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George Zimmerman in Court; War Over Women

Aired April 12, 2012 - 15:00   ET



Top of the hour here. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

And so many across the country were waiting to see the moment, to see George Zimmerman appearing before a judge. And those people got their wish just a little more than an hour ago in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman handcuffed, wearing gray jailhouse clothes, spoke exactly four words. And after about two minutes, the whole thing was over.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Zimmerman, appearing here for your first appearances, a first appearance at this time for a charge of murder in the second degree, and you are represented by Mr. O'Mara. Is that true?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remember your right to remain silent. All the other rights that he has told you about, you have to say nothing, and we will go forward here on some procedural matters only at this time.

After reviewing the short affidavit for probable cause, I do find that probable cause for the charge as put in the information.


BALDWIN: The special prosecutor in this case charged Zimmerman with second degree murder. That came down yesterday. No plea was entered during this particular court appearance, this first appearance. And his lawyer decided not to ask for bail at this time. So he will stay in custody, it's protective custody, awaiting a formal arraignment next month, and that is May 29.

Zimmerman came out of hiding yesterday, turned himself into police in Sanford, and his attorney, Mark O'Mara, says that Zimmerman is afraid but he is not a flight risk.

David Mattingly is live in Sanford, Florida, where the hearing took place.

David, as we mentioned, this thing was 120 seconds in and out. But we did learn some information from it, didn't we?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Even though it was very uneventful, we did get an answer to the big question today, is George Zimmerman going to get out of jail today?

The answer is no. In fact, that didn't even come up as a consideration. That tells us that there was no agreement between the defense and the prosecution about a bond. Also, it tells us that there is probably going to be a bond hearing between now and the time of his arraignment, which is at the end of May, so it is possible he may not be sitting in jail the entire month-and-a-half to his next court appearance.

We do know that his attorney was concerned about his safety, and it's possible they may have put off waiting for a bond hearing later to arrange some sort of safe place for him to go to once he does get out of jail. But at the moment, his freedom still up in the air. When they do have the bond hearing, it will be up to the state, up to the prosecutors to prove that he is a flight risk, a danger to the community, a danger to himself and all kinds of things that they have to prove in order to keep him in jail.

So, again, by not getting an answer, we did get some information about where this case stands right now.

BALDWIN: By not getting an answer, we did get an answer in a sense. As we mentioned, the first court appearance very quick and then afterwards the attorney Mark O'Mara did answer a couple questions from journalists including how is your client and how is George Zimmerman, and he said he is frightened.

MATTINGLY: That's right. He said his client is absolutely showing what sounds like the wear and tear of someone who has been the target of such animosity and the target of such national scrutiny for so long. He did make some comments about his state of mind and he summed it up saying that he was frightened.


MARK O'MARA, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: He is tired. It has been a very long period of time for him. And he has gone through some tribulations of his own being the focus of the intensity of this event.

He is facing a second degree murder charges now. He is frightened. That would frighten any one of us. But, on the other hand, I am not concerned as some others may have been before me of his focus. He wants -- he is glad the process is in place.


MATTINGLY: Afterward, another interesting bit of information from defense attorney Mark O'Mara. He says that George Zimmerman is indigent and it is possible that the state of Florida will be paying for his legal fees as the case goes forward -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: David Mattingly, thank you in Sanford.

We will talk a little bit more about this story the next couple of steps legally in a moment. But in terms of politics today, another big story. Can you believe it? The big issue today in the presidential race, the two sides aren't talking the economy, not talking jobs, not even the nation's deficit. Nope. They're talking about moms.


HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and when I listen to my wife, that's what I am hearing. Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life.


BALDWIN: A Democrat and a CNN contributor sparking a firestorm with that comment about Ann Romney. Hilary Rosen now responding to the criticism. You will hear from her next.


BALDWIN: Just the second day now of the one-on-one race for the White House, Obama vs. Romney. Here we go, folks, we have got Twitter wars, war over women, class warfare, my goodness, more wars than you can shake a stick at and it all began right here on CNN with this.


