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Clinton and Obama Hold Joint Interview; Interview with David Rothkopf; Ancient Graffiti in Rome; Ariel Sharon Shows Brain Activity; Blending African & Scandinavian Music; Baseball Star Returns To Cuba

Aired January 28, 2013 - 12:30   ET



SUZANNE MALVEAUX, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL": Hillary Clinton gets a very public thank you from President Obama, but was it also an endorsement if she decides to run in 2016?

In an interview on CBS' "60 Minutes," the president had a lot of praise.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I just wanted to have a chance to publicly say thank you because I think Hillary will go down as one of the finest secretary of states we've had.


MALVEAUX: The two also talked about their relationship, a close relationship despite being bitter rivals during the primary campaign.


OBAMA: I consider Hillary a strong friend.

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Yes. I mean, very warm, close. I think there's a sense of understanding that sometimes doesn't even take words, because we have similar views.


MALVEAUX: I want to bring in David Rothkopf. He is the CEO and editor-at-large of the FP Group that publishes "Foreign Policy Magazine.

Wow! My take on this, you know, I covered the campaign. I covered it to the bitter end and there was no love between the two of them. I have never seen them gush like this.

What did you make of the interview?

DAVID ROTHKOPF, CEO AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "FOREIGN POLICY MAGAZINE": Well, you're right. At the end of the campaign, it was kind of the bitter end. They were on each other's last nerve. But, once the president made the move of bringing her into the cabinet, she realized she had to subordinate her interest to his and serve him. She did. She kept her head down. She did a spectacularly good job.

And I think by the time now that she's exiting, he realizes it was one of his most important and successful choices.

MALVEAUX: You write in this opinion piece on and I want to read a little bit of this for our audience here.

You say that if Hillary Clinton wants to be the next Democratic nominee for president, basically, the job is hers. You say that Clinton has the power to keep potential rivals from raising money or gaining political traction by simply saying, I haven't decided what my plans are. She is in control.

What does that say for the possibility, the chances of other folks who are just waiting in the wings for her, like Biden and potentially Cuomo?

ROTHKOPF: Well, look, you know, they all have good chances, but she's the most popular politician in America now. She's got a 66 percent approval rating. She's got a big, built-in apparatus behind her.

She's going to have a couple of years to focus and really devote herself to thinking about this campaign while they've got day jobs.

I think a lot of factors in place suggest that she's going to be way out in front of them.

And, you know the way the money works, these campaigns take a lot. Nobody is going to want to put a lot on the line if they think their candidate is going to be supplanted by someone like her, so she's in the commanding position right now.

MALVEAUX: And, David, I want you to listen to this. This is something they were both asked about 2016. Kind of coy, watch the response.


OBAMA: You guys in the press are incorrigible. I was literally inaugurated four days ago.


OBAMA: And you're talking about elections four years from now.

CLINTON: And I am, as you know, Steve, I'm still secretary of state, so I'm out of politics and I'm forbidden from even hearing these questions.


MALVEAUX: So, David, I've been talking about insiders in the White House, those who are part of the campaign who say, look, Bill Clinton right now is making sure there's not another Barack Obama that comes around the next four years, that they're going to make sure there is a clear path for Hillary Clinton.

What do you make of her response? It sounds like she's -- she's not answering the question but she's not denying it either.

ROTHKOPF: No, she's not. I thought that was an adorable exchange, right?

I mean, you know, they're sitting there. They're saying the things that they have to say, but at the end of the day, everybody knows she's there, she's waiting, she's got her husband there who is able to support her in a lot of ways.

The president wants to finish up his term and not get upstaged. And I think it's natural they said it.

But watch and see. I think all the signs suggest she's going to run. And if she runs, she'll be the candidate. And if she's the candidate, she's going to be pretty tough to beat.

MALVEAUX: Yeah, talking to some of her friends, they say she can't help it. She's going to run. It's just something that is going to happen.

We'll just -- we'll see how it plays out, but I think she's getting ready for 2016

David, thank you again.

And, of course, if you want to read all the article on Hillary Clinton and the 2016 nomination, just go to opinion section of

And it started, right, with a dog in the 1950s. Well, now, check this out. Look at this little guy. It's amazing, animals getting to ride into space.

We're going to tell you which country sent him there.


MALVEAUX: Graffiti has been discovered now on one of the wonders of ancient architecture, Rome's Coliseum, lewd drawings put there 1,800 years ago.

Ben Wedeman has more from Rome.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's been a while, about 1,400 years, since the Coliseum hosted any bloody spectacles. Since then, earthquakes, scavengers, time and grime have taken their toll.

In a corridor off limits to the public for decades a project to clear away the accumulated dirt and dust has uncovered patches of red plaster dating back to a major repair work done on the coliseum after a massive fire in 217 A.D.

Despite what you may have seen in the movies, ancient monuments and statues were painted in the most vivid of colors. Internal passageways of the Coliseum were, in one of the words of the archaeologists here, "in Technicolor."

Archaeologist long suspected this massive piece of roman architecture was not monochrome says Coliseum director, Rosella Rea.

