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CNN NEWSROOM

Gun Control Issue Examined; Major League Baseball Players Linked to Anti-Aging Clinic; New Limb Transplant Procedure Detailed

Aired January 29, 2013 - 15:30   ET

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


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Our Jason Carroll is following it live in New York. Jason, you were there with me in Newtown, covering this. What happened at this public hearing?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first, let me just put this in a little bit of context.

As you know more than anyone, Poppy, there is a lot of emotion. There is a lot of passion surrounding this issue in Newtown, Connecticut, and that explains why hundreds of people, literally, showed up from Newtown, joining the thousands of people who tried to pack this hearing that took place on gun control.

And for several hours the people who were there listening to testimony, emotionally filled testimony from some of the parents whose children were killed at Sandy Hook. They spoke and it wasn't just parents on one side of the issue. It was parents on both sides of this particular issue.

These parents, they came in, Poppy. They brought in pictures of their children. They held them as they spoke.

Neil Heslin, whose six-year-old son Jesse, was killed says that he does support more gun control. He spoke for several minutes and then he paused after posing a question why anyone would need an assault weapon.

At that point, gun activists shouted out, "The Second Amendment." Listen to exactly how it happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HESLIN: I ask if there's anybody in this room that can give me one reason or challenge this question, why anybody in this room needs to have one of these assault-style weapons or military weapons or high- capacity clips. Not one person can answer that question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: As he turned around there, Poppy, that's when the folks there were shouting, "Second Amendment, Second Amendment."

But there was also parents there in the other side of the issue. Mark Mattioli's son James was also six-years-old, attended the hearing. Mattioli says more laws may not, in fact, be the answer. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK MATTIOLI, SON WAS KILLED IN NEWTOWN, CONNECTICUT: ... expect to have any impact on a society and say, we will -- we're going to pass a law. Hey, this is inexcusable. We can't allow any more of this. Let's pass a law that will change the course of the future -- when we don't enforce the laws we have on the books, the most severe -- the most important laws.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: Again, this hearing taking place by a bipartisan task force as it tries to come up with recommendations for lawmakers.

Connecticut lawmakers are considering legislation that would limit large magazines to 10 rounds from 30 and banning certain types of ammunition.

The hearing you just heard is the second of a number of hearings lawmakers are holding. The first was on school security then another one yesterday on gun control. And today a hearing took place on mental health and how to improve the system.

But just to give you an idea, Poppy, of how much passion surrounds this particular issue, yesterday, people started talking at about 12:00. They didn't stop speaking until about 3:00 in the morning.

HARLOW: Wow. It's incredibly divisive and the issue, again, like you said, not just gun control, but mental health and all of those issues.

Jason, thank you very much.

CARROLL: You bet.

HARLOW: Well, folks, up next, an explosive new report suggests an anti-aging clinic gave performance-enhancing drugs to major league baseball players.

Big names, we're talking about, folks. One of the players being accused, A-Rod. He's fighting back, though.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARLOW: Well, a damning report out of Miami is focusing new attention on baseball's battle with performance-enhancing drugs.

The "Miami New Times" newspaper has published the names of big league players allegedly connected to an anti-aging clinic located in south Florida.

The paper says this follows their three-month investigation. One of the players they're naming is A-Rod, Alex Rodriguez.

And, just to be clear here, A-Rod has in the past admitted to doping, but has denied taking any performance-enhancing drugs since 2003. He has also never been suspended for a drug violation.

CNN's Richard Roth joins me from New York. He's following this closely. What do you know so far, Richard?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy, it is spring training for baseball in a few weeks, pitchers and catchers. That's the beauty of the America's national past time.

But, once again, it's steroids and performance-enhancing drugs that's all the talk or the rage. Maybe not the 'roid rage.

What we have is in that "Miami New Times" report, a three-month investigation, Alex Rodriguez's name comes up under three different titles, listed 16 times, in information paperwork that the newspaper said it obtained from a former employee of this now defunct anti-aging clinic.

The man who led that clinic, Anthony Bosch, was mentioned in a statement by Alex Rodriguez, responding to these reports that he accepted human growth hormone and performance-enhancing drugs.

Here is what Alex Rodriguez has said a couple of hours ago in a statement through a spokesman.

"The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true. Alex Rodriguez was not Mr. Bosch's patient. He was never treated by him, and he was never advised by him.

"The purported documents referenced in the story -- at least as they refer and relate to Alex Rodriguez -- are not legitimate."

Alex Rodriguez, according to the newspaper, would be accepting -- would have been accepting steroid in the last three years.

He admitted to using them between 2001 and 2003. That's a big point that Major League Baseball says they're following up, Poppy.

HARLOW: Let's get to more on what Major League Baseball is saying. Do we have a statement from them that outlines how concerned they may be about this issue?

ROTH: This is always -- seems like a choreographed dance after these things. There's a media report then carefully constructed statements and then denials. And people still left puzzling.