ROSEN: What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and when I listen to my wife, that's what I am hearing. Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life.


BALDWIN: And that right there was the spark for the campaign's first firestorm of controversy and among those racing to denounce Hilary Rosen, guess who? Obama campaign consultant David Axelrod.

Here is a tweet from Axe -- quote -- "Disappointed in Hilary Rosen's comments about Ann Romney. They were inappropriate and offensive."

So the Obama campaign wants no part of this one. Now, see who weighs in with her first tweet ever, Ann D. Romney. Her tweet was this -- quote -- "I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work."

Hilary Rosen to Ann D. Romney next: "Please know I admire you, but your husband shouldn't say you are his expert on women and the economy."

Anyway, so there was this whole all-night war on Twitter including a lot of comments. A lot less civil than those exchanged between Rosen and Ann Romney. So this morning the battle took to the airwaves. Here is Hilary Rosen speaking just this morning with CNN's Carol Costello.


ROSEN: This is not about Ann Romney. This is about the waitress in a diner in someplace in Nevada who has two kids whose day care funding is being cut off because of the Romney-Ryan budget and she doesn't know what to do.

This isn't about whether Ann Romney or I or other women of some means can afford to make a choice to stay home and raise kids. Most women in America, let's face it, don't have that choice.


BALDWIN: Hilary Rosen is saying Ann Romney has choices. She mentioned choice twice, choices most American women don't have by virtue of her husband's vast wealth.

So here is Ann Romney appearing on FOX News.


ANN ROMNEY, WIFE OF MITT ROMNEY: My career choice was to be a mother and I think all of us need to know that we need to respect choices that women make. Other women make other choices to have a career and raise family, which I think Hilary Rosen has actually done herself. I respect that. That's wonderful.

But, you know, there are other people that have a choice.

Look, I know what it is like to struggle. And if maybe I haven't struggled as much financially as some people have, I can tell you and promise you that I have had struggles in my life.

And I would love to have people understand that Mitt and I have compassion for people that are struggling, and that's why we're running. We care about those people that are struggling. And we also recognize that this economic recovery has been very weak.


BALDWIN: OK. So that's how it stood as of this morning.

And then, early this afternoon, with no further elaboration, a tweet from first lady Michelle Obama. Here was her tweet -- quote -- "Every mother works hard and every woman deserves to be respected "-- end quote. The M.O. at the end of that tweet signifies that the first lady tweeted that one out herself.

And, no, I am not done here quite yet. About an hour or so ago, chief White House spokeswoman Jay Carney was asked how many times has Hilary Rosen been admitted to the White House?


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't know how many times she has been here. She is not a -- she is a Democratic strategist. She is a CNN contributor, as far as I know, and I don't know how to assess her overall relationship with people here in the White House. But I have not seen her here very frequently.


BALDWIN: Now the arc of the story may be coming all the way back around because just a short time our chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin, got a statement from Hilary Rosen.

Let me read it for you -- quote -- "As a mom, I know that raising children is the hardest job there is. As a pundit, I know my words on CNN last night were poorly chose." She goes on: "I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended. Let's declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance."

And there you have it.

Still ahead: A dad opens his newborn's coffin only to realize the baby is still breathing. There are new developments in this stunning case.

Plus, North Korea could launch a rocket within hours. We're about to give you a look at where it could land and whether it could hit the U.S. Stay right here with me.


BALDWIN: North Korea may want launch a rocket in just a couple of hours. How far could it go? And two parents open their baby's coffin only to realize she is still breathing and she's still alive.

Time to play "Reporter Roulette."

Chad Myers, let's begin with you here on the impending launch of the North Korea rocket. We now know this window is open. They say this is peaceful, this is a satellite launch. Others very much so believe it is this covert attempt to develop a long-range missile possibly to carry a nuclear warhead.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: What a difference between the word rocket and missile.


MYERS: Really, honestly.

So little is known about this, simply, the closed-ness of the country. Supposedly international reporters are sitting in front of a big- screen TV in Pyongyang waiting for this to launch. It is 100 feet tall, and it's 176,000 pounds and here is how much we know., the payload anywhere between 200 to 1,400 pounds. Kind of a big range. It means we don't know much.

