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Learning More About The New York Channel; Push For Background Checks Takes Step Forward; Dow Jones and S&P 500 Hit New Highs Today; Weiner Ready For A Comeback?; Power Block;

Aired April 10, 2013 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: It is called "the New York channel," and we're learning a little bit more about this as the U.S. is bracing for a, quote, "imminent launch" of North Korean missiles.

Let me take you back to March before the threats of nuclear testing and missile launches were at this fevered pitch. As Dennis Rodman headed home after his meeting with leader Kim Jong-un for his so-called "basketball diplomacy," he U.S. had its own version of diplomacy happening, U.S. and North Korean officials meeting for secret talks in New York.

Christiane Amanpour, CNN's chief international correspondent, joins me now. Tell me about these talks. How did this go down?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: To be honest with you, it is not that unusual. Basically, there is a U.N. mission here of the North Koreans, and they do have officials who are sometimes used as interlocutors.

Now, mostly these officials are communications officers, really. They are -- they have different titles, but these are not negotiators.

And what happens is that they basically get used to pass messages back and forth.

So while that mission and that contact and that channel is open, we're told that it is not one that is producing any kind of movement on this crisis.

BALDWIN: So not a lot of movement. I'm just curious, though, with this sort of back and forth, are there any inherent problems with back channeling?

AMANPOUR: Well, it is not so much whether back channeling is a problem. It's always good to have a channel open.

But all the experts who I've talked to say, you know, once one gets beyond this particular crisis, which most people believe will be some kind of a missile launch, probably not aimed in anger anywhere, but as a test fire somewhere, once this immediate crisis is over, how to deal with the ongoing issue of North Korea. And some people are saying there needs to be much more engagement, but at a high level, not at a back channel level, that the only person who actually calls the shots in North Korea is the top leadership.

And so perhaps some experts have suggested a special envoy, just to find out who is this new leader. Are they open to -- is he open to any deal of any sort?

BALDWIN: But at this stage in the game here, do you think that that will happen?

AMANPOUR: That's the all important question. Nobody quite knows.

Certainly most people who suggest that realize it is politically really quite difficult in the United States because it always looks like and certainly critics will say that you're just appeasing or giving into blackmail.

But the truth of the matter is, experts are saying, that neither the sanctions nor the harsh rhetoric have produced the kind of restraint that the U.S. is looking for.

The United States is not going to go to war presumably over North Korea and its nuclear program. The North Koreans want to remain a nuclear entity, so how to deal with them.

It is going to take something more creative than currently is on the table.

BALDWIN: Creative diplomacy, so says Christiane Amanpour. Christiane, I appreciate it.

Let me remind all of you tonight at 6:00 Eastern time, Wolf Blitzer will devote an entire hour to this crisis in North Korea.

So tune in for a special edition of "The Situation Room," 6:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.

The push for background checks took one step forward today. A bipartisan breakthrough sets up a likely Senate debate on gun laws. One sticking point for some, a national gun registry.

Next, we are talking to Candy Crowley. We'll ask her if this compromise addresses that concern.


BALDWIN: After a gunman massacred children in Connecticut, the nation is seeing the first gun reform proposal with an actual chance of becoming law.

Why? Because it is coming from these two men. You have Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, and Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a Democrat. Their bipartisan plan will expand background checks to include buyers at gun shows and online.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: This is common sense. This is gun sense.

We're not infringing on the rights of an individual citizen, but basically if you're going to go to a gun show, you would be subjected to the same as if you went to the gun store.


BALDWIN: Now these senators are also pointing out that this law, potential law, would enhance gun rights.

Senator Toomey gave this one example.


SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Current law forbids active duty military personnel from buying a gun in their own state. That's terrible policy, frankly.

They're only permitted to buy a gun in the state in which they're stationed. What we would do is we would change that.


BALDWIN: With me now, Candy Crowley, "State of the Union" and our chief political correspondent.

Candy Crowley, both the senators, it also explicitly bans a national firearms registry. A lot of people were very fearful that could be created.

Do you think that's enough to allay the fears to get a vote for many who are opposed to gun legislation?

CANDY CROWLEY, ANCHOR, "STATE OF THE UNION": Not all of them, but the nature of a compromise is to pull as many people in from both sides as you can.

And I don't think that this compromise would have been put out there with the kind of details that it has in it unless they were pretty sure that this gets them pretty close to that 51 percent vote.

Now, look, there are going to be amendments to whatever. This has to be introduced and maybe becomes a base bill and there have to be amendments and this will be a weeks-long process.

But it is fairly clear to me that they do have, and maybe even before this, that they do have the votes to get past a filibuster.