We have never found proof, she says. Thanks to the simple cleaning work, we now know that not only the lower parts of the corridor, but also the upper areas had decorations.

Red, green, blue and white would have been the colors of choice, but it wasn't just the interior decorators who left their mark here.

Some unknown fan scrawled some naughty bits on the walls, symbolizing fertility and prosperity in roman times.

Someone else left a now fated drawing of the crown of laurels given to the victors in the arena. This writing is not an advertisement for wine, but more likely the abbreviation of a common name for gladiators.

Everything uncovered here, restorer Alessandro Danesi tells me, is a clue to the past. Even dirt is an important indicator, he says, of use, of neglect, of every object's historical phases.

And in this case, dirt that has concealed the Coliseum's not just blood sport, but colorful past.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Rome.


He slipped into a coma seven years ago. Well, now, doctors say the brain of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon is active and responding to tests now. We'll take a closer look.


MALVEAUX: A brain scan has yielded surprising results on former prime minister Ariel Sharon.

Several strokes put him in a coma, as you might recall, seven years ago. Well, now, doctors in an Israeli hospital have used an advanced MRI to scan his brain


PROFESSOR ALON FRIEDMAN, BEN-GURION UNIVERSITY: We know that he can process pictures and pictures of faces and he can even differentiate between, for example, a picture of faces and pictures of houses, pictures of his families to other objects. He can, for example, differentiate between words that were spoken to him by his son compared to noise.


MALVEAUX: Want to bring in senior medical expert Elizabeth Cohen to kind of explain this. I remember covering this story when he first fell into a coma and there was a lot of questions about whether or not he would be kept alive or taken off life support. What do they mean when they say he has responded to some of these things? What does that mean?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think they're intentionally using a vague word. It's not responding in the way that I'm responding to your question. It's not sort of that level.


COHEN: I spoke to a different Israeli -- another Israeli doctor who treated him. I'm going to quote his phrases. You have to do that in this situation. It is so specific to each individual patient.

He said there was some kind of consciousness, some kind of processing was going on. That was the way he explained it.

So, let me give you some examples of what they did. Dr. Friedman sort of alluded to it a second ago.


COHEN: They would show Mr. Sharon pictures of houses he wouldn't know, just random houses and then they would show him a picture of his own house. Areas of his brain lit up that didn't light up with the random houses.


COHEN: They then had his son speak into some kind of a machine, a modulator, that turned his son's speech into gibberish. So instead of speaking real words, he was speaking nonsense words and he didn't sound like himself. Didn't register in his brain the same way as when his son actually spoke to him using real words.

MALVEAUX: So what does this mean? Could he come back to life?

COHEN: You know, I -- you never want to try to predict the future. That's always sort of a dicey business to go into.

MALVEAUX: That's the question.

COHEN: But you can -- I know, that is the question. But you look, you know, for seven years, he hasn't, right? For seven years he's been in this situation. And just because this kind of stimulation registers in the brain does not mean that he's coming back to life. It doesn't mean that he's going to sit up tomorrow and start speaking with his family. It just means that things that are familiar to him are registering in his brain in some way. But he is still not communicating. His family has said for a long time that they felt like something was there. Those weren't their words. I'm using that phrase.

MALVEAUX: Right. Sure.

COHEN: But they felt like something was there. And I asked the doctor, you know, what did this mean to the family to see this? And they said that it was an objective finding to something that they had felt for a long time.

MALVEAUX: So does this mean potentially that he is getting better, that there's some recovery process that is taking place because things are changing?

COHEN: The only way that we would truly, truly know that is if they had done this same kind of functional MRI on him seven years ago or three years ago or four years ago and then we could compare the results. But the doctor I talked to said they didn't. That this was the first time they'd done this.

So we don't know, he may have been like this for seven years. You could have done this test seven years ago and you would have gotten the same response. So I know we hear that a piece of the -- an area of the brain lights up when he hears his son's voice. That doesn't mean that he's getting better necessarily.

MALVEAUX: That's going to be interesting to see what happens next.

COHEN: It certainly is.

MALVEAUX: Because clearly people are going to wonder, what does this mean?

COHEN: Absolutely. And it's going to -- this is such an unusual circumstance where you have someone who's in this state, who has lived for so long, and whose -- and for the family that it's so important that they get this information. You just don't see this very often.

MALVEAUX: All right, Elizabeth, thank you. Appreciate it.

Well, they never had a warm relationship. President Obama has called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu now to congratulate him on his re-election. Well, a White House statement says the president looks forward to working with the next Israeli government and is committed to the bonds between the United States and Israel.

And it is a pretty unlikely combination. You've got traditional songs of Zimbabwe mixed with Scandinavian jazz. But it is working for this band, Monoswezi. I'm going to introduce you to them, next.


MALVEAUX: All right, here's what happens when you take traditional songs from Zimbabwe, you blend them in with Scandinavian jazz, you get Monoswezi. Take a listen.


MALVEAUX: Monoswezi hails from countries all over the globe, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Norway and Sweden. The group's newest album called "The Village" hits stores today.