Anyway, as the rocket takes off, does not fly over any land literally. It flies completely to the south, but the boosters, the sections of the rocket will fall off and hopefully land in the water. That's the hope. The color of the flames, what they're going to look for, how high does it go, it goes 17,000 miles per hour, and it's forecast, at least what they're telling us, is that that little satellite goes up into space and 300 miles up into space and it stays there and takes little pictures for peaceful purposes.

That's what they're telling us, of course. But who knows. Let me tell you, I know that looked like it was making kind of a big round- robin over some of the countries.


BALDWIN: What's the trajectory?

MYERS: It is not. In fact, it is going right here from the launch site straight south missing South Korea by about 60 miles, missing Taiwan here by almost 200, but then the second stage drops not that far from the Philippines. A couple miles one way or the other by the time you are talking that much of distance, it could obviously make quite a difference.

Why didn't it launch today? We don't really think it was the weather. Here is what the weather looks like right now, some clouds around, but that's all we had today, no real big problems with wind or anything like that. Obviously now just launching a rocket when you haven't done it very often, I can tell you by launching my son's 7-year-old little rockets on the ground, sometimes they don't go straight up.

Sometimes they go left and right. And we know that Japan has actually put out their missiles, not their rockets, their missiles to knock this thing down just in case. Does that look like the Gulf War? Yes. Patriot missiles they have set up just in case this thing doesn't go straight into the air as planned and so that's what you're seeing on the shores of Japan with this.

Brooke, here it goes. We're going to take another little pretty shot of this. They put this together for us as -- this is a Galaxy-3 rocket. Takes off, beautiful, this is how it is supposed to work, and takes off and the first stage drops into the water and second stage drops into the water here. There is the first stage splashing.

The first stage shouldn't hit anything at all because a lot of room here for the splash. Then the second stage, as it splashes very close to the Philippines and I think by the time you get up there, the jet stream could blow this thing left or right by a couple miles or so, but forecast to clearly miss Taiwan and splash here to the east of the Philippines and hopefully take the little satellite up there 300 miles and leave it up so it can take pretty pictures. We will see if that's what really happens.

BALDWIN: We will see. I was talking to a North Korean expert just a couple days ago and he said they tried in 2006, didn't work, tried three years later, 2009, and didn't work, and here they are three years later trying again. We shall see. Chad Myers, thank you.

MYERS: You're welcome. BALDWIN: Next on "Reporter Roulette" a father opens his newborn's coffin only to realize this baby is still alive.

Rafael Romo, a new father, I might add, we were just talking in the commercial that you couldn't even imagine this. How did this happen?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: As the proud father of a one-month-old baby boy, I cannot believe this story.

This baby girl was born in northeastern Argentina. You see her there in the incubator. When she was born, doctors say she had absolutely no vital signs. They checked her a second time, still no vital signs. They followed protocol and they take her to the morgue and she is placed in a refrigerated box, the way it is supposed to be.

She spends 10 hours in the box and the mother insists on seeing her just one last time. She wanted to just touch the baby's body one last time. When they do that, they open the coffin and they notice the arms of this baby are moving a little bit.

The mom can't believe what she is seeing. She faints. The father takes a second look and he realizes that that baby is alive. The doctors can't explain what happened, how a baby would be alive after spending so many hours...

BALDWIN: After two rounds of checks and 10 hours in this refrigerated box as you describe.

ROMO: Exactly.

BALDWIN: And to think that if I were the parent, I would be thinking, my God, if I didn't do that one final check, that baby would have been buried.

ROMO: She would have died there. And now, as you can imagine, there is an investigation. Doctors, nurses, morgue personnel have been suspended.


ROMO: And one thing that caught my attention is that the name of the baby has been decided already, and the parents are using the name Luz Milagros. As you know, luz is the word for light in Spanish, milagros miracles. And they say indeed this is a miracle baby.

BALDWIN: How is she? Is she OK?

