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CNN NEWSROOM

Obama Renews Push for Deficit Deal; Booted Juror Returns to Arias Trial; Party Preps for Final Four Weekend; Obama Takes Heat over "Sexist" Comment; The "Forgotten" Korean War

Aired April 5, 2013 - 10:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right checking our top stories.

Newly released documents surrounding the Colorado theater shooting in July shows some startling revelations. The psychiatrist who treated James Holmes had warned police he was making homicidal statements and sending her threatening text messages. That was one month before this crime. The documents also showing that police found hundreds of bullets, a Batman mask, gas torch, explosives and several bottles of prescription medication in Holmes apartment.

And the United States General in charge of the Horn of Africa has been fired. Major General Ralph Baker had been relieved of his duty for loss of confidence. This makes the second high-ranking official to be dismissed in five months. Baker is expected to appeal.

A dramatic end to the search for a missing California hiker. Rescue teams found Kyndall Jack on a steep hillside calling out for help. A rescuer climbed down to her and then helped her into a helicopter. She is now in a local hospital. Jack and her hiking partner Nicholas Cendoya had been missing since Sunday. Cendoya was rescued Wednesday.

The film world is mourning the loss of its top critic. Roger Ebert died Thursday at the age of 70. He had been battling cancer for several years. The Pulitzer Prize winning critic was remembered fondly by Illinois Governor Quinn, who said "Roger Ebert was a great man. No doubt Gene Siskel is saving him a seat in the balcony upstairs."

President Obama is renewing his push for a deal with Republicans on the deficit. Senior administration officials say the President will propose a budget next week that includes changes to Social Security and some new taxes. It also will revive a proposal for $400 billion in Medicare savings over ten years.

I'm joined now by White House correspondent Dan Lothian. So Dan, how do you expect the Republicans to respond to the spending plan? Or which the White House will put.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well you know I think in two ways. First of all, I think that the Republicans have always thought that entitlement should be on the table, specifically Social Security, so they'll see that as something positive in the President's budget.

At the same time Republicans have and continue to resist any talk of new taxes and so the President will still face some challenges there. Remember, there's a caveat in what the President will propose in his budget, saying yes he's willing to make these concessions on entitlement but at the same time the Republicans have to give in on new taxes.

But this is more I think a bigger issue than just the President against Republicans or also Democrats, liberals and the President's party who have resisted anything when it comes to touching entitlement programs. They feel that this will only hurt senior citizens, will hurt those military veterans.

And so the President will get some resistance on both sides with this budget that he will be presenting next week -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And what else do we believe might be in the budget proposal?

LOTHIAN: Well I mean, we will hear more themes from the President's state of the union address, some of the initiatives that the President laid out such as universal access to free kindergarten education. We'll hear the President talk about investments that will help to create more jobs, infrastructure investments. And that's critical especially with the low job numbers that we saw come out today.

So a whole host of things that the President has laid out in the past, but again the overarching theme will be the President trying to compromise with Republicans in order to reach some sort of a long-term deficit reduction deal.

WHITFIELD: All right that word "compromise" here we go again. Good luck on that.

All right, Dan Lothian I appreciate that from the White House.

LOTHIAN: Ok.

WHITFIELD: All right she's off the jury but won't get out of the courtroom. We'll have the latest odd twist in a murder trial that has already had so many jaw-dropping moments.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right, if you're among the millions of Americans following that sensational murder trial of Jodi Arias, you already know that it's pretty hard to be shocked by any new twists and turns. That is, until yesterday's return of a juror who had been booted from the case.

Here is CNN's Ted Rowlands.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TED ROWLANDS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): After getting thrown after the Jodi Arias jury, Juror five a Bosnian truck driver and mother of a teenage daughter showed up back at the courthouse.

JUDGE SHERRY STEPHENS, MARICOPA COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT: Juror number five is in the courtroom to observe as a member of the public. You shall have no contact with juror number five until the trial is over.

ROWLANDS: And so there she sat with her distinctive two-toned hair after four months in the jury box now in the public seats behind Jodi Arias and the defense team who wanted her off the jury.

She watched along with everyone else in the packed courtroom as prosecutor Juan Martinez aggressively cross-examined defense domestic violence expert Alyce LaViolette.

ALYCE LAVIOLETTE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE EXPERT: You interview them. You asked questions, you do an assessment.

JUAN MARTINEZ, PROSECUTOR: So when you interviewing, you're not talking to them, right?