So this gives folks something to hang their hat on. if they were worried about the national registry, if they were worried about other things. It took out some of the stuff that's in the original bill from committee that a lot of gun owners objected to.

So it is a compromise that everybody has something in it they don't like, which generally means it has a fairly good chance.

BALDWIN: OK, so if this is sort of the original iteration of legislation that could see several changes and amendments as you point out, what do you see as the biggest challenge here? I suppose it depends on what side you ask.

CROWLEY: Well, it does. And it also -- now, remember, there is already a bill. This will be introduced as another bill to kind of supersede an amendment or something. So we'll see how this all plays out.

I think that the biggest challenge still is not Republicans, because certainly there will be that and they will feel free to vote against it if they want to, but it is those swing-state Democrats that Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader in the Senate, has been worried about, forcing them to take votes that might be unpopular back home.

So we should watch some of those who are up for re-election next year, and see how it plays with them.

I don't think there is an element in it that seems more problematic than others. And, again, you have to sort of see what the totality of the bill is going to be, what amendments are allowed to be discussed and voted on and what amendments actually get adopted.

BALDWIN: Yeah, we're just sort of at the beginning stages of what could be concrete legislation.

Candy Crowley, thank you so much.

CROWLEY: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: And now to "Your Money." The Dow, let's take a look at the Big Board, up 145 points.

We are just about 15 minutes away from the closing bell. Both the Dow Jones and S&P 500 hitting new highs today.

Alison Kosik at the New York Stock Exchange -- that's Candy. There she is, Alison Kosik.

So yesterday we saw a great day. Today, a great day as well.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Making history again, the Dow and the S&P 500 both making history again, rocketing to their highest trading levels.

Right now, you're looking at the Dow at 14,818, the S&P 500 at 1,588. We haven't seen levels like this ever. And you know what? It's even surprising some of the more pessimistic traders and analysts down here on Wall Street. They didn't expect to see this happen so quickly. They were predicting this is going to happen at least over the summer, maybe later than that.

So, sure, these levels are stunning, but if you're invested in the market, the returns are pretty stunning as well. The Dow is up 12 -- 13 percent, actually, for the year. The S&P 500 is up 11 percent.

And the timing is kind of interesting, Brooke, because it's coming as first quarter earnings season is kicking off. Companies are kind of turning in their report cards for the first three months of this year, and the reality is expectations aren't that great for a good quarter.

So you wonder how does this jive that we're seeing, you know, the market rocket higher, yet companies aren't expecting much out of the first quarter because what this really seems to be about is sheer momentum.

A good reason is because of the Fed. It's pumping billions of dollars into the economy, moving investors from bonds into stocks.


BALDWIN: Keep the momentum moving. Good for the 401(k).

Alison Kosik, thank you very much.

And here in New York City, the mayoral race could get another candidate, one who not too long ago made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Who am I talking about? We'll discuss with Mr. Tapper next.


BALDWIN: Anthony Weiner, he lied in public. He lied again. He even lied to our own Wolf Blitzer on live TV. You don't do that.

Now, two years after a lewd picture, the former congressman says he's ready for a comeback.

Let me go to chief Washington correspondent and anchor of "The Lead," Jake Tapper.

Is it possible New York City maybe is a little bit more forgiving than the rest of the country?

JAKE TAPPER, ANCHOR, "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER": I think, first of all, there is a famous quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald that there are no second acts in America, and that's been proven wrong time and time again.

You can look at Mark Sanford down in South Carolina, who just won his primary race to be elected there. You can look at Bill Clinton. You can look at any number of politicians.

Does Anthony Weiner have a shot at redemption, as Paul Simon once sang? Sure. Absolutely.

He's quoted in "The New York Times Magazine" in a story that was published this morning saying, quote, "I want to ask people to give me a second chance.

"I do want to have that conversation with people whom I let down and people who put their faith in me and who want to support me. I think to some degree I want to say to them, give me another chance."

And I think it is -- well, it's entirely, obviously, up to the voters of New York City and it will be rough because that media environment is very difficult as you know.

But it is certainly possible. Huma, his wife and mother of their son, is standing by him and supportive.

And at the end of the day, I think it's -- I've seen much stranger things happen than Anthony Weiner return to public life.

BALDWIN: I'm sure you have after all your years in Washington.

Speaking of, big day today, as far as this gun debate, compromise now brokered between these two senators and it sounds like you have landed both of them.

TAPPER: That's right. We're going to have the first joint interview with the Republican and Democratic senator who are trying to broker this compromise on background checks, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a Democrat, and Senator Pat Toomey, Republican from Pennsylvania.