ROMO: She is in stable condition.

But I was talking to the hospital director and he says because she was only six months in gestation, she still faces a number of medical risks and they're doing all they can to keep her alive, but she is not out of the woods yet, unfortunately.

BALDWIN: Wow. Wow is all I can say.

ROMO: Yes. Me, too.

BALDWIN: Rafael Romo, thank you.

And that's your "Reporter Roulette" here on this Thursday.

Coming up next, George Zimmerman makes his very first court appearance today. A judge is assigned to his case. What do we know about this federal judge -- not federal, I should say -- this is Seminole County, female judge. And what happens to Zimmerman between now and his next court date in May?

Plus, a disturbing sight in the Gulf, an oil sheen a mile wide, 10 miles long, shows up in the water and now a race to find out where is it coming from? That is next.



BALDWIN: All right, 47 days after he admitted shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman went before a judge for the very first time to answer for Trayvon Martin's death.

No plea, no bail request here, but the judge did set a formal arraignment date. That is May 29.

Sunny Hostin is "On the Case."

Sunny, just do me a favor. Walk us through what happens to Zimmerman now really between today and that arraignment on May 29 for the second degree murder charge.


Well, we know that he is being held without bond right now. And his defense attorney, attorney O'Mara, has indicated that one of the first things he is going to do is try to put together a motion for bond. And so he wants to try to get his client out on bond, of course, so that he can work with his client and because prison can really beat down a defendant prior to trial.

And so I suspect that the next thing we will hear is a hearing, actually, a bond hearing for George Zimmerman. At that bond hearing, the prosecution would have to show that he isn't eligible for bond and the defense would have to show that he is eligible for bond, that he isn't a danger to the community, that he isn't a flight risk, that he has ties to the community and that he can be safe outside of, of course, prison.

So I think, Brooke, that's probably where we are going. I thought it was very interesting today that not only in setting the arraignment date of May 29, we also found out who this case is before.

And you and I, Brooke, have covered a bunch of cases together now, and so you know as well as I do it is important who the judge is.


BALDWIN: Who is she?

HOSTIN: We learned that the judge here, she is Jessica Recksiedler. And I think I have the name right at this point. What is so interesting, Brooke, is she hasn't been a judge for very long. She graduated from law school in 1997, from Stetson University.

She has a lot of experience trying civil cases. She's actually board- certified in civil litigation, but get this, she is also a former prosecutor. She was a state's attorney, assistant state's attorney in Florida.

What I also found fascinating as I look into her background, when she was running for office, she describes herself as a mother of two who is concerned about the safety and security of the community where she was born and raised. She said that was very important to her.


HOSTIN: So now she is dealing with a case in which a young man, 17 years old, a child, under the law has been murdered. So very, very interesting choice for judges for this case.

BALDWIN: We will see -- we will be learning I know a lot more about her.

And I just -- I wanted to pick up on a point we were discussing yesterday when we had an idea that George Zimmerman would be charged. You were talking about the idea of maybe undercharging, maybe going for a lesser charge, i.e., in this case , manslaughter.

But now we know he is facing this second-degree murder charge. What about the idea of overcharging? Might a prosecutor throw out, say, murder two, expecting, perhaps, that it will get knocked down to manslaughter? Possible?

HOSTIN: No. The prosecutors don't charge that way, Brooke, and that is because in good faith when you bring a very serious criminal charge against someone like second degree murder, you have had to evaluate the evidence and determine that you can prove that case, that charge, beyond a reasonable doubt.

BALDWIN: You believe it.

HOSTIN: So you don't just charge a case because you hope someone is going to plead out to a lesser charge. That is not how it is done. And this is a seasoned prosecutor, and seasoned investigators, so what I suspect -- and you're right; we were talking so much about manslaughter -- because I thought in the -- with the evidence that we know, that that would have been the appropriate charge.

But I suspect that there is evidence that Angela Corey and her investigators and her office know that we don't know. So I suspect that there is some evidence -- there must be -- to support this higher charge of second degree murder. BALDWIN: You're exactly right. We don't know. Eventually perhaps we will.

