing down the president's neck --

JACOBUS: No.

PHILLIPS: -- going, you better step up to the plate and saying something, Cheri?

JACOBUS: Romney already has a record -- I mean obviously he's in the sports because of the Olympics and what he did. So I don't think he had to think about it too hard. So, you know, but I -- you know, it's fine that they're talking about it. They both gave the right answer. I just think that Romney has a bit more credibility.

Like I said, his is a little bit more organic because he actually has a history of working with sports and the Olympics. So, you know, and the president does have a little bit of a problem. Other that I don't think it matters that much in the presidential election.

PHILLIPS: Guys, thanks --

JACOBUS: Whether we want it to or not. Yes.

PHILLIPS: Cheri, Tara, thanks so much, guys. Got to leave it there.

DOWDELL: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: Thanks for watching. CNN NEWSROOM with Suzanne Malveaux starts right now.