LAVIOLETTE: Mr. Martinez I think --

(CROSSTALK)

MARTINEZ: Yes or no. My question is are you talking? Yes or no?

LAVIOLETTE: Mr. Martinez, are you angry at me?

MARTINEZ: Does that make any difference to your evaluation? Whether or not the prosecutor is angry, yes or no?

LAVIOLETTE: It makes a difference to me the way I'm spoken to and I would like you to speak to me the way I speak to you.

ROWLANDS: In her testimony, LaViolette said she thinks Jodi Arias was a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of her boyfriend, Travis Alexander who Arias claims she killed in self-defense.

JENNIFER WILLMOTT, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Do you believe in your expert opinion that Jodi is a battered woman? Or is a battered woman?

LAVIOLETTE: Yes, I do.

ROWLANDS: Outside the courthouse the media waited for juror five, but she was escorted out a restricted exit and was able to avoid the cameras.

(on camera): Alyce LaViolette will be back on the stand for more cross-examination when court resumes on Monday. It's unclear whether or not juror number five will be back to watch.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Phoenix.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. Folks looking for a little relief in the final four madness this weekend. But guess what it's not just for basketball fans. It's for music fans as well. Big name acts are playing in Atlanta. We'll tell you all about it next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Oh how exciting, let's take a live look outside. Atlanta, Centennial Olympic Park a lot of set up as big names like Dave Matthew's Band, Flo-Rida, Zac Brown all descending on that stage in the far distance, all to perform free throughout the weekend. It's party time for the NCAA final four weekend, lots of madness.

And you know folks that come from far and wide, including our entertainment correspondent Nischelle Turner coming from LA.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

WHITFIELD: You're going to be part of that madness this weekend?

TURNER: Well you know first of all this is my first time here at the Worldwide Headquarters of CNN.

WHITFIELD: All right.

TURNER: So I'm -- I'm looking around like whoa what is going, here? This is really, really cool.

WHITFIELD: It is.

TURNER: And this is going to be a great weekend here in Atlanta there is so much going on. You know if you're going to have a championship you have to have a party.

WHITFIELD: We've got to do a party.

TURNER: Then you have to have good music.

WHITFIELD: It's the big dance.

TURNER: Exactly and this is the big dance concert series it starts today. And like you said, three days of crazy music acts.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

TURNER: I mean the biggest names for free and free is for me so that's where I'll be all weekend. You know today there's going to be people like Fits and the Tantrum will be performing. Zac Brown band he's one of my favorite I love country music and they are going to be performing tonight. Tomorrow Ludacris, Hometown guys are going to be on stage, Flo Rida and Muse. And we're just talking to a lot of people here and they were saying we want to see Muse.

But Sunday is the day. I mean, you've got acts like Sting.

WHITFIELD: All right. It's huge.

TURNER: The Dave Matthews Band. And I've got to represent for the ladies, because I love Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and she will be performing as well. She's one of my favorite. Her voice is hauntingly beautiful. So I can't wait to see that. So it's going to be a really, I know you love live music.

WHITFIELD: Oh yes it's going to be fun. I'll be here all weekend as I am every weekend, so you know, you got to get your spot early.

TURNER: Right. Because it's free.

WHITFIELD: Which means huge crowds.

TURNER: And last year is the big dance concert series in New Orleans, and there're about 150,000 people that came out just for the concert. So they're expecting all of that and more here this weekend. And I'm told, even though it's a little dreary here in Atlanta today it's going to be a beautiful weekend, great weekend to be outside of the concert.

WHITFIELD: Yes I think Sunday in particular. You know so hey maybe you have tickets to be inside the dome, you don't care about the weather, but you know even if you're out there with the free concert you still don't care about the weather.

TURNER: Right and that's going to be great. And I'll be talking to a lot of these big names as well. So hopefully we can talk to them and maybe about their picks and what they seem --

WHITFIELD: Right and we have a big special this weekend you're going to be a part of that.

TURNER: Yes absolutely. Rachel Nichols is doing the heavy lifting tomorrow, 3:00. She's going to have a live final four special. I'm going to try to sneak in there and play with her a little bit but it's going to be a lot of fun, so live right here at 3:00 tomorrow afternoon.