Sunny, do me a favor. I want you to stay right there, because we're not quite finished. I want your legal opinions on this FOX News mole. So an employee rips his company, goes public with it online, calls himself a mole and gets busted. So, legally speaking, what can a company do to a rogue employee like that? Sunny and I, we're going to talk, next.


BALDWIN: All right. Sunny Hostin is back. Here's she is. And, Sunny, you know it. I know it. People who run the news business -- they don't like it when their internal business becomes public, becomes news. But somebody forgot to tell the FOX mole.

He is a FOX News employee, Joe Muto, who started telling these behind- the-scenes information, this dirt, and what started out as this anonymous column on the website Gawker. But of course it didn't take very long for the FOX powers-that-be to sniff out said mole.

Here is what we got this morning from someone speaking on behalf of FOX News quoting here, "Joe Muto has already been fired. Once the network determined that Mr. Muto was the main culprit, in less than 24 hours he was suspended late yesterday while we pursued concurrent avenues. We're continuing to explore legal recourse against Mr. Muto and possibly others."

So this really isn't a story about FOX News. This is really just a lesson for all of us, not to spill your secrets about work. I mean, you really can't be anonymous, can you?

HOSTIN: You can't be. I mean, it is somewhat of a cautionary tale. I just love that moniker, FOX mole, right? But that's true. We're in the digital age now. Can you truly be anonymous once you're online or on your computer? There is just no question that you have that digital footprint. I think we have a shot of -- do we have a full screen of some of the stuff that the FOX mole said?

BALDWIN: Do we have it?

HOSTIN: I think we do. Well ,right there you have a picture of him and we also know about what he said. "They nailed me. In the end it was the digital trail that gave me away.

Of course, because if you're using your office computer, they know that someone using my computer login had access to sources for two videos that ended up on Gawker over the past few weeks. They couldn't prove it entirely. But I was pretty much the only suspect."

Well, as I was saying, of course you are the only suspect because you are using your computer at work, and we know once you have that digital footprint, you can be found out.

BALDWIN: Don't do it. Take away: don't do it. What about the legal action? We saw the response from FOX. What kind of possible legal action could you face for really airing this dirty laundry about your company in public?

HOSTIN: You know, I think employers are getting very aggressive these days about pursuing legal action against employees that are bad- mouthing a company's reputation on Facebook, on social media, especially when using company property.

So there is a slew of things that perhaps FOX News could have legal resource (sic) to, but bottom line is, Brooke, oftentimes employees don't have contracts. They're employees at will, which means they can be fired for no reason or any reason at all.

So if you do this kind of thing, not only are you open up to some perhaps civil litigation, you can be fired for it. So that really, I think, is the cautionary tale here. Employers are getting very aggressive in terms of protecting the reputation and of their company and, of course, their property as well.

BALDWIN: And especially in a news organization. I mean, it is our business to get information, so not surprised that they found him quickly. Sunny Hostin, thank you.

And now, if you like motorcycles, new kind of motorcycle. It's fast, it's furious and environmentally friendly. It goes 200-plus miles per hour without using a single drop of gas.


BALDWIN: At 215 miles per hour, it is one of the fastest vehicles on land. But it is not just the speed that makes this motorcycle different. It is electric.

RICHARD HATFIELD, LIGHTNING MOTORCYCLES: We think it is the future. So as energy gets increasingly expensive, this kind of efficiency is going to be important. For a dollar's worth of electricity, you can ride for over 110 miles.

BALDWIN: For Richard Hatfield of Lightning Motorcycles, it started as a hobby.

HATFIELD: I was an amateur road race driver. I drove the car and I gotten enthused about it. When the good, affordable, safe lithium batteries came on the market, I started thinking that a motorcycle could be a very good application.

BALDWIN: It is designed for race enthusiasts and people who just like to ride.

HATFIELD: A bike that can go 218 miles per hour is also an efficient, responsible way to get to work.

