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Putin, McCain Write Dueling Op-Eds; Starbucks CEO Asks Customers Not to Bring Guns Into Starbucks Stores

Aired September 20, 2013 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Fridays are awesome, and this Friday we are starting with a pair of articles that are driving up tension between the United States and Russia. Last week Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote an opinion piece for "The New York Times." He was critical of the U.S. government for threatening a military strike against Syria. This week, long time U.S. Senator John McCain responded, McCain has been a big supporter of U.S. military action in Syria. But his opinion piece for the Russian Website "Pravda" was more focused on Russia`s president. It was titled "Russians deserve better than Putin. He accused the Russian government of imprisoning opponents, rigging elections and controlling the country`s media. Yesterday, President Putin said he wasn`t aware of the article. But Russia`s did have some criticism for United Nations` report about chemical weapons in Syria. Russian officials called the report "bias, distorted, and built on insufficient information." Russia says the inspectors need to go back to Syria to finish their investigation. U.N. Representatives say the report stands for itself.

Back in the United States there is a deadline looming in the nation`s Capitol and the possibility of parts of the U.S. government going dark. President Obama and members of Congress have until the end of this month to work at a deal on the federal government`s budget. If they can`t reach an agreement over the next ten days, a government shutdown will kick in on October 1st. There are several issues involved here, like the country`s debt limit, and President Obama`s health care reform law. We`ll look more closely at those as this story develops. If the government shuts down, it won`t shuts down completely. Functions that are considered essential will still run, things like air traffic control and disaster assistance. But many government offices would likely close, museums and parks would stop operating. Thousands of federal employees could be sent home and not paid.

It`s happened before, there were two government shutdown in the mid 1990s. The longest one lasted 21 days. Is the U.S. government heading for another? The clock is ticking.*


ANNOUNCER: It`s time for you to shout out. Howard Schultz is the CEO of what major company? If you think you know it, then shout it out! Is it Starbucks, Facebook, Wal-Mart or Apple? You`ve got three seconds, go!

Schultz is the chief executive officer for Starbucks, which has nearly 18,000 stores worldwide.

That`s your answer and that`s your "Shoutout."


AZUZ: Howard Schultz has a request for his company`s customers. Don`t bring weapons into our stores. Starbucks policy has been to allow gun owners to bring their weapons in if the state law allows it. Schultz isn`t changing the policy, and he isn`t threatening to kick out gun owners or refuse them service, he`s just asking they don`t bring in their guns. Poppy Harlow reports on the reaction to Schultz`s request. * (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think we should allow people to come in with guns at all.

RYAN DELP, GUN OWNER: I intend to respect their wishes, I just won`t be taking my business to Starbucks.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The coffee giant feeling the heat and garnering praise after making its mark in the gun debate.

HOWARD SCHULTZ, CEO, STARBUCKS: Starbucks is not a policy maker. And in fact, we are not pro- or anti-gun.

HARLOW: Starbucks CEO Harvard Schultz penned this open letter in newspapers nationwide, requesting customers no longer bring guns into their stores.

SCHULTZ: We`ve seen advocates on both sides of these debate. They use Starbucks as a staging ground for their own motivations. A number of episodes, in which people have walked into our stores carrying a gun, customers have felt significantly uncomfortable, children have felt uncomfortable.

HARLOW: Just last month, a group of Newtown residents sent Schultz this letter, asking Starbucks to ban guns.

MONTE FRANK, NEWTOWN ACTION ALLIANCE: I think it`s a significant step in the right direction. We would have preferred and outright (ph) ban. But I think it`s - it sent a clear message.

HARLOW: It`s not a ban, which Schultz could have done, but guns no longer welcome still sparked debate on the street and online.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it`s great. I`m glad he did something. I hope people take it to heart.

HANNAH DUNPHY, STARBUCKS CUSTOMER: I don`t think it ever stops the (inaudible) at all. Because for country that prides themselves very corporate independence and they can do what they want.

HARLOW: Ryan Delp and Bill Stevens carry their guns in public, generally concealed.

BILL STEVENS, GUN OWNER: In a free society like America where we`re supposed to honor equality, tolerance and each other`s rights, here we have a company saying, we don`t want that right in our store. And I think that`s unfortunate.