Here is what Major League Baseball says in an official statement.

"We are extremely disappointed to learn of potential links between players and the use of performance-enhancing substances.

"These developments, however, provide evidence of the comprehensive nature of our anti-drug efforts.

"Through our department of investigations, we have been actively involved in the issues in south Florida. "It is also important to note three of the players allegedly involved have already been disciplined under the joint drug program."

Major league baseball is not stating which three programs have already been -- players have already been suspended. However, there have been players who have been linked to south Florida who have been suspended in the past year.

There was a huge upsurge in punishment for players as the testing gets more refined.

Poppy?

HARLOW: Yeah, and I think obviously there is a lot of attention on A- Rod because of his success in the sport.

But there are other names being named in this article, so obviously there is going to be a lot of follow-up on them, as well.

Richard, thank you. Appreciate it.

Well, a veteran loses both of his arms while serving this country in Iraq, but today, he's recovering from a revolutionary arm transplant surgery.

Two new arms, wait until you hear from him and hear how rare this is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARLOW: In 2009, while he was serving in Iraq, a roadside bomb took Brendan Marrocco's arms, both of them and both of his legs.

But now, thanks to a pioneering surgery only performed on six other Americans, he's recovering from a double arm transplant. He showed off his new arms today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRENDAN MARROCCO, DOUBLE ARM TRANSPLANT PATIENT: Well, pretty much now, I can move my elbow. This is my elbow, the one I had before. I can rotate a little bit.

This arm is pretty much not much movement at all, not yet, at least. Hopefully -- we're hopeful for the future to get some pretty good function out of both of them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Hopeful for the future.

Let me bring in our senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen. Hopeful for the future, so rare that he has been able to go through successfully this surgery. What does it entail?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It entails a very long surgery, where doctors have to tediously reconnect muscles, tendons, nerves, blood vessels.

And I was talking to a doctor, not at Hopkins, but somewhere else, who has done a similar one, done the same thing. And he said what really made him sweat was the blood vessels. If you don't do it just right, that limb isn't going to get any blood and it will just die.

And so that's why these Hopkins doctors, they trained on cadavers for the past couple of months.

HARLOW: They did?

COHEN: Yeah, they worked on cadavers to practice before they did the real thing. So, it is just amazing that this can work at all.

And he mentioned that in the one arm, which has -- they transplanted more. He had -- that's not his real elbow on that arm, that he doesn't have much motion and, hopefully, after he gets lots of physical therapy that will happen.

HARLOW: What I love about the story is his spirit and his hope. And I want our viewers to just take a listen to what he said about what he's most looking forward to doing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARROCCO: Driving. Absolutely driving.

I used to love to drive and it was -- there was a lot of fun for me, so I'm really looking forward to getting back to that and just becoming an athlete again.

I love to -- one of my goals is definitely to hand-cycle a marathon. So, yeah. So, I would love to get back to that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COHEN: That amazing spirit that you see, that's important to doctors when they're choosing patients who they're going to do this for because he's going to have to have rigorous physical therapy, four-to- six hours a day, day after day, month to month, year after year.

And there have been some patients who haven't been so excited about doing it and it doesn't turn out well.

HARLOW: Yeah, the spirit really matters. There is also the issue of, will his body accept the transplant? Do we know that yet?

COHEN: Yes, if he was going to reject it, it already would have happened. This happened a month ago, so that already would have happened.

And they did something interesting here. Not only did they transplant his arms, they gave him bone marrow from the cadaver, so that his body would more easily accept it.

Not all doctors do that. Some people think -- some doctors think it is not so useful, but this team decided, you know, we really want to make sure.

HARLOW: What an incredible story. We'll follow it.

Elizabeth, thank you. Good to see you.

And, folks, up next, Apple announces its latest product as the company stock takes a hit.

Ali Velshi has some thoughts, some opinions on whether or not it is going to make a difference. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: From the CNNMoney Newsroom in New York, I'm Ali Velshi.

Today, Tuesday, Techapalooza. Nobody told you? Let us be the first.

And it's not just because we said so. Research In Motion, the maker of BlackBerry, releasing BlackBerry, the new operating system and a new phone. That's tomorrow. This is RIM's "Hail Mary" after losing to Apple and Android devices for the last five years.

Yahoo!'s fourth quarter results, they came out. They aren't huge, but they're a win for the new CEO, Marissa Mayer, formerly of Google, you'll remember. Mayer says Yahoo! is on a multi-year march toward growth. Those are her words.

Microsoft is releasing Office as a subscription service for $100 a year. Now, Microsoft is changing the sales model for its most lucrative cash cow, partly to compete with Google Docs, partly to prove that Microsoft still has something new to offer in the office space.

And here's the tech thing I didn't know we would be talking about, iPad. Apple released a 128-gigabyte model. That's double the biggest one they've had so far.

Now, maybe this is a sign that they're worried about Microsoft and its new Surface computer or maybe it's just trying to steal Research In Motion's thunder ahead of tomorrow's announcement.