BALDWIN: With that speed and fuel efficiency, electric bikes could make gas a thing of the past.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: A college campus is on edge as a mystery is heating up. Listen to this. Since February, mid-February, the University of Pittsburgh has gotten about 70 bomb threats. This is a daily thing, multiple times a day.

Coming up next you're going to hear who the school has now recruited to help track down the source, and I will speak live with a student about the destruction, day in and day out, on this campus.


BALDWIN: You heard about all the bomb threats at the University of Pittsburgh. Look at this. This was last night, all the students, police there on campus, a bomb threat forced students into the streets while police investigated. Same thing happened at 5:30 this morning.

Think about it, you're in college, a second bomb threat gets you out of bed at 5:30 in the morning. But folks, that's really nothing, because consider these numbers. Pitt has received about 70 -- 70 bomb threats since mid February. I am talking 12 this past Monday alone. To stay it is tense on the Pitt campus is, I believe, an understatement. Listen to this student.


BRIAN MOELLER, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH STUDENT: The people next door to me, they have discussed a few times going back home.

And for some of them I just live in Wexler (ph) that's not a big deal but for some of them, one is from Delaware, one is from the other side of Pennsylvania, so that is a commitment when you're scared enough to resign your semester and go that far and know you're not coming back.


BALDWIN: Michael Macagnone, I'm going to bring you in here. I know you're on the phone. He is the editor of the student paper, "The Pitt News." Michael, let's pull up the web page here.

This is your paper's web page. And looking at it, headline, updated, seven campus buildings receive threats. I understand that number is old. What's the new number?

MICHAEL MACAGNONE, EDITOR, "THE PITT NEWS": That was actually our most recent number. We already reported on the five that were evacuated at about 5:30 this morning. They were brought back in and people were allowed to reenter at about 6:30 or so. The next round of threats ,which was those seven, started about 11:00.

There was six at once and then a few minutes later a seventh one came in for Panther Central, which is an administrative building within a dorm complex. This is the second time that we have received 12 threats in one day. The previous time that that happened was this Monday. This is actually the 12th day straight where we have received at least one threat a day. BALDWIN: I am sitting here just shaking my head. I can't imagine this happening, day in and day out. I understand there was some sort of 24-hour window and there weren't bomb threats and that was news. What happens when these threats are called in? What are students saying?

MACAGNONE: Well, a lot of students have had varying experiences. As you mentioned before, dorms have been evacuated in the middle of the night. One dorm in particular, Lynchfield Towers, primarily freshman, has been evacuated six times now, three in the middle of the night. So there is that experience which is, as we heard students tell us, very stressful, very confusing.

They don't know where they can go. They're going to -- (inaudible) allowing into academic buildings. There are people who are opening up their homes, their apartments to these students. And there is other students who live off campus who have had -- are students, faculty, staff, live off campus and had classes canceled.

And then there's people within the community who have been receiving these constant texts, these calls and kind of following the whole thing, that there has been a really wide range of experience.

BALDWIN: Frustration, I am sure, no matter if you are mad or sad or you're wondering, am I going to even have class today, am I going to finish this semester, because I am sure it has disrupted a lot of classes.

Let me get to the investigation angle and that being we know there was an arrest made yesterday, a 65-year-old man, charged with making some threats to Pitt professors. Is he the suspect here?

MACAGNONE: Well, if he is, police have not told us yet. The most information that we have gotten was the statement released by Pitt about 10 hours or so after he was arrested, that basically said that they were continuing to conduct the investigation.

They didn't make any explicit statement as to whether or not this Mark Lee Krangle from New York was in any way involved with the threats on campus. And after he was arrested, there have been, I want to say, 16 threats in various campus buildings, mostly dormitories.

BALDWIN: So it continued on. Michael Macagnone, I know you, as a senior, you're graduating in two weeks. I just want to say congratulations and I hope that somebody doesn't call in another bomb threat on graduation day.

MACAGNONE: Hopefully not.

BALDWIN: Hopefully not. Michael Macagnone, thank you, sir, for calling in. Best of luck to you. We're back 80 seconds with some important money advice about your mortgage. Stay right there.


POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM CORRESPONDENT: Time now for the "Help Desk," where we get answers to your financial questions. Joining me this hour is Gary Schatsky, a financial planner and president of Carmen Wong Ulrich is the president of Alta Wealth Management. Thank you both for coming in.

First you, Gary, question came in from South Carolina. This person wrote in they have a pretty large amount of credit card debt, over 10 years, they now have enough money to pay it all off. The question is should they pay it off all at once or set up a payment plan to pay it off gradually?

GARY SCHATSKY, PRESIDENT, OBJECTIVEADVICE.COM: Well, first of all, congratulations if you're about to pay it off. Almost everyone is going to want to get rid of it in its entirety unless the credit card somehow negotiated 0 percent over a long period of time. You're going to want to wipe it out.

The only other real exception is if for some reason they wanted to accept cents on the dollar, it is something you might -- meaning not pay the full amount -- to pay it off all at once. But why carry high interest debt a second more than you have to?

HARLOW: (Inaudible). Exactly. Absolutely.

Carmen, your question comes from Paul in Ohio. Paul wrote in, "When I got divorced I bought a condo for $125,000. It is now worth around $80,000. I no longer live there but I still owe $114,000 on the mortgage. What are my options?"



ULRICH: -- so you've got three options --

HARLOW: And he's not living there.

ULRICH: He can hold it which -- to see if it actually grows in value in any way. Then he can sell it, or he can short sale it and go for a short sale, which means, of course, it would sell for less than he owed and that is a difficult process but that's a good responsible way to do it. Or he could walk away.

Now if you walk away it goes into foreclosure and that absolutely destroys his credit. So he needs to make that judgment call on his own. What of those three options does he want to do?

HARLOW: Does it change it for him since it's in -- would it be viewed as an investment property, since he's not living there?

ULRICH: Well, that's the thing. There's not a lot of help for folks on their second property. It would have to been to be a primary residence to get help from HUD, for example, to qualify for any of those programs, but a secondary residence, not there.

HARLOW: Yes. All right. Thank you, guys, so much. Folks, if you have a question you want answered, just send us an e- mail any time to


BALDWIN: Let's get a quick check with Wolf Blitzer.

Nice red tie today, Wolf. What do you have coming up?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: You know why it's -- I'm wearing a red tie today?

BALDWIN: No clue. Why?

BLITZER: The Washington Nationals home opener baseball. Love baseball. Nationals (inaudible) --


BALDWIN: I was there for the first game.

BLITZER: You were -- oh, well, I love baseball to begin with, but I was happy to see Washington -- they're doing well right now, by the way, in case you've paid -- I think they're in the ninth inning. They're winning against the Cincinnati Reds. But I like to --

BALDWIN: Good to know you're checking on that.

BLITZER: Checking on important subjects.

I'm also checking -- you know what, I'm checking on North Korea also, because that window is opening, whether or not they're going to go ahead and launch this rocket, supposedly a satellite rocket although U.S. officials, most of the rest of the world believe they're testing some sort of missile device. And so there's deep concern about what's going on in North Korea. We'll be all over that story.

Hilary Rosen, by the way, is going to be joining me live just in a few minutes. She's caused quite an uproar over some comments she made on "AC360" last night. She's here to explain what she meant to say. We'll talk about the fallout because she's getting a lot of negative reaction, not just from Republicans, but from some -- plenty of Democrats as well. So we'll talk to Hilary Rosen.

And have you heard about Congressman Allen West, what he has said that's causing a huge uproar as well, the Republican Congressman from South Florida, suggesting that there might be 70 or 80 members of the Communist Party in the U.S. House of Representatives. What is he talking about?

We're going in-depth on that as well. So we have a lot coming up right here on "THE SITUATION ROOM."

BALDWIN: Wolf, we'll see. I know you're a big basketball guy. Stay tuned for this. This has a lot of you talking, the thought about NBA players getting millions to play ball as it is, but some stars are suggesting they should be getting paid more, maybe as they're representing their countries in the Olympics. You all have been tweeting me, @BrookeCCN (sic) about this one.