JEFF GUSTAFSON, STARBUCKS CUSTOMER: I don`t own a gun, so it won`t affect me one way or the other. But, you know, I believe that if someone feels like they have a need to carry a gun, I think they have every right.

HARLOW: Whether Starbucks business takes a hit ...


HARLOW: Or feels the love, is yet to be seen.


AZUZ: You just heard some opinions on both sides of this debate. Now we want to hear yours. You`ve probably been to a Starbucks. What do you think about people bringing guns in? What`s your reaction to Howard Schultz`s request? The conversation is happening on our Facebook page today. So, if you`re already on Facebook, go to

Robin Emmons runs an organization called "So Much Good." That`s SOW, S, O, W, like to plant a seed. And that`s what Emmons is doing. Planting seeds to grow fresh produce and then offering it to low income communities around Charlotte, North Carolina. Her work has made Emmons a CNN hero.


ROBIN EMMONS: There`s a magic in gardening that you can drive a seed into the earth and from that, there`s an amazing fruit that is delicious and so good for your body. That`s a miracle to me.

Here, in Charlotte, 73,000 people live in low income neighborhoods. They don`t have access to this fresh food.

You pick harvest in a miracle mile. Desolate in the way of healthy food options.

There are barely any supermarkets. Once they get there by bus or a neighbor`s car or on foot, they are paying a very high price for the food.

I`m Robin Emmons, and I believe everyone should have access to fresh food. So I grow it and bring to communities in need.

We want our market to be abundant tomorrow. So, let`s (inaudible) it.

We have about 200 volunteers that come out and help us harvesting the food.

These are heirloom tomatoes over here.

From bringing the food to the community and cutting the costs in half compared to what they would pay at grocery store.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Six month ago, I was diagnosed with diabetes. Let`s see if we can find some a little better.

I`m unemployed right now. So, sometimes you have to buy the cheaper things.

These are beautiful. I couldn`t believe the fresh vegetables and the price was phenomenal. It`s making me and my family healthier.

EMMONS: I started growing food in my backyard. Today, I grow on nine acres of ranch. Since 2008, we have grown 26,000 pounds of food.

Thank you. Bye-bye.

I feel like I`m giving them a gift. A healthier, longer, more delicious life.


AZUZ: If you`re a teacher or a student who`s 13 or older and you want to be considered for the "Roll Call," the details are on our homepage

The Vikings at the Village School in Houston, Texas, know what we`re talking about. Thanks for watching Vikings. The Cesar Chavez Learning Academies make today`s rule: those are the eagles out in San Fernando, California. And finally, we`ve got the East Wake warriors from Wendell, North Carolina. Thanks for watching.

"Show Your Mind, Not Your Behind." This billboard we reported on yesterday discourages saggy pants. Some responses now from our blog. Matthew says, "Saggy pants do indeed give a negative first impression of a person. There are other ways to be fashionable, yet decent." Harsh writes, "I don`t think it harms your future as long as you do well in school, but it definitely makes people think bad thoughts about you." Sofie thinks it`s degrading to have people think against the way you dress or how you choose to look. It`s a civil right and people should treat as such. Grace says, "No girls think it`s cute. Pants are meant to cover up your undies, not flaunt them." From Miguel, "No one should judge you on your looks, but only on your personality. You don`t really no anybody until you actually talk to them." Marleigh says people who sag their pants think they look cool, but actually it just looks like they have a diaper on." And Jason personally thinks it`s a stupid look, but asks who am I to judge? Every generation does something rebellious to annoy their elders.

Well, there`s something fishy about today`s last story. OK, that`s kind of an old joke, but this is an old fish. In fact, his name is granddad. And this week, his aquarium threw him an 80th anniversary party. Not an 80th birthday. The aquarium doesn`t say exactly how old he is. They do think he`s the oldest fish in any aquarium in the world. Granddad is a lung fish, which means he uses a lung and gills to breathe. It`s interesting biologically, but needing two breathing functions doesn`t sound very ef-fish-ient. Even if they do get alung. But it`s not the fish`s fault, no reason to make him fell gill-ty about it. That pun gets at least a seven on the fish scale. We`re just joking, Granddad, tanks for playing along. We`ve reached the finish line. Have a great weekend, and we`ll jump back into the swim on Monday. Bye now.