Apple's stock is down 35 percent since September when it hit a high of $705. If you own the stock, you already know this.

But the market is doing just fine. Maureen Farrell covers markets at CNNMoney. She joins me now.

Maureen, Apple, look at that, that chart of Apple. It's just been dropping precipitously in the last few months on rumors that it's not buying as many components because it's not selling as many as the iPhone 5s. It's not hurting the broader market, though?

MAUREEN FARRELL, STAFF WRITER, CNNMONEY: That's been a big surprise. I think that's been the real fear for the last two years even.

VELSHI: Right.

FARRELL: That Apple's been boosting the market so much. Every mutual fund, every hedge fund holds it, but the market has been surprisingly resilient.

VELSHI: What does that mean? That means that Apple is going down, but other things in the tech world are still doing OK.

FARRELL: Yeah, other tech stocks, the other stocks, overall -- I think last year were in such a risk on/risk off year, the European finance minister would say one thing and it would move the market up or down.

This year, it's really about stocks and I think that's been -- people are really breathing a sigh of relief right now.

VELSHI: I was going to say. Really about stocks? It's almost really about companies.

FARRELL: Exactly.

VELSHI: People are investing in these companies, thinking that it's not all about recession and debt crisis. They're actually investing like investors should.

FARRELL: Yeah. Looking at companies, looking at what they mean, what they're doing. And it's a big difference from all of last year, pretty much.

VELSHI: Yeah, well, when Apple was at 535 bucks or so, I spoke to somebody who said it could go up to 600, could go up beyond that to 700. Again, right now, we're not entirely sure.

But tomorrow, big day, that's when the BlackBerry 10 comes out. It's when the new device comes out. I will introduce it to you right here, same time tomorrow.

I'm out.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARLOW: A Pennsylvania woman is appealing to the state supreme court over this house in Thornton, Pennsylvania, which she bought for about $600,000. She's so upset because the seller apparently never told her that a murder-suicide took place in this house.

So, she's taken this to lower courts and they've ruled against her, saying basically that events like that don't have to be disclosed to homebuyers.

So, I want to bring in our legal analyst, Sunny Hostin. What do you make of all of this? What should homeowners take away from this? Because, now, I guess, it's in the hands of the state supreme court.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's right. It sort of feels like a horror movie, right? Like "The Others" or you find out your home is haunted.

But listen, homeowners just don't have to disclose this kind of thing and bottom line is, in this day and age, who doesn't Google Earth their perspective purchases? Who doesn't look for the history of a home themselves?

So, I think the message remains the same when you're buying a house, Poppy. Buyer beware. Do your own research and do your own thing because the bottom line is the law doesn't require for a seller to tell you the entire history of a home, who owned it, what funky things there may be in an attic.

All the law provides is mechanical defects, structural defects, problems with the title. That stuff has to be disclosed. But the fact that there was a murder-suicide and your home-to-be may be a bit spooky, I don't think so.

HARLOW: Doesn't sound like she has an argument here.

HOSTIN: I would say that the argument is now dead.

HARLOW: All right, Sunny, thank you. Appreciate it. Good to see you.

HOSTIN: Thanks, Poppy.

Well, folks, a small plane goes down in the icy waters of the Hudson River just outside of New York City. We've got the frantic 911 call. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARLOW: Well, folks, there has been another miracle on the Hudson. This involves a small plane on a sightseeing trip from Trenton, New Jersey, up the Hudson River.

The pilot and passenger are lucky to be alive after crashing into the icy Hudson River.

The passenger made this harrowing 911 call after the plane was in the water and sinking fast.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

OPERATOR: Are you still in the plane?

SMIDT: We are in the plane. The plane is taking on water.

OPERATOR: Is it possible to get out?

SMIDT: We can get out if we have to.

OPERATOR: OK. I need you to get out if the --

SMIDT: All right. The plane is -- we're definitely going down. We are going down. OPERATOR: Sir?

SMIDT: Yes.

OPERATOR: I need you to get out of the plane and let me know when you're out.

SMIDT: All right. I'm out of the plane. I'm going to lose you. I'm going to lose you. The water's freezing.

OPERATOR: Sir?

SMIDT: The water's freezing.

OPERATOR: I know that. I understand that. I need you to get out of the plane so you're not trapped in the plane.

OPERATOR: I'm sorry?

SMIDT: I'm not going to make it to shore.

OPERATOR: OK. We have an officer en route and we have a boat en route.

SMIDT: OK. I'm going to lose you.

OPERATOR: OK. Can you stay on the phone with me? Sir? Sir? Sir? I lost him.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HARLOW: Well, that pair endured nearly 30 minutes in that frigid water before they were rescued. Both were treated at a local hospital. They are doing just fine.

Unbelievable, another miracle on the Hudson, we like to hear that.

That will do it for us. "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer starts right now.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN: Poppy, thanks very much.