I'm about to talk to an NBA legend, former "Dancing with the Stars" contestant, might I add, fellow Tarheel, about what he thinks. Who is this star? That's next.


BALDWIN: Before we talk basketball, sadly the words Chicago and violence are used in the same sentence a lot lately. But there is a man who is trying to do something early by intervening early in the lives of young people in Chicago. Rapper, actor, activist -- Common, joining me tomorrow on the show, right here 3 o'clock Eastern.

And this next story -- I know it got all of you a-twitter. It definitely got people on my team riled up in our morning meeting. Millionaire athletes suggesting they should be paid to play basketball in the Summer Olympics. You have NBA stars Dwayne Wade, Ray Allen. They're at the center of this whole thing.

Wade now says he was only responding to a reporter's questions on the issue, doesn't expect to be paid. But here's basically what they're saying, that these pro players -- they see themselves as a business. And playing in the summer takes them away from making money during the off season, not to mention, you know, the extra wear and tear on their bodies.

So I wanted to talk to an NBA player who has been there, done that. So guess who I have on the phone? Rick Fox, former L.A. Laker.

Rick, awesome having you on. I know you played for the Canadian Olympic team, I got to admit I didn't know that. Olympic team '92, the year of the U.S. Dream Team. So can you imagine these pros, these guys being paid to play in the Olympics?

RICK FOX, FORMER PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER: Personally, no. I can't imagine it happening. For me, I think it's an honor to represent your country.

I can understand that when professional athletes are negotiating constantly for every minute of their time, whether it's appearances, endorsements contract negotiations to play that they can get swept away with always looking at the world from a business eye.

But there's 50 to 60 other NBA players worthy of Olympic participation and would jump at the opportunity, if for any particular athlete that time in the summer is more valuable in other ways.

BALDWIN: You know, there was a great article that came out in "Forbes" today, saying, look, they may not be getting, you know, cut a check from the International Olympic Committee, the IOC, but they're certainly going to get some money when it comes to endorsements, right?

Because I imagine If I'm Nike or if I'm Adidas and some of these guys can be wearing my jersey or some shoes, that still makes them some money, correct?

FOX: Oh, it does. It makes -- it further enhances their brand as champions, as heroes in the eyes of their fellow citizens. And maybe this conversation of compensation is addressed. Maybe Dwayne or other athletes want to address that with the Nikes, the individual endorsements that they represent, as a bonus and if they stand out there and have success as a gold medalist.

BALDWIN: Dwayne wade told CNN this -- let me quote him. Quote, "I never asked to be paid to play. What I was referencing is there is a lot of Olympic business that happens that athletes are not part of and it's a complicated issue, but my love for the game and pride for the USA motivates me more than any dollar amount." I mean, he's got a point.

FOX: He does. And (inaudible) the Olympics is definitely big business. But in an era where professional athletes really, you know, really are compensated well for their services -- some more than others, rightfully so -- I think there's service that comes along with that title of representing, not just your professional team that you play for in that community, but your country as a whole.

And you think of the service men and women out there that serve us and serve this country, you know, and put their lives on the line. The Olympics are a gathering every two years, where your country is represented amongst other countries, and you always want to send your best. And if you're one of the best you should receive that honor and step out there if you're able to do that.

BALDWIN: One other question quickly, the Olympics aside, Dwayne wade has already suggested that college athletes -- you played at Carolina -- that college athletes should be paid -- 20 seconds. Do you agree?

FOX: I do. I think there is some form of compensation that should be placed, structured in place that allow these student athletes to actually stay in school for a period of time. Maybe it can be worked out with the NBA in some form, where their rookie pay then is escalated or slotted differently if they stay in school.

BALDWIN: Huh. Well, Rick Fox, thanks for calling in. Next time you swing through Atlanta, you better come say hello here at CNN. All right. ?

FOX: I sure will, Brooke.

BALDWIN: All right. Rick, thank you. Go Heels. Thank you so much. And that's it for me. Now to Wolf Blitzer. "THE SITUATION ROOM" starts now.