Well, we've got three members in the house of Monoswezi joining us via Skype from Oslo, Norway. Hallvard Godal, Hope Masika and Calu Tsemane.

I hope I got all of your names right. You guys look so happy, first of all. I've got to tell you. In the video, I've never seen a group happier to play a song. Just tell me how you got together in the first place. I mean you guys are from all over the world.

HALLVARD GODAL, SAXOPHONIST, MONOSWEZI: Yes. It started in 2008 where I lived and worked in (INAUDIBLE) as part of an exchange program. And I met Calu there. And then I went back to Norway. And after a while Calu and Hope came to Norway. Hope part of the same exchange program from (INAUDIBLE) Norway. And Calu married a Norwegian girl in (INAUDIBLE). Yes.

MALVEAUX: So you guys all met at an exchange program, a cultural exchange program, and ten you figured out that you had this love for music. Tell me how that happened. Did you start playing music for each other or how did you actually fuse all these different types of musical selections together?

GODAL: When I came to Mozambique, I started listening to traditional music from Mozambique. And (INAUDIBLE) really was very fascinating. And also playing in (INAUDIBLE) was very nice, you know, to play me the -- his traditional music.

MALVEAUX: And what about the other two? What about you guys? Jump in. Don't be shy.


When I was in Norway and I was in (INAUDIBLE) and I was teaching there with the same cultural exchange program he just mentioned, (INAUDIBLE). So I saw the album that they had done the year before, I think. Well, I listened to it and I liked it. I sent them and e-mail and I just said, I love your music and (INAUDIBLE) I didn't know we were actually going to play together later. So later we decided to come together and explain it all with our instruments and all that and fabulous (INAUDIBLE) came out of it.

MALVEAUX: And tell me about the instrument you play, because it's very unique. It's the (INAUDIBLE). And very few women in Zimbabwe play that. How did you take up that instrument? And what do people think about that in your country, the fact that you're one of the few women who picked up this traditional instrument and decided to play?

MASIKA: Well, you would be amazed. Now it's getting quite fashionable, actually, to find young women playing this type of (INAUDIBLE). Mostly because actually when I started playing it, it wasn't that fashionable just as yet, but we've really had to do a lot of awareness (ph) to our people here in Zimbabwe because (INAUDIBLE) we went through a lot through the history in Zimbabwe and it's been stigmatized against and it's been looked at as an pagan instrument and many people even today still (INAUDIBLE). Then they think what you're doing is demoralizing (ph). (INAUDIBLE) so many people are starting to appreciate it a lot much. And, of course, we have to give credit to people like Tomas Motamor (ph), who already trying to make it popular (INAUDIBLE) still a tradition. But now it's getting more popular also. Slowly.

MALVEAUX: All right. Well, we know that the band name, it translates into "one world" and that you -- that that -- your music reflects that. We'll be looking for your album that drops today. We appreciate your time. And congratulations to all of you. Thanks again. Good to have you.

GODAL: Thank you.


MALVEAUX: Baseball, not just an American past time. We're going to take you to Cuba, of course, where former major leaguer was finally allowed to return to his native land, after being banned for a decade. Hear what he has to say about seeing his brother for the first time in 10 years.


MALVEAUX: Major League Baseball player who defected from Cuba a decade ago was never allowed to go back home again to see his family. Well, Cuba has now lifted many travel restrictions and Jose Cantreras finally got a chance to go back home. Patrick Oppmann was there for this joyful reunion in Havana.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This rough hewn baseball diamond outside Havana isn't much to look at. But for one Cuban legend, it is truly a field of dreams.

Jose Contreras was once a star pitcher in Cuba. Fidel Castro dubbed Contreras (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE), "the bronze titan." But when Contreras defected in 2002, he, like all sports stars who abandoned Cuba, was banned from ever returning. That is, until now.

"I'm really happy to be back here with my people, my fans," he said. "It is a dream come true."

An impossible dream. Then, in January, Cuban officials lifted the restrictions for most Cubans to travel abroad and gave many living in exile the right to return. Contreras is the first major sports defector under the changed law to come back to visit Cuba.

OPPMANN (on camera): With a change in immigration laws, more and more Cuban sports stars who defected are expected to begin returning. And no doubt the Cuban government won't mind if they bring back with them some of those multimillion dollar salaries they earned playing overseas. OPPMANN (voice-over): Playing in the American major leagues with the Yankees, White Sox, and Phillies, Contreras earned tens of millions of dollars. More than the salaries of all the player's on Cuba's national team combined. But he said those big paydays didn't ease the longing he felt to see his family back home.

"At first, we were missing the past. It was tough. Ten years not seeing my brother," he said. "But everyone's good now. We're just enjoying the moment."

A decade outside the island convinced Contreras he would be forgotten by his countrymen. But he can't go anywhere here without people asking for a photo. Or being embraced by former teammates. This pickup game draws other legends of Cuban baseball. Nursing an injury, Contreras plays first base instead of pitching. Once he recovers, he hopes to return to playing professionally soon.

This is hardly the major leagues. After a home run, the play is interrupted to look for the ball. The only one they have. And at the end, no one can even tell you what the score was.