WHITFIELD: We look forward to all that. And don't go anywhere. Because you're going to have fun with this. We all love to laugh and we know the darling of the NCAA, you know that's been -- that's been Kevin Ware. Well David Letterman decide to take advantage of the moment last night. So take a look and you know what; I think there's like a little cameo by a CNN colleague too.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, TALK SHOW HOST: And now, here's maybe shed a little light on the topic, a special report on the late show's shake-up from CNN, everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's official Jay Leno will depart the "Tonight Show" in 2014 and be replaced by Jimmy Fallon. After a brief retirement, Jay will return to replace Jimmy in 2015. Then Seth Myers will replace Jay in 2019 before Jay returns to replace Seth in 2023. The same year David Letterman celebrates his 30th anniversary at CBS where he's expected to remain until he dies.

Suzanne Malveaux, CNN.

(END VIDEO CLIP) TURNER: That is hilarious.

WHITFIELD: That was Suzanne's name but that wasn't necessarily the voice --

TURNER: I was going to say I just saw Suzanne about five minutes ago. She didn't sound like that.

WHITFIELD: But you know, she had a sense of humor about it all too. But anyway, very funny. We all, you know, had a good time.

TURNER: Yes, but there's so much happening right now especially with that. And I'm actually very excited to see how this transition goes. I love Jimmy Fallon and I do think that it is his time, but Jay is number one so what's going to happen?

WHITFIELD: All right. Well, we shall see. And you know, also on Letterman last night Kevin Ware was, you know, giving up like the top ten thoughts that he had as he was down on the floor. So that was kind of all tied together last night. But sorry, you didn't get a chance to see the Kevin Ware part. But anyway, you'll see it later. All day long.

TURNER: Exactly.

WHITFIELD: Thank you, Nischelle. Good to see you. We'll see you throughout the weekend.

TURNER: Yes, you too Fred. All right.

WHITFIELD: All right. Also, coming up, some people are saying President Obama is sexist. We'll tell you about a compliment that is now raising eyebrows.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. checking your top stories.

Florida senator Bill Nelson has joined a recent wave of Democratic senators announcing their support for same-sex marriage. He is reversing his position on the issue telling a Florida newspaper quote, "Civil rights and responsibilities for one must pertain to all", end quote.

And nearly two dozen Massachusetts middle schoolers went hungry at lunch this week because they didn't have enough money on their lunch debit card. The students were told to throw away their food because of negative balances some as little as five cents. The principal blames the school vendor and says it should never have happened.

And Lance Armstrong's quest to take on swimming is floundering. Armstrong was registered to compete at a swimming championship in Texas, but because he was banned from cycling by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the governing body of swimming ruled he is ineligible to take part.

And take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRINCE WILLIAM, DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE: You're very pretty. You want a kiss.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh.

PRINCE WILLIAM: Oh no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Oh, no, that is so cold. Prince William, his kiss dissed by a four-year-old, no less. The Royal had been greeting well-wishers with his wife Catherine in Scotland but the little girl was clearly having none of it.

All right. Now to politics, we told you earlier that President Obama is getting ready to unveil a new budget proposal next week. And it has some interesting changes. Sources say it will propose changes to Medicare, and that could save $400 billion over ten years. It also proposes changes to Social Security that Republicans have asked for. But it also asks for some new tax hikes.

Joining us right now, Donna Brazile, CNN political contributor and long-time Democratic strategist -- good to see you. And Ana Navarro, CNN contributor and Republican strategist.

All right, Donna, you first. As soon as you hear the word new tax hikes, the word "compromise" seems like it's going to go out the window but the White House is hoping for compromise. Do you think this will be the moment that it happens?

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I don't think so. Unless the Republicans come to the table with an attitude that they're willing to put some controversial items on the table like, of course, closing some of the tax loopholes and perhaps giving us another revenue stream so that we can cut the budget in a very shared way.

What the President is trying to do is to meet Mr. Boehner halfway once again by proposing these entitlement reform savings. My concern, of course -- I think any American would be concerned -- is that most people who live on fixed incomes, you know, this change could put, you now, them into poverty. They need the cost of living to ensure that they can adequately pay for their bills and, of course, afford the services that they need.

WHITFIELD: So Ana, do you see this as deja vu, or is it a new day?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's a new day of it being dead on arrival again. But look, first of all, we are reacting --

WHITFIELD: That would be deja vu.

(CROSSTALK) NAVARRO: Right. We are reacting right now to something that's been leaked out, right. So let's wait and see what the final proposal is. I'm just glad there's a proposal, period. He's two months late with his budget, so I'm just glad he put something out there.

I think this is going to get a very negative reaction from his own base, his own party. The liberals and progressives are going to balk at the CPI inclusion in that budget reportedly. So he's going to have trouble from Republicans on the Tax increases. Republicans feel they bled enough during the fiscal cliff. And he's going to have trouble from his own base on the chain CPI inclusion. So you know you've got two very powerful forces you need to work with that are not going to like it from the moment you say "go".

All right ladies, let's talk about something else. The President getting some flak over some heat -- over some comments that he made about California's attorney general Kamala Harris. He praised Harris and then he said, quote, "she also happens to be by far the best- looking attorney general in the country".

So some folks are calling this sexist. People have tweeted but in all fairness, you know, he frequently compliments women like on the campaign trail. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, POTUS: Can I say you're looking great being anywhere from 30 years, doesn't she?

No, no. This is a good-looking woman right here, I'm telling you. I would not have guessed she had worked someplace for 30 years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Ok. So Ana, Donna -- let's talk about this. you know, the President doesn't necessarily have any kind of track record of making sexist comments. At least nobody's made those kinds of accusations. Donna, is too much being made of this or, you know, was this something he needs to apologize for now?

BRAZILE: No, look. I think it was a slow news day and the White House released the transcripts, and they found one little line in a statement that he made. He was joking. He knows Kamala very well. They are long-time friends. She's someone that I'm sure is under consideration at some point if she decides to leave her job as attorney general for the state of California to work in Washington, D.C. She's a brilliant lawyer.

And the point was the President made a comment about her looks after saying how brilliant, how tough she is, and people took it as the President was somehow sexist. This is a guy who's elevated two women to the United States Supreme Court, appointed women in his cabinet. He had strong tough women, including his wife Michelle working inside of -- she's not working -- Michelle's not working in the administration, but I applaud this President for the work he's done on behalf of American women and girls. WHITFIELD: And Ana, real quick? About 10 seconds away.

NAVARRO: Terrible double standard. I can tell you something if Mitt Romney had ever said about, for example, my AG in Florida, Pam Bondi, that she was the finest looking AG there was, all held would have broken loose. I think a lot of these liberal women that cry sexism when other things happen are giving President Obama a free pass. It was inappropriate. Kamala Harris wants to be known for her achievement.

BRAZILE: Best looking attorney general in the country -- the best looking attorney general in the country, and that's sexist?

WHITFIELD: All right. Ana?

BRAZILE: Might be true.

NAVARRO: Donna, do you want to be known as the best-looking contributor on CNN, or do you want to be known for your brilliant commentaries?

BRAZILE: Absolutely. You can also call me the sexiest contributor. I'll take it all.

WHITFIELD: Yes, who doesn't like a compliment?

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: All right, thank you so much. We have to take this conversation to break, yes. Ok. You all can talk over.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: For many Americans, North Korea's fiery rhetoric and menacing threats are fueling new fears of military action but not so many old memories. As Tom Foreman explains, the Korean War has long been considered a forgotten conflict, even when it was front-page news.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Korean war was a complicated affair from the start in 1950. A distant battle over whether the Korean Peninsula divided by World War II would be reunited under a Democratic or Communist government. The North's invasion of the South spurred world powers to join the fight and in short order almost 2 million American troops found themselves facing little-known enemies in a little-known land.

Patrick O'Donnell is a combat historian and the author of "Give Me Tomorrow".

PATRICK O'DONNELL, COMBAT HISTORIAN: These men in the first -- in 1950, 1951 had to go against 20 to one odds in some cases against the Chinese army. They had to fight the temperature which dropped to 30 to 40 below zero. And they also did it with inferior weapons. FOREMAN: The conditions during the war were worsened in a sense by the outcome. After three hard years the war ended essentially where it began. With the North, the South, and not peace, just an uneasy agreement to stop fighting.

Historian Bruce Cumings from the University of Chicago.

BRUCE CUMINGS, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: Korea ended in a stalemate. Americans didn't really understand the war, and veterans came home not to difficult circumstances like the veterans of the Vietnam War, but rather to a country that didn't really know where Korea was on the map and wasn't sure what the war had been about.

FOREMAN: These days a great many Americans don't really know much about the Korean War. It has become the providence of historians and old soldiers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Captain Benjamin Franklin Pearce. Who are you sir?

FOREMAN: American consciousness of it has been shaped more by the TV show MASH than any reality. Only about a third of those who served during the Korean conflict are still alive making it almost certain the forgotten war will stay that way.

Tom Foreman CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much for joining us today. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. I'll see you again tomorrow in the "NEWSROOM" beginning at noon Eastern time. The "NEWSROOM" continues right now.