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Jimmy Carter Supports Marijuana Legalization; Afghan Forces Still Need Help; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees Named.

Aired December 11, 2012 - 13:30   ET


JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There was very dire concerns about the consequences of that, that many people would get killed. The next day my wife and I went to the control room in Three Mile Island to prove it was safe. So I think that if nuclear power is treated as a wonderful opportunity as a safe and free-from- pollution source of energy, and is adequately managed like you do in a nuclear submarine, it's a good place to have it.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Former President Jimmy Carter called for decriminalization of marijuana back in 1979. What he has to say about the legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington State and Colorado, that is up next.


MALVEAUX: New perspectives on the war on drugs. When Bill Clinton was in the White House he expanded the change of war. Since then, he has had a change of heart.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Obviously, if the expected results we were to have to eliminate serious drug use in America and eliminate the narco trafficking networks it hasn't worked. I think there should be safe places where people who have addict could come and not think they're going to be arrested and have basic needs met. I have personal experience with this, especially personal experience. I had a brother who was addicted to cocaine. So I know a lot about this. And I understand more than most people do what is involved.


MALVEAUX: Former President Clinton and others opening up about the war on drugs in the new documentary, "Breaking the Taboo."

He's not the only former president who thinks the war on drugs has been a failure. I asked President Jimmy Carter what he thinks about the fight to legalize marijuana.


JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I was president, in 1979, I made my definitive speech about drugs and I called for the decriminalization of marijuana.


CARTER: This was in 1979.


Not --


MALVEAUX: As for today?


CARTER: Not for the legalization but the decriminalization to keep people from being put in prison because they were smoking a marijuana cigarette. I pointed out nobody should be punished worse for smoking a cigarette than a cigarette would be to them if they smoked it. But now have for every person in prison when I went out of office in 1981, there are eight Americans now in prison. And most of those Americans who are in prison and most of those Americans who are executed with a death penalty are African-American or Hispanic or other minorities, and also people who have a mental problem. You cannot imagine a white male man who has money being executed. So the death penalty in America and putting everybody in prison because they have marijuana is a very major step backward, and it ought to be reversed not only in America but around the world.


MALVEAUX: What do you make of the legalization of marijuana and the states that have legalized marijuana?

CARTER: I'm in favor of. I think it's OK. I'm -- I don't think it's going to happen in Georgia yet --


But I think -- I think we can watch and see what happens in the state of Washington, for instance, around Seattle. And let the American government and let the American people see does it cause a serious problem or not.

All drugs were decriminalized in Portugal about 10 years ago and the use of drugs has done gown dramatically and nobody's been put in prison. So I think a few places around the world is good to experiment with and also a few states in America are good to take the initiative and try something out. That's the way our country's developed over the last 200 years, is by a few states being experiment stations. On that basis, I'm in favor of it.


MALVEAUX: President Carter making news there. Also sat down with CNN founder, Ted Turner, and Sir Richard Branson, of Virgin Atlantic Airways fame, interviewed them for the environmental group, Captain Planet Foundation Gala, where we discussed the clean energy solutions and problem. Going to be rolling out the interviews on CNN NEWSROOM in the days to come.

Tomorrow, my interview with Richard Branson where he actually talks politics.


SIR RICHARD BRANSON, FOUNDER, VIRGIN GROUP: I think if the Republican Party could change so that, you know, they were fiscally astute but they also, you know, really cared about the individual they cared as much about the gay person living in America, as the single mother, as the, you know, as the woman that, you know, can't -- you know, just can't have her eighth child or a ninth child, et cetera, et cetera, just being a little bit more caring and understanding, then I think Republicans could become electable.


MALVEAUX: That interview airing tomorrow right here on CNN.

They grabbed our attention back in 2012. You can vote for the top 10 most intriguing people of the year. Logon to We'll announce results Monday, December 24th.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, everyone. Today, on the "Help Desk," we're talking about financial aid. Very, very important.

With me those hour, Lynnette Khalfani-Cox and David Novick.

Lynnette, take a listen to this question.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you get a government loan to go back to school?


HARLOW: This is a big question because through the government it's more affordable than private student loans but people are worried about accessing that money.

LYNNETTE KHALFANI-COX, FOUNDER, ASKTHEMONEYCOACH.COM: Right. This is I good time to start thinking about it because January 1st kicks off FAFSA season. FAFSA stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. If you want a loan or grant or scholarship of any kind for college, you must fill out the FAFSA. Don't wait until April 15th. Some people make the mistake of thinking you can wait until you file taxes.

HARLOW: Right. KHALFANI-COX: You can estimate your income figures. You want to do it immediately. But there are loans out there. There's the Federal Stafford Loan, one of most commonly granted loans for people who want to go back to college. Depending on her income, she might qualify for fee income like the Pell Grant.

HARLOW: And the money into Pell Grants has increased under the Obama administration.

DAVID NOVICK, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER, PROMETHEUS CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: Correct. That could change but it's important you do this as early as possible. Also may be programs through the school that may be available, work study programs, apprenticeship programs. And they're on a first come, first served basis. The earlier you get the application in, the better chance you have of getting it.