The news broke last night by Dana Bash and this morning we heard more of it, about their plan to expand background checks to cover gun shows, to cover Internet sales, but to exempt other groups such as personal sales and we will have the first joint interview with the both of them. That's coming up on "The Lead."

And we also will talk to the author of that "New York Times Magazine" story, Jonathan Van Meter, about Anthony Weiner and his possible return to New York City politics.

BALDWIN: We'll look for it. It's a huge interview, those two senators.

Jake Tapper, thank you. We'll see you at the top of the hour for that, "The Lead."

Coming up next, news on everything and everyone, including Lindsay Lohan's awkward conversation with David Letterman. Have you seen this?

Also a billion -- billion with a B -- dollar donation to a New York museum, Jay-Z selling his ownership of the Brooklyn Nets and folks paying thousands of dollars -- what -- for Twitter followers, people.

The "Power Block" is next.


BALDWIN: Technology, sports, business, health, showbiz news, we're hitting it all now in the "Power Block."

Let's begin with Lindsay Lohan. She talked about her rehab with David letterman last night and things got a little awkward.


DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": How many times have you been in rehab?


LETTERMAN: And what -- how will this time be different? What are they rehabbing, first of all? What's on their list?

What are they going to work on when you walk through the door?

LOHAN: We didn't discuss this in the pre-interview.

LETTERMAN: Do you have addiction problems?

LOHAN: Now you sound like Dr. Phil.

LETTERMAN: Yeah, I'm sorry. Is it like alcohol? Do you drink too much?

LOHAN: We've discussed this in the past.


BALDWIN: Lohan teared up towards the end of that interview. Letterman complimented her saying she a lot of poise and spine to appear on his show after all the jokes about her troubles.

Lohan's court-ordered rehab stint begins May 2nd. She will be there for three months.

A cosmetics tycoon is donating more than a billion dollars worth of Cubist art to The Met, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Leonard Lauder's collection includes 33 masterpieces by Picasso.

He is the son of the late cosmetics queen, Estee Lauder. Lauder spent nearly four decades collecting Cubist art. The museum says the donation is, quote/unquote, "transformational."

Lauder says he hopes the gifts will draw more people to the museum.

Jay-Z, changing his game again, he's reportedly planning to sell his Brooklyn Nets shares so he can become, of course, an NBA agent. According to Yahoo! Sports, Jay-Z owns less than one percent of the Brooklyn Nets. He has been a huge part of the team's marketing efforts.

NBA rules forbid anyone from owning part of a team and representing players at the same time.

And you tweet? I tweet. But the number of followers you have on Twitter is a status symbol for some, especially for celebrities and politicians.

Guess what? There are actually people willing to shell out cold, hard cash to buy fake followers. What? This has gotten so big it's turning into a million-dollar industry.

Our tech guy, Samuel Burke, is here with us. You have to be kidding me? Money for followers and they're fake?

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Yep, it's really catching on, especially with politicians. They seem to be some of the biggest culprits, Brooke.

People are paying on average 20 bucks for a thousand fake followers or $1,000 for a million fake followers.

But the most fascinating part about all this is "The New York Times" just published a report that says this industry could bring in between $40 million and $360 million in business this year.

And the most bizarre part of all this to me is the fact there are tools like the Fake Followers Tool from that tell you just how many fake followers somebody has.

People are saying, what's the incentive to do this? A lot of celebrities tweet about products. They're paid to do this, so they have that financial incentive.

But the big losers in all this are Twitter and Facebook. Their investors, they want real followers, not fake followers.

And, Brooke, I checked just to make sure your account. I'm happy to report you have a mass and legitimate following.

BALDWIN: I have the real deal, my big 90,000 and counting.

Samuel Burke, thank you very much. Thank you and thank you to all followers, my real followers.

The last night, rocking last night, with some huge musicians performing there. We're going to talk Memphis soul at the White House, next.


BALDWIN: A little Memphis soul at the White House, Justin Timberlake one of many A-listers who serenaded the president and first lady.

This is all part of the PBS Live concert series in performance at the White House.

So in addition to J.T., there are other Memphis-area performers there, including one my absolute favorites, the Alabama Shakes.

You have -- look at the first lady getting down. You have Queen Latifah, Mavis Staples -- there she is with pink hair -- Cyndi Lauper and the "Soul Man" himself, Sam Moore.

You can watch the whole thing next Tuesday on PBS.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks so much for being with me on this Wednesday afternoon.

Now we send things to Washington. "The Lead With Jake Tapper" starts now.