HARLOW: Do the leg work and do it early.

Guys, thank you. Appreciate it.

If you have a question you want our experts to tackle, upload a 30- second video with your "Help Desk" question to



MALVEAUX: We've been talking last few days about chemical weapons fears in Syria. Take a breath. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has a reassuring message. He said earlier today, the flight on his way to Kuwait City, not so bad. Watch.


LEON PANETTA, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Well, I'd like to believe he's got the message. We made it pretty clear, and others have as well. But you know, it's also clear that the opposition continues to make gains in Syria. And our concern is that if they feel like the regime is, you know, threatened with collapse that they might resort to these kinds of weapons.


MALVEAUX: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was supposed to attend a meeting with the group known as the Friends of Syria Coalition. She's not going to be there. Deputy Secretary of State Burns will go to Morocco in her place. The will be talking about how Syria will recover after the war.

It's been two years since the surge of American troops in Afghanistan. Yet, violence in the country is higher. That is the Afghan National Army still needing American help. The Taliban still very much a strong threat.

Chris Lawrence joining us from the Pentagon to talk about where we are in all of this. You've got a report that covers a six-month period, April through the end of September. What does it reveal?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, if you're talking about whether the surge was a success or not, it's a very, very tough question to answer. Certainly violence is still high. And what this report found, Suzanne, is that the Taliban is still a very determined enemy, that they plan to still use assassinations, intimidations, improvised explosive devises to continue to recapture some of the ground they have lost over the last couple of years.

When you look at what the U.S. has done to train the Afghans to take over, there are fewer American casualties because the Afghans are in the lead, but the Afghan casualties are going up. When you look at the number of brigades, Afghan brigades, 23 of them in all in the Afghan National Army, only one of those can really fully operate without some help from NATO.

When you look big picture compared to 10 years ago, you've got maybe 85 percent of population with ready access to health care, compared to less than 10 percent. You've got eight million kids in schools where there was only one million. There are some successes there. But if you look at violence, if you look at determined enemy and if you look at really the inability of the Afghan forces to be able to step up on a larger scale, it's a very, very mixed result.

MALVEAUX: Chris, give us the timetable here. You still have 68,000 American troops left in Afghanistan. What is the plan moving forward?

LAWRENCE: A lot of that is going to be decided here in the next few weeks. Secretary Panetta will be talking with the president, will be laying out some of the options to him from the commander there, General John Allen in Afghanistan, talking over what's going to happen in 2013. What we've heard is General Allen would like to keep a sizable number of those troops there through most of the year to get through another full fighting season, so to speak. Whether he gets that is really up for debate in what the White House will allow to come down. And then you've got the big question of how many American troops will be left after 2014. A lot of that will depend on what agreement the U.S. is able to negotiate with the Afghan government and whether U.S. troops will be able to retaken some sort of legal immunity. In other words, the troops that would be left will not be subject to Afghan law. One of the big points of contention that derailed any deal with Iraq.

MALVEAUX: All right. Chris Lawrence at the Pentagon. Chris, thank you.

There's also a different type of national security concern for U.S. troops. "The Washington Post" reporting that the Army is dismissing a record number of soldiers for failing fitness tests. During the first 10 months of this year more than 1600 soldiers were kicked out of the Army for being out of shape. That is 15 times more than were let go five years ago. Obesity's the leading cause of ineligibility for those wanting to join the Army. A majority of recruits were not able to run, jump, tumble, or roll during fitness tests. Moments ago, the Air Force launched the X-37B. It's very mysterious here. It's considered a mini shuttle, and its real purpose very much open to question.


UNIDENTIFIED NASA ANNOUNCER: Lift-off of the United Launch Alliance Atlas, carrying the third mission for the United States Air Force.


MALVEAUX: The Air Force not saying much but the X-37B unmanned spacecraft housed on top of a rocket. Our John Zarrella says, as a test vehicle, it will advance technology for military and civilian use. Some wonder if it's a spy satellite or some other secret military use.

All dressed up, nowhere to go. Dapper monkey pops up among some holiday shoppers. Today, he's got a new home.


MALVEAUX: OK. When it comes to brand loyalty, IKEA can have a cult- like following. After all, not many stores offer Scandinavian furniture and Swedish meatballs. It shouldn't be surprised that a dapper-dressed monkey shows up to complete the shopping experience.

Jeanne Moos has the story.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You go to IKEA expecting cheap furniture, not expensively dressed monkeys.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is so bizarre. Like, why, is there a monkey at IKEA?

MOOS: There he was running around outside an entrance at a Toronto IKEA in an outfit that freaked everyone out.

ROBERT VERDE, STYLIST TO THE STARS: It is definitely faux fur. It's not a shearling. It's like a faux shearling.

MOOS: Double breasted no less. Tweets started to fly. Anyone lose their monkey at IKEA? Well, yes. The owner was shopping inside the store when the monkey managed to get out of his crate and then out of the car.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All the people were trying to, like, call it towards them, but it was very scared, darting all over the place. They were trying to get it away from cars.

MOOS: His diaper only detracted a little from what was later described as his favorite jacket.

We asked stylist to the stars, Robert Verde, to critique the look. (on camera): How stylish as a simian is he?

VERDE: I thought for a second it was an editor I've seen at fashion week.

MOOS (voice-over): Wasn't quite as formal as the red carpet outfit worn by the primate star of "Hangover, Part 2." But who dresses up to shop at IKEA?

Animal control folks eventually captured the 7-month-old primate.

(on camera): Unfortunately, for the monkey's owner, this shopping trip ended with a no return policy.

(voice-over): Because monkeys are prohibited as pets, the owner was fined $240 and had to permanently hand over the little guy, identified as Darwin. He stayed briefly at Toronto Animal Services.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's not very happy right now. He's having kind of a bad day.

MOOS: Separation anxiety. He was moved to an Ontario primate sanctuary where it is hoped Darwin will live happily ever after.

But his name will live on as IKEA Monkey.

He instantly acquired parody Twitter accounts describing himself as a lover of fashion.

A Connie Stevens song was dedicated to him.


MOOS: Some speculated he headed for IKEA in search of Swedish meatballs. His image was inserted in an ad for IKEA bedroom furniture.

As for the jacket --

VERDE: I bet it is going to start a trend and we'll be able to find a version of it at H&M next week.

MOOS: That's evolution.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


MALVEAUX: This might be right up your alley. What did Joan Jett and Donna Summer have in common? They're nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Look at the nominees up next.


MALVEAUX: Rock on. Who do you think should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Time for a new crop of inductees. 2013 picks are in. We'll get straight to L.A. where Nischelle Turner has the latest on who might make it in the Hall of Fame.

What you got?

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, I need a better rock on from you. I need a rock on!


MALVEAUX: Rock on, Nischelle! Rock on! Tell me!

TURNER: There you go. Rock on, Suzanne!

We're going to get this official list in just about half an hour. But the names from -- on the 2013 list of nominees make up all genres of music. They include Randy Newman, Public Enemy; Heart, Donna Summer. And RUSH is on the list.

This new list always provokes a debate over who gets in and why. To address some of the criticism, this year, for first time, the rock hall opened up voting to the general public online. Fans got to vote for the five nominees they wanted in and then the top five artists made up of fans ballot, which got counted with the other ballots from industry voters and historians. On the web site, they tracked who was winning the fan vote with a running tally. It is close now. But as of the end of November, RUSH had pulled in nearly 25 percent of the vote, followed by Deep Purple. So pretty much they're in. Yes. Exactly.


MALVEAUX: You can't vote anymore? It is closed already?


TURNER: No, because we're going to find out in about half an hour. Donna Summer for me. Also NWA and, you know, I'm a big Randy Newman fan because I lived in New Orleans for a while, and we love some Randy Newman.

MALVEAUX: Oh, yes.

TURNER: But we'll find out about 11:30 pacific time. I speak on west coast time, who's in. It is going to be interesting. We see video there of some of the nominees. And I think that we may also see maybe a Quincy Jones in there as well. He's on the list. He's behind, you know, "Thriller," a lot of Frank Sinatra's music. I love that actually how there is so many different types of music that could possibly get into the hall.

MALVEAUX: Yes. It is fascinating. I would do Public Enemy too. I like Public Enemy. Does anybody think there is a sure win here? What do you think? Anybody?

TURNER: Yes, I think because we saw so -- we saw -- RUSH will probably get in because the fan vote was so strong for them. 25 percent of the fan vote. They're probably in. And we also saw a strong vote for Deep Purple. On that fan vote list, though, Heart is number three. So we'll have to see if those ladies get in there too. They deserve it.

MALVEAUX: Yes. Oh, yes, absolutely. That's a tough act. When you look at that list, the competition is fierce. Don't you think?

TURNER: You can only pick five. You can only pick five. You can make an argument for every single band. That's why they're the nominees. I think they all deserve to get in. I know that's sitting on the fence, but I love them all.


MALVEAUX: Maybe you should do a big rock on! So when do we find out?

TURNER: We got 30 minutes, yes. We got 30 minutes before we find out the list. And then the ceremony is actually in April here in Los Angeles when they will be officially inducted into the hall.

MALVEAUX: OK. All right. Nischelle, good to see you, as always. We'll be waiting.

TURNER: You, too.

MALVEAUX: We'll wait and see.

TURNER: Rock on.

MALVEAUX: You say it's RUSH. Rock on!


They grabbed our attention in 2012. Now you can vote for the top 10 most intriguing people of the year. Just logon to We're going to announce the results on Monday, December 24th.

A federal judge says North Carolina's "Choose Life" license plates are unconstitutional because the state does not offer plates with a different viewpoint. A lawmaker who sponsored a bill for the new plates reportedly plans to push for an appeal of the judge's ruling.

And, of course, we want to go to Brooke Baldwin where CNN NEWSROOM continues.

Hey, Brooke.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Suzanne. Thank you.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. I want to get right to it. Thanks for being with me.

We want to begin in Michigan